|To jump to the topics, click on the following:
Dr. Havila Beardsley | The Village of Elkhart | Elkhart’s Early Settlers |
Land and River Travel | The Railroad | Elkhart Street Railway |
The Hydraulics | Early Industries in Elkhart | The Press of Elkhart | C.G. Conn |
Franklin Miles M.D. | Herbert E. Bucklen | The Elco Theater |
|The following excerpt is taken from Elkhart: A Pictorial History, written by George E. Riebs and published by G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri. It is one of the better accounts of the origin of the village that sprang up at the convergence of three streams in Northern Indiana, the streams now known as the Saint Joseph River, the Elkhart River, and Christiana Creek. G. Bradley Publishing has my special thanks for allowing me to use this excellent article in my website.|
What’s in a name? Where did the name of Elkhart come
from? While the most popular story is that the Indians noticed the shape of the island (Island Park)
at the confluence of the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers resembled the heart of an elk, evidence
strongly suggest that elk did roam this area a very long time ago it seems more likely (and perhaps
just as romantic) that the Elkhart River and Elkhart Prairie (both of which had those names prior to
the laying out and naming of the village) were given their names because of the Shawnee Indian Chief
Elkhart, who was a cousin of the famous Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. Chief Elkhart and his tribe came into
this area from Ohio about 1800, looking for a land with plenty of game, forests, grassy areas, and
clear water. Conflicts developed as the Shawnee came into contact with the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes,
who were already here. The ensuing battles were full of intrigue, including the capturing of Chief
Elkhart’s daughter, Princess Mishawaka, and her eventual marriage to a white scout for the Ottawas,
named Dead Shot.|
The Miami Indians were the earliest inhabitants of this area. They gave us the name Mishiwa-Teki-Sipiwi (meaning Elk-Hart-River), which was later translated by French traders to Coeur-de-Cerf (Heart of a Stag). Thus it is quite possible that the second story is true: that Chief Mishiwa-Teki (Elk-heart) was indeed the father of Princess Mishiwa-ka, and the origin of the name of the city of Elkhart.
The first white men to travel through what is now the city of Elkhart were almost certainly French traders, explorers, or missionaries. Precise details as to the earliest data and names are few and frequently contradictory, but Father James Marquette and two other French missionaries visited the St. Joseph valley in 1669. The famous explorer, Robert LaSalle, traveled up the River of the Miamis into southeastern Michigan in 1679. Two years later, the river was renamed the St. Joseph River. At that time, the location that later become Elkhart was part of New France, claimed in the name of the King of France by LaSalle. The whole area was placed under the jurisdiction of Great Britain by the Treaty of 1763 (following the French and Indiana War). It came under the sovereignty of the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which formally ended our Revolutionary War.
The Potawatomi Indians moved into this area about 1700, pushing out most of the Miamis. As early as 1779, letters and other records refer to the Potawatomi village of Coeur de Cerf.
When Samuel Bibbins visited the present site of Elkhart in 1800, he found only two white men. They were French traders who were trying to barter with the local Indians. William Johnson, traveling through the county in 1809, stated that the place where the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers meet was ideally suited by nature to be the location of a city. In 1822 the Rev. Isaac McCoy and his wife, Christiana, encamped on the Elkhart River on their way to the Carey Baptist Mission near Niles, Michigan, and Rev. McCoy named Christiana Creek after his wife.
Meanwhile, the United States was pushing its geographical boundaries farther west. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established the Northwest Territory, which included the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. In 1803 Ohio became the first state formed out of the Northwest Territory. Two years later, the Michigan Territory was officially organized, with its southern boundary being a line from the southern tip of Lake Michigan eastward to Lake Erie. This included the present locations of Michigan City, South Bend, Elkhart, and Toledo, Ohio.
When war broke out between the United States and Great Britain in 1812, the British, from their position in Canada, captured Detroit, and claimed all of Michigan Territory to be part of Canada (British North America). A year later, General William Henry Harrison, later to become President of the United States, led an army that recaptured Detroit and reinstated this area as part of Michigan Territory. In 1816 Indiana was admitted as a state and declared its northern boundary to be a line ten miles north of the southern tip of Lake Michigan, in order to provide for the possibility of having a port on Lake Michigan in the future. Congress approved the border shift, and thus Elkhart eventually became a city in Indiana, instead of in Michigan.
Five years later, on August 29, 1821, an Indiana Treaty was signed at Chicago that played a significant part in the history of the city of Elkhart. Three thousand Indians from the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi tribes attended. The United States was represented by Commissioners Lewis Cass and Solomon Sibley. One of the witnesses at the sighing of the treaty was Gabriel Godfroy, an Indiana Agent. At this treaty one section of land, Section 5 of Concord Township in Elkhart County, Indiana, was awarded to an Indiana named Pierre Moran. The Boundaries of Section 5 are formed on the north by a line crossing Main Street just north of Main Street bridge (about where Christiana Creek crosses Main Street); on the east by a line connecting Johnson Street and Prairie Street; on the sough by a line crossing Main Street at the railroad tracks; and on the west by a line along Michigan Street.
Pierre Moran was the son of a Frenchman, Constant Moran, and a Kickapoo Indiana squaw. He was born about the time of the Revolutionary War and died about 1840. Raised in Warren County, he eventually became a Kickapoo Chief and was involved in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Apparently he was blamed for the loss of the battle, perhaps because he was only half Indian. At any rate, he was kicked out by the Kickapoo tribe, headed north, and married a Potawatomi woman, joining her tribe and becoming a Potawatomi Chief.
In 1827 Richard Godfroy, son of Gabriel Godfroy, approached Pierre Moran with an offer to buy his land. He said he would pay the Indian chief $300 for all of Section 5 (640 acres). However, Godfroy, being a little short of cash, gave Pierre Moran a house and wagon, which he claimed was worth $112, as a down payment, promising to pay the remaining $188 later. During this time, the first white settlers appeared in what is now Elkhart. While various sources differ as to the exacts dates, it seems that Andrew Noffsinger was the first settler, locating on the north bank of the St. Joseph River near the present site of the Sherman Street bridge as early as 1821 and staying till about 1828. Jesse Rush arrived in early 1827, settled near Noffsinger, and then moved south of Elkhart to Pleasant Plain in early 1828, where his wife gave birth to twins on May 16. And so it was that Isaiah Rush became the first settler child born in Elkhart County, followed moments later by his twin sister, Marjorie. In October of 1835, John H. Broderick became the first settler child born in the village of Elkhart. His parents, Nehemiah F. and Margaret L. Broderick, are buried I Grace Lawn Cemetery.
George Crawford settled near the mouth of Christiana Creek in 1828, not long before Lewis Davis and Chester Sage. Shortly after their arrival, they built a grist mill close to the mouth of Christiana Creek, This settlement was called Pulaski, in honor of the Polish general who gave his life in the service of George Washington during our Revolutionary War. The post office which was established at Pulaski in 1829 kept its name after moving south of the St. Joseph River to the newer village of Elkhart. The name of the post office was officially changed to Elkhart in 1839.
In 1830, having heard how beautiful the St. Joseph valley was, Dr. Havilah Beardsley arrived on horseback, settling temporarily in Pulaski with George Crawford. Realizing the potential of the water power provided by three streams coming together there, he decided that he would like to buy the land, offering Pierre Moran $800. When this offer was submitted to John Tipton, the Indian Agent, Tipton insisted the land was worth $1500. Beardsley agreed that this was a fair price, and on April 21, 1831, a deed was drawn up between Pierre Moran and Havilah Beardsley.
During this period in our country’s history, the signature of the President of the United States was required on the deed of any land sold by an Indian to a white man. Historians disagree as to whether Godfroy ever got the President’s signature, but at least one source claimed that President John Quincy Adams had approved and signed Godfroy’s deed on November 28, 1826. Regardless, Tipton said that Godfroy had not offered to pay one fourth of the value of the land, and therefore his claim to ownership of the land was not valid. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that Godfroy ever paid the remaining $188 of his agreement.
A further complication arose because homes and mills had already been built by a number of settlers on the disputed land. Dr. Beardsley agreed to give Godfroy a portion of land equal in value to the $112 which he had paid to Pierre Moran. On January 13, 1832, President Andrew Jackson approved and signed the deed making Dr. Havilah Beardsley the sole owner of the land that became the heart of the city of Elkhart. In 1832, Dr. Beardsley hired George Crawford to plat the first 51 lots for the village of Elkhart, bounded by Pigeon Street (later Lexington Avenue) on the south, by Washington Street on the north, by the Elkhart River on the east, and by the alley between Second Street and what later became Third Street on the west. With this accomplished, the city of Elkhart (as we know it today) had begun to take shape.
The name Beardsley has been interwoven with the founding and progress of Elkhart from first to last. Dr. Havilah Beardsley was the pioneer and first white owner of the land on which the City of Elkhart is now located. A native of New Fairfield, Connecticut, and of Welsh ancestry, his birth occurred April 1, 1795, he being the fifth son of Elijah and Sally (Hubble) Beardsley. At a very early day he moved with his parents to Ohio, and as a boy was a volunteer in the War of 1812. When twenty-one years of age he began the study of medicine at Urbana, and subsequently entered the medical department of the Transylvania University, from which he graduated in March, 1825. For several years he practiced in Ohio, but as such close professional labors proved no only detrimental to his health, but uncongenial, he determined to abandon it. For these reasons he emigrated westward and drifted into the well-advertised and developing St. Joseph Country. In 1830, as noted, he settled on the north bank of the St. Joseph River, near the head of what is now Main Street, Elkhart. Owing to the fact that no physicians were no physicians were then in that region, it was impossible to turn a deaf ear to those suffering from physical ailments, and, in spite of his reluctance to resume active practice, his professional labors and reputation were soon spread over fifty miles of territory. Recognizing the great advantage of water power at the confluence of the St. Joseph and Elkhart rivers, Doctor Beardsley purchased a large tract of land from the Indian Chief Pierre Moran, his deed of sale running as follows:
| This indenture made this twenty-first day of
April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
between commissioners of the United States and
the Ottawas, Chippewas and hundred and thirty-one
between Pierre Moran, of the first part, and
Havilah Beardsley, of the county of Elkhart and
the state of Indiana, of the second part. Witnesseth,
that whereas by the third article of a treaty made
and concluded Pottawattamies, at Chicago, on the
29th day of August, 1821, one section of land to be
located under the direction of the president of the
United States was granted to the said Pierre Moran
at the mouth of Elkhart river, which land was not
to be sold or conveyed without the consent of the
president, and by the direction of the president
Section No. 5 in township 37 north, of range 5 east
of the second principal meridian of the state of
Indiana, was selected for, and has this day been
sold by Pierre Moran to the above named Havilah
Beardsley, for the sum of fifteen hundred dollars
lawful money of the United States, to him in hand
paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged.
This indenture therefore witnesseth that in consideration of the payment aforesaid, and in conformity with the foregoing stipulation and approbation, the said Pierre Moran has given, granted, bargained and sold, and by these present doth give, grant, bargain and sell unto the said land, to have and to hold the same with all his rights, privileges and immunities thereunto belonging, to the said Havilah Beardsley, his heirs and assigns forever.
This is duly signed, and in the course of the following year the presidential
approbation of the transaction, signed with the hand of Andrew Jackson, arrived at Elkhart.
Believing that he had a clear title to the land upon which he proposed to lay out a town, Doctor Beardsley employed George Crawford, a Government surveyor and relative by marriage, to do the work for him. The survey and the plat were completed some time in 1832. Very soon after the doctor had obtained the Moran deed he set about improving the land. First he build a mill for grinding corn at the mouth of Christiana Creek, Its burrs were fashioned from native bowlders and the corn was ground without bolting. A sifter was soon added, much to the delight of the Indians and few white settlers. In the following year the father of Elkhart placed a rope ferry across the St. Joseph River just below the mouth of the Christiana, and near the cornmill built a sawmill. These were the first mills of the kind in the country. The next year he dammed the Elkhart, and erected a sawmill near Voicnet’s flouring mill, then one on Yellow Creek and another on the Baugo at Jim Town. At these mills the best grades of ash, poplar and black walnut lumber were sold for $3 to $4 per 1,000 feet.
During the years ’33-34 and ’35 most of the public lands were sold to settlers; town lots were in demand, buildings were erected and population rapidly increased; all demanding an increase of manufactured products. So the doctor improved his cornmill by the addition of machinery to grind wheat and, at a point where the highway crossed the Christiana on Cassopolis Street, he built an oilmill, a woolen factory and public carding machines and, at the foot of Main Street, established another rope ferry across the St. Joseph River.(Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
In the May session of 1832, a license was granted Havilla Beardsley to establish a ferry on the St. Joseph river at the mouth of the Elkhart river, in consideration of a payment o $4 per annum, and that the boat used as a very-boat should be 40 feet log by 9 broad. The following charges were also arranged:
Each wagon with six horses or oxen………………….75
Each wagon with four horses or oxen………………...62 1/2
Each wagon with three horses or oxen………………..50
Each wagon with two horses or oxen……………...….37 1/2
Each wagon with one horses or oxen………………. ...25
Each horse and rider………………………………......12 1/2
Each footman……………………………………….....06 1/2
Each single loose horse…………………………….….06 1/2
Each head of neat cattle…………………………......…04
Each head of sheep, hog or goat…………………....….01
(Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
But in 1835 all the activities of the town were suddenly paralyzed by Godfrey, a Frenchman of Detroit, who claimed to be the rightful owner of section 5, by right of a deed dated earlier than the doctor’s. Being wards of the Government, Indians could not themselves execute titles, but must apply to the Indian Department a Washington. Godfrey’s deed was issued by the department with Commissioner General Tipton’s approval, but was not approved by the then President Jackson as required by law. Moran had presented the facts of the transaction to the President, begging his non-approval of the sale on the charge of fraud, claiming that Godfrey had induced him to drink excessively and, while drunk, obtain consent to the transfer for the consideration of one old wornout horse and cart valued at $25. Although the doctor had paid a fair price and had a clear title, while Godfrey’s defective one was obtained by fraud and repudiated by Moran as soon as he become sober, yet the case was contested in court by Godfrey for six years so stubbornly that the interest of property holders as well as his own, the doctor effected a compromise by deeding to Godfrey all, or part of all that part of section 5 lying south of the St. Joseph River and east of the Elkhart River. During the time of the litigation the town stood still, no lots were sold, a few demanded the purchase money returned to them, which was done, and all the titles were considered worthless, while many speculated anxiously upon the possibility of recovering damages from the doctor.
But the doctor’s zeal never relaxed. He continued building mills and personally attended to the management of his extensive business. He opened up in the heavy timber three miles south of Elkhart, he ministered to the sick, was active in urging the locating and opening of highways and building of needed bridges and in the interest of his suit for title made two trips to Washington and several journeys on horseback to Indianapolis. His principal attorneys were Jesse D. Bright, of central Indiana, and Judge Niles, of Laporte.
About the year 1840 Doctor Beardsley canalled the waters of the Christiana across to the bluff of the St. Joseph, obtained a fall of twenty-six feet; here he built a flouring mill which, until 1904, did a large and constant business, and about the year 1846 built a paper mill, using power drawn from the came canal. With the exception of one a Peru, Indiana, this was the first one built in the state. In 1850 he was active in securing the location of the Michigan Southern Railway Company, and, being a director in that company, his influence and liberal donation to the company of land secured for Elkhart the location of the company’s machine shops, which have added largely in the development of the town. From the fact that he prospered in all his various enterprises it will be seen that he was a man of ability, energy and sagacity; his energy was such that during the sickly seasons he rode day and night on horseback, sleeping as he rode, attending upon the sick, covering a distance of fifteen or more miles in each direction. His ability as a physician and surgeon was recognized as the best in the country; and yet with all these duties he served the county one term as associate judge and was talked of as a candidate for governor on the whig ticket. He was broad, liberal and conservative in opinion, benevolent in spirit, whig in politics, and Swedenborgian in religion, and as founder of the City of Elkhart is held in the highest respect by its citizens.
At Greenfield, Ohio, in 1823, Doctor Beardsley married Rachel E. Calhoun, first cousin to the statesman, John C. Calhoun, which proved a union of the most perfect harmony of mind and spirit. She sympathized with him in his enterprises and willingly shared in the hardships attending those who are in the van of civilization. Their son, J. R. Beardsley, gave Island Park to Elkhart; two sons, Charles and J. R. Beardsley, and a son-in-law, B. L. Davenport, server two sessions each as state senators, and Richard Beardsley, the youngest son, became distinguished in public life. He served in the United States army as paymaster on the gunboat Owasco during the Rebellion and participated in the capture of New Orleans and the siege of Vicksburg, and for bravely was recommended for promotion by Commodore Porter, was appointed by President Lincoln United States Consul to Jerusalem and subsequently was promoted to consul general for the United States at Cairo, Egypt. Secretary Seward, in his book of travel around the world, says he found Mr. Beardsley one of the brightest diplomats in the service. He ied a Cairo in January, 1876, and by request of the people of that city was buried there and in evidence of their esteem they erected a fine monument to his memory. Doctor Beardsley died in 1856 at Elkhart, his wife surviving him until 1890. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County 1916)
Pulaski, Predecessor of Elkhart. Although Dr. Havilah Beardsley is
given just credit for founding Elkhart, the portion of the city north
of the St. Joseph River embraces the old town of Pulaski, or rather the
little settlement which centered in the post office by that name, and
which lifted itself modestly above Elkhart Prairie two years before the
doctor platted Elkhart. Reference has been made to Joseph Noffsinger,
who squatted on the north shore of the mouth of the Christiana, as early
as 1821, and to the coming of Rev. Isaac McCoy to that locality a few
years afterward. In 1827 Jesse Rush and family settled there permanently
and there it was, on May 16, 1828, that Mrs. Rush added the first native
to the population of the county by bringing forth twins, one of whom,
Isaiah Rush, lived to be a venerable citizen of Elkhart. Chester Sage
also settled in that locality and opened his house to the first session
of the courts and the board of justices after the county was organized.
George Crawford, the surveyor, was also on the ground of what promised to
be the real town of the county, county seat, industrial and trade center, etc.
