William Thomas, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of William Thomas

Submitted by Oral Smith

In the fall of 1830 my great-grandfathers, William Thomas, Sr., and family, and Jesse Morgan, and family came to the Chesterton area from Wooster, Ohio, by covered wagons. In 1833 Jesse bought land on the Detroit, Fort Dearborn Post Road, now known as East Porter Avenue. They built a log building calling it The Stagecoach Inn. That year the stage-coach line started from Detroit to Fort Dearborn, making three trips a week. Jesse had the first Post Office, 1833-1853, and mail was delivered once a week by a soldier on horseback. This road was patrolled due to the Indian situation. Hannah, Jesse's youngest daughter, was born February 3, 1834, the first female white child born in Porter County. Jesse died in February 1853. William Thomas, Sr. bought land from an Indian Princess, Mau Ma Nass, whose father, Chief Pier Moran, a half-breed Indian, had obtained it on a government grant.

In 1830 a log home was built near the corner of Calumet Road and Porter Avenue. The Thomas Inn was built in 1833 -- an overnight stop between Valparaiso and Michigan City. It took 12 hours either way from the inn. This was as far as a horse could travel a day due to the condition of the trails.

The William Thomas, Jr. farm was located on what is now the center of Chesterton. He owned a mill north of town on Coffee Creek, operated by his brother John. His General Store was on the corner of Calumet and Broadway.

In 1830 the town was called Thomas Mill. In 1840 it was changed to Coffee Creek, in 1850 it was changed again to Calumet, and in 1852, when the Northern Indian Railroad was built, the name was changed to Chesterton.

In 1850 William Jr. platted his farm from Calumet Road to Fifth St.

In 1845 William Jr. and Ann Morgan, eldest daughter of Jesse Morgan, were married, and both died in April, 1865. There were two surviving children, Elias, who married Ann Beer, and Ellena, who married Charles Haslett. Ellena had two daughters, Nora married to Roy Hubbard (both deceased), and Oral married to Charles Smith (deceased).

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: 169

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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