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 6.


These Pictures Tell Tales Of Days That Have Gone


We are indebted to Miss Alice Anderson for these pictures of old buildings in Pleasant township.

The church at Tassinong was founded by the Rev. J. C. Brown the same year in which he organized the Valparaiso church. The meetings were held in the homes for several years, then in a school house; later a church was built near the school on the main road, ten miles from Valparaiso.

Mrs. Joseph Skinner tells how Mr. Brown, after preaching in Valparaiso in the morning, mounted his horse immediately after dinner and road to Tassinong, Kouts or Hebron for an afternoon service. When he returned for the evening service he was frequently exhausted and often called on her father, Morgan Crosby, for the opening prayer. She adds the prayer was long enough for the pastor to recover his vigor.

People have the tendency to think of pioneers as old. Mr. Brown was twenty-four when he came to Porter county. No matter how deep the snow, he always ploughed through to these little struggling churches. The people were equally loyal and thought nothing of driving ten miles to worship.

But to return to the buildings. Anyone familiar with the old Valparaiso Presbyterian church will notice that the Tassinong edifice followed the same lines even to the belfry, the stoop, the plain doorway and tall many-paned windows. Either building might have been New England or the hills of Pennsylvania.

On the Anderson farm near Marshall Grove still stands the old log house of the picture built by George Biggart with a cash expenditure of $18. The cost in human effort can not be estimated. The logs were hewn near the Kankakee and drawn by ox-team to the house site. At one place they had to cross a ravine, into which trunks of trees had been thrown to form a bridge. Safety of the load and the driver depended entirely on the ability of the plodding oxen to find a secure foothold. Neighbors assisted in placing and securing the logs. A feat generally accompanied or followed the house raising, an out-of-door festivity, since the house would scarcely accommodate the builders, the cooks, and the children, of whom there were legion.

This cabin is typical of the buildings of that day, one door, one or few windows, a loft for storage and extra beds, a lean to, where all the big jobs, preserving, soap oiling, cutting up of the animals slaughtered for home consumption were carried on. If there was not lean to, these labors were performed out-of-doors under the trees. With regard to the few windows and one door, the greater the number of openings the more drafts.

Our forefathers learned the necessity of sunlight only after tuberculosis had taken a heavy toll from many families, especially among the women and children. The fewer the openings into the cabin, the easier was the fight against the winter's cold.

The surface well, enclosed by a fence to keep out cattle, and the well sweep are interesting features of this homestead. The upright timber, near which Mrs. Anderson is standing, was there when they bought the place in 1868, the same timber which George Biggart had put in when he dug the well. It was still there when the Andersons moved to town a few years ago.

Another landmark is the Unruh place, one mile north of Tassinong, built in 1870 by William Unruh. The house, a two-story frame building with its length fronting the road, stands on the left-hand side of Road 49 as one travels toward the Kankakee. It is shaded by long leafed pine trees, which together with its elevation above the road and the driveway, gives it a commanding view of the surrounding country. An avenue of trees south of the house had considerable influence on its history. A Quaker owned the land and was very proud of the maples which shaded either side to the land running east and west, though he claimed only the north half of the roadway. His neighbor to the south set up a claim to the whole land and the trees on either side. The Quaker, unwilling to go to law, decided to move and sold to Mr. Unruh. A law suit, following a survey of the land, gave him the entire land to the great amusement of the neighborhood.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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