LAKE COUNTY INDIANA HISTORY
NAMES OF WOMEN OF WHOM HONORABLE MENTION SHOULD BE MADE.
NOTE. - In presenting and recording under this heading the names of quite a number of pioneer women, and appending,
as I propose to do, to some of them special statements, I am well aware that some fault may be found with this
otherwise interesting and important chapter. For I expect that some one will say, after looking over all these
names, "The name of my mother (or grandmother) is not here, and she too was entitled to an honorable mention.
Why is not her name on this list?" I have considered this criticism, this question, and have endeavored to
weigh it well. Of course my reply to the question would be, Because the name of that mother or that grandmother
was not in the range of my knowledge, or did not come to mind in my effort to recall the names of our pioneers;
certainly not because it was intentionally omitted. So now I ask myself: Shall I omit entirely this list of names
of so many of our noble mothers and grand mothers because I cannot make it a full and perfect list? And I answer,
No. I will get what help I can; I will do the best I can; (surely no one without the personal knowledge which I
possess could begin to do as well as this will be done); and then I will trust to the good sense of our citizens,
trusting that very little fault will be found. T. H. B.
Mrs. Harriet Warner Holton is
the first name recorded here. She came into the county in February, 1835, with her son W. A. W. Holton, a daughter,
and with William Clark and family, from Jennings county, Indiana. She was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts, January
15, 1783, a daughter of General Warner. She commenced her active life as a teacher in the town of Westminster.
She married a young lawyer, Alexander Holton, about 1804, and leaving New England in 1816 for what then were true
Western wilds, in March, 1817, they settled at Vevay in the new State of Indiana, four years after Vevay had been
laid out as a town. In 1820 the Holton family removed to Vernon, in Jennings county, where Mrs. Holton again became
a teacher. In 1823 her husband died leaving her with two sons and one daughter. In the early winter of 1834 tidings
came to Vernon from Solon Robinson concerning the beautiful prairie region he had found far up in the northwest
corner of the State, and the Clark and Holton families determined to join him there. They started in midwinter
with ox teams. The weather in February, 1835, was severely cold, but they came through, crossing the Kankakee Marsh
with their ox teams on the ice.
In some respects Mrs. Holton was the most remarkable woman ever in Lake county. She was Lake county's first teacher.
Her mother lived to be about ninety-four years of age. She had seven sisters in New England and all died of old
age, two while sitting in their chairs. All the eight were members of the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Holton, a true
Indiana pioneer, at Vevay and Vernon and in the county of Lake, lived on, active in church and Sunday-school and
social life till old age came upon her. She died October 17, 1879, then nearly ninety-seven years of age. From
a record in "The Sunday Schools of Lake" the following sentence is taken: "Such a woman, in such
a long life, the daughter of an army leader, with her native intelligence, her New England training, her granite-like,
Presbyterian principle, her devotion, her meekness, her love, must in various ways have accomplished no little
The second name to be placed on this list is that of Mrs. Maria Robinson, wife of Solon Robinson, the first white woman to live where is now Crown Point. She came
to the spring that was, to the grove or woodland that still is, the last day of October, 1834. She was born November
16, 1799, near Philadelphia. She was married in Cincinnati, May 12, 1828, to Solon Robinson, and in a few years
they became residents in Jennings county, Indiana. In 1834 she came with her husband, one assistant, and two small
children, in a wagon drawn by oxen, to the spot where they settled November 1, 1834. She was not an ordinary woman,
although very different in training and character from Mrs. Holton. She had much "executive ability;"
she is described by one who knew her well as "always cheerful and vivacious," attending to the needs
of the sick and the poor, aiding, as her means permitted, churches and Sunday schools and benevolent organizations.
She died February 18, 1872. Two daughters are now living, one of whom, Dr. L. G. Bedell, is now a noted physician
of Chicago. Her older daughter, Mrs. Strait, who has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, now lives
in Crown Point, the oldest resident and only original resident of the town.
Two names should follow here on this list of worthy pioneer women, but of whom little by this writer is known,
Mrs. Childers, the wife of Thomas
Childers, the first white woman, so far as known, after Mrs. William Ross, to settle in the county, and Mrs. Clark, wife of Judge William Clark, who came
to Lake Court House in February, 1835, which was then known, as the guide boards on the trails testified, simply
as Solon Robinson's. Mrs. Clark had sons in her household, two of whom, Thomas Clark and Alexander Clark, were
for many years active citizens in Lake county.
Other active pioneer women whose names belong on this page were Mrs. Henry
Wells, the mother of Mrs. Susan Clark, of Rodman Wells and Homer Wells;
Mrs. Richard Fancher, one of the
first Presbyterian women in Crown Point, the mother of Mrs. Nicholson, Mrs. Clingan, and Mrs. Harry Church, and
the mother who brought up such daughters certainly deserves to be remembered; Mrs.
Russel Eddy, who became a very active Presbyterian woman, a leader for
many years in that church; Mrs. Luman A. Fowler,
one of the few resolute pioneer women, who came as a young wife in December of 1835 to Solon Robinson's hamlet,
born in Madison county, New York, in October, 1816, married October 18, 1835, her maiden name Eliza Cochran, and
who, as mother and grandmother led in Crown Point a long and useful life; and one more name, that of Mrs. Henry
Farmer, coming with her husband from Bartholomew county in 1836, whose daughters became wives of well known citizens,
completes this group. To nearly all the women yet named Crown Point as now it is owes very much.
Another group of our noble pioneer women, of whom Lake county had a goodly number (and few of their names have
ever until now been on a printed page), were these, not grouped in alphabetical order, but as they are associated
in the mind of the writer: Mrs. Richard Church, Mrs. Leonard Cutler, Mrs.
Rockwell, Mrs. Darling Church, mother of Edwin Church, a grocer for many years at Crown Point, Mrs. Bothwell, Mrs.
Owens, Mrs. Benjamin Farley, Mrs. N. Hayden, an active Sunday-school woman
in the West Creek neighborhood, active also in the same work. Mrs. Spalding, mother of J. P. Spalding, Mrs. Fisher, and Mrs.
Cooper Brooks; also in the same neighborhood,
Mrs. Peter Hathaway, the mother of Silas, Abram, and Bethuel Hathaway, Mrs. Lyman Foster, Mrs. Jackson; in another neighborhood, Mrs. Fuller, mother of Mrs. Marvin, Mrs. Blayney, Mrs. Graves, all interested in
Sunday-school and church work, also Mrs. Gordinier,
who with only one hand accomplished the work done by ordinary women with two hands, Mrs.
George Willey, mother of Mrs. J. Fisher, of Crown Point, Mrs. James Farwell, the first white woman known
to have set foot on the site of Crown Point, who with her family camped there July 4, 1833, a more than ordinary
woman from Vermont, the mother of six sons and one daughter, that daughter becoming the wife of Thomas Clark and
the mother of Mrs. Oliver Wheeler, the grandmother of Miss May Brown, of Crown Point; Mrs.
Mercy Perry, mother of the first Mrs. Marvin, and Mrs. Solomon Burns.
East of there was a small group of 1837 and 1838., the first Mrs. Henry
Sasse, Mrs. Herlitz, Mrs. Van
Hollen, these by birth Germans and Lutheran by training, and Mrs. Jane A. H. Ball. Mrs. Ball was from Massachusetts,
the only daughter of Dr. Timothy Horton of West Springfield, had been educated in the best schools of Hartford,
Connecticut, and began as early as 1838 to teach in the small neighborhood, pupils coming from Prairie West, three
miles away. As early as 1840 she commenced a boarding and academic school, the first in the county, which continued
in some form for many years. She had brought from her father's home quite a chest of medicines and some surgical
instruments, which she thought would be needed, and she soon became, not in name, but in fact, the physician and
dentist of the neighborhood, her dentistry, however, extending no further than extracting and cleaning teeth. For
extracting teeth and for medicine she took some pay, but not any for her time, and she was called from home sometimes
in the night as well as in the day. Besides being the first academic teacher, she also was the first who might
be called a woman physician of the county. Her own seven children were all educated and two sons and one daughter
yet live to cherish her memory.
In another group are placed the following names: Mrs. John Wood, also from Massachusetts, a cousin of the noted missionary, Mrs.
Sarah B. Judson, born October 13, 1802. married November 16, 1824, the
mother of eight children, the oldest of whom, Nathan Wood, is yet living at Woodvale, and dying September 27, 1873.
A fine granite monument, about fifteen feet in height, marks the burial place, on which is inscribed, "A true,
faithful, loving wife; a kind and affectionate mother; ever toiling for the good of all; and this is her memorial."
