Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Timely Baby

Nine months to the day after Clara Sauter Rowe married Frank Severance, they became the parents of a son.

In looking at the census to get the baby's name (Franklin), I see that Frank must have been married before, as he then had a 22-year-old son. Since he was 19 years older than Clara, he'd had plenty of time for a first marriage.

1920 Census.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 10 Nov. 1916.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Mister, You Hit a Man!"

We know Charles Chester drove his car a whole lot. We also have some sense of how unsettled and dangerous driving was in the early part of the 20th century, with traffic poorly regulated, roads unmarked and often unlit, safety equipment primitive (where it existed at all), and people's awareness lagging behind the reality of the speed and potential destructiveness of cars.

So it's not surprising that the odds finally caught up with Charles in October 1916.

He and his wife, Constance, were driving home from Chicago on the evening of October 21. By the time they reached Hammond, darkness had fallen. As Charles drove south on Calumet Avenue, nearing the Hammond city limits, a northbound car approached; he steered his car toward the side, giving the other room to pass. In spite of the blinding headlights of the northbound car, Charles noticed a man in the street, so he braked and tooted his horn. The man got out of the way, and Charles drove on slowly.

Then he heard shouting behind him: "Mister, you hit a man!" The man he'd just passed was running after him, yelling. Confused, Charles stopped the car and got out.

To his shock, he had indeed hit a man. So dark was the street and so blinding the headlights of the approaching car that he had not even seen two other men walking in the street ahead of the first. Now one of them lay on the sidewalk, apparently dead.

The Hammond police came on the scene. They confirmed that the man who'd been struck — his surname was Domulsky — was indeed dead. But two young men standing outside a nearby garage, who had seen the accident, said Charles' car could not have killed Mr. Domulsky — it had been going too slowly. Police reached the preliminary conclusion that while Charles may have knocked Mr. Domulsky down, the cause of death was Mr. Domulsky's striking his head on the sidewalk when he fell. And in light of the additional facts that the victim and his companion had been drinking, had walked in the street instead of on the sidewalk, and "had paid no attention to the approaching machines on a public street," the police decided that Charles was likely not to blame in the accident. They let him and Constance go on their way.

Four days later the Lake County Coroner held an inquest on the matter and reached the same conclusion. So Charles suffered no legal consequences. He likely suffered emotional consequences, and Constance as well — "They greatly deplore the accident," said the Gazette.

♦ "Auto Kills Man at Hammond." Hobart Gazette 27 Oct. 1916.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 26 Oct. 1916.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Auto Party Speculation

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This old photo is on display in the Hobart Historical Society museum, captioned "Dr. Faulkner in her Winton." No one else is identified. No date is given.

That leaves room for me to engage in reckless speculation!

Obviously, some of those people must be Dr. Clara's favorite motoring companions, right? — aside from the child with her in the front seat, who may be one of her grandchildren. Immediately behind her, well, that's probably her husband, Sam Faulkner. Then, in the back seat, on the left is Constance Chester, on the right her husband Charles; in the middle — uh, let's say that's Mary Kipp.

All of this is pure conjecture. Or rather, wishful thinking, because if those two in the back aren't Constance and Charles Chester, I'll probably never know what they looked like.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It Had Its Ups and Downs

Back in March, I concluded that Otis Guernsey's hastily contracted fourth marriage to Minnie Jones was happy, based on pretty slender evidence: they were still married when he died, and his will was generous to her.

Now I have to amend that conclusion. The marriage may have been happy for much of the time, but there was a time in October 1916 when it teetered on the brink of dissolution:

11-27-2010 Guernsey 1916
From the Hobart Gazette of Oct. 27, 1916.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not Exactly a Horse Thief Story

More like a rented-a-horse-and-forgot-to-return-it story. Or maybe a saloon story.

11-26-2010 Rohwedder 1916
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of October 27, 1916.

The Franzen saloon was somewhere on the west side of Main Street.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Horses, Potatoes, and a Barn on Water Street

Since I'm obsessed with the Chester family (among others), I simply must, must, must bring us up to date on James Chester, one of the quieter members of that family, quiet to the point of being boring, but I expect life with him was easier than life with the more interesting Chesters, such as John or Jerome (or even Charles, with his epic road trips). We haven't even mentioned James since 1911, when he gave up farming and moved to Hobart. At first he lived in the Stoeckert flats on Water Street. Later he acquired a couple lots on south Water Street, and in 1913 built a frame "cottage" there.

Then he went about his life quietly. For the most part, I gather, he bought and sold horses. In 1914 he got sued: he sold Charles Blancher (or Blanchard) a horse on July 7, 1914; on September 16, the horse died; Charles sued James for $90, claiming he must have sold him a sick horse. Judge John Mathews heard the case and found no evidence that the horse was sick at the time of sale, so James won. His activity didn't rate a mention again until January 1916 when he sold a "valuable black mare" to Albert Witt.

In 1916 it becomes evident that at some point James had built a barn on Water Street. (I'm trying to picture Water Street with a barn on it. Trying and failing.) He seems to have gone into some kind of partnership with a man named R.W. Graham — probably Ross W. Graham of Hobart, a 32-year-old teamster. In October of 1916, the two of them somehow got hold of 180 bushels of potatoes and advertised them for sale out of James' Water Street barn.

"Graham & Chester" were busy that month with more horse-trading. They went down to Plymouth, Indiana, where they bought a "fine matched team of black five-year-olds … weighing 3,400 pounds" and sold them to someone in Gary. A few days later they contracted to haul a load of household goods to Chicago, using their own team and wagon. While in Chicago, they decided to make a jaunt over to the stockyards, where an agent for the British military was inspecting horses for possible purchase. Probably to their surprise — since he was rejecting two out of every three horses offered — the agent bought their team on the spot. James and Ross had to take the train back to Hobart. I suppose they sent their wagon home by train, unless the British military got that, too.

