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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Klan Labor-Day Theatrics

About two and a half acres of wooded land described variously as "the Mundell grove west of the city" or "the Mundell picnic grounds" or "the Mundell free camp grounds" lay somewhere on the 120-acre Mundell farm, which straddled Old Ridge Road in the vicinity of Strack & Van Til. In 1922 Joseph Mundell had opened up those two and a half acres for free use by the general public, whether area residents or passing tourists.[1]

On Labor Day 1923, two different organizations held gatherings there.

One of those organizations was the Ku Klux Klan. As many as 12,000 people attended the Klan picnic, which lasted from mid-morning until midnight. Out-of-towners came in automobiles or streetcars. The festivities included refreshments, speeches, songs, initiation ceremonies "amid flaming crosses," and a nighttime parade through downtown Hobart headed by an automobile decorated with a cross and American flags, and consisting of about 140 Klansmen and a band. As the parade was forming, a plane took to the air with a huge cross strapped to its underside, illuminated by red light bulbs. The plane spent about 45 minutes in the air over northwest Indiana. At a time when flying machines were still uncommon, that surely caught the attention of people on the ground.

Less theatrically and less controversially, the Modern Woodmen of America (a fraternal benefit society) held their picnic further south and east in the Mundell grove.

The Lutherans used the Yellowstone Trail campgrounds east of town.

2019-09-17. Labor Day, News, 9-6-1923
(Click on images to enlarge)
Hobart News, Sept. 6, 1923.

2019-09-17. Labor Day, Gazette, 9-7-1923
Hobart Gazette, Sept. 7, 1923.

[1] Joseph Mundell, his bees, and his campground will be discussed in more detail in the near future.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Haying with Horses

These photos were taken in the summer of 1937 on the old Harms homestead. In the first one, we are near the barn on the south side of the road.

2019-09-12. 5e
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Eldon Harms.

Here are my notes based on what Eldon Harms told me about the photo:
The team is pulling a hay wagon. Note the ladder on the wagon: as the hay piled up on the wagon, you climbed the ladder to drive the team so that you weren't buried in the hay. The building in the background is the corn crib, which held the dried ears of corn on the cob that would eventually be taken to the mill in town (Hobart) and ground up for cattle feed.
The horses are Nel and Topsy. Eldon is at left. The two girls are probably his sisters. His father, Herman, is holding the reins.

In this photo, we are out in the hay field:

2019-09-12. 4d

My notes based on what Eldon told me about it:
At left you can see the hay loader, which picked up the hay from the field and deposited it on top of the wagon.

When you cut the hay, you raked it into long windrows lying on the field. Then you hitched your double team to the hay wagon and drove them over each windrow — one horse on each side of the windrow — and the hay loader, attached to the rear of the wagon, ran along picking up the hay and dropping it onto the wagon.

In this picture Bud Ensign (at right) is driving the team, and Herman Harms, Sr., is raking the hay to distribute the load evenly over the wagon. The wheels of the wagon are just barely visible under the hay hanging down, and at the lower right of the photo you can see the horses' legs.

Bud Ensign's father had died, so Bud wanted to earn extra money to help his family; that is why he hired on with the Harmses. He was only 14 at this time.

The hay wagon could be converted into a box wagon, by removing the back section and attaching a box. That was more convenient for driving when you weren't carrying a load of hay.
We've already discussed how you got the hay from the wagon to the loft of the barn.

♦    ♦    ♦

I'm not sure if I ever asked Eldon who exactly "Bud" Ensign was; if he told me, I've forgotten.

Looking into the census records for a local Ensign boy who would have been about 14 in 1937, I find Richard Elden Ensign. We've seen Richard before, but I had his nickname down as "Dick." Perhaps a 14-year-old Bud might, within a few years, be able to make people call him a slightly more formal name.

Richard's father, John Ensign, had died in October 1935 (Indiana Death Certificates), leaving a widow, Goldie, with some half-a-dozen children, the youngest of which was about three years old.[1] And this was in the midst of the Great Depression.

Incidentally, John's mother had been Elizabeth aka Nora (Shearer) Ensign.

