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 3, Pages 17-18.


As Compiled By History Class and Instructors For The Vidette-Messenger

Porter county has no extensive geological history as some territory has. It is quite young geologically. It was covered by the sheets of ice that swept down from further north. The terminal moraine of one of these lies in an irregular line across Porter county, making the water shed between the St. Lawrence river system and Mississippi river system. The northwestern part of Morgan township drains into the Calumet river and Lake Michigan and the rest of the township drains into the Kankakee river.

Salt Creek arises in a spring in the north central part of the township and flows southwest, making a curve to the north to enter Center township south of Valparaiso. It empties into the Calumet river. Kinsey located a grist mill somewhere along this creek which he operated until 1848. Crooked Creek flows across Washington township and southward across Morgan township. It drains Long lake and Flint lake of Liberty and Center townships. Sandy Hook starts north of the Morgan township high school and flows southwestward to Pleasant township. West branch of Sandy Hook arises in the northern part of Porter township and flows into Sandy Hook in Morgan township. Another branch of Sandy Hook is Wolf Creek which has is source in Lake Eliza and Lake Quinn. These natural streams flowing into the Kankakee river have been straightened and deepened. Morgan township has an extensive system of dredge ditches to supplement these natural streams in making every part of the township suitable for farming.

Morgan Prairie extends from Washington township southward into the central part of Morgan township. On the west side of the township was the marsh lying between Horse and Morgan prairies. A mile or two from the east side of the township lay the marsh along Crooked Creek. There are extensive peat beds along Sandy Hook in the southwestern part of the township. These have never been worked and probably will not be while the present price of coal continues.


This country was inhabited by the Pottawatomie Indians when the French came. They were loyal to the French until 1763 and then they took the side of the British against the Americans. They took part in the Pontiac Conspiracy and twenty-five Pottawatomie chiefs took part in the negotiations of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. They took the side of the British in 1812 to 1814, but were among the first Indians to enter into treaties of peace with the representative of the United States at the close of the war in 1815.

The first treaty of cession that included a part of Porter county was concluded October 15, 1826. It was the land even with the south end of Lake Michigan and the north. The remaining portion of Porter county was ceded to the United States by the treaty of October 26, 1832, which was concluded on the Tippecanoe river between Jonathan Jennings, John W. Davis and Mark Crume, commissioners on the part of the United States and the chiefs, Headmen and Warriors of the Pottawatomie Indians. The Indians were removed from this section in 1840 to reservation in Kansas.

The first survey, made in 1834 and 1835, shows in some parts of the county local Indian trails, but they were not carefully traced by the surveyors. It is impossible at this late day to determine their sources or the exact direction they ran. A quotation from "Siftings" given an excellent description of the main one that crossed Morgan township:

"The second best known trail in our county was the Pottawatomie. This was the northern part of the great Allen Trail which led from the Wabash river to Lake Michigan. Starting at Lafayette, it traversed what is now Tippecanoe, White and Jasper counties, entering Porter county at the Pottawatomie Ford; the site, later, of Baum's Bridge. From there it followed the ridge of ground (if you can find a ridge) between the lowlands of Crooked Creek and Sandy Hook Creek; passed to the east of Valparaiso and the lakes; followed the divide between Coffee and Salt Creek; crossed the Calumet at the Baille Homestead, and ended at the beach.

"Some of the pioneers give this as ending at the mouth of Fort Creek, but we are safe in saying that this branch was made at the time of the settlement of City Wes. Mr. Baille was wise enough to build his home and place of business where he could intercept the frequent drovers of Indian trappers who came from down state on their way to Canada with their winters catch of furs. He, of course, bought the furs, and the red men returned home.

"The trail was the land section of portage in the great treking between the entire southern part of our country and eastern Canada, the remaining parts being the rivers of the Mississippi system at the south, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence system at the north. The Wabash-Erie and Kankakee-St. Joseph portages were its rivals.

"On this trail, was built the old French trading post at Tassinong and it may be, that the Jesuits and coureurs-de-bois often crossed the country over it. Over the southern part of it, were brought the hordes of squaws and papooses which were hidden in the Kankakee marshes at the time of the Battle of Tippecanoe. Somewhere in Pleasant township, on this trail, Scott established his trading post of Bengaul in 1821, and over the Allen trail came the pioneers who moved in from southern Indiana and other points farther to the south. This is the road followed by our early farmers when hauling their produce to Lafayette.

"Had our early state officers had the same idea that the Indians had, of reaching Lake Michigan, the great Michigan Road might have passed through Porter county instead of going around the Kankakee swamps past South Bend and ending at Michigan City.