1920 Census.
♦ "Hobart's 1913 Growth." Hobart Gazette 26 Dec. 1913.
♦ "Horse Swapping Case." Hobart Gazette 2 Oct. 1914.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 12 Mar. 1912; 16 May 1913.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 20 Jan. 1916; 2 Nov. 1916.
♦ "Potatoes For Sale." Hobart News 26 Oct. 1916.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blackberry Leaves (Random Pointless Photo)

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I take my camera with me when I go out in my field in the afternoon to work. It gives me an excuse not to work.

What's Lizzie Borden Got To Do With It?

I can't help myself. As a true-crime reader, I recognized the name of the actress starring in The Witch — one of the Gem Theatre's features during the first week of October 1916.

11-24-2010 The Witch 1916
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From the Hobart Gazette of Oct. 6, 1916.

These days Nance O'Neil is probably best known for her brief but intense friendship with Lizzie Borden, which began in 1904. By 1916 it was a distant memory. Nance had made a successful transition from stage to screen. Lizzie was still in Fall River, Massachusetts, living in well-upholstered isolation in the mansion where she had moved after the mysterious deaths of her father and stepmother.

This concludes our little digression.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back from the Carnage

Interior of a Belgian hospital, 1915: nurse with wounded men, identities unknown.
(I know this photo is not precisely on point, but it's surprisingly hard to find a photo of a WWI Austrian hospital that doesn't have huge fees attached to its use.)
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Anna Gruel returned to Ainsworth on October 3, 1916, a couple of months sooner than expected. German nurses had taken her place.

Her place had been in Vienna, Austria, in a 400-bed hospital serving sick and wounded soldiers. There she had worked a daily shift from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The wounded arrived at the hospital in units of 50 men at a time. Often they had been in transit for three days between the front and the hospital, having received little more than first aid. Anna must have seen some of the worst the war could do to a person without immediately killing him. No doubt the work was taxing, both physically and emotionally.

But now she had come home. Her position as superintendent of nurses at Washington Park Hospital in Chicago was being held open for her, but for the moment she just wanted to spend some time at the family farm, resting.

The trip over in June on the Ryndam had been hazardous — it wasn't battleships or mines that nearly did them in, but Mother Nature. At some point the Ryndam had gotten into a fog so blinding that its crew could not see a lighthouse in their path, and the ship struck the lighthouse rock. Though its hull was damaged, the Ryndam had been able to complete the journey.

Anna returned on the New Rotterdam. The only difficulty on the trip home came from zealous German authorities, who searched Anna's party no less than 16 times.

Emma Gruel was still in Germany. She and her sister had been stationed at different hospitals the entire time. Travel was restricted, so they never saw each other, but they had been able to stay in touch by mail.

That was not the case with Anna's family back home. She wrote to them often, but they did not receive a single one of her letters. And only a few letters reached her out of the many that her family and friends sent.

In spite of the stresses and difficulties of the journey and the hospital work, Anna said she did not regret having gone. "From the point of view of a nurse," the Gazette reported, "it has been a wonderful experience for her."

♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1916.
♦ "Miss Anna Gruel Returns From 4 Months' Trip to Austria." Hobart News 5 Oct. 1916.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Thistles Gone to Seed

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They remind me of me when I first get out of bed in the morning.

Rhodes & Lee, or Vice Versa

Here we go again, trying to make up our minds which name comes first.

11-22-2010 Rhodes Lee 1916
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of Sept. 28, 1916.

(Leon Rhodes? Never heard of him. But this is the News, a paper not remarkable for its attention to detail; maybe the reporter heard someone say "Lee 'n' Rhodes" and thought that was one of the partners.)

11-22-2010 Lee Rhodes 1916
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of Sept. 29, 1916.

Right next to an ad placed by his old partner, George Bruce!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Queen Anne's Lace Gone to Seed

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Continuing my "Gone to Seed" series (and notice how I've restrained myself from making any jokes about "feeling seedy"?), here's Queen Anne's Lace.

Lesta and Chiropractic

Late in the summer of 1916, William and Carrie Raschka sent their 18-year-old daughter, Lesta, for chiropractic treatment at Fort Wayne, Indiana. While there, no doubt she stayed at the home of her uncle and aunt, Charles and Ella Olson.

I don't know what medical problem they were hoping to correct. It may have been the lingering effect of an illness in the summer of 1912, which the Hobart News could only describe as "a sort of paralysis, causing one side of her body to be dumb and motionless." The News did not follow up that report with any news of her recovery, nor have there been any reports of her suffering any other illness or injury.

Chiropractic was then about 20 years old, having begun in Davenport, Iowa, in 1895.

As September drew toward its close, Lesta was still in Fort Wayne. Her treatment was going well, at least according to her chiropractor, who had "much hope for her complete recovery."

♦ "A Sad Case." Hobart News 11 July 1912.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 21 Sept. 1916.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Is This Thing? (Random Pointless Photo)

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Found this in the woods north of Big Maple Lake, at the bottom of a ravine. It's about two feet in diameter and very heavy. Part of some farm machinery, maybe? Or did it fall off an airplane?

Looks as if it was once painted red, long, long ago. And it was Model No. 8890C


"From Any Cause, Except Accident"

From the Hobart Gazette of August 25, 1916:

11-20-2010 Sievert: Auto insurance 1916

Early auto insurance, covering everything except what's most likely to damage your car. It's better than nothing, I suppose.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Skeleton Ground Cherry Husks

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Yesterday we saw ground cherries in the husk. Today we see ground cherries in the skeletonized husk.

