The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 2, Page 21.


As Far Back As 1881 There Was Organization of Porter County Old Settlers Group

On May 26, 1881, a number of old settlers assembled at the residence of George C. Buel, in Valparaiso, the occasion being the seventieth anniversary of his birth, and some one suggested the formation of an old settlers' association. Accordingly Artillus V. Bartholomew was called upon to act a chairman, and Firmin Church was chosen secretary.

After some discussion as to what constituted an old settler, it was decided that any one who had reached the age of forty-five and had resided for twenty-five years or more in Porter county should be regarded as eligible for membership in the association.

A committee to make complete arrangements for an old settlers' meeting in September was appointed. It consisted of S. R. Bryant, William Henry, Azariah Freeman, Younger Frame, William Stoddard, Stuart R. Spencer, Henry Hageman, John Hansford, Josephus Wolf, Nelson Barnard, Isaac Hardesty, T. C. Sweeney and Hazzard Sheffield. The committee met on June 25, and adopted rules and regulations for the government of the association. The date for the first general meeting was fixed for September 17, 1881, at the public square in Valparaiso.

Pursuant to the arrangements of the committee, a large number of old settlers met on September 17 and passed the time until noon in relating reminiscences of early days. Dinner was then served upon the public square to more than 500 people. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon Azariah Freeman called the meeting to order, prayer was offered by Rev. W. J. Forbes, and Mayor John N. Skinner made a short address, welcoming the pioneer men and women and extending to them the hospitalities of the city.

This was followed by short speeches by Mark L. DeMotte, Jesse Johston, Rev. G. M. Boyd, William McCool, Russell Cahoon, Geo. C. Morgan, S. P. Robbins, David Merriman, Nelson Barnard, A. V. Bartholomew, Rev. W. J. Forbes and others, old-fashioned songs being interspersed between the addresses.

Next came election of officers. A. V. Bartholomew was chosen president; Reason Bell, secretary, and the following vice-presidents were elected for the several townships: T. C. Sweeney, Boone; William J. Forbes, Center; Nelson Barnard, Jackson; William Henry, Sr., Liberty; Elias Cain, Morgan; Samuel C. Hackett, Pine; Simeon Witham, Pleasant; William McCool, Portage; Ira Cornell, Porter; Isaac Hardesty, Union; Charles Luther, Washington, and George Morgan, Westchester.

The second meeting of the association was held in September 1882 when A. V. Bartholomew called the meeting to order and the invocation was offered by Rev. Robert Beer, pastor of the Presbyterian church. Mayor Thomas G. Lytle delivered the address of welcome and speeches were made by the Rev. G. M. Boyd, John Hausford, Sylvester W. Smith, Hiram Loomis, S. P. Robbins, Rev. W. J. Forbes and N. S. Fairchild. Hubbard Hunt read a list of the old settlers that had died within the recent years, and upon motion of Mayor Lytle the old officers were all re-elected for another year.

Meetings were held by the association annually for several years, but the relentless hand of death, interest in the meetings and the association finally passed away.

An old settlers' association was also organized at Hebron and a number of interesting meetings were held by the pioneers of the southern part of the county. But like the association in Valparaiso, the old men and women died off, their descendants lost interest and the meetings were discontinued.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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