William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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sward of the prairie.

"The first furrow turned was along the center of section 8, where is
now the center of Main Street, commencing for certain reasons nearly
opposite the present Register office and ending at the center of the section
in South Street. The plowing went on. The women soon returned to
their cabin duties. The children and the birds lingered behind the
strange machine, the breaking-plow. Some grain was raised that season.
An old Indian garden furnished a spot where all the families could raise
a few vegetables.

Additions to Original Colony

"In the fall and early winter some other families came. In Novem-
ber, Milo Robinson from New York City ; and in December, Luman
A. Fowler, who had returned to ^Michigan and was there married in
October, (.-ame with his young wife as a permanent settler. With these
also came to reside in the hamlet, the then small family of Henry Wells;
and with these, William R. Williams. The latter afterward married Miss
Margaret Clark. They came through from Wayne County, Michigan,
in two wagons drawn by oxen, with one horse as a leader for each team.

Hamlet Growling into a Village

' ' AYith these additions to their little band, another winter, mild until
February, passed away amid varied incidents, and the summer of 1836
brought new laborers, additional settlers and weighty responsibilities.
The hamlet was growing into a central village. A store was opened by
Solon and Milo Robinson ; a postoffice was established, Mr. Robinson, the
postmaster, bringing the mail occasionally from IMichigan City, the next
offices being Joliet and Chicago. About five hundred settlers who were
men, were around this little center, besides women and children — all on
lands belonging to the Government, except a few families at Liverpool ;
and on the Fourth of July, in the grove and at the house of Solon Robin-
son, was organized by a 'majority of the citizens of Lake County,' the
Squatters' Union. Solon Robinson became register of claims.


"The little log huts were evidently insufficient for the business that
would be required in this political center, and in the summer of 1837


a log court house of respectable size, which became a two-story build-
ing, stood oil a pul)lic square. The county was organized. Henry Wells
was appointed sheriff. Elections were held and true political life began.
Lake Court House, the name of the postoffice, was evidence of the aspira-
tions and expectations of the enterprising citizens.

' ' A tavern was opened kept by Milo Robinson ; a frame dwelling was
erected in 1838 by Russell Eddy; religious meetings commenced, Colonel
John Vawter, in June, preaching in the log court house to 'a verj'
respectable congregation;' marriages were solemnized; bridge building
commenced, and in October was held the first term of Circuit Court,
nine lawyers and the judge being present.

Town Site Regularly Purchased

"In 1839 the land of this region belonging to the Government came
into market. Parts of sections 5 and 8 were purchased. And in this
year A. McDonald became the first resident lawyer ; and death came and
removed one of the enterprising business men, ]\Iilo Robinson. The ham-
let had already grown into a village.

Lake Court House, the County Seat

"The a.spiring and also enterprising little village of Liverpool, sit-
uated on Deep River, had secured in 1839 the location of the county seat ;
but many were dissatisfied, and the Indiana Legislature therefore ordered
a relocation. West Point, on Cedar Lake, and Lake Court House both
sought the location. The commissioners from ]\Iarion, Pulaski, White
and Carroll counties came in June, 1840, and Lake Court House was

Named Crown Point

"George Earle, of Liverpool, had been appointed county agent. He
with the two proprietors of Lake Court House, Judge Clark and Solon
Robinson, met to give the new county seat a name. West Point, at Cedar
Lake, with no local significance, had already been named, and it was
agreed, with no local allusions, to call the county seat Crown Point.
This name the place has ever since borne. Seventy-five lots were laid
out. Judge Clark appropriating twenty acres and Solon Robinson forty.
A public square was donated to the county, and one acre of ground was
set apart for a court house and for public offices. Other donations of


lots, of land, of money and of labor, were also made, and the work of
town building went earnestly forward. ' '

Settlers x\round Red Cedar Lake

■ Mr. Ball writes as follows regarding the localities which have so long
been associated with various members of his family : ' ' Red Cedar Lake,
or the Lake of the Red Cedars, or as more commonly called in Lake
County, plain Cedar Lake, has some interesting special history. In its
original wildness it was beautiful. Job Worthington of Massachusetts,
who spent a summer and a winter there in 1837 and 1838, said years
afterward that he had thought of it by day and dreamed of it by night
as one of the most beautiful places that he had seen ; and as late as 1879
Colonel S. B. Yeoman, of Ohio, who was deciding upon a line of railroad
to run across Lake County, is reported to have said that whatever inter-
ests in other parts of the county might be affected by the location to be
made, Cedar Lake was 'too beautiful to be left out, promising so much
as a pleasure resort.' So the proposed road was laid on the west side
of the lake, adding nothing, however, to its beauty ; and a pleasure resort
it did indeed become.

