Waveland History, compiled by Karen Zach

Sources:  A History of Waveland by Virginia Banta Sharpe; History of Montgomery
County by HW Beckwith; Waveland History, 1835-1985; various Waveland
Independent newspapers.

James Long and William Moore both entered land (in what is now Brown Township) at Terre Haute, Indiana prior to the land office being moved to Crawfordsville.  This was in the summer of 1822.  They both built log cabins in the fall and winter of that year, neither knowing the other was so close in proximity.  Long met Moore while hunting cows in the wilderness by sunrise and hearing Moore's axe in the distance.  Moore conducted a tavern that was popular with the weary traveller of the day.  It was often called, "The Half-Way House," due to its location which was half-way between Terre Haute and Lafayette.  Other early settlers, many from Shelby Co, Ky. were Emsley Loop, Jonathan Powers, Benjamin VanCleave, John Kinder, Benjamin Galey, Josiah Galey,
Thomas Glenn, Ralph Canine, Benjamin Todd, John Brush and Jeremiah Stillwell, all coming prior to 1830.  Hiram Heddleson entered the land where Waveland now stands.  John Milligan later purchased this land and is credited with breaking up the forest and  laying out the village of Waveland, aided by surveyor Thomas Glenn.  The first town lot in Waveland was sold on Christmas Day, 1835. Milligan built the first building.  It is said he gave the town its name in honor of his Kentucky plantation.  James Cunningham was the town's first doctor.  Henry Crawford had the first store, located  on Green Street, but it was short-lived.  There was a popular town of Fairview which gave Waveland a run for THE township's town, as well as a small village named Deerford (Deer's Mill), but at present, Browns Valley and Waveland are the only two left. Waveland has had several additions to its original town.  The first addition was in 1840 -- developers were T. Howard, M. Newal and J. Milligan.  Mr. Milligan added two other sections to the town.  John Milligan was the first postmaster.  Dr. Gregg followed with Edwin Milligan thereafter.  Several postmasters have served at various post offices since.  The first hotel was erected by Andrew Harris in the early years of the town.  Other prominent early businesses were the Waveland Wagons, manufactured by HE Rhoads.  Mills were run by Joel Deer, William Canine, along with Thomas Armstrong, Thomas Glenn, Caleb Conner, Thomas Talburt and Thomas Owens in the nearby area.  At the time the People's Guide was published in 1874, 88 men ran their own businesses in town.  Education has always been a central concern for all citizens and the Waveland Academy, a Presbyterian based school, drew students for miles around.  It dates back to at least 1849, the first principal being Rev. L. F. Leake.  His successor was John M. Coyner and Henry S. Kritz headed the school for many years.  The Academy continued until the 1877-78 school year.  The public school was held in one of the old Academy buildings for many years thereafter.  Big changes in the school system were seen in the 1880's when there were 12 grade schools and high schools at Browns Valley and Waveland.  Those students graduating from the grade schools had to take tests.  H.S. graduating classes usually had only 2-3 students.  It is interesting to note that the first Alumni Association was organized 100 years ago this year, 1998.  James Boswell, a Waveland boy, built the school most of Wavelandites remember, in 1912. Southmont High School incorporated all the high schools in 1973.  The gym, still attached to the recently-built grade school was built in 1937.  Religion has also played a major role in Waveland.  Early church meetings were held in individual's homes.  Early ministers usually held down more than one job, being a teacher or farmer, as well as preacher.  Some early preaching was done by travelling ministers.  Rev. William Smith is known to have preached in 1825 as a circuit rider.  John and Lucinda Milligan deeded land for the first building to be erected by the Methodists.  The Waveland Presbyterian Church was organized on November 28, 1828 in the home of John Stubbins but was actually loser to Browns Valley.  A church was built in 1831 and moved (1833) to where the cemetery is today.  The church built in 1861 was used as a community building until recently and is still standing in 1998.  The Christian denomination is not as old in this area.  In 1861, about a mile and a half NE of Waveland, the first church of this denomination called the Antioch Church was formed.  In 1867 it and the Bank Springs Church of Parke County merged, forming the Waveland Christian Church.  The Baptist Church was very prominent in the early days, the first known organized group being the Union Baptist Church which held its first meeting in Ralph Canine's residence Sept. 16, 1826.  In 1835, some of the Union Church members formed the Freedom Church. The Old Baptist Church was a beautiful building, located at 112 E.  Main St. but was disbanded in 1923.  The old hotel building (corner of Howard and Cross Sts.) was remodelled and used for a church for many years in the 1940's and 50's.  There are three cemeteries in town -- the one behind the community building (old Methodist Church); the one at the end of W. Green St. and Maple Ridge just at the north edge of town, across Highway 47.  Much of the early entertainment centered around church or  school functions -- quilting bees, spelling bees, box socials, dancing/singing contests, funerals and weddings were among the most popular.  About the turn of the century (1900), clubs became popular in the fair city of Waveland.  Some early ones were the Book Club, Current Events Club, the Priscilla Club and Out-Doors Club.  Also, fraternal oganizations and lodges were popular.  At one time, the following were here:  Masonic Lodge; Eastern Star; IOOF; Ancient Order of Workmen; Knights of Pythias; Pythian Sisters; Modern Woodmen and Rebekahs. Picnics were popular summer outings.  Travelling shows and silent movies came into society about this time, and the men spent much time at their Gun Club. Music was big not only at school but several community bands
existed, as well. The Chautauqua was quite a social event in the early part of this century. Many entertainments consisting of lecturers, musicians, artists and performers made up a group that travelled in a regular summer circuit (as well as the hautauqua).  William Jennings Bryan drew a huge Waveland following in 1909. The Priscilla Club helped obtain the first library in 1914, opening in 1915 with the "Little Red Hen" being the first book issued to Floyd Sharpe, Nella (Lamb) Huston being the first librarian.

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