Monday, December 23, 2019

A Sunday-School Christmas Program circa 1873

From the Union Sunday School minute book that begins in 1873 come these notes on the letterhead of Mathew W. Jory, giving the program for a Christmas pageant.

2019-12-23. USUN1873B Loose 013
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The "Address by Superintendent" would probably be delivered by Mathew himself.

The names of the children performing, as best I can read them, are: Eva Harrison (can't identify); Louisa Black (b. ~1864 to Joseph and Catherine Black); Amelia Briggs (can't identify); Annie Gadsby (b. ~1869 to George and Sylvia Gadsby); Minnie Wadge (b. ~1867 to Richard and Electa Wadge); and Lillie Harrison (b. ~1870 to Thomas and Jennie Harrison). Was a three-year-old really performing in the pageant? — maybe this was more like 1875 or '76.

I wonder who dressed up as Santa Claus?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Lewis Hammond's Tavern

The 1979 collection of memories about downtown Hobart that forms the basis of my Downtown Hobart 1979 blog includes the assertion that at some unspecified time in Hobart's history, a man named Lewis Hammond ran a tavern on the site of the Hobart library. I would have been delighted to find evidence of that in the ledgers I've been indexing, but so far all I can establish is that a Lewis Hammond ran a tavern in Liverpool.

First we find him, in October 1847, renting a house in Liverpool from George Earle.

2019-12-18. DayB1840 176, 177
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In November of that year, he paid the rent for a tavern in Liverpool.

2019-12-18. DayB1840 178, 179

Throughout that ledger, Lewis shows up here and there, paying rent — or buying big sacks of flour, as he did on March 15, 1848:

2019-12-18. DayB1840 188, 189

The daybook of the Hobart sawmill records him making numerous purchases of lumber throughout 1848 and 1849. This page shows him buying lumber on May 10, 1849; and the "L. Hammond" of May 5 is probably our Lewis as well.

2019-12-18. DBHM1846 032, 033

The latest reference I have found in the ledgers to Lewis Hammond (full name) is October 1849; to "L. Hammond," December 1849. There's also an entry in April 1850 that shows I. Wheeler paying money on a Hammond account that may or may not have been Lewis'.

Naturally I went to to try to find some background on Lewis Hammond, but background on him is remarkably scarce. I can't identify him positively in any local records.

The 1850 Census of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has an interesting entry:

2019-12-18. Hammond 1850 census
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

Could that be our tavernkeeper? — an inmate of the Allegheny County jail?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Mary Munch's Moonshine

When Mary Munch was caught with a still back in February 1923, she had claimed it wasn't hers. Seven months later, caught with two stills and 15 gallons of moonshine, she apparently didn't think anyone would buy the same story.

2019-12-12. Booze, Gazette, 10-19-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Oct. 19, 1923.

♦    ♦    ♦

In the "Local Drifts" column above, we find a couple of locals leaving the countryside to become town dwellers.

While we've encountered the name Hooseline in several "South of Deep River" columns, I've looked into the family only in connection with the suicide of John's father-in-law. But looking a little more closely now, I gather that John's father, Michael Hooseline, came into this area with his parents (Michael Sr. and Rebecca) sometime between John's birth in 1842 (Maryland) and the 1860 Census of Union Township, Porter County.[1] By the 1870 Census, Michael Jr. had married Laura Tabor and moved to Ross Township, Lake County. Our John was born in the south-of-Deep-River countryside in 1871. The 1874 Plat Map shows the "Hooseline & Tabor" farm straddling Randolph Street at the divide between Ross and Winfield Townships, but from the 1891 Plat Book on, I can't find any land under the Hooseline name in Ross Township.

Here is John Hooseline's obituary from 1944:

2019-12-12. Hooseline, Vidette-Messenger, 2-28-1944
(Click on image to enlarge)
Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso), Feb. 28, 1944.

The article fails to mention John's first wife, Rhoda Smith, whom he married in 1896. Rhoda was the daughter of Homer and Rachel Smith, although the 1880 Census doesn't list her (unless she is the "Rudie" whom the enumerator called a son; the birth dates match). Rhoda bore John Hooseline two sons, Harold and Hubert/Herbert (1900 Census), and died in 1902. In 1904 John married Emma Carbein Phillips. Their children were Kenneth and Velma (1910 Census, 1930 Census).

