History of towns and villages in Miami County, Indiana Part
2 Leonda to Wooleytown
From: History of Miami County, Indiana
Edited by: Mr. Arthur L. Bodurtha
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1914
Shortly after the completion of the old Peru & Indianapolis Railroad the little town of Leonda, situated about a mile north of the present town of Bunker Hill, became one of the principal trading points south of the Wabash river. Leonda was projected before the railroad was finished, having been laid out by Harvey Hoover and Jacob Pottarff in 1851. The original plat showed seventy two lots, with the railroad running directly through the center of the town. Not long after Leonda was laid out, Walter P. Shaw opened a general store. Other early merchants were Jacob Arnold and Samuel Jones, the latter also conducting a hotel. A postoffice was established in the early '50s, with Joseph Arnold as the first postmaster. Bunker Hill was laid out about the same time and spirited rivalry commenced between the two towns. When the Pan Handle railroad was built, crossing the Lake Erie & Western at Bunker Hill, the postoffice was removed to that town and Leonda gradually declined until now it is remebered by only a few of the old settlers.
This village is a station on the Pan Handle Railroad, in the northern part of Clay township. The railroad company
put in a siding there in 1888 and soon afterward E. B. Bottorff opened a general store. He was succeeded after
a time by M. P. Conn. Thomas & Smith established a saw mill at Loree a short time after the siding was built
and a post office was located there a little later. In 1910 the population was given as thirty. The saw mill and
the general store are the only business enterprises.
About two and a half miles east of three, on the line between Harrison and Clay township, is the little hamlet
of McGrawsville, which is a station on the Pan Handle Railroad. About two years before the railroad was completed
to this point, Nelson McGraw built a small store - only eight by ten feet - and put in a small stock of goods.
When the railroad was finished a siding was put in here and the name of McGrawsville was given to the place, in
honor of the pioneer merchant. A church was soon afterward built on the Clay township side of the town and a blacksmith
shop was opened. D. F. Deisch succeeded Mr. McGraw in the mercantile business, enlarged the store and increased
the size of his stock. The general store is now owned by T. R. Dawson. Besides this store a saw mill and the postoffice
are the principal attractions of McGrawsville, the population of which in 1910 was forty.
In June, 1860, George and Anderson Wilkinson laid out a plat of twenty lots where the town of Macy is now located
and gave to the place the name of Lincoln William Cordell soon after purchased one of the lots, upon which he built
a blacksmith shop, and John Inscho, a carpenter, built the first residence. Before the close of the year George
Wilkinson opened a store. A little later J. W. Hurst and A. L. Norris formed a partnership and purchased the stock
of Mr. Wilkinson. For several years the firm of Hurst & Norris was the leading mercantile concern of the town.
The town grew so rapidly that in 1869 a large addition of eighty lots was made to the original plat by Wilkinson
& Powell. Louden Carl purchased a lot in this addition and removed his store from Five Corners. Alonzo Hudson
established the first drug store and David Goldsmith the first clothing store.
Near the center of Jefferson township, beautifully situated on the Eel river, is the town of Mexico, one of
the oldest towns in Miami county. When the first settlers came into the Eel river valley, one of their great needs
was a trading post of some kind. As inducement to some adventurous trader to locate in that part of the county
the town of Mexico was laid out in August, 1834, by John B. and Simeon Wilkinson. The original plat included one
hundred and twenty six lots, which would indicate that the proprietors were actuated somewhat by a spirit of speculation.
Soon after the town was laid out a trading post was established by Bearss & Ewing, who carried on successful
business for several years. The following year Asa Leonard built a large two story log house and engaged in merchandising
at Mexico. Washington Osborne was another pioneer merchant; Noah Sinks and John Hartpence also sold goods in the
town during its early years, and the firm of Train, Mason & Spencer operated a large store in the '50s.
In August, 1849, the original plat of Miami was laid out by James Herrell and soon after the first house was
built by Alexander Blake. It was a log structure and was used as a store by the owner, who was the first merchant
in the village. The first plat included forty five lots and five streets - Fulton and Cherry, running east and
west, and Main, Elm and Walnut, running north and south. In the spring of 1851, William H. Cox made an addition
of fifty one lots, and the next year Richard Miller and Isaac Herrell platted an addition of seventy two lots.
