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.







Lake County, Indiana, 1890
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On Colton's Map of Indiana, compiled from "authentic sources," published in 1853, among other towns located upon it may be found these five: Chicago, Indiana City, Liverpool, City West, and Michigan City. Indiana City was at the old mouth of the Calumet, on the shore of Lake Michigan, town lots having been there laid out and that name having been given to the place by a company of men from Columbus, Ohio. No evidence has been found that it ever had any inhabitants; but the statement may be taken as quite reliable, that in 1841 the place was sold for fourteen thousand dollars. It seems to have been made a city on paper, in 1836.

In this same year, or perhaps in 1835, John C. Davis and Henry Frederickson, of Philadelphia, and John B. Chapman called a Western man, laid out some town lots for a new city on Deep River, near its union with the Calumet, and to this was given the aspiring name of Liverpool. In 1836, for three days, lots were sold, and the sales amounted to sixteen thousand dollars. A deed of nine of these city lots, written by John B. Niles, then an attorney, acknowledged before Judge Samuel C. Sample, was preserved for


many years by John Wood the builder of Wood's Mill on Deep River. He and a friend bought lots amounting to two thousand dollars. As early as 1835 or 1834 a ferry boat had been placed on Deep River at this locality, the "pole bridge" in Porter County being then the place for crossing the Calumet.

In the year 1836, George Earle, of Falmouth, England, came with his family from Philadelphia, settled at this new city of Liverpool, and, having quite an amount of means, soon became the owner of a large part of the surrounding territory. His large ownership of so much of Lake County, then wild land, laid the foundation for the large wealth of his son, John G. Earle, now of Chicago. For some time the stage line, started in 1833 along the beach of Lake Michigan from Detroit to Chicago, had its route of travel changed to pass through Liverpool, perhaps, in 1836; but, probably finding too much deep sand to pass through, the stage line of travel was put back upon the more northern road.

This Liverpool on Deep River, some four miles from Lake Michigan and three from the Porter County line, became the county seat of the new Lake County in 1839. It would seem almost needless to state that it did not there long remain.

It is worthy of note that the land, on which this first county seat was laid out, was an Indian reservation, or perhaps, more accurately, was land selected under an Indian float. "In the Recorder's office is a copy of the patent, signed by Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, June 16, 1836, conveying to John B. Chapman section 24, township 36, range 8, being 603.60 acres, in accordance with the third article of the treaty made on the Tippecanoe River with


the chiefs and warriors of the Pottawatomies in 1832."

This same John B. Chapman also bought of Re-semo-jan, or Parish written also Parrish, as the deed says, "once a chief but now an Indian of the Pottawatomies," section 18, township 36, range 7, for which he paid eight hundred dollars. It would have cost him from the United States Government just the same. These sections, with some ten others, including the localities where are now Lake Station and Hobart, came into the hands of the final proprietor of Liverpool.

In Lake County are now two incorporated cities Hammond and East Chicago, and four incorporated towns, Crown Point, the county seat, Whiting, Hobart, and Lowell; also twenty-two other towns and villages; making in all twenty-eight, and with two post-office stations not yet exactly villages, Lottsville and Winfield, making thirty town localities for Lake County.

Brief notices of these are here given. The order is one of convenience rather than of age, size, or comparative importance.

1. Dyer. Population 400. -- A settlement was quite early made near the Illinois line on Thorn Creek, where is now the town of Dyer. In 1838 a tavern or hotel, the first "State Line House," was there. In 1855, there were two places where travellers could stay, and a few other houses. In 1857 was opened a store, and village life commenced.

About 1855, A. N. Hart, who had been a book publisher at Philadelphia, settled with his family, three sons and one daughter and his wife, on the State line at Dyer. His enterprise and business operations contributed largely to the building up of the town.


His business manager for many years was Henry J. Prier, a young man of large business qualifications, of integrity, and fidelity. His management was excellent. He afterwards was connected with the McCormick Company in the sale of agricultural implements, and is now doing business in the same line at Indianapolis, where he has a pleasant residence with his wife and two daughters just east of the city limits.

A. N. Hart, besides carrying on through others a large business in Lake County, for some years was engaged in real estate business in Chicago. He had entered and purchased a large amount of what was called swamp land, east of Dyer and elsewhere in the county. In 1892 he held some fifteen thousand acres and its estimated value was one-half million of dollars. One thousand acres of it was sold in 1891 or 1892 for one hundred thousand dollars. A big ditch leading out of Dyer, extending five miles to the Calumet River, is known as the Hart Ditch, and it quite effectually drained what was once called Lake George, lying between Dyer and Hartsdale and Schererville.

Adding much to the business life of Dyer were also the Davis families, from England, settling later, one of the three brothers, George F. Davis, becoming one of the large stock raisers of the county.

In 1898 was erected a large, substantial and fine looking brick school house, with two stories and a basement. There are two church buildings; one a large Roman Catholic; the other, a small, neat Protestant church.

There are two quite large stores, one is a brick building owned by L. Keilman & Son; the other is a frame building, proprietor A. W. Stommel.


The great industry is the creamery, commenced in 1893. In 1899 the average amount of butter was about four thousand pounds a month, the average price about twenty cents a pound, and there was paid to the farmers for milk an average of one thousand dollars each month.

Dyer has had many years a steam flouring mill, but it is not doing so much work as in former years.

This has been a large shipping point, situated on what is called the Joliet Cut Off, connecting with the Michigan Central at Lake Station. The Elgin Belt Line also now runs parallel with the Cut Off from Joliet to Griffith, and then passing east to Hobart.

