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.







In the settlement of a new country, the doctor is usually the first professional man to appear upon the scene. Realizing the fact that conditions upon the frontier are not always conducive to health, and that the sparse population there is far away from centers of civilization whence medical aid can be obtained, the pioneer physician often makes sacrifices to serve his fellow men and aid them in heroic efforts to extend the margin of civilization into hitherto unknown lands. True, he is actuated by motives of private gain, to some extent at least, but when the lot of the country doctor in a new settlement is considered in all its aspects, it is anything but inviting. Settlers are scattered over a large extent of territory; roads are bad, and frequently there are no roads at all; drugs and medicines are hard to obtain; money is scarce; calls must be answered, day or night, rain or shine, if the doctor is to maintain his


prestige in the community, and even then they come but seldom, owing to the sparseness of the population. For years he may struggle along, living a sort of hand-to-mouth existence, waiting for other settlers to come in before his practice can be really established upon a paying basis. Notwithstanding all this, the physician is always to be found among the pioneers.

One of the first physicians to locate in Porter county was Dr. Seneca Ball. He was born in Warren county, Ohio, August 18, 1798; received his preliminary education in the little log school home of that day; attended a graded school at Waynesville, Ohio, and then began the study of medicine by himself. Later he read under Dr. William Bunnell, at Washington, Indiana, and then began practice. After following his profession for a short time he engaged in merchandising at Lafayette with his brother, and later at Laporte. Late in the year 1836 he came to Valparaiso and shortly after that date resumed his practice, which he followed until old age compelled him to desist. He also served as justice of the peace, probate judge, and representative in the state legislature. His death occurred on October 4, 1875.

Dr. Cornelius Blachly came to Porter county in 1838 and continued to practice medicine in the county for more than forty years. He bought the old Gosset Mill in Liberty township in 1869, which his sons continued to run for years after his death in 1876. Dr. Blachly was one of the best known physicians in the county in his day.

In 1844 Dr. Luther Atkins came to Porter county, though at that time he had not yet received his diploma to practice medicine. He was born in Massachusetts in August, 1819. Subsequently his parents removed to Ashtabula county, Ohio, where he acquired his general education, and after coming to Porter county he began the study of medicine. He began practice in 1847, but did not graduate from any college until 1866, when he received the degree of M. D. from a school in Philadelphia. In 1880 he located at Kouts where he opened a drug store which he conducted in connection with his practice until his death.

One of the well known pioneer doctors of Porter county was Levi A.


Cass, who was born in Wayne county, Ohio, July 9, 1819. At the age of fourteen years he entered Oberlin College, where he studied for some time and then read medicine with his father, Levi A. Cass, Sr. In 1840 he came to Porter county and commenced the practice of his profession, but after a short time went to Laporte, where he completed his professional education under Dr. Meaker. He represented Porter county in the state legislature, was one of the organizers of the First National Bank at Valparaiso, and was otherwise identified with the affairs of the county.

Among the early physicians in the southern part of the county, probably none is so well remembered as Dr. John K. Blackstone, who practiced medicine at Hebron for half a century. He was born in Ohio in 1817; attended the Ohio State University; served as second lieutenant in the Second Ohio infantry in the Mexican war; then read medicine and graduated at Cleveland Medical College in 1848. Shortly after that he located at Hebron, where he continued to practice his profession until his death on January 28, 1898. Dr. Blackstone was an archaeologist of some ability, and at one time had in possession an interesting collection of Indian and mound-builders' relics.

Another early Porter county physician was Dr. Erasmus J. Jones, who was born in Ohio in 1814. In 1840 he entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in 1846 began practice with his brother-in-law, Dr. J. G. Kyle, in Ohio. In 1851 he started for Iowa, but upon reaching Porter county some of the members of his family became ill and he stopped in the "Gosset Settlement," where he remained until 1859. He then removed to Chesterton and practiced there and at Porter until his death. He was also engaged in the drug business for a while at Chesterton. Dr. Jones served as county clerk for two terms.

In 1853 Dr. J. H. Letherman located in Valparaiso. He was a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born in March, 1819; studied under his father; attended the Jefferson College for four years, and graduated in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1844. He began practice in Pennsylvania, but soon removed to Des Moines, Iowa, and practiced there until November, 1853, when he came to Valparaiso


as above stated. In 1871 he admitted to partnership his son, Dr. Andrew P. Letherman, who is still practicing in Valparaiso. Dr. J. H. Letherman served for twelve years as county coroner. He died on March 22, 1886.

