Monday, June 29, 2015

South of Deepriver

The social news from the countryside in early March 1922.

2015-6-29. South of Deepriver social column
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 9 Mar. 1922.

"Mrs. L.R. Huffman" would be Nellie, wife of Levi Randall Huffman, Jr.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

She Was a Yar(d) Vessel

A reader wrote in with a vague memory of someone building a ship in his yard near Randolph and 73rd Ave. during the 1970s/early 1980s. After asking around a bit, I found another person with the same memory — just slightly less vague — who said the shipbuilder's first name was Hans (last name unknown), and he lived on the north side of 73rd Ave., some distance east of its intersection with Randolph. The house where he lived and its outbuildings are gone now. I'm just posting this in the hope of hearing from someone with a clearer memory, or maybe even a picture.

[7/8/2015 update] Chester Wasy has written in with a few more details!
The best I can recall, Han and his wife came from Europe in the early 60's and purchased a small parcel of farm land with a house, barn and chicken coops. He and his wife raised chickens and Han would take their eggs to the Gary area and developed a market to sell their eggs.

When they came to Indiana they had a motorcycle with a side car. This was the vehicle used to deliver his eggs to their customers. Yes he did build a boat in their back yard and had the boat moved to the port of Indiana where it was launched. When I worked for GTE I did visit their home to repair their telephone and when I was working in Portage I did see their boat at the Port.

Now for some possible lead on additional information. The Gary Post Tribune did have an interest story about Han and his wife. You might be able to research the Post Tribune archives for additional information.
If only I could get my hands on that Post-Tribune article, all our questions would be answered. I haven't found a searchable on-line source that covers anything earlier than 1986. The Lake County Public Library has the Post-Tribune from 1907 to the present on microfilm, but I do not have time (at least not right now) to go browsing through a couple of decades of papers to try to find this story. Anyone around here who has been looking for a way to occupy their time may have just found it.

"My, She Was Yar"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nowhere Near Ainsworth

Maybe a postcard salesman stopped by the Ainsworth general store in the spring of 1914 and showed William or Carrie Raschka his samples, which included some unidentifiable scenic views that could be stamped with the name of any town.

And so William or Carrie ordered a couple variations, and soon Herman Harms stopped in and bought one, then another, to write notes to his friend Minnie Rossow. (And William Raschka being postmaster in 1914, he probably would have stamped these Ainsworth postmarks.)

2015-6-25. 1914-05-00-a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

2015-6-25. 1914-05-00-b

2015-6-25. 1914-06-30-a

2015-6-25. 1914-06-30-b

That's definitely 1914 in the postmarks, but the exact dates are almost impossible to read. I think the first is May something, and the second looks like June 30.

Minnie and Herman were about a year away from being married.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She May Have Had Lots of Cats

In a comment to an earlier post about the Deep River general store, a reader mentioned dim memories of a woman who ran a grocery store in Deep River in the early 1960s, whose name was Anna Anders, or Anderson. In asking around, I found some other people who remembered this woman, including one who couldn't recall her name but believed she'd had lots of cats.

Luckily, I was able to find our Deep River grocery lady listed in a 1955 directory:

Anna Anders listing 1955
(Click on image to enlarge)
Telephone Directory for Valparaiso, Chesterton, East Gary, Hobart, Kouts, Ogden Dunes, Wheeler. General Telephone Company of Indiana Inc. February 1955.
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

We learn a little more about her from the "Obituaries" of the Hobart Gazette of Dec. 5, 1963:
Mrs. Anna L. Anders, 77, Deep River, died on December 3 in Porter Memorial Hospital, Valparaiso, following a lengthy illness.

Born in Wheeler, she had lived in Deep River most of her life, and owned and operated a confectionery and grocery store there for 45 years.

She is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Nellie Simpson of LaPorte; one granddaughter and two great granddaughters.

Funeral services will be held Friday at Pflughoeft's Chapel.
Counting back 45 years from 1963 would take us to 1918, and even earlier if Anna had retired from the grocery business some time before her death, and yet I find absolutely nothing in my notes about her. Shame on me! I suppose she could have been unusually quiet about her business.

(To make matters worse, there was an Anna Carstensen Anders in Hobart who also ran a grocery. I believe it was her store that George Sauter bought in 1919. I must try not to confuse the two Annas.)

I believe our Anna was born circa 1886 to Arthur and Elizabeth Brown. I find the Brown family in the 1910 Census farming rented land in Union Township, Porter County. Anna had a younger sister, Ella.

Two years later, Anna had somehow met and fallen in love with a Chicago man, Robert Anders, about 17 years her senior. Robert, an immigrant from England, shows up in Chicago as a schoolboy in the 1880 Census, and then in the 1900 Census and 1910 Census, working as a house painter. He and Anna were married on October 20, 1912 (Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index).

