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


Although some of the earliest settlements in the county were made in what is now Morgan township, it was not organized as civil township until August, 1843, when it was cut off from the northern part of Pleasant. It is exactly six miles square, corresponding to the Congressional township 34, range 5, and contains thirty six square miles. It derives its name from Isaac Morgan, who was one of the first settlers, though the place where he located is in Washington township. Among the pioneers of Morgan may be mentioned Benjamin Spencer, George, Jacob and John Schultz, John Baum, Abraham Stoner, Samuel and Abraham Van Dalsen, Lyman and Elisha Adkins, John G Keller, Thomas Wilkins, N. S. Fairchild, Archie De Munn, Elias Cain, John Berry and William Minton, all of whom had taken claims by 1837. Stephen Bartholomew, Thomas Adams, Miller Parker, Enos Arnold, G. W. Patten and John E. Harris were also among those who located within the present township limits at an early date. An old settler is quoted as saying that when he came to Morgan township "there was nothing but snakes, wolves and Indians." The Indians were generally peacable, however, except when they were drinking, and even then one would remain sober and take charge of the fire arms and other weapons to prevent his drunken tribesmen from doing some one an injury.

Among the Pottawatomies there was a tradition that at some period in the remote past their tribe got into a dispute with another tribe west of them regarding the boundary line between their respective hunting grounds. To settle this difference of opinion, it was agreed by the chiefs to fight three pitched battles, the winner of two of them to fix the boundary. Old Indians believed the three battles were fought somewhere on the Morgan prairie, though no evidence of such conflicts were apparent when the first settlers came there in the early '30s. Some believe that the old fort on the Kankakee river, mentioned in the history of Pleasant township was erected as a place to which the Pottawatomies could retreat in case of defeat, but this theory is hardly tenable when one stops to think that the best authorities agree that the Pottawatomies did not inhabit this region until after the Revolutionary war, while the old fort shows evidences of having been erected at a much earlier date. The probabilities are the whole tradition is a myth.

Game animals were found in abundance by the first settlers, and in the roves were numerous hollow trees in which bees had been storing honey, perhaps for years. As late as 1851 Henry S. Adams, Rollston Adams, Asia, Cobb and G. W. Patton, in a hunt of five days succeeded in killing sixteen deer. With plenty of wild game to furnish meat for the larder, honey for the taking, and a fertile soil to cultivate, the pioneers of Morgan township did not suffer the hardships and privations experienced by many settlers on the frontier. Their greatest drawbacks were the long distance to markets and the prairie fires, which often swept over the country laying waste everything that came in the path of the flames.

The historical sketch of the township written by Henry Stoner, trustee, in 1883, to be filed with the relics in the corner stone of the courthouse, states that an election was held on April 4, 1843, at which James White, Jesse Spencer and Joseph McConnell were chosen trustees ; David W. White, clerk, and John Brumbaugh, treasurer. As this date was some four months prior to the time when the county commissioners established the township of Morgan, Mr. Stoner is mistaken regarding the date, or the officers named were elected for Pleasant township, of which Morgan was then a part. The official records of this election cannot be found, nor can the names of the first township officers be ascertained. Neither can the name of the first white child born in the township be definitely learned. The first burial was that of a man named Agnew, who was frozen to death in a snow storm late in the fall of 1835, while trying to join his family at David Bryant's place at Pleasant Grove, Lake county. With a wagon load of household and an ox team he set out on the old Indian trail but in a short time the snow began falling so fast that the trail was obliterated. Unyoking his oxen and leaving his wagon standing on the prairie, he started on foot, but became bewildered and finally gave way to the drowsiness that ended in his death. When his oxen and wagon were discovered search was made for his body, which was found and buried upon Morgan prairie. Mr. Stoner's corner stone account says he was buried in the Adams cemetery, but Battey 's History of Porter County says that Mrs. Harriet J. Adams was the first person to be interred in that burial ground. It may be possible that Mr. Agnew's remains were removed from the first place of burial to the Cemetery, but the writer has been unable to find any one who could throw any light on the subject.

Near the southwest corner of the township is the old place known as Tassinong. There is a theory that a French trading post once occupied this site, though when the white men became acquainted with the place about 1830, no traces of the post remained. Some three years after Morgan township was organized, Jesse Harper, who later won renown as a Greenback orator, started a store at Tassinong. A postoffice called Tassinong Grove had been established two miles south of Harper's store in 1840, with John Jones as postmaster. Harper remained but a few years, when William Stoddard started the second store at Tassinong. About that time the postoffice was removed to the village. Joseph and William Unruh, William C. Eaton, Francis McCurdy, Rinker & Wright and Abraham Ahart were also engaged in the mercantile business at Tassinong prior to the Civil war. In 1852 there were, besides the store, two blacksmith shops and a shoe shop at the place, and in 1855 the Presbyterians established a church. The building occupied by this congregation was erected by the people with the understanding that all denominations should have the use of it, though it was known as the Presbyterian church. When the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville railroad came through the township a few years ago, the town of Malden sprang up about two miles north of Tassinong, and the old town fell into decay. Malden is a thriving little place, and is the principal shipping and trading point in the township. The only postoffice in the township in 1912 was Liberty View, a station on the railroad about four miles east of Malden. This town was projected by K C. Maulfair, of Chicago, who, in June, 1909, platted the north seventy two acres of the northeast quarter of section 35, township 34, range 5, and conferred upon the embryo city the name of Liberty View. The plat was duly recorded in October, 1909, and a postoffice by that name was soon afterward established there. The town has not met the expectations of its founder.

Just where the first school in the township was located seems to be somewhat in doubt, though old settlers say it was not far from the old "Baum" farm on Morgan prairie. They agree that the house in which it was taught was a small log structure, probably 12 by 14 feet in size, and that Orilla Stoddard was the first teacher. The second school house stood about two miles from the south line of the township on the road running east from the present town of Malden, and the third was built on the old Spencer place near Tassinong. Mr. Stoner's sketch, above referred to, closes with the statement that "Morgan township is noted as being one of the foremost agricultural townships in the county. Its growth has been gradual and steady. At the present date, October 20th (1883), there are enrolled in the nine school districts of the township 306 school children between the ages of six and twenty one years."

That was written nearly twenty nine years ago. In the school year of 1911-12, the nine districts mentioned by Mr. Stoner had been reduced to seven by consolidation, and in these seven schools the following teachers were employed : No. 2 (Adams), Edith Anderson ; No. 4 (Rising Sun), Florence Young; No. 5 (Tassinong), Nora MeNeff ; No. 6 (Bundy), Edith Shroeder ; No. 7 (Schroeder), Pearl Stoner ; No. 8 (Pinkerton), Olive Donahue ; No. 9 (Flitter), Nora Denton.

Morgan township has an extensive system of ditches and about fifteen miles of macadamized road. Two lines of railroad cross the township. The New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate) line crosses the northeast corner, but there is no station on this road within the limits of the township. The Chesapeake & Ohio (formerly the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville) enters near the southeast corner and follows a northwesterly course, through Liberty View and Malden, leaving the township about two and a half miles north of the southwest corner. The population of the last twenty years has been somewhat fluctuating in character. In 1890 it was 830; in 1900 it had increased to 884, and during the next ten years there was a decrease, the number of inhabitants in 1910 being but 812.

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