Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

In letters to this column several people have said that Kosciusko county should have an historical society. If you would be interested in being active in the formation of such a society, let us know.

Nothing would please the county historian more than to have such a society come into existence again. We say "again" because an historical society was formed in our county in 1869 and was active for several years.

In a preliminary meeting held several years before 1869, a committee headed by William G. Graves was appointed to draw up a constitution for the proposed organization. After having completed their work, a call was sent out for an old settlers' reunion to be held in Warsaw on June 17, 1869.

The old settlers met first at the court house in a morning meeting where Graves read the proposed constitution to them. Under its provision all persons who have lived in the county for 20 years or more were eligible for membership. The main object of the society was "the completion of a correct history of the county."

After the reading of the constitution all settlers eligible for membership were invited to come forward to sign the document and pay the annual dues of 25 cents. The secretary who recorded the minutes wrote that 170 people "pressed forward" eagerly to have their names listed. As required by the constitution, each one gave the date of his coming to our county. David Rippey was elected president, and the group then adjourned to the fairgrounds in East Warsaw for a picnic.

In the afternoon meeting at the fairgrounds a number of old-timers gave speeches. Probably the highlight was an address by Peter L. Runyan, called "Old Man Eloquent", who, according to the records, "reviewed the past with much feeling."

The society had occasional meetings during the next decade or two, but it never published a history of the county.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Oct. 11, 1952