Memorial KIN-COM-A-ONG SPRING
This limestone monument sits about 50 yards north of the former railroad yard flanked by two evergreen trees. Except for history books, the historical monument was the only symbol left recognizing the Paradise Spring treaty when the City of Wabash took over the property in the 1980s to create Paradise Spring Historical Park.
It recognized the fact that the treaty was signed in this location in October 1823 by Indiana Governor James Ray, Michigan Governor Louis Cass, indian agent John Tipton, and the leaders of the Miami and Potawatomi tribes. The US government gained 750,000 acres of Indian land under the treaty. More importantly, the treaty freed North Central Indiana and parts of Michigan and Ohio for settlement.
Potawatomi chiefs signed the treaty on October 16, ceding an estimated 276,000 acres of land in Northwest Indiana. They also relinquished between 500,000 and 700,000 acres jointly owned with the Miami tribe. The government retained rights to open roads on parts of the land that the Potawatomi retained. A week after the Potawatomi signed the treaty, the Miami chiefs folled suit, relinquishing the land they jointly owned. The government retained the right to build a road or canal through the Miami reservation.
Although the treaty was signed in 1826, survey work for the canal had already begun. Indian agent John Tipton knew the Native Americans were becoming more dependent on the settlers. The tribes knew they were outnumbered and could not fight against this acquisition. The treaty virtually eliminated the Potawatomi tribe in Northern Indiana and placed the Miami tribe on a reservation just south of the Salamonie River, west through Logansport, Indiana.
Shallow rivers in the newly acquired area were hard to navigate, prompting state officials to plan a canal system after seeing the success of the New York and Erie Canal. Two years after the state received the land, it agreed to create the canal system. Plans originally called for connecting the Maumee and Wabash Rivers but were changed to include passage from the Wabash River to the Ohio River. Canal work began in 1832. Contracts for county work were awarded in 1834, and the canal section in Wabash was completed in time for a July 4, 1837 celebration. Controversy marked the opening ceremonies when Ed Patchen broke through the procession in his boat, The Prairie Hen, and beat the planned first boat belonging to Capt. Dana Columbia's "Indiana", into the canal.
Severe financial problems also marked the canal, which cost Indiana residents more than $18 million to build. Although it was constantly used, the canal did not raise enough revenue to pay off the substantial debts. Despite being a financial disaster, the canal was a success because it opened Central Indiana up and gave people a way to travel here to settle. This opened up land for agriculture.
By the time the canal was in full working order, the railroads arrived. In 1852, the Lake, Erie, Wabash & St. Louis railroad was organized. Wabash County construction started in 1853, and on January 20, 1856, the first train arrived in Wabash, Indiana. Regular runs between Toledo, Ohio, and Wabash, Indiana, began three days later. The Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railroad arrived in 1872 which was the year the final delivery was made on the Wabash & Erie Canal. The CW&M later became known as the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, the Big Four, one of the country's most important transportation lines.
The Big Four moved into the Paradise Spring land in 1873. It soon became the county's largest employer.
(Wabash Plain Dealer, Dec. 17, 1985, Joseph Slacian, reporter)