Friday, November 30, 2012

Calvin's Baby Booties

You remember Calvin Shearer, I'm sure.

I was delighted to find that the Hobart Historical Society museum has a pair of baby booties made for Calvin by his Aunt Bliss — probably in 1914, when he was born.

Calvin's booties
(Click on image to enlarge)

I certainly like to think it was Aunt Bliss's own hand cutting the scallops in the leather, sewing those tiny stitches and painting that lovely design. Three years ago I would have believed it without reservation; but these days such thoughts enter my head as that Aunt Bliss might have bought these for Calvin, and over the years in the telling and the understanding of this family story, "bought them" morphed into "made them herself" — in all good faith, for our minds play tricks on us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lillie and Alice

Today, just two grave markers, for two of the flu victims we read about yesterday.

In Hobart Cemetery, Lillie Rose Scholler's grave:

Lillie Rose Scholler
(Click on images to enlarge)

Not only do I not know, I do not even have any far-fetched theory as to why the year of her death is wrong.

She lies next to her parents …

Anna and Fred Rose

… not her husband. Calvin, as we now know, went on to marry again.

Lillie Rose 1909
Lillie Rose at the age of 18, from the Hobart High School Aurora yearbook for 1909. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

♦    ♦    ♦

In the quiet little Woodvale Cemetery, Alice Baker Shoup's grave:

Alice Shoup

She, too, lies next to her parents. I do not know if her husband remarried.

Her obituaries tell a little about her family. She was George and Harriet Baker's daughter, and thus William's sister. Her other siblings were George Jr., Robert (listed as John R. in the 1900 Census), Mrs. Thomas Keene, Mrs. Schuyler Hardesty, Mrs. John Sandberg and Ada Baker. The 1900 Census gives the three married sisters' first names as Lizzie, Alice and Susan, but I don't know which became which "Mrs."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not Spanish Influenza

The winter of 1920 was a sickly one, the prevailing complaint being flu — but no report called it Spanish influenza. The last News of January noted that although doctors around Hobart were being "kept on the go day and night," no one in town had yet died from the flu. After that hopeful remark came a list of out-of-town fatalities with local connections — a middle-aged dairy farmer, prominent in the business; Mrs. Louis Randolph, the former Ella Merrill, brought home to Merrillville for burial from South Chicago; in Miller, a 35-year-old husband and father, and two women who left husbands and children; a 35-year-old bachelor at Crown Point.

During the first week of February alone, 50 cases of flu were reported to Dr. Clara Faulkner, Hobart's health officer.

The "South of Deepriver" social column in early February was a sick list: Dorothea Crisman, a high-school student; the Deep River miller, Tony Cullman, and his two youngest children; Zelda and Thelma Huffman, 9-year-old twins; a 17-year-old farm boy, Richard Fisher, whose mother cut short a vacation in Missouri to return to his bedside — all ill with flu or its complications.

In Hobart, illness kept many children out of school, though the schools remained open. In the Calvin Scholler home, the two school-aged children came down with flu, and so did Calvin himself. His wife, the former Lillie Rose, nursed them through the worst of it; just as her patients began to recover, Lillie fell ill, and died on February 1 at the age of 29 — Hobart's first flu fatality that year. On the 7th, Carolina Ahrens, age 67, became another fatality. On February 11, flu took the life of George and Susan Schnabel's 9-month-old son, Robert.

Richard Fisher was taken from his parents' farmhouse to the hospital in Gary, where he died in spite of all the doctors could do. At her home in Deep River, Mrs. Frank Shoup — née Alice Baker — died of flu at the age of 33 years.

1920 Census.
♦ "Funeral of Mrs. Frank Shoup Held in Deep River, Wednesday." Hobart News 12 Feb. 1920
♦ "Funeral of Mrs. John Ahrens Held at Lutheran Church Tuesday." Hobart News 12 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 29 Jan. 1920; 12 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 6 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Mrs. Calvin Scholler Laid at Rest in Hobart Cemetery Wednesday." Hobart News 5 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Mrs. Calvin Scholler Passes Away." Hobart Gazette 6 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Much Sickness and Many Deaths In and About Hobart." Hobart News 29 Jan. 1920.
♦ "South of Deepriver." Hobart News 5 Feb. 1920.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dog on Wheels

This is my favorite piece in the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Dog side
(Click on images to enlarge)

It's a toy dog, on wheels so a child could pull it around by a string.

