Monday, January 31, 2011

More Work on the Home Front

When Company F of the former Indiana National Guard left Gary for training camp, the Hobart men among them carried a "comfort bag" prepared by some of the town's patriotic women, containing little articles that a man far from home might need (and that the military regulations allowed) — needles and thread, scissors, spare buttons, safety pins, a cake of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a small mirror, shoe laces, and a pencil, writing paper and envelopes.

Now the Hobart branch of the Red Cross was determined that no local soldier should ever go to camp without such a comfort bag. The Gazette helped their cause by publishing a list of exactly what items could and should be included, and asking the public to donate as many such items as possible.

The local Catholic church let the Red Cross use (at no cost) one of the rooms in its school as a work room. There, under the supervision of Hospital Supply Committee Chairwoman Jennie McClaran, volunteers would assemble the donated items into comfort bags for the rest of the 30-odd local men who had already gone to war or were about to, and lay up a supply for future soldiers.

♦    ♦    ♦

The drafting of the National Guard into the regular army had left the states without a home guard, and it was up to civilians to supply the deficiency. Locally, Captain H.S. Norton, who had headed up the National Guard company stationed at Gary, was now appointed by the State Council of Defense to organize the Lake County contingent of a state militia. On August 14 he met with a half-dozen Hobart citizens to explain the state's plans. Civilian men aged 18 to 45 were eligible (including men of draft age who were exempt from federal service), provided they passed the state's mental and physical examinations. Local units that qualified would be mustered into the regular state militia. The minimum acceptable size of the unit was 50 men and three officers. Each unit would be required to drill at least once each week, with at least 60 percent of their members in attendance. They would be subject to call by the state's governor at any time. The men would serve without pay except when on active duty. The "best" units would be "equipped" — armed, I suppose that means — as rapidly as the state could manage it, and their members distributed around the state as needed.

The unnamed men who met with Captain Norton that day pledged their best efforts to organize a company of 100 Hobartites. Toward that end, they held a meeting on Friday, August 17, at Hobart's town hall. Presided over by town board president James Carpenter, the meeting was well attended, and again Captain Norton addressed the assemblage. He appointed a tentative captain of the Hobart company — Charles H. Allen, a graduate of a Chicago military school with four years' experience as the captain of a company there. The first drill was set for the evening of Tuesday, August 21.

By that date some 62 men had signed up to join, and about half that number assembled in the basement of the M.E. Church on Fourth Street for their first drill. Captain Norton observed the drill and reported that the men performed remarkably well. Still, their number fell short of the minimum requirement for state recognition as a militia unit. "To organize a company is much besides giving in names," the Gazette chided. "It is necessary to attend the drills and practice."


Sources:
♦ "Asked to Supply Comfort Bags." Hobart Gazette 28 Sept. 1917.
♦ "Hobart Will Organize Militia Co." Hobart Gazette 17 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Organize Militia Unit." Hobart Gazette 24 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Secure Red Cross Work Room." Hobart Gazette 17 Aug. 1917.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Etta Bullock

Let's interrupt the flow of our chronology for a couple lovely pictures of Etta (Margaret) Bullock. By the handwritten notes on the originals and the use of one in the 1909 Aurora, we can date them to 1909, the year she graduated from Hobart High School at the age of 18.

EttaBullockKilligrewHSGraduation1909
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


EttaBullockKilligrewca1909

That last one was used in the Hobart High School Aurora yearbook of 1909.

MargaretEttaBullock

Etta married William Killigrew in 1912. They had two children, John and William.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mouse Tracks (Random Pointless Photo)

Mousie was just calmly nosing around one field last night, tunneling through the snow and looking for leftover soybeans, when something startled him. He jumped out of his tunnel and took off over the snow in great leaps and bounds.

Mousetracks
(Click on images to enlarge)

I like the way you can see the imprint of his tail at every landing.

Mousetail

As for what startled him, I don't think that's too mysterious, since there are coyote tracks all over the field.

Closer to the War

The early August 1917 call of 52 men for the Crown Point draft district failed to supply the district's quota: some men could not pass the physical, others received exemptions (for example, only two of the six Hobart men called were actually enrolled). A second call went out a couple week later, and this time, among the 101 men named — including a dozen from Hobart — three were from the Ainsworth area. One of those was Clarence Goodrich, who, as we know, had already enlisted. The other two were Herman Harms and Leslie Owen Nelson.* (These latter qualified for two different exemptions: they were agricultural workers, and each had a wife and baby to support.)

In mid-August Provost General Enoch H. Crowder announced the final plans for mobilizing the massive new national army that would result from this first draft (plus voluntary enlistments). The mobilization would take place throughout September in increments: the first 30% would be called September 5; the second 30% September 15; the third September 30; and the remaining 10% as soon as possible thereafter. The men selected for each increment would be required to present themselves at their local draft board on the appointed day, in civilian clothing and with the minimum necessary baggage, and within 24 hours would be on the train to their cantonment.

Two Hobart draftees (Harry McClaran and George Schavey) were included in the September 5 increment. They entrained for Camp Taylor near Louisville, Kentucky.

On September 13 came the news that three Hobart soldiers had landed safely in France.

_________________
*I believe this to be the correct reading of the "Leash Owen Nelson" and "Leash O Nelson" that appear on the lists in the News of July 26 and August 23, respectively.


Sources:
♦ "Draft Army Called." Hobart Gazette 17 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Drafted Men Off to War." Hobart Gazette 7 Sept. 1917.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 13 Sept. 1917.
♦ "More Men Called to Make Up First Army Draft Unit." Hobart News 23 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Only Two Men Examined Enrolled." Hobart Gazette 10 Aug. 1917.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Great Burdock Gone to Seed

Burdockgonetoseed
(Click on image to enlarge)

I didn't feature Great Burdock last summer because I wasn't fast enough to catch it in blossom. Its flowers last only a couple of days, I think. But you don't have to be very fast to catch it in seed.

Here are the burrs just waiting to be picked up by your clothing or your dog's fur so the plant can spread its seeds far and wide.

Everything But Tuberculosis

The late summer of 1917 was a miserable time for Bertha Nolte Campbell. She spent much of two months dangerously ill.

She and Claude were living on his parents' farm at the southern border of Ross Township, almost due south of Ainsworth. It seems an inconvenient distance from the village for daily travel, so I'm guessing Claude had given up his job at Charles Goldman's general store and was now helping his father run the farm.

