The Sutton ancestors were pioneers at Rushville in Rush County, Ind., east of Indianapolis. Living there were David Sutton (1766-1844), his wife Anchor Fox Sutton (1771-1854), their son David Sutton Jr., born in 1802, and his wife, Elizabeth Shields Sutton (1799-1856).
David Jr. and Elizabeth were the parents of Gabriel F. Sutton (1822-1899), who settlerd in Lake County in 1862 and became a well-known farmer and teacher. Historian Rev. T.H. Ball wrote the following in 1904: "Mr. Gabriel F. Sutton, the father of the family, was a factor of great importance in the life of Lake County, and a man whose influence will not soon be lost to the world in which he lived."
A prizewinning story, written by his great great grandson, Kenneth S. Sutton, then 13 years of age, appeared in the Three Creeks Bicentennial Book, 1776-1976, edited by Donna Hayden Steward. Kenneth wrote: "Gabriel came to Lake County in 1862, herding a flock of 1,000 sheep along with his family." Gabriel came to West Creek Township with his wife, Almeda Hall Sutton (1822-1912) and their family of seven children, who helped to run the farm while he was absent to teach school and when he took the pulpit when no preacher was available. At his death, his estate comprised three hundred and twenty-five acres in Lake County, one hundred and forty acres in Jasper County, and six acres in the Town of Lowell.
In that same bicentennial book, another prizewinning story was written by Gabriel's great great granddaughter, Janine L. Sutton, age 16. She wrote: "He built a little house on the land and reared seven children. If I so desire, I can climb the same stairs as my ancestors climbed to their bedroom loft, and watch the stars through the same window." In that little house, Gabriel and his wife raised seven children: Festus P. married Altie L. Cover and became a prosperous farmer and stockman in West Creek Township; Maggie married William Smith, and they farmed; Mary A. married Frank A. Hayden of Kankakee County, Ill.; John H. also farmed in West Creek; Emerson Otto, a farmer in West Creek; Ellswood Grant, farmer; and Viola May, who stayed on the farm to help her parents. Henry M. died at Rushville as an infant.
The oldest son of the family, Festus P. Sutton, a prominent agriculturalist of West Creek Township, was born in Rushville on Oct. 9, 1846, where he lived until he moved to West Creek with his parents in 1862, at 16 years of age. Festus was engaged in grain-threshing in northwest Indiana and was once well-known in this part of the state in that industry.
In 1889 Festus married Altie L. Cover (1868-1939) who was born in Belmont County, Ohio, daughter of George N. and Harriet Jarvis Cover. She came to Jasper County when she was four years old and received her early education there.
Festus and Altie had one daughter, Altie Almeda, who married Albert Grossman.
Festus Sutton cast his first vote for General Ulysses S. Grant, and was often selected as delegate to his party's district and county conventions. He passed away in 1929.
Emerson Otto Sutton (1859-1942) was born in Rush County on Dec. 6, 1859, the sixth of eight children born to Gabriel and Almeda Sutton, and came to Lake County at the age of three. In 1904 Historian Ball had this to say about him: "Emerson Otto Sutton is a representative of one of the oldest and most respected families of West Lake County, and in his life vocation of Agriculture and in the discharge of those responsibilities which fall to the lot of every substantial and public-spirited American, he has shown himself a man of perfect integrity and solidity of character well befitting one of his family name."
'Otto' was married on Christmas day of 1903 to Margarete Einspahr (1878-1905), but sadness came to the family when Margarete died just two years later, five days after she gave birth to their son, Harold. Otto remarried to Addie Stuart in 1907. He cast his first vote for James A. Garfield and also was a delegate to political conventions.
Harold Sutton (1905-1986), son of Emerson Otto and Margarete, was a well-known West Creek farmer like his ancestors, and lived and retired on the old farm established by his grandfather, Gabriel Sutton, in 1862. He was very active in his community. For 62 years he was a member and representative of the Gleaners Life Ins. Society and is well-remembered for his participation in Lowell Lions Club projects, including the construction of the football field on South Nichols St. in Lowell during the 1940's. He served on the Board of Governors of the Three Creeks Historical Assn. as a representative from the West Creek area and was active in establishing and performing the work of the historical group.
Harold's grandson, Kenneth Sutton, wrote this about him in 1976: "He is one of the most knowledgable people I know. He has built up our farm very much since his father died, adding such things as a sawmill, shop and modern barn. He is famous for all of these. People still come to have lumber sawed at his sawmill, things made from his large assortment of machines which include a milling machine, a metal lathe, and a planer, or to see a silo unloader in operation."
On Jan 14, 1933, Harold Sutton married Lillian Stuppy, born in 1912, daughter of John and Dora Stuppy and granddaughter of Phillip and Bridget Murphy Stuppy, who came to Indiana from Pennsylvania in about 1871.
The following is from the story written by Janine Sutton in 1976: "My great great grandmother, Bridget Murphy, came here from Ireland, leaving the potato famine behind. Determined to come to the prosperous land of America, Bridget arrived here on a sailboat. Her determination, combined with luck, gave her the strength to make it to the land of the free." Lillian Sutton still enjoys living on the farm with other family members nearby, but she told the Old Timer that butter, ice cream, cottage cheese and buttermilk making are things she did in past years, but no longer.
Harold and Lillian Sutton are the parents of three children: John P., Margaret, and David. John P. Sutton, who married Carole Lorence, is in the construction business. Their two children, Kenneth S. and Janine L., were the young authors of those family stories written for the bicentennial book.
Kenneth now lives in Bolingbrook, Ill., with his wife, Linda Nilsen Sutton, and is an airplane pilot for Piedmont Airlines. Janine is married to Jerry Hooley and they live in Michigan City with their two-year-old daughter, Christine. Janine works for the school system in Michigan City and is studying for a degree in education.
Harold's daughter Margaret is married to Joseph Grills and lives in Connecticut, where he is a vice president with the IBM Corp. Finance and Investment Dept. They are the parents of three sons: Craig, who lives in Washington, D.C.; Douglas of La Palma, Calif; and Jeffrey of Connecticut.
Harold and Lillian's youngest son, David, and his wife Patricia Gerlach Sutton are also the parents of three children: Brian, a junior at Purdue University who is majoring in aviation with an eye toward becoming an airline pilot; Michelle, a secretary and estimator for an electrical contractor in Highland; and Daniel, a junior at Lowell High School, who is also interested in aviation.
Brian is also president of the Sutton family company, "Professional Pilots, Inc." which operates the Delphi airport. Father David Sutton has had a pilot's license since age 17, and while he is still farming a part of the old homestead of West Creek Township, it seems that a number of the younger Suttons are turning their thoughts to adventures in the sky.
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