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"ONE TOWNSHIP'S YESTERDAYS"
By Edwin Corwin
XXIX. STILL MORE SETTLERS - Part 2
It has been said that the Edward Medbourn family did not come until around 1863, but the fact that the daughter, Mary J., was born in England in '52 and came to this country when she was little more than a baby, substantiates the opinion that the year of their coming was '54. It has been said also that they came direct from England, and that Leeds, in Yorkshire, was the locality in which this family originated. Mary J. Medbourn was born in Welford, Northamptonshire.
During the Civil War, Edward Medbourn was still a citizen of England. He had come over in the days when war was brewing, and it was not until after the strife was ended that he became a citizen of the country of his adoption. He became naturalized after he had settled in Union Township.
Besides the pioneering family of Edward and Hannah Medbourn, there was another of the Medbourn stock: the Samuel Medbourn family, which was related and which came about the same time. The homestead of this family was north of the present village of Culver, on Road 10, and is now known as the Garn place.
Edward and Hannah Medbourn had a family of four sons and two daughters. The sons, here named in the order of age, were Thomas, Edward, John and Samuel. The daughters: Mrs. Elizabeth Duddleson of South Bend, and Mrs. Mary J. Castleman. John and Elizabeth are the only ones living.
Samuel Ezra Medbourn one of the sons of Edward and Hannah, was born April 28, 1859. His first wife was Katie Belle Oyler, daughter of Henry and Matilda Oyler. She was born June 5, 1866, and was married to Samuel Medbourn, July 5, 1885, by the Rev. W. R. Nobes of the Methodist Church at Marmont. Harry E. Medbourn of Culver is a son of Samuel E. and Katie Belle Medbourn.
Mary J. Medbourn, daughter of Edward and Hannah, was born in Welford, Northamptonshire, England, February 15, 1852, and came with her parents to the United States in '54. In the fall of that year, she came to Union Township, where she spent all the rest of her life. She was married in 1874 to James H. Castleman. To this union were born six children. Two of them, Callie and Verne, preceded their mother in death. The four others were: Arthur E. Castleman, now deceased; Elta May Mawhorter, deceased; Carl Castleman, now living in Mishawaka; and Guy Castleman, deceased. The mother died August 26, 1903, at the age of fifty-one. Her four brothers, Thomas, Samuel, John and Edward, and one sister, Elizabeth Duddleson, survived her. She was a member of the Methodist Church from 1865 till her death.
Samuel Medbourn, the settler who headed the other family of the name in this township, had three sons, George, Ben and Joseph, all of whom are dead. There were also three daughters, and they too have passed away.
The Medbourn lands in early times were all practically in the same neighborhood. On the Burr Oak Road, opposite and east of the Thomas Houghton farm, Edward K. Medbourn had 120 acres. Samuel Medbourn, of the other family, owned 160 acres, located a short distance northwest of Marmont. These lands are now crossed by Road 10. The elder son of Edward, who was Thomas, had 120 acres west of and adjoining Samuel Medbourn's lands. In those days the family name was sometimes spelled Medburn.
Reminiscences of the Thomas Medbourn family are related in an interesting manner by a daughter, Mrs. Myrtle Medbourn Zechiel of Indianapolis. Speaking of her father, she says:
"Thomas Medbourn was born in Welford, Northamptonshire, England, March 7, 1845. He was the oldest child in the family of Edward and Hannah Medbourn, who came to this country in 1854, Thomas was nine years old when they crossed the Atlantic. That was a momentous voyage."
The details of the crossing remained for many years vividly in the memory of Thomas Medbourn. He used to like to recount his experiences in after years when they would come back to him as though they were but happenings of a yesterday. Some of those experiences were exciting, even akin to harrowing; others were whimsical and humorous. They occurred when he was a youth of impressionable years, and when he was well along in life they recurred to him almost down to the minutest details. Besides, he had a long memory, and it served him well.
His daughter, Myrtle, would listen to him with ears and eyes wide open. She remembered well, also, and today we have the story as told to Myrtle by her father. She recalls his telling about strange things that happened while they were at sea, during their long, long voyage. They thought they would never reach the shores of America. The strangest thing of all was the descent of a celestial visitor, which was by no means angelic for it nearly wrecked the ship and almost spelled the end of the voyage and the passengers as well. The visitor was a meteor ball, which struck a heavy chain spanning the sailing vessel. There followed a great burst of flames. This fire burned off all the sails and sprung a leak in the hull of the ship. The majority of the passengers were thrown into a panic, no doubt believing the end had surely come. And it did come very close to coming. The damage was serious and it was necessary to make all new sails and to man the pumps constantly. The men had to keep the pumps going the rest of the voyage, which took three more days.
