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Rothert General Store, Huntingburg

George P. Wagner Company, Jasper

County Celebrates 200th DUBOIS COUNTY




appy 200th birthday to Dubois County. The county’s history is multifaceted, and includes many faces, the most dominant being German. However, the county’s original settlers were Scottish, according to County Historian Art Nordhoff, and came here from Kentucky and Virginia. Those settlers, the McDonalds, traveled along the Buffalo Trace, a worn path created by buffalo, to settle in what is now Portersville, in Boone Township. The William and Jane McDonald family settled in the area in 1801. “They were soon followed by others,” George R. Wilson wrote in his history book about Dubois County, “and built Fort McDonald, the strongest of all local forts ... as a protection against the Piankishaw Indians, for at that date the Indians were the probable owners of the land.” The land that makes up Dubois County was a part of Knox County, then was subdivided into Gibson and Pike counties. The Indiana Legislature decided in late 1817 that there were enough people and activity in the area to warrant a separate county with its own court. Wilson noted that “there were settlers along the White River, as well as southwest of the site of Ireland. A settlement had also been made near Haysville.” On Dec. 20, 1817, Indiana Gov. Jonathan Jennings, approved the legislative act to create Dubois County, stating that the decree would go into effect on Feb. 1, 1818. Dubois County was named after Tous-

Hochgesang Brickyard, Jasper

Betsy Ross Circle Flag Dedication, Huntingburg saint Dubois, the first person to own property in the present-day Dubois County, near Boone Township. Others migrated to the area and started purchasing land throughout the county, ultimately establishing the county’s 12 townships. A synopsis of the townships’ formation is on the next page. German immigrants began to arrive in the 1840s and 1850s. Many of those immigrants came at the encouragement of Father Joseph Kundek, who arrivedin 1838 and founded many of the Catholic churches in the county. “There were about a dozen German families here, but they couldn’t speak English,” Nordhoff said. Kundek came to help those families and to encourage others to move to the United States. As more Germans moved into Dubois County, the original pioneers started moving out, Wilson noted, going to other states. But other cultures have a presence in Dubois County’s history as well. When people migrated into the area,

they brought slaves with them, Nordhoff said. Ultimately, Indiana was a free state; in the 1800s prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, states declared whether they would be a slave state or a free state. A Colored Freedom Settlement was located on land between Huntingburg and Ferdinand. According to information at the Dubois County Museum, Emanuel Pinkston Sr., a free man, married a slave woman named Permilia, bought her freedom and the freedom of a son, and moved north, ultimately arriving in Dubois County. Emanuel bought 80 acres of land near what is now the Huntingburg Conservation Club and built a home. In 1857, he bought another 40 acres, and then another 40 acres in 1870, and then 20 more acres in 1871. This land comprised the settlement. Emmanuel and Permilia had children, and one of their grandchildren, Millie, married Ben Hagen, who came from Spencer County. Ben and Millie’s daughter, Ida P. Hagen, became postmistress of

Frank’s Saloon, Ferdinand




the Ferdinand Post Office, a pharmacist and fluent in German. The land on which the settlement sat is now privately owned. A cemetery sits on the property; several of the AfricanAmerican pioneers were laid to rest there. The cemetery is maintained by the township trustee. Another notable change in the county’s population was the migration of Hispanics from various Central American countries. The migration came from the south, Nordhoff said, evident by the influx of Latinos in Dale, and then Huntingburg, reaching Jasper. Looking at marriage records for Dubois County, a few Hispanic people were in the county in the mid- and late 1980s. But the explosion occurred in the 1990s, with many marriages being listed in the books. In the beginning, it was Hispanic people marrying Anglo residents. But by the 2000s, that changed. Most marriages were of Hispanic people marrying other Hispanics from the same or different countries. U.S. Census tallies also show a steady increase in the population. In 1990, the Hispanic or Latino population in Dubois County stood at 244 people. In 2000, that number increased to 1,103. In 2010, to 2,521. For 2016, the most current year the Census has a breakdown by race, the total stands at 2,831. The current community is still dominated with Anglo people of German descent. But it’s not unusual to see a mixture of cultures out and about in the county — Hispanic, African, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern. The migration of different cultures that created Dubois County continues.



Townships tell story of county’s earliest days By CANDY NEAL

try, in 1818; his land was in the eastern part of the township. “Politically the township is about evenly divided between the Democrats and the Republicans,” Wilson documented. Cass Township includes part of the Zoar community, which also lies in Pike County; St. Henry, the plat of which is 1874; and Holland. Johnsburg was also located in the township, established in 1879. Cass Township’s population was 1,509 in 1900; 2,115 in 2010; and 2,124 in 2017.

Dubois County is broken into 12 townships. But in the early days, up to 1873, Dubois County had only six townships — Bainbridge, Columbia, Ferdinand, Hall, Harbison and Patoka. The other six — Boone, Cass, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison and Marion — were created afterward. Here is a brief overview of the information George R. Wilson detailed about each township in his history book about the county. To read more, see his book, “History of Dubois County From Its Primitive Days to 1910.” Bainbridge Township Bainbridge Township is one of the original townships of Dubois County. Nelson Harris made the first purchase of land in Bainbridge township in 1816. The township’s religious makeup was largely Catholic, with some Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. The township was Democratic, Wilson said. Bainbridge includes Maltersville, a community laid out by Anna Barbara Malter in 1867, and the City of Jasper. In 1850, Bainbridge’s population was 1,700. “The township was much larger in 1850, than at present,” Wilson noted, though he did not mention what that number was at the time he wrote his history book, in 1910. The U.S. Census recorded Bainbridge’s population at 16,020 in 2010 and at 16,498 in 2017. Boone Township Although it is not one of the original townships created in Dubois County, the first settlements in the county were on land that is now in Boone Township. The McDonald family of Scotland settled into the area in around 1801 on land about two miles south of what is now Portersville, Wilson noted. Captain Toussaint Dubois purchased land in Boone in 1807; this is noted as the

