Friday, November 24, 2017

Name and Occupation?

Another lament about the difficulty of indexing these old record books. This time I'm dealing with an account book recording commercial transactions involving goods and (medical) services between 1835 and 1837 (unfortunately for Hobart historians, its records begin in LaPorte, to judge by the note in the top margin).

That first entry is not confusing. Obviously, Dr. Merchant (as we shall call the writer) didn't know the customer's name at all — only that she was a washerwoman, poor soul. So I index it as "Washerwoman."

Further down on that same page comes an entry that I confidently index as "Plaisterer, Jonas."

2017-11-24. AccB1835 002, 003
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Then I get over to the next page, see that first entry — "Collins Carpenter" — and start doubting myself.

I go back and take another look at Mr. Plaisterer, and realize I've mis-read his name — it should be "Jones." And that's his surname. Plaisterer (plasterer) is what he does for a living. So I re-index him: "Jones (Plaisterer)." Dr. Merchant knew his surname and occupation, but not his first name … and actually left a small space before "Jones," in case his first name should ever become know.

Likewise, there's a space before "Collins" on the next page. So I index that first entry as "Collins (Carpenter)."

Then I get to "H. Wheeler." "Wheeler" is both an occupation and a surname. But there's no space before the "H" here. So I index it as "Wheeler, H.," and just hope I'm right.

All this over some people in LaPorte that nobody cares about.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

South of Deepriver, March 15, 1923

Among all the usual visiting going on in southern Ross Township, I am introduced to a connection between the Hurlburt-Smith family and the Ripley family that I didn’t know about.

2017-11-22. South of Deepriver
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 15 Mar. 1923.

Aside from a couple of passing mentions of the surname Ripley — back when I was figuring out who those south-of-Deepriver Smiths were, and in a 1920 "South of Deepriver" column — I have thoroughly ignored the Ripleys. That name shows up a couple more times in my notes, but never to tell of the Ripleys doing anything more interesting than being related to Milan Hurlburt and Rachel (Hurlburt) Smith. I am inclined to continue ignoring them.

However, I should do my duty as an amateur historian and at least get some of the basics. Per the Indiana Marriage Collection, Horace Ripley married Frances Hurlburt in Lake County, Indiana, on June 24, 1873. They were married by Horace Marble, J.P.

How on earth they ever met, I do not know, since Horace Ripley, aka "Hod," was born in Canada, raised in Wisconsin, and then moved to Missouri, according to his obituary on

Frances Hurlburt Ripley was born March 25, 1852, according to her death certificate. Her parents were Jacob and Susan* (Perry Sheffield) Hurlburt.

What little information I have suggests that the Ripley presence in this area was never long-term, consisting only in visits to the Hurlburts and Smiths.

Now I've done my duty and can go back to ignoring the Ripleys.

♦    ♦    ♦

The shower for Bertha Fisher, also mentioned in the next column to the right, reminds us of the existence of Hubert Hahn.

*Frances' death certificate gives her mother's name as "Jane," but I believe that is a mistake.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Main Street Looking South from Front, 1901-1907

I have posted similar views of Main Street, but I don't think I've ever posted this exact, precise view.

2017-11-19. Main St. s from Front 1901-07 a
(Click on images to enlarge)

It's on a postcard with an undivided back, meaning that we can date the postcard between 1901 and 1907.

2017-11-19. Main St. s from Front 1901-07 b

2017-11-19. Main St. s from Front 1901-07 c

I can't see any curtain loft on the Strattan Building, which also suggests that the photo was taken before 1907 — although I'm not sure the curtain loft would be visible from this angle.

2017-11-19. Main St. s from Front 1901-07 a - labeled

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ernest Doepping and His Grandmother

I said earlier that I was going to stop trying to figure out the Doeppings, but I lied. How can I help myself? — I've just found more Doeppings "near Ainsworth."

2017-11-16. Mrs. Doepping and grandson near Ainsworth
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 15 Mar. 1923.

