Monday, December 23, 2019

Lost Porter County: Tassinong

Along the west side of the Baum's Bridge Road as one travels north from Kouts is an oxidized brass plaque mounted onto a small concrete slab that was erected through joint efforts of the Historical Society of Porter County and the Duneland Historical Society. The plaque marks the general location of the former village of Tassinong in Morgan Township, and is inscribed:




This historical marker was dedicated on Sunday, June 12, 1960. When it was erected, local newspapers stated that the site was "known to have been an early Indian post and a substantial shopping center of the prairies for many years."

Using information on the plaque as a guide, Porter County records indeed reveal that Tassinong was officially platted on September 27, 1852, by pioneers Joseph Bartholomew and Jesse Spencer. While the plaque is correct in noting that John Jones served as the first postmaster of the Tassinong post office, the post office was not established by the United States Post Office Department, predecessor of today's United States Postal Service, until April 10, 1838.

Entry indicating establishment of Tassinong post office on April 10, 1838.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration, 
Appointment of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971.

This leads us to the third year inscribed on the plaque. Rather than providing an estimated time period, the plaque has a very specific year in which a mission and trading post was established at the site of Tassinong - 1673. From what source did this date originate?

It is chronicled that Jesuit missionaries Claude-Jean Allouez and Claude Dablon traveled by boat and landed along what is now Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline in 1672. Allouez and Dablon would then venture south to the Kankakee River and onward to what would later become known as the portage between the Kankakee River and St. Joseph River. Whether Allouez and Dablon traversed through what became Porter County heading to the Kankakee River from Lake Michigan is unknown. What is known is that no history of this trip mentions Tassinong or village within the vicinity of Tassinong.

In 1673, Father Jacques "Père" Marquette, another Jesuit missionary, was granted leave from St. Ignace Mission in Michigan to travel with French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet and five other men. Some histories of Porter County suggest that when Jolliet and Marquette were venturing home on the Illinois River that they paddled eastward on the Kankakee River to its headwaters near South Bend. While Jolliet and Marquette did travel by boat on the Kankakee River, they portaged before entering what would become Indiana to the Chicago River and then paddled to Lake Michigan.

Also, between 1673 and 1680, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle established several forts in the Great Lakes area north and east of present day Porter County (e.g., Fort Conti, Fort Frontenac, Fort Miami). On December 3, 1680, La Salle and his men portaged from the St. Joseph River to the Kankakee (Téatiki) River and paddled to the Illinois River. There is no record acknowledging that La Salle or members of his party created a fort at Tassinong; records concerning La Salle also fail to mention the existence of any fort or trading post in the vicinity of Tassinong.

In an article regarding Tassinong published in The Post-Tribune on August 9, 2015, we find Shirley (Shelhart) Anderson, a resident of the area of Tassinong, stating that "There are French documents proving Tassinong was one of a chain of trading posts, which started in Quebec and ended in New Orleans." Is this true, or is this statement based on published history that speculates about the existence of a fort at Tassinong?

Many documents published after 1900 state that Tassinong was either a French military outpost or trading post as early as the late 1670s. The most obvious person who would have established fort at Tassinong would have been La Salle, but no contemporary evidence can be found to support this as fact.

More importantly, there are no known early French, British, or American maps denoting the existence of Tassinong as a military asset or trading location; exclusion is likely not by mistake since, as numerous historians point out, even the most minor of assets on the frontier were mapped by early cartographers.

As an example of the lack of primary sources, in the book Porter County Sesquicentennial: 1836-1986 there appears an article concerning lost cities and towns in Porter County. Within this article it is written that "Tassinong was built north of the Kankakee River and is believed to be part of what was a chain of missions and trading posts from Quebec to New Orleans," which is a statement practically identical to Shirley Anderson's in The Post-Tribune in 2015. Again, no citation of a contemporary source is provided to support the claim. It is curious to note that in 1986 the suggestion that Tassinong was "believed to be part" of a chain of trading posts extending from Quebec to New Orleans had transitioned to fact in 2015 with "French documents proving" it.

Another example of published material mentioning Tassinong as a trading post with no citation to original source material (e.g., French documents) is the Wikipedia entry for the Beaver Wars, which took place between 1629 and 1701 and involved numerous intertribal battles in the Great Lakes region between the Iroquois and the Huron. A paragraph in this Wikipedia entry states:
Beginning in the 1670s, the French began to explore and settle the Ohio and Illinois Country from the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. There they discovered the Algonquin tribes of that region were locked in warfare with the Iroquois. The French established the post of Tassinong to trade with the western tribes. The Iroquois destroyed it to retain control of the fur trade with the Europeans.
[Accessed August 10, 2019]
The lack of a citation is unconventional for a Wikipedia entry containing such specific location and date information. Furthermore the sources cited for the paragraphs preceding and following the above quoted paragraph make no mention of Tassinong or trading posts near the Kankakee River in Indiana.

Yet another unattributed example of Tassinong serving as a trading post is found in an article authored by Diane Blount-Adams and published in 1998. Blount-Adams remarks that:
Rene le Gardeur and Sieur de Beauvais, along with thirteen voyageurs, were recorded traders along the Kankakee River when Potawatomi were returning the reclaim their ancestral lands. In March, 1684, they gathered seven bateaux of merchandise, started for Green Bay but were captured and plundered by Indians....
The gathering of furs along the Kankakee River is indeed described in historical records, but the records do not specifically mention Tassinong or nearby forts. The March 1684 plunder by the Indians is also described in contemporary records as having taken place on the Illinois River, not on the Kankakee River. Furthermore, "Rene le Gardeur and Sieur de Beauvais" were not two individuals, as represented by Blount-Adams, but the same person. Rene's full name and title was Rene le Gardeur, Sieur de Beauvais.

Blount-Adams also relates a story concerning Captain John Atwood who was wounded at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Atwood is known to have disappeared from the battleground on November 7, 1811, after being injured. A rumor supposedly circulated that Atwood was being cared for by an Indian woman at Tassinong. Daniel Scott, a cousin of Atwood, allegedly established a trading post at Tassinong in 1815 that operated until 1817 or 1821. Scott is said to have set up his trading post, in part, to use as a base to search for his cousin. Atwood was never found. Another version of this story says that Atwood was taken to a Native American village near Wanatah and tended to there by an Indian chief.

Blount-Adams' original source for the Daniel Scott trading post tale is believed to be taken from Pioneer Hunters of the Kankakee by Jacob Lorenzo Werich, published in 1920. Werich relates the story of Scott as told to him by his father, John Werich, who, in turn, had heard the story in 1833 from "an old talkative English-speaking Indian" living along the Kankakee River.

