Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

D. B. Garman, of Claypool, has in his possession a ledger book which was kept by various Clay township trustees between 1856 and 1895. This book contains a gold mine of information concerning the early history of that township.

Up to 1870, Clay township was 54 square miles in area including what is now lake as well as Clay townships. Tow of the big jobs of the trustees in those days was care of the roads and operation of the schools. The township was divided into 18 road and 14 school districts. A supervisor was selected in each road district to take care of the roads. A director was appointed to head each school district. All worked under the general supervision of the township trustee. Government in those days was very close to the people.

This book would be of great value to anyone looking up genealogical records of persons living in Clay township at that time. The school records include many lists of parents of school children. Also each year the road supervisors would send a report called a "report of hands" to the trustee. This would be a list of all able-bodied men in the district--men who would be liable for labor on the roads. Many of the names in these lists are those of grandfathers and great-grandfathers of present residents of Clay township.

This ledger gives considerable information concerning the first district schools in Clay township. It tells of the building of "Yeager" school in 1857, which was evidently the first district school built and according to the 1866 county map, was located a short distance east of the present site of Claypool. Six schools were built in 1858 and four more in 1859. Each of the schools cost in the neighborhood of $300 for their construction. "Tibbets" school in District one was built in 1860. In almost all cases these schools were later replaced by brick buildings, many of which are still standing.

We are indebted to Mr. Garman for permitting us to examine this ledger. If there are others of our readers who have record books which would shed further light on the history of our county, we would appreciate hearing from you.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. June 20, 1953