William Frederick Howat.

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

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little community at Plum Grove.



Advance German Colonists — Henry Sasse, Sr. — Henry Von Hollen
— Lewis Herlitz — Herman Doescher — H. Klass and Klassville —
John H, Meyer^ Father and Son — Founder op Hanover Center
AND Brunswick — German Lutherans, ^Methodists and Evangeli-
cals — Other Churches and Schools.

Hanover Township is part of the original Center Township, which
also included the territory comprising the present Center, AVinfield, St.
John and Ross. The steps by which it acquired its present form and
area were the detachment of Winfield in 1843, the creation of St. John
and Ross in 1848, and the separation of Hanover from what was left of
Center, in 1853.

Advance German Colonists

Although the first settlers of what is now Hanover Township, on the
west shores of Red Cedar Lake, were of New England origin, the second
and the larger colony was composed of sturdy Germans who stamped
their nationality on the township itself. The location of the stalwart
Ball family on the Lake of the Red Cedars during "the year 1837, with
the founding of the famous Cedar Lake Baptist Church, has been de-
scribed at some length, and account has also been taken of the
Sasse, Von Hollen and Herlitz families in the following year. As the
advance of those fine German emigrants who formed the strongest ele-
ment in the pioneer life of the western part of the county, and whose
good influence is still potent in the lives and works of their descendants,
it is no more than historic justice to pause at this point and give them
their dues more in detail.

Henry Sasse, Sr.

Henry Sasse, Sr., the pioneer of the German Lutherans, came from
Michigan in 1838, with his wife and son, the latter then six years of age.



At that time he had been in America but four years, having emigrated
from his native province of Hanover in 1834. The father of the little
family bought the claims of Aaron Cox and Josiah Chase on the north-
west of Cedar Lake. Mr. Sasse came with means and also accumulated
property. He was a man of much native ability and strong influence,
although never prone to assume public duties. Circumstances led him
to visit his old home in the Fatherland three times after settling in
Hanover Township ; so that he was well-traveled and well-informed.

Mr. Sasse 's first wife died June 10, 18-10, leaving two sons. The
younger, William E., born near Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 20,
1836, died in Hanover Township June 2, 1870. The father married again
in 1841, his second wife being a widow with eight children. She died in
1866 and none of her children are living. Henry Sasse, Sr., married a
third time in 1870, and by her he had Herman E. Sasse, now a prominent
business man of Crown Point. Henry Sasse, Jr., the son by the first
wife, was long a leading farmer and a successful teacher, later a dealer
in agricultural implements. He died leaving one married daughter, Mrs.
Henry Gromann, who, in turn, has one son, one daughter and one grand-
daughter. From this record of the Sasse family, it is evident that the
descendants of sturdy Henry Sasse, Sr., are not numerous. So far as
known, they all reside at Crown Point.

Henry Von Hollen

Henry Von Hollen was another of those intelligent, energetic Ger-
man Lutherans who came to the lake neighborhood in 1838. He was a
fine looking man, tall and strong, and gave the world the full benefit
of his proportions, as he had received a military training in the cavalry
service of the Fatherland. But although Von Hollen was of such fine
military bearing and poor, he was not above hard work and ceaseless
industry. He at once purchased some wild, cheap land on which had
already been found a cranberry marsh, and this investment, with the
good honest work which he put upon the property, made him in a few
years a well-to-do citizen. When he died he left his wife in possession
of ample means, and at her death she ranked as one of the wealthy
women of Lake County. Mrs. Von Hollen lived for sixty-five years on
the homestead which she founded, with her husband, in 1838, but of
their small household no descendant is left.

Lewis Herlitz

Lewis Herlitz was the third of that little band of Protestant Ger-
mans who came to what is now Hanover Township in 1838. He bought



the claim niad(' l)y Hiram Nordyke, of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, two
years before, which was located north of Red Cedar Lake. His wife
and ]\Irs. IT. Sasse were sisters. ^h\ Herlitz hnilt a good liouse on the
claim whicli he had bought and secured his title from the (iovernment
wlu'U it came reguhu-ly into tlu' market in 1839. In a few years ^Ir. and
^Irs. Lewis Herlitz had a pleasant and comfortable home, and their
hirge circle of sons and daughters, who completed an intelligent and

By Courtesy of Frank F. Heigli«a>. County Suyeiintendent of .Schuuls.

