Local History
and Such

DeMotte, Indiana History 1997

30 Years of Growth
100 Years of Tradition


Foreword & Acknowledgement

Before the White Man/Coming of the First Settlers

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

Cheever's Garage

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

Businessmen's Association

Lageveen Remembers Incorporation

Belstra Remembers When...

Kankakee Valley Schools

DeMotte Elementary School

(DeMotte) Christian School

Mark L. DeMotte

Charlie Halleck

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

Belstra Milling

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

Faith Lutheran Church

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

United Pentecostal

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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United Methodist Church


The first place the people of Keener Township/DeMotte area went to church was at the Pleasant Valley School house located about three miles southeast of DeMotte. The Reverend Seebring from Medaryville served as the pastor.

This first church was non-denominational and in 1886 the congregation met at the school to organize a Sunday School. The Sunday School was held in a building located about a mile west of DeMotte a few rods from the Frank Mosier farm.

DeMotte was growing and since the Sunday School building was closer to town they decided to move the worship services also. A student minister came every three weeks to hold services at the school.

Before long, the congregation again decided to move the place where their worship services would be held. A new community hall was being built in DeMotte and holding services there would be much closer for most of the congregation. They moved into the McGinnis Community hall in 1890 after the building was finished. It was located on the west side of Lilly Street (now Halleck Street) in about the middle of the downtown area. The hall was used for various other meetings including dances.

DeMotte United Methodist Church on Halleck StreetIn 1891 the church was still non-denominational and the members built a new building to be used just for a church, calling it 'Pioneer Church' where the current firehouse is located.

In 1892, a Mr. Bradberry, an influential member of the Pioneer Church who was also a Methodist minister, thought the church should be affiliated with a denomination. It became known as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Bradberry had donated $500 to help build the new church and his wife had donated a large bible which was used until 1952.

Many people of different denominations combined to worship in the Methodist Episcopal church. The people from Holland who had not yet established a church, paid to hold their meetings in the church until they built their own structure. The 'Free Methodists' also held services there.


The Ladies Aid was first organized in 1900 with the help of the Ladies Aid from the Kniman Methodist Church. The ladies organization has been a viable part of the Methodist Church since that time.

DeMotte United Methodist Church in approximately 1930The church was originally on the charge with Wheatfield instead of Tefft. The Ladies Aid of DeMotte helped financially to build the parsonage in Wheatfield. That building later burned and all of the church records until that time were destroyed.

In 1938, under the ministry of Rev. Dwight Moody Iles, the church was moved to a location behind the Todd Funeral Home where the Nazarene Church is located today. An addition was added for seating, and the old building became a platform, choir loft and Sunday School classrooms. During the moving and building of the new church, services were held in the DeMotte High School.

Growing and expanding are the basic ingredients of a vital church and in 1961 a new DeMotte United Methodist Church was built at 227 N. Halleck Street. In 1964 a parsonage was erected on the same property.

In 1978 the sanctuary was enlarged and in 1980 offices, classrooms and a chapel were added.


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Historical and Community Content

NEW!! DeMotte, Indiana History (1997)

New project: American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
      (This will be an ongoing project with entries added frequently.)

Churches in DeMotte, Indiana

City Methodist - Gary's Sacred Ruin
     Selections from 1967 City Methodist Church Directory (January 2004)
     Historic Gary Church Set for Wrecking Ball (June, 2005)
     Aerial Photos of City Methodist (August, 2005)

Photographs of Historic Places in Jasper County, Indiana
     Jasper County Courthouse  (February, 2002)
     Rensselaer Carnegie Library (February, 2002)
     St. Joseph Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall) (February, 2002)
     Independence Methodist Church (October, 2002)
     Fountain Park Chautauqua (October, 2002)
     Remington Water Tower (February, 2005)

Memorial to Victims of Flight 4184 (February, 2002)

Lake Michigan Vistas (May, 2002)

Door Prairie Auto Museum (LaPorte, Indiana) (September, 2002)

Northwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene former Campground (San Pierre, Lomax Station)
     Aerial Photos of former Campground (August, 2005)

Who's Who In the District (Northern Indiana Church of the Nazarene, 1939-40)

Nazarene Album (Northern Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, 1934)

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