2. Schererville. Population estimated at 250. -- Near the eastern limit of the southern ridge of sand that extends out from Dyer into Lake County, on a slightly curving road that marks the line, to some extent, of the old Sac Trail, is the village that bears the name of one of its early settlers. Along the wagon road, along that slightly curving ridge of sand that seems once to have been washed by the waters of Lake Michigan, thousands of emigrants have passed, on their way to the westward. This was for many years the great thoroughfare for western travel. Coming from the eastward through La Porte and Valparaiso then on the line of the old Sac Trail, crossing Deep River at Wood's Mill, now Woodvale, and then passing Wiggins Point, now Merrillville and going out of Indiana at Dyer, the lines of white covered wagons passed on to Joliet. Only those along that road, which was four miles north of Crown Point, had much idea of the amount of travel that passed over it.

In 1866 village life at Schererville commenced, and for a time its growth was rapid. It now has two


stores, a large, two story brick school house, and a large Roman Catholic church building. Sixty families are connected with this church.

3. St. Johns, or St. John. Population estimated 250. -- The post-office department name for this place is "Saint John." In the county usage is divided. Some write St. John and some St. Johns. For euphony's sake the added s seems desirable. Southeast from Dyer four and a half miles village life commenced about 1846. Like Schererville, it is a Roman Catholic town. It has a large brick church, and had, about 1870, the largest Sabbath morning congregation in the county. It is near where the first German immigrant in the county settled, John Hack, and near where was erected in 1843 the first chapel.

The leading business men here are, Keilman, near the church, and Gerlach, near the station. Both of these men have done a large amount of business.

A large creamery has for several years been in successful operation changing milk into excellent butter. St. Johns is distant from Crown Point six miles.

4. Hanover Center, population about 50 commenced village life in 1855. H. C. Beckman opened here a quite large store, but afterward removed two miles west. There is still a store here; a large church, (known as the Church of St. Martin, connected with which are five acres of land and a cemetery, also a good parsonage), is a center of religious life in Hanover township; a school house is near; and other buildings belonging to a village, help to keep up civil and social life.

5. Brunswick, population about 65, two miles from Hanover Center and ten from Crown Point, and one from the Illinois line, began to be a business center


when a store was established there in 1858. For many years H. C. Beckman carried on here a large business, for a country store, having bought in a single day three thousand and seven hundred eggs and about three hundred pounds of butter. After his death, in 1894, his son, John N. Beckman, continued the same business, both father and son having been for some years interested also in raising Jersey cattle and in other home pursuits.

6. Klaasville, population about 50, some twelve miles from Crown Point, is a true Lake County village on the Grand Prairie of Illinois. It is a half-mile or less from the State line, and is on a prairie eminence from which a view can be obtained as far as the eye can reach, over that broad prairie that extends to the Mississippi River. H. Klaas settled there in 1850, a solitary German for a time. And as other families settled around him, and school and church life commenced, the locality became Klaasville.

These three places, Hanover Center, Brunswick, and Klaasville, are on no railroad, and their growth is slow.

7. Creston, population about 75, is on the Monon line of railroad, one mile south from Red Cedar Lake, and one-half mile west of the early center, where, in 1850 or earlier, village life commenced with a store, a postoffice, a blacksmith shop, and a school house. At that school house the Cedar Lake Sunday School and Cedar Lake church held their meetings for some years, the postoffice also bearing the same name, Cedar Lake. There were several families on their farms within the distance of a mile, but no compact village. At the railroad station, now called Creston, are two stores, a church, and a good school house. There are


near the station, about eighteen families. The families of this community are largely connected by blood relationship and marriage, being descendants of the large Taylor and Edgerton families that were pioneers in 1836 on the east side of the lake. Some grain is bought at Creston for shipment and there is a hay barn where large amounts of hay have been bought, pressed, and from which it has been sent to the great markets of the country. John Love ships the hay, and A. D. Palmer and Cassius Taylor are the merchants.

8. Shelby. Population 250. -- In July, 1886 there was laid off into streets, avenues, and town lots, by a surveyor, under the direction of William R. Shelby, President of the Lake Agricultural Company, the southwestern quarter of section 28, township 32, range 8, and ten acres joining this on the northeast and fifteen acres of section 33, on the southeast, and the whole was called "The Village of Shelby." But village life, several years before, or soon after 1882, had already commenced, and the "Big House" was built, ice houses were put up on the river, the south adjacent area being then called Water Valley, and a large boarding house was opened by the Fuller family. Slowly for a time, in the last few years more rapidly, improvements were made and new families came in; and now Shelby has a large hotel building, two stores, also the Fuller Hotel, and a good school house with two rooms and two teachers. Hay, gathering mushrooms, milk, putting up tortoises, ice, have been the paying industries, and now has commenced sugarbeet culture.

9. Le Roy. Population 100. -- The railroad station bearing this smooth-sounding name is about six miles southeast from Crown Point. It was started as a


shipping point when the Cincinnati Air Line, now called Pan Handle or Pennsylvania Line went through Lake County in 1865, and a good shipping point it has proved to be. While supporting only three stores and containing about one hundred inhabitants, it has a good brick school house, two good church buildings, one Methodist, one United Presbyterian, maintains two good Sunday schools, has no saloon, and there were shipped from August, 1898 to August, 1899, fully four thousand tons of hay and a large amount of grain. Love Brothers alone ship over three thousand tons of hay. Le Roy has been growing in the last few years and it is surrounded by a growing hay and grain region.

