History of Sugar Creek Township, Hancock County, Indiana (Part 2 - New Palestine)
From: History of Hancock County, Indiana
Its People, Industries and Institutions
By: George J. Richman, B. L.
Wm. Mitchell Printong Co.
Greenfield, Indiana 1916


New Palestine was laid out, October 1, 1838, by Jonathan Evans, six months after the town of Philadelphia had been laid out. It first consisted of fifteen blocks and thirty six lots. Since that time a number of additions have been made to the town, as follows:

North West Addition, laid out by Conrad Gundrum on February 18, 1854, and consists of twenty three lots.

Waltke's Addition, laid out August 7, 1867, and consists of twenty five lots.

Kirkhoff's Addition, laid out by Anthony Kirkhoff, October 9, 1873, and consists of six lots.

Kirkhoff's West Addition, laid out by AnthonyKirkhoff on January 2, 1875, and consists of ten lots.

Anderson's Addition, laid out by H. P. Anderson, April 10, 1872, and consists of thirty nine lots.

Hobbs' Sub-Division of parts of Anderson's and Kirkhoff's West Addition, made by Pliny F. Hobbs, May 25, 1865, and as subdivided consists of five lots.

Coyner's Survey, laid out by Susan M. Coyner, December 21, 1886; embraces a re-subdivision of lots 7, 8 and 9, of H. P. Anderson's Addition.

Correction of Kirkhoff,& Anderson's Addition, by order of town trustees, May 2, 1873, because of imperfect description of said plats.

Anderson's Second Addition, laid out by Hayden P. Anderson, March 13, 1895, consists of three lots.

Anderson's Third Addition, laid out by Hayden P. Anderson, November 9, 1903; consists of eleven lots.

Claffey's Addition, laid out by Amelia E. Claffey, June 13, 1905; consists of twelve lots.

Jonathan Evans was the first merchant and the postmaster at the town. Evans's place of business was located on the southeast corner of Main and Bitner streets, where the drug store and bank are now situated. Among the other very early merchants were Amos Dickerson, who lived on the north side of Main street, on the west side of the first alley west of Bitner street, Andrew McGahey, Robert King, S. S. Johnson and Joseph Cones. These were followed in business by Shockley, Brown, Schildmeier, Shreiber, Rupkey and others.

About the time of the war, or a little earlier, a frame business room was erected at the northeast corner of Main and Bitner streets. This room was occupied at different times by Freeman & Westlake, Kassebaum, Freeman, Eaton & Gates; Eaton & Son, Waltz & Richman, Richman & Son, Richman & Kitley, Peffley & Kitley, Peffley, Geisel Brothers. Kassebaum is said to have made a fortune in this building about the time of the war and following. W. T. Eaton & Son were in business there for many years during the seventies and eighties and up into the nineties.

Another frame business room was erected about 1860 where the three story brick building known as the Vansickle building now stands, on the north side of Main street about the middle of town. It was built by H. P. Anderson and later occupied by Vansickle & Helms, Vansickle & Westlake, Van-sickle & Nichols, Nichols & Nichols, Waltz & Richman. Short & Ashcraft, Geisel & Kitley, and Albert Geisel.

During the nineties Henry Nichols erected a little room on the south side of Main street just a few lots west of the street leading to the school house. Later his present brick building was erected, which he occupied for a number of years and which has since been occupied by others.


The petition asking for the incorporation of the town of New Palestine was dated May 22, 1871. and was presented to the board of county commissioners at their June session, in 1871. The petition was signed by the following named persons: E. J. Richardson, John Gundrum, Sanford Furry, H. A. Schreiber, Jesse Matlock, Jacob Buchel, M. M. Hook, Albert Freeman, John W. Kingery, Reason Hawkins, M. M. Alexander, Pliny Hobbs, Amos Eversson, Henry H. Eaton, John Mausner, John P. Armstrong, J. A. Schreiber, J. C. White, S. H. Bennett, Jefferson Ulrey, Eli Stout, Calvin Bennett, Robert D. Stirling, Samuel S. Davis, Thomas J. Beeler, Edward Hudson, G. Stineback, Samuel C. Willis, G. H. Robinson, D.' J. Elliott, Benjamin H. Rice, James Larober, George Kingery, Wesley Eaton, Hiram Murnan, W. H. Foster and B. F. True. The petition also showed that the town had a population of two hundred and seventy nine people, with seventy voters.

The board of commissioners fixed the fourth Saturday of June, 1871, and the depot at New Palestine as the time and place for the voters to meet to determine whether the town should be incorporated. The election was held as ordered. The report thereof made to the board of county commissioners showed that a majority of the votes had been cast in favor of the incorporation, whereupon the board ordered and declared the town incorporated under the name and style of New Palestine.

The first election of town officers was held on March 29, 1872, at which the following men were elected: Samuel Hook, clerk; Benjamin F. Rice, treasurer; Hiram Murnan, marshal; John S. Vansickle, assessor; trustees, Henry Gates, eastern district; Henry A. Schreiber, southern district; Mathias M. Hook, western district.