Mrs. Wood was another of those superior New England women, like Mrs. Holton and Mrs. Farwell of Vermont, and others
who are yet to be named, with native endowments and a Puritanic training, which fit their possessors so well for
frontier life and for laying the right foundations for an enduring civilization. The comfort and hospitality of
her home were not excelled by any in those early years. She was one of our unselfish women, and well does her memorial
say, "toiling for the good of all."
In this group, though living in another part of the county, may be fittingly named Mrs.
Augustine Humphrey, one of the very early residents on Eagle Creek Prairie,
now called Palmer. She was also from New England and besides caring for her children and attending to home duties
she was much interested in church work, a devoted Presbyterian woman.
Mrs. Woodbridge was yet another of these well trained New Englanders, an early resident also at Palmer, the wife
of Rev. George A. Woodbridge, and near neighbor to Mrs. Humphrey, the two families being connected by ties of kindred
as well as by a common religious faith. At their homes was Presbyterian preaching by Rev. J. C. Brown and by Rev.
Townley. After some years the Woodbridge family removed to Ross and here Mrs. Woodbridge became the Superintendent
of the Sunday school. An active, truly noble, intelligent, Christian woman, she spent part of her later years of
life, sometimes with her son at Ross, sometimes in Joliet. She lived on, a pleasant and peaceful life allotted
to her, until August, 1902, having reached eighty-eight years of age.
The name of Mrs. Nancy Agnew may
be placed by itself here as belonging to a resolute, earnest woman. A sister of those Bryants who found, and bore
back to her in Porter county for burial, the body of her husband who perished from exhaustion and exposure in the
stormy night hours of April 4, 1835, she did not yield to her bitter trial, but soon came herself to the new settlement,
and on the settler Register for that year stands among the claimants the name Nancy Agnew, widow. To her son, born
not long after her husband's death, she gave his father's name, David Agnew.
Mrs. Margaret Pearce, who was
Margaret Jane Dinwiddie, sister of J. W. Dinwiddie, of Plum Grove, manifested some of her heroic qualities in her
girlhood in her experiences with the Indians, then living near her cabin home. Two of the young Indians about her
own age were sometimes quite annoying. One day, seizing an opportunity to frighten her at least, they sprang up
and threatened her with their tomahawks. Instead of crying out, as they perhaps expected, or turning pale with
fright, she simply stood still and laughed at them. Ashamed, it may be they became, at the idea of injuring that
bold, defenseless, laughing white girl, and let her pass on unharmed. Well they knew that a blow inflicted upon
her would bring upon themselves swift punishment. She was married in 1840 to Michael Pearce, and was the mother
of ten children. She was born June 5, 1818, and died in 1894. She was a worthy member of the United Presbyterian
church, and exemplified many excellent qualities besides courage in her long home life in Eagle Creek township.
A good likeness of this excellent woman, who was of Scotch-Irish descent, is to be found in the Dinwiddie Clan
The name of Mrs. Margaret Jeanette Dinwiddie
comes next on this page. A member of the Perkins family, she was born near Rome, New York, May 5, 1818, was married
to J. W. Dinwiddie August 19, 1844, and died March 15, 1888. She was one of the true and successful Sunday-school
workers of the county. Educated at Rome, New York, accustomed to teaching, an experienced teacher, for about twenty-five
years she carried on with some others the Plum Grove school, herself generally the Superintendent. To her more
than to any other one woman in the county the County organization for twenty-five years was indebted for its success.
She was a member oi the first Baptist church in Lake county and a member of the North Street Baptist church in
Crown Point at the time of her death. In the "Lake of the Red Cedars," and in the "Sunday Schools
of Lake," may be found her memorials.
Some names are again grouped. Mrs. Sarah Beadle, Mrs. Sarah Wells, Mrs.
Sarah Childers, these three Sarahs with their husbands and with J. L.
Worley, were the constituent members of the first church in the county called "Christian" or Disciple
church with no other designation. This church is located now at Lowell, where there are three Christian churches,
one Roman Catholic, one Presbyterian, one Methodist. The Methodist pioneer women were: Mrs.
E. W. Bryant, Mrs. Ephraim Cleveland, Mrs. Kitchel, Mrs. Taylor, mother
of Mrs. S. G. Wood, Mrs. Wood, wife
of Dr. James A. Wood, Mrs. Viant,
women all of character and note.
Other women among early and active and useful residents in the county were, Mrs.
Wallace, born in Vermont, the mother of Mrs. W. Brown, of Crown Point, Mrs. Brown, of Southeast Grove, mother of John
Brown and W. B. Brown, Mrs. Crawford,
mother of Mrs. Matt. Brown, and Mrs. E. Hixon, Mrs. McCann, of Plum Grove, and Mrs. Hale, Mrs. E. M. Robertson, mother of Mrs. O. Dinwiddie, Mrs. "Ruth
Barney, widow," whose name stands thus as a claimant on the Register
for the year 1836, Mrs. Sigler,
the mother of several sons, Mrs. Servis,
mother of O. V. Servis, and Mrs. George Earle.
Some of these women were Presbyterians, most of them in fact, Methodists and Baptists being also represented.
There are yet other names. Mrs. Banks,
two of whose sons are well known at Hobart and Crown Point; Mrs. Sykes, mother of a large family of well known sons and daughters, a woman who has but lately
gone from among the living, having spent in this county a large part of a long, active, and useful life, and who
like the other women named has left her impress upon this generation; Mrs.
Rhodes, wife of Jonas Rhodes, whose daughters are active women now: Mrs. Abraham Muzzall; Mrs. Henry Hayward, younger
than some of the others; Mrs. Bartlett Woods; Mrs. Kenney and Mrs. Woodruff, of Orchard Grove; some from New England, some from Old England; and Mrs.
Winslow, mother of A. A. Winslow, Consul to Guatemala. Mrs. J. C. Kinyon and Mrs.
Henry Sanger both died in 1881.
There are yet other names. Five earnest Christian women of West Creek township for a time, who did much to make
the central part of Lake Prairie, that gem of the prairie region, "bud and blossom like the rose," were
Mrs. M. L. Barber, spending her
latest years in Kansas, her sister, Mrs. Burhans,
who closed her life in Hammond, Mrs. Little,
mother of Hon. Joseph A. Little, and Mrs. Gerrish,
and Mrs. Wason; the last three
from the Granite State, and all five with granite-like principle.
A little group comes in here now of women of foreign birth, who had crossed the broad Atlantic, who had much to
learn in regard to language and institutions, but whose well trained children proved them to be true mothers, known
years ago among us as Mrs. John Hack, Mrs. Giesen, Mrs. Dascher, Mrs Beckley. Mrs. Hack, so far as known, was the first German woman to find a home in the county.
The sturdy sons and tall husband that came with her are gone, but grandchildren and great-grandchildren live at
Crown Point. Mrs. Geisen is represented at Crown Point by two furniture dealers and undertakers, son and grandson.
Mrs. Dascher came from the old country with a cluster of blooming, well trained girls around her, and one son.
Her descendants yet live among us, and some of them are blooming girls now, budding into womanhood. The descendants
of Mrs. Beckley, that fervent, sensible, courteous, German Methodist woman, are somewhere in the world, living
in a way, it is to be hoped, to do her memory honor.
Here are the names of a very different group: Mrs. Calista Sherman, born in Vermont, dying in Crown Point when more than ninety-five years of age, one of
our oldest women, who shared largely in the respect and esteem of the community; and connected with her may be
named two daughters, Mrs. Farrington and Mrs. J. H. Luther. It is recorded of Mrs. Luther, who had no children of her own, that she was "a mother
to some motherless girls, and one of our noblest women in relieving suffering humanity, in avoiding injurious gossip,
in kindly deeds of friendship and neighborly regard." The next in this group is the name of Mrs. Rosalinda Holton, a sister of Mrs. Sherman,
the youngest of thirteen children of the Smith family of Friends of Shrewsbury, Vermont, born July 18, 1795, dying
in Crown Point when nearly eighty-nine years of age, at the home of Mrs. R. C. Young, where she had resided for
many years. Next to her name belongs the name of her daughter, Mrs. R.
Calista Young, mother of Charles H. Young, of Chicago, who has herself
closed up a life not short, a life marked by large unselfishness, by untiring efforts for the good of those connected
with her, by a steadfast Christian faith and hope. Five such women are not found in every community as were these
two aged sisters and their daughters.