This is a 7-inch-by-9-inch lithograph of George R. Wilson, C. E. 1884. He was born at Cannelton, Ind., on Aug. 15, 1863. In 1868 the Wilson family moved to Dubois County and there George was reared and spent many years of his life. first land purchased in Dubois County. And all of this was before the county was officially formed. Most of the early settlers in the area were from Virginia, Kentucky or the Carolinas. Portersville, the first county seat, is located in the township. Although it is the location of the county’s first settlements, Boone was part of Harbison Township in the early days. In 1900, Boone’s population was 1,186. The 2010 Census recorded Boone Township’s population at 799; its 2017 estimate was 810 people. Cass Township The land for Cass Township comes from Patoka Township. The first person to purchase land in the township was James Gen-

Columbia Township This township was one of the original townships of the county. It originally covered almost the entire northeast quarter of the county. The first person to buy land in Columbia Township was Thomas Pinchens, in 1816. According to Wilson, “Among the citizens of Columbia township are to be found members of Christian, Methodist, Baptist, Regular Baptist, and Catholic churches. In politics, the township is about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.” The township has three communities: Hillham, which came to be in 1836; Crystal, which dates back to 1889; and Cuzco, which was established in 1905. In 1850, the population of what was then Columbia township was 600. By 1890, the population was 1,386. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the township’s population was 1,065; the estimated population as of July 1, 2017, was 1,071. Ferdinand Township “This township was the first township created after the original five had been organized,” Wilson wrote. Abner Hobbs received the first land in the township, in 1834. In the early days, according to Wilson, “This township is owned by citizens of German descent, and the German language is constantly spoken. Ferdinand township is the strongest Democratic township in Indiana, according to its popu-

lation. Practically all its citizens are members of the Catholic church, and worship at Ferdinand.” Ferdinand Township is home to the Town of Ferdinand. There were 450 citizens in Ferdinand township in 1850, and the population grew to 1,752 in 1900. In 2010, the population was 3,629; in 2017, the township’s population was 3,685. Hall Township Hall Township is one of the county’s original townships. The first recorded owner of land in the township was Edward Hall, in 1817, about one mile north of Schnellville, Wilson noted. “Hall’s Creek and Hall Township perpetuate his name,” Wilson wrote. Hall Township in 1850 had a population of 530. In 1900, after the township area was smaller due to other townships being formed, the population was 1,287. The township’s population was 1,281 in 2010, and 1,293 in 2017. Ellsworth was a community located in Hall Township, having come into existence in 1885; the community is no longer on the county’s map, but Ellsworth Road does exist in the township. Celestine is also located in Hall Township. Harbison Township The first land documented in Harbison Township was done so by Samuel McConnell in 1807, Wilson documented. The land was located on the Buffalo Trace. Citizens of the township at that time were Presbyterian, United Brethren, Christian, Methodist Episcopal and Lutheran faith. Politically, the township was classified as Democratic, Wilson stated. Haysville is located in the township, and is the oldest community in Harbison. Dubois is also located partly in Harbison, with most of the town sitting in Marion Township. In 1850, the population of what was then Harbison township, was 750; in 1900, it was

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1,211. The U.S. Census recorded Harbison’s population at 1,588 in 2010, and 1,591 as of July 1, 2017. Jackson Township The first recorded entry for Jackson Township was made by Philip Kimmel in 1819, Wilson wrote, for land that sits between St. Anthony and the Southern Railroad. “The Southern Railroad passes through this township from east to west,” he wrote. The township has in its borders St. Anthony; Bretzville, which was settled around 1850, Wilson wrote; Kyana, platted in 1882; and St. Marks, laid out in 1872. Jackson Township’s population in 1900 was 1,144. “The population of Jackson township, in the main, is of German descent, Catholic in religious thought, and Democratic in political affiliations,” Wilson wrote. The township’s population in 2010 was 2,125, and 2,139 in 2017. Jefferson Township Jefferson Township was originally part of Hall Township. The first land purchase in the township was made by James Newton in 1834, near Anderson Creek about two miles south of Birdseye. Birdseye and Schnellville are located in the township. The community of Mentor, platted in 1881, is also in the township. In 1900, Jefferson Township’s population was 1,477. The township’s population was 1,543 in 2010 and 1,556 in 2017. Madison Township Madison Township was once part of Bainbridge Township. The first purchase of land in what is Madison Township was made by John Walker in 1814, Wilson noted. “The early settlement in this township was known as the ‘Irish Settlement,’” he wrote, “and is nearly as old as the first settlement in Boone township.” At the time Wilson wrote his historical account of the county, he noted, “There are no saloons in the township; its citizens have always opposed them.” That is not the case now. Madison Township contained Millersport, which was surveyed in 1859 but is


termed by Wilson as the “lost town of the county.” Madison’s population in 1900 was 1,289, with its political affiliation divided equally, Wilson noted. In 2010, the township’s population was recorded at 2,696; it’s 2017 estimate was 2,707. “Originally, this township was a Presbyterian center,” Wilson wrote. “Methodists soon followed. Now the Catholic church is gaining great headway.” Marion Township Marion Township is the smallest township in Dubois County, Wilson noted. It was formed from pieces of land that were in Bainbridge, Hall, Columbia, Harbison and Patoka townships. John Hall bought the first land in Marion Township in 1818, and most of the Town of Dubois is located in Marion. “The citizens of Marion township, almost as a unit, are Catholic in religion, Democratic in politics, and of German descent,” Wilson wrote. “They are good, lawabiding citizens.” In 1900, Marion Township’s population was 888. The population was 1,501 in 2010, and 1,484 in 2017. Patoka Township At the time Wilson wrote his history book in 1910, he noted Patoka Township as “the largest township in Dubois County, but originally was much larger, containing nearly one-third of the county.” Eli Thomas had the first land ownership in the township in 1818, land south of Fairmount Cemetery. “The two divisions of the Southern Railroad, which adds materially to its wealth, cross this township,” Wilson wrote. Patoka Township includes the community of Duff, which was platted in 1883, and the City of Huntingburg. In 1850, the township’s population was 1,400; in 1900, the population was 1,165. “The population of Patoka township is largely of German parentage,” Wilson wrote. “In religious and political matters the township is very much divided.” Patoka Township’s population was 7,527 in 2010, and 7,600 in 2017.

Dubois County: A Timeline A timeline of our cities and towns dating back 200 years.

