Sunday, June 23, 2013

July Civil War genealogy meeting

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought 150 years ago, July 1-3, 1863 -- a turning point in the Civil War. In observance of this anniversary, on Tuesday, July 9, the La Porte Genealogical Society will hear Mark Chase, founder of the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project, who has worked to replace some 80 deteriorated headstones on Civil War veterans' graves in the Calumet Region. His research on these men is part of the new historical tourism trail, the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail.

The society's regular meeting place will change as of this meeting. We will meet in the La Porte City Parks and Recreation Department building at 250 Pine Lake Avenue. From downtown La Porte: follow US 35 (Pine Lake Avenue) north past second traffic signal at Weller Avenue. Just past monument area make left turn to parking area. From north (Michigan City way): US 35 (Pine Lake Avenue) south past Best Western and Red Carpet Liquors. Make right turn in drive by flag pole in monument area.

The society meets at 7 pm on the second Tuesday of each month, weather permitting. The public is welcome at all meetings. For more information about the society's activities in awards, research, abstracting, transcribing, indexing, publishing, and records preservation, visit our web site at

Also at our web site, those who believe they have La Porte County ancestors (and can prove it!) can find information on how to apply for First Families of La Porte (before December 1840), Pioneer Families (1841-1860), Settler Families (1861-1880), and Civil War Families (1861-1865). You can also read or search back issues of the society's newsletter, December 2005 through December 2009, including genealogical and historical information from members' research and abstracting work in local records, on our blog at

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Genealogy Society News Including Low Cemetery and New Meeting Place

The La Porte County Genealogical Society's annual cemetery tour was held June 11 at Low Cemetery on Johnson Road. The cemetery is extremely well mowed and maintained, a credit to the township.

Gloria Arndt and Dorothy Palmer teamed up and presented information on the history of the cemetery, and twelve profiles of people buried there, from a Revolutionary War veteran to more recent German immigrants. The profiles are now available on our blog at
for other genealogists and relatives to benefit from. (They are automatically copyrighted by the authors, so please do not just copy them wholesale, and explain where the information came from.) Those profiled are Ebenezer Palmer, Frances Crozier Palmer, Israel Shreve, Simeon Wheeler, Jane Wheeler Bentley, Charles Otis Low, Ernestine Pauline Wopshal Kienitz, Mary E. Low Mudge, Fred Gaw, Charles Griffin, Jacob R. Fogle, and Samuel and Anna Christine Fritz.

The society's regular meeting place will change as of the next meeting, Tuesday, July 9. We will meet in the La Porte City Parks and Recreation Department building at 250 Pine Lake Avenue. From downtown La Porte: follow US#35 (Pine Lake Avenue) north past second traffic signal at Weller Avenue. Just past monument area make left turn to parking area. From north (Michigan City way): US#35 (Pine Lake Avenue) south past Best Western and Red Carpet Liquors. Make right turn in drive by flag pole in monument area.

Except for this annual tour, the society meets at 7 pm on the second Tuesday of each month, weather permitting. The public is welcome at all meetings. For more information about the society's activities in awards, research, abstracting, transcribing, indexing, publishing, and records preservation, visit our web site at

Also at our web site, those who believe they have La Porte County ancestors (and can prove it!) can find information on how to apply for First Families of La Porte (before December 1840), Pioneer Families (1841-1860), Settler Families (1861-1880), and Civil War Families (1861-1865). You can also read or search back issues of the society's newsletter, December 2005 through December 2009, including genealogical and historical information from members' research and abstracting work in local records, on our blog at


Low Cemetery History

Low Cemetery History

A misconception about Low Cemetery is: the land for the cemetery was not donated by Daniel Low even though the cemetery carries his name. John and Nancy Vanmeter (Vanmatre) set aside this area prior to 1840 for “a meeting house sight and cemetery”. They had purchased 80 acres in March of 1837 in Coolspring Township. The words “meeting house” indicate they probably were Quakers and Quakers with that name were found. Subsequent owners of the same area were Hezekiah and Fanny Bussey and Oliver Sanders. The area with the exception of the cemetery was deeded to Mary Barker Low in 1849.