I think the "aged lady" of that first item is Mary, the widow of Frederick. Her grandson, Ernest, showed up in the 1920 Census in the household of his parents, Rheinholdt and Sophia (née Busselburg), in southeastern Ross Township. Ernest was the last of their children still at home, and with him was his wife — he had married Lilly Werblo in 1917 (Indiana Marriage Collection). Perhaps the young people wanted to get their own place, and the next best thing was to move in with his grandmother, Mary, who was getting too old to live alone. Since I suspect Mary of living in one of those little houses on S.R. 51 just north of the Grand Trunk tracks, the household might have been very "near Ainsworth."

The Charles Sievert who was also ill (and also near Ainsworth) may have been the man we find in the 1910 Census living in eastern Ross Township (in the neighborhood of the present-day River Pointe Country Club). He was 61 at that time. However, I can't find him in the 1920 Census.

I wonder where that "hooded Klansman in full regalia" came from, with that money for the Lake Station church? Maybe he was one of those mysterious out-of-towners responsible for the recent parade in Hobart.

Monday, November 13, 2017

John M. Gordon

As I mentioned earlier, John Gordon's biographical sketch appeared in Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed/Blanchard):
JOHN M. GORDON, junior member of the firm of P. P. Gordon & Brother, was born August 19, 1838, in Richmond, Penn. When John M. was eighteen years old, his father died. Mr. Gordon bought up the homestead soon after the death of his father, and in 1871 sold out and came to Hobart and went into partnership with his brother, P. P. Gordon; his mother lived with him until her death, in the spring of 1882, aged eighty years, fifty-six years a M. E. Church member. The brothers keep a full line of drugs, paints, oils, varnishes, brushes, etc., and groceries, provisions, flour, cigars and tobaccos, etc. Their trade has increased, and has always ranked among the first in the city. Mr. Gordon has an improved farm west of Hobart, about one mile; he is a member of the F. & A. M. fraternity, has always been a Democrat, but is liberal in local matters; he was married, January 20, 1869, to Anna L. Trumper, a native of Canada. They had three children — Frederick W., Mary J. and Edwin W. Mrs. Gordon was a teacher for four years, and was educated in Canada.
His wife, "Anna L.," more commonly went by her middle name, Lushia or Lucy. The 1880 Census shows John, a druggist, and wife Lucy, a teacher, living with their three children, Frederick, Mary, and Edwin, as well as John's 78-year-old mother, Lucy.

Once again we turn to an obituary for the rest of the story.

2017-11-13. John Gordon obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 3 July 1914.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bull Calves and an Exploding Radiator

Allow me to get back to my adopted quiet family, the Noltes — two of its surviving members have some pure-bred bull calves to sell in March of 1923:

2017-11-8. Nolte Bros. selling bull calves
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 9 Mar. 1923.

Above that ad, we find Charles Chester selling oak fence posts, which I expect he made from oak trees felled in his own woods, nowadays the domain of horse-riders, dog-walkers and track-meeters.

Elsewhere, we learn about Christian Heck's arrival in this country in 1860, and James Chester's hard lesson about patching a radiator with cement.

In the last column, the report about Wayne Nelson's appendicitis describes his mother as living "north of Ainsworth," which is news to me. Either that is a mistake, or she moved out of the village when I wasn't looking.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Updated Photographer Timeline

I got the beginning date wrong for John Blackhall's Hobart career, so I have posted a corrected photographer timeline over there in Notes on Local Photographers.

The source of my original beginning date (1852) was a article from the Hobart Herald of August 26, 1954. Its author admitted to not knowing when John Blackhall came to Hobart, but made a guess based on dates involved in the transfer of the land where the former Blackhall house sits.

However, I recently got my hands on John Blackhall's 1905 obituary, which describes him arriving in Hobart in 1873. The 1894 obituary of his wife, Agnes (Thompson) Blackhall, agrees ("Entered into Rest," Hobart Gazette 28 Dec. 1894).

