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Historical Bluffton

Questions about a Native American “skirmish” in Richland Township

By Fred Steiner

Second in a series of articles pertaining to indigenous people of Allen, Hancock, Hardin and Putnam counties. Click here to read Fred Steiner's first column in this series.

The plight of native Americans, in many ways ethnic cleansing, expelled from our part of the state in the 1830s, is one of our most tragic stories.

The only first-hand accounts from the Bluffton News of Europeans and native Americans tell mostly tell of settlers encountering graves. The stories raise questions including:

• What did the early European settlers do with the remains discovered in their fields?

A Shawnee Indian walked from Oklahoma to Bluffton

To see the land where he once camped

By Fred Steiner

First of a series of articles pertaining to indigenous people of the Allen, Hancock, Hardin and Putnam counties. 

From a 1928 Bluffton News, history of the community–While Michael Neuenschwander, the first Swiss settler to this community, constructed a temporary hut as his family dwelling a party of Indians came through and stopped.  

Bicycle mania strikes Bluffton in the 1890s

By Fred Steiner

Harry Fenton fell off his bicycle Sunday, and dislocated his thumb and little finger and seriously injured the middle finger of his left hand. – 1896 Bluffton News 

This story may not make news today, but 126 years ago, it was a worthy news item in the Bluffton News. 

Why? Because, in the mid-1890s Bluffton, like much of the nation, caught itself up in a two-word phrase: bicycle mania. 

Schumacher Homestead Bank Barn entrance realignment

See attached video HERE.

When Bluffton Fall Festival visitors stop by the Schumacher Homestead at 8350 Bixel Rd., they'll find a big project underway. Some eight tons of flagstone and huge retaining blocks are being used to recreate an east-facing bank, which was original to the barn.

The project began with creating a new opening and building the two large doors on the east gable end of the barn.

Recently the foundation and flagstone walls of the southeast corner were rebuilt by head mason Ron Keller using flagstone donated by Mike Gerken of the Bluffton Stone Company. The concrete floor inside the barn was broken up and replaced with stone. The debris is filling the new bank.

It could be Bluffton and Pandora’s oldest continually-operating enterprise

By Fred Steiner

The Morning Star cider press is, well, as old as Bluffton and Pandora. Owned today by Suter Produce and located on Road R, Pandora, it is now open for the season.

We found a story from the Aug 8, 1957, Bluffton News, that shares some background on the business. That information follows:

In 1957, Seth Basinger, 81-year-old Pandora farmer, has been in the business 42 years.

Seth went into the cider business with his friend and partner,­­ Sam Amstutz.

The day 500 vehicles an hour passed through Bluffton

By Fred Steiner

Imagine 500 vehicles in one hour traveling down Main Street Bluffton. 

That’s eight per minute. 

That’s one every seven seconds.

And, it happened on Labor Day, 1927. 

Yes, 95 Labor Days ago traffic on Bluffton’s Main Street averaged one vehicle every seven seconds. 

The following account from the Sept. 8, 1927, Bluffton News tells the story.