"A brother of my father," Mrs. Zechiel continues, "whose name, it seems, was Will, died and was buried at sea. He died of the measles, which apparently was a more dread disease in those days than it is now. And he was laid to rest in the ocean. That left an impression on me as a girl which has remained indelibly fixed in my memory. This uncle, whose tomb is the ocean's depths, was a younger brother of my father.
"When the family at last arrived in the city of New York, and one can imagine how joyous and thankful they must have been over that arrival, they sought food and shelter. Their stay was very short in the city, and from my father's accounts it seems that they must have put up at a private home, presided over by a person whom my father recalled as being a ‘kindly lady’ though no doubt a person to be held in awe, being a strange and foreign individual. Now, Thomas hadn't had any corn bread over in England, and this accounts for the amusing experience he had at this lady's house.
"When they sat down to eat, Thomas noticed a big ‘cake’ that the lady had sitting in the center of the table. Surely it was not an ornament. But the meal was breakfast, if I recall rightly. This boy wanted a piece of that cake. But it was a matter of waiting awhile until the opportunity came. Then the boy made plain his thought that he'd like a piece of that cake. The lady was obliging. She promptly gave him a piece, and it was a big piece. Here's a real feast, in a new land, thought the boy as he bit into the cake. Much to his surprise, and perhaps his inward disgust, the cake was not cake at all. It was some strange new concoction he'd never had before. In this country they called it corn bread. It wasn't so very good, either, not anywhere near as good as the cake he had enjoyed in England. It was made of coarsely ground corn meal. In fact, it was the crude forerunner of better corn breads that were to follow in the years to come in Union Township, ‘out West’.
"Soon then they were on their way out to Ohio, where the family stopped not for so very long, just a little breathing spell before continuing on into Indiana and their final destination. It was in Ohio, I think, that the sugar and tea incident occurred. That was amusing, too. Being English, the Medbourns of course had to have their tea; at least, father and mother had to have it. And Tom was sent out to the store to get some. He was given something like a nickel with which to buy the tea, and some sugar, too. It wasn't much, anyway. Tom was to get three cents' worth of tea and two cents' worth of sugar, or maybe it was four cents' worth of tea and a cent's worth of sugar, for the English count by twos when they count American pennies. Tom made his wishes known to the grocery-man, and was surprised when that individual asked him, `Are you a-foot or a-horseback?' In other words, he wondered if the boy could carry it all. And that was one of the various things that the boy remembered when he grew to manhood and went on through the years to old age in Union Township."
Thomas Medbourn was married to Mary E. Green, daughter of John and Nancy Green, June 21, 1866. The Greens were also early settlers of this region.
There was a family of eight children: Dorcas, Willie, Etta, Clara, Elizabeth, Jesse, Charles and Myrtle.
Thomas Medbourn died January 1, 1908, and his wife; Mary, February 20, 1925. Only two children survived their parents: Charles E. Mebourn of Culver and Myrtle Medbourn Zechiel of Indianapolis.
At the time of his death in Culver, "Uncle Tom" Medbourn was nearly sixty-three years of age. He was active in the affairs of the local Methodist Church, with which he united in 1868. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Chester Zechiel, in Indianapolis, at the age of seventy-seven. She was born in Jennings County, Indiana, January 30, 1846, the daughter of John and Nancy Green. At the age of fifteen and at the very close of the Civil War, having then grown to young womanhood, she accompanied her father, mother, brothers and sisters to Marshall County. Here the family located as farmers on ground near Burr Oak, neighbors to the Edward Mebourns, prosperous Christian Englishmen. It was here that she married Edward's son, Thomas.
Mary Medbourn was a kindly person, and when in 1901 Lannie and Emma Sayger died suddenly and left a six-year-old boy, Herman, in a strange land and homeless, she took this lonely son of her sister into her home and adopted him.
Mary Medbourn was a loyal church worker and was a charter member of the Methodist Church of Culver.
Edward Medbourn, son of Edward and Hannah Medbourn, was born in Northamptonshire, England, April 9, 1847, came to the United States in 1854, and was married to Caroline Tribett in 1871. To this union four children were born. He united with the Methodist Church of Culver at the time of its dedication. His death occurred in Plymouth, July 6, 1919. He was seventy-two years of age. He left three daughters, Nora, the wife of Ambrose Overmyer of Leiters Ford; Allie, the wife of Lon Hill of Plymouth; and Mrs. Mabel Ebel of LaPorte.
John Medbourn was married to Ada Poulsen. To this union one child was born, Clarence E. Medbourn, of Mishawaka.
