Pages

Monday, January 8, 2018

Revolutionary War Soldiers of Porter County

When recalling the military service of citizens of Porter County, rarely do we consider those that served in the American Revolutionary War. Given that Indiana statehood did not take place until 1816, 33 years after the conclusion of the war, and Porter County itself failed to exist as a political entity until 1836, it is understandable why the Revolutionary War would be a rather inconsequential military conflict within the annals of the county's history.

The American Revolutionary War began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies on the North American continent. The conflict would expand into a global war between several European powers. The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution, whereby the colonists rejected the right of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation, claiming that this violated the "Rights of Englishmen."

In 1775, revolutionaries gained control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, formed the Second Continental Congress, and created a Continental Army. Petitions to King George III to intervene with the parliament on their behalf resulted in the members of the newly established congress being declared traitors and the states in rebellion the following year.

Colonists responded by formally declaring their independence as a new nation, the United States of America, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. In 1777, the Continentals captured a British army, leading France to formally enter the war on the side of America in early 1778. France had been providing the Continental Army supplies, ammunition, and guns since 1776, thereby leveling the military strength of Britain.

Spain and the Dutch Republic, both French allies, also went to war with Britain over the next two years. Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities. Control of the countryside, where 90 percent of the population lived, largely eluded them because of the relatively small size of their land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory at Yorktown in 1781 leading to the surrender of the British army. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west. 

Two individuals who served in the American Revolutionary War are buried in Porter County; namely, Henry Batton and Joseph Jones. A third individual, James Morgan, has also been mentioned as buried in the county. Research concerning Morgan, however, will show that this claim is untrue as a result of fact-based coincidences.

HENRY BATTON
Henry Batton was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1750. Like the majority of Revolutionary War veterans, Henry's military service record must be pieced together using United States Bureau of Pensions records and muster records maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is known that Henry entered military service on August 15, 1776, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as a member of Captain William Harrod's Company in Colonel Thomas Gaddis' Regiment. Batton's volunteer service in the army would exceed two years. Below is what is known of Batton's Revolutionary War service record.
  • 1776, August 15 – Mustered into volunteer service in Captain William Harrod’s Company at Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Troops were marched from near Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to Atkinson’s Fort at the head of Ten Mile Creek in Monongalia County, Virginia (now Washington County, Pennsylvania) to serve as part of Colonel Thomas Gaddis’ regiment.
  • 1777, February – Discharged from service at Atkinson’s Fort.
  • 1777, April – Called into volunteer service and mustered into Captain William Cross’ Company. Troops were sent to Fort Pitt in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and Batton served as a sergeant under the command of General Edward Hand. Stationed at Fort Pitt for four months.
  • 1777, August – Discharged from service at Fort Pitt.
  • Called into volunteer service and mustered into Captain Theophilus Phillips' Company. Troops marched from near Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to Bell’s Fort along Ruff's Creek in Washington County, Pennsylvania, which was under the command of Colonel John Minor. Stationed at Bell’s Fort for two months.
  • Dismissed from service but was “required to be in readiness to march into service when called.” Dismissal period lasted approximately one month before called back to duty.
  • Called back into volunteer service in Captain Phillip’s Company and troops marched to Garrett’s Fort located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Serviced at Garrett’s Fort for two months and then dismissed from service.
  • Dismissal period, length unknown.
  • Called back into volunteer service in Captain Phillip’s Company and reported for service at Fort Minor located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Served at Fort Minor for two months and then dismissed from service.
  • Dismissal period, length unknown.
  • Called back into volunteer service in Captain Phillip’s Company. Troops marched to Stradless Fort in Virginia. Served at Stradless Fort for two months and then dismissed from service.
  • Dismissal period, length unknown.
  • Called back into volunteer service under Lieutenant Samuel McKinley. Troops marched to Martin’s Fort, which was situated on Crooked Run along the west side of the Monongahela River. Served at Martin’s Fort for two months and then dismissed from service.
  • Dismissal period, length unknown.
  • Called back into volunteer service in Captain Phillip’s Company. Troops marched to Henry Enoch's Fort on at the forks of the Cacapon River and North River [located today in Hampshire County, West Virginia]. Served at Henry Enoch’s Fort for two months and then discharged from service.
  • Discharge period, length unknown.
  • Called into volunteer service to report to Fort Van Meter on the head of Muddy Creek in Pennsylvania (today located in Ohio County, West Virginia) under Captain Philips and Lieutenant Colonel John Minor. Served at Fort Van Meter for two months.
  • 1778, September - Discharged from service.
Note that is is quite possible that prior to the Revolutionary War that Henry also served in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774, which was a conflict between the Colony of Virginia and the Mingo and Shawnee Indian nations.

Tracing Batton's whereabouts after the Revolutionary War is difficult. An application submitted in 1914 by John Onesimus Foster, a eighty year old clergyman from Seattle, King County, Washington, for membership in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution indicates that Henry Batton was John's great-grandfather. The application stipulates that the name of Henry's wife was Elizabeth; this information reportedly being taken from a deed.

Interestingly, another application for membership in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was submitted in 1923 by Stephen Joseph Herben, the grandson of John Onesimus Foster. In his application, Stephen writes that "Rev. John O. Foster remembered 'Uncle Henry' well." Given that John was born in LaPorte County, Indiana, in 1833, he indeed very likely interacted his great-grandfather, who died when John was 12 years old. Though being John's great-grandfather, Henry Batton was probably called "Uncle Henry" by the entire community.

It is known that Henry had at least one child, Hannah Batton, born June 10, 1779, in Marion County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Some sources suggest that Hannah was Henry's sole offspring. Henry's wife, Elizabeth, would pass away in Virginia.

Hannah would marry John Hageman on March 22, 1798. John Hageman was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on October 9, 1768. He would die in 1843 and Hannah in 1845, both in Porter County; they are both interred in their family plot at Gossett Cemetery in Porter County's Liberty Township.

Henry Batton most likely followed his son-in-law and daughter to Indiana. John Hageman and his family initially moved to Union County, Indiana, residing there for a short period of time. They then migrated to Montgomery County and thence to Fountain County, residing in or near the town of Rob Roy. A son, Henry Hageman, would move to LaPorte County, Indiana, in 1832, residing with his brother-in-law, John I. Foster. Along with Jacob Beck and William Gossett, Hageman and Foster would later move to Porter County, establishing the small community of Waverly north of Chesterton.

John Hageman, his wife Hannah, and Henry Batton would later move to Porter County.

Henry Batton applied for a military pension on March 11, 1833, when he was an 83 year old resident of Fountain County, Indiana. Prior to applying for his pension, Henry swore under oath the details of his military service on January 27, 1833:
The State of Indiana Fountain County SS}
Before me John Bodley a justice of the peace in and fore said county personally came. Henry Batton who being duly sworn as the law directs [---?---] and saith that he was called into service of the Revolutionary War by authority of the State of Pennsylvania as a volunteer in the Month of August or September in the year 1776 under captain William Heoared was marched from near Uniontown in Pennsylvania to Atkinson's fort on the head of ten mile [creek] in the date aforesaid continued in the service [---?---] until the month of February 1777 when he was discharged. That during this service he was bound to the regiment of Col Gaddis as stated in the foregoing declaration. That in the month of April in the last named year he was called a second time into the service under Captain William Cross as a volunteer by a call from the Governor of Penna and went to Fort Pit[t] in Penna and continued stationed there for four month when he was again discharged. That General [Edward] Hand commanded at fort Pit[t] at that time . That both during the above [---?---] he was a [---?---] sargent. That he was called again into service by the same authority in the company commanded by Captain Theophilus Philips was marched from near Uniontown Penna to Bells fort in the same state was attached to Col Minor's regiment and continued in service two months when we were dismissed when we were required to be in readiness to march into service when called on and was called on again about one month after we were dismissed under the same officer and went to Garrets fort in the State of Penna when we were again dismissed after having continued in service two months. And he was called again unto service under the same officers to go to fort Miners on by [---?---] in Penna where we continued two months when we were again dismissed. Was called again into service under same officers and was marched to Stradless fort in the State of Virginia where we continued two months and was again dismissed. Called again into service under Lt. McKinley and was marched to Martins fort in the line between Pennsylvania and Virginia and continued there two months was called again into service under Captain Philips and marched to Enoch fort on 10 Mile Creek in Pennsylvania where we continued two months when we were discharged. On every tour he was an orderly sergeant. That he was called out to go to Vanmeters fort on the heads of Muddy Creek Pa under Captain Philips and Lt Col Miner. Continued in service two months. The he believes the he served in all twenty five months that he cannot state the periods of time at which all those short tours happened but is well satisfied he has served in all two years or upwards. Question 1 Where and what year was you Born. I was born in the year 1750 in Chester County Pennsylvania. Answer to second question I have a written record of my age copied from my father's Bible into my own. Answer to the Third question I lived in Fayette County Penna when called into service . since the Revolution I have lived in Pennsylvania in Virginia and Indiana & now live in Fountain County Inda. I was called in service each tour above stated as a volunteer and was acquainted with the above officers above stated have no discharge.