1816 Ireland founded on land purchased from the United States government by John Stewart, a native of Ireland (the country), on Dec. 23. Town laid out by Stewart’s son James and four others. 1817 Dubois County created after division of Pike County. County also includes pieces of Perry and Martin counties that were sectioned off. County named after Capt. Toussaint Dubois. 1818 Portersville established and selected as the county seat of Dubois County. 1830 Jasper founded, named by Eleanor Enlow, who got the name from the Bible (Revelation 21:19) 1835 Haysville laid out, named in honor of Judge Willis Hays, original owner of the town site. 1837 Huntingburg platted by Col. Jacob Geiger, who purchased 1,920 acres of land and became one of the city’s first settlers. 1840 Ferdinand founded by Joseph Kundek and named after the Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. 1843 Celestine platted. Named for Rt. Rev. Celestine Rene Lawrence De La Hailandiere, second bishop of Diocese of Vincennes. 1859 Holland platted by Henry Kunz, native of Germany. Named for Holland (The Netherlands). 1860 St. Anthony, originally called St. Joseph, platted. Name changed to St. Anthony to secure post office in 1874. Nearby St. Marks laid out by M.B. Cox in 1872.

1864 Post office established in Hillham, which was not platted; post office remained in operation until 1937. 1865 Schnellville platted Nov. 27. Founded by Henry Schnell, who was born in Germany. 1866 Bretzville mapped by William Bretz Jr.; his father, William Bretz Sr., settled land around 1850. It was called New Town but government suggested change because it sounded like Newton. Renamed in June 1873. 1867 Maltersville laid out by Mrs. Anna Barbara Malter. 1874 St. Henry platted. Town’s original name of Henryville changed because there was already a Henryville in Clark County north of Louisville. 1880 Birdseye platted. Tradition says town named after Rev. “Bird” Johnson, who helped select a place for the post office and said “this spot suits Bird’s eye.” 1883 Kyana platted. Town founded by Louisville Mining & Manufacturing Company and bears abbreviation of its home state (Kentucky) and abbreviation of Indiana; Duff platted by Robert Small, likely named for Col. B. B. Edmonston, nicknamed “Colonel Duff.” 1885 Dubois platted, took name from Dubois County. 1889 Post office established in Crystal, which was not platted; post office remained in operation until 1919. 1905 Cuzco platted by William H. Nicholson, named after Cusco, in Peru.

OTHER DATES ... 1870 Post office established at Kellerville, discontinued in 1931. Community named for founder John Keller ... 1871 Church at Zoar built, schoolhouse built in 1897 and post office established in 1900 (remained in operation until 1907). Community likely named after Zoar, Ohio ... 1879 Johnsburg post office established ... 1881 Mentor founded by Francis M. Sanders, an admirer of President James A. Garfield who named settlement for Garfield’s hometown of Mentor, Ohio ... 1885 Ellsworth platted, named for James M. Ellis, a landowner. Town now covered by Patoka Lake ... 1907 Post office opened in Dillon, then renamed Norton in 1908, discontinued in 1938. Town was east of Crystal and Cuzco.



Communities begin to bloom ■■ DUBOIS COUNTY IS MADE UP OF NUMEROUS CITIES, TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES — EACH WITH ITS OWN STORY. READ THE HISTORY BEHIND A DOZEN OF THOSE COMMUNITIES BELOW. From The Herald Archives Schnellville It’s not hard to figure out where Schnellville got its name. The town’s namesake was clearly inspired by founder Henry Schnell. However, Schnellville was actually officially founded as the town of Worth only months after the Civil War ended and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. At that time, Schnellville was considered bustling. Part of that was because Schnell offered free lots of land to anyone who planned to start a business. Because of its size, the town had to be independent, forcing locals to rely on each other for help. It didn’t make sense for someone to ride into Jasper on a horse every day for basic necessities, so local businesses flourished. During the turn of the century, the town population was 200 and the town began to change as transportation improved. Some shop owners closed their stores. However, Schnellville was also a farming community, and as residents told The Herald during its 150th birthday celebration, its farming background helped the town persevere despite adversity. In the 1930s and ‘40s, power lines came to Schnellville, connecting it to the rest of the county. But Schnellville stayed independent. It had its own grade school, its own parish and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. In 1976, consolidation shifted Schnellville-area students to Pine Ridge Elementary School; that marked the first time Schnellville students didn’t attend class in town since a two-story, two-frame school was constructed in 1903. In July 2016, Schnellville experienced another type of consolidation as the Schnellville and St. Anthony parishes merged. Sacred Heart remains the church of Schnellville. Birdseye Birdseye officially came into being 133 years ago after Martha and Enoch Inman, Mary and E.H. Baxter, John and Sarah Pollard and Scott Austin gave their land to form the original plat of Birdseye on Jan. 24, 1880, and three years later, the town incorporated. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Birdseye became known worldwide for its sorghum. It wasn’t far into the 1900s, however, that farmers stopped growing sorghum in Birdseye because the United States started buying sugar cane from Hawaii and Cuba at a lower price. The loss of a leading crop wasn’t the first disaster the residents of Birdseye faced. At 9 p.m., Aug. 20, 1893 a fire started in Carr’s saloon and by the time it was over much of Birdseye was destroyed. Many of the town’s businesses and about 40 homes were burned to the ground. Many homeowners and business owners rebuilt but the population of the town dropped from 600 people to 400 as many of those who couldn’t afford to rebuild moved on. Today, Birdseye’s public meetings take place in a new Town Hall at 103 W. State Road 64 and there is a Birdseye Family Dollar at 2 E. State Road 64. An ambitious push has started to stabilize and possibly revive the former Koerner Commercial Block building at 101 State Road 145 before the building was burned to the ground by arson last October. Now a community group is once again cleaning up the site with the hope it could be used as green space for the community or developed by an interested company. St. Henry Like many Dubois County municipalities, the town of St. Henry was established as a parish community.