Elizabeth Medbourn was married to Ozias ("Uncle Bub") Duddleson. They had a family of four children: Mabel Duddleson Plant of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Earl and Jennie, both deceased; and Lulu Duddleson Campbell of South Bend.
Although the Oyler family did not come to Union Township anywhere near as early as the others already considered, we believe that the association of its members with the Medbourns warrants our giving them this little niche or alcove of space in our history of the township's early comers. It was in the year 1883 that Henry Oyler came to Marmont from Logansport, bringing with him his wife, Matilda (Barnett) Oyler, and daughters Kate, Maud, Mollie and Flora.
Henry Oyler was a harness maker by trade. He followed that line of work and shoe repairing, after coming to Marmont. For some time before he came to this section, he carried mail from Logansport to Plymouth. That was before the Vandalia was built.
Maud Oyler became the wife of Oscar Porter. She departed this life July 23, 1891, leaving two boys, Henry Oliver Porter, now living northwest of Plymouth on a farm, and Arthur L. Porter, residing at Princeton, Illinois.
Katie Belle Oyler, who was born June 5, 1866, became the wife of Samuel Medbourn. She died in February, 1895, leaving two children, Bess Emily (Med-bourn) Slonaker, now deceased, and Harry E. Medbourn, now residing in Culver.
Wollie Oyler Holt departed this life October 15, 1895.
Flora Oyler was married to Freeman Mawhorter, who passed away in the year 1895. They had two children, Maud, now deceased, and J. Rex Mawhorter, who resides in Culver. In 1901, Flora became the wife of D. H. Smith, and is the only surviving member of her family.
Henry Oyler, the father, died December 8, 1908, at the age of sixty-eight years: Matilda, his wife, died August 26, 1893, at the age of fifty-one years.
Of the daughters, Katie Belle will be remembered as a school teacher in Union Township. She taught first at the Kaley school.
The section of the township known as the Sickman neighborhood was not far from the Houghton and Medbourn settlement; in truth, the two sort of rubbed elbows. The Sickman community got its name from its important center, the Sickman school, and the school got its name from the Sickman family, living nearby. And, of course, the first family to be considered of those residing in the Sickman neighborhood should be the Sickman family.
Henry Sickman came up from Lawton, Pulaski County, in 1870, and settled on land northwest of Lake Maxinkuckee. This land is now owned by J. D. Heiser of Young Road. It was in March that the Sickman family moved to this locality. Henry Sickman traded lands with Isaac Dreese. In exchange for his land in Pulaski County he got the land that had been owned by Dreese, the place where the Heiser family now lives. It is said that Henry Sickman also bought some land of Thomas Houghton.
The wife of Henry Sickman was Christina Tawney. She came from Ohio. Henry was not very old when he died. His wife lived quite a long time after he passed away. Both were buried in the McElrath Cemetery near Burr Oak.
Henry Sickman's son, Philip, is living at the age of eighty. He was born February 25, 1855, and came up to Union Township with the family when he was fourteen years old. He now lives with his son-in-law, Pete Doll, on the old home place. Philip married Amanda Burkett, daughter of Levi Burkett. She died in 1929, and was buried in the McElrath Cemetery. Her four girls survived her. All four are living: Mrs. Forrest Geiselman of Culver; Mrs. Alice Doll of northwest of Culver; Bess, who is now Mrs. Grover Castleman of Westville, Indiana; and Mrs. Maud Susdorf of Wheeler, Indiana.
In early times the Sickman lands were mostly in the northwestern part of the township, where H. Sickman had plots aggregating about 100 acres between Houghton's and Moore's ponds, and E. Sickman had 160 acres southeast of the Sickman school. At some distance were the forty acres owned by H. Sickman, southwest of the Albright Church.
In close association with the Medbourns on the Burr Oak Flats was the family of John and Nancy Green. One of the daughters, Mary Elizabeth, became the wife of one of the Medbourn sons, Thomas. Mary was the second girl in a family of eleven children, seven girls and four boys.
The Greens came from Jennings County, Indiana, and settled in Union Township. They were an old and numerous family in the hills of southern Indiana. In the late 'fifties or thereabouts, they came to this vicinity,
John Green died prior to 1895, the year of his wife's passing. Nancy J. Green was born in 1820 and died July 16, 1895, at the age of seventy-five. John was a brother of James Green, who settled in the Long Point and "little lake" section of the township. John took up land on the Burr Oak Flats.