John Werich, born in 1830, would have been a mere three years old when the "talkative English-speaking Indian" related the Atwood story to him. In sum, the story concerning Daniel Scott's Tassinong trading post was written more than one hundred years after the event took place and is in all likelihood folklore. It should also be noted that there are no records showing that an individual named Daniel Scott was granted a license to trade with Native Americans by the United States government, as would have been required at that time.

In an article published on March 19, 2001, in The Times, columnist John Wolf writes:
LaSalle's journey was in 1679 as the French established a series of trading posts among the Potawatomi tribes. One of these was Tassinong, established in 1620 and marked as the earliest European settlement in Porter County.
Ascribing the year 1620 to the establishment of a military or trading post in the region would predate all European exploration of the area by more than fifty years. Perhaps 1620 was a misprint in Wolf's column? Or perhaps he based his date on Peter J. Wiltjer's March 26, 1991, article in The Vidette-Messenger, which states that Tassinong was established in 1621.

The establishment and early history of Tassinong has never been fully tested or debated. Rather, conventional wisdom has been accepted and written as an accurate history many times over; what appears to be a myth has been enshrined as fact - such as the information on the brass plaque commemorating the site of the village along Baum's Bridge Road. In the remainder of this essay I cover what is factually known about Tassinong based on contemporary source material.

The earliest known recorded mention of Tassinong, though spelled as Tay-say-eh-nong, is contained in a letter penned by Alexander Wolcott, Junior, at Fort Wayne and dated November 19, 1824, to John Tipton. Wolcott writes to Tipton:
With regard to traders on the Kankakee there are none there I believe trading without a licence. From representations made by the Agents of the Fur company to Governor [Lewis] Cass he was induced to advise the establishement of one or more temporary posts on that river. I accordingly established such an one at Tay-say-eh-nong about thirty miles below English lake to which post I have licenced Jacob Harsen, a clerk for the company & Leon Bourassa clerk for Bertrand of St. Josephs, Isidore Chabert & another person with whom he is said to be in company have each a licence from the Governor, as I understand.
A month later, on December 28, 1824, Tipton writes to Wolcott that:
…I have granted a licen to Geore [George] Cicott Clerk of the american fur Co to trade at Tay Say eh nong in your agency.

Wolcott clearly states he was granting a license to establish a trading post, which suggests that no trading post existed at Tassinong until 1824.

It is important to note that the French, even in the 1600s, required that individuals receive licenses, called congés, which operated similarly to today's visas and passports, in order to trade with Native Americans. Licensed trade allowed for the control the goods that Native Americans could obtain, especially guns, gunpowder, and lead. Government-mandated licensing also resulted in monopolistic trade, which increased prices and, consequently, tax revenue for the government. The British had a nearly identical licensing system (e.g., trader's employed by the Hudson Bay Colony).

If a French or British trading post indeed existed at Tassinong, especially as a link in a chain of trading posts between Quebec and New Orleans, then one would expect that there is evidence naming those traders granted a license to trade there. Control of monopolistic trade in furs to maximize government licensing and tax revenue required a purposeful partitioning and policing of the geographic market, which has been very well documented in the lake states.

Both Tipton and Wolcott were employed by the United States government as Indian Agents at the time their letters were written. The letters appear to imply that Tassinong was already an established location when Wolcott licensed Bourassa, Chabert, Cicott, and Harsen to trade there. There is also a hint that unlicensed traders may have been operating in the Kankakee River region prior to 1824.

The mention of George Cicott as a licensed trader at Tassinong is rather interesting since he was a French Canadian like Joseph Bailly who established a residence with his Potawatomis wife in Jefferson Township, Cass County, Indiana, at some time prior to 1826 where he traded with the Indians. Cicott died in 1832 or 1833.

Postulating that Tassinong may have existed as a trading post in the late 1600s is not completely unwarranted given other information that is not directly connected to Tassinong. To illustrate, noted Northwestern Indiana historian Timothy H. Ball wrote in 1873 that a 1.25-inch long round steel nail of fine workmanship was found inside an oak tree in 1850 near Cedar Lake in adjacent Lake County, Indiana.

The nail reportedly had 170 annual rings covering it, suggesting that it was hammered into the tree around 1680. The nail may have been placed to post information for other explorers. If Europeans were in the vicinity of Cedar Lake during the late 1600s, then it would be unwise to state unequivocally that Tassinong was not a trading post at that time.

 Portrait of Timothy Horton Ball.
Source: Ball, 1900.

Ball writes in a somewhat reminiscing entry in his history of Northwestern Indiana published in 1900, that:
At some time and by some one, when and by whom no record has been found, some woodland in what became Morgan township was named Tassinong Grove. The early settlers in 1834 seem to have found the name already there, the Indians claiming that it was old then. It has been conjectured that the French once had there a trading post, but no conclusive evidence seems to have been found. The name for us is prehistoric, as it was found there by the pioneers. But old as is the name for the locality, the village that the white settlers established was not among the earliest business centers. No record of a store is found till about 1846. The earlier merchants were Harper, Stoddard, their buildings made of logs, Unmgh [Unruh], Eaton, McCarthy, and Rinker & Wright. The village was platted on September 27, 1852, by Spencer and Bartholomew. In 1852 there were two stores, two blacksmith shops, a carpenter’s shop, a tavern, and some shoe-makers’ shops. About 1855 a church building of the Presbyterian denomination was erected. The postoffice dates from 1840 [it was established April 10, 1838]. After the railroad life commenced and Kouts as a station and town was established, Tassinong as a village declined. It can scarcely be called a village now, though its life has been quite different from its early sisters, Waverly and City West.
Nothing has changed since 1900 with respect to Ball's statement that "It has been conjectured that the French once had there [Tassinong] a trading post, but no conclusive evidence seems to have been found."

The veracity of Ball's statement is difficult to question, as he was a Porter County pioneer arriving at City West along the shore of Lake Michigan in the 1830s and had deep knowledge of the history and development of both Porter County and neighboring Lake County. His numerous publications concerning history of the region provide ample evidence that he clearly understood the importance of using contemporary source information since faded memories, hearsay, and folklore could distort facts and turn fiction into a perceived reality.

Note that written documents and maps have identified Tassinong as Tassimong, Tassimong Grove, Tassinong Grove, Tasinong, Tassimin, Tassamaugh, and, as shown above, Tay-say-eh-nong. If the name Tassinong "is prehistoric, as it was found there by pioneers," as Ball states, then what does the word Tassinong mean?