Sworn to & subscribed this 27th day of January A. D. 1833 before me.

J. Bodley JP {seal}
Henry Batton his mark



State of Indiana
Fountain County } SS
On this 11th day of March 1833 personally appeared in open Court of Fountain County, now sitting, the same being a court of record, Henry Batton a resident of Fountain County in the State of Indiana, aged eighty three years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress, passed June 7th 1832. That he entered the service of the United States and was immediately appointed Sergeant in Capt. Harrods company under the following named officers and served as herein stated. Col Thomas Gaddis, Lt Col John Minor, Capt Wm Harrod and Capt Wm [---?---] and Lt Saml McKinley. Entered the service 15th August 1776, left the service September 1778. At the time of entering the service he resided near Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and entered the service as a volunteer, marched while in the service through the counties of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Served in a Battalion of volunteers from the State of Pennsylvania, and while in the service became acquainted with the following named company officers, Capt James Neil, Capt John Sparks and Lt John Hardin belonging to the regular service. That applicant is destitute of any documenting evidence to substantiate his claim, and has not the power of procuring the testimony of persons to his services.

He hereby relinquishes any claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the Agency of any state. Sworn and subscribed, the day and year aforesaid.

Henry Batton


That Solomon McKinney a clergyman residing in the county of Fountain Indiana and Frederick C. Paine residing in same county & state hereby certify, that we are well acquainted with Henry Batton who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration, that we believe him to be eighty three years of age, that he is reported and believed in the enighborhood where he resides, to have been a soldier of the revolution, and the we concur in that opinion. Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

Solomon McKinney
F C Paine


And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogatorial prescribed by the War Department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier, and served as he states. And the Court further certifies that it appears to them that Solomon McKinney who has signed the preceding certificate is a clergyman resident in Fountain County Indiana and that Frederick C. Paine who has also signed the same, is a resident in the same county & state and is a creditable person, and their statement is entitled to credit.

John R. Porter
Evan Henton
Linus Hebeker
Henry Batton's sworn statement of his military
service during the Revolutionary War, dated July 27, 1833.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

It is known that when Batton was residing in Fountain County, Indiana, that he was very poor. A letter from Covington, the county seat, dated March 26, 1834, and sent to the United States Bureau of Pensions asks for quick approval of Batton's pension since the "old man is very poor." A transcription of this letter follows:
Covington March 26, 1834

Dear Sir
I herewith send to you the papers in the pension case of Henry Batton. I saw and conversed with him yesterday. He is willing that his claim should be considered as a private. The old man is very poor so much so that he has been under the necessity of making application to the overseer of the poor for aid. Hoping you will transmit your decision soon as possible in this case.

I am your obedient servant

Honl I. L. Edwards
P[eter]. H. Patterson
Upon receipt of Henry's application for a pension, the Bureau of Pensions replied that he would not be able to claim a pension for serving as a sergeant unless he could provide additional proof of being enlisted at that rank. Instead, his pension would be at the lower rate for those veterans that served as privates. As the letter above shows, he accepted a private's pension rate. Hence, Batton's pension was approved and by 1839 he was receiving an annual pension totaling $73.33.

Evidence suggests that Batton removed to Porter County, presumably from Fountain County, Indiana, either in 1839 or 1840. On July 3, 1840, Batton united with the Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso via a letter from a congregation in Virginia. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Presbyterian Church in that community, which was completed in 1844.

Three factors likely motivated
his move north. First, he was ninety years old and likely needed some assistance in performing everyday household tasks. Second, his son-in-law and daughter were residing in the Porter County by 1840 and could provide the needed assistance. Third, even with his military pension, he would have probably had difficultly living on $73 per year and required some measure of financial assistance from his daughter's family.


Letter to U.S. Bureau of Pensions indicating that Henry
Batton would accept a pension at the rate given the those
veterans that served as private, dated March 26, 1834.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

Church records indicate that Batton passed away on February 1, 1845, at the age of 94 years. His funeral service took place at the newly constructed Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso. The Valparaiso newspaper, Western Ranger, reported that:
There were many groups from distant points attending the funeral of Henry A. Battan [sic]. Sleighs, cutters and bob-sleds filled the side streets, and every hitching rack around the square was occupied.

Father Battan would have been pleased to see that all the horses were well blanketed. There were visitors from Crown Point, The Corners, Hickory Point, Jackson Township, Coffee Creek and City West, and all nearby communities. The church was filled. Burial was in the Gosset
[sic] cemetery.
His remains were interred on the crest of a hill overlooking Salt Creek in the Gossett Cemetery in Liberty Township. The name Batton was engraved on the Gossett burial monument and Henry's burial tombstone was marked with a simple "H. B."

Though it was commonly recognized that Henry Batton was buried in Porter County, little was known about his military service. Mark L. Dickover, an active historian of the county, wrote a letter to the United States Bureau of Pensions on May 10, 1910, to ascertain any information that could be provided concerning Batton's activities during the Revolutionary War.

Letter to U.S. Bureau of Pensions from Mark L. Dickover
requesting military service information concerning
Henry Batton, dated May 10, 1910.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

The material gathered by Dickover was presumably maintained in county historical files. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, state and local chapters of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) began erecting thousands of memorials at the gravesites of Revolutionary War soldiers. The William Henry Harrison chapter of the D.A.R. located in Valparaiso was no exception. On Sunday, June 23, 1929, this chapter held a ceremony at 2:30 pm at the Gossett Cemetery to erect a bronze plaque to commemorate the military service of Henry Batton. The ceremony included a benediction, speeches, a laying of a wreath, the singing of the America, a firing of volley shots as a salute, and concluded with the playing of taps. An identical ceremony was held that day at 4:30 pm at Boone Township's Cornell Cemetery to mark the burial location of Joseph Jones.

In a letter sent to the United States Bureau of Pensions on November 10, 1930, by members of Fountain County's Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the D.A.R., a request was made to identify Henry Batton's "exact burial place." The members wrote that they were "extremely anxious to do this properly and are asking you [the Bureau] to help us." It appears that the Fountain County D.A.R. chapter believed that Henry Batton was interred in their county due to his military pension application originating from there.

The anxiety mentioned in the letter was probably due to the fact that the Fountain County D.A.R. chapter had already obtained a military tombstone from the federal government for installation at Batton's burial site. But where was Henry buried? It was soon determined that Henry was buried in Porter County. Thus, in November 1930 the military tombstone was delivered from the Fountain County D.A.R. chapter to Gossett Cemetery for installation.

If you visit the Gossett Cemetery, then you will not find the bronze plaque. The plaque was discovered to have been stolen in February 1966. In addition, vandals had dug two feet into the ground and physically removed the military tombstone that was ordered and installed by the Fountain County chapter of the D.A.R. in 1930. It is suspected that the vandals may have intended to steal the tombstone as well since it was placed against a fence on the opposite side of the cemetery from where Batton is buried.
Left: Rollie Bernhart, Vidette-Messenger reporter, points to
location where stolen bronze marker was located at Henry Batton gravesite.
Right: Jane Blachly examines Henry Batton's tombstone, which was
removed from gravesite to the cemetery's boundary fence.
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, February 12, 1966.
 