For many years the town had great difficulty with its name. The postoffice was known as Sugar Creek. The railroad and express stations as Palestine, and the name of the town itself was New Palestine. Because of a town named Palestine, in Kosciusko county, Indiana, people were often having their mail and other matters missent, that were directed to Palestine. A great deal of mail, of course, was addressed to Palestine instead of Sugar Creek, by people who simply knew the name of the town. Through the efforts of E. F. Faut and Congressman Bynum, the name of the postoffice was changed from Sugar Creek to New Palestine, on January 16, 1889. The name of the railroad station and express office was also changed to New Palestine.

The citizens of New Palestine have always taken an active interest in the administration of their local affairs. Tickets for town offices have usually been nominated along party lines, yet frequently citizens' tickets, etc., have been nominated. In 1874 two tickets were placed in the field, one, the "Law and Order" ticket, the other, the "Common Sense" ticket. As is usual in politics, the "Common Sense" peope were defeated. Since that time "Citizens' " tickets have frequently been nominated, but the political ticket has usually been successful.


The names of E. H. Faut, Charles Faut, Conrad Geisel and Gus Smith are among the early blacksmiths of the town. The Faut shop was operated until the death of Charles Faut, about three years ago. Conrad Geisel's shop was closed about ten years ago. Gus Smith, whose shop stood on the west side of Bitner street, just across from the old school house, was bought out by John Huber and William Trentleman, in 1882. They were young men at the time and conducted the shop under the name of "Our Boys" until 1887. At that time Mr. Huber took over the shop and Mr. Trentleman began work for the Faut Brothers. In 1899 he again opened his own shop, which he has maintained to the present.

Charles F. Richman has been a carpenter and contractor at New Palestine for over a half century. Some of the best dwellings in the vicinity, including also churches and schools, stand as monuments to his workmanship. Perry & Pliney F. Hobbs also contracted for a number of years during the eighties and later. At present Chris Rosenbaumer is the principal contractor. Eli Stout has for many years been a house painter, while Charles Ballard has painted the buggies and carriages.


A gas well was drilled in the creek bottom just below the hill in 1901, or possibly a year earlier. It was a failure, but an artesian well remained. In March, 1902, Max Herrlich installed a "rain," by means of which the water has been forced into the tank elevated on a derrick about fifty feet high on the hill just northeast of town. He then piped the town, to all parts of which gravity forces the water. It is used for all purposes. The school has used this water since 1902.


On August 10, 1892, the first bank at New Palestine opened its doors for business in the rear of the brick building standing on the northeast corner of Main and Bitner streets. This bank was promoted by Luther Erganbright and James Pritchard, though Mr. Erganbright took charge. It opened on rather slender capital, but grew into a prosperous institution. In the spring of 1893 it was reorganized under the state law with a capital of twenty five thousand dollars. It also moved from its old location to the Vansickle block on, the north side of Main street, about the center of the town. This organization was composed of William T. Eaton, president; Luther Erganbright, cashier; Miss Cora Shaeffer, John Manche and Henry Fralich.

The bank continued to do business until July, 1895, when Mr. Erganbright withdrew. It shortly afterward surrendered its charter and quit the banking business.

Through the efforts of William T. Eaton, the present New Palestine private bank was organized and opened its doors for business on September 20, 1897. The bank at that time was owned by William T. Eaton, president; Henry Fralich, cashier; Edward Fink, John H. Binford and Anton F. G. Richman. After several years of successful management Mr. Eaton retired on account of ill health and disposed of his holdings to the remaining stockholders. After Mr. Eaton's retirement Edward Fink was elected president, Henry Fralich, cashier, and Miss Maggie Fralich was employed as assistant cashier and bookkeeper. After the death of Anton F. G. Richman, in 1908, his son, Charles, took his father's holdings and became a member of the firm. In the spring of 1911 Miss Maggie Fralich severed her connection with the bank. Before her retirement Edward Fink had familiarized himself with banking business and upon her resignation took an active part in the administration of the bank's affairs. In the spring of 1912 John H. Binford died and his son, Paul, who was appointed administrator, represented his father in the bank. In August, 1912, Charles P. Weiser, of Indianapolis, was employed as bookkeeper and later was made assistant cashier. In September, 1912, Henry Fralich's retirement as officer and stockholder in the bank necessitated a complete reorganization thereof, which resulted in the selection of the following stockholders: Charles J. Richman, Benjamin G. Faut, Edward Fink and Paul F. Binford. The present officers are Charles J. Richman, president; Benjamin F. Faut, vice president; Edward Fink, cashier, and Charles P. Weiser, assistant cashier.


For a number of years previous to the Civil War, New Palestine had only two mails per week - one from the west, on Tuesday, and one from the east, on Friday. The mail was carried on horseback. During the winter months there were sometimes no deliveries for weeks because of bridges being out between Indianapolis and Rushville. "Bridges out" was a valid excuse for the star route carrier. He drew his salary whether the mail was delivered or not, if he had a legal excuse for not carrying it. Sometimes the patrons made up a donation and hired the postmaster at Philadelphia to go to Indianapolis and get the Sugar Creek postoffice mail. During the Civil War the people, of course, were anxious to get the news. Frequently a number of them clubbed together and had the Indianapolis Journal sent out on the "Pan-Handle" railroad and thrown off at Gem. (It will be remembered that the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railway was not completed until 1869.) All those in the club had to take turn to go after the morning paper. By this method the people of the vicinity were kept informed as to the events of the war. After the war and until 1869 a star route from Philadelphia to New Palestine was established and Thomas O'Riley had the contract for carrying the mail. He brought the mail three times per week. After the railroad was completed, of course, mails were delivered daily at New Palestine.

