THE TOWN OF LADOGA.
From the recent history of Ladoga and vicinity by Hon. W. L. Anderson, we are permitted to take the following,
which may be relied upon as accurate:
"John Myers on March 26, 1836, staked off the town plat of Ladoga. Only six blocks were platted at this time
including forty eight lots. This plat is included between South and Elm streets and the Conon railroad and Walnut
street. There were four blocks east of Washington street and two west with an equal number on either side of Main.
All the streets were uniform width, being sixty six feet, except Main, which was eighty two feet and six inches.
The whole thing 'square with the world.' The lack of this has injured many a town. The land was level and nearly
every lot was good as a building site. The lot sales, I think, were on the 6th of April and quite a number were
sold and buildings began to go up.
"The Naming of the Town - A new town is born and it becomes necessary to name it. Myers invites his friends
to help him find a name. When the first child is born all the kinfolks and friends are suggesting names, but the
mother rejects them all for none are pretty enough for her darling. I suppose no baby ever had a harder time to
get a name fastened onto it than did Myers' new town. He required that the name should not end with ville or burg.
And it was not to be named after another town. Several casual meetings were held at Myers' house, where names were
suggested and discussed. Men and women racked their brains for days to find a pretty name but all in vain.
"John Britts, the old blacksmith had a son named John who concluded that the best place to find a name for
a town was in a geography, so one Sunday he got down his atlas and went to work. After going over the United States
and the western continent, and the most of Europe, his eye fell upon Lake Ladoga. The name struck him. When he
mentioned it to his friends it struck them also, and it was accepted unanimously by common consent. I have never
heard anyone object to the name. We are all pleased with it.
"Infancy of Ladoga - In the early spring of 1836, all that can be seen of the platted town is a multitude
of stumps and corn stubble, dead trees, brush and chunks; cross fences, separating fields with bushes and briars
in the fence corners; an old cabin on the south side, with a young orchard around it; here and there stakes in
the ground to mark the corners and indicate imaginary streets and alleys. Piles of building material are seen here
and there and deep tracks of wagons and horses are seen where they have pulled through the mud.
"Early Childhood. - We will now take a look at Ladoga when it was two and one half years old. At the close
of 1838 we find fifteen buildings on platted ground. We find two stores doing a large business in general merchandise,
both facing on South street and one on either side of Washington. The one on the east side is owned by Taylor Webster.
This was the first building in the new town. A Mr. Steel, a club footed man, came early in 1836 and formed a partnership
with Wash King, who was running a store east of the mill. They built as soon as they got possession of their lot
and moved the goods from the old store. In a short time Steel bought King out. He then hired John W. Harrison to
clerk for him, which he did until the summer of 1838, when Steel failed in business. Taylor Webster came from Crawfordsville
and succeeded him. Just across the street west is William Nofsinger's store sharply competing wtih Webster. He
was a son of Joseph Nofsinger who lived on the first farm south of Roachdale. He had been a school teacher and
had married one of the daughters of Myers, the miller He had his house up nearly as soon as his rival across the
street. For some time he ran it as a branch store, selling goods for Vance and Clark of Crawfordsville, but finally
bought them out. Nofsinger built his dwelling on the north end of the store lot. It stood where the Central House
now stands. There was another store also. Its stood on the first lot west of Nofsinger's. Who built the house and
when I know not, but James Mahorney lived here in 1838. He was a tailor and had his shop, his family and a small
store all in the same building. This house stood upon the extreme east side of the lot, and D. D. Nicholson's new
blacksmith shop stood on the west side of the same lot next to the alley. On the lot west of the alley stands a
house today which stood in 1838, but with the end next to the street. This was built early in 1838 by the grandfather
of Robert and William Ashby. It was intended for a store, but his partner died before the goods were bought, so
he sold it to Dr. Kelly, who was living here at the close of 1838. The house west of this on the corner was built
by Silas Grantham. It was the first dwelling put up in town and still stands. Grantham kept boarders and travelers.
"D. D. Nicholson came to Ladoga from Washington county in 1837. He was a brother in law of Graham. He lived
on the south end of Bon-sacks' land until he could put up his house where he continued to live until his death.
Reese Nicholson's house marks the site. He erected the shop west of Mahorney, where before the close of the year
was heard the ring of his anvil. On the next lot east of Nicholson's house stood the old Lucas Baldwin cabin.
"Thus we have eight houses on the north side of South street and two north of the two stores. Two on the south
side of South street, and five buildings about the mill. These seventeen buildings were what was considered the
town. There were, however, five other buildings on or near platted ground, but were regarded as somewhat out of
town. One stood where Perry Mahorney's brick residence stands, a log house occupied by old John Ellis with a large
family; another where the opera house stands, occupied by C. H. R. Anderson's family, and that of Taylor Webster.
Webster was building the two story frame now occupied by Toni Davis on the north end of his store lot, but it was
not finished until next year, hence he lived with Anderson for the present. It is supposed that John Britts, Jr.,
built this house in 1838, for he lived in it till late in the year when he moved to Yountsville. It was afterwards
moved to the north and was Dr. Batman's office until destroyed recently by fire. Where Mark Long lives was a house
occupied by a Mr. Banty. He had a son of whom it was claimed that he was the stoutest man in the country. It is
said that he carried six bushels of wheat at one time up stairs at Myers' mill. On the south end of the lot on
which David Brits lives stood a house; below it on the banks of the creek stood a still house. If you wish to find
the exact spot, find a spring near there, from it go a few steps to the southwest and you will come to a pile of
stone. These once served as a furnace for the still. Over these was a two story log building about twenty by thirty.
