Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Of all the Pottawatomie Indian chiefs who lived in our county when the white man came, Chief Checose has gone down in local history as the shrewdest land-dealer. Checose's village was about two miles downstream from Warsaw on the Tippecanoe river. The 1832 treaty with the Pottowatomies set aside four sections of land around this Indian village as a reservation for Checose's tribe.

Peter Warner, one of the earliest settlers of the county, unknowingly settled on land which was included in Checose's reservation. This was in 1834 before any of the land in our county was placed on sale. Not realizing that he was on an Indian reservation, Warner began to make improvements, planning to buy the half-section, when the land came up for sale.

After a time, Checose informed the white "squatter" that he was on land which belonged to the Indian tribe. Wishing to keep the land and his improvements, Warner agreed to buy the land from the Indian for $400 paying him $200 down. Warner continued to improve the land and soon had an investment totaling close to a thousand dollars, which was a considerable amount in those days.

Two years later, on March 29, 1836, this Indian tribe, their chief now dead, gave up their four sections in a treaty made with the United States government. A provision in that treaty which would have safeguarded the sale of the land to Warner was stricken out by the senate. So Warner found himself living on land which he had paid for, but he did not legally own.

Several unsuccessful attempts were made by Indiana Senator John Tipton to get the senate to approve the sale. Finally, in 1840, the senate did permit Warner to enter the land at the Winamac land offices for $1.25 per acre, giving the opportunity to buy the land again. Warner was reimbursed the original $200 when he presented a claim for that amount to the commissioner appointed to investigate claims against the Pottawatomies. The only one who gained by the whole transaction was Checose, who was $200 richer because of the illegal sale.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Apr. 25, 1953