10. Merrillville, population 100, at first called Centerville, was one of the early villages of Lake County. Started as a center of settlement, and so called Centerville, by a lew families who settled on and around the old Indian village locality known as Mc-Gwinns, among these, the Zuvers, Pierce, Glazier, Saxton and Merrill families, and J. Wiggins without a family, it received its later name from the Merrill families, who soon became prominent in the growth of the village. From Wiggins, who made his claim where the Indian dancing floor and burial ground were, which became soon the home of the family of Ebenezer Saxton, the woodland grove was called Wiggins' Point. This lone man died in the summer of that very sickly season, the year 1838, and his name has not been perpetuated. A few yet living have heard of Wiggins' Point.

The growth of the early Centerville was slow. When the railroads came they passed west of it, and north of it; but at length its citizens determined to make a neat town of it without a railroad. A good two


story brick school house was built, and then a brick church, and some dwelling houses of better style than the first ones, houses of modern style, were erected, a cheese factory was established, and with one store, one hotel, and a food-mill, containing now thirty families, Merrillville has become one of the substantial inland towns of the county. In school, Sunday school, and church life, its citizens take good rank. A macadam road now passes through it from Crown Point, through Ainsworth and Hobart and Lake Station, to the beach of Lake Michigan.

11. Palmer, population 85, is on the Chicago & Erie Railway, one mile from the Porter County line. It received its name from Dennis Palmer, who was a farmer in that locality for many years, now residing in the town. It became a station and so village life began in 1882.

It has a good brick school house, no church building, two stores, and is a place of some business.

12. Woodvale, population 50, became the early home of John Wood and family his own date being 1835, the family a year or two afterward. In 1837, a saw-mill was put in operation and in 1838 the grist-mill commenced its busy work, the only one for very many miles in any direction. This mill did for many years a large custom work. It finally became a large merchant flour mill.

Members of the Wood family have been for these sixty-three years the principal inhabitants of what may be called the family villa. Some of the second and third generations are carrying on the mill and other business interests now. The brick residence of Nathan Wood, the oldest son of John Wood, was considered to be in 1872 "one of the most city-like dwell-


ing houses in the county." The Wood family came from Massachusetts and brought with them New England intelligence and cultivation. Mrs. Wood, a very estimable woman, was a cousin of that Sarah Hall, who became the noted missionary Mrs. Boardman, and afterward the second Mrs. Judson.

The quarter section of land on which was the mill seat, the northeast of section 21, township 35, range 7, was patented as an Indian reservation to Quashma, and cost Mr. Wood one thousand dollars. He refused to lay out and sell any town lots, designing in that way to keep out saloons, and in that he was in his lifetime very successful.

13. Ainsworth, on the Grand Trunk railway, becoming a station in 1880, is quite a shipping point for milk, has some other business interests, with a population now of about fifty, fourteen families. It has a school house but no church.

14. Griffith. Population estimated 100. -- This new railroad town had a good start. Founded by Jay Dwiggins & Company, then of Chicago, where the Chicago & Erie, the Grand Trunk, the Joliet Cut Off, and the Elgin Belt Line roads all crossed, the grandest railroad crossing in Lake County, about half-way between Crown Point and Hammond and at the time of a great real estate "boom" as it was called, in the north part of the county, some two years before the Columbus Exposition of 1892 and 1893, it had for two of three years a remarkable growth. Dwelling houses, business houses, factory buildings were erected, and it seemed for a time that it would become a city indeed. Work commenced in some of the factories, furnishing employment for many persons; two church congregations were organized and two Sunday schools, one a


Methodist and one Baptist, a Good Templars' Lodge was started, hundreds of people were there, and the prospect for permanency was promising. But some disappointments began to come; the large works stopped; something evidently clogged the wheels of progress; and soon many of the inhabitants scattered almost as rapidly as they came.

To the staid dwellers at Crown Point, who had seen their town growing for fifty years with the slow growth of a burr oak, a gnarled one even and knotty, it seemed astonishing how, for a time, Griffith did grow; it seemed almost magical how large buildings went up and people came flocking in; but the growth was more like a vine than an oak, more like Jonah's gourd vine "which came up in a night, and perished in a night." It seemed for some years that Griffith was almost deserted, but those connected with work on the railroads remained, a few other families remained, and for the last two years the place has assumed a more cheerful and promising aspect. There are two or three small stores; the school is prosperous; its location is good; and it may yet become quite a town.

15. Ross. -- Population 75. As a village Ross dates from 1857. It is a station on the Joliet Cut Off road. An area of land consisting of forty acres on the south side of the railroad was laid out into town lots. For many years it was the residence of Amos Hornor, Esq., one of the noted pioneers of Lake County, whose early claim was in the edge of the West Creek woodland, known for some years as the Amos Hornor Point. At Ross also resided for a number of years, from 1860 until his death at an advanced age, the Rev. George A. Woodbridge, a pioneer minister, one


of the most thoroughly educated that Lake County has ever had, a native of Connecticut, a graduate of Yale College, the possessor of a large library, who first made his Lake County home on Eagle Creek Prairie, near the present village of Palmer, in 1839. One of the Haywood families and also the Holmes family, were residents at Ross for several years, and there a peculiar religious interest was awakened in 1876, which will be elsewhere noticed. Yet while a place of note in the county it has never attained much size. It has one store, a school house, and a church building, and quite a number of dwelling houses, but is not a place of much business. Some descendants of the early families still remain and school and church life prosper.