Here once was turned out many hundreds of gallons of intoxicants for Ladoga and the surrounding country. It was
so built that one walked down into the second story from the top of the hill. As much water was needed, stilling
troughs were made to conduct the water from the spring into the second story from whence it ran to all parts of
the building where needed. This spring was at that time at the top of the hill, but since it has been greatly lowered
by the washing away of the bank. At that time the road from the west came into town past the still house and angled
along the top of the hill till it entered South street. The still house was built, as was also the house near it,
by John Myers and John Brits, in 1836-37. You will remember the grist mill was built the year before by Myers;
that John Britts was his miller; that grinding was not paid for in money, but in grain; that this toll would soon
accumulate; that it could neither be sold here nor shipped at a profit at that time. The only way to make money
out of this was to turn it into whisky, hence it is not surprising that these men built a still house, and that
they did it so soon after the mill was built. At this time Henry Varner was manager at the still house.
"Fifteen good new buildings on the platted ground for two blocks had been added to the town on the west on
July 2, 1837. These buildings contained ten families, perhaps fifty persons. I said there were two houses on the
south side of South street. William Nicholson now lives in one of them. It was built in 1833 by George Britts and
Mr. Dodd and used for some years as a cabinet shop. This was the first frame house in the township. In 1838 it
was decided to move it. Wagons and poles were put under it and several yoke of oxen were hitched to them and it
was hauled to its present site. As it stood on the south side of the dam, near Dick Smith's house, and as at that
time the hills were very steep, stumps and trees very thick, the roads that were there very narrow, it is a mystery
how they ever moved it. The mother of C. H. R. Anderson was a sister to John Brits, the blacksmith, hence he was
closely related to those most active in building the town, Being a carpenter and learning that such was needed
here he came at once to Ladoga. He first lived in this moved house but as it was not finished by wintertime, he
moved to the opera house corner as I have related. About two hundred feet west and a little south of this moved
house stood the old farm house of Rufus Baldwin, built in 1832. Nat Taylor lived here at this time. David Armstrong
lived on top of the hill, east of the mill; John Myers south of the cemetery: Enoch Foxworthy on Vinegar Hill;
John Britts where Dick Smith lives, a family in the house near the southeast corner of Oklahoma: Jonathan Shaver
just beyond; William Baldwin on the north, with a family just west of him; a little north of these was Jacob Harshbarger,
with three families and a number of workmen; Bruce on the west and Mossharger at Damnwood Springs. All these taken
together made a little community of over one hundred and twenty five persons. This was Ladoga in its largest sense.
"We will now go forward ten years and try to give a picture of the town as it appeared in its thirteenth year.
By 1848 it had become quite a little village, but by no means a neat one. Wood piles were in the streets, not ricks
of stove wood neatly piled, but long logs and limbs scattered about, wagons and carts stood about the streets as
one often sees in a barn yard. There were no side walks but beaten paths along yard fences. These fences were not
made of neat boards and pickets, but mostly of split rails. There were no graveled streets but mud everywhere.
Not only cattle ran loose in the town, but hogs and geese on every hand. It was no unusual sight to see irate citizens
driving hogs out of their yards and gardens. Back of Overman's store was a pond which was profitable to cobblers,
for here our soles wore rapidly away in icy times. From Tom Venard's to the north east corner of the high school
campus was a 'stick hole' that impeded travelers in muddy times. The west end of Main street was a 'sight' when
it rained and drivers carefully avoided it by keeping along the creek bank. The old skating hole at the crossing
of Elm and Sycamore streets was a delight to us little boys. There were log houses and houses made of slabs from
the saw mill, stumps were still abundant, dead trees and live trees stood here and there and willow thickets grew
abundantly along the small ravines that carried the water away from the crude little town. On platted ground corn
and wheat grew abundantly on lots, streets and alleys, otherwise unused. * *
"On out lot 5 where George Huntington lives was McGee, the saddler, a son in law to 'Granny' Brush. The large
building joust south of the elevator was Chen the Christian church. Joshua Ridge lived across the street, north
from it, and Joel Ridge lived four lots east of that. There were no other buildings east of the Monon at this time.
In 1839 John Britts, Jr., succeeded Varner at the still house, which he managed for a year or two. He was succeeded
by Joseph Ellis. and he by a man named Bell. familiarly known as `Still' Bell. About this time the Washingtonians
arose and the still house fire went out. A few yards up the creek from the still house at the west end of South
street was another industry known as a tan yard. A large building was put up and quite a number of vats made so
that if it had been run at full capacity ten thousand dollars worth of leather could have been made in a year,
so estimated by one who operated it About 1838, Daniel Hale, a young man brought up in the tanning business, came
to Ladoga and built the tan yard.
