William Frederick Howat.

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

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works and while county commissioner, from 1894 to 1900, was the leader
in the movement to secure a courthouse in his home city. Others
planned and carried through the legislation providing a Superior Court
for Hammond, the original stipulation being that the commissioners pro-
vide rented quarters for holding its sessions. But Commissioner Brad-
ford wanted a new courthouse, and went after it. Before his oppo-
nents knew that he had made any decisive move, he had negotiated for
a site and the architect was well along in his plans. The matter was
finally taken into the courts, but the new courthouse movement, led by
]\Ir. Bradford, won the fight — both in and out of court.

United States Courts at Hammond

Besides the Superior, the United States District and Circuit courts
convene in Hammond, the Federal ])ody meeting twice annually — on
the third Tuesdays of April and October, respectively. In 1907 a mag-
nificent three-story structure was erected on the corner of State Street
and Oakley Avenue, at a cost of $140,000, to serve both as a postoffice
and a United States courthouse. It stands on a bandsome square, 150
by 200 feet, and Joseph T. Hutton, the Hammond architect, may well
feel proud of his handiwork and brain-work. Since the erection of this
new building the sessions of the United States courts have been presided
over by Hon. Albert B. Anderson, of Indianapolis, whose appointment
dates from 1902. At each term of the court, the judge is accompanied
by the other officials from Indianapolis, including the clerk, the marshal
and the district attorney. The resident representative is Charles L. Sur-
prise, who was born near Lowell, received a thorough education in the
county and a legal training at the Northwestern University, Chicago,
and in practical office work at Hammond. He received his appointment
as deputy clerk of the United States District and Circuit courts in 1906.


Present Bar of High Grade

Although Hammond, as a substantial town, is now some forty years
of age, its citizenship was long concentrated in business and industrial
development, and we believe it is a fair and a safe statement to say
that it was not until the establishment of its Superior Court in 1895 that
the bar of that city became substantial and of high rank. Since then East
Chicago and Gary, with their remarkable development, have also attracted
a number of able lawyers, especially in the field of commercial and cor-
poration law.

Hon. Elisha C. Field

Hon. Elisha C. Field, president of the ^Monon Line and a leader of
the Hammond bar, is a native of Valparaiso, Indiana, born April 9, 1862.
After receiving a literary training at the Valparaiso College he entered
the law school of the University of jMichigan, from which he obtained
his degree of LL. B. in 1865. That year marks his admission to the bar
and his settlement at Crown Point. He was appointed prosecuting attor-
ney in 1868, served as judge of the Circuit Court in 1879-89, and in
the latter year became general solicitor of the Louisville, New Albany &
Chicago, and its successor, the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Rail-
road. From 1907 to 1914 he served as vice president of the Monon and
since the latter year has been the head of the system. Judge Field is
also largely interested in the stone industries, being prominently identi-
fied with the Indiana Stone Railroad Company and the Indiana Stone
and the CoiLsolidated Stone companies.

Peter Crumpacker

Peter Crumpacker is a leader of the later-day bar of Lake County.
He is a native of Laporte County, his two brothers being leaders at the
Valparaiso bar, Hon. E. D. Crumpacker having served for years as
prosecuting attorney, on the appellate bench and in Congress as a repre-
sentative of the Tenth District. Soon after graduating from the Val-
paraiso Law School, Peter Crumpacker located at Hammond, wiiere,
since 1888 he has done nothing but go right ahead. From 1891 to 1893
he was associated with Hon. J. H. GiUett, afterward appointed judge
of the Supreme Court of Indiana. In 1894-98 Mr. Crumpacker served
as city attorney of Hammond during the administration of F. R. Mott
as mayor, and in 1900 became associated in private practice with D. J.
Mo ran, a bright young attorney who had joined the fraternity two years


A. F. Knotts

Armanis F. Knotts, ex-mayor of Hammond, is also well to the front
in the list of Lake County lawyers, and as a public man few have been
more consistently earnest and helpful. Although born in Ohio, his par-
ents brought him to Pulaski County so young that he considers himself
for all practical purposes, a Hoosier; and he was "always for Ham-
mond" until he moved to Gary and has since been faithful to her in-
terests. Mr. Knotts received a thorough education at the Valparaiso
College, and from 1879 to 1887, besides conducting a normal school and
business college at Lodoga, Indiana, he completed business, engineering,
scientific, classical and law courses at the Valparaiso institution. In
1887 he graduated in law with the same class which numbered Peter
Crumpacker. Before he had completed his legal studies he had been
elected county surveyor of Porter County, resigning that office to go to

