History of Odon
The data herein, this May 1981,is gleaned from the Knox and Daviess County historical records, combined withcooperation of the men and women from whom much information and many photos havebeen gathered: one among them being James E. Garten, who wrote the book“Clarksburg and Early Odon” which is housed in our public library and from whicha large portion of this book is compiled.
We take this opportunity toacknowledge our indebtedness to all whom, in any way, assisted in thepreparation of this Centennial history, especially our local historians, Mrs.Carrie (Cad) Gantz and Mr. Victor (Massy) Herndon.
Odon - One Hundred Years and stillYoung!
The largest little town in theworld-good school, five good churches in the town - good streets - good water -excellent lighting system - and up-to-date library - good Volunteer FireDepartment - good ambulance service - co-operative residents - accommodatingbusiness men - first class merchandise - and well kepthomes.
We are located eight miles onthe east side of the West Fork of White River - two miles south of Furs Creek(First Creek), and surrounded for many miles by fertile fields, which have forthe last one hundred years, amply furnished the needs of those who till thesoil; and seven miles from the Naval Weapons Support Center, which providesemployment for many of our and the surrounding towns, people - Odon is to becongratulated for the wealth in which she abounds. Come and visit us. We invite you.
In 1779, Colonel George RogersClark, after completing his victory at Vincennes, was amusing himself byscouting trips. On one of thesetrips, he came to a spring, “Buffalo Wallow”, less than a mile southwest fromwhat is now the town of Odon. Thisspring furnished water for range stock during the early days of thecommunity.
Clark’s lieutenant, seeing hiscommander was impressed with the county’s beauty, suggested naming it “Clark’sPrairie”. James E Garten statesthat after moving on his farm, he got to thinking that it might have beenWilliam Clark. He was assured thatWilliam Clark had never been in Daviess County, and that it had been GorgeRogers Clark who had camped near Clarksburg. He wrote letters to the VincennesLibrary and to the Federal War Department to find out when Clark had made the“Buffalo Wallow” history, but, of course, the results were disappointing, asthere was no information as to Clark’s visits to the Indian tribes, or hisencampments near here.
In 1832, Baldwin Howard, whowas a fairly industrious farmer and was half-Indian, wandered into Clark’sPrairie region and stayed. He thusbecame Madison Township’s first settler.
Madison Township, which wasorganized in 1823, was originally called Wallace. On petition of a group of interestedcitizens, the name of the township was changed to Madison in 1835. Madison Township is locatedin the north east corner of Daviess County; the county being 28 miles long fromnorth to south and 18 miles wide. Madison Township is bordered on the east by Martin County and on thenorth by Green County.
Mr. Howard settled on the farmlater owned by James H. Garten, about three-fourths of a mile south of what isnow Odon. He was quite a farmer andhistorians seem to think quite a lot of Mr. Howard. Whether he ever built a house on thisland, we do not know. However,there is a tradition that he split enough rails to fence a small field, and hecarried them on his shoulder a quarter of a mile or more to the fence line. In time he came to own a great dealof land east and north from Clarksburg. He had several husky sons, and it is said that they often raised wheatcrops of 100 acres; cutting the grain with reap-hooks orcradles.
THEBEGINNING OF CLARKSBURG
Dr. John Townsend, who boasteda covered wagon, wife, and a young daughter, camped at the spring; liked thearea, and in 1836 purchased from the Federal Government, the north half ofsection 29; 320 acres in Madison Township. On a small knoll he built a two-story log house which, in the language ofmy informant “was plastered with white mud”. That is the way of saying the chinkingbetween the logs was covered with white clay. This house stood on what is now thenorth end of Oak Street where Mize ceramic shop is now. At that time there was no house at anypoint of the compass south within several miles, save one. That house was the cabin ofDr. Pleasant Franklin on the ridge a little more than a mile southwest in VanBuren Township, not far from the junction of what is now Madison, Elmore,Bogard, and Van Buren Townships.
Anne Louisana, following thetradition of her father, settled in Clarksburg with her husband, MartinWinds. Their marriage being thefirst in the community. They weremarried by a circuit rider 2 years after Dr. Townsend founded the town.
Some of the pioneers wereafraid to settle in Clarksburg because it was swampy and the Indians still had aquaint habit of carrying tomahawks to work. Two of the local tribes here were theMiamis and the Shawnees.
In 1837, Dr. Townsend sold thewest 100 acres of his farm to Amos Townsend, who was probably his brother, for$1,000.00. There was also a familyby the name of Kinnamon with son Peter, who came from Kentucky in 1838. There were only 3 families here. In 1841 he sold the east 160 acres toIsaac Eaton for $1,000.00. Fiveyears later Isaac Eaton sold this land to Albert Boyd for $1,000.00. In 1852, Andrew Sears bought the landfor $1,040.00. Sears owned this andother land lying to the east and south, for good manyyears.
Between the years of 1846-48,Sears settled here and bought from the heirs of Amos Townsend the west 160 acresof the Townsend land for $800.00. It seems that Dr. Townsend, when he sold his land, retained the site ofhis homestead. When he died, he wasburied in the old cemetery; according to the late Harvey N. Correll; where thebig cedar tree stood, about a hundred feet north and west of the memorial stoneerected by the public spirit and enterprise of the local American LegionPost.
When Clarksburg came into beingthere was a great deal of wild game; especially deer and turkeys; on theprairies and in the vast swampy region that began west of the town and extendedto the White River bottoms, and for many miles south, known as the “marsh”. Wild turkeys were still found there inthe early 1880’s.The region around Clarksburg was a region of prairies. West of town there was Round Prairie andbeyond that was Owl Prairie. Southextending to Horse-lick Branch, was Clark’s Prairie, and southeast wasWillow-lick Prairie. This lickbeing a place where deer used to lick the salty marsh. Northeast was Bunkum, probably so calledfrom Buncome County. NorthCarolina, from which many of its settlers came. The country north was Good Hope, withits church and later its school.
Prairie farm fires burned overthe region every fall, thereby preventing any trees from getting a start. The stands of timber that were soabundant in later years grew after the lands were fenced and put intocultivation. Wild snakeroot grew onthe prairies. Cows ate it and themilk produced an illness called “milk sick”.
There had been no buffalo eastof the Mississippi since a hard winter with logs of deep snow about 1811. Otherwise, there was plenty of wildlife. It was said that SollyKetchem used to get a good station on the high ground above the infant hamletand study the deer on the prairie south. When he had picked out one that suited him, he would work his waycautiously within a fashion, until he got within rifle range. Ketchem was a deadshot.