Two rural routes have been established from New Palestine, route r, in July, 1902, and route 2, in September, 1905.


A fuller history of the temperance movements is given elsewhere. One of the exciting events in the life of New Palestine was the explosion that blew up the saloon, on October 16, 1881. Of a similar nature was the blowing up of the pool room on May 21, 1882. In 1899 a very bitter temperance campaign was led principally by Rev. John S. Ward, of the Methodist church, and Dr. O. C. Nier.


Two efforts were made at New Palestine to drill for gas, following its discovery in 1887, but the quantity produced by each well was so small that it proved unprofitable. Gas was piped from the vicinity of Fountaintown, however, and during the latter eighties the citizens of New Palestine used it for cooking and heating purposes and the streets of the town were lighted by gas flambeaux. The gas pressure became low in two or three years and was found insufficient for practical purposes at New Palestine. About 1900, or a year or two later, an acetylene light plant was installed in the town hall that stood on the northeast corner of the school ground. From this plant the streets were lighted until the explosion, which occurred in the fall of 1906. During the following year another plant was installed on the hill just south of the railroad and north of the extreme east end of town, and the town was again lighted until the summer of 1915, when the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Company installed electric light. Since then the town has been lighted with electricity.


The New Palestine fire department was organized in April, 1893, with Max Herrlich as chief. The company consisted of twenty four men. A hand engine was purchased, which was used until the burning of the town hall, in 1906. Large cisterns were constructed in the streets and distributed in various parts of town. After the burning of the town hall, in 1906, in which the equipment of the fire department was destroyed, a new gasoline engine was purchased, which is still in use.


One of the most serious accidents that ever occurred at New Palestine was the explosion of the acetylene light plant, on the evening of October 1., 1906. The streets of the entire town, as well as sonic of the residences, were lighted from the plant, which was located on the ground floor of the town hall, which stood at the northeast corner of the present school ground. A Republican caucus was being held on the second floor on that evening, at which W. H. H. Rock, chairman of the Republican county central committee; Elmer J. Binford, candidate for judge; William A. Hough and James F. Reed, all from Greenfield, were present. A number of local Republicans were also there, including William Toon, Perry Hobbs, John O. Branson, Frank Hanes, John Hittle and Warren Coffey. The mechanism in which the gas was produced was out of order, and the gas leaking from the tank filled the lower room of the building. A disturbance of the light upstairs was observed and the town marshal, John L. McCune, went below to investigate. He struck a match at the door, which caused the explosion, wrecking the entire building. William Toon was fastened under the debris of the building and was immediately burned to death in the flames caused by the escaping gas. Perry Hobbs and John O. Branson were also severely burned. All of the other members present were injured, some seriously and others slightly.


The New Palestine Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1830, in a school house, near where the cement block factory now stands, at the rear of the Old school ground. Among the prime movers and first members of this organization are found the names of David and Catherine McNamee, George H. and Mary Robinson, Thomas Swift and wife, Lewis and Phebe Burk, Joseph and Elizabeth Conner, John and Sophia Ashcraft, Joseph and Elizabeth Monjar, Adam Hawk and wife, Whitfield True and wife, Dr. B. F. True and wife, Henry and Nancy Gates, Benjamin Freeman and wife, Dr. J. M and Mary Ely, Benjamin McNamee and wife, William Leachman and wife, Hiram Chambers and wife, John Johns and wife, H. Hough and wife, Jane McVey and Eliza Jones. The first trustees of this society were William Thomas McVey, Dr. J. M. Ely and David McNamee.

The first church building was erected in the •summer of 1856 and was dedicated the following September by Thomas Eddy. There is now a membership of two hundred and fifty one; average attendance, one hundred and twenty five.

The ministers who have presided here from time to time are as follow: James Conner, J. L. Sneeth, J. W. McMullen, Andrew. Kitchen, Ephraim Wright, Wray Rosencrans, Jenkins, Ransdall, Patrick Carlin, P. R. Roberts, Thomas Sharp Whitmore, Jesse Miller, F. M. Turk, White, Benjamin, Augustus Teris, McCaw, B. F. Morgan, E. A. Danmont, George Winchester, W. B. Clancy, J. L. McClain, Albert Cain, L. D. Moore, T. B. McClain, John G. Ghaffer, J. N. Thompson, W. S. Troyer, E. D. Keys, H. O. Frazier, Merritt Machlan, J. S. Ward, William Zaring, John Machlan, J. P. Masson, W. D. Woods, Frank H. Collier and P. R. Cross. The circuit of many points was obliterated in 1884, and New Palestine became a station.

In 1901, under the pastorate of John S. Ward, the old frame structure gave way to one of brick and stone, modern in every particular, at a cost of eight thousand dollars. The building committee was composed of Dr. O. C. Neier, William Lantz, Moore Holden, Conrad Geisel and Benjamin Faut. This committee was organized by electing Dr. O. C. Neier, president, William Lantz, treasurer, and John S. Ward, secretary. Plans were submitted by Architect Allen, of Indianapolis, and the contract was awarded to Charles F. Richman. Work began on July 15 and the building was dedicated on December 15, 1901.

