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.







PORTER TOWNSHIP was formed in 1837, at the time when Lake County was set off. At first it was known as Fish Lake Township, which name it took from a lake then known as Fish Lake. This lake, situated on Section 1, Township 37, Range 7, is now known as Lake Eliza. The citizens did not like the name of Fish Lake Township and proceeded to circulate a petition, the object of which was to have the name changed. This petition was presented to the Board of County Commissioners at their meeting in June, 1841. The prayers of the petitioners were answered, and the name of Porter was supplied to the township. This name it took from the county, which was named in honor of Commodore Porter.

Early Election. -- At an election held in the house of Alpheus French in Fish Lake Township on Monday, December 3, 1838, for the purpose of electing one Representative, the following persons voted: William McCoy, J. C. Hathaway, Newton Frame, William Frakes, Alpheus French, Henry M. Wilson, William Frame, A. M. Bartel, Jonathan Hough, Samuel Campbell, E. P. Hough, Edmund Hatch, William C. Shreve, David Dinwiddie, Mr. Wellman, Ora B. French, David Hurlburt and Jacob Hurlburt. "We, the undersigned Judges and Clerks of Election, do certify that Benjamin McCarty had fifteen votes for Representative, and George W. Cline three votes for the same office. Jonathan Hough, H. M. Wilson, Clerks; S. Campbell, Inspector; William Frakes, Alpheus French, Judges."


Settlers. -- In the years 1834 and 1835, the following named persons came to settle in Porter Township; Newton Frame, William Frame, Samuel Campbell, Isaac Campbell, Isaac Edwards, Elder French, Ora B. French, Jacob Wolf, Mr. Service and David Hurlburt. Among others who came prior to 1838 were: P. A. Porter, Edmund Sheffield, Hazard Sheffield, Benjamin Sheffield, W. Staunton, William McCoy, William A. Nichols, Ezra Reeves, Morris Carman; Dr. Levi A. Cass, who came in 1840; H. Bates, who came in 1839; J. C. Hathaway, William Frakes, Alpheus French, Henry M. Wilson, A. M. Bartel, Jonathan Hough, Edmund Hatch, William C. Shreve, David Dinwiddie, Mr. Wellman, David Hurlburt and Jacob Hurlburt. Elder French, a Baptist minister, was the first minister in the township. Besides those above mentioned, the following were early: William Robinson, Robert Fleming, Moses Gates, Horatio Gates, William Dye, Richard Jones, John Robinson, Mr. Hathaway, Asa Cobb, Aaron Service and Calvin French, who was killed by damp in a well. From 1840 to 1850 immigration was slow but steady. A number came in during 1850. Since 1850, there has been no special period of settlement. A large portion of the present population are descendents of the first settlers. There were fifty-six votes cast at the election of President Harrison. There are now nine in the township who voted here in 1842.

Reminiscences. -- The experience of the early settlers of this township with the Indians is about the same as that of the surrounding country. The Indians were friendly and made but little trouble. The township being chiefly prairie, was not frequented as much by them as were places where there was more woodland. At first, it was no uncommon thing to see herds of deer containing from thirty to fifty. These were gradually thinned out as the settlement thickened, until they disappeared entirely. About 1848, a great wolf hunt took place here. It was what was known as a "ring hunt." The territory swept by the hunters included Boone and Porter Townships, together with Winfield and Eagle Creek Townships, of Lake County. Most of the male inhabitants of the above-named townships, and some from surrounding townships engaged in the hunt. An immense ring was formed and all started, at the firing of a small cannon, toward a point about three-fourths of a mile east of where Mr. Bates then lived, at which point had been erected for the occasion a tall pole, from which floated the American flag. Officers were placed at regular intervals, and it was arranged that all should start at the firing of the gun, and stop at the firing of the gun to "dress ranks," after which a second shot was to be the signal for a second start, and so on until they closed around the game under the flag. It is stated that there were at least as many as 600 engaged in the hunt. As was usual in such hunts, they


"broke ranks" and closed in in the most perfect disorder. The game, unable to keep in the circle, fell back in good order. A single wolf that had perhaps become bewildered in the general disorder, was slain. The 600 came in by squads, and all indulged in a grand rally around the flag. The vanquished wolf was thrown across the shoulder of a horseman, who, putting spurs to his horse, was chased by other hunters, until some one succeeded in getting the wolf, when he in turn was pursued by excited men upon panting chargers. Finally, a man from Valparaiso arrived with a barrel of "black strap" whisky, and --

                "Those now drank who never drank before,
                And those who drank, now only drank the more."

