Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Local grocer Charles (Tug) Wagner has in his possession a $5 Kosciusko county bond which was issued by the board of commissioners at the close of the Civil War.

On March 4, 1865, the Indiana general assembly passed a law which provided a sum of money for needy families of soldiers who had been killed or wounded in the Civil War. Under the provisions of the law the assessor in each township was to make an enumeration of widows and children under 12 and report the number to the county auditor.

On the basis of our county's enumeration the state allotted us $10,000, but the money was not to be paid until the spring of 1866. Because the widows and children needed the assistance immediately, it was up to each county to devise a method of borrowing so that monthly stipends could be paid to the soldiers' families beginning in the fall of 1865.

Meeting in special session on August 22, 1865, the county commissioners directed the auditor, William B. Funk, to issue $10,000 in bonds in small denominations. Disbursing officers (usually the trustee) were appointed in each township to distribute the bonds to families each month. As the bonds were made payable to the bearer, the widow could take them to the general store and buy the provisions she needed.

Wagner's bond probably passed through many hands during that winter for the records indicate that they passed just like money and were usually taken for their face value.

Whoever had this bond in his possession in the spring could have redeemed it for five dollars plus six percent interest or he could have applied it on the spring installment of his taxes. In this particular case the bearer chose to keep the bond. It's value, if it were presented now for collection at the auditor's office, is not known, but it undoubtedly is worth far more as a collector's item.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Sept. 6, 1952