William Frederick Howat.

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

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lished at Crown Point, wiiere it remains.

By keeping these main facts in mind covering the real pioneer period
of Lake County, and so well marshaled by Solon Robinson, the reader wiU
be able to obtain a perspective in viewing the details of its development
in various scattered sections.

Indiana City

Doubling back on our historic tracks, we tind that some months after
the prairie was furrowed for the Main Street of Crown Point events
were occurring in the northern part of the county. As noted, Indiana
City was laid out (figuratively) at the old mouth of the Calumet. It
was to have been promoted ]>y a Columbus (Ohio) compam^; but there
is no evidence that any lots were sold, or that anybody even squatted
on the site of the paper town. Put it is of record that the land upon
which the city was to have stood was sold for .^14.000 in 1841. Exit
Indiana City.

Liverpool Founded

Liverpool on Deep River, near its junction with the Little Calumet,
had more substance than Indiana City — a little more. Either in the
later part of 1835, or the fore part of 1836, two Philadelphia men,
John C. Davis and Henry Frederickson, and a Western promoter, John
B. Chapman, blocked out the town. The chief reasons for selecting that
locality as a promising site were that a crude ferry boat had been run-
ning across Deep River at that point for more than a year, and the
famous pole bridge which crossed the Calumet was but a few miles
east. Conseciuently, Liverpool seemed to be joined with more or less
completeness to the outside world.

The new town on Deep River obtained such notice that during the first
sale of lots, which covered three days in 1836, the proprietors realized
$16,000. Among the purchasers was John Wood, the builder of Wood's
Mill on Deep River. He and a friend bought nine Liverpool lots for


.$2,000; and many years afterward, when Liverpool had been almost
as completely erased from the county map as Indiana City, he would
bring forth the deed to his ' ' city property" as a unique relic. The paper
was written by John B. Niles, then an attorney, and acknowledged be-
fore Judge Samuel C. Sample, of Porter County.

Liverpool really commenced to pick up as a town of some life with
the arrival of George Earle, an Englishman of means and energy who
came with his family from Philadelphia. He not only bought the bulk
of the city's site, but much of the surrounding country and laid the
foundation of what became a valuable estate. But the basis of the family
prosperity was not laid on Liverpool real estate.

George Earle a Real Promoter

Mr. Earle induced the owners of the lake-shore stage line which ran
from Detroit to Chicago to divert its route so that it included Liver-
pool; but this change was not penuanent, as the sand was too deep in
that region and staging too heavy. The northern city also enjoyed a
few months of glory in 1839 as the seat of justice of Lake County, but
in the following year Crown Point, or Lake Court House, was chosen,
and Mr. Earle joined his fortunes with those of Solon Robinson.

After the two had named the county seat as it is now known, the
Englishman secured the appointment of county agent and performed
its duties well. He continued for a time to improve his town of Liver-
pool, bought more land and at length secured ten or twelve sections in
that part of the county. In 1845 Mr. Earle commenced building a mill
at what became the Town of Ilobart, which he platted in 1848, In 1854
he returned to Philadelphia, leaving his son, John Earle, who after-
ward became well known as a Chicago capitalist, to manage his interests
in Lake County. The elder man did much for the Town of Hobart,
although after 1854 he spent much of his time in his native town of
Falmouth, England. A gentleman of varied abilities he certainly was ;
for he was an artist of talents, and in 1858 presented Hobart with an
art gallery comprising three hundred pictures which he had painted in
Philadelphia. It was said of him in the '70s: "He is tall in person,
dignified and courteous in manners, manifesting the bearing of an
American and English gentleman."

George Earle and Solon Robinson had many traits in common ; both
were practical and successful in a worldly sense, and yet each was active
in developing a higher self of ideals.


The John B. Chapman Titles

It is worthy of note that the land ou which Liverpool was laid
out was an Indian reservation, or was land selected under an Indian
float. In the recorder's office of Porter County (Lake County had not
been organized) is a copy of a patent signed by Andrew Jackson, Presi-
dent of the United States, dated June 16, 1836, conveying to John B.
Chapman section 24, township 36, range 8, being 603.60 acres, in accord-
ance with the third article of the treaty made on the Tippecanoe River
with the chiefs and warriors of the Pottawatomies in 1832.

