Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

This being primary election day, it might be in order to discuss an election which was held in Warsaw exactly 79 years ago today. On Tuesday, May 4, 1875, Warsaw held its first city election. The voters chose a mayor, a marshal, a clerk, a treasurer, and six city councilmen.

Although Warsaw was incorporated as a town in 1854, a fact which we are celebrating this year, it was not until 1875 that incorporation as a city came about. The election referred to here was the first one held after city incorporation.

At first it was thought that the national party names would not be used in the Warsaw election. There was considerable sentiment for having two local parties entirely separate from state and national politics. However, the Republicans held a caucus and selected nominees. This was in the day before direct primaries were held for nominations. At the last moment an opposing group (not the Democrats) set up another ticket. This opposition group succeeded in getting their candidate for marshal and one of their councilmen elected. The Republican ticket won in all other contests.

The men elected were Hiram S. Biggs, mayor; Joseph A. Wright, marshal; Charles H. Ketchum, clerk; S. B. Clark, treasurer, T. C. Stuart and S. W. Chipman, councilmen from the first ward; D. R. Pershing and Andrew J. Bair, councilmen from the second ward; Nelson Nutt and James McMurry, councilmen from the third ward.

This city election was preceded by the election to decide on whether to incorporate as a city which was held on Monday, April 19, 1875. According to the Northern Indianian newspaper, which was very active in campaigning for incorporation, there was considerable interest, but no bitterness in the campaign. The main argument used by the opposition was that incorporation would cost more. The vote was 278-200 in favor of the move.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. May 4, 1954