On August 5 Bertha underwent surgery at the Gary General Hospital for appendicitis and adhesions. She pulled through the operation, but remained hospitalized for nearly two weeks. She was finally able to go home on August 18.

By mid-September she had fallen ill with tonsillitis, which could potentially develop into a life-threatening infection — remember the sad case of Daisy Chester Scroggins.

Within a week she had gone from tonsillitis to typhoid fever, another potentially fatal disease, especially in this pre-antibiotic era. (Earlier that month a little Hobart girl had died of typhoid.)

I do wonder how fatalistic Bertha's outlook on life was, given her family's history. She had two teenage sisters, two baby brothers and two relatively young parents lying in the Ainsworth cemetery. And back at the old homestead, I expect 17-year-old Edward was by now beginning to show symptoms of the tuberculosis that would kill him within two years. Perhaps each time she fell ill, Bertha said to herself, "This is it."

Or perhaps not. She was, after all, the different Nolte.


Sources:
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 10 Aug. 1917; 7 Sept. 1917.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 9 Aug. 1917; 13 Sept. 1917; 20 Sept. 1917.
♦ "South of Deepriver." Hobart News 9 Aug. 1917; 23 Aug. 1917.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

At Play, Though the World Is at War

"Ainsworth is the only town around here to support a ball team this year," said the Hobart News in June 1917. "They have a game there nearly every Sunday." The Ainsworth team still called itself the Cubs, and I still don't have a clue who played on it.

Let the other six and a half days of the week be spent worrying about the war — on Sunday afternoons the "boys" of Ainsworth played ball. On July 8, the South Chicago Tigers came out to Ainsworth and lost to the Cubs, 8 to 4. The following Sunday, Ainsworth hosted the Gary Magnets. The Cubs wiped the floor with their guests: 9 to 0. East Chicago sent its own ambush of Tigers to Ainsworth on July 22 and after a hot contest gave the Cubs one of their rare defeats, 5 to 3.

The following Sunday the Cubs played the Miller Eagles at East Gary. But the result of that game did not get into the papers, and baseball reports fell away for the next month and a half, although the games continued.

On September 23, the Ainsworth Cubs traveled to Gary to play that town's Knights of Columbus team, which had a formidable reputation. The Cubs' 12-to-6 victory left them "feeling quite jubilant." It had been a good season for them thus far: out of 16 games, only four losses. The News concluded its report: "Next Sunday will be their last game of the season, and they will again cross bats on the Ainsworth grounds with the Gary K.C. team, which returns to endeavor to retrieve their lost laurels. This promises to be a fast game."


Sources:
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 20 Sept. 1917; 27 July 1917.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 28 June 1917; 12 July 1917; 19 July 1917; 26 July 1917.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clinging Vine (Random Pointless Photo)

Vinearoundtrunk
(Click on images to enlarge)

Photo from Deep River County Park today. It's surprising what a vine can do to a tree. This vine has made the tree grow into a weird blobby shape.

It's wrapped around the tree all the way up, like a wooden boa constrictor.

Spiralvine

The Slow Process of Mobilization

The July 20 draft had drawn the numbers of 52 men in the Crown Point draft district, which included Ainsworth and Hobart. Of those 52, none was from Ainsworth; six were from Hobart.* Their next step was to present themselves for medical examination in Crown Point on August 3 and 4. If they passed that exam and either did not qualify for or did not request any exemption, they would go home and await the orders that would call them to the local draft board to be put on a train to their cantonment.

The Indiana National Guard was mobilized on August 5, its members becoming part of the regular army, with privates to receive $30 a month in pay, plus board. The Gazette, which had kept its promise to include Clarence and Harold Goodrich on its Roll of Honor, now listed them as "Infantry" instead of "Guardsman."

1-26-2011 Roll of Honor Aug 1917

Otto Sizelove, also a former guardsman, had been a barber in civilian life, employed in Frank Wilder's barber shop; now he was the company barber. Like George Severance, Jr., Otto had served on the Mexican border earlier. As for George, he was now in "Aviation."

All the former guardsmen in Company F remained in Gary awaiting orders to entrain for Fort Harrison at Indianapolis. Later they expected to be shipped to a training camp in Mississippi.

In the little village of Deep River, locals planned an ice cream social for August 17 to raise funds for the Red Cross.

__________________________
*Harry McClaran, Oakley R. Jones; Willard W. Stevens, Donald I. Frace, George Schavey, and George Caldwell.


Sources:
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 3 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Crown Point Draft Division Notified to Appear Aug. 3 and 4." Hobart News 2 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Draft Army Called." Hobart Gazette 17 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Hobart Men Called for Examination." Hobart Gazette 3 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 9 Aug. 1917.
♦ "No More Indiana Guards." Hobart Gazette 10 Aug. 1917.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

White Tree (Random Pointless Photo)

NoBark
(Click on image to enlarge)

Move along, nothing to see here. Just me getting artistic with the saturation level.

Towards a Dry Nation

In a short article on the front page, the News reported that on August 1, 1917, the United States Senate passed the Sheppard resolution by a vote of 65 to 20, the "ayes" having included both of Indiana's senators.

The Sheppard resolution — named for its sponsor, Texas Senator Morris Sheppard — proposed to submit to the states for ratification the "prohibition amendment" banning the manufacture, sale, transportation and importation of alcoholic liquors in the United States.

The resolution was sent to the House of Representatives. If passed there as well, 36 states would have to ratify the amendment in order for it to become the 18th amendment to the Constitution.


Sources:
♦ United States Brewers' Association. The 1919 Year Book of the United States Brewers' Association. BiblioBazaar, LLC, n.d.
♦ "United States Senate Votes for Prohibition." Hobart News 2 Aug. 1917.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Crop of Diamonds (Random Pointless Photo)

FieldofDiamonds
(Click on image to enlarge)

A few mild days followed by a cold snap put a thin coating of ice on the snow covering this former soybean field … and then the sun came out and grew a crop of diamonds.

Another Daughter for Carrie and William

Eight months after marrying off her eldest daughter, Carrie Raschka gave birth to another daughter, Wilma. She was about 40 years old. Carrie, I mean. Wilma was a good deal younger.

In August, Carrie's sister Luella Olson came up from Fort Wayne to see her newest niece. Lesta Raschka had spent most of the time since August 1916 living with Aunt Ella in Fort Wayne, still undergoing chiropractic treatment.

The Raschkas now had five children, all daughters. They had lost a little girl named Bessie Luella about a month after her birth in 1902. She is buried in Hobart Cemetery at quite a distance from her parents' graves.

