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.






1. Westville, as at first laid out into town lots was on the northwest quarter of section 29, in township 36, range 4. Additions were afterwards made. The first permanent residence was built by Henly Clyburn in 1836. The first store was in 1848, proprietors, John and William Cattron, D. M. Closser in 1849, opening a dry goods and grocery store. In 1850 there was established a blacksmith shop. In 1853 the Louisville, New Albany and Salem railroad was completed. A depot was built and Westville became a railroad town. For a time it had quite a rapid growth, mills and factories were started. It was incorporated September 9, 1864. In these later years it has declined rather than advanced. The churches are two: Methodist Episcopal and "Christian." It has had an excellent public school ranking, at least for a time, with the schools at La Porte and Michigan City. Said General Packard in 1876: "Several years ago it was brought up to a high standard by Prof. J. G. Laird, and has successfully maintained it ever since." He also said that it "is recognized as one of the best not only in the county, but in all northern Indiana." Professor Laird was no ordinary teacher; but the schools


of the two cities of the county have made great advance since his day, and the Westville school, excellent as it is, has hardly kept up with them. The population of Westville is now about 700.

2. Otis, north of Westville four miles, was first called by the Michigan Southern railroad people New Salem, or Salem Crossing. The Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago road named it La Croix, and this name the first proprietor of the place, Solomon Tucker, adopted. Its settlement commenced in 1851. Its location is on the northwest quarter of section 5, township 36, range 4. After the number of inhabitants was sufficient to entitle them to give a name to their village, they discarded both the railroad names and called it Packard, in honor of their representative in Congress. But he suggested a change of name, and in 1872, it was named Otis. That name it still bears. Its first settler, in 1851, was Matthias Seberger, who became station agent. The first store was opened in 1854 by George R. Selkirk, supposed to be of the Selkirk family, one of whose members gave the foundation for the story of Robinson Crusoe. Otis is now quite a little town, having a good school, a Polander Roman Catholic church built in 1872, and a Lutheran church erected in 1876.

3. Holmesville, east of Otis, on the southeast quarter of section 4, township 36, range 4, "northeast corner," dates, as a settled place, from 1833, when Jacob Bryant built a dwelling house and a saw-mill. After the location of the railroad in 1850, a small store building was erected, and in 1853 a warehouse. Some houses were built in 1856 and 1857, but it has not become much of a town.

4. But the oldest place in New Durham Town-


ship to be called at any time a town, is New Durham, on or near section 14, about three miles northeast of Westville.

The first building was a log cabin in 1834 built by Leonard Woods. In 1835 there was a store. In 1837 a hotel was started, and in 1838 a wagon factory and a blacksmith shop. So the village continued to grow. In 1839 there was added a tailor's shop; in 1843 a boot and shoe factory; in 1846 a physician; and in 1847 was built a Methodist church, Rev. J. J. Cooper first pastor. In 1852, W. B. Webster made a "hundred and fourteen wagons and buggies and mounted three hundred steel plows."* In 1854 was built a frame school house, and still later one of brick. But in 1854 the postoffice was removed.

"This was an indication of the decline of New Durham, and the railroad having reached Westville, the pioneer town of the township ceased to be a place of any importance. Many of its buildings have been moved away. Some of them have gone to Westville, and some are used for farmhouses.

"Though the town is gone, the rich lands of the prairie remain, a constant source of wealth."

5. Callao, or Morgan Station, is on the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad, described as "situated in the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section" 2, township 34, range 4, laid out for a town in 1859 by W. A. Taylor. Village life commenced, but much growth did not follow.

6. Rozelle was laid out for a town at about the same time, or in 1858, by Joseph Unruh, on the New Albany road about a mile south of Wanatah, and on
*General Packard.


the northeast quarter of section 8, township 34, range 4. It was too near Wanatah which soon took away all its village life.

7. Wanatah, as a railroad station and town began to grow in 1857, just before the completion of the Fort Wayne road. Being on the crossing of two roads, it had the advantage of its two little sister villages and soon grew away from them. Joseph L. Unruh removed his store there from Rozelle, and in 1867, built a flour mill, putting in "three run of stones," and in 1876 it was considered "one of the best flouring mills in the county."