"All north of the Monon station from Connettsville to Oklahoma was William Baldwin farm. With the exception
of a little clearing about the house it was unbroken wilderness. You have little idea how dense and dark `Baldwin
Big Woods' was. C. H. R. Anderson, one day went to see his brother who lived just on the other side of the Baldwin
woods, and in trying to get back to town got lost so badly that he came back twice to his brother's before he found
his way home. If such an experienced woodman as he would get lost in going half a mile, it must have been a wildwood
deep tangled.' About this time a party of boys and girls twelve to fifteen years old went to hunt hickory nuts
not far from where the public school building stands. They got lost and after wandering around in this woods for
some hours they accidentally stumbled onto the town, but they were so bewildered that they did not recognize it
but supposed it was Crawfordsville, thinking they had wandered that far. All this land is within the corporate
limits of Ladoga. "In 1848. Ladoga had thirty families with about one hundred and fifty inhabitants, two meeting
houses, three organized churches, a school house, three stores, two wagon shops, two cabinet shops, four doctors,
four preachers and fifty two houses.
INDUSTRIES OF LADOGA.
"It will be understood that conditions were radically different in the early history of the country from
what they are now. We did not have a drygoods merchant, a grocer or a hardware man, but everything a community
was expected to want as kepi in one stock. Blacksmiths then made everything out of iron that was possible to a
shop: They compounded metals, made castings, made their own tools and those of carpenters and made even the nails
for houses and barns. The men who worked in wood hand made every article made from wood. There were no factories
to make window frames and doors, wagons and barrels, and a thousand things which were then used. Again, many things
were made of wood which now are made of other material. We had wooden spindles on our wagons, wooden hay forks
and scoop shovels, even wooden mould boards on our plows. Again, one man now with a machine can turn out as much
as ten men could then by hand, so you see we had to have a multitude of mechanics in every community.
"The first store was kept by Wash King in a little log but on the side of the hill just east of the old
saw mill. He began in the fall of 1835. A Mr. Steel became his partner next spring and they built a store on the
northeast corner of the crossing of Washington and South streets. At the same time William Nofsinger built on the
opposite corner, west of Steel. Steel bought out King in the fall and in 1838 failed in business. His clerk, J.
W. Harrison, went over and clerked for Nofsinger. Nofsinger sold out in 1839. Taylor Webster and Harrison then
became partners on the Steel corner. In 1840 Webster bought out Harrison. Harrison opened up the Nofsinger corner
and sold goods until 1842. In this year Abner and in 1843 Hugh, brothers of Taylor Webster, joined him and the
Wehsters became a strong firm. For twenty seven consecutive years Taylor Webster did business on this corner and
was preeminently the merchant of the town. Hugh remained but a few years and moved to Shannondale. Sometime after
this Abner built a store on the corner where the Phoenix Block is and with his son in law, Perry Fullen, did business
for some years. Tames Mahorney had a store on the first lot west of the Nofsinger lot, and a Dr. Ruclisill sold
goods on the next lot west in the house that now stands on the west side of the alley. Mart Rudisill built the
house Will Parker lives in and sold goods there many years. In the house where William Nicholson lives goods of
various kinds were sold, as was true of the house just south of his. On either side of the hill below these houses
were four shops of various kinds, and the crossing of Washington and South streets was the public square in those
days and continued to be until the fifties. Our present public square at that time had the house, once Dr. Batman's
office, as a residence where the opera house stands and a little log house where the New York store is, a doctor's
little office on the Overman corner and a little store house where the Centennial Block is.
"In 1846, J. W. Harrison reopened the Nofsinger corner and in 1847 his father in law, James Knox, was his
partner. But the firm soon dissolved, and Knox sold goods for a time on the Centennial corner. In 1849, J. F. Harney,
O. B. Wilson and Moses Barnes built and kept a store where the New York store is. This firm sold to John and Jacob
Fleece in 1852 and in a short time they in turn sold to James Knox, who kept here for many years. In 1851 Joseph
Nofsinger, Steven Kinny and Milt Bruce built the house torn away to give place for the Overman block, where they
kept store for some time. On this corner, as well as that north of it, were rapid changes in the firms. About 1850,
S. N. Bell built a small store where the opera house now stands and ran it many years. On Washington street between
Main and South streets were ten business houses and two residences. For many years a store house stood between
the residence of Mrs. J. C. Knox and Robert Ashby's, Monroe Thomason built it. In 1854, Joshua Ridge built the
Ashby elevator and put in goods there for a store. A few years after a large building was placed where Zeb Bagley
lives, and T. H. Messick and O. W. Fullen did much business in these two houses during the Civil war. In 1854.
what is now the carriage factory was built as a depot and a store was kept in the south end. Obe Spencer first
"Ladoga was once noted for its flouring mills, having three at one time, and five altogether. In 1853-54,
William Baldwin attempted to compete with the water mill by employing steam power. This stood about a hundred feet
north of the Presbyterian church and a little north. He also attached to it a sawn mill. For some reason the enterprise
proved a failure and it was sold out in 1856 to Peter Morris and turned into a woolen mill. He was succeeded by
Bush, Couch and Thomas, who ran it with success and it became the predecessor of the large woolen mills that stood
just south of the carriage factory. When the Daughertys sold the water mill, they built a large and costly mill
on the south side of the street near the railroad. This was destroyed by fire. A few years before this, C. H. R.
Anderson built a three story mill on Elm street just south of the public school building. This was run many years,
but finally torn down and built into Darter's elevator which stood where now stands the Monon water tank. When
Anderson built this mill he employed John Myers, the old miller, as millwright. The presence of this old man revived
many memories of Ladoga's early days. Joshua Ridge built his wagon shop in 1839 where the meat market is on Main
street, but soon moved it to where Davis' livery stable is. He employed a number of workmen. He sold to William
Seders, who continued here many Years.
