Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fisher, Farmer, Auto Mechanic

If William G. Fisher planted any crops on his rented farm in the spring of 1921, apparently someone else would have to harvest them. Though he and his wife (née Jennie Hurlburt), along with their seven children, had spent the winter of 1920-21 in Florida, they returned early in April, in time for planting. But by early summer, they left Ross Township for the town of Hobart, the farming life for the auto-repair business, and their farmhouse for the "MacPherson house on Main street, formerly occupied as a boarding house" (exact location unknown).

The Fishers had purchased the Nickel Plate Garage building from F.D. Barnes, but would not take possession until January 1, 1922. Awaiting that happy day, William and his two eldest sons, Floyd (21) and Lester (20), would operate their auto-repair business out of the old whip factory building.

1920 Census.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 2 June 1921.
♦ "Return From Southland." Hobart Gazette 8 Apr. 1921.
♦ "South of Deepriver." Hobart News 2 Dec. 1920; 9 June 1921.
♦ "W.G. Fisher Buys Nickel Plate Garage Bldg. of F.D. Barnes." Hobart News 9 June 1921.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Liza Bruebach

From the steamer trunk.

2014-7-27. 7a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images above and immediately below courtesy of E.H.

This striking young woman is Liza Bruebach. According to notes on the back of the original, the photo was taken circa 1911, at which time Liza was 27 years old.

2014-7-27. 7b

I know very little about her. I can't find her outside the 1910 Census. I've been told by a relative that Liza was married and then divorced, but neither that relative nor I can find any documentation.

The Hobart Historical Society has another photo of her, undated, but judging by appearances I think it was taken some years earlier.

2014-7-27. Bruebach - Liza
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

She is so nicely dressed up that you'd think it one of those confirmation or eighth-grade-graduation* photos; on the other hand, would she strike such a casual pose for those important occasions? — that suggests quite a lively personality. If this was a confirmation/graduation photo, it would probably date to the late 1890s. The photographer can be placed at that address from 1886 to 1900.

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Liza now rests in the mausoleum of the Bruebach family in Crown Hill Cemetery, Hobart.

2014-7-27. Bruebach mausoleum

*I can't find any record of her having completed high school.

Friday, July 25, 2014

From Hard to Soft, Again

Martin Scheer proved a flash in the pan. The next we hear of the Hillman soft-drink parlor, the business of the late Fred had been bought, and the room of the surviving John rented, by Jake Ittel and Bert Ream.

Jacob Ittel was the son of a saloonkeeper (and the brother-in-law of the former Bessie Ols). By the age of 23 Jake had been in the saloon business — either in partnership with his father, or on his own; eventually he did have his own saloon, and he employed Bert Ream as his bartender.

Of course, the prohibition of alcohol had put an end to that. Unlike John Hillman, who smoothly converted his saloon to a soft-drink parlor, Jake Ittel had closed the doors of his and gone off to do goodness knows what, for I can't find him in the 1920 census, while Bert Ream went into the steel mills.

(Incidentally, we've met other members of Bert's family before, he being a son of Henry and Josephine Ream; we've also seen a photo of "Bertie" as a child.*)

But now Jake and Bert were in business together again, and it was not so very different from their old saloon days. Indeed, given all the reports we've seen of drunkenness and the brewing of illicit liquor, I suspect their new soft-drink parlor may have been even less unlike their old saloon than you'd think, only now they had to keep any hard stuff hidden.

*I suspect the Edith "Reams" of the caption was Bertie's five-year-old sister.

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "The Hillman Stand Re-Rented." Hobart Gazette 3 June 1921.
WWI Draft Cards.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ainsworth School circa 1913

From the Lester Harms collection.

2014-7-23 lh001
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

Handwritten on the back of the original:
old school picture
Ainsworth school
Bliss Shearer and Mr. Sietz teachers
"Les" would be Lester Harms, but I can't tell which of these children is Les.

Based on Bliss Shearer's 1912 high-school portrait, I believe she is in the back row, standing against the clapboards between the two doors.

The photo is undated. I'm not sure what training was required to teach elementary school circa 1912, but it's possible that Bliss spent the 1912/1913 academic year in training. The earliest we know she was teaching was the 1913/1914 year. And it's likely she retired from teaching upon her marriage to Paul Emery in the summer of 1915. So we can date this photo roughly between autumn 1913 and spring 1915.

I have not been able to find out anything about the other teacher, "Mr. Sietz."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back Home Again

Richard Chapman was allowed to return to his foster home in time to celebrate his ninth birthday. If the Dunhams believed that Richard's stay at the "home of the friendless" had cured his problems, I expect they found out otherwise before long.

2014-7-21. Chapman
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local and Personal." Hobart News 26 May 1921.

Also, a "South of Deepriver" social column.

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While I haven't discovered what Richard did to get sent away in the first place, I have learned where he went: to the Julia E. Work Training School in Plymouth, Indiana.

The records from that institution record only the barest facts about him.

2014-7-21. Register NIOH
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Indiana State Digital Archives.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sweet Things

From the steamer trunk.

2014-7-19 1912-12-09-a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

$1.00 a pound, even $.80 a pound, was quite expensive in 1912.