Eight years later, the 1920 Census recorded them living in eastern Ross Township (to judge by their neighbors in the census). Robert was operating his own ice-cream parlor. They had no children of their own, but their household included a 10-year-old orphan, Nellie Chaffin.

By the time of the 1930 Census, Robert and Anna had moved to Union Township, where Robert worked as a "house decorator" — his old trade, I suppose. Nellie was gone, but Anna's widowed mother and unmarried sister were living with them.

According to the family gravestone, Robert died in 1934.

The 1940 Census shows Anna, widowed, back in Ross Township, in the vicinity of Deep River. In the occupation column, the enumerator wrote "attendant," then crossed that out and wrote "proprietor" of a "filling station." Her sister Ella, still unmarried, lived with her.

When Ella died in October 1962, the Vidette Messenger's Union Center correspondent noted that Ella "had made her home with her [sister] for many years."

And that's all I have at the moment about Anna Brown Anders. But at least now I know she existed.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Huffman's Mill

Huffman's Mill, Oct 8 38.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Notes on the back of this photo suggest it was taken on October 8, 1938.
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Until a few weeks ago I had no idea that the site of another historic mill lay only about a mile beyond Wood's Mill. One Saturday at the Hobart Historical Society museum, someone came across the photo shown above, with "Huffman's Mill" scrawled across it, and none of us knew anything about Huffman's Mill. So of course I asked Eldon Harms if he knew where it had been. Not only did he know, but he was able to direct me to the spot where it had stood, as we drove out there together.

Its site was just over the Porter County line on N 750 W, a scant half-mile south of Route 30. The mill had stood on the east side of the road, on the north side of Taylor Creek — which, these days, is a barely perceptible rivulet, marked by no sign, and in fact I had some trouble even learning its name. (Another local historian theorizes that the conversion of surrounding land from wilderness to farmland caused the creek to silt up.) Anyway, it wasn't the creek's direct flow that powered the mill; the creek was dammed to form a mill pond.

Below, I have tried to identify the mill (and mill pond, but that is really dubious) on a 1939 aerial photo:

2015-6-21. Huffman aerial 1939
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Indiana Geological Survey, I.U. Bloomington.

For decades before either of these photos were taken, this site had housed a mill operation.

The August 18, 1936 issue of the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger, a special edition in honor of Porter County's centennial, included a history of Union Township compiled by Wheeler High School history students and instructors (transcribed here) stating that in 1861 David Hardesty built the Cascade Mills on this site.

Written in 1882, Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed/Blanchard) had this to say about it:
The Cascade Grist-Mills were built by David Hardesty, on Taylor Creek. They were built about fourteen years ago [i.e., 1868], on to a small brick mill which was constructed by him eighteen or nineteen years ago [i.e., 1864 or 1863]. The structure is some 18x40 feet, and two stories high. He put in two sets of buhrs, and, at that time, had the only overshot wheel in the county.
Consulting some of the old Union Township plat maps, we find the mill marked.

For example, here it is in 1876 (and you can see a drawing of the mill circa 1876 here):

2015-6-21. Cascade Mill 1876
(Click on image to enlarge)
From, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

The mill is marked on the 1895, 1906 and 1921 maps as well. On the 1938 map, the mill itself is not marked, but the "Huffman Mill Pond" is:

2015-6-21. Mill 1938
(Click on image to enlarge)
From, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

The next available map, from 1969, does not show mill or mill pond. The mill building still stood, but it wasn't operating as such. This clipping, from the Hobart Herald of January 50, 1955, shows the building being used for storage:

2015-6-21. img608
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The remark about Levi Huffman dying of his injuries in 1900 is probably based on oral history. Here is Levi's obituary from the Hobart Gazette of January 9, 1903:

2015-6-21. Levi Huffman death
(Click on image to enlarge)

He was buried in Mosier Cemetery.

Six photographs of the abandoned mill building were shot in 1981 by Daniel Kleine, who was kind enough to give me high-resolution scans of his photos.

Mill ruins in 1982
(Click on image to view the full set)
All photographs by Daniel Kleine. Used with permission.

I don't know when the mill was demolished. Today there is no trace of it.

2015-6-21. Mill Site 2015
(Click on image to enlarge)
Photograph by Ansel Adams.
… Just kidding. Photograph by me.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fun on Wheels

Another artifact from the Oak Ridge Roller Dome before I-65 came through. This is a matchbook cover, so nice I scanned it twice.

2015-6-19. Oak Ridge 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2015-6-19. Oak Ridge 2

That skating instructor, Johnny Johnston, may or may not have owned a small car decorated to look like a circus wagon, according to a long-time local who doesn't trust his own memory on this point.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mud, Mud, Mud

This photograph of mud includes Arthur Sullivan and a horse-drawn school bus.