"Humphrey Rice was also a wagon maker. About 1840 he built a shop just east of Mark Longs house next to the
alley. In 1849 he bought all the land between Elm and Taylor streets and from Washington street to the railroad.
His house was built this year and is now the Presbyterian parsonage. His shop snood where Wal Footer's house is
and his stable where lames Taylor's house stands. For years all the land lying east of these buildings to the railroad
was covered with corn. wheat, oats and meadow. Anderson came to Ladoga in 1838 as a carpenter, but in 1841 he established
a cabinet shop where the brick block stands east of the meat market. This remained many years. D. D. Nicholson
came in 1837 and built a blacksmith shop. His brother also had a like shop on the opposite side of the street.
The first newspaper of the place was the Ruralist, published by Mr. Burton, about 1859. He was succeeded by William
"Early doctors were Drs. Kelly, Larabee and Miller. Kelly was the oddest man of all the medical profession
in the county and is mentioned in the medical chapter at more length.
"During the first twenty years this community found its greatest difficulty in marketing its produce. Corn
and wheat. and hogs and cattle could be raised but could not be sold here, as nearly everyone was producing these
things. Neither was there a city near by to consume them. They must go either to the eastern states or to far away
Europe. There was no way to get there except by the Atlantic ocean. There were two ways to get to the ocean from
here, by the lakes or by the Mississippi river. To the lakes was a hundred and seventy five miles over bad roads
across the Kankakee swamps. To go by the Mississippi we must go down the Wabash river, White river and the Ohio.
It was forty miles to either of the first two named and more than a hundred and fifty to the Ohio. Occasionally
a load was sent from here to the lakes, more frequently to the Mississippi. The bulk of the produce went to White
river,usually to Indianapolis or to the Wabash at Lafayette, Terre Haute or some intervening point. One of the
favorite places for this community was at the mouth of Sugar creek. Of all the various kinds of produce, hogs took
the lead. Sometimes they were killed at home and the bacon hauled to market, but it was usual to drive them to
market, since it saved a long hauling. When they reached some navigable river the hogs were often slaughtered and
the meat and lard packed on flat boats and floated down the Mississippi to New Orleans. The farmers then returned
to their homes. I know of but one load that was sent from here to the Atlantic coast by any other route than as
above mentioned. Once Drake Brookshire loaded a wagon with bacon and drove to Georgia, where he not only sold the
meat but the entire outfit, except one horse which he rode home. The trip was over twelve hundred miles and consumed
eighty days time.
RAILROAD BRIDGE VICTIMS.
"It was in 1853 that the Monon railroad was built through Ladoga. The bridge across the Raccoon, as originally
built, was about four hundred feet long and was supported by a vast trestle work. The part over the creek was supported
by a great array of timbers placed on top of the bridge at either side and extending above the bridge some ten
or twelve feet. Joseph Ellis was a carpenter and had several sons who worked with him. James was his third son
and at this time about eighteen years of age. He was employed on the bridge. One day in June while engaged with
a gang of men in removing a heavy stick of timber, it slipped and its full weight falling on his lever knocked
him upward and off the beam on which he was standing. As he came down he caught on to the scaffolding, but being
dazzed he fell over and downward until he fell headforemost on the rocks at the bottom of the creek, crushing the
entire side of the skull. He survived only a few minutes.
"In the year 1859, Alexander Ewing, who lived near Waveland, entered school at the Ladoga academy. He was
an exemplary young man, and a good student, well liked by all who knew him. He had decided to enter the ministry,
and when school closed in 1860, he decided to remain at Ladoga and pursue a private course during his vacation.
"On the morning of June 28 four small boys were playing in the creek, near the railroad bridge. They were
astonished to see some large object fall through the bridge into the creek. When it was seen by them to be struggling
in the water, they knew it to be a man. Panic stricken they rushed to the town and spread the news. A throng of
people ran to the bridge and found the man with crushed skull and broken arms. The awful feeling engendered by
so gruesome a sight was augmented when told that it was Alex. Ewing. He was carried to his boarding house and life
was extinct in a few hours.
"A few years before this a stranger left Ladoga, going south on the railroad. When he had reached the middle
of the bridge, he was startled to see a fast train coming from the south. He turned and ran back but the train
soon overtook him and knocked him from the bridge. He was taken up dead. His valise contained a few underclothes
and a mass of keys of all kinds, which led to the belief that he was a burglar.
"Early in 1829, Carrollton was platted and a number of lots sold. No doubt you will ask where Carrollton
is. It is nowhere at present, and it is a good thing for Ladoga that is so, for did it exist it is probable that
Ladoga would not have been. Carrollton stood about two miles from Ladoga just across the road southwest from the
brick school house near Drake Brookshire's. Abraham Inlow built the old brick house standing across the creek northwest
from Brookshire's and a daughter married John James and settled near the school house. James platted the town.
He had a store and a blacksmith shop and several houses were put up. In 1833 Jacob Harshbarger bought some lots
and a half interest in the store. It was a beautiful site for a town, and was also on the Crawfordsville road to
Danville. the great thoroughfare for many years. Ladoga was not born for seven years afterwards and was off of
all the great routes of travel, but notwithstanding its early start, its favorable situation and its wealthy supporters.