BessieLuellaRaschka
(Click on image to enlarge)


Sources:
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 20 July 1917.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 11 Apr. 1902.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 30 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 4 Jan. 1917; 1 Mar. 1917.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 17 May 1917; 19 July 1917.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DUI (Random Pointless Photo)

DUI
(Click on image to enlarge)

We may not have a saloon in Ainsworth anymore, but the ditches and hedgerows along Ainsworth Road testify that we still have plenty of drinkers. I challenge any road in the nation to produce a greater number and variety of discarded liquor bottles and cans.

The Numbers Are Drawn

By mid-July, cavalryman Fred Bowlby was stationed at Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont; President Wilson had issued an order drafting members of the National Guard and National Guard reserve into the regular army; and across the national, the ten million young men who had registered waited for the first draft to take place.

President Wilson's formal draft order set the goal of a military force totaling 1,262,985 men. The first draft would bring in 687,000 men. Indiana's quota was 17,510. On the morning of July 20, the drawing of numbers began in Washington.

The following week the News printed lists of the draft numbers for Hobart and Ross Township conscripts.

1-23-2011 Hobart Draft
(Click on images to enlarge)

1-23-2011 Ross Draft 1
1-23-2011 Ross Draft 2

The day after this list appeared, the Gazette reported that 21-year-old Clarence Goodrich had volunteered, not waiting to be drafted. So had his 19-year-old brother Harold. Both joined Company F of the Indiana National Guard at Gary. Although these young men came from Ross Township — their family's farm was southwest of Ainsworth — the Gazette promised to include them in the Hobart Roll of Honor.

And as for George Severance, Jr., who had joined the army in March 1916, word now came that since the declaration of war he had spent his time learning the young and dangerous art of aviation, and had been promoted to the rank of corporal in a flying squad.


Sources:
1891 Plat Book.
1910 Census.
1926 Plat Book.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 27 July 1917; 3 Aug. 1917.
♦ "Draft Great American Army." Hobart Gazette 27 July 1917.
♦ "Formal Draft Orders Issued by President." Hobart News 19 July 1917.
♦ "General News." Hobart Gazette 20 July 1917.
♦ "Hobart and Ross Township Conscripts in the Order in Which They Will Be Called." Hobart News 26 July 1917.
♦ "National Guard Is Ordered Into Federal Service." Hobart News 12 July 1917.
♦ "Selective Draft Drawing Takes Place on Schedule Time." Hobart News 26 July 1917.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 5 July 1917.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guest Bloggers? Photos? (Announcement)

If you have an Ainsworth or Hobart (or thereabouts) story you'd like to tell, I would welcome contributions from guest bloggers.

And if you have photographs you'd like to share, of places or people around here, please send me a scan! I would love to have more photographs in the blog.

Email: Ainsworthiana@gmail.com.

Home at Last!

Early in June 1917, John and Louise Gruel got the good news: their daughter Emma was finally coming home from Germany. She had finished out her second six-months' service in the hospital in Graudenz.

After a few weeks of suspense, the Gruels received a letter in Emma's own hand — probably only the second since her departure — announcing that she had landed safely in New York on June 25, after 13 days on the water. She planned to spend a couple days in the city, sight-seeing with the other nurses.

At last, on June 28, Emma arrived home at the Gruel farm east of Ainsworth, safe and well.

If she had ever felt in danger, she did not say so. Conditions in Germany were not too bad, she reported; though all the best food was sent to the soldiers at the front, she had never actually gone hungry. Her only complaint was that soap and starch were very scarce. I imagine that would have meant a good deal to a nurse, who understood the importance of cleanliness and who expected to wear a well starched uniform.

Concerning what she had seen of the war's brutality, apparently she maintained a tactful silence.

On the evening of July 17, relatives and friends came to the farm for a welcome-home party. The Gruels served ice cream, watermelon and other fruit — delicacies that Emma had long gone without. No doubt the guests begged Emma to tell them all about her time in Germany, and she probably obliged them.

I wonder how Emma felt as she sat there in unaccustomed leisure, plenty and security, surrounded by family and friends instead of sick and wounded and dying men. She seems to have been a strong-minded and practical person, so perhaps she spent little time in philosophical musings about the co-existence of this happy and peaceful home with the bloodshed and devastation across the ocean. No, I expect Emma's thoughts were turning to the down-to-earth question of how next to make herself useful.


Sources:
♦ "Additional Local." Hobart News 5 July 1917.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 8 June 1917; 20 July 1917.
♦ "Miss Emma Gruel at Home." Hobart Gazette 29 June 1917.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 28 June 1917.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chewed Trees of Deep River (Random Pointless Photo)

Chewedtree
(Click on images to enlarge)

Wow, those beavers' dentist must be rich.

That's not a sapling, either.

Notasapling


Speaking of wild animals, I haven't seen my pet possum or his/her friend for a few days. Maybe my pet coyote got them. :(

Well Organized Mercy

By early July, those humanitarian patriots interested in operating the local Red Cross branch had organized themselves into a remarkable number of committees.

1-21-2011 Red Cross Committees
(Click on image to enlarge)

Doctors and schoolteachers, lawyers and barbers, pastors and plumbers…. The editors of both Hobart newspapers (A.J. Smith and O.L. Pattee) are on the Information and Publicity Committee. I have no idea how Dr. Clara Faulkner and the Misses Kipp and Halstead intended to instruct women.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Indian Mallow Gone to Seed

Indianmallowgonetoseed
(Click on image to enlarge)

The seed pods looked spiky before, but now they look as if they could put out your eye.

A New Shearer Partner

After Lewis Barnes was elected Lake County Sheriff, Calvin Shearer operated his business solo for half a year. (In addition to coal and lumber sales and road construction, Calvin was also selling Fords in the autumn of 1916.) But in July 1917, he took on a new partner: his son-in-law, Paul Emery.

After their July 1915 marriage, Paul and Bliss had lived in Laporte. Later they moved to Michigan City, where Paul started or bought a garage business. He sold out that business to come back to Hobart and join the Shearer firm.

As partner, Paul would handle the "inside business," while Calvin took care of the "outside business, which seems better to his liking," according to the Gazette.

On July, Calvin signed a contract with the Town of Hobart to construct the town's new well, intake and pumping station, at a cost of $2,496, with the work to be completed by August 15.


