History of Porter County Townships

In the chapter relating to Settlement and Organization, will be found the order of the board of county commissioners, issued in April, 1836, dividing the county into the ten townships of Lake, Jackson, Washington, Pleasant, Boone, Center, Liberty, Waverly, Portage and Union. In the years following numerous changes were made in the boundary lines; some of the original townships have disappeared; new ones were created and again disorganized, until 1880, when the present twelve townships were established.

At the May meeting of the board in 1836, only one month after the erection of the first townships, the northern boundary of Pleasant town-ship "was extended west to the center of the great marsh dividing Horse and Morgan prairies," and the western boundary extended from that point'1 south with the center of the marsh to the Kankakee river.1' The eastern boundary of Boone township was fixed 1' at the west side of said marsh." In June, 1836, the citizens of Lake and Waverly townships presented a petition to the board asking that the two townships be united. The commissioners granted the petition, Lake and "Waverly dis-appeared from the map of Porter county, and the territory comprising them was erected intc the township of Westchester. T he following year the west half of section 29, township 35, range 5, was taken from Washington and attached to Center. In March 1839, the west half of sections 17 and 20 in the same township and range was likewise taken from Washington and added to Center, but in May 1840, all this territory was restored to Washington township.

By an order of the board in March, 1838, "all the territory of Porter county west of the marsh dividing Morgan and Horse prairies, and between the line dividing townships 33 and 34 and the line dividing townships 34 and 35" was organized as Fish Lake township. The name of this township was changed to Porter in June, 1341, In March, 1841, township 37, and fractional township 38, in range 5, were taken from Westchester township and erected into a new township called Berry. This arrangement did not please the people of Westchester, and at the June term they presented a petition to the board setting forth that the division of the township was "injudicious and uncalled for, and is inconvenient for the citizens of your township generally,'' and asking that the order be revoked. This petition was signed by Enos Thomas, W. P. Ward, Guftm Hulbert, William Knapp, John Millard ,William Coleman, David Price, William P. Jacobs, Brazilla Millard, Rufus Pierce, Joseph Clark, Daniel Hulbert, Henry Hageman, William Thomas, John Thomas, Allen Blair, James Thomas, Samuel Wheeler, Thomas Frazier, Vincent Thomas and Edmund Tratebas.  After hearing the petition, the board ordered "That the above petition be granted, and that the order for the division of Westchester township, and for the establishment of Berry township, made at the March term of this board, 1841, be rescinded, and that the elections hereafter be held at former place."

It was at that term that the name of Fish Lake township was changed to Porter, and the boundary line between Pleasant, Boone and Porter was fixed as follows: "Commencing at the northwest corner of section 2, township 34, range 6; thence south to the southwest corner of section 14, township 33, range 6; thence west one mile, and thence south to the Kankakee river."

Several changes were made at the February term in 1847. Section 1 to 6, inclusive, in township 36, all of township 37, and fractional township 38, range 5, were taken to form a new township to be known as Calumet.   This included all of the present township of Pine, a strip two miles wide off the east side of Westchester, and two square miles in the northern part of Jackson.   At the same time Westchester township was defined as including all of township 37, range 6, and the east half of township 37, range 7.   Liberty township was given its present form and dimensions, except that sections 1, 2, 3 and 4, township 36, range 6, then belonged to that township.  These four sections were given to Westchester in December, 1852.   In June, 1847, Westchester township was reduced in size,'1 all that part lying west of the line dividing ranges 6 and 7, and sections 29 and 32, township 37, range 6," being attached to Portage township.

A petition was presented to the board of commissioners in August, 1848, asking for the erection of a new township to be composed of territory taken from Jackson, Liberty, Westchester and Pine, but a determined opposition developed and the board refused to grant the petition and issue an order for the formation of the township. No more changes were made until in February, 1850, when sections 29, 30, 31 and 32, township 37, range 6, and sections 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36, township 37, range 7, were added to the township of Portage. These sections constitute a strip two miles in width across the southern part of the present township. At the same session of the board Essex township was created by taking a strip one and a half miles wide off the east side of Morgan township. Essex was so named for the vessel commanded by Commodore David Porter in the War of 1812. As originally created it contained but nine square miles, being a mile and a half wide from east to west and six miles long from north to south. Subsequently the western boundary was extended to a line marking the center of township 34, thus giving it an area of eighteen square miles.

Pine township was established in June, 1852, when Westchester was divided "by a line commencing at the southwest corner of section 5, township 36, range 5, thence running north on the section line to Lake Michigan," all the territory east of that line being attached to Pine township and that west of it remaining as Westchester.

Sections 23, 26 and 35, township 36, range 6, were added to Porter township by order of the board in March, 1855, and no further alterations were made in township lines until in March, 1864, when for some reason a strip a quarter of a mile wide and a mile long—the east half of the east half of section 30, township 35, range 5— was taken from Center and added to Washington. This strip was restored to Center in December, 1868. In September, 1864, sections 3 and 4, township 36, range 5, were taken from Pine and added to Jackson. In 1880 a petition signed by sixty-seven citizens of Essex and Morgan townships was presented to the board asking for the consolidation of the two townships. Essex was accordingly abolished, the territory attached to Morgan, and since that time there has been no change in township lines. The twelve townships of Porter county are Boone, Center, Jackson, Liberty, Morgan, Pine, Pleasant, Portage, Porter, Union, Washington and Westchester.


Boone township, situated in the southwest corner of the county, was created by the county commissioners at their first meeting in April, 1836. though the boundary lines were changed several times before the township assumed its present form.  It is bounded on the north by Por-ter township; on the east by Pleasant; south by the Kankakee river, which separates it from Jasper county, and on the west by Lake county. Its area is approximately thirty-six square miles.   The surface slopes gently toward the Kankakee river on the south.   At first, the township was a fine prairie, with fine groves of timber scattered here and there, soft maple, elm, hickory and black walnut being the principal varieties of forest trees.   Some of the land lies in the Kankakee swamp region, but by scientific and systematic ditching much of this land has been reclaimed, and practically the entire township is under cultivation. There are no mineral deposits worthy of mention, hence agriculture is the principal occupation of the inhabitants.   The soil is above the average in fertility and large crops of hay, cereals, potatoes and other vegetables are raised.

The first permanent settlers in the township were Jesse Johnston, Isaac Cornell and Simeon Bryant, all of whom came in the year 1836 in the order named. The next year Thomas Dinwiddie, Absalom Morris, Orris Jewett, Solomon and James Dilley brought their families and settled near those who had come the preceding year. Other early settlers were John Prin, Thomas Johnson, Jennings Johnson, Frederick Wineinger, William Bissell, George Eisley, William Johnson, A. D. McCord, John Moore, John W. Dinwiddie, John Oliver, Amos Andrews, Joseph Laird, T. C. Sweeney, E. W. Palmer and a man named Bricer, all of whom had located in the township by the close of the year 1837.

When the board of county commissioners established the first townships, an election was ordered in Boone for the last day of April for one justice of the peace.  This election was held at the house of Jesse Johnston and seven votes were cast, of which Mr. Johnston received six and Aschel Neal, one.   Another election was held at the same place on September 24,1836, for one justice of the peace, when John W. Dinwiddie was elected without opposition, receiving the seven votes cast.  At this election Jesse Johnston was inspector; Joseph Laird and William Bissel were judges; John W. Dinwiddie and Isaac Cornell, clerks. Besides these five members of the election board, the only two voters were A. D. MeCord and John Moore, though there were then in the township twenty men who were entitled to vote.

The first birth was that of Margaret Bryant—April 16, 1837. Harriet Dinwiddie, the youngest child in a large family, died the same year and was the first death in the township. The first marriage is believed to be that of James Dilley and Sarah Richards, though the date cannot be ascertained. Orris Jewett, one of the early settlers above mentioned, was a blacksmith, and for several years his shop was the only one in Boone township. The few settlers who brought their families with them felt the need of educational facilities for their children, and in 1837 they erected a log school house of the most primitive pattern in which a school was taught in the fall of that year, but the name of the teacher seems to have been forgotten. A Presbyterian church was organized in July, 1838, by a minister named Hannan, and after a few years the old school house was abandoned and the church building used for school purposes. In 1840 a second school house was built about a mile and a half southwest of the present town of Hebron. It was also a log structure, about 18 by 20 feet in size. The third school house in the township was built on the northeast corner of section 15, township 33, range 7, in 1842, and Mary Crossman was the first teacher. Two years later the building was burned. Some of the early teachers were Ellen Hemes, Amos Andrews, James Turner, Eliza Russell, Sarah Richards, Rhoda Wallace, George Espy and Alexander Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton afterward studied law and became a prominent attorney in the city of Chicago. The first frame school house in the township was located two miles east of Hebron. In May, 1853, a meeting was held for the purpose of determining whether a special tax for the support of free schools should be levied. Fourteen votes were cast, ten of which were against the levy and four in favor of it, so the proposition failed to carry and the old school system was continued in operation. In 1854, the highest amount received from the state school fund by any district in the township was $43.00, and the lowest was $12.62.   For the school year of 1911-12 there were eight teachers employed in the Hebron high school and five in the district schools. In the high school M. E. Dinsmore was superintendent; Elizabeth Patton, principal; and the teachers were R. M. Hamilton, Thomas G. Scott, Maggie Rex, Neva Nichols, Emma Morgan and Hattie Felton. Outside of the high school the teachers for the year were: District No. 1 (Malone), Grace Ling; District No. 2 (Aylesworth), Ruby Wood; District No. 6 (Bryant), Edna Dilley; District No. 7 (Tannehill), Bess Hawbrook; District No. 8 (Prye), Mabel Wheeler.

At the time the first white men came to Boone township, there were still a number of Indians living there, and in a few instances they showed a disposition to make trouble for the settlers, notwithstanding they had ceded their lands to the United States in 1832.   A story is told of how old chief Shaw-ne-quo-ke came to the cabin of Simeon Bryant one day in 1836 while the "men folks" were absent and demanded that the white men vacate the Indian "hunting grounds." Taking a piece of chalk, the old chief drew a rude circle upon the floor, and then explained in the Indian tongue that all the land within a radius of five miles belonged to the people of his tribe. As Mrs. Bryant made no move toward giving up her frontier home, the Indian grew incensed, and seizing a butcher knife threatened to kill her if she did not leave immediately.  The woman's screams awakened two large dogs that lay asleep in the cabin, and this fortunate circumstance doubtless saved her life. The dogs attacked the Indian with such vigor that his designs upon Mrs. Bryant were thwarted, and as soon as he could get away from the ferocious animals he beat a hasty retreat to the Indian encampment.   A few years later the red men were removed to their reservations west of the Mississippi river, leaving the white men in undisputed possession of their homes.

For a quarter of a century after the first settlement, the population increased but slowly, with the exception of a tide of immigration in the latter '40s. Dr. Griffin, who settled at Walnut Grove in 1838, was probably the first physician in the township. When the railroad came through in 1863 a large number of people came with it, most of them settling in the vicinity of Hebron. Since then the growth has been gradual but substantial.

The town of Hebron had its beginning in 1844, when John Alyea laid out three lots of one acre each at the cross-roads a mile east of the Lake county line, where the Presbyterians had erected a small church some four of five years before. The next year a man namud Bagley built a log house there—the first dwelling in Hebron. That year Mr. Blain, . the Presbyterian mininster, succeeded in having a postoffice located at the "Corners" as the place had been known up to that time, and the name of Hebron was given to the postofiice, Mr. Blain being appointed the first postmaster. In 1846 Samuel Alyea built the second house and put in a small stock of goods. His store was about forty yards from the crossroads, but a year or two later he formed a partnership with E. W. Palmer and a new store was erected near the junction of the roads. An addition was made to the town in 1849 by Mr. James, who laid out several half-acre lots south and east of the eross-roads. West of this addition the Siglar brothers laid out a tier of lots in section 15 in 1852. In 1864, when the railroad was completed through the town, the Siglars also laid out a considerable addition in sections 10,11 and 15. Three years later, Patrick's addition was laid out in the southeast quarter of section 10. The first brick building in Hebron was the residence of Daniel Siglar, which was built in 1867. Sweeney & Son built the first brick business building in 1875. It was two stories in height, the upper story being used as the town hall. The first hotel was opened by Samuel McCune in 1849. After him the house was successively conducted by Tazwell Rice, Harvey Allen and John Skelton. In 1865 the Pratt House was opened by Burrell Pratt. About two years later he sold the house to another Mr. Pratt —no relation of his—who kept it for two years. The house then changed hands several times, being conducted by John Brey, John Gordon, Harvey Allen and John Siglar, the last named taking charge in 1879, when he changed the name to the Bates House. Henry Smith started a hotel near the railroad station in 1866.  He was succeeded by a Mr. Winslow, and when he went out of business the house was purchased by a man named Poole, who converted it into a dwelling. The Central House, built in 1878 by John Skelton, was operated as a hotel for over two years, when it was also turned into a residence. Bumstead's County Directory for 1911-12 gives but one hotel in Hebron—the Commercial, kept by Otto Wharton. A newspaper called the Free Press was started at Hebron in September, 1878, by H. R. Gregory.   The next year the name was changed to the Local News, and in 1880 the publication office was removed to Lowell, Lake county. Dr. John K. Blackstone was the first physician to locate in the town. He was soon followed by Dr. S. R. Pratt. Other early physicians were Andrew J. Sparks and Dr. Sales. In July, 1838, Bethlehem church of Associate Reform Presbyterians was organized by a minister named Hannan. The Methodists had been holding meetings for a year or more previous to that date, and a congregation was regularly organized by Rev. Jacob Colclasier in the latter part of 1837. The Old Style Presbyterians organized in 1860; the Union Mission Church in 1877; a Congregational church in 1882, and a Christian church some years later.   (For a more detailed account of these churches see the chapter on Religious History.)

