This history, of Creston, Lake County, Indiana, was compiled by Miss Ethel Alice Vinnedge; and is dedicated to the memory of her ancestors, who lived here and are buried in the old Cedar Lake cemetery in Creston: Lucy Winchester Taylor, Julia Ann and Obadiah Taylor II, Josephine Taylor Vinnedge, Thomas Vinnedge, Lorena Baker Vinnedge, David Vinnedge, Esther Highfield Scritchfield, Hiram Scritchfield, Nancy Ann Scritchfield Pixley, William H. Pixley, Martha Pixley Vinnedge and Obadiah G. Vinnedge.
You're not old and not so great--
A village small in this big state.
Lives here lived, loved, aged, and died:
Some laughed and sang while others cried.
In your youth you shared his dreams
Of grownup days and broader themes.
Mem'ry brings back happy days--
Of childhood school, and work, and plays.
Of Creston ponds, and trees, and flowers,
Hot summer months and winter hours;
Fishing, swimming, sleighing, skating,
All stand high, in childhood in rating.
Even now, the great renown,
Do pause to love old Creston town:
Though he's traveled far and wide
His Creston home he does confide:
Was a simple village living
Happy times and generous giving;
Forever a shrine within his heart,
Of Creston, still, he is a part.
The L.N.A.&C. Railway Company named this station "Creston" in 1882. Prior to the coming of the railroad, this settlement was located one half mile east of the railroad station, where, since 1850, it was called Tinkerville; so named from a tinker-shop owned by Fred Miller, a blacksmith, to whom people brought their tinkering jobs.
TInkerville, located a mile south of Cedar Lake, one half mile west of Lake Dalecarlia, on what is now called Cutler's Corner, included a store and post office, a blacksmith shop, several houses and a school house. The school house was located a half mile south, on a corner of the Obadiah Taylor III homestead, and across the road from the Schuyler Stillson home. It was called the Stillson school.
Here in Tinkerville (Cedar Lake Post Office) settled with others, the descendants of Obadiah Taylor I. (only Revolutionary soldier buried in Lake County). They had staked their claims on the east side of Cedar Lake in 1836, and had gradually extended their claims farther south. The family names of the earliest settlers were: Warriner, Davis, Edgerton, numerous Taylors, Skinner, Stopps, Scritchfield, King, Thompson, Lloyd, McCarty, Beck, Stillson, Palmer, Miller, Austin, Hill, Vinnedge, Dille.
Israel Taylor and B. McCarty owned and operated a grist mill at Cedar Creek, where the Lake Dalecarlia dam is now located. The location was considered as part of Creston at that time, being but one half mile from Tinkerville.
This building was located on the northeast corner of the main street and township line road. It later burned down and the post office was moved to Mark Palmer's building just east of the Monon R.R. across from the depot. This building has been moved and now stands on the property of Ethel A. Vinnedge.
As the administration changed there were often changes in the postmasters. Leslie G. Cutler, Sr., and Cassius Taylor held the office during the Cleveland administration, and the office was moved diagonally across the street into the old Cassius Taylor store building from the A.D. Palmer store. Arthur G. Taylor purchased the M.A. Palmer stock and building in 1903 and continued as postmaster until late in 1918. He was succeeded by Harry Taylor and Andrew Dille in the Harry Taylor store building east of the depot. In 1929, Floyd T. Vinnedge received his appointment as postmaster and the office again crossed the street to the Arthur G. Taylor building, which F.T. Vinnedge had purchased for a general store. The post office is still located here, with F.T. Vinnedge as postmaster.
The post office takes up a very small corner in the back of the Vinnedge general store. The several hundred call boxes and stamp window are connected in one unit placed on top of a counter. This old time unit is the original one assigned to the Cedar Lake post office; and is easily designated as one of Uncle Sam's antiques, having served this community for over one hundred years. Creston is rated a fourth class office and the postmaster is paid by a salary. Formerly, he was allowed only the amount of cancellation from stamps. Mail is delivered several times daily from Chicago and Indianapolis by the Monon Railroad and by the U.S. Mail Transfer trucks. A large iron arm or crane holds the mail sack for the fast mail trains to catch as they pass through Creston. Money orders, special deliveries, registered and insured letters and parcels are handled by this office. There are over a hundred boxholders who get their mail at this office. The postmaster's daughter, Miss Nancy Ann Vinnedge has been appointed as the assistant postmistress.
