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Part 4 - Extracts from "An Illustrated Historical Atlas of LaPorte County, Indiana"

Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys by Higgins, Belden and Co., Chicago, 1874.

(Transcribed by T.C. Wyman, August 2000.)

Go To Part 3 of this Article.

LEWIS KEITH was born March 22, 1801, in Huntington County, Pennsylvania.

His grandfather came from Holland to America about fifteen years before the Revolution, and settled in New Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here he engaged in the smithing business for many years, until his father and grandfather moved to Huntington county, where his grandfather died and was buried in 1810. He had served as a blacksmith in the Revolutionary War.

His father was a blacksmith and a farmer, and married Maria Heade, and had a family of twelve children.

In 1811, Mr. Keith moved with his father to Ohio, and, July 6, 1832, landed in Laporte County, and built a cabin on the same lot where his residence now stands.

His family consists of nine sons and five daughters, all living and married.

He married, first, Mary Spencer, and by her had four sons; second, Nancy O'Hara, and by her had ten sons and daughters; and third, Mrs. Nancy A. (Callison) Jessup.

His children's names are as follows:
Joseph, married Jane Bunker; Elisha, married Amanda Thornburg; Peter, married Sarah J. Thornton; Lewis, married Catharine Brown; Bolsar, married Catharine Banks; Mary, married Henry Crane; Julia A., married Lewis Parker; Maria, married Edward Cox; E. Wesley, married Sarah Prian; Dennis T., married Catherine Earnest; Francis M., married Martha McLane; Margaret, married George Huckens; W. Riley, married Sarah A. Crane; Ariadna, married Amos Taylor.

PHILIP FAIL is a native of Maryland, and was born May 18, 1796, near Hagerstown.

At the age of about fifteen he left Maryland and moved to Monongahela Co., Virginia.

About 1828, he came to Union County, Indiana, and about the last of February or the first of March, 1830, he landed in Laporte County, and settled on section 18, in Kankakee Township. He came in company with Aaron Stanton and Richard Harris, who were seeking homes in Northern Indiana. He married, first, Sarah Nuzum, and had eleven girls and three boys, as follows: Phebe, Jane, Caroline, Rebecca, Eleanor, Elizabeth A., Desdemonia, Olive, Benajah Stanton (born October 30, 1830; the first white child born in the township, and the oldest now living in the county, who was born among the early settlers), Angeline, John N., Sarah G., D. Philip, and Catherine.

He married secondly, Lucind Poulton, of Loudon County, Virginia.

Mr. and Mrs. Fail are now far advanced in life, and are living on the old homestead in Kankakee Township where Mr. F. first established his home. They are worthy citizens, and are highly respected by the community.

CHRISTOPHER McCLURE was born in Greenbriar County, Va., February 18, 1797. His ancestry is of Scottish descent, and participated in our war of 1812. His parents first settled in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and were at Donally's Fort during the last Indian war in that country. They were married in Virginia, moved to Indiana, and finally to McHenry County, Ill., where they died.

Mr. McClure came to what is now Laporte County, in 1831, and purchased a quarter section in Scipio Township, and settled upon it in 1832. He married Sarah Robertson, and has six children living: Mary M., Charles W., Martha A., Charlotte C., Arthur D., and John C.

Charles W. is a merchant in Westville; married Mary McLellan, daughter of Joseph, of Door Village. He engaged in mercantile business in 1870, and has an extensive trade.
Mary M. married E. Allen. He was in the Union army three years, during the Rebellion.
Martha A. married Wheeler Harris.
Charlotte C. married George Winters.

Gen. Arthur McClure, brother of Christopher, came to Laporte in 1831; had a family, and died here. One daughter only still lives, in Shelby County, Ind.

Mr. McClure is one of the oldest settlers in the county. When he first came, his neighbors who had anticipated him were Henley Clyborn, Adam Keith, Lewis Shirley, Joseph Osborn, Elijah Brown, and his brother-in-law, Stephen Brayton, John Garwood, and others.

Mr. McClure was elected for several terms in succession County Commissioner by the Republican Party. He aided in building the stockade at Door Village, during the Black Hawk War, but did not take much stock in the scare, which frightened so many back to their homes in Ohio and elsewhere.