The first attempt to incorporate the town of Hebron was in the year 1874.  This was followed by two other unsuccessful efforts, and it was not until 1886 that the town was incorporated.   On Agust 1, 1886, a census was taken by Aaron W. Fehrman, and a petition signed by seventy-four residents was filed with the county commissioners praying for incorporation. With the petition was also filed a map of the proposed town, embracing 186.08 acres in the southeast quarter of section 10, the southwest quarter of section 11, the northwest quarter of section 14, and the northeast quarter of section 15, all in township 33, range 7. The census report showed a population of 663 within the corporate limits as defined by the map. At the September term the board of commissioners granted the petition, subject to a vote of the people, and ordered an election to be held for that purpose on Saturday, October 2, 1886. At that election a majority of the electors expressed themselves as in favor of the project, and Hebron became an incorporated town. Since that time the growth of Hebron has been gradual, the United States census reports showing a population of 689 in 1890; 794 in 1900, and 821 in 1910. A number of the leading secret orders are represented in the town, to wit: Hebron Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Spencer-Baker Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star; Hebron Tent, Knights of the Maccabees; Court Hebron, Independent Order of Forestors; Hebron Camp, Modern Woodmen of America; Hebron Lodge, Knights of Pythias; Hebron Temple of the Pythian Sisters; Shiloh Camp, Sons of Veterans, and Walters Post, Grand Army of the Republic. A lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized there at a comparatively early date, but it was allowed to lapse, and the records concerning it have apparently been lost.   According to Bumstead's County Directory, already referred to, the town government for 1911-12 was composed of &. W. Blanchard, president; Roy Rathburn, clerk; O. E. Bagley, treasurer ; I. V. Fry and B. F. Nichols, trustees, and E. F. Phillips, marshal. Among the business concerns are the Citizens' Bank, the Hebron Telephone Company, a butter and cheese factory, the Hebron Lumber Com-pany, the implement house of A. V. Phillips, the hardware store of W. F. Morgan, four general stores, the Commercial Hotel and the Hebron News. There are also livery stables, jewelry and drug stores, a bakery, millinery stores, a confectioner, and the town has its quota of physicians, dentists, etc. The Hebron postofBce is authorized to issue international money orders, and three rural delivery routes supply mail daily surrounding agricultural districts.

Boone township is well supplied with transportation facilities by the Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company, which operates a double track line through the township, entering on the east two miles south of the northern boundary and running due west to Hebron, where it turns northwest and crosses the west line of the county one mile north of Hebron. Aylesworth is a flag station on this road, four miles east of Hebron, and with the exception of a small portion of the southwest corner, no part of the township is more than three miles from the railroad. There are over twenty miles of macadamized road in the township, most of the lines leading to Hebron, so that the farmers have splendid opportunities for marketing their produce.


This township, one of the original ten organized on April 12, 1836, was so named because it occupies the central portion of the county. Several changes have been made in the original boundaries, and at the present time the dimensions of the township are five miles east and west and six miles north and south, giving it an area of thirty square miles. It is bounded on the north by the township of Liberty; east by Washington ; south by Morgan and Porter, and west by Union.   Being situated upon the high ridge or moraine that separates the valley of the Calumet river on the north from the valley of the Kankakee on the south, the surface is undulating and the soil is generally of clay, or of clay and sand alternately.   Marl beds and peat bogs are found in the Salt creek valley, and iron ore exists in smalt quantities near the city of Valparaiso, but none of these deposits has been developed. Flint Lake lies near the northwest corner, Bull's Eye or Round Lake is just west of the Chesterton road, about two miles northwest of Valparaiso, and Sager's Lake is situated in the southeastern suburbs of that city. When the first white men came to the township, they found considerable forests of hard and soft maple, black and white walnut, hickory, elm, baas wood and several varieties of oak, but most of the native timber has been cleared off to make way for the fields of the husbandmen. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the inhabitants, and the crops grown are of the same general character as those of the other townships in the central and southern parts of the county.

During the Indian occupancy of the region now comprising Porter county, there was in the western part of Laporte county an opening between two tracts of timbered land. To this opening the early French traders gave the name of La Porte—"The Gate." Over the prairie thus named ran the trail leading from the Kankakee river in Illinois to the Great Lakes. Later the English conferred upon it the name Door Prairie, and the little town which grew up there took the name of Door Village. Some of the early settlers, as they worked their way westward into Porter county, passed through the "Door" and established their frontier homes, some of them locating in Center township. At that time there was a small Indian village of some dozen lodges located on the west side of section 19, township 35, range 5, between the present Laporte pike and the Grand Trunk railway, less than one mile east of Valparaiso. This village was known as Chiqua's Town, from an old Pottawatomie Indian bearing that name. Chiqua had at one time been an influential chief in his tribe, but a few years before the treaty of 1832 his love for 11 firewater " had led him to indulge in a protracted drunk, and while intoxicated his hut was destroyed by fire, his squaw losing her life in the flames.   For his dissolute habits he was deprived of his chieftanship, but a few of his friends remained true to him, and these, seceding from the main body of the tribe, established the village under Chiqua's leadership.

Some time in the late summer or early fall of 1833 Seth Hull lo-cated a claim on or near the site of this village, thereby becoming the first white settler in Center township.   He remained but a short time, selling his claim to J. S. Wallace and going on farther west. Thomas A. E. Campbell took a claim east of Hull's, near the Washington township line, and built a cabin, but soon afterward went back to New York state, where he remained until 1835. Some of the settlers who came in the year 1834 were Benjamin McCarty, who settled on section 22 on the Joliet road; Ruel Starr, who located his claim in the eastern part of the township; Philander A. Paine, who built his cabin on the northeast quarter of section 23, and his father, who located east of the Salt creek bridge on the Joliet road and began the erection of a sawmill, which was never finished. The same year a man named Nise settled on the northwest quarter of section 24, about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the public square in Valparaiso, but soon afterward sold out to a German by the name of Charles Minnick. In this year came also J. P. Ballard, who erected the first building within the present city limits of Valparaiso. Among those who came in 1835 may be mentioned C. A. Ballard, Alanson Finney and Samuel A. Shigley. The first settled on the northwest quarter of section 25, Mr. Finney located his claim west of Ruel Starr's, and Mr. Shigley built a sawmill on the site afterward occupied by William Sager's flour mill, the first sawmill in the township. When Thomas A. E. Campbell returned to the county in 1835, instead of perfecting title to his claim in the eastern part of Center township, he bought out Philander A. Paine and settled on the northeast quarter of section 23, where he passed the remainder of his life.

In dividing the county into civil townships, the board of county commissioners ordered an election to be held on the last day of April, 1836, for justices of the peace. In Center township the election was held at the house of C. A. Ballard. Thirteen votes were polled, of which Ruel Starr received nine votes and was declared elected. His opponents were G. Z. Salyer and John McConnell. At the May meeting of the board it was decided to give Center township an additional justice of the peace, and an election was held at the same place on May 28, 1836, when G. Z. Salyer received eight out of fifteen votes. At the presidential election on November 8,1836, General Harrison received fifty-nine votes and Martin Van Buren received forty-five.   At the state election in August, 1837, there were 126 votes cast, of which David Wallace received 101. In 1840 the total number of votes cast at the presidential election was 287, General Harrison receiving 149. This increase in the voting strength during the first five years of the township's history will give the reader some idea of the growth in population during the same period.

The first birth and the first death in the township are uncertain. The first marriage was that of Richard Henthorne to Jane Spurlock, May 5, 1836, Rev. Cyrus Spurlock, who was also county recorder, officiating. About 1838 a man named Kinsey put up a wool carding mill about a mile and a half south of Valparaiso. It was operated by water power, the water being conveyed through a large hollow log to an overshot wheel. Mr. Kinsey also put in a small pair of buhrs for grinding wheat and corn on certain days,  A year or two later a second carding mill was erected by Jacob Axe on Salt creek, a short distance above Shigley'b sawmill.   The flour mill later owned by William Sager was built by William Cheney in 1841.  Eleven years later Mr. Cheney and Truman Freeman built a small flour mill in the southern part of Valparaiso, though at that time the mill site was outside the corporate limits of the town. Another pioneer mill was a steam sawmill at Flint Lake, erected by a man named Allen, though the exact date cannot be learned. It was supplied with two boilers, each twenty-eight feet long and forty-four inches in diameter. In 1863 one of the boilers blew up, the boiler being thrown some 500 feet and landing in the marsh at the lower end of the lake. The remaining boiler was subsequently removed to Valparaiso to be used in the paper mill. The first tan-yard in the township, and probably the first in the county, was established by a Mr. Hatch just south of Valparaiso in 1843.  A steam tannery was started by a man named Gerber on a lot south of the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago railroad about a year before the beginning of the Civil war.  The entire plant was destroyed by fire in 1874, and since that date there has been no tanning done in the city.

When the corner-stone of the court-house was laid in October, 1883, Aaron Parks was township trustee; Temple Windle, John Dunning and Morris Robinson, justices of the peace, and David C. Herr, assessor. These officers were elected in April, 1882, before the spring elections were abolished by law. At that time there were eight school districts in the township outside of the city of Valparaiso. In the school year of 1911-12 there were six districts in the township, the schools being taught by the following teachers: District No. 1 (Flint Lake), Grace Banta, No. 2 (Cook's Corners), Mabel Laforce; No. 3 (St. Clair), Rebecca Bartholomew; No. 4 (Clifford), Hazel MeNay; No. 6 (Hayes), Stella Bennett; No. 7 (Leonard), Eathryn Anderson.

More than three-quarters of a century have elapsed since the first white man settled in Center township, but there are still left a few old persons who can remember the conditions, the labors and the amusements of those early days.   Game was abundant and the trusty rifle of the frontiersman was depended upon to furnish a goodly portion of the family's meat supply.   The log-rolling, the house-raising and the holiday shooting match afforded opportunities for the settlers to get together, and on such occasions there were wrestling or boxing matches and other tests of physical strength.   The few Indians who remained in the country were generally peaceful, and there were no hair-raising experiences of savage raids, accompanied by burning cabins, murdered women and children, or stolen live stock.  Upon the whole the life of the Center township pioneers was uneventful.   Through the spring and summer they toiled amid their crops:   When the wheat was threshed—with the flail or the old "ground-hog"—it was hauled to Michigan City, where it was rarely sold for more than fifty cents per bushel.

Now, all is changed.   The market is at the farmer's door. The Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago, the New York, Chicago & St. Louis, and the Grand Trunk railways traverse the county, all passing through Valparaiso, and in the township there are more than forty miles of ex-cellent macadamized highway, most of the roads centering at the county seat.   Where the farmer formerly hauled twenty bushels of wheat thirty or forty miles to Michigan City, he can now take sixty bushels over an improved, modern highway a distance of from two to four miles, and in a few hours that wheat is in the great grain mart of Chicago, where it commands the highest market price.   The log cabin has given way to the brick or frame dwelling house; the tallow candle has been supplanted by the kerosene lamp, acetylene gas or the electric light, and the automobile now skims across the country where the ox-team was wont to plod its weary way.  Such has been the march of civilization and progress in Center township.   Including the city of Valparaiso, the population of the township in 1850 was 1,012; in 1860 it was 2,745; by 1870 it had increased to 4,159; in 1880 it was 5,957; in 1890 it was 6,062; in 1900 it had reached 7,222, and in 1910 it was 7,971.