In the midst of this marsh is the 'Island,' a large hill of several acres where the Pottawatomie Indians used to camp. Here all of Creston's boys have spent a great deal of their spare time, with campfires, huts, dugouts, pirate activities in the summer and coasting in winter. This 'Island' has always been the special retreat for each generation of Creston's boys. In rainy weather the hill is surrounded by water, but is always high and dry.
Almost every spring or fall the marsh catches fire, either set by someone or by a spark from a train. It is a beautiful sight to see the red blaze leaping across the whole area, but it is destructive to the animals living there, and at times, the fire departments are called on to keep it from some of the homes and from the church which is on the edge of the marsh.
Before this, the children attended the Stillson school, built about 1849 in Tinkerville. Here, in the early days, the school year was divided into two terms, a winter term ending in March, and a summer term ending in July.
Some of the teachers at the Stillson school were: Elsie Strong, John E. Love, R.C. Wood, David Mee, Phoebe Hopkins, Rev. Henry G. Ross, Jennie Craft, Hattie Denny, Frank Taylor, Ernest Gragg, Levi Spaulding, Ella Ashton, James Westbay, May Muffley, Minnie Ebert, Ernest Clark, Ann Feeley Hamman, and Lucy Cutler.
The young folks also enjoyed skating parties, picnics, hayrides, bobsled rides, taffy pulls, and squares dances. The music for the square dances was usually a fiddle, and most of the men were adapt at calling the dances. The older folks shared any work to be done, such as sewing, quilting, corn husking, etc. This relieved the monotony of the tiresome tasks of those pre-modern farms and homes. A wedding was always a big social event.
Hiram and Esther (Highfield) Scritchfield had large weddings for five of their seven daughters, Martha Thompson, Nancy Pixley, Jane Edgerton, Catherine McCarty Snell, and Margaret Cleveland. The other two, Frances Wood and Malinda Garrison, got tired of the work it took for such big affairs and refused to have big weddings for themselves.
Esther and the whole family had to work for several weeks to get ready for the wedding. They used little rice cakes covered with cloves to decorate the table. They used broom straws to whip the eggs. To dye cloth they used peach leaves and alum.
At the wedding of Nancy Ann to William Pixley, so many guests were invited that the dishes had to be borrowed from the whole neighborhood. Many chickens had been prepared for the big feast, but when it was time to serve them, Fannie Wood discovered that her brothers and the other young boys had stolen all the chicken by way of the pantry window. It took Mrs. Scritchfield many weeks to make all the wedding clothes for her daughters. As were most of the pioneer women, she was an excellent seamstress and her fine tatting and crocheting were used as trimming on the dainty clothes for her daughters.
After a marriage, the whole community joined in giving the young couple a rousing welcome as future home makes in Creston. The charivari was started with plenty of noise from shot guns, tin pans, bells, etc., but ended as a successful party; the groom was always prepared with cigars and candy. Then all joined in games or square dancing. Usually the relatives of the bridal couple would prepare refreshments for the crowd.
In about 1894, the Creston school house was built, and the one large room was usually overcrowded with children. It has been used for social gatherings, literary meetings, debates, spelling bees and ice cream and pie socials.
In later years, 1915-1928, Creston had an organized community club, with elected officers and committees. At meetings held each month, varied programs of music, lectures, monologues, dialogues, and numerous plays were presented by local talent.
Several of the plays were given in the Taylor store building and then taken to other communities in order to raise money to purchase books, chairs, a piano, and other things for the school. Much interest was taken in these meetings, and often there was no standing room available for the crowd. Following the program and business meeting a committee served free refreshments to the crowd. Always the younger set lingered for an hour or so for square dancing; then, often the dance would terminate in a party at one of the homes.
