Source: Waynetown Despatch, 13 June 1913
In preparation for the Seniors’ part in this edition of the Despatch, very little special work has been done. In as much as this year witnesses the last usefulness of the old school building; since this year marks the opening of a new regime in school affairs of Wayne Township, it was thought fitting and proper that a bit of local historical work be undertaken in connection with the changes. This was taken up in the regular Senior English work and those papers which seemed the most appropriate have been chosen for use in this edition. We trust they will prove of sufficient accuracy and interest as to make our effort not entirely in vain.
The present senior class of 10 members is by no means the same group of students which enrolled in Waynetown High School in the autumn of 1909. The class at that time was the largest in the history of the school and its number of 36 is yet unsurpassed. Some of the former members have left school, some have moved away, while others are graduating from schools in neighboring towns.
With this constant lessening of numbers, however, there has not been a corresponding lowering of scholarship; in fact, if any difference is to be noted, the standard has been raised. Now as these students leave the old building as its last graduates, they are convincing evidence that wisdom may come from a building old and worn if the students but have the staying qualities. They have been handicapped, they have had discouragements, but they have succeeded. They are a class of which the school is proud.
Note: Waynetown was building a new school and revamping the Wayne township schools in the year 1913. The Waynetown Despatch asked the seniors that year to give various types of educational history. Here they are:
Seniors & Their Plans
Charles L. ZUCK, called “Energy”. Class President. Plays: Merchant of Venice, In Plum Valley, Friend of the Whole Family and Little Red Mare. Played Basketball in ’13; Baseball in 12 & 13. Scholarship to Hillsdale, Michigan.
Nellie BUNNELL, called “Boozy.” Vice President. High School Pianist in ’11, ’12 and ’13. Plays: In the Plum Valley, Friend of the Whole Family, Trouble at Satterlees. Will probably enter Indianapolis Conservatory of Music.
Leslie HAYES, called “Zip.” Secretary. Plays: Merchant of Venice, In Plum Valley. Played Basketball in 12 and 13. Baseball, 10, 11, 12, 13. Will probably enter Wabash.
Virgil HAYS, “Runt.” Plays: Merchant of Venice, In Plum Valley. Latin Ability. May attend Wabash.
Laurence Rivers, “Flumnia.” Plays: In Plum Valley, Merchant of Venice, Mathematical Ability. Has not as yet decided whether he will go to college. If he does however Wabash is assured of his attendance, and will make agriculture is life’s occupation.
Paul Harvey, “Harvey.” Plays: In Plum Valley, Merchant of Venice, Basketball ’13. Will finish his studies in Indiana University.
Ray Thompson, “Nig.” Play: In Plum Valley. Manger baseball ’13. Baseball 12’13. Will enter Wisconsin University.
Waneta Stockdale, “Skeet.” Vice President ’12. In Merchant of Venice, In Plum Valley, Trouble at Satterlees, Friend of Whole Family. Oxford Scholarship. Has entered Indiana University and later will finish her course in Oxford.
Lucy Switzer, “Lucinda.” Plays: In Plum Valley, Merchant of Venice. Will probably enter Indiana State Normal.
Waneta Bard, “Neta.” Plays: In Plum Valley, Merchant of Venice. Will enter Purdue this fall.
“Education in its Earliest Stages in Indiana, told in Splendid Style by Virgil M. Hayes.”
The education of Indiana, in its very earliest stage was carried on by the French priests or missionaries, at the French military posts. This amounted to very little, however, for the happy-go-lucky frontier Frenchman resisted mental efforts as much as even more than he avoided physical toil. He had no education and all that he knew had been handed down from father to son. There were no schools until during the American occupation and then they gradually began to appear. The first regular school was probably taught in Vincennes in 1793 by Father Rivet. After the Americans gained control of the territory and the settlers first began to make their way thither, the children, on account of the danger from Indians and wild beasts were taught in the homes by the so-called circulating teachers. These passed from house to house and spent about 1/3 of the day at each home instructing the children. In this way, with only six families, they could give three lessons each week to the children of each family. Although these teachers did a great work, their plan of instruction was interfered with by the introduction of the schoolhouse.
In time it became less dangerous for the children to pass through the forest, consequently they assembled at the home of the family which was located near the center of the neighborhood. Here, in a lean-to, built at the end or side of the cabin for the purpose, they were taught to read, write and cipher by either one of the mothers or an older sister.