Other names: Mrs. Vinnedge, head
of a large family, a Methodist when sixteen years of age, an earnest church member through a long life; Mrs. Frank Fuller (Hannah Ferguson), mother of
nine children; Mrs. Sarah R. Brown,
who became the second wife of Amos Hornor; Mrs. Mary M. Mason, daughter of Henry Farmer, becoming a resident in 1836, second wife of Deacon Cyrus M.
Mason; Mrs. Martin Vincent (Mercy
Pierce), married in 1837, the head of a well-known family, that is, the womanly head, the mother; Mrs. William Belshaw, born in 1824, a member of
the Jones family, and who, then Miss Jones, was a teacher in two of the early log schoolhouses, one near Lowell,
one near Pine Grove; Mrs. Lucy Taylor,
wife of Adonijah Taylor, born in Connecticut, brought up in Vermont, born in 1792, the mother of nine children,
dying in 1869, "a highly respected and estimable Christian woman"; Mrs.
Ebenezer Saxton of Wiggins Point and Merrillville, a woman who had a fearful
experience with a drunken Indian in the absence of her husband, the Indian, surly and cross, threatening the death
of an infant in the cradle, she at length, when the Indian slept, pouring out the remainder of the whiskey from
his jug, watching the children through that long night, relieved at last of the presence of the Indian by Dr. Palmer,
who came along some time in the morning of the next day. The girls and the mothers of that day had fortitude and
A few more names, for this is a grand list, including the names of many who were among the excellent of the earth.
Mrs. McCarty, wife of Judge Benjamin
McCaity, the mother of six sons and two daughters, was not only an early settler in Lake county but in Porter and
La Porte, having a home in the latter county in 1832, 1833, and 1834. She was not young when coming into Lake county,
some of her sons were young men, her daughters were young women, intelligent and cultivated all, and at Creston,
in a little private cemetery her dust reposes.
Mrs. Belshaw, an English Baptist,
a mother of sons and daughters, also came from La Porte county, in middle age, to become an early resident in Lake.
Hers was for a time a bright home. But death came, and her young daughter, eighteen years of age, was taken away
from earth, and she with many of the large family found another home in the then distant Oregon, where one of her
sons, who had married Candace McCarty, became a noted wheat raiser in that great wheat state. Other members of
the Belshaw family yet remain in Lake county, and her name belongs of right among our worthy mothers and grandmothers.
In a different part of the county, in the woodland north of Hanover Center, where was a great resort for deer,
was the first home of another worthy woman, a Presbyterian church member, Mrs.
Hackley. She was the mother of Mrs. W. A. Clark and Mrs. Pettibone, of
Crown Point, and at length she and her husband had their residence at Crown Point with Mrs. Clark.
Other names are: Mrs. Robbins,
of Brunswick and Lowell, both of whose sons fell as members of the Union Army; Mrs.
Dudley Merrill, of Merrillville; Mrs.
Krost, of Crown Point, the mother of four sons and two daughters; Mrs. Sohl, of Hammond, an early resident in the
old North township, before Hammond was; Mrs. Payne, Mrs. Foley, Mrs. Stringham, the earliest residents on Center Prairie, who did not long remain, but who helped to
start civilization before their husbands removed; Mrs. Jones, a later resident than they, mother of Perry Jones, born in October, 1804, who lived among
us to be almost ninety-six years old. One of our very aged women. "She retained her faculties well, enjoyed
reading, and in her relations in life was an estimable woman."
Mrs. Allman, the wife of Rev.
M. Allman, spending many useful years in Crown Point, closed her days in Michigan.
Mrs. Mary Hill, mother of Dr.
Hill, of Creston, and of Mrs. Henry Surprise, a motherly woman indeed, of rare patience and untiring love, lived
to complete eighty-four years of life.
Mrs. Gibson, an early resident
of the old North township of the county, closed her life in Chicago, eighty-seven years of age.
The name of Underwood is prominent in Lake county and Mrs. Underwood's name must be recorded here. She was the mother of five daughters, three of whom are yet
living; Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Joy, of Hobart, and Mrs. Palmer, of Hebron. She was also the mother of several sons,
of whom one is living east of Merrillville. She died many years ago at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Palmer, wife
of Dr. Palmer, and was over ninety years of age.
Three Later Residents, Not Pioneers.
Another of our excellent women was Mrs. Reuben Fancher, who was in girlhood and young womanhood Mary Elizabeth Hawkins. She was born in Genoa,
Cayuga county, New York, March 4, 1835. She was baptized February 17, 1856, and became a member of the Methodist
Episcopal church September 28, 1856. She spent several years of life in Buffalo, and was active there in Sunday-school
work, having charge of a mission class numbering from fifty to one hundred members, which she taught for several
years, thus gaining much experience in that grand work. August 17, 1859, she was married in Buffalo to Reuben
Fancher, and they soon after came as permanent residents to Lake county, Indiana. She became before long a teacher
in the Methodist Sunday-school, and her Christian character and rich experience in that work made her a very valuable
teacher to whom that school is largely indebted for the good done in the past. She was in Buffalo and Crown Point
engaged in that work for about twenty-five years. She kept a diary as some others in the county have done. January
11, 1897, when nearly sixty-two years of age, she passed from earth, leaving two daughters to follow in her footsteps
and do good. The following is one of the resolutions adopted by Lake Lodge, of which her husband and son were members:
"Resolved, That by her death Crown Point has been deprived of a highly respected Christian woman, whose character
was beautiful, sincere, and pure, and whose home influence merited the emulation of all." Signed, James C.
Gibbs, Edward A. Krost, Herman J. Lehman, Committee.
Mrs. Lydia F. Flint, a member
in girlhood of the large Smith family, was born July 16, 1825, in Franklin county, New York. She was married in
Delaware county, Ohio, August 5, 1846, to William Flint. A son, James, was born December 15, 1847. In the fall
of 1859 the family came into Lake county, Indiana, where in 1862 her husband and son both died, leaving her a childless
widow. She died May 22, 1903, having had a home for thirty years with her sister, Mrs. C. N. Morton. With no descendants
to perpetuate her name and cherish her memory, as a good and true Christian woman, her name deserves a place among
our honored women.
A third one of these later residents was Mrs. Hart,
wife of A. N. Hart, of Dyer, mother of Malcolm and Milton Hart and Mrs. Biggs, of Crown Point, the
family coming from Philadelphia about 1855, and settling on the State Line at Dyer, while that part of the county
was still quite new and wild. Mrs. Hart was not a frontier woman. Accustomed to the life of a city, she was retiring
in her habits, and did not feel the necessity that women who had very young children did feel to enter very actively
into the work of building up society around her. To her three sons and one daughter she gave much care, and to
her diligent training they were much indebted. She had a strong native sense of justice, wishing to see all persons
treated justly, without partiality. She loved beauty, and, brought up as she had been, she prized the true refinements
of life. She spent the later years of her life at Crown Point, where she had an elegant residence built to suit
her taste for beauty in architecture, now the residence of Mrs. Malcolm Hart. While not so widely known as were
many other mothers the name of Mrs. A. N. Hart (one son and her one daughter, Mrs. F. N. Biggs, and some intimate
friends yet living to cherish her memory) will stand here to represent a very cultivated, refined, and worthy woman.
The next name to be recorded here is the name of a very motherly woman, who was not herself a mother, who was never
married, but of whom, as doing a mother's part, it may truthfully be said, that many would rise up to do her honor.
Susan Patterson Turner was born
in Pennsylvania, February 27, 1813. Her father's family were genuine pioneers. As the oldest child and the only
daughter of the family of Samuel Turner of Eagle Creek, she was left in charge of the household through the winter
of 1838, while the father and mother returned to La Porte county to find a more comfortable winter abode. She and
her brothers passed safely and well through the privations of that winter; and when, in 1871, her aged mother died,
the care of the household, in which she as an only daughter had large experience, devolved very fully upon her.
To her brothers' children, who delighted to visit the old homestead, she was Aunt Susan, and as years came on,
and her motherly capabilities and excellent qualities continued to be brought out she was known as "Aunt Susan"
by a large community who highly appre-ciated her nobility of character. She died July 24, 1899.
