Pioneer History by Richard C. Schmal

(from the December 1, 1982, Lowell Tribune, page 9)

Early South County Village

One of the first businesses was a general store and meat market opened by Pioneer John Dilley in 1837, the year Lake County began. This building was on the east bank of "The Outlet" (Cedar Creek), about two and a half miles south of Lowell. The store was open only for a short time, and was closed for an unknown reason.

One half mile north of this store site was the first mill in the township. located on the east side of the stream, built and operated by Israel Taylor. It was a saw mill with a "run of corn stones." The mill washed away in a few years and was rebuilt in 1844, with an attachment for grinding wheat added. The stones used in the first mill were used earlier in a hand mill.

We find a record of two burials about a mile south of Lowell near the creek. These were among the first dearhs of the early pioneers. The daughter of pioneer Thomas Childers was buried there in 1835. The second burial at that place was of a child from the pioneer Wells family, also 1835.

Also located in the settlement(s), a mile to two-and-one-half miles south of the then town of Lowell, was a school used for one term: a very small hut of poles and logs built by Thomas Childers. William Wells, Thomas Wells, Thomas Childers and a Mr. Cross all had children attending.

Another early school used for only one term was located just east of Lowell on the Sanger farm, and the Bryants, Sangers, Fullers, Smiths and Laflers sent their children to this school.

The Sanger Family

In the early days of our country, it was customary to name an area after someone living close by. "Sanger's Corner" was a good example, and a name this writer heard an old timer mention a few weeks ago. She said, "You go out east of Lowell to Sanger's Corner and turn left." Today someone would say, "Go to Holtz Road at the east end of town."

James H. Sanger, Sr., born in 1807, came to Lake County in the very wet spring of 1837. He and Martha B. Cleveland were married in 1834, and at an early day they traveled from Ontario County, New York, where they were farming, to Michigan, where James bought a farm.

On arriving here in Lake County, James bought eighty acres and built his log cabin with the usual clapboard roof and puncheon floor. He continued to buy land until he owned 1,000 acres of good farm land and was a well-known dealer in sheep and cattle. James held various township offices.

About 1843, Outlet post office was established near Sanger's Corner east of Lowell, with James H. Sanger as the first postmaster of the area. He kept the office for a few years, before it was moved closer to town and pioneer Leonard Stringham became postmaster.

The original building, with improvements, was still standing on the front lawn of the new Lowell High School when it was built in 1969. It was lost soon after when it was destroyed by fire.

The post office was in Sanger's home, which he constructed in 1840 with lumber hauled from Chicago with oxen. The name, Outlet Post office, was taken from the name of the stream coming from Cedar Lake called "The Outlet," and later called by its present name, Cedar Creek.

Persons living a distance directed their letters to 'Crown Point, Outlet Post office, Indiana.' At that time there was a star mail route running from Crown Point to what is now Lowell.

James H. Sanger Sr. died on July 31, 1882. [NOTE: Goodspeed's book, Counties of Porter and Lake list the death as July 30, 1882, but cemetery records show the date as July 31, 1882.] His wife, Martha, died on Dec. 29, 1880. Both are buried in the Lowell Cemetery.

Simeon L. Sanger, second of eight children born to James and Martha Sanger, was born in New York in November 1835 and came to Lake County with his parents in 1837. He worked on his father's farm until he was 21, then worked on shares for a few years until he was able to purchase 116 acres in Cedar Creek Township adding to it until, in 1884, he had 190 acres of well improved farmland.

Simeon married Mary E. Belshaw, daughter of Henry and Mary (Smith) Belshaw. To this union were born four children: Walter, Henry, Leander and an unnamed infant.

C.C. Sanger, another son of James and Martha Sanger, was born in Lake County in February 1839. He received an education in the local schools and at the old Male and Female College at Valparaiso. He married Caroline Childers, daughter of pioneers Joseph and Sarah Childers.

C.C. Sanger farmed until 1874, when he rented the farm of 160 acres, moved to Lowell and opened a hardware store, still in operation in 1884. The 1884 history says that he carried a full line of hardware, tinware, stoves and agricultural implements. We find no mention of children.

Another son, James H. Sanger Jr., the sixth child of James and Martha Sanger, was born in Cedar Creek Township in 1844. He received an education in the local schools and worked with his father until he was 21.

In 1871 he married Charlotte Levering of Knox County, Ohio, the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Craft) Levering. Their children were Leona Maud and Frederick J. In 1873 James Jr. purchased a farm of 187 acres, and in 1881 he was living on the home farm of his father.

Son Frederick J., known to this writer as well as many of the people in the area, worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company, and upon retiring became a Lowell businessman. His sons were Harold and Marshall.

The last of the Sanger land was sold in about 1966, and forty acres are the site of the present Lowell Senior High School, built in 1969. Sixty acres of land south of State Road 2 were sold to private individuals. There is currently no one with Sanger name living in the area.

Historical information has been found on only three of the eight children of James H. Sr. and Martha Sanger, yet the following notes have been found on the Sanger family. They are included due to their historical interest.

One of the earliest burials (in 1838) in the Lowell Cemetery, according to historian Goodspeed, was a little daughter of Henry Sanger.

In 1841 Jane Childers and Ira Babcock were married by Justice of the Peace John H. Sanger.

In 1838 the following pioneers with the name of Sanger came to Lake County: Harvey C. Sanger, Leander Sanger and John N. Sanger, brothers and all the sons of Adin Sanger. Adin Sanger died in New York in 1829. Adin was a tinner and coppersmith in Connecticut and in New York.

In April 1841 there was a double wedding: William Purdy to Elizabeth Sanger, and Harvey Sanger to Sarah A. Bryant. Harvey C. Sanger was born in New York in 1815, the son of Adin and Elizabeth (Niles) Sanger.

In 1838 Harvey built a log cabin in Cedar Creek Township. In 1855 his wife, Sarah Ann, the daughter of Samuel D. and Mary (Ross) Bryant, and two babies died.

After the death of Sarah Ann, Harvey married Nancy Swaney, daughter of Cooper and Harriet (Griffin) Brooks. Harvey was one of the Nimrods of the frontier; his rifle was his companion, and in his hands, it meant certain death to game. For several years, he hunted with the Indians on the Kankakee Marsh.

Adna Sanger was born in 1844, died in 1909. He was a member of the Indiana Volunteers of the Civil War. His wife was Phoebe (1848-1932).

Ross Sanger was born in 1842 and died in 1901.


Last updated on June 13, 2008.

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