Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900A regional history written by Timothy H. Ball . . . .

Source Citation:
Ball, Timothy H. 1900. Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900 or A View of Our Region Through the Nineteenth Century. Chicago, Illinois: Donohue and Henneberry. 570 p.





MODERN OR RAILROAD LIFE -- 1850 to 1900.

With the opening of the last half of the Nineteenth Century there came from the eastward railroad builders, pushing their roads onward to the young city of Chicago; and before these roads could reach that city they must cross the counties of La Porte, Porter, and Lake. When the children and the deer and the water fowls heard the whistle of the engines that drew the freight trains, pioneer life came to an end.

A short review of that variety of life has, in a former chapter, been given; and in this, by means of contrast and of historic records, an attempt will be made to give some true impression of the railroad life or modern life of the last fifty years.

So soon as these earliest roads, the Michigan Central and Michigan Southern, passed through, Michigan City and Chicago, where the schooners could take away grain, were no longer the only markets, for La Porte, and Old Porter or Chesterton, and Lake Station, and Dyer, were railroad stations where goods could be landed and from which grain could be shipped.

Miss Florence Pratt, in a paper on the Presbyterian history, in "Lake County 1884," assigning a reason why the church building, commenced in 1845, was not completed till 1847, says: "But money was very scarce, the country wild with very few roads


or horses. Lumber was hard to get, and must be brought on ox-carts from Chicago or Porter County." And so for twelve years the people of Crown Point held their religious meetings in their homes and in their log court house; yet, before they heard the first railroad whistle, they did "arise and build" two frame meeting houses. But now, when the railroad stations became shipping points, lumber was brought in and the true era of frame buildings, for dwellings and for churches, commenced. The log cabins, comfortable as they had been made, became out-houses, stables and cribs and granaries, and the family homes were clean, new, sightly, frame dwellings with ceiled or plastered walls, with good brick chimneys an outside that could be painted and inside walls that were not daubed with clay. Carpets soon were on some of the floors, large mirrors leaned out from the white walls, furniture such as the log cabins had not sufficient room to contain now graced the more spacious apartments, instruments of music began to be seen and heard in many a home, and comforts and even luxuries found their way wherever the freight cars could unload goods and take on grain and hay, and cattle and sheep and hogs, and butter and eggs and poultry. Soon there was much to be sent off, and much, for all the farming community, was brought back in return. Changes in modes of living, in dress, in furniture, and then in farming implements, were not, of course, instantaneous, but they came very rapidly along. Instead of beating out the wheat and oats with flails, or treading it out on smooth ground floors with oxen or horses according to the old Oriental method, as was needful to be done at first, threshing machines came to the farms, even before the


railroads were built. And then, instead of cleaning out the chaff by means of the wind, fanning mills came into use, and one was needed on every farm; and next the separator machine came, and so one improvement followed another as the harvest times came round. For a few years in each July many would go from distant neighborhoods to the large grain fields on Door Prairie, a good cradler receiving sometimes two dollars for a day's work, and one who could rake and bind and keep up with the cradler receiving the same. From three to four acres a day was a good day's work. But the mowers came, the reapers came, unloaded from the cars they were taken out to the farms, and men no longer swung the cradles hour after hour and day after day. And, at length, the last triumph of human skill in this line seemed to be reached when the great harvesting machines came, the self-binders, cutting the grain, raking it into bundles, binding those bundles, all done by a machine drawn by horses, driven by one man.

