1958 Historic Site Survey - Bailly HomesteadHistoric Site Survey of the Bailly Homestead, 1958 . . . .

The following is a complete transcription of a historic site survey of the Bailly Homestead published in April 1958 by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. The survey also included an assessment of the Bailly Cemetery. It is interesting to note that author of the report, James R. Sullivan, recommended that the Bailly Homestead not be considered for national recognition, but rather receive state or local recognition.

Source Citation:
Sullivan, James R. 1958. Historic Site Survey: The Bailly Homestead, Porter County, Indiana. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: United States Department of the Interior, National Parks Service, Region Five. 40 p.



Historic Site Survey
The Bailly Homestead
Porter County, Indiana


                                                                Prepared by:

                                                                James R. Sullivan, Historian
                                                                Region Five
                                                                National Parks Service

                                                                April 1958


Part I
Critical Analysis of Site


Historic Sites Survey
The Bailly Homestead
Porter County, Indiana


I Critical Analysis of Site

The Bailly Homestead is located in Westchester Township, Porter County, Indiana, about 25 miles east of the Indiana-Illinois state line. The Post Office is RFD, Chesterton, Indiana. It lies approximately two miles south of Lake Michigan on the edge of the dune country.

Today the Homestead consists of 14 structures, none of them dating to the first occupancy of the site by Joseph Bailly in 1822. The "Big House" (ca. 1834) -- built of hewn logs and weatherboarded -- superseded the cabin originally built on the flat. The servants' quarters and chapel are reassemblages of logs from earlier structures. Other buildings include a brick structure of late nineteenth century design, a wooden structure that was a laundry during the occupancy of the Sisters of Notre Dame (1919-1946), two small buildings that resemble tool sheds, a two car garage with a lean-to shed attached, three small frame, one story houses and two small farm structures that were adjacent to a barn that was destroyed by fire in 1957 -- all surrounded by approximately 43 acres of land.

The Bailly Homestead now is quiet and peaceful though a four lane highway passes less than one half mile away. During the

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Bailly tenure there was, undoubtedly, considerable activity with Indians coming and going. They brought in furs to Joseph Bailly, who in turn carried them the short distance to Lake Michigan to be loaded on boats for the fur centers. However, the Homestead was more than a fur trading post; it might be called a center of French culture although very limited in scope. Joseph Bailly was the first white settler in northwestern Indiana. He was a good business man, believed in educating his family, maintained his home in the manner befitting a French gentleman in the colonies, instructed the Indians who lived near him, and used his home as a center of the Catholic faith for many years.

There is ample evidence to identify the site as belonging to Joseph Bailly. On September 6, 1831 the United States conveyed by patent to Joseph Bailly land described as the SE 1/4 of Section 27, Township 37 North, Range 6 West.1 On October 21, 1833

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additional property was sold to Joseph Bailly by the Federal government. Included in this transfer is the property now owned by Mr. Joseph La Roche comprising the so-called "Bailly site" in Section 34, Township 37 North, Range 6 West, that contained 6.12 acres lying north of the Indian Boundary Line and north of the Calumet River.2 It was on these grants that Bailly established his home. Today, approximately 43 acres remain of the original grants. The property is now described as follows:

The Southwest Quarter (SW 1/4) of the Southeast Quarter (SE 1/4) of Section Twenty-seven (27), Township Thirty-seven (37) North, Range Six (6) West, except a strip Four (4) rods width off the North end thereof, ALSO EXCEPTING therefrom the following: All that part of the Southwest Quarter (SW 1/4) of said Section Twenty-seven (27) which lies West of the Public Highway running through the Southwest corner of said quarter section and North of the Little Calumet River.

ALSO the North fraction of the Northeast Quarter (NE 1/4) of Section Thirty-four (34), Township Thirty-seven (37) North, Range Six (6) West lying North of the Calumet River excepting therefrom the following described parcel of land: Beginning at a point in the North line of said Section Thirty-four

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(34), Township and Rage aforesaid Four Hundred Eighty-five (485) feet East of the Northwest corner of the Northeast Quarter (NE 1/4) of the Northeast Quarter (NE 1/4) if said Section Thirty-four (34), thence East along said section line Six Hundred Ten (610) feet; thence South to the Little Calumet River; thence Westerly meandering said River to the point of beginning, containing in said exception 1.54 acres, more or less.

Subject to all legal highways.3


Part II
Historical Narrative with Critical Bibliography


II Historical Narrative with Critical Bibliography

The Treaty of Paris, 1783, ended the Revolution but stirred up a hornet's nest in the fur trade that had done so much to open up the Great Lakes region. By the terms of the treaty, Great Britain was to yield the territory east of the Mississippi River including the land now in the United States surrounding the Great Lakes. But there as too much British capital at "fur" in this region for the paper mandate to be so easily fulfilled. Not till 1796 did the British give up Detroit and Michilimackinac with their exclusive rights to the lucrative fur trade that passed through these posts. Even when there were residual conflicts and ambivalent border loyalties until the War of 1812 settled it all. Joseph Bailly was one of those caught in the muddle of national loyalties, and was one of the four traders captured in 1813 as being pro-British. It is not clear what disposition was made of these men, but Bailly was eventually freed.

