Previously we wrote about the pioneers who settled in the village of Pleasant Grove. At that writing we knew there was a store in Pleasant Grove and that it was one of five in Lake County in 1847. We now know that the store was owned by George W. Taylor.
Mr. Taylor came to Pleasant Grove in May 1845 and opened the store. He was also a Methodist Episcopal preacher and in March of 1849 moved to Valparaiso where he died the same year on September 13th.
The task of the settlers was to first select a site for their home, this being determined largely by access to markets, drinking water, drainage, and preference for wooded lands with the advantage of occupying a clearing if possible.
The subject of this month's column, South East Grove, must have been just what many pioneers were looking for. Of all the Groves in Lake County, South East Grove is the largest and early writers called it "the finest." It is circular in shape, covering almost one section of land, with the timber mostly hickory and oak.
The settlers made their homes at the edge of the Grove and many homesteaders bought parcels of the wooded area for their supply. In these early days, no cabins were in the center of the woods except a log schoolhouse and in the early 1840's a cemetery was laid out across the road from the school.
Of the early settlers in South East Grove we find the Flint families, who stayed a short time; Orlando V. Servis (1808-1885) who came in 1837; pioneer Gibson; George Parkinson who came in 1836; Orrin Smith in 1837; a Mr. Morriss and a few others whose names we cannot find listed.
In the spring of 1840, Alexander F. Brown came to the Grove from the state of New York . With him were three hired men. He secured a location and commenced building.
In October 1849, while at work, his horses were frightened, he was thrown from his wagon and died of the injuries a week later. His sons, John Brown and W. Barringer Brown, then just nine and six years of age, grew up to be intelligent, enterprising young businessmen in the County.
A historian writes in 1872 that John was county treasurer and W. Barringer Brown was farming at the Grove. The Brown family is still a prominent family in Lake County and one of the few pioneer descendants still owning land in the Grove.
William Brown, once a County Commissioner, and township trustee in 1872, came to the area in 1843; John A. Crawford came in 1844; Hiram Kingsbury came in the early 1840's; James Doak in about 1849 and soon after George Doak arrived. George Doak was the first teacher at the school in South East Grove. He also taught at Plum Grove, Orchard Grove, and at West Creek Schools.
Judge William Clark, one of Crown Piont's earliest settlers, spent some years around 1840 at South East Grove, then moved two miles east of Crown Point. William Clark was elected associate judge in 1837 when Lake County was founded.
George A. Eadus came to the area in 1859 but moved to Pleasant Grove where he married the widow of Ephraim Cleveland. Cleveland, a pioneer at Pleasant Grove, had died July 13, 1845.
In 1850 two brothers, Thomas and William Fisher, started a broom factory at South East Grove. Approximately one thousand brooms a week were made and during the busy years 50 thousand brooms were shipped to Chicago to be sold for 75c a dozen.
The Fishers raised some of the broom corn and harvest time saw thirty-two people at the dinner table. In 1855 the broom factory was moved and it is believed to have been moved to the Storm Spitzer farm just south of the Grove (now Colorado Street).
The school at South East Grove was first a log cabin and then a frame building. Near the school was a barn building for the teacher's horse and the children walked several hundred feet down the Grove road to Abramson's house to fetch their water.
The school became the community center for the surrounding area Many community affairs took place there, including programs by the Debating Society. In 1872 the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Hebron preached at both this school and at Bryant's School near Hebron.
Also the pastor of the North Street Church of Crown Point preached at South East Grove school and at Pleasant Grove.