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.







MORGAN TOWNSHIP derives its name from Morgan Prairie, which was named for Isaac Morgan, who was one of the first settlers upon this beautiful plain, in what is now Washington Township.

List of First and Early Settlers. -- The following is a list of the first and early settlers so far as obtainable: Joseph Bartholomew, 1834; Henry Adams and family, 1834; Benjamin Spencer and family, 1834; John Baum, 1835; George Shultz, Jacob Shultz and John Shultz, in 1834; N. S. Fairchild, Archie De Munn and Charles Allen, in 1835; Josiah Allen and Josiah Allen's wife, in 1835. Among the first were Rinier Blachley, Charles DeWolf, Morris Witham, William Billings, Mr. Kinsey, Thomas Wilkins, Mr. Dillingham, John Berry, and William Minton, an Indian trader. Lewis Comer and family came in 1835; Thomas Adams and family came during the spring of 1835. Among those who came early are Samuel Van Dalsen, Abraham Van Dalsen, Lyman Adkins, Elisha Adkins, Mr. Stoner, Enoch Billings, Elias Cain, John E. Harris, Ezra Wilcox, Eason Wilcox and Hank Blanchard. John G. Keller came in 1837; Enos Arnold in 1840; William Unrugh in 1842, and William Benton in 1838. Henry S. Adams, of Jefferson County, Ohio, came to this region on the 27th of April, 1833, and in May erected a cabin and laid a claim of 160 acres on Section 9, Township 34, Range 5. He brought with him his wife, mother and three daughters. His was the first house erected in the township. In 1835, G. W. Patten, of Ohio, settled here. Miller Parker came among the very first, but stopped for a time in Pleasant Township. John and Stephen Bartholomew came in 1834, but settled in Pleasant, where they lived for a time before they moved to Morgan.

Morgan Township originated in August, 1843, when it was set apart from Pleasant. The eastern part of it was formerly Essex Township, which was formed in February, 1850, and named in honor of the ship commanded by Commodore Porter, the man for whom the county was named. The two were consolidated a short time since.

Early Incidents. -- An old settler remarks: "When I came to Mor-


gan Prairie, there was nothing but snakes, wolves and Indians." Game of all kinds native to the region was abundant. H. S. Adams, Rollston Adams, Asa Cobb and G. W. Patton, in 1851, during a hunt of five days, killed sixteen deer. In 1843, G. W. Patton and his brother shot two from a herd. Supposing that both were dead, Mr. Patton went up to where they lay. When he reached the place, one of them that had been more stunned than wounded started to rise, but Mr. Patton seized it by the antlers and called to his brother to come and cut its throat. Before his brother came up and succeeded in doing so, it had cut G. W.'s hands and struck him on the head a number of times with its hind feet. Bees abounded, and barrels of honeyed sweets were stored away in the hollows of trees. It is a singular fact that bees seldom go far from the habitations of the white man. As the buffalo retreats, the bee advances. Prairie fires were a terror to the natives at an early day, and often swept the country with a sea of flame that traveled with the speed of the wind, laying in ashes and raising in smoke everything before it.

A certain Assessor of Essex Township presented a bill of $21 for assessing twenty-one families. He said that he would have that or nothing. He got the latter. Old Cuttanaw, who used to trade in this region with the Indians, once told them that the needle-makers were all dead, and that he would have to charge them $1 apiece for needles, which he did. He is the one who took the contract for moving the Indians to their new home in the West. This occurred in 1837. Once, at Tassinong Grove, two Indians came to trade. One of them got drunk. The other, upbraiding him for so doing said, "Mo-a-net Che-moke-man" (mean as a white man). Although all the Indians seemed fond of good-ne-tos (liquor), one of the party always stayed sober and could not be induced to drink enough to become intoxicated. It seemed to be the business of this one to stand guard and take care of those who were too drunk to care for themselves. He took charge of the guns and other weapons to keep those who were drinking from killing each other or some one else. The squaws did not drink, the reason for which fact is not stated. Enos Arnold speaks of having driven twelve yoke of oxen to a breaking-plow on one Fourth of July, which day he celebrated by turning to the sun three acres of prairie sod.

