Soon after Lake County became a county, some of the early settlers decided that the village of Liverpool, three miles northwest of the town of Hobart, would be the best place for the county seat. Liverpool was laid out in 1836 by John Davis, Henry Frederickson and John B. Chapman. The site had some advantages in those early years, including proximity to the Calumet River, a hotel, a ferry boat, and access to the stage route from Detroit to Chicago. In 1839 a small courthouse was built, but not entirely completed.
Many other settlers, especially those from the southern part of the county, protested the site at Liverpool, and in an act passed by the Indiana Legislature in the winter of 1839-40, an order was made for the relocation of the county seat in Lake County.
The uncompleted courthouse building at the village of Liverpool was sold and floated down the Calumet River to Blue Island, Ill., where it was used as a tavern, and the high hopes of the pioneers at Liverpool disappeared.
In 1840 the village of West Point (Cedar Lake) and the Lake Court House (Solon Robinson's Village) were competing to become the new location of the county seat.
Judge Benjamin McCarty (born in 1796 in Franklin County) traveled by oxen in 1832 with his wife, Deida (Young) McCarty, to LaPorte County, where he soon became active in the political community and was elected probate judge.
When land in adjoining Porter County went up for sale, he bought a large tract of land on what is now Old Lincoln Highway. He laid out the town of Porterville, which is now the central part of Valparaiso, and used his influence in the placement of the county court house on his land.
Soon he was looking for new adventures and challenges and became interested in the formation of the new Lake County. He purchased the Lilley property on the northwest side of Cedar Lake. Dr. Calvin Lilley had settled there in 1836, but died in 1839 and was buried at the old West Point Cemetery. He mapped out the new village of West Point, and worked hard to convince the state that it would be a fine site for the county seat.
The 1834 pioneer and founder of Crown Point, Solon Robinson, and Judge William Clark were also in competition for the site of the courthouse. All the while, "donations" were being offered by well-known pioneers from both sites. Robinson claimed that his site was more centrally located.
Commissioners were appointed by the State of Indiana: Jesse Tomlinson, and Edward Moore of Marion County, Henry Barclay of Pulaski, Joshua Lindsey of White, and Daniel Doale of Carroll County. They arrived in the area in June, 1840, rode horseback over both of the sites, canvassed the claims and offers from both villages, and finally selected Lake Court House as the proper place for the county seat of Lake County.
After the loss of his site, pioneer McCarty never developed the town of West Point, but became a well-known business man at Cedar Lake and in south Lake County.
It was soon busy at the village of Lake Court House. Seventy-five lots were laid out on 60 acres of land, 20 belonging to Judge Clark and 40 to Solon Robinson.
A large public square was laid out and donated, "upon (which) no buildings are to be erected," and another acre of ground was set aside for a court house and public offices. That early frame courthouse of 1849 was not on the square, but it seems the rule was changed, for a larger brick court building was built there in 1878, with an enlargement in 1907-09. Another acre was given for school purposes.
Rev. T.H. Ball, historian, wrote this in 1872: "If I understand the old record correctly, the two proprietors also donated one half of lots laid out, and Judge Clark gave, in addition, 35 acres adjoining on the east; Solon Robinson gave 20 acres on the west. Russell Eddy gave ten acres and J.W. Holton 15 acres. Other donations were also made in money or labor. These donations, of course, went to the public or the county."
George Earle, pioneer of the Liverpool area, was appointed county agent, and met with the other two owners to name the new town. Earle and Robinson both chose the name "Crown Point," while Clark did not, at first, agree.
Those first lots sold for $11 to $127.50, with two, three and four years' credit, the first year without interest. All this happened when the population of the county was only 1,468.
The villages of West Point and Liverpool lost the site of the county seat partly because of the central location of Crown Point and the strong influence of men like Solon Robinson and Judge Clark.
Solon Robinson, founder of Crown Point, moved on to New York and then to Florida, where he died and was buried. Just a few months ago, area newspapers were filled with the story about his remains being brought back from the south and buried in the family plat at Maplewood Cemetery in the town that was once called "Robinson's Village."
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