Thursday, June 21, 2018

Frank Abel, Sr. and the Deep River Church

Frank Abel, Sr. (whose home I was discussing in my last post) had his portrait printed in the Gazette 1898 Souvenir Edition …

2018-6-21. Abel, Frank ca. 1898
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

… along with a very short bio:

2018-6-21. Abel, Frank text 1898
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

He was indeed active as a carpenter, and the newspapers often mentioned that he was building a barn or house or whatever for someone — most of which buildings I haven't been able to identify. One exception is the "new Deepriver church" that he built in 1904; while it didn't really register with me the first time I came across that information, what was the "new Deepriver church" is now the Deep River County Park Visitor Center and Gift Shop.

2018-6-21. Deep River Church
(Click on image to enlarge)

Construction began in late July 1904[1] and continued through August at least. The church was finished, presumably, by late September, when the Gazette announced its dedication ceremony scheduled for October 2, 1904.[2]

[1] "General News Items," Hobart Gazette, July 29, 1904.
[2] "Church Dedication," Hobart Gazette, Sept. 30, 1904.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Old Abel Homestead

It's May 1923 and the end of an era: the farm owned for forty years by the Abel family of Hobart has been sold.

2018-6-17. Abel
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, May 10, 1923.

The Gazette mentioned that the farm had been exchanged for a three-story flat building in Gary.

In the 1920 Census, Dan (yet another Abel carpenter, then 29 years old) and Tillie (24) were living with their mother, Caroline, on Cleveland Avenue. A 17-year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth Abel, was in the household as well — I don't know whose daughter she was. In 1921 Caroline died; Dan and Tillie moved back to the old farm, apparently; and the granddaughter went God knows where.

Here is the Abel farm as it appeared on the 1908 Plat Map:

2018-6-17. Abel 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

This suggests that the house on the southwest corner of the intersection of Eighth Street and S. Lake Park Avenue, which was built in 1895 per the county records, could be the old Abel house. We know the Abel house was standing by 1898, when it was photographed for the Gazette's Souvenir Edition:

2018-6-17. Abel, Frank house ca. 1898
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society, Hobart, Indiana.

This photo doesn't resemble the house on the corner; however, Frank Abel made "extensive improvements" to the house in 1903,[1] and later owners may have made further changes.

By the end of the month, Dan and Tillie Abel were moving out of the old place for good.

2018-6-17. Abel
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, May 31, 1922.

♦    ♦    ♦

The Stephen Dolato who bought the Abel land was a 50-year-old Polish immigrant (1920 Census). In partnership with his son, Frank,[2] he worked as a real-estate broker. Here they are listed in a 1922 Gary directory:

2018-6-17. Dolato 1922
(Click on image to enlarge)

I expect Stephen bought the land for commercial purposes only, since he remained a resident of Gary (1930 Census).

[1] "Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette, Feb. 27, 1903.
[2] It appears he had at least one other son, Stephen Jr. (Indiana Death Certificates).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Update to Land Ownership Page

I have updated the Land Ownership page (the permanent link is over on the right-hand side of the blog) to include the Winfield Township plat maps I have on hand: 1874, 1908, 1939, and 1950.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Overseer of the Poor

This page of the ledger shows that Lake County had an "Overseer of the Poor" in 1846.

2018-6-13. DayB1840 154, 155
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I have no clue what relation the ledger-writer had to that office — that is, why money passed through his hands and got recorded in this ledger.

The only place I can find Joseph Haydon (who boarded this sick and penniless person) is in an 1854 record of marriage to Maria Phebe Green, in Lake County.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Here we have an irreverent young person (I hope it was a young person) who ignored the tragic story in the next column in favor of exercising what he or she considered wit.

2018-6-10. Comedian
(Click on images to enlarge)
Hobart News, May 3, 1923.

(Lew Wallace Watson was about 32 years old, a military veteran, and (I believe) the son of the Dr. Joseph C. Watson who delivered, among others, Elna Hazelgreen. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.)

♦    ♦    ♦

In the same issue we find more sociable entertainment in another dance on the Houk farm.

2018-6-10. Houk

The only plat map of Winfield Township I have at the moment is from 1939, and it shows two different parcels under the Houk name. I shall have to track down other plat maps to try to determine where these dances took place. I seem to remember asking Eldon Harms if he'd ever heard of this dancing farm, and he had — if my memory is correct, the dances must have gone on for a number of years.