ARBA HEALD came to Door Village in the Spring of 1831. His ancestors came from Scotland, and settled in Maine. Mr. H. went to New York, and married Betsey Vial, of Essex County. He then moved successively to Pennsylvania, to Worthington, O., Monroe and White Pigeon, Mich., and finally to Laporte County, Ind., and built a cabin where Mr. Kimball now lives, at Door Village.

He built the first water mill in the county; at first an English malt mill, turned by hand, and afterwards by horse power. He has five children living: Serepta, married Samuel Hall; Jane C., married Daniel Kimball, and has Eliza and Arba; Eleanor, married G. Drum; Mary A., married M. Smith; Edwin, married Sarah Welsh, resides in Kansas.

Mr. Heald died in 1852, aged 61, and his wife in 1869, aged 75; both buried a mile north of Otis.

WILLIAM SNAVLEY is an old settler, and came to Laporte County in the Fall of 1835, and took up lands in Clinton Township. He was born in Montgomery County, Va., June 9, 1797. His grand parents came from Germany before the close of the last century, and did good service in our Revolutionary War. His father was at the surrender of Burgoyne, at Saratoga.

His people first settled in Pennsylvania, and subsequently moved into Virginia and engaged in farming. Here Mr. Snavley spent his youth and early manhood attending the schools and aiding his father in farming.

His parents died in Virginia, and are buried in Montgomery County.

Mr. Snavley married Margaret, daughter of William Eahart, of Virginia, and had ten children, seven of whom are now living, viz.: Willis K., Samuel H., James, Martha, Harvey, Margaret, and David. (Nancy, Polly and Jackson are dead).

Samuel lives in Nebraska, and the rest in Indiana.

Mrs. Snavley died in 1866.

He married, secondly, Mrs. Lovina (Dunham) Robinson, of Ohio. Her grandfathers were both Revolutionary soldiers, and her grandfather Drummond was from Scotland.

Mr. Snavley is the owner of a fine farm of 240 acres, in Clinton Township. The soil is fertile, producing abundantly all kinds of crops.

JAMES VENAMAN HOPKINS, a descendant of one of the earliest settlers in the American colonies, was born October 29, 1802, in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

It is reported that three brothers left England, and settled - one in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, one in Delaware, and one in Pennsylvania.

From the "Massachusetts Historical Collection", and from "Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of the First Three Generations of New England" we collect the following incidents of this family:

Thomas Hopkins was the name of the one who came to Plymouth, Mass., and in 1636 followed Roger Williams to Providence, R.I.. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Arnold, the first, and had William and Thomas. He was representative several years, from 1650 to 1668.

William married Abigail, daughter of John Whipple, and had a son William, who married Ruth, daughter of Samuel and Plain Wilkinson.

William and Ruth Hopkins had a family of eight children, of whom were William, Stephen, and Esek. (For the particulars of these men, see "Wilkinson's Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family", pp. 77 and 350.) William was a sea-captain; Stephen was Governor of Rhode Island nine years, Chancellor of Rhode Island College twenty-one years, member of the Continental Congress, Chief Justice of the state for many years, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, etc., etc.

Esek was the first American admiral, or commodore, commanding the first armed fleet sent out by the Colonies in the days of the Revolution. In the Fourth American Archives, pp. 360-364, and in "Cooper's Naval History", p. 103, may be found the following:

"Resolved, that the following naval officers be appointed:
Esek Hopkins, Esq., commander-in-chief; Dudley Saltonstall, captain of the "Alfred"; Abraham Whipple, captain of the "Columbus"; Nicholas Biddle, captain of the "Andrea Doria"; John B. Hopkins, captain of the "Cabot"; etc." The fleet consisted of four ships and three sloops and Hopkins' rank was intended to correspond in the navy to that held by Washington in the army.

The above resolution was passed by Congress, December 22, 1775, and the pay of the commander-in-chief was to be $125 per month. A portrait of Commodore Hopkins may be seen at Brown University in College Hall, Providence, R.I..

