T. H. (Timothy Horton) Ball.

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

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passed through few changes during the next
three years.

Elder Warriner commenced holding meetings
at the court house, a two story log building on
what is now the public square at Crown Point.
He took turns, in preaching there, with Dr.
Brown the Presbyterian pastor, and with Pev.
M. Allman a Methodist local preacher. A union
Sunday school was organized, conducted by each
minister in turn. The Baptist family at Cedar
Lake frequently attended on the Sabbaths when
their pastor held meetings. On the other Sab-
baths of the month their own meetings were
kept up.

At length, in November, 1842, Elder Warri-
ner requested to be released from the pastoral
care of the Cedar Lake church that he might


accept an invitation to labor in Illinois. His
success there during the next thirty years has
been already mentioned.

In 1844 Hervey Ball was elected Probate
Judge, and he bore the title during the remain-
der of his life.


In January, 1845, Elder William T. Bly from
the state of New York, having settled at Val-
paraiso as pastor of the Baptist church in that
village, came to Cedar Lake and became also
pastor of that church, making pastoral visits
once each month. The metings grew in inter-
est. Some of the Cedar Lake household,
especially the young hunter and student, had
been examining closely the subject of personal
religion ; and these received some help from
the new pastor. In April, 1845, Elisabeth H.
and her older brother gave to the church satis-
factory evidence of conversion and were received
as members and were baptized.

The experience of the brother was quite dif-
ferent from that of the sister. She listened with
a new and a personal interest to the plain, prac-
tical, earnest preaching of the very faithful pas-
tor. She very soon trusted in the Saviour and
began to love and obey him and to rejoice in a
new life.- He had been for years struggling,


perhaps groping, doubting, hesitating, search-
ing. His first special religious interest began
at his Agawam birth-place, when he was eight
years of age, when, as he believes, the Holy
Spirit first visited his heart and caused him to
become anxious in regard to his welfare after
this life, caused him to rest no longer satisfied
with repeating his child prayers learned from a
mother's lips, but to pray in reality to his Heav-
enly Father, caused him in the still hours of
night to inquire of that mother, who always
wakened readily to attend to any wants of her
children, in regard to the endless future, and in
regard to the prospect before human beings in
eternity. Then took hold of his soul, never to
let go or loosen its strong grasp, the meaning
of immortality and of that short and simple
declaration, the soul must exist forever. What
should for him that existence be ? Then it was
that the sound of the village bell, as slowly and
solemnly it tolled the knell for some departed
soul, according to the custom of those years,
striking upon his ear on that grand hill top, was
a sound of alarm and anguish. Death then
seemed terrible, for into his mind the light of
the resurrection morning had not begun to shine.
Changing scenes and stirring events gave some
relief, and he had grown fearfully careless in
some respects, when he visited Cedar Lake for


the first time in company with his father in the
early summer of 1837, then eleven years of age.
He slept that first night in the cabin upon the
west bank where was his father's claim, and
there in that solitude, thirty miles away from
his mother and sister and brothers, beside that
beautiful sheet of water, he believes that again
the Holy Spirit came to his soul, awakening it
once more from its torpor and permitting it
never to sleep thus again. Could then the boy
of eleven have foreseen the soul conflicts, the
doubts, the fierce struggles, the anguish, and
the almost ecstatic joy, through which in the
next eight years he was to pass on that half mile
of surface upon which he stood alone on that
summer morning, he would not in the least have
wondered at the strange burden that then
pressed upon his soul, and he would probably
have looked with a solemn awe upon that bright
lake whose little waves were dancing in the
morning breeze. What that spot was after-
ward to be to him he had then not dreamed.