2014-7-19 1912-12-09-b

We know who, Minnie. I'll bet Herman did too.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fires on the Farms

On the evening of May 23, 1921, a glow in the sky over northern Ross Township drew hundreds of gawkers from Ainsworth, Hobart, Merrillville and the surrounding countryside toward a farm south of Turkey Creek. They found its source in a raging barn fire, too big for any amateur firefighting efforts. Fire trucks from nearby towns responded, or tried to, but without water mains their efforts were limited. Only Hobart's truck had the equipment to pump water from Turkey Creek.

The farmhouse was saved, but all in all it was a terrible loss for Calvin Beltzhoover (formerly of Hobart).

2014-7-17 Barn fire
(Click on images to enlarge)

I'm having trouble identifying the farm in question. Calvin Beltzhoover was only renting it. The current owner's name is given as "Landfields" by the Gazette (which also describes him as Calvin's brother-in-law; I think he was Henry Landfield, who in 1909 had married Stella Kent, sister of Calvin's wife, Pearl). Previous owners' names include Keilman (Gazette) and D.M. Heiney (News). On the 1908 Plat Map, we do find a large farm in the Turkey Creek area belonging to Phillip Keilman, but it's not south of the creek as described by the Gazette (which may simply have got its geography a little confused); we also find some farms belonging to people by the name of Hein, but not D.M. Heiney.

2014-7-17 Turkey Creek 1908

I can't find Calvin Beltzhoover at all in the 1920 Census. (By the way, I'm now convinced that Calvin and Frank Beltzhoover were two different people, which leaves me deeply confused over which of them owned the Nickel Plate Garage, and whether they were any relation to each other.)

Also, in the "Public Sale" notice under the fire story above, we find James Chester auctioneering again.

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Two days early, the roof of the John and Ella Crisman farmhouse, near the village of Deep River, caught fire somehow. Luckily the fire was put out quickly, so the rest of the house was not harmed, and the outbuildings never in danger. The Crismans had insurance to cover the damaged roof.

♦ "17 Head of Cattle and Horses Burned Up in a Fire at Turkey Creek." Hobart News 26 May 1921.
1920 Census.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 26 May 1921.
♦ "Two Barns Burn." Hobart Gazette 27 May 1921.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stag Party

Reader, do you remember the three little Hendrixes from the steamer trunk? — they had only a tangential connection to Ainsworth via the Rossow family, but they were cute as heck, so I posted their picture.

Recently a descendant of that little girl in the middle, Rosemary Hendrix Rainford, allowed the Hobart Historical Society to scan a collection of Rossow/Hendrix photos. Again, very little connection to Ainsworth, but I find these photos very interesting, so I'm going to begin posting them.

Let's start with Ida Rossow Hendrix and Kate Stolp at a "stag party" (Ida's words).

2014-7-15 img010
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

Ida is marked "(5)," Kate is marked "(2)." Alas, the others' identities have been lost.

I think I've figured out the relationship between Ida Rossow Hendrix (born 1886) and Minnie Rossow Harms (born 1897), but it's complicated. Ida was a half-sister to Minnie's father, William Rossow. William was born to Henry Rossow by his first marriage. Henry's second marriage was to Augusta Stolp, Minnie's aunt. That marriage produced (among others) Ida. Which makes Ida a paternal aunt and a maternal cousin to Minnie … doesn't it?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Fight Over the Moehl Houses

It was in February 1919 that the 75-year-old Caroline Moehl (mother of William Sr.) entered a contract to sell her lot and two houses to her neighbors, Theodore and Elfrieda Schroeder, for $2,500, to be paid in installments. As inducement to murder her, the contract provided that the Schroeders would take ownership of Caroline's property upon either full payment of the purchase price, or her death, whichever came first. As added inducement, the contract obligated the Schroeders to nurse her in any illness.

In spite of all that, the Schroeders restrained themselves. When death came for Caroline in June 1920, it had to seek her out far from her old neighborhood, for she was staying with her son on his farm west of Hobart. And her death was so sudden — reasonably healthy one day, suffering from "acute dilation of the heart" the next, and dead the day after — that the Schroeders had no opportunity to nurse her in illness. In their opinion, their contract with Caroline now entitled them to her property.

Caroline's heirs thought otherwise, and so the fighting began.

2014-7-13 Moehl
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette, 27 May 1921.

The other heir mentioned in the story, aside from William, would probably be Caroline's daughter, Mrs. Alvena Clemens of Canton, Ohio.

The second story marked on that page is about a possible successor to the Hillman soft-drink parlor.

Additional Sources:
1920 Census.
♦ "Mrs. Moehl Dies Suddenly." Hobart Gazette 11 June 1920.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Scentless Chamomile

2014-7-11 Scentless Chamomile

I found this little flower growing among the dill in my garden. It's some kind of chamomile.

The foliage is not "ill-scented" (in Lawrence Newcomb's words), so I don't think it's Stinking Chamomile; nor does the foliage have the "fragrance of pineapple," so I don't think it's Wild Chamomile. The stems are not gray-downy (if I'm any judge of gray-downiness), so it isn't Field Chamomile. That leaves only Scentless Chamomile, among the Chamomiles listed in my little book.

The flies like it.

2014-7-11 Scentless Chamomile portrait

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So, yes, my dear old computer is home again, disinfected and rejuvenated. That's the good news. The bad news is that I'm not rejuvenated. I will post when I can. Let's call it Summer of a Bad Year Posting Time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2,000-Post Break

Yesterday's post was my 2,000th. It is time for me to unplug my poor tired old computer and take to the Three Dog Net computer spa to get rejuvenated. I don't know what I can do to rejuvenate poor tired old me.