The Hopkins family multiplied rapidly, and were the first to go into "regions beyond". They went to Pennsylvania, to Maryland, to Virginia, to Ohio, to Indiana, and may now be found in nearly all the states of the Union from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

For the purpose of showing the lineal descent of the subject of this sketch, the following tables are presented:

Ezekiel Hopkins of Bourbon Co., Kentucky, married Sarah Hazard, of Bourbon Co., Kentucky.


1.David, had a family in Kentucky; died there.
2.Elihu, was a cooper, had a family, moved to Ohio, and died near Dayton.
3. John, moved to Ohio, had a family, and died in Eaton.
4. Rhoda, married a Palmer, had a family, moved to Ohio, and after the death of her husband, lived with one of her sons, Dr. Palmer, in Eaton, Ohio, where she died and is buried.
5. Lemuel, (see following table).
6. Samuel, married and had a family. One of his sons is a doctor, and resides in Illinois. Samuel died in Cincinnati, O.
7. Esek, married and had a family, and died in Kentucky.
8. Jonathan, had a family in Ohio.
9. Hazzard, had a family and died in Logan Co., Ohio.

The above named Lemuel Hopkins is the father of the subject of this sketch and his family are as follows:

Lemuel Hopkins, of Fulton Co., Illinois, married Mary Venamon, of Fulton Co., Illinois.
(Transcriber's note: Unsure whether name is "Venaman" or "Venamon", as it is spelled both ways in this sketch).

1.Garret V., married first, Susan Leese; second, Esther Oliver, and had a large family, all of whom at one time resided in Astoria, Ill. Subsequently, two went to Texas, two to Colorado, and two to Chicago, and several to other parts of Illinois. Those in Chicago have charge of the telegraph business. Some of the boys were in the army. Garrett V. was a botanic physician of great success.
2. Hazzard, died, aged twenty-three, unmarried.
3.James V., (see post).
4.Sidna W., married Nehemiah Dunn; resided and died in Bureau Co., Ill.
5.Elihu, died in infancy.
6. John, married Miss Allred; had a family, resided and died in Warren Co., Indiana; one son in the army.
7. Eliza, married William Larkins; has a family, resides in Texas.
8. Martha, married Levi Wolverton, had a family, resided and died in Iowa.
9. Lemuel B., married Caroline Phelps, has a family, resides in California. He has held several important offices, sheriff, clerk of the Legislature, etc.

The father of Mr. Hopkins was a man of great ingeniuity in working with wood, also a man of great socialbility, genial and affable, and was engaged in his younger days in teaching vocal music, being the first instructor in that branch in that part of Ohio. During his youth he was a Presbyterian, but later in life, he became a Christian and a preacher, having left the Presbyterian Church with Rev. Barton Stone, afterwards of Jacksonville, Ill., Rev. Dunlava, Rev. McNemier and David Provine. He moved to Fulton Co., Ill., where he died.

In 1812 Mr. Hopkins moved to Preble Co., Ohio, with his parents, where he remained about eight years; thence to Hamilton County, and thence to Butler County, where he was married.

In 1835 he moved to Laporte County, Ind., where he arrived the year of the "Land Sales". He lived in Porter County about five years, and then settled in Michigan City.

In 1853 he purchased the place where he now resides. A lithograph of his house may be found in this volume.
(Transcriber's note: I currently do not have this picture available).

He married Elizabeth Ross, daughter of Elijah and Phebe (Miller) Ross, of Butler County, Ohio, and has had a family as follows:

1. David, died aged twenty-three.
2. Hazard M., married Anna A., daughter of Roswell King, of Massachusetts, and has Lizzy A., Grant (died young), and Anna Laura. He was in the Quartermaster's Department during the Rebellion; is County Commissioner of Laporte County, and resides at Michigan City.
3. James T., married Missouri E., daughter of Joshua Brown, sine parole. He is Deputy County Clerk of Laporte County.

Mr. Hopkins is a carpenter and joiner and farmer; has always been a Republican since the party was organized. His first Presidential vote was cast for Henry Clay.

Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins belong to the Christian Church, and are highly respected by the community.

CHARLES VAIL was born January 10, 1803, in New Jersey. His paternal ancestor came from Wales, and settled in America previous to the Revolution. He was an Indian fighter - the terror of the red men - and was finally killed by them.