Neither of those two sources states when John retired from his photography business. John's obituary says only that "for a number of years [he] was engaged in the photographic business." The 1954 Herald article says he "retired in the early nineties." That is not inconsistent with either of the obituaries, so I am sticking with "circa 1893" as the ending date of John Blackhall's photographic career.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hobart Then and Now: Dr. Pliny P. Gordon's House

1898, and 2017:
2017-11-2 Gordon, Dr. P.P 1898
2017-11-2 Police station parking lot
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Since the location of this Gordon house is not general knowledge (I certainly didn't know it until very recently), I should set out my reasons for concluding that it stood on the east side of Center Street, slightly south of the Fourth Street intersection.

To establish that the house was on Center Street, here's a little item from the "Local Drifts" column of the Hobart Gazette of July 4, 1902: "Mr. and Mrs. Howard Gordon came out from Chicago last Saturday to live in Hobart and have begun housekeeping in his father's house on Center street." We can refer to the 1880 Census or P.P. Gordon's 1904 obituary (below) to confirm the relationship between Howard and Pliny.

Fortunately for posterity, the Hobart Gazette's 1898 Souvenir Edition reproduced a photograph of the house and identified it, and also fortunately, as we can see in the photo above, it was a fairly distinctive house — brick, two full stories, with a bay window in front (and on your left as you stand in the street facing the house), a small front porch next to it, and a small bay window towards the rear on the right side. So let's look at the Sanborn map of 1895 to see if we find a house like that.

2017-11-2 1895 Sanborn map detail

Almost a match: it's colored red, so it's brick; most of it is two full stories; the bay window in front would be on your left as you faced the house. But what about the side bay window and the small front porch? Let's go to the 1902 Sanborn map:

2017-11-2 1902 Sanborn map detail

Now we have the front porch and the side bay window. We know they were sometime after 1895, so they could have been there for the 1898 photograph.

Speaking of which, if we look carefully at the background of that 1898 photo, we can see that at some distance behind the house is a large structure, over two stories, with a gable topped by a chimney on the side facing the house. I think that's the Hobart Township School on Fourth Street; compare this 1894 photo and this circa-1900 photo.

That's my case for the location of the P.P. Gordon house.

♦    ♦    ♦

Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed/Blanchard) included a biographical sketch of P.P. Gordon:
PLINY P. GORDON, M. D., senior member of the firm of P. P. Gordon & Bro., druggists and grocers, was born December 21, 1835, in Pennsylvania, and is one of eight children born to Edwin and Lucy (Power) Gordon, the former of New York, and the latter of Vermont. Grandfather Gordon was in the war of 1812. Two uncles were noted physicians of Detroit and Harrisburgh. When Pliny P. was four years old, his parents came to Michigan; here he lived at home until about 1860, attending school at the Ontario (Ind.) Seminary; he then began the study of medicine under Dr. Warren Byrns, of Bronson, Mich., and studied also at Ann Arbor and Buffalo, and graduated at Buffalo in the spring of 1865; he then came to Hobart and located; the first year he had a $1,200 practice, and has since run as high as $3,500; three years later, he began the drug business in partnership with his brother, and has been in that ever since; the firm has also been engaged in buying land, and at present the brothers have two farms; they have a fifth interest in the Deep River Ice Company. The Doctor is the oldest practitioner in Hobart, and has a leading practice in this part of the county. He is a Knight Templar, member of the F. & A. M. fraternity, and has been a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge; he was County Coroner for two years; he has always been a Democrat, and is a public-spirited citizen. He was married, in December, 1869, to Hettie Rifenburg, a native of New York. They have one child, Howard B. Mrs. Gordon was a teacher for a number of years.
Hettie Rifenburg was the sister of William H. Rifenburg. Much of this sketch was repeated in the doctor's obituary, printed in the Hobart Gazette of March 18, 1904:

2017-11-2 obit of P.P. Gordon

I believe that Mary McAfee was the widow of Samuel (1880 Census) and her maiden name was Russell (Indiana Marriage Collection). Dr. Gordon only flitted through the last year-and-a-half of her life.