So the hunt closed in a "grand spree." Prairie fires once swept these broad prairies, spreading terror for miles in every direction. Two girls were drowned in Lake Eliza. It is supposed that they got beyond their depth when in bathing.

A Mound. -- There is a mound on the Wolf Place, that some years ago was as much as twenty feet high, and from 100 to 150 feet in diameter. It is too bad that these monuments of an ancient and now extinct race and civilization should be destroyed without a thought. In years to come, these will not only be objects of great interest, but will enhance the value of the land upon which they stand.

Early Events. -- It seems that no one now living in the vicinity can tell with certainty about the first death, birth and marriage. One of the first deaths was that of a son of John Robinson, who died from a cut in the thigh with an ax. About twenty years ago, a steam saw-mill was erected by Mr. Sheffield, in the northern part of the township.

The following is an extract from the oldest record book of the township now in existence: "April 18, 1853. Ordered by the Board of Trustees of Porter Township, at the house of R. P. Wells, that Charles J. Blackraan act as President of said Board. -- Charles Riddle, Clerk." R. P. Wells and David Merriman, were the other members, and E. W. Pennock, was Treasurer. Dr. Cass began the practice of medicine at an early day, in the Frame neighborhood. After a time he moved to his present location, where he has practiced ever since. Dr. Sampson was located for a time at Walnut Grove.

Schools. -- The first school that was patronized by the residents of this township, was situated just over the line in Lake County, on Eagle Creek. This was a log house, and for a window had a log taken out the full length of the building. Over the opening thus made, greased paper was placed to keep out the cold and admit the light. Probably the second school was taught by Mrs. Humphrey, in her house. Among the patrons of this school were the Porters, the Sheffields, the Stauntons and


Mr. McCoy, who had a large family of boys. Another early school was in the Frame neighborhood. This was a rude log house, and stood on land now owned by Mr. Freeman. The educational facilities of these early times were of a crude kind, but were, doubtless, more highly appreciated and more fully utilized than the fine facilities of these latter days. The following is a list of the teachers of the several districts of the township since 1879, with some other items of interest connected with each school, including the price per day paid to each teacher: No. 1, 1880, Dora Rosecrans, $1.20, $1.25, $1.50; 1881, Dora Rosecrans, $1.50; 1882, Sadie Love, $1.25. The house is a brick, built in 1880, at an expense of $650. No. 2, 1880, Loe Evans, $1.25, and Bertha B. Cass, $1.50; 1881, Nettie Stone, $1.25, Mrs. W. S. Phelps, $1.25, and Manta Lucas, $1.50; 1882, Ollie Philips, $1.25. The house is a good brick, built about 1869. No. 3, 1880, Lizzie Beikle, $1.25, Mary Evans, $1.25, and Amos B. Lantz, $1.87; 1881, Maude Shackelford, $1.25, Mantie Lucas, $1.25, and Albert G. Hoffman, $1.75; 1882, Nettie Stone, $1.25, and Sarah Dick, $1.25. The house is a brick, built about 1870, at a cost of $1,000. No. 4, 1880, Alice C. Ball, $1.25, Loe Evans, $1.25, and Dorcas Adams, $1.50; 1881, Dorcas Adams, $1.25, Anna Kelley, $1.25 and $1.30; 1882, Fannie Griffin, $1.25. The house is a brick, built in 1880, at a cost of $650. No. 5, 1880, Belle Stevens, $1.25, Charles F. Leeka, $1.50, and America F. Merriman, $1.87; 1881, Effie Cornell, $1.35 and $1.27, and A. F. Merriman, $2; 1882, Effie Cornell, $1.12. The house is a substantial brick. No. 6, 1880, Lida Herrick, $1.25, and L. M. Herrington, $1.66; 1881, M. J. Harris, $1.25, L. M. Herrington, $1.50, and W. B. Waggoner, $1.66; 1882, Ada B. Fuller, $1.25. The building is a frame, just repaired at an expense of $100. No. 7, 1880, Carrie Post, $1.20, Nettie Stone, $1.25, Lizzie Beikle, $1.65; 1881, Olive C. Philips, $1.25, Anna Patchen, $1.25, Bernard Mathis, , 0. S. Baird, $1.75; 1882, Ella Axe, $1.37, The building is a large brick, built about 1872. No. 8, 1880, Jennie Sheffield, $1.25, Etta M. Pierce, $1.50; 1881, Mantie Lucas, $1.25, Nettie Stone, $1.25 and $1.50; 1882, M. M. Story, $1.25. The building is a good brick, built about seven years since. No. 9, 1880, Mary E. Davidson, $1.25, M. H. Maston, $1.25; 1881, Emma Hicks, $1.50, Flora Wilcox, $1.25, William Hicks, $1.66; 1882, William Hicks, $1.37. The house is an old frame, repaired in 1881, at an expense of $75. No. 10, 1880, E. E. Flint, $1.20, Ira B. Blake, $1.25, W. F. Russell, $1.50; 1881, Bertha Cass, $1.30, Carrie Fehrmar, $1.25 and $1.50, Hattie Bryant, $1.50; 1882, Sadie Hughs, $1.25. The house is at present the poorest in the township. It is a frame, built about fifteen years ago. No. 11, 1881, Isola Buchles, $1.25; 1882, Hattie Bryant,