Merrillville Then and Now: Old Methodist Church/Township Trustee's Office

Circa 1918 and 2010.

Methodist Church. Postmark 1918.
Township Trustee Office
(Click on images to enlarge)

The first image, from a postcard postmarked 1918, shows the old Methodist Church on what was then apparently called Main Street (aka the Lincoln Highway), now called 73rd Avenue. The church was built in 1879 and served the Methodist congregation until they built their new church on 68th Street in 1948.* After that, this building housed the Merrillville fire department, and now it's the Ross Township Trustee's office. (This information from A Pictorial History of Merrillville by Jan Clemens.)

Here's the reverse of the 1918 postcard:

Methodist Church reverse.

*That church too has since been sold, I understand.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Ground Cherries in the Husk

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The ground cherries are nearly ripe: the husks have turned papery. With the sunlight shining through, you can see the fruit inside.

More Trouble for a Corn-Husker Victim

A month after he lost his older brother John to tuberculosis, William Witt found himself with a medical problem of his own.

We first met William when he lost an arm to a corn husker in November 1901. Fifteen years later, we find him, in spite of his loss, able to earn a living as a teamster, managing a team of horses and a wagon. But in August 1916, he began suffering such severe pain in the amputated arm that Dr. L.M. Friedrich of Hobart decided to take him to Chicago to be seen by a specialist.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Dr. L.M. Friedrich circa 1955. He is standing on Main Street opposite the office of the Hobart Gazette. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The Gazette did not report the results of that visit. But it may be significant that a month later William began placing ads to sell his team and wagon "Team of bays," one of his ads said; "weight about 2,800, good pullers, good wind, gentle, drive single or double, also harness in good condition, and Birdsell wagon and 2-yard Studebaker dump box. Price right."

Early in November he sold the whole outfit to William Raschka.

♦    ♦    ♦

Meanwhile, farm machines continued their bloody harvest. For example, on September 30, 18-year-old Kenneth Humes was working a corn shredder on the Walter Blachly farm west of Ainsworth when he got his fingers too near the machine's blades. That mistake that cost him part of his right index finger and all of his left middle finger. His left index finger was severely cut up, but his doctor hoped it could be saved.

♦ "Gets Fingers in Shredder." Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 29 Sept. 1916; 20 Oct. 1916; 10 Nov. 1916.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 26 Oct. 1916.
♦ "To Consult Specialist." Hobart Gazette 18 Aug. 1916.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old Soda Bottles (Random Pointless Photo)

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These old soda bottles are on display at the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society Museum. I never heard of any of these sodas except, of course, Coca-Cola.

New Construction in Ainsworth

I get way too excited when I find an item like this from the Hobart Gazette of August 4, 1916:
Wm. Raschka has nearly completed a large warehouse at Ainsworth, which will be used to store farm products. The structure is 44 by 70 feet and 16 feet high, built of hard tile and paper roof. Wm. Boldt did the mason work and Wm. Hollister the carpenter work.
Immediately I'm wondering what it looked like, where it was, is it still standing, will I be able to identify it????? *wild-eyed look*

I think I need to get a life.

…Wait a minute — "get a life"? That's crazy talk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Asters Gone to Seed

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Don't ask me what kind of asters they were. I can barely tell one aster from another when they're in full bloom.

"The Two Streets of That Town"

July of 1916 was brutal. Early on, temperatures started climbing … and just kept on climbing. The heat wave crested late in the month: from 26th through the 30th, the mercury rose to near 100° every day — to 103° on the 27th — and at night never fell below 80°. And not a drop of rain had fallen since sometime back in June.

Before the month was halfway through, William Wollenberg, Sr. appeared before the Hobart Town Board with another request. The hot, dry weather was turning the roadbeds to dust, even the graveled ones. As people drove in to do business at the Grand Trunk depot, Charles Goldman's store and Gust Lindborg's blacksmith shop, they raised clouds of dust. Ainsworth had no road-oiling equipment; Hobart did. Could Hobart help Ainsworth out? Just one 500-gallon tank of road oil was needed, and Ainsworth would pay all the costs.

This time his petition was granted. Hobart's horse-drawn oil wagon went down to Ainsworth and oiled "the two streets of that town."

Two weeks later William came the town board meeting to settle up. The town fathers presented him with a bill for $28.85, and he paid it in full. The Gazette added, "Mr. Wollenberg incidentally left a goodly quantity of good cigars, which were enjoyed 'to his health.'"

♦ "Town Board Doings." Hobart Gazette 28 July 1916.
♦ "Town Board Doings." Hobart News 13 July 1916; 27 July 1916.
♦ "Town Board Meets." Hobart Gazette 14 July 1916.
♦ "Worst Heat Wave Ever Experienced in This Locality." Hobart News 3 Aug. 1916.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wet Dog, Calm Water (Random Pointless Photo)

(Click on image to enlarge)

Here's Maya shaking herself as she comes out of Big Maple Lake.

Another Case of Tuberculosis

I mentioned John Witt, Jr. earlier, when his sister, Bertha, married Daisy Chester's widower, E.D. Scroggins. Bertha and E.D. might have met while Bertha was living in her brother's household, as he rented a farm just south of Ainsworth along present-day 73rd Avenue.

John had grown up on a farm, and had farmed on his own since he left his parents' home to marry Louise Sievert in 1903. But in late 1912 he began having serious health problems, and after nearly a year of poor health (ranging from "congestion of the kidneys" to "a stroke of paralysis") he decided in September 1913 to give up farming. He held a public auction and sold off all his livestock, his farming implements, and 25 acres of corn in the shock. Then he moved his family to Hobart, to the Melin subdivision where he'd bought the house his brother August had built the previous year.