But this, it is now needless to say, it never was. In 1829 Mr. Crawford, with
John Huntsman, built the first gristmill in the county where Christiana Creek
empties into the St. Joseph. In the same year, the settlement induced the
General Government to establish the post office of Pulaski within about eighty
rods of the gristmill, Mr. Crawford in charge. Thus matters stood on the north
side of the St. Joe when Doctor Beardsley set up his rival town of Elkhart on
the south side of the stream. But Pulaski never was a platted town, and from
all available accounts consisted only of the post office, the gristmill and a
few houses roundabout. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County 1916)
Purchase of a Paradise. As early as 1826 the fact of Elkhart’s importance as a site for a town recommended itself to a few of the early settlers. Lewis Davis saw the many advantages of the district; yet some reason unexplained, he did not seize the opportunity then presented, but, on the contrary, left his knowledge and his thoughts in this regard at the disposal of Dr. Beardsley, and with a singular philanthropy prevailed upon his Ohio friend to acquire the tract of land in the vicinity of the meeting of the waters. We have seen in the county history a record of the Bona fide transaction between Dr. Havilah Beardsley and Pierre Moran. Notwithstanding the high character of those dealings, a sale of lands agreeing in description with these transferred in April, 1831, was effected by Moran in February, 1827, and a portion of the Indian reserve placed in possession of Richard Godfrey, of Michigan. This transaction may be termed the beginning of a series of disputes, which were eventually carried to the courts, and dragged, if we may use the term, their weary course through all the meshes of the law for many years. A review of the old correspondence in connection with the Moran-Godfrey transactions will explain more fully the claims of the latter on the estate of Dr. Beardsley. So early as 1826 Godfrey made overtures to the Pottawatomies regarding the purchase of their lands in the neighborhood of the confluence of the Elkhart and St. Joseph rivers; but the individuals with whom he conversed did not seem to entertain his ideas favorably. Being fully impressed with the value and beauty of the location he sought an interview with Chief Moran, and soon convinced the ruler of the band that by acceding to his offer the result would prove mutually satisfactory. During September, 1826, a petition was prepared, and sent to the department of Indiana affairs; but owing to the irregularity of the act it could not be received, and was consequently returned enclosed in the letter of which the following is a copy:
| To Pierre Moran: The treaty of Aug. 29, 1821, under which the petitioner,
Pierre Moran or Parish, a Pottawatomie chief, holds the section of land
referred to in the above petition, provided that the tracts of land
stipulated to be granted by said treaty shall never be leased or conveyed
by the grantees or their heirs to any person whatever without the
permission of the President of the United States. It appearing to be
proper in the opinion of Gov. Cass that the permission claimed should be
granted. I, therefore, respectfully recommend that the petition be
submitted to the President of the United States for the purpose of
procuring his sanction to the application.
Department of War, office Indian affairs. Approved 27th November, 1826, I. B.
|Thomas J. McKenny|
| The return documents were received, conference with Godfrey sought, and the
petition at once made and sent to the President. This important document took this form:
| To John Quincy Adams, President of the United States of America: The petition
of Pierre Moran, or Peerish, a Pottawatomie chief, hereby, sheweth, that
by an article in the treaty of Chicago the 25th day of March, A. D. 1821;
there was granted to your petitioner one section of land and to his
children two sections of land at the mouth of the Elkhart river; that your
petitioner is considerably indebted to several persons and is desirous of
making and also of making some permanent improvements on the lands granted
his children, but has no other means at present of so doing but by sale of
the said section of land belonging to him. Your petitioner therefore prays
that the President will be pleased to grant him permission to sell and
convey his said section of land so granted to him by the said treaty of
Chicago, to enable him to carry into effect his wishes as above stated, as
in duty bound will ever pray.
Detroit, May 31, 1826
| Witness, A. G. Whitney
| The President signified his assent in the following laconic sentence, and Moran
was free to dispose of the Eden which was the home of his band and the cradle of his younger days.
| The request of the petitioner, Pierre Moran, is granted.
28th November, 1826. J. Q. Adams.
| The deed of conveyance followed closed upon the receipt of President Adams’ approbation;
so that in February, 1929, Godfrey was the nominal owner of ancient Elkhart. The deed ran as follows:
|Know all men by these presents, that I , Pierre Morain, or Perish, a Pottawattamie chief as named in the treaty of Chicago, concluded by Lewis Cass and Solomon Sibley, Commissioners on the part of the United States and the Ottawa, Chippewa and Pottawatomie nations, dated a Chicago in the State of Illinois on the twenty-ninth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, and that by an article of said treaty ratified the 25th day of March, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, there was granted to me a section of land at the mouth of the Elkhart river, with a stipulation that it should not be sold or leased without the consent of the President of the United States. Therefore, in consequence of his permission annexed to my petition herewith, and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to me in hand paid by Richard Godfrey, of the county of Wayne, in the Territory of Michigan, the receipt of which I acknowledge, have granted, bargained, sold, and released, and by these presents do grant, bargain and release unto the said Richard Godfrey, the section of land as above described, together with all and singular the rights, members, hereditaments, and appurtenances to the said premises belonging or in anywise incident or appertaining, to have and to hold, all and singular, the premises before mentioned unto the said Richard Godfrey, his heirs and assigns for ever. And I do hereby bind myself, my heirs, executors and administrators to warrant and defend for ever, all and singular, the said premises unto the said Richard Godfrey, his heirs and assigns forever. I do hereby bind myself, my heirs and assigns against every person whatsoever, lawfully claiming or to claim the same or any part thereof. Witness my hand and seal this 2d day of February, in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven (1827).||
|Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of|
|Jas. M. McCloskey,|
|Pierre X Moran|
| Whether Godfrey fulfilled his part of the contract has never been satisfactorily proven.
Again, the fact of Dr. Beardsley’s good faith in carrying out to the letter the part allotted
him in the deed of April, 1831, cannot be doubted, nor was the approbation of President Jackson
given without an assurance that reciprocity, in good faith, existed between the aboriginal owner
and the white purchaser. As has been stated, this dual acquisition of Indiana lands created much
trouble in the little settlement of olden times; and the prolongation of the dispute aided, most
effectually, in retarding the development of the village. The courts could scarcely ever settle
the conflicting interests and opinions which existed, so that the only course left for adjusting
the difficulty was arbitration or compromise. Dr. Beardsley suggested the latter, and having
obtained the acquiescence of his opponent bestowed upon him a valuable section of land east of
the Elkhart river. Previously the Doctor was so conscientious as to caution all who desired to
purchase lots or erect buildings against investing; because, as he said, the proprietorship of
certain portions of the property which he claimed rested on the strange antics of the law, and
actually left him in a state of uncertainty. From the moment a comprise was effected the star of
Elkhart’s prosperity began to ascend, and by degrees continued its upward movement, until, in
1870-’71, the village cast off swaddling clothes of its infancy, and rushed onward to commercial
greatness within a few years.|| The Original Plat. President Jackson’s letter, approving Dr. Havilah Beardsley’s
purchase from the Indiana chief Moran, arrived early in 1832, and prior to the lapse of a few months,
the new proprietor was in possession of the favored tract. Without delay he employed Surveyor Crawford
to lay out a village, and he, with commendable industry, completed the work entrusted to him and
furnished Dr. Beardsley with his plat and description, which were duly recorded in April, 1832. The
following is a copy of this document taken from the old records of J. W. Violett’s time:
State of Indiana
| Beginning at the N. W. corner of lot No. 1, where there
is a cedar post planted two feet in the ground in section No. 5, T. 37 N.,
R. 5 E. 2d principal meridian; first, Main street, 82½ feet wide, bears N.,
20 degrees west. Second street, 66 feet wide and running parallel.
Washington street, 82½ feet wide, bears S., 70 degrees west, and at right
angles with Main and Second streets.
| Jefferson, Jackson and Pigeon streets running
parallel to Washington street. Lots numbered in numerical order,
1, 2, 3, 4, etc., throughout the plat.
| All regular lots are 82½ feet in front and 165 feet back.
All singular lots have their length given in feet on the lines and also the
bearings. Eight lots in a block, and each block cut at right angles through
the center, with alleys 16½ feet wide running parallel to the streets. H. Beardsley, Proprietor.
| Recorded by John W. Violett, April 30, 1832
| A copy of the original plat of George Crawford was made in March, 1875, y County Surveyor
Henry Cook, and duly recorded under oath, as a Fac Simile of the old map. It shows an
aggregate of 48 lots, and gives prominence to a very precise description.
(Chapman, History of Elkhart County 1881)
| First Residents and Buildings. Upon the original plat of the town, Horace Root erected the first
building, a dwelling, and the second one was built by Samuel P. Beebe, at the northwest corner of Main
and Jackson streets. Across the street from the present site of the Hotel Bucklen (southeast corner of
Main and Jackson), Mr. Beebe erected a store building and within the old village limits, although a
store had been opened prior to that time on the north bank of the St. Joseph
by Renssalaer Harris. Familiar to the present
generation are the names of the early merchants, as their
descendants still live in our midst. Among them were Elijah
Beardsley, N. F. Broderick, John Davenport, J. S. and A.
Defrees and George Crawford. Later on Stephen Downing
conducted a tavern on the Beebe site. The Beebe home was a
very hospitable place and Mrs. Beebe was noted for miles
around for being a great entertainer. It was she that made
the first wedding garments and also the first funeral robe
used in the village. Dr. Havilah Beardsley was the first
physician in the town, he having commenced practice when he
moved out from Ohio in 1830. Dr. Kenyon followed in 1834.
Dr. E. W. H. Ellis, a young physician followed shortly
afterwards. He stated years ago that when he first came to
Elkhart the country was infested with disease and that he
had known eleven persons to be sick in one room fifteen feet
square. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County 1916)
| First Impressions of the Village. An early pioneer visiting Elkhart in April, 1838, game the following
impression of the village:|
| The only manufactory was a small flouring mill, with perhaps a saw mill
on Christiana creek, near the mouth. The principal citizens were
Doctor Beardsley, his nephew, Elijah Beardsley, George Crawford,
Samuel P. Beebe, N. F. Broderick, Col. Downing, John Davenport,
Hiram Morgan, James Defrees, Dr. P. S. Kenyon, Lorenzo Scoville,
Dr. Wm. R. Ellis and Henry Crampton. The only hotel was kept by Col.
Downing (who died that year), on the present site of the Bucklen (Hotel).
He was a good man; but from the hungry look of the eagle on his sign,
was dubbed by Judge Beebe as ‘Col. Buzzard.’ The Judge resided on the
corner, northwest from the hotel, a very humble frame dwelling embowered
in a shady grove, while a rough pole fence surrounded his lot. Morgan
and Defrees kept the red store, and Davenport and Broderick had a store
farther south. Elijah Beardsley dispensed justice to the people, as did
our venerable friend N. F. Broderick. The constables were Hiram Morgan
and Joseph Dome. Gen. Mitchell was engaged as chief engineer in the
survey of the Northern canal, and completed his labor about that period.
George Crawford was serving his county in the State Senate, and was
interested in one of the mercantile establishments. Real estate was at
a low ebb; lots ranging from $50 to $300.
The southern and eastern portions of the town were covered with a thrifty forest, worth probably $15 an acre. The town had been christened “Pulaski,” and its postoffice still bore that name. There was no church in the place; but occasional meetings were held by the Methodists and United Brethren in the school house. Sabbath school was an unknown institution. There was no regular whisky shop in the town; but the merchants dispensed the needful by the quart when required for medicinal or other purposes; but drunkenness had no existence in the community. During this year several new families arrived. Among them were the Shuely and Irwin families, Robert Sanford and the McKelveys. Judge Beebe was the character of the place. He had seen this beautiful spot as early as the year 1827 but did not locate ere until after the town had been started. He was a man of intelligence and at that time had just been elected probate judge by three votes. He was a free thinker in religion and a practical joker.
| At a little log cabin schoolhouse, situated on the banks of the Elkhart River, N. F. Broderick wielded the
birch and taught the young Elkhartians the three “R.” He was the first schoolmaster
in the village. In 1837 the second school building was erected on Second Street. The
renowned “Tammany Hall” was built in 1836 and for many tears all classes of entertainment
were given, from the temperance lecture to the amateur theatricals and occasionally
some strolling player would excite the wonder of the inhabitants by his performance.
This hall stood at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets. Mrs. Beebe opened a
Sabbath school at her home and also gave instructions in English to the older boys
and girls. Between 1837 and 1840 Doctor Beardsley commended the building of several
mills. He erected a cornmill and a woolen and oil mill on the banks of the Elkhart.
A little later when boats commenced to ascend the St. Joseph, warehouses were built
along the Elkhart and there trading in farm produce and merchandise was conducted.
From Village to Town. In 1858 a petition, signed by many of the electors in the village, was presented to the county commissioners, and in response thereto the board ordered an election for voting upon the question of incorporating Elkhart. The vote was taken on June 29, and out of 216 ballots a majority of fifty-four was reported in favor of incorporation. Accordingly the commissioners declared, at their September session that the village be incorporated and be known as the “Town of Elkhart.”
| Dam and Hydraulics. Elkhart’s commanding position in the industrial world has been due in large degree
to its situation on the banks of two large streams and the possibilities of immense
water-power development consequent thereto. Nine of the progressive business men of
Elkhart were responsible for the proper development of the immense water power of the
St. Joseph rive that for years had lain dormant. It was this movement that proved a
strong foundation for the upbuilding of the city and added materially to its present
greatness. After the hydraulics were constructed a demand was at once created for the
cheap water power and factories began to seek Elkhart. Two years were required in the
construction of the dam and the various races. The building was done during the years
1867 and 1868 and was under the direct supervision of Silas Decamp. Nearly $100,000
was expended by the company in the harnessing of this great power.
As early as 1832 a dam was constructed across the Elkhart river. Abner Simonton, a brother of D. S. Simonton,
was the builder of this first damn. A lock was also built at one side for the
accommodation of the boats that then went up as far as Goshen. Several times
within the succeeding years various dams were washed away by the spring floods
and it was not until 1875 that a permanent dam was constructed. Mr. Clark Lane
had lived near water power all of his life and when he gazed upon the Elkhart
winding around the bottoms to the south of Jackson street, he knew that a large
tract of land could be reclaimed and at the same time the water power strengthened.
Accordingly, he purchased the land and cut off 1,800 feet of winding river by
channel only 180 feet in length. A dam of stone and cement was then constructed
near the site of the Indiana Buggy Co.’ plant and all of the bottom land reclaimed
by the building of dykes.
From Town to City. Elkhart remained a town for seventeen years. In this period the population, the manufacturing and commercial
interests and the territorial area had expanded rapidly, and the old-fashioned form
of government was felt to be an incubus to the continued prosperity of the town.
Therefore, on April 28, 1875, the issue of city or town government was placed before
the citizens. That the lines between the conservative and liberal element were closely
drawn and that the wisdom of incorporation as a city was by no means universally
acknowledged, may be inferred from the vote, which stood 575 for incorporation and 561
for continuance of the town system. By the small majority of fourteen ballots, therefore,
the first election of municipal officers was ordered. (Deahl, History of Elkhart County 1905)
County had been organized a decade before the last of the Pottawattamies were cleared from the valley of the St. Joseph.
Before it received a name and a body politic, for several years, while settlers of
every nationality, and in considerable numbers, had been occupying the lands. A few
of the best known are noted.
At the conclusion of the War of 1812 the Carey Mission of Protestants at Niles, Michigan, took a hand in converting the Pottawattamies to Christianity, the labors of its missionaries covering a broad extent of country and especially spreading up the valley of the St. Joseph. There were two main Indian trails which, for years, were used both by red and white men in that region, whether bent on errands of peace or war. The best known in Elkhart County was that from Fort Wayne to St. Joseph, which ran across the bottom lands of the Elkhart River, skirting the eastern edge of the prairie and passing through the present site of Goshen. This was also the pioneer mail route, and it was not many years ago when not a few settlers could remember the Indian con fields which skirted Elkhart Prairie. Notwithstanding some raised their own crops, many preferred to beg corn and squashes from the settlers and give venison in return.
The old French trader, Rosseau, was the connecting link between the old and the new dispensations, appearing on Elkhart Prairie to the southeast of what is now Goshen in 1815. The war with England had been concluded, France was no longer a power in the new world, and here was Rosseau, a friend to both whites and reds, a master in the art of barter and trade, the first of his race to make a home within the bounds of the county, and yet who lived therein long enough to see the end of the Pottawattamies in that region and its permanent occupancy by the energetic and forehanded white pioneer of the east.
Joseph Noffsinger “Squats” Another early character was Joseph Noffsinger, the hermit squatter, who is said to have made his home at the junction of the Christiana and St. Joseph streams—now in the City of Elkhart—as early as 1821, but as soon as permanent settlement began to be made in that vicinity, about 1828, he withdrew. Very little is known of him, as he seems to have avoided all social commingling either with the red men of the settlers.
Isaac McCoy Names Christiana Creek. The Carey Mission, on the banks of the St. Joseph, near the present Niles, Michigan, was a social and religious center during the ‘20s whence emanated various colonizing streams into the various sections of the surrounding country. Isaac McCoy, a minister of the Baptist Church, and one of the founders and principal workers of this mission, came from the East on his way to this mission, and in the spring of 1824 crossed the St. Joseph at its junction with the Elkhart. To the flowing down from the north into the larger river he gave the name of his wife, Christiana, which as the present name of the little creek remains as a memorial of that devoted pioneer missionary and his followers.
Matthew Boyd, Pioneer of Elkhart Prairie. Matthew Boyd was one of the first, if not the first settler on Elkhart Prairie, and n 1828 he completed the erection of a log house at Elkhart crossing. In the early days Boyd ran a ferry across the Elkhart River at Benton. He was a red-headed Irishman and very droll, and his characteristics made him a well known personage in the neighborhood. In the summer when the water was low he was in the habit of going a little way down the stream and felling a number of trees across the river, thereby causing a dam and the consequent raising of the water so that toll could be demanded from the unsuspecting traveler for the use of Boyd’s ferry.
Simpson and Riggs. Another comer in 1827 was William Simpson, who took up his abode near Boyd, and Elias Riggs made his home on the edge of the Prairie somewhere near these two and in the same year.