16. Highland. -- Population 50, is on the grand sand ridge extending from Lansing, in Illinois, almost directly east near to Hobart, and on the line of that early stage road that passed from Liverpool westward to Joliet and northward to Chicago. A few residences were in pioneer times along that sand ridge and that road, but no village life commenced until the Erie and Chicago road established a station where the road builders cut through that broad ridge of sand (on the south of which was the Cady marsh and on the north the Calumet bottom lands or broad valley), in 1882. A store and postoffice, a good brick school house and two churches, twelve families, and a factory make the present village of Highland. It is distant from Hammond about five miles. Two miles north is Hessville, and in high water time the flood water of the Little Calumet covers nearly all the ground between. It is one broad sheet of water, like a clear, silvery lake. Highland, and the neighborhood


east of it are now, in 1900, growing with much promise.

17. Passing west from Highland three miles, having crossed the second cut in the sand ridge through which the Hart ditch has worn a deep gorge-like channel, one will find the line of settlement of the Hollander village fully commenced, a village of one street, four miles in length, along which reside sixty-four Hollander families; and from the school house, postoffice, and store in the center bearing the name of Munster, the whole line, four miles in length may be called the village of Munster. The founders of this Hollander settlement, Dingernon Jabray, with his family, three sons among his children, Antonie Bonevman, his son-in-law, Eldest Munster, with two sons, Jacob and Antonie Munster, crossed the Atlantic in the summer of 1855, in the ship "Mississippi," landing at New York, and in August reached Lake County. The large Swets family and many others followed, until sixty or more families, with about one hundred and fifty children, now comprise this Hollander-American village of Munster. On the long street there is another store and, as a matter of course, a church. The building was erected about 1876. Value of church property, including parsonage, $1,500. It is a beautiful walk from Lansing, just over the State line, eastward to the school house, the broad sand ridge on the south, the rich Calumet valley on the north. This land the villagers cultivate, raising large crops of vegetables for the city markets. It is not a manufacturing nor a commercial, but an agricultural village. The passing stranger might well call it a "Happy Valley." Across this village street, one-half mile from the Illinois line, passes the "Monon" rail-


road, making the third cut through this broad ridge of sand (a ridge covered with a growth of wood), and thus giving some railroad facilities without a regular station to these industrious and thrifty Hollanders.

18. Hessville, population 80, on what is often called the Nickle Plate railroad, is on a broad belt and ridge of sand north of the Little Calumet. Joseph Hess, a German, settled on that locality in 1850, just as pioneer life was closing, but before railroad possibilities were imagined; before, long before, any one could have believed Hammond, East Chicago, and Whiting, to become realities before the nineteenth century closed. Its first half was closing then. Joseph Hess kept and raised cattle. He opened a store in 1858, for the Michigan Central railroad had passed one mile north of him. Through deep sand for a mile he "carted" his goods, but not on a cart. Families gathered around him. In about twenty years his village contained twenty families. He was elected township trustee of North township, which then extended to Porter County north of the Little Calumet, and became the head man of that township, his little village its capital, his will controlling affairs almost as though he was a king. The families of the township were mostly German immigrants, late arrivals, and as late as 1872 it was true, as was then written, "the most of North township is as yet sparsely inhabited." His office and his large control, Trustee Hess held for many years, until Hammond became quite a little village, and then the influence and importance of Hessville began to decline. It had a dangerous rival and was in a few years entirely eclipsed. When the young Hammond began to grow Hessville was a center of influence no more. In


1872, in the school at Hessville ,a two-story house, there were some seventy pupils. The school declined, but still continues. Hessville still has a store. It is a station on the railroad, and several German families still there reside. The village is Lutheran.

19. Lake Station, population 100, owes its existence to the Michigan Central railroad. It is therefore nearly fifty years old, and while for a time it was one of the great shipping points of the county, when there were only three, after other roads were built it lost its early importance and having no special interests to promote its growth it failed to make much growth. It has a good school house with two teachers, it has two church buildings, one Roman Catholic and the other Protestant, and one store. Some good families reside here.

20. Miller's Station, population 80, on section 6, township 36, range 7, is a station on the Michigan Southern and Baltimore and Ohio roads, near the northeastern corner of Lake County. For many years its growth was very slow, putting up ice in the winter and shipping it in the summer having been its principal industry. It is one mile from Long Lake, a mile and a half from Lake Michigan, with large sand hills on the north. Of late years it has improved very much. A gravel road was made from Hobart through this village to Lake Michigan, a good church has been built and a good school house, and its intelligent and enterprising merchant, C. F. Blank, has a large store and is prospering in his business. The village is mainly Swedish Lutheran. Some Germans, and some are Americans. All are true American citizens. Shipping sand from the large banks nearby is a profitable industry. About a mile and a half south-


west from Miller's Station, on the road to Tolleston, are the Etna Powder Works, on section 12, where several men find employment, and where some sad explosions have taken place.

21. Tolleston, population 500. -- This is a German Lutheran town, founded about 1857, on the Michigan Central and Fort Wayne roads, is due north from Crown Point twelve miles, but the distance by a wagon road is about sixteen miles. It has two school houses, one parochial and one public, a large Lutheran church and parsonage, a number of well-built dwelling houses, and some good-sized business houses. In 1872 the number of families of the Tolleston community was eighty, and there was paid out to the workmen there about two thousand dollars each month. The number of families is now ninety-five, by actual count.

