Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hettie Rifenburg Gordon

Here is another Gordon-related obituary — Hettie, wife of Pliny P. Gordon; mother of Howard (and Mildred, who died in infancy); sister of William H. Rifenburg:

2018-01-30. 1891-08-07 Gordon, Hettie (Rifenburg) obit - Hobart Gazette
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette Aug. 7, 1891.

She made quite a few appearances as a teacher in the early-1870s Union Sunday School record book that I indexed.

She is buried in Hobart Cemetery.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Old Fasel Homestead Destroyed by Fire"

2018-1-25. Fasel homestead burs
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News Mar. 23, 1923.

Once or twice, when we were driving along Tenth Street, Eldon Harms pointed out a two-story house on the south side of the road and told me, "That's the old Fasel homestead." Maybe that's the house that replaced the old Fasel homestead after it burned down in 1923? The County Assessor's records do not agree with that theory, but the County Assessor's records are not reliable.

In the right-hand column, we find James Chester working as an auctioneer.

Among the farmers who lost cows (in the article above the one marked) are some of our acquaintances, including Mike (aka Helmuth) Foreman of Ainsworth. We've also met Duffy DeFrance before. For the location of the "old DeFrance farm," we can go back to the 1870 Census and Duffy's parents, Charles and Catherine, living in Portage Township, Porter County; and the Portage Township plat map of 1876 shows them owning 120 acres in two parcels, one of which borders E. 37th Ave. not far east of where it is now crossed by the Prairie Duneland Trail, the old EJ&E line.

2018-1-25. DeFrance - Portage-1876
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/1876Plats/Portage-1876.jpg.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Freight Train Graffiti

A few monikers from the freight train blocking the Ainsworth crossing on Sunday, January 21.

Like an owl
(Click on images to enlarge)


Deer SB

Freight Bandit

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Tragedy in Two Purchases

Here is a page from a daybook I have been indexing, which shows transactions in 1839. Among some familiar old-settler names — Sigler, Mundell, Pierce — we find a Charles Walton who, in early September 1939, made two purchases telling a grim story:

2018-1-21. DayB1836 016, 017
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

You can fill in the blanks.

I do not know the full name of the deceased brother. Charles Walton does show up among the locals in the 1840 Census, but that census gives so little information that I cannot trace him any further.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Update to "Timber Required for a Grist Mill"

What happens when Ainsworthiana loses internet service for 4.5 days? — Work happens, that's what. I have been indexing, and now that I've gotten more familiar with the contents of the 1830s/40s ledgers, I have formed an opinion on the authorship of the grist-mill recipe.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Michigan Central "Wolverine" at East Gary

2018-1-18. Wolverine 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images from Ainsworthiana collection.

This photo is identified by notes on the back of the original:

2018-1-18. Wolverine 2

I have to take the note-writer's word for it, since there is nothing in the photo to identify East Gary/Lake Station.

The Wolverine ran between Chicago and New York. Amtrak still operates a train by that name, but it runs only between Chicago and Detroit, and does not pass through Lake Station.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Flip This Horse-Drawn School Bus

James Chester, wheeler-dealer, bought two horse-drawn school buses that nobody wanted and managed to sell them to somebody else that same day.

2018-1-13. Buses
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News 29 March 1923.

I wonder what Jerry McAuliffe did with his?

I never heard of Julius Salzwedel before. Per the 1920 Census, he was a retired harness-maker living somewhere near where Tenth Street meets the road to Ainsworth, now S.R. 51 (aka Grand Boulevard, aka Lake Park Avenue).

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Over in the right-hand column, it looks as if plans are being made for what would eventually be the Roosevelt Gym.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Wrench Named Johns

In the Hobart Historical Society's 1835 ledger (which I just finished indexing) are some loose pages tucked into the back of the book. Two of them bear the name Joshua V. Johns.

2018-1-10. AccB1835 L-001a
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Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

2018-1-10. AccB1835 L-001b

Now I'm thinking back to the breakfasts at Liverpool and wondering if the writer meant — not John's breakfast but Johns' breakfast? That would throw a wrench into the works of my theory that "John" was a first name there.

Joshua V. Johns is an elusive figure. I have found a Joshua Vaughan Johns of LaPorte County, Indiana, buying some land in 1837:

2018-1-10. Johns land purchase
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image via Ancestry.com.

In Lake County, Indiana, on June 16, 1845, Joshua V. Johns married Caroline Matilda Demmon:

2018-1-10. Johns-Demmon
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image via FamilySearch.org.

Beyond that, I cannot find any records of Joshua V. Johns, although he was a pretty busy person around Liverpool in the mid-1830s according to that ledger.