The Rush Twins, First Natives. In the southwest corner of Pleasant Plain, near the present City of Elkhart, there settled in the fall of 1827 Jesse Rush. On May 16, 1828, Mrs. Rush bore twin children, a son and a daughter, and it is claimed that these were the first white children born in Elkhart County. Isaiah Rush, the son, was for many years a familiar figure on the streets of Elkhart.
There is a least one other claimant for the honor of being the first born in this county, and that is John H. Violett, who was born near Goshen, but not until November, 1829. If the dates are correct as given, there can be no question as to the proper priority.
Elias Carpenter settled upon Elkhart Prairie in 1829, and the next year moved into a log house located on the hill overlooking Rock Run, and within a hundred yards of the Noble Manufacturing Company’s plant in Goshen.
Early Roads from the Wabash Valley. Before the advent of steamboat navigation to Elkhart in the early ‘40’s,
the southern and central portions of the county, represented by Goshen, were being
absorbed into the system of highways which were being extended from Fort Wayne and
Logansport, of the valley of the Wabash.
The establishment of county roads was among the first acts of record of the Board of Justices, under date of November 7, 1831, is found a report rendered on a state road running from Logansport, via Turkey Creek and Elkhart prairies, to the northern line of the state in the direction of Pigeon Prairie. Then in the March session of 1832 the “River Road” was reported on, this extending from the western line of the county, mainly following the course of the St. Joseph River on the south side, to Pigeon Prairie. Also and item in the record of the session in May, 1832, ordering that all public roads be laid out in the various districts, shows the progress that communication was making at that early date.
The well known Fort Wayne road was the third to be reported on, the report being made under date of May 31, 1832. This extended from Fort Wayne, via Goshen, to South Bend. Road No. 4, ordered opened at the September session of 1832, was from the west line of the county on the north side of the St. Joseph, as far as Christiana Creek, and thence in a northerly direction to the state line.
From this time on the commissioners’ records are filled with reports of proposed roads in various parts of the county, and many roads were surveyed and opened up for traffic within a few years. It soon became evident to the county fathers that the highways were not sufficiently wide, and therefore at the November session of 1836 it was ordered that all county roads should be made forty feet wide, whereas they had been thirty or thirty-three in width.
The Fort Wayne-Niles Mail Route. With the establishment of these roads between the valleys of the Wabash and the St. Joseph, or really the Ohio Valley and the region of the Great Lakes, the mails and passengers commenced to circulate, and Elkhart County at length felt that she was part and parcel of the great outside world. Joseph H. Defrees tells about the Fort Wayne-Niles mail route, the first to benefit Elkhart County:
| “In the spring of 1831, I think it was, a mail route was
established between Fort Wayne and Niles, the mail to be carried over
it once if four weeks. In the fall of the same year the postoffice
increased the speed (?) from once in four weeks to that of once in
two weeks. Many of you, no doubt, well remember how elated you felt
when you heard the sound of the old tin horn, blown by ‘Old Hall,’ as
he came wending his way through the grove east of the village (Goshen)
with his tantrum sorrels, himself astride of one, and the mail bags,
containing news from the ‘settlements,’ on the other, with a ‘string’
fastened to the bits of the leader in order to guide him in the right
path. The old horn with its music discoursed sweeter strains to its
hearers than did ever Hall and Arnold’s in their palmist days.”
Think of it! One mail in four weeks,
or in two weeks. Now, radiating in all directions through the country, approaching
within convenient distance of every home in the county, are the rural mail routes,
delivering packages, letters and the metropolitan dailies once a day, and with
greater regularity and punctuality than was the case in the larger towns less than
half a century ago.
The postal service in the year 1837 at Goshen is indicated by the following items in the Goshen Express:
| “Mail arrival and departure: Western mail arrives from
Niles via South Bend every Sunday and Wednesday evening; departs
every Tuesday and Saturday morning. Eastern mail via Fort Wayne
arrives every Monday and Friday evening; depart Monday and Thursday
morning. Southern mail, via Leesburg, arrives every Thursday at
12 o’clock; departs every Thursday at 1 o’clock p. m.”
And the same paper, on September 16, 1837, calls attention to a project for carrying the
mail from Fort Wayne to Niles, Michigan, in four-horse coaches, and praises the
proposition as “a grand undertaking,” whereby this beautiful county would be
opened up to immigrants, who naturally followed the easiest lines of access to
new countries. “The mail from Fort Wayne to Niles,” says the editor, “is now
carried through on a house.”|
In a fair consideration of the means of communication which the county has employed, the stage coach must be included—the old “twice-a-week” stage coach. It was a slow mode of travel, but the passengers had a good time. The rate of speed in pleasant weather and with favorable roads was perhaps seven of eight miles on hour and the average cost was perhaps 5 cents a mile.
Era of Arks and Flat Boats. The era of the arks and the flat boats covered the period from about 1830 to 1844, when their supremacy on the upper reaches of St. Joseph River was disputed by the Steamboats. The important towns along the stream were Three Rivers and Mendon, St. Joseph County, Michigan; Bristol and Elkhart, the county; Mishawaka and South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, and Niles and Berrien Springs, Berrien County, Michigan. From the point of the island at the mouth of the Elkhart River to St. Joseph, Michigan, by way of the tortuous stream, it is ninety-six miles. The trip consumed from several days to a week, depending on whether you were going up or down stream, and whether you were on a keel boat, or the much more cumbersome ark, which resembled a scow or large raft.
The Keel Boats. The keel boats averaged 75 feet in length and 12 feet in beam, with gunwales some 26 inches in height. They would carry from 300 to 500 barrels. The boats were rowed down the river with eighteen feet oars, eight to a boat. On the return trip, against the current, it was necessary to pole the boat, a crew of men being used in shifts. Each boat was rigged with a windlass and by fastening a rope to a tree the crew were enabled to get it over the riffles that were found in many places along the St. Joseph.
Big Arks coupled. The great arks carried about 600 barrels of flour, or perhaps their equivalent in pork and produce. They were made of two pieces of timber, 50 feet long, hewn to a size 6 by 8 inches, then two sticks 16 feet long were hewn the same way, and the four framed together. Sleepers were put in lengthwise, sixteen foot planks spiked on the crosswise and the cracks carefully calked. Studding was fastened to the gunwales. Two of the arks were fastened together and each section called a crib. Down to the mouth of the St. Joseph the coupled arks were floated, unloaded, taken to pieces and the timber sold to the captains of the lower lake vessels. Then the tired crews would make the return journey on foot through the forest.
Elkhart as a River Town. In the palmy
days of the river trade, even before the coming of the
steamboats, Elkhart was a busy commercial center, the
space between Washington Street and the confluence of
the two rivers was set apart for warehouses and wharves.
John W. Ellis, D. S. Simonton, and J. R. Beardsley were
all interested in the boat trade, but did not have any
part in the handling of the boats. The last named
gentlemen frequently shipped as supercargoes and attended
to the shipping of the goods upon the lake-going vessels.
Three large warehouses stood near the Chamberlain property
on Washington Street, besides several flour sheds. At the
foot of Pigeon Street (now Lexington Street) stood the old
Simonton warehouse, and in the vicinity of the Franklin
Street Bridge two distilleries had been built. Wheat, pork
and high wines were shipped to Buffalo and Cleveland from
these warehouses, while from the old Beardsley mill, Which
Stood on the north bank of the St. Joe, thousands of barrels
of flour were sent to the cities of the Great Lakes.|
The Procters as Bridge Builders. While river navigation was active the dams and bridges thrown across the St. Joseph and Elkhart rivers were always fertile sources of contention and trouble. John and William Procter, father and son, who settled on a farm six miles north of Elkhart in 1834 and 1835, respectively, were active builders. William Procter, who died only a few years ago, had many interesting stories to tell of the early period of navigation on the streams. He was authority for the statement that the first dam in the St. Joseph Valley of Northern Indiana, and in the construction of which he assisted as a boy was thrown across the river at Mishawaka about 1830. Every spring a new dam had to be constructed, as the ice would carry the old one out when the spring freshets came. Boats were running on the river during this period, but only arks and keel boats were seen at Elkhart until in the early ‘40’s. Mr. Procter’s father constructed the first wooden bridge across the St. Joe at that point. The bridge was in the same location as the present Main Street Bridge; that is, the southern end stood at the same point, but the northern end extended about seventy-five feet farther east, so that it was at right angles with the current. Ice breakers were constructed on the east side in order to break up ice packs as they came sweeping down the river, and prevented the combined forced from carrying away the structure. It was the intention of the authorities to make this a covered bridge in time, but it was never done, and the course of fifteen years the timber rotted away and one span was carried down with the current. As a boy, Mr. Procter assisted his father to build the first bridge, and he had a hand in the construction of the second one that was built. A factional war was precipitated when it came to deciding on the location of Main Street, believing that their thoroughfare would soon be the leading business street of the future city, insisted that the bridge should cross the river at the foot of their street. At last a compromise was effected and the bridge was built from the alley between the two streets.
Against the ice breakers of the first bridge the old swan,
a well known keel boat, was wrecked and the cargo of flour lost in the swift waters. It
was during the later part of the ‘30’s that the first dam on the Elkhart River was
constructed, but the water power was not used to any extent until later. Mr. Procter
worked on the river in 1842-3 and became familiar with boating. He says that steamboats
ran up as far as Bristol as early as 1842, but that the commerce was irregular until
From one of the county papers, it is evident, from the following extract, that the trade by way of the St. Joseph, had reached large proportions by 1842:
| “We learn that on this day a large number of arks laden with
2,200 barrels of flour and nearly 1,000 barrels of pork and
highwines passed through the locks of Mishawaka destined for
the eastern market. A large proportion of this was from
Goshen People Rebel at Obstructions. But conditions along the Elkhart River and at Goshen were not
as favorable as along the St. Joseph and at Elkhart. Illustration taken from a local newspaper of 1842:
|“The Elkhart river from Hawk’s mill, three miles above Goshen to the mouth, might easily be rendered navigable for arks and keel boats. A large number of arks have already left Waterford and Goshen laden with flour, highwines and pork; but great difficulty and damage have been experienced in passing the dams and bridges on the route, and boats have frequently been sunk in the attempt. On Thursday last several of the merchants of Goshen, interested in the navigation of the river, assembled at Kellogg’s dam and proceeded to tear up the new bridge against which several boats had stuck. They were unmolested in the work and desisted only when they had made a free passage for the boats. We understand it is their determination to remove all obstructions, such as mill dams and bridges, peaceable if they can, forcibly if they must; if the grand jury and Circuit Court cannot effect it for them. The next threat is against DeCamps dam: and if the law is not complied with, by the construction of suitable locks, it is certainly as proper for a boatman to tear down a dam as for a traveler to let down a fence built across the highway.”|
So we see that dams across the river were even more often objects of resentment in those days
than at present.
Advent to Elkhart of the River Steamboats. For four of five years after the advent of the first steamer to the trade of the St. Joseph, Elkhart and the northern portion of the county enjoyed an increased boom in prosperity; but the fate of even that improved form transportation was forestalled by the oncoming railroad. The new followed the old so promptly that one might paraphrase the old-world shout of the populace with “The Steamboat is dead! Long live the Railroad!”
The appearance of the first steamboat at the mouth of the Elkhart, with the exit of the river traffic and the introduction of the railroad to the good people of the city, is thus told by the Truth:
“It was a beautiful Sunday morning in the spring of 1844 that the first steamboat came puffing up the river. For days this event had been awaited by the inhabitants of the little village and most of them were down to the bridge to witness the advent. A group of boys playing on he commons were startled when the sonorous whistle sounded, the cattle pricked up their ears and scudded away, as the apparition came in view around the bend of the river. I n that crowd of boys was Major James D. Braden and James Smith. Puffing and wheezing the boat came slowly on, but when the low wooden bridge at Main street was eached, a halt had to be made as the smoke stack could not go under the bridge. A consultation of war was held and the next morning the timbers in the middle span were removed and the boat moved through and up to the warehouses. Later the stacks were made with hinges so they could be dropped at the cry of ‘Low Bridge.’
| “These river steamers were built somewhat on the plan of the lumber
carriers on the lakes. They were clear amidships and low,
and the engine room was in the stern. Paddle wheels were
built on either side, on some boats they were covered and
on others exposed. A few of the larger boats could not come
this far up the river. The steamers, and keel boats also,
only drew about eighteen inches of water when loaded. The
Matilda Barney was one of the first steamers to push her
nose up the river to this port, although it is probable
that the Indiana was the boat that arrived on that eventful
Sunday morning. Pioneers will remember the Pocahontas, John
Stryker, South Bend, Michigan, Gem, Ruby, Niles and many
others of the river craft. These steamers would tow from
three to four keel boats and the running of the riffles was
accomplished by the means of windlasses with which every
boat was provided. With fair luck the trip down the river
could be made in three days and from four to five days
consumed on the up trip. Mr. Davis says that the most
exciting trip he ever made down the river was early in
April of 1848. A man at Three Rivers had built an ‘Ark’
eighty feet long and was carrying a colony of young men
and women to the supplement at New Buffalo. They had
succeeded in reaching Elkhart and the ‘Ark’ grounded on a
sand bar. Mr. Davis was called to pilot them to St. Joe.
The current was running swift and four days sere consumed
in reaching the mouth of the river. Many narrow escapes from
sand bars and riffles occurred during that voyage.|
“The advent of the railroad sealed the doom of the river traffic and it passed away, never to return. In 1848-9 the Michigan Central reached Niles, and the road purchased a large number of the keel boats and hauled them up on the banks to rot away. Mr. Davis hauled the first rails to be used in the construction of the present Lake Shore road from St. Joe by boat. They were known as the English ‘T’ rail and were eighteen feet in length. When the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana R. R. came in 1851, the day of the steamboat was ended for Elkhart. Many of the old steamers were sold for the Wisconsin river trade and the old Indiana was taken to Chicago, where it was utilized as a river tug; in fact, it was the first tug to be used on the Chicago river.”
First Train Into Elkhart Village. As told by the Elkhart Truth:
| About four o’clock on a Friday afternoon early in the month of October,
1851, a wood burning engine, hauling a train of flat cars
and a caboose rolled over the wooden bridge over the Elkhart
river and puffed along to the foot of Main street, which was
then in the forest south of the village proper. For weeks this
event had been the topic or conversation among the inhabitants
of the little hamlet and the night previous to the advent of
the “Iron Horse” had been an anxious one. Many people waited
all night long in order to be on hand to welcome the incoming
train. Captain Chamberlain says that he was one of a party of
boys, who, escaping from the confines of the school room,
presided over by C. G. Conn, had gone in swimming while awaiting
the coming of the train. It had been heralded abroad that the
road would run a free excursion to White Pigeon on the following
Sunday and people came for miles around to participate in the
wonderful event. With an old time passenger coach, a box car
and a number of flat cars arranged with planks for seats and
crowded with passengers, the train started. One accident
occurred to mar the occasion. Calvin Dome, one of the boys of
the village, was seated on top of the box car and by a sudden
stopping of the train, he was thrown under the wheels. The
injured boy was taken on to White Pigeon and brought back to
Elkhart with the excusionists. Dr. Chamberlain of Elkhart and
Dr. Elliott of White Pigeon attended the injured boy, but he
could not survive the shock of his injuries and died the
following day. Silas Baldwin was the first local railroad
agent in the village. (The Elkhart Truth)
| Synopsis of Progress in the county (1916). The progressive
spirits of thee county soon realized that if the town advanced
it must secure other means of transportation than the ox team
and the ark, and the village had not passed its first decade
before attempts, that proved futile, were made to connect the
town with its neighbors by the means of strap rails. With this
end in view the Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad Company was
organized to run from Toledo to Chicago, passing through Goshen
and connecting all of the county seat towns between the two
points. The incorporators included William L. Latta, James R.
McCord, James H. Barnes, Joseph H. Defrees, Johnson Latta, and
E. W. Ellis of Goshen. On February 21, 1837, the directors of
this company met at South Bend for the purpose of making an
endeavor to produce funds with which to build the proposed road.
In this they failed but the organization was kept alive for many
years. Among the directors were Judge Osborne of LaPorte, Judge
Stanfield and Schuyler Colfax of South Bend, John Davenport and
Joseph Defrees of Elkhart, James H. Barnes, E. W. H. Ellis,
Milton Mercer and Dr. M. M. Latta, of Goshen.
In 1849 a rival company appeared in the field. It was known as the Southern Michigan Railroad Company. It ran through the southern tier of counties in Michigan and proposed to dip into Indiana on the way to Chicago. Steps were at once taken to block the charter and Joseph H. Defrees and Michael Daugherty were elected to the Legislature from Elkhart County for the purpose of preventing legislation on this charter. In 1850 J. H. Defrees was elected senator and Milton Mercer representative to continue the contest. It failed in the end, as the corporation was able to enlist the support of the citizens of Elkhart, South Bend and LaPorte and secured a charter. The citizens of Goshen were, however, rewarded by the new company absorbing the old charter of the Buffalo and Mississippi road and agreeing to run a spur from Elkhart to Goshen. The citizens purchased and donated to the corporation the tract of land now occupied be its successor, the Lake Shore Company, and erected a roundhouse for the use of the railroad. In the fall of 1851 the road reached Elkhart from the east, and during 1852 the spur was built to Goshen. The coming of the first train was a great event in the life of the village, the citizens turned out en Masse, bonfires were lighted and a general celebration occurred. The roundhouse was abandoned in 1870. To show that the village was benefited by the advent of the railroad the increase in population is noted. In 1850 the town had 780 inhabitants and 1870, 2,053. This spur led to the extension of the Air Line through to Toledo.
After the war Captain Wells, an old railroad man, and Joseph H. Defrees organized a new company for the purpose of pushing a railroad north and south through Goshen. It was known as the Goshen, Warsaw and Wabash Railroad and was put in operation in 1870. The line, as originally planned, would have run through Middlebury to White Pigeon, skirting the southern part of the county and crossing the Baltimore and Ohio and the Wabash railroads. This line is now part of the Big Four system and runs from Benton Harbor, Michigan, to Indianapolis. It was originally known as the Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan and was built through the southern part of the county via Goshen and New Paris in 1870. The Wabash road, running east and west, was completed in the winter of 1892-93.
