Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Opposite Hobart House": Two Views

I have not been able to find an image of the Lee & Bruce plumbing shop, but according to their ads it was opposite the Hobart House. Here are a couple of slightly earlier views of that part of Main Street. The Hobart House is in the foreground on the right (the three-storied building with the big porch).

Circa 1905:

(Click on images to enlarge. Both images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.)

The October 1913 announcement of their move described their new location as "the Black building, which has been used as a pool room," so that building on the left with the "Pocket Billiards" sign might possibly be their future quarters.

And circa 1910:


Friday, July 30, 2010

Dazed and Transported

DeWell Charlie (Jr)
(Click on image to enlarge)
Charles Dewell, Jr. (undated; probably circa 1902-1912)
Image courtesy of the DeWell family archives.

As long as we're talking about Charles Maybaum and his family, let me tell you a story about a wandering son-in-law.

Charles' daughter Jennie had married Charles Dewell of Hobart around 1905. By 1910 they had two young daughters. Charles Dewell earned a living as a heavy-equipment operator, specializing in the steam shovel. No word of any particular trouble in their family ever reached the papers, although it appears they were in debt to some extent.

On March 20, 1912, Charles Dewell disappeared.

That morning he had left for Hammond to take care of some business, so it was not surprising that he was gone all day; but when evening came and Charles did not come home, Jennie got worried and started making inquiries. The last anyone reported seeing him was about 11:00 a.m. when he left an attorney's office after making an interest payment. Then he simply vanished from the face of the earth.

A week went by — no news of Charles, where he was or whether he was dead or alive. Some thought he'd just gone on a little spree and would turn up eventually; if Jennie believed that, it must have been cold comfort.

After that week of silence, she received a letter from Charles. He wrote that he had been "slugged and placed in a boxcar and was found in a dazed condition at Remington" — a small town about 60 miles south of Hobart. He asked Jennie to send money so he could come home.

Why are these guys always getting slugged or drugged and whisked off to faraway places?

At last report, Charles' brother-in-law, August Maybaum, had left for Remington "to investigate his condition."

(Click on image to enlarge)
August Maybaum in Ainsworth, date unknown. Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Unfortunately, whatever August's "investigation" may have turned up, no further explanation appeared in the news. The lost sheep returned to the fold. They all probably rejoiced over him and pretended to believe his story for the sake of family harmony. Jennie and Charles were still together when the 1920 census came around.

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Lost Man Found." Hobart Gazette 29 Mar. 1912.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trees: Falling and Family

As I said, I'm at a point in time where an Ainsworth person has to die or be born in order to get into the paper. Charles Maybaum made it onto the front page of the Hobart News of September 11, 1913, by being killed by a falling tree. And it took that obituary to inform me just how instrumental he and his wife, Caroline, had been in populating the area. Just look at the list of surviving (adult) children:

In Ainsworth:
  • Albert Maybaum
  • Edward Maybaum
  • Charles Maybaum
  • August Maybaum (in Ross Township, outside the village of Ainsworth)
  • Mrs. Lena Barney
  • Mrs. Martha Miller
  • Mrs. Hattie Sizelove
In Deep River: Mrs. Gusta Waldeck
In Hobart: Mrs. Jennie Dewell
"Near Hebron": Mrs. Mary Thompson

Honestly, Ainsworth wouldn't have been much of a town without Charles and Caroline Maybaum; now, would it? I mean, even less of a town. Or village.

He was also survived by a brother, Fred Maybaum of Chicago, and just to make things interesting there was an (I believe) unrelated Fred Maybaum in Hobart whose hobby was likewise, apparently, populating the town.

Charles Maybaum was born in Germany in 1840. In 1863 he married Caroline Wagoner, and their two eldest sons, August and Charles junior, were born in Germany. In 1871 the family came to the United States and eventually settled in Ross Township, south of Ainsworth, where they resumed producing children. The 1891 Plat Book shows "Chas. Maibaum & wife" owning the 80-acre parcel that later passed into the hands of George Chester, and where Chester Cemetery is located.