“Uncle Joe” Boyd once told thisstory: Two hunters whom we may call Brown and Jones were in hiding waiting fordeer in the Buffalo Wallow. It wasthe dead of night. Presently twoanimals moved slowly through the brush. Both men fired at the same moment and one of the beasts fell. Brown exclaimed, “There, we killed adeer”! Jones spoke up, “YOU didn’t,I did.” When they approached thegame it proved to be a horse. Jonessaid, “Yes, we’ve killed a horse.” Brown replied, “No, I didn’t, you did.”
John Hastings had laid out thetown of Clarksburg. The work wasdone by John P. Agan, county surveyor on December 25, 1846. There were 36 lots, 18 on each side ofMain Street, with Spring and Oak streets running north and south and bisectingMain Street. There were six lots ina block, and an equal number on each side of Main Street. The two cross streets were the width ofthree blocks apart.
Benjamin Fulkerson bought thefirst lots, numbers 19 and 30. For $12.00 each in 1848. Later Samuel Danforth bought lot 20 for$52.00. Finally John Hastings soldall the remaining lots to Andrew Sears in 1852.
A walk down Main Street fromthe west would reveal at the corner of Oak and Main the blacksmith shop of MilesReynolds. The next lot isempty. On the next, at the cornerof Main and Spring Streets, is the store and house of Jesse Phipps. Across Spring Street is a log milinarystore. Why there should be such astore in a community where all the women wore slat bonnets is anybody’sguess. This store was to become ageneral store owned by Charley Burns, the son-in-law of Dr. Townsend. Across the alley and on the next lotnorth is the residence of J.D. Boardman. Directly across a vacant lot and due east lived the Rev. MatthewHawes. Just outside the town platand facing Main Street, is the H. Long place. A short distance up the street is thehome of Howell Hastings, brother of John A., who was the father of Paris andMartha Myers, all prominent in Daviess County.
On the north side of MainStreet, in the middle of the block between Oak and Spring Streets, is the Dr.Townsend residence. We cross SpringStreet and in the middle of the last block of lots in the plat, lives JohnHastings.
The west end of Main Streetjoined the roads that led to Owl Town on the west and Washington to thesouth. East Main met the Scotlandroad leading northeast and the Maysville road leading to the southeast. These roads were rough dirt trails. The first frame house in the townshipwas yet to be built.
OTHER EARLY SETTLERS
Who were these earlysettlers? One may be sure that theywere not numerous at first. We canname only a few. In southeastMadison Township and Martin County, Daniel Ketcham entered 160 acres of landfrom the Federal Government. He wasthe first of that family in Daviess County: having come from Kentucky. His son, Seth was once trustee ofMadison Township. He once told thathe attended the new State University for a short time and studied mathematicsunder the great Dr. Kirkwood, who, as a scientist, was then unknown in hisnative state, but was an outstanding man in the astronomical world ofEurope. Seth L. Ketch’s son,Daniel, a West Point man, rose to the rank of Brigadier General, and saw servicein World War I. His secondson, Mac (his familiar name) was a Sergeant of Marines on Dewey’s flagship atthe Battle on Manila Bay.
A young man named MosesMcCarter, came from Kentucky on a mule and in time, married a daughter ofKetcham and founded the McCarter family. William McCarter and hisson, Rufus, were township trustees of Madison Township. A brother of Rufus, John K., was alifelong teacher and school superintendent. Dan McCarter and others of this largefamily are now widely known.
There were many others that weknow less about who kept coming in from the south and some from Ohio, betweenthe years of 1840 and 1850. Therewere the Ledgerwoods, Laughlins, Chambers, Conrads, called “Coonrods” by theearly Hoosiers. Banner Brummett,Park Fisher, Emsley O’Dell, BillBriner, Potter Phipps, Philip and Leonard Ward, Clement Correll, Josiah D.Boardman, John and Jacob Shafer, John Ferguson, and William Hubbard. Also there were the Bloughs, Soloman andAndy York, George Pownall, Eli Booth, James H. Garten, Nathan Howard Crooke,Charley Westmoreland, Solly Ketchem, and Andrew Sears, to name only a few. There was also a Negro man named BenPerkins, who was among the early settlers and was a general favorite. More came at a much later date thanothers did, but all deserve to rank as genuine “Old Settlers”.
Solly Ketchem operated adistillery about a mile and a half northwest of Clarksburg. Don’t get the idea that he was regardedas a menace to public morals. Almost all early settlers regarded whiskey as a medicine. There were a few prohibitionists,although drunkenness was looked upon much as it is now. Staid old Methodists like James Gartenbought whiskey at the still house by the barrel, kept it in the smokehouse andhad a large bottle full of liquor, dogwood bark, and slippery elm and blacklocust and other barks in the family cupboard to use for ague, milk sick, andmany other ills.
Andrew Sears came to Clarksburgfrom Lawrence County. He had soldhis farm there for $5000.00, which was a great deal of money at that time. The Federal Government had given theState of Indiana a large tract of land with which to finance the Wabash and ErieCanal. This land was sold in40-acre tracts, and Sears was a heavy buyer. His land was strung out south ofClarksburg for more than a mile. Hehad a large family. His daughter,Margaret, was married to Siotha Callahan, Lucinda was the first wife of James HGarten, Jane married Fred Boyd, and Eliza was married to Jacob Summers. We do not know about the rest of thefamily. The Joseph Sears, wellknown in Odon, was a grandson and was the grandfather of Dr. Don Sears. Also, among the new settlers in MadisonTownship were two Amish families by the name of Gingerich and Graber. One of the Gingerich sons, Christian,settled with his family of 15 children (some of whom were married before themove to Daviess County was made), settled just east and north of Odon. Among the Gingerich sons was Joseph, whomarried Catherine Raber in 1870, to be the first Amish wedding in DaviessCounty. Peter, another of the olderGingerich sons, bought 80 acres on Christmas Day, 1868; the first recordedpurchase of real estate in Daviess County by an Amishman.
Others began settling northeast of Montgomery about 1869. There is also an Amish cemetery located in Madison Township about 1 mileeast and one-half mile south of Odon.
The following is a story astold by James E. Garten in his book, “Clarksburg and EarlyOdon”.
As I have already noted, thefirst settlers of Madison Township, like Daniel Ketcham and Baldwin Howard, camefrom the south. Kentucky, Tennesseeand North Carolina were the states that furnished nearly all, if not all ofthem. These settlers did not allcome directly to Daviess County. The Sears, Crookes, Gartens, and others first came to Lawrence County,Indiana. Before the Civil War,starting in 1846, a pretty good colony, approximately 50 families came fromStart, Tuscarawas, Holmes and Crosotau Counties, Ohio. The Shafers, Boyds, Smileys Dunlaps,Winkleplecks, Kinnamans, Booths, and many others were all from the BuckeyeState. Attracted by cheap land andthe opportunities a new county offers, they kept coming for twenty-five yearsand more after the Civil War was over.