"Leading off from these main routes were several branch trails worthy of notice. One branched to the westward from the Pottawatomie (near Tassinong); crossed Morgan and Horse prairies; passed Indian Town (now Hebron) and Hickory Point; then on to the Hickory Creek region of Illinois. This is the path on which David Agnew lost his life on that fatal night more than a century ago."

Another old Indian trail is the road past Sager's lake and Adams cemetery to Tassinong in Morgan township.

General History of Morgan Township

The territory now within the bounds of Morgan township was first explored by the French. In 1672 Father Allouz and Father Dablon cross the territory visiting the Indian villages and studying the country. LaSalle may have crossed Morgan township in 1679 and 1680 when he was trying to reach the Mississippi and it is likely in 1681 when he was going down the Mississippi river and when he took possession of this territory for France and named it Louisiana. Louisiana was ceded to Spain by the secret treaty of Fontainebleu in 1762. Spain decided to take possession of the territory about the head of Lake Michigan in 1781. Don Eugenio Pierre marched across Porter county that winter and took possession without resistance. Due to the work of George Rogers Clark Britain ceded all this territory to the United States in 1783, but they held Detroit until 1796 and exercised power over Porter county until that time.

Indiana Territory was organized in 1800. Indiana was given it present boundaries in 1809 and became a state in 1816. The territory north of the Kankakee River was organized into LaPorte county. In 1835 the commissioners of LaPorte county divided the territory of Porter and Lake counties into three townships. They ordered an election held in each of three townships for two justices of the peace and other township officers and designated the voting place. In Morgan township the voting was done at the home of Isaac Morgan. Twenty-six votes were cast. Adam S. Campbell and George Cline were chosen justices of the peace; T. A. E. Campbell and Jones Frazee, constables; Henry Rinker, supervisor or roads; Reason Bell, Sr., and Jacob Coleman, overseers of the poor; Benjamin Saylor and Jacob Coleman, fence viewers.

On January 28, 1836, Governor Noble approved an act "to organize the County of Porter, and for other purposes." The name Porter was given to the new county in honor of Commander David Porter of the United States Navy, who commanded the frigate "Essex" during the War of 1812. Benjamin Saylor was appointed sheriff by Governor Noble and was given power to organize the county by calling an election for judges of the probate court, county commissioners, recorder and clerk. The election was held February 23, 1836. Jesse Johnston was elected probate judge; Seneca Ball and James Blair, associate judges; Cyrus Spurlock, recorder; George W. Turner, clerk; Benjamin S. Spencer of Morgan township, Noah Fowts and John Sefford, commissioners.

At the first meeting of the board of commissioners they set up ten civil townships. The territory now Morgan township was included in Pleasant and Boone townships. The commissioners ordered the election in Pleasant township to be held at the home of Henry S. Adams on April 30, 1836, for the purpose of electing one justice of the peace. Lewis Comer was unanimously elected. The eleven votes cast were all for him. The other township officers were appointed by the county commissioners at their next meeting in May.

Morgan Civil Township

The territory now included in Morgan township has been in various other township units.

In March, 1835, the commissioners of LaPorte county issued an order for the division of this region to the west into three townships as follows:

"The township of Waverly to be bounded on the north by Lake Michigan, east by LaPorte county line, south by the line between townships 35 and 36 north, and west by the line through the center of range six 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 six west. The township of Ross to include all the attached territory west of the line through the center of range six west."

Morgan township, a township of LaPorte county, included all of what is now Washington, Morgan and Pleasant townships and a part of what is now Center, Porter and Boone townships.

When Porter county was organized in 1836, there was no Morgan township laid out. The territory was included in Pleasant and Boone townships. In April the commissioners set the west boundary of Pleasant township even with the west boundary of Washington township. At the May meeting of the board in 1836 only one month after the erection of the first townships, the northern boundary of Pleasant township "was extended west to the center of the great marsh dividing Horse and Morgan prairies," and the western boundary extended from that point "south with the center of the marsh to the Kankakee river." In June, 1841, the west boundary was set running south on the line between sections 2 and 3, township 34 north, range six west as far as the northwest corner of section 23 township 33 north, range six west. In August, 1843, the commissioners set up Morgan township from the north part of Pleasant township.

"Ordered by the board that Pleasant township be divided so as to form two distinct townships. Leaving in Pleasant township all south of Sandy Hook as far as the northwest corner of section 32, township 34 north, range 5 west, thence running due east to the county line and all that lies north of Sandy Hook be known as Morgan township. Ordered by the board that there be an additional justice of the peace in Pleasant. Ordered by the board that there be one justice of the peace elected in Morgan township. Ordered by the board that the place of holding the election in Morgan township be at the house of Henry Adams. Ordered by the board that Thomas Miller be appointed inspector for Morgan township."