Seven of the children of John and Nancy Green were living in 1914, two boys and five girls: Amos R. of Union Township, and Samuel of Rochester; Julia, wife of David Joseph, of Culver; Mary, wife of Thomas Medbourn; Louisa, wife of George Spitler, of Argos; Lottie, wife of Jacob Casey, of Argos; and Lola, wife of James Wood, of Hoxie, Arkansas. Emma, wife of Lannie Sayger, of Hoxie, Arkansas, died in 1901, while the first of the seven girls, Sarah, died in the South many years ago. The girls are all dead today. One of the four boys alone remains, and that one is Samuel, whose age is now eighty-eight. He spends the winters with his daughter in Detroit and his summers at Chicago Heights. Samuel's wife is also living. Of the rest of the four boys, Amos and Richard died some years ago, while the other boy was drowned when a young lad in Jennings County, Indiana.
Something of the life of Amos Riley Green, one of these boys, is known to us. He was born in Jennings County, November 23, 1858. In early manhood he united with the Christian Church. In 1879 he was married to Mary Ellen McKinzey. To this union was born one child, who with the mother preceded the father and husband in death. In 1890 Amos married Idona Quinn of Culver. To this union six children were born, two of whom preceded their father in death.
Amos R. Green passed away, February 14, 1915, at the age of fifty-six. He died at his home one mile northeast of Culver and a little north of Culver Military Academy. He had lived in this neighborhood for at least thirty-five years. Surviving him were his wife and four children, three daughters and one son: Dora Marie, Alice Christina, Mrs. Myrtie Mansfield, and Lossie.
The other Green family to be counted among the early settlers of Union Township is that of James and Emeline Green. James came from Jennings County, Indiana, in about the year 1859. Apparently he came while still a single man, for he was married to Emeline Blanchard, September 9, 1860. When he first came to the west shore of Lake Maxinkuckee where Long Point is located, there was no one established there. He bought all the land between Maxinkuckee and the little lake, including all of Long Point, the gravel pit property and adjacent acreage.
The original Green homestead is still standing to this day, but not on its first site. It is now on the rise of ground between the two lakes. The house originally stood close to the lake, where the railroad right-of-way is now. We are told that the railroad came through in such a hurry, moving northward to terminate a while at Marmont station that construction work had reached the house before the movers could get it moved. In fact, the tracks came pretty close to being laid right under the house, which was hurriedly moved out of the way and back on the hill where it now stands, today untenanted.
When James Green settled at the southern base of Long Point and for a considerable period thereafter, he did not anticipate that his waterfront property would at some future date be in such demand by prospective, summer cottagers as to command rich prices. So it was that, before the great inrush of the "lake people", he without ado and complacently thinking his deals successful sold good-sized lots to folks for about fifty dollars apiece. Some he almost gave away. His son got one for doing some extra chores. It was not so many years later that those selfsame "cheap" lots were in great demand for prices ranging into the thousands.
On Long Point in the 'seventies, James Green had twenty acres of land left, and between the two lakes 83.47 acres.
James Green was born in Jennings County, Indiana, March 14, 1834, and died in Union Township December 20, 1911, at the age of seventy-seven. The children of James and Emeline Green were eight in number, six sons and two daughters. Two sons and one daughter preceded their father in death. Surviving him were his wife; four sons, Joseph and John of Colorado, George of Tennessee, and Frank of Culver; one daughter, Mrs. Charles Myers of Culver; and one sister. James Green united with the Baptist Church at Marmont in 1866, and later, upon his removal from this village, transferred his membership to the 'Methodist Church. In 1894, he was received into the fellowship of Grace Reformed Church of Culver, where he remained a faithful member till his death.
George W., one of the sons of James and Emeline Green; his wife, Margaret E. Porter, whose family was of this section; and the son, Stanton, are descendants now living in Union Township.
Over in the northeastern corner of the township, in early days, the Hartman family took up land. That was in the Rutland neighborhood.
Lewis Hartman was born in 1834. He was married in 1861 to Sarah Hawk, whose family also settled in Union Township in early times. To this union were born two sons and five daughters.
The death of Lewis Hartman occurred December 11, 1904. He passed away near Rutland at the age of seventy years. The oldest daughter, Emma Estella, the wife of Solomon Cavender, preceded her father into the spirit world by four hours. Lucy J. died in infancy.
The Hartman family was affiliated with the Reformed Church. In the 'seventies, Lewis Hartman's lands were located northeast of Lake Maxinkuckee, where he had eighty acres near the Bucklew Cemetery.
Quite a number of years ahead of the Sickmans, the Menser family came and settled in the Sickman Community. Of course, when the Mensers arrived there, it was not called the Sickman neighborhood. It was then, no doubt, the Menser neighborhood.
