First Election and First Settlers. - The following is a record of the first election:
"At an election held at the house of Henry Adams, Pleasant Township, on the 3d of April, 1836, for the purpose of electing one Justice of the Peace for said township, the following votes were taken: John Bartholomew, Joseph Bartholomew, George Shultz, Henry Adams, William Billings, Martin Reed, Morris Witham, Enoch Billings, John Adams, James Witham and Charles Allen. Total, 11. We, the undersigned, Inspectors and Judges of the Election, do certify that Lewis Comer got eleven votes for the office of Justice of the Peace. William Billings, Inspector; Enoch Billings, Morris Witham, Judges."
An election was held December 24, 1836, in Pleasant Township for one Judge and one Justice of the Peace. Seneca Ball received nine votes for Judge, and John Adams nine for Justice of the Peace. The following persons voted at this election: Morris Witham, Charles Allen, William Trinkle, William Billings, Jacob Shultz, Thomas Adams, Henry Adams, R. Blachly and John Adams.
The following is a list of the first and early settlers as far as attainable: J. Sherwood and family, about 1834; William Trinkle and family, fall of 1835; John Jones and family, 1835; George Eden and family, 1837. Among the other early settlers were Hisel Coghill, Isaiah Meadows, Reuben Meadows, Oliver Coles, Luke Asher, Mr. Chandler, John Adams, John Bartholomew, Joseph Bartholomew, George Shultz, Henry Adams, William Billings, Enoch Billings, Martin Reed, Morris Witham, James Witham and Charles Allen. Nearly all of these were here as early as 1836, as will be seen by the lists of voters above given. Mr. J. Sherwood and family located near the Kankakee River, in the southwestern part of the township. Mrs. Sherwood remarked to Mrs. William Trinkle, in 1835, that she was the only white woman that she had seen for two years, with the exception of a sister of Mrs. S., who lived with her.
Early Events. - The first birth was that of Henry Trinkle, born to Gillie Ann and William Trinkle on December 2, 1835. The first death was that of Jeremiah, a son of J. Sherwood. He was buried at what is now the Widow Bonesteel's farm, where there are only a few graves. The first marriage was that of Alexander Wright to Miss S. Jones, which occurred about 1839. The usual hardships incident to pioneer life devolved upon the settlers of Pleasant Township. For some years the milling was done at Michigan City, and much of the trading on the Wabash. Great as were the hardships of these early days, there was a feeling of freedom on the frontier, and a spirit of fellowship and general good-will that made life here endurable to all, and enjoyable to many. Mrs. Trinkle, the oldest living settler now residing in the township, says: "If I were young again as I was when I came here, I should be glad to go and help to settle a new country." Mrs. Trinkle tells many interesting incidents of Indian times. The Kankakee Marsh was a sort of "Indian Paradise." Here game and fur-bearing animals abounded. When settlement began, the outlines of an abandoned fort near the Kankakee, southwest of where Kouts now stands, were quite distinct, and traces are yet to be seen. It was at a point where two Indian trails crossed the river, and is the only place for a long distance where the river and marsh could be crossed readily. It seems to have covered four or five acres, and, in 1836, bore marks of long disuse, for there were young trees of two feet in diameter growing on what seemed to have been embankments of the fort. The Indians were peaceable and punctual in the fulfillment of promises. When they came to borrow, if unable to talk English, they would indicate the number of days for which they wished to keep the article, by holding up as many fingers as there were days to elapse before they expected to return it.
Schools. - The pioneer school of the township was taught in a small log schoolhouse about the year 1838. This house stood on Section 13, Township 33, Range 6, and was built by the voluntary labor of the neighbors, of material, the most of which was found near at hand. The light that entered this primitive schoolhouse came through the door, and through greased paper that answered for window glass. There was one good thing about these paper "panes;" the grease rendered the paper translucent, but not transparent, so that light was admitted, but the children could not see out. It was used for school purposes for three or four years, when it was burned. The schools held here were supported by subscription.
