Founding of Arcanum

Information from the “The Secret Town” written by William Gunder.

We read that William Gunder was planning to plat a town somewhere on his land as early as 1835. William was thinking ahead and the exact location of the new town would later be determined by the railroad angle through the area. Perhaps he was thinking about the possibilities of goods being moved? Which meant goods out and goods in. Perhaps local farmers were stating that better transportation was needed? More people coming into the area would mean more businesses and opportunities for better products? Also with the trains, people could visit and travel faster and easier then through swampy water or with horse and buggy.

These are all speculations, but we do know from records of the family found in Indiana as stated in Bill’s book, that the railroad played a significant role in that decision. We also know that the railroad was significant in the growth and development of many towns and villages, with Arcanum being one of those “villages”.

In 1848 two surveyors, Pomeray and Comly, were making test levels through the Gunder farm. This was the railroad branch of Greenville and Miami Rail Road Company. Well the boys spent the night at the Gunder’s and William asked them to spend a extra day and lay out a town for him. The plat was drawn and contained lots later known as 13 through 36 on the 1849 plat. William insisted that a unique name be selected for the new town. Of course, after much discussion, Arcanum which means “secret hidden” was chosen. The surveyors recalled that Gunder traveled to Greenville the next day to record it, but the record couldn’t be located at the Court House in later years. The Arcanum newspaper the “Arcanum Enterprise” details these events.

And the rest is history! We use the 1849 date as the Founding of Arcanum. As stated in our previous blog, William or Bill Gunder was researching about his grandfather and discovered he (William, Jr.) was the last child of the founder and wife Nancy. Thus began years of researching documents and information to write his family story. If you haven’t read the book, we encourage you to do that and especially read the “Forward” page written by William (Bill) Gunder. I know, there’s a lot of ‘William’s’! William the Founder, his son William Jr, and William (Bill) Gunder the author locally known to many and the author of the “The Secret Town” and past historian of AWTHS. See last blog with Bill’s story and memorial.

On page 8 we find the documentation of the Gunder’s, children of the founder:

Dicey (Dicea) Gunder 1822

Martin Gunder 1824-1865

Elizabeth Gunder 1826-1908

Mary Ann Gunder 1828

Sarah Ann Gunder 1829-1921

Infant Gunder 1831

Infant Gunder 1833

Caroline Gunder 1835-1915

Henry Gunder 1837-1916

Col. George W. Gunder 1840-1926

John C. Gunder 1842-1850

Infant Gunder 1844

Capt. Daniel Gunder 1846-1936

William Gunder, Jr. 1849

Please follow AWTHS Blog guidelines. Credit is to be given to “The Secret Town” book and author.

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