Tuesday, May 31, 2016

South of Deepriver

Thank goodness for these South of Deepriver columns, they save me from having to write a real post.

2016-5-31. South of Deepriver 8-10-1922
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Hobart News 10 Aug. 1922.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Cursed Crowfoot

The black sheep of the Buttercup family. Ranunculus sceleratus: five yellow petals and one bad attitude.

2016-5-29. CC1
(Click on images to enlarge)

(In the lower right of that picture, you can see some ragwort not quite blooming yet.)

It's called cursed crowfoot because its sap is toxic enough to cause skin blisters. According to Jack Sanders, "Swallowing just two drops of the juice is said to be enough to kill a person by severely inflaming the alimentary canal."

2016-5-29. CC2

2016-5-29. CC3

Not very good pictures, I know. Better pictures and more information can be found here.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hugh aka Hubert Hahn

Since we were just discussing Hubert Hahn, let's take a look at a photo of him as a yout'. He is the kid in the front row with crossed arms and an expression on his face as if he's just daring you to say something.

2016-5-27. img834
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Jocelyn Hahn Johnson.

The people in this photo are identified by notes on the back, apparently written by Hubert/Hugh himself.

2016-5-27. img835

"Your dad" would be Edward Hahn, the youngest of the Hahn boys.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This is not the first barn dance I've heard of at the Houck farm, which I believe was in Winfield Township, but it's the first jaw-breaking I've heard of there. The alleged jawbreaker was one of the Hahn boys who had lived on the McAuliffe farm, but by 1922 I expect he was out on his own. Kenneth Humes had long ago left a finger in Ainsworth.

2016-5-25. Jaws
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"Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 11 Aug. 1922.

Elsewhere, news of other acquaintances … Mrs. A.G. Ingram had been born Anne Fleck.

If I've got the right Triebesses, these are Julius and Sophia Triebess, who were living in Chicago while renting their Ainsworth-area farm. I leave it to people with more time than I have to figure out exactly how Sophia was Mrs. Christ Passow's niece, if they are interested.

I believe the farm Harve Carey was moving back to consisted of 160 acres in southeast Portage Township, Porter County.

The Epps family was recently bereaved.

And on his small farm in Union Township, Jacob Yager was breaking his back again picking strawberries.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Wild Hyacinth

I had tons of work to do, but I said — I won't repeat exactly what I said, and then I took the dogs for a long stroll in Deep River County Park and found some wildflowers I hadn't seen before. Exhibit 1: wild hyacinths.

2016-5-23. Hyacinth 1
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The long, narrow leaves belong to the wild hyacinths, which have only basal leaves.

Hyacinths are named after the young Greek fellow who died after being accidentally hit on the head by a discus (but now I'm finding out that foul play on the part of the West Wind is suspected).

2016-5-23. Hyacinth 2

This one hasn't even begun to bloom:

2016-5-23. Hyacinth 3

They bloom, and then fade, from the bottom up.

2016-5-23. Hyacinth 4

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Charles Rosenquist

2016-5-21. img859
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Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Here is Charles Rosenquist, father of Ruby Tonagel, riding shotgun in the Tonagels' delivery truck. We don't have a date on this photograph.

Charles died October 19, 1953, at the age of 81. His obituary gave a brief sketch of his life:
Rosenquist was born in Sweden, March 13, 1872, and came to the United States when he was 16. He was a farmer in the vicinity of Chesterton until 1938, when he retired and went to live with his daughter, Mrs. Ruby Tonagel, in Ainsworth. Rosenquist's wife preceded him in death several years ago.

Besides Mrs. Tonagel, he is survived by two other daughters, Mrs. Ester Fridh, South Bend, and Mrs. Hazel Young, Chesterton. Also surviving are a sister, Glenda Peterson, Chicago, and six grandchildren.*
Charles is buried in Chesterton Cemetery … as is his wife, I'm told, but unfortunately whoever added his record to findagrave.com did not include hers.

