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"ONE TOWNSHIP'S YESTERDAYS"
By Edwin Corwin
XXIX. STILL MORE SETTLERS - Part 1
".... orchards and cornfields
Spreading afar and unfenced
o'er the plain."
... Henry W. Longfellow
THEY CAME, AND KEPT COMING, more and more settlers. After the middle of the Nineteenth Century, the land was fast being taken up in Union Township, and the two decades following that milestone saw the settlers' numbers increase rapidly in this region. The 'fifties and 'sixties witnessed the arrival of many emigrants south of Lake Maxinkuckee and east and west of there. A large porportion[sic] of these were of families originally from Germany. Some of them were acquainted before their arrival, and some were connected by ties of marriage.
They were forming into distinct colonies or neighborhoods. They settled close to one another, to be neighborly and to satisfy that sense of protection and comfort which is obtained through communal life, especially in a country that is new and strange.
The histories of a few of these families have already been outlined. A few more warrant consideration.
The Hawk family settled close to Lost Lake, known in other years as Little Maxinkuckee and sometimes Hawk Lake, taking the name of the settlers whose log house had been built, so close to its shore. Fortunately, this family has a capable and painstaking historian in the person of Mrs. Clara (Blanchard) Gottschalk, now residing near Leiters Ford.
"This is the day of reunions," wrote this family historian in a "History of the Hawk Family" read at their first reunion, September 9, 1923. "Scarcely a Sunday passes the summer months but that we hear of one or more family reunions. Now we, the members of the Hawk family, descendants of Louis and Eva Hawk, are met to renew our acquaintance with each other and to strengthen the ties that hind us as members of one family; also to consider who we are, whence we came and whither we are going.
"To begin with, let us see what we can find out about these two people from whom we are descended. What sort of persons were they as to character, occupation and habits? Where did they come from, how did they live, where and when did they die, what did they accomplish during their lifetime, what heritage have they left to their posterity?
"The very brief records available at this time lead us to believe that they were honest, God-fearing and industrious people, lover of home and pioneers in spirit. By occupation Louis Hawk was a blacksmith and by religion profession a Lutheran. A very old book of German songs and Scripture readings bears the following inscription on the title page:
" Ludwig Hack, Scholar ill Ohmearhausen 1815, on the 13th BazenHof, where I bought this book.”
"We gather from this that he was born in Germany and lived there until at least thirteen years of age (he was born in 1802), when he came with his parents to America, and settled in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, where he grew to manhood and on January 18, 1824, was married to Miss Eva Ferber, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Ferber.
"Miss Eva was born ou February 8, 1805, and baptized on March 5, 1805, by Rev. John Henry Helstrich of the Reformed Church. She was confirmed by the same minister in 1821. Her mother's maiden name was Handwerkin.
"Louis and Eva Hawk were the parents of nine children:
"David, born October 5, 1824; Reuben, January 7, 1827; Josephine, March 18, 1829; Mary Ann, January 26, 1831; Lewis, December 27, 1833; Sarah, February 27, 1836; Susan and Fian, August 1, 1840; Franklin, December 29, 1842. David, Reuben, Josephine, Mary Ann and Lewis were all born in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; and Saran, Susan, Fian and Franklin, in Seneca County, Ohio.
"A baptism certificate of David gives the spelling of the family name as Haag (probably the Pennsylvania translation of the name Hack) and the god- parents as Johannes and Lydia Hack. He was baptized by a minister of the Lutheran Church in Heidelberg Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1824." This certificate, the paper of which is now brown and brittle with age, was found some time ago amongst family belongings and is kept in the family and prized. The lettering much of which was done, is in the old German style and is still black and distinct. The wording is in German and is quaint. Proper names are given different spellings from those used today. The inscription on thee certificate says that to Ludwig (later called Lewis) Haag and wife Eva is born a "Sohn" (son) and the date of that is “5 October 1824,” while the place is Heidelberg Township, Lecha (Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania. To the boy is given the name David Haag, and the witnesses are Johannes Haag and his wife Lithia (Lydia).
"We have no way of knowing the exact time of their (Louis' and Eva's) coming to Seneca County, Ohio," continues the historian, "but records of the birth and baptism of Lewis, their fifth child, show that he was born in Pennsylvania and baptized in Ohio by a minister of the Reformed Church as Lewis Hawk. Here again there is a change in the spelling of the name, -- this probably being the American translation of the original name." At any rate, Ludwig developed into Lewis and Haag into Hawk, but just where these changes took place is problematical. One story is related that attributes the change from Haag to Hawk as taking place in Union Township after the family settled here. According to this tradition, the name of Hawk was first used in a deed that was made out when property was bought in this township. The person drawing up the deed inquired as to the name, misunderstood it, and put it down as Hawk. But let us go on with the historian's account of the progress of the family westward.
"On coming to Ohio Louis and Eva purchased a forty acre farm near West Lodi, Seneca County, where he set up his blacksmith shop and began the clearing of the land. His early death in 1843 at the age of only forty-one years left the burden of caring for the large family upon the shoulders of the widowed mother and older sons.
"David had now reached the age of nearly nineteen and he, with the help of neighbors, managed to learn his father's trade and to oversee the work on the little farm. It might be said here that Josephine had died in infancy, and Mart Ann at the age of probably twelve or thirteen. The other seven children grew to manhood and womanhood here in Seneca County and from here, following the example of their parents, they married and set up homes of own.
"David and his companion labored well, and by hard work and economy were able to provide for each of their children a farm of eighty or more acres near the old homestead. David died here in October, 1908, at the age of eighty-four. Catherine remained with as for nearly two decades longer. She died, January 2, 1927, at the age of eighty-eight.
"Emma died in infancy, David, Jr., in 1899, and Franklin on January 7, 1913, each of these sons leaving a widow and children. Edwin, John and Rollen, with their families, live in or near Culver.
"Reuben, second son or Louis and Eva Hawk, was married to Miss Mary Bennehoff. They had one child, Fietta, and she and her parents lived and died in Seneca Court-,,, Ohio.
"Lewis, the third son, was married to Catherine Grosskoph, and with their first child, Ella, they moved to Marshall County. After a short time they moved to Wolf Creek, Indiana, and here their son, Louis William, was born. Later they returned to Ohio and made their home at Republic. After the departure of his wife, Lewis was married to Amanda E. Skeels (Knappenberger) and to them was born one son, Franklin P. Lewis died on December 19, 1909, and Amanda on December 18, 1921.
"Sarah, oldest daughter of Louis and Eva, was married in 1861 to Lewis Hartman of West Lodi, Ohio. After the birth of their first two children (Emma and Catherine) they moved to Marshall County and settled on a piece of land near what is now Rutland, where the youngest son William now lives with his family. Here Lucy, Franklin, William, Susan and Laura were born, and here Lucy died in infancy.
"Catherine married Charles Grover and, after raising her family, passed away in 1921. Emma married Solomon Cavender and both she and her husband have died, leaving sons and daughters grown to manhood and womanhood. Sarah died, July 10, 1909, at Rutland, her husband having preceded her on.
"Susan was married in 1855 to Ezra Purchis Tilley, an Englishman from Gloucester, England. They moved to Morrison, Illinois, where they resided until Mr. Tilley's death in 1897. Susan brought her husband's body to Culver for burial, and she remained here with her brother David and family. She died on July 15, 1908, following a stroke of paralysis. Her last illness was of but one day's duration. Susan and her husband had no children, but raised one boy, Rolla Robert, whose whereabouts is not now known to the family.
"Fianna, twin sister of Susan, was married on May 22, 1859, to Abraham Bowerman, a young man who had come from Oswego, N. Y., to Seneca County with his parents when he was a small child. The two had grown up together in the same community, often attending singing school and other events, their friendship leading to courtship and marriage. Immediately after a short honeymoon to Put-in-Bay Island, they went to Indiana, riding on the old Seneca, the first train to travel westward, where the groom had previously provided a home, then in the dense forest. This home was a rude log cabin, similar to all in its time, but out of the ordinary, was sided, making it look like the modern home of today. This home still stands in good preservation. Here their children were born:
"Edson Purchas, August 6, 1860; Perry Lloyd, August 5, 1864; Charles Allen, August 21, 1871; and Ella Maud, August 24, 1876.
"Fianna died on January 30, 1905, after a long period of suffering from paralysis, during which time she was tenderly cared for by her daughter Maud. Mr. Bowerman died in 1906. The three sons grew to manhood, married, had children and died in the county of their birth. The daughter Maud was married on January 30, 1908, to Henry A. Wilson of near Bluffton, Indiana, and was at home since 1915 at Warren, Ohio.