Given that the farm's owner goes by title of Dr. Houk, I think he might be Dr. William Houk, a physician living in Crown Point, now about 47 years of age (1920 Census). Why a doctor in Crown Point would own a farm in Winfield Township and give dances there, I do not know. But it appears he grew up on a farm (1880 Census), so perhaps had a nostalgic fondness for rural amusements and the money to indulge it.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Bird's Egg

I found this bird's egg in the middle of my back yard, too far from any tree to have simply fallen out of a nest. Maybe it was stolen from a nest by a bluejay,[1] who then dropped it.

Bird's egg 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

Bird's egg 2

I have a book on bird's nests and eggs, but in this case I don't have a nest.

My best guess for this egg is either Eastern Meadowlark or Northern Cardinal.

[1] Bluejays are loud-mouthed jerks, but they certainly are pretty, aren't they?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Old Dam Pilings

I took these photos last month on the downriver side of the Lake George dam. With the lake level so low at the time and no water going over the dam, you could see what appear to be timber pilings from a previous dam.

2018-6-6. Pilings 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2018-6-6. Pilings 2

2018-6-6. Pilings 3

2018-6-6. Pilings 4

But I don't know how far these date back.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

That Other Michael Foreman

Speaking of (apparently) unrelated local people with the same names, this "Michael Foreman" living "near Hobart" was not the Michael Foreman of Ainsworth.

2018-6-3. Foreman,
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette, May 4, 1923.

Ainsworth's Michael Foreman was born in the U.S., and known as "Mike" mainly in newspaper items. In one census only (1900) he gives his name as Michael; all others record him as Helmuth.

The Porter County Michael's middle name was Helmuth, according to one source — his listing on — but I can't confirm that with any other source.

I myself got them confused at least once, when I noted down this item from the "Local Drifts" of the Hobart Gazette of October 30, 1908: "The Blake farm has been sold to Mike Foreman who lives on one of the Wolf farms." Now that sounds like the Porter County Mike Foreman.

I don't expect to trouble myself any further about the Porter County Mike Foreman.

Other items I have marked on the page above include a fire at the Mohl house — more commonly spelled Moehl. Back in 1921 when the Moehl houses were the subject of a legal dispute, they were described as being on Second Street, and I believe they were west of East Street. The Haxton creamery, as I understand it, is still standing on the east side of New Street, north of Third. So I'm a bit confused by the use of "adjoining" in this description.

The Mrs. Abel whose hospitalization is mentioned below that item was born Johanna Bruebach. She was the sister of Liza Bruebach and the widow of Frank Abel, Jr.[1]

♦    ♦    ♦

In the following week's Gazette, Helmuth "Mike" Foreman of Ainsworth had published this tribute to his late wife.

2018-6-3. Foreman
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, May 11, 1923.

[1] His death certificate from 1919 gives his marital status as divorced (Indiana Death Certificates).

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Bull Named David Crockett

It's 1844, and a local man has named his bull after David Crockett … a folk hero even in Indiana, it seems.

2018-5-31. DayB1840 132, 133
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

H.D. Palmer was Dr. Henry Disberry Palmer, "the first graduate or regular physician to reside in Lake County," according to History of Lake County and the Calumet Region (which also says he was a judge for 17 years). At the approximate location of his home on 73rd Avenue is a historical marker that also credits him with being "a member of the underground railroad aiding escaped slaves." (The Indiana Historical Bureau reviewed that statement and found it unverifiable.[1])

Lake County Encyclopedia has a sketch of Dr. Palmer's life … which brings us back around to J.V. Johns, whose orphaned son Dr. Palmer reared to adulthood.

(And the second page in the image above brings us back to Richard Earle, if I'm not mistaken.)

[1] Investigating the history of the underground railroad in Indiana (or anywhere) must be frustrating, since this network was very loosely organized, operated in secret and kept no written records.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Moses Frank, Brickie

Among the siblings of F.F. Frank was a brother named Moses, who was born in Michigan in 1852, died in Hobart in 1874, and was buried in the Hobart Cemetery.

This is not that Moses Frank. This is the other Moses Frank of Hobart.

