History of North Manchester, Indiana
From: History of Wabash County, Indiana
Compiles under the Editorial Supervison of
Clarkson W. Weesner
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1914
The original plat of North Manchester was laid out by Peter Ogan and William Neff in 1836, although it was not filed until the following year. The main site lies high and dry on the north side of Eel River, about thirty feet above the level of the stream, the plateau being slightly undulating and easily drained. The town is regularly laid off, its streets are wide and well kept, and its stores, banks, public buildings and residences indicate thrift, good taste and progress. Its Carnegie Library, its city hall, schoolhouses and churches are all worthy the second municipality in the county, and a brisk center of trade, as well as the higher activities of life.
INCREASE IN AREA AND POPULATION
From time to time various additions were made to the original plat, such as Shively's, Harter's, Willis's, Halderman's, Hymer's, Haney's, Shively & Metzger's, and J. B. & J Harter's, until the town covered a section, or a square mile of land. This expansion of territory was made necessary by the increase of population, especially after the coming of the railroads in 1871-72. In 1870, it is estimated that there were not to exceed 450 within the limits of the town site. By 1874 the growth had been so rapid that the population had reached fully 1,200, and North Manchester became an incorporated town. In 1876 there were 1,600 people in town.
BEAUCHAMP, THORN AND FRAME, FIRST MERCHANTS
Probably the first store in town was opened by Asa Beauchamp in 1838, his limited stock of goods being displayed
in a log house on the northeast corner of Main and Walnut streets. William Thorn and Mahlon C. Frame established
a drygoods and grocery store on the opposite corner during the following year. The latter developed into a large
general establishment. Within a few years its trade extended over a wide circuit, the proprietors not only selling
their goods to the townspeople for cash, but exchanging them for country produce and furs.
GEORGE W. LAWRENCE
Thorn and Frame continued to flourish for a number of years, the former finally conducting it alone and in association
with various partners for a long period. In 1851 George W. Lawrence became connected with the business as a clerk,
buying the business in 1858 and commencing a business career which, within the coming two decades, placed him at
the head of North Manchester merchants. At first he associated himself with L. J. Noftzer, then the firm was Lawrence
& Whisler and later G. W. Lawrence & Company. In the early '80s the business was occupying two large stores
on Main Street.
THE AMERICAN HOUSE
The old American House, northeast corner of Main and Walnut streets, was perhaps the leading landmark of the early times. It was a two story frame building erected by Asa Beauchamp, the pioneer merchant, in 1841. After he had conducted it for several years it was bought by Col. Richard Helvy, who had moved into town from his farm. If one is to judge from a rapid fire change of proprietors, the usual business of the American House was not encouraging. In January, 1883, while Jesse C. Hoover was proprietor, it was destroyed by fire, a New American House having arisen from its ashes.
THE GRIMES HOUSE
The first Grimes House was built by Henry Lentz in 1848, but it was not originally known by that name. In 1881 Rufus R. Grimes was owner and conductor of the American House, purchased the old hotel and added to it a fair sized brick structure, calling the united establishment the Grimes House. This was opened to the public May 2, 1882.
OTHER PIONEER MERCHANTS
The Harters (J. & J. B.) were a close second to John Aughinbaugh, as druggists, and they continued in the
field longer than any other firm in that line.
MATERIAL INTERESTS IN THE EARLY 80s
Dry goods and general merchandise G. W. Lawrence & Company and D. Smith & Company.
PRESENT DAY INDUSTRIES
Both the general and special stores of North Manchester are now large and well stocked. A good and widespread
agricultural district is tributary to it, which, coupled to its ready transportation and banking facilities, makes
it the center of a flourishing and growing trade. North Manchester is also headquarters for quite an elevator business,
the H. Kinzie Elevator Company and the Acme Grain Company having large interests there, as well as at Liberty Mills.