There was a Charles H. Rosenquist in Porter County, born ten years earlier than our Charles M., and we must not allow him to confuse us.**

♦    ♦    ♦

Eldon Harms, looking at this photo, remembered the delivery truck as being blue. He also said that the telephone number on the side ending in "3" may mean it was a party line, and a call to the Tonagels would ring thrice.

*"Former Chesterton Area Farmer Dies in S.B. Hospital." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.) 20 Oct. 1953.
**Any more than we are already, I mean.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Well Disguised Frogs of Ainsworth

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What's that you say — you can't see any frog? Just a disgusting pile of bird droppings?


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Babies and Burglars

Happy events in the early days of August 1922 — William and Mayme (Brand) Fleck have a son (William Jr., their first child), and Ernest and Myrtle (Nelson) Sitzenstock have a daughter (Florence, their third child).

2016-5-17. Sitzenstock and other babies
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Hobart News 10 Aug. 1922.

But two columns over, we see that there's been a lot of burglary going on.

In the last column, the Old Folks at Home business is being taken over by some new folks from out of town. Looking over the 1920 Census, the best candidate I can find for "Mrs. M. Roberts of Hammond" is Margaret Roberts, a widow with two sons, either of whom would have been old enough in 1922 to help her run a business.

Additional Sources:
1930 Census.
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 11 Aug. 1922.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lester Dye

2016-5-15. EvaT006
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

The handwritten note on the bottom margin reads, "Lester Dye," but in my notes I was calling him "Leslie." That may just be confusion on my part. All the other records I can find give his name as Lester.

He was the brother of Walter Dye, who married Eva Thompson's sister, Alta. Lester was born in 1907, one of the seven children of George and Anna Dye. The family farmed in Winfield Township (1910 Census, 1920 Census). Around 1929 he married, and the 1930 Census shows him and his young wife, Berta May, farming rented land in Center Township. By the 1940 Census they were back in Winfield Township with their four children, and Lester was working as a carpenter.

In looking over this photo, Eldon Harms remembered Lester as a preacher. Perhaps that came later, or was just his Sunday job.

We don't know where the photo above was taken. The buildings in background might possibly be outbuildings on south side of Ainsworth Road, on the old James Chester place, but that is not a positive identification.

The car Lester is sitting on, according to Eldon Harms, is a Chevy, possibly 1927 or 1928 model. Note disc wheels (rather than spokes); to change the tire you took off the four bolts on the outer rim.

Lester lived to the age of 99. Someone who worked in a Crown Point nursing home where he was a resident remembers him as a very kind and gentle man.

He and Berta May are buried in Salem Cemetery.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Too Many Johnsons

A recent post was about Hugo William Kent. Now I'd like to talk just a little about his second wife's family.

If we look at the Kent farm in 1921, we find it owned by a John Johnson.

2016-5-12. Johnson 1921
From http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/1921Plats/Union-1921.jpg, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

John was Anna's father. Just south of Joliet Road and east of N 750 W, you see a little square marked "Res. of Theo. Johnson." Theodore was Anna's brother.*

I'm a little hazy on the composition of the family. The Johnsons (or Johannessons) lived a good part of their lives in Sweden, and some of their children were born there; the family came to this country only in 1882, thus missing the 1880 census — and the 1890 census, of course, is lost to us. It doesn't help that Johnson is a common name, and this area was crawling with them in the timeframe we're discussing.

Someone on Ancestry.com has compiled a list of the Johnson family as part of the Krachey Family Tree:

John (Johann Magnus) Johnson (Johannesson) b. 1841 in Sweden
m. Ulrika Ulla Kristina Swanson b. 1849 (in Sweden)
1. Anna Elisabet (1874-1878)
2. Charles Carl Johan (1876-1945)
3. August Albin (1879-1882)
4. Oscar Emil (1881-1949)
Arrival in New York 1882
5. Theodore Clauss (1886-1955)
6. Anna (1889-1971)**
7. Hulda Josefina (1895-1980)

This almost-but-not-quite matches the listing in John Johnson's 1930 obituary:
John Johnson, aged 89 years, pioneer Porter county resident, passed away at the family homestead, where he had resided for the past 37 years, now the home of his daughter, Mrs. Hugo Kent, and family, one mile east of Deepriver, on Friday, Jan. 3, the cause of death being heart trouble.

