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William Frederick Howat.

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

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these two poles, and the yarn rolled, twisted and made into balls by hand,
being then passed by the deft Indian fingers through the warp and beaten
firmly together with a stick. On such a loom, without a shuttle, was this
blanket woven. It weighed, when new, twenty pounds, is six feet wide
and eight feet long. It was obtained by its present owner, T. A. MuzzaU,.
direct from these Indians in June, 1866.

Presented by Lev^is G. Little

1. An old book printed in London in 1650, owned by Mrs. M. G,
Little.

2. Two old papers — one printed in 1776, the other in 1815 ; also a
Thanksgiving oration, delivered in 1772 ; owned by Mrs. Little.

3. A number of coins, either old or curious, bearing dates of 1721^
1782, 1784, 1790, 1806, 1812, 1815, 1828, 1834, 1837, 1840 and 1854.
Also a paper three-cent piece.

4. A warming pan about one hundred years old, owned by J. A.
Little.

5. A negi'O hoe brought from South Carolina by Colonel Barker
about thirty years ago, owned by J. A. Little.

6. A number of ox shoes.

7. A pair of iron-rimmed spectacles over a hundred years old.

8. A calash made of green silk about seventy-five years old, owned
by Mrs. Annie Gerrish Brush, now of Waveland, Indiana.

9. A pewter platter and a plate about one hundred years old.

10. A pair of velvet breeches lined with buckskin which belonged
to the great-grandfather of Jesse Little, of West Creek, their present
owner and a brother of Lewis G. Little.

11. A piece of oak, designed for a cane, taken from the beam of
the house of George Little, Newbury, Massachusetts, who came to this
country from London in 1640. The house from which this specimen was
taken was erected in 1679. When it was torn down in 1861, still owned
by the Little family, canes and other relics were manufactured from
the beams and given to many of the descendants. To give an idea of
the time, it may be mentioned that Joseph A. Little of West Creek is
of the seventh generation from the builder of the house.

12. A wooden cup made from the old elm tree which stood near the
well and door of Daniel Webster. Date, 1782. Also owned by D,
Parmley, of Indiantown, now a resident near Shelby.



86 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

13. A gun six and a half feet long ; old, but without a history.

14. A large elk-horn, found a year ago on the farm of August Miller
of West Creek.

15. 16, 17, 18 and 19 were an old Indian pipe, an old Indian whistle,
some Indian stone axes, two iron axes and an iron fish spear.

20. A horn snuff box over a hundred years old, owned by Hugh
]\Ioore.

Presented by Mrs. ^l. J. Hyde

1. A very fine powder horn, made from the horn of a wild ox and
brought into this county in 1844 by the father of Mrs. Hyde, Daniel
Towl.

2. A cane made by Daniel T. Stichelman from a piece of timber
taken by him from the wreck of the United States steamer Edith, the
first propeller built by the Government, and wrecked in 1848. The
maker of the cane was at that time in the United States Coast Survey at
Guadalupe, California, camped about one mile from the wreck.

3. A conch-shell brought into the county in 1837 by Ebenezer Sax-
ton, a native of Vermont. This shell has been handed down in the
Saxton family from generation to generation, in the line of the Ebene-
zers, and the family tradition is that the first Ebenezer Saxton of New
England brought it from England with him in the Mayflower.

4. A butter bowl, made of a knotty piece of wood by E. Saxton,
about fifty years ago, in Canada, with only a jack-knife for a tool.

5. Some silver spoons with which E. Saxton and his wife com-
menced housekeeping in 1819.

6. A rolling-pin which belonged once to Mrs. Saxton 's mother and
is probably over a hundred years old.

■ Other Relics Presented to the Association

By "E. P. Ames: A stand once owned by John Rogers, Smithfield,
England, in 1855, and now the property of Mr. Ames : a sun-dial brought
from Salisbury, England, in 1649.

