History of Porter County, 1912County history published by The Lewis Publishing Company . . . .

Source Citation:
The Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Volume I.  Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company. 357 p.







Just who were the first white men to visit what is now Porter county, or when that visit was made, is largely a matter of conjecture. It is known that about the middle of the seventeenth century the French fur traders were engaged in active operations in the region of the Great Lakes, and it is quite probable that some of them passed through the county, but they made no permanent residence there nor left any record of their acts. In 1672 the two Catholic missionaries - Father Allouez and Father Dablon - traversed the country from lake shore to the Kankakee river, stopping at the Indian villages and studying the characteristics of the country. Their visit is the first of which there is any authentic record. The following year Father Marquette, on his return eastward from the Mississippi river, passed up the Kankakee river with six of his companions. Upon reaching the source of that stream they


made the portage to the St. Joseph river, down which they passed and then crossed the lake to the French posts on Green Bay.

In 1679 Robert Cavilier, Sieur de la Salle, set out from Canada for the purpose of discovering the Mississippi river and descending it to its mouth. His company of some thirty men, among whom were Henri de Tonti, Father Hennepin and Sieur de la Motte, passed down the Kankakee and Illinois rivers. On that occasion, La Salle failed to reach the mouth of the great river, and in 1680 he returned eastward by land, passing through Porter county on his way to Frontenac. In 1681 he again started westward - this time with a much larger company - followed the lake shore, and in April, 1682, reached the mouth of the Mississippi, where he laid claim in the name of France to all the country drained by that river and its tributaries, giving the country the name of Louisiana in honor of the French king. By this act of La Salle's Porter county became a dependency of France. A Catholic mission was established on the St. Joseph river in 1711, under the charge of Father Chardon. In a short time a number of traders gathered about the mission, and in their trading and trapping excursions penetrated as far westward as the valleys of the Calumet and Kankakee.

All northern Indiana became a British possession in 1759, and there sprang up a spirited rivalry between the French and English for the control of the fur trade. The latter made but little headway, however, for the reason that the Indians remained loyal to the French, who understood their language and had for years been on friendly terms with them. Louisiana was ceded to Spain by the secret treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762, and nineteen years later the Spanish authorities decided to take possession of the territory about the head of Lake Michigan. Accordingly an expedition was sent out from St. Louis in the winter of 1781, under command of Don Eugenio Pierre. This expedition consisted of a considerable body of Spanish soldiery and about sixty western Indians. Although Don Pierre was permitted to occupy the country without bloodshed or resistance, his victory was of comparatively short duration, for the treaty of 1783, between the newly recognized republic


of the United States and Great Britain, fixed the western boundary of the United States at the Mississippi river, and Spain was soon forced to acknowledge the claims of the new government. The British retained possession of the post at Detroit and continued to exercise dominion over the country to the westward until 1796, when Porter county really came under the authority of the United States.

By an act of Congress, approved May 7, 1800, the territory northwest of the Ohio river was divided and William H. H. Harrison was appointed governor on the 13th of the same month of the newly established Territory of Indiana. The next day John Gibson, of Pennsylvania, was appointed secretary, and a few days later William Clark, Henry Vanderburgh and John Griffin were appointed territorial judges. General Harrison arrived at Vincennes on January 10, 1801, and two days later convened the court. The session lasted until the 26th, and in that time the governor and the judges adopted certain regulations for the government of the territory. As these regulations had the force of laws, they may be considered as the first legislation of a local character affecting what is now Porter county. The first movement of the United States toward exercising authority over the country around the head of Lake Michigan was in 1803, when Col. John H. Whistler was directed to establish a fort at the mouth of the Chicago river. Colonel Whistler made the voyage from Detroit to the site of the proposed fort in a government vessel called the "Tracy," which is said to have been the first boat of any size to enter the Chicago harbor. His expedition, which marched by land from Detroit, passed along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The fort was completed in the spring of 1804 and was named Fort Dearborn. It became the headquarters of the fur traders operating around the head of the lake, and wielded considerable influence over the Indian inhabitants of Porter county. Trappers and hunters increased in numbers along the Calumet and Kankakee rivers; corn was cultivated upon the prairies and taken to the fort to supply the white people there, the traffic being car-


ried on by means of canoes which skirted the lake shore, or by pack ponies over the Indian trails.

