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LaGrange County, Indiana Families

Emma and Oliver Lake

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My great-great-grandfather Peter PROUGH bought land in the 1830's with his half-brother Samuel Sidener from Fairfield County, Ohio. Both families children stayed in the area for a number of years before moving on. Peter's daughter Sarah Emma was the inspiration for the town Emma which is at the corner of four townships: Eden, Newbury, Clay and Clear Spring. Peter was an early Post Master at Eden, which because another town was named Eden was changed to Emma. Emma lake is nearby. As was the custom then, but less so now, it was also known as Emmatown. Jason THURSTON a veteran of the Revolutionary War died in 1835 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery south of LaGrange. He was an uncle of Peter PROUGH's wife Barbara THURSTON.

Most of the PROUGH children moved west in the late 1880's. Peter and wife Barbara F. THURSTON were going to stay with their son Franklin in their old age until Franklin died unexpectedly in 1891 leaving his 3 month old daughter, my grandmother Lillie Frances PROUGH and her mother Cora ZUMBRUN. As a result of his death, land that Franklin had purchased in Emma had to be sold. Brother Thomas bought the land with the understanding that Peter and Barbara were to be cared for in their old age. Thomas then decided he too wanted to moved west and sold the land. Lillie and other sources recall the family leaving either in 1894 or 1904. My grandmother Lillie told one source that Peter had to be carried out to the wagon and forced to move west. We are still trying to confirm if Peter died in 1894 along a railroad track in Missouri and Barabara near Hydro, Caddo County, Oklahoma around 1905. Neither appears in the 1900 census which leads me to believe both were deceased before 1900.


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Siblings to my FOREMAN and TIMMONS relatives include Polly FOREMAN and husband James OLIVER early arrivals to Johnson Township in 1838. Their land was near a lake which has since been known as Oliver Lake one of the largest undeveloped lakes left in northern Indiana since it is mostly a Nature Conservancy nature preserve assumed to be essentially unchanged from when the Oliver's lived there. I have his 1837 land certificate from President Martin Van Buren which has a very general land description, but does Not mention a lake. I wish I had known this when I was copying land deeds at the LaGrange County courthouse many years ago when I copied my PROUGH land deeds to find the OLIVER land deeds. Perhaps I will some day.

The Oliver Lake History says it was named Oliver Lake before 1850. Polly and James' son Robert J. OLIVER married Polly's neice Catherine TIMMONS April 15, 1860 in Allen County, Ohio. Catherine's sister Alcinda MORRIS witnessed Catherine's will before her death May 1, 1879 and recording after her death. It is the last written record I can find for Alcinda MORRIS whose last residence July 25, 1870 in the Federal Census was their birthplace Delphos, Ohio. There were several other OLIVER's mentioned in various county records who were probably siblings of James. The Oliver Lake History claims this James was the brother of the James Oliver of South Bend who invented the Oliver Chilling Plow. However, this is Not likely since the James Oliver History shows that this James was born in Scotland and emigrated to America in 1835. Our James Oliver was living near Springfield, Clark County, Ohio where his son Robert J. Oliver was born in 1837 and living in LaGrange County the next year, 1838, as stated by son Robert in the 1893 Atlas discussing his 1881 Oliver Hotel in the town of LaGrange. The OLIN Life Oliver Lake, Indiana Group is on Facebook.

Genealogy research is never complete, important details might be missing, and often contains errors, so let me know if your research contradicts mine. My Indiana and Ohio family research comes from conversations with relatives, scrapbooks, library research, online records, visits to courthouses, final resting places on family farms and cemeteries. Families in other states rely mostly on the research of others. Links to other web sites often change then won't work, so if you find broken links, have additional information on any families, corrections, photos, or anything to add to the history of our families, please leave a Comment in my Guest book, join my Follis Families on Facebook page for updates and new discoveries, or send an Email. The Wayback Machine archives most old web pages so copy and paste the broken URL address to find the missing 404 pages that disappeared. Read Dick Eastman's newsletter on using Unverified Data from the internet. This web site is designed to work with JavaScript and the latest browsers. If you experience display problems you may need to update your browser.

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