William Frederick Howat.

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

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in the winter. AVith his father, he also commenced surveying in the
Kankakee swamp lands, and made such progress that he became county
surveyor in 1853. In the following year Zerali F. Summers, a relative
by marriage, located at the county seat. Air. Summers, who was four
years younger than the county surveyor, was already an expert in that
line, having been educated as a surveyor and seen considerable service
upon the Cleveland & Toledo Railroad. He therefore became ]\Ir.
Wheeler's efficient assistant in connection with his duties as county

Janna S. Holton, the third republican enthusiast and leading sup-
porter of the experimental newspaper, located at Crown Point with his
father. Dr. Ira Holton, a Vermonter, in 184-1. In 1856 he was one of
the rising young merchants and citizens of the town, and continued to
grow in position and strength of character during his long after career.

Crown Point Register Appears

Mr. Dunning did not make a success of the Lake County Herald,
and Mr. Holton became the purchaser of its press and office material.


111 the meantime ^Ir. Summers had taken a trip into the Kansas terri-
tory of the free soil eontentions, and returned to Crown Point a
stronger republican than ever. There in August he and Mr. Wheeler
formed a partnership, bought the remains of the Herald from IMr. Hol-
ton, and on the ith of August, 1857, issued the first number of the
Crown Point Register.

Col. John Wheeler

Projecting ourselves in the narrative, for a few years, it may be
stated as a bit of personal information that John Wheeler continued
his newspaper association with Mr. Summers until 1861, when he entered
the service of the Union army as captain of the home company which
he raised — Company B, Twentieth Regiment Indiana Volunteers. An
elegant sword, the gift of friends in Lake County, was presented to
Captain Wheeler while his regiment was on parade in Indianapolis.
They passed through Baltimore with flying colors, were at Fortress
Monroe, at Hatteras and Camp Hamilton, and so thoroughly had their
captain performed the duties of a soldier that he was commissioned
major of the regiment February 16, 1862. In March, 1863, he was
promoted to the colonelcy. "In July, as colonel of the Twentieth Indi-
ana Regiment, he led liis veteran troojjs on that bloody and decisive
field of Gettysl)urg, and there fell on July 2d, in the slaughter of that
terrible conflict. The bodj^ of the patriot soldier was brought to Crown
Point for burial." Col. John Wheeler was one of the sturdiest, ablest
and most honored pioneers of Lake County, and his stay in the com-
munity was all too short. And his descendants have done him honor in
word and deed.

Zerah F. Summers

]\Ir. Summers sold his interest in the Register in 1862, being county
clerk at the time ; he held that office from 1859 to 1867, and both during
that period and afterward served as real estate appraiser, county school
examiner, and town trustee. In 1865 he erected a warehouse at the depot
in Crown Point, and commenced the grain business, which he continued
until his death in 1879. In 1869-70 he was engaged as surveyor and
civil engineer on the line of the Vincennes, Danville & Chicago Railroad.
The later years of his life were spent in travel, with a view of benefitting
his health, but such efforts were futile, and he died at the Battle Creek
(Mich.) Sanitarium, July 31, 1879.


John jMillikan, Veteran

Succeeding Mr. Summers, liarper & Beattie became proprietors of
the Crowu Point Register, and Samuel E. Ball assumed the proprietor-
ship in October, 1869. Then came Frank S. Bedell and John J. AVheeler,
and in April, 1882, John Millikan became the sole owner.

At the time Mr. Millikan thus assumed control of the Crown Point
Register he was nearing his seventieth birthday, and he had been a
printer, or an editor, or both, since he was twelve years of age. In
February, 1837, when twenty-two years old, he became connected with
the South Bend Free Press. "This paper," says one of his old-time
friends, "was at length bought by Colfax & West, who changed its name
to the St. Joseph Valley Register, and in 1845 Editor Millikan moved to
Laporte, where he purchased of Thomas A. Stewart, the Laporte Whig.
In 1852 this name was changed to the Laporte Union. In 1867 he left
the newspaper field and went to Chicago, but in 1871 returned to Indiana
and resumed editorial work at Plymouth, purchasing there and publish-
ing the Plymouth Republican. After six years in Plymouth he made one
more change and came to Crown Point in 1877.

