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 4, Page 24.


Gleaned from Hither and Yon -- and Now and Then -- and Way Back When

By A. J. Bowser
(July 31, 1934)

EDITOR'S NOTE -- The Joseph Baye of the poem by Fred H. Cole, is the same Joseph Bailly, Porter county's first white settler, the subject of an article published on Page 18 (Section One), this issue.

Today I am going to tell you the story of the marriage tree planted by Joseph Baye' and his Indian wife to solemnize their marriage in the day when there was no priest in this country to perform the ceremony, as told me by Miss Frances Howe.

Baye' met and fell in love with an Indian girl, who was a widow. She had children. The two went to the banks of the Calumet river at a point about one hundred feet west of the bridge on the road leading past the old Baye' trading post, and later the home of Miss Howe. On the north bank the two planted two saplings, an elm and an oak together, Baye' saying: "If these trees live and grow together, so will our marriage endure." And the Indian woman answered: "I will be a mother to your children if you will be a father to mine." The tree lived and gerw together as one.

Years went by. Both Baye' and his Indian wife had gone to their happy hunting grounds, and a third generation had replaced them. The land on which the twin trees stood had become the property of a Mr. Johnson, the father of the Johnson boys who ran a resort just west of the state park. He wanted to sell the farm, of sixty acres, and there were no buyers. So he announced that he intended cutting down the marriage trees. Miss Howe heard of it, was greatly concerned, and finally bought the farm to save the trees.

I told this story to Fred Cole, and it inspired him to write the following beautiful poem, which is copyrighted, and is published in Siftings by special permission of the copyright owner. The twin trees, now more than one hundred years old, are still living and may be seen by the traveler who may be passing that way.

One day this Indian wife became homesick. She yearned for her kin, who were up in the Petosky country. She came up missing. Baye' surmised the truth, so he dispatched one of his swift Indian runner to the trading post at Petosky with a message to the priest there. The runner beat the run-away wife to Petosky, and delivered his message to the priest, and when she arrived, she went straight to the priest to tell him what she had done. Before she had a chance to speak, the priest told her what she had done. The good God had told him. And he bade her return at once. Awed, the wife beat it back alone to the Calumet country and her husband, but she was guarded unknown to her by the Indian runner. That cured her for all time. The magic of the white man was too much for her.

This story I did not tell Mr. Cole, and it is not included in his story. It may be he will bring out a revision. Mr. Cole's story follows:

NOTES -- Calumet, probably from cal-u-met, meaning peace-pipe, is the name given to a stream in northern Porter county. In early day, it is said, Indians came from great distances, spring and fall, to council assemblages there. Parts of human skeletons have been found in the shifting sands. Once, an arrow head was found impacted in a neck bone. (For the basic legends and the inspiration acknowledgement is made to Honorable A. J. Bowser).

Through fen and dale

Of the northeast moor
Near at the dunes
OF Mich-i-gan,
Big-Wa-ter shre,
Where Lake Chi-ca
Go bake and dried
But left a swale, Sarcophagus
Of Natures mold,
There trickles now
The Cal-u-met -- --

Once, Spring and Fall
And Fall and Spring.
Or many moons
Right calendared
Primevally --
In Spring and Fall
Of long ago
This land, then known
In great domain,
Placed history
And legends strange.

-- Spring and Fall
And Fall and Spring.
And swept his arms
That marked no more
Than roads of stone
OR traffic lands
By modern homes;
Or traffic lanes
Athwart the trails
Which red men trod
So long ago
To council tents
Where Cal-u-met
(The pipe of peace.)
Was passed around
By wisest chiefs
Who gestured for
Their tribal aims
Spring and Fall
And Fall and Spring.
The old man said,
And swept his arms --
And then he told
How long ago
The red men came
From Kansas plains
And sylvan realm
Beloved of Penn.

In Spring and Fall,
From far and near
Along the trails
Of yesteryear;

And naught remains
Unless it be
The Calumet --
That, ----
just a nume
By which is known
A winding stream.

And Calumet
The pipe of peace
Has smoked its last
Unless the hills
Must silent sit
Around the mark
Where white men vie
And scheme and plot --
Must silent sit
Beneath the clouds,
The smoke-gray clouds.
And hold embraced
The bones of braves
Who have gone on
To "hunting grounds"
Of happiness

The widowed one,
There was no priest
For modern folks
In vagrant mood
Have trod about
Where shifting sands
Disclosed the place
Where frames were laid
And some were slain;
For was there not
Mute record that
The alm was true?

-- Once there came
A woman who
Had been a wife
But now was left
A mother sad.
And bleakness looked
On fatherless.
For after Fall
And warmth and herbs
The wintry winds
Would sough and sigh

-- There was a man,
He, too, was lone.
And he would wed
Nor minister,
Nor ring or book.

So these agreed
In solemn troth
And made their vows
In manner thus:
She said, "If you
Will father be
To these of mine,
These children mine,
Then I will be
A mother to
Your children. So,"

Then spake the man;
"And I will take
This small oak tree.
This small elm tree,
And plant the two
Each side by side;
And if they live
Until the Spring,
Our wedding vows
Shall be endured."

And then he did
As he had said
And planted oak
And elm beside.

Eft, came the Spring,
The welcome Spring,
And lo! Each tree
Had wintered through
And lived. And so
They two were one.

If you will stroll
Along the stream
That winds about
In sun and shade
And make your way
Anear the bank,
You may behold
An oak and elm
Grown side by side.
Together locked,
An oak, an elm
Each one its self;
An oak and elm
But grown as one.


But after days,
A roving priest
To missions bent
O'er winding trails
And trackless waste
By thorn-lined ways --
A zealous priest
To missions bent
In trusting faith
And counseling
The sun by day
And stars by night --
A wearied priest
At journey's turn,
Engaged among
The circle cmall.

And gladness came;
For stranger-priest
(If rites be said
And formed employed)
Could well perform
In manner true . . . . . .


And near the stream
The oak and elm
Enlarged themselves
With living leaves
And reached toward the sun
And heaven's blue ----

One, oak; one, elm;
But, purposely
Each lived and grew
As if the twain
By Natures' plan,
Should witness bear
To good intent
And sacredness
Should witness bear
To primitive

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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