There are three small almost ghost towns in Cass County Indiana of note. There may be many other places in the area where we would be surprised to know that our ancestors made an attempt at settlement. These sleepy out of the way places were once the most important places in the world for those who settled there. They represented a new beginning and the prospect of prosperity on a new frontier for those who built their houses and businesses there.
“New Hamilton” and “Lick Skillet” was the name of an area laid out in 1853 by George Allen. The area is roughly located near Michigan Rd now known as 421. At one time eight houses were built and a village named Metea was born. The town was supposedly named after a local Indian chief.(1) The village at one time boasted a blacksmith shop, shoe shop and general store. The railroads by passed Metea and while Michigan road was well traveled the advent of more stone and gravel roads drew business to other places besides Metea.
The area had known some commerce before the attempt at establishing a town by Mr. Allan. In the 1840’s there was a hotel in the area to accommodate the settlers using Michigan Road to travel north. There was also a tavern run built by a man named John Guy and sold to a J.G Cox. The area then was known as “Lick Skillet”. It was named after a story involving a dog owned by a man known as “Uncle Hiram”. His dog supposedly saved him water to wash his skillets by,”licking them clean.” Uncle Hiram was also famous with the locals for ending his sentences with a distinctive grunt.
Harrison Township was an area made up mostly of small family farms. The first name given to the area was”Hell’s Half Acre”. The area was only known to locals by this name; and later a small village grew up. The local post office was call Fitch was established about 1850 and operated by that name until about 1865. A Mr. George Lease brought the land associated with Fitch and three was a general store there until the early 1900’s. He sold the store to Willard Jones about 1893. The presence of the store lead other businesses to establish themselves in the area that became known as “Lease’s Corner”. The small accidental village had a copper shop and a black smith shop. A school house and Zion Church served the area just west of the village. Eventually six houses made up the town.
Mount Pleasant was a town platted by this is a paper town laid out by J. Troutman, Josiah Powell and Joseph Dunham in 1836. It was to be along both sides of Michigan Road which was still widely traveled at that time. Mount Pleasant was intended to have a main street and three cross streets. In 1837 Liturgus Powell kept a grocery at the town but most of his customers were local Indians seeking “fire water” In the Fall of 1838 many local tribes were removed to the western states and his business no longer prospered. In the 1840’s to accommodate the growing number settlers using Michigan road to go north A Mr. James Troutman kept a tavern at the site of the now defunct town known as Seven Mile House. This tavern was in operation until Mr. Troutman’s death in 1847.
Many of these places became the outskirts of towns that took root and are still in existence in Cass County today. Others faded into the local wilderness and cultivated farm lands and the only evidence that shows their existence is on old documents.
- Indiana Atlas & Gazetteer. First Edition, Second Printing. Yarmouth, Maine: Delorme. 1998.
1. Chief Metea was a principal chief of the Potawami People and representative at treaty councils with the US. Government . His home village was located near Cederville Indiana. He died in Fort Wayne Indiana in 1821.