The old frame school house was later remodeled, with a stucco exterior, and a modern interior, ever to be remembered by those who attended it. A guard of ten tall stately poplar trees ever whispered about the spacious lawn and still beckon to the youngsters, although school was discontinued there in 1929. The West Creek children are taken to Sheridan school, while those in Cedar Creek township are taken to Lowell.
Some of the Creston teachers were: William H. Morey, Will J. Belshaw, Nora Sanger, Frank Spaulding, Frank M. Stuppy, Clara Pixley, Maude Hill, Maude Mertz, Harriet Foster, Roy Meadows, Lydia Schneider, Blanche Davis, Marietta Donham, Laura Kimmet, and Ella Brownell.
Before any tiling was done, there was a large pond on the McCarty Snell farm, across the railroad track east of the school.
On the north side, next to the railroad tracks, in 1914, a two room brick general store building was erected by Arthur G. Taylor. At present it is run as a general store and post office by Floyd T. Vinnedge. The Harry Taylor building is now used as a meat market by Hoyne.
About 1876 James Reebe purchased the old German Methodist frame church building in West Creek and moved it to Creston. He added store rooms on each side and opened a three-room department store, the stock consisting of groceries, boots, and shoes, and dry goods. His building was known as the Exposition Building. Mr. Reebe, at this time, invented a corn planter, but was not successful in marketing it. After he retired from business, his building stood empty for several years, then was occupied by August Gehre from Chicago with a rug weaving establishment. This venture proved unsuccessful, and after standing idle for some time, William McCarty rented the building and opened a general store. Continuing in business for three or four years, he then disposed of his stock of merchandise. G.M. Taylor bought the building, removed the two wings and remodeled the main building into a dwelling house. The house is occupied today by Floyd Vinnedge and family.
Schillo Brothers built a blacksmith shop here in 1881. Dillebaugh also had a blacksmith shop at his location, later run by the Porch brothers, then by W. Kerney, then by Rev. J.S. VanOrman. The shop was torn down, after standing idle for a great number of years.
No saloons were ever operated in Creston, and most of the merchants were members of the Creston Methodist Episcopal church.
Will and John Love were large hay buyers for many years, having erected a huge hay barn west across the tracks from the depot. The barn was filled to capacity every year. Wagon loads of hay were brought there from miles around and sold to the Loves. Creston was one of the largest shipping points for hay in this section of the state. Thomas E. Vinnedge owned a large scale near the hay barn, where the hay was weighed before it was sold. Obadiah G. Vinnedge owned a horse driven hay press, which was located inside the hay barn, so the hay could be made into bales for shipping.
To the south, Obadiah G. Taylor had a coal and lumber yard. He later sold this to Thomas E. Vinnedge who operated it for some time. Obadiah Taylor also owned, in partnership with George W. Palmer, a large four room ice house at the south end of Cedar Lake.
A large grain elevator was built in the early '80's by Adelbert Palmer. He later sold this to Marshall Nichols; this burned in 1908 and was not rebuilt.
The L.N.A. & C.R.R. Co., now the C.I.&L. R.R. Co. (Monon Route), established a freight express and passenger stations, as soon as their road was ready for operation. The first station agent was R.C. Wood, son of the pioneer Cedar Lake physician. Other agents were Mark Palmer, Irvin Thompson, Arthur G. Taylor, Arthur G. Ross, Harry Taylor and Andrew Dilley. In 1929 the agency was removed. Up to that time there had been a great deal of shipping from this station. Many cans of milk were shipped daily into Chicago by farmers in this vicinity, as well as veal calves, chickens, eggs, and other produce. A special "Milk Train" or local passenger train, took the produce into the city in the morning, then brought back the empty cans in the evening. The Creston men folks always managed to meet the train; gathering at the station at train time just to see what was sent or returned, and to visit with the farmers and neighbors.
