T. H. (Timothy Horton) Ball.

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

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ingenuity, but he plodded on. The autumn
came. E. el. Farwell was designing to study at
Wabash College at Crawfordsville. They went
together in a wagon down the Grand Prairie of
Illinois, which was wild and tenantless then,
where now are railroad tracks, and farms, and


hedges, and orchards, and homes, to the town
of Crawford sville, where he took the stage for
Indianapolis, on the way to Franklin College
at Franklin. His home parting had been a sad
one, as he took, miles away on the prairie, his
last look at the grove and the home which con-
tained the most that was dear to him on earth,
and the pathos of Ossian and the mournful
beauties of Mrs. Heman's poems were filling
his mind with plaintive sounds and saddening
pictures ; but at Crawfordsville he parted with
his father who had accompanied him thus far,
and with his young friend. He arrived by due
course of the conveyances of those days at
Franklin and commenced duties there, but to
say that he was homesick would be saying very
little. Never away from home for a week be-
fore, and now among total strangers, whose
ways were so different from those to which he
had been accustomed, he had that disease, nos-
talgia, in a very aggravated form. But he did
not go home. He plunged into the studies be-
fore him as he had been accustomed in early
spring time to plunge into the cold water of
his lake, and a fellow student who closely ob-
served him remarked afterward that he was
sure he would soon kill himself by over devo-
tion to his pursuits, that he would not stand
that rate of study long. He wore off his home-


sickness. He had entered in advance, and al-
though then a little behind in Greek, he grad-
uated in two years, in the summer of 1850, and
soon, without returning to his home, he was
drawn by some strange or hidden attraction to
the state of Alabama. He had taken with him
from Franklin, besides his diploma, a general
letter of introduction from the faculty saying :
"We * * have great pleasure in certify-
ing that * * * the Bearer of these presents
is a member of the class which has just grad-
uated here (Anno Domini 1850) and we hereby
introduce him to all whose acquaintance he
may seek as a gentleman of virtuous and re-
ligious habits, of excellent abilities, and of
superior scholarship. * * :f * " Also he
took, when starting for the South the follow-
ing special statement signed by John S. Hough-
am, Professor of Mathematics: "The Bearer
- * * completed the regular Classical and
Mathematical course of this Institution, and
graduated in July 1850. His habits of study
are of the closest and most rigid character.
His uniform course was to study not merely to
be able to recite, but to be master of the studies
he pursued. In the Mathematics and Natural
Philosophy, the department in which I heard
his recitations, his attainments are of a high
order; and I consider him well qualified to


take charge of that department in any Sem-
inary or Academy."

Having spent his few months after leaving
college at Danville, near Indianapolis, having
been one of the constituent members of the
Baptist church there, and having there com-
menced the great work of preaching the Gos-
pel, he took with him from that church a license
' ' to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ wheresoever God in his providence
may cast his lot." Signed by A. Bland, Mod-
erator, William Crawford, Clerk, and John
Jones, Pastor of Church. Furnished with his
diploma and these three documents, thus
"armed and equipped" for work, we will
n ^eave him to follow his romantic, or perhaps
providential course, and return to the lake of
the cedars.

A break had been made in the home circle,
and others will go forth soon. Those remain-
ing continued their accustomed pursuits. The
farm work, the studies, the church work, all
went prosperously onward. The following en-
try appears upon the church book: "1849,
Feb'y. The church has been supplied by
Elder Hastings during the past year. There
has been no addition by baptism, yet we hope
his labors will be not in vain. Again the
church is left destitute."


In 1845 the church had reported to the asso-
ciation seventeen members. In 1846 they
reported thirty-six members. In 1849 only
twenty-one were reported, two new churches
having been constituted within the former
bounds. The work which Elder Hastings ac-
complished, if not showing the same results as
that performed by Elder Bly, must also, as
connected with the coming kingdom and the
undying nature of Christian truth, itself live :
u One soweth and another reapeth."

"Thou knowesfc not which will thrive,
The late or early sown;
Grace keeps the precious germ alive,
When and wherever strown."