In the earliest years of settlement, and through all the pioneer period, oxen were quite generally used as draft animals. They were on almost every farm; they drew the plows, the wagons, the harrows, the sleds. They were on the roads drawing the heavy loads to the market towns. They were strong, patient, hardy, quite safe, not taking fright and running away, could live on rough food with not much shelter; but generally they were slow. A few could walk, and draw a plow, along with ordinary horses, but only a few. On the road an ox team did well to make three miles an hour. A more true average would probably be two and a half miles per hour. It took but a few moments to yoke them. The yoke was put on the neck of


the ox on the right, called the "off ox," first, the bow put in its place and keyed; then the other end of the yoke was held up, and it was instructive to see how the other ox, when well trained, would walk up and put his neck under the yoke, in the proper place for the bow to come up under his throat to the yoke, and there to be fastened with a wooden, possibly with an iron, key. When well treated, they were gentle, patient, faithful animals, as for many generations, along a line of thousands of years, their predecessors had given their strength and endurance, in many lands, to the service of man.

But now, as here the modern railroad era opened, and changes in modes of agriculture and living took place, horses for farm work and road work began largely to take the place of oxen. Mowers and then reapers came to the farms as early as 1855 and then onward, and for these and all the modern improvements that followed horses were found to be more serviceable. So in some neighborhoods in Lake County, the yoke was removed from the necks of the oxen as early as 1855; in other neighborhoods not until 1862 and 1863, when large quantities of beef began to be wanted in the country; and when the year 1870 was reached oxen as working animals had almost disappeared north of the Kankakee River. One farmer sold his last yoke for $150. In Jasper and Newton and Starke, as newer counties and not feeling so soon the influence of the railroads, the use of oxen continued into later years.

There are many children and young people now who never saw a yoke of oxen; many young farmers who would not know how to yoke them, to unyoke them, or to drive them; to whom the ox-chains, and


the tongue bolts, and the ox-whips for directing the movements of three or four yoke of oxen in one team, would be quite strange farm furniture. To them, many allusions to oxen in sacred and classic story have little significance and beauty. Muzzling the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn, they do not understand; of how much land a yoke of oxen would plow in a day, they have not much idea. Some things we have lost, while many things we have gained. Well and faithfully through all the pioneer time, these truly noble domestic animals served well in their day. Each one, as a rule, had a name, and old is the teaching, the ox knoweth his owner, but horses and steam and electricity have quite fully taken the place now of these once trusty servants of man. Their necks are free from the yoke and their shoulders from the bow. An ox-yoke is itself a curiosity now.

Our yokes were generally shorter, heavier, with more work put upon them, and not so straight as those used in the Pine Belt of the South, where oxen still do much heavy work.

Returning once more to the pioneer period, people travelled then on horseback, or in ox-wagons, and in large, two horse wagons which were used for any farm purposes. Buggies and carriages had not, to much extent, been brought in. But soon, when the railroad period opened, the young men purchased buggies and trained their horses for the harness instead of the saddle, and soon the farmers had buggies, and in these later years, good covered carriages, so that even the stylish carriage and fine horses of Joseph Leiter, then the millionaire, the brother of "the first lady of India," who in the summer of 1897 was accustomed to drive every week from Crown Point to the


Red Cedar Lake, were but little in advance of the carriages and horses of our own citizens who count no higher up than into the ten thousands.

And where once, not so long ago, at our public gatherings were the ox teams and heavy farm wagons, now, when the hundreds and the thousands gather, covered buggies and close carriages are the general rule. As La Porte County is the oldest, the most populous, the wealthiest of these counties, there, as might be expected, costly carriages made their appearance first.

It was quite a struggle for a few years for the farmers to make headway and secure the conveniences which the railroads supplied, for many were in debt for their land, and prices for farm products were rather low, and money not very abundant, until the changes came from 1860 and onward, as the nation was entering into the scenes of the great conflict. Those who are only about forty-five years of age cannot realize how financial matters were managed before any "greenbacks" were issued. But since that change took place in the currency of the nation, changes in prices being connected with it, great improvements have taken place in the homes of the farmers. Little remains now on the farms of the earlier farming implements. The entire mode of planting and sowing, of cultivating crops and of gathering, has changed. It is singular how so many once familiar objects have disappeared.

