History of Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana
From: Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana
General R. P. DeHart, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen & Company, Publishers
Indianapolis, Indiana 1909


Wabash township, derived from the name of the river which forms its southeastern boundary, contains parts of three congressional townships - townships 22, 23 and 24. It comprises about forty eight sections, but is in an irregular shape with five civil townships adjoining it.

James Suit, who came about 1822, was probably the original settler. He did not, however, engage in the usual customary labor of the pioneer, his real occupation being more directly that of a trapper. He had other men in his employ who assisted him in trapping beaver and collecting the wild honey with which the primeval forests of Tippecanoe county were so bountifully supplied. With a cargo of beaver skins and honey he loaded a keel boat, in which he floated down the Wabash river to Vincennes, and in exchange for these goods brought back a cargo of salt, Mackinaw blankets, dry goods, whisky and general merchandise, which he sold and traded to the Indians in the surrounding country. In 1823 he was joined by Benjamin Cuppy, a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, who embarked in the same enterprise.

In 1824 an addition to the white settlement was made by the coming of Francis Sunderland, who established a ferry at Cincinnatus. For one year he continued to live in his boat, but at the end of that time, failing to realize the net profits which he had hoped to receive, he abandoned it and purchased an eighty acre farm, which he improved and cultivated. The same year came James Emerson, who bought six lots on the prairie, returning soon thereafter to his home in Pickaway county, Ohio. The landĽ named he did not permanently locate on until 1828.

In 1824 other settlements were effected by James Pierce, James Severson, Peter Caster, John Tolliver, Mr. McGuire, Michael and Philip Hoboy and James McCune.

From 1825 on for a number of years the settlement increased with great rapidity.

The first religious meetings in Wabash township were held in 1828, when services were held by a United Brethren minister at the house of Benjamin Cuppy. The following year religious services were held by the Methodists, the same being conducted by Rev. Emmett, at the home of James Emerson. Later on religious meetings were frequently held at various farm houses in the township.

In 1869 the Methodist people erected a church, but previous to that date services were held by them in the school house known as No. Seven.

The first school in the township was taught by Sanford C. Cox, the well known author. The first school house was built in about 1832. At present the township contains good school buildings, and has an enrollment of two hundred fifty pupils.

As a civil township Wabash was organized in 1829, and an election held with the following results: Justice of the peace, Philip McCormick; constables, John Cuppy and Martin Murphy; supervisor, James Emerson.

The pioneer postoffice of this part of Tippecanoe was kept by James McCune, in 1824, near the present site of West Lafayette, but originally called Chauncey.

To the reference already made to religious meetings in the township, it should he stated that about 1869, the Baptist congregation erected a house of worship, previous to which date services were held at the school house. For the present religious standing of this section of the county, the reader is respectively referred to the religious chapter of this work.


What is now known as West Lafayette has had different names at various times in the history of the county. At first it was known as Kingston, and the land on which it was platted was largely owned by Jesse B. Lutz, who surveyed and converted it into lots and gave it its original name. Subsequently, however, the Chaunceys. of Philadelphia. located a town on land adjoining, to which they gave the name of Chauncey. Still later the two towns were united into one municipality, styled Chauncey and continued to be so called until recent years, when it has become virtually a part of Lafayette and is called by all "West Lafayette."

Concerning the organization of a town it may be stated that January 2, 1866, the citizens met at the Kingstown school house to consider the propriety of organizing the place as a village, and James H. Marsteller was chosen chairman of the meeting, and Daniel Royse as secretary. They then and there decided to incorporate and call the place a town. The first board of trustees selected from their number Mr. Marsteller as their president. At the first meeting of the trustees the name of Chauncey was adopted. (See history of Lafayette, proper.)

In the history of Tippecanoe. published in 1887, appeared this concerning this town: "Nearly all of the public improvements have been made by the corporate management. Chauncey is rapidly growing. and more residences were erected there than in Lafayette itself. The present population of the place is about two thousand."

As the history of this place is given complete under another head, this description of the origin of the chief town within Wabash township will suffice in this chapter.


The village of Porter is a station point on the railroad, and is on section 44, township 23, range north. Its population is small as compared to other villages in Tippecanoe county, but serves well as a shipping and passenger station.

The population of this township in 1900, including West Lafayette, was four thousand two hundred two.

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