These people came from a mucholder civilization to a land of stumpy fields, log cabins, and roads that hadoften been marked out by wild game trails. They found the Hoosier mostly poor, semi-illiterate, and unacquaintedwith many luxuries. It was quitenatural that the newcomers looked upon such natives with pity and contempt. They liked to tell of the wonders of theholy home-land which they usually spoke of as “in there”, or “back yonder,still”. There was longing andnostalgia in much of their talk as they tried, in a round about way, to show theunwashed backwoodsmen just how much of a “hick” he was. They clung to the memory of sacredplaces in the homeland. They couldnot change the name of Clarksburg, but Ray Dunlap wanted to christen Raglesville“Pinchy”, which was the nickname of Winfield of Tuscarawas County. They liked to tell of the “old Maid”Winyard woman, for example who always put on all the clothes she had, summer ofwinter, so as to save them in case the house burned down during their absencefrom home. A favorite topic was oldman Peterman who they claimed had a door cut in each end of his coffin so whenthe Devil came in at one end he could slip out at the other end. The “Yellow-breeches” schoolhouse wasone of the much talked of shrines; but the masterpiece of their boasting, theirEmpire State Building, was the gr3eat and wonderful barn built by JakeHoopingarner. This sublime edificewas located at “Pinchy”, to the people of Winfield. There were no barns worthy of the namein or around Clarksburg. Theaverage Hoosier lad a log stable with haymow floored with loose saplings; by nomeans a hole-proof affair. He wouldlisten quietly while he chewed his “home twist” tobacco until in time he came tofeel that the Hoopingarner Barn must occupy most of the east side of the countrycalled “back yonder, still.”
As the years passed and “TheBarn” grew bigger with each succeeding wave of immigration, the Hoosiers finallymade it a joke. When a new Buckeyeshowed up in the community he was asked, the first thing, if he has seenHoopingarner’s barn. If he had not,he was told that he was not of the faith, and that there was something wrongwith his passport.
The spirit of the Ohio culturewas, for a time, paramount in the community. Strange to say, the “branch” runningthrough town was not named Broad Run after the sacred stream flowing near“Pinchy”, or Winfield. No streetshad Buckeye names; but the first baker was nicknamed “Sol Domer” after the proprietor of acake shop on the road between Dover and New Philadelphia.
While the Ohio citizen oftentried to stress his own rank and superiority, from the standpoint of practicaleducation he was not too far ahead of the native Hoosier, just different. He smiled when his neighbor said“we-uns”, “you-uns”, “a right Smart”, and “this here” and “that thar”, idiomsbrought from the South; however, his own conversation was overloaded with“aready” “still”, and often the two together, as “I have been to townaready. He had his corn shuckedstill. We think it will rain aready still”.
Hoopingarner’s Barn in MadisonTownship became more than an ideal barn. Jacob Mumaw and John Ferguson, with Jacob Alishouse and others, builtOhio barns. They were built withthe lower story like a cellar. Livestock was kept there. Onthe upper floor were graineries and room for machinery. The type of course came from thePennsylvania Dutch, and they were most complete barns. Hoosiers called them “bankbarns”
What follows let me warn thereader is strictly personal. Readit or skip it, if you like.
Like the little boy in “TheGreat Stone Face”, Hoopingarners’s Barn took a peculiar hold on me. I wanted the see it more than anythingin the world. Ion time, I visitedNew Philadelphia and the shrines in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. But to my surprise, the Ohio people gavenot significance to any of the places I named and had never heard of most ofthem.
However, owning to the courtesyof two Hoosier born young ladies, Stella and Alta Hoopingarner, granddaughtersof the barn builder, I not only got to see the barn but I took dinner with Mr.Jake Hoopingarner. What greaterdistinction could I ask!
We found the barn to be all itwas said to be, except that it did not cover half of a township. It was seventy feet long withproportionate height and width; it could house plenty of livestock. I do not remember whether I took off myshoes when I entered the sacred place or not, but I suppose I did. The location: Where else could it be butin “Pinchy”, or Winfield, near the waters of Broad Run!
I have not kissed the BlarneyStone nor been to Jerusalem or Mecca. Such things as the Bunker Hill Monument or the statuary of Washington aresecondary; I have seen “The Barn!” What more could I desire!
THE FIRST POST OFFICE
The first post office waslocated about 2 miles east of Clarksburg at the home of Wilson Webster, thefirst postmaster.
A pony rider used to meet thestagecoach at Vincennes and carry the mail sack to Clarksburg. The mail was distributed by the simpleact of dumping the sack on Webster’s floor and calling out the names on theletters.
CLARKSBURG, AS THE THE CIVIL WAR CAME ON ANDLATER
Later on, during the 1850’s,the post office was moved to Clarksburg. As there was already one town by that name in the state, the officebecame Clark’s Prairie, although the town did not change its name. The postmaster here was a man namedLutes. He kept the office in hishome on north Spring Street. He wasnot overworked, as once a week the mail come in a hack from Loogootee, and mostof the community was awaiting its arrival.
Other places of business,beside the general store at northeast Main and Spring Streets came intobeing. James H. Garten and ClemCorrell had a store on north Main Street. There were no banks but State banks, and these were allowed to issuepaper currency almost without limit. Each business house got, from time to time, a directory giving thestanding of all the banks in the state. Whenever a customer paid for an article the merchant had to look up thevalue of the currency offered in this directory. Actually, bank notes were continuallychanging in value.
Dry goods were hauled by teamsover dirt roads from New Albany. Ittook a long time to make a round trip to Clarksburg. The story is told that once a member ofa party of these teamsters got a violent toothache. Whiskey and tobacco did no good and NewAlbany and a dentist were far away. At that time, wagon wheels were kept on the axles by lynch pins insteadof hub caps. This man suffered somuch that he had a fellow teamster take a lynch pin, put the point against thetooth and knock it out by a blow with the doubletree pin. The operation was a success and thepatient lived.