$1.25, Nettie Stone, $1.25. The building was built in 1881, at an expense of $750. Miss Buckles had the honor of teaching the first term in this district.

Churches. -- The township is well supplied with churches. Salem Church stands near the center of Section 22, Township 34, Range 7; an Old-School Presbyterian Church, on the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of Section 15, Township 34, Range 7; at Boone Grove is a Christian Church, and about half a mile south of this stands an Methodist Episcopal Church. The Salem congregation had their meeting for some time in the houses of the settlers. The house has been used by the Methodists and Presbyterians conjointly for some years. It is now used principally by the Methodists. The Presbyterians have occasional services. Here, just east of the church, is one of the finest graveyards in the county. The first persons buried here were two daughters of Ezra Reeves, who were taken up from the Dunn Farm, where it was at first intended to locate Salem Church. Rev. Baker preaches at Salem Church occasionally. Rev. Brown was one of the early ministers and used to hold services at Mr. Humphrey's before Salem Church was erected. The grave-yard was started at the time that the church was built. The church has been almost blown down and has undergone thorough repairs since it was built, which was some thirty years ago. The Old-School Presbyterians, or Scotch Covenanters, who built the church in the Frame neighborhood, have most of them moved away or died. Services have not been maintained here regularly. Joseph and Charles McFarland, and David McKnight were prominent among those who organized this society and built the church. Rev. Thompson used to preach here. The ground for the cemetery at Salem Church was the gift of Jonas Cornish and Rebecca Cornish, his wife.

Post Offices and Stores. -- About 1845, a post office was established at Hickory Point, with Jeremy Hickson as Postmaster. He carried the mail from Crown Point for the proceeds of the office. A few years later, Henry Nichols took the office and kept it three years, when his father, William A. Nichols, took it into his care for two or three years. Up to this time, the office was kept just over the line in Winfield Township, Lake Co. Mr. Porter next took the post office and removed it across the line into Porter Township, and was holding it at the time of his death, after which the office was discontinued. There was a post office as early as 1844, at the "Porter Cross-Roads," known as the Porter Cross-Roads Post Office. This was closed about 1865. Ora B. French and E. J. Green, were among the Postmasters. There is a post office at Boone Grove, kept by Enoch Janes. A store was established at Boone Grove about twenty-five years ago by Joseph Janes, who kept it for five or six


years, when he closed out. This place was for a time called Baltimore. A store was started at Hickory Point, in Porter, by Alfred Nichols. He kept here for a number of years, and then took his stock to Crown Point. Another was started after he left by Mr. Wallace. This was run for several years. About the time that this one closed up, Mr. Carson came from Ohio with a stock of goods; some years later, he closed out his stock, since when no goods have been sold at Hickory Point.



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, February 2012


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