Sources:
♦ "Adjourned Town Board Meeting." Hobart Gazette 6 July 1917.
♦ "Form New Partnership." Hobart Gazette 6 July 1917.
♦ "Notice." Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1916.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bird's-Eye View of Hobart High School circa 1910

HobartHighSchoolaerialca1910
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


Here's a photo from the 1910 Aurora yearbook showing the school building as viewed from, I believe, the top of the water tower on New Street. Some brave photographer…

What really interests me about this photo is not the school but the background — so many trees, so few houses! To some extent, I suppose, the houses are just hiding under the trees. But seeing this picture makes it easier for me imagine a barn on Water Street.


(Speaking of climbing towers, here is an interesting helmet-cam video of the climb to the top of a 1,768-foot tower. Vertigo warning!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Selfheal Gone to Seed

Self-healgonetoseed
(Click on image to enlarge)

Selfheal wasn't very impressive even when it was in flower.

Patriotic Nastiness

One of the employees in John Chester's garage was a non-naturalized German immigrant named William Dolle, who was quite young — 17, if I've found the right person in the census, and the News called him as a "boy," although he seems to have registered for the draft, which suggests he was at least 21 (or could pass himself off as such). Whatever his exact age, this young man had worked for John for several years and had never been in any kind of trouble.

But trouble came for him on the evening of June 22. All we have to go by is one garbled report in the News, so we have to do some guessing about the exact nature of that trouble.

It started out as a normal afternoon at the garage. William was on the job, and John Chester too, I expect, since he ran the place, and probably some other men were hanging around as well. Everyone was in good spirits, playing practical jokes on each other. That devolved into horseplay. At some point amid the roughhousing, an American flag ended up on the floor, and William stepped on it.

That's when things got ugly. Someone — we'll never know who — got his nose out of joint and said something unpleasant to William; William probably answered back; increasingly nasty remarks were exchanged, and it all ended with someone calling the sheriff's office. Sheriff Lewis E. Barnes himself came over to escort young William to the Crown Point jail, the charge being "violating the president's proclamation."

The News never explained which proclamation that was supposed to be. But since William was technically a German citizen and hence an "alien enemy," the special regulations established by the President in Proclamation 1364 (concerning the state of war between Germany and the U.S.) would apply to him. And one with sufficient mental elasticity could interpret his stepping on the flag as a "hostile act against the United States," or some such thing.

The News came down clearly on William's side: "The boy meant nothing wrong, and from evidence the whole matter started in a joking manner." I haven't seen any follow-up report on the case, but I would not be surprised to learn that Sheriff Barnes quietly let William go the next day, figuring that by then tempers had cooled down and someone's patriotic hysteria had worn off.


Sources:
1930 Census.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 28 June 1917.

Monday, January 17, 2011

High Water Mark (Random Pointless Photo)

Highwatermark
(Click on image to enlarge)

The Deep River receded, but it left behind this marker to show how high it had risen.

I Just Want to Ride My Motorcy … OUCH!

Once betrayed by a woman, Fred Yager seems to have sworn off the fair sex. But he found a new love: motorcycles. And from those he was willing to take even more abuse.

By 1917 Fred had left his job with the Hobart light and power plant and was working for the Halsted Brothers, construction contractors. On the morning of June 14, he set out on his motorcycle from his Ainsworth farm, heading to his job in Hobart. On the road near the George Lutz farm southeast of town, Fred rounded a blind corner and ran smack into a westbound truck. The impact threw him off the bike. He hit the ground with a sudden shock of pain — a broken bone in his lower leg.

One of Hobart's doctors set his leg, then Fred was carried to his brother George's home to be nursed.

The bike was mangled. I don't know whether it recovered.

Fred's leg may have been broken, but his heart wasn't. He went on to become an enthusiastic motorcycle racer — this comes from someone who knew him — participating in that sport for years, until at last a particularly bad racetrack accident resulted in his motorcycle's handlebar impaling his thigh. That was a bit too much even for Fred. He swore off racing, although I'm not sure he ever completely gave up motorcycles.


Sources:
♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups." Hobart Gazette 26 Aug. 1910.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 16 May. 1913; 15 June 1917.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

River Icicles (Random Pointless Photos)

Skeletonfingers
(Click on images to enlarge)

Heavy rains a few weeks ago made the Deep River rise. As it receded, it left all sorts of weird icicles on the overhanging branches that had dangled in the water. I think these (above) look like skeleton fingers.

RiverIcicles

These look like … snakes. Yeah. Snakes.

A Baby and a Bungalow

Ernest and Myrtle Sitzenstock's first child arrived on June 9 — not quite a year after their surprise marriage.

Ernest was employed at Ainsworth, loading hay and grain for Uncle William Raschka (I suppose that involved William's new warehouse). Ernest must have been doing pretty well: he was already having a bungalow built in the village for his little family. It was expected to be ready for occupancy by mid-July.

Lee Hunter, the barber of Ainsworth, was also building a bungalow, next door to Ernest's. (Where?? Are they still standing??)


Sources:
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 13 July 1917.
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 15 June 1917.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 14 June 1917.
WWI Draft Cards.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Plaid Water (Random Pointless Photo)

PlaidWater
(Click on image to enlarge)

I became utterly fascinated by the cross-hatching ripples in this tiny rivulet draining into the Deep River. Had to get into all sorts of contorted positions to try to photograph it. My pens fell out of the camera bag into the mud. My jeans got wet. All for a stupid trickle of water.

Founders of an Ainsworth Family

The spring of 1917 saw the passing of two of Ainsworth's pioneers: Joachim and Maria Foreman. In 1875 they had settled near the village that would become Ainsworth. Their descendants have lived here ever since.

Both had been born in Germany, Joachim in 1839 and Maria in 1845, and there they were married in 1868. A week after their wedding they left for the United States. They spent their first four years in this country in Lansing, Illinois, then a couple of years in Porter County, Indiana, until at last they chose the farm that would be their home for the rest of their lives.

In the 1870 census, they were still using the German spelling of their surname, Fuhrman. In later censuses they would thoroughly Americanize their names, becoming Joseph and Mary Foreman.

They had two sons, Michael and William. They also had a daughter, but she seems to have slipped into and out of this world between censuses; she was only two years old when she died. (Incidentally, Michael appears as "Helmuth" in the 1870 census and in a 1917 Hobart News notice — perhaps that was his first name and he more commonly went by his middle name.) While I've seen several items in the social columns about Michael and William, their parents scarcely register at all. Maria got a mention in 1916 when she fell from the back porch of her home and fractured her shoulder and arm. Beyond that, nothing. Apparently they were quiet people.

