Saturday, October 31, 2009

Orderly Geese of Ainsworth

(Click on images to enlarge)

They just need a little more drilling, they're not holding their ranks as well as they could.

These Canada geese are resting at Shilo Lake.←That's my cute way of saying the middle of the pasture at Shilo Ranch floods whenever we have heavy rains. The land forms a natural trough and with the slow-draining clay soil around here, the flooding can linger for weeks, although it diminishes from lake to pond, then to puddle, then to mud. Then another heavy rain. Must have been inconvenient for the people who actually farmed that land. What do I know, maybe they just pastured cows there. There are still remnants of old wooden posts and wire-mesh fence in spots along the modern steel-bar fence (I just made up that term, no idea what it's really called).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chester Cemetery, second draft

Chester Cemetery Draft 10-30-09

Having searched through the census, birth, death, marriage, draft and Civil War pension records available through, I have been able to fill out a little more information on who these people were.

When I have rested my brain a bit, I will have to try the newspaper database again. But when you're talking 1850s and 1860s and a sparse population, you're not going to find anything in the newspaper database. People were born, married and died with little record beyond the census. Children who were born and died within the decade between censuses escaped all official notice.

Some of these names are included because they were on the list at the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society website, but I couldn't find the corresponding stone and so there are no birth and death dates. I will have to go back and make a better record of which stones I couldn't find. Sometimes I found the stone, but the birth and death dates were illegible, and the censuses couldn't help.

I'm surprised by how thoroughly Frank L. Booty evaded notice from everyone except the draft board, and the newspapers when he came to his remarkable end.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amber Waves of Soy

(Click on images to enlarge)

Actually they weren't doing a lot of waving on this still, damp day.

The weather has been rainy for days now. Coming in from outside, I track in mud and dead leaves into the house. I can only imagine what it was like before there were paved roads, paved driveways, paved front walks.

All these hours spent in front of the computer have made my right elbow so sore that I've had to switch the mouse over to my left hand. Awkward.

Hobart Then and Now: Sixth and Main

Here is the northwest corner of Sixth and Main Streets, in 1962 and 2009.

Sixth and Main
Sixth and Main 2009
(Click on images to enlarge)

The gas station was set further back from the street than the Dairy Queen is now (see this aerial view of uncertain date reprinted in a booklet called "A Short History of Hobart").

♦    ♦    ♦

I'm updating the Chester Cemetery list by combing through the census and other records on for more information about the people buried there. It's a slow and laborious process. Interesting how the census-takers seem to have spelled people's name by ear sometimes, so "Nolte" may become "Noltie" and "Sievert," "Seveart" — which, although it may confuse the researcher, also gives an impression of how the family pronounced their name at the time.

♦ Hobart High School Memories Yearbook, 1962.
♦ Pleak, Mariam J., et al. "A Short History of Hobart." Hobart: The Hobart Gazette Publishing Co., Inc., n.d.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grand Trunk Railway System Timetable 1946

It doesn’t acknowledge the existence of Ainsworth, but it’s still cute.

1946 Grand Trunk Railway System Timetable

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grand Trunk Western Railroad Employees’ Timetable 1984

1984 Grand Trunk Western Railroad Employees' Timetable

Page 41 of this timetable (page 42 in the PDF scan) mentions the Ainsworth siding, including its length (660 feet) and the location of its switching point. Apparently in 1984 the siding hadn’t been abandoned and disconnected yet.

Page 132 (133 PDF) tells us that there was a train dispatcher telephone box at Ainsworth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Affidavit of William Homer Ghearart, April 12, 1930

William Homer Ghearart being first duly sworn upon his oath deposes and says that he is aged eighty-four years and has been a resident of Porter County, Indiana, since 1850, and was well acquainted with Henry T. Smith, grantee in a warranty deed dated December __, 1857 [sic], conveying the West One Half (1/2) of the Northwest Quarter (1/4) of Section Seventeen (17), Township Thirty-five (35), Range Seven (7) West, containing eighty acres of land . . . .