Sometime in the late 1850’s RayDunlap established a wagon shop at the northeast corner of Oak and Main Streets,which is now Ard’s Grocery. Thisshop was in business, and in time passed into the hands of John Ranson, who wasnot only a good wagon maker, but a first-class carpenter and cabinet maker aswell. After the Civil War thisbusiness was continued by his nephew, an ex-soldier named George Abraham, andanother recent soldier, Charley Freeman. Abraham did the woodwork on the wagons and Freeman attended to the ironwork. Lon Caughy also worked withthem. It was not many years untilthey could buy Studebaker wagons cheaper than they could make them. That ended the wagon factory. George Abraham went into the hardwarebusiness and Charley Freeman became a blacksmith in the shop where first MilesReynold and later Hugh McCoy had operated on Main Street. However, that did not end wagon makingin Clarksburg. The Harmon and W.N.Neeriemer blacksmith shop, at the southeast corner of Main Street and the countyroad continued to make wagons until they retired frombusiness.
The Civil War found Clarksburgready to do her share for the Union. The local American Legion, with our good friend, “Massy” Herndon ashistorian, had made a detailed record of the community and the war. Zimri V. Garten raised a company, whichwas known as Garten’s company. Itwas soon incorporated into the 91st “C” Regiment of Indianavolunteers as Company C.
Some of the best known Locallywere Richard Dunlap, John O’Dell, William Gadberry, William Wirts, George D.Abraham, F.G. Lutes, Billy Arford, Charley Freeman, James H. Garten, andothers. Many members of Company C”were from Raglesville and other parts of the county. Corporal Paris Taylor of the East Sideof the township was in the 56th regiment; Harvey Correll, Tom Wirts,Mike Wallick, George Critchlow, and others served in the 27thregiment. The roll of Civil Warveterans for Madison and adjoining townships was large. Some of these men served in the HomeGuard at first and later enlisted in the armed forces for three years.
On one occasion this Home Guarddrove to Washington to join county forces to meet an expected attack by theraider, Confederate General John Morgan. They waited all day, but the dashing confederate did not arrive. The crowd had a lot of fun because onlyone Clarksburg guards expected causalities, Ezrum Redman brought along a roll ofbandages.
There were causalities amongMadison Township soldiers, and two deaths, that I know of: Eli Booth and Phill Taylor, uncle of thelate Henry Taylor. In one skirmish,Mike Wallick, Andrew J. Vest, and Bob Shears of the 27th regimentwere captured. The “Rebels” wantedto shoot Mike Wallick, because they said, he had killed their general. His fellow prisoners knew that hehad for “Uncle Mike” was a fine shot. After a long and heated argument, they finally made the “Rebels” believethat the man who did the killing had escaped.
The three were imprisoned inBelle Isle. The food was bad as inall other rebel prisons. Wallickand Vest said that while they sickened on the food, Bob Shears, who had beenreared in the slums of Cincinnati, got fat. It was better than he had beenaccustomed to at home.
But all Madison Township wasnot so loyal. Northeast of town wasa cell of the Knights of the Golden Circle. Many of them were openly disloyal. Some of them, as well as others insouthern Indiana, wore pins, made out of a butternut, a kind of walnut. Such Southern sympathizers were called“butternuts”. After thewar, one of these told a son-in-law whose two older brothers had served in theUnion Army, that the local Golden Circle lodge made all preparations to joinMorgan when he came; that they had riders picked out to ride each of theson-in-law’s father’s horses. Noneof these would be Confederates ever went south to join the army inrebellion. Today the “butternuts”and the Knights of the Golden Circle are practicallyforgotten.
Forgotten, too, is the GoosePond, a big swamp in Greene County. Not a few citizens of butternut quality hid in that almost inaccessibleregion to escape the draft. I haveheard old soldiers sing a song about it:
“The Goose Pond forever, hurrah, boys,hurrah,
Down with the Union and up with the bars,
For we’ll rally round the Goose Pond,
We’ll rally once again.
Shouting for Andy, Dan, andTreason.”
Andy Umphries and Dan Vorhessewere Copperhead leaders. Vorheesewas afterwards a Democratic senator from Indiana.
EARLY LEADING MEN
Howard Crooke and his brother,Monroe, came to Clarksburg from Springville, Indiana. Their father, Ollie Crooke, had thefirst harness store on Main Street, now occupied by the Odon True Value HardwareStore. Howard first bought a farmin the northwest corner of Van Buren Township where the four north townships ofthe county came together. Fromthere he moved, as always noted, to the southeast corner of Clarksburg. He farmed, practiced law, did a gooddeal of trading, and engaged in various other enterprises. He was sort of a of businessbarometer. Any business that hewould invest in was assumed to be sound.
It was he who bought theunprofitable spoke factory, owned it for a time and finally sold it to LoweryCooper. He always made money in hisdeals. In partnership with a mannamed Mulford, he started an exchange bank; this was about 1890. It was located on the East Side ofSpring Street, the building just south of the alleyway. Mulford retired from the business aftera few years, but Howard Crooke and his son Harry continued to operate it untilit was finally sold to George D. Abraham.
Monroe Crooke first located onland south of town directly west of the Park on the West Side of the Shiloh roadbordering the Garten farm on the north. I am not sure that he owned it or that he built the house that stood formany years after he moved to town. During these early years the J.M. Crooke store and O’Dell Brothers acrossthe street west were the main dry goods stores of the town. At the time of the fire, Monroe Crookehad retired from business and the Dan and Fred Hayes grocery occupied thebuilding.
The Crookes were not rich bypresent day standards, but they ere well-to-do, and contributed much to thedevelopment of early Clarksburg.
George D. Abraham was of adifferent type. Energetic,impulsive, he never hesitated to try a new thing. Wagonmaker, hardware merchant, dry goodsand shoe store owner, farmer, banker, postmaster, and always a staunchRepublican politician, he was a busy man. Such a plunger the town had never had before nor since his day. He was also a builder. The drug store and grocery building atthe northwest corner of Race and Spring Streets, the Barkley Store building ineast Main Street, the White building or south Spring Street and most of thesmall wooden structures south of it were built by G.D. Abraham. There may have beenothers.
Caleb O’Dell and his twinbrother, Alex, were important dry goods merchants during the Crooke-Dr. Smithera. They built the store buildingon west Main Street, which is now the present sit of Osmon InsuranceAgency. After they quit business,Caleb, as editor of the town paper was an important factor as a publicmouthpiece and general booster.
J.D. Laughlin, or Joe Dunn ashe was usually called divided the law practice with Howard Crooke. Joe Dunn as a young man had taughtdistrict schools and had, for a time, attended the academy at Dover Hill, MartinCounty.
That institution of Learninglooked big in its day before the rise of the famous Mitchell Normal School. Both are now forgotten. Mr. Laughlin read more widely thananybody else in the little town; he was literal in his views, and was dislikedby the clergy. Along with CalebO’Dell, he did all he could to promote the growth of the town. These were not the only citizens whoserved the community by any means.
