(Re: History of DeKalb County, Indiana; B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc., Indianapolis, 1914, pages 286 to 301

Submitted by: Arlene Goodwin, aagoodwin46706@yahoo.com


Pages 286 to 288

Few of the present generation realize the difficulty of traveling in the woods of the early country. In these days one may cross the country in a few hours over a steel road, or by excellent wagon roads he may travel with facility and ease. The hardy immigrant with his small wagon load of necessary furniture followed a trail made by the Indians, when possible, and for the last two or three miles cut his own road through the brush and woods with axe in hand. The road thus made was of the rudest character when dry, and in the spring of the year was nearly impassable. At times one right fore wheel and one right hind wheel would be high in air on stumps or logs; then the fore wheels would plunge into a mud hole, while the rear of the wagon mounted high in air. Again he would slide along in a slough with the mud over the hubs, and suddenly run over a stump. To travel with safety in a wagon he must brace himself with both feet in the corners of the box, with every muscle tense, and use both hands to drive, leaving his face, neck and hands entirely at the mercy of the hungry mosquitoes swarming around. The miring of a horse or the breaking of a wheel was the worst fate that could befall the traveler. The extreme slowness of travel over a newly cut road through the forest in the wet springtime is told without exaggeration by a pioneer. He had been to a mill with a wagon and a yoke of oxen, and arrived within one mile of home at seven o’clock in the evening, but the remaining one mile took four hours to cover. On reaching home at eleven o’clock his wife told him that she had heard him calling to his oxen ever since seven o’clock.

The Indians, possessing no wheeled vehicles, carrying on little trade, using no machinery, found the trace or trail sufficient for their needs. Between the villages of the Pottawatomies and trading posts were well beaten trails. Two main trails traversed the land of DeKalb county. One from White Pigeon forked near Lima, one branch terminated near Fort Wayne, the other leading southeast and at the St. Joseph river intersecting a trail from the east. The other trail, from the direction of Toledo, followed a southwesterly course, crossed the Fort Wayne trail near the Lake of the Woods, south of the Tamarack House. A pioneer tavern of Lagrange. The trail was a path worn in places to a depth of six inches by moccasin and pony hoof, and making wide detours for marsh and lake. Pioneer roads followed the trails as far as practicable. Joseph Miller (first county surveyor) cut a narrow track from the river through to Cedar creek, below Auburn, and also from Auburn to Blair’s mill. Miller stated that the logs were left in the track, and the articles were hauled by oxen attached to a sled constructed as follows: A spaling was cut, having a fork at the top, consisting of stout limbs several feet long; the limbs were used as runners, and the body of the stick formed the tongue; a box was then fixed on the runners. Wesley Park and Mr. Miller afterward widened this road to admit the passage of a cart. The trail was known then as "Miller’s trace."

In July, 1837, Wesley Park, Cornelius Gilmore and Seth W. Murray were appointed commissioners to lay out the Coldwater and Fort Wayne state road, running nearly north and south through the county. They did so, making their report on September 1st. Wesley Park and one Hostetter were to lay out the Goshen and Defiance state road, east and west through the county. The work was performed by Park alone, and the legislature afterward legalized this. Joseph Miller was the surveyor, and Henry Feagler and John Miller carried the chain. Other first roads were located as follows: The state road from Auburn to Fort Wayne via Vandoler’s mill, by T. L. Yates and Benjamin Miller; the state road from Angola to Fort Wayne, west of Auburn, by Daniel Moody, Solomon Showers and Henry Miller; a road on the south west side of Fish creek, by Simon Aldrich, Peter Boyer and Roger Aldrich; a road on the northwest side of the St. Joseph river was surveyed by R. J. Dawson, and afterward corrected by John Blair, John Webster and Hector Blake, and a road from Enterprise to Uniontown by Daniel Kepler, Michael Boyer and John Farlee.