Note that there are some published facts concerning the life of Henry Batton that are most certainly untrue. A biographical sketch of of John Hageman published in 1894 states that his wife, Hannah (Batton) Hageman, "had three sisters, all of whom were born at one birth [i.e. quadruplets] and all of whom lived, married and reared twelve children each." This statement is clearly false given other documents state that Hannah was Henry Batton's only child.

A biographical sketch of Henry Batton written by William Ormand Wallace, better known as The Stroller, was published in the November 20, 1957, issue of The Vidette-Messenger. Like most stories written by The Stroller, the Batton tale is riddled with errors. For instance, Wallace writes:
In 1883 the Converse & Reeves stage was put in operation making the round trip [from Fort Dearborn to Detroit] in three or four days, and, to see 'what was on the other side of the mountain.' Henry Battan [sic] made this round trip.
By 1883, Batton had been dead for more than 37 years. And Henry's surname is misspelled throughout Wallace's column. All military service records and pension documents, including those submitted by Henry, consistently spell his surname as Batton. There were other individuals named Batton born about the same time as Henry in Chester County, Pennsylvania; how these individuals are related, if at all, is unknown.

Wallace was known to embellish his stories, making up facts in order to produce interesting regional history columns for the readership of The Vidette-Messenger. Therefore, columns written by the The Stroller should be questioned with regard to their historical accuracy.

JOSEPH JONES
Joseph Jones is the other known Revolutionary War veteran to reside in Porter County, Indiana. Jones was born in 1755 in Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Jones and Nellie (Barbary) Jones. It is known that prior to reaching Porter County in 1841 to live in Boone Grove that Jones was residing in Holmes County, Ohio. He died soon after arriving in Boone Grove, passing away on October 28, 1841. It is suspected Jones may have moved to Porter County to be near one of his children due to either illness, infirmity, or old age. Alternatively, he may have migrated to Porter County after obtaining a land grant in compensation for his military service.

In 1775, Joseph Jones married Ruth Holden, a woman about seven years his elder. Ruth was born on May 2, 1748, at Harvard, Worcester County, Massachusetts, the daughter of Justinian Holden and Ruth (Robins) Sawyer Holden. Their union resulted in at least two children; a daughter Lydia was born on June 28 1775, at Mendon, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, and a son Moses was born on August 27, 1776, at Harvard. Ruth would pass way in August 1820 at Richland County, Ohio, at the age of 72 years.

Enlistment and discharge information
from Joseph Jones' muster roll records.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

Joseph Jones' military service records indicate that he served as a private in Colonel Timothy Bigelow's regiment, enlisting on January 1, 1776, and mustering out of service on January 9, 1777. He enlisted into military service again on November 10, 1777, for a three year term, serving as a private in Captain Sylvanus Smith's Company in the Battalion of Massachusetts State Forces commanded by Colonel Bigelow. He would encamp with General George Washington's troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, during the winter of 1777-1778. Joseph was discharged from service on November 10, 1780, at which time he was still serving as a private in Captain Sylvanus Smith's Company of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment commanded by Colonel Bigelow. Thus, Joseph Jones served nearly five years in military service during the war.

Jones' Will, dated March 11, 1840, appears in Porter County Will Book A (pp. 12-13); it was proven in open court on February 13, 1843. Where Joseph's body is buried is somewhat of a mystery. Records suggest that he was interred in Cornell Cemetery in Porter County's Boone Township. However, a National Archives and Records Administration military graves registration card indicates that he was buried at a Presbyterian Cemetery in Perrysville, Ashland County, Ohio. Indeed, there is a military tombstone at Perrysville Union Cemetery inscribed with the name Joseph Jones with birth and death dates identical to the Joseph Jones that died in Porter County.

It seems rather unlikely, however, that if Jones died in Porter County that his remains would have been transported to Ashland County, Ohio, for burial. There were no rail lines in either Porter County or LaPorte County until 1852. Transporting his body by ship via Michigan City to Sandusky or Cleveland, Ohio, and then south to Perrysville would have been an arduous, and probably expensive, task.

The Lewis Publishing Company's history of Porter County, published in 1912, mentions that "his [Joseph Jones'] remains rest in an  unmarked grave in the old Cornell Cemetery." Today, there is a headstone marking Joseph's burial site at the Cornell Cemetery.

JAMES MORGAN
For some time, it has been suspected that a third Revolutionary War soldier may have been buried in Porter County. This belief was likely prompted by the following newspaper item published in The Porter County Vidette on April 5, 1916, suggesting that a James Morgan of Porter County served in the American Revolutionary War:

HUNTING THE BURIAL PLACE OF OLD SOLDIER

Who knows the burial place of James Morgan, a revolutionary soldier, who died here March 1, 1840?

The Daughters of the American Revolution want to know, that they may give his grave the honor due. Until a letter was received here this morning, it was believed that only two soldiers of the revolution had been laid to rest here -- Henry Battan [sic, Batton] and Joseph Jones.

Mrs. H. W. Stone, of Caldwell, Ida., in communication to the county clerk's office, sought the first name of her great-great-grandmother, and the dates of her birth and death. In the same letter she gave the information about her great-great-grandfather, which is received here with much animation.

"My great-great-grandfather, Jas. Morgan," Mrs. Stone writes, "died March 1, 1840, in or near Valparaiso. He was a revolutionary soldier and a brother of General Daniel Morgan, 1737 [should be 1736]-1802. His wife died there also. Her last name was Cox. Can you give me her first name; also the date of birth and death?"

The letter was a revelation to those here interested in the history of the county. Everything possible will be done by the D. A. R. and Indiana centennial organization to bring to light the patriot's resting place.

Further information is being sought at Washington on the record of Henry Battan who was buried in the Gossett cemetery, that an appropriate monument may be erected there for him.
Indeed, research was conducted to determine the burial location of James Morgan based on the information provided by Louise (Finney) Stone in 1916 to the Porter County Clerk. The research, however, bore no fruit and uncertainty remained as to whether Porter County was the final resting place of a third Revolutionary War soldier.

Given the prominence of the Morgan family in Porter County's early history, it would seem quite plausible that a James Morgan was perhaps a resident of the county and buried within its soil. In 1876, A. G. Hardesty wrote of the Morgan's in his Illustrated History of Porter County, Indiana:
In 1828 Jesse, Isaac, and William Morgan, three brothers, left their native home in Monongehala [sic] county, Virginia, for Wayne county, Ohio, from where they moved into Laporte county, Indiana, where they were appointed to fill responsible positions in that county that had sprung into existence but a short time previous. But they were not yet satisfied with their location, and, in 1833, with their large families and worldly effects, they come by the way of the Old Soc [sic, Sauk] trail into this county in 1833. Isaac and William Morgan settled on the beautiful prairie that now bears their name. Jesse Morgan settled in what is now West Chester township, on section 6, on the Detroit and Chicago road heretofore spoken of.
The parents of these three Morgan brothers were James Morgan and Hannah (Cox) Morgan. Interestingly, James was a Revolutionary War soldier, as well as a soldier in Lord Dunmore's War against the Mingo and Shawnee Indian nations. James was born on January 10, 1755, in Frederick County, Virginia, and died on April 11, 1823, in Franklin, Wayne County, Ohio; he is interred at Butler Cemetery situated in Moreland, Wayne County, Ohio.

James and Hannah had another son that did not migrate to Indiana, his name was James Morgan. James, son of James and Hannah, was born in 1794 and at some point in time migrated to Iowa. He died in 1840 and was buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Des Moines County, Iowa. It was these two James, directly related to Porter County's pioneer Morgan brothers (Isaac, Jesse, and William), that most likely led Louise (Finney) Stone to believe that her James Morgan ancestor died and was buried in Porter County. James the elder was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, while James the younger died in 1840; those two facts match the information in Stone's letter.