The 1979 article that was the basis of my Downtown Hobart 1979 blog included a story involving the Gordon brothers, set in the 100 block of Main Street:
Lot #1 of Hobart's plat was the site of Lew Hammond's tavern, a stage coach stop. In 1886 it was run by Mrs. David Young as Young's Hotel. John Gordon came from Pennsylvania that year to visit his brother, Dr. Pliny Gordon. He walked from the Pennsylvania Railroad station down Front Street and inquired at the hotel where he could locate his brother. He was told he was upstairs at a dance. John Gordon bought a ticket for $2.50 and was handed a slip of paper. This, he was told, was a deed to a lot in the new cemetery on Front Street and the dance was being given to raise money to build a fence around the cemetery to keep the pigs and cows from grazing there. Mr. Gordon relates the hotel later burned down.
I do not know the identity of the Mr. Gordon relating this story. It appears he misremembered the year, since John Gordon was already well settled in Hobart by 1882, when Goodspeed and Blanchard printed the biographical sketch above.

From a family tree on comes this 1903 picture of Pliny Gordon and his first grandchild, Virginia (born in November 1902):

2017-11-2 Dr. Pliny P. Gordon  1903 and granddaughter Virginia
Image credit: "KatharineMRedmond,"

If the photo is correctly dated to 1903, that's likely a christening gown Virginia is wearing as she sleeps in Grandpa's arms, before or after the ceremony. The overexposure of the photo makes it very difficult to judge the baby's age. If the photo dates to January 1904, then her christening gown has become her burial gown.

Little Virginia died January 17, 1904, just a couple of months before her grandfather. They are both buried in Hobart Cemetery.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Claude Bullock Quits Farming

We haven't heard from Claude Bullock since 1921, when he and Mary Ann had a daughter. Now it's March 1923 and Claude is quitting farming — not retiring, I don't think, since he is only about 42 years old; I don't know what he intends to do for money, outside of the rent he'll be getting from Alfred and Vera Shults.

2017-10-30. Claude Bullock quits farming
(Click on image to enlarge)

The last time I spoke about the Lathrop farm, I hadn't yet purchased a copy of Early Land Sales, Lake County. Checking that resource, we find Samuel Lathrop owning some of that land as early as January 1845, and all of it by April 1852. So it was the Lathrop farm for half a century; small wonder if the name stuck. According to the Lake County records, the house on that farm (perhaps the main one out front, that is slowly falling into ruin) was built in 1850.

Above the Bullock item, we see that John Harms has begun his work as Township Assessor.

♦    ♦    ♦

In the right-hand column we see a large ad for the new Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, which must have been a peaceful as well as beautiful place for several decades, until I-65 came through. Now graveside ceremonies are accompanied by the continuous roar of traffic.

Friday, October 27, 2017

An Eight-Pound Gordon

On January 12, 1909,1 an eight-pound boy was born to Zora and E.R. Gordon — delivered neither by his father nor his great-uncle Pliny, but by an out-of-town physician named A.G. Schklieker.2 I find that a bit odd.

The child was named John Jackson, probably in honor of both his grandfathers. Little John would spend much of his first year in the house where his father grew up.

In March, "Dr. E.R. Gordon … moved his office from the First State Bank block to the Fiester block, upstairs in front,"3 which explains why his name appears on the second-story front windows in this photo:

236-238 Main
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In May, as we've learned, construction began on the new Gordon house. All in all, it had been a very eventful year-and-a-half for E.R. and Zora.

[1] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 15 Jan. 1909.
[2] Indiana Birth Certificates.
[3] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 19 Mar. 1909.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Updated Index

Having finished indexing two of the Union Sunday School record books, I have replaced previous draft index with a new draft on the Index to Hobart Historical Society Ledgers page.

I have seven more Union Sunday School books to do, but for the moment I have to move on to something else, or I'm afraid I'll start writing silly things in my index. There's a limit to how much Sunday School a person can take without a break.

