Early Settlers in West Creek (and the Hayden Family)
(in the November 26, 1980, Lowell Tribune)
The difficulties which faced the pioneer settlers of Indiana were almost unbelievable. They faced journeys hundreds of miles long. With no roads west of the Appalachians, many used the streams as highways.
They traveled on overland routes thru virgin forests, across unbridged streams and thru virgin forests, across unbridged streams and thru or around swamps. They traveled with their covered wagons, some with oxen and some with horses. Some walked and herded their animals along the trail.
The needs of these hardy people were simple, therefore, they brought very little with them. The early pioneers of the West Creek settlement experienced this kind of life on their trips to the area, some arriving in 1834.
In September 1834 Richard Fancher, Charles Wilson, Robert Wilkinson and his two nephews left Attica, Ind., three in a wagon and two on horseback, crossed the Kankakee River at the rapids and crossed West Creek.
Here Wilkinson selected a place for his home, and according to Robinson's Records, made his claim in October 1834. The other men made claims near Cedar Lake and Crown Point. In February of 1980 we wrote about pioneer Wilkinson, who was elected Probate Judge in 1837 and moved to Missouri in 1849.
Other early pioneers of the West Creek settlement, according to the records, were: Jesse Bond and Thomas Wiles in November 1835; Charles Marvin, G.L. Foster and John McClean in 1836; Nehemiah Hayden, John Kitchel, Henry Torrey and A.D. Foster in 1837; Heman Spalding and Betheul Hathaway in 1838; William A. Clark and Peter Hathaway in 1839; William Sanders in 1841; and David Pulver in 1842.
In our column last February we also wrote about the building of bridges in Lake County in 1838, one, the Torrey bridge, over West Creek near Judge Wilkinson's home, built by "N" Hayden at a cost of $400. This bridge builder was Nehemiah Hayden, pioneer farmer.
Nehemiah Hayden and his wife Harriet Kitchel Hayden came to West Creek settlement in 1837, the year Lake County began. They moved from Ohio with nine children, ages two to 16, and four more children were born at the West Creek farm. A stone monument marks the land where they homesteaded, on State Road 2 about two and one-half miles west of U.S. Route 41. The bronze marker reads "Pioneer Nehemiah and Harriet Hayden, 1837."
Nehemiah Hayden was born Oct. 27, 1798, and on Oct. 24, 1820, was marred to Harriet Kitchel, born in 1802. Their children were: Daniel (1821-1890) married in 1844 to Louise Hill (1826-?); Nancy Jane (1823-1902) married to Reason Kile (1817-1899); Lucinda (1825-1885) married in 1843 to Walter Cleaver (1826-1850); Andrew A. (1826-1861) married in 1853 to Arminta Sophrana Pattee (1832-1912); Phoebe Ann (1827-1908) married in 1848 to Emery L. Brooks (1825-1886); Jacob (1831-1908) married in 1854 to Sarah M. Knisley (1837-1906); Joseph (1832-1899) married in 1854 to Maria Phoebe Green (1837-1906); Julia (1834-1867) married in 1852 to Volney Dickey (1833-1905); John Kitchel (1835-1903) married in 1859 to Rachael Dodge (1840-1918); Lewis (1838-1907) married in 1857 to Lucinda Knisley (1839-1867), and married in 1867 to Almeda Knisley (1846-?); Edgar (1840-1906) married in 1861 to Rachel Knisley (1841-1927); Elizabeth (1842-1927) married in 1859 to Jackson Smith (1835-1915*); Cyrus (1844-1923) married in 1864 to Caroline Cleaver (1846-1926).
Nehemiah's wife Harriet died Apr. 16, 1847, when the youngest son, Cyrus, was just 3 years old. Some time later, Nehemiah married Sarah Smith, born June 22, 1814, and to this union was born one son, William N. (1855-1917).
Sarah Smith Hayden died June 4, 1855, when William was but 2 weeks old. Nehemiah Hayden died about two years later in 1857, and son William was raised by his half brother, Lewis and his wife. William married Maria J. Edmonds in 1876.
Some time before 1902, Theul A. Hayden, grandson of Nehemah and son of Cyrus, wrote a very complete family record. In the introduction he wrote about Nehemiah and wife Harriet and their family. We quote, "They were the parents of thirteen children and by his second wife Sarah Smith Hayden, he had one son. All were very industrious and none sought a living by any other occupation than farming, each becoming the owner of a large farm with good improvements and fine horses in which they took much pride. They were classed among the very best farmers of Lake County. All were very temperate, peaceful and law-abiding citizens."
The family record book was loaned to us by Mr. and Mrs. Kitchel Gorball of Lowell. Kitchel is a grandson of Cyrus Hayden and presently West Creek Township trustee.
Daniel Hayden's farm had 700 acres. The largest farm of 900 acres belonged to Reason Kile, who married Nancy Hayden.
The author of the Hayden Family Record, Thuel A. Hayden, was born in February 1880, the only son of Cyrus and Caroline Hayden. He taught school for 47 years, most of them at Lake Prairie. He passed away January 31, 1958, at the age of 77.
From a newspaper article written by Melvin A. Halsted, founder of Lowell, on August 31, 1905, we quote: "The most prolific and remarkable family in the state is the Hayden family. Daniel Hayden who lived on the Illinois-Indiana State line in Lake County at a later date had 13 children all living and married. Nearly all of these were farmers, living in the same neighborhood. At a recent election the Hayden's cast 47 republican votes, and this tells the whole story. They are industrious, temperate, prosperous people, and the best of neighbors."
Daniel Hayden was Nehemiah's oldest son and Melvin A. Halsted was an early settler in West Creek also.
A newspaper clipping of Aug. 30, 1914, tells of the golden wedding anniversary of Cyrus and Caroline Hayden. It was a surprise planned by their children. Cyrus told the story of their 22 mile wedding trip to Kankakee on Sept. 1, 1884, in an old cracky wagon and a fine team of horses.
The village of North Hayden originated in 1905, when the New York Central Railroad went thru across State Road 2 about two miles west of Lowell. It was named after Cyrus Hayden, who farmed there.
Their neighbors were the Will Einspahr's. A lone oak tree on Cyrus Hayden's farm was used as a guide by the Indians crossing the prairie from the south to Cedar Lake.
In 1912 the Gleaner and Farmers Company was started by a group of farmers, as a coal sales business. Later they began the construction of a grain elevator. The original directors were E.O. Sutton, Cyrus Hayden, William Bruce, Otto Dahl and John Lindemer.
The town of North Hayden was laid out, but only one lot was sold. Some people will remember when State Road 2, called the Harding Highway went over the railroad tracks instead of under.
After reading the Hayden Family Record we are convinced that many families now living in this area can trace their ancestry to Nehemiah Hayden, the pioneer of 1837.