The Menser family moved out here around the year 1853. Antecedents of the Union Township settler originated in Pennsylvania. From that State the family went to Ohio. Joel Menser and his wife Sarah moved direct from Stark County, Ohio, to the northwestern section of Union Township. They were among the earliest of the settlers of the Sickman school neighborhood. In that vicinity, Joel accumulated considerable land. The old Menser homestead is still standing there, across from the site of the Sickman school, on Young Road. The place is now owned by J. D. Heiser.
Joel Menser's lands in the 'seventies consisted of eighty acres south and southwest of the Sickman school; west of that, also on the south side of the road, 57 acres; and west still farther and adjoining the last mentioned acreage, a plot of twenty acres off and south of the road.
Joel's wife was Sarah Benner before her marriage. She died twenty-six years ago, or in 1909. Joel's death occurred in 1884.
The children of Joel and Sarah Menser were six in number. All of them are now deceased except one, Moses Menser of Culver. There were five boys and one girl, Mary, who died at the age of twelve years. The brothers of Moses Menser who have passed away were: William, who was born in Ohio and who died in Union Township; Dave, who died in the winter of '33-'34 in Mishawaka; Joel, who was called Jake and who never married; and Urias, the youngest, whose son, Harry, is a resident of Culver.
Moses, the surviving brother, was born in Union Township, April 14, 1856. He will have passed his seventy-ninth milestone in 1935. His first wife was Barbara Werner. The Werners were from Aurora, Illinois. To this union was born one child, Frank, now of Culver. The mother died when Frank was three weeks old. Frank is a widower.
The second wife of Moses Menser was, before her marriage, Emma Geiselman. Like the Mensers, the Geiselmans came from Stark County, Ohio. And they settled not far from where the Mensers homesteaded. The Geiselmans came to Starke County, Indiana, and settled near the Union Township line in the section known as North Union. Four children were born to Moses and Emma Menser. One of them has passed away. The parents are living in Culver.
The name of Behmer has long been a familiar one in this part of the country, and for eighty years the family has been prominent in the affairs of Marshall County. It was in 1855 that the family emigrated out hero from Ohio.
Daniel G. Behmer, a son of Henry and Mary Behmer, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1831. In ms boyhood he carne with his parents to Akron, Ohio, and in 1855 came oil to Indiana, settling in Marshall County, where he resided until his death, for a period of nearly fifty years. He came first to Plymouth.
After he had become a resident of this county, Daniel Behmer was married to Mary Jane Platt, daughter of John and Elizabeth Platt. She had come from the same locality in Pennsylvania that he had. She was born near Lancaster in 1832. When she was a child, her parents moved to Summit County, Ohio. About 1848, she came with her parents to Marshall County, where they settled on a tract of land in West Township, not far from the Union Township line. This land is now a part of the Norman Beatty farm. That was in the far southern part of West Township; in fact the land of J. S. Platt, consisting of 159 acres, extended dawn to the Union Township line. J. S, Platt also had land in Union Township near his West Township farm. Here he owned forty acres, crossed by the old Hibbard road where it angled in a northeast direction to pass over the Yellow River by bridge on its way to Twin Lakes. In Union Township, he also owned a long, narrow strip of land, stretching south from the township line to the Behmer Road. This land was on both sides of the Yellow River, a bit west of the forty crossed by the Hibbard Road. J. S. Platt had still another forty, located on the south side of the Behmer Road, east and nearly to the Green Township line.
Daniel Behmer and Mary Jane Platt were married in 1856, and in 1862 they bought, from the Wabash and Erie Canal Company, 160 acres in the north of Union Township on the Behmer Road. This tract and the surrounding land were then covered with primeval forest. The roads were but trails. The homestead farm has remained in the Behmer family ever since. The greater part of it is now owned and occupied by Harold E. Behmer, a grandson. A map shows the Behmer lands in the 'seventies to consist of 92 acres in the name of D. G. Behmer on the south side of the Behmer Road, just down the highway a piece to the east of the Platt forty on the north side of the road.
The children who are now living in the township are C. D. Behmer, in Culver; Estella J. Albert, on a part of the homestead; Mary A., wife of Ben Overmyer, north of Culver on Road 17; and J. F. Behmer, on a farm adjoining the homestead.
Daniel G. Behmer died November 8, 1903, at the age of seventy-two, and was laid to rest in McElrath Cemetery. His last and fatal illness began in July, 1902. He was one of seven children, three of whom survived him: John, Henry and Mary. These three were then of very advanced age, all of them older than Daniel. They were living at the time near Akron, Ohio. Daniel in early manhood united with the Reformed Church, and subsequently became connected with the United Brethren Church.