Jay's Treaty of 1794 was good news to American fur traders and particularly John Jacob Astor. The American Fur Company was incorporated in 1808 by Astor to compete with the North West and Michilimackinac Companies. The Astor interest expanded by forcing rivals out of business or absorbing them. Yet, as Professor Buley states, with "... all of its advantages of capital, organization, political influence, and competitive technique,

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Astor's company never did become a monopoly. The fur trade by nature was difficult to monopolize; competition, stamped out in one spot, broke out in another, and a very considerable volume of traffic was handled by independents.1

One of the most successful independent traders was Joseph Bailly. Bailly was born at Ste. Anne de Varennes in Canada in 1774 and was christened Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein.2 At the age of 18 he began his career in the fur trade at Mackinac and soon his trading area covered all of southern Lake Michigan.3

Joseph Bailly's trading activities during his more prosperous periods are illustrated by his activities on the Grand

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and St. Joseph Rivers (east shore of Lake Michigan). In 1800 Bailly traded on the Grand River and for some years before and after he was at Bertrand on the St. Joseph River. His outfits in the villages on the Kankakee River (Indiana) in 1800 were led by Tousaiant Porthier and Dominique Rousseau.4 Bailly supplied Porthier with 73,808 livres of goods in 1800 at Porthier's "'own risk'" which meant that Bailly retailed the goods from Mackinac to Porthier.  Porthier sent one hundred fifteen packs of furs to Montreal in the spring of 1801. Bailly and Rousseau, as partners, took fifty-three packs of furs to Montreal the same spring.5 To further illustrate the widespread activity, we find that Bailly had five outfits on the Grand River in 1802.6

The most difficult fact to determine is the amount of business conducted by Bailly. Bowers states that Bailly's ledger shows pelts debted in the amount of 99.723 pounds or "nearly half a million dollars" in June, July and August 1803.7 Cannon8 and Sister Kennedy9 repeat this information in their

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volumes. On the other hand, Innis presents the value of furs exported from Quebec in 1801 as 371,139 pounds. Taken at face value, these figures might imply that Bailly was one of the biggest fur traders in the region.

These figures, however, require close scrutiny and examination. The astronomical figure of nearly half a million dollars vs Quebec fur exports of nearly two million dollars obviously points out an error or misinterpretation of source material. This writer feels that Dr. Bert Anson has adequately provided a solution to the problem. The French and English systems were usually used in the fur trade, but the symbol for the French livre and English pound was the same and the English pound had three values: sterling, Halifax and New York. Quebec currency was in livres and sous.10

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Bailly's accounts could have meant any of these, but was probably the livre worth 19.1 cents or 9 2/5 pence. The writer feels that livre is probably correct as the accounts are written in French. If 19.1 cents equals one livre, the amount of business done by Bailly in June, July and August 1803 is $19,047 and not nearly half a million dollars as cited by Bowers, Cannon and Kennedy in their works. Bailly's 1804 ledger sheet of 103,824 pounds would amount to $19,830 rather than a sum of over $400,000.11

From this material, it is safe to conclude that Bailly, as an independent trader, conducted a lucrative business in furs, but this did not reach the proportions cited in many of the secondary sources.

Bailly's most active trading years were from the turn of the century to the War of 1812. After the war his trading

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activities were limited. He had gone into debt at the wrong time and did not trade heavily from the Homestead.12 The fur trade in the area was on the decline. After 1826 it "... was a minor part of the total trade in the United States..."13

When Joseph Bailly -- the first white settler in northern Indiana -- came to what is now known as The Bailly Homestead in 1822, he was not a stranger. He was well acquainted with the territory and the Indians. He obtained permission from the United States and the Indians to live in Indian territory, and settled on high ground close to the waterway of the Little Calumet River, and fronting on the Indian trail that was to become the Chicago-Detroit Road.14 Lots were advertised for sale in the Chicago Democrat in 1833.15 He prepared a plat entitled "Town of Bailly, Joseph Bailly, Proprietor" and laid out the town in squares,

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names the streets after members of his family, lakes, Andrew Jackson and Napoleon.16 Bailly Town was more of a "Paper City" than a reality. Only a few lots were sold before Bailly's health failed and he was forced to turn the business over to others shortly before his death in 1835. It must be noted that Bailly Homestead and Bailly Town are not the same place. The latter was established after the Homestead and was located approximately one mile west of the Homestead.

