Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"She Now Has Much to Look After"

Mary E. (Baird) Chester, from the Lake County Encyclopedia

The Hobart Gazette of June 24, 1910, in noting that Henry Chester's widow had gone to Hobart on business the previous week, added, "She now has much to look after."

Indeed she did. Although earlier that month her stepson Charles had been appointed administrator of Henry's estate, so at least Mary did not have that burden, she still had to manage a large and busy household — twelve people besides Mary, according to the 1910 census, recorded in May. Jerome Chester, still unmarried, was nominally the head of the house. There were two female live-in domestics, one of them with a teenaged son. Six hired men also slept and ate under the Chester roof. And last but not least, Edward Scroggins, the widower of Mary's daughter Daisy, had come to live with the Chesters, along with his little daughters, two-year-old Helen and the infant Edna.

I don't know much about Mary beyond the few lines that the Rev. T.H. Ball devoted to her in Henry's profile:
Mrs. Chester was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, November 8, 1854, being the eldest of the ten children, four sons and six daughters, born to Samuel and Jane (Oakes) Baird. When she was a girl of twelve years her parents moved west to Bureau county, Illinois, where she completed the education begun in her native state.
She had married Henry in Lake County, Indiana, on August 15, 1878, about four months after the death of his second wife.

While Henry's financial success meant that Mary did not have to worry about money, she still had troubles, thanks to the men in her life. There were Henry's arrests on charges of assault and battery; her son Jerome's arrests, first on a charge of bastardy, which led to a very public trial and a guilty verdict, and then on assault and battery; and even her son John had been through legal troubles and one arrest.

Only Daisy, it seems, had given her mother no trouble, but Daisy was cut down in the bloom of youth.

In that crowded 1910 household, I expect Mary found some consolation in caring for her grandchildren. They were all she had left of her only daughter.

She would soon find further consolation — my deed search shows that when she transferred my land to the Chester descendants in 1913, she did so as the wife of John McDaniel.

1910 Census.
♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups."Hobart Gazette 24 June 1910.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
Lake County Encyclopedia.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette. 10 June 1910.


jim said...

hi again,
neat stuff on the chester's this week, i grew up here and had a paper route when i was in school and trained my replacement who was named ed scroggins. anyway the wife and i did a little metal detecting at the airfield park and following the track found a couple horseshoes, a weird brass and glass square with a horsehead inside the glass and even an entire bridle (leather is rotten) but was wondering if you would like one of the shoes? they are smaller than usual, guessing for racing. let me know if you would like one.

Ainsworthiana said...

Hmm, I wonder if that Ed Scroggins was a descendant...

It's interesting that you found all that horsey stuff. I still haven't learned who owned that horse track and when. At the rate I'm going it will be a while before I do. Thank you for the kind offer of a horseshoe. Actually I would like one, if you're quite sure you don't want to keep them for yourself. If you send me an email I can give you my address, or else you can always find me at the Hobart Historical Museum on Saturday mornings.

jim said...

no problem, we can drop one off on a sat morning. one still has a nail in it. on another strange note- this morning i tried a park in valpo i believe was once used for broncho johns wild west shows. came up with a belgie 20 franc coin from belgium???
what times are u at the museum?

Ainsworthiana said...

I'm at the museum from about 10 a.m. until noon, when it closes.

Cool about the Belgian coin! That was a nice find. Is there a date on it? It makes sense that if someone were visiting from Belgium, they'd want to see Broncho John! I've got a 1933 Chilean peso that I found in the dirt by my former chicken coop; I wonder how that got there. Can't imagine a visitor from Chile would be thrilled by my chicken coop.

jim said...

1980, made from nickel and bronze. not worth a bunch but have a new lucky coin.