Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Betty Koepke Update

I came across some little snippets about the mysterious Betty Koepke and an event on the Sykes farm in the winter of 1903, so I added them to the Sykes farm post.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Y&W Drive-In Theater

Here's the entrance to the Y&W Drive-In in August 1953, and roughly the same area in Sept. 2015:

Y-W 2015
(Click on images to enlarge)

It's not an exact duplicate shot — that would have required me to walk out into the weeds, and I wasn't in a weed-walking mood the day I took that photo.

The top image comes from a slide, one of five that I bought some time ago. They came to me with no date; that I had to determine based on the movies on the marquee. Here is the corresponding ad from the Gary Post-Tribune of Friday, August 14, 1953:

Y-W ad

These two movies would run together through Thursday, August 20. Our photos must date to sometime during those seven days.

The Y&W had its grand opening on May 29, 1953. Here is its ad for that event, from the Gary Post-Tribune of Thursday, May 28, 1953:

Grand Opening ad

And scans of the other four slides:





… No, we don't know who those men are.

The slides themselves are now the property of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Death, Expected and Unexpected

The family of the octogenarian Julius Manteuffel had been preparing themselves for his death since mid-April 1922,* but when John Hardesty left home on April 28, heading for the Wheeler saw mill, his wife and children had no idea they would never see him alive again.

2015-9-27. Manteuffel and Hardesty deaths
(Click on image to enlarge)

The reports about John Hardesty come through to us a bit garbled, and small wonder, since there were two John Hardestys farming in Union Township, and I can hardly sort them out myself. The one we are concerned with, I believe, was John N. Hardesty, born in 1863 to Harmon and Isabella Hardesty, and now resting in Mosier Cemetery.

This John Hardesty may not in fact have been farming in Union Township at the time of his death; while I can't find him in the 1920 census, a 1920 Gary city directory shows him living on Broadway with his wife, Maud, and working as a teamster. However, he had been farming in Union Township in 1910.

The other, John H. Hardesty, was born circa 1871 to George and Catherine Hardesty. He was still alive and well and farming in Union Township in 1930 and 1940.

The report above attributes six children to John N. Hardesty. I can identify only two from the 1910 census: a daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Russell. There was time enough to produce four more between then and 1922, but still, it's possible that the newspapers were confusing John N. with John H., whose family seems to have been more numerous.

♦    ♦    ♦

In happier news, Dr. Clara Faulkner goes to Crown Point to hear her grandson, Elmer Bullock, sing. She brings Mary Kipp with her, and Mary brings her sister, Mrs. Hatten, and Mrs. Hatten brings her sister-in-law, Mrs. Seider.

*His name was mistakenly give as "Louis" in the April reports.

1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Death of Julius Manteuffel." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1922.
Gary Indiana City Directory 1920. R.L. Polk & Co. (Indianapolis), 1920.
♦ "John W. Hardesty Accidentally Killed." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1922.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Broken Computers of Ainsworth

My computer is in the hospital. Further blogging will have to wait until it comes home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Little Bijou Updates

I have added a couple of scraps to our little heap of knowledge about the Bijou.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Zobjeck Family Portraits

Until this summer, we had no photograph of Hugo Zobjeck, the Hobart soda bottler and town trustee. But through a network of Zobjeck descendants, we have recently received two lovely portraits of the young Zobjeck family.

Zobjeck family
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Mary Zobjeck Steffey.

The two adults are Hugo (senior) and Mary Zobjeck. The oldest girl, standing in back, is Carolyn, known as Carrie (per the 1910 census, born ca. 1900). The baby is Edward (born 1908). The little boy at left is Hugo Jr. (born 1905), and the little girl at center is Marguerite* (born 1907).

In this photo Edward appears to be about one year old, so we can date it roughly to 1909.

Another photograph shows the same family members, probably taken at the same sitting:

Zobjeck family
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Mary Zobjeck Steffey.

Before the family assembled for these portraits, the Zobjecks had lost at least one child, a little girl, in 1904. The newspaper account of her death does not mention her name, only that she was buried in "the Lake [Station] cemetery." I cannot find any Zobjeck buried in Lake Station; however, in the Zobjeck family plot in Crown Hill Cemetery, we find an Emma Zobjeck, who must be the little girl in question.

Zobjeck, Emma
(Click on images to enlarge)
This image, and the ones below, were photographed in Crown Hill Cemetery, Hobart, Indiana.