Louise (Finney) Stone's ancestor, however, was another James Morgan that served in the Revolutionary War and coincidentally died in 1840. Her James was born on April 5, 1748, at Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and was the son of David Morgan and Sarah (Stevens) Morgan. He would marry Margaret Jolliffe in 1786 in Uniontown, Fayette County, Virginia, and not Hannah Cox as suggested in Stone's letter. The union between James and Margaret yielded at least twelve children - five sons and seven daughters. James' date of death was March 1, 1840, which matches the date of death mentioned in Stone's letter to the Porter County Clerk; he died in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and was buried in Wauwatosa Cemetery. A handsome plaque was erected in this cemetery in 2005 commemorating James Morgan's Revolutionary War service.

SUSANNAH FIFIELD
Records indicate that at least one widow of a Revolutionary War soldier is buried in Porter County. Susannah (Choate) Fifield, wife of veteran Benjamin Fifield (b. 1754, d. 1825), migrated from Enfield, Grafton County, New Hampshire, and located in Porter County early in the county's history. She may have been following her son, Thomas Hale Fifield and his wife, Alice (Carter) Fifield, to Porter County. Records of the Valparaiso Presbyterian Church reveal that Susannah Fifield was received into that congregation by letter on August 22, 1852.

Susannah would draw a military pension from the federal government as a result of Benjamin Fifield's military service, out of which she gave annually ten dollars to foreign missions. She would pass away in 1856.The location of Susannah's remains is unknown, but evidence suggests that she may rest in an unmarked in Valparaiso's Union Street Cemetery.

Benjamin Fifield served as a private in Captain James Osgood's Company of the New Hampshire Rangers, which was attached to Colonel Timothy Bedel's Regiment of the First New Hampshire Northern Army. Fifield's regiment fought in the frontier region of New Hampshire, as well as in Canada.

Given the evidence, it appears that only two veterans of the Revolutionary War, Henry Batton and Joseph Jones, are interred in Porter County. The fact that a second tombstone exists for Joseph Jones at Perrysville Union Cemetery in Ashland County, Ohio, however, does create some measure of uncertainty as to whether he is truly buried at Cornell Cemetery near Boone Grove.

Source Material

Books
Beckwith, H. W. 1881. History of Fountain County, Together with Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley. Chicago, Illinois: H. H. Hill and N. Iddings. 494 p.

DeBolt, Mary M. 1909. Lineage Book: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Volume LXXII. Washington, D.C.: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 397 p. [see p. 191, Membership No. 71536, lineage of Mrs. Louise Finney Stone]

Enoch, Harry G. 1999. Historical Records of the Enoch Family in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Privately published. 210 p. [see p. 77]

Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of LaPorte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p. [see pp. 212-214]

Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Lake and Porter, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey and Company. 771 p. [see pp. 78-79]

Hardesty, A. G. 1876. Illustrated History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: A. G. Hardesty. 90 p. [see p. 23]

The Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Volume I. Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company. 357 p. [see pp. 98-99]

National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. 1914. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications. Volume 121. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. [National No. 24025, lineage of John O. Foster]

National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.1923. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications. Volume 194. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. [National No. 38741, lineage of Stephen Joseph Herben, Junior] 

Linn, John Blair, and William H Egle. 1880. Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line. 1775-1783. Volume I. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Lane S. Hart. 794 p.

Periodicals and Archived Microfilm
Anonymous. 1906. Graves of Revolutionary Soldiers. The Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History 2(2):97-99.

National Archives and Records Administration. 1912. Case Files of Pension and Bounty-land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service. Compiled circa 1800 to circa 1912. Publication No. M804, Record Group 15, Roll 0178, Pension No. S 31542 (Henry Batton).  Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 39 p.

National Archives and Records Administration. 1912. Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. Compiled circa 1894 to circa 1912. Publication No. M881, Record Group 93, Roll 0454.  Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

Newspapers (listed by date of publication)
The Porter County Vidette, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 5, 1916; Page 4, Column 6.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; September 24, 1927; Volume 1, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "Valparaiso Man Recalls Meeting Revolutionary War Veteran; 2 Found Resting Places in County."

The Lake County Times, Hammond, Lake County, Indiana; September 30, 1927; Volume 22, Number 73, Page 10, Columns 1-2. Column titled "Valpo Citizens Recall Veteran of Revolution. Saw Him on Platform at Cincinnati With Grandfather of Hammond Physician."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 7, 1929; Volume 2, Page 2, Column 7. Column titled "D. A. R. Plan Mark Graves."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; June 20, 1929; Volume 46, Number 15, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "Honor Revolutionary Soldiers on Sunday."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 21, 1929; Volume 2, Page 10, Column 4. Column titled "Patriotic Organizations Join in Paying Tribute to Porter County Soldiers of Revolution."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 22, 1929; Volume 2, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "Patriot's Day Pilgrimage to Honor War Heroes, Sunday."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; June 27, 1929; Volume 46, Number 16, Page 1, Columns 2-3 and Page 6, Columns 4-6. Column titled "Is Porter Porter?"

The Indianapolis Sunday Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; May 11, 1930; Volume 27, Number 340, Part 5, Page 11, Column 1. Column titled "Activities of Indiana D.A.R.," by Estelle Marshall Walters.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; November 12, 1930; Volume 4, Page 1, Columns 2-3. Column titled "Find Grave of Revolutionary Soldier in Gossett Cemetery for Fountain County D. A. R."

The Lake County Times, Hammond, Lake County, Indiana; November 13, 1930; Volume 25, Number 105, Page 6, Columns 6-7. Column titled "Locate Grave of Revolution Vet in Porter."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 6, 1935; Volume 6, Page 2, Column 6. Column titled "Stone Marker Put on Grave of Old Soldier."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 12. Column titled Two Vets of Revolution Buried in Porter County."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; October 25, 1941; Volume 15, Page 1, Column 1. Column titled "Plat Graves of War Vets Over County."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; November 20, 1957; Volume 31, Number 118, Page 1, Column 8 and Page 6, Columns 6-7. Column titled "County Held Battan In High Esteem," by The Stroller [William Ormand Wallace].

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; February 12, 1966; Volume 39, Number 187, Page 1, Columns 4-5. Column titled "Cemetery Vandalism."

© 2018 Steven R. Shook. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Lake Shore Wreck at Shadyside Crossing, 1909

According to one enumeration, at least 145 people have been killed and another 437 injured as a result of railroad wrecks in Porter County, Indiana. Four wrecks, in particular, resulted in significant casualties. Three of these four wrecks were, in part, due to the lack of train crews' visual confirmation of signals, flags, and lamps.

Blame for the Sandy Hook wreck (1887) in Boone Township was placed on a freight train engineer who failed to heed the warning of a trackside semaphore lamp indicating that a train was idle on the track ahead; dense fog was said to have made the lamp nearly impossible to observe. Heavy snow and wind played a significant role in Porter County's worst rail disaster at Woodville in Liberty Township (1906). The horrendous Porter wreck (1921), whereby a New York Central passenger train tore through a Michigan Central passenger train crossing its path, was blamed on the failure to observe a stop signal. The stop signal, however, was claimed to have been cloaked by smoke generated by another Michigan Central train standing idle on a sidetrack.

The ability to visually observe a signal had nothing to do with the fourth major railroad wreck in Porter County. Instead, the motorman of an interurban train failed to heed a dispatch order.

On December 2, 1901, the Chicago & Indiana Air Line Railway incorporated with the intention of connecting the Indiana cities of East Chicago and South Bend with electric trolley service. By 1903, the company had completed a 3.4-mile streetcar route between East Chicago and Indiana Harbor in Lake County. The golden age of interurbans was just beginning and the railway company reincorporated and recapitalized in 1904 as the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway, commonly referred to as the Lake Shore, to better reflect the region that it intended to service.

