William Frederick Howat.

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

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business, in which he was quite successful. He died at the county seat
in February, 1893, leaving sons and daughters to confinn his good name.

Sketch of the Twelfth Cavalry

Although the Twelfth gained no distinguished war honors, it accom-
plished a large amount of soldierly work and of the kind which counts,
albeit not spectacular. It scouted and raided over many hundreds of
miles in Alabama. Tennessee and Florida. Out from Huntsville, espe-
cially, the command w^as engaged very extensively in fighting and ridding
the country of guerrillas. In September, 1864, the regiment was sent
to Tullahoma, Tennessee, and was there constantly employed against
Forrest's cavalry. They were also active in South Alabama and Florida,
and, as stated by the adjutant general of Indiana. "The regiment was
highly and specially complimented by Major General Grierson in a let-
ter to Governor Morton for its gallant conduct and military discipline."


Capt. W. S. Babbitt

W, S. Babbitt, captain of Company C, Twentieth Regiment, and John
P. Merrill, lieutenant in Company A, Ninety-ninth Regiment, returned to
the county at the close of the war, and both died at Crown Point within
the same twenty-four hours, February 21-22, 1897. Captain Babbitt
was then seventy-one years of age ; Lieutenant Merrill, in his fifty -fourth

Capt. W. S. Babbitt was born in Vermont, December 19, 1825 ; went
to sea when eleven years of age, and before coming to Ross Township in
1854 had sailed five times around Cape Horn and made three voyages on
a whaling vessel. He joined the service and went to the front as lieuten-
ant in Company B, of the Twentieth, but was transferred to Company C
and promoted captain. After the war he made Crown Point his family

Lieut. John P. MERRiLiy

Lieut. John P. Merrill, one of the sons of Dudley Merrill, of
Merrillville, was born in that place October 13, 1843. In August, 1862,
he enlisted in Company A, Ninety-ninth Regiment, and in October, 1864,
was promoted from the office of sergeant to that of first lieutenant. He
returned home in June, 1865, and became a merchant. He was for many
years trustee of Ross Township, and at length, having been county treas-
urer, moved to Crown Point. Spending several years there as an active
and useful citizen, he died suddenly on February 21, 1897, his older
soldier friend, Captain Babbitt, answering the Almighty roll call on the
following day.

Veteran of Mexican and Civil Wars

Alfred Fry, captain of Company A, Seventy-third Regiment, and
soldier of the Mexican war as well, died at Crown Point in 1873, one of
the most noteworthy figures in the county. He had enlisted as a private
in that company July 26, 1862, and was mustered into the service of the
Union army as orderly sergeant in the command named. On the follow-
ing 1st of September, at Lexington, Kentucky, he was commissioned sec-
ond lieutenant of Company A, and when the regiment returned to Louis-
ville he was assigned to the position of brigade commissary. On the
2d of December he was commissioned first lieutenant and engaged in the
battle of Stone River, being under fire for six days. He was promoted
to be captain of Company A on January 19, 1863, and his regiment was


assigned to Colonel Streight's brigade. While making an attempt to pass
through Northern Alabama to Rome, Georgia, about fifteen hundred
Union soldiers were surrounded and captured by the Confederates. Many
of them, including Captain Fry, were ta^en to Libby Prison, where, as
well as in other Southern prisons, they endured many hardships. They
were paroled February 14, 1865, and in March entered the Union lines.
In a few weeks Captain Fry was exchanged, returned to his company,
received his honorable discharge in Alabama, with other members of his
regiment, and returned to Crown Point, where he spent the remainder of
his life.

How THE Women Aided

In Lake County, as in every section of the United States, the women
were as much bulwarks of the Union cause as the men. Shouldering a
gun, though very necessary, is not the only way to uphold the arms of a
government in the throes of war. A Soldiers' Aid Society was organized
at Crown Point in 1861, and later another was formed with Mrs. J. H.
Luther as president; Mrs. B. B. Cheshire and Mrs. J. E. Young, vice
presidents ; Mrs. A. M. Martin, secretary, and Mrs. T. H. Ball, treasurer.
At Plum Grove a, third aid society was organized as follows : Mrs. M. J.
Pearee, president ; Miss A. J. Albert, secretary, and Miss M. J. Wheeler,
treasurer. Other societies were founded in different parts of the county ;
and they aU raised considerable sums of money, sent many articles of
convenience and comfort to the soldiers, and perhaps more than all else,
did what their sisters were doing elsewhere — inspired the soldiers at the
front with hope for a reunion, and with constant zeal as defenders of
their hearths and the dear ones around them.