See EvaT018 for verso.
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

Arthur Sullivan, born circa 1904, was the son of Thomas and Augusta Sullivan, and the grandson of Patrick and Sarah. This photo has no date. It's difficult to judge Arthur's age here — I would guess about 20, give or take a few years. In my newspaper reading, I have not yet noticed him receiving pay from the township for driving a bus, although his father had in 1919 and 1921 (and likely other years that I can't lay my hands on at the moment). Ross Township may have had at least one motorized school bus by about 1920, but horse-drawn buses were still in use through the 1920s. Inside the bus (according to this photo's present owner, who rode a horse-drawn bus throughout his first year of school), there were two benches, one along each side wall, so the riders sat facing each other.

Notes on the back of the photo suggest that this bus carried Vincent school students.

Verso of EvaT017.

Monday, June 15, 2015

School Notes by Leona Raschka

Born circa 1904, Leona Raschka spent her childhood in the apartment over the Ainsworth general store. Now she was a Hobart resident, and a senior at Hobart High School.

2015-6-15. Leona Raschka's School Notes
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 9 March 1922.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Indian Hemp

For some reason, in the past, I was unable to identify this plant, which grows abundantly along one edge of my field. I happened to stumble across something on the internet that suggested Indian Hemp, and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide describes it, so I guess I've finally figured it out.

2015-6-13. Indian Hemp plant
(Click on images to enlarge)

Also known as Common Dogbane, it is related to the Spreading Dogbane we've already seen. Its scientific name is Apocynum cannabinum — but it has none of the psychoactive properties of cannabis. It is poisonous to mammals.

Here is a Virginia Ctenucha visiting the blossoms.

2015-6-13. Indian Hemp blossoms

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mammatus Clouds of Ainsworth

We got some eerie-looking skies yesterday, but none of the severe weather the TV was warning me about.

2015-6-11. Mammatus clouds
(Click on images to enlarge)

Here's the Ainsworth tower, not a bit scared.

2015-6-11. Tower

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Students at the Vincent School

I have mentioned that in the spring of 1918 Evie Thompson's family moved to the vicinity of the Vincent school, and Evie became a student there. We have a photo of her with her classmates.

2015-6-10. EvaT012
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

On the back, someone has hinted at the identities of the children …

2015-6-10. EvaT013

… failing to include a full surname, or to indicate which name belongs with which child. The only one we can recognize is Eva Thompson herself, the tall girl with glasses, second from the left in the back row.

Looking through the 1920 Census, I have come up with possible surnames for these children, based on the matching first letter and the apparent proximity of their families to the Vincent school:
Elmer Reithel, Harry Sullivan, Clarence Reithel, Theodore Henning, Delmer Henning, Donald Weiler, Eva Thompson, Mathilde Prochno, and Mabel Burkley
These are only guesses on my part, and I still don't know which name goes with which child.

The former Vincent schoolhouse still stands on the southwest corner of the intersection of Clay St. and 83rd Ave., and you can still see that pattern in the brick on its side wall.

Incidentally, I suspect that when the Gazette, in June 1912, mentioned that Gust Lindborg had "bought the old Sullivan schoolhouse" and moved it to Ainsworth to serve as his residence, the building referred to was the old frame Vincent schoolhouse. At that writing, per the 1891 Plat Book, the Sullivans had owned for some twenty years what was originally the Vincent land (per the 1874 Plat Map), and the schoolhouse had always been catercorner to that land, so I can understand why either name might be applied to the schoolhouse.

Also, this obituary of Mercy Vincent suggests that the Vincents had owned the land from circa 1844 until circa 1890, which really has nothing to do with anything, but I didn't post this before so I might as well do it now.

2015-6-10. Mercy Vincent obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 12 Jan. 1906.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Murder of a Studebaker

Not the most tragic collision at the Rossow crossing, but a great mystery — the seemingly deliberate murder of a Studebaker on the night of February 27, 1922.

2015-6-8. Studebaker at Rossow crossing
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 2 Mar. 1922

Saturday, June 6, 2015

What Is She Planning to Do With That Sword?

This is Ida Rossow Hendrix, dressed up for either theatrics or sports.

2015-6-6. img049
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

The photo is undated. There is a calendar on the wall, but I can't read it. Ida was born in 1886, and here she looks to be in her late teens/early 20s, so I'd guess this dates to the first decade of the 20th century.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Catherine Mereness Crisman

Catherine Mereness Crisman died in Chicago, I gather, so her remains had to be brought back to the place where she had spent much of her life, to be laid to rest with her husband in Mosier Cemetery.

2015-6-4. Catherine Mereness Crisman obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 23 Feb. 1922.

I suppose I will have to wait for another obituary to find out if Jane Crisman Maxwell's husband was related to the Lewis and Nettie Maxwell of Deep River.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pew Rental

The McAuliffe family attended St. Bridget's Church in Hobart. A couple of receipts for their pew rental have survived.

Receipt for pew rental
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Jocelyn Hahn Johnson.

Receipt for pew rental

Even the later payment may have been made by Timothy Sr., since we know he lived until February 1911.