This same John B. Chapman also bought of Re-se-mo-jan, or Parish
as the deed says, ' ' once a chief, but now an Indian of the Pottawatomies, ' '
section 18, township 36, range 7, for which he paid $800. These sections,
wdth ^some ten others, including the localities which were afterward
platted as Lake Station and Hobart, came into the hands of Mr. Earle.

Unlike Mr. Robinson, who was also one of the Land Lords of Lake
County in the pioneer period, Mr. Earle never "squatted," but was al-
ways careful to secure titles to his lands, either from the original Indian
owners, or from the (iovernment direct.

John Wood and Woodvale

Woodvale, in what is now the eastern edge of Ross Township, on
the west bank of Deep River near the Porter County lin€, was the first
industrial center in Lake County. It was founded by John AA^ood, a
Massachusetts miller, whose claim was recorded in December, 1835. He
spent one night in making examinations of land with Dr. Ames, of
^Michigan City, and three or four others, in the cabin of Jesse Pierce
on the bank of Turkey Creek. He returned home and in 1836 brought
his family with him.

It is stated that during his absence General Tipton of Fort Wayne,
formerly United States India^ agent and at that time United States
senator, had laid a float upon Air. Wood's claim in the name of "Indian
Quashma." The latter had selected the northeast quarter of section 21,
township 35, range 7, as a mill site, and so according to law or usage
was not properly subject to an Indian float. "But the float had been
laid by a senator ; the location was very much wanted by the claimant,
and so he purchased the land from Indian Quashma, paying him for the
quarter section, $1,000, instead of buying it of the Government for $200,
as he had expected. The deed, with Quashma 's signature, must still be
in the possession of some of the AVood family."

In 1837 Air. AVood erected a sawmill on his land, and in 1838 put a



grist mill in operation. The latter did for many years a large custom
work for the farmers of both Lake and Porter counties. The place was
soon known as Wood's Mill; afterward, as Woodvale. Its founder was
a strict temperance man, and in his lifetime refused to lay out and sell
town lots, thus designing to keep saloons out of the community. In that
purpose he was very successful.

The home of the family was at first on the east side of Deep River,
but in a few years was moved to the west side. Several generations of
Woods have carried on the large flouring mill established by John Wood,
and the homes of the different families have continued the industrious
and social and moral activities so well inaugurated by the founder of

Settlers around Red Cedar Lake

Settlers had already located around Red Cedar Lake. In September,
1834, a party of five men came from Attica on the Wabash and camped

View on 1^'anciiek Lake

on its banks. It consisted of Richard Fancher, Charles Wilson. Robert
Wilkinson (afterward known as Judge Wilkinson) and two nephews
of the latter. Richard Fancher and Charles Wilson w^ere well mounted ;
the other three men had a wagon and team. The two horsemen rode ex-
tensively over the central parts of the county, and as a result of this
wide survey selected their tracts on or near the shores of Red Cedar
Lake. As already stated, Fancher fixed his claim south of what after-


ward became Crown Point, his lands surrounding the little lake which
still bears his name and including the Lake County Fair Ground.

Cliarles Wilson selected his location on the west shore of Red Cedar

Soon after the coming of the Attica party came Dr. Thomas Brown
and the Hornors, who made claims on the west shore. They were also
from tlie Wabash region, and the claimants returned to the tracts they
had selected during the following year.

In 1836-37 the east shores of Red Cedar Lake received not a few
new settlers. Among the most prominent of these was the Taylor family,
headed by Obadiah, even then well advanced in years, who came from
Pennsylvania. In that colony were two Taylor sons — Adonijah and
Horace — and two sons-in-law, Horace Edgerton and James Palmer, as
well as a widowed daughter, ]\Irs. Miranda Stillson. Most of the sons
and daughters of Mr. Taylor had families of their own, and formed a
large share of the early communities at Creston, just south of Cedar
Lake and along its eastern shores.

Hervey Ball

The year 1837 brought several noteworthy additions to the permanent
settlers on the shores of Red Cedar Lake. Among the foremost of these
colonists was Hervey Ball, of an old Massachusetts family, a college man
of legal education, who had moved to Georgia in his young manhood.
At Augusta he had practiced law and also risen in the cavalry service
of the state. He was also a practical surveyor: a man of force, fine
character and broad education.