So in their quiet way, they reached old age. Maria died on April 27, 1917. Besides her two sons, she left six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Joachim was too ill to attend his wife's funeral, and a little more than a month later — June 9 — he followed her to the grave. They are buried side by side in Hobart Cemetery.

ForemanMaria
(Click on images to enlarge)
Maria and Joachim's grave markers, and the Foreman family monument, in Hobart Cemetery.


ForemanJoachim

Foremanmonument



Sources:
1870 Census.
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 10 Nov. 1916.
♦ "Card of Thanks." Hobart News 14 June 1917.
♦ "Funeral of Joachim Friedrich Emil Foreman Held Tuesday." Hobart News 14 June 1917.
♦ "Mrs. Joachim Foreman, Lake County Pioneer, Passes Away Friday." Hobart News 3 May 1917.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 15 June 1917.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marshal Robert Harper

And suddenly, out of blue, I find out that Ainsworth had a marshal! It would have been nice if someone had bothered to report on his election.

The only reason I know about this at all is because the Hobart News mentioned that "Marshal Robert Harper of Ainsworth" caught a couple of car thieves the night of May 29, 1917. Four men had stolen a "large Hudson car"; they ran it into a ditch west of Ainsworth; someone notified Robert; he came out and caught two of the men, and hauled them off to jail in Crown Point. (A third man was captured in Merrillville. The fourth got away.)

1917HudsonSuperSix
A 1917 Hudson automobile, which may or may not have been the model stolen by the thieves. (Click on image to enlarge)
Image credit: IMCDB.org.


Robert was then about 34, Pearl 38, and they had four children. (The oldest was 14 and so could not have been born of their 1911 marriage. I don't know what her story was.) With the help of one hired man, the Harpers operated a dairy farm on rented land.


Sources:
1920 Census.
♦ Untitled social column. Hobart News 31 May 1917.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vanity (Random Pointless Scan)

Another from my collection of antique books that nobody wants.

This is a schoolbook: an 1857 edition of McGuffey's Fifth Reader. In the 1860s it fell into the hands of William Sibbet of Wooster, Ohio. Young William's goal in life was to perfect his signature.

William started out inside the back cover of the book, I think, practicing his Ws and trying out different styles for his surname. (And down there at the bottom, for some unknown reason he tried writing with his left hand, or his right if he was a southpaw.)

Sibbetbackcover
(Click on images to enlarge)

There are a couple flyleaves missing there: we have probably lost some of the record of William's artistic evolution.

Feeling more confident in his style, he moved on to a front flyleaf, and signed his name over a previous, lesser iteration. Later he enlisted the help of his friend, A. French, who on November 16, 1864 displayed his skill in colored pencils.

SibbetandFrench

Some interloper named Charles wrote his name above it, but he was a flash in the pan and we hear no more of him. (And at the bottom, more left-handed whimsy.)

That same November day, William turned over to the next flyleaf and, in an inspired synthesis of his own and French's styles, created his masterpiece:

Sibbetperfection

Two years later, William was out of school, living in the Exchange Hotel in Wooster, and not giving a tinker's dam about penmanship.

Sibbetfrontcover

Lizzie Leaves, Ed Comes Back

Alfred G. Epps, from 1917 Hobart High School yearbook.
Alfred Epps circa 1917. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Early in the summer of 1917, Alfred G. Epps — Lizzie Sauter Boyd's second husband — announced that he had accepted a position with the manual training department of the Grand Rapids, Michigan public school system. It carried a substantially larger salary than he had been earning with the local schools. In August he and Lizzie, and her two young sons, packed up and left Hobart. This was a long-term move: they would still be in Grand Rapids in 1930.

Around the same time, Lizzie's father, the wandering Ed Sauter — that restless soul — showed up again around these parts — perhaps by accident, literally. He and some friends drove out to southern Porter County on the night of May 19 to see the damage caused by a tornado that had swept through Hebron and Kouts that afternoon. The car Ed was riding in ended up in a ditch, with Ed quite badly hurt. He went to convalesce at the home of his daughter, Clara Severance, just east of Hobart. I haven't the faintest idea where Ed had been staying before he got hurt.


Sources:
1930 Census.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora Yearbook, 1917.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 4 May 1917; 25 May 1917; 24 Aug. 1917.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Friderike's Hymn-book (Random Pointless Scan)

Nehm
(Click on image to enlarge)

I've been culling and reorganizing my books, and in moving a couple shelves' worth of the least valuable antique books you ever saw, I noticed this beautifully hand-lettered personalization of an 1848 German hymn-book. Maybe someone who reads German and can decipher the handwriting will stumble across this and tell me what all that writing below the name says.

I bought this book as a teenager, and I may have bought it for the sake of that hand-lettering, or maybe it was the publication date. I've been obsessed with the past since I was about 14 — not really understanding what I wanted but feeling that I could get closer to it by owning old things. And since my mother liked antiques, I found myself often in antique stores, looking at books that I could afford … which were cheap because nobody wanted them but me. Now I don't want them anymore but I dare not throw them out — who am I to throw out a book that has survived a century and a half?

And, believe it or not, I can connect this to Ainsworth. The reason I have to reorganize my books is because I've been buying so many new ones to study up on the subjects that I'm talking about in this blog, or soon will: World War I, Prohibition, the 1920s, the KKK, the Depression, World War II, etc. They're scattered and piled up all over the place. It's crazy-making.

Also, this is a great way to avoid the hard work of writing blog entries.

♦    ♦    ♦

[3/21/2016 update] It turns out that Friderike had a sister, Christine, who married and came to America and here raised a family; and after several more generations' marrying and begetting, Christine's great-great-grandson was browsing the internet one day when he stumbled across the post above and recognized in the hymn-book's inscription the name of his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Matthäus Knaussman. Joseph Cole writes to me:
Friedericke Nehm married Heinrich Hurthle (the handwritten name at the bottom of the page) in Hoheneck on 4 April 1861.

They brought their family to the United States in 1881, following her older brother Gottlieb and younger sister Christine Kass (my great-great grandmother). The three families lived in Riverton Township, Michigan near my hometown of Ludington. Friedericke passed away in 1902. The three siblings are buried in North Weare Cemetery along with many other of my relatives.
So now I know why the little hymn-book ended up at Steeple Antiques, which was in the general area where Fridericke had lived out her life …

2016-3-21. Steeple Antiques ad
(Click on image to enlarge)
The Ludington Daily News 22 June 1971.


… and also along the route my family traveled every summer to vacation at Lower Herring Lake; and we stopped in at Steeple Antiques and my teenaged self bought Friderike's hymn-book and carried it back to Indiana; and some three decades later, I randomly scanned the inscription and posted it on the internet.