Morgan township derives its name from Morgan Prairie, which was named for Isaac Morgan, who was one of the first settlers on this beautiful plain.

In February, 1850, Essex township was set up from the east part of Morgan township. At first Essex was only one and a half miles wide. Some time later it was extended west a mile and half so that it included a strip of land three miles wide and six miles long, eighteen square miles. This was the smallest township ever laid out in Porter county. "As the county was named in honor of a commander, it was fitting, of course, to remember the ship he commanded; hence this township's name. It dates from February, 1850."

The list of men who served as trustees in Essex township is incomplete. Jason Osborne and James Black were trustees. George Williams was elected trustee, but on petition the township was joined to Morgan before he served his term. His republican opponent led in getting the petition signed and accepted by the county commissioners and thus defeated Mr. Williams after all.

Mr. Tucker owned several hundred acres along the marsh in Essex township. Some of this was purchased from the Indians. It is said that he got one forty-acre tract from the Indians for a gallon of whisky. John Pinkerton lived longer in Essex township than any other one now living, being born there in 1860.

In March, 1855, the commissioners took sections 23, 26 and 35, township 34 north, range 6 west, from Morgan and added them to Porter township. This made Morgan and Porter the same size. Essex township was united with Morgan township in 1880. Morgan township boundaries have been fixed since that time. The township now contains forty-five square miles of good farm land. The following men have served as trustees in Morgan township (again the list is incomplete for the earlier years): Henry S. Adams, Heber Stoddard, Lewis B. Marine, Sylvester Lewis, Henry Stoner; J. N. Patton, 1897-1900; B. T. Jones, 1901-1904; Marion Curtis, 1905-1908; J. W. Freer, 1909-1914; Herman Detlefs, 1915-1918; John Bell, 1919-1922; John Trode, 1923-1930; William Pennington, 1931-1934; John F. Hannon, 1935 --.

Early Settlers

The first settler in Morgan township was Henry S. Adams, who came here with his mother, his wife and three daughters in 1833, April 27, from Jefferson county, Ohio. In May he built a cabin and laid a claim of 160 acres on section 9, township 34 north, range 5 west. His cabin was the first in the township. He broke twenty acres that year, having twelve acres of corn and eight acres of wheat. In the following spring he laid claim on the northwest quarter of section 18, township 34 north, range 5 west. Mr. Adams was a soldier in the Blackhawk war. He lived to be eighty years of age. He was a leading member of the Christian church. He gave the land on which the brick church stands.

Jacob Fleming and the Colemans also came in 1833.

In 1834, Joseph Bartholomew, John Beaum, George Jacob and John Shultz, Benjamin Spencer, Aaron Stone, Abraham Stoner and Russel Johnson settled in Morgan township. John and Stephen Bartholomew settled in Pleasant township that year and moved to Morgan later.

In 1835 Thomas Adams, N. S. Fairchild, Archie DeMunn, Charles Allen, Josiah Allen, G. W. Patton, Enoch Baum, Charles DeWolf and Lewis Comer and family settled in Morgan township.

By the end of 1837 these people were in Morgan township: William Gates, William Stoddard, John G. Keller, Samuel and Abraham Van Dalsen, Lyman and Elisha Adkins, Thomas Wilkins, Elias Cain, John berry and William Minton, and Indian trader. Other early settlers were Miller Parker, Enos Arnold, John E. Harris, Mr. Dillingham, Enoch Billings, Ezra and Eason Wilcox, Hank Blanchard, Rinier Blachley, Morris Witham, William Billings, William Clark, Henry Klug, David Dinwiddie and Jacob Kinsey, William Unruh came here about 1842.

There were many Indians in the township. They were more of a nuisance than a danger. They were inveterate beggars and wanted to trade small wooden articles for things of the settlers. One old settler described Morgan township as "nothing but snakes, wolves and Indians."

Game was abundant and continued to be so for many years. In 1843 G. W. Patton and his brother shot two deer from a herd. One of them was more stunned than wounded and when they approached start to rise. G. W. seized it by the antlers and was well battered before his brother could cut the deer's throat. Four men, H. S. Adams, Roliston Adams, Asa Cobb and G. W. Paxton killed sixteen deer on a five-day hunt in 1851.

The first birth in Morgan township was that of John Fleming, born in January or early February, 1834. This was the second white child born in Porter county. The first was that of Reason Bell, Jr., in Washington township. The third birth was that of Hannah Morgan in Westchester township.