Two Grand War Nurses

"And two of the noble-hearted women of Crown Point, Miss Elizabeth
Hodson and Mrs. Sarah Robinson, gave their services in those dark days
of suffering to the care of the sick and wounded and dying. Connected
with the Christian Commission work they found large employment in the
hospitals at Memphis. They both returned to Crown Point, and Miss
Hodson was afterward governess at the Soldiers ' Orphan Home, Knights-
town, Indiana. They both were very noble Christian women."

Soldiers' Monument for Southern Lake County

The fact that so large a proportion of the soldiery of the Civil war
was drawn from the central and southern sections of the county is empha-



sized by the monument at Lowell, which was completed in 1905 as a
memorial to the three Creek townships. It is a military memorial cover-
ing the heroes of three wars, with those of the Civil war overwhelmingly
in evidence.

In this connection we cannot do better than extract from the ''Reports
of the Historical Secretary of the Old Settler and Historical Associa-
tion, ' ' which w^e accordingly proceed to do. ' ' Some months ago, ' ' he says
(writing in 1905), "there was set up at Lowell a monument erected by

Soldiers Moxi-me

.\T Low EL

the people, and largely by the ladies of West Creek. CecUir Creek and
Eagle Creek townshii)s. to commemorate and preserve the names of the
men who went forth from those thire to\vnsliii)S as soldiers in the ter-
rible Civil war of 1861.

Memorlvl Unveiled

"Friday, June 9, 1905, was the day appointed for tlu' unxeiling and
formal dedication of this monument. On that day large numl)ers were
present in Lowell. The Tribune estimates tlie nundier present at four
thousand, among them more than two hundred okl soldiers. Department
Commander Lucas was present, and also Governor Hanly. These both
delivered addresses, which were considered excellent ]iy those who heard
them. The following statements are from the Lowell Tribune of June 15,


1905 : The monument is twenty-five and a half feet high, made of the
best Barre granite, with nine-foot base, and weighs forty-five tons.

"On the east, or Eagle Creek face, are one hundred and twelve
names, one of the men named having served in tlie regular army. On
the north, or Cedar Creek face, are the names of one hundred and fifty
volunteers, of four men who were in the Mexican war, of two wdio were
in the Spanish-American w^ar and of six who were in the regular army,
making in all one hundred and sixty-two soldiers for Cedar Creek. On
the west face are the names of one hundred and forty-four volunteers who
were in the Civil war, three who were in the ^Mexican war and one who
was in the regular army, making one hundred and forty-eight for West
Creek Township. On the south face of the monument are eighty-two, in-
cluding the names of men now living in these townships, or whose l)odies
are slumbering therein, but who did not enlist there, of whom there are
sixty-five ; also the names of two soldiers of the ^Mexican war and of four-
teen soldiers of the War of 1812; and the name of one woman, a devoted
nurse in hospital work in tlie Union army, who became Mrs. Abbie Cutler,
the first wife of Dr. A. S. Cutler, her tombstone now staiidinti in the
cemetery at Creston. " '

^Irs. Abbie Cutler

In its notice of the address of Governor llanly, the Lowell Tribune
says: "He paid a most beautiful ti'ibute to Mrs. Abl)ie Cutler, the nurse
in the War of the Reliellion, whose name appeal's on the monunuMit."

"It may be added here that a fine laurel wreath was sent up from Dr.
Cutler and his present wife, ]\Irs. ]\I. J. Cutler, now of Rockfoi'd. Ten-
nessee, which was placed on the monument as theii- ti'ihutt^ of loving-

"In all. there are on this granite monument five hundriMl and four

"The Tuiveiling was by Miss Rose Kimmet. the formal dedication
services being conducted by Commander Lucas.

"So far as the knowledge of the historical secretary extends, this is
now the second soldiers' monument in the eight counties of Northwestern
Indiana, the first having been erected several years ago at Michigan


From the time that Cuba was blockaded in April until the Spanish-
American peace was signed in Paris, December 12. 180S. Iliere was more


or less commotion among the young men of Lake County ; for the Span-
ish-American war was primarily a young man's war, although not a few
of the commanding officers had seen service in the Civil war of thirty-
five years before.