Jackson township, one of the eastern tier, is bounded on the north by the townships of Pine and Westchester; on the east by Laporte county; on the south by Washington township, and on the west by Liberty and Westchester. Its greatest extent from north to south is six miles, and from east to west, five miles.   The northern boundary is somewhat irregular, two sections in the northeast corner having been given to Pine township when it was organized, and one section in the northwest corner has been added to the township of Westchester.  The township was established by the first board of county commissioners on April 12, 1836, and with the slight changes in boundary lines as above noted remains as originally created.  The area of the township is twenty-seven square miles. As Jackson township lies in the morainic belt, the surface is hilly, and in some places broken.   Especially is this true of sections 13, 14 and 15, where the many bowlders show the glacial origin of this section of the county. On section 16 there is a small lake, some five acres in area, the waters of which are quite deep.  South of the Cady marsh in the same section is another small lake.  Through the southern part of the township runs the water-shed which divides the basin of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi valley.   The soil is variable, owing to the rough, hilly surface and the glacial formation, several kinds of soil often being found in the same field. As a rule, the township is better adapted to fruit growing and stock raising than to the regular lines of agriculture, though in some portions good crops of wheat, oats and corn are raised without difficulty.   Heavy timber covered the entire surface at the time the first settlers came to the township. This timber was in the way of the pioneer farmer and much of it was felled and burned to bring the land under cultivation. After the completion of the Wabash and Baltimore & Ohio railroads, a great deal of cord wood was shipped to Chicago. There is still some timber, but enough has been wasted to buy all the land in the township, had a suitable market been available in the early days.

According to the historical sketch deposited in the corner-stone of the court-house in 1883, the township was named *1 for and in honor of an old settler, Lemuel Jackson." This statement has been questioned by old settlers, who claim that it was named for Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans and president of the United States at the time Porter county was created. The latter theory is borne out by the following from the Western Ranger of August 11, 1847:'(The strong Federal township in this county is called Jackson. This is disgraceful. A township in which three-fourths of the people are Federalists and Abolitionists should never bear the name of the illustrious Jackson! Some of our friends have suggested that the name be changed to Tom Corwin, and we go for it distinctly. No name would be more suitable."

Early in the year 1834 Asahel K. Paine selected a claim and built the first cabin in Jackson, thereby becoming the first settler in the township. The second settler was John P. Noble, who came in April, 1834, and in June H. E. "Woodruff located in the township. Before the close of the year the colony had been increased by the addition of Calvin Crawford, Joseph Wright, Johnson Crawford, Samuel Olinger, Lemuel Jackson, E. Casteel and a few others. A number of settlers came in 1835, among them William Barnard, Benjamin Malsby and William Eaton. Pursuant to the order of the board of county commissioners, an election for justice of the peace was held at the house of Asahel K. Paine on April 30, and H. E. Woodruff was elected to the office. Lemuel Jackson, who had been elected associate judge, resigned his position, and on December 24, 1836, a special election was held at the house of William Eaton to choose his successor. At that election forty votes were cast, showing the steady tide of immigration to Jackson township during the preceding two years. Seneca Ball received every one of the forty votes. In 1837 Jesse McCord arrived in the township and established a blacksmith shop on section 26, about a mile and a half southwest of Clear Lake. The first tavern was opened by a man named Page in 1836. It was located south of Page marsh, which was named for him, was a log structure, and had in connection a large log stable for the accommodation of the horses ridden or driven by travelers. George A. Garard says this was the only tavern ever conducted in the township, and that was discontinued on account of a change in the road which diverted travel to another route. However, a man named Shinabarger settled on the site where Steamburg afterward grew up and opened a house of entertainment for travelers late in the year 1836, though he did not claim to keep a regular tavern. Lemuel Jackson built a sawmill on Coffee creek about 1835—the first in the township—and for some years did a good business in sawing lumber for the settlers.   Sawmills were built by Samuel Olinger and Abraham Hall in 1838. Associated with Hall was a man named Dilley. Farther down Coffee creek was Casteel's saw and grist mill.   Near this mill a man named Enox started a distillery, but it was burned in 1849 by the bursting of the boiler and was never rebuilt. Smith & Becker built a grist mill with two run of buhrs for wheat and one for corn, on Coffee creek in 1856, and twenty-five years later it was the only mill in the township.

The first school was taught in a log cabin located on section 26, on the farm afterward owned by John P. Noble.  The first regular school house was erected in 1838, about a mile and a half east of the center of the township.  It was a log cabin, 16 by 18 feet in size, equipped with the customary 4'Yankee fireplace" and greased paper for windows. Jane Jones was the first teacher in this house. The second school house was built in 1846. In 1883, when the corner-stone of the court house was laid, there were seven districts in the township.  The historical sketch deposited in the corner-stone was written by Oliver Stell, who was at that time trustee of the township.   He was born in Warren county, Ohio, December 30, 1816, came with his parents to Indiana in 1821, and to Jackson township, Porter county, in 1844.  In the course of that sketch he says: "In the year. 1882 the acreage of wheat was 2,643; oats, 755; corn, 2,468, and potatoes, 150.  The number of pounds of pork raised was 931,400; wool, 4,593, and butter, 36,450. At the election of 1882 there were 263 votes polled; at the election of 1836 there were 42 votes polled, showing an increase of 221 votes in forty-six years."

Several small villages sprang up in Jackson township as the population grew. Jackson Center received its name from the township and its central location therein. A poatoffice was established there in 1856, with E. H. Johnson as postmaster. The first store there was opened by J. S. Sanders in 1874. Two years later he sold out to a Mr. Hill, who in turn sold to John Sackman in 1881. Steamburg was located near the southern boundary, about two miles west of the Laporte line. When the Baltimore & Ohio railroad was built, about 1875, a railroad station was established at Coburg, just across the line in Washington township. The people of Steamburg nearly all moved over to the new station, and Steamburg ceased to exist. Suman, or Sumanville, is a small station on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, about three miles northwest of Coburg. It was established as a postoffice about the time the railroad was completed, with Col. I. C. B. Suman as postmaster, from whom it derived its name. A store was started by a man named Jones when the railroad was built, but not meeting with the patronage he expected, he gave up the enterprise after a few months. Another store was started in 1881 and met the same fate. Burdick is the most important village and the only postoffice in the township, the other offices having been discontinued upon the introduction of the rural delivery system. It is located on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railroad in the northwestern part of the township and has a population of about seventy-five. A public school is located here, the postoffice is authorized to issue money orders, and the village is a trading and shipping point for the surrounding rural districts.

For the school years 1911-12 there were nine teachers employed in the public schools. In the township high school at Jackson Center Ida Recktenwali was principal and Hazel Bundy, assistant. In the district schools the teachers were as follows: No. 1 (Quakerdom), Louisa Malchow; No. 2 (Carter's), Judith Lindwallj No. 4 (Taylor school), Ethel Rands; No. 6 (Coburg). Lucy Mander; No. 7 (Bogue), Alta Ilerrold; No. 8, (Burdick), Mary Belger; No. 9 (County Line), Carolyn Whitiock.

School No. 1, known as the Quaker school, or Quakerdom, takes its name from the fact that at an early date a number of Friends, or Quakers, as they are commonly called, settled in that locality and established a of years as a "meeting-house." Little can be learned concerning this old Quaker settlement, as the old settlers are all dead and most of their descendants have removed to other fields of labor. Some years before the Civil war, the Methodists purchased the old school house at Jackson Center and enlarged it by an addition so as to render it available for church purposes. Chancey Moore, one of the early teachers, was class leader here for several years.

Two lines of railroad cross the township in a northwesterly direction, almost parallel to each other. The "Wabash crosses the eastern boundary of the county near Clear Lake, runs thence northwest to Morris, and thence west, leaving the township near the northwest corner. The Baltimore & Ohio enters the township on the south, two miles west of the Laporte county line and runs northwest, crossing the western boundary one mile east of Woodville. A third railroad—the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern—crosses the extreme northern part, through Burdick. These lines, with the stations of Coburg, Suman, Morris, Burdick and Woodville within easy reach of all parts of the township afford ample transportation facilities. There are about twelve miles of macadamized road in Jackson township. For some time after the organization of the township there was a gradual increase in the. population, but in the last twenty years there has been a slight decrease. This is due to the same causes that have affected so many rural communities. Young men leave the farms to seek their fortunes in the cities, and others, lured by the prospects of cheap lands in the West, have removed to the newer states beyond the Mississippi. In 1890 the population of the township was 1,009; in 1900 it was 938, and in 1910 it had fallen to 894.


This township was created by the board of county commissioners at its first session in April, 1836. It lies in the northern part of the county and is bounded on the north by Westchester township; east by Jackson: south by Center, and west by Portage. It is exactly five miles square and contains an area of twenty-five square miles. The surface is generally level, with some swamp lands in the western and northwestern portions. When drained this land produces large crops of grain and hay. The soil is a dark loam, running to clay in places. Long Lake, in the southeast corner, is connected with Flint lake in Center township by a narrow channel ; Coffee creek flows across the northwestern portion, and Salt creek runs along the western border, or rather across the southwest corner and thence along the western border. The latter stream furnishes some water-power, and in one place widens to form a pond of considerable size. Originally, the land was heavily timbered with oak, hickory, maple, ash, elm, black walnut, butternut, white wood and some minor varieties, but very little of the native timber remains, except in the swamp districts which have not yet been brought under cultivation.

Probably more trouble occurred over the land titles and claims in Liberty township than in all the rest of Porter county. Through the treaties with the Pottawatomie Indians, the government granted to certain individual members of that tribe small reservations, known as "floats," varying in size from a quarter section to a section, and in some cases even more. These "floats" could be bought of the Indian or halfbreed owners for a trifle, and shrewd speculators took advantage of the situation to purchase a number of them for the purpose of selling them to actual settlers at a handsome profit. As the Indians to whom they had been reserved rarely occupied them, white men located upon them, not knowing the real state of the title. After the occupant had made some improvement the speculator would appear upon the scene and demand a price that was often beyond the means of the settler to pay, or his immediate removal from the land. In the one case the speculator could receive a price for the land much greater than he had paid for it, and in the other he became possessed of the improvements made by the settler without cost to himself. Several petitions were sent to Washington praying for relief, but the government was slow to act and the pernicious system went on until it culminated in what is known as the "Snavely war." William Crawford located upon one of these Indian tracts—a quarter section in the northeast part of the township—but subsequently sold it to William Snavely. A little later Peter White laid claim to the land and asked the assistance of the law to dispossess Snavely. Charles G. Merrick, who had been elected sheriff of the county in 1838, organized a posse, and, pursuant to the order of the court, went to Snavely a for the purpose of evicting him. Snavely barricaded himself in his cabin, and he and his sons, well armed, put up a spirited defense. Unable to gain admittance through the doors or windows, the sheriff ordered some of his men to climb to the top of the house and tear off the roof. No sooner had they begun to remove the clapboards than Snavely fired through the opening and wounded one of the men. This had the tendency to stop active operations on the part of the sheriff and his men, and Snavely, thinking he had killed the man, made an attempt to escape. He was overtaken, captured and taken to the county jail, where he remained until his victim recovered from the wound, which was only a slight one, when he was released upon payment of a fine and a promise to relinquish the land. Some years after his death, his heirs received a portion of the value of the improvements made by Snavely while in possession.

Trouble also resulted through the methods practiced by speculators at the public land sale at Laporte in 1835. The "land-sharks" were there with long purses, anxious to get possession of the most valuable tracts, not for the purpose of establishing homes upon them and bringing them under cultivation, but merely to hold them until some actual settler would be forced to buy at a large profit to the original purchaser. Liberty township, with its heavy growth of timber, offered special attractions to these men. In order to gain an opportunity to purchase the lands at a low price they frequently gave a quarter section to those seeking a home not to bid against them. Then by collusion among themselves they "bought the lands for a song.'' Those to whom the quarter sections had been given as bribe not to bid went upon their lands, built houses and founded homes. Every improvement of this character created a demand for other lands in the township and gave the speculators an excuse for advancing prices. As most of the land in the township was owned by the speculators, settlers sought claims elsewhere, and Liberty was slow in developing.

Owen Crumpacker is credited with being the first settler in the township. He came from Union county, Indiana, in June, 1834, and was soon followed by William Downing and Jerry Todhunter. During the next two years John Dillingham, E. P. Cole, William Gosset, George Hesing, Asa Zane, Ira Biggs, David Hughart, Solomon Habanz, John White, Abram Snodgrass, Frederick Wolf, John Sefford, William Calhoun, Daniel Kesler and a few others located within the present limits of the township. Three settlements were formed by these pioneers. One known as the Dillingham settlement was in the eastern part; the Zane settlement near the center, and the Salt creek settlement in the western portion. Soon after his arrival in 1836, William Gosset built a saw and grist mill on Salt creek, and with the first lumber sawed he erected the first frame house in the township. It was a one-story structure, about 24 by 32 feet in size, and later was used for a church and school house. Gosset's mill was for years a landmark in that portion of Porter county. The people of the Zane settlement patronized Elijah Casteel's mill, which was located on Coffee creek, just across the line in Jackson township.

