Sunday, December 31, 2017

Farmhouse in Snow, 1949

This is the Harms farmhouse on East 73rd Avenue in the winter of 1949, according to handwritten notes on these two photos.

2017-12-31. sb072
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

2017-12-31. sb073

The second photo shows the back of the house, and a sled for enjoying the snow (and a bicycle for getting stuck in snowdrifts).

As I've mentioned before, the house has been demolished, but the row of evergreen trees on its west side (first photo), planted by Eldon himself, is still standing.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Updated Index to Ledgers, with Bonus George Earle Autographs

I finished indexing the ledger that begins in 1835, so I have posted an updated index to the Index page.

And here's a page from that ledger with George Earle's autograph (four times).

2017-12-28. AccB1835 100, 101
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The reason I think that is his autograph (as opposed to the ledger-writer's signing his name for him) is that these receipts are among several others on the latter pages of the ledger, each of which has a name signed in distinctive handwriting, e.g.:

2017-12-28. AccB1835 110, 111

The first receipt on this page is made out to "Nath Davis," which could be an abbreviation of "Nathaniel Davis." That might explain the confusion between Timothy H. Ball and the other sources on Liverpool history as to whether the Mr. Davis who was there at the town's beginning had been christened John or Nathaniel — there were two Mr. Davises attending the birth of Liverpool. Both of them show up in this ledger.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Frederick Wallace Gordon

I have not finished with the Gordon family yet — I still have some obituaries to post. This one tells of the untimely death of E.R.'s brother.

2017-12-26. Gordon, Frederick, obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 5 May 1899.

The article has details about the funeral but does not tell us where Frederick was buried, nor can I find any information on that.

His wife, Amanda, was the daughter of Frederick and Wilhelmine (Passow) Triebess, and now I have another project: figuring out if this Triebess family was related to Julius, Tillie, and Lena.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

A note on this picture tells us it was taken on Christmas Day 1953.

2017-12-24. mauve 001
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

One of those ladies is Grandma Chase — mother of Norma Chase Harms. The other is identified only as Helen. No doubt they are fixing Christmas dinner for the family.

Friday, December 22, 2017

South of Deepriver, March 22, 1923

2017-12-22. South of Deepriver 3-22-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 23 March 1923.

Among all the other social news, we find Maybelle Guernsey marrying Lloyd Moreland of Sedley, who thus far has figured in this blog only as a visitor in other "South of Deepriver" columns. But looking into his background a little, I find that his family goes back to the 1870s in Union Township, Porter County. His grandparents were Joshua and Margaret Anna. I believe that Joshua, born in Ohio in 1834 (Indiana Death Certificates), shows up in Union Township in the 1870 Census with his name spelled Moorland. The following year he went back to Ohio to marry his sweetheart, Margaret Anna McConkey.[1]

The young couple probably returned to Indiana soon after their marriage. The 1876 plat map for Union Township shows a J. Moreland owning a nice big parcel of land not far southeast of where Sedley would be after the Grand Trunk Railroad came through.

Around 1874, Joshua and Margaret had a son named Harrison (1880 Census). In 1896, Harrison married Jessie Wilson (Indiana Marriage Collection). Their son Lloyd was born in 1898 (Indiana Death Certificates).

Per the Union Township plat map of 1921, Harrison Moreland owned nearly 200 acres around Sedley.

2017-12-22. Moreland 1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

The 1930 Census shows Lloyd and Maybelle farming rented land in roughly the same vicinity (to judge by their neighbors); it may have been his father's land. By then they had three children.

To the left of the "South of Deepriver" column is an open letter from William O. Sievert. He may or may not be somehow related to the Ainsworth-area Sieverts — I don't know. I believe he was a Hobart resident; the 1920 Census shows a 25-year-old steel-mill employee by that name in Hobart with his widowed mother, Anna. The Charles Carlson (who was allegedly to blame for the accident) was a son of Swan Peter and Hedwig Carlson, and per the 1920 Census lived in Ross Township, farming on part of the old Carlson place on S.R. 51, roughly across S.R. 51 from the present-day Indian Ridge Golf Course.