The Hervey Ball Place

''Solon Robinson spoke of the lake as being in 1834 very attractive
to claim-seekers. Charles Wilson laid a claim that summer on the west
side, section 27. This soon passed into the hands of Jacob L. Brown,
and by him the claim was transferred to Hervey Ball for $300, So says
the Claim Register, date July 18, 1837. The family tradition adds, 'in
gold.' This was much more than the claim was worth, but it was then
considered one of the most desirable locations in the county. For some
twenty-three years this place remained in the possession of the Ball
family, and was one of the prominent religious, educational and literary
centers until the pioneer days had ended. Its church, its school, its
Sunday School, its two literary societies, were second in influence to
none in the county.

The Vox Hollex and Herlitz Families

"After the first settlers — the Brown, Cox, Nordyke and Batton fam-
ilies — had sold their claims, the neighborhood, which was to continue
for many years, was formed in 1838 by the four families of H. Hall,
H. Sasse, Sr., H. Von Ilollen and Louis Herlitz ; and of these the last


(of the older members of the households), known as Mrs. H. Von HoUen,
has lately passed away (written in 1904), eighty-seven years of age and
having lived in the old home for sixty-five years. Younger members of
the Herlitz family yet remain on what was at first the Nordyke claim,
bought from that genuine pioneer sixty-five years ago.

The Taylors

"On the east side of this lake were located and settlements made, in
1836, by members of the large Taylor families, of whom the men then
in active life were four — Adonijah and Horace Taylor, brothers, and Dr.
Calvin Lilley and Horace Edgerton, sons-in-law of the father, Onadiah
Taylor, then quite an aged man. These families gave considerable atten-
tion to sawmill building and to fishing. On the southwest side of the lake
were the two regular fisherman families of Lyman ]\lann and Jonathan
Gray. They soon left that side of the lake."

David Agnew Frozen to Death

Among the sad and tragic occurrences of the early years, none caused
more grief than the death by freezing of David Agnew, whose wife was
a Bryant, on the night of April 4, 1835. As one of the Bryant family
making the settlement at Pleasant Grove, it fell to his lot to take an
ox team from Morgan Prairie in Porter County to the new settlement.

The weather had been mild with some rain, and snow and cold were
no longer expected; but on that April day there came a most terrible
snowstorm. Circumstances had separated David Agnew with the ox
team from the others of the party, but as the storm became very severe
Simeon Bryant stopped at Hickory Point, built a fire and waited for
their coming. They came not as expected, and about four in the after-
noon Mr. Bryant, thinking that ]\Ir. Agnew had concluded not to come
on in that storm, built a large fire of logs for a camping place, if his
friend should venture, and started on foot for the settlement, distance
ten miles west. He was "a remarkably strong, robust man," said one
of the family, but was thoroughly chilled when at dark he reached the
cabin of E. W. Bryant.

David Agnew was not a very strong and healthy man, and no one
thought of his undertaking that perilous trip of ten long miles on such
a fearful night. The next morning, when the storm was over, an April
fog coming on as Simeon Bryant, David Bryant and E. W. Bryant went
out to look over the land, they saw some object lying in the snow, and
E. W. Bryant said 'It looks like a dead man." David Bryant took a


closer look and said 'It looks like Agnew.' And the body of David
Agnew it proved to be, beside which those three stout-hearted men stood
aghast. What that night had been to him in suffering and in struggle
none could fully know.

The Bryant narrative says : ' ' Upon looking around they found beaten
paths where Agnew had at first run round in a circle to try to keep from
perishing, and then, as if strength had failed and he had not been able
to do that, he had supported himself with his arms around the trunks
of the trees, running around them until there was quite a path worn, and
leaving the lint of his coat sticking in the bark. He finally got hold
of a pole about seven or eight feet long, and placing one end on the
ground and leaning on the other, ran around in a circle until, as it would
appear, his strength was entirely exhausted, and he fell across his sup-
port, leaving no sign of having made a struggle after. ' '

One can see in this homely account how heroically Agnew struggled
for life ; and that he should have perished so near a home and shelter
seems doubly pitiable. It was found that he had reached Hickory Point
with his oxen and wagon, but instead of trying to camp there by the
fire, had drawn out the keys from the ox bows, dropped them with the
yokes all chained together upon the ground, thrown out a few unbound
sheaves of oats from his wagon as food for the oxen, and had started
immediately to follow Simeon Bryant across the ten miles of prairie and

The Bryant narrative states there was an Indian trail passing by
Hickory Point and through Pleasant Grove, but that the night was very
dark, although the snowstorm was followed by almost incessant lightning.
Somehow Agnew made his way across, but perished almost within reach
of help.

