History of Porter County, 1882County history published by F. A. Battey and Company . . . .

Source Citation:
Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Lake and Porter, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey and Company. 771 p.







THE County of Porter had its first political existence in the month of March, 1835, at which time the County Commissioners of La Porte County, then having jurisdiction over the soil now comprising the counties of Porter and Lake, ordered that all the territory west of the La Porte County line and attached to that county should be laid off in election districts or townships as follows:

The township of Waverly to be bounded on the north by Lake Michigan, east by the La Porte County line, south by the line between Townships 35 and 36 north, and west by the line through the center of Range 6 west. The township of Morgan to be bounded on the north by the south line of Waverly Township, east by the La Porte County line, south by the Kankakee River, and west by the line through the center of Range 6 west. The township of Ross to include all the attached territory west of the line through the center of Range 6 west.

At the time of the creation of these townships, an election of two Justices of the Peace and other officers was ordered held at the house of Isaac Morgan for Morgan Township, at the town of Waverly for Waverly Township, and at the house of Cyrus Spurlock for Ross Township. John J. Foster was appointed Inspector of the election in Waverly Township; Isaac Morgan, of the election in Morgan Township, and Benjamin McCarty, of the election in Ross Township. The following is the result of the three elections, with the number of votes polled for each candidate:

Waverly Township. - Justice of the Peace, John J. Foster, 18; Elijah Casteel, 11; John Sefford, 7. Constable, Owen Crumpacker, 15; Jacob Beck, 14. Superintendent of Roads, Eli Hendricks, 16; L. G. Jackson, 5; Abraham Snodgrass, 11. Overseers of the Poor, Jesse Morgan, 16; William Frame, 16. Fence Viewers, Alexander Crawford, 14;


Edmund Tratebas, 14. Inspector of Elections, William Gosset, 1; John J. Foster, 1. Total number of votes polled, 32; the following being the only names which appear upon the records: Jesse Morgan, J. J. Foster, William Conant, Lemuel G. Jackson, S. N. Clark, William Gosset, Clark Waldriss, Owen Crumpacker, Elijah Casteel, Peter Ritter, Meredeth Braylock, William Downing, Jacob Beck, Isaac Mossey, Pressley Warnick, Abraham Snodgrass, Daniel W. Lyons, William Calhoun and Thomas J. Wyatt.

Morgan Township. - Justice of the Peace, Adam S. Campbell, 26; George Cline, 26. Constable, T. A. E. Campbell, 25; Jones Frazee, 25; William Morgan, 1. Supervisor of Roads, Henry Rinker, 21; R. C. Brayton, 19. Overseers of the Poor, Reason Bell, Sr., 25; Jacob Coleman, 25. Fence Viewers, Jacob Coleman, 24; Benjamin Saylor, 24. Inspector of Elections, Isaac Morgan, 26. Total number of votes polled, 26, by the following persons: Henry Rinker, Benjamin Saylor, Henry H. Williams, White B. Smith, James Blair, Jonathan Moulton, Jacob Fleming, John Coleman, James Frazee, William Morgan, William Billings, James Laughlin, Jeremiah Bartholomew, Reason Bell, Adam S. Campbell, George Cline, Warner Pierce, Jacob Coleman, Edmund Billings, Peter D. Cline, Russel Brayton, Stephen Brayton, Robert Walters, Isaac Morgan, T. A. E. Campbell and Reason Reed.

Ross Township. - Justices of the Peace, James Turner, 29, William B. Crooks, 28; Constable, George W. Turner, 27, John Huntley, 13, John G. Forbes, 14; Overseers of the Poor, Benjamin McCarty, 5, Theophilus Blake, 22, John G. Forbes, 24; Superintendent of Roads, Daniel Turner, 13, Richard Clark, 7, John Huntley, 9; Fence Viewers, Moses Wilson, 25, James Walton, 25; Inspector of Elections, Benjamin McCarty, 14, Samuel Haviland, 2. Total voters, 29, as follows: Richard Clark, William D. Wolf, Theopilus Blake, John Lyons, Michael Young, Moses Wilson, David Spurlock, John Spurlock, Stephen Spurlock, Cyrus Spurlock, George Spurlock, Barzilla Bunnel, Knighton Parrott, John G. Forbes, Benjamin McCarty, John Huntley, Samuel Haviland, Wright P. Taylor, George W. Turner, Burton Blake, William B. Crooks, Daniel Turner, Noah Fouts, Pascal Coghill, Jesse Pierce, James W. Turner, Jacob Hurlburt, John Wolf and Mason Randle.

It must not be thought that the above men were the only ones residing in their respective townships; for it will be observed that votes were polled for men who were absent, or the names of all present were not returned upon the tally sheets by the officers of the election. The following vote polled in August of the same year shows a population but little heavier. The returns of Waverly Township could not be found:


As the three townships - Morgan, Ross and Waverly - had no existence except as a part of La Porte County, the returns of this election were counted in with the general vote of that county; and but two of the candidates voted for, so far as known, resided within the limits of the territory now comprising the county of Porter. These men were John J. Foster and Benjamin Spurlock. At that period in the history of what afterward became Porter County, partisan lines were not strictly drawn, and political ambition was scarcely known. The empty honor of official position was regarded with indifference, as no profit was to be seen, save the stern discipline associated with the self-denial incident to a life lived within the salary received. As such profit was regarded as a burden, and as it was abundantly found, the early settlers were not anxious that it should be increased. With the exception of a few accidentally favored positions, the pay of office was merely nominal, and possessed no attraction to those who were fortunate in owning a goodly share of this world's goods. The few county offices which afforded suitable recompense for time and labor, were as seduously sought as at the present day. Money in this new country was so extremely scarce, and the investments to be made with it were so filled with promise, that men of every degree of intelligence and responsibility sought eagerly for any employment which would yield financial returns. The settlers were a motley collection of the representatives of every State in the East, and of many European nations, with habits of life and views of public polity diametrically opposed; and, from the start, the clashing of settled conviction, and the unfavorable influence of personal prejudice were forcibly felt in every public gathering until the waves of disunion in thought were hushed to silence and harmony. The only unison in views was upon the subject of the accumulation of property. Speculators appeared with prodigious pocket books, and founded their fortunes. The impecunious and unscrupulous sought by art and intrigue to accomplish what their conspicuous lack of funds prevented. The billows of speculation of that inflated financial period swept over the county; and unbounded faith in sudden transitions from poverty


to wealth took possession of every breast. Notwithstanding the lack of money in this new country, commercial transactions were conducted with reckless prodigality. Debts were contracted under the insane delusion that their ultimate liquidation would be the careless pleasure of some future day. Counterfeiters overran the county, offering tempting baits to the unwise or unwary. Every commercial transaction or relation became filled with the wind of false promise, and was distended out of all proportion. Many of the settlers of the years 1834, 1835 and 1836 invested their last dollar in land at spots which, to them, seemed the most likely to become important, and even went so far as to borrow money on the security of their land to devote to the same insane purpose. Scores of mortgages were given under the fancied security that the lifting of the same was an afterthought of no moment or consequence. The result is a matter of history. The distressing financial crash of 1837 produced a chaos. Money, which had so long represented inflated values, fell prostrate to the basis of actual worth. Men who, the day before, had counted their ducats by the thousands, now sorrowfully counted them by hundreds, or even by dozens. The distress was universal, is well known, and need not be detailed. The hard times were gradually overcome; and the lesson that prosperity is often as dangerous as adversity was taught by wretched experience, and will not be forgotten.

Land Entries. - The following tracts of land were the first entered in Porter county, and all that were entered prior to January 1, 1834, including the Indian and the French reservations that were made at the treaty of October 16, 1826, when that portion of the county north of an east and west line through the southern point of Lake Michigan, became the property of the Government by cession from the Pottawatomies and the treaty of October 27, 1832, when all the county south of such line became the property of the Government, except, of course, the reservations which were not approved by the President until 1836:


During the year 1834, there were entered in the county fifty-nine tracts of land, representing an aggregate of 5080.75 acres, all of which, without exception, was in Townships 36 and 37 north. In 1835, 938 tracts were entered in the county, as this was the year that the land south of the old Indian line running through the southern point of Lake Michigan was thrown into market, and there was a great rush into the new county by speculators and by those who expected to become residents. During this year, 1835, nearly 90,000 acres of land in the county were entered at the Government price of $1.25 per acre. Eight thousand and eighty acres of Wabash & Erie Canal lands were located in Porter County, the first sale of the same occurring in 1843 and the last in 1862. This land was confined to Townships 34 and 36, Range 7. Three thousand two hundred acres of Michigan road land were also sold in 1835. The State has derived no little income from the sale of the swamp lands in Porter County, that were donated by Congress. The splendid systems of drainage, both county and State, have reclaimed large tracts of land that in early years were very wet or covered with water. There has been spent in the county for open and underground drainage not less than $200,000. The first great ditches began to be built between 1850 and 1860, and since then many others have been added at high expense. The Kankakee Drainage Company flourished for a time at the very zenith of pleasurable anticipation, but the citizens were too wise to be caught by these Shylocks, and therefore did not have to pay a pound of flesh nearest the heart.

Creation and Organization of Present County. - No other changes were made in the civil division of what, in 1836, became Porter County, than those made by the Commissioners of La Porte County as


above described, until the winter of 1835-36, at which time the following enactment was passed by the State Legislature:

Section I. - Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That from and after the first day of February next, all that tract of country included in the following boundary lines shall form and constitute the county of Porter, to wit: Commencing at the northwest corner of La Porte County, thence running south to the Kankakee River, thence west with the bed of said river to the center of Range 7, thence north to the State line, thence east to the place of beginning. And all that part of the country that lies north of the Kankakee River and west of the county of Porter within the State of Indiana, shall form and constitute a new county, to be known and designated by the name of Lake County.

Sec. 2. That the county of Porter shall, from and after the first day of February next, enjoy and possess all the rights, privileges, benefits and jurisdictions, which, to separate and independent counties do, or may properly belong.

Sec. 3. That Joel Long, of Kosciusko, Andrew Wilson, of Fountain, Mathias Dawson and Judah Leaming, of La Porte, and William L. Earl, of St. Joseph, Counties be, and they are hereby appointed Commissioners agreeably to the act entitled "An Act fixing the seat of justice in all new counties hereafter to be laid off." The Commissioners aforesaid shall meet on the first Monday in June next, or any day thereafter they may agree upon, at the house of Thomas Butler, in the said county of Porter, and shall proceed immediately to perform the duties required of them by law, and it shall be the duty of the Sheriff of the county of St. Joseph to notify said Commissioners, either in person or by writing, of their appointment, and for such services, said Sheriff shall receive such compensation as the board, doing county business of Porter County, may deem reasonable.

Sec. 4. The Circuit Court and Board of County Commissioners shall hold their sessions as near the center of the county of Porter as a convenient place can be had until the public buildings shall be erected.

Sec. 5. The county of Porter shall be attached to the Eighth Judicial Circuit of this State for judicial purposes.

Sec. 6. The board doing county business may, as soon as elected and qualified, hold special sessions not exceeding three days during the first year after the organization of said county, and shall make all necessary appointments, and do and perform all other business which may or might have been necessary to be performed at any other regular session, and take all necessary steps to collect the State and county revenue, any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sec. 7. This act to be in force from and after its passage.

                                         Approved, 28th of January, 1836.
                                         N. NOBLE.

