Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Ainsworth School-Year Souvenir, 1897-98 (Part 1)

Here is the first page of another recent acquisition.

2020-08-05. Ainsworth school souvenir 1897-98 a
(Click on image to enlarge)

This program must date back to the era when the old Ainsworth school had only one room — otherwise, there would have been more than one teacher.

The teacher, Mabel Peterson, was the daughter of William and Cassie (Booth) Smith (and niece of Cyrus Smith). She had been born in 1872. In 1896 she married Frank Peterson (Indiana Marriage Collection), but in 1897-98 they had no children yet (1910 Census). I believe they were living somewhere near the Ainsworth schoolhouse: according to the 1908 Plat Map, they hadn't yet bought the farm in southern Ross Township; and the 1900 Census shows them farming rented land near her father and Uncle Cyrus — possibly her father's farm on 73rd Street (where Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited is now). From there, it was a walk of perhaps 2,000 feet up (present-day) Greene Street and Ainsworth Road to the schoolhouse.

Dr. Homer L. Iddings, Ross Township trustee, was a practicing physician in Merrillville, and himself a former schoolteacher, according to a 1904 biographical sketch.

Francis "Frank" Ebenezer Cooper, the Lake County superintendent of schools, was likewise a former schoolteacher (1880 Census), and a resident of Crown Point, where he is buried.

Next, we'll get to the pupils.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Relics of a Dead Marriage

With her marriage ending, Olive Maxwell Hill and her little daughter were moving back with her parents, and she no longer needed all this nice furniture from the marital home — at least, that's what I think was going on here.

2020-07-30. Hill furniture, News, 11-29-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Nov. 29, 1923.

Here is the Maxwell farm on the 1921 plat map of Union Township, Porter County:

2020-07-30. Hill Union-1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

We may be seeing the descendant of the old Maxwell place in the house and outbuildings on the north side of U.S. 30 east of N 725 W. Except I don't think the Maxwells had a caboose.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Michigan Avenue circa 1909

2020-07-22. Michigan Ave., Haase, 1909 a
(Click on images to enlarge)

This is Michigan Avenue in Hobart, according to the caption on the postcard. I'd do a then-and-now post, if only I knew where on Michigan Avenue. You can't see enough of any of the houses, or anything else, to identify the exact location.

The photographer was trying to capture an inviting scene: a wide, straight street lined with well grown trees all leafed out in their summer greenery. And sidewalks, even! But it doesn't translate very well to black and white, or sepia.

I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out who sent the postcard …

2020-07-22. Michigan Ave., Haase, 1909 b

… only to conclude that there wasn't enough evidence to identify this Bessie. Hobart and the surrounding countryside was crawling with Bessies.

The recipient had been born Harriet Quirk. Here is a description of her wedding to James Scudder from the Hobart Gazette of November 4, 1904:

Scudder-Quirk Nuptial.

James F. Scudder from Ohio and Miss Harriet J. Quirk, daughter of Mrs. Chas. Estelle, of this place, were united in marriage yesterday, Nov. 3d, 1904. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Geo. B. Jones, pastor of the M.E. church, at the bride's home two miles east of town at high noon, in the presence of a few friends and relatives. The young couple departed on the afternoon train via Chicago for Colorado where they will reside for the present.

The groom is engaged in the mining business, and the bride is one of Hobart's accomplished and highly esteemed young ladies, possession many warm friends.

On Wednesday evening the bride was accorded a reception and given a bundle shower at the home of Dr. and Mrs. [Fred] Werner.

The Gazette joins the bride's numerous friends in extending hearty congratulations and well wishes.
The 1900 Census had counted Hattie twice: in Hobart, working as a "family domestic" in the home of William and Mary Devonshire; and in Portage Township, working as a milliner and living with her stepfather, Charles Estelle, and her mother, Sarah. Hattie had been born in Kansas, where her parents were married and where her father died; I wonder how the widow and child came to Indiana, and how Harriet met this Ohio man.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Junior Klan

This story from November 1923 introduces us to another auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan.

2020-07-15. Junior Klan, News, 11-29-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Nov. 29, 1923.

The recently inaugurated Junior Klan was formed to prepare adolescent boys (12 to 18 years of age) for membership in the main organization. At the same time, the Women of the Ku Klux Klan established a counterpart for teenage girls: the Tri-K Klub. (There were a couple of organizations for even younger children and infants, according to the History Channel blog.)

By the way, the fact that the News does not mention the skin color of the "Gary men" in the story means almost certainly that they were white.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Iverson Girls in Sunday School

As I mentioned in my last post, I am now pretty well convinced that Henry Iverson, the Chicago photographer, did indeed move down to the small town of Hobart in the late 1880s to practice his profession, because I have found two of his daughters attending the Union Sunday School in Hobart at that time.

Here is the Iverson family in the 1880 Census, recorded in Chicago, Illinois.

2020-07-09. 1880 census - Iverson
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

You will notice that among the daughters is a Theressa and a Maria.