In the more costly and elegant mansions now, beautiful and costly and massive, like those in the large cities of the land, may be seen elegant furniture, costly engravings and beautiful pictures upon the walls, on the center tables, papers of various kinds,


choice magazines, the best published in the world, and near at hand, accessible readily to the family, and to visitors, the standard dictionaries and encyclopedias and large libraries of the noted and standard English and American books. There is as yet no private dwelling that has cost half a million, but there are, even in this corner of
Indiana, some few who may be called millionaires, although as yet no city is here having of inhabitants twenty thousand. About fifteen thousand is now the limit.

In the counties south of the Kankakee River, railroad life commenced in 1860, and not fully until 1865, when the road now called the Pan Handle passed through Monticello and North Judson direct to Chicago; and but a small part of Newton County felt the direct influence of the age of steam until the Chicago & Eastern Illinois road passed through Morocco in 1889. Lake Village is yet, as the capital of Florida used to be called, "inland."

Along these years, from 1850 to 1900, when one railroad after another was built across our borders, and stations were established nearer to the homes of many of the farmers, and villages and towns were growing, changes and quite rapid improvements were constantly going on among all the farming communities. Not only were new farming implements introduced, not only were much more showy and commodious dwelling houses and barns and granaries constructed, not only were stylish vehicles often seen in the carriage houses of the farmers, but the social life, the school life, the church life, all were materially changed, and the farmers were, many of them, accumulating much property. The domestic animals were largely on the increase, except in the exclusively


grain producing neighborhoods, and such large additions had been made to the fixed capital and also to the circulating or loose capital in all this region of Indiana, that a stranger, a visitor, might well say, this is a largely prosperous, a contented and happy community.

Yet it may after all be questioned whether real happiness or satisfaction, as connected with the activities of life, is any greater now, than in the early pioneer days. The men and the women and the very children were founders and builders then, looking eagerly often, surely hopefully forward, to the times of greater abundance and enlarged comforts, which they felt sure would come; but the very activity and effort were large elements in the enjoyments of that life. When one has reached the position of assured competence possessed by one of the grand pioneer men, a member of one of our old settler associations, who expressed himself in this figurative language, that he had come to the condition in which he did not care "whether school kept or not," it soon becomes evident that after all he is not perfectly contented. Well said that learned and wise philosopher, Sir William Hamilton, "It is ever the contest that pleases us and not the victory." And he quotes the "great Pascal" as saying: "In life we always believe that we are seeking repose, while in reality, all that we ever seek is agitation." And he quotes Jean Paul Richter as saying: "It is not the goal, but the course, which makes us happy." And he quotes, in the same line of sentiment, Malebranche, one of "the profoundest thinkers of modern times," as saying: "If I held truth captive in my hand, I should open my hand and let it fly, in


order that I might again pursue and capture it." And on this same principle, the enjoyment to be found in well directed human activity, if a young man in this, our modern railroad life, could choose for himself an inherited abundance or a reasonably sure inherited or acquired ability to gain for himself that abundance, he would do well to let the inherited abundance go. Like the philosopher, let truth fly in order to have the opportunity to pursue and capture. So here it may be repeated, it is quite questionable whether, with all the present abundance, the comforts, the luxuries of the present, there has come any greater happiness than was enjoyed in the old pioneer days. The fact, however, is, the prosperous farmers as well as the business men in towns and cities are not "sleeping in their carriages," to quote a figure
from the once noted Chesterfield, but are eager and active to still gain more and more. The pioneer activity was a very healthful activity. Perhaps there is a little fever-heat connected with the rush of railroad life now.

To one interested in studying human nature and in observing the workings of character, the effects of the change of surroundings which the railroad era brought were sometimes surprising and sometimes amusing. Those who in their log buildings had been hospitable and courteous, refined and polished in manners, continued the same kindly attentions to the needs or wishes of others. But some who in their log cabins had been hospitable, although unrefined, when occupying their well built mansions with plastered walls and painted surfaces and gilded furniture, seemed to forget that ever they were inside of logs and mud, and were warmed by the fire connected with stick chimneys. But good, common sense character-


ized the majority of those who had known pioneer life, and only some of their young people could be charged with "putting on airs."

