In a work of this kind [a history book], it must be apparent to all that nothing could be more appropriate than a chapter devoted to the old folks generally. Anything that tends to perpetuate the early history, and the scenes and incidents of the early days, is not only interesting to those who participated in them, but will be to those who shall take their places in the future. Hence this chapter.
The formation of an Old Settlers' Society had been talked of for many years, but for one cause or another, no active steps were taken until 1878. Prior to July 4 of that year, a circular was issued requesting the attendance, on that day, at the fairgrounds near Plymouth, of all interested in the subject. In obedience to the call, a large number were present. Robert SCHROEDER, the oldest settler at that time in the county, was selected Chairman of the meeting; John W. HOUGHTON, Secretary; Rev. Austin FULLER, Chaplain The following constitution and regulations were presented and unanimously adopted:
Constitution of Old Settlers' Society, Marshall County
The first annual meeting after the organization was held on Saturday, July 19, 1879, in Plymouth. The meeting was largely attended, and proved to be a "grand old time." Daniel McDONALD, who had been selected as orator of the day, delivered an address. A.C. THOMPSON, M.L. SMITH, Rev. George H. THAYER and Elder S.A. CHAPLIN appropriately responded to toasts.
Marquis L. SMITH, in response to "Our County and its Progress," spoke of the early times as follows:
"No county in Indiana, perhaps, has improved with greater rapidity than Marshall, named after that stern administrator, Chief Justice Marshall. In order to properly appreciate the developments of the county, it is necessary first to speak of it in its primitive days, and I shall go no further back than the date of my advent into the county in the spring of 1843. Then, the population of the county was 1,651 - less than half the present population of Plymouth. The people were plain, unassuming, and lived in log houses and cabins. The principal bread-stuff was corn, and the meat, to some extent, was venison and wild turkey. Upon some of the older farms, a little wheat was raised, and that which was sold was wagoned to Michigan City, over almost impassable roads. But our diet, though plain, gave us strength to fell the forests, and beneath the home-spun garments beat as warm hearts as the world ever knew. It may be interesting to our young people to know that our mothers, wives, brothers and sisters met with many privations and hardships without murmuring or complaining.
But these were happy days. The people of the whole county were neighbors, and I am inclined to think there was much less selfishness than exists at the present time. There was no gossip about fashion, and the women who attended service at our rude houses of worship were in no danger of being the subject of ridicule because of the cut of her dress or the style of her bonnet. Every one attended strictly to his own business. There were no daily papers or telegraph to inform us of the doings of the rest of the world. We were shut almost entirely out as compared with today, but we were not to remain in this condition long. Forest gave way to productive fields; orchards sprang up; the log cabin was replaced by the plank or frame house; apples supplanted the place of pumpkins; horses took the place of oxen; wheat bread was used instead of corn, and by 1850 we felt ourselves a prosperous people."