As soon as conditions would permit, the settlers of the community assembled and built log cabin for the school and hired a “master” for three months of the year. If possible the school house was erected near a permanent spring, that there might be an unending supply of the cool, clear and sparkling water. They were built with special reference to the resistance of the savages and wild animals and were made of hewed logs, and puncheon floors, large mud and stick chimneys and immense fire places. The benches for the scholars had neither back nor desk and about the teacher’s desk were two long wooden pins upon which the beech and hazel rods were laid. Each teacher was expected to govern on the home plan of “spare the road and spoil the child.” The rod in their estimation had a two-fold virtue, a terror to evil doers and a remedy for stupidity.
Since the state at this time had no school revenue to distribute each voter became a builder. The people by common consent divided themselves into bands of choppers, hewers, carpenters and masons. If any person was unable to help work he might supply glass, nails or boards for the roof. If, however, any one refused to either pay or work he was fined 37 and ½ cents per day.
School commenced at 7 o’clock in the summer and at half past 7 in the winter. At noon there was one hour intermission and there were two recesses of five minutes each – one in the forenoon and one in the afternoon. “Loud schools” were universally esteemed at this time. That is, the pupils studied aloud, the theory being that sound intensified the memory. Younger pupils listened to the recitations of the older ones and each scholar stepped from one class to another as rapidly as he was able to progress. The geography lessons, however, were taught to the whole school at the same time. Manual labor was also part of the school life since the large open fire place must be kept replenished. This was done by the larger pupils who rather enjoyed this rest from study. The teachers hired were many times adventurers, from the east or from England, Scotland, Ireland or some other European country, seeking temporary employment. Some were first-class men while others were not. Instructors were not very plentiful, however, as the compensation was not so great as to create an over-supply. The price commonly paid was 75 cents, yet in some places the price ranged from one dollar to two dollars per scholar. Some teachers eked out their living by chopping wood at night and on Saturdays. They were in most cases obliged to received for their services, produce, consisting of wheat, corn, bacon, venison hams, dried pumpkins, flour, buckwheat flour, whiskey, leather, coon skins and other articles. These they either hauled to the closest market or floated down to New Orleans on a flatboat. Many of the unmarried instructors “boarded around” and thus took part of their pay in board. The presence of the teacher in the family was, in most cases, highly acceptable for, since there were few books and the visits of travelers were few and far between, the conversation of an intelligent teacher was luxury.
In some localities all sorts of teachers were employed, as for instance, the one-legged teacher, the lame teacher, the teacher who had been education for ministry, but owing to his habits of hard drink had turned pedagogue and the teacher who got drunk on Saturday and whipped the entire school on Monday are spoken of. The first school master of Vanderburg County was a hermit and helped gain a subsistence by trapping and trading in furs.
John Malone, a Jackson County school master was given to tippling to such excess that he could not restrain himself from drinking ardent spirits during school hours. He had enough self respect, however to leave his bottle outside the school house.
Owen Davis, a Spencer county teacher, thought much of his trusty fiddle and while he was conducting the so-called “loud school” and his scholars were roaring at the top of their voices he would draw forth his old favorite companion and play such inspiring tunes as “Old Zip Coon” and “The Devil’s Dream.
Thomas Ayres, a Switzerland County teacher, and Revolutionary veteran regularly took his afternoon nap during school hours while his pupils were supposed to be getting their lessons but in reality were amusing themselves by catching flies. Another early school master who taught in Orange County was an old sailor. Under his encouragement the children spent most of their time roasting potatoes. Thus we see an odd character who had a little “learning” or a lame school who had seem some “Schoolin’” in his mother country or a Yankee tinker who could combine some useful trade with a few months’ teaching the three R’s to the frontier children were generally the teachers found in the cabin schools.
The children learned to read from the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, Gulliver’s Travels or whatever book the family happened to possess. Sometimes parents were compelled to cut up a book and paste the leaves on boards in order to accommodate all the children. A pointed goose quill was used for a pen and ink was made by saturating oak ball in vinegar. The children were obliged to walk miles through the forest in order to gain the meager knowledge that the eccentric master was able to impart to them. They arose early, did the chores about the farm, chopped the wood for the cavernous fireplace and then after their early breakfast trudged through the woods to school. “In imagination I can still hear the squish-squish of water-soaked shoes as their wearers crossed the puncheon floors, to repeat their lessons,” writes a historian. The school children studied their lessons at night and “worked their sums” by the fire light or the meagre light of the “tallow dip.” The children of early Indiana spent their lives not only under these, but many more disadvantages and privations. Yet they were the ones who laid the foundation for the better conditions of instruction which exists today. Nor did these men and women at a later day look back and say that their early years were a time of woe with no pleasures. The privations and dangers were forgotten and they thought only of the pleasures of a vigorous childhood spent amid the beautiful of nature. They recalled the long walks to and from school in the late springtime or remembered the happy hours spent rambling along streams or hunting the May apple, paw-paw and blackberry. Thus they cherished fond memories and the “good old times” became also a term of reproach to modern degeneracy.