As Part of Internal Improvements System. Extracts from the paper which throw light upon the foregoing statement of bare facts:
The question which was of the most vital importance to the early settlers of Indiana was the question of transportation. The slow and expensive modes of travel made the development of the resources of the state almost impossible. How fully this was realized can be seen in reading the messages which from time to time the governors submitted to the Legislatures.
| From many special references to the subject I select only
a few. In 1815 Govern Posey recommended their careful attention to
the improvement of the state roads and highways. In 1818 Governor
Jennings urged the adoption of measures for the construction of
highways and canals and the improvement of the navigation of the
rivers of the state. In 1826 Governor Ray declared the construction
of roads and canals necessary to place the state of Indiana on an
equal financial footing with the older states. And again, in 1829,
he said: “This subject can never grow irksome, since it must be
the source of the blessings of civilized life. To secure its
benefits is a duty enjoined upon the legislature by the obligations
of the social compact.”
| Up to this time no other means were considered than roads, canals and navigable rivers.
But in 1834 railroads were being built and Governor Noble, in speaking
of these public improvements undertaken by the state, said: “No work
should be commenced but such as would be of acknowledged public
utility, and when completed would form a branch of some general system.”
And he called favorable attention in the same message to the Lawrenceburg
& Indianapolis Railroad, for which a charter had already been granted.
Along the lines thus proposed the state steadily pushed, and the
construction by it of state roads, river improvements, canals and
railroads was undertaken on a vast scale. This was forced upon the
state by the rivalry of the various parts of the state, each of which
demanded its own recognition and none of which was willing to wait.
The result was that very soon the state became so heavily involved in
debt that its credit failed, and by the year 1839 all work was
But as early as 1836 the state was so heavily burdened with the work already begun that no new lines were projected by it. But the vast system already laid out included all parts of the state and none was neglected.
Elkhart County received its proper recognition in the construction of state roads, and a canal was promised it. The latter was to run through the county seat, and was located through Goshen where Rock Run now flows, and would have eceived its water supply from the reservoir at Rome City. But with the advent of railroads the canal projects were promptly abandoned. nd when it became apparent that the state would not be able to construct them the people promptly turned to individual enterprise.
| At this day we are amazed at the exhibition of courage and confidence which this involved.
In our own time even, with the vast accumulation of wealth in the
hands of individuals which is available for profitable investment,
the construction of a railroad is an undertaking which no community
or individual would seriously consider. What then must have been the
faith and courage of our people of that early day of comparative
poverty that they could undertake that which we would not? But our
wonder is greater when we consider that the cost of such enterprises
was then vastly greater than the same would cost now. The estimated
cost of the Madison & Indianapolis Railroads was not less than
twenty-five thousand dollars a mile. And the state actually expended
$1,493,013 on tat road with the result of only twenty-eight miles
in operation and twenty-seven miles more nearly but not quite graded.
A very much larger sum than would be required now to produce the same
| Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad Company. With infinite courage, charter after charter
was sought from and granted by the Legislature for at that time
there was no general law for the incorporation of such companies.
One of the best conceived and most feasible of these projected
roads was that which the Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad Company
was organized to build. It was to extend from Toledo to Chicago,
passing through Indiana so as to connect all of the county seats
of the northern tier of counties. This much of its purpose was
covered by its charter, and its possibilities were clearly
indicated in its name. On the 21st of February, 1837, the directors,
William L. Latta and James R. McCord of Goshen; Robert Stewart, of
Michigan City, and John Brown, Aaron Staunton, of LaPorte, met at
South Bend and began active work to secure the construction of the
road. To obtain the necessary funds they ordered that stock
subscription books be opened for popular subscriptions on the second
Tuesday of March, following, at designated places in Michigan City,
LaPorte, South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen, Lima and Steuben. It was
evidently the hope of the patriotic projectors of this road that
stock enough would be taken to provide the money for constructing
the road, or at least for making a good beginning. But the result
was disappointing, and nothing of importance came of the effort.
Nevertheless the fact remained that without such a road the country
it was intended to traverse would never be developed, and its future
prosperity depended upon it. With so large an issue at stake ultimate
success was certain. Impressed with this certainty a few of this
little band determined to keep alive their organization, and as their
ranks were depleted new men took their places, and year after year they
met, elected officers and bided their time. Among these men were Judge
Osborne of Laporte, Judge Stanfield and Schuyler Colfax of South Bend,
John Davenport and Joseph H. Defrees of Elkhart, James H. Barnes, E. W. H.
Ellis, Milton Mercer and Dr. M. M. Latta of Goshen. The counties east of
Elkhart do not seem to have shared in this hope and work.
In every possible way the friends of the Buffalo & Mississippi endeavored to get their proposed line under construction. In 1846 they even appealed for aid to the General Government through the State Legislature, advancing the argument, among other considerations, that:
| The completion of the road would afford the General
Government many facilities in time of war with Great
Britain (which even now seems not improbable) for the
transportation of arms, ammunitions of war, troops and
everything necessary for their comfort and convenience,
together with the speedy and expeditious dispatches so
essential to the safety and effective prosecution of
the object of organized armies in a free and independent
government like ours.|
| Lake Shore & Michigan Southern a Reality. Even this eloquent and patriotic appeal
of the State of Indiana in its behalf failed to procure public aid.
But about this time a rival company with better financial backing
appeared and began the construction of a railroad from Toledo to
Chicago through the southern tier of the counties in Michigan. Here
was a great danger impending, for if this company, the Southern
Michigan Railroad Company, succeeded in the construction of its
parallel line connecting its same terminals it would make it impossible
for the projectors of the Buffalo & Mississippi Company ever to secure,
in the face of such competition, the money required for the construction
of their railroad. Affairs having taken this critical turn, the gallant
little band of patriots determined to compel their rival to build their
road. This was to be brought about by preventing the grant to it of a
charter for the construction of this part of its line which must come
into the state at the southern bend of Lake Michigan except upon that
condition. To secure this the county was induced to elect able men to
the Legislature pledged to labor for this result. In 1849 Joseph H.
Defrees and Michael C. Daugherty were elected from Goshen for that
special purpose, and in 1850 Mr. Defrees was elected senator and Milton
Mercer a representative to continue the contest. But the projectors of
the rival company, by coming into this state at the northern part of
the county and making Elkhart, South Bend and LaPorte points on their
line, were able to secure strong local cooperation, and, in spite of
the opposition to Goshen, secure, under the name of Northern Indiana
Railroad Company, the needed charter. But the new company caused it
to be given out that the charter secured by it was in some respects
unsatisfactory, and negotiations were begun for the transfer to it of
the charter and franchises of the Buffalo & Mississippi Company. The
result was an agreement by which, in consideration of such transfer,
the company agreed to extend a spur from Elkhart to Goshen and run at
least one train a day between the towns.
Besides this it was also agreed that if the citizens of Goshen would purchase and donate to it the tract of land now owned by its successor, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company on the east side of Goshen, it would erect and maintain a round house there. The land was donated and the round house erected. In the fall of 1851 the railroad was built into Elkhart, and the year following saw it extended into Goshen as agreed. We, at this day, can scarcely realize the magnitude of this event and the wild enthusiasm of the people over it. The coming of the first train was celebrated by public meetings and bonfires, and the men to whose perseverance it was due were the heroes of the day.
Divided Favors. The securing of the round house at Goshen was considered a very important thing, but when the company located its shops in Elkhart the round house was abandoned. This was in 1870. Because of the careless phraseology of the deed to the company, which failed to make the maintenance of the round house a condition of the title, Goshen lost both the round house and the land. But these were mere incidents. The railroad was the great prize and secured for Goshen all that its projectors hoped for. In 1850 its population was but 780, in 1860 it had increased to 2, 053, and its future was assured.
The compulsory construction of the road from Elkhart to Goshen le to its extension east to Toledo, and Goshen thus became a point on the main line, and Elkhart, favorably located at the junction of the two branches, became the natural location for the shops of the company, which have contributed more than anything else to the building up of that city.
The Baltimore & Ohio Built. Soon after this, in 1873-4, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, having determined to extend its line into Chicago form the East, began to survey its line. The citizens of Goshen promptly endeavored to secure the location of the road through their city, and money was raised to pay the expensed of a preliminary survey of such a line. Mr. Stonex’ first practical railroad work consisted in circulating a subscription paper for that purpose. While Goshen failed in this, the county secured the road and Nappanee has grown from nothing to be a thriving town as the result.
About the same time the Chicago & Canada Southern Railroad was projected, and its route was located through the county by way of Millersburg, Benton, New Paris and Wakarusa. Goshen again endeavored to secure it, but the location of the city is too elevated to enable a line to be built at low cost on a low grade through it, and the Canadian Southern was projected as a freight line to be built with a grade so low that it would be impossible to draw trains of 100 loaded cars along it with a single locomotive. This condition barred Goshen out and the line was located, the right way bought, and a considerable part of the road bed graded when work was stopped. It was understood that this was done in the interest of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company to prevent its formidable competition.
It now seemed certain that no more railroad building would be done through Goshen unless brought about by the city itself. The only feasible project seemed to be for the construction of a line running through the county from the northeast to the southwest, and a company was promptly organized to construct such a line. The name of the company was Michigan, Indiana & Southern Railroad Company. Its proposed terminals were: Jackson, Michigan and Danville, Illinois. Milton Mercer was one of the most active of its promoters. After some changes this company became the Canada and St. Louis Railroad Company, of which the first directors included Milton Mercer, E. D. Chipman and W. L. Stonex, of Goshen, and Jonathan S. Mather, of Middlebury. In August 1888, the control of this company passed into the hands of J. J. Burns and associates. Goshen and Middlebury voted aid, and the road was completed from Goshen to Battle Creek, Michigan, and put in operation by January, 1889. The company about that time became embarrassed, soon after failed, and passed to the control of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.
Only an unavoidable accident prevented the extension to Goshen of the Indiana, Illinois & Iowa Railroad for Know to connect with it by way of Plymouth and extend it as intended from Battle Creek to Bay City. This having occurred, an attempt was made to sell the road, as built, to the Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railroad Company, and every detail of this had been agreed upon. If one day longer had been allowed to pass this would have occurred, but by unexpected and unforeseen move the road went into other hands and at last became the Goshen & Michigan branch of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company (now the New York Central).
But Goshen had secured another road, and was connected with Middlebury by it. After having seen the last enterprise well under way the indefatigable Mercer proceeded to organize a company to construct a road between Toledo and Chicago. It was organized as the Toledo & Chicago Air Line Railway Company, and was a Goshen organization. Mr. Mercer was its first president and Mr. Stonex was its first secretary. This project was favorable considered by the public, and it soon received recognition, with the result that it was taken hold of by a party of eastern capitalists who secured control of it and undertook to construct the line. The Lake Shore Company at once antagonized it for the reason that, if constructed, the road would pass between two branches of the company, and being considerable shorter between the same terminals would very materially injure its line. Without going into detail, it is sufficient to know that the opposition of that road prevented the enterprise form being realized. But before the end came Goshen had voted over $60,000 to aid toward the construction of the road on condition that its shops should be located here, and other towns and townships voted about the same amount.
The Wabash Road. Notwithstanding the defeat of this enterprise the exploiting of it gave publicity to the value of such a line and the willingness of the people to aid in construction it. Very soon after this the Wabash Railroad Company put engineers in the field and surveyed a line for its system which would give it a short line for Detroit to Chicago, and they followed substantially the line of survey of the Canada Southern Company. The Wabash Company selected this for the very reason which had induced the former company to adopt it, its remarkable low grade. When the line being surveyed the citizens of Goshen had a public meeting and appointed a committee to try to induce the company to abandon the proposed line and come nearer Goshen. This the company endeavored to do, but finally abandoned the attempt.
While this was interesting the citizens of Goshen, H. E. Bucklen was quite engaged in the constriction of a railroad from Elkhart to South Bend. This was done in the name of the Elkhart & Western Railway Company. When completed it was by the Lake Shore Company. The Elkhart & Western Road, while not of great length, became and continues to be a very important line for the City of Elkhart.
Elkhart as a Railroad Center. Elkhart is on the main line of the New York Central Railroad, and is the terminus of four of its divisions, and has become cone of the most important railroad centers of the system. Its great switch yards, repair shops and round houses are located about a mile west of the city depot and give permanent employment to over 1,000 men. Besides the round house and locomotive shops, the industrial improvements at that point include foundries, rail shops, carpenter shops and a great coal dock. It is estimated that more than half of the employees reside within the city proper. Elkhart is 100 miles east of Chicago and much of the great business at the Lake Shore yards consists of making into trains the cars which come in from the East consigned to points west of the great lake Metropolis. Thereby much confusion is avoided, which would occur I the trains were made up in Chicago.
Elkhart’s standing as a railroad town is further enhanced by the fact that it is one of the most important stations in the Big Four System. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County 1916)
Railway Facilities, as a Whole. Broadly speaking, the transportation facilities of Elkhart County are now controlled by the railroad system known as the New York Central, the Big Four and The Wabash, and the Chicago, South Bend & Northern Indiana Railway Company and the Winona Interurban Railway Company, the development of which has already been described.
The New York Central accommodates fully one-half of the county, although its trunk line which urns diagonally through that territory from southeast to northwest, or vice versa, is paralleled between Elkhart and Goshen by the Big Four road. Millersburg, in the southeastern part of the county, is also on the main line of the New York Central, which throws out spurs on the northeast to Middlebury, Bristol and Vistula. Directly to the south of Goshen are the stations of Waterford and New Paris, on the Big Four. The Wabash, which cuts across the southern part of the county, runs through or near Millersburg, Benton, New Paris, Foraker and Wakarusa, while the Baltimore & Ohio, which clips off the extreme southwest corner, divides Nappanee and virtually mad it what it is. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County 1916)
|Roundhouse and Shops West of Elkhart
The L. S. & M. S. Roundhouse and Shops West of Elkhart.
These shops were erected in 1870, and occupied in March, 1871, are
built of brick, stone and iron, and once, for all
time, barring calamity; and within their walls are
built the delicate Pony, the massive Mogul, and the
Lake Shore Flyer-all from pilot to cab decoration,
excepting the tire for the drivers and a few rods-a
locomotive that, when standing, steamed and ready
for coupling, will excite the admiration of a man,
no matter if he see one every hour in the day, so
graceful, so harmoniously proportioned, and so
Herculean their make up-but we digress, as will any
writer when his pen runs afoul the beautiful.
The Main Shop is 600X200 feet, or lacking only a few square feet of covering three acres of ground, all filled with machinery, while the wings contain the Brass Foundry, Cooper Shop, Tin Shop, Carpenter Shop, Boiler Shop, etc., and other accessories demanded by so great a work, the vastness of which must be seen to be fully appreciated. In the Brass Foundry are made all the brass castings for the Chief Engineer's Department, and the locomotives of the L. S. & M. S. Ry., as also all the castings for the locomotive shops of Cleveland, Norwalk and Buffalo Railway. In connection with this great workhouse are various other departments all handling specialties and each a different branch with its head man and assistants who constitute a regiment, two round houses, coal chute, road carpenters department, paint works, etc., etc., besides lesser and subsidiary works all accessory to what are known as the Lake Shore Shops. The two Round Houses have 49 stalls through one is used for a drop table and these command a large force under the supervision of Mr. Edward Elden as Day Foreman and Engine Dispatcher, who is relieved by Mr. S. H. Dunwell who performs the same duty at night, and thus for 365 days in the year these vigils are kept.
The Coal Chute erected the past summer cost $75,000 and is the largest of its kind, containing 80 pockets each of which holds 10 tons of coal so that the capacity of the structure is 800 tons. The ostlers who groom and care for the iron houses back these under a pocket and in less time than we are writing this the tender is coaled, and operation that formerly by the ancient method took much time. Mr. S. E. Hart has the superintendency of the chute. At the Round House John State handles the transfer engine or we might say handles the 238 locomotives belonging to and operated on this Division of the Lake Shore Railway. The number of people employed who live here is 1200, in the Round House 80, Locomotive Fire men 325, Engineers 300, In the Main Shop 335, in the Foundry 45, who are all experts and when to these are added Mr. Gravit's Department the reader can get a pretty god idea of the size and importance of these shops which call for a monthly disbursement of cash between $50,000 and $60,000, or between $1,500 and $2,000 for every day in the month, we therefore conclude that almost any town would take notice of the "pay car" and watch for its advent, for when it comes it unloads the ready cash that goes into all the avenues of trade and we might say keep things moving. When to these shops are added the large force continually employed in and about the Station and Freight Office a pretty clear idea will be had of the Lake Shore's importance to our city, a fact every business man recognizes as by right he should. To do justice to these shops and people operating, would exceed our limits through the accompanying picture is a very accurate representation of these elaborate works and was sketched by our own artist on the grounds. The capacity of these shops, surprising as it may seem, is a locomotive every six days if emergencies demand, that is from the castings, an engine may be put under steam ready for business in six days. (Manual of Elkhart 1889)
Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railway—A
very important factor in the growth and
prosperity of Elkhart, has been the
Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railway,
which was extended through the city in
1882. This road gives Elkhart direct
connection with all the East and West
Trunk lines, thus furnishing all the
advantages of competition enjoyed by
cities of greater size, and with a
larger number of roads. For Freight or
Passengers the people of Elkhart have
their choice, via C. W. & M., of any
one of eight or ten different lines
for all Eastern or Western points. The Northern terminus of the road
is a Benton Harbor, on Lake Michigan, from whence an elegant line of
Steamers runs to and from Chicago. At this point the road receives a
large lumber traffic from Michigan points. Its Southern terminus is
practically Indianapolis, for, although it is only built to Anderson,
its coaches run into the former place over the “Bee Line” tracks, under
a contract fully as advantageous as having its own line makes connections
with a net-work of roads extending in every direction. The road extends
through the richest part of the Natural Gas Belt, and is reaping a large
increase of traffic from the rapid development of the towns along its line.
The management of this company has always pursued the policy of fostering
the industries along its line, and its sidings extend to nearly every
important manufacturing in Elkhart. The road bed is at all times kept in
first class condition and its Passenger equipment is equal to that on any
first class road. It runs a line of Woodruff combined sleepers and chair
cars, between Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, and expect this season to
build new sleepers of its own.