On June 12, 1812, Dr. J. M. Goodwin was born in Tompkins county, New York, where his ancestors were among the pioneers, his grandfather having served as a commissary in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war. In 1836 he graduated at the Geneva Medical College; practiced in New York and Illinois until 1856, when he located in Porter county. Here he remained until his death, and during the Civil war he gave his professional services free to members of soldiers' families. He served as justice of the peace for many years in Pine township, where he resided.

Dr. Hiram Green, who in his day was one of the prominent physicians of Chesterton, was born on July 19, 1829, in Oneida county, New York. In 1835 his parents removed to Ohio and at the age of twelve years Hiram entered a normal school, having saved twenty-eight dollars as the result of four months' work to pay his expenses. Two years later he began the study of medicine with his brother at New Lisbon, Ohio. At the age of twenty he went to Birmingham - opposite Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - where a cholera epidemic was raging, and was fortunate enough to succeed to the practice of a physician who was compelled to leave the town. From that time until the discovery of gold in California he practiced in various places. A company bound for the gold fields offered him inducements to join the movement as a physician and he started for the Pacific coast. At Michigan City, Indiana, he fell ill and did not fully regain his health for two years. After practicing for four years at Gosset's Mill, he located at Chesterton. During the Civil war he served as lieutenant, captain and assistant surgeon. He then practiced at Wheeler for about three years, when he returned to Chesterton and opened a drug store, continuing the practice of medicine in connection with the drug business. He served as trustee of Westchester township; was a member of the board of pension examiners, and was a Knight


Templar Mason. He died at Chesterton on January 5, 1901. As a mark of respect the public schools were dismissed at noon and the business houses were closed from noon until four o'clock on the day of the funeral.

When Dr. Hayes C. Coates located at Valparaiso in 1866 he was forty years of age, having been born in Marlboro, Ohio, June 8, 1826. He began the study of medicine at an early age, attended the American Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio. and during the Civil war was a contract surgeon under the United States government at Cleveland, Ohio. In 1864 he graduated at the Western Reserve Medical College, of Cleveland, and two years later came to Valparaiso, where he remained in active practice until a short time before his death on October 6, 1894. For a number of years he was the resident surgeon for the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad Company, and he also served as county physician.

Dr. Henry M. Beer, son of Rev. Thomas Beer, was born in Wayne county, Ohio, March 20, 1838. He received an academic education and upon attaining his majority began the study of medicine under Dr. P. H. Clark. During the Civil war he served as assistant surgeon in the Twenty-third Ohio infantry. After the close of the war he practiced in Maryland and Ohio, meantime attending medical college at Cleveland, where he was graduated in 1868. Immediately upon receiving his degree, Dr. Beer came to Valparaiso, and from that time until the spring of 1903 was never absent from his practice for more than a day or two at a time. On May 17, 1903, he went to Chicago, where he had a surgical operation performed, and died on the 26th.

Dr. W. C. Paramore was born at Barlestone, Leicestershire, England, April 14, 1809. He was educated in his native country and practiced there before coming to America. In the spring of 1855 he came to Porter county and continued in practice there until his death on March 15, 1882. Two years before he came to the county, Dr. Henry J. Ellis located at Wheeler. After many years of successful practice he died in 1886. Dr. Marr and Dr. Moricle were among the pioneer doctors in the northern part of the county. The former brought on a partial paralysis by riding


in a gig while visiting his patients, and the latter gave up his practice to engage in the real estate business, which he followed for several years prior to his death.

Dr. L'Mander Lewis, the son of a Revolutionary soldier who fought with Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga, came to Porter county in 1849. He had previously studied medicine at Cincinnati, Ohio, and had been associated with General William Henry Harrison in bringing the Ohio valley under the influence of civilization. He married Mary Dodge in Hamilton county, Ohio, May 29, 1823, and after coming to Porter county continued to practice his profession until a short time before his death, which occurred on September 3, 1880.

The first homeopathic physician to locate in the county was probably Dr. Kendall. Dr. M. F. Sayles studied under him in 1864, and afterward attended the Hahnemann Medical College at Chicago. Dr. Sayles later located in Hebron, where he practiced until 1876, when he removed to Valparaiso and there resided until his death. Dr. W. O. Catron was another early homeopathic physician. At the present time there are but two known physicians of that school in the county - Dr. George R. Douglas, of Valparaiso, and Dr. E. A. Edmunds, of Hebron.