2018-5-27. Frank, Moses
(Click on images to enlarge)

This Moses Frank was born in Canada in 1848. Per the 1910 Census, he came to the U.S. in 1862. He seems to have been in Indiana by 1865. I do not know whether he came directly to Hobart — and if so, he was away for several months in the Union Army, having joined as a substitute in March 1865[1] — but by 1868 he had been here long enough to court Sarah Peters, who married him the day after Valentine's Day (Indiana Marriage Collection).

2018-5-27. Frank, Sarah (Peters)

Sarah's parents were native to New York, then moved their family to Michigan where Sarah was born circa 1847, but moved back to New York by the 1850 Census and were still there in 1855.[2] When Moses arrived in Hobart, Sarah's family had been farming locally for at least two years (1860 Census).

The 1870 Census shows the young couple keeping house in Hobart; Moses worked as a "brick maker." Sarah's sister Debby, a dressmaker, is listed in that household.[3]

When the 1880 Census came around, Moses was still making bricks. He'd also made a couple of children (May Zaretta and Winfield). His mother, Hannah, lived in his home.

Sometime between 1880 and the 1900 Census, Moses left Hobart and brick-making forever. He and Sarah moved to Chicago and he went into the railroad-car-inspecting business. Moses died in 1917, Sarah in 1931, and both are buried in Chicago.

These photographs are undated (and I have failed to trace the photographer), but judging by Sarah's very full sleeves I'd say they were taken in the late 1890s.

If there is any family connection between this Moses Frank and the other Moses Frank, I have not uncovered it.

I guess the point is … once a brickie, not always a brickie. Or maybe there is no point, but I bought these photos a long time ago and so obviously I simply had to write a blog post about them. Yes, sometimes I even bore myself with this stuff.

[1] Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.
[2] New York, State Census, 1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Census of the state of New York, for 1855. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
[3] Deborah is also listed in the household of her parents, who were still farming near Hobart. By the 1880 Census, it appears that all members of the Peters family had either left the area or changed their surnames, except possibly brother George. After 1880, I lose all track of them.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Speaking Frankly

Since I learned that the house on the northeast corner of Linda and Eighth Streets was the Frank house, I have gotten interested in the Franks. Here is F.F. Frank getting his birthday in the news in 1923.

2018-5-24. Frank
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 27, 1923.

Since the item doesn't give his age, we have to do some research ... it turns out that per his Indiana Death Certificate, Franz Fredrick Frank (no wonder he went by his initials!) was born April 22, 1859 to William and Salinda Frank — who likely built the house at Linda and Eighth, in 1874 per the county records. So F.F. was celebrating his 64th birthday.

F.F. had married Lydia Bach in 1890 (Indiana Marriage Certificates), hence the Bach connection. Lydia's sister, Henrietta, married Henry Kuehl. As for a Mulfinger connection, I haven't looked into it and don't intend to, not with my slow internet!

♦    ♦    ♦

The story directly below the Frank birthday got me wondering where the Charles Berndt house was, and whether Charles was related to the Ainsworth-area Berndts. I believe the answer to the second question is yes, since it appears that Charles and John (Jr.) were children of John (Sr.) and Hannah (e.g., 1900 Census). (And their sister, Bertha, married a Rossow.)

To find Charles' house, we need to find a Berndt farm west of Hobart, beside the Nickel Plate tracks … like this:

2018-5-24 Berndt 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the 1926 Plat Book.

The home that sits on the east side of Liverpool Road, north of the railroad tracks, was built in 1923 according to the county records, so perhaps it was built by Charles to replace the one that burned down.

Monday, May 21, 2018

To Eulalia White, a Long Way from Home

Among the random old stuff I've collected is this little envelope with nothing in it:

2018-5-21. White, Eulalia
(Click on image to enlarge)

No date on the postmark from Pittston, Maine, but whoever addressed it was taught to write no later than the early years of the 19th century: note the way the ss in Miss is formed.

In the 1860 Census of Ross Township, we find a 23-year-old Eulalia White in the household of Joseph Henney — or is it Kenney? It's indexed the first way, but looking at the handwriting, I think it really is Kenney. (In the same census we also find a 25-year-old Eulalie White in Pittston, Maine — maybe the same person counted twice?)

