Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

We have mentioned several times in this column that John B. Chapman was the man who named both Kosciusko county and Warsaw. He was a remarkable man and the story of his life could well be the basis of an interesting novel. Born in 1797 in Harrison County, Virginia, Chapman died in Warsaw just 76 years ago today on October 20, 1877. In his eventful life he studied medicine and law, he engaged in land speculations and railroad enterprises, and his travels took him all over the west from Texas to Alaska.

In 1834 Chapman purchased some land near Leesburg in our county, and built a home there. At that time his main interest seemed to be land speculation. This was the period of rapid settlement of Northern Indiana. The speculator who could buy the land which would be the future sites of towns and cities stood to make considerable money. Shortly after he moved to the Leesburg community, Chapman purchased two sections of land just northwest of the present site of Hobart, Indiana. Here, with two partners, he platted a town called Liverpool. Chapman was counting on two things to make Liverpool a big city. First, he figured that a railroad would be built through it; second, he expected it to become the county seat of Porter County. At about the same time that he was engaged in this Liverpool speculation, he was buying the land at the present site of Warsaw counting on the railroad and county seat angles here also.

Most people in the 18300's felt that canals rather than railroads would become the important means of transportation. Chapman, however, cast his lot with the railroads. Long before the present Pennsylvania line through Warsaw was built or even projected, Chapman had figured its route from Fort Wayne to Chicago. When the line was built some twenty years after his land speculations, it went right through both Warsaw and Liverpool. As far as his county seat expectations were concerned Warsaw, as we all know became the county seat of Kosciusko county. Although Liverpool was first designated as county seat of Porter County, when Porter County was subdivided into two counties--Lake and Porter -- the county seat hopes of Liverpool were killed.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Oct. 20, 1953