The first death was that of William Hughart's wife, and it was due to the escapades of some drunken Indians. One day, in the fall of 1835, some four or five Indians visited Joseph Bailly's trading post on the Calumet river, where they took on a cargo of 11 fire-water," and then started out to annoy the settlers. William and David Hughart, who lived together, were absent on a hunt and the Indians tried to foree an entrance to the house. The women, though badly frightened, managed to bar the door, after which they sought refuge in the loft of the cabin. After beating the door awhile with their tomahawks, the Indians left, and none too soon for their scalps, for in a little while the brothers returned. Mrs. Hughart died not long afterward from the effects of the shock.   On June 14, 1836, William Hughart married Elizabeth Zane, which was the first wedding in Liberty township.   A wedding in the pioneer days was usually the occasion for a neighborhood gathering and nearly always wound up with a dance.  The following story is told of the festivities accompanying the marriage of George Humes and Sarah Crawford in April, 1837. The ceremony was performed in a log cabin about 14 by 16 feet feet, by Thomas J. Wyatt, justice of the peace. As there were some thirty or forty invited guests present, and the cabin contained two beds, besides other articles of furniture, the crowded condition of the room can readily be imagined.  After the wedding the justice and the bride's father celebrated by looking too frequently upon the "flowing bowl," and in a short time were hopelessly intoxicated. The younger guests insisted upon having "just a little dance," but the two drunken men were in the way. The two beds were piled full of hats, wraps, etc., but a bright young woman solved the difficulty by proposing to roll the two men under the beds.   Her suggestion was carried out and by this means the larger part of the floor could be given to the dancers, who continued the merriment until the  "wee small'' hours.

In Liberty, as in the other original townships created by order of the board of county commissioners, April 12, 1836, an election was ordered to be held on April 30th. Following is a copy of the election returns from Liberty township:

"At an election held at the house of Daniel T. Kesler, Liberty township, Porter Co., Ind., on the 30th day of April, A. D., 1836, for the purpose of electing one Justice of the Peace for said township, the following named persons came forward and voted, to wit: Peter Ritter, Thomas J. Wyatt, William Downey, Daniel W. Lyons, Joel Crumpacker, Joel Welker, John Sefford, M. Blayloch, Frederick Wolf, Richard Clark, William Calhoun, Isaac Zane, Owen Crumpacker, Hiram Snodgrass, Jerry Todhunter and Solomon Habanz.  We, the undersigned Inspectors and Judges of an election held at the house of Daniel T. Kesler, in Liberty Township, Porter Co., Ind., on the 30th day of April, 1836, for the pur-pose of electing one Justice of the Peace, do hereby certify that for the office of Justice of the Peace, Peter Ritter got thirteen votes, and Thomas J. "Wyatt got three votes. Given under our hands this thirtieth day of April, 1836."

These returns were signed by Jerry Todhunter, inspector, and by John Sefford, Joel Crumpacker, William Snavely and Solomon Habanz, judges.  At the spring term of court following this election, Daniel W. Lyons was appointed the first constable for the township; Jesse Morgan and Richard Clark, overseers of the poor; Edmund Tratebas and William Downey, fence viewers, and Solomon Habanz, supervisor of roads. About the same time, Peter Ritter, Samuel Olinger and William Thomas were appointed to lay out a road from CasteeFs mill, on Coffee creek, to Gosset a mill, on Salt creek. The road as established by them is still in existence and follows very closely the original line. The Valparaiso and Michigan City plank road, built in 1851, ran throught the eastern part of the township, on the line now occupied by the Valparaiso and Chesterton road, a fine, macadamized highway, and there are about ten additional miles of improved road in Liberty township.

In 1836 a school was taught in a little log house in the Zane settlement by Mrs. Sophia Dye. This, it is believed, was the first school in the township.  The following year a school was taught in the Dillingham settlement by Anna Lyons, and a year later a log school house was built in that locality, in which E. P. Cole taught several terms. A school was likewise opened in the Salt Creek settlement in 1837, but the name of the teacher cannot be learned. The first frame school house was built in 1856. As in the other parts of the county the first school houses were built by the cooperative labor of the citizens, and the schools were maintained by subscription. In 1911-12 Liberty had seven district schools in operation, the teachers in which were as follows: No. 1 (the Pnares school), Eva Wheeler; No. 3 (the Cole school), J. M. Lentz; No. 4 (the Linderman school), Eda Lawrence; No. 5 (the Johnson school), Nellie Crumley; No. 6 (the Babcock school), Grace Moore; No. 7 (the Daly school), Phoebe Hess; No. 8 (Crocker), Coral Toseland.

Transportation facilities were very meager in the early days, and to supply this deficiency Abram and Peter Stafford and Dr. Stanton con-ceived the idea of building a steamboat to navigate lower Salt creek and the Calumet river, for the purpose of carrying or towing timber and produce to the Chicago markets. W. D. Cruthers later became associated with the projectors, and about the close of the Civil war work was commenced on a small vessel, twelve feet wide and thirty feet long. Some two years passed before it was finished, but eventually it started on its maiden trip. The experiment was not the success anticipated, and after two or three trips the boat was sunk in the Calumet river. The promoters were so badly discouraged that they made no attempt to raise the vessel, and somewhere in the Calumet river the fishes play hide and seek among the ruins of the only steamboat ever built in Porter county for the navigation of local waters.  At the present time transportation is furnished by three lines of railway.   The Baltimore & Ohio crosses the township east and west a little north of the center; the Wabash runs along the northern border, and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern crosses the northwest corner. Woodville, a station on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, one mile west of the eastern boundary, is the principal village of the township. It grew up after the building of the railroad and in 1910 had a population of less than 100.   The postoffice was established there in 1881 or 1882, and in 1912 it was the only postoffice in the county, the others having been discontinued on account of the rural free delivery routes which cover all parts of the township.  Three miles west of Woodville is a small station called Babcock, and in the northwest corner, at the junction of the Wabash and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, is the village of Crocker, with a population of about 200.  It is a trading and shipping point of some importance, and owes its existence to the crossing of the two lines of railroad at that point.

While the increase in population has not been great in recent years, Liberty has not been humiliated by a decrease as have some of her sister townships. In 1890 the number of inhabitants, according to the United States census, was 855; in 1900 it was 877, and in 1910 it had reached 881.


Although some of the earliest settlements in the county were made in what is now Morgan township, it was not organized as civil township until August, 1843, when it was cut off from the northern part of Pleasant.   It is exactly six miles square, corresponding to the Congressional township 34, range 5, and contains thirty-six square miles.   It derives its name from Isaac Morgan, who was one of the first settlers, though the place where he located is in Washington township. Among the pioneers of Morgan may be mentioned Benjamin Spencer, George, Jacob and John Schultz, John Baum, Abraham Stoner, Samuel and Abraham Van Dalsen, Lyman and Elisha Adkins, John G .Keller, Thomas Wilkins, N. S. Fairchild, Archie De Munn, Elias Cain, John Berry and William Minton, all of whom had taken claims by 1837.   Stephen Bartholomew, Thomas Adams, Miller Parker, Enos Arnold, G. W. Patten and John E. Harris were also among those who located within the present township limits at an early date.  An old settler is quoted as saying that when he came to Morgan township "there was nothing but snakes, wolves and Indians.'1  The Indians were generally peacable, however, except when they were drinking, and even then one would remain sober and take charge of the fire-arms and other weapons to prevent his drunken tribesmen from doing some one an injury.

Among the Pottawatomies there was a tradition that at some period in the remote past their tribe got into a dispute with another tribe west of them regarding the boundary line between their respective hunting grounds. To settle this difference of opinion, it was agreed by the chiefs to fight three pitched battles, the winner of two of them to fix the boundary. Old Indians believed the three battles were fought somewhere on the Morgan prairie, though no evidence of such conflicts were apparent when the first settlers came there in the early T30s. Some believe that the old fort on the Kankakee river, mentioned in the history of Pleasant township was erected as a place to which the Pottawatomies could retreat in case of defeat, but this theory is hardly tenable when one stops to think that the best authorities agree that the Pottawatomies did not inhabit this region until after the Revolutionary war, while the old fort shows evidences of having been erected at a much earlier date. The probabilities are the whole tradition is a myth.

Game animals were found in abundance by the first settlers, and in the groves were numerous hollow trees in which bees had been storing honey, perhaps for years.   As late as 1851 Henry S. Adams, Rollston Adams, Asa Cobb and G. W. Patton, in a hunt of five days succeeded in killing sixteen deer. With plenty of wild game to furnish meat for the larder, honey for the taking, and a fertile soil to cultivate, the pioneers of Morgan township did not suffer the hardships and privations experienced by many settlers on the frontier. Their greatest drawbacks were the long distance to markets and the prairie fires, which often swept over the country laying waste everything that came in the path of the flames.

The historical sketch of the township written by Henry Stoner, trustee, in 1883, to be filed with the relics in the corner-stone of the court-house, states that an election was held on April 4, 1843, at which James White, Jesse Spencer and Joseph McConnell were chosen trustees; David W. White, clerk, and John Brumbaugh, treasurer. As this date was some four months prior to the time when the county commissioners established the township of Morgan, Mr. Stoner is mistaken regarding the date, or the officers named were elected for Pleasant township, of which Morgan was then a part.  The official records of this election cannot be found, nor can the names of the first township officers be ascertained. Neither can the name of the first white child born in the township be definitely learned.  The first burial was that of a man named Agnew, who was frozen to death in a snow storm late in the fall of 1835, while trying to join his family at David Bryant's place at Pleasant Grove, Lake county.   With a wagon load of household and an ox-team he set out on the old Indian trail but in a short time the snow began falling so fast that the trail was obliterated.   Unyoking his oxen and leaving his wagon standing on the prairie, he started on foot, but became bewildered and finally gave way to the drowsiness that ended in his death. When his oxen and wagon were discovered search was made for his body, which was found and buried upon Morgan prairie. Mr. Stoner's corner-stone account says he was buried in the Adams cemetery, but Battey's History of Porter County says that Mrs. Harriet J. Adams was the first person to be interred in that burial ground. It may be possible that Mr. Agnew's remains were removed from the first place of burial to the cemetery, but the writer has been unable to find any one who could throw any light on the subject.

Near the southwest corner of the township is the old place known as Tassinong. There is a theory that a French trading post once occupied this site, though when the white men became acquainted with the place about 1830, no traces of the post remained.   Some three years after Morgan township was organized, Jesse Harper, who later won renown as a Greenback orator, started a store at Tassinong.   A postoffice called Tassinong Grove had been established two miles south of Harper's store in 1840, with John Jones as postmaster.  Harper remained but a few years, when William Stoddard started the second store at Tassinong. About that time the postoffice was removed to the village.   Joseph and William Unruh, William C. Eaton, Francis McCurdy, Rinker & Wright and Abraham Ahart were also engaged in the mercantile business at Tassinong prior to the Civil war.  In 1852 there were, besides the store, two blacksmith shops and a shoe shop at the place, and in 1855 the Presbyterians established a church. The building occupied by this congregation was erected by the people with the understanding that all denominations should have the use of it, though it was known as the Presbyterian church. When the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville railroad came through the township a few years ago, the town of Maiden sprang up about two miles north of Tassinong, and the old town fell into decay. Maiden is a thriving little place, and is the principal shipping and trading point in the township.  The only postoffice in the township in 1912 was Liberty View, a station on the railroad about four miles east of Maiden. This town was projected by E. C. Maulfair, of Chicago, who, in June, 1909, platted the north seventy-two acres of the northeast quarter of section 35, township 34, range 5, and conferred upon the embryo city the name of Liberty View. The plat was duly recorded in October, 1909, and a postoffice by that name was soon afterward established there. The town has not met the expectations of its founder.

Just where the first school in the township was located seems to be somewhat in doubt, though old settlers say it was not far from the old " Baum" farm on Morgan prairie. They agree that the house in which it was taught was a small log structure, probably 12 by 14 feet in size, and that Orilla Stoddard was the first teacher. The second school house stood about two miles from the south line of the township on the road running east from the present town of Maiden, and the third was built on the old Spencer place near Tassinong.  Mr. Stoner's sketch, above referred to, closes with the statement that "Morgan township is noted as being one of the foremost agricultural townships in the county. Its growth has been gradual and steady.   At the present date, October 20th (1883), there are enrolled in the nine school districts of the township 306 school children between the ages of six and twenty-one years."

That was written nearly twenty-nine years ago. In the school year of 1911-12, the nine districts mentioned by Mr. Stoner had been reduced to seven by consolidation, and in these seven schools the following teachers were employed: No. 2 (Adams), Edith Anderson; No. 4 (Rising Sun), Florence Young; No. 5 (Tassinong), Nora McNeff; No. 6 (Bundy), Edith Shroeder; No. 7 (Schroeder), Pearl Stoner; No. 8 (Pinkerton), Olive Donahue; No. 9 (Flitter), Nora Denton.

