Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Split-Gill Polypore

Split-gill polypore, split side
(Click on images to enlarge)

I thought I had posted some pics of these before, but I can't find them, which is just fine because the pics I took before were even worse.

My mushroom book is out on loan at the moment, so I can't look up anything authoritative about these. A little internet looking-around reveals that their scientific name is Schizophyllum commune, and you can buy split-gill polypore extract if you want to.

I don't know which side is up on these things, so I just call it split side (above) and fuzzy side (below).

Split-gill polypore, fuzzy side

Found on a dead tree limb on the forest floor in Deep River County Park.

A Summer Party: The Menfolk
(Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Summer Party part 1
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

That moustache, that broad, flat nose, that wart … Oscar Carlson, is it you? (Seated second from the left.)

The photo is unidentified except as "No. 15". I don't recognize anyone else, although the man to the right of "Oscar" looks to me a bit like the man seated at left in this one. Not sure.

♦    ♦    ♦

[Update — 5/4/2012]

CK Melin has identified the man seated third from the left, wearing a necktie: Andrew Melin. Thanks, CK!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Second Wave

Patent medicine for flu 1918
(Click on image to enlarge)
A patent-medicine manufacturer tries to capitalize on the influenza epidemic, in this advertisement from the Hobart Gazette of Nov. 22, 1918.

George Sauter had the good fortune to be among the first 3,000 of Camp Custer's men, and the first of Hobart's soldiers, to be formally (and honorably) discharged from the service after the war's end. He came home on November 17. His army buddy, Fred Rose, Jr., remained at camp, hoping that he too would soon be a free man.

The town itself would soon be less free. The Spanish influenza had briefly receded, but now a second wave was bearing down. Over 30 new cases were reported on November 20 alone. Cautiously, Hobart's health officer, Dr. Clara Faulkner, re-imposed a partial quarantine, banning only "special meetings and dances." Schools, churches and "regular meetings" could operate as usual for the moment, but Dr. Faulkner pleaded with the townspeople to avoid crowds and to keep homes well ventilated and all public places clean. (Conditions were worse in Gary. There, schools and theaters had been closed again, the quarantine "tighter than ever.")

The Hobart town board had to postpone its regular semi-monthly meeting again — this time for lack of a quorum; too many members out with the flu. The newspapers' social columns became a litany of illness. Children, adults, whole families were laid low. Most recovered; some did not. Little Joseph Smelter died of influenza on his eighth birthday. Blanche Mellon died at 32 years of age, leaving a "truly heart broken" husband and six children — four of them sick with influenza. A 62-year-old woman, who some 20 year earlier had lived in Hobart, died of influenza at her home in Chicago, and was brought back to her former home for burial in the Hobart Cemetery.

As November drew to a close, the Gazette gave voice to a sense of helplessness: "Influenza has invaded dozens and dozens of homes in this vicinity during the past two weeks, and in instances every member of the family have been afflicted. It seems that few homes escape the disease this year, quarantine or no quarantine. No one seems to be immune. Whether one is careful or not careful, apparently makes no difference."

Thanksgiving was celebrated quietly.

1910 Census.
♦ "Clamp Again Placed on All Special Meetings and Dances." Hobart News 21 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Death of Mrs. J.E. Mellon." Hobart Gazette 29 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Deaths." Hobart Gazette 29 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 21 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 22 Nov. 1918.
♦ "People Must Be Careful." Hobart Gazette 22 Nov. 1918.
♦ "The Conditions Bad." Hobart Gazette 29 Nov. 1918.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Carlson Family? (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

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

I'm thankful for two things: (1) that one negative identified as "O.W. Carlson," and (2) O.W. Carlson's distinctive face. If he did not have that great mustache and that broad, flat nose with a wart on one side, he would not be so recognizable.

Surely that's Oscar up there. And who could be with him but his family? So the lady in the striped blouse is Beda, his wife. The young woman next to her is their only daughter, Hannah. And then their two youngest sons, Paul and Harry. Harry was only one year old in the 1900 Census. Here he looks about … what? — nine, maybe? That would date the photo to circa 1908, when Paul was about 13, Hannah 23, Beda 49, Oscar 53.

That's a lot of conjecture, but conjecture is my specialty.

The photographer identified this only as "No. 15." So technically it's unidentified.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Price of Farmland

Returning to the topic of land purchases remotely related to Ainsworth (yes, I still do sometimes pretend to be writing this blog about Ainsworth), I'm a bit surprised to notice how little noise has been made by the family of Fremont and Carrie Price — surprised, because they had nine children, and look what an impact Henry Chester and his three wives made with the same number. Apparently the Price children were better behaved. I've found occasion to mention the Prices only when their chicken coop got raided in 1916 and when Fremont served as treasurer for the Ross Township Red Cross drive in the spring of 1918.

