History of Jefferson Township, Cass County, Indiana (Part 2)
From: History of Cass County, Indiana
Edited by: Dr. Jehu Z. Powell
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1913


Jefferson township, being settled early before churches were organized, and being hilly, making travel difficult, and remote from town, when the grim reaper entered the pioneer cabin, as it frequently did, because the unacclimated settlers were easy victims to the deadly malaria, the early settler was compelled to entomb his dead on a nearby knoll on his own farm, and we find many of the hills of Jefferson dotted with pioneer graves, and we find as many as eighteen different places where the dead sleep the sleep that knows no waking.


On April 6, 1852, John Wilson deeded the ground to the trustees of the church for a church site and burial ground, although interments were made here prior to the above date. Probably the first burial was Elizabeth, daughter of Alex. E. Gray, in 1852, and a child of William Smith. The oldest inscriptions on the monuments are wife of Richard Pryor, 1842, and children of Alexander Seawright, February 12 and June 9, 1848.

A church was erected and is still maintained. The churchyard is beautifully located and neatly kept, and contains some handsome monuments.

List of soldiers buried here:

Ezra Geer, Company H, First Ohio Light Artillery; William Johnson, Company K, Ninety ninth Indiana; James McClosky, Company K, One Hundred and Sixty seventh Ohio, died 1870; D. Z. McMillen, Company K, Fifth Indiana Cavalry, died 1895; William Seawright, Company G, Seventy third Indiana, died 1867; Dr. Singer, ____ Ohio Regiment, died 1874; Samuel S. Vernon, Company C, Forty sixth Indiana; Andrew Wiley, Company F, One Hundred and Fifty first Indiana, died 1898.


This cemetery is situated two and one half miles west of Lake Cicott in the southwest quarter, section 19, and the largest and best kept grounds in Cass county, excepting Logansport and Galveston. This land originally belonged to Mr. Winegardner, and he donated the ground and it was utilized for burial purposes many years before deeds were made, and not until Winegardner had sold the farm. May 16, 1870, Richard P. Davis, father of Prof. George B. Davis and Commissioner Frank Davis, deeded one acre of land to the trustees of Winegardner cemetery, and May 30, 1870, Catharine McDowell, of Carroll county, deeded the same to the trustees, William York, Eli Shaw and Richard P. Davis. June 8, 1892, Richard P. Davis also deeded one acre in addition to the old part, and again on November 15, 1900, conveyed one and one half acres more, adjoining the above tract on the west, to the Davis Cemetery Association. John W. Wimer, as one of the directors of the Davis Cemetery Association, on January 21, 1901, platted this ground.

Some early burials, as appears on the monuments, are: Hester Ann Davis, 1838; Phebe Million, 1838; James B. Elliott, 1836. Burials as early as 1833 are said to have been made here in unmarked graves.


George Davis, War of 1812; Jeptha York, War of 1812, died 1846; George P. Davis, Mexican war, died 1850; David M. Davis, Mexican war, died 1885; Joshua Gibson, Company C, Forty sixth Indiana; David Brumimer, Company D, Forty sixth Indiana; Martin V. Wiley, Company E, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1862; Robert M. Timmons; John V. Watterberry, Company E, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1863; Thomas Pownell, Company E, Twenty ninth Indiana, died 1885; William Smith, died 1887; George W. Callahan, Company E, Sixty third Indiana, died 1890; Ichather Gardner, died 1886; Curtis Brown, Company F, One Hundred and Twenty eighth Indiana; Henry Sands, Battery D, Twenty first Indiana Artillery; W. W. Barnes, drummer, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1905; O. L. Rizer, Company M, One Hundred and Sixtieth Indiana, Spanish-American war, died 1898.


This little burial ground is well located in the northwest corner of the township on the northwest quarter of section 6. On September 23, 1870, Elizabeth and George Gougle conveyed by deed a lot thirteen rods square in this section to the trustees of the church. If the ground is platted it is not of record. A church was built and is still maintained. There are only a few graves in this little churchyard.

First interment, as appears on monuments, is Elizabeth, wife of George Gougle, in 1880.

