Copyright
T. H. (Timothy Horton) Ball.

The lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake online

. (page 3 of 19)
Online LibraryT. H. (Timothy Horton) BallThe lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake → online text (page 3 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Indiana as a zealous, fearless, pleasant, earnest
advocate of home mission work. He rested
from his labors many years ago. He left sons
who entered the ministry and whose names have
been heard on the Pacific coast.

Elder Harding soon became a pastor in Illi-
nois where sprung up the town of Harding. In
about two years he died. Elder Warriner went
to attend the funeral and, as will appear after-
ward, soon received a call to become himself the
pastor there. It may be mentioned here, as
completing the record of the six, that he com-
menced labors in Illinois early in 1843 or per-
haps in December, 1842 ; removed to Paw
Paw Grove in the same region, built up there a
large church, spent in the same locality about
thirty years, and while not a brilliant preacher,
was an excellent pastor, as faithful and highly
esteemed as any in the state. He had been
moderator of the Northern Indiana Association
at its fifth anniversary in 1841, when Elder Silas
Tucker was clerk. He was elected clerk in
1842 when Elder A. Hastings was moderator.
He was moderator sometimes of the Ottawa
Association, was noted for meekness, gentle-



44 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

ness, soundness in the faith, and for a hopeful,
cheerful spirit. A few years ago he closed his
earthly labors, having devoted nearly all of his
pastoral life to the interests of a single com-
munity. In that community surely should long
live the name of the first pastor of the church at
Cedar Lake.

From these memorials let us return to the
summer of 1840 at the lake of cedars. The
church had now an ordained pastor and prayer
meetings at the school house in the grove,
preaching, and regular pastoral labors were
zealously sustained. Attending these prayer
meetings were four young girls school mates
and playmates and friends. These were, Ma-
nila Warriner, Elizabeth H. Ball, Maria Brad-
ley, and Ruth Ann Green. The pastor spoke
to them very quietly one clay, as they were at
the school house at play, saying how pleasant
and precious for them it would be if they would
trust in the Saviour in their early youth. His
words did not seem to be deeply impressed
upon their minds or to be earnestly heeded
then ; but in after years each of those girls
became active in the Christian life. The first
named, the daughter of the pastor, became a
teacher at Amboy, Illinois, a Baptist church
member. The religious life of the second will
soon be mentioned on these pages. The third



THE CEDAR LAKE CHURCH. 45

and fourth became Methodists. They are all
married and are all now living. Kuth Ann
Green, known now by another name, lives in
Valparaiso, and Maria Bradley, now the wife
of a prominent business man and political
leader in La Porte, is an active worker in
organizing mission circles for the Methodist
Episcopal Church work.

Soon there came at Cedar Lake the time for
the first baptism, the first in the county, the
first for the lately ordained pastor, and the first
in the waters of the Lake of the Red Cedars.
It was mid summer. It was the time of the
opening of the fragrant pond lilies, whose large
white blossoms, like emblems of spotless pu-
rity, opened to the warmth and glory of the
sunshine on the surface of the water. Their
roots were down in the hidden depths of the
rich soil beneath ; but of these the children
who in their little boats reached out their hands
and pulled ofT a long stem and a lily or lily
bud, did not think. And not always do the
more mature in mind think of the dark, unseen
depths, out of which mental and moral beauty
grow. Now came the time when that sacred
rite began in the Jordan, observed at Damas-
cus ; administered in jail yards, in pools, in
rivers, and in the sea, in Western Asia and
Eastern Europe ; in the darkly rolling Baltic



46 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

and in the rivers of England ; in the beautiful
Connecticut, in the Susquehanna, and the Del-
aware ; was at length to be observed in this
lake of the West.

Some like precise records. Here is the copy
from the original entry :

"July 19, 1840.

Covenant meeting at the school house. Af-
ter the usual exercises Albert Taylor related to
the church his Christian experience and was
received into fellowship as a Christian and a
follower of our blessed Saviour.

Sunday, 20th July.

Br. Albert Taylor was baptized and received
the right hand of fellowship of the church.
Communion season this day."