Bailly's operations among the Indians and whites from the Homestead are more significant than his trade efforts. He was located on the Chicago-Detroit (Great Sauk) Trail and at the northern boundary of the last great winter hunting area of the Indians. With Alexis Coquillard he served as sponsor and religious guide to the Indians.17 However, Bailly's instruction to the Indians was not limited to religion. The Indians were curious to hear all about the white man's country so lectures in history and geography also were provided.18

The Indians maintained the greatest confidence in Bailly even leaving their worldly possessions with him when they departed

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to go on the hunt. This confidence was returned by the host as he built a special structure (storehouse) to house their belongings during their absence.19

Bailly hospitality was well known to travelers and it became a center of the Catholic church in this remote territory. Indiana had a population of 340,000 people by 1830 and of these probably not more than 20,000 were of the Catholic faith. It is likely that less than 20 percent received regular attention from a priest.20

In the early French Canadian period a number of the members of the Bailly family had been dignitaries in the Catholic church. The French government, the church and individuals had labored diligently to provide for the religious needs of the inhabitants. The government "... required that a missionary be stationed at each French trading post, to convert the savage and attend the spiritual needs of traders and military men.... With this association with the clergy, it was natural that Joseph Bailly, well educated and inherently a fine teacher, should establish the Church in the wilderness, and that the clergy should recognize his household as a part of the Church, and in memory

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of the services of this good family, have Mass said annually at the Homestead during the lifetime of Marie Bailly [Joseph's Wife]...."21

Before the chapel was built, religious services were held in the residences by the traveling priests. At the Homestead the parlor was used as the sacristy where confessions were held, and the dining room was used to celebrate mass.22 For a time this was the only Catholic mission between Detroit and Chicago.

Not only was the Homestead a religious center in the wilderness but it was a cultural center as well. Amazing it was to find of such proportions miles from a village or city. More fantastic was to find the four Bailly girls so well educated. They spoke the Indian, French and English languages fluently and the eldest daughter translated the Latin mass of the early traveling priests for the benefit of the Indians.23 A piano was available for the daughter who were trained in music, voice and instrument.

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The home was well furnished with some fine mahogany furniture as well as crude and beautiful Indian made articles. Other furnishings of Bailly's day included books, sterling silver, china dishes and other musical instruments in addition to the piano.24 Little wonder it was an oasis in the vast forest.

Bailly passed away in December, 1835 and was buried in the Bailly Cemetery25 along present U. S. Highway 12. The fur trade from the Homestead was at an end. After Bailly's death his widow lived at the Homestead off and on until her death in 1866.26

Frances Howe, Joseph Bailly's granddaughter, was the last of the family to occupy the Homestead. Upon her death in 1917 the property and furnishings were sold.27

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The Cemetery

Robert, the only son of Joseph and Marie Bailly, died in 1827 at the age of ten years and was buried on a sandy knoll along the present day U. S. Highway 12. A huge wooden cross was raised as a landmark and a cross has been here for over 125 years.

According to Miss Schiemann,28 wayside shrines are found in Canada to this day. The spot marked by the cross on the highway at Bailly Town was at the entrance to the Homestead from the Indian trail. It became a landmark pointing the way to a Christian home in the wilderness.

Many of the Bailly family are interred in he cemetery.

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The chief depository of manuscripts relevant to the Bailly Homestead is the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, where volumes of ledgers, day books and invoices were used. This material is written in French and dates from 1796 to 1835. It is difficult to translate and the historian could merely check and confirm specific items. The library has copies of several letters by Joseph Bailly to business associates which have been translated into English.

The papers of Francis Howe and his daughter Frances are also in the Indiana State Library. This material contains data regarding the settlement of the estate of Joseph Bailly; letters from Rose and Francis Howe while students at St. Mary of the Woods, 1855-1868, giving accounts of social life; and a letter regarding the disposition of the Bailly land to the Catholic church.

Evidently, not all of the Bailly Papers are located in the Indiana state Library as local inquiry indicates that some are still in the possession of various individuals.

The group interested in preserving Bailly Homestead did not have a chain of title to indicate ownership by Bailly. A visit to the Assessor's Office and the Recorder's Office at

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Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana disclosed it would be a Herculean task to obtain a clear chain of title in the usual manner. The historian was fortunate in locating the Title Abstract of the present La Roche property at the First Abstract and Title Corporation which he was graciously allowed to examine. The entire abstract (legal size paper) was 46 pages in length and filled with a maze of court proceedings.

The Transfer Book (Westchester and Dune Acres) contains the tax assessor's description and value of the lands under investigation. The Assessor's Plat Book, Westchester Township, contains a map of the property which needs a few minor changes in stream alignment to bring it up to date.

The Eastern States Land Office, Bureau of Land Management has in its possession data relative to the original patents to Joseph Bailly from the United States.

It is the writer's understanding that early photographs of the Bailly Homestead and grounds are in the possession of Miss Leva Ritter, 849 South Marietta Street, South Bend (8), Indiana. Miss Ritter has been extremely reluctant to have these reproduced contending that she intends to use them in a future publication. She has indicated her willingness to loan these photographs should the Bailly Homestead be acquired by an appropriate preservation group who wishes to restore or reconstruct the buildings.

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Anson, Bert, The Fur Traders in Northern Indiana, 1796-1850. Types MS thesis in the Library of Indiana University, Bloomington, 1953. Excellent, detailed study of the area involved.

Bowers, John O., The Old Bailly Homestead (Gary, Indiana, 1922). Pamphlet edition. Later this material appeared in Cannon, Thos. H. et al., History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana, Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and La Porte.

Brebner, John Bartlet, North Atlantic Triangle, The Interplay of Canada, The United States and Great Britain (New Haven, 1947). An excellent study, particularly valuable as a detailed work on the interplay of the three nations in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Region.