The story ends with me now knowing who Fridericke was, and the hymn-book returning to her family.

Hobart High School Class of 1917: Elsa Gruel

ElsaGruel1917
(Click on image to enlarge)

Elsa Gruel was Vice-President of the Class of 1917, not surprisingly. She also appeared in the school play, although she was not the female lead (surprisingly).

She had already decided upon teaching as her goal. Her immediate plan was to enter Valparaiso University for a teacher's training course. She hoped to teach at the Ainsworth school in the coming year.

We already know that Elsa achieved her goal, and teaching became her life's work.

♦    ♦    ♦

Here's a page from the yearbook with the autographs and a verbal sketch of all three of our 1917 graduates.

Autographs
(Click on image to enlarge)


Sources:
♦ "Cast of characters, H.S. Play, Friday Evening." Hobart News 17 May 1917.
♦ "Commencement Exercises Closing Event of Hobart Schools." Hobart News 31 May 1917.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1917.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hobart High School Class of 1917: Ruth Miller

RuthEMiller
(Click on image to enlarge)

Ruth was the daughter of John and Martha Miller of Ainsworth, who took such kind care of Delmer Fisher in the autumn of 1916. The Miller land comprised about 50 acres bordering on the southeast corner of the junction of State Road 51 and 73rd Avenue. John was a German immigrant, a farmer known for his strawberries (in 1910 he raised six acres of them). Martha was one of the many Ainsworth Maybaums. She reportedly suffered from some sort of heart trouble and was sometimes confined to bed, but when able, she was active and sociable. Ruth had only one sibling, her younger brother Walter. The family bought a piano from Lowenstine's in Valparaiso in 1911, probably for Ruth's benefit. I have the general impression that they were a happy family.

I don't know much about Ruth, since she's been quiet all these years, at least as far as the newspapers are concerned. The caption to the senior picture suggests she had a lively sense of fun, and I suspect her parents did too; at a 1910 masquerade ball in Ainsworth, John and Martha won the prize for the most "comical" costumes. Unfortunately the report did not include a description of their costumes.


Sources:
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1926 Plat Book.
♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups." Hobart Gazette 7 Oct. 1904; 10 June 1910; 24 June 1910; 1 July 1910; 2 Sept. 1910.
♦ "Ainsworth." Hobart News 7 Sept. 1911.
♦ "Chas. Maybaum Killed by Falling Tree Thursday." Hobart News 11 Sept. 1913.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 3 Aug. 1906.
♦ "Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1917.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 14 Jan. 1910; 1 Sept. 1911; 7 June 1912.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 9 Apr. 1913.
♦ "Ross Township Notes." Hobart Gazette 8 Sept. 1911.
♦ "Ross Township." Hobart News 9 Jan. 1913.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Possum and Friend (Random Pointless Photo)

My pet possum has a friend.

Possumhasafriend
(Click on image to enlarge)

I hope it's of the opposite sex. I want to see some baby possums.

One or both of these come to the bird feeder at least once a day now. Maybe I should clue them in that they're supposed to be nocturnal.

Hobart High School Class of 1917:
William F. Wollenberg, Jr.

1-10-2011 Will Wollenberg 1917
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.


The talented Will Jr. gave his last public performance (for the time being, anyway) as the romantic lead in the senior class play, "Anne of Old Salem," which revolved around the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.

His goal for the immediate future, Will said, was to gain admission to the West Point Military Academy — easier said than done; we'll see if he succeeded.


Sources:
♦ "Cast of characters, H.S. Play, Friday Evening." Hobart News 17 May 1917.
♦ "Commencement Exercises Closing Event of Hobart Schools." Hobart News 31 May 1917.
♦ Hobart High School Aurora yearbook, 1917.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Registration Day

On June 5, 1917, all the usual polling places opened their doors at 7 o'clock in the morning, and from then until 9 o'clock at night received a stream of young men — 21 through 30 years of age — registering for the draft.

About a month later, the News printed this list of the Hobart men who had registered and the serial numbers assigned to them:

1-9-2011 List of Hobart Men Registered
(Click on image to enlarge)

Unfortunately, it did not include a similar list for the 132 men who had registered in Ross Township.


Sources:
♦ "Big Registration for Hobart." Hobart Gazette 8 June 1917.
♦ "New Serial Draft Numbers for Hobart Conscripts to Be Drawn." Hobart News 12 July 1917.
♦ "Seven Points About Registration." Hobart Gazette 25 May 1917.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On the Home Front

With its edition of May 3, 1917, the Hobart News inaugurated a new feature: its front-page "War Notes" column. Previously, war news had been relegated to the interior pages, as matters pertaining to foreign lands. These days, it hit home.

Civilians were eager to do whatever they could to support the war effort. The Hobart Gazette of April 20 carried an article by S.J. Craig, the Lake County agricultural agent, describing, in forceful language, one way civilians could contribute: "Every productive acre of land in Lake county, Ind., must produce food this year, if we succeed in feeding our people and the allies. Turn that back lot, and, yes, the front yard, into a garden. Be a patriot and not a traitor. Help feed the men who go to the front and shoulder a gun as they are fighting for you…."

Ten days later, local farmers held a meeting in the Hobart library, presided over by John Dorman and addressed by County Agent Craig, who again urged an all-out effort to produce food. The farmers attending also resolved that each would raise an animal to the value of $10 and donate the proceeds of its sale to the Red Cross.

Even young people could help: parents were urged to set their boys to cultivating crops and their girls to preserving food. In mid-May a meeting of locals resulted in the appointment of a committee to organize the food-production effort. This committee, consisting of James Carpenter, John Killigrew, Professor Frace, F.W. Frank and J.A. Ayling, placed a notice in the Hobart News asking the public to volunteer their vacant land, their boys to cultivate it, and their plowing equipment and services.

The federal government had allotted to Indiana $41,000,000 in Liberty Bonds for sale. The state allocated that amount among its 92 counties. By mid-June, local citizens had expressed their patriotism in terms of hard cash, as the three Hobart banks reached a total of $12,000 in Liberty Bond sales. Lake County in general made a good showing, with its residents buying $2,084,450 in Liberty Bonds — nearly $325,000 over the county's allotment — although Indiana as a whole had bought $1,000,000 less than its allotment.

On June 19, a large group of citizens met in the Hobart High School auditorium to organize and elect officers for a local Red Cross society, with its purpose to raise funds for Red Cross work in Europe. A fund-raising drive that month brought in $856 in contributions.