The McCurdy Hotel was built in 1865 by Frank McCurdy, was burned in January, 1875, was immediately rebuilt and called the Wanatah House. The "Enterprise" school house was built by a stock company in 1870. The stream that runs though the town was named, for some reason, Hog Creek, and south of Wanatah, in Dewey Township, in the Kankakee marsh, is Hog Island, on which was built the first school house of Dewey Township, in 1858.

The church buildings now in Wanatah are German Lutheran, Catholic, German Evangelical, Methodist Episcopal, and "Christian."

Population about six hundred.

8. Hanna, population 300, like Wanatah, is on two railroads, and is, "geographically," that is, according to the land descriptions of Indiana, on section 8, township 34, range 3 west of the second principal meridian, which meridian corresponds to longitude 86 degrees 28 minutes west from Greenwich.

As a town the growth of Hanna commenced in 1858. In 1865 George L. Dennison opened a store and became a grain buyer. For some years the


Methodists and Free Methodists held their meetings in the village school house, but now the town has church sittings.

9. 10. Waterford and Beatty's Corners, are the names of localities that gave some promise of becoming towns in the earlier years of settlement, but like many others, not on railroad lines, they soon failed to grow. Ordinarily that which does not grow dies. These were in Coolspring Township, which abounded in small streams and mill-seats and mills. This township lying south from Michigan City was one of the wildest in the county, having a good supply, not only of deer and wild turkeys, but also bears.

11. As early as 1833, the growth began of a village called at first Lakeport, but afterward Hudson, that "was once the rival of La Porte," and "a formidable one," says General Packard, "for the trade of the north part of the county." A school, a store, a blacksmith's shop, a cooper's shop, and tavern started at once.

In 1834 a steam saw-mill was built which immediately commenced work, and in 1835, it seemed to be rapidly growing into a young city. There were two hotels, stages passed through the town, farmers came to sell produce and buy goods, and everything promised commercial prosperity.

In 1836 there was promise of a canal from Toledo in Ohio, to New Buffalo on Lake Michigan. "Hudson was wild with excitement." The financial crash came, the bubble burst; Hudson as a town went down, as did many others in the early years.

12. Door Village is the name of a once quite prosperous little town on Door Prairie, near the "Door," on the locality of which a cabin was built in 1830,


and a second in 1832, and where in 1833 was erected a small frame Methodist church building. A store was opened the same year and a frame dwelling house built, a wagon shop also and a small hotel. In 1834 a blacksmith shop was added, and in 1836 the town was formally laid out under the supervision of the County Commissioners. Various kinds of business started in this new town, even to establishments for manufacturing fanning mills and spinning wheels and threshing machines. It was for a time quite a rival of La Porte. Two good church buildings were erected, one Methodist one Baptist, where for some years large congregations gathered. But the railroads passed through La Porte, they did not touch Door Village. Business left and it declined. There is little trace there now of its former life.

13, 14, 15. In Wills Township three villages were commenced in the pioneer times, before the railroad lines had indicated where the towns must finally be.

These were called Boot Jack, Independence, and Puddletown. The last named was the name given to a little lake on the borders of which a settlement was made that became a hamlet but not a village. This lake is on section 9, in Wills Township. The village called Independence, also Sac Town, was on section 28, township 37, range 1, and was laid out for a town in 1837, where it was expected a railroad would cross a canal, the lines of both having then been surveyed. Mills, stores, and shops, commenced business, but no railroad came and no canal, and the town of Independence disappeared as did the "visions of immense wealth" which the early settlers of Independence saw in their dreams.*
*General Packard.


The name Boot Jack was given, for what reason is now uncertain, to a settlement that became a hamlet with a store and a pioneer tavern, where in 1835 George Hunt settled with a family of six sons, and where in that same year, an Indian by the name of Brice opened a little trading post. There is there now no town, no village. This locality, section 6, is said to have been the first spot settled in Wills Township, the settlement having been commenced in 1830 by the Wills family, John Wills and three sons, Charles, Daniel, and John E. Wills.