Soldiers: J. J. Gougle, Company C, Fourth Ohio and Mexican war; Benjamin Boler, Civil war.


Georgetown cemetery is located about a quarter of a mile northwest of Georgetown in Cicott's reserve, on a wooded hill on land now belonging to W. L. Fernald. No deeds for the burial ground have ever been recorded although old residents say deeds by Daniel Bell were made when he owned the land in the '30s. This cemetery is very difficult of access, the hill upon which it is located is very steep, but is finely located, commanding a grand view of the Wabash valley to the south. There are probably one hundred or more graves on this hill but very few of recent date and it is practically abandoned for burial purposes.

The first burial was Barbara, daughter of Robert and Barbara Gray, December 26, 1832; Martha, daughter of A. and E. Gray, 1833; Emanuel Weirick, first husband of Mrs. Beaufort Banta; voted for Lincoln in November, 1860; returned home and died suddenly, probably of apoplexy, and lies buried here on this beautiful hill. Robert and Alexander Gray, Elsroth, Hilton and other pioneers are resting here.

Soldier: Jacob Weirick, Ohio Regiment; died, 1880.

Lake Cicott private cemetery is located on a high sandy knoll, covered with small oak trees, on the south side of Lake Cicott, between the railroad and the lake about eighty rods west of the Lake station. The ground (1907) is enclosed with a barbed wire fence about one hundred feet square.

The first burial was Nancy Spencer, wife of Daniel Bell. 1794-1849. Mrs. Beaufort Banta told the writer she attended this funeral and that Mrs. Bell died suddenly. Members of the Wimer, Hoffman, Gaby, Adams Herman and Tam families are buried here. This is an ideal burial ground, on a sandy hill overlooking Lake Cicott, and Daniel Bell first selected it as such, probably before the land was purchased from the government. There seem to be no deeds or reservations and it has been abandoned as a cemetery.

Hughes or Abraham Banta private burial ground. Mr. Hughes originally owned the land now belonging to Caleb Banta in the S. W. 1/4 Sec. 24, Jefferson township. This little burial place is located north of the state line division of the Pennsylvania railroad, about eighty rods east of Curveton station, in a fine grove of native trees. Here were buried two children of Mr. Baum in 1835. The following names appear on marble slabs, most of which are broken and fallen down amidst forest trees that have grown since the graves were dug.

Abram Banta, born 1775, died 1863; Rachel, wife of Christopher Levinger, died 1848, age 51; Christiana, wife of Wm. Ross, died June 12, 1846, aged 27. A number of unmarked graves are found here and no one living knows who fills them.

The above broken markers and a few evergreen trees mark this once sacred ground in the midst of the forest.

Daniel Bell once owned the land and lived on the property where Wm. Max Gordon now resides on the hill north of Georgetown and in the thirties or early forties buried two children near the house in the present orchard of Mr. Gordon. Here also was interred the remains of Mary Ellen McCleland and a few others in unmarked graves. A crumbling marble slab still marks the spot.

Banta Family Cemetery is located in the edge of a grove on the north side of theroad on the Wm. Banta farm, about eighty rods east of Pisgah church, in the N. W. 1/4 See. 24, Jefferson township.

The following inscriptions were taken from the monuments, which are surrounded by a few pine trees, in 1907: Catharine, wife of R. Howes, died 1837; Sarah, consort of Benj. J. Banta, died 1838; Sarah Ann, daughter of B. and E. Banta, died 1851 Geo. W., son of B. and E. Banta, died 1854; Elizabeth, wife of Beaufort Banta, died 1860; Beaufort Banta, died 1888, aged 80.


In the early thirties John Garrett donated the ground, but deeds were not executed until November 14, 1863, when Joshua Garrett deeded to the trustees of the church a tract of land in the S. E. 1/4 Sec. 3, and November 12, 1863, William Million also conveyed one half acre adjoining the above. May 2, 1866, Andrew Jackson, and December 28, 1893, Wm. Million also deeded lots of land adjoining the above to the trustees. July 1, 1904, Wm. B. Ford, James W. Gray and Wm. W. Smith, as trustees, plat said grounds.