The present officiary of the church is as follows: Trustees, William G. Lantz, John M. Ashcraft, Benjamin Faut, John Manche, Roscoe Andrews, Edward Fink and A. P. Hogle; stewards, A. P. Hogle; president, Walter Faut; secretary, Roscoe Andrews; treasurer, Francis Leonard; Ella Hogle, Alice Schreiber, Laura Kincaid, W. H. Trentleman and Flora B. Lantz; Sunday school superintendent, Forbes Leonard; president of the Epworth League, Ralph Ruschaupt; president of the Ladies' Aid Society, Flora Lantz; chorister, Henry C. Nichols; organist, Myrtle Schreiber.

A new parsonage was erected by Charles F. Richman in 1910, at a cost of three thousand five hundred dollars.

The Sunday school established in connection with the church meets on Sunday morning and has an enrollment of two hundred twenty, with an average attendance of one hundred and fifty. Forbes Leonard, the present superintendent, has an able corps of teachers, as follow: Rev. R. R. Cross, men's Bible class; A. P. Hogle, ladies' Bible class; Mrs. A. H. Geisel, junior girls; Murray Addison, junior boys; Loraine Cross, intermediate; Lillian Ulery, intermediate; Mrs. Joseph Fritts, primary; Myrtle Schreiber, beginners.

Three adult classes comprise one half the attendance and are mostly church members. The superintendents, as nearly as can be ascertained, have been as follow: Benjamin Freeman, Henry Merlau, Dr. Hook, Dr. Christian Kirkhoff, W. D. Place, A. P. Hogle, Ezra Eaton, David Ayres, L. L. Erganbright, C. M. Jackson, William Ashcraft, T. G. Short, Walter Faut, Elmer Andrews, Raymond Lantz, Clara Arminger, James Hawk, Forbes Leonard.

An Epworth League was organized in 1892; the present membership is thirty six. Devotional meetings are held each week and socials are given each month. Ralph Ruschaupt is the president.

A "Mite Society" was organized in 1886, consisting of the ladies, members or friends of the church. The officers are, Mrs. Stewart Nichols, president; Mrs. Alice Schreiber, vice president. This society was reorganized in a few years and named the Ladies' Aid Society, with Ella Hogle as president and Mrs. Alice Schreiber, vice president. Then followed as president, Mrs. Mary Gundrum, Mrs. Anna Neier, Mrs. Ella Machlan, Emma L. Jackson, Margaret Collier, Maud Lantz and Flora Lantz. Mrs. Kate Weber is the present vice president; Mrs. Fink, treasurer; Gertrude Andrews, secretary. The total membership numbers sixty loyal, noble minded women. There are various committees to look after the welfare of the church and parsonage, and visit the sick. Meetings devotional are held the first Thursday of each month.


The German Methodist Episcopal church was organized in the spring of 1851. Its charter members were John D. Fain, Christina Faut, Anthony Kirkhoff, Mary Kirkhoff, Conrad Gundrum and wife, John Lange and wife, Jacob Lange and wife, Henry Fink and Elizabeth Fink. The first trustees of the church were John D. Faut, John Manche, Anthony Kirkhoff, Henry Fink and Conrad Gundrum.

In 1852 the congregation erected a house of worship in the northeast part of New Palestine, adjoining the old school ground. Among the ministers of the church were the Revs. Philip Doer, Wilke, Heis, Ficken, Krill and others. Services were held by this congregation until within a decade of the close of the last century. At that time the greater number of Germans had departed this life and their children preferred to worship in English. They consequently united with the English Methodist Episcopal church at New Palestine. About the close of the century the congregation sold their property to Max Herrlich.


The first presentation of the Disciples' plea for an apostolic teaching of the Gospel at New Palestine was made by Elder New. He came in 1866, at the invitation of a few scattered brethren of that body living in the community. From this time the members of the church were visited at irregular intervals by a number of itinerant brethren. The early gatherings were held in groves along the banks of Little Sugar creek in the summer, and in private homes in the winter. A number of services were also held in the German Methodist church. Later they were held in the school house at New Palestine, where an organization was perfected on September 4, 1870, under the leadership of W. R. Low, who became the first pastor. The following resolution was subscribed to on that day:

"We, the undersigned members of the Body of Christ, agree to congregate ourselves together for the worship of the true God and the edifying of each other in love; to be governed by the word of God exclusive of the dictations and commandments of man." Signed by Michael H. Hittle, Elizabeth R. Hittle, Sanford Furry, Henry Bussell, Albert Freeman, Harriet Freeman, Malinda Bussell, Margaret Kamerian, Rachel Kamerian, Ethelbert Richardson, Malinda Richardson, Minerva Wheeler, John P. Armstrong, Eliza J. Armstrong and Lavina Pitcher. The names of Hayden P. Anderson, J. M. Pitcher and Thomas Parish were soon added to the list of charter members.

Shortly after the organization was effected the congregation was denied the use of the school house and services were held in the railroad depot, which had been built and given to the town by Hayden P. Anderson, who was then freight agent. In 1871 Mr. Anderson also donated ground and a house of worship was erected thereon, at a cost of one thousand five hundred and fifty dollars. This building was dedicated on Thanksgiving day, November 25, 1871, by W. R. Jewel, of Danville. Ind. At this time George B. Richardson, M. H. Hittle, J. P. Armstrong, J. M. Pitcher and H. P. Anderson were chosen as deacons.