History of Montgomery County by Laurence B. Rivers
Montgomery County occupies a part of the great and fertile valley of the Wabash River. It is bounded on the north by Tippecanoe; east by Clinton, Boone and Henricks; south by Putnam and Parke and west by Fountain and Parke counties. The county is 24 miles north and south, 21 miles east and west and has an area of 504 square miles of 322,500 acres. The main stream of Montgomery County is Sugar Creek, formerly called Rock River. It enters the county a little south of the northeast corner and meandering through the central area passes out six miles north of southwest corner. Much of the grand scenery along Sugar Creek has been rendered famous by the genius of a former Crawfordsville artist, Walter Sies.
The tributaries of Sugar Creek are Lye & Black Creeks from the north and Walnut Fork, Offield and Indian Creeks from the southeast. The south and southwestern parts of the county are drained by Big and Little Raccon creeks and the northwestern party by Coal Creek which flows into the Wabash. The water power of Sugar Creek is utilized by some flour mills. The Yount’s celebrated woolen factory was run by its power. There was an abundance of fish in this creek in early days but most of them have disappeared.
The land in the western part of the county, near the streams and along Sugar Creek is hilly, and in the north rolling, dotted here and there with fertile prairies. The central areas are comparatively level and the southeastern part is flat.
Most of the county has a fertile soil, being composed largely of the drift of the glacial epoch and is therefore abundant in mineral elements which are necessary for the most productive fields. Another interesting feature of the topography is an ancient lake which once covered a large part of the central region of the country. This ancient lake, named by Prof. Collette, Ancient Lake Harney, was principally within a circle drawn through Crawfordsville, Brown’s Valley and Ladoga, and probably was drained by Indian and Offield Creeks into Sugar Creek.
There were Indians in Montgomery County as late as 1800. They had been driven from their homes and had settled in the county temporarily. They moved westward about 1800.
The first settler, William Offield, came to Montgomery County in February 1821. He settled at the mouth of Offield Creek on Sugar Creek. He entered the E ½ of the NE ¼ of Section 4, Twp 18 North Range 5 West on July 4, 1822 and he and his wife, Jane, sold it to Jonas Mann, December 31, 1823. On July 3, 1822, John Lopp entered the first tract of land ever sold by the government in Montgomery County. This land was in what is now Scott Township (E ½ of SE ¼ Sec 14, Twp 17N Rg 4 W). On December 21, 1882 (sic – 1822?) the legislature passed a bill defining the boundaries of Montgomery County and providing for the organization of civil government therein. William Offield, James Blevins and John McCullough were elected the first board of county commissioners on March 1, 1823.
The first murder in the county was committed about ½ mile north of the mouth of Black Creek and some 3 or 4 miles northwest of Crawfordsville. One Mayfield had suspicions and perhaps proof that one Noggle had been interfering with his domestic affairs. He, meeting Noggle in the woods one day, fired at him and hit him in the knee. Mayfield reloaded his gun and shot the begging man through the heart. Mayfield fled the country.
The first court of Montgomery County was organized at the house of William Miller in Crawfordsville on May 29, 1823. Jacob Call of Vincennes, was the presiding officer. The other officers of the court were John Wilson, Clerk; Samuel D. Maxwell, Sheriff and Jacob J. Ford, prosecuting attorney. After ordering summons for a grand jury for the ensuing term to be held in August and adopting a seal for the court, the court adjourned. The court convened the second time August 28, 1823 and tradition says at the tavern kept by Henry Ristine. The first grand jury was composed of James Dungan; Richard M. McCafferty; James Scott; James Stitt; William Miller; Robert Craig; Samuel Brown; Elias Moore; Wilson Claypool; George Miller; Joseph Hahn; Samuel McClung; William B. Mitchell and John Farlow with McClung as foreman. The first indictment of the Montgomery County Court was returned against John Toliver for assault and battery. Toliver fled from the county and although warrants for his arrest were issued repeatedly he was never captured.
At the May term of the court, 1825 one Jesse Keyton was sentenced to the penitentiary for two years for receiving stolen goods. This trial was held in the new court house which had been built. This house, the first of the county, was of logs and two stories high. It was 26’ long, 20’ wide and there was a partition in each floor making four rooms in all. The building was erected by Eliakam Askton at a cost of $295. It stood on Main Street. The jury of the Keyton case was composed of Joshua Baxter, Reginal Butt, Samuel D. Maxwell, William Miller, George Miller, Samuel Wilhite, John Stitt, William Mount, John Ramsep (Ramsey?), Edward Nutt, Abraham Miller and Isaac Miller. The case was prosecuted by Hon. John Law, while Joseph Cox and Nathan Huntington appeared for the defendant. The presiding judge not being present the associate judges, William Burbridge and James Stitt ruled over the court.