Mr. Vail lived a while in New York City, moved thence in 1834, to Laporte County, Ind., and settled on Section 31, Springfield Township.

He married Olive Stanton, daughter of Aaron, of Virginia, whose parents were from Nantucket. He was one of the oldest settlers in Laporte County.

Mr. Vail had nine children: L. Ellen (died aged 23), Sarah (died in infancy), Augusta, Caroline, Isaac, Aaron, Julia, Charles and Olive.

Mr. Vail died 25th February, 1872; buried near Laporte.

DANIEL LOW, the son of Joseph L. and Sarah (Wood) Low, was born in Boxford, Mass., May 28, 1806.

Three brothers came from England to America at an early day; two settled in Massachusetts, and one in Maine. His father's family was as follows: Daniel, Lucy I., Susan M., Nathan W., Sarah J., Mary A., William W., Caroline A., Emily W. and Harriet B.

Daniel was educated in the public schools of Massachusetts, learned the tanner and currier's trade, and engaged in clerking in Providence and Boston, and remained in Massachusetts till he was 29 years of age.

He married, July 6, 1837, Mary Barker, of North Andover, Mass., and has Augustus B., Charles O. and Mary E.

He moved to Michigan City in 1835, and engaged in merchandising and land agency. In 1842 purchased 240 acres in Coolspring, and built a house. (See lithograph).
(Transcriber's note: At this time I do not have this picture.)

JESSE BLAKE is of Scotch Irish descent. He was born in Livingston County, New York, February 2, 1814.

His grandfather, Richard, the founder of the family in America, came from Scotland and settled in Connecticut before the Revolutionary War, and bore a part in that memorable struggle. From Connecticut, he moved to Livingston County, New York, engaged in farming, and he and his wife died there.

He had ten children: Ruel, Jesse, Ferris, Zara, James, Eunice, Dimeras, and three others.

Ferris, the father of Mr. B., married Amanda Norton, of Connecticut, and had Eliza, Ruel, Jesse, Norton, James, Horatio, Albert S. and Dimeras.

Eliza married; has a family and resides in Indiana.
Norton is a banker and farmer; resides in St. Joseph, Mo.
Albert S. is a lawyer; resides at Denver City, Colorado.
James is a lawyer, and Horatio was a farmer; both resided at DeKalb County, Ind., and died there.

Mr. Blake left Livingston Co., N.Y., and traveled 500 miles with pack on his shoulders, consisting of his entire earthly possessions, and stopped in Ohio two years. Thence he moved up to Michigan City, where he engaged as a day laborer for a period of six years, and then purchased a farm on Section 33 in Kankakee Township, where he now resides.

He married, first, Amanda, daughter of Samuel Griffin, and had Orpha; Collins, married Dimeras Blake; Ruel, married Iantha Parker, has Etta and Eddie; Miles, married Margaret Hartford, has Orpha.

Mr. Blake married, secondly, Delia C., daughter of Thompson Walker, of Delaware County, N.Y. She is a descendant of Philip Walker, of Rehoboth, Mass., one of the early settlers of that colony. (Vide Memorial of the Walkers, of Old Plymouth, page 117.)

Mr. Blake owns a farm of 200 acres, under fine cultivation. He is a man of influence and respectability. He and his wife are members of the M.E. Church.

LEVI RANSOM was born in Vermillion County, Ohio, April 7, 1818. His parents came from Connecticut, and settled near Cleveland, Ohio. About 1840 Mr. Ransom moved to Indiana, and first stopped south of Laporte, and finally purchased of Mr. Hupp a firm in Kankakee Township, where his widow still resides.

He married for his first wife, Miranda, daughter of Josiah Root, who was and old settler in the county, and by her had Rebecca Cordelia, born December 5, 1842, married John F. Darby, and has Franklin (dead), Levi, Frederick and Benjamin; reside in Laporte. He is a clerk.

Mr. Ransom married, secondly, Mahala G., daughter of Elias and Sarah (Michael) Lowe, of Maryland, and had Mary Ann C., died age 10; Francis M.; Sarah M., married Joseph Hollowell, and had Eva and Netta, both deceased; and Mary Ann R.

