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Interesting Firsts

This page is to help you locate ancestors as well as add flavor to your family history. Instead of just names and dates you can learn a little more about their life within their communities. For example, my favorite first that I've found, is the charming Ross twp. story below:
The first wedding that occurred was romantic in the extreme. The loving couple, who had vowed to be paired at the earliest possible moment, had their plans unexpectedly obstructed by the elements. It was the spring of 1837, during the rainy season, and a swollen and impassable stream lay between these fond hearts and the Justice of the Peace, who was the only one in the township authorized to make the twain one. Floods could not part them. Strong lungs summon the Justice of the Peace to the stream, on the other side, while hand in hand and heart to heart stood Lorenzo Beebee and Betsy Prentis across the angry waters. Thus they pronounced their vows in bugle tones, while A.L. Ball, the Justice, sent the welcome words that made the two one, across the rushing waters.

-The first birth was a child to Mrs. Sarah Childers, wife of Thomas Childers, in 1835. The first death was probably a daughter of Thomas Childers in 1835.
-The second was a child of Mr. Wells that died that same year.
-First marriages in the twp- July 27, 1841 of Phebe Jane Childers and Ira Babcock. Spring of 1839 Sibyl Smith and Burnes Peas and also Anna Afler and Daniel M. Smith.
-April 20, 1841 a double wedding-William Purdy to Elizabeth Sanger, and Harvey Sanger and Sarah A. Bryant.
-The first store was opened by John Dilley in 1837.
-The first school was taught by a crippled man named Richard Canon, in a small hut built of poles or small logs, on what is now Thomas Dickinson's place. Among the patrons of the school were Thomas Childers, William Wells, Thomas Wells and Mr. Cross. Miss P.J. Childers and Sarah Beadle were the only large pupils attending.


-The death of Milo Robinson, of consumption, January 1, 1839, was the first at Crown Point.
-The first school in Lake County was taught by the widow Harriet Holton in her own house at Crown Point, during the winter of 1835-1836


-In 1833, a family named Bennett kept a tavern at the mouth of the Calumet. In 1834, a family named Berry kept tavern on the lake beach, and the widow Hannah Berry, kept tavern there for a year or two after the county was organized.

-Mr. Wiggins, the first settler, was the first white person who died in the township. He died in 1836.
-Some early births, Oliver Merrill in 1841 and John P. Merrill in 1842.
-First house in the town of Ross was built by Cornelius Vanness, and used as a hotel at first, and since as a store.
-One of the first, if not the first, of the schools was taught at Deep River in 1844, by Mrs. Richard Vincent, in her own home.


-The first schoolhouse in the twp, except the one at Cedar Lake, was erected at Hanover Centre in 1857 by John E. Fraas, who was paid by the Trustee $370.
-During the winter of 1853-1854, O.W. Graves taught at what is now Brunswick, and Henry Sasse, at Van Hollen's. In January 1854, Calvin Hunt, Charles Hunt and Carlos Hunt, who had been attending the school, taught by Mr. Graves, were turned out of school for bad conduct.
-The first store in Hanover Centre was opened by Frank Massoth.
-Jacob Weis was the first blacksmith, John Schillo took his place, then later Frank Schultz opened a blacksmith shop.
-Stephen Meyers opened the first saloon. John Winkler opened the second.
-Abel Farewell probably built the first house in Brunswick, later Hiram P. Robbins built a dwelling in the village. Joseph Schmal probably built the third house in about 1853.
-Klaasville was founded by August Klaas.


-John Gering, the first carpenter.
-Jacob Hermann, the first blacksmith.
-The first death was a man named Reader, and the second his wife.
-First marriage John Ryan and Margaret Schmal in 1839 by Squire Ball, and the first birth was perhaps a child born to this couple.
-The last wild cat shot in the township was shot by John Hack at Beaver's Grove in 1842.
-The largest farm in the twp is that of A.N. Hart. The farm contains 8,000 acres and he owns 15,000 acres in all.


-Alexander Brown came in 1840, and was soon killed by a runaway team, leaving two young sons who have since become prominent citizens.
-The first religious services were held in the home of Michael Pearce, about 1845, by the United Presbyterians.
-The first birth was probably that of John Pearce, who was born in 1841.
-The first marriage was probably of Miss Polly Garvey to Esidor Prunicorn, by Squire Turner of Crown Point.


-Robert Wilkinson once killed 10 deer before Breakfast.
-Indians often killed hogs of settlers; aside from this and begging and borrowing, they seldom gave the whites any trouble. In 1837, they carried off Elizabeth, the infant daughter of David and Elizabeth Pulver. They took the child from the cradle in the house, where she was sleeping beside her twin brother John. The Indians carried the infant to camp 2-3 miles away, where they concealed it in a covered wagon. The child was later recovered and Mrs. Edward Ashton lived to tell the story though she was then only 6 months old.
-The first birth occurred in the family of Robert Wilkinson, the son was named William, although it did not live any length of time.
-The first death was that of Edward Hatton, who was killed in the spring of 1836 while working for Robert Wilkinson. He was buried on the land now (1882) owned by Mr. Wason in an unmarked grave.
-The first store was owned by Joseph Jackson who sold "foreign groceries" in 1838.
-The first school in 1838 was taught by Miss Orsula Jackson.


-The Indians remained here several years after the first settlement, and Loren, a son of Jeremy Hixon, a son of Mr. Nichols of Hickory Point, and a number of other boys, and it is supposed, girls too, used to play with the little Pottawatomie papooses.
-First death was that of a child of Mr. Higby, in 1836; it was buried in the forks of a fallen tree nearby.
-Only one bear has ever been seen and that was by a boy. It was followed and killed near Crown Point.
-The town of Leroy laid out by Thomas McClarn.
-Amos Edgington, now of Crown Point (1882), built the first store. Eventually sold it to H.J. Nichols, who in turn sold it to A.Z. Green.
-The first school house built in 1842 was taught by Mr. taylor, or some say, James Dilly did. Caroline Soul was among the first teachers. -The frst brick house was built by Mr. Wise. Reuben Hipsley and J.Q. Benjamin have the finest houses perhaps. J.L. Hipsley built the first barn.

Source: Counties of Porter and Lake Indiana. F.A. Battey Co. Publishers 1882.