"1850. January 12th. In the good provi-
dence of God the church is again supplied with
a pastor, Elder Thomas L. Hunt of Soiling
Prairie, whose labors commenced in December.
A covenant meeting was this day held and
most of the resident members present. The
meeting was commenced as usual by prayer,
and continued by an expression of faithfulness
and fellowship by each member. Expressions
were also made by several others, not mem-
bers, of the goodness of God toward them and
their hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.
William Taylor was received into fellowship
after relation of his experience and his hope in
a Saviour. Yoted that after being baptized he
be received a member of this church.

On motion it was resolved that Elder Hunt
be duly recognized as pastor of this church.

This meeting was attended with unusual in-

The place of meeting, which for about twelve
years had been at the school house and at the


home of Judge Ball on the west side of the
lake, was now, in 1850, changed to the school
house south-east of the lake.

That part of the county north and west of
the lake was already filling up with a Catholic
and Lutheran population, the earlier settlers
having removed.

Richard Church on Prairie West died Sep-
tember 30, 1848, being nearly seventy-three
years old ; and soon his large family were scat-
tered, some going east into Michigan and some
into the far West ; and before long that whole
prairie, with nearly all of St. Johns township
was densely settled by a German Catholic pop-

To accommodate, therefore, the Baptist
congregation, the place of meeting was thus

" January 26. Covenant and church meet-
ing was this day held at the school house
south of the lake.

Elder Hunt present as pastor.

The usual covenant exercises were attended
with interest. Several persons came forward
and related the dealings of God with them and
their hopes of salvation through the Saviour
Jesus Christ. The church having gained evi-
dence of their reconciliation with God and their
sincerity of attachment to the cause of Christ


received into fellowship and membership of the
church after being baptized Enoch S. McCarty,
Daniel Davis, Mrs. Lucy Taylor, Mrs. Mary
Edgerton, and Miss Polly Edgerton."

The next day six were baptized. As the
place of meeting was changed so now the place
of baptism was changed to the south side of
the lake. The thoughtful reader may be some-
what surprised that believers were ready for
baptism as soon as a new pastor appeared
among them. The explanation probably is,
that the Cedar Lake Sabbath school transferred
to this same south side school house, had been
attended by the people of the neighborhood
and the truth thus brought to their minds and
hearts had made them "free indeed," had
made them the obedient followers of the Sa-

Elder Hunt was pastor three years and addi-
tions to the church and baptisms were quite
frequent. Twenty-eight were received to mem-
bership while he was pastor, and counting
himself and wife, who also became members,
the number added to the church was thirty,
and twenty-one of these were received by ex-
perience and baptism, and only nine by letter.

It was truly for this church a season of
refreshing. Among these were a number who
had grown up as boys and girls together around


the lake, who had been together in school life,
in the sports of childhood, and in social life ;
and now together they made public profession
of their faith in Christ. There was joy now in
many homes around the lake. And among
these was Heman Ball, the second son of
Jirdge Ball, who had taken, in home life, the
older brother's place, and who was now nine-
teen years of age. He was quite tall, with
keen dark eyes, very inventive, intellectual,
ambitious. Life for him promised much. He
was baptized October 18th, 1851. The event
proved that less than three years of life were
then before him, but they were to be years of
rapid spiritual growth and great bodily suffer-
ing. On the same day were baptized three
other young persons, Jonathan McCarty, Elisa-
beth Vinnedge, and Harvey Davis.

In the summer of 1850 Elisabeth H. Ball
also left the lake home. She spent a year in
the city of New York and in Massachusetts
among her relatives, and joined her brother, in
the fall of 1851, in South Alabama.

Five of the seven only remained now to keep
the home, Heman, who has just been men-
tioned ; Charles, who was now about seven-
teen years of age, and who was always the
sparkling life of the home circle, the lover of
poetry, the bright looking and brilliant boy ;


James H., who was now about fifteen, and
who was a sturdy looking, sensitive boy ; and
the two young girls Mary Jane and Henrietta.
Of these five and their home life and of his
then dearly loved lake their brother in Ala-
bama seemed sometimes to think, as he wrote
at that time the following, which is copied
from the Danville Advertiser.

It is not reproduced here for its poetic merit.
It claims none. But it indicates the feelings
which that home life, that real "life in the
West," cultivated.


