Timelines for Allen County, Indiana

Timelines help put events in chronological order of when, where, who, sometimes how revealing interesting things we might not think to look for and provide insight to information we might find no where else. Timelines can also clarify claims of who did something first ever, or for the first time in a certain location. One such claim is Philo T. Pharnsworth who many in the United States say invented television, while some claim John Logie Baird a Scottish engineer was first. Philo came to Fort Wayne to live and build a factory. Similar claims are made about who was first to build, buy, or use automobiles, airplanes, and more. Timelines help clarify who really was first, or at least reported and recorded something first as we go back in time when printed communication was slower, more local, and maybe not as widely reported and recorded for history as easily as in todays digital world.

Indiana map 1823

You can zoom into the upper right northeast area of the map to see Fort Wayne on the three rivers St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee with Spy Run and the Portage connecting with the Wabash River in this map: Indiana. Lucas, Fielding Jr. 1823. Full Title: Indiana. Drawn & Published by F. Lucas Jr. Baltimore. Author: Lucas, Fielding Jr. Date: 1823. This historical cartographic image is part of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, www.davidrumsey.com, a large collection of online antique, rare, old, and historical maps, atlases, globes, charts, and other cartographic items. Read more about the Collection. Or you can view the entire David Rumsey Map Collection in Insight.

Allen County was created by legislative act on April 1, 1824. County officers were first elected May 22. The plat for the town of Fort Wayne accepted by the board of county commissioners designated a half square for use as a courthouse site and lots on which to locate “a seminary of learning”, and “a church, to be of no particular denomination, but free to all”. John T. Barr of Baltimore, Maryland, and John McCorkle of Piqua, Ohio gave lots to the county that were intended to be sold so that sale proceeds could be placed in the county treasury. These lots were part of a tract purchased by Barr and McCorkle from a government land sale. Copied from page 81 in texts Fort Wayne, gateway of the West, 1802-1813: Garrison orderly books, Indian Agency account book by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927, Publication date 1973 on Archive.org by way of the Allen County S1645, B66 1783-1882 collection at the Manuscripts & Rare Books Division Indiana State Library.

Weather Observing History at Fort Wayne and Timeline from 1839 Weather History at Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Indiana Climate at the National Weather Service Weather.gov.

1:28:46 minute The Hoosier Way: Trails of Indiana posted February 28, 2022 by WTIU Public Television  on Facebook
With nearly 6,000 miles of hiking, pedestrian, and biking trails within its borders, Indiana boasts a wide range of recreational trails. The Hoosier Way: Trails of Indiana takes viewers on a tour of some of Indiana’s finest outdoor nature trails, hikes, rails-to-trails conversion projects, and urban trails systems, revealing the beauty and wonder of our natural habitats. A preview of The Hoosier Way: Trails of Indiana and a shorter 56:46 minute version is on their website.

Plants and Animals

Notice the little man standing on the left side of the giant sycamore tree in the book Trees of Indiana by Charles Clemon Deam with several edtions from 1911 through 1921, several are found on the Internet Archive. The 1921 edition has the photo of the huge sycamore tree shown above with the caption:

April 27, 2016 post by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Facebook shows the same photo as above stating:

The largest tree in Indiana in the early days of statehood, and still today, is American Sycamore. The largest one appears to be a tree that occurred along the Ohio River in Harrison County. It was 20 feet in diameter! This one in the picture is just a mere 13 feet! The largest known today is 8 feet in diameter.

A December 26, 2015 post by Friends of the Limberlost on Facebook shows a photo stating: This is Gene Stratton-Porter's photograph of the Sycamore Tree that was made into a smoker by an early pioneer of Geneva. When the tree was dying, Gene moved the base of the tree to the south side of the cabin. Thus saving an early piece of Geneva history.

Charlie Deam wrote several books about the trees and plants originally found in Indiana at the time of the arrival of European settlers and also talks about living in early Indiana. His biography Plain Ol' Charlie Deam: Pioneer Hoosier Botanist on page 2 describes his parents arrival in 1837 by wagon from Montgomery County, Ohio into the Wabash Valley of Indiana describing their early life as pioneers in 19th century Indiana. The Book Description on Purdue University Press states: Although a self-taught botanist, Charlie Deam (1865-1953) once served as state forester for Indiana and is revered as a pioneer in the field of botany. He traveled more than 100,000 miles throughout the state in his lifetime collecting 73,000 plant specimens. His four volumes about the flora, grasses, shrubs, and trees of Indiana resulted, among other things, in three honorary degrees. Deam's herbarium and 3,000-volume botanical library are now housed at Indiana University. See his books available on Internet Archive.

How many of our ancestors saw and helped remove monster trees like the one above? The landscape that became Indiana once was one large natural area with its present boundary unrecognized, uncharted. Within the bounds of present-day Indiana, and stretching from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan, and from the Whitewater River to the Wabash lay more than 36,000 square miles of the finest forests and prairies, swamps and marshes, barrens and savannas, glades and cliffsides, bogs and fens, seeps and springs, and lakes and streams to be found anywhere in the heartland of North America. This paragraph is copied from an essay called Perspective: The Indiana that Was by Marion T. Jackson published in the book The Natural Heritage of Indiana, copyright 1997, Indiana University Press and printed on the website The Inspiration for the Natural Heritage of Indiana Project. The essay describes how early pioneers were able to remove those giant trees in just a few decades. See our section on Trees.

They Lived in Hollow Trees! (Appalachian Settlers and the American Sycamore) by American Mythology posted Jan 15, 2017 on YouTube.
Early Appalachian settlers sometimes lived in hollow sycamore trees. Do sycamores that size still exist today? The answer might surprise you.

How did Bison, who eat only grass, successfully migrate through the primeval forests particulary on the Buffalo Trace in southern Indiana is discussed in this Fire video posted September 30, 2022 by the U.S. Forest Service - Hoosier National Forest on Facebook. See December 4, 2022 post by Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Indiana sharing the December 4, 2022 post by Historic Archaeological Research on Facebook for interesting comments on each post. One comment referenced the book: Early Indiana trails and surveys by Wilson, George R., 1863-1941. publication date 1919 which does mention Fort Wayne in regards to Indian Treaties in the early 1800s.

The last reported wild deer was killed in Knox County in 1893 shown on our 1893 Timeline.

Did you know that bison used to be a common sight in southern Indiana? Huge herds of these great animals made annual treks from Vincennes to New Albany, cutting pathways into the ground that became the state's first roads. Follow the Buffalo Trace and its history with this interactive Buffalo Trace map: The Buffalo Trace Retracing one of Indiana's oldest roads. Copied from a November 5, 2022 post by Historic Southern Indiana on Facebook.

Ouabache State Park, prior to its designation as a park in 1962, was a State Forest & Game Preserve by the Department of Conservation. At the time it was known as 'the greatest wildlife laboratory in the United States'. Pheasants, rabbits, raccoons, quail, sometimes black bears, elk, wolves and bison were raised or housed in their lands in records that date back to as early as 1933. Take a look at this video that was filmed at Ouabache State Park a few years ago when the Bison was officially named the United States Mammal on May 9, 2016. https://youtu.be/7t9aVOC6KvM Copied from a November 5, 2022 post shared by  Indiana Master Naturalist on Facebook. 15 Facts About Our National Mammal: The American Bison at U.S. Department of the Interior.

Honey bees were sometimes called white man's flies by the Indians.

The mainstay of the Thanksgiving meal in the U.S. was first domesticated nearly 3,000 years ago by Native Americans in what is now central Mexico around 800 B.C. They were not used for meat but for ritual and religious purposes. This domesticated subspecies was brought to Europe in the 1500s, bred into many varieties, and then brought back to North America with the first colonists. In Ohio, turkey became popular for Christmas dinner by 1787. But the recommendation of turkey as the Thanksgiving meal’s centerpiece can be almost entirely attributed to a decades-long marketing campaign by popular magazine editor (and composer of “Mary Had A Little Lamb”) Sarah Josepha Hale. Once driven nearly to extinction by habitat loss and overhunting, the Wild Turkey can now be found in most Ohio counties. Read a brief history of the turkey on our history blog: A Brief History of the Turkey The centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal in the U.S. was once threatened with extinction. Updated November 2022 on Ohio History Connection. Copied from a November 23, 2022 post by Ohio History Connection on Facebook. Wild Turkey at Fish & Wildlife, Fish & Wildlife Resources, Animals, at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Did you know that today, there are 20 times more raccoons in cities than 70 years ago? Have to hand it to them; they sure know how to adapt! Copied from a December 6, 2022 post by Wild Birds Unlimited (Ft. Wayne, IN) on Facebook.

Ben Franklin had a few satirical thoughts about our national bird: “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie. I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on. “ From the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, supported by the NHPRC. To read the fascinating history behind this piece, go to Founders Online: From Benjamin Franklin to Sarah Bache, 26 January 1784 at Founders Online at The National Archives. Happy Thanksgiving from the NHPRC! Copied from a November 22, 2022 post by National Historical Publications and Records Commission on Facebook.

Native plants and early Indiana botanical explorations posted March 22, 2014 on Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM. With, at long last, the arrival of spring - at least in terms of the calendar, if not the current weather - Hoosier History Live! will focus on our state's botanical heritage. And a special co-host will guide us during our look at native plants and early botanical explorations. ... So Jo Ellen [Meyers Sharp] and Michael [Homoya] will be ideal for this show, during which we will dig deep into botanical explorations across Indiana. The first known one occurred in 1795 by French explorer Andre Michaux. Some of Michaux's collections from the Indiana wilderness still exist in the national herbarium in Paris, according to Michael, who has personally seen them. Our first state forester, Charlie Deam (1865-1953), grew up on a family farm in Wells County and went on to chronicle native plants across the state, including specific locations in counties and townships. Known as the "father of Indiana botany," he collected more than 73,000 plant specimens from across Indiana, according to Michael Homoya. (His collection is now housed at the herbarium at Indiana University.) 

Blooms and Borders: How Daffodils Reveal Historic Building Foundations April 3, 2017 by Sherry Teal, CHP Graduate Research Assistant on Southern Rambles blog.

Milksickness was a deadly illiness for early pioneers taking the life of Nancy Hanks Lincoln October 5, 1818 in Spencer County, Indiana, mother of future President Abraham Lincoln.

The Naturalist's Library by Jardine, William, Sir, 1800-1874 40 volumes at the University of California Libraries, also on Archive.org shows lots of early wildlife in the 19th century, such as our common ruby-throated hummingbird, the Ruby-crested Hummingbird on page 147 in the The Naturalist's Library Ornithology Humming Birds, Part I, Vol. VI. printed in London, probably in the 1860s. Unfortunately the first 25 pages are missing.

Pawpaws affectionately nicknamed “Hoosier bananas,” though the flavor is more a blend of banana, pineapple, melon and mango is discussed in Farm Facts: Pawpawsby Kelly Rogers posted August 1, 2021 and shared September 25, 2022 in a Facebook post by My Indiana Home.

Have you ever tasted the fruit of the common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)? If so, did you realize that you were eating the same thing that megafauna used to eat 10,000 years ago? Though the fruit has adapted to a much smaller size, it is still as delicious as it was to ground sloths, giant beavers, and more. In addition to its interesting history, the common persimmon provides many aesthetic interests, including the distinctive, corky, checkerboard bark that increases as the tree ages. This tree is part of the Ebony family; once the tree is around 100 years old, the heartwood turns into a dark black color. With all of its other incredible features, it is no surprise that the common persimmon is fantastic for wildlife – it supports 47 species of Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, and skippers), attracts many pollinators, and its fruits are eaten by modern-day humans and mammals alike.Copied from November 13, 2022 post by Mt. Cuba Center on Facebook.

City Directories

Where did your family live in any particular year? Check the city directories page that are also posted year by year from 1859 through 1920s on the timeline pages. After 1923 city directories are sporadically available online with most not online, but are available in the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


  1. Fort Wayne History is Stories about time periods beginning with 1000 to 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne and I remember Fort Wayne online tour of Summit City history from the archives of no longer published The News-Sentinel newspaper which has many online articles scattered around their website.
  2. Fun facts for the Indiana Bicentennial by Steve Warden was published June 15, 2016 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  3. History Journal features and stories of historical interest from the archives of The Journal Gazettestarted posting almost weekly stories in November 2018. It was previously known as Throwback Thursday with stories from their archive of newspapers going back to the 1800s and a collection of photo negatives beginning in the early 1940s. A History Journal indexed by decade is a chronological index of History Journal features and other stories of historical interest with lots of 1940s and newer articles not easily found elsewhere.
  4. The Indiana government has two monthly timelines "On this day" happenings in Indiana History and Hoosier History Highlights. The Indiana Historian has their magazines organized by topics online.
  5. Weather Observing History at Fort Wayne and Timeline from 1839 Weather History at Fort Wayne at Weather.gov.
  6. Fort Wayne Weather Records Fort Wayne, Indiana weather averages and records from 1897–2022 based on data made available by the NOAA. at ExtremeWeatherWatch.com. The highest temperature ever recorded in Fort Wayne, Indiana was 106 °F which occurred on June 28, 2012. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Fort Wayne, Indiana was -24 °F which occurred on January 12, 1918.

Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library has over 125 collections of photographs.

The mDON mastodon Digital Object Network has various collections such as:

  1. Englehart Cartoons - Bob Englehart editorial cartoonist for the Fort Wayne The Journal Gazette newspaper donated almost 400 cartoons and drawings in 1991
  2. Fort Wayne Area Election Returns Precinct by precinct election results for elections held in Allen County, Indiana from 1852 to 1967.
  3. Fort Wayne Area Government Information
  4. Fort Wayne Area History Collection 
  5. History Center Digital Collections
  6. Omnibus Lecture Series
  7. Political Memorabilia -- Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics

An Historical Timeline for Indiana, 1614-1911 by Bill Dollarhide published March11, 2014 on GenealogyBlog.com.

Timeline Trivia

There are a lot of trivia items in the timelines. Here a just a few:

  1. Who built the earliest known mill?
  2. What is one of Fort Wayne's earliest newspapers?
  3. Who was Fort Wayne's first dentist?
  4. When did Fort Wayne first start numbering streets?
  5. What is Gesetze des Staates Indiana : passirt in der Extra-Sitzung?
  6. When was the last of the old fort demolished?
  7. When did the first railroad start construction in the city?
  8. When was the first Indiana state fair?
  9. When did the first city free schools open?
  10. What was the first theater to open in the city?
  11. When was Fort Wayne first called the Summit City?
  12. When was the first day of school in Fort Wayne?
  13. When was the first Fort Wayne City Directory?
  14. When was the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception built?
  15. When did Abraham Lincoln stop in Fort Wayne?
  16. When did construction on the brick third courthouse start?
  17. When did Governor Oliver P. Morton call for volunteers to join the Union Army during the Civil War?
  18. Who was the Fort Wayne born youngest Civil War soldier to serve the longest amount of time in the Union army?
  19. When did Congress pass the Legal Tender Act making paper money "greenbacks" legal tender?
  20. What Indiana medical doctor patented the Gatling gun?
  21. When was the first Fort Wayne police force orgainized?
  22. When did The Journal Gazette newspaper start publication?
  23. When and where was the first Civil War battle in Indiana?
  24. Why was a woman almost tarred and feathered near Leo?
  25. When did the Fort Wayne Police Department begin?
  26. When did Congress pass The Coinage Act of 1864 changing the composition of coins and adding the phrase In God We Trust?
  27. When was the Kekionga baseball team orgainized?
  28. What were the first paved streets in Fort Wayne?
  29. When was the Indiana State Fair held in Fort Wayne?
  30. Which amendment formally abolished slavery in the United States?
  31. When did Congress authorize minting of the nickel coin?
  32. When did Indiana ratify the 14th Amendment, granting citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves recently freed?
  33. When did a 19th century flood inundate the city, covering the Nebraska neighborhood and going all the way north and east to Spy Run Creek?
  34. When did the city's first three hospitals, Hope, St. Joseph and Lutheran, organize?
  35. When did the U.S. first celebrate Memorial Day?
  36. When did the city's first African Methodist Episcopal Church organize?
  37. When was the Transcontinental Railroad with four ceremonial gold and silver spikes completed?
  38. When did Indiana ratify the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the denial of voting rights based upon race or color of skin?
  39. When and which President signed the U.S. Weather Service into law?
  40. When and which amendment gave African American men the right to vote?
  41. When did the Old Settlers Association form and print meeting highlights and lists of names in the local newspaper?
  42. What year did the city's first women's organizations form and bring Susan B. Anthony twice to Fort Wayne a few years later?
  43. When was the first professional baseball game played in Fort Wayne?
  44. When did the first horse drawn carriages go into service?
  45. When was the Catholic Cemetery established?
  46. When did the U.S. pass the first immigration law?
  47. When did the newspaper ask the city to restore and maintain the Old Fort property?
  48. When did the first medical school open quickly followed by arrests of local grave robbers?
  49. When did Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone and make the first phone call?
  50. When was Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer defeated and killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn and who were the two men from Fort Wayne with him?
  51. When did the first city hospital open?
  52. When did Fort Wayne get its first water works and phone service?
  53. When was the first electrically lighted city in Indiana?
  54. When did Fort Wayne Jenney Electric start?
  55. When did the federal government direct states to record birth, marriage, and deaths at the county level?
  56. When did Thomas Edison flip the switch on America's first power plant in New York?
  57. When and where was the first lighted baseball game in Fort Wayne and some claimed in the world?
  58. Who and when was the last man hanged to death in Fort Wayne?
  59. When did the nation change to Railroad Time eliminating 23 time zones in Indiana?
  60. When did they lay the cornerstone on the Statue of Liberty in New York? When did the statue arrive from France?
  61. Did you know Fort Wayne Jenney Electric arc lamps lite the Statue of Liberty when it was lighted in New York?
  62. When was the Statue of Liberty dedicated?
  63. When did Fort Wayne's Sylvanus Bowser introduces the first gas pump to the world?
  64. When did Chief Geronimo the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signal the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest?
  65. When did George Eastman patent the Kodak roll-film camera thereby allowing widespread photography of everyday living?
  66. When did Fort Wayne switch from horse drawn to electric streetcars?
  67. When was the last white-tailed deer seen in Indiana before they were re-established in the 1940s?
  68. When did the first automobile come to Fort Wayne?
  69. When was the first automobile seen driving around Fort Wayne? Are these the same events - more research needed!
  70. When did Fort Wayne play the first football game?
  71. When did the first Fort Wayne library room open, the first library?
  72. When did Robison Park open?
  73. When was the first professional baseball league?
  74. Did Indiana really try to pass a law about the math pi value?
  75. When did Indiana law require doctors and nurses to receive a license?
  76. When was the historic Allen County Court House cornerstone laid and then open for business?
  77. When did rural mail delivery start in Allen County?
  78. When did the first voting machines come to Indiana
  79. When did Fort Wayne renumber houses and change street names?
  80. 2016 Indiana Bicentennial weekly posts
  81. When did the state of Indiana encourage formation of local historical societies and preservation of county records?
  82. When did Indiana begin to regulate cocaine, opium and morphine without a prescription?
  83. When was a week long horse racing event held in Fort Wayne?
  84. When was the second time Fort Wayne renumbered houses?
  85. When did Ford sell their first Model A car?
  86. When did Indiana pass the first motor vehicle speed limits?
  87. When did Indiana first register motor vehicles?
  88. When did Indiana outlaw first cousin marriages?
  89. When did an American woman who marries a foreign national lose her citizenship?
  90. When did Ford's first Model T leave the production line?
  91. When was the first radio broadcast?
  92. When and who was the woman who made the first solo flight in Fort Wayne?
  93. When and where was the first weather bureau office opened in Fort Wayne?
  94. When was the Foster Park dedication?
  95. When did Indiana adopt the state song On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away?
  96. What month was the 1913 flood - worst flood in Fort Wayne history?
  97. What was living thing was prohibited for sending in the mail in 1914 by the Postmaster?
  98. When was the idea of the Lincoln Highway revealed?
  99. What migratory bird was hunted to extinction in 1914 when flocks formerly miles long darkend the sky for hours as they flew overhead?
  100. When did the Penn Central Railroad Stataion better known as Baker Street Station open?
  101. When was the first transcontinental telephone line completed connecting the east and west coast phone lines?
  102. When was the first electric traffic light installed in the U.S.?
  103. What school and when was the city's first high school football team?
  104. When was the first city professional football team?
  105. When did the a mile long procession open the Lincoln Highway between New Haven and Fort Wayne?
  106. When did 50,000 people meet the Liberty Bell in Fort Wayne?
  107. When did 10,000 people attend the opening of the Harmar School?
  108. When was the Fort Wayne Centennial Pageant The Glorious Gateway of the West at Reservoir Park?
  109. When did Indiana adopt the state flag?
  110. What was the name change from the Fort Wayne City Hospital?
  111. What important history book was published in 1917?
  112. When did the Allen County Chapter of the American Red Cross begin?
  113. When did the United States declare war on Germany and enter World War I?
  114. When did the Selective Service Act pass requiring males between the ages of eighteen and forty-five to register for the draft which provides a nice source of genealogy information?
  115. When was the Presidental Proclaimation Alien Enemies Act requiring alien males and females register providing a unique source of genealogy information on those immigrants?
  116. What was the lowest temperature ever recorded in Fort Wayne?
  117. What bank was originally named the German American National Bank?
  118. When did Daylight Savings Time first begin in Indiana?
  119. When did prohibition begin in Indiana?
  120. What year on the the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month did World War I end?
  121. What future president went skilly dipping in Lawton Park?
  122. When did Indiana ratify the 18th Amendment - Prohibition Act that outlawed alcoholic beverages?
  123. When did Indiana pass laws banning German from being taught in any public, private or parochial schools?

See List of United States immigration laws at Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

  1. American state papers : documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States ... is early United States documents from the 1st Congress, 1st session April 30, 1789 through the 25th Congress, March 1, 1838 with links to all the 38 volumes on the bottom of the page on Internet Archive.
  2. There are over 18,500 volumes listed under United States Congress on Internet Archive.


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Page updated: April 28, 2023