From the moment Mr. Knotts opened a law office, he took an active
part in the material upbuilding of the city, irrespective of its direct effect
on the growth of his professional interests. As one of his projects upon
which he labored night and day was to secure for Hammond a direct water
connection with Lake Michigan through AVolf Lake, he became popularly
known as "Harbor Knotts;" so popular, in fact, that he was sent to the
State Assembly in 1898 as the joint representative of Lake and Jasper
counties, and in May, 1902, elected mayor of Hammond. "While in the
Legislature he secured the passage of the bill which placed the Superior
Court of Hammond on the same footing as the Circuit Court, and au-
thorized the building of the fine Superior courthouse there. Also, while
mayor he appointed the industrial committee which was so active and
successful in locating new industries at Hammond.

Mr. Knotts was elected mayor at a time when riots, strikes and
"graft," together with the recent burning of the great slaughter house,
made the outlook very dark for Hammond. Its mainstay, from a busi-
ness and industrial standpoint, had been knocked from under it ; the city
had now to depend upon three minor industries. But in a short time the
city recognized the presence and stimulation of a strong personal force
in Mayor Knotts. Eleven new industries were planted in Hammond dur-
ing his administration and largely through his initiative. His record as
an originator and a pusher won for him the attention of Judge Gary, of
the United States Steel Corporation, and his work in the founding and
development of the City of Gaiy will be found described as a part of its


Frank N. Gavit

A strong member of the Lake County bar and a special advocate of the
interests of Whiting, the city of his residence for more than twenty
years, Frank N. Gavit is a Canadian of Irish lineage, in his fifty-first
year. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Law School, as
well as of the Northern Indiana Normal School. Mr. Gavit first located
for practice at Saginaw, ^Michigan, but after remaining in that city for
about two years came to Whiting in 1892. From the first he has enjoyed
a large private practice, having, for many years, represented its two
banks in legal matters. He also drew up the incorporation papers for
the Town of AVhiting, afterward incorporated it as a city and has rep-
resented his home place in all of its litigations with Hammond. More-
over, his practice has been largely as an advocate of the rights of the
modest citizen.

Lake County Bar Association

In 1896 the lawyers of Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago organ-
ized the North Township Bar Association, of which A. F. Knotts re-
mained the president until it was made a county-wide affair under the
name of the Lake County Bar Association, in 1912. The members of
the old organization became the charter members of the new, the first
president of which was D. J. Moran of Hammond; secretary, E. G.
Sproat. In 1913 L. L. Bomberger, of Hammond, was elected president
of the Lake County Bar Association and Mr. Sproat was reelected sec-
retary. J. H. Conroy was chosen president in 1914; C. B. Tinkham,
vice president; N. A. Hembroff, treasurer; E. G. Sproat, secretary.

Congressional and Legislative Districts

Lake County has been in the Tenth Congressional District since 1876.
From the organization of the county in 1837 until 1843, it constituted
a portion of the Seventh. In that year the state was divided into ten
congressional districts, and Lake County, with sixteen other counties
in Northwestern Indiana, was placed in the Ninth Congressional Dis-
trict, making it the largest of the ten thus created.

In arranging the senatorial districts Laporte, Lake and Porter w^ere
placed in one district and allotted one senator, and Porter and Lake
were allowed one representative to the Assembly. In 1872 the State
Legislature made a reapportionment by which Lake and Porter were
allowed one senator, and Lake alone, one representative. Four years


afterward, Lake County became one of eight counties to form the Tenth
Congressional District. In 1895 the state was divided into thirteen dis-
tricts, the Tenth being reduced in area to Lake, Porter and Laporte
counties. In 1914 occurred the last reapportionment by which Laporte
was attached to the Thirteenth Congressional District, and the Tenth
made to comprise Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton, Benton, White and
Tippecanoe counties.

Since 1872, there has been no change in the legislative apportion-
ment as it affects Lake County, with the exception that since 1897 Lake
and Jasper counties have jointly sent a representative to the Assembly.

