We are lucky enough to have Minnie's own account of their courtship, from a booklet I found in the Harms genealogy file at the Hobart Historical Society museum. Entitled "The Harms Family of Hobart 1829-1992," the booklet seems to have been composed by Rheinhart Harms (Minnie and Herman's firstborn), whose own remarks supplement an essay written by Minnie (or perhaps told to Rheinhart by Minnie) over the years between 1952 and 1983. Here is what Minnie had to say about Herman and herself:
Boy Meets Girl — Minnie and HermanI was born on a farm at 43rd. and Georgia (south Gary) and in 1906 moved with my family to a farm west of Wisconsin street in Hobart (across from the present Cressmoor golf course). My father, William Rossow donated land for the Gary-Hobart street car tracks. The old farm home still stands near the tracks.* I attended the Hobart Consolidated school but quit in 9th grade to attend Gary Business college for 12 months. Although I had met Herman in 1911, we didn't go steady until 1913. We might take a buggy ride after church on Sunday or go to a movie in the Stratton building or in the Fiester building where the newest hits were flashed on the screen. One I remember so well, "Could you grow fond of a nice young blonde if you loved a sweet brunette?".** The street car line was built from Hobart to Gary. Herman drove John Berndt's*** team for scraping and pulling stumps out of the way. One Saturday evening in the dead of winter, Herman asked my folks if we could get married. They agreed for he was handsome, polite and very considerate of them and me and also my sisters. He had attended the funeral of my stillborn brother in 1912 and just seemed to fit in our family.
Our wedding at 2:30 pm June 2, 1915 was one of the largest ever held in Hobart with nearly 400 guests in attendance. The church service by pastor Schuelke included music by the choral society of which the bride and groom were members. A special car on the interurban carried many of the relatives and guests to the church services and back to the Rossow home. The celebration lasted throughout the night with plenty of food and drink for all. A dancing platform had been erected adjoining the house. Music was provided by an Italian orchestra of four pieces. The Commercial club band, in which the groom played clarinet, came out at 10 pm to participate in the festivities. I was 18 and Herman was 21.
We began farming the day after our marriage.
*The house is no longer standing; I am told that it was near the current location of Foremost Liquors, 428 N. Wisconsin St.
**Music by Theodore F. Snyder, lyrics by Monroe E. Rosenfeld (1909). Sheet music here.
***John Berndt had married Herman's sister, Minnie, in April 1909.
The earliest dated postcard (some have no date, or none legible) was sent January 7, 1912.
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.
"Helen" may have been Helen Conrad, a friend of Minnie's whom I know nothing about.