Bringing comforts, conveniences, luxuries, railroads also brought some undesirable new features into both country and town life. They tended to increase the number of saloons, to enlarge the bounds of Sabbath desecration, to encourage the escape of criminals; and they opened the way for "tramps," a class of men unknown in the early days; and connected with them, if not of them, came "strikes." Some actual history of the years 1893 and 1894 will show their great convenience in facilitating transportation, in aiding travel; and also show them in connection with the conduct of a great strike.

In the year 1893, while the Columbian Exposition was open, the citizens of Lake, Porter and La Porte counties, enjoyed great facilities for attending that remarkable World's Pair, at Jackson Park, and witnessing the wealth of beauty and magnificence that could be seen that summer in the White City. It was estimated that fully two thousand school children of Lake County spent some little time in that great exposition. A part only of the public schools reported an attendance of nine hundred and seventy-three. Probably never again will so many people pass over Lake County in one month on the railroad lines which enter Chicago, as passed in September of 1893. The opportunities of that year, the enjoyment of the rich life of that summer, can never by thousands in northwestern Indiana be forgotten, as for six months, so near to their own borders, the great interest was concentrated of the civilized world.

The year of 1894 was vastly different. The fol-


lowing quoted paragraph is from the Historical Secretary's report at the Old Settlers' Association of Lake County, read in August, 1894:

This year has been no ordinary year although vastly unlike the last. Over all our land it has been a year of uncertainty, of unrest, of some conflict; and, to some extent, in all these we of Lake County have shared. There have been the remarkable inactivity of the American Congress, the great stagnation in mining and manufactures, the Pullman boycott, the Debs' strikes, the miners' strikes, the assassination of the French president, and a war commenced between the two great powers of Eastern Asia, China and Japan. In our narrow limits we have felt but little change from these events which have made this year memorable; but in the north part of the county for a time the civil officers were unable to maintain law and order, and United States troops and some eight hundred state militia upheld the law and secured railroad transportation and the passage of the mails in the city of Hammond, quelling disturbances also in East Chicago and Whiting. For a time in Crown Point, on both roads, no trains could go through to Chicago, and passenger trains lay by here for many hours, reminding us of the scenes during our great snow blockade. The tents of the soldiers, the soldiers themselves on guard duty, the presence of the soldiers with their arms in various places, the guard around the Erie station, the gatling gun on the platform, caused Hammond to appear for a number of days as a city under martial law. It was in our county a new experience to have almost a regiment of soldiers under arms to preserve order, and to be able to reach the Erie station passenger room only as one passed the sentry and the corporal of the guard. We may well hope that such times will not often come. No mail, no travel, no daily papers, no intercourse with Chicago. Some of the Crown Point grocerymen had supplies brought out from Chicago by teams as was customary before railroads were built. Happily this


condition of things did not last long. The President of the United States exercised his authority, the governors of Indiana and Illinois asserted theirs, troops poured into Chicago, and the gathering of mobs, the lawlessness, the destruction of property, the impossibility of moving trains in or out of the city ceased.

Historical truth and justice to a part of the citizens of Hammond seem to require some further record here. In one of the city papers, the heading of the article, "To maintain Law," a notice appeared of a meeting of citizens of Hammond, in the hall of the Sons of Veterans, from which notice some extracts and statements are taken. "The first speaker was ex-Secretary of State, Charles F. Griffin, who, in a speech that was full of patriotism and loyalty, paid a graceful compliment to President Cleveland and Governor Matthews."

He spoke for half an hour, and said, when closing:

"The law-abiding citizens of this city have been outraged and their rights trampled upon. The fair name of Hammond and Lake County has been blackened by the work of rioters." "The methods employed by the mob that had possession of Hammond last week forcibly remind one of the days of bushwhacking. It is high time the citizens take action."