At the May session of 1838 the commissioners appropriated two thousand dollars from the three per cent fund, as follows: Eight hundred dollars on the Goshen and Defiance road; eight hundred dollars on the Fort Wayne and Coldwater road, and four hundred dollars on the state road on the northwest side of the St. Joseph river. The commissioners of the three per cent fund was also directed to have constructed a bridge over the Big Cedar creek north of the village of Auburn, where it was crossed by the Fort Wayne and Coldwater state road; another over the Little Cedar creek, near the house of Joseph Stroup, where it crossed the state road; another over the Big Cedar creek at the crossing of the Goshen and Defiance state road near Auburn; a bridge over each of the three principal branches of the west branch of Cedar creek, where it was crossed by the same road, and a bridge over the Twenty-six Mile creek, where it was crossed by the state road near the house of Byron Bunnel.

These first bridges were poor affairs, and though built at little expense, were more costly in the end than the bridges which have since taken their places all over the county, particularly the fine bridges at Newville, Waterloo and Auburn. In 1842 Isaac Swarthout and J. R. Corper, while journeying to visit at Kendallville, crossed with a yoke of oxen and a two-horse wagon a bridge over Cedar creek, which Joseph Miller had constructed, for three hundred dollars. This wagon was the first to cross the structure, and it weight broke a stringer. Hiram Iddings had previously crossed it in a one-horse buggy. But with increasing experience and growing wealth, the quality of bridge and highway building progressed, until it has reached the splendid standard of today.


Pages 288 & 289

Before giving any detailed history of the five railroads now crossing the county of DeKalb, it is well to present a short sketch of each of the roads in order to facilitate the understanding of future discussion.

The first road to be built was the Air Line division of the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana, now know as the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. Surveys were made as early as 1852-3, and along the proposed route the villages of Corunna and Lawrence and the towns of Butler and Waterloo became existent in 1855. On May 27, 1856, the forty-one inhabitants of Butler learned with joy of the completion of the road to their town. This heralded the growth of Butler, and today it is one of the foremost cities in the county, being third in population. The road enters the eastern side of the county, passes through the northern parts of Stafford, Wilmington, Grant and Richland townships, although traversing a distance of twenty miles in the county.

The Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw railroad was opened to traffic on October 5, 1870, but after a few years of operation went into the hands of a receiver, and was absorbed by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Company. It enters the county from the south, and passes through the townships of Butler, Keyser, Union, Grant and Smithfield, crossing the Vandalia and Baltimore & Ohio at Auburn Junction and the main branch of the Lake Shore at Waterloo. There are over nineteen miles of road in the county.

The Detroit, Eel River & Illinois, later the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific, and now the Vandalia of the Pennsylvania system was the first railroad begun in the county, but the fourth to be completed. It was projected early in the fifties, but lacked sufficient support for completion. In the closing months of 1872 the line was completed from Logansport to Auburn. Here it again rested. By efforts of the stockholders in DeKalb county and effort at consolidation with the Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw railroad was defeated. After this defeat the road pushed eastward and reached Butler on October 18, 1873. The road has a little over eighteen miles of track in the county.

The Chicago division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was projected soon after the war. After many controversies, related fully on the following pages, the first train run through the county in November, 1875. The line passes through Garrett, Auburn Junction and St. Joe, running east and west.

Crossing the extreme southwestern corner of DeKalb county is the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad, with no station within the county’s bounds. About two miles of track are in the county.

The Wabash railroad, the Detroit division, was built in 1901 and 1902, from Butler to New Haven, six miles east of Fort Wayne, where it connected with the main line. It was put in service in 1902. Division point was first established at Ashley, on the DeKalb and Steuben county line. After a few years, however, this point was transferred to Montpelier, Ohio.


