Jalapa, the oldest town in Pleasant Township, Grant County, Indiana, was platted in 1849 by Joseph Sprecher, its first settler.
Jalapa was named after Jal-a-pa, a Mexican War town.
Brownstown was the first town in Pleasant Township located one mile South of Jalapa.
Jalapa was located on the Mississinewa River and the old Marion and Peru highway seven miles Northwest of Marion, Indiana. Wagons rumbled along this highway carrying what traffic passed between these two cities. A large Inn was located near the Methodist Church to accommodate the travelers.
Indeed for that age Jalapa was admirably situated on the beautiful Mississinewa River, which was navigable for flat boats and provided the necessities of a pioneer settlement. Conners Mill, a grist mill and saw mill, existed before Sprecher laid out the town.
While Nelson Shockey and Mandus Shockey were among the late owners of the mill, Ed Harreld was the miller for many years. "Gilt Edge" flour was its best known product.
Jalapa was formerly the metropolis of Pleasant Township and was a thriving business town, but public enterprise passed it by. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad first considered going from Marion to Peru by the way of Jalapa, but later decided to take its present route through Sweetser. With a been a larger town.
Jalapa at one time contained two General Stores, two Blacksmith Shops, a Theatre, a Drug Store, a Barber Shop, Dr. Conover, Dr. Shanahan, and Dr. Trimble, physicians, a planing mill, tannery and three churches, M.E. and M.P. and a Camelite Church, also a schoolhouse.
In the early sixties, they erected a school house. The citizens insisted on a two story building as it was thought it would be used as a High School.
A brick school house East of the M.E. Church is where the author taught his first term of school in 1915.
Steve Sherman, one of the early citizens, was indeed a versatile man. He was a carpenter, made coffins and taught school, aside from running the mill and later a General Store.
Steve Snyder was the largest land owner in the area, owning 1300 acres. Farmers sold their hogs to Snyder and drove them to Jalapa to weigh them. From there, Snyder drove them to Marion.
The Jalapa Justice of the Peace not only married people, but he had to see that the groom got a job so that the happy people would not starve.
Thus, Jalapa grew. While there was no rural free delivery of mail during the town's prosperity, the surrounding area was served for 50 years by the Jalapa Post Office. Ralph Campbell was one of the early Postmasters.
The town band was well known in this area with Levi Stilts and Al Snyder being prominent members.
Jalapa experienced an Oil Boom in 1918 with the Black Panther Oil Company drilling 15 wells. Excitement was high and the people considered changing the name of Jalapa to Oil City. However, the whole thing proved to be a Wild Cat Project with no producing wells. The community, then, returned to normal living.
The Indiana Village Band which consisted of Indians and Whites was nationally known. Some of the white members were Shade Lawson, Ed Lawson, and Nate Lawson. The Lawsons were one of the prominent families in this area and were known as friends of the Indians.
Frank Simmons is the oldest resident of the community today. Warren Renbarger, Allen Brock, Lurle Simmons and Lawrence Lawson are long time residents. Some of my acquaintances of the past are Evan Henry, Levi Stilts, Ed Harreld, Homer Simmons, John Flook, I.N. Conrad, Vardaman Bros, Albert Raypoltz, Tom Marks, Demsey Williams, Orville King, Frank Ferguson, and Walter Renbarger, a barber.
Historical places of interest are the Mississinewa Battle Ground. The second largest Indian battle in Indiana was fought there December 18, 1812. General John B. Campbell was the white leader and emerged victorious. One mile North of the battleground is the Indian Village Cemetery, the burial place of Chief Meshingomesia who served his tribe for 40 years.
The old McClure House is in this community. Joaquin Miller, the poet, lived in this area as a boy.
The population has remained about the same the past 50 years, but with much nicer homes springing up. Today, it is a quiet and pleasant place to live with a population of 80 residents, several nice homes, one church(M.E.) and Carls Grocery Store.
Today, the Jalapa residents are anticipating a larger town due to its favorable location on the Mississinewa Reservoir.