Warsaw in 1862-63

by George A. Nye

Most of us living remember the Bull Moose campaign of 1912. That was twenty-six years ago. But in 1862, Warsaw was only twenty-six years old. It had been classed as a town for eight years. The Civil war was going on at the time and the headlines of the Northern Indianian are full of "war news by telegraph." The issue for September 25, 1862, contains the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln. "All slaves in the rebel states are declared free after January 1, 1863" is the headline. The papers of the day here in Warsaw were full of letters written back from the war, full of accounts of the battles, and much is said of new companies being formed. General Reub. Williams, Colonel J. B. Dodge, Colonel C. W. Chapman, Captain N. N. Boydston, Lieutenant O. P. Jaques and many others are mentioned. An article entitled, "Warsaw and the Civil War," is in contemplation, which, if expanded upon, would indeed make quite a large book. Times were so dark in the spring of '63 that President Lincoln set aside the 30th day of April as a day of fasting and prayer for the state of the nation. The following merchants signed an agreement that they would close their places of business throughout the day. As this is no doubt a fairly complete list we shall give it verbatim and then shall have something to say about them. They were as follows: Nichols & Runyan, tombstone makers; Hitzler & Furlong, William Conrad, wagon maker; Lewis Trish, wagon maker; Melisa Tall, Lizzie Frazer, milliners; Mrs. S. M. Knull, W. G. Chapman, James H. Porter, John Evers, John Hipp, Stein & Brother, Stephen Philpott, John Lane, E. G. Burgess, Milice & Brother, J. B. Gallaher, photographer; Daniel Deeds, A. King, J. A. Funk, A. Baker, A. J. Mershon, lime warehouse; Fleming T. Luse, editor of the Northern Indianian; Foulk & Harvey, C. G. Hossler, D. Mulford, C. C. Stapler, John Bollom, Herman Lang, B. N. Shaffer, L. D. Sheaffer, Joseph Aspinall, Robens & Gallaher, W. G. Piper, William Haas, James Foster, J. W. Quayle, W. H. Davenport, Peter L. Runyan, Matlock & Scott, J. B Davis, Frazer & Frasier, Carpenter & Long, Long & Haymond, I . A. Miller & Co., James A. Wright, Chipman Bros. & Co., Daniel Shoup, Becker & Brother, Marx Frank, C. L. Knowles, William Cosgrove & Son, Leamon Brothers, notion and book store; Hudson Beck, Card Brothers, hardware; A. G. Callender, William Thrift, Bybee & Towl, William C. Gordon, Sam Loney, Thomas Thomas, Hetfield & Stewart, J. T. Morris, Aaron Ryland, Richey & Cole, A. Barnes & Co., Henry Shane, Saine & Huffman, McKee & Co., bakers; A. B. Sipes, George W. Thralls & Co., Bair & Wright, Pottengers, druggist; McGowan & Brother, Loney & Neff, and Nye & Nye. It is very likely that this list comprises practically all of the businessmen of Warsaw in April, 1863.

Hats Made by Milliners
Mrs. S. M. Knull was a milliner over Dan Shoup's grocery which was in the Empire block two doors north of Market street. The Empire block reached from Market to the alley north on the west side of Buffalo street. Mrs. Knull carried a full line of flowers, ribs, head dresses and bonnets. It was then customary for a milliner to start with the materials and build a hat. This custom was abandoned in Warsaw for the most part by the year 1915. Warsaw always had had several millinery stores. One of the old ones was Pierce's which advertised wedding bonnets. This was a popular store in the 50's before the war.

Richey & Cole ran a grocery store in a frame building three doors east of Sam Lauferty's general store. Lauferty's was on the southwest corner of Buffalo and Center streets in the building which is still standing as the oldest brick building block in town. This was built in 1856 and has seen very little change since. Richey & Cole sold groceries, wooden and stoneware, nails and glass, flour, corn, potatoes and all kinds of fruit. It was customary for the stores of the day to keep on hand a large variety of articles. Wooden-ware of the day consisted of barrels, kegs, churns, tubs, and butter molds.

