Found in the Plymouth Democrat, 23 June 1881

(Excerpts from a speech given by Sinclair D. Parks at the laying of the cornerstone for the Wm. Sear's Building in Bourbon on June 9, 1881.)

"Mr. John Greer and his wife, Penelope, (nee Parks) were the first white settlers in the territory now known as Bourbon township. They were married in 1834 in Rush county, Indiana,and moved to this township in September, 1836, and built the first cabin, except two, between the Michigan road, twelve miles west, and Shaking Prairie, nine miles east, its exact location being on the spot now occupied by Bourbon College, in the northeast part of the city of Bourbon."

"Old Benack kept the first trading post in this part of the county, near what is now Bourbon, and had a thriving trade with the Indians, who were then quite numerous and generally peacefully inclined, except when filled with firewater, which occurred semi-occasionally or oftener."

"The first school taught in the township was during the winter of 1837, and was taught by Edward R. Parks. The school house was small, the building a mere hut, having been erected for the accommodation of wood-choppers, and was situated on what is known as the Billy Garrison homestead, one-fourth mile east of Bourbon." "The first school house erected in the township was a little log structure 16 x 16, and was built in 1839, on the present Greer tract, immediately west of town."

"The 28th day of August, 1839, the first death in the new settlement occurred, the deceased being Mr. James Parks, at the age of sixty-three years. He was buried in the first burying ground laid out in the township, which is now known as the Parks or Ganshorn burying ground, two miles east of town." "Sometime in this year Mr. Joel Welch committed suicide by cutting his throat from ear to ear in a fit of insanity,..... Joel Welch's funeral was that of the second white person in the pioneer community."

"Early in 1840 the first post route from Fort Wayne through Bourbon to Plymouth was established and an office was opened here for the accommodation of the settlers. This office was established at the residence of the widow Parks, two miles east of town, with Dr. J. F. Parks as first postmaster."

"The first cemetery regularly deeded for burial purposes was in 1841, was that at Baylor's, one mile west. The first person interred in this cemetery was Adam Hoylton, who died in the spring of 41, aged sixty-five years."

".....until 1853, when the railroad was completed." "Galentine and Heller's built the finest flouring mill between Ft. Wayne and Chicago, and manufactured the choicest brands of flour sold in eastern cities." Saw mills were erected in every part of the township, and in a short time thirty steam saw mills could market their lumber in our city."


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