Why is it my favorite? First, because I'm a dog person! Secondly, because to me it looks handmade, and I can't help but think of all the best reasons why a person might want to make a toy like this for a child: love, kindness, generosity, playfulness, creativity.

It's sturdy, meant to be played with. Artistically, it could be described as rough, even crude … but I prefer to call it simple and effective. With a few lines it conveys the essence of a dog, a somewhat squat, muscular dog — maybe a bulldog. Though it would have been easier to cut the sides of the dog's body as a straight vertical plane, the maker went to the trouble of shaping them to suggest the contours of a real dog, and put in a few extra touches, like the mock collar, with decorative studs, and the curly-tipped tail.

Dog front

You can still see the traces of the face once painted on the dog: the eye on the side of the head, the nose, the red mouth.

Dog Face

I like to think that the dog lost its face and gained all those scars in the wood from hours and years of children's play.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Extreme Cuteness (Random Pointless Photo)

Extreme Cuteness
(Click on image to enlarge)

Buddy (puppy) and Circle (kitten).

I'm too busy looking after the kittens to take many kitten pics.

Get Me Off This Thing

From the Schavey envelope collection.

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

Here Baby doesn't seem to appreciate his/her walker, or pedal-less tricycle, or whatever you call it. Frankly, it looks as if it could be hazardous to Baby's health in the slightest accident.

No ID, so my saying that this could be one of the Breyfogle children is just so much hot air. Babies were a dime a dozen back then. Everybody had a bunch of them. Even when I was a baby, they were a dime a dozen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ross Township Trustee's Report for 1919

Many familiar names in this report!

Pearl Ols, Elsie Gruel, Olive Wood and Wilma Cullman teaching school … wagon repairs by Gust Lindborg … coal from Shearer & Emery, supplies from Charles Goldman, merchandise from William H. Wood … draying by James Chester and Lee Hunter, teams and labor from Mike Foreman and John Miller. Sam Campbell cut brush. Thomas Sullivan, William Springman, James Frame drove buses. Just to name a few.

Ross Twp Trustee Rpt 1919
(Click on images to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of Jan. 30, 1920.

Ross Twp Trustee Rpt 1919

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Not-So-Grim Reaper

From the Schavey envelope collection.

The Not-So-Grim Reaper
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Perhaps she's smiling; perhaps she's just squinting mightily against the sun. No air-conditioned cab on that reaper.

No date, no ID on this photo.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grief and Acceptance

More photos from inside the Hobart Historical Society museum.

This doll looks as if she will never stop grieving for the little girl who loved her.
(Click on images to enlarge)

This one is more philosophical. "To everything there is a season," she says. "A time to be loved, and a time to be a museum piece."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Severance and Yager Update

The last I heard, George Severance Jr. had supposedly re-enlisted in the army, but the 1920 census, while scarcely legible, seems to report him employed in a "wire works." He and Alberta were living in Rockford, Illinois now. Late in January 1920 they came to visit relatives and friends in this area, staying for a week with George's sister and brother-in-law, Pearl and George Yager, Jr., who lived at 337 Harrison Street in Gary. During the visit, the Masonic lodge in Hobart conferred upon George S. the degree of "Master Mason."

On February 8, on the farm in Ross Township, Agnes Severance (George's mother) gave birth to a little girl, Dorothy.

1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 29 Jan. 1920; 12 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 30 Jan. 1920.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bob and Harold

From the Schavey envelope collection.

Group of 4
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

No ID and no date, but the young woman second from left has that perfect 1920s "bob" haircut, and the one at far right has those Harold-Lloyd-style glasses that became so popular in the 1920s. Whoever those young women are, we've seen them before. I don't recognize the older couple with them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Little Boy's Hobby Horse

More photos taken in the Hobart Historical Society museum, this time of a hobby horse that dates to ca. 1900 and belonged to Carl Krausse. Carl was born in 1896, so he was about four years old when he began his adventures on this horse.

Hobby horse front
(Click on image for slideshow)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fire in the Five-and-Ten

Burt Thompson, Jr. closed up the 5 and 10¢ store shortly after 6:00 in the evening on Monday, January 26, 1920, and went home to his young wife, the former Elsie Sievert, and their new baby. And supper, and so to bed, and all was well.