The Merrillville Eulalia is a teacher. She is presumably boarding in the Kenney household. Joseph Kenney describes himself as a merchant; some of his neighbors give occupations that would be practiced in town (clerk, shoemaker, physician) and among the farming neighbors are names that we find in the general Merrillville area on the 1874 Plat Map. From all of this I conclude that Joseph lived in the village of Merrillville, and Eulalia taught at the Merrillville school.

I cannot find Eulalia White before or after 1860. However, in the 1850 Census, in the household of David and Sophronia White of Pittston, Maine, is a 15-year-old Mary E. — was her middle name Eulalia, I wonder? In the same household is a 79-year-old Hannah Kenney — Sophronia's mother, maybe?

I cannot positively identify Joseph Kenney (or Henney) before or after 1860.

On the envelope, above the address, someone has written very lightly in pencil: "Oh my brother." This makes me wonder whether the letter brought Eulalia bad news of her family. (She did have one brother, David Jr., but I can't determine when he died.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Clymene Moth Caterpillar

2018-5-17 Clymene moth larva
(Click on image to enlarge)

I found this caterpillar on a clover plant in my field. After some on-line searching, I believe it's the larva of the Clymene moth. I don't remember ever seeing this moth in person, and you'd think I'd remember such a striking creature.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Howard H. Smith and the Union Center Cemetery

The "South of Deepriver" community was shocked when the news began to spread on the morning of April 20, 1923, that Howard H. Smith had died in his sleep.

2018-5-14. Howard H. Smith
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 26, 1923.

"A large procession followed the remains to their last resting place in the Union Center cemetery" — where??? I asked myself, never having heard of such a place. But then I remembered that little cemetery marked on plat maps near the location of the Walnut Gardens. So I consulted the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society's listing of Union Township cemeteries, and found it there among the "Small Cemeteries" with this information: "The [Union Center] cemetery could not be found in 1994. It was located on the northeast corner of Route 30 and 600 W. '… When Hiway 30 was built any stones left there were buried or were moved.'"[1]

Naturally my mind formed a picture of Howard H. Smith lying there at the corner of Route 30 and 600 W, trying to get some eternal sleep beneath the rumbling traffic of Route 30.

However, a little more investigation convinced me that the News simply got their information wrong, and that Howard has been resting peacefully in Mosier Cemetery all these years, where his death certificate and the April 27 Gazette placed him …

2018-5-14. Howard H. Smith
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 27, 1923.

… and where today you can find his grave marker.

If I live long enough to read the microfilm from when Route 30 came through, I hope to learn more details about what happened to the Union Center Cemetery.

♦    ♦    ♦

Howard's death notice partially answers the question of what happened to his siblings. Mildred Smith had married John Dick in 1898 (Indiana Marriage Collection); the 1920 Census shows them farming in Porter Township, with a son (Sherman) and a daughter (Margaret). Abbie and Rudie apparently died before Howard — but when, and where they are buried, I do not know.

[1] NWIGS does not identify the source of that last sentence.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

It Could Go Either Way

The merchant of the 1840 daybook occasionally sold medicine along with the various household goods, hardware and tools, farming implements, cloth and clothing, and footwear he carried. But in the autumn of 1843 he seems to have sold little else besides medicine.

Note the entry for September 24, 1843, where Nicholas Nichols buys medicine … and writes his will.

2018-5-10. DayB1840 118, 119
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

If the "ague pills" he bought contained quinine, they might actually do some good. The "cathartic pills" — if Nicholas intended to use them to treat fever — were part of the accepted medical standard at the time, and worse than useless. However, from the next page, we see that Nicholas survived at least until November 12, when he bought more ague pills.

Just below that second entry, we find Eli Sigler coming in for other examples of the era's standard medical practice: bleeding and blistering.[1]

I found a rather interesting blog post about such treatments here.

♦    ♦    ♦

Since I haven't been able to find Nicholas Nichols (or Nickels) at all in the census records, I don't know how long he survived beyond 1843.

Eli Sigler was the son of Samuel (Sr.) and Ann Sigler. He survived his bleeding and blistering to reach a ripe old age, and now lies in Hebron Cemetery.

[1] Long ago I posted a story showing that even in 1904 folk medicine still used a cousin of blistering: namely, the counterirritant of a mustard poultice.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Historical Hound of Hobart

This photo was taken in the basement of the Hobart Historical Society museum, formerly the library.