His health rallied briefly, then deteriorated again, and this time it was tuberculosis. By 1915 he was in Longcliff Hospital in Logansport, Indiana, which, though it primarily served the mentally ill, seems to have had a tuberculosis ward as well. There John probably received the standard treatment for tuberculosis — rest, fresh air and good nutrition. In December 1915 his father and brother Albert visited him and returned to Hobart with optimistic reports of his progress.

That progress proved illusory, and only temporary. By late spring 1916 John had come home — evidently Longcliff could do no more for him. His family could only provide comfort and hope against hope as over several weeks his condition worsened. He died July 2, at the age of 34, leaving his wife and three little children, aged 7, 5 and 3.

According to both Hobart newspapers, he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, but I have not been able to find his grave marker, nor could the people who read the markers there in 1988 and 1993. So that's another mystery of Crown Hill.

1926 Plat Book.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 25 Apr. 1913; 19 Sept. 1913; 14 Nov. 1913.
♦ "Death of John Witt, Jr." Hobart Gazette 7 July 1916.
♦ "Funeral of John Witt Jr. Held Wednesday Afternoon." Hobart News 6 July 1916.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 14 Aug. 1908.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 6 Dec. 1912.
♦ Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society. Hobart Township Cemeteries. Valparaiso: Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society, 1994.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 23 Jan. 1913; 24 Apr. 1913; 23 Dec. 1915.
♦ "Public Sale." Hobart Gazette 26 Sept. 1913.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

John Chester In Trouble Again

Why, oh why, does the Hobart News tantalize me this way? On June 22, 1916, it reports: "A warrant was sworn out on Wednesday by Ethel McIntire against John Chester, charging him with assault and battery on her son, John McIntire." And then it never follows up on the case!

If I've found the right people in the census records, John McIntire was then about nine years old. So the matter sounds pretty shocking, but for all I know, John Chester might have been completely innocent.

♦    ♦    ♦

The Chester family was then living on Sixth Street in Hobart (in the Feiler house, wherever that was). In September of 1916, John decided that he wanted to live closer to his business, so he fixed up the rooms in the rear of his garage as living quarters, and moved his family into them. I can't help but think that must have been a bit grim for the family.

1920 Census.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 22 June 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 22 Sept. 1916.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crabapples in the Sky (Random Pointless Photo)

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Crabapples against the evening sky. Wow, is that artistic or what?

J.P. Rowdy

Since I've talked a bit about justices of the peace, I was amused to come across this remark by Judge Will Sparks while presiding over D.C. Stephenson's 1925 murder trial — after a four-way shouting match among the attorneys for both sides, a witness and the judge himself, the judge said, "Now, gentlemen, I want you to understand right now this is not a justice of the peace court. This is a place where you are going to have to conduct yourselves properly…."

So I gather that justice-of-the-peace courts had a reputation for being a bit rowdy.

Source: Lutholtz, M. William. Grand Dragon: D.C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991.

The Mexican Front, That Is

Yes, it was for the troubles spilling over from the Mexican Revolution that George Severance, Jr. volunteered in March 1916.

By late April he was stationed at El Paso, Texas, in a camp about 200 yards from the Mexican border. He and his fellow soldiers were idle but in a constant state of alertness, never allowed to leave camp, wearing their arms day and night. Each man had a rifle, a revolver, 200 rounds of ammunition, and three days' rations, and was "ready to march at a minute's notice." Troops continued to pour into El Paso, which was under military rule. For the most part, the soldiers were on post duty.

On the other side of the Rio Grande, they could see about 1,200 Mexican troops, drilling for hours every day. Now and then bullets flew over the camp, but thus far no one had been hurt.

That soon changed. On the night of May 9, George was on post duty when the Mexicans attempted a raid. George was shot in the leg; several other pickets were wounded as well, but the raid was unsuccessful and the Americans took about 40 Mexican prisoners.

The raiders shot carpet tacks instead of bullets, George said, which caused blood poisoning.

George's wound was painful and slow to heal. On June 16 when his regiment was ordered to cross into Mexico, George could not march with them, being unable to walk much. But (he told his parents) he'd been promised a place on the next auto supply train, so he hoped that he wouldn't entirely miss out on the action.

Hobart Gazette 23 June 1916 [untitled item].
♦ "Hobart's Soldier Boy Wounded." Hobart Gazette 19 May 1916.
♦ "Writes From El Paso." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1916.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bittersweet Berries (Random Pointless Photo)

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Berries of the bittersweet vine (different from bittersweet nightshade). The flowers are extremely boring.

Ainsworth's First Bus Line

… not counting school buses, of course. From the Hobart Gazette of May 12, 1916:

11-12-2010 Bus Line 1916

As early as 1916! We'll see how long this lasts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Autographs of Ainsworth: High School Petition

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Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

So many Ainsworth people all signing their names in one place! (Unfortunately we don't have the original petition, only a photocopy, which I scanned to produce the poor-quality image above.) They hoped to have at least a couple years of high school taught in the Ainsworth school. The petition wasn't successful.

It's undated, as you can see. At this point I know only enough to date it sometime between January 1915 (before that time Charles Goldman had nothing to do with Ainsworth) and December 30, 1934 (after which date Henry Nolte could not have signed anything). Mrs. C.E. Smith is the only woman signing, which suggests that Cyrus was not alive to sign for himself, hence the petition probably dates after October 1, 1915. [An update on the likely timeframe for the petition, and its success, here.]