[1] Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Monday, December 18, 2017

One Pair of Boots for George Earle

Here's another image from the account book that begins in 1835.

2017-12-18. AccB1835 026, 027
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I don't know why the transaction had to be so complicated, but I hope Mr. Earle got his boots and was happy with them. Perhaps he needed them to muck around with a team of oxen for half a day.

On the top of the right-hand page, the book-keeper wrote "Liverpool Sep 27 1837." The previous page covered September 25-27, 1836. The next page (not reproduced here) begins September 29, 1836. I think that 1837 is a mistake … but I'm trying very hard not to make assumptions. So I indexed it as 09/27/1837?. I'm really wondering what was going through the writer's head that caused him to specify Liverpool when he hadn't on the other pages and it was just another day of business in 1836.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Elsie and Glen and Their Sons

Thanks to another Chester descendant, we now have a Nelson family photograph.

2017-12-15. Elsie and Glen Nelson with Melvin, Robert, and Delmer
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Kelly.

Elsie (Henning) and Glen Nelson are in back. Their sons are, left to right, Melvin, Robert and Delmer. (The owner of this photograph is descended from Delmer.)

We don't have a date or a location for the photo. Robert was born in September 1922 and here I'd say he looks approximately nine years old, so we can estimate its date at roughly 1931. The style of Elsie's dress looks consistent with that estimate.

I can see some resemblance between Glen and his brother Owen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Nickel-Plate Nostalgia

On March 19, 1923, Thomas Maloney turned 71 — who, you ask? Good question. I never heard of him before, but he takes us back to old times, to the coming of the Nickel Plate through Hobart in 1881 (so the article says and I don't have time to research that). While constructing the railroad, Thomas boarded at the Morton building, eating the home cooking of one of those spirited Shearer sisters: Nora (aka Elizabeth) Shearer Ensign.

2017-12-11. Ensign, Maloney
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 22 March 1923.

Since first looking into Nora's history, I have learned that she was divorced from Fred Kappelman in 1903.1 The marriage had been a mistake from the start, apparently, since it happened in 1899 and by the 1900 Census they were living apart. I still haven't been able to find out when her first husband, William Ensign, died.

Elsewhere on the page above, we learn that Hobart was hit with a late-winter blizzard in March 1923. A natural curiosity about the low temperature, and the kids' leaving their toys on the porch, cost Mrs. Charles Koeppen a broken knee. She was the former Tena Rohwedder — daughter of Hans and Margaret (Thune),2 sister of Edward. The Charles Koeppen farm lay just at the eastern outskirts of Wheeler:

2017-12-11. Koeppen 1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

Finally, 'way out in New York, Ellsworth Humes hears of all those liquor-related arrests in Lake County.

[1] "Court Doings," Hobart Gazette 6 March 1903.
[2] Indiana Death Certificates.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Magnus and the Mysterious Manuscript

I'm glad I corrected my mistake about John Blackhall, since I recently bought a photograph printed by him. Now we can date this photo to within about 20 years, rather than 40 — so, sometime between about 1873 and 1893.

2017-12-6. Magnus 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2017-12-6. Magnus 2

On that ornately printed back, we find two manuscript lines:
fäd 1/2 1825
At first I thought it was a name and a birthdate, but via online translation, we learn that the Swedish word for born is född. Fäd translates to something like fading.

And yet … there is no reason why a Swedish-speaking person could not make a spelling error as easily as an English-speaking person. And what else could the writer possibly have meant?

If we assume that this is a birthdate, then the writer apparently has identified the subject of the photo as a man named Magnus, born on 1 February 1825. Do the census records turn up anyone of that description in the Hobart area?

Why, yes, they do. The 1860 Census shows a 35-year-old blacksmith named Magnus Anderson living in Hobart Township with his wife, Mary, and three children. No one else of that age, with either the first or last name of Magnus, shows up in the area.

I can't find Magnus Anderson in the 1870 Census, but I think I've found him in the 1880 Census — in North Township, age 55, wife named Mary (but her age is off by about three years). While none of the children from 1860 are still in the household, you wouldn't necessarily expect them to be. Magnus is no longer a blacksmith; now he is a "farmer and moss gatherer."