                                                CALEB B. SMITH,
                                                Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                                                DAVID WALLACE,
                                                President of the Senate.

During the same session of the Legislature that the above creating enactment was passed, provision was made for the organization of Porter County by the appointment of Benjamin Saylor, Sheriff, with full power to order an election of two Associate Judges of the Circuit Court, three Commissioners, one Clerk of the Court, and one Recorder, and to transact other necessary business. Accordingly, an election of such officers was ordered held on the 23d day of February, 1836, and resulted as follows:


The following more fully explains this table: At an election held at the house of William Gosset February 23, 1836, for the purpose of electing two Associate Judges of the Circuit Court, three County Commissioners, a Clerk of the Circuit Court, and a Recorder for the county the following men voted: James Turner, Pressley Warnick, John Saylor, Jesse McCord, Samuel Haviland, William Nernon, Beda Cornell, James Thomas, Isaac Sanford, John Hageman, William Gosset, Jacob Beck, William Coleman, John Reed, Jeremiah Frame, William Thomas, Enos Thomas, Benjamin Joslin, William McCoy, William Frame, Jesse Morgan, John Casteel, Eli Hendricks, Curtis Parkes, Samuel Thomas, Abraham Hall. Total, 26.

The vote for the same candidates on the same day at the house of Isaac Morgan, in Morgan Township was polled by the following men:

John Coleman, Jacob Coleman, D. S. Holland, John Blair, Jacob Fleming, Isaac Thomas, Levi Chamberlin, James M. Buel, William Morgan, John Herron, P. D. Cline, Reason Bell, Andrew Ault, Stephen Brayton, Joseph Hines, Benjamin Taylor, Orrin Lewis, J. S. Heming, Peter Hesser, Reason Reed, Antony Boggs, Henry Stoner, Sanford Hammond, W. B. Smith, Simon Drouillard, George Cain, Edmund Billings, Asa Hughes, Benjamin Bingham, James Blair, William Bingham, Benjamin Reed, G. Z. Salyer, Henry Rinker, James Laughlin, G. Hughes, John Robinson, John R. Sargent, Robert Wallace, Nelson H. Smith, Benjamin Carr, William Mofford, Joshua Goodrich, John Jones, A. G. Denison, Isaac Morgan, Samuel Stoner, Peter Wininger, Isaac Wininger, Sperry Howard, Henry Barklow, Enos Neil, Warner Winslow, Frederick Wininger, John B. Taylor. Total, 55.

The vote for the same candidates on the same day at the house of Morris Witham was cast by the following persons:

Adam S. Campbell, Wiley James, Morris Witham, Charles Allen, Washington Ault, Martin Reed, John Bartholomew, Jesse Johnson, Christopher Barns, Asahel Neil, Miller Parker, M. Coghill, George


Shoultz, G. W. Coghill, Benjamin Spencer, Jacob Kinsey, William Billings, John Adams, James Ross, James Palmer, Joseph Bartholomew, Henry S. Adams, G. W. Turner, Enoch Billings. Total, 24.

The vote for the same candidates, on the same day, at the house of John Spurlock, in Ross Township, was cast by the following men: Washington Williams, John F. McGrew, Preston Blake, Wright Taylor, William Brim, Richard Clark, Joseph Willey, John F. Walton, Eri Fouts, John Conway, Henry Herold, Ezra Crosby, Sylvester Forbes, Theophilus Blake, James Walton, David Spurlock, John G. Forbes, William Wolf, Edwin Abbott, H. S. Webster, Stephen Spurlock, P. A. Paine, Russell Darr, James Conant, W. A. Nichols, Lewis Walton, Edmund Wolf, George Spurlock, Jacob Wolf, John Spurlock, Noah Fouts, Moses Wilson, Cyrus Spurlock, Andrew Wilson, Joseph Wilson; total, 35.

The vote for the same candidates, on the same day, at the house of L. G. Jackson, was polled by the following men: William Eaton, Samuel Olinger, James M. Davis, Alexander Crawford, Thomas Crawford, L. G. Jackson, Lewis Todhunter, Lewis Casteel, William Calhoun, Elijah Casteel, Joel Crumpacker, Griffin Holbert, Abraham Snodgrass, D. W. Lyons, Jerry Todhunter, William Downing, Solomon Hobaugh, John Casteel, Ruel Starr, James Spurlock, A. K. Paine, Owen Crumpacker, Thomas J. Wyatt, John Sefford, H. A. K. Paine, John P. Noble, G. W. Faulkner, William Snavely, Benjamin McCarty, Joel Walker, H. E. Woodruff, Levi Massey, Joseph Wright, William Walker, Nelson Ellison, Alfred Winter, J. S. Wallace, J. R. C. Brown, Mordecai Massey, Roby R. Parrott; total, 40; grand total, 180.

The following action of the first Board of Commissioners is taken from the record of the Auditor of Porter County:

At a special session of the Board of Commissioners in and for the county of Porter aforesaid, begun on the 12th of April, 1836, the following persons came forward and produced their certificates of election, signed by the Sheriff of said county, with the necessary oath of office indorsed thereon: John Sefford, Benjamin N. Spencer and Noah Fouts. Also present George W. Turner, Clerk of said Commissioners' Court, and Benjamin Saylor, Sheriff of said county.

Ordered by the Board, That for the purpose of electing township officers for the county of Porter, the following district of said county shall form and constitute a township to be known by the name of Lake: Commencing at the northeast corner of Porter County, thence south with said county line to the line dividing Townships 36 and 37, thence west on said line to the southeast corner of Section 31, Township 37 north, Range 5 west, thence north to the State line, thence east to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known by the name of Jackson: Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 1, Township 36 north, Range 5 west, thence running south with the county line to the southeast corner of Section 36, Township 36 north. Range 5 west, thence west to the southwest corner of Section 32, Township 36, Range 5, thence north to the southwest corner of Lake Township, thence east to the place of beginning.


That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Washington: Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 1, Township 35, Range 5, thence south with said county line to the southeast corner of Section 36 in said town, thence west to the southwest corner of Section 32, Township 35, Range 5, thence north to the southwest corner of Jackson Township, thence east to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known by the name of Pleasant: Commencing at the southeast corner of Porter County, thence north to the northeast corner of Section 1, Township 34, Range 5, thence west with the southern boundary of Washington Township to the southwest corner of the same, thence south to the Kankakee River, thence east with the same to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Boone: Commencing at the southwest corner of Pleasant Township, thence north with the western boundary of Pleasant to the northwest corner of the same, thence west with the line dividing Townships 34 and 35 to the county line, thence south to the southwest corner of Porter County, thence east with the Kankakee River to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Centre: Commencing at the southwest corner of Washington Township, thence north to the southwest corner of Jackson Township, thence west to the northwest corner of Section 4, Township 35, Range 6, thence south to the southwest corner of Section 33, Township 35, Range 6, thence east to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Liberty: Commencing at the northwest corner of Washington Township, thence north to the southwest corner of Lake Township, thence west to the northwest corner of Section 4, Township 86, Range 6, thence south to the southwest corner of Section 33, Township 36, Range 6, thence east to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Waverly: Commencing at the southwest corner of Lake Township, thence west to the county line, thence north with said line to the northwest corner of the county, thence east with the northern boundary line of the county to the northwest corner of Lake Township, thence south to the place of beginning.

That the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Portage: Commencing at the northwest corner of Liberty Township, thence west to the county line, thence south to the southwest corner of Section 34, Township 36, Range 7, thence east to the southwest corner of Liberty Township, thence north to the place of beginning.

And that the following territory shall constitute a township to be known as Union: Commencing at the northwest corner of Centre Township, thence west to the county line, thence south to the northwest corner of Boone Township, thence east to the southwest corner of Centre Township, thence north to the place of beginning.

The Board adjourned to meet the following morning at 9 o'clock A. M. At this session it was ordered that an election of one Justice of the Peace be held in every township that had been created the day before, except in the township of Washington, which was to have two such officers; and the election for Washington Township was ordered held on the 30th of April, 1836, at the residence of Isaac Morgan, who was appointed Inspector of Election. At the same session an election was ordered for Jackson Township, to be held on the same day (30th), at the residence of Asahel K. Paine, and Samuel Olinger was appointed Inspector. The election for Lake Township was ordered held, same time, at the residence of Edward Harper, who was appointed Inspector. The


election for Waverly Township was ordered held, same time, in the town of Waverly, and William Gosset became Inspector by appointment. The election for Liberty Township was ordered held, same time, at the house of Daniel Y. Kesler, and Jerry Todhunter was appointed Inspector. An election for the same date was ordered for Centre Township, to be held at the house of C A. Ballard, and G. Z. Salyer became Inspector. An election the same date was ordered for Pleasant Township, to be held at the house of Henry Adams, with William Billings, Inspector. An election on the same date for the township of Boone was ordered held at the house of Jesse Johnson, with Asahel Neil, Inspector. An election was ordered for the township of Union, on the same day, to be held at the house of George W. Turner, with James Walton, Inspector. An election on the same day, for the township of Portage, was ordered held at the house of Jacob Wolf, Sr., with James Spurlock, Inspector. George Cline was appointed Assessor for all that portion of the county lying south of the line dividing Townships 35 and 36; Peter Ritter, same, for all the county lying north of such line, and John Adams, same, for all the attached territory on the west (Lake County).

At the May term of the Board (1836) the county was divided into Commissioners' Districts as follows: All the territory lying south of the line dividing Townships 34 and 35 to be District No. 1; all the territory lying between the line dividing Townships 34 and 35, and the line dividing Townships 35 and 36 to be District No. 2; and all the territory north of the line dividing Townships 35 and 36 to be District No. 3. At the May term of the board, Benjamin McCarty, County Treasurer, reported that no moneys had been received by him yet in virtue of his official position; whereupon Benjamin Saylor was appointed County Collector. John P. Noble was appointed Constable of Jackson Township; Thomas Crawford, Supervisor of Roads; Joseph Wright and Levi Massey, Overseers of the Poor; James M. Davis and Luther Jefferson, Fence Viewers; all for Jackson Township. For Liberty Township, Daniel W. Lyons was appointed Constable; Jesse Morgan and Richard Clark, Overseers of the Poor; William Downing and Edmund Tratebas, Fence Viewers, and Solomon Habans, Supervisor of Roads. For Pleasant Township, Archibald Demand was appointed Constable; Morris Witham, Supervisor of Roads; Thomas Adams and Morris Witham, Overseers of the Poor; John Adams and John Jones, Fence Viewers. For Union Township, E. W. Fonts was appointed Constable; Richard Henthorn, Supervisor of Roads; Daniel Turner and David Spurlock, Overseers of the Poor; Washington Williams and B. Bunnell, Fence Viewers. For Ross Township, John Young was appointed Constable; Royal Benton, Supervisor of Roads; Daniel Wallsworth and William Thornburg, Overseers of the


Poor; W. B. Crooks and Jesse Pierce, Fence Viewers. For Portage Township - James Connett, Constable; William Brim, Supervisor of Roads; T. Blake and Jacob Wolf, Overseers of the Poor; John Wolf and Stephen Spurlock, Fence Viewers. William Billings was appointed Seminary Trustee of Porter County.

The following is the three months' report of William Walker, County Treasurer, rendered November, 1836:

From Benjamin Walker, former Treasurer ..........


From Ebenezer Clark, license ...........................


From Francis Willey, license ..............................


From Ebenezer Clark, license ...........................