Affiant further says that Henry T. Smith was an aged man at the time and had been to California in 1849; that said Henry T. Smith died about 1858 and that he left surviving him as his sole and only heirs at law Sarah Smith, his widow, Burnette T. Smith, a son, Mary Smith, a daughter, Hodson T. Smith, a son, and Alfred T. Smith, a son; that the sole and only heirs at law of Henry T. Smith gave a quit claim deed to the above described property to Charles Chester, dated December 19, 1858 . . . .

*   *   *
That the road running in an easterly and westerly direction through the north end of said land was at one time called the old Sac trail, and has been in the same location as long as this affiant can remember.

That this affiant knew of Lucy M. Hanks, who was the sister of the wife of Henry Chester in 1867. That Lucy M. Hanks married a man by the name of Spencer, but April 6, 1867, she was a single woman.
The road he describes in the third paragraph as the old Sac trail (I’ve more commonly seen it spelled “Sauk”) sounds very much like Ainsworth Road. I’ve always wondered why Ainsworth Road was laid out so oddly, at a not-quite-45-degree angle to the more orderly north-south roads it crosses. Its being an old Indian trail would explain that.

In Calumet Beginnings, Kenneth Schoon provides a map of Indian trails in northwest Indiana. He states that the Sauk Trail was chosen as the route for the Lincoln Highway when it was being built in the early part of the 20th century. The map he provides shows the main Sauk Trail roughly corresponding to the Lincoln Highway, aka 73rd Street in the vicinity of Ainsworth, but it also shows a short path branching off from the Sauk Trail a couple miles west of the Lake-Porter county line, moving northeast, crossing Deep River north of Shanoquac’s Town, and joining up in Porter County with another path labeled “To Tassinong and Potawatomi Ford.” Part of this short path resembles Ainsworth Road.

♦ Ghearart, William Homer. Affidavit. April 12, 1930. Filed for record in Lake County, Indiana, July 7, 1930.
♦ Schoon, Kenneth J. Calumet Beginnings: Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Brief History of Three Acres, More or Less

Outline of Title History

This list was compiled by the Chicago Title person doing the search, and I added some details as I typed it up.

I have copies of the documents themselves only from the 1977 warranty deed back to Henry Chester’s 1909 deed to his wife and children. That’s where we decided to stop getting copies because of expenses. If I’m ever so inclined, I can try getting copies of the earlier deeds from the Lake County Recorder of Deeds.

So my little 3-acre parcel came out of the 70-acre parcel in 1921, when Carrie and William Raschka transferred it to George Bodamer. If the barn was in fact built in 1923, then the land was George Bodamer’s at the time. If the house was in fact built in 1937, that was during the first ownership by Hubert (Sr.) and Delilia Lines.

I'm not entirely sure that Theodore Holgebein and Theodore Kagebein weren't one person with bad handwriting.

But my goodness, all these people transferred land as if that were their only source of entertainment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grand Trunk Western Railroad Employee Timetable 1966


Well, look at that, would you? — a timetable that doesn’t mention Ainsworth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Grand Trunk Railway System Public Time Tables 1899

1899 Grand Trunk Railway System Timetable

First of all I have to apologize for the fact that pages 9 and 10 of this timetable are at the back of the document. I didn’t realize I had skipped over them until I was finished scanning, and I wasn’t going to subject this fragile old document to re-scanning, nor was I going to pay for Adobe Writer which would allow me to insert pages into the middle of a document. So that’s me — half curator, half cheapskate.

First stop — the Index to Stations on page 3, where we note that Ainsworth’s 1899 population is given as 60. Then we have to go to pages 19 and 20 of the timetable (the 13th page of this PDF), to find any further mention of Ainsworth. Eastward trains stop at the Ainsworth station daily except Sunday at 11:03 a.m., and daily at 6:06 p.m. Westward trains stop at 7:14 a.m., and daily except Sunday at 3:58 p.m.