"There, Mr. Millikan soon commenced the publication of a new and
interesting paper called the Cosmos, but before long he purchased one-
half of the Crown Point Register, and in 1882 became sole owner. He
continued to conduct it successfully until 1891, when he retired to a
more quiet life, befitting his years and rather feeble health. Mr. Milli-
kan was one of the veterans of his profession and was highly respected
by his f eUow workers and the citizens of the county. ' '

For a number of years after Mr. Millikan 's retirement, the Register
underwent various changes ; the proprietors have included S. B. Day,
McMahan (AYillis C.) & Bibler (A. A.), Mr. Bibler, Charles J. Davi-
son, C. A. Collins and A. A. Bibler for a third time.

In 1860 a democratic paper called the Jeffersonian was started at
Crown Point, but it was short-lived.

Lake County Star and John J. Wheeler

Aside from the Register, the only other substantial newspaper in
Crown Point is the Lake County Star. It was founded in 1872 and has
been owned and edited since 1880 by John J. Wheeler, son of Col.
John Wheeler, the gallant soldier and one of the founders of the Lake
County Register. As the grandson of the latter has also been identified
with the official and journalistic life of the county, the Wheeler family
has been, for many years, a strong personal factor in its progress. The


veteran editor and publisher of the Star married Miss Belle Holton,
daughter of J. S. Holton, one of the three founders of the Register, and
granddaughter of Solon Robinson, the founder of the town itself and
a man of rare literary gifts. So that John J. Wheeler is the link which
binds much of the best life and many of the higher interests of the
community in which he has resided during his mature life.

Mr. Wheeler was born in West Creek To\^^lship during the third year
of the colonel's marriage. At the outbreak of the Civil war he was in
his fourteenth year. He comes of good Connecticut fighting stock, although
he had no means of knowing that Joe Wheeler, member of one of his
family branches, would become a famous cavalry general of the Con-
federacy. A like spirit animated John J. Wheeler, the youth of fifteen,
when he followed his father into the Union ranks, serving faithfully
in such modest position he could fill, until after Colonel Wheeler's death
at Gettysburg. He possesses two honoral)le discharges to show that his
soldier youth gained all the honors of a present-day veteran. Afterward
he was twice elected county surveyor, resigning, in 1872, during his
second term of office in order to enter the newspaper Inisiness.

In 1880 Mr. Wheeler came into sole possession of the Lake County
Star. He has since conducted it with ability and good judgment, as a
conservative republican newspaper. Mr. Wheeler served as postmaster
at Crown Point during the Harrison administi-ation and is one of the
leading men of the county, as regards ability, character and stanch family
connections. He has been identified with the (iiaiid Army of the Repub-
lic since its organization, and has been a prominent 3.Iason for over
forty years. It is a pleasure and a great advantage to have liis assistance
as an editor of this work.

The Press op Hammond

The press of Hammond is represented by the Times and News, repub-
lican and democratic newspapers respectively. The former is the out-
growth of the Tribune, founded in 1884 by Alfred A. Winslow, who
afterward became consul to Guatemala. It subsequently came into pos-
sesvsion of Davidson Brothers, of Whiting; T. J. Ilyman, of Chicago, and
Sidney McHie. Under the management of the last named it was trans-
formed into the Times, and Mr. McHie turned the paper over to its pres-
ent proprietor, Percy A. Parry.

About 1888 James B. Woods, then postmaster of Hammond and a
leading citizen, established the Independent, which was understood to be
the organ of those who were opposed to the so-called "Towle element."
Mr. Woods, who was also city clerk and a man of wide influence, made a


•vigorous newspaper of the Independent, and considered that it had
accomplished its purpose when it was discontinued.

Mr. and Mrs. S. E. Swaini founded the Lake County News in Aj^ril,
1900, and in July of the following year purchased the Hammond Daily
Standard; from the latter came the Daily News. The News is as dem-
ocratic as the Times is republican.

East Chicago

The East Chicago Globe was founded in January, 1891, by E. S. Gil-
bert. On August 10, 1899, he sold the paper to Allison P. Brown, avIio
has since continued the business, assisted by his wife and his son, Francis
P. Brown,

The Call, of AVihtixg

All the Whiting newspapers of the past have been cheerfully and
industriously absorbed by the Call, pushed on by its editor and publisher,
Edwdn H. Farr. A brief record of births, absorptions and the present
AVhiting Call is given, in j\Ir. Farr's breezy style:

"In November, 1890, Pastor D. A. Holman, of the Plymouth Congre-
gational Church, bought him a font of type and an old Franklin press
and set up as the editor of The Congregationalist, designed to circulate
among his flock; but, being an ambitious fellow he reached out for a
broader field, and, on January 1, 1891, he changed the name of his
paper to the Whiting News and became a purvej'or of neighborhood tittle-
tattle to all of Whiting. Duty calling the reverend editor hence, he sold
all the rights, titles and emoluments in the News to J. G. Davidson, a
budding young real estate dealer, who bought the paper to boost some
of his real estate holdings, being at that time a youth of large ideas. Mr.
Davidson immediately proceeded to issue an edition of 10,000 copies to
circulate in a town of say 3,000 inhabitants, and when the bills com-
menced to come in J. G. unloaded the whole outfit onto his brother, H. S.,
who, being just out of school, where he had edited the college paper, was
as ambitious as he was unsophisticated. It was in June, 1891, when H. S.
came into possession of the News, and, mirabile dietu, he held on to it
until 1895. Whether Henry made the paper pay, no one but himself
knows, but he must have made his brother, J. G., believe it was a paying
proposition, for he sold out to him in 1895, under the plea that he
w^anted to go back to school and study theology. From 1895 until 1900
the News led an erratic career. When the editor had any other duty to
perform, social or other on 'print day' the paper did not appear, but


it was always a welcome guest when pressure of other business did not
prevent the editor from printing it. Old timers will never forget the
pungent articles from the pen of 'Pocahontas,' nor the stroke of genius
of the editor during the railroad strike when he printed his papers on
the reverse side of a roll of wall paper.

"In 1900 Mr. Davidson sold out to E. S. Gilbert, and the paper was
run for several years with that gentleman as proprietor. In 1901 the
present editor of the Call leased the News from JMr. Gilbert, but disagee-
ment over the political attitude of the paper resulted in the establish-
ment of the Call, which sounded the death knell of the News. It grad-
ually sank until it was buried under the. deep waters of oblivion.

"In 1892 the Whiting Standard, with E. A. Gowe as editor and E.
S. Gilbert as publisher, was born. After a short life it passed peace-
fully away, the material and good will going into the hands of Mr. H. S.

"Along about 1892 U. G. Swartz, who had been troubled for some
time with that dread disease cacoethes scribendi got it into his head that
henvould like to be an editor. Now, with Mr. Swartz to think is to act,
so he hies him to Chicago and buys all the paraphernalia for printing a
newspaper, including a title 'head,' which left no doubt in the reader's
mind as to the political affiliations of the editor. It read 'The Whiting
Democrat.' Nor was ever anything ever printed by Editor Swartz that
would lead one to infer that the paper was not loyal to the principles of
Jefferson. None who read the Democrat will ever forget the erudite
editorials of the industrious editor, postmaster and politician. Finally,
Mr. Swartz, tired of the humdrum of a country editor's life, sold out
the Democrat to the Ingham boys in 1897, who changed the name to the
Sun and the politics to republican. It was well conducted and earned
some money for the boys until one of them died, after which it went
into the hands of the inimitable Bowman, who ran it a while and sold it
to F. S. Vance, who, with the help of his wife, who was an excellent
printer, owned and ran the paper until 1908, when it was absorbed by
the Call.

"Modesty, that pearl without price, forbids us to dilate upon the
achievements of the Whiting Call. Suffice it to say that it was founded
by the present editor, who, at the time had a five dollar bill in his pocket,
a few loyal friends and plenty of grit. The paper now has a good circu-
lation and the plant is worth several thousands of dollars. It is the
ambition of the proprietor to soon raise it from its present subterranean
quarters to a position Avhere God's sweet sunshine will beam on it from
all directions."


Lowell Newspapers

Lowell, as one of the brisk centers of population and trade of Lake
County, has two newspapers, both republican. The Tribune was founded
in 1885 by the father of the present proprietors, H. H. & L. W. Ragon,
The Souvenir was established in 1901 by E. E. AVoodcock, still its editor
and owner.

The Press of Hob art

The Hobart Gazette was founded August 28, 1889, by George Narpass
and G. Bender, ex-superintendent of schools, the plant being moved from
Marshall, Micliigan. In January, 1890, Andrew J. Smith became its pro-
prietor, and in the spring of 1892 N. B. AVhite joined him as editor and
half -owner. The Gazette is an independent paper.

The Hobart News wasi founded in 1907 by A. H. Keeler, who was
killed in an accident April 1, 1910. A. L. Pattee, the present editor and
proprietor, has conducted the paper since August 1, 1912.

Gary Fertile ix Newspapers

The remarkable growth of Gary for five or six years after its found-
ing in 1906 foreordained it to be a fertile field for the sprouting of news-
paper ventures, and two of them, at least, have been substantial enter-
prises. The Gary Tribune and the Evening Post, republican and dem-
ocratic dailies, respectively, have large, modern and handsome plants.

