Question 2 -- When was the Singleton Ditch dug?
Question 3 -- If the three creek townships were (presumably) named after their namesake creeks, where is Eagle Creek?
Question 4 -- Cedar Creek and West Creek obviously t-boned into the Kankakee before the Singleton was dug. Where are the old creek beds?
Answer to number 1 -- The big project began near South Bend in 1902 and was completed at the Illinois state line in 1922. The first dredging was made from South Bend to Porter County. The next length dredged was from Porter County to Section 1-Range 9 WEST In Newton County and was designated as "Marble Power Ditch." Digging from the west end of the Marble Power Ditch to the Illinois state line was completed in 1922.
Answer to number 2 -- The following is from the "Pioneer History" column of Mar. 1998: "About 1870, William Singleton, who was related to General George Cass, and owned many acres of the swampland, planned the beginning of the drainage system, which resulted in the digging of the Singleton Ditch in 1873. The old Eagle Creek ditch was clogged at that time." The Singleton is shown on an 1873 map of Lake County.
Answer to number 3 -- In 1873 Rev. Timothy H. Ball wrote: "Eagle Creek starts in Porter County, being the outlet of a little lake lying due east of the north part of Crown Point, crosses the county line, bearing westward then southward." The stream flows under US 231 about a mile east of Leroy, then south and east of South East Grove where smaller tributaries connect. After a large bend, the stream flows under IN 2 east of the Bryant farm, then soon joins the Singleton ditch.
Answer to number 4 -- Many of the old creek beds are now, in part, in the new ditch. Some were filled and smoothed to become a farmer's field. Others are now a part of a swamp. Very few are still visible today. An old Cedar Creek bed that the Old Timer saw in Lowell as a young'un is now well landscaped as part of Liberty Park. Perhaps readers can tell us more.
Additional information for these answers was kindly offered by Historian Bill Peterson, former member of the Lake County Advisory Drainage Board.
A quote from a Lake County web site: "The voices of those who objected to the project could not be heard over the din of the activities of the steam shovels."
Two additional questions came up during the research for this column.
Question 5 -- How wide did the big dredges dig while dredging the Kankakee?
Question 6 -- Did the Old Timer see the river before it was dredged?
Answer to number 5 -- One story tells us that the big machines dug 90 feet wide and 10 feet deep. A large group of woodsmen cleared the way ahead, approximately 200 feet wide.
Answer to number 6 -- Before the dredging the Old Timer often visited his father's little cabin on the Kankakee east of Schneider and has great memories of the beauty along the crooked stream. There were white sandbars, many kinds of flowers and vines, a large variety of birds and animals, fish and turtles. Pearls were found in the clams.
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