Morgan township has an extensive system of ditches and about fifteen miles of macadamized road. Two lines of railroad cross the township. The New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate) line crosses the northeast corner, but there is no station on this road within the limits of the township. The Chesapeake & Ohio (formerly the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville) enters near the southeast corner and follows a northwesterly course, through Liberty View and Maiden, leaving the township about two and a half miles north of the southwest corner.  The population of the last twenty years has been somewhat fluctuating in character. In 1890 it was 830; in 1900 it had increased to 884, and during the next ten years there was a decrease, the number of inhabitants in 1910 being but 812.


The following historical sketch of this township was written by William Lewry, at that time trustee, for deposit in the corner-stone of the court-house, in October, 1883:

"Pine township was organized on the 13th of August, 1853, by D. S. Steves, John Reader, David Poor and Elias Taylor.   By order of this board George Porter was duly appointed treasurer and the township was divided into two road districts.   The civil township of Pine received its name from the growth of pine trees that cover the northern part. The surface and physical features vary.   At the north there are high sandhills, partly covered with pine, juniper, cherries, yellow oak and grapes.   The fertility increases as you journey southward and wheat, oats, barley, corn and hay grow in abundance.   The whole township was heavily timbered at one time.  The north abounded in pine, white and red oak, cherry, elm and white wood.  The south and center abounded in beech, maple, hickory, white ash, and other varieties.   Much of the timber was sold for railroad wood and ties, and for building cars, boats, docks and sewers at Chicago.  Deer, wild turkey, and all kinds of game were abundant up to 1860; about this time the last Indian left the township.

"This township has been backward in settlement, many coming here to work in the woods in the winter and leaving it in the spring. A few have ben industrious and determined to build a home, and to all appearances are doing well. In the central part of the township there is a colony of Poles, who are determined to build homes and cultivate land that would otherwise remain wild. They have large families and all work with a will, from the wife down to the six-year-old child. The children are bright, but almost wholly ignorant of the English language.

"Owing to the tardy growth of this township, its history is rather meager. The timber and wodd business has been the main dependence of the people. Sawmills were established at an early day in various places, but after using up the timber in the vicinity were moved away or allowed to decay, till but one remains. Charcoal and cheese wagons are the only articles of importance manufactured in the township. The cheese factory is in the southern part and was established by Younger Frame in 1881 and is still run by him. Samuel C. Hacket has three charcoal kilns in the southern part. One is about one mile west of the Laporte county line; the other two are about two miles farther to the southwest. Mr. Hacket believes he has produced more charcoal than any other man in Indiana. He has held all the township offices, is a prominent leader in politics, and a most respected and honored citizen.

"The blacksmith and wagon factory of William Lewry & Son is in the northern part of the township, at Furnessville, and has a large patronage in Pine and Westchester townships.

"The first school house erected in the township was built on the county line between Laporte and Porter counties thirty years ago. It was an octagon structure, built of narrow, thick boards, placed one upon another, lapping at the corners, and making a wall about as thick as an ordinary brick wall nowadays. Isaac Weston sawed the lumber for this house and John Frame and Elias Dresden were prominent among those who constructed the building and organized the school. The second school house on the north side, District No. 2, was built in April, 1854. The building was 14 x 20 feet, and Roman Henry received $160 for building it. The board of trustees was composed of Theodore D. Roberts, D. S. Steves, and John Reader. This house has passed away. A new one was built by George Shanner in 1871—John Frame being the trustee. The school house in District No. 3, was built on the 16th of October, 1874; Henry Hacket trustee. All of these school houses are of wood. School houses in District No. 4, center of township, was built in July, 1883, by William Lewry, trustee. This is a substantial brick structure and the first of the kind in the township.

"The roads of the township are divided into two districts—John Bayless supervisor of the north half and William Goodwin of the south half, as follows: Commencing at the southwest corner of section 21, thence east to the northwest corner of section 26, thence south and east to the county line. Our roads have been in bad condition. Being new and cut through timber, it has been impossible to plow or ditch them. As the timber decays we turnpike them, giving us roads equal to the older townships.''

The above sketch by Mr. Lewry gives a fairly succinct account of the development of the township. Since it was written an additional school district has been established. In the school year 1911-12 the teachers in the several districts were as follows: No. 1 (Smoky Row), Mildred Carver; No. 2 (Frame), Florence Frame; No. 3 (Brick), Ada Purdy; No. 4 (Carver), Emma Goodwin; No. 5 (Bayles), Martita Furness. Although Pine township is well supplied with railroads, there are no towns or villages within its borders. In the northern portion the Michigan Central, the Pere Marquette, and the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend (the last named an electric road), cross the township in a north-easterly direction, almost parallel to the shore of Lake Michigan, and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern crosses the southeast corner. There are about twelve miles of macadamized road in the township.

During the last thirty years the population has been fluctuating in character. In 1880, three years before Mr. Lewry's account was written, 138 votes were cast at the presidential election in November. This would indicate a total population of about 550. In 1890, according to the United States census, the population was 596. Ten years it had increased to 634. Then came a falling off, and in 1910 it was only 564.


Pleasant township, established by the board of county commissioners on April 12,1836, is situated in the southeast corner of the county, and is the largest township in the county. It is bounded on the east by Laporte county; on the south by the Kankakee river, which separates it from Jasper county; on the west by Boone township, and on the north by the township of Morgan. Its area is about fifty-six square miles. Crooked creek flows southward through the center of the township and Sandy Hook creek along the western border, both emptying into the Kankakee river. The name Pleasant was conferred upon the township on account of the natural beauty of its location. For years before the advent of the white man, the groves and marshes along the Kankakee river formed a favorite hunting ground for the Indians. Game of all kinds abounded there, fur-bearing animals were plentiful, and pleasant sites for encampments or villages could easily be found on the higher grounds along the river. Southwest of Kouts, at a point where two Indian trails crossed the Kankakee, the early settlers found the outlines of an ancient fortification—so old that trees two feet or more in diameter were growing on the embankments—indicating that the spot had been a resort for the aborigines for years, perhaps for centuries.

John Sherwood was the first white settler in the township, coming there with his family in 1834. During the next two years William Trinkle, John Jones, Henry Adams, William Billings, John and Joseph Bartholomew, Enoch Billings, Martin Reed, Morris and James Witham, Lewis Comer, John Adams, Charles Allen, Luke Asher, Hisel Coghill, Oliver Coles and several others were added to the population. The first election for township officers—a justice of the peace only—was held at the house of Henry Adams on April 30, 1836, when eleven votes were polled. The judges of election were William Billings, who acted as inspector, Enoch Billings and Morris Witham. Lewis Comer received the unanimous vote of the electors and became the first justice of the peace. At an election on December 24, 1836, for justice of the peace and to fill a vacancy in the office of associate judge, only nine votes were cast. Seneca Ball received nine votes for judge, and John Adams the same number for justice of the peace. The first birth was that of Henry, son of William and Gillie Ann Trinkle, December 2, 1835. The first marriage was that of Alexander Wright to a Miss Jones about 1839, and the first death was that of Jeremiah, son of John Sherwood.

As most of the early settlers located in the eastern part, between the county line and Crooked creek, it was a natural sequence that the first school should be taught in that section.  In 1838 a small log school house was erected on section 13, township 33, range 5, a short distance south of where the Panhandle railroad now enters Porter county. It was built by the patrons of the school and had the customary clay fireplace and greased paper windows. A pioneer teacher says that these windows possessed a great advantage over glass ones, as they admitted the light but prevented lazy pupils from gazing out of the window instead of studying their lessons. A larger school house was erected upon the same section a little later. Several years later the first frame school house in the township was built near the same site. In the school year 1911-12 there were five district schools in Pleasant township, in addition to the commissioned high school at Kouts. In these schools thirteen teachers were employed, to wit: High school, E. E. Wright, superintendent; Bertha Tofte, principal; Katherine Kring, Jeannette Anderson, Lulu M. Benkie, Grace Jones, Frederica Witham and Hattie Felton; District No. 1 (Marshal Grove), Claire Hannon; No. 4 (Five Points), Marie Beckwith; No. 5 (Morrison), Marguerite Tofte; No. 7 (Lauer), Grace Gay; No. 8 (Stowell), Clara Young.

Agriculture has always been the leading industry of the people. The soil is fertile and well adapted to hay, grain, corn and potatoes. A considerable portion of the land lies in the Kankakee marshes and has to be drained before it can be successfully cultivated. Several large ditches have been constructed through the township, and where the land has been thus reclaimed it yields large profits to the owner. The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis railroad, commonly called the Panhandle, runs east and west, two miles south of the northern boundary; the Chicago & Erie railroad crosses the eastern boundary a little south of the center and runs in a northwesterly direction, crossing the Panhandle at Kouts, and a line of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois system crosses the southeast corner. These lines afford good transportation facilities for practically all parts of the township. Very little macadamized road has been built in Pleasant, but in the summer of 1912 there were some sixteen miles under construction

Kouts is the only village of importance. It is situated about two miles northwest of the center, at the junction of the Erie and Panhandle railroads as already mentioned. This town was laid out by Bernard Kouts, from whom it took its name, about the time the railroad was completed. A postoffice was established there in 1865, with H. A. Wright as postmaster. Mr. Kouts built the first business building in the town, and the second was built by Brown & Dilley. When the Erie railroad was built in 1881, Kouts began to grow more rapidly and now has a population of about 500. Very few attempts have been made to establish manufacturing enterprises, and with one exception these attempts have been made at Kouts. Joseph Hackman erected a sawmill on the bank of the Kankakee river some years ago, but sold it to James M. Pugh, who converted it into a portable mill and used it in various parts of the township. H. A. Wright started a cheese factory about 1877, but after a short time abandoned the undertaking. In 1887 Jerry Ryan started an ax-handle fac-tory which employed five or six men for a while, but the lack of suitable timber led him to discontinue the business. On June 21, 1912, the Kouts creamery was opened for business. It is of a cooperative nature, the stock being owned by sixty-seven persons, all residents of the immediate neighborhood. Kouts also has a wholesale and retail bakery, and a saw and feed mill operated by the Betterton Milling Company. The Porter County Bank is located here. The oldest church in the town is the Evangelical Lutheran, of which Rev. Hicks Hicken is pastor. A Christian church has recently been organized. There are six general stores, a hardware and implement store, insurance agencies representing all the leading companies, Adams and Wells Pargo express offices, and a money order postoffice with one rural route emanating from it. The secret orders are represented by the Odd Fellows, the Foresters of America and the Modern Woodmen. Considerable shipping is done from Kouts, which is the only railroad station of consequence in the township. Clanricard is a small .station on the Erie, one mile from the east line of the county, and there is a flag station called Burke's on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, not far from the Kankakee river.

Pleasant township has had its share of crimes and casualties. In the fall of 1873, while James M. Pugh was plowing near his residence, he found some dry marsh grass somewhat annoying. He asked his daughter, Sarah, to get some fire and burn the dead grass. Scarcely had she ignited the grass when a sudden change in the direction of the wind blew the flames toward her, setting fire to her clothing. The accident occurred about two o'clock in the afternoon, and after intense suffering the girl died at four o 'clock the following morning. In 1873 a man named Swett was shot and killed by Charles Chase. Two murders occurred in the year 1879, when Charles Askam was killed by John Mcintosh and John Dutton was killed by Brainard Taft. On Thursday, March 23, 1882, David Ramsey, an old hunter and trapper was found dead in a swamp about three miles southeast of Kouts. The day previous he had been seen in Kouts, where he was drinking heavily, and was warned by Robert Hall to be careful, not drink any more and to go home. It is supposed that he started home and either lost his way, or deliberately wandered into the swamp, where he died from exposure.

Census reports for the last twenty years show a steady and healthy increase in the number of inhabitants. In 1890 the population of the township was 984, ten years later it was 1,209, and in 1910 it was 1,424.


