The village of Trader’s Point was laid out by John Jennings and Josiah Coughran in 1864. They erected a flour mill, with four run of burrs, three for wheat and one for corn. It was at first a water mill with a raceway nearly three quarters of a mile long, and cost, with water privilege, machinery, and construction, about thirty thousand dollars. The mill was run to its full capacity for several years as a grist and merchant mill. In 1868 or 1869, Mr. Jennings sold out his interest to his partner, Mr. Coughran, who continued to run the mill until the panic of 1873, when Mr. John Irick bought the mill at assignee’s sale, and afterwards sold it to James Skillen of Indianapolis, who ran the mill for a few years after which it fell back to the Irick Estate, and in 1881 John Jennings again became the owner. He remodeled it, put it in good repair, and sold it to Mr. Coffin, of Indianapolis, who sold it in the fall of 1883 to a Mr. Jennings of Kokomo, who is preparing to put it into operation.
The first store in Trader’s Point was opened by Clark Jennings who did a good business. He was followed by John Ray, who sold out to Lewis Wiley. Wiley to Harry Morris, le to James Kirlin (one of the oldest merchants in the county), and Kirlin to J.B. Gossett, who did a good business for a number of years, and finally sold out and went to Kansas.
The second store building was erected by John Jennings, Chesley Ray, and the Rural Lodge, I.O.O.F. in 1873. This store did a prosperous business, and in 1874, Ray bought Jennings’ interest in the store and now carries on the business. He is also the postmaster of Trader’s Point.
The first blacksmith at Trader’s Point was Presley Jennings. Lewis Gass is now running the shop started by Jennings. Another shop is carried on by James Wells. A cooper shop was started here by Alfred Parker, who followed the business for a number of years.
The first physician to locate here was a young man from Ohio named Howard. The present physician is Dr. Lewis O. Carson, who came in May, 1877. He is a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Indianapolis, is also a graduate of the Medical College of Indiana, and of the medical department of Butler University. He has a lucrative practice, and is a successful physician and surgeon.
(Photo: the earliest known photo of commerce in Traders Point is of the Resler-Wilkens garage, from the 1920s. This garage was located at the northwest corner of Lafayette Road and Dandy Trail.)