"Franklin, youngest son of Louis and Eva, was married to Harriet York of near Burr Oak, and to them were born four children: Ella, Elizabeth, Fietta and Sarah Louise. Only Elizabeth grew to womanhood and she with her husband, Paul Fieser, reared a large family of children.
"After the death of his wife. Franklin married Mrs. Arwesta Reems (nee Miles) and to them were born three children: Franklin, Jr., Susan and Roscoe, who with their families live near Walnut, Indiana. Franklin died in September, 1909, and his widow has since married William Alleman of Argos. (Arwesta died in 1933).
"After the marriage of the other children, the mother, Eva, with her youngest son, Franklin, moved from Ohio to Marshall County, Indiana. The two lived together until his marriage. She then bought a house and an acre of ground at Rutland where she lived for a few years, after which she made her home with her children until a few years before her death when she with her sister Lydia (who had married Louis' brother Johannes) bought a house and lot in Marmont, now Culver. Here she died on May 16, 1882, at the age of seventy-seven.
"So far as w e have been able to trace them," the historian adds, "there are at present one hundred eleven direct descendants of Louis and Eva Hawk living. (The widows of David and Franklin are living, but this estimate does not include any relatives by marriage). The living descendants are: Children, none; grandchildren, 15; great-grandchildren, 57; and great-great-grandchildren, 39."
Regarding the descendants of David: "Franklin was born June 14, 1851, and died January 7, 1913. He married Etta Eldora Moricale. They had one daughter, Cora Belle, who was born August 3, 1887, married on June 12, 1930, to George W. Gottschalk (widower) whose birthday was September 26, 1878, and who died January 27, 1933. Cora's mother died in January, 1859, and her father married Eldora Kinsey Horner, a widow with one son, Arnie. To Franklin and Eldora were born two children: Estella, who married Gano Batz; and Edward, who married Leona Gibson.
"Sarah Anna (Blanchard), descendant of David, was born September 22, 1856, in Seneca County, Ohio, and married Ezra Blanchard (December 19, 1875), a soldier of the Civil War. He was born May 4, 1845, in Jennings County, Indiana, and died December 22, 1926, at Culver. Their descendants were David Archie, who married Esther Asper; and Essie Catherine (Carlisle) ; also Clara LuEmma (Gottschalk) , Daisy (who died in infancy), Pearl May (Romig), Ezra Perchis (who married Mary Murphy), Jesse Orville (who married Dessie McGinnis), and Lulu Evalena (widow of Alfred B. Cromley)."
It was a matter of interest that Catherine, widow of the oldest son, and Arwesta, widow of the youngest son, were present at. the first reunion of the Hawk family, in 1923. The oldest living grandchild, Mrs. Ezra Blanchard of Culver, aged 67 years, and the youngest, Franklin P. Hawk of Republic, Ohio, aged 29, were also present, as were the oldest and youngest members of the next generation: Archie Blanchard of Culver (46) and Lewis Daniel Hawk of Republic, Ohio, aged eight months. Ruby Carlisle was the oldest great-great-grandchild and Clara May Bowerman of Garrett, Indiana, the youngest.
In early times, the lands of the Hawk family in Union Township consisted of 100 acres in the name of D. Hawk, west of Lost Lake; northwest of that, 92 acres, also in the name of D. Hawk; and north of the Lost Lake tract, 60 acres in the name of F. Hawk.
The settlement of the family in this township was made around 1860. David and Catherine Hawk had come to Allen County, Indiana, about 1859. After spending a little over a year there, they came on to the Lost Lake home-site.
The Wilson family came to this township in the early 'sixties. Abijah Wilson, the pioneer, and his wife Elizabeth were natives of New York and Virginia, respectively. They moved to Pulaski County, Indiana, in 1841, having been previously located in Shelby County. Ohio. Abijah Wilson followed farming and brick-making in Pulaski County, and resided there until his removal to Marshall County, in 1863, He located in Union Township, and for some time thereafter operated a sawmill near Lake Maxinkuckee, in connection with agricultural pursuits.
Abijah Wilson passed away in 1881, leaving a widow, the mother of nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity. Five of these were living as late as 1890: John, Isaac, Leonard, George and James.
Leonard Wilson was born in Shelby County, Ohio, April 9, 1841, was reared to agricultural pursuits in Pulaski County, Indiana, and obtained a common school education. In 1862 he entered the army as private in Company B, 87th Indiana Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war. "While in the service," says Thompson, "he participated in a number of bloody battles, including Spring Hill, Perryville, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and numerous others, in one of which he received a painful wound. At the expiration of his term of service he returned to Indiana, and in 1865 became a resident of Marshall county, settling in Union township, where he engaged in the vocation of farming, in which he met with well deserved success. In 1871 Miss Mary E. Ruggles, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Hittle) Ruggles, became his wife, to which marriage have been born (by 1890) five children, whose names are as follows: Lillie, May, Albert Lawrence, Arthur Lester, Adelbert Lewis, and Clyde Otis." Mr. Wilson was an active member of the Patrons of Husbandry fraternity, in which he filled nearly every office, and belonged to Tibbett's Post, No. 260, G. A. R., of Plymouth. He and his wife were identified with the Protestant Methodist Church. The death of Leonard Wilson occurred at Culver, April 2, 1919. He lacked only seven days of being seventy-eight. Burial was in Poplar Grove Cemetery.
Just east of old Maxinkuckee village, along the highway, in early times were located the lands of Leonard Wilson and his father, Abijah. On the north side of the road were 35 acres in the name of L. Wilson. The tile factory, operated by the Wilsons in those days, was situated on this plot of land. East of it, also on the north side of the highway, A. Wilson had 85 acres of ground.
Another name intimately associated with the ancient community of Maxinkuckee is that of Parker. Eli Parker was the pioneer of the family in this township. He settled here in 1860 or thereabouts, opened a general store at Maxinkuckee, and largely invested his profits in land, so that at his death at the age of sixty-five, he was a substantial and honored citizen, having accumulated quite a store of wealth. He took in John Wise as a partner in the store business, and for many years the firm of Parker & Wise was known far and wide. They had the unique distinction of having two stores operating at one and the same time on the east side of the lake. One of them was a branch of the main store on the hill, however, and was operated at the Landing as a resort store during the summer season only.
Eli Parker married Catherine Spangler. They had three sons and three daughters, all living now but one. Catherine Spangler was born January 21, 1840, near Fremont, Ohio, and was married to Eli Parker, November 11, 1860, She was a daughter of Samuel and Rachel Spangler.
It was on August 31, 1896, that Eli Parker passed to his eternal rest. He was a member of the Odd Fellows lodge. On the date of his passing he gave a talk at the lodge for the good of the order. He went home, and died within about fifteen minutes. His widow survived him ten years, to the month. Her death occurred on August 7, 1906, at Culver. She was sixty-six. Catherine Parker was laid to rest in Poplar Grove Cemetery, where her husband was buried.
Concerning the six children of Eli and Catherine Parker we find the following of record: The boys were Dunham C., familiarly known as "Dunn"; Francis M., or Frank; and Edward E., the doctor. Dunham married Mary Elizabeth Beeber and lives at Argos. There are no children. Frank married Ida M. Rector. Both are living. Their home is on one of the old Parker farms on the east side of Lake Maxinkuckee. There are no children. Dr. E. F. Parker, now a resident of South Bend, was born at Maxinkuckee, December 13, 1870, the fifth child and the third son in the family. He was reared in Marshall County, and received his higher education at Butler University and at Indiana Medical College, being graduated from there in 1895. He first practiced medicine at Flora, Indiana, remained two years there, then came to Culver. He had an office over the old bank. The doctor married Dora Moss, daughter of William and Josephine Moss. There were three daughters: Kathryn, Josephine (Rosemary), and Martha. The name of Parker is dying out in this line of descent, for there are no Parker boys living of the younger generation.
The three daughters of Eli and Catherine Parker were Jennie, Nellie and Bertha. Jennie married Dan Marks, a present-day resident of Culver. There were two sons, Herbert and Burford, who died in childhood at Maxinkuckee. The mother died at Culver. Nellie married Bradford ("Brad") Krouse. The children consisted of three boys: Everett, Palmer and Eugene. Everett died in the Service, while in a hospital during the World War. The third daughter, Bertha, married Charles Hayes. There are no children.
The Parker lands, as mapped in the 'seventies, were close to Maxinkuckee village. Just north of it, E. Parker had plots of 15.75 and 40 acres. and north of this land he had 120 acres. Just southeast of the village 73.50 acres were in his name.
