LAKE COUNTY INDIANA HISTORY
MEMORIAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS.
Note.-I propose not to arrange these in alphabetical order, although that order is very convenient for a reader
if there is no index; nor yet altogether in chronological order; but rather in an order in which one name seems
to suggest another. -T. H. B.
There is much material for memorial sketches of some of the early residents of Lake county, those who are called
its pioneer settlers; there is scanty material for biographies of others. Some men have written their names in
a bold hand, like the name, John Hancock, on the Declaration of Independence, within the history and across the
history of Lake county.
|Among these is the name, SOLON ROBINSON. He was born in Connecticut, October 21, 1803. And the more closely one studies the biographical
history of Lake county, Indiana, so much the more fully he will see that Lake county, like many other portions
of this Union, owes very much, for its intelligence and enterprise, to New England blood and New England training.
Of the earlier life of Solon Robinson, of his education and his experiences, not much is now known. He left his
native State rather early in life, and from which of the larger Robinson families he was descended does not seem
to be known, but in May, 1828, he was married in Cincinnati, Ohio, and not long after became a citizen of Indiana,
first at Madison, and then in Jennings county, at a place called Rock Creek.
|What business pursuits he followed seems to be also unknown. In October, 1834, in
a conveyance drawn by oxen, having one extra wagon or more to convey the household goods, he came with his wife
and two young children, and probably two young men, Jerome Curtis and J. B. Curtis, over that long line of road
that was then leading up into Northwestern Indiana. The road way, except Indian trails, ended in Porter county;
but he found there Jacob Hurlburt to guide him to the newly surveyed land lying yet further west.
Just before sunset October 31, 1834, this leader of migration with his party, having crossed, what was to him and
to them a wonderful sight, a beautiful belt of prairie, reached some skirting woodland. The next morning he concluded
to locate there his future home, and from that November morning until about 1850 his name is quite closely interwoven
with all that followed in the settlement and growth. So fully was he concerned in the affairs of the young county
that he was called the SQUATTER KING OF LAKE. He made a map of the county, showing, besides other features, what
was prairie and what was woodland, he secured the organization of the Squatters' Union, July 4, 1836, and was elected
the first Register of claims. [That old Claim Register is now in my possession; also a copy of the Robinson map,
probably the only copy now in Lake county.- T. H. B.]
He was an early Justice of the Peace, was the first postmaster in the county, was elected the first County Clerk,
and, with his brother Milo Robinson, opened the first settlers' store in the county. He secured the location of
the county seat at Crown Point in 1840. He was fond of writing and had quite an agricultural turn of mind. He commenced
writing for the Cultivator, at least as early as 1837. In 1838 he proposed the organization of an "American
Society of Agriculture." In 1841 he sent out an address to the farmers of the United States, through the columns
of the Cultivator. The journeys which he took over the country in behalf of his plan cannot be detailed here. His
efforts probably led on to the Grange movement. He also wrote stories, such as "The Will," "The
Last of the Buffaloes," "Hot Corn," "Green Mountain Girls," and others. He was connected
for a time with the New York Tribune. He went at length to Florida and there died in 1880. His older daughter,
Mrs. Strait, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, reside in Crown Point, and, like him, have talent and intelligence,
and, like him, some of them hold office.
George Earle was born in Falmouth, England, date of birth not
known. He became a resident of the city of Philadelphia, and came to the town of Liverpool, on Deep River, in 1836.
