History

CopyInformation taken from “History of Huntington County Indiana” Vol. L. Compiled under the Editorial Supervision of Frank Sumner Bash, Huntington. The Lewis Publishing Company-Chicago and New York-1914

Elias Murray, acting under power of attorney for Levi Beardsley and his wife Elizabeth, of Cherry Valley, Otsego County, New York, laid out Markle and the plat was filed for record on June 25, 1836, under the name of “Tracy”. Some three years before that time a man named Tracy opened a store where the Town of Markle now stands, and, according to some authorities, divided his land into town lots, conferring upon the place his own name. His venture was evidently unsuccessful and the actual history of the town begins with the filing of the plat made by Mr. Murray. This plat shows ninety-two lots, each 5 by 10 perches, five streets running north and south and a like number running east and west. The north and south streets are Wabash, Wilt, Morse, Sparks and Curry, and those running back from the river are Sayler, Draper, Miller, Clark and Lee.

Although the town was laid out in 1836, it did not get beyond the paper stage for nearly fifteen years. Dr. Joseph Scott is credited with having built the first residence in the town in 1850. He was the first physician. A man named Haswell came in shortly after Doctor Scott and erected a large frame building – afterward occupied by Bluffington and Casper – in which he opened a general store. Robert Allen started a blacksmith shop; John Nave was the first wagon maker; J. A. Michaels was the proprietor of the first shoe shop, and John Zimro the first carpenter.

William Chapman erected a three-story frame flourmill some time in the 1850’s. It was run by waterpower and was for several years considered one of the best mills of its kind in the county. It was purchased about 1885 by a man named King who converted it into a roller mill. About 1855 or 1856 Amos Curry started a tan yard and several sawmills have been operated in Markle at different times. When the Chicago & Erie Railroad was completed John Stults established a saw and planking mill and carried on a successful lumber business for a number of years.

With the completion of the railroad, Markle experienced a boom. Several additions were made to the town, the most important ones being North, Souer’s, Roush’s, Allen’s, Stults’ and Seibold’s. New merchants came in, a hotel, restaurants, livery stables, barbershops, an undertaker, a photograph gallery and other enterprises were added to the business community, and the population was about doubled within two years. It was about this time the town was incorporated under the name of Markle. The stone and lime industry began to be a prominent factor with a feed mill established by Henry Mygrant, and Justice & Patterson engaged in the business of baling hay.

The Markle of today (1914) is one of the active towns of Huntington County. It has a bank, a creamery, a cement block factory, a telephone exchange of the Majenica Telephone Company, large stone and lime interests, a grain elevator, a wagon shop, a number of well stocked mercantile houses that handle all lines of goods, a money order post office with three rural routes, three churches, well kept streets, good sidewalks, a $20,000 public school building, in which eight teachers are employed, and a number of neat residences. The population in 1910 was 670. It is one of the best shipping points on the Erie Railway between Huntington and Geneva.

Information taken from “Wells County Towns and Townships, A Pictorial History” published by the Wells County Historical Society published 1999.

Early settlers around Markle from Wells and Huntington Counties were Isaac Sparks (1834), John Sheets, Jacob and Reason Souers, Jacob Shively, William Wirt (1848) and Josiah Roush (1850).

In 1832 a Mr. Tracy of New York state built a log cabin on what is now the corner of Morse and Clark streets. Mr. Tracy returned to New York to bring his family back to Tracy, but died before they could make the journey. When he did not return, three legal advisors from Ft.Wayne purchased forty acres of forest around Tracy and platted it into lots. They didn’t like the name Tracy so they named the place Markle after one of their wives’ families.

The first post office was established as Tracy in 1849 and later renamed Markle in 1852. George F. Miller was the first postmaster. Edwin Haswell was the first merchant. Other early businesses were general stores, blacksmith, wagon maker, shoe shop, carpenter, tan yard, flourmill and sawmill. The first school was built in 1852, and Thomas Logan was its first teacher. The first Bridge to span the Wabash near Markle was built in 1860.

When the railroad was completed around 1878 new merchants moved to Markle, a drug store, hotel, livery barn, barber and an undertaker.

In 1889 the town of Markle was incorporated with a population of 584 residents. In 1890 plank sidewalks were constructed.

Madduxville was surveyed and platted with 28 original lots in 1881. Allen’s First Addition was done in 1891. In 1893 the Cline Addition (once part of the Wildcat Reserve) was added to the town. In 1896 Madduxville, Allen’s First Addition and Nedrow’s Addition were added to the town. Allen’s Second Addition was platted in 1914.

There were several lodges and societies in Markle. The Order of the Free and Accepted Masons was est. 1873. The Odd Fellows Lodge (1871), The Knights of Pythias (1896), Ruth Lodge #118 and Daughters of Rebecca (1900), Royal Neighbors (1922) and the Psi Iota Xi Sorority (1925).

The population of Markle in 1910 was 670 residents.

To read the full account check out the “Wells County towns and townships “ book and Wells county library.

The history of Markle can still be seen through the efforts of the Markle Area Historical Society. The mill stones are on display at the Veteran’s Park in downtown Markle. Historical photos and other artifacts are kept at the Markle Town Hall on Sparks Street. Some photos are in public access hallways, other displays are shown by appointment. For information about the Markle Area Historical Society please call the Town office at 758-3193 and they will put you in touch with a Society member.