(Click on image to enlarge)
The 80-acre Maybaum parcel is outlined in red. This image is from the 1926 Plat Book, which I use because it's easier to read than the 1891 one, and by that time the land belonged to George Chester.

Charles died sometime on the morning of September 4, 1913. He had left the house about 9 a.m., after announcing his intention to go chop down a tree in the woods on his land. No one thought anything of it when he didn't come back for lunch, but as the afternoon wore on and Charles was nowhere to be seen, someone got worried and set out looking for him. His "severely bruised" body — dead for probably several hours — was found near the tree he had cut down.

He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

(Click on image to enlarge)

1891 Plat Book.
1900 Census.
1926 Plat Book.
♦ "Chas. Maybaum Killed by Falling Tree Thursday." Hobart News 11 Sept. 1913.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Field Sow Thistle

(Click on image to enlarge)

Call yourself a field sow thistle, do you? I call you an overgrown dandelion.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ainsworth Then and Now: The W.G. Haan School

1920s(?) and 2010.

(Click on images to enlarge)
The 1920s images are from a private collection.

The two older images are undated, but I believe they were taken around the early 1920s because the photo album they come from has a number of dated photos, all of which are from 1921 to 1923, and the vast majority of the undated photos in the album appear to be from roughly the same era.

What's most interesting about that back view is the barrenness of the land in front of the school. Where today there are closely built houses and well grown trees, as well as the paved and heavily traveled State Road 51, then there were only open fields crossed by a gravel road.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last Tango in East Gary

From the Hobart News of April 17, 1914:
Public dances have been given at frequent intervals in the town hall at East Gary and the Tango dance has become quite popular among those who attended, but there will be no more "tango" in that place as the Town Trustees in regular session Wednesday evening so decided. Tango will not be danced in the town hall of East Gary from now on.

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: White Vervain

(Click on image to enlarge)

Folk names include enchanter's plant, Juno's tears, frog's feet, and pigeon grass. Hung up over your door along with dill and a horseshoe, vervain will keep the devil out of your house. (Per Jack Sanders. I don't make this stuff up.)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Greatest of Ease

Around Ainsworth, it seems that the Henry Chester farm was the place where farmhands went to die.

We've already told the story of Herbert Riddle, who died in June 1910 after a corn-shredder accident.

Ten years earlier, a married couple had hired on sometime after the June 1900 census: William Wollman as farmhand, his wife as a housemaid. By the end of August, William was dead of sunstroke. After the funeral, his wife declared her intention to go back to the old country.

In November of 1913, a 58-year-old man from Milwaukee named George Buchanan hired on at the farm, which was now under the supervision of the former Mary Chester and her new husband, John A. McDaniel.

Within ten days, George was dead.

He died on a Saturday morning, of asthma and heart trouble according to the coroner's inquest. Undertaker Alwin Wild of Hobart took charge of the body until George's family could be notified.

George's only son, Archie, came down from Madison, Wisconsin, to see to the funeral. He told the locals that his father had been "a trapeze performer with the Sells-Forepaugh circus for 19 years."

What a comedown! I suppose old age and ill health forced him off the trapeze. And so it was that as a common farmhand, here in Ainsworth, he found, at last, the greatest of ease.

His obituary says that he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, but I have not been able to find his grave marker.

♦ "Death Comes to Geo. Buchanan at Home of J.A. McDaniel." Hobart News 20 Nov. 1913.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 7 Sept. 1900.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Swamp Milkweed

(Click on images to enlarge)


Another from the genus Asclepius. Jack Sanders says the fiber of this plant is so strong that it in past centuries it was used to make twine and cord.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Advertising Like Crazy

Lee & Bruce just keep on advertising! I ought to have printed out some of the ads of competing plumbers, especially Paul Newman. The tone of his ads sounds like these new guys have him worried. He ran one to the effect of "I am not like a mushroom, popping up overnight and then gone the next day." Unfortunately for him, neither were Lee & Bruce.