(By J. R. Skilling)

Pages 289 & 290

The first survey made through the county for a railroad was run in June, 1853, by the Southern Michigan Railroad Company. This survey started from Toledo, Ohio, passed through northern Indiana and intersected for Southern Michigan road at Elkhart, Indiana. This was for the Air Line, or Northern Indiana road. The survey for the Eel River railroad was made at the same time. This started at Logansport, Indiana, and extended northeast, passing on the south side of Auburn and intersected the Air Line at a point in DeKalb county then called Norris, later Jarvis, and now Butler. The work of clearing off the right-of-way for these two roads was begun in the autumn of 1853, but on account of some embarrassment the work of construction on the Eel River road was suspended indefinitely in 1854. So this proposed road lay dormant until 1875, when it was revived and completed. The work of constructing the Air Line road continued during the years 1854-5-6-7, and as this was prior to the steam shovel periods, the grading was done with picks, shovels, hard-barrows and horse-cart. In the early days there was an Indian trading point established on the north side Cedar creek, about six miles northeast of Auburn, and named Cedarville, but the name was changed to Uniontown on account of being included in Union township. As the Air Line railroad was located on the south side of the creek, about half a mile from the village, there was a station established there and named Waterloo. This new town soon became one of the chief trading posts in the county. Four miles west of Waterloo another station was located and named Hudson, and later changed to Sedan. The Sedan postoffice was "Iba." Every effort was put forth to build up a town at Sedan. Parties who owned the land donated town lots free of charge to anyone who would agree to build a house on the lot, this being the only consideration requires. An elevator was erected, and during the first ten years it was a popular grain market. The late William McIntyre, of Auburn, was agent for the railroad company for about ten years prior to 1872. During this time Sedan flourished, but on his retirement the town lost its prestige.


Page 290

The Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw railroad and the Eel River railroad were built in 1870 and put into operation in 1871. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad was constructed in 1872 and 1873, and in 1874, in November, it was put into active service. The Detroit division of the Wabash railroad was built in 1901 and 1902, from Butler to New Haven, six miles east of Fort Wayne, where it connected with the main line. It was put into service in 1902.


Page 290

The Toledo & Chicago interurban railway was put into service in 1906, from Fort Wayne to Garrett, where it branched off to Kendallville by way of Avilla, and to Waterloo by way of Auburn. In 1913 this road was absorbed by the Fort Wayne & Northwestern Railway Company.


Page 291

In 1870 the Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw railroad was constructed under the pretext of being a farmers’ railroad. An extensive canvas was made among the farmers and townspeople along the proposed route for the sale of stock in the enterprise. The shares were fifty dollars each, and every one was induced to take at least one share. Farmers through whose property the road was built were solicited to donate the right-of-way, and many of the transfers were made without other consideration. Other farmers furnished their teams and labor to grade the road, for which they were paid in railroad stock. Citizens of Waterloo, prominent among who were the Hale brothers, general merchants, contributed liberally to the building of the road, for, situated on the only railroad between Fort Wayne and Southern Michigan, the town was the center of an extensive territory. The wheat and corn, the live stock, and wood, the butter and eggs, poultry, and the products of the orchards from southern DeKalb to northern Steuben, found a market there. During the marketing of the grain Market street was thronged with loaded wagons from near and far, awaiting their turn to drive up the incline and unload at the elevator.

With the completion of the new railroad, elevators were built at the various stations along the line, and it became the market place for what had formerly been taken to Waterloo, thus depriving that town of much of its prestige. Six miles north of Waterloo was Mottinger’s and Gramlin’s Crossing the point of greatest elevation on the road, and consequently the station was called Summit. The station was hard to reach by north-bound trains on account of the grade, and many of the indifferent engines of that day were compelled to take the train up in two sections, after vainly puffing to a standstill. For years Summit was the leading wood station on the line, as they fired the engines with wood in those days. A thriving town sprung up at Summit, with stores, saw mill, blacksmith shop, brick mill and saloons. A few dilapidated buildings now mark the site of Summit and Sedan. After the Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw railroad was operated a few years it went into the hands of a receiver and was sold to and absorbed by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company. The original stockholders were permitted to retain their certificates of stock as reminders that they were once stockholders in a railroad.


