With the announcement of preliminary plans for Warsaw's centennial observance, a number of questions have come to us concerning the early history of the town.
Actually this centennial will be the anniversary of Warsaw's incorporation as a town. During the spring of 1854 Warsaw fulfilled the requirements necessary for this important step, and on June 7, of that year, the Kosciusko county commissioners declared Warsaw to be an incorporated town.
Prior to 1854 Warsaw had no legal identity. It was just like any other part of Wayne township, with the township officials having full authority in all government matters. On that June day in 1854, however, Warsaw began to exist as a legal unit. Now it could elect its own officials to manage its affairs. Now it could sue and be sued; it became an individual in the eyes of the law. As time went on Warsaw set up its own law enforcement, fire protection, sanitation, street maintenance, school system, library facilities, park and recreation programs, entirely separate from the township. This step which Warsaw took in 1854 was therefore a very significant move--perhaps the most important in her entire history.
Incidentally, Warsaw did not become an incorporated city until 1875.
Someone asked us when Warsaw became county seat of the county. That was in 1836. When our county was organized, the state legislature appointed five men (none of them Kosciuskoans) to locate the county seat. These men chose the site in the geographic center of the county for the seat of justice. Upon that selected site the village of Warsaw was then immediately laid out, being named after the European city in which Thaddeus Kosciuszko was born.
Warsaw has been the only county seat our county has ever had, although there were several nearly successful attempts to change the location. Leesburg could lay claim to being an unofficial county seat, because some of the first commissioners meetings and court sessions were held there.
Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Feb. 27, 1954