[1] The 1930 Census and 1940 Census are not consistent regarding some of the children's ages.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Wild Indigo Duskywing

2019-09-09. Duskywing - Wild Indigo
(Click on image to enlarge)

Found this Wild Indigo Duskywing skipper on the privet hedge that separates my pollinator habitat from the road.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Drunks Upon the Streets

2019-09-07. Drunks, Gazette, 8-31-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Aug. 31, 1923.

We do not know what the commentator meant by "formerly" — before Prohibition? two months ago?

In more constructive news, the Fifield ice-cream parlor has been doing very well, it seems.

2019-09-07. Fifield, Gazette, 8-31-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Aug. 31, 1923.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Common Gray

What a talented designer can do with shades of gray, black, and white!

2019-09-03. Common Gray
(Click on image to enlarge)

At first I thought it was a Pale-Winged Gray, but someone on the IN Nature Facebook page who knows more than I do about moths thought otherwise.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Thomas and Harriet Tierney

One of the few historical photos we have of Merrillville's "Old Mill" building dates from the 1930s, when it housed Tierney's restaurant. The proprietor was Harriet Tierney, a widow. It is the news of her husband Thomas' death on August 26, 1923, that has prompted me to start researching them.

2019-08-30. Tierney, News, 8-30-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Aug. 30, 1923.

Thomas Tierney and Harriet Piske (or Pieske) had been married in May 1913 in Berrien County, Michigan[1] — a sort of elopement, I gather, since both were living in Gary at the time. Thomas was 44, Harriet 34; this was his first marriage and her second. Harriet had previously been married to a Fred Woods, but I can't find a record of that marriage. I got Fred's name from the death certificate of their only son, Ernest.

It's interesting that the 1910 Census shows Thomas and Harriet living together, calling themselves husband and wife. Ernest was not living with them. Harriet's father, Carl Piske, was. Thomas gave his occupation as proprietor of a saloon.

Looking at the 1900 Census, I can't find either Thomas or Harriet; but I do find Ernest Wood (spelled without the s at the end) living with his grandfather, Carl Piske, in Calumet Township. Carl may have been on his second marriage by then: his wife's name is given as Minnie, whereas, in the 1880 Census, he's married to a Fridericke. In 1880 the Piske family lived in North Township.[2] Their children were Albert, Gusty, Emma, and the two-year-old Hattie (Harriet).

I can't find Thomas Tierney, or his family, at all before 1910.

Anyway, the first news I have of the Tierneys in Merrillville is an item in the "Ross Township" column of the Hobart News of May 15, 1913: "Mrs. T. Tierney has opened an ice cream parlor and automobile rest at Merrillville." This may or may not have been in the "Old Mill" building.

The 1920 Census records Thomas and Harriet in Merrillville. Thomas described himself as the landlord of a hotel. Harriet allegedly had no occupation. The enumerator recorded them right next to the Walter family, three of whom were operating a garage, which suggests (but doesn't prove) that the Tierneys' hotel was in the "Old Mill" building.

And then, as we've seen, Thomas died.

In the 1930 Census, Harriet, 52, described herself as the proprietor of a restaurant. Also in the household was a 51-year-old single man, Robert Gerber, who worked as the manager of a restaurant — Harriet's, I'm inclined to think. And her son, Ernest Woods, was recorded as living with her, although he had married Agnes Szikora in 1920 (Indiana Marriage Collection) and was also recorded living with Agnes and their two children in Gary. In both cases, Ernest's occupation was clerk in a grocery store.

Ten years later, Harriet's household consisted only of her and Robert. Under "Relationship to head of household," both were "Partners," and for occupation, both were restaurant proprietors. Ernest and Agnes Woods were living together in Gary with their two children, operating a grocery store.

In 1942 Ernest died; Harriet in 1944. Both of them, as well as Thomas Tierney, are buried in Calumet Park Cemetery.[3] As for Fred Woods and Robert Gerber, I have no clue what became of them.

I find Harriet an interesting lady, and I hope to get more details about her life.