The population of the county at this time was sparse but the public land sale December 24, 1824 and following brought many settlers however here.
A “jail house” was built in the year 1824 at a cost of $200 only to be reduced to ashes three years later by Peter Smith. He was an inmate of the jail under a charge of larceny, and while trying to burn the lock from his cell, set fire to the building. It stood only a few yards from the northeast corner of the present courthouse.
Considerable boating was done on Sugar Creek in the early days. In 1824 a keelboat of ten tons burden was brought to Crawfordsville by William Nicholson from Maysville, Kentucky. When the first settlers came to Montgomery County it was almost wholly forested. The pioneers had to content with bear, wolves and other wild animals. They found an abundance of deer in the forest and fish in the streams. The first settlers found the pathway of a most destructive tornado which in some places had prostrated the entire forest. It passed about two miles south of where the city of Crawfordsville now stands at times rising above the trees and at others descending to its work of devastation. The precise time of this tornado will probably never be known but from observations it is thought to have been about the beginning of the 19th century.
The houses of the early settlers were built of round logs. The logs were beveled on top and notched underneath so as to fit close together and prevent their slipping apart. The cracks between the logs were filled with mud. The floor was laid with puncheons and the roof was of clapboards weighted down with small poles. The house usually had only one room. The one door was fastened by means of a wooden latch on the inside, to which a long buckskin throng was attached and put through a small hole a few inches above. Anyone wishing to enter had to pull the string and thus raise the latch. At night the string was pulled inside so that the door could be opened only from within. The fireplace was built of stone and chimney of mud and sticks.
Mills were few and very far between in the early days. When the first people came to the county the nearest mill was at Terre Haute. After the settler had gone to the mill, a trip taking two or three weeks, he would spent many evenings around the fireside relating to his wife and children the incidents of the journey and the news heard at the mill. The first mill in the county was built at the mouth of the stream flowing into Sugar Creek from Whitlock springs. It was fitted with an overshot wheel. The water was led to the wheel through an aqueduct made of hollow poplar logs. The millstones were roughly dressed out of huge boulders. It was a crude affair from beginning to end. This mill ground meal and cracked hominy for all of the early inhabitants of Crawfordsville.
In 1836 there occurred a most singular murder on Sugar Creek at a point just below where Deer’s mill now stands. Mose Rush, an outlaw, and his wife live don a high bluff overlooking the creek. Owing to some difficulty he threatened to kill her. One evening he secretly brought an ax into the house but not obtaining a chance to kill her in the evening lay down on the bed and fell asleep. His wife took an ax and split his head open at a single blow. She was never arrested, the neighborhood doubtless being glad to be rid of him.
In 1831 proposals for building a new court house were advertised for, the first house having been built only for temporary use. The contract was let to John Hughes at $3,420. This house was two stories high and of brick. It was 40’ square with a cupola and stood on the public square.
It is claimed that the first horse thief detective company ever organized in the west was a Montgomery County institution. So many horses had been stolen in Coal Creek Township that a number of the farmers formed themselves into an association to stop the thieving. At the 1848 session of the legislature an act was passed incorporating the company formed and giving the members the power and authority of constables. The charter members whose names are set out in the act are: James Gregory, William Casseboom, Absalom Kirkpatrick, James Meharry, Jesse Meharry, Christian Coon, Elias Moudy, John M. Thomas and Edward McBroom. A large number of similar companies have started from this company. Representatives from all the companies meet at convenient points to make their work more effective by cooperation. John S. Gray of Wayne Township was president of the Grand Council for a number of years.
One of the most noted criminal trials of Montgomery County was that of John Coffee. A James McMullen and his wife were murdered in cold blood and the house burned to cover up the crime. Coffee was found a few days afterward wearing some of the clothes of the murdered man. He was arrested and tried for murder. The progress of the trial was watched with interest throughout the county. Coffee was convicted and sentenced to be hung. Just before he was hung, he made a confession which was so contradictory to one he had made during the trial and which implicated a James Dennis. It is very probably that Coffee would have escaped hanging had he made his last confession first and stayed with it.
The first sermon in Montgomery County was by Rev. Charles Beatty in the year 1821; the afternoon of the same day the reverend gentleman solemnized the first marriage in the county, the high contracting parties being Col. Samuel D. Maxwell the first sheriff of the county and Miss Sarah Cowan.
The Baptist Church of Sugar Creek built the first church edifice in Crawfordsville on Lot No. 100 which was donated to them. It was of brick and served as a place of worship for all sects and creeds. All traces of this church have disappeared.