Of the eight children of Daniel and Mary Jane Behmer, four died in infancy. Surviving the father were Mary A. Overmyer of Culver; Estella J. Albert of Hibbard; John F. of Hibbard; and Clarence D. of Culver. Prior to his death, Mr. and Mrs. Behmer had been married forty-eight years. Her death. occurred June 19, 1916. She was eighty-four.
The Speyer family came to this part of the country late in the 'sixties or early in the 'seventies. Henry and Margaret (Pickens) Speyer, with their children, removed from New York to Marshall County in 1869. (Thompson's history states that Henry Speyer moved to Marmont about 1879).
A merchant by occupation, Henry Speyer, the elder, became identified with the commercial interests of the village of Marmont upon his arrival. He was a soldier in the Civil War, serving first in the Twenty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry for three months, and later re-enlisting for three years, but was honorably discharged before the expiration of his term of service on account of sickness. He entered the service as a private soldier, but for gallant and meritorious conduct was promoted to Captain of his company, which rank he held at the time of his discharge. He was a local politician of considerable note, and at one time was the Republican candidate for the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court.
The children of Henry and Margaret Speyer were seven in number, five of whom survived their father: Jacob, who was a merchant of New York City; Sarah, the wife of Henry Maxwell of New York City; Eva, the wife of William Porter of Marmont; Marion, the widow of Andrew Kork of Marmont; and Henry M., now a. retired citizen of Culver.
Henry M. Speyer was a native of Kentucky, born September 3, 1863. He resided in New York till he was six years of age, when his parents, removed to Marshall County. He was educated in the public schools of Plymouth, and spent his early years assisting his father in various mercantile enterprises. He began business at Marmont as successor to his father, under whom he had received his training prior to becoming a member or the firm. He became a successful business man, and member of the firm of Nussbaum, Mayer & Co., of Marmont, in the 'eighties. Early in the Twentieth Century he became a member of the general merchandising firm of Porter & Co., of Culver, and treasurer of the local school board. Previously, for several years, he was president of the board. The school building, completed in 1906, was of much credit to the business methods of Mr. Speyer.
Henry M. Speyer was also treasurer of the Town of Culver and for eight years, under appointments of Presidents Harrison and McKinley, served as Postmaster at Culver. His first appointment came in August, 1889.
After his father's death, he continued his mercantile pursuits, and it was not until recent years that he gave up all occupation and retired.
In 1890, Henry M. Speyer was married to Mary Peeples, daughter of George and Caroline Peeples. She was a native of Marshall County, her parents having settled in Union Township at a rather early date. George Peeples owned considerable lake-front property on Maxinkuckee. His land was in the northeastern corner of the lake and extended from the present Wennerstrom residence to the Culver Military Academy grounds. Some of his land was sold to the Academy.
Henry M. and Mary Speyer are the parents of seven children. All members of the family are living.
Henry Speyer, the elder, died in August, 1886, at Marmont, and was buried in Wheeler Cemetery, Plymouth. Margaret Speyer, the widow, died November 19, 1901, and was laid to rest beside her husband in Wheeler Cemetery.
In the late spring of 1864, Harvey and Mary Jane (Rogers) Thornburg, with their family, moved to Marshall County from Van Wert County, Ohio. Their son, Celestion E., was only ten months of age at the time. He was born in Van Wert County, Ohio, July 14, 1863. As a youth, he worked on his father's farm in the summer and attended school in the winter; and at the age of eighteen began to teach in the district school. For a number of years, he continued as a teacher, and in 1886 located upon a farm in Union Township. In 1890, he was a candidate for Trustee on the Democratic ticket, and was defeated by but one vote. He also engaged in the selling of agricultural implements. In 1886, he was married to Laura B. Grossman, daughter of David L. Grossman. There were two children, Harvey D. and Gladys.
The Grossman family came to the vicinity of Lake Maxinkuckee at an early date. They took up land in the Wolf Creek neighborhood and in the northeastern part of Union Township. Michael Grossman was the pioneer of the family, He was from Pennsylvania. Various other well-known families of this region were connected with the Grossmans. The Shoemakers were affiliated. We hear frequent mention of the Shoemaker and Grossman bridges spanning the Yellow River. These bridges of course were so named from the families that early settled in the vicinity. Likewise connected with the Grossmans were the Zehners, including the widely-known millers, of Wolf Creek, Sligo and Plymouth.
D. S. Grosssman was the landowner of Union Township. In the 'seventies he had considerable farming property in the Rutland section of the township, including several separate tracts, one of approximately 86 acres, another of about 83 acres, and a third of nearly the same acreage.