He had passed now through those nearly eight
full years. He had read Ossian with intense
delight, and Johnson's Rasselas, and many a
work of fiction. He knew every story in the
New York World, then edited by Park Benja-
min. He had read Allein's Alarm, and Baxter's
Call to the Unconverted. He had followed


hunting with intense eagerness, bringing home
large quantities of valuable game, sometimes
almost or quite shedding tears over the death of
some sprightly animal that fell before the un-
erring aim of his trusty rifle. He had put at
times his whole soul into his literary societies
and pursuits. He had suffered a mental agony
that surely not many are called to suffer. He
had built many an air castle. Often he had
felt, perhaps Indian like, could he but have his
dog and his gun he could be at any time well
content. But until 1845 he had not found soul
rest. On Sunday, April 19th, of that year, in
the clear waters of the Ked Cedar Lake, at a
spot on the west shore connected with which
are some sad, some pleasant, and some joyous
associations which are connected with no other
part of that winding shore, the brother and sis-
ter, in the presence of the members of the
church and of a large congregation for those
days, were baptized according to the ancient
custom among the followers of Jesus Christ.
On the same day the two united for the first
time in observing the Lord's supper.

The brother soon studied Scougall's "Life
of God in the Soul of Man," a little work
which he prizes beyond any other religious writ-
ing of man uninspired. He studied Edwards
on the Affections. He examined Flavel's


Touclistone of Sincerity with great care. He
experienced some of the purest and richest
soul joy of which he has ever heard. He
passed through two struggles, perhaps, with
some of the powers of darkness. * He lost in
these dark weeks his confidence in the Bible
and at last his belief in the existence of God.
But in agony of soul he still prayed. The
grove and the prairie and the lake were the
only earthly witnesses of his doubts, his strug-
gles, his victory, and his joy. The autumn of
1845 found him far along in soul experiences.
His doubts were settled in such a way in that
solitude of nature, where he used to go alone
into the lake woodland to read and meditate
and pray, that he thinks they never can rise up
again. Since that summer his belief in the
Bible and in God has rested on no human
traditions, on no human teaching, but on a
foundation reached through a fearful struggle
attended with no little anguish. The common
doubts of professed sceptics to him seem very
weak. His sister seemed to tread joyously
and hopefully along the new path. There was
received by the church on the same day with
the brother and sister an elderly woman Mrs.
Sarah Farwell, whose conversion was one of
the most remarkable ever occurring in this
county. She was a native of Vermont. She


came with her husband and family to the West
in 1833, and the family endeavoring to follow
the Old Soc Trail to the Hickory Creek settle-
ment of Illinois, lost the direction and spent
the fourth of July of that year "where Crown
Point now stands, amid an unbroken solitude,
while a messenger returned eastward for a
guide." A few years later the family became
residents of Lake county, three miles and a
half west of Cedar Lake and one mile from
the Illinois line. Mrs. Farwell had received
a New England training and had experienced
some early religious impressions. Her hus-
band had claimed to be a Universalist. He
had died, and the charge of the family rested
upon her. Two sons and one daughter were
grown up and married. One son, a young
man, and three younger sons, Edwin J., Hud-
son, and Darius Gr. remained at home. Early
in 1845 she commenced to attend the meetings
at Cedar Lake with two and sometimes three
of the young sons, then boys. These came
one Sunday when there was no preaching and
attended the Sunday school. It was evident
that her heart, like that of Lydia of Thyatira,
had been peculiarly, supernaturally opened.
She attended to the lesson of that morning
with a strange interest. She returned home.
And when the eighteenth of April came she


was present to narrate with the other two the
wonderful dealings of God with her soul. Ke-
markable manifestations of the Divine presence,
and grace, and love, had been. granted to her
in her home ; and like a child, as young in her
Christian experiences as the young Elisabeth
EL, she presented herself to the church as a
candidate for baptism and for membership.
The church rejoiced in this accession to their
numbers of the head of another New England
family, and the door was opened for meetings
in a new neighborhood. In order that more
members of her family and other friends might
be present, the baptism of Mrs. Farwell was
deferred till May 18th, when young Eli Church,
the youngest son of Richard Church was ready
for the same act of obedience, having given to
the church the day before satisfactory evidence
that he had lately been converted.

There was present April 19th, when the sec-
ond and third professed believers ever baptized
at Cedar Lake were immersed by Elder Wm.
T. Bly, a young friend of these two, Ann Bel-
shaw, who soon after became a member of this
church, having been baptized by Elder Hastings
in La Porte county when she was twelve years
of age. There were then four young church
members, and the meetings held each month
were very pleasant and profitable. The new


pastor was intensely in earnest in his efforts to
bring the Scripture teachings to the hearts of
the people.

