Filson Family Farm

Filson Family Farm

Friday, December 28, 2012

Marshall County Historical Society

Marshall County Historical Society (Filson/Manuwal lineage)

When researching a family, one must stop at the Historical Society or Genealogical Society in the county where the family lived. I had one day to make a very fast trip to the Marshall County Historical Society. This is a wonderful society located in historical downtown Plymouth, Indiana. The very helpful staff quickly led me to their wonderful index of articles and photographs. Hours and hours of research were saved by the hard work the staff and volunteers have spent on this indexing project. I came away with dozens of photos I have never seen and wonderful stories of my grandmother and grandfather.

I learned from a story written by a town local, that my grandmother invited the Sunday School class over to her house to pull taffy. She cooked the taffy and allowed the children to run all over the kitchen with buttery hands to pull the taffy. The author called my grandmother an angel, for she was more concerned with the children enjoying themselves, than her kitchen getting messed up. These stories are priceless to me.

At the historical society, I also got school photos, maps, estate records, and historical information about the little town of Inwood, Indiana. I am deeply grateful for this wonderful organization and look forward to going back, because one day was not enough. 

But, the most valuable item I found was a compiled genealogy on the Filson line. I was, needless to say, shocked to see this large white binder with the word Filson written on the side of the binder.  The compiled genealogy was written by Marjorie Barber Coffin who resided in Santa Barbara, CA at the time.

She opens the document by stating, “It is my hope that another Filson descendent will be able to use this report to finish the documentation of our Filson line, so nearly complete here, and find records connecting our Thomas, John and Robert with Robert’s parentage.”

Well, hopefully I will be able to fill that wish. I wanted to send her a thank you note and after I did some research, I learned Marjorie passed away in 2001. So I think of her as another ancestral soul and will thank the heavens she has come into my life, for her work is invaluable to me. Marjorie descends from the Alderfer line. Her ancestor Israel Alderfer married a Mary Jane Filson, who was the sister of my 2xGreat Grandfather, Taylor Filson. They lived on the farm adjoining the Filson family farm outside of Inwood, Indiana.

For more information on the Marshall County Historical Society and their resources click here.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Clyde Lowell Filson and Theada Helen Filson, brother and sister (Filson lineage)

Today I write a note to say goodbye to my dear Uncle Lowell and a belated note to my Aunt Theada.

Clyde Lowell Filson was born in 1926 in Elkhart, Indiana and recently passed in 2012.
Uncle Lowell, as we called him, was a lifetime resident of Marshall County, Indiana. He was a farmer, a machinery mechanic and a salesman. He was a member of Inwood Methodist Church and an honored United States veteran serving during World War II in the 773rd Tank Destroyer division as a gunner in Germany. He was the oldest son of Grace Coplen and Russell Filson.

Preceding him is his sister and my Aunt Theada.  She was the oldest child of Grace and Russell. Theada Helen Filson was born in Elkhart, Indiana in 1924 and passed in 1993. She volunteered for a two year tour in the Woman’s Army Corp during WWII. She lived in California and Florida, but then retired from hospital administration, returning to Indiana and spent her last years living with my Grandma Grace.
Both Theda and Lowell were raised on the Filson family farm outside of Inwood Indiana with my father and two more sisters. I have wonderful memories of playing on Lowell’s farm as a child with my cousin and I was always taken with Theda’s beauty.
Below is an article from a Plymouth, Indiana newspaper showing both of them going to war and a photo of both of them in uniform in 1944.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Inwood Indiana (Filson/Coplen lineage)

Inwood, Indiana, in Marshall County, is a tiny community one mile from the Filson family farm— the farm where Grace (Coplen) and Russell Filson raised their family. But it was not always a tiny community.

1872 Map of Inwood Indiana

You can find the following description of Inwood in a book published in 1908, by The Lewis Publishing Company, in Chicago, entitled;
A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County, Indiana, Vol 1, by Daniel McDonald

“This village, situated seven miles east of Plymouth on the Pennsylvania Railroad, was, before the railroad was built, called Pearsonville in honor of Ezra G. Pearson who platted and laid out the town December 29, 1854. Mr. Pearson had located there and built a sawmill. At that place and for miles all around it was even difficult for men used to the “thick woods” to get through it in places. When the railroad was built through that place two years later, the company, looking for a shorter name then “Pearsonville” and finding themselves “in the woods” the name of Inwood easily suggested itself and from that day to this it has been called Inwood.

For many years, until the timber was mostly cut off, it was a fine lumber region, and those who purchased land for the timber alone made enough out of the timber to pay for the timber and the land and had enough land left, and much of it is now among the best farming land in the county. The following additions have been made to the original plat: Pierson's first and second; A.W.Hendrick’s; Croup & Core’s first and second; Fredrickson’s, and Lee & Dickinson’s.

This village has a two-story brick schoolhouse, in which is taught a grade school. The Methodists have a church building here; there is a telegraph office. An express office, and stores and shops of various kinds where such articles as the inhabitants need can be purchased.”

Original Inwood School late 1800s

Inwood School Early 1900s

The schoolhouse was expanded three times to meet the needs of the population. In the two pictures above you will see the original school and then a newer school with the addition.  It grew to be a 12 grade school house. My grandmother Grace attended 12th grade at the school in 1923, but stopped short of graduating by one class because, as she told a friend, she went to work instead of “wasting” her time on a diploma. This was a very typical attitude for young woman in rural America of the 1920’s whose biggest dream was to raise a family. Her children also attended there through grade school and then in the 40s they moved onto Plymouth High School. My own siblings attended in this school in the early 1960s for a short time.

Grace Coplen 1922

In 1905 the Methodist Church of Inwood, which was and still is attended by many of my family members, laid its cornerstone according to the Plymouth Democrat Newspaper on Sept 21, 1905, they had  500 to 600 people attending the ceremony.  In the cornerstone they put current issues of newspapers, a bible and other papers of local interest. It also stated the church was too small for the crowd and people had to be turned away.

Inwood Methodist Church, Inwood, Indiana

Inwood at one time had a saloon, a saw mill which brought the railroad, along with a grain elevator and a stock yard. It even had a little hotel which filled up because it was an “on the way” stop to the Chicago World’s Fair.
In the wake of Prohibition you can see that in 1908, 95% of the voters filed a petition against the sale of alcohol in Inwood. The Plymouth Democrat Newspaper on Thursday February 20, 1908, states, “The people of Inwood are without police protection.. and they claim that the selling of whisky there has caused them considerable trouble and they are determined to rid the place of saloons.”
Sadly, because it was not a big enough town to have police or a fire station, many fires helped to bring on the decline of the little community. In The Bourbon News-Mirror Newspaper Aug 3, 1905 issue we see,
 “Fire started in the Livery Stables of E.O.Warnacut… Spread to the saloon owned by Ed Brown, …an Opera House owned by John Caldwell and The Carlston Hotel.”
Much of the town was burned and despite reconstruction efforts, the fire took the town multiple times. As the timber in the area was cut down, people moved into Plymouth and South Bend to work in factories.
At the Marshall County Historical Society in Plymouth, Indiana,  Judy McCollough has complied a 100 year history on the small community of Inwood and I credit her with providing me much of this information.
Inwood, Indiana (Marshall County)

Grain Mill in Inwood Early 1900s

Town Street Inwood Indiana Early 1900s

Town Street Inwood Indiana Early 1900s