In 1836, when forty years of age— in the prime of his vigorous man-
hood—he was engaged in surveying City West, Porter County, and in
the following spring he brought his family from Massachusetts to that
place. But he was not satislied with that location. He and his wife
and five children (the oldest only eleven years of age) sought something
more varied and restful than the stretches of Lake Michigan and its
sandy borders. They had come from the far East, via New York,
Albany, Erie Canal, Buffalo, the stormy ice-laden lakes to Toledo, and
thence by slow land-travel to City West. The new town, yet entirely
problematic, did not meet their outlook.

So, as written many years afterward by one of the four sons of the
Ball family, T. li. Ball of historic fame:— "In the early summer of
1837, a party of men might have been seen starting on horseback from
a little town on Lake ^Michigan now no longer in existence, to explore
the new countv of Lake. Some of these had come in the early spring


from the State of Massachusetts, and had fixed their abode for a sum-
mer home ten miles west of Michigan City, on the bank of a great lake.
The band of horsemen found trails and pathways, they crossed swollen,
bridgeless streams, and penetrated the apparently illimitable ^\dlds as
far as Red Cedar Lake. Pleased with that region, delighted with the
native beauty of that little lake and the surrounding prairie, they de-
termined there to pitch their tents and took possession of claims on
Government lands in accordance with the self-imposed sciuatter laws.

"Among these New Englanders, men then in the prime of life,
were Amasa Ainsworth, Lewis Warriner, Norman AYarriner and Hervey
Ball, and a young man. Job Worthington, to which number, if not
among them then, was soon added Charles R. Ball, a young man, all
from the old town of West Springfield, ^Massachusetts. The first of
these making a claim (Ainsworth) settled afterward at ^Michigan City.
Mr. Worthington returns in the course of a few months to New Eng-
land. Charles R. Ball, remaining for a time at Cedar Lake, settled at
length near Chicago. There remain then, for the Massachusetts Bap-
tist pioneers, Norman Warriner, Lewis Warriner and Hervey Ball.
Their temporary houses were soon erected and their families settled
around the lake.

"It has been already said that the two AVarriner families found
homes during this year at a little distance from the east bank of the

Baptist Pioneers of Lake County

' ' These three families found in a short time that three miles north of
Cedar Lake on Prairie AVest were two other Baptist families — those
of Richard Church and of his son-in-law, Leonard Cutler, from the
State of New York. And soon to these were added the small house-
hold of Mrs. Elizabeth Owen, then a widow, a native of Wales, and
family of Mrs. Leland, also a widow with several sons. These seven
families were the Baptist pioneers of the County of Lake.

"There were also, among the first residents around the lake, two
brothers by the name of AA^itherell, the sons of a Baptist minister in the
State of New York. One of these was also a minister, Orrin Witherell,
and without much doubt he was the first Baptist who ever preached in
Lake County. He may have preached twice in the winter of 1837-38;
but these two brothers were very- slightly identified with the religious
interests and activities here, and soon left their claims and went else-

Vol. 1—4


First Baptist Society Formed

On June 17, 1838, Norman AVarriner and wife, Lewis Warriner and
wife, Richard Church, Sarah Church, :\Irs. Cutler and Hervey Ball and
Mdfe, met in the large log schoolhouse on the west shore of the lake
which was not then quite completed. Elder A. French of Porter County,
the moderator, led both in prayer and the business proceedings. It was
resolved that ' ' we will maintain the observance of the Sabbath by meet-
ing together and conducting the worship of God by the improvement of
such privileges as we may be favored with ; also that we will hold regu-
lar covenant meetings monthly, and that we will endeavor to watch
over each other in love as brethren; hoping that a door wiU soon be
opened in Divine Providence for our being regularly organized as a
church of Christ."

Hervey Ball was chosen stated clerk, and on the Sabbath following
Elder French, preached to a small but very attentive congregation.

Lewis Warriner

Of the constituent members of this lirst Baptist society, which shares
with a class of Methodists the honor of being the pioneer Christian body
of Lake County, Lewis Warriner has perhaps left the most striking
record. He came from the same ^lassaclmsetts town as the Balls ( West
Springfield) and when he located on the east side of Red Cedar Lake
in 1837 was a man of forty-five who had already made a prominent place
for himself in the Old Bay State. He had been sent to the State As-
sembly four times and filled other honorable public offices. But strong
man though he was, he met with losses at the outset of his stay in Lake
County which were heart-rending. In that sickly season of 1838 much
of the light and joy departed from his home in the passing of his wife
and young daughter ; but the father, two sons and a daughter main-
tained the frontier home with courage and hope.

