Crisman, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Crisman


In the words of Ray Crisman, (1874-1967), a lifelong Porter County resident.

My grandfather, Benjamin G. Crisman, came to Porter County, Indiana in 1850 at the age of 34, with his wife Elizabeth and his family, consisting of Solomon, Isaac, Addison, Oliver, Henry, Milton, Nancy and Clara. After he arrived here, he had 2 more children, Wesley and Eliza Jane.

He had a farm of 260 acres in Portage Township and his sons helped farm it until the Civil War. Isaac, Addison, and Oliver went to serve in Co. E. 73rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Grand Army of the Republic, and Henry, Milton, and Soloman stayed home and helped raise the crops. Isaac was with General Sherman on his march through Georgia. When they returned at the close of the War, Isaac moved to Crisman (now a part of Portage), which was named after my Grandfather, and became its first Postmaster and owned its first store. Addison and Oliver continued to farm.

My father, Milton, married Sarah Fifield in 1873, daughter of Benjamin Fifield of Union Township. In 1875 he bought 145 acres and a fine brick home, which was located diagonally to the new Portage High School. They had 5 children; Raymond (myself), Ross, Grace, Leonard, and Verna. Verna died at the age of 4 from Scarlet Fever. I can remember that she waited on the steps every day for us to come in from the fields. Grace married George Lute, and had 4 children; Ben, Raymond, Howard and Verna. Leonard married Hattie Baring of Chicago, and had 3 children; Walter, Anna, and Harry Leonard. Walter was a Judge in Porter County for several years. Ross married Emma Wilson and had 4 children; Vera, Bess, Harold and Milton.

Since there was no high school, I went to the Northern Indiana Normal School (now Valparaiso University). In 1897, I bought a farm in Portage Township (near the former NIKE Base). There weren't even any roads to it, and I had to bring supplies through the mud by horse and wagon. In the same year, I married Mary Ella Miles from Westville, and had a family of 7 children; Ralph, Howard, Gladys, Mabel, Edith, Emery and Robert.

One day in 1903 my father was coming to visit me, and his wagon was hit by a train at Bender's Spur on Swanson Road in Portage. He died as a result of the injuries from that accident. I guess people haven't changed much; some are still getting hit by trains.

In 1927 I moved to Union Township and sold my Portage Township farm to my nephew, Ben. My daughter, Gladys, went to college in a one horse buggy, and became a school teacher.

We had tractors in the 1930's, but I was still fond of my horses, and kept a team until 1950. I had one fast road team of blue roans, of which I was particularly proud.

Farm life was our life, and I started my sons as I started; milking the cows from age 5 onward. Everyone had their share of duties.

I drove a car until J was 90, and as I look back, I hope everyone else in Porter County had as good a life as our family.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 93

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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