In the evening, the men of the village gathered in the local store to do a little trading, but mostly to swap yarns, and recount the local happenings, or prophesy the future as to crops, weather, etc. This custom
Those serving in the Civil War were: Dewitt Clinton Taylor, William A. Taylor, Franklin McCarty (died at Nashville in 1864), Leslie Andrew Cutler, Sr., died in 1906; William Davis; Robert L.* Fuller, died 1863; Adelbert D. Palmer; George W. Edgerton, died at Gettysburg; James T. Vinnedge; Francis M. Vinnedge; William Scritchfield, Jack Scritchfield; Stamp Scritchfield, Charles A. Stillson; Harvey Davis; Asher Stillson; Captain Riley Stillson; Amos P. Thompson; Peter Hess.
Jackson Scritchfield was in the Army for more than three years. At Spottsylvania Court House at Richmond, Va., in the Battle of the Wilderness, he was badly wounded by a bullet which ripped through his elbow and come near his shoulder.
The last of these Civil War soldiers to die was Jack Scritchfield, who died in Kansas.
In the Mexican War was George Wiverly.
Creston had two soldiers in the Spanish-American War: Charles L. Cutler and George Wood.
Those in World War I included: Robert Edgerton, gassed in France, now lives in Illinois; Leslie Cutler, in the Navy, now lives in Gary; Andrew Cutler, in the Army, at the front in France; Virgil Scritchfield, in the Army, served in France, died in 1951, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery; Floyd T, Vinnedge, Army, 9th Balloon Co., served one year in France, Andrew Cutler and Floyd T. Vinnedge still live at Creston, and are affiliated with the American Legion Post 101 of Lowell.
Creston also had a number of young men in World War II; also one nurse, Lieutenant Nelda M. Vinnedge, who served in England.
A number of Creston boys are now serving in the Korean War.
Ethel Vinnedge continued her "History" in the July 17, 1952, Lowell Tribune on page 1, columns 2-3 and section 2, page 4, columns 2-6:
The Cedar Lake Sunday School and Baptist church had been transferred in 1849 from the east Cedar Lake school house to Tinkerville, then to the Stillson school; the first elders or pastors being: 1838, N. Warriner, then W.T. Bly, A. Hastings, T. Hunt, U. McCay, Brayton, Hitchcock, Whitehead and Steadman.
In 1875, the Creston Methodist church was built by these members: carpenter and masonry work being done by William Palmer, Reuben Wood and James Vinnedge; first board of trustees being A.H. Carstens, Obadiah Taylor III, Amos P. Thompson, Samuel A. Love, Sr., and Robert Garrison. In 1878, the first Methodist minister to preach in the new church was Rev. F.D. Baker. Other ministers have been: 1870, J.J. Hines; 1873, B.H. Beall; 1876, S.E. Beck; 1879 to 1938, Reuben Sanders, A.W. Smith, A.E. Houseman, A.A. Dunlavy, Alfred Knoll, A.G. Porter, John G. Law, J.D. Evans, William Crapp, E.T. George, Demetrius Tilletson, E.W. Jones, J.W. Wilson, E.P. Bennett, Dunning Idle, Rev. Freemain, Charles A. Brown, M.F. Stright, R.H. Collins, Rev. Kirby, Henry G. Ross, D.A. Rogers, Rev. Weaver, Rev. Cunningham, Rev. Mourve, Rev. and Mrs. Fanebust; 1938, J.H. Vaughn, then Kendall Sands, Quentin Hand, William Ischie, Henry Braun, and Paul Reisen.
The church was first put on the Lowell circuit, then about 1894, the Methodist Episcopal Church Conference made it a part of the Creston-Griffith charge. Afterward, it was transferred to the Roselawn-Creston charge. Most of the time, student pastors from Evanston served the church. Then for almost 30 years the Conference seemed to have dropped the Creston church from its list, sending neither ministers, inquiries or service of any kind to Creston. During this period, the Sunday School was kept going by different denominations, and their ministers did some preaching here. The Moody Bible Institute also sent ministers here.