First interments: John Garret, 1836; wife of Joseph Belew, 1838. Soldiers: Emanuel McCombs, Company B, One Hundred and Forty-second Indiana; John Burket, died, 1906.

A church was erected here in an early day and is still maintained. Some of the first settlers of Jefferson township are buried are: Andrew Veal, died, 1863; Eli Cotner in 1857 and Jonathan Belew, 1844.


This long since abandoned burial place is situated on a knoll near the center of the S. W. 1/4 Sec. 11, Jefferson township, formerly owned by Mr. Burket but now the property of C. J. Minniman Here in an early day were entombed a number of the Lafever, Conn, Vernon, Smith, Burket, Million and other families. Today, 1907, under the shade of a wild cherry tree in a woodland pasture south of the barn are more than a dozen fallen and broken marble slabs with inscriptions dating from 1843 to 1864, with many unmarked graves.

The ground was never set aside by deed, but belongs to the farm on which it is located, but the occupants of these neglected graves sleep peacefully, oblivious of the herds of stock that graze over them, and another generation will never know where this once sacred spot is located unless they may chance to scan these pages.


is situated on a sandy knoll, covered with oak bushes, one half mile S. E. of the N. W. corner of Jefferson township in the N. W. 1% Sec. 6, now the property of John Gougle. In this elevated yet lonely place Mrs. Lobaugh was laid to rest in 1839. She was the mother of John A. Fuller's first wife. A number of unmarked graves are here located and the following inscriptions are taken from marble slabs lying under the trees and covered with leaves: Andrew Cast, son of W. and S. Cast, died 1852; Henry Cast, son of W. and S. Cast, died 1854; Alvin, son of S. and L. Swartzell, died 1853; Martha, daughter of J. C. and S. Wattsbaugh, died 1854.

This burial ground was started by Lobaugh and Wattsbaugh, who owned the adjoining farm, but no deeds or reservations were ever made.


In the early forties and later were buried on the James McNitt farm, N. W. 14 Sec. 9, Jefferson township, a child of Samuel Fry, Sarah Benson and three children, Jane, wife of James McNitt in 1855; James McNitt Sr., who died in 1845 and buried at Concord, was removed here in 1855; Robert McNitt, 1867, and his child in 1859; Win. McNitt and daughter in 1868.

Mrs. Jane MeNitt donated one acre of ground for church and burial purposes in 1855 or before, but Center Presbyterian church was erected one half mile to the east and deeds were never executed for this ground. The MeNitts were removed to Pisgah cemetery and the ground abandoned as a burial place.


was established on his farm a short distance northwest of Pisgah church in the N. W. 1/4 Sec. 23, before the church was erected or even thought of, in 1852. Samuel Wilson and several others were buried here but no markers were erected and all vestige of this little burial place, once sacred to the memory of the pioneer dead, has passed into desuetude.


was located on Richard Pryor's farm in the N. E. ¼ Sec. 14, now the property of his son, Horace Pryor. Before any public burial grounds were laid out in Jefferson township, death entered Mr. Pryor's pioneer home and he was compelled to lay his loved ones to rest in the virgin soil under the forest trees on his farm and a few of the neighbors also buried their dead here. When Pisgah cemetery was established Mrs. Pryor's remains were removed but others were left to sleep in their original forest home unconscious of the busy world that today ignorantly tread above them.

In 1866, a Mr. Fitzgerald, who then lived on the N. E. ¼ Sec. 14, Jefferson township, on the farm now belonging to Mr. M. McNitt, buried two of his children in the corner of his garden, where they peacefully sleep till Judgment day.


This burial ground is situated on the N. E. 14 Sec. 15 on the farm formerly owned by Geo. Houk, but now the property of Geo. L. Webster, whose wife was a Honk. Here are now found two marble slabs with the following inscriptions: Levi Edgar, son of S. A. Suter, died 1847; C. A. Theodore, son of S. A. Suter, died 1846; Teter Honk and his daughter Caroline and a few others are buried here in unmarked graves. The wife of Geo. Houk was buried here but was removed to Mt. Hope many years ago.