Monday, October 23, 2017

South of Deepriver, March 1923

Much innocent sociability in the countryside.

2017-10-23. South of Deepriver
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 8 Mar. 1923.

"The Raschka barn near Leroy" might have belonged to Frank and George, William's brothers.

Arthur Bowman's radio sounds more like a ham set than something to receive commercial broadcasts — but then again, for all I know about radios, it might have done both.

Friday, October 20, 2017

E.R. and Zora

2017-10-20. Dr. E.R. Gordon, 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)
Dr. E.R. Gordon, circa 1908.
Image credit: "KatharineMRedmond,"

This item in the "Local Drifts" of the Hobart Gazette of Feb. 28, 1908, tells of Dr. E.R. Gordon making a surprise visit to Hobart with his new bride, Zora (Knopsnyder).

2017-10-20. E.R. and Zora just married
(Click on image to enlarge)

He is described as "head house physician in one of the Health Homes at the [Bernarr] Macfadden Sanatorium, Battle Creek, Mich." Earlier, we saw in his obituary that he had been a patient at an unnamed sanitarium in Battle Creek, where he met his future wife. The Bernarr Macfadden Sanitarium definitely existed, but I haven't been able to confirm E.R.'s association with it in any source except the Gazette.

2017-10-20. Zora Knopsnyder 1903
(Click on image to enlarge)
Zora Knopsnyder, as a student at Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia, circa 1903. Image credit:

Zora Knopsnyder was born in 1882, which means we have no census record of her until the 1900 Census, where we find her in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, boarding in the home of Edward and Mattie Sowers — who may or may not be related to her; I don't know. In a family tree on, her parents are listed as Jackson Wynkoop and Margaret (Catz) Knopsnyder; the 1908 paperwork for E.R. and Zora's marriage names her parents only by their initials: J.W. and M.J. In 1900, if I've found the right people, J.W. and M.J. were living in West Virginia. I wonder why Zora chose not to live with them? She was then 18 years old and the enumerator recorded no occupation for her.

E.R. and Zora were married February 19, 1908, in Elk County, Pennsylvania.[1].

After their visit to Hobart, the young couple returned to Battle Creek for several months. In May, Zora came down alone for a visit to her in-laws, staying with them in the house on Second and Center Streets.[2]

In July 1908, E.R. came home to Hobart for good.

2017-10-20. Dr. E.R. Gordon returns to Hobart
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 24 July 1908.

(There's another make of car I never heard of before. Looking at the 1908 models on this page, they look so exposed. I'd hate to go out on a call on a cold, rainy night with only that flimsy convertible roof to shield me.)

With E.R. came a 15-year-old boy, formerly a bell boy at the sanatorium, who would work as office boy (in E.R.'s office, I expect).[3] The Gazette gives his name as Ormer Thaker, the 1910 Census as Omar Thenker. I can't find him elsewhere.

E.R. rented an office in the First State Bank building and went about his business as doctor and coroner.

2017-10-20. Advertisement - Dr. E.R. Gordon
(Click on image to enlarge)Hobart Gazette 2 Oct. 1908.


[1] Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.
[2] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 22 May 1908.
[3] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 31 July 1908; 1910 Census.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"The Marriage of Her Brother"

I have previously gotten pretty well convinced that Julius Triebess married Sophie Mankey in Chicago on June 11, 1901. Thus, this little item from the "Miller Murmurings" column of the Hobart Gazette of June 14, 1901, pretty well convinces me that Julius and Lena Triebess were brother and sister: "Miss Lena Triebess went to South Chicago to attend the marriage of her brother."

Although that item does not specify June 11, it would be a great coincidence if two Triebess men with local ties were married in Chicago during the same week … and no mention of such a coincidence appeared in the local paper. Ergo, I am pretty well convinced.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Gordon House

As some of you already know, the Gordon house has new owners, who have begun the difficult process of restoring this lovely old place. Because they have enough work to do, I volunteered to look into the microfilm and other records in search of some background on the house to share with them … and with the readers of this blog.