That once noted town was on land selected under an Indian float. President Andrew Jackson, in June, 1836, see copy
of patent in the county Recorder's office conveyed to John B. Chapman one section of land. George Earle was talented
like Solon Robinson. He was a cultivated Englishman. He had means. He did not become a squatter. He soon became
prominent among the settlers. He began to secure Indian lands. He sought for the location of the county seat at
Liverpool in 1840, but in this was not successful. After the location at what Solon Robinson had named Lake Court
House, he, with Solon Robinson, named the place Crown Point, a name which he evidently suggested. He was appointed
immediately County Agent and performed well the duties assigned to him in that relation. He continued for a time
to improve his town of Liverpool, bought more land, securing at length in that part of the county some ten or twelve
sections. He commenced building a mill, at what became the town of Hobart, in 1845, removed with his family, a
wife and one son, to that place in 1847. Laid out the town in 1848. In 1854 he returned to Philadelphia, leaving
his son, John Earle, now considered a millionaire in Chicago, to manage the interests in Lake county. He returned
to England, for a visit, in 1855, again in 1865, and yet again in 1868. He caused to be erected there a home for
the poor and aged of his native town, which cost thirty thousand dollars, and this he gave to the town. He also
visited Lake county, erected an art gallery in Hobart in 1858, and placed upon the walls about three hundred pictures
which he himself had painted in Philadelphia. It was said of him in 1872: "He is tall in person, dignified
and courteous in manners, manifesting the bearing of an American and English gentleman." His name is fully
written in the early history of the county, and his influence will long be felt.
The third competitor for the county seat in 1840 may well be named next. His individuality was as marked and distinct
as was that of the other two. Like theirs his family influence in the county yet remains. The place of his birth,
the time of his birth, his lineage, are alike unknown. He is first found, having come from an older
county in Indiana, as the acting sheriff of La Porte county in 1832. As Probate Judge he solemnized marriages there
in 1833 and 1834. In 1836, having chosen in Porter county a central position, he secured there, on his land, the
location of the Porter county seat. Not satisfied to remain there he came with his large family into Lake county,
obtained what was known as the Lilley place, where had been a hotel and" a store, laid out a town, named it
West Point, and, in 1840, made effort to secure the Lake county seat. In this he failed. He was not in the geographical
center, as, very nearly, Solon Robinson was. His oldest son, E. S. McCarty, reopened the store and also, in 1840,
made brick, putting up the first brick kiln burned in the county. Changes in population took place and Judge McCarty
removed to the prairie a few miles south, bought what is now the Hill place, and became a farmer. He had six sons,
E. Smiley, William Pleasant, Franklin, Fayette Asbury, Morgan, Jonathan, and two daughters, Hannah and Candace.
He had for his older sons some of the finest saddle horses then in the county. His home at West Point was a center
in 1840 for religious meetings, and, for a short time, for a literary society. Some of his sons were teachers in
the public schools. Until his death the family influence was large, but after that the family scattered, one son
only remaining in the county. Some of his descendants are living in Creston.
Judge McCarty was friendly, intelligent, a man who knew something of frontier life before he
reached Lake county, and was a man of good position in social life. Of those who knew him intimately
none are living now.
Dr. H. D. Palmer is considered to have
been the first graduate or regular physician of the county. He was a graduate of a medical college in Fairfield,
New York, in 1834, and in the winter of 1836 he located as a physician two miles west of the present town of Merrillville.
He also commenced farming life, combining the two very successfully. He did yet more. He was elected Associate
Judge in 1838, and held this office with Judge Clark and afterward with Judge Samuel Turner for about thirteen
years. It is said that twice in this term of years, in the absence of the presiding judge, he conducted the entire
business of the court. Ordinarily the associate judges of those years did very little real court business. They
were not expected to be thoroughly versed in law. Their judgment was consulted on matters between man and man.
In 1841 Dr. Palmer erected the first frame dwelling house in that part of the county. As a physician his rides
extended from Dyer to Hobart and Lake Station. His most extensive practice was in the years between 1850 and 1860.
He continued his farming life and in connection with Solon Robinson brought the first Berkshire pigs to Crown Point.
He was twice married. After the death of his first wife, who was the mother of one son and one daughter, he was
married to Miss Catherine Underwood, a sister of John Underwood, the poet of Lake county. Miss Hattie Palmer, druggist
at Hebron, is one of her daughters, and the other is Mrs. Alice Feiler, of Winfield. Both share in the Palmer and
Underwood talent. Mrs. Palmer lives at Hebron with her daughter. Dr. Palmer built a fine country residence on his
farm about 1870.