Warsaw had at least two cooper shops in the west part of town run by Dennis Thralls and Daniel Deeds. William Haas was one of the butchers of the day and had a shop on the south side of Center street opposite the Popham hotel commonly known as Popham's exchange. This hotel stood where the Eagles' building is now. Mr. Haas was the father of William, Bob, Dick and Ed. He owned a farm out north of town about three miles on the Leesburg road. It is now owned by Mrs. Perry Smith. Mr. Haas was the owner of a meat market in Warsaw for many years. Markets then, of course, butchered their own beef and pork.

Early Day Meat Markets
The Haas slaughter-house used to be out on the east bank of Center lake about where the furniture factory is now. Mr. Haas purchased all of this ground for $400 many years ago. Jackman's was another old butcher shop of Warsaw. It was about where the present Elks' arcade is now. The Milice shop ran here for years on Market street. It was not uncommon to sell venison in shops during the war. Until about 1915 it was customary for proprietors of meat markets to drive around over the country and buy cattle and hogs.A good job for a small boy of the day was to help Mr. Robinson, Perry Brown, Gus Carteaux or George Jackman drive cattle or hogs several miles to the slaughter house or to the stock yards.

Ice around Warsaw in the summer time was a very scarce article and it is doubtful if these early owners of meat markets kept much fresh meat on hand in the hot season. "Sinner" Philpott sold ice for a cent a pound and gave it away to those who were poor and sick. He ran a fish and jewelry store in a frame building just north of Empire block where the drug store has been for sixty years. Spring houses were used to keeping things cool. Ice cream and cold drinks were a decided luxury. Dan Carlisle had an ice cream saloon.

Warsaw's Harness Shops
John Evers and John Hipp were two of the town's harness makers. Hipp was in Empire block over Card's hardware store. This was a trade which during the Civil war called for many workers. Full sets of harness were made in our harness shops. Harness for driving horses was light in weight but the harness intended for work horses was much heavier. All harness was more or less ornamented with brass metal parts and the hames which went over the collar were decorated at the top. Oxen were used in 1862 and little harness was needed for them. The last Harness-maker to still keep shop of the 60's is Ed ("Speck") Ettinger, who in 1896 worked in peck's shop under Lantz's drug store.

The late "Jimmy" Woods was an old harness-maker of Peck's shop and learned his trade with Harvey Beazel in the old Republican building, a large frame at the southwest corner of Market and Buffalo streets. The harness trade, the blacksmith shop, the old livery barn, and the wagon shops of long ago have all gone with the wind. The automobile with its garages, filling station, and auto accessory stores have taken their place during the last thirty years in Warsaw.

Old General Stores
In 1862 Sam Lauferty, who was of the Jewish faith, had a general store where the Candy Kitchen is now on the corner. James Cretcher, commonly known as "Watermelon Jim," and who is still in good health, claims to have known Sam Lauferty and also his daughter and he says that the most conspicuous things about Lauferty's face was his large nose. Lauferty's wife ran a millinery store. Lauferty would go east about twice a year to New York or other eastern markets and buy goods for his store. This was an old custom followed by merchants of Warsaw and by the Becks and Blaines of Leesburg back in the 40's. Each trip meant a "puff" in the newspaper if the merchant was a good advertiser; if not, very little notice was taken of his going and coming. Benny Becker was another member of the Jewish faith as was Marx Frank. Both of these men had clothing stores in Warsaw in the 60's. Frank was known as "the little Jew on the corner" because his store was in a brick building on the southwest corner of Center and Buffalo streets known for years as "the book-store corner." Benny Becker's store was in the Empire block south of the present Lake City bank site. Frank left here and went to Fort Wayne where no doubt his children are still in the clothing business. Some things kept in a clothing store then would now be found in a museum.

Sold Red Flannel Underwear
It was a day of log cabins and houses heated by fireplaces and so both men and women wore red flannel underwear. Men wore red heavy woolen stockings or sox, doeskin pants, blue jeans, and beaver caps. For the Sunday suit men had broadcloths. Overcoats were not commonly worn, especially by the poor. My father, who was born here in 1836, used to say that he never had an overcoat or a pair of overshoes until after he was a grown man. People probably slept in the winter time with their underwear on, nestled away in huge feather beds which could not help but to keep them warm. Even in a cabin a few small logs in the fireplace would burn all night. There was an abundance of good wood all around Warsaw until late in the 90's.