Other early or eminent physicians who were engaged in practice in Porter county at some period of her history, were Drs. Robbins, Kersey, Salisbury and Hankinson, who came so far back and who have been dead so long that little can be learned regarding them; Dr. J. V. Herriott, a Pennsylvanian, first president of the county medical society, who was paralyzed for about two years before his death; R. A. Cameron and J. F. McCarthy, who were also well known as soldiers and newspaper men; W. A. Yohn, a veteran practitioner of Hebron; Dr. Orpheus Everts, who was at one time superintendent of the Indiana asylum for the insane at Indianapolis; Dr. George H. Riley, associated with Dr. Green at Chesterton; Dr. George W. Arnold, who located at Wheeler in 1871; and Dr. Oliver S. Wood, a native of Lake county, who practiced for several years at Hebron.

The names of twenty-five physicians appear in the last issue of the


county directory, to wit: Valparaiso - R. D. Blount, J. C. Carson, H. E. Gowland, G. R. Douglas, A. P. Letherman, L. E. Lewis, D. J. Loring, F. W. Mitchell, O. B. Nesbit, J. A. Ryan, G. H. Stoner, J. B. Take, E. H. Powell, S. J. Young; Chesterton - Ross H. Axe, Joseph von Osinski, C. O. Wiltfong; Hebron - C. E. Ferree, E. A. Edmunds, E. G. Rawson, J. R. Wilson, R. P. Blood; Kouts - P. D. Nowland, C. P. Hockett; Porter - J. J. Theorell; Wheeler - A. O. Dobbins.

The Porter County Medical Society was organized on June 27, 1883, with thirteen charter members and the following officers: Dr. J. V. Herriott, president; Dr. J. F. McCarthy, vice-president; Dr. D. J. Loring, secretary; Dr. J. H. Letherman, treasurer; Drs. A. P. Letherman, W. A. Yohn and J. C. Carson, censors. A constitution was adopted at that meeting, in which it was declared that the society should be "auxiliary to and under the control of the Indiana State Medical Society." The constitution also set forth that "The objects of this society shall be the advancement of medical knowledge; the elevation of professional character; the protection of the interest of its members; the extension of the bounds of medical science; the promotion of all means adopted for the relief of the suffering; to improve the health and protect the lives of the community."

At one time in its history the Porter County Medical Society had a permanent home in the shape of club rooms, which were always open, the object being to enable the doctors of the county to become better acquainted in a social as well as a professional way. Any regular physician of good moral character and professional standing residing in the county was eligible for membership upon payment of a fee of two dollars, but even on these liberal terms, quite a number of physicians in the county have never joined the society. In 1912 there were but fifteen active members. The officers at that time were; Dr. O. B. Nesbit, president; Dr. A. P. Letherman, vice-president; Dr. H. E. Gowland, secretary and treasurer; Drs. D. J. Loring, J. C. Carson and R. D. Blount, censors. The regular meetings of the society are held upon the first Monday in each month, when papers relating to some phase of medical practice are read


and discussed, cases in actual practice of the members reviewed, and other features of the program all tend to increase the knowledge and elevate the character of the physicians of the county.

On April 2, 1901, the Kankakee Valley Medical Society held one of its regular meetings in Valparaiso, where the members were entertained by the resident physicians. This society is composed of the leading physicians of Cass, Fulton, Marshall, St. Joseph, Laporte, Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton, White and Carroll counties.

Prior to 1891 Porter county had no hospital of any kind for the treatment of sojourners or persons who could not be properly treated at their homes. In that year Dr. D. J. Loring opened a private hospital or sanitarium on East Jefferson street, Valparaiso, with accommodations for twelve patients. While Dr. Loring expected to receive some financial benefit from the establishment of this institution, he was actuated by the knowledge that there was need of such a hospital to relieve human suffering. In 1905 the Indiana legislature passed an act which made liberal provisions for the erection and maintenance of a public hospital in each county of the state. On July 17, 1905, a meeting was held in the council chamber at Valparaiso for the purpose of forming a hospital association. William E. Pinney was elected president, and Dr. H. M. Evans, secretary. A committee was also appointed at the same time to report a plan of action. This committee consisted of O. P. Kinsey, Dr. R. D. Blount, George Dodge and Rev. L. W. Applegate.

About this time, and before the association had taken any definite steps for the founding of a hospital, the Christian church at Valparaiso became interested in the subject. Dr. Simon J. Young went to St. Louis to secure, if possible, the cooperation of the National Benevolent Association of that denomination. The result was that an agent of the association, J. P. Davis, was sent to Valparaiso to look over the field. He made a favorable report and Dr. Young again went to St. Louis, this time with a proposition to purchase the private hospital of Dr. Loring, which was for sale. F. R. Ayres and George L. Snively, two representatives of the association came to Valparaiso in December, 1906, and reported in favor


of the purchase. The property was valued at $13,000, of which the church at Valparaiso assumed the payment of one-half and the central board the other half. In this way the Christian Hospital and Training School for Nurses was called into existence. Since the institution passed into the hands of the church a number of new beds have been added. In 1912 the officers of the hospital association were as follows: H. B. Brown, president; Dr. S. J. Young, vice-president; E. W. Agar, secretary; N. R. McNeice, treasurer; John E. Roessier, manager; Mrs. Nora Woodruff, superintendent.