Some of the early ministers of the church were W. T. Hough, J. A. Lockhart, John A. Navitz, W. H. Boles, Rev. Roberts, Barzilla Blount and Dr. H. W. McCane. Among the later ministers have been some of the most prominent of the brotherhood: L. E. Sellers, national secretary of the Christian Temperance Board; H. A. Pritchard, president of Eureka College, Eureka, Ill.; E. E. Moorman, now pastor of Englewood church, Indianapolis, and A. L. Ward, pastor of First church of Lebanon, Ind.

The house of worship was remodeled in 1906, and was dedicated in September of that year by L. L. Carpenter, of Wabash. In this building the following persons have served as pastor: Carl Barnett, under whose leadership the building was remodeled; Clarence Ridenbach, 1908-1912; A. Burns, 1913, and Herbert J. Buchanan, the present pastor, who began his work in 1914.

A very successful evangelistic meeting was held in the church in March, 1914, at which thirty or more members were added to the church roll. It also made it possible to employ ministers who could give all their time to this church.

A Sunday school was organized at the time of the organization of the church. J. P. Armstrong was superintendent for a number of years. The school now has an enrollment of about ninety members and is well organized. The graded system of lessons is used, and the adult department is well attended by the church membership. The present superintendent is Everett Snodgrass. Mrs. W. H. Larrabee is superintendent of the elementary department.

The Helping Hand Society has been an effective auxiliary of the church for the past eighteen years. Its present officers are Mrs. E. C. Brandenburg, president; Mrs. William Gunn, secretary; Mrs. W. H. Larrabee, treasurer. A Christian Endeavor Society was organized in March. 1914, with a score or more of young people as charter members. Charles Leonard was the first president of the society. An auxiliary to the Christian Woman's Board of Missions was organized in October, 1914. It is in a prosperous condition. Mrs. William Gunn is the president. The church is now enjoying a period of its brightest history. Fifty members have been added to the church during the past two years. The resident membership is one hundred and seven.


The German Evangelical Zion's church was organized on October 22, 1887, through the efforts of Rev. P. G. H. E. Wittich. Rev. Wittich. who had come over from Germany several years before, had been educated in the German universities. He spoke a beautiful German, but a broken English. He had a clear voice and a magnetic personality. It was these qualities that enabled him to accomplish his work at New Palestine and vicinity so successfully.

The little congregation at first worshipped in the German Methodist church that stood in the northeast part of town, adjoining the old school ground. Later it worshipped in the hall of what is now known as the Vansickle building. In this hall it celebrated its first Christmas festivities in 1887.

In the meantime steps were taken for the erection of a new building. A building committee was appointed, composed of John G. Jacobi, Peter Kissel, William Ruschaupt, George Hack and Anton F. Schildmeier. In the spring of 1888 work was begun and the building was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1888.

The charter members of the church were Frederick Gessler, Jacob Denkel, John G. Jacobi, Ernst H. Faut, Max Herrlich, Wilhelm Ruschaupt, Henry Clapper, George Hack, Charles Harking, Johann Gessler, George Gessler, Wilhelm Gessler, Jacob Stroh, Anton F. Danner, F. H. Waltke, Anton F. Schildmeier, George H. Waltke, Anton L. Jacobi, Henry Ruschaupt, George Freigel, Jr., Louis H. Jacobi, Anton Craft, Henry Weber, Peter Kissel, Henry Ruster, Wilhelm Hupe and Johann Kroening. Of the above, Henry Ruschaupt, George Hack and John G. Jacobi are still members of the church.

The congregation has a good frame parsonage on the church ground, erected in 1893. Following are the pastors who have served the church: Rev. Wittich, October, 1887; Fred Dreer, June, 1891; Theodore Kettlehut, July, 1892; C. G. Kettlehut, November, 189$; Daniel Bretz, May, 1898; John Haussman, January, 1900; Charles Meyer, June, 1901; William J. Crammer, October, 1902; H. C. Toelle, September, 1909; A. B. Meyer, January, 1913; Theodore Schory, April, 1915. The average attendance at the regular services of the church is probably sixty.

A Sunday school was also organized in October, 1887. There are now seven classes, with an average attendance of sixty five. The adult members of the church also attend Sunday school. Among the superintendents are George Freigel, Max Herrlich, Herman Ehlert, Mrs. Louise Kissel, Rev. H. C. Toelle and Christian Rosenbaum.

The church has a Ladies' Aid Society and also a Young People's Society. Both are prosperous and doing a live and wide awake work, spiritually and financially.

This church was made the beneficiary in the will of Anton F. Schildmeier, one of its members, who departed this life in the spring of 1915. In Article 8 of the codicil to his will, Mr. Schildmeier provided: "It is my desire that in the settling up of my estate the trustees of the German Evangelical church at New Palestine shall receive five hundred dollars to be applied to funds for the purchase of a pipe organ for the church." This amount was paid to the trustees of the church by the executor, Henry Schildmeier, on October 27, 1915.