There was a tradition among the Indians found here that in the then distant past the Pottawatomies had a dispute with a tribe west of them about the boundary line between the two nations. They agreed to decide the question by fighting three battles. The tribe that was victorious in two or three of these battles was to have the boundary placed where they claimed that it should be. It is supposed that these battles occurred somewhere on Morgan Prairie, but just where


cannot now be determined. It is possible that the old fort on the Kankakee in Pleasant Township was erected at that time as a place of refuge in case of defeat in the field. It is further stated that the Pottawatomies were to drive this Western tribe to the end of the lake, but no farther. This point they called "Bish Chi-ca-go" or "water all gone." This some claim to be the origin of the word Chicago. If so, it is probable that the name was applied to the place by the Indians while the whites called it Fort Dearborn, and that the Indian name was in some way restored.

January 4, 1836, a license was granted by the County Commissioners to Hamell & Heming for one year, for the sum of $10, to vend merchandise. Morgan Township was then very large and a part of La Porte County.

The principal Indian trail that crossed the township entered at the northeastern part and reached the Kankakee near the southwestern corner.

Early Officers. -- At an election of Morgan Township, held April 4, 1853, James White, Jesse Spencer and Joseph McConnell were elected Trustees, David W. White, Clerk, and John Brumbaugh, Treasurer. The bond of the Treasurer was $200. May 7, 1853, notice was given of an election to be held June 11, 1853, for the purpose of voting for or against levying a tax for the purpose of purchasing sites for and building schoolhouses. The election was held at the time appointed. Francis Marshall, James White, Jesse Spencer, Joseph McConnell, David W. White, Lewis Comer, H. S. Adams and Asa Marine voted for the tax, and no votes were cast against it. Accordingly, a tax of 50 cents on $100 was levied. In 1854, the total receipts for road purposes were $82.20, and the expenditures §76.50. The charges of the road superintendents for the same year were, in Districts Nos. 1, 2 and 3, $2 each; in No. 4, $1.50; No. 5, $3; No. 6, 75 cents. In 1854, the Treasurer's band was raised to $1,000, and was signed by John Brumbaugh and William Stoddard. In this year, John W. Wright was elected Justice, and Franklin Adkins and Aaron Stoner, Constables. Hiram Diblee, James Bundy and Enos Arnold were elected Trustees. William Stoddard was Clerk, John Brumbaugh, Treasurer. The following were the Supervisors for the different districts: In No. 1, John Branson; No. 2, Lorenzo Mortoe; No. 3, Joseph Holies; No. 4, Elias Cane; No. 5, John McCurdy; No. 6, John Schultz.

Tassinong. -- The town of Tassiuong, or Tassinnong Grove, as it was formerly called, is indeed an ancient place. Its origin seems to be shrouded in obscurity. The whites trace the locality back to 1830, but the Indians spoke of it as an old place even then. Not that there was any town, but simply a locality bearing the name. It is probable that


there was a French trading post here at a very early day. Col. Jesse Harpar, the noted Greenback orator, started the first store here, about the year 1846. He continued to sell goods here for a few years, and then took his wares and left. He had a stock worth, perhaps, $800. He kept his goods in an old log building that was used before by William Stoddard as a barn. The second store was started by William Stoddard in a hewed-log cabin, about 1849. Here he kept goods for a year or a year and a half, when one night almost the entire stock was stolen. The third store was started in 1850 by Joseph Unrugh. He ran it about a year alone, when his brother William bought an interest in the stock. They managed the business for two or three years, when they sold out to Eaton, who sold to Francis McCurdy, who sold to Rinker & Wright, who kept the store about two years. In the meantime, about 1852, Abraham Ahart started a store, ran it about two years and closed out the stock. In 1852, besides two stores, there were two blacksmith shops, one kept by Stephen Ales and the other by A. J. Zarn. F. McCurdy had a carpenter shop, John McCurdy a tavern, while William Maxwell and W. Hammond kept shoe shops. Calvin Bowman and Adkins started a store in 1854. Sylvester Pierce bought Adkins out, and has kept store here almost ever since. He has been out of business for a short period at two different times. J. C. Eahart started a store, and sold to Frank Adkins, who sold to Spencer, who kept alone for a time, and then went in with Mr. Pierce. Mr. Pierce is now alone. Bowman & Son run the other store of the town. H. King is the blacksmith. Dr. B. A. Welch is the medical man. Dr. Gray located here in 1881, but stayed only about six months. Before him, Dr. Davis was in town from 1856 to 1861, when he went to the war. The present Postmaster is Sylvester Pierce, who has held the office for over twenty years. Mr. Pierce was preceded by William Stoddard, who kept the office for four or five years. Before him, Frank Adkins had charge for a short time. He was preceded by John W. Wright, who was preceded by William C. Eaton, who was preceded by John Ahart, who was preceded by John Jones, who was the first Postmaster. The office was established in 1840. For some years, it was two miles south of its present site, and called Tassinong Grove. Tassinong is the only town the township has ever had, and the only post office has been located here since it was established.