The Lake Shore continued extending it service eastward. Ten trains per day were operating between Hammond and South Bend by September 1908. Before the end of that year, the Lake Shore had extended its service westward into Chicago. Chicago service was achieved by leasing the Illinois Central Railroad's Kensington & Eastern Railroad line between 115th Street in Chicago to the Illinois-Indiana border. On July 1, 1909, a passenger could travel continuously without transfer from Chicago to South Bend on the Lake Shore line; the cost of establishing the line between these two cities was $4.55 million [nearly $118 million in 2017 dollars], $2 million more than had been anticipated.

In 1909, the Lake Shore interurban line was owned and operated by a syndicate headquartered in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Cleveland banking professionals George Newcombe Chandler, Henry Payne McIntosh, Joseph Randolph Nutt, and Myron Henry Wilson were the trustees of the syndicate. Harold Ulmer Wallace, formerly of president of the Wallace-Coates Engineering Company of Chicago and a graduate of Purdue University, was employed by the syndicate to serve as the Lake Shore's general manager. A few years previous, Wallace's father, John Findley Wallace, had been appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as chief engineer of the Isthmian Canal Commission, the developers and builders of the Panama Canal.

Photograph of Harold Ulmer Wallace, General Manager
of the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railroad.
Source: Electric Railway Review, 1908.

June 18th and 19th, 1909, were extremely busy days for the Lake Shore. Ridership on the single-track line was at capacity since the Cobe Cup Race, the predecessor of the Indianapolis 500, was taking place in southern Lake County, Indiana. During the early evening of Saturday, June 19th, Lake Shore trains were transporting Cobe Cup spectators, who had earlier in the day witnessed Louis Chevrolet win the Cobe Cup Trophy, back to their homes.

The chain of events that led to the collision at Shadyside in Westchester Township began at 7:55 pm when Lake Shore train No. 59, operated by Motorman George Andrew Reed and Conductor Delmar Kinney, departed the Pullman Station in Chicago for South Bend. When they arrived at the Gary station in Lake County, Indiana, there were more than 50 passengers on board the passenger car.

Pinback souvenir from the Cobe Cup Races, June 18-19, 1909.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Postcard image of the Cobe Cup grandstands
at Crown Point, Lake County, Indiana.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Meanwhile, Lake Shore train No. 58, operated by Motorman Fred Schimmel and Conductor E. A. Pahl, had departed South Bend at 7:02 pm headed westbound for the Chicago station at Pullman. The time card schedule for train Nos. 58 and 59 indicated that they would meet at Long Lake at 8:55 pm. Long Lake is situated directly south of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's West Beach parking facility, immediately southwest of Ogden Dunes in Portage Township. Since the Lake Shore was a single line track, one train would take to a sidetrack at Long Lake while the other proceeded past on the main line.

Westbound train No. 58, however, arrived late at its Franklin Street stop in Michigan City. As a result, the Lake Shore dispatcher relayed to the agent at Michigan City an order that train No. 58 would meet train No. 59 at Wilson located 3.4 miles east of the scheduled Long Lake stop. The order passed was passed on from the station agent in Michigan City to the train's crew.

Eastbound train No. 59 had arrived slightly late into the station at Gary. In addition, Conductor Kinney was ill and had requested to be relieved at Gary. Though Kinney had expected a substitute to replace him, there was no Lake Shore conductor available at Gary to do so. The Lake Shore dispatcher, being made aware of a situation in flux between the two trains, issued to the agents at Gary and Michigan City three separate and distinct orders; each subsequent order extinguished the dispatcher's previous order. The first order stated that train No. 58 would purposely run 25 minutes behind schedule. The second order was that the two trains would meet at the Mineral Springs stop in Westchester Township. The third and final order was that the two trains would meet at the Wilson stop in Portage Township, which was identical to the earlier order received by train No. 58 at Michigan City. Conductor Kinney received the dispatcher's third and final order from the Lake Shore station agent at Gary, which he was required to relay to Motorman Reed.

Thus, both trains departed their respective stations with a dispatch order to meet at the Wilson stop. At Dune Park, eastbound train No. 59 stopped to let a passenger disembark; Dune Park was located one-quarter of mile east of the Wilson stop. Hence, train No. 59 had already passed the ordered meeting point at Wilson. Train No. 59 reportedly started up rapidly when leaving Dune Park and soon collided with westbound train No. 58 at a sharp curve in the line at the Shadyside Crossing in Section 32 of Township 37 North, Range 6 West in Westchester Township.

Map showing location of collision at
Shadyside Crossing (shaded oval) and Mineral
Springs Station in Westchester Township.
Source: George Ogle and Company's Standard
Atlas of Porter County, Indiana
, 1921. [see p. 25]

Therefore, train No. 59 had already ventured more than one and one-eighth miles past the Wilson stop when it collided with train No. 58 shortly after 9:00 pm. Signs along the track were installed at points before the curve at Shadyside Crossing warning trains to slow to 30 miles per hour.

Motorman Schimmel, operating the westbound train, apparently saw that an oncoming collision was going to take place and had fully stopped his train before the eastbound train, traveling more than 50 miles per hour, smashed into his train. Schimmel would later testify that he had even attempted to move his car backward before the collision, but the air brakes had not yet released the wheels when the impact took place. Motorman Reed and ten of his passengers on train No. 59 were killed and more than 40 others between the two trains were injured.

Front page headline concerning the Shadyside wreck.
Source: The Chesterton Tribune, June 24, 1909.

Postcard image of wreck at Shadyside Crossing on the Chicago,
Lake Shore & South Bend Railway near Baillytown, looking eastward. Train
No. 59 (Motorcar No. 73) is the passenger car to the right in this image.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Nils Haglund, residing very near Shadyside Crossing, was one of the first individuals to arrive at the wreck and assist in rescue efforts. Haglund also telephoned to Chesterton requesting that Dr. Frank M. Axe be immediately sent to the site of the disaster to render medical aid. Chesterton undertaker John B. Lundberg was soon on the scene as well. Within hours, Lundberg had transferred all the dead to the fire engine room at the Chesterton Town Hall.

Postcard image of Chesterton's business district (present
day Calumet Road looking south). At far left is John B. Lundberg's
furniture and undertaking business. Those killed at Shadyside
Crossing were taken by Lundberg to Chesterton's Town Hall,
which is the building with tower immediately adjacent to Lundberg's
business in this image. Thomas Centennial Park is to the right.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

Almost immediately after the collision, the nearby house of Emil R. Borg was converted into temporary hospital and morgue. The Borg family reportedly "assisted in having the relatives of the victims notified and the hospitals to which the injured were to be sent to prepare places for the patients."

Another nearby resident to the wreck, John Arndt, also rendered aid. These efforts were made difficult, however, since the only light available came from hand lanterns that were procured from residents living close to the scene of the accident.

David Crawford, a resident of South Bend and an uninjured passenger on train No. 59, provided this graphic description of the wreck that was published in the June 21, 1909, issue of the Belvidere Daily Republican:
There were about fifty on our car. Most of us got on at Hammond, having been at the auto races at Crown Point. It seemed to me that the majority were from South Bend and Mishawaka. Tired out by the long day of excitement, many of the passengers were asleep.

About nine o'clock, when we were running between 50 and 60 miles an hour, I noticed Kinney, the conductor, in the smoking compartment. Suddenly there was a terrific crash, smashing of timbers and creaking of steel. Then suddenly everything was dark and a death-like stillness followed.

But it was for a second only. Immediately afterwards the stillness was broken by the cries of the injured and dying. Shrieks and groans horrified the passengers who had escaped. The cars telescoped each other. The forward trucks of each car were welded together. As soon as possible, those of us who were uninjured, helped the living victims who were buried in the wreckage and carried the dead from the scene of the catastrophe. Motorman George Reed was pinned between the vestibules of the two cars so solidly that it was impossible for us to remove his body.

As far as I could determine the accident occurred on a straight-away track. There was no reverse made by the motorman to check the speed of the east-bound car. I was told that the west-bound car was at a standstill.
Many of those injured in the wreck were taken to hospitals in Gary and Michigan City. Interestingly, all but one individual killed in the collision were riding in the smoking compartment located at the front end of eastbound train No. 59. This particular space had originally been designed for use as a baggage and freight compartment, but was later converted to a passenger smoking room. One can speculate as to whether the death toll would have been much lower if that space had remained a baggage and freight compartment.