Old Settler and Historical Association

On the 24th of July, 1875, the Old Settlers' Association of Lake
County was organized at the courthouse in Crown Point, and on the
25th of the following month the early settlers, most of them its member.s,
held their first annual gathering at the fair ground just south of Crown
Point. W. A. Clark was president of the organization and T. H. Ball,
historical secretary. Concerning that first meeting at the fair ground
on September 25, 1875, Mr. Ball has made the following record: "The
morning was rainy, but the clouds soon l)roke away, the sun shone and
a fair day followed the early showers.

"After partaking of a rich dinner in Floral Hall and recalling old
memories in brisk conversation, the association was called to order by


the president, W. A. Clark. Prayer was offered by Rev, T. H. Ball and
the president delivered the following opening address :

" 'Forty years ago today this county of Lake — that for beauty of
landscape, productiveness of soil and commercial position is rapidly
advancing toward the front rank of the counties of the State — was a
solitude, the stillness of primeval nature resting over it. The setting sun
gilded the smoke that rose from the Indian wigwam, and the simple but
barbarous tenants were content with their squaws, their medicine men
and their wars with other tribes. Forty years ago the white man came
and took possession of the soil. The Indians were not numerous, and
they received their white brothers cordially, introducing themselves
under their Indian name, Ishnawbies. The whites they called Shmoko-
mans. Five years later the Indians were removed to the Pottawatomie
reservation in Kansas, where their descendants still reside in peace and
comfort. I visited this tribe fifteen years ago, and when I told them my
house was on their old hunting grounds in Indiana near the great Lake
Michigan, I was immediately surrounded by a group of their old men
who expressed much wonder and interest. There are here today before
me men who have seen this county in its original desolation, and I am
happy to say they have also seen it blossom as the rose. In spring, sum-
mer and autumn they have seen it a sea of flowers and of beauty, then
scorched and blackened by the annual prairie fires : and again in winter
covered with ice and snow, a bleak, inhospitable and trackless waste,
with no sign of human habitation. It is to keep alive and fresh in our
memories the incidents, difficulties, privations, joys, sorrows, hopes and
fears of the early days of the settlement of this county, and to enjoy a
friendly, social reunion, that we have organized ourselves into this society
of Old Settlers. INIay we have many pleasant and happy meetings
together.' "

Letters were read from Solon Robinson and Joseph Jackson. There
were speeches, reminiscences and a song — "The Indian Captive," by
Doctor "Wood of Lowell.

The meeting of 1876 was also held at the fair ground, that of 1877
at Cheshire Hall, Crown Point, and that of 1878, also at the fair ground,
followed the laying of the corner-stone of the new courthouse. The fifth
gathering — that of 1879 — was held, at the new fair ground, and for
several years afterward at that place, Clieshire Hall and Hoffman's
Opera House, Crown Point. At the meeting for 1879 an original poem
was read by Solon Robinson from his summer home at Jacksonville,
Florida, and the session of 1880 was marked by the presentation of a
large number of communications from such Chicago pioneers as Hon.
John AYentworth, Hon. Benjamin W. Raymond, Hon. G. S. Hubbard,


Hon. Mark Skinner, Silas B. Cobb and Philo Carpenter. Gurdon S.
Hubbard said in a postscript to his letter : "I first set foot on Chicago
soil in October, 1818, then sixteen years old." Quite a number of
Chicago citizens were also present.

It is believed that the list of the original members of 1875 is lost, but
at the meeting of 1879 the names were reproduced while the recollection
•of those interested was fresh, with the following result, the years given
being those of settlement in Lake County :

1835 — John B. Wilkinson, Mrs. P. A. Banks, Loren Hixon, Amos
Hornor, James Adams, Mrs. Susan Clark, Mrs. William Fisher, Mrs. H.
Robertson, W. A. W. Holton, W. R. Williams.

1836— B. Woods, Henry Hayward, T. H. Ball, :\lrs. :\Ioses Phillips,
O. W, Clark, Mrs. Betsy Frazier, Z. P. Farley, Joseph Hack, Mrs. James
Fuller, George Phillips, Mvs. M. J. Pearce.

1838 — John C. Kenyon, Henry Sasse, Sr., J. W. Kenney, Henry
Surprise, Henry Sasse, Jr., Adam Schmal, George Willey, David Turner,
]Mrs. M. J. Hack, Mrs. Cynthia WiUey.

1839— J. J. i\Iiehael and James Fuller.

