Sunday, February 8, 2015

Edward and Tillie (Harms) Niksch

2015-2-8. redalbum037
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

It was Thanksgiving Day 1964, and someone took this photo of Mathilda "Tillie" and Edward Niksch at the celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary.

As I was writing about their purchase of the former Deep River schoolhouse (yesterday's post), I realized that I've scarcely mentioned these folks in the blog, and I had better take some time to make up for that oversight. They were Ainsworthites, after all: Tillie grew up in the Harms farmhouse east of Ainsworth, and she and Edward moved onto the Lincoln Highway/Randolph St. farm in the spring of 1912.

Tillie was born November 12, 1884, so she had just turned 20 when she married Edward Niksch.

2015-2-8. Niksch-Harms wedding
(Click on images to enlarge)

Numerous unnamed Ainsworth-area residents also attended the wedding. (The "bride's home on south Main street" probably refers to Harms house at the southwest corner of Lincoln and 7th.)

Minnie Rossow Harms' family history gives us a brief summary of the next 16 years:
After Mathilda (Tilly) and Ed were married in 1904, they moved into his home on Devonshire street* in Hobart (Leona and son still** live there). Tilly had attended Valparaiso University and worked as a compositor for the Hobart Gazette. Leona was born December 28, 1907 and Laverne April 9, 1909. They had a great desire to go farming and soon Grandfather Harms purchased his Lincoln Highway farm where they raised their family. Donald was born July 3, 1916 and Edward Jr. July 28, 1920.
♦    ♦    ♦

I've talked a lot about the Harms family in this blog, but what about Edward Niksch and his people?

Edward was born May 13, 1882, in Hobart, one of ten children of Louis and Minnie (Niemann) Niksch, who by 1891 owned and farmed this land northeast of town:

2015-2-8. Niksch 1908
Image from the 1908 Plat Map.

His mother died in June 1909.

2015-2-8. Minnie Niksch obituary

(Yes, it was Edward's sister, Rosa, who had conquered the heart of the redoubtable Michael O'Hearn.)

Louis Niksch followed his wife to the grave in January 1912.

2015-2-8. Louis Niksch obituary

(While the 1900 enumerator recorded Louis' immigration year as 1860, the 1910 enumerator agreed with the obituary on 1854.)

Edward Niksch is described in the 1900 census as a farm hand, living and possibly working on his parents' own farm. Sometime between then and his marriage in 1904, he went to work in the brickyard, and bought that house in town. He remained a brickie through 1910 — probably until 1912, when he and Tillie moved onto the farm. After that, he stuck with farming, even through the Great Depression, as the 1940 census records him still farming on the Lincoln Highway land.

My notes record only pleasant events for the Niksches until 1917, when Edward became ill. Early in November he was in Chicago getting medical treatment for "serious affection of the eyes." The November 15 News included these unpleasant details:
Edward Niksch, who has been suffering with his eyes, underwent an operation at Dr. Dahlman's hospital in Chicago last Saturday for affected glands and another operation on Monday for pus forming on his face and for his jaws being set. Late reports were that he was some better.
In early December the Gazette reported that, after a couple weeks' treatment and much suffering, he was back home:
Edward Niksch who was operated upon Nov. 9th at the South Shore hospital by Drs. Werelius and Dahlberg for necrosis of the upper jaw bone and joint was able to return home the forepart of last week and indications are that he will meet with a full recovery. His head was so bandaged when he came home he was scarcely recognizable, except by voice. He has been returning every third day to the city for dressing of the wound. He says the pain he suffered before the operation was almost unbearable.
Either he recovered in good time or I was negligent in taking notes, as I have no further information on that illness.

So Edward and Tillie quietly got on with life in the neighborhood of Ainsworth, farming and raising their family. In May 1921, their eldest child, Leona, took part in the first commencement at the new W.G. Haan school.

Late that autumn, the Niksches bought the old Deep River schoolhouse, which started this digression.

*1019 Devonshire, per Polk's Hobart City Directory 1962.
**I believe Minnie wrote this in 1952.

1880 Census.
1891 Plat Book.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Ainsworth Pick-Ups." Hobart Gazette 2 Dec. 1904.
♦ Harms, Minnie Rossow. As It Was Told to Me. 1952 – 1978. MS. Hobart Historical Society, Hobart, Indiana.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 8 Nov. 1917; 15 Nov. 1917.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 16 Mar. 1912; 16 Nov. 1917; 7 Dec. 1917.
♦ "Niksch-Harms Nuptial." Hobart Gazette 2 Dec. 1904.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 25 June 1909.
♦ "Two Pioneers Pass Away." Hobart News 11 Jan. 1912.
WWII Army Enlistment Records.

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