In the same area in Crown Hill Cemetery, we find a Frank Zobjeck (1903-1904), and the death records show Frank Zobjeck dying on February 16, 1904 — but I have been through the Hobart Gazette around that time without finding any mention of him to confirm that he was indeed the child of Hugo and Mary.** His being buried in the Zobjeck family plot would very strongly suggest it, though.

Zobjeck, Frank

As if that weren't heartbreak enough, the Zobjecks would lose three more babies after these portraits were taken. In 1913, a daughter, Mabel Frances, was born November 20 and died December 14.

Zobjeck, Mabel

A son, Wilbur, was born January 19, 1915, and died on January 31.

Zobjeck, Wilbur

On February 22, 1917, a ten-month-old son, Robert, "died rather suddenly."

Zobjeck, Robert

As we've seen, in July 1919 Mary Kucaba Zobjeck was laid to rest with her little ones. She was survived by eight children: Carrie, Hugo Jr., Marguerite, Edward, Marie, Helen, Annie, and Claire.

Zobjeck, Mary

Hugo Sr. later remarried, but in death he rejoined his first wife and children.

Zobjeck, Hugo

♦    ♦    ♦

The Hobart Historical Society has a number of bottles from Hugo Zobjeck's enterprises on display at the museum. The Zobjeck home on Water Street, along with the building where the bottling was done, are both still standing. (The Hobart Historical Society has the information about their location, but I will leave its publicity to their discretion.)

*I'm not sure of the correct spelling; the census-takers in 1910 and 1920 spelled it Margaret.
**I may have missed it, and should probably go back and read through the microfilm, but that will have to wait until I can get myself cloned.

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 22 Jan. 1915.
Cook County, Illinois Marriages Index.
Indiana WPA Death Records Index.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 19 Dec. 1913; 5 Feb. 1915; 2 Mar. 1917.
♦ "Mortuary Record." Hobart Gazette 12 Feb. 1904.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Anything to Get Out of Paying the Road Tax!

Here's an odd little thing I recently acquired:

2015-9-19. img008
(Click on images to enlarge)

All joking aside, the loss of bone in his leg may have happened in the Civil War — W.G. Cook was a veteran — or a train may have done it: he worked in the vicinity of trains, as a railroad telegrapher.

That's assuming I've identified him correctly as the William G. Cook who was recorded in the 1880 census as 37-year-old Ohio native living in North Township, his occupation described as telegraph operator and agent. He then had a wife, Christina, and three young sons, Karl, Clarence, and Horace.

From his obituary, I gather that two daughters were born later, and one son had preceded him in death when W.G. died on August 16, 1897:
W.G. Cook, a prominent and well-known citizen of this township, died at his home in Miller at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon, of consumption, aged 54 years. Mr. Cook had been a citizen of Miller for about 30 years and occupied the position of station agent during that time for the B. & O. and L.S. & M.S. railroads. The funeral services were conducted at Miller on Wednesday at 2 o'clock by Rev. H.A. Young, and the interment occurred at that place. The deceased was born and raised in Ohio, where his relatives still reside.

He was an old veteran, having served his country faithfully during the Civil War.

Miller has lost a most obliging and enterprising citizen and the railroads have been deprived of a faithful servant.

It was thought last fall that Mr. Cook was suffering from cancer on the tongue but an operation at the Rush Medical College in Chicago proved such not to be the case. The patient never recovered from the operation and gradually declined in health until death ended all. A wife, two sons and two daughters are left to mourn his loss.
The trustee who signed this exemption was on friendly enough terms with W.G. to send it to him with his compliments …

2015-9-19. img009

… perhaps because (among other things) they were both Civil War veterans.

Michael J. Cooke had been elected Hobart Township Trustee (for the second time) in 1882, at the age of about 52. We can learn more about his life from his obituary:

2015-9-19. Cooke obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

I wish I knew which four-room schoolhouse the article refers to.

1870 Census.
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
♦ "Death of M.J. Cooke." Hobart Gazette 31 July 1914.
♦ "Hobart." Crown Point Register 6 Apr. 1882.
♦ "W.G. Cook." Hobart Gazette 20 Aug. 1897.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Red Admiral

One source I use for information about butterflies is Butterflies of Indiana: A Field Guide by Jeffrey E. Belth. In the back there is a section on photographing butterflies, where the author says: "Butterfly photography requires not only patience and technique but also the equipment to record your vision." Well, I've got no patience, no technique, and not very good equipment, but I managed to get a few pictures sufficient to identify this critter in my field as a Red Admiral.