How many lovely, quiet homes within thy borders, Oh Indiana.

There comes a voice to Fancy's ear,
From the home of my happy youth ;
I think of tried and loved ones dear,
Whose spirits glow with joy and truth,
And deem this wish is spoken,
Of love another token,

"Brother, come home, come home."

There is one, with a manly form,
An active mind, a skillful hand;
A heart of kindness, noble, warm,
The second in a brothers' band.
I listen. " Why so long away '?
Oh brother, what enticing charm,
Still causes you from home to stay '?
Come, view again our rich broad farm ;


Come, plunge within our lovely lake,

Its waters yet are pure and clear;

Come, aid us the sweet hay to make.

We '11 shoot the grouse, we 11 hunt the deer.

All still is bright and beaming,

Our home in beauty gleaming;

Brother, come home, come home."

Another, with high, radiant brow,
Quick, sparkling mind, and kindling eyes,
Appears, in thought, before me now.
" Say brother, will that morning rise,
When we shall mount our gallant steeds,
Go forth and take a healthful ride,
Behold our fertile, flowery meads,
The beauties of our prairies wide ?
The haunts which you have loved remain,
The calm retreats, the shady grove;
(Changes are few round our domain;)
And through them we again wjll rove.
The wild fowls yet fly o'er us;
They swim the lake before us;
Brother, come home, come home."

A third there is, with thoughtful mien,
With lively feelings, tender heart;
A robust youth, whose glance is keen,
Formed to admire rich works of art.
" Come, brother, to our home again;
Lay by awhile a teacher's care,
Forsake the bustling scenes of men,
And breathe our pure refreshing air.
A ' study ' nice we '11 fix for you,
Choice books are still upon the shelf,
At morn we '11 rise, fresh as the dew,
And 'in the mines of knowledge ' delve;


Imagination glowing;

On us her light bestowing;

Brother, come home, come home."

A gentle girl, so bright, so fair,

So beautiful to me, so kind,

To speak of her I may not dare,

Lest there should seem a trifling mind.

A gentle girl, what will she say?

" Brother, I should be very glad,

Now, in this flowery month of May,

To greet you here. Say are you sad?

We have plucked the flowers of beauty,

And we have woven garlands bright;

Brother is it not our duty,

To love the lovely? Is it right?

Our prairie now is charming,

Delightful work is farming;

Brother, come home, come home."

Another, and the youngest too;
Of her alike I may not speak.
Oh gentle sister, what would you?
" Come brother, now our quiet seek;
Visit your home and friends again;
For you I'll cull the flowrets sweet,
The-fairest in the woody glen;
So glad, if we could only meet.
The snow-white water lilies grow,
As they have grown in days of yore;
Their beauty, fragrance, well you know,
For you have gathered them before.
Our -flocks and herds are lowing,
There's milk and honey flowing;

Brother, come home, come home."


Brothers, sisters, I hope to come,

Your flowers, and fruits, and pleasures share;

Yours, I know, is a happy home,

Scarcely touched by sorrow and care.

But I hear the voice of duty,

Forbidding me a quick return,

And I hope no joy, no beauty,

Will lead me e'er that voice to spurn.

These flowers, now blooming, soon will fade,

The woods and meads be decked with others,

Then, if not in earth's bosom laid,

I hope to meet you, sisters, brothers.

But oh! that home in Heaven!

There may we meet, all seven;

Brothers, sisters, seek Home.

T. H. B."
Frunklin Springs, Ala., May, 1851.

Some of the outward attractions at this home
were the cultivated flowers, the songs of birds,
the lowing herds and bleating flocks, the swarms
of bees, and the fruits in their seasons. Some-
times the number of swarms of bees reached a
hundred. And on the Sabbath mornings in
May and June there was something very sooth-
ing to the mind to sit in the shade of a tree and
to hear, without listening, the pleasant hum of
the bees. Many an hour of reading and med-
itation has thus been rendered yet more pleas-
ant by this soothing sound. Milk and butter
and honey, the three choicest products in all
lands, were here always in abundance, with


everything else which was good and nice that
the climate would allow.