2018-5-7. Dog in the basement
(Click on image to enlarge)

This must have happened while the library building was under construction, from 1914 to 1915. The workers had just poured the basement floor when a curious dog came trotting through the site and got into the wet concrete.

Maybe the men didn't notice the pawprints until the concrete was set. Or maybe they looked at the damage, shrugged their shoulders and said, "Eh, it's not worth fussing about."

The basement served as a "social room" where various groups could meet. Over the years, I'm sure, many human feet have walked over these pawprints at the east end of the basement, just outside the kitchen area. But the women preparing food in the kitchen were busy; the men were absorbed in their talk; did anyone ever notice the pawprints? Perhaps they did — and laughed, and said, "That's old Rover."

However it happened, Rover's pawprints have been preserved for posterity.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Arthur Loves Elsie

Just a month after his brother's wedding, Arthur Hahn tied the knot with Elsie Fifield.

2018-5-4. Hahn-Fifield
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 26, 1923

Elsie was the daughter of Zacheus H. and Harrietta Fifield. Her brother, Leo, owned an ice-cream parlor in Hobart, and in October 1920 Elsie had been an attendant at his wedding — she was photographed in the wedding party, standing at the left.

Coincidentally, since we have recently mentioned the Wolf family in the early days of this area — below the Hahn-Fifield announcement, another tells of a wedding on "the Wolf farm east of Hobart in Porter county." Just glancing over the 1921 Portage Township plat map, I see three Wolf farms that seem to have homes on them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wolf Scalps

Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed-Blanchard) mentions that in the early days of this region's European settlement, the government paid bounties for wolf scalps (pp. 49, 53, 421). A page from one of the Hobart Historical Society's daybooks shows William Watkins taking steps to collect such a bounty in November 1841.

2018-5-1. DayB1840 104, 105
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

He was also doing business with some of the local Wolfs.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dance on the Dan Kraft Farm

Here's a good-times post. Let's start off with an ad for a dance to be held on the Dan Kraft farm …

2018-4-27. Kraft
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 29, 1923.

… which naturally leads me to wonder where the Dan Kraft farm was. Of course I thought of that wonderful brick house on the northeast corner of County Line Road and Cleveland/700 N; that's a Kraft house. But looking over the Porter County plat maps, I find that's not the right Kraft house — it belonged to Dan's brother, Fred. Dan's farm was a bit further northeast:

2018-4-27. Dan Kraft Portage-1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

I am not sure that Dan Kraft actually resided on his farm in 1923. He was about 75 by then, retirement age even in that hard-working era. The 1920 Census seems to have counted him twice: once as a dairy farmer on his farm in Portage Township; and again as a retired resident of Hobart.

Below the Kraft ad in the same column, we learn of a very large party for a 14-year-old. Apparently Louis and Lena Wojahn had moved back to Ainsworth from Hobart since 1917.

I believe this Wojahn house is still standing, but it sits so far from the road that you can't really see it as you drive by.

♦    ♦    ♦

Elsewhere in the same issue, a "South of Deepriver" column …

2018-4-27. SoDR
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 19, 1923.

… with a couple of unfamiliar names — King and Lakotski. I can't identify any of them for certain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hard Times by the Yard

It's October 1840, and everybody wants hard times.

2018-4-24. DayB1840 070, 071
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Fortunatus Daggett, Jacob Wolf, Jr., and Milton Wolf all bought three yards of hard times. I assume it's some kind of textile.

Lest we think that "hard times" is useful only three yards at a time, in comes Myiel Pierce to buy ten yards of it …

2018-4-24. DayB1840 072, 073

… but on the next page, there's three yards again, going to Philander Sprague.

And just below Philander, a Daggett (Fortunatus?) buys some dog mittens. I'd like to pretend those were mittens for his doggies' paws, but a couple of entries on other pages make it clear that this store sold mittens made from dog hides.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fast Time

Our friend Fred Rossow lost nearly all his cows in April 1923, as the tuberculosis testing of local herds finished up.

2018-4-20. Fast Time
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 20, 1923.

No one else lost as many in this round of testing, and most of the herds tested clean. "John Harnes" is a misprint for "John Harms."