The name of Rector is likewise closely associated with the old village of Maxinkuckee and the east side of he lake. The family settled there at a very early date. Not a great deal is known about the family connections far back, but it is evident that the family settled in the East many, many years ago, prior to the American Revolution. In the lower part of Manhattan Island there is an ancient and narrow little city lane bearing the name of Rector Street. It is in close proximity to old Trinity Church and is known as one of the first thoroughfares of New York town. The street took its mine from some member of the Rector family, prominent in the days of long ago, or from the family itself. It is quite certain that the Rectors of Union Township are of the same family.
It was not long after the first comers had built their rude log cabins in clearings east of the lake that Grandfather Rector arrived and settled near by. The pioneer of the family was Conaway Rector. It is believed that he came in 1843. At any rate, it was either late in the 'thirties or early in the 'forties that he first viewed the broad expanse of Lake Maxinkuckee, picked out an admirable home-site on a high hill overlooking that body of water, and promptly set to work building a log house to shelter his flock. Grandfather Rector put up a commodious cabin home on the top of the hill at Maxinkuckee. It was a fine house to start pioneering in; a big, two-story log affair, located on the north side of the road. It stood for a good many years, an enduring home, carrying its age in its declining years with consummate grace. But the end had to come, for in 1885 or '86 the house was torn down and the logs cut up for lumber. Sarah A. Rector owned it then. She had been widowed not long before, her husband, Lewis C. Rector, soil of the pioneer, having passed away in ‘84.
Lewis C. Rector was only seven years of age when the family came to Maxinkuckee. He died on December 10, 1884, at the age of forty-eight.
The family records are meager. and it is not known where Conaway Rector, the pioneer, lies buried. His wife was Frances E. Thomas, a remarkable pioneer mother who raised five boys to send off to fight in the War of the Rebellion.
In old Washington Cemetery, over beyond the southeast corner of Lake Maxinkuckee, one finds today five graves in a row, each bearing a marker and a little weather-beaten flag, indicating that there lie five veterans, all participants in that great struggle of '61-'65. There close to the far western boundary of the cemetery, rest in peace the five Rector boys, the brothers. Lewis. Nathan, William, Wesley and Silas, who fought so valiantly for the Union cause in the bitter strife of the 'sixties. There was a sixth brother who did not see service in that war; Conaway died young. In the line of graves there is another. The marker is inscribed, "Mother." She was Lewis C. Rector's wife, Sarah A. One of the war-veteran markers is in front of her grave. One wonders why it was placed there, and the reason seems to be explained apparently by the following information, given to the writer by Nathan W Rector, the Culver druggist.
All five of the brothers are not buried in Washington Cemetery. In spirit only are the five soldiers united there, and in that manner it may be truthfully said that they are together, resting in peace in that quiet spot by the side of the road near the lake they knew so well and so fondly in their youth. Nathan was buried at Chattanooga. So the marker at Washington Cemetery, "back home" is there in his honor and memory. Nathan was blown up in a powder magazine at Memphis during the war. He had enlisted in Company D, 9th Indiana Regiment, His brother William was with him in the same company and regiment, as were also boys from his home neighborhood, among them Francis M. Parker, and George and Daniel Peebles. William Rector was transferred from Libby Prison, we are told, came home, and died soon afterward.
Silas Rector was enlisted in Company C, 48th Regiment. William and Peter Spangler were among the neighbor boys who were his comrades in that company. We find Nathan Rector serving as a Corporal in the 21st Battery, Light Infantry. James L. Mosher was a Private in the same outfit.
Lewis C. Rector, father of Nathan W., enlisted on November 8, 1861, to serve three years. He was mustered in at Goshen, Indiana, December 24, 1861. He became a Corporal in Company C, 48th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, in which many Marshall County boys were enlisted. He was promoted to First Sergeant and to Second Lieutenant, but was never mustered in the higher grade. He was in the thick of the fray, and was wounded three times, by gun-shot, in leg and lung at Mission Ridge. These wounds were the cause of his death, eventually; lung trouble set in and he never regained his old-time strength. He saw service at the Siege of Vicksburg. He was in attendance at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, and stood behind Grant on that occasion. Having been veteranized home, he organized a company at Warsaw, re-enlisting as a veteran. January 1, 1864. He was finally discharged at Louisville. Kentucky, July 15. 1865, as First Sergeant. His death occurred at Maxinkuckee, December 10, 1884, at the age of 48 years, 10 months and 20 days, and he was laid to rest in Washington Cemetery.
The children of Lewis C. and Sarah A. Rector were eight in number, two of whom are now living: Nathan W. of Culver, and Ida May, who married Frank Parker and who now lives at Maxinkuckee.
Sarah A. (Smith) Rector died at Maxinkuckee in 1927. She was a daughter of Moses Smith, an early resident of the Maxinkuckee neighborhood. Sarah had one brother. His name was also Moses Smith. Like the majority of the people in the region just east of the lake, the Smiths were staunch in their support of the Union cause during the Civil War and were represented in that struggle by William C. Smith, who died in the Service.
Not far distant from the very early "upper and lower settlements." northeast and east of Lake Maxinkuckee, were those established at and near the south end of the lake in the 'fifties and ‘sixties. Some mention has already been made of families that came to the south end neighborhood, but we must not abandon that locality without appropriate mention of the Easterday family. Here is a name that has been closely associated with that section of the township ever since the pioneer of the family, Daniel, first set foot there in about the year 1864.
Daniel Easterday and his wife Julia, with their family of children, then of tender years, came to Union Township from Marion County, Ohio. They came direct to Lake Maxinkuckee by way of Plymouth. At the lower end of the lake they found quite a colony of German families forming, and decided to set up their home there. It was a pleasant locality, one to which anyone the least bit susceptible to the charms of nature might soon become firmly attached. It is true, the soil was sandy, and the Easterdays had not been accustomed to land of this kind, back where they had lived in Ohio. When they migrated, it was a case of "out of the heavy land and into the sandy," as it has been expressed.
Daniel was the first Easterday known that came to Indiana, or to this part of the State anyway. The land he settled on had been previously occupied; it was the McMillen place. The McMillen family lived there when he came. He found a log house already located on the place, but it had rotted down and was hardly fit to live in. And since the McMillen cabin was in such a state of decay, Daniel Easterday decided that the best and only thing he should do was to build a log house of his own, immediately. Wasting no time, he set to work and soon had a snug and substantial home in readiness to shelter his family. That log house stood for a number of years, and was in use until such a time as the head of the family was in position to put up a more modern and commodious form of dwelling.
Daniel Easterday was born in Ohio, November 26, 1835, and died in Culver, January 12, 1899. His wife, who before her marriage. was Julia Myers, was born in Germany in 1830. At the age of nine, she came to America. She passed away, December 23, 1883, on the homestead farm, now owned by John Kline, and was buried on Christmas Day.
The children of Daniel and Julia Easterday were all born in Ohio. Laura, the oldest, and John are deceased. W. S. (Samuel), the youngest, is the. well-known undertaker, now of Culver.
Other members of Daniel Easterday's immediate family became interested in the "lands of the farther west," and they also came and settled in the vicinity of Lake Maxinkuckee. They migrated somewhat over a decade later than did Daniel. Henry, an older brother of Daniel, moved, into the Germany neighborhood in about the year 1875. Daniel's brother Benjamin came in '78 from Crawford County, Ohio, bought a farm right beside Dan's, and settled there. The place is now Schuyler Overmyer's. Benjamin was the father of Lee Easterday, who now resides on a place of his own in the township. Another brother, Jacob, came out and settled near Plymouth. He passed away some years ago and was buried back in Ohio.
The Easterday brothers owned considerable land at the south end of the lake in the 'seventies. Daniel's consisted of 133.06 acres at the extreme southeast corner of the lake. It bordered on that body of water. West of this land, on the south shore and bordering also on the lake, Benjamin had 118.29 acres. District School No. 10, the Mt. Pleasant School, was located in the southwest corner of this land.
Let us leave the neighborhood of the south side of the lake and hop over to the northern part of the township, where another family of German descent was moving in and getting settled on the land at about the same time that Daniel Easterday came or perhaps just a year or part of a year later. This was the Kyser (or Keyser) family. Although they had come to Marshall County, as early as 1855, the Kysers did not move into Union Township until 1865. The original settlement of the family, however, was not far distant; land was first taken up in West Township.