Mr. Johnson's birthplace was in Sweden, and he was born on March 11, 1840. He was united in marriage to Ulricka Swanson in 1872. To this union was born eight children, two dying in infancy. In 1880 he and his family emigrated to this country and settled near Crisman, where they resided for twelve years. They then moved to Deepriver on the place where he had since resided. His wife preceded him in death seventeen years ago.

He leaves to mourn his death, four sons and two daughters — Charles, Oscar, Albin, Theador, Mrs. Anna Kent, all of Porter county, and Mrs. Hulda King of Rockford, Ill., two sisters and twenty-one grandchildren.
This gives us an approximate date for the Johnson family's purchase of the Union Township farm — 1893. The 1895 plat map backs that up. So does Ulrike Swanson Johnson's obituary, which I happened to save, back when I was reading the 1912 microfilm, because it mentioned "a farm near Deep River."

2016-5-12. Ulrike Swanson Johnson obituary
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Ulrike and John Johnson are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, among many other Johnsons.

One day last year, Eldon Harms and I went out driving so he could show me where Huffman's mill had been. As we turned south off Joliet Road onto N 750 W, he pointed to the old farmhouse on that corner and said, "That was Constance Kent's house." I still haven't figured out who Constance was. The Porter County records have 1892 as the construction date of that house … which may mean the Johnsons did not build it themselves. Assuming a little carelessness on the part of the 1921 plat-map maker, that might be the house marked as Theodore Johnson's residence. I gather that after Anna Johnson married Hugo William Kent, it became the Kent home.

*But I can't find Theodore in Porter County in the 1920 Census.
**Theodore's birthplace is given as Miller, Indiana; Anna's as "Union City," which may be the area in Porter County known as Union Center, today memorialized only by Union Center Elementary School.

Obituary Sources:
♦ "John Johnson, Pioneer of Porter Co., Passes Away." Hobart News 9 Jan. 1930.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart News 26 Dec. 1912.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Little Philly Waldeck

A recent acquisition.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The photographer was A.O. Merrill of Hobart. As you can see, someone has written in "Phil." Handwritten notes on the back specify: "Cousin Phillip Waldeck." I see no reason to doubt the identification; you can already see a resemblance to his high-school portrait, and since Phillip was born in 1896, he looks about the right age here to have been photographed by A.O. Merrill, whose Hobart career ended in late 1902.

Phillip Waldeck's mother was a Maybaum, so he had plenty of cousins on that side. I don't know about his father's side.

This portrait is all the more touching because we know that Phillip's life would be cut short.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Mayor of Aetna

If there was any local announcement about the family of Hugo William Kent moving to the greater Ainsworth metropolitan area, I missed it. But, as we've seen, by August 1922 they had moved to a farm in Porter County where they would spend the next two decades at least.

Here is the Kent farm in 1928:

2016-5-8. Kent 1928
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From http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/1928Plats/Union-1928.jpg, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

Hugo was married to a local woman, Anna (née Johnson). She was his second wife. His first marriage had begun in Chicago in 1904, and ended abruptly on September 5, 1916:

2016-5-8. Death of Ida Kent
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While the headline of the article gave Hugo the title of "Mayor" of Aetna (now a neighborhood in Gary), the article clarifies that he was president of the town board.

The coroner's investigation resulted in a finding that Ida's death was indeed suicide.

In October 1917 came the second marriage. Hugo and Anna Johnson went to Berrien County, Michigan, to tie the knot, although Hugo lived in Gary and Anna gave her residence as Valparaiso. Thanks to the marriage records, I know Hugo's father's name was Robert, and his mother's maiden name looks like "Schdean." All the same, I can't identify him for certain in any census prior to 1910. He was born in 1883 and so may have been out of his parents' house by 1900.