He then read some resolutions, which after discussion were adopted, which strongly condemned the action of the rioters, their upholders, and of some local officials, and which approved heartily the action of the President and of the Governor "in furnishing military protection to life and property."

The names of others given as taking an active part in this meeting of citizens who pledged themselves to the enforcement of law, are the following: Professor W. C. Belman, Rev. F. W. Herzberger, G. P.


C. Newman, J. B. Woods, Rev. August Peter, Colonel Le Grand T. Meyer, one of the Governor's staff, W. G. Friendly, and E. E. Beck, who was chairman of the meeting.

It was a time of no little excitement; the results in Chicago were then uncertain; Hammond was the same as a part of Chicago in its locality; and some who were called Hammond citizens had held a meeting not long before, heartily endorsing "the conduct" of the officials whose action the citizens at this meeting condemned, and denouncing the sending of troops by the President to quell the disturbances. One of the resolutions, therefore, as read by Hon. C. F. Griffin, contained this strong language: "Resolved, That the business men and law abiding citizens of Hammond repudiate with disgust and alarm the disloyal sentiments expressed by the resolutions of the so-called citizens meeting of last Tuesday, and assert that they are not indorsed by the masses of Hammond citizens."

Quiet was at length restored, the soldiers were removed from Hammond, and trains could pass and re-pass without molestation.

In this record of an experience as a part of modern railroad life, that life which in its different aspects and different stages it is the design of this chapter to depict, it is not strange that in Hammond at this time there should have been two very different positions taken; for, unlike Michigan City and La Porte, which were early settled localities, unlike Winamac, Rennselaer, Monticello, and Valparaiso, early settled localities all, Hammond, a city so recently having become populous, separated from a part of Chicago and so from Illinois only by an air line, partakes very little in the characteristics of Lake County and of Indiana.


Geographically in Lake County and in Indiana, few of its thousands of inhabitants have a share in the traditions and associations, as they had no share in the trials and privations and successes, of the earlier inhabitants of Northern Indiana, and so, in what is called the nature of things, they cannot be expected to be identified, to much extent, with the interests of Lake County. They form a community of their own, and must be expected to have the characteristics of the manufacturing portions of Chicago, a part of which, locally, Hammond is. But a few descendants of quite early settlers, as Charles F. Griffin, A. Murray Turner, and others from Crown Point and from old settled parts of the county, have homes now in that rapidly growing and enterprising city, while the thousands are, for Lake County and for Indiana, "new comers." And this same fact has its bearings in making not only Hammond, but East Chicago and Whiting with their gathered thousands, quite different from the other towns in North-Western Indiana. It should receive due consideration from those living in those three contiguous cities as well as from those outside, especially as more than one half of the population of Lake County, as claimed, will no doubt this year be found inside of those three corporations and all living within about three miles of the city limits of Chicago.

It is sufficiently easy to see how natural it was, at the time of the great Chicago strike, that two very different positions should be taken in Hammond.

Leaving that not pleasant picture of the railroad troubles of 1894, other features of this modern life claim attention, especially first, the change in social life manifested in our various organizations, of which mention will be made in another chapter.


Year by year we have been adding to our organizations until the contrast has become very great between what some would call the delightful pioneer times and this advanced, progressive present. To take as an illustration the medium sized town of Crown Point. In the earlier days, when it was the only town in Lake County, there was at first a resident Baptist minister, and then, as he soon left, a resident Methodist and Presbyterian minister. And the Methodist and Presbyterian preachers and Sunday schools seemed quite sufficient for the needs of the people. The same congregation for a time listened to the different ministers, for their services were not held at the same hour. There was one temperance organization the meetings of which all attended. To a great extent all attended the same social gatherings. The people were not divided into classes then as they are now. There were some dances which all did not attend, but there was a freedom of intercourse among all the families and the young people then, which would seem strange to the exclusive sets of this modern period. And the same free mingling of families and of young people extended over the entire region of all these counties.