Mr. Ransom, wife, and daughter went to California in 1869. Two months after his arrival, he died at Woodland, 40 miles north of San Francisco, and is buried there.

Mrs. Ransom returned to Laporte, and at the expiration of five years, to the old homestead.

Mr. Ransom was an enterprising, industrious man. When he came to Laporte he had but $5 dollars in his pocket; run in debt for a span of horses and a threshing machine - one of the first in the county; bought his farm; run in debt for that principally, but by perserverance and energy he paid for everything and was clear of debt. He drew his wheat and grain to Michigan City, and would work early and late. His word was taken as readily as his note by all his neighbors.

His ill health gave him much concern, and he tried every means to restore it, but all in vain. He was a prominent man in the Methodist Episcopal Church, being class-leader, and steward, and was great beloved by the brethren. His example was worthy of imitation by the young.

Mrs. Ransom manages her affairs with prudence, and gives special attention to the education of her children.

Some account of Mr. Ransom's ancestors may be found in "Fire Land Pioneer", Ohio.

PETER WHITE was born near Montreal, Canada, Aug. 13, 1786.

His father, John LaBlanc (translated White), was a native of France, and emigrated to Arcadia, from which place he was banished (see Longfellow's Evangeline).

In 1802 Peter went to Upper Canada, and settled on the Bay of Quinty; remained three years; thence to Niagara; remained four years, and in 1815, to Dearborn County, Ind., and in 1832 to Laporte County, and settled on Section 21, Scipio Township, and erected a cabin.

Their first shelter at "Rising Sun" consisted of two trees, fallen parallel to each other, and covered with bark. Here they lived from June to February. He subsequently built a cabin, but it was accidentally burned.

Mr. White married Margaret Clement, of Canada, and had:

1. John, married Ann Horner, resided in Porter County, died about 1854.
2. Mary, married Elam Billington, has Charles, Harriet, and Abram, reside in Labette County, Kansas.
3. Lovina, married James Forrester. (See his sketch)
4. Robert, married Mary A. Travis, has William, Margaret, Elizabeth, Sarah, George (dead), Louisa, Ellen, and Peter. All married but Ellen. He resides in Laporte County.
5. Joseph, married Lana Barricklow, and has Charles, Corintha, and Eliza.
6. Susanna, married Struper Zern, has George, Violetta, and Iowa; resides in Wayne County, Iowa.
7. Paul, married Nancy Martin, has Ethan, Frank, and Paulina.
8. Simon, married Louisa Evans, has Lucy, Henry, Lottie and Lettie.

Mr. White was in the War of 1812, and at its close, moved into the States. This entire family were old settlers in Laporte County.

HENRY M. DEXTER was born in Columbus, Ohio, September 9, 1836.

He is a lineal descendant of the Rev. Gregory Dexter, who came to Providence R.I., with Roger Williams when he returned with his charter from England in 1644. He was a printer, and became one of the most prominent men in the colony, and the founder of the family in America.

Mr. Dexter's great grandfather, Samuel Dexter, married Candace Winsor, and had William, John, Darius, Daniel, Otis, Winsor, Warner, George, Steven, and Mercy.

His grandfather, William Dexter, married Eunice Parker, and had Thomas J., John W., Candace, Angeline M., Lucinda M., Charlotte, Lydia and Eunice.

His father, John Waterman Dexter, married Mary Billington, and had John, Henry M., Frances, William H., and Helen.

Mr. Dexter married, in 1860, Reliance B. Swift, and resides at Kingsbury, Ind. He keeps a hotel and livery stable. The genealogy of this family has been written and arranged in tabular form in New England. Mrs. Smith, of Sarenac, Ionia County, Mich., has a record of the first emigrant before King Philip's War. It is full of historical interest to the members of the great family in America. Some account of this family may be found in the "Memoirs of the Wilkinson Family", page 96.

JACOB H. VINING, orthodox minister of the Society of Friends in Laporte. Residence, Indiana Avenue.

