Local History
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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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First Reformed Church


(Much of the information in this article was taken from the history written by the 1952 DeMotte Senior Class and the historical booklet printed by the First Reformed Church in honor of the 100th anniversary celebration in 1993.)

The First Reformed Church is located about three miles west of DeMotte at what is known by the locals as "Dutch Corners". The church was organized over one hundred years ago in January, 1893 and was the second church in the area at that time. The first church was a non-denominational congregation which then affiliated with the Methodists.

Prior to the year 1892, a few Dutch emigrant families had settled here and met in the Tyler school north of DeMotte to worship. As more families moved to the area, Sunday morning services were held in the Methodist Church building in DeMotte and every other Sunday afternoon, worship services were held in a school near Thayer.

After organizing in 1893 with a congregation of 11 families, a Sunday School and young people's bible class was soon started. During the following years worship was held regularly. The service was conducted by either an elder of the congregation or an occasional minister sent by the Church board. During the summer months student ministers from Western Theological Seminary stayed with a parishioner and conducted the services.

First Reformed Church at Dutch Corners before the turn of the centuryBy 1899 the church had thirty-five families on its rolls who expressed their desire to have a full-time pastor. Reverend D. Vanden Bosch became the first minister that year. In 1900 a parcel of land was presented to the congregation by Jacob Groet at the "Dutch Corner" site and a church was built plus a parsonage. The maple trees that are now growing in the church yard were started from seed by Groet and transplanted to the church grounds those many years ago.

In 1908 under the Reverend S. E. Koster a number of societies were organized among which were a Women's Mission society, A Young People society, and an organization involving the men.


The church realized a steady growth and the parsonage was enlarged, the church decorated and the horse barns enlarged. The young people presented the church with an organ.

Travel in those days was by horse and buggy, wagon, or on foot. There were three barns located to the south of the present church for the horses to be stabled during the church services. Some families came from as far away as 10 miles. Those coming from a distance had to leave home early in the morning to arrive at the church in time for the services.

During those early years all services were in the Dutch language. Some of the people wanted the services to be in English and a split came in the congregation over the matter. The families who wanted English speaking services moved their membership and became the congregation of the American Reformed Church in DeMotte. The First Reformed later had both a Dutch and an English speaking service.

The church has been added onto and remodeled several times during the last 100 years. In 1984 there was extensive remodeling and an addition of the west wing in 1987. Again in 1991 the church offices were enlarged to include new offices for the senior and associate pastors, and remodeling of the secretary's office and waiting area.

There have been 17 full-time pastors who have served at the church.


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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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