The spot selected for this baptism was on the
west side near the usual or second boat landing.
The day was warm and bright. The time was
about mid-day. Quite a concourse of people
gathered on the shaded bank to witness the
new and solemn scene.

The meetings continued to be interesting,
but there was not yet any large ingathering.
The little church now numbered fifteen mem-
bers. But though few in number, they were a
strong, intelligent, united band.



CHAPTER IV.

GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME.

Before proceeding further in the strictly re-
ligious history of the growth of the fifteen
Baptists of Lake county, it is desirable, in
order to view intelligently that growth, to
glance at the situation and learn something of
the ways of that household that remained from
first to last identified with all the Baptist in-
terests pertaining to this church.

The school house where the church was con-
stituted was before long removed, having be-
come private property, and became one of the
buildings in the cluster of houses and rooms,
frame and log buildings united, which formed
the home of the Ball family. Here for some
time the meetings were regularly held, and
here was commenced about 1840 the Cedar
Lake Sunday School. A donation of library
books was received from a Sabbath school in
Massachusetts, and funds were also collected
and an addition made to the library of choice
books published by the American Sunday School
Union. Of this school Hervey Ball was at
first and for many years the Superintendent.



48 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

In it were many precious teachings given ' and
received and impressions were made that will
be as lasting as the living souls on which they
were made.

It may be desirable here to introduce the
reader more fully to the members of this church
and school household. Five children, it has
been already said, came here from Massachu-
setts, from Agawam in Hampden county. The
oldest need not be specially mentioned. The
second was a daughter, Elisabeth H. Ball, to
whom her father had promised a flower garden
as large as all Agawam, and when as a little
girl eight years of age she began to gather the
flowers of Lake Prairie she found the promise
more than verified. Over beds of beautiful
flowers extending for nine miles in one direc-
tion she could say, "My right there is none
to dispute."

The third, fourth, and fifth were sons, He-
man, Charles, and James H. In a few years
there were added to these two lovely human
flowers, children of the lake and prairie home,
two little daughters, Mary Jane and Henrietta.
So that soon, like the little cottage girl who
was eight years old, whose child beauty made
an English poet glad, little Elisabeth H. could
say, "Seven boys and girls are we." The
boys grew in strength, in vigor, and in various



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 49

kinds of knowledge ; they could manage horses,
and row boats, and swim, and shoot the abun-
dant wild game, and roam the prairie and
woodland far and near ; and the girls grew
also in beauty, and in knowledge, and in love-
liness. As one by one they will take their
places in the different portions of this history,
they need no further mention here. Associated
with these in the Sabbath school and in the
religious meetings were the children of the
Warriner families, of the Church and Cutler
families, of a Farwell family residing near the
Illinois state line, and of other families that
were for a time neighbors around the lake.

A day school was commenced also as early
as 1838, which soon became a family and a
boarding school, where attended as boarders in
the family, Maria Bradley, Melissa G-ossett,
Ann Mckerson, Sophia Cutler, Augustus Wood,
Abby Wood, John Selkirk.

Here much attention was given to spelling
and penmanship, to reading and to English
composition, as well as to other elementary
branches : Latin and natural philosophy were
diligently studied, and drawing and painting
and botany were successfully taught. The
largest and best library then in the county
was accessible to these students, periodicals
from the East were secured and diligently
3*



50 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

read, and while some read Paley's works, and
Dick's, and Smelley's, and Johnson's and Ad-
dison's; others read the writings of Cooper,
and Bulwer, and of many other choice writers
of fiction. A somewhat curious mixture both
in respect to literary and religious writings
formed the range of reading for all the children
of the lake household. It is not to be sup-
posed that anything positively bad was within
their reach, but they were left for the most
part or entirely to their own taste and judg-
ment in gaining a knowledge of some of the
choicest of English literature, in reading the
best of American novels and in becoming ac-
quainted with such works as Elizabeth the
Exile of Siberia, as Bulwer' s Zan Oni and the
Last Days of Pompeii, and even of such as
Eugene Sue's Wandering Jew. In their hands
were the writings of Baxter and Doddridge and
Flavel and Bunyan and Scougal ; and also of
Unitarian, Universalist, and Sceptical writers.
Better order and discipline could not prevail
in a household than were always to be found
here, — truly here love was "the mainspring
of duty" — and among the brothers and sisters
and the boarders and other schoolmates entire
harmony reigned. Obedience, duty, and obli-
gation, went hand in hand along with great
personal freedom. The restraints imposed