16. Corymbo is the name of another locality where in 1874 were twelve log and frame buildings, with only three then inhabited. This once little village was in Springfield Township, on section 18, township 38, range 3.

17. Springville, named from a large spring of cold, pure water, was a village in 1834, having then a tavern, a store and a blacksmith shop. A boot and shoe factory, a tannery, a furniture factory, and a mill afterward increased the business of the place.

Judah Learning, the founder, and first settler in the township, built the first cabin in 1831. Other early settlers were Abram Cormack and Daniel Griffin, and in 1832, Joseph Pagin and sons, John Brown, Charles Vail, John Hazleton, and Erastus Quivey. One-fourth of a mile east of this village in 1832 the first school house was built, Miss Emily Learning, teacher, Elder Silas Tucker taking charge of the school in 1834. At this school were held early Methodist and Baptist meetings. This neighborhood and township has been quite noted for mills, as there are many springs and streams. Some of these mills were built by Joseph Pagin, Charles Vail, David Pagin,


Jacob Early, Erastus Quivey, and Abner Fravel. Springville at present has about 75 inhabitants.

18. On the New Albany railroad, south of Westville, is a station called Haskell, scarcely a town. Population perhaps 50.

19. Bigelow, or Bigelow's Mills, was laid out as a town and a record was made of "twenty-eight blocks" in 1837.

In 1848 "the town of Bigelow's Mills" by act of the Commissioners was "vacated."

20. Union Mills. A house was built at this place in 1832. A grist-mill was built in 1837 and 1838. A record of "the village of Union Mills" was duly filed in December, 1849. In 1838 there were in the village five log cabins. In 1844 was built the Presbyterian church. The town grew, business houses and shops and offices were opened. In 1858 was built the Advent church. In 1872 a railroad reached this growing town, and in 1874 the Baltimore & Ohio road came alongside of it, and a new impulse was thus given to Union Mills. The place is, according to the official record, "situated in the southeast corner of section 8, and the southwest corner of section 9, in township 35," range 3. Present population about 200.

21. About one mile from this town an effort had been made about the year 1836, to start a town to be called Belmont. A beginning was made, but the effort soon ceased.

22. After the railroads went through there was laid out, a mile east of Union Mills, a railroad town called Wellsboro. This has been a growing place. The Chicago & Western Michigan crosses the Grand Trunk here, and makes quite a point for the exchange of passengers.


23. Kingsbury. Population 250. -- Four miles east of Wellsboro on the Grand Trunk is one of the old towns of La Porte County. It was laid out in 1835. Jacob Early and Polaski King were two of the early merchants. In 1834 was built the first school house in the township, now Union, and on the same spot was afterwards built the Baptist church, probably in 1852. About 1860 was built a Methodist church, and in 1876 a German Lutheran.

In 1873 a railroad touched the town and added to its business life. Before this time a grist-mill contributed to the life of the place. The Wabash road has recently passed near the town, but has added little to its growth.

24. Stillwell. Population estimated at 250. -- The early Stillwell was about one mile northwest from the present station bearing this name, the name of an early settler given to the prairie here on which he settled. This station is at the crossing of the Grand Trunk and Lake Erie roads, on section 23, township 36, range 2, near the center of the center. It has one church building known as the "Friends" or Quaker church. No industries, but quite a little railroad business.

25. Mill Creek. Population estimated at 100. -- No church buildings in the village, but the school house is used for church purposes on Sunday. This place is four and a half miles east of Stillwell and the pastor of the Friends' church there supplies here.

Across the Kankakee River, southeastward from Mill Creek, a bridge was built by John Dunn in 1831 or 1832. About 1846 it was rebuilt by Major John M. Lemon, who kept it as a toll bridge for some years. It was known as Lemon's bridge. Mill Creek is the name of a stream, formerly called Spring Run,


on which was built an early saw-mill. A postoffice was established in 1876 near the creek and railroad crossing and named from the creek. Twenty-four years of village life, starting with a postoffice, has not produced much growth.