When President McKinley made his first call for volunteers many
young men of Hammond responded, but some went to Chicago and others
to Indianapolis, and were distributed among various regiments. Many
also w^ere employed by the G. H. Hammond Company and moved to
Chicago when the plant was moved from Hammond. The consequence
is that it is impossible to locate all who went from the county, the bulk
of whom were residents of Hammond. Company A, One Hundred and
Sixty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was recruited entirely in that

John Jordan, Frank Parker and C. 0. Hubbell were active in raising
that company, and although they were elected captain, first and second
lieutenants, respectively, of that command, they failed to pass the
required physical examination. In the meantime, ]Mr. Olds had
raised part of a company in Chicago and, hearing of the rejection of
the Hammond officers, came to the city with his men and joined the local
compan5^ He was elected captain of the consolidated organization,
George Silverthorn, lieutenant, and August Johnson, second lieutenant.

The members of Company A, Avho were residents of Hammond at
the time of their enlistment, were William Craick, Peter Keitzer, Louis
Proulx. Louis St. John, Peter Rhodes, Bill Neis, Fred Franch, Carl
Yermett, George Horniack, Fred Schroeder, Burr Wheeler, Charles J.
Mason, Patrick McGrath, Edward F. Schloer, Stephen W. Ripley, Emil
Hahlweg, Carl Faul, Ed Granger and George Green ; of Whiting — James
Meehan, James E. D. Murray, George Hay and Stephen Carr; of East
Chicago — August Johnson, and of Crown Point, Henry Strabel.

The regiment and company went to Cuba, and were encamped near
Havana, but saw no harder service than guard duty, although they were
ready for anything sent to them. Their colonel was afterward Gov-
ernor Durbin, of Indiana, and the One Hundred and Sixty-first had the
reputation of being as well drilled a regiment as could be mustered
among the volunteers. Company A was absent ten months, and was
mustered out of the service wdth the regiment, at Savannah, Georgia.



Effect of the Railroads on Primitive Life — The Yoke Removed from
THE Oxen — The Passing of the Old Order — First Railroads in
Lake County — Pioneer Railway Stations — IIobart and Tolleston
— The Pan Handle Comes — The Baltimore & Ohio— The Grand
Trunk ""s Milk Train — The Nickel Plate, Erie and Monon Lines
— Th]^ I. I. I. — Railroads of Thirty Years Ago — Early Road
Building in the Kankai^e Marshes — Calumet Region Asserts
Itself — East Chicago Arises — Whiting and the Standard Oil
Company — Hammond Forges Ahead — The Wabash Line — Pros-
perous Exposition Year — Local Phases of Great Railroad Strike
— The Two Hammond Factions — First Electric Line — Building
OF Gravel Roads — The Belt Lines — State Line Interlocking
Plant — Expansion op Electric Systems^Gary & Interurban
Railway — Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend — Hammond, Whit-
ing & East Chicago Line — Railroad Yards and Works — Notable
Feature of the Present.

The early development of Lake County was mainly outside of the
rather unsightly Calumet region, but as the northern portions were in
the direct line of travel between the East, Chicago and the Mississippi
Valley, the first railroads came into that region, and thereafter its gi-eater
improvement was assured. Of necessity, from its geographical position,
every railroad entering Chicago, which in 1850 was just commencing its
remarkable growth, if coming from the East or Southeast, must cross
the northwestern corner of Indiana. And rapidly they came after a be-
ginning had been made. So, when the families in the central part of
the county, heard far up among the northern sand hills the shrill voice
of the steam engine, they knew that a new life of agriculture was at
hand. But it was to be some fifteen years before they were to receive
the direct benefits of the new era, theirs being only reflected from such
railroad stations of the north as Hobart, Lake, Miller's and Dyer.



Effect of the Railroads ox Primitive Life

The transformation of the interior was, therefore, more gradual than
that of the Calumet region, which had four lines in operation before
the first one touched the life of Crown Point and Central Lake County.
Even religion felt the stimulus, an old settler thus explaining why the
church building at the county seat which had been commenced in 1845
was not completed until 1847. "]Money was very scarce," runs the
explanation, "and the country wikl, with very few roads or horses.
Lumber was hard to get, and must be brought on ox-carts from Chicago
or Porter County."

