Wednesday, January 30, 2008

History of South Wayne

The once unincorporated village of South Wayne comprised the area bounded by Calhoun Avenue on the east and Creighton Avenue on the north. Youngsters of the 1860s and 1870s roamed this paradise and engaged in swimming, nutting, fishing, and in clandestine visitations to orchards and fields of melons. Perhaps it was the knowledge of this enchanted woodland which caused these same persons, later, when mature, to perpetuate their memories by the establishment of the town of South Wayne, now an integral part of Fort Wayne and long forgotten as a separate entity.
South Wayne proper comprised the territory in the farms formerly belonging to the Ewing, Thompson, and Fairfield estates. Asa Fairfield, father of Cyrus, for a long time was the oldest living resident of South Wayne.He then possessed the title of the “Father of South Wayne.” Asa Fairfield, a retired sea captain, while on active duty made his home at Kennebunk Port, Maine; he feared the continuing siren call of a sailor’s life and decided that he could best resist it many miles inland. He migrated west and arrived in Fort Wayne in 1833. In 1834 he acquired land in section II, from Benjamin B. Kerchival and Ann Turner, who had entered the land. The purchase price was $1,800 for 160 acres. Within six months he moved his family to this city. Cyrus Fairfield then was but six months of age.
Asa Fairfield lived the life of a farmer until his death. He was both prosperous and prominent in the community. He made a success of tilling the soil, in spite of the fact that he undertook that occupation rather late in life. His farm with other acquisitions ultimately comprised 240 acres. He also owned the first canal boat on the Wabash-Erie Canal, which he himself built and called the “Indiana.” It made its first trip to Huntington on July 4, 1834. As a coincidence, later, the first car on the interurban line from Huntington to Fort Wayne was likewise called the “Indiana.”

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