Buley, R. Carlyle, The Old Northwest (2 Vols., Bloomington, 1951). A Pulitzer Prize winner. Excellent material on the history of the Old Northwest.

Cannon, Thomas H., H. H. Loring and Charles J. Robb, History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana, Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and La Porte (Indianapolis, 1927). Has incorporated Bowers, The Old Bailly Homestead in this account. Material appears to be reliable except his conversion of pounds to dollars.

Chittenden, Hiram Martin, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (Vol. I, Stanford, 1954). The first Academic Reprints of the American Culture and Economics Series. Good, standard work on the fur trade.

Davidson, Gordon Charles, "The Northwest Company" (Berkeley, 1918), Vol. VII of University of California Publications in History, H. Morse Stephens and Herbert E. Bolton, editors.

Faulkner, Harold Underwood, American Political and Social History (New York, 1946).

Hatcher, Harlan, The Great Lakes (New York, 1944). A good general account of the Great Lakes Region.

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Howe, Frances R., Story of A French Homestead in the Old Northwest (Columbus, Ohio, 1907). While this book is deeply concerned with the religious aspects of the Bailly family, it contains valuable information concerning the fur trade and has a good description of the building. The book lacks dates and is difficult to use in this report.

Innis, Harold A., The Fur Trade in Canada, An Introduction to Canada Economic History (New Haven, 1930). A valuable and detailed account of the fur trade.

Kennedy, Sister Mary Joseph, The Pioneer Fur Traders of Northwestern Indiana, MS Thesis of De Paul University, Chicago, 1932. Based chiefly on secondary sources and repeats error cited in Bowers concerning value of Bailly's fur trade. Not as penetrating a study as had been hoped.

Morison, Samuel Eliot and Commager, Henry Steele, The Growth of the American Republic, 1000-1865 (Rev. Ed., Vol. I, New York, 1950).

Nettals, Curtis P., The Roots of American Civilization (New York, 1946). Excellent account of the settlement and development of the American colonies.

Quaife, Milo W., Lake Michigan (Indianapolis, 1944).

Schiemann, Olga Mae, "Bailly Town - Our Historic French Heritage," Duneland Historical Society, Vol. I, No. 5, Sept. 1957.

Schiemann, Olga Mae, From A Bailly Point of View (Chicago, 1952). Issued as a Duneland Historical Society Publication, August, 1955. This is a history and compilation of references pertaining to the Bailly family. Based on primary and secondary sources. It stresses family history and genealogy.

Schiemann, Olga Mae, "Roads Across Old Bailly Town," Duneland Historical Society, Vol. II, No. 1, Sept. 1951.

Stevens, Wayne E., "Fur Trade of Great Lakes Region" in Dictionary of American History, (2nd Ed. Rev., Vol. II, New York, 1951). Good, brief account.

Note that no Part III is included in this publication, and it assumed that the author made an error in numbering the parts of his report.

Part IV

IV Photographs
A word of explanation appears to be in order in presenting the photographs of the Homestead. Photography is a delicate subject with Mr. La Roche and he has posted his property with "No Photographs Allowed", or words to that effect, as well as "No Trespassing" signs. Access to the property was limited to two short visits (this will be discussed in greater detail in Section V, Park Data). No photographs were attempted during the first visit. The second visit was secured through a telephone call with Mr. La Roche by the writer requesting permission to take selected views of the property. Mr. La Roche indicates that he did not wish his property to be photographed. After much persuasion, the historian secured permission to take a few photographs provided no publicity was intended. Respecting Mr. La Roche's wishes, I confined my photographs to general building views. These are marked with an asterisk. The remainder of the views were taken from the periphery of the area - unless otherwise marked - before Mr. La Roche had granted permission to enter the grounds.

The appearance of the chapel, servants' quarters and storehouse in the post card views is indicative of the state of preservation these structures possess today.

The photographs in possession of Miss Leva Ritter have been discussed previously in Section II, Historical Narrative.

Note that no photographs are contained in the published report.

Part V
Park Data

V Park Data
The Bailly Homestead is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph S. La Roche, who acquired the property from the Sisters of Notre Dame of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin in 1946.

The Homestead, together with the log structures and more recent frame buildings, stands near the southwest corner of the La Roche property on the high ground above the Calumet River. The La Roche property of 33.73 acres in Section 27, Township 37, Range 6, (SW SE (E of Road) Ex N4RD Ex 1.27A) has a land value of $1,340 and the value of improvements amounts to $4,630 for a total value of $5,970. The additional La Roche property, Section 34, Township 37, Range 6 (Cent. Pt. NE (N of River)) amounts to 9.4 acres with a land value of $200.