Lee Bruce ad 9-5-1913
From the Hobart Gazette of Sept. 5, 1913.
(Click on images to enlarge)

(I like that United Doctors ad: "Married ladies must come with their husbands and minors with their parents.")

Lee Bruce ad 12-12-1913
From the Hobart Gazette of Dec. 12, 1913.

Lee Bruce ad 1-9-1914
From the Hobart Gazette of Jan. 9, 1914.

Lee Bruce ad 2-27-1914
From the Hobart Gazette of Feb. 27, 1914.

I know this is becoming the "Chas. A. Lee Blog" but I can't help it that Charles' life got so eventful right around the time that Ainsworth news dried up. Both the Gazette and the News have dropped their separate Ainsworth/Ross Township columns. Nowadays (circa 1913) an Ainsworth person pretty much has to die or be born in order to get into the paper. I hope this is only temporary. I seem to remember seeing 1920s papers with Ainsworth columns.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plat Maps

Coming soon to a sidebar near you …

… Actually I've already started putting them up. I've added a "Land Ownership" page to my sidebar, and I've scanned some of the old plat maps and put them in it. A couple of 1926s and some 1939s. I'd love to get the 1891 info up there but that may be beyond my technical capabilities.

These are helpful to get an overview of the area; who's there and who's neighbors with whom.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Yellow Avens

(Click on image to enlarge)

These things have been blooming since early June. Enough, already.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"The Children Will Stay Together"

It took some seven or eight years, but the Gazette's 1903 mistake about Henry Nolte's "lung trouble" finally came true. The family curse caught up with him. His tuberculosis developed over several years; throughout 1912 he had been increasingly debilitated; but when the end came, it came suddenly, from a hemorrhage of the lungs. He died on the afternoon of March 7, 1913. He was 59 years old.

His wife, Mary, had died in July 1908, at the age of 42, also of tuberculosis. So the four surviving children were now orphans, and only the eldest, 22-year-old Henry junior, had reached the age of majority. Bertha, recently married to Claude Campbell, was 20. Louis and Edward were schoolboys of 15 and 13, respectively.

I find it touching that the Noltes, who (aside from Bertha) almost never publicized their private business, apparently got the message out loud and clear that the family was not to be broken up. The Gazette reported: "Mr. Nolte left a will designating his son Henry T. as executor of his estate and with request that he operate the farm and maintain a home for the two minor boys." And the News: "The children will stay together and remain on the farm."

Bertha had remained on the farm, it seems, even after her marriage in 1912, probably running the household and acting as a second mother to the younger boys. No doubt her help was much needed during her father's illness and after his death. Her husband, Claude, likely helped with the farm work. Had they left, Henry junior would have been solely responsible for managing the farm and the household and two teenage boys, a heavy burden for any 22-year-old. I don't know yet how long Bertha and Claude stayed. By 1920 they were living with his family. But by then, of course, the Louis and Edward were grown.

Every parent of minor children who makes a will includes some provision for their care. That's the wise thing to do, because you never know what might happen to you. But I can't help feeling that when Henry senior made that provision in his will, he knew exactly what was going to happen to him. As for Henry junior, he carried out his father's last request with the utmost fidelity, providing a home for his brothers until neither had any need of a home, and running the farm, and running it well, to the end of his days.

Henry senior was buried beside his wife in Chester Cemetery.

(Click on image to enlarge)

1920 Census.
♦ "Death of Mrs. Nolte." Hobart Gazette 17 July 1908.
♦ "Henry R. Nolte Succumbs to the White Plague." Hobart News 13 March 1913.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 14 March 1913.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Ground Cherry

(Click on image to enlarge)

This is either a Smooth Ground Cherry or a Clammy Ground Cherry. I'd rather think it's Smooth. These are also members of the Nightshade family.