In this home of intelligence and of abundance was brought up an adopted son, Dr. S. W. JOHNS, the son of J.
V. JOHNS, the latter elected Sheriff in 1839, a young pioneer from Philadelphia
as early as 1836, who possessed an excellent counting-house education. His name soon disappears from the early
records, and it is supposed that he had but little opportunity to use his good abilities. But the son, S. W. Johns,
studied medicine in Dr. Palmer's office, settled as a physician at Dyer, was prosperous in his practice, and, in
the midst of his life of usefulness, was unexpectedly called away from the activities of life, leaving a wife,
Mrs. Johns of Dyer, and a young daughter, Katie Johns, now residents of Zion City.
JOHN WOOD came into this region, looked
over the land, and made a claim in 1835. He spent one night, in making examination of land, with Dr. Ames, of Michigan
City, and three or four others, in the cabin of Jessie Pierce on the bank of Turkey Creek. His visit thus affording
evidence that Jesse Pierce was a settler there as early as 1835. John Wood was a native of eastern Massachusetts.
He returned home and came with his family in 1836, leaving Michigan City on July 4th of that year. "He found
that during his absence General Tipton of Fort Wayne, United States senator, had laid a float upon his claim in
the name of Indian Quashma." The land was suitable for a mill seat, and so according to law or usage was not
properly subject to an Indian float. But the float had been laid and laid by a senator; the location was very much
wanted by the claimant, and so he purchased the land from the Indian, paying him for the quarter section one thousand
dollars, instead of paying to the Government, as he had expected, two hundred dollars. The deed with Quashma's
signature must still be in the possession of some of the Wood family. In 1837 a saw mill was erected there, and
in a year or two more a grist mill, which for some years did a large amount of grinding for the farmers of both
Lake and Porter counties. The place was soon known as Wood's Mill, but its proper name now is Woodvale. The Wood
family home, at first on the east side of the river (where also the family cemetery now is), but in a few years
removed to the west side of that river, was a very pleasant home for the children that grew up there, and for friends
who visited there.
The founders of that home have passed away, but a large flouring mill is still where the Indian float was laid,
and in Woodvale, in Hobart, and in Valparaiso, are many descendants to show the results in character and business
life of the Wood family of Massachusetts. While genuine pioneers they never became "squatters," as they
located in 1836, three years before the Land Sale, not on Government land, but on land purchased from an Indian.
Not many "floats"' were located in Lake county, but there were a few that caused to white settlers considerable
disappointment. The line of descent of this family, goes back to Moses Wood, born in 1748, who had three sons and
eight daughters, the youngest of the eleven children being John Wood, born October 28, 1800, and then to Nathan
Wood, born in 1721, and then to Jacob Wood, the date of whose birth is not exactly known. He was probably the second
of the line born in America. One of the nine children of Nathan Wood, son of Jacob Wood, was named Sarah, and two
dates are found for her birth. The one is October 7th, the other October 21st, of 1750. As New Style commenced
in England in 1752 the 3d of September of that year being called by Act of Parliament the 14th day, the change
from Old Style to New may have led to some confusion in the Wood family record. The 7th of October O. S. would
properly have been October 18th N. S. No child was born in Old England or New between September 3d and September
14th, in 1752, as no such days existed in English records and history.
|HERVEY BALL, a descendant of Francis
Ball, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, of Jonathan Ball, born in 1645, of Benjamin Ball, 1689, of Charles Ball,
1725, of Lieutenant Charles Ball, 1760, was born in the old town of West Springfield, now Holyoke, October 16,
1794. He was a graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont, of the year 1818, studied law in Vermont for two years,
and in 1820 made his first home in Columbia county, Georgia, a member of what was called the Augusta Bar. Here
he practiced law till 1834, and was for a time Colonel of a cavalry company and attended the musters of the Georgia
state militia, having always fine horses in his possession.
|In 1836 he was at City West in Porter county, Indiana, laying out town lots as surveyor
for a company who were proposing to start a city. In the spring of 1837 he brought his family from Massachusetts
to City West; but in July he bought a claim at the Red Cedar Lake in Lake county, and before the year 1837 closed
the family settlement had there been fully made.
