Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Wild Lettuce

(Click on images to enlarge)

It took me forever to identify this stupid plant because I didn't know its blossoms were yellow. I didn't know its blossoms were yellow because 99% of the time, they look like this:


Then just by luck I happened to catch one in the brief moment when it actually blooms. Here's a shot with the flowers in all their stages, left to right: seed puff, yellow blossom, closed green thing.


Here's a close-up of the lower stem and leaves.


An interesting little tidbit: according to the Wikipedia article, this stuff has a mild opium-like effect if eaten.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hobart Has … (1914)

From time to time the newspapers would publish these little inventories of Hobart businesses, organizations and other features. This one is from the Hobart News of July 23, 1914.

8-30-2010 Hobart Has 1914
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As I mentioned a few posts ago in speaking of the Proctor law — ten saloons for 3,500 people. And four cigar factories. Evidently Hobartites were a hard-drinking, heavy-smoking crowd back then.

I should have been posting these inventories all along. They let me make a blog post with hardly any work at all!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hummingbird's Breakfast (Arts-Fartsy Foto)

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A hummingbird about to alight at the feeder for breakfast, silhouetted against the curtain in my enclosed front porch. See all those tiny holes in the curtain? — made by my idiot cats, jumping against the curtain to catch the hummingbirds' shadows. I have learned to close off the porch during the early morning hours.

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Green Amaranth

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Every time I think the late-summer wildflowers can't get any uglier, they prove me wrong.

Also known as pigweed, which is an insult to pigs.

Oh, well, evidently somebody likes this stuff, somebody with six legs.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Shearers: Calvin Howard, Howard Calvin, and Calvin Something-or-Other

Once the Ainsworth columns ended, sometimes even being born couldn't get an Ainsworth person into the newspapers. When Calvin Howard Shearer came into the world on August 31, 1914, nobody bothered to mention it. He was the son of Howard Calvin Shearer, who was the son of Calvin C. — what was his middle name, I wonder? It wasn't Howard, anyway. Maybe it was Calvin.*

And it's not as if the Shearers were unknown, either. Since the early 1860s Calvin C.'s parents, Jerome (or Jeronomy) and Margaret, had been farming near Hobart, and they were still Hobart residents when Jerome died in 1912. Calvin C. had lived in Hobart for some time, working as a butcher. Soon after the turn of the century he and his wife Huldah moved with their three children (Maude, Howard and Bliss) down to the Ainsworth area of Ross Township and went into farming, on rented land at first, then on 80 acres bought in 1906 from the A.C. Thompson farm (which bordered on the northwest intersection of present-day Route 30 and State Road 51). Even after that purchase, he rented additional land to farm.

After moving to Ross Township, Calvin C. was elected to the township's Advisory Board, and in November 1908 he was elected township trustee. In August 1910 he was appointed gravel road inspector, to fill the office left vacant by the death of Morgan Blachly. A working relationship and friendship with Hobart Township Trustee Lewis E. Barnes developed, around 1912, into a business venture as the two partnered up in teaming and contracting work. In the summer of 1914, for example, the Barnes & Shearer firm landed a contract for road work on the Hobart-Ainsworth road (now S.R. 51) where it crosses the Deep River. In December 1914, as Calvin C.'s term as trustee drew toward its close, he announced that he would move his family back to Hobart and take a more active role in the operation of Barnes & Shearer.

… And the foregoing recitation of dry facts has no purpose but to help you, dear Reader, share in my puzzlement that Calvin Howard's birth went unreported.

The marriage that produced him had not gone unreported — it had rated a long paragraph in the Ross Township column of the News (long, that is, as such things are measured in social columns). On February 12, 1913, Howard Calvin Shearer married Elsie Wojahn, the youngest daughter of Julius and Alvina Wojahn, who also farmed near Ainsworth. The quiet ceremony in Crown Point was followed by a dinner for both families at the bride's home. A couple days later the newlyweds left for a two-week honeymoon, which consisted of visits to relatives in Chicago, Illinois and in Ridgeland, Mississippi, where Howard's Uncle Walter lived. They returned on March 1 to take up residence on the Shearer farm. And a year-and-a-half later, they were the parents of a very cute baby:

Calvin Howard Shearer
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Calvin Howard Shearer as a baby, circa 1915. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Little Calvin H. would grow up to be a significant person in Ainsworth, as a resident and businessman. For now, however, he is just a baby.