The other country-dweller getting out of the country was Simon Small, of Small's Crossing. From what I can find in the census and death records, he was a son of John and Mary (Riley) Small; odd that he wasn't mentioned in Mary's obituary. His children were all by his first wife, Cora Deardoff, whom he married in 1883 (Indiana Marriage Collection) and who died in 1902. He married his second wife, Anna Bean, in 1906 in Cook County, Illinois, where he may have been living already, as he was in the 1910 Census and 1920 Census. Apparently he moved back to Small's Crossing after 1920 just to leave it a few years later.

Here's his obit from 1945:

2019-12-12. Small, Vidette-Messenger, 11-20-1945
(Sorry, this image doesn't enlarge)
Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso), Nov. 20, 1945.

I wonder if this leaves any Smalls at Small's Crossing? The Union Township plat maps shows that the old Small farm changed its name between 1921 and 1928.

[1] That's assuming the enumerator made an error in recording John's age.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Threshing Circa 1919

2019-12-06. EvaT015
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

There is no date on this photograph. I'm guessing at roughly 1919 based two things: first, the tractor is an International Harvester Titan 10-20, a model produced between 1915 and 1921 according to online information.

Secondly, the men in the photo are named on the back …

2019-12-06. EvaT016

… and the three I've been able to identify lived in the vicinity of the Sela Smith farm in Ross Township, where Eva Thompson (who gave the photo to Eldon Harms, who let me scan it) moved with her family in 1918.

Spade was the Americanized spelling of the German name Spaeth. Richard was born in 1874 to Edward and Alvina Spaeth (1900 Census). In 1897 he married Minnie Keiser (Indiana Marriage Collection). The Spaeth family lived and farmed on the west side of Clay Street at 83rd Avenue.

Albert Wilier, I'm willing to bet, was actually Albert Weiler.

Gust Kaiser is a mystery to me at this point. It seems possible that he was related to Mrs. Richard Spade, née Minnie Keiser, whom I think I've found in Hanover Township, Lake County, in the 1880 Census, but I can't find a brother or other relative of hers named Gust (August).

We've met Harry Sullivan before; he was Arthur's brother.

Friday, November 29, 2019

We Tried to Warn You

In spite of the new warning signs and the trimming of corn and hedge at the dangerous crossing of the Lincoln Highway south of Ainsworth, another wreck happened there early in October 1923. But this time, no one died.

2019-11-29. Accident, Gazette, 10-5-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Oct. 5, 1923.

This is the first I've heard of "Dr. Willard Smith, the Winfield veterinarian," and I can't identify him exactly. The 1920 Census of Winfield Township shows a "Williard" Smith farming there, with two sons who are veterinarians (Harvey and Walter), but none who is an auctioneer.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Zobjeck Mystery Photos

From descendants of Hugo and Mary (Kucaba) Zobjeck, we have received digital images of three photographs that are largely a mystery. The originals, I'm told, are about 5" x 7" on heavy black cardstock without photographer identification.

The first is the only one we know anything about. We know that the man second from the right is Hugo Zobjeck, Sr.

2019-11-23. Zobjeck Mystery 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

We also know (thanks to a local vintage-car expert) that the vehicle is a "high wheel pick up truck, circa 1909," likely made by International Harvester although some other companies produced similar vehicles.

These fellows seem to be ready for a parade, perhaps on Independence Day, with all those flags and bunting. I don't see anything in the background to help us place this photo.

We know absolutely nothing about this next photo.

2019-11-23. Zobjeck Mystery 2

I will only say that the man in the black bowtie, in front, looks like the man standing second from the left (dark shirt) in the first photo.

The people in this last photo are too far away to be identified. The setting looks reasonably like Lake George, of course, but with no helpful smokestacks, bridges, or buildings in the background, I'm not going to jump to that conclusion.

2019-11-23. Zobjeck Mystery 3

Sunday, November 17, 2019

And They Lived Happily Ever After

On September 23, 1923, Miss Leona Raschka became Mrs. Fred Ewigleben, Jr.