Continuing the record of the worldly events in which Mr. Warriner
participated: — In 1838 a mail route was opened from Crown Point to
West Creek, twelve miles, and Mr. Warriner was appointed postmaster,
continuing in that office until 1849 ; then followed an interim of three
years to allow for administrative changes, and a second term as post-
master, from 1852 until he left the county in 1856.

Lewis Warriner was elected a member of the Indiana Legislature
to represent Lake and Porter counties in 1839 ; he was the fii-st to be
sent to that body from Lake County, his competitors for the honor
having been L. Bradley of City West, and B. McCarthy of Valparaiso.


In 1840 he served as United States census enumerator for Lake County,
and was again elected to the Legislature in 1848. Like Hervey Ball, with
whom he enjoyed an intimate and lifelong friendship, he never deviated
a hair's breadth from the faith of the Baptist church. His character
was above reproach ; he was an able man in many ways and of wide influ-
ence along the elevated paths of life. His surviving children having
both married, Mr. Warriner left the county in 1856 and went to reside
with his son, Edwin B., of Kankakee, Illinois, and afterward with his
daughter, Mrs. James A. Hunt. He died at the residence of his son-in-
law, at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, in May, 1869, in his seventy-seventh

Recognized as Cedar Lake Baptist Cihtrcii

Within a year from the organization of the first Baptist society of
Lake Countj^, it was resolved to take steps to be formally recognized as
a church, according to the. policy of that denomination. At a meeting
held in Leonard Cutler's house, April 6, it was "Resolved, To invite a
council of ministers and brethren to meet with us on the third Saturday
in May to take into consideration the propriety of recognizing us as a
church of Christ" It was agreed to invite Elder French of Porter
County, Elders Bolles and Sawin of Laporte County, and Elder Hinton
of Chicago, "with such brethren from their several churches as may be

The neighboring churches at that time were in Porter County, thirty
miles away ; at Chicago, forty miles away, and in Laporte County, fifty
miles from Red Cedar Lake.

"The grass on the prairie again began its unchecked growth. There
were no great herds of cattle to crop it as it gre^^. The May flowers
again appeared in the woodland beside the lake, and the time set for the
council came."

Without going into all the details, it is sufficient to know that at the
stated time. May 18, 1839, Elder A. French, of the First Baptist Church
of Salt Creek, and Elder Benjamin Sawin, of the Church of Laporte
Village, with two representative brethren from each of those bodies, duly
recognized the local brethren and sisters as the Cedar Lake Baptist
Church. The council convened in the schoolhouse.

First ]Methodist Mission

Somewhat earlier than that year the Methodists had organized classes
at Pleasant Grove and Crown Point, the latter (1838) being denominated


a "church," rather than a class. The best account of early Methodism
in Lake County has been written by Mrs. Sarah G. Wood, who married
into the well-known Wood family of Wood's Mill, or Woodvale. From
her researches it seems that in 1836 a Methodist missionary named
Stephen Jones was sent by the presiding elder, then residing at South
Bend, into the interior of what is now Lake County. He preached at
the cabin of Thomas Reed, two miles south of Crown Point, and at some
other points, and after six months of such ministrations as he was able
to give the scattered settlers the first Methodist class was organized at
the residence of E. W. Bryant, Pleasant Grove. At that time the county
was attached to the Northwestern Mission, taking in a circuit of 500
miles; and consequently it was impossible to reach the several appoint-
ments oftener than once in six weeks.

The Pleasant Grove Society consisted of E. W. Bryant and wife,
John Kitchel and wife and a Mr. Menden Hall and wife, with Mr. Bryant
as leader. In 1837 H. B. Beers came to the work, which during that
year was confined to Lake and Porter counties and was called the Deep
River Mission. Jacob Colclazier followed Rev. Mr. Beers in 1838, and
during the year the first quarterly meeting in the county was held in the
dwelling house of William Payne, Bishop Roberts conducting the meeting.

