Friday, April 22, 2016

Canal Boats,Miami Tribe and Pioneer Day Memories

Memories of Nathan Stackhouse of Anoka, Indiana, Cass County.

Nathan Stackhouse (1848-1939) was a member of one of Cass County, Indiana's pioneer families. He was born in 1848 in an area that became the Purdue University campus at West Lafayette. He came to eastern Cass County as a toddler, a year or two later. Before he died he was interviewed by the local newspapers and I, for one, as a historian, am so glad that he was able to share the following snippets of local history.

A Canal packet boat.
Nathan's uncle, Joe Cuppy, was captain of a canal boat - the "Americus" -  and Nathan was thrilled to ride on it because he was allowed to ride on the roof where he could get a great view of the passing landscape. "The mules slowly plodded along the tow path in front of us and in our floating through the towns of West Logan and Logansport, including our trip across the Eel River on the aqueduct at what is now 5th Street. We finally got off the boat at the lock in Miami Township and met a wagon pulled by oxen which took us across the Wabash River to my grandmother's house."

George Winter painting "Indians on The Eel River" 1850

People crossed the river at other points but the very best and only real ford of the Wabash between Logansport and Peru was the old Indian ford between what is today Cass Station bridge and the eastern end of Country Club Island. The ford stopped being used only after bridges were built at Lewisburg, 18th Street and finally Cass Station.

The correct name for Country Club Island is Cedar Island. Nathan's wife's Uncle was the first white man who owned it, buying it from the US Government, which had of course obtained it from the Native Americans.

Vintage post card image of a cliff at Cedar Island, Logansport, Indiana

Cedar Island was a favorite place for family picnics. Large numbers of people from the city of Logansport would go to it on Sundays in carriages, buggies and canal boats. For a time there was a baseball diamond at the west end of the island. Later Charles Bowyer grew a watermelon patch on the site and even later it became home to Soloman Brandt's fine chickens and dogs.
Much later the Country Club bought it and converted the west end of the island into a lawn and built a clubhouse.

The "cliff" is about 30 feet high and is plainly visible from Cass Station Bridge. Solid limestone - it overlooks the ancient Indian ford.

Nathan in an interview in 1938 - his 90th birthday - "I distinctly recall the Indian trails of the area. I used them for many years before any wagon roads were built."

It might be good to mention here that one of Nathan's friends was Gabriel Godfroy, a Miami Tribe leader, son of Chief Francis Godfroy.

Gabriel Godfroy

Chief Francis Godfroy (1788-1840)

"The Miami liked my family, especially my grandmother, very much. One of the trails led from the Mississinewa valley Indian towns past Pipe Creek Falls to the south side of Logansport. I often saw parties of as many as 15 to 20 Indians coming down this trail, sometimes on horseback, mostly on foot. They always marched in single file and at a dog-trot pace. Sometimes they brought their hunting dogs along."

"Sometimes the Indians would camp near to our home. Often they would dismount their ponies and command them to return to the Mississinewa country. The ponies were well trained and would follow the lead pony that had a small bell around its neck."

Nathan continued, "When the Indians were making a long trip they sometimes brought a cow or two along with them. My grandmother would send me out with a pail to get some milk. They not only let me milk their cow, they would insist that I fill the pail to the brim."

Though he never knew where they went after crossing the Wabash River, Nathan remembered an old Indian trail that led from near Onward to this ford at Cass Station, because just east it crossed a trail that passed his own home. He told of seeing mothers carrying babies on their backs, swaddled onto early type baby carrier.

Golf course - Logansport Golf Club

Most of the area of the Country Club - later the Logansport Golf Club - which now serves as a beautiful golf links was formerly a vast checkerboard of ponds, swamps and rocky hummocks.

More from Nathan's interview - "Though the Indians as a whole ceased living in Tipton Township a few still lingered and one fellow even worked for us for a long time. His name was Bannion, but we called him 'Billy'. He was short, but muscular and strong as an ox. He had long black hair which he wore tied back or braided. I think he liked us because we were a music-loving family, and he certainly loved music. He would play the fiddle for hours on end for our enjoyment. But he was a good worker and valuable to have around the farm.