From Samuel Haviland, license .........................

.56 1/4

                    Total .........................................

$26.36 1/4

By order to G. W. Turner .................................


By order to G. W. Turner ................................

.87 1/2

By order to G. W. Turner ................................


By order to G. W. Turner ................................


By order to G. A. Ballard .................................


By order to ----- ............................................


                    Balance on hand ........................

6.48 3/4

                    Total ........................................

$26.36 1/4

The following is the report of the Commissioners selected by the State Legislature, as will be seen by the enactment several pages back, to locate the county seat of Porter County:

The undersigned Commissioners to locate the county seat of Porter County, Ind., make the following report: That they met, pursuant to agreement, on Tuesday, the 7th inst., at the house of Thomas Butler, and were duly sworn to discharge the duties of Commissioners to locate the county seat of Porter County, Ind.; that they proceeded to view all the sites on Tuesday and Wednesday following, and inquired upon what terms the same might be secured; that after duly inspecting the different sites and taking into consideration all the matters to which the law called their particular attention, your Commissioners concluded that the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 35 north. Range 6 west, was the most eligible site for said county seat. Your Commissioners accordingly gave notice that they were ready to receive proposals, if any were to be made, of this or other parts for such county seat. The Commissioners received from the proprietors of said town (Portersville) and others donations of each alternate lot - 192 lots to be laid out at or near the center of said southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 35, Range 6, and a donation of forty acres of land - part of Section 20, Township 35, Range 6, and donations of money, for a more particular description of which you are referred to the bonds filed herewith. Your Commissioners then proceeded to the said southwest quarter of Section 24, and located the county seat upon said quarter section, and stuck a stake which is half-way between the northwest corner and the northeast corner of the public square, on the north side of said square, and which by a line run with a compass was found to be south 53 degrees east 29 chains and 10 links from the half-mile post on the west side of Section 24. The donations made for said point were upon condition that said site and public square shall be located as they are above described, and for which bonds are filed in the name of different individuals with the Commissioners of Porter County.


And the county seat of Porter County, as hereby established by the undersigned Locating Commissioners, is on the site as above described; and the stake, having the bearings above, is on the north line of the public square, and the alternate lots are to be laid off by the donors on said site - the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 35 north, Range 6 west.

                                                                                 W. L. EARLE,
                                                                                 MATHIAS DAWSON,
                                                                                 JUDAH LEMING,
                                                                                Locating Commissioners.

JUNE 9 1836.

The amounts of the bonds that were given for the payment of the money that was donated to Porter County by the proprietors of the county seat, for the erection of county buildings, with the names of the obligors, are as follows: Bond No. 1, $500, Benjamin McCarty, John Walker, John Saylor, Enoch McCarty, L. L. Hillis and William Walker; Bond No. 2, $50, James Hutchins; Bond No. 3, $100, George Cline; Bond No. 4, $75, A. S. Campbell; Bond No. 5, $100, Isaac Morgan; Bond No. 6, $25, Charles G. Minick; Bond No. 7, $100, Thomas Butler; Bond No. 8, $100, G. Z. Salyer; Bond No. 9, $50, Isaac Morgan; Bond No. 10, $100, Ruel Starr. These several amounts pledged by the proprietors of the county seat, together with the various town lots that were donated to the county, furnished, for many years, quite an important source of revenue. From time to time the authorized county agent, to whom was intrusted the disposal of the lots, sold the same to citizens or new settlers, usually taking notes for the consideration, due with interest at a future day. As the pressure for means for the first few years after the county was organized, to aid in the construction of bridges, roads, public buildings, and in the payment of public functionaries was very great, the town lots and the bonds were converted into money by the Commissioners as soon as possible; but even the amounts thus obtained were not sufficient to satisfy the clamor for the collection and expenditure of sums that would render the public highways serviceable, and the Commissioners, under the stricture, levied heavier assessments, and thus, like Oliver Twist, were guilty of the unpardonable offense of asking for "more;" but, still further, like Oliver, were pressed into the measure by others as hungry as themselves.

At the May term of the board, 1836, A. S. Campbell and George Cline, Justices of the Peace, paid to the County Treasurer $3 fines which had been imposed by them for theft and assault. An election of an additional Justice of the Peace for Centre Township was ordered held at the house of C. A. Ballard. For Centre Township, Charles G. Minick was appointed Constable; Robert Wallace, Supervisor of Roads; J. R. C. Brown and P. A. Paine, Overseers of the Poor; Abraham Stoner and James Buel, Fence Viewers. For Washington Township, Adam S. Campbell and Reason Bell were appointed Overseers of the Poor; Peter


Cline, Supervisor of Roads; George Cline and John Shinabarger, Fence Viewers. For Boone Township, Isaac Cornell was appointed Supervisor of Roads; William Frame and John Robinson, Overseers of the Poor; A. Neil and John Downing, Fence Viewers. For Bryant Township, Simeon Bryant, Constable; Payne Bryant, Supervisor of Roads; David Bryant and Thomas Childers, Overseers of the Poor; David Chandler and Lyman Wells, Fence Viewers. For Clark Township, Richard Fancher, Constable; William Clark, Supervisor of Roads; Solon Robinson and Peter Steinbrook, Overseers of the Poor; C. H. Paine and J. W. Holton, Fence Viewers. C. A. Ballard was allowed $2.50 for house rent for the County Commissioners for five days, and Reason Reed was allowed 75 cents for making returns of the election in Washington Township.

Roads. - At the June session of the board, the first petition was received for a county road extending from Portersville (Valparaiso) by "the best and nearest route to the new crossway between Andrew Taylor's and James Blair's, thence to the county line, intersecting a road leading via Cathcart's Grove to La Porte." Wilson Malone, Morris Witham and James W. Turner were appointed Viewers. At the same time a road was ordered viewed from the northeast corner of Section 24, Town 36 north. Range 5 west, thence west to E. Casteel's mill on Coffee Creek, thence west to William Gosset's mill on Salt Creek, thence west to the county line; Peter Ritter, Samuel Olinger and William Thomas, Viewers. In July, 1836, a county road was established from the quarter post on the north line of Section 30, Town 35, Range 5, to Sherwood's Ferry on the Kankakee; Jesse Johnson, Joseph Willey and Samuel G. Jackson, Viewers. In September, 1836, a county road was established from the southwest quarter of Section 12, Town 34, Range 7, to Liverpool, but this road was not built. At the same date as last a road was ordered viewed from Portersville (Joliet road) to the county line near the mouth of Taylor's Run; Isaac Morgan, Reason Bell and Andrew Taylor, Viewers. One from Portersville to Sherwood's Ferry was viewed, but reported on adversely. In September, 1836, a road was established from the northeast corner of Section 22, Town 33, Range 7, to Portersville; Isaac Morgan, Henry Rinker and John Shinabarger, Viewers. This road was soon altered somewhat. Other roads established in 1836 were as follows: From Portersville to Thomas Snow's store by a circuitous route; from Portersville to Elijah Casteel's mill; from Portersville to Athens, near Gosset's mill; from Isaac Morgan's on the north side of Morgan's Prairie to intersect the State Road from Portersville to Michigan City, but this was not built; from the new bridge on Calumet River at the mouth of Salt Creek, to Deep River, at crossing of Hickory


countv road, John Walton, Preston Blake and John Forbes, Viewers; from the southwest corner of Section 12, Town 34, Range 7, to Liverpool, same Viewers as last; from the southeast corner of Adam Campbell's land (Section 20, Town 35, Range 5), to intersect Michigan City and Barleytown road (southeast quarter of Section 18, Town 37, Range 5), Viewers, Enos Thomas, John Sefford, A. S. Campbell, White B. Smith and Eli Hendricks; from Portersville to Michigan City (September, 1836), John Taylor and Asahel Neil, Viewers; from Michigan City (November, 1836), west through Porter and Lake Counties to the State line, Benjamin McCarty, Viewer. The following is from an act entitled "An Act Relating to State Roads," approved February 6, 1837:

SEC. 9. That Daniel M. Learning, of La Porte County, William Frakes, of Porter County, and William Hatton, of Lake County, be and they are hereby appointed Commissioners to view, mark and locate a State road from the town of La Porte, in La Porte County, on the nearest and best route to the town of Valparaiso, in Porter County, thence west by the way of the seat of justice of Lake County to the Illinois State line, in the direction of Joliet, in the State of Illinois; Provided, however, That if the seat of justice in the said county of Lake shall not be located at the time of the location of the said State road, the Commissioners aforesaid will proceed to locate said road on the nearest and best route from the town of Valparaiso west to the State line in the direction of Joliet, in said State of Illinois.

By an act of the Legislature, approved February 18, 1839, Philander A. Paine and William C. Talcott were appointed Commissioners to locate a State road from a point on the Valparaiso and Sherwood Ferry road, thence by Ruel Starr's, thence to a county road running north on a line dividing Sections 19 and 20, in Township 35, Range 5, to extend such road to City West, and the county road was declared a State road. By enactment also William C. Talcott and A. S. Campbell were appointed to lay out a State road from Portersville west to intersect a State road at Preston Blake's or James Grafton's. Also, by enactment, William C. Talcott was appointed to lay out a State road from Valparaiso via Enos Thomas' mill to City West. Also, by enactment, William K. Talbot and Henry Rinker were appointed to view a State road from, at or near Pagan's Mill, in La Porte County, thence to the center of Section 17, Township 37, Range 5, thence to City West, thence to Long Lake, so as to intersect a State road near the head of the lake. Various State roads were laid out across the county, while the same remained attached to La Porte County. By suitable enactments, the Legislature provided what was called the "3 per cent fund," apportioning such fund to the several counties throughout the State, and appointing Commissioners to expend the same in the construction of roads. This relief to the early settlers was fully appreciated. The County Commissioners levied as heavy a tax, also, as the settlers could bear, to carry on the same work. From that


[Illustration of residence and summer resort of Captain G. W. Merrill, Flint Lake, Porter Co., Indiana. 3 miles north of Valparaiso. Fine fishing and boating facilities.]




time onward, through the years 1837, 1838, 1839 and 1840, and until the present time, roads were laid out in all directions through the county, at enormous cost in the aggregate, but of indispensable use to the citizens. At a special session of the board on the 16th of November, 1850, the following petition was considered:

To the Honorable the Board of Commissioners of the County of Porter: Your petitioners, the Board of Directors of the Valparaiso & Michigan City Plank Road Company, would humbly represent to your honorable body that a company has been organized for the purpose of constructing a plank road from Valparaiso to Michigan City, making a point on the Buffalo & Mississippi Railroad at or near the place where the line between Ranges 5 and 6 crosses the same. That the nearest and best route for the construction of said road would probably be to run on the road from Valparaiso to Michigan City between Valparaiso and the above-named point on the railroad, and thence running part or all the way to Michigan City on the road that leads from the above point to Michigan City, as far as the eastern line of the county of Porter, near Michigan City.

Your petitioners, therefore, ask your honorable board to grant to said company the right of way on said road or roads from Valparaiso to the eastern line of the county of Porter, near Michigan City aforesaid, or to so much or such part of said i-oad or roads as you may deem expedient and right.

                                W. P. Ward, President of the Board of Directors.

    Attest: George W. Turner, Secretary.
November 16, 1850.

Whereupon the Board of Commissioners

Ordered, That the right of way be granted to the Valparaiso & Michigan City Plank Road Company to construct a plank road from Valparaiso to Michigan City on, over, along or across any or all State or county roads which they may desire.