Now, besides nine religious gatherings in Crown Point at the same hour, and eight Sunday schools, and two Protestant missionary societies and two or three Roman Catholic church societies, and a Christian Endeavor Society and an Epworth League Chapter, and a fire company, there are some twenty other social or secret orders and clubs and societies; some for men alone, some only for women, some for young people, some exclusively for girls of one set, some for girls of another set, some for boys or children; and so


into about forty-five different groups or clusters, the children, the young people, the middle-aged men and women of the two thousand or more in Crown Point are divided up. And many of these meet every week. Calls, fashionable, afternoon calls are made, but for the style of family visiting once known in the village life there can be no time. The social life of the present, where the clubs and societies demand so much time, where some have wealth and leisure, and others poverty and toil, where into many circles some can never enter, must be a life for the whole community of some dissatisfaction and unrest. But this is modern life; for some almost ceaseless toil, for others select parties and club meetings and attention to dress and manners and the requirements of what is called "society." Some are, and many are not, "society people."

To produce in the large cities millionaires is one of the attendants if not a direct result of railroad life, and in connection with millionaires select society, inclusive and exclusive; and the same "society" classification goes into the smaller railroad cities and towns where wealth is accumulating and organizations for pleasure abound. On a smaller scale than New York they also have their "400." Perhaps some should not be blamed for thinking "the pioneer life was better than this!"

Leaving social life in the form of society so-called, it will be pleasant to look now upon the modern assemblies called the institutes, as they enter into the social life of these later years in a form quite different from the clubs and orders and circles.

1. Teachers' Institutes.

The first Teachers' Institute, as connected with the


public schools in Lake County, was held in 1866 by School Examiner W. W. Cheshire. But fourteen years before that time, in November, 1852, the real first teachers' institute in Lake County was held by Rev. W. Townley, and Superintendent Jewel, and Mr. Hawkins, of La Porte, assisted by Dr. Boynton, who gave lectures illustrated by a manikin. This institute was in connection with a private school under the management of Rev. W. Townley, was held for a week in the Presbyterian church building, and the subject of Normal schools as they then existed in the East was presented; and besides the other branches of study to which attention was given, instruction was imparted in vocal music and how to teach it in schools. Of course the morning exercises were opened by prayer.

In other counties, indeed in all the counties now, as one of the requirements of the Indiana school laws, during one week of each year, these institutes are held.

2. Farmers' Institutes.

About 1890, probably in 1889, the first farmers' institute was held in Indiana. They have been commenced in county after county until now they have spread over the State.

In North-Western Indiana the first was held about 1894, and February "15, 16, and 17," 1900, was held at Valparaiso what was called on the programme "the closing Farmers' Institute of the State of Indiana for the Season of 1899-1900." On the programme for the morning of each day is given the name of some minister of the town for an "Invocation." Each day is thus opened with prayer. It seems to be quite a prevailing custom for farmers' institutes and for


teachers' institutes, as for old settlers' associations, and for many other organizations, to recognize in their public exercises the Creator and Preserver of all, whom we call God. Sometimes an assembly, without designing to be atheistic, forgets this quite well-established custom.

In regard to the large good accomplished by this institute work for the farming communities those who have attended these schools of instruction, much of that instruction conveyed in the details of personal experience, could readily testify. The growing interest manifested in these gatherings, and the class of men attending as lecturers, such as Professor Latta, of Purdue, Mr. Billingsley, of Indianapolis, in the tile department, and Mr. C. Husselman, general lecturer, show that applications of science to dairying, agriculture, and stock raising, are becoming well appreciated.