Looking through all these old timetables has given me a hankering to take a long trip on Amtrak, just to ride the train. In fact I went to the Amtrak site and found a nice long journey across the northernmost states to Everett, Washington. A bit pricey, since I would simply have to have a roomette, but I’d like to do it someday.

Someday in the distant future, because I just got off the phone with Chicago Title and — yikes! There goes my Amtrak ride, and they’ve only got back as far as 1911.

More to come on that, and also more timetables to come. I’m starting to collect these timetables for their own sake, with only a passing curiosity as to whether they mention Ainsworth.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back from the Dead

Last Thursday morning my computer woke up dead and had to be rushed to the computer hospital. I finally got it back about an hour ago. They managed to resurrect it, but only just.

Five days and four nights. That was the longest computer break I've had since 2002.

It was actually kind of nice, but don't think I've turned over a new leaf, because I haven't. I'm already back to my net-addicted ways.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When The Merchant Moved in Mysterious Ways

We have briefly met William Raschka, the "merchant of Ainsworth," and his wife Carrie, the daughter of Henry Chester. They were married for almost 65 years before death parted them in 1959.

Thirty years before that, however, they had been parted for nearly a week by a bizarre and rather embarrassing incident. Before we dig up that old scandal, though, let's fill in some of the background.

William and Carrie married in 1894, when he was about 25 years old and she 20. By 1900 they had two young children and lived in Ross Township. To the federal census taker, William modestly described himself as a farm laborer. But he was ambitious and enterprising.

In 1902 he opened his general store in Ainsworth. In 1906 Carrie's stepmother transferred a nice package of land to him, totaling about 110 acres. By the 1910 census, William (now a "retail merchant") and Carrie had three children, and their household included William's brother Frank, working as a salesman in the general store, and two hired girls who probably helped with the house and children, since Carrie gave her occupation as saleslady in the general store.

In 1916 William, Carrie and their children moved to Hobart, at first renting a house, then buying their own in 1917. (Brother Frank Raschka had moved out, married and started a family.)

By 1926, real estate sales were part of William's business enterprises, which still included the general store and the shipping of hay and grain. The partnership of Raschka and Mayne advertised real estate offerings in the local papers and operated out of Gary and Hobart.

The first sign of trouble is the appearance of William's name on the published list of delinquent taxes. In January 1928, he was delinquent by about $815 in taxes on various Porter County parcels. In January 1929, he was behind by $1,020 (about $12,540 in today's dollars).

By early November of 1929, of course, William had plenty of company in his financial woes, but that must have been of little comfort to him. He was increasingly pressed and troubled, and Carrie knew it. On November 1, William went to Chicago to see a "transfer man" by the name of Thornton Haynes in an attempt to get $10,000 — whether as a loan from Haynes or as the repayment of William's loan to him isn't clear. In any event, he didn't get the money. He came home to Carrie deeply worried.

He seemed in better spirits the next morning, Saturday, November 2. He had breakfast and promptly dressed, putting on a black suit, gray overcoat and gray hat. As he went out, he told Carrie to expect him back for lunch.

Lunchtime came — no William. Perhaps Carrie gave it little thought at first, but as the afternoon wore on, as evening approached with no word from her husband, she had time to think of his increasing money troubles and his depressed mood the night before. Dinnertime passed — nothing. Carrie grew uneasy. She explained the situation to relatives, and they started looking for William.

They discovered that he had been seen in Gary around 5 or 6 p.m. Saturday evening, when he brought his car to the Universal garage for some minor repairs. The garage attendants, who knew him well, thought he was oddly preoccupied that day. He told them he'd be back in a few hours to get the car, but he never showed up. Sunday morning Carrie had the car brought back home. The search continued.

Somehow the family found out or concluded that William had gone to Chicago. They checked with a few Chicago contacts, but turned up no further information.