Mrs. Higgins, coming into Lake
county as Diantha Tremper in 1844, was born near Niagara Falls in 1824. She became well acquainted with the
families of the early settlers in both Lake and Porter counties. In 1847 she was married to Dr. J. Higgins,
who in 1859 settled as a physician in Crown Point. In the earlier years of her life in Crown Point she was an
active woman in the life around her. She trained up carefully her only child, now Mrs. Youche, and her one grandson,
but in later years impaired health kept her more closely in her home. As a Christian woman herexamples and
influence were for good on those around her. She died in 1895. In a printed memorial of her it was said:
"A woman broad-minded, not taking narrow views in the great interests of humanity, cherishing warmly
the domestic" virtues, she will have a right to be remembered as one of those connected with our many pioneer
women who have finished up their threescore years and ten of life, and have passed on before to the rest and the
activities of the unseen world."
And here may be added the names of faithful mothers who have lately passed from among us, Mrs.
Jacob Wise and Mrs. Seymour Patton, both quite aged women, faithful to
duties in their generation, both members of well known and substantial families. Grouped with these also may be
the name of Mrs. James Patton,
of Winfield, the mother of Mrs. Vansciver, of Crown Point.
Mothers of Many Children.
Among the mothers of large Lake county families must be placed, first, the name of Mrs.
Flint, of Southeast Grove. Among the first settlers of that beautiful
Grove were the members of this noted Methodist family. One daughter was the first wife of James H. Luther, one
became the wife of Rev. D. Crumpacker, and one, the eighth child, Olive L., was the wife of Rev. Robert Hyde.
There were, in all, fifteen children, and Mrs. Hyde enjoyed the distinction of having seven brothers and sisters
older and seven younger than herself. Mrs. Hyde died in Chicago. September 3, 1901, about seventy-five years of
age. Of her mother, Mrs. Flint, not much is now known, but it is enough for this record that she brought up so
large a family on firm religious principles, fitting them for stations of usefulness and honor.
As the second among these mothers may be placed the name of Mrs. Scritchfield, of Creston, the mother of thirteen children, having very many grandchildren and great-grandchildren
The third of these mothers is Mrs. Julius Demmon,
in girlhood Nancy Wilcox, member of a pioneer family, married in 1850, the mother of six sons, and six daughters,
and who in less than fifty years had sixty-one living grandchildren in Lake county.
The attentive reader has noticed that many of the earlier mothers had from six to eight or ten children, and it
was a pleasant thing to find in those cabin homes wide-awake boys, and cheerful, lively girls. Each of those large
homes was a little world of itself. Home then was more like the old patriarchal times than is much of what is called
home life now. Some believe it was richer, purer, better than now.
A place must be found on this roll of honor for the name of Mrs. Samuel
Turner, of Eagle Creek, who was Jane Dinwiddie, born January 19, 1783,
a woman of Scotch-Irish blood, of Scotch Presbyterian principle, who was married to Samuel Turner at Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania, in February, 1810, and with him came to a choice location on Eagle Creek, in Lake county, in 1838,
becoming a permanent resident in 1839, then fifty-six years of age. Not many now live who knew her in the home
circle, but her likeness in the "Dinwiddie Clan Records" shows her to have been an estimable woman, and
her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Iowa and Indiana show that through her they inherited the blessing
of having been "well born," a privilege to which it has been said all children have a right.
The very close observer may notice that the first woman whose name is on this list was born January 15, 1783, and
that the last one was born January 19, 1783, both born in the year that gave peace after the American Revolution.
They were our oldest pioneers. For the most part the women, as well as the men, who came to share privations here
and lay foundations were rather young, or in the prime of life.
It is claimed as a saying of Napoleon Bonaparte, that what France most needed was mothers. That the mothers have
much to do with what the children are and what they became is a well accepted fact. Mothers that were mothers had
homes in Lake county two generations ago. And the names of at least some of them have been placed upon these pages.
They could make bread and butter and cheese; they could wash and iron; they could sew and knit and spin wool into
yarn, and some of them could weave that yarn into cloth; they had spinning wheels and looms; they could mold and
dip candles; they could cut out garments and make them up; they could keep domestics, girls and women to help them
in their work, having no trouble in trying to reduce them to the position of "servants," for they gave
them seats at the family table and places around the fireside, treating them as they would wish their own daughters
to be treated; they were mothers indeed, and looked well after all the wants of their households, carrying out
well in their living the instructions given to women, and imitating well the model placed before women, in the
They were not what is called in this day "society women"; they were not members of any Clubs or of Secret
Orders; they knew nothing of modern "functions." They made visits and had dinners together and sometimes
suppers; they had apple-paring bees, and quilting bees, and donation parties; they had much social life, attending
camp-meetings and associations and other religious meetings. They were largely keepers at home, yet were they sociable,
friendly, hospitable. Such were our mothers and grandmothers, the early settlers here sixty years ago. And when
the time came for a thousand of the sons of Lake to go forth, from eighteen hundred homes, containing about nine
thousand people, to join the mighty American Army in fighting for the life of the nation, this thousand went from
homes where there were mothers with loyal as well as loving hearts.
Of our little army of noble pioneer women, probably three or four hundred in number, there are living descendants
now in the county to carry out in the life of this generation the rich results of their influence and their virtues.
I am not claiming for any of them, those named and those not named, great brilliancy of intellect, fascinating
social endowments, or remarkable talents, but I do claim that so long as there is a county of Lake, so long the
influence of our noble women will endure.
That women have done a large work in the county in promoting education is beyond any question. A deep and lasting
impression on education and literature, in this county and outside of its borders, was made by the school carried
on for so many years by Mrs. J. A. H. Ball. And from the day that Miss Ursula Ann Jackson, of West Creek, commenced
to teach a public school in Pleasant Grove the first Monday of May, 1838, until this present time, women, and even
quite young girls, have done a large part of the teaching in the public schools. Rev. Mr. Townley, who conducted
a large school in Crown Point from about 1848 till 1856, speaking of his school which furnished many teachers for
the public schools, stated in November, 1852, that he had had up to that time nearly five hundred scholars, and
that not five young men had gone out as teachers. In later years teachers have received higher wages and more young
men have accordingly been willing to engage in teaching. The women in all these years have been prominent in church
work, in temperance work, in mission work; and when the time came in 1861 and in the following years to provide
relief and comforts for sick and suffering soldiers, then the homekeeping women imme-diately formed aid societies
and sent relief to the hospitals and camps. Two of their number, of pioneer families, Mrs.
Sarah Robinson and Miss Elizabeth Hodson, went forth from their homes
in Lake to the hospitals at Memphis, and there helped to care for the sick, the wounded, the dying. It is no
more than justice, it is not courtesy, that the names, the deeds, the memorials, of our pioneer women should find
some room and place along with the memorials of their husbands and their sons.
Lake county has been represented by one Christian missionary in distant India. Mrs.
Annie Morgan, a daughter of Judge Turner of Crown Point, a member in her
childhood of the Crown Point Presbyterian Sunday school, becoming a Baptist and having been married to Rev. Freeman
Morgan, a Baptist minister, left her native land with him in October, 1879, bound for Southern Asia, and there
both entered upon mission work among the Telugus.
By T. H. Ball.
THE PIONEER CHILDREN AND NATURE.
Each generation has, to some extent, privileges, opportunities, and advantages,
not bestowed, in the same degree, on other generations.
In this short paper the writer proposes to notice the superior advantages which the pioneer children enjoyed in
beholding natural beauty, and so, if their opportunities were improved, in securing the two great benefits to be
derived from the cultivation of a love for nature, the refinement of the disposition, and the increase of the means
That a true love for natural beauty, as seen on the earth and in the sky, Is refining and may increase largely
life's enjoyment, will be taken at present as granted. The proofs, if needed, are to be found abundantly in human
observation and experience. And so, realizing and recognizing that some beautiful landscape views may yet be seen
in this county, especially in the southern townships, some beauties peculiar to the pioneer times will now be named.
First of all among these were the wild prairies, the prairies with their native vegetation and their native inhabitants.
Before a furrow had been turned, a shrub or tree planted, a house or fence constructed, in the spring and early
summer the carpet of green grass, with a few early flowers scattered here and there, was charming to the eye; but
when the warm summer came, with its ever glorious sunshine, and the polar plant, which the children called rosin-weed,
attained the height of six or seven feet, the grass then thick and tall, the beds of phlox, as rich as in an Eastern
garden, covering large areas, the meadow lilies open to the sunshine, the broad leaves of the prairie dock having
attained full growth, and rich colored, true prairie flowers in great abundance, of many varieties, open on every
side,-then was the beauty of the prairie enchanting. There were no real weeds till man's plowshare turned over
the prairie sod, and richer in color, greater in variety, more abundant even to profusion the flowers became as
the summer approached the golden autumn. Then, as one would be riding on horseback amid the green verdure and tall
polar plants, for roads and buggies were not then, and only a few venturesome children went out any distance on
foot into the wilderness of beauty that lay in its bewildering extent of area before them; here and there would
suddenly start up, as from under the very feet of the horse, the pinnated grouse, the chickens of the prairie,
the true denizens of all this prairie region, and both horse and rider would be startled as one after another,
in quick succession, from ten to twenty of those beautiful wild fowls would fly up on every side and sail away
and soon sink down out of sight in that abundant verdure, amid which for many and many a summer their progenitors
had been so secure. In that thick, rank, tall vegetation, no eye was likely to see them.