Sources:
♦ "Banks of Hobart Dispose of $12,000 Worth of Liberty Bonds." Hobart News 14 June 1917.
♦ "Farmers Hold Enthusiastic Meetings Monday and Tuesday." Hobart News 3 May 1917.
♦ "Farmers to Aid the Red Cross." Hobart Gazette 4 May 1917.
♦ "From the County Agent." Hobart Gazette 20 Apr. 1917.
♦ "Here and There." Hobart News 21 June 1917.
♦ "Hobart Contributes Nobly to the Red Cross." Hobart News 28 June 1917.
♦ "Mobilization." Hobart Gazette 11 May 1917.
♦ "Notice." Hobart News 17 May 1917.
♦ "Red Cross Society Organized Here." Hobart News 21 June 1917.
♦ "War Notes." Hobart News 3 May 1917.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hobart Then and Now: Along Lake George

Circa 1933 and 2010.

Along Lake George ca 1933.
Along Lake George 2010.
(Click on images to enlarge. If you wish to view the "original" size of the top image on Flickr, be warned that it is a very large file; I scanned it at a high resolution because there is so much going on in the background.)

I have the weirdest feeling that I've already posted this, but I can't find it in the blog, so here goes.

The top image is from a postcard postmarked 1933 (bought on eBay). I don't see anything in the picture to date it earlier than that.

We're just south of the dam, looking along the rear of the west-side Main Street business district. If you look straight up from the four young women, you can see the roof and steeple of the second Trinity Lutheran Church (now replaced by the Lakeview Apartments). I can't precisely identify any of the other structures. That big building (directly behind the wooden structure the kids are playing on in the lake) is probably the livery barn out back of the Hobart House.

Here is the reverse of the postcard.

verso of postcard showing Along Lake George 1933.
(Click on image to enlarge)

The original is now at the Hobart Historical Society Museum.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Draft

In early May 1917, Hobart's "Roll of Honor" was augmented by the name of Fred Bowlby. The 18-year-old who had lately been playing penguin was now to be a cavalryman, and there was no play about this business.

Those who did not volunteer would soon face the draft. On April 30 Congress had passed a conscription bill. The War Department set about working out the details, and by mid-May the Hobart News was able to print this explanatory summary:

1-6-2011 Summary Draft Details
(Click on image to enlarge)

The exemption available for agricultural workers was relevant to this rural area. Food production had become a matter of vital importance to the support of the U.S. military and of the allies, both military and civilian.

(The "social evil" to be suppressed was, I believe, prostitution. The federal policy of protecting servicemen from prostitution led the city government of New Orleans, under threat of force by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, to close down its notorious Storyville district in November 1917 — but that's another story.)

On May 21 President Woodrow Wilson signed the draft bill and set June 5 as the date for registration.


Sources:
♦ "Details of New Conscription Law." Hobart News 17 May 1917.
♦ "Draft Wins By Big Majority in Both Houses." Hobart News 3 May 1917.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 4 May 1917.
♦ "President Signs Draft Measure; Troops to Front." Hobart News 24 May 1917.
♦ Rose, Al. Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1974.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seeking Asylum from Grief

Early in May 1917 Augusta Waldeck returned to Longcliff Hospital in Logansport, Indiana.

We know she undergone treatment there starting in June 1904 for mental illness that was attributed — in a rather strained medical diagnosis — to terminal cancer of the abdomen (which turned out not to be terminal).

This time there was no need to look so far for a cause, and the Hobart News gave what was probably the medical as well as the layman's opinion when it explained that Augusta's mind had "become unbalanced, it is thought, on account of the death of her son, who was killed last fall at the Ainsworth railroad crossing."

A few days after seeing his wife put into the hospital, William Waldeck left for Illinois to attend his mother's funeral.


Source: Untitled social column. Hobart News 10 May 1917.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Case of the Pilfered Pants

We seem to have had a little crime wave during the month of April 1917, a time when all Americans should have been pulling together against a common enemy.

This case began around midnight on Sunday, April 22. A hired man from the Demmon farm near Lottaville was going to Merrillville when he passed a buggy standing by the side of the road, loaded with oats and hitched to a blanketed horse, but driverless. He thought the whole thing looked fishy. When he reached Merrillville, he telephoned the Sheriff's office about it. In response, a couple of deputy sheriffs drove out: Claud Davis at the wheel, Hut Olds riding shotgun.

They picked up the hired man and continued east along the Joliet road (73rd Avenue). The mysterious buggy was nowhere to be seen. They drove on, turning north to pass through Ainsworth, toward Hobart. As they neared the Hobart Township line, they met a southbound wagon, drawn by two horses and driven by two men.

One of the deputies called out to the men, asking whether they'd seen the mysterious horse and buggy. The men said they hadn't. As the car passed the wagon, Deputy Davis turned his side lights on the wagon, and asked the men what they were hauling. They didn't answer, just drove on. Such disregard of his authority riled Davis. He took out his revolver and fired a warning shot toward the ground. This time he got an answer — two shots fired back, coming uncomfortably close. The men in the wagon whipped up their horses and hurried on toward Ainsworth.

Deputy Davis turned his car around, and his party followed the wagon south at a safe distance. At the Claude Bullock farm, he stopped to phone up to Hobart for reinforcements.

Marshal Fred Rose got the call. He woke up Clarence Frailey to drive him (it was now about 1 a.m.) and, accompanied by three other Hobart men, set out south. They met up with the Merrillville party at Ainsworth. Together they followed the tracks of the wagon south, then east on the Joliet road. Not far along, they overtook the wagon. The horses were pulling it along the road at a leisurely pace, their drivers having fled.

In the wagon, the officers found some 18 dozen pairs of men's pants and eight large rolls of suiting fabric, along with cooking utensils and several days' rations, as if the men had planned for a long drive.

Further investigation revealed that the pants and the bolts of cloth were stolen. They had been shipped out of New York by train, the cloth destined for St. Paul, Minnesota, and the pants for Seattle, Washington. Presumably they had been pilfered from a freight car somewhere along the way. Since the stolen goods were valued at about $3,000 total, it was a remarkable capture, all the more so since it had come about entirely by accident, while the deputies were looking for some mysterious buggy. (That buggy was never identified.)

Although the thieves had escaped for the time being, county officials were working on the case and still had hopes of tracking them down.