In 1915, noted Porter County historian Hubert M. Skinner authored an article published in the Indiana Magazine of History that focused on the naming of the village of Tassinong. Skinner theorized that the name of the community was associated with the French word for a stockaded trading post, tassements, and that some French posts in the Old Northwest were "so little noted" that they were simply referred to in French as poste or tassement.

Skinner also suggested that the English translation for tassement was tassimong and that the nasal sound of pronouncing tassimong in English resulted in the phonetic spelling of Tassinong; in other words, the m sounded like n when tassimong was spoken in conversation.

Furthermore, Skinner states in his article that:
A century ago [circa 1815] when there were no white inhabitants within the limits of our country [Porter County], old Tassinong was the only locality within those limits that was named as a point to recon from. White men were periodically visiting that part of the country, and all of these traders, missionaries, etc. were familiar with the location of the ancient French trading post, which was then only a memory of the Indians.
Skinner, however, provides no attribution for his statement. If indeed "all of these traders, missionaries, etc. were familiar with the location" of Tassinong, then why was the location never denoted on maps or mentioned in documents of the period? More importantly, why was the location never mentioned in the government-controlled licensing of traders by the French, British, or Americans until 1824?

Portrait of Hubert Marshall Skinner.
Source: The Journal of Education, 1904.
In the next issue of the Indiana Magazine of History, Jacob Piatt Dunn penned a scathing rebuttal to Skinner's theory concerning the origin and meaning of Tassinong. Dunn was a very well known author, journalist, and American historian at the time. In rather belittling language, Dunn crushes Skinner's theory point-by-point and concludes by stating that Tassinong's name is more likely to be from the Miami Tribe's language, which is part of the Algonquin family of Native American languages, meaning "place of plums."

Portrait of Jacob Piatt Dunn.
Source: Dunn, 1904.

Skinner would respond to Dunn's rebuttal the following year. In a remarkably polite but tense tone, Skinner provides source information that led him to propose his theory for the meaning of Tassinong. Skinner also appears to address the fact that there is no account of the existence of Tassinong in early written records and maps. He writes:
Probably the legendary trading house at Tassinong was wholly a private affair, and never had any official designation (or character, other than the license of the trader would presuppose if he had one). Duluth, I learn, had neither a license nor a name for his tassement in Minnesota.
Turning back to the article published August 9, 2015, in The Post-Tribune, Tassinong resident Shirley Anderson is quoted stating that "The word 'Tassinong' is a combination of French and Indian. The term refers to the wild plum groves, which covered the area." The French word for plum is certainly not Tassinong or any variant of it.

However, Anderson's reference to French and Indian languages, as well as plums, may find its origin from the three Skinner-Dunn articles concerning the meaning of Tassinong published in 1915 and 1916 issues of the Indiana Magazine of History.

Interestingly, the original 1833-1834 government survey field notes partitioning the townships of Morgan and Pleasant into sections makes no remark of the existence of Tassinong or an Indian village, though it is established that this place existed at least a decade prior to the survey work. The Tassinong area, between Sections 31 and 32 of Township 35 North and Range 5 West, is described by surveyors as:
Land a little rolling & fair rate. Timber Br. [Broken] R. [red] & W. [white] Oak and Hickory.
Thus, the area was savanna-like and composed of hickory, red oak, and white oak; notably absent throughout the surveyor's field notes is the existence of plum groves anywhere in either Morgan Township or Pleasant Township. The trail between Lafayette and Michigan City upon which Tassinong was situated, however, appears several times in the field notes as a "road" and "Indian trail."

A significant dilemma also arises with Dunn and Anderson attributing the meaning of Tassinong to a place of plums or plum groves. According to Jesuit missionary records, the Potawatomi, another tribe whose language is within the Algonquin family of Native American languages, were reestablishing themselves in the northwestern portion of Indiana when the first Europeans were exploring the area in the second half of the 1600s. The Miamis had resided to the east and southeast of northwest Indiana. Previous to their first contact with Europeans, both the Miami and Potawatomi had made flight from their respective Indiana territories to Wisconsin due to persistent violent attacks by the Iroquois.

Why would a Miami word be used to name a place considered to be deep within ancestral Potawatomi territory? Furthermore, the Potawatomi word for plum is either bokma or pokma - the spelling based on phonetic transcription. It seems to be a rather giant leap to phonetically connect the words bokma/pokma to Tassinong; the absurdness of the connection makes Skinner's explanation of the meaning of Tassinong, which was harshly ridiculed by Dunn, quite plausible.

It is possible that Tassinong was named by the Miamis as a "place of plums" and the Potawatomi continued the use of the Miami name for the location. The likelihood of this being the case, however, is remote since Native American place names typically changed based on the occupying tribe.

Note that the Potawatomi were a somewhat unique North American tribe in that each Potawatomi village had its own chief rather than following a leader that represented the entire tribe across multiple villages. This dispersed leadership structure had a substantial negative impact on the tribe when negotiating treaties with the United States.

In many instances a chief from one Potawatomi village would sign a treaty relinquishing the land of another Potawatomi village. Most historians writing about Native American land cessions and the Potawatomi note that American negotiators knowingly negotiated treaties with Potawatomi chiefs that did not have the right to cede land of another Potawatomi chief.

Turning back to Dunn's rebuttal, Dunn mentions that it is unlikely that a French trading post ever existed at Tassinong:
French trading posts were not so numerous as to escape mention easily; and they were established for business purposes, with two essentials: (1) they must be close to customers, and (2) they must have facilities for transportation of merchandise. In the early times transportation was almost wholly by water, and it would not have been good business to locate a trading post at an inland, out-of-the-way place like Tassinong, when there were plenty of accessible places within a day's journey.
Dunn makes an excellent observation. Tassinong is located about six miles north of the Kankakee River and the region between the river and Tassinong was once swampland before the land was excavated and drained in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, one early map of the area refers to the land between Tassinong and the Kankakee River as Marshy Prairie. What Dunn neglects with his observation, however, is that Tassinong was located along a known Native American trail that present day Baum's Bridge Road closely follows.

 Map showing area between Tassinong and the
Kankakee River identified as Marshy Prairie.
Source: Andreas, 1876.

Cartographer Philippe Vandermaelen's 1827 map of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania indicates the existence of a Native American village located near present day Union Mills in LaPorte County, Indiana, but no Native American village, trading post, or military post is shown at Tassinong.