26. In Kankakee township a village was laid out on the lands of Stephen G. Hunt and Hiram Onem and named Byron. It was on the northeast quarter of section 15, township 37, range 2. In 1835 a store building was commenced, a postoffice located, and a school house and then a hotel and a ware house in the following years were erected. Byron became a town of much trade. It was on the highway from La Porte to South Bend. Says General Packard: "Before the Northern Indiana railroad was built, Byron was a town of much importance. Its trade was large. The travel through it was great, the merchants prospered. * * * The railroad killed it. Its streets are deserted. There is neither store, blacksmith's shop, or tavern within its limits." That was not the first place which a railroad has killed.

27. Rolling Prairie. -- The land on which this town is located was purchased in 1832 by W. J. Walker, some pioneers or "squatters" having homes then upon it. In 1852 the Northern Indiana railroad reached that locality in January. A station was established and so a town sprang up. It was one mile north from Byron. The name, given by the owner of the land to this town was Portland, but the postoffice and station name is Rolling Prairie.

28. A station called La Crosse, sixty-eight miles southeast from Chicago has been in existence now thirty-five years. Commenced in 1865, dating from the completion of the Pan Handle road as it now


runs, its beginning was thirty-five years from 1830, so that its existence thus far measures one-half the period of white occupancy. Located within the upper portion of the Kankakee marsh, where what was the "Air Line," crossed the New Albany and Salem road, its outlook is still upon the broad, open marsh. But the ground around it is much drier now than it was thirty-five years ago. One more road also crosses here now, the Chicago and West Michigan, the crossing being twenty-two miles southwest from La Porte. As a station village there are ten families, but about twenty-five families are within three-quarters of a mile from the crossings. Of these ten families one is Roman Catholic, attending church two and a half miles north. Of the others, some are Lutheran, their church being distant about four miles. Some years ago a religious Protestant family, living a half mile west, Elias Osborn and wife and children, carried on a Sunday school and secured occasional preaching at their home, and the other families quite generally attended the services at this family church house. But the family removed and the school and the preaching ceased. Church privileges for Protestants now are at Wanatah, eight miles north, or at Kouts, seven miles west. A large area of open marsh land, where cattle graze, and on which much grass is cut for hay, extends on the south, eastward and westward, to the Kankakee River, and the view over this wide, level sweep of green verdure is in mid-summer beautiful, the eyes resting at last on the line of far distant trees in their full leaf, which marks the course of the river. One opening only through these trees is visible, where in the south the New Albany road crosses the river. La Crosse is


a shipping point for hay, and a corn crib some eighty feet in length indicates that corn is also brought here for shipment. One small store, "Hyatte & Marquardt, dealers in dry goods, groceries, and notions," supplies some of the family needs.

Two or three miles south of La Crosse is Wilders, a station on the Chicago and Erie road, where the New Albany and Chicago and West Michigan roads cross, and south of which three or four families reside. Wilders is not far from the river, on the south bank of which, along the Erie road and where the oil pipe lines cross the river, is a cluster of oil tanks, with a few families to look after the interests of the Standard Oil Company, as the oil is on its way to Whiting. Wilders is in La Porte County, near its southwest corner.

La Porte County, wealthy and populous as it has been in comparison with the other counties, has about fourteen living towns and villages, and these are not large nor are most of them very thriving. But it has two good, substantial cities, where railroads cross and manufactories nourish. Outside of these the county is largely agricultural with a wealthy farming intelligent community. The county is not probably much in advance of Lake now in population.


The city which bears this name, considered to be, for its location, one of the most beautiful in Indiana, consisted of two cabin homes in 1830. One was the home of Richard Harris, the other of George Thomas, Colonel W. A. Place assisting in building this cabin, and Wilson Malone lodging in it the first night (as it is claimed) that a white man slept where is now La


Porte. The families of these three men, R. Harris, G. Thomas, and W. Malone, constituted the hamlet, if such it might be called, at the close of 1832, Colonel Place having settled in October not far away. But, as 1833 closed and 1834 opened, fifteen families, or at least fifteen houses were in the new county seat.