Still no white man had established a permanent domicile within the limits of Porter county, and it was not until 1822 - six years after Indiana was admitted into the Union as a state - that the smoke from a white man's cabin told that the Caucasian had taken possession. In that year Joseph Bailly located at the place afterward known as Bailly Town in Westchester township. His cabin of unhewn logs stood upon the north bank of the Calumet river in the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 27, township 37 north, range 6 west, though at that time the government survey had not been made. At the point where he located his cabin the Calumet has high banks, which doubtless influenced him in the selection of a site for his home in the wilderness. That he acted with authority is evidenced by the fact that he was in possession of the following document:

DETROIT, 15 March, 1814.

"To All Officers Acting Under the United States:
"The bearer of this paper, Mr. Joseph Bailly, a resident on the border of Lake Michigan near St. Joseph, has my permission to pass from this post to his residence aforesaid. Since Mr. Bailly has been in Detroit, his deportment has been altogether correct, and such as to acquire my confidence; all officers, civil and military, acting under the authority of the American Government will therefore respect this passport which I accord to Mr. Bailly, and permit him not only to pass undisturbed, but if necessary yield to him their protection.


"Commandt M. Territory and its Dependencies, and the Western District of U. Canada. To All Officers of the A. Government."

Mr. Bailly was a French Canadian, born in Quebec in 1774, and prior to his settlement in Porter county had been engaged in the fur trade. During the War of 1812 he had been captured or arrested by both the


British and American troops, but he maintained a strict neutrality and declined to bear arms on either side. He married a woman who was part Ottawa Indian and brought her with him to Porter county. There he established a store and in a little while built up a good trade with the Indians. In this work he was materially aided by his wife, who thoroughly understood the Indian language and customs, though she also understood French and readily adopted many of the customs of civilization. Bailly's place soon became widely known. Travelers, voyageurs, traders, trappers, missionaries, adventurers and government officers or agents alike found shelter and entertainment within the hospitable walls of the French trader's cabin. In later years religious exercises were held there and it became a rallying point in time of danger.

To Mr. and Mrs. Bailly were born five children - a son and four daughters. The son died in 1827 at the age of ten years. The eldest daughter Eleanor joined the Catholic Sisters and for some years was the mother superior of St. Mary's at Terre Haute, Indiana; the second daughter, Esther, married Colonel Whistler, and resided in Porter county until her death; Rose Victoire, the third daughter, married Francis Howe, a civil engineer of Chicago, and after his death took up her residence on the old homestead in Porter county; Hortense, the youngest, became the wife of Joel Wicker, who was the pioneer merchant of Deep River, Lake county. Upon a sandy knoll about three-quarters of a mile north of the house is the family cemetery, which received its first offering in 1827, when Mr. Bailly buried there his only son and erected over the grave a large oak cross bearing the inscription: "To-day, my turn; to-morrow, yours; Jesus Christ Crucified, have mercy upon us." He also erected there a small log building called "the chapel," though Mr. Bailley's granddaughter, Frances R. Howe, in "The Story of a French. Homestead," published in 1906, says; "This building was not a chapel, but merely a shelter for those who went to pray at the foot of the cross, as did all the household on Sundays and Holy Days. There was no appointed hour for a visit, neither was there any public prayer. The rule


was that the visit should be made in the morning, and each one prayed silently, according to the bent of personal devotion."

Mr. Bailly himself was buried in this little cemetery in December, 1835, other Catholic members of the family rest there, and the spot is regarded as "consecrated ground."

Other white settlers were slow in coming and for more than ten years Joseph Bailly was the only permanent white resident in Porter county. By his fair dealing he won the confidence of the Indians, from whom he purchased large quantities of furs. These he shipped to Mackinac in row boats, and occasionally he visited Quebec to look after his commercial interests. He spent a portion of his time at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he had established a trading post, to which the western Indians brought him furs from the Rock Mountain country, and even seal skins from the northern Pacific coast. These were exported from New Orleans to France. By the time of the treaty of 1832 his Porter county establishment had grown to six or eight log cabins, in which lived his French employees who assisted him in his fur trade. By treaty with the Pottawatomies in the fall of 1832, the lands in Porter county were thrown open to settlement. In 1833 a stage line, operated by Converse & Reeves, was started between Chicago and Detroit, and with its establishment began the actual settlement of Porter county. In that same year Jesse Morgan came from Virginia and located on section 6, township 36, range 5; a short distance southeast of the present town of Chesterton. His house became a sort of station of the Chicago and Detroit road and was soon widely known as the "Stage House." His two brothers, William and Isaac, came at the same time and settled in Washington township on the prairie which still bears their name. Others who came in 1833 were Adams S. Campbell, of Chautauqua county, New York; Reason Bell, of Wayne county, Ohio; George B. Cline, of Union county, Indiana; and Henry S. Adams, of Jefferson county, Ohio, all of whom selected homesteads on Morgan prairie. The last named was accompanied by his mother, his wife and three daughters. Seth Hull, who was probably the first man to locate