2019-11-17. Raschka, News, 9-27-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Sept. 27, 1923.

We just recently met Leona's bridesmaid, Florence Ewigleben. We've also met the best man, Walter Miller.

In all these years that I've been hearing that wonderful name, Ewigleben — it means "live forever" in German — I've never looked into the family much; I was content to know that they were a farming family from somewhere west of Hobart. Now I'd like to find out exactly where that farm was. Let's look at the 1908 Plat Map:

2019-11-17. Ewigleben 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

Why, you may ask, should I be interested in the land owned by "C. Erigleton"? — because that land coincides with the land owned by Christ Ewigleben as shown in the 1891 Plat Book. My theory is that Erigleton is a butchered spelling of Ewigleben.

I've often wondered about that big parcel on the northwest corner of Liverpool and 49th, which seems like a throwback to the old rural days of this area, almost untouched by the development that has transformed the old Hayward farm on the east side of Liverpool Road. The farmhouse that sits on that land was built in 1890 according to the county records, so perhaps it is the old Ewigleben home.

Christ Ewigleben, the patriarch of this family, was a German immigrant. It appears that he married and had some children in the old country; I do not know what happened to his first wife. In 1865 Christ came to the U.S. (1900 Census). In Cook County, Illinois, in 1873, he married a woman named Johanna, whose surname is listed as Hillmann or Maas.[1]

The earliest I can find the Ewigleben family in Hobart Township is in the 1880 Census, on the same page with (among others) Berndts, Boldts and Mummerys, which suggests that they were in the area west of Hobart where the 1891 Plat Book places them. Christ's wife is listed as "Teressa" or some such thing, not Johanna; it's a mystery.

Their son, Frederick — the father of the groom in our 1923 story above — was born in Hobart in 1878 (Indiana Death Certificates). He married Tillie Blanchard in 1898 (Indiana Marriage Collection); and their son, Frederick, was born in 1902 (Indiana Death Certificates).

Frederick Jr. and Leona's home at 520 E. Fourth Street seems to be a bank parking lot now.

♦    ♦    ♦

Elsewhere on the same page of the News, above, we find Clifford O. Mize going to prison for the attempted murder of his mother-in-law back in July 1923.

We also find the Gem Theater receiving a letter demanding that it stop showing movies on Sunday evenings. Just remember how recently we Hoosiers could not buy alcohol on Sunday.

[1] "Hillmann" per, Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. "Maas" per, Illinois, Marriage Index, 1860-1920 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Little Carrie Bullock

Since my last post mentioned Carolyn Bullock Winters, this seems a good time to show you the photo of her as a little girl that is preserved in the Wood-Vincent photo album.

Winters, Carrie Bullock 023c-1
(Click on images to enlarge)

The identifying caption:

Winters, Carrie Bullock 023c caption

The photographer was W.H. Hayward:

Winters, Carrie Bullock 023c-2

Carrie was born in December 1880. In this photo she looks perhaps one year old.

About six years ago I posted some photos of Carrie and a little information about her (unfortunately short) life.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Simeon Bullock and the Old Bullock Homestead

It's September 1923 and Simeon Bullock has left us.

2019-11-06. Bullock, News, 9-20-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Sept. 20, 1923.

I did not know about his time in Alva, Oklahoma. That might help to explain why his daughter Jessie and her husband, Samuel Quinlan, lived there.

We have already met Simeon's widow, Abbie Wood Bullock, as well as his daughters — Jessie and Ida, and Carolyn (Carrie), who had died in 1917.

Simeon was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

♦    ♦    ♦

This obituary clears up for me something I've been a little confused about: the old Bullock homestead where Simeon spent his youth is marked here, on the 1874 Plat Map in red:

2019-11-06. Bullock 1874
(Click on image to enlarge)

The land marked in green, owned also by Moses Bullock, was where Moses' son Gilbert later built the big house that is still standing, but apparently it was not where the original Bullock family lived. I'm glad I got clear on that point.

A few years ago, I received an inquiry about the house at 3720 E. 73rd Avenue, which I was not able to answer very well at that time because I did not have the legal description of the land it stands on. Now, however, I do have that description: "PT. N2.W2.E2.SW. … S.13 T.35 R.8." This description matches up with the western part of the old Bullock homestead. According to the county records, the house was built in 1900; but I am beginning to suspect that "1900" in county records is often code for: "The house was built a long time ago, but nobody knows exactly when."