"And so for twelve years," adds another, "the people of Crown
Point held their religious meetings in their homes and in their log court-
house ; yet, before they heard the first railroad whistle, they did arise
and build two frame meeting houses. But when the railroad stations
became shipping points, lumber was brought in and the era of frame
buildings, for dwellings and for churches, commenced. The log cabins,
comfortable as they had been made, became out-houses, stables, cribs
and granaries, and the family houses were clean, new, sightly frame
dwellings, with ceiled or plastered walls, with good brick chimneys, an
outside that could be painted, and inside walls that were not daubed
with clay. Carpets were soon on some of the floors, large mirrors leaned
out from the white walls, furniture such as the log cabins had not suffi-
cient room to contain, now graced the more spacious apartments, instru-
ments of music began to be seen and heard in many a home, and com-
forts, even luxuries, found their way wherever the freight cars could
unload goods and take on grain and hay, cattle, sheep and hogs, butter,
eggs and poultry. Soon there was much to be sent off and much, for all
the farming community, was brought back in return.

The Yoke Removed from the Oxen

"Changes in modes of living, in dress, in ft^irniture and then in farm-
ing implements were not, of course, instantaneous, but they came rap-
idly. In the earliest years of settlement, and through all the pioneer
period, oxen were quite generally used as draft animals. They were on
almost every farm ; they drew the plows, the wagons, the haiTOws, the
sleds. They were on the roads drawing the heavy loads to the market
towns. They were strong, patient, hardy, quite safe, not taking fright
and running away, and could live on rough food with little shelter; but
generally they were slow. A few could walk and draw a plow, along
with ordinarv horses, but onlv a few. On the road an ox team did well


to make three miles an hour. A more true average would probably be
two and a half miles per hour.

' ' It took but a few moments to yoke them. The yoke was put on the
neck of the ox on the right (called the 'off ox') — first, the bow put in its
place and keyed ; then the other end of the yoke was held up, and it was
instructive to see how the other ox, when well trained, would walk up
and put his neck under the yoke, in the proper place for the bow to
come up under his throat to the yoke, there to be fastened with a wooden,
possibly with an iron key. When well treated they were gentle, patient,
faithful animals, as for many generations, along a line of thousands of
years, their predecessors had given their strength and endurance, in
many lands, to the service of man.

"But as the modern railroad (^ra opened, and changes in modes of
agriculture and living took place, horses for farm work and road work
began largely to take the place of oxen. Mowers and then reapers came
to the farms as early as 1855, and for all the modern improvements that
followed horses were found to be more serviceable.

"So iti some neighborhoods in Lake County, the yoke was removed
from the necks of the oxen as early as 1855 ; in other neighborhoods not
until 1862-63, when large quantities of beef began to be wanted in the
country ; and when the year 1870 was reached, oxen as working animals
had almost disappeared north of the Kankakee Eiver.

The Passing of the Old Order

"It was quite a struggle for a few years for the farmers to make
headway and secure the conveniences which the railroads supplied, for
many were in debt for their lands, and prices for farm products were
rather low, and money not very abundant until the changes came from
1860 and onward, as the nation was entering into the scenes of the great
conflict. Those who are only about forty-five, or fifty years of age, can-
not realize how financial matters were managed before any greenbacks
were issued. But since that change in the currency of the nation, great
improvements have taken place in the homes of the farmers. Little now
remains on the farms of the earlier implements. The entire mode of
planting and sowing, of cultivating crops and of gathering, has changed.
It is singular how so many once familiar objects have disappeared."

First Railroads in Lake County

Unfortunately^ the railroads of Lake County came to stay before
the newspapers; otherwise, there would be an indisputable record of


the date when the first railroad was operating within its limits. As the
matter stands, historically, there is no doubt that the Michigan Central
was the pioneer, but whether trains commenced running over its line
in 1850 or 1851 there is an uncertainty, with the weight of evidence in
favor of the latter. In 1851, also, the Michigan Southern commenced
to run trains through the county; the Joliet Cut Off was in operation
in 1854 and the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago in 1858. The
Joliet Cut Off afterward became a part of the Michigan Central system.