a claim in what is now Center township, settled on the site of Chiqua's Town, but soon afterward sold his claim to J. S. Wallace and went farther westward into Illinois. A French fur trader established a post near the place later known as Morgan's School House in Westchester township and it is said sold eleven barrels of whiskey - his chief article of merchandise - in one winter. Samuel Flint came into Washington township, and is credited with having made the first improvements at Prattville, and there were a few others, most of whom were without families and did not remain in the county.

The year 1834 witnessed a larger immigration. In this year occurred the birth of the first white child in the county - Reason Bell, son of Reason Bell, Sr., who had settled in Washington township the preceding year. Just a month later was born Hannah, daughter of Jesse Morgan, in Westchester township. Early in the year came J. P. Ballard, who built the first house in the city of Valparaiso, or rather upon the site of the present city. A. K. Paine built the first dwelling and took up the first claim in what is now Jackson township; Thomas and William Cosset selected claims in Westchester township; William Thomas, Sr., Jacob Beck, John Hageman, John I. Foster, William Frame and Pressley Warnick brought their families and established homes in the same township; in Washington township Jacob Coleman, James Blair, Isaac Werninger, Ruel Starr and James Baun were added to the population; Joseph Bartholomew, Henry Adams, George, Jacob and John Schultz, and Benjamin Spencer settled in Morgan township. In June Owen Crumpacker came from Union county, Indiana, and was probably the first settler in Liberty township. He was soon joined there by William Downing, Jerry Todhunter, Elijah Casteel, Peter Ritter and Thomas Clark, generally referred to as "Beehunter" Clark.

In 1835 the first sale of Porter county public lands was held at Laporte, Practcally all the men who had taken claims in Porter county were present, and there were a number of bidders from a distance. A mulatto named Landy Gavin, who had purchased his freedom for $600, settled in Westchester township, but subsequently removed to Michigan


City. R. Cornell, Eli Hendricks and a few others settled this year in Westchester township, and the first settlement was made in Boone township by Judge Jesse Johnson, who was soon followed by Isaac Cornell and Simeon Bryant. By the time of the land sales at Laporte a large number of new settlers had come into Washington township. N. S. Fairchild, Archie De Munn, Charles Allen, Josiah Allen, Rinier Blachley, Morris Witham, William Billings, Lewis Comer and a number of others settled in Morgan township, most of them bringing their families. The first settlements were made in Union township in this year, but it is not definitely settled who were the first men to locate there. Jackson township received a large number of new citizens, among whom were William Barnard and Benjamin Malsby. Several hardy pioneers were also added to the population of Portage township, where Reuben Hurlburt and a few others had settled in 1834. Pleasant township was likewise settled in 1835, by William Trinkle, John Jones, and a man named Sherwood. A number of claims were taken in Porter township, Newton Frame, Samuel and Isaac Campbell, Isaac Edwards, Jacob Wolf, Elder French and David Hurlburt being among the early settlers in that locality.

In March, 1835, the commissioners of Laporte county, who at that time had jurisdiction over all the territory west of that county extending from the Kankakee river to Lake Michigan and west to the western boundary of the state, including the present counties of Porter and Lake, issued an order for the division of this region into three townships, as follows:

"The township of Waverly to be bounded on the north by Lake Michigan, east by the Laporte 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 Laporte 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 same time the commissioners ordered an election in each of the three townships for two justices of the peace and other township officers, and designated the voting places as follows: In Waverly township at the town of Waverly, a new town which had just been laid out by John Foster about two miles northwest of the present town of Chesterton; in Morgan township at the residence of Isaac Morgan, and in Ross township at the residence of Cyrus Spurlock. In Waverly township thirty-two votes were polled. John J. Foster and Elijah Casteel were elected justices of the peace; Owen Crumpacker and Jacob Beck, constables; Eli Hendricks, superintendent of roads; Jesse Morgan and William Frame, overseers of the poor; Alexander Crawford and Edmund Tratebas, fence viewers. Twenty-six votes were cast in Morgan township. Adam S. Campbell and George Cline were chosen justices of the peace; T. A. E. Campbell and Jones Frazee, constables; Henry Rinker, supervisor of roads; Reason Bell, Sr., and Jacob Coleman, overseers of the poor; Benjamin Saylor and Jacob Coleman, fence viewers. Ross township now constitutes the county of Lake and the result of the election therein is not germane to the history of Porter county.

The establishment of these townships and election of officers marks the introduction of local civil government in Porter county. During the year following this election there was but a slight increase in the population of the county. The actual settlers devoted their attention to the improvement of their claims, the construction of roads, the establishment of schools, etc., and speculators overran the county seeking investments that would found their fortunes, but few of these speculators located within the confines of the county.

Pioneer life in Porter county differed but little from that in other new countries, and for the benefit of the present generation it may not be amiss to give a brief description of the industrial and social customs of that period. In the prairie districts the matter of clearing the ground for cultivation was a comparatively easy matter, but where the land was


covered with a growth of timber more labor was involved. After the trees were felled and cut into suitable lengths came the "log rolling," when the neighbors would gather and pile the logs into heaps convenient for burning. These log rollings were often contests of physical strength, and the luckless individual who could not "keep up his end of the hand spike" was made the subject of good-natured badinage. The house raising was an event of importance. When the logs were collected upon the site where it was proposed to erect the cabin, the settlers would frequently come for several miles to assist in the "raising." Four men skilled in the use of the ax were selected to "carry up the corners." These men sat astride the logs as they were hoisted upon the walls, shaped a "saddle" upon the upper side of one log and cut a notch to fit it in the under side of the next. By this means the cracks between the logs were made smaller and the walls rendered stronger. After the walls were up the door - there was usually but one - the windows and the fireplace were sawed out and the ends of the logs supported by an upright piece held in position by wooden pins. The opening for the fireplace was generally four or five feet across and about the same in height. Outside the wall of the cabin a pen was built and lined with heavy clay walls as high as the top of the fireplace or a few feet above. On top of this pen smaller sticks were used and the whole was plastered with clay or mortar to a height a foot or two above the roof of the cabin. The openings between the logs were "chinked" with pieces of timber which were covered with clay or mortar to keep out the cold. Usually the floor was of puncheons, smoothed on the upper side with the broadax or adz. The door was frequently made of rough boards or pieces of timber rived out with an instrument called a frow. It was hung on wooden or leather hinges and provided with a wooden latch, to which was attached a string which ran through a small hole in the door. To gain entrance one had but to pull the string and lift the latch. At night the string was drawn inside and the door was locked. This custom gave rise to the expression "The latch string is always out," to indicate that one would be welcome at any time. These frontier cabins were often constructed without the use of nails, or hard-


ware in any form, the clapboards forming the roof being held in place by poles fastened at each end with wooden pins.

Money was scarce in the early days and few were able to hire help. Hence the custom of exchanging work among the pioneers was a common one. In addition to the log rollings and house raisings there were wood choppings and corn huskings, when the entire neighborhood would go from house to house, taking care of the corn crop or laying in the supply of winter fuel. Among the women there were quiltings, rag cuttings, in which the material for the rag carpet was prepared, wool pickings, apple parings, etc., the last coming only after orchards had reached a bearing age. There were no stoves, and the cooking was done in primitive utensils at the huge fireplace, the housewife often wearing a large sunbonnet to protect her face from the heat while she was preparing a meal. From a pole in the throat of the chimney was suspended a large iron kettle, in which were boiled meat and several kinds of vegetables at the same time. Bread was baked in a long-handled iron skillet, which was placed over a bed of coals and after the dough was placed therein covered with an iron lid upon which hot coals were heaped in order that the bread might bake from top and bottom at the same time. Nearly every settler kept a few sheep and the spinning wheel and the loom were to be found in almost every household. The wool or yarn was dyed with indigo or the bark of trees and woven into cloth, which was then made into clothing by hand, as the sewing machine was not invented until years later. "Store clothes" were extremely rare, and nearly every one wore "homespun." Light for the cabin was generally provided by tallow candles, made by drawing a cotton wick through a tin cylinder and then pouring melted tallow around it. When the tallow cooled it was drawn from the mould and laid away until needed for use. Candle moulds usually consisted of four, six or eight cylinders in a single frame. Artificial light even of this simple character was often scarce, and is was no uncommon thing for the family to sit in front of the open fire until time to retire, the fire giving the only light in the cabin.