Hon. Thomas J. Wood

Both in Congress and the State Legislature a large proportion of
the members have been lawyers, and for the past thirty years none of
the Lake County delegation has had a better record than the late Hon.
Thomas J. Wood, of Crown Point. A native of Ohio, he spent his earlier
life on a farm, and as a scholar and teacher near Terre Haute, Indiana.
He worked his way through the University of Michigan Law School, and
graduated at the head of his class in 1868, locating at Lowell for prac-
tice. But he moved to the county seat in 1870, and as a legal advocate
and counselor, as well as a democratic leader, was soon at the very heart
of things. First he was elected to several town offices, and from 1872
to 1876 earned a more extended reputation as state's attorney for the
county. In 1876 he was elected state senator for Lake and Porter coun-
ties, and during his four years in that office earned a high standing as
an alert and sound debater and a far-sighted legislator.

Represented the Old Colfax District

While in the Senate, j\Ir. Wood pushed through much important leg-
islation affecting land titles throughout the state, thereby obtaining the
warm support of property owners and men of substantial influence. In
1882 he was elected to the Forty-eighth Congress, representing for two
years the old Colfax district. In that strong republican district he was
defeated for reelection by less than three hundred votes. Mr. Wood's
strength in a state which for many years has been placed in the doubt-
ful column had even caused his name to be mentioned for the presidency.
He was a man who had grown beyond professional limitations and his
death, which occurred at his home in Crown Point, October 13, 1908,
was an acknowledged loss to the county and the state.


Hon. John B. Peterson

Hon. John B. Peterson, of Crown Point, representative in Congress
for the Tenth Indiana District, is a native of Lake County, born on the
4th of July, 1851. He has been a leading member of the state bar since
his admission to practice in 1870, being also entitled to practice at the
bar of the United States Supreme Court. Ten years of progressive pro-
fessional work in Lake County brought him such a solid reputation that
in 1880 he became prosecuting attorney for the Thirty-first Judicial
Circuit, a position which he held for four years. In 1913 Mr. Peterson
was elected to Congress, as a representative of the Tenth District as it
then existed. He is a Democrat and a vigorous supporter of the Wilson
administration. ' He is not only a good lawyer, but a successful banker,
being president of the Commercial Bank of Crown Point and the First
Calumet Trust and Savings Bank of East Chicago.

The First Two Ppiysicians

Like the lawyers, most of the old-time physicians who became best
known located at Crown Point. "Doctor and Judge" H. D. Palmer has
already been etched as an associate on the bench of the Circuit Court.
He was a regiilarly educated and licensed practitioner, and one of his
tirst competitors was a gentleman who was neither. Joseph Greene was
to the southwestern part of the county — to the American settlers around
Cedar Lake and the Germans further west — what Doctor Palmer was to
the northeastern and northern districts. Notwithstanding his lack of a
diploma he knew how to grapple with malarial fever and other ailments
common in the low country ; was also a good deer hunter, quite widely-
traveled and popular, and a welcome visitor to many firesides. His
brother. Sylvester, shared his practice and popularity.

Not Outdone by Any Indian

The next early physician was Dr. James A. Wood. His home was
at first in Porter County, but his rides often extended into Lake. The
doctor rode a very fine-looking Indian pony; thick set, with a heavy
mane, and very sagacious and hardy. One day he was near the Cady
marsh and a patient needed a physician on the other side. Dr. Wood
had been told that no white man had ever ridden across. It was im-
plied that an Indian had. That was too much for the doctor, and time,
moreover, was precious. He concluded that if an Indian had crossed,
he could and would ; and he did. A solid gravel road crosses now, with

Vol. I— 16


three or four railroads — just to show how Man flouts Nature. Dr. Wood
soon moved from Porter County to the east side of Cedar Lake, and had
a large practice. Later, he located at Lowell and during eighteen months
of the Civil war was regimental surgeon to the Twelfth Indiana Cavalry.

Doctors Yeoman and Farrington

Dr. S. B. Yeoman was another pioneer pliysician and resident of
Lowell, who died in January, 1865.

Dr. W. C. Farrington located at Crown Point for practice in 1840
and during the succeeding sixteen years established a large professional
business at the county seat and in the surrounding country. He was
also enterprising and aggressive in other ways, and his death in 1856 was
widely deplored.