2015-9-18. Red admiral 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2015-9-18. Red admiral 2

2015-9-18. Red admiral 3

It is nectaring at goldenrod blossoms.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mary Funk Yager

We last heard of Mary Yager when she hosted a dinner for her former pastor in the spring of 1921.

The next spring, she died.

2015-9-17. Mary Yager obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 4 May 1922.

The earliest I can find Jacob and Mary in Ross Township is 1880, where (to judge by their neighbors) they seemed to be southeast of Ainsworth, perhaps along present-day 73rd Ave. Their daughter Clara was 5, and they had a one-year-old son, Theodore, who never appears again. Presumably he died, but I cannot find his grave in the NWIGS listings for Ross, Union or Hobart Townships.

By 1900 the Yagers had bought their own farm in Union Township, Porter County. Again, to judge by their neighbors, it was this small farm just north of Huffman's mill shown on a 1921 plat map:

2015-9-17. Yager 1921
Image from, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

That parcel looks like about 10 acres. I believe the Yagers concentrated on strawberries.

The "Mrs. Robert Anders" mentioned in the obituary was probably our Deep River grocer.

♦    ♦    ♦

In the "Local and Personal" column to the left of the obituary above, we find minor news of some acquaintances: Louis and Gertrude Dunham and their troublesome boy, Richard Chapman, have moved from one house I can't identify to another I can't identify; and Jessie Quinlan is feeling better.

Additional Sources:
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Death of Mrs. Yager." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1922.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unidentified Caterpillar (Random Pointless Photo)

2015-9-16. mystery caterpillar
(Click on image to enlarge)

This thing looks a bit like a tobacco hornworm that washed when it should have dry-cleaned, but it's also got those four horns or fleshy filaments near its head that I can't find in any other pictures of tobacco hornworms. I certainly can't find it in my caterpillar book. I give up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Switching Tower

This photo has nothing to do with Ainsworth or Hobart, but I like it.

Switching tower, Wanatah
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Fred Ols.

The identifying notes read: "Ollie James — Wanatah. Aunt Clara's husband."

According to the Wanatah Historical Society's website, two railroads — the Pennsy and what eventually came to be called the Monon — ran through Wanatah, crossing there. In fact, the switching tower above looks much like the one on their railroad history page, but I don't suppose that switching towers were the playground of architects' imaginations.

This picture is undated. It was printed on a postcard with a divided back (thus manufactured after March 1907).

I think Aunt Clara was Clara Rhoades, sister of the Ralph Franklin Rhoades who married Elizabeth Ols (daughter of Henry and Bertha (Wischman) Ols). I believe Clara Rhoades married Oliver James in Michigan in 1908, when he was about 31 and she 27. I can't find them in the 1910 Census; the 1920 Census shows them in Whitley County. Not until the 1930 Census do we find them in Wanatah (he working as a railroad telegraph operator). In the 1940 Census, if I've got the right Oliver James (this time his wife's name is Cecelia and their age gap is wider; they live in Wanatah/Cass Township), his job is described as a railroad operator-leverman.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ols-Thomas Wedding

We have already seen a photo of Evalene (however you spell it) Ols; if it was taken after April 26, 1922, she was already Mrs. Dewey Thomas:
Miss Evalene M. Ols, second eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Crist Ols, who reside southeast of Hobart, and Dewey Thomas, of Brems, Ind., were united in marriage at Crown Point, Ind., on Wednesday, April 26. Immediately following the ceremony they left for the groom's home, where he is engaged in farming, and where for the present they intend to reside.

The young couple have many friends in their respective communities who wish for them a happy and prosperous life together.
At first I thought "Brems, Ind." was a misprint. I had never heard of such a town. You can still find it on Google maps, these days, but you'll need a magnifying glass.*

I wonder if Dewey was any kin to Auvergne Thomas Fleck — both being from Starke County families — but then Thomas is not such an unusual surname.

Dewey was born in 1899 into a large farming family in Starke County. By 1920 the family had moved to LaPorte County. Perhaps after 1920 Dewey went back to Starke County to farm on his own account. But by 1930 he and Evalene (and their three children, as well as Evalene's brother, Ervin) were living in Merrillville, and Dewey worked in a sheet mill.