Railroad employees and residents living nearby quickly removed the debris from the track so that rail traffic could continue between Chicago and South Bend. Within two hours of the wrecking crew's arrival, all debris had been removed from the Lake Shore right-of-way, piled, doused with kerosene, and burnt. The heavily damaged passenger cars were pulled to a nearby sidetrack.

On Sunday morning, June 20, Porter County Coroner Joseph C. Carson arrived in Chesterton to view the remains reposed at the town hall; he also ventured to observe the scene of the collision. Carson authorized Lundberg to prepare all the bodies for burial and to notify families of the victims - if that information was ascertainable. Lundberg numbered each body and placed all contents found on each body in a corresponding numbered bag. With the exception of one victim, all decedents were identified by papers they were carrying with them at the time of the crash. Two passengers that survived the wreck would shortly succumb to their injuries.

The twelve dead included:
  • BARBER, Henry A. - Aged 30 years. Resident of Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Barber was a sales agent for automobile companies. Sustained skull fractures and internal injuries. Killed instantly. Death certificate indicates that Henry's remains were removed to a cemetery located in Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut.
  • GILBERTSON, Edward Anton - Aged 40 years. Resident of Porter, Porter County, Indiana. Death certificate indicates that Gilbertson sustained mangled limbs and a skull fracture. Funeral service took place at the Gilbertson residence on June 24, 1909, followed by burial at Chesterton Cemetery located in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana. Gilbertson's wife, Reka M. (Hallberg) Gilbertson, would receive a settlement from the Lake Shore in the amount of $5,000, plus reimbursement of all funeral costs, burial clothing, and burial lot.
  • GONDECK, Michael - Aged 37 years. Died Wednesday, June 23, 1909, at Mercy Hospital in Gary. Gondeck was traveling to Michigan City to visit family members; he was married and had four children. Death certificate indicates that Gondeck suffered a skull fracture. Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Interred at St. Stanislaus Cemetery located in Michigan City. Note that newspaper reports and death certificate provide a given name of Michael, while tombstone is engraved with Nicholas.
  • HUTSON, Herbert H. - Aged 38 years. Killed instantly. Resident of Niles, Berrien County, Michigan. Death certificate indicates that Hutson was buried on June 22, 1909, at Silverbrook Cemetery located in Niles.
  • JOHNSON, Charles G. - Aged 47 years. Resident of Porter, Porter County, Indiana. Sustained a crushed skull. Funeral service and burial took place on June 23, 1909, at Burstrom Cemetery located in Baillytown, Porter County, Indiana. Johnson's wife, Christine (Lindeen) Johnson, would receive a settlement from the Lake Shore in the amount of $5,050.
  • LAKE, Frank A. - Aged 35 years. Resident of Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. Killed instantly. Vice President of the Dowagiac Motor Car Company. Death certificate indicates that Lake was buried on June 22, 1909, at Riverside Cemetery located in Dowagiac.
  • LYLE, Leon Richards - Aged 28 years. Resident of Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. Killed instantly though death certificate fails to indicate specific cause of death. Secretary and Treasurer of the Dowagiac Motor Car Company. Buried at Riverside Cemetery located in Dowagiac.
  • McDONALD, James J. - Aged 22 years. Resident of 5414 Honore Street, Chicago. Employed as a teller for the Chicago Trust & Savings Bank. McDonald had attended the Cobe Cup Race and was traveling to visit friends at South Bend. Sustained skull fracture, crushed chest, and fractured left leg. Death certificate indicates that James' remains were removed to a unnamed cemetery located in Chicago and buried on June 22, 1909.
  • MERRIMAN, Ray F. - Aged 27 years. Death certificate indicates that Merriman died at Mercy Hospital located in Gary, Lake County, Indiana, on Sunday, June 20, 1909, succumbing to a fracture at the base of his skull. He was newly married at the time of his death. Buried in Riverview Cemetery located in South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana.
  • MOORE, Edward T. - Aged 50 years. Resident of Hillsdale, Hillsdale County, Michigan. Moore was a sales agent for automobile companies in Michigan. No specific cause of death appears in Moore's death certificate. Buried on June 25, 1909, at Oak Grove Cemetery located in Hillsdale.
  • REED, George Andrew - Aged 28 years. Resident of Villa Grove, Douglas County, Illinois. Motorman of eastbound train No. 59. Body crushed, arm and leg amputated by impact. Death certificate indicates Reed's cause of death simply as "crushed." Buried on June 23, 1909, at Mount Hope Cemetery located in Chicago.
  • SWANSON, Charles "Carl" J. - Aged 41 years. Resident of Porter, Porter County, Indiana. Death certificate lists cause of death as crushed chest and internal injuries. Buried on June 24, 1909, at Chesterton Cemetery located in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana.

Those injured in the wreck included:

  • AUSTIN, Edward - Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Gash on head.
  • BARNUM, George Homer - Resident of Knox, Starke County, Indiana. Not injured, but sick from sight of blood and the injured. Taken to Epworth Hospital in South Bend.
  • BROTHERS, B. E. - Resident of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Broken leg.
  • BRUEGGER, Donald - Resident of 909 Wilcox Avenue, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Son of Mrs. Mary Bruegger. Left leg broken. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • BURLINGAME, Edward W. - Resident of Gary, Lake County, Indiana. Broken nose and head bruised. Taken to Gary hospital.
  • CALVERT, Everett B. - Resident of 1012 Colfax Avenue, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Bruises. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • ERICKSON, Adolph - Resident of Porter, Porter County, Indiana. Badly injured by cuts on head and face. Taken to Gary hospital.
  • GAFFENBERGER, Esther - Resident of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Both ankles sprained.
  • HAGELS, Albert - Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Arm broken.
  • HEATH, Frank or Fred - Resident of Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana. Slightly injured, scratched, and suffered from shock.
  • HERSHEY, Rose - Resident of Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana. Bruised and severely cut by glass.
  • JOHNSON, Arthur "Art" L. - Resident of Route 1, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana. Serious skull fracture, hip broken, bruised. Death was expected due to injuries suffered from wreck. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • KEENE, Secordus - Resident of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Badly cut on legs, face cut and bruised.
  • KELLY, Richard - Resident of 308 South Williams Street, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Injured about head and face. Injuries not serious. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • KERRIGAN, Paul - Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Cuts and bruises. Not taken to a hospital.
  • KINNEY, Delmar - Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Scalp wound one inch long, two left ribs fractured, right arm broken, and right leg crushed. Conductor on eastbound train No. 59. Treated at Epworth Hospital in South Bend.
  • LAWSON, Mamie - Resident of Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana. Lawson was returning to Chesterton from her place of employment as a stenographer at Tolleston, Lake County, Indiana. Internal injuries. Initial reports indicated that Lawson's injuries were so severe that she would likely die.
  • LEIN, A. - Resident of Stevensville, Berrien County, Michigan. Son of Henry Lein. On leg seriously sprained. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • LORSE, T. W. - Aged 51 years. Resident of Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Chest concussion. Taken to Epworth Hospital in South Bend.
  • LUCE, T. W. - Resident of Knox, Starke County, Indiana. Facial artery cut, cheek bone splintered, and numerous cuts on body.
  • MANTOFFEL, Louis - Resident of East Gary, Lake County, Indiana. Broken nose.
  • MENDYKE, Stella - Resident of South Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Slightly injured.
  • MILLER, John F. - Resident of 312 Baltimore Street, Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Leg broken, lip and chin cut, and head injury. Injuries serious. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • MOORE, J. - Resident of Hillsdale, Hillsdale County, Michigan. Scalp injured. Injury not serious. Taken to Gary hospital. 
  • MYDEK, Mary - Resident of South Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Nose injured. Not taken to a hospital.
  • NISSEN, Charles - Resident of Tolleston, Lake County, Indiana. Head, back, and shoulder injuries. Injuries not serious. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • PEO, L. V. - Resident of 125 Franklin Street, Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Grandson of Mrs. Patrick Murkiff. Both legs broken (one broken in three places), but no internal injuries. Treated at Michigan City hospital.
  • PHILLIPS, A. C. - Resident of Chicago. Cut on head.
  • PHILLIPS, Mrs. A. C. - Resident of Chicago. Cuts and bruises. 
  • ROBERTSON, George Aaron - Resident of Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio. Cut and bruised on head.
  • ROBERTSON, Mame - Resident of Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio. Cut on head and broken nose.
  • RODERICK, Meyer - Resident of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Severely cut. 
  • SAWACKI, Fred - Resident of 1909 Franklin Street, Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Slight scalp wound. Not taken to a hospital.
  • SCHIMMEL, Fred - Resident of 1127 Spring Street, Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Son of Mrs. H. Schimmel. Back and knee injured, but no fractures. Motorman of train No. 58.
  • SCHOLLY, Mrs. A. B. - Resident of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Left eye bruised and right leg lacerated.
  • SIMONS, C. A. - Resident of Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Sprained back and broken legs. Dr. Axe was quoted in newspapers stating the "I found Simons lying flat on the ground, and he had rolled a big stone on each side of his broken legs to prevent the throbbing and stop the flow of blood. When I stopped to bind his shattered limbs he said, 'Doctor, I can get along with these stones for some time, and I want the injuries of everybody else attended to before you do anything for me. There are dozens who are worse off than I am."
  • STUTZMAN, Maude E. - Resident of Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Hole cut in back of head, face severely cut by glass.
  • TUCKER, F. L. - Resident of Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Cut and bruised.
  • WILSON, Paul - Right leg broken and bruises. Treated at Michigan City hospital.Wilson was the Assistant General Manager of the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railroad Company and was a passenger in eastbound passenger train No. 59.
  • WORDINE, George - Resident of Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Leg bruised.
  • WURSCH, Fred - Resident of 1270 Michigan Street, Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana. Chest crushed, scalp wound on back of head. Injuries not serious. Treated at Michigan City hospital.