By Mrs. Betsy R. Abbot : A pewter platter, part of the wedding out-
fit of her grandmother, Mrs. Phebe Ballard Abliot. who was married
November 12, 1772 (on the rim, the initials "P. B.") : a silver spoon,
which once belonged to her Grandmother Roekwood and i.s marked
"E. M. R." (for Ebenezer and Mary Rockwood).

By J. P. Spalding: A wooden bevel, ancient, belonging at one time
to the Farlev family ; a lumberman 's board rule of ])laek walnut, two feet



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 87

long and a full inch in diameter, eight sides, each side calculated for
measuring lumber of a certain length, belonging formerly to Heman
Spalding, grandfather of J. P. Spalding, who resided in the State of
New York.

By ]\Irs. J. Fisher: A snuff-box, heart shaped, brought from Scot-
land seventy-nine years ago, which has been in the Brown and Fisher
families over two hundred years.

Since that eventful year, 188-1, the annual reports of the historical
secretary have been printed every five years for members of the associa-
tion and other interested citizens of the county.

At the annual meeting in August, 1903, the name of the organization
M-as changed to The Old Settler and Historical Association of Lake
County, much more closely descriptive of its objects than the old name.

Either Wellington A. Clark or Bartlett Woods served as president
from 1875 until 1899; Oscar Dinwiddle, 1900-1908, inclusive; Samuel
B. Woods, 1009-10; Mrs. Edith Crawford, 1911-12; Lewis G. Little,
1913-14; Elmer Dinwiddle, 1914-15.



CHAPTER V

PIONEER MOTHERS OF THE COUNTY

Affection and Admiration, Both — Mrs. Harriet Warner Holton —
Lake County's First Teacher — Mrs. Maria Robinson — Mrs.
Thomas Childers and Mrs. William Clark — Mrs. Luman A.
Fowler — Mrs. Jane A. H. Ball, Teacher and Doctor — "Toiling
for the Good of All" — ^Mrs. George A. Woodbridge — Mrs. Nancy
Agnew, Stanch Widow — Margaret Jane Dinwiddie, Cool and
Courageous — Mrs. Margaret Dinwiddie (nee Perkins), Educator
— Christian and Methodist Church Workers — Leading Women
of Foreign Birth — Typical New England Women — Mrs. Ben-
jamin McCarty — Mrs. Belshaw and Mrs. Hackley — "Aunt
Susan" Turner — Mrs. J. Higgins — Mothers of Large Families —
Like the Patriarchal Times — Mrs. Samuel Turner — Mothers
THAT Were Mothers.

In the preceding chapters, glimpses here and there have been ob-
tained of the patient, hard-working and able mothers of Lake Countj,
but in all publications of this character they are placed too much in the
background. They have always been just as necessary to the birth of a
new country as to the birth of a new race, and as the generations pass
and men's minds become more just, the males of the world freely admit
what they have always known in their hearts — that the best of women,
in this molding of a country from the rough, do more of the work which
counts than the best of men.

Affection and Admiration, Both

In this chapter we propose to give the pioneer women of Lake County
their dues, net grudgingly, but with a spirit which goes forth warm from
the heart, composed of equal parts of affection and admiration. The
editor of this work will speak through the personality of T. H. Ball,
who, a number of years ago, made a generous contribution to this cause
of noble womanhood in a work issued by our publishers.



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 89

Mrs. Harriet AVarner Holton



In that paper Mr. Ball first records the name of Mrs. Harriet Warner
Holton. She came into Lake County in February, 1835, with her son,
W. A. W. Holton, and a daughter, with William Clark and family, from
Jennin^ County, Indiana. She was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts,




Interior of Pioneer Cabin

January 15, 1783, a daughter of General Warner, and commenced her
active life as a teacher in the Town of AVestminster. She married a
young lawyer, Alexander Holton, about 1804, and leaving New Eng-
land in 1816 for what were then true Western wilds, in March, 1817, they
settled at Vevay, Indiana, four years after that town had been laid out.
In 1820 the family moved to Vernon, Jennings County, where Mrs. Hol-
ton became a teacher. In 1823 her husband died, leaving her with two
sons and a daughter. In the early winter of 1834, tidings came to Ver-
non from Solon Robinson concerning the beautiful prairie region he had



9t)! LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

found far up in the northwest corner of the state, and the Clark and Hol-
ton families determined to join him there. They started in midwinter
with ox teams. The weather in February, 1835, was very cold, but they
came through, crossing the Kankakee marshes on the ice.

