Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

A short time ago we told something about the life of James Woodden (Wooden), one of the early settlers of Harrison township. We mentioned that Crystal lake was originally named after this pioneer and that the name Woodden applied to that area for some time. We also asked whether any of our readers could tell us why the name of the lake was changed.

In response, we received an interesting and informative letter from Mrs. R. J. Hill, who has lived in the Woodden area all her life.

She believes that Crystal lake was so named because it is so very clear. She also mentioned that the cemetery near the Harrison Center church is called Woodden cemetery. She asked us a few questions which caused us to do a little research on the history of this burial ground. Perhaps our readers can supply additional information.

First Settlers
In the spring of 1834 the families of Andrew Sell and James Woodden moved from Preble county, Ohio, and bought neighboring farms in our county. If the road running east and west past the Harrison Center church had been there at that time, it would have run between the farms -- Sell's on the south and Woodden's on the north. A few years after these families came to our county a child of Andrew Sell's died and was buried on the home farm. This caused Mr. Sell to consecrate that portion of his farm for a burial ground for the community. That was the beginning of what is now called Woodden cemetery.

In later years, probably after Sell's death, James Woodden purchaased his neighbor's farm. Evidently the name Woodden was then applied to the graveyard rather than Sell. The probabilities are that both the Sells and the Wooddens are buried in this cemetery; Mrs. Hill states in her letter that she has seen the name Woodden on some of the older monuments.

Perhaps it would be historical justice to change the name of Crystal lake back to Woodden, and to rename Woodden cemetery as Sell's cemetery.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Dec. 1, 1953