This cemetery was first laid out by Elizabeth Cones, on December 20, 18.70. At that time it contained forty one lots. Other additions were made later, but the older portion of the burial ground gradually fell into decay and became overgrown with weeds and brush. Ten years ago there was a feeling among the lot owners that some steps should be taken for the better care of the cemetery. There seemed to be a division among the people, and, on the one hand Charles H. Faut, W. H. Garver, William S. Toon, N. P. Brandenburg and John L. Boring attempted to incorporate the cemetery under the Voluntary Association act. A number of other persons interested in the cemetery joined in a petition which was addressed to the board of county commissioners of Hancock county, asking for an incorporation of the cemetery under a special statute providing for the incorporation of cemeteries that had long been in use. Charles H. Faut and others at once placed their articles of incorporation on file with the secretary of state under the name of the Crown Point Cemetery Association. Those who proceeded before the board of county commissioners stopped at the close of the proceedings before the commissioners. A law had been passed, however, which stipulated that no incorporation should be held complete, and that no incorporation could exercise corporate powers until its articles of association had been placed on file with the secretary of state. This was not done for the cemetery until in the summer of 1909. When the articles were presented to the secretary of state it was found that there were already articles on file for an association known as the Crown Point Cemetery Association. Though the incorporation of the cemetery under the Voluntary Association act was invalid, it nevertheless placed the name on file in the office of the secretary of state, which prevented the other interested parties from incorporating under the same name. A further petition was then filed with the board of county commissioners asking that the name be changed from Crown Point Cemetery Association to the New Palestine Cemetery Association, and the incorporation has been known by that name to the present.

Since the incorporation of the cemetery many improvements have been made. All brush and weeds have been cut clown from the old part. The cemetery has been leveled, and has now been sown to grass. Streets and alleys have been improved, a new entrance has been constructed from the west, and, withal, the cemetery is now one of the most beautiful in the county.


New Palestine Lodge No. 404, Free and Accepted Masons, received its charter on May 25, 1869, with the following charter members: F. M. Hook, J. P. Armstrong, Conrad H. Shellhouse, Edward P. Scott, Burroughs Westlake, B. F. Stutsman, Calvin Bennett and J. P. Vernon: The first steps toward the organization of the lodge were taken in January, 1869, when the grand master appointed the rest of the officers necessary to perfect the organization. The lodge has grown from eight charter members to a present membership of one hundred and three. When the Vansickle hall was built the lodge took an interest in the building and was given a ninety nine year lease on the hall on the third floor. The set of three gavels now used in the lodge were presented on the evening of October 21, 1899, by Conrad Shellhouse, a charter member, and the first junior warden. They were made of olive wood by an Arab, under the instruction of Brother Shellhouse, and were obtained within about two hundred feet of the site of King Solomon's temple.

New Palestine Chapter No. 213, Order of the Eastern Star. - On May 15, 1897, I. C. B. Steman, grand patron of the grand chapter Order of the Eastern Star, appointed Edward P. Scott as patron; Mary M. Nichols, worthy matron: Cassie M. Caraway, associate matron. At this meeting W. H. Glascock, associate grand patron, instituted the J. C. Vansickle Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, at New Palestine. The officers of Miriam Chapter No. 64, from Greenfield, being present, took their respective stations, Iola Bragg, worthy matron, instituting Ella El ogle into the mysteries of the order. On April 2, 1898, Morgan Caraway presented an amendment to the constitution asking that the chapter he known as New Palestine Chapter No. 213, Order of the Eastern Star. There were thirty charter members, of which eight are still in the chapter. Five have died and the rest have either changed their membership or have withdrawn. At present there are thirty five members. They have always met at the Masonic hall.

New Palestine Lodge No. 215, Knights of Pythias, was organized on April 9, 1889, with twenty five charter members. It has at present eighty two members. Since its organization it has paid in sick benefits approximately six thousand dollars; death benefits, nine hundred and thirty seven dollars; for nurse hire, eight hundred and ninety five dollars. Of the charter members, nine still retain their membership in the lodge. Six have gone out and ten have died.

Pythian Sisters No. 313, auxiliary to the Knights of Pythias, was organized April 29, 1905, in the old Vansickle building, with the following charter members: Marion Tucker and wife, Moore Holden and wife, Joseph Fritts and wife, John Burkhart and wife, Charles Ballard and wife, Pleasant Parish and wife, John Hittle and wife, William Tucker and wife, Robert Branson and wife, Harry Weber and wife, Margaret Sheafer, Flora Strong, Lizzie Andrews, Ellen Drake, Anna Geisel, Lizzie Means, Lida Nichols, Mary Peffly, Audry Rupkey (Larrabee), Mada Shilling (Scott), Leona Scott, Sadie Ulrey, Leota Wilkins and Clara Arminger. The first officers were Margaret Sheafer, most excellent chief; Nora Hittle, excellent senior; Martha Holden, excellent junior; Clara Arminger, manager; Leota Wilkins, mistress of records and correspondence; Margaret Burkhart, mistress of finance; Elizabeth Ballard, protector; Belle Fouty, guard; Flora Strong, past chief. The present membership consists of twenty one knights and thirty nine ladies. The motto of the lodge is, "Onward and Upward." In Memoriam: Max Herrlich, Pet Allen, Sadie Ulrey, Minnie Cox and Elizabeth Ballard.

Mohican Tribe No. 217, Improved Order of Red Men, was organized on February 19, 1896, with thirty charter members. At present there are one hundred and nine members. The tribe meets in the hall of the Old school house, which during the Civil War times was known as "Union Hall."

