1882 COUNTIES OF 
LaGRANGE and NOBLE INDIANA HISTORICAL and BIOGRAPHICAL

Chicago F.A. Battey and Company Publishers 1882
 

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP
Part 2
By: Weston A. Goodspeed 

 Springfield Township-Mongoquinong Fifty Years Ago-The French Traders-More Of The Gage 
  and Langdon War-Saw-Mills,Woolen-Mills,Distilleries,Etc.-Incidents Of 
  The "Hard Cider Campaign"-Wild Game-Township Organization-Village 
     of Springfield-Schools and Churches-Spiritualism-Union Hall. 
 

       The village of Springfield was laid out by Leonard Appleman in 1842, 133 lots being surveyed and offered for sale. About the same time, he built a store-room and placed on its shelves several thousand dollars' worth of 
a general assortment of goods. At this time, he also built a warehouse and began buying a considerable quantity 
of grain, and began packing pork. He had at his command a goodly sum of money, and for many years he dealt 
in these articles, hiring teamsters to convey his purchases to market at the most favorable seasons. By shrewd management, experience and a judicious expenditure of capital, he realized handsome profits. Mr. Appleman's besetting sin was his ungovernable appetite for strong drink. After his death, which occured just before the last war, his son, John Appleman, took charge of  the father's business. Frank Hamilton was in the Appleman
building with goods for a few years during the lifetime of Leonard Appleman. Zekiel Brown and David Paulus, partners, sold goods in the village about the commencement of the last war. George Porter sold goods some 
nine years ago. Frederick Neutz and Hugh A. Porter were in with groceries for a short time. Then came 
William Strayer. Dr. House located there at an early day. He was succeeded by Dr. Griffith. Dr. Alpharis 
M. Spaulding, a physician of the old school, established himself there some twenty-six years ago, where he has since remained enjoying a lucrative practice and the confidence of his patrons. The whisky traffic became so 
strong in the village for a series of years before the war, and so many young men through its influence were drawn into dissipation, and even crime, that the sober citizens at last determined that it must stop. In 1857, Dr. Spaulding, William S. Prentiss, Minot Goodsell, T. C. Dille and others, ten or twelve in all, under proper
authority, organized themselves into a lodge of Good Templars. This lodge grew rapidly in power and influence,
and soon its members numbered over one hundred. Excellent work in the right direction was done, young and old men were reclaimed to lives of sobriety, and the sale for ten months was wholly stopped. But the excitement of 
war time came on, and in about 1861, the lodge surrendered its charter. Afterward, when a keg of whisky was 
brought to the village, three of the most prominent citizens employed a young man for $3  to bore an auger hole in the bottom, from which all the liquor escaped and was lost. The old "Mayflower Lodge of Good Templars" will 
be remembered with pleasure for many long years in the future. A Masonic Lodge was organized in Springfield about six years ago, with twelve or fifteen charter members. They were so scattered that, after a short time,
the charter was surrendered. The membership did not exceed twenty-five. It was called "Prentiss Lodge, No. 505." George Bassett and Conrad Deal were early tavern keepers. T. C. Dille was a cabinet-maker, an undertaker, and a carpenter. His work may be seen in all directions. The population of the village has probably at no time exceeded seventy-five. In 1880, the following persons had passed the age of seventy-five: Susan Arnold, seventy-six; Eunice Fuller, eighty-six; Harriet Gilbert, seventy-five; Lydia Hugh, eighty-one; Christopher
Hawk, ninety; Lena Hawk, seventy-five; Willis Haskins, eighty-two; Daniel Hart, seventy-seven; Sarah Notestine, seventy-five; David L. Poppino, eighty-two; Henry Talmage, seventy-six; Maria Tole
eighty-four; Samuel Westcott, eighty-four.

