from Goodspeed, Weston A., ed. Counties of Porter and Lake Indiana. Chicago: F.A. Battery & Co., 1882. p. 640.
They came by "boat trip" through the Great Lakes, and after the long slow voyage of that early time, finally landed at the town of Michigan City. Learning that the nearby sections were an agricultural paradise, he procured the first threshing machine ever brought there and used it for the farmers in the so named "Rolling Prairie" region. In the course of that year 1837, he was attracted to and migrated here, which new place was then called "Out Let Post Office," as it was near the Cedar Creek outlet of Cedar Lake. Here he found only three white settlers, who were bachelors, who were occupying their log cabin home near the tented encampment of the Pottowatoma Indians. These three single farmers comprised the original Nichols family, and their names were Horatio, Archie, and Abraham, and their little home was on the present site of the Weaver Service Station on the present West Commercial Avenue.
The above so nicknamed "Jabe and Mariett" discovered an abandoned log cabin on the present northeast corner of West Main and Mill streets, which they pre-empted for a temporary home, with only friendly Indians for their neighbors, the latter mostly encamped where the present Wilbur Lumber Company yards are. In a short time, the above named Clarks built a larger cabin on the south border of what is now the Veterans of Foreign Wars grounds. Some time before 1854 they built a commodious frame house sufficiently roomed to accommodate travelers on the south side of our present Commercial Avenue at its intersection with Burnham St. there. Here he became the first Justice of the Peace and as such enlisted men to serve in the war with Mexico; and as long as he lived he conducted farming operations on land here which he preempted from the government at $1.25 per acre.
His medical practice, of course, included all cases, among which were baby births, and even quite common rattlesnake bites, and his children never told of any cases he may have lost, although they did tell of remarkable successes and cures. In one instance of the first class mentioned, he attended Mrs. James Sanger, Sr., at the birth of their only daughter, viz. she who became Mrs. Doctor Bacon, about which an amusing incident occurred. On the day of this birth, the father was returning from Chicago, whiter he had driven cattle to the then nearest market, and on his return, was met near his home by his little boy, Jimmie Jr., who expostulated: "Daddy! We have a new baby girl in the house!"
Returning to our subject, viz. "Uncle Jabe" -- as he was familiarly called, he was a champion of public interests, particularly of schooling and patriotic celebrations. He established the first school house in this vicinity which was of a single room only, but sufficient for the then small community, and which was located on the south side of the present East Oakley Avenue, within a few rods east from the present flowing water spring there. He also gave to the town the present park on which the Soldiers' Monument, the public library and the stand-pipe stand, which park was originally called "Public Square." His merit has been recognized by the town in the erection of a modest appropriate marker on the grade school lot to his memory and that of his well known public co-worker, viz Melvin A. Halsted.
He lived until within the 1870's decade; a more precise date of his passing may be seen on his monument in the Lowell cemetery.
Upon arrival they lived in an abandoned one room log cabin. Their neighbors were the Indians who camped by the creek, except for three bachelors who lived in a cabin west of the creek.
The next year Mr. Clark built a larger log cabin father north on the creek, and then pre-empted a quarter section of land from the government for $1.25 per acre. This land covered what is now the east half of Lowell and was used for farming. He acquired the first threshing machine to be had in Michigan City and gave employment to other settlers that came here. Produce was taken to Chicago, which was a four day round trip. Groceries and other necessities were brought back.
Clothing was homemade on spinning wheel and loom. In those first years of pioneering, the cooking was done at the fireplace, bread was baked in a kettle set on live coals raked out upon the earth, with live coals laid on the kettle cover.
Indians occasionally came to their cabin, but they were not hostile. By 1815 when the Mexican War broke out, the Indians had entirely disappeared from Cedar Creek. That year Mr. Clark built the first frame house in this vicinity. This house consisted of four rooms, two below and two above and over a basement in the side of the hill on the south side of the county road, across from the present John Mitch home. It was built of hewn timbers, oak siding, and home made shingles. Here he had room to accommodate the occasional traveler. Here he had his medical supplies and was the only physician in this vicinity for fifteen years. When other young doctors arrived, among them Drs. Wood, Yeoman, Gerrish, Bacon and Davis, he retired from practice and devoted his attention almost exclusively to farming. In this house he carried a general supply of absolute necessities for the early settlers, who were gradually increasing in number. Mr. Clark was justice of the peace before "Outlet" was platted and named Lowell. Early law suits were tried in their basement, and having no resident preachers, he was the "marryin' squire." He also took enlistments for the Mexican War. He promoted public affairs and donated land for school grounds and the public square.
Go to Jabez Clark, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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