Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

When our county was first organized, the two major political parties were the Whigs and the Democrats. We have reason to believe that partisan politics did not play an important part in our first county elections. In 1840, many local voters were more concerned over the battle between the clippers and the anti-clippers than the national issues. The "clippers" wanted to clip the bottom part of the county and move the county seat farther north.

During the 1840's and 1850's Kosciusko county was rather evenly divided between the two parties. Generally the Whigs carried the county, but in order to do so they had to put forth their very best and most popular man. Even then the Democrats on one or two occasions elected nearly a full set of county officials, and not infrequently succeeded in getting in one or two.

In 1841, Alfred Wilcox was elected auditor and served for seven years. He was followed by Jeremiah Burns; both of these men were Jacksonian Democrats. In 1850 the Whigs gained in numbers and all the county offices were filled by members of that party. The actual Whig majority in the early fifties was about 150.

The story is told that in these times whenever a newcomer came to Warsaw the leaders of the village (who were Whigs) would find out the man's politics. If he were a democrat they told him of the fever and ague here and would put up such a story that he would hurry on. If he were a Whig, however, Warsaw was a paradise and opportunities were great. Thus Warsaw and Kosciusko county became a Whig --then a Republican--county.

Our county gave a substantial majority to Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican party in 1860, but four years later Lincoln experienced some difficulty in carrying the county. There was considerable opposition to his civil War policies. Beginning in 1868 the Republican rolled up substantial majorities and have seldom been defeated in Kosciusko county since.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Nov. 1, 1952