Lincoln Consolidated School

courteous household, had cause to "rise up and call them blessed.
The father died in 1861). Init children and grantlcliildren are honorc
in the old home neighliorliootl a)id at Crown Point.

Herman Doescher

Herman Docsclicr was another of the liest known of the early Ger-
lan settlers. He came somewhat later than the three families iiK'ntioned.
II 1842 settling in the west(^rn part of Hanover Township with one


son and several daughters. He died in December. 1886, having lived in
the county forty-four years, leaving six children, thirty-seven grand-
children and twenty-one great-grandchildren.

But whether these pioneer German settlers, who so long lived in Han-
over Township, left many or few descendants, a strong and good influ-
ence remained after they had passed away ; and that, after all, is the
true test of a worthy life.

H. Klass and Klassville

Another German i)ioneer, who, in 1850, settled in the extreme south-
western part of the township was JI. Klass. There, on the eastern edge
of the Grand Prairie of Illinois which stretches across that state to the
Mississippi River this solitary German planted himself and his family.
After a few years other families joined him and his, school and church
life commenced and the locality became Klassville, now recognized as a
pretty, industrious rural community. It is about half a mile from the
state line and some twelve miles southwest of Crown Point, and, like all
the other neighborhoods west of the two eastern tiers of sections in the
township, is quite bereft of railroad transportation. It is such little
villages as these which most appreciate ;dl movements, whether private,
township or county, which tend to im])rove the roads.

Joux H. Meyer, Father and Son

The Meyers and the Beckmans came a little later than ]Mr. Klass.
John H. Meyer was a native of Hanover, Germany, where he was married
and where all his children were born. In 1851 he and his family sailed
from Bremen and forty-two days later arrived in New York. The par-
ents and one of their children went to Savannah, Georgia, for the winter,
but the other three remained in New York. In the spring of 1852 the
parents started for the ^Vest with the intention of locating at Fort
Wayne, Indiana, ])ut on the death of a l)rother, wlio had taken up land
near Cedar Lake, they came to Lake County and purchased 200
acres of land near the western extremity of that body of water.
The father and nineteen-year-old son built a log cabin on a bank of the
lake, high and dry, and commenced the hard, healthful life of the pioneer.
The family was absorbed by the growing connnunity of German Luth-
erans, and in time both father and son (also John H. Meyer) became
prosperous and prominent. The younger man, who married Miss Chris-
tena Doescher, became the father of twelve children, most of whom, as
men and women, moved out of Hanover Township. His Avife was also


born in the German Hanover, so that the name was endeared to many
members of the family through numerous associations.

When the younger ]\Ir. and Mrs. John H. Meyer were married in
1861 they began life as renters on section 19, just west of the central
part of the township, and for six years they farmed on their rented land.
The first land purchased was in section 31, east of the Klass property.
Mr. Meyer went into debt for a portion of his purchase, but soon freed
his property of the encumbrance, bought other land and in his later
years was the owner of more than three hundred acres in Hanover
Township, an excellent residence and farm buildings, with even a larger
farm in Missouri. And what contributed more than property accumu-
lation to the advancement of the community, Mr. and ^Irs. Meyer reared
with wisdom a family of six sons and two daughters.

Founder op Hanover Center and Brunswick

Herman C. Beckman, an uncle of Mr. Meyer, was the most prominent
of the early merchants of Hanover Township, and was mainly instru-
mental in founding Hanover Center and Brunswick. He came to Amer-
ica from Hanover in 1846, was married in 1852 and in 1855 opened a
large store at the little settlement just southeast of the center of the
township, at the corners of sections 20, 21, 28 and 29. This soon be-
came known as Hanover Center, and the community still shows a store,
a large church, a good sehoolhouse, dwellings and the usual buildings
of rural settlement.