The sports of the men were nearly always of an athletic nature, such


as foot racing, wrestling, pitching quoits or horseshoes, etc. Another common sport was the "shooting match," in which a spirited contest in markmanship with the rifle occurred. Bayard R. Hall, in his "New Purchase," thus describes one of these matches: "The distance was stepped off and marked - eighty-five yards off hand and one hundred yards with a rest. The rests were various, some of the marksmen driving forked stakes in the ground and placing on these a horizontal piece, some using a common chair, some lying flat with a chunk or stone before them for support, and yet others standing beside a tree with the barrel near its muzzle pressed against the boll. For target each man had a shingle carefully prepared with, first, a charcoal-blackened space, and on this for a ground a piece of white paper about an inch square. From the center of the paper was cut a small diamond shaped hole, which, of course, showed black, and two diagonal lines from the corners of this intersected each other at the center of the diamond, thus fixing the exact center of the target. About this point, with a radius of four inches, a circle was drawn, and any shots striking outside of this circle lost the match to the marksman. Each contestant had three shots, and if all struck within the circle and outside the exact center the measurement was taken from the center to the inner edge of the bullet hole. These measurements were then added up, and the one having the shortest 'string' won the prize."

In every settlement there was one or more who could play the violin, though he was generally known as a "fiddler." His services were frequently called into requisition, as the house raising was nearly always followed by a "house warming," which meant a bounteous supper and a few hours spent in dancing the minuet or the old Virginia reel. Then there were the singing schools, in which the song book known as the "Missouri Harmony" was generally used, the debating clubs, mock legislatures, etc. In winter bob sled parties formed one of the principal sources of pleasure, and after the district school was firmly established spelling school furnished popular entertainment. To one who lives in the present day of macadamized roads, automobiles, electric lights, telephones, inter-


urban railways, popular places of amusement, and the various other conveniences of modern civilization, the life of the pioneer may seem crude and commonplace. True, that life was one of hardship in many respects, but the frontiersman's wants were few and easily supplied. It should not be forgotten that these sturdy pioneers who marched boldly into and subdued the wilderness paved the way for the many blessings the present generation enjoys, and as one reflects upon their labors and victories he may agree with Robert Burns that

"Buirdly chiels and clever hizzies
Are bred in sic a way as this is."

Morgan and Waverly townships remained under the jurisdiction of Laporte county until the legislative session of 1836. On January 28, 1836, Governor Noble approved an act "to organize the county of Porter, and for other purposes." The full text of that act is as follows:

"Sec. 1. 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 Laporte county, thence running south to the Kankakee river, thence west with the bed of said river, to the centre of range seven, 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 or independent counties do or may properly belong.

"Sec. 3. That Joel Long, of Kosciusko; Andrew Wilson, of Fountain county; Matthias Dawson and Judah Learning, of Laporte county; and William L. Earl, of St. Joseph county, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners agreeably to the act entitled 'an act fixing the


seats 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 service, said sheriff shall receive such compensation as the board doing county business of Porter county, shall deem reasonable.

"Sec. 4. The circuit court and board of county commissioners, shall hold their sessions as near the centre 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 the state for judicial purposes.

"Sec. 6. The board doing county business, may as soon as elected and qualified, hold special sessions, not exceeding three during the first year after the organization of said county, and shall make all necessary appointments, and do and perform other business, which may or might have been necessary to be performed at any 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."

The name of Porter was conferred on the new county in honor of Commodore David Porter, of the United States navy, who commanded the frigate "Essex" during the War of 1812 with Great Britain. Pursuant to authority vested in him by an act of the legislature, Governor Noble appointed Benjamin Saylor sheriff, with power to organize the county by calling an election for judges of the probate court, county commissioners, recorder and clerk, and to perform such other duties as might be necessary to perfect the organization of the county. An election was accordingly held on February 23, 1836, at which Jesse Johnston was elected probate judge; Seneca Ball and James Blair, associate judges; Cyrus Spurlock, recorder; George W. Turner, clerk; Benjamin N.