In order to insure ownership of an area adequate for interpretation and protection, it is recommended that the crosshatched section on the area plat plan be acquired. This would prevent the "hot dog" stand from intruding upon the historic scene. The four plots across Peterson Road are in the hands of three owners - Illinois Steel Company Welfare Association, Inc., parcels 53 and 20; Hilda and Adin Sward, parcel 22; and Arthur and Mildred Wahl, parcel 13. Parcel 53 has an assessed land value of $150 and improvements amounting to $20,810; parcel 20 has a land value of $50 with no improvements; parcel 22 has a land value of $980 with no improvements; and parcel 13 has a land value of $950 with

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improvements amounting to $1300. It is possible to five approximate acreage and land value of the crosshatched section using the above figures. That area f parcels 22 and 13 that compose the property needed for proper development and protection amounts to approximately 3 acres with an assessed value of $110.

Mr. Harvey K. Mead, Assessor of Porter County, states that these values were placed on the properties in 1949 for tax purposes which at that time reflected about one third of the actual market value. However, rumors have been circulating during the last two or three years that a lake port and a large steel mill would be erected in the vicinity and land prices have soared. Recent property sales in the surrounding area indicate that the price of land ranges upward from $1,500 per acre. Mr. La Roche states that his most recent offer (January 1958) for the property was $100,000. The party who wished to purchase the land was not interested in the structures, only the property.

The Bailly Cemetery is located o U.S. Highway 12. Present ownership is by the Michigan City Historical Society.

A brief discussion concerning access to the La Roche property appears necessary in relation to the inspection of the property and structures. During a meeting with several local people, a general discussion was undertaken as to how the writer would gain access to the property. The local people are generally forbidden to trespass. Entrance is usually gained through a

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Father Somes of Vincennes, Indiana. However, Father Somes could not be present at the meeting and could not be reached by telephone. Colonel Edward Wentworth contacted Mr. La Roche to secure permission for the writer to call upon him as a representative of the National Park Service. This was accomplished and an hour was spent with Mr. La Roche in general discussion of the area; why he did not want people to visit the area; offers to purchase the property and his general attitude. Mr. La Roche's attitude may be summed up as follows:

1. He does not want people visiting the area due to recent illness in the family.

2. When groups have been permitted to visit the area, there has been some vandalism.

3. No photographs are permitted to avoid publicity.

4. He has told Father Somes (this came to the writer second hand) that if he sold, he would prefer a public agency as a buyer.

Not wishing to "wear out my welcome" or antagonize Mr. La Roche in any way, the writer confined his inspection to the ground and building exteriors.

The second visit to the area to acquire photographs has been discussed in Section IV, Photographs.

The Homestead (main building) appears to be in good condition. The exterior is freshly painted and in a good state of

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repair. The residence is built of hewn logs and weatherboarded. Unfinished at the time of Bailly's death, it was completed by a daughter, Rose Bailly Howe. The interior was not inspected. However, Mr. Earl H. Reed made a brief inspection of the interior on December 9, 1955 and reports the following: "The interior of the residence which has three low stories above a basement, roughly measures 24' x 30' and has a fine wood finished Dining Roo, at the left of a center entrance. Surviving old windows have 18 pains and foundations are rubble tone and brick. There are ornate corner stairs, parquet floors at the main level and an elaborate corner mantel in the Dining Room in which is incorporated a fine French portrait engraving of the Bailly's staunch friend, St. Palais, Bishop of Vincennes in the 1850's.... A fine small cabinet and a paneled dumb-waiter remain in this diagonally paneled room but the walls and large fireplaces of the principal at the right of the entrances have been covered over, or defaced, and its architectural treatment is unknown. There are plainly finished bedrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors and the basement kitchen, opening on the river, has been modernized."

Nearby are three log structures, the storehouse, chapel and servants' quarters. The latter two are reassemblages of logs from earlier buildings. The chapel and servants' quarters are in good repair, although the servants' quarters has been altered to receive tenants. Both structures underwent major repairs in 1957

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and are structurally sound according to Mr. La Roche. The storehouse has rotted logs on the bottom and needs a complete chinking job. Rose Howe built a two story brick structure -- late nineteenth century design -- for a daughter and this was in fair condition at the time of inspection. Between this structure and the Homestead is a small, high weatherboarded building with pilasters said to have been the "little house" with logs under and storage above. The other frame buildings are in various stages of repair.

The cemetery is in need of general landscape treatment and repairs are needed to the cement block wall that surrounds the original stone wall.

Some care has been given to the buildings and grounds. In general, maintenance would be classified as fair. The grounds have suffered considerably under recent owners. The magnificent forest, once surrounding the Homestead, has been largely cut away. New growth should restore much of the original setting in years to come.

The Homestead is equipped with electricity, water and telephone service. The water supply will, undoubtedly, need expanding if the area is developed for public use. Water derived for use in the homes in this area is from wells.

Assuming the site is acquired by a public agency or administered by a local historical group, repair and preservation could and should be undertaken at the earliest moment. Keeping

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in mind the physical descriptions cited above and remembering, too, that the writer did not inspect the interior of the four prime structures, there is no apparent reason why preservation should be side-stepped. The probable cost of necessary repairs to prevent further deterioration to the four structures is $25,300. This estimate does not include funds for architectural or historical research. Therefore, only these limited funds should be expended until the necessary research is complete. According to Mr. Reed, to complete the program of restoration the sum would approach $100,000. The cost of repairs to the cemetery wall to prevent further deterioration amounts to $630.