The family decided it was a matter for the police.

On Wednesday the case hit the front page of the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger. Police throughout northern Indiana and in Chicago joined in the search for William. Carrie said his financial troubles may have made him "mentally deranged"; perhaps she feared the worst. Again on Thursday, the Vidette-Messenger's front-page story reported only a continuing mystery. What had become of William?

And then the case dropped out of sight.

Days went by without a word from the newspapers.

Finally, on Tuesday, November 12, the Vidette-Messenger sheepishly reported (on page two) that William was back home, safe and sound. The story said, "He was found in Kansas City, Mo., where he woke after being apparently under the influence of drugs. Raschka would not comment upon his experience other than to say he was not robbed."

Who found him? How did they know to look in Kansas City? What drugs, and how had he come to take them? The answers to these questions are lost to history. I don't know whether that reflects journalistic laziness or editorial discretion — William was a prominent local businessman, and after all, it's no crime to go to Kansas City. And with the embarrassment of having the police of three counties looking for him, and his financial troubles and mental condition splashed over the front page of the newspaper — William had already suffered for his little adventure.

But oh, how I wish I'd been a fly on the Raschka walls the day William came home!

Their troubles weren't over. Before November was out, a lawsuit alleging fraud in a land transfer was brought against them by Walter and Lottie Neath, friends of at least a decade; in 1932 some of the Raschkas' Porter County assets were auctioned at a sheriff's sale.

After that, however, we hear of no more troubles, only joys. In 1933, William, Carrie and their three daughters visited the World's Fair in Chicago. William concentrated on his real estate business, and the local classified columns of the mid- to late-1940s often featured property he was selling.

In April of 1944, William and Carrie held an open house to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, and again in May of 1954 for their 60th anniversary.

William died in 1959 at the age of 90. Three years later, when Carrie was 87, they were reunited.

♦ 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
♦ ———. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora Yearbook (1927).
♦ Inflation Calculator. [Online calculator.] Dollar Times. Retrieved from
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.). Nov. 21, 1906; May 23, 1919.
Times (Hammond, Ind.). Mar. 13, 1917; Jul. 6, 1926.
Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.). Jan. 27, 1928; Jan. 26, 1929; Nov. 6, 1929; Nov. 7, 1929; Nov. 12, 1929; Nov. 22, 1929; Oct. 26, 1932; Sept. 25, 1933; Apr. 24, 1944; Jul. 17, 1945; Feb. 28, 1946; Mar. 7, 1947; Sept. 1, 1948; May 10, 1949; Apr. 27, 1954; Feb. 13, 1959; Dec. 31, 1962.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Expensive History

I called Chicago Title. A deed search on my house costs $50 per deed found, so the final cost depends on how often the land changed hands, or more exactly how often those exchanges left documentary evidence in the county records. I'm hoping Henry Chester held it for a long, long time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Horsey Love

(Click on image to enlarge)

I couldn't help myself. They're just so darn cute!

Sketching Out My Land's History

Friday I went to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds' office in Crown Point, intending to research the ownership of my house. I found out that Lake County doesn't allow that. They gave me a "transfer sheet" showing the previous owner's transfer to me; beyond that, they told me, I have to go to a title company and pay big bucks for the information.

I haven't talked to a title company yet to find out how big the bucks are. The information may not be worth the price.

On the way back I stopped at the Lake County Central Library and spent three lovely hours in the Indiana Room, looking at old atlases, plat books and city directories.

I learned enough to sketch out an incomplete timeline of the ownership of my pitiful 3.5 acres:

1832 — Potawatomi tribe cedes it to the federal government.

1891 — owned by Henry Chester as part of a larger parcel enfolding the Grand Trunk Railroad in its 274.5-acre embrace.

1926 — owned by C.E. Chester, possibly Charles E., Henry's son; still part of a much larger parcel.

1939 — owned by J. Chester. Possibly James or Jerome, Henry's sons. Still part of a much larger parcel.

