Saturday, October 31, 2015

An Ainsworth Halloween

(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

From left to right: Minnie Rossow Harms, Herman Harms, and Ella Rossow Rolff. This photo is undated. Judging by the height of Ella's hem, I wouldn't date it before 1924, and the fact that it's taken on the old Harms homestead on Ainsworth Road means it must date before 1938. Minnie looks as if she might be pregnant, but then again maybe she just stuffed a pillow under her costume, as Herman did!

A second photo shows just Minnie and Herman. In the background we can see a man and child by the tree. That might be Ella's husband, Gus, and one of their daughters. Their first daughter was born in 1927.


The third shows Ella and Herman.


All these photos were taken in the front yard, with the photographer facing east. The building in the background was the granary. A driveway passed between it and the fence; the Harmses would drive a horse and box wagon full of grain up the driveway and load the grain into the granary through a window. On its south side (between it and Ainsworth Road) was a small garden. The granary is long gone.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hobart Class of 1922: Lynn Peterson

2015-10-30. Peterson, Lynn 1922
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Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

After the death of his brother, Herbert, in 1916, Lynn was the eldest of Frank and Mabel Peterson's surviving children.

The Peterson farm lay on the west side of Grand Blvd. at its intersection with E. 93rd Ave. — here is how the 1926 Plat Book showed it (taken from an earlier post):

Hurlburt-Peterson 1926
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As we know, Lynn Peterson would marry Grace Nelson in 1929 — but its seems that his classmates had already noticed his liking for her.

2015-10-30. img874
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Visiting the Farm

In May 1922 Julius Triebess came down from Chicago to remind me that he existed, and to visit his farm just south of Ainsworth. I do not know who was living there at this time; the last I heard (autumn 1919) it had been rented to the Harris brothers, but in November 1921 they had held a sale of livestock, machinery, etc. ("Public Sale," Hobart News 17 Nov. 1922) — an event that usually preceded a departure.

2015-10-28. Julius Triebess visit
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"Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 12 May 1922.

Among the other items that caught my attention was the detour sign "at the Deepriver schoolhouse"; that is, at 73rd and Randolph. So which way did that sign direct travelers? North, I suppose, along Randolph, and thence the motorist would take Ainsworth Road, to County Line Road, and again turn north, and take either the road (450 N) that passes by the site of the Hoosier's Nest, wend their way along the back roads to Wheeler, thence to … no, they'd probably be wiser to stick to main-traveled roads, taking County Line Road north all the way to Cleveland/700 N, then known as the Hobart-Valpo Road.

Speaking of the (former) Deepriver schoolhouse — yet another dance there. It was a lively place.

I have often noticed the dignified two-story brick house on the north side of E. 10th Street, just east of the intersection with S. Hobart Rd. Now I know it was George Lutz's house. Here is his property as it appeared in the 1926 Plat Book:

2015-10-28. Lutz 1926
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Hobart Class of 1922: Wayne Nelson

2015-10-26. Nelson, Wayne 1922
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Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Wayne, who lived in the village of Ainsworth, was the youngest of Lovisa Chester Nelson's children. His sister, Grace, had graduated in 1921.

Wayne was, apparently, short.

2015-10-26. img891

And if I'm interpreting the "Bughouse Fables" correctly, he was forever writing notes to his classmates.

2015-10-26. img946

Friday, October 23, 2015

Betty Koepke Again

Another sighting of Betty Koepke added to the "On Sykes Farm" post.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

South of Deepriver

Social news from the countryside early in May 1922:

2015-10-22. South of Deepriver social column
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Hobart News 11 May 1922.

The Guernsey family was planning another reunion.

I don't know who Albert Starr was, but he lived in Valparaiso (1920 Census).