♦    ♦    ♦

I marked the item below Thomas' death notice on the image above because it mentions "Postmaster and Mrs. J.J. Wood," and these days I'm supposed to be paying attention to the Wood family. So let me set down the basic facts of the Postmaster and his Mrs. for my own benefit.

John J. Wood was born October 26, 1856 (Indiana Death Certificates) to Augustus and Jessie Wood. At that time the family lived in the village of Deep River, but sometime after the 1880 census they moved to Hobart. In 1882 John married Mary Rifenburg (Indiana Marriage Collection), daughter of William H. Rifenburg by his first wife, Rebecca Stearns (Lake County Encyclopedia). So Maude Rifenburg Arment was actually Mary's youngest half-sister.

John and Mary Wood continued living in Hobart. They had three children: Edith, Ralph, and Dorothy. John operated a store — sometimes grocery (1900 Census), sometimes general merchandise (1910 Census); in 1914, he was elected Hobart Township Trustee;[4] in 1921 and again in 1926, he was appointed postmaster.[5] He died in 1929. If I ever get to 1929 in my microfilm reading, perhaps I'll be able to produce his obituary.

[1] 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.
[2] It may have been only the township boundaries that changed, rather than the Piskes' actual location.
[3] The Hobart News item about Thomas' death says he was buried in the Turkey Creek Catholic Cemetery, i.e., SS. Peter & Paul; his death certificate gives the place of burial as Turkey Creek, Ind.; but NWIGS' Ross Township Cemeteries book does not record him there. records him in Calumet Park, which was not opened until 1928 according to its website. It's quite possible that they are all correct, and his body was moved from the one to the other sometime after 1928.
[4] "Official Election Returns," Hobart News, Nov. 6, 1914.
[5] U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cousin Emily Identified

With the help of clues in the Wood-Vincent photo album, I have been able to identify the Cousin Emily who, in 1870, wrote the letter to Mary Wood that I posted some years ago.

On one page of the album, I came across two captions: "Cousin Mary Ann Low" and "Cousin Emily Lowe." Both of those given names (Emily and Mary Ann) appeared in the letter. With the surname Low(e), it was easy enough to track down their household in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Emily's letter describes the death of her sister, Hattie, on May 11, 1870. The 1870 Census, taken in June, shows the diminished household:

2019-08-27. Lowe, Sally 1870 census
(Click on image to enlarge)

A page from the paperwork dealing with Harriet's estate gives a fuller picture of the surviving family:

2019-08-27. Low, Harriet, probate
(Click on image to enlarge) Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Two years later, Emily's mother Sally Low died. The record of her death states that her parents were Moses and Salley (i.e., Sarah) Wood,[1] meaning that she was a sibling of John Wood. That accounts for the cousin relationship between Emily Low and our Mary Wood Vincent.

♦    ♦    ♦

The photo album includes the caption, "Emily Lowe," but the photo it was written for had disappeared by the time the album reached me.

2019-08-27. Lowe, Emily 011b caption - photo missing
(Click on images to enlarge)

Mary Ann's photo remained.

2019-08-27. Low, Mary Ann 011a-1 (Cousin)

The photo is undated, and I can't see enough to her dress to help me estimate a date; judging by her apparent age, I'd place this photo at circa 1885 or later.

Here's a puzzler:

2019-08-27. Low, Chas. and Mary 012d caption

There is obviously no Charles in that photo!

I'm guessing that this lady is Mary Low, the wife of cousin Daniel Low (cousin Emily's brother, mentioned in the probate paper above). She and Daniel did have a son named Charles. The family lived in LaPorte County. Unfortunately, the photo is a tin plate with no photographer's name on it. (According to information posted with Daniel's entry on, he was an interesting guy.) Mary's dress has the dropped shoulders and full skirt of the Civil-War era. Mary was about 55 years old when the Civil War broke out.

Two more missing photos:

2019-08-27. Low, Daniel, mother and father of 002a, b caption

I suppose this would be Joseph and Sally (Wood) Low; I'm just wondering why Alice Vincent Nesbit would describe them this way instead of calling them "Great-Aunt Sally" and "Great-Uncle Joseph."

This concludes our little side trip to visit the Low family.