There was not much in Benny Becker's clothing store in the way of comfortable dress shirts. Many shirts were made at home. The most fashionable people had their clothing made to order. D. Mulford was one of the town tailors. Henry Shane came to Warsaw in the spring of 1863 from Cincinnati. He bought out Sam Lauferty on the corner and ran a grocery store here for forty years. As was customary in those days he had a barrel of whiskey on tap back by the stove and whenever he was along with some of his special friends he would share with them a sample or two of the Old Kentucky Colonel, or "snips" as he called it. Henry Shane bought hides and wool for many years. The hides were put in the basement and well salted; the wool was stored up in the third story of the building. "Shane's Corner" was a landmark in the town for many years. The Shanes like many of the other families of the town have almost become an extinct family around Warsaw through death and travel to the west.

Old National Bank
Chipman Brothers & Company was a large store on the northwest corner of Market and Buffalo streets in 1862. This was in the south room of the Empire block which burned in 1871. Samuel Chipman was one of the firm. Like other merchants they bought all kinds of country produce paying one-fourth cash and the balance in merchandise. They sold dry goods, crockery, boots and shoes, groceries and clothing. They also acted as bankers and brokers. They made bank collections in all parts of the state. They bought and sold New York exchange and purchased gold and silver. Their store was the forerunner of the First National bank which later became the State Bank. In fact stock for the first bank was sold from Chipman's store and the bank started in the summer of 1863 with Chipman as president. Billy Graves was cashier for years. This bank was on the south side of Market street east of the Moon block on the west side of the alley. The Moon block was built in 1868 on the site of a small frame building which during the war was John Lane's jewelry store.

The postoffice was in a small frame south of Lane's shop, the postmaster being Peter L. Runyan. Some other prominent stores of 1862 were Cosgrove's in his new building, now the old Globe building; Pottenger's east of the public square; Thralls' to the south of the square; Card's hardware store in Empire block, Thrift's hardware store on Center street; Thomas Thomas' store and Hudson Beck's store opposite Popham's exchange. The Wright house was a popular hotel run by Ben Wright on the northeast corner of Center and Buffalo streets where the cigar store has been for over fifty years. Both hotels had hacks running to and from the old depot on Union street. Two passenger trains each way constituted the regular schedule on the railroad.

The Early Town Board
The town board in 1862 was busied with many things which we now have outgrown. They passed an ordinance for the building and repair of sidewalks made of wood. They also forbade cattle and swine to run at large on the streets and many people thought they had a grievance. They also provided for some extra cisterns to be dug for water for fires One was to be near Chipman's store on Market street. These old cisterns could be seen about town for forty years. Ever so often they had to be pumped full, a task which kept a man busy for several hours. It was not until about 1886 that Warsaw had the water works plant at the foot of Buffalo. The town board also in 1863 took into the corporation the land east of the old cemetery and east of Scott street and south of Center.

The tenth annual fair was held that year on the new fair grounds just east of Scott street. Zenas Bratt was town marshal and A. F. Leamon acted as town clerk. Wash Lightfoot was president of the town board. J. B Davis was school trustee. D. T. Johnson, who had been principal here since the first school house was built in 1858 resigned in the summer of 1863 and Davis advertises that there will be a meeting of citizens at the court house to select a new principal. Judge James S. Frazer had recently returned from Waukegan, Ill., where he had lived a number of years and he put forward the name of Valois Butler of Waukegan.

Early School Superintendent
Mr. Butler was selected to take charge of the schools in the fall of 1863 and those who remember him say that he made a very good school superintendent. Johnson became school examiner. His duty was to examine teachers as to their mentality and decide whether or not they were desirable as teachers. About 1876 the state law did away with the examiner and provided for a county superintendent. During the war days our school was called the Union school. It was on Detroit and Market streets overlooking a tamarack swamp to the east.

The Northern Indiana Conference of the Methodist church met at Wabash in April 1863. J. J. Cooper was the minister assigned to Warsaw. He had been here a year and had given very good satisfaction. Some other ministers whose names are in the list used to be here. Among them are T. Colclazer, F. F. Hasty, E. M. Baker and T. Comstock. The church building here was then a frame building that had been in use some twenty years. The Dorcas Society was a society of women who during the war sent clothing and other necessary articles to the soldiers at the front. The only place in town in which they could hold a meeting was in the courthouse or the Empire hall or in one of the churches.