Again, sometimes the rider would see not far away some of those other true tenants of the wilds, perhaps two or
three prairie wolves, or one alone, seldom only one, on that apparently slow lope or gallop, which nevertheless
took them through the grass and over the flower beds quite rapidly, and soon they too would be out of sight. Perhaps,
again, the horseback rider would see, on some distant grass covered eminence, forty or more sandhill cranes going
through some kind of evolution which the pioneers called a dance.
None of these beautiful and entertaining sights which delighted the pioneer children can the children of this generation
behold. All that rich beauty and wild life from our prairies has forever gone.
Then there were other sights not peculiar to the prairies, the bounding red-deer of the woodlands and the wild
pigions in prodigious numbers, which the children of Lake can here never more see. Those pigeons, perhaps, gone
forever from all our land, were, in form, in color, in motion, rich embodied beauty. The eyes of none of us will
see those thousands of wild pigeons again as once they were in these woodlands, on our few grain fields, and sometimes
passing, by hundreds of thousands, in the sky above us.
And yet again, the children of those days saw natural streams of water. Cedar Creek and Eagle Creek, winding amid
their grassy banks along narrow valleys, were then beautiful streams. They have been turned into ditches now. And
so have West Creek and Turkey Creek, and other once pretty water courses, and who ever saw much beauty in a ditch?
Doubtless there are children in this county now who never saw one of those ever beautiful objects in nature, a
real, purling brook. And how can they appreciate such gems of poetry as this: "The noise as of a running brook
in the leafy month of June, Which to the sleeping woods all night singeth a quiet tune." Instead of winding
brooks, of which at Plum Grove a part of one is left, our water courses, like our roads and railroads, must now
be made, as far as practicable, to go in straight lines. Utility takes the place of beauty.
There is beauty yet left on the clouds, and on the morning and evening sky. but houses and barns and orchards and
shade trees and shrubbery so obstruct the views that few children now observe or have a chance to see a fair, clear
sunrise gilding the prairie and the woodlands with its rich hues of ruby or of gold; or those magnificent sunsets
which some of us as children were privileged to enjoy, when huge masses of vapor like distant mountains seemed
to be piled up in the west, and the setting sun, seeming to sink down into their fleecy folds, painted on them
for a time golden, or purple, or crimson hues, or violet and ruby, the richest coloring, unless sometimes, once
or twice in a lifetime the same may be seen at night on the northern sky,-that nature ever presents to our view.
Such sunsets as were seen in this county in the years long past no artist can paint. Such coloring man does not
mix. But sometimes, with all the western horizon and blue sky cloudless, the sun would seem to touch the edge of
the horizon, and on the line of prairie or behind a few trees, like a large red or golden globe of fire, almost
too bright even then for the eye steadily to rest upon, would slowly yet soon disappear from sight, seeming to
leave an open doorway into a world of dazzling glory. The rich beauty of pure, unstained light, could at such times
And there was more, much more of animated nature full of beauty then, at which there is no time now to glance.
The children of the pioneer days did see what our eyes never can behold.
Even the prairie fires, too grand, too magnificent, and sometimes too destructive, to give that sense of delight
which beauty gives, were sometimes very pleasing to the eyes of childhood. Into the mouth of one of Ossian's heroes
these words are put: "The columns of smoke pleased well mine eyes; I knew not then wherefore the maidens wept."'
And when there was no feeling of destruction children saw with delight the long lines of flame and the columns
of smoke when after sweeping through the tall grass of the Kankakee Marsh the flames spread northward upon the
Truly, the children of the pioneer years saw earth and sky with little to obstruct their range of vision.
And this region was then, amid all its wild beauty a very fitting great temple in which to worship God.
In these our days, much is said of art, something is taught of art. An evening lecture was given not long ago to
the assembled teachers of Lake county and the subject was, Art in familiar things. And that was well. But who teaches
the children to love natural beauty ? Who teaches, "There's beauty all around our paths, if but our watchful
eyes could trace it mid familiar things, and through their lowly guise?"' Who teaches the children now, as
many pioneer children learned, amid the delightful opportunities and privileges which they enjoyed, to look through
nature up to nature's God ? To many of the pioneer children, in their great wilds of nature, before there were
cities or towns, or temples for worship as made with men's hands, God was very near.
I am unwilling that this large volume of biographical sketches should go out among
the later inhabitants of the county, (a county now containing a population of about forty thousand, many more than
half of them residing in cities and towns or in villages), without some mention being made in it of our beautiful
country views. And so in this chapter headed "Miscellany," is placed a paper concerning our landscapes.
Webster gives as his first definition of the word landscape, "A portion of land or territory which the eye
can comprehend in a single view, including all the objects it contains." Of course a prairie region, a moderately
level region such as is Lake county, can have nothing of the grandeur of mountain scenery. The writer of this has
stood on the summit of the New Hamp-' shire Mount Washington; has passed through Dixville Notch; has crossed the
Cumberland and the Alleghany Mountains; and he knows and admires mountain scenery. But he is sure there have been
beautiful views in this sand ridge and woodland, prairie and marsh region of Lake. Some of these he will name.
Near the village of Lake Station, from the top of a large sand hill, the northward view, on a clear summer afternoon,
is full of interest to a lover of natural scenery. "The eye rests upon a part of the valley of Deep River;
and just beyond is the village of Lake, surrounded by hills and woods, the fans for raising water reminding one
of Don Quixote's windmills, and the vegetation giving evidence of the beds of sand from which it derives its nourishment."
The railroad grounds in this village are large and neat, the finest in the county, and the distance is sufficient
to give to the buildings a fine effect.
From various hill tops in the north part of the county beautiful views could be enjoyed a few years ago, "the
sweep of vision from these taking in a portion of Lake Michigan's blue waters, and the pines, and sand hills, and
valleys of the shore.
Some very pretty views are found along a ridge of land which separates the Turkey Creek and Deep River localities
and valleys, and especially near the once Red School-house or Vincent neighborhood. Looking northward one can see
the woodland ridges which run parallel with the Little Calumet River, and southward and westward one can look over
a broad area of undulating prairie, the first breadth of prairie upon which Solon Robinson and his party looked,
October 31, 1834, the emotions produced by which he called "indescribable."
From this ridge also, looking across the prairie and Deep River valley, Crown Point presents, at the right time
of day, a very pretty picture standing forth in the sunlight on its prairie eminences with the woodland height
for a rich background. Another fine view of the town may also be obtained from an eminence near the eastern limit
of the county, the distance being sufficient to give to the woodland on the west that beautiful hue of blue.
The main prairie portion of Lake county is in two divisions. The one south of Crown Point is Robinson Prairie;
the one in Hanover and West Creek townships is Lake Prairie. The small ones have borne the names of Eagle Creek,
Bostwick, Prairie West, and Center. On Robinson Prairie, south of Crown Point, are eminences from which one can
look over some miles of prairie, then across five or six miles of Kankakee valley land, once called marsh, and
at length the vision ends along a line of blue which marks the course of the Kankakee River, beyond which from
no prairie height can the eye see over into Jasper and Newton counties, unless sometimes the steam from an engine
may be seen far down on the Monon Railroad.
There is yet left a beautiful landscape which one beholds when coming northward from the Lowell and Hebron road,
on the west side of the Eagle Creek valley, when emerging from the shrubbery and the grove, sud-denly there spreads
out before one the prairie and valley courses of Deep River and Eagle Creek as once these were, and the village
of Le Roy as now it is, and the open view far northward, once a green prairie in summer, but now dotted over with
fields, and houses, and barns, and orchards.
But the landscape is beautiful still, and it comes so unexpectedly upon one who has not gone that way before.