♦    ♦    ♦

Howard and Elsie's marriage was long and (I hope) happy. The Hobart Historical Society Museum has a photo of them celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 1963:


As I mentioned earlier, the Ainsworth picture file at the Hobart Historical Society Museum contains some postcard correspondence between Elsie and Howard before they were married:


Shearer-Wojahn May 3, 1910

6-2-1910 rev




(Click on images to enlarge)
The last postcard was not postmarked, so I don't really know where it fits in.
All images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


1870 Census.
1891 Plat Book.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 7 Aug. 1914.
♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups." Hobart Gazette 26 Aug. 1910.
♦ "Ainsworth." Hobart News 21 Sept. 1911.
♦ "Farmers Make Changes." Hobart Gazette 12 Dec. 1902.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 28 Sept. 1906
♦ "Jerome Shearer Passes Away." Hobart Gazette 12 Jan. 1912.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 18 Dec. 1908; 24 Mar. 1911; 23 June 1911; 18 Dec. 1914.
♦ "Political Notes." Hobart Gazette 6 Nov. 1908.
♦ "Ross Township." Hobart News 20 Feb. 1913.
Social Security Death Index.
♦ "Two Pioneers Pass Away." Hobart News 11 Jan. 1912.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wild Grasses of Ainsworth: Bristly Foxtail

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I warned you, didn't I? This is my first identification using my new wild-grasses identification guide, which is pretty complicated.

I don't have a book of lore about wild grasses, so you'll just have to be content with photos.


Hobart Then and Now: Pennsy Depot

First, circa 1909 and 2010.

(Click on images to enlarge)
Historical images in this post are courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Pictured at the top is the original frame depot serving the Pennsylvania Railroad line (Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway), which stood until about 1911, I believe, when it was torn down and replaced by the brick structure still standing today. It appears that the frame depot was not in precisely the same spot as the brick one, since the church in the background hasn't moved. This image is on display at the Hobart Historical Society Museum on a postcard postmarked 1909, hence my rough estimate of its date.

Next, circa 1914 and 2010.



This is the brick depot that replaced the frame one. Now it houses the Hobart Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Horses and Clouds (Artsy-Fartsy Foto)

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I just can't help myself.

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Horseweed

Last year I was posting all the pretty late-summer wildflowers. Now I guess I have to do the ugly ones. "Have to," that is, in the sense that some impulse toward completeness drives me, not that somebody threatened to beat me up if I don't.

Anyway, here's another addition to our inventory of ugly wildflowers.

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Here are the blossoms, such as they are. The little flowers are about 1/8" in diameter. They sit there day after day all wrapped up, looking as if they're thinking about blooming properly. And then suddenly they're puffy blobs of seed parachutes. I don't know how they do it.


This stuff is also known as Marestail. Here is a nice website if you'd like to see this boring wildflower in all the stages of its boring life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grinding Equipment (Railroad Kookery)

This morning some grinding equipment paraded through Ainsworth on the Grand Trunk Railroad.

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Notice the sparks all along the rail. I wonder if they ever accidentally set fire to dried vegetation beside the track.




The end. Gee, maybe by the time they come through again next year, I'll have learned to FOCUS MY CAMERA.

Oh, well. Here's a butterfly feeding from a prairie dock blossom, taking no notice of the grinding equipment.


Birdie Leaves the Nest

The Hobart News of August 6, 1914, reported: "Mr. and Mrs. Claude Campbell have moved into the Baer flat on South Main Street." If Bertha Nolte Campbell had indeed been keeping house for her father and brothers since Mary Nolte's death in 1908, that was now over. And as kind as it would have been on her part to do that for them, it would be equally kind of her brothers to make other arrangements so their sister and her husband could go make their own home.

