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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

"Cash at Centreville"

This ledger page recording transactions during the winter of 1846 reminds us that Merrillville was once Centreville.

2018-3-27. DayB1836 058, 059
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The first marked transaction involves, I believe, Jacob Vanvolkenburg.[1] According to Early Land Sales, Lake County, in 1839 he bought 40 acres in St. John Township, right on its border with Ross Township. He shows up in Lake County in the 1840 Census, and while that census does not specify townships, I see among his neighbors other names that appear in our ledgers. By the 1850 Census he was living in Ross Township, describing himself as a millwright. The 1860 Census shows him still in Ross Township, now farming. His land lay in Section 19, according to the 1874 Plat Map,[2] — but by 1874 poor Jacob himself lay in Merrillville Cemetery, having died (according to the coroner's inquest) a cold and lonely death in October 1862.

2018-3-27. CP Register 1862-10-30
(Click on image to enlarge)
Crown Point Register, Oct. 30, 1862.

As for the second marked transaction, I am not entirely sure who A. Hoskins was: the Hobart area contained both an Alexander and an Ariel old enough to transact business in 1846.

Alexander bought land in Section 5, south of the town of Hobart, as early as 1843 (Early Land Sales, Lake County). He thus lived near Old Settlers Cemetery; and since his wife had been Emma L. Colburn (Indiana Marriage Collection), it would appear that the infant Allen Hoskins whom NWIGS recorded in that cemetery was theirs — "son of A. & E.L."

Ariel, on the other hand, lived slightly northeast of Hobart. Early Land Sales, Lake County records him buying land in Section 28 in 1848. I believe he shows up in my index once as "Rial Hoskins," so perhaps we're better off betting on Alexander as the "A. Hoskins" of the ledger.

Beyond that I know very little about either of them.


[1] The name shows up in various spellings. I am using the spelling that appears in NWIGS' Ross Township Cemeteries listing.
[2] If I'm reading the plat map correctly, Jacob's land was on the northeast corner of the intersection of U.S. 30 and Whitcomb Street … but I'm not sure I'm reading it correctly.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Two Drunks and an Idiom

Following the close of the big liquor trial, we get a tidbit of information about the incident involving the Springman brothers — dating back, I suspect, to March 1921 — that somehow led to the parties involved getting mixed up with all those real wrongdoers in Gary.

2018-3-24. Cleaning House
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local and Personal," Hobart News, April 5, 1923.

I had never before heard the expression "to clean house" being used in this way, meaning … I'm not sure exactly what. To trash the place? To fight?

Elsewhere in the same column, some news of our acquaintances. James Chester went to a horse auction. Ezra Gilpin began standing watch at the Lake Street crossing of the EJ&E Railroad — we have already seen the pictures.

And Alfred Pierce found his final resting place in California.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mary Ellen (Mellon) Halfman

2018-3-21. Mary Ellen (Mellon) Halfman 1
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

About a year before the Civil War broke out, Mary Ellen Mellon became Mrs. Henry Halfman.

Her descendants compiled some notes to go with this photo, including the interesting fact that the land for what is now St. Peter and Paul Cemetery was donated to the church by her father.

2018-3-21. Mary Ellen (Mellon) Halfman 2
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

Mary Ellen's obituary had little to add:

2018-3-21. Mary Ellen (Mellon) Halfman obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, June 3, 1910.

The portrait above is undated. Per the Chicago Historical Society's Chicago Photographers 1847 Through 1900 as Listed in Chicago City Directories (1958), John B. Wilson was at 389 State Street from 1887 through 1900 (excluding the year 1890), so Mary Ellen could be anywhere from 50 to 63 years old in that photo.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Now, About All Those Other Guys

Mayor Sherman Henderson's instructions to Police Chief Fred Rose in early April 1923 testified that, in spite of all those recent acquittals, plenty of people in Hobart were selling and buying vice in the form of liquor and gambling.

2018-3-18. Punchboards etc.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, April 5, 1923.

I had to ask Professor Google what punch boards are. In his letter, His Honor sounds as if he were still mad about losing money on them.[1]

In the left-hand column, we find another type of eradication underway, as local cattle were getting tested for tuberculosis, and many failing.