Andrew J. Kyser, the Union Township settler, was born in Summit County, Ohio, February 7, 1827. He was a son of John and Rebecca (Warner) Kyser, both natives of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and early settlers of Summit County, Ohio. For a number of years John Kyser was connected with the militia service in Summit County, and there also, for twenty-six years, he followed the trade of cooper. He was a local politician of the Democratic party, well educated in the English and German languages, and with his wife, first belonged to the Lutheran Church, but afterward became identified with the Reformed Church, in which he was a leader for fifty years. He died in 1873, and his wife followed him to the grave in 1885, both departing this life in Summit County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Kyser had a family of eleven children, seven of whom survived their parents: Andrew J., Mrs. Mary Sorick, Mrs. Sarah Vandersoll, Jeremiah, Elizabeth, Philander and Henry. A deceased brother, John, who came to Marshall County in 1866 and settled in West Township, died there in 1886. Andrew J. Kyser grew to manhood in Summit County, Ohio, and in 1851 married Elizabeth Kemery, daughter of Jacob Kemery, a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and an early resident of Summit County, Ohio. It was in 1855 that Mr. Kyser came to Marshall County and settled in West Township, where he cleared a farm of 74acres, which he disposed of in 1865 and moved into Union Township, where he at length acquired 320 acres, 150 of which he cleared.
Andrew J. and Elizabeth Kyser were the parents of six children, three of whom were living in 1890: Franklin M., Carlisle D. and Flora. R., of Burr Oak.
Mr. Kyser was a successful farmer and gave considerable attention to the breeding of fine horses. His lands, as mapped in the 'seventies, consisted of 160 acres in Section 34, on the south side of the Behmer Road and a bit northwest of Hibbard. The map-maker spelled the name as Keyser, which is apparently the generally accepted spelling of late years.
Returning again to the Snores of Lake Maxinkuckee, we find that, somewhat later than the Kyser settlement near Hibbard, another family has moved in and taken up laud in this region, which is now fast developing into a rich and populous farming country. The new-comers to the lakeside settlement are Aaron T. Benedict and his wife Cordelia, with their children. They had moved here from Miami County and settled at the extreme north end of the lake. It was in 1872 that, they located here.
The Benedict homestead was established on a knoll somewhat back from the lake. Pine trees were planted around it. These grew and grew, and in the passing years witnessed the changing fortunes of the family in the house they sheltered. Finally, by marriage and death, the Benedicts were parted and scattered, and there came a day when the homestead was deserted. At length the house itself was gone, and only the pine trees remained on the knoll that overlooked the lake. There they stand to this day, a little grove of them, grown real tall now, landmarks, telling the story of human habitation there once where no dwelling stands any more. The Benedict homestead beneath these trees was north of the present Road 10 and east of the Hibbard Road. The highways today are not as they originally were. In the 'seventies the old roads ran close to the house. There was a three-point intersection almost in front of the house, where the highway from Marmont, coming diagonally and directly northeast from the lakeside, joined the eastbound Argos Road and the Hibbard Road. The Argos Road was immediately south of the Benedict house, while the Hibbard Road then followed a northwesterly trend till it reached the Shaw school house, then proceeded north a short stretch before turning east, as now.
"Aaron T. Benedict, my father, owned two hundred acres at the north end of the lake," says Mrs. Augusta Warner of Culver. "All of this is now the property of Culver Military Academy. The original site of the Academy was on the Benedict tract, bordering the bay. It was acquired by Henry H. Culver from the family." A. T. Benedict also owned a small tract west of the Hibbard Road. It consisted of 39.5 acres. The Shaw school house stood in the southeast corner of it. The Benedict land bordering on what is now Aubbeenaubbee Bay comprised an area of 83 acres. North of this and adjoining was a plot of 83 acres. "My father," says Mrs. Warner, "bought his two hundred acres from James Mitchell, father-in-law of Thomas Houghton." A. T. Benedict had other property back in the 'seventies. This was back from the east shore of the lake and a short distance southeast of Maxinkuckee village. In fact, it practically came up to the edge of the village itself. There were 120 acres in this plot. At the same time, Eugene S. Benedict, his son, had forty acres adjoining. His land comprised the northeast quarter of Section 26.
Although the property at the north end of the lake has been designated as the Benedict homestead, Aaron T. Benedict never lived there himself, in the house in the midst of the pine trees. His home was at Maxinkuckee. It was north of the lake, however, that lie first took up land and settled. He came in the month of March, 1872. The "pine tree house" was rented out by A. T. Benedict to the Warners, William, and Augusta, his son-in-law and daughter, who with their children occupied the place for a period of fourteen years. A. T. Benedict's own home at Maxinkuckee was standing until very recently. It burned down early in 1934, at which time it was the Clifford Wooldridge property. "Henry H. Culver bought the place at the north end of the lake in 1885," says Mrs. Augusta Warner.
On his Maxinkuckee property, A. T. Benedict ran a saw mill, combined with which was a sort of grist mill. No wheat was milled there; corn only was ground. Mr. Benedict kept about the whole community in corn meal. The mill was on what is now the Chester Bigley land. Its location was on quite a little stream, just south of the old Parker homestead that burned in recent years. The stream was fed by a flowing well, which may not be flowing so well now as it did then. The stream in turn fed Benedict's mill with power; the lumber was sawed and the corn milled by stream power and not by steam power. The mill was not at all modern, but it did its work well. Cattle instead of motor trucks and tractors played a part in the milling business. A yoke of oxen used to haul the logs. Mr. Benedict was always interested in lumbering, and when he and his wife, who before her marriage was Cordelia Hill, decided finally to depart from Maxinkuckee for a more westerly land of promise, they headed for Arkansas, where timber was plentiful. On their arrival in Arkansas, Benedict procured nine hundred acres of timber land and proceeded to lumber it, kiln-drying the timber. He suffered a disastrous fire. Three thousand dollars worth of lumber went up in smoke.
Aaron and Cordelia Benedict both died in Arkansas, and were buried there. After their death, their son Jim ran the lumber business. His brother "Cory" helped some. "Cory's" family lives there yet.
The family of A. T. and Cordelia Benedict was an interesting one. Let us look at each of their children separately. The first child, Daniel, died at the age of three mouths. Eugene S., the oldest of those who grew to maturity, was born January 23, 1848, and died October 10, 1933. Rosa A., Eugene's wife, was born August 2, 1854, and died September 27, 1921. Eugene and his wife were buried in Poplar Grove Cemetery. Their oldest son, Edgar, now lives in the State of Washington. Ernest, the second son, resides east of Maxinkuckee yet. Forest, the youngest boy, lives near Walnut.
Phebe Augusta Benedict was born in Miami County, August 14, 1849, and was married in the same county to William Leander Warner. Not long, after their marriage, they located on the Benedict place at the north end of Lake Maxinkuckee. The children of William L. and Augusta Warner were twelve in number. Of the boys, the oldest was Elmer L., born February 22, 1871, in Miami County. He died June 4, 1883, on the Benedict farm of the pine trees. Aaron Luther Warner, who was called "Lu", was born October 25, 1872, and is now living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was in the house among the evergreens and near the lake that Harvey was born, February 12, 1875. He now resides in Culver. Roy was born October 4, 1885, and is living in Compton, California. Arthur, who was born December 6, 1890, in Green Township, resides in Culver. Herbert, born May 5, 1893, is living near Richland Center, Indiana. There were five girls, four of whom are living. Annie, the oldest, married Minor Flagg. Elvie married Elmer Scheuerman, and Vernie, deceased, married Elmer's twin brother, Harvey. Jennie, who was married thrice, is now the wife of Earl Barton. Marie, the youngest, married L. M. Long. The widowed mother, Augusta Warner, at the age of eighty-five is a resident of Culver.
Returning to the Benedict family, we find that Sarah Jane was born February 4, 1851, and was married to Thomas Bigley of Maxinkuckee. Her husband is now deceased, but she is still living, at the age of eighty-three, with her daughter, east of the lake. Maxinkuckee is her old home, and there she remains in the sunset of life. Her sister, Annette Benedict, died at the age of nine. A brother, James Buchanan Benedict, who was born October 1, 1859, was married to Lillie Louden. He died, September 19, 1931, and was survived by his second wife, Eva J. Benedict. An incident is related concerning Jim. It is about his going away and being gone a long time, his family not knowing where he went. Finally he came back; then later away he went again, but his folks kept track of him thereafter. In his young manhood he went west, to Arkansas, where for a number of years he was engaged in the lumber business. Then, in 1917, he went to Astoria, Oregon. Two years later he moved to Bandon, where he died. James outlived his brother "Cory." Corydon was his given name. He was born December 2, 1861, and passed away several years ago. He is survived by Cora Lee Benedict. Vernie Florence, youngest of the Benedict children, was born October 25, 1864, and was married to Charles Holmes. Both are living in the State of Washington.