John H. and Rosa Wibbels purchased the general store in St. Anthony from Michael Demuth in 1896 and erected a new building the following year. The building sat directly across the street from St. Anthony Catholic Church. In 1901, John’s two sons, Ben and Henry, bought the store and operated the business as Wibbels Brothers General Store. The store continued in business until 1963. St. Henry was first organized in 1862 by Rev. Chrysostoma Foffa and was comprised of 25 families who came together to build a stone church rather than travel to Huntingburg or Ferdinand to join a congregation. The town’s proximity to Ferdinand Station — one of the area’s first train stations west of Ferdinand and north of Mariah Hill — made it an attractive location for settlers looking to start businesses. Straddling the Cass and Ferdinand township lines, St. Henry was platted in 1874, officially putting it on the map with a population of about 100 people at the time. The town’s original name “Henryville” was changed because there was already a Henryville in Clark County north of Louisville. With the nearby Ferdinand and Johnsburg stations bringing new settlers and travelers into Dubois County, St. Henry’s economy boomed in its early days. St. Henry was home to more than 30 businesses, including two general stores, three saloons, two grocers, a post office, a sawmill, two dressmakers, a shoe maker, a tailor, a wagon maker, a tin shop, a machinist and a blacksmith. But the same railroad that breathed life into the St. Henry community also took it away. The extension of the Southern Railway line from Johnsburg Station to Huntingburg undercut the town’s commerce, and many businesses either relocated or closed. Many of the families who stayed were farmers or ranchers, and those agricultural ties to third and fourth generation family farms remain to this day. Celestine The histories of Celestine and of St. Celestine Catholic Church are inextricably linked. Father Joseph Kundek, the man responsible for founding most of the Catholic parishes in Dubois County, platted Celestine in 1843 and named the town and the parish for Rev. Celestine Rene Lawrence de la Hailendiere, the second bishop of the Vincennes Diocese. Celestine’s third priest, Father Karl Bilger, wrote a church-centered history of the small town in which he records that Celestine almost wasn’t placed in the northeast section of the county. Kundek was consid-

ering two or three locations for the parish. The town’s early history is remembered almost exclusively in the church’s history, leaving the names of many of the town’s first inhabitants, many of whom came from Hesse province in Germany, remembered only as they related to the parish. The early industries of Celestine were logging and farming. The homesteaders had to clear the forests to build their homes and farmland. Once sawmills were built, Celestine’s timber industry took off. Dubois County became known as a haven for highquality hardwoods, and Celestine’s residents made their livings selling the timber. After the Civil War, blacksmithing became a major business for Celestine. Agriculture was a staple of early Celestine. Farmers grew oats, wheat, barley and corn for cereal and raised pigs, cows, chickens and sheep. Haysville Haysville’s first settler was in the community before Haysville was officially named. That man was Joseph Kelso, and he bought 624 acres of land in 1816. The town was not laid out until 1835, when Moses Kelso, a probate judge in Dubois County, settled there. Kelso also operated a wool carding machine establishment there in 1840. Haysville was named for Willis Hays, who bought land in the area in 1818 and was the area’s first merchant; he was also an associate judge. Hays donated some of his land for the town. A ferry service started in the early 1840s, carrying people who lived on the north side of White River to the south side into Haysville; Harry Krodel operated a ferry service in the early 1900s. In 1913, a bridge was built across the river. In 1932, the bridge was declared unsafe and a new bridge was built several hundred yards east; that bridge was completed in 1933. Haysville celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1966 and its bicentennial in 2016. Dubois No mills currently operate in Dubois, but in the unincorporated town’s first 100 years, the milling industry was a driving force behind the economy.

Logging also played a large role in the economic development of the budding Dubois. The first settlers in Dubois County had to clear forests to build homesteads and farms. Several histories recount early farmers doubling as loggers in the colder seasons. Flooding of the Patoka River often cut Dubois off from the rest of the county in its early days. In 1869, townspeople remedied the issue by building a bridge. In 1890, the bridge was upgraded to steel, and today a concrete bridge sits where the original wooden structure was built. The bridge paved the way for the Pony Express mail delivery system that ran along the Southern Railroad, which was built through Dubois in 1908 to connect Jasper to the south and French Lick to the north. The first freight train passed through Dubois on Oct. 25, 1908. Soon, passenger trains joined the freight trains that passed through the town, and a depot was built. In the railroad’s heyday, six trains passed through the town each day. The depot stood until 1969 when it was torn down. Dubois may not be a railroad boom town anymore, but agriculture remains at the base of the Dubois economy. St. Anthony St. Anthony’s heritage is closely tethered to the large volume of German immigrants settling in the area between 1835 and 1890. Upon Father Joseph Kundek arriving in Dubois County in 1838, he felt it was necessary for German immigrants to form their colonies to preserve their Catholic faith. To encourage this, he founded the town of Ferdinand in 1840, as well as the town of Celestine in 1843. Out of these two parishes grew the parish of St. Anthony. Jackson Township was first platted in 1819, but it wasn’t until 1860 when Benjamin Kemp surveyed sections of the northwest corner of the township that the plat for the town of St. Anthony — then known as St. Joseph — was registered, and the land was deeded to the parish’s four trustees. At the time, settlers in the St. Anthony had to go to church in either Jasper, Celestine or Ferdinand. Many in the vicinity decided that it was too far to travel and de-