Carrollton failed from lack of enterprise. Had it erected mills and fostered other enterprises as did Ladoga, it
might have been what she is now. Harshbarger withdrew his interests: Huston, the blacksmith, came to Ladoga and
the town dwindled and died and is so much a thing of the past that only a few inhabitants know that it ever had
"Ladoga also had another rival from which she narrowly escaped. Parkersburg was a place of some importance
before Ladoga existed, and grew to quite a little village with a fair volume of business. It was on a direct line
between Greencastle and Crawfordsville. If you will look at the Monon railroad between these two points you will
see that it deflects from a straight line some five or six miles to the east in order to pass through Ladoga. It
would cost the railroad several thousand dollars more to build by way of Ladoga than to go by Parkersburg. It would
also straighten the road and make it less expense to go to Parkersburg. Parkersburg was at that time about as good
a town as Ladoga. Then why did the road build to Ladoga at an increased expense? This was Ladoga's crisis and her
enterprise saved her. Had the road gone through Parkersburg, Ladoga would in all probability, be what Parkersburg
is now. But enterprising men sought the managers and demanded the road for Ladoga. Finally they were told that
fifty thousand dollars would bring the road by Ladoga. It was a big price, but our fathers were wise enough to
see and know it was a bargain, and went to work and raised the money.
MILLS AND FACTORIES.
"Lumber, flour, meal and whisky were four things considered indispensable by our fathers, but hard to get
at first. Going to mill was one of the sore trials nearly every boy in those times had to endure, not that he dreaded
the journey. but its vexatious. if anyone thinks such did not exist let him put two bushels o f wheat into a sack
and try to ride on top of it on a fat horse. If there was ever an excuse for a boy swearing it was when such sack
fell off and he was trying to put it on the horse that would not stand still. Then again, the mills in those days,
like the mills of the gods, ground slowly. Some of them could only grind from twenty to thirty bushels a day, and
many a boy had to stay over night to get his grist. Some of these mills were run by horse power and the customer
was expected to furnish the horse power to run the grist out with. Otherwise he had extra toll to pay the miller.
Swank had a mill on the creek below Raccoon station, as also did Landis and Dierdorf. Sutherland also had a still
house near there and many went from mill to still house and traded a bushels of meal for a gallon and a quart of
whisky and putting it into a jug put the jug in one end of the sack and a rock in the other to balance it and brought
home two sacks across his horse. None of these were good mills. Most of them consisted only of the mill stones
and the machinery necessary to run them. Some had bolting cloths, but they were run by hand. Milling was quite
a burden to those who lived about here so they concluded to build a mill of their own.
"The south side of Baldwin's farm afforded a good mill site. As he was not able to build a mill he proposed
to sell the site to the man who would agree to put up and operate a mill. Christy Mosbarger was a little old bachelor,
who lived with his brother. He decided to accept Baldwin's proposition. but asked that the neighbors join in and
help him build a dam. They were so anxious to have the mill that early in the spring of 1830. some forty or fifty
men, some living miles away, got together with oxen, chains, and axes and began work. for two clays things moved
along smoothly. but at the end of that time they told losbarger he must furnish whisky. which was the rule in those
days. This Mosbarger did and the men began drinking and wound up in a glorious drunk and also a general fight in
which several came out badly battered. The drunk ones were so mad at each other and the sober ones so disgusted
with it all that the entire gang broke up and went home and left losbarger to abandon the enterprise.
"The second effort to secure a mill was when John Meyers, Jr., purchased a short time before this, three hundred
and twenty acres which joined this mill site. His friends advised him to add this mill site to his possessions
and then erect a mill. He closed with Baldwin and moved his family from Virginia in 1830. It was nearly two years
before be could begin his mill, and he must build a house. He hired a Mr. Dowell for a hundred dollars to dig a
race. He came here in 1829 from Kentucky. He dug it all with a spade and shovel. Hem is described as a powerful
man who 'could throw dirt faster than Forty ground hogs and got his job done in a hurry.' The pit for the saw mill
was dug in August. They then began erecting the mill. but it did not run till late that fall. The saw mill stood
over the race just across the road from the grist mill. Now new furniture, frame houses and carpenters began to
abound in the country. At once there was an impetus in the community and a change in the modes of living. That
winter (1832-3) a lathe was added to the mill and bedsteads, bureaus, chairs, and other furniture made here. In
those days wool was carded by hand; it was a slow and tedious process. Meyers, hearing of a machine that would
perform this, proceeded at once to put one in and the tail of the race beheld busy scenes in those days.
"But Meyers' ambition was not yet satisfied and he proceeded to execute one of the greatest enterprises which
we believe had ever been launched in Ladoga. This was the building of a four story grist mill with a double set
of French burrs, complete elevators and English bolting cloth. This was in the estimation of all a marvelous thing,
and in those clays it was wonderful away from markets. machinery and with but little money. The mill was finished
in 183;. The frame was raised the first week in July. Benjamin White was employed to construct the mill. More than
one hundred men were present and tendered their services at the raising. The bents were put together on the ground
and then lifted by pike poles and main strength to their places, thus bent after bent and story after story went
up until it was completed. Such another building was not known in all this region. William Meyers, youngest brother
of John, was sent to Lawrenceburg on the river, to haul the mill stones. Mechanics were brought from Ohio to set
up the machinery. When all was ready a day was set apart to start the mill and people came for miles around. An
old man told me there was an acre of people there. However, many believed it would fail on account of the low fall
in the stream. They had been used to a higher fall and the narrow type of water wheel, whereas this mill wright
put in a small wheel but had a greater width, thus carrying more water and doing the same work. This was the commencement
of a revolution in the water wheel business.