Lake County's First Teacher

In some respects ^Irs. Holton was the most remarkable of the pioneer
women. She was Lake County's first teacher. Her mother lived to be
ninety-four years of age. She had seven sisters in New England, and
all died of old age, two while sitting in their chairs. All the eight were
members of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Holton, a true Indiana pio-
neer, at Vevay and Vernon and in the County of Lake, lived on, active
in church, Sunday school and social activities, until old age came upon
her. She died October 17, 1879, then nearly ninety-seven years of age.
From a record in the "Sunday Schools of Lake" the following is taken:
"Such a woman, in such a long life, the daughter of an army leader,
with her native intelligence, her New England training, her granite-like
Presbyterian principles, her devotion, her meekness, her love, must in
various ways have accomplished no little good." That is putting the
matter far too mildly.

]\Irs. Maria Robinson

The Second name placed in this roll of honor is that of ]\Irs. Maria
Robinson, wife of Solon Robinson, the first white woman to live at what
is now Crown Point. She came to the spring that was, to the grove or
woodland that still is, on the last day of October, 1834. She was born
November 16, 1799, near Philadelphia, and was married to Solon Robin-
son in Cincinnati, on May 12, 1828. Within a few years they became
residents of Jennings County, Indiana, and in 1834 she came with her
husband, one assistant and two small children in a wagon drawn by oxen
to what afterward became Crown Point. She was not an ordinary woman,
although very different in training and character from Mrs. Holton. She
had much executive ability, like her husband, and she was described by
those who knew her well as ' ' always cheerful and vivacious, ' ' attending
to the needs of the sick and poor, and aiding, as her means permitted,
churches and Sunday Schools and benevolent organizations. She died
February 18, 1872.

Mrs. Thomas Childers and Mrs. William Clark

Two names should follow in this list of worthy pioneer women, but
of whom the writer knows little— Mrs. Childers, the wife of Thomas



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 91

Childers, the first white woman, .so far as known, after Mrs. William
Ross, to settle in the county, and Mrs. Clark, wife of Judge William
Clark. When the Clarks came to Lake Court House in Febniary, 1835,
it was then know^n, as the guide boards on the trails testified, as ' ' Solon
Robinson's." There were two sons in the household, two of whom,
Thomas and Alexander Clark, were for many years active citizens in
Lake County.

Other active pioneer women, whose names belong on this page, were
Mrs. Henry Wells, the mother of Mrs. Susan Clark and of Rodman
and Homer Wells; Mrs. Richard Fancher, one of the first Presbyterian
women in Crown Point, the mother of Mrs. Nicholson, ]Mrs. Clingan
and Mrs. Harry Church — and the mother who brought up such daughters
certainly deserves to be remembered; ^Irs. Russel Eddy, who also be-
came very active in the Presbyterian Church ; Mrs. Luman A. Fowler,
one of the resolute pioneer women who came as a young wife to Robin-
son's hamlet in December, 1835.

Mrs. Luman A. Fowler . :

^Irs. Fowler was born in ]\Iadison County, New York, in October,
1816, and was married October 18, 1835, about two months before she
settled with her young husband at Crown Point. Her maiden name was
Eliza Cochran, and as mother and grandmother she passed a long and
useful life in Lake County.

One more name, that of ]Mrs. Henry Farmer, who came with her hus-
band from Bartholomew County in 1836 and whose daughters became
wives of well known citizens, completes this group.