She was the wife of Daniel Low and the sister of John Barker. The Lows were said to have been part of the Underground Railroad and were purported to have buried slaves in the cemetery that had been ill and died. There is no actual proof of this happening as it was word of mouth so we can only speculate.

Samuel Fritz 1820-1880 and Anna Christine Fritz 1813-1890 (Low Cemetery)

Samuel and Anna Christine Fritz came to this country from Germany in 1852 along with his mother, also Anna Christine Fritz and one son. They first went to Pulaski County before coming to La Porte County. I can only surmise they did not think the land was good for farming in Pulaski County. Samuel purchased 45 acres in Coolspring Township and began farming. They had seven children, two girls and five boys. Before Samuel died in 1880 at the age of sixty one from “lung fever” he had acquired 94 acres. His wife died in 1890 at the age of 77 years. His mother, Anna Christine died at the age of 90 years in 1884. 

Gloria Arndt 6/11/2013 

Jacob R. Fogle 1843-1863 (Low Cemetery)

Jacob R. Fogle - Jacob was born in 1843 to Levi and Sarah Anderson Fogle. 

Jacob’s father was a farmer and Christian minister. Jacob enlisted in July 1862 at the age of 19 years and was a Private in the 87th Regt. Company G. He was mustered out 17 January 1863 and died five days later on 22 January 1863. Jacob was discharged at Louisville, KY on a surgeon’s certificate of disability so he was probably mortally wounded at the time he was mustered out.

Gloria Arndt 6/11/2013

Charles Griffin 1848-1932 (Low Cemetery)

Charles Griffin – Was born in La Porte County 20 April 1848 to Sylvester and Catherine Griffin.
In 1863 at the age of fifteen he enlisted in the Union Army. He was a Private in Company E, 12th Regt. Indiana Calvary and saw three years of service before his honorable discharge at the age of nineteen.. He was a member of the GAR. He married Barbara Kissel 10 April 1870 and farmed the land of his father. A hunting accident was the cause of him losing an arm. He and his wife had three children. He passed away 20 February 1932. He and his wife are both buried here along with other family members.

Gloria Arndt 6/11/2013

Fred Gaw d. 1884 (Low Cemetery)

Fred Gaw

There is no tombstone for Mr. Gaw but as he was married to Rosa Gould Gaw he was related to the Goulds and may have been buried in the Gould tombstone area. The La Porte Herald Chronicle dated Thursday, 27 March 1884 reported the opening of the grave of Fred Gaw who had been buried about three weeks ago in the Low Cemetery. On Friday. the coffin was opened by F. Gaw, Family members David & John Gould, John Lindsley, Joe Benson, Levi Hall, and Johnny Pointon. It was found that the corpse had not moved and was in the same position that he was buried in showing he was not buried alive as believed by some of the relatives and neighbors.
His death record at the La Porte County Board of Health showed the cause of death was epilepsy.
This was a case for having a bell at the gravesite so he could ring it if needed.

Gloria Arndt 6/11/2013

Mary E. Low Mudge 1843-1924 (Low Cemetery)

Mary E. Low Mudge – Born 11 December 1843 to Daniel and Mary Barker Low. 

At the age of 23 she married Isaac Mudge, age 39 years in November of 1866 in La Porte County. He had been married previously and had a daughter, Jessie. Isaac’s brother, Albert Mudge, a farmer and township assessor was living in Coolspring Twp. and this is probably how they met. In the 1870 census they were living in Belvidere, Illinois.and he was a manufacturer of rhubarb wine and according to an IRS tax assessment in 1864, Isaac was making rhubarb wine before they married.. The 1880 History of La Porte County stated she married Isaac R. Mudge and resides at home with her parents. It is obvious she was separated from Isaac probably not due to the rhubarb wine as he was in the rhubarb wine business prior to their marriage.

Under La Porte County Guardianships on 20 September 1883 Mary E. was appointed guardian to her mother Mary B. Low after the death of her father in 1882.

