Settlers came in this year rapidly. . . . I name a few others among the many whose names are given as claimants in 1836. John McClean, in the Belshaw Grove; Jacob Mendenhall and Wm. A. Purdy, near Lowell; Moffard, Orrin Smith, and Joseph Morris, in South East Grove; William Merrill and Dudley Merrill near Centreville; three brothers by the name of Greene, Sylvester T., Edward, and Elisha, north of Cedar Lake; and three families of Van Volkenburgs, also Cassidy, Prentice, and David Fowler north of the Robinson settlement.
On page 57 Dudley Merrill's name was listed as one of the settlers in 1837. William Merrill was not on this list.
Who came with his brother William in 1837, brought the first claim made by A.L. or by John Ball, which was situated on the bank of Deep River south of "Miller's mill." He afterwards obtained land near and in Centreville, and his brother William erected a large frame dwelling-house on the edge of the grove opposite the Indian burial-ground. This brother died some years ago. Dudley Merrill is now living in the village of Centreville, or Merrillville, with three of his sons, and, with the exception of the care of his hotel, has mostly retired from active business life. Two of his sons carry on the store, one of them, John P. Merrill, being the Township Trustee and discharging very satisfactorily its duties, in his relations with the teachers very accommodating and pleasant.
The cheese factory and farm, west of the village, are now carried on by L. Merrill. It seems pleasant for a father to be able thus to retire from pressing business cares and have his sons around to take up the laborious duties of life.
As many of these names are likely to appear in the biographical sketches they are not given here. It will be sufficient to state that in this year there came the Taylor and Edgerton and Nordyke families, the families of James Farwell and Charles Marvin, the Church and Cutler families of Prairie West, William Merrill and Dudley Merrill, and in September George Earle. These commenced new centers of settlement.
MERRILL and MERRILLVILLE -- In 1837, when according to the Claim Register eighty-one men became settlers in the newly organized county, DUDLEY MERRILL bought a claim which had been made by Amsi L. Ball or by his son, John Ball, settlers of 1836, located on Deep River south of "Miller's Mill." But he soon obtained land at Wiggins' Point, and at length erected a quite large frame dwelling house on the north side of the old Indian trail, opposite the Indian dancing floor where the Saxton family had located, that trail becoming the mail route to Joliet from LaPorte and a great thoroughfare for western travel.
Soon village life commenced. A hotel was opened and a store, and then a blacksmith shop, and the name of Wiggins' Point was changed to Centerville. A postoffice was needed before long, and the name was changed to Merrillville. Both the brothers had sons, and around the Saxton and Merrill families quite a community grew up. Dudley Merrill started into operation a cheese factory, having also for a time the hotel, and carrying on a farm. Only one of his sons, Charles L. Merrill, is now living; Dr. Wallace Merrill is a son of William Merrill; and one of his daughters became a good teacher. There were two other brothers of this Pennsylvania Merrill family who settled in this county, JOHN MERRILL and LEWIS MERRILL, both of these being for some time citizens of Crown Point. Two sisters also became residents of the county; and of the descendants of William and Dudley and John and Lewis Merrill, and of the sisters, there are many to represent still their Pennsylvania ancestors, though not all bearing the Merrill name.
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