The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


September 28, 2013

Humor, classics come into play in the names of area towns


As to the name of Alexandria for the new business venture, there are quite a few theories, but the two most popular are related. The first holds that the town was named after the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, established in the 4th century B.C., on the Nile River delta.

The second states that like the Egyptian city, the early 19th century Madison County pioneer village was named after Greek emperor and conqueror Alexander the Great. In either case, early Madison County entrepreneurs seemed to have remembered their studies in ancient history.

Humor, Cheese, and Confusion

The town in Van Buren Township that we now call Summitville has gone by various labels. There was just a post office at this location in 1847. It was not until twenty years later that land owner Aaron Williams donated property for a town site and had the site surveyed. For a short time, the official hamlet was called Wrinkle because it was so small. Later it was referred to as Skipperville in reference to cheese. As the local story goes, two travelers stopped at the village for the night and purchased from a storekeeper cheese and crackers to eat.

The crackers were stale, and the cheese had maggots in it. Cheese in this condition was called “skipper cheese” back then, so the travelers, spreading the story, referred to the town in derision as Skipperville, and the name stuck for a time. Luckily, railroad surveyors came to the rescue. They named the poor little village Summitville because it was either the highest point of land between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis or the highest point in Madison County.

From this topographical connection, “Summitville” would be a type of descriptive name. However, there was still some confusion even with that because some historical documents named the town “Summit Hill” or others called it “Summitsville.”

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