Hamilton in Steuben County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
"These were the days of dense forests, of small beginnings, when a few acres of cleared land was considered a farm; of log cabins with stick chimneys, of huge fireplaces, of corduroy mads over warships, when the neighbors turned out to help the newcomer put up his house, when a yoke of oxen, an axe, a rifle, a seethe and a cradle was fair equipment."
W. W. Gambia, born in Otsego Township 1839
In 1835, the land around Hamilton became available for settlement. John Fee and his wife, Mary, arrived from Ohio in March of 1835. At age 25, he claimed 120 acres near Ball Lake. By the time he died in 1873, he owned 1400 acres in Steuben and DeKalb Counties.
Elias O. Rose, July 1835. His purchase was southwest of Hamilton Lake.
Gideon Ball was from New York. Gideon would purchase the land that included Ball Lake in September 1835.
George Swift arrived from Massachusetts in an oxen pulled wagon in 1836. His land "started on the south at the Corbin school corner and went north on the east side of State Road I.
The lake (Ball Lake) lies near
John Fee house, photographed in 1903, was built in 1840
Frank Fee, son of John Fee, with team of oxen, about 1900
The early settlers left behind the comforts of homes and families. They entered a region about which little was known. The first few years involved back-breaking work, hunger, and death from accidents and illness.
1896: McCool School
1898 Sozvenir Otsego Township School
1924: District School # 6
1920: Linninger School The early settlers of Otsego Township were education conscious. They planned the school locations so that no student had more than two and one half miles to walk.
"Also it was a time when a regular epidemic of fever and ague, typhoid, bloody flux and Michigan scratches was not unusual."
W. W. Gambia
"Most of the houses had but one room, and generally not very commodious at that. Some of them had a chamber, which was reached by means of a ladder."
E. O. Rose
"…August 1839, when Mora was taken sick with canker rash and died suddenly. Aunt Mary Ann,
Powers Family recollections
"The cooking was done by open fireplaces; and, it being prior to the introduction of Lucifer matches, the keeping of fire from one day to another was no easy matter. It frequently "went out” and "borrowing” fire was a common occurrence. The neighbors being some distance apart, the job was sometimes a little perplexing."
E. O. Rose
Area of Enterprise (later Hamilton)
"Upon one occasion Stephen Powers left Angola for home just before sunset, carrying a piece of fresh meat. The wolves scented the blood, and before reaching Pigeon Creek, darkness was upon him and a pack of hungry animals at his heels. He halted to cut a cudgel with which to beat them off, and while doing so placed one foot apon his meat to prevent their getting it from him. Then he proceeded homeward, occasionally swinging his cub in the rear, to keep safe distance between him and the wolves."
E. O. Rose
By the end of 1836, most of the land in Otsego Township had been purchased. Within the span of a few decades, the region went
1835: John Fee, Gideon Bail, Elias Rose arrive
1836: George Swift, James Clark, James Johnson arrive
1837: Steuben County set off from LaGrange County
1840: 27 more families had arrived in Otsego Township
1880: Otsego Township has ten schools
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1835.
Location. 41° 32.001′ N, 84° 55.202′ W. Marker is in Hamilton, Indiana, in Steuben County. Marker can be reached from East Bellefountain Road west of Peninsula Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3779 E Church St, Hamilton IN 46742, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Native Americans (here, next to this marker); Early Hamilton (a few steps from this marker); Waterway History (a few steps from this marker); Fish Creek Restoration (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fish Creek Restoration (a few steps from this marker); Arthur Russell Perry (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to the Fish Creek Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Site Of First Settler In DeKalb County (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hamilton.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 126 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 25, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.