A few hours later, all was not well.

Above the Thompsons' store, Dr. L.M. Friedrich and family lived on the second floor of the building that bore his name. Around 11:00 p.m., Mrs. Friedrich — sleeping badly because of a cold — awoke to the strong smell of smoke. She and her husband soon realized that somewhere on the first floor was a serious fire. The whole Friedrich family, including five children and the doctor's elderly father, fled the building and alerted the fire department.

The town's "fire whistle sounded twice, signifying urgency," and the firefighters arrived to find flames pouring out of a rear window, from fire in the back rooms on the first floor. Once attacked, the blaze was beaten down quickly — the Gazette "warmly commended" Chief Fred Rose, Sr. and his men for "efficient work." They had saved the building, and without flooding the basement, where the Thompsons stored merchandise.

Still, there was considerable damage, from both water and heat. The fire had consumed some merchandise and singed even more; it had burned the labels off the canned goods; it had even cracked the plate glass in the front windows of the store. Everything, of course, reeked of smoke. By the next morning, the store that Burt Thompson had carefully locked up the previous evening was a shambles. About 80 percent of the total merchandise was destroyed or damaged. Fortunately, the store was insured, as was the building itself.

But the fire had closed down the Thompsons' business, and even the second floor was uninhabitable at the moment. The store would need repair and redecoration before it could open again, and the Friedrichs had to find another home temporarily.

The Thompsons set about reconstructing their business. The next week's Gazette carried their announcement of a "salvage sale" of their damaged merchandise, which would allow them to recoup some of their loss. And they took the forced closure of their store as an opportunity to do some remodeling and redecorating; another six weeks, perhaps, and they hoped to re-open the "ten-cent store" with a bright new look and a fresh stock of merchandise.

♦    ♦    ♦

Below its report on the fire, the Gazette's front page carried a couple items bringing us the news that (a) Lee & Rhodes, the plumbers, were selling electric washing machines now, and (b) the proud new owners of the Deep River general store had just become the proud parents of a new baby girl as well.

♦ "Births." Hobart News 30 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Fire Ruins 10¢ Store Stock." Hobart Gazette 30 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 18 Mar. 1920.
♦ "Salvage Sale." Hobart Gazette 6 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Thompson Co. Store Damaged by Fire Monday Evening." Hobart News 29 Jan. 1920.
♦ "You Need a Washing Machine?" Hobart Gazette 30 Jan. 1920.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Anti-Bloggers (Random Pointless Photos)

Here's why it's so hard for me to get anything done lately!

Wrecking Crew
(Click on images to enlarge)

The Wrecking Crew: in front, Hypotenuse (left) and Circle (right); in back, Not Circle. I had to put these goofs in a box to get them to stay together long enough for me to get a picture.

Last weekend all four kittens (and I) got sick. This past week I have had to put antibiotics down four little gullets and eyedrops in eight little eyes, twice a day, in addition to all the feeding and cleaning. Three of the kittens seem to have mostly returned to health.

Here's the one that's not doing so well — Tangent, the runt of the litter.


She is not recovering from her illness, or thriving in general, as well as her siblings. She's so tiny and fragile I have to keep her in a separate basket because the Wrecking Crew plays too rough. The vet has warned me that this might be a case of "fading kitten syndrome."

As if the foster kittens weren't enough trouble, I now have a new permanent addition to the family.

Buddy in his bed

His name is Buddy. He is a little mutt, about five months old. He was abandoned (thrown out of a car) in Hammond, Indiana. A friend rescued him and took him home, but couldn't keep him because he was terrorizing her cats. Now he's terrorizing Robby. Anyway, I have to spend a lot of time playing with him so he'll be happy in his new home.

Here's Robby and Buddy playing.

Action 5

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mystery Equipment

From the Schavey envelope collection.

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

Mystery equipment 2

No information on these, and I don't have a clue what they are doing. Something important enough to go out and do it in the snow, but … what?

Friday, November 16, 2012


A story about Hupmobiles, and I wonder if the Roper brothers had to pay William Killigrew for his help, or if he jumped at the chance to drive a brand-new Hupmobile for free (even in the middle of January).

