Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gruel Report

Elsie Gruel had been teaching since 1917, but apparently she felt she needed more training to be the best teacher she could possibly be. Because that's how the Gruels did things.

2015-3-4. Gruel news
(Click on image to enlarge)

The uncle she was staying with in Hobart would be Charles Gruel, the butcher … and ice farmer, whose dashed hopes we encounter further down in that same column.

Meanwhile, on the farm east of Ainsworth, the calves that Elsie's brothers were selling were "high grade" and "from world's record breeding." Of course they were, because that's how the Gruels did things.

♦    ♦    ♦

Among the illnesses reported in the Hobart News of January 12, 1922, was an ominous-sounding item about William and Jennie Fisher's son, Lester (a budding auto mechanic):

2015-3-4. Lester Fisher
(Click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Four Generations

2015-3-3. img949
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Fred Ols.

From left to right: Martin Ols, Herbert Ols (Martin's oldest child, born April 1914), Bertha Ols (Martin's mother), Christian Wischman (Bertha's father). The photo is estimated to date to around 1915-1916.

This photo was taken near the end of Christ Wischman's life: he died in the spring of 1917. Here is his obituary from the Hobart Gazette of March 16, 1917:
Christ Wischmann, who has been ill for a couple of months, died at his home in the Ryan subdivision yesterday morning, March 15, following an attack of pneumonia, aged 78 years last November. He was born in Germany, Nov. 27, 1838, and came to this country in 1867. He lived a number of years in Hobart following his coming here, but most of his years thereafter were spent in Milwaukee and on a farm nearby. His last residence in Hobart has been about eight years.

He is survived by wife and three sons, William, Arthur and Frank, by his third marriage; a son, Christ, Jr., who lives in Wisconsin, by a second marriage, and a daughter, Mrs. Henry Ols of Gary, by his first marriage; besides a brother and a sister, William Wischmann and Mrs. Christ Passow, who reside in Hobart. Fred Wischmann, who lives here, is a nephew.

The funeral will be held this week Saturday from the German Evangelical Lutheran church at 2 o'clock. The burial will be at Crown Hill.
His first wife's name was Mina — probably short for Wilhelmina; maiden name unknown. That marriage also produced a son, Robert, who died in 1887 per the genealogy compiled by Fred Ols. It may be Mina's gravestone in the Hobart Cemetery, bearing a date of death of Jan. 26, 1872, and an age of 30 years, 9 months and 12 days, per the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society's transcription. In 1873, in Lake County, Indiana, Christ married Amalia* Schroeder, and sometime before 1880 they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By that time they had three children: Herman (whose fate is unknown**), Martha,*** and Christ Jr., named in the obituary as a survivor. In 1891, Christ Sr. married another Amelia, and by 1900 they were farming in Juneau County, Wisconsin, and had five children: Willie, Louie, Charlie, Arthur and Frank. Louie apparently died between 1900 and 1905. In 1910 the family was still in Wisconsin, but they must have moved to Hobart very soon after the census, if the Gazette could reasonably attribute about eight years' recent residence to Christ. Charley Wischman died in Hobart in 1914 at the age of 21 (the cause of death being tuberculosis), and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery under the name Wishman, as is his father.

That more or less accounts for Christ's wives and children at the time of his death. His son Arthur would not outlive him by long: he died of Spanish flu in September 1918. Here is Arthur's obituary, from the Hobart Gazette of October 4, 1918:

2015-3-3. Arthur Wischman obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

*Her name is given as "Mina" in the marriage record transcription, but "Amalia" in the 1880 census.
**He died in December 1910 according to a very helpful family tree compiled by the Dewell family archivist on, but I have not been able to find any independent confirmation of this. I doubt that the Herman Wischman buried in Crown Hill Cemetery is Christ's son, since his birth year (1883) doesn't jibe with the 1880 census.
***This was not the Martha Wischman who married William Dewell, and died of the Spanish flu in 1918; that Martha was the daughter of Christ's brother William. (Thanks to the DeWell family archivist for straightening me out on that!)

1870 Census.
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 25 Dec. 1914.
♦ Wisconsin, State Censuses, 1895 and 1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
♦ "Funeral of Christ Wischman Held Saturday Afternoon." Hobart News 22 Mar. 1917.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
Indiana WPA Death Records Index.

Monday, March 2, 2015

South of Deepriver

Random news from the countryside south of Deep River, and elsewhere.

2015-3-2. South of Deepriver
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 5 Jan. 1922.

