Sunday, October 23, 2016

Breaking Camp

Mrs. George Thompson was Lee's (and Eva's) mother. Her maiden name was Swartz and per the 1900 Census she had married George Thompson in 1899, but I've not yet been able to find the record of their marriage.

2016-10-23. Nancy Thompson
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, 19 Oct. 1922.

The little Amlong family started camping out near the village of Deep River in June. They must have spent a few chilly nights in their tent before finally moving into a house for the winter. The "Humes residence south of the city" was likely on what's now State Road 51, though I still don't know exactly where.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Morning-Glory Plume Moth

Most of my adult life I have been letting dogs out at night, and while they take care of business, looking at the living things that congregate around dusk-to-dawn lights in mild weather, and saying to myself, "Strange creatures come out at night" — usually while looking at one of these:

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth 2
(Click on images to enlarge)

Finally I have learned that they are not so strange after all. They are just moths; specifically, plume moths, and this one is a Morning-Glory Plume Moth — so called, I gather, because its caterpillars feed on plants in the morning-glory family.

They roll their wings up when not using them.

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth 1

My moth-identification book helpfully includes a ruler printed inside the back cover.

A couple of weeks after I took the photos above, I found a morning-glory plume moth that had gotten into my house.

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth on screen

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Was It About Seattle?

The "Local and Personal" column of the Hobart News of October 5, 1922, included this item: "Lee Thompson, residing south of Ainsworth, formerly of Hobart, left Monday evening for Seattle, Wash. where he expects to be employed in the markets in that city."

I think "south of Ainsworth" referred to their rented farm near the Vincent schoolhouse.

Perhaps Lee had heard from the Hazelgreens how great Seattle was. Or maybe there was some boom going on there in 1922 that could draw him out of Indiana.

This might explain why I couldn't find him around here in the 1930 Census; on the other hand, we already know he was back in Hobart by 1940.

♦    ♦    ♦

The fact that 60 property owners were petitioning for an "asphaltic concrete top dressing" for Cleveland Avenue in October 1922 suggests that it was still a gravel road at the time … if not a dirt road.

2016-10-18. Road improvement petition
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1922.

That was the route of the Yellowstone Trail, competing for traffic against the Dunes Highway (still under construction, I think) to the north and the Lincoln Highway to the south. And crews had been at work on the Lincoln Highway during summer of 1922, pouring fresh cement.

The "south road … between Hobart and the Lincoln Highway" refers State Road 51.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Steam Engine Running Beside a Plowed Field

Here's another entry in my series, "Not Ainsworth But Could Be."

When I first saw this photo, I thought: That's how the Grand Trunk steam engines must have looked running past my field, back when Henry Chester farmed it!

2016-10-16. Grand Trunk steam engine
(Click on images to enlarge)

Unfortunately, the notes on the back give Grand Haven, Michigan as the location and 1947 as the year …

2016-10-16. Grand Trunk steam engine verso

… so I was way off as to place and time. But still — let exactitude fall to the side, let our eyelids droop, and that's a westbound Grand Trunk train slowing down for the Ainsworth depot.

The first car behind the tender belongs to the Pennsylvania Railroad, the third one to the C&O Railroad — both lines that would have been a part of life in Ainsworth, though not quite as large a part as the Grand Trunk Railroad.

Friday, October 14, 2016


I am indebted to Rita McBride of the Hobart Historical Society for finding and printing out this story. Back when I was reading the 1916 microfilm, the name Hazelgreen meant nothing to me.

2016-10-14. Dynamite
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 16 June 1916.

We've already met Malcolm Hazelgreen. The sister living in the same home was probably Elna.

The last paragraph mentions a similar event happening to Fred Kappelman "nine years ago," which would take us to about 1907; this is why I think Fred was still alive some years after his marriage to Nora Ensign.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Kid in the Kitchen

2016-10-12. rf021
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Eldon Harms family.

Handwritten notes on the back of the original identify this kid only as: "The little Goat. 1930."

Whose little goat? and why was it so special that it was allowed in the kitchen? — We don't know.

The photo comes from a group dominated by Lester Harms, his wife Sue Prochno White Harms, his parents and extended family. This leads me to think that the scene is on either the Harms farm on Cleveland Avenue, or the Prochno farm on Colorado Street.

I like the homey details you can see in the background if you enlarge the image: the plain spindle-back chair, the plastic- or oilcloth-covered table, and the lidded bucket or cast-iron pot atop it. But I am mystified by the appliance at the far left. Here I have fiddled with the light values to try to bring it out more:

2016-10-12. rf021 detail

In a farm kitchen in 1930, you'd expect to see a stove, cupboards, a sink, and maybe an icebox. I'm trying to see one of those things in this image. Is that bright vertical line caused by a convex central panel reflecting light from the back window? Or is it a shiny metal handle down the side? I suppose we could be looking at an oven door, but I've never seen one with those rivet-like dots around the central panel.