The earliest purchase I can find relating to the old Bullock farm, in Early Land Sales, was by Elizabeth Ayers, who bought the west half in September 1851. She was probably married to the Nathaniel Ayers who bought part of the east half in 1852.

Here is the Ayers family in Ross Township in the 1850 Census:

2019-11-06. Ayers 1850
(Click on image to enlarge)

Comparing the names of their neighbors to names in Early Land Sales, I am inclined to think they were in the area of their 1851 and 1852 purchases. Since I can't find the Ayers family in the 1860 Census, I don't know how long they stayed in the area. Perhaps they sold their land directly to the Bullocks in 1860.[1] The Ayerses soon migrated completely out of our story, traveling west to Oregon by 1870 and to California by 1900.

The Bullocks owned the land through 1874, as we've seen on the plat map above. Moses Bullock died in 1873. The 1891 Plat Book shows the west half of the old Bullock land being owned by "A. Bullock" — perhaps Moses' widow, Amanda, or his son, Asa.

The eastern half of the land had been purchased by Morgan Blachly, probably around 1883, from what we know of him. By 1908 (per the 1908 Plat Map) he had also purchased the western half of the old Bullock homestead (in addition to other adjacent land; he owned a parcel totaling 256 acres).

Here is the old Bullock homestead in the 1926 Plat Book:

2019-11-06. Ayers-Bullock-Blachly 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)

The west half was owned by two sons of Morgan and Amelia Blachly: Walter and Earl. (I don't know much about Clarinda Hayden except that she apparently lived in Cedar Creek and West Townships at various times, but I can't find her ever living in Ross Township.)

Here is the old Bullock homestead in 1939 Plat Book:

2019-11-06. Bullock 1939
(Click on image to enlarge)

I've found William and Iva Kuntz, owners of the east half, in the 1940 Census, but I can't identify the owners of the west half, Steven and V. Kovac.

The 1950 Plat Book shows the same ownership.

Here is the 1972 Plat Book:

2019-11-06. Bullock 1972
(Click on image to enlarge)

It's still recognizable as the old Bullock farm, though it's lost a few acres on the north. The person who inquired about the house at 3720 E. 73rd told me his parents bought it from an older couple by the name of Walsh, who may be the Walshes shown here. Hartcock, I believe, is a misspelling of Hartsock; see Jones Hartsock's death certificate:

2019-11-06. Hartsock death certificate
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

1972 is the most recent plat map I have.

Here is my attempt to outline the old Bullock farm on a screenshot from the Lake County GIS site:

2019-11-06. Bullock now
(Click on image to enlarge)

[1] Simeon's obituary suggests it was 1862 when the Bullocks moved here from LaPorte, but they are recorded here in the 1860 Census, and Moses Bullock's bio tells us that he bought his farm in 1860.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia Inflata)

Found at the edge of a soybean field in Deep River County Park, and all I had with me was my cell phone.

2019-10-31. Lobelia inflata - blossoms
(Click on images to enlarge)

I don't know how I managed to spot those tiny blue blossoms.

Perhaps the "inflata" part of its name comes from the calyxes, which swell up with fruit.

2019-10-31. Lobelia inflata - calyxes

2019-10-31. Lobelia inflata

Friday, October 25, 2019

Blue Mass

Late in the summer of 1850, there was sickness around Hobart, and people were coming to our shopkeeper (probably George Earle himself) for cures. He sold them quinine, an effective cure for malaria, discovered in the 17th century and still used today. He sold them boxes of nameless pills and bottles of nameless medicine. He also sold them the now-notorious "blue mass" pills.

2019-10-25. DayB1848 055, 056
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The active ingredient of "blue mass" was mercury. People who took the pills developed mercury poisoning, which causes a number of unpleasant symptoms and may result in death. We don't know what John Phelps was intending to treat with the blue mass he bought, since it was prescribed for a range of medical problems, including syphilis, tuberculosis, constipation, toothache, parasitic infestations, and the pains of childbirth (according to Wikipedia). It actually cured nothing.