There are few cities of equal size in this or contiguous States that
possess such facilities for transportation as Elkhart. The Citizens’
Street Railway Company was organized and incorporated in February, 1886,
all the capital being furnished and owned by our enterprising citizens.
The charter members or original stockholders, and who are such at present
writing, were Messrs. O. N. Lumbert, John McNaughton, Guy C. Johnson,
John W. Ellis, E. P. Willard, James Kavanagh, Cullen W. Green, Hon. J. R.
Beardsley, F. W. Miller, John Thornton, and E. C. Bickel. In the following
Summer the Main, Middlebury and Jackson street lines were laid and the cars
put to running in early June, and since which time the Belt Line through
Riverside, Highland Park and Riverview has been constructed, and the cars
regularly run and through what is recognized as the finest and most eligible
residence property in and about the city. This Company now has seven miles of
first-class track, equipped with five closed and four open or canopy cars, of
the best manufacture. During the cold season the cars are most comfortably
heated by stoves, and it is not saying too much, to say that the cars service
furnished by this company is the subject of comment and congratulations by the
whole traveling public. Good and satisfactory as it is, the company has decided
to better the service by substituting electricity for horse power which is
heroic treatment in the face of the fact that no profit has as yet accrued to
these enterprising people. The Detroit Electrical Works have the contract to
equip the entire line with this new and expensive motive power—the poles being
already set and the machinery nearly ready for shipment, and not later than
April 1st, the cars are expected to be moved by this new power. Supplementary
and subsidiary to the Street Railway Company is the Elkhart Electric Light
Company, recently incorporated by practically the same gentlemen who now the
|The Citizens’ Street Railway Company of Elkhart. There are few cities of equal size in this or contiguous States that possess such facilities for transportation as Elkhart. The Citizens’ Street Railway Company was organized and incorporated in February, 1886, all the capital being furnished and owned by our enterprising citizens. The charter members or original stockholders, and who are such at present writing, were Messrs. O. N. Lumbert, John McNaughton, Guy C. Johnson, John W. Ellis, E. P. Willard, James Kavanagh, Cullen W. Green, Hon. J. R. Beardsley, F. W. Miller, John Thornton, and E. C. Bickel. In the following Summer the Main, Middlebury and Jackson street lines were laid and the cars put to running in early June, and since which time the Belt Line through Riverside, Highland Park and Riverview has been constructed, and the cars regularly run and through what is recognized as the finest and most eligible residence property in and about the city. This Company now has seven miles of first-class track, equipped with five closed and four open or canopy cars, of the best manufacture. During the cold season the cars are most comfortably heated by stoves, and it is not saying too much, to say that the cars service furnished by this company is the subject of comment and congratulations by the whole traveling public. Good and satisfactory as it is, the company has decided to better the service by substituting electricity for horse power which is heroic treatment in the face of the fact that no profit has as yet accrued to these enterprising people. The Detroit Electrical Works have the contract to equip the entire line with this new and expensive motive power—the poles being already set and the machinery nearly ready for shipment, and not later than April 1st, the cars are expected to be moved by this new power. Supplementary and subsidiary to the Street Railway Company is the Elkhart Electric Light Company, recently incorporated by practically the same gentlemen who now the railway stock.|
This company has purchased and now own the Proctor Arc Light plant, which includes 200
Horse power, water power on the St. Joseph Hydraulics, which will be made to operate sufficient
dynamos to move the cars and furnish units of stationary power throughout the city for both arch
and incandescent lighting. This company too, has a charter for heating by electricity as well as
for manufacturing electrical and mechanical appliances. The entire capital stock in the two
enterprises is almost $100,000, and it can of a truth be said, that no similar enterprises in our
city show more philanthrophy or a more unselfish public spirit than do these two corporation, we
therefore only do justice when we patronize them, and thus exhibit a proper appreciation of the
efforts of a handful of valiant, public spirited souls. (Manual of Elkhart 1889)|
(More about) The Citizens’ Street Railway Company of Elkhart. While the building of these railroads seemed to be the great enterprises, in comparison with which all others were almost insignificant, there had been quietly undertaken and carried forward another work which in time developed into a very great and important one. In 1886 there was organized in Elkhart a company, under the name of the Citizens’ Street Railway Company, for the purpose of construction a horse ca line for the city. Its members were Elkhart citizens, and they hurried the work forward to a successful accomplishment. After five years, in 1891, the company decided to abandon horse power and substitute electricity. This was of doubtful wisdom, as the use of that power was so new that it required costly experimenting. When it was put in operation as an electric line, according to the information obtainable, there was but one other such line in the United States. After a succession of heavy losses the operation of the road was suspended, and the winter of 1892 a receiver was appointed for it. The road was sold to private parties at the receiver’s sale in February, 1894.
Indiana Electric Railway Company. In February, 1893, J. J. Burns and others organized a company known as the Indiana Electric Railway Company, by Goshen citizens, chiefly to build an electric railway in Goshen. After building about a mile and a half of track this company also failed and went into the hands of a receiver, and in November, 1893, its assets passed into the hands of private parties.
In May, 1894, J. J. Burns and others organized a company also known as the Indiana Electric Railway Company for the purpose of buying the roads above referred to, of completing them and consolidation them into a single system. The new company bought the lines, soon had the Elkhart road in operation, and not long after the Goshen line was opened, the first car on the latter line being run on the Fourth of July, 1896. From time to time during the next two years gradual extensions of these lines were made. In September, 1898, the owners of the South Bend & Mishawaka Street Railway lines, Arthur Kennedy and Frances J. Torrence, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bought the stock o the Indiana Electric Railway Company and took possession of the property early in October. This long delayed construction of the line required to connect the two cities was pushed rapidly forward, and on the 21h of December, 1898, the first car was run from Elkhart to Goshen.
The Chicago, South Bend & Northern Indiana Railway. The largest consolidation of electric lines giving access to Elkhart County is represented by the Chicago, South Bend & Northern Indiana Railway Company. It operates a well-equipped system connecting Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, The Company being incorporated in 1907 with a capital of $7,500,000. The system embraces lines from Goshen to South Bend and thence to Michigan City, via Elkhart, Mishawaka and Laporte. As intimated, its nucleus was the street railway company organized at South Bend in 1873. In that city, the horse was displaced by electricity in 1882, by installation of an overhead trolley system, which was not considered a notable success. Then followed the building of the line to Mishawaka, by the South Bend & Mishawaka Railroad Company and its consolidation with the local electric line, and still later the extension of the line from Mishawaka to Elkhart and Goshen. The line was next built by the Northern Indiana Company, to Laporte and Michigan City, and encouragement was given the company that contemplated constructing a road to Niles and St. Joseph, Michigan. In 1906 the Northern Indiana sold the bulk of its holdings to the Murdock syndicate, which in 1907 was incorporated, as noted, under the name of the Chicago, South Bend & Northern Indiana Railway Company. Much freight, as well as many passengers, is carried over the lines of its system, and within comparatively late years large buildings have been erected at Elkhart and South Bend for the convenience of shippers.
2. Kulp & Ummel Planing Mill
3. Combination Board Mill
4. Muzzy Starch Mill
5. Excelsior Starch Mill
6. Elkhart Paper Company
7. Harvest Queen Flouring Mill
8. Elkhart Knitting Company
9. Globe Tissue Paper Mill
10. Erwin Lane Paper Mill
11. Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan R'y Station
12. Jackson Street Bridge
13. Jackson Street
14. Elkhart River
15. St. Joseph River
17. Johnson Street Bridge
18. Christiana Creek
The following is copied verbatim, mistakes and all, from the Manual of Elkhart 1889 reprinted by The
Elkhart Truth in 1989. (The parentheses were added.) The article was written in an interesting style,
a style writers call "writery". Back then, no one would have known he was a writer if he wrote in an
easy and natural style. Anyhow, to give the reader a sense of perspective, the dam in the accompanying
sketch was located at the same site as the present dam is now located.
The Hydraulics.-The accompanying sketch is a faithful representation of the St. Jo Hydraulics,
located on East Jackson street, and shows the large Paper Mill on the north side of the St. Jo, the
C. W. & M. Round House and Stations, the Standard Oil Company's Works immediately opposite, the
Tissue Paper Mill the Elkhart Knitting Company, the Harvest Queen Flouring Mills, Conn's Horn Factory,
Kulp & Ummels Plaining Mill, the Elkhart Paper Board Mills, the Excelsior Starch Mills, the Muzzy
Starch Works, together with the headgates and accessories of the Water Company.
|The Power of Water|
The hydraulic works of Elkhart are formed on a most extensive scale. Seldom
have the waters of rivers been diverted from their natural channels more beneficial
results than those attendant on the canals of the city. Everywhere throughout the
eastern section, north of East Jackson street, the waters of these canals set in
motion 10,000 wheels and reduce the raw products of the field of mine into marketable
shape. They form the primary source from which employment to thousands of skilled
mechanics and honest laborers springs, and the basis on which the prosperity of the
city may be said to rest. The great part played b this hydraulic system on the stage
of the city’s progress can not be over-estimated. For many years past the utilization
of he river has been a subject of much attention and though the result of all inquiry
has been exceedingly magnificent, it may be presumed that the hydraulic power is only
in its infancy. Mr. Chase, who has for many years taken a deep interest in public
affairs, and always entertained the highest hopes for the city of his adoption, says,
that here at Elkhart we have three streams: the St. Joseph, the Elkhart, and Christiana.
Already some of our public-spirited citizens, gentlemen who were willing to take hostage
of the future, have expended thousands of dollars in utilizing the water-power of these
rivers by constructing a system of hydraulics that is, perhaps, the most noted of
“sight-seeing” objects about town. As a result of their endeavor we have this gross
result: From the St. Joseph (within the city limits) from 4,000 to 5,000 horse-power
is secured; from the Elkhart about 2,000 (possibly 2,500 horse-power is obtained, and
from the Christiana about 600 horse-power. Part (a mere fraction, however) of this power
is already utilized, and there are opportunities for almost numberless other mills and factories.
To the full realization of our hopes for Elkhart as a manufacturing city, however, we must in fact look to the future. Surveying the field, and knowing the immense additional power that can be secured by comparatively slight outlay, the writer pauses for a moment in astonishment at the outlook.
On the north side of the St. Joseph river, above the city, there is an opportunity to increase the water-power from that stream by building a 10-foot dam, 300 feet in length, and extending a race three and a half miles, bringing it within the city limits and to the head gates of the St. Joseph hydraulics, thereby utilizing the entire volume of the St. Joseph river under a 13 1/2-foot head, and at a cost not to exceed $50,000. This would secure not less than 4,000 additional horse-power—a power cheaper and better than that now controlled by the St. Joseph Hydraulic Company.
Still further power from the Elkhart river can be secured by construction a 10-foot dam near the south line of Silas DeCamp’s farm, three and three-fourths miles away, and by bringing a race down the south side of the river to a point at or near the Middlebury bridge (within the city limits), thereby utilizing the entire volume of the stream with a 24-foot fall. This improvement would cost about $50,000 and would give at least 3,000 additional horse-power. Surveys have been made by Wm. Proctor, who assures us the entire feasibility of the work.
These opportunities for further increasing the water-power of the city are by no means all. Two gentlemen, residents of Findlay, Ohio, whose interest here are represented by Mr. J. O. Gregg, secured one mile of river front in the southwest part of the city, and below the confluence of he St. Joseph, Elkhart and Christiana rivers, and surveys have demonstrated the practicability of developing an immense water-power at that point. By building a damn 300 feet long and eight feet six inches high, a natural fall of eight and three-fourth feet can be obtained, with immense volume, i. e., the entire volume of these streams. By dredging below the dam, taking out three riffles, about 100 rods long, the fall can be increased to 16 feet and the power obtained would be equal to the entire developed power that we now have, variously estimated at 7,000 to 8,000 horse power. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
|Another Source of Power|
The Atmospheric-gas Engine. This work of art is quite in keeping with the Review office.
It is so constructed that gas and air, mixed in such proportions as to give a Mild
explosive compound, are admitted under a piston, which slides air-tight in a
vertical cylinder open at the top. The compound is ignited, explosion drives the
piston upward. The ignited gasses having increased in volume, lose their heat, their
pressure becomes less as the piston rises, and when it has reached the top of the
cylinder a partial vacuum is formed, and the pressure of the atmosphere makes the
piston descend. The work thus done steadily by the atmosphere during the return
stroke of the piston yields the driving power, which is transferred to the shaft by
suitable mechanism. The utilization of the instantaneous driving power of the explosion
by allowing the piston to fly up freely from it without doing other work than emptying
the cylinder of air, is the basis of great economy and success of these engines.
The gas engine is a most interesting and useful adjunct of the Review office; there is no boiler, no steam, no fire. All the labor involved in feeding a steam engine is dispensed with. The expense of running it does not exceed $8 per month, all the dangers of steam are obviated, it can be put in motion at any moment, and everything in connection with the department is clean and orderly. The visitor to the Review office should seek a conference with the foreman of the press- room. He will show the workings of this small but powerful contrivance of mechanical genius, and as it is really a thing of beauty as well as of utility, the visitor will be more than amply rewarded. The press on which the daily and weekly editions of the Review are struck off is another interesting work. To learn the part that a newspaper really plays in the world of intellect, one must travel from the editorial chair to the press-room , and there behold the result of another branch of study in that machine, which receives, prints, and delivers the living sheets to the circulating clerks.
The Oil Furnace. The nearest approach to this piece of mechanism is the spray engine, recently invented in Russia. The superiority of it, however, is not in the machinery, but lies solely in the fuel. This magazine of dormant energy, as we may term raw fuel, is simply the fluid refuse of petroleum oil, and after being blown into a spray by means of a jet of steam from the boiler of the engine, it is ignited inside the furnace, and burns with a roaring sheet of flame. Such a mode of combustion has several prominent advantages over the usual coal fire. It requires no stoking, and the flame can be manipulated like a jet of gas, and the steam pressure kept up to a required degree. Like the atmospheric-gas engine, it is unaccompanied with smoke or ashes; but for the purpose of the press-room comes far below the American machine in its utility. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County)
| The firm of Conn & Dupont [Chapman, 1881] may be said to have established the manufacture
of brass-band instruments so early as 1875. Subsequently Monsieur Dupont retired, and
the sole proprietorship devolved upon Mr. C. G. Conn, a young man, Mayor of the city,
and owner of one of the greatest manufactories of brass musical instruments in the world.
In 1877 the factory was moved from its old location, in rear of the Review office, to its
present site east of the Elkhart river on Jackson street. This building is three floors
in height, 90 feet long and 40 feet broad, and was erected at a cost of $10,000, including
water-power. The stock and machinery are valued at $15,000. From a force of three men
employed at the beginning, the factory now gives work to a corps of 84 skilled mechanics,
who have made for it a universal reputation. The trade equals, if it does not exceed, that
of all other horn manufactories in the country. The office and printing rooms are under the
control of N. G. Parker; and the laboratories under the supervision of Petrus Cocuille. The
machinery is of the most approved description, and run by a 90-horse hydraulic power, and all
under the direction of the enterprising proprietor. The different floors of the establishment
cover an area of 12,000 feet, and form a scene of busy life peculiarly interesting and really
satisfactory, so that the advancing prosperity of the manufacture is not to be wondered at,
nor the celebrity attained by his band instruments made a subject of surprise. (Chapman,
History of Elkhart County, 1881)
C.G. Conn, Incorporation [Weaver, 1916] is the official title of the industry which has given the Conn band and orchestra instruments an international fame. That such a statement is not beyond the literal truth is evident from fact that they were awarded four superior medals at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, in the summer of 1915. The Conn exhibition won the highest honors over seven competitors, the world’s best in the manufacture of instruments for band and orchestras.
Charles G. Conn, the founder and owner of the industry is one of Elkhart’s leading citizens. His father, a prominent educator of Northern Indiana, brought him as a boy to Elkhart, where he went to school for about ten years and then still a youth, enlisted in the Union Army. Even then his musical talents earned him a position in the regimental band. Young Conn, after seeing considerable service at the front, re-enlisted in a company of Michigan sharpshooters, and within a few months had been promoted to its captaincy. He spent the last year of the war as a prisoner I Confederate prisons, and for a short time afterwards engaged in business at Elkhart. But his musical talents and his mechanical gifts soon evolved a simple improvement in the cornet mouthpiece which laid the foundation of C. G. Conn, Inc. The commencement of Colonel Conn’s career as a manufacture and a public man of broad caliber is thus given by one who writes from personal knowledge: Being what might be called a practical musician, with great natural gifts in that art and greatest fondness of all its manifestations, he soon became identified with the line of manufacture which made his name more familiar to the world at large than any other phase of his versatile career. He invented his famous “elastic face mouthpiece” for cornets, which became so popular that he could not manufacture them fast enough. Being his manufacturing with himself as practically the only workman and with a lathe made from a sewing machine table, he was soon compelled by rush of orders to expand every part of industry and become the directing head of a force of employes. The story of his persistent efforts and struggles to make financial ends meet while he was getting started as a manufacture has often been told, and all his friends and acquaintances in Northern Indiana. Having effected a wonderful improvement on the old-style cornet by means of his mouthpiece and by dint of shrewdest sort of business management getting a foothold in the uncertain field of manufacturing enterprise, he then applied himself to the study of the cornet with a view of bring out the highest latent powers of that instrument. He secured patent after patent, each one representing some advance toward perfection in the cornet, and in time he produced what is known to the world of music as the “Conn Cornet.” All the other modern brass band instruments are also now manufactured in Mr. Conn’s establishment, and their excellence may be gauged by the fact that they are used by Sousa’s Band and have received the highest honors at all the recent world’s expositions. The manufacturing establishment for the production of the Conn instruments is mentioned in the history of manufacturing elsewhere in the work, and at this point it is only necessary to state that this industry has become, during the last quarter of a century, one of the foremost sources of the industrial prosperity which has marked the City of Elkhart.