I have encountered all these names in the social columns, even if I haven't written about them in the blog. I can't help but look at how these people signed their names and thereby try to get some insight into their personalities — a futile endeavor, I know, but that doesn't stop me. F.A. (Frank) Peterson's style is careful and clear, and the text of the petition looks to be in his hand. Charles Goldman has splashed his name across the page as if it were the most important one on there; Frank Stiener Jr. wants to rival him. Henry Nolte's style is simple and unobtrusive. So is Glen Nelson's. Herman Harms seems to have had fun writing those embellished Hs. Sam Campbell's penmanship looks antebellum; Lee Hunter's looks modern. And so on….

I suppose I had better type out all the names for search-engine purposes.

F.A. Peterson
John Benson
Arthur Strong
James Frame
S.E. Bowman
James Pecinka
Charles Goldman
Robert Harper
John Berndt
Edward Cole
Henry Nolte
Frank Stiener, Jr.
Gust Lindborg
Charles Henrichs
Glen Nelson
Otto Klemm
Fred Carbine [Carbein]
Herman Harms
John Miller
Mrs. C.E. Smith
H.O. Jones
Chas. E. Chester
Sam Campbell
Wm. Springman
Henry Sievert
Paul W. Fredrick
Albert Weiler
Ed Maybaum
C.E. Peterson
Lee Hunter
C.S. Guernsey
Thos. Y. Crisman
J.E. Crisman
Wm. Foreman

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Germany

Earlier I described the daughters of John and Louise Gruel as uncommonly driven, and now I have to amend that description to add "… and downright heroic."

As early as 1909, the oldest Gruel daughter, Anna, had begun working as a nurse at Washington Park Hospital in Chicago. By the autumn of 1915, at the age of 33, she had become the hospital's Superintendent of Nurses. Her sister Bertha nursed there as well until her death in 1914. By 1912, 19-year-old Emma Gruel had also joined the Washington Park staff as a student nurse.

In the spring of 1916, Emma applied to serve six months in German hospitals, nursing the sick and wounded of the Austro-German armies. (It isn't clear which organization she was working with: one source says the Red Cross, another the German-Austro-Hungarian Relief Society.) Chosen from among 60 applicants for the position, Emma left Chicago on May 29, 1916, with a group of five other nurses and eight doctors. Among all of them, only Emma could speak German, so no doubt her services as an interpreter would often be called upon.

The eastbound Nickel Plate train they rode passed through Hobart, and many friends were waiting on the platform to tell her goodbye. The group traveled to Hoboken, New Jersey; from there they set sail on May 31 aboard the Scandinavian ship Frederik VIII.

At the same time, Anna was making similar plans. Once her application was accepted and the date of her departure fixed, she came down to Ainsworth for a couple days' visit with her family, then returned to Chicago to join the group she would be traveling with — three other nurses and six doctors, this time all of them German speakers. They left Chicago for New York on June 15. From there they expected to set sail for Germany on the Holland-American liner Ryndam.

By this time, Anna had received word of Emma's safe arrival in Sweden several days earlier, after 13 days on the water. No doubt the news came as a great relief. Both women were surely aware of the dangers of sailing into the waters around war-torn Europe; they knew about the sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania in May 1915, torpedoed by a German U-boat; and while Berlin had since issued orders forbidding U-boats to torpedo passenger liners on sight, those orders might be revoked or disobeyed at any time; and then there were mines, which indifferently blew up everything that touched them — not to mention the forces of nature.

As she prepared to sail from New York on June 17, Anna must have prayed that her journey might be a safe as her sister's.

1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 22 Oct. 1909; 12 July 1912.
♦ Meyer, G.J. A World Undone: The Story of the Great War 1914 to 1918. New York: Bantam Dell, 2007.
♦ "Miss Anna Gruel Leaves for Germany." Hobart News 15 June 1916.
♦ "Miss Emma Gruel Leaves for Germany as Red Cross Nurse." Hobart News 1 June 1916.
♦ "More Nurses and Doctors Go to Europe." Hobart Gazette 16 June 1916.
♦ "Nurses and Doctors to the Front." Hobart Gazette 2 June 1916.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 17 Oct. 1915.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Garbage Dumps of Ainsworth: Tanks for Nothing

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I wonder how this big tank ended up in the river bottoms in northern Deep River County Park? And when I say "big," I mean it's about 5 or 6 feet long, so it must be very heavy. And it's at least a quarter mile from any house that ever existed on that side of the river. Did somebody drag it down there? (And did they drain the propane or gasoline or whatever before they did?) Or did it float there on the river's flood tide?

I actually do spend time wondering about things like this.

Gary Police Blotter

From the "Personal and Local Mention" column of the Hobart News, December 9, 1915:
As viewed by outsiders, some funny things happen in the city of Gary, with its mixed population. Some months ago a resident of that city had his front yard stolen by some vandal, that is, they hauled away the black dirt which the owner of the lot had placed upon it hoping by so doing to have a lawn. Later a man stole a pest house, and not long ago a portion of a gravel road was hauled away; then just last week one of the asphalt streets caught fire and was in danger of burning up, when the damage was stopped. The building of a city upon land absolutely worthless for anything else with peoples from every section of the globe is truly a complex problem, but even so Gary is coming right along.

From the Hobart Gazette of August 18, 1916:

Too Much Chicken.

An assault and battery case, venued over from Gary, which originated over chicken troubles by two neighbors, was tried before Judge Killigrew on Wednesday evening. The Judge gave some fatherly and friendly advice to the contesting parties, counseling peace for the sake of happiness and contentment, and found the defendant, a man, guilty of striking a woman on the head with a dead chicken, that seemed to have been knocked and kicked about the two premises for several days, and assessed a fine of $1 [and] costs.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Anna and Her Flowers

(Continued from here)

I don't know whether the Saturday-night dances in Gust Lindborg's hall in Ainsworth continued through the years we've been speaking of lately. He placed dance advertisements only sporadically during the mid-teens. Perhaps the regular dances had become such an institution that they no longer needed advertisement, and Gust announced only special events — for example, these two in November 1915:
There will be a dance at Ainsworth, Nov. 6, and on the 20th, there will be a Masquerade ball at the Ainsworth hall. Admission to each is 50c, ladies free. Everybody invited. Bruebach orchestra.
Or perhaps those special events were the only dances.