The flowers hang down. Inside those Chinese-lantern-looking husks are small round fruits. They can be eaten once they ripen (to orange or red, I believe), but while green they are toxic.

Something, presumably with six legs, has been making a meal of these particular plants.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Plumber News: A Move, A National Write-Up and a Little Spigot

Things were going very well for Charles Lee. First, his firm was doing such a good business that they had to find larger quarters, according to the Hobart News "Personal and Local Mention" column of October 23, 1913: "Lee & Bruce have rented the Black building, which has been used as a pool room, and will move their plumbing establishment into this room shortly after election. This firm has grown out of its present quarters and needs a larger room." (I'm assuming the reference to "election" was to the local elections in November.)

Then his firm got a write-up in a national magazine:

Metal Worker Write-up
(Click on image to enlarge)

Those little one-liners about "Tell it to Richmond" are advertising for a competitor, William S. Richmond, who recently opened a plumbing business in Hobart.

A month later, a daughter!

Birth announcement 1914

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Pokeweed

(Click on images to enlarge)

Also known as Poke Salad. Gave Poke Salad Annie her name.


Those tiny white blossoms will eventually turn into dark, poisonous berries. The leaves are also poisonous unless boiled in several changes of water.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Indian Ridge and Pioneers

That Indian Ridge Golf Club postcard from earlier motivated me to check in the Indian Ridge file at the Hobart Historical Society Museum. Here are a couple things I found there.

The entrance, from a postcard postmarked 1934:

Indian Ridge entrance
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In 1931 the Dormans hosted a ceremony dedicating a monument to 150 pioneers of Hobart and Ross Townships. The program for the ceremony listed the pioneers they had in mind.

Program page 1

Program page 2

Program page 3

Program page 4

*sigh* Most of these men had wives. But there were no women pioneers.

Leaving aside that little injustice, I notice some familiar names on this list. I've already written about, or at least mentioned, Morgan Blachly; Henry Chester and his father, Charles; Charles Gernenz; Horace Marble; William Potter; Cyrus Smith; Henry Nolte (there were two who could qualify as pioneers); and Patrick Sullivan.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Michigan Lily

(Click on image to enlarge)

Just another pretty face.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

City Plumber

This little Hobart Directory, printed in the Hobart News of April 17, 1913, listed the town officials. Charles Lee was the City Plumber.

City Plumber
(Click on images to enlarge)

This page from the Hobart News of May 15, 1913, just mentions (lower right) a job done by the Lee-Bruce Plumbing & Heating Co. that apparently passed inspection:

Parish Leaflet job

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Wild Indigo

(Click on image to enlarge)

This stuff carpets the open areas around Big Maple Lake as well as the horse pasture on Ainsworth Road east of State Road 51. It would grow two or three feet tall if they didn't keep mowing it.

Also known as Horsefly Weed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Attack of the Autos!

Barbarians at the Gate
There is a bitter feeling in this section against the automobilist and many are wondering what can be done to protect their lives and property. (Hobart Gazette 29 Sept. 1905)
By 1904, automobiles were rolling through the Ainsworth-Hobart area in numbers great enough to create a nuisance.

The roads of the area at the time were almost as quiet as the fields. People often let their livestock roam them, confident that the animals would return undamaged. In June 1905 Trustee Alwin Wild placed a notice in the Gazette complaining that horses, cattle, sheep and swine were daily running at large on the streets and highways of Hobart Township.

So when autos, fast and noisy, first appeared on those peaceful streets, their effect must have been jolting.

They shared the roads with the usual means of transportation, horses. Unaccustomed to the noise and speed of the machines, horses occasionally shied and bolted; wagons and buggies were damaged, their occupants frightened and sometimes injured. Now and then cars plowed right into horse-drawn vehicles. And automobile drivers, especially those who weren't local, showed an astonishing indifference to the destruction they left in their wake.

