(Re: History of DeKalb County, Indiana; B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc., Indianapolis, 1914, pages 316 to 320)

Submitted by: Arlene Goodwin, aagoodwin46706@yahoo.com


Page 316

The reign of the patent medicine king was high during the fifties and sixties. Newspapers were filled with florid and startling advertisements advocating the various "Sure cures." Townsend’s Saraparilla, Helmbolds, Extract of Buchu, Warner’s Safe Kidney Cure, Black Draught, Wine of Cardui, Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry, Dr. Guysott’s Improved Extract of Yellow Dock and Sarsparilla, were among those most extensively advertised.


Page 316

Sixty years ago sugar sold sixteen pounds for one dollar. Coffee was fourteen cents a pound. Molasses was thirty-seven cents a gallon. Tobacco was from ten to seventy-five cents a pound. The Auburn market in September, 1856, quoted the following: Flour, per barrel, six dollars and a half; wheat, per bushel, one dollar; corn, per bushel, thirty-one cents; rye, per bushel, fifty cents; oats, per bushel, twenty-five cents; flaxseed, per bushel, one dollar; potatoes, per bushel, sixty-two and a half cents; Butter, per pound twelve and a half cents; eggs, per dozen, eight cents; timothy seed, per bushel, one dollar and a half; clover seed, per bushel, six dollars.


Pages 316

Of interest to the reader of a score of years hence will be the prevailing prices of the DeKalb county markets in 1913. Prices at this period fluctuate considerably, due to the restricting action of corporations and trusts. Wheat sells for ninety-four cents per hundred weight; corn, eighty cents, and oats, thirty-seven cents. Timothy seed sells for two dollars per bushel; potatoes, fifty to sixty cents per bushel; onions, ninety cents to one dollar; eggs, thirty cents a dozen; butter, twenty-five to twenty-eight cents; apples, eighty cents to one dollar per bushel; fowls of all kinds, around twelve cents per pound.


Pages 317 to 319

Not until the year 1878 were steps taken by the old settlers of DeKalb county to organize into a band to perpetuate the memories of the early days. The first meeting was appointed for July 4, 1878, at Auburn, at the celebration there of Independence day. The committee of arrangements for this day comprised G. W. Gordon, R. H. Weamer, Henry Bashelier, John Leasure, L. J. Hopkins and T. Mills. Dr. Ford was chosen president; T. C. Mays, officer of the day. The following committee of old settlers was appointed to arouse interest in their respective localities: Butler township, Peter Simmons; Jackson, Alexander Provines and Henry Feagler; Concord, J. F. Coburn; Newville, B. E. Blair; Stafford, Henry Dickerhoff; Wilmington, Samuel Headly; Union, John Butt, S. Bassett, S. W. Ralston, Major S. W. Sprott, D. Altenburg, J. O. P. Sherlock and George Ensley; Richland, James Goetschius; Fairfield, George Emerick; Smithfield, E. R. Shoemaker; Franklin, George P. Firestone; Troy, Samuel Learned; Keyser, O. C. Clark. T. D. Gross was named as superintendent.

A good representation of the pioneers was present on the day appointed, and after the Fourth of July exercises they met to organize. T. D. Gross called the meeting to order. James R. Cosper was chosen president and T. D. Gross, secretary. The following resolution was immediately adopted by those present:

"Resolved, That when this meeting adjourns, it will adjourn to meet at Auburn, September 12, 1878, and that all who were citizens of the county prior to January 1, 1846, are cordially invited to attend and participate in the meeting."

On motion, a committee of two from each township was appointed to ascertain the number of old settlers in their respective townships and notify and induce them to attend the next meeting and perform such other duties as in their judgement would be for the best interests of the meeting. The following were appointed: Butler, Peter Simmons, and J. A. Miller; Jackson, A. D. Goetchius and Henry Brown; Newville, B. F. Blair and John Plattner; Concord, Samuel Wasson and J. Rhodes; Stafford, C. B. Wanemaker and C. L. Thomas; Wilmington, George Egnew and Nathan Mathews; Union, T. D. Gross and Miles Waterman; Keyser, O. C. Clark and William Embra; Richland, G. Showers and Thomas Dailey; Fairfield, W. Childs and P. Gushwa; Smithfield , R. J. Daniels and Jerry Hemstreet; Franklin, John N. Clark and John Hammond; Troy, William Emerson and John Stearns.


Page 318

On the 12th of September the meeting was held at Auburn. Major S. W. Sprott was appointed chairman, and T. C. Mays, secretary. Nelson Prentiss, of Noble county, was present, and was called upon to suggest a way to proceed to organize an old settlers’ association, which he did after the manner followed in Noble county. He read a synopsis of the by-laws of the Noble County Old Settlers’ Association, which were amended and adopted.