1966 — Hubert (probably Senior) and Delilia Lines own this small 3.5-acre parcel carved out of the big parcel that was previously in Chester hands but is now (1966) owned by Chester Wasy.

1979 — owned by Hubert and Carlene Lines (probably Hubert Jr.; Hubert Sr. died in 1977).

1990 — owned by me.

♦ Allman Gary Title Company, Atlas and Plat Book of Lake County Indiana (Rockford: The Thrift Press, 1926).
1891 Plat Book for Appraisers of Real Estate Lake County, Indiana (Valparaiso: Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society, 2007).
♦ Lake County, Indiana, Real Estate Assessment and Transfer Record (10/9/09).
♦ Lake County Title Co., Plat Book of Lake County 1939 (n.p.).
♦ Manich, Steve W., 1966 Township Maps of Lake County, Indiana Showing Ownerships (n.p.).
♦ Manich, Steve W., 1979 Township Maps Lake County Indiana Showing Ownerships (n.p.).
♦ Schoon, Kenneth J., Calumet Beginnings (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003).

Hobart Then and Now: Hobart House/Art Theatre

1911 and 2009

Hobart House 1911
Art Theatre
(Click on images to enlarge)

At top is the Hobart House circa 1911; below is the Art Theatre, built on the site in 1941.

The Hobart House was built in 1870. It operated as a hotel and restaurant, with a banquet room; it also had a ballroom on the third floor. Behind it was a livery stable (partially visible in this circa-1910 photo) to accommodate travelers' horses. It ceased to operate as a hotel in 1918 and became a community building. Weekly dances were held in the ballroom; the banquet room was available for rental; other rooms were rented to businesses. In 1927, the tenants included Axel Strom's tailoring shop and Amlong's Restaurant.

The Hobart House building was torn down in 1940, and the Art Theatre built on the site in 1941.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grand Trunk Railroad Timetable 1928

1928 Grand Trunk Railway System timetable

On page 7, we see that the eastbound train, from Chicago to Valparaiso, stops in Ainsworth at 9:27 a.m. daily except Sunday. The westbound train stops at 4:59 p.m. daily except Sunday. That's it.

Am I supposed to believe that during the Roaring '20s, the train stopped only once a day (except Sunday) in Ainsworth, when it stopped there four times daily (three on Sunday) in 1932, during the Depression?

On second thought, that may make sense. During the boom times, everyone buys a car. Come the bust, they all lose their cars, they need the train again.*

It's interesting to see all those little places between the stops we know, places where the train doesn't stop: for example, between the familiar stops of Lottaville and Ainsworth, we see Turkey Creek, Atkins, Adams and Pierces. I never heard of any of these places before.
*Conjecture pulled out of thin air.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Hurlburt Family

Let us now speak briefly of the Hurlburts. It will have to be briefly, because I don't know a lot about them. Unlike the Chesters and the Raschkas (of whom more later), the Hurlburt name generally appeared in the newspapers only in connection with such respectable activities as buying real estate, selling farm equipment, and dying from natural causes. The one exception was more amusing than scandalous, as we shall see.

The Hurlburt name shows up all over the Ainsworth area in the 1939 plat book:

(Click on image to enlarge)

From the bottom up, we see Milan Hurlburt holding a parcel of 70 acres (outlined in green), while C.S. and S.M. Hurlburt hold an adjacent parcel of 140 acres (outlined in pink). Further north, at the northeast corner of the Lincoln Highway and State Road 51, Jacob and Augusta A. Hurlburt hold 77 acres (outlined in yellow), where they ran a dairy farm.

Milan (or Milon; we encounter both spellings) was, I believe, a son of the pioneer Jacob Hurlburt who gave his name to the village of Hurlburt, which shows up in tiresome abundance in the newspaper archives when you are trying to find out something about the Ainsworth Hurlburts.