The first patrons were George Eaton, who sent two sons, John Berrier, who sent two children, John Jones, who sent five, and William Trinkle, who sent two, Nancy and Henry. The second schoolhouse was of the same kind and located on the same section, but larger than the first. This was used for several years. The third schoolhouse was built near the site of the first one. This was the first frame schoolhouse of the township. There are now seven houses, all of which are frame. The average cost of all, except the house at Kouts, is about $500. The one at Kouts contains two rooms, and cost $1,000. It was built in 1876. There are eight school districts in the township. District No. 3 has no house now. It had a frame house, which was built in 1860, and burned in 1879. The house in District No. 8 was built in 1880, at a cost of about $500. The houses in the other districts were built prior to 1860. The teachers for 1882, are as follows: In District No. 1, Alice Sanborn; in No. 2, B.A. Maugher and Sarah Welch; in No. 4, Flora Wilcox; in No. 5, Mary G. Noel; in No. 6, L. Sanborn; in No. 7, Sadie Turner; in No. 8, Jennie Wyley.
Churches, etc. - The first religious services of the township were held at the house of John Jones in 1836. Mr. Jones, although not a regular minister, often preached in the neighborhood, and occasionally in adjoining communities. These informal devotional meetings were changed from house to house at first, and at a later day from schoolhouse to schoolhouse. The only regular church building of Pleasant is the present edifice of the German Lutheran Church at Kouts. It is a frame, built in 1880 at a cost of $600. The present minister is Rev. Julius Dunsing, who has served the church one year. Before him, Rev. Philip Smith was pastor. He was the first minister in the new church, and conducted the dedicatory services. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse for about seven years before the church was built, and services were held for a time in private houses. The one to organize the society was Rev. Philip Smith, now of Valparaiso. The present membership of the church is seventeen. The only regular cemetery of the township is that located on Section 12, Township 33, Range 6. The first one interred here was a little boy of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Wright, in the last part of the year 1842.
lndustries. - The township has been strictly agricultural throughout its history. It has never had a grist-mill, and only one saw-mill permanently located. This was on the Kankakee River, near where the bridge now is. It was built by Joseph Hackman and run by him for some time. He sold it to James M. Pugh, who converted it into a portable one, about two years ago. There have been several portable saw-mills at different times and places within the limits of the township. A cheese factory was established, about five years ago by H.A. Wright: It ran a short time and was closed.
Officers. - The present officers of the township are, William Trinkle, Trustee; James H. True and Simon Witham, Justices of the Peace; Stephen D. Johnson, Road Superintendent, and S.G. Couch, Assessor.
Crime. - There have been three homicides committed within the limits of Pleasant Township. In 1879, W. Swett was shot by Charles Chase; the same year, Charles Askam was shot by McIntosh, and in 188O, Brainerd Taft shot John Dutton.
Fatal Casualty. - A very sad accident occurred to a Welsh family named Pugh, in 1873. They lived near the Kankakee. Mr. J.M. Pugh, the father, was plowing not far from the house; some marsh grass was rather troublesome, so he requested his daughter, Sarah, to bring some fire from the house and burn the hay. She brought the fire at once, and stood watching the hay burn when a sudden gust of wind blew the flames toward and around her; her clothing took fire, and before help reached her she was fatally burned. She took a few steps, fell and was carried home. She lived in intense agony until 4 o'clock the next morning. It was about 2 p.m. when the accident occurred.