Let's get straight to the good part: the spring of 1909, when construction first began.

Construction of Gordon house begins
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette May 7, 1909.

The electric-line franchise is discussed in more detail in the left-hand column of this page. As we know, the streetcar line ended up taking a different route — passing a block south of Dr. Gordon's house, rather than right past it.

♦    ♦    ♦

He went by "E.R." and I'm beginning to wonder if it's because he himself didn't know whether his first name was Edwin or Edward. It shows up both ways. With the help of Paula Isolampi of the Hobart Historical Society, I've come up with a theory: he was christened Edwin after his paternal grandfather, but he didn't like that name, and as soon as he was old enough to impose his will on others, he started making them call him Edward, or just Ed. Professionally and publicly, he used his initials — a common practice at the time.

E.R. Gordon was born December 7, 1878 (Indiana Death Certificates). His parents were John and Lushia (aka Lucy) Gordon, whose brick house used to stand on the southwest corner of Center and Second Streets (and where four-year-old E.R. was photographed on the porch). His father was a druggist, and his uncle, Pliny P. Gordon, a doctor, so medicine ran in his blood, I suppose you could say.

To find out the details of his life, we must look to his death — which came early; the poor soul had scarcely three years to enjoy living with his family in his beautiful house. Here are his obituaries from the two Hobart papers of 1912.

E.R. Gordon obit
(Click on images to enlarge)
Hobart News 26 Dec. 1912.

E.R. Gordon obit
Hobart Gazette 27 Dec. 1912.

It's interesting that E.R. went to Battle Creek originally as a patient. He did more there than rest and recuperate, according to accounts at the time of his marriage (1908), which described him practicing his profession in a sanatorium. But we'll get to that later.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Something You Didn't Know About Jay Sharpe

Since he proved so elusive in the census and other records, we had nothing to prove that Jay Sharpe ever existed except that one glass-plate negative, taken in April 1906.

Now we have a little more, which I have added to the post with his glass-plate image.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

August 15, 1976, 4:15 a.m.

Here is another view of Hobart's water tower … watching over an alien landscape, in another world and another time.

2017-10-10. Lake George 15 Aug 1976 0415
(Click on image to enlarge)
Photograph by Thomas Wells. Used with permission.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Mrs. Jacob Hurlburt's Mother

Mary Louise Gustafson's obituary gave me the maiden name of Jacob Hurlburt's wife, Augusta.

2017-10-6. Gustafson obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette Mar. 9, 1923.

The obit describes Augusta as well as Mary as a resident of Union Township, Porter County; if that was true, I suspect it was only temporary. As we know, by 1923 Augusta and Jacob Hurlburt had plenty of their own land in Ross Township, and the 1920 Census shows them living there. However, if we look at a 1921 plat map of Union Township, we find land belonging to Claus Gustafson and a residence of Linder Gustafson:

2017-10-6. Gustafson 1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

And indeed, the 1920 Census reports Mary Gustafson living there with her 32-year-old son, Linder, who was unmarried.

However, if Mary's health was seriously declining, I doubt that the family would leave her nursing to a bachelor son — quite possibly Augusta Hurlburt stayed there to tend to her mother in her final illness. That may account for the confusion about where Augusta lived.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hobart's Second Water Tower

This undated photograph shows the town's second* water tower (now gone) at the east end of what is now Jerry Pavese Park. The building to the right of it is, I believe, the water filtration plant (now gone) and to the right of that, the NIPSCO building (still standing).

2017-10-2. rf005
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Eldon Harms family.

*The first one was on New Street.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Funeral and a Wedding

On March 4, 1923, Maria Eickemann Kramer — a former Ainsworthite — was reunited with her husband, Jacob Kramer, Sr.

2017-9-29. Maria Kramer obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, 8 Mar. 1923.

