Pharos-Tribune

February 17, 2013

Rich in History

On city’s 175th birthday, two families tell of ancestral ties

by Amie Sites
Pharos-Tribune

LOGANSPORT — In a city celebrating its 175th anniversary today, some families can trace their ancestors back as far as Logansport itself.

A year of activities has been planned to celebrate the incorporation of Logansport as a city on Feb. 17, 1838. Paul Kroeger and Diann Sedam both have ties tracing back to the city’s early years.

Sedam’s family came to what is now Logansport in 1837, a year before it was incorporated as a city.

Sedam is part of the sixth generation of her family to live in the Logansport area. Her great-great-great-grandfather arrived from Pennsylvania, began farming and built the Cottonwood Flouring Mill.

Sedam started looking into genealogy when she was about 12 years old, she said. She grew up having her aunts, uncles and cousins around, and the family still reunites every September at the McHale complex in Riverside Park.

“I think it’s extremely important to know where you came from,” Sedam said. “Logansport has a vast amount of resources if you’re truly interested.”

Some resources, Sedam said, are the Daughters of the American Revolution, the genealogy section of the Logansport library and even some genealogy websites.

Making her home on the farm her family has occupied for four generations, Sedam said the place she lives is special. The land next to the farm dates back even further.

After John Brandt and his son, Oliver, milled, the family started farming. Sedam’s father farms full-time and her brother farms part-time.

Paul Kroeger, a funeral home director, said Kroeger Funeral Home was established in 1875 by his ancestor Bernard A. Kroeger, a German immigrant to the United States.

Bernard came from Cloppenburg, Germany, as an 18-year-old. Paul said Bernard chose to settle down in Logansport because it was a thriving town.

The Kroeger funeral home has had four locations since its beginning. From 10th Street and Broadway, where it remained until 1953, the family business moved to its current location on the corner of Seventh and Market streets.

Bernard’s son, George, followed him into the business. George’s nephew Pat — Paul’s father — took over the business next.

“The family business has been here for years and the family ties are here,” Paul said. “My family put down roots and stayed.”

Paul has been working at the funeral home since 1976.

“There’s a sense of family tradition,” Paul said. “I’m the only Kroeger working at the funeral home.”

This year Boy Scout troop 200 will place geocaches at several local sites as a part of the 175th anniversary of the city. Some geocache locations will be the Olde Towne Battle site, Amelio’s and Ike’s restaurant, the Ninth Street Cemetery and the Cass County Dentzel Carousel, according to Scoutmaster Scott Grandstaff.

The geocaches went live Saturday. Grandstaff said people can visit www.geocaching.com to get more information.

“The anniversary is an important event,” Grandstaff said. “We study a lot about our heritages and 175 years in the community is great.”

Kroeger will also be participating in the 175th activities by having Underground Railroad Tours on July 20 and Sept. 21.

Sedam said she is used to staying in the area because her family, for generations has lived in the Logansport area — something that her sons Caleb, Zachary and Elijah are learning now. Sedam’s two oldest sons have started researching the family genealogy for 4-H.

She would love for her children to stay — and as Logansport grows, she hope it affords them that chance.

“This town is rich in history,” Sedam said. “I hope people take the opportunity to learn about Logansport history this year.”

Amie Sites is community news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at amie.sites@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150.

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