Leaving the scene of an accident may have been a breach of human decency, but it apparently was not illegal at the time. The law (as it usually does) lagged behind technology. Many of the legal duties and protections pertaining to autos that we take for granted now were absent — speed limits, lane markings, headlights, turn signals, rules of the road, insurance, drivers' licenses, license plates and registration, ticketing, and even a clear notion of when and to what extent law enforcement could act against misbehaving motorists.

Furthermore, the local roads were not equal to the demands of the auto. Many roads were still dirt; the best were only graveled, and the weight and speed of autos caused significant wear. In August of 1904, the Gazette complained: "The fine roads through the country, built principally by the farmer for his use and pleasure, are, at this season of the year, so monopolized by the autos that the farmer can take little pleasure going out riding." Roads were paid for by levies on township citizens, while Indiana auto owners paid only a one-time registration fee of $1, and out-of-state motorists, of course, contributed nothing. It's no wonder, then, that the coming of the auto first aroused a "bitter feeling."

It also aroused confusion, and required improvisation in the absence of formal law or even established custom. For example, in May of 1904 John Sievert was driving his family home from church in a horse-drawn spring wagon when a passing auto frightened the horses, who plunged into a ditch and upset the wagon. Mrs. Sievert was injured by the fall, the horses by running into a barbed-wire fence. Obviously, there was damage, but was the driver of the auto that frightened the horses responsible for it? Someone sent for a local marshal; when he showed up, all he did was act as arbitrator between the parties. After a parley, Sievert and the auto driver agreed on $25 as damages. The driver handed over cash and went on his merry way back to Chicago, and that was the end of the matter.

That accident was remarkable in that the driver actually stopped, but unremarkable in that he was from Chicago. The Gazette railed particularly against "those reckless city cusses who have no respect for human beings when they go thundering along the roads."

Just a few months later, two prominent Hobart citizens, Sela Smith and Owen Roper, were driving a wagon east of town when they saw an auto coming on fast. They directed their horses toward the side of the road, but couldn't get over quickly enough, and as for the car's driver, he never swerved — his car struck the back wheel of the wagon, knocked out several spokes and threw the wagon against the fence. Nor did he stop after the collision. "The auto never slackened its speed," said the Gazette. Smith and Roper noticed that the car had a number, meaning it was probably from Chicago. Notably absent from the Gazette was any follow-up about contacting Chicago authorities to identify the car's owner and make him pay for the damage.

The following month, a Ross Township farmer named William Halfman was driving his horse and buggy along Ridge Road when a car approached from behind at 40 to 60 m.p.h. (estimates varied). The car slammed into Halfman's outfit, cutting the horse's leg, breaking the rig's front wheel and nearly throwing man, horse and buggy into the ditch. Without even an apology, the motorist took off. About 150 yards up the road, the tire that had struck the rig blew out and finally brought the car to a halt. Halfman ran up to confront the driver, who gave his name as Williams and said he was president of the Illinois Bridge Company. Attracted by the noise, a number of farmers in the area now gathered around the scene, and Williams later said that he had been in fear of being lynched. He was allowed to leave unmolested, however, and the next day Halfman traveled up to Chicago to negotiate a settlement. Williams agreed to pay for the damaged buggy and the permanently lamed horse. He also admitted that when he fled the scene of the accident, he thought he'd killed Halfman.

Nor was the horse-auto conflict the only problem. As might be expected, alcohol and autos soon mixed. In August 1905 police in Valparaiso had to stop a car being driven by a thoroughly drunk man, with two drunk passengers (one of them an unnamed Ainsworthite). The driver was "unable to run the machine straight" and when police stopped him, he became combative, boasting that "he didn't intend to obey the city officials or anybody else." He was put in jail, then fined $20 plus costs.