An instance of the efficiency of the Porter county medical profession was seen in the smallpox epidemic of 1899. On March 28, of that year, a man named Cooper came to Valparaiso as a student in the Valparaiso University. On April 10th he developed a well defined case of smallpox. Other students contracted the disease and went to their homes, thus spreading the infection before the true nature of the original case was fully determined. The college authorities established a temporary hospital, in which some twenty cases were treated as chicken pox, the disease appearing only in a mild form. Newspapers outside the county created some excitement by the publication of sensational articles, some of them clamoring for a general quarantine against the city. About June 1, 1899, smallpox made its appearance at several points in northern and central Indiana, and it was claimed that many of these cases were traceable to Valparaiso. On June 22nd Dr. A. W. Brayton, of Indianapolis, came to Valparaiso as a representative of the state board of health to investigate the situation. County and city boards of health had been established some time before this, and Dr. Brayton found their secretaries - Dr. A. P. Letherman and Dr. H. M. Beer - ready and willing to assist him in every possible way to get at the truth. Several persons were found to be afflicted with smallpox and the three physicians selected a house at the corner of Union and Morgan streets to be used as a temporary detention hospital. To this house, which became known as the "pink home," seven patients were taken on the 23d and placed under


quarantine. On the 24th the board of health issued "Health Order No. . 1, which was as follows:

"We are commanded by the State Board of Health, today to order every citizen of Valparaiso vaccinated. Otherwise our city will be quarantined by the State Board of Health. This order must be strictly complied with within the next twenty-four hours."

The order was signed by A. E. Woodhull, mayor; Dr. A. P. Letherman, secretary of the county board of health; and Dr. H. M. Beer, secretary of the city board of health. Dr. J. N. Hurty, secretary of the state hard of health, upon receiving the report of Dr. Brayton, sent word to the local boards of health to make a house to house canvass and to remove "all suspected persons to a special eruptive disease hospital, which must be well removed from the center of population." Dr. Hurty also ordered the thorough disinfection of all houses in which such persons should be found. These orders were complied with promptly, and as an aid to the board of health the mayor issued an order to the effect that failure to report cases of infectious diseases meant "prosecution to the fullest extent of the law." On June 29th the city council adopted a resolution "That in case of the prevalence or occurrence of any contagious or infectious disease in the limits of the city, the mayor of the city shall have the authority, if he sees fit, to lease, occupy or take possession of any proper building for the purpose of separating persons afflicted with such disease, and shall have the right to remove, or cause to be removed, such afflicted persons to such building, provided the mayor act in such matter in conjunction and harmony with the City Board of Health."

Every physician in the city and county manifested a disposition to cooperate with the boards of health and the civil authorities in carrying out all orders issued. Cases were promptly reported, many persons were vaccinated free of charge where they had not money, and in this way the epidemic was soon stamped out.

A history of the Bench and Bar of Porter county could not differ materially from that of any other similar county in the state. The state


constitution adopted in 1816 provided (Article V, Section I), that "The judiciary power of this state, both as to matters of law and equity, shall be vested in one supreme court, in circuit courts, and in such other inferior courts as the general assembly may from time to time direct and establish."

This provision remained a part of the organic law of the state until the adoption of the constitution of 1851, and under it the first courts in Porter county were established. At the time of the adoption of that constitution provision was made for the division of the state into three circuits, in each of which should be established a circuit court consisting of a presiding judge and two associate judges, elected for a term of seven years. By the act of February 10, 1831, the first judicial circuit was made to consist of the Counties of Vermillion, Parke, Montgomery, Fountain, Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton, Carroll, Cass and St. Joseph. All the territory north and west of this circuit had not then been organized into counties, and the court of the first circuit was given jurisdiction over the unorganized territory, which included the present county of Porter.

When the county was organized it was attached to the eighth district for judicial purposes, but on February 19, 1838, the governor approved an act dividing the state into a larger number of judicial districts, such legislation having become necessary on account of the rapidly growing population. By this act the Ninth district was composed of the counties of Fulton, Marshall, Kosciusko, Elkhart, St. Joseph, Laporte, Porter and Lake. In Porter county, the terms of court were to begin on "the second Monday after the commencement of the regular terms in Laporte county," the act fixing the time of such commencement in Laporte county as "the fourth Monday in April and the third Monday in October of each year." The legislature of 1838 also provided for the establishment of a probate court in each county of the state, but the office of probate judge was abolished by the constitution of 1851, which also did away with three judges in each circuit court and placed the court in


the hands of one judge, though the state was divided into a larger number of judicial districts.