Austin Herrell opened a store in 1851 and was closely connected with the business affairs of the town for more
than twenty years. In 1870 he built a mill, which he conducted for several years. Another mill built about the
same time was that of Ebenezer Humrickhouse, which was removed to Walton, Indiana, in 1880. The first sawmill was
built by Alexander Blake, about 1852. A sawmill was in operation here as late as about 1894, when it was abandoned
by the owners, Pomeroy & Keyes, who removed the machinery elsewhere.
Nead is a small hamlet in Pipe Creek township. No regular plat of the place has ever been filed in the office
of the county recorder, but the latest maps of Miami county locate it upon the southeast quarter of section 12,
about one mile north of Big Pipe creek and four miles southwest of the city of Peru. Nead has a good public school
and a general store and the population, according to Rand, McNally, was forty in the year 1910.
An old map of Miami county shows the village of Niconza on the southeast quarter of section 15, township 29,
range 5, a short distance north of Squirrel creek, in the eastern part of Perry township. Little can be learned
of the place, farther than that it was an early trading post that a postoffice was maintained there for some time
during the early history of Perry township.
The original plat of this town was filed for record on March 16, 1854, by William North, and was recorded under
the name of Moorefield. It consisted of twenty nine lots. In the fall of 1867, when the Pan Handle railroad was
completed to the town, two additions were made to the town - Colaw's, consisting of fifteen lots, and Parks', consisting
of thirteen lots. About that time the name was changed to North Grove. The first business house was erected by
Abraham Colaw, on the corner afterward occupied by the firm of Stitt & Lee, and Solomon Younce opened a blacksmith
shop soon after the town was laid out.
About 1840 Richard Miller established a trading post on the tract of land entered by him just north of Bachelor
creek, in the eastern part of Richland township. A settlement grew up about his store and in April, 1847, the town
of Paw Paw was regularly platted and recorded. Among the early mechanics and industries were James Wright, blacksmith;
Alvin Kite and George King, wagon makers; George Brown and Lawson Humphreys, cabinet makers; Richard Miller, tannery;
a hat factory; and a Dr. Jones was the first physician. When the Eel River Railroad was built trade was diverted
from Paw Paw to other towns and it is now one of the deserted villages of Miami county. Paw Paw was the home of
the late Hon. Robert Miller, at one time state senator, and his son, Rev. S. C. Miller, still lives in the vicinity.
Situated on the picturesque Mississinewa river, in the eastern part of Butler township, is the old town of Peoria,
which was laid out by Isaac Litzenberger in October, 1845. The first house was built by Joseph Younce and the first
store was opened by Mr. Litzenberger, soon after he had the plat surveyed. Moses Falk was an early trader here
and Dr. John C. Helm was the first physician. A postoffice called "Reserve" was maintained here for several
years, deriving its name from the reservation granted to Ozahshinquah, which lay just above the village. Peoria
was at one time a trading point of considerable import. ance, but its greatness waned with the building of the
railroads and the diversion of trade to other towns. James Long, postmaster and general merchant, has been a prominent
figure in Peoria for many years.
Early in the year 1837 John R. Wilkinson and Matthew Fenimore purchased a tract of land in the southern part
of sections 1 and 2, in the western part of what is now Union township, and there laid out the town of Perrysburg
in June of that year. The original plat consisted of thirty six lots. Matthew Fenimore established a trading post
there about the time the town was laid out, and two years later Perrysburg contained about half a dozen residences,
a tavern, the store, a blacksmith shop and a church. William Burnett was one of the early hotel keepers and Dr.
Henry Howe was one of the pioneer physicians, perhaps very first to practice his profession in the village. Before
the Lake Erie & Western Railroad was built, Perrysburg was the center of trade for a large district of the
surrounding country, but after that much of its trade went to the new towns that grew up along the railroad. At
the present time the principal business interests are the brick and tile factory, two general stores and a blacksmith
shop. The population in 1910 was one hundred.