Now the Prices get into the papers for the respectable activity of buying the Ross Township land they had farmed as renters for the past 12 years or so; namely, 80 acres at the northwest corner of (present-day) Colorado St. and 69th Ave., belonging to Willard O. Halsted.
Price land 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)
The Price farm as it appeared (all 77 acres of it) in the 1926 Plat Book.

The Prices paid $150 an acre for that land. That may have been high, but they were buying "one of the best pieces of farming land in Lake county." ("At least," added the Crown Point Star, "Mr. Price is of that opinion as this year the tract produced wheat that averaged 50 bushels to the acre.") Fremont intended to build a bungalow on the southeast corner of the land, and, according to the Gazette, "become a full-fledged citizen of that community" — whatever community that might be, between Merrillville and Ainsworth.

The Prices already owned land in Montana, a wheat ranch of some 480 acres near Big Sandy. In 1916, they proudly reported that their three eldest sons (Harry, Ray and Gordon) were managing that ranch with great success. A year later their next eldest son, James, followed in his brothers' footsteps to the Montana ranch.

In June 1918 James enlisted in the military; within a month he was in France, and soon in action.

Just about the time that they closed on their farmland purchase, the Prices received a letter from James, dated October 18. He told them he had been wounded in action October 2 — a German bullet in the shoulder — but he was already recovered, and "ready again for the trenches."

1926 Plat Book.
♦ "Another Lake County Hero." Hobart Gazette 27 Dec. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 5 Dec. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 22 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Price Boys Making Good." Hobart Gazette 14 Jan. 1916.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hobart High School circa 1910

Hobart High School ca 1910
(Click on images to enlarge)

Another image that serves no purpose but to show you what I've been spending my money on lately.

Here's the other side of the postcard.

Hobart High School ca 1910 verso

Friday, November 25, 2011

Trees of Ainsworth: Eastern Wahoo

Eastern Wahoo seed pod from below
(Click on images to enlarge)

No, I'm not really starting a "Trees" series! Especially not now, when all the trees have lost their leaves.

But I accidentally identified this because I thought at first that these cute pink-and-red things were wildflowers … until I noticed they were attached to a small tree. And when I found out the tree was called "Eastern Wahoo," how could I resist?

More boringly known as Eastern Burningbush, or Euonymous.

Per the Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: "The powdered bark was used by American Indians and pioneers as a purgative. 'Wahoo' was the native term."

This shot includes one of the few leaves that were left on the tree (late October).
Eastern Wahoo seed pods and leaf

Found in Deep River County Park.

The Continuing Adventures of Amelia and May Blachly

The widowed Amelia Blachly and her only daughter, May, had wandered back and forth a bit between Hobart and the Ainsworth area before moving all the way to Crown Point in 1917. After about a year there, they changed their minds yet again.

In November 1918, Amelia traded her Crown Point property with William Thompson, owner of the "old Thompson homestead on Fourth street" in Hobart. She intended to remodel the old Thompson house, which would be done by next spring, at which time she and May would once again become Hobart residents.

I don't know where the "old Thompson homestead on Fourth street" was. The Gazette reported a real estate transfer between the parties as: "44 ft. off east end lt. 47, Hobart. Wm. L. Thompson and wife to Amelia Ann Blachly, $1." We do see a Lot 47 at Fourth and Center in the "J" spur map.

♦ "Hobart Real Estate Transfers." Hobart Gazette 22 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Mrs. Amelia Blachly Trades Crown Point Property for Thompson Homestead." Hobart News 21 Nov. 1918.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Favorite Things (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

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

This is "No. 5." Same parlor as No. 4, and some of the same people, though our badge-wearing friend is gone. The man seated at the right in this photo was in the previous one. So too was the elderly lady at left, I believe, and maybe even the woman in the middle — it's hard to tell with her face so overexposed.

And they each picked some object to be photographed with. Who would have thought that work-roughened man would choose a cute little doggie statuette? The young man with his cornet (or is it a trumpet? I can't tell the difference) … the woman in the middle with her book … the woman at left isn't holding anything, but I think maybe the man in the portrait was her favorite thing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wheat and Light

"[T]he white loaf may return to its own," the News rejoiced, for the wheatless way of life was over. Two days after the war's end, the federal food administration suspended its wheat-conservation rules requiring the use of wheat substitutes in baking — but asked that patriotic Americans continue to use wheat sparingly. There were still armies to feed, as well as civilians in the war-torn regions of Europe.

