HISTORY OF CEDAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, LAKE COUNTY INDIANA
By G. A. Garard
Cedar, Creek Township Formation and Name
-- List of First and Early Settlers
-- Incidents and Anecdotes of Early Times
Early Enterprises -- Later Enterprises -- Fine Horses -- Schools -- Lowell -- Creston -- Factories -- Railroad -- Churches
Secret Societies and Other Organizations
May 9, 1839, the County Commissioners ordered that South Township be divided into three townships, and that that part lying east of a line drawn through South Township, on the west side of the second tier of Sections in Range 9, and west of a line drawn north and south through the center of Range 8, be known as Cedar Creek Township. The township took its name from Cedar Creek, which runs through it from north to south, and was in early times known as " The Outlet." June 8, 1853, the boundaries of Cedar Creek Township were changed, so as to embrace Sections 1 and 2, Township 33, Range 9, and Sections 4, 5 and 6, Township 33, Range 8.
The following is a list of the first and early settlers of Cedar Creek Township, with dates as far as attainable :
In 1835, Samuel Halstead, Peter Surprise and family ; Thomas Childers. Mr. Nolen, Mr. Funk, John Dilley, Samuel Bryant, Elias Bryant, Wayne Bryant, Jesse Cross and family, John Keller, Joseph Childers and John Driscoll ; in 1836, Jonathan Mendenhall, where Mr. Tuttle now lives, Abraham Nichols, William A. Purdy, John Smith and family, John Greseal and family ; in the fall, William Wells and family, who settled in West Creek Township in 1835, and moved to Cedar Creek in 1836 John Distal, Mrs. Jane Childers and her son, Harvey, and daughter Jane, now Mrs. Jane Sanger, and the oldest living resident, settled three miles south of where Lowell now stands ; John Kile and family, Reason Kile and family, John H. Martin, John Kitchel and Nelson Smith ; in 1837, Jabez Clark and family in the fall settled half a mile north of the site of Lowell ; Mr. Tenet and Abraham Lafley, in June, 1837, settled on the bank of a little lake that has since been known as Lafley Lake Ira Babcock, Ephraim Cleveland, Hosea Catlin, Philo Eno, Mr. Wagner and family, James H. Sanger, Buel Dilley (who was the first Constable of the township), Hiram Dilley, Addison Clarke and family, George L. Zebriske, Joseph A. Clarke, Mr. Davis, William Philbrick and Alexander Hamilton ; in 1838, John Ebbins, John C. Kenyon and family, Robert Hyde, with his family, he being the first settled minister, H. C. Sanger, Leander Sanger, Adin Sanger, John N. Sanger and Alexander McDonald and family ; in 1839, John Warley, Isaiah Peterson and a number of others came. The following came early, but the exact dates have not been obtained : Jack Watkins, Shep Stephens, John Nephis, Cornelius Nephis and Thomas Wells. In 1837, there were only four log houses in the vicinity where Lowell now stands. Of course, at that time, there was no other kind of house in all the region roundabout.
Pioneer Life, Incidents etc.
The Cedar Creek pioneers built their log huts hastily, and were content to live for awhile on the " ground floor," not because of the lack of second stories, although this would have been a sufficient reason, but because the ground was the floor, in some cases at least. A more aristocratic form of floor than the ground floor was the puncheon, made of split timbers, hewed to a certain degree of smoothness. If made with care, this kind would do for a " dance " floor. The finest that the times afforded, was of unplaned boards brought from Michigan City for the purpose. Floors of the first named class, were often swept with a brush or bundle of twigs from a tree. Because of the great distance to market and mill, the larder often ran low, and the cupboard occasionally got into the condition spoken of in the pathetic story entitled " Mother Hubbard." At such times, the diet became monotonous, being reduced often to corn bread. An old settler speaks of going 100 miles to the Wabash to mill with four yoke of oxen. The Indians ate muskrats ; but few of the whites indulged in such highly seasoned food ; however, it is stated by those who partook of Indian hospitality, that broiled muskrat is a savory and toothsome viand. Fishing and hunting were profitable as well as pleasant, for lake, creek, river and marsh abounded with fish and waterfowl, while deer bounded over the prairie or sheltered in the groves. Several of the oldest settlers speak of seventy or eighty deer being killed in one day in the Kankakee swamp. It seems that a sudden cold spell froze ice over river and marsh in a single night ; many deer were on the islands ; the ice was very smooth, and as soon as they " broke cover " they would fall upon the ice. Being unable to stand, or, rather, to run, upon the ice, they were at the mercy of men and dogs, and were sometimes killed with clubs and axes. Although unable to stand upon the glaze of ice, when caught, and an attempt was made to kill them with a knife, they would kick with such rapidity, vigor and effect, that it was a difficult and dangerous task for one man unaided to kill one. At the time mentioned, one man and his two dogs caught three at the same time on the ice, but not even one deer was dispatched until help came. For many years, bridges were few and poor. Dr. Wood speaks of swimming with his horse in one day West Creek, Cedar Creek and Eagle Creek, while on his way to see the sick settlers. He also speaks of going through pole bridges, and narrowly escaping with his life.
