Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Index to Lake County Recognizance Bonds, 1877-1895

I have previously posted at least one image from the Book of Recognizance Bonds, Lake County, Indiana, owned by the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society. There is some interesting material in there, but the book is so large and fragile that trying to scan the whole thing would damage it (and me). Last summer I got the idea to photograph the pages instead of scanning them, and that's where Dan Kleine (local historian-photographer-railfan) came in; he provided the equipment and expertise that made the project work. So now we have digital images of 460 pages of recognizance bonds. And here is an index of what those pages contain:

Index to Book of Recognizance Bonds, Lake County, Indiana, 1877-1895 by AinsworthIN on Scribd

If you find your relative in the index and would like a digital image of the page(s) he or she is on, please contact me.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Steam Shovel, National Fireproofing Co.

2016-11-27. Steam shovel postcard
(Click on images to enlarge)

The caption at the bottom of this postcard reads: "Steam Shovel/National Fireproofing Co., Hobart, Ind." The photo is attributed to "M.L. Photo," which isn't very helpful since I still don't know much about that enterprise.

The back of the postcard is no help, either, in narrowing down a date.

2016-11-27. Steam shovel postcard verso

No postmark, no stamp box, no printer's name. The vertical dividing line at center seems to be composed of letters, but even at 4800 dpi I can't read them.

The postcard is now the property of the Hobart Historical Society.

I wonder if this steam shovel was ever operated by our friend, Charles Dewell?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Why They Are All Quitting Farming

This notice about yet another public sale by another soon-to-be-ex-farmer includes some comments about the difficulties the farmers were facing in the early 1920s.

2016-11-25. Mionske
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 26 Oct. 1922.

In a previous post I identified the Theodore Henning farm:

Henning-Sitzenstock 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

It lay on the west side of the intersection of Colorado Street and Harms Road.

This is the first I've heard of Paul Mionske, but he may have occupied the Henning farm when the 1920 Census came around; he appears on rented land (with his parents) in that vicinity. I've a feeling this will be the last I hear of him.

Theodore Henning was born in Germany in 1855, came to the U.S. in 1871, and married Wilhelmine "Minnie" Mau in Chicago in 1884. They bought their Ross Township farm sometime between 1891 and 1900: the 1900 Census shows them there with seven children (Charles, Frank, Amanda, Albert, William, Fred, and Lillian). Theodore died in 1916, at which time he and Minnie were Crown Point residents. The old farm was being operated by their son, Albert, who in 1912 had married Florence Gradle.1 (Two of their children, Theodore and Delmer, were photographed at the Vincent School.) In January 1917, Albert himself held a public sale on the farm2 and apparently got out of farming — the 1920 Census shows him in Gary, employed at a steel mill — but he held on to the land, renting it out. Which is where Paul Mionske comes in, and goes out.


[1] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 7 June 1912.
[2] "Public Sale," Hobart Gazette 12 Jan. 1917.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Before It Was the McAuliffe Farm

The reason George Earle had 80 acres to sell to Timothy McAuliffe, Sr., in 1867 was because he had bought those 80 acres from the State of Indiana in 1854:

2016-11-23. 1854 - NW Q NE Q Sec 33 combined
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Jocelyn Hahn Johnson.

(The verso can be seen here.)

2016-11-23. 1854 - SW Q NE Q Sec 33 combined

(The verso can be seen here.)

So it was considered swampland, apparently, when George Earle bought it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Farmers Win One

It's an old story, you see. Little guy criticizes something big guy did, big guy sues little guy for defamation to shut little guy up. Sometimes little guy shuts up, since fighting a lawsuit is expensive and big guy's pockets are deep. Sometimes little guy fights it out.

2016-11-20. Farmers
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 26 Oct. 1922.

All right, I admit that Sam Woods, Alex Boyd, and Roy Hack were not exactly little guys in Ross Township, but when they went up against the Federal Paving Co. "backed by practically all of the large contracting companies of the United States," I suppose you could say it was a David-versus-Goliath situation.

Over in the left-hand column is a little notice for a community Halloween masquerade to be held in the basement of the W.G. Haan School.

♦    ♦    ♦

At the top of the left-hand column is a fragment of a story out of Hammond that, even though it nothing to do with Ainsworth, I was considering writing about just because it was so bizarre. However, a little Googling into the Hazel McNally "twin-doll murder case" revealed that other bloggers have saved me the trouble, and if you are interested, you can read about the case in various places, like this one.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Baseball Player

2016-11-18. img028
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

A handwritten note on the back of the original photo identifies this young athlete only as "R. Hendrix." At first I thought that the "R" must stand for Roy or Ray — that this was one of the three little Hendrixes, all (or half) grown up.