Mohican Council No. 95, Degree of Pocahontas, a branch of the Red Men, was instituted June 9, 1897, with thirty six charter members. The first officers were: Prophetess, Lura Eaton; Pocahontas, Alice Ayers; Wenonah, 011ie Westlake; Powhatan, Max Herrlich; keeper of records, Emma Herrlich; keeper of wampum, Sarah Martindale; first scout, Lizzie James; second scout, Addie Harris; first runner, Minerva Sharp; second runner, Mary Kastor; first counsellor, Lydia Leonard; second counsellor, Mary Drake; first warrior, W. H. Harris; second warrior, Robert Gould; third warrior, E. B. Martindale; fourth warrior, Albert Kastor; guard of forest, Fannie Leonard; guard of wigwam, Rosetta Payne. This council now has sixty one members. In Memoriam Wilhelmina Eaton, John Gundrum, Max Herrlich, Maggie Ashcraft, Susie Andrews, Mary Ulrey and Sadie Ulrey. Miss Emma Herrlich has been the keeper of records for the lodge ever since its institution with the exception of one year.

Mohican Hay Loft No. 217 ½, was organized May 18, 1898, with eighteen charter members. It also meets at Huber's hall.

New Palestine Lodge No 844, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized on December 12, 1906, with thirty four charter members. Present number of members, fifty eight. The lodge meets in the second floor of the Geisel building or over the bank and drug store.

The Daughters of Rebekah also have a lodge in connection with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

New Palestine District Court of Honor No. 581 was organized December 30, 1897, with twenty five charter members. Some of the members have died, others have moved away, so that at present there are only eight members left in the order.

New Palestine Camp No. 6922, Modern Woodmen of America, was instituted March 21, 1901, with twenty four charter members. The camp now has a membership of ninety five and meets in the Geisel hall over the bank and drug store.


Ever since the sixties the town of New Palestine has, from time to time, had its cornet bands. Among the older musicians should be mentioned Henry G. Mickle, Walter Watterson, Charles Hanes, J. M. Freeman, Thomas J. Elliott, James Arthur, Smith T. Nichols, John H. Garver, George W. Nichols, Milliard F. Anderson, Fred Friegel, Harry Garver, John Westlake, William Gundrum, John Carson, Marshall Watterson, James Everson, Amos Everson, John Merlau, John Rawlings, Edward Ayers, Lucian Watterson, John Hittle, Fred Claf fey and Godlib Mickle. Isaac Davis, of Greenfield, taught the band for a while. During the early eighties a special teacher was employed, who made his home at New Palestine, to give all of his time to the band and to the individual members thereof. It likely reached its highest state of excellence from 1880 to 1884. In 1877 it played at the Shelbyville fair and later played at a number of the surrounding county fairs, as well as at the state fair. In 1880 a new wagon, also new instruments and new uniforms, were purchased, at a cost of over one thousand dollars. The people of the community contributed liberally to supply the band with this equipment. The boys themselves paid out a large amount for instruction, and for a time enjoyed the reputation of being one of the very best bands in the state. About 1900 another band was organized under the leadership of James Everson, which remained in existence for three or four years. Among the players of this band were: James H. Everson, Hiram K. Banks, Guy B. Westlake, John Monjar, Mat Kellum, Edward Eickman, Pearl Gilson, Otto Schramm, Gustav Letchle, George J. Richman, Roscoe Andrews, Charles Waggoner, C. E. Gundrum, Harry Short, Fred W. Claf fey, Harry Garver, Ed Schreiber, I. C. Schlosser and Evert Short. Another band was organized a few years later, which played for a short time.

In addition to the brass bands, Charles Ballard has on several occasions organized orchestras, which have played a good grade of music. Ballard's orchestra appeared at various celebrations during the eighties, such as the opening of Vansickle's new hall on September 23, 1884, and the dedication of the school house at New Palestine in 1884.

One of the greatest social events in the life of New Palestine andits vicinity was a harvest picnic, on August 8, 1895, which had been promoted by the business men of New Palestine. It was held at Gundrum's grove, about three quarters of a mile northeast of New Palestine. The Indianapolis Military Band was present during the day. The people were entertained and amused with mule races and contests in which the boys climbed greased poles, etc. There were baby shows and other features of the program in which people were interested. This picnic probably brought together the greatest number of people ever congregated at one time in that vicinity.


There is one literary club at New Palestine, the Progress Club. The organization of the club was suggested by Carrie D. Arnout. Its purpose is "intellectual improvement and social culture." The club was organized on September 13, 1910, with the following charter members: Julia Waters, Myrtle Elliott, Anna Geisel, Daisy Eikman, Carrie Arnout, Myrtle Schreiber, Hazel Mitchell, Levanche Conklin, Jessie Rogers, Anna Waltz.

The first officers elected were Mrs. Carrie Arnout, president; Mrs. Jessie Rogers, secretary; Mrs. Myrtle Elliott, treasurer; Mrs. Daisy Eikman, assistant secretary and treasurer. The first program committee was composed of Myrtle Schreiber, Levanche Conklin and Daisy Eikman. Meetings of the club are held fortnightly. A free lecture is given each year, to which the public is invited. Social evenings and a yearly picnic are the diversions. The club at present is composed of the following members: Clara Arminger, Eliza Ball, Indiana Ferris, Anna Geisel, Emma Herrlich, Mary Herrlich, Bessie Herrlich, Eva Hittle, Nancy Huber, Grace Mace, Lucile Madison, Mattie Merlau, Maud Parish, Blanche Schlosser and Margaret Williamson.