Indiana's federal fuel administrator had been even quicker to say, "Let there be light!" The very day of the armistice, Evans Woollen sent telegrams to all of Indiana's county fuel administrators to let them know that lightless nights were a thing of the past.

♦    ♦    ♦

The day of the armistice, Edward Yager, fresh from the fields of his parents' farm southeast of Ainsworth, had boarded a train at Crown Point bound for an army camp somewhere in the southern U.S., where he would be transformed from farmer to warrior. He got as far as Logansport, Indiana, when he was intercepted by a telegram. We don't know who sent it, or exactly what it said, but its substance was: "Never mind!" The war was over, Ed was free to come home. His first day as a soldier was also his last.

On November 12, George and Agnes Severance received a letter dated October 21 from their flyboy, George Jr., now in France. He told them that he had been injured yet again, back on August 27 — how, he didn't say. The army had not reported that fact to his parents at George Jr.'s own request; he didn't want to trouble them. But within a few weeks he had recovered sufficiently to write his own letter, telling his folks at once that he had been wounded, and that there was nothing to worry about.

♦    ♦    ♦

Back in Hobart, Dr. Clara Faulkner had something to worry about. She, along with other health officials throughout the state, had felt safe in lifting the general quarantine early in November, as the influenza epidemic abated. But around the time of the armistice, she began to see an increase in new cases.

They were not necessarily fatal, as Hobart and surrounding areas seemed to have been spared the worst of what this strain of influenza could do. It could and did run through whole families: just recently August and Bertha Mueller and their five young children had all been down with the influenza, but now they were recovering, and August was even back at work; the same had happened to the family of Edward and Margaret Keilman, with eight children, all of them now recuperating. Just lately Eugene and Carrie Chandler and their two young daughters had fallen ill.

But in Hobart as elsewhere, this flu, when fatal, had an unnerving predilection for people in the prime of life. Two relatively young men had just been laid to rest in Crown Hill Cemetery, both victims of complications of influenza. Clement Griffin, a 34-year-old conductor on the Hobart streetcar line, had died November 8; John K.F. Johnson, 33 years old, had died in Chicago and been brought home for burial. Both men left wives too sick with influenza to attend their husbands' funerals.

For the moment Dr. Faulkner could only stay on the watch against a resurgence of the epidemic, as she considered the economic and social consequences of another quarantine, and the desirability of imposing new restrictions on these newly unrestricted people.

1920 Census.
♦ "Clement Griffin, Street Car Conductor, Dies of Influenza." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Deaths." Hobart Gazette 15 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Indiana Fuel Administrator Calls Off Lightless Nights Edict." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 15 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Wheat Rules Are Suspending by the Food Bureau on Tuesday." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Here We All Are (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Here We All Are
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Here is our badge-wearing friend and his family and/or friends, including one who could be with them only in memory. I mean the guy in the portrait on the easel.

No one identified; only "No. 4." Same parlor as in No. 3.

I wonder who that other guy is, in the picture on the wall. To me he looks a bit like Mr. Badge in his younger days.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rumors of Peace, and Peace

Around noon on November 7, word reached Hobart that Germany had surrendered and the war was over. According to the News, "A parade was at once formed in order to give vent to feelings of those who took part, many of whom had sons in France." The newspaper went to press with a bold headline: "Germany Surrenders" — followed by a more tentative sub-head: "Accepts Allies Peace Terms?" and a comment that the report was attributed to the Chicago Herald-Examiner, the source of a similar but erroneous report on October 6. The parade may have gone forward, but apparently the general celebration fell apart as uncertainty mounted. (An unnamed source in Gary later bragged about not having fallen for the rumor at all, stating: "We kept right on making munitions.") By 2:00 p.m., though the United Press was repeating the peace story, the Associated Press quoted Secretary of State Robert Lansing as saying that the government had "not been advised of peace being signed." By the time Friday's Gazette went to press, it could do no more than tack a big, bold question mark onto a big, bold headline: "Germany Accepts Peace Terms?" The weekend passed quietly.

And so, when whistles shattered the silence at 4 a.m. on November 11, people were slow to react. Feverish flu patients heard the noise, and wondered if it wasn't just another crazy dream; tired parents beside their children's sickbeds heard it, and had not the energy to make inquiries. People who had thrown themselves wildly into previous celebrations now heard the report of peace and hesitated between "Third time's the charm" and "Fool me thrice …?"

But as the hours passed and dawn came, so did confirmation. This time it wasn't just a rumor. This time it was really and truly true. The war was over.