The Railroad Commission of Indiana would soon conduct an investigation of the Lake Shore accident. The Commission's official report states that Conductor Kinney of train No. 59 had received the third dispatch order from the station agent at Gary indicating that his train would meet westbound train No. 58 at the Wilson stop. Kinney, when interviewed by the Commission, readily admitted to receiving the dispatcher's order from the station agent.

Kinney also testified that he delivered the dispatcher's order to Motorman George A. Reed, but the Commission's report states that "Kinney cannot be believed." Neither the copy of the order given to Kinney nor the duplicate supposedly delivered by Kinney to Motorman Reed, whose clothing was thoroughly searched after the crash, was ever found. The Commission states that it was plausible that the written order was lost at the site of the accident and that Kinney and Reed had simply overlooked the order.

The Commission's report is rather damning of Conductor Kinney:
Kinney stated to the Commission that he noticed when he had passed Wilson, and put on the emergency brake in the toilet room, and sounded the emergency stop, three bells twice, but the fact that he stopped at Dune Parke, east of Wilson, and started up again, coupled with all we have learned about him, shows that his statement is false; the chief and awful fault and crime are his, and if there is any way under our laws to prosecute and convict him, it should be done. He may have been sick, and may have been drinking; in fact, from the manner in which he quarreled with passengers and failed to take up fares, he was mentally and physically incapacitated to perform his duties that night, and should not have been on the road if he was ill, or had been drinking. The order was given to him, and he overlooked, forgot, disobeyed; and primarily he is responsible for the death of ten innocent people.
Despite placing blame on Conductor Kinney for the collision and essentially calling him a liar, the Commission also concluded that the management of the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway was partially responsible for the wreck. The company was failing to properly manage its growth and was ignoring important issues related to the hiring and training of employees. Upon investigation of company records, the Commission found that only 11 of 48 motorman and conductor applications involved a background check. In other words, 37 individuals were put to work on the line "without the company receiving any replies from persons formerly employing these men." In fact, nine of these 37 men had never submitted a formal written application for employment.

Digging deeper into the employment records of the Lake Shore, several examples were discovered of men that should never been hired as either motormen or conductors. For instance, one man had been dismissed by the Wabash Railroad "for violation of Rule G, which is the frequenting of saloons and the use of intoxicating liquor." This man was still employed by the Lake Shore at the time of the investigation of the wreck at Shadyside Crossing. Another man in the employ of the Lake Shore was found to have been recently dismissed for a collision that he was found responsible for near Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois.

The Commission also noted the past employment history of train No. 59's motorman, George A. Reed:
Take also the case of Reed, who was killed in this accident. While Reed was regarded by his companions as a good railroad man, and while he has gone to his final account, it is true of him that he was discharged from a steam railroad for burning an engine, a serious neglect that might have caused the explosion of the boiler and the consequent death of many persons.
Findings from the Commission's investigation also seem to have been supported by eyewitness claims provided by Chesterton area residents concerning the behavior of motormen on the interurban line. For instance, the following statement by Burdick resident William M. Wiesemann was published in several newspapers covering the wreck:
Almost every day green hands at the motor handle are seen racing their cars with the Lake Shore flyers, which they invariably outspeed. The customary interurban speed in 75 to 80 miles an hour, with spurts at the rate of 90 miles, while the fastest flyers on the steam road make 70 miles at the most.
 Accordingly, the first recommendation of the Commission's report stated:
That the personal and past record of all men who may apply for positions as trainmen, shall be scrutinized carefully; that full files be kept of applications and recommendations, and replies to inquiries about them; and that no person shall be employed for the position of motorman or conductor on said railroad until after the most careful investigation has been made, with satisfactory results. This personal record should be kept so as to show the condition of the same without difficulty or delay whenever an investigation is being made, or when there is any need for it for any purpose.
The conclusions made in the Railroad Commission of Indiana's report on the wreck were consistent with those made by Porter County Coroner Joseph C. Carson after conducting an inquest. Coroner Carson's inquest report states, in part:
I find that the cause of said collision was the result of the disobedience of Train Order No. 442 to Train No. 59, Car No. 73, received at Gary, Indiana, eastbound....

I would, therefore, place the entire responsibility of said wreck, with its dire results, upon the mismanagement in the operation of Train No. 59, Car No. 73, for disobeying said Train Order 442, in not taking the siding at Wilson as the said order clearly specified and directed.
The deaths of Henry A. Barber, Herbert H. Hutson, Leon R. Lyle, and Frank A. Lake could be considered a product of fate. All four men had been promoting a truck manufactured by the Dowagiac Motor Car Company, a automobile manufacturer co-owned by Messrs. Lake and Lyle. On June 18, 1909, the men had been in LaPorte and Valparaiso publicizing their truck. Their vehicle broke down in Valparaiso, however, which necessitated repairs.

The four men proceeded to the Cobe Cup Race in the southern half of Lake County. After the race, the men continued on to Hammond where they boarded the South Shore's eastbound train to return to Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. The men sat in the train's smoking car and were killed instantly by the force of the collision.

This photograph was taken on June 18, 1909, at LaPorte, LaPorte County,
Indiana, one day prior to four of these passengers being killed at Shadyside Crossing.
In the front of the vehicle are Frank A. Lake (left) and Herbert H. Hutson.
Seated in the middle of the vehicle are Robert Atkinson (left) and Harry Huston.
Seated in the rear seat are Leon Lyle (left) and Henry A. Barber. Only Robert
Atkinson and Harry Huston were spared from the wreck; they had arranged a
return trip to Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan, by taking the Michigan Central Railroad.
Source: Arseneau and Thompson, Images of America: Dowagiac.

A coincidental story related to the Shadyside Crossing wreck appeared in the June 22, 1909, issue of The Lake County Times. The newspaper reported the following concerning Ray F. Merriman, who died one day after the wreck succumbing to injuries he sustained:
Another incident in connection with this wreck was related by the Sisters of Mercy hospital yesterday afternoon, after the death of Ray F. Merriam [Merriman] of South Bend. This young man had ridden on the cars with them from Gary to Hammond a short time ago and paid their fares, although a perfect stranger. When he did this he remarked: "I never allow a Sister to pay a car fare on a train that I am riding on. It may be that they will have a chance to take care of me some time, and I will have to depend upon them for assistance."