It is unknown what sources of information Vandermaelen used in producing his map, but they may have predated 1824 since, as noted above, a temporary American trading post had been established at Tassinong during that year. Vandermaelen's map is interesting in that it also exhibits the extensiveness of the swamp north of the Kankakee River in Indiana, which he labeled Kankakee Pond.
Portion of Philippe Vandermaelen's 1827
map showing Northwest Indiana.
Source: Vandermaelen, 1827.

David Hugh Burr's map of Indiana and Ohio, published in 1839, is the first to affix Tassinong as a location on a map. The map also provides the postal routes through Porter County, with Tassinong's mail arriving from Eagle Creek in Lake County and the carrier departing Tassinong for Bigelow's Mill in LaPorte County. Like Tassinong, Bigelow's Mills was a platted community that would eventually cease existence.

Earliest known presence of Tassinong appearing on a map.
Source: Burr, 1839.

One theory concerning the meaning of Tassinong first presented here is that it may have been named after a Potawatomi chief. This theory is quite conceivable. Chiqua's Town, situated about eight miles north of Tassinong, was the name of a small Potawatomi village or encampment just east of Valparaiso along present day Indiana State Road 2 in Washington Township. Chiqua was the chief of the village. An early platted village, Prattville, would eventually be established at Chiqua's Town.

Recall that the first known documented evidence of Tassinong spelled the location as Tay-say-eh-nong. The conventional word morphology used to publish Native American names during the late 1700s and early-to-mid 1800s was by the use of a hyphen between syllables. This phonetic-driven writing style using hyphens improved one's ability to correctly pronounce the Native American name.

Many treaties between Native American tribes and the United States ceding land in the Midwest used hyphenated syllables for the written names of the Native American signatories. Also note that Wanatah, in LaPorte County, is named in honor of a famed chief of the Yanktonai tribe of the Dakotas, whose name appears in documents as Wa-na-ta. Perhaps Tay-say-eh-nong was the name of former Potawatomi chief?

The history of the early years of pioneering at Tassinong is, at best, disjointed. Immigrants may have congregated to this particular area because a stand of timber stood like an island on the prairie, providing them resources such as building material and fuel.

The first individuals to hold title to Tassinong land, according to General Land Office records, were Joseph Bartholomew and Jacob Parker, both of whom were granted land patents on March 30, 1837, by President Martin Van Buren.

Photograph of Colonel Jesse Harper. Harper
established the first store at Tassinong in 1846.
Source: Barton, 1904.

The 1882 history of Porter County prepared by Weston A. Goodspeed and Charles Blanchard, provides a glimpse of Tassinong's early years:
Tassinong. -- The town of Tassinong, or Tassinong Grove, as it was formerly called, is indeed an ancient place. Its origin seems to be shrouded in obscurity. The whites trace the locality back to 1830, but the Indians spoke of it as an old place even then. Not that there was any town, but simply a locality bearing the name. It is probable that there was a French trading post here at a very early day. Col. Jesse Harpar [Harper], the noted Greenback orator, started the first store here, about the year 1846. He continued to sell goods here for a few years, and then took his wares and left. He had a stock worth, perhaps, $800 [about $27,000 in 2019 dollars]. He kept his goods in an old log building that was [later] used before by William Stoddard as a barn. The second store was started by William Stoddard in a hewed-log cabin, about 1849. Here he kept goods for a year or a year and a half, when one night almost the entire stock was stolen. The third store was started in 1850 by Joseph Unrugh [Unruh]. He ran it about a year alone, when his brother William bought an interest in the stock. They managed the business for two or three years, when they sold out to Eaton, who sold to Francis McCurdy, who sold to Rinker & Wright, who kept the store about two years. In the meantime, about 1852, Abraham Ahart started a store, ran it about two years and closed out the stock. In 1852, besides two stores, there were two blacksmith shops, one kept by Stephen Ales and the other by A. J. Zarn. F. McCurdy had a carpenter shop, John McCurdy a tavern, while William Maxwell and W. Hammond kept shoe shops. Calvin Bowman and Adkins started a store in 1854. Sylvester Pierce bought Adkins out, and has kept store here almost ever since. He has been out of business for a short period at two different times. J. C. Eahart started a store, and sold to Frank Adkins, who sold to Spencer, who kept alone for a time, and then went in with Mr. Pierce. Mr. Pierce is now alone. Bowman & Son run the other store of the town. H. King is the blacksmith. Dr. B. A. Welch is the medical man. Dr. Gray located here in 1881, but stayed only about six months. Before him, Dr. Davis was in town from 1856 to 1861, when he went to the war. The present Postmaster is Sylvester Pierce, who has held the office for over twenty years. Mr. Pierce was preceded by William Stoddard, who kept the office for four or five years. Before him, Frank Adkins had charge for a short time. He was preceded by John W. Wright, who was preceded by William C. Eaton, who was preceded by John Ahart, who was preceded by John Jones, who was the first Postmaster. The office was established in 1840. For some years, it was two miles south of its present site, and called Tassinong Grove. Tassinong is the only town the township has ever had, and the only post office has been located here since it was established.
In a letter dated July 2, 1844, George W. Turner, Tassinong resident and first clerk of the Porter County Court, reports to the Millennial Harbinger, a publication of the Christian Baptists, concerning the activities taking place among his congregation at Tassinong. Interestingly, the letter misidentifies Tassinong as being located in Portage County, Ohio. Turner writes:
Tassinong Grove, Portage county, Ohio, July 2, 1844.

The good cause is advancing slowly in this region. I have lately immersed nine for the remission of sins, and have witness the immersion of other by other brethren. Twelve have been added to the Morgan Prairie congregation within a month past -- seven by immersion, and two from the Baptists. Our congregations are generally large and attentive, and better prospect for doing good here than ever before.

Though the Christian Baptists held services in Tassinong as early as 1844, the Presbyterians were the first religious group to erect a house of worship in the southern part of Porter County. The first session of the Tassinong Presbyterian Church took place on August 24, 1848, with Reverend Spencer Baker presiding with church elders George Biggart and John Alexander Freer; their church was erected at Tassinong in 1855. By agreement of the community members, the structure could be used by members of any religious denomination, but it was to be recognized by all as a Presbyterian Church.

With church membership hitting a low in 1894 at 25 active members, services at the Tassinong Presbyterian Church were often without a preacher. By February 1904, a new Presbyterian church at Kouts was completed to serve the communities of Kouts and Tassinong. Like its congregants, the church structure at Tassinong was moved to Kouts where it served as a residential dwelling.

Presbyterian Church at Tassinong.
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, August 18, 1936.

