Dedication of Flowing Well, 1926
Friday (no date) 1926
Vol. 22 NO. 50
Dedication of Flowing Well at White Chapel To-Morrow
In Memory of Early Hamilton County Settlers. Indian Pageant to Lend Color. Amid Pioneer Scenes.
Back in the hills, about two and a half miles east from State Road No. 31, near the community of white Chapel, is a flowing well, and to-morrow groups of people will assemble there to dedicate it and do honor to the early pioneer settlers who opened up that section of the country to civilization.
A beautiful concrete abode houses the well, while erected above it is a bronze tablet, with the following description:”Erected 1926. Dedicated to the Pioneer Families of This Community. Moffit [Moffitt], Williamson, Wilkinson, Aplegate [Applegate], Myers, Eller, Kinzer, Wise and Rooker.
This well, ever flowing, as white as crystal, pure and cold from the depths of the earth, is a mecca for the thirsty, and many so shape their course each day that they may pass it, and quench their thirst I the pure cooling cup that never fails, for it is there day and night, year in and year out – never failing, with that unquenchable spirit which dominated the early settlers of this section.
So at 2:30 to-morrow many will gather at the Methodist Episcopal “White Chapel” to honor the early pioneers and to dedicate this beautiful ever flowing well, which is a fitting memorial to their courage and foresight.
Judge F.E. Hines of Noblesville will offer the dedicatory address while officers of the reunion are Mrs. mel; [????]Wilson Kellam, president of Carmel; E. Nutt, Vice President and Mrs. Ila Wiley Secretary and Treasurer, of Kokomo.
The joint purpose of the dedication will be the reunion of the descendants of the nine settler families and will be under the direction of Mr. James A. Nutt, of Indianapolis, superintendent of the Brightwood post office, and Miss Mabel Myers, of Carmel. Around the dedicatory ceremonies will be staged scenes incident to pioneer days in which people will move, dressed in costumes of that period.
An Indian pageant will be given by a group of Brightwood Red Men from Nokomis Tribe, No. 246 The scene will show the Delaware Indians, after whom the township was named, smoking the “pipe of peace” with white settlers. Miss Myers also has written a playlet from “the Hoosier Schoolmaster” which will be presented. There will be an exhibit of antique pictures, implements and products. Leander Myers, of Logansport, an old-time fiddler, will play.
Surrounding the well is a country rich I a romantic history of early days. There is a picturesque covered wooden bridge, a log cabin, which is still occupied, still standing and serving, a remarkable testimony of the prowess of those early settlers. The dedication of the beautiful well to these early settlers is a fitting testimonial to their courage and their beautiful faith, and does honor to their descendants, who this day do honor to their memory.
Charles L. Williamson, and his wife Mrs. May Williamson, who reside near Carmel, are the donors of the well and ground. Mr. Williamson is a grandson of James Williamson, one of the pioneers, and Mrs. Williamson is a granddaughter of Silas Moffitt and Charles Myers, also two of the original settlers in that community. The structure which incloses [encloses] the well was made possible through the contributions of all of the descendants.
Memorial Proposed in 1925
It was proposed in 1925 by the Myers descendants to utilize this well as a public gift and suitable dedicate I as a memorials. In the natural gas era of Hamilton county, several wells were sunk on the farm of S.M. Moffitt. This was how this flow of water was started over thirty years ago.
Accordingly in 1926, Construction was completed under the direction of A.H. Myers, general chairman of the committee; Russell E. Nutt, of Kokomo, a bridge engineer; Lincoln Purcell, of Carmel, and Wilson Kellam. The grounds were landscaped under the direction of Mrs. J. M. Nutt and Mrs. A.H. Myers, both of Carmel.
The undertaking met with such favor and excited such interest that the descendants of the other eight families, catching he memorial spirit, asked to be included in the project. They rendered valuable assistance both in money and labor.
An interesting history of this locality dating from the time the first settlers penetrated this part of the Northwest has been compiled by Mr. Nutt. Up to 1818, this territory was owned by the Delaware Indians.* By the treat [treaty] of St. Mary’s in that year, all the land of Ohio and Indiana was transferred to the United States and opened for homesteading.
Wise Is First to Settle
Immediately claims were taken by Peter wise, the first to settle in this wilderness in 1818. Soon followed Silas Moffitt, John Wilkinson and Absalom Eller. Each made a small clearing and built a log cabin, then returned East for their families, bringing them back by four-horse or ox teams.
However, Mr. Wilkinson died on his return to North Carolina, but undaunted, his wife, Mary, with her two children, came on and established her home as the first pioneer widow.
By 1836 each of these other families had made their new homes, their total holdings ranging from eighty acres to 1,600 acres, comprising the heart of what is now Delaware township. As the ground was brought under cultivation, more pretentious homes were planned.
In 1827 Mrs. Mary Wilkinson and Silas Moffitt each built a brick house from materials from their own lands. The Moffitt house has always been owned by a lineal descendant, being today owned and occupied by Mrs. Wilson Kellam. These two houses each 102 years old, are well preserved and testify to the sturdiness of the period There is one log cabin still standing and is used on the former William D. Rooker estate.
Supplied Needs of Community
Peter Wise and William D. Rooker were each millwrights. Utilizing the water power of Cool creek with their mills, they supplied lumber, flour and meal. Charles Myers was an expert weaver and some of his wares are still in possession of the heirs and are valued highly not onl as heirlooms but as examples of the sill of that period
Mr. Rooker was for many years their only local preacher. He held services in the homes and in the open air. But by contribution of labor and materials, White Chapel was dedicated in 1853, it being their first church. Since then White Chapel has been a community center and pioneer descendants always have been identified with its religious and social affairs.
Being interdependent and closely bound together in the beginning, the intermarriage of their children has made almost every family related in some way to every other. A large part of this vast acreage is now owned and occupied by descendants of these nine original families.
*Note: Indians didn’t have a need to “own” land or even the opportunity to “own” land. They used the land and then moved on. This was a difficult concept to understand for pioneers and the generations who followed.