Among the pioneer families that came to Union Township during the Civil War was that of James Duddleson, who was of Scotch descent. The family originally settled in Pennsylvania, moving from there to central Ohio, near Upper Sandusky, during the late seventeen hundreds.
James was born April 23, 1802. Of his first marriage there is no family record except that there was a son named Albert. His second marriage was to Rozella Moore, a teacher, in 1837. To this union were born: Elizabeth, Jane, Lyda, Lavonia, Irvin, Mary and Ozias (commonly known as "Bub"). James Duddleson died July 2, 1893, at the age of ninety-one, and his wife March 5, 1897, at the age 6f eighty-six.
The family were about all grown though not married at the time they came to Indiana. Albert was serving in the Union army and later rejoined the family.
James Duddleson was a man who believed firmly in education, and his boys and girls were given more advantages than were common at that time. Shortly after settling in Union Township, Elizabeth, Lyda, Lavonia and Mary became teachers in the country schools of this new region. Elizabeth taught in the. Union Township schools for thirty years, and many of the older residents of this community were her pupils. She was one of the leaders of the M. E. Church, and took a great interest in the young people. She never married, and resided in Culver until her death in 1916.
Jane married Jay Barnheisal and moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana. She had four children, one of whom, Charles, is a missionary to Korea.
Lyda married Dr. Ira Baker, of Logansport. She also had four children: Mrs. Olive Graham, Dr. Arthur Baker, well-known optician; C. L. Baker, cottager on Long Point, and Mrs. Bessie Landis, widow of the late Frederick Landis, Congressman-elect. They all reside in Logansport.
Lavonia married Dr. L. Rogers of Culver, later of Kewanna. She had six children: Ed Rogers and Ray (deceased), Mrs. Tennie Griffith, Indianapolis; Mrs. Tressie Marlowe, Chicago; D. E. Rogers, Springfield, Illinois, and Mrs. Jessie Houghton, Culver.
Irvin married Miss Morris, of Maxinkuckee, and they had three children: Oscar and Orville, of Three Oaks, Michigan, and Mrs. Anna Larkin, of South Bend. He also had one son, Homer, by a second marriage.
Mary became the first wife of L. C. Dillon, dying in early life and leaving one son, Harry Dillon, of Argos.
"Bub" married Elizabeth Medbourn of Culver. They had four children: Jennie and Earl (deceased), Mrs. Mable Plant of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Mrs. Lulu Campbell of South Bend.
Albert, oldest of the family, made his home in Argos. He was the father of three children: Samantha, Zina (deceased), and Frank of Argos. Due to his service in the army, he lost his eyesight. For years he was well known in Argos. He was able to travel all over the town though he could see nothing.
The Duddleson farm was the land now owned by the L. C. Dillon estate, and originally extended from the Thomas Houghton farm to the lake, on the west side of the Burr Oak Road. The land now occupied by the Vandalia Park was part of this farm, and was afterwards given to Dr. Durr in payment for medical services. The consideration was fifty dollars as grandfather Duddleson considered it of little farming value.
Because the children of the Duddleson family were largely girls, there are not many left in this vicinity to carry the name of Duddleson. Of the original family there are none living. Of the grandchildren there are Harry Dillon and Frank Duddleson of Argos, and Mrs. Jessie Houghton of Culver. Of the great-grandchildren there are Lucas, Alvin, Zina and Ferrol Duddleson, Mrs. Oscar Zechiel, Mrs. Elsie Wagner, Mrs. Dolly Sellars, and Mrs. Floyd Deck. children of Zina and Emma (Overmyer) Duddleson; Walter Dillon; Roger, Randall, Keith Junior and Irene Houghton.
While there are not many of them left, the descendants feel that the part taken in the social, educational and religious life of this part of the country by the children of James Duddleson has helped make Union Township what it is today.
Associated with the early history of the community that is now Culver was the Potter family. Old Joe Potter, as he was familiarly known, is remembered by not a few today. He was the harness maker of the old town, operating his shop in the horse and vehicle days of the 'eighties. Old Joe Potter was an uncle of Joseph H. Potter, who died at the Kelly hospital, Argos, December 11, 1934, at the age of seventy-eight. Joseph H. Potter's father was a carpet weaver by trade at the time rag carpets were woven. His name was John H. Potter, and he never lived here in this section, but old Joe did. He used to live in Plymouth. His second wife was Laura Peeples. Surviving the late Joseph H. Potter are his brother, John, of Hamilton, Ohio, and a nephew, John Gordon, of Columbus, Ohio. Burial was in Oak Hill Cemetery, Plymouth.