Through the remainder of his life, now forty-three years of age and a retired lawyer, he gave much attention to
farming and to keeping honey bees and raising some choice domestic animals. He held for some time the office of
County Surveyor, also of Probate Judge, and in his later years was Justice of the Peace. He was Clerk of the Cedar
Lake Baptist church, Superintendent of the Sabbath school at the lake for many years, Clerk and also Moderator
of the Northern Indiana Baptist Association, and a trustee of Franklin College. In his college and in his professional
life he had mingled to quite a large extent with the gay, and the busy, and the cultivated, was familiar with leading
men of Georgia, and knew what life was among the wealthy planters of that day. The results of his New England training
and of his Southern professional life were of large benefit to his children and the young people connected with
them; and his home became and continued to be for several years a religious, an educational, a literary, and a
social center. Ministers of different denominations found there a welcome, and the home was always full of healthful
life. The Puritanic and the true Western spirit blended well together. The family library was quite large, large
for pioneer days, and periodicals, agricultural and political, literary and religious, found their Avay to the
home in abundance, so that the seven children and their classmates and visitors all were readers. Judge Hervey
Ball lived thirty years in Lake county, building up good institutions, and died on his farm October 13, 1868.
Lewis Warriner was born in West Springfield. Massachusetts,
in the south parish, now the town of Agawam, in June, 1792. He was a member of an old and well established
Massachusetts family, the line running back through several generations. Coming from the same town as did the Ball
family and in the same year, he settled on a claim on the southeast side of the same beautiful lake, November 9,
He had represented his native town four times in the Massachusetts Legislature and had filled
other positions of honor and trust in his native state.
In that sickly season of 1838 much of the light and joy departed from his home in the persons
of his wife and young daughter; but the father, two sons and a daughter, older than the other yet only a child
herself, still kept up their frontier home with courage and with hope. In this same year a post office was established
at this home, Lewis Warriner postmaster, the second or third one in the county, and this position he held till
1849. In 1852 he was re-appointed and held the office till 1856. In 1839 he was elected a member of the Indiana
Legislature; he took the United States census of the county in 1840; and was again elected representative in 1848.
He was one of the constituent members of the Cedar Lake Baptist church in June, 1838, he and
his wife having both been members of the Agawam Baptist church in Massachusetts. It was said of him that "as
a man he always commanded the highest respect and confidence of his neighbors and acquaintances in all the walks
of life, both public and private, and was always ready to give his influence and support for every object tending
to benefit or improve his fellow-man;" and that "as a Christian he was active and sincere, both in his
church duties and in his every-day life and examples, the influences of which were felt and acknowledged by his
neighbors and associates."
He has no children living, but some grandchildren and great-grandchildren are yet active in
this busy world. He himself died in Arkansas, May 14, 1869, almost seventy seven years of age.
He acted at one time as literary critic of that once noted organization, the Cedar Lake Belles
Lettres Society, of which his daughter and one son were members, to which Society Solon Robinson gave one of his
characteristic addresses; and probably no better, no more judicious literary critics have since been in the county
than were Judge Harvey Ball and Hon. Lewis Warriner. Their work in that line, as in many others, will
Henry Wells was another native of Massachusetts who passed
a long and active life in Lake County. His name stands among the earliest inhabitants of Crown Point. He held office
as Sheriff for many years, and was for eight years County Treasurer, and was also Swamp Land Commissioner. Four
of his sisters also became residents of Crown Point, Mrs. Russel Eddy, Mrs. Olive Eddy, Mrs. Sanford, and Mrs.
Gillingham. He lived to be quite an aged man and to see many changes. His two sons are Rodman H. Wells and Homer
Wells, and one daughter is yet living. Mrs. S. Clark.