Milan was born in 1849. His 24th year must have been very happy for him: he married Mary Ann Guernsey, and bought a chunk of land in Section 29, Range 7 — probably part of the land we see him holding in 1939.

Milan was the father of Jacob (born 1874). I believe the "C.S." is Milan's other son, Chester (born 1880), and the "S.M." Chester's wife, Sidney. Milan also had a daughter, Jennie (born 1877), who became Mrs. Charles Stevens of Hobart. [Update — It was not Jennie but her sister Ethel who married Charles Stevens; see post of Nov. 25, 2013.]

Jacob and Augusta married around 1900. By 1906, they owned land in Ainsworth. By 1909 they had a son, Vernon, and around 1911 another son, Emery.

All the Hurlburts seem to have lived quiet and peaceful lives, and their sorrows, if any, were private — until 1932, when a family discord brought their name into the Vidette-Messenger.

, Ind., June 1 — An 82-year-old defendant, represented by an 83-year-old attorney, soon convinced Judge E. Miles Norton that he still is mentally qualified to handle his own business affairs.

The octogenarian, Milan Hurlburt, owner of a 210 acre farm near Deep River, was termed mentally incompetent by his son, Jacob Hurlburt, who sought to have a [guardian] appointed for his father after the latter had tried to sell a part of his property.

* * *

He took the stand in his own defense. Attorney George Hershman, of Crown Point, representing the son, started to question him.

"How much money have you now?" Hershman asked the aged witness.

Hurlburt reflected a moment.

"Wa-a-ll," finally drawled the old man, in a firm voice, "there ain't anybody got very much now, and besides, it ain't proper to tell how much you have — it all depends on the crowd you're in."

Judge Norton looked up appreciatively.

"There's nothing wrong with your mind," he said. ["]Case is dismissed."

The 1939 plat book shows a 210-acre parcel divided between Milan and Chester, the good son. That may have been the proposed sale to which Jacob objected.

No further troubles came to light. Per a cite-less family tree I found on, Milan died in 1936.

Jacob and Augusta remained in Ainsworth all their lives. After Jacob died in 1945, his sons, Vernon and Emery, continued farming his land. Augusta died in 1957. Vernon died in 1966, survived by his wife, Alice; two children; and his brother.

Two years later Uncle Chester died; I know nothing of Sidney, or their children, if any.

Emery quit farming in 1970 and sold all of his farm equipment at auction; in 1972 he and his wife announced they were moving and auctioned off all of their household goods. Emery died in 1990.

♦, 1920 United States Federal Census; 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.
♦ ———, Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
♦ ———, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
♦ ———, U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. National Archives and Records Administration Branch locations: National Archives and Records Administration Region Branches.
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.), Jun. 28, 1906.
Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.), Jun. 1, 1932; Dec. 17, 1945; Oct. 8, 1957; Nov. 7, 1966; Mar. 22, 1968; Nov. 19, 1970; Aug. 10, 1972.
♦ Weston, Arthur Goodspeed, Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical (Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co., 1882).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grand Trunk Western Railroad Employees Timetable 1958

Ainsworth don't get no respect.

1958 Grand Trunk Western Employees Time Table

The train stops at Sedley. It stops at Lottaville. Poor Ainsworth, lying between them, gets passed by.

The only mention I could find of Ainsworth is under "Additional Tracks" on page 24. I assume additional tracks refers to the siding; here it's noted to have a car capacity of 19. That's not bad, but in the 1958 freight cars weren't as big as they are now. I have no cite for that; I just remember the freight trains of my youth in the 1960s.

I did not scan the three pages in this schedule that were superseded by the May 1, 1959 supplemental pages. Any railroadiana purist out there who wants to see those three pages, drop me a note.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Small White Asters

(Click on image to enlarge)

The bee was so busy gathering nectar, she didn't care that my camera was almost on top of her.