[1] New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911, via

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Warning Signs at the Death Crossing

After the recent fatal accident at the Lincoln Highway intersection south of Ainsworth, a private organization put up warning signs, and other steps were taken to improve visibility.

2019-08-24. Warning Signs, Gazette, 8-31-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Aug. 31, 1923.

Two columns over, a couple other stories caught my eye.

I've mentioned Charles Boyd before but never took the time to figure out exactly where his farm was. Here is his land as it appeared in the 1926 Plat Book:

2019-08-24. Boyd, C.E. 1926
(Click on image to enlarge)

I don't know exactly where the house and burning barn were.

Below that, we find H.W. Traeger — probably the same man who gave that awful Traeger crossing its name — warning people to stay off not only his land, but "the land known as the Garden City, controlled by" him. Does that mean the former site of the Garden City brickyard, on the east side of the intersection of County Line Road and S.R. 130? It seems likely, with that land being so close to H.W. Traeger's own land. I find it interesting that the Garden City name stuck, although the brickyard had stopped operating long ago.

♦    ♦    ♦

Here's the social news from south of Deep River for the last week of August 1923:

2019-08-24. SoDR, News, 8-30-1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart News, Aug. 30, 1923.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Spicebush Swallowtail

Here is a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly enjoying some Ironweed nectar.

2019-08-21. Spicebush Swallowtail underwing
(Click on images to enlarge)

2019-08-21. Spicebush Swallowtail upper wing 2

2019-08-21. Spicebush Swallowtail upper wing

It has two known larval hosts: Spicebush and Sassafras. I have tried numerous times to plant both but they always died. So I feel fortunate to have found a Spicebush Swallowtail in my field, since I'm not able to help their population.

As usual, other people have taken better photos.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

George Earle and the Orphans

On this page of the 1848 daybook, we find some clues to the identity of its keeper.

2019-08-17. DayB1848 029
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

On October 22, 1849, the writer made an agreement with Mr. Spencer whereby the writer, along with John and Philip, will board at the Spencer place (and wash their quilts) for $2.50 per week, including the use of the household soap and some of the household potatoes, while John will chop wood for the stove. But as for candles, "G.E." agrees to supply his own — now, who could that be but George Earle?

And indeed, when I went looking in the 1850 Census for households that contained both a John and a Philip, I found the George Earle household:

2019-08-17. Hodson, Earle 1850 census
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image from

George himself is listed as the head of the household. Mary is his wife (and Charles Devonshire, listed last, is probably Mary's father). John G(eorge) E(dward) is George and Mary's son. Mary Ann may be one of George's twelve siblings.[1]

But who were these Hodson boys, John and Philip, and why were they living in the Earle household?

Looking in my index, I find I've encountered the name Hodson before, most significantly in an earlier daybook. In the autumn of 1845, we find the writer dealing with the estate of W. Hodson:

2019-08-17. DayB1840 150
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This is apparently a crop of oats that W. Hodson did not live to harvest — 7 bushels to "G.E."; 24 bushels to E. Saunders; the money to the Hodson estate.

In October 1848, we find the writer making another payment to E. Saunders to cover boarding two of the Hodson boys, William and Philip:

2019-08-17. DayB1840 208
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I am convinced that Mr. Saunders' first name was Edward, and that he bought part of the farm that had belonged to the estate of William Hodson, Sr.

William Hodson was in LaPorte County for the 1840 Census, apparently, but by 1843 Early Land Sales shows him buying two parcels in Ross Township. One parcel of 40 acres, the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 8, R. 7 W., lies north of Big Maple Lake and is now owned by the Lake County Parks Department. The other parcel was the full southeast quarter (160 acres) of Section 12, R. 8 W. — which eventually passed into Bullock and Markham hands, and was the site of the Bullock homestead. But earlier, in 1845 (according to Early Land Sales) the west 80 acres of that latter parcel was purchased by Edward Sanders.[2]

To try to fill in the rest of the story, we have to turn to information supplied by anonymous people online — specifically, information on and a family tree compiled on According to these anonymous online sources, William Hodson, Sr. was born in England in 1800, and there, in 1830, married Ann Lister; they then set sail to America. A daughter was born at sea;[3] some three children were born in Pennsylvania, including one of these sons we've found mentioned in the daybooks — John, born in 1835. The last two boys were born in Lake County, Indiana: William, Jr. in 1841 and Philip in 1844.