Page 292

The survey of the Baltimore & Ohio & Chicago railroad, known as the Chicago division, was made in 1871, under the supervision of Chief Engineer James L. Randolph, assisted by Charles Archanhiel, T. G. Baylor, W. A. Pratt and a Mr. Manning. The survey was started off the old Sandusky City, Mansfield & Newark railroad at a point two miles south of Centerton. This starting point was called Chicago Junction. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company had previously leased the Sandusky City, Mansfield & Newark railroad. The survey was made through Ohio and Indiana and into Illinois, where it intersected the Illinois Central railroad eight miles south of Chicago and two hundred and sixty-two miles west of Chicago Junction. The point was named Baltimore Junction. Baltimore Junction is now called Brookdale.


Page 292

There were many laughable incidents related by the engineers in making this survey, one of which I shall mention. The country, or, in other words, the wild forest, where Deshler, Hamler, Holgate and Standly was established, was known as the Black Swamp and was submerged in water, so the surveyors were compelled to wear hip gum-boots. Somewhere in this territory they came to a log cabin and they were surprised to see a backwoodsman standing in his canoe with a long pole in his hands and a tin cup attached to one end of the pole. He was propelling his canoe around in front of his cabin, and occasionally searching around in the water with his pole. Being surprised at his maneuvers, they inquired, "What are you hunting?" The backwoodsman replied that "he was hunting his well to get a drink."


Pages 292 & 293

There was an unfortunate imbecile by the name of Christ Long, who owned forty acres of land where Garrett is located, who was more deserving of pity than censure. He lived in a one-story log cabin which was located between the present Baltimore & Ohio saw shop and the car shops, These buildings and the coal chutes were erected on the land owned by Long. There was no floor in his cabin except the ground, and here Long lived and slept with his hogs, Another man had taken Long’s wife, oxen and wagon and eloped with the outfit to Michigan a few years previous. When the engineer corps would approach Long’s land they were met at boundary line by Long, armed with a pitchfork, and notified not to enter, which would lead to considerable parleying. On one occasion Charles Cochran, the front chainman, pointed the transit road at Long, and he, thinking it was a gun, took to his heels and kept out of sight during the day. There was considerable trouble obtaining a clear title to Long’s land on account of his wife’s untimely elopement.


Pages 293 to 295

As the Baltimore & Ohio was located through a heavily timbered and undeveloped country, timber at that time was very plentiful. Therefore it was considered advantageous and more expedient to construct trestles of timber over the swamps and ravine that to fill by grading. Therefore, there were three hundred and ninety-six trestles and bridges constructed in building the Chicago division. Number one was in the Chicago Junction yard, and number three hundred and ninety-six was between South Chicago and Baltimore Junction (Brookdale), making over nine miles of continuous trestle work if they had been connected.

Trestle number two hundred was at the bottom of the incline of the Garrett Coal chutes, which was filled in 1881. There were over three miles of trestles between Chicago Junction and Garrett. Number two hundred and ninety, about four miles west of Bremen, was known as the Big Marsh trestle. This trestle was three thousand eight hundred and thirty-two feet long, and contained three hundred and nineteen pile trestles. Four piles were driven for each trestle. This trestle was filled in 1882 with sand out of the pit on the west of Defiance, which was thirty-five feet high. There was a saw mill at the east end of it and a spur track. This was know as White’s mills, and all local trains stopped there.