22. Clarke in the southwest quarter of section 31, township 37, range 8, on the Grand Calumet, nearly two miles from Lake Michigan, is a station and village on the Fort Wayne railroad, one mile north and two miles west from Tolleston. Its main industry is putting up and shipping ice. From this place some interesting relics of the past were sent to Crown Point for Lake County's semicentennial celebration in 1884, consisting of two pieces of bone, about four inches in length, taken out in 1882, with an entire human skeleton, from about two feet beneath the surface where men commenced digging a well. The Clarke of 1872, dating as a village from 1858, had that year sixteen families, with a population of about sixty. It has made very little growth since. It now has twenty-three famlies. Population 105.

North of Clarke one mile is a station on the Mich-


igan Southern road called Pine. It was not mentioned among the villages of the county as like Edgemoor, on the lake shore three miles west, the resident families are very few. At Edgemoor there is a small school, but none at Pine.

The stations Lottaville and Winfield have been named as localities that might grow into villages, and another name may be added to these, Hartsdale, on the Joliet Cut Off, a railroad crossing near the private stopping place at the Hart farm, now in the hands of Mrs. Malcolm T. Hart, a resident of Crown Point. There are at Hartsdale three dwelling houses and a hay barn, the land around the station being a part of the large Hart estate.*

There is a new station, and it may be said a village has commenced its growth, at the crossing, or south of the crossing, of the Joliet Cut Off and Nickle Plate road. It is called a Nickle Plate station and is named Glen Park. Its name indicates a Chicago origin, for Lake County people are not inclined to the name of Park. The population of this young town may be placed at 75. It has not, as yet, made much history.


Lowell -- Population 1,300. History of location. According to the Claim Register, which is authority beyond question in Lake County, Samuel Halsted entered "Timber and Mill-seat," section 23, township
*Malcolm T. Hart, a son of A. N. Hart, one of the wealthiest young men of the county, one of the most gentlemanly and refined in his hearing, died at his home in Crown Point, November 14, 1898. Besides his wife, he left a young daughter, into whose hands there comes large estate.


33, range 9, making his claim in August, 1835, and registering it November 26, 1836. There is added in the Claim Register, "This claim was sold to and registered by J. P. Hoff, October 8, who has not complied with his contract, and therefore forfeits his claim to it." Under date of November 29, 1836, the second is: "Transferred to James M. Whitney and Mark Burroughs for $212." This mill-seat does not seem to have been purchased by any one at the land sale. In 1848, A. R. Nichols and some others were found by Melvin A. Halsted as holders of the locality, then belonging to a canal company, the land then probably "State Land," and an attempt had been made by A. R. Nichols to build a mill-dam. Haskins and Halsted purchased the mill privilege, and in the winter of 1848 had in operation a saw-mill. In 1849 brick were made and a brick house erected, into which the Halsted family entered in 1850 as occupants and owners, and for fifty years that house has been the family home, when they have been in Lowell, one occupant only, M. A. Halsted himself of his family, being now left. In 1850 he went to California, obtained gold, returned in 1852, bought out the interest of O. E. Haskin, erected a flouring mill, and in 1853 laid out town lots and became the founder of Lowell. A small brick school house had been built in 1852, which was used also as a church. Village life had commenced. In 1856 the Baptist church was built. The structure was of brick, and was the result of the enterprise of M. A. Halsted, who was born in Rensselaer County, New York, who became a member of the Baptist church in Dayton, Ohio, in the winter of 1840 and 1841, who was married to Miss M. C. Foster in 1842, and became a resident of Lake County in


1845. His career has been a remarkable one, in going over the country, making money and laying it out in improvements, and by the citizens of Lowell and of Lake County his name cannot be forgotten. He is an aged man now.

About 1853 J. Thorn built near the grist-mill a small hotel and also started Lowell's first store. About four years afterwards William Sigler opened a store and not long after the Viant store was built. Inhabitants and improvements soon made Lowell a town. In 1869 and 1870 other church buildings were erected and there are now four buildings, Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, "Christian," and Roman Catholic. In 1872 Lowell had the largest and best school building in the county, a commodious, two-story brick edifice, costing with the furniture, $8,000. At the same time the largest other building in the county was then to be found in Lowell, an $8,000 brick building, three stories in height, eighty feet long by fifty feet wide, designed for a factory. M. A. Halsted, then township trustee, superintended the construction of both these buildings. There were then in Lowell one hundred and six families. There are now about three hundred. There are of school children three hundred and seventy-two.

There was a Good Templars' lodge with one hundred and sixty members, and a Grange of Patrons of Husbandry, with eighty members. For some years Lowell was the strongest temperance town in the county. It is located in the heart of the best farming region in the county.

A few years ago a fire consumed a number of the older business houses, but the work of rebuilding commenced, and there are now solid business blocks,


halls for different societies, and on new streets, many fine dwelling houses. It is the principal agricultural business town of Lake County.

Hobart, population 1,500. -- This now important town was founded by George Earle, who gave up his town of Liverpool after the final location of the county-seat at Crown Point, and built a dwelling house and erected a grist-mill and soon started village life where Hobart is now. As a town it dates from 1849. House and mill building at Hobart commenced in 1845. The dam was completed and a saw-mill commenced work in 1846. A grist-mill soon was added, and the Earle family removed from Liverpool in 1847. Town lots were laid out in 1848.

