Sunday, October 30, 2016

Clouded Sulphur

2016-10-30 Clouded Sulphur
(Click on image to enlarge)

This is some kind of Sulphur butterfly on a milkweed. I think it looks most like the Clouded Sulphur in my butterfly book. I could be wrong; it wouldn't be the first time.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quitting Farming: Part XVIII or Whatever

Now we learn that back in the autumn of 1921 when an airplane fell into "William Moehl's field," it was technically George Hayward's field on the northeast corner of Liverpool Road and 49th Avenue.

2016-10-27. Moehl, Gruel, Fredrick
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, 19 Oct. 1922.

The renters vacating the flat were, I believe, Lloyd and Mamie Arnold (1920 Census). I have mentioned Lloyd before in passing. He was from Wheeler, where his father had been a blacksmith (1900 Census). I don't know anything about Mamie (maiden name unknown). Lloyd seems to have spent just a few years in Hobart, then moved to Gary to stay.

♦    ♦    ♦

Elsewhere in the same column on the page above, we have some teacher news — Elsa Gruel teaching in Chicago, and Evelyn Fredrick entertaining her colleagues in the Fredrick home on S.R. 51. Bunco, in case you didn't know (and I didn't), is played with dice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tall Nettle

This plant, which manages to be both graceful and ugly, sprang up in my raspberry bed.

2016-10-25. Tall Nettle
(Click on images to enlarge)

I identified it as Tall Nettle. I wanted to photograph the hopelessly tiny blossoms, and I figured that since this nettle didn't actually have "stinging" in its name, it wouldn't hurt me if I took hold of its stem to position the flowers better, right? … Wrong. And ouch.

Anyway, here's the best photo I could get of the blossoms.

2016-10-25. Tall Nettle detail

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Breaking Camp

Mrs. George Thompson was Lee's (and Eva's) mother. Her maiden name was Swartz and per the 1900 Census she had married George Thompson in 1899, but I've not yet been able to find the record of their marriage.

2016-10-23. Nancy Thompson
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, 19 Oct. 1922.

The little Amlong family started camping out near the village of Deep River in June. They must have spent a few chilly nights in their tent before finally moving into a house for the winter. The "Humes residence south of the city" was likely on what's now State Road 51, though I still don't know exactly where.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Morning-Glory Plume Moth

Most of my adult life I have been letting dogs out at night, and while they take care of business, looking at the living things that congregate around dusk-to-dawn lights in mild weather, and saying to myself, "Strange creatures come out at night" — usually while looking at one of these:

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth 2
(Click on images to enlarge)

Finally I have learned that they are not so strange after all. They are just moths; specifically, plume moths, and this one is a Morning-Glory Plume Moth — so called, I gather, because its caterpillars feed on plants in the morning-glory family.

They roll their wings up when not using them.

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth 1

My moth-identification book helpfully includes a ruler printed inside the back cover.

A couple of weeks after I took the photos above, I found a morning-glory plume moth that had gotten into my house.

2016-10-21. Morning-glory plume moth on screen

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Was It About Seattle?

The "Local and Personal" column of the Hobart News of October 5, 1922, included this item: "Lee Thompson, residing south of Ainsworth, formerly of Hobart, left Monday evening for Seattle, Wash. where he expects to be employed in the markets in that city."

I think "south of Ainsworth" referred to their rented farm near the Vincent schoolhouse.

Perhaps Lee had heard from the Hazelgreens how great Seattle was. Or maybe there was some boom going on there in 1922 that could draw him out of Indiana.

This might explain why I couldn't find him around here in the 1930 Census; on the other hand, we already know he was back in Hobart by 1940.

♦    ♦    ♦

The fact that 60 property owners were petitioning for an "asphaltic concrete top dressing" for Cleveland Avenue in October 1922 suggests that it was still a gravel road at the time … if not a dirt road.

2016-10-18. Road improvement petition
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1922.

That was the route of the Yellowstone Trail, competing for traffic against the Dunes Highway (still under construction, I think) to the north and the Lincoln Highway to the south. And crews had been at work on the Lincoln Highway during summer of 1922, pouring fresh cement.

The "south road … between Hobart and the Lincoln Highway" refers State Road 51.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Steam Engine Running Beside a Plowed Field

Here's another entry in my series, "Not Ainsworth But Could Be."

When I first saw this photo, I thought: That's how the Grand Trunk steam engines must have looked running past my field, back when Henry Chester farmed it!

2016-10-16. Grand Trunk steam engine
(Click on images to enlarge)

Unfortunately, the notes on the back give Grand Haven, Michigan as the location and 1947 as the year …

2016-10-16. Grand Trunk steam engine verso

… so I was way off as to place and time. But still — let exactitude fall to the side, let our eyelids droop, and that's a westbound Grand Trunk train slowing down for the Ainsworth depot.