Dorcas Society
On Christmas eve of 1862 the Dorcas society gave a musical and tableaux entertainment at the Empire hall with an admission of 25c, the proceeds to go toward buying necessary bandages and medicines for the sick and suffering soldiers. Mrs. Joseph A. Funk was the secretary.

The Episcopal church at Goshen and the court house at Fort Wayne are mentioned as new buildings. The present fine court house at Fort Wayne was built about 1900. The Northern Indianian advertised that it would take several cords of good 18-inch wood in on subscriptions. Coal was then unknown about Warsaw as a fuel. The locomotives were fired with wood. Blacksmiths perhaps were familiar with coal but they used charcoal to a large extent and farmers around Warsaw made charcoal by setting a pile of logs on fire and then covering them up. It is said that someone had to watch such a pile almost day and night to keep it going and yet not permit it to burn up. charcoal is what remains of wood after all the volatile matter such as acetic acid, pyroligneous acid and other things have been driven out by heat. The process is called destructive distillation.

Railroad's Wood Train
Miscellaneously we might say that in 1863 a wood train was a regular train on the Pennsylvania railroad which was the only railroad through town. This train was in [the] charge of Conductor Risher. J. Sipes had a store on Buffalo street. Shaffer and Ryland were running one of the several saloons to be found about the town. A. J. Mershon sold land plasters at his lime house. Otis Pratt was the proprietor of a livery barn. His barn was on West Center street west of the Weirick hotel. He along with James Milice, Z. C. Bratt, and Caleb Hughes, was a candidate for sheriff. A. J. Bair at his drugstore paid four cents a pound for old rags. They were used for making paper. Bybee & Towl were proprietors of a new grocery store at the corner of Buffalo and Main streets. Very likely there were former residents of the town of Sevastopol where the latter had a drug store for many years and acted as the community doctor. Washington Bybee came to this county about 1843 and recites that he stayed over night at the old hotel where the Christian Science church is now. Monday, May 4, 1863, J. B. Davis was elected members of the town board. Perry Brown was elected marshal; John Bybee, treasurer, and W. T. Baker, assessor. May 20, 1863, the sisters of the Baptist church met at the home of Rev. R. H. Cook to organize a society for building a new church. This church was dedicated in 1864 and was the first brick church in the city.

War Rumor False
Sunday, May 10, 1863, a rumor was afloat in Warsaw that Richmond had been taken. Cannons were fired and a great celebration took place, but the next day the rumor was found to be false. On the north side Furlong had a tombstone shop called the Warsaw marble works. They advertised American and Italian marble, monuments, tombstones, mantles, table tops and counter slabs. Marble-topped stands were quite common then. J. R. & Henry Nye had tombstone yards just east of the Popham exchange. Tombstones can be found today in our cemeteries with the names of those old firms in the lower corner. The new town board took office with a promise of grading, graveling and guttering the streets and sidewalks. It said: "Our town has always been, it would seem, too much cursed with old fogies who are opposed to any improvements whatever." Evidently it was not easy to be a satisfactory member of the board even in 1863!

Thrift's hardware store was south of the public square and east of Thomas Thomas' grocery. Henry Lathrope, Herman Lange and Albert Randels applied for licenses to sell intoxicating liquors in less quantity than a quart. Dr. Roback's stomach bitters are greatly advertised as a cure for bilious fever, fever and ague, liver complaint, dyspepsia, indigestion, jaundice, and kidney complaints. bitters were a relic of Indian days when the squaws would go about getting roots and herbs for medicine. Roback's bitters were put up in quart bottles and sold for a dollar a bottle or six bottles for five dollars. The bottle was rough such as a rope wound round and round. A finely engraved label was used. The medicine no doubt contained a liberal amount of whisky and was very bitter. The advertisement read that these bitters are sold by A. J. Bair, George R. Thralls & Son, all of Warsaw, Ed Moon of Leesburg, Bowman & Anglin at Galveston (now Clunette), Ben Yohn at Boydston's Mills, Dr. W. E. Sarber at Palestine, Sherron Hall at Syracuse, F. M. Clark at Oswego, and J. W. Sparklin at Milford. Dr. S. D. Hartman was an electical physician who came to Popham's exchange ever so often. Saine & Huffman had a family grocery one door east of Sam Lauferty's corner. Allan Saine and Phil Huffman composed this firm. Upstairs over Miller & Company's boot and shoe store Dr. Edward R. Parks had his office. This was nearly opposite the Wright house. He had returned from the army.