With no 1890 census records available, the next news I have of Magnus is his death, which occurred in Miller. This is what the Hobart Gazette of Dec. 25, 1896, reported:

2017-12-6. Magnus Anderson obit

Slightly more informative is this article from the Chesterton Tribune of Dec. 26, 1896 (downloaded from

2017-12-6. Magnus Anderson obit

The penultimate sentence gives us a birthdate: January 1, 1825 (if not December 31, 1824). A New Year's Day (or Eve) birthday is certainly memorable … so why didn't the person writing on the back of the photograph get it right?

As much as I'd like to think the photo really is Magnus Anderson, that identification requires two assumptions: (1) that the manuscriptor didn't know how to spell "born"; and that (2) either (a) the manuscriptor couldn't remember that Magnus was born on New Year's Day, for goodness' sake; (b) the Chesterton Tribune got his birthday wrong; or (c) Magnus had gone around telling people he was born on New Year's Day because it was more interesting than being born on February 1, and the manuscriptor alone knew the truth.

Those are pretty big assumptions! I think I still have to classify this photo as unidentified.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Fisher-Hahn Wedding

Having been showered with gifts by her friends, Bertha Fisher became Mrs. Hubert Hahn on March 17, 1923.

2017-12-4. Hahn-Fisher wedding
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 22 March 1923.

I have no idea where the Owens flats were.

Two columns to the right, we are reminded that William Raschka is still part of Ainsworth commerce.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ainsworth Basketball Team, 1941-42

Ainsworth Basketball Team, 1941-42
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This photo comes to us with the following IDs:

Back row, L to R: Young Johnson, Pat Sullivan, unknown, unknown, Donald Tonagel, Ron (last name unknown), Jack Dick, Don Carpenter.

Front row, L to R: Dick Julian, unknown, unknown, Jerry Kuntz, Wayne Johnson, Jack Woodland, Principal George Garland. Little boy in front may be Frankie Foreman.

To the extent I've been able to find these boys in the 1940 Census, they are all around 11-13 years of age, and, I suppose, students at the W.G. Haan School in Ainsworth. Here are my notes on each:

Young Johnson — don't know if "Young" is a first name or an adjective. If it's a first name, I can't find him; but see Wayne Johnson below.

Pat Sullivan — have no evidence that he's related to the Ross Twp. Sullivans; can't really find who is he is related to.

Donald Tonagel — As we learned a long time ago, he was the elder of the two children of Cecil and Ruby Tonagel.

Ron (last name unknown) — can't find any Ron in Ross Twp. who would be the right age.

Jack Dick — his family farmed in southeastern Ross Township. His parents were Sherman and Anna.

Don Carpenter — maybe son of Lawrence and LaRiatha, born 1930 in Ross Township; by 1940 lived in Gary.

Dick Julian — possibly the son of Ralph and Rachael Julian of Hobart Township. Ralph is a described as a "laborer" in a "W.P.A. project."

Jerry Kuntz — Paul Gerald "Jerry" Kuntz, son of William and Iva, who in 1940 were living in Ross Township, somewhere (to judge by their neighbors) along the old Lincoln Highway near S.R. 51. Jerry Kuntz went on to serve in the Korean War and to work with Eldon Harms at NIPSCO.

Wayne Johnson — may be the son of Clarence and Bernice Johnson of Hobart. The 1940 Census confusingly describes him as their daughter; however, the 1930 Census shows him as their one-year-old son. If "Young" Johnson (above) is a description, then that boy might be Wayne's younger brother, Richard.

Jack Woodland — can't find in Ross Township 1940 census. Eldon Harms told me that Jack was a resident of the Cozy Camp (successor to Chester's Camp, situated on the north side of the Old Lincoln Highway just east of DeKalb Street), his family having come down from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Principal Garland is George Bronson Garland.

The little boy in front holding the basketball is probably Frankie Foreman, youngest son of Otto and Louise Foreman. Between Frankie and his next oldest brother, there were about 10 years. Frankie was a surprise baby, who came at a time when his parents had stopped expecting any more children.