Well says Pollok of the righteous man,
" May he not eat, if Providence allows, the
finest of the wheat?"

Health, content, and abundance are three
great elements of home happiness, where
around the table sit "blooming sons and

May 3, 1851 there was received into the
membership of the Cedar Lake church, on a
letter of dismission given by a Baptist church
in New York, one who from that time till now
has been a stanch, earnest, consistent Baptist
Christian, closely identified with the Sabbath
school work of the county and with the advance
of true Baptist principle and practice. This
was Mrs. M. J. Dinwiddie of Plum Grove, then
a comparatively young mother, just taking a
position among the Baptist laborers in Lake
county and commencing a work which would
make her home one of the Baptist centers for,
it might be, thirty years to come. Other facts
concerning her family and work will be given
under the head of Plum Grove. She has al-
ready almost completed thirty years of Sab-
bath school and church work.

Elder Hunt made his home the first year
with the Warriner family — his brother James


Hunt, had married Fannie C. Warriner — and
the resident pastor was now on the east side of
the lake ; but the second and third years he
made his home at Crown Point, building then
the house afterward occupied by the Vilmer
family. Elder Warriner had for a time preached
regularly at the court-house. Elder Bly, the
second pastor, preached there occasionally. At
his last appointment there were present three
inhabitants of Crown Point, Henry Wells and
his wife and little child, and there were two
who went up from Cedar Lake. Elder Has-
tings did not consider that field promising.
The village contained a small Presbyterian
chiM*ch and a small Methodist church. One
citizen bore the name of a Baptist, but not
manifesting much of the Baptist character his
name is here omitted. But Elder Hunt thought
that "good might be done at Crown Point,"
however unpromising it appeared and had
proved to be for Baptist labor, and he proposed
to try. He persevered, and in December 1851
was constituted the


with thirteen members.

This was another off-shoot from the Cedar
Lake church, the third daughter of that mother
church of this region.

The following is the record of that church.


"Deer. 11th. At covenant meeting this day
the following members applied for letters of
dismission to unite in a church at Crown Point :
Elder Thomas L. Hunt and wife Julia Hunt,
John Church and wife Lydia A. Church, Valona
Cutler, Sophia Cutler, Martha Cutler, Judson
Cutler, M. Jennet Dinwiddie. Letters were
accordingly voted to be given.

Delegates were appointed, agreeably to re-
quest of Crown Point brethren, to meet in
council to constitute the Crown Point church."

Nine of the thirteen went directly from the
Cedar Lake church.

In August, 1851, an important matter came
up before the church. A committee was then
appointed to obtain information and to report
at the next meeting whether it was " desirable
and practicable ' ' to commence the erection of
a house for worship. The committee were
bros. "Warriner, Thompson, and Davis. In
September the committee reported that "it
was advisable and practicable."

A committee was then appointed "to select
a site for a meeting house."

It does not appear that this committee ever
reported. Elder Hunt's health soon failed,
and it is supposed that the brethren concluded
that the erection of a meeting house would be
too great an undertaking, the membership of
the church undergoing such continual change.


It is now understood at the lake that the
committee considered in regard to purchasing
a certain tract of forty acres which could then
have been secured for a small amount.

It seems now, after the changes of more
than twenty-five years, that it would have been
wisdom for the church then to have bought
that land and to have erected a building. The
land is now quite valuable, and a house for
worship erected there might have secured the
continued existence of that church. But Elder
Hunt thought it best to endeavor to plant a
Baptist church at the county seat, and in ac-
complishing that he, in part, sacrificed his life ;
and the lake members knew how fluctuating
was the population around them and how rap-
idly their membership might change.

Quite recently a good house for worship,
costing about one thousand dollars, has been
erected on or near that selected spot, and a
large and orderly congregation, a large Meth-
odist class, hold regular meetings there. A
railroad is expected soon to pass there, and a
station to be located near. A village will of
course grow up. There might have been dur-
ing all these years, since 1851, a Baptist meet-
ing house there, with a small, perhaps, but a
living church ; and now the forty acres of land
would enable them to erect a costly building.