Old World traditions and the glamour and quaintness of life as it was lived long, long ago in the early Dutch settlements in America lend an unique and romantic background to our story of the Bogardus family, certain members of which drifted westward with the "tide of empire" during the first half of the Nineteenth Century and settled where the Benedicts and various others of our township pioneers established homes, on the sunrise side of the lake called Maxinkuckee. Whosoever is fond of the writings of Washington Irving and especially his "Tales of a Traveller" will recall the "Money-Diggers" and Wolfert Webber with his golden dreams. And whosoever had their being in the period of the "Gay Nineties" and read the newspaper accounts of the famous Anneke Jans estate and the claim, then revived, of heirs seeking a vast fortune, will recall the part played by the Dutch Dominie, Everardus Bogardus. Perhaps, however, few will recognize in those characters of an ancient day and in those flights of fact and fancy any association with the family that came to the village of Maxinkuckee. But such connection intimately exists.
It seems that the Bogardus family of our own story must have had, through inheritance, a very substantial claim, if any existed at all, to the Jans estate, news of which was headlined in the press during several generations. To the accompaniment of no small display of public interest, the case was revived from time to time. The stupendous value of the estate, which waxed so fat and mighty with the advance of the years, became a dream of untold wealth, dwarfing the most fantastic and fairy-like of all the proverbial king's ransoms, dwarfing even the golden dreams of Wolfert Webber, though paralleling Webber's dreams come true. You may ask, who was Wolfert Webber? The answer: He was the father of Anneke Jans, who took as her second husband the Dominie Bogardus. And from these distinguished Dutch folk of centuries ago descended, as directly as could be desired, the Bogardus folk of Maxinkuckee's shores.
There was once a worthy burgher, Wolfert Webber by name, who "lived in the ancient city of the Manhattoes." Descended was he from old Cobus Webber of the Brille in Holland, "one of the original settlers, famous for introducing the cultivation of cabbages, and who came over to the province during the protectorship of Oloffe Van Kortlandt, otherwise caller the Dreamer." The family continued "in the same line of husbandry." Indeed, the "Webber dynasty continued in uninterrupted succession;" and "quietly and comfortably did this excellent family vegetate under the shade of a mighty buttonwood tree, which by little and little grew so great as entirely to overshadow their palace. The city gradually spread its suburbs round their domain."
At length, Wolfert "swayed the sceptre of his fathers," and "to share the cares and sweets of sovereignty, he had taken unto himself a helpmate, one of that excellent kind called stirring women." And "thus reigned and vegetated Wolfert Webber over his paternal acres. peacefully and contentedly." The old Dutch tale goes on. Now enters Captain Kidd, the pirate, and his crew, and buried treasure. Wolfert dreams golden dreams of discovering immense treasure in the centre of his garden. He steals from his bed at night, digs and devastates his garden, with its phalanx of cabbages, whose ranks are soon slaughtered by the relentless treasure seeker. He digs and digs, night after night, and when he awakes at last from his dream of wealth, the year has declined and he realizes he has raised no crop to provide for the leap, and severe winter that follows. Then those who have followed the tale will recall that there is more pirate gold. Mud Sam, the Black Fisherman, enters into the plot, and finally, though Wolfert grows poorer and poorer, finds no buried treasure of the pirates, and takes to his bed to die, he rouses and comes to life again when another sort of fortune falls into his lap. We are told how "a great bustling street passed through the very centre of the Webber garden, just where Wolfert had dreamed of finding a treasure. His golden dream was accomplished; he did indeed find an unlooked-for source of wealth." Building lots were laid out. Instead of a paltry crop of cabbages, he reaped an abundant crop of rent. And "it was a goodly sight to see his tenants knocking at the door, from morning till night, each with a little round bellied bag of money, a golden produce of the soil."
Now, the family records of the Bogardus and Spangler descendants in Union Township relate that "Annekke Webber was a granddaughter of William, Prince of Orange, Founder of the Dutch Republic. Her father was Wolpert (Wolfert) Webber. Annekke married, in Holland, a scientific farmer named Roelleff Jens. They came to America from Holland about 1620. The Dutch Colonial Company sent Jens to America to manage their grant of land near Albany, New York. When his contract expired, Jens moved to New Amsterdam (now New York City). In or about 1630 he received from the Holland United West Indies Company, a citation for certain lands (about 62 acres) on Manhattan Island. Jens died in 1637. The widow Annekke in 1638 married the Dominie Bogardus, a Dutch preacher. The said Bogardus purchased the property adjoining that now left by the former husband, Jens. Mrs. Bogardus' nephew, Arnot Webber, had purchased the property adjoining those above named, and leaving a will in which he devised the same to his aunt, Annekke Jens Bogardus, which Properties taken together constitute 192 acres."
In his autobiography, Abram W. Bogardus, the pioneer who came to Union Township and settled at Maxinkuckee, certified: "My father's name was Henry Hudson Bogardus. My mother's name (her maiden name) was Hannah Brundage. My father had four brothers. Their names were Robert, John, Abraham and James. He had three sisters. Their names were Catherine, Jane and Phoebe. Catherine married John Swartz. My grandfather's name was Fredrick Bogardus. He married Rachel Wicks, a daughter of Patty Wicks. My grandfather lived near Fishkill and near Stonykill, New York. He was a grandson of one of the four boys named in the will of Annekke Jens Bogardus, the widow of Everardus Bogardus," who was the Dominie of the Second Established Church in New Netherlands (or the second pastor, it, has elsewhere been stated, of the church in New Amsterdam). Everardus Bogardus died December 27, 1647. Anneke Jans died in Albany, New York, in 1663.
History tells us that Anneke Jans, the Dutch colonist in America, came from Holland to New Netherlands in 1630 with Roeloff Jansen, her husband, who secured in 1636 a grant of 62 acres of land, reaching from the Hudson to the present Broadway and from a point near Desbrosses Street to Warren Street, in New York City. In 1654, Anneke, upon the death of her second husband, Everardus Bogardus, obtained in her name a patent-right to the tract. In 1671 the land was sold by the heirs to the English Governor Lovelace. Three of the heirs, however, did not sign the document. Subsequently the property was confiscated by the English government and deeded to Trinity Church corporation (1705). From 1749 the possession of the property was subject to numerous suits by the heirs, based chiefly on the omitted signatures, and all decided for the defendants.
A translation of the will of Anneke Jans Bogardus is in the possession of the family in Union Township. Much of the property bequeathed by the will, it is asserted, was held wrongfully by Trinity Church. The will was drawn up January 29, 1663, and states that Anneke was the widow of Roelleff Jens of Masterland (Holland), and now (1663) the widow of the Reverend Everardus Bogardus, residing in the village of. Beverwyck (Albany). She "nominated and instituted as her sole and universal heirs" her children, etc., and made the "express condition and restriction, that her four first born children shall divide between them out of their father's property the sum of one thousand guilders, to be paid to them out of the proceeds of a certain farm, situated on Manhattan Island, bounded on the North River," and so on. The will was made at Beverwyck in New Netherland.
The family records state that Wolpert Webber had two children: Annekke and a son whose name at present is unknown.. And the heirs of Annekke Jens Bogardus "are now entitled to their share of the vast fortune now held in the Bank of Holland." Early in 1895 a suit was commenced by the Governor (or government) of Holland to confiscate this money, claiming that the time for distribution was long since passed and that the heirs were no longer entitled to it. The bank contested the case and won the suit, the courts deciding that the heirs still had the right to the property. This decision was rendered in July, 1895.
There were two hundred years of suits seeking the fortune. Different heirs at different times and during every generation have formed companies which tried to prove their claims to the much disputed property, but without avail.
Leaving this phase of the family history, we shall turn our attention for a brief spell to the settlers who came to Union Township. It has been said that Abram W. and Frances Bogardus came to Maxinkuckee before the Spanglers did,perhaps in the 'fifties or even earlier. An early map indicated a hotel or tavern (the Allegheny House) on the south side of the road in Maxinkuckee. and A. W. Bogardus as the owner.
Abram Wicks Bogardus was born April 30, 1807, near Fishkill Landing, New York, and died April 13, 1888. His wife, Frances, was born October 5, 1807, and died September 6, 1871. Abram and Frances were married July 13, 1837. They had two children. Marietta was born May 13, 1843, and died November 8, 1843. Harriet Ann alone grew to maturity. She was born in Springfield, Ohio, September 3, 1840, and lived there until six years of age. She came with her parents to New Palestine, Ohio, lived there till fifteen years of age, then accompanied her parents to Maxinkuckee. She lived at Maxinkuckee and Plymouth most of the time thereafter. In '65 she married Peter Spangler, moved to Plymouth, and lived there until the death of her mother, when she moved back to the old home to take care of her father. She united with the Christian Church at Maxinkuckee in '35 or '36. Her death occurred at Maxinkuckee, July 27, 1909.