The first car behind the tender belongs to the Pennsylvania Railroad, the third one to the C&O Railroad — both lines that would have been a part of life in Ainsworth, though not quite as large a part as the Grand Trunk Railroad.

Friday, October 14, 2016


I am indebted to Rita McBride of the Hobart Historical Society for finding and printing out this story. Back when I was reading the 1916 microfilm, the name Hazelgreen meant nothing to me.

2016-10-14. Dynamite
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 16 June 1916.

We've already met Malcolm Hazelgreen. The sister living in the same home was probably Elna.

The last paragraph mentions a similar event happening to Fred Kappelman "nine years ago," which would take us to about 1907; this is why I think Fred was still alive some years after his marriage to Nora Ensign.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Kid in the Kitchen

2016-10-12. rf021
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Eldon Harms family.

Handwritten notes on the back of the original identify this kid only as: "The little Goat. 1930."

Whose little goat? and why was it so special that it was allowed in the kitchen? — We don't know.

The photo comes from a group dominated by Lester Harms, his wife Sue Prochno White Harms, his parents and extended family. This leads me to think that the scene is on either the Harms farm on Cleveland Avenue, or the Prochno farm on Colorado Street.

I like the homey details you can see in the background if you enlarge the image: the plain spindle-back chair, the plastic- or oilcloth-covered table, and the lidded bucket or cast-iron pot atop it. But I am mystified by the appliance at the far left. Here I have fiddled with the light values to try to bring it out more:

2016-10-12. rf021 detail

In a farm kitchen in 1930, you'd expect to see a stove, cupboards, a sink, and maybe an icebox. I'm trying to see one of those things in this image. Is that bright vertical line caused by a convex central panel reflecting light from the back window? Or is it a shiny metal handle down the side? I suppose we could be looking at an oven door, but I've never seen one with those rivet-like dots around the central panel.

Monday, October 10, 2016

She Was a V, A, M, P …

My only memory of the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour is Cher's recurring vamp song, which comes to mind now that I'm delivering on my promise to dish the dirt about Emma Shearer.

I will let this newspaper article from October 2, 1908, tell the story:

2016-10-10. Shearer 1 of 2
2016-10-10. Shearer 2 of 2
(Click on images to enlarge)
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 2 Oct. 1908.

Although the article gives her earlier husband's name as James Adams, per the county records it was Anthony S. Adams, and the date of their marriage February 28, 1901. She was then about 34 years old, he about 28 — old enough to know what he was doing, you'd think. But what "disclosures" could he have made to provoke her to kick him out of the buggy? My guess is that he hadn't gotten around to divorcing a previous wife … or perhaps had a lot of debt.

After divorcing Mr. Adams, Emma appears not to have married anyone else until November 17, 1906, when she and John Kroledge joined their hearts together. He was ten years her junior. Their marital bliss lasted almost two years, it seems.

Several weeks after the above publicity about their impending divorce, another disgruntled hired man came forward:

2016-10-10. Shearer - Mattas
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 20 Nov. 1908.

I have not been able to learn the outcome of any of these cases. I assume the divorce came through, since John Kroledge married again during Emma's lifetime.

But I did come across this tantalizing tidbit from the spring of 1909 …

2016-10-10. Shearer Ohearn
Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 13 Apr. 1909.

… which stirred up in my mind a vague memory of Emma and Michael O'Hearn being connected somehow, long ago; so I went searching among my notes and found that yes, indeed, they had been closely connected. I don't know exactly when it started, but by the spring of 1895 they were secret lovers. She was about 29, he about 33. In the spring of 1896 their quiet romance ended — loudly.

2016-10-10. Shearer-Ohearn
Hobart Gazette 17 Apr. 1896.

2016-10-10. Goes Free
Hobart Gazette 8 May 1896.

♦    ♦    ♦

I have yet to learn much about the rest of Emma's life, but at the moment it appears there were no more marriages. In 1910, Emma — living alone, apparently, on her farm on Tenth Street — gave her surname as Kroledge and her status as widowed (the enumerator was Charles A. Blank, who, as a resident of Miller, might not have heard the real story). In 1920, she was still Emma Kroledge, but now "divorced." In her household was a 51-year-old hired man; let us hope he was satisfied with his wages. I cannot find Emma in the 1930 Census.

Emma Kroledge, "widow," died in the Lake County Poor Asylum on May 7, 1932.

2016-10-10. Emma Kroledge obit
Hobart Gazette 12 May 1932.