John Fry, sometime in the thirties, donated ground for burial purposes in the S. W. corner of the N. E. 1/4 Sec. 12, Jefferson township. The surrounding farm has since belonged to William and Henry Cotner and others. No deeds for this burial ground were found until 1905, when Melvin E. Nethercutt and wife, who was a Cotner, deeds to Henry Meyer the forty acre tract containing this cemetery, but conveys it subject to this incumbrance.

This burial ground is located in the edge of a woodland one fourth mile north of the White Post road and the same distance west of the Noble township line. It is grown up with bushes and briers and sadly neglected. There are probably fifty monuments and markers and as many more unmarked graves. It is in an out of the way place, is practically abandoned as a cemetery and Wm. Sturgeon is probably the last interment, in 1888. The first burial was probably the infant son of A. and R. Wolford, in 1835.

Many well known pioneer names are found on the markers, as Jacob Wolford, died 1861; Joshua Binney, died 1857, age 86; J. W. Johnson and the Nethercutts, Chilcotts and Robinsons; John R. Chilcott, soldier, War of 1812, died 1875, age 87.


In the forties and early fifties four children of Wm. Rogers, who owned the land at the time, were buried on his farm situated in the N. W. 1/4 Sec. 22, about a mile north of Lake Cicott.

Here also were interred Benjamin Berry, his wife and two children. This lot is now situated in a woods pasture on the farm of Wm. A. Barr and the only mark of this once sacred spot is a marble slab leaning up against a tree with the following inscription Benj. Berry, died February 9, 1853.

In recent years a road was made near this place and in cutting down the hill human bones were found, supposed to be those of the above named persons.

Many a pioneer grave's unmarked, as you may plainly see,

But little he cares for worldly show, when out on the unknown sea


Helm's history states that the first schoolhouse in Jefferson township was erected on the Dunham farm in 1836. Mrs. Beaufort Banta, just prior to her death, told the writer that there was a round log schoolhouse built as early as 1836 near the center of section 24, about one half mile east of Pisgah church. This was the typical pioneer cabin with oiled paper windows, puncheon floor, fireplace and clapboard roof. About 1.847 this was replaced by a frame and about the same time a frame schoolhouse was erected near Curveton. About 1868 both these buildings were abandoned and a new schoolhouse erected at Pisgah church. This was torn down in 1892 and the present schoolhouse, No. 5, built one half mile north of. Pisgah church on the southeast corner of section 14.

The first teacher is said to be Alanson Crocker. He was a New Englander, an unusually bright and refined gentleman, but an eccentric character and when off duty would frequently indulge to excess, and as a consequence he died in the poorhouse some time in the forties.

By the courtesy of Robert A. Stewart the writer had access to the township trustee record of 1837, where it is stated that on June 24 of that year Jefferson township was divided into five school districts by the trustees, Robert Gray, Daniel L. Devore and Joseph Watts. The patrons of each district had exclusive control over the schools, erected schoolhouses where they desired and employed or dismissed teachers. Under this system log schoolhouses soon made their appearance in different parts of the township. As early as 1838 a log house was built in section 2; one in section 28, south of the lake, and one west of the lake, known as Herman schoolhouse; one in the northeast corner of section 30. This was often termed the Sheep pen schoolhouse, from the fact that flocks of sheep sought shelter therein when school was closed, which was generally nine months of the year. Log schoolhouses were built on the hill north of Georgetown, in section 9, a half mile east of Center church, and on the northeast corner of section 30 and on the river bank in Georgetown.

There was no public money, the schools were taught by subscription and never more than three months in the year, the teachers being paid from $8 to $20 per month. A Bible, a spelling hook and an arithmetic constituted the text hooks for all grades and the three R's the curriculum. Gradually the log schoolhouses were replaced by frame buildings but their location was still left to neighborhoods and districts and even as late as 1886 there were eleven schoolhouses irregularly located in the township. Under the operations of the new constitution in 1853 a better system was gradually evolved. Beaufort Banta, Robert Gray and John Kistler constituted the first board of township trustees under the new law. It was not, however, until. about thirty years ago that the schools were placed on the present perfected system and the schoolhouses arranged to meet the wants of all the people.