The road was never built as had been designed, as much of the route over which the plank were to be laid was a compact sandy soil, which, three-fourths of the year, furnished almost as solid a foundation as the plank would. Some two or three miles of plank were laid just south of Chesterton, and about the same just north of Valparaiso, but between these sections of road none were laid, though toll was collected both at Chesterton and at Valparaiso. The stock of the company was largely owned by wealthy men in Michigan City, who were the founders of a private bank there, and the issuers of a paper money, which, from commencement to end, unlike the usual wild-cat bank issues of that day, was always at par with coin, and redeemable at any time upon demand. It is stated that a man, on one occasion, becoming greatly scared by the appalling depreciation in private bank issues, and having in his possession some $30,000 of the Plank Road Bank bills, presented himself in Michigan City and demanded the redemption of the paper of the bank in his possession. The gold was paid him, whereupon, becoming satisfied that the bank was solid, he asked to have his gold deposited again, but was positively refused, and, as that was the only bank in the city, he was obliged to cart his coin home with him. Toll was collected on the road a few years and then the company collapsed.


In 1851, another association was formed to construct a plank road from Valparaiso to La Porte, and permission was granted the same to use the roads of the county for that purpose. About seven miles of plank were laid, partly in Porter and partly in La Porte Counties, and toll was collected over this route for a few years, but finally the whole matter was abandoned. While the original plan was to extend the road from Valparaiso to La Porte, this design was changed, and, in 1852, the termini of the road were Henry Clyburn's in La Porte County and Beeche's Corners in Porter County.

Library. - As early as the summer of 1838, in pursuance of an act of the State Legislature, approved February 17, 1838, subscriptions to the amount of some sixty-odd dollars having been pledged, a meeting of the citizens was called to elect Trustees and other necessary officers, and to incorporate the Porter County Library Association. Books were purchased and added to from time to time, as subscriptions were paid, until at last, in about 1850, some 500 volumes were owned by the association. In 1855, the books were distributed to the townships as follows: One set to Centre, one to Jackson and Washington, one to Westchester, Pine and Liberty, one to Portage and Union, one to Porter and Boone, and one to Morgan, Pleasant and Essex. These libraries were added to by the State for several years, but finally they were not replaced, and were soon destroyed or lost. It was

Ordered by the Board acting as Trustees of the County Library, That the Librarian be allowed the sum of $10 per annum for his services as such Librarian; that said Librarian be required to procure a strong book case for the use of said library, and that the following by-laws be adopted:

1. That none but subscribers shall be allowed to read the books, or draw any of them from said library.

2. That any volume of 300 pages or under may be drawn for one month by any subscriber.

3. That any volume over 300 pages and under 500, may be drawn for two months by any subscriber.

4. That any volume over 500 pages may be drawn for three months.

5. That the Librarian shall mark each book, showing the length of time said book may be drawn.

6. That any person keeping a book over the time marked as the period for which it may be drawn, shall forfeit the sum of 5 cents for every week it may be kept over said time, and that any fractional part of a week shall be considered as a week, and the fine collected accordingly.

7. That no person shall draw more than one volume at a time, and after a subscriber shall have drawn a book, he shall not be allowed to draw any more until he shall have duly returned said book, and paid all fines and forfeitures due said library from him.

8. That the Librarian shall examine all books upon their return, and if any shall have been damaged or disfigured more than reasonable wear, he shall assess a fine upon said subscriber drawing the same, and said subscriber shall never after be allowed to draw any book until he shall have duly paid such fine.

9. That said Librarian shall purchase a blank book at the expense of said library, in


which he shall keep a full list of all subscribers, the time subscribing, the date each shall draw a book and return the same, and the amount of fines assessed to, and paid by, each subscriber, and of all other matters of interest to said library a complete and full report he shall make of which at each term of the County Commissioners' Court.

Miscellaneous Acts of the Commissioners. — In June, 1836, the board appointed Samuel Olinger County Agent, with Peter Ritter, B. Saylor, George Cline and Wilson Malone, sureties. They deducted $60 from the levy made by John Adams and George Cline, Assessors, upon the personal property of those families which had been assessed for "bed and bedding." It was ordered that, for the year 1836, a levy of two and one-half per cent be made on all personal property and real estate, and a poll tax of 75 cents be imposed, for county purposes; but in July this order was rescinded, and in lieu thereof one half of one per cent was levied. The board ordered paid to Peter Ritter $20, to John Adams $26, and to George Cline $22, for services as County Assessors. A road tax of one per cent was levied in July. In May, 1836, a tavern license was granted Samuel Haviland, of Westchester Township, for one year, at $10. A license was granted Andrew Ault to vend foreign and domestic groceries. Same with merchandise to Ebenezer Clark, of Portersville, and license to sell liquor to Francis Willey, of Bailly Town. Expenses of catching W. C. Maley, a horse-thief, were paid by the board. Samuel Haviland was granted license to keep a ferry across Deep River at Liverpool, and to keep a tavern and sell liquor there. Saylor & Reed, a license to sell merchandise in Valparaiso; same to Solomon Cheney. As early as January 4, 1836, a license was granted Hamell & Hening by the Commissioners of La Porte County, to vend merchandise in Morgan Township. This was at Valparaiso, or Portersville, which was then in such township. John B. Turner was granted a license to sell groceries, 1837; same, merchandise, to George Bishop; Seneca Ball, same; Jeremiah Hamell same; Marshal & Bigelow, a tavern at City West. David Oaks, of Washington Township, was granted a license to retail merchandise. Leveret Bradley, licensed to keep a tavern and sell liquor at City West. Palmer & Andrews, licensed to sell merchandise in Boone Township, April, 1838. W. P. Ward, licensed to keep a tavern and sell liquor in Westchester Township March, 1839. In 1843, W. A. Hinsdale and Edmund Woodman were licensed to keep separate taverns in Westchester Township. In 1837, a premium of $1 was ordered paid for scalps of prairie wolves over six months old, and 50 cents for those of wolves under that age. Same ordered paid for the scalps of gray wolves. After that, from time to time, the premium on wolf scalps was gradually increased until, finally, a number of years ago, as high as $15 was paid for a single scalp of the gray wolf. At present the premium is $10.

At the September term, 1836, John Saylor was appointed Commis-


sioner of the 3 per cent fund, which was applied in the construction of public highways. Specifications for a county jail were drawn up in detail, the building to be 14x28 feet, timbers one foot square of oak, building to be completed by September, 1837; payment for the same to be in installments, one-third when the timber was all delivered on the ground, one-third when the house was raised and covered, and one-third when the work was completed. Bids from contractors were called for. In November, Adam S. Campbell became County Agent. The rates of ferriage across Deep River at Liverpool were fixed as follows: Each footman, 6 cents; man and horse, 12 1/2 cents; horse and Dearborn wagon, 25 cents; two horses and wagon, 37 1/2 cents; for each yoke of oxen or span of horses over and above one yoke or span, 12 1/2 cents. No person was taxed with ferriage who was crossing with his team and who paid the above rates for such team. The ferry across the Kankakee, which had been formerly known as Sherwood's Ferry, and upon which no license had been paid, was advertised to be let to the highest bidder, the rates to be as follows: Each footman, 6 1/4 cents; man and horse, 12 1/2 cents; horse and Dearborn wagon, 25 cents; two horses and wagon, 37 1/2 cents; one yoke of oxen and wagon, 37 1/2 cents; four horses and wagon, 50 cents; two yoke of oxen and wagon, 50 cents; any higher number of animals to wagon, 50 cents; each head of cattle, 6 1/4 cents; each sheep, 3 cents; each hog, 3 cents; each horse, 6 1/4 cents; asses and mules, each 6 1/4 cents; and when the water was high, so that the ferry would have to run up to the head of the canon, three times the above rates were charged.

In January, 1837, it was ordered by the Board that the following persons should serve as Grand Jurors at the April term, 1837, of the Porter County Circuit Court: Wilford Parrott, Robert Wallace, John Saylor, Eli Hendricks, George Spurlock, Joseph Willey, John P. Noble, Edmund Billings, White B. Smith, David Hughart, Henry Adams, John Sefford, G. Z. Salyer, Abraham A. Hall, John Adams, John G. Forbes, Sr., William Walker and William Bissell. The following persons were selected to serve at the same time as Petit Jurors: Thomas L. Hyatt, John B. Turner, Enos Thomas, Jacob Beech, James Laughlin, A. K. Paine, Robert Fleming, William Morgan, Newton Frame, Henry Rinker, George Shigley, Jefierson Tenor, Abraham Cormack, Benjamin Saylor, Sr., Isaac Cornell, Lewis Holton, Barzilla Bunnell, William Malone, P. A. Paine, Henry Herrold, Luther Jefferson, Jaines Baum, William Eaton and Barrack Dorr. John Saylor reported that he had received of the Treasurer of State $1,926.86 of 3 per cent fund due Porter County. This amount came to the county in good time, and was immediately applied toward the improvement and construction of public roads. In January, the board again took up the county jail question, and new specifi-


cations were prepared, the building to be a very strong frame structure, 17x33 feet, with two rooms below - one for debtors, and the other for criminals - and two above. At the same time, specifications for a court house were prepared, the building to be a frame structure, 20x48 feet. In March, 1837, a license to keep the old Sherwood Ferry across the Kankakee was granted Joseph Stearns and John Ship, the license being $9. S. Campbell was paid $85 for his services as Assessor of Porter County in 1837. Cyrus Spurlock was appointed Seminary Trustee of Porter County. A levy of 1 per cent on all real and personal taxable property was levied for the year 1837. At this time (May, 1837), the project of building the Erie & Michigan Canal, or of assisting in the building, began to receive attention from the Commissioners, who made preparations to turn over the 3 per cent fund on hand for that purpose.

In September, 1837, the Commissioners met at the house of Jeremiah Hammell. From this period on, for several years after, the board continued to appoint officers for the various townships. At this term, it was "ordered that Thomas Randall be appointed Commissioner of the 3 per cent fund for Newton County (or the territory attached to Porter County called Newton County), and that he come forward and qualify himself accordingly." It was also "ordered that all the territory attached to Porter County that is called Newton County, shall form and constitute a township to be known by the name of Marion, and that there shall be an election held at the house of John Price, on October 25, 1837, to elect one Justice of the Peace, and William Donahue is appointed Inspector." At this time the county was pushing, in the construction of its highways, to its utmost, and every penny was faithfully applied. The bonds which had been given as a guarantee for the payment of the money which had been donated by the proprietors of the county seat, fell due, and the money was collected and applied upon the roads. The amount of county revenue, for 1836, was $522.29. In November, 1837, the court house was completed by the contractors, Solomon Cheeney and others, and accepted by the board, after examination. The following appears upon the records:

To the Honorable Board of Commissioners of Porter County, Ind.: - The following is a list of fines imposed by me on account of Sabbath-breaking: Reuben Meadows, $1, and Leonard H. Coghill, $1. Given under my hand and seal this 1st day of January, 1838.

(Signed)                                                                                       JOHN ADAMS, J. P.

