is a small rural farming town. Like many small towns in the
midwest, people here enjoy the quiet slower pace of life.
There are a few large employers in the area, but the vast
majority of residents are someway involved in the growing of
corn or soybeans.
is about 10 minutes south of Michigan City on Hwy 421 and 15
minutes east of Valparaiso on Hwy 6, with both of these
Highways intersecting just south of the downtown area.
entertainment, families might take up a softball game at the
baseball diamond at the park and stop by the Dairy Queen
after. Not alot for sure, but Westvillians don't ever want to
brag about their nightlife, they'd rather leave that up to the
February, 1829, Henly Clyburn left Ottawa, Ill., with his
wife, Sarah, and her family to settle in what is now LaPorte
father, Stephen Benedict, had died the year before, and
according to custom, her brothers were to be "bound
out," given homes with friends and relatives in return
for the work they could do. Faced with family disintegration,
Sarah's mother sought a new home elsewhere. Clyburn
recommended the area of "La Porte," the door, a
natural opening through the timber from one beautiful prairie
to another. He had passed and passed again through the door on
trips to visit relatives in Niles, Michigan.
journey of Clyburn and the Benedict family was a severe
undertaking. It was a bitterly cold February, and the
travelers encountered blinding snowstorms almost daily as they
plodded their way with ox teams. The cold froze the pioneers'
faces. Some days, sleet and snow filled the lead oxen's eyes
and it could not see. The leaders were placed behind until the
new leaders could no longer see. Sometimes the wagon broke
through the crust of snow, and the travelers extricated it by
prying the wheels out with their bedrails. When they arrived
here, 15 inches of snow covered the ground.
March 15, and the family established a camp, feeding trees
branches and whatever prairie grass they could find of their
cattle. Henly Clyburn, with the help of the Benedict boys, set
out to build a cabin. By most accounts, it was the first white
settlement in LaPorte County. It was also the beginning of
settlers helped make Westville's New Durham Township, one of
the county's original three, along with Kankakee and Scipio.
The widow Benedict was given the honor of naming the new
territory and she choose the name New Durham in honor of her
birthplace, Durham, New York.
of that first year, Elizabeth Miriam Clyburn was born to Henly
and Sarah. She was the first white child born in the county.
spread of the pleasant country and its good land and more
settlers were drawn. The first were William Eahart and Samuel
Johnson from Niles, where Henly had taken his grain to be
milled. Jacod Inglewright also came here from near Niles
during the first year.