I think this trestle was number one hundred and forty-nine. It was filled in 1883, after a twelve-foot arch culvert had been constructed. Trestle number two hundred, and one was west of Garrett coal chutes, over the tamarack swamp. This trestle was one thousand one hundred and forty-two feet long. The early pioneers will remember this swamp was covered with brush and tamarack trees, so dense that the lake in the center of it was not visible from the railroad. The tamarack trees were converted into cross ties and telegraph poles. There was about three hundred feet in the middle of this swamp covered with a crust of peat about eight feet thick. Under this there was an open lake. It broke in in 1873, when the road was being graded. Then it was piled for trestles. The contractors claimed they drove some of the piles six hundred and twenty feet, which led to a case of litigation between the company and the contractors. The general opinion was that the piles angled off into the lake underneath, as Engineer Manning, who made the survey, testified that he took the soundings when he made the survey, and the deepest sounding was eighty-two feet. This trestle was filled in 1886 and 1887. The filling was commenced with clay, which soon crushed down through the peat, forming an open lake, and the water in the lake north of the trestle soon became the color of the clay that was being dumped in at the trestle. The piles commenced to give away, which let the frame trestles turn over on their side. The filling in with clay was discontinued at once and cribbing up with old timbers was adopted, and filling with cinders which were not so heavy as clay. The track was supported on a pontoon of old car sills and bridge stringers. Every morning the track would be down, as the pontoons would settle during the night, some nights as much as two feet. I had charge of this work, and to my personal knowledge, there was sixty feet of pontooning of this description crushed down in this sink.

The construction work was commenced at the various railroad crossings, where engines, cars and tools were delivered, and the work was rushed forward each day. One of the construction engines was shipped from Toledo to Defiance on the canal, where it was placed on the Baltimore & Ohio track. It is presumed that it was not as large as the present Baltimore & Ohio engines. There was some trouble encountered in crossing the Michigan Central tracks, which place is now known as Willow creek, of which I will give a brief sketch. The Michigan Central people objected to the Baltimore & Ohio people crossing their track on a grade crossing, requesting the latter to construct an elevated crossing. The Baltimore & Ohio refused to comply with this request. The case was carried into court, and the decision was returned in favor of Baltimore & Ohio. The Michigan Central ignored this decision by pacing all kinds of obstruction at this point.

About three hundred men, from appearance supposed to be "Chicago roughs," were established here, evidently preparing for a "pick and shovel" fight in case the Baltimore & Ohio attempted to put in the crossing. The Baltimore & Ohio, being overpowered, called on the sheriff of Poster county for protection. The sheriff responded with a corps of deputies and their entreaty and authority were impertinently ignored. The sheriff at once reported the situation to Thomas A. Hendricks, governor of Indiana. Two companies of soldiers, in charge of Captain Whiteman, were dispatched to the scene at once. At early sunrise, on the morning in November, 1874, the pick an shovel brigade located at this barricade was amazed at the transparent luster which was reflected from two brass cannons mounted on a flat car. Which slowly approached in front of the train from the east, followed by cars with the boys in blue, who were at once lined up in battle array.

Captain Whiteman then took a stand and addressed the opposing faction, advising them that he had not come there hunting trouble, but had been sent there by legal authority to prevent trouble, stating that they had the decision of the court to put in the crossing and they were going to put it in. The men were lying around, some on the ties which were piled up as an obstruction, and they would not move when ordered, as the order did not come from the parties by whom they were employed. There were quite a number of Michigan Central and Baltimore & Ohio officials present. The former officials maintained silence, and gave no orders, therefore the men would not move. The sheriff was present with a corps of deputies. After parleying and maneuvering all forenoon, the sheriff commenced arresting the Michigan Central officials until there were thirteen under arrest and imprisoned in a caboose, which was run to Michigan City.

The order was given to put in the crossing. Flagmen were sent out on the Michigan Central track each way. A force of the Baltimore & Ohio track men, in charge of supervisor John Marion, soon cleared the way, and the Michigan Central track was cut, the crossing frogs put in place, and everything coupled up in good condition in two hours’ time. This being accomplished, gave the Baltimore & Ohio the right-of-way into Chicago.


Pages 295 to 298

When the construction of the road was about finished, in 1874, six of the Baltimore & Ohio officials organized a company of Baltimore and it was incorporated as the Baltimore Land and Improvement Company. John King, first vice-president, and William Keyser, second vice-president of the railway, were the principal members. Washington Cowen, father of John J. Cowen, who was chief attorney for the railroad, was a retired farmer of Holmes county, Ohio. He was selected as agent for the Baltimore Land and Improvement Company, to locate the division point on the Chicago division.