The winter of 1842-43, was an unusually early and severe one. On the 11th day of November, 1842, William Wells started from his home two miles south of Lowell, to a grist and woolen mill at Wilmington, Ill. As he was returning on the 13th, he encountered a remarkably hard snow-storm for the season, or, in fact, for any season. It was impossible to see any considerable distance and the cold became intense. Being blinded by the storm, he lost his way on Grand Prairie, in Illinois. The first that was known of his fate was when his horses came home. He had cut the hame strings and other straps and allowed them to seek shelter for themselves, while he, it is thought, tried to stay all night in the wagon. Probably finding himself unable to keep from freezing in the wagon, he left it and started out into the driving storm without any definite idea of where he was going. He must have wandered about in this aimless way for some time, for his frozen body was found over four miles from the deserted wagon and was brought to the Lowell Cemetery for interment.
Quite a history grew out of this sad accident. It seems that some medical men desired a subject for the dissecting room, and hearing of this burial in a new and sparsely settled country, they determined to rob the grave, and an Irishman was employed to open it. The escaping gases ignited, and the Irishman fled terror stricken. The medical men who were waiting near with cutters, supposing that they were discovered, plied their horses with whips and drove as if an avenging spirit were after them. The facts of the case soon became known to the fun-loving members of the community. They notified the suspected physicians that swift footed justice was after them. The doctors were thus induced to disguise themselves and flee. According to a preconcerted plan they were captured and brought before a Justice of the Peace for trial. With much solemnity the investigation proceeded. The doctors had employed counsel and were wrought up to a high state of excitement. The lawyers objected, excepted and quarreled ; finally, when the trial had reached the climax of interest and excitement, the attorney for the prosecution became, or feigned to become, "too full for utterance," and the Justice dismissed the case to the great relief of the alarmed medical men.
Somewhere about 1836, some flax caught fire one night in a loft of the cabin of Peter Surprise. The family had all retired, excepting Mrs. Surprise, who gave the alarm. The flames spread rapidly, and the family were driven out into a deep snow, very scantily clad. Martin Driscoll, who was then stopping with Mr. Surprise, escaped with only one pair of pants. After the adults had all gotten out, it was discovered that one of Mr. Surprise's children had been left behind, when Mr. Driscoll heroically rushed through the flames and succeeded in rescuing the imperiled infant.
So far as can be learned, the first birth was a child to Mrs. Sarah Childers, wife of Thomas Childers in 1835. The first death was probably a daughter of Thomas Childers in 1835. She was buried on Cedar Creek, one mile south of the site of Lowell. The second, was a child of Mr. Wells, that died in the same year and was buried at the same place. In 1838, a son of John Smith died, and was buried where the Lowell Cemetery is. In the same year, a little girl of Henry Sanger's was buried at the same place. She was perhaps the first one buried in this cemetery. It cannot be ascertained who were the first married in the township. July 27, 1841, Jane Childers and Ira Babcock were married. The ceremony was performed by John N. Sansjer, who was then Justice of the Peace. Mr. Sanger failed to have the certificate, which is still in existence, duly recorded. After many years of married life, Mr. Babcock died, and Mr. Sanger, to make amends for his neglect in not having the record completed, proposed to the widow that they go together to complete the record. They have gone together ever since, and the record is completed evidently in a very satisfactory way. In the spring of 1839, Sibyl Smith and Burnes Peas were married, as were also Anna Lafler and Daniel M. Smith. April 20, 1841, a double wedding William Purdy to Elizabeth Sanger, and Harvey Sanger to Sarah A. Bryant took place.
Stores, Industries, etc.