Mrs. Nannie W. Ames, a daughter of Rev. H. Wason, of New England descent and training,
a cultivated woman, wrote the following at the time of Lake County's Semi-Centennial :
"Lake Prairie has been called the 'Gem of the county,' and certainly it well deserves the fair name. Twenty-five
years ago, Professor Mills, of Wabash College, stood on a knoll on Mr. Peach's farm, and looking around till his
eye met the woods that encircle the gently rolling land, said: 'I have been thirty years in the West and have been
in every county in the State, and never but once have I seen so beautiful a view.' Other strangers from the East,
South, and West have said the same thing." Mrs. Ames continues: "The scene has changed in this quarter
of a century but has only gained in beauty. Now, as far as the eye can reach, may be seen comfortable houses and
farm buildings, orchards and shade trees, with here and there a bordering of deep green osage; while still farther
in the distance the tall windmills point out the homes beyond the range of vision." This writer may be more
than commonly fond of the wildness of nature, and, perhaps, partial to Lake Prairie as once it was, and so he will
only add here, that he prefers the beauty of sixty years ago, which he knew so well, to the more improved beauty
of the present.
Also it may be added, that from other eminences, further north than the one mentioned by Mrs. Ames, some beautiful
views may be obtained, the range of vision taking in all of that rich prairie, about ten miles from north to south,
bounded on the west by the West Creek woodlands, by the Cedar Creek woods on the east, on the south, five miles
beyond the prairie limit, extending over groves and marshland, reaching to the long line of blue that marks the
course of the Kankakee River.
COUNTY CROW ROOSTS.
The early settlers of Lake county, Indiana, found crows here, and they have been
here ever since. They are probably more numerous now than they were in 1837, for they can now find a greater variety
of food and they find it in greater abundance. The Indians no doubt helped them to some food, but the whites help
them to much more.
Among our black-birds there has been seen a real white one, a true Candida merula, but so far as known all our
crows have been black, like those of whom that poem was written called "The Three Black Crows." The main
roosting places of our crows in these latter years have been, in number, two. One of these is nine miles northwest
from Crown Point; the other is five miles south.
The one south is in an evergreen grove which covers an area of about four acres, set out for a wind-breaker in
the center of the broad Robinson Prairie many years ago, the trees Scotch pine, Austrian pine, and some larch.
This grove, the trees being very close together, makes a grand shelter for any of our birds, and the crows gather
there at night by the hundreds, and have been estimated at fully one thousand.
The roosting place, northwest of Crown Point, is by the side of the Pan Handle Railroad, on land formerly owned
by Mr. A. N. Hart, who would not allow the first crows that came there to be disturbed. They sought near him a
quiet resting place and they found it. He allowed no shooting near them. The tract of land came next into the possession
of Mr. Malcolm T. Hart, one of the wealthy men of the county, and he followed his father's example, and the number
of the trusting crows increased.
That large estate is now in the hands of Mrs. M. T. Hart and her daughter, Marguerite M. Hart, and they also are
friendly toward the crows. Those that come here for night shelter and rest probably number thousands. They leave
in the early morning, going westward and southward and return from their Illinois foraging grounds from sunset
time till quite late in the evening. Ever since the raven went out from Noah's ark the black-feathered birds of
the raven and crow kinds seem to have been successful in procuring food.
As the month of October, 1902, was drawing to a close an old landmark in Crown
Point began to disappear. A building on Court Street, northwest of the northwest corner of the present public square,
had been standing on that spot of ground beyond the reach of memory of most of the present inhabitants of the town.
The oldest locust tree of the town stood in front of it, back of it was in 1834 an Indian garden spot, and near
by was then a spring of water. There, October 31, 1834, Solon Robinson and family pitched their tent, the Robinson
record says, "by the side of a spring."
The next day, November 1, 1834, work commenced with axes for erecting a log cabin, and in four days the family
left the tent and moved into what they called their new house. New it certainly was, made of the logs of trees
that were standing in that grove or woodland four days before. Additions to that first cabin were evidently made
in 1835, but whether any portion of the log structure which was afterwards covered with siding and which had been
on that spot, in 1902, more than sixty years, contained the first pile of logs is somewhat uncertain. Perhaps the
south part of the entire structure, which was removed in November, 1902, to make room for a large livery barn,
was the cabin of 1834, and, if so, had been standing for sixty-eight years. Of the part that for a time was left
standing, a two-story building, the lower part of logs, the upper story of frame work, no one now living can tell
when it was erected. Probably not, at least not completed, till after the log court house was built in 1837, certainly
not till after some sawed lumber could be obtained and nails came into use. In the con-struction of Lake county's
first buildings no nails were used.
Two only are living who were residents in Crown Point in 1837, and they were then girls too young to know about
the building of the Robinson home or the log court house. Three are yet living, who may have seen those buildings
in 1837. Mr. William A. Taylor, Mr. Nathan Wood, and Mr. J. Kenney; and one other is living, the writer of this,
who was in what is now Crown Point, five or six times in 1837. He probably knows as much about the buildings
of that year as any one now living. But whenever built, this oldest house in Crown Point when 1902 closed, some
part of the tenement as it was November 5, 1902, dating back to 1835, possibly to 1834, it has an interesting history.
And as the home of the founder of Crown Point that history should be preserved.
At this home spot, quite certainly not inside of the log walls, was organized "The Squatters' Union of Lake
County," the first action here of American citizens in exercising their right of governing themselves. The
record which is beyond question as to its accuracy says, this was done "at a meeting of a majority of the
citizens of Lake county held at the house of Solon Robinson on the fourth of July, 1836." The record says
at the house, but it does not say in the house, and one who was present said the meeting was in the open air, in
In 1837 this home was opened several times by its hospitable owners for religious worship, probably the first dwelling
thus used in Crown Point, among the first thus used in all of Lake county.
This building was for many years the bright home of the Robinson family, where were born Dr. L. G. Bedell, now
a noted physician of Chicago, and her brother Charles, and where with these an older brother and sister spent the
sunny years of childhood and of youth; and where sometimes for visiting, sometimes for dancing, would meet the
youth and beauty of Crown Point. They who still dance among the young ladies of Crown Point dance in larger rooms
now and not on puncheon floors.
Marriages and changes took place and the next of our historic families to make that house a bright living home
was a member of the Holton family, Mrs. Calista Young, where her son Charles Young, now of Chicago, grew up to
manhood; where, in 1884, her aged mother died, and in the same year, after a residence in Crown Point of about
five years, her mother's sister's son, Mr. Clement Brown; and where Solon Robinson, with his Florida wife, made
a short sojourn on his last visit to Crown Point.
After Mrs. Young went to Indianapolis to live with her son, then Deputy Secretary of State, one more representative
of one of our historic families found there a home, Mr. William Clark, a grandson of Judge William Clark, the Clark
family having been intimately associated with the Robinson family in the pioneer days. Mrs. William Clark opened
a millinery store in the log building, which was then becoming old. Some tenants occasionally occupied it afterwards.
Thus it has gone through its changes. An inviting home place for one connected family for more than half a century;
at last furnishing an office room for Mr. J. S. Holton in a part of the year 1902. Before that year closed the
south part, the logs eighteen feet long (in one room of which this writer, then a youth, remembers to have slept
as one of the guests of the Robinson family), was all removed, the north part, the logs also eighteen feet long,
and apparently all solid, then left standing.
One only is known to be living who was in the log cabin of 1834, and she was too young to know much difference
between a cabin or a palace. It was enough for her that it was home.
The next record for this page is: March 2, 1903, Monday. To-day the remaining portion of the Robinson house was
removed to make way for the printing office soon to be erected on this spot by J. J. Wheeler, whose wife is a granddaughter
of the old log house builder. And so the spot where for many years was a pioneer home, where ministers of the Gospel
have preached, where young people have often met, where births and deaths have been, is soon to be, probably for
many years to come, the home of journalism, the abode of printing presses, and the day home for those who do type
setting and press work, and who thus will help to enrich with printed thought thousands of living homes. But for
the historic page, few would know, in the years that are expected to come, that in this locality was erected one
of Lake county's earliest log cabins.
A GOLDEN WEDDING. 1893.
Fifty years, as we forward look,
Seem as years slow moving and long;
Fifty years, as we backward look,
From grayhaired age to childhood's song,
Seem only as yesterdays gone far by.
Yesterday! Yesterday! How the days fly!
Fifty full years have passed away since that marriage ceremony took place in the northwestern home of the Cedar
Lake community whose golden anniversary brings us together to-day.
It will be fitting for me, a youth at Cedar Lake then, an inhabitant here now, and having for many years been giving
some close attention to the times that go over us, to the history which we are making, to the changes which every
year brings, to place before you, among the thoughts of this hour, some facts connected with that locality and
the half century now past.