Under a constitutional provision that the legislature should have power to establish inferior courts, the courts of common pleas were created by the act of May 14, 1852, the counties of Laporte, Porter and Lake being designated as a common pleas district. The court of common pleas was given jurisdiction in matters of probate, against heirs, devisees and sureties, and was practically a continuation of the old county pro- bate court, established in 1838, though with rather more extended jurisdiction, which applied to a district instead of to a single county. The court of common pleas was abolished in 1872 and the jurisdiction formerly exercised by it was transferred to the circuit and superior courts of the state. Since that time the counties of Lake and Porter have constituted the circuit which is now known as the Thirty-first judicial district. Terms of five weeks in each county are held, except for ten weeks in the warm weather each summer.

The legislature of 1893 established a superior court, including the counties of Porter and Laporte, and Governor Matthews appointed John E. Cass, of Valparaiso, the first judge. The superior court holds terms of five weeks in each county, those in Porter county alternating with the terms of the circuit court, with a ten weeks vacation in the summer months. The superior and circuit courts have concurrent jurisdiction in all causes, both civil and criminal.

A city court was established in Valparaiso about 1896, with F. B. Parks as city judge. The jurisdiction of this court was about the same as that of a justice of the peace and the cases tried before the city judge were confined chiefly to violations of the city ordinances. In 1905 the office of city judge was abolished, mayors in cities of the fifth class being at that time made judicial officers. Since then the duties of city judge in Valparaiso have devolved upon the mayor.

The judges of the circuit court prior to 1872, in the order of their service, were: Samuel Sample, of South Bend; E. M. Chamberlin, of Goshen; Robert Lowry, of Goshen; Thomas Stanfield, of South Bend;


Andrew Osborn, of Laporte; Hiram A. Gillett, of Valparaiso. Judge Gillett continued on the bench until 1878, when he was succeeded by Elisha C. Field. Judge Field was succeeded by William Johnston in 1890, who served until 1892, when John H. Gillett was elected. In 1898 Judge Gillett was appointed by Governor Durbin to a place on the Indiana supreme bench, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Francis E. Baker, and at the same time appointed Willis C. McMahan to the position of circuit judge to fill out the unexpired term or Judge Gillett. Judge McMahan was elected to the office in 1902 and reelected in 1908.

The judges of the probate court of Porter county while the court was in existence were Jesse Johnston, Seneca Ball, George W. Turner, Nathaniel Campbell, William Talcott and John Jones, the last named having been appointed upon the resignation of Judge Talcott.

During the twenty years that the court of common pleas was in existence the district of which Porter county was a part had but three judges, viz: H. Lawson, William C. Talcott and Hiram A. Gillett.

Mention has been made of the appointment of John E. Cass as judge of the superior court when that tribunal was established in 1893. He was succeeded in 1896 by Harry B. Tuthill, who has been reelected at each succeeding election up to 1908.

Michael Esseck was prosecuting attorney of the circuit composed of Lake and Porter counties at the time the court of common pleas was abolished in 1872. Since that time the prosecuting attorneys, with the year in which each was elected, have been as follows: Thomas J. Wood, 1872; J. W. Youche, 1876; J. G. Smith, 1880; Charles F. Griffin, 1882; Edgar D. Crumpacker, 1884; Charles N. Morton, 1888; Willis C. McMahan, 1890; Thomas H. Heard, 1894; Stanley T. Sutton, 1898; William J. McAleer, 1900; David E. Boone, 1904; Charles E. Greenwald, 1908, reelected in 1910.

In a new country where the population is sparse, there is not much litigation and the practice of law is a rather precarious calling. Several years must elapse before a sufficient number of cases will be filed in the