In September, 1874, the road was not yet opened up for travel. Cowen went to Kendallville on the Lake Shore road and drove through the country to a point on the Chicago division of the new railroad, four miles east of Albion, known as Wash Easter’s crossing. Mr. Cowen selected this place for the division point. Every movement of the Baltimore & Ohio officials at this period was being critically observed by enthusiastic speculators ready to buy up the land where the division shops were to be located. Mr. Cowen, being aware of this state of affairs, was compelled to use the greatest caution in all of his movements so as not to create the impression that here would be a town located here, and that the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company would make this point a division of the road and erect shops. Cowen, on arrival at this place, immediately commenced contracting with the farmers for their farms, saying that he had two sons and two son-in-law back East, whom he desired to locate together as near as possible, and that he had a little daughter twelve years old, and he wanted about thirty acres as a home for this young daughter and himself. After he had contracted with two or three farmers, and had advanced some money on the contracts, the other farmers with whom he had not contracted, raised the price of their land so high that Mr. Cowen was compelled to abandon the enterprise at this place. So he settled up with those with whom he had contracts, which cost him about four hundred dollars. I obtained part of this information from Mr. Cowen and part from the farmer who were interested.

Mr. Cowen then went to Kendallville, from there to Waterloo and then to Auburn Junction. Here the section men took him on a hand-car to the present site of Garrett. Mr. Cowen very quietly commenced negotiation with the farmers, using the same tactics that he had used at Easter’s crossing in Noble county, and on the 8th and 10th of October, in 1874, he closed the deal with the owners of the land where Garrett is situated, and the deeds were executed October 22, and 24, 1874, to Washington Cowen, in trust as agent for the Baltimore Land and Improvement Company as follows: John Kitchen, forty acres; C. Hoick, fifty-four acres; Mr. W. J. Anthrop, forty-four and a half acres; J. L. Smith, one hundred acres; Holmes Link, eighty acres; Samuel and S. Link, thirty acres; Jacob and Catherine Link, ten acres; Christ Long, forty acres; F. C. and M. Bartles, forty-five acres; Joseph Leason, forty acres; G. E. Matthews, forty acres; G. Rodenbaugh, eighty acres. The total was six hundred and four and a half acres.

Each of these twelve farms had log cabins for dwelling houses. Mr. Cowen had considerable trouble with Christ Long, as I stated in a former article, Long being mentally unbalanced. Cowen purchased his forty acres for one thousand six hundred dollars, and Long would not accept anything but gold as pay. Cowen finally paid him in gold. Long lived in a deplorable condition, all alone in his log hut, and he refused to move out, claiming that he had lost five hundred dollars of the money. He did not vacate until crowed out by the improvements. Long’s wife had eloped with another man a few years previous, taking with them Long’s ox team and wagon. Mr. Cowen could not locate her for about two years. After tracing her by writing to the postmaster in Michigan, Illinois, Kansas and other state, he finally located her in Nebraska, and then had to pay her fifteen dollars to get her to sign the deed.

While the Chicago division was under construction there were several enthusiastic speculators on the alert, ready to buy up the land where the shops would be located, Riggs D. Thomas and Mr. Toland arrived here from London Ohio, about the same time that Cowen did, and were quietly watching Mr. Cowen’s movements. Thomas was sent as agent for the London Banking Company. Cowen, being aware of the situation, very quietly secured the twelve farms at forty dollars per acre. While these two gentlemen were at their hotel in Auburn. Then came the excitement—the division point was established. Up went the price of land, from forty to eighty-five and one hundred dollars per acre. These two gentlemen than bought several farms adjoining the purchased by Cowen, hence the names of Thomas’ south and east additions and Toland’s addition. Thomas’ south addition was laid out by Engineer T. G. Baylor, under the supervision of Engineer W. A Pratt, and agent R. D. Thomas, in the fall of 1875, and the plat was filed at Auburn November 19, 1875. The plat of Toland’s east addition was entered for record at Auburn November 30, 1875, and the sale of lots began. Engineer W. A Pratt at this time was engineering the construction of the Baltimore and & Ohio shops.

