Monday, July 13, 2015

The Lye Accident, and an Update

I was nosing around in old issues of the Hobart Gazette, looking for any mention of Daisy Chester's marriage to E.D. Scroggins that I might have missed the first time around, when I came across this item in the January 4, 1907 issue that I definitely missed the first time around:
A week ago last Sunday the 2-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Chester who live on the Dick Sykes farm pulled from a table a can of concentrated lye which flew upon the little fellow's face and severely burnt him. The right eye seemed to be the worst for the accident and for several days it was feared he would lose its sight but it is now thought the eye will be all right in time.
Based on the 1910 Census, I conclude that the unnamed two-year-old was Robert Chester.

I do not know where the Dick Sykes farm was. Per the 1891 Plat Book, there had been farms belonging to Sykeses in Ross, Hobart and Winfield Townships — not to mention any that may have been in Porter County — but which was known as the "Dick Sykes farm," I do not know.

[7/20/2015 update] Suzi Emig has solved the mystery of the Dick Sykes farm! She writes:
Climb into the time machine ... we are going back to April of 1912. I have attached the newspaper account of my dad's parent's wedding. It was extremely yellowed and fragile when I got it years ago from my aunt. Fortunately she laminated it, so it survives. You will see many familiar names in the list of wedding guests. There is one error. The bride's mother, Mrs. Susan Casey, was a sister to Constance Chester, not to Mr. as stated. If you refer to the 1908 plat map (which you so conveniently provide!) the SE corner of 61st and Colorado is owned by a William Sykes ... maybe Dick was a nickname or he was incorrectly named in the lye incident article. William is shown in the 1880 census to be living on this property as a 21 year old with his mother and siblings, 3 brothers and a sister. Their neighbors are the John Schnabels. Their main house was on the SW corner of the intersection. It appears that William and his family were living here per the 1900 census, as the Fred Schnabels are listed as neighbors. Evidently William decided to give up farming and leased his home and land ... he is in Mississippi, working as a public road contractor in 1910, then in 1920 is back up north residing in Gary as a city clerk, and a garage owner there in 1930. He died in 1940 in CA. My dad always referred to that SE property as "the old Sykes farm", so I guess to the old timers that name stuck. The Charles Chesters were living in Stark Co., IN per the 1900 census. In 1910 they were somewhere in Ross Twp., and evidently relocated by 1912 to the Sykes property. By 1920 they were in the old house that Henry built.
2015-7-20. Schnabel Casey
(Click on image to enlarge)
I believe this clipping is from the Hobart Gazette of April 19, 1912.

Here is the William "Dick" Sykes farm on the 1908 Plat Map:

2015-7-20. Sykes 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

Here's a clipping from the "General News Items" of the Hobart Gazette of July 5, 1907 (I didn't miss it the first time around; I just didn't post it) in which "Dick" is enclosed in quotes, as if to mark that it is a nickname.

2015-7-20. Chester-Sykes, Gaz, 7-5-1907

Here ends this update. If I find out how William got his nickname, I will update again.

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Thanks to our identifying-est commenter ever, we now have IDs on the people in the Chester-house-then-and-now pictures. (I have also added Chuck's IDs to each picture's description on Flickr, for ease of reference.)

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