[1] I'm kidding.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Henry Halfman

This is Henry Halfman, who farmed on the northeast corner of Broadway and 61st.

2018-3-15. Henry Halfman
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

The photo is undated. Although I can't find a listing for the photography partnership of Iverson & Boyd, the Chicago Historical Society's index of photographers places Henry Iverson at 2176 Archer Avenue from 1881 to 1885. In that timeframe, Henry Halfman, who was born in 1837, would have been in his late forties, which looks about right.

For a sketch of his life, we turn to his obituary:

2018-3-15. Henry Halfman obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, March 24, 1905.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Not Guilty

The big Prohibition trial in Indianapolis in the spring of 1923 ended well for the locals — mostly. Mike Drakulich had pled guilty to one charge and was found guilty on another, but all the other Hobart defendants were acquitted: Fred Rose (marshal), Laurence Traeger (night marshal), George Fleck and William Busse (soft drink proprietors). ("Jury Renders Verdict of Guilty for 55 Conspirators," Hobart News, April 5, 1923.)

♦    ♦    ♦

On a totally unrelated note, Charles Sapper appeared at a meeting of the Hobart City Council and "notified the city that the fence around the abandoned cemetery near his place was in bad condition. St[reet] Com[missioner] Tyler was instructed to repair same." ("City Council Proceedings," Hobart News, April 5, 1923.) The cemetery in question was Old Settlers Cemetery. So Charles is telling us that by 1923 it was "abandoned" and neglected. Scanning over the NWIGS listing from its book of Hobart Township cemeteries, I find the most recent date of death for someone in that cemetery to be 1933, but he's an outlier. All the other death dates are before 1871.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Vanishing Albees

Jesse B. Albee was Hobart's second postmaster, appointed in 1854 to succeed George Earle.[1] A few years later he was elected Hobart Township Trustee; this page from the trustees' ledger records the beginning of his term in April 1859:

2018-3-10. HTTA1859-001-18590413
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In the same book we find Jesse serving as a "school director," and "buylden" a new schoolhouse for the township. Elsewhere the book notes his services as a justice of the peace in 1873, giving him the customary title, "Squire":

2018-3-10. HTTA1859-066-18730113
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I do not know how long he held the office of J.P. — at least until November 12, 1879, according to the 1874 Secretary of State's annual report.

In a book published in 1884, W.H. Rifenburg mentions Jesse as a member of the committee charged with overseeing the construction of the Unitarian church building.

All of this shows that Jesse B. Albee was a prominent figure in Hobart's early history.

And yet, as I noted in the post about his son's death, if he and any family members have their final resting place locally, exactly where is a mystery to me.

♦    ♦    ♦

The census records all agree that Jesse was born in Vermont circa 1815. Local historians cautiously say: "It would appear that Albee came to Hobart from Ohio sometime between 1843 and 1848"[2] without noting a source for that information. In my indexing work, I have encountered him conducting business locally as early as August 1846:

2018-3-10. DayB1836 110, 111
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In the 1850 Census, Jesse shows up with his wife, Sarah (Hendershot),[3] whom he had married in Ohio in 1841,[4] and their two sons, Americus and Alonzo.

In 1851, Jesse bought the whole northwest quarter of Section 21, Twp. 36 N., Range 7 W. — 160 acres southeast of Lake Station on the county line (U.S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015).

When Sarah Albee died is unknown — 1858 or later, it would seem, since the 1860 Census lists no wife in the household, but there is a two-year-old Jesse Junior. There is also a 25-year-old "domestic," Mary Hoff.

On January 29, 1861, Jesse (senior) married Emily Wilcox; on July 15, 1861, Mary Ann Pierce; and on May 25, 1864, Caroline (Spencer) Carpenter (Indiana Marriage Collection).[5]

In the 1870 Census, Jesse and Caroline are living near Lake Station with the two younger sons from his first marriage; the eight-year-old son from her previous marriage, James Carpenter; and the two sons they had together: four-year-old Clarence and an unnamed two-month-old boy.