By 9 a.m. no one doubted any longer. Hobart declared a general holiday. All the businesses and schools closed. People poured into the streets. The crowd gathered around the high school building and formed itself into a parade, led by Marshal Fred Rose, Sr., with Benjamin Graham as color bearer, both riding horses supplied by Ross Graham, whose six-year-old son rode a little pony all decked out for the occasion. Next came the members of Company K, bearing the new quick-firing rifles they had received just the week before. Swarms of children carried flags, bunting and such decorations. They were followed by trucks full of young people "with every conceivable instrument and device for making a noise." The only noise-makers they lacked were fireworks.

The noisy crowd marched as far north as "Canada," as far south as the "J" tracks, and then assembled just south of the Nickel Plate tracks. There attorney Roscoe R. Peddicord led the cheers for "President Wilson, the allied generals in France, the American soldier boys, and the mothers of those in service." After the cheering came a moment of silent prayer. And then the crowd broke up. Hundreds of them, including Company K, left for Gary. That town was now making up for its calmness the previous week. Its parade went on for blocks, its celebration for hours. All the steel mills shut down, their workers free to rejoice in the streets. "Broadway was one mass of humanity," said the News.

Even the regular Hobart town board meeting, scheduled for that evening, was postponed; how could anyone attend to such mundane business at a time like this? — The war to end war had been won. The world was at last made safe for democracy.

♦ "A Welcome Peace." Hobart Gazette 15 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Germany Accepts Peace Terms?" Hobart Gazette 8 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Germany Surrenders." Hobart News 7 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Hobart Celebrates End of the World War Monday." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 14 Nov. 1918.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Carry a Badge (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Mr. Badger, No. 3
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The photo is too unfocused to allow us to read either what's stamped on his badge, or the year on the calendar.

The parlor is modestly genteel, but he looks as if he's not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Identified only as "No. 3."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For
(Random Pointless Photo)

Be Careful Bug
(Click on image to enlarge)

Yesterday I found this tiny bug in my house. It was sitting on the window, gazing longingly through the frosted glass at the bright morning sunshine outside … where the temperature was in the upper 30s. In this case I figured the bug was better off desiring than attaining.


At the end of October 1918 word came from Indianapolis that the capital was back to business as usual, having lifted its flu quarantine, and state authorities expected the quarantine could be lifted by the next weekend wherever local conditions allowed. Only 48 of Indiana's 92 counties had reported new influenza cases in the past week. Lake County had "been hit very hard with the epidemic," according to the Hobart News, "particularly Hammond, East Chicago and Indiana Harbor," but now even East Chicago planned to keep its schools, churches and places of amusement closed only through midnight on November 2. In Hobart, Dr. Clara Faulkner predicted that Hobart could do the same, as she had seen a fall-off in reports of new flu cases, though the Gazette commented that there was "still considerable sickness." Valparaiso was dealing with an outbreak of smallpox as well, but it had not spread to the Hobart area.

Dr. Faulkner's prediction was correct. On the morning of Sunday, November 3, churches were once again free to hold public services. Businesses were free to open again, and presumably the drugstores and ice-cream parlors could bring back their chairs and turn on their "electric pianos" again. On Monday morning, the schools re-opened, and those students and teachers well enough to attend had to start trying to catch up on four weeks' lost work.

If the epidemic seemed to be over, at least locally, the war effort was going full steam ahead. Dr. Dwight Mackey was well on his way to France; Edward Abel was to follow him. Stateside, George Wood left the village of Deep River, and George Smith (Sela Smith's son) left Hobart, both bound for southern aviation camps. Another four Hobart men were ordered to entrain for Camp Wadsworth at Spartansburg, South Carolina. George Sauter and Fred Rose, Jr. finally got to come home on leave from Camp Custer — but only 24 hours' leave.* It remained to be seen whether Herbert Hoover's prediction of another year of war would prove correct.

*Perhaps that leave was the occasion of those three photos I posted earlier, since I now think the previously unidentified man with Fred Rose, Jr. was George Sauter.

♦ "Boys Called to Service." Hobart Gazette 25 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Health Conditions Better." Hobart Gazette 1 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Influenza Epidemic Reported on Decrease Over the State." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 25 Oct. 1918; 1 Nov. 1918; 8 Nov. 1918.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jane Eleanor Spray

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

The undated image above shows Jane Spray as a young woman, proud of her flowing tresses.

Her obituary, from the Hobart Gazette of November 1, 1918:

Jane Spray Passes Away

The community was surprised and friends and relatives deeply grieved to learn of the sudden death of Miss Jane Spray last Friday, as only a few were aware of her late illness, which was for only a few days. Although enfeebled from heart trouble for several years, and a great sufferer at times, she was about until Saturday prior, when she became ill from a cold, pronounced influenza, which became intense and developed into pneumonia in left lung. She was completely conscious all the time, and the end came suddenly and peacefully. Although serious, as might be expected, her condition was not realized by the family as dangerous. The passing away was like the exhaustion of a burning taper, without the slightest degree of emotion or warning.