Besides the Farwell neighborhood, lately
mentioned, where meetings were soon held,
Elder Bly also had a monthly appointment in
the Belshaw neighborhood, where seven mem-
bers were soon collected. This neighborhood
was about nine miles south from the school
house near the lake.

It was soon ascertained that a few isolated
Baptists from the state of New York were re-
siding at Beebe's Grove, a locality in Illinois,
about twelve miles from Cedar Lake, north and
west, near the present town of Crete. These
were the Luce and Smith families, who came
to the meetings of the Cedar Lake church, as
their nearest Baptist home, and the pastor com-
menced preaching in their neighborhood, enter-
ing actively into the work of church extension.
In this neighborhood were very intelligent, en-
terprising Eastern people, many of them Con-
gregationalists, with whom it was exceedingly
pleasant to meet in religious worship. Often
the lake family attended the meetings held
here, although twelve miles distant. Some
members of the Beach family residing in this
grove were then the best singers in the whole
region. Soon Mary Ann Smith, a young girl,


was converted and baptized ; and soon after
Fanny C. Warriner, daughter of Lewis War-
riner, then residing with the Ball family, was
added to the number of youthful disciples. She
was baptized by Elder Bly January 24, 1846.

The lake was now covered with thick ice, but
a font was soon arranged by cutting through
the ice. Steps were placed leading down into
the clear water, which was very far from being
icy cold, and the emblematic burial was with
very little inconvenience readily performed.
Those who think such winter immersions are
dreadful and cruel acts do not understand very
well some of the philosophy of nature.

Meetings at the school house and in the
different neighborhoods continued, probably
through 1846, although the pastor resided at
Valparaiso and came into Lake county only
once each month.

Before his labors closed one of the young
members, cherished and dearly loved by
many, Ann Belshaw, faded away from earth.
A short sketch of this choice girl will be found

Changes probably took place at Valparaiso.
Elder Bly commenced teaching there, to aid in
gaining a support, and Lake county was with-
out a Baptist minister. Twenty-two members
had been added to the Cedar Lake church dur-
ing his short pastorate.


He had baptized but six, but they proved
to be very faithful and consistent and liv-
ing members. He had brought a young the-
ological student to Cedar Lake for a short
residence with the family there. He had been
instrumental in calling forth Christian activities
in some hearts where loving and patient labor
was never more in life to cease. He also
sowed good seed in many other hearts.

From Indiana he passed westward became
a pastor in Minnesota and in Illinois. So far
as known he is yet living, but is quite an aged
man, a veteran soldier now. Surely his work
in Lake will never die.

A mission Sabbath school was commenced
and carried on, by members of the lake family,
at the home of Mrs. Farwell. Some very in-
teresting and promising children attended here.


It was one of those very sickly seasons
throughout what was then the West. "The
summer of 1846 was one of uncommon calam-
ities. It was very dry and very hot. Sickness
was almost universal. There were few to re-
lieve the wants of the sick or to administer
medicine. Fields of grain wasted, uncut or
unstacked." Lake County, page 91. It had
been quite a fruitful season, the autumn was


unusually warm. Apple trees put forth blos-
soms like spring time. It was about all that
each family could do to attend the sick ones
at home. Work upon the farms ceased with
many families while the whole attention of
those able *to be about was required in the
homes. Two of the sons in the Cedar Lake
family, the oldest and his brother Charles,
were then untouched by the prevailing sick-
ness and the one administered the medicines
and watched the sick and the other attended
to other household duty. All recovered except
the aged grandmother.

The refreshing air of the autumnal mornings
brought to her no increase of strength. She
was glad to see the flowers which the children
gathered for her gratification, and she ex-
pressed the hope that earth would have no
flower less when she was gone. The family
worship for a time was conducted in her room.
She was no singer, but to the surprise of all
she joined at one time in singing one of the
hymns of praise. It seemed like a new power
coming to her from the other world. Several
of the members of the church came to see her
on what proved to be the last day of her life.
She joined in heart in the prayers and songs
of praise, and as the shades of the evening
came on, trusting firmly in the Saviour whom


for so many years she had loved and obeyed
she went to sleep in death. The gathered
household knelt within the room where death
had for the first time entered, and the father
of the seven children offered earnest, solemn
prayer to God. It was a prayer -that left its
impress deep on some of that kneeling group.
Then while some prepared the dead form for
its last rest, the members of the home went to
their various duties.