This year I mowed the meadow once in the spring. Then the daisies starting blooming, and they were so pretty that I couldn't bring myself to mow again. Since then it's been wave upon wave of wildflowers. Now meadow is full of asters in bloom, and honeybees, bumblebees, other bee-looking creatures that I can't name, are happily buzzing around and not stinging you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hobart Then and Now: Main Street North to Third

Circa 1940, and 2009

Main Street north to Third circa 1940
Main Street north to Third mid-block
(Click on images to enlarge)

Main Street, from mid-block, looking north toward Third.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Canadian National Railways Timetable 1968

It doesn't mention Ainsworth, but it's still fabulous.

I left off the index of stations and list of representatives just to shave a few pages off the file size.

1968 CN Schedule

Ruins of Ainsworth: The House in the Woods

The northern part of Deep River County Park has a long trail winding through its woods, with Big Maple Lake on one side and Deep River on the other.

If it's April and you enter the trail northwest of the lake, you will see daffodils blooming amid the rougher vegetation on the edge of the woods.

You follow the trail into the woods. Soon you pass between posts that once held a gate.

(Click on images to enlarge)

You keep walking north. Fifty feet into the woods to your right — you won't notice it unless you know exactly where to look — is a rusted piece of old farming equipment, one wheel crushed by a fallen tree.

Wreck of old farm machinery

The trail comes to a fork where it has looped back on itself. You keep to the northwest fork. You see something through the trees that's tall and broad, brick-red and stone-gray, and completely leafless. You say to yourself, "What the heck — is that a chimney?"

It is.


At first you think, delightedly, that you've stumbled upon some remnant of a pioneer homestead. Closer inspection proves you wrong: it's all quite modern, from the well ...


... to the plumbing ...


... to the wiring ...


... and even to the downspout.


The years and the nocturnal revelers have not been kind to the chimney. The photo above is several years old. Here it is a few days ago.


If you walk east from the house, you come across a shallow depression running north-south through the woods. It's not deep enough to be called a ditch, but it's too straight to be natural. Follow the faint line of that depression, and you come to a gas connection.



I know nothing about the history of the house. I can't find it on any of the aerial photos. Still, it's an interesting thing to encounter deep in the woods. I love the park, its trees and wildflowers, the river, the birds and deer and other wildlife, but nothing there intrigues me quite as much as these human artifacts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hobart Then and Now: Evangelical Lutheran Church/Lakeview Apartments

Circa 1910
Evangelical Lutheran Church circa 1910

Lakeview Apartments
(Click on images to enlarge)

We are looking at the northwest corner of the intersection of Main and Second Streets in downtown Hobart. The Evangelical Lutheran Church stood here until 1963, when it was torn down and the Lakeview Apartments built on the site.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chester Cemetery (aka Ainsworth Cemetery)

Chester Cemetery Names, Dates, Notes

I call it a draft, but that's probably as good as it's going to get. The last two days have been discouraging.

Someone did a marvelous job of transcribing all the names from the gravestones in Chester Cemetery, and that list can be found here thanks to the North West Indiana Genealogical Society.

I say "marvelous" because, in the cemetery yesterday, I truly marveled that anyone could have gotten all those names from those worn, weathered, broken stones. But the site says the list was updated in 1992, so I'm guessing it was created even earlier, when the stones may have been in better shape.

The list on the NWIGS site gives only names. I wanted to fill it out with dates of birth and death, ages, and any other information that the gravestone inscriptions might convey. I have done that to the best of my ability, to the great strain of my eyes, through much crouching on the ground, squinting, swearing, and crawling into lilac hedges, and I still have lots of blanks and question marks in the list. I further supplemented it with any information I could glean from the newspaper archives or other sites, which was precious darn little.

* * *
Tuesday my sister and Gothic Grandniece came over and we took a trip to Hobart Cemetery. We showed Grandniece the grave of the boy who had been killed by lightning (I had shown my sister the newspaper article about Arnold Ream). We also pointed out all the children's and babies' graves we came across. As we were walking back to the car, Grandniece said, "That was fun!"