William N. Sykes is a name that was prominent in what
are known sometimes as the squatter records, as early as 1836. He who bore that name was a man "of fine appearance,
neat in dress and person, gentlemanly-in bearing, intelligent, and possessing a native refinement of mind".
He was a descendant of an ancient English family, some of whom had been Quakers or Friends since the days of that
noted man known as Fox. He was, himself, a native of New Jersey. Circumstances brought him at different times to
the home of the Ball family at the lake so that he became to them quite well known. He was appointed County Surveyor
in May, 1837. He was afterward one of the County Commissioners. His active life was cut short by death in 1853.
He was never married. His burial place is in the Merrillville Cemetery. There is one monument to his memory, and
here is another; that one erected by his kindred, this one written by his once young friend.
Samuel Turner, of Scotch-Irish descent, was born in County
Tyrone, Ireland, in March, 1782. He was married at Gettysburg in 1810, came to LaPorte County in 1833, selected
a location on Eagle Creek in 1838, and became there a permanent settler of Lake county in 1839. Other settlers
near him at that time were, D. Sergeant, John Moore, A. D. McCord, George Smith, A. Goodrich, Mrs. Mary Dilley.
Samuel Turner was soon elected Justice of the Peace, and about 1842 Associate Judge. The following statement is
quoted: "For several years there was no cabinet shop nearer than Valparaiso, and having learned the use of
carpenter tools he was called on to make all the coffins used in the neighborhood, frequently taking lumber from
the chamber floor of his cabin for that purpose, and always without any charge." His residence in the county
was brief. Kind and obliging, useful, respected, and honored in the new community which he was helping to shape,
he died in 1847. His wife and children remained to carry on the grand work of building up a virtuous community.
David Turner, a son of Judge Samuel Turner, having held
several public positions in Lake County, may well be classed among the pioneers. He was born in Trumbull County,
Ohio, in December, 1816; came from Pennsylvania with the family to LaPorte County; was one of the "young people"
who held the Eagle Creek claim in the winter of 1838; and was married to Miss Caroline Bissell in 1844. He began
early in life to hold office. He was elected Justice of the Peace to succeed his father about 1842. He was elected
Probate Judge in 1849, State representative in 1854, State Senator in 1858,, and was appointed United States Assessor
by President Lincoln in 1862. As would be expected from his Scotch Irish lineage on both his father and his mother's
side, he was a man of firm principle, a member of the United Presbyterian church, an earnest supporter of Sunday-schools,
a friend to all public virtue. His was a very active and useful life for many years in the town of Crown Point,
and no one has yet come forward to make good his vacant place. Two sons are living, and five daughters, and several
grandchildren. The name Turner is securely written in the county history.
||John W. Dinwiddie was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, October
1, 1813, and the family tradition is, that, on the day of his birth, his father killed fifteen wild turkeys, four
deer, and one bear. As that father was Thomas Dinwiddie, a well known early settler in Porter County, and as it
is on a reliable record that one of the Lake county marksmen in 1882 shot fifty nine wild geese in one day, no
one should stop to question that family tradition. John Wilson Dinwiddie's family line goes back through Thomas
Dinwiddie, his father, and David Dinwiddie, his grandfather, to David Dinwiddie, his great grandfather, a Scotch
Irish settler at Marsh Creek, Pennsylvania, about 1740. Members of the old Dinwiddie family of Scotland were pioneers
in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in LaPorte county, Indiana, in Porter, and in Lake.
|J. W. Dinwiddie lived for some time with his father and sister at Indian Town, but afterward
made his home at Plum Grove, where he obtained quite a large tract of land. He spent a few years in business life
at Crown Point, but as the pioneer days closed and the railroad period of new life commenced he made his final
home upon his Plum Grove farm and commenced farming work there on quite an extensive scale. His prairie land and
marsh land consisted of about three thousand and five hundred acres. He was married August 19, 1844, to Miss M.
J. Perkins, of Rome, New York. They had three sons and two daughters. Their home was well supplied with material
comforts and with books and periodicals, and in that home was done a large amount of reading.
