One hundred and fifty years ago, rumblings of war were heard across the United States, and no more or less than in Whitley County.
In “History of Whitley County” by Weston A. Goodspeed and Charles Blanchard, 1882, a synopsis of the day that Whitley County called for its men to stand for the Union is given by Goodspeed.
On Saturday, almost 150 years to the day, a commemoration of the events will take place on the courthouse lawn at 2 p.m. presented by the Whitley County Historical Society.
Re-enactors and speakers will recall the year 1861 when the first Whitley County men answered the call of Abraham Lincoln for troops. A Civil War singing group will attend with booths of displays and demonstrations of the era.
April 20, 1861
Emotions ran high and opinions of whether the country should go to war divided the Whitley County populace bitterly, according to Goodspeed. He felt there were no Southern sympathizers in the county, but that the opinions ranged from one of allowing the southern states to secede, to preservation of the Union at all costs, and every gradation in between.
“The bulk of the democracy was ready to fight to preserve the Union,” Goodspeed wrote.
When word of the fall of Fort Sumter was received the news was electrifying and the county as a whole rose up in readiness.
“The country became almost deserted, and the towns and news-stations were thronged with excited Republicans and Democrats, asking for the latest news from the seat of war.”
Two newspapers existed in those days in Columbia City, one the Columbia City Republican and the other, of Democratic bent, the News.
The Republican reported April 17, 1861, “We doubt if Columbia City was ever in such a state of excitement as during the past week.”
The News reported April 24, 1861 of resolutions which were unanimously adopted at a “mass meeting of the citizens at the courthouse on Saturday, the 20th of April.”
These resolutions follow:
“Resolved, That we support this Government because we love it.
“Resolved, That we will follow the stars and stripes wherever they lawfully lead.
“Resolved, That the constitution must and shall be maintained.
“Resolved, That, laying aside, for the time being, all party feelings and prejudices, the present administration, in this trying emergency, must and shall be sustained.”
Goodspeed wrote “Volunteers to respond to the call of the country were then called for by George Stough, and 54 names were quickly enrolled. On motion of A. Y. Hooper, the following additional resolutions were unanimously adopted:
“Resolved, That if those who shall volunteer in this county shall be called into service, we will contribute of our money and means to maintain and support their families while they shall be in service of their country.
“Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the Chair to carry into effect the above resolution.”
The five chosen were named as Hooper, Washburn, Linvill, Foust and Keefer.
(The story continues in the Wednesday edition of The Post & Mail with the Governor of Indiana enlisting the women of the state.)