The following is a record that may well be repeated here:

"John Walker, Walter Wilson, Hiram Todd, James Andrew, and Abram Andrew, Jr., bought at the land sales at Logansport, Indiana, in the month of October, 1831, 400 acres of land, known as the 'Michigan Road Lands,' with a view of laying out a town and making the county seat of La Porte County." Town lots were laid out in 1833 and it did become the county seat. Among the families, making the fifteen in 1834, were, in 1831, Joseph Pagin, on the east side of Deer Creek, Charles Fravel in 1832, and in 1832 and 1833, engaged in business, were John Allison, William Allison, Dr. Ball, Nelson Sandon, John B. Fravel, and Hiram Wheeler. In 1833 the United States government located a land office at La Porte, John M. Lemon Receiver, Major Robb, Register.

The first hotels were kept by Blake and Lily. Early merchants were J. T. & W. Allison, and William Clement and Dr. Seneca Ball. A log school house was built in 1833. Improvements of various kinds went forward and other school buildings were erected. In 1835 La Porte was incorporated as a town with five districts or wards and five trustees were elected. The election certificate bearing date November 14, 1835 was signed by William Dinwiddie, President, Wm. Allen, Clerk. In 1852 a population of five thousand being found in the town limits, a city charter was


granted and La Porte became a city. First Mayor, William J. Walker; second, Benjamin Kress; third, Frederick Mc Cullum; fourth, W. H. H. Whitehead; and fifth, in 1861, Daniel Noyes.

In 1856 a school building was erected in each ward of the city, four of these being built of brick, two stories each. There were in those schools seven teachers: "R. M. Johnson, A. T. Bliss, Jasper Packard, Miss O. M. Tibbits, Miss Emma Chandler, Miss M. A. Kent, and Mrs. Steele." Also Mrs. Packard.

A high school department was soon organized with Jasper Packard as first teacher.

The first Board of Trustees were, Gilbert Hathaway, Amzi Clark, B. P. Walker, and the second were John B. Niles, James Moore, and Ferdinand Roberts.

In 1864 was erected a large brick building for the city high school, and another very large one was added in 1894, and with such men as they have had for trustees and with such teachers as have been placed in the schools, it is no wonder that it has been said that "the educational advantages of La Porte are of the highest order." It has been also said, but he may have been partial who said it, that "taken altogether, La Porte is unquestionably the handsomest city in Indiana." Its streets are wide and well shaded—unfortunately sometimes for a stranger they do not run in the direction of the cardinal points of the compass—beautiful lakes, such as Clear Lake, Pine Lake, Stone Lake, are around it; and its prairie and grove surroundings are among some of nature's choicest beauties. Yet truth to say, as its most partial inhabitants cannot fail to see, the beauty here in 1900 is not what once it was. Clear Lake is no longer clear and beautiful, and between the railroad tracks and the


lake no beauty is left. But on the eastward or southeastward side of Main street, the city is still worthy of its fame.

Some manufacturing firms are: M. Rumely Company, established in 1853, incorporated in 1887, manufacturers of threshing machines and engines, with branch offices in Chicago, in Wisconsin, in Ohio, in Missouri, in Iowa, and in Nebraska; The Munson Company, a new establishment, manufacturing horseless vehicles and electric apparatus of all kinds; a large carriage factory; a wheel factory, dating from 1870; two woolen mills or factories; and some other establishments.

These furnish employment for many workmen. In 1852 or 1853 the machine shops of the Michigan Southern road were located in La Porte, but were removed to Elkhart in 1870.

Among those citizens of La Porte who have achieved fame, belongs the name of Mrs. Emma F. Malloy. Hers was for a time a brilliant but not happy life. She accomplished much as a "temperance missionary," but she undertook at length a task morally impossible. She failed. Woman as well as man needs, in going forth to the battles of life, to conflicts against terrible wrongs, to have the Christian armor bound most perfectly on. If one piece of that invincible armor is missing she may be lost. And she needs, too, that bright armor in the most retired positions of a wife and mother.