Maintenance costs, based upon present knowledge of the buildings and grounds, will be approximately $16,400 per year.

If we assume that a 25 cent admission fee is charged, we can expect a total income of $6,375.00 pr year. This figure is based upon an annual visitation of 30,000 persons -- 85% adults and 15% children (free).

The Bailly Homestead is about half way between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana. It is easily reached from Chicago some 40 miles distant by U.S. Highways 12 and 20. The area s situated on Peterson (Howe) Road just .4 of a mile north of Highway 20 (See U.S.G.S. map), a four lane artery serving the Chicago Metropolitan area. In addition to Chicago, we find Gary, Indiana (133,911); Hammond (87,594); East Chicago (64,263); Michigan City

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(28,395); and Whiting (9,669), all within a reasonable driving distance. The towns nearest the Homestead are Porter (1,458) and Chesterton (3,175), one and two miles distant, respectively.

The nearest National Park Service areas are Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial and the Mound City Group in Ohio and Effigy Mounds in Iowa. However, there are two National Historic Sites not owned by the Federal Government that are within the confines of the Great Lakes and have an extensive history with the fur trade. These are Chicago Portage, Illinois and Grand Portage, Minnesota.

The sponsors of the project are local interested citizens. The writer attended a meeting of these persons on January 16, 1958, at which time it was decided to incorporate a non-profit organization to raise the funds to acquire the Homestead. Those present at the meeting were Colonel Edward Wentworth, Chesterton; Mr. Hubert Hawkins, Director, Indiana Historical Bureau; Dr. Powell Moore, Associate Professor of History, Indiana University; Mr. Luke J. Scheer, a public relations expert, Detroit; Mr. Lorenz G. Schumm, La Porte, Indiana; Mr. Norris Coambs, President, Duneland Historical Society; and Mr. Earl Reed. While a decision to incorporate was made, the writer has, at the time of this writing, not learned the official name of the organization, nor the members of its Board of Directors.

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Persons contacted during the investigation of the field study include, in addition to the aforementioned group, the following persons:

        Miss Olga Mae Schiemann - local historian.
        Mr. and Mrs. Joseph La Roche - present owners.
        Mrs. Hazel Hopper, Head, Indiana Department, Indiana State Library.
        Mr. C. W. Nelson, Porter County Historian.
        Miss Robbins, First Abstract & Title Corporation, Valparaiso, Indiana.
        Various people in the Assessor's Office, Porter County Court House,
                Valparaiso, Indiana.

Part VI

VI Recommendations
The Bailly Homestead will require considerable development in terms of physical improvements, landscaping and visitor facilities. The development plans are presented, suggesting the ideal and the minimum.

Proper and ideal development (Plan A) will call for a Public Use Building to house the administration offices and Visitor Center. This structure will have a minimum of 3,000 square feet and will cost approximately $140,000. A new entrance road will be necessary to allow two-way traffic to pass safely and a parking area for 80 cars is a must. The combined cost amounts to $14,000. A utility building, with two bays to house automotive and maintenance equipment, will cost $6,000. Present water and sewage facilities are inadequate for public use. Additional disposal plants, lines, etc. will cost $15,000. Landscaping of approximately three acres will cost $5,000. Demolition of existing undesirable structures will cost $500. A new residence for the superintendent will cost $20,000.

The alternate plan (Plan B) is to utilize some of the existing features although they are not entirely desirable. The first step is to develop the present brick structure (ca. 1890), to the right rear of the Homestead, as a museum and administrative building at a cost of $50,000. The present driveway (375 ft. - $1,500) would be utilized and a small parking area (10 cars -

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$4,000) would be constructed in one of the two locations -- opposite the Homestead or to the right of the building as you face it. The house used by the present owner would suffice as a temporary residence for the superintendent. Here, as in the first plan, adequate water and sewer systems are required and the same quantity of landscaping must be considered. Demolition of undesirable structures would cost approximately $400.

In either plan, repairs to the cemetery will cost $630 for repointing the wall, a cement wash for the top of the wall and demolition of the remaining balustrade. Landscaping will cost approximately $1,000. Total cost $1,630.


Bailly Homestead

Plan "A"


Plan "B"





Visitor Center




Entrance Road & Parking Area




Utility Building




Water and Sewage












Residence (Superintendent)
















Bailly Cemetery








Repairs and Demolition




















Grant Total





If the area is acquired by the Federal government for inclusion in the National Park System, permanent administrative,

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maintenance and protective personnel are deemed desirable. The writer recommends that the permanent staff consist of a Superintendent GS-9 ($5,440), Historian GS-7 ($4,525), Museum Curator GS-7 ($4,525) for the period of development and furnishing of buildings, Clerk GS-3 ($3,175), Maintenanceman ($4,617), Laborer ($4,056), Janitor ($3,848), Tour Leader (Seasonal) one man-year GS-4 ($3,415), and Laborer (Seasonal) 1/4 man-year ($1,014). Management and protection would amount to $21,913 pre year as follows:


Superintendent GS-9



Historian GS-7



Museum Curator GS-7


(.5 MY charged to M&R)

Clerk GS-3


(.3 MY charged to M&R)

Tour Leader GS-4





(.5 MY charged to M&R)

Supplies, heat, light, etc.