There is so much material on this page! In the far-left column, Bess Hayward is selling off livestock and farming implements from her parents' estate.

In the next column, just below the cow-testing story, confusion arises from the inconsistent adoption of "fast time" — Daylight Saving Time. (And below that, yet another dance at the Niksches' Deep River Hall.)

In the right-hand column, we find an entertainment planned at the W.G. Haan School.

2018-4-20. brookdale farm synopsis
From Plays of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Volume 27 (1884)

And at the bottom of the column, some Severance-Yager socializing. From the 1920 Census, it would appear that George (Sr.) and Agnes Severance, who always rented the farms they operated, had moved from their previous home, a Ross Township farm west of Hobart,[1] to land in southeastern Hobart Township: their neighbors are Malones, Ensigns and Fasels.

♦    ♦    ♦

I was able to confirm the Harnes/Harms misprint above through the News version of the cow-testing story. That paper also carried a story about Ruby Fisher's marriage to a Hobart chiropractor named Alfred[2] C. Wickham, whom I never heard of before …

2018-4-20. Fisher wedding
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 19, 1923

… or after, either — I can't find them in the 1930 Census.

[1] "Celebrate Silver Wedding," Hobart Gazette, July 20, 1917.
[2] Indiana Marriage Collection.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Distinguishing Colour

We have seen how the merchants keeping our historical ledgers recorded transactions when they did not know the customer's name: by noting some distinguishing characteristic, such as occupation, gender, age, or physical anomaly. In this case the distinguishing characteristic was skin color.

2018-4-17. DayB1840 048, 049
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I believe that John Wolf, at whose direction the "coloured man" collected these purchases, was the son of Jacob Wolf, based on this statement in Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed-Blanchard): "In the spring of 1834, Jacob Wolf and family located in the solitudes of Portage with his family. His sons John, Jacob and E. Wolf were grown at the time."[1] I cannot find a separate household for John in the 1840 Census; he may have been living with his father, but since the census did not record anyone's name beyond the head of the household, it's hard to tell. Jacob Sr.'s household consisted of 13 people — five female and eight male, one of whom was a "free colored" man.[2]

♦    ♦    ♦

The census form used what is now the standard American spelling — colored — while the ledger-keeper used what we now think of as the British/Canadian spelling: coloured. That got me wondering whether the spelling could tell us anything about the ledger-keeper's native country. A little internet research convinced me that it probably couldn't tell us anything for certain: both styles were widely used on both sides of the Atlantic for the first two or three centuries of English-speaking settlement in the New World. (When I say "both styles," I don't mean to imply that people recognized two separate standards of spelling and used them interchangeably — the situation was more chaotic than that.) Noah Webster is generally credited with influencing the standard of "American" spelling, which he consciously chose because he preferred its simplicity. His first dictionary was published in 1806 and an expanded one in 1828. But I find it hard to believe that no one born in the U.S. after 1806 was ever taught to spell in what we now think of as the British way.

[1] Jacob's son, Josephus, known to us now for his brick mansion, was still a minor in 1840.
[2] I have not been able to trace this man beyond the 1840 census, so I don't know his name, much less his story.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Calvin Scholler's Third Marriage

Calvin Scholler's experience with marriage had been heartbreaking so far — one young wife lost to influenza and another to cancer — but in April 1923 he decided to brave it once more.

2018-4-14. Scholler-Young
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 12, 1923.

The Gazette added, "The bride is formerly from Glascow [sic], Scotland, and a life-long friend of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce."[1]

Other mildly interesting items on that page include (in the left column) the Gem Theatre's ad for The Toll of the Sea, which made me learn a little more than I used to know about motion pictures in color.

In the next column, the top article concerns the future site of the Roosevelt Gym. The bottom article describes the newly formed Hobart Gun Club planning to meet "on the Jerry McAuliff[e] farm east of the city in the field formerly used as a motorcycle race track," which sounds as if the racetrack had fallen into disuse.

[1] "Scholler-Young Nuptial," Hobart Gazette, April 13, 1923.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Missionary to Puerto Rico

While looking for something else, I came across this little item in the Hobart Gazette's "Local Drifts" of July 29, 1904: "Miss Clara Hazelgreen, of Lake Station, has decided to devote her future to missionary work and about September will leave for Porto Rico" (as Puerto Rico was often called in the early 20th century). The September 16, 1904 Gazette mentioned that Clara had departed earlier in that week.