Jane Eleanor Spray was born in Hobart, Ind., and was the daughter of Reason and Phoebe (Stearns) Spray, both deceased, and died at the home of her sister, Mrs. A.J. Smith, at 1 o'clock Friday morning, Oct. 25, 1918. One sister and a nephew, Harold Stroupe, survive. Her entire life had been spent in this community. About thirty years of her life were spent serving the public in a business way. When the late Geo. Stocker became postmaster in 1885 Miss Spray became his clerk, and in 1889 she was appointed postmistress, which office she held for seventeen years, and when the late C.O. Johnston became her successor she became his assistant. Her work in the local postoffice covered a period of about a quarter of a century. Serving the public was to her liking and enjoyment. For five years she managed a news stand, but her health conditions necessitated her retirement to private life.

She was a member of several societies and organizations, such as the Woman's Reading Club, the Magazine Club, the Priscillas, and at one time of the Lady Maccabees and Rebekahs. Her membership in the Woman's Reading Club was from its very early organization, and was continuous, although of late her health did not permit the activity she most desired.

Her marked womanly attainments endeared her to many friends, who completely enjoyed her association, and her passing from our midst is sorrowful and lamentable. While possessed with marked likes and dislikes for all things human, her frankness was most admirable. By her good cheer and usefulness, she will be long in the minds of her acquaintances and dear friends.

A private funeral was held at the home at 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon, Rev. J.A. Ayling of Crown Point, former pastor of the local M.E. church, officiated, and Mrs. Wm. Earle sang two favorite songs. The interment was made in the family lot in the Hobart cemetery.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The Fourth Liberty Loan drive, drawing to its close in late October 1918, was a success. Lake County exceeded its quota by over $2 million; Hobart's quota had been $139,760, and its subscriptions amounted to $154,150 — this, in spite of the ravages that three previous Liberty Loan drives had wrought on local pocketbooks, and in spite of the influenza epidemic that had shut down public meetings throughout the state.

The flu was still spreading. Word came up from Indianapolis that health officials planned to extend the state quarantine until November 2. Hobart's health commissioner, Dr. Clara Faulkner, stated that while the disease had treated Hobart with unusual mildness, some 150 cases had been reported to her in less than a month. Dr. C.C. Brink said that he had treated 100 cases in the last two weeks, adding that he expected shortly to receive an order of anti-flu vaccine — useless, of course, but neither he nor his patients could know that.

Among the flu victims were six of Ross Graham's horses. Two died; the other four were expected to recover.

Human patients included Myrtle Guernsey, who lay ill at the Walter Blachly farm west of Ainsworth — she had returned from several months' stay in Montana just in time for the epidemic. West of Hobart, a delirious flu patient rose from his bed and wandered half-dressed around the neighborhood, brandishing a shotgun, until frightened neighbors sent for Marshal Fred Rose, Sr., who apparently got the man back to bed without violence. A 23-year-old employee in Charles Gruel's butcher shop fell ill with flu and was put to bed in the Gruel home where, in spite of the family's nursing, he died of pneumonia.

At Camp Custer in Michigan, the quarantine that had cancelled George Sauter's leave of absence did him no good: he caught the flu in camp. "For a few hours he was not expected to recover," said the Gazette, "but he did." Carl Halfman was not so fortunate — he died in camp of pneumonia on October 19, 23 years old, and not even two months a soldier; his remains were sent home for burial in the Turkey Creek cemetery. (The News soon reported that nearly 70 officers at Camp Custer were facing disciplinary action for carelessness or willful disregard of orders relating to the army's anti-epidemic measures.)

On October 25, Hobart lost a prominent and beloved figure: Jane Spray, who in her younger days had served as the town's postmistress for 17 years. While the News attributed her loss to the "heart trouble" from which she had suffered for several years, the Gazette (co-owned and edited by her brother-in-law) suggested that pneumonia developing from influenza had precipitated her death.

The following day, Dr. Faulkner — apparently troubled by the carelessness with which townspeople congregated in public places of refreshment — ordered local drugstores, soft-drink and ice-cream parlors to remove their chairs and shut off their "electric pianos." Furthermore, she warned, if in spite of such discomforts crowds persisted in gathering, she would close down those businesses altogether.