The annual funds necessary for maintenance and rehabilitation will run about $16,400.

The Bailly Homestead fall under Theme VIII, The Advance of the Frontier to 1830 of the sixteen thematic groups used by the National Park Service and the Advisory Board in considering historic sites. Clearly the advance of the frontier and the opening of the interior of this vast nation are significant in the history of our country. It is true that independent traders such as Joseph Bailly played an important role in settling and developing

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the wilderness. The question arises, should the Bailly Homestead become a National Shrine? The answer: Probably not.

There is no doubt concerning the importance of the fur trade in the discovery and development of the interior of this continent, and its tremendous impact upon the international policies of England and France in the New World. We have discussed the fur trade in terms of places, people, companies and finance and can place Bailly's operation in its proper perspective.

The fur trade was essentially a company business as illustrated by the American Fur Company, North West Company, South West Company, etc. Independent traders were an essential part part of the fur trade and Bailly was one of the most successful of these independents. However, when Bailly moved to the Little Calumet River in 1822, the fur trade in Indiana was on the decline. Furthermore, he had suffered financial reverses and did not trade heavily from the Homestead. His most successful business years were prior to the War of 1812. There are already in existence two areas that commemorate the fur trade - Chicago Portage National Historic Site and Grand Portage National Historic Site. Both of these are in non-Federal ownership at present, but a bill has been recently introduced in the Congress to bring Grand Portage into the National Park System as a National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, Scotts Bluff National Monument and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial all commemorate the fur trade in their museum exhibits.

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A negative approach to the question of national significance of Bailly as an individual is borne out by the absence of his name -- even in his peak period -- in the leading secondary sources concerning the fur trade. If his business enterprises and his work with the church and Indians were spectacular or outstanding, it is safe to assume that he would have become a better known figure.

Bailly's operations among the Indians and whites are more significant than his trade efforts and his home became a center of religion and French culture in the wilderness of northern Indiana, but Bailly did not emerge as a national figure in spreading the word of God among he Indians.

The first structure built on the Little Calumet River was a log cabin which was flooded shortly after its erection. The cabin was dismantled and rebuilt on the bluff. The Homestead -- probably begun in 1834 and completed after Bailly's death -- and the log storehouse are original. The two story servants' quarters and the chapel were erected with remnants of other log structures that no longer exist. The structures are of architectural interest as an example of fur post planning and may be classified as uncommon but not unique. Thus, the house is later even than the "late" period of the fur trade described.

The Bailly Homestead would more logically fall into regional or state history, particularly in light of Bailly's

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role in the settlement of northern Indiana. It is possible that the area could function as a detached unit of Indiana Dunes State Park, or if this is not feasible, as a separate entity within the Indiana Park System. The cemetery is now owned by the Michigan City Historical Society. Ownership could remain with this group or perhaps they would be willing to donate the land as part of the Homestead holdings.

The writer recommends that the Joseph Bailly Homestead not be considered for national recognition. The area lends itself more suitably to state or local treatment.

                                                    Report prepared by
                                                    James R. Sullivan, Historian
                                                    Region Five, National Park Service
                                                    April 1958


Part I

Letter, Evelyn M. Tauber, Chief, Status Unit, Bureau of Land Management to George A. Palmer, Acting Regional Director, Region Five Office, February 21, 1958, L58 Great Lakes File. Entry or Purchase Certificate dated December 1, 1830, Certificate 13300 and patent states that the area contained 159.80 acres. This data taken from Abstract compiled by the First Abstract and Title Corporation, Valparaiso, Indiana. This company has compiled a complete chain of title for Mr. Joseph S. La Roche, the present owner of the property. Olga M. Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View - The Howes, Chicago, 1952, 18 citing Chesterton Tribune, May 9, 1918 states the property remained with the descendants of Joseph Bailly until 1917-1918. Frances Howe, the granddaughter, died in 1917 and the court ordered the sale of the Indiana property. The Abstract states that a warranty deed, dated September 23, 1919, records the sale of the property from Louis G. and Cecelia Horn to the Sisters of Notre Dame of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In turn, the Sisters of Notre Dame sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph S. La Roche on August 16, 1946.

2 Entry or Purchase Certificate dated October 21, 1833, Certificate No. 122. Patent dated March 15, 1837. Data supplied by the First Abstract and Title Corporation, Valparaiso, Indiana.

3 From La Roche Abstract, First Abstract and Title Corporation.

Part II
1 R. Carlyle Buley, The Old Northwest Pioneer Period 1815-1840. Bloomington, 1951, I, 410.

