History of Jackson Township, Porter County, Indiana
From: History of Porter County, Indiana
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago-New York 1912


Jackson township, one of the eastern tier, is bounded on the north by the townships of Pine and Westchester; on the east by Laporte county; on the south by Washington township, and on the west by Liberty and Westchester. Its greatest extent from north to south is six miles, and from east to west, five miles. The northern boundary is somewhat irregular, two sections in the northeast corner having been given to Pine township when it was organized, and one section in the northwest corner has been added to the township of Westchester. The township was established by the first board of county commissioners on April 12, 1836, and width the slight changes in boundary lines as above noted remains as originally created. The area of the township is twenty-seven square miles. As Jackson township lies in the morainic belt, the surface is hilly, and in some places broken. Especially is this true of sections 13, 14 and 15, where the many bowlders show the glacial origin of this section of the county. On section 16 there is a small lake, some five acres in area, the waters of which are quite deep. South of the Cady marsh in the same section is another small lake. Through the southern part of the township runs the water-shed which divides the basin of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi valley. The soil is variable, owing to the rough, hilly surface and the glacial formation, several kinds of soil often being found in the same field. As a rule, the township is better adapted to fruit growing and stock raising than to the regular lines of agriculture, though in some portions good crops of wheat, oats and corn are raised without difficulty Heavy timber covered the entire surface at the time the first settlers came to the township. This timber was in the way of the pioneer farmer and much of it was felled and burned to bring the land under cultivation. After the completion of the Wabash and Baltimore & Ohio railroads, a great deal of cord wood was shipped to Chicago. There is still some timber, but enough has been wasted to buy all the land in the township, had a suitable market been available in the early days.

According to the historical sketch deposited in the corner-stone of the court house in 1883, the township was named "for and in honor of an old settler, Lemuel Jackson." This statement has been questioned by old settlers, who claim that it was named for Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans and president of the United States at the time Porter county was created. The latter theory is borne out by the following from the Western Ranger of August 11, 1847: "The strong Federal township in this county is called Jackson. This is disgraceful. A township in which three-fourths of the people are Federalists and Abolitionists should never bear the name of the illustrious Jackson! Some of our friends have suggested that the name be changed to Tom Corwin, and we go for it. distinctly. No name would be more suitable."

Early in the year 1834 Asahel K. Paine selected a claim and built the first cabin in Jackson, thereby becoming the first settler in the township. The second settler was John P. Noble, who came in April, 1834, and in June H. E. Woodruff located in the township. Before the close of the year the colony had been increased by the addition of Calvin Crawford, Joseph Wright, Johnson Crawford, Samuel Olinger, Lemuel Jackson, E. Casteel and a few others. A number of settlers came in 1835, among them William Barnard, Benjamin Malsby and William Eaton. Pursuant to the order of the board of county commissioners, an election for justice of the peace was held at the house of Asahel K. Paine on April 30, and H. E. Woodruff was elected to the office. Lemuel Jackson who had been elected associate judge, resigned his position, and on December 24, 1836, a special election was held at the house of William Eaton to choose his successor. At that election forty votes were cast, showing the steady tide of immigration to Jackson township during the preceding two years. Seneca Ball received every one of the forty votes. In 1837 Jesse McCord arrived in the township and established a blacksmith shop on section 26, about a mile and a half southwest of Clear Lake. The first tavern was opened by a man named Page in 1836. It was located south of Page marsh, which was named for him, was a log structure, and had in connection a large log stable for the accommodation of the horses ridden or driven by travelers. George A. Garard says this was the only tavern ever conducted in the township, and that was discontinued on account of a change in the road which diverted travel to another route. However, a man named Shinabarger settled on the site where Steamburg afterward grew up and opened a house of entertainment for travelers late in the year 1836, though he did not claim to keep a regular tavern. Lemuel Jackson built a sawmill on Coffee creek about 1835—the first in the township—and for some years did a good business in sawing lumber for the settlers. Sawmills were built by Samuel Olinger and Abraham Hall in 1838. Associated with Hall was a man named Dilley. Farther down Coffee creek was Casteel's saw and grist mill. Near this mill a man named Enox started a distillery, but it was burned in 1849 by the bursting of the boiler and was never rebuilt. Smith & Becker built a grist mill with two run of buhrs for wheat and one for corn, on Coffee creek in 1856, and twenty five years later it was the only mill in the township.