The following officers were elected for the year: Elder S. B. Ward, president; P. B. Nimmons, vice-president; W. H. Dills, secretary; Cyrus Bowman, treasurer; J. E. Rose, biographer and librarian. Articles of association were drawn up, in which it was stated that the association was to be called the Pioneers’ Association of DeKalb County, Indiana. Person who have been residents of the county before January 1, 1846, were eligible to membership.

Those in attendance at this first meeting, and the date of their settlement is given in the following: William Smith, May, 1836; Samuel Wasson, December, 1833; S. D. Long, March, 1845; J. E. Rose, October, 1836; Samuel Headly, September, 1836; Philip Gushwa, March, 1845; S. B. Ward, January, 1842; William Carr, February, 1839; J. D. McAnnally, September, 1840; N. H. Matthews, October, 1839; C. P. Coleman, December, 1842; R. Culbertson, October, 1843; R. G. Daniels, January, 1837; P. B. Nimmons, August, 1844; N. Griffin, April 1839; James Draggoo, October, 1841; A. D. Goetschius, June 1836; Paul Long, February, 1841; John Hogue, June, 1842; D. McDaniel, June, 1843; Isaac Diehl, June 1843; A. J. Ralston, December, 1842; James Johnson, August, 1844; N. Ensley, October, 1841; J. E. Shilling, April 1845; G. W. Gordon, October, 1841; Henry Clark, October, 1842; O. C. Clark, October, 1842; J. C. Wells, June, 1844; D. Altenburg, November 1837; R. B. Showers, February, 1839; W. Jacques, October, 1845; Thomas D. Daily, March 1841; Levi J. Walsworth, November, 1837; C. Bowman, October, 1839; Henry Feagler, September, 1836; M. Whetsel, May 1837; John McClellan, October, 1844; J. H. Ford, November, 1844; A. Blodgett, August, 1842; Peter Treesh, October, 1842; Henry A. Shull, September, 1844; David Weaver, August 1838; A. S. Casebeer, September, 1844; G.W. Husselman, May, 1845; Abraham Eakwright, September, 1836; D. Z. Hoffman, May, 1845; J. C. Somer, August, 1841; S. W. Sprott, July, 1840; T. D. Gross, March 1841; Guy Plum, June 1843; Henry Willis, October, 1843; Charles Gillett, October, 1843; Cornelia P. Cole, June, 1842; Sarah Bowman, March, 1841; Eliza Wason, September, 1837; Caroline Whetsel, September 1841; M. J. Husselman, October, 1845; Anna McDaniel, May 1843; Mary Siebert, August, 1836; Maria Ingman, August, 1836; Almira Martin, May, 1836; S. A. Griffith, November, 1839; Anna Kline, August, 1841; Mary McClellan, August, 1841; Rachel Treesh, October, 1842.


Page 319

Interest continued unabated through the years, and today the ranks of the old settlers are still in formation. Thinning rapidly, it is true, but those who stand, remain stanch and sturdy for the record of the old time. Meetings are held every year at different points in the county, and interest never wanes. Orators and music enliven these gatherings, and a stimulus if provided, productive of happiness to the aged man who meets there his brother. In time these first pioneers will all be departed from this earth, but their deeds and lives are perpetuated, not alone by the workings of the pioneers’ association, but by children who survive them and treasure carefully the records. The last meeting of this association was held at Waterloo, DeKalb county, on June 19, 1913.


Page 319

Two dollars a scalp once was paid for wolf scalps, providing the animal was over six months of age, and one dollar was paid for the scalp if the animal was under that age. Wolves had become so numerous that this provision was necessary. Farm stock was continually in danger from the nightly marauders, and consequently a concerted effort was made by the farmers of the county to exterminate the annoying animal. Wolf hunting was a great sport of the pioneer days, and parties of men, with their dogs, would hunt from sunrise to sundown, and come in to warm by the merry tavern fire and relate the day’s experiences to the stay-at-homes. The sport was a lucrative one, also, as the bounty was high.


Page 319

The first record of a circus in DeKalb county was in June, 1852, at Auburn, when Orney & Company were granted permission to exhibit within the limits of the corporation without payment of a license tax. The wagons were driven overland, and people lined the highway into town to see the circus caravan appear. Much excitement prevailed, and practically all of Auburn and most of the county population crowded under the one canvas to witness the performance.


Page 320

A log twelve feet four inches long, two feet through at the top end, of black walnut, sold for one dollar and thirty cents; of poplar, one dollar and a quarter, and of oak, one dollar. The black walnut commanded a cash payment, but the others were for half cash and half goods.


Page 320

In 1840 DeKalb county had a population of approximately 3,000; in 1850, 8,000; in 1860, 13,880; in 1870, 17,167; in 1880, 20,225; in 1890, 24,307; in 1900, 25,711, in 1910, 25,054.