Now, I'd like to think it was all kindness and consideration, but realistically the scenario may have gone off more along these lines: perhaps one morning at breakfast Louis makes some tactless remark about the eggs being too runny, and the next thing you know Birdie's whipping off her apron and throwing it on the floor, saying, "I'm sick of slaving for the three of you, and you never even thank me!" And while Claude gets up to comfort his wife, her three brothers sit there like slack-jawed monoliths, until finally Henry speaks up: "Well … why didn't you say something?"

… Whatever happened, perhaps it was around this time that the Nolte boys hired the housekeeper we find them with in the 1920 Census. Her name was Sarah Read, she was an immigrant from England, and in 1920 she was a widow of 74; and beyond that I've haven't been able to find out anything about her, such as where she'd been until that time, and whether she was any relation to the Noltes. Continued reading of the microfilm might tell me — that is, if the matter concerned anyone other than these close-mouthed Noltes.

And so Bertha and Claude became Hobart residents. If I'm right about where they'd been living until then, this was the first opportunity the young couple had to be alone together since their marriage in 1912, and I hope they enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Ragweed

Great Ragweed:

(Click on image to enlarge)

What's so great about it? … Oh, the size. This one was about eight feet tall. Was, I say, because after I took this picture I cut it down. Now it's eight feet horizontally. Yes, I went on a ragweed-slaughtering rampage that day.

Per Jack Sanders:
Ragweed pollen itself is no worse than the airborne pollen of some other weeds, but ragweeds are the most common and prolific producers in many areas from August through September. Nationwide, ragweeds spew a quarter of a billion tons of pollen into the air each season.
Because it is self-pollinating, ragweed does not need to entice bees and other insects, so it never bothered to develop attractive blossoms. Its flowers are tiny and dull yellow.


The blossoms of the Common Ragweed are not quite so showy! The common ragweed is shorter than the great. This specimen was about five feet tall:


The common ragweed leaves are lacy — rather pretty, I must admit.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Four Dollars and a Pair of Garters

Alvah Bodamer and his brother Vernon were enterprising young farmers. While they farmed rented land, sometimes in Lake County, sometimes over the line in Porter County, they supplemented their income by threshing for their neighbors. That aspect of their business was going well enough that in 1912 they bought a new Port Huron separator and Rumely engine "to take care of their patrons in an up-to-date manner."

One of their patrons was Henry Nolte. During the week of July 12, 1914, they were threshing on his land when an itinerant laborer known only as Joe came by. He was flat broke, he said, and needed work. The Bodamers hired him on the spot.

The next day threshing continued on the Nolte farm. There was no hint of a problem until Henry happened to retrieve his vest from the barn, where he'd hung it up, and noticed something was missing from it — his wallet, containing about four dollars in cash, and a box that held a new pair of garters.

(For anyone not familiar with early-20th-century menswear, I should mention that men of that era commonly wore garters, on their sleeves to adjust the length, and on their socks to hold them up. We should not leap to the conclusion that the garters in question were ladies', and thence infer that Henry must have been keeping company with some woman who was no better than she should be, obviously, since a respectable lady would never accept such a gift from any man not her husband — no; we must rein in our galloping imaginations.)

Henry told the Bodamer brothers about the theft. They all suspected Joe. He'd definitely been in the barn that morning, looking after the Bodamers' horses. But no one had seen him take anything, and apparently they didn't feel justified in tackling him and searching his person.

The next morning, Joe accompanied Alvah on a trip up to Hobart, and when Joe paid cash for some tobacco — he who had professed to be penniless and hadn't yet been paid for his threshing work — Alvah figured it was time to go see Marshal Fred Rose. On hearing the story, the Marshal arrested Joe, searched him, and turned up Henry's wallet with all his money but 20 cents. The garters, alas, were nowhere to be found.

Joe admitted to taking everything. However, according to the Gazette, "as Mr. Nolte didn't care to prosecute all the Marshal could do was to give [Joe] a 'stick of advice' and allow him to go his way."

(Would you believe I'd never heard the phrase "a stick of advice" before? At first I thought the Marshal had so far departed from my notion of his character as to commit an act of violence against a perpetrator who was about to get off scot-free. But a little Googling shows me the phrase serving the role of the more familiar "a piece of advice.")

Well, this would be an innocuous little story, except that no story involving a crime against Henry Nolte can really seem innocuous in light of what we already know.