The following is the record of the Edmond Bogardus family: Abram Wicks Bogardus had one brother, Edmond. He died at La Fountain, Indiana, October 7, 1883, leaving two sons, Allen and Alfred Bogardus. Alfred Newell Bogardus was a native of Minnesota, born April 21, 1857. At the age of six years he came with his parents from that State to Indiana. The family home was established in Wabash County, and there the boy spent his youthful years, was educated and learned his trade, adopting that of builder and architect. In 1878 he was married in Argos to Evangeline Caillet. At the first, with his bride, he made his home at Maxinkuckee moving from there to Argos in 1893, where they resided until 1899, when they came to Culver and built a residence overlooking the lake. This, today, is the homestead of the widow. Alfred Bogardus died April 7, 1905, aged nearly forty-eight.
The children of Alfred and Evangeline Bogardus: Lulu A., who died January 25,1912; Irene, who resides with her mother near Culver Military Academy; Ralph E., of Gary, Indiana; Garland W., deceased; and Clark, of Culver.
Again we shift from one part of the township to another. This time we leave the Maxinkuckee community and, with one long leap across the big lake and its outlet and the little Lost Lake, we land in that southwestern section of the township, visited by its before and known to us as the early settling-place of the Romigs, the Cromleys, the Kaleys, the Stahls, the Zechiels, and all the rest of the related and correlated families of that miniature world in itself. In making this leap we not only cover distance but also travel backward along the avenue of time and find ourselves in a period considerably earlier than that of the coming of the Bogardus and Spangler families to Maxinkuckee. In fact, we find that we have gone back very close to the year of the first white settlement in Union Township.
It was some time before 1840, so the early census reports say, that Daniel Romig came to this township and settled on the land. He seems to have been the first to locate in that southwestern corner of the township. The late 'thirties must have witnessed his arrival there.
Not a great deal is known hereabouts concerning the very remote history of the Romig family, and not so very much either concerning the genealogy, life, affairs and movements of the Romigs prior to their coming to Union Township. Fortunately, we have been able to get in touch with a descendant, living not far distant, who has been competent to supply some of the information desired. This obliging person is Iden S. Romig, of the South Bend law firm of Romig & Johannes.
Speaking of the beginnings of the Romig family in America, Iden Romig says, "Our ancestor came to this country in 1732. He took boat at Rotterdam and, no doubt, came from the Palatinate in Germany, (Incidentally, the Palatinate included some of the Saar region, to which great interest has been directed of late by reason of the plebiscite, an event of epochal importance). The early Romigs settled in Pennsylvania, where there are many still living, though there are many also in New York and Delaware. From Pennsylvania, our great-grandfather Jesse Romig went to Seneca County, Ohio, and from that county our grandfather, John Romig, came to the old farm southwest of Maxinkuckee Lake. He received title to eighty acres of the farm on which he lived and died, from his father, Jesse Romig, by deed dated April 8, 1848. This deed is recorded in Deed Record "H", Page 11; it was about a year before grandfather's family moved to this place. He had other lands situated in the same locality, a part of which he bought from his brother, Daniel Romig, who was the father of Aunt Sarah Parker, who was the mother of Samuel Parker, now of South Bend.
"Uncle Daniel, I think, lived there at the time that grandfather and grandmother and the family came out. I can remember hearing my father say that he was eight years old when they came and he was born January 27, 1841. I often heard my father say that grandfather thought he was in the vicinity of Uncle Daniel's home when the night came on the day on which they arrived. Grandfather had been told that Uncle Daniel kept hounds and that the hounds could be heard a long distance; that they stopped and grandfather whistled through his hands, a habit which he had and by which he could be heard afar. In response to his whistle the hounds started their baying and the family knew they were close to their destination, which they made then after knowing the location."
Daniel Romig, whose name in the 'seventies was sometimes spelled Romack, doubtless was the first of the family to come to this section. It was he who came in the 'thirties. A township map, published in the 'seventies, shows no lands then in his name. Evidently the map was drawn after he sold out and went to Ohio. The map gives other Romig lands in the Zion neighborhood. Land around Zion Church and west of it, in Section 30, was at that time in the name of J. Romig and consisted of 120 acres. Below it there was a parcel of forty acres, also J. Romig's property.
Iden Romig continues He informs us that "Uncle Daniel Romig, after selling out, moved to Ohio but later came back to Indiana and is buried in the cemetery north and east of Plymouth." The family historian adds: "It is my recollection that he was born in 1800. Grandfather Romig was born some years later." He died in 1884 and was buried in Zion Cemetery.
"On our grandmother's side," says Iden Romig, "her people came from Germany or Switzerland. I rather think they were Swiss. In Lucerne, Switzerland, I saw the name of Schoch on a store and I talked with the proprietor and was told that they were Swiss but spoke the German language. Grandmother had a brother, George Schoch, who lived and died near Coldwater, Michigan, and a brother, William Schoch, who lived and died in Bellevue, Ohio. I remember seeing both of them. Mable Christilaw of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is writing a book on the Schoch side of the house." Information concerning the family has been given her by Mr. Romig and members of the family in and around Culver.
Grandfather Romig's given name was John. His wife was Anna Schoch. W. S. Easterday gives the information that John Romig was an orphan boy, who in his youth performed a very noble act. He once saved the life of a girl from burning. Later he married her. She was his first wife. Anna Schoch became his second wife.
The members of the family of John Romig are given by Iden Romig, who says: "Uncle Aaron, who was a half-brother, came first, then Aunt Julia Krauss, then my father, Abram (who was known as Uncle Abe), next Austin Romig's father, Henry, and finally Uncle Solomon. There were two boys who died practically in infancy, the one by choking to death on a bean which he swallowed and which lodged in his larynx; the other was a little toddler who fell backwards into a tub of hot water which grandmother was using in scrubbing the floor. Of this family only Uncle Solomon remains and he is at Marshall, Michigan."
Abram Romig died on a farm west of Argos, August 29, 1892. Julia Krauss died in Bellevue, Ohio. Dates of birth and death were unknown to our informant, Iden Romig, who has been able to supply some information of real value to us. He has remembered some things which younger people in the Romig family, or rather group of related families, are not in position to tell about. Speaking of the farm in the southwestern part of the township owned by his grandfather, John Romig, he states that this farm was sold after Grandfather Romig's death.
In the Zion or Kaley neighborhood, the Romigs were associated with the Stahls, the Wolframs, the Adlers, the Ditmyers the Morlochs and the Zechiels. Side by side these families fought their way upward from pioneer beginnings to a state of comparative comfort and economic ease. The old people in these families tell of the many privations and difficulties of the early days. Long distances were traveled to mill and market. Iden Romig reminisces: "I remember of hearing grandmother tell of taking wheat to Michigan City to sell and later to Logansport. I remember my father relating that our great-grandfather, Jesse Romig, came out to visit them once from Ohio. He came on the train to Fort Wayne and walked from Fort Wayne to grandfather's home."
In conclusion, let us consider that branch of the family which seems to have been the most intimately associated with the affairs of our township from early times to the present day. That is the branch made up of descendants of Henry and Sarah Jane (Cromley) Romig. Henry was a son of John Romig, while his wife, Sarah Jane, was a daughter of Joel and Amelia (Sampsell) Cromley, both natives of Pennsylvania. Sarah Jane was a sister of John F. ("Neighbor" Cromley), Jacob J., Marion Miles, and Merritt J. CromIey. Sarah Jane was a school teacher years ago. She taught at the Mt. Pleasant School.
The children of Henry Romig are John Watson, the oldest, of Cass City, Michigan; Nettie, wife of Charles Zechiel, of Culver; Cora, wife of Frank Easterday, of Hammond, Indiana; Amelia ("Josie") , wife of Albert Stahl, of Culver; Austin of Culver; and Martha Viola, wife of Sylvester A. Zechiel, of Culver. There was one other girl, Della, who died at the age of sixteen, just after graduation from school in what is now Culver. Watson Romig was born in Grandfather Joel Cromley's house, near Marmont, February 22, 1869. He married Bertha Pauline Zechiel; in fact, was married twice. He had three children by his first wife: Freda Louisa, Grace Viola, and Louis Watson, and three by his second wife. Amelia Johanna Romig was born in Starke County, May 29, 1875, and was married to Albert Frederick Stahl, Austin Romig was born in Starke County, June 6, 1878, and was married to Louisa Adaline Zechiel. Martha Viola Romig was born also in Starke County, near Monterey.