From the Union Sunday School record book that begins in 1888, here is a list of students that includes "Mamie" Iverson — a common enough nickname for Mary or Maria, at that time …

2020-07-09. USUN1888-136, 137
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

… and "Thereas" Iverson, for which I think we can read "Theresa":

2020-07-09. USUN1888-136, 137
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This particular record book begins in September 1888 and ends in February 1891. These pages are undated, at the back of the book among random notes. The book gives very little information about who was teaching or studying in the Sunday School on any given date. But I'm not going to be picky; as far as I'm concerned this is evidence that the Iverson family fits into the timeframe established by H.C. Hanson's newspaper.

Maybe when the libraries open up again I can check other sources.

It's my blog and I'll obsess about minor things if I want to.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

John and Mamie Harms, by Henry Iverson of Chicago

2020-07-02. lh015
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

This photograph is undated, but on the back of the original is the imprint of the photographer, Henry Iverson, 2176 Archer Ave., Chicago. So, thanks to the information about him compiled by the Chicago Historical Society, we can date the photograph between 1881 and 1885.

And since we know the birth dates of the subjects, we can narrow that down, based on their apparent ages in this photo, to 1884 or 1885.

John was born August 26, 1877 (Indiana Death Certificates) to Henry and Sophia (Reimer) Harms. Sophia died just a week later, of "milk fever," as the family oral tradition has it — probably puerperal sepsis.

In 1879 Henry Sr. married Johanna Springman (Indiana Marriage Collection). They had a baby daughter who was born and died in 1881. Maria aka "Mayme," born June 1, 1882 (Indiana Death Certificates), was the first of their children to live to adulthood. (As we know, she married Fred Harney.)

I have no clue why Henry and Johanna took their children to Chicago for this photograph, nor why they chose this particular photographer; but I like to imagine that this encounter had something to do with Mr. Iverson's moving down to Hobart within a couple of years, as I believe he did.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wedding Report

In late November 1923, a flurry of weddings involving people we know.

The first took place on the farm of Theodore and Annie Rossow. Harry, born in 1898, was their youngest son, but not their youngest child.

2020-06-27. Rossow-Friel, News, 11-29-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Nov. 29, 1923.

The young couple stayed in Gary, to judge by the 1930 Census and the 1940 Census, and had no children of their own as far as I can tell; but in 1940 their household included a young niece and nephew. I wonder what the story behind that was.

The next wedding, further down in the same column, involved Isaac Small, descended from the Smalls of Small's Crossing. Isaac's father, Richard, was one of the children of John E. and Mary Jane (Riley) Small, and had died in 1916, which is why only Isaac's mother, Carrie, is mentioned.[1]

Frances' father, Severin (aka Siegfried), was a baker with a shop on Main Street (bought out in 1922 by his son, Fred). Her mother, Lena (Conrad), had died in 1910.

♦    ♦    ♦

The third wedding involved the Moehl family, members of which eventually ran a garage at East and Second Streets in Hobart, near the flat where the article says the newlyweds would live.

2020-06-27. Moehl-Born, News, 11-29-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Nov. 29, 1923.

As for the Born family, I can't say I've learned anything about them since the one and only time I mentioned them before, so perhaps it's time for me to do a little research.

Viola Born's grandparents, Charles (aka Carl) and Hanna (aka Johanna) — both German immigrants — brought their family down from Chicago sometime after the 1880 Census. The 1891 Plat Book shows them owning over a hundred acres of farmland west of Hobart. Here is the Born farm as it appears on the 1908 Plat Map:

2020-06-27. Born 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

It was the same in 1891 but for those southeasternmost 20 acres.

If I'm reading this all correctly, the brick house at 5050 Liverpool Road — built in 1900 per the county records — is probably the old Born place. And the Borns were neighbors of the Ewiglebens.

Viola's father, Paul, was the eldest child. By the 1900 Census he had five siblings. In 1901 he married Emilie (aka Amelia) Bastian (Indiana Marriage Collection). In the 1910 Census, Paul and Amelia, with Viola, Lauretta and a newborn daughter (as yet unnamed) were farming rented land in the same neighborhood — possibly part of his father's property.

Paul's mother died in 1904, his father in 1917. The 1920 death notice of his sister Anna gives a little snapshot of the family at that time:
The funeral of Mrs. Wm. Medrow was held from the home of her sister, Mrs. Bertha Thurber, of West Third street …. Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery.

Mrs. Anna Medrow died Monday at her home in Chicago after an illness of some time from tuberculosis. She was born in Hobart, her age being 46years, 4 months and 2 days, and lived here most of her life. Besides her husband she leaves seven children, six sons and one daughter, also three sisters, Mrs. Bertha Thurber, Mrs. Edward Rohwedder and Mrs. Edwin Sievert, and three brothers, Paul Born of Hobart, and Otto and Fred of Illinois.[2]
The 1920 Census shows Paul's family (now including four daughters) living on their own farm, which, according to the 1926 Plat Book, was formerly his parents' land.

Viola and Ernest Moehl are recorded in the 1930 Census living in their own home (with a radio) at 901 Garfield Street. He was employed by a lumber company as a truck driver.

[1] Carrie's maiden name was Haxton and she married Richard in 1881 (Indiana Marriage Collection).
[2] "Funeral of Former Hobart Girl Held Wednesday Afternoon," Hobart News, May 20, 1920.