Over in the left-hand column, we hear of an auto accident "south of Ainsworth," but we don't get enough details to figure out exactly where it happened.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Too Good to Be True

The Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society Museum has a big ledger titled, "Record of Recognizance Bonds," being the record of bonds posted for people charged with various misdeeds in Lake County from the late 1870s to the mid-1890s. Among them is this one dated May 18, 1883:

2015-10-20. Ainsworth recognizance bond record
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Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

Of course, when I saw that name I got all excited. While the notion that the Ainsworth stop on the Grand Trunk Railroad was named for a railroad executive comes only from a 2006 Post-Tribune article by Bob Burns, who qualified it with "reportedly," still I dreamed up a story about this mysterious executive who, after spending time in northwest Indiana in 1880 overseeing the construction of the railroad, became fond of the area, and especially of Cedar Lake; so a couple of years later he took a vacation there — but alas, he chose to fish in an unsportsmanlike manner, and fell into the hands of the law.

That story was too good to be true.

A little investigation into the census records turned up not a railroad executive, but a "laborer" living in Center Township, perhaps in or near Crown Point (since one of his neighbors is a deputy county clerk). Sidney Ainsworth was born circa 1852 in New York, and sometime after 1870 came out to Lake County and got married, not necessarily in that order (1870 Census, 1880 Census). The S.W. Ainsworth who co-signed his bond was his father, a Civil War veteran born circa 1821.

Neither lived long after the gill-net incident. Maplewood Cemetery in Crown Point is the final resting-place of both father and son.

Horace Marble was the Lake County sheriff at the time of this incident, having been elected in 1880. The 1880 Census showed him living in the town of Hobart, working as a "commission merchant," whatever that may be. As we know, his first wife, Mary, rests in Chester Cemetery.

♦    ♦    ♦

[12/2/2015 update] Here is Sidney Ainsworth's obituary, from the Lake County Star of May 31, 1889:

Sidney Ainsworth obit
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Hobart Class of 1922: Walter Miller

Among the seniors at Hobart High School in the spring of 1922 was Ainsworth's own Walter Miller.

2015-10-19. Miller, Walter 1922
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Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Seeing that title — "Duke of Ainsworth" — made me wonder if we had misidentified this photo … but no, that Duke of Ainsworth is not Walter Miller. Ainsworth had more than one Duke, it seems.

Walter's sister, Ruth, had graduated from Hobart High in 1917. With Ruth now married and living in Michigan, Walter was the only child left at home.

♦    ♦    ♦

Among the random photos printed in the 1922 Aurora yearbook is a pair of shots from the upper floor of the old high school on Fourth Street:

2015-10-19. img937

In the photo on the left, the camera is pointed toward New Street; the library building (now the Hobart Historical Society museum) is in the upper left-hand corner. In the photo on the right, the camera points northwesterly; in the upper right we see just a corner of the second M.E. Church, with the old parsonage next door.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ross Township Graduates

2015-10-17. Ross Twp. schools - graduates May 1922
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Hobart Gazette 19 May 1922.

Judging by the names, District 2 was the W.G. Haan School. Laverne Niksch was the son of Edward and Tillie. Gilbert was the orphan boy adopted by Lee and Lena Hunter. Edwin Paine, brother of Alice, is listed in the 1920 Census as "Alfred E." and in the 1930 Census and "A. Edwin." Franklin Lindborg — well, we even have his graduation photo (wish I knew who the friend was). Gordon Argo was the son of George and Rachel "Rae" Argo.

The only one I don't really know is Andy Meyer. After poking around a bit on, I think he might be the son of John and Martha Meyers, as the 1920 Census enumerator spelled it, who then lived in Hobart Township on the "East Gary Road near Cemetery" — which sounds like N. Lake Park Avenue near Crown Hill Cemetery, but I'm not sure about any of this.

As for the other districts, I'm don't know which schools they meant. Part of the problem is that I don't know which schools were still operating. The Merrillville and Vincent schools, of course, and maybe the Adams school …but who knows what else?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Dead Man's Crossing" and School Plumbing

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Hobart Gazette 19 May 1922.

We've already read of one particularly horrific accident at the Merrillville C&O crossing; that may have been enough, or perhaps there were others, to inspire the "dead man's crossing" nickname.