In researching blue mass, I learned that historical evidence seems to indicate that Abraham Lincoln took such pills and suffered neurological symptoms as a result; but he eventually recognized that the pills were causing problems and stopped taking them. You can download an interesting article about Lincoln and his blue pills here.

Finally, I am curious about that purchase by J.B. Albee on September 4: "1 bottle of pain extractor." This is the first I've ever heard of the term "pain extractor." Looking around on the internet, I find numerous advertisements dating to the latter half of the 19th century for Dalley's Magical Pain Extractor, but no information about what its ingredients might have been.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bee Movie

In this story in the Hobart Gazette of September 14, 1923 (reprinted from the Chicago Tribune, I gather), Joseph Mundell talks about his honey farm on Old Ridge Road, his family history, his advertising methods, and the usefulness of his free campground in bringing in honey customers.

2019-10-20. Mundell, Gazette, 9-14-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Sept. 14, 1923.

In the October 12 Gazette, we learn that a one-minute movie of the bee farm existed, and may still exist somewhere.

2019-10-20. Bee Movie, Gazette, 10-12-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Oct. 12, 1923.

Further down in the same column, we learn that Nicholas (Jr.) and Anna (Halfman) Fleck lost a baby daughter who lived and died between censuses. Zeta (or Zita) had been born August 14, 1922 (Indiana Death Certificates).

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Scharbach-Kramer Wedding Party

Long ago, I posted a photo of Louis Kramer on the morning of his wedding to Myrtle Scharbach, getting a haircut from Hazard Halsted. Later I posted a newspaper account of the wedding.

Now, thanks to a modern-day Scharbach, the Hobart Historical Society has a photo of the whole wedding party.

2019-10-14. Scharbach004
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Mr. Scharbach knew only the identities of the bride and groom. To identify the rest of the wedding party, who were all named in the newspaper story, we have to use other means. So, I believe we have, standing, from left to right: Florence Ewigleben (by process of elimination), Elmer Scharbach (cousin of the bride and looks a bit like her), George Kramer (brother and spitting image of the groom), Erna Piornack (confirmed by living relatives), and Mary Grace Barnard.

Florence Ewigleben was related to the bride: Myrtle Scharbach's mother, Caroline, had been an Ewigleben. Florence was born in 1906 to Fred and Tillie (Blanchard) Ewigleben. In 1927 she would marry Erna Piornack's brother, George (Indiana Marriage Collection).

Elmer Scharbach, born 1906, was the son of Emil and Emma (Busse) Scharbach.

George and Louis Kramer were sons of Conrad and Louise (née Wischman).

I do not know if Erna Piornack was actually related to the bride or anyone else in the party, or just a good friend. As I mentioned above, she was Florence Ewigleben's future sister-in-law.

As for little Mary Grace Barnard of Mishawaka, her mother was born Gertrude Scharbach. Gertrude's father was Frank — the bride's uncle — and her grandfather William Sr. of the lumber yard.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Granny Ensign's House

One day several years ago, I was driving with Eldon Harms along South Hobart Road when he pointed to a house on the east side of the road (number 1395) and said, "That was Granny Ensign's house."

"Who was Granny Ensign?" I asked him.

"I don't know," he said. "I just knew that as Granny Ensign's house." He went on to tell me that the house originally consisted of only the front part, and the larger back part was a later addition.

The house in question was built in 1925 according to the county records. If it started as only the "front part," it would have been very small — about 400 square feet, according to the sketch on the Assessor's website.

I bring this up now because the September 13, 1923 issue of the Hobart News, in an article entitled "Building of Residences Here Not Active This Year," mentions an exception in "Mrs. Elizabeth Ensign" who was building a house described as being southeast of Hobart, across the road from her present home. Well, we know who Elizabeth aka Nora Ensign was, and we know her "present home" was on the west side of South Hobart Road, so maybe I've finally found the Granny Ensign of Granny Ensign's house.

♦    ♦    ♦

Elsewhere in the same issue, a story about our old friend, Calvin C. Shearer:

2019-10-10. Shearer Sedan, News, 9-13-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Sept. 13, 1923.