The first school in the county was held in a house that stood about where the gas works are now located. It was taught by Josiah Holbrook.
In 1833 Rev. Caleb Mills began the work of instruction in the "Wabash Manual Labor and Teachers' Seminary," an institution which received a charter from the legislature in 1834 and has grown into the amplest proportions and fame as Wabash College. The first building occupied Was located at the brow of the hill and\was used for recitations and as a boarding place for the students. During the first year of its operations forty one young men were enrolled.
On October 18, 1831, the initial number of the first newspaper was published in Crawfordsville. It was called the Crawfordsville "Record." While it was an admirable epitome of political history during the years of its publication, however, it failed to present much of the domestic and local news of the town and county.
In 1873, after several years' accumulation of a building fund, by taxation, the county commissioners made a contract with McCormack & Sweeney, of Columbus, Indiana to erect a new court 4iouse. It was to be of Berea sandstone, brick and iron, to be heated with steam and provide a spacious court room with offices for all departments of the county's business and jury rooms, the whole to cost $124,000. The old building was removed. The extra work added to the cost of the large clock in the tower finally ran the cost of the building up to $150,000. This edifice still stands as a court house for the county.
When the call for volunteers came to fight in the Mexican War the whole county was thrown into a great excitement. The Democrats, whose policy had been for the annexation of Texas, were denounced by the Whigs for involving the country in a war which was solely for slavery. However, the victories of Taylor soon obliterated all party lines. A large concourse assembled at Crawfordsville on a set day and prepared for a Ion and tedious journey. They were taken to Indianapolis in wagons and reached the field of the war by various modes of travel. The company from Montgomery county spent most 4ft its time marching up and down the Rio "Grande. About half of the men died from sickness. Those volunteers who-survived were given a grand ovation on their homecoming.
Montgomery county, even before 1861, was noted as one of the localities of the state where a military spirit had always been more or less fostered. Lewis Wallace, who distinguished himself in the war, was practicing his profession when the first call for volunteers came. He laid down his pen and books and made ready to defend the Union. He had seen some service in the Mexican War as had Mahlon D. Manson also. A« meeting was held at Crawfordsville the night after the call for 75,000 volunteers came. Resolutions were adopted denouncing the rebellion as wicked and inexcusable and proclaiming it the duty of the public authorities to help make the war for the Union successful. The third day after this meeting a company of men was ready to go into camp. The company left the county April 18, 1861. The next day a company left Ladoga. Another company left Crawfordsville soon afterward. The county promptly met every draft upon her patriotism until 2,000 of her patriotic sons had volunteered. Many a field of the war drank of the best blood of the county, and many a household yet mourns the loss of a brave father or son, who gave his life that we today might enjoy a government strong enough to retain the undying love of its own citizens.
The railroads have been an important factor in the development of Montgomery county. The legislature was rather reluctant to grant charters for railroads at the time when the people of Indiana first began to agitate such enterprises. In 1850 the citizens of Crawfordsville and Montgomery county organized a company for the construction of a railroad from Crawfordsville to Lafayette. This road was exclusively a Montgomery county enterprise being called the Crawfordsville and Wabash. The next enterprise entered into was a line connecting directly with the east. As early as 1855 a line was surveyed from Newcastle, Henry county, Indiana, through Crawfordsville to Danville, 111. This enterprise suddenly collapsed because of the financial panic of 1857. In 1864 construction was begun on another line extending from Indianapolis to Danville, 111., passing through Crawfordsville. This project backs, was completed. This road has changed hands several times and has been known as the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis road or more commonly, as the Big Four. There are four other steam roads passing through the county. The first is commonly known as the Monon, the latter as the Vandalia. One of the other steam roads passes through the northern part of the county. It is called the Clover Leaf. The other, named the Midland, proceeds through the southern part of the county. The two electric railways connect Crawfordsville with Indianapolis and Lebanon. The one to Lebanon is called the Northwestern, the other the Ben-Hur.
The industries of the county are limited. The main industry, or it is almost permissible to say, the only industry, is Agriculture. The agriculture of the county has developed wonderfully in the last few years. The farmers hold their institutes annually and do their farming along scientific lines. 'They have reaped abundant crops from their tiresome efforts. The principal crops are wheat, corn, hay and oats.
The county has a goodly number of institutions of learning. Every town of any importance has a common school and high school. Besides these there are a number of schools in the country districts. The county ia favored with an admirable institution of high learning, Wabash College.
The county has good highways of travel. By far the greater number of these are gravel roads although there are a few stone roads and a good prospect for several more. These excellent highways are very beneficial to the county as they make the modes of travel much quicker and easier than they would be otherwise. Although in some respects Montgomery county may not be a leader, it is a safe statement which says that it is far above the average in practically all things.