This alone would entitle him to distinction and would be regarded a sufficient accomplishment to be called a fife work by any man; yet Colonel Conn has extended his efforts to the greatest efforts to the great public questions which concern the welfare of the country, to the social and economic problems of America, and to practical humanitarianism. In the early days when his business was just emerging from a small factory into one where success seemed sure, the democratic party at Elkhart nominated him for mayor. Contrary to the general course of municipal politics up to that time, he was elected, and gave the city such a practical, progressive and beneficial administration that it is still a high standard for others to be measured by. He was re-elected to the office, and was soon slated for further advancement in political honors. A normally republican district gave him a seat on the democratic side of the lower house in Indianapolis, where he was connected with important constructive legislation and gave much attention to the solution of the labor problems. In 1892 the thirteenth district, through its representatives assembled in convention at Michigan City, placed his name on democratic ticket as nominee for congress. In James Dodge, also a prominent Elkhart citizen and one of the most influential republicans of the district, Mr. Conn had a worthy opponent, but the results of the hotly contested campaign was that Mr. Conn went to Washington to represent the people of the district.
As congressman Colonel [Charles Gerald] Conn was a man of mark from the time he took his seat, and both as a legislator and reformer left a lasting influence. It was in the field of journalism that he found the power needed in this assault upon some of the strongholds of municipal mismanagement which he found fixed upon the capital city. He purchased the Washington Times, the morning newspaper now owned by Frank A. Munsey, and instituted a campaign against vice and crime which for several years had run riot in the city. Directing his attack first upon the police association and the police force, he aroused public attention to the existing conditions and after bitter conflict, overcame the inertia of the powers for law and order, caused the dens of vice to be vacated, the gamblers driven from the city and crime reduced to a minimum. The severe strictures, and upon the police force by the Times resulted in an indictment for libel against Colonel Conn, but the forces of persecution failed in their purpose and the colonel was acquitted at the trial. Having accomplished for the capital city what he started out to effect, he then sold his newspaper and returned to Elkhart.
Before going to Washington he was well known in the journalistic circles of Northern Indiana, for in September, 1890, he had founded the Daily and Weekly Truth. Mr. Conn is still identified with this enterprise as proprietor, and the history of the Truth will be found elsewhere in these pages. Since his retirement from Congress he has sought no further political honors. In 1900 he supported with personal effort and money the candidacy of McKinley for president and did much to get out the largest republican vote in the history of Elkhart County.
From the little plant which turned out the elastic face mouthpieces for cornets to the massive plant which covers about three acres of ground on Elkhart Avenue and St. Joseph River involved much hard labor, as well as a long stretch of years. All the original buildings were practically wiped out of existence by fire in 1910. The structures which replaced them were of the mission type, substantial and attractive, and include the office building, the metal working factory and the bell, valve and polishing departments. The products of the plant now include flutes, clarinets, saxophones, cornets, mellophones, alto horns, trombones, tenor horns, euphoniums, bass horns, chimes, bells, drums and the drummer’s equipment—in a word, all kinds of band and orchestral instruments. One feature of the Conn industry which has been established as the result of long experience is believed to largely explain the constant improvement of its output. Whenever an instrument is made for a genius or a mechanical expert in the musical world, careful measurements are taken of it and permanently recorded. If the instrument proves satisfactory to the user, the factory considers that it has a valuable stamp of approval on that particular article, and duplicates of it are thereafter put out, with confidence that they will give satisfaction. That is one of the most successful means which has been taken to establish the high Conn standards in the varied lines of manufacture. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Two Other Old Band Instrument Factories. The Buescher Band Instrument Company adds to the fame of Elkhart as a center of this line of manufactures. F. A Buescher, the head of the company, has had forty years’ experience in his line, and the business has been established at Elkhart for about half that time, although the company has been incorporated only since 1904. The three distinct features of the Buescher instruments are known as the Multi-Pitch tuning device, the Epoch Valve system and the Split-no-tone bell. The manufactures include instruments of all descriptions, all of which carry the special features mentioned. The plant of the concern is located on the corner of Foundry and East Jackson streets.
The Martin Band Instrument Company, another important industry in the same line, has been established since 1904. The family name attached to the company recalls to old musicians more than sixty years of experience as band instrument makers by several generations of the Martins. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The M. S. R. R. Co.’s Shops. The division engine works and repair shops of the company were established in 1870. The principal department is 124x600 feet, and with the wings gives an area approximating to 100,000 feet. The T. rail and carpenter shops, two round-houses, freight houses and offices, passenger depot, etc. form a railroad town, and give employment to a force numbering between 700 and 800 men. The exhibit of receipts and shipments for June, July, August and September, 1880, will convey an idea of the immense commerce of the city, and also show clearly the part played by the railroad in building up the industries of the city.
The freight business of the summer of 1880, was as follows, in pounds: Received Forwarded June…………………………………………… $4,493,464 $1,180,636 July…………………………………………… 3,886,919 1,946,128 August………………………………………… 5,279,350 3,519,043 September……………………………………. 3,407,793 2,563,386
(Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Gas Light and Coke Company. The gas works of Elkhart were erected in 1871, by Philo Morehous, S. A. Fletcher, Sr., S. A. Fletcher, Jr. and E. J. Peck. The present stockholders are Messrs. Morehous, Norman Sage and F. Jauriette, with Superintendent E. J. Jenkins. The capital stock of the company is $50,000; but a sum of $3,000 over this amount has been invested.
The office of the company is in the western division of a range of neat buildings forming the frontage. In it are the station meter, governor, meter prover and the entire scientific apparatus. In the next building are the purifiers; the eastern wing and the return building are given up to the storage of material and retort house. A full supply of the best Pittsburg coal explains the cause of the unusually exceptionally high lighting power of the gas manufactured, and leaves little doubt of the desire of the company to supply honest light, or the ability of the superintendent to direct the carrying out of such desire. In September, 1871, the number of cubic feet manufactured was 158,000; for the corresponding month in 1880 it reached 365,000,—another proof of the advanced made within a decade. The great gasometer, the grounds, the office, purifying room, retort, even the coal shed, all display care in arrangement and taste in supervision. The department given up to the storage and sale of coke, which is an important branch of the business, is also well kept; so that it is just to credit Superintendent Jenkins for industry and ability in management. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Davenport & Beardsley’s Flouring Mill is situated on the northern bank of the St. Joseph and worked by the waters of the Christiana creek. The building and machinery are substantial and approved. This mill has a very extensive trade, principally merchant work, gives employment to a number of men, and forms, as it were, the pioneer of numerous factories which will, in the near future, occupy the banks of the river. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Harvest Queen Flouring Mills. In 1869 Messrs. M. G. & N. Sage built and equipped what was then and has since remained the largest flouring mill in Northern Indiana—christened the “Harvest Queen.” The building itself is a frame structure, 50 x 85 feet, five floors, with flume or wheel house (containing six Leffel wheels) 10 x 16 feet. There is also a detached building know as the barrel house. The mill and equipments represents an investment of about $40,000. There are seven run of four-foot burrs, five being for merchant and two for custom work, and the capacity of the mill may be fairly stated at 350 bbls. of flour per day.
The cost of this building in 1869 was $10,000, and the machinery $30,000. The number of employes has not increased during the last five years, but a steady trade has been maintained and a fine quality of flour produced. In July, 1879, “magnet-searchers” were introduced for the purpose of extracting pieces of wire and other metallic substances that might possibly become intermixed with the grain. This portion of the machinery is interesting and forms on of the specialties of the concern. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Elkhart City Mills. When, 16 years ago, in 1864, Vincent Voisinet engaged in the flouring mill business here, he probably hoped for the time to come when he would control a larger mill than the one then run. If such was the case the hope has been realized, for in April, 1876, his new mill was started. The Elkhart City Mills are located on Jackson street, east side of the Elkhart river, in a very central location. The building is a frame structure, 26x56 feet, four floors, and from foundation to garret is as neat as a housewife’s kitchen. The power is derived from the Elkhart hydraulic, using four Leffel turbine water-wheels, giving about 60-horse power. The mill, which represents an investment of about $15,000, has four run of four-foot burrs, and its ordinary work will be, running 24 hours, 125 to 150 bbls of flour per day. The entire mill is new. Its machinery is new, and careful pains have been taken in equipping it that nothing but the best, from the burrs to the bolting cloths, should be put in place. As a result, it is an interest that will reflect credit upon its proprietor, builder and the community. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Excelsior Starch Works. The Excelsior Starch Manufacturing Co, was organized in June, 1873, with an authorized capital of $30,000. S. S. Strong was elected president, JK. L. Brodrick, treasurer, and C. B. Brodrick, secretary, and but on change n officials has since occurred, Ed. R. Kersetter becoming secretary six years ago. P. Hill is superintendent, and the Brodrick Bros. and himself originated the enterprise, which soon after came under the management of the stock company.
The factory or works are located upon the hydraulics, and comprise a brick building 110x150 feet, four floors. Running full, the force employed numbers from 60 to 70, and the average daily consumption of corn is 800 bushels. When the business was begun the capacity of the works, or at least the production was but 40 bushels per day, and this marked increased shows how prosperous the enterprise has been, the value of its annual products being now about $125,000. The power is obtained from the hydraulics.
All kinds of starch are made, and the factory is one of the few in the country which manufactures by the same chemical process as the more famous Duryea Co. Indeed, absolute purity—chemical purity—is the standard of excellence. All manner of packages are prepared, from the impalpable power for use in preparing delicate dishes for the table, to laundry and other grades, some in bulk, others in packages of any desired weight.
The progress of this important branch of the city industries may be noticed. In 1873 the number of hands employed did not exceed 10; in 1875 the number increased to 25, and now, in 1880, no less than 60 are employed in the manufacture of starch alone. Again, in 1873 the value of products did not exceed $40,000; in 1875 they reached $75,000, and in 1880, $125,000. The cost of the building is $40,000, and the present value of machinery is set down at $30,000. The officers of the company are: P. Hill, president; J. W. Ellis, secretary, and Justus L. Brodrick, treasure. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Elkhart Starch Factory. The Elkhart Starch Factory, now operated by the firm of Muzzy & Sage Bros., was the first venture of the kind in this part of the State. It was originally started by Mr. A. L. Muzzy, in 1870, but it was a small concern; the factory itself was not more than 40 feet square, and its total consumption of corn did not exceed 20 bushels per day; from that time until this the product of the factory has gradually increased, until in 1878 it exceeded 250 bushels of corn per diem.
This starch factory was destroyed by fire June 11, 1878. The loss summed up $50,000. The action of the fire department saved the Excelsior Mill from similar fate. Within seven days anew company, comprising Messrs. Asa L. Muzzy, Norman Sage, M. G. Sage, A. R. Beardsley, H. E. Bucklen, J. McNaughton, D. S. Simonton, W. J. Meader, George E. Compton, Frank R. Sleeper and Frank E. Muzzy, was formed and preparation made for the rebuilding of the mill. Now, instead of the old 40 feet square structure, the works have assumed proportions in keeping with the growth of trade. The main building is now 50x110 feet, four floors, besides another 30x40 feet for storage and the manufacture of boxes. Since the Messrs. Sage Bros. became interested in the business it has at no time lacked capital with which to realize al the benefits accruing from an increase in business. Mr. Muzzy is a practical starch manufacture, and exercises superintendence at the factory, while Messrs. Sage attend to the finances, correspondence, etc.
As regards the quality of goods manufactured it is needless to speak. Tested by countless thousands of people in all parts of the country during the past 10 years, and known far and wide for purity and general excellence, they have been their own best recommendation. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Elkhart Paper Mills. The establishments of Beardsley, Davenport & Cook are most extensive, and the trade which connects with them, already large, is increasing daily. One of the mills of this company is situated on the Christiana creek, and the other on the hydraulic canal. The principal manufactures of these hives of busy industry are printing and wrapping papers. The quality of paper compares favorably with that produced by the oldest factories of the country, so that a business, at once large and prosperous, has been up which takes a leading part in adding to the importance of the city. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Elkhart Pulp Mills, established in June 1875, by J. O. Gregg, for the manufacture exclusively of ground wood pulp by machinery and process invented by him and controlled by three letters patent, issued in 1874, 1875 and 1876. In January, 1879, the Combination Board Company was organized to succeed the Wood Pulp Co., and to engage in the manufacture of straw board lined with wood pulp, the manufacture of this article being secured to them by two letters patent issued to J. O. Gregg in February and April, 1879, and in Canada in 1880.
The present officers of the company are: Pres., J. M. Minnick; Sec., Jas. Cupp: Treas., Abram Upp; Agt., J. O. Gregg. The special machinery used in the manufacture of the combination board, invented expressly for this purpose, and protected by letters patent, is very complete, almost reaching perfection itself. It performs at one operation and without had work the entire manufacture of a lined board; the lining being thrown into the machine in sticks like stove wood, comes out a complete straw board with a white wood lining ready for market.
A press reviewer said, when speaking of this factory in 187, that the Wood Pulp Co., of Elkhart, are not manufactures of paper but of pulp. On the St. Jo. hydraulic stands a detached frame building that has nothing in its externals to mark it as a place of peculiar interest, and the visitor who penetrates to the interior of the building will find little exposed to view to excite his curiosity. He will hear a peculiar grinding noise, will hear the rush of water, will note the trickling of a small stream of milk-and-water-looking fluid, will see a pile of fragments of wood denuded of bark. Descending to the basement he will see a machine similar to a paper machine, though of smaller dimensions, and he will note thickish sheets of nondescript material issuing from it. These sheets are wood pulp. The pieces of wood we note on the floor above are fragments of aspen or white poplar. Held by a self-adjusting weight against a mammoth stone revolving with great rapidity, and constantly moistened with water, these blocks of wood, ground to a pulp and converted into sheets, are afterward used by paper manufactures in every part of the country. The Wood Pulp Co. of this city supplies the home hills in part; their product also goes to Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and other points, and now that another pulp engine has just been put in place, the capacity of the mill has been increased to two car-loads of pulp per week. The change has indeed been gratifying. The number of men employed at the beginning did not exceed four; now, in 1880, no less than 25 men are employed, and the annual sales have crept up from $15,000 to $60,000. In 1875 the cost of building and machinery was $5,000, and five years later, in 1880, they are valued at $35,000. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
St. Joseph Valley Mills. The “St. Joe Valley Mills,” located on the St. Joseph Hydraulics Co.’s power, were established in 1873 by Geo. W. Erwin, J. C. Erwin, A. Upp and S. A. Burrows, all of Middletown, O., the style of the firm being Erwin, Upp & Co. In 1875 Mr. Upp disposed of his interest to Clark Lane, of Hamilton, O., who subsequently transferred part of the same to his son, J. C. Lane. Geo. W. Erwin having died in May, 1878, his interest is now carried by his heirs and executors, E. B. and J. C. Erwin. Erwin, Lane & Co. has been the style of the firm since 1875.
The main buildings are three in number; the one containing the rag assorting and bleaching departments, also the engine room, is 40 by 110 feet; another, in which is located the dry lofts, finishing room and shipping department, is 40x100 feet; each four stories in height: they stand parallel, fronting the St. Joseph river, and are connected by the machine and size-room building, which is 30x108, two stories. They are all heavy brick and stone structures and iron roofed. In addition to the main buildings there is a boiler-house, one rag dusting and one rag warehouse, the three having a superficial floor space of 10,000 square feet. The six buildings cost about $40,000. The machinery, which is of the best and most modern patterns, and driven by seven large turbine wheels, is valued at $50,000, and dose not differ materially from that employed in all writing-paper mills. When the mill was first put in operation it gave employment to nearly 100 hands, and produced a little less than 500,000 pounds of paper the first year, valued at about $100,000. This year (1800) it ill average between 145 and 150 hands, and will produce over 1,200,000 pounds of paper, valued at over $200,000. The price has declined considerable since 1873-‘4.
The specialties are first-class, fine and superfine white and colored writing papers, and Bristol boards. The soft, pure water of the St. Joe river enables them to give their papers a peculiarly bright, handsome, clear color, which cannot be excelled, if equaled by any mill in the country.
The general products of the St. Joseph Valley Mills include hard-sized paper in all colors. Commercial note, foolscap, legal, flat-cap, and the numerous sizes and styles are made, and no effort is spared to make the production the best in the market. The sales are largely made to jobbers in Chicago, St, Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, with more or less Eastern trade.
About two-thirds of the employes of the mill are female, and the enterprise thus affords remunerative employment to a large class that would otherwise be non-producers. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Elkhart Tissue-Paper Mill. Toward the close of 1876 a few gentlemen of Elkhart organized themselves under the style and title of the “Elkhart Tissue-Paper Co.” The building purchased by them was known as the old Woolen Mill. This has proven a most favorable location, prosperity has attended the establishment since its inauguration, and through the number of employes at the present (25) shows no increase on the number employed in 1876, there is every reason to believe that a fair progress has been made, and that the acquisition of improved machinery explains the fact of there being no addition to the hands first employed. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Maxon, Parmater & Co. The firm of Maxon, Parmater & Co. has been in existence about 10 years. The co-partners are Strafford Maxon, P. J. Parmater and Eber Darling. The specialties of the firm are the lumber trade and the manufactures of sash, doors and blinds and molding, besides which a general planning-mill business is done. All of the co-partners give the business their personal attention. Mr. Maxon superintending the manufacturing department, Mr. Parmater attending to the sales department at the yard, and Mr. Darling officiating in the office. The office and yard are on East Jackson street, a central location, and the premises include an area of about five acres. In stock the amount of lumber usually carried will average a half million feet or more, and every facility exists for supplying builders with needed articles in this line.
At the mill, which is located on the hydraulic, a force numbering from 15 to 20 hands is usually employed, and through the business of the mill and yard is chiefly the supplying of a local demand, it has assumed large proportions. The members of the firm have worked faithfully and well toward the upbuilding of this business, and they have deserved credit for what they have accomplished. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Phoenix Planing Mill. Along the hydraulic are grouped the most important of the manufacturing industries of the city, and as one of the “brotherhood of producers” we name the “Phoenix Planing Mill as sash, door and blind factory. The “Phoenix” is appropriately christened, too, for, like the fabled bird of mythology, it arose from its own ashes, the mill, or its predecessor, rather, having been burned.
