Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Year of Two Teachers

If Minnie Rossow Harms saved her report card from the 1907-08 school year, I haven't found it yet. So let us move on to 1908-09, when Minnie is in the sixth grade.

2014-12-27. reportcard001
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images above and immediately below courtesy of Eldon Harms.

Between February and March there is a notation — "moved to Hobart" — that probably explains why Minnie had two teachers that year.

2014-12-27. reportcard002

My guess is that while the Rossow family lived in the Glen Park area, Minnie's teacher was H.C. Hathaway, whom I haven't been able to identify. Then the family moved to Hobart and Minnie entered the classroom of Mary Portmess.

The Hobart Historical Society has a lovely portrait of Miss Portmess with a seventh-grade class:

2014-12-27. Mary Portmess ca 1910.jpg
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Minnie is probably not one of these students, as she had a different teacher for the seventh grade, and for the grades she attended during 1910, which is the estimated year of this photo.

We've also seen Mary on the Old Maids' Basketball Team. In the spring of 1921, Mary was among the guests at the Class of 1921's party on the Paine farm.

Mary and her twin sister, Ruth, were born in 1879 to Jacob and Frances Portmess. In 1880 the family lived in Plymouth, Indiana, where Jacob worked as a photographer. By 1900 they had moved to Hobart; Mary and Ruth were both school teachers, and Jacob worked as a house painter (we've met one of his more difficult clients). Teaching did not suit Ruth, apparently, as she went into stenography, but Mary spent her working life as a teacher.

Here is Mary's obituary from the Hobart Gazette of July 29, 1954:
Hobart friends were saddened this Thursday to learn of the death of a long time local resident, Miss Mary Portmess, who died Tuesday at the age of 74 in Tampa, Florida where she has made her home for the past three years.

Miss Portmess, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William [sic] Portmess, spent her early childhood in Plymouth and Argos, coming to Hobart with her family about 1885.

The family made their home at 1109 Cleveland avenue, and following her graduation from Hobart high school, Miss Portmess attended the University of Chicago and Valparaiso University, after which she taught social science studies in the Hobart schools for 23 years and in the Gary schools for 26 years, retiring in 1945.

A twin sister, Ruth, and a brother William, also preceded her in death. Only survivors are a nephew, William F. Portmess of Watsonville, California, and a cousin, Melvin Portmess of Chicago.

The body will arrive Saturday morning at Pflughoeft's chapel, where funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock, with Rev. C.C. White officiating. Burial will follow in Crown Hill cemetery.
The Portmess family (including Jacob's sister), all rest under one marker.

Additional Sources:
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.

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