Another group of our noble pioneer women, of whom Lake County
had a goodly number, were those — not grouped in alphabetical order,
but as they are associated in the mind of the writer : Mrs. Richard
Church, Mrs. Leonard Cutler, Mrs. Rockwell, ]Mrs. Darling Church
(mother of Edwin Church, a grocer for many years at Crown Point),
Mrs. Bothwell, Mrs. Owens, Mrs. Benjamin Farley, Mrs. N. Hayden (an
active Sunday school woman in the West Creek neighborhood), Mrs.
Spalding (mother of J. P. Spalding, Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Cooper
Brooks) ; also in the same neighborhood, Mrs. Peter Hathaway, the mother
of Silas, Abram and Bethuel Hathaway, and Mrs. Lyman Foster and
]\Irs. Jackson; in another neighborhood, Mrs. Fuller, mother of Mrs.
Marvin, Mrs. Blaney and Mrs. Graves, all interested in Sunday school
and church work; also Mrs. Gordinier, who with only one hand accom-
plished the work done by ordinary women with two hands ; i\Irs. George
Willey, mother of ^Irs. J. Fisher, of Crown Point; Mrs. James Farwell,



92 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

the first white woman known to have set foot on the site of Crown Point,
who, with her family camped there July 4, 1833 — a more than ordinary
woman from Vermont, the mother of six sons and one daughter, that
daughter becoming the wife of Thomas Clark, the mother of Mrs. Oliver
Wheeler and the grandmother of Miss May Brown of Crown Point ; Mrs.
Mercy Perry, mother of the first Mrs. Marvin, and Mrs. Solomon Bums.
East of there was a small group of 1837 and 1838 — the first, Mrs.
Henry Sasse, Mrs. Herlitz and iMrs. Von Hollen — these by birth Ger-
mans, and by religious training, Lutherans — and Mrs. Jane A. H. Ball.

Mrs. Jane A. H. Ball, Teacher and Doctor

Mrs. Ball was from Massachusetts, the only daughter of Dr. Timothy
Horton of West Springfield, had been educated in the best schools of
Hartford, Connecticut, and as early as 1838 began to teach in the small
neighborhood, pupils coming from Prairie West three miles away. As
early as 1840 she commenced a boarding and academic school, the first
in the county, W'hich continued in some form for many years. She had
brought from her father's home quite a chest of medicines and some sur-
gical instruments which she thought would be needed, and she soon
became not in name, but in fact, the physician and the dentist of the
neighborhood. Her dentistry extended no further than extracting and
cleaning teeth. For extracting teeth and for medicine, she took some pay,
but nothing for her time, and she was called from home sometimes in
the night, as well as in the day. Besides being the first academic teacher,
she was the first who might be called a woman physician in the county.

"Toiling for the Good of All"

In another group are placed the following: Mrs. John Wood, also
from ]\Iassachusetts, a cousin of the noted missionary, Mrs. Sarah B.
Judson. She was born October 13, 1802, married November 16, 1824,
and became the mother of eight children. Her death occurred Septem-
ber 27, 1873. A fine granite monument, about fifteen feet in height,
marks her burial place, on wliich is inscribed: "A true, faithful, lov-
ing wife; a kind and afi:ectionate mother; ever toiling for the good of
all ; and this is her memorial. ' ' IMrs. AVood was another of those superior
New England women, like Mrs. Holton and Mrs. Farwell of Vermont,
and others, yet to be named, with native endowments and a moral train-
ing which fit their possessors so well for frontier life and for laying the
foundations for an enduring civilization. The comfort and hospitality
of her home were not excelled by any in those early years. She w^as one



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 93

' of our unselfish women, and well does her memorial say "'toiling for the
good of all, ' '

In this group, though living in anotlier part of the county, may be
fittingly named -Mrs. Augustine Humphrey, one of the very early resi-
dents on Eagle Creek Prairie, now called Palmer. She was also from
New England and besides caring for her children and attending to home
duties was much interested in church work, a devoted Presbyterian.

