Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dingy Cutworm Moth

I scared up this moth while mowing the lawn, and when it landed again I photographed it with my cell phone.

2018-10-14. Dingy Cutworm moth
(Click on image to enlarge)

I thought its markings were wonderful! Then I found out that it's called a Dingy Cutworm moth, and somehow its markings stopped being so wonderful. They ought to give it a better name.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wheat from the Twenty-Mile Prairie

In December of 1848, H.N. Wheeler brought almost two bushels of wheat to the store at Liverpool, or Hobart, or wherever it was. For the wheat he got store credit, I gather, although the ledger-keeper did not record the dollar amount of the credit, or what it paid for.

2018-10-10. 20-mile prairie DayB1840 218, 219
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


What puzzles me is: why mention that the wheat was from the Twenty-Mile Prairie? Was wheat from the Twenty-Mile Prairie especially good? — especially bad?

The Twenty-Mile Prairie is an area of Portage and Union Townships, Porter County. Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed-Blanchard) explains its name:
This was so named because, as an old settler facetiously said, it was "twenty miles from anywhere" — meaning of course, that it was twenty miles (or some multiple of twenty) from the nearest trading post, being twenty miles from Michigan City and Laporte, and forty miles from Chicago.


H.N. Wheeler may have been the Horace Wheeler who appears in Center Township, Porter County, in the 1850 Census and subsequent censuses, and who is now buried in Kimball Cemetery — but I don't know that Horace's middle initial was N.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Asiatic Dayflower

I'm a bit late in identifying this little wildflower, which I've seen in many places. This individual was growing in the shade of my privet hedge.

2018-10-7. Asiatic dayflower 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2018-10-7. Asiatic dayflower 2

Not very good pictures, and I had to lie on the wet ground to get them. If you want better pictures, try here.

These small and timid-looking plants are considered an invasive species.

They are edible. This creamed dayflower dish looks interesting, but I don't have the patience to pick half a pound of these things.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

But Not in Gary!

A large crowd gathered in Hobart on the night of June 12, 1923, to hear a KKK representative give a rousing speech on "Americanism."

2018-10-4. Americanism, Gaz, 6-15-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, June 15, 1923.


The Hobart News reported that as many as 4,000 people may have attended. "It was estimated that there were 500 automobiles at the field and the streets leading to the grounds. Machines were there with Illinois licenses, as well as Ohio licenses."[1] The News described the location as "the open field north of the Fifield addition" — the Fifield addition lying south of Home Street between Linda and Illinois; that location is compatible with the Gazette's "open field east of Michigan avenue."

♦    ♦    ♦

The following week the Hobart papers reported that the KKK had been rebuffed by Gary officials, having sought permission to hold meetings on private or public land and been refused by both Mayor R.O. Johnson and Park Board President W.R. Gleason.[2] That is not so very surprising. We should remember that the 1920s Klan, in addition to being white supremacist, was strongly anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic, and the people it targeted could be found in significant numbers in Gary, working and voting. A historian of the 1920s Klan in Indiana notes that "the Gary Post-Tribune, which operated under the control of U.S. Steel … usually sought to avoid antagonizing Gary's many foreign-born and black workers."[3]

We should also remember that the 1920s Klan vociferously supported Prohibition and sexual morality, and I have the impression that the flouting of both of those principles was big business in Gary at that time. In a brief historical sketch of R.O. Johnson on the I.U. Northwest Calumet Archives website, we learn that he was first elected Mayor before Prohibition, but failed to be re-elected after his "indifference to the prevalence of prostitution and gambling in Gary" lost him the support of U.S. Steel officials. The sketch goes on to cover his career in the 1920s:
Johnson's second term of office (1922-1925) was rocked by prohibition scandals, and subsequently Johnson was among those indicted and arrested by Federal authorities for conspiracy to violate the national prohibition laws. In March, 1923, Johnson was convicted in the Federal District Court in Indianapolis. Mayor Johnson received the heaviest sentence, a fine of $2,000 plus 18 months in the Atlanta penitentiary. He left for Atlanta in April, 1925, to serve his term; however, he was released from prison in November, 1925, having served one third of his original sentence. Johnson received a presidential pardon from Calvin Coolidge in March, 1929, which restored to him the privileges of a U.S. citizen. Shortly thereafter, a Superior Court Judge in East Chicago ruled that Johnson was legally eligible to hold public office.

R.O. Johnson won the Republican nomination for Mayor of Gary, and was elected by a substantial majority in November, 1929.

The disappointed Kleagle of Gary announced plans to hold a meeting in Hobart instead.[4]

_______________
[1] "Estimated There Were 2,500 to 4,000 at Klan Meeting Here Tuesday Night," Hobart News, June 14, 1923.
[2] "Mayor Johnson of Gary Refuses to Allow First Klan Meeting," Hobart News, June 21, 1923; "Klan Meeting at Gary Prevented," Hobart Gazette, June 22, 1923.
[3] Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928 (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 31.
[4] "Klan Meeting at Gary Prevented," Hobart Gazette, June 22, 1923.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Reaper Dart Moth

Found this thing on a bell pepper in my garden during the summer. It took me a long time to identify it. I finally decided it's a Reaper Dart.

2018-10-3. Reaper Dart moth
(Click on image to enlarge)

My tomato harvest was pretty poor this year, but I got a lot of bell peppers.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

How to Get Lumber from Hobart to Chicago in 1849

Early in the autumn of 1849, the more famous Wicker brother ordered some lumber to be sent to Chicago from George Earle's sawmill in Hobart. What's interesting is how they got it from here to there.

2018-9-30. Lumber DBHM1846 40, 41
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


They rafted it. I've heard of rafting cut trees down a river, but I knew nothing about rafting lumber on a lake. And now I learn that in the mid-19th century it was the most common means of moving lumber around the Great Lakes. You can find a discussion of lumber-rafting on Lake Superior here. And here is a photograph of a bag-boom raft of lumber heading out onto a lake:

2018-9-30. Lumber raft on lake

This photograph comes from Michigan State University via Lost Arts Press.

The writer of our ledger lists the men who accompanied the lumber over the lake: Chancey Wheeler, Jesse Jeffcoat, and Huggins Curtis. I cannot read the name of the man who measured the lumber.

Chancey (whose name also appears spelled as Chauncy or Chauncey) was born in New York circa 1817. The earliest I can find him in this area is 1846, when he married Jerusha (or Gerusha) Curtis (Indiana Marriage Collection). The 1850 Census shows the young couple with one daughter, living in the household of (I'm guessing) Gerusha's parents in Portage Township. Sometime that same year, Chancey bought the first of several parcels he would own over the years in Hobart Township (Early Land Sales, Lake County). The 1860 Census shows the family in Hobart Township, where Chancey worked as a butcher. I can trace him only as far as the 1880 Census (still in Hobart Township). The date of his death and the site of his burial are unknown. What, if any, relation he had to the more famous Wheelers in northwest Indiana — I leave that for people with time on their hands to discover.

I can't find any information on Jesse Jeffcoat or Huggins Curtis.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Viceroy Butterfly

Its coloring is confusingly similar to the Monarch's, but the Viceroy — or at least, this particular Viceroy — has nothing of the Monarch's gregarious personality. This guy wouldn't let me get anywhere near him …

2018-9-28 Viceroy butterfly
(Click on image to enlarge)

… but Monarchs will strike a pose on a flower and say, "Well, aren't you going to take my picture?" as you walk past them.