That was a precious, sacred room. There
had the two young prairie flowers entered upon
life ; there as reclining upon the carpet in the
summer of 1845, in lonely meditation, had a
ray of light entered a struggling soul ; there
had Father Sawin of Laporte and other visitors
led the family devotions ; there had some young
forms of earthly beauty made and received im-
pressions which were to last forever ; and there
ten years afterward entered upon life the young
grandson whose southern mother in 1855 be-
came a daughter at Cedar Lake. A different
building now occupies that spot.

The local associations live now in memory,
some of which are named upon this written
page. Mrs. Elisabeth Horton died October
25, 1846, seventy-seven years of age.

To the oldest brother of the lake family,
whose special duty it had been that summer to


care for the sick, the months of July and Au-
gust, of September and October, were pecu-
liarly favorable for spiritual growth.

The death of a dear friend, Lewis F. War-
riner, in 1845, had left a shadow over his. soul,
and now the death of the very dear friend, in
June of this year, the gentle and lovely English
prairie girl, cast a yet deeper shadow around
a heart then too sensitive for ordinary life.
It has learned since to grow strong in suffer-
ings. The care of the sick in that room, where
his grandmother spent her last weeks, gave
much time for reading, and the staple of this
summer's reading was Sunday school litera-
ture, the supply of which was then abundant.
There was no weight of care, except for the wel-
fare of the sick, and the recollection of that sum-
mer and autumn is filled with two images, the
care of the sick ones and the intervals filled
with pleasant, instructive reading, reading
which was soothing, refining, sanctifying in its
influence. Sometimes there was an opportu-
nity to breathe the fresh air and to visit the
beds of rich, ripe cantaloupes and muskmelons,
which few then dared to eat, and to visit the
orchard and wonder at the September and Oc-
tober blossoms. The peculiar mental and spir-
itual atmosphere of this summer and autumn
cannot be expressed in words.


One died, health returned to others.

Farm work was resumed, and soon the win-
ter studies brought the mind back, in some
respects, to every day life, and preparation for
college life began soon to be made. The influ-
ence in forming character, of that year of 1846,
has never ceased to be felt. A direction was
then given to all the future life of that watcher
by the sick, that mourner for the dead. So to
speak, a hue was imparted to his soul, in those
months and in that solitude, as though given
by a painter's brush in the hands of an angel
of gentle ministration, a brush dipped in Heav-
en's own fadeless coloring; a hue which neither
the bright joy of Southern life, nor the mingling
with ambitious New England intellects, has
been able to efface ; a hue that is not of this
world, nor perishable like the things of earth.



It is probable that Elder Sawin supplied the
church to some extent in 1847. He, at least,
visited the different neighborhoods and preached
to the congregations, saying to the brethren that
he came to see how they did. (See Acts 15:36. )

Elder Kennedy also from Twenty Mile Prairie
sometimes visited the bounds of the Cedar Lake
Church. But the need of a pastor was felt, and
arrangements were made to secure the labors of
Elder A. Hastings for a year. He was to make
his home with the family at the lake, his own
household then numbering four. In February
1848 he commenced his labors, and the Ball
family, usually numbering from twelve to six-
teen or eighteen members, had now in their
home a resident pastor. It was quite a little
assembly when the whole household assembled
for family worship ; it was like the few house-
hold churches mentioned in the New Testament

Church building again went forward. Five
more members were received at Beebe's Grove.
But soon it was thought best to form new


churches, and the mother church of the region
must be content to see her daughters grow.

The following are records for this year of

"At a covenant meeting letters were given
to the following brethren and sisters to form a
church with other brethren at West Creek:
Melvin Halsted, Martha C. Halsted, Patty Hal-
sted, David Tabor, and Elizabeth Belshaw."

