Thursday, December 3, 2015

Peru, Miami, Indiana, USA

Peru is a city located in Miami County, Indiana.  Peru is the county seat of Miami County.

This was were the Miami Indians resided prior to a treaty made in 1826.  Some still remain.  The wife of my 5th great grandfather Harriet SOULE was 20 years old when the Indians signed over the land.  Three years later Joseph HOLMAN established the area as Miamisport.  Harriet was 23 then.  Then William N. HOOD bought 210 acres and called the area Peru.  In 1834 Indiana Legislature approved it as an incorporated city, when Harriet was 28.

Frances SLOCUM (Maconaquah/Little Bear Woman)was the daughter of a Pennsylvania Quaker family.  She was kidnapped at a young age by Delaware Indians and brought to a Miami Indian couple who adopted her and raised her as their own.  She made a home near here on the the Mississinewa River.  Harriet was 41 when Frances died.  I wonder if they ever crossed paths.

Before any railroad was ever even here, Peru was connected to the rest of the world through the Wabash and Erie Canal.  It was in existence from 1832 to 1857.  This was during Harriet's lifetime.  It is possible she came here through the canal. Her first documented appearance in Indiana is in 1850 in Carroll County.  Her first documented residence in Miami County is 1860.  Prior to Indiana it appears she lived in Ohio.  So I'm not sure if she used this method of travel or not.

The first railroad company was incorporated in 1848 when Harriet was 40, it was called the Peru and Indianapolis Railroad.  It's rail lines were completed 8 years later when Harriet was 48.  An extension from the Pennsylvania lines west of Pittsburgh, called the Pan Handle, was completed in 1867.  This was when Harriet was 61.  Just 5 years before her death here.  I need to see if the Peru and Indianapolis railroad connected to anything in Ohio or if it went through Carroll County at all.  It is possible she traveled this railroad.

Peru's nickname is the "Circus Capital of the World."  This is because many famous circuses like the Ringling Brothers, Hagenbeck-Wallace, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and others, made Peru their winter headquarters.  The International circus Hall of Fame is located in Peru, and the city still has a daily Amateur Circus show during the 3rd week of July which ends with a Circus City Festival and Parade.  The first show was in 1958 with circus acts preformed on the Court House lawn.  I wonder if Karen J (ARMSTRONG) and Lloyd Rayburn ROBERSON saw this first act.  It was only 1 year after they were married here.  Peru is the only place that still manufactures steam calliopes (whistles for steam instruments such as the steam pipe organ cart that is in the parade).

Cole PORTER was born and raised in Peru.  He was a famous musician.  I can see his childhood home from my house.  It's now a fully functioning bed and breakfast called the Cole Porter Inn.  He was buried in the local Mount Hope Cemetery.  I wonder if Karen and Lloyd saw the funeral procession or the funeral it's self.  Cole died 7yrs after Karen and Lloyd got married.  That would be a neat story to pass down.  I'll have to ask Mom if she knows any of their descendants.

The movie "Little Big Top" was shot and directed in Peru.  Scenes show the "Mr. Weenie" restaurant and the Circus building.

Peru's page in my family history book (made using MyCanvas)

Relatives with events here (deceased only):

  • ARMSTRONG, Karen J 1942-2008 was married here on 17 Sep 1957: wife of 1st cousin 1x removed of my husband.  
  • CHANDLER, Christian Lee 2008-2008 born and died here: grand nephew of my husband.
  • ROBERSON, Lloyd Rayburn 1939-2006 was married here on 17 Sep 1957: 1st cousin 1x removed of my husband.     
  • SOULE, Harriet 1806-1872 died here 04 Feb 1872: wife of my 5th great grandfather.    
  • Did Harriet SOULE live in the same area while it was named different?  The Indiana Territory existed her whole life, although there were many changes in status and counties.
  • Did Karen ARMSTRONG or Lloyd Rayburn ROBERSON have any memory of Cole PORTER'S funeral?  Who could I ask (they are both gone)?
  • What was the route of the Peru and Indianapolis Railroad?

Wow!  I can't believe how much happened here during the time periods this small list of relatives were alive.  Comparing the local history with the time frames these relatives lived really puts their lives into better perspective.  I am just amazed at the new perspective I have gained from doing this.  So many stories imagined and wondering questions raised.  It's almost as though I can feel pieces of their lives now.

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