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  Home Northwest Indiana

Westville, Indiana

Incorporated: As a town in 1864
Description: Westville is a small rural farming town. Like many small towns in the midwest, people here enjoy the quiet slower pace of life. There are a few large employers in the area, but the vast majority of residents are someway involved in the growing of corn or soybeans.

Westville is about 10 minutes south of Michigan City on Hwy 421 and 15 minutes east of Valparaiso on Hwy 6, with both of these Highways intersecting just south of the downtown area.

For entertainment, families might take up a softball game at the baseball diamond at the park and stop by the Dairy Queen after. Not alot for sure, but Westvillians don't ever want to brag about their nightlife, they'd rather leave that up to the big cities.

History:  In February, 1829, Henly Clyburn left Ottawa, Ill., with his wife, Sarah, and her family to settle in what is now LaPorte County.

Sarah's father, Stephen Benedict, had died the year before, and according to custom, her brothers were to be "bound out," given homes with friends and relatives in return for the work they could do. Faced with family disintegration, Sarah's mother sought a new home elsewhere. Clyburn recommended the area of "La Porte," the door, a natural opening through the timber from one beautiful prairie to another. He had passed and passed again through the door on trips to visit relatives in Niles, Michigan.

The journey of Clyburn and the Benedict family was a severe undertaking. It was a bitterly cold February, and the travelers encountered blinding snowstorms almost daily as they plodded their way with ox teams. The cold froze the pioneers' faces. Some days, sleet and snow filled the lead oxen's eyes and it could not see. The leaders were placed behind until the new leaders could no longer see. Sometimes the wagon broke through the crust of snow, and the travelers extricated it by prying the wheels out with their bedrails. When they arrived here, 15 inches of snow covered the ground.

It was March 15, and the family established a camp, feeding trees branches and whatever prairie grass they could find of their cattle. Henly Clyburn, with the help of the Benedict boys, set out to build a cabin. By most accounts, it was the first white settlement in LaPorte County. It was also the beginning of Westville.

Those settlers helped make Westville's New Durham Township, one of the county's original three, along with Kankakee and Scipio. The widow Benedict was given the honor of naming the new territory and she choose the name New Durham in honor of her birthplace, Durham, New York.

In July of that first year, Elizabeth Miriam Clyburn was born to Henly and Sarah. She was the first white child born in the county.

News spread of the pleasant country and its good land and more settlers were drawn. The first were William Eahart and Samuel Johnson from Niles, where Henly had taken his grain to be milled. Jacod Inglewright also came here from near Niles during the first year.


Town Site:  Westville
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