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In 1837, when according to the Clam Register eighty-one men became settlers in the newly organized county, DUDLEY MERRILL bought a claim which had been made by Amsi L. Ball, or by his son John Ball, settlers of 1836, located on the Deep River south of "Miller's Mill."
But soon he obtained land at Wiggins' Point and made there a permanent home. WILLIAM MERRILL, his brother, came with him in 1837 as a settler.He also obtained land at Wiggins' Point, and at length erected a quite large frame dwelling house on the north side of the old Indian trail, opposite the Indian dancing floor where the Saxton family had located, that trail becoming the mail route to Joliet from LaPorte and a great thoroughfare for western travel.
Soon village life commenced. A hotel was opened and a store, and then a blacksmith shop, and the name of Wiggins' Point was changed to Centerville. A post office was needed before long, and the name was changed to Merrillville. Both the brothers had sons, and around the Saxton and Merrill families quite a community grew up. Dudley Merrill started into operation a cheese factory, having also for a time the hotel, and carrying on a farm. Only one of his sons, Charles Merrill, is now living; Dr. Wallace Merrill is a son of William Merrill; and ne of his daughters became a good teacher. There were two other brothers of this Pennsylvania Merrill family who settled in this county, John Merrill and Lewis Merrill, both of these being for some time citizens of Crown Point. Two sisters also became residents of the county; and of the descendants of William and Dudley and John and Lewis Merrill and of the sisters, there are many to represent still their Pennsylvania ancestors, though not all bearing the Merrill name.
Lieutenant John P. Merrill
One of the sons of Dudley Merrill, of Merrillville, John P. Merrill was born October 13, 1843. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, of the 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. In 1867 he was married to Miss Martha T. Randolph. He was for many years Trustee of Ross Township, and at length, having been elected County Treasurer, he removed to Crown Point. Spending several years of his life as an active, useful citizen of Crown Point, he died there suddenly at 5 o'clock Sunday evening, February 21, 1897.

Submitted By Kathy Huish
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