These men represented typesfound in most small towns. But thecitizen who was unique and original, in a class seldom found anywhere, was EmelWelty who was a Swiss by birth. Hewas a cabinet workman, made coffins, as well as household furniture, and he wasa skillful taxidermist. He was notthe first undertake. John Burrellhas that distinction, but Mr. Welty did a great deal in that profession. It was said that he kept pet snakes, andhe probably did. There wassomething snaky and uncanny about him. He was the sort of chap who could get chummy with a blacksnake. His shop was on what is now east RaceStreet. In a wide window near thatstreet he kept a collection of stuffed owls, hawks, and other birds. People like to drive past that window tosee them. Once a large white hawkappeared in the community. Weltyshot it and mounted it in his window. One year, about 1880, a terrible storm blew down all the rail fences inthe country as well as many shaky old buildings. It left a large bird with very shortwings in Captain Zimri V. Garten’s meadow. It resembled pictures we now see of penguins. Welty mounted this bird and made it thecentral figure of his display.
Suddenly, in the later 1880’s,the Welty family left town. Nobodyknew why or where they went. Manyyears passed and to most people the Welty’s were a vague memory, when to thesurp0rise of the community, Emel Welty returned. He had kept the taxes paid on hisproperty and set up shop in his old abode. He said that he had been in Wisconsin.
Along with the late WallaceSmiley, Mr. James E. Garten called on him one night. Wallace wanted to hear some classicalrecords played on Welty’s phonograph. We found that he had a taste for the very best of music and he had anunusually sound education. Whenquoted extensively from the Aenead, Mr. Garten expressed his surprise. He said that he had begun the study ofLatin in the Old World when he was a boy of six years.
Welty did not remain in Odonmany months till he had sold his property and again was lost in theunknown.
The good citizen who rears hisfamily, pays his taxes, attends to such civic duties as fall his way, and keepsout of office and jail, is not likely to stand out on the pages of history. Clarksburg and Madison Township had manyof these. Likewise, the wives whooften cooked over an open fire, spun the home grown wool, and looked after thegarden, chickens, and the children are also generally overlooked. Yet there are men and women who are inthis state. However, I must notforget one man who was always trying something new.
Dr. Daniel J. Smith, brother ofEditor John V. Smith was the sort of man who would, today, make good copy for afeature news writer. He came fromLawrence County when Clarksburg was quite small. His sister had been married to AndrewSears, already mentioned. WhenSmith and his friends came to their new home they had to chop brush out of thetrail so their wagons could get through. He built his first house on the hill in the east end of town, north ofwhere Main Street crosses the county road, or what is not North East Street andis owned by Samuel (Monk_ and Geneva Hayes.
The house is still standing,and of course, has been remodeled with rooms added. In late years he sold the first houseand built a new one considered quite “a house” in its day on the southeastcorner of Sycamore and Main Streets where the Baptist church now stands. He had the first telephone in town. In the hall above the drug store he puton dramatic performances, and installed the town’s first incubator andhatchery. Then he tried a skatingrink. Later on, in the back room onthe first floor, he opened a poolroom. This last act was too much for the Christian Church of that day, and itsuspended his membership, but not for long. He bought the first Edison phonographthat the town had ever had. He gaveexhibitions with it in the Stoy Opera House. Almost every year he was doing somethingnew.
Joe Boyd, in a letter to theJournal a few years ago, recalled the story of Old Billy Lynch and Dr. Smith’sbattery. The doctor liked to put acoin in a pan of water, drop an electrode in it, and then ask one of the boys topick up the electrode, and with the other hand pick the coin out of thewater. It is an old, old trick now,but it was new then. Nobody in thecrowd could stand the shock, as he plunged his hand into the pan of water. Billy Lynch came along and stopped towatch the fun. Somebody told himwhat was up. Old Billy carried athirst several days old, and he was very dry and wanted the fifty cents in thatwater. Taking the electrode in onehand, he plunged the other hand into the water. He let out an Irish yell that carriedseveral blocks, but he held on to the fifty cents.
In another chapter, Mr. Gartensays more about DR Smith’s dramatic experiences.
On the southwest corner ofSpring and Walnut streets stood a building housing a drug store of D.J. Smith,whose office was also there? Upstairs was the printing office of his brother, John V. Smith. This building was the oldest businessbuilding in Odon, being occupied in its last days by Talmage Hastings as agrocery store and feed store. Itwas torn down in 1979 and is now a parking lot.
From this original office camethe town’s first newspaper, a four-page sheet, each page eight inches long byseven and three-quarters wide; title
This was Vol.I., No.I. Thefirst page was mostly taken up with a salutatory in which the editor says thathe is offering this newspaper because of the public needs one. The new editor is in favor of Woman’sRights, the right to marry any man she can catch. He admonishes young men to cultivategood looks and to take a good care of their whiskers. He wishes the merchants lots of tradeand the mechanics to get good pay.
Here are some of thelocals:
Snow is in theair.
Captain Garten wants aRailroad. Can’t someone helphim? Henry Correll of Washingtonhas purchased the residence of Mr. Seneff of this place, and proposes supplyingthe trader with tinware. Good.
It is passing strange how thenovelty of a small printing press will last, and the press not a novelty either;“Stand Back, Boys!!!!!”
The inside pages are a displayadvertisesment of T.J. Smith and Company.
On the fourth page, the editorapologizes in broad faced type widely spaced for the late appearance of thefirst issue of the The Spy.
The paper room grew to page, 10½ inches by 8, and the title became THE FORMER “SPY” building. Later Hastings grocery store before itwas torn down. Unknown because the railroad did not come through here foranother 16 years.
The Spy of January 15, 1874tells us that A.W. Caughy and Miss Ollie T. Redman were married by Rev. T.A.Long of Carksburg. No bride’s maids, no best man; no frills. We are not even told how the bride wasdressed. The account concludesthus: We wish for Mr. Caughy and his fair bride a long and happy life as theytravel through the low ground of sorrow, and when life and its toils are o’er,may they soar to that lofty habitation above where friends never part and joyseverlasting.
There are business cards ofJ.D. Laughlin and Howard Crooke, attorneys of Law; ads of J.V. Smith and Co.,Abraham & Freeman, and the flourishing tinware establishment of H.N.Correll. The following may beinteresting:
TAN-BARK FOR SALE
J.T. Glenn has a large lot ofchoice tan-bark, which he will sell on very favorable terms. Inquire or address James T. Glenn,Clark’s Prairie, Indiana.