Brunswick, two miles west of Hanover Center, was founded when
Mr. Beckman transferred his general store and his other business in-
terests to the point first mentioned. This was in 1858. For many
years he carried on at that point a large general business, dealing
especially in butter and eggs. For twenty-nine years he was postmaster
at Brunswick, served as county commissioner, and was altogether an able,
prosperous, upright, kindly and highly honored citizen. At Mr. Beck-
man's death in Brunswick during 1894 his son, John N. Beckman,
continued the paternal career with interest, especially developing their
joint raising and improvement of Jersey cattle. Brunswick is more
indebted to the Beckmans for its growth and good standing than to any
other personal influence.

German Lutherans, Methodists and Evangelicals

As stated, the German Lutherans established themselves at an early
day in various parts of Hanover Township. In 1857 they effected


an organization under Rev. Peter Lehman, known as Zion's Cliureh,
and built a church on the west side of AVest Creek near the Illinois
state line. Twenty-six members formed the original body. At first a
parochial school was attached to the church, but with the growth of
the township and county systems it was discontinued.

The German Methodists who had settled on the western part of
Lake Prairie and the West Creek Woodlands also formed a church
organization in the '50s and at a somewhat later day the German
Evangelicals commenced missionary work west of Cedar Lake. A church
was organized under the pastorate of Rev. G. Vetter and a small house
of worship erected. Although the society existed for many years it never
attained much strength.

Other Churches and Schools

In the immediate lake district the Baptist Church was the strongest
among the English speaking settlers, whose religious faith was also satis-
fied through the preaching and ministrations of various Methodist mis-
sionaries of the Lowell Circuit.

At a somewhat later period than the foregoing religionists came the
Roman Catholics, who had long been established in St. John Towaiship
to the north. In 1861 they organized St. Anthony's Church at Klass-
ville, and in 1869 St. j\lartin's, at Hanover Center. As is customary,
intellectual and religious training went hand-in-hand with those bodies,
and as the German Lutherans also conducted schools for a number of
years the children of the early settlers of Hanover Township were reared
into intelligent and moral citizens.



Industrial Center Forced Westward — First Township Pioneers —
Liverpool, the First Town — Hobart in the Rough — Lake Station
As A Good Shipping Point — Miller's Station — New Chicago.

Hobart Township was the first to be formed from old North, but
although this occurred in 1849 it did not substantially reach its present
area until 1883. Its original boundaries were slightly changed by the
county commissioners on December 6, 1853, but until thirty years later
its territory was virtually confined to what would now be the south line
of the incorporated Town of Hobart and the Little Calumet River. On
March 9, 1883, its territory was again changed, sections 1 and 2, town-
ship 35, being given to it from Ross Township and its western boundary,
running on the west line of section 2, was extended to Lake JMichigan, its
eastern boundary following the county line to the lake also. It was
thus made five miles in Avidtli and eight miles from north to south. The
four northern sections of its western tier were afterward detached from
Hobart Township to accommodate the City of Gary, which sprung from
the sand dunes in 1906.

Industrial Center Forced Westward

Like all the townsliips formed out of old North, Hobart is netted
with railroads. It also embraces the eastern portion of the famous Calu-
met Region, and the mouth of the Grand Calumet River is midway on
the coast line of Lake Michigan. As long ago as seventy-five years, the
commercial prophets of the county anticipated the creation of a great
center of Avater transportation, trade and industry at that point — a
rival of Michigan City and Chicago. The early result was the Indiana
City of 1836. That proved to be but a paper town, but the wise men
of commerce still kept their eyes on the old mouth of the Grand Calumet.
Result of the comparatively recent day : Calumet City. But fate, com-
parative distance from Chicago and the works of man, in the shape of
great artificial waterways, forced that center westward.




The Little Calumet River crosses the entire width of Hobart Town-
ship a short distance north of its central sections, and its southern por-
tions are well watered by the principal branch of that stream, Deep
River, with its tributary, Turkey Creek.