The first store was opened by John Dilley in 1837, on the east bank of "The Outlet," two and a half miles south of Lowell, but did not run a year. A butcher shop was opened in connection with the store, and closed when the store closed. The first mill was built on the same side of the same stream, about the same year that the above-mentioned store was started. It was built and owned by Israel Taylor. The location was about two miles south of the site of Lowell-It was a saw-mill with a "run of corn-stones." In a few years it was washed away. About 1844, it was re-built, and an attachment for grinding wheat was added. The first stones used in the first mill were used before in a hand-mill. The first Independence celebration was held on the 4th of July, 1842, at the place of John S. Evans, where Heman Hathaway now resides. The orator of the day was L. A. Fowler, who was afterward Sheriff of Lake County. There were probably about 300 present. In 1854, Mr. Foaley built a saw-mill about four miles north of Lowell. The mill-pond covered about 700 acres. At that time the people depended upon the Kankakee Marsh for timber. Many of them were on the marsh or on the road to or from it, when they were startled by the rush and roar of mighty waters. They looked to the north, and the whole country seemed covered with a flood that was advancing in solid column as if to engulf them. The dam above-mentioned had burst, and the mill-pond was moving over the marsh to the river. Some of those on the marsh with difficulty saved themselves, and with still greater difficulty saved their teams. The dam was rebuilt, but after some litigation was declared a nuisance and ordered removed. This mill and pond were just over the line in Centre Township. Deforest Warner started a store at Orchard Grove, about thirty years ago. It was run for some years by himself and his son, when Jeremiah Kenney bought the stock, and has kept store here ever since. The post office has been kept in the store ever since it was established. At this place in 1878, was built by Warren, Carter & Co., of Chicago, a cheese factory with a capacity of 8,000 pounds of milk per pay. It was opened in June and ran until October, by which time it had run behind about $2,000. The farmers who were furnishing the milk became alarmed, and attached the property of the company. It seems that they were none too hasty in their action; for in a few hours after the writ of attachment was issued, steps were taken by the company to put the property out of their hands, and beyond the reach of their creditors. Soon after the property was attached, the Ames Iron Works, of New York, replevined the engine. When the case came on for trial in the Circuit Court, it was decided against the Ames Iron Works. They appealed to the Supreme Court, and were again beaten. The creditors of Warren, Carter & Cooffered to compromise with the Ames Iron Works, but this company refused all such offers, and demanded dollar for dollar. They perhaps got a dollar of expense for every dollar of their claim. While this action was pending, the property was sold under an order of the court. G. W. Hanaley and J. M. Kenney bought the factory, and have run it since for seven or eight months a year.
The township is very largely agricultural, and there have been but few manufacturing establishments within its limits. Those have been started in Lowell, and will be spoken of farther on in the history of that place. The township contains a large proportion of excellent farming and good grazing land. Much attention has been given to stock, especially to horses, and there are few towns of the size that can show as many good horses as Lowell, when they are gathered in on busy days. Much pains have been taken in breeding the best strains. One of the most enterprising stock-breeders in this part of the State is C. K. Pratt, who now has seven fine stallions, six of which are Clydesdales, and the other, a Suffolk Punch. Many heavy horses are raised for the Chicago market, where they have always commanded a high price.
In 1839, Benjamin McCarty built a saw-mill on Cedar Creek, about two and a half miles northeast of Lowell. This was first run by Mr. Jackson. After a time, a "run of corn-stones " was added. About 1860, stones for grinding wheat were added. At this time, the mill was a small one-story structure, with a large under-shot wheel. On the 4th of July, 1873, dam and mill were washed away. In 1874, H. A. Carson bought the site, and re-built the mill. This mill is very similar to the one above described. It was operated by Mr. Carson until February, 1882, when the dam was torn out and the mill abandoned.
Schools and Teachers.
The first school of the township was taught by a crippled man named Richard Canon, in a small hut built of poles or small logs, on what is now Thomas Dickinson's place, southeast of Lowell, on the east bank of Cedar Creek. The house was built for a dwelling by Thomas Childers. But one term was taught in this house. Among the patrons of this school were Thomas Childers, William Wells, Thomas Wells, and Mr. Cross. Miss P. J. Childers and Sarah Beadle were the only large pupils attending the school. The second school was probably about one-fourth of a mile east of the corporate limits of Lowell on what is now Simeon Sanger's place. It was held in a small log dwelling of Ephraim Cleveland in 1839. John Robinson was the teacher. This was the only term taught in the building. The Bryants, Sangers, Fullers, Smiths and Laflers and perhaps others sent to this The First District School was kept in 1842, during the summer, half a mile southeast of Lowell, in a house built by the neighbors, of peeled hickory logs. Emily Laflar was the first teacher here, Abraham Nichols the second, Miss Sabrina Flint the third and Philander Cross was the fourth ; then followed in order Calista Cross, Jabez Clarke, Miss Ward (from Crown Point), Mr. Parsons, Mrs. William Belshaw (who was the first lady to teach a winter term). Charity Clark (later Mrs. Church), and John Pashly, who taught the last term in the log house. Mr. Pashly taught the next term during the winter of 1850, in a dwelling of Horatio Starr, that stood near where Mr. Halstead's brick house now stands. Next, Mrs. Anthony Van Slyke taught a term in her home. After this, Harvey B. Austin taught in a room of a dwelling at the "Corner's" west of Lowell, in 1855. The building in this district was a brick of one room that stood where Mr. Shure's furniture store now stands. This was first occupied in the winter of 1855-56, with H. B. Austin as teacher. Austin taught for a year or two. Hattie Douglas taught here for a short term. William Williams and his daughter Hattie taught the school here for some time. During the winter of 1859-60, John W. Dwyer taught, and he taught again in 1865 and 1866. Mrs. Hale also taught here.