Dr. D.J. Smith’s ad of May 21,1875 puts strong emphasis on coal oil. “Always keep the best,” he says and adds, “I will shortly have some pureliquors for medical purposes and for “Nothing Else”.
“Clark’s Prairie, Indiana,January 18th, 1874.
Editor of the Spy: During thelast week, I visited the following schools in Madison Township, Trustee Shafferaccompanying:
District No. I, Abel Padget,teacher. Number enrolled, 37:average daily attendance, 16 ½. (This school is now abandoned.)
District No. II, Amanda J.Haskins. Teacher. Number enrolled, 40; number present,25
District No. III, ClarindaWilson, teacher. Enrolled, 48;attendance 37. Examinations inclasses in arithmetic and grammar. Pupils passed a good examination - awarded certificate of GoodScholarship to Mary O’Dell.
District No. V, Robert Stotts,teacher. Number enrolled 35;average attendance, 20. Examinedclasses in arithmetic, grammar, and orthology; pupils did not pass a verygood examination, probably owing to irregular attendance. Certificate awarded to John P.Keek.
District No. VI, John M.Haskins, teacher. (No enrollment or average daily attendancegiven.)
District No. VII, ThomasHubbard, teacher. Number enrolled42; number present, 35.
District No. VIII, Fred S.Boyd, teacher. Number enrolled, 20;number present, 15. Teacher youngbut very good.
District No. IX, AlexanderO’Dell, teacher. Number enrolled,71; average attendance, 64. This isa well-managed school.
District No. X, John W. Stotts,teacher. Number enrolled, 33 numberpresent, 24. Examined classes inarithmetic and orthography. Passedbut a medium examination. Certificate awarded to Elizabeth Fisher.
High School, Henry B Kohr,Principal. Number enrolled, 34;number present, 24. School wellgoverned. Theory and practice verygood.
On the whole, the schools ofMadison Township are doing well. Ifparents and guardians would try to visit their respective schools once in awhile, thereby encouraging both student teacher andpupils.
Edward Wise, Co. Sup’t.
The following advertisementspeaks for itself: Wanted, awife. Must be good looking, mediumheight, and accomplished. Address:Ben Lane, this office. The issuesof THE SPY do not reveal that Ben found a lady who couldqualify.
The Spy of September 15, 1875proposes the following candidates for next year:
For President 1876 - Oliver P.Morton of Indiana.
For Vice President - James G.Blaine of Maine.
The editor of The Spy had akeen sense of humor. The paper keptgrowing in size until it was about like those of the later Journal; but it nevergot beyond four pages. At last thetitle read “Weekly Spy”.
The late Sam Burrell left tothe Winklepleck Memorial Library the file of the early Clarksburg newspaper thatis left. According to it, the lastnumber of the Weekly Spy was dated June 16, 1877. Why The Spy ceased to exist is notknown. It was probably not a payingproposition. John V. Smith thenleft Clarksburg. For the nexteight years the town got along without a newspaper.
However, in the summer of 1885Mr. J. V. Smith and his brother, Dr. D.J. Smith called at the residence of JamesH. Garten to inform him that a new paper was about to be launched. It was to be called THE PRAIRIESCHOONER. According to SamBurrell’s file, the first number was dated October 10, 1885. Mr. Smith did not long remain inbusiness. The next editor was W.L.Stoy till 1889 when purchased by Caleb O’Dell who bought the paper in 1889 andchanged the name to Odon Journal. The paper’s name had changed from The Spy, to Prairie Schooner, to OdonRepublican to the Odon Journal. Atthe helm have been besides Caleb O’Dell, William K. Penrod, Wilson Myers, DeanInman, John Stoats, and Carvel Stotts, and the present owner, John L.Myers.
During the campaign of 1896,when William Jennings Bryan was dashing about all over the nation preaching hisdoctrine of the free and unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1 ofgold, George Abraham and other republicans, got afraid that Mr. Penrod’s paperwould turn from the party gold standard principle for free silver. George was never slow to act on anidea. Accordingly, he financed anew tabloid weekly, The Odon Commercial, with Harley Burrell and Walter Bredenin charge. His fears proved to begroundless. Mr. Penrod did not varyfrom the party line, and the town had two newspapers. It was not long until Mr.Penrod sold out to Wilson Myers and Mr. Penrod went to Loogootee with theTribune.
The Commercial lasted two orthree years, Burrell and Breden went to other jobs, and the paper ceased to be,partly because there was not room in a small town for two newspapers. Another such venture is veryunlikely.
ODON OF THE 1880’S
The reader must remember thatwhile the town was named Clarksburg, the post office was Clark’s Prairie. That name began to sound too rural tothe young people and the progressive citizens who expected the place to become asecond Terre Haute. There was a lotof argument around the store hotstoves during the winter of 1881 as to what thename should be. Lon Caughy wantedthe name to be Garfield for the newly elected President. Joe Dun Laughlin and Alex O’Dell hadbeen two of the principal agitators for a new name. It was finally decided to name the townfor them. O for O”Dell and Don forJoe Dun. The syllables put togetherspelled Odon; nobody had the old norse god Woden, in mind. Nobody there but Joe Dun and Wesley Nealhad ever heard of him. There wasalready an Odin in Illinois and the knowledge of that place helped to blend Oand Dun in Odon.
Then in 1885, followingsettlement as to the name, the town was incorporated and the era of woodensidewalks was on. The walks weremade of two-inch planks laid lengthwise, they were on both sides of all theprincipal streets, and the citizens were most proud of them. Elnora, they felt wasoutclassed.
Through the early 1880’s thetown grew to several hundred inhabitants. New additions were being laid out. North of Main Street on the west extending from Grove Street west to thecounty road and north of Elnora Street was the Hugh McCoy addition. Just east of McCoy on bothsides of Spring Street is the Olley Crooke addition. Beyond and across Elnora Street was theSam Dunlap addition. West of SpringStreet, south of Main, the Sarah A. Garten plat extended from the old Clarksburglots south and west. Farther west,on Main Street to the county road. Captain Z V. Garten laid off a series of lots. East of Spring Street and south of Mainthe Howard Crooke addition extended east and south. Then east of the County road and southof Main is the Sarah Pensinger addition. The Harvey Smiley annex was farther east, on both sides of MainStreet. At this time, there werenine dwelling houses west of the U.B. Church on west Main Street and six on thesouth side. Center Street had beenopened to extend west from Grove Street and Parallel with Elnora and MainStreets. On the southwest corner ofCenter and Grove stood for many years, a log cabin. Another cabin stood on the adjoining lotwest.