The October 24 issue of the News that carried the good news about the Liberty Loan drive and the bad news about the influenza epidemic also printed a statement attributed to Herbert Hoover, head of the U.S. Food Administration, who said, "There is no prospect of a proper ending of the war before the campaign of the summer of 1919."

♦ "Closing Order May Hold For Another Week Is Report." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Dies of Pneumonia." Hobart Gazette 1 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Health Commissioner Issues Strict Closing Orders Last Saturday." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Hobart Goes Nicely Over Top in Fourth Liberty Loan Drive." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Hobart 'Over the Top.'" Hobart Gazette 25 Oct. 1918.
♦ Indiana Historical Commission. Indiana World War Records. Gold Star Honor Roll. A Record of Indiana Men and Women who died in the service of the United States and the Allied Nations in the World War. 1914 – 1918. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission, 1921.
♦ "Jane Eleanor Spray Passes Away Friday from Heart Trouble." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Jane Spray Passes Away." Hobart Gazette 1 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Kurt Seifert Passes Away at Midnight of Pneumonia." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918; 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 25 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Of General Interest." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "The End of the War." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Old Mill circa 1908

Old Mill, PM 1908
(Click on images to enlarge)

Another recent Ebay acquisition, a postcard postmarked 1908. I think this photo is the basis for the colorized version on the Downtown Hobart site. Coloring a photo makes it more vibrant but also can obscure some details. In this case, the large building on the west side of Lake George is a little clearer in the black-and-white version. Not clear enough, since I still can't tell what it is. An ice house, maybe?

Cute message on the reverse:

Old Mill, PM 1908, verso

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Generations? Three? (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

9/1/2018 update — We have a tentative identification for these men from Diann Van Stright House, who says: "I believe they are: standing, Louis Heidtmann (1864-1937), sitting on right, Fred Heidtmann (1861-1935) (Sophia [Gousloff Heidtmann]'s sons, names may be switched) and the man on the left I believe is Frances [Heidtmann's] husband, Adam Diedrich (1862-1903)" — Adam being Diann's great-grandfather. After all, this is not a multi-generational portrait; these men are each other's contemporaries.

Adam Diedrich died in January 1903 (Indiana Death Certificates), so if he is in this photo, I am probably wrong in assigning a date of "not before 1905" to the related photo of the four generations of women. Surely the men's and women's portraits were taken on the same occasion.

Adam, a Catholic, is buried in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, while his wife, a Lutheran, is buried in Hobart Cemetery.

Two Generations, Who Knows
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Posing in front of that familiar painted lady, here we see the menfolk appertaining to the four generations of women we saw previously. I'm not sure how many generations we have here.

Identified only as "No. 52."

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm
After They've Seen Gary?

At a meeting of the Lake County Farmers' Association on October 25, 1918, the members adopted a resolution addressed to the Board of Industrial Advisers for District No. 1, at Laporte, Indiana, begging the Board to grant all draft deferments requested by agricultural workers. The farmers of lower Lake County were losing their workers, not just to the draft, but to industries of upper Lake County.

And all those former farmhands and other factory workers swelling the populations of the northward towns had to be fed. Lake County farmers shipped their produce to all the nearby industrialized areas: Chicago, Gary, Indiana Harbor, Whiting and Hammond, to name a few. The area's farming leaned heavily toward dairy (over 60%) — a specialty that, according to the Farmers' Association, required workers of "exceptional ability," as did the increasingly complex machinery in use on farms of all types. A good worker who left the farm could not be replaced with just anybody. But farmers simply could not offer working conditions competitive with those found in the factories. Farm work was as dirty, dangerous and hard as factory work, but industrial workers had steady, year-round employment, comparatively high wages, six-day weeks — and some even had eight-hour days! Small wonder that men and boys were leaving the fields and barns and heading toward the smokestacks. No one could stop them; all the farmers were asking was that the military not take those who were willing to stay.

As the corn harvest began, the labor shortage was acute. The new county agricultural agent, Virgil Place, offered his help to farmers who found themselves without sufficient manpower for the corn husking.

♦ "Farmers' Organization Takes Action." Hobart Gazette 1 Nov. 1918.
♦ "Farmers' Organization Takes Action." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Free Farm Building Plans." Hobart Gazette 15 Nov. 1918.

(You can find a 1919 recording of "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)" here.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Four Generations (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

8/29/2018 update — At last we have found out who these women are! Clockwise from the upper left: Frances Heidtmann Diedrich (1872-1956); her daughter, Grace Diedrich Rutz (1892-1983); Frances' mother, Sophia Gousloff Heidtmann (1836-1909); and Sophia's mother, Mary Heintz Gousloff (1814-1910). This information comes to us from Diann Van Stright House, who is Grace's granddaughter. We can thus date the photo prior to May 9, 1909, when Sophia died (Indiana Death Certificates) … and since Grace seems to be in her early to mid-teens, probably no earlier than 1905. The Heidtmann family appears in Hobart in the 1880 Census and the 1900 Census (two households), but the surviving members had moved to Hammond by the time the 1910 Census was taken.