Village of Kouts. - The only town that the township has ever produced is the town of Kouts, situated in the northwestern part, on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad. This town was laid out by B. Kouts and took its name from him. He built the first business block which is now occupied by Dr. L. Atkins. The second business house was built by Brown and Dilley; the third was built by A. Williams. The post office was established here in 1865, with H.A. Wright as Postmaster, who held the office until 1881, when S.E. Douglas, the present incumbent, took charge of the office, which he has held up to the present time. The Chicago & Atlantic Railroad has reached town within the last year, and as Kouts promises to be the only station on either road in the township, its prospects are quite flattering. Counting the floating population brought in by the building of the new railroad, there are perhaps 300 people in the town. It has two general stores; one kept by B. Kouts, and the other by H. Rosenbaum. There are two drug stores; one is kept by S.E. Douglas, and the other by L. Atkins. A grocery is kept by Mrs. Margaret Williamson; E.R. Kosanke keeps furniture; D.A. Stark furnishes hardware; H.A. Wright and J.H. Hodkins sell implements; John Shultz and Joshua George make boots and shoes; William Kee and William Cinkaski do the blacksmithing. The town has two saloons and one church. The Hodjins House is kept by J.A. Hodjins, and restaurant by Albert Spencer. A hay barn, belonging to a Chicago man, is operated by H.A. Wright. Dr. Sprague and Dr. Kellogg located here, but did not stay long. The town is regularly laid out and platted. Three additions have been made to it and entered of record by Mr. Kouts.
Early Election. - At an election held in the house of Alpheus French in Fish Lake Township on Monday, December 3, 1838, for the purpose of electing one Representative, the following persons voted: William McCoy, J.C. Hathaway, Newton Frame, William Frakes, Alpheus French, Henry M. Wilson, William Frame, A.M. Bartel, Jonathan Hough, Samuel Campbell, E.P. Hough, Edmund Hatch, William C. Shreve, David Dinwiddie, Mr. Wellman, Ora B. French, David Hurlburt and Jacob Hurlburt. "We, the undersigned Judges and Clerks of Election, do certify that Benjamin McCarty had fifteen votes for Representative, and George W. Cline three votes for the same office; Jonathan Hough, H.M. Wilson, Clerks; S. Campbell, Inspector; William Frakes, Alpheus French, Judges."
Settlers. - In the years 1834 and 1835, the following named persons came to settle in Porter Township; Newton Frame, William Frame, Samuel Campbell, Isaac Campbell, Isaac Edwards, Elder French, Ora B. French, Jacob Wolf, Mr. Service and David Hurlburt. Among others who came prior to 1838 were: P.A. Porter, Edmund Sheffield, Hazard Sheffield, Benjamin Sheffield, W. Staunton, William McCoy, William A. Nichols, Ezra Reeves, Morris Carman; Dr. Levi A. Cass, who came in 1840; H. Bates, who came in 1839; J.C. Hathaway, William Frakes, Alpheus French, Henry M. Wilson, A.M. Bartel, Jonathan Hough, Edmund Hatch, William C. Shreve, David Dinwiddie, Mr. Wellman, David Hurlburt and Jacob Hurlburt. Elder French, a Baptist minister, was the first minister in the township. Besides those above mentioned, the following were early: William Robinson, Robert Fleming, Moses Gates, Horatio Gates, William Dye, Richard Jones, John Robinson, Mr. Hathaway, Asa Cobb, Aaron Service and Calvin French, who was killed by damp in a well. From 1840 to 1850 immigration was slow but steady. A number came in during 1850. Since 185O, there has been no special period of settlement. A large portion of the present population are descendents of the first settlers. There were fifty-six votes cast at the election of President Harrison. There are now nine in the township who voted here in 1842.