Two columns to the left of that story, we find an article about the wedding of Erna Piornack. I have been following her outside the blog because her mother, née Emma Zobjeck, was the sister of Hobart's own Hugo Zobjeck. Emma had married Charles Piornack in Chicago in 1896.[1]. According to the 1920 Census, they had only two children: Erna and George.

[1] Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: "Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. "Marriage Records, 1871–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Rev. William C. Litchfield

2019-10-05. Litchfield, Rev. W.C. 030d-1 'pastor of Hobart Unitarian Church'
(Click on images to enlarge)

This photograph comes from the Wood-Vincent album. Fortunately, the album's owner included a caption telling us who he was:

2019-10-05. Litchfield, Rev. 030d caption

The back of the photo shows that it was taken in Rockland, Massachusetts:

2019-10-05. Litchfield, Rev. W.C. 030d-2

One source I found online says that E[dwin] A. Bass operated in Rockland, Massachusetts, during 1878 and '79.[1] Those dates are consistent, I think, with William's apparent age here — he was born in 1840, so would be about 38 or 39.

He shows up several times in the Union Sunday School record books that I have indexed so far: once, in January 1877, as a student in the school, which would mean he was in Hobart; other times, later that same year, as donating books to, or purchasing books for, the Sunday School, which could have been done from far away. Loose in the back of one of the record books is this letter William wrote from Massachusetts to Joseph Blackhall of Hobart on June 16, 1877, in which William promises to carry out some favor for the Sunday School, and disclaims the title of "Reverend" since he has not been formally ordained:

2019-10-05. USUN1873B Loose 006a
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

My transcription of the body:
Your note of the 9th inst. was duly received. In reply I would say that I will gladly comply with the request of the Sunday School the first time I visit the city or have opportunity to do so by the help of a friend who will understand what you want.
I am very busy with town business this month but will attend to the matter of the book soon as possible.
I reached home in safety Tuesday P.M. about 1/2 past 4. I found my family & friends well. Give my regard to the Hobart people, & accept my thanks for personal kindness.
I see you honor me with a "Rev." While I have letters[?] frequently marked thus, I make no claim to the title, as I have never been ordained after the form of men, therefore am not entitled to the prefix & do not want[?] it used for me at present.

Here are William and his family at home in Plymouth County, Massachusetts in the 1880 Census:

2019-10-05. Litchfield 1880 census
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

The 1900 Census and 1910 Census also record him in Plymouth County. William died in 1911.

I note from the entry that his middle name was Cummings. In the 19th century, people sometimes christened a child with a surname to honor some family connection. I also notice that the Wood-Vincent album includes a Lottie Barker Cummings of Attleboro, Massachusetts, who was a granddaughter of Hannah (Pattee) Wood's sister Lois. I wonder if there was some connection between the families (Wood and Cummings) that might explain why William Cummings Litchfield of Massachusetts happened to journey out to Hobart, Indiana, of all places?

[1] From another source: "Bass, E. A., photographer, Rockland, MA (1870s-1880s) cdv image," Langdon's List of 19th and Early 20th Century Photographers,

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Hay Press and George Bodamer

Hay press runs over George Bodamer, ruptures an artery in his leg. If it was the femoral artery, he could easily have bled to death. He gets first aid, then — goes to the hospital? Not George!

2019-09-29. Bodamer, Gazette, 9-7-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette, Sept. 7, 1923.

I think this is the George Bodamer who first separated my 3.5 acres from the Chester land. I hope it is, since I'm now going to spend some of my precious time researching him.

He, like Benjamin, was one of the children of Christopher (aka Christian) and Elizabeth (Lortz) Bodamer. (For a little background information on those two, visit Christopher's entry on

George was born in Indiana on October 12, 1853 (Indiana Death Certificates) — about the time the family came to Lake County from New York. The 1860 Census records the family farming in Ross Township. I can't find them in the 1870 Census, but the 1876 plat map of Union Township, Porter County, shows them owning 80 acres:

2019-09-29. Bodamer Union-1876
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

And that is where the 1880 Census places them.