Another name here, of one who labored in a different line and achieved, it may be, more enduring success, is that of Mrs. Maria B. Early, wife of J. P. Early, of La Porte, who, in 1876 was elected Conference Secretary of the Woman's Foreign Missionary


Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She was one of those five girls mentioned as having, in 1837, a home in City West, and in 1840 she was a member of the family boarding school of Mrs. J. A. H. Ball, at Red Cedar Lake. As Conference Secretary she gave addresses in various churches, and became well and favorably known as an active, earnest Christian woman.

Of men who have become widely known it is sufficient to mention the names of Judge John B. Niles, lawyer, scholar, Christian; of Judge Osborn; General Joseph Orr; of Colonel Gilbert Hathaway, General Jasper Packard; Dr. Abraham Teegarden; and to name yet others would make it difficult to find a limit. Outside of the city probably the most widely known was Hon. C. W. Cathcart.

Churches in La Porte: two Lutheran; two Roman Catholic; Methodist Episcopal; German M. E.; German Evangelical; Presbyterian; two Baptist; Episcopal; "Christian"; Unitarian; Quaker; Swedenborgian or "New Church." This last church organized in 1859.

The church buildings are mostly substantial city-like structures of brick or stone.

The court house is a grand building of brown or reddish brown stone from Lake Superior.

In the line of benevolent institutions La Porte has an undenominational Old Ladies' Home. In a La Porte publication for June, 1900, under the heading "Society Directory," appear the names of forty-one different organizations, including lodges, clubs, and societies of various kinds. Among them a Hebrew Ladies' Aid Society, and a Scandinavian Relief and Aid Society, also a Charity Circle, show that this city


differs in some respects from the other towns and cities that have been noticed.

La Porte has several miles of well-paved streets, it has telephones and electric lights, and has had free mail delivery since 1891. This has reduced the number of boxes in the postoffice from more than one thousand to about five hundred. The city population is about ten thousand. The census returns when published may give more. For a water supply the lakes around the city have been the dependence, but these are proving not sufficient, and a different source of supply is sought. It is hoped, when this is found, that the lakes may again fill up and assume their earlier beauty; but besides what the city uses, a large amount of water is taken away from these lakes each year in the form of ice. They will not probably be again what they were in 1830.

A record not in its proper place will close this notice. In 1835 the postmaster was A. W. Harrison. In 1837 Dr. T. D. Lemon became postmaster and so continued till March 4, 1861.


There was a sale of government lands at Logansport in October, 1831, and at this sale Major Isaac C. Elston, of Crawfordsville, is said to have purchased the lands on which is now Michigan City, and to have laid out town lots in October of 1832. Trail Creek, passing into the great lake here, not far from that immense pile of sand known as Hoosier Slide, and a little west of another immense, wooded sand bluff, suggested an appropriate place for a harbor and therefore, for a lake city.

Pine and a few sugar maple trees were then grow-


ing where the city is now. Near Lake Michigan were sand hills, and to the first settlers, who came in 1833 the view was not inviting; no beautiful prairie landscape appearing like that around La Porte; but, says General Packard, "across the creek that passed through the woods, and which was still the abode of wild beasts, a low, wet, swampy tract of country occupied all the locality." But these settlers came, not to open farms, but rather to found a city. And a city at length was built.

The first log cabin, so far as known, was erected in August, 1833, by Jacob Furman and B. F. Bryant; and in October Samuel Flint with his family arrived; and Samuel B. Webster is the next name on the record of settlers in 1833. To him is attributed the erection of the first frame building, and the second was a dwelling house for the Flint family. The name of George W. Selkirk is found for October, 1833; and early in 1834 are the names of Thompson W. Francis, Joseph C. Orr, and Samuel Miller. In the same year came George Ames and Leonard Woods, and Sprague and Teall who purchased the stage line from Michigan City to Chicago, and many others. Town lots had been laid out by a surveyor and the town plat of Michigan City had been recorded in 1833. In 1834 hotels were built, and the growth in that and in the next two years was perfectly astonishing. Stores were opened, warehouses built, piers constructed, schooners and even little steamers, landed cargoes, and business was brisk. A school house had been built in 1834, which was used also as a church, and in 1836 there was a Protestant Episcopal church building, the first in the young city.

