Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

The news that Ernest Walters (or Walter) was re-elected yet again in November 1922 as Ross Township assessor leads me to pay a little more attention to him. Thus far I've mentioned him only as the father of the garage partners. As the article explains, however, he had long been Merrillville's cheesemaker.

2016-12-20. Walters
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 11 Nov. 1922.

He had been born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1853.[1] Having arrived in this area after 1880, he missed that census. In Lake County in 1888, he married Louisa Niksch.[2] The 1900 Census shows the two of them with their cheese factory and their three sons in Merrillville.

A Pictorial History of Merrillville has this to say about Ernest and his cheese:
Initially Ernest had a factory on Walter's Avenue but later relocated to the southwest side of the C. & O. Railroad on Madison Street in closer proximity to the Township's busy square. … Ernest traveled as far as Hammond, Indiana, in his horse and buggy to peddle his hefty rolls of cheese for $3.00 apiece.

Known far and wide by his nickname, "Cheese Henry," Ernest was much appreciated by the local farmers as they found in his business as market for their slightly sourced milk that was not suitable for shipping to Chicago on the "dummy" train.
If "later relocated" means about 1900, then the second cheese factory (south of the former C&O tracks) may still be standing.

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In the left-hand column of the page above, we find that Roy Hack, fresh off his victory over the paving company, has won the election for Ross Township trustee. He would succeed Alex Boyd, who after eight years had evidently had enough of trusteeship, as he did not seek re-election.

In the middle column, we find our friend Annie Peterson selling off household goods — preparing to downsize her living quarters, perhaps?

Below that, with respect to the fire starting from the Charles Lee property, if "Nagel subdivision" in the news item = "Nagle's Addition" on the map, then the corner of Cleveland and Ohio was a good distance for a fire to travel, or an odd stopping place for the fire department — I'm not sure which from the wording. Perhaps someone flagged them down there and told them all the excitement was over, but you'd think they would go check it out for themselves.

[1] Indiana Death Certificates.
[2] Indiana Marriage Collection; Indiana Death Certificates. Louisa may have been from the Merrillville Niksch family which, as far as I know, was not related to the Hobart/Ainsworth Niksch family.

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