The description of the new school building about to go up in Wheeler and be plumbed by Lee & Rhodes sounds like the one still standing at Fifth and North (but no longer a school):

I don't know where the "present building at Union Center" was in 1922 — possibly in the vicinity of present-day Union Center Elementary School, but that's just a guess.

Lee & Rhodes were also installing new toilets in the Nickel Plate depot, the old ones having been condemned, along with "a number of other toilets about the city," several weeks earlier by the secretary of Hobart's board of health.

Additional Sources:
♦ "City Council Doings." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1922.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 18 May 1922.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 19 May 1922.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mary Mau Foreman

2015-10-13. Mary Foreman obituary
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Hobart News 18 May 1922

Mrs. John Fasel had been Anna Foreman, and she was the mother of our cute little Mable.

Checking in on the sisters who lived locally, I find that Wilhelmine "Minnie" Henning had been widowed in 1916; Freda (or Frieda) and William Foreman* farmed their own land south and southwest of Ainsworth. The sister who married Christ Holmstrom was named Augusta — if I've found the right person — and the Holmstroms lived in the village of Ainsworth in 1920, after having moved from Chicago (1900) to Monee, Illinois (1910).

Mary Foreman's death left her husband and 22-year-old son alone on their farm.

*I must try not to confuse him with William Foreman of Hobart, for whom the school was named.

Additional Sources:
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Death of Mrs. Foreman." Hobart Gazette 12 May 1922.
Indiana WPA Death Records Index.
♦ "Mrs. Helmuth Foreman Passes Away Wednesday Forenoon." Hobart News 11 May 1922.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sarah Jane Carey

Sarah Jane was one of the children of William Carey and his first wife, Mary. She outlived her mother but not her father.
Sarah Jane Carey who has been a helpless epileptic since childhood died last Saturday, Mch. 18, 1905, at the home of her father, Wm. Carey, near Wheeler, aged 31 years, 9 months and 9 days. Funeral services conducted by Rev. Jones were held at the M.E. church in Hobart 1 p.m. Tuesday. The burial occurred at the Hobart Cemetery.
I can find no evidence that her grave ever had a marker. Perhaps her father, with his remarkable memory, felt no need of a stone to find his daughter's grave … or perhaps there were darker reasons. From Minnie Rossow Harms, we get a story of trouble in the Carey family:
[W]hen Aunt Gusta [Augusta Rossow Carey] first came to the Carey farm she also assumed the care of a daughter of Pap's [William H. Carey] that wasn't altogether normal. Pap employed hired men on his farm and one cold rainy night in a thunderstorm this imbecile daughter gave birth to a little son all by herself. This made my aunt think fast and hard. Each morning the milk was driven by horses to the nearby R.R. station (Wheeler) so she got all her girls up and had them all ride to the station in the wagon. She couldn't and didn't hide the fact that her step-daughter Janie had a baby but she feared the out-side world would gossip and say one of her girls was blaming this birth on to the unnormal daughter. It stumped her as she kept her close to her both day and at night her bed-room adjoined downstairs while all the help and her girls had rooms upstairs. But Janie died shortly afterward, so my aunt and her husband, the baby's grandfather, found themselves with a tiny son to bring up.
Indeed, in the 1910 census, William Carey described Sarah Jane's six-year-old child, Lynn, as his son.

Incidentally, I do not know if the Gazette was correct in saying that Sarah Jane suffered from epilepsy. Minnie Harms records only her intellectual disability (using the terminology of the time). At any rate, it's clear that Augusta Rossow Carey felt the need to keep watch over Janie at all times to guard her against being taken advantage of by one of the hired men, or any other man, for that matter. Family stories don't include the exact identity of the alleged father, but I gather that a hired man was suspected.

… However, with regard to the marking of her grave — as we've noted, Mary Davis Carey has no individual marker either, and I do not suppose that William Carey had anything against his first wife, the mother of his children. It could just be William's general lack of enthusiasm for the marking of graves.