1910 Census.
♦ "Additional Local." Hobart News 15 Aug. 1912.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 22 Feb. 1907; 19 Feb. 1909; 9 Feb. 1912.
♦ "Took Money From Nolte." Hobart Gazette 24 July 1914.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth:
Narrow-Leaved Mountain Mint

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Those narrow leaves are intensely mint-scented. But this wasn't growing on a mountain.

♦    ♦    ♦

To those of you who think my wildflower pictures stink, all I can say is — you ain't seen nothin' yet. I have ordered a guide to identifying wild grasses. Prepare to plumb new depths of photographic wretchedness!

Grand Trunk Railroad Public Timetable 1924

1924 Grand Trunk Public Timetable

Looks like Ainsworth had more trains stopping in 1924 than in 1928. A daily train westbound train from Valpo to Chicago, stopping in Ainsworth at 7:55 a.m. (the "milk train," I suppose), a daily eastbound stopping at 5:13 p.m.; and two daily-except-Sunday trains, westbound stopping at 5:20 p.m., eastbound at 10:18 a.m.

(How could there not be a 7-days-a-week milk train in 1928? What did the cows do on Sunday?)

(Don't talk to me about refrigeration. I prefer to think the cows had Sunday off.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Go Cubs!" "No, go Cubs!"

On a Sunday morning in late August 1914, as war raged in Europe, there was only friendly competition in Hobart as the Hobart Cubs played the Ainsworth Cubs. The Cubs edged out the Cubs, 12 to 10.

The Cubs got their revenge the first Sunday in September, when they went to Ainsworth and pounded the Cubs, 29 to 16. The next day they went to Deepriver and got pounded.

No record of what the Deepriver team's name was. I'm not sure I want to know.

The Cubs were one of two Hobart teams, and apparently the lesser of the two. While the News seldom reported more than who the Cubs played and the score, it always gave the other team, whatever it was called (it might have still been the Maroons, but the reports never bothered to give its name), a full summary of the action of the game, along with a list of the players and positions for both Hobart and the opposing team (and among Hobart's occasional players was George Sauter, who played second base).

By the spring of 1915, Ainsworth had two teams — the Cubs and the Athletics. Two teams, with actual names! They might even have had uniforms, too.

♦ "Hobart Wins in Rain From Whiting Grays." Hobart News 27 Aug. 1914.
♦ "Hobart Wins Sunday and Labor Day." Hobart News 10 Sept. 1914.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 22 Apr. 1915.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The End of the Sauter Marriage

Speaking of John Fiester (yes, we were, if only incidentally), in 1914 he developed a very weak Ainsworth connection. And now I know a little more of the subsequent history of Ed and Augusta Sauter, who had been so busy in turn-of-the-century Ainsworth.

I hadn't heard much from either of them since they left Ainsworth. In April 1908, Ed was reportedly planning to start up a blacksmith shop in Indiana Harbor, while Augusta remained in Hobart with the two of their children who were still at home. Within a couple of years, Ed had moved to Chicago. By 1913, Augusta, still in Hobart, was operating a boardinghouse.

It didn't come as a surprise when the Hobart News announced that Augusta had been granted a divorce from Ed in late September 1914. What did surprise me was that two months after the divorce, Augusta married John Fiester — or, no, it wasn't the marriage that surprised me so much as the apparent lack of social stigma attached to her status as a divorcĂ©e. The News, in an article on its front page, described the newlywed Mr. and Mrs. John Fiester as "among the most highly respected citizens of our community." The Gazette said they were "popular and well known citizens of this community and … receiving the congratulations of their many friends." After their quiet marriage in Crown Point, they came back to Hobart for a wedding supper at the home of L.E. Barnes, the Hobart Township trustee.

On the other hand, we can't know what private snubs may have gone on, and what ill-natured gossip.

And I don't know what Ed thought about all this, either. He seems to have returned to live in Hobart for a while, or else he was visiting quite often, since he remained active with the Hobart Freemasons.

♦    ♦    ♦

I've already told some of the history of the Sauters' two daughters, Clara and Lizzie. Now I should speak of their older son, George, who around this time began to make his mark in Hobart.