East of the U.B. Church, as onewalked up Main Street on the north side were the J.M. Crooke and Franey Stoyhouses, where now stands the Winklepleck Memorial Library and where the late W.T. Dearmin's residence once stood and where York’s Pharmacy is now. Across Oak Street on the corner ofStoy’s Opera House. It stood wherethe wagon shop had been.
The Opera House rates more thana passing notice. It was atwo-story frame building with an outside stairway on the East Side. On the first floor was Walter T.Dearmin’s Drug Store. On the secondfloor was a hall seated with chairs, and there was a stage with some scenery inthe north end. There were no churchbasements or school auditoriums in which to hold public gatherings. Consequently, Stoy’s Opera House wasused for festivals, township conventions, political speakers, and quite a fewdramatic performances. The mostwidely known man to speak there was that Hoosier-born politician, John P. St.John, one time Governor of Kansas, and when he was at Odon; he was candidate forPresident on the Prohibition ticket.
The next building was a large,rambling hotel, Stoy’s Inn, which after a life of about fifteen years gave placeto the K of P. building, which is now Ard’s Grocery. The Hugh McCoy - Charley Freemanblacksmith shop had first been succeeded by marble shop.
The monument business had firstbeen carried on by Albert Burrell and Bill Waggy on Main Street where it cornerswith the county road on the north side. In time, Waggy was succeeded in the firm by George Correll. The shop was then moved tothe site noted above. It wasfinally moved to the location west of the Odon Milling Company and north of therailroad.
This firm produced an artisticgenius who should always have a prominent place in Odon history; the statue ofLincoln in the City Park is a work that has elicited the admiration of visitorsfrom far and wide. Ira Correll hasproduced other works, many of which were shipped all over the USA, that
have given him an enviableplace among sculptors.
The marble shop on Main Streetwas followed by a grocery store building erected by Hugh McCoy. The location is now Charlie William’sbarbershop. On the next lot was theMcCoy home. On the street corner ofthis yard, George Abraham, in a few years, built the business houses later knownas the Gantz drug store and the hall grocery which is now the Masonic Hall andthe Odon Journal.
Across Spring Street on thecorner of Main and Spring was a frame two-story building on the site of the oldCharley Burns store. This wasMonroe Crookes’s general store. Danand Fred Hayes had a store in the building when it was destroyed by the 1891fire.
Later, Monroe Crooked replacethis building by a two-story brick business house which was torn down in recentyears to give place to the present First National Bank structure, which willsoon vacate to their new building located on the corner of South West Street andMain. The cottage east of theCrooke building was also in the path of the fire as was a frame store buildingjust beyond it. The Myers’ ClothingStore stands where the cottage was. James H. Garten built the building to house the Levi Clothing Store. The next building was the two-story drugstore with a two-story hotel attached as a wing on the east side belonging to J.B. Crooke. The fire also gotit. The livery barn escaped theflames because the next lot east of the hotel where the Malt Shop now stands wasvacant. The livery stable was ofmore importance to Odon life than one might think. There were no railroads or busescarrying traveling men or furnishing transportation.
Far up the street beyond theold brick school building was the Sammy Daugherty tanning yard. Harvey Smiley was the original tanner,but he quit that work to manufacture tile. For years he and his son, Milo, sold little over a wide territory. This business was on farthereast.
Let us go back west on thesouth side of Main Street. Thefirst place of business on the corner of Main and the county road is theHarmon-Neeriemer blacksmith shop. The firm made wagons, too, and was quite a flourishing place. There were a few residences in thatblock. Across Sycamore Streetcornering with Main Street, was Dr. D.J. Smith’s new residence with the firstClarksburg telephone. This is nowthe site of the Baptist Church. Thetelephone wire which ran from residence to office in Main Street drug store,passed over a corner; a very small one; of the Daggley; lot. When the two men quarreled, Dr.Daggley notified Dr. Smith to remove his telephone off his premises. Next in order was Henry Correll’s tinshop, and then his home where Aunt Julia Correll kept a hotel that was verypopular with the numerous traveling salesmen of that time because of itsbountiful table. This is the siteof the present American Legion building. Then came a residence; across the alley was a low building that had oncehoused Ollie Crooke’s harness shop. In the middle of the 1880’s it held the Hitchcock and Winklepleckhardware store. Aaron Jolliff,later about 1906, erected the present hardware building, which is now occupiedby the Odon True Value Hardware Store. Next was the Link Stoy drug store. A cottage, not a recent structure came next, George Abraham had a storeon the next lot, which is approximately where Mary Bunch’s Towne Shop isnow. On the corner was asmall one-story building used as a grocery and for the business including asaloon.
A certain public-spiritedcitizen of Epsom had conducted a saloon at that town, and he noted that a numberof the leading men of Clarksburg liked to stop at his place enroute toWashington. He concluded that itwould be a grand idea to move his product closer to so vigorous a market,therefore, he moved his beverage to this store building on the corner of Mainand Spring Streets. It proved to bea sad mistake. The Clarksburgfriends did not come near him, and he had to go back to his old location. Had he had the system of back entrancesand back rooms that the drug stores were later to use, results might have beenvery much more satisfactory. On thecorner Dr. Daggely later built the well known brick front building. In 1900 W. J. Danner replaced it withthe Poindexter building, which now houses the Up TownMotel.
Across Spring Street was theAlex O’Dell large yard and residence. On the lot cornering with Oak Street was the O’Dell Brothers generalstore which is now the Harp’s Hardware. Spring and Oak Streets extended but a single block south. There was no suggestion of a futureDearmin poultry plant or of the busy business and traffic on Spring Street. Walnut, the next street south of Main,began, as did the next street, Race, at the Harvey Smiley lots east and ended atSycamore Street. The Stoll BrothersLumber Inc. building is now at the corner of Sycamore and Race. All the territory where the railroad,businesses and the residential section south of there was at the the time allpasture land belonging to Howard Crook east of Spring Street, and to Zimri V.Garten west of the county road. Thebusiness directory of 1888 lists Ezra Mattingly, Principal of the Odon Schools;L.M. Courtney, minister; Howard Crooke and J.B. Crooke and J.D. Laughlin,attorneys at law; Wm. H. McCarter, township trustee; Alex O’Dell, townshipassessor; John Dearmin, Carton Sears, S.F. Harris, Steven G. Culmer, and A.K.Lane as physicians; George Abraham, W.T. Stoy, J.M. Crooke, J.W. Danner andHitchcock and Winklepleck as merchants, Harvey Smiley and son and Dunlap andPershing as manufacturers.
Perhaps there are some mistakesin this narrative, but correct data is hard to obtain now.
