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Fowler, IN 47944
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History

The history of this community rests on the shoulders of one man, the Town's namesake, Moses Fowler. Mr. Fowler, a young man of humble background, came to Lafayette with John Purdue to go into the mercantile business. Later he became director of the Lafayette Bank and was destined to become its largest stock holder. Owing to his financial success in this, his most profitable enterprise, and impressed by the land investment of Henry Ellsworth, former head of U.S. Bureau of Patents, he gradually acquired Benton County land. After Ellsworth's death in the late 1850s, Fowler purchased much land from his estate as well.

He foresaw the opportunity of agriculture, as depending upon draining the swamp land and, building of a transportation system in the form of railroads to transport grain and livestock to available markets. He and his brother-in-law, Adams Earl, also a financier from a humble beginning, accumulated land in the county totaling over 30,000 acres. At first the land was used for Fowler and Earl's large cattle herds, with enough grain being grown for winter feeding purposes. They also leased out large parcels of land for grazing purposes. Farmers in the area raised corn, wheat, oats and flax. There were many trappers too.

By 1871, the town of Fowler had begun to emerge. A few houses (the first house built belonged to Scott Shipman and the second to James S. Anderson), a hotel, operated by William Jones, a grain elevator run by O. Barnard and son and later by Leroy Templeton, a blacksmith shop and post office operated by John Mitchell and a small millinery shop owned by Mrs. Ed Westman - all on land owned by Moses Fowler. The town was platted in 1872 by Moses Fowler and wife on the Big 4 line railroad and had 583 lots. Later it was re-platted by Moses Fowler, Adam Earl and their wives because of several jogs made around already established businesses and homes. In 1873 Fowler was a thriving town and Moses Fowler began to influence his compatriots, especially those that were landowners in the center and western part of the county, to move the county seat to his town - Fowler. This move fell into line when a Chicago architect condemned the second courthouse.

The brick structure that had been constructed in Oxford in 1856 served as courthouse and jail, and had been condemned as unsafe and inadequate. When a village develops into a town, it must be incorporated, named, and organized and acquire a directive body. Early in 1875, three residents of the community, William Hughes, J.F. Warner, and John Burns asked for a vote of the people to decide if the area should be incorporated and if the town should legally take the name "Fowler". Eighty-three votes were cast; seventy affirmatives and thirteen negative. The town was incorporated; a town board was elected, and soon after a town hall built.

Many years later, in 1955, a new town hall was built on the sight of that first building. Intended to house the town offices, it also served as the home of the police and fire departments. Today, it is still the meeting place of the Town's Board, as well as the Fowler Police Department. By 1900, Fowler had 1500 people and was the largest town in the County, as well as being the County Seat. It is still both of these today.

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