Monday, October 10, 2016

She Was a V, A, M, P …

My only memory of the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour is Cher's recurring vamp song, which comes to mind now that I'm delivering on my promise to dish the dirt about Emma Shearer.

I will let this newspaper article from October 2, 1908, tell the story:

2016-10-10. Shearer 1 of 2
2016-10-10. Shearer 2 of 2
(Click on images to enlarge)
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 2 Oct. 1908.

Although the article gives her earlier husband's name as James Adams, per the county records it was Anthony S. Adams, and the date of their marriage February 28, 1901. She was then about 34 years old, he about 28 — old enough to know what he was doing, you'd think. But what "disclosures" could he have made to provoke her to kick him out of the buggy? My guess is that he hadn't gotten around to divorcing a previous wife … or perhaps had a lot of debt.

After divorcing Mr. Adams, Emma appears not to have married anyone else until November 17, 1906, when she and John Kroledge joined their hearts together. He was ten years her junior. Their marital bliss lasted almost two years, it seems.

Several weeks after the above publicity about their impending divorce, another disgruntled hired man came forward:

2016-10-10. Shearer - Mattas
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 20 Nov. 1908.

I have not been able to learn the outcome of any of these cases. I assume the divorce came through, since John Kroledge married again during Emma's lifetime.

But I did come across this tantalizing tidbit from the spring of 1909 …

2016-10-10. Shearer Ohearn
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 13 Apr. 1909.

… which stirred up in my mind a vague memory of Emma and Michael O'Hearn being connected somehow, long ago; so I went searching among my notes and found that yes, indeed, they had been closely connected. I don't know exactly when it started, but by the spring of 1895 they were secret lovers. She was about 29, he about 33. In the spring of 1896 their quiet romance ended — loudly.

2016-10-10. Shearer-Ohearn
Hobart Gazette 17 Apr. 1896.

2016-10-10. Goes Free
Hobart Gazette 8 May 1896.

♦    ♦    ♦

I have yet to learn much about the rest of Emma's life, but at the moment it appears there were no more marriages. In 1910, Emma — living alone, apparently, on her farm on Tenth Street — gave her surname as Kroledge and her status as widowed (the enumerator was Charles A. Blank, who, as a resident of Miller, might not have heard the real story). In 1920, she was still Emma Kroledge, but now "divorced." In her household was a 51-year-old hired man; let us hope he was satisfied with his wages. I cannot find Emma in the 1930 Census.

Emma Kroledge, "widow," died in the Lake County Poor Asylum on May 7, 1932.

2016-10-10. Emma Kroledge obit
Hobart Gazette 12 May 1932.

What little I know of Emma's siblings suggests that all of them were, shall we say, unsettled. I believe brother Charles served a short time in prison in the 1890s; someday I will discuss him in more detail.

Her sister, Mary Ellen, had married John Mander in 1873, and, as we've learned, the marriage was not happy.

"Mrs. Nora Ensign" is somewhat mysterious, because I can't find that Emma ever had a sister named Nora; she did, however, have a sister named Elizabeth E., born in 1857, whose death certificate (1934) described her as the widow of William Ensign … who, according to the marriage records as transcribed on, married "F. Ellen Shearer" in 1881. We've met Elizabeth Ensign before and learned that she described herself as widowed in 1910 and divorced in 1920. She had two sons, John and Walter (and through John she was the grandmother of Richard Ensign). I can't find Elizabeth in 1930, but I do find a Nora Ensign living in Hobart — about three years older than you would expect Elizabeth to be. Which leads to something else interesting: the marriage records show a Nora Ensign marrying a Fred Kappelman in 1899; and the 1900 census shows John and Walter Ensign living with their mother, whose name is nearly illegible but looks as if it could be "Kappelman, Norra" (you can see for yourself here), and who told the enumerator she had been married for one year. The question is: where was Fred Kappelman in 1900? I have no idea. I have reason to think he was still alive, though I can't find him outside of the local newspapers.

As for William Ensign, I don't know what became of him. I can't find any record of his death.

And as for the "family lot in the Hobart cemetery" mentioned in Emma Kroledge's obituary: I cannot find Emma, nor her parents, nor her sisters in Hobart Cemetery — or anywhere else, for that matter.

Additional Sources:
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
Indiana Death Certificates.
Indiana Marriage Collection.