Crown Point Methodist Church Founded

In the later part of the year Rev. Mr. Stagg took charge of the work,
and under his ministry the Methodist Church of Crown Point was organ-
ized, Aaron Wood being presiding elder. Robert Hyde, a local preacher
residing at Pleasant Grove, supplied the Crown Point appointment in
1839, and quite a number were added to the church. So that 1839 may
be said to mark the firm establishment of the Methodists at and near
Crown Point and of the Baptists at the Lake of the Red Cedars.

The Churches, Cutlers and Rockwells

The year 1836 kept the Claim Register busy. It records about one
hundred and twenty who made claims in Lake County, a considerable
portion of whom became settlers. Prairie West received an important
accession from Michigan, among whom were the Churches and Cutlers.

Richard Church was well advanced in life when he located, some of
his children having families of their own. The homes of his son. Darling
Church ; of his son-in-law, Leonard Cutler ; of his near neighbor, W.
Rockwell ; of Mrs. Elizabeth Owen, a widow ; of Mrs. Leland, with sev-
eral sons, and of John Bothwell, were also on Prairie West ; and they
were all comers of 1836 or 1837.


The Churches and the Rockwells were related by marriage, AVilliam
Rockwell, the father of the family, being an elderly man, like Richard
Church, when he and his sons migrated to Prairie West. He was elected
a county commissioner in 1840 and died in 1855, seventy-four years of
age. Four years before he had been elected an associate judge for Lake
County shortly before the office was abolished.

Two sons became citizens of Crown Point, one of them giving the
family name to the Rockwell House, a well known hostlery at the county
seat of which he was long proprietor.

1837 Also a Busy Year

In 1837, according to the Claim Register, eighty-one men became
settlers of the newly organized county, after which, with its civil machin-
ery in full operation, there seemed to be no crying need for such a
record; the Squatters' Union, however, maintained its organization until
the first of the regular laud sales had been safely weathered and specu-
lators had been cowed, if not bullied.

Ebenezer Saxton Succeeds Jere Wiggins

How Wiggins Point was founded by Jere Wiggins in 1836 has been
told. In 1837 Ebenezer Saxton, a Vermouter, left Canada during the
Patriot war and started for Detroit with his family. His destination was
four hundred miles, by ox-cart, but he made it in time, when he was
drawn into the tide which was setting so strong Chicago-ward. The
family reached Deep River and the new town of Liverpool, where they
boarded a ferryboat of the rickety, flimsy, pioneer kind. Only seven
other families, with their ox teams, joined the Saxtons; and the ferry-
boat floundered. Fortunately the water was shallow ; so the eight families
were fished out of the river, the boat righted, the oxen landed, and the
procession of emigrants continued philosophically onward.

The Saxton family started southward into the new Lake County,
their means now reduced to $5 in gold. Reaching Turkey Creek, the
oxen, for the first time in their long journey, were stuck fast with their
load in the deep mud. A whole-souled pioneer helped them out for $2,
and the Saxtons, with the three remaining dollars, passed on to what
was the old McGwinn Indian village and burial ground, then known as
Wiggins Point. There they found the Wiggins cabin, obtained shelter
and rest, and secured the Wiggins claim, and lived at that locality, after it
had been named Merrillville, for many years thereafter.


Merrillville Founded

Not long after the coming of the Saxtons, Dudley and William Merrill
secured land on the north side of the old Indian trail, opposite the
Wiggins-Saxton claim, the latter erecting quite a large frame house on
his property. The Merrills were aggressive, and Mr. Saxton himself
was a good worker, and soon a little settlement appeared, to which was
given the name of Centerville. Not long afterward, when the postoffice
was established, it became INIerrillville, with a hotel, store, blacksmith
shop, cheese factory and a very respectable collection of houses.

The Browns of Eagle Creek

Alexander F. Brown, of Scotch lineage and an old New York family,
remained in the Empire State until 1837, when, at the age of thirty-
three, he moved with his family to Southeast Grove, Eagle Creek Town-
ship, Lake County. There he became one of the solid squatters of the
Union, secured his homestead and became the father of three sons, one
of whom died after his death in 1849. The eldest son is John Brown, the
ex-treasurer and auditor, the pioneer banker and farmer, and the old
soldier and splendid citizen of Crown Point and Lake County. As he

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 44)