Of the twelve parcels of land purchased by Mr. Cowen, eight were in Butler township and four in Richland township. Therefore the town was located in two townships, and the shops were built on the line. About two-thirds of the round house, machine and blacksmith shops were in Richland township, and about on-third in Butler township, and also on the center line extending north and south, through the two townships, public roads having been established on these lands. The township line was about where the Baltimore & Ohio freight house is located. Randolph street is on the original section line from the north to where it intersected the township line at the freight house. Here there are one hundred and thirty feet of an offset to the west, where the section line extended south through the center of Butler township. The alley on the west of the postoffice is about on the line of the old wagon road. There was a log house owned by one of the Links where Dr. Thompson’s brick stable now stands. When the county commissioners accepted and approved the town plat in the spring of 1885 this vacated these public roads.


Pages 298 & 299

As soon as the division point was located in Garrett in 1874, the railroad at once erected a frame engine house forty by two hundred feet, on the north side of the main track directly north of the present round house, with two tracks running lengthwise through it, provided with engine pits. A "Y" was constructed at each end of the engine house for machine and blacksmith shops. These two buildings were destroyed by fire in November, 1875. Commencing with the running of trains in November, 1874, freight trains were run from Chicago Junction to Defiance, from Defiance to Bremen and from Bremen to South Chicago. Passenger trains were run through from Chicago Junction to Chicago by running eight miles on the Illinois Central tracks from Baltimore Junction, which is now known as Brookdale.

F. H. Sembower and R. Lantz were the first two engineers to pull passenger trains to Chicago. Sembower had run a construction engine constructing the Chicago division and on the 7th day of November, 1874, with William Lane as conductor, he pulled the first Baltimore & Ohio passenger train into Chicago. Train dispatcher G. W. Fordyce gave the order. R. Lantz, who had been running a passenger train on the Lake Erie division between Sandusky and Newark from 1879 until this time, was transferred to the new division, and on November 8, 1874, he pulled the second passenger train into Chicago, arriving there at eight o’clock p.m. He had engine No. five hundred and nine, which had the name of "David Lee" lettered on the side of the cab as it was customary in those days to name the engines in honor of the officials of the road. F. H. Sembower is still a passenger engineer here. R. Lantz retired from actual service in 1908, after forty yeas of continued service as passenger engineer with the Baltimore & Ohio.

In reflection back to January, 1875, we see the new engine house, the machine and blacksmith shops, the "Y" all ready for operation, a small shanty with boards up and down ready for a telegraph office, two passenger coaches and a baggage coach set out on the north side of the main track north of the present blacksmith shop. To be used as a dining and lunch car, and the baggage coach for the kitchen. A Mr. Tubbs was put in charge of the culinary department.

George M. Hoffman was the first supervisor of trains, or trainmaster, in Garrett. He was the first to come and the last to go of the officials here, so he remained until the first of Mach, 1876, when he was superseded by H. S. Morse. The first master mechanic was Mr. Hibbard, and the first dispatchers were George W. Fordyce, W. T. Backus and W. F. Perdue.

The town was not yet platted or the new shops selected in January, 1875, when this temporary arrangement was made for the accommodation of trains. The trainmen were all notified that Garrett was the only division point of the Chicago division and to make arrangements to lay over here in place of at Defiance and Breman, but some of them were so blinded with invincible prejudice that they resigned from the service rather than obey the order.


Page 299

In 1875 there were no accommodations for the men required for the construction of the roundhouse, machine shop and blacksmith shops. There were a few log cabins which the land owners had occupied, and a few rude shanties and tents hastily established, but these were all packed brimful, in some four men occupying one bed. So arrangements had to be made for the accommodation of the men, and for the purpose a large boarding house was built on the southeast corner of Cowen and Keyser streets, which still stand as one of the old landmarks, east of the Baptist church. This was called the "Chicago House." Later a second house was built on the south side of it.