The first school was taught in a log cabin located on section 26, on the farm afterward owned by John P. Noble. The first regular school house was erected in 1838, about a mile and a half east of the center of the township. It was a log cabin, 16 by 18 feet in size, equipped with the customary "Yankee fireplare" and greased paper for windows. Jane Jones was the first teacher in this house. The second school house was built in 1846. In 1883, when the corner-stone of the court house was laid, there were seven districts in the township. The historical sketch deposited in the corner-stone was written by Oliver Stell, who was at that time trustee of the township. He was born in Warren county, Ohio, December 30, 1816, came with his parents to Indiana in 1821, and to Jackson township, Porter county, in 1844. In the course of that sketch he says: " In the year. 1882 the acreage of wheat was 2,643; oats, 755; corn, 2,468, and potatoes, 150. The number of pounds of pork raised was 931,400; wool, 4,593, and butter, 36,450. At the election of 1882 there were 263 votes polled; at the election of 1836 there were 42 votes polled, showing an increase of 221 votes in forty six years."

Several small villages sprang up in Jackson township as the population grew. Jackson Center received its name from the township and its central location therein. A postoffice was established there in 1856, with E. H. Johnson as postmaster. The first store there was opened by J. S. Sanders in 1874. Two years later he sold out to a Mr. Hill, who in turn sold to John Sackman in 1881. Steamburg was located near the southern boundary, about two miles west of the Laporte line. When the Baltimore & Ohio railroad was built, about 1875, a railroad station was established at Coburg, just across the line in Washington township. The people of Steamburg nearly all moved over to the new station, and Steamburg ceased to exist. Suman, or Sumanville, is a small station on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, about three miles northwest of Coburg. It was established as a postoffice about the time the railroad was completed, with Col. I. C. B. Duman as postmaster, from whom it derived its name. A store was started by a man named Jones when the railroad was built, but not meeting with the patronage he expected, he gave up the enterprise after a few months. Another store was started in 1881 and met the same fate. Burdick is the most important village and the only postoffice in the township, the other offices having been discontinued upon the introduction of the rural delivery system. It is located on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railroad in the northwestern part of the township and has a population of about seventy-five. A public school is located here, the postoffice is authorized to issue money orders, and the village is a trading and shipping point for the surrounding rural districts.

For the school years 1911-12 there were nine teachers employed in the public schools. In the township high school at Jackson Center Ida Recktenwall was principal and Hazel Bundy, assistant. In the district schools the teachers were as follows: No. 1 (Quakerdom), Louisa Mal-chow; No. 2 (Carter's), Judith Lindwall; No. 4 (Taylor school), Ethel Rands; No. 6 (Coburg), Lucy Maunder; No. 7 (Bogue), Alta Herrold; No. 8, (Burdick), Mary Belger; No. 9 (County Line), Carolyn Whitlock.

School No. 1, known as the Quaker school, or Quakerdom, takes its name from the fact that at an early date a number of Friends, or Quakers, as they are commonly called, settled in that locality and established a church. It was a double hewed-log structure and was used for a number of years as a "meeting-house." Little can be learned concerning this old Quaker settlement, as the old settlers are all dead and most of their descendants have removed to other fields of labor. Some years before the Civil war, the Methodists purchased the old school house at Jackson Center and enlarged it by an addition so as to render it available for church purposes. Chancey Moon, one of the early teachers, was class leader here for several years.

Two lines of railroad cross the township in a northwesterly direction, almost parallel to each other. The Wabash crosses the eastern boundary of the county near Clear Lake, runs thence northwest to Morris, and thence west, leaving the township near the northwest corner. The Baltimore & Ohio enters the township on the south, two miles west of the Laporte county line and runs northwest, crossing the western boundary one mile east of Woodville. A third railroad—the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern - crosses the extreme northern part, through Burdick. These lines, with the stations of Coburg, Suman, Morris, Burdick and Woodville within easy reach of all parts of the township afford ample transportation facilities. There are about twelve miles of macadamized road in Jackson township. For some time after the organization of the township there was a gradual increase in the population, but in the last twenty years there has been a slight decrease. This is due to the same causes that have affected so many rural communities. Young men leave the farms to seek their fortunes in the cities, and others, lured by the prospects of cheap lands in the West, have removed to the newer states beyond the Mississippi. In 1890 the population of the township was 1,009; in 1900 it was 938, and in 1910 it had fallen to 894.

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