Mary is shown in the census of 1900 and 1910 as living in Michigan City by herself as a boarder.
The 1920 census shows her living on Spring Street as head of the household. She had two ladies boarding with her, one a corsetiere and the other a music teacher. She died 9 May 1924 at the age of 80 years. Her ex-husband passed away in 1914. All censuses showed them both a widow and a widower after their separation.

Gloria Arndt, 6/11/2013

Ernestine Pauline Wopshal Kienitz 1850-1895 (Low Cemetery)

Ernestine Pauline Wopshal Kienitz

Ernestine Pauline Caroline Wopshal Kienitz, has a history that moves beyond the pioneers with English bloodlines. She is the daughter and wife of a different group of immigrants, the Germans. Someone once said that the English bought land to speculate, the Germans bought land to farm and keep in the family. The major part of the 114 acre farm that Pauline and her husband, Gustav, bought in 1877 is still in the family 136 yrs later in 2013, although, not a great deal of farming is done there today.

Pauline was born 21 Mar 1850 in Kolmar, Posen, Germany. She wasn’t found as a single woman in the Census records, but, on the 27 Apr 1871, at the age of 20 yrs. she married the new German immigrant, Gustav Augustus Kienitz in La Porte County, Indiana. Gustav was Catholic and Pauline was Protestant. In spite of those differences, the family numbered 9 living children when a picture was taken in 1894 of the family (minus the oldest boy) in front of their home. In the picture each family member seems to be showing you their dearest possession. The little girl has her dolls, the mother, her child, the second girl, her pretty hat, another girl her guitar, the older boys, their horses, Grandma, her spinning wheel.

The year after this picture was taken, on 19 Apr 1895, Pauline died, in childbirth the family says, of malaria the news article says. Whatever caused Pauline’s death, her 10th child, a new-born daughter, died, too, within days of her mother and is buried here beside her. And why is she buried here, at Low Cemetery? Why not in Greenwood Cemetery where her husband and children are? Times were different then. Pauline was not Catholic and could not be buried in the Catholic part of Greenwood where her family would be buried. Maybe she had liked this little cemetery out in the country, not far from her home. Maybe her family felt she was nearer to them and their farm. But, here she lies and here we are today, remembering her.

Pictures and some of this information came by way of Jeanne Kienitz Galloy who lives on the farm today.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Charles Otis Low 1840-1902 (Low Cemetery)

Charles Otis Low

Charles Otis Low was born in La Porte County, IN, on 26 Mar 1840 to Daniel and Mary Barker Low. At the age of 20, on 30 Sep 1861, he enlisted in the Indiana 4th Light Artillery Battery which was organized at Indianapolis, IN, under Captn Asahel K. Bush. In June of 1862 after serving in several areas of Kentucky, his regiment served “unattached” to the Army of the Ohio in the 1st Battle of Chattanooga.

On May 29, Brig. General James Negley, with a small division, led an expedition to capture Chattanooga. This force arrived before Chattanooga on June 7. Negley ordered some of the troops out to reconnoiter. They found the Confederates entrenched on the opposite side of the river along the banks and atop the hill. Negley brought up two artillery batteries to open fire on the Rebel troops and the town and sent infantry to the river bank to act as sharpshooters. The Union bombardment of Chattanooga continued throughout June 7 and until noon on June 8. The confederate loss was minor and the Union Army withdrew. Wikipedia online contains much information about this battle. Charles had been wounded and captured there. According to his obit, was taken to Libby Prison, a confederate POW camp in Richmond, VA. The prison was harsh,
unsanitary and overcrowded. Here he spent several months. He was discharged from the prison in 1863, and owing to his injuries and health, he was discharged from the Union Army on 26 Aug 1863, more than a year after his capture.

After the war, the prison was taken apart and rebuilt in Chicago as the Libby Prison Museum. The buildings were purchased in 1888 by a Chicago syndicate, composed of W. H. Gray, Josiah Cratty, John A. Crawford and Charles Miller, and the architectural firm of Burnham & Root, for $23,000.

The building was taken apart each board, beam, brick, timber and stone-cap was numbered and lettered in such a manner that there was not the least trouble about placing these parts correctly together again. It was sent on its way to Chicago a total of 132 twenty-ton cars.