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 51

were those of principle and not those of power.
And therefore at all times this was a very
happy household. Very little selfishness was
ever manifested here ; politeness, truthfulness,
gentleness, obliging and generous dispositions,
characterizing all the members of the house-
hold. Around the family altar, erected when
the home was established in the winter of 1837,
day by clay, parents and children, and visitors,
and domestics, and the stranger within the
gate whoever he might be, all bowed them-
selves in humble, earnest, grateful, pleading
prayer to God ; and they found a shelter, when
trials or sorrows came, as beneath the mercy
seat of old. And as one by one the children
learned to pray, and had their several "closets "
for private reading and meditation, it became
very thoroughly a home of prayer and a home
of praise. For thirty years, like lamps that go
not out by night, the incense from prayerful
hearts was going up daily and constantly to the
throne in heaven ; and more than twenty thou-
sand prayers from that one home are living
before that throne.

Connected with the schools and the home
life of the lake household were two literary
societies. An intense love for intellectual pur-
suits and for literary exercises had commenced
to grow among the children before they left the



52 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

valley of the Connecticut ; and here, notwith-
standing the fascinations of the chase, — and to
hunt and to read Ossian were for a time the
great delights of the oldest boy, who was for
several years the principal hunter of the family,
furnishing large supplies of game ; — notwith-
standing the great attractions of the lake, in
summer for boating and bathing and fishing,
and in winter for sliding and skating ; here that
love was cultivated, entering into every heart,
and rendering every one of the children in-
tensely fond of literary efforts and intellectual
life. Very soon therefore societies were organ-
ized. The first was called The Cedar Lake
Lyceum. Visitors were admitted, but no girls
were among its members. The second bore
the name of The Cedar Lake Belles Lettres
Society. This admitted girls to an equality of
membership and participation in its exercises.
It met once each month, when sure of moon-
light nights ; the former society held meetings
each week during the fall and winter time.
Between twenty and thirty young people de-
rived much profit from the exercises of these
two societies. When they had both accom-
plished their work they were disbanded ; but
several of the members retained a life-long
love for such exercises and for literary pur-
suits.



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 53

Shortly before this family left Massachusetts
a temperance society had been organized in the
village where they were residing. Of this
some had become members, and very soon
a temperance pledge was prepared, similar to
one which had been signed by thousands of
children, and these children and many others
and even grown up friends who visited them
attached their names to this family pledge.
Well would it have been for them if all these
visitors thus signing this total-abstinence pledge
had kept it. Much sorrow and suffering by
them might have been avoided. All those who
constituted the family temperance society proper
have kept their first pledge inviolate, and in
various temperance organizations in after years
they were active and useful.

Thus in harmony and with much symmetry,
no one thing perhaps having special undue
prominence, there went along together at the
Lake of the Ked Cedars the New England im-
plantations of religious meetings, Sunday school
and day school, literary societies, total absti-
nence, religious, secular, and light reading, with
hunting, rambling, and a wide freedom of range
over the pathless prairie lea and the wooodland
solitudes, and unrestrained freedom of body and
mind, which in the narrow Connecticut valley
were all unknown. The old home principles



54 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

asserted themselves and took and kept the
throne amid the almost boundless freedom and
wildness of the new home. ■ And that new
home was on a spot as lovely as could well be
found in the then Western wilds. It was in
1837^as wild as any lover of the wilderness need
desire. Indians were still lingering around
their choice hunting and trapping grounds.
The Wabash river valley formed the great base
for supplies. Mills were few and forty miles
awa}^. Mail facilities were beginning to be en-
joyed. The United States owned the land.
And then and for many years, for choice wild
game no better center than this small lake could
one need to desire.