Mrs. George A. AVoodbridge

Mrs. Woodbridge was yet another of these well trained New Eng-
landers, an early resident also at Palmer, the wife of Rev. George A.
Woodbridge and near neighbor to Mrs. Humphrey, the two families be-
ing connected ])y ties of kindred as well as by a common religious faith.
At their iiomes was Presbyterian preaching by Rev. J. C. Prown and
by Rev. W. Townley. After some yeai-s the Woodbridge family moved to
Ross and there Mrs. Woodbridge became the superintendent of the Sun-
day school. An active, truly noble, intelligent Christian woman, she
spent part of the later years of her life with her son at Ross and a
portion at Joliet. She died in August, 1902, eighty-eight years of age.

Mrs. Nancy Agnew, Stanch Widow

The name of ]\lrs. Nancy Agnew may be placed by itself here, as be-
longing to a resolute, earnest woman. A sister of those Bryants who
found and bore back to her in Porter County for burial the body of her
husband, who perished from exhaustion and exposure in the stormy
night hours of April 4, 1835, she did not yield to her bitter trial, but
soon came herself to the new settlement, and on the Register for that
year stands among the claimants the name of Nancy Agnew, widow. To
her son, born not long after her husband's death, she gave his father's
name, David Agnew.

IMargaret Jane Dinwiddie, Cool and Courageous

Mrs. Margaret Pearce, who was ^Margaret Jane Dinwiddle, sister of
J. W. Dinwiddle, of Plum Grove, manifested some heroic qualities in
her girlhood experiences with the Indians, then living near her cabin
home. Two of the young Indians about her own age were sometimes
quite annoying. One day, seizing an opportunity to frighten her, at
least, they sprung from the roadside and threatened her with their toma-
hawks. Instead of crying out, as they perhaps expected, or turning



94 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

pale with fright, she simply stood still and laughed at them. It may
be they became ashamed at the idea of injuring that bold, defenseless,
laughing white girl, and let her pass on unharmed. "Well they knew that
a blow inflicted upon her would bring upon themselves swift punishment.
Born June 5, 1818, she was married to Michael Pearce in 1840, and be-
came the mother of ten children. She was a worthy member of the United
Presbyterian Church, and exemplified many excellent qualities, besides
courage, in her long home life in Eagle Creek Township.

Mrs. Margaret Dinwiddie (nee Perkins), Educator

The name of Mrs. Margaret Jeannette Dinwiddie comes next. A
member of the Perkins family, she was born near Rome, New York,
May 5, 1818, was married to J. W. Dinwiddie August 19, 1844, and
died March 15, 1888. She was one of the true and successful Sunday
school workers of the county. Educated at Rome, New York, and an
experienced teacher, for about twenty-five years she conducted, with
others, the Plum Grove school, herself generally the superintendent. To
her, more than to any other woman in the county, that organization, for
twenty-five years, was indebted for its success. She was a member of the
First Baptist Church in Lake County, and was identified with the North
Street Baptist Church of Crown Point at the time of her death.

Christian and Methodist Church Workers.

Some names are again grouped. Mrs. Sarah Beadle, Mrs. Sarah
Wells, Mrs. Sarah Childers — these three Sarahs, with their husbands
and J. L. Worley, were the constituent members of the first church in the
county called Christian Church, or Church of the Disciples. This pio-
neer society is now located at Lowell.

The pioneer Methodist women were Mrs. E. W. Bryant, :\Irs. Ephraim
Cleveland, Mrs. Kitchel, Mrs. Taylor (mother of :\Irs. S. G. Wood), Mrs.
Wood (^\^fe of Dr. James A. Wood), and I\Irs. Viant— all of character
and note.

Other women among the early and useful residents of the county were
Mrs. Wallace, born in Vermont and the mother of IMrs. W. Brown, of
CroA\ai Point; Mrs. Brown, of Southeast Grove, mother of John Brown
and W. B. Brown ; Mrs. Crawford, mother of Mrs. Matt Brown and Mrs.
E. Hixon; Mrs. McCann, of Plum Grove and Mrs. Hale; ]\Irs. E. M.
Robertson, mother of Mrs. 0. Dinwiddie; Mrs. "Ruth Barney, widow,"
whose name stands thus as a claimant on the Register for the year 1836 ;
]\Irs. Sigler, the mother of several sons; Mrs. Servis, mother of 0. V.