The following is a list of the teachers for the several districts during the years named, so far as shown by the records :
In 1875, District No. 1, John Love ; No. 2, George Johnson ; No. 3, Thomas H. Albaugh ; No. 4, Robert O. Evans ; No. 5, W. U. Northrop ; No. 6,. 0. H. Spencer ; No. 7, P. A. Hopkins. 1876 No. 1, John E. Love, (Mrs. Nettie Dickey); No. 2, R. C. Wood ; No. 3, Dora DeWitt ; No. 4, W. U. Northrop and E. D. Van Vleck ; No. 5, Marilla Allen ; No. 6, O. H. Spencer and wife, and Dora DeWitt ; No. 7, Jennie Hill and L. E. Jones ; No. 8, H. H. Ragan. 1880 No. 1, Henry G. Ross and R. C. Wood ; No. 2, Linda Maxwell and Ellen E. Dunn ; No. 3, Martha Haste; No. 4, R. W. Bacon; No. 5, Dora DeWitt and C. F. Templeton ; No. 6, Ella Ashton, H. H. Ragan, H. C. Gordon, Dora DeWitt and F. E. Nelson ; No. 7, Libbie Kenney and Jennie Fuller ; No. 8, Jennie Fuller ; No. 9, Jennie Talcott and Allie Driscoll. 1881 No. 1, Bertha Bryant and John E. Love ; No. 2, Ella Clay, Emma Dumond and W. U. Northrop ; No. 3, Martha Haste ; No. 4, Allie Driscoll and Jennie Fuller ; No. 5, Adelia Buckley and C. F. Templeton ; No. 6, Bertha Bryant, H. C. Gordon, Mrs. J. L. Hill, Helen A. Winslow, William C. Belman and Dora DeWitt ; No. 7, Ellen E. Daum ; No. 8, Milton W. Peterson; No. 9, Alltha Dickinson. 1882 No. 1, Clara A. Bliss ; No. 2, Abbie M. Austin ; No. 3, Alltha Dickinson; No. 4, ; No. 5, Lulu Bryant ; No. 6, Bell Livingstone, William C. Belman, Bertha Bryant and Mrs. J. L. Hill ; No. 7, Lois H. Foote ; No. 8, Jennie Dickinson.
The old frame house in District No. 7 was burned in February, 1881, and rebuilt the same spring at a cost of $500. The new building is a frame. The house in District No. 9, on River Ridge, was built in the fall of 1880, at a cost of $300. The house in District No. 10, at Shelby Station, was built during the spring of 1882, at a cost of $400. This is a new district and the last one formed. Shelby is a station on the Louisville & Albany Railroad. There are no brick schoolhouses in the district except the one in the district of Lowell, No. 6. This is a fine two-story building that was for years the best schoolhouse in the county. It was through the enterprise and public spirit of M. A. Halsted that the town took the lead in education when it did. The house and furniture cost about $7,000. M. A. Halsted was Trustee at the time that the house was erected. In this building a large and excellent graded school has been kept up all of the time. A large amount of patronage has come in from the surrounding country, so that it has been a great benefit not only to the town but to this whole region of country.
The Claim Register shows that one John P. Hoff, of New York City, purchased " mill seat on Cedar Creek," on Section 23, Range 9, Township 33, October 7, 1836. This claim was registered October 8. On the same day, claims for four other New York men were registered. These were located on Sections 22, 23 and 24. None of these parties became actual settlers here. In August, 1835, a claim was made by Samuel Halstead, of " Timber and Mill-seat," on Section 23, Township 33, Range 9. This Mr. Halstead was not, so far as known, related to M. A. Halsted, the founder of Lowell. This claim was registered November 26, 1836. Mr. Halstead cut and split some timber for the purpose of building a dam and mill at a point three-fourths of a mile northeast of where a mill was finally built, and where the present large brick mill now stands. The claim above mentioned was sold to J. P. Hoff, but he failed to comply with the conditions and forfeited the claim. November 29, 1836, this claim was transferred to James M. Whitney and Mark Burroughs for $212. The " mill-seat " remained unimproved until about 1850. The first building on the site of Lowell was the cabin of Samuel Halstead, and the second was the dwelling of Jabez Clarke. In 1848, a saw mill was built near where the mill now stands. This mill began running in January, 1849. In 1849, Mr. Halstead burned 400, 000 brick and began building his dwelling, which was finished in the spring of 1850. This was the third structure in Lowell proper, for the place where Mr. Clarke's house stood was not considered a part of Lowell until a few years since. M. A. Halsted, in 1853, laid out sixteen lots and gave them to mechanics. The third house was built in lot five, near the site of the Baptist Church, by a young blacksmith. The first store in Lowell was started by Jonah Thorne in 1852, Mr. Thorne kept a small general stock for four years, when J. W. Viant became a partner. They continued together about six months, when Mr. Thorne sold to Mr. Merton. Viant & Merton owned the store for two or three years, when Merton sold his interest to Viant, who managed the business alone until 1881, when he sold out. Mr. Viant is now engaged in the sale of wagons and buggies, and in the care of the property accumulated during a long and honorable business career. The second store was started by William Sigler, a brother to E. and D. T. Sigler, of Hebron, in 1854, at the Corners, half a mile east of Lowell, and was moved down to town