Melvin and Verna Guernsey are moving back into my bailiwick, so maybe I will start paying attention to them again. But if they are moving to the Howard H. Smith farm, where is Howard H. Smith going?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

M Is For Mystery

From the steamer trunk.

I don't know anything about Fairbury, Illinois

2015-3-1. 1913-07-26-a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

… but evidently its business district had no shortage of loafers in the early 20th century.

Minnie Rossow received this postcard from a friend or relative who signed herself "Elsie M."

2015-3-1. 1913-07-26-b

I can't identify her.

I think the postmark is July 26, 1913. There are (or were in 1913) two towns called Weston in Illinois, but she's probably posting from the McLean County one, since it's closer to Fairbury. Not that it matters, because I have no idea who she was or what she was doing in either of those desolate places.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Requiem for a Roadhouse

2015-2-28. Berghoff fire
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 8 Dec. 1921.

I wish I knew where the "first bend after you leave the Ridge Road" was. Elsewhere, the Gazette gave the Berghoff's location as "on the Chicago Road [i.e., Old Ridge Road], near Gary corporation," and added: "Former operators at first operated a gambling joint in the building as the rear of the Inn, which recently burned, but City Marshal Rose put a stop to gambling there before the building burned."

The fire was not the end of the trouble; as the new year opened, the Berghoff closed.

2015-2-28. Berghoff closing
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 5 Jan. 1922.

It was fun while it lasted, one supposes.

Additional Source: "Berghoff Inn Closed." Hobart Gazette 6 Jan. 1922.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Rose and Charlie

Here is Rose and her son, Charles … the second great trouble of her life.

2015-2-27. img157
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

According to the 1900 Census and the WWI Draft Cards, Charlie was born in September 1882, a couple of months before Rose's 20th birthday. Here he looks perhaps as much as a year old, so the photo probably dates to 1883.

Rose's expression strikes me as determined, even defiant, and small wonder: she was facing down convention as a single mother. Around the age of 19, Rose had become romantically involved with a man (name unknown), and she got pregnant. The usual solution to that problem in those days was a quick marriage to the father of the child. But marriage wasn't possible in this case; the father was already married. And with her own father a widower, Rose could not even try to preserve her respectability, as Jennie Ols may have, by letting people believe the child was her new sibling.

Of all the other alternatives, she chose the least unpleasant. She stayed in her home, gave birth, and set about raising her son, without pretense. Her father and her sister stood by her, apparently, but I can only imagine the gossip that went on behind her back — maybe even name-calling to her face — and some degree of ostracism felt by all the Hendrickses. From what I've heard of Rose, she was headstrong, decisive, lean and energetic, and could swear like a sailor; whether those qualities predated her trouble, I don't know. But even with a strong personality, a young woman could still feel, and suffer from, the judgment of others, and then there were her father and sister to consider, too. The social disapproval in Plymouth may have been what drove Rose and her family to leave.

After a blank of 20 years, we find Rose in Hobart in 1900, now the wife of William Ezra Gilpin. They tell the census-taker that they were married circa 1890; I can find no official record of the marriage. Ezra, born and raised on a farm in Adams County, Indiana, had by 1880 joined his sister, Nancy, and her husband, Dr. Charles Rainier, in Center Township, Marshall County — where Rose was living at that time, so they might have married there.

The little Gilpin household in Hobart includes Charlie, now 17 and working as a day laborer, and described to the census-taker simply as Ezra's son. They had no other children.

Living nearby, we find Rose's sister Ida, who had married Edward Berg circa 1895, and their father, Jacob Hendricks, still working as a carpenter at 65 years of age. The Bergs had no children.

Their living situation sounds pleasant and cozy. I'd like to think this was a happy ending to a difficult beginning.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fox News

Throughout December 1921, henhouses in southeastern Ross Township were suffering greatly from foxes, and James Frame intended to do something about it.

2015-2-26. Fox news
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 29 Dec. 1921.

On January 2, 1922, some 40 to 50 men showed up to wander about the countryside with their guns and their dogs.

2015-2-26. Fox hunt report
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 6 Jan. 1922.

A separate hunt took place in Porter County the same day, with the same result — only one fox killed.

I believe that the "Dick Hoffman of Deepriver" who shot the fox was 14-year-old Richard Huffman. His parents, Randall and Nellie, owned a 40-acre farm on the east side of County Line Road just south of the Grand Trunk Railroad, in Union Township.

As for Charley Pierson, I leave it to anyone who cares to figure out who he was.

(Walter Miller, who wrote the "School Notes" in the Jan. 6 Gazette, was Ruth Miller Powell's brother.)

Additional Source: "Local and Personal." Hobart News 5 Jan. 1922.