Pioneer Railway Stations

Lake Station, at the junction of the old Joliet Cut Off and the orig-
inal Michigan Central line, which run to Chicago further to the north
around the foot of Calumet Lake, was the first important point in Lake
County for the shipment of grain and the exchange of general freight.
At first, no great impetus to either farming or building was manifest,
as the shipping and receiving station was fifteen miles from Crown Point,
and for a large portion of the year the crude dirt roads between were
almost impassable.

Ross and Dyer were special creations of the Joliet Cut Off, and com-
menced to bring the central portions of the county within sight of fair
transportation facilities. Ross Station gave facilities for a daily mail at
Crown Point, and Dyer soon became a prosperous shipping center for
the thrifty German farmers of St. John and Hanover townships.


The roads, however, leading to these railroad stations were made of
dirt, usually either very dusty, very muddy or covered with deep sand.
But the three roads built from 1851 to 1854 were acknowledged bless-
ings from the first, and, with the completion of the Pittsburgh & Fort
Wayne, or Wabash Railroad, in 1858, another trade and shipping center
was established in the county which tended to improve the prospects of
both the county seat and the rural communities of the northeast-central
portions of Lake County. At that time Hobart had been a town about
ten years, but its permanency was not considered assured until the rail-
road bound it to the outside world, irrespective of the weather or the
local highway authorities.

About the same time Tolleston, at the crossing of the Michigan Cen-
tral and the new Pittsburgh & Fort Wayne, sprang into steady life, add-
ing a large asset to the development of the Calumet Region; as it was


twelve miles due north of Crown Point, it had little effect on the growth
or the prospects of Southern Lake County.

The Pan Handle Comes

For several years no new railroad crossed the county, and from 1861
to 1865 the people of the central and southern parts were too deeply
eoncerned in the issues and the outcome of the Civil war to consider the
subject at all. But with the return of peace and the resumption of peace-
ful occupations by the citizen soldiery, the discussion of the new rail-
road projected from the southeast toward Chicago was renewed with
vigor by the leading citizens of Crown Point and such enterprising out-
siders as Dennis Palmer, of Winfield Township. B,y his energy and gen-
erous donations of land Mr. Palmer did much to direct the right-of-way
of the Pan Handle (Pennsylvania) Railroad to Crown Point. Its com-
ing brought renewed life to the county seat and all the tributary coun-
try. The butter and eggs and prairie chickens, grain, hogs and cran-
berries, of the district, were no longer to be laboriously loaded on to
wagons, and carted off to Lake, Ross and Hobart, over abominable roads,
there to be exchanged for the necessities and comforts (with a few lux-
uries thrown in), to which all normal beings are entitled. All these ex-
changes were now to be effected at their very doors.

The Pan Handle also gave two other stations to the county, one at
LeRoy, a few miles southeast of Crown Point, and the other at Scherer-
ville, about the same distance to the northwest. As the road left the
county south of the Little Calumet, it gave no growth to the northern

The Baltimore & Ohio

In 1874 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad completed its line through
Lake County nearer the shore of Lake Michigan than the route of the
Michigan Southern. It added Miller's Station, at the crossing of the
Michigan Southern, to the list of shipping stations.

In the meantime George H. Hammond, of Detroit, had joined the
few German families who had settled along the Calumet near the Michi-
gan Central, and, with others, opened a slaughter house to supply the
eastern market with beef. The venture took firm root and flourished;
the settlement was made a village and named after Mr. Hammond, and
by 1874, when the Baltimore & Ohio was built through the county, both
Hammond and Tolleston were contributing considerably to the freight
receipts of the Michigan Central.


The Grand Trunk's ^NIilk Train

In 1880 the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railroad was constructed through
the northern portions of Lake County just below the Calumet Region.
It established a station at Ainsworth. which grew into ({uite a settle-
ment, and passed through the railroad crossing of what afterward be-
came Griffith. It helped to build up no town, but did what was probably
better. It sent a morning milk train over its line of road, stopping at
every place convenient for the farmers to receive their cans of milk.
These stopping places, called milk stands, were very convenient for the
farmers and their families who wished to spend the day in Chicago,
or visit friends a few miles away, as the return train would stop in the

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 44)