Strange, but I have been skirting around writing about this fellow for many years and when his great great granddaughter, Martha F. sent a letter that he had written from California to his daughter, her ancestor, I was quickly on the search because he needs to be better known to Montgomery Countians and maybe a few others who might peruse this article, as well.
So, let’s meet Milton Byron Waugh, a native of Montgomery County, born on the farm his father purchased from the government (part of Section 11) on March the 3rd in 1831. Milton was born just about six years later in 1837 (Feb 11). Milton’s father, Milo Waugh joined other Sugar Creek early families (Bowers, Clousers, Petersons). His mother, Elizabeth was also of early Sugar Creek relations, being a Kious, her nephew, Nathan being the first born in the township.
Oddly, Milton B. was about the only one of his original family who stayed in Indiana except sister Martha who just married and passed away at 18 here. Two sisters and three brothers settled in Missouri and two brothers in Iowa. His brother, Miletus did serve in the 116th Indiana spending time in a Rebel prison then moving away after the war. Brother Harvey owned 1700 acres in Ringgold County, Iowa. Interesting folks by their own right.
At age 20, Milton married Sarah Saulsbury who grew-up in neighboring Clinton County. Sarah was well-loved by all who knew her, so admired that at her funeral in late August 1892, there were over 175 buggies following her from the home to the graveyard (Plainview near Colfax). The couple were perfectly matched (photos from Waugh History – Tippecanoe Historical Society – thanks Martha).
The seven Waugh children were grown at the time of Sarah Elizabeth’s death. James Milo was born in July 1859 and had an interesting experience regarding the fraternities at Purdue where he graduated in Civil Engineering, later serving as the Montgomery County surveyor. James gave the majority of the money for the Waugh Science Hall at Wabash. John M. Waugh remained on the farm owning 240 acres of the 700 his father owned at one time. Emma O. married Fielding H. Rice a farmer in Sugar Creek Township. Mollie, born Sept 14,1865 married John Shiver who owned property and raised stock in neighboring Tippecanoe County. Mattie born April 5,1867 married William Fisher and they farmed in Sugar Creek; Clara born April 1869 married (on Valentine’s Day) to William Reeves, a lawyer and the youngest, Frank W, born March 13, 1872, was the only one at home when his mother passed away but married not too long afterwards. He also farmed in the area. See their family photo (thanks Martha)
Milton B. went to the local schools as well as spending a term at the Farmer’s Institute at Lafayette (Beckwith History). It is obvious that his expertise managing money was the big plus in his success. He served as his father’s executor, one of the longest (more than six years) settlements I’ve ever found. His sale in August of 1859 had seven horses, 50 cattle, 50 hogs; 110 sheep; 300 bushels of wheat; a wagon; buggy; farming utensils and a plethora of household goods. At least a portion of the original Waugh property was sold in November 1865 before Milton wrapped-up the estate.
There was a Revolutionary War soldier on both sides of his family, his grandfather Waugh (Dr. Joseph) served 16 months in the Revolutionary War and his wife, Mary Hopkins was the daughter of Edward who also fought in the Revolution.
Well, Milton didn’t shirk his duty, either, as during the Civil War he began and served as the Captain of the Home Guards in Sugar Creek Township. In 1863, this group was called-out to chase down Morgan’s Raiders out of Indiana (Bowen History). This was during harvest time and it was said that the women in the area (every available male was out with the Captain) strapped their babies on their backs and “sought to do their share of securing the ripening grain which the family would need in the coming winter.” Perhaps Sarah was one of these, but it’s doubtful since she had a four year and two-year old son and Emma born about this time (Oct. 14th); however, she may have overseen hired help.
About the time the war was winding down the Waughs took a boy in, treated him as their own, (new suit of clothes, schooling). The lad’s father, a Confederate officer, was killed; his mother passing shortly thereafter. Thus, wandering with a Union group who befriended him, he ended up in Montgomery County. He soon learned that no matter the hard knocks, no matter north or south, there are good and bad people. He knew the Capt. and his wife were of the utmost folks. Bascom Clarke would go on to be a postmaster, manager of a farm machinery company, founder of the American Thresherman and wrote and published two books on the Masons. Plus, he paid it forward, as under the name of “Uncle Silas,” he campaigned for money every year where he moved and “filled the stockings of the children of Italian immigrant families every Christmas Eve.” (Madison WI Capital Times 18 March 1929).
Milton had many interests, one of which was race horses and his favorite which he owned during the 1880s was General Flora, “an imported Norman horse,” which he wisely boarded in multiple places. About this time, he possibly aided in the building of Waugh Road and others in the area. The Greencastle Banner 3 May 1883 noted that “No county in the state can boast of better and smoother highways than Montgomery!” Perhaps Bascom received his love of the Masons through Milton as he was a member for four and a half decades. Involved with the Agricultural Association he developed and promoted the Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company to help insure the farmers. He was heavily involved in Shorthorn cattle, Clydesdale horses and Cotswold Sheep. Several times he served as the county Republican chair and in other local political aspects (once even nominated for Senator). Real excitement prevailed in the summer of 1885 when the remains of a mastodon were found on his property. It is believed Earlham College professors and students were called in for its removal. More research needed. He and others began a new bank in 1903, and he was its first president. So many interests and energy to back it all up!
A couple of years after Sarah passed, Milton at age 58, married Maggie Herron (56, and never married). Rev. EB Thompson married the couple in her home on South Washington Street. It was a private ceremony with only his children and a very few others. They left almost immediately for an extended honeymoon – very extended, about 18 months or so. Mainly in California, the trip sounded amazing in his letters home. An Ostrich farm (with over 100 birds), an orange grove that shipped out 2500 train car loads of oranges the year before, and his enjoyment of the ocean’s Sea Moss and shells (sending many home) was wonderful, as was his worry and concern (even sending an okay for one of the girls to get money) for his children.
Milton B. Waugh passed away just a few days before the Christmas season in 1904, following a couple of weeks sickness due to his diabetes. He was just 62 years old, known by almost everyone in the county and admired by all! I’m sure a fan!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, “Around the County”, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County