courts to justify the establishment of a local bar of any considerable proportions. When Porter county was organized and the Ninth judicial district established, that district was composed of eight counties. The leading attorneys of those counties frequently rode on horseback from one county seat to another, carrying their law library in their old-fashioned saddle-bags. Among those traveling lawyers of that day were Joseph L. Jernegan, John B. Niles, Robert Merrifield, W. C. Hanna, Joseph W. Chapman, John H. and James Bradley. It is generally con ceded that Josiah S. Masters, who came from the state of New York about the time the county was organized, was the first resident lawyer of Porter county. Not finding sufficient practice to occupy his time, he engaged in teaching school, having taught the first school in Portersville (now Valparaiso), and in fact never did much business in the law. Harlowe S. Orton came to Valparaiso early in 1839 and was one of the most prominent and best known of the early attorneys. Later he went to Madison, Wisconsin, where he became president of the law department of the University of Wisconsin. Not far behind Mr. Orton came Samuel I. Anthony, who was admitted to practice in Porter county in October, 1839. He was for many years one of the leading lawyers of the county and served in both branches of the state legislature. Jesse Johnston, who came to the county among the first settlers, was elected justice of the peace in 1836, but declined the office. He was probate judge from 1838 to 1840, and his son, William Johnston, is still practicing law in Valparaiso. George W. Turner, the first clerk of the court, entered upon the practice of law about 1845 and continued in the profession until he left the county in 1856. Mark L. De Motte and Thomas J. Merrifield located in Valparaiso in 1855.

Mark L. De Motte, one of the best known attorneys of Porter county, was born near Rockville, Parke county, Indiana, December 28, 1832, a son of Rev. Daniel De Motte, a noted circuit rider in his day. He was graduated at Asbury (now De Pauw) University at Greencastle, Indiana, with the degree of A. B. in 1853, and two years later received from the same institution the degree of L. L. B. It was in that year he began


practice in Valparaiso, and from that time until his death was closely identified with the Porter county bar. During the Civil war he served as senior first lieutenant of the Fourth Indiana battery and as assistant quartermaster with the rank of captain. After the war he went to Lexington, Missouri, where he became the owner and editor of the Lexington Register, and was a delegate to the Republican national conventions of 1868 and 1876. In 1877 he returned to Valparaiso and three years later was one of the founders of the law department of the Valparaiso University. He was elected to Congress in 1880; was defeated for reelection in 1882; was elected to the state senate in 1886; and served as postmaster at Valparaiso during the administration of President Harrison. He died at his home in Valparaiso, September 28, 1908.

Judge Hiram A. Gillett was born near Richmond, Vermont, March 19, 1831. After graduating at the Burlington (Vt.) University in 1853, he went to Buffalo, New York, where he studied law, and in 1856 was admitted to the bar. In 1861 he came to Valparaiso. He was elected judge of the common court until it was abolished, when Governor Hendricks appointed him judge of the circuit court for the circuit com- posed of Lake, Porter and Starke counties, which office he held for six years. He then practiced law in Valparaiso until a short time before his death on December 16, 1903. His son, John H. Gillett, also served for several years as judge of the circuit court.

Other attorneys who located in Porter county prior to the Civil war were M. M. Fassett, John W. Murphy and C. I. Thompson. After the war the profession was well represented by Thomas J. Merrifield, J. M. Howard, Thomas McLoughlin, John E. Cass, W. H. Calkins, J. H. Skinner, Nathan L. Agnew, A. L. Jones and others, most of whom have died or removed to other fields of labor.

A. Lytle Jones was one of the first members of the Porter county bar to study law in the county. He was born in Wayne county, Ohio, in August, 1835, and came with his parents to Porter county in 1847, settling on Horse prairie. In 1855 he graduated at the Indiana State University, then studied law with Samuel I. Anthony, and in 1856 was ad-


mitted to practice. For several years he was the senior member of the law firm of Jones, De Motte & Jones. During the war he served in the Seventh Indiana cavalry. He was a member of Chaplain Brown Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and was connected with the Northern Indiana Law School. He died at Valparaiso, March 17, 1902.

On Friday, December 21, 1906, a number of members of the Porter county bar met in the library room of the court-house for the purpose of organizing a bar association. The meeting was called to order by H. H. Loring. Nathan L. Agnew was chosen chairman, and Mark B. Rockwell was elected secretary. After some discussion H. H. Loring, E. W. Agar and R. J. Kitchen were appointed a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws, which were to be reported at another meeting on December 26th. At the adjourned meeting on that date the constitution and by-laws were adopted and the following officers elected: H. H. Loring, president; Grant Crumpacker, vice-president; Mark B. Rockwell, secretary; A. D. Bartholomew, treasurer. The association started off with every indication of success, but when an effort was made to adopt a certain schedule of fees for certain legal services, some of the lawyers asserted that they were capable of judging what their services were worth and withdrew their support from the organization. The last meeting, of which any record can be found, was held on January 11, 1908, when the same officers were reelected, with the exception of vice-president, R. J. Kitchen taking the place of Grant Crumpacker. After the election of officers, the members of the association and the invited guests adjourned to the El Erding Cafe, where a banquet was served and Nathan L. Agnew read a paper upon "The Ethics of the Legal Profession." Sixteen persons were present at the banquet.