The 1874 Plat Map shows Jesse owning nearly 160 acres in the next section north of his 1851 purchase (which by then was in other hands). Here I have marked his 1874 parcel on an image from the 1950 Plat Book so we can better see where it lay with respect to present-day streets:

2018-3-10. Albee 1874 marked on 1950
(Click on image to enlarge)

Then comes the 1880 Census — and no Albees. That is to say, I can't find them in the census on under any reasonable spelling of their name, not in Hobart Township or anywhere else. It's possible they were not counted, or the enumerator got their surname completely wrong — but I've also searched on their first names only, with no luck.[6]

And yet it seems that they had not left Hobart. Ballantyne and Adams state: "In the Hobart Township School enumeration for 1885 Jesse Albee is listed as having a son of school age (between 6 and 12)" and "Jesse Albee died in Hobart in 1886." I wish they'd given their source for that second item. I can't find anything to confirm it.

The year after Jesse's death, Caroline married Henry James in Lake County (Indiana Marriage Collection, the marriage being recorded under her middle name, Amelia). She died in 1903 (Indiana Death Certificates) and is buried in Hobart Cemetery — at least we've found one of them!

[1] Dorothy Ballantyne and Robert Adams, Along the Route: A History of Hobart, Indiana, Post Offices and Postmasters, Hobart: The Hobart Historical Society, Inc. (1979, rev. 1992).
[2] Ibid., p. 12.
[3] Ballantyne and Roberts (p. 12) describe Sarah as a four-year-old daughter, but the image of the 1850 census on clearly shows her age as 24, which, together with the Ohio marriage record, leads me to believe that she was Jesse's wife.
[4] Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses.
[5] Caroline's maiden name was Spencer, per Ballantyne and Adams (p. 12), who add that she was the widow of James Carpenter, a Civil War casualty, and mother of James Carpenter Jr. — whose name I have often encountered in my reading; he sat on Hobart's town council and otherwise made a prominent citizen of himself in the early 20th century.
[6] If I had the time, I would just read through all of the Hobart Township 1880 census in search of something that could pass for the Albee family.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Saved for the Wrecking Ball

Thank goodness for the fine work of Hobart's fire department and its "most splendid motor fire truck" in March 1923 — or what would there have been to raze 17 years later?

2018-3-6. Fire at Hobart House
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, March 30, 1923.

The "Fasel fire" was the subject of an earlier post.

Notice Axel Strom's advertisement lower down in the right-hand column. I suppose he had to move all his things back from the Fleck residence.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Death of a Sunday Scholar

While indexing the Union Sunday School record book from the 1870s, I came across this draft of a resolution memorializing the late Clarence Spencer Albee.

2018-3-3. USUN1873A-156, 157
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

That these people, so sadly familiar with the loss of children, should mention that Clarence was taken by "death in one of its most terrible forms" really makes me wonder what happened to the poor boy.

One might expect a fair copy of this undated draft to appear in the Sunday School minutes, giving us a rough date for Clarence's death, but so far I have not been able to find it.

Naturally, I set about trying to find out where he is buried … and got nowhere. Neither the NWIGS books of Hobart Township and Ross Township cemetery readings, nor record him. I believe he died in 1878, since the pages immediately before and after this resolution record events in 1878. The death records on do not go back that far. Nor was there any newspaper in Hobart then that survives today. A search on two historical-newspaper sites[1] doesn't turn up anything. I expect I shall have to start scrolling through various other local microfilm someday, when I have time.

Clarence was born circa 1866 (1870 Census) to Jesse B. Albee and his fourth wife, Caroline (Spencer) Carpenter. Among his wives, Jesse had several offspring. But their final resting places, like Clarence's, are a mystery to me — and so is Jesse's, which is surprising given how prominent a figure he was locally in the mid-19th century.

I shall have to post a bit more about the Albee family in the future.

[1] and

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Updated Ledger Index

I have posted an updated draft to the Index to Hobart Historical Society Ledgers page. This new draft includes five more items: four Union Sunday School record books, beginning in 1873, 1888, 1889 and 1891, respectively; and one daybook recording business transactions beginning in 1836.