Friday, June 29, 2018

False Crocus Geometer Moth

This lovely fellow was lurking in the "Pollinator Habitat" part of my yard. Much of my property is pollinator habitat but only this part has a sign for a moth to read and say, "Hey, that's me!"

2018-6-29. False Crocus Geometer 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2018-6-29. False Crocus Geometer 2

If you want to see some better photos, go somewhere like here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Burning Crosses

Several nights in early May 1923 were lit up with burning crosses in Ainsworth, Hobart, and East Gary (Lake Station).

2018-6-27. Burning Crosses
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local and Personal," Hobart News, May 10, 1923.

Since the Klan parade three months earlier had featured a burning cross, the writer probably understood the association. But we don't know if any of these displays were aimed at anyone in particular. (Henry Paulus, many years later, recalled a cross being burned on his lawn in 1924.)

♦    ♦    ♦

Above that item we find a description of a pretty nasty wreck that fortunately did not injure Ainsworth's Robert Harper.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Buyer's Remorse

It happens to all of us, sooner or later.

2018-6-24. DayB1840 168, 169
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

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. [Update: I was wrong about the former Haxton creamery's location; it stands on the east side of the alley between East and Center Streets, so the description in the newspaper item makes sense.]

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).