LAKE COUNTY AND THE GALUMET REGION 95

Servis, and Mrs. George Earle. Most of these women were Presbyterians,
although the ^lethodists and Baptists were represented.

There are yet other names. Five earnest Christian women of West
Creek Township for a time, who did much to make the central part of
Lake County, that gem of the prairie, "bud and blossom like the rose,"
were Mrs. M. L. Barber, who spent her last years in Kansas, her sister,
3Irs. Burhans, who closed her life in Hammond, ^Irs. Little, mother of
Hon. Joseph A, Little and ]\Irs. Garrish, and Mrs. Wason — the last three
from the Granite State, and all five with granite-like principles.

Leading Women of Foreign Birth

A little group comes in here of wotaen of foreign birth, who had
crossed the broad Atlantic and who had much to learn in regard to
language and institutions, but whose well trained children proved them
to be true mothers, known years ago among us as Mrs. John Hack, J\Irs.
Gigsen, Mrs. Dascher and Mrs. Beekley. Mrs. Hack, so far as known,
was the first German woman to find a home in the county. The sturdy
sons and tall husband who came with her are gone, but grandchildren and
great-grandchildren live at Crown Point. Some of the descendants of
the others mentioned are residents of the county.

Typical New England Women

Plere are the names of a very different group : Mrs. Calista Sherman,
born in Vermont and dying in Crown Point when more than ninety-five
years of age, as one of our oldest women, shared largely in the respect
and esteem of the community; and with her may be named two daugh-
ters, Mrs. Farrington and Mrs. J. H. Luther. It is recorded of Mrs.
Luther, who had no children of her own, that she was a mother to some
motherless girls and one of our noblest women in relieving suffering
humanity, in avoiding injurious gossip, in kindly deeds of friendship
and neighborly regard.

The next in this group is Mrs. Rosalind A. Holton, a sister of Mrs.
Sherman, the youngest of thirteen children of the Smith family of
Friends of Shrewsbury, Vermont, born July 18, 1795, and dying at
Crown Point, when nearly eighty-nine years of age, at the home of Mrs.
R. C. Young, where she had resided for many years. Next to her name
belongs that of her daughter, Mrs. R. Calista Young, mother of Charles H.
Young, of Chicago, who has herself closed a life not short — a life marked
by large unselfishness, by untiring efforts for the good of those connected
with her, by a steadfast Christian faith and hope. Five such women are



96 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

not found in every community as were these aged sisters and their
daughters.

Other names: i\Irs. Vinnedge, head of a large family, a Methodist
when sixteen years of age and an earnest church member through a long
life; Mrs. Frank Fuller (Hannah Ferguson), mother of nine children;
Mrs. Sarah R. Brown, who became the second wife of Amos Hornor;
Mrs. Mary M. Mason, daughter of Henry Farmer, second wife of Deacon
Cyi*us M. Mason, who became a resident in 1836 ; Mrs. Martin Vincent
(Mercy Pierce), who married in 1837, the womanly head of a well known
family: Mrs. William Belshaw, born in 1824, a member of the Jones
family, and before her marriage a teacher in two of the early log school-
houses, those near Lowell and Pine Grove ; Mrs. Lucy Taylor, wife of
Adonijah Taylor, born in Connecticut, brought up in Vermont and the
mother of nine children, dying in 1869 at the age of seventy-seven, a
highly respected and estimable Christian woman; ^Irs. Ebenezer Saxton,
of Wiggins Point and ]Merrillville, a woman who had a fearful experience
with a drunken Indian in the absence of her husband — the surly savage
threatening the life of an infant in the cradle and at length, while the
Indian slept, she poured the remainder of the whiskey from the jug,



Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 44)