Then, fifty years ago, in this northwestern corner of Indiana, across which so many thousands have this year passed,
this year of 1893, going in crowded cars to reach the White City, settlements, homes, institutions, as established
by descendants of Europeans, were not only comparatively but actually new. Nine years had seen quite a number of
families making homes in the woodlands on lands which the Pottawatomie Indians had but lately vacated.
In 1843 we had in all Lake county about as many inhabitants as are now in St. John township alone, or about sixteen
or seventeen hundred; we had a few schoolhouses, mostly built of logs; there was a Catholic chapel on the Hack
place and a Methodist church building in the Hayden and Hathaway neighborhood; there were three or four postoffices;
there were a few stores, a few frame buildings, and one piano.
Pioneer families had erected cabins and made homes from the border of the Kankakee marsh northward, in the edge
of what became known as the West Creek woods, extending to the head waters of that little stream known as West
Creek. Landmarks along that line of settlements were the pioneer homes that bore the names of Torrey, Wilkinson,
Wiles, Bond, Hornor, and Greene. That West Creek stream was just called little, but it formed, because of the
wide marshy valley through which it flowed and the quicksands along its course, an impassable barrier between the
families on the west side and those on the east. As a necessity for travel the Torrey bridge was built, and afterward
the bridge on the road running west from Cedar Lake.
Of about a dozen pioneer families forming the Cedar Lake neighborhood of the west side of the lake, already, in
1843, some had returned to the Wabash, some had gone westward to the new frontier,-it was becoming too thickly
settled for them,-and some had changed their localities. Of these the Greene family, consisting of Dr. Joseph Greene,
the early physician of the neighborhood and an expert deer hunter, Sylvester Greene and his wife and children,
and a young brother, Edward Greene, had left their home near the head waters of the eastern branch of West Creek,
and had settled on the north bank of Cedar Lake; and in their place had come into the woodland, to a cabin home,
ROSWELL HACKLEY, then in middle age, with his wife, his son, Edwin, and two daughters, then entering womanhood,
Miss Mary and Miss Eliza, healthy, vigorous, enterprising, entering heartily into the few varieties of social life
which were enjoyed by that little neighborhood of resolute pioneers.
At that time the West Creek woods were alive with deer, beautiful American red deer, browsing in the winter and
then lying down on their snowy beds in the rich, sheltered hazel copses, finding water in those ever flowing springs
that helped to feed the marshy stream, and in the summer enjoying the fine pasture range of twelve miles of woodland
valleys and ravines, of sunny glades and sheltered nooks. Fifty years ago those woods were beautiful, well fitted
to be the home of the red deer, the squirrels, the rabbits, and the quails, or of wood nymphs and fairies of the
older days. At that time also, while all our native wild game was abundant, civilization was advancing and the
conveniences of life were on the increase. Oxen were still largely used as domestic animals, and sometimes the
ox teams would convey the families to the places of Sabbath worship. Carriages, covered buggies, or buggies without
covers, were few indeed.
The members of the Ball and Hackley families would sometimes go up to Crown Point to church together, the place
of meeting being then and for years afterwards the log court house.
The winter of 1842 and 1843 was a severe one and was called the "hard winter." It commenced in the middle
of November and on the eighth of the next May cattle barely found sufficient grass on which to live. Many had perished
for want of food.
In the spring of 1843 the scarlet fever in a malignant form visited Crown Point, and for the first time the inhabitants
found it needful to select a place for the burial of their dead.
Fifty years, therefore, takes us far back in our life upon this soil as a civilized community of white settlers.
So far as appears in any of our records we celebrate to-day, of those married in Lake county, the first Golden
In the summer of 1843, on the east side of Cedar Lake, on Cedar Point bluff, a campmeeting was held. Then, how
many times before I know not, Mr. Wellington A. Clark met Miss Mary Hackley. He met her several times afterwards.
And December 7, 1843, they were married.
Judge Wilkinson, the first probate judge of Lake county (around whom had been, not helping but laughing Indians,
when in raising the logs for his cabin walls a heavy one would slide back upon his wife and son and himself), came
up along that belt of woodland to the northern home, to con-duct the ceremony, "to solemnize" the marriage.
He took his rifle along with him, and shot one of those red deer before he reached the Hackley home. Besides the
family of five and the bridegroom and the Judge, there were present three guests, making ten in all that day within
the cabin walls.
Over the fifty years of sacred family history between then and now, with its lights and its shadows, its joys and
its griefs, its successes and re-verses, I am not to glance. But I may safely and appropriately say that the difference
is very great in this county of ours, with its more than one hundred schools, its sixty churches, its dozen railroads,
establishments, its many towns and villages, its twenty-five thousand in-habitants, between this World's Fair year
of 1893 and that year of 1843 to which we have cast a glance backward to-day. Not only is the difference very great
here, but great over all the civilized and all the savage world.
Golden weddings should remind us of securing a home in the Golden City.
How deer were hunted is quite well understood, but not many now in Lake county
know anything about hunting up wild hogs. A very short account of how this was done ought to be of interest to
the boys of the county who may have some of the hunter instincts but have little game to hunt except wild rabbits.
The word "up," used above, was inserted for a purpose. Wild hogs, as this writer knew them, were not
hunted like deer, to be shot and killed; but were hunted up when autumn came, by those who claimed them, that they
might have food and care in the winter. It will appear at once that these hogs were not wild in the same sense
in which the deer were wild, for they had claimers, they had nominal owners.
In those early years of the settlement of this county all domestic animals were allowed a free range in the woodlands
and on the prairies. They had no right to go into the settler's gardens and small grain fields, but sometimes they
would do even that. Hogs were to be marked, and this was done by clippings in their ears, and each owner's mark
was to be recorded in a book kept at the county seat. While a hog had only two ears it was curious how many marks,
all different of course, could be made on the ears, some marking the right ear, some the left, some marking both
ears, perhaps one unlike the other, some cutting a little notch, some making a slit, some marking on the top with
a little notch cut off and some marking at the bottom, and so in various ways that each man might prove his own.
If one hungry family stole a hog the first thing to do was to dispose of the ears. Having this matter tinderstood,
that hogs going out from their winter homes, some of them not to be seen again till the next winter was near at
hand, carried their marks with them, the readers of this are better prepared to understand what is meant by hunting
The readers should also recall to mind the fact that the hogs of those days were not Berkshires, nor Poland China,
nor any of the modern improved breeds; but the long bodied, long limbed racers, that could run rapidly, turn on
their sides and go through a small opening in a worm fence, and that knew well how to look out for themselves.
One illustration now of hunting: A colony of these had lived on the Bond place, in what in different connections
has been called the West Creek woods. Some of these were transferred by purchase to the west side of Cedar Lake.
They spent the winter contentedly at their new home. In the spring they left, and there was no doubt in the owner's
mind that they had crossed Lake Prairie and had gone back to their old haunts in the woods of West Creek. Autumn
came. It was now 1840, and the owner, with a young man twenty-one years of age and a youth of fourteen, proposed
to.hunt them up, those runaway hogs, and bring them back to their new home. Each hunter was quite well mounted.
They were all New Englanders and had little experience with such animals. They took corn in their saddle bags with
their lunch. The weather was then delightful and to them all. those woods, so new to them and wild, were charming.
Along in the afternoon, after a quite long search, some hogs were seen. The horses were tied. The young man and
the youth were instructed to keep hid, that is, behind trees out of sight, and the owner, taking some ears of corn,
advanced cautiously towards the acorn eating hogs, keeping as much as possible a row of trees between him and them.
At length he threw part of an ear of corn. The hogs looked up. It was evident that besides those that had gone
away in the spring were many young animals with unmarked ears that had never tasted corn nor seen a man. And they
were wild. Wild as young deer or wolves. The older ones were wild too now, so far as coming near to a man. Some
more corn was thrown. The younger ones tasted it. They seemed to like it well. Slowly the man came out from behind
his tree. The young animals were very wary, but they continued to eat corn while the man who threw it to them drew
quite near. Then, unfortunately, the young man thought he could safely come out from behind his tree. The young
hogs saw him, they gave a peculiar sound, it was not a squeal nor a grunt, it was more like a bark, there may be
some yet living who have heard such a sound, and immediately, not in a minute but almost in a second, there was
no hog, no pig in sight. They were seen no more that day, and the disappointed hunters mounted their horses and
went home, being sure that they had learned some lessons in hunting and treating wild hogs.