Contrary to Ball’s earlier statement that a post office was established at Tassinong in 1840, mail service began on April 10, 1838, with John Jones appointed as postmaster. On February 9, 1843, for reasons unknown, the United States Post Office Department discontinued service at Tassinong. It is speculated, however, that postal receipts at the village did not justify that it remain open, which was the most common reason for closing post offices.

After having discontinued service in 1843, the United States Post Office Department reestablished a post office at Tassinong on December 29, 1845, though it named the post office Tassinong Grove. On June 29, 1869, the Tassinong Grove post office officially reverted to its original name, Tassinong. The Tassinong post office was again discontinued on June 14, 1875, but immediately reestablished on July 1, 1875.

During the federal fiscal year beginning July 1, 1846, Tassinong Grove postmaster Edwin Craig Abbott was compensated $5.27 on net proceeds of $5.96, suggesting an extremely low level of patronage.

Plat map of Tassinong showing location of post office (star).
Source: A. G. Hardesty, 1876.

Between 1898 and 1903, the exact date being unknown, the Tassinong post office was removed one and three-quarter miles north of Tassinong to the village of Malden; the post office was located in the depot of the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad. Though located at Malden, the post office continued to be officially known as Tassinong.

Plat map of Malden showing location of
the Tassinong post office (star) at depot.
Source: George A. Ogle & Company, 1906.

The Tassinong post office, at Malden, was permanently discontinued on May 16, 1903, due to the expansion of rural free delivery service, with mail service transferred to Valparaiso effective June 30, 1903. Those patrons not living on official rural routes received their mail at Kouts.

Photograph of Tassinong post office, circa 1891, believed
to be housed in the general store of Eugene T. Morgan.
Source: Cushing, 1893.

Individuals appointed to serve as the postmaster of Tassinong/Tassinong Grove include (years of service in parentheses):
Postal letter dated February 1, 1848, from Tassinong, Indiana.
Letter written by Azariah and George W. Halladay to Theodore Halladay.
Source: Collection of Steven R. Shook.

While severely depopulated by the establishment of Kouts, Malden would effectively seal Tassinong's fate. The majority of Tassinong residents migrated two miles south when the Chicago & Great Eastern Railroad was completed through the area in 1865. With the knowledge that a new railroad would be traversing through Pleasant Township, Bernard Kouts had platted a village along the line in 1864 that he named after himself. A post office, called Foster, was established at Kouts on July 24, 1866.

Advertisement for G. B. Scidmore's general
insurance agency located at Tassinong.
Source: Practical Observer, March 24, 1851.

Tassinong residents saw that the newly established railroad at Kouts offered them better opportunities, so they moved. Not only did many Tassinong residents relocate at Kouts over the next twenty years, several took their buildings to Kouts as well. Other structures from Tassinong were moved to Malden when the railroad station was established in that community at the turn of century.

The community of Tassinong was never particularly large or thriving. It is believed that no more than a dozen residential structures were constructed in the village. At various points in time the village consisted of a church (Presbyterian), two blacksmith shops, two general stores, a shoe shop, a carpenter's shop, tavern, and post office. It is known that at least two physicians, Edwin E. Ellis and B. A. Welch, and one lawyer, John Wright, practiced at Tassinong.

News item concerning commercial activity at
Tassinong and the village's poor mail service.
Source: Porter County Vidette, March 25, 1875.

A burial ground is believed to located in the immediate vicinity of Tassinong. The cemetery may have been obliterated, or perhaps those buried there were disinterred and removed to other cemeteries. In the January 5, 1882, issue of the Porter County Vidette, the following death notice appears:
Mrs. Hall, of Tassinong, died at her home in that place on the 28th ult. [December 28, 1881]. Her remains were interred in the Tassinong Cemetery.
In addition, this notice concerning E. D. Hager's infant child appeared in the August 23, 1895, issue of The Chesterton Tribune:
E. D. Hager, son-in-law of A. S. Fairchild, Tassinong, brought his infant child here from Hagerstown, Ohio, for burial. A. Lepell, undertaker, took remains to Tassinong.

Hager [possibly Harger] likely arrived in Chesterton on a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway train and LePell would have transported the remains by wagon to Tassinong.

News item concerning the decline of Tassinong.
Source: Porter County Vidette, November 1, 1877.

Examination of cemetery indices and Find A Grave records reveal that no individual with the surname of Hall has been enumerated as being buried in Porter County in 1881, nor is their an enumerated burial for a Hager in 1895. Collectively, these death notices suggest that a small burial ground in Tassinong indeed existed and that its location has been lost to history for some time.

Tassinong was briefly known by the name of Bengaul, which was occasionally spelled as Bengal. The use of this place name is believed to have been quite brief and references to the name are scant. Redfield and Logan's 1866 gazetteer of Indiana lists the community of 'Bengaul' located in Porter County.

Early Porter County pioneer Jacob Lorenzo Werich, in a 1935 column published in The Vidette-Messenger, wrote that:

The first white hunters in what is now Boone township were Mike Haskins and Daniel Scott, who were with the Pottawottamie Indians in camp on Indian Island on the Kankakee (The-a-ki-ki) river in 1821. Haskins was in camp with the Indians for about two years, when the French established a trading post on the old Pottawattomie trail, known as 'Bengual' -- later Tassinong, trading with the Indians for their furs.... Scott operated the Bengual store for about a year and a half Then he and Haskins returned to their home near Dayton, O.
Given Werich's account, it seems that trading post called Bengaul was established at a place already known as Tassinong in 1821. The trading post's name was then used to refer to the community instead of Tassinong. Bengaul as a location evidently was still being used as a place name as late as 1866 where it appears in Redfield and Logan's gazetteer of Indiana. It seems odd, however, that the name of Bengaul rarely appears in contemporary newspapers or books between 1836, the founding of Porter County, and 1866.

Residents of the Tassinong Area
Using historical records, several early Porter County individuals can be traced to having resided in the area of Tassinong.