Dr. a. J. Pratt

Dr. A. J. Pratt, who located in 1854, married the widow of the de-
ceased, succeeded to much of Doctor Farrington 's practice and, being an
able practitioner himself, eventually became one of the leading physi-
cians of the county. For nearly forty years, or until his death in 1893,
Dr. Pratt Avas an honor to manhood and professional life.

Dr. Harvey Pettibone

Dr. Harvey Pettibone represented the second generation in a family
of physicians ; his father and his son being both practitioners. The rep-
resentative mentioned located at Crown Point in 1847 and continued his
professional work, with the county seat as its center, until his death,
August 19, 1898, in his seventy-seventh year. He had commenced prac-
tice in his native town of Naples, New York, in the year 1842. Doctor
Pettibone took the part of a good citizen in public affairs, and served
his people in the State Legislature in 1882-84.

Dr. Henry Pettibone

Dr. Henry Pettibone, the son, was born at Crown Point in 1850, w^as
educated at home and at Hanover College, Indiana, studied medicine,
secured quite a large practice (his father gradually retiring), and un-
expectedly died in Chicago, June 26, 1902.


Dr. John Higgins

Doctor Pratt, the elder Doctor Pettiboiie and Dr. John Higgins were
for many years the leading physicians of the Crown Point district. The
last named was a New York man, who graduated from the Indiana Med-
ical College in 1846 and in 1847 married ^liss Diantha Tremper, member
of a Lake County family of early settlers.

Doctor Higgins did not fully enter upon practice at Crown Point until
1859. In 1861 he entered the Union army as a ph^^sician and surgeon,
did much hosx)ital work, became an expert surgeon and resumed practice
at the county seat in 1865. Like his two contemporaries his practice
extended over considerable territory and, having a good start financially,
like them he continued to accumulate. His only daughter married Hon.
J. W. Youche, who died in 1901, and on April 7, 1904, he himself joined
his wife who had passed to the beyond in 1895.

Other Early Physicians of Crown Point

The late H. P. Swartz was one of the oldest practicing physicians in
the county, as well as one of the prominent citizens of Crown Point. He
graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1868, located at
Crown Point in 1871, acquired a large practice, amassed property and
actively participated in the best development of the community.

Dr. J. C. Gibbs, one of the first of the homeopaths to commence prac-
tice, is broadly educated and a leading citizen. He commenced his higher
courses at the University of Wisconsin, taking literary honors, but grad-
uated from the Chicago Homeopathic College in medicine with the class
of 1886. He stands high both as a practitioner and a man of affairs.

Drs. p. p. and Edward R. Gordon

These two Hobart physicians, both deceased, left fine reputations.
Dr. P. P. Gordon was the elder, their personal relations being uncle and
nephew. Each served the county as coroner, in addition to establishing
a large general practice. Dr. P. P. Gordon graduated from the Buffalo
Medical College in 1865 and at once commenced practice at Hobart. He
devoted considerable of his time to raikoad surgery, was examining
physician for a number of insurance companies, served four years on
the pension board, and besides becoming widely known in his profes-
sion amassed a variety of large property interests and did much to ad-
vance the town and the county. He died March 8, 1904, and his nephew
passed awa}^ December 19, 1912.


Other Hobart Physicians

Doctor Miller, a graduate of Rush Medical College, located in Hobart
during 1879, and since 1892 Dr. R. C. ^lackey has been a resident physi-
cian of growing reputation, having served as coroner twice.

Dr. Joseph C. Watson, who located at Hobart soon after his gradu-
ation from the medical department of the University of Indianapolis in
1888, made surgery his specialty. Quite early in his career he became
surgeon for the Nickel Plate Railway and has been since identified with
a number of other roads in that capacity. For some years he has been
a practitioner at Gary.

Coroner Frank W. Smith

Dr. Frank AV. Smith, of Gary, who is now serving his second term
as coroner of Lake County, is a man of broad education and active in
the public reforms of the Calumet region. He is thoroughly grounded
in the theory and practice of his profession, and since 1913 has been at
the head of a non-partisan movement, having for its avowed object "the
cleaning up of Gary." In national politics, the doctor is a republican.

