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Peter Spangler

Peter Spangler

This photo shows Culver's civil war veterans, pictured with local boy scouts, at a Memorial Day reunion held at the Academy in 1930. It was featured in the June 11, 1930 edition of the Culver Citizen. 5 of 7 of the surviving veterans were in attendance (with Seth Henderson and John Quinn unable to attend). Left to right, first row: Peter Spangler, Jacob Myers, Samuel Osborne, William Cook, John F. Cromley. 2nd Row: Scouts Morris (with head down), Hewes, Lindahl, Medbourn, Rockhill (talking to assistant Scoutmaster E.R. Corwin), Behmer.

Civil War Veteran & Culver Jack-of-all-trades

Early Years

  • Born in Sandusky, Ohio on Sept. 2, 1842
  • At 14, moves with family to log cabin east of Monterey on the Tippecanoe River.
  • Casts his very first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860

War Years

  • Culver historian Edwin R. Corwin reports that Spangler came from a family of fighters, his grandfather George having been killed in the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, fighting on the revolutionary side of the war. Peter’s brother William also fought with honor in the civil war, captaining a black regiment
  • Peter enlists in January 1864 with Company C, 48th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, 15th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, under the commands of Generals Logan, Thomas and Grant.
  • According to an interview with the Culver Citizen given at the end of his life, he enlisted alongside neighbor Jake Myer and fought in 11 states, traveling almost entirely on foot. He fought through the end of the war and said his most cherished war memory was his participation in General Sherman’s raid of Atlanta and subsequent 300 mile “march to the sea,” deep within Confederate territory. A family history notes “he often told how hungry the boys would become often living on a handful of parched corn a day.” The trail of devastation left by this campaign was a devastating blow to the Confederate forces. He was also in the battle of Raleigh, N.C., and the grand review at Washington.

Post-Army Career

  • A family history describes Peter as “a tall robust man who always wore a full beard,” adding that he was a house and barn mover, as well as a carpenter.
  • He ran a fisherman/vacationers resort, the Spangler Hotel (Allegheny House) for 30 years.
  • Peter worked as a stonemason and helped construct many of the buildings of the Culver Military Academy.
  • He helped fill in the swamps that once surrounded much of the lake, including the sites of the Culver Military Academy and town.
  • He ran his own small ice business, storing ice cut from the lake in an ice house just north of his home and delivering it to Plymouth customers with his team of bay mules. He also had a black stallion and sorrel horse, which grandchildren happily recall being pulled behind on bobsled at terrifying speeds.

Peter Spangler & Harriet Ann Bogardus

The following letter was written in May 1864, four months after Peter’s January furlough home. In the letter Peter expresses fear that Harriet might marry one of the sons of L.T. Vanschoiack, a wealthy neighbor who owned a large farm property stretching down to the lake at that time. Peter’s fears were apparently unfounded— just a few months after his July discharge, on September 3, 1865,  he married Hattie. Their wedding was held in Harriet’s family home, the Allegheny House. She wore a white-dotted wedding dress and stood in front of the big east-facing window. Both daughters were later married in the same spot, and daughter Ella presented her daughters with keepsake pieces of Harriet’s wedding dress on Christmas, 1936.

Harriet and Peter raised three children (Ellen, Frances, and George). After a short stint in Plymouth, they lived in the Allegheny House in Maxinkuckee Village, which they also ran as a hotel.


Huntsville, Alabama

May 6, 1864

 Most ever kind friend it is with grate pleasure to take this opportunity to drop you a few lines as I received a letter from Parker saying that you were very angry at me, yet it is no fault of mine. This is the third letter I have written to you and have not received any answer yet. Now Hattie it is possible that you have not got my letters, then you have a reason to feel as you do, yet I have no reason to think you got them for I believe you would have answered them.

Now Hattie, I ask you this, have I not been kind to you. You saw me the morning I left there. You know how I felt when we took the parting hard, That moment is before me now.

I feel calm as the grave yet I am far from you. You have my heart, I call upon God for witness Hattie.

It is possible that you have went back on me, If it is so, please write and let me know yet. I hope and trust it is not so. O Hattie as tho I had not a friend in the world, I wish you and I was together today. I would fall upon my knees before you and ask pardon if I have done anything wrong, I could not think what was the matter.  Margaret wrote to me that she thot you would marrie Van Schoek. I told Marg if you did it, it would be alrite with me. Well, Hattie, if he is your choice then marrie him. We are a long ways apart. We know not whether we will ever meet again on this side of the grave yet I trust we may.

We have no lease on our lives. Death reigns here daily. I know not when I shall be called upon to go, we [ought] to live [so] when we are called upon to go we might go in peace.

Last night as I stood alone upon my post I thot of everything that happened between us. Robert Wickizer was with me. He asked me what I would give to have you come to me there, I told him I would give my life. O, I think that would be the happiest hour I ever saw.

Well Hattie perhaps I have written enough for this time. Well Hattie I do not know how long we will stay here. I hope we will stay here this summer as this is a nice place if not for the things at home. I suppose times is very lonesome.

Well Hattie you must try to get along the best you can, I would do it. We know we were very unhappy at times we were together, now if times were to live over I think I could enjoy them. We might make those sad hours happy hours if we thot so. Now Hattie I will close this letter for this time hoping when you read these few lines you will think of me as one who loves you.

Ever a true friend,

Peter Spangler


The Allegheny / Spangler Hotel

The home of Harriet Ann Bogardus and Peter Spangler still stands today on 18B Road, in the former Maxinkuckee Village. It was built in 1848 by Abraham Wicks and Francis Bogardus, and operated as a hotel catering to Indianapolis fishermen. A bell tower called fishermen in from the lake for meals. There was a large ballroom upstairs for dances, and music was often provided by Abraham and daughter Harriet, on fiddle. Guests included Henry Harrison Culver and his wife Emily Jane, who spent time there following their wedding, as well as family friend and frequent visitor General Lew Wallace, who reportedly wrote the first chapter to Ben Hur while staying there.  Harriet and Peter ran the place until about 1895. Seven generations of the Bogardus/Spangler family lived on the property, including Peter himself, for over 60 years. In 1933, he died at the home of his daughter in Rochester, 90 years old. He was buried in Poplar Grove Cemetery.


One Response to “Peter Spangler”

  1. Christine Fuller says:

    I have this original letter. It has been passed down through my family. I am interested in donating

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