Monday, January 26, 2015

A Menu of Death

This page from the Hobart Gazette of November 25, 1921, offered up varied styles of death, from the horrifyingly sudden to the tragically premature.

2015-1-26. 3 deaths
(Click on image to enlarge)

I'm guessing that Bertha Stoltz's mother was Gust Busse's sister (Bertha's maiden name being Heiman, not Busse). Bertha had married Robert Stoltz in 1908, and early in their married life they rented a house on Center Street in Hobart, convenient to Robert's work in a brickyard. By 1920 they had moved into Morgan Township, Porter County, and were farming rented land.

The Gazette's version says the shooting was accidental, but a couple of articles I have tracked down from other sources, including a Wanatah newspaper, say it was intentional, though impulsive.

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Minnie Chase Smith had been born November 9, 1865, on her parents' farm, which I believe I have found on the 1874 Plat Map:

2015-1-26. Chase 1874
(Click on image to enlarge)

I wish I had figured out earlier that Sela Smith had this local connection; I could have talked about him more — not that he's done anything particularly interesting, but I think his name has popped up in the newspapers more than his wife's … which isn't saying much. They seem to have led a pretty quiet life. (Minnie's brother, Gust, is the one who would be killed in a car crash in 1927.)

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We saw this coming for poor Harold Guernsey, who had been seriously ill for many months. Incidentally, I have never heard of Putout, Indiana, where Otis Guernsey is described as living, nor can I find any information on such a place. (And "Mrs. Carrie Sondong" in the last sentence is a misprint for "Santonge.")

Additional Sources:
1880 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Funeral of Mrs. Sela Smith Held at Her Home Saturday Afternoon." Hobart News 24 Nov. 1921.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Mrs. Robert Stoltz Killed by Shot Gun in Hands of Orphan Boy." Wanatah Mirror 24 Nov. 1921 (
♦ "Obituary." Hobart News 17 Nov. 1921.
♦ "Youth Slays Woman." Indianapolis Star 23 Nov. 1921 (

1 comment:

Suzi E. said...

Nicely detailed obits, though.