In 1938, at the request of the members, Rev. J.H. Vaughn was sent to Creston. Since then, Creston has been served with a part-time minister. Rev. Paul Reisen of Lowell, preaches here every other Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
This is one of the oldest Sunday Schools in Lake County, being organized in 1839 by Judge Hervey Ball at Cedar Lake. It was called the Cedar Lake Sunday School from 1839 to 1893, when it was changed to the Creston Methodist Episcopal Sunday School. Some of the Sunday School superintendents were: 1839, Hervey Ball, for 25 years; 1868, Mr. Pratt; 1869, Philander Cross; 1870-76, Samuel Love, Sr.; 1875, Elsie Palmer; 1876, Mrs. Phillip Stuppy, Sr.; then, Victor Scritchfield, Alfred Edgerton, Edward Stonex, B.F. Cross. George Taylor, Martin Palmer, Theodore M. Cutler, Celestian Barber, Leslie G. Cutler, Arthur G. Taylor, Ella Vinnedge, Edna Ross, Edith Frazier, Irene Barber, Martha Vinnedge, Ardetta Burnham, Ruth Sauder, F.VanGorp and Ethel A. Vinnedge.
Officers for 1952 are: minister, Rev. Paul Reisen; trustees of church, Ernest Burnham, Miss Ida Meyer and Miss Ethel A. Vinnedge; Sunday School superintendent, Mrs. Ernest Burnham; secretary, Mrs. Paul Burnett; treasurer, Miss Ida Meyer; ushers, James Tully, Jr., and William Burnham; soloist, Mrs. Edgar Robertson; teachers, Miss Ethel A. Vinnedge, Mrs. Ernest Burnham, Mrs. Burdette Smith, Mrs. Kenneth Hamman, Mrs. James Tully; president of Woman's Society of Christian Service, Mrs. Ernest Burnham; president of Youth Fellowship, Miss Barbara Hamman; director of Junior Missionary, Miss Marjorie Bennett.
Prior to the homecoming on September 24, 1950, the men and women of the church had the interior of the church repaired and redecorated; the outside repaired and painted; the grounds cleaned, and plants, flowers and shrubs set out.
The membership of the Creston church is small, but every resident member is very faithful and loyal, and always willing to do his share. A few non-resident members remember their church with a donation each year.
The Woman's Society of Christian Service is a very active group. Since it was organized in 1947, it has sponsored the repairing and redecorating of the church; has published a local cook book; had a float in the Lowell Labor Day parade the past two years; raised a crop of popcorn one year and a crop of soy beans the next; sent boxes of food to Japan missions regularly; collected and sent clothing to Europe; arranged the 75th anniversary celebration of the church; sponsored the two youth groups, M.Y.F. and Children's Missionary; held Bible school every June; has monthly suppers and parties, keeping the interest of the whole family centered in the little white church. Shut-in or sick members, the children at Lebanon Methodist Home and several of the women at the Home for The Methodist Aged at Warren are remembered regularly by this group with calls, gifts, or cards.
Another cemetery in the Creston community is the McCarty cemetery on the old McCarty homestead, now the farm of Richard Hamman. It is located one-half mile south of the Creston stores, and one-fourth mile east. It contains the graves of some of the pioneer McCartys and Youngs. Deida, wife of the Honorable Judge Benjamin McCarty (prominent in the early political life of Lake County) is buried here. This cemetery is sadly neglected, and vandals knocked down most of the stones a couple of years ago.
A private cemetery with a few graves is located on the property of C.J. Thompson. This plot is well enclosed with a fence. Buried here are the Thompsons.
There is another private burial lot, located in what was formerly Tinkerville, on the old Miller farm, now owned by Henry Cutler. It is twenty feet or so northeast of the end of the Creston road. The graves are those of the first wife of William Taylor I, daughter of Rev. Norman Warriner, and their two infants.
Julia Ann Taylor, wife of Obadiah Taylor III, used to tell her grandchildren how the Indian braves (Pottawatomie) would come into their cabin, unbidden, and wash their muskrat pelts in the water pail.