the next year. Mr. Sigler kept here most of the time alone, until 1879, when he sold out and moved to Crown Point, where he kept the St. James Hotel for about two years. He is now in business in South Chicago. The third store was started by H. D. Mudge about 1855. This was at first a clothing store, but was soon turned into a general store. Theodore Burnham was the first blacksmith ; Mr. Burnham sold to Hugh Gregg, who died in about three years after starting in the business. The first tavern was kept by Jonah Thorne. The house in which it was kept stood near the mill, but has since been moved, and is now occupied by Mr. Chapman, with a jewelry and confectionery store. The first regular hotel was built for a school house. It was used for school purposes about two years, since which time it has been used as a hotel. In the spring of 1861, it was bought by Jabez Clarke and rented to David Stringer, who kept it for two years. After this, it was rented and run by William Nichols for a time, and then by George Mee, who has since purchased the property, and who still owns and keeps the house. It has always been known as the "Union House," which name it received when it started, about the time the civil war began. The original house was 18x36 feet, but several additions have been made to it. The next hotel was built about 1866, by Mr. Lloyd, and kept by him for a time. It has gone by the name of " The Exchange " and is now kept by a Mr. Collins. The first hardware store and tin-shop was kept by J. W. Viant, in connection with his store. Mr. Viant sold this branch of the business to Royal A. Haskins, who was the first to start a separate store in this line. J. W. Viant built the large storeroom that stands lengthwise on the main business street, and which is now occupied by Keller, Sherman & Co., in 1860-61. A flour mill built in 1853 was moved about three years ago, and is now used as a barn. The machinery that this old frame contained was moved into the large brick that was built for a woolen mill. This large brick was built by Halsted, Lapin & Co. in 1868. The intention was to make it one of the most extensive woolen mills in the State, but various causes, among which were the rise of wool and the decline in woolen goods, defeated the original plan. Some machinery for carding and working with wool on a small scale was put into the building, but not much business was done. In 1873, the "Home Manufacturing Company" took charge of the building and occupied it as a factory for farm implements. This was a joint-stock company. For a time wagons, plows, cultivators, harrows, etc., were made, but the business did not pay and the company became involved, and the property was distributed to pay debts. During this time, the building was still owned by the mill company ; it was finally sold on mortgage. Lapin & Westman became full owners in 1869, and lost it on mortgage in four or five years. It then fell into the hands of the County Commissioners. The Commissioners took it in 1875, and in a short time sold it to Mr. Morgan, who owned it about two years and sold it to Mr. Specker, who is the present owner. It has a sixty-horse-power engine, but can be run by waterpower during the greater part of the year. The cost of the building was $8,000. It is 80x50 feet and three stories high.
The following is a statement concerning the town, found in " Ball's History of Lake County," and refers to the year 1873 :
"Number of families, 106 ; dry goods stores, 4 ; drug stores, 2 ; hardware stores, 2 ; millinery establishments, 2; dress-makers, 2; jeweler, 1; shoe-maker shops, 2 ; barber shops, 2 ; harness shop, 1 ; blacksmith shops, 5 ; wagon shops, 3 ; cooper shop, 1 ; meat market, 1 ; bakery, 1 ; cabinet shop, 1 ; agricultural store, 1 ; saloons, 2 ; photograph gallery, 1 ; livery stable, 1; hotels, 2 ; Notaries Public, 2 ; attorney, 1 ; physicians, 4 ; cigar factory, 1 ; churches, 3."
The following is an enumeration of the business houses for 1882 General stores, John Lynch, who bought R. W. Price out, and Keller, Sherman & Co., who bought out J. W. Viant ; groceries, W. A. Kenney & Co. ; hardware, George Death and C. C. Sanger, who were together for a time, and Jonah Thorne ; drugs, G. W. Waters and C. P. Post, who keeps clothing and notions also ; implements, W. W. Ackerman, John Myers, while J. A. De Witt keeps carriages, and J. W. Viant keeps wagons and carriages ; shoe shops, Allen Gregg and John Shramm blacksmith shops, Frank Fields, Kline Bros., who make wagons and carriages, Vincent Hepp, Samuel Nichols, Enoch Cox, who makes wagons and carriages, and John Harrison, who also makes wagons and carriages bakery, N. A. Schaffer ; harness shop, J. E. Hale ; millinery, S. A. Kinney, who keeps ladies' furnishing goods also, Mrs. Barbary Craft, Mrs. Josephine King and Mrs. Jennie Cox ; meat market, A. D. Chapman, and one is now being started by Mr. Skillman ; restaurant, Mrs. A. D. Chapman ; furniture, Morgan Craft and Martin Sher ; saloons, Mathew Borrj, Charles Ruge and Edward Mee ; hotel, Union House, George Mee ; lumber yards, Du Breuil & Keilman, and T. M. Smith.