In September, 1875, there were eighty-five men boarding and lodging in these two houses and they were a lively, jolly set of fellows. They did not appear to have any grievance with the situation and cheerfully co-operated with each other. The dining room was on the first floor of the corner building, but there were not beds enough to accommodate half of the boarders.


Pages 299 & 300

In the evenings the first in would take possession of the beds and those who came in later were forced to take lodging on the floor, bunks or any place they could find to stretch their wearied bodies out to rest, with a block of tamarack wood for a pillow and their coats for covering. They had a mutual agreement that at twelve o’clock each night, they were to have the "Grand March," in which all agreed to participate. So every night at twelve o’clock the signal trumpet was sounded. Each and every one was compelled to report for duty, and if anybody failed to vacate his bed at the call, he was quickly pulled out. At the close of the "Grand March," would become the grand rush for the beds. The agreement was that the first man was to take possession of pre-emption right, and the other fellow was to look out for himself. People who lived in the neighborhood, complained that it was not only the boarders in the Chicago House who were awakened by the "Grand March."


Page 300

The brick laying of the shops was not commenced until in September, 1875, commencing with the round house, which was formally put into service on Christmas day, but not completed until about the first of March, 1876, when the new machine and blacksmith shops were all opened. The weather was very favorable for outside work that winter, as it was the most open winter ever known in northern Indiana. There were four or five days of cold weather, with a light fall of snow in November. After that the frogs were out and croaking all winter till in March, 1876, when there was another fall of snow on the mud. There was no ice put up that winter, and the snakes and frogs were out on the first day of 1876.


Pages 300 & 301

When the Air Line road was first built through this county, a portion of the track, three miles west of Waterloo, and some forty rods in length, sunk through into a subterranean lake, It was then for some time known as the sink hole. Immediately after the track fell through a new track was constructed around the edge of the marsh under which the lake lay, and efforts were made to fill the sunken tract by caring earth from the surrounding bluff. After laboring several months, however, the project was given up, as the water was found to be from forty to sixty feet in depth. Various plans were proposed for overcoming this ugly crook in the Air Line, until the latter part of 1865, when it was proposed to place all the old ties that could be gathered along the line into the sunken space, and the work was commenced early in the summer of 1866. The ties were put down in layers, cobbled at right angles, and interlaced with long timbers, so knit together as to form a continuous bridge or network. The result was highly satisfactory, and in a few months a track was laid across the old break, and the work, though slow in accomplishment, was not so very extensive as feared at one time.


Page 301

The Air Line created Corunna, Waterloo and Butler, but killed Sedan, already arrested by the growth of Auburn and Newville, and made Uniontown an isolated suburb of Waterloo. The Fort Wayne, Jackson & Saginaw boomed Auburn. The Detroit & Eel River helped Auburn and Butler. The Baltimore & Ohio helped Auburn and Auburn Junction, and created St. Joe and Garrett. The Wabash created Ashley.


Page 310

Trains stopped at Garrett City for refreshments, but the city was yet to be, and the view to the visitor was wild and discouraging. Several cars had been placed alongside the track and served for a dining hall.

During the latter part of November, 1874, a freight train drawn by engine number five hundred and nineteen, left Defiance, Ohio, bound for South Chicago. The crew had no pilot, but had heard that the division headquarters were to be at Garrett. It was night when they approached the place, through which they passed at the rate of forty miles per hour. On their return, by daylight, they saw a large, barn-like structure and a "Y" track. On the right was a spur track, upon which stood a construction train. The slackened speed, learned that it was Garrett, and in disgust, put on steam and sped away at a lively rate. Another trip, and there were two long sidetracks, a track from the shed, a coal track, a temporary frame boarding-house, several log cabins and two hundred people there.