Since that period, Sabbath-breaking has multiplied, and fines for the same have divided. The following fines were assessed in the Circuit Court for 1837: Michael Ault, assault, $20; G. W. Coghill, assault, $10; David Cook, retailing without license, $2; Ashbal Goodrich, retailing without license, $2; Moses Wilson, assault, 1 cent; Aaron Lewis, retailing without license, $2; J. Bartholomew, assault and battery, $2. G. Z. Salyer's report as Seminary Trustee was as


follows: Received of William Billings, $6.50; of G. Z. Salyer, $4; of G. W. Turner, $38; total, $48.50, which had been loaned at 10 per cent per annum. The County Clerk was ordered to procure a set of lawful weights and measures, to be kept in his office, and also an iron seal with the letters P. C. S., which should be stamped on all lawful weights. A pound was built for Valparaiso, in 1838, by William Eaton.




Received from B. Saylor, Collector of State revenue ....................

$ 8.55

Received from the sale of Section 16, Township 35, Range 5 .......


Received from money loaned ..................................................


Paid Isaac Morgan interest .....................................................


Received State revenue .........................................................


Received Surplus revenue .....................................................


Loaned interest money .........................................................


Paid for notice of sale in Michigan City Gazette .........................


Received surplus revenue from Seneca Ball, Commissioner .......


Received from the sale of Section 16, Township 35, Range 6, with interest


Paid for books ......................................................................


Money loaned ......................................................................


Paid John McConnell interest .................................................


Paid John McConnell Surplus revenue ......................................


Paid John McConnell State revenue .........................................


Paid Gazette for notice of sale .................................................


Received from sale of Section 16, Township 36, Range 5, with interest ..


Money loaned ......................................................................


Paid Phineas Hall surplus revenue ..........................................


Paid Phineas Hall State revenue .............................................


Paid Michigan City Gazette .....................................................


Received from Treasurer of State amount of poll-tax due for school purposes for the year 1836 ....................................................


[Signed.]                         RUEL STARR, School Commissioner.



The following appears upon the record:

Notice. — A copartnership has this day been formed at Valparaiso, Porter County under the laws of the State regulating limited corporations, for the purpose of dealing in all things relating to trade in merchandise, bonds, notes, exchanges, etc., the business to be conducted by E. Brown Bishop as general partner, who is authorized only to sign for the company; and the name and style of the company will be E. Brown Bishop, and the following-named persons will be special or limited partners:


Sylvanus Evarts, La Porte County, Ind., has given bonds to pay in specie or good Eastern paper, when demanded ..........................


John Bishop, Porter County, same ..............................


Jesse Johnson, Porter County, same ...........................


Henry Dillingham, Porter County, same ......................


Samuel Shingley, Porter County, same ........................


George Axe, Porter County, same ..............................


Jonathan Herold, same ..........................................


                                         Total ...............................................


The copartnership is to commence the 1st of .June, 1888, and continue for one year from such date, and to be renewed from year to year by advertising.


What became of this corporation or what was done cannot be learned with certainty. It did not continue long, however. In the autumn of 1838, Newton County was attached to Jasper County, and the Collector for that county turned over his funds and was discharged. In October, 1839, William Eaton was licensed to keep the ferry over the Kankakee, where John Ship and Joseph Stearns had formerly been. In September, 1840, the board advertised a bounty of $1.50 on each scalp of full grown prairie wolves and $3 for each scalp of full grown gray wolves.

The following order appears upon the records:

Ordered by the Board, That from and after the 1st day of April, 1841, the door of the court house shall be shut against preaching by any denominations of Christians, and that the Sheriff of Porter County is required to procure a lock for the door at the foot of the stairs in the hall, and place said lock permanently on said door, and keep the same locked against all denominations of Christians from and after said 1st of April, 1841, without respect of persons; and that the Sheriff is further ordered to give public notice of the passage of this order immediately.

For a time during 1841, the county paid $5 and $3 for scalps of gray and prairie wolves respectively. In February, 1842, it was "ordered by the Board, that the Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Universalists, Baptists, Campbellites, Associate Reformers, Infidels and all other denominations be allowed to hold meetings in the court house, provided they do not interfere with the business of the courts of the county and political meetings." In June, 1842, John W. Wright reported that $106.87 had been received from the seminary fund. In December, 1842, it was "ordered, that John McIntosh be appointed Inspector of flour, beef and pork for the county of Porter for the term of three years."

County Seminary, etc. — A legislative enactment of February, 1838, made provision for the maintenance of county seminaries throughout the State by the appropriation of certain fines and penalties, such as for breaking the Sabbath, for assault and battery, etc., etc., and it was made the duty of the Board of Commissioners in each county to appoint Trustees, who were to constitute a body politic with general powers and liabilities in the founding, controlling and maintaining of a county seminary of learning. Such Trustees were appointed in Porter County as early as the autumn of 1838, to whom were paid the funds designed for the above purpose until, in 1849, the amount collected had reached over $2,000, when the project of erecting a seminary building was instituted, but not carried into effect, for some reason unknown, until the year 1851, when grounds were purchased in the eastern part of Valparaiso and a building erected thereon, the total cost of house and lots amounting to about $2,300. The two-storied frame building was furnished with three rooms above and two below, and was not fully completed in the autumn of 1851, when the first school therein was taught by Ashley M. Pierce, Principal,


and Miss Eliza J. Forsyth, now Mrs. William Wilson, Assistant. The session was held in the upper story, the lower not having been finished nor furnished. About 120 students were in attendance during the winter, but the following year, when the new school law came into existence, the County Commissioners, in pursuance of legal requirements, offered the seminary building and the grounds upon which it stood for sale, one-tenth to be paid down and the balance in nine equal annual installments, the proceeds of the sale to go into the common school fund of the county. The sale was advertised by the County Auditor in June, 1852, the day of sale being fixed for the fourth Monday of July, 1853, on which day the building was purchased by the School Trustees of Valparaiso for $1,200, and transformed into the "Union School of Valparaiso." Thus ended its existence as a county institution, three terms only having been taught within it while it remained as such. The building was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1857.

As early as 1850, there was organized the "Porter County Bible Society," a corporate body, whose mission was to place in each citizen's cabin a copy of the "Book of books." In 1853, the Treasurer of the society reported the sale of $3,200 worth of Bibles. At this time D. Crawford was President, and J. C. Brown, Secretary. The society survived some five or six years and then disbanded, as its mission had ended.

Alterations in the boundary of the various townships have been frequent, and some townships have been wholly blotted out of existence and others erected in their place. At the second session of the board, the northern boundary line of Pleasant Township was extended west to the great marsh, thence south with the center of the marsh to the Kankakee.* At the same time, the eastern boundary of Boone Township was fixed at a point on the west side of the marsh. In 1837, the western half of Section 29, Washington Township, was attached to Centre Township. In March, 1838, Boone Township was confined to its territory south of the line dividing Townships 33 and 34, and, at the same time, all of the territory of Porter County west of the marsh dividing Horse and Morgan Prairies, and between the line dividing Townships 33 and 34, and the line dividing Townships 34 and 35, was organized as Fish Lake Township. In March, 1839, the west halves of Sections 17 and 20, Washington Township, were attached to Centre; but, in May, 1840, they, with the west half of Section 29, were re-attached to Washington Township. Prior to this, in June, 1836, the citizens of Lake and Waverly Townships petitioned the Board, setting forth the inconvenience of the boundaries of their townships, and praying that the same might be united, which was accordingly so ordered, and the new town-

*This marsh was the one dividing Horse and Morgan Prairies.


ship was named Westchester. In March, 1841, all of Township 37, Range 5, and fractional Township 38, Range 5, were stricken from Westchester and created into a new township to be called Berry, and an election of township officers was ordered held at the house of Orson Petty, with George W. Rice Inspector. In June, 1841, the following petition was presented to the County Commissioners:

To the Honorable Board of County Commissioners of Porter County, Ind.:

We, the undersigned petitioners and inhabitants of Westchester Township, most respectfully represent to your honorable body, that the division heretofore prayed for at your March term, 1841, to be injudicious and uncalled for, and is inconvenient for the citizens of your township generally, and that we pray your honorable body to set aside all divisions, and continue the said township of Westchester as it originally was before any alteration at your March term last, and the place of holding elections as before. And in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

                                ENOS THOMAS,                    JOHN MILLARD,
                                W. P. WARD,                         WILLIAM COLEMAN,
                                GUFFIN HULBERT,                 DAVID PRICE,
                                WILLIAM KNAPP,                 WILLIAM P. JACOBS,
                                BRAZILLA MILLARD,              RUFUS PIERCE,
                                JOSEPH CLARK,                     DANIEL HULBERT,
                                HENRY HAGEMAN,                WILLIAM THOMAS,
                                JOHN THOMAS,                     JAMES THOMAS,
                                THOMAS FRAZIER,                SAMUEL WHEELER,
                                EDMUND TRATEBAS,             VINCENT THOMAS,
                                ALLEN BLAIR,

Ordered, That the above petition be granted, and that the order for the division of Westchester Township, and for the establishment of Berry Township, made at the March term of this board, 1841, be rescinded, and that the elections hereafter be held at the former place.

In June, 1841, Fish Lake Township became Porter Township, and at the same time the division line between Pleasant Township and Boone and Porter Townships was established to commence at the northwest corner of Section 2, Township 34, Range 6, thence south to the southwest corner of Section 14, Township 33, Range 6, thence west one mile and thence south to the Kankakee River. In August, 1843, Pleasant Township was divided, and Morgan Township was erected from the territory north of the line running east and west between Sections 29 and 32, Township 34, Range 5. During the year 1836, in pursuance of a petition from Solon Robinson and William Clark, the boundary of Clark Township (Lake County) was changed as follows: All that part of Township 35 lying south of the center of the same in Lake County, and Sections 1 and 2 in Township 33, Range 9, were added to Clark Township. In February, 1847, Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, in Township 36, Range 5, all of Township 37, Range 5, and all of Township 38, Range 5, were established as a new township called Calumet. At the same time it was ordered that Township 37, Range 6, and the east half of Township 37,


Range 7, in such township, should constitute Westchester Township. Jackson Township was constituted as it is at present, except Sections 3 and 4, which then belonged to Calumet. In June, 1847, all that part of Westchester Township lying west of a line dividing Ranges 6 and 7, and Sections 29 and 32 in Township 37, Range 6, were attached to Portage. In February, 1850, Sections 29, 30, 31 and 32, Township 37, Range 6, and Sections 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36, Township 37, Range 7, were attached to Portage. In February, 1847, Liberty was constituted as it is at present, except Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4, now forming the southern part of Westchester, which then belonged to Liberty. In February, 1850, Sections 1, 12, 13, 24, 25 and 36, and the east halves of Sections 2, 11, 14, 23, 26 and 35, Township 34, Range 5, forming a part of Morgan Township, were erected into a new township called Essex; but sometime afterward (the exact date could not be found) a strip the same width as the township (one mile and a half) was severed from the east side of Morgan and attached to Essex, making the latter six miles long and three miles wide; thus the Township remained until 1880, when, upon the petition of sixty-seven citizens of Essex and Morgan Townships, the former was merged in, or united with, the latter. In June, 1852, Westchester Township was divided by a line commencing at the southwest corner of Section 5, Township 36, Range 5, thence running north on the section line to Lake Michigan, and all the territory east of such line was constituted Pine Township, that west of the line remaining Westchester Township. Sections 2, and 11, Township 33, Range 6, were attached to Boone, in June, 1852. In December of the same year, Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 were severed from Liberty and made a part of Westchester. In March, 1855, Sections 14, 23, 26 and 35, Township 34, Range 6, were attached to Porter. In March, 1864, the east half of the east half of Section 30, Township 35, Range 5, was taken from Centre and attached to Washington; but upon petition of S. A. Campbell and others, it was re-attached to Centre in December, 1868. In September, 1864, Sections 3 and 4, Township 36, Range 5, were stricken from Pine and added to Jackson. In August, 1848, an attempt was made by petition to create a new township from portions of the present townships of Jackson, Liberty, Westchester and Pine; but there was too much opposition to the measure, and the board refused to issue the order.