In the eastern part of Richland township, on the Eel river and the Vandalia Railroad, is the village and postoffice
of Pettysville. It was platted by Daniel Petty, who opened a store at that point when the railroad was built in
1872. A postoffice was established a little later and is still in existence, one route from it supplying mail to
the adjacent rural districts. G. T. Grimes is the present postmaster. Pettysville reported a population of sixty
in 1910. It has a general store, a grain elevator and ships considerable quantities of grain, live stock and other
The old town of Pierceburg was platted in the spring of 1853 by John H. Miller, Simon Snavely, F. W. White and
Daniel Mendenhall. The original plat consisted of forty eight lots, about one half of which lay in Wabash county
and the others were in sections 10 and 15, in the eastern part of Erie township. Little can be learned regarding
this old village, but it does not appear that it ever became a place of much importance as a trading point.
Although this town is incorporated and has a government of its own, it is practically a part of the city of
Peru. It occupies the tract of land once owned by Daniel R. Bearss, just north of and adjoining the city limits
and the history of its industries, schools, etc., is given in the chapter devoted to the city of Peru.
In the spring of 1845 Ebenezer Fenimore laid out the town of Santa Fe, on the southeast quarter of section 32,
in the extreme southern part of Butler township. Soon after it was platted William S White opened a general store
and when the town was two years old it boasted a sawmill, the store, a schoolhouse and perhaps half a dozen residences.
In 1850 an addition of twenty six lots was made to the town. Fenimore & Britton built a mill on Pipe Creek,
near the town, and operated it until it was destroyed by fire in 1869. Santa Fe was a thriving little place until
the Pan Handle Railroad was built, when much of its trade went to Amboy and McGrawsville. Upon the completion of
the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, a station called New Santa Fe was established on that line about three fourths
of a mile north of the old town. There is a grain elevator at the station and since the building of this railroad
there has been a slight revival of business in Santa Fe. The population in 1910 was 150.
Snow Hill, once a village of promise in the northeast corner of Harrison township, was laid out some time in
the early '50s by Jacob Miller and Elijah Lieurance, on section 3, township 25, range 5. The proprietors of the
town established a large steam saw mill there about the time the plat was filed and soon after a blacksmith shop
was opened near the mill A little later a man named Lawson started a general store, which became an important trading
house for the surrounding country. Mr. Lawson was killed by a falling limb striking him on the head, while he was
on his way from Peru with a wagon load of goods, and his successor in the mercantile business at Snow Hill was
Parker Hollingsworth. Jesse Miller started a cabinet shop about 1854 and a number of the articles of furniture
he made are still to be seen in the homes of some of the old settlers. After the completion of the Pan Handle Railroad
Snow Hill began to decline. Jesse and George Bower bought the lots as they were offered for sale and finally succeeded
in having the plat vacated.
The plat of South Peru was filed for record on September 12, 1873, by Laban, Elizabeth, Maria and Rachel Armstrong,
and William Erwin, whose wife was Elizabeth A. Armstrong. It consisted of thirty eight lots, but several additions
have since been made, the most notable ones being the additions of Cole and Armstrong. The town is situated in
the northern part of Washington township and is separated from the city of Peru by the Wabash river. A wheel factory
was started on the south side of the river two years before the town of South Peru was laid out. It was afterward
converted into a furniture factory and was burned in 1876. Other industries were a packing house and a brewery.
The population in 1910 was 866. In January, 1914, a movement was started by the citizens of the town to secure
the annexation of the suburb to the city of Peru. The ordinance of annexation was passed on March 10, 1914. (See
the chapter on the City of Peru.)
The old town of Stockdale was located on the line that divides Miami and Wabash counties. The larger part of
the plat was in Wabash county, but a portion of the town was in the extreme southeast corner of Perry township.
Stockdale was laid out by Thomas Goudy in 1837 and for a number of years it was the principal trading point for
the early settlers of that region. When the Eel River (now the Vandalia) Railroad was built and the town of Roann
grew up only a short distance away, the village of Stockdale ceased to grow and after a few years began to decline.
A decade after the completion of the railroad the grist mill and a few dwellings were all that remained of the
once active, thriving village.
