How Valparaiso Got Its Name

This will be a short post, because I am only writing it to inform my readers of a post in a different blog. Steve Shook’s excellent blog, Porter County’s Past: An Amateur Historian’s Perspective, features an article this week, titled “Fact or Folklore? The Naming of Valparaiso.” In this post he addresses a popular myth about how the Porter County seat got its name, and gives a well-documented explanation of the true story.

In the course of the discussion he mentions the Lewis Publishing Company, publisher of the 1912 History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. It turns out that the Lewis Publishing Company has a peripheral connection to Our Casbon Journey. The company was founded in Chicago by Benjamin Franklin Lewis and his brother Samuel Thompson Lewis. Their father was a physician named L’Mander Lewis, who settled in Porter County in 1849.[1]

LMander Lewis
Portrait of L’Mander Lewis, from L.B. Hill, Benjamin Franklin Lewis, 1842-1928 : the man and his business
(Chicago : Lewis Publishing Company, 1936). (Click on image to enlarge)

It turns out that L’Mander Lewis is my third great grandfather! His granddaughter, Florence Lewis, was the mother in law of my grandfather, Leslie Christy Casbon.

[1] History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests (Chicago : Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), vol. 2, p. 409; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library ( : accessed 22 February 2017).

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