No history of the representative families of Union Township would be complete without the inclusion of the Zechiels. At every turn of the road, they are to be found, and several in between, --Zechiels in name or relationship. This family, headed by William and Elizabeth, Jacob and Fredericka, and John and Rosina, came to Union Township from Marion County, Ohio, in the 'fifties when much of the land of this county and township was still wilderness and waste.
Three Zechiel brothers all came from the same county in Ohio and all of them at about the same time. Henry Zechiel of Culver is of the opinion that they came together to buy laud here, prior to 1856, returned to their homes in Ohio, and later came on with their wives and children to settle permanently. Probably the three separate families of the brothers did not move here to establish homes all at the same time, but no doubt they came within a year or a little over a year of one another. It was in '54 or '55, Mr. Zechiel thinks, or perhaps even earlier, that they migrated. All settled in the same neighborhood, now known as the Zion community.
William was the oldest of the three Zechiel brothers; Jacob was next, and John was the youngest. Two sisters came also: Elizabeth, wife of George Morlock, and Angeline, wife of Henry Cromley. Elizabeth Zechiel was born in Ohio and spent her girlhood on the farm there. She was married in that State to George Morlock and came to Marshall County in 1854.
In regard to the families of the three brothers, the Zechiel pioneers, the following information has been obtained: William's wife was Elizabeth Kauffman. They had eleven children: Jacob H., Wesley, Katherine, Julia, Mary, Angeline (Easterday), Sarah (Murray), Israel, and three others who died in early days. Jacob's wife was Fredericka Wolford. Their children were also eleven in number, and more, (they had big families in those days and a baker's dozen was the rule rather than the exception) : William, George, Fred, Christina (Kaley), Daniel, Sam, Charles, Elizabeth (Scates), Matilda (McCurtin), and the rest who died young. Matilda is the youngest of the family living. John, the third brother, married Rosina Behner. They had six children: Mary Ann, who remained single; Louis C., Katherine (Maxey), Henry, John, and Albert. Representatives of this branch of the family now reside in Culver.
Four Zechiels married into the Stahl family. Jacob Henry married the oldest Stahl girl, William G. the next one, L. C. the third girl, and Daniel the fourth. The Stahls settled in the same neighborhood, that of the Kaley school and Zion Church. A history of the Stahl family tells of the association of various families in that settlement with, the Stahl pioneers, Jacob F. and Christiana. The historian says, "And especially do we mention 'Uncle' John and Rosina Zechiel."
First of the children of William and Elizabeth (Kauffman) Zechiel was Jacob Henry, who was born in Marion County, Ohio, December 22, 1845. He was married to Regina Barbara Stahl at the Kaley schoolhouse on October 10, 1869, by the Rev. Jesse Schlosser. The wedding took place on a Sunday afternoon at the close of the church service. Jacob Henry was a carpenter. It has been said, "Perhaps more barns have been put up by him and his helpers in the old Zechiel and Stahl neighborhood than by any other man." It was he, in copartnership with his neighbor, Charles H. Stahl, who built the Zion Reformed Church building in 1872. The children of Jacob Henry and Regina: Mary Christiana, wife of the Rev. Daniel E. Zechiel; Clara Elizabeth, who was born in the old log house on what has been of late years the Arthur William Zechiel place, and who died in infancy, in 1870; Minnie Sophia (born December 15, 1872), wife of William R. Crossland; Arthur William (born Julie 28, 1875), whose wife was Lillie May Krieger; Louisa Adaline (born July 19,1877), wife of Austin Monroe Romig; Elsie Elenora (born October 3, 1879), wife of Charles A. Asper; Edward Emanuel (born March 26, 1882), whose wife was Ethel Claire Smith; and Chester Leonard, the lawyer (born April 4, 1884), who married Myrtle A. Medbourn.
Jacob Zechiel, second of the pioneering brothers who came to Union Township, migrated with his wife, Fredericka (Wolford), and family from Marion County, Ohio, to Indiana about the year 1856. Those were truly pioneer days. Their oldest son William had much to do in helping his father clear up the farm, which became the home of the family for more than half a century, or for around 65 years. There was a great deal of timber and much swamp land in the early times where they had settled. William's full name was William Gottlieb Zechiel. He was born in Marion County, Ohio, February 28, 1850, and was married, November 1, 1877, at Zion, to Sophia Margeretha Stahl, daughter of Jacob F. and Christiana Stahl. They had one son and two daughters: Sylvester Amandus (born January 3, 1879), who married Martha Viola Romig; Augusta Sophia (born February 10, 1884), who married Claude R. Newman; and Elva Ruth (born April 23, 1894), the wife of Arthur F. Hatten. Another son of Jacob and Fredericka Zechiel is the Rev. Daniel E. Zechiel, who was born near Marmont, August 28, 1860.
The oldest son of John and Rosina (Behner) Zechiel was Louis Christian. It has been said, "Louis was a farmer's son and at the same time the son of a blacksmith, the two occupations finding expression in the one father." Louis became a school teacher and taught the Washington School, east of Lake Maxinkuckee. He was the scholar of the family, and to this day spends much of his time in reading, of which he is very fond. He resides with his daughter, Mrs. Grace Wade, in Culver. Louis Christian Zechiel's wife (and the coincidence of the given names, you will notice is striking) was Louisa Christiana, third daughter of Jacob F. and Christiana Stahl. They were the parents of seven children: Charles Herbert, Bertha Pauline (Romig), Herman Jerome, Grace Agnes (Wade), Otto Jacob, the minister; Virgil Homer, and Carl James, who died at the age of eight months.
A couple of decades after the Zechiels settled in the township found members of the family in possession of acreage of wide extent in the southwestern and western sections of the township. In the southwestern area, we find outlined on an old map the following lands: Those of W. (William) Zechiel, 160 acres, southwest of Lake Maxinkuckee and on the boundary of the county. The old travelled road crossed this land diagonally. The Cromley Cemetery was at the side of this road, which is no longer in use as a public highway. In the name of A. (Arthur) Zechiel 40 acres, east of Zion Church and northeast of the old Kaley school. In the name of J. (Jacob) Zechiel, parcels of 120 and 40 acres, east of the foregoing. Southeast of this and north of W. Zechiel's 160 acres, parcels of 40 and 20, the property of J. H. Zechiel. L. C. Zechiel had an 80 and a 40 southeast of the old Albright Church. J. (John) Zechiel had lands (54 and 53 acres) adjoining, to the west, the Hawk farm on Lost Lake. West of Lake Maxinkuckee, around the old "Lost Lake" and below the present airport, William G. Zechiel owned plots of nearly 60 acres and 40 acres. On the east side of old Manatau Lake were small plots: J. Zechiel, 20 and 52.41 acres, and A. Zechiel, 20 acres. West of Marmont was John Zechiel's 140 acre farm. There have been various changes, of course, in the areas and ownership of these lands since the 'seventies.
We cannot leave the Zion neighborhood without some reference, however brief it may be by reason of lack of data, to another family which in early times was associated with the Zechiels and Stahls. This is the Bechtol family. Like the Zechiels, the Bechtols came from Marion County, Ohio, and they settled in the same neighborhood in Union Township. The pioneer Bechtols were Abraham and his wife Susan.
The marriage of Abraham and Susan Bechtol took place, August 21, 1840, in Marion County, Ohio. Susan Bechtol was born August 18, 1819, in Huntington County, Pennsylvania. In her youth she united with the Evangelical Association. She died in Union Township, October 4, 1904, at the age of eighty-five.
The Bechtols came to this township not long after settlement was begun in the Zion neighborhood. They acquired properties there and farmed the land. As in the case of many other early comers, we find that the antique records and registers spelled their name in various ways. An old map gives it as Bachtol. These old spellings remain with us; they are quaint, and they tell us that in those days of long ago names were usually put down as they sounded to the person making the record.
In the 'seventies, Abraham Bechtol was in possession of forty acres of land a little way northeast of Zion Church, and he also owned forty acres northwest of the church. Like various other land owners in the township during that period, the Bechtols were not immune to the fad, if we may call it such, of possessing a patch of ground here and a patch of ground there. Some there were, we might add, whose lands were here, there and everywhere over the face of Union Township.
Between the Zion neighborhood and Lake Maxinkuckee, there in early days developed a little settlement by itself, which we may choose to call the Lost Lake community. A number of families, including the Greens and the Hawks, took up lands in this section, bordering on the shores of the "little lake" and down along the outlet of the big lake. To this locality came the LaBounty family.