The enterprise was incorporated as the Libby Prison Museum Association and was erected on the block of Wabash Avenue, between 14th and 16th Streets in Chicago where it opened in Sep 1889. The museum was a popular and profitable venture until the association was disbanded in 1899 to make way for the Chicago Coliseum.

The museum collection and many bricks and building parts went to the Chicago Historical Society. The beams, timbers and most of the wood were sold to an Indiana farmer named Davis and he used these to build a massive barn on his farm at Hamlet (Starke County) Indiana. The barn still stands and is owned by his daughters, Miss Ella J. Davis and Mrs. Charles Dowdell of Chicago. Most of the timbers still show the
stenciled words "Second Floor M; or "Third Floor E.", together with the pathetic names and initials carved by the men while in prison.

*For more information on the barn made of Libby prison timbers, see footnote.

At the close of the Civil war thousands of discharged soldiers came to Kansas and entered homesteads. Charles Otis Low was one of them. These entries were not land grants in the ordinary meaning of that term, but they were made possible by liberal amendments to the homestead laws, and have sometimes been designated as "military grants." He remained in Holton, KS until 1885 when he returned to the family homestead. Prior to his death on 9 May 1902, Charles moved to an apartment in Michigan City. His death was listed in the La Porte Daily Herald as due to consumption aggravated by the injuries received in the War.

Parts of this information on Libby Prison is from a reprint of Official Publication #12, Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee, 1961- 1965, no copyright claimed, but the original was compiled by R. W. Wiatt, Jr.

Photo of barn on Davis property and further information about the barn was provided by Fern Eddy Schultz, La Porte County, IN Historian. “They (the timbers) were purchased by Charles J. Danielson who in turn sold them to Mr. Davis who had a large stock farm near Hamlet… In December 1963, the barn was dismantled… The barn was purchased by Kenneth Mercer of Spencer, IN who was said to intend to construct it as a museum on property he owned in the west central part of the state. In October 2012, I was told that the trail of the barn ended with less than 1% of the barn’s material being preserved in Pamplin Park, Petersburg, VA due to a train wreck carrying the material from Chicago to Virginia.”

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Jane Wheeler Bentley 1790-1858 (Low Cemetery)

Jane Wheeler Bentley

Jane was born in Conneticut in 1790 to Simeon and Anna Sanford Wheeler. She was from a family of 6 children, probably the 3rd child. In 1802 or 1803, at the age of 12 or 13 yrs., she traveled with her parents, Simeon and Anna and her 5 siblings by ox-cart through New York and Pennsylvania, crossing the Allegheny Mountains to reach Vienna Twp, Trumbull County, OH,

In 1812, at the age of 22 yrs in Trumbull Cnty, OH, Jane married George Bentley, born in Washington County, PA on 28 June 1790 to Benjamin Bentley and Mary Baldwin Bentley. George served as an officer in the War of 1812 in the Ohio Militia.

The couple had 8 children, all born in Trumbull County, Ohio. In 1836, the Bentley family moved to La Porte Co., IN. One son, Ambrose Dudley Bentley, a farmer who resided on and farmed the old homestead, and one daughter, Candace Bentley, are buried at Low Cemetery.

One of Jane and George’s sons, George Judson Bentley, worked as a millwright until he saved up $1000, then he studied medicine and graduated from Rush Medical College in 1852. He practiced medicine in Michigan City until 1862 when he went into the army as a surgeon. On his return in 1864, he was appointed by the governor as physician and surgeon at the Northern Prison in Michigan City. Six years later he moved to San Jose, CA and set up practice. He was still practicing at the age of 75.

Jane Wheeler Bentley died on 4 Dec 1858 in La Porte Co., IN. George died on 7 Oct 1865. While Jane and two of their children are buried here, where is George?

Much of the information about Jane Wheeler and George Bentley was taken from a small book found online which was published on June 20, 1905 by General Roeliff Brinkerhoff, a Bentley in-law, entitled OHIO BENTLEYS and known as THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Simeon Wheeler 1761-after 1845 (Low Cemetery)

Simeon Wheeler

Born 10 Jan 1761 in Cheshire, New Haven County, Connecticut. He was a farmer and Low Cemetery’s only Revolutionary War veteran.