Reminiscences. - The experience of the early settlers of this township with the Indians is about the same as that of the surrounding country. The Indians were friendly and made but little trouble. The township being chiefly prairie, was not frequented as much by them as were places where there was more woodland. At first, it was no uncommon thing to see herds of deer containing from thirty to fifty. These were gradually thinned out as the settlement thickened, until they disappeared entirely. About 1848, a great wolf hunt took place here. It was what was known as a "ring hunt." The territory swept by the hunters included Boone and Porter Townships, together with Winfleld and Eagle Creek Townships, of Lake County. Most of the male inhabitants of the above-named townships, and some from surrounding townships engaged in the hunt. An immense ring was formed and all started, at the firing of a small cannon, toward a point about three-fourths of a mile east of where Mr. Bates then lived, at which point had been erected for the occasion a tall pole, from which floated the American flag. Officers we're placed at regular intervals, and it was arranged that all should start at the firing of the gun, and stop at the firing of the gun to "dress ranks," after which a second shot was to be the signal for a second start, and so on until they closed around the game under the flag. It is stated that there were at least as many as 600 engaged in the hunt. As was usual in such hunts, they "broke ranks" and closed in in the most perfect disorder. The game, unable to keep in the circle, fell back in good order. A single wolf that had perhaps become bewildered in the general disorder, was slain. The 600 came in by squads, and all indulged in a grand rally around the flag. The vanquished wolf was thrown across the shoulder of a horseman, who, putting spurs to his horse, was chased by other hunters, until some one succeeded in getting the wolf, when he in turn was pursued by excited men upon panting chargers. Finally, a man from Valparaiso arrived with a barrel of "black strap" whisky, and -
So the hunt closed in a "grand spree." Prairie fires once swept these broad prairies, spreading terror for miles in every direction. Two girls were drowned in Lake Eliza. It is supposed that they got beyond their depth when in bathing.
A Mound. - There is a mound on the Wolf Place, that some years ago was as much as twenty feet high, and from 100 to 150 feet in diameter. It is too bad that these monuments of an ancient and now extinct race and civilization should be destroyed without a thought. In years to come, these will not only be objects of great interest, but will enhance the value of the land upon which they stand.
Early Events. - It seems that no one now living in the vicinity can tell with certainty about the first death, birth and marriage. One of the first deaths was that of a son of John Robinson, who died from a cut in the thigh with an ax. About twenty years ago, a steam saw-mill was erected by Mr. Sheffield, in the northern part of the township.
The following is an extract from the oldest record book of the township now in existence: "April 18, 1853. Ordered by the Board of Trustees of Porter Township, at the house of R.P. Wells, that Charles J. Blackman act as President of said Board. - Charles Riddle, Clerk." R.P. Wells and David Merriman, were the other members, and E.W. Pennock, was Treasurer. Dr. Cass began the practice of medicine at an early day, in the Frame neighborhood. After a time he moved to his present location, where he has practiced ever since. Dr. Sampson was located for a time at Walnut Grove.
Schools. - The first school that was patronized by the residents of this township, was situated just over the line in Lake County, on Eagle Creek. This was a log house, and for a window had a log taken out the full length of the building. Over the opening thus made, greased paper was placed to keep out the cold and admit the light. Probably the second school was taught by Mrs. Humphrey, in her house. Among the patrons of this school were the Porters, the Sheffields, the Stauntons and Mr. McCoy, who had a large family of boys. Another early school was in the Frame neighborhood. This was a rude log house, and stood on land now owned by Mr. Freeman. The educational facilities of these early times were of a crude kind, but were, doubtless, more highly appreciated and more fully utilized than the fine facilities of these latter days. The following is a list of the teachers of the several districts of the township since 1879, with some other items of interest connected with each school, including the price per day paid to each teacher:
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Churches. - The township is well supplied with churches. Salem Church stands near the center of Section 22, Township 34, Range 7; an Old-School Presbyterian Church, on the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of Section 15, Township 34, Range 7; at Boone Grove is a Christian Church, and about half a mile south of this stands an Methodist Episcopal Church. The Salem congregation had their meeting for some time in the houses of the settlers. The house has been used by the Methodists and Presbyterians conjointly for some years. It is now used principally by the Methodists. The Presbyterians have occasional services. Here, just east of the church, is one of the finest graveyards in the county. The first persons buried here were two daughters of Ezra Reeves, who were taken up from the Dunn Farm, where it was at first intended to locate Salem Church. Rev. Baker preaches at Salem Church occasionally. Rev. Brown was one of the early ministers and used to hold services at Mr. Humphrey's before Salem Church was erected. The graveyard was started at the time that the church was built. The church has been almost blown down and has undergone thorough repairs since it was built, which was some thirty years ago. The Old-School Presbyterians, or Scotch Covenanters, who built the church in the Frame neighborhood, have most of them moved away or died. Services have not been maintained here regularly. Joseph and Charles McFarland, and David McKnight were prominent among those who organized this society and built the church. Rev. Thompson used to preach here. The ground for the cemetery at Salem Church was the gift of Jonas Cornish and Rebecca Cornish, his wife.
