THE EARLY HISTORY OF LADOGA
by William L. Anderson
The Early History of Ladoga by William L. Anderson gives the account of the birth of Ladoga.
BALDWIN SELLS HIS LAND
A first-class flouring mill, a saw mill, a store, a wheat fan factory, a blacksmith shop, a cabinet shop and a population of 1,500 people within a radius of five miles made a town inevitable. The proximity of Baldwin’s land to the mill and its excellent situation for a town made it certain that this would be its location. As soon as Myers saw his way clear to build the flouring mill he began agitating the question of building a town. He was so intent upon it that he could not forgive Baldwin for not seeing things as he did. Baldwin was willing that Myers should shoulder the enterprise, however, and offered him his land at $12 per acre. Myers finally closed with him. On the 21st of March 1836, Lucas Baldwin, John Myers, father of the miller, and Allen Harrison as witness, met by agreement in the saw mill and the money was transferred from Myers to Baldwin and the deed from Baldwin to Myers. Myers now deeds the land to his son John and the trade is completed. This made 760 acres of land lying in one body in and around Ladoga bought directly or indirectly by old man Myers’ money.
LADOGA IS BORN
Myers stakes off his town. The platting of the lots was done on the 26th of March 1836. Only six blocks were platted at this time including forty-eight lots. This plat is included between South and Elm streets and the Monon railroad and Walnut street. There were four blocks east of Washington street and two west with an equal number on either side of Main. All the streets were of uniform width, being sixty-six feet, except Main, which was eighty-two and one-half. The lots were all uniform in size and all the streets and alleys straight and the whole thing “square with the world.” - the lack of which has injured many towns. The land was level and nearly every lot was a good building site; an excellent spot for a town. The lot sales, I think, were on the 6th of April, and quite a number was sold and buildings began to go up at once.
A new town is born and it becomes necessary to name it. Myers invites his friends to help him find a name. When the first child is born all the kinfolks and friends are suggesting names, but the mother rejects them all for none are pretty enough for her darling. I suppose no baby ever had a harder time to get a name fastened on to it than did Myers’s new town. He required that the name should not end with either –ville or –burg, and it was not to be named after another town. Several casual meetings were held at Myers’s house, where names were suggested and discussed. Men and women racked their brains for days to find a pretty name, but all in vain.
John Britts, the old blacksmith, and a son named John concluded that the best place to find name for a town was in geography, so one Sunday he got his atlas and went to work. After going over the United States and the Western continent and the most of Europe, his eye fell on Lake Ladoga. The name struck him. When he mentioned it to his friends it struck them also, and it was accepted unanimously by common consent. I have never heard any one object to the name. We are all pleased with it.
INFANCY OF LADOGA
In the early spring of 1836 all that can been seen of the platted town is a multitude of stumps and corn stubble; dead trees, brush and chucks; cross fences separating fields with bushes and briars in the fence corners; an old cabin on the south side with a young orchard around it; here and there stakes in the ground to mark the corners and indicate imaginary streets and alleys. Piles of building material are seen here and there and deep tracks of wagons and horses are seen where they have pulled through the mud.
Ladoga was 30 years before it became a legally incorporated town. The records of Montgomery County Show that on Friday morning at 9:00 am, September 7, 1866, Taylor W. Webster presented a petition with fifty signers to the board of commissioners, asking that the town be incorporated. The petition stated that the population of the town was 755 people.