In 1920, Hugo and Anna had been living in Hammond. Sometime between then and August 1922, they moved to the old Johnson farm; and sometime during the year Anna gave birth to their first child, Norma. A son, James, would follow about four years later. (James went on to start Kent Heating and Air Conditioning, so I have him to thank for my house being warm in winter and cool in summer.)

Hugo died in 1957, Anna in 1971.

1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "A Case of Suicide." Kokomo Daily Tribune 7 Sept. 1916.
♦ Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.
Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index.
♦ "Deaths." "Hugo William Kent." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.) 6 Sept. 1957.
♦ "Obituaries." "Mrs. Hugo Kent." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.) 25 Oct. 1971.
♦ "Probe Death of Aetna Lady." Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 6 Sept. 1916.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Nickel Plate Garage Work Order Blank #866

This was in my "Not Used" file, a collection of random stuff I've acquired but not posted to the blog yet. Now I can put it in my "Used" file.

2016-5-6. img031
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2016-5-6. img032

No date on this. We know that the Nickel Plate Garage had that phone number as early as 1917 (and probably earlier). I have found the same number in my own 1927 telephone directory (which will get scanned one of these days) and the 1941 directory. The 1947 directory has no listing for the Nickel Plate Garage.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Take a look at this announcement about a marriage license:

2016-5-4. Mae Jeffrey marriage license
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Hobart Gazette 11 Aug. 1922

The Hobart News used the same wording, but prefaced with "This item has been handed in to The News for publication," as if to say, "Don't blame us, we just print what we're given."

The lack of enthusiasm and the reference to both of them living in Gary spurred my imagination to a gallop, and it leapt over all the more innocent possibilities, to the conclusion that this item must have been "handed in" to inform local gossips that an irregular situation was about to be regularized.

As you may recall, the James Jeffrey family moved to Ross Township in 1921. May was listed in the 1910 Census as their eldest child, at seven years of age, so she was about 19 in 1922.

♦    ♦    ♦

In the item just above that, we find Mr. and Mrs. Hoken Hazelgreen leaving Lake Station to go live with their daughter in Crisman. I believe these are Elna's parents, Hoken being Mr. Hazelgreen's Swedish name (more commonly spelled Haken), which he often Americanized to Henry (when he wasn't just using his initials, H.S.). On the other hand, if any of their daughters ever married a Pete Nicholson, I haven't been able to document it. Update: There has to be a mistake in this item. By 1922, both Haken and Christine Hazelgreen were dead. The mother of Pete Nicholson, Jr. of Crisman had been a Hazelgreen, or Hasselgren, but whether any relation to Haken I don't know and don't intend to find out. Pete Jr.'s wife's maiden name was Gustafson. Perhaps Pete Jr.'s parents went to live with him, and the Gazette's editor had a moment of confusion (in which I sympathize) preserved for posterity.

Additional Source: "Local and Personal." Hobart News 10 Aug. 1922.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Wild Ginger

2016-5-2. Wild Ginger 1
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I had been seeing colonies of these round-leaved plants on the forest floor in Deep River County Park, and thinking I'd identify them once they bloomed. At last it occurred to me that maybe I had better check for blooms under the leaves. And there they were.

2016-5-2. Wild Ginger 2

Ugly little things, aren't they? According to Jack Sanders, their ugliness serves a purpose: "An early bloomer, wild ginger attracts the types of early-spring flies and gnats that come out of the ground, looking for the thawing carcasses of animals that died over the winter. These flies are probably drawn to the flower by the dull red color, similar to carrion …."* He also says that wild ginger is not botanically related to the ginger you buy at the grocery store, but the roots have a similar taste.

2016-5-2. Wild Ginger 3

2016-5-2. Wild Ginger 4

*Jack Sanders, The Secrets of Wildflowers: A Delightful Feast of Little-Known Facts, Folklore, and History. Guilford: The Lyons Press, 2003.