By contrast, the same little ad for Gust's blacksmith shop appeared in almost every issue of the Gazette.

11-8-2010 Lindborg ad 1916

That business was coming along well enough to provide a decent living for his family. Gust shoed the horses of his farming neighbors, sharpened their plowshares and repaired their farm machinery, and sold them new machinery and wagons. He also did work for the township, repairing road-maintenance equipment and school buses.

In May of 1916, the Lindborg family increased in size. A daughter, Norma Annabelle, was born on May 26.

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Norma Lindborg at about two years of age. (Image from a private collection.)

After the medical problems that had plagued her in 1911, Anna Lindborg seems to have recovered her health. She needed it, too. Keeping a house was hard labor in 1916, and Anna did not have a maid.

The house had no running water. A hand pump at the kitchen sink in the basement, drawing from a rainwater cistern, was the only indoor source of water, and even so Anna was probably grateful that she didn't have to haul water from an outdoor pump. The only regular source of hot water for the household was a tank built into the side of the kitchen stove, which had to be filled by hand. Once the water heated up, Anna could fill a bucket to carry wherever the hot water was needed. The stove burned wood or coal. That meant loading up the fuel and lighting a fire for every day's use, and every day cleaning out the ashes.

At that stove Anna prepared all the family's meals. A good part of their food came from the big garden out in the backyard, near the Grand Trunk tracks. That garden had to be tended all summer, of course, and its produce harvested as it ripened. Anna canned all the surplus vegetables from the garden, and fruit in season when she could buy it cheaply. Canning was a lot of work — she had to clean, perhaps peel and slice up the vegetables or fruit, and then came the heat-processing and sealing of the glass jars. Once the jars cooled, they had to be carried into the basement storage room. And all of this took place during the height of summer, in a house with not so much as an electric fan.

The potatoes were relatively easy: they just had to be dug from the ground and carried down to a big wooden bin in the basement.

The Lindborgs raised their own chickens, so there was the additional work of tending to them and gathering eggs. They raised hogs as well. Every now and then Gust would slaughter a hog, and then Anna set about preserving the meat. Some of it she canned; some she used to make sausage. For that she had a hand-grinder, clamped to the kitchen table. She cut up the meat, mixed it with seasonings, and loaded the mixture into the hopper, then, turning the crank by hand, filled the casings from the spout.

Anna washed the laundry by hand and hung it out on lines in the backyard to dry. She probably began with just a tub and washboard, although eventually she got a washing "machine" that included a hand-cranked agitator and attached wringer. Any pressing was done with a heavy flatiron heated on the stove. Anna herself sewed much of the family's clothing on a treadle sewing machine, its only power source her foot on the treadle.

The house had to be cleaned, of course, and without the modern labor-saving devices. Vacuum cleaners were available in 1916, even models that did not require electricity, but the Lindborgs could not afford such a luxury. During the summer months Anna must have fought a daily battle against dust, since she lived near the center of Ainsworth commerce and the roads that led to it were, at best, only graveled.

Add to all this the hourly needs of three little children and an infant (in an era without disposable diapers), and you have a great deal of work on your hands. Frankly, I'm feeling tired just writing about it.

And yet, after all this work was done, Anna still found the time and energy to tend her flowers. Some part of the Lindborg yard was always devoted to plants that had no purpose but to be beautiful — peonies, roses, morning-glories, lilies and lilacs, just to name a few. Over the years, Anna nurtured and added to her flowers, creating a little haven of beauty in what was otherwise a rather dull and utilitarian landscape, and no doubt adding hours of labor on top of her other chores. But to her it was worth the trouble.

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Anna's flowers were in full bloom on this summer day, probably in the late 1920s, when two visitors posed for a photo on the west side of the Lindborg house. (Image from a private collection.)

Some years later, Anna told her children a story on herself. When she first came to this country from Sweden, she knew only a few words of English. She had to find work at once to support herself, and learn English on the job.

She landed work as a maid in a private household. One day the lady of the house gave her an order that seemed very odd indeed. Puzzled but obedient, Anna went to the kitchen, got a bowl from the cupboard, filled it with flour, then carried it out to the dining room and carefully placed it in the center of the table.

And then she wondered why her employer was laughing.

It was not, of course, a bowl of flour that the lady had asked for, but flowers. And that was how Anna learned the English word for blommor, those blossoming things she loved so much.

[To be continued]

♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 1 Jan. 1914; 25 Sept. 1914; 23 Oct. 1914; 12 Nov. 1914; 4 Nov. 1915.
♦ Personal interviews with a Lindborg descendent, Jan. – Oct. 2010.
♦ "Township Trustee's Annual Report." Hobart Gazette 21 Jan. 1916.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Southwest Quarter of the Southwest Quarter Is Mine, All Mine

A month or so after Gilbert Bullock's death, his widow sold a little ten-acre parcel, quite separate from his other farms, that he'd hung onto for many years — the 1891 Plat Book shows him owning those ten acres. (The 1874 Plat Map shows his father owning the 30 acres from which the ten-acre parcel was carved.) All those years, it had kept the Nolte farm from fully occupying the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 9, Township 35 North, Range 7 West of the Second Principal Meridian. Until the spring of 1916, that is, when it became part of the Nolte farm.