It is very certain that along this west side of
the lake the feet of the children of the prairie
and forest wild, the native red children of Amer-
ica, often passed : for the first white settlers
found a well trodden pathway along the bank,
on the shore height, where the water never
reached. Now, one can walk by the water's
edge, where the waves will soon wash out the
footsteps ; but in those days of Indian occu-
pancy there was no passing below the wooded
bank. But these Indians were not like the*
Narragansetts and Pequods, the Cherokees and
Creeks, the Mingos and Delawares. They were
Pottawatomies ; and yet among them may have



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 55

been some noble specimens of the red race ;
real prayers may have gone up from this same
lovely wild to him whom they called the Great
Spirit ; and longings for some higher knowl-
edge may have stirred many hearts when they
deposited the forms of warriors and of maddens,
of aged women and children in their place of
burial, which was in the ridge of sand near the
north-east limit of the lake, and looked forward
with hope to some re-union in their fancied
hunting grounds of the happy. But they passed
away toward the setting sun, and with no knowl-
edge of what they had here been, or seen, or
suffered, or enjoyed, there came those with
higher and better knowledge, and who could
leave behind them written records. And so,
except the 'canoe and the well beaten path, and
the burial ground, leaving no trace behind them
on land or water, the native children disap-
peared, leaving their ancient home, with its
unrecorded and now forgotten associations, to
become the new and fresh home, as new and
fresh as though it was but creation's dawn in-
stead of ages having passed away, to become
the home of the descendants of European pio-
neers.

THE LOST GIRLS.

One day when the two little sisters, who were
usually dressed alike and were then about the



56 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

same size, seeming to be twins, Mary Jane and
Henrietta, were perhaps eight and six years of
age, they went to visit at a neighbor's, one-half
mile distant in the woodland. They did not
return at the expected time and a brother was
sent i$ search of them. He learned that they
had left the neighbor's house, as it was sup-
posed, to return home, but still they had not
reached home. There was some anxiety about
them in the household, as the afternoon was
rapidly passing away and they were evidently
lost. A thorough search was commenced along
the various woodland pathways, it being con-
sidered improbable that they would go out on
the open prairie. We all know thrilling stories
about lost children, and had these wanderers
taken a different direction this account would
be very different from what it is.

There was another neighbor's house farther
on in the woodland at the head of the lake, the
residence of the Herlitz family, the three homes
being in the points of an isosceles triangle.
After considerable alarm and search it was
found that the two sisters, instead of return-
ing southward to their own home, had passed
eastward along a pathway through bushes and
woodland to the Herlitz family home, from
thence to return to their own home. Wolves
at that time prowled on the prairie and in those



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 57

woodlands when the light of day passed away,
and the brother's heart beat rapidly with joy
when his eyes fell upon the little wanderers.

He had a similar experience afterward in
searching for a lost lamb. A favorite lamb
was one day missing from the flock. ,The
woods after nightfall were dangerous for lambs
as well as for little girls, and again he began
a resolute search. Quite a long distance away,
in the same woods at the head of the lake, at
last, alive and unharmed the little lamb was
found, and with quite a different and yet a true
throb of joy he took up that tired, hungry,
silly lamb in his arms and conveyed him to the
home and to the flock. Perhaps the lamb was
not silly, but the lamb was surely lost, and left
to itself its fold it could not find. Years after-
wards, in pastoral experience, not with sheep
that wore wool, he had occasion to remember
the joy at finding his little sisters, the peculiar
kind of joy in giving to the lost lamb the pro-
tection 'of his vigorous arms. He who said
' ' Feed my lambs, ' ' knew that they would
sometimes go astray. |

One day, when neither girls nor lambs hap-
pened to be exposed to their attack, the inmates
of the lake home were somewhat startled to see
some wolves in the afternoon of a bright day,
long before the sun reached the horizon, pass
4