The business was established in 1869 by the firm of Gore & Vanderlip; in 1873 the firm became Gore & Wright, which was succeeded by Gore & Wright Bros,; and the 1st of January the present firm style was assumed, the co-partners being James K. Gore and F. W. Wright.
Mr. Gore came here in 1856 from Cold Springs, N. Y. He was a machinist by trade, and now for 10 years has been actively connected with our manufacturing industries. Mr. Wright is also a New Yorker by birth—from Whitehall. Both gentlemen are “workers,” and the success that has followed their efforts is attributable directly to themselves rather than to extraneous circumstances.
The market for their wares is largely local, but the trade has developed very much. Since the fire new machinery throughout has been placed in the mill, and it is now one of the most completely equipped establishments of its kind in this portion of the State. Running full, the force employed usually numbers from 12 to 15, and the general business done is the best evidence of the popularity of the proprietors, and the genuine character of workmanship. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Elkhart Steam Marble Works. Fourteen years ago N. P. Doty happened in Elkhart. He believed he saw an opening in the marble business, telegraphed his brother, D. M. Doty, to “come on,” and soon after the firm of Doty Bros. was formed. These gentlemen wee young men; they had had, at that time, 10 years or more experienced as practical marble cutters, and they believed in themselves. They had no competing firms in the city.
The evidences they gave of their skill attracted attention; their business grew, and in 1870 they found it necessary to introduce steam-power for the cutting of marble for slabs and shafts, and for shaping pedestals. Although the only dealers here they have had to contend against competition from all the surrounding country, by no means having a monopoly; every particle of success they have attained has been won by hard work and close endeavor.
The visitor to Grace Lawn Cemetery will note, among other exquisite evidences of the firm’s skill, the handsome monuments erected over the graves of Mr. Joy, of Dr. Henry and of little Katie Tucker, as well as almost innumerable others, and throughout Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan they have marked many a grave with tokens more or less costly. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Foundry and Machine Shop. The early history of this foundry is obscure indeed; the concern passed through a number of changes in proprietorship, but the present firm, composed of Harvey Little and Wm. Forward, has been operating it for three years. Mr. Little came here from Mishawaka 17 years ago; there and at South Bend he had been connected with a similar line of manufactures; for 40 years he has been engaged in the business, 26 years as a proprietor. Mr. Forward has been here about the same number of years; he, like Mr. Little, is a practical molder and has a life time experience; both gentlemen are workers, devoting their whole time to the interests of the factory.
The specialty of the foundry is architectural work of all kinds, such as fronts for buildings, columns, etc. Their work has gone to nearly every town in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, and every contact that has been filled has but added to the reputation of their works. A specialty is also made of repairs of all kinds, and also of the construction of mil work; the firm completed the new machinery for the pulp mill here. Beautifully designed and executed iron fences and railings also form another specialty; indeed a general range of work is done, and the shops comprise an interest that we could illy spare from Elkhart. A force ranging from 10 men upwards is employed, and under careful management the enterprise accomplishes its part toward still further developing the manufacturing interest of the city. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Thompson Automatic Windmills. The firm of Thompson & Davenport was established June 1st, 1880, as the successor of the Elkhart Windmill Co. The Manufactory gives employment to four artisans, two mill-constructors, and 20 traveling salesmen. The value of manufactured goods from the date of establishment to the close of the year may be set down at $10,000, but a much larger trade is anticipated for 1881 on account of new mill, patented Sept. 23, 1880, by Mr. Thompson, and known as “The Thompson Automatic.” This will doubtless supersede all the old contrivances in this connection, and together with creating a new ere in the manufacture of windmills, will also tend to increase the trade of the firm. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Eagle Knitting Factory was established in 1877 by Messrs. Quaife & Thompson. In February, 1878, the firm was incorporated as a limited liability company under the laws of the State, with W. H. Quaife as president, and L. A. Thompson as secretary and treasurer. The capital stock was then fixed at $10,000; but being reorganized in February, 1880, the capital stock was increased to $30,000, and J. M. Hughes appointed treasurer, L. A. Thompson secretary, and W. H. Quaife president. The value of machinery is over $10,000. The factory entered upon its career with a force of 10 hands; after the first reorganization in 1878, 35 were employed, and toward the close of the year 1880 the work engaged no less than 200 hands. The value of goods manufactured during the first 12 months of its existence was $18,000, and that of sales effected during the year ending October, 1880, equaled $125,000. The power used is steam, and the machinery specially adapted to the work; automatic measuring attachments and all the improved mechanisms known for producing the best and most uniform goods have been requisitioned. A steam finishing machine, constructed specially for the company, gives to the goods a superior finish and gloss, and contributes much to insure a full patronage. The factory is well organized, order is observed in every department, and the employes are treated in a humane manner. In a word, it is a credit to the city and its projectors. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Elkhart Knitting Factory is situated at the northwest corner of Pigeon and Main streets. Like its competitor, it gives employment to a large number of hands. Among its projectors were Messrs. S. S. Strong and Jacob Mandler. There is room enough in the city for these industrial establishments. The good they may accomplish in a commercial sense is incalculable; but there remains a moral good to be brought round, and this rest entirely upon the thorough discipline of the persons employed during the hours of labor, and the establishment of well-ordered reading and recreation rooms wherein the girls may spend their leisure hours. The first duty pertains to proprietors, the second to the citizens. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Winchester & Tiedemann’s Cigar Factory. In February, 1876, E. E. Tiedemann and E. M. Winchester associated themselves together under the name of the W. & T. Cigar Company and began the manufacture of cigars and tobacco. It was a new enterprise in the city—at least no similar establishment of any magnitude had been conducted here but from the outset its success has been assured. The co-partners were workers; they had an ambition to build a large and remunerative business, and they have gone at it in the right way. Mr. Tiedemann is a practical cigar manufacturer and has general charge of the factory proper, while Mr. Winchester attends to the buying of stock and the sales department. He is familiar with the business, having been connected with it a lone time; buys his wrappers direct form tobacco growers in Connecticut, with many of the more prominent of which he is well acquainted; is equally careful as to all the stock purchased, and the result is that the company s putting upon the market a line of cigars that are, in point of excellence and price, unsurpassed. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
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The Boss Brick Factory. The factory now operated by J. K. Boss was established in 1871. The owner is a native of Switzerland, but coming here direct entered one of the old brick yards, and worked his way upward from an employe to the proprietorship of a great industry. In 1871 he employed 10 men, but since he has added valuable machinery and steam-power, valued at $3,000, employs 15 men, and thus rendered his factory capable of producing 3,000,000 bricks per half year. The perforated brick made by J. W. Penfell’s brick and tile machine, have brought the name of the maker under public notice, and insure for the factory a growing patronage. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Weatherstacks Box Factory, established in the fall of 1889, has in the course of a few months built up an extensive trade, and gives promise of taking an important place among the industrial establishments of the city. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Straw Board Paper Factory is another product of these busy times. The company was organized in 1878-’79, and since the establishment of their works a steady trade has been maintained. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Foster, Gordon & Co’s Carriage Factory. The business of the factory was established 11 years ago by Mr. E. D. Foster, a native of New York, who came here from Ohio 17 years ago. He has been variously employed since then; a part of the time he was engaged in blacksmithing, but for the past 11 years carriage-making has occupied his time. The present firm was formed six years ago last March, succeeding to E. D. Foster & son.
The increase in business late years may be well illustrated by the following statement of fact: Eleven years ago Mr. Foster’s cash capital did not exceed $50; with that beggarly amount he entered what has since proved to be competition with the leading carriage factories of the country. Instead of the small shops and limited facilities of then we find the firm now occupying roomy and convenient shops, the man building being two floors, brick and stone 90x21 feet. Two other buildings are also used, each about 20x30 feet, one having varnish and finishing departments above and repository of lumber. When running full the factory employs from 20 to 25 men. For the past few years the business has doubled its proportions every year, and the trade, while to a great extent local, reaches to points as far as Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
F. B. Pratt & Co. The members of this firm have gained a high position in the world of manufactures, for a number of years they have been extensively engaged in the construction of vehicles, and now employ form 60 to 80 men. Their carriages and buggies are well built, and deserve the large patronage which has been accorded the company. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing Company. In 1873 F. B. Pratt and Wm. B. Pratt, his son, began the manufacturing of vehicles under the firm name of F. B. Pratt 7 Son, and inaugurated the plan of selling direct from the manufacturer to the consumer without the use of the middle man or jobber. In 1882, Mr. F. B. Pratt’s second son, Geo. B. Pratt, came into the business and the concern was known as the Elkhart Buggy Company. In 1888 a stock company was formed to be known as the Elkhart Carriage & harness Manufacturing Company, the stock being taken by Frederick B. Pratt, Wm. B. Pratt, Geo. B. Pratt and Otis D. Thompson. In 1891 F. B. Pratt sold his stock to George B. and Wm. B. Pratt. In 1894 Mr. Thompson sold his stock to these gentlemen, so that the entire stock is held by them. The plan of selling the manufactured article is the same today as it was when the business started in 1873. Now, as then, the business is all carried on through correspondence; but are several decided contrasts, as well as similitudes. At first only a few persons were employed, both in the manufacturing and office forces; now there are about 300. In 1873 the plant was a small carriage and harness shop; the plant now covers some nine acres of ground. Then automobiles were unknown; for some years they have been an expanding class of the output. But the old and popular plan of selling direct to the consumer has been continued in the sale of the Pratt-Elkhart machines. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Noyes Carriage Company. Established in 1897 and incorporated in 1903, the Noyes Carriage Company has a large factory on South Main Street. The business is capitalized at $150,000, and its manufacturing specialty consist of light vehicles, The plant employs about 150 people and turns out $250,000 worth of products annually. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
| Crow Motor Car Company was incorporated in July, 1909, and the Black-Crow machines are the product of a merger
of automobile concerns—the Crow Motor Cr Company of Elkhart and the Black Manufacturing Company
of Chicago. The cars are manufactured in the factory at Elkhart, covering 1 ½ acres on North
Main Street, and distributed from large sales rooms in Chicago. The presidents of the two Black
Crow companies are M. E. Crow, of the Crow Motor Car Company and W. H. Black, of the Black
Manufacturing Company. Six types of cars are turned out, varying from a two-passenger roadster
to a seven-passenger touring auto. Within the past year or two, however, the company has been
concentrating on a 30-horse power light touring car and also a roadster model. The cars from
this factory are now generally known as the Crow Elkhart. When organized the capital stock of
the company was $50,000, which was later increased to $100,000.
(Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Sidway Mercantile Company. The name of this great corporation does not convey the industrial magnitude of its operation. It conducts the largest manufactory in Elkhart and represents the largest special industry in the world. It has no rival in the manufacture or collapsible go-carts which have literally penetrated to all civilized parts of the world. The products of its plant which covers seven acres of ground space also includes baby-carriages of every kind, bed side tables, shaving and toilet stands and costumers and card tables; but the collapsible go-cart, or baby carriage, is the article which has spread the trade mar “Allwin” around the world. Therefore, the details of its manufacture, as presented by a local paper, are interesting.
The buildings of this plant are arranged in the shape of a “U.” The raw materials arrive at one end, make the circle of the plant, and are shipped out as the finished product from the other end. Therefore, we will start at the doorway where the incoming freight is unloaded. Through this doorway 4,000,000 pounds of steel pass every year, and to watch the material as it enters one realizes that they will soon see some wonderful machinery if those long, awkward strips of steel are to be converted into graceful beautiful finished carriages. On the journey from the mills in its unfinished condition it necessarily accumulates a certain amount of rust which must be removed else the final finish of he carts you see will not be of a lasting nature. Every piece of steel going through the plant therefore must be specially treated to remove all rust before it starts its journey through machine. The first requisite for the cutting and shaping of this material is a set of tools and dies, so this is the next department that we find. From large blocks of steel, cut to the desired shape and ingeniously assembled, are made dies, which during the season, will cut and shape thousands upon thousands of units which go into the finished product. When these are completed and tested they are then ready for the press room, where thirty-two automatic presses continue their monotonous pound—every movement meaning a new part of a baby carriage. On our way out of this building we pass the forge and the shaping machine, which temper and shape the springs that are to protect baby’s delicate spine for the bumps of ht walks and roads. Here the parts start on different journeys. Some are then ready to be assembled; others must stop awhile to be given a coat of pure tin and emerge so smooth and bright tat only one skilled in he work can see that they are not nickel plated. Other parts go to the nickel plating room, where they must be ground to a surface, then freed from all oil and other impurities and finally put in the big nickel plating tanks for hours. Having thus completed the separate parts of the carriage, we are ready to bring them together. This is divided into two departments known as the rough and the final assembly. A carriage is assembled as completely as possible before it goes into the enameling room. This one department consumes in the neighborhood of 40,000,000 rivets every year. When the product leaves this department it has no wheels, no upholstering, or not wood parts. It is just beginning to take the resemblance of a baby carriage, but it is ready for its trip to the enameling department. Here we find men busily engaged in dipping these frames into great tanks of enamel. They are then loaded on to metal trucks, which, in turn, are wheeled into huge ovens, where they must remain for four hours in a temperature of about 425 degrees to bake the enamel so hard that it will not chip or scratch under the hard service it is to receive as it totes baby here, there and everywhere.
In the meantime other departments are busily engaged in completing their parts of the carriage to have them ready for the final assembly. We find one department preparing the cross handles, another putting 2,400,000 feet of rubber tires per year on the wheels, still another making hoods, upholstering back and seats and sewing up foot wells. Finally they all come together and start their final journey over the bench, which, in a short space of time, changes them from a collection of miscellaneous pieces into an attractive baby carriage. Each man performs one step. One adds the seat and passes it to his neighbor, who puts on the back; another connects the cross handle; a fourth adds the hood; a fifth gives it its wheels; a sixth trues up the wheels and thus it speeds along until it reaches the final inspector, where every point of the carriage is carefully looked over for defects. Each vehicle is folded and unfolded; ever back, oot well and hood adjusted, and if anything is wrong, it is returned to be mad right before it can be handed to the stock department. For thousands of square feet you will see carriages piled from he floor to the ceiling, all wrapped and numbered ready to be put into crates and forwarded to their destinations.
When one stops to realize that in the busy season of the year these collapsible carriages leave the final assembly at the rate of one every forty-two seconds, it is easy to appreciate what a task it is to see that every department is operating on a clock-work schedule. If on department should unavoidably fall down for even a short space of time, all departments before it will soon be over crowned and those after it without work.
The manufacture of reed and wood carriages is an entirely separate proposition, because the machine plays very little part in their manufacture. There is the wood-working department, where the frames of the reed carriage are made and assembled and where the wood body carriages are prepared for the finishing department. These must all go upstairs, where reed workers will take strands of reed fifteen feet long, and with fingers that move faster than the eye can record, shape them into beautiful reed carriages. In the meantime the press room has made the metal parts for the frame, the rough assembly, and enameling departments have done their work, and after the reed body goes through the various steps of the finishing room, it is ready to be assembled, crated and shipped. Many residents of Elkhart do not realize that in that city they have the largest factory of its kind in the world, shipping its product all over the glove. Should you journey to the public square of Johannesburg, South Africa, you would find yourself faced to face with a large sign telling that Sidway Baby Carriages are sold in that city, and with equal ease you can obtain them in Australia, New Zealand or Shanghai, China.
This is the wonderful factory which has grown up before the eyes of the residents of Elkhart in ten years. It was in 1905 that Charles A. Sidway came to Elkhart to establish the Sidway Mercantile Company as manufacturers of folding baby carriages. His death on the 3d of June this year was a great shock to his many personal and business friends in the community, but the factory he leaves behind him will keep his memory before the residents of Elkhart for years to come.
Throughout the world the furniture trade knows the “Go-cart from Elkhart.
The Sidway Mercantile Company was established at Elkhart by the late C. A. Sidway in June, 1903, and incorporated in May, 1906. It now employs between 500 and 600 people. It has offices and warehouses in New York, Chicago, Portland (Oregon) and London (Ontario), and agencies in both hemispheres. Its main offices and factory are at Elkhart. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Doctor Miles Industries. Dr. Franklin Miles, founder of the Medical Company and Dispensary which bear his name, also established an old and large industry. A graduate in the sciences at Yale and in the law at Columbia, the eastern colleges, holder of a medical degree from Rush Medical College, Chicago, and the master of special courses both in the Chicago Medical College and the Illinois State Eye and Ear Infirmary of Chicago—the doctor also practiced for several years in the Illinois metropolis before casting his fortunes with the Elkhart enterprise. In 1873 he began a special study of the relation existing between the eye and the brain; the brain, heart, the stomach and the other vital organs. These investigations and the devising of remedies for nervous and chronic ailments in his private practice led him to the establishment of the Dr. Miles Medical Company at Elkhart, in 1880. The Grand Dispensary connected with it supplies specialists who furnish information as to the proper use of the remedies manufactured by the company.* The business was incorporated in 1885 and the massive building in which it is now transacted on West Franklin Street was created in 1892. Not only are the proprietary medicines manufactured at the plant, but all the boxes, tubes, books, pamphlets and circulars used in the business are turned out by the factory, printery and bindery which are incorporated as departments of the concern. All the machinery is electrically driven. One of the unique features of the plant, which does not seem to be directly connected with its distinctive purpose, is the maintenance of a complete weather bureau, the office of which is on the top of the main building. It is equipped with full automatic weather recording instruments up to the standard of the government observation stations. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
*The object of the Grand Dispensary is generally to treat patients by mail, especially those who reside in districts at a distance from competent medical aid, or ave tried local physicians without success. Their practice extends into every state and territory in the United States and many foreign countries. (Deahl, History of Elkhart County, 1905)
Davis Acetylene Company. On May 1, 1902, the Davis Acetylene Company commenced the building of acetylene gas generators at Elkhart. They equip entire towns as well as individual stores, factories and houses with illumination the equal of gas or electricity, and their apparatus is available in places where gas plants and electricity could not be supplied owing to the size of the village. The Davis Acetylene Company is successor to Davis and Price, Davis and Flint, and the Carbolite Construction Company, the business having been carried on in Chicago previous to its removal to Elkhart on the date mentioned. Augustine Davis is president of the company. The plant on Prospect Street, comprising two substantial brick and stone buildings, covers about 52,000 square feet of floor space, and includes within the scope of its output entire acetylene lighting plants and the apparatus for the oxy-acetylene welding process. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Elkhart Brass Manufacturing Company. Incorporated and organized in 1902 the company above named manufactures brass hose couplings and other specialties in that metal. Its plant occupies about two acres on Beardsley Avenue and Oak Street. Albert F. Hansen is president of the company. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Flour and Cereal Manufacturers. For some years manufacture of flour, feed and cereals at Elkhart has been chiefly in the hands of Burrell & Morgan and the Pancost Milling Company. The firm of Burrell & Morgan, which consist of A. H. Burrell and D. B. Morgan, was established in 1900, in with the purchase of the “City Mills,” [see above] then practically idle. Two years later the lease and business were purchased by the “Harvest Queen Mills.” They also obtained the railroad elevator at Mishawaka. The City Mills were overhauled, modernized and enlarged and used only for feed grinding, the flour department being held in reserve. The “Harvest Queen Mills” burned October 21, 1909. Five days later the City Mills were started and are now run to full capacity by water power. This firm makes all kinds of winter and spring wheat flour, buying all the winter wheat on the ground that they can get, the spring wheat coming from the Dakotas and Minnesota.