At least thirty men from the Tassinong area served in the Civil War. These soldiers included:

  • Ascher, Edward - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Ascher was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and discharged on July 1, 1865.
  • Ascher, John I. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Ascher was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to disability on March 19, 1863.
  • Brown, John W. - Second Lieutenant, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Brown was mustered into service as a private on September 5, 1861. He was promoted to Sergeant and then to Second Lieutenant.
  • Brown, William V. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Brown was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to a disability on February 3, 1863. Brown would reenter service with Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry on February 18, 1864, and was discharged from service on June 17, 1865.
  • Card, John - Wagoner, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Card was mustered into service on September 5, 1861, and was discharged due to disability on December 20, 1862.
  • Cowley, Scott E. - Corporal, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Cowley was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged on July 1, 1865.
  • Drullinger, Robert F. - Second Lieutenant, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Drullinger was mustered into service as a Private and was promoted to Sergeant and then Second Lieutenant. He was discharged on September 5, 1861.
  • Evans, Robert O. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Evans was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to a disability on March 3, 1863. He would reenlist as a Private, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Evans was mustered into service on February 28, 1864, and was discharged on September 28, 1865.
  • Goff, Henry - Private, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Goff was mustered into service on September 5, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and discharged with a disability on September 29, 1862.
  • Graham, Robert W. - Corporal, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Graham was mustered into service on September 5, 1861. He would be promoted to First Lieutenant of the 73rd Indiana Infantry.
  • Griffith, John J. - Corporal, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Griffith was mustered into service on September 5, 1861, and was wounded at the Battle of Resaca in Georgia. He entered the service as a Private and was promoted to Corporal. He was discharged on September 28, 1865.
  • Hall, Robert - Company E, 9th Indiana Infantry. Hall was mustered into service on September 5, 1861, and was discharged on September 28, 1865.
  • Hall, Theodore B. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Hall was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and died at Camp Chase at Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, on June 8, 1863.
  • Hankins, John - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Hankins was mustered into service on August 16, 1862. He died at Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky, on October 29, 1862.
  • Hemdee, William H. - Sergeant, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Hemdee was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and killed at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee on December 31, 1862.
  • Hoch, Thomas - Private, Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry. Hoch was mustered into service on September 5, 1861, and discharged on September 6, 1864.
  • Iseminger, William - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Iseminger was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was mustered out of service on July 1, 1865.
  • Kouts, Daniel - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Kouts was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and died of wounds on January 18, 1863.
  • Kouts, Samuel G. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Kouts was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to a disability on March 31, 1863. Kouts apparently healed as he was mustered back into service again on February 18, 1864, into Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged on September 28, 1865.
  • Maine, David G. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Maine was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and died at Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, on November 20, 1862.
  • Maxwell, George - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Maxwell was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged on July 1, 1865.
  • Maxwell, John - Sergeant, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Maxwell was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and discharged on July 1, 1865. He entered the service as a Corporal and was promoted to Sergeant.
  • McCumsey, George - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. McCumsey was mustered into service on August 16, 1861, at was killed at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee on December 31, 1862. 
  • Miller, Julian - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Miller was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to a disability on June 19, 1863.
  • Nickerson, Alexander - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Nickerson was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to a disability on February 23, 1863.
  • Spencer, Albert - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Spencer was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged due to disability on May 18, 1863.
  • Trinkle, Leander - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Trinkle mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps on October 30, 1863.
  • Stoddard, John - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Stoddard was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged on July 1, 1865.
  • Stoddard, Lewis S. - Captain, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Stoddard was mustered into service on August 16, 1862. He entered the service as a Private and was promoted to Captain of the 12th U.S. Colored Troops. Stoddard was discharged from service on August 16, 1862.
  • Williamson, William "Will" J. - Private, Company I, 73rd Indiana Infantry. Williamson was mustered into service on August 16, 1862, and was discharged on July 1, 1865.

Tassinong's most noted resident, Gilbert Ashville Pierce, was also a veteran of the Civil War. Though born in East Otto, Cattaraugus County, New York, on January 11, 1839, Pierce moved with his parents and siblings to Tassinong in 1856. What motivated his parents, Sylvester and Olive, to move to Tassinong is unknown, but Sylvester and his son Gilbert would be operating a general store in the community by 1860.

Pierce would serve in the Civil War, serving in rising to the rank of colonel in the 9th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, commonly known as the Bloody Ninth. After the Civil War, Pierce briefly practiced law in Valparaiso, then moved to Chicago and became an editor of the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper. He wrote books (e.g., Dickens Dictionary) and was a playwright (e.g., One Hundred Wives). He would later become the publisher of the Minneapolis Tribune, territorial governor of North Dakota, and serve as the first United States Senator from North Dakota. A county in North Dakota is named in his honor. A more extensive biography of Colonel Pierce can be read in this blog post.

Another notable former resident of Tassinong, as alluded to earlier, was Colonel Jesse Harper. Harper established the first general store at Tassinong in 1846; it is believed that he left Tassinong prior to 1850 since he appears in the 1850 census as residing in Covington, Fountain County, Indiana.

Harper was a close associate of Abraham Lincoln, and during the Republican National Convention at Chicago on May 18, 1860, it was Harper who placed the party nomination for Lincoln on behalf of the State of Indiana. Harper would raise two companies of soldiers during the Civil War and Governor Oliver P. Morton would commission Harper to the position of colonel.

In 1876, Harper abandoned the Republican Party and became one of the most noted advocates and speakers for the newly formed Greenback Party. In 1880, he was chosen to serve as the chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Greenback Party.

Also notable is the establishment of a photography studio at Tassinong. L. P. Williams placed an advertisement in the May 3, 1852, issue of the Practical Observer, a Valparaiso newspaper published by William C. Talcott, that stated: "L. P. WILLIAMS, ARTIST, HAVING opened a Daguerrean Gallery near Unroe [William Unruh] and Eahart's [John Clark Eaheart] stores in Pleasant Township, is ready at all times to serve those who may favor him with their patronage. The public are invited to call and examine specimens of his work."

The advertisement strongly suggests that the gallery was situated immediately south of Tassinong, likely along Baum's Bridge Road. Williams is the second known individual to have commercially produced photographs in Porter County. Research to identify L. P. Wood has not been successful; he may have been a traveling photographer who set up a temporary studio in the community.

Advertisement  for production of Daguerreotype
images taken by L. P. Williams at Tassinong, 1852.
Source: Practical Observer, May 3, 1852.

The Tassinong area has not been void of serious crime. The homicides committed by Gibbins (1876) and Taft (1880) can be reviewed in this blog post.

Bumstead & Company's 1902 directory for Valparaiso and Porter County provides a list of Tassinong residents. This list presumably includes those individuals receiving their mail from the post office located at Tassinong and lived in the immediate vicinity of the village. This list, transcribed as printed with corrections in brackets, includes:

Today, Tassinong is represented by nothing more than a few old homesteads and a roadside historical marker. Its very early history and founding will likely remain unknown.