Bumstead's last county directory gives the names of twenty-three lawyers who reside in the county, eighteen of them being located in Valparaiso. They are E. W. .Agar, A. D. and J. S. Bartholomew, N. J. and William Bozarth, Grant Crumpacker, William Daly, William H. Dowdell, Thomas H. Heard, Daniel E. Kelly, H. H. Loring, E. O. Main, E. G. Osborne, F. B. Parks, William E. Pinney, Mark B. Rockwell, Benjamin C. Stockman, and H. J. Schenck.

The three lawyers of Chesterton were George F. Batteiger, C. W. Jensen and G. R. Williams, and in Hebron are George C. Gregg and D. B. Fickle. Although the name of Edgar D. Crumpacker does not appear on the list of lawyers as given in the directory - probably for the reason that he lives most of the time in Washington, D. C., as the representative of the Tenth Congressional district - he still claims his permanent residence in the city of Valparaiso.

One of the lawyers who practiced in northern Indiana prior to the Civil war was Daniel D. Pratt, of Logansport, who was at one time United States senator from Indiana. A short time before his death he told Rev. Robert Beer the following story of a visit he made to Valparaiso on one occasion. The story is repeated here because it shows something of the conditions that existed in the town at the time the incident occurred. Mr. Pratt was the secretary of the Republican national convention which nominated Mr. Lincoln for the presidency at Chicago in 1860. At the close of the convention he came to Valparaiso, where he was one of the counsel in a case involving the Indian title to a certain tract of land. He stopped at the old Gould House on West Main street, and being rather tired retired at a comparatively early hour. Directly opposite the hotel was a grocery, along the side of which were piled a number of barrels of salt. The salt attracted a herd of cows, several of which wore bells, and the noise they made prevented Mr. Pratt from going to sleep. Time passed by until all was still in the little city except the nerve-racking noise of those bells. Unable to sleep, the distinguished lawyer raised his window and tried to scare the cows away. His efforts in this direction were futile, but he was determined to get rid of the pest at all hazards. Quietly descending the stairs, dressed only in his night clothes, he let himself out at the front door, seized a board and charged upon the enemy. The cows fled in all directions, but the jangle of the bells aroused a number of dogs and their barking added to the din. Seeing what he had done, and not wanting to be discovered as the author


of the mischief, Mr. Pratt hurried back to his bed room. In a short time he was asleep, notwithstanding the cows were soon back at the pile of salt barrels and making as much noise as before. In telling the story, Mr. Pratt did not neglect to mention that he won his case.

In the professions of art, literature and journalism, some of Porter county's sons and daughters have made their mark. Robert T. Paine, who acquired a wide reputation as a sculptor, was born in Jackson township, a son of Joel Paine. As a boy he was fond of modeling in clay, and made several small statues before he ever received any instruction in the art of sculpture. He ultimately became a protege of Augustus St. Gaudens. The instruction he thus received, with his ambition and indomitable industry, quickly enabled him to take his place among America's leading sculptors. He built a fine Grecian home on the Palisades, overlooking the Hudson river, and also established there his studio. His masterpiece, "Neptune and His Mermaids," was destroyed by him while crazed with grief over his wife's suicide in the spring of 1906.

Of those who have won distinction in literature and journalism, the name of Gilbert A. Pierce is probably the best known. He was born in Cattaraugus county, New York, in 1834. At the age of twenty years he came to Porter county with his parents, who settled at Tassinong, where his father was postmaster for over twenty-five years. He studied law in the old University of Chicago and at the breaking out of the Civil war enlisted in Company H, Ninth Indiana infantry. After being successively promoted to lieutenant, captain and assistant quartermaster, he was made colonel of cavalry and inspector of the quartermaster's department. In October, 1865, he retired from the army and commenced the practice of law in Valparaiso, but was soon elected to the lower house of the Indiana legislature. For two years he was financial clerk of the United States senate. But his mind ran in a literary direction and he became an editorial writer on the Chicago Inter-Ocean, where he remained for nearly twelve years. Later he was connected with the Morning News in an editorial capacity. In 1884 he was appointed


territorial governor of Dakota, and in 1889 was elected one of the United States senators from North Dakota. Upon retiring from the senate in 1891, he purchased an interest in the Minneapolis Tribune. In 1893 he was appointed minister to Portugal, but after a short sojourn in that country failing health compelled him to resign and return to America. With his two sons he organized the Pierce Publishing Company in Chicago and issued a magazine entitled What to Eat. Mr. Pierce wrote several novels, most of them stories of western life, and his Dictionary of Dickens Characters has found favor in both England and the United States. He died at the Lexington Hotel, Chicago, February 15, 1901.

