Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Kosciusko county probably would have been settled a few years earlier had it not been for the Blackhawk Indian war of 1832. The fear that the Indians all over the midwest might start on the warpath caused movement into new areas to come temporarily to a standstill.

In 1832 there were no permanent settlers living in what is now Kosciusko county, but a number of families were looking longingly at the prairie lands in the northern part of our county.

When news of the defeat of Blackhawk was received a number of families made plans to move the following spring to these prairie lands. (Spring was the logical time for a family to move to a new home, for they needed the summer to harvest a crop and build at least a temporary home.)

There was some activity in our county in the fall of 1832, however. As the land was not yet for sale, these early settlers realized that the land would be settled on a "squatters' rights" basis.

Many heads of families came into the area during those fall months for the purpose of picking a site to which they planned to rush into the spring. Some of these men chose good farm land; others chose strategic locations to build towns and cities. Great were the dreams of these men for the future of the particular plot of land which they chose.

Samuel Crawson (Crosson) and Henry Ward came with an eye to becoming business men. Their plans included the building of a grist mill, a saw mill, and a general store.

Coming to Turkey Creek in the fall of 1832 they built a dam across the stream. In the spring of 1833 the grist mill was built.

Within the next three years they had their sawmill and general store. When the land was put up for sale they used their "squatters' rights" to buy the land.

By 1837 it became evident that this mill site was the logical place for a town, so Crawson and Ward hired a surveyor to lay out a village. The town was platted on August 11, 1837. Thus the business enterprise of two early settlers laid the basis for a town which is 115 years old this week -- the town of Syracuse.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Aug. 16, 1952