The following comes from Rev. T.H. Ball's 1904 Encyclopedia of Genealogy and Biography of Lake County, Indiana, with a Compendium of History, 1834-1904:
By an act of the Indiana Legislature Lake was declared to be an independent county, separated entirely from the jurisdiction of Porter, after February 15, 1837. March 8, 1837, Henry Wells was commissioned Sheriff, and an election was duly held at the house of Samuel D. Bryant, E.W. Bryant Inspector, at the house of A.L. Ball, W.S. Thornburg Inspector, at the house of Russel Eddy, William Clark Inspector, for the purpose of electing a Clerk of the Circuit Court, a Recorder, two Associate Judges, and three county Commissioners.
E. WAYNE BRYANT, who had a brother, Jacob Bryant, living in LaPorte county, a pioneer of that county, arranged for a family home in the Grove. As early as the fall of 1836 he provided a room for a school, where the children of the Settlement were taught by Mr. Bell Jennings, "a very excellent man." He also aided in starting a Sunday school for the children in 1838 or 1839. He was a valuable pioneer. He bought some hand millstones of Lyman Wells, another early settler, and in the winter of 1836 and 1837 had them arranged to be run by horse power, and ground corn and buckwheat for all the neighbors. This little mill continued to grind for two or three years, and at one time there were in the mill, so says one of the family, over three hundred bushels of grain waiting to be ground.
The following was found on page 46 of The History of Lake County, Volume 10, a publication of the Lake County Historical Association, 1929:
At the first election of Justice of the Peace under organization, one Peyton Russel, was elected in North township; Milo Robinson and Horace Taylor in Center and E.W. Bryant, in South township. The first lived at Liverpool and like the town, has gone to parts unknown; the second died January 1st, 1839; the 3rd had moved from the county, and the latter is alive and shaking, or at least was so a short time since, with the ague.
Page 53 of Rev. T.H. Ball's Lake County, Indiana, from 1834 to 1872 lists Elias Bryant, J. Wiggins, Nancy Agnew, widow,
and E.W. Bryant as settlers in Sec. 6, Township 35, Range 7 in the spring of 1835. On page 51 he is listed as having been elected Justice of the Peace for South Township in 1837. On page 173, in the "Extracts from the Marriage Record of Lake County," it shows him as officiating as J.P. in the marriage of Alfred D. Foster and Emeline Hathaway on April 4, 1839. And on page 208 is the information that in 1839 commissioners appointed E.W. Bryant, Ephraim Hitchcock and Orrin Smith as township trustees for Congressional Township Thirty-three, Range eight.
On pages 77-78 there is a lengthier story about E. Wayne Bryant:
The following has been kindly prepared for this record by an early settler of Pleasant Grove. It contains some recollections of his boyhood:
"At the time referred to, as late perhaps as 1840, bands of Indians would frequently come into the settlements, erect their tents, and remain as long as the hunting was good. They would then go to some other hunting ground and remain for a time. These companies consisted frequently of from twenty to fifty, including men, women, and children; dogs and Indian ponies not included. The Indians were generally peaceful and it is not remembered that they committed any acts of depredation, when they were properly treated, during the time they remained in that section of the country. They visited Wayne Bryant and family often; were said to be uniformly kind, were anxious to exchange such commodities as they had for provisions. They inquired the name of Mr. Bryant, and on being told that his name was 'Wayne' they exhibited surprise and indications of fear, and by their language and deportment Mr. Bryant was led to believe that they had some knowledge of the manner in which some of their race had been treated by Mad Anthony Wayne of historic reputation."
The following was found on pages 190-191 in Rev. T.H. Ball's Lake County, Indiana, 1884: An Account of the Semi-Centennial Celebration of Lake County, September 3 and 4, with Historical Papers and Other Interesting Records Prepared for this Volume:
. . . in 1836, only two years after the first white man had planted his household tree here, a M.E. Missionary named Stephen Jones was sent by the presiding elder residing at South Bend to seek for sheep who might have wandered away that far. Finding his way into this county, he preached in the cabin of Thomas Reed, two miles south of Crown Point, and at some other points. This county was then attached to the Northwestern Mission taking in a circuit of five hundred miles; and consequently it was impossible to reach the several appointments oftner than once in six weeks. After six months; labor the first M.E. class was organized at Pleasant Grove at the residence of E.W. Bryant. This society consisted of six members: E.W. Bryant and wife, John Kitchel and wife, and one Mendenhall and wife, with E. W. Bryant as leader. Two of that society yet survive namely: E.W. Bryant, who has kindly furnished some of the facts for this sketch. (He now resides in Iowa to which place he removed in 1855, and where Mrs. Bryant died in 1858, in full assurance of faith.)
The following information on pages 13-15 of T.H. Ball's The Sunday Schools of Lake: An Account of the Commencement and Growth of the Sunday Schools of Lake County, Indiana, from about 1840 to 1890 illustrates the difficulty of reconstructing local history:
The third school to be noticed here, it may possibly have been the first in the county, was in that growing neighborhood of Pleasant Grove. . . . Ephraim Cleveland, who died in 1845, was the first, and until his death, the only superintendent. His son, T. Cleveland, a lawyer of Crown Point, thinks the school was organized in 1842 or 1843. E.W. Bryant, an active Methodist, who settled here in 1835, has been already named. His daughter, Mrs. Maria McCarty, now of Indianola, Iowa, thinks the school was organized in 1840 with Ephraim Cleveland as Superintendent. She says that "he and her father, Mrs. Cleveland, Mrs. Bryant and two others" were the teachers. Mr. B. Bryant, a son of E.W. Bryant, writes, that in the summer of 1835 John Kitchel arranged with E.W. Bryant for the two families to meet in the home of the latter "every Sabbath and read the Scriptures and have something like a Sunday school." Referring to this his sister, Mrs. McCarty, writes: "I do not think there was any organization at that time." -- Young readers may be reminded that the question now under consideration is connected largely with the memory of children. Those living and giving testimony now were quite young children then. -- Now, according to the Claim Register, the oldest documentary evidence in Lake county concerning its early settlers, E.W. Bryant came here as a settler in 1835, but the evidence from that register is that John Kitchel came in 1836. But Mr. Bryant further says, that the first regularly organized Sunday school, according to the best of his recollection, was held in the house of Ephraim Cleveland. He says, "This was, I think, in 1837." But he adds, "It was the summer following the fall that Mr. Cleveland came to Lake county." There is no conflict of testimony, it is perfectly established that the Cleveland family came in 1837. Mr. Bryant's last statement, therefore, will place the organization of the Pleasant Grove school in 1838. Here, again, Mrs. McCarty says, "When the Sunday school was organized I think there were fifteen or twenty scholars and perhaps five or six teachers. To this date of 1838 there appears one objection. That summer was one of "severe drouth and great sickness." In proportion to the number of inhabitants it was a summer of many deaths. "The summers of 1838 and 1846 are the two most noted for sickness in the annals of Lake." At Cedar Lake, where there was quite a strong church organization, the record for the summer of 1838 says, "From continued distressing sickness, no meetings were held until the latter part of winter." This is after a record of meetings for five Sabbaths. And this sickness was very general in all the neighborhoods and settlements. Judging from the fact of that prevailing sickness, which some of us yet living remember well, it would almost seem that the Pleasant Grove school could not have been earlier than 1839.