In December, 1859, a petition, or rather a series of petitions, was presented the County Commissioners, praying that a committee of three be appointed, empowered to confer with a similar committee from La Porte County, for the purpose of laying off and establishing a new county to be called Linn, from territory belonging to Porter and La Porte Counties. This was aa attempt made by the citizens of Michigan City, to ac-


complish a result for which that municipality had vainly struggled for a long series of anxious years -- its transformation into a county seat. It had long before given up the oft-baffled attempt of wresting from La Porte the coveted boon, and by a dexterous, and perhaps desperate, policy, sought to effect, by new and novel methods, what it had failed to effect by repeated and skillful attempts with the old. Upon the petitions were the names of 2,017 citizens living within the limits of the territory to be erected into the new county, and this long array of names called for sober consideration. After mature deliberation, the Commissioners refused to appoint the committee, or to give their approval to the attempt, for the following reasons:

1. The spoliation of Porter County, specified in the petitions, would reduce its territory below the Legislative limit of 400 square miles.

2. The County Commissioners have no power to create new counties, and therefore cannot delegate such power to committees.

3. The new county would not be of the form required by law.

The Commissioners of La Porte County disposed of the question in a similar summary manner, and the plan was abandoned.

Societies and Other Matters. -- The following is taken from the Commissioners' records, 1859:

WHEREAS. -- J. N. Thompson and others, citizens of Centre, Morgan and Washington Townships, in the county of Porter, have formed themselves into an association for the apprehension of horse-thieves and other felons, to be known as the Morgan Prairie Anti-Horse-Thief Society, and

WHEREAS, The Secretary of said society has notified the Board of Commissioners of the county of Porter of the existence of said society, and the names and residences of the members, and has furnished them with a copy of its constitution, by-laws, or articles of association; it is therefore,

Ordered, That the objects for which such association is formed, and the laws governing the same, be approved.

At the September term, 1861, the following appears:

In the matter of the Lake and Porter Counties Anti-Horse-Thief Society, now comes Isaac Hardesty, Secretary of said society, and shows to the board the articles of association, the by-laws, and a list of the members of said society, and on its behalf, asks that the same be approved, and after due inspection thereof, the same are in all things by the board approved.

In 1861, an attempt was made by sundry petitions to change the boundary line between the counties of Lake and Porter, but the scheme, from the outset, met with cold reception, and, after being considered by the proper authorities, was rejected.

In June, 1866, a committee consisting of R. A. Cameron, Joseph Peirce and A. Gurney, appointed by a mass meeting of the citizens of Valparaiso, petitioned the board to aid in building and establishing upon the public square suitable water works or reservoirs for the use of the


citizens; whereupon it was ordered that, when such works were completed in a fitting manner, $1,316 should be paid the Treasurer of the city of Valparaiso. This amount was paid in March, 1867, upon the completion of the works.

The articles of association of another Morgan Prairie Anti-Horse-Thief Society were approved by the Board in 1869. In June, 1880, the Board was petitioned by the citizens of Valparaiso and vicinity to take $20,000 stock in the Joliet & Valparaiso Railway Company; but before definite action was taken, the project was abandoned or postponed.

In July, 1852, there was great excitement among the citizens of Valparaiso, and indeed throughout the whole county, in response to the report that the "Ohio and Indiana Railroad Company" had out its surveyors, and the line of the projected road was sure to pass across the county. The prospect of connection by telegraph with the outer world was very encouraging, especially to the editor of the Observer who endeavored by notices in his paper to excite the citizens to the pitch of substantial help to the railway and telegraphic enterprise. When the projection of the road through Valparaiso became a certainty, that little town could scarcely contain itself, but indulged in bonfires, bell-ringing, drum-playing, gun-shooting, and general noisy, public rejoicing.

Soon after 1840, the citizens of the county became deeply interested in the temperance movement, which was sweeping throughout the entire country on its mission of mercy. The Observer appeared with strong editorials, declaring for total abstinence, and drawing artistic pen-pictures of the numerous sad cases of the work of alcohol, which came under its observation. In about the year 1850, the movements of temperance co-workers in Valparaiso and throughout the county began to assume formidable proportions; and the determined attacks upon what in former years was regarded as one of the "necessaries of life," grew bitter and protracted. But the citadel of King Alcohol was not to be taken so easily. People who had been educated to its use, and who had inherited an appetite for it, could not, or would not, forego what they regarded as the luxury of its use. The result was a protracted siege, longer than that of old Troy, and even more hopeless. In 1846, a strong temperance union league was organized at Valparaiso, with branches in some four or five other places in the county. Dealers were besought to relinquish the traffic, and consumers were urged and prayed to quit its use. The churches took up the matter, and lent their powerful aid to the movement.

In June, 1847, in pursuance of an act of the State Legislature passed during the session of 1846-47, it was submitted to the citizens of the several townships throughout the county, whether a license to sell spirit-


uous liquors should be granted, each township being called upon to settle the question within its own borders. The citizens of the townships of Centre, Liberty, Jackson, Porter, Morgan, Washington and Portage refused, some of the townships by substantial majorities, to grant such licenses; while in the townships of Union, Boone, Calumet, Westchester and Pleasant, the people declared for license by small majorities. In 1851, the board established the liquor license, in those townships which had voted it, at $100. But this was found no cure for the evil, as liquor was watered and weakened in indirect ratio to the increase in the price of the license. If this did not produce satisfactory results, the price of liquor was increased, or the measure rendered smaller, in any case the loss falling on the unfortunate buyer and consumer; or, was it his gain -- as the poorer and weaker the infernal liquid, the less damage it did, and the sooner the money of the debaucher was gone without bringing the curse of inebriation.

On the 7th of June, 1855, the County Commissioners purchased of William C. Pennock, for $3,000, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 26, Town 35, Range 6, and the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 27, same town and range, and Mr. Pennock became, by appointment, the first Superintendent of this, the first poor farm owned by the county. Upon this farm was a respectable dwelling, which, for a short time, did duty as a home for the county poor.

Prior to this, the care of the county paupers had been intrusted to such responsible persons in the county as were willing to assume the charge, at from $1 to $2 per week, each person. There was not a township that did not have, in its time, some pauper in the care of its citizens. Physicians contracted to furnish all county paupers with suitable and necessary treatment, at so much by the year. At length the board felt able to furnish the poor and helpless with that home and care not obtained when parceled out among divers widely scattered individuals. Mr. Pennock rented the Poor Farm of the Board, conditioning to retain two-thirds of the productions, the county getting the remaining third, besides which he was to board the paupers at $1.50 each, per week, exclusive of the expense of sickness. The care of the poor continued in about this shape until 1855, when a contract was entered into with George C. Buel, to erect a frame poor house, 32x45 feet, for $2,482, $500 to be paid on the 1st of the January following, $1,000 on the 1st of March, 1856, and the remainder in county bonds, to be issued on the last date, payable in one year with 6 per cent interest, the house to be ready for occupancy September 1, 1856. The building was immediately constructed, and is yet in use, though additions and improvements have been added.

In March, 1866, the board purchased for $3,200 the west half


of the southeast quarter of Section 26, Township 35, Range 6 west, as an addition to the poor farm. In September of this year, there were fourteen inmates. On the 16th of June, 1875, the Commissioners purchased of W. C. Hannah, for $1,200, all that part of the northeast quarter of Section 35, Township 35, Range 6, which lies north and east of Salt Creek and south of a line drawn parallel with the north line of said quarter, and distant seventy rods and thirteen feet south therefrom; subject to this year's (1875) taxes; the same to be an addition to the poor farm. On the 9th of June, 1876, the Commissioners purchased for $1,200 the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 27, Township 35, Range 6, except ten acres off the south side, and this was also made a part of the poor farm.

On the 14th of June, 1851, a mass meeting of the citizens of Porter County assembled at the court house for the purpose of organizing an agricultural society. Aaron Lytle was made Chairman, and George W. Turner appointed Secretary, and a committee, consisting of the following citizens, was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws: William C. Talcott, David Hughart, W. W. Jones, H. E. Woodruff and Aaron Lytle. The constitution provided that, upon the payment of $1 into the treasury by a citizen of the county, such person became a member of the Porter County Agricultural Society. In September, the following men became the first Board of Directors: W. A. Barnes, W. C. Talcott, Azariah Freeman, H. E. Woodruff, H. A. K. Paine, W. W. Jones, A. B. Price, Walker McCool and Ruel Starr. At this time, sixty-five citizens had appended their names to the constitution and paid their dollars. It was decided to hold the first fair on Wednesday, the 29th of October, 1851; to offer $80 in premiums; and a specification of the premiums to be paid was made out and published in the Practical Observer, a Democratic county paper edited by William C. Talcott. As, of course, the society had no ground of its own at that time, the fair was announced to be held at the court house. Premiums were offered for horses, cattle, swine, sheep, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and farming implements. The 19th was a rainy, disagreeable day; yet, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, about four hundred citizens assembled at the court house. Ruel Starr, H. S. Adams, H. G. Hollister, Isaac Miller, Samuel Burns and T. A. E. Campbell took premiums for draft and blooded horses; T. Beach and J. J. Caswell, for cattle; Ruel Starr, for sheep; A. B. White, for swine; H. E. Woodruff and W. Barnard for fruit and vegetables, and T. Beach and H. E. Woodruff for dairy products. The fair, though on a small scale, was regarded as highly successful and encouraging, and accordingly it was decided to hold another the following year. No man


did more to encourage this enterprise than William C. Talcott, the editor of the Observer. Every few weeks, articles appeared in the columns of his paper, urging the citizens to become interested in an enterprise such as the county fair, that would so well repay them for the trouble. The citizens mentioned above were also active. In November, 1851, the following certificate was presented the County Auditor by the officers of the society:

In accordance with Section 1 of an act of our Legislature, approved February 14, 1851, and entitled "An Act for the Encouragement of Agriculture," this is to certify that there has been paid into our treasury (as fees) the sum of $61, and we therefore ask for the amount in our County Treasury donated our society by said act.

                                                WILLIAM A. BARNES, President.
                                                AZARIAH FREEMAN, Treasurer.

Section 1 of the act referred to in this certificate is as follows:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That whenever thirty or more persons, residents of any county or district embracing two counties of this State, shall organize themselves into a society for the improvement of agriculture within said county or district, and shall have adopted a constitution and by-laws agreeably to the rules and regulations to be furnished by the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, and shall have appointed the usual and proper officers, and v/hen said society shall have raised and paid to their Treasurer, by voluntary subscription, or by fees imposed upon its members, any sum of money not less than $50; and whenever the President of said society shall certify to the respective County Auditors the amount thus paid, attested by the oath or affirmation of the Treasurer before a Magistrate, it shall be the duty of said County Auditors embraced within the district in which society shall be organized, to draw an order on the Treasurer of his respective county in favor of the President and Treasurer of said society for whatever amount of funds there shall have been received during the previous year for all licenses issued to persons exhibiting menageries, circuses, or theatrical performances, or other shows; Provided, said order shall not exceed the amount raised and paid in by said society by voluntary subscriptions or fees, and it shall be the duty of the Treasurer of said county to pay the same.