This township was created by the general order of the board of county commissioners, April 12, 1836, which divided the county into ten civil townships, but the present boundaries are materially different from the ones originally defined by that order.   It is situated in the northwest corner of the county, and is said to have been named after Portage county, Ohio.  It is bounded on the north by Lake Michigan; on the east by the townships of Westchester and Liberty; on the south by Union township, and on the west by Lake county.  It is four miles wide from east to west on the northern boundary, and five miles in width on the southern.   It greatest length from north to south is a little over eight miles and its area is about thirty-six square miles. In the northern part are the sandhills common to the shore of Lake Michigan in that region. South of the sandhills lies the valley of the Little Calumet river, which contains some swamp lands, and still farther south is a level prairie, with a rich soil, well adapted to agriculture.   This prairie is watered by Salt creek and its numerous small tributaries.   Salt creek crosses the southern boundary near the southeast corner, flows northward until it enters Liberty township near the northwest corner of section 33, township 35, range 6, and reenters Portage township near the northeast corner of section 20 of the same township and range. Large quantities of sand have been shipped from this township to Chicago, and near Crisman there is a fine-grained clay that has been used quite extensively for molding, calking boilers, etc. Some bog iron ore has been found, but the deposits are small and have never been developed. In the spring of 1834 Jacob Wolf, Berrett Dorr and Reuben Hurl burt brought their families and located claims in Portage township. They were the first settlers.   Jacob Wolf had three grown sons; Mr. Dorr had two sons of age, and Mr. Hurlburt had five sons, three of whom were then in their "teens." Later in the year George and James Spurlock and Wilford Parrott joined the settlement.   During the next two years a number of immigrants settled in the vicinity, among whom may be mentioned Benjamin James and his son Allen, S. P. Robbins, Walker McCool, Thomas J. Field, Henry Herold, Griffin and William Holtart, Daniel Whitaker, Francis Spencer, J. G. Herring, George Hume, William Frame, John Hageman, Jacob Blake, Henry Battan, John Lyons and James Connet.   An old tally sheet of the election held in April, 1836, shows that most of the above voted at that time, and at the election in August following twenty-nine votes were cast. Henry Battan was an old revolutionary soldier.   The life and customs of these early settlers did not differ much from those of other pioneers.   The first dwellings were log cabins, erected without nails, with greased paper windows or no windows at all, the huge clay fireplace and the same rude furniture.  There were the same dreary trips through the forests and across the bleak prairies to Michigan City for supplies, the same plain food and homespun clothing.

The first birth is not known. The first marriage is believed to have been that of Henry Herold to a Miss Dorr, and the first death was that of a man named Ashton in 1837. In that year a man named Carley opened a tavern at Willow creek, on the old stage line running from Chicago to Detroit. Two women, whose names seem to have been forgotten, later opened a house of entertainment for travelers at the same place. The first school house was built in 1840 on section 20, about a mile and a half southeast of the present village of McCool, and not long afterward a second school house was erected in the southwest part of the township.

Among the early teachers were N. E. Yost, M. L. Ferris, W. E. Hawthorne, Lottie Hewitt, Minnie Spencer, Rose* Mitchell. Cyrus Sales, Christina Fry, Emily Gerhart, Chancey Gaylord and a Baptist minister named Bartlett. In the school year of 1911-12 there was a certified high school at Crisman and four district schools. The teachers in the high school were W. A. Briggs, Minnie I. Hyde, Glen Kinne, Mary Rice and Camilla Babcock. In the district schools the teachers were: No. 1 (Peak), Goldie Johnson; No. 6 (Dombey), L. Clyde Bay; No. 8 (McCool), Bertha Sweet; No. 9 (Wolfe), Rudolph Mahns. The absence of numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 is owing to the consolidation of districts or the absorption of some of them by the Crisman high school.

Portage township has three postoffices, located at Crisman, Dune Park and McCool.  The first two are money order offices.  Crisman was laid out by B. G. Crisman, after which it was named.  It is located on the Michigan Central railroad in the eastern part. The postoffice was established there in 1871 and the first postmaster was Isaac Crisman, who was also the proprietor of the first store in the place. After a short time he sold out to Charles Seydel, who in turn was succeeded by Joseph Bender and Joseph White.  For many years this was the only store in the township.   The town has never grown to any considerable proportions and in 1910 had a population of about 75. McCool, named after the pioneer family, is located in the triangle between the Baltimore & Ohio, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, and the Wabash railways, and apparently, like Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin, it "just growed." The railroad junction attracted a few small business enterprises, whose proprietors built dwellings in the immediate neighborhood, others followed, and in 1910 McCool and Crisman were about the same size. Dune Park is a small station on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern rairoad, about a mile and a half south of Lake Michigan. It takes its name from the sand dunes in the vicinity.   In October, 1891, Frank A. Turner, of Valparaiso, filed in the recorder's office a plat of a town named Fairview, located on section 34, township 37, range 7, in the extreme northwest corner of the county.  The plat is rather pretentious in character, showing some six hundred lots, with streets and alleys, but there was never a house built upon the site.

About thirty-five years ago a few Swedes settled in the northern part. They were soon followed by others of their countrymen until a large number of them came. These people are industrial and generally make good citizens. One of their first acts was to establish a church, which is still in existence. Presbyterian and Methodist churches had been founded in the township many years before.

Portage township is a network of railroads. In the northern part are the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, and the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend, the latter an electric line. Through the central part, radiating in various directions, are the Michigan Central, the "Wabash, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, and the Baltimore & Ohio, and the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago crosses the extreme southwest corner. The great manufacturing enterprises of Chicago have worked their way gradually southward and eastward around the head of Lake Michigan, building up successively the cities of Hammond, South Chicago, East Chicago, Gary and Hobart, and the excellent transportation facilities offered in Portage township lead many to believe that this portion of Porter county will in the near future become a great manufacturing district.

Probably no township in the county, unless it be Center, can show a better system of public highways than Portage. More than thirty miles of fine macadamized roads traverse all portions of the township, and good bridges span the streams. Like some of the other townships of Porter county, the population of Portage has been rather variable during the last twenty years. In 1890 it was 954. Ten years later it had increased to 1,014, but in 1910 it was but 959.


Lying southwest of Valparaiso is the township of Porter, which is the second largest in the county, containing forty-five square miles.   It is bounded on the north by Union and Center, townships; on the east by Morgan; on the south by Boone, and on the west by Lake county. When the original division of the county into ten townships was made by the county commissioners on April 12, 1836, the territory now included in Porter township was made a part of Boone.  In March, 1838, the northern part of Boone—that portion lying north of the line dividing townships 33 and 34—was erected into a township called Fish Lake, from the little body of water known as Lake Eliza, but then called Fish Lake. In June, 1841, in response to a petition of the inhabitants, who did not like the name of Fish Lake, the commissioners changed the name of the township to Porter. The first settlements in what is now Porter township were made during the years 1834-35, when Samuel and Isaac Campbell, Newton Frame, David Hurlburt, Isaac Edwards, and a few others located in that part of Porter county.  Others who came during the next few years were the Sheffields, William McCoy, Ezra Reeves, Morris Carman, Dr. L. A. Cass, William A. Nichols, J. C. Hathaway, William Frakes, Alpheus French, Henry M. Wilson, A. M. Bartel, Jonathan Hough, William C. Shreve, Edmund Hatch, David Dinwiddie, Moses and Horatio. Gates, William Robinson, Richard Jones, Asa Cobb, and a few others who became prominently identified with the township's industries and affairs.  Alpheus French was a Baptist minister and preached the first sermon in the township.

Owing to the fact that most of Porter township is prairie land, the early settlers were not annoyed as much by Indians as those who settled in the timbered parts of the county. Occasionally an Indian hunting party would pass through the settlement, but the members of it were nearly always friendly, and there were always a few who would maintain peace and order among their fellows. Game was plentiful and the pioneer who was a good marksman was never in fear of a meat famine until the encroachment of civilization drove off the deer and other game animals, and by that time the farms were so well developed that the settler could depend upon domestic animals for his supply. For several years after the first settlement was made, Michigan City was the nearest point where supplies could be obtained, and occasional trips were made to that port for salt, sugar and other things that could not be grown or manufactured at home. Matches were scarce and commanded a price much higher than at the present time, hence the fire was never allowed to go out, a little being kept at all times "for seed." "Wolves roamed over the prairie and carried off lambs and pigs occasionally, but aside from this the losses and hardships of the early settlers were not great.

Children belonging to the families that settled in the western part of the township attended a school on Eagle creek, just across the line in Lake county. The first school in the township is believed to be the one taught by Mrs. Humphrey at her home about 1837 or 1838. This school was patronized by the Sheffields, the Stauntons, and a few other families. One by one school houses were erected as the population increased until there were ten districts in the township. Two of these—Numbers 3 and 6*—have been consolidated with other schools, and in the school year 1911-12 there were eight district schools and a three years' high school at Boone Grove. The teachers in the high school were J. E. Worthington, C. Marguerite De Marchus and Lillie Dorsey. In the district schools the teachers were as follows: No. 1 (the Cobb school), Miss Myra E. Jones; No. 2 (Gates Corners), Grace Mains; No. 4 (Kenworthy), Maud Williams; No. 5 (Merriman), Bessie Love; No. 7 (Porter Crossroads), Marie Benedict; No. 8 (the Beach school), Neva Doyle; No. 9 (Hurlburt), Rhoda Bates; No. 10 (the Skinner school), Gertrude Albertson. The schools of Porter township have always maintained a high reputation for their efficiency.

In 1844 a postoffice was established at Porter Cross-roads, and was known by that name. It was probably the first postoffice in the township. The next year a postoffice was established at Hickory Point, just across, the line in Lake county, and the inhabitants of the western part of the township received their mail at that office. Jeremy Hickson, the postmaster, carried the mail from Crown Point. He was succeeded by Henry Nichols and his father, William A. Nichols, who between them kept the office for about six years, when it was moved across the line into Porter township and a man named Porter became postmaster.  At his death a few years later the office was discontinued. The Porter Cross-roads office continued in existence until about the close of the Civil war.  The postoffices in the township at the present time (1912) are Boone Grove and Hurlburt. Boone Grove is an old settlement, and the postoffice there was established a few years before the war.  About 1857 Joseph Janes opened a store at Boone Grove, with a small stock of goods, and continued in business for several years, when he closed out his stock. With the building of the Chicago & Erie railroad, which passes through Boone Grove, the village began to grow, and in 1910 had a population of about 150. There is a local telephone exchange, and in 1912 the principal business enterprises were the general stores of Dye Brothers, F. Wittenberg, and J. B. Woods, the last named being the postmaster.   For a time Boone Grove was known as Baltimore.   Hurlburt is a comparatively new place, having been made a postoffice after the completion of the Chicago & Erie railroad, on which it is a station about two and a half miles northwest of Boone Grove. It was named for one of the pioneer settlers who located in that part of the township, and in 1910 had a population of over 100. It has two general stores, kept by S. H. Adams and W. F. French, and is a shipping point for a rich agricultural district.   The Hickory Point above mentioned was on the line between Lake and Porter counties, and was once a trading point and social center of some importance. Shortly after the postoffice was started there in 1844 Alfred Nichols opened a store on the Porter county side, but some years later removed to Crown Point. A man named Wallace then conducted a store there for several years, and when he went out of business a Mr. Carson, who had recently come from Ohio, engaged in the mercantile business there, The discontinuance of the postoffice, and the competition of Boone Grove, influenced Mr. Carson to close out his stock, and with the building of the railroad Hickory Point sunk into insignificance.   It is now little more more than a memory.

About two miles northwest of Hurlburt, and a short distance north of the Erie railroad, the old Salem church was erected at an early date. Before the church was built the members of the congregation held their meetings in the homes of the settlers. Just about a mile north of this church the Old School Presbyterians, or Scotch Covenanters, built a church. Christian and Methodist churches were later established at Boone Grove. A more complete account of these pioneer religious organizations will be found in the chapter relating to Religious History.

Owing to a lack of vital statistics, it is impossible to learn at this late date of the first birth, the first marriage or the first death in the township. One of the early deaths was that of a young man named Robinson, a son of John Robinson, his death resulting from a cut in the thigh with an axe.

Porter township has been from the first an agricultural community. No manufacturing establishments of consequence have ever been located within its borders. About the time the Civil war commenced a Mr. Sheffield started a sawmill in the northern part of the township, where there was some timber, but no one seems to know what became of it. The people are progressive, and some of the best improved farms in the county are to be found in Porter township. There are about sixteen miles of macadamized road and a number of large ditches in the township, which is crossed by two lines of railroad. The Chicago & Erie enters the township about two and a half miles west of the southeast corner, runs northwest throught Boone Grove and Hurlburt, and crosses the western boundary of the county not far from Salem church. About four miles north of this road and almost parallel to it runs the Chesapeake & Ohio (formerly the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville) railroad. Beatrice, in the extreme northwest comer of the township, is the only station on this road within the limits of Porter. Beatrice is a small place and has grown up since the railroad was built.

The population of the township in 1890 was 1,121; in 1900 it was 1,075, and in 1910 it had decreased to 1,000. Notwithstanding this slight decrease in population, the township has increased in wealth, and in 1911 the property of the township was assessed for tax purposes at $1,439,590.