The following is a sketch of the medical profession of Lowell : James A. Wood is the oldest living medical man of this region. He came in 1837, and located in the practice one mile east of the site of Lowell. He has practiced here continually up to the present time, except during the civil war, when he was a surgeon in the Union army. The Doctor has enjoyed an extensive practice and has ridden and driven over the prairies and through the swamps and streams of Northern Indiana for well-nigh half a century. For some years, he has sought to retire from the practice, but his many friends will not permit him to do so. Dr. John Hunt located at Lowell in 1855, where he remained three years. Dr. Crane came in 1858, for a stay of less than a year. Dr. S. B. Yeoman came in 1855, became a partner of Dr. Wood, and continued to practice here until his death, which occurred during the war. About the same time. Dr. Sampson located here, and remained two years. Dr. A. A. Gerrish located in Lowell in 1865, and has since enjoyed a large and lucrative practice, and has gathered around him a host of friends. Dr. E. R. Bacon came in 1867, and is still here. Dr. J. E. Davis came in 1868, and still continues the practice here. Dr. Charles King has been here but a few months.
Several attempts have been made by different ones to become established here in the practice of the law, but so far the peaceful proclivities of the people have rendered such attempts unsuccessful.
About 1843, Outlet Post Office was established and located at a point about one mile east of the site of Lowell, with James H. Sanger, Sr,, as Postmaster. He kept it for some years, when it was moved to a point half a mile west, and kept by Leonard Stringham. Dr. Hunt, H. D. Mudge, Mr. Foote and G. W. Lawrence each held the office for a time. J. W. Viant took the office in 1858, and held it until during Johnson's administration, when Sanford Barlow was appointed. He held it until 1870, when C. P. Post received the appointment. Mr. Post has discharged the duties of the office with general satisfaction since. The following papers have been published at Lowell, for an account of which see journalism in general county history : Lowell Star, Lowell Local News, Lowell Enterprise and The Tocsin, a temperance paper.
A large elevator, planing mill and molding factory was erected here during the summer of 1881, by Du Breuil & Keilman, who have a similar establishment at Dyer. It is 32x60 feet and seventy-five feet high, and cost, with machinery and connected buildings, about 13,000. Its capacity is 60,000 bushels. The firm bought some grain before the elevator was built, and loaded it directly into the cars. The firm have a lumber yard in which they carry a stock of 1,500,000 feet. John A. Kimmitt has charge of the books of the company. H. Dickinson has recently erected a factory in the east part of town, where, among other useful articles, "The Chicago Water Elevator and Purifier" is made.
After many trials, tribulations and much weary waiting, Lowell rejoices in a railroad. August 15, 1874, a tax was voted for a railroad. This tax was canceled at a later date. It was voted to the Indianapolis, Delphi & Chicago Railroad. A second tax was voted to the "Air Line," but it failed to complete the road, and the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago Company got control and put the road through to Lowell in 1880. Most of the grading was done in 1874. They did some freight and passenger business in 1880, but regular trains did not begin to run until January, 1881. About $80,000 was expended in grading, which laid unused for five years. Three companies failed in the course of its construction, and it is now in the hands of the fourth company and is doing a good business for a new road. Many of the enterprising citizens suffered financially from the failures of the companies that undertook the construction of the road. M. A. Halsted alone suffered a loss of $20,000, which seemed doubly hard, as it was through his enterprise and public spirit, to a great extent, that a road was obtained.
About forty years ago, Cedar Lake Post Office was established half a mile east of the site of Creston. Lewis Warriner was the first Postmaster, and his successor was Alfred Edgerton, who was succeeded by M. M. Estey, and he by Amos Edgerton, who resigned and A. D. Palmer was appointed as his successor. Mr. Palmer is the present Postmaster. The post office retained the name Cedar Lake until July 1, 1882, when it became Creston. It was moved to the site of Creston in September, 1875. It was kept for a time half a mile farther north, but has always been in Cedar Creek Township. The first store started in this vicinity was opened in 1863, by Amos Edgerton, half a mile east of where Creston now stands. He sold goods here for three or four years, when A. D. Palmer bought him out. Mr. Palmer was burned out January 25, 1875 ; there was no insurance, and the whole investment was swept away. Mr. Palmer started at once to Chicago and had a new stock on hand the next day. Creston is situated a mile and a quarter south of Cedar Lake. The depot here was built during the winter of 1871-72. Taylor & Love started a store over the line in West Creek Township in 1877. It has changed hands several times, and is now owned by Cassius M. Taylor. Samuel Love & Sons built a hay barn here in 1881, at an expense of $2,000. A blacksmith shop was started in 1881 by the Shelow Brothers. Taylor & Palmer are running a lumber yard. The railroad company are having a great deal of trouble on the marsh north of Creston. Some of the piling have been driven to the depth of 150 feet without striking solid ground.