The growth for a time was slow. In 1854 the Pittsburg and Fort Wayne railroad came through Hobart and as a railroad town it soon increased in. business and population. In 1872 it contained ninety-five families, Lowell having at the same time one hundred and six. It has now a few more families than Lowell. As the growth of Hobart has been promoted largely by the clay industry, and that will be mentioned in another chapter, it need not be inserted here. The churches of the town are: Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, Unitarian, German Lutheran, Swedish Lutheran, Roman Catholic, German Methodist Episcopal, and Swedish Methodist. There is a large school building for a graded school, the yard shaded with trees of native growth. In the north part of the town are many fine forest trees, and a quite retired street of good family residences. Besides the Fort Wayne, the "Nickel Plate" road passes through the town, and along the southern border passes the Elgin Belt Line.


While Hobart is a pleasant and a prosperous town and some of its inhabitants are good, Christian people, it is not noted for any careful observance of the Christian Sabbath. Its record rather is for a non-observance of that day religiously. A fair illustration is the following, taken from a published notice of a game of baseball to be played at Hobart by the Naval Reserves of Chicago at 2:30 p. m., admission rates, 15 cents for men, but the advertisement says: "This will be ladies' day and they will be admitted to the grounds free." The game to be on "Sunday," the word well displayed, "May 20, 1900." It is to be hoped that the ladies, the real ladies of Hobart, did not feel highly complimented by this advertisement. Public notice has this year been given that the owners of Monon Park, which for many summers has been a place for constant Sabbath desecration, have discontinued Sunday excursions. And even in Paris, it has been published, the strictly American part of the Exposition of 1900 is not to be opened on Sunday. By the observance of this day, or by its open desecration, it is readily shown what nations, towns, and families are.

We make our own history. Hobart is not the only one of our towns whose historic record, on the observance of Sunday, in regard to both business and amusement, is not highly creditable; but some of these towns are particular to hold their ball games, to which they also invite the young ladies, on Saturdays and not on Sundays. That Epworth League and Christian Endeavor girls would go out on Sundays to ball games is not to be supposed.

Whiting, population 2,600. -- In 1889 some land was bought according to report, for $1,000 an acre, and some nine hundred men were employed in erecting


what, it was claimed, would be the largest oil refinery in the land, the number of brick to be required in its construction was estimated at 20,000,000. This was the beginning of the work of the Standard Oil Company in Lake County. In 1890 about seventy-five votes were cast in what is now the town of Whiting. In 1900 nearly 1,500 votes are cast. The town was incorporated in 1895.

At Whiting there are five churches, St. John's Lutheran, Epworth Methodist Episcopal, Plymouth Congregational, Sacred Heart Catholic, St. Paul's German Evangelical. There are of lodges eleven varieties, lettered or named thus: Golden Star D. of R., K. and L. of H., A. O. U. W., I. O. O. F., K. of P., A. O. H., K. O. T. M., C. K. of St. John Com. No. 241., Ratlnbone Sisters, Whiting Lodge No. 613. F. and A. M., and Daughters of Liberty.*

The oil refining business has brought in many inhabitants and the growth of the town has been remarkable. Its location is on quite level land, along the first low ridge of sand that here skirts the beach of Lake Michigan. Westward to South Chicago are no large sand hills; nor any eastward for a number of miles. Southward also the land is quite level to East Chicago and to the Calumet. Southeastward the town touches Berry Lake, which is not large, and southwestward Lake George. The growth is mainly westward, between 119th street of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Some local estimates place the population at 6,000.

Crown Point, population 2,300.—When "Lake
*Whiting News, February 3, 1900.


County," 1872, was written, evidence was found that William Butler, in June or July of 1834, made four claims where is now the town of Crown Point, one for himself, one for his brother, E. P. Butler, one for George Wells, and one for Theodore Wells. Also that he had some logs put up for the bodies of two or more cabins. He made claims but no settlement. On the last day of October, 1834, Solon Robinson, with his family, reached the same locality, made a claim the next day, and had a log cabin ready for occupancy very soon. He was greeted the day after his arrival by Henry Wells and Luman A. Fowler, and they, in two or three days, bought claims, and "two log cabin bodies built by one Huntley," (these are Solon Robinson's own words), on the south half of section 8, paying for these claims $50. That these were two of William Butler's claims seems to be certain, and he must have employed Huntley to pile up the logs ready for roofing. Soon, on this section 8, was a hamlet; for in mid-winter some other families came from Jennings County, from which Solon Robinson also came, and united with him in founding a town. These hamlet families, on sections 5 and 8, were: The Robinson family, seven in number, three of them young men, members of the family for the winter; the Clark family, also seven in number; and the two Holton families, also numbering seven. Thus there were twenty-one in all, forming a community by themselves, three married men and four married women, one a widow, five young men and two young ladies, four boys and three girls, manhood and womanhood, young men, maidens, and little children, the proper variety for a colony or a young city. Additional families soon came in 1835 and 1836, and in 1837 was


erected a log building for a court house and the place, now called Lake Court House, was becoming a village. Its history is lengthy, and a few points only can be given. It had a new store, a hotel, a postoffice, and in 1840 it became the county-seat. Its name was now changed to Crown Point. Slowly but steadily one improvement followed another. Brick were made in 1841, and the stick and clay chimneys began to disappear. A physician, a lawyer, and a minister came; new stores were opened; and schools and churches were organized and buildings for their use erected. By the year 1850 Crown Point had become a town, but an inland town, where quite a large trade in some lines was carried on, it continued to be, for fifteen more years, increasing slowly in population, feeling something of the influence of the railroad life that was crowding growth elsewhere, but enjoying not much of its advantages. At length, in 1865, a railroad came, and lines of iron rails and of telegraphic wires connected it with the busy, outside world. A new stage of growth commenced. New schools were opened, additional business houses started up, in June, 1868, the town was incorporated, in 1869 a fire company was organized, and large business blocks of brick and stone and mortar soon appeared. In one of these, erected in 1873, was Cheshire Hall, now called Music Hall. Of this Mrs. Belle Wheeler, wife of the editor of the Lake County Star, a granddaughter of Solon Robinson, wrote, as part of a semi-centennial paper for 1884: "It has been the scene of many happy gatherings, and its audiences have listened to some of the finest lectures of these times, the most notable of which were those given under the auspices of the Lecture Club, of which Mrs. J.