The first burial in Porter county was the burial of David Agnew. Mr. Agnew was the brother-in-law of David Bryant of Pleasant Grove, Lake county, and a relative of the Bryants of Porter county. He had sent his family on to Pleasant Grove and was coming with a load of furnishing. He was following the old Indian trail that leads west from Tassinong when a blinding snowstorm struck. The trail was soon covered and lost. Mr. Agnew loosed the oxen and tried to find his way on. Later he drove a stake into the ground and tried to keep warm by walking around it in a circle. His body was found the next morning and taken to the cabin of Lewis Comer for the funeral.

One of the last India camps in Morgan township was on the farm now owned by Mr. Shultz. Tucker bought the forty-acre tract from the Indians for a gallon of whisky, later he sold the land to Mr. Shultz. Another Indian camp was on or near the farm of Lawrence Casbon. Fisher bought this land from the Indians.

The first musical instrument in the county was a dulcimer owned by John Shultz. It was bought in New York by Attorney Anthony for Mr. Schultz.

The first blacksmith shop in the county was that of Stephen Bryant, who had his shop at an early day on Morgan Prairie.

Early Incidents

There were also wild cats and panthers in the west part of the township, which was somewhat wooded, as late as 1877. An incident was officially told, about this time, when Alvin Gay of near Lafayette came up here and married Deborah H. Shultz, and was spending his first autumn in these parts. One evening as he was washing his feet just outside the door, his wife heard him whistling at intervals as if calling. Finally she came to the door and asked what he was whistling for. He said: "Oh, some boy seems to be lost in the woods and is calling by whistle and I am answering him so he may find his way out of the woods."

Just at that time the whistle was heard just back of a large woodpile only a few feet away. Mrs. Gay at once recognized it as the cry of a panther, and said: "Why, man, that is a panther. You will be milled in a minute," and she ran for the upstairs, swinging the door to close it behind her. Mr. Gay, following closely, and it being dark, was struck on the nose by the closing door, which probably hurt some, but the fright, he never got over. Shortly after, one of their close neighbors came along and they called from the upstairs window that there was a panther around and told him he had better get inside the house, which he did. They stayed upstairs all night.

The once when Lem Berrier, who operated a threshing machine in the township, got up early in the morning and started to go to LaPorte for repairs for the machine he said as he drove along with his team of horses he heard a cry of a panther first to the right and then to the left of him. They were coming nearer, finally one of them crossed the road not very far ahead of him, ran over to meet the other one and they grabbed each other and played like a couple of kittens. He said he was very much frightened and thankful for his escape and vowed he would never go out on the road again, so early.

Then later there seemed to be one or more panthers which seemed to travel through these parts each fall. They had a particular tree with a large over-hanging limb on the Augustus Shultz farm and would locate there each evening and send their cries of defiance. He kept that up for weeks. Mr. Shultz had a gang of men husking corn for him and they decided they were enough to get the panther. So they armed themselves well and one evening started after him. In a few minutes they were back and Mrs. Shultz said: "Why, have you got a panther so soon." They replied, "Well we just got to thinking that he could see us in the dark and we couldn't see him and that we would be on the safe side and just let him whistle."

The wolve were very numerous and howled around the doors and did much damage to stock as late as the seventies.

Schools and Morgan Township

The time, place and first teacher of the first school in Morgan township cannot be definitely given.

The Billings family removed to Porter county, Indiana, about a year before the Baum family (1833) and Mr. Billings (William) followed the occupation of farming, but taught the first school ever held in Morgan township.

There is a difference of opinion as to where the first school of the township was held, but the evidence indicates that it was on Morgan Prairie near where Jesse Baum now lives. The house was, of course, a log one. In size, it was about 12x14 feet. The first teacher was Miss Orilla Stoddard, a sister of William Stoddard, now Mrs. Jackson Buel, of Valparaiso, who taught here for a number of terms. The first term was taught in or near the year 1834. This, life the other early schools, was supported by subscription. The following are some of the patrons of the first school. Morris Witham, William Billings, John Keller, R. Blatsley and Henry S. Adams.

This school, later known as the Adams school or Graveyard school, District No. 2, was later located on the Enoch Baum farm where a frame building was erected. This was used for several years when the site was changed to the corner across the road east of the Adams cemetery. A brick house was built there about 1867. This school was continued in operation until the spring of 1924 when the school was consolidated in the new building which is still used. The last teacher at District No. 2 was Ada Williamson.