First Township Pioneers

It was at and near the point where Turkey Creek joins Deep River,
in the soutlu rn part of Iloliart Township, tliat some of the earliest set-

By Courtesy of Frank F. Heigliway. County Superintendent of Schools.


tiers of tile county located. William Ross, the tirst farmer and home-
steader, settled with his family ou section 6. on tlie shores of Deep River,
in the summer of 18;U. At about the time that the Ross family settled
there, William Crooks and Samuel Miller took up a timber and mill site
in the same section, and a man by the name of Winchell commenced a
mill a little further west near the mouth of Turkey Creek. Winchell
did not complete his plant, and the so-called "Miller's mill" was a very
small and crude aflfair. Of the men mentioned. William B. Crooks only
came afterward into some prominence. In 1837, at the civil organiza-
tion of the county, he was elected one of the first associate judges, and
evidently carried some weight.


Liverpool, the First Town

xVboiit two years after these pioneers located in the southern part
of the township, John B. Chapman, John C. Davis and Henry Frederick-
son, the two last named from Philadelphia, platted a town site on the
southern banks of Deep River near its junction with the Little Calumet.
This is said to have been in June, 1836, and not long afterward George
Earle, as stated, purchased the town site. We have also seen how
the town lots were sold and how this Liverpool posed for a number of
months as the county seat, a temporary rival of Crown Point. But it
lost the fight in 1840 and never really survived the blow.


When Mr. Earle saw that Liverpool was logically and really a back
number, he gave his attention to the founding of another town two
miles southeast on Deep River. In 1815 he had commenced to build a
family residence at that location, began the improvement of the water
power and laid the foundation of a saw-ftiill; in other words, was lay-
ing out a town in the rough. The saw-mill was put in operation in 1846,
a gristmill was soon added, and in 1847 the settlement looked so prom-
ising that ]Mr. Earle moved his family thither from the deserted Village
of Liverpool. His second town, Hobart, was platted in 1848. For a
time its growth was slow, ])ut in 1854 the Pittsburg & Fort Wayne
Railroad reached the town site, and from that year it was an assured
success as a center of population, trade and commerce. The details
of its later growth are reserved for a following chapter.

Lake StxVtion, a Good Shipping Point

In 1851, about two years after the permanent establishment of Hobart,
the Michigan Central Railroad was completed through the Calumet
Region. It will be remembered that Hobart was at that time without
such advantage, although within five years it had secured railroad con-
nection through the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago and the Joliet &
Northern Indiana lines. At the building of the Michigan Central in
1851, Lake Station was located on the northeast cpiarter of section 17,
a mile west of the Porter County line and just north of the Little Calumet.
It was in the midst of a good grain and live stock district, in the eastern
portion of the game and fur-bearing region, and convenient to the rich
berry country. For a numl>er of years, especially while the Michigan
Southern, the Michigan Central and the Joliet Cut Off had the trans-


portation field in Northern Lake County, Lake Station was one of the
most important shipping points in the county, large quantities of grain,
pork, game, cattle, butter, eggs, poultry, hay, sand, and (in season) ice
being shipped to Chicago and other western points. But with the coming
of the other railroads, chiefly in the '80s, it retrograded in that particu-
lar and lost all possibility of becoming a place of substantial growth. A
schoolhouse. a general store, two churches and a few houses about con-
stitute the settlement of today.

Miller's Station

Miller's Station, about two miles northwest of Lake, is at the crossing
of the Michigan Southern and Baltimore & Ohio roads on section 6.

By Courtesy of Fiank Heiglmaj. l'ount\ Supenntemlent of ScIk

2I1LLER School

It dates from 1874, when the latter railroad was put through the county,
and is named after one of the good German citizens who bought land
at that locality and was engaged in business there. Nearly twenty
years before the Michigan Southern had passed along the lake shore in
that part of the township, but fixed no station there. Even after Miller's
Station was placed on the map by the Baltimore & Ohio, the ice business
was its main industry for years. It is one mile from Long Lake and a
mile and a half from Lake Michigan, with large sand hills on the north.
It was mainly from the inland lake that large quantities of ice were cut
in winter and shipped from Miller's Station in summer, most of the
supply going to the Chicago packers. Later, the nearby sand banks


were utilized and the shipmeuts from that source were considerable.
Some twenty years ago the Aetna Powder Works were built on section
12, about a mile and a half southwest of Miller's Station. The plant
employs an average force of 500 men, some of whom reside near the
works, others in Gary and a few at IMiller's Station. Of late years,
therefore, ^Miller's Station has shown some signs of growth. It is con-
nected with Ilobart, about six miles south, by a substantial gravel road.
Its citizens are largely Germans and Swedes, industrious and moral peo-
ple, the Lutheran element being noticeably strong.