     The first schoolhouse in the township was built on Section 20, near the cemetery, as early as 1836, or 
perhaps 1835, and Otis Shepardson, Jr., was employed to teach the first term of school. It is thought that this term was taught during the winter of 1835-36. A Mr. Melindy was an early teacher in this house. He was Vermonter, and an eccentric character. After this building had been used but a few years, another was erected about a half a mile south, on Thompson's Corners. This was a frame structure, and was used many years.
Finally the ditrict was divided a few years before the last war, and two houses were built, one near the Chapman farm,and the other on the Sears Corners. The latter was destroyed by fire but was soon rebuilt. New houses 
have lately taken the place of both. In about the year of 1840, a log cabin that had been built just north of Appleman Lake, for a dwelling, but abandoned, was fitted up for a schoolhouse, and Miss Hariett Twitchell, from near Orland, was hired to teach, receiving about $1.50 per week, and boarding around. Some ten years 
later, a frame schoolhouse was built near the same spot, and, in this building, Russell Brown was the first teacher. This house was used until the present one was built some eight or ten years ago. A log schoolhouse was standing 
at the Talmage Corners at a very early day. The name of the first teacher is not remembered. It is said that this house was either built as a combined church (Baptist) and schoolhouse, or else it was converted to religious uses afterward, as various denominations (Baptist, Methodist, etc.) had small classes there at a very early day. A schoolhouse was built quite early in the Sanderson neighborhood. New houses have succeeded the old. The Schultz Schoolhouse was erected about seven years ago, when the district in the forks was created. For a 
number of years prior to 1855, the few families in Springfield village had no church, and were compelled to send their children some distance to one of the country schools. Finally it was resolved to build a combined church and schoolhouse. The Township Trustees agreed to give $300 toward the erection of such a house, providing it was used at proper times as a schoolhouse. To this the villagers agreed, they giving $400 that the building might, when 
not occupied by the school, be used for a church of any Christian denomination. The building is provided with a steeple, a curious appendage for a schoolhouse, but an imposing one for a church. This house was built during the summer of 1855, but prior to that several terms of select school had been taught in the village. In about 1838, a 
log school building was erected on the line between Sections 27 and 28, just north of William Dunbar's. Miss Ellen Wheeler taught the first term here. She boarded around. This house was used for school purposes about four years, and was then superseded by the school of the Phalanx. The schoolroom at the last-named place was 
in the second story over the dining-room. There were some forty families connected with the association, with an
enumeration of over sixty scholars. School was taught there the year round, save short vacations between the terms. At the time, this was perhaps the best school in the county, or at least one of the best. Judge Prentiss, a noble man, and a graduate of Harvard College, taught several terms. An assistant teacher was  employed. Mr. Parker was one of the teachers. None but capable men were given charge of the school, as several of the higher branches were taught, and a thorough system of discipline was required. At the dissolution of the association the school ended, and then the few children in the district were sent to other schools until about thirteen years ago, when the present house, a frame, was built. Miss Ellen Foos was the first teacher in this house. Miss Ella 
Ewing is the present teacher, receiving $30 per month. In about 1839, a frame schoolhouse was built about a 
half mile northwest of Mongo. It was a good house and was used there until about 1845, when it was moved to Mongo, and used until about eight or nine years ago, when the present twostory frame structure was erected, at a cost of about $1,800. Two teachers are employed at present. The enumeration is about 80 scholars. The house was paid for partly by subscription and partly from the township funds. A schoolhouse was built in District No.1 about thirty-eight years ago, by E. G. Shepardson. He also built one farther west about ten years later.