On a happier note, we find sister Bertha Busse marrying George Smith — whose father, Sela Smith, had probably been born on the Smith farm southwest of Ainsworth. Mrs. Emil Scharbach was, as we know, sister Emma. Neither Bertha's father nor her sister Adeline lived to see this happy occasion.

Additional Sources:
♦ "Death of Mrs. Jacob Kramer," Hobart Gazette 9 Mar. 1923.
♦ "Smith-Busse Nuptial," Hobart Gazette 9 Mar. 1923.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sunday School Is Cancelled

That's the good news. The bad news is: you have smallpox.

2017-9-26. USUN1871-050
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The cancellation lasted two Sundays — March 24 and 31, 1872. I suppose the Superintendent who made that decision was the same person as on April 7: Orsemus H. Spencer, brother-in-law to Harriet Hanks Chester.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Surprise Klan Parade

Darkness had fallen on that Saturday evening, February 24, 1923, when dozens of out-of-town vehicles, including a LaPorte bus, streamed into Hobart and disgorged their cargo of Klansmen — some 400 of them. A cross burned as the Klansmen marched from Lincoln and Tenth up through downtown Hobart and circled back to their starting point, watched by silent townspeople.

2017-9-23. Klan parade
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Mar. 2, 1923.

The "triangular park opposite the Kibler filling station," where the cross burned, is now the site of the Doughboy statue.

I like how the report includes all the rumors floating around: that no one in the parade was recognized (certainly not any Hobart citizens!); that the marchers were from Michigan City, Laporte, Valparaiso, Gary, and Hammond; that many in Hobart were frightened by this bizarre display.

♦    ♦    ♦

As we see in the next column, Hobart had also been invaded by a more familiar illness: smallpox. Our friend Harry Breyfogle had it. Last I heard, the young Breyfogles were living in the Guyer building; they must have moved. I have no idea which of the many houses around the intersection of East and Second Streets they occupied.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A.B. Colkitt Buys an Olds Roadster

This sales contract somehow found its way into Eva Thompson's collection.

2017-9-20. EvaT055
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

My best guess at the identify of this person is an Alfred Colkitt who shows up in a Gary city directory in 1920:

2017-9-20. 1920 Gary directory
(Click on image to enlarge) U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

… and who gave his name to a draft board in 1942 as Alford Byron Colkitt (WWII Army Enlistment Records).

But what connection did Mr. Colkitt have to the Thompsons, that his auto sales contract should end up in their hands? — I do not know. The contract was inside an envelope addressed to Nancy Thompson in Hobart, postmarked in December 1933 from Nappannee, Indiana. Was it sent to her in that envelope, or did that envelope just turn out to be a convenient storage place?

In looking around for an image of a 1921 Oldsmobile Roadster, I discovered that something similar to Alfred's car, modified into a truck, was the vehicle that carried the Beverly Hillbillies.

I also learned that a 1921 Olds Roadster was involved in the development of the "automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment search warrant rule, … less formally referred to as the Carroll doctrine."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Toothed Spurge

This is not a wildflower of Ainsworth. This is a wildflower of the first rest stop on I-65 south of Ainsworth.

2017-9-17. Toothed spurge colony
(Click on images to enlarge)

It is called Toothed Spurge.

2017-9-17. Toothed spurge

It likes to hang out in farmers' field, so no wonder I found it among all that Indiana farmland.

It has tiny and unimpressive blossoms.

2017-9-17. Toothed spurge blossoms

So far as I can tell, it serves no purpose except its own existence.

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Of course, I was heading down to Purdue U. Veterinary Teaching Hospital when I took these pictures. I took a couple more pictures in Lafayette.

Here's a mural called Sunday morning Wabash River, painted by Zach Medler, after Seurat.

2017-9-17. Sunday Morning Wabash River

And the flowchart outside Main Street Books.