1910 Census.
♦ Harms, Minnie Rossow. As It Was Told to Me. 1952 – 1978. MS. Hobart Historical Society, Hobart, Indiana.
♦ "Mortuary Record." Hobart Gazette 24 Mar. 1905.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

William H. "Pap" Carey

2015-10-10. img052
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

This is William H. Carey, known to his Rossow stepchildren as "Pap," photographed circa 1910 by August Haase.

We do not have a photograph of his first wife — only her obituary:
Mrs. Mary A. Carey, wife of Wm. H. Carey near Wheeler, died at her home last Sunday night at 11:30, Feb. 22d, 1903, after a prolonged illness, of paralysis, aged 63 years 3 months and 7 days. She was the daughter of Harry Davis and born in Maryland, but has been a resident of Porter county and this vicinity since 1879.

The funeral services were held at 10:30 on Tuesday forenoon at Wheeler M.E. church but the interment occurred at the Hobart cemetery. Besides a husband, the deceased is mourned by five children, four sons and one daughter.
Mary had borne a total of eight children, three of whom had died before 1900.

Less than two months after Mary's death, William found solace for his broken heart:
Wm. H. Carey and Mrs. H. Rossow were united in marriage at the groom's home on the farm near Wheeler at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15th, 1903. The ages of the couple are 63 and 46 respectively. The bride formerly lived in Hobart. A large circle of relatives and friends were present at the tying of the nuptial knot and to assist in the proper celebration of the event. The groom is a pioneer in this section and possesses many warm friends to wish him and his estimable bride a long and pleasant married life.
They had 14 years, and let's hope it was pleasant.
William Henry Carey, who had been in failing health for several weeks this spring, died at his home in the south part of town on Thursday, April 27, 1916, at the age of 76 years, 1 month and 18 days. He had always enjoyed good health until taken down with the grippe, followed by pneumonia.

Mr. Carey was born March 8, 1840, in Gunborough, Sussex Co., Delaware, being the youngest of thirteen children born to Stephen and Sophia Carey. His mother died two hours after his birth.

He was raised on a farm, and when 18 years of age, on March 18, 1858, he was married to Mary Ann Davis, and to their union were born eight children, five sons and three daughters. Those surviving are Thomas J. and Harvey F. of Wheeler, Lorenzo A. of New London, Wis., and Everett M. of New Philadelphia.

Mr. Carey served in the Union army the last year of the Civil War, being a member of Company K, 6th Regiment, Delaware Volunteer Infantry. He was detailed by the government to buy provisions for the army … and was not active in battles.

He came to Plymouth, Ind., July 4, 1870, and engaged in farming, which vocation he followed in Porter and Lake counties until about ten years ago, when he came to Hobart to reside.

On April 15, 1903, he was married to Mrs. Augusta Rossow ….

In the fall of 1911 Mr. Carey was elected a member of the town board as trustee and served until January of this year. During his term as trustee he took an active part in the affairs of the town, as well as the annexation and dis-annexation propositions.

The funeral was held on Sunday afternoon, April 30, at 2 o'clock, at the Christian church, the Rev. W.A. Howard officiating. The burial was made at the Hobart cemetery, where the Grand Army Post conducted the last rites to their departed comrade.
Another obituary, while less precise about his history, gave a little more information about his personality:

2015-10-10. W.H. Carey obit
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His grave is marked with the simplest of stones …

2015-10-10. Carey, Wm - Hobart Cemetery
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… but that's more than his first wife got. Although her obituary stated that she was buried in Hobart Cemetery, the NWIGS's reading of all the grave markers there recorded no Mary Carey.

2015-10-10. Carey family plot - Hobart Cemetery

As you can see, there is room enough near William for his first wife to rest there, but nothing to indicate that she does.

It's likely that his daughter, Sarah Jane, also lies nearby in an unmarked grave. We will get to her story next.