Military Companies Formed
It seems that during the years 1862 and 1863 there were a good many military companies formed in Warsaw and the county. Some were artillery, some cavalry, and some infantry. Companies that were signed up for a period of time would return when their time was up. The sadness and havoc that the war was making in the community does not by any means show up in the papers of the day. There were few doctors about Warsaw that did not go to the war for a period of from one to two years. Dr. J. P. Leslie became a colonel and was killed in the war. A company of home guards was formed consisting of older men who were to go if an emergency made it necessary. The draft was used; but not many, if any, were sent this way from Wayne township, for enough volunteered from here to fill up the quota. By the payment of so much money (several hundred dollars) a person who had been drafted could buy his way out. Any drafted person had a right to send a substitute if he could hire one. The Civil war was very different from the world war for in it the enlisted soldier in the field had to prepare his own meal and the chance were that he underwent very little .............. traveling. He was a personal friend of General Sherman and was with the general on the famous "March to the Sea." Authorities now say that, with the possible exception of General Grant, General William Tecumseh Sherman was the most outstanding and reliable general that the war produced. After the war Gen. Williams had Sherman's promise to speak in Warsaw in some campaign, but so far as the writer knows, it was an expectancy in which the people were always disappointed because of train schedules or some other good reason.

Early Furniture Made Here
On the corner where Phillipson's is now located, McGowan & Bro. had a cabinet shop in 1863. They had purchased it from Johnson & Ale. They made bureaus, bedsteads, chairs, tables, center and parlor tables, sofas, lounges, cupboards, washstands, etc. They did turning and lathe work. It was a day of heavy furniture with a great deal of decorating work on it. Some of this old antique furniture is still in use, and outside of the fact that it is heavy and cumbersome compared to that of today, it is very desirable because of its appearance and strength. Dennis Thralls had a cooper shop down on Union street near the depot where he made all kinds of barrels for kraut, pickles, salt meat, and pickled pork. He also made kegs for cider and vinegar. Barrels were made with wooden hoops. The staves were of lumber suitable to the use. Vinegar was best when made in hickory barrels. Hoop poles were sold to these cooperages by the farmers. A fanning mill, a brewery, and two foundries were in Warsaw about this time.

Life Hard Problem Then
It would be quite possible to write a great deal about Warsaw as the town of 1862-63 but space does not permit. Life at best must have been a good bit harder than now for there was not much money in circulation. A man would have to work all day for seventy-five cents. Women were weighted down with household duties. We read in biographies of these old-timers where most of them survived at least two wives and some of them four. "Man works from sun to sun but woman's work is never done." To do a washing for a family of ten or so with an old-fashioned cook stove fired with green wood and rub and rub the clothes on an old washboard with nothing but soft soap (homemade) was a job for a big strong machine instead of a frail woman. There was a big fight going on at the front but for all we know a much bigger struggle was going on in the homes from which the father had left. Warsaw had no lights unless we call a lamp set in a box on a post a light. Streets was not graded. In the outlying districts which were not far from the public square, there were nothing but cowpaths. A man who owned several lots together would give a man one to clear the brush from the others. There were few if any brick homes in the town. Uptown Warsaw was graced with about four brick buildings, all less than six years old. All the others were frames. A few of them still stand in our business district today. However, without all the things which we now consider necessary for comfort, the people of Warsaw and of the county in 1862 had a merry time. Dances, literature, husking bees, rag-sewings, spelling matches, horse-races, camp-meetings, Sunday school picnics, Fourth of July celebrations, strawberry and cream festivals, weddings, bob-sled rides, and skating parties formed their amusements. No one generation perhaps should look upon a past generation with a feeling of regret that they had things so unhandy because it may be that generations hence will look back upon us with the selfsame feeling of incompleteness of so-called social necessities.

Warsaw Daily Times and The Northern Indianian Monday Jan. 2, 1939

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