The North Manchester Milling Company operates a modern plant. Ulrey, Tyler & Company are leading lumber dealers,
the wagon factory of J. A. Browne & Company is a large establishment, and among other plants worthy of special
mention are the Peabody Manufacturing Company, S. S. Cox Show Case Company, Fred Horde's machine shop and the sawmill
operated by J. W. Straus, as well as the creamery of Silas Holloway.
THE WATER SUPPLY
The city water works which furnish both fire protection and a fine supply for drinking and other domestic purposes were commenced in 1895. The system now embraces about twelve miles of pipes. The supply is drawn'from half a dozen wells, the water is pumped into a standpipe in the northwestern part of town, and thence distributed by direct pressure. The daily consumption is from three hundred thousand to three hundred and fifty thousand gallons, and the water is cool and palatable.
CITY HALL AND PUBLIC LIBRARY
The city hall is a little gem. It was erected in 1901 on Main Street, the engine house being on the ground floor
and the municipal offices and council chamber above.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The North Manchester public schools are a credit to the county, as conducted by A. L. Clrey, their superintendent.
Prior to 1874, all the public schools had been under the jurisdiction of the township trustee. In that year, however,
some of the leading citizens of the place inaugurated a movement to have the town incorporated, one of the reasons
therefor being that the corporation might issue bonds to erect a schoolhouse within its limits. In November, 1874,
the measure for incorporation was carried by popular vote, and bonds to the amount of $10,000 were issued by the
first town board for the erection of a union school. With the money thus realized the erection of what is now known
as the high school building was commenced in the summer of 1875, and completed at a cost of $15,000.
As North Manchester is also the seat of Manchester College, it is an educational center of note throughout the
The college departments, broad and varied though they be, are looking forward to an increase in available funds
for their extension and greater effectiveness. Both the trustees and the executive board therefore heartily unite
in the following statement of their great need: "It is a well known fact that no institution of higher learning
receives sufficient funds from the tuition fees of its students to pay the salaries of the teachers. In order to
compete successfully with other institutions of learning there is need of financial help by way of endowments.
The large universities and colleges are adding thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to
their already large amounts, It therefore should not seem unreasonable, or a wild dream, for the trustees to ask
for one hundred thousand dollars endowment for Manchester College. When this amount is secured the efficiency of
the college will be greatly increased, A good beginning has already been made. About twenty thousand dollars has
been secured. With the friends of the institution fully awakened to this great need, it should not be difficult
to secure the amount asked for."
North Manchester has three banks - the Cnion Trust, Lawrence National and Indiana. State and Cnion Trust.
LAWRENCE NATIONAL BANK
The year before the chartering of the First National, on the 15th of March, 1882, George W. Lawrence founded the Eel River Valley Bank, and on account of his high standing and wide acquaintance as a merchant its business prospered from the first, In 1886 it became a national institution, with Mr. Lawrence as president, A. C. Mills, vice president, and H. Mills, cashier, Mr. Lawrence retained the presidency until 1894, The Lawrence National Bank has a capital of $50,000, deposits of $400,000 and surplus and undivided profits of 545,000, The present officers are: John M. Curtner, president; John W. Domer, vice president; George W. Shively, cashier.
INDIANA STATE AND UNION TRUST BANKS
The Indiana State Bank was organized August 8, 1901, with a capital of $25,000 which has been doubled, Present
deposits, $300.000; surplus, $30,000. From 1901-05, W. H. Shaffer served as president, S, S, Ulrey as vice president,
and J, C. Gochenour as cashier. The present officers are: A, A, Ulrey, president; Calvin Clrey, vice president:
A. I, Ursehel, cashier.
The first newspaper in North Manchester was published in 1865 by John J, Martin, who called it the Advertiser. Within two years he sold it to Joseph Singer, who changed the name to the Union Banner and issued it thus for eighteen months, It then reverted to Mr, Martin, who published it as the Exchange until 1869, when he sold to W. T, Cutshall. The latter published the paper as the Globe for awhile, and finally disposed of the establishment to M. E. Pleas, who founded the North Manchester Republican.