Dr. H. L. Iddings, jMerrillville

For many years Dr. H. L. Iddings has ])een the leading medical prac-
titioner of JMerrillville and the surrounding district. He is a native of
Noble County, Indiana, born sixty-three years ago, and is a graduate of
the Detroit College of Medicine. For four years he was located in prac-
tice at Swan, Noble County, and was then appointed to the position of
physician to the State Penitentiary at Michigan City, discharging the
duties of that position for two years. He came to Merrillville in 1883,
and has lieen in constant and successful practice there ever since.

Lake County ^Medical Society

Organized medicine in Lake County dates liack but a comparatively
few years when, in 1899, about a dozen physicians interested themselves
in the organization of the Lake County ^Medical Society. Dr. Pannenborg
was selected as president, with Dr. T. W. Oberlin as secretary. The
following year Dr. Howat was chosen to head the new organization and
thus served until 1909. In 1911 Dr. Howat was elected to the presidency
of the State Medical Association.

The increase in membership was slow until 1907, when physicians


from the then new city of Gary began to apply for membership, bringing
the total to near the half century mark. The close of the year 191-1 linds
a total membership of ninety-four, being the second largest county
medical society in the state.

The present plan of the society provides at least ten scientific pro-
grams each year, with a summer picnic for the members and their fami-
lies, and an annual meeting, at which time we hold our election, hear
the president 's address and make plans for the new year. The presidents
of the society have been as follows : Dr. J. P. Pannenborg, 1899 ; Dr. W.
F. Howat, 1900-08 ; Dr. A. G. Schlicker, 1909 ; Dr. E. :\1. Shanklin, 1910 •
Dr. E. E. Evans, 1911-12; Dr. W. D. Weis, 1913; Dr. J. W. Iddings,
1914. Secretaries : Dr. T. W. Oberlin, 1899 ; Dr. H. E. Sharrer, 1902-07 ;
Dr. AV. D. Weis, 1908; Dr. E. M. Shanklin, 1909; Dr. H. C. Groman,
1910; Dr C. A. DeLong, 1911; Dr. E. M. Shanklin, 1912.

Dr. W. F. Howat

-Dr. W. F. Howat has been a leading practitioner since 1892 and
citizen of Hammond since locating in that city in 1895. He has served
as president of the Lake County Medical Association for eight years
(1900-08) and was president of the State Medical Association in 1912.
For a dozen years past he has been a leading member of the Public
Library Board, has .served on the Hammond Board of School Trustees for
seven years, and otherwise been identified with the advancement of the

St. Margaret's Hospital

The in-stitution above named was established at Hammond by the
Sisters of St. Francis in 1898. Since that year it has been twice enlarged
and at the present time has a capacity of about one hundred and seventy-
five beds. In 1913, 1,600 patients were treated therein, and it is probable
that the number will not fall below those figures during 1914.

Crowx Point, Earliest Newspaper Center

The press of Lake County is in its fifty-ninth year, and from first
to last has seen its dark days as well as its bright. Like all else of a
professional, political and semi-public nature, it first took root at the
county seat, when Crown Point, its lawyers, its resident officials, its
physicians, and ministers and teachers, wielded the bulk of influence on
the public affairs of the county.


The Lake County Herald

The birth of jouriialisin in Lake County was no more auspicious
than it usually is in a young community, however stable it may be for
its years. At the height of the border troubles betAveen Kansas and
Missouri and while the republican party was in the throes of its birth,
the leading citizens of Crown Point and Lake County called loudly for
a mouthpiece in the shape of a newspaper. Rodney Dunning, a Val-
paraiso citizen and editor, responded to the call, and to make certain
his coming and the founding of a republican ncArapaper, John Wheeler
and Zerah F. Summers, the county surveyor and his assistant, with
Janna S. Holton, a leading merchant, advanced $300 in cash for the
purchase of a printing outfit and guaranteed a circulation equivalent to
a like sum. Mr. Dunning came and issued the Lake County Herald for
several months during the later part of 1856. His backers, who were
all related by marriage, were solid and ambitious men, and were long
identified with the progress of Crown Point and the county.

Fathers op Lake County Journalism

John AVheeler, a native of Connecticut, spent his youth and early
manhood in Ohio, and was twenty-two when he located at Crown Point
with his bride of a year and various members of his father's family.
There, for a few years he was a farmer in the summer and a teacher

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 44)