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[1/11/2018 update] Alice Smedstad, who is in the process of researching everyone buried in the Merrillville Cemetery, points out to me that one of her subjects, Dr. John W. Johns, was the son of Joshua and Caroline. Per his biography in Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed/Blanchard), his parents died when he was only eight years old, which helps to explain why they are so elusive, but not, of course, why I can't find them in the censuses of 1850 and 1840.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Drinking Age

In March 1923, we get some news out of Indianapolis about the big trial following the mass arrests of Prohibition violators. When we get to the Hobart testimony, what really strikes me is that Christ Springman (Jr.) testified that he had bought liquor at the Traeger saloon when he was 12 years old …

2018-1-5. Drinking Age
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, March 23, 1923.

… but that was circa 1911, before Prohibition, so it didn't count for purposes of the trial. Anyway, he may not have been buying the liquor for his own use. I've heard Prohibition-era stories from my mother's side of the family about youngsters being sent up the street to buy some homemade whiskey or beer for Papa.

Over in the right-hand column, we find Tony and Christ Springman returning home from their trip to Indianapolis.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Richard Earle

Here are a couple of pages from the 1835 Liverpool ledger where I encountered a new (to me) name: Richard Earle.

2018-01-02. Richard Earle - AccB1835 056, 057
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This image and the one below courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

2018-01-02. Richard Earle - AccB1835 062, 063

I thought that his presence in this brand-new town with George Earle meant that there must be some family relation, so I started poking around, and fell down a rabbit hole.

The Hobart Historical Society has a genealogical file on the Earle family, and also sells a 1972 booklet by Dorothy Dunning Ballantyne: George Earle and Family of Hobart, Indiana. Both sources state that George Earle had a brother named Richard. Anonymous typewritten genealogies in the file give Richard's birth year as either 1811 or 1814. (In either case he would have been old enough to be doing business in Liverpool in 1836.) One genealogy in the file, entitled "Kinship of John Earle," further states that Richard had at least two children, Joseph (b. 1839) and Edwin (birth year unknown).

Then we look in Hobart's census records. The only place we find a Richard Earle is in the 1860 Census. He is in the household of John and Miriam Earle (George's son and first daughter-in-law). Richard, who is relatively prosperous, is described as a builder, born in England, 40 years old — not quite right, but close (as you might expect if you're getting your information from a nephew).

2018-01-02. Richard Earle - 1860 Census - Hobart IN
(Click on image to enlarge)

Here's where things get confusing. A couple of Ancestry.com users have compiled family trees that include Richard Earle. These users think Richard was living in Iowa in 1860, and they have evidence to back that up: the census of Westfield Township, Fayette County, Iowa records a Richard Earle, 45 years old, born in England, a "laborer" but slightly more prosperous than the Hobart Richard Earle.

2018-01-02. Richard Earle - 1860 Census - Westfield Twp., Fayette Co., Iowa
(Click on image to enlarge)

And among his children are sons named Joseph and Eddy — which could be Edwin, thus making this information agree with the genealogy at the Hobart Historical Society.

It's possible that Richard was counted twice, if he split his time between Iowa and Indiana.

In a statewide business directory published in 1862[1] we find evidence that Richard Earle was still doing business in Hobart at that time:

2018-01-02. Richard Earle in directory
(Click on image to enlarge)

It's interesting that he is listed as a cabinet-maker, because one of the Iowa family trees on Ancestry.com includes this image of a "guide" for cabinet-makers and upholsterers, on which one Richard Earle of Falmouth [England], where George Earle was born, proudly wrote his name in 1835:

2018-01-02. Richard Earle's Cabinet-Maker's Guide
(Click on image to enlarge)

The records compiled by the Iowa contingent show that soon after making his appearance in our ledger in 1836, Richard left Indiana. In 1838, in Stephenson County, Illinois, he married a Catherine Brown.[2] The 1850 Census finds the couple and their young children still in Stephenson County, in the town of Freeport; Richard describes himself as a carpenter. The next census, as we've seen, records Richard and his family in Iowa (and Richard alone in Hobart). In the 1870 Census of Westfield Township, Fayette County, Iowa, Richard gives his occupation as miller.

This 1878 History of Fayette County, Iowa, records that Richard Earle got into the mill business in a town called Albany:

Albany has been wiped off the map even more thoroughly than Ainsworth. I found a website devoted to its history; towards the bottom of the site are some excerpts from "Chats with Old Timers" (a series that ran in a local paper in the 1930s-40s, I gather) that include someone's misremembering the mill owner as George, not Richard, Earle.

Richard was appointed postmaster of "West Albany" (which may have been something like "East Ainsworth") in 1872[3], thus finally matching George on that score, too.

2018-01-02. Richard Earle - postmaster - 1872

Richard died in 1879 and is buried in Fayette County, Iowa.

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I wish I knew what the point of all this is, because I just spent about two solid days gathering this information and writing it up.

In conclusion, I will just say: I think you should name towns after all your living brothers, or none of them. Playing favorites is not nice.

[1] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011: Third Edition of Geo W Hawes and Co's Indiana State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1862-63.
[2] Ancestry.com. Illinois, Compiled Marriages, 1791-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Dodd, Jordan, Comp.. Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Illinois.
[3] Ancestry.com. U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives.