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ELKHARTThis village derives its name from the beautiful grove near which it is situated, and which was the scene of the first settlement of the county.
As soon as the railroad had been completed to this point, an old horsemill in Springfield, owned by Seneca Woods, was brought up by William Mozee, and placed here for a warehouse. This was in the spring of 1853. In 1855 the village was laid out by John Shockey, of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, who at once built a large frame hotel, on what is now known as the Elwood corner. The building is still standing, and is occupied by various stores. J. R. Saunders built about the same time a brick building for a store, in which he opened the first stock of goods in Elkhart. A few goods were for sale in the old warehouse prior to this, but no regular stock kept. Quite a number of houses were built this same summer, and until 1862, the town grew very rapidly. Captain Saunders was the first Postmaster and railroad agent in town, although his clerk, William Rankin, performed the necessary labor.
The town was for many years one of the largest shipping points on this railroad. Mr. John D. Gillett, an extensive farmer and stock raiser, resides near it, and is now engaged in shipping cattle to England.
During the year 1856, nearly three hundred thousand bushels of corn were sold at this station.
Since 1862, the growth of the town has been slow. The trade is, however, good, and supports a number of excellent stores. Elkhart was incorporated Feb. 22, 1861.
A good union school is well sustained. The first school was held in a small district school-house, about 1853. In 1855 or 1856, it was brought into town. By 1865, the town demanded a better building. It was needed before this date, but not till that year was a new house built. It is still used.
There are three churches here. The Methodists had a class in this vicinity in the early days of the county. In 1863, they built a church in town, and still maintain a regular ministry.
The Christian Church was founded in Elkhart about 1865. The congregation erected a house of worship in 1867. They are yet occupying it. The Catholics were formed into a congregation in 1870, and have now the largest membership in town.