Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Breakfast at Liverpool

It's April of 1836, and "Dr. Merchant" has left LaPorte, apparently, as he notes at the top of a fresh page (on the right-hand side) in his account book: "Town of Liverpool."

2017-11-28. AccB1835 006, 007
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

A little history, from Howat's A Standard History of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet Region (1915):
Either in the later part of 1835, or the fore part of 1836, two Philadelphia men, John C. Davis and Henry Frederickson, and a Western promoter, John B. Chapman, blocked out the town. … The new town on Deep River obtained such notice that during the first sale of lots, which covered three days in 1836, the proprietors realized $16,000. Among the purchasers was John Wood, the builder of Wood's Mill on Deep River. He and a friend bought nine Liverpool lots for $2,000; and many years afterward, when Liverpool had been almost as completely erased from the county map as Indiana City, he would bring forth the deed to his "city property" as a unique relic. The paper was written by John B. Niles, then an attorney, and acknowledged before Judge Samuel C. Sample, of Porter County.
Goodspeed (1882) mentions the same three people — Davis, Frederickson, Chapman — and reprints a survey of the town dated January 30, 1836, by a Newton K. Smith. Ball (1904) gives Mr. Davis' first name as Nathaniel, not John — don't know what to make of that.

The first entry on the account-book page above is "To expenses down to Survey Town — [$]15." That suggests to me that the writer might have been one of the people involved in getting the town surveyed, i.e., John/Nathaniel Davis, Henry Frederickson, or John Chapman.

A few items further down, we find this entry from May 25, 1836: "John's Breakfast 18 ½ [cents]." We've already identified several Johns who could be at the nascent town of Liverpool in the spring of 1836 … but who among them needed his breakfast paid for by someone else? And who among them would have been referred to by his first name, at a time when first names were reserved for use by family members or close friends?

We know, of course, that George Earle had a son named John, who would have been about 3 years old in 1836. We also know that George Earle arrived in Liverpool in 1836 (per Ball) … but would he bring his toddler son to such a place?

If we go back a few pages in the account book, to LaPorte in 1835, we find transactions with "H. Fredrickson," "J.B. Chapman" and "J.C. Davis." Which suggests that the writer wasn't any of these three, but knew them.

… But I've gone off on a tangent and delayed my indexing work, so I'll shut up now. Mystery unsolved.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Here Comes the Triebess Family … Again

Julius Triebess had moved his family from Chicago to Ainsworth in 1917 — and I'm still not sure if that was a return for them, or their first attempt to live on the farm Julius owned.

Whatever it was, that experience ended when they moved back to Chicago in 1919.

Now it's 1923, and the family (what's left of it) is returning to Ainsworth …

2017-11-26. Triebess family returns to Ainsworth
(Click on images to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 16 March 1923.

… not to farm, apparently, since they have rented the land to Sophie Triebess's brother, but only to live.

Down in the right-hand column, we learn that the Triebess farm had previously been rented to John H. Meyer … which might explain why there was an Andy Meyer graduating from (I believe) the Ainsworth school in 1922.

And below that item comes a little news about the Ainsworth Department Store under its new proprietor, Henry Paulus. Verna Guernsey, the lucky winner of a bag of flour, may still be occupying the Howard H. Smith farm.

By the way, I'm guessing that the "Raschke" in the article in the left-hand column entitled "Ready to Bore for Oil" is our own William Raschka, formerly of Ainsworth.

Elsewhere in the same issue of the Gazette, an ad for the Ainsworth Department Store.

2017-11-26. Ad for Ainsworth Dept.Store

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 findagrave.com.

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 Ancestry.com 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," Ancestry.com.

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.