In the summer of 1837, the Methodists organized a class in the vicinity where Lowell now stands. Rev. Colclasier, a young man, was the minister who first preached to this small band of brethren. Rev. Baxter Beers was probably the next minister, and he was followed by Rev. Young, and he by Rev. Forbes. During this time the services were held during the week and at the houses of the settlers. Wayne Bryant and wife, Robert Hyde and wife, John Kitchel, B. Jennings, Mrs. Henry Sanger and Mrs. John Sanger were among the first members. The first meeting was held at Mr. Bryant's. The Clevelands came into the church in 1840. The church was a mission until 1841, when it became a circuit. Regular services have been kept up ever since. The society met in private houses and in schoolhouses until 1849, when they built a frame church a mile and three-quarters east of Lowell. H. Sanger gave the land, and a good-sized building was erected which is still standing, but has been used for a number of years as a barn. The society came next to Lowell, where they held services in the school house and in the Baptist Church. About 1858, some of the members drew off to attend services at Orchard Grove. In 1870, they completed the present brick church, at a cost of $4,000.
The Christian Church of Lowell was organized in 1841. J. L. Worley is the only one of the charter members of the church now living. Simeon Beadle and Sarah Beadle, his wife ; William Wells and Sarah, his wife ; Thomas Childers and Sarah, his wife, and J. L. Worley were the first members. At first the society had no church building, but met in dwellings. The first meeting was held at the house of William Wells where the society was organized. Nathan Coffinbury now at Sherburnville. Ill., organized the society. Some of the early ministers are Rev. Lewis Comer, Rev. John Sargeant, Rev. Lemuel Shortridge, who was the first to preach in the present brick church. He had, however, preached for the congregation before this building was built. The present building was begun in 1869, and the first meeting was held in February, 1870. The cost of the building was about $4,000. It stands on beautiful lots that were bought about the time that the war began. To this building Henry Dickinson gave $1,200 ; J. L. Worley, Ira Babcock and Orrin Beckwith gave liberally, while the community in general lent a helping hand. The first officers of the church were Simeon Beadle, Overseer ; and J. L. Worley, Deacon. The present officers are : Henry Dickinson and J. L. Worley, Overseers ; and Cyrus Dickinson, Deacon At the time when the church was built, there was a membership of fifty five. The present membership is forty. The society has probably had as many as twenty different ministers since the church was built. The last regular minister was Rev. Halloway, who was here a part of the year 1881. Before him the Rev. William Albertson served three years, at the end of which time he died. Rev. William Wheeler ministered to this people for two years before the time of Rev. Albertson. These three are about the only regular stationed ministers who have preached here except Rev. Shortridge, who was in charge at that time. On January 20, 1856, the Baptist Church of Lowell was organized. The following entries are from the church book:
January 19, 1856, a meeting of the West Creek Baptist Church being called for this day, having met at the Lowell Schoolhouse, it was resolved that the clerk give letters to all the remaining members, and the church be hereby disbanded."