Post Offices and Stores. - About 1845, a post office was established at Hickory Point, with Jeremy Hickson as Postmaster. He carried the mail from Crown Point for the proceeds of the office. A few years later, Henry Nichols took the office and kept it three years, when his father, William A. Nichols, took it into his care for two or three years. Up to this time, the office was kept just over the line in Winfield Township, Lake Co. Mr. Porter next took the post office and removed it across the line into Porter Township, and was holding it at the time of his death, after which the office was discontinued. There was a post office as early as 1844, at the "Porter Cross-Roads," known as the Porter Cross-Roads Post Office. This was closed about 1865. Ora B. French and E.J. Green, were among the Postmasters. There is a post office at Boone Grove, kept by Enoch Janes. A store was established at Boone Grove about twenty-five years ago by Joseph Janes, who kept it for five or six years, when he closed out. This place was for a time called Baltimore. A store was started at Hickory Point, in Porter, by Alfred Nichols. He kept here for a number of years, and then took his stock to Crown Point. Another was started after he left by Mr. Wallace. This was run for several years. About the time that this one closed up, Mr. Carson came from Ohio with a stook of goods; some years later, he closed out his store, since when no goods have been sold at Hickory Point.
Surface Features. - The physical features of Pine vary from high barren sand-hills at the north to fertile fields at the south. The whole region was heavily timbered at one time, but now most of the good timber is cut off. In the north the timber was pine, while in the central and southern parts oak, hickory, maple, cherry and other varieties of hard wood abounded. Much of the timber was sold for building cars and canal boats. In 1852, this region was a wilderness; deer, wild turkeys and other game were abundant. In mid-winter, 1854, the Indians killed a cub in the township. The tracks of the old bear were seen, but she eluded the hunters. It is not often that bears leave their dens in the middle of the winter as these did.
Settlement. - This township was very backward in settlement, and many of those who early settled here moved away in a short time. A large colony of Polanders has recently came into the southern part of the township. They are industrious, and will subdue and cultivate a country that our own people would pass by for many years. Their small farms and log houses show industry and a determination to build homes.
Industries, etc. - Owing to the tardy growth of the township its history is rather meager. There has never been a church, or its antagonist, a saloon. The lumber and wood business has been the main dependence of the people. Saw mills have been established at various places, but, after using up the timber in the vicinity, have moved away. Charcoal and cheese are the only articles of importance that are manufactured. The cheese factory is in the southeastern part. It was established in 1881 by Younger Frame. Its capacity is 1,200 gallons per day, but it has not yet been run up to its capacity, for the reason that milk can not be readily obtained. Samuel Hackett has three charcoal kilns in the southwestern part. One is about one mile west of the La Porte County line, and the other two are about two miles southwest of this one. The first mentioned holds about sixty-five cords, and the last two about eighty-five cords each. A good quality of charcoal is made.
Schools. - The first schoolhouse used by the citizens of this township
stood just across the line in La Porte County, opposite the southeastern
part of the township. It was a small log house, and was built about
forty-five years ago. This burned down, and a small frame was erected
and used for some time. The next house was built on the town line about
thirty years ago. It was an eight-square structure, built of narrow, thick
boards placed upon each other and lapping alternately at the corners, thus
making a wall about as thick as an ordinary brick wall, and of such a
substantial nature that after the lapse of thirty years it stands apparently
as solid as ever. It has been weather-boarded, and presents an attractive
appearance. Isaac Weston sawed the lumber for this house, and John
Frame and Elias Dresden were prominent among those who constructed
the building and orgarnized the school. In 1855, the number of children
of the school age in the township was 185, of which District No. 1 had
forty-two, No. 2, sixty-four, and No. 3, twenty-four. At this time, D. S.