cided to start their own church. In 1859, Father Joseph Meister was assigned to serve as pastor of the Celestine parish around the same time the settlers of St. Anthony were deciding to start their own parish, but it would be difficult to convince the diocese to provide a pastor without a church. Meister helped advise the people of St. Anthony on starting their own church and provided them guidance on how and where to build. The church was finished in 1864, and at the time consisted of 40 families. In September of 1865, Meister went before the Dubois County Commissioners to officially change the name of the town from St. Joseph to St. Anthony. Ferdinand The story of the town of Ferdinand is one with deep roots in its Catholic faith and the man that championed that faith, Father Joseph Kundek. Kundek, born in Croatia, arrived in Dubois County in 1838 at age 28 and was assigned into the newly established diocese of Vincennes, tasked with a mission in Dubois County. As Kundek continued to explore the area on horseback, he had the idea to unite Catholic immigrants across southern Indiana and attract those Germans arriving by the boat full on flatboats from the Ohio River. Picking a site for this new GermanCatholic settlement was a strategic decision. Twelve miles south of Jasper, the Old Princeton-Fredonia Road intersected east and west with the Troy-Jasper road heading north. To the south, a mile long valley ran parallel to the Troy-Jasper road. In this valley and along the hill side to the east, Kundek envisioned the new Catholic town. At the end of 1839, Kundek purchased 1,360 acres of land which would become Ferdinand Township. He named the town “Ferdinandstadt” after Austria Emperor Ferdinand I. To attract German-Catholic immigrants to his newly founded town, Kundek put an advertisement in Der Wahrheitsfreund, a German language Newspaper in Cincinnati. He also visited German communities in Louisville and Pittsburgh to preach about the new Catholic community he was creating. By winter of 1842, more than 50 families had moved to Ferdinand and built cabins. The town quickly outgrew its first log church, and a new church was completed in December of 1847. Over the next few decades, the town continued to grow. The town’s first school house was constructed in 1854, and in 1870 the first convent was built next to the church and housed the Sisters of Providence. In 1887, Monastery Immaculate Conception was completed, but the first Benedictine Sisters had arrived nearly 20 years prior. Ferdinand was finally incorporated as a town in 1905. This article was compiled with reference to “Ferdinand” by Father Albert Kleber, OSB, STD. Holland First things first: Holland’s founding residents were not Dutch. They were as German as they come. Holland resident Lee Bilderback — an educator, town historian and Holland Events Committee representative — says Holland’s early German settlers came primarily from three German communities: Ladbergen and Lengerich in Kreis Tecklenburg and Venne in Hanover. Merchant, trustee and postmaster Henry Kunz platted the Town of Holland in 1859. Before there was a Holland, there were three churches — German Lutheran, German Methodist and Evangelical — and three distinct church communities, according to Bilderback. Town founder Kunz came from Germany and realized the thing to do was to put a store in the middle of the three communities. “That’s where he organized his town,” Bilderback says. E.F. Caldemeyer organized the Holland Custard & Ice Cream Co., which later became Holland Dairy. The dairy industry continues to play a major role in Holland. It is the town’s largest employer. Prairie Farms acquired Holland Dairy and is selling milk products throughout the region. The 150th celebration jump-started town revitalization. Just in time for that historical bash, the Holland Town Council accepted ownership of the Hank and Eloise Henke Stadium & Field. Holland residents continued to link history and progress with an


This picture was taken in front of Frank’s Saloon in Ferdinand. Pictured, from left to right, are: (seated) Frank Roos, Jake Haug, Hubert Quante, Joe Jochim (from Jasper), and Victor Roos (age five); (standing on left) Andy Hollander, Fritz Bromm (with pitcher), and Roehle Jasper (with dog “Honey”); (back) Joe Leppert, Frank Gehlausen, Ike Senninger, Ron Senninger, Albert Leppert, John Mehling, and Thodore Eckstein; and Andy Hollander holds Troy. President James Monroe, and built a house on the land. Stewart’s son James platted the town with four others in 1865, about 23 years after the death of John. By 1870, the town had a population of 139, and many German settlers had begun to move in. Over time, the town progressed with technological advancements and it still celebrates its Irish heritage annually with the St. Patrick’s Day Festival.


Louis Poetker, vice president of the First National Bank, was known as the Pied Piper of Huntingburg. He would often lead the children of Huntingburg down the street as he played his horn and gave away candy. The horn that he is holding can be seen at the Old Town Hall, built in 1886, at 309 N. Geiger in Huntingburg. ambitious downtown project called Holland Commons, which includes a 24-foot gazebo, commemorative flagpole and greenspace in a lot west of the post office. Huntingburg When Col. Jacob Geiger was a boy, his father, Capt. Fredrick Geiger, told him stories of a lush hunting ground he frequented along the Buffalo Trace during marches between Louisville and Vincennes. Col. Geiger, Huntingburg’s founder, first visited the heavily forested Huntingburg in search for bears to hunt. An avid woodsman, Geiger’s experience was so pleasurable he decided to make the area a permanent home, and in 1837 he purchased a 1,900-acre tract and built a frame house at what is today Sixth and Geiger streets. But Geiger wasn’t the first settler to plant roots in Patoka Township. In fact, there were settlers taking up residence in Huntingburg as early as 1816, the year Indiana gained its statehood. The location of present day Huntingburg intersected with several heavily trafficked paths including the Buffalo Trace and Yellow Banks Trace, which ran from Rockport through Huntingburg and Jasper before linking with the Buffalo Trace. Eli Thomas, a settler from North Carolina by way of Kentucky, was one of the first to stake a claim to land which is now home to Southridge High School. Thomas moved from Kentucky to Huntingburg with his family and one slave named Harry whom he had inherited from his father. Shortly after reaching Indiana, Thomas freed Harry. Around the same time, Henry and Sarah Kemp were establishing their settlement with the help of 11 children just to the south of present-day Huntingburg. Several families soon followed the Kemps — Cox, Bolin, Hendricks, Lemmon, Walker — and Col. Simon Morgan, Dubois County’s

first clerk, recalled the men of these families being particularly tall and broad. By 1860, about half of the 1,400 residents of Patoka Township were of German descent, and at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Huntingburg men, American and German alike, stood to fight for President Abraham Lincoln’s Union Army. In March of 1866, 38 people signed a petition to the county to incorporate the community of Huntingburg as a town. A total of 65 votes were cast in favor of the idea, and nine against. This article was compiled with reference to “The History of Huntingburg,” by Judge Hugo C. Songer. Ireland While the small town west of Jasper along State Road 56 bears the name of the country Ireland, it was founded by ScotIrish settlers who had lived in the U.S. for years. Some of the settlers were servants in their homeland who were searching for a better situation. After being raised in the country of Ireland, some of these settlers saved enough money to trek to America, a voyage that usually took six to eight weeks, according to the Ireland Historical Society website, which is run by Delbert “Junie” Himsel. Before it became the town of Ireland, it was called the “Irish Settlement,” and the settlement was totally forest in 1814 when Jonathan Walker became the first man to enter land into the settlement. While Walker first claimed land in the Irish Settlement in 1814, it wasn’t until 1816 that Ireland started to become the town that it’s considered today, since the town is an outgrowth of the Irish Settlement. At that time, John Stewart, a veteran of the War of 1812 and a native of the country of Ireland, moved into present-day Ireland (the town), bought 160 acres of land from