     The M. E. Church society at Talmage Corners started up in 1838 with a membership of fourteen under the ministration of Rev. G. M. Boyd. Among the early members were Jehu Lackey and wife, Mrs. Nichols, W. 
S. Newnam, Susan Newnam, William Seaburn and wife, Conrad Deal and wife, William Herbert and wife, N. B. Newnam and wife, Frank Hamilton and wife, and others. The Talmages have been prominent and excellent citizens since a very early day. They have been closely identified with religious work. This Methodist society has had its years of depression, and its periods of financial embarassment; yet there is not another in the county that has clung to its constant exercises so well. The members are justly proud of their church, which was built many years ago. The Brushy Prarie M. E. Society was organized in 1836 by Rev. T. B. Conley. Eleven persons joined at the time of organization. The church was built in 1842, largely at the expense of B. B.
Waterhouse, the Greensfields, Mr. Carpenter, the Austins and others. Rev. Conley was a faithful, consistent, true-hearted Christian. His temporal welfare had at one time been somewhat neglected, as the 
members of the church gave donation parties to the other servants. He said nothing. One evening, a few of the more thoughtful ones, accompanied by a retinue of outsiders, surprised him with a large quantity of valuables. The kind-hearted old man was so touched by the act, in his reply to the presentation speech, he completely broke down with sobs and blessings. His God had not forsaken him. The writer was unable to get at the facts regarding the Baptist Society of early years at Talmage Corners. A United Brethren society was organized at Mongo in 1879. Rev. T. A. Childs, of Lima, was instrumental in effecting the organization. The first members were Dr. A.W. Jones and wife, George W. Hall and wife, Benjamin Tanner and wife, James Downs and wife and
Abraham Shafer. Samuel McKenzie was the class leader. The society has increased but little in numbers. A neat frame church was built in 1880 at a cost of about $1,500., one-half being given by outsiders. There is a debt on the church at present of about $500; but this will soon be paid off, suitable provision having been made with 
that result in view. Sunday school has been conducted for some two years, Dr. C. M. Whitzel being the 
superintendent. T. A. Childs was the first pastor. Rev. Melvin Bell at present preaches every two weeks for 
the society, and is paid $50 per year for such service. The lot upon which the church stands cost about $100,
and was included in the figures above. There are many Free Thinkers in Mongo, and, indeed, throughout 
Sprigfield Township. They are outspoken, argumentative, thoughtful, uncertain, peculiar and iconoclastic. Some thirty-four years ago, the Spiritualists held "seances" or "circles," in various portions of the township, and large crowds gathered to hear them. Mediums of great repute were secured from abroad, to visit the township for the purpose of giving public exhibition of the fact that the spirits of departed friends could be conversed with. The result was that scores were converted to the new faith; and the other religious socities languished under the influence of the new. At last, great opposition was manifested by the orthodox, who often denied them the use of schoolhouses or other buildings in which to assemble. In June, 1858, at a public meeting of the following men- 
W. S. Prentiss, Jesse Huntsman, Benjamin Jones, Harvey OlmsteadEd Dyer, George Thompson and others- it was resolved to build a free hall, and names and subscribed amounts were appended to the following instrument:
     We the subscribers, a voluntary association, for religious, scientific and benevolent purposes, hereby agree to pay the sums affixed to our names to aid in building a hall, which shall be open for lectures, discourses and discussions on various subjects, with no favor to any one sect or class of persons, and which shall never be closed to any who may, within the bounds of good behavior, wish to advocate, explain or discuss his or her opinions on the above named subjects; and for the purpose of proceeding legally, we hereby avail ourselves of the act of the Legislature of Indiana, approved June 17, 1852, entitled: "An act to enable trustees to receive lands and 
donations of money, the same for the use of schools, churches, religious societies, etc., and for constructing
house of worship and other buildings named."

     The building was immediately erected at a cost of about $800, and was named "Union Hall." It has been used for the purpose stated ever since its erection, but the orthdox denominations avoid using it. Free Sunday schools have been held there. An excellent lyceum is conducted there almost every winter, and exhibitions are given to 
secure sufficient funds to keep the building in repair.
 


Volunteer transcription by Pati Blowers May. Material for transcription gathered by Barbara Henderson. 
 

Return to 1882 History Index

Return to Home Page

Graphics from-