The schoolhouses are now all comfortable frame buildings and are equitably located. No. 1 is located near the southeast corner of See. 2; No. 2 near the southeast corner of Sec. 4; No. 3 on the southeast corner of Sec. 17; No. 4 (Center schoolhouse) on the northwest corner of Sec. 22; No. 5 on the southeast corner of Sec. 14; No. 6 at Georgetown; No. 7 on the southeast corner of Sec. 28; No. 8 in the northwest quarter Sec. 31 and No. 9 on the southeast corner of Sec. 6.

The school property of the township at this time is valued at about $8,000. Nine teachers arc employed and the pupils of school age number 347. Jefferson has a graded system of schools up to and through the eighth year and forty students were graduated last year from the common schools. This township has no high school but her pupils, however, have easy access to Burnettsville, Royal Center and Logansport high schools. These conditions certainly show great progress in educational advantages since pioneer days eighty years ago.

Township trustees with date of election from 1865 to 1912, are as follows:
John Buchanan, 1865-6.
George Renbarger, 1867-70.
James Duffy, 1871-78.
Allen Price, 1878-82.
John Reed, 1882-3; resigned.
Robert G. Benson, 1884.
James A. Humes, 1886-88.
John Banta, 1890:
Geo. W. Calloway, 1894.
Wm. J. Gibson, 1900.
George Calloway, 1904.
J. M. Martin, 1908-14.


The Village of Georgetown was laid out in July, 1835, by Daniel Bell, a brother in law of General Tipton, and is one of the oldest settlements in the county. It is situated on the north bank of the Wabash river in George Cicott's reserve and is probably named from Cicott. The original plat shows fifty seven lots and six streets, to wit: Canal, Wabash, Market, Jackson, Washington and Bonaparte; the first two running east and west, the others north and south. It early became a prominent shipping point on the old canal, and during canal days did an immense business and was the chief source of supplies for a large territory. Among the first settlers of the village was Silas Atchison, who came as early as 1830; and about the same time John Myers moved to the village and became the first merchant of the town, opening a general store. He was a large land owner and subsequently sold his store to Simon Elsrath, who with a Mr. Berry carried on the business for some years. Cicott's sawmill, built in 1829, was the first industry and around which the village grew.


in Georgetown was built by William Atchison on lot No. 1, a pretentious building for that day. It was destroyed by fire in 1872. The last owner and proprietor was John T. Wiley, who was also a merchant and the last postmaster.


was Joseph Day, who also ran a small tannery for a few years until he was elected justice of the peace and that lucrative office caused him to relinquish his trade for legal pursuits.


was William Blackabee and the first stone mason a Mr. Cook. James Thompson was the first tailor, who afterwards moved to Logansport.


was established in the early thirties under the name of "Amsterdam." The office was discontinued in the seventies but reestablished under the name of "Gordon," but was discontinued some years ago and the town is now supplied by Rural Route No. 7 from Logansport. The first physician was Dr. James Gordon, father of Max Gordon, who located here in 1835 and later engaged in mercantile business and erected a large warehouse on the old canal about 1852. He dealt in. all kinds of merchandise, bought and shipped grain on the canal to Toledo and carried on an extensive business, but when the canal. was closed by the building of railroads his trade was entirely killed as was also the town and today there are only a. few dilapidated houses, a small store kept by Albert Kleping, a blacksmith shop by Charles Nethercutt, a small mill operated by Noah Frick and a district schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse at Georgetown was a log structure that stood near the entrance to the bridge, and the first teacher was probably Joseph Day.

During the year 1883, a covered wooden bridge was built across the Wabash at Georgetown and James Gordon was the superintendent of construction. This bridge was carried away by the great ice gorge, March 20, 1912, and during the fall of the same year the present handsome cement arch bridge was constructed and Max Gordon was the superintendent of construction on the part of the people.


is a small station on the state line division of the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis railroad, situated at the east end of Lake Cicott, from which it derives its name. The former name was "Lakeville" and under this title James Duffy laid out the original town July 9, 1868, and became its first store keeper and postmaster and later township trustee. At one time there was a large steam sawmill located here that did an extensive business but want of material caused its suspension. The present postmaster is Albert Good and two rural mail routes, Nos. 31 and 32, deliver daily mail to the farmers in the surrounding country. Free rural mail service was established in 1903.