Jasper Early life in Jasper was busy with people who were eager to make a life for themselves, their families and their community. Col. Andrew Evans, who was involved in the War of 1812, came to this area in 1813. He brought slaves with him to construct the dam and grit mill at the river. Benjamin Enlow bought the land that included this mill in 1820. The mill was then bought by cousins Francis Xavier and Alois Eckert in 1847. The Eckert family operated the mill until operations stopped in 1933. The Enlows were instrumental in getting the Jasper community started. They were English American Protestants coming from the Kentucky-Tennessee area and became some of the area’s earliest settlers. The land they bought became known as Enlow’s Hill until 1830, when the county seat was moved from Portersville (that’s also the year on the city flag and was the first year Jasper was recognized as a town). Eighty acres were donated by the Enlows for the town site. The community’s name was suggested to be Eleanor, after Joseph Enlow’s wife. Instead, she suggested the name Jasper, which she found in a passage in her Bible, Revelations 21:19. Before Father Joseph Kundek came to the area in 1838 to start his mission work of establishing churches and parishes, the Jasper community had a small Catholic population. When Kundek settled in the area, he immediately began to encourage Germans to settle in the parish. Many came from a previous immigration to Cincinnati, from small German, Baden villages like Pfaffenweiler, and from the German state of Bavaria. When the county’s log courthouse in Jasper burned in August 1839, Kundek was instrumental in getting a brick courthouse built. The courthouse was supposed to be built by Alexander McGroves, but after the foundation was completed, he quit, and for a time the project stood still. In December 1844, Kundek became the contractor of the project. The new brick courthouse was competed in 1847. By 1901, the courthouse was found to be too small. The building was removed in 1909 and a new, bigger one was dedicated in October 1911. The courthouse, which stands today, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jasper was officially incorporated as a town in 1866, and as a city in 1915. Its first mayor was George Wagner.






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Early businesses: Some here, some gone From Herald Staff Reports

able part by men who were woodworkers themselves. Like the original plant, this factory soon found sufficient demand for desks, discontinued its original plan to produce novelty furniture and on April 25, 1927, changed its name to Indiana Desk Co. Joseph M. Sturm, the first manager, and Joseph Jahn, superintendent, were active in the organizational work. Both men were instrumental later in organizing other plants.

Meet some of Dubois County’s heritage businesses: Jasper Desk While Custer was dodging bullets and arrows at his last stand at Little Bighorn under the leadership of U.S. Commander-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant, desks and household furniture were being built from the ground up by a team of cabinet and furniture makers at the Jasper Desk Company, albeit under a different name. That was 1876. In 1895 at the Kansas City World’s Fair, the company received an award for its desk. In 1906, the company was shipping a rail carload of desks to San Francisco to replace some destroyed in the great earthquake and fire. In 1960, President John F. Kennedy, while campaigning, gave a televised appeal from Washington, D.C., while seated at a walnut conference unit made by the Jasper Desk Company. Starting out, a trio of entrepreneurs — John Gramelspacher, Sebastian Keubler and Frank Joseph — bought the Alles Brothers Furniture Company from the Alles brothers, who retained stock in the company. In 1894, the company employed 50 hands, had 18 machines and had 25 patterns of desks made from walnut, white oak and cherry woods. Prices ranged from $13 to $55 a unit. Huntingburg Wagon Works In 1874, William Roettger and Ben Klosterman formed a partnership that later would become Huntingburg Wagon Works at 321 Fourth St., according to the Dubois County Museum. The company built a plant at Fifth and Washington streets in 1902 and eventually expanded its line of handmade wagons to include buggies and spring wagons as it acquired other companies. In 1925, the company began a car dealership in Hudson-Essex automobiles before the company was sold in 1958 and moved to Arkansas. But visitors to City Hall today


Joesph Eckstein was born in Ripley County, Indiana, and came to Dubois County as a youngster. In 1889, in partnership with Ben Dupps and William Schuler, he purchased a steam thresher and sawmill, threshing farmers’ wheat during growing season and sawing lumber throughout the year. The partnership dissolved in 1889, with Eckstein taking over the sawmill portion of the business and moving it to the northeast side of Jasper. As the business grew and the years passed, Joseph’s sons, Clem and Louis, joined the company. Eventually, it became necessary to expand the facilities. In 1919, the Ecksteins decided to relocate the mill to property adjacent to the railroad track, west of Clay Street, near the river. The Eckstein Lumber Company remained in operation at this location for many decades. can glimpse the past as they are greeted by a 1901 Huntingburg Roadster buggy, the only one known to still exist. A 1920s pony cart and an early 1940s hitch wagon also are exhibited on City Hall’s second floor. The original wagon works building at 321 Fourth St. was sold in 1902 to Henry Dufendach, who opened a hardware store there. In the 1930s, Dufendach sold his hardware business to Reutepohler Hardware Co. Reutepohler enlarged the store and also sold

furniture, rugs and household supplies. Indiana Desk Many young men of the county became skilled in woodworking at the “desk factory” in the early years. To provide employment for the increasing number of skilled workers and apprentices, a second factory was organized on March 5, 1905, under the name of Jasper Novelty Works. This firm was financed by local capital, a consider-

Huntingburg Tobacco Huntingburg was on the Southern Railway Co. mainline from Louisville to St. Louis and one of the industries benefitting from that was tobacco. Herman Rothert had a four-story tobacco-handling warehouse at Fourth and Geiger streets where area farmers sold their crop and workers processed the tobacco. In the same year Huntingburg became a city, 1889, a large fire destroyed 17 buildings along Fourth and Geiger streets, including Rothert’s tobacco business. Hugo Songer, a Duff native, judge, area historian and author of “The History of Huntingburg,” said the tobacco industry never recovered from the fire. As for the railroad, the Huntingburg portion of the railway and the old train depot off Washington Street between State Road 64 and Fifth Street were finished in 1882. Huntingburg Dry Press Brick Early Huntingburg settlers recognized the value of clay deposits in a hill northwest of Huntingburg and kilns were erected for burning brick, according to Songer’s “History of Huntingburg.” Adolph Katterhenry was one of the first brick makers with a permanent facility a half mile north of Huntingburg. In 1892, Huntingburg’s Dry Press Brick Company was organized by W.R. McMahan, Mike McNelis, Adam Stratman, Henry Landgrebe and A.H. Koerner. The company made buff-colored face brick. Another firm, Southern Indiana Clay Products (later known as Patoka Brick Company), made


