Lewis Comer, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Lewis Comer


The influence of a great and good man will be ever expanding with the lapse of time, and his deeds of charity and acts of love will live to commemorate his name and perpetuate his memory. Probably no man was better known in North Indiana, because of his religious and charitable character, than Rev. Lewis Comer, and no man was more highly esteemed. He was born in that grand old mother of States, Virginia, December 25, 1798, and in his boyhood removed with his parents to Pennsylvania, where he grew to mature years on a farm. From early youth he had been of a religious turn, an earnest and arduous student of the Bible, and when twenty-three years of age he began preaching, having united with the Christian Church, and been baptized when thirteen years of age. After this he traveled all over Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio, going on foot and preaching the gospel, and against slavery. At one time he traveled over thirty miles before breakfast, and then had to wait until they ground corn and churned. He had made an appointment to preach, but on arriving, he found that his clothes were so ragged that he was obliged to go to bed until they were mended. For some time he lived in Ohio and Michigan, and on the 19th of April, 1837, he came through from Michigan in a wagon, and located on Morgan prairie, Porter County. At the land sale during the fall of 1837 he bought 106 acres of land, on which was a little log cabin with earth floor, and he and family took possession. His first duty after arriving in this new country was to preach the funeral of a Mr. Agnew who froze to death, and the sermon was preached in the little log cabin. The same year (1837) Mr. Comer began organizing a little band of Christians, consisting of five members, and his first sermon was preached in a school house. Only two of these members are now living, Mrs. Comer and Mrs. Adams. Our subject built up a large organization, and assisted in erecting a nice church there before his death. He was the first minister to come to Northern Indiana, and preached the first funeral and organized the first church in Porter County. He was noted for his charity, the traveler was ever welcome at his door, and he never took a cent for accommodations. When Mr. Comer first settled in Porter County, the country was wild and unsettled, and thickly populated with Indians and wild animals. He assisted in building churches and in paying preachers all over the county, and never would accept any compensation for his services. His death occurred January 21, 1876, and it could be truly said that a great and good man was gathered to his fathers; but his virtues live after him, and his reputation, sustained under the conflict of a long career of extraordinary activity, bears no blemish, and his name is everywhere mentioned with respect and honor. He was married May 3, 1830, to Miss Catherine Baum, a native of Pennsylvania, who is still living. She is now eighty-seven years of age, is very active, and finds a comfortable home with her daughter in Valparaiso. She is the mother of three sons and three daughters: Rebecca, deceased; Samuel, died in the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky, while serving in the Civil War; Josephus, of Kansas; Henrietta, wife of Jacob Fisher of Porter County, and Cytheria, wife of Heber Stoddard (see sketch). This is one of the oldest families in Porter County, as well as one of the most respected. For many years Mr. Comer preached all the funerals and performed all the marriages in the county. At one time Mr. Comer was called upon to preach at a point across the Kankakee river and left home without money, expecting to get enough to pay his ferry-boat fee, but he was not offered any money, and the owner of the ferry-boat sued him for seventy-five cents, his fare across.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 369-371

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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