No survey was ever made of this town and consequently there is no plat. The postoffice was maintained until 1902, when the rural routes were started from Greenfield. Nicholas Stutsman established a store in 1871, and he and his successors have kept stores there from that time to the present. Among the people who have helped make Gem what it is are J. Townsend, Burk & Son, William Gladden & Son, Chris Fink and Snyder Brothers. Jesse Snyder is the present owner of the store.

The Stutsmans, and later, Chris Fink, operated a saw mill and planing mill at Gem from 1871 until 1902. Isaac Stutsman had a blacksmith shop for a number of years prior to the middle nineties. Joseph Coon also had a shoe shop for a number of years. At present there is a store and a grain elevator at Gem. The elevator is operated by Fred Thomas.


The Gem Methodist Episcopal church was organized in the fall of 1904 during a revival conducted by the Rev. F. M. Waggoner, pastor on the Philadelphia circuit. The following were the charter members: Rosa Cly, Samuel Cly, Pearl Domanget, Maud Grigsby, Mabel Grigsby, William D. Gladden, Flora Gilson, Rosa Gladden, Elzy Grigsby, Emily Grigsby, Mary E. Hawk, Theresa Harbaugh, Martha Kuhn, Delores Kuhn; Vania Kuhn, Laura Millspaugh, Blanch Reasoner, William Riser, Nellie Rodewald, Della Reasoner, Florence Reasoner, George Rodewald, Margaret Spilker, AVil1iaty Spilker, Estella Spilker, Elizabeth Spilker, George Stutsman, Nancy Spilker.

The little frame church was built by Henry C. Spilker, and was dedicated February 26, 1905. A Sunday school has been conducted in connection with the church ever since its organization. Christian Fink, who has since joined the church, takes an active interest and is one of its financial pillars of support.


For a number of years during the latter part of the life of Dr. Paul Espey, at New Palestine, he was the heaviest taxpayer in the township, with Benjamin Freeman second. Since that time George Lantz, Ernst W. Faut, Anton Schildmeier, Sr., the Schramms, and probably others have paid larger installments than either Espey or Freeman. A number of men now living pay taxes in the county exceeding the sum of one hundred dollars. Among them are: Jasper Allen and wife, $100.94: William A. Brier, $119.86; William C. Black, $178.96: Amanda M. Barnard, $158.03; Heinrich Borgman, $116.86; Jane Brandenburg, $105.24; E. O. and Marcella Brandenburg, $101.92; Joseph Everson, 8139.11; Emma L. Freeman, $144.25; Christian Fink, $280.64; H. G. and C. E. Gundrum, $119.85; Frederick Hack, $152.39; Edwin C. Huntington, $199.86; Worth B. and Viola Harvey, $135.46; Louis H. Jacobi, $331.94; Louise Knoop, $179.61; William G. Lantz and wife, $769.41; Henry M. Lantz and wife, $203.35; Fredrick C. Landworher, $132.48; Charles L. Manche, $202.86; John M. Ashcraft, $468.09; James Burns, $111.05; George Bottsford, $136.12; Emma E. Bardoner, $182.27; Robert A. Briles, $151.06; John W. Brun, $105.25; James E. Barnard (estate), $416.78; Van B. Cones, $193.22; Benjamin G. Faut and wife, $647.66; Edward Fink, $588.65; Walter Faut, $233.29; William J. Geisel, $261.13; John H. Hittle, $123.50; John M. Flail, $125.3J; William Hutton, $112.81; C. M. and E. L. Jackson, $115.37; Louis Lantz, $153.55; Henry M. Lantz, $185.60; August Langenberger, $114.21; John Manche, $510.47; Henry Merlau, $197.04; Louis H. Merlau, $112.39; William A. F. Meier, $134.46; Henry C. Nichols, $166.33; Henry Ortell, $227.15; Pleasant F. Parish, $103.92; Anton F. Rabe (estate), $1J4.88; Frederick Rhodenbeck and wife, $165.81; Anton Schildmeier, Sr., $1,648.38; Otto Schramm, $202.86; John Schlosser, $143.26; Frederick Sanders and wife, $105.08; Catherine Weber, $253.65; Ernest H. Faut, $115.44; Christian Geisel, $161.071 John Huber, $101.64; William H. Larrabee and wife. $180.37; William Merlau, $120.03; John Moore (estate), $144.92; Charles A. Ostermeier, $132.80; Henry Ostermeier, $288.51; Louis F. Richman, $142.59; Julia L. Rushhaupt, $173.47; William Rodenheck and wife, $204.51; Anton F. Schildmeier, Jr., $251.16; Velasco Snodgrass, $163.68; Anton William Spilker, $214.31; Emilee Schramm., $154.88; William G. Schildmeier, $126.83; Fredrick Wampner, $115.88; Henry Fralich, $252.43; Geisel Brothers, $170.73; John F. Kirkhoff, $160.08; John W. Waltz, $207.90.

Sugar Creek Township History files [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3 - New Palestine].

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