Hubert M. Skinner, a member of the well known Porter county family of that name, wrote a History of Valparaiso in 1876. It is a small work, but shows much careful research and investigation. Mr. Skinner is also the author of a number of poems, one of which, "The Old Sac Trail," appears elsewhere in this work. His most pretentious work, however, is doubtless his "Story of the Britons," which was published in 1903. It tells the story of the ancient Britons through the fifteen centuries preceding the Saxon conquest, and is admirably adapted for supplementary reading in the public schools.

Mrs. Idael Makeever, a daughter of George W. Childers, of Kouts, wrote a number of poems, including verses in the Hoosier dialect, sonnets, lyrics and reminiscent poems. After her marriage and removal to Stormsburg, Nebraska, she published two volumes of verses entitled "Goldenrod" and "Prairie Flowers." The following lines are from her "Day Dreams:"

            "Time brings the treasures of youth's bright day
            And hangs them before me in gorgeous array;
            He chases the shadows, dispelling the haze
            That lingered around them in earlier days;
            He's carefully burnished them one by one
            By processes not known under the sun;
            Retaining the sunshine, rejecting the gloom,


            Touching them all with a faint perfume
            Sweet as tho' wafted from Aribee,
            Lying under the dreamland tree."

Rev. J. M. Kennedy, a Methodist minister who was once pastor of the church at Chesterton, is also the author of a book of poems of more than ordinary merit. Prof. A. Y. Moore, an instructor in the old Valparaiso Collegiate Institute, wrote the "Life of Schuyler Colfax." Miss Frances R. Howe, a granddaughter of Joseph Bailly, is the author of "A Visit to Bois d'Haine," a narrative of European travel, and "An Old French Homestead," a description and account of the settlement established by her grandfather in Porter county in 1822. A. G. Hardesty published an atlas of Porter county in 1876, in which is an interesting historical sketch of the county written by himself. A number of textbooks and monographs on educational, scientific and professional subjects have been written by instructors in the educational institutions of the county, her lawyers and physicians. Among these "Putnam's Elocution," published by Worthy Putnam, who at one time was a teacher in the Valparaiso Male and Female College, is deserving of more than passing mention. It is a large work, treating the technical points in elocutionary training, and contains a large number of selections well adapted to voice culture and expression. Other works of this character that stand above the average are "The Normal Debater," by Oliver P. Kinsey; "The Latin Sentence," by J. W. Holcombe; and Dr. E. W. Fish's work on chemistry. Mrs. Lizzie Newell, once a resident of Valparaiso, but later of Fargo, North Dakota, wrote a book called the "Silent Counselor," an ingenious compilation of passages from the Bible and poetry. Mrs. E. W. Haverfield, M. D. was the author of a book entitled "Enlightened Woman," dealing with subjects of interest to her own sex.

No history of the professional life of Porter county would be complete without some reference to William C. Talcott, who might be called the Nestor of Porter county journalism. He was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, December 25, 1815, and the following year removed with


his parents to Lake county, Ohio, where he lived for ten years with his father and mother and then with other persons until about 1835, when he came to Laporte county, Indiana. Two years later he came to Porter county. At the age of fifteen years he began preparing for the Presbyterian ministry, but while studying he became dissatisfied with some of the doctrines of that faith and adopted the creed of Universalism. For some ten years he was one of the pioneer preachers of that denomination, but finally severed his connections with the church, accepting the Golden Rule as the basis of his religious belief. It has been said that Judge Talcott could preach a sermon, teach a school, edit a newspaper, practice and administer the law, or successfully conduct a farm. He served as justice of the peace, probate and common pleas judge, and was once a candidate for the lower house of the state legislature, but was defeated because of his strong anti-slavery and temperance views. For many years he was connected with the publication of the Practical Observer and Valparaiso Vidette.

Porter county might be classed as a rural community, where few opportunities exist for the development of high professional ability. There are no large cities within her borders, no great scientific institutions or laboratories, comparatively little litigation of a complex character requiring the skill or services of the attorney who has made a specialty of such cases, no great hospital where intricate surgical operations may be performed. But the professional men of the county are fully up to the standard of those in similar communities. Her doctors as a rule are students of their profession and keep well abreast of the times; her lawyers command the confidence of the public and the respect of the courts; her educators have a reputation that is known far beyond her boundaries, and, all things considered, no professional man need feel ashamed to admit that his home is in Porter county.


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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