red-colored brick from shale. In the mid-1920s, both firms sold out to Central Brick Company of Chicago. The operation wound up in the hands of a receiver during the Great Depression and, in 1934, a group of business and professional men purchased the defunct company and incorporated the Huntingburg Brick Company. In May 1968, Charles C. Niehaus bought control of the company and the kilns west of Main Street were converted to natural gas for burning the brick. When natural gas proved too expensive, the kilns were converted back to coal, which ran afoul of the Indiana Clean Air Act of 1968. Operations ceased June 1, 1975, according to Songer’s history book. JOFCO The fourth entry into the field of desk manufacturing in Jasper was the Jasper Office Furniture Co., which was organized in February of 1922. Later the firm’s promotion and advertising stressed a shortened version of the company name and in 1965 JOFCO was officially registered. The company has merged with Jasper Group. DuCrafts, Inc. In 1937, William E. Menke founded DuCrafts Inc., in Huntingburg, for the purpose of manufacturing venetian blinds and basketball scoreboards. The firm started in a building on Fifth Street. Styline William Menke and his son, Robert, founded Styline Corporation in 1952, leasing space from the Huntingburg Wagon Works. In 1959, it began building its manufacturing facilities on the Moenkhaus farm west of Chestnut Street. In 1972, it merged with its parent company, DuCrafts, and continued to grow to become Huntingburg’s largest employer. Robert’s son Hank became president in 1984. It manufactured occasional tables, desks, contract bedroom furniture and office furniture. In the early 1980s, it started manufacturing wood office furniture exclusively. Today it is OFS Brands. Jasper Chair The Jasper Chair Co. was the pioneer plant in this field and was started in 1922 at a meeting called by Louis P. Joseph and at-


tended by Leo C. Jahn, L.T. Koerner, Judge Bomar Traylor and Alva Elliott. These men became the first board of directors and laid the foundation for the chair industry in Jasper. It was a considerable struggle to gain recognition in the chair field, but by producing a quality product at a fair price, the firm became a factor in the trade. Two additions were built to the original plant by 1966. The first manager was Louis T. Koerner. By the end of the 1920s, the demand for Jasper-built chairs was so well established that two more chair companies were organized, almost simultaneously. They were the Jasper Seating Co. and the Indiana Chair Co. Before these plants had time to get well underway, the Depression hit this country, and it was a bitter uphill battle for both. Jasper Seating The Jasper Seating Co. was organized in 1928 and incorporated Feb. 14, 1929, with Louis P. Joseph as president; George R. Wilson, vice president; Leo C. Jahn, secretary; Louis T. Koerner, treasurer; and Alva Elliott, John Eckert and Dr. Leo A. Salb as directors. The firm produced solid wood and upholstered chairs for business and industrial offices, schools, libraries and institutions and are sold in all 50 states. Materials used include Indiana oak, birch from Canada and walnut from the Midwest. It is now part of Jasper Group. Indiana Chair The new Indiana Chair Co. was organized early in 1929. The first organized board of directors consisted of M.L. Wagner, president; John F. Schneider, vice president; F.J. Seng, treasurer; Edward J. Beckman, secretary and manager, and Grover Salb, director. Simultaneous with the development and growth of office desk and chair factories, other types of wood manufacturing as well as allied wood industries also were established and flourished. Eckstein Lumber Eckstein Lumber Inc., dates back to 1898 when the sawmill of Joseph L. Eckstein & Sons came into being. The family operated a stationary circular sawmill on East 14th Street until 1920, after the death of Joseph

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Eckstein when the sons, Louis J. and Clem E. Eckstein, built a band-sawn mill at the south end of Clay Street. The business was sold to a corporation in 1945. In 1959, the corporate name was adopted. J.V. Stimson Mill and Lumber Yard J.V. Stimson came to Huntingburg from Parke County in December 1895 and, by the following February, opened a lumber mill powered by a 75-horse steam engine in tandem with a pair of 46-inch boilers. Some 30 men were employed, 15 as mill hands and the others as teamsters and lumber men. Jasper Cabinet The Jasper Cabinet Co., was one of the major woodworking industries of the community not producing office furniture and was an outgrowth of the Schaaf & Schnaus Planing Mill which was established in 1903. The mill became the Schaaf & Schnaus Manufacturing Co. in November 1916 and began producing porch swings, sandboxes and tables, laboratory tables, costumers and bookcases as well as window and door sashes. The original executives included Aloiz J. Schaaf, George W. Schnaus, John M. Schnaus, Otto Schaaf and Alice Fritch. In 1928, the name of Jasper Cabinet Co. was adopted and the firm began manufacturing a wide range of products which included secretaries, breakfronts, cellarettes, knee hole desks, piers, curio and gun cabinets, foyers, commodes and mirrors. Jasper Wood Products Co. The Jasper Wood Products Co. was founded Jan. 10, 1924, for the purpose of manufacturing plywood for the industry. Included among the organizers were John M. Schnaus, Louis M. Buechlein, A.W. Berger, Louis J. Eckstein, Claude, Virgil and C.U. Gramelspacher. John M. Schnaus served as president and Louis Buechlein was vice president from 1924 until 1927. Buechlein held the presidency from 1927 until his death. The firm, which pioneered in many plywood products, produced plywood parts for airplanes and boats during World War II. Its primary product in the 1960s was custom manufactured flat and molded plywood. It is no longer in business.