John Eldridge was an old settler at Maxinkuckee. He migrated to Indiana around the year 1832, and it is said that he came to the region of Lake Maxinkuckee not many years after that, perhaps around 1840. He was born in n1808 and was getting well along in years in the late ‘seventies. He lived to a ripe old age.
Also among the early settlers at Maxinkuckee was Moses Smith, who came there from Fulton County in the ‘fifties. He was born in Scotland and came to America when he was seven years old. His wife’s name before her marriage was Mary Cole.
Moses Smith operated a potter shop at Maxinkuckee. It was up on the hill. The kiln stood for years, then fell to ruin. The old building, however, still stand to this day. The owner was a very industrious man. He hauled his clay for the pottery all the way from Ohio with an ox team.
Moses and Mary Cole Smith had four children. One of them died from a rattlesnake bite. There was a son named Moses, and a daughter, Sarah Ann.
Sarah Ann Smith was born in Fulton County, October 13, 1837, and died April 23, 1925, at the age of eighty-seven. In 1859 she was married to Lewis C. Rector, who died in 1885. There were eight children, three of whom preceded the mother in death. Surviving her were three sons, Samuel of Osborn, Ohio, Nathan W. of Culver, and Dow, residing near the lake; two daughters. Mrs. George Garver of Argos and Mrs. F. M. Parker of Maxinkuckee; eleven grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren, besides a host of friends. In 1889 she united with the Christian Church at Maxinkuckee.
It has been said of her: "Sister Rector was of Scotch-Irish descent, with a primitive instinct which took root, and has accomplished her share in laying the foundations of the commonwealth. At an early age she was left with the cares of a home by the death of her mother. In a little house, near the site of the Maxinkuckee Store, she was married. When not long in her new home the dark clouds of the Civil War threatened to obscure her view of brightness. Her husband bade goodbye to her and the eldest son, Samuel. He went to the front; while he was in Camp Ellis a daughter was born, Elizabeth Ellis (Garver). She kept the good faith and when the cruel war was over, the family moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, where they resided for a number of years. Returning later to Maxinkuckee, she spent the remaining years of her life there. In the summer colony, she kept hotel. Her guest-friends were legion. As years advanced she was forced to give up this work she so much enjoyed, and accepted the care and companionship of her children. One of the finest tributes to the life of Grandma Rector was her love and interest in youth. No child knew her but loved her. She grew old graciously. Her love of the beautiful made her presence a bright spot wherever she was."
Precisely at the half-way turn of the Nineteenth Century, the McFarland family arrived in Union Township. In 1850 Robert H. McFarland settled close to the shore of Lake Maxinkuckee. With his wife, Eliza, and their two children, Theodore, not quite five years old at the time, and John, barely two, he came from Miami County, Indiana, to try his fortune in the comparatively new region of the northern lakes.
Not many of the early families of the township have such a fascinating and romantic background as that of the McFarlands. Following the McFarland lineage back into the mists of the past, we find first the clan McFarland in Scotland, founded by Gilchrist, brother of Malduin, third Earl of Lenox. The entire McFarland clan fought with Bruce at Baunockburn in 1314, and contributed much to that victory which forever freed Scotland from the British yoke. In 1460 the clan McFarland claimed the Earldom of Lenox as heirs male, and while their claim had the strongest legal support, they were strenuously opposed by pretended feudal heirs. After a long and bloody conflict, lasting twenty-eight years; the estate was finally settled on Stewart Darnley. In this unsuccessful and disastrous attempt to secure the Earldom, the chief of the clan perished, the clan suffered severely, and the majority of the survivors took refuge in remote parts of the country. Andrew MacFarland helped save the remnant of the Darnley clan. For about six hundred years, 1200-1784, the McFarland clan held in hereditary possession a large tract of laud, called Arrochar, in the highlands of Scotland. The estate was sold in 1754. Sir Walter Scott mentions the clan in his famous novels, "Waverly" and "Rob Roy," and in "Cadyow Castle" he speaks of "Wild Macfarlane's plaided clan." The spelling McFarland is confined almost entirely to the American descendants of those members of the clan that fled from Scotland to the north of Ireland in 1608.
In 1830 a large company of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians came to America and settled in northern Virginia and western Maryland, along the Potomac River and in the Shenandoah valley. There were many McFarlands amongst them. Our own Union Township family began its career in the United States in this Virginia-Maryland colony. In many respects, these Scotch-Irish colonists differed from all the other English settlers. They did not mix with the English colonists, but pushed into the backwoods and formed, it has been said, a special class not entirely amenable to conventional procedure. Wandering about seemed engrafted in their nature. They were forever imagining that the lands further off were still better than those on which they were already settled. True to their nature, the McFarlands soon spread over the entire United States.