The second school was near where Albert Wolff now lives. The second school was probably founded by Lewis Comer. It was known as District No. 3, the North Star or Cain school. It was abandoned in 1901 for several years. In 1915 it was reopened and continued in operation until 1924, when the pupils were taken to the new building located about one mile north of Malden. The last teacher was Lydia Rosenbaum.

The third school was built on the old Spencer farm near Tassinong in 1834 or 1835. Among the early teachers here were Orilla Stoddard, Mr. Cannada, Eagleston Smith, David White, Oliver Stoddard, Miss Jones, Miss Hoadley, Christopher Clines, Mr. Bloomfield and Miss Webster. That school became known as Tassinong School, District No. 5, and was abandoned when the Morgan township school was opened in 1924. Oley Betterton taught the last school through the winter of 1923-24.

The fourth school was built in the White settlement about 1847. This was a small frame building and the first frame building in the township. It was replaced by a brick building in 1878 at a cost of $1,000. This was the first brick building in the township. These buildings are both standing today and may be seen north of Smoke's corner on the east side of the road. This school was known as the Dille school, District No. 1. It closed in 1909 at the end of the term taught by P. F. Jones.

The school in District No. 4, called the Rising Sun school, was located one mile east and some south of the consolidated school. It was in used until 1924. The last school was taught by Bertha Lawrence.

Bundy school, or District No. 6, was located west of State Highway No. 49 on the north township line. The frame building is still standing one-half mile west of Road 49. Mabel Walsh conducted the last school in 1923.

There were four schools in old Essex township: Schroeder, Flitter, Pinkerton and Beehive.

Schroeder school, District No. 7, was first located on the east of county line about one mile south in Morgan township. Later the building was placed about one and one-half miles west of the first site. School was last held there during the winter of 1931 and 1932 by Mary Steinhilber.

Flitter school, District No. 8, was located about one and one-half miles north and one and one-half miles west of the southeast corner of Morgan township. The first school was on the prairie about one-half mile southwest of the last building. The last session was held by Elva Shinabarger in the school year of 1929 and 1930. Our present county superintendent, M. E. Dinsmoore, taught his first school at the Flitter school in the year 1902 and 1903.

Pinkerton school was four and one-half miles east and one-half mile north of the present school on the Contantine Flitter farm. Known as District No. 9, it was last used in 1912 and 1913 when Olive Donahue was the instructor.

The Beehive school was three miles east of Morgan high school. The last school was taught by Fay Nichols in 1908 and 1909. It was District No. 10.

The Morgan township high school was started in 1922 in the Adams church as temporary quarters until the new building should be ready to use. It was a two-year high school. Kenneth A. Ford was principal and taught mathematics, science and manual training. Altha DeWitt taught Latin, French, English and domestic science. E. E. Wright was the principal in 1923-24. There was a three-year high school still in the Adams church due to legal difficulties about the new building. The present Morgan Township Consolidated schools was opened in the fall of 1924. Curtis J. Swarens was principal and taught mathematics, history and civics. Hattie Lowe taught Latin, English and domestic science. Hazel Jones taught English, chemistry and geography, O. J. Betterton taught grades six, seven and eight. Lydia Rosenbaum taught grades three, four and five. Bertha Lawrence taught grades one and two. That year Hazel M. Grieger taught at Schroeder school and Enid Shunk taught at the Flitter school. Other principals at the Morgan school have been Charles K. Palmer from 1926 to 1929; Ida M. Huntington from 1929 to 1933; R. V. Pritchard from 1933 to 1934; Floyd O. Glass, 1934- ----.

The first music supervisor in the Morgan schools was Mildred Dorsey in 1926 and 1927. Since that time Lillian Sayers, 1927 to 1929; Ella Jones, 1929 to 1930; Olive Eades, 1930 to 1936, have served in this capacity. Morgan township now takes part in the county band and a more prominent part in the county orchestra and chorus. Commercial work was introduced in 1932. John E. Wiggins of Ball State Teachers' college was the instructor. Franklin J. Burrus became the instructor in biology in 1933. A vocational agriculture department was started in 1935 with William B. Ely, a graduate of Purdue university, at the head. This is the first vocational agriculture department in Porter county and is especially suited to the rural community of Morgan township.

Churches of Morgan Township

There have been four churches organized in Morgan township, three of which have had buildings. The Presbyterian church of Tassinong was built about 1855. The present Christian church was built about 1854 on the old Adams farm, section 6, township 24 north, range 5 west. The Methodist church, known as the White or Salem church, was built on section 12, township 34 north, range 6 west, some time after 1846, when the Whites came to that locality. The Baptists first held church in the home of Morris Witham in Morgan township.

