In 1976 all of South County was watching as the old Dismore log home was dismantled and removed from its pioneer original location in Eagle Creek Township.
A newer site is being determined and it is hoped that the historic house will be re-set up on County Park land of the same region. Meantime it is to be put in storage.
The Dillabough brothers will be the movers. It is then hoped that they will not be considered strangers to the vicinity of which we speak.
THE OLD HISTORIC AREAS OF ORCHARD GROVE AND ROBINSON PRAIRIE
Old Census records show Adam Dillabough, in 1870, as a farmer from Canada, coming to Eagle Creek Township. Their son Charles was 8 years old at the time.
As a man Charles married Emma Wemple who was born and lived at Robinson Prairie, just north of Orchard Grove.
Emma was a daughter of Peter Vroman Wemple and Adelia Van Slyke Wemple (1837-1926). This early Wemple Family purchased 40 acres of open farmland and they built a log home there. They hauled logs from the Kankakee river marshland; the year was 1855. The Pioneer Wemples, originally from New York, had five children, living. (One died in infancy.)
During this time a blacksmith shop was set up on the premises and then as a smithy and a farmer Peter Wemple supported his wife and children.
Peter Wemple was born in 1815 and died in 1869, leaving a family of minor children namely: Ed., Jesse, Emma (Dillabough), Anna (Marsden), Ida (Doty), Melissa (Sprague).
In 1870 Adelia Wemple (1837-1926) re-married. Coming into the home now was Fred. Alexander Ewer, who at the time was a local schoolteacher, teaching South East Grove.
Fred had been boarding in the home of a neighbor by the name of Warriner, on a farm to the west. He had been schooled at Oxford, England, and was the son of Harry Alexander Ewer and Margaret DePipe*, who lived in Liverpool where Harry was an atty-at-law. Fred A. had come to American via Australia and was en-route back by crossing the United States, working his way by teaching.
After marrying Mrs. Wemple, he continued to teach in local schools and six more children were eventually added to the family -- namely Bertrand, Fred Colfax, Henrietta, Lillian (Sexton, Brown), Harry, and "Van" Slyke -- bearing the Ewer name. The old log home was left behind and another home was built nearby to house the family that eventually totaled twelve children born to that pioneer woman.
Charles Dillabough, son of Adam, married Emma Wemple and their first home was the old log cabin where Emma had been born and spent her childhood.
Charles became a blacksmith, using the family (Wemple) shop, and eventually he moved to Crown Point. His brother-in-law Ed, who also was a skilled blacksmith, moved also to Crown Point and those two tradesmen bought out the Kaiser Blacksmith shop of that town.
Ida Wemple (1861-1938) married Wilbur Doty and he too had a hand in the Wemple shop before going into his own business in Shelby near the Monon depot. Jesse Wemple (1848-1940), apprenticing in the Wemple shop, became a skilled wheel right, well known in the area. Jesse had married Carrie Crawford and they too lived near the family Wemple site.
Harry Ewer (1880-1929) learned the machinist trade and was the engineer for the Spring Run threshing ring of Cedar Creek. He was also a skilled carpenter. (He married Sylvia Schmal of Lowell.)
Fred Ewer, Jr. (1874-1967), also learned the blacksmith trade at the same family blacksmith shop, now responsible for the turn out of seven trades-men in its pioneering history.
Fred Colfax Ewer, schooled at De Pauw and Valparaiso, had taught school for awhile, then married Alice Houk of Crown Point. One year later he suffered the loss of his wife and newborn son.
In 1906 he married Maude Esther Wheeler (of Creston region) and lived on a farm in Sheridan until 1914. They then moved to a farm east of Lowell considered a part of the Orchard Grove community. They raised a family of eleven children: Bertrand, Earl Alexander, Beatrice (Horner), William, Ruth (Banser), Grace (Miller), John, Fred Junior, Adelia (Pattee), Robert and Virgil.
Now the Ewer blacksmith shop was a hub of service in a time when farm machinery and horseshoeing was so vital to the livelihood of all people in those rough primitive days.
As much as there was constant demand for a smithy's services, it was demanding on the family who owned the shop. Often a farmer came to the shop on the noon hour, or after dark for repairs for his farm machinery. Also, if Mr. Ewer was out in the field on his own plow, he had to halt his work to help his neighbor. It was not always cash that exchanged hands -- more often they made neighborly deals in labor, food or other services of equal value.