Edward A. LaBounty was the first of the family to settle in this part of the country. He bought land at the Outlet of Maxinkuckee; in fact, the outlet stream passed through it. It was better than sixty years ago that he came to Union Township; evidently in the early 'seventies.
Edward LaBounty was born in Fulton County, New York, March 11, 1853. His father was Abram LaBounty. His mother's family name was Raymond. When Edward was three years old, the family came out from New York State to Chicago, which was then a small place. The trip was made by wagon. After a short stay in Chicago, Abram decided to go down into Illinois and take up land there. This he did. He settled between Gilman and Watseka. He pioneered there.
Edward's father, Abram, died in Illinois. He was drowned in Sugar Creek.
Edward, not yet married, came to Union Township when he was about twenty years old. His aunt, his father's sister, lived here then. She was the wife of Peter Abair and lived where Howard Mikesell resides now. Edward worked for a time for Jacob Myers in his sawmill northeast of Lake Maxinkuckee. He was drawn to this part of the country through his aunt's residence here, and came first to visit her. He decided to stay, and later located at the Outlet of the lake.
Edward LaBounty was still a young man when he took another important step along life's trail: He "took unto himself a helpmate." He was married here in Union Township to his first wife, who was Laura Easterday, sister of W. S. Easterday of Culver. He was married a second time, when Amanda Cromley became his wife.
The death of Edward LaBounty occurred on June 6, 1906, in Fulton County. He was survived by his widow, Amanda LaBounty, who resides today in Culver. Herbert, a son of Edward and Laura (Easterday) LaBounty, is living in Logansport. Lester, who is a son of Edward and Amanda (Cromley) LaBounty, resides in Culver.
The LaBounty family originated many years ago in France, and is one of the few from that country to come ultimately to Union Township and to settle permanently here.
Up in the northern part of the township, several years before the coming of Edward LaBounty, the York family had moved in and taken up land. It was about the year 1865 that George York and his wife, who before her marriage had been Elizabeth Buchtel, came with their nine children to the Burr Oak neighborhood. They moved from Akron, Ohio, and settled on the Burr Oak Flats. Their homestead farm is now called the Pero farm.
It has been said that George York was considered the best farmer around Burr Oak Flats.
The names of the nine children of George and Elizabeth York and of those whom they married are as follows:
Elizabeth married Philip Myers; Rebekah married Percy Moore; Sarah Ann married Dan Wise; Harriet became the wife of Frank Hawk; Emma was married to Valentine A. Lidecker, (her death occurring in 1872) ; Henry married Mary Giger; John's wife was Margaret Reddick; Josiah married Lucinda Myers; and William was married to Isabel White.
William York, the last mentioned of the children, was born June 15, 1847, at Akron, Ohio. He became a student in Hiram College in Ohio. On April 26, 1868, not long after the family had come to Union Township, he was married to Isabel White of Twin Lakes. To them were born fourteen children, of whom three are still living: George S. York of Doniphan, Missouri; Rea A. York of Detroit, Michigan; and Eve E. York of Culver.
William York taught school for several years and later in life did saw-milling at Poplar Grove, in the Sickman neighborhood and at Burr Oak. In the fall of 1906 he and his family moved to Doniphan, Missouri, where he died December 29, 1915.
The York lands in the 'seventies were northwest of Burr Oak, near the Yellow River. At that time eighty acres were in the name of the George York Estate.
Not a great deal of the past history of the family has been obtainable. The York records yielded very few dates.
Only a short distance away from the place of settlement of the York family in the Burr Oak neighborhood, the Burketts made a beginning in Union Township. The Burketts came earlier than the Yorks, but the years that intervened between the arrival of the one and the other of these families were very few indeed. It was about seventy-five years ago, or around 1860, that Henry Burkett brought his family on from Ohio and settled near Burr Oak. From Fremont, Ohio, they came: Henry and his wife, whose maiden name had been Katherine Houts, and their nine children.
Of unusual interest is the fact that, of these nine Burkett children, all the boys married Overmyer girls, and all the girls except one married Overmyer boys. The marriage record runs thus: Levi married Agnes Overmyer; George married, the first time, Matilda Baker, and the second time, Rachel Overmyer; Ephraim married Amanda Overmyer; Dan married Rachel Overmyer and died in Pulaski County when still a young man, then George married the widow after Dan's death; William married Martha Jane Overmyer; Susanna married Frank Overmyer; Mary married Lucas Overmyer; Rebecca. married Michael Overmyer; and Lucinda (to be different) married John Working. Was there ever two families more consistently joined?
The oldest son of Levi Burkett still living is Henry Burkett of Culver, who was eighty years of age on January 30, 1935. Amanda, the wife of Philip Sickman, was a daughter of Levi Burkett. Lucas, a bachelor son of Levi Burkett, is living with Pete Doll, near Burr Oak.
Ulysses S. Burkett, a resident of Culver, is a son of George. He was born November 26, 1865, just after the close of the Civil War.
The family of Ephraim Burkett is mostly gone now. Those remaining live in the vicinity of Richland Center.
William Burkett had four boys. Two of them, Isaah and James, are in Culver now, while the other two, Wesley and Elmer, reside near Burkett Station, southeast of Argos.
Susanna, the wife of Franklin Overmyer, was born near Lindsey, Sandusky County, Ohio, October 18, 1833, and was married in 1853. She was Franklin Overmyer's first wife. With her husband, she left the place of her birth in March, 1859, settling at Kewanna in Fulton County. After two years’ residence there, they came up to this section, which, excepting for a period of two years preceding 1863 in Starke County, continued to be her home. Susanna was a member of the Evangelical Church and, later in life, the United Brethren Church. In the summer of 1903 she went West with her husband to attend the National G. A. R. encampment, and it was during this trip that she died, at Los Angeles, California, August 22, 1903, at the age of sixty-four years. She was buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery. Ten sons and one daughter survived her. Another daughter, aged four, preceded her in death.
From Ohio also came Margaret Burkett Wolf, who was not exactly of the immediate family of Henry Burkett, the Burr Oak settler, but who was closely related. Margaret Burkett, the wife of Gideon Wolf, was born in Perry County, Ohio, October 5, 1827. She was married in 1849, and she and her husband established their home, at the first, in Sandusky, Ohio. In this home were born three of their children. They removed to Rochester, Indiana, from Sandusky in 1853, and resided there nearly two years. Subsequently, they came to the vicinity of Leiters Ford to live. This was the old homestead and in it were born the majority of their children.
Gideon Wolf was a veterinarian. He passed away, February 11, 1885, on the sixty-first anniversary of his birth. His wife survived him eighteen years. Her death occurred May 23, 1903, at which time she was seventy-five.
Gideon and Margaret Wolf were the parents of nine children here named in the order of birth: Delilah Ellen Phillips, Katherine Edwards, Daniel Wolf, Susanna Hickman, Fernando Wolf, John Wolf, Samantha Benner, Laura E. Gerard, and Timothy Wolf. Katherine Edwards, John and Timothy are now living in Culver. Daniel, who is deceased, was a well-known school teacher of this part of the country. Ha was engaged in teaching a long time. Some thirty years ago he taught the Hibbard school.
The old family home of the Wolfs in Culver was at the lake-side, very close to the water on what used to be known Wolf island. The "island" which today is an island no longer, as at the east end of Mill Street. The grove there used to be frequently the scene of picnics.
The Burketts owned considerable land in the 'seventies. The greater part of it was in the Burr Oak region. West of Burr Oak was the Henry Burkett homestead property of close to 162 acres. West of it, M. Burkett had 37 acres. Below Houghton's and Moore's ponds, G. M. Burkett (probably Guy) had 41.35 acres. On the Starke County line, northwest of these ponds, H. Burkett owned 70.30 acres. George H. Burkett's eighty acres were southeast of the Sickman school.
The Burr Oak Flats were very familiar to another family, the Medbourns, who settled at the lower end of that territory and not far from Lake Maxinkuckee. It was during the tempestuous Civil War times that this family from England was endeavoring to become firmly established in a new country, far from old-home scenes and associations in the isles across the sea.
The Edward Medbourn family came direct from England and settled on the Burr Oak Flats. The head of the family at once set to work and cleared a large tract of land, all of which has since passed out of the ownership of members of the family. The homestead farm is the one now owned by Bell Overmyer.
Edward Medbourn and his wife Hannah, with their first-born children, came over from Northamptonshire, England, in March, 1854, according to a certain chronicler. Others were of the opinion it was somewhat later. The voyage across the ocean was made in a sailing vessel. The weather was bad, and it took them about two months to make the crossing. On their arrival in the United States, they at, once continued westward and settled in
Lorain County, Ohio, for about four months, then came on to Union Township in the fall of '54.