1840— L. W. Thompson, :\[rs. L. W. Thompson, :\Irs. T. Fisher, John
Brown. ,

1842— Mrs. J. H. Luther.

1843 — AVilliam Brown, Mrs. W. Brown, Amos AHinaii, ^Irs. Elmer

1844— D. K. Pettibone.

1845— I\Irs. Susan G. Wood.

1846 — Henry Dickinson.

1848 — C. Manahan, Jacob Wise and Mrs. Maria Wise.

1849— J. H. Luther, Mrs. Eliza I\Iarvin.

1850— Henry R. Ward, Mrs. H. R. Ward, T. Fisher, Hull Irish.

1851— George Krinbill, Mrs. G. Krinbill, John Donch, Mrs. S. With-

1852 — L. Dresser, ]\Irs. L. Dresser, Mrs. Barbara Knisely, Major
Atkins, Mrs. M. Atkins, Samuel W. Smith, Mrs. George Nichols. James

1854— Ross Wilson, Mrs. R. Wilson, P. A. Banks. John Martin,
Thomas Bowers.

1857— H. Wason, Mrs. H. Wasou.

I860— Mrs. Martin Foster.

Dates not given — Mrs. W. A. Winslow, Mrs. M. J. Dinwidie, F. C.
Meyer, Mrs. M. C. C. Ball, Mrs. F. Foster, C W. Wise, Moses Phillips,
W. A. Winslow, Mrs. J. J. Michael, Mrs. D. A. Chapman, J, W. Bates,
Mrs. E. Clark, 0. Dinwiddie, A. P. Thompson, ^Nlrs. H. Surprise, Mrs.


P. Kemiey, L. D. Holmes, Mrs. C. C. :\Ierrill, Mrs. L. Teeple, Mrs. Zeni
Burnham, Mrs. J. W. Hughes, Mrs. H. Sasse, Jr., Mrs. Margaret Silman,
Mrs. W. R. Nichols, Mrs. T. C. Rockwell, R. H. Wells, Mrs. J. Fisher,
Mrs. D. Turner, Mrs. A. Allman, Henry Pettibone, Alfred Winslow, E.
P. Ames, Mrs. C. C. Allman, John Frazier, Mrs. D. C. Taylor, Mrs.
Nathan AVood, John G. Hoffman, Joseph A. Little, Mrs. I\L G. Little,
Mrs. B. "Williams, Mrs. Mary Edgerton, Mrs. J. Brown, :\Irs. 0. G.
Wheeler, Mrs. L. V. Serjeant, Mrs. J. Doak, A. J. Pratt, Mr.s. A. J.
Pratt, Mrs. Smith, Charles Dolton, Mrs. C. Dolton, Mrs. A. Knowlton,
]\Irs. B. Judson, Mrs. R. H. Wells, B. Brown and Mrs. Brown.

In many respects the gathering of September, 1884, was the most
interesting and important, from the standpoint of local history, of any
meeting ever held by the association, as it marked the .semi-centennial
of the settlement of Lake County by white people. A committee of
arrangements had been appointed at the annual session of 1883, con-
sisting of George Willey, 0. Dinwidie, H. Dickinson, Charles Marvin,
Frank Gibson, Nathan Wood, H. Keilmau, Augustus Wood, Joseph
Small, Jacob Wise and S. W. Shuneman. These gentlemen arranged a
program, which brought out numerous papers and speeches rich in
personal anecdote and historic value. A full account of the 1881 meet-
ing and celebration is given in another place, lil^eral extracts having
been taken from the papers there submitted to add to the historic value
of this work.

One of the most interesting features of the proceedings was the
presentation of various antiquities, relics and curiosities to the associa-
tion by several of its members. The nature of these articles is indicated
by the following lists.

Presented by T. H. Ball

1. A pocket comb made of horn in a horn case marked T. H.
(his grandfather's initials), and dated 1786; lacking but two years of
being one hundred years old. In good condition.

2. A copy of the Boston Primer, 1809. Evidently well used.

3. "The Seven Wonders of the World and Other Magnificent Build-
ings"; a child's book, well read. 1810.

4. The remnant of a watch guard, neatly braided, of fine silk cord,
given to its owner as a memory and friendship token, by a young girl in
Appling, Georgia, fifty-one years ago.

5. A miniature pocket almanac of 1834, kept by its present owner
for fifty years. In good condition.


6. A small pocketbook, made of excellent leather, given to its owner
by his uncle, H. H. Horton, about fifty years ago. Still in good con-

7. "The Friendly Listructor, 1814," and a child's readei' ; two
books for children, in good condition.

8. A child's arithmetic or "Table Book," of 1815; studied by the
owner more than fifty years ago, and now in good condition.

