Source: Portrait & Biographical Records of Montgomery, Parke & Fountain Counties,
Indiana. Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1893
Isaac F. WADE, one of the most respected and best=known of the business men of Crawfordsville, is the gentleman whose sketch is given to the public at this writing.
Isaac WADE, like many more of the best men in Indiana, was born in Ohio, in Butler County, January 9, 1811. He was the son of Thomas C. and Sally (FERRIS) WADE. His mother had been born in Connecticut, and his father was a native of Maryland, although he was reared in Virginia, and met his wife and married in Ohio. In 1788, at the age of twenty-four years, he came to Ohio and first settled at Columbia. His father had died when he was three years old, and he, Thomas, joined with men who came from New Jersey and secured a large tract in the Northwest Territory. He settled at the mouth of the Little Miami, near where the town of Columbia is located, in 1800 he removed to Butler County, on the Big Miami. His death occurred in 1826. He was a man of force and spirit, and was also of an adventurous mind, probably inheriting some of his daring from an ancestor, Gen. WADE, who was a civil engineer under King James the First.
Isaac grew up in Butler County, and in 1831 he came to Crawfordsville. He had learned the printer´s trade on the Tiller, of Cincinnati, the first agricultural paper published West of the Alleghany Mountains, his cousin, William J. FERRIS, being proprietor. He also worked on the Star at Lebanon, and from there he went to Hamilton, where he conducted the Telegraph, a Jackson paper. Upon reaching Crawfordsville his first thought was to start a newspaper, so in company with Charles S. BRYANT he bought an outfit, and October 18, 1831 the first issue of the Crawfordsville Record came from the press.
Mr. BRYANT edited the paper for one year and then Mr. WADE became editor and issued it for four years, under many discouragements, and then sold out to a couple of men, one being George SNYDER, who now is the editor of a paper in Jamestown, Boon County. The Record was continued for about ten years and then discontinued. After selling his paper, our subject returned to Ohio and engaged in farming, but in 1836 returned to Crawfordsville to settle up his accounts, and then bought a stock of dry goods, but this venture proved disastrous.
Following this misfortune, Mr. WADE for five or six years carried on farming, and in 1848 he began the making of tombstones, the first man in the county to open such an establishment. At first he sold for parties in La Fayette, but soon started an independent shop and has continued at this business ever since. The marriage of Mr. WADE took place in Butler County, Ohio, August 9, 1832, to Alethia C. HEATON, the daughter of Hon. James HEATON, a member of the Legislature and afterward a State Senator of Ohio, a very able man. Her death occurred a few years later, and Mr. Wade was married to Miss Margaret MAXWELL, of Crawfordsville, but she died three months after marriage, in 1855.
The children of Mr. WADE are: Mary, Mrs. Ben F. STORER, who lives at home; Harrison, who lives in La Fayette; William, a Judge of the Superior Court, who resides in Los Angeles; and Eliza H., Mrs. I.N. Smock, who resides in Indianapolis. Sarah died in Crawfordsville, in 1884; Julia also died in Crawfordsville; and Jane died in Shelbyville, Ind.; one of his children died in infancy. The firs Presidential vote cast by Mr. WADE was in 1832 for Henry Clay, and he has voted sixteen times since for the Presidential candidate. He was one of the earliest members of the Baptist Church here and for many years had been very active, but some feeling grew up in the church which it does not concern the present writer to discuss, and although Mr. WADE did not sever his connection with the church of his choice and belief, he remained a quiet member for a space of twenty-one years. However in time, influences were brought to bear that brought him again into active and full participation in the affairs of the church.
This pioneer settle and publisher of Crawfordsville is now in his eighty-third year, yet a hale old gentleman whom it is good to meet. For forty-six years he has been a dealer in marble monuments, and his association with this section has been a close and peculiar one. He is affectionately regarded by the people for whom he has fashioned the monuments which mark the resting-places of three generations of his own associates, residents of his beloved State of Indiana. Also h is remembered as the first one to record the happenings of the new country, and although he was not financially successful his paper was the pioneer in the field. He gave the news of sixty years ago, and at that time the happenings did not seem any more tame than do our spicy pages to do-day. The readers were fewer and the printer was but poorly paid, but great interest then was felt in the tariff (that everlasting subject), the United State Bank, the street fights, horse stealings, loggings, house-raisings, births and deaths, and the movements of the great people in the United States Capital, and all of these interesting and exciting subjects may be read in the file of papers in the possession of Mr. WADE. At that time education was at a very low ebb in the country neighborhoods, and interest there was taken only in local happenings, and the logging-bees and house-raisings were times for great commingling for gossip and flow of conversation. It was at this time that the great and good James THOMPSON founded Wabash College, and a record of its birth and infant struggles can be found in the old files of the paper published by our subject.