This township, one of the western tier, was created by order of the board of county commissioners on April 12, 1836.   In extent it is five miles from east to west and six miles from north to south, and contains thirty square miles. It was named Union to commemorate the federation of states in the American Republic, and has been called the "Peaceful Township," on account of its natural beauty.   Being located chiefly in the morainic belt of the county, the surface is rolling, and, next to Jackson township, presents a greater diversity of physical features than any other township in Porter county. The entire area, however, can be cultivated, and agriculture is the principal occupation of the inhabitants. Salt creek crosses the northeast corner, and a branch of that stream flows northward through the eastern tier of sections, uniting with the main stream about half a mile south of the northern boundary. Taylor creek rises in Hollister's lake, in the southern part, and flows northwesterly course into Lake county. Hollister's lake is about six or seven acres in extent and is the only lake in the township worthy of the name. Originally there was some marsh land, but the greater portion of this has been drained and brought under cultivation. Twenty-mile prairie extends into the northern part. Charles S. Hyde says: "This was so named because, as an old settler facetiously said, it was twenty miles from anywhere—meaning of course, that it was twenty miles (or some multiple of twenty) from the nearest trading post, being twenty miles from Michigan City and Laporte, and forty miles from Chicago."

In the central portion the soil is generally sandy, though there is some loam. The hard clay found in all parts of the township makes it unprofitable to try corn growing, but wheat, oats and rye are raised in large quantities, and the township is well adapted to grazing. The hills, ravines and forests combined to render this part of the county an ideal haunt for game animals, when the first white men located there they found plenty of deer, a few bear, the lynx, the badger, the otter and other fur-bearing animals, and a horde of prairie and gray wolves, the latter species being by far the most numerous.

There is some question as to who was the first settler. William B. Blachly, Benjamin McCarty, James Walton, John G. Forbes, Sylvester Forbes, Andrew and Joseph Wilson, Joseph Willey, George W. Turner, E. W. and Noah Fowts, Lewis Walton and a few others had settled in the township by the spring of 1836. At the election for justice of the peace on April 30, of that year, James Walton was inspector; George W. Turner and B. Bunnell, judges; E. W. Fowts and Joseph Willey. clerks. Fifteen votes were east, Joseph Willey receiving the unanimous vote for the office of justice of the peace. The election was held at the residence of George W. Turner. "Squire" Willey was evidently not a highly educated individual, as may be seen by the grammar and orthography in the following entry from his docket in December after his election:

State of Indiana,
Union Township.
Porter county,

John Burge, James Burge and Orson Strong was brought before me, Joseph Willey, a Justice of the Peace, for trial for killen sum hogs, on or about the first day of December, 1836, and I proceeded on the 8th day aforesaid to hear the proofs and allegations, and the defendants was acquitted for the above offense. Nicholas Mount, tried for profane swearing, committed, and paid his fine.

Joseph Willey, J. P."

In the pioneer days Union township was farther from the institutions of civilization than the settlements farther north and east. It was thirty miles to the nearest grist mill, and it was a custom for one of the settlers to make up a wagon load of grain among the neighbors and make the three day trip with an ox-team, distributing the flour or corn meal among the owners of the grain upon his return.  When this supply ran out another man would take his turn in going to the mill. The miller's toll was heavy, and some of the settlers overcame the difficulty by burning a hollow in the top of a large stump for a mortar, and pounding their corn therein with a hard-wood pestle. The meal produced by this method was coarse, but it was wholesome, and frequently the only supper served was a bowl of mush made of this meal and a generous portion of fresh milk. The implements used by the pioneer farmers were of the most primitive character. The first plow used in the township was of the old "bull-tongue" pattern, and harrows were made by selecting a V-shaped fork of a tree, boring holes at regular distances through each branch of the fork and driving into them hard wood pegs for teeth. Wheat was cut with the cradle and bound by hand. In some cases the sickle, or "reap-hook," was used, especially if the grain was rank and tangled by the wind. The grain was threshed with the flail, tramped out by driving horses or cattle over it on a piece of ground smoothed off for the prpose, or in some instances the "ground-hog" threshing machine was used.   This would loosen the grain from the chaff, but did not separate them. The farmer must accomplish that by winnowing the grain—that is by tossing it into the air—the wind blowing the chaff away and the grain falling upon a sheet. Occasionally there was a farmer who was the proud possessor of a "fanning mill;" in which the wheat and chaff were poured into a hopper at the top, and by turning a crank were shaken down through the mill, a revolving fan blowing the chaff out at the rear end while the wheat poured out of a spout at the bottom of the machine. Many a boy has blistered his hands while turning one of these fans, no doubt muttering meanwhile mental maledictions upon the inventor. Now, the farmer frequently rides as he plows, his grain is harvested with the twine binder, the hum of the steam thresher is heard instead of the "thud, thud" of the old-fashioned flail, and the fanning mill has gone, never to return.

Not far from the western boundary, on the old Sauk trail, James or Thomas Snow (authorities differ as to the name), in 1833, erected the first frame house in the township. The lumber was hauled from Laporte, and when the building was completed Mr. Snow put in a small stock of goods, thus becoming Union township's first merchant. Two years later he sold out to Oliver Shepard, a Yankee, who put up a sign bearing the legend "The Hoosier's Nest," and in a short time the place became known far and wide. The fame of this place has been perpetuated in verse by John Finley, and as his poem is really a part of Porter county's history, it is here reproduced.


I'm told, in riding somewhere West,
A stranger found a Hoosier's Nest;
In other words, a Buckeye cabin
Just big enough to hold Queen Mab in.
Its situation low, but airy,
Was on the borders of a prairie;
And fearing he might be benighted,
He hailed the house, and then alighted.
The Hoosier met him at the door;
Their salutations soon were o'er.
He took the stranger s horse aside,
And to a sturdy sapling tied;
Then, having stripped the saddle off,
He fed him in a sugar trough.
The stranger stooped to enter in,
The entrance closing with a pin;
And manifested strong desire
To sit down by the log-heap fire,
Where half a dozen Hoosieroons,
With mush and milk, tin-cups and spoons,
White heads, bare feet, and dirty faces,
Seemed much inclined to keep their places;
But madam, anxious to display
Her rough but undisputed sway,
Her offspring to the ladder led
And cuffed the youngsters up to bed.
Invited shortly to partake
Of venison, milk and Johnny-cake,
The stranger made a hearty meal,
And glances round the room would steal.
One side was lined with divers garments.
The other spread with skins of varmints;
Dried pumpkins overhead were strung,
Where venison hams in plenty hung.
Two rifles hung above the door,
Three dogs lay stretched upon the floor-
In short, the domicile was rife
With specimens of Hoosier life.
The host, who centered his affections
On game, and range and quarter sections
Discoursed his weary guest for hours
'Till Somnus' all composing powers,
Of sublunary cares bereft 'em,
An then I came away and left 'em.
It is claimed by some that this poem first called attention to the use of the word "Hoosier" to designate an inhabitant of the state of Indiana. The first school house in Union township was a log structure, 18 by 20 feet, located near the "Hoosier's Nest," but the date of its erection is uncertain, and the name of the first teacher cannot be learned. In October, 1883, when the corner-stone of the court house was laid, Isaiah B. McGinley, at that time trustee of the township, prepared a historical sketch, in which he stated that there were 447 children of school age and ten school districts in the township. Since then a commissioned high school has been established at Wheeler, and the number of districts has been reduced to seven. The teachers in the Wheeler high school for the year 1911-12 were: Thurman B. Rice, Helen Whitlock, Ruth R. Matthews, Vera S. Bradley, Flora Cobb, Ethel 0. Ruth and Irene Paddock. The teachers in the district schools were as follows: No. 2 (the Blachly school), Frank Peregrine; No. 4 (the Peck school), Mary Conrick; No. 5 (Graves), Martha Marquart; No. 6 (Foster), Mary Cronacan; No. 7 (Gordon), Elsie Ditlow; No. 8 (Cherry Glen), Lura Conrick; No. 10 (Spafford), Anna Ehlers.

A Sunday school was started in Portage township, just across the line, in 1838, Benson and Ira G. Harris, two residents of Union, being active participants in its organization, and a majority of the attendants came from Union township. Alpheus French, a Baptist minister, held services in a grove at Blachly's Corners in the spring of 1836, and this was probably the first sermon preached in the township. Rev. Jacob Colclasier, a Methodist missionary, also held services in the township at an early date, and conducted the first quarterly meeting in January, 1840.  

In the matter of public highways Union township is among the most progressive in the county, having nearly thirty miles of fine, macadamized road.  Several lines of railroad cross the township in various directions.  The Pittsburgh, Fort "Wayne & Chicago crosses the northeast corner, passing through Wheeler; the Grand Trunk runs east and west through the central portion, and the Chesapeake & Ohio touches the south-west corner. Wheeler is the only village of importance in the township. It was laid out in 1858, when the railroad went through, by Thomas A. E. Campbell, who owned the land upon which the village is situated. The first business building was that afterward occupied by Siglar Bros, with a stock of goods, the second was the hotel called the Wheeler House, and the third was used as a saloon by Carroll and Harner. George Longshore was the first postmaster.  At the present time Wheeler has a population of about 200, three general stores, a telephone exchange, a Methodist church, lodges of Odd Fellows and Foresters, a feed mill, and a money order postoffice, the only postoffice in the township.   On the Grand Trunk is a small station called Sedley, which was formerly a post office, but which was discontinued upon the introduction of the free rural delivery system.  Some of the maps show a place called Spriggsboro on the line between Union and Center townships, but the name does not appear on the railroad time-tables nor in the United States postoffice guide, and no official plat of the town was ever recorded.

The population of Union has had its "ups and downs" almost from the organization of the township. In 1860 it was 867; in 1870 it had increased to 1,057; ten years later it was 1,054; in 1890 it had decreased to 985; a further decrease followed during the next decade, the population in 1900 being only 938; then came a substantial gain, and in 1910 it was 1,069, the highest in its history.


Washington township, in the middle of the eastern tier, was created by the board of county commissioners on April 12,1836. Several changes have been made in the western boundary, but the township of the present day has the original boundary lines as established when it was first erected.  It is bounded on the north by Jackson township; on the east by Laporte county; on the south by the township of Morgan, and on the west by Center. Its area is thirty square miles, being five miles in extent from east to west and six miles from north to south. The surface of the township is affected by the great glacial moraine which passes through the central portion of the county, and is generally undulating in character.   Crooked creek, which is the outlet of Flint lake, enters near the northwest corner and flows southeast to section 23, township 35, range 5, where it turns almost due south, crossing the southern border about two miles west of the Laporte county line.   This stream has two small tributaries in the northeastern part, so that the township is well watered and well adapted to grazing and stock raising. The soil is similar to that of the surrounding townships, being composed principally of clay and loam sandy in places, and marshy in a few localities. Some of the finest farms in the county are upon the Morgan prairie, where the first settlements in the county were made.

William Morgan is credited with being the first settler. He came from Wayne county, Ohio in the spring' of 1833, and located upon the northern part of the prairie that still bears his family name. Before the close of the year, Adam S. Campbell, Isaac Morgan, Rufus Van Pool and Reason Bell also settled upon the prairie. Samuel Flint took up a claim where the village of Prattville was later located, and Jacob Coleman settled about two miles south of Flint's place. In 1834 James Blair, Isaac Werninger, James Baum and a few others, among whom was Ruel Starr, who afterward became prominently identified with the county's political affairs. Other settlers were David S. Holland, Benjamin Saylor, Levi Chamberton, Seth Winslow, W. B. Smith, Michael and Andrew Ault, George B. Cline, Joseph Todd, Henry Rinker, Anthony Boggs, Robert Fleming, John Shinabarger, Peter Cline, Joseph Brewer and Clark Babcock. All these men and a few others voted at the first township election on April 30, 1836, when Henry Rinker was elected justice of the peace, receiving twenty-three votes.  W. B. Smith received twenty votes and Peter Cline, seventeen, making a total of sixty votes cast.

There were still a few Indians in Washington township when the first settlers came. Near the place where Prattville was afterward laid out there was a Pottawatomie village of 100 or more inhabitants, with a burying-ground near it. While these Indians were of some annoyance to the whites, they did not commit any serious depredations, and in 1836 they removed to another location near the Kankakee river, in the southern part of the county, where they remained until 1842, when they were removed west of the Mississippi.

The first white child born in the township was Reason Bell, Jr., a son of Reason and Sarah Bell, who had come from Wayne county, Ohio, in 1833.   The date of birth of their son, who was also the first white child born in Porter county, was January 11, 1834. No record can be found to show the first death or the first marriage.   The first "big" house-raising was in 1834, when some thirty settlers gathered to assist Isaac Morgan in raising a double log house on section 16, a little north of the Laporte road.   The first tavern was opened in this year by David Oaks not far from Prattville.   A year or so later John Shinabarger started the second tavern about a mile north of Oak's place.   The first store was opened in the double log house of Isaac Morgan above referred to, late in 1834 or early in 1835.   In May, 1836, Andrew Ault opened a general store about three-fourths of a mile west of Prattville.  He also took out license to retail liquor, his license costing him ten dollars per annum.   The first shoe shop was established in 1835 by Adam S. Campbell, who brought his leather and other materials from the state of New York.   The same year Russell opened the first blacksmith shop near Prattville.   The first school was taught by Mary Hammond in the winter of 1835-36.  The first school house was built the following year, and not long afterward the Luther school house was erected.   Among the early teachers were Thomas Campbell, George Partial, Nancy Trim, Dr. Pagin and Lowry Hall.   In 1911-12 Washington had a township high school and five district schools, in which the teachers were as follows: High school, Ehnore Perry and Mary Trudelle; District No. 3 (the Luther school), Bess Finney; No. 4 (Prattville), Gracia Green; No. 5 (Bryarly), Mariola Cornell; No. 6 (Island), Lillian Burns; No. 7 (Blake), Maude Green.