9. A copy of the first map of Lake County, drawn by Solon Robin-
son, probably in 1836.

10. A rifle made in the Springfield Armory, Massachusetts, and
brought to Cedar Lake in 1834 by H. H. Horton. Length of barrel,
2314 inches.

11. A part of a large elk horn, found imbedded in the West Creek
lowland on the farm of Joshua P. Spalding, and by him placed in the
hands of its present owner.

12. Part of a stone weapon, supposed to have been an old Indian
hatchet, very neatly wrought, with a point somewhat like a bird's beak;
found this year (1884) on the land of Thomas George south of South-
east Grove.

13. A copy of the Ulster County Gazette, N. Y., January 4, 1800,
draped in mourning for the death of George AVashington. The late
news from Europe which it contains -is dated Munich, September 29th ;
Strassburg, October 9th ; Paris, October 13th, and London, October 24th.

14. A map of the world, eleven inches liy twenty-two, drawn in
1817 by the owner's mother, then Jane Ayrault Horton, a girl thirteen
years of age.

15. A map of the United States, as then it was (1818), sixteen
inches by nineteen, wrought by the same hand and in the same manner.

16. A painting in water colors, "The Woodman aiid the Dog,"
eighteen inches by twenty-four, made by the same hand, perhaps a year
or two later. The three specimens of drawing and painting showing
the girl-training and handiwork of our pioneer New England women.

17. An Alabama wildcat skin.

18. A military plume of red feathers, used some seventy years ago.

19. Remains of prehistoric man, exhumed at Cedar Lake, October
6, 1880, where they were deposited more than two hundred years ago,
according to the age of a tree under which some were found.

20. A fossil shell, a very fine specimen of Venericardia planicosta,
supposed to be from one thousand to five thousand years old.

21. A pair of globes over fifty years old, brought into the county
in 1837.

22. Presented from Mr. Cole, telegraphic operator and agent at


Clarke, two small pieces of bone or horn, of supposed Indian workman-
ship, one having two notches cut on it and an orifice through it and
pointed ; the other tapering and pointed ; each four inches in length ;
taken in 1882, along with a jaw bone, supposed to be of a dog, and with
a human skeleton, supposed to be of an Indian, from about two feet
beneath the surface where a well was commenced at Clarke Station.
The skeleton was entire, the teeth were well worn, indicating some sixty
years of age.

23. Presented from George Doak of Southeast Grove, found near
his home — a stone of Indian workmanship, about five and a half inches
long, an inch wide and three-fourths of an inch thick, shaped like some
whetstones, the sides slightly oval, smooth, neatly wrought, with an
orifice half an inch in diameter running through the entire length. This
seems to have been drilled out ])y means of some sharp instrument. Its
use is unknown.

Presented by Mrs. M. J. Dinwiddie

1. A woolen shawl made in 1796, spun, woven and colored, at the
home of her mother, Mrs. Perkins, who is still living at the advanced
age of ninety-eight, at Rome, New York. The shawl was afterwards
embroidered as it now is by Mrs. Dinwiddle's own hands.

2. A cushion cover of the same age (1796), made of cloth, an old
cloak more than a hundred years old, embroidered by ]\Irs. Dinwiddie
about fifty years ago.

3. A bed-quilt of 1812, the lining home-made linen, the pieces of
calico bearing the dates 1798, 1800, 1802, 1806 and 1812 : and one from
Grandmother Lockwood's dress, probably many yeai*s older. The quilt
is in good condition, the calico of those days evidently being well made.

4. A pewter basin used by Mrs. Dinwiddie 's father eighty years ago.

5. Four stone Indian relics found near Plum Grove — the first, a
pipe ; the second, a hatchet with a groove to secure it to the handle ; the
third, a very smooth, polished, dark colored scraping instrument, five
inches long: and the fourth, an oval stone five inches long, two and a
half wide, one and a quarter thick, unpolished, surface rather rough,
yet indicating upon it human workmanship. Its use is unknown.

6. Six geological specimens found near Plum Grove b}^ Jerome and
Eddie Dinwiddie, some twenty years ago; one of them, three-eighths of
an incli in thickness, contains beautiful picture-like impressions.

Presented by T. A. Muzzali^

A blanket woven by a squaw of the Navajo tribe, at Fort Sumter,
New ^Mexico ; made of pulled wool, combed and twisted by the fingers


and woven on a rude frame, formed of two upright forked sticks inserted
in the ground, about eight feet apart and some seven feet high, a pole
being tied across these about six inches from the ground and another
pole being laid across the top, the warp being tied perpendicularly to

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 44)