According to his pension application, he was drafted in the army of the United States about the year AD 1777 under Capt. Basil Munson and was under him about four months as a private, and five months as orderly Sergeant, he further says that he was in the service and on duty when the British attacked New Haven and that his place of residence at the time he first entered the service was Bethany, afterwards called
Woodbridge, and about twelve miles from New Haven. He was drafted into and done actual service as a soldier and minute man for more than three & not to exceed four years-

On 19 Sep 1782 in Cheshire, Con. he married Anna Sanford. In the spring of either 1802 or 1803, Simeon and Anna and their six children traveled by ox-cart through New York and Pennsylvania, crossing the Allegheny Mountains to reach Vienna Twp, Trumbull County, OH, part of the Western Reserve, where he had received a grant of land due to his being a Revolutionary War veteran. He planted the first orchard in the Township on their 187-acre farm.

The family moved to Brookfield Twp. in the same county in 1815 to farm 316 acres. His wife died unexpectedly in 1836. By December 1840, Wheeler moved to LaPorte County, Indiana, where he lived with his daughter Jane Wheeler Bentley.

Simeon’s exact date of death is unknown, but it was after Feb. 1845 when he filed a final application for an increase in his pension.

Information on Simeon Wheeler came from his Revolutionary War Pension Records, available online and from a well-sourced website called Viennapedia under the auspices of the Vienna Historical Society.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Israel Shreve 1815-1862 (Low Cemetery)

Israel Shreve

Israel Shreve was born in 1 Apr 1815 in Fayette Cnty, PA. In 1833, in Holmes County, Ohio he married Eliza Hough, moving in 1837 to Porter Cnty, IN and then in 1847 to a farm in Coolspring Twp, La Porte County. He died here in 1865 and is buried in Low Cemetery.

Of their 12 children, it seems fitting to focus on one, Francis, who, although not buried here, was one of La Porte County’s Civil War Veterans. For this information I am grateful to the wife, Liz, of one of his descendants, Duane Shreve of Boise, Idaho. Liz writes that Francis was barely 20 years old when he enlisted on the 6th of August of 1862 in Company K 73rd Indiana Volunteers. He had been married just 5 months. (His wife was newly pregnant.) He trained at Camp Rose, IN. Joined the service with his friend, James Hammond, who later wrote of him:…”that Francis died the 9th of December 1862 in the hospital at Nashville (TN) of lung disease and says he was present at the time of his death, and that he was well acquainted with (Francis)…that they had lived in the same neighborhood for 12 years, that Shreve was taken sick between the Cumberland River and Clear Springs, Tenn. And was sick for about one month and that
he aided in nursing him”.

From the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, D.C., Aug. 14th, 1863: " It appears from the rolls on file in this office that Franklin M. Shreve was enrolled on 6th Aug. 1862... to serve 3 years (months?) and mustered into service as a Private on the 16th of Aug. 1862 at Camp Rose, Ind. in Co. K.... he is reported died in the hospital at Nashville, Tenn Dec 9, 1862. Cause of death not stated. "

His commanding officer, Capt. I. D. Phelps, wrote that Francis…”was a private in said Company and died in the service of the United States and in the line of his duty at Nashville, Tenn…when he entered the service he was a healthy man and that his death was caused by disease induced by exposure and marching while performing his duty as a soldier…”

Francis, as a veteran of the Civil War, is buried at the Nashville National Cemetery in Davidson County, TN, six miles north of Nashville.

Liz Shreve wrote, “I went and visited his grave near Nashville on Wed. July 26 2000. It was sad to see him buried there all alone with no relatives there to mourn him or rest beside him.”