A Brief History of Waynetown as Told By Charles L. Zuck
Waynetown, or rather Middletown, was laid out in 1829. The first church in the town was built in 1829 or '30 by the Old School Baptists. It was not really inside the village at that time, but barely outside, being located, immediately south of the "old grave yard" at the extreme end of the present town. A school building was built near this shortly afterwards but being outside the limits of the town it was a township school.
The first school in the town, therefore, was not built until in 1852. It was a frame structure and the money for its construction was raised by private subscription as was the custom at that time. It was a two-story building, the lower floor being used for school purposes and the upper story belonging to the Sons of Temperance, being afterwards bought by the Masonic lodge, after it was founded in 1863. It was located at the extreme south of the town as it was then, and on the south side of what is now Church street and in the middle of what is now Vine street. Edmund W. Berry was the first teacher in this building.
We then see the town growing and prospering until at the beginning of the Civil War it was no longer a village of a few grocery stores and a blacksmith shop but a thriving little inland town.
Then when President Lincoln's call for volunteers came and most of the able bodied men of the town and even many that were yet boys, left home and families to fight for their country. Nearly, all of Company D of the Sixty-third Regiment, Infantry, was made up of men of Middletown and vicinity and their captain, Jim York, was a citizen of that place. Besides this many served in other companies and other regiments. Nor were any of these inactive troopers, but all were in the thick of the fighting, Company D being with Sherman in his famous march to the sea and others being in the battle of Gettysburg and other engagements almost as bloody.
After the war, however, the town continued to prosper until in 1869 when it received a great "boost" by way of a railroad. Up to this time the townspeople had had no communication with the outside world except by a stage line between Crawfordsville and Middletown, run by "Uncle Billy" Philips, who also owned and operated a tavern in the town at that time. In 1868, however, the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railway was formed by the consolidation of two other companies and work was begun on a road from Indianapolis to Danville. It was not completed until in 1869, however, and the first train was run to Indianapolis in May of the following year. Of course this was of almost inestimable value to the town as they now had good accommodations for both passenger and freight traffic.
About this time several lodges were organized in the town. The first was the Odd Fellows, it being organized in 1869 and shortly after this they built a lodge home which was destroyed in the fire of 1894, and then they erected their present building. Soon after the Odd Fellows organized in 1871 or '72, the Good Templars lodge, an organization for both men and women, was started and they used the Odd Fellows' building for their meetings. This lodge was very strong in membership for a time but after about six years it died out entirely. The Knights of Pythias was the next, it being organized in 1887, but their present lodge home was not built until in 1893. The Red Men, the youngest of the four lodges, was organized in 1892 and used as their meeting place the old building now used for the Grenard garage until in 1907 when they constructed their present lodge building on Main Street.
was laid, the town was incorporated. It took in 148 1-2 acres of land and had at that time a population of 270 inhabitants and as there was another Middletown in the state it was incorporated under the name of Waynetown.
Not long after this, in 1875, a newspaper was started by Charley Crowder and was called "The Clipper." It was more of an advertising sheet, however, and only a few issues were printed. Then shortly after this, Mr. Crowder, together with Mr. Henry, founded the "Banner" and issued it for about nine months. It was then discontinued for a time until again taken up by C. F. McCleary, who, however, failed after a few months. It was then taken in charge by Riley T. Runyan, who succeeded for a time in making it ii newsy little sheet and a credit to the town.
In 1881 a brick school building was constructed to displace the old frame structure. The new building was two stories high and was considered very roomy and convenient at that time, but as the same building is still used as the "temple of learning" it has long since outlived its usefulness. Prof. Charles McClure was the firs) superintendent of the schools in this new building.
A history of Montgomery county, written in the same year but shortly before the building of this school house says that the town at that time contained nine stores, a flouring mill, a planing mill, two saw mills, a newspaper, three churches, the Methodist, Missionary Baptist and Christian, and directly counteracting these, three saloons. At a still later time, however. we find that there were as many as six saloons in the town at one time It continued wet though with not s* many saloons all the time until 1900 when they were remonstrated out o1 the town by the citizens and from that time no saloons have ever been located in the town.
The Waynetown Banner, of which we have spoken before, having beer discontinued and a, few other news paper ventures having been tried without much success, the Despatch was started in 1892 by John W. Small (smudged – hart to read and don’t see his name again – kbz). The paper was necessarily not very large to begin with but it has grown in size and circulation until at the present time it is much better than the ordinary run of small local papers.
Shortly after this, in 1894. occurred the most disastrous fire from which the town has ever suffered. It started from the explosion of a gasoline stove above in the rear of a store and before it could be checked, over half a block of the business part of the town was consumed. It was, however, are many fires, a blessing in disguise, for with one exception, the buildings which were destroyed, were "ramshackle" frame structures and after the fire those that were built up were all substantial brick buildings.