(Click on image to enlarge)

The Hupp Motor Company was located in Detroit. I suppose the cars had got to Chicago before anyone realized they were wanted in Hobart. A few weeks later the News commented on the small fleets of cars daily passing through Hobart, bound for Chicago from Detroit:

Autos through Hobart

♦    ♦    ♦

Here's what's coming up at the Gem Theater:

Gem Theater ad

I expected "Johnny Get Your Gun" to involve the recent war, but a little internet research taught me otherwise (if we can trust the internet — I haven't seen the movie).

♦ Advertisement. Hobart News 22 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 19 Feb. 1920.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 23 Jan. 1920.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Check Out My Ride

From the Schavey envelope collection.

Check out my ride
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

No ID, but doesn't he look a bit like Hat Guy?

The license plate dates to 1921. My vintage-car go-to guy thinks this might be a Chevrolet roadster that has been customized somewhat — though that wouldn't necessarily include the wheels; those (I am told) are called disk wheels and were fairly common standard wheels in the 1920s and 1930s.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That Bad-Luck Tractor

I don't know for sure that this was the same tractor that got broken into on Christmas Day 1919, but it makes a better story if we assume so.

Tractor wreck on Grand Trunk
(Click on image to enlarge)
From "Local and Personal," Hobart News, Jan. 22, 1920.

(And, as usual, the Harmses are partying.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Summer Love

From the Schavey envelope collection.

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

Awww! Aren't they cute? I love his straw boater.

No ID. Am I crazy, or is there some resemblance between this man and the soldier here? But I don't think it's the same young woman in both pictures.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Be Thou Faithful Unto Death!

We just recently saw Bertha Gernenz come into the world. Now, thanks to Ebay, we can peek into the future and see her receiving a very serious invitation.

Trinity-Gernenz postcard 1938
(Click on images to enlarge)

Trinity-Gernenz pc 1938 verso

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Family Reunion and National Drought

On January 14, 1920, William and Carrie Raschka had a visit from their niece, Mamie Olson, who was now about 30 years old, and studying to be a nurse. (Mamie, as you may remember, was the daughter of Charles and Luella (Chester) Olson.)

Raschka family reunion
(Click on images to enlarge)

♦    ♦    ♦

Two days later, the rest of the nation joined Indiana and the other pioneer dry states, as Prohibition-with-a-capital-P became the law of the land — on paper, anyway.

Prohibition in effect

The Gazette had off-handedly noted in its first issue of the year: "Many people throughout the country are dying from drinking wood alcohol." Without further explanation, we can only guess that this was in the already-dry states. But we've all heard the stories from the Prohibition era about people going blind or dying from bad bootleg liquor.

1920 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 2 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 22 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Nation Now Dry Under Amendment to United States Constitution." Hobart News 22 Jan. 1920.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lady Under Glass

More from the Hobart Historical Society museum. Here we have a dress that looks to date to (rough guess) the 1890s. I do not know for certain that it is authentic, or who it belonged to.

Lady under glass
(Click on images to enlarge)

It's a bit jarring to see that dress on that modern mannequin, because in the 1890s no respectable woman would have appeared in public wearing that shade of lipstick, or any lipstick at all. And I really don't think the exhibit is intended to portray a fallen woman!

The glass obscures the details of the dress — unfortunately, because what I can see of it is quite beautiful.

Lady under glass, detail

Looks like eggplant-colored velvet, trimmed with jet-spangled black lace.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Robby & Hypotenuse (Random Pointless Photo)

Robby and Hypotenuse
(Click on image to enlarge)

Hypotenuse is not from the same litter as the other three kittens I'm fostering. He* is a little older. Eats more solid food, needs less bottle-feeding.

I'm glad that Robby shows no inclination to eat any of the kittens.

*I don't know the gender of any of these kittens. I have enough trouble trying to keep them fed and clean, without taking the time to examine their private parts.

Smiling Girl

From the Schavey envelope collection.

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

Continuing on the theme of cute little girls with no ID, here's another. The photographer didn't focus very well, and then time was not kind to the photograph itself.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Gentle Bull and a Couple of Babies

Charles Boyd was (if I'm not mistaken) the son of Eli Boyd; Eli and his brother Levi were the "E. & L. Boyd" whose Holsteins were the ancestors of the cattle Charles was now selling, including the gentle bull. Charles probably intended to get out of farming — at any rate, he had done so by 1930.