Diann adds: "The mysterious lady in the picture frame I am almost positive is Sophia's daughter and Frances' sister, Mary Heidtmann (1867-1887)."

Four Generations 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

… or is it five? Clockwise from upper left, I think we have mother, daughter, grandmother and great-grandmother, but whose portrait is that on the wall? — great-great-grandmother's? … No, probably not. Her sleeves (woman's in the portrait, I mean) look like the early 1890s, but her face is young. Perhaps she is the mother, 20 years earlier.

This photo is identified only as "No. 53."

The photographer took another shot within a few seconds, probably, identified as "No. 54."

Four Generations 2

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Pioneer Gone

I was mistaken about the degree to which Benjamin Case distinguished himself among the pioneers of Ross Township by his unmarried and childless condition. Just about a month after Benjamin's death, another bachelor pioneer followed him — Levi Boyd.

Levi and his twin brother, Eli, had settled in the Lake County area in 1848, according to the Rev. T.H. Ball's biographical sketch (although the 1850 census found them in Michigan). They lived and farmed together always, even after Eli married and started a family — they were "inseparable through life" and held their property jointly. And that property had grown to be considerable over the years; by 1918 Levi owned some "965 acres of Lake county's finest land." He had lost his twin brother in 1911, and was living with a nephew, Alex, the Ross Township Trustee.*

Levi died on October 29, 1918, a week after suffering a paralyzing stroke. He was 82 years old, well known in the area and, according to his obituary, well beloved — "a generous and liberal man who numbered his friends by the score, and it is said of him that he had not an enemy in the world."

And so, another pioneer gone; another veteran of the Civil War as well, for he had fought with the 99th Indiana Infantry and been wounded in July 1864; another "staunch republican" who had cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln.

*Another nephew, Warren, had been Lizzie Sauter's first husband.

1850 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 25 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Eli Boyd Dies." Hobart Gazette 24 Mar. 1911.
Lake County Encyclopedia.
♦ "Levi A. Boyd, Lake County Pioneer Passes Away Last Tuesday." Hobart News 31 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 1 Nov. 1918.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wettengel House, Part 3

Either this was a bad photo to start with, or it was badly reproduced. On the back, someone wrote "Wittinberg house," and underneath that someone else wrote "Wettengel?" No date. You can't see much of the women's fashions but to me they suggest the 1890s, perhaps early 1900s.

Wittinberg or Wettengel house
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

You can see that they put a lot of work into that garden.

The two photos below are undated, but the car in the first is a 1941 Ford Coupe (thanks, R.F.!). On the back of both, someone has written, "Wettengel's             Georgiana St."

Wettengel's, Georgiana St.

Wettengel's, Georgiana St.

That's it for now. I seem to remember at least one more "Wettengel house" photo on the display boards that I forgot to check when I was at the museum getting these. One of these days when I have time …

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wettengel House, Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

This postcard was not used, so no postmark, but since the photo is attributed to August Haase, we can guess it was taken sometime between 1902 and circa 1912, and the postcard produced after 1907.

Wettengel's Flower Garden by Haase
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Another Haase image, this particular one from an 8" x 10" reproduction of what was probably a postcard. Going by yesterday's pictures, this appears to be a south view of the house and garden.

Wettengel's Flower Garden. Photo by A.F. Haase

That guess is supported by handwritten notes on the back of this unused postcard: "Wettengel house from south."

One of Hobart's Gardens, greeting postcard

A colorized version of that image, on a used postcard.

One of Hobart's Gardens

Unfortunately, the postmark is not clearly legible. To me it looks like 1911.

One of Hobart's Gardens, verso

More to come.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wettengel House(?), Part 1

I am now going to post a bunch of pictures of a house and garden, purportedly belonging to the Wettengel family. And furthermore I'm going to drag it out over several days, because I've got all kinds of stuff going on right now and it's easier to post pictures than to read microfilm and write stories.

And so, let us begin. These photos are undated. Someone wrote descriptions on the back, someone else typed them up as captions when the photos were put in plastic and backed with cardboard so they would hold up as posterity mauled them about.

For this first one, I scanned the caption as well as the photo.

Wettengel house, southwest view
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This one is described as "Wettengel house, east view."

Wettengel house, east view

This sadly unfocused one is "Wettengel house, south view."