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The 1926 Plat Book still marked off Gilbert Bullock's ten-acre parcel, even though by then Henry Nolte, Jr. had owned it for ten years.

Henry Jr. must have been doing fairly well if he could muster $1,000 (about $20,000 in today's dollars) to buy that parcel.

♦    ♦    ♦

Having spoken with a former neighbor of Henry and Louis Nolte, I can say that my estimation of the Nolte family, or at least of these two, was probably correct. I say "probably" only because this neighbor was so much younger than Henry and Louis that they could not have been close friends. He remembers them as quiet and hardworking people; good neighbors and pleasant enough in their mild way, but definitely not the lively, fun-loving types that their cousins the Harmses were.

The two brothers called each other "Hen" and "Lou." Henry was tall and slender, Louis a little shorter and heavier. By the late '20s or early '30s, each had his own car, both Fords, a Model A and a Model T. They kept the cars in an outbuilding of Hobart terra cotta block. I've come across broken terra cotta among the trees east of Big Maple Lake; I wonder if it's the remains of that building. Yes, it turns out I guessed correctly about where their house was — on the north side of Ainsworth Road between the Deep River and present-day Big Maple Lake.

The family had planted pear trees on the slope down to the Deep River bottoms, and the neighborhood kids used to go eat their pears. The kids knew the location of every good fruit tree in the neighborhood.

1874 Plat Map.
1891 Plat Book.
1926 Plat Book.
CPI Inflation Calculator.
♦ "Hobart Real Estate Transfers." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1916.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hobart High School Class of 1916: Philip Waldeck

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Just thought I'd stray over into Deep River, as I sometimes do, and mention Philip Waldeck. After all, he was the Secretary of the Class of 1916! "Mac" was the only child of the Deep River village blacksmith, William Waldeck, and his wife, Augusta.

So he drove a Ford, according to that caption — he had driven one for years, I gather, since as early as September 1911 he earned a mention in the paper for running his Ford into another car at the Lake County Fair (no one hurt). In those days he was called "Fillie." Just a few weeks later, he was driving home from Uncle August Maybaum's when he swerved around some cows in the road and skidded into a ditch; it took two hours to get his car out.

When Philip was eight or nine years old, his mother became seriously ill. It was her mental condition that first caused alarm to her husband and friends, and it deteriorated to the point where she was adjudged insane and in June 1904 taken to an asylum at Logansport, Indiana (probably Longcliff Hospital). From there came the alarming report that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the abdomen, which was supposed to have caused her insanity. …And then we hear no more of her (or, strictly speaking, I find nothing in my notes) until June 1906, when suddenly we find her back home in Deep River, in good enough health to host a "ten-cent tea" on her lawn to raise funds for the Willing Workers (a charitable club formed by women in the Deep River area). So I don't know quite what to make of that whole episode, but it likely was frightening enough to young Philip and his father when it happened.

Anyway, we're now in 1916, the family is back together, all apparently in good health and spirits, and Philip is a proud graduate of Hobart High School.

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William Waldeck's blacksmith shop in Deep River, Indiana, date unknown (but probably between 1903 and 1912). Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

♦ "Charles Maybaum Killed by Falling Tree Thursday." 11 Sept. 1913.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 17 June 1904; 1 July 1904; 29 July 1904; 15 June 1906.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook 1916.
♦ "Ross Township Notes." Hobart Gazette 1 Sept. 1911; 22 Sept. 1911.
♦ "School Closes Next Week." Hobart Gazette 12 May 1916.

P.S. to Bonnie — Please see the new comment on the August 4 entry; someone is asking for your help.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hobart High School Class of 1916: Pearl Ols

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This farm girl was an ardent advocate for women's right to vote. As we know, she would not have to wait much longer to see her dream realized.

Pearl was the younger of the two daughters of Charles and Louise Ols. I've not been able to locate the family through the 1900 census, but they show up in 1906 farming rented lands south and southeast of Hobart. In 1908 they bought the 77-acre Reuben Pierce farm west of Ainsworth, near the old Bullock homestead; they moved onto it in 1910 (having lived out the lease on their rented farm), and there they remained at least through 1920.

Pearl was a cousin of Jennie Ols.

♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 21 Sept. 1906; 1 Feb. 1907; 14 Feb. 1908.
♦ "Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 14 Jan. 1910.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 11 Mar. 1910.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hobart High School Class of 1916: Myrtle Nelson

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The young farmer who had stolen Myrtle's heart was Ernest Sitzenstock, Jr., the son of Ernest and Emma Sitzenstock. They had come to the U.S. from Germany in the early 1880s. The family farmed southwest of Ainsworth, and lived in a quiet way. The most noise they've made so far was in the summer of 1910, when a two-year-old colt named Lillie Star belonging to Ernest (Sr., I'm assuming) proved to be a fast pacer; she could run 30 m.p.h. Someone in Gary offered Ernest $1,100 for Lillie Star, but he wouldn't sell at that price. The last I heard, in the summer of 1911 he'd sent Lillie Star to Crown Point to train for the race track.

In 1916 Ernest Jr. was 24, Myrtle 19. Obviously, they had been an item for some time, but still they managed to surprise their friends on June 16 by running over to Crown Point together and coming back married. A week later, Aunt Carrie Raschka held a belated bridal shower for her niece.

So now Lovisa Chester Nelson had only two minor children, Wayne and Grace, left at home. Where exactly "home" was for her at this time, I don't know.

♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups." Hobart Gazette 29 July 1910; 26 Aug. 1910.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1911.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 29 June 1916.
♦ "Sitzenstock-Nelson." Hobart News 15 June 1916.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Salmon Amanita

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Found on the ground in Deep River County Park, on the slope west of the river.