Source Material

Books and Maps
Abbot, E. P. 1855. Sectional Map of Porter County, Indiana: Carefully Compiled from the United States Surveys. Cincinnati, Ohio: Gibson and Company. 1 p. [map]

Andreas, Alfred T. 1876. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Baskin, Forster & Company. 462 p. [see p. 33]

Anonymous. 1990. A Quarter Past One: 125th Anniversary, Kouts, Indiana. Kouts, Indiana: Star Printing. 100 p. [see pp. 46, 80]

Baker, J. David. 1976. The Postal History of Indiana, Volume II. Louisville, Kentucky: Leonard H. Hartmann, Philatelic Bibliopole. 1,061 p. [see p. 1,035]

Ball, Timothy H. 1873. Lake County, Indiana, From 1834 to 1872. Chicago, Illinois: J. W. Goodspeed. 364 p. [see pp. 199-202]

Ball, Timothy H. 1900. Northwestern Indiana From 1800 to 1900: A View of Our Region Through the Nineteenth Century. Chicago, Illinois: Donohue & Henneberry. 570 p. [see pp. 322-323].

Barton, A. C. 1904. Life of Colonel Jesse Harper of Danville, Ills. Chicago, Illinois: M. A. Donohue & Company. 371 p.

Brown, Charles R. 1875. The Old Northwest Territory: Its Missions, Forts and Trading Posts. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Kalamazoo Publishing Co. 32 p.

Bumstead & Company. 1902. Bumstead's Valparaiso City and Porter County Business Directory 1902. Chicago, Illinois: Bumstead & Company. 350 p. [see pp. 341-343]

Burr, David H. 1839. Map of Ohio and Indiana. London, England: John Arrowsmith. 1 p. [map]

Colton, J. H. 1860. Colton's Map of the State of Indiana, Compiled from the United States Surveys & Other Authentic Sources. New York, New York: J. H. Colton. 1 p. [map]

Cushing, Marshall. 1893. The Story of Our Post-Office: The Greatest Government Department in All Its Phases. Boston, Massachusetts: A. M. Thayer & Company. 1,034 p. [see p. 444]

Dunn, Jacob Piatt. 1896. Indiana and Indianans: A History of Aboriginal and Territorial Indiana and the Century of Statehood. Volume I. Chicago, Illinois: The American Historical Society. 568 p. [see p. ii]

Dolin, Eric Jay. 2010. Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 464 p.

Edmunds, R. David. 1978. The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. 367 p.

Fisher, Richard S. 1852. Indiana: In Relation to Its Geography, Statistics, Institutions, County Topography, Etc. New York, New York: J. H. Colton. 126 p. [see p. 121]

George A. Ogle & Company. 1906. Standard Atlas of Porter County, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: George A. Ogle & Company. 83 p. [see pp. 27, 52, 53]

George A. Ogle & Company. 1921. Standard Atlas of Porter County, Indiana: Including a Plat Book of the Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. Chicago, Illinois: George A. Ogle & Company. 61 p. [see pp. 13, 23].

Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey and Company. 771 p. [see pp. 13-14, 187-188]

Hardesty, A. G. 1876. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: A. G. Hardesty. 90 p. [see pp. 31, 39, 43, 65]

Isaacs, Marion. 1964. The Kankakee: River of History. Publication location and publisher not provided. 91 p. [see pp. 44-47]

King, S. D. 1852. Map of the State of Indiana Compiled from the United States Surveys by S. D. King, Washington City. New York, New York: S. D. King. 1 p. [map]

Kouts Centennial Committee. 1965. Kouts Is Five In Score -- Ready For A Hundred More. Kouts, Indiana: Kouts Centennial Committee. 181 p.

Lee & Lee. 1895. Lee and Lee’s Atlas of Porter County, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Lee & Lee. 81 p. [see p. 37]

Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Volume I. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 357 p. [see p. 155]

National Archives and Records Administration. Undated. Appointment of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, Porter County, Indiana. Publication No. M841, Record Group N. 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

Porter County Sesquicentennial Commission, Inc. 1986. Porter County Sesquicentennial: 1836-1986. Publication location not provided: Porter County Sesquicentennial Commission, Inc. 110 p. [see p. 31]

Powell, J. W. 1899. Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-97, Part 2. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. [see Plate 19, map]

Redfield & Logan. 1866. Redfield & Logan's Columbus & Indianapolis Central Railway Business Guide, and Western Gazetteer, of Indiana and Ohio, for 1866-67. Indianapolis, Indiana: Redfield & Logan. 347 p. [see p. 57]

Roberts, Robert B. 1988. Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Post of the United States. New York, New York: Pearson. 894 p.

Robertson, Nellie Armstrong, and Dorothy Riker. 1942. The John Tipton Papers, Volume I, 1809-1827. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Bureau. 909 p. [see pp. 409-410, 430, 494, 804, 814].

Schoon, Kenneth J. 2003. Calumet Beginnings: Ancient Shoreline and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 247 p. [see pp. 53, 59-60, 201-202]

Terrell, William H. H. 1868. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana. Eight Volumes. Indianapolis, Indiana: Alexander H. Conner, State Printer.

United States Department of State. 1841. Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1841. Washington, D.C.: W. M. Morrison. 422 p. [see p. 337]

United States Department of State. 1847. Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in] the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1847. Washington, D.C.: J. & G. S. Gideon. 618 p. [see pp. 388]

United States General Land Office. 1972. Porter County Survey Plats and Field Notes. Washington, D.C.: United States General Land Office. 345 p. [see pp. 124-151] A microfilmed copy of these field notes is available from the Indiana State Library.

Vandermaelen, Philippe. 1827. Parties des Etats-Unis. Amer. Sep. Bruxelles, Belgium: Ph. Vandermaelen. 1 p. [map]

Voorhis, Ernest. 1930. Historic Forts and Trading Posts of the French Regime and of the English Fur Trading Companies. Ottawa, Canada: Ottawa Department of Interior, National Development Bureau. 188 p.

Werich, J. Lorenzo. 1920. Pioneer Hunters of the Kankakee. Publication location not provided: J. Lorenzo Werich. 197 p. [see pp. 26-29]

Winsor, Justin. 1884. Narrative and Critical History of America. Volume 4. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. 516 p. [see p. 188]

Anonymous. 1844. News from the Churches. The Millennial Harbinger 1(9):429.

Anonymous. 1913. Dry Unincorporated Places in Indiana. The American Issue, Indiana Edition 8(23):3-6. [see p. 5]

Anonymous. 1998. Forts Near Tassinong Post
. Shadbonna Shaub-nee: An Historical Journal of Northwest Indiana 4:8.

Anonymous. 1998. Topographic Terms of Area Around Tassinong. Shadbonna Shaub-nee: An Historical Journal of Northwest Indiana 4:8.

Blount-Adams, Diane. 1998. By Lamp's Glow....... Our Original Good Old Boys. Shadbonna Shaub-nee: An Historical Journal of Northwest Indiana 4:1, 4, 6, 9.