In 1906 the old "Steel House," a hotel, and one of the first buildings to be constructed in the town, was torn down and a new hotel known as the Wayne, erected by a stock company. The new home of the Red Men lodge was then built on the site of the old hotel.
By this time many additions had been made to the old town and the population increased accordingly, so that at this time it is a thriving little town with some 900 inhabitants thoroughly up-to-date in all lines, business and otherwise.
The residence district of the town is very beautiful, especially in summer as the streets are for the most part lined with a growth of sturdy maple trees. There are a goodly number of business houses in the town and all the business men seem to have an enterprising and progressive spirit. Probably the only drawbacks to the place are the old school building and a poor lighting system but we have assurance that a new and modern building is soon to be erected to supercede the old school house and we hope that the other defect will soon be remedied.
W. F. Grenard, an old student writes:
The following letter received a short time after the old school reunion which we proposed to give if the school edition is still as fresh and good as ever and will do you good:
I wish to express myself as a nonresident yet within the circle of the home comers. Surely the people of Waynetown entertained us in the very best manner. I do not remember when I enjoyed myself as I did at the Old School Reunion and Home Coming. To look ahead thirty-two years seems along time, but to view it from the past seems short. It was on the morning of Oct. 10,1881, that the old bell called us to books for the first time, and we marched in to the taps of that memorable old drum. I had a complete list of the names of my class mates but have lost the list and can recall only part of the class Ase Williamson, Jennie Sumner, Minnie Landman, Lew Landman, Hettie Steele, Ettie Bittle, Flo Henderson, Mrs. Hays, Anna Darnell, Georgia Hooper, John Fowler, John Sharkey, George Baldwin, Charley Baldwin, Lew Green, John Green, and Hate Harvey. Little did we think while we were attending school for the first time in the new building that we would attend the last day thirty-two years hence. The people of Waynetown have reason to feel proud of the way they entertained the wanderers. The time was too short. We had so many questions to ask, so much we wanted to know of our old friends where they were, what they were doing and how time was serving them. We expected a good time but our expectations were far excelled by the reception we received. Some of the old class had not met for more than a quarter of a century. I wish that we had the power of old Joshua, and could have lengthened the day, so we have lingered around awhile longer and recalled to memory the good times we spent at the first term of school. It seems that time has treated the old class of 1881 very kindly, and that they have made, a fairly good success in all. In thinking over the number in the class death has also been kind to us and has invaded our ranks but a few times. I do not want to make this letter too long, but I want to thank the people for the good time we enjoyed May 1, 1913…. W. F. GERHARD, '81 - Mellott, Ind.
O. L. OSBURN, TRUSTEE OF WAYNE TOWNSHIP.
Trustee O. L. Osburn is a homegrown product, having been born in this township, about forty-one years ago. When his present term as trustee expires in 1915, he will have served Wayne township fourteen years in public office four years each as township road supervisor and assessor and six years as trustee. His efficiency up to the present time has never been questioned by a single act. His early education was in our township schools finishing with a three year high school course here in the old school building just torn away to give place for the new building which he is now so deeply interested in erecting for the present and future Manual Training, Domestic Science and Agriculture will be additions in our school work with the completion of the new building. Departmental work will be adopted from the 5th grade up. Beside attending to the duties of the trustee of the township. Mr. Osburn is largely interested as a contractor in road building, cement work and in the management of the Waynetown Tile Company Factory. At present he has contracts for building three gravel or stone roads, a seven and one half mile county ditch and a large cement job on the east township line road. He is today under the heaviest bonds for the faithful discharge of his obligations of any man in the township and perhaps in this county. He is single but a mighty busy man, but not too busy to be pleasant and courteous to every one of the town and township school interests. Besides attending to the duties of the trustee of the township Mr. Osburn is largely interested as a contractor in road building, cement work and in the management of the Waynetown tile Company Factory. At present he has contracts for building three gravel or stone road, a seven and one-half mile county ditch and a large cement job on the east township line road. He is today under the heaviest bonds for the faithful discharge of his obligations of any man in the township and perhaps in this county. He is single but a mighty busy man, but not too busy to be pleasant and courteous to everyone and a little time to spare to talk over a business proposition in a business way.