Accordingly, the Auditor paid to the officers of the society $25, which had been received as stated in the section above. The fair of October 14 and 15, 1852, was even more successful than the first; $100 were paid in premiums. Charles R. Luther, of Washington Township, was paid $10 for the best managed and cultivated farm in the county; second best, H. E. Woodruff, $5; third best, Azariah Freeman, $3. Mr. Woodruff took first premium for the best acre of wheat. H. Bates, Ruel Starr, James Dye and Isaac Miller took premiums on horses; E. West, J. C. Paine, Lewis Connor and T. A. E. Campbell on cattle; H. A. K. Paine, L. A. Cass and Ruel Starr, on sheep; Nelson Malone, A. B. White and W. Bartholomew, on swine; Mrs. Phoebe Starr and Mrs. H. E. Woodruff, on butter; Mrs. Isabella Farrington, on cheese; H. E. Woodruff, Ruel Starr and G. W. Finney, on fruit; Mrs. Eliza Aicks, on bed-quilt, and Mrs. J. J. Fifield, on rag carpet. A long, excellent address was delivered by President Barnes. The report of the general awarding com-


mittee was long and interesting. In 1853, over $300 were paid in premiums, and the establishment of the fair was permanent, or would have been under all ordinary circumstances. During this year, President Barnes was authorized to invest $50 belonging to the society in an agricultural library. He soon reported that he had purchased twenty-nine volumes of standard works, treating of farming, gardening, stock- rearing, domestic economy, horticulture, floriculture, etc. From this time onward until the year 1862, inclusive, the society continued to hold fairs annually, and to prosper, growing stronger in numbers and means, and offering higher, better and more numerous premiums and other inducements.

The fair was held in the court house and court yard until October, 1859, and, after that and until October, 1862, on the "old grounds" west of the present woolen factory. Upon what terms or conditions the society used the "old grounds," cannot be definitely stated. If the property was purchased, the deed was not recorded, but this is probably the fact in the case. It is probable that the society purchased the grounds, deferring payment until the future; and, when the war came on, and after it had continued two and a half years, draining the financial resources of the county, and filling the minds of the citizens with almost everything except agricultural interests, it was found impracticable, if not impossible, to hold fairs after the autumn of 1862; and the society did not even make the attempt, but mutually resolved to wait until the dawn of peace before renewing their interest and association with the peaceful pursuit of agriculture. After the war had closed, and peace had come, there also came such a stringency of money matters, and so universal a shrinkage in values, that the fair question, which required, to be made successful, a considerable outlay of money and no little sacrifice of time and labor, was almost wholly overlooked. At last, on the 4th of October, 1871, thirty-two citizens met at the Auditor's office, and after electing A. V. Bartholomew, Chairman, and appointing Reason Bell, Secretary, resolved that there be organized the "Porter County Agricultural Society." A committee, consisting of Cyrus Axe, D. F. Jones and J. C. Barnes, was appointed to solicit subscriptions for the purpose of defraying the expense of conducting a fair, which was fixed for the 19th and 20th of October, two weeks after this meeting. Milan Cornell was elected President of the society; G. W. Bartholomew and Theodore Crumpacker. Vice Presidents; Reason Bell, Jr., Secretary, and M. L. McClellan, Treasurer. S. S. Skinner, E. Zimmerman and C. W. Dickover were appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws. Milan Cornell, A. C. Stanton, Isaac Cross, N. A. Kennedy and A. C. Coates were appointed to prepare a list of premiums. Upon this short notice, with but two weeks before them to prepare everything, the members were so


[Illustration of J. T. Forbes]




energetic that the fair was eminently successful. About $500 in premiums were offered and paid, and the net profits were $400. Over one hundred horses were entered, besides almost a proportionate number of cattle, swine, sheep, and large quantities of all agricultural products. Without going into details, it is sufficient to say that since the fall of 1871, no county in the State with the same or less population has had better fairs, or greater interest shown therein by the citizens. Premiums to the value of about $1,200 were offered for the fair of September 27, 28 and 29, 1882, The present officers are L. A. Cass, President; J. B. Decrow, Vice President; T. Crumpacker, Treasurer, and T. Keene, Secretary. Board of Directors -- James Fulton, William Hughart, A. St. Clair, Isaiah McGinley, Isaac Hardesty, Jacob Peoples, N. Pickrell, Christian Arndt, M. C. Williams, Frank Campbell, T. S. Bull, H. Loomis, A. J. Harrison, S. S. Skinner, George Morgan, Frank Harris, John Morrison, William Rigg, E. J. Green, C. N. Tanehill, Jerome Massey, J. B. Decrow, C. L. Dille, Younger Frame, Charles F. Way and Reason Bell.

On the 13th of July, 1872, the County Commissioners purchased of N. A. Kennedy, for $2,500, the following tract of land: "Commencing three chains and forty-one and one-half links east of the quarter stake on the south line of Section 13, Township 35, Range 6, thence on a magnetic course north twenty degrees and twelve minutes east twenty-two and twenty-five hundredths chains; thence north eighty-five degrees east nine and ninety-hundredths chains; thence south twenty degrees and twelve minutes west twenty-two and twenty-five hundredths chains; thence south eighty-five degrees west to the point of commencement; containing twenty acres, more or less." A high, tight board fence was immediately built around this land and suitable buildings and stalls erected, at a cost of nearly $1,800. Thus fitted up, the grounds were turned over to the Agricultural Society, Here the fair has been held since 1872. The principal fact which has rendered the fair so successful since 1871 is because the society has not been burdened with a debt, as most societies are, for its fair ground.

Old Settlers' Association. — Quite a large gathering of old settlers met at the house of George C. Buel, on the 26th of May, 1881, to celebrate his seventieth birthday, and while there, it was suggested that the occasion was appropriate for the organization of an old settlers' association, whereupon Joseph Pierce nominated A. V. Bartholomew, Chairman, and the selection was made unanimous by vote, and Firmin Church was chosen Secretary of the meeting. It was then decided that all persons over forty-five years of age, who had been residents of Porter County not less than twenty-five years, should be considered old settlers, and a meeting to renew old times and perfect the prospective organization was


fixed for the 15th of September, 1881, and a committee to make full arrangements was appointed as follows: Azariah Freeman, S. R. Bryant, William Stoddard, Stuart R. Spencer, John Hansford, Nelson Barnard, T. C. Sweney, Hazzard Sheffield, Isaac Hardesty, Josephus Wolf, Henry Hageman, Younger Frame and William Henry. This committee met on the 25th of June, and decided to hold the first meeting of the Old Settlers' Association in the Court House Square on the 17th of September, 1881. The following rules of government were adopted:

1. We, the early settlers of Porter County, will hold social meetings at such times and places as our Executive Committee may designate, to be called Old Settlers' Meetings.

2. That our meetings may be conducted with order and propriety, we will annually elect a President, Secretary, Treasurer and one Vice President from each township, who shall perform the duties usually required of such officers for a term of one year, or until their successors are elected.

3. The President, Secretary and Treasurer shall be an Executive Committee, with power to make such rules and regulations as they may deem necessary and proper, to call meetings and attend to such business generally as will promote the objects of the association.

4. Our meetings, except when otherwise directed by the Executive Committee, to be of the picnic order, each member to bring such refreshments as they may deem suitable for such occasions.

5. All persons over forty-five years of age, and who were residents of Porter County twenty-five years or more previous to the 1st of July, 1881, and now citizens of the county, shall, by signing these rules, become members of the association during good behavior and, with their children, enjoy all its benefits.

6. Our first general meeting shall be held on the public square at Valparaiso on Saturday, the 17th day of September, 1881, at 10 o'clock A. M., at which time our first board of officers shall be elected.

On the 17th of September, a large number of old settlers met in the court yard, and passed the time until 1 o'clock in social intercourse. Dinner was then served to over five hundred. At 2 o'clock P. M., Azariah Freeman called the assemblage to order, and prayer was offered by Rev. W. J. Forbes. Hon. J. N. Skinner then welcomed the old men and women to Valparaiso. After the song, "The World is Moving On," Joseph Peirce read all the records of the association up to that time, and was then followed by five-minute speeches from Hon. Mark L. De Motte, Jesse Johnson, Rev. G. M. Boyd, William McCool, Russel Cohoon, George C. Morgan, S. P. Robbins, David Merriman, E. S. Merrifield, Firmin Church, Nelson Barnard, H. V. Bartholomew, James M. Buel, Thomas G. Lytle, A. Lytle Jones, William Thatcher, Simeon Pierce and Rev. W. J. Forbes, the speeches being interspersed with old-fashioned singing. A. V. Bartholomew was made President of the association for one year, and Reason Bell, Secretary, but the latter failed to serve, and Joseph Peirce was appointed. The following were elected Vice Presidents: Nelson Barnard, of Jackson; T. C. Sweney, of Boone; Ira Corwell, of Porter;


Isaac Hardesty, of Union; William McCool, of Portage; George Morgan, of Westchester; Samuel Hackett, of Pine; Simeon Witham, of Pleasant; Charles R. Luther, of Washington; William J. Forbes, of Centre; Elias Cain, of Morgan; and William Henry, Sr., of Liberty. The meeting was very enjoyable, and it was fully decided to continue the
meetings annually.

At the second regular meeting in September, 1882, A. V. Bartholomew called the meeting to order, and Rev. Robert Beer offered prayer. The address of welcome was delivered by T. G. Lytle, Mayor. Short speeches were delivered by Rev. Boyd, S. P. Robbins, John Hansford, S. W. Smith, R. P. Wells, Hiram Loomis, Rev. Forbes, N. S. Fairchild and others. Hubbard Hunt read a list of old settlers of the county, who had died within his recollection. On motion of T. G. Lytle, all officers of the association were re-elected for the coming year. A large crowd was present, and much interest, pleasure and enthusiasm were manifested.