1880 Census.
1900 Census.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 17 Apr. 1903.
♦ "Mortuary Record." Hobart Gazette 27 Feb. 1903.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 5 May 1916.
♦ "W.H. Carey Passes Away at Home in Hobart." Porter County Vidette (Valparaiso, Ind.) 3 May 1916 (

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Married 50 Years

Since we've been talking about the Sykes farm, this article about George and Mary (Sykes) Hayward caught my eye.

2015-10-8. Hayward 50th anniversary
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Hobart Gazette 5 May 1922.

They were married May 1, 1872 (Indiana Marriage Collection). I'm guessing it was on the Colorado Street Sykes farm, but they probably weren't married in the big brick house, since it wasn't built until 1898 (per the county property records, which don't always tell the story in the way you'd expect). As for their home "south of town," having looked at the 1920 Census and the plat maps, I think they lived on this farm at S.R. 51 and 61st Ave.:

2015-10-8. Hayward 1926
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Image from the 1926 Plat Book.

In other words, all traces of their farm are now buried under hospitals.

♦    ♦    ♦

That page of the Hobart Gazette includes a number of small items that also caught my eye.

Well, I'm not particularly interested in Homer Gradle except in that he was the brother-in-law of Eathel Westbay Gradle.

"Casborro" is a misprint for Casbon.

I wonder whether Henry and Anna Harms took a train, or drove a car, up to Chicago to visit Henry Jr.?

Mary Foreman left Ainsworth for Mercy Hospital in Gary. I'm afraid I've already looked in the back of the book and can tell you that this story will not have a happy ending.

Road improvements were planned on the Lincoln Highway through part of Porter County.

And yet another dance at the former Deepriver schoolhouse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Splash Cups

I had never seen "bird's nest"-type mushrooms before, and I almost didn't see them this time, because these mushrooms are tiny — perhaps 1/4" to 1/3" in diameter — and low-growing … not at all conspicuous:

2015-10-6. Splash cups overview
(Click on images to enlarge)

You have to look closely to the see "eggs" in the "nest."

2015-10-6. Splash cups 1

Per the National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by Gary H. Lincoff:
The "eggs" are actually little seedlike cases, called peridioles, that contain parts of the spore mass, or gleba. The "nests" are splash cups that disperse the eggs when raindrops fall in.
I like the picture above because you can see the cups in various stages of opening up. Here are some immature ones:

2015-10-6. Splash cups 2

They are very difficult to photograph! Here's another attempt, in the sun:

2015-10-6. Splash cups 3

Sunday, October 4, 2015

South of Deepriver

2015-10-4. South of Deepriver
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Hobart News 4 May 1922.

Among all this ordinary social news, we find an item about the Henry Cunningham farm. Last time we heard about that farm was in 1919, when Thomas and Maud Chandler were renting it and their landlord was planning to sell it.

Looking around on the plat maps, I had to go all the way back to the 1874 Plat Map to find a Henry Cunningham farm:

2015-10-4. Cunningham 1874
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Henry Cunningham was born circa 1827 in New York. The earliest I can find him around here is in Porter County in the 1850 Census; he was then working as a hired hand on the farm of Hazzard and Alvira Sheffield. In 1851 he married Elizabeth Sheffield (Indiana Marriage Collection) — the sister of his employer, I'm guessing. Henry and Elizabeth were still in Porter County, farming near Hazzard and Alvira, through the 1860 Census. By the 1870 Census, however, the Cunninghams were in Ross Township, apparently on the farm that would still be bear their name in local parlance in 1922.

… which is strange, because the 1880 Census shows that Henry, apparently widowed, had by then left Ross Township and was living with his children in Chicago, dealing in horses. In the 1891 Plat Book, the Cunningham farm is the Joseph Guernsey farm. I wonder why the Cunningham name had such staying power?

Friday, October 2, 2015


This photo was taken circa 1910, at an unknown location. The only person identified is Herman Ols, at left.

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

I just can't stop looking at the ladies' hairstyles. I wonder if they used a "rat" to get that height?

In the foreground we can see the photographer's shadow. His posture suggests he's looking down into a handheld box camera.