The first number of the weekly Tribune was issued by Homer J.
Carr and George R. Scott, on June 24, 1907, just one year after Gary
had been platted. Even then Mr. Carr was a practical and experienced
newspaper man, having received a portion of his training in Chicago.
The daily Tribune was established September 6, 1908, and in December,
1912, the management completed the fine building now occupied at the
comer of Fifth and Washington streets.

Ex-Mayor Thomas E. Knotts founded the Gary Evening Post in 1909.
The business was organized into a stock concern in Februaiw, 1910, with
J. R. and H. B. Snyder in control of the company. Their father, H. R.
Snyder, is a veteran journalist of Ohio, and the two sons who control
the Post are upholding his reputation.

The Gary Times, which appeared in June. 1906, almost simulta-
neously with the first houses in Gary, was the first daily published in
the city. The local news was gathered under the direction and largely


through the personal energy of C. 0. Holmes, and for some time the
press work was done at Hammond.

The Calumet, also established at the very commencement of the
city's history, is devoted to the interests of Northern Lake County and
is the special organ of the Gary & Interurban Railway Company.



The ]^Iexicax AVar — Joseph P. Smith Raises Company — The Civil
AVar Record — Honored Dead — Nashville as a Graveyard —
Charles Ball and Stillman A. Robbins — Other Deaths of Lake
County Soldiers — Capt. John M. Foster — Sketch of the Twelfth
Cavalry — Capt. AA". S. Babbitt — Lieut. John P. Merrill — A^et-
eran of Mexican and Civil AVars — How the AA^omen Aided — Two
Grand AA^ar Nurses — Soldiers' Monument for Southern Lake
County — Memorial Unveiled — Mrs. Abbie Cutler — Spanish-Amer-
ican AVar.

Only what are now the smaller towns of the county had eonimenced
to show life previous to the Civil war period. Lowell and Hobart, Mer-
rillville and Dyer, Tolleston, Ross and Hessville, Clarke and Lake sta-
tions, were then realities, while the liohman, Sohl and Drecker families
represented the future Hammond, and East Chicago, AVhiting and Gary
were from a quarter of a century to forty years in the distance of time.

The Mexican AVar

AA^hen the local historian harks back to the Mexican war, antedating
the civil conflict by nearly twenty years, the recruiting field of Lake
County is almost confined to the Crown Point and the Cedar Lake dis-
tricts — to the central sections. President Polk declared war against
Mexico in I\Iay, 1846, and called for 50,000 volunteers. It hap-
pened that there was a business man of Crown Point, at that time, who
had had a military training in New York and was ambitious to lead a
force to the halls of the Montezumas in ]\Iexico City.

Joseph P. Smith Raises Company

Joseph P. Smith, the citizen referred to, had resided in New York
City, where he had been captain of the Monroe Blues and absorbed a
love of military matters. On July 5, 1836, he located at Crown Point,



opened a store, organized a military company and the people of the
county turned to him as their natural leader to respond to the President 's
call for soldiers to go to Mexico. Mr. Smith had been holding the office
of county clerk since 1843, but at once put his official affairs in shape,
organized his company of twenty-five or thirty as volunteers for the
national service, collected the remainder of the recjuired hundred from
outside the county, and in 1847 his command joined the American army
in 31exico.

From the most reliable accounts it is gleaned that all who left for
tlie front with romantic notions were thoroughly sobered. Mr. Smith's
command was never in action, but performed guard duty with a true
soldier's steadfastness; and it had other trials which are as severe
tests of military metal as the siliock of battle. The boys were six months
at Monterey ; forty-seven of them died amid the burning heats or on the
trying march, and in the fall of 1818 those who were spared returned to
Indiana. Among the survivors was Alfred Fry, of Crown Point, who
was to live to see action and imprisonment in the service of the Union
army lifteen years afterward. Some years after the close of the Mexican
war, Captain Smith went West and was killed by an, Indian.

The Civil AVar Record

At the outbreak of the Civil war, Lake County had a population
of over nine thousand and about one thousand eight hundred fam-
ilies, and before the close of hostilities more than one thousand men
had enlisted within its limits. Of that number seventy-eight are recorded
as having died, either on the tield of battle or as a direct result of
war experiences. Company G, of the Twelfth Cavalry, contributed
19 to the list of the honored dead; Company B of the Twentieth Indiana
Infantry, 19 ; Company A, Seventy-third Regiment, 20. and Company A,
of the Ninety-ninth Regiment, 20 also.

Honored Dead

Col. John Wheeler, in command of the Twentieth Regiment, who
was killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, was the most prominent of the
Lake County victims of the war.

