Story of CHRISTIAN COON – for 75th Wingate Anniversary
Source: – May 1976 by Mary Coon – shared with us by Loren Coon on “Memories of Wingate, Indiana, Facebook page” and with her permission shared here on 2-18-2019
In pioneer days families in the eat kept traveling to the west and new land. Christian Coon operated a
general store in Ohio, decided to come to Indiana. The family moved to Coal Creek Township,
Montgomery County, Indiana in 1836. They were early settlers of a village, Pleasant Hill, so Christian
opened a general store there. He traveled to Philadelphia and nearby places to get his merchandise, by
walking and horseback the distant both ways. He did well in his business and in 1845, ran for General
Assembly as Representative from Indiana. He was a charter member of the Minute Men of Indiana. Later
he purchased land and became a farmer.
It is told the small village was situated on an elevation above the surround country and was give the name
of Pleasant Hill. To the south was the sharp line of the forest, which became known as “The
Timbers.” This heavy forest held all kinds of birds, from tiny ones to eagles, as well as all kinds of snakes
and animals. To the north was fertile prairie with small streams full of fish among the timber.
The village was built with streets that intersected or rather public roads, the side streets were unused and
unoccupied except for family gardens. The principle street ran east and west, was called High Street. It
was on the highest ground and ran on thru other villages indefinitely. The cross street ran north and south
for two blocks and was called Main Street, as every village had to have a Main Street. This road came
from the southeast to the village limits, made an angle to due west one block, then due north two blocks,
then took its course northwest. This became state road 55 in later years. At the cross of these great
thoroughfares was grouped the principle business houses.
On the northwest corner of Main and High Street, Christian Coon built his store in 1845. It was two stories
high, the first floor divided into north and south parts. The south was store and storage rooms; the north
was the dwelling. On May 31, 1845, George Christian Coon was born in the town of Pleasant Hill. In
September 1845, malaria struck the town and Christian died with his wife following in November. On
Christmas Day, 1845, his mothers sister, Catherine McClure, took George to her home to raise after
some contention with other relatives. Here he grew to be very prominent in the community, an inventor, a
nature lover, and traveled quite extensively. His aunt, Catherine McClure McKinney did a good job. The
house he was born in, is the Holmes Garage now.
His sister, Nancy Coon married William Wingate with a son John being born to this union; thus Christian
Coon and John Wingate were cousins. Later the village of Pleasant Hill was named Wingate in John’s
Christian Coon was a member of the Old School Baptist Church. When the Methodist Society of Pleasant
Hill erected a new church, he presented them the bell for the church spire, which rang out to worship until
1900 when a new church was built and a large bell put in its place. This new bell was donated in
Christian’s memory by George Christian Coon and John Wingate. The first bell was taken from the dust of
the town hall a few years ago by Mrs. Cora Herron and in cooperation of the town, was permanently
placed in front of the new town hall for all to see and treasure. The inscription on the bell reads:
“Presented to the MEC by C(hristian) Coon. Made by GW Coffin & Co. Buckeye Foundry, Cincinnati
1853.” He was buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery besides his wife. George Christian Coon died in
1910 and buried in New York State with his wife, having one child, Ida Mary born in New Jersey.
Note: George was a public speaker, when he was married July 4, 1843, he arranged a barbeque for 600
guests on the lot across the street from the house in which he was being married, now where the
Methodist Church stands, an ox roasted whole. Afterwards he made a patriotic speech which was printed
and still in pamphlet form.