The father held for some time the office of township trustee, and built, for that day three large, good frame schoolhouses.
It was said of him in a memorial record: He "was recognized as one of the most energetic, and prudent, and
thorough business men and farmers in the county, an excellent manager, firm in principle and successful in carrying
out his plans, and was rapidly advancing in the accumulation of property, when sickness came unexpectedly upon
him and then death. He died April 12, 1861, being forty seven years of age."
The descendants of his sons and daughters are many, and his influence through them will live
long in northwestern Indiana. They are members, active and enterprising, of two large organizations, the Dinwiddie
Clan of Lake and Porter counties and the Old Settler and Historical Association of Lake County.
Michael Pearce, of Eagle Creek township, was a quite
early settler. He located a claim about 1838, before the Land Sale. He was born in Ohio, February 20, 1808. He
was married in 1840 to Miss Margaret Jane Dinwiddie. He was a farmer, but held the offices of Justice of the Peace
and of School Trustee. He died April 4, 1861, of typhoid pneumonia, and his death, at that exciting time in the
history of the country, made, with that of his wife's brother, J. W. Dinwiddie, a great loss to the community.
He has three sons now living and four daughters. Also many grandchildren.
The attentive reader may notice that one cluster of families in the county have the name written
Pierce ; the other, these Eagle Creek families, write Pearce.
Ebenezer Saxton, a native of Vermont, who had resided in Canada
for some time, in the year of the Patriot War, 1837, sold his farm in Canada on credit, and in a wagon drawn by
oxen started with his family for Detroit, distant four hundred miles. That journey was safely made. Following the
westward movement, in that year of very large migration, the Saxton family passed onward from Detroit toward Fort
Dearborn, or the young Chicago, taking no doubt the then well traveled stage road, till they reached Deep River
at the new town of Liverpool. Here they found a ferry boat, and eight families, it is said, went on board with
their ox teams. The boat sank. The families were at length taken across the river, the boat was raised, refitted
for service, and the ox teams were ferried over.
The Saxton family started southward into the new Lake County, their means now reduced to five
dollars in gold. Reaching Turkey Creek the oxen for the first time on that long journey were stuck fast with their
load in the deep mud. Two dollars was the sum of money paid here to some man for helping them out. He ought not
to have taken anything. [It is in the knowledge of this writer that the streams of Lake County were full of water
and mud, or perhaps quick-sand, in the spring and early summer of 1837. He had abundant reason
The Saxton family, with three dollars remaining, passed on to what was the old McGwinn Indian
village and burial ground and dancing floor, then known as Wiggins Point, where they found the Wiggins cabin and
sought shelter and rest; and where at length, for many years, they made their abode.
This family brought into the county a sea shell called a conch, which according to family tradition
came -over with Ebenezer Saxton in the Mayflower, and has been handed down from one generation of Ebenezer Saxtons
to another till it reached the one who came to Wiggins' Point. He met with more than the ordinary trials and disappointments
of frontier life, but passed through them as became a descendant of a Mayflower family, was a prominent citizen
of what became the village of Merrillville, and lived to a good old age. He has left at Merrillville
some worthy descendants.
Samuel Sigler chose, in 1837, a location, as some others
did, on the sandy soil north of the prairie belt. His log cabin remained for many years on a "sand hill north
of the Sykes place." He was another of the early settlers who had reached middle age. He had four sons, Samuel,
Eli, Daniel, and William, all of whom became merchants. He had three daughters, one of whom became the wife of
Hon. Bartlett Woods. The father of these seven children, the living one of whom is aged now, died at Hebron about
forty years ago.
William Sigler was a merchant for many years at Lowell.
He was born December 31, 1822, in Clarksburg, which is now in West Virginia, and so was fifteen years of age when
the Sigler family settled in this county. In May, 1848, he was married to Miss Margaret Lee. In 1881 he removed
from Lake County to Englewood and afterward to La Grange, where he died in 1902, nearly eighty years of age.