♦    ♦    ♦

Back near Ainsworth, at the former Deep River schoolhouse, now the property of Edward and Tillie Niksch, dances were becoming a regular thing. An ad for a dance on Saturday, May 13, promised good music, admission 50 cents. The ad for the next dance assured the public that "everyone who attended the last dance there … had a good time."

*You'll need a magnifying glass for Ainsworth, too.

1900 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "Local and Personal," Hobart News 4 May 1922; 19 May 1922.
♦ "Thomas-Ols." Hobart News 4 May 1922.

Friday, September 11, 2015

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Duck

Hobart Centennial
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

Handwritten on the back of the original:
Mayme Fleck and Mrs. Ed. Fleck
Centennial Parade
July, 1947.
We've previously met Mayme (Brand) Fleck. For the Hobart Centennial parade, she dressed up as a clown and had a duck walking with her. The poor duck got so tired that she had to carry it. She was pretty tired herself, as those big feet were hard to walk in — so her daughter tells me.

Mrs. Ed Fleck had been Auvergne Thomas when she married Edmund Fleck in Starke County in 1917 (Indiana Marriage Collection). They lived in Hobart from the 1920 Census onward.

This photo was taken on Third Street, west of the bridge. In the background you can see the sign of the Tower Mobilgas filling station.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Location for Old Schoolhouse

In April 1922 came the time for Hobart's first schoolhouse to make way for a new Masonic hall.

2015-9-9. Schoolhouse moved
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 28 Apr. 1922.

The News reported on the schoolhouse's move a little more quietly.

2015-9-9. Schoolhouse moved
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local and Personal," Hobart News 27 Apr. 1922.

The family who had occupied the old schoolhouse until its move may have included Irene Slaughter, who appeared in the 1920 Census as a 37-year-old widow supporting herself by dressmaking; she was then living alone in a rented house on Center Street near the Mackey home. (In an overwhelmingly white town, she was the only person in that vicinity with a "B" marked in the "Color or Race" column.)

Above that item, we learn that William Newman (whoever he may have been) had visited "Hogan" Zobjeck, better known as Hugo, whose Porter County farm I still have not identified.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Scenic View of Lake George

Slightly different from the one I posted before, this view of downtown Hobart from the west side of Lake George would have required me to stand in somebody's yard to get a then-and-now photo, so we won't be doing that.

2015-9-7. Lake George from west bank
(Click on images to enlarge)

2015-9-7. Lake George verso

No postmark, but the stamp box dates between 1924 and 1949, and the photo seems to have been taken before the former Hobart House was torn down in 1940.

2015-9-7. Lake George marked copy

Saturday, September 5, 2015


By the spring of 1922, gramophones were common. The next thing in entertainment was the "radiophone."

2015-9-5. Radiophone
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 27 Apr. 1922.

KYW was the first radio station in the Chicago area.

The real-estate transaction described below that ad was reported in greater detail by the next day's Gazette.

2015-9-5. Real estate sale
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 28 Apr. 1922.

"Near the Collver place," was it? Well, the only thing I can identify out of all this is the Collver place as it appeared in 1908:

2015-9-5. Collver 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the 1908 Plat Map.

I find a Fred Trapp in Gary in the 1920 Census and the 1930 Census. In neither does he describe himself as a carpenter, but I can't find anyone else by that name.

Anyway, just above that item we see that Calvin C. Shearer had started work on present-day S.R. 51, which had aroused so much interest because of its bad condition.

Over in the "Births" column, a second child for John and Lillian Call, and two Halfman babies — news that only reminds me how little I've kept track of the Halfmans of Ross Township. John and Joe were brothers, I believe: sons of Frank Halfman, and thus brothers also of young Carl Halfman, who had died in an Army camp in 1918. Their grandfather was Henry Halfman, who had arrived in Lake County by April 1860 (when his marriage was recorded), but he did not appear in the census that year. He did, however, show up in the 1870 and subsequent censuses. The 1874 Plat Map shows him owning 80 acres at the northeast corner of Broadway and 61st Ave (the parking lot of Ultra Foods, in other words). Henry and his wife, Mary, had three children: Frank, Clara, and William. We shall have news of William soon.

Joseph Halfman was born circa 1889 and married Marian Adler circa 1912-3. The child born in 1922 was either their third or fourth. As for Joe's younger brother, John, born circa 1893, he had married Clara Adler (Marian's sister) in 1915, and the child born in 1922 was their third, a son named Leo. I can't find the Joseph Halfman family in the 1920 census. The John Halfman family was running a dairy farm on rented land near his Uncle William's farm — possibly his grandfather's old place.