Sources:
♦ "Capture Stolen Merchandise." Hobart Gazette 27 Apr. 1917.
♦ "Valuable Booty Captured Sunday Night; Thieves Get Away." Hobart News 26 Apr. 1917.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Ainsworth Welcomed Its Returning Exiles

Julius Triebess lived in Chicago, but his heart was in Ainsworth. Sometime after 1891 he'd bought a farm of 100 acres south of the village. I don't know whether, or for how long, he farmed it himself; but in 1900 he joined the Chicago Fire Department, and the demands of that job required Julius and his family to live in the city. At that point, probably, he began renting the farm out. In August 1908 we find him advertising for a tenant, and by September he'd rented the land to John Witt, Jr.

Julius came out from the city now and then to visit his farm, staying in the farmhouse with John's family. After John's failing health forced him to give up farming, Julius next rented the place to John W. Harms. He still came out from the city now and then to visit his land.

And then, providentially, on April 1, 1917, the Chicago Fire Department changed its rules of operation: firemen were now on duty for 24 hours, then off a for full 24 hours. At last it became practical for Julius to commute between his job in Chicago and his farm in Ainsworth. He jumped at the chance. He hired a man to take care of the farm work during his 24-hour shifts; he packed up all the contents of his Chicago dwelling; and by mid-April, he and his family had come home to the farm.

On the evening of April 29, the Triebesses drove up to Hobart and caught the train to Chicago for a short visit. Around 9 p.m. they returned to their peaceful country home to find it "ransacked from cellar to garret." Missing were some household implements, such as buckets and tubs, and all of the food they'd brought out from Chicago — about 3 dozen cans of fruit and a couple of hams — and several loaves of bread that Mrs. Triebess had lovingly baked the previous day. Half of one loaf lay discarded in the yard.

Investigation turned up some eyewitness accounts. Neighbors had seen a Ford drive up to the house around dusk, and two men and a woman got out and went into the house. Another passerby noticed a light in the house around 8 o'clock. All the witnesses, unaware that the Triebesses were away, simply assumed the trio were visitors. Oddly enough, there was no sign of forced entry; evidently the robbers let themselves in with a key, and calmly went about clearing the place out. The Ford was traced as far as Merrillville, and then the trail vanished.


Sources:
1891 Plat Book.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 19 Sept. 1913; 20 Apr. 1917
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 14 Aug. 1908.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 18 Sept. 1908; 2 July 1909; 27 July 1916; 30 Mar. 1917.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 12 Feb. 1914.
♦ "Rob Farm House." Hobart Gazette 4 May 1917.
♦ "Ross Township Notes." Hobart Gazette 1 Sept. 1911.
♦ "Thieves Continue Their Depredations in This Vicinity." Hobart News 3 May 1917.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

James Chester, Deputy Marshal

GrantSixad
From the Hobart Gazette of July 6, 1917.

Like his older brother Charles, James Chester once got involved in a chase after car thieves. But since James is the boring Chester, he did it in a far less exciting way.

It all began about 4:30 in the morning on Saturday, April 14, 1917. Someone stirring in the George Lutz farmhouse southeast of Hobart happened to notice, out near the road, a bonfire surrounded by what looked to be about six young men, warming themselves. Nearby stood a car. The observer thought nothing of it. When daylight came, the young men had disappeared, the bonfire had gone out — but the car was still there, and it was a brand-new Grant Six. Someone got on the phone to tell Marshal Fred Rose about the abandoned car.

The Marshal had just gotten back downtown from a little trip to the west side of the Deep River. On the Nickel Plate right-of-way near the old amusement park, he'd found six young men standing around a burning pile of scrap wood. Calvin Fleming had bought and paid for that wood, so Rose warned them not to burn any more of it. The young men, who looked to range in age from late teens to early 20s, said that they were just trying to stay warm while they waited to catch an eastbound freight out of town. The Marshal decided to let them go their way, and he went his.

When he got the phone call about the abandoned car near the Lutz farm, however, something clicked in his mind and he decided to have another talk with those six young men. He went back to the Nickel Plate tracks, spotted the young men — they'd moved along toward the "J" tower — but as soon as they saw him, they took off running.

Now the Marshal really wanted to talk to them.

He knew that he, alone and unarmed, was no match for six young men. He hurried to the Nickel Plate Garage, where he found the garage owners, Clarence Frailey and Cal Beltzhoover, and James Chester. He enlisted their help — and Clarence's shotgun — and they all set out after the six fugitives.

Soon it occurred to Clarence, Cal and James that the young men would probably return to the car they'd abandoned. They doubled back to the garage, got one of the livery autos and drove to the Lutz farm to stake out the Grant Six.

That left the Marshal in sole pursuit of the fugitives, but this time he had a shotgun.

He followed them east, then southeast, along the Nickel Plate tracks. At the William Bach farm, the young men veered from the tracks and took off across the open fields. The Marshal was right behind them — now gaining on them. He yelled at them to stop. Four obeyed; two kept running. That's when Rose finally fired the shotgun. He hit one of the young men in the legs, slightly wounding him. Both were scared into stopping. And so the Marshal single-handedly corralled six fugitives, hauled them back to town and lodged them in jail.

Eventually he got word to James and his two companions that their services on stakeout were no longer needed.

It was the wounded man who first broke down and confessed that he and his friends had stolen the Grant Six in Cleveland on Thursday night. Hard driving had carried them over 300 miles in little more than a day, but near Hobart they'd taken a rough railroad crossing too fast and damaged an axle so badly that the car could only limp along, which was why they'd abandoned it.

The Marshal telegraphed the Cleveland police. They soon responded that the Grant Six was indeed the stolen property of the National Acme Co. of Cleveland. The salesman who drove it, one Frank Spencer, came out to collect his car, and after getting the axle repaired, he drove it back to Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland police also sent someone out, and the young men were carried back home to Ohio via the Nickel Plate.

Thus was the crime solved, and while James Chester's role in the drama was not very exciting, let us remember that "they also serve who only stand and wait."

NickelPlate1917
From the Hobart News of May 31, 1917.


Sources:
♦ "Marshal Rose Captures Auto Thieves." Hobart Gazette 20 Apr. 1917.
♦ "Marshal Rose Picks Up Six Young Auto Thieves Saturday A.M." Hobart News 19 Apr. 1917.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
(Random Pointless Photo)

NewYearsDaySkunkCabbage
(Click on image to enlarge)

Skunk cabbage on New Year's Day! Are these the new crop, or have they not yet died out from last year's crop? Is there any season without skunk cabbage?

(*sigh* Get out of the way, Maya, I'm trying to take a picture of the skunk cabbage.)