"In the meantime other enterprises were rapidly springing up. Meyers no doubt led by the excellent spring
now owned by Dick Smith and the nearness to the proposed darn, built a double log house in 183o, where Smith's
house now stands. In 1833 his father in law, John Britts, came and established a blacksmith shop between the house
and the dam. At about the same time George Britts, brother in law of Meyers, formed a partnership with a Mr. Dodd,
father of Marsh Dodd, and also built here a cabinet shop. The products of both these shops being in great demand
made the south side of the dam a stirring place.
"About the same time Jacob Harshbarger operated a similar shop near the old brick house north of Connettsville,
in which he employed some six or eight workmen. In the fall of 1835 Wash King built a log house just east of the
mill on the side of the hill. This was Ladogas first store and the beginning of the Taylor Webster store which
grew out of it.
"In those days wheat was either beaten out with a flail or tramped out with horses. It was difficult to separate
it from the chaff and dirt without a machine called a wheat fan. Every farmer who could owned a wheat fan. This
made the making of them an extensive business. In. 1833 Mr. Fordice and a Mr. DeVol, two old bachelors, established
a factory which stood a few feet to the south of the grist mill and did a large business. This was done from them
by the McIntire brothers, John, William and Andrew, mechanics from Ohio."
Thus ends Mr. Anderson's notes on his home town and immediate vicinity.
The town of Ladoga is now full of enterprise, and thrift is observed on all sides. The old side walks of wood have
generally given way to the modern cement walks and pavements. The business houses are first class as well as the
later built residences, many of which display much skill and taste. The lawns are kept neatly and show carpets
of lovely green in mid summer days. Indeed the contrast is great when compared to forty years ago. Yet in early
times this place had enterprise and much business. Prior to the eighties there was a large woolen mill located
there that carried on an extensive business; it was the property of Harney, Thomas & Co. Beginning in about
1855 there has always been a large flouring mill plant, propelled originally by the falling waters of the creek
that flows hard by the town. The grain and lumber trade was at an early day the source of much material wealth
and laid the foundation to many a fortune of its worthy pioneer citizens. In 1880, A. M. Scott was at the head
of one of the largest dry goods establishments in western Indiana, located there and supplied the goods in his
line for a large circuit. Schools and churches, which will be treated in separate chapters, have been the life
and strength of Ladoga, for they were early planted and nurtured by Christian men of heart and brains. Among the
denominations there represented thirty years ago were the Christian, Methodist, Presbyterian. New School Baptist
and Roman Catholic.
the town has many good business houses and well selected and large stocks of merchandise. The Hoosier Veneer
Mill. the leading industry, employs more than twenty five men in preparing, making and shipping its product from
the place to the markets of the world. Rapp's carriage factory is another industry that takes front rank and annually
makes and ships to all Darts of the Union many fine buggies and carriages. Another industry is the poultry shipping
business. Haven's Poultry House, alone, employs twenty men and disposes of more than one hundred and forty thousand
dollars worth of chickens, geese, turkeys, etc., annually, the product going direct to New York and other eastern
cities. A canning factory puts up its thousands of cases of tomatoes corn, pumpkin, etc. The flouring mills, elevator
and planing mills all come in for their share of the hum and bustle of the business of the place. It has been truly
asserted that the business enterprise and wonderful success of this town was occasioned from the fact that its
founders and sustainers have always been in favor of higher education and Christian living. and hence taught to
do "whatsoever their hands find to do" with all their might. The only hard blow ever dealt towards the
business growth of the place was the failure of a banking institution there, several years since, which for the
time being crippled its financial interests, but which subsequently was rectified by the stock holders assessing
themselves to make the loss substantially good.
Aside from an occasional dispute over the temperance question the citizens have worked together for the general
upbuilding of the town. This everlasting saloon problem has caused much difficulty in all sections of the country,
and will continue so to do, until entirely wiped out by general state of national legislation.
Before passing on from the thought of location and early settlement in and near Ladoga, it will be well to state
that the first houses almost without an exception were built on the banks of streams and always by a spring. The
existence of the spring decided the location of the house for people had no time to dig wells. I suppose Ladoga
owes its existence to the number of good springs that existed on either side of Raccoon in its vicinity. Perhaps
in its whole course there is nowhere else so many good springs clustering so close together. Not less than ten
houses were built along the creek in this vicinity before 1830 every one by a spring. Such a cluster of houses
could not be found at that time for many miles around. This was the nucleus of the town. Ladoga began on either
bank of Raccoon and has steadily moved northward for seventy five years.
Ladoga has the distinction of having for one of its citizens, Samuel E. Milford, who as a young soldier, in April,
t865, attended Ford's theater at Washington on the fatal night in which Booth shot Mr. Lincoln. He saw Booth standing
near the President's box all through the first act of the play. "Our American Cousin." and then missed
seeing him till he had shot the President and jumped to the stage. Mr. Tilford assisted in carrying the body of
Mr. Lincoln to the residence across the street where he breathed his last the following morning, April 15, 1865.
BUSINESS INTERESTS OF 1913.