As soon as he was brought into the hospital dying from his injuries he was recognized by the Sisters as the man who had paid their fares.
The death, injury, and damage claims resulting from this collision led to a change in management for the railroad and the installation of automated signals. By October 1909, Charles N. Wilcoxon was appointed the General Manager of the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway. When Wilcoxon was elected President of the company in June 1914, the railroad's debts exceeded $120,000 solely due to court-ordered judgments arising from assorted injuries and deaths on the rail line, which is the equivalent to nearly $3 million in 2017. Claims resulting from the Shadyside Crossing wreck alone reportedly exceeded $80,000.

Incidentally, Charles N. Wilcoxon would later murder his wife, Hettie Elizabeth (Todd) Wilcoxon, beating her over the head with an axe and potato smasher, and then commit suicide by hanging himself in 1924 at Michigan City. The couple had been involved in an automobile wreck on U.S. Route 12 earlier in the day and it was surmised that "The shock of the accident ... precipitated Wilcoxon's loss of mind."

Front page headline concerning Charles N. Wilcoxon
murder-suicide at Michigan City, LaPorte County, Indiana.
Source: The Muncie Evening Press, July 9, 1924.

The Lake Shore would continue operating its interurban line, but always struggling under considerable debt. In 1925, industrialist Samuel Insull purchased the bankrupt Lake Shore line and reorganized it as the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad. Similar to its predecessor, the name of the railroad was often referred to by a shortened name - the South Shore. The railroad remains in existence and is the last of the hundreds of interurban lines that once operated in the United States.

Remarkably, one of the passenger cars involved in the Shadyside Crossing wreck, Motorcar No. 73 representing eastbound train No. 59, still exists. Motorcar No. 73 was constructed by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company located in Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1908. The 1909 collision had resulted in about one-half of the car being ripped off its underframe. A railroad company would typically scrap such a heavily damaged car. The Lake Shore, however, was under significant financial stress. Instead of purchasing a replacement car at cost of about $20,000, the company decided that it could rebuild Motorcar No. 73 for approximately $7,000. The rebuilt car, using the same car number, reentered service in 1910 on the Lake Shore line.

In 1927, Motorcar No. 73 was retired from passenger service and rebuilt as Work Motor No. 1126 on the South Shore line. As a work motor, the car was used in various capacities until it was finally retired from service in 1941. The purchaser of the scrapped car used it as a house, and it remained relatively unchanged through the mid-1980s when it was purchased in 1984 by Bob Harris of the RAIL Foundation. The car was put into storage for many years, but has recently been undergoing a complete restoration in Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois. One can view the progress of the restoration on a Facebook page dedicated to this rail car.

Niles Car & Manufacturing Company advertisement showing
Motorcar No. 73 in service on the Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend Railway.
Source: Electric Traction Weekly, January 9, 1909. [see p. 30]

Photograph of the Lake Shore's Motorcar No. 73, one of the cars
involved in the 1909 wreck at Shadyside Crossing. This photograph
shows the car at the Pullman terminal in Chicago after is was rebuilt in 1910
Source: Central Electric Railfans' Association, 1960. [see p. I-10].

Source Material

Books
Arseneau, Steven, and Ann Thompson. 2005. Images of America: Dowagiac. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. 128 p.

Central Electric Railfans' Association. 1939. Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad. Bulletin 4. Chicago, Illinois: Central Electric Railfans' Association. 12 p.

Central Electric Railfans' Association. 1960. Electric Railways of Indiana. Bulletin 104. Chicago, Illinois: Central Electric Railfans' Association. Unpaginated.

George A. Ogle and Company. 1921. Standard Atlas of Porter County, Indiana: Including a Plat Book of Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. Chicago, Illinois: George A. Ogle and Company. 61 p. [see pp. 25, 28]

Lane, Harold Francis. 1913. The Biographical Directory of The Railway Officials of America. New York, New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Company. 623 p. [see p. 569]

Orogrek, Cynthia L. 2012. Images of America: Along the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Rail Line. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. 127 p.

Railroad Commission of Indiana. 1910. Accident Report No. 4: In the Matter of Investigation of Fatal Accident on the Chicago, Lake Shore and South Bend Railroad near Chesterton, Indiana, June 19, 1909, at 9:15 p. m. In Fourth Annual Report of the Railroad Commission of Indiana 1909 (pp. 399-406). Indianapolis, Indiana: William B. Buford. 656 p.

Periodicals
Anonymous. 1908. Personal Mention. Electric Railway Review 19(9):279.

Anonymous. 1909. Niles Car & Manufacturing Company [Advertisement]. Electric Traction Weekly 5(2):30.

Newspapers (listed by date of publication)
The Butte Miner, Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana; June 20, 1909; Volume 46, Number 276, Page 1, Column 3. Column titled "15 Dead, 25 Hurt in Electric Car Wreck in Indiana."

The Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan; June 20, 1909; Volume 74, Number 268, Page 1, Column 2. Column titled "15 Die in Car Crash."

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; June 20, 1909; Page 1, Column 1 and Page 4, Column 7. Column titled "Fifteen are Dead and Twenty-five are Injured in Traction Wreck."

The Indianapolis Sunday Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; June 20, 1909; Volume 7, Number 15, Page 1, Columns 6-7. Column titled "Extra. Fifteen Dead, 25 Hurt in Traction Car Crash."

The Muncie Sunday Star, Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana; June 20, 1909; Volume 32, Number 53, Page 1, Column 7. Column titled "Fifteen Dead in Car Wreck. Interurbans Collide on South Shore Electric Line, Near Chesterton, Ind."

The New York Times, New York, New York County, New York; June 20, 1909; Volume 58, Number 18775, Page 1, Column 6. Column titled Twelve Killed in Wreck?"

Belvidere Daily Republican, Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois; June 21, 1909; Volume 17, Number 146, Page 1, Columns 1-3. Column titled "Catastrophe on Electric Road Worst in History."

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, DeKalb County, Illinois; June 21, 1909; Volume 13, Number 181, Page 3, Column 5. Column titled "Inquest Over Wreck Victims."

The Inter Ocean, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; June 21, 1909; Volume 38, Number 89, Page 4, Column 1. Column titled "Blames Wreck on Motorman, Killed."

The Lake County Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; June 21, 1909; Volume 4, Number 3, Page 1, Columns 1-2 and Page 5, Columns 6-7. Column titled "12 Dead: Score Hurt. Electric Cars in Collision."

The Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana; June 21, 1909; Volume 9, Number 70, Page 2, Columns 3-4. Column titled "Orders Were Not Obeyed."

The Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; June 21, 1909; Volume 67, Page 1, Column 1 and Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Big Electric Cars Collide, Killing Ten."

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana; June 22, 1909; Volume 7, Number 17, Page 4, Column 2-3. Column titled "Conductor Silent on Wreck Details."

The Lake County Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; June 22, 1909; Volume 4, Number 4, Page 1, Column 1. Column titled "Another Victim Dies Last Night."

The Richmond Palladium, Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana; June 22, 1909; Volume 34, Number 225, Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Conductor Very Silent on Wreck of Traction Car."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; June 24, 1909; Volume 26, Number 13, Page 1, Columns 3-4 and Page 2, Columns 2-3. Column titled "Eleven Were Killed; Twenty-Five Injured."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; July 1, 1909; Volume 26, Number 14, Page 1, Column 3 and Page 4, Columns 4-6. Column titled "Neglected the Order."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; July 1, 1909; Volume 26, Number 14, Page 1, Column 4. Column titled "Two Claims Settled."

The Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana; July 9, 1924; Volume 32, Number 251, Page 1, Column 2. Column titled "C. N. Wilcoxon Slays Wife, Kills Himself."

© 2017 Steven R. Shook. All Rights Reserved.