NORTH MANCHESTER JOURNAL
Now, however, we are to record the founding of a newspaper which has endured to the present day the North Manchester
Journal, first issued in 1873 by a joint stock company under the editorship of J. H. Keyes, In the following November
it went under the management of A, G. Beauchamp and D. W. Krisher, but was subsequently sold by the company to
Matthews & Kist, who had already bought the Republican. Within the year Mr, Matthews sold his interest to N.
W. Beauchamp, and at a somewhat later date Mr, Kist disposed of his interest to William T. Cutshall. Eventually
Mr, Cutshall sold to Mr. Beauchamp, who thus became sole proprietor. In 1877 G. H. Edgworth, of Iowa, purchased
an interest in the Journal and became associate editor, but about a year thereafter sold his interest to Mr. Beauchamp,
who remained sole editor and proprietor until 1882.
NORTH MANCHESTER NEWS
The North Manchester News, of which William E. Billings is editor and proprietor, was founded in 1876 by William T, Cutshall, who remained editor and proprietor of it for many years. From 1904 until its suspension in 1912, it was under the successive management of J. C. Martin, Archie Gunn, Homer Clark and H. J. Bartoo. In May, 1913, the News was revived by Mr, Billings, who had retired from the Journal the preceding month.
EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
The Christian Church shares with the Methodist the honor of first obtaining a foothold in North Manchester,
and it has maintained its standing as a consistent and progressive organization, being now altogether the leading
religious body in the community. It has split into old, conservative and progressive branches, the first named
representing the pioneers of the denomination, who located their societies at New Madison (Servia), Pleasant Grove
NORTH MANCHESTER CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The conservative branch of the Christian Church in North Manchester dates from 1882, It has developed into a society of some 500 members. who worship in a large and handsome brick edifice erected in 1907, The pulpit is occupied by Rev. D. M. Adams.
FIRST CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
The First Church of the Brethren, as the progressives are known, is in charge of Rev. B, H, Flora, has a membership of 400 and occupies a house of worship, commodious and elegant, which was dedicated in March, 1913. Its successive pastors have been: Rev. W. W. Summers, Rev. W. C. Perry, Rev. J. M. Ritzgers, Rev, D. C. Christner, Rev. G. W. Rench, Rev. J. M. Fox, Rev. R, R. Teeter, Rev, B. H. Flora, Rev. W. H. Miller, Rev. I. B. Wright, Rev. L. O. Hubbard, Rev. E. D. Burnworth, Rev. George Ronk, Rev, J. L, Kimmel and Rev. B. IL Flora.
THE METHODIST CHURCH
The M, E. Church of North Manchester, which has been in charge of Dr. J. M. Haines since 1912, is one of the
strongest religious organizations of the locality. The early history of the denomination in this section has been
given, up to the time of the division of the North Manchester Circuit in 1850, when the Akron Circuit was formed
from the western portion of it. "During this year," says a chronicler of the society, "Methodism
took its first permanent stand in North Manchester. When Rev. Elrod came to the circuit, Henry Strickler was, I
believe, the only male member belonging to the North Manchester class. Brother Strickler united with the church
the second year of Rev. Beach's administration (1843), and the church here owes Brother Strickler a debt of gratitude
for his zeal and his untiring labor for the advancement of the church and its interests. For several years his
time, energy and money were freely given to advance the Redeemer's kingdom. He spent nearly an entire summer, and
involved himself financially, in building the meeting house and parsonage in Manchester. These were the church's
dark days, The next year, under Brother Elrod 's administration, his most sanguine expectations were realized;
Methodism took a new start and has been steadily advancing ever since."