New Chicago

There is only one other point in Ilobart Township which may be
called a center of population ; and the editor is fearful that the imagi-
nation must work overtime to thus classify New Chicago. It was platted,
a number of years ago, on the west half of section 19, south of the Little
Calumet and near the center of the township. The site of New Chicago
was near the defunct Liverpool. At first it was a town of great indus-
trial expectations and promises, which virtually all collapsed.



Only a General View — Another West Point — Joseph Hess and


Settlement — Dutch Settlers op 1855— Highland — Whiting and
THE "Standard" — East Chicago and Indiana Harbor.

The original North Township of 1837 comprised substantially the
present townships of North, Calumet and Hobart. More than half of
their combined area in Lake County is included in the Calumet Region,
which also extends over into Cook County. The center of population,
wealth and power of that wonderful region is North Township, which
embraces three great municipal corporations, some of the leading in-
dustrial plants in the world, properties valued at hundreds of millions
of dollars, and (in its southern sections) some of the most fertile and
most thoroughly improved lands in the county.

Only a General View

North Township is in the direct pathway of ten great railroads which
traverse its territory, and bind it to the East, Chicago and the Mississippi
Valley. All the railroads of the county converge within its bounds,
and its centers of population are also brought into close touch through
a well planned and executed system of interurban electric lines.

North Townsliip in its entirety is such a hirge sul^ject that the
story of its developnu'ut in detail has been divided into several chap-
ters; the one now in hand does not attempt to give more than a general

Its first diminution of territory was caused 1)y the formation of
Ilobart Township in 1819, from portions south of tlie Little Calumet
River, but it did not assume its present dimensions and shape until
]\Iarch 9, 1883, when the county commissioners extended Hobart Town-
ship to Lake Michigan and created the Township of Calumet.



Another West Point

To the foreign-born element must be given the main credit for the
early settlement of North Township, and at least two of the pioneer
colonies of the township were planted within the present city limits of
Hammond. When the Michigan Central Railroad was being constructed
through the county in 1849-50 and reached a point which would now be
not far from the western city limits of Hammond, the temporary terminus
was called AVest Point ; which should not be confused with the West
Point which Benjamin McCarty had established on the eastern shores of
Red Cedar Lake many years previously. Passengers bound for Chicago
were carried by stage from AVest Point to that city, and for some time
before the road was completed to its permanent terminus the North
Township station was quite a bustling i)lace.

Joseph Hess and Gibson

During this short boom at West Point one of its most popular features
was the little eating house conducted by a French baker, Joseph Hess.
From all accounts the bakery goods were first-class and Mr. Hess doubt-
less brought from his native land those talents of neat and tasteful serv-
ice which have made his people famous. But the road passed on, and
so did Mr. Hess.

West Point soon afterward became the station of Gi])son. and in
1853 the settlement was such that a postoffice was established there. In
fact, the people living at Hammond received their mail there until Mr.
ATarcus AI. Towle was appointed postmaster of the growing settlement
further to the east, which in 1873 became a village under that name.
For some time it had been generally known as the State Line Slaughter
House. It received its present name in honor of George 11. Hammond,
the Detroit capitalist, in partnership witli whom Air. Towle had founded
the great beef-dressing business which brought the first industrial fame
to tlie city and the CaluiDct Region.

Hessville and Hammond

P>ut we are ahead of our story, and return to Josepli Hess. After
leaving West Point, or (Jibson, he took up land in section 9, engaging
in the cattle and stofk ])usiness, as well as in general merchandise. The
village which developed around his interests was named Hessville, and

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 44)