The earlier homes in the Tinkerville community were of logs. The original part of the Henry Cutler house is the old log house built by the Edgerton family. In the 40's after the saw mills were in operation, most of the new homes were built of sawed lumber, many of which were rebuilt or remodeled by the end of the 19th century.
Creston now has a number of good roads and streets, of gravel, cinders, or asphalt.
With the exception of the Methodist Church and Sunday School, the Creston Home Economics club is the most active organization here. Most of the local women belong to it. The church has a very active Woman's Society of Christian Service, a M.Y.F., and a Children's Missionary Society. Many residents belong to clubs and societies in nearby towns and cities, which can be reached by automobile in a few minutes.
The modest Creston homes include a garden spot, a spacious lawn, with trees and flowers. Some few have chickens, but a cat or dog comprise the rest of the livestock. Old Dobbin is gone, and every home has one or two cars or a truck for transportation. There is no train service, but there is Greyhound and work bus service one half mile east at Tinkerville Corner.
Creston has one beauty parlor, several small shops -- machine shop, Meat Hook, Inc., well digging and house moving shop, a meat market, general store, post office, and the Methodist church.
A few years ago, the Monon railroad's location was moved several roads west to bypass the marsh and Cedar Lake shores. Mr. Howkinson, of Cedar Lake, purchased this old Monon right-of-way land. He has been filling in to make a road across the marsh, where the railroad tressel was, thus connecting Cedar Lake and Creston by this mile of road. He then plans to subdivide the land along this road, so that Creston and Cedar Lake will be as one.
Lake Dalecarlia, an artificial lake, made by damming Cedar Creek, the overflow of Cedar Lake, lies one mile east of Creston, and furnishes recreation in fishing, swimming, and boating.
Happy the folks in a Creston Home --
Never from it, very long will roam.
Creston is in both northern Cedar and West Creek townships, Lake County, Indiana. The LNA & C Railroad Co. named this station in 1882. Prior to this, the settlement was in Tinkerville, one half mile east.
Obadiah Taylor III laid out the west part of Creston, naming the streets Main, Palmer, Ferry, South Love, Taylor and West.
Before the school house was built in 1894, the children attended the Stillson school, built in Tinkerville in 1849. Both schools were used for social, political, religious, temperance, literary, meetings, debates, spelling bees, sing, Cedar Lake Lyceum, Cedar Lake Belles Letters Society and later for community meeting.
The Creston post office is one of the oldest in Lake County; originally the Cedar Lake post office until 1882. Lewis Warriner ws the first postmaster, and Floyd T. Vinnedge is the present one. Several Taylors and Palmers have always owned stores here. The two stores now are owned by T. Hoyne and F.T. Vinnedge. There have never been any saloons in Creston.
Schillo Bros. had the first blacksmith shop in 1881. Will and John Love owned a huge hay-barn, Creston being a large shipping point for midwest hay. Thomas E.Vinnedge had a hay scales and Obadiah G. Vinnedge, a horse power[ed] hay press.
Obadiah Taylor III had a coal and lumber yard. Adelbert Palmer built a grain elevator in the early 80's. The Monon Railroad had a freight, express and passenger station here, the first agent being R.C. Wood. Much farm produce, veal calves, and milk was shipped daily into Chicago on the "Milk Train."
The Methodist Episcopal Church was erected in 1875 and the whole community belonged or attended its services. The adjoining Cedar Lake cemetery had been in use for many years before Creston was settled; the graves being unmarked. Other cemeteries located here are the McCarty cemetery on the Richard Hamman farm, a small one on the C.J. Thompson farm and a burial plot on the Miller farm, just south of the Andrew Cutler home.
Creston sent soldiers to most of the wars of our country. The early settlers were nearly all descended from the Revolutionary soldier, Obadiah Taylor I. who settled with his sons at Cedar Lake.
Today, Creston is a quiet residential village, people moving here to get away from the noise and dirt of the city. There are only a few descendants of the early settlers still living in Creston.
Go to Richard Schmal's article, "Tinkerville/Creston" for further information.
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