In 1845, both parents died — Ann in February and William, Sr. in March. Both are buried in the Merrillville Cemetery.

Then Edward Saunders, also an Englishman by birth, bought some of the Hodson land, and I suppose it was logical enough for him to agree to board some of the orphaned children. What I'm wondering is — why did George Earle take on the responsibility of arranging and paying for their board, whether with Mr. Saunders or Mr. Spencer? Was there some family connection? Was it his duty as executor of the estate? Or was he just acting from the kindness of his heart?

There were also three surviving daughters, ranging in age from 15 to 8, who (so far) have not been mentioned in the daybooks. If I had more time, I'd trying to trace them.[4]

[1] Most of what I know about the Earles comes from Dorothy Dunning Ballantyne's pamphlet, George Earle and Family of Hobart, Indiana (Hobart Historial Society, 1972). Copies can be purchased at the Hobart Historical Society museum.
[2] Early Land Sales designated that land and hundreds of nearby acres as "Canal Land." I don't know the story behind that, and I haven't got time to research it.
[3] William and Ann married in May 1830, their first child was born in June 1830 and survived. Also, according to the family tree on, that child (among others) is buried in Ainsworth, Iowa.
[4] According to Lake County Encyclopedia (p. 145), during the Civil War a Miss Elizabeth Hodson went from Lake County to nurse the sick and wounded at a military hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; I think this is the daughter born at sea in 1830. That is all I know of the daughters' histories.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Eight-Spotted Forester

2019-08-14. 8-spotted forester
(Click on image to enlarge)

Found this small but showy moth in my pollinator habitat area. It refused to pose for a photo. If you want a better shot you'll have to look elsewhere.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Having a Gas, in Ainsworth and Elsewhere

This page from the August 23, 1923 issue of the Hobart News is dominated by Carlson news. First off, Charles Carlson, gassing up his automobile in Ainsworth, luckily avoided a conflagration.

2019-08-11. Carlson, News, 8-23-1923
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"Local and Personal," Hobart News, Aug. 23, 1923.

The automatic shut-off mechanism for gas pumps hadn't been invented yet.

I suppose this gas-pumping Charles Carlson and the corn-selling Charles Carlson in the item above are the same person. The other "Carlson brother" would be Richard, whom we've heard of before. The 1920 Census shows Charles, age 42, living in the vicinity of what is now the Indian Ridge golf course (to judge by his neighbors) with his 79-year-old mother, Hedvig (widow of Swan Peter). But the old Carlson house and the land surrounding it was now owned by Teofil and Wanda Grabowski.

Which leads me to wonder about the location of the "Carlson grove … on the banks of Deep river" where the family reunion (mentioned in the middle column) was to take place. The Carlsons' land (shown here on the 1939 plat map) no longer bordered on the river. Perhaps the Grabowskis let the Carlsons use a grove on their land for the reunion.

Looking at those planning to attend the reunion, I recognize only a couple of names. Russell Koehler was the Carlson brothers' nephew, son of their sister Augusta. Tekla Ceander used to be Tekla Anderson … but I don't know how she was related to the Carlsons.

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Now, who might have been selling gasoline in Ainsworth? Here is Henry Paulus, owner of the Ainsworth department store, listed among the sellers of Red Crown gasoline:

2019-08-11. Red Crown, News, 8-30-1923
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Hobart News, Aug. 30, 1923.

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To end this post, we have news of that elegant young couple, George and Pearl (Severance) Yager, who eight years earlier had fled Ainsworth and never looked back.