On June 3, 1885,[1] in Porter County, George Bodamer married Christina Frederika (Gross) Stoeckert, widow of George Stoeckert. The next record we have of them is the 1900 Census, which shows George and Frederika (or Freeda) owning a farm in Ross Township. To judge by their neighbors, it is in the vicinity of these Bodamer parcels that appear on the 1908 Plat Map:

2019-09-29. Bodamer Ross-1908

All of this land (and more) had been owned by C.F. Bodamer in 1891, per the 1891 Plat Book.

The 1900 census shows George and Freeda with three children: Elizabeth (14), Christopher (12), and Henry (9).

In April 1901, Christine Frederika Gross Stoeckert Bodamer died.

2019-09-29. Bodamer, C.F., Gazette, 4-5-1901
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Apr. 5, 1901.

I can't account for the six children mentioned in the obituary vis-à-vis the three in the 1900 census; the others were probably from her previous marriage.

On March 19, 1904,[2] George's daughter Elizabeth married Earl Blachly. (The marriage did not last.)

I cannot find George Bodamer at all in the 1910 Census. One son, Christopher, was farming on the old Bodamer place in Union Township, Porter County, living with his grandmother; the other son, Henry, lived in Wheeler in the home of a Walsh family and worked in a mill.

The "Local Drifts" in the Hobart Gazette of April 3, 1914, included this item: "James Chester has sold four acres off the old Flaherty farm to Geo. Rodamer for $525." If "Rodamer" is a misprint for "Bodamer," that could be our George. Looking on the 1908 plat map image above, we see below the Bodamer parcels two parcels belonging to Hy. Chester and T.&E. Flaherty. Henry Chester apparently bought those ten acres from a D. Flaherty around 1891 (1891 Plat Book). After Henry's death in 1910, his son James may have owned that land at the south end of S. Hobart Road.

Later that year, George's older son, Christopher, shows up in Michigan marrying a Lavina Hilliker.[3] It appears that Christopher and Lavina settled and lived out their lives in Michigan.

In October 1915, George's younger son, Henry, married Minnie Baessler. By the 1920 Census, the two of them were living in Gary, so Henry must be the son in Gary to whom George went with his ruptured artery in 1923.

I cannot find George in the 1920 census, and (spoiler alert!) he died in 1929 (Indiana Death Certificates).

[1] Indiana Marriage Collection; other sources say June 4.
[2] Indiana Marriage Collection; March 23, 1904, per "General News Items," Hobart Gazette, Apr. 1, 1904.
[3] Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

2019-09-26. Ailanthus Webworm Moth
(Click on image to enlarge)

This festive-looking moth gets its name from the behavior of its larvae. The caterpillars build a web in the Ailanthus tree (aka Tree of Heaven) where they all live together as they feed on the leaves and branches.

More pics here.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Running Earle's Mill

When I wrote about John Premer earlier, I noted that he gave his occupation in the 1850 Census as "miller." This page from the daybook I'm working on now shows George Earle hiring John in February 1850 to run the Hobart grist mill for him.

2019-09-23. DayB1848 045, 046
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In July 1850, for some reason the A. Spencer who'd been boarding George Earle along with the orphaned John and Philip Hodson "left keeping house," and his boarders had to find a new place to stay. John and Philip went to "Mr. Premer" — John Premer, I suppose, in the "miller's house" mentioned on the page above.

2019-09-23. DayB1848 053, 054
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society. The "J. Butler day book" mentioned in this entry has not been digitized yet.

George Earle went to board with a Mr. Turner. I think that was probably J.L. Turner, whose name turns up in the ledgers a few times around 1850 and 1851, and whom we find in the 1850 census[1] in Hobart:

2019-09-23. Turner 1850 census
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

Odd that the enumerator writes "Unknown" for all the family members' birthplaces. The Turner family is elusive: I can't find any of them before or after 1850.

As we've previously seen, by the time the 1850 census was taken in October, George Earle and the two orphan boys were back in the same household.

[1] The enumerator recorded J.L. Turner's household right next to John Premer's, not that that proves anything.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Dwarf St. John's Wort

I am more accustomed to the larger version of St. John's Wort, so this had me puzzled at first just because it is so small. It has been growing all summer on the edge of my pollinator habitat and still is only a foot tall.

2019-09-21. Dwarf St. John's Wort 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2019-09-21. Dwarf St. John's Wort 2