This timeline of Melvin Halsted's life was prepared by Lowell Town Historian Richard Schmal:
Melvin Halsted, Founder of Lowell
Melvin was born in New York State.
Moved to a farm near Dayton, Ohio, with his mother.
Married Martha Foster
Visited Lake County, Indiana, and was impressed.
Moved to the West Creek area of Lake County to farm for three years.
Moved again--to a deserted cabin near the present depot in Lowell.
Purchased mill site, built dam for saw mill.
Built kiln, made bricks for his home.
Moved into his new brick home; left to go to the California gold rush; on return skirmished with Indians.
Returned to Lowell with small fortune; resumed business ventures; planned the original part of Lowell.
Town of Lowell platted, 16 lots; built first grist mill on Mill Street; also built a small brick schoolhouse.
Built brick Baptist Church (demolished 1905); went to Kinmundy, Illinois, where he built two mills, stayed two years.
Returned to California and built flour mill near San Francisco.
Sold California mill; returned to Kinmundy, Illinois; went back to California where he mined and built homes.
Returned to Lowell; bought back some of his holdings, including a mill at Pleasant Grove (near Lake Dalecarlia).
A trip to Mississippi to raise cotton was a failure.
Built a second mill, this time on Main Street at the stream; helped to establish a stage route between Lowell and Crown Point.
Left for California again where he built 14 homes.
Captured four sea lions, sold them to a showman for $1200.
Traveled to Utah, where he was superintendent of a silver mine.
Contracted for the building of the grade for the right-of-way for the railroad through Lowell which was opened by 1880 with regular train stops in 1881.
Spent many years contracting for homes, sidewalks and business places in Lowell.
At age 86, traveled to Harrison, Nebraska, as a pioneer; homesteaded.
At age 92, made a solitary trip to California
Nearly 94 years old, he died at the home of his son, William, in Kansas. Buried in West Creek Cemetery.
The following article from an unidentified newspaper was found in Town
Historian Richard Schmal's obituary collection:
FOUNDER OF LOWELL PASSES AWAY
Melvin A. Halsted was born in Rensselaer county, New York, March 29th,
1821, and died at the home of his son, William, in Auburn, Kansas, March
24, 1915, at the advanced age of 93 years, 11 months and 25 days. In
1837 he left his native state and moved to Montgomery county, Ohio,
where in May 1842 he was united in marriage to Martha C. Foster. To
this union two sons were born, William, of Auburn, Kansas, and Theron
H., of Foxborough, Mass. They resided in Ohio for three years and
heeding the call of the west located in West Creek township, Lake
county, Ind., where Mr. Halsted followed farming for a number of years.
Later he moved to what is now the town of Lowell. Here he erected and
operated a saw mill. The following year he burned brick and erected the
brick residence where S.C. Simpson now lives. It is yet a substantial
structure and is a monument to his thrift and energy. In 1850 Mr.
Halsted made his first trip to California and came back to Lowell and
erected a flouring mill which he operated for several years. In 1857 he
sold his property here and moved to Ill., having in the meantime entered
upon the land where Lowell now stands, and named the town after Lowell,
Mass., therefore Mr. Halsted can be considered the father of our town.
Mr. Halsted made several more trips to California. In 1864 he returned
to Lowell and remained until 1869, when he made another trip to
California and later to Utah and remained until 1873, when he returned
to Lowell and later was instrumental in building the Monon railroad
through Lake county. He had quite a lot of land in the town and this he
converted into lots and laid out several additions to our town and these
will bear his name for all time. When he was 84 he went to northwestern
Nebraska and took up a government claim of 640 acres and for the second
time he went through the hardships of a pioneer's life. After proving
up on the claim, he sold it at a good price and after making a trip to
California and Massachusetts, he went to make his home with his son,
William, in Kansas. About a year ago he fell and hurt himself to such
an extent that he lost the use of his lower limbs. His son, William,
brought his remains to Lowell for burial and [they] were taken to West
Creek, where interment was made beside his wife, who preceded him to the
other world many years ago. The burial services were in charge of
Colfax lodge F.&A.M., of which he was an honored member, being the
oldest member of the lodge. Undertaker Castle was in charge of the burial services.