Spencer, Noah Fowts and John Sefford (some authorities give this name as Seffon), commissioners.

On April 12, 1836, the first session of the board of commissioners was convened at the house of C. A. Ballard, in Portersville (now Valparaiso), with all the commissioners present, George W. Turner acting as clerk, and Benjamin Saylor as sheriff. One of the first acts of the board was to establish ten civil townships, which the records show was done as follows:

"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 township 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 36, 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."

Several changes have occurred since then in townships and township boundaries. For an account of these changes the reader is directed to the chapters on "Township Histories."

The first session of the board of commissioners lasted for five days. On the second day an order was issued for an election to be held on April 30, 1836, for two justices of the peace in Washington township, and one justice in each of the other newly created townships. The order also designated voting places in the several townships as follows: Washington township, at Isaac Morgan's house; Jackson township, at the residence of A. K. Paine; Lake township, at the house of Edward Harper; Waverly, at some suitable point in the town of Waverly; Liberty township, at the dwelling of Daniel Y. Kesler; Center township, at C. A. Ballard's residence; Pleasant township, at the house of Henry Adams; Boone township, at Jesse Johnston's residence; Union township, at George W. Turner's place; Portage township, at the dwelling of Jacob Wolf, Sr.

George Cline was appointed assessor for all that part of the county lying north of the line dividing townships 35 and 36; Peter Ritter for all that part lying south of that line, and John Adams for the attached territory on the west (now Lake county). An allowance for $2.50 per day was made to C. A. Ballard for the use of his house for the five days of the session.

The election for justices of the peace was held on April 30, pursuant to the order of the board, and at the May meeting of the commissioners the other township officers - constables, road supervisors, overseers of the poor and fence viewers - were appointed by the board for each township. It was further ordered that an additional justice of the peace be elected for Center township, and the county was divided into three


districts for county commissioners. All that part of the county lying south of the line dividing townships 34 and 35 was declared to constitute the first district. North of that line and extending to the line dividing townships 35 and 36 constituted the second district, and the third district included all that portion of the county north of the north line of township 36. George Cline and A. S. Campbell, justices of the peace, paid in three dollars, which they had collected as fines for theft and assault. This was the first revenue received by the county. The acting county treasurer reported that no funds had been paid to him and Benjamin Saylor was appointed county collector.

The commissioners appointed by the legislature to fix the location of the county seat met at the designated time, and on the 9th of June made 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, Indiana; 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 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."

This report was signed by three of the commissioners - William L. Earl, Matthias Dawson and Judah Leaming - a majority of those named in the organic act as passed by the legislature, Joel Long and Andrew Wilson for some reason having failed to qualify and report for duty. The bonds referred to by the commissioners and filed with their report were given for the payment of the money it was agreed to donate to Porter county by the proprietors of the county, the money represented by the bonds to be used for the erection of public buildings. These bonds were ten in number, and were given by the following individuals for the amounts opposite their respective names:

No. 1.

Benjamin McCarty, Enoch McCarty, John Walker, William Walker, L. L. Hillis and John Saylor . . . . . . .



James Hutchins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



George Cline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



A. S. Campbell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Isaac Morgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Charles G. Minick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Thomas Butler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



G. Z. Salyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




Isaac Morgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Ruel Starr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



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


With the location of the county seat, the last provision of the act organizing Porter county was complied with, and she took her place among the other counties of the State of Indiana as a separate and distinct political subdivision of that great commonwealth.


CHAPTER I - General Features
CHAPTER II - Aboriginal Inhabitants
CHAPTER III - Settlement and Organization
CHAPTER IV - Internal Improvements 
CHAPTER V - Educational Developments
CHAPTER VI - Military History
CHAPTER VII - Township History
CHAPTER VIII - Township History (continued)
CHAPTER IX - The City of Valparaiso
CHAPTER X - Financial and Industrial
CHAPTER XI - The Professions
CHAPTER XII - Societies and Fraternities
CHAPTER XIII - Religious History
CHAPTER XIV - Miscellaneous History
CHAPTER XV - Statistical Review

Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, November 2011


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