Banks-Ladoga State Bank, Farmers and Merchants.
Bakery-K. C. Ullmayer.
Clothing (exclusive)- ____ Haymer.
Cement blocks and walks-C. C. Harshbarger.
Contractors-Huntington & Co., also planing mill; Stark, Olliver & Gish.
Dry Goods-Bischof, the co-operative plan. and the Fountain Dry Goods Store.
Drug Stores-Snyder Drug Company, Hanna Drug Company.
Dentist-Dr. C. B. Werts.
Blacksmith Shops-Camden & Son. Walter Riddlebarger, J. C. Southers.
Barbers-John L. Gibson, Gray & Son, I. N. Slade.
Canning Company-(Havens Brothers.)
Elevator-Ashby & Ashby.
Furniture-R. W. Wade, also undertaking.
Groceries (exclusive)-Barnes & Shackleford. Henry & Harris, M. S. McMurchy, Rose Brothers.
Garages-Lee Dodd, Joseph Wilhite.
Harness Shop-Thomas J. Carroll.
Hardware-Cormon & Harris, Ray O. Gill.
Hotel-W. P. McIntire.
Implements-handled only by hardware dealers.
Jeweler-Henry Van Cleave.
Lumber-Ashby & Ashby.
Mills-Hardin & Song, flouring mill: Gates & Davis, saw mill.
Meat Shop-Poe & Brunts.
Newspaper-The Leader, J. F. Warfel.
Pool Rooms-George T. Rice, J. O. Pesington, W. S. Cochran.
Photographer-Lyda Van Horn.
Physicians-Drs. W. F. Batman, E. O. Price, Ed. Lydikay, Talmage.
Loan Company-Ladoga Building & Loan and Savings Association.
Machine Shop-J. W. Hillis.
Restaurant-W. P. McIntire.
Tombstone Maker-Ed. Fuller.
Stock Dealer-Gott & Smalley.
Transfer Line-Cheshire & Summers, Burt Robbins.
Tailors-George Goetz. J. W. Widop.
Wagon Repairers-W. C. Rapp & Sons.
Hoosier Supply Company (incorporated)-supplies for traveling agents.
Veterinary Surgeons-J. G. Heighway, who is president of the state board.
FIGHTING WHISKY IN LADOGA.
In a rather recent history of Ladoga by W. L. Anderson, the following appears:
"Young people can form no conception of how freely whisky was used when Ladoga was young. It was then regarded
as one of the indispensables of life. It was found and freely used in almost every home. It abounded in medicine.
and was greatly used in cooking. Families were known to gather for family worship and before proceeding take each
and all their morning dram. Preachers used it freely without censure. Religious assemblies sometimes provided a
quantity to be used during the meeting. When a small boy I attended a religious meeting on Sunday, not far from
Ladoga, where intoxicants were sold within a few feet of the preacher's stand, and in full view of the whole audience.
I saw a multitude of young men congregate where the liquor was being sold. It was consumed almost as fast as the
waiters could hand it out. I saw a number of these young men reeling drunk before night. Merchants kept it in their
stores free for all their patrons. No hotel, or tavern, as then styled, could do business without a supply for
the traveling public. Every candidate was compelled to treat during an election campaign, if he expected a support.
The first election held in Ladoga was to elect a justice of the peace. John James, of Carrollton ran against William
Kyle. The election was held in a store on the corner of Washington and South streets. In front of the store on
either side of the door were two planks fastened up in the form of a counter, on each of which was a bucket of
whisky, a dipper and a paper of sugar. By each bucket stood a candidate, who cried out to the voters "Help
yourselves gentlemen !" That evening the crowd in drunken fun; made each of the candidates walk a crack in
the floor to ascertain which was the drunker. In house raising, barn raising, hog killing, log rolling, harvest
gathering or any place where mutual help was asked, the host was expected to furnish whisky, which, if he failed
to do they usually left him in disgust. The father of the wife of James Mahorney, the tailor, was a preacher and
a temperance man. His neighbors came to help him harvest, but when his wife brought out a jug of buttermilk instead
of whisky they spit it out and left the old man and woman to do the harvesting alone.
"Whisky formed an important part in the hospitality of those days. To refuse to drink with another was considered
an insult. Visits and even casual calls required that the visitor should be asked to take a drink, which was seldom
refused. To fail to offer it was considered a breach of hospitality. Many fathers and mothers who dreaded the consequences
for their children continued to keep whisky for fear they would be ostracized by their neighbors as frequently
happened to those, who discarded it.
"The country was full of distilleries. There have been some eight or ten of them within a few miles of Ladoga.
Agriculture was the main business, in fact almost the only business of the people, and corn was the main crop,
but there was no market for corn. Beef would not sell, hogs had to be taken hundreds of miles to market, so that
almost the only way to get money out of it was to turn it into whisky, which was done to an alarming extent. Hence
it came to pass that those who opposed the use of whisky were considered as opposed to the prosperity of the country
and as impractical fanatics.
"The cost of making whisky was about fifteen cents per gallon and it sold at twenty and twenty five cents
per gallon. There were many drunkards in those days and many drunken rows and a great deal of fighting. Often crowds
would gather to see a pair of drunken bullies match themselves in a rough and tumble fight. Ladoga once had a place
set apart on the banks of Raccoon for such disgraceful amusements. I do not suppose that at any time in the history
of our country drunkenness wrought such ravages as it did during the first half of last century. So great was the
evil that reaction set in and a temperance revolution known as the Washingtonian movement swept over the land.
