Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

The southeastern part of our county was first settled by persons of German descent, most of whom were adherents of the German Baptist church. It is interesting to note that many areas in our county were at first almost exclusive settlements of people with one racial or religious background.

On Sept. 17, 1834, James Abbott and his family settled in the Eel river area in the southeastern tip of our county. In 1835 Abner McCourtney and Alexander Hapner settled in the area just east of the present site of Sidney and in the following year Jacob Metzger and Isaac Ulrey came to the region south of the present site of Packerton.

Before many years the entire southeastern portion of our county was settled by people with such last names as Cripe, Miller, Harter, Heckman, Kreiter, Frantz, Metzger, Ulrey and Kyler. Most of these early settlers were born in the Dayton area in Ohio of first and second generation German Americans.

In 1840 a German Baptist group was organized in the area with a charter membership of 14. As the group needed a burial ground, Joseph Ulrey donated three acres of land for this purpose. The burial site is located about three miles south of the present site of Packerton, and it was here that the group's first church house was built in 1861.

By 1879 the membership of the church had increased to 225. As the membership increased, other German Baptist churches were built in this region by this group. One church meeting house was built about two miles east of Silver Lake. When the town of Sidney developed, the group worshiped at a building there which was used in common by the Christians, Methodists, Progressive Brethren and German Baptist.

These early settlers became industrious and prosperous farmers and have many descendants in our county today.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Feb. 3, 1953