Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Evie Thompson

2015-3-10. EvaT004
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

This is Rebecca Eva Thompson, a member of the George and Nancy Thompson family. The photo comes from a little collection that she gave to her longtime friend and neighbor, Eldon Harms, before her death in 1993. The photo is not dated. If it was her high-school graduation portrait, it would probably date to around 1926; but somehow to me her dress looks more like circa 1934.

Eva, born in 1907, was the youngest of four siblings in a farming family. The Thompsons never owned their own land, so far as I can tell, but rented land, and moved around. In 1900 they were in Keener Township, Jasper County. By 1910 they had moved to Porter Township, Porter County. Sometime between 1910 and 1918, they moved near the village of Leroy, in Winfield Township, Lake County. In the spring of 1918, they moved to the Sela Smith farm in Ross Township.

2015-3-10. Smith 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)
This image is from the 1926 Plat Book; the Smith land is the same on the 1908 Plat Map

They may have still been on that farm in 1920; many of their neighbors' names on the census are in this area on the maps. The Thompson children attended the Vincent school, where Eva's older sister, Alta, graduated in May 1920.

In the spring of 1928, they were reportedly living on the David L. Guernsey farm in southeastern Ross Township.

2015-3-10. DLGuernsey 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the 1926 Plat Book.

In 1930, Eva and her mother (now widowed) were living in or near Valparaiso. By 1940, Eva was living and working in the home of George and Ruth DeMar, 32 Hobart Road in Hobart — the home where she would spend much of the rest of her life. (The little brick house is still standing, but no one lives in it now; its windows are neatly boarded up and I think it's serving as a storage shed.)

Somewhere amidst all this moving and settling, the Thompsons occupied the James Chester farm, or what had been the James Chester farm in 1926:

2015-3-10. Chester 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the 1926 Plat Book.

I don't know when exactly this happened, because at the moment my only knowledge of it comes from the childhood memories of a neighbor — for here the Thompsons were neighbors of the Herman and Minnie Harms family (or "Harmes," as the above map has it), and became good friends with them — lifelong friends, in Eva's case.

Eva died in 1993, one day short of her 86th birthday.

2015-3-10. Eva Thompson death notice
The words obscured by the blot on the microfilm are "51 and 7th St.,".

The weather was bitterly cold on the day of the funeral. Among those shivering at the graveside was Eldon Harms, who had never forgotten Evie's kindness to him and his siblings when they were children. In fact, the Harmses chipped in to buy the stone that marks Evie's grave.

2015-3-10. Thompson, Eva
(Click on image to enlarge)

She rests near her parents:

2015-3-10. Thompson, Nancy and George

1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "General News." Hobart Gazette 15 Feb. 1918.
♦ "Geo. M. Thompson Instantly Killed Saturday by a Falling Tree." Hobart News 22 Mar. 1928.
♦ "Obituaries." Post-Tribune (Gary, Ind.) 19 Dec. 1993.
Social Security Death Index.


LLoyd Puchek said...

Wow this is quite interesting .

Eva said...

I have always been intrigued with that little boarded up brick house on Hobart Road. How cool that an Eva lived there!