Wettengel house, south view

More to come.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's So Funny? (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

What's So Funny?
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The young fellow seated at right ruined the picture by laughing just as the shutter opened.

This photo is identified only as "No. 28." But that young woman in the white dress looks familiar, even if we don't know her name — we've seen her before, here, and here, even wearing the same dress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Accuser Comes Forward

Now this is getting interesting! As I mentioned previously, the newspapers had not named the person(s) who had gone to the Lake County Council of Defense accusing B.W. Strattan of unpatriotic conduct. But after B.W. had the Hobart News reprint the Council's letter of exoneration, an accuser came forward and named herself. Just a week later, the News printed the statement of Margaret Newman (wife of Paul, the hardware-store owner) telling her side of the story:
Following is the exact conversation that took place between Benjamin W. Strattan and myself in Edward Batterman's blacksmith shop where I had gone as a lieutenant to sell Fourth Liberty Bonds. I had failed to sell Mr. Batterman a bond. Mr. Strattan came in at that time and I said, "Mr. Strattan, won't you help me sell Mr. Batterman a bond?" Mr. Strattan said, "When me and my family have what we need and I have my bills paid and I have a surplus I might donate to the Red Cross or buy Liberty Bonds, but until we have what we need and I have my bills paid and I have a surplus I'll not donate to the Red Cross or any other damn thing."

I did not have Mr. Strattan cited on account of him not buying bonds. I had him cited on account of the language and the statements he made to me. Did I do right or did I do wrong? I am willing the people of Hobart should decide.
I suppose the small-town rumor mill was already bandying her name about, so she had little to lose by coming forward; and perhaps stung by the respectful, even apologetic, tone of the Council's letter to B.W., she wanted to make clear what she thought his offense had been.

I don't know how B.W. proved to the Council that his wartime behavior had been (in the Council's words) "not only commendable, but extremely patriotic" — he might have shown them receipts for all his Liberty Bond subscriptions and Red Cross donations.

Margaret may have overreacted by denouncing B.W. to the Council of Defense instead of chalking the episode up to an old man's crankiness, but at the time her only son, Everett, was in harm's way in France, so who can blame her if her nerves were on edge?

And if you're a member of Council of Defense in 1918, and you're faced with a Liberty Bond volunteer, the mother of a soldier, accusing someone of swearing at her in the course of her patriotic work — well, you have to do something, don't you?

All at once I have much more sympathy for everyone involved in this mess.

Source: "Mrs. Paul Newman Makes Answer to B.W. Strattan." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family on Front Porch (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

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

From the big box of glass-plate negatives, identified only as "No. 58." Might be an extended family — the way that woman, third from the right, has her arm slung over the child's chair looks proprietary to me.

Nice house, nice family. Brick sidewalk leading up to and around the house. Chair in the side yard for enjoying the open air. Privy in the back yard.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Main Street Looking South from Front

Main Street, color, undated
(Click on images to enlarge)

Look what I got on Ebay. It's a postcard, unused, undated, but we can guess roughly circa 1907-1912. I posted a similar postcard earlier, but that one wasn't colorized!

Here's the back.

Main Street, color, undated, rev.

I'm now on Blogger Slacking Time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hobart-Gary Streetcar Stops, Oct. 1918

From the Hobart News of Oct. 3, 1918.

Streetcar stops 10-1-1918
(Click on image to enlarge)

I would be confused by that "E., J. & E. Railway Crossing" if I didn't know that the "J" then had a spur track that crossed Third Street, although its main line did not. (See map here.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enough Gas, Enough Daylight

Patriotic vigilantes would have to find something else to be vigilant about: on Saturday, October 20, 1918, the federal fuel administration cancelled "gasless Sunday." The country's gasoline reserves had been sufficiently replenished, so people could go driving around for pleasure as well as to church on Sunday. However, on that first unrestricted Sunday, "the great rush which was expected did not materialize," the Hobart News noted, "perhaps due to the rainy and threatening weather" — or perhaps due to the fear that the word had not spread to all the paint-wielding patriots in the area.

At the same time, the federal government decided it had enough daylight, and Congress allowed clocks across the nation to be turned back one hour, over the objections of the War Industries Board chairman.

The Indiana fuel administrator did not feel so confident about the coal supplies, and urged people to lay in their winter's coal supply now in order to avoid the shortages that had made the previous winter so miserable.

♦ "Clocks to Be Turned Back One Hour at 2 a.m. October 27." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Fuel Administrator Advises Householders to Lay in Coal Supply." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Fuel Administrator Lifts Gasoline Ban Effective Last Sunday." Hobart News 24 Oct. 1918.