(This little band soon were organized and re-
cognized as the West Creek Baptist church.
The locality was the Belshaw neighborhood.
Elder Hastings continued to be their pastor.

This church was organized May 6, 1848.
This is their record. "The conference then
agreed to form themselves into- a church to be
known as The Kegular Baptist church of West
Creek." The "then" denotes immediately
after adopting articles of faith.

The church was recognized by a council May
28. The members of this council were Elder
Hastings and members from the Cedar Lake
church. L. Cutler of Laporte church, being
present, by invitation united in the council.

Elder Hastings was Moderator and T. H.
Ball was Clerk.

Under date of Septr. 11th is the following:

"Resolved to build a Baptist meeting house,
M. Halsted, A. Dumond, and O. W. Graves
were appointed a committee to choose a site."


No house was built. The following are the
names of those reported as baptized, during
the life-time of this church, by its second pas-
tor, Elder Hunt : Harriet Belshaw, Candace
Belshaw, Sarah A. Hunt, Thomas Belshaw,
Charlotte Tabor, O. P. Harder, Susan McNutt,
and Helen Tabor.)

" At a covenant meeting the following breth-
ren and sisters were dismissed to form a church
at Thorn Grove : William Hughes, Jacob Luce,
John M. Davis, Sally Luce, Desdemona Little,
Mercy Ann Smith, now Mercy Ann Marsh,
Mary Babcock."

These formed a church in Illinois. Elder
Hastings labored faithfully during the year in
building up the members, and especially the
younger ones, in Bible doctrine. He was a
very thorough expounder of the Scriptures,
and very different from Elder Bly in his modes
of working.

• Family changes at the ever pleasant lake
home were about to be made. The literary
societies had been going on prosperously.
These the pastor encouraged. The group of
young people found not only enjoyment but
great improvement in the varied exercises
which many of them dearly loved. But they
were soon to be scattered. Some of them
were looking forward to more thorough prep-


aration for active- life. The oldest son of the
Ball family, the hunter of the lake and wood-
land wilds, whose trusty rifle brought down
such large quantities of game, was soon to
enter upon college life. His preparation for
a college course had been commenced in child-
hood. He mastered the Latin Grammar, the
Reader, Yiri Romae, and began to read Cae-
sar's Commentaries before he was eight years
old. He continued Latin at the select school
of West Springfhld during his ninth year.
He commenced Greek. He had at first a pri-
vate tutor. He continued Greek during his
eleventh year. When eleven years of age he
came West, and the attractions of the chase,
especially the ducks, the wild geese, the grouse,
the sand hill cranes, the wolves, the deer, and
the fascination of general and often of light
reading, proved too strong for his entire de-
votion to study. His frame, never large, grew
hardy and robust. He could roam the wild^
with his gun and dog as untiring as an Indian.
He would plunge into the waters of the lake,
when frost and even ice was on the shore, with-
out even a shiver. He practiced cold bathing
usually from March to November or Decem-
ber. He cultivated endurance. He worked
upon the farm and was skillful in holding the
plow, in swinging the scythe and the cradle,


or in using the sickle. It was his special work
and delight to make and keep in order the large
flower beds for his mother and sisters. But
now for a year he had been concentrating his
energies on Latin and Greek and the higher
mathematics. He had studied surveying be-
fore this and sometimes performed his father's
duties as county surveyor. In the private
room which he called his study, where he was
safe from intrusion, he worked diligently now,
seldom taking up his gun except for exercise,
laying all light literature aside, and Cicero's
select orations, and the twelve books of Vir-
gil's JEneid, the ten eclogs, and the four geor-
gics, were soon mastered. The last georgic
containing five hundred and sixty-six lines was
read in one day. The benefit of studying Latin
in childhood was fully realized. Sufficient
Greek and algebra were mastered to meet the
requirements of the college ; — it was with him
Bourdon' s Algebra ' ' without a teacher, " or a
note, or a suggestion, or a guide, and one ex-
ample in equations proved to be difficult for his

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Online LibraryT. H. (Timothy Horton) BallThe lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake → online text (page 4 of 19)