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.

It is probably that Catholic missionaries continued to visit the country until it was settled. Mass was held at the home of Joseph Baille, who had the only home in the county from 1822 to 1833. This was at Baillytown in Westchester township. With the coming of the settlers, the churchs and ---?--- sprang up all over the county. It is said that Rev. Asabel Neal organized a congregation in Morgan township in the latter part of 1835 or early in 1836. If so, that was the first church organization in the county, but the report is not well authenticated.

On the eighth day of June, A. D. 1837, those who professed the Baptist mode of religion gave a call to Elder A. French, and assembled on the tenth day of this same month at the house of Morris Witham, on Morgan Prairie, with Elder A. French as moderator. The following named were enrolled as a church organization, and subscribed to the Articles of Faith: John Bartholomew, Drusilla Bartholomew, Edmond Billings, James Witham, John Robinson, Morris Witham, Rebecca Witham, Charity Billings, Warner Pierce, Adelia Pierce and three others, thirteen in all, and on the next day received the ham of fellowship from Elder French. The further organization of the church was perfected by choosing John Robinson and John Bartholomew, deacons; Jacob C. White, clerk; Warner Pierce and James Witham, trustees. On the eighth day of February, 1840, the name changed to the First Baptist Church of Valparaiso.

Lewis Comer organized the First Christian church in Porter county. A small band of Christians got together in June, 1840, and organized their first church in Morgan township. Among the early members were Henry S. Adams, Lewis Comer, George W. Turner, Joseph McConnell and their wives, Elias Cain, Thomas Adams, Mrs. Baum and Mrs. Elizabeth Stoner. Lewis Comer was the first elder and H. S. Adams, the first deacon. It was several years before a brick building was erected on land donated by Mr. Adams, which still stands and is the oldest church building in the county now. Church was held in the homes and later in the school house before they decided to build. The principal contributors to the building fund were H. S. Adams, Lewis Comer, Aaron Stoner, Enoch Baum, G. W. Patton, Elias Cain. The membership in 1882 was 125 and the officers were G. W. Patton, N. S. Fairchild and Jacob Stoner, elders; William Cain and Russell Stoner, deacons. Rev. Lemuel Shortage preached off and on for thirty years at this church. Other pastors have been Rev. M. Goodykoontz, Rev. W. Lowe, Rev. Wheeler, Rev. Robert Johnson, Rev. R. C. Eades and now Rev. Paul Thomas. Church has not been held regularly all the years, but there has been only one short break in the services in the last thirteen years. For a time there was a baptistery in the church, but it fell into poor repair and was removed several years ago.

The Presbyterian church at Tassinong was organized by Rev. James C. Brown about 1855 and a building was then erected. The house cost some $800 and Joseph Bartholomew and George Biggart each gave $150 for this purpose. The citizens assisted in its construction with the understanding that other denominations could use the house at times when it was not occupied by the Presbyterians. Rev. Brown was the first pastor. Rev. Moore, Rev. Logan, Rev. Kinney and Rev. Robert Williams each served as pastor for a year before the war. Rev. S. Baker served as pastor for four years and after him Rev. Henry Cullom stayed two years. Rev. Frank Ferguson served on year and Rev. Ely made the short stay of six months. Death and removal have decimated the congregation and in 1883 there were but twenty-five members and they had been without a pastor for about a year.

The Methodist church was organized after the White settlement was made in 1846. Among the first members were "Father" White and wife, William White and wife, David White and wife, Ezra White and wife, and Mr. Cornish and wife. Church was held here until 1902 at least. This was the time of the present Mr. Cornish's father's funeral. The building was sold to M. Coash and was moved to Valparaiso about 1909. Church was discontinued some time between 1902 and 12909. Rev. Boyd, Rev. Reed, Rev. Brooks and Rev. DeLong have served as pastors at this church within the memory of Mr. Cornish.

Lewis Comer

Lewis Comer was born in Virginia on December 25, 1798. Early in life he decided to be a minister and for several years traveled about the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. He made his home in Ohio and Michigan before coming to Morgan township, Porter county, Indiana, on April 19, 1835, where he bought a farm of 108 acres. He first duty as minister was to preach the funeral of Mr. Agnew, who had frozen to death in a storm on Morgan Prairie. The funeral was preached in Comer's cabin and the body was put to rest somewhere on Morgan Prairie. This was the first funeral in Porter county.

Mr. Comer organized the first Christian church in Porter county in Morgan township in 1837. He was the first minister in northern Indiana and preached his first sermon in a school house. He built up a large organization in Morgan township and a fine brick church was built. He was pastor of the Christian church at Valparaiso for a time also.