About two and a half miles southeast of Mexico was once a settlement called Stringtown, from the fact that there
were a number of houses "strung" along both sides of the Peru and Mexico road. Evans Bean had a general
store here at one time and there was a grist mill operated by John S. Winters. The mill was finally destroyed by
fire, the store was removed to some other locality, and the last business concern in Stringtown was the cabinet
shop of a man named Ireland. After his removal to Mexico the other residents one by one departed and nothing of
the old settlement remains.
The town of Union City was laid out by George Hill in April, 1861, on the southwest quarter of section 31, township
29, range 4. about two miles west of present village of Deedsville. The original plat consisted of seventeen lots.
On some of the old maps of Miami county this place appears as "Union," but little can be learned regarding
its growth or the cause of its decay. It probably succumbed to the inevitable when the railroad was built and the
towns of Macy and Deedsville came into prominence as trading centers.
On April 21, 1854. Andrew Wolpert filed with the county recorder a plat of a town to be known as Urbana, located
in the northeast quarter of section 12, township 25, range 4, a short distance north of the present village of
McGrawsville. The plat shows eighteen lots, but the town never became a place of much importance, owing chiefly
to the fact that McGrawsville had the advantage of the railroad and drew the trade of the neighborhood.
This village is a station on the Lake Erie & Western Railroad in the extreme northwest corner of the county.
It is the outgrowth of the railroad and in 1910 reported a population of 105. Wagoner has a saw mill, two general
stores, a money order postoffice with one rural route, and is the shipping and supply point for a large farming
district in the northwestern part of Miami and the southern part of Fulton county.
Waupecong is the largest town in Clay township. It is situated within one mile of the Howard county line and
about four miles east of Bennett's Switch. When the plat of the town was filed on April 20, 1849, by James Highland,
Jacob Hight and Andrew Petty, it was given the name of White Hall. Andrew Petty established a trading post and
was also interested in the lumber business. Otto P. Webb put in a large stock of goods soon after the town was
laid out and carried on successful business for several years. Other early merchants were H. D. Hattery, Andrew
Cable, George W. Lawyer and Joseph and Henry Mygrant. The first physician was a Dr. Morehead. A man named Miller
established a sawmill at an early day and a steam flour mill was erected some years later by John Smucker, who
sold out to Jacob Shrock. Although some distance from a railroad, Waupecong has continued to be the principal trading
point for a large and rich agricultural district in the southern part of Miami and the northern part of Howard
county. The population of the village in 1910 was 205.
An old map of Miami county shows the village of Wheatyille as being situated on section 36, in the southern
part of Perry township. The writer has been unable to learn anything concerning its founders or the date when it
was established. It was evidently a place of some importance at the beginning of the Civil war, in 1861, as the
adjutant general's reports contain the names of a number of Miami county volunteers who gave their address as Wheatville,
and one of the companies of the Indiana Legion was known as the "Wheatyille Guards."
Amos Wooley and his three sons came to Miami county in 1846 and settled in the northwest corner of Richland
township The young men were mechanics and soon after their arrival they started a blacksmith and wagon shop on
their father's farm in section three. A few years later William Harp, a son-in-law of the elder Mr. Wooley, opened
a general store. A settlement grew up about the store and shop, which in time became known as Wooleytown. Peter
Hand & Son engaged in the manufacture of grain cradles, which were sold throughout Miami and the adjoining
counties, and J. M. Hoffman had a shop from which he turned out looms for weaving rag carpet and all sorts of woolen
fabrics. After a few years Mr. Hand removed his store to Five Corners and Abraham Leedy became the merchant at
Wooleytown. After the building of the Lake Erie & Western Railroad and the founding of Denver, only two miles
away, Wooleytown began to decline and within a few years all its former greatness and prosperity had departed,
never to return.
The following list of postoffices in Miami county is taken from the Official Postal Guide for July, 1913. The
figures after the name of each indicate the number of rural free delivery routes emanating from that office. Amboy,
2; Bennett's Switch, 1; Bunker Hill, 1; Chili, 1; Converse, 3; Deedsville, 1; Denver, 2; Gilead; Loree, 1; McGrawsville,
1; Macy, 3; Mexico, 1; Miami, 1; North Grove, 1; Peru, 12; Pettysville, 1; Wagoner, 1 All are money order postoffices
and the offices at Converse and Peru are authorized to issue international money orders, good in foreign countries.