In October a Minnesota motorist traveling through Hobart was stopped for speeding. What was striking about the case was the wildly varying estimates of his speed. He claimed it was only eight m.p.h., but witnesses insisted he'd been going 30. Either side may have been consciously lying; and it's possible that automotive motion was still too unfamiliar for either the driver or the onlookers to be able to estimate speed accurately; but it's also possible that the 30-m.p.h. estimate was the translation into numbers of the alarm aroused by the spectacle of a large, noisy and dangerous-looking machine arrogantly breaking through the quiet of Hobart's streets.

It Ought to Be Against the Law!

Eventually the machinery of government began to respond to the problems raised by the increasing presence of automobiles.

In January 1905, the Gazette printed a letter it had received from Indiana State Senator T. Edwin Bell, acknowledging that during his campaign visits to Lake County, he had encountered "a general feeling … opposed to the reckless running of automobiles as being done today by Chicago parties" (and he hastened to assure the Gazette that Indiana drivers were neither reckless nor careless). Without going into particulars, he promised to work for legislation that would "check this recklessness and safeguard the people."

The town of Hobart had anticipated Senator Bell. In June of 1904, the town fathers enacted Ordinance No. 73 — Hobart's first speed limit. It prohibited any motorized vehicle from traveling faster than six miles per hour on Hobart's streets. To be fair, it also prohibited horses and horse-drawn vehicles from traveling "faster than an ordinary trot." The fine for speeding was $10. "Just watch Marshal Busse 'jump onto' the first auto that sails through Hobart faster than six miles an hour," gloated the Gazette.

Senator Bell kept his word, introducing a bill that would restrict autos to four miles per hour when passing any other vehicle or turning a corner, and give road supervisors the powers of peace officers, including authority to arrest lawbreakers. Senator Daniel Crumpacker introduced another bill proposing statewide speed limits for urban and rural areas. Over a dozen auto-related bills were introduced at that session of the Indiana legislature, proposing such things as registration of and license plates for cars, licensing of chauffeurs, a code of signals to be used among motorists and other drivers, and placement of signposts to guide drivers.

The bill that ultimately was primarily Senator Crumpacker's version. Governor James Hanly signed it into law in March 1905. It established statewide speed limits of eight miles per hour in "closely-built-up" municipal areas, 15 m.p.h. in other areas of towns, and 20 m.p.h. outside cities and towns. It required a motorist to stop his car if signaled to do so by the driver of a horse, but also imposed on both motorists and horse-drivers the duty to give up half the road whenever one passed the other. And finally, it mandated the registration of motor vehicles with the Secretary of State.

Early in June the Indiana Supreme Court decided that a motorist could be held liable for damages resulting from an accident caused when his vehicle frightened a horse. The Gazette summed up the ruling: "[W]hile automobiles have a right to use the public roads they must act with due regard for the rights of others."

But What Is the Law?

In spite of governmental efforts to impose order on the automobile-generated chaos, within a few years a spectacular dust-up in Hobart between motorists and law enforcement personnel showed how unsettled the state of automotive law still was.

It began on a Friday afternoon in mid-July, when two chauffeur-driven cars sailed through the town of Porter, Indiana. One was from New York, carrying E.S. Giverson, President of the Bedford Quarries Co., and his party; the other, from Illinois, carried A.E. Dickinson, Vice President of the same company, along with his party — altogether, five men and four women, on their way to Chicago.

Marshal Busse, seeing that the two cars were breaking the six-mile-per-hour speed limit, hailed them to stop. They ignored him. In fact, they almost ran him down in the road as they continued west. Busse telephoned to Hobart, asking Marshal Fred Rose to stop the two cars if they showed up there.

So when Marshal Rose and Deputy Sheriff John Green saw two out-of-state cars parked near the Hobart post office, they went to investigate. The men of the party had stepped into The Hub to refresh themselves; as the women waiting in the cars spoke among themselves, Rose overheard a remark that convinced him these were the two cars Marshal Busse wanted.