This information reminded me of a photo in my Hazelgreen/Papka collection, on the back of which someone wrote: "Clara Hazelgreen in Porto Rico."

2018-4-10. hazel005
(Click on image to enlarge)

And I had assumed she was on vacation there! — I'm so frivolous.

The time she spent in Puerto Rico would have been short of six years, since (as we already know) by 1910 she was in Seattle.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chicken Thieves Again

As long as there are chickens, there will be chicken thieves. And there were plenty of chickens around Ainsworth in 1923.

2018-4-7. Thieves
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 5, 1923.

Albert Witt lived just north of Ainsworth.

John Wojahn, a former Ainsworth-area farmer, was probably living in the village of Ainsworth, to judge by his neighbors in the 1920 Census and 1930 Census. He was retired — or so I thought, but that was quite a "hennery" for a village backyard.

Over in the next column, Ruby Fisher has been exhibiting her musicianship.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Capt. John and His 28 Muskrat Skins

My indexing work has reached the daybook that begins in 1840. On May 25 of that year, a mysterious figure who went by the moniker "Capt. John" appeared in the general store in Liverpool (or wherever it was) and deposited 28 muskrat skins as payment for 3 yards of lining (cloth, I assume) and credit toward future purchases.

2018-4-4. DayB1840 004, 005
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Early in June, Capt. John shows up to make more purchases on his muskrat-skin credit, and this entry suggests he actually has a last name, though I can't read it.

2018-4-4. DayB1840 012, 013

I indexed that name as "Clooky?" — but it's written so small, after that sprawling "Capt. John," that I'm not entirely sure it's a name. Anyway, searching on that name doesn't get me anybody local in the 1840 Census.

About ten days later, Capt. John comes in and buys some lead.

Finally, on June 22 and 23, he makes his last muskrat-skin purchases:

2018-4-4. DayB1840 026, 027

"… being balance due him on musk rat skins," says the June 23 entry. We shall have to wait and see if he gets more muskrat skins.

Letting my imagination go to work on these few hints about Capt. John … I get the impression of one of those eccentric characters who lived by themselves in the wilderness. Oh, that cloth he bought? — he's going to have one of the local farmers' wives sew that up for him in exchange for the fish he'll catch with those hooks he bought. His title of Captain suggests a military background — maybe a veteran of the War of 1812, or the Revolution?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Just Like Old Times

Now that they've cut down the hundreds of trees that had grown up around the Chester house (aka the Wasy house), the landscape looks a bit more the way it did when the first brick was laid.

(Click on image to enlarge)

I don't know what plans led the park people to cut down those trees, but I took about 40 pictures of the Chester house in case it meets the same fate as the Crisman house.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

2018-4-1. Easter crocus
(Click on image to enlarge)

A spot of color in the gray woods. I don't know how these crocuses found their way to the banks of the Deep River.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Heavenly Exclamation Point

It is simply the natural course of events when an aged man, after a life of useful work, passes quietly to his rest; and so George Hayward's death on April 1, 1923, no doubt saddened but did not greatly surprise those he left behind.

2018-3-30. George Hayward obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 6, 1923.

Yes, that last sentence is a little surprising — it is not the usual course of events that the aged man's wife, who (according to another account) was too ill to know that he had died, should follow him out of this world just after his funeral; but thus it was with Mary Sykes Hayward.

2018-3-30. Mary Sykes Hayward obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 13, 1923.

The really astonishing event happened as Mary's funeral cortege left Hobart, heading southeast toward the Merrillville Cemetery.

2018-3-30. Fire
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, April 13, 1923.

The barn may have been rebuilt again after the fire, but these days there is no barn on the old Hayward place. Still, if you've traveled along the Old Lincoln Highway east of Mississippi Street, you've probably noticed, on the north side of the road, the sturdy brick farmhouse where the Haywards lived and worked and raised their children for three decades.

2018-3-30. Hayward house Google street view
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from Google street view.

Additional Sources:
♦ "Mr. and Mrs. George Hayward Pass Away," Hobart News, April 5, 1923.
♦ "Mrs. Hayward Passes on," Hobart Gazette, April 6, 1923.