No stirring events have ever occurred in Washington township, hence its history differs very little from that of any agricultural community. The men who redeemed the soil from its wild state and brought it under cultivation cared little for the more exciting phases of life, and were content to pursue "the even tenor of their way."  Their life was one of toil, sometimes privation, but it had its recompense.   They saw the Indian and the wild beast disappear before the march of civilization; many of them lived to see the railroads come and place Porter county in communication with other portions of the country; their social intercourse was usually without envy or jealousy and their friendships were sincere, and they have handed down to their posterity an inheritance in which their children and their children's children may feel a just pride. As in other portions of the county, the early settlers were compelled to go to Michigan City for their supplies or to market their surplus products. The nearest grist mill was at Kingsbury, a little village about six miles southeast of Laporte, and for several years grain had to be taken there to be ground.  In a few instances the pioneer farmers went nearly a hundred miles to obtain good seed for planting, yet with all these diffi-culties to contend with the courageous frontiersman persevered, and to him Porter county owes a debt that can never be repaid.

Washington township is crossed by four miles of railroad, all running in an easterly and westerly direction. Near the center of the township is the Grand Trunk, but there is no station on this line in Washington. The Baltimore & Ohio crosses the northeast corner. Coburg, near the northern boundary is a station on this line and a trading center for the northern part of Washington and the southern part of Jackson townships. The Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago enters at the southeast corner and runs a little north of west through Valparaiso, and the New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate) crosses the southwest corner. The time-tables of the last named road show a small station called Nickel two miles east of Valparaiso and near the boundary line between the town-ships of Washington and Morgan. There are about fifteen miles of macadamized road in Washington, and as the distance to Valparaiso is not more than eight miles from any portion of the township, the people depend chiefly upon that city for their supplies. There is no postoffice in the township, hut mail is distributed daily through the medium of the rural free delivery routes that traverse all parts of the county. The population in 1890 was 670; in 1900 it had fallen to 556, but during the next decade there was a substantial gain, the population in 1910 being 610.

The old town of Prattville, mentioned several times in the above sketch of Washington township, was laid out by Thomas Pratt, Wilson Malone and Lyman Beach. It occupied the east half of the northwest quarter of section 21, township 35, range 5, on tjae Laporte road, about two miles east of the city of Valparaiso. The plat was .recorded on November 11, 1856, and a few lots were sold, but the town never became a substantial reality and the name is about all that remains,

Wilson Malone, son of Lester Malone, was born in Ross county, Ohio, June 18, 1805, and in that county came to manhood. The death of his parents in his youth left him to his own resources, and in 1826, when he was twenty-one years old, he came west, stopping in Fountain and Montgomery counties, Indiana. On February 22, 1832, he married Sarah Swank, born in Springfield, Ohio, October 15, 1811, the daughter of Jacob Swank, an early settler in Montgomery county. In the same year of his marriage he removed to La Porte county and later came to Porter county, where he continued to reside until his death, December 22, 1876. His first earnings were invested in Porter county land; he was one of the prosperous men of his day and was the owner of more than 1,000 acres of land at the time of his death.


When the board of county commissioners issued the order of April 12, 1836, dividing the county into ten civil townships, the territory now comprising Westchester was included in the townships of Lake, Liberty and Waverly.   Two months later the citizens of Lake and Waverly townships petitioned the board of county commissioners for the consolidation of the two townships.   The petition was granted and the new township thus formed was called Westchester.   As thus created, it included all that portion of the county lying north of the line dividing township 36 and 37.   Subsequent changes were made by the erection of Pine township, and changes in the boundaries of Liberty and Portage, until Westchester was reduced to its present size.   It is bounded on the north by Lake Michigan; on the east by Pine and Jackson townships; on the south by the townships of Jackson, Liberty and Portage, and on the west by Portage.   Its area is about thirty-three square miles.   In the northern part are the sandhills so common along the shore of Lake Michigan, but the central and southern portions have a more fertile soil and are well adapted to agriculture.   Originally the surface was covered with a heavy forest growth, but the portable sawmills have used up practically all the native timber suitable for lumber.   A great deal of sand has been shipped to Chicago, and in the vicinity of Chesterton are fine beds of clay which has been utilitized extensively in the manufacture of brick both common and pressed.   These claybeds and the sandhills are the only mineral deposits of commercial importance in the township.

It was in Westchester township that the first white settler in Porter county built his cabin. In 1822 Joseph Bailly located on the Calumet river, at the place later known as Bailly Town. A more complete account of Mr. Bailly and his frontier post will be found in Chapter III. In 1833 Jesse Morgan came with his family and settled in what is now Westchester. His daughter Hannah, born in February, 1834, was the first white child born in the township. In 1835 William Thomas, Sr.,William Gosset, Jacob Beck, John Hageman, John Foster, William Frame and Pressley Warnick brought their families and located in Westchester. Some of these men settled in territory afterward added to other townships and their names appear as pioneers therein.   Other early settlers were Eli Hendricks, Elhanan Ranks, William Coleman, Alfred Marvin, two men named Abbott and McCoy, and a mulatto named Landy Gavin, who had purchased his freedom from slavery.   The first death in the township was a son of Joseph Bailly in 1827, and the first marriage was that of Esther Bailly to Col. John H. Wistler, who came from Detroit in 1803 and erected old Fort Dearborn near the mouth of the Chicago river. Their marriage occurred in Chicage, but they later became residents of the township.   The second marriage was between Samuel Thomas and Lucille Hale.

In the winter of 1833-34 a private school was taught at the home of Jesse Morgan, but the name of the teacher cannot be ascertained. Two years later a school was taught in a vacant trading post on section 5, township 36, range 5, about a mile and a half east of the present town of Chesterton.   As the population increased regular school districts were organized, school houses erected and teachers employed under the public school system.   In the year 1911-12 there were twenty-three teachers employed in the public schools of the township and the incorporated towns of Chesterton and Porter.   Eleven of these teachers were in the commissoned high school at Chesterton, viz:   F. M. Goldsborough, superintendent, Galeman Dexter, principal, Matilda Swanson, Agnes Long, Helen Miller, Etta Osborn, Jennie Crane, Dott Osborn, Agnes Morgan, Rose Murphy and Mabel Pelham.  E. E. Stultz was principal of the grammar school at Porter, and his assistants were Emily Peterson, Tennia Osborn, Mary Bradt and Anna Kossakowski.   Of the ten school districts at one time, three have been discontinued through consolidation, etc.   The teachers in the district schools for the year 1911-12 were as follows:  No. 3 (Furnessville), Edith Lindstrom; No. 4 (Waverly), Edna Doyle; there are two schools in District No. 5, that at Bailly Town taught by Emma Peterson, and the one at City West by Bertha Carlson; No. 6 (Old Porter), F. M. Wimple; No. 7 (Salt Creek), Mabel Brummitt; No. 10 (Mosquito Town), Oral Haslett. The school houses in all these districts are modern in their design, well equipped with working apparatus, etc., showing that the people of Westchester are not behind in their ideas pertaining to the education of their children.

The first attempt to establish a town was in the spring of 1835, when John Foster, who was a surveyor, laid out the town of Waverly on land belonging to William Gosset about two miles northwest of the present town of Chesterton. Several thousand dollars were expended in making improvements, but in 1838 a forest fire destroyed the work that had been done and the town was abandoned. City West was started about a year after Waverly. It was located near the mouth of Fort creek and for a time promised to become a town of considerable proportions, but a change • in the main route of travel inflicted such an injury upon the town that it sank into decay.   Porter (afterward called Old Porter) was started when the Michigan Central railroad was built in the early '503. The first house there was erected by John Richards and used for a store. The second and third were built by Frederick Michael and used for a store and dwelling, respectively.   A postoffice was established at Porter soon after it came into existence and continued there until 1872, when it was removed to Hageman, which was started in that year by Henry Hageman. A new postoffice was established at Porter the following year.   The two offices being only a mile apart there was considerable confusion in the distribution of mail, and the office at Hageman was finally discontinued. The present town of Porter was incorporated early in the year 1908, with a population of about 500.   Fumessville, in the northeastern part, takes its name from Edwin L. Furness, who was appointed postmaster when the postoffice was established there in 1861.   This place was formerly known as Murray's Side Track.   No regular plat of this place was ever recorded.   A Mr. Morgan built the first house there in 1853. Two years later Mr. Furness built a frame house and opened a store.

Chesterton, the largest town in the township and second largest in the county, was at first known as Coffee Creek, from the stream of that name.  It is said that the creek is so called because a teamster lost a bag of coffee in it while trying to cross at a time of high water.   A postoffice was established there as early as 1833 and was kept by Jesse Morgan for nearly twenty years.   It was first located on section 6, southeast of the present town, and was called Coffee Creek postoffice.   After several years the people grew tired of the name Coffee Creek and changed it to Calumet, after the river which flows just north of the town.   When the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railroad was completed in 1852, the town moved northward to the railroad and by the close of that year there were some twenty or more houses in Calumet.   The next year the post-office was removed from Coffee Creek and the name changed to correspond to that of the town.   In the meantime a postoffice had been established at New City West, about a mile south of the old City West, and this office was consolidated with the one at Calumet, with D. H. Hopkins as postmaster.   The first house in the present town of Chesterton was erected by Luther French in 1852 and was used for a hotel under the name of the Sieger House.   The second was built by a man named Enoch. The first brick building was erected by Young & Wolf in 1874. Just when the name was changed to Chesterton is a matter of some difference of opinion.   The adjutant-general's report of enlistments for service in the Civil war shows a Porter county company, most of the members of which came from Calumet, so it is probable that the name Chesterton was not adopted until during or after the war.  It is said that the name was changed to avoid confusion with the town of the same name in the State of Illinois.   The present name was derived from that of the township.   The Northern Indiana House was built by Leroy Brown about 1855, and kept as a hotel by him for several years.   In the early '50s Mr. Hopkins removed the Central Hotel from City West to Calumet, where it was remodeled and used as a house of entertainment for many years. In the early days Calumet (or Chesterton) was known as a "tough" town, having at one time nineteen saloons, though the population numbered only about 300.   That has all been changed, and the Chesterton of the present is as orderly a town as there is in northern Indiana.

On March 31, 1899, a petition was filed with the board of county commissioners asking for the incorporation of Chesterton. A census taken according to law, showing 198 voters and a total population of 716. At a special meeting of the commissioners on April 24th, an election was ordered for May 4, 1899, when the people should vote on the question of incorporation. The proposition was carried by a vote of three to one, and since then Chesterton has been an incorporated town. Chesterton has a bank with a capital of $25, 000, an ice company, a telephone exchange, a number of well appointed retail stores covering all lines of merchandise, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Swedish Methodist and Lutheran churches, and lodges of a number of the leading secret and benevolent organizations.   The population was 1,400, an increase of 612 during the preceding ten years.

Some difficulty was encountered in the incorporation of the town of Porter.   A petition was first filed with the county commissioners on August 7, 1907, but when it came for hearing on September 2nd, a number of citizens appeared and asked for the exclusion of certain territory.   The board dismissed the petition, chiefly on the grounds that the petitioners had filed no bond.   On October 7th a new petition, accompanied by a satisfactory bond, was filed with the board, but again the remonstrators appeared and succeeded in defeating the project to incorporate.  The petitioners then appealed to the circuit court, which tribunal ordered an amended plat, excluding the territory in question, and the matter was then referred back to the commissioners, who ordered an election to be held on the last day of February, 1908, when the people might vote on the question of incorporation.  At that election eighty-three votes were cast in favor of the proposition, and only eighteen in the negative.   Porter has one Congregational and three Lutheran churches, a commercial club, a large department store and several other mercantile establishments, and in 1910 reported a population of 524.

Westchester township is well supplied with railroads. The Michigan Central, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, and the Pere Marquette all center at Chesterton and Porter, the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend electric line passes through the northern part, and another electric line connects Chesterton with Valparaiso. West of Chesterton there is a place marked "GilbertvilleM on some of the maps, but no official plat of the town was ever filed in the office of the county recorder.  There are about thirty miles of macadamized road in the township.

In 1890 the population of the township was 2,669. During the next ten years it decreased to 2,455, but since 1900 there has been a marked increase, and in 1910 it was 2,953, a gain of almost 500 during the decade.

Source: History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests.. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1912.

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