It was not considered needful to give up that fine drove of pigs and hogs, for one failure. It would not be good
stock-raising. So another visit to the woods was made by the same three hunters. In the course of the day the drove
was again found. The same caution and extra caution was used in feeding them. They were more hungry and they liked
the corn. They at length came up close to the one who fed them. He reached and at length mounted his horse and
kept feeding those young, now trusting shoats, starting eastward for the prairie. The drove followed quite close
to the heels of the horse. They went out of the woods, crossed the prairie quite rapidly, the two young hunters
on their horses bringing up the rear. They reached their home before nightfall, gave the trusting animals that
followed the corn a good place for sleeping and for winter quarters, and the three all felt that they knew something
about hunting up wild hogs.
CEDAR LAKE INCIDENTS.
About 1680 the first white man of whom any trace has been found near the shore
of this once beautiful lake, stood upon the well wooded height of the northeastern bank. It is high and wooded
now. It must have been high and wooded then. How is it known that a white man was there then? for of his presence
there are no written records. Who was he? What could he have been doing there, only some sixty years after the
landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock? One question at a time, please, and listen to the answers. We know
a man was there at some time because he left his mark.
A man sinks into the great ocean and leaves no trace. A man, especially a white man, steps into one of our forests
called primeval, and he may only sink his sharp axe an inch or two into a tree and for years its impress is left.
He camps for a night upon the wide prairie and he may leave there a tin dish or a tent-pin made of iron, and years
afterwards the observant pioneer says, as his plowshare touches it, this is not an Indian relic. A white man made
it and no doubt a white man left it here. And so we read in the forest or on the prairie the presence once of a
The historic fact is this: About 1850 a large oak tree was cut down which had grown upon that wooded height, and
near the very heart of the tree was found a piece of steel, a little instrument an inch and a quarter in length,
with a round shaft the size of a clay pipe stem, the head, on the top flat and very smooth, and having twelve sides
each smooth and well wrought, and the point end not a point but having an edge like an axe. For what use this was
made no one knows, but that it did not grow of itself in the tree is very certain. Even an evolutionist could not
believe that. Some one drove it into an oak sapling and the wood and bark formed year by year, and as the wood
could not crowd the steel out it grew over it, covered it from human view, protected it from rain and frost, and
there at length it was found in the heart of a majestic oak. According to the woodmen count and estimate, that
tree had been growing nearly two hundred years. The instrument itself, now in the possession of Mrs. M. J. Cutler,
a sister of T. H. Ball, shows that it was not the work of an Indian. It came most probably from some European workshop.
And almost surely a white man, himself from Europe, placed it, for some purpose, in that young oak. Who was that
white man? Knowledge on that point there is none: but conjectures may lawfully be offered.
About the time when that large Cedar Lake oak was young and thrifty, men from France were in this then thoroughly
wild region, the first white men. so far as is known, that ever were here. The names of two of these are well known
in early American history. One was called Hennepin and the other La Salle.
Louis Hennepin was not a Jesuit but a Franciscan. He accompanied La Salle's expedition of 1679. Passing through
the lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, these with the men who were with them passed in canoes up to a portage on
the St. Joseph River, then across to the Kankakee River, and down that river to the Illinois River, and down that
river to a place near the present Peoria.
In February of 1680 Hennepin, as instructed by La Salle, started in a canoe on a voyage of discovery. He made an
eventful voyage. Returned to France, and published in 1683 an account of his explorations. There is no probability
that he ever saw the Red Cedar Lake. But there is a record that La Salle started on foot with three Frenchmen and
an Indian hunter, March 2, 1680, to return to his fort on Lake Ontario, distant about twelve hundred miles. He
had gone down the Kankakee in December, 1679, with thirty-two men and eight canoes. He was now returning on foot
with four companions. If there is any record of that land journey this writer has not found it, and so he conjectures
that La Salle and his four companions passed between the Kankakee River and Lake Michigan and camped for a night
on that wooded high bank of the Red Cedar Lake. It is recorded that before leaving the portage in December of 1679
La Salle caused some letters to be fastened to trees to convey information to others who might pass that way. Possibly
then, probably, one might almost say, this little instrument of steel, now in the possession of one who was born
at Cedar Lake, was used by La Salle to fasten a letter high up on the little oak.
The incident, in connection with which the foregoing was written, was the finding of a curious little steel instrument,
by Mr. Ames of Lake Prairie, in the heart of a large oak tree, and his giving it to a teacher of the Lake Prairie
school. Miss Mary Jane Ball.
In the winter of 1837 and 1838, quite certainly in the latter year, a wild animal of the cat family was chased
into a swamp which was then at the head of Cedar Lake. There were no real trees in the swamp, but an almost impenetrable
mass of what was called black alder bushes, the water being two or three feet in depth. In the summer these bushes
would be covered luxuriantly with wild roses. The swamp was many years ago cleared out and drained, until which
time it was known as the wildcat thicket. It took its name from the wild animal that Job Worthington of Massachusetts,
then a member of the Ball family, succeeded in capturing and killing, with the assistance of others, in January
probably of 1838. Of its dimensions there are no records, but in the eyes of children it was large, and was surely
a savage looking animal. There were reports in those early years of other animals of this family, catamounts, perhaps,
having been heard at night, making their peculiar cry; but there are no records as yet found of any other having
been killed in the county..
Two black bears were seen in Lake county in early times, stragglers from the thick woods of La Porte and Porter
counties, and in the southeast part of this county have been some large timber wolves; but the native animals of
Lake county were seldom dangerous.
The bald eagles often visited the Lake of Cedars, and they were grand birds: but they were looking for fish, and
not for little children nor for lambs.
One lake incident, probably known now, only to this writer, illustrates well the power of imagination. To enable
the reader to understand it better it may be needful to state that in 1837 the moms multkouhis or mulberry speculation
was at its height in Massachusetts, and that Mr. Lewis Waniner brought some plants or cuttings with him. Cuttings
would grow, but needed protection in the winter.
Two of the quite young men of East Cedar Lake found one day a little mound of sand at the south end, called the
foot, of the lake. They said to themselves, a little Indian has been buried here. Their curiosity was excited.
Rather strangely they proposed to dig into it and see. They went to work, digging down into the sand, and my informant
reported that soon
one of them grew sick. The nearness of the decaying body was too much for him to endure. He quit work and retired
to breathe some fresh air. The other young man said he perceived nothing, and kept at work. Soon he reached, buried
in the sand for protection from the cold of winter, a bunch of Mr. Waniner's mulberry cuttings. The other youth
soon recovered from his nausea. This incident came to the writer so direct that he does not like to question it,
knowing as he did so well the actors and the informant, and knowing that one of them had a strong emotional nature.
One more incident, slight in itself and yet instructive, presses itself forward for some notice. It is connected
with that Cedar Lake Belles Lettres Society which has been named, which Solon Robinson visited, quite surprised
to find there some of what Sprague calls "the anointed children of education," instead of the Indians
whom not long before he had met there in a conference.
There was a youth of the community, somewhat older than the members of the Society who had shown a disposition
to make light of their writing everything out, even their discussions and addresses. He did not think he had any
need of writing in order to present his thoughts to others. So they invited him to give them an address. He came
prompt to the hour, as he no doubt supposed well prepared. He had done no writing. At least he had no manuscript
before him. He took his place gracefully upon the floor and opened his address nicely. He proceeded about as far
as the off-hand young lawyer who was invited to speak at the opening of a bridge, about two sentences, and then,
while all were giving a respectful attention, expecting to hear some oratory, he hesitated, he stopped, he thought,
and finally, after one desperate effort, he concluded that undelivered address with the brief peroration, "My
thoughts have flown," and sat down. The members were too polite and considerate to show their amusement while
he was present, their usual exercises went on, and he made no more fun of those young writers.
An attorney-general of the United States once said: "There is no excellence without great labor. It is
the fiat of fate from which no power of genius can absolve you." Children learn to skate by trying to skate;
they learn to swim by trying to swim; and they learn to speak and write by trying to speak and write. The power
to do any of these things well is worth an effort. A man, now no longer living, who was a power for good in Chicago
a few years ago, said in substance, that to appreciate beautiful language was partly to command it, and that to
command beautiful and forcible language was to have a key, with which no man who wished to rule through opinion
could dispense, to the mind and to the heart of man.
The Bible itself says, "Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
The after life of my young friend, whose thoughts forsook him in his hour of need, was not what man calls a success.
And his death, some forty years ago, was peculiarly sad.
He had good capabilities, but in times of need they seemed to be of no avail. I certainly will not disclose his
name, through my regard for what is due to the living and the dead, but I would here tenderly lay a wreath of mingled
respect and grief upon his nameless grave.
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