What little I know of Emma's siblings suggests that all of them were, shall we say, unsettled. I believe brother Charles served a short time in prison in the 1890s; someday I will discuss him in more detail.

Her sister, Mary Ellen, had married John Mander in 1873, and, as we've learned, the marriage was not happy.

"Mrs. Nora Ensign" is somewhat mysterious, because I can't find that Emma ever had a sister named Nora; she did, however, have a sister named Elizabeth E., born in 1857, whose death certificate (1934) described her as the widow of William Ensign … who, according to the marriage records as transcribed on, married "F. Ellen Shearer" in 1881. We've met Elizabeth Ensign before and learned that she described herself as widowed in 1910 and divorced in 1920. She had two sons, John and Walter (and through John she was the grandmother of Richard Ensign). I can't find Elizabeth in 1930, but I do find a Nora Ensign living in Hobart — about three years older than you would expect Elizabeth to be. Which leads to something else interesting: the marriage records show a Nora Ensign marrying a Fred Kappelman in 1899; and the 1900 census shows John and Walter Ensign living with their mother, whose name is nearly illegible but looks as if it could be "Kappelman, Norra" (you can see for yourself here), and who told the enumerator she had been married for one year. The question is: where was Fred Kappelman in 1900? I have no idea. I have reason to think he was still alive, though I can't find him outside of the local newspapers.

As for William Ensign, I don't know what became of him. I can't find any record of his death.

And as for the "family lot in the Hobart cemetery" mentioned in Emma Kroledge's obituary: I cannot find Emma, nor her parents, nor her sisters in Hobart Cemetery — or anywhere else, for that matter.

Additional Sources:
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
Indiana Death Certificates.
Indiana Marriage Collection.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Various Stages of Quitting Farming

This first public-sale announcement shows that I was sent on a wild-goose chase a year ago when I came across an item in the News where "Hoffman" was spelled "Huffman" and the Sonntags had just bought the Emma Shearer farm.

2016-10-8. Public Sales
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 5 Oct. 1922.

The John G. Hoffman farm is the one I marked in this post, when it was owned by John's son, Henry. No plat map shows that parcel owned by Mike Ormond, but the 1908 Plat Map of Ross Township shows it owned by Margaret Doyle, who I believe was Mike's sister (their respective death certificates show the same parents (Indiana Death Certificates), and the 1870 Census shows them living in the same household). Straddling the border between Hobart and Ross Townships, the Ormond/Hoffman farm comprised 160 acres.

And that is where the Carl and Anna Sonntag were living when they downsized to the Emma Shearer* farm.

I am not sure how large the Emma Shearer farm was in 1922. The 1908 Plat Map shows a 36.83-acre parcel owned by E. Shearer, which probably stands for Emma (though it could stand for Elijah, Emma's father, who died in 1902):

2016-10-8. Shearer 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

The 50-acre parcel immediately north of that is ascribed to Sophia Shearer, Emma's mother, who died in 1907. The 1926 Plat Book shows Carl and Anna Sonntag's farm spreading over both those parcels. (I think the Sonntag farm is the location of Hobart's gigantic new high school.)

So I'm not sure how much of a downsize it actually was, but at any rate they were quitting dairy farming. (I suppose they were udderly tired of it.)

The second public sale advertised in the News was being held by Maude Hardesty. Recently widowed, with a new baby and several young children to raise on her own, Maude would have been hard pressed to supervise a farm as well. Whether she intended to sell the land as well as the livestock and farming implements remains to be seen. I don't know for sure where her farm was. If we look at the Union Township plat map from 1921, we see Hardesty farms all over the place, but no John N. Hardesty farm; we do, however, see a J.W. Hardesty farm:

2016-10-8. Hardesty 1921
Image from, courtesy of Steven Shook.

In the 1906 plat map, that initial looks more like an N. The 1928 plat map shows a non-Hardesty owning that land. So my current theory is that that was Maude's farm and she sold it before 1928.

♦    ♦    ♦

Two weeks later, we find Charles Shults declaring that he intended to quit farming altogether:

2016-10-8. Shults public sale
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 19 Oct. 1922.

This looks like the William Springman farm in 1921:

2016-10-8. Springman 1921
Image from, courtesy of Steven Shook.

I do not know what, if any, relationship Charles Shults had to Ainsworth's William Shults — I suspect they were brothers, but I'm going to need somebody's obituary to confirm that.

*The News was using her maiden name, which Emma herself may not have used at that time. I have recently come across some interesting information about Emma's activities in her younger days, which I will post soon.

Additional Sources:
1870 Census.
Indiana Death Certificates.
Indiana WPA Death Records Index.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Goat-Powered Commerce

One day long ago, a peddler who carried his wares in goat-drawn wagons stopped along the old Lincoln Highway to trade, and perhaps to rest — and to be photographed — at the Tonagels' store in Ainsworth.