Only … this fellow couldn't be younger than about 16, could he? — which means, if he is indeed Ray/Roy, the photo must have been taken about 1930. And doesn't it all look a bit old-fashioned for 1930? I mean the laced-up jersey, and the painted backdrop of the photographer's studio … it makes me wonder.

[12/18/2016 update: compare the photo above to these.]

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Let's Get Some Electricity Out Here

From this report on the doings of the Improvement Club of Ross Township, we can gather that by October 1922 Ainsworth still did not have electricity, and its citizens either went without or made their own.

2016-11-16. Electricity
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, 27 Oct. 1922.

I believe that the Eliza Wood Mackey who "Strangled Herself to Death" was the wife of Robert Mackey, twin brother of the late Richard Mackey. If I have found the right grave, she is buried under the surname Wood, though her maiden name, per her death certificate, would have been Powers. I believe she married Thomas Wood in 1872 (Indiana Marriage Collection).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

John Wood School ca. 1962

The John Wood School looks freshly built in this aerial view:

2016-11-13. John Wood
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The image is not otherwise dated.

Here is the same image with a couple of features marked.

2016-11-13. John Wood - marked

The old Foreman house is still standing, though its outbuildings (aside from the pump house) are gone. I have marked the location of the old wooden Ainsworth school according to what I have been told. I can't clearly see it in those trees, though I do see something that looks like a small building.

The Triebess house lies just outside the left border of the photo. That house was built in 1849 according to the county records. If that date is correct, we may also call it the old Horace Marble house (per the 1874 Plat Map) and maybe even the old Booth house, since members of the Booth family owned that land in 1848 and 1850, per Early Land Sales, Lake County.

The white house along the left border was built in 1939 according to county records, and I haven't yet found out yet who built it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

From a Soldier to His Mother

2016-11-11. Harms misc 001
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

2016-11-11. Harms misc 002

We know that Walter Ensign served in the armed forces during World War I. Evidently he sent this postcard "From Walter to Mother" while he was in camp in Mississippi. (According to his 1921 passport application on Ancestry.com, he was eventually sent to France.)

I think that much is in Walter's own handwriting. Someone else came along and added the surname, thank goodness, or we might not have known who Walter was. And I don't actually know which of these soldiers is Walter.

"Mother" was Elizabeth-or-was-it-Nora (Shearer) Ensign.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


2016-11-8. Kittens 1
(Click on image to enlarge)

Here are two of my foster kittens wishing everyone a Happy Election Day.

As for me, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm taking a blogging break.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

For Sale at Goldman's

The Ainsworth general store was promoting sales in late October 1922.

2016-11-3. For sale at Goldman's
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, 27 Oct. 1922.

I did not know what crash toweling was. According to Dictionary.com, crash is "a plain-weave fabric of rough, irregular, or lumpy yarns, for toweling, dresses, etc."

Peters shoes from that era are still floating around, along with the boxes they came in, to my surprise — e.g., men's shoes from the 1920s, and children's shoes from the turn of the century.

Elsewhere on the page above, we learn that the newlywed Walter and Hazel Veal were moving into a house I can't identify.

And south of Ainsworth, Caroline Campbell was "seriously ill."

I don't think I have ever shown the Campbell farm on a plat map. And now that I set about trying to, I can see why I might have avoided it, since I'm having trouble pinpointing its location in relation to modern-day roads. This image from the 1908 Plat Map shows the Campbell farm lying over the border between Ross and Winfield Townships [corrected image posted 11/28/2016]:

Campbell 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hobart Then and Now: Radio Field/Southlake Mall

1937, and 2016

2016-11-1. rf007
(Click on images to enlarge)
Image above courtesy of the Eldon Harms family.

2016-11-1. Southlake 1
2016-11-1. Southlake 2

I can't do a precise then-and-now shot because I can't identify exactly where the first photo was taken. Thanks to notes on the back, we know the year — 1937.

2016-11-1. rf008

"Les" is Lester Harms (with his back to the camera), and "Dad" is his father, John Harms (in the driver's seat). They did not own this land; they may have rented it, or plowed it for hire. The field was called "Radio Field" because there were radio towers somewhere in it.

In the 1937 picture, there seems to be a road in the right background, with a house and farm outbuildings in the distance. We don't know which road that is, or whose house.

I never had a chance to look at this picture with Eldon Harms. It had been mislaid in his house, and in spite of the time he spent searching, it didn't turn up until after he had gone. "Where Southlake Mall is now," is how he described it, and "near I-65." I'm not sure if he himself, looking at the photo, could have told me exactly where it was taken.