W. Youche was secretary, and from whose books we glean the following: There were given lectures by Prof. Swing, Rev. Dr. Thomas, Will Carleton, Phoebe Cousins, Fanny McCartney, Rev. Mercer, Gen. Kilpatrick, Mrs. Livermore, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Brook Herford, Benj. F. Taylor, Mrs. Dunn, a series of five lectures by James K. Applebee, reading by Laura K. Dainty, entertainments by the Hutchinson family, and others." "From its platform we have also often heard our own home talent, Rev. Mr. Ball, Judge Field, and many others."

After the brick blocks and society halls came banks, and electric lights, and telephones, and waterworks, and paved streets, and a street-sweeper, and the different indications of having reached city life. In Crown Point the first Masonic lodge, Lake Lodge, No. 157, commenced with six members, dispensation dated November 11, 1853, charter May 24, 1854. Now there are lodges of Odd Fellows, of Independent Order of Foresters of America, Modern Woodmen of America, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Tented Maccabees, Catholic Order of Foresters, Daughters of Rebecca, Eastern Star, National Union; also John Wheeler Post of G. A. R., and a Womans' Relief Corps. Also not secret a Womans' Study Club, a Pleasure Club, a Housekeepers' Club, a Girls' Club, a Musical Club, a Commercial Club, a Shooting Club, two or three missionary societies, a W. C. T. U., an Epworth League Chapter, and a Christian Endeavor Society. The life of Crown Point as a railroad town began in the spring of 1865, when freight and passenger trains passed through to Chicago. One of the new sights then on the streets was a dray, Crown


Point's first dray. This was a regular, two-wheel, one-horse, city dray, such as were common then and had been for many years in the cities. It was owned and driven by Robert Wood, who had lately returned from the army, and was looking out for business. He was kind, accommodating, and reliable; his vehicle could be seen somewhere on the street during business hours, and for convenience in moving many articles of freight that one-horse dray has not since been equaled. After a time it gave place to the large dray wagons drawn by two horses. In the spring of 1869 another new sight appeared. Velocipedes, the forerunners of the bicycles, began to be seen on the streets of Crown Point. After them the bicycles came, such strange vehicles as at first they seemed to be, of which hundreds have probably been used in these latter years by men and women, by girls and boys. Postmasters at Crown Point since 1836, from the Lake Count Star: Solon Robinson, Henry D. Palmer, H. S. Pelton, J. P. Smith, D. K. Pettibone, Major Allman, Charles E. Allman, J. H. Luther, Joseph Jackson, Henry Wells, W. G. McGlashon, George Willey, Z. P. Farley, H. J. Shoulters, W. T. Horine, J. P. Merrill, J. J. Wheeler, A. A. Maynard, F. E. Farley. Nineteen incumbents in sixty-three years. The father of the present postmaster and his grandfather, Joseph Jackson, both held the office before him. The churches of Crown Point are: Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal, "Reformed" or Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Free Methodist, German Methodist Episcopal, and German Evangelical. Also a society of "Believers" occupying a hall. Commencing town life about the same time as did the county-seat of Jasper, only thirty-six miles away as a crow


flies, but separated for many years by an impassable river and marsh, Crown Point and Rensselaer have kept along in growth quite well together, Crown Point enjoying railroad facilities several years before Rensselaer and so having now a more city-like appearance, and this year, according to the figures given by the school superintendent of Jasper, Crown Point has a few more children of school age, yet one hundred more of inhabitants has been assigned to Rensselaer. It is claimed that Crown Point has more miles of paved streets than any other town of its size in
Indiana. Like Rensselaer Crown Point has some quite wealthy citizens, and like its southern sister county-seat, many talented lawyers, and citizens who have gained honors in political life; among these, two former State senators, Hon. J. W. Youche and Hon. J. Kopelke, and a former congressman, Hon. Thomas J. Wood.

Hammond, population 12,000. -- This growing young city was known in 1872 as the State Line Slaughter House. The sand ridges and marshes of that part of Lake County did not attract pioneer families. In 1851 the Hohman family settled on the north side of the Calumet where is now North Hammond, and on the south side, probably soon after, the Sohl family, consisting then of William Sohl, his wife, Mrs. Louisa T. Sohl, and some children. The third settler was J. Drecker, about 1858. Then came the Dutcher, Clayman, Booth, Miller, Goodman, Olendorf, and Wolf families, and some short time before 1872, about 1869, a company of men from the East opened there a slaughter house. Of this company George H. Hammond of Detroit was the capitalist, and when the place became a village, in 1873, his name was given to


it. In 1872 there was one store, and also there was a boarding house for workmen. Eighteen men were at that time employed, and three or four car loads of beef were sent off each day for the Boston market. What a city Hammond would in a few years become was not then foreseen, and, as being then almost out of the civilized world, there was no effort made to set an exemplary example, and for quite a little time the slaughter house work went on, seven days in the week, no Sunday being observed, no Sabbath being kept. But as growth soon began, a village started, and then a town grew up, and schools, and Sunday schools, and churches came rapidly into existence, and customs and manners changed. In 1879, Porter B. Towle, from Massachusetts, came to the new town of Hammond, and he re-organized the village Sunday school that was commenced as early as 1872, he gave literary and moral lectures, and in connection with a few others, especially one of his brothers, started cottage prayer meetings, and gave a new tone to the Hammond society. Hammond grew and kept growing, at first slowly, afterward rapidly; Sunday schools, churches, and societies were organized, and now, counting it thirty years of age, it takes good rank with the two large places of northwestern Indiana, Michigan City and La Porte, which have had nearly seventy years in which to grow.