THE MOCK LEGISLATURE AND OTHERRECREATIONS
The frame schoolhouse on thehill on east Main Street was, for a long time, the only place for generalassembly. It was used for churchservices, formal meetings, and conventions. The most noteworthy of these was theMock State General Assembly during the winter of 1875. It seems that all the adult citizenswere members and there was, of necessity, a single house. In this case, the Assembly elected theGovernor, who was also the presiding officer. We have no information as to who thecandidates were for that high honor, but Captain Zimri V. Garten was the one whowas elected.
He gave a rousing inauguraladdress that was very good, that is to say short - it filled only one halfcolumn of the February 15 number of the Clarksburg Spy. He also delivered a message, whichfilled a little more than five columns of a page in the same issue. The Spy, at that time, measured eleveninches by eight. The two addresseswere probably delivered on different evenings, for it seems the sessions wereall at nighttime. The room waslighted by tallow candles and lanterns.
The Governor’s messagediscussed the dog tax, railroads, the courts, game laws, temperance, education,internal improvements and state affairs. Each in a separate heading.
The law-taxing dogs was a realissue and this executive was opposed to it because, he said, it did notwork. He would use powder and leadon sheep-killing dogs, and would force their owners to pay for sheepkilled.
He wanted a railroad built fromNew York City to St. Joe, Missouri, which was to pass through Clarksburg. Congress was to build it and finance theIndiana part of it by the sale of land in the alternate counties through whichthe road was to run. Jackson,Martin, and Knox Counties were named, not Daviess, as the ones furnishing theland.
The courts were too slow. The law’s delays were irksome. Witnesses should not have to pay theirown expenses while waiting to testify.
The game laws were not to hisliking. He seemed to favor no suchlaws at all.
He thought the laws on theliquor traffic rather futile or they were poorly enforced, however, he offeredno substitutes. Drunkenness hedeplored, and wound up the topic by advocating laws to restrain the distillingand the sale of liquors. Hesuggested that fines collected from petty crimes and misdemeanors should go tothe school fund.
The new Governor was opposed tothe efforts of some others to abolish the office of county superintendent ofschools. He would raise the pay ofthat officer from $4.00 per day to $7.50. He though that if said superintendent should be injured by being thrownfrom a horse for from having the branch of a tree fall on him, that the trusteeof the township where the accident occurred should take the injured man to hishome.
Laws should be passed, heurged, to encourage farmers to drill holes in their land to a depth of as muchas two hundred feet. In this waycoal veins and other mineral wealth could be discovered.
As he had no budget before him,he could only make the age-old plea for economy in stateaffairs.
From reports, the message “wentover big”. The sessions went onmost all the winter. Orators spoketo crowded houses. One member,named Jim Glenn, furnished a large part of the wise-cracks and witticisms. A favorite subject for discussion wasthe law taxing dogs, and but few of the members favored the law. Glenn’s speeches in opposition usually“brought down the house”. His aptremarks were frequently quoted first as those of ScottArford.
We do not know whether any ofthese imitation statesmen ever became members of the real General Assembly, butwe do know that many of them who were to represent Daviess County at the StateCapitol.
Forms of entertainment as wethink of such things, were few. Nomovies, no athletic games, circus, show, and virtually no travel. The only trips most people had made hadbeen in ox-drawn wagons. But therewas jumping; the broad jump, the running jump, and half hammon. In the latter, they ran to a set markand took a hop, step, and a jump. Fist fights were very common, there were local bullies, but no boxingmatches were held.
In the fall and late summerthere were apple cuttings and corn huskings for the young folks. There were spelling matches after theschools were established, and the revival meetings that went the rounds of thelocal churches. When two youngpeople began to “keep company”, a wedding usually resulted. It required but little capital to starta home and family in those days.
At one time four townshipsvoted south of Clarksburg, at the junction where the old Will Smiley homestands. The old-time elections werenot very quiet affairs. Often acandidate would set a bucket of whiskey in a conspicuous place and invite hissupporters to come up and refresh their political fervor. Fights were frequent and there wasplenty of vote buying. Each partyprinted its own ballots. They werenot kept track of and were handed about by candidates like advertisingmatter. The only ones that countedwere the ones that went into the ballot boxes. Drunkenness was common and littleattention was paid to it. Mr.Garten’s uncle told of being at a political rally a mile east ofClarksburg. There was a ten-acrefield that was full of transportation, and under the greater number of thewagons, lay a drunk man.
In time, the public whiskey kegor bucket ceased to be used. Theliquor was handed around secretly in a pint flask. Vote buying went on until the AustralianBallot came into general use. That checked, but did not stop the practice altogether. The voters who were for sale were called“floaters”. The politician whobought the votes, paid the men in secrecy, usually one to two dollars, gave hima ballot, walked him to the ballot box, and saw him put the ballot though theslot.
Mr. Garten remembered a caseback in the 1880’s where four fellows came to the election and offeredthemselves for sale. They spent theafternoon dickering first with the Republicans, then with the Democrats. They wanted two dollars each, which thepoliticians thought, was too high. While they were undecided about their votes the pollsclosed.
Campaigns were waged with greatheat. The Clarksburg-Odon part ofthe county was strongly Republican with the Grand Arm of the Republic, which wasan important factor. To many ofthem, a Democrat was a sympathizer with the South. One often heard Oliver P. Morton’sfamous utterance: “All rebels wereDemocrats, but all Democrats were not rebels”. It should not be forgotten that therewere many “war Democrats”, men who volunteered to fight in the Union Army butwho still vote their old party ticket.
From the Johnson administrationuntil the Spanish American War, all the Republican presidential candidates, saveJames G. Blaine in 1884, had had records in the Civil War. That conflict, too, had a big influencein state and local elections. TheClarksburg-Odon community was strongly affected for it was decidedly Republicanand G.A.R.
The Democrats had namedWinfield S Hancock for their national standard bearer in 1880, a general whoserecord was of the best, yet he was defeated by James A. Garfield, a brigadier ofVolunteers from Ohio. However, in1884 the Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland of New York, a man with nomilitary achievements to his credit, while the Republicans put up their beststatesman, James G. Blaine, of Maine. That gentleman had served in Congress during the war. It was a hot campaign all over thecounty. Cleveland was unknown outof New York. His being a minusquantity in military ways made him a good politicaltarget.
Rallies, torch lightprocessions and other manifestations of party spirit were held all over thecounty. Here at home, Caleb O’Dellcomposed a song, a parody on the ancient turn, “Good Bye, My Lover, GoodBye”. In the poetic effort Mr.O’Dell mentioned Grover Cleveland, the district candidate for Congress, and allthe Democratic candidates for county office; then told them what was coming tothem.