Foreword & Acknowledgement
Before the White Man/Coming of the
DeMotte Grows into a Town
Early Transportation & Farming
The First Schools
Dredging of the Grand Kankakee Marsh
Leonard Swart (Interview)
Casper Belstra (Interview)
Northern Indiana Land Company
The Halleck Telephone Company
DeMotte Mercantile Company
DeMotte Library Grows
Eighty Years of Community Banking
Fairchild & Tanner History
Earl Schwanke Article
Keener Township Fire Department
(Art) Lageveen Looks Back
Fire Almost Destroys DeMotte in 1936
Kankakee Valley Post-News
Asparagus & Truck Farming
Lageveen Remembers Incorporation
Belstra Remembers When...
Kankakee Valley Schools
DeMotte Elementary School
(DeMotte) Christian School
Mark L. DeMotte
Walter Roorda, State Representative
Van Keppel Construction Company
Fire Destroys Main Building at Kaper's
The Hamstra Group
DeMotte Historical Society
Tysen's Family Food Center
The Fire of 1992
United Methodist Church
DeMotte Christian Church
Community Bible Church
Calvary Assembly of God
Bethel Christian Reformed Church
First Christian Reformed Church
St. Cecilia Catholic Church
First Reformed Church
American Reformed Church
DeMotte Town Court
Incorporation of DeMotte
August 10 Incorporation Hearing
September 1965 Incorporation
First Town Board Election
The First Town Board
DeMotte Town Council 1969-1997
DeMotte Town Hall
DeMotte Park Board
Wastewater Treatment Begins
DeMotte Chamber of Commerce
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Mark L. DeMotte
DeMotte, Indiana was named in honor of
Col. Mark L. DeMotte: lawyer, soldier, newspaper editor, politician,
writer, Post Master and first Dean of the Valparaiso University Law
School. In the years following the Civil War, settlers began to invade the
Grand Kankakee Marsh region to drain the swamps and claim the region for
farming. A small settlement called Little Village was established.
As Little Village grew, residents met to decide on an official name for
the settlement. Many of the settlers had served during the Civil War.
These veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic chose to name the village
after Col. Mark L. DeMotte, an area lawyer and political figure who had
served under Major General Robert H. Milroy. Milroy, from Rensselaer, was
one of only three Hoosiers to rise to the rank of Major General during the
Mark L. DeMotte came to northern Indiana when he was twenty-three years
old. He was born near Rockville, Indiana on December 28, 1832 to the Rev.
Daniel DeMotte and his wife, Mary. Mark's father was a Methodist circuit
rider of French Hugenot descent. His mother was of Dutch descent. For 15
years Daniel DeMotte also served as financial agent for Asbury College in
Greencastle (present day DePauw University).
Mark was the youngest of 8 children, three elder brothers and four
sisters. He enrolled in Asbury University and after receiving an A.B.
degree, enrolled in Asbury's School of Law. After graduating from the law
school in 1855 at the age of 23, he moved to Valparaiso and opened his law
In 1856, DeMotte was elected prosecuting attorney for the judicial circuit
comprising Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall and Starke
Blond haired and blue eyed with a blonde beard, DeMotte must have been an
imposing figure as he traveled the circuit. In December, 1856 he married
his first wife, Elizabeth Christy. They would have two daughters, Mary and
It is not clear the exact year that the name DeMotte was chosen for Little
Village. Records in the U.S. Land Office in Indianapolis show the name
DeMotte being officially used in the transaction of deeds pertaining to
land in 1871. A map of Jasper County, bearing the heading of Modecai F.
Chilcote, Attorney at Law and Notary Public at Rensselaer, Indiana, and
drawn by L.A. Bostwick dated 1868 also bears the name of DeMotte.
DeMotte's law career was interruped in 1861 by the
start of the Civil War. In 1862, he was commissioned a Captain to serve in
the northern army and was promoted to a Colonel before the end of the war.
Col. DeMotte did not return to Indiana again until 1877 when he made
Valparaiso his home for the second time. He was devoted to his law career
and in 1879 he founded the Department of Law which is a part of Valparaiso
The latter years of Col. DeMotte's life included a variety of activities.
He continued to put forth much effort expanding the law department at the
University and tried his hand at being a political candidate. In 1880 he
was elected to Congress, only to be defeated in 1882. Col. DeMotte
participated in state politics also, and was elected to the State Senate.
In 1890 President Benjamin Harrison appointed DeMotte to serve as a Post
Master at Valparaiso until 1894.
DeMotte's first wife, Elizabeth died in 1890 and in 1893 he married Clara
Stevens who would survive him.
President of the Western Writers for two terms, DeMotte wrote many
articles and short stories. His writings were based on local characters,
and his boyhood experiences while growing up in southern Indiana.
Colonel Mark Lindsay DeMotte died September 28, 1908. He was buried in
Maplewood Cemetery just south of the Valparaiso University Campus.
On June 18, 1955 a monument was placed on DeMotte's grave to honor
Valparaiso University Law School's first dean.