He stepped up to the Illinois car, while Green stepped up to the New York car. The men of the auto party came out of The Hub, and Rose politely informed them that they were being detained for speeding in Porter. Dickinson, owner of the Illinois car, told his driver not to resist, but the New York chauffeur — a Princeton University student named W.B. Bolmer — threw a punch at Green. He dodged it, and in doing so stumbled over the tongue of a reaper standing nearby. Rose at once stepped to the New York car and ordered Bolmer to stay where he was. Ignoring him, Bolmer revved his engine. Rose jumped onto the side of the car. Then Bolmer fetched Rose a "terrific backhanded blow upon [his] face and right eye," stepped on the gas and took off down the street, with Rose still clinging to the side of the car. The fight was on, with Rose trying to hang on and Bolmer trying to push him off, while the women in the back seat scratched and slapped the Marshal and pulled his hair.

The car rolled down the street, with several men and boys who had gathered around now pursuing it on foot. Someone yelled ahead for help to a small group standing on the Third Street bridge. One of them, "Butch" Klausen, grabbed a length of gas pipe and ran out into the road ready to wield his weapon. At that point Bolmer finally stopped the car. Rose pulled him out and marched him off to the jail.

(The Gazette recorded that one of the women in the car was nearly hysterical in her verbal abuse of all Hoosiers, calling them all sorts of names, the most printable being "hogs," and lamenting her shame that her own mother had once lived in Indiana.)

After Marshal Rose had gotten medical treatment for his eye and all the parties had cooled off a little, they met at the home of the justice of the peace, with their respective attorneys. Rose was offered $200 to settle the matter, but he refused it. Bolmer stayed in jail overnight, while the other driver, who hadn't resisted, was taken back to Porter, pled guilty to speeding and paid the minimum fine. When Bolmer was released on bond the following day, he too was spirited off to Porter and fined for speeding.

The fracas itself was not as surprising as the verdicts in the legal cases that followed.

Rose immediately filed three lawsuits against Bolmer: for assault and battery; for resisting an officer; and for personal damages. Green also filed a suit against Bolmer for assault.

The first two of Rose's cases were tried in a Gary court before the end of the month. Rose, his attorneys, the editor of the Gazette and probably many Hobartites were stunned when the jury took a mere thirty seconds' deliberation to return a verdict for the defendant. "It appears from this case," the Gazette said, "that an officer is practically helpless when it comes for enforcing" speed limits. "All an auto driver has to do is to put on more power, dodge the officer, wear a broad grin and skip."

Two days later, Green's assault case against Bolmer was tried in a Merrillville court. Green won; Bolmer appealed; in October the Lake County Superior Court found for Bolmer.

The next day, Rose's third lawsuit — for personal damages — was tried. The judge found in favor of the defendant. Rose appealed. When his appeal was finally heard in April 1910, the judge, after hearing the evidence, ruled that "the act committed [by Bolmer] was not sufficient to permit the arrest without a warrant," directing the jury to return a verdict for the defendant.

The Gazette commented that Marshal Rose "was acting in good faith when he arrested them and was basely assaulted by Chauffeur Bolmer, for which he seems to have no redress under the law."

A few months later, an Illinois car struck a horse-drawn wagon driven by a Hobart boy, damaging the wagon. The car did not stop. The boy, who had escaped injury, had the presence of mind to note the car's license plate number, and when he got home his parents phoned Marshal Rose to ask him to stop the car if it came through Hobart. Rose wasn't able to find the car in Hobart that day, nor could he track it down in Chicago the next day. "Suppose the Marshal had located the machine," the Gazette added, "what could he have done in the face of the recent decision [in the Bolmer cases]?"

We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us

Cars continued to speed, no doubt, and to confound law enforcement, crash into buggies, frighten pedestrians and tear up the roads; but after 1905, the Gazette ceased its bitter invective against them. Its softened attitude can be explained by the automotive fever that had caught hold among its own readership. The same Ross Township farmers who, in 1904, had spoken of organizing an anti-automobile club were beginning to buy their own automobiles.