At present there are two general stores kept by Lantz & Good and Turpie Saunders, the latter is also the station agent; a restaurant kept by Jacob Williams; a blacksmith shop and implements by John Cassman. The Pennsylvania railroad has extensive ice houses located here which supply a good quality of ice taken from Lake Cicott.

A Methodist church was erected in the town a few years ago but the schoolhouse is nearly a mile to the north. Million brothers operate extensive sand pits near the town and ship annually 2,000 car loads of sand to all parts of the country and Mr. Million says there are "millions" in it.


is a station on the state line division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and is situated in the northeast corner of section 26. It is reported that Alexander Seawright laid out a town here soon after the railroad was completed, about 1860, and that William Seawright was the first postmaster and Abraham Miller the last when the postoffice was discontinued about 1900.

The records show that in February, 1878, William Turpie and William Collom laid out a town consisting of ninety six lots with five streets; Railroad and Logan streets running east and west; Main, Colon and Turpie streets running north and south. A schoolhouse and a general store with a postoffice were located here but all have disappeared and Curveton is now only a flag station on the railroad to accommodate the farmers and especially school children.


is a paper town, situated in the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 3 in township 27, north of range 1, west.

This town consisted of forty eight lots with six streets, North, Main and Garret streets running east and west and Joseph, West and Black Oak streets running north and south. It was laid out November 10, 1837, and duly recorded by John B. Durett, recorder of Cass county, but this is all the writer has been able to ascertain about this town and evidently it did not survive long.


Doctors may be a necessary evil but "the people are inclined to evil and that continually," and history would not be complete without at least a short reference to the physicians to whom the people usually apply when they come and go from this world of care.

Dr. James Gordon was probably the first physician to take up his residence within the limits of Jefferson township, locating at Georgetown in 1835, where he took up the practice of his chosen profession for four or five years and then engaged in mercantile pursuits. and became one of the largest dealers; and best known merchants on the Wabash as well as one of the most influential and respected citizens of the county. He was born in Ohio, 1809, attended medical college at Cincinnati, located in Vermilion county, Illinois. where he married Cyndia McMillen in 1834, by whom he had four children, one of whom, Wm. NI., is now an honored citizen of Georgetown. Mrs. Gordon died in 1842 and the doctor remarried in 1845 to Ann Neff and to this union five children were born, two of whom are now living. The doctor died October 11, 1889, and lies at rest in Pisgah cemetery.

About:1345 Dr. Robert. Wilson lived and practiced medicine at Georgetown for two or three years. He moved to Burnettsville, then to Lockport, where he died about 1900. He has a son who is a practicing physician in Chicago and several daughters married and living in Carroll county. Dr. Vroman followed Dr. Wilson at Georgetown in 1848 and in 1850 he was succeeded by Dr. Childs., who was also a school teacher, and in 1853 Dr. Rockhill replaced him and was himself succeeded by Allen B. Jones., who in 1864 went to Tennessee and later moved to Burnetts, Indiana, where he died September 4, 1909.

The first doctor to locate at Lake Cicott was Dr. Hughes in 1848 but soon moved to Monticello and was lost to our informant. Lake Cicott was without a doctor until about 1865 when Dr. Busick opened an office, but he soon moved to greener pastures. and was followed about 1880 by Dr. Ezra Geer, who resided here until his death about 1893 and was buried in Pisgah cemetery. He was born in Vermont, practiced in Ohio and served in the First Ohio Artillery during the Civil war. He was an old man of no great medical attainments but of kindly disposition. A daughter, Mrs. Geo. L. Webster, is now a respected resident of the township.

Dr. Caleb Scott, an eclectic physician, lived and practiced medicine in the western part of the township about 1851 to 1855. He moved to White county where he died some years ago.