Photo images courtesy Miami of Ohio

We knew and understood the Miami - understood much that was meaningless to our less informed neighbors. For example, we knew that if the Indians were wearing red handkerchiefs around their foreheads they were on their way to visit somebody. That is, we knew they weren't out on a hunting expedition."


"One time the Miami were planning a big barbecue near Peru (Indiana, in neighboring Miami County) but were having trouble gathering enough steers to roast for the occasion. They came down into our region to hunt for steers. Judge (David) Dykeman, who had several on his Washington Township place - Dykeman's Spring - cheerfully donated a steer to them. Gabriel Godfroy and one other Indian came to get this steer. We helped them lasso and load it. As a reward for our assistance, we were guests of Gabriel Godfroy himself at the gathering."

Nathan Stackhouse lived out his days in Tipton Township, Cass County, Indiana. He died in June, 1939.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Logansport Ottos

The Logansport Ottos - Pro Baseball Team

Otto Kraus came to Logansport in 1869. He worked at a clothing store. Otto's brother, Max, came to town about 1870 and opened Kraus Brothers Clothing store. In 1886 Otto organized and sponsored a semi-pro baseball team, naming the team the Ottos.

1907 Ottos

Back: Evens, Wilson, Enyart, Manager, Ensfield, Wise
Middle: Gordon, Cuppy, Michell, Kesling, Conrad, Clark
Front: Kesling, Kummer, Carroll

Notable members included George Cuppy, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Johnny "Red" Corriden, Herald Ireland, Zeke Smith, Frank Bowerman, Frank Stapleton, Wallace Taylor and William Nies who all went on to play in the Minor or Major leagues.

1910 Ottos - back row right end is Johnny "Red" Corriden

Johnny "Red" Corriden (1887-1959) was a player, coach, manager and scout in American Major League Baseball. A short stop and third baseman in his playing days, he appeared in 223 major league games with the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs, batting .205. After his playing career ended Corriden coached and managed in the minor leagues during the 1920s. In 1932 he was named a coach with the Chicago Cubs. For the next 17 years he would assist managers such as Rogers Hornsby, Charlie Grimm, Gabby Hartnett, Lee Durocher and Bucky Harris with the Cubs (1932-40), Brooklyn Dodgers (1941-46) and New York Yankees (1947-48) - working for 5 pennant-winning teams.

1914 Ottos

1914 Logansport Ottos
Back - Cody (ump), Watson (3b), Copeland (rf), Thomas (lf), Shirley (2b), Avery (p), Patterson (p), Moore (ump) Front – Brown (1b), Thorpe (cf), Wainscott (c), Berman (manager), Moran (c), Kennedy (ss), Michelle (c a p)

1916 Ottos

1916 Ottos Team, Indiana State Champions
Back: Richeson, L. Watson, Watson, Green, Beal, J. Watson, Coble
Front: Kesling, Claffey, Berman (insuit), Al Scheer, Wise, Barnard, Hayner (mascot)

Newspaper clip from August of 1916, Logansport Press:

Logansport Pharos Tribune, October 14, 1916, page 5:

The twelve inning tie which the Logansport Ottos and the Anderson Eagles staged last Sunday will be played off tomorrow at Anderson. The locals are all set for the contest and will go to Anderson with a stronger force than they had last Sunday. This increase in the strength of the locals is in the signing of Red Corriden to work with the Ottos the rest of the season.

In the local team will be Eller, pitcher, and Zeke Smith, Al Scheer. Corriden, Jay Watson and Leon Watson and Eddie Wise, together with Coble, Bruder and Roberts, who has proven a heavy hitter in the pinches. Seven of this nine have been in leagues and with such a force, dope points to the locals as victors in the contests. Cy Falkenburg will oppose Eller on the mound. Falkenburg is an Indianapolis A. A. twirler. He is not new to Scheer and Corriden as during the just closed American Association season each batted against him on several occasions. Last Sunday, Scheer touched "Falky" for two safeties while Eller himself got three. A number of local fans are going to see the Anderson game tomorrow.