Industries, etc. -- No factories of great importance have been built within the limits of Morgan Township. A cheese factory was started about 1857 by Charles De Wolf, and run for two years by Edson, when it was closed. Another was started by John Schultz in 1879. He ran it one season, when he sold the machinery to Mr. Woodhull. It is now run by Albert Runnels and Henry Stone. They use about a ton of


milk a day. At a very early day, there was a small grist-mill in the northwestern part. This was known as the Kinsey Mill. It had only one "run of buhrs," through which all kinds of grain were run. The water was brought through hollow logs to an overshot wheel. This mill was owned and run by Kinsey until 1848.

Churches. -- The first religious services were held by Stephen Jones at the house of Thomas Adams. Rev. Colklasier was the second one to conduct religious services in the township. The third was Rev. Holly Baxter Beers.

The Presbyterian Church of Tassinong was built about 1855, at a cost of $800. It was built by the community for all denominations. Joseph Bartholomew and George Biggert each gave $150 toward its erection. Rev. Brown also gave liberally, helped to organize and officiated for a time as minister. Rev. Moore and Rev. Logan each preached here for a year; this was before the war. Since these the Rev. Kinney and Rev. Robert Williams each in order served a year.

Then came Rev. S. R. Baker, who stayed who stayed four years, and after him Rev. Henry Cullom stayed two years, the Rev. Frank Ferguson served a year, after whom Rev. Ely cam for a short stay of six months. The congregation has now been without a pastor for about a year. The church now has twenty-five communicants. The Old School Baptists held services for a time at Morris Witham's house. Elder French officiated for a time. They have never had a church building in the township. The Methodists have a church and society in the northwest part of the township. Among the first members were "Father" White and wife, William White and wife, David White and wife, Ezra White and wife and Mr. Cornish and wife. The Christians have a church near the center of the township. This society was organized in June, 1840, being the first society of the Christians in the county. The church, which is built of brick, cost about $2,000. The principal contributors to the building fund were H. S. Adams. Lewis Comer, Aaron Stoner, Enoch Baum, G. W. Patton, Elias Cain. Many others contributed sums according to their means. Among the very first members were, Lewis Comer and wife, H. S. Adams and wife, Thomas Adams and Mrs. Baum. Among the other early members were George W. Turner and wife, Joseph McConnel and wife, Elias Cain and Mrs. Elizabeth Stoner. Lewis Comer was this first Elder, and H. S. Adams the first Deacon. The present officers are, G. W. Patton, N. S. Fairchild, and Jacob Stoner, Elders; William Cain and Russell Stoner, Deacons. The present membership is 125. Rev. Lemuel Shortage now preaches occasionally. The last regular minister was Rev. M. Goodycoonts; before him was Rev. W. Lowe, who stayed two years. Rev. L. Shortage commenced


preaching here in 1849, and has preached here more or less ever since. Rev. Wheeler preached two years, Rev. Robert Johnson two years. Part of the time there has been no regular minister, but different ones preached occasionally.