George had been clerking for several years in the grocery department of the Wm. Stommel & Co. store in Hobart. In the summer of 1913, at the age of 22, he decided to go into business with Armen Meckeldey, who had been working in the Carstensen meat market. The partnership of Sauter & Meckeldey bought the grocery store of A.C. Thompson & Son, intending to operate henceforward as a combination grocery store and meat market. "Both young men possess commendable reputations in the community," said the Gazette.

(Fred Thompson — the "Son" of A.C. Thompson & Son — announced after the purchase that he now intended to take his first vacation in 18 years.)

I don't know how long the partnership with Meckeldey lasted; I believe that by 1919 or so George was operating a grocery store solo. Here is a photo of the interior of that store, circa 1920 (George is on the left):

Sauter's grocery store circa 1920
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.
I like this photo because you can see the photographer's reflection in the mirrored door at the back of the shop.

George Sauter's grocery was at 413 Main Street, and I believe the building it occupied is still standing:

413 Main, Hobart, IN. 2010. Ainsworthiana.

As for the younger Sauter boy, Edward, in 1910 (age 17) he was still at home, supplementing the family income by clerking at an ice cream parlor. Within a few years he had landed a job in the electrical department at a Gary steel mill. In May 1915 he abandoned that job to go to Detroit with a couple of other young Hobart men, seeking work at the Chalmers auto factory. After little more than a month "Eddie" returned, saying he preferred Indiana to Michigan. He got his old job back.

1910 Census.
♦ "Fiester-Sauter." Hobart News 3 Dec. 1914.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 17 Apr. 1908; 4 Dec. 1914.
♦ "New Grocery Firm." Hobart Gazette 1 Aug. 1913.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 12 June 1913; 1 Oct. 1914; 29 Apr. 1915; 20 May 1915; 1 July 1915.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Woodland Sunflower

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The opening act for the Maximilian sunflowers.

Fishy Humor

When John McDaniel (Mary Baird Chester's second husband and the host with the most) went on a business/fishing trip, the Hobart News decided to exercise what might be called its wit:

8-19-2010 McDaniel fishing trip
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From the "Personal and Local Mention" column of the Hobart News of August 13, 1914.

Note the item at the top — I don't know who Clara Hough was, but she had the bad luck to be on a tour of Europe when World War I broke out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Holy Toledo! or, Trouble in Plumbing Paradise

I was totally blindsided by this little item in the August 7, 1914 Gazette:

Bruce Lee 8-7-1914
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But why? They were doing so well together!

The next week, the News confirmed it, but wasn't much more informative about the reason.

News 8-13-1914

"By mutual consent"? But why?? (And as you can see, George Bruce is already advertising solo.)

Next came a formal announcement of the dissolution, for the benefit of their creditors and debtors.

Gazette 8-21-1914

This announcement ran in the paper for three successive weeks. But not a word about what Charles was planning to do with himself.

Not until the second week of September do we find out what Charles did with himself.

Gazette 9-11-1914

Toledo? Ohio?? Of all places! What was going on in Toledo that could entice a man to leave a successful business in Hobart? (I wonder if Toledo was the "east" where Charles had allegedly been planning to go just before the family tragedy in 1912?)

Later that month we find Anna Lee offering a room for rent. No clue where the room was.

Gazette 9-25-1914

Owing to the absence of news in October and November, I'm not clear on the sequence of events. Either the Lee family moved to Toledo and then Charles got sick, or vice versa. But by mid-December, the whole family had returned to Hobart.

Gazette 12-11-1914

News 12-17-1914

Incidentally, at the Hobart Historical Society Museum I came across a ledger kept by John Fiester, a Hobart businessman and a customer of Lee & Bruce. A page in that ledger reflects the break-up of the partnership, as his plumbing payments change from "Lee & Bruce" to just "Bruce."

Fiester ledger p47
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

So does the "Water Fund Disbursements" section of the Town of Hobart's annual report of receipts and expenditures for 1914:

Annual Report 1914
"Annual Report of the Clerk and Treasurer, showing the Receipts and Expenditures of the Town of Hobart, State of Indiana, from January 5, 1914, to December 31, 1914, inclusive." Hobart News 2 Feb. 1915.