Boyd sale; Fleck and Rhodes babies
(Click on image to enlarge)

And you will notice some familiar names in the "Births" column. Roberta Leona's mom was the former Daisy Raschka; this was her second child and first daughter. Mrs. George Rhodes had been Helen Mackey (and I hope she had found that lost velvet rabbit). This baby, Jane, was their second daughter. They would bring her home to a full household, as the Rhodeses lived with Helen's widowed mother, Ruth, who also provided a home for her other daughter, Martha, and Martha's husband of three months, Don Gilger — but if they occupied that sprawling house on Center Street, no doubt there was plenty of room for them all.

1900 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 16 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Births." Hobart News 15 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Public Sale." Hobart Gazette 16 Jan. 1920.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blacksmith Shop Interior

Since Monday I have been foster-parenting four baby kittens for the Hobart Humane Society. They are about three weeks old, just starting to eat solid food but still in need of regular bottle feeding. Nor have they figured out the litter-box thing yet. So, while they are cute as all get-out (I will try to get some pics soon), they take a lot of time and attention. Which is why I'm glad I have more museum photos to slap up here.

In the basement of the Hobart Historical Society museum is an exhibit showing the interior of a blacksmith shop, and much of the equipment in it came from Gust Lindborg's shop in Ainsworth:

Blacksmith shop
(Click on image to enlarge)

Click here to see the full set of photos from the blacksmith shop.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Her Four-Legged Friend

From the Schavey envelope collection.

Little Girl, Big Chair
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I have no clue who this adorable little girl is.

Just looking at the way the frame of that coal chute is set into the wall makes my trigger finger itch (caulk gun, I mean).

Empty milk bottle next to her. What is that battered, rusty-looking circular thing on the ground at right — an abandoned basketball hoop, maybe?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Death of Michael Baessler, Sr.

Michael Baessler, Sr. never lived in Ainsworth, but he fathered two Ainsworth-area farmers — Michael Jr. and John — so I ought to take note of his passing.

He was 80 years old and had buried all three of his wives and five of his eight children.

Obit, M. Baessler Sr.
(Click on images to enlarge)

(The News gives his first wife's name as Magdalena, but the Gazette here agrees with the 1870 census.)

His gravestone, in Hobart Cemetery:

Bassler, Michael

Beside him, his second wife, Louise (and thank heaven the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society/DAR transcribed these markers back when they were still legible!):

Bassler, Louise

In the next row over, his first wife, Wilhelmina, who died in 1875 (the inscription is in German):

Bassler, Wilhelmina

Beside her, three of their children (the first stone marking two graves):

Bassler, children

Bassler, Katharinia

(I can't read the names or dates, but according to the NWIGS listing, all three children died within four days of each other — on March 16, 19 and 20, 1877, aged 11, 4 and 15, respectively.)

Two babies were buried in Mosier Cemetery, in Porter County. According to the NWIGS listing of Union Township cemeteries, this first stone marks the grave of Anna Sophia, daughter of Michael and Menia Bassler, who died January 30, 1866, aged one year, ten months and 27 days.

Anna Sophia Baessler

Just beside it lies a completely illegible stone — small, suitable for a baby. The NWIGS volunteer was able to read "infant son of Michael and Menia Bassler," but even at that time the name and dates, if any, were illegible, and the stone broken.

Infant son Baessler

♦    ♦    ♦

As noted beside the obituary above, the Indiana legislature had just ratified the proposed 19th amendment to the Constitution.

1870 Census.
♦ "Death of an Aged Citizen." Hobart Gazette 16 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 8 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Michael Baessler, Sr., Dies at Home of His Daughter Wednesday." Hobart News 15 Jan. 1920.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 23 Jan. 1920.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jim's Wife's Mom's Sidesaddle!

Or: When an Amateur Historian Buys a Tripod

I finally coughed up the money for a tripod. I don't know why. But now I have to learn to use it, and how better than to photograph stuff in a dimly lit place without using the flash? Perfect excuse to go to the Hobart museum and take pictures. And so you, dear Readers, will be subjected to treated to some of the results.

The things I photograph won't necessarily have an Ainsworth connection, but this one does: a sidesaddle that belonged to Margaret Spencer, the mother of Effie Spencer, who married James Chester.

The seat is covered with a herringbone-patterned fabric (velvet, I think) that must have been beautiful when it was new.

Sidesaddle label
(Click on images to enlarge)

Sidesaddle detail


Sidesaddle 2