L. W. Landman – “Don’t Leave School Too Early.”
L.W. Landman, an old Waynetown boy, who today is directing the passenger traffic of one of America’s greatest railways in is address here on the occasion of the “old school home coming,” had occasion to address himself to the boys of today who are looking with eager hopes into the great future. Mrs. Landman said, “I would like to give a message to the young boys at home based entirely upon actual knowledge gained by experience. Do not leave school too early. Opportunity is greater today for success than ever in our history and I am sure that Waynetown has young men in its midst today who can fill any position in the world’s work if they but take advantage of their opportunity. Success is merely the result of constant application to duty, (he concentration of effort, and persistent plugging in other words, hard work backed up with good common schooling. The trouble with young men in small towns, is the extreme likelihood of falling into indolent ways and taking life too easy. My experience in employing young men today i9 that they wish to commence at the top. They want to know how much the position pays, how many hours they must work, and how many month's vacation they are entitled to. These boys will never be a success! The sprit which wins for the young man today is the one that asks for an opportunity and I wish to impress upon the young men that in this busy day, if they get an opportunity, that is all they can ask and it is then up to them to apply themselves to it, which .will bring success if they but work."
In conclusion Mr. Landman said: "I have anticipated this day with keener pleasure than you can imagine It is a great holiday for me. There is seldom a day goes by but that I think of my boy hood days in Waynetown, and I regret that my work is so exacting that l am not permitted to come here at least once a year. I realize that you have no occasion to ever think of me, but on the other hand I do find myself thinking of you, and although it is necessary to tear down the old school-house in order to find an excuse to come home. I must admit, although it is a sacrilige, I am glad the old building is coming down for the pleasure it gave me in being with you today."
The First Commencement. A relic of the first annual commencement of the Waynetown school in the old building just torn away is a commencement program treasured by Jesse Scoonover of near Lafayette. The commencement date is July 9, 1886. It is printed on bristol board, is a folder about 4x6 inches, and is interspersed with business cards on all four pages. It is interesting to note who these business men were: W. S. Britton, corner drug store W. F. Thompson, drugs R. E. Ray, drugs Jas. A. Brant, groceries Webster & Simms, dry goods Willard Fink, buggy painter B. T. Merrell funeral director A. K. Clark, merchant tailor C. F. Huber, baker and confectioner W. L. Hindman, jeweler M. Birdcell & Son, funeral directors R. S. Osburn & Co., ice cream parlors The program begun with music and prayer by Elder W. H. Kerr. The graduates each were on the program with a recitation with music interspersed at intervals. There were eleven graduates: Effie Brant, Mary Kelly, Jesse Scoonover, Fred Shanklin, George Moore, Lucy Stockdale, B. M. Harbergan, Mattie Gault, Will H. Steele, Phoeba Earl, Winfield Fowler. What a lot of memories, happy but mingled with sadness, the above names bring back to many who will read this brief mention of Waynetown's first annual commencement The event was held at the Christian church and (J. M. Berry is honored with the mention of "programmer").
From a hasty survey of the history of (Waynetown, .we find that the first genuine school building of the town proper was built in 1852. It was a two story frame structure, located just south of what is now the intersection of Vine and Church streets. This building did service toward educating the coming citizens until 1881, when a new building was erected to take the place of the old. The new structure was made of brick, was two stories high, and was considered at the time very modern, complete, and convenient. It has served as a home, of education up to the present time.
Since 1881 the schools have made a rapid development. Prof. Charles McClure was the first superintendent under the new system, he being followed in order by the group of educational leaders named below H. W. Higgins, J. S. Zuck, M. A. Hester, Ed Harris, Perry Martin, E. E. Vanscoyoc, F. D. Welch and W. C. Gerichs. It is no mark of discredit to any of these gentlemen to say that no greater strides of advancement have ever been made in the school than that made under the leadership of Prof. E. Vanscoyoc, who was chosen superintendent in 1899. During his 12 years of service, he was such a potent influence in promoting the welfare of the school that he has been fittingly called the “Father of the High School.”
From the beginning in 1881, both the common branches and some high school subjects were taught in the building, but until the coming of Prof. Vanscoyoc the work in the advanced subjects was unorganized. Immediately on his assuming control, however, a three year course was established, as recommended by the State Board of Eucation, the first .. class graduating a year later. The class consisted of Orpha Bowerman, Mary 'Groves, Edith Lindley, Gertie Stockdale and Claude Darnell.
In 1905 the four year course of study was instituted and two years later, through the influence of Prof. Vanscoyoc, the school received it3 commission, which has been renewed each succeeding year.
From the beginning until during the past year the school has been under control of the town, but in the summer of 1912, the school corporation was dissolved and the entire control placed in the hands of Trustee O. L. Osburn. From present indications the high standard of the past are not only to be equalled but bid fair to be a new building, modern, beautiful, convenient and complete in every detail will soon, take the place of the structure, which, though dilapidated, is dear to the hearts of many who have gone out into the world to exhibit that mark of perfection which the school has placed upon them.