He married Catherine Baum and they were the parents of six children. He tried to make his living on the farm and would not accept pay for his services as a preacher in most places. His influence was wide and of untold good in this part of Indiana. He died on January 21, 1876, after about forty years of whole-hearted service to his fellowmen in his own community and surrounding communities.


Adams cemetery is the largest cemetery in the township. It is located in section 18, township 34 north, range 5 west. The first burial was made before the land survey of 1834 and 1835. Mr. Adams thought he was putting the grave on high dry ground in the corner of his own farm. When the survey was made there it was found that the grave was over the line west. This accounts for the road's running at an angle for distance at that corner. The cemetery was about one-fourth an acre. Later it was enlarged by adding about an acre at the cost of $50. In 1882 no charge was made for burial except $2,50 on each lot 8x19 feet to keep the grounds in shape. The neighbors turned out and fenced the cemetery and turn out occasionally to keep it in shape. The land was deeded to the county. A strip on the north and west has been added more recently.

The White family private cemetery is located in section 12, township 34 north, range 6 west. It was near the old White church. It was small and has not been used recently.

Cheese-Making in Morgan Township

The first cheese factory in Porter county was started in 1857 in Morgan township and was operated by the DeWolfs. Before the building of the P. Ft. W. and C. railroad through Valparaiso, the product was hauled by wagon over dirt roads to Valparaiso, then over the plank road to Calumet (now Chesterton) and shipped to market over the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana (N. Y. C.) railroad. The factory was a simple affair and the methods were crude yet it was looked upon as an outstanding institution in our sparcely settled county. The product was of good quality and found a ready sale in Chicago, which, by this time, had a population of about one hundred thousand people. This yielded a handsome profit for both the dairymen and operators and each year until the Civil War paralyzed almost all industry in the county.

With the coming of the railroads of sections of the county began shipping whole milk. On Morgan Prairie, shipping facilities were not so near and a large factory was erected in 1879. This was located one mile east of the present town of Malden, and just north of the present C. and O. railroad. It was owned and operated by Reynolds and Stoner and did a thriving business for many years after most other factories had closed. This was, perhaps, the largest and best equipped of the earlier factories in the county.


The location of the oldest gathering for humans in Porter county is "Tassinong Grove" in Morgan township. That was the name early French explorers, or Indians, gave to a spot in Morgan township, along the Kouts-Valparaiso Highway No. 49, about two miles south of Malden, where the road makes a slight curve to the west. When the first settler of this township arrived, he found this place called Tassinong. It was the year 1834 that the first settler came to this locality. He found that the name was old and had been used by the Indians for a long time. Some historians suggest that some early French explorers had once established a trading post there, and traded with the Indians.

It was not until 1846 that any kind of business was established there. During that year Colonel Jesse Harper started the first store. He sold goods for a few years and then took his stock and left. He kept his stock in a building used as a barn by William Stoddard. The stock was worth $800. Mr. Stoddard started the second store in 1849. His stock was all stolen in about a year and a half. Joseph Unruh started the third store in 1850. After about a year his brother William bought an interest in the stock. They sold out to Eaton after two or three years, who sold out to Francis McCurdy, who then sold to Rinker and Wright, who kept the store about two years. Abraham Ahart started a store in 1852. There buildings were made of logs.

The town was laid out on September 27, 1852, by Bartholomew and Spencer. By that time there were two stores, two blacksmith shops run by Stephen Ales and A. J. Zarn, a carpenter shop run by F. McCurdy, a tavern run by John McCurdy, and a shoemaker shops run by William Maxwell and W. Hammond. In 1855 a Presbyterian church building was erected. In 1840 Uncle Sam established a postoffice in Tassinong. This was two miles south of the present site. John Jones was first postmaster. John Ahart, William C. Eaton, John W. Wright, Frank Adkin, William Stoddard and Sylvester Pierce have acted as postmasters there.

Among the citizens of the village who may be mentioned Colonel Gilbert Pierece, one-time Valparaiso publisher, noted military man, editor of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and later governor of one of the Dakotas. S. S. McClure also lived there for a time.

Dr. Davis was the first doctor in Tassinong. He practiced there from 1856 to 1861 when he went to war. B. A. Welch came from Ohio in 1873 and started practice as a physician and surgeon in Tassinong. He was still there in 1882. Dr. Gray located here in 1881, but stayed only about six months.