2016-10-6. img863
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This man, and others like him, traveled around the area selling whatever they could carry in their wagons. The most visible wares in this picture are those contraptions with sails and tails — weathervanes, I suppose. But the wagons look well stuffed with other goods.

The adults who bought from them may have known the peddlers' names, but the photos come to us from one who was a child at the time and knew them only as "gypsies."

In another photo, this peddler is joined by some people we know:

2016-10-6. img862

The tall, dark-haired man in overalls is Cecil Tonagel. Next to him is his father-in-law, Charles Rosenquist. Of the five children crouched beside them, we know only the middle one — Donald Tonagel.

The photo is undated, and we don't see any cars that would help us fix a date. The photo must have been taken after the Tonagels started operating The Pantry in 1935 but before Charles Rosenquist's death in 1953. Donald Tonagel, born about 1929, looks perhaps twelve years old here; assuming he's been identified correctly, we can date the photo roughly to the early 1940s.

The photographer stood out front of The Pantry, pointing the camera southwest toward the intersection of 73rd and S.R. 51.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Unidentified Moth

I'm amazed I managed to get such a clear shot of this very active moth!

Unidentified Moth
(Click on image to enlarge)

Too bad I couldn't get a clear shot of its wings at rest, from above, which is how my moth-identification book shows them.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cursing, and Other Unpleasantness

Some nice local news … a new silo on the Gruel farm, innocent social activities South of Deepriver, blah, blah, blah …

2016-10-4. Gruel et al.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 5 Oct. 1922.

… but also some juicy stuff, like "Mr. Traeger" cussing out Dr. Friedrich, a city health officer.

I do not want to guess at the identity of Mr. Traeger, whose first name is not given; but the location, I suppose, was the building at 235 Main Street. In 1922 it was only a former "saloon," as we use the word, since liquor could not legally be sold there.

And in the next column, we have a report of a big Ku Klux Klan recruitment rally in Hammond which gives us a look at how the Klan presented itself at that time and place. The open avowal of white supremacism is jarring, but otherwise the speaker was saying things that you can still commonly hear in both public and private discussions, and his concern that "a foreigner can come in here with a bomb in his hand" could have been voiced five minutes ago.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Three-Seeded Mercury

2016-10-3. Three-Seeded Mercury
(Click on images to enlarge)

Yep, that's a wildflower. If you look very closely, you can see its poor excuse for a blossom.

2016-10-3. Three-Seeded Mercury detail

Found in my rain garden.

More info here, if anybody cares.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Turk's Melody Boys

"Music by Turk's Melody Boys," says the advertisement for a dance at Niksch's dance hall, providing no further detail, as if everybody knew who Turk's Melody Boys were … or as if they were so obscure that there was nothing to say about them.

2016-10-2. Melody Boys
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, 29 Sept. 1922.

Googling "Turk's Melody Boys" turns up only a few references to a band called Johnny Turk's Melody Boys, which got some air time on West Coast radio broadcasts circa 1926; for example:

2016-10-2. Johnny Turk and his Melody Boys
(Click on image to enlarge)
Eugene Guard (Eugene, Ore.) 27 July 1926 (via

I wonder if Johnny Turk's Melody Boys got their start in such humble places as the old Deep River schoolhouse? But theirs wasn't a story of a rise from small beginnings to great fame: after a few radio broadcasts they seem to have disappeared, and have not resurfaced in any modern-day account of American musical history that I can find.

The woman whose obituary takes up most of the left-hand column of the Gazette page above was Christina (Blank) Hazelgreen's sister.

♦    ♦    ♦

Here's a summary of local auto accidents in the space of a week:

2016-101-2. Accidents
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 22 Sept. 1922.

Dr. Phillip Forsberg was a veterinarian, and I suppose his wife, Mary, was the "Mrs. Forsberg" whose identity eluded me when she sang in Ainsworth. They both rest in Hobart Cemetery, beneath a literary epitaph. Their "house by the side of the road" was at 56th and Broadway (WWII Draft Cards), which was in Ross Township (1940 Census). Phillip was a friend to man's best friend, anyway. And Mary, who gave her occupation in 1940 as assistant school principal, was a friend to children, we can hope.

The Carlson fruit farm and its melons were on the west side of S.R. 51, somewhere near what is now Indian Ridge Golf Course.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Common Buckeye

2016-10-1. Common Buckeye
(Click on image to enlarge)

The Common Buckeye likes open areas with low vegetation, which may explain why it was lounging around on my lawn … but I had to mow, so I had to move it. It seemed uncommonly lethargic and just sat there on my glove.