2017-9-17. Flowchart

(I was not charged for this picture since I bought some books.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Work ID and Chauffeur Badge, 1936

A collection of photos and other items relating to the Fleck and Halfman families of Ross Township has come to the Merrillville/Ross Twp. Historical Society through the Fleck family. The collection includes this photo ID (undated) used on the job by Nicholas Fleck, Jr. (1887-1955):

2017-9-14. N. Fleck Jr. work ID
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Merrillville/Ross Twp. Historical Society.

And here is the badge he wore as a truck driver in 1936:

2017-9-14. N. Fleck Jr. work badge

A family legend holds that Nicholas, as an employee of the Lake County Highway Department, worked on building Broadway up to the steel mills; the family is now researching to try to determine whether that's true, or just a good story. Neither the ID nor the badge indicates who his employer was when he used them.

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Although I have mentioned the Flecks of Hobart several times already in the blog, I find I have neglected the Flecks of Ross Township. They are related, all being descended from Peter and Anna Fleck. Our truck driver's father, Nicholas Fleck Sr., was the brother of the Michael Fleck who ran a coal business in Hobart (and whose ledgers I expect to be indexing sometime in the future).

Nicholas Sr., born circa 1854, married Frances Wilde in 1876 (Indiana Marriage Collection). The two of them, with a young daughter, were farming in Hobart Township (near his father and brother) when the 1880 Census was taken. By the 1900 Census, their family had grown to nine children, including Nicholas Jr.; they were farming in Calumet Township.

The family first shows up in Ross Township in the 1910 Census, farming their own land, with five of their children still at home. Judging by their neighbors, the Flecks were on the land that showed up as theirs in the 1926 Plat Book:

2017-9-14. Fleck 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)

The 1908 Plat Map shows different ownership, so unless that map lagged behind purchases and sales, the Flecks bought their Ross Township farm between 1908 and 1910. On the south, the Grand Trunk Railroad cut across their land; on the north it was Turkey Creek. Today, the old Fleck farm is occupied by some businesses and part of Hidden Lake Park.

Although in 1910 Nicholas Jr. was described as single, when he shows up in the 1920 Census with a wife (née Anna Halfman), their children include an eleven-year-old son. I have not been able to find a marriage record for Nicholas Jr. and Anna, so I don't know how to explain that. Nicholas and Anna were farming rented land near his father's farm — or maybe part of it?

Nicholas Jr. seems to have been among those who quit farming in the 1920s. In the 1930 Census he described himself as a truck driver for a hardware store. He and Anna, with their nine children, were living on rented property in Ross Township described as being in the "north corner of [the] township, east of Broadway," which could still be the old Fleck farm. The year after that census, another daughter joined the family. In the 1940 Census, Nicholas Jr. said he was a clerk at a hardware store. His death certificate (1955) gives his occupation as "truck driver," his employer as "Highway Dept." — but does not specify which highway department, and he died in LaPorte County.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Harnessed Tiger Moth

This critter came to visit my porch light a few weeks ago.

Tiger moth
(Click on image to enlarge)

I believe it's a Harnessed Tiger Moth.

My moth book has information about how to catch nocturnal moths and put them in the refrigerator overnight so they get sluggish and you can photograph them properly in daylight. Where do people get the time to do stuff like that?

I hope to be back to historical posting soon.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Kitten Cuteness

Here are some cute pictures to look at until I can get myself in gear.

Eliza is looking much better than when she first came home. You can still see where they shaved her legs to put in the IVs.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Every four hours, a syringe feeding.

Eliza syringe feeding

Here's Mama Emily, who doesn't like having her picture taken:

Mama Emily

Freewheelin' Franklin, an ankle-biter:

Franklin scratching up my ankle

Travis, a mighty mouser:

Travis caught a mouse

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sick-Kitten Break

This is Eliza, my foster kitten.

(Click on images to enlarge)

This is Eliza's daily schedule of medication and feeding:

Eliza schedule

And that's why I have to take a break from blogging.

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[9/14/2017 update] Sadly, little Eliza didn't make it, in spite of our best efforts. She was a sweetheart and in her short life was loved by many people.