Apparently their caps don't always develop the salmon color that gives the species its name, but you can see the characteristic faint yellow ring around the stem of the one on the right and the yellowish coloring around the basal bulbs.

Hobart High School Class of 1916: Jennie Chester

Jennie Chester
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Jennie was a year younger than her sister Theresia but still able to graduate with her. I've heard of Jennie's academic exploits as early as 1911, when she placed second in a Lake County spelling competition (first place was won by Martha Demmon of Lottaville).

As noted by the yearbook writers, Jennie wanted to be a teacher. On May 27, 1916, she went to Crown Point and sat for the examination for a teacher's license. She passed, and by mid-June she was at Valparaiso University taking a teacher's preparatory course.

♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 17 Feb. 1911.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 15 June 1916.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Black Morel

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Found in mid-October by my own front steps.

The growing season of the Black Morel is April through May, so they are not authorized to grow in October. Evidently this guy is a rebel who plays by his own rules. [Update: Totally wrong! This is a stinkhorn!]

Hobart High School Class of 1916: Theresia Chester

Theresia Chester
(Click on image to enlarge)

Several young Ainsworth people graduated from Hobart High School in the spring of 1916. One of them was Theresia Chester, daughter of Charles and Constance Chester.

I'm still pretty confused about the Charles Chester family, because I've come across evidence that this might have been Charles' second marriage as well as Constance's. I hope when I go back to the pre-1899 newspapers, I can confirm whether he did marry before, and if so, whether that marriage produced any children. Charles and Constance were married on December 27, 1898, and going by Theresia's age as given to census-takers, she was too old to be a child of that marriage.

Theresia has been a quiet person all these years, so I don't know much about her — except that she must have been a good baker, as she won first prize in the girls' bread exhibit at a Ross Township Farmers' Institute meeting in January 1913.

♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1916.
♦ "Ross Township Farmers' Institute." Hobart Gazette 7 Feb. 1913.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Changing Pholiota

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Found these in Deep River County Park in September but it took me a while to get around to identifying them.

Of Side Curtains and Trains

The mill at Deepriver that has been inactive for many months is being put in shape for active service by Mr. Cullman, the new proprietor who last week began grinding feed.
That announcement appeared in the Hobart Gazette of November 25, 1910. I made a note of it and promptly forgot the Cullmans existed until a bad train accident brought them into the public view again in April of 1916.

In 1916 the Cullman family consisted of Tony — or T.J., as he seemed to prefer — who was then 44 years old; his wife, Elmira, 34; and their three children, Wilma (14), Walter (10) and Ruth (4). They had come to Deep River sometime after April 1910 from the village of Thornton, Illinois, where they had lived for at least ten years, and where T.J. had worked variously as a blacksmith and a coal dealer. But once they came to Deep River, they stayed for many years.

On the evening of April 10, 1916, the Cullman family was taking a car trip to Valparaiso. The whole family and two neighbors, Frank Easton and Charles Shroeder, were crowded into T.J.'s Case touring car.

A 1914 Case Touring Car (restored).
Image credit: cacars.com

The car had its side curtains in place. I haven't been able to find out exactly how Case side curtains looked at the time, but in 1916 Cadillac side curtains looked like this:

Image credit: cadillacdatabase.org.

If Case curtains were similar, they probably restricted visibility somewhat. That evening, as T.J.'s car approached the Nickel Plate crossing on the Joliet road, he brought it to a stop, and he and his passengers looked both ways — a wise precaution, since there were no warning signals or gates — but, if the configuration of the road and tracks is the same now as it was then, the view wasn't very good, with the road and the tracks meeting at an oblique angle and the tracks curving on both sides of the crossing.

No one saw any trains coming, so T.J. started the car forward, but as it rolled onto the tracks, the headlight of a westbound passenger train suddenly loomed up from the east. They were right in its path. T.J. braked, tried to turn into the ditch; the two neighbors jumped out; Elmira threw little Walter out of the car with such force that he landed on some soft dirt, clear of the car and the tracks. But the remaining four Cullmans were still in the car when the train caught its front end, spinning it around and flipping it over.

The train screeched to a halt. Crew members and passengers spilled out to help extricate the Cullmans from their overturned car. All four of them were rushed to Christian Hospital in Valparaiso. Most of their injuries were painful but not life-threatening: Elmira had a broken ankle, T.J. a fractured rib, little Ruth a broken thigh; but Wilma was unconscious, with head injuries that included a fractured skull, and the doctors did not expect her to live through the night.

To their surprise, she did. A few days later the Hobart News reported her condition "slightly improved." Even more surprisingly, by April 27 Wilma had recovered enough to be able to come home, while Elmira and Ruth remained in the hospital another week. (T.J. was already back home as well, apparently.) By May 4, Wilma was back at school.

In July the Cullmans filed a lawsuit against the railroad, seeking $15,000 for Wilma's permanent injuries (the nature of which was not reported), and alleging that the train's engineer had failed to blow the whistle as the train approached the crossing.

♦    ♦    ♦

Wilma graduated from high school on schedule in 1919. From the Aurora yearbook, I get the impression that whatever her permanent injuries were, they did not affect her intelligence or good humor.

Wilma Cullman
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Wilma Cullman as a high school senior in 1919. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Laugh is the cure
In this mock show bill from the 1919 Aurora, Hobart High students sketch each other's personalities and obsessions.
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "Cullman Family Narrowly Escapes Death." Hobart News 13 Apr. 1916.
♦ "Cullmans Bring Suit for $15,000." Hobart Gazette 28 July 1916.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 25 Nov. 1910.
♦ "South of Deepriver." Hobart News 27 Apr. 1916; 4 May 1916.