Schools. -- There is a difference of opinion as to where the first school of the township was taught, but the evidence indicates that it was on Morgan Prairie, near where Jesse Baum now lives. The house was, of course, a log one. In size, it was about 12x14 feet. The first teacher was Miss Orilla Stoddad, a sister of William Stoddard, now Mrs. Jackson Buel, of Valparaiso, who taught here for a number of terms. The first term was taught in or near the year 1834. This, like the other early schools, was supported by subscription. The following are some of the patrons of the first school: Morris Witham, William Billings, John Keller, Henry Adams and R. Blatsley. The location of this school was changed after a few years to the Enoch Baum farm, where a frame building was erected. This was used for some years, when a house was built on the present site. The second schoolhouse was built about two miles south of the north line of the township, and near the center from east to west. This house was a log cabin, built in 1838 or 1839. The third house was built on the old Spencer farm, about half a mile north of Tassinong, in 1834 or 1835. This was a log house, about 18x20 feet. Among the early teachers here were Orilla Stoddard, Mr. Cannaday, Eggleston Smith, David White, Oliver Stoddard, Miss Jones, Miss Hoadley, Christopher Clines, Mr. Bloomfield and Miss Webster. The fourth schoolhouse was built in the White settlement about thirty-five years ago. This was a small frame, being the first frame schoolhouse of the township. The present house here is a fine brick, built in 1878, at a cost of $1,000. District No. 2 now has its third house, a brick, built about fifteen years ago, at a cost of $1,200. District No. 3 has its second house, built about ten years ago, at a cost of $800. No. 5 has its second house, a brick, built about nine years ago, at a cost of $800. The first house here was a frame. District No. 6 has its first house still standing; it is a frame, probably thirty years old, and has been repaired many times. It cost about $500. The other three houses are frame. The Stoddard or Tassinong Schoolhouse was built in 1868. Ida Freer taught here during the winter of 1881-82, and the spring of 1882. Some of the teachers before Miss Freer, in about the following order, are: William Harris, Anna Bray, Mr. Hazelett, the Misses Baum, Miss Cary, Mr. Elliot, William Stoddard, Ruth Marshall, Belle Stephens and William Bartholomew. In the old frame house, Emma Hammond, Alvin Bartholomew, Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Bloomfield taught. David White and Eggleston Smith were among the first who taught in the old log house. The second house, a


frame, was painted red, and stood about one· fourth of a mile south of the present site. The following is a list of the teachers for the years indicated: 1880, in District No 1 -- Priscilla Flake, Myra Hunter and Sylvester Dill; No 2 -- Irena Baum and A. Knott; No. 3 -- Ida Freer and O. C. Tarpenning; No. 4 -- Mary Evans, Viola Williams and J. H. Platt; No. 5 -- W. J. Harris; No. 6 -- M. F. Bennett and Stuart Mackibbin; No. 7 -- Carrie A. Ray; No. 8 -- Alice Sanborn; No. 9 -- Ida Freer. For 1881, in No. 1 -- C. B. Diltz, R. B. Hubbard and Alice J. Sanborn; No. 2 -- Irena Baum; No. 3 -- Irena Baum, Myra Hunter and Eva Shepard; No. 4 -- Ida Freer and J. W. Smith; No. 5-Anna L. Bray and lda Freer; No. 6 -- Carrie A. Ray; No.7 -- Carrie A. Ray, Viola Williams and M. M. Strong; No. 8 -- Carrie Bond and Anna Bray; No. 9 -- Maud Shackelford. For 1882, up to this writing, in No. 1 -- Mary E. McHugh; No. 2 -- Sylvester N. Dill, Carrie Ray, Mary L. Nickelson and Anna Bray; No. 3 -- Maud Shackelford and Ida Winslow; No. 5 -- Ida Freer and Joseph M. Williamson; No. 6 -- Carrie Ray and Dora Rosecrans; No. 7 -- Viola Williams and Oreste Sherman; No. 8 -- -Anna Bray, Oreste Sherman and Viola Williams; No. 9 -- Maud Shackelford.

Cemeteries. -- The Adams Cemetery is the largest in the township. Harriet J. Adams was the first one buried here. First, a small plat of about one-fourth of an acre was set apart as a burying ground. In 1867, an acre was added to the ground. This was purchased with money raised by subscription among the people of the country around. The ground cost about $60. This ground was deeded to the county. Burial here is free except a fee of $2.50 which is charged upon each lot of 8x19 feet for the purpose of keeping the grounds in repair. The neighbors turned out in force and fenced the ground. There is a private or family graveyard at White's Meeting House, or Salem Church, as it is often called.

The first burial of the township was that of Mr. Agnew, who was frozen to death during a violent snow storm late in the fall of 1835. He had sent his family to David Bryant's the day before, and was following them in a wagon containing their household goods. A blinding snow began to fall, and he was unable to keep the ox-team that he was driving upon the Indian trail that they must follow in order to reach Pleasant Grove, Lake County, where Mr. Bryant lived, and where the anxious wife was awaiting Mr. Agnew's arrival. Becoming bewildered, he loosed the oxen and started on foot. He had gone but a short distance before he began traveling in a circle around a stick driven into the ground. Finally overcome by fatigue and cold, he gave way to the drowsiness of death. In the morning the body was taken up tenderly by loving hands and borne to Morgan Prairie, where it was placed to rest.


Growth of Township. -- Morgan Township carries the banner of the county for an agricultural township. As is usual with a strictly agricultural community, its growth has been steady and gradual. No sudden influx of settlers has occurred since the Great Land Sale.



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, February 2012


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