Francis was the husband of Catherine Gardner. The baby she carried when her new husband left for the War was William Shreve. After Francis’ death, Catherine married Ziba Palmer. William Shreve was raised in the Palmer household.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Frances Crozier Palmer 1794-1845 (Low Cemetery)

Frances Crozier Palmer

Frances “Fanny” Crozier Palmer was born in Peru, Berkshire, MA on 8 Sep 1794, the 9th child of Lieut. John Crozier, Revolutionary War veteran, and his wife, Fanny Whiting. One of her nephews, Almon Babitt, followed John Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, on his lengthy trek to Utah by way of Navoo, IL, where Babitt became Secretary of the Utah Territory. He was killed by the Cheyenne Indians.

Fanny and Ebenezer were married on 1 Jan 1817 in the Reformed Dutch Church in Schoharie Co., NY. They had 5 children together, 4 born in NY State. In Low Cemetery lies Albert, who died in 24 Dec 1846 and Angeline, who died on 4 Jan 1853, both at age 15 and both died after their parents had passed on. Also, buried here is there son, Hiram, who lived to be 35 years old. He had married Lydia Pagin. They had one child, a daughter, Flora Palmer. Lydia later married George Marsh. In 1892, the widow, Lydia Marsh, signed a deed to Block #10 in Marsh’s Second Addition to the City of Michigan City, IN for “Public School purposes and other public uses”. This is where the Marsh School complex is located in Michigan City.

One child, Marietta, married William Perley and moved to Des Moines, IA. NFI on Marietta.

The remaining child, Ziba W. Palmer, married Phylena, (Amelia), Harding. Amelia and Ziba have 3 children buried in Webster Cemetery. Amelia’s burial is recorded at Low Cemetery and at Webster Cemetery. She is, most likely buried at Low Cemetery. Ziba and Amelia were married on 1 Oct 1848, divorced, and remarried on 7 Nov 1860.

After Amelia’s death in 1863 at the age of 32 yrs, Ziba married on 7 Nov 1865 Catherine Gardner Shreve, the widow of Francis Shreve.

Ziba’s body was moved from Waterford Cemetery (Lows Cemetery off Johnson Road) to Greenwood Cemetery in Michigan City by his 2nd wife, Catherine Gardner Shreve along with the bodies of their children, Ziba W. Palmer, Jr, and Hattie B. Palmer. Their burial #'s were: Hallie (Hattie) #4519; Ziba, Jr. #4520; Ziba W. #4521.

Including Catherine’s son, William Shreve, by her previous marriage, 3 living children by Amelia, 7 surviving children of their own, the couple raised 11 children to adulthood. Surprisingly, only one, their youngest son, Bert, produced heirs bearing the Palmer name.

One last note on Fanny Crozier Palmer. Her death date is listed variously. About 10 years ago I read her date of death as 3 Apr 1845. 1845 agrees with her age listed on the stone.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013

Ebenezer Palmer 1792-1845 (Low Cemetery)

Ebenezer Palmer

Born in 1792 in New York State (location as yet unknown) to Ichabod and Zipporah Branch Palmer. Ebenezer is a descendant on his mother’s side of William Brewster of The Mayflower and Plimouth Plantation. His ancestor on his father’s side, Walter Palmer, arrived in Salem, MA in 1629. He is credited with being the founder of Stonington, Connecticut. Ebenezer’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and greatgreat-grandfather were all named Ichabod. He also had a brother named Ichabod. He escaped that fate and was named Ebenezer.

On 19 Jul 1824 Ebenezer Palmer and wife Fanny of Broome Town, Schoharie Co., NY deeded land in that town, and again on 3 Apr 1835 they deeded land there. The latter deed shows quite clearly the time that they left Schoharie Co. He received land patents for acreage in, what was then, Michigan and Springfield Twps., Coolspring Twp. not having come into existence until 1836. He lived in, what is today, Coolspring Twp Ebenezer and Fanny arrived in La Porte County with 4 children. A daughter, Angeline, was born here in 1837.

He was a farmer, carpenter, and schoolteacher, being the first schoolteacher in Coolspring Twp. He was also the first Justice of the Peace here in 1835. Some researchers say that he had passed through this way on the way to the Black Hawk War in 1832 and liked the area. Ebenezer died in Coolspring Twp, La Porte County, IN on 12 Feb 1845 and is buried in, what is now named, Low Cemetery.

Researched and presented by Dorothy Germain Palmer, 6/11/2013