Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Eleven of our seventeen townships were named after famous men--statesmen, presidents and military heroes. Four were named after local geographical characteristics and one was named after an historic battle. We do not know the circumstances surrounding the naming of Etna township, and if any of our readers have any information concerning its naming please let me know.

It was to be expected that the commissioners would name some of the townships after statesmen who had played an important part in the formation of the Union. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Monroe had each either been a president of the United States or had been a prominent member of the constitutional convention or both. Townships in Kosciusko county were named after these four men. It would be interesting to find out how many townships, streets, schools, etc. in the United States are named after Washington and Jefferson.

Several of our townships were named after politician who were in the limelight at the time of the naming. No one could accuse our early commissioners of being partisan in their politics, for in 1838 townships were named after democrats Andrew Jackson and Martin VanBuren and after whigs William Henry Harrison and Henry Clay. All of these men were in the thick of political battles at the time. In 1859 the county commissioners named a township after William Seward, the man considered the most likely candidate for president on the republican ticket. Had the commissioners realized that not Seward but a tall, lanky man from Illinois would win the nomination and the presidency in 1860, perhaps Burket would now be in Lincoln township.

Two of the townships bear the names of military heroes Winfield Scott and Anthony Wayne. Scott township was named just a year after the close of the Mexican War--a war which made Scott a national hero. Wayne township was named only indirectly after "Mad" Anthony. The early settlers around Warsaw came from Wayne county, Ohio, and they asked that their township be named after that Buckeye county.

The battle of Tippecanoe was looked upon by the frontiersman as the event which opened northern Indiana to white settlement. In honor of this battle one of our townships was named Tippecanoe. Prairie and Plain townships were so named because much flat, prairie land lay within their borders. Our youngest township, Lake, was named after the body of water, Silver Lake, located there.

The entire area which is now Kosciusko county was at one time Turkey Creek township and was attached to Elkhart county. The name was chosen because hunters found large numbers of wild turkeys along a creek in the northern part of the area. After Kosciusko county was organized Turkey Creek township was reduced to its present 35 square mile size in the Syracuse-lake Wawasee area.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. July 29, 1952