As late as the early eighties the postoffice at Tassinong was still functioning and was one on the list of the Chesterton Tribune. It was one of the several "Star Routes." Today nothing is left standing of what was once that village. Even the grove is gone. When the settlement was abandoned the buildings fit to move were moved away. One of them may be seen along the road to Kouts, dilapidated but still standing.


The only postoffice in the township in 1912 was Libertyview, a station on the railroad about four miles east of Malden. Libertyview was laid out with high hopes by E. C. Maulfair of Chicago, in June, 1909. It was in section 35, township 34 north, range 5 west. It was hoped it might become a truck farming community. If a person purchased a three-acre tract for truck he was given a town lot. The town never grew.


Malden sprang up with the coming of the C. and O. railroad across the township in 1902. It is about two miles north of where Tassinong stood. It is the only town in Morgan township at present. There have been four stores, but two of them have burned so there are only two in business now. There is a garage and grain warehouse there, also.

County Officers From Morgan Township

Morgan township has furnished her share of county officers. Among the first county officers was Benjamin S. Spencer, county commissioner and associate judge of the probate court. On the first grand jury was John Bartholomew and Thomas Adams. On the first petit jury was H. S. Adams, Lewis Comer and Abraham Stoner. One of the viewers of the first road was Morris Witham.

Other men who have since then are: William Stoddard, county commissioner, 1860-61 and 1863-67; Marion Curtis, county commissioner; Hans Bornholt, county commissioner for six years; Jack Ritter, recorder; Henry Stoddard, recorder, 1867-75; Stephen Bartholomew, sheriff; Heber Stoddard, sheriff; Charles LaCount, sheriff; George W. Adams was superintendent of the county infirmary; Mr. Crowe is now highway superintendent; Morgan township has furnished two state representatives, Benjamin Spencer, 1846, and Gilbert A. Pierce, 1867-68.

Railroads of Morgan Township

There are at present two railroads crossing Morgan township. The New York, Chicago and St. Louis railroad, known as the Nickel Plate, was built across the northeast corner from Fort Wayne to Chicago in 1881. It has 3.26 miles of main track and .07 miles of sidetrack. There is no station in this township. In 1932 the value was, main track $208,640, sidetrack $450, and rolling stock $20,860.

The Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville, now the C. and O., was built across the township from Peru to Chicago in 1902. It has 8.19 miles of main track, 1.11 miles of sidetrack. There is a station at Malden valued at $900. In 1932 the main track was valued at $209,670, the sidetrack at $6,220, and the rolling stock at $32,700.

Not much authentic information can be secured about an old railroad, the Cincinnati, Columbus & Chicago, that ran across the township from Valparaiso through Shimmel and LaCrosse to Logansport. It entered the township near where Millers live and crossed out over where Gordons live. There was a grain warehouse on this road on the old John Baum farm, near where Smiths live now. The road was not fenced and there were many damage claims for stock killed along the right-of-way. An old settler tells of that John Baum lost all his horses except a span of two-year olds at one time. He tried to get damages for a time and then set some ties between the rails and stopped trains to get his claim recognized. We do not know how it came out. For some reason not known the road was taken up in the night in 1865 and later put through Kouts.


Joseph Bartholomew was a scout and became a colonel, commanding a regiment under General Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Henry S. Adams was a soldier in the Blackhawk War.

William Unruh was a soldier in the Mexican War. It was the duty of his company to guard wagon trains. Only thirty-six out of 119 returned due to the deadly influence of the climate. He spoke the Indian language fluently.

Soldiers of Civil War

Gilbert Pierce, second lieutenant in Company H, Ninth Infantry; mustered out as a colonel.

Erasmus C. Galbreath, lieutenant in Company I, Twentieth Infantry, mustered out as a major.

Emanuel M. Williamson, captain of Company I, Seventy-third Infantry.

Aaron L. Jones, quarter-master in Seventh Cavalry.

Lewis Stoddard, captain Company M, Twelfth Cavalry.

Stephen Bartholomew, quarter-master Thirty-fourth Infantry.

Others who have served: Stephen Adams, Napoleon Baum, John Billings, Americus Baum, Justice Bartholomew, Hans Bornholt, Leonard Cain, Samuel Comer, Robert Fryar, Jasper Finney, John Maxwell, William Rinker, Azra Spencer, Harvey White, Ambrose White.

Soldiers of Spanish War

Enness J. Arnold, Walter E. Baum, Leland Anderson, John Bell.

Soldiers of World War

Robert Baum, Louis Breitzke, Franklin Burrus, Joseph Denton, Ernest Garriott, Roman Koselke, C. M. Remster, W. H. Stoddard, Harry Williamson, Bert Adams and Lester Adams.

(These lists are incomplete).

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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