Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

One hundred and seventeen years ago today Kosciusko county held its first general election. At the time the state legislature established the boundaries of our county, they provided for an election to be held at Leesburg on April 4, 1836.

Two hundred and nineteen of the eligible voters came to Leesburg on that day and helped choose our county's first elective officials. This represented 76 per-cent of the eligible voters.

Only a handful of county officials were elected at this time. Kosciusko county was attached to the Eighth Judicial Circuit so the judge and prosecuting attorney of that circuit automatically became our judicial officers. The office of the county treasurer was appointive at that time. Also the position of assessor was not created until some years later.

R. H. Landsdale was elected to the combined post of clerk-auditor. The voters selected Arnold I. Fairbrother and Christopher D. Lightfoot as recorder and surveyor, respectively. T. W. Kirkpatrick was elected coroner, and Isaac Kirkendall received the most votes for the position of sheriff.

Our first board of commissioners was also elected on that day. William Felkner, who with his wife is credited with being the first permanent white settlers in our county, was elected commissioner of the northern district. David Rippey and William Kelly were the middle and southern district selections.

The personnel at the polling place in Leesburg on that first election day was composed of Samuel Stookey, G. W. Royse and Elisha Boggs as judges and Benjamin Johnson and John G. Woods as clerks.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Apr. 4, 1953