Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A New Home for the Union Sunday School

Somehow I thought Hobart's Union Sunday School was meeting in a church from the start. I just learned I was wrong: in its early years, it met in the Hobart schoolhouse — the old wooden structure, I suppose, on Center Street.

By January 1876 the Sunday School had outgrown the schoolhouse. This page from the record book tells us that the "leading members" of the M.E. Church had been asked to allow the Union Sunday School to meet in their building, and they had refused. (This was the original M.E. Church, built in 1871.)

So the Sunday School appointed a committee to approach the Unitarian Church leadership for permission to meet in their brand-new house of worship, which had just been finished that very month.[1]

2019-03-05. USUN1873B 170, 171
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Of the committee members, Mr. Hansen is a mystery to me. Elsewhere in the record book we find a reference to H.C. Hansen being appointed to another committee, but I cannot find anyone with those initials in the censuses of 1870 or 1880. I do find a John Hanson in the 1880 Census (with daughters whose names appear in the Sunday School records: Lena, Mary, and Sarah).

Jessie Spray was the older sister of Jane Spray. Her name appears again and again in the records as a teacher of the Sunday School classes. According to her grave marker, she did not have long to live.

Mary Lambke,[2] I believe, belonged to a Valparaiso family. She and her siblings appear in the Union Sunday School records, here and there, as both students and teachers. The 1870 Census of Valparaiso shows the family consisting of Christian and his wife, Caroline (both of whom, along with their eldest son, were German immigrants), Christian Jr., Caroline Jr., Mary, Henry, Eddie, Charles, Minnie, and William. But the family seems to have stayed in Valparaiso; I can find no record of them ever moving to Hobart, so why did the children attend Sunday School here? I'm mystified. Anyway, Mary Lambke married Michael Burkhardt in 1886 (Indiana Marriage Collection), died in Chicago in 1941, and is buried in Valparaiso.

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At the meeting on February 13, the committee reported that the Unitarian Church leadership had responded favorably to their request, so starting February 20, 1876, the Union Sunday School would have a new home.

2019-03-05. USUN1873B 174, 175
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

[1] Elin B. Christiansen, Hobart's Historic Buildings (Hobart Historical Society, 2002).
[2] This surnames appears in various spellings — Lambke, Lembke, Lampke. I am going to index it as Lembke.

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