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1846 by Rev, J. B, Oliver, of Dayton, Ohio, who came to North
Manchester for that purpose, The charter members were Rudolph Bickel and family, Reuben Smith and wife, John Shaubert,
Sr., and wife, John Shaubert, Jr., Daniel Shaubert and Messrs. Wagoner and Frederick, The organization took place
on the 28th of May, 1846, and in the summer of the following year a little frame church was completed on Main Street
west of Market, It was dedicated in the autumn of that year by Rev. A, H. Myers, assisted by Rev. Hugh Wells, both
of Indianapolis, In 1882 the congregation began the erection of the present church edifice, a large two story brick
structure, which was completed in 1884 at a cost of $10,000. It was dedicated on March 30th of that year; in the
meantime the congregation had held their meetings in Hamilton 's Opera House, as the old church building had been
moved across the street and been occupied for business purposes.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
The Cnited Brethren organized as early as 1844 and still have a small society and a modest house of worship. The present pastor is Rev, O. B, Wells, In the year mentioned about a dozen of the Cnited Brethren met in the barn of Col. Richard Helvy and organized a church. About 1855, after a series of strengthening revivals, the society erected a house of worship on Second Street, the site for which had been donated by Mahlon Frame. The church building was dedicated by Bishop Glossbrenner assisted by Rev, H. M. Hickee, who was the pastor in charge at the time. Among the earlier pastors of the society may also be mentioned Revs. J. France, B, S. Clevenger, P. Wells, F. Thomas, G. Crouse, S. K. Wells, E. Johnson, B. Fannin, S Barcus, E. Seithman, J. R. Brown, J. Hippensteel, William Simons and J, Morrison,
North Manchester is well represented by the secret, benevolent and patriotic societies. All the old and standard orders have lodges, such as the Masons and Odd Fellows, and the same may be said of those which also stand high, but are of more recent origin - the Knights of Pythias, Knights and Ladies of Maccabees, Grand Army of the Republic with the Women's Relief Corps, Order of Moose, etc,
The Masons and the Odd Fellows organized about the same time at North Manchester, in December, 1849. On the
28th of that month, Deming Lodge No. 88, F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation granted by Elizur Deming,
grand master The charter members were: Isaac J. Garwood, Jacob Simonton, Robert Harper, Henry Lantz, James Wilson,
Henry Eichholtz, L. J. Groninger and Curtis Pauling, The early meetings of the lodge were held in the room over
the Lantz & Davis store. In 1857 a third story was added to the cabinet shop of T. I Siling (afterward the
Keller House), and there for the first time the order occupied a room of its own. For a period of fifteen years
the lodge met at that place, and in 1872 commodious quarters were provided for the different Masonic bodies in
the L. J. Noftzer hardware building. Perhaps the most prominent of the early Masons were C. V. N. Lent and Jacob
Harter, either one or the other holding the chair of worshipful master of the lodge for nearly twenty years from
THE I. O. O. F.
The first Odd Fellow's organization at North Manchester was Meshekunnoghquoh Lodge No. 75, which was formed
in December, 1849. For awhile its meetings were held in a building afterward owned by Lewis Russell on Main Street.
But the majority of its members resided at or near Liberty Mills, and within a year headquarters were moved to
that place. In 1850 the lodge, assisted by a few Masons, united with the Methodist congregation of Liberty Mills
in the erection of a building to serve jointly as a church and a lodge room the latter being in the upper story.
The Masons, however, did not organize, and shortly afterward their Grand Lodge issued an order prohibiting the
joint occupation of lodge rooms with other societies. So the Odd Fellows became the sole possessors of the hall,
Meshekunnoghquoh Lodge, of Liberty Mills, is still in existence - notwithstanding its name.
AMUSEMENTS, RECREATIONS, ETC.
North Manchester has always had the forethought to provide her people with good amusements, and in that regard
has largely depended on home talent. It has had a band for a great many years, In 1876 the North Manchester Cornet
Band was organized from a selected membership of two other similar organizations. Prof. A, B. McFann was long a
musical director at North Manchester.