Of the nine members of the Sigler family of 1837 one only is now living, Mr. Eli Sigler, of
Hebron, for many years one of the principal business men of that town. He has a son in Crown Point, Mr. E. Sigler,
jeweler, and a daughter, Mrs. W. B. Brown: and William Sigler has a son in this county, Charles Sigler, the hotel
builder at Cedar Lake. Samuel Sigler, the pioneer, has in the county other grandchildren.
His descendants are to be found in other family lines.
George Belshaw came from England, with quite a large family,
in 1834. The family located for a short time on Rolling Prairie in LaPorte County, where the older daughter, Mary,
was married. The family soon came to the south part of Lake Prairie, that beauty of the Indiana prairie belt, and
there settled on farms in this county of Lake. The sons were George, William, Henry, Charles, and Samuel. The daughter
who came to Lake Prairie was named Ann. She died in 1846 when eighteen years of age. Her memorial is
in the "Lake of the Red Cedars."
This family, with the exception of two sons, removed to Oregon in 1853, where George Belshaw,
who had married the younger daughter of Judge McCarty, became a large and noted wheat raiser.
William Belshaw, who remained in this county, had visited
England in 1846 to see once more his birthplace, and in 1847 had been married to Miss Harriet A. Jones, continuing
to live on his Lake Prairie farm, died there in November, 1884, seventy one years of age. Of his three sons, one,
Edward Belshaw, now lives at Lowell. His daughters are, in number, also three, all married and well settled in
Henry Belshaw, the other son remaining in this county, married
Miss Mary Smith. He resided for many years on his pine grove farm and then removed to Lowell, where he died a few
years ago. He had two sons and five daughters. One daughter is Mrs. Simeon Sanger, of Lowell, and the youngest,
Candace, was married, October 22, 1884, to E. W. Dinwiddie, of Plum Grove.
J. D. Jones came to this county in 1847. He was born
in Massachusetts, January 9, 1808, was married, January 7, 1829, to Miss Polly Calkins, who was born June 9, 1809.
This wife died April 10, 1856. One of her daughters, Miss Ann C. Jones, was married in 1846 to John Wheeler, afterward
Colonel Wheeler, who fell in battle on the bloody but decisive battlefield of Gettysburg. Another of
her daughters was Mrs. Burr Judson, now living in Crown Point. And the third was married to William
Clark, grandson of the pioneer Judge William Clark.
April 4, 1857, one year after the death of his first wife, J. D. Jones, then thirty nine years
of age, was married to a widow woman, Mrs. Nelson, who had two young sons, one of whom became the well known banker,
now living at Lowell, Frank Nelson. He is therefore a step-brother of Mrs. Judson, of Crown Point. The father and
step-father of these two well known citizens was a West Creek farmer, living many years on his farm in the Belshaw
or Pine Grove neighborhood and died April 23, 1893, eighty five years of age, for about forty six years a citizen
of Lake County.
Merrill and Merrillville.
In 1837, when according to the Claim Register eighty one men became settlers in the newly organized county, Dudley
Merrill bought a claim which had been made by Amsi L. Ball or by his son, John Ball, settlers of 1836, located
on Deep River south of "Miller's Mill." But he soon obtained land at Wiggins' Point and made there a
permanent home. William Merrill, his brother, came with him in 1837 as a settler. He also obtained land at Wiggins'
Point, and at length erected a quite large frame dwelling house on the north side of the old Indian trail, opposite
the Indian dancing floor where the Saxton family had located, that trail becoming the mail route to Joliet from
LaPorte and a great thoroughfare for western travel.