It reached Ladoga in 1842, and created intense excitement, which lasted five or six years. The main feature of
the movement was signing a pledge not to use intoxicants as a beverage, which at that time was considered a singular
thing for any man to do. Innumerable meetings, at times vast meetings, were held to secure pledges. A list of the
names of the signers was kept on a roll which grew to be many yards long. Poetry inspired by, and suited to the
work was set to music and went ringing through all the homes of the land. Many drunkards were reformed and a revolution
wrought amongst the people in their manners and customs. The morals of the people were greatly improved and the
rise of churches in and about Ladoga came on the heels of this movement.
"The great thing gained was the educational feature of the reform. Society formed new ideas altogether on
the question of the use of alcohol. The usual place of meeting was the old log school house in Ladoga. The old
still house just under the hill, unable to stand the fire of the enemy at so short a range; surrendered and for
many years stood idle, a monument of the Washingtonian victory. The effect of the movement did not die when the
excitement and meetings ceased, but kept augmenting until it culminated in a law in Indiana forbidding the sales
of all intoxicants for beverages. So great was public sentiment that this law was passed almost without opposition,
but the slavery question, which ushered in the Civil war. soon overshadowed all others, and people forgot the temperance
question in those exciting days so that those who wanted to sell whisky began gradually to undermine the good secured
by the Washingtonian movement. The Prohibition law was overthrown, then sales came in a quiet and unpretentious
way. No man was hardy enough to nail up over his place of business the word 'Saloon.' It was many years after this
before such a sign was seen in our town. It was sold in private houses, shops and drug stores, bout under a vehement
protest on the part of the people, which often broke out in violence.
"Along the first who sold to any extent in the town was Cain Mahoney, who lived the first house east of John
Neff's residence. Soon there were a lot of drunken and disorderly men about his house and the town. Threats were
made against his place which, however, did not deter him from sales. At last a company of men severely rocked his
house one night which abated the nuisance for a time, but it soon was as had as ever. Rocking his house again caused
him to desist. The next one who fell under public disapprobation was a blacksmith by the name of Floor, who kept
a shop on the spot where the Foster and David building now stands, where he dealt out rum as well as wielded the
hammer. He became so reckless that his conduct could no longer be overlooked. A few loads of rock were hauled and
dumped in the street near the shop. That night a crowd of men, partially disguised. gathered about the rocks and
proceeded to make kindling out of Floor's shop. Expecting; them, he put himself into the shop with a shot gun well
loaded. In the midst of the rocking he fired into the crowd wounding three men. Samuel Smith was hit in the face,
'Jud' Scofield and Wade Chappell in the breast. Chappell cried out, "Boys, I am killed, but Floor dies first,"
then he rushed into the shop after him. Floor seeing his peril jumped out of the back of his shop and fleeing through
Nicholson garden was soon lost in the darkness. A sledge hammer relieved the barrels of their heads and the whisky
was destroyed. This happened in 1858. This held sales in check for a while, but soon it was as bad as ever. This
time it was disposed of in a 'Carrie Nation' style. Mary Knox, sister of J. C. Knox, Ruth Floor, wife of the blacksmith,
Mrs. Cunningham, wife of the carriage maker, Mrs. Bailey, wife of Professor Bailey, and her sister, Clara Perkins,
with the Durham girls, students in the seminary, took hatchets and visited every place in town that sold whisky
and destroyed all they found. They first went into Charlie Mahorney`s placed, who had a shop where the town building
now stands, then to Sam Freeman's, who sold whisky and other articles in the house here Wm. Nicholson now lives.
Freeman locked the door against them, but they broke in and not only destroyed the whisky, but other goods also.
The whisky ran down the hill where men drank it out of the gutter. The next place visited was Dr. Miller's drug
store. Here they met with protest but destroyed all whisky. They next went to a B. Wilson's drug store where Wilson
met them and told them that he had discovered that some of his clerks had been selling as beverage and invited
them in to destroy his stock of whisky. The women were arrested and heavily fined for their action. This occurred
"No more open violence was resorted to but a few secret acts occurred. Three barrels of whisky were shipped
to Ladoga, and left in the freight depot over night. At that time the depot floor was built as high as the car
floors so as to save lifting, hence there was a considerable space between the ground and the depot floor. Ben
Oliver seeing the barrels noted carefully their location and that night taking an auger and creeping under the
depot bored through the floor and the barrel bottoms. The next day the barrels were found empty. At another time
Charley Mahorney failing to profit by past experience laid in a stock of whisky and lost it in a similar manner.
"Gradually the saloon system was fastened on us. The greed and business of the liquor sellers grew without
let or hinderance. For years only the occasional protests of some suffering woman or faithful preacher was heard.
On one occasion a committee of some of our most reputable women representing all the churches in the town visited
the saloon keepers and asked them to quit their business, but nothing came of it. The last destructive stroke was
given in 1872. James Kelly was keeping saloon on Washington street, just south of the Central House. Smarting under
the injuries the saloons had done them, Mrs. Tom Matter and Miss Libbie Stringer determined to strike a blow at
it. Believing that their act was a righteous one, they entered the saloon after midnight, through a window, and
boring holes in casks and barrels, emptied the entire stock onto the floor."