At a meeting held at Lowell Schoolhouse January 19, 1856, present, besides the brethren designing to organize a church, J. M. Whitehead, of Door Village Church, and T. H. Ball, of Crown Point Church, it was resolved to organize on the morrow a Baptist Church to be known at the First Baptist Church of Lowell, met on the Sabbath according to arrangement. Members going into the organization ; by letter from West Creek Church, O. W. Graves, Achsah Graves, James A. Hunt, Fanny C. Hunt, Melvin A. Halsted, Martha C. Halsted, Rosana Barber ; by letter from Cedar Lake Church, Adeline Dumond, Mary Ann Blayney ; by letter from Rolling Prairie Church, John Hunt, Lucy Hunt ; by letter from Napoleon Church, Michigan, Munson Church ; by experience, J. Dumond. The hand of fellowship was given by Elder J. M. Whitehead ; charge by T. H. Ball ; Munson Church, was chosen Church Clerk. Rev. T. H. Ball, by vote of the church, became the first pastor. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse during the year 1856. During the same year, that generous, public-spirited gentleman, M. A. Halsted, built and deeded to the Baptists a brick church, which still stands as a substantial monument to his open-handed generosity and practical Christianity. Mr. Halsted inclosed, but did not finish the building. When finished, it cost about $2,000. The Catholics held their first meeting in Lowell during the year 1865, at the house of John Hack. The second services were held in Sigier's Hall in 1868, when one of the bishops preached. At this time a church was organized, and held its meetings in the brick factory building for a year or more. In 1871, the present frame church was built. This was not finished until within the present year. It cost about $1,000. For two years after the church was built, services were held once a month ; then for three years they had no services. After this the church was re-organized, and supported services once a month until January, 1882, when they arranged to have preaching once in two weeks, which arrangement is still continued. Rev. Ganzer is the present priest. The Methodist Episcopal Church at Creston was built in 1876 at a cost of $1,000. The first Trustees were A. H. Carstens, O. G. Taylor, Amos P. Thompson, Samuel Love and Robert Garrison. At first there were about sixty members, among whom were O. G. Taylor and wife, L. G. Cutler and wife, Samuel Love and wife, O. J. Thompson and wife, Daniel Lawrence and wife, and E. Scritchfield and wife. Rev. Baker organized the church, and Rev. Saunders, Rev. Henry Vincel and others have preached here. The present minister is the Rev. Straight. Cedar Lake Cemetery joins the church lot on the east. The first one buried here was a German named Schultz, who lived near the head of Cedar Lake. This was in 1846 or 1847. There are about 100 buried here.
Secret Societies and other Organizations.
Colfax Lodge, No. 378, of Masons, located at Lowell, has a charter bearing date of May 27, 1868. It had run for two years prior to that time under a dispensation. The first officers were: Joseph A. Clark, W. M.; James N. Moore, S. W.; C. M. Blachley, J. W. These were charter members with the exception of Blachley. The following are the names of the other charter members: Peter Burhans, K. N. Burnham, C. L. Templeton, Elias Ferguson, Samuel Ames, T. V. Frank, J. V. Bates and M. A. Halsted. The present officers are: J. N. Moore, W. M.; J. B.Wilkinson, S.W.; James E. Hale, J. W.; C. L. Templeton, Treasurer ; E. T. Hill, Secretary ; Charles Fuller, S. D.; Thomas Smith, J. D.; and W. F. Tuttle, Tiler. The present membership is fifty-nine, and the value of property $800. I. O. O. F., Lowell Lodge, No. 245, was organized January 11, 1866. The following are the ones who applied for the charter : Hiram P. Robbins, Henry Sanger, George M. Death, G. F. Sutton, John M. Scott and, John M. Death. The first and early members besides those named were James M. Moore, S. B. Taylor, R. W. Price, C. M. Blachley, Sidney Sanger, W. M. Halsted, J. H. Irish, William Pulver, James Doran, H. N. Clement, Geo. W. Waters, L. H. Westerman, Charles Groman, Simeon Sanger, Sanford Sanger, John Mendenhall and others. The first officers were : John M. Death, N. G.; G. F. Sutton, V. G.; John M. Scott, Recording Secretary ; James H. Sanger, Sr., Treasurer, and G. M. Death, Permanent Secretary. The appointed officers were : H. P. Robbins, R. S. N. G.; William Halsted, L. S. N. G.; R. W. Price, Conductor; James N. Moore, Warden; Sidney Sanger, R. S. S.; C. M. Blachley, L. S. S.; S. B. Taylor, Guardian, and James H. Sanger, Jr., R. S.V. G. The present officers are : H. N. Clement. N. G.; E. R. Bacon, V. G.; George W. Waters, Recording and Permanent Secretary; Jonah Thorne, Treasurer James Fuller, Warden ; F. W. Wood, Conductor ; George Fuller, Guardian and Samuel Miller, D. G. M. There has been at one time as many as 115 members, and not over a dozen deaths have occurred since its organization. The present membership is twenty-six. The property of the lodge is valued at $1,000.
Lowell Grange of Patrons of Husbandry, in 1873, had a membership of eighty. It is now non est. Various temperance organizations have existed here, among which was the Independent Order of Good Templars. The Woman's Temperance Reading Room Society was organized February 29, 1882, and on the 1st of March took possession of the room that they now occupy, and in which they keep a good supply of standard papers and periodicals for the use of the public free of charge. The first and present President of the society is Mrs. Denney. Mrs. Mary Post is Vice President. They started with an investment of $100, and a membership of thirty-two. The old Township Library is kept here, and some books and papers have been donated by those who feel an interest in the enterprise. The object of the association is to furnish healthful reading in a pleasant place, where the surroundings are such as to counteract, to some extent, the evil influences that swarm in every town and city.
[Source: "Counties of Porter and Lake Indiana" by Weston A. Goodspeed and Charles Blanchard, pub. 1882 - BZ - Transcribed and Contributed to Genealogy Trails by Friends for Free Genealogy]