Columns of Will Ball
Hall, Market Square
This ad, exactly as printed below,
appeared in the Logansport Telegraph on June 7, 1835:
The subscriber, having purchased the
well known inn formerly kept by A. Chamberlain, and having re-organized the
same for the accommodation of travelers, flatters himself, in consequence of
having long experience in the business, to be able to give entire satisfaction
to those who call. The house will be kept
in order and every attention paid to his guests.
Cyrus Vigus, Logansport, May 23, 1835
The stage office for the Indianapolis and Logansport line is kept at the
above establishment. Persons being
desirous to journey south will be pleased to call.
Washington Hall stood on the southwest
corner of 3rd and Market Streets or as Vigus or his predecessor
Chamberlain, would have described the location, “on Bridge St. at the southeast
corner of Market Place.”
Everyone has undoubtedly observed the
extra width of Market Street between 2nd and 3rd, or
Walnut and Bridge as the streets were originally named. That extra width of a couple of rods was
intended as a place for country people to park their wagons while they dickered
with the townspeople for the sale of their produce they had brought to town for
Early newspapers frequently refer to the
site as “Market Square” or the “Market Place”.
A Chamberlain, usually known by his
first name, Alexander, is generally awarded the honor of being the first
permanent white settler in Logansport although he is not the first man to build
a house in this community. Edward
McCartney, a trader from Ft. Wayne, brought a stock of goods here in 1824 and
built a cabin on the north bank of the Wabash about a miles west of the mouth
of the Eel River the same year, while Chamberlain came in 1826. McCartney did not stay very long.
Chamberlain’s house, on the south bank
of the Wabash, was used as a tavern or inn; the first in this part of the
country. He sold the place to John
Tipton in the spring of 1828 when Tipton moved the Indian Agency to the “Mouth
of the Eel”. That was the only name the
place had to it. Chamberlain went a half
mile or so and built another cabin just like the one he had sold.
In the meantime, others were coming to
the new settlement to live. Among them
was a Scot named Gills McBean. He came
in 1827. Inasmuch as he got his wife in
Corydon, he had probably known Tipton, Chauncey Carter and the other early
inhabitants of Logansport who had previously lived in the first capitol.
McBean built a double hewed log house on
the southwest corner of Bridge and Market which he used as an inn. This house must have been erected at an early
date, for the organization of the county specified that the five commissioners
who were to fix the seat of justice of the new county were to meet at the house
of Gillis McBean to discharge the duties assigned to them by law. These five men were Henry Restine, Montgomery
Co.; Erasmus Powell, Shelby Co.; Wm. Purdy, Sullivan Co.; Harris Tyner, Marion
Co.; and Samuel McGeorge, Tippecanoe Co.
The writer does not know when
Chamberlain took over the McBean tavern.
McBean had purchased a tract of land in Clay Twp. in 1828 but evidently
still continued to live in the tavern until after the meeting of the committed
of commissioners who set Logansport as the county seat of Cass County.
Data is not at hand, but we believe
Vigus operated Washington Hall until the ‘40’s when Alexander Burnett secured
possession and replaced it with the “old Burnett House”, a two story frame
hotel that became famous during the hey-day of the Wabash & Erie
Canal. It was town down in 1885 and the
“new Burnett House” erected a block west on the corner of Second Street.
Logansport Press, August 20, 1850
Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April,
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