In the 1914 season - the ball field.
The ball field was in the area where the Columbia Elementary and Middle School campus is now, described as " E. Columbia Street, Peter Street to Sycamore Street" (Sycamore was renamed N. Third Street)

1914 postcard image taken at a practice "Wainscott Behind The Bat"

The players of the Logansport Ottos minor league baseball team played in the Indiana State League (no classification) 1896. There were six teams in the Indiana State league in 1896; Anderson, Connersville, Elwood, Kokomo "Blues", Logansport "Ottos", and Rushville. Source

Friday, April 1, 2016

Cass County Children's Home

The Cass County Children's Home aka Orphan Home

The first "home" was in the former home of Judge William Z. Stuart at what is now 216-218 Wheatland Avenue, Logansport, IN when  at the close of the Civil War a group of local women cared for 3 or 4 children.

The second home was on the southwest corner of Melbourne Avenue and Wilkinson Street.

The Orphan's Home was organized under Indiana state law of February 1870. A temporary organization was formed and on February 1, 1878 the name Orphan's Home Association was adopted. Around this time a legislative act was passed that provided County Commissioners in several counties to establish orphans' homes.

In 1882 the Cass County Commission bought the former Lewis Chamberlain Home* at 1339 Pleasant Hill for $2500 with $500 in improvements.
*Note - Logansport Attorney Lewis Chamberlain - a native of New Jersey -  built the home in 1867 on Pleasant Hill but soon vacated because his wife did not appreciate living so far away from the downtown.

Orphan's Home on Pleasant Hill

Additions and improvements in the amount of $7,256 were made to the home in 1903.
 The home suffered two fires, the worst of which occurred on April 3, 1906. During the time of rebuilding the orphans were cared for at the Mexico, Indiana Home in Miami County.

The home was rebuilt and completed for occupancy in January 1907 at a cost of $8,235.

Later photo of the Cass County Children's Home

Early reports indicated that the children were from Cass and surrounding counties. Year-end reports indicated that children were either returned to their families, placed in another facility or placed with "good families".

Post card image of the orphanage.

During the early years it was not uncommon for children to be placed in the orphanage while their parents looked for work. This was quite common during the Great Depression years.

Monday, January 6, 1908 The Logansport Pharos:
Sub headline Other Matters Before the County Commissioners Today
"The Orphans Home for December was allowed $105.50 for care and board of Stella Kahler, Eddie Talbert, Lucile Stuart, James Thorp, Bertha Neff, Gilbert McGuire, Iran Nean, Bessie Nean, Harry Brooks, Earl Brooks, Thomas Loracons, Sadie Kadman, Charles Foster and Goldie Stuart. "

While the Cass County Historical Society does NOT have any records of any kind left by the orphanage there is a list of names of children living there in April of 1907:
Stella Kahler, Eddie Talbert, Lucile Stuart, Frank Keneline, James Thorp (or Sharp?), Bertha Neff, Willia Berry, Gilbert McGuire, Mildred Howell, William Brann, Alice Brann, Rex Warner, Judson Shultz, Ivan Uran and Denise Uran.

...and at the time of the 1910 census

Rebecca Carney, Matron, age 56; Ola Dellon, 34, Margaret Moriarty, 27 and Jasper McGuire (janitor), age 44
Mabel Timberlake 13, Goldie Stewart 14, Stella Kahler 12, Sadie Rodman 11, Ara Hayden 10, Esther Dillon 3, Geneva Wheeler 2, Nora Moriarty* (less than a year old), Jim Sharpe 11, Roy Hayden 9, Merle Hayden 5, Harold Warner 3, Vernon Bumgartner 7, Ardella Goshen 16.
*Nora Moriarty died of diphtheria in the orphan home Jan. 30, 1913.

 Above and Below: Photos taken in 1956

Rebuilt in 1907 used by generations of area orphans over the next 90 years.
In 1994 a new wing was added to the house.
In 2001 the old portion of the building was abandoned as children were moved into the new section.
On March 14, 2003 the final child left the facility.
In August 2008, the Cass County Commissioners closed the home.
In 2009 the property was purchased and the original, old home was razed. The remaining newer wing was converted into an assisted living home. It currently is doing business as "Pleasant Escape".