Hammond now has fifteen churches, counting a Jewish or Hebrew congregation as one, and a church is not necessarily Christian. These are: Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, three Roman Catholic, one of these German, one Irish, and one Polander, German Methodist, German Reformed, two Baptist, "Christian," Presbyterian, Episcopalian, two Luth-


eran, and one Hebrew, called "Anshey Agudos Achim." Of social organizations, lodges and associations, there are in Hammond thirty-one making with the churches and Sunday schools sixty or more different gatherings of various kinds for Hammond's increasing thousands. Of these thousands, as will be seen in the chapter on industries, more than three thousand are persons employed in the five leading manufacturing and business interests of Hammond. In the city are some good business blocks, some substantial church buildings of brick and stone, some well-constructed school buildings. It has two banks, paved streets as a matter of course for a city joining Chicago, water works, an artesian well and also water from Lake Michigan, and two electric railways, one leading to East Chicago and Whiting, the other to Roby and South Chicago. Its industries will be mentioned in another chapter. It is still the home of M. M. Towle, one of the principal founders of the town, a man of large enterprise, of Porter B. Towle, editor of a daily paper, and in it resides Hon. C. F. Griffin, formerly secretary of state of Indiana. Just outside of Hammond, that is, lying north of Wolf Lake, is Roby, the noted, or perhaps, notorious, race course, The following extracts from a Chicago paper, connecting Chicago and Roby history together, will be all that is needful to give of a portion of history not creditable to either Hammond or Lake County. The date of the extract is August, 1896:

Time was when Chicago was a haven for race "fiends," as they are called. There is something suggestive in this word. Four years ago two race tracks, Harlem and Hawthorne, were playing the game alternately and making it continuous. In addition there


were pool-rooms down town. Then came the fight against the tracks and the pool-rooms. Finally followed the establishment of the Roby track, over the Indiana border. Here it was intended to race all the year around by a system of subordination, which gave employment to many persons in the vicinity of the track at extraordinary wages. The enmity of the Lake County (Ind.) officials was met and conquered, and for three years the Roby track and its later mates enjoyed immunity from local interference. At the Indiana tracks the foreign book-making, which was really a pool-room, was the profitable part of the business. It is only a few weeks since the Indiana courts after a prolonged litigation on the part of Gov. Matthews against the tracks, practically declared all the rights of the tracks forfeited, and they were closed.

East Chicago. Population 2,700. -- This young city like the original Chicago, has had a rapid growth. The Penman family, the first resident family, established a home here in 1888, and now the estimated population around them is 3,000. Very literally in 1888 the place was "in the woods," marshes, underbrush, sand ridges, the characteristics of quite a part of North township, were then the natural features of the locality. Now there are various industries elsewhere named, long streets lined with city-like buildings, a large graded school building, and a bank, and many stores and business houses. It has water works and electric lights. Its churches are: Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, German Catholic, the St. Michael's Polish Catholic, and a Swedish Lutheran church. It has quite a number of social organizations, lodges and clubs, in accordance with modern


city life. Outside of the city limits and on the Calumet are the large Grasselli Chemical Works.


Owing no doubt to its position, its proximity to Chicago, and, slightly, to some natural advantages, Lake County from 1880 to 1890, according to the Census reports, made more rapid growth than any other county in all Indiana. In 1880 Lake County as to population was the seventy-first in the State, only twenty-one counties having a less number of inhabitants. In 1890 it was the thirty-fifth in population, fifty-seven having less. Its increase in population was 8,795. Its Per cent of increase was 58.28. The next largest per cent was 43.76. Porter County, in the same ten years, gained in population only 825, and La Porte only 3,460, or 11.17 per cent. These two counties are next nearest to Chicago. These are some stages of progress: In Lake County in 1840, there was no church building. There were a few log school houses. There were two or three Sunday schools. There was a Baptist church organization and perhaps three Methodist organizations. The population was 1,468. In 1870, there were twenty church buildings, ten resident pastors, forty places for religious meetings, thirty Sunday schools, and the population was 12,339. In 1890, there were fifty-six church buildings, thirty-nine resident ministers, forty-five Sunday, schools, sixty places for Sabbath meetings, and the population was 23,838. In respect to growth, as it is a question of fact and not of opinion, Lake may be called the "banner county" of Indiana.

The following figures will show the growth of the six towns of Lake County, the population for 1880 and 1890 having been taken from the Census reports,


and for 1900, being estimated from the public school enumeration, making allowances for the different varieties of population in the different towns:













Crown Point








East Chicago








The number of children, on which the estimate is based, is the following: Lowell, 372; Hobart, 439; Crown Point, 700; Whiting, 640; East Chicago, 876; Hammond, 3,621. To Whiting is assigned a population of more than four times its school enumeration. To the others about three and a half times the school enumeration. And that ratio is generally too large rather than too small. 



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, April 2012


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