2019-08-11. Yager, Gazette, 8-24-1923
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Hobart Gazette, Aug. 24, 1923.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Dark-Spotted Palthis

2019-08-09. Dark-spotted Palthis
(Click on image to enlarge)

Found this moth on my garage a few days ago. Those things sticking out from his face are "labial palps." He falls into the category of "litter moths" according to Peterson. Beyond his labial palps, I can't find out anything remarkable about him.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Matriarch of the Woods

2019-08-06. Wood, Hannah Pattee 002d-1
(Click on images to enlarge)

This is the first photograph in the album that I mentioned in my previous post. She was born Hannah E. Pattee on October 13, 1802, in New Hampshire. At the age of 22, she married John Wood of Massachusetts.[1] Her children were: Nathan (b. 1825), Augustus (1828), Abbie (1830), John Warren (b. 1832-d. 1836), George (1835), John W. (1838), Mary (1840), and Oliver (1842). All but the last three were born in Massachusetts. John Wood came to Lake County, Indiana, in 1835, and the following year brought his family to join him.[2]

Hannah died on September 27, 1873, and was buried in the Woodvale Cemetery.
A fine granite monument, about fifteen feet in height, marks the burial place, on which is inscribed, "A true, faithful, loving wife; a kind and affectionate mother; ever toiling for the good of all; and this is her memorial." Mrs. Wood was another of those superior New England women … with native endowments and a Puritanic training, which fit their possessors so well for frontier life and for laying the right foundations for an enduring civilization. The comfort and hospitality of her home were not excelled by any in those early years. She was one of our unselfish women, and well does her memorial say, "toiling for the good of all."[3]
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On the back of the original photo of Hannah is the name of a Valparaiso photographer:

2019-08-06. Wood, Hannah Pattee 002d-2

Steve Shook's blog, Porter County's Past: An Amateur Historian's Perspective, lists Lewis H. Mandeville among the known Porter County photographers and states that he arrived in Valparaiso in 1855. Hannah's elegant dress is of a style dating to the Civil War era, and that era is consistent with her apparent age; let's say the original photo dates to roughly 1865.

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The album does not include a portrait of John Wood. Fortunately, Porter and Lake Counties (Goodspeed-Blanchard) does:

2019-08-06. Wood, John Sr. from Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana (Goodspeed 1882)

From the same source and printed in 1882, a biographical sketch:
JOHN WOOD was born in Massachusetts October 28, 1800, and is a son of Moses and Sarah (Baker) Wood; the former was born May 25, 1748, and the latter July 14, 1756. John Wood's father died when he was quite young, and his mother placed him with a friend of the family, where he remained five years, after which he learned the trade of a tanner, in which vocation he began business for himself. On November 16, 1824, he married Hannah E. Pattee, to which union there were born eight children …. In 1835, Mr. Wood came to this township, settled on a quarter section of land, built a log house and went for his family. On his return, an Indian had claimed his land, and he was compelled to pay $1,000 for it. He built the first sawmill in the county, and in 1840 a grist-mill near by, at the same time farming and raising stock. He remained in the milling business until 1860, when he sold to his sons, Nathan and George; the saw-mill has gone to pieces, but the grist-mill was rebuilt, and is being run by Nathan Wood. Moses Wood was a soldier of the Revolution, and fought at Bunker Hill. John Wood, who is a Freemason, was present at the corner-stone laying of Bunker Hill Monument. He has been instrumental in establishing several Masonic Lodges — one at Valparaiso, one at Crown Point, and was the first to aid one at Wheeler. He is a Master Mason in good standing, and a greatly respected citizen. His wife died September 27, 1873, aged seventy years eleven months and fourteen days. His grand-daughter, Miss Abbie Shedd, is his housekeeper.
John died in 1883 and is buried beside Hannah in Woodvale Cemetery.

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Finally, I just want to say that, based on very little evidence and only superficial research, I've jumped to the conclusion that the album belonged to Alice Vincent Nesbit, the daughter of Mary Wood and Dr. Alonzo W. Vincent. Perhaps someday I will be able to update this post, either to say that after intensive research I'm convinced I'm right, or to say that it's a bad idea to jump to conclusions based on very little evidence.

[1] Hannah's birth and marriage dates, and the list of her children, come from Lake County 1884, pp. 436-7.
[2] History of Lake County and the Calumet Region, p. 182.
[3] Lake County Encyclopedia, p. 133.