But these things, at that time, the brethren
could not foresee ; and it is Scriptural to be-
lieve that He, who does foresee all things,
orders events, and orders them wisely and or-
ders them well. We may often err in judg-
ment ; perhaps that committee erred in judg-
ment, perhaps the pastor, and perhaps the
church ; nevertheless, amid all our errors of
judgment, the will of God controls all events,
and his great purposes move evenly on.

In November, 1852, "by reason of ill
health" Elder Hunt requested to be released
from his pastoral charge. It was "thereupon
voted that the pastoral relations be dissolved
in Christian fellowship."

In 1853 letters of dismission were granted in
February, in March, and in April ; and in June
a letter was sent to the association, no delegate
being able to attend.

" July 22. This day was the funeral of our
former pastor Elder Thomas L. k Hunt. Sermon
by Elder Storrs of Momence. Text P^alin 37 :
37." "Mark the perfect man, and behold the
upright; for the end of that man is peace."

To no minister of our day more fittingly than
to Thomas L. Hunt might these words of Scrip-
ture be applied.

His name will appear again, in connection
with other labors, and some sketch of his short
life will be given.




The first college graduate from Cedar Lake
and from Lake county was mentioned in a
former chapter as making his way, with his
diploma and testimonials, to Alabama. He
had declined going immediately from Frank-
lin to the Newton Theological Seminary, be-
cause he wished first to try his own powers,
and see if, going forth from his prairie home,
he could make his way alone in the busy world.
He had declined entering upon a life of minis-
terial activity which was opening attractively
before him in the neighborhood of Indianap-
olis, because he wished to have the way open
for taking a course of theological instruction.

Duty, inclination, destiny, seemed to lead
him to North Alabama rather than to Virginia,
his choice having been between these two states.
On a very small circumstance, a slight contin-
gency, all the future of his life was now about
to turn. Small, sometimes apparently trivial,
circumstances have often decided the destiny


not only of individuals but of nations. Must
they not be Providential ? With, a purpose
somewhat different from that of Jacob of old,
but like him a lone adventurer, and trusting to
heavenly guidance, he had embarked at Madi-
son on the Ohio river for a point below its
mouth on the Mississippi. He awoke in the
night, with no one to call him, just in time to
land upon a wharf boat. He there spent the
Sabbath in company with a Kentucky judge.
He passed across that part of Kentucky lying
between the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers,
known as the Indian purchase, traveling as did
Jacob on his way to Padan-Aram. He was
quarantined in a farmer's family with the
mumps, having for pets two tame deer. He
passed through Clinton, and Mayfield, and
Wadesboro', and then through a wild region
of undisturbed forests and through ranges of
hills skirting the Tennessee, singular in appear-
ance and covered with small flint stones. An
extract from a letter to the Danville Advertiser
says: "The stones lie on the southern sides
of the hills from base to summit, so thickly
strown, that it seems as though sheep could
hardly here find sustenance. The hills appear
in the distance as if covered with snow which
has been partly melted and become dingy. The
trees upon them are small, seeming about the


same in size. The quantity of stones and peb-
bles here is immense. Can they have lain
here ever since the deluge, neither washed
down nor imbedded beneath the surface ? or
has some later change passed over this re-
gion ?" Becoming weary of waiting for a boat
on the Tennessee, he crossed over to the Cum-
berland, went up that river a short distance,
and came back to the Tennessee, passing
through a portion of Tennessee abounding in
iron ore found in the sides of the lofty hills.
Among these hills and valleys and iron fur-
naces he spent another Sabbath, attending a
meeting conducted, for the most part, by a
very tall, masculine looking woman. He went
up the Tennessee in a steamboat to Florence,
found the printing office, and looked over the
exchanges. He was looking for an opening for
a teacher. It was in accordance with his train-
ing to seek it thus. He found at last a solitary
notice, in a solitary copy of a paper published
in South Alabama. How came that solitary
notice to reach his eye ? It shaped his future.
It led him, after spending five months at Frank-
lin Springs, where he commenced his first inde-
pendent Sabbath labors in an atmosphere of
fashionable gayety and of anti-mission Baptist
influence, to Grove Hill, Alabama, where his
sister joined him in the fall of 1851. Here he

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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 5 of 19)