Like the earlier blacksmith shop history, again this newer generation of children was learning the trades those old shops had to offer.
Years ago, when a blacksmith shop was set up, it was no problem to find the material to erect the building, but to acquire the tools and iron was more difficult. While iron was mentioned in the Old Testament, our American Indians had never seen an article made of iron until the coming of the white man. Iron works were set up as early as 1644 in the eastern part of the United States. By 1800 these were beehives of industry.
With the settling of Indians in the mid-1800's, iron and iron tools and machinery were being shipped by rail to this region.
Shops needed metal framed bellows, anvils, drills, hammers, tongs and long handled pokers; also necessary wore grindstones, files and rasps for finishing work. Earliest horseshoes were hand made, as were many tradesmen's tools.
Charcoal was required to attain the intense heat necessary to shape and reshape iron. It took eleven times boiling temperature to make iron pliable so charcoal was the only fuel known that could serve this purpose. That heat was attained by setting afire the pure carbon called charcoal, and was made hotter by pumping air into the fire with a bellows. An ordinary wood fire burns at too coal a temperature for use in a blacksmith shop.
Where did charcoal come from in this area in the years prior to 1900? Those men could tell you that it was being made less thank five miles away, in the middle of a beautiful hickory woods south of the Jones schoolhouse and what today is called Holtz Road.
In 1973 we talked to William Surprise (1893-1974) of Lowell, Indiana. He told us that as a lad he saw his great-grandfather make charcoal in that woods, reluctant to give up a trade that he had worked for a lifetime, bringing it from Canada in this region's earliest settler years.
Peter Surprise (1794-1903) was this area's charcoal burner and must have been the region's main source of that valuable commodity. To date we have heard of none other.
Making charcoal is a lonely, dirty and dangerous work, and it was an expert who took on that occupation. Logs had to be stacked in piles six feet high and about 20 feet in diameter. Hickory logs made the best charcoal and these were hand hewn. This heap of wood was then covered with sod, wet weeds and leaves, leaving a small hole on top for a chimney. After set afire, the heap was to burn slowly but never aflame.
The man or men governed this smoulding pile of logs at least two weeks, watching intently day and night to prevent its flaming up. If it should flame up, they hurriedly climbed atop the pile to load on more sod or wet snow on the burning area. This was dangerous and there was always a chance of serious burns or even a loss of life.
Coke replaced charcoal when coal deposits became available, and the cutting of trees for this use could cease.
The old blacksmith shop of each settlement was the backbone of a community as it constantly repaired or replaced tools and machinery that made farming and family life less primitive and more productive. The making of horseshoes, and the shoeing of horses, alone, made a local blacksmith one of the community's most staunch individuals.
With this in mind, Cedar Creek early families of Wemple, Dillabough, Doty, Ewer and Surprise made a strong contribution to those pioneering years.
The old family name of Dillabough is but a reminder as we note descendents coming again to this area, this a return trip, as they professionally move the big log home, one of South County's oldest.
We are fortunate to have such a fitting monument to the area's past history.
* NOTE -- Although Beatrice Ewer Horner lists the wife of Harry Ewer as "Margaret DePipe," her niece Phyllis Ewer explains that this is a mistake and offers the following information:
I have a copy of Henrietta's father's will which was written in 1832. His name was John Saunders Pipe and he died in 1835. He refers to Henrietta several times. He has no daughter named Margaret. Henrietta married Harry Alexander Ewer on 9 Oct 1838. You can find their marriage in the index to the English marriage records on rootsweb.com (go to Free BMD). Harry's name appears in the index as Mary Alexander Ewer. Henrietta's name is Henrietta Pipe. The marriage takes place in Chorlton.
Henrietta died in 1851. Her death registration can also be found in the BMD record. Her name is Henrietta.
Actually I do not find the family as de Pipe anywhere in the English records, just Pipe.
If you will look at Timothy Ball's Lake County, 1884 under Ewer and Wemple, paragraph numbered 8 on page 400, Frederick Alexander Ewer's parents are given as Harry Alexander Ewer and Henrietta Pipe.
Henrietta Edith Ewer was the daughter of Frederick Alexander Ewer and Adelia Van Slyke Wemple. She would be a sister of Fredrick Colfax Ewer.
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