Commentary by David Heighway
I’ve written several times on the raucous nature of early Fishers, but it’s important to remember that there were other, more innocent times, when people just enjoyed each other’s company.
In a letter that was in the Jan. 8, 1875, Noblesville Daily Ledger from a person who signed herself as “Mrs. Wienawski,” the writer discussed the opening of a new tavern in Fisher’s Switch. However, once the writer had expressed their concerns about the tavern, she then shifted to other topics and described various celebrations that had happened in the area on New Year’s.
“Well, the holidays are over, and all seemed to have enjoyed themselves, to judge from the bright and happy faces that we see. Mrs. Levitt had a wood chopping on New Year’s Day and oyster supper in the evening, had a good time, but not as much wood chopped as should have been. Mr. Ben Castetter had an old-fashioned candy party on New Year’s evening, attended by about 80 persons. I wonder where they all came from. John Hauss has purchased the house and lot belonging to Peter Shafer, at the Switch, and will move there in March. Oh yes! George Arthur had a turkey roast on New Year’s Day. George Stevens and family are here visiting friends. We are having pretty good sleighing now, and our young gents are making good use of the snow in taking their new sleighs and pretty girls out sleighing.”
Mrs. Levitt was probably Sarah Levitt (1814-1888), a widow who lived in Fall Creek Township. She had children living nearby, but at the age of 61, she probably still needed help in getting chores done, hence the wood chopping party. It sounds like people had too much fun and didn’t get much work done. Not an unusual situation for New Year’s Day.
Benjamin Castetter (1837-1908) was a farmer who lived near New Britton. The comment/joke about wondering where all of the people came from for his party stems from the fact that the area had almost the lowest population in the county. In 1870, all of Delaware Township had a population of 1,434, and Fall Creek Township had a population of 1,530. Only Clay Township was lower, with a population of 1,413. Since the present estimated population of Fishers is more than 90,000 people, you could say it’s changed a bit.
While there was snow for the 2017-18 holiday, there probably wasn’t much sleighing done. Still, I expect the present citizens of Fishers had as much fun as their predecessors.