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 9.


Hebron Has Many Landmarks That Date Back To Early Days And Have Lively Background


Several houses in Hebron or on the main rood running north and south through the town are land marks. The oldest probably is the Bates place about two miles north of town. Except that the porches have been torn away, the house is practically the same that Hale Bates built in the days when there were no saw mills nearer than Chicago to turn our such lumber as he desired for his mansion. The trim was hauled from Chicago by ox-team. There were three children in the family, Christopher (Cripp), Alice (Mrs. Rathburn) and Rhoda (Mrs. Banta, wife of the first superintendent of the Valparaiso schools). All at some time had a home between the old house and the ravine a mile and a half north of the town. Roger Bates, a great-grandson, now lives on the Hurlburt place, just above the ravine.

As one approaches the north, the Dr. Price place and the Sigler home, the first brick structure built in Hebron, date 1867, attract attention. The slope up from the road and the noble trees on the lawn give an air of seclusion. Dr. Price was an eminent physician; Mr. Sigler a merchant. Both homes showed well kept kitchen and flower gardens. Crossing the tracks one notices the Mosier house built in 1849, a hostelry in the early days. On the same side of the street (the east) and nearer the railroad is the Hebron hotel, now kept by Mrs. Cole, famous for many years for its excellent meals. Near the Kankakee fishing and hunting grounds, it has entertained distinguished men from all parts of the United States.

This house, built in 1855, was opened by Burrel Pratt. He was followed by John Brey and he by John Gordon. Harvey Allen then was landlord for a few years, John Sigler for a longer time. Each landlord seems to have given his name to the hostelry; but many people in Porter county think of it as the Bates House. Mr. Bates was landlord in the days when torchlight processions were the great feature of campaigns and speakers from Maine to California harangued young and old from hotel verandas and bandstands, the band gracefully withdrawing after a few musical numbers to make way for the orator of the day. If a republican fiesta was on all the children of the upper grades were excused to swell the crowd. The next day the democrats, boys and girls, would be saving their country to the tune of Yankee Doodle, The Civil War songs, Marching Through Georgie, Massas in the Cold Cold Ground ad libitune, were naturally reserved for the republicans.

On these occasions Mr. Bates was in his element. For several years he ran a bus line in Valparaiso and knew everyone in the county. After the torchlight procession men, women and children flocked to the hotel for supper. The high school contingent, weary with marching, crowded one table. They had no money. Mr. Bates trusted that some candidate would pay for their supper. No one knows how often his optimism was rewarded. Those were the days of real sportsmen. Most of us would have been shut out by a more punctilious landlord.

A mile south of Hebron is the Bryant settlement. Two brothers, Simeon and Elias Bryant came to northwestern Indiana in 1835 and settled the land on either side of the line which now divides Lake and Porter counties. Their descendants at the present time till much of the rich farm land in Boone township. Margaret Bryant Blackstone, the first white child born in Boone township, was a daughter of Simeon. The oldest houses now standing on the Bryant holdings are on the David Bryant farm. The frame structure to the north, the home of Bryant Applegate, is the older of the two and was occupied by Mr. Bryant after his marriage to Mary McGill in 1858. The brick house embodies all the traditions of that period, an upright facing west, and ell running at right angles to the south, a long ell running at right angles to that first east, broad porches to the west and south, shaded by virgin forest trees. Within, a broad hall leading to the parlor, sitting room, and by a winding stairway to the bedrooms above. There were seven bedrooms above. There were seven bedrooms in all, four above and three below. Most of them were occupied a great part of the year, though the family proper were three, father, mother and daughter. Back of the company dining room was a deep and wide pantry, then a second dining room of generous proportions -- twenty thrashers could be seated there -- beyond this were the kitchen, the woodshed and milk house surmounted by a windmill. The best bedroom adjoined the parlor; the second best bedroom was reached from the sitting room; the family bedroom from the dining room. In winter the air in these rooms was tempered by the wood fires in the living rooms. The best bedroom above boasted its own wood stove. Guests in other rooms had to rely on a warming pan or hot bricks for a semblance of heat.

The old house to the north is unchanged except the addition of a kitchen. The old settlers built well for this building is still a nice and comfortable home.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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