Soon village life commenced. A hotel was opened and a store, and then a blacksmith shop, and
the name of Wiggins' Point was changed to Centerville. A post office was needed before long, and the name was changed
to Merrillville. Both the brothers had sons, and around the Saxton and Merrill families quite a community grew
up. Dudley Merrill started into operation a cheese factory, having also for a time the hotel, and carrying on a
farm. Only one of his sons, Charles L. Merrill, is now living; Dr. Wallace Merrill is a son of William Merrill;
and one of his daughters became a good teacher. There were two other brothers of this Pennsylvania Merrill family
who settled in this county, John Merrill and Lewis Merrill, both of these being for some time citizens of Crown
Point. Two sisters also became residents of the county; and of the descendants of William and Dudley and John and
Lewis Merrill, and of the sisters, there are many to represent still their Pennsylvania ancestors, though not all
bearing the Merrill name.
Jacob Hurlburt was a young man in Porter county in 1834. He
was with the United States surveyors, as an assistant in some capacity, in the summer of that year, while they
camped where afterward Crown Point grew up; and in October of that year he guided Solon Robinson with his party
to that same locality. He at length settled in the eastern part of Lake county and gave name to what has long been
known as Hurlburt Corners. He was a good citizen. He lived to be quite an aged man and died in February, 1881.
Cyrus M. Mason was born in Otisco, Onondaga county,
New York, January 27, 1811. He was the son of Josiah Mason. When he was ten years of age the family removed to
Berry township and there remained for some years. In the spring of 1832, then twenty one years of age, he went
with his father's family into Michigan Territory, a member of a true pioneer family in that newly settled region,
a large tract of land in Indiana and Michigan having that year been purchased from the Pottawottamie Indians. He
remained some time with his father in Michigan and learned the art of brick making. In 1838, about December, he
went into LaPorte County, Indiana, and cultivated a farm there in the summer of 1839. In 184O he came into Lake
county and settled on a farm a mile east of Crown Point, where he lived through the remainder of a long, active,
In 1841 he commenced making brick according to the slow and laborious process of those days,
and made one million before he discontinued the business. He was a constituent member of the Crown Point Presbyterian
church, one of its first Elders, and from his official position was widely known as Deacon Mason. He lived to be
eighty six and a half years of age, a highly valued and valuable member of the church and of the community. His
father died in Michigan about 1850, seventy five years of age, and his mother, born in 1777, died in 1871, wanting
only six years of filling out a century.
Before Deacon Mason's death, feeling that he would soon pass away, he requested the writer of
this memorial to take down from his dying lips, while his mental faculties were still good, the foregoing outline
of a long life. Surely no one more richly than he deserves the name of a worthy pioneer. Such men lay good foundations
as builders of states or counties or neighborhoods; and many such helped to make Lake county as virtuous as still
it is. Let their names be honored.
John Underwood was one of three brothers, Harmon Underwood
and Daniel Underwood, the other two, who had farms, one, two, and three miles east from Merrillville. His sisters
now living are Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Joy, and Mrs. Palmer. He carried on a farm for many years. He was County Commissioner
in 1858, and a debt of gratitude is due to him for preventing by his tact a proposed loss of territory from the
Unknown, perhaps, to many of his neighbors, he was decidedly a poet. This writer calls him the
poet of Lake county, and he knows of nothing written in Indiana, of the same style of poetic composition, to excel
"El Muza" and "Lindenwald" written by the plain farmer, John Underwood. His style of writing
is very different from that of James Whitcomb Riley. It is not humorous. It is not pathetic. It may not be called
popular. But it shows much historic reading and a vivid fancy, good descriptive powers and a love for beauty in
scenery and nobleness and greatness in human action.
"El Muza" is a Spanish tale of love and war in nine cantos, pages 148, and one who
can read with interest Sir Walter Scott's "Vision of Don Roderick," ought to read with interest "El
"Lindenwald" is a larger work, pages 165, also nine cantos, and deals also with
war and human love. It is historic. Is called a "Tale of the Siege of Vienna." The author
says in his preface, "The year 1683 will ever be memorable in Austrian history as the last invasion by the
Turks and the siege of Vienna." That the author had read European history to some purpose is evident, and
a cultivated mind, interested in historic poetry in which facts are interwoven with poetic fiction, will find interest
in this. Lake county has no writer who can equal these poems now.