In 1836 harbor improvements began for which


Congress appropriated twenty thousand dollars. The next year thirty thousand dollars was appropriated. One after another appropriations were made until 1852 amounting in all to $160,733, and year after year the money was expended and no real good accomplished. The government abandoned the undertaking, and for fourteen years nothing more was done. William H. Goodhue said, "'Hope for a season' bade Michigan City farewell." At length, in 1866, the citizens determined to build a harbor themselves, and organized the 'Michigan City Harbor Company.' They raised money and worked, and again Congress began to help them. In 1867 an appropriation was made of $75,000; in 1868, of $25,000; in 1869, of $32,500; and year after year appropriations were made until Michigan City had a harbor. In the meantime, through all these years, business and growth were not standing and waiting.

"From 1837 to 1844, Michigan City was the principal grain market for Northern Indiana, wheat being received from as far south as the central portion of the State. Huge caravans of ox teams, with two and three yoke of oxen to a wagon, would come in, sometimes thirty or forty such teams together. The supplies for all this large extent of country were purchased here. The same teams which conveyed the wheat to market, would return laden with goods for the home merchants. It was not uncommon for three hundred teams to arrive in one day."

The railroad era came and things were changed. The Michigan Central road reached Michigan City in 1850, and in 1851 machine shops were built. The Louisville, New Albany & Chicago road reached Michigan City in 1853. Other roads soon were built.


In 1857 was located the Northern Penitentiary. Manufacturing firms soon began to employ prison labor. The first was for cooperage, firm, Hayward & De Wolfe. The next was for wagons and carriages, different men controlling the business from time to time, employing in 1876 one hundred and fifty of the prisoners, and making carriages, buggies, and sleighs, besides adding, to this business, cooperage, their sales at this time amounting to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Ford & Johnson, in 1870, commenced chair making, soon employing also one hundred and fifty men, their chairs going out even as far as Japan.

The Michigan City car factory has done a large business, cars being made for the government during the Civil War, four hundred men at times having been employed.

Fisheries have in some years been very profitable at Michigan City. Lyman Blair, it is said, has packed in one year white fish worth forty thousand dollars. 1856 and 1857 were years noted for a great catch of white fish and trout.

Churches in Michigan City: Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal, Episcopalian, two Lutheran, both large brick buildings, two Roman Catholic, German M. E., Swedish Lutheran, and two Congregational mission churches. Also one Baptist. In all, thirteen.

Manufacturing firms: Ford & Johnson, chairs.

Haskell & Barker, Car Co.

Tecumseh Knitting Factory.

Lakeside Knitting Factory.

Free delivery of mail matter since 1892. Formerly in the postoffice 1,300 boxes. Now only 420. Mich-


igan City is built on beds of sand, deep, heavy sand, that sometimes blows and drifts like snow, for there are very light particles in what is called heavy sand. Immense quantities of sand from the Hoosier Slide are taken away in carloads to Chicago, but it is a huge mass yet. Foundations have been laid in this great bed of sand that underlies the city for many grand structures.

In 1871 a large public school building was erected on a sightly spot, and the grounds "have been kept in their present beautiful condition" through the care and benevolence of a pioneer of 1834, Mr. George Ames, who, having no children of his own, cared for the welfare of the children of others. For the school grounds it seemed as though "he could never do enough." He was accustomed, for many years, to present each graduate of the school with a likeness of himself and also with one of the school building and the grounds, and, dying about 1892, he left a sum of money the interest of which is to be expended in keeping up and adorning the school grounds.*

This school building, considered for the size of the city, "one of the finest in the State,"** was destroyed by fire in January, 1896, and was replaced by another grand building ready for use in January, 1897.

Besides electric lights and paved streets this city has electric railways. Its population is about 15,000.

It has a full share of the various social orders of the day, and has been noted in all its years of growth for quite a number of wealthy citizens. It has been
*Authority, Miss Minnie E. Barron, a graduate of the school and a teacher in the year 1900.
**General Packard.


first and still is first in its manifestations of the refinement and even of the aristocratic tendency of cities. It has some noble Christian men and women, cultivated and refined. It has a good many citizens now of foreign birth. It contains probably alone of all our towns, a Soldiers' Monument. 



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, April 2012


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