3. Sunday-School Institutes.

A Sunday-school convention is quite different from a Sunday-school institute, although some Sunday-school workers do not seem to recognize the difference. The institutes proper, like those for teachers and for farmers, are gatherings designed especially for imparting and receiving instruction, instruction, of course, in regard to Sunday-school work. Between the years 1865 and 1890 institutes were held in many parts of Lake County, besides the annual and sometimes quarterly conventions. These institutes were conducted to a large extent by the county Sunday-school secretary who was aided by teachers and others in the county; but a few were denominational and were conducted by some workers from other counties. In Porter and La Porte counties, the Sunday-


school centers being mainly Valparaiso and Hebron, and Michigan City and La Porte, institutes and also conventions have been held; but not so frequently and regularly as in Lake County. In Starke County much good Sunday-school work has been thus done, the popular and efficient public school superintendent for several years, W. B. Sinclair, being also an active Sunday-school worker. And in the counties of Pulaski and White, of Newton and Jasper, a good amount of Sunday-school work, and surely of good, has been accomplished. Sunday-schools were commenced in pioneer times, but these conventions and institutes belong to our modern life.

4. Temperance Institutes.

Of the four classes of institutes held in our counties, this one may well be called moral, the object of these institutes being to promote the cause of temperance and the cause of purity. They help to encourage the great need of watchfulness in providing for the young a pure literature and pure displays in art. It is recognized that impurity and intemperance go together. As a good authority has said, "As a common curse they are one and inseparable." So while the Sunday-school institutes are held in the cause of religion, the teachers, in the cause of education, and the farmers, for the material good and prosperity of the country on the welfare of which cities and towns depend, the temperance institutes and conventions are held in the interests of private and public virtue. In every clime the motto of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union is, for God and Home and Native Land. These unions are not so numerous as might be desirable, but each one is a power for


good. They are now, in Lake County, at Crown Point, Hammond, Hobart, and Lowell; in Porter, at Valparaiso, Hebron, perhaps Chesterton; in La Porte County, at La Porte, Michigan City, Westville; in Starke, not any; in Pulaski, at Star City; in White, at Monon, Chalmers, probably Reynolds; in Jasper, not any; in Newton, at Kentland, Morocco, Goodland.

The members of these unions, who conduct the institutes and conventions, are quite largely, perhaps entirely, the more active, devoted, and earnest members of the churches; and so, in some towns, they take higher ground than do the churches themselves, as organized bodies, on Sabbath observance, and on the great moral questions of the day. They have no interests of politics or of policy to keep them silent. They are a kind of advance guard of the great Christian army in the conflict against immoral practices and habits and tendencies.

Institutes this year have been held in La Porte County at Michigan City, a silver medal contest having been held, the first ever held at Michigan City. There were eight contestants and "Miss Maud Staiger won the medal." In March one was held at Goodland in Newton County. "Six girls contested for a silver medal, which was awarded to Bessie Perkins." In White County, at Reynolds, an institute was held March 8, 1900.

In other counties where previously held, they have accomplished good.

The three northern counties began temperance work quite early, as they began improving in other lines, even in their early pioneer days, and when the "Crusade" movement started in Ohio, in Valparaiso


were found some noble and brave women who took up the same line of work. It was then February, 1874, when in Valparaiso there were eight saloons. The following proclamation issued by the city mayor, February 23, 1874, will show the course, in part, pursued by the women:

"Whereas, for several days last' past, large numbers of persons have been engaged in assembling on and about the premises of citizens pursuing a lawful business, and remaining on said premises against the will of the owners thereof, and for the avowed purpose of interfering with their business; * * * now, therefore, all such persons so assembling and remaining, are hereby notified that such conduct is unlawful * * * and they are admonished as good citizens to desist from the same," and they were warned that it was a duty of the authorities to "disperse such assemblages." Singing and prayer in the saloons was not to be tolerated in Valparaiso.

The women in a few hours had their reply published and distributed over the city.