Jasper Turning To supply the demand for turned legs and carved designs of other woodworking plants according to the furniture styles of the day, the Jasper Turning Co. was organized Dec. 14, 1928. The original board of directors included A.J. Schaaf, president; Martin Fritch, vice president; Otto Schaaf, secretary; William Fritch, treasurer, and Edward Knust, director. William Fritch served as manager until his death. Jasper Novelty Furniture Another major manufacturer not in the field of office furniture was the Jasper Novelty Furniture Co. Organized in 1928 under the name of Jasper Hickory Furniture Co., the plant began operations the following year, producing rustic outdoor furniture. Like the other plants which started just before the Depression, this factory also had an uphill struggle but overcame its difficulties. Early in its existence the firm switched from outdoor furniture to living room accessories, including such items as end tables, cocktail tables, bookcases, commodes, record cabinets, etc. It is no longer in business. Jasper Veneer Mills Another of Jasper’s long-established firms, dating back to the turn of the century, was the Jasper Veneer Mills. Organized by John and George W. Gramelspacher, William F. Beckman and Joseph F. Friedman, the mill supplied veneers used not only locally but by manufacturers throughout the nation. Several decades ago when strawberries were a major agricultural crop in Dubois County, it also manufactured berry crates used by the growers for shipping purposes. It is no longer in business. Uhl Pottery In 1849, according to Songer’s Huntingburg history, Louis and August Uhl left Lisberg, Germany, bound for the United States. The potters erected a plant in Evansville and secured clay there, but that supply proved unsatisfactory. After learning of the fine clay being mined near Huntingburg, the business moved to Huntingburg in 1908. Fifty employees produced 1.25 million pottery pieces per year.



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County’s namesake a civic, military leader By JASON RECKER Toussaint Dubois was neither German nor a resident of the county that eventually bore his name. He was French by way of Canada and Vincennes and he was regarded for his strong personality, high rate of success and considerable riches after spending time on the frontier as Indiana neared statehood 200 years ago. He served as an intermediary between settlers and Native Americans. He owned a large home on a large hill on the Illinois side of the Wabash River. He was once commissioned as the major commandant of all spies in Indiana. He was friends with eventual President William Henry Harrison and his son became a good friend of Abraham Lincoln. The r√©sum√© suggests Dubois should indeed have a county named in his honor. The fact that it’s us, what with all our German roots, is mostly only coincidence. Dubois was the first person to own property in the present-day Dubois County, near what is now Boone Township. Other than that, “he spent almost no time here,” said Art Nordhoff, a Jasper attorney and local historian. “He lived in Illinois, had an office in Vincennes. But he had the very first piece of property here. The McDonald family lived here, but they were squatters on (Dubois’) land.” The deed, on display at the Dubois County Museum, was signed by James Madison, the future president who was then the secretary of state. Thomas Jefferson’s signature is there, too, but it was inked by a secretary. By then, Dubois was a bit of a legend. His family came to Vincennes from Canada (near Montreal) sometime around 1780 — some literature suggests the family left France for Canada about 1740 and some books cite his arrival date in Vincennes as sometime around 1778 — to

A portrait of Toussaint Dubois hangs in the Dubois County Museum in Jasper. Dubois was the first landowner in Dubois County. a spot along the Wabash River that had been captured in 1779 by George Rogers Clark. Dubois was born about 1750 (or several years later, depending on the source) and George Wilson writes in “History of Dubois County” that Dubois was brought to southern Indiana with French troops led by Lafayette at the time of the American Revolution. With Dubois, dates are unclear and details can be debated. What is clear is that he was admired

and respected. He was close with Harrison, the Indiana Territory governor who later became the U.S. President. He likewise was a friend of Father Jean Francois Rivet, a fellow Catholic for whom Vincennes Rivet High School was named. He developed an affinity for working with Indians and earned status as a man trusted by both sides in negotiations with Native Americans (despite his efforts, the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe between William Henry Harrison’s army and The Prophet’s men ended with heavy casualties for both sides). He established stores in Vincennes and nearby towns and worked commercially with Francis Vigo, the man for whom Vigo County (home to Terre Haute) was named. He also acquired substantial land holdings in both Indiana and Illinois, some of which he used for his family’s home on a bluff overlooking the Wabash River from the Illinois side; the home, with interior flair and 400 acres, was a sign of Dubois’ affluence. “(Dubois) quickly became a civic leader of importance and founded a modest political dynasty that would endure through three generations,” Leo W. Graff Jr., wrote in a paper for a George Rogers Clark history conference in the late 1980s. He married 16-year-old Janne Bonneau in 1788 and with her had four sons and a daughter. Bonneau died in 1800, and the entire village of Vincennes gathered for her funeral. Five years later, Dubois married Jane Baird, a 25-year-old Kentucky native who had moved to Bloomington. They had three children. One of those children was Jesse K. Dubois, who later served as an official in the U.S. Land Office in Illinois and as a member of the Illinois Legislature for a decade before working as a county judge. It was a friend named Abraham Lincoln who urged Jesse to run for auditor, a post in which he served the state for two terms before a failed bid for governor in 1864. He

died in 1876 at 65 years old, but one of his sons, Fred T. Dubois, lived near the Lincoln family and later moved west where, in Idaho, he was a U.S. marshal and territorial delegate to Congress before in 1890 becoming Idaho’s first full-term U.S. senator. He held that post for 16 years. He died in 1930 in Washington D.C. at 78 years old, and he’s the one who gave officials in Dubois County a portrait of his grandfather; that picture, like Dubois’ deed to land from the early 1800s, is displayed at the Dubois County Museum. The county was officially named on Dec. 20, 1818, and, at the time, was home to about 1,100 people. It might seem odd to name a county after a man whose only connection was that he was the first to own land in the area, but Nordhoff points out it’s typical for county etymology to follow loose standards. Daviess County, for instance, is also named after a man who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe (though his last name was actually spelled Daveiss). Same for Bartholomew County. Brown County is named for a man from the War of 1812. The honor has come with a caveat perhaps because, as Nordhoff said, “Germans can do crazy things.” Books suggest Dubois’ last name was pronounced DewBWAH. Somewhere between the 1780s and now, Germans goofed it up; it’s for years been known to us folks as DEW-boys. He wasn’t around long enough to correct anyone. By the time immigration planted German seeds in Dubois County, Dubois was dead. He died March 11, 1816, when he and a servant were crossing the Little Wabash River in Clay County, Ill. Dubois and his horse were dragged under the swollen river. Both drowned. The obituary that followed in the Western Sun noted that “in him the poor have lost a benefactor, his country, a friend. He was a kind husband, an indulgent father and an honest man.”



Dubois County Bicentennial  
Dubois County Bicentennial