Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Year Of 1837

The year of 1837 is one of the most memorable in the history of this city. The Wabash and Erie canal was completed ready for traffic to Peru in July of this year, and industries at once began to spring into existance. East of the town, a dam in the Wabash and a feeder to the canal, was completed. Extensive mills that were being built went into opperation in the fall. We learn from the files of the Peru Forester, a newspaper which was established in the spring of 1837, by Samuel Pike, that the population of the county was estimated to be 4000 whites and between eight and nine hundred Indians. Peru then contained one hundred good buildings mostly frame, seven drygoods and one grocery store, three taverns, one cabinet maker, one tinner, one saddler, one tailor, one lawyer, three physicians, two blacksmiths, two shoemakers, one chairmaker, two bricklayers, four milliners, eight carpenters and joiners, three churches, a college, a newspaper and about 500 inhabitants.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Counterfeiters and horse thieves

Perry Township was the principal headquarters of a gang of counterfeiters and horse thieves. The two classes were in their efforts to rob and evade the law. JOHN Van Camp, was the ring leader of the counterfeiters.At his house he made the counterfeit and sold $100.00 of it to the gang for $25.00 of good money. They hardly ever passed this in the vicinity. Van Camp was a very suspicious character and kept himsel concealed as much as possible. One of the counterfeiters was put in the Peru jail. One cold winter night when the snow was several inches deep he broke out of jail. For some reason he left his boots in jail. He tore the lower part of his pants leggings off and wrapped them around his feet and in the dead of a cold winter night escaped to fulton county.Early next morning Hiram Butler went by Grogg's cabin and shouted out''John come out here, I'M on a coon track.'' Butler AND Grogg tracked the escaped counterfeiter to a cabin in Fulton Co. After searching the premises throughly they found him neatly concealed in bed, and when they turned the covers down he exclaimed:" BOYS , YOU'VE GOT ME'.This put an end to counterfeiting in this part of the country. Hiram Butler and JOHN GROGG were two sturdy pioneers whom the lawless feared. To them and a few others of the good old pioneers is due the credit of restoring law and order to the early settlers of Perry township.