Steves was clerk. In 1858, there were two schools in which the average
attendance was sixty-eight, and the average compensation for female
teachers was $2.75 per week. The amount expended for instruction was
$102, length of school term, six months, number of books in the library,
146, and the amount paid Trustees for managing schools, $6. In 1859,
John Reader was appointed School Director for District No. 1, and Alfred
Booth for No. 2. John Reader was reappointed for No. 2 in 1860 and
in 1861. In 1865, S. C. Hackett, Trustee, reports 149 children between
the ages of six and twenty-one years. In 1867, John Frame reports 143;
in 1868, 191; in 1869, 156; in 1870, 156. In 1871, William Kemper reports 189;
in 1875, John Hackett reports 179; in 1878, John
Frame reports 169, and in 1880 he reports 189, while for 1882, according to William Lewry, Trustee, there are 114 males and 104 females of
the school age. There are at present three districts. The third was
formed about five years ago. The following is a complete list of the
teachers of the township for the years indicated, with the price per day
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District No. 1,
In District No.2,
District No. 3 was created in 1876. The first teacher was Caroline Hall, who received $1.68. The second in the same year was Esther Harbage who received $1.50. The third was Esther Barnes, who received $1.75. In 1877, Esther Barnes taught the school at $1.75 and $1.50. The last teacher in 1882 was Atta Hackett, who received $1.60 for her services.
Roads. - May 25, 1858, the township was divided into two road districts, as follows: Road District No. 1 begins on the county line at the southeast corner of Section 36 and follows the section line to the town line, thence south to the township corner of Pine and Jackson, thence east to the county line, thence north to the place of beginning and contains twelve sections. District No. 2 commences at the southeast corner of Section 24, thence west to the township line, thence north to the lake shore, thence east along the shore to the county line, thence south to the place of beginning. There are now four road districts. The roads of the township are not in good condition.
Fish Lake, in the northeast corner of the township, was a lake of some size at one time. Mr. Chancey Blair has drained it and converted it into a fine cranberry plantation.
Stores, etc. - There is a small store just east of Furnessville kept by William Lowry. This is the first and only store that the township has had, and this has been established but a short time. Mr. Lowry has a blacksmith and wagon shop, and has a reputation for doing excellent work.
The First Settler of this township was perhaps a man by the name of Switzer, who built a log tavern west of Michigan City. This building was about 30 x 40 feet, and belonged at one time to William P. Ward.
A Mystery - In the fall of 1877, a severe storm occurred upon the lake. After this storm, a Mr. Crawford was gathering wood along the lake shore, and was startled to see upon the sands a dead body that proved to be that of a young lady of from eighteen to twenty-two years of ago. She was fair, with auburn hair and pearly teeth. Her form was fine, but the face was so marred as to destroy its beauty. She was about five feet in height and of medium weight. There was a gash upon the head and another upon the neck that seemed to indicate violence. The only articles of clothing upon the body were the shoes, stockings and garters. A Coroner's jury was summoned, an inquest held and a verdict rendered of death by drowning. The fact of the finding of the body was advertised in local and Chicago papers, but no one has ever come to claim the remains, which were buried upon the beach near the place where found. The shoes are still in the possession of J. B. Lurdberg, of Chesterton. They are of good material, neat make, and of a style then much worn. The body was found on the Saturday preceding November 10, 1877, and was buried on Sunday. The place of finding is near the line of Westchester and Pine, but the evidence seems to show quite clearly that it was in Pine. In this lonely grave, with this maiden, lies buried a mystery which no one yet has solved.
Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny,
Rash and undutiful,
Past all dishonor
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful."
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