- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

ALBION, Ind. (AP) - A northeastern Indiana county has a handwritten document from 1844 designating its former county seat after receiving it from a New Yorker who says he unexpectedly found it among his belongings.

The document written in cursive on a now-yellowed paper records the official action of making the community of Port Mitchell the Noble County seat.

Noble County Historical Society President Bill Shultz said the group received the document “out of the blue” from Brooklyn resident Colin O’Guin, who grew up in the Porter County town of Kouts in northwestern Indiana and found it as he was preparing to move.

“He doesn’t know how he had it or why he had it, but he was smart enough to send it to us,” Shultz said.

Port Mitchell had only a short reign as the county seat as it was moved two years later to the current location of Albion, The (Kendallville) News Sun reported (https://bit.ly/1Lhai7R).

Leaders chose Port Mitchell as the county seat after the first courthouse in the community of Augusta burned down in 1843. Officials had examined multiple sites to “relocate the seat of justice” from March 4-8, 1844, “by actual view of all the various sites, proposed or offered for examination - consisting of some ten or twelve in number,” before deciding on Port Mitchell, according to the document.

County historical society members said they were as clueless as O’Guin about how or why he had the document.

“I have no recollection of how I came to own it,” O’Guin wrote in the letter that accompanied the document. “As a native Hoosier from Kouts, I feel it is my duty to return this to you, whether it has much historical value or not.”

The document has been given to county officials who plan to display in the courthouse.

“I’m sure that will bring a lot of attention hanging out there in the hallway,” county commissioners President Gary Leatherman said.

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Information from: The News-Sun, https://www.kpcnews.com

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