2 Olga M. Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View, Chicago, 1952, 3.

3 Cannon, Thomas H., Loring, H. H., and Robb, Charles J., History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana, Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and La Porte, Indianapolis, 1927, 63, states Bailly's business extended from Mackinac in the north to the Grand, St. Joseph, Kankakee, Iroquois and Wabash Rivers in the south. Olga M. Schiemann, "Bailly Town - Our Historic French Heritage" in Duneland Historical Society I, No. 5, Sept. 1957, 2 places trading areas at Grand River, St. Joseph Kickabimazoo [Kalamazoo] and Markegan. In her work From A Bailly Point of View - Activity Locations, 1, Miss Schiemann lists two additional posts - Michilimackinac and Drummond Island. Dr. Bert Anson in his thesis The Fur Traders in Northern Indiana, 1796-1850, typed MS Library of Indiana University, Bloomington, 1953, 24, places Bailly's trading activities on the Grade River; at Bertrand on the St. Joseph River, with additional outfits in villages on the Kankakee. Letters in the Bailly Papers, Indiana State Library were written from Detroit and St. Joseph. Bailly opened his account books at Mackinac in 1796 and it is possible to trace many of his trading adventures from these records.

4 Anson, op. cit., 24-25.

5 Ibid., 37.

6 Ibid., 35.

7 John O. Bowers, The Old Bailly Homestead, Gary, Ind., 1923, 3.

8 Cannon, op. cit., 63. In additional a reproduction of one ledger sheet (p. 64) shows 103,824 pounds for 1804.

9 Sister May Joseph Kennedy, The Pioneer Fur Traders of Northwestern Indiana, Chicago, 1932, 94.

10 Anson, op. cit., 28, citing Milo M. Quaife (ed.) Burton Historical Collection Leaflet (Detroit, 1923-1935), VII (1928-1929), 59-60 states the livre was officially replaced in 1795 by the franc, worth 19.1 cents or 9 2/5 pence.
Anson, op. cit., 28-29. He states that "... some trader's books were kept in livres and sous, others in the pounds, shillings and pence of English currency, and may include American dollars and cents. The general custom until 1850 was to keep accounts in both English and American currency. The English currency had these values: sterling, which was hardly ever used except as a basic value; Halifax, less valuable; and New York, still less valuable. One method of computation was to calculate 100 pounds sterling at 175 pounds Halifax currency, or a 250 pounds New York currency. Quebec currency was in livres and sous. Eight shillings equaled one pound, or $2.50 in American currency. Burnett and Bailly were given to marking their accounts in either livres or pounds in the same invoices, and the results are total which may be unreliable. Since Bailly wrote in French his "'livre'" could have meant "'pound'" in three currencies, or "'livre'" in Quebec currency; the difference was that between $2.50 and .20."
Also Letter, Bert Anson to Daniel J. Tobin, Region Five Office, February 17, 1958, L58 Great Lakes File.

11 Before recent devaluation of the pound sterling it was valued at $4,80 in United States currency. The Philadelphia Directory for 1797, Appendix, 57, lists the rate of exchange at one pound sterling equals $4.44. Gordon C. Davidson, "The North West Company," Berkeley, 1918, Vol. VII of University of California Publications in History, H. Morse Stephens and Herbert E. Bolton, (eds.), 17, estimates the value of the livre at seven-eights of an English shilling. Sales in London of furs from Canada in 1784 amounted to five million livres or 218,250 pounds. At the rate of 20 shillings to one pound ($4.44) we find a shilling equals 22.2 cents. Converting this to livres at the rate of seven-eights of one livre equals one shilling, the value of the livre is 1934 cents. Davidson (p. 20) cites figures for 1784 where a business transaction amounted to 20,000 currency or $80,000. The pound here is worth $4.00 and the shilling and livre would be smaller.

12 Anson, op. cit., 79, refers to Bailly Homestead as Trail Creek. There is a creek by tha name adjacent to Michigan City, Indiana. However, Bailly's interest and activities as described by Anson relate to the Homestead site.

13 Ibid., 98. Accounts of the American Fur Company Profit and Loss, 1827. Upper Mississippi $80,174.71, Lake Superior $29,805.09, Chicago $17,392.51, Grand River $7,693.78, Mackinac Store $5,681.58, Iroquois outfit $471.35 and Joseph Bailly $341.84.
Ibid., 81-82. Bailly was only one of 35 men (or partners), no less, who were licensed to trade with the Indians in 1821-22 with a capital of $400. Of the recorded capital investments all but on were higher than Bailly.

14 Olga M. Schiemann, "Roads Across Old Bailly Town" in Duneland Historical Society, II, No. 1, Sept. 1951, 18, map.

15 Ibid., 11.

16 Cannon, op. cit., 75.

17 Letter, Anson to Tobin, op. cit.

18 Frances Howe, "The Story of A French Homestead in the Old Northwest, Columbus, 1907, 70.

19 Howe, op. cit., 63.

20 Thomas T. McAvoy, The Catholic Church in Indiana 1789-1834, New York, 1940, 169.

21 Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View, 25.

22 Howe, op. cit., 46.

23 Schiemann, Bailly Town - "Our Historic French Heritage" in Duneland Historical Society, 2. Miss Schiemann in her From A Bailly Point of View, 21, adds Latin to the list of languages.

24 Schimann, From A Bailly Point of View, 21.

25 Howe, op. cit., 115.

26 Ibid., 154.

27 Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View - The Howes, 18 and chart following.

28 Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View, 27.

Bailly Homestead historical transcriptions prepared by Steven R. Shook


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