Blount-Adams, Diane. 1998. Legend of Tassinong....... Beloved Red Bird Avenged. Shadbonna Shaub-nee: An Historical Journal of Northwest Indiana 4:1, 8. 

Dunn, Jacob P. 1915. The Meaning of “Tassinong.” Indiana Magazine of History 11(4):348-351.

Lasselle, Charles B. 1906. The Old Indian Traders of Indiana. The Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History 2(1):1-13.

Meyer, Alfred H. 1935. The Kankakee "Marsh" of Northern Indiana and Illinois. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters 21:359-396.

Paré, George. 1930. The St. Joseph Mission. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 17(1): 24-54.

Skinner, Hubert M. 1904. Reminiscences of the Teachers' Reading Circle. The Journal of Education 60(22):368.

Skinner, Hubert M. 1915. The Era of the Tassements or Stockaded Trading Posts. Indiana Magazine of History 11(3):272-275.

Skinner, Hubert M. 1916. Communication: An Echo From the Era of Tassements. Indiana Magazine of History 12(1):84-88.

Newspapers (listed by date of publication)
Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; March 24, 1851; Volume 2, Number 34, Page 3, Column 3.

Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 3, 1852; Volume 3, Number 40, Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Daguerreotyping."

Practical Observer, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 5, 1855; Volume 3, Number 23, Page 3, Column 1. Column titled "Church Difficulties."

Porter County Vidette, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; March 25, 1875; Volume 19, Number 12, Page 3, Column 2. "Local."
Porter County Vidette, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; November 1, 1877; Volume 21, Number 44, Page 3, Column 6. Column titled "Tassinong Items." 

Porter County Vidette, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; January 5, 1882; Volume 26, Number 1, Page 5, Column 1.

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; August 23, 1895; Volume 12, Number 20, Page 8, Column 1. Column titled "Chesterton Chips."

The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; July 10, 1903; Volume 20, Number 14, Page 5, Column 6. Column titled “Chesterton Chips."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 19, 1929; Volume 2, Page 1, Columns 6-7 and Page 3, Column 8. Column titled "Who Remembers the Day When Malden Had a Rival for Its Place in the Sun -- Tassinong?"

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; October 2, 1934; Volume 8, Page 1, Columns 4-5 and Page 5, Columns 4-6. Column titled “Tassinong and Kouts,” by A. J. Bowser.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 24, 1935; Volume 8, Page 1, Columns 4-5 and Page 5, Columns 1-4. Column titled “Siftings: Early Recollections of Boone Township,” by J. Lorenzo Werich.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 25, 1935; Volume 8, Page 1, Columns 4-5 and Page 7, Columns 1-2. Column titled “Indian Trails,” by W. A. Briggs.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 3, Pages 13-14. Column titled "Kouts High School History of Pleasant Township, As Compiled By History Class and Instructors For The Vidette-Messenger."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 3, Pages 17-18. Column titled "Morgan High School History of Morgan Township, As Compiled By History Class and Instructors For The Vidette-Messenger. 

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 6, Columns 1-2. Column titled "These Pictures Tell Tales Of Days That Have Gone," by Mabel Benney.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 25, 1949; Volume 22, Number 274, Page 6, Columns 2-6. Column titled “Kouts Presbyterians Reorganize Church Founded at Tassinong,” by Frances Long.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 13, 1957; Volume 30, Number 190, Page 1, Column 1 and Page 6, Column 5. Column titled "Tassinong Was Important Site," by The Stroller [William O. Wallace].

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 13, 1960; Volume 33, Number 290, Page 1, Columns 1-3. Column titled "Tassinong Marker Unveiled."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; June 11, 1970; Volume 42, Number 289, Page 17, Column 2. Column titled "Looking Backward. Ten Years Ago."

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 23, 1974; Volume 47, Number 273, Page 13, Columns 1-6. Column titled "Was Tassinong One Of Earliest Settlements?" by Nancy Shurr.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 12, 1984; Volume 57, Number 265, Page 2, Columns 1-4. Column titled "Morgan Farm Sprouts Clues to Area's Past," by Bob Mitchell.

The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; March 26, 1991; Volume 64, Number 257, Memoirs Section, Page 8, Columns 4-6. Column titled "Village, Marsh Drained," by Peter J. Wiltjer.

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; March 19, 2001; Volume 94, Number 219, Page A8, Columns 1-5. Column titled "Kankakee River Area has a Proud History as a Destination for Hunters," by John Wolf.

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; July 26, 2013; Porter County Edition, Volume 104, Number 358, Page C4, Columns 1-4. Column titled "Porter County's First Fortification," by John Hodson.

The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; June 27, 2014; Volume 105, Number 289, Page E1, Column 4. Column titled "Tassinong, A Gathering Place Turned Ghost Town," by John Hodson.

The Post-Tribune, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; August 9, 2015; Volume 106, Number 189, Page 16, Column 1-4. Column titled "Woman Tells Ancient Tales of Tassinong," by Jeff Manes.
© 2019 Steven R. Shook. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Excellent work with sources! Another similar story has to do with the naming of Marquette Park in Gary, and the supposed "find" of a chalice, that found it's way into History of the Calumet Region (1933). Another fable I suspect. I just did a bit of research on Haskell, Clinton Twp., Porter Co. to find the Haskell family that settled nearby (Census and property map, Ancestry sources.) Not related to the Haskell of Haskell & Barker Car Co. of Michigan City. Tom

  2. Really good scholarship on the origins. I enjoyed it!

  3. I am from the Starke Co Hist. Soc. What an interesting read. I made certain to read entire article and cites. You have in the article, a map I haven't seen in many years. This would be an original

  4. Excellent job. Numerous years ago while doing some cemetery maintenance I came across the grave of Albert Spencer. I did some preliminary research on The 73rd Indiana in an attempt to follow the path of Albert for a Lilly study grant. Numerous familiar names of former student families were included on your list. I was always interested in the rise of Lewis Stoddard to Captain but confused of muster and discharge on the same date. I have had the opportunity to visit battle sites where the 73rd fought.

  5. I am always interested in reading about Tassinong. I was aware my gg grandfather , John Clark Eaheart, was on of the postmaster. After the death of his wife Adelia Bartholomew, daughter of Joseph Bartholomew , one of the founders of the town, Eaheart briefly left the area. John Clark Eaheart, sons William Albert Eaheart and John Walter Eaheart visited relatives and then went buffalo hunting for a while. John Clark Eaheart returned to Porter County, but died in Texas while visiting his son.