The Pancost Milling Company was established in 1904 by W. S. Pancost, the veteran miller, and his sons, C. E., L. G. and E. V. Pancost. The head of the industry is a sturdy old citizen nearing his eightieth year, and still active in business and other affairs. He has been a miller for sixty years, commencing to learn his trade in April, 1856. After he had mastered it, during the Civil war, he was operating a little mill in Goshen, opposite the court house. At that time and place he made the flour to feed the Forty-eighth regiment of Indiana volunteers, then in camp and about to start for the front. He also shipped flour to Ben Butler at New Orleans at the time of the siege of that city. The plant operated by the Pancost Company of the present was known to thousands as the Beardsley Mills and had been established since 1872. Numerous improvements have been made to conform to modern requirements, and the output of the company includes winter and spring wheat flour, graham, German rye and buckwheat flours, corn meal and feed of every variety, the last named including everything from chicken feed to baled hay. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Scale Manufacturers. The manufacture of scales for the use of retail merchants, householders and others, has been a leading industrial line in Elkhart for a number of years. It is represented by the Strubler Computing Scale Company and the Angldile Scale Company. Organized in 1906, the Strubler Company began business on Crawford Street in the old wrench factory, but soon erected the plant on Sycamore near Elm. Charles B. Brodrick is credited with contributing to the growth of the enterprise as much as anyone.
The name Angldile comes from the two words angle and dial, both of which are features of the manufactured article. The weight dial is unusually large, while the computing chart is placed at an angle on the scale, a unique feature. J. E. Cochran has been the large personal force behind its growth. He was a ranchman in his earlier days, and before locating at Elkhart in 1907 had operated two experimental factories a Dundee and West Pullman, Illinois. His plant at the latter town was burned and his start at Elkhart was from the hard bottom. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
St. Joe Ice Company. Although the St. Joe Ice Company operates a small plant in comparison with other Elkhart industries, it represents an old business and one which the public appreciates. It was established in 1881, when natural ice met the general demand. The business was incorporated in 1905 and the company now not only manufactures artificial ice, but ice cream. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Other Plants. The American Coating Company, which manufactures coated paper stock, has mills at the foot of East Marion Street. It was incorporated in 1910.
There are also the Briggs Magneto Company, makers of electrical magnetos, incorporated in 1911; the Elkhart Rubber Company, established in 1906 as makers of rubber goods; the Foster Machine Company, manufactures of screw machines and lathes, which dates from 1902; the Gossard Corset Company, established in 1907; the Kuhlman Electric Company, which has been turning out lighting and power transmission apparatus since 1897; the Northern Indiana Brass Foundry, established since 1905—and doubtless other smaller industries.
But the foregoing picture has, at least, given the reader a fair idea of the variety and importance of Elkhart’s manufactures. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Elkhart City Banks. The oldest of the existing banks is the First National, which was chartered in 1863, and has been in continuous operation ever since. During the more than half a century of its existence it has had but four presidents; Philo Morehouse, 1863-64; Benjamin L. Davenport, 1864-80; J. R. Beardsley, 1880-87; and Charles H. Winchester. Mr. Winchester has held the presidency since 1887; his son-in-law, W. H. Knickerbocker, has been cashier since 1886. Silas Baldwin, the first cashier, served in 1863-67; John Cook, 1867-84; J. A. Cook, 1884-86. The First National is capitalized at $100000; surplus and undivided profits, $50,000.
In August, 1914, the old St. Joseph Valley Bank, which had been established since 1872, consolidated with first State Bank, organized in 1904. Norman Sage had been president of the latter until his death and had been succeeded by Charles T. Greene (former cashier), who was at the head of its affairs at the time of the consolidation. The St. Joseph Valley Bank had had three presidents. Viz.; A. M. Tucker, Norman Sage and J. W. Fieldhouse. When the banks were consolidated the following officers were chosen to conduct the new St. Joseph Bank: John W. Fieldhouse, president; Herman Boreman, Jacob Goldberg, Charles T. Greene, Walter S. Hazelton and Frank A. Sage (who had succeeded Mr. Greene as cashier of the First State Bank), vice presidents; John I. Liver, cashier. The original capital of the St. Joseph Valley Bank was $25,000; which has been increased, from time to time, until it is now $100,000. The surplus of the consolidated concern is $50,000 and the average deposits $200,000. About a year after the consolidation the old home of the bank was vacated in favor of the premises which, much enlarged and improved, had been occupied by the State Bank, at the corner of Main and Franklin streets.
The Citizens Trust Company, with headquarters on South Main street, was incorporated by Dr. Franklin Miles and others in January, 1910. Its capital stock in $75,000, and its affairs are under state supervision. Its officers are: Franklin Miles, president; Stephen M. Cummins, James H. Calkins and Cassius M. Lounsberry, vice presidents; Louis M. Simson, secretary; James H. State, trust officer. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Elkhart Bank was organized in 1874 by Geo. W. Best, a Kentuckian lawyer. In April, 1879, the present company  was incorporated, showing a surplus fund of $5,000. Geo. W. Best was the first cashier: since his time, however, the official list has been changed, so that now Mr. E. R. Kerstetter is president, T. F. Garvin, cashier, and J. D. Wood, acting cashier. These gentleman administer the affairs of heir bank with marked ability and business address, so that the cordial welcome which greeted the inauguration and the continued patronage which has been accorded it are quite in keeping with its merits, The president, E. R. Kerstetter, is a young man, and a native of this county. This gentleman has been variously identified with the business interests of the county. Some years ago he was engaged in mercantile business at Goshen, and in 1866 was elected Sheriff of the county. In 1868 he was re-elected, thus serving the full limit by the law, and four years ago e engaged in banking, He also is engaged in manufacturing operations, being connected with the Excelsior Starch Company and Goshen Woolen Mills, and in many other forms has identified himself with this prosperity of the county.(Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
The Elkhart Weekly Review is solely the work of the present editor of the only daily journal in the
county. Over 20 years ago, 1859, Mr. Chase sent on one of his friends, John S. Weller,
to project a paper, with instructions to style it the Review, in perpetuation of the
name of a journal with which he was formerly connected at Cleveland, Ohio. The directions
of the principal were faithfully carried out, so that within a few months, when he had
closed a course of honorable labor in the East, he came to Elkhart city, took possession
of the editorial chair, and through a long course of years held it with honor to himself
and profit, indirect but certain, to the community with whom he cast his fortunes. During
he first year of its publication Mr. Weller retired from the paper, and until 1865 it was
conducted solely by its projector, when Mr. B. Mattingly became part proprietor and remained
so until the fall of 1866. He was succeeded by Geo. S Chase, a brother of the first, who
remained with him until 1871, when Mr. A. P. Kent brought his interest and has since been
continuously proprietor with Mr. Chase, the firm being known as Chase & Kent. In 1872 these
gentlemen entered upon the publication of the Elkhart Evening Review, and from that period
to the present  the journal, its patrons and the city grew up together, until now
they are so closely allied to each other that when one of the three branches moves forward
the other two follow, and thus march steadily onward to the goal of prosperity. The office
of this journal is situated on West Jackson street, over the postoffice. It is replete in
all its departments. The editorial room may be considered by many a little too limited in
extent, but for convenience it is admirable adapted. The newspaper composing room occupies
a large, well-lighted apartment adjoining the sanctum. Its furnishings are complete, cases
well filled with new type and all the suggestive paraphernalia of the chapel in the hands
of experienced men and a judicious management. The job room is very extensive, and in the
extent of its various fonts and the excellence of its presses may vie with many great
printing establishments of the Union’s cities. The nearness and dispatch with which the
work of this department has been performed have won for it a high reputation, and insure
The Elkhart Observer…passed into the possession of the Review in April, 1876. A contemporary residing I a neighboring county conveyed his thoughts to the press, and in congratulating the purchaser, said: “We understand that Messrs. Chase & Kent, of the Elkhart Review, have purchased the Observer office, in that place, and consolidated the two offices. That is right. There should be but one Republican paper in Elkhart, and we congratulate the Review upon its success in obtaining the field. Now, boys, shake us up a live paper.” The boys did shake up a live paper, creditable alike to themselves and to their city.
The Elkhart Democrat. This journal is identical in principle and form with the Democratic Union, established by D. W. Sweet in 1866. Under the management of Mr. Sweet a daily edition was issued for some time; but owing to varied causes this offspring of the old weekly was discontinued.
Mr. Shutt, the present editor and proprietor, took possession of the Journal Aug. 30, 1878, and has since continued to enjoy the confidence of the political party which he represents. In 1879 the name of the paper was changed to that of the Elkhart Democrat, and the form converted into an eight-page sheet 32x44 inches. The value of the office is $2,000, the weekly issue 1,000 copies, and the number of hands employed, four.
The Elkhart County Journal, a very neat eight-column weekly, under the proprietorship of Messrs. D. H. Christophel and W. E. Hawk, two young men well known in the city, the former long connected with printing and newspaper work and a native of this county, and the latter a retired dentist. The character of the Journal was at once apparent and unmistakable. It is Republican in politics, independent in spirit, pure in tone, and beautiful in typography. Its contents at the start showed that its projectors had made a deliberate survey of their field, and studied thoroughly the wants of the people of Elkhart county. It at once became a favorite with the readers, as is shown by its rapid growth in circulation, It has at the present writing, just three months after its establishment, a circulation of 700 copies, a result which has rarely, if ever, been reached in local journalism. The office is as complete as that of any weekly newspaper may be. Fonts of new type, standard presses and a steam engine make up the modus operandi; while ability in the editorial and assiduity in the composing room render the working room render the workings of the establishment almost perfect.
The Herald of Truth was established in 1864, at Chicago, by Funk Brothers. Three years later the firm removed the office to Elkhart, and during the period of 13 years, connection with the city have made remarkable progress. The journal, which they publish monthly, has a wide circulation throughout the United States, the Canadas and Europe. Their office comes next to that of the Review in extent, and, like it, possesses an improved atmospheric-gas engine. [See the hydraulics, Another Source of Power, this website] This is known as the Otto Silent.” It does its work effectively and noiselessly, and is certainly a mechanical curiosity. It differs from that in the Review office by its compression of the explosion. The entire cost of running it 10 hours per day is about $33.00 per month, and its power equal to that of four horses. The press-room is very well equipped; the composing and editorial departments are well organized, and altogether the establishment may be considered complete. The business of the Herald and Publishing House of Funk Bros, gives employment to 20 hands and the monthly circulation of their journal is said to have reached 5,000 copies. (Chapman, History of Elkhart County, 1881)
As congressman Colonel [Charles Gerald] Conn was a man of mark from the time he took his seat, and both as a
legislator and reformer left a lasting influence. It was in the field of journalism that he found
the power needed in this assault upon some of the strongholds of municipal mismanagement which he
found fixed upon the capital city. He purchased the Washington Times, the morning newspaper now
owned by Frank A. Munsey, and instituted a campaign against vice and crime which for several years
had run riot in the city. Directing his attack first upon the police association and the police
force, he aroused public attention to the existing conditions and after bitter conflict, overcame
the inertia of the powers for law and order, caused the dens of vice to be vacated, the gamblers
driven from the city and crime reduced to a minimum. The severe strictures, and upon the police
force by the Times resulted in an indictment for libel against Colonel Conn, but the forces of
persecution failed in their purpose and the colonel was acquitted at the trial. Having accomplished
for the capital city what he started out to effect, he then sold his newspaper and returned to Elkhart.
Before going to Washington he was well known in the journalistic circles of Northern Indiana, for in
September, 1890, he had founded the Daily and Weekly Truth. Mr. Conn is still identified with this
enterprise as proprietor, and the history of the Truth will be found elsewhere in these pages. Since
his retirement from Congress he has sought no further political honors. (Weaver, History of Elkhart
The history of the Elkhart Truth from its inception is thus set forth in an issue of the Truth in 1900:
Truth was founded October 15, 1889, by Hon. C. G. Conn, the noted ban instrument manufacture of Elkhart. A large job printing establishment was installed at the same time in connection with the newspaper plant. It was issued as a morning paper for several months until the Sentinel was absorbed, when it was charged to an afternoon paper, remaining as such ever since. The principles of Truth were announced in the first issue; Democratic in politics, devoted to the interests of workingmen, freedom of speech, and freedom at the polls, and it has always strictly adhered to these principles, advocating and being successful in bringing about many local reforms.
On the day of its first issue, October 15, 1889, Truth appeared in size as a six column folio, with an eight page edition upon Saturdays. Owing to an increase in advertising patronage, with a month of its first issue, the size was increased upon November 19, 1889, to a seen column folio. A full telegraphic service was being used, and again, upon December 10, 1889, the paper was enlarged to an eight column folio.
At the time of the issue of the daily, the Weekly Truth was also established, and its publication has continued ever since. The circulation is largely throughout Elkhart county. On December 10 of the same year the headlines read, “Elkhart and Goshen,” and both cities were covered by carrier boys.
Wednesday, February 12, 1890, the Daily Sentinel was absorbed and Truth commenced to be issued as an afternoon paper, with a Sunday edition issued at midnight Saturday. Since that date the paper has been published in the afternoons, but Sunday edition was soon abandoned. Upon April 1, 1899, the size of Truth was increased to a six column folio and is now published in that form.
The paper was issued the first two years from an office in the Blackburn block, December 15, 1891, the plant was moved into the commodious quarters now occupied by the paper at No. 308 South Main street, which was built especially for newspaper and publishing purposes.
An attractive front discloses the home of the Truth. The business and editorial offices are commodious. The first floor, rear, contains the composing rooms and bindery. In the basement three modern cylinder presses, besides several jobbers, are in constant use. The stock room occupies the front of the basement. (Deahl, History of Elkhart County, 1905)
Col. C.G. Conn, 86, Is
Dead; Body Will Be
Brought to Elkhart
| Colonel Charles Gerald Conn, 86, founder of the band instrument industry in Elkhart,
who since disposing of his interests here 15 years ago had lived in Los Angeles,
Calif., died in that city late yesterday afternoon.
News of his critical condition, after an acute illness of two weeks, reached his sister, Mrs. Ellen Hagenbaugh of Bristol, in a telegram received last evening stating that he was very ill and there was no hope of his recovery.
Press dispatches brought the word of his death before the delivery to Mrs. Hagenbaugh in Bristol this forenoon of a night letter telling of his demise.
The night letter, from the widow reads as follows:
| Gerard is gone. He had been failing physically for some time.
Two weeks ago he was taken ill with acute inflammation of the
thyroid gland, which seemed better. We thought he would recover
this attack, but he changed for the worse Sunday. Preparing to
bring him to Elkhart.|
| Elkhart correspondents of Col. Conn had been aware of his feeble condition for some months.
Surviving Col. Conn are his second wife, Suzanne Cohn Conn, whom he married after going to California; their 12-year-old son, Charles Gerald Conn, Jr.; the sister, Mrs. Hagenbaugh; and a daughter, Sallie Conn of Logansport.
His first marriage, on Oct. 10, 1869, was to Katherine Mary Hazelton, a native of Elkhart, who died at her home here August 30, 1924, some years after their divorce.
The parents of Col. Conn had two other children beside him and Mrs. Hagenbaugh. A daughter was the first wife of the late Henry C. Dodge, who was an Elkhart attorney. The other child was a son, who died at an early age.
His parents and the parents of the first Mrs. Conn, Mr. and Mrs. John Hazelton, are buried in the same lot in Grace Lawn cemetery.
|STORY OF HIS LIFE
| Col. Conn, who was born in Ontario county, New York, Jan. 29, 1844, was brought to Elkhart
when a child of 7 by his parents. Charles J. and Sarah (Benjamin) Conn, who had
“come west” to near Three Rivers, Mich., the year before.|
His father, who had been a farmer up to that time, became head of the village schools, a position he retained a quarter of a century. He served in like capacity at Laporte, Ind. For a time, but retired from the teaching profession because of increasing deafness, and following the occupation of photographer for some years just prior to his death in 1888.
The son, Charles Gerald Conn, had just passed through the grade schools when the Civil war broke out, and despite his parents’ protest, he volunteered for service on May 18, 1861, being mustered into service June 14, as a private in Co. B of the 15th Indiana Infantry. He was soon assigned to the regimental band.
|A Captain at 20
|| After his term of enlistment expired he returned to Elkhart, but soon afterward, on
Dec. 12, 1863, enlisted at Niles, Mich. in Co. G of the 1st Michigan sharpshooters.
He advanced to sergeant, then to second lieutenant on August 8, 1863, and was the
company’s captain at the age of 20.|
During the assault on Petersburg, July 30, 1864, Capt. Conn was wounded and taken prisoner, and remained in rebel custody until the end of the war. Twice after his capture he made a dash for liberty, but each time was run down with bloodhounds, and when Sherman’s advance caused the rebels to shift their prisoners from Columbia, S. C., Conn and Capt. Diecy and Lieut. Randall, both of Michigan commands, caused themselves to be buried by fellow prisoners, hoping to be left behind so they could rejoin the Union forces, But their ruse was detected.
|Effect of a Blow on Mouth
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