Daniel F. Sawyer, the first captain of Company A, Ninety-ninth
Regiment, died in Mississippi while in service, and was succeeded in
command by K. M. Burnham. Captain Sawyer was from Merrillville,
and his body was brought home and interred in the local cemetery.

Of two members of Company B, Twentieth Regiment, who fell at


Gettysburg with their colonel, one was George AV. Edgerton, son of
Amos and a grandson of Horace Edgerton, members of a leading pioneer

Another youth whose life was given for his country was M. Graves,
son of Orrin W. Graves, of AVest Creek. He was a member of Company
A, Seventy-third Regiment, and died at Nashville, December 16, 1862.

Nashville as a Graveyard

Nashville seemed to have a fatality for Lake County soldiers. The
adjutant general's records show that of the Seventy-third the following
died in that city: Lewis Atkins, Eli Atwood, E. AVoods, Albert Nichols,
John Childers, AVilliam Frazier, A. Lamphier, James Roney, L. Morris,
T. AV. Loving, AA^illiam Harland and AVilliam Stinkle. AV. M. Pringle
and Miles F. McCarty, of the Twelfth Cavalry, were also victims of
conditions and circumstances at Nashville, the latter being the third
son of Judge Benjamin McCarty, of AVest Point and the county at large.

Charles Ball and Stillman A. Robbins

Lieut. Charles Ball, third son of Judge Hervey Ball, died while
home on a furlough, September 12, 1865. He was in his thirty-second
year. His death was the resailt of disease contracted in the Southwest,
probably in Mississippi. The deceased was a brave, faithful and highly
talented young man.

About a year before his own death he had written a touching tribute
*to a AVest Creek comrade, who had shared in the Sabbath school influ-
ences of Cedar Lake before he had joined the Twelfth Cavalry — Stillman
A. Robbins, who was acting as chief clerk in the provost marshal's office
at Himtsville, Alabama, when stricken with the fatal fever which termi-
nated his young manhood July 18, 1864.

Other Deaths of Lake County Soldiers

Of the Twelfth Cavalry, besides those already mentioned, there fell
in battle or died — at New Orleans, Henry Brockman and Sidney AV.
Chapman; at Kendallville, Charles Crothers, Fred Kable and Albert
Moore; at Vicksburg, Jacob Deeter; at home, R. L. Fuller, F. S. Miller,
AVilliam Stubby and Ezra AVedge; at Starkville, Ephraim E. Goff; at
Huntsville, M. Hoopendall ; at Michigan City, A. McIMillen.

Company B, Twentieth Infantry, from Lake County: Horace Ful-
ler, AVilderness ; Lawrence Frantz, Spottsylvania ; John Griesel, David


island; M. Hafey, Pittsburg; C. Hazworth; William Johnson, Peters-
burg; Albert Kale, Camp Hampton; William Mutchler, Camp Smith j
P. Mutchler, AVashington; James Merrill, Wilderness; S. Pangburn,
Andersonville ; C. Potter; D. Pinkerton; J. Richmond, Gettysburg; John
F. Farr, Washington ; Isaac Williams, Charles Winters, City Point,

Company A, Seventy-third Regiment : John H. Easley, Stone River ;
R. W. Fuller, Indianapolis ; I. W. Moore, M. Vincent, J. M. Fuller, Gal-
latin; John Maxwell, Scottsville; C. Van Burg, Bowling Green; E.
Welch, Stone River ; S. White, Blount 's Farm.

Company A, Ninety-ninth Regiment : 0. E. Atkins, D. T. Burnham,
J. Bartholomew and H. H. Haskins, at Andersonville; J. D. Clinghan,
Huntsville; H. A. Case, La Grange; James Foster and James Horton,
Atlanta; R. T. Harrisi and T. C. Pinuel, La Grange; John Lorey, Adam
Mock, N. Newman, Black River; Corydon Pierce, Washington; Albert
Robbins, brother of Stillman Robbins; J. Schmidt, Indianapolis; J.
Stickleman, A. Vandervert and AI. Winand. the last dying "at home,"
December -11, 1864.

Capt. J(3riN AI. Foster

Of those who survived the war, Capt. John ^1. Foster was among
the best known. His brother, Almon Foster, was the first captain of
Company G, Twelfth Cavalry, Capt. John ^I. having been promoted
from the first lieutenancy. They were sons of Frederick Foster, of Crown
Point, and brothers of Mrs. John Pearce, of Eagle Creek. After the
war Capt. John ]M. Foster returned to Crown Point and engaged in

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 44)