January 27, 2013

KNISELY: A whole lot of history

by Misty Knisely
Local Columnist

— I was standing near the back of the office earlier this week when a very excited coworker came rushing toward me. Waving with excitement, she yelled “Misty! Misty! Come check this out!”

She practically dragged me toward the conference room. I’ll not lie to you, I’m new here and my first reaction was fear. There could be all manner of horror awaiting me in that room.

But what she showed me was a bookshelf with ... wait for it ... books.

My first response was, “Wow, life is not all that exciting around this office if you’re this excited about a bookshelf full of old books.”

“No, no! Look at the title,” she countered.

“John Tipton Letters I 1809-1827,” I read aloud.

“I know who that is now!” she came back with quickly. “I’ve worked here for how many years and never noticed there were books in this room! And now I even know who Tipton is! General Tipton, that is,” she said slyly, showing off her newfound wisdom of Logansport history.

To tell the truth, I was just as excited as she was at this point. I was pretty proud that I, too, knew who General John Tipton was and, moreover, I know what history tells us about him.

So, who is General John Tipton?

He was appointed in 1823 to serve as Indian agent for the Pottawatomie and Miami Indians.

In 1828, he moved his Fort Wayne Indian Affairs office to the area where the Eel and Wabash rivers met — the area that would one day become the city of Logansport.

Tipton played a major role in making that happen.

But when he arrived, the area wasn’t much to look at. There were few settlers before him.

In fact, the area had only just been platted by Chauncey Carter.

OK, now I’m just dropping names because I can.

And the reason I can is the commemorative edition we’ve been working on in recent weeks.

To mark the city’s anniversary, we’re offering a year-long series on its history. With mountains of help from the Cass County Historical Society, we’re breaking the city’s history down into significant time frames and will present them chronologically.

The first issue, which you’ll find inside today’s paper, tells the stories of those who first settled the area at the confluence of the Eel and Wabash rivers.

 It’s these pioneers (including Tipton and Carter) that had a vision for what the area could become and made it so.

So, in putting this first edition together, I learned as much as I could about the time from when the first settler came (1826) to when the city was incorporated (1838).

Just don’t ask me what happened in 1923.

I don’t know yet.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at