Dr. J. B. McElvey was located and practiced at Curveton in 1873 and was a charter member of the Cass, County Medical Society. He moved to Rockfield, Carroll county, and gave up the practice of medicine and followed his trade, that of a carpenter, and in 1907 was living in Logansport.

Dr. Singer was a practicing physician at Reed's. Mill about 1873-4 and died there and lies at rest in Pisgah cemetery. He was a soldier, and had a family who moved away after the doctor's death.


Jefferson township heads the county for hills, creeks, and romantic scenery and while its hills. were originally difficult to travel over, yet they have in recent years been cut down and roadways opened up through all sections of the township and the abundance of gravel pontained in its hills provide material easy of access to construct roads and today many of the principal thoroughfares are improved by grading and graveling and a few miles of stone road have been constructed on the west line of the township.

The farms are generally well improved and large; neatly painted dwellings and outbuildings may be seen on every hand, in which, are installed the electric telephone, so that the farmer of today can sit in his parlor chair, communicate with and transact business with the merchants of Logansport without spending an entire clay traveling over the lulls and mud roads to town, as the pioneers were compelled to do eighty years ago. Many farmers are also provided with automobiles and over smooth roads travel quickly and in comfort, and with the telephone practically annihilate time and space.


In early days there were few amusements, hence religious meetings, singing schools and spelling matches were the chief diversions and always well attended. The pioneer preacher's monthly visits to the log schoolhouse would attract young and old from the entire settlement and the old singing master reading buckwheat notes and beating time with tuning fork in hand was as good as a circus to the young people. The spelling school, however, was more frequently held and in the winter time was the weekly entertainment, where great rivalry was excited between different school districts and expert spellers were more numerous among the pioneers than are found today.

There was a quartet of extra. good spellers in Jefferson, composed of Harrison Gray, Amos Chilcott, John W. Wiley and Josephus Tam. These boys knew more about Webster's spelling book than Webster ever dreamed of, and were always on hand at every spelling match in the township and their fame extended beyond the limits of the township.


In early clays prairie fires swept over the western part of Jefferson township nearly every fall and were very destructive and a terror to the pioneers. Fencing, buildings and small growth of timber and everything in its path would be consumed by the terrible and rapid progress of the fire. Joseph W. Barr, son of William Barr, were pioneers and the former, now living in Logansport, relates some exciting experiences in fighting prairie fires. James D. McNitt also states that his mother, Jane McNitt, died from the effects of fighting prairie fires in 1855. These tires would sweep across the prairies. or through forests with a roaring noise that could be heard for miles and was as terrible as an "army with banners."


Wilson Seawright, a prominent farmer of the township, who has a fondness for animals and birds, constructed a park in 1906 on his farm in Jefferson township consisting of seven acres of beautiful ground, enclosing the same with a high woven wire fence and stocked it with elks, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, Russian jack rabbits, golden pheasants, wild geese and alligators. The latter could not resist the cold winters and have died. He has raised a number of elks and sold them to ready buyers. He says he hopes to secure some moose before they become extinct. In 1907 an organization of Jefferson township farmers was formed with Wilson Seawright at its head, representing 4,800 acres of land upon which they expect to maintain a "game preserve," and the state is aiding and encouraging such movements, and is endeavoring to locate such a preserve hi every county, and the state game warden in 1908 sent twenty pairs of Mongolian pheasants to Mr. Seawright's Jefferson township preserve; in 1909 twenty five pairs of Hungarian partridges and in 1910 an additional consignment of twelve pairs, all of which are doing well on this extensive game preserve.


Biographical sketches of the following persons have been written and may be found in Helm's History, published in 1886, and will not be reproduced here:

Benjamin Banta, born 1839, still living; Frederick C. Ford, born 1816, deceased; Asa R. Gibson, born 1830, deceased; Robt. M. Gibson, born 1854, still living; James A. Humes, born 1838, still living; Simon P. Lontz, born 1845, died 1912; George Renbarger, born 1828, died 1898; L. E. Rogers, born 1850; Eli Watts, born 1833, deceased; Daniel M. Watts, born 1856, still living.

[Return to part 1 of Jefferson Township History.]

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