It commenced with a quotation from the Scriptures, "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?" with all of Psalm 2:1-4, adding a quotation from Acts 4:18, 19, and 5:29; and then it declared that the women had no purpose to violate the laws of the State but that they believed they had the right to do what they were then trying to do, and that it was their solemn purpose to go forward in the work they had undertaken; and they close by saying, "if the hand of violence be laid upon us, we make our humble and confident appeal to the God whom we serve, and to the laws of the State whose faithful citizens we are." This reply was signed by


Mrs. A. V. Bartholomew, Mrs. L. C. Buckles, Mrs. E. Skinner, Mrs. A. Gurney, Mrs. E.
Ball, executive committee, in behalf of the ladies engaged in the temperance movement."

It was a grand uprising of the temperance women of Valparaiso, and meekly and nobly did they pass unharmed through the excitement of the time.

Out of the Crusade movement of 1873 and 1874 grew the unions, and for twenty-six years these have been living, growing, spreading over the world, and doing for suffering humanity a large work.* The World's W. C. T. U. was founded in 1883.

The grand convention in Lake County was held in the Commissioner's room of the Court House, April 27, 1880, as the published records say, "the first convention in the county held under the auspices of women." Men and women were present as representatives from West Creek, Cedar Creek, Eagle Creek townships, also from Winfield, Center, and Ross, and letters from Hanover and Hobart expressing hearty sympathy in the work. The records say, "Mrs. M. C. C. Ball, president of the W. C. T. U., presided. Miss Annie McWilliams was secretary. The morning session was opened by the reading of part of the Sermon on the Mount and prayer by Rev. T. H. Ball. 'Only an Armor Bearer' was then sung." The record is added: "These are supposed to have been the first religious exercises publicly held in the new Court House."

The first address was given by Mrs. Susan G. Wood, twenty years younger then than she is now, in
*Fredonia, N. Y., Dec. 19, 1873, Washington Court House, Ohio, presents second claim, and Hillsboro, though called the "cradle," is said to be the third.


the course of which she said, "Steadily and slowly we have been gaining ground. Twenty, fifteen, nay five years ago we could not have rallied such a force as presents itself before us today." Among those taking part in the exercises are the names of J. Q. Benjamin, O. G. Taylor, Dr. J. A. Wood, F. Dickerson, H. Ward (then a county commissioner), J. Harrison, C. Baugh; and Mrs. J. Skinner, Mrs. Farfield, and Mrs. Young, visiting sisters from Valparaiso. Before the convention closed devotional exercises were conducted by Rev. O. C. Haskell and Rev. E. H. Brooks.

Since that day, along the twenty years that have passed, conventions and temperance institutes have been held in the different counties, and some good has surely been done, although the two amendments which were that year proposed to be added to our State Constitution, the one in favor of prohibition and the other in favor of woman suffrage, never were permitted by the General Assembly of Indiana to come for adoption or rejection before the voters of the State. And the number of saloons, since the Porter County Crusade, has largely increased. But the thousand saloons of North-Western Indiana, kept as some of them are by well-meaning men, and by fine-appearing young men, must some day yield to the moral power along the line of the temperance unions. "Lawful" as the strong drink traffic is, as the mayor of Valparaiso well and truly said, made lawful, by our county commissioners, our State Legislature, and our Congress, all the legislation in the world can never make it noble, can never make it good; and when that promised time comes, when nations shall learn war no more, when the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth as do the waters the sea,


when there shall be none to hurt or destroy the peace and welfare of others, the time for the hastening on of which millions of Christian women are working and praying and longing, there will be then no more saloons.

Good and praiseworthy as are the other three varieties of institutes, no good citizen should fail to encourage those that seek to promote in all home life temperance and purity, purity in literature, purity in art, that seek to build up in boys and girls alike true and equal virtue. One large page of progress in our modern or railroad life, notwithstanding the demoralizing influences supposed to go with the railroad, that great attendant and promoter of civilization, is that on which we read the history of woman's work in the last two decades of the Nineteenth Century.



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, April 2012


CSS Template by Rambling Soul