County Press. — In 1842, James Castle, who had purchased of Solon Robinson, of Lake County, a small press and a small quantity of type, began issuing a small folio sheet entitled the Republican, a weekly newspaper, 12x16 inches, devoted to the dissemination of independent political views and the diffusion of general knowledge. In 1844, the office was purchased by William M. Harrison, who changed the name to the Western Ranger, and the politics to Democratic, and continued the paper with moderate success until the 24th of April, 1847, when William C. Talcott bought an interest, and under the joint editorship and management of Harrison & Talcott, a new series of the Ranger was begun, the first issue being No. 39, Vol. III. The paper was a small, five-column folio; subscription price, $1 per year if paid in advance, and if not paid before the end of six months, $1.50. The editors differed somewhat, politically and otherwise, and, owing to this circumstance, the paper presented the singular appearance of having the initials of each editor signed to the articles written by himself. On the 16th of August, 1848, the venture had become so prosperous that the paper was enlarged to a six-column folio, and the pages were considerably lengthened. Mr. Talcott was a "Free-Soil Democrat," while his partner was a "Free-Soil Whig," or, in other words, an Abolitionist. The editorial relations of the two were always pleasant and no doubt profitable, as they prevented that extreme partisan bitterness which too often engenders permanent estrangement. In June, 1849, Mr. Talcott purchased his partner's interest, and on the 20th of June issued the first number owned and edited exclusively by himself. On the 25th of July, 1849, at the end of Vol. V, the name of the paper was changed, and on the 1st of August appeared the first number of the Practical Observer, a Democratic newspaper. A few weeks later, the page was


enlarged to a seven-column folio, and the name changed to the Valparaiso Practical Observer; subscription, $1, if paid in advance, and $2 at the end of the year. On the 15th of March, 1852, the word "Valparaiso" was dropped from the name, and on the 10th of January, 1853, the entire paper was changed, so that a tri-weekly was issued on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and the usual weekly on Thursday, both issues being furnished one year for the very small sum of $1. At this time, the paper was issued as a five-column folio. On the 3d of September, 1853, Mr. Talcott began issuing a one-page daily after the following fashion, still continuing the tri-weekly and weekly: One page was issued Monday, and the same page and another on Tuesday, constituting the first issue during the week of the tri-weekly; then one page was issued for Wednesday, and the same page and another constituted the tri-weekly of Thursday, and so on for Friday and Saturday. At the same time, the weekly of Thursday was issued from the six pages of daily matter which had been kept in type for that purpose. The daily, tri-weekly and weekly were furnished for $5 per year. The paper at this time was a credit to the town and to the unwavering enterprise of Mr. Talcott. The pressure which the editor brought to bear upon the county on all worthy social and political problems assisted largely in creating a complete transformation of public opinion on the question of the extension of slave territory. Mr. Talcott had formerly been a Democrat, but even then had advocated the limitation of slave territory, though wishing the result accomplished by Democratic agencies. When the Free-Soil movement was inaugurated, and the old parties began to yield up their brightest elements to the new, which was slowly forming, Mr. Talcott entered zealously into the work, and it was mainly due to the light which he concentrated upon the popular political issues of the day that the county took an early and decided Republican stand.

In December, 1853, the prices of the paper became $5 per year for the daily, $1.50 for the semi-weekly, and $1.50 for the weekly. In May, 1854, Dr. R. A. Cameron became associate editor, but severed his connection with the paper in December of the same year. Various changes were afterward made in the prices and forms of the various issues. In January, 1855, Mr. Talcott, who had long felt the need of assistance, took in as associate editors Lucius Hawkins and W. B. Talcott, but neither remained long. In April, 1857, R. A. Cameron bought the entire office and outfit, and issued his first number on the 14th of that month. With Vol. I, Number 15, of this series, the name of the paper was changed to the Republican, and the sheet continued an earnest exponent of the principles of the new party from which it derived its name. J. F. McCarthy became associate editor September 19, 1857, but left March 23,


1858, and Thomas McConnell went in with Cameron as joint editor and proprietor. July 15, 1858, Mr. McConnell became simply assistant editor, but on the 29th of the same month purchased the paper conditionally, and took as an associate, Henry W. Talcott. On the 14th of October, 1858, William C. Talcott, the veteran editor, went in with McConnell and H. W. Talcott, as joint editor and proprietor. On the 3d of January, 1859, the Republican under this able management, began a new series, issuing a one-page daily, a four-page semi-weekly, and an eight-page weekly, Henry W. Talcott being publisher and proprietor. In March, 1859, R. A. Cameron again became owner and publisher, with R. A. Cameron and J. C. Thompson editors. On the 31st of March, the weekly was enlarged, the daily having been discontinued some time before. In September, the last two letters of the paper's name having been lost or stolen during a fire, the name became the Republic. In March, 1860, Mr. Thompson severed his connection with the paper, and on the 25th of April, 1861, with Vol. V, Number 17 (of the Republican and the Republic), E. R. Beebe went in as editor and proprietor. Mr. Cameron having sold out and "gone to the war," Thomas McConnell became publisher with Vol. V, No. 31, and on the 1st of August, 1861, the editors became McConnell, Cameron & Beebe. Mr. Cameron was corresponding editor, and sent home long, spicy letters from the field of war. His interest in the paper at this time was owing to the fact that Mr. Beebe could not meet the payments according to the contract. In a short time McConnell bought the entire paper, Mr. Beebe stepped down and out, and Mr. Cameron, who probably held a mortgage on the office, remained corresponding editor. On the 10th of April, 1862, as Mr. McConnell had failed to meet the requirements of the contract of purchase, the ownership of the paper reverted to Mr. Cameron, and Mrs. Jane E. Cameron, wife of the owner, assumed control, with Mr. Beebe as associate editor. Mr. Beebe went out December 11, 1862, and the paper was advertised for sale, though the issues appeared regularly, mainly through the efforts of Mrs. Cameron. June 18, 1863, Aaron Gurney went in as joint editor, Cameron & Co. publishers, R. A. Cameron corresponding editor, but in December of the same year the issue was discontinued, Mr. Gurney having withdrawn, and the paper having no one to properly manage it.

On the 4th of January, 1866, Mr. Cameron having returned from the war, issued No. 1, Volume X, of the Valparaiso Republic, and continued this until May 24, 1866, when Thomas McConnell became joint editor and publisher. In November, 1866, G. A. Pierce bought the office, but immediately sold the same to Aaron Gurney, who was issuing the Vidette, and the two papers were merged, and issued under the title


of "Vidette and Republic," a nine-column folio newspaper; Aaron Gurney, general editor; B. W. Smith, educational editor, and Pomeroy, Kimball & Co., publishers. The first number of the Porter County Vidette had been issued January 24, 1866, Gurney & Pomeroy, proprietors; Aaron Gurney, general editor, and A. D. Cunningham, editor of the educational department. March 19, 1867, J. F. Heaton went in with Gurney as joint editor, and, in May, Kimball became joint proprietor with Gurney. August 27, 1867, Mr. Heaton left, Gurney continued sole editor, and the paper was reduced in size, and thus remained until July, 1868.

Mr. Pierce, after buying the Republic and immediately selling it to Mr. Gurney, issued during the same month, November, 1866, the first number of the Republican, a new venture, or perhaps a continuation of the old Republic, with J. Harper, associate editor, and Orrin E. Harper & Co., publishers. April 4, 1867, G. A. May became joint editor, but went out October 31, 1867, as also did J. Harper. About this time, W. H. Calkins became associate editor, but on the 5th of March, 1868, left, and in July, 1868, the Republican was consolidated with the Vidette and
under the latter name, Gurney & Pierce, editors and proprietors. Not long after this, Mr. Pierce sold out to Mr. Gurney, who continued to issue the paper until June 4, 1874, when the office was bought by William C. Talcott, who, two issues later, changed the name to Vidette, and thus it has remained until the present. December 1, 1874, C. R. Talcott secured a half-interest, and the paper was continued thus with abundant success until November, 1879, when C. R. Talcott bought his father's interest and assumed exclusive management, but December 16, 1880, William C. Talcott repurchased a half interest, and thus the paper remains at the present writing.

In the month of June, 1856, Mr. Berry issued the first number of the Porter Democrat, and after continuing the same with moderate success until February 17, 1857, sold out to J. T. Rock and A. Lytle Jones, who issued No. 40, Vol. I, February 24, 1857. At this time the paper was a six-column folio; subscription, $1.50 in advance, $2 at the end of six months, and $2.50 at the end of the year. Seven weeks later, Mr. Jones went out, and Mr. Rock continued alone until No. 6, Vol. II, when H. P. Lynch became publisher, and writer of poems and miscellany for the paper. Lynch left with No. 37, Vol. II, and in December, 1858, B. D. Harper became publisher. In January, 1859, S. R. Bryant became associate editor, and Harper left with No. 44, Vol. III. R. C. Nash became assistant publisher with No. 5, Vol. V, and three numbers later sole publisher, but four numbers afterward left Rock exclusive publisher. The last number of the Democrat appeared November 22, 1860,


with No. 16, Vol. V. Rock & Bryant then issued the Porter Gazette, but after continuing the same a short time with some changes, abandoned the venture.

In the year 1871, Engelbert Zimmerman, an able and experienced newspaper man, issued at Valparaiso the first number of the Messenger, a spicy, bright-faced Democratic journal. The ability, enterprise and skill of the editor soon placed the paper on a permanent and substantial footing, and its circulation and influence rapidly increased. The paper continued without noteworthy event under the exclusive ownership and management of Mr. Zimmerman until August, 1881, when H. B. Brown, Principal of the Normal School, purchased a half-interest, and thus the paper remains at present.

The last journalistic venture in the county is the Valparaiso Herald, an independent newspaper, started September 29, 1881, by P. O'Sullivan, a young man of bright intellect and promise. It is newsy, spicy, and a credit to the mind and heart of its editor and manager. It has met with satisfactory patronage from the citizens of the county.

The Normal Mirror, a literary pamphlet, was conducted by the students of the Normal School in 1875-76-77. In its place is now the Northern Indiana School Journal, edited by W. J. Bell.

In September, 1878, H. R. Gregory issued the first number of the Hebron Free Press, a small local paper, independent in politics. He conducted the paper with moderate success until October, 1879, when the office was sold to W. H. Mansfield, who changed the name to Hebron Local News, and the politics to neutral. In 1880, the office was removed to Lowell, where the paper is at present issued.

County Politics. -- The political features of Porter County since its organization are not peculiarly striking or noteworthy. From the subjoined exhibit of the county vote for Presidential electors, it will be seen that the Whigs or Republicans carried the county on every occasion, except the years 1848 and 1852; but this does not fully explain the political past of the county. From 1836 until about 1845, either party lines were not strictly drawn, or else the Whig and Democratic parties were equally matched numerically; for, during that period, sometimes one party triumphed and sometimes the other, and it was next to impossible for the friends of any candidate to predict with any degree of certainty the future result of an election. The result was that, during the period mentioned, the county offices were filled with men from both parties, and even from mongrel or doubtful political organizations, if the candidate was of unusual prominence and worth. It is found upon examination of the election returns that during the first three years of the county's existence, the Whig party was slightly in the ascendency where test votes


were given. This was the case in the election of Congressmen and Representatives to the State Legislature. But in the election of county or township officers, the elections even during those years were just as apt to go Democratic as Whig. After about 1840, it seems that the Democrats became stronger, numerically, than the Whigs, though still for a number of years the two were so equally matched that great interest was shown in the elections, owing, perhaps, to the doubtful results. After about 1846, the superior strength of the county Democracy became so decided that usually every county office was filled with representatives of that party. The Western Ranger and its successor, the Practical Observer, were Democratic sheets, and the growth of Democracy at the expense of all other political ocracies was doubtless owing to the dissemination by these papers of Democratic principles. The Observer advocated that phase of Democracy known as Free-Soilism, and prior to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise steadfastly maintained this position. But, in 1854, when the real results of the repeal became apparent and the extension of slavery into all the Territories and even into the Northern States seemed probable, the editor of the Observer, still upholding Free-Soilism, found himself, almost ere he was aware, an earnest worker in the new party -- Republican. Through the influence brought to bear by the Observer upon the citizens, the new party immediately went to the front, and has since had control of the official patronage of the county.

The following table shows the mixed condition of politics in the county in August, 1836:

Bryant and Clark Townships were of Lake County, as was also Ross Township, the records of which could not be found. The records of


Washington Township were also missing, the remainder of the county being represented in the table under a different arrangement of townships than as they are constituted at present. The following table illustrates the decided Democratic tendency of the county in August, 1847:

The following returns of October, 1854, show the superior strength of the new (Republican) party:


The following continuous exhibit illustrates the political situation in the county from 1836 until the present time, and shows the electoral vote at each Presidential election since the organization of the county, except where the same was unobtainable:







Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, February 2012


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