He was born in the town of Litchfield, in the then District of Maine, November 20, 1815. At the age of ten years, his parents, Josiah and Esther Vining, settled in St. Albans, Somerset County, State of Maine. They were pioneers in the forests of that part of the state, where they reared in respectability a family of 11 children, and at the same time, founded a meeting of their choice, which was that of Friends.

His parents, being earnest Christians, devoted a large portion of their time and property to the building up of the society of their faith and to the educational interests of that new country. An academy was early established under their agency, and endowed by the state, and named "St. Albans Academy", where our subject received an academic education. Embracing the faith of his parents, he became a minister of that society at the early age of 23 years.

From the age of 19 to 26 years, he followed teaching district schools. At this age he married Lucy W. Dillingham, and soon after, settled in Fall River, Mass., where he was recorded a minister according to the order of the Friends, and labored successfully there in gathering and building up a divided and decaying church of his faith.

During ten years residence in Massachusetts, he visited in the love of the gospel, most of the churches of his sect scattered over the United States. At the close of the late rebellion, he gave two years of his time to the interest of the freedmen on the peninsula of the James and York Rivers in Virginia.

Impaired health induced him to make his home some ten years with his family in New Jersey, on the Atlantic coast, during which time he visited most of the Friends' yearly meetings on this continent.

He settled with his family in Laporte in the Fall of 1869, when with a few families of his sect who had recently erected their church in this city, and who had been residing here over thirty years without an established meeting, he established the present Friends' meeting, which consists of a meeting for worship, a preparative, and a monthly meeting, the latter alternating with a society in Michigan.

In the Autumn of 1871 he succeeded in obtaining the co-operation of a few of the most wealthy citizens, and established and put in successful operation, under state law, the Laporte Savings Bank, which by his close application and able management has become one of the most successful banks of the county, and operating, as its founder designed it should, as a frugal, industrial, and philanthropic institution long needed and highly appreciated by its numerous patrons.
(Transcriber's note: This bank is still in operation, 125 years after this article book was published).

ABEL DUNCAN PORTER, the son of Henry Lee and Betsey (Miller) Porter, was born in Dummerston, Windham County, Vt., April 7, 1816.

His ancestors are of Welsh and Irish descent, and came to America previous to the Revolution. His grandfather was Dr. Samuel Porter, a man of considerable eminence in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

His father's family is as follows: Samuel, Henry, George, Abel, Frederick, Charles, Aurelia, Serena and Sophia. His mother died in Massena, N.Y., and his father moved to Ottawa, Ill., where he died and is buried.

In 1825, Mr. Porter moved to Fort Covington, N.Y., and in 1828 to Massena, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in both of which places he attended school and aided his father in his business. April 1834, he, with other young men, left New York for the "West" on a schooner from Ogdensburg, going through all the lakes to Chicago. They were six weeks on the route, reaching their anchorage off Chicago, June 1.

At this time, Chicago was but a small town, and John H. Kenzie and one other had about the only houses on the north side of the river. Having business with Mr. Kenzie, he was detained a few days, and then set sail in the "Ed. Sacket" for Michigan City. Here he stopped with William Teall, a merchant, till Fall, and then engaged with James Forrester as a clerk for about a year. He the returned to Chicago and entered the mercantile house of Walter Kimball.

In 1836 he was elected County Treasurer, serving four years. In the Fall of 1838, Messrs. Hitchcock sent for him to com to Michigan City; he complied, and remained until 1848, when he came to Laporte and engaged with King and Holbrook, as a member of the firm, remained about three years, and again returned to Michigan City as a clerk for Mr. Holbrook.

In 1851 he engaged in business on his own responsibility, under the firm name of "A.D. Porter & Co.", Harrison Jewel being his partner. In 1863, he entered the commissary department as chief clerk in Kentucky, and remained until the close of the Rebellion. He then engaged with Guggenhime, Wile & Fox in Laporte, where he still remains.

Mr. Porter was city treasurer of Michigan City previous to his election to the county treasurer's office. He is secretary of the Old Settler's Society.

He married Electa Wells, of Vermont, and has had Henry, married Hattie Roberts, has Freddie; William; Emma, married G. Fred Swan - died, aged 20; Carrie; Charles; Harvey (dead) and Mary. Mr. Porter, wife, and family are members of the Presbyterian Church.

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