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
(Click on image to enlarge)
From, 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
(Click on image to enlarge)

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.
♦ Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 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.

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