Additional Sources:
1860 Census.
1870 Census.
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Mrs. Halfman Dies at Lowell," Hammond Times 4 Apr. 1940.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

On Sykes Farm

Two copies of the same photo have come down to us via Ida Rossow Hendrix. Handwritten notes on one of them identify the scene as "on Sykes Farm."

(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.


We have no date for this photo, nor can I judge by anything in the photo, since I can't really see any fashions, and people around here continued to use horses for transportation into the 1930s and even later.

We know who Herman Rossow was, but Betty Koepke is a mystery to me.

From what we can see of the house in the background, it does look like the house on the Sykes farm we've identified, but as I've mentioned, there were several Sykes farms. However, the Rossows had a connection with the Wm. Sykes farm southwest of Hobart (which sounds like the one we've identified) through Harve F. Carey, who rented and occupied it for several years until the late winter of 1906.* Harve was the son of William H. Carey, the second husband of Augusta Stolp Rossow Carey, mother of Herman Rossow, and Ida Rossow Hendrix.

If the Rossows or the Koepkes (whoever they were) ever had a more direct connection with the Sykes farm, I haven't found out about it yet.

♦    ♦    ♦

[9/30/2015 update] Betty Koepke has become just slightly less mysterious since I found this item in the "Local Drifts" of the Hobart Gazette of Jan. 23, 1903: "Miss Bettie Koepke, of Chicago, was a guest last week at the home of Mrs. H. Rossow." I'm guessing that "Mrs. H. Rossow" was Augusta Stolp Rossow, widow of Henry Rossow and soon-to-be second wife of William H. Carey. (In January 1903 Mr. Carey was not yet a widower.) So whoever Betty was, she lived in Chicago and was a friend of the Rossows. She may have been the Bettie Kopke who was recorded in the 1900 Census as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, a daughter of a widowed German immigrant, living on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.

From the "Local Drifts" of the January 9 Gazette:
Wm. Sykes will have his public sale on Thursday of next week Jan. 15th, at his farm about three and a half miles southwest of Hobart, which is now under the management of his brother Henry. It will be one of the largest sales ever conducted in these parts. Besides farming implements, grain, some household furniture and several head of horses he will offer for sale some high grade Polled Durham cattle and many head of swine of the Victoria breed. He will give a credit of one year on all sums over $5.00. L.E. Fehlman will cry the sale.
It appears that Betty Koepke's visit coincided with the public sale on the Sykes farm, which, by the way, "was attended by over 500 people …. The weather was very pleasant and many stock buyers from distant points were present" ("Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 23 Jan. 1903).

If Herman drove his mother and her friend Betty over to that public sale, and someone happened to take a photo of the two young people with their team and wagon, the only thing I would find surprising is that none of the other 497 people who attended were visible in the background.

Toward the end of January 1903, Harve Carey moved onto the Sykes farm, having leased it for several years ("Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 30 Jan. 1903).

♦    ♦    ♦

[10/23/2015 update] Betty Koepke paid another visit to her friend the following autumn, as reported in the "General News Items" in the Hobart Gazette of Nov. 13, 1903:
Miss Helen and Betty Koepke and Messrs. Lou and Herman Rossow and Wm. Scholtz, of Chicago, visited over Sunday [Nov. 8] at the home of W.H. Carey, near Wheeler.
This provides an even more likely occasion for the photo above to have been taken: it would explain why no one else was visible in the background, and why Betty might be visiting a farm rented by Harve Carey — by then her friend Augusta was Mrs. Wm. Carey, Harve's stepmother. And this time, we know for sure that Herman Rossow was visiting as well.

Along with Betty (the newspaper tells us) came Helen Koepke, which supports the theory that the Bettie Kopke mentioned in my previous update is our girl, since the 1900 Census records that Bettie had a 16-year-old sister named Helene.

*A son was born to Harve and Kate Carey on that farm in 1903 ("Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 6 Nov. 1903). An untitled social column in the Hobart Gazette of January 5, 1906, included an item advertising a public sale by H.F. Carey "on the Wm. Sykes farm southwest of Hobart." Late in February, Harve moved to the "Elmer Wolf homestead," which he had purchased, and the Charles Chester family moved to the Sykes farm ("General News Items," Hobart Gazette 2 March 1906).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Update to Reuben Bridle

I came across a death notice that explained why the Bridles' grandson, Clarence Casper, did not appear in the 1910 census — by then the poor child was in his grave.