58 THE LAKE OF THE RED CEDARS.

rapidly near the house, through a field of corn,
and pass off to the northward, more leisurely
as though they were still free denizens around
the lake. They were expected in the night
time, but not in the day. And sometimes
when least expected some wolf, perhaps in
his own shaggy dress, perhaps in sheep's cloth-
ing, prowls around the fold of the Saviour's
spiritual sheep. And such a wolf, if opportu-
nity is given, will catch and scatter the sheep.
The native wolves of Lake Prairie proved
destructive to melons and to green corn, when
no feeble animals came within their reach.
To their sharp, prolonged bark, the children
eagerly listened, when nothing was exposed;
and often in the mornings would find proof
of their depredations within a short distance
of the house. They at length caught one of
these in a trap, inside of their home field, and
the hunter brother, when out alone in the early
morning, shot another, and they soon ceased
to venture near that guarded home. This was
his first opportunity to aim his rifle at a wolf.
He came suddenly upon him in one of his
usual morning hunts, then about half a mile
from the dwelling house. Both the wolf and
the hunter were startled at first. The prairie
grass was then tall. The wolf instantly sprang
into covert, but coming soon upon an open



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 59

spot and wishing, it seemed, to reconnoiter
and to make out more distinctly what the
young hunter might be, he turned his head
an instant to look, as he stood with his broad
side exposed. The curiosity of that instant
proved fatal to him, for the almost always
unerring rifle was that instant pointed toward
him with its deadly aim from the hunter's
eye, and the quick, sharp report passed toward
the lake on the fresh, still air of the morning.
The next instant after the aim was taken the
head of the wolf turned away from the hunter
and he plunged into the tall grass and was
out of sight. But the swift bullet passed near
his heart, and he was soon found, with his
sharp white teeth and red tongue, and motion-
less form extended upon the earth. Hasten-
ing home the hunter obtained a brother's aid
and this fine specimen of the Canis latrans
was conveyed to the house for the inspection
of all the members of the family.

Wolves of this kind we are at liberty to
destroy; but of the "ravening wolves" which
come "in sheep's clothing" we are only to
beware. (See Matt. 7: 15.) -

Other marauders, not dangerous to children
but dangerous to chickens, marauders that loved
the night time and the darkness, sometimes
broke in upon the even tenor of this home life
at which we are but glancing.



60 THE LAKE OF THE EED CEDARS.

The seven children all loved excitement, while
all were unbending in moral principle ; and
loving the lake, and the flowers, and the wild
beauty around their home, and the solitary
grandeur that could then be found in the West
Creek woods, which only one visitor, a young
lady from the East, ever seemed as fully as they
to appreciate, they also enjoyed with the pleas-
ure of those who have physical, intellectual, and
moral health, any little startling episodes in
their usually rich life. And the following event
was one. In the still hours of the night a
sound was heard from the poultry house, like
a quick note of alarm, and then all was still.
At different times this sound was heard, but it
so soon ceased that no one gave it much atten-
tion. The next morning the children were sur-
prised to find a number of fine large hens lying
dead upon the ground. On a close examination
a small hole was found in each one's neck out
of which had oozed a drop of blood. Again the
same thing took place and the hens seemed to
be going by the dozens. They were not eaten
nor torn, and the question was, what kind of an
animal is the destroyer. When next the quick,
sharp cry was heard some of the family arose
and made careful search. By the light of a
lantern taken inside of the poultry house there
was discovered on one of the roosts beside the



GLANCES INTO THE CEDAR LAKE HOME. 61

hens a large black owl. He would insert his
sharp bill into their necks, one by one-, and with
one cry they would fall to the ground dead.
The owl could not escape and was soon dis-
patched with a club. All were glad on the
next morning to see that this midnight marauder
had met a deserved fate. A large white Kocky
Mountain owl visited them one cold winter, but
he committed no acts of pillage.

The American bald eagle in those days often
was near their home, they could hear the fish
hawk scream, and, at least once, the deer from
the prairie, not having learned about the new
home, ran very close to the house and bounded
swiftly away into the grove. Enjoying, and
learning, and trusting, engaged in varied pur-
suits, work, play, study, air castle building, the
children became fitted, perhaps peculiarly fitted,
for that thoroughly religious life upon which, in
due season, each of the seven entered.




CHAPTER Y.



CHURCH PROGRESS.



The first Baptist church in Lake county,
recognized with fifteen members, ordaining
through a presbytery one of its number as pas-
tor in 1840, and soon after receiving one new
convert to the Christian faith as a member, re-
ceived a few by letter and dismissed some, but


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryT. H. (Timothy Horton) BallThe lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake → online text (page 3 of 19)