In August 1906 the Gazette announced that Hobart now boasted seven autos. Fred Hamann became the town's Ford agent; by 1910 he was doing a land-office business, and his customers included many from Ainsworth and Ross Township — some of them descendants of the old pioneering farmers. Charles, Jim and John Chester bought Fords from Fred; so did William Wollenberg, William Raschka, John Gruel, Earl Blachly and John Harms. So too did William Wood, the Deep River merchant descended from the town's founding family, and William Waldeck, Deep River's blacksmith. In March 1911, Hamann reported that he had sold 14 Fords already that year. By August he had sold 21.

Now the social columns were peppered with auto-related joys and sorrows. John Sturtevant took a lady friend out motoring. Rudolph Wojahn boasted of traveling at 45 m.p.h. on his brother's motorcycle. A car going about 40 m.p.h. ran over one of Mike Foreman's pigs (the driver didn't stop). Walter Blachly bought an E.M.F. auto. Thomas Sullivan bought an Overland. William Raschka drove his new Ford into his "garage room" too fast, damaging a door and lamp on the car. Clarence Dorman bought a Badger and his father drove it home, 200 miles, from the factory in Wisconsin. Even the lesser excursions of other locals rated a mention — to Hobart, to Valparaiso, to Michigan City and LaPorte. One column dryly noted: "Ainsworth needs a number of speed limit signs for autos"; another reported that John Chester and E.D. Scroggins had driven to Elgin, Illinois, to see an auto race.

By 1911 a few Ross Township farmers (current or former) even turned to selling cars. Hubert Bullock sold Abbott-Detroits, and among his customers were fellow farmers Fred Schnabel and William Lute. The Dorman brothers sold Badgers — among others, to E.D. Scroggins (who, as we've seen, used his new car to establish an auto livery service), and to John and Charles Chester, who apparently had already grown tired of their Fords.

In June of that year the Gazette reported on a grand auto excursion organized by John F. Dorman. Ten cars carried such prominent locals as Hubert Bullock, E.D. Scroggins, Judd Blachly, William Raschka, Charles Goodrich, William Wollenberg, John Chester, Scott Burge and C.F. Frailey. With their families and friends, the whole party numbered about fifty. They drove to South Chicago, where John Dorman's brothers, Charles and William, joined the party in their own cars and "piloted the Hoosiers through the various parks of the city." After a lunch in Lincoln Park, the party returned home delighted with the day's outing.

Within a couple months, C.F. Frailey sold his horse livery behind the Hobart House, but he continued to operate his auto livery service. Edward Rohwedder, after buying his father's horse livery, added a Ford to his stable.

Gust Wojahn drove that fast motorcycle of his home from Chicago in only one hour and 34 seconds. Impressed, Lawrence Smithers bought his own motorcycle.

Hubert Bullock abandoned farming altogether and moved to Valparaiso to repair and sell cars.

Conflicts continued, but the war was over, and the surrender enthusiastic. For better or for worse, the farmers and blacksmiths, the merchants and saloonkeepers embraced the automobile. In August of 1911, the Gazette quoted John Harms, whose family had been farming in Ross Township for at least three decades, and whose declaration of newfound love no doubt voiced the feelings of many of his neighbors: "There is nothing in life without an auto."


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Butterfly Weed

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The name comes from its tendency to attract butterflies, although you can see from this photo that the ants love it too.

This North American native is also known, among other things, as Pleurisy Root because it was used in the past to treat pleurisy, as well as many other illnesses. It is a variety of milkweed, and the milkweed genus name is Asclepius, after the Greek god of medicine and healing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hanged in the Corn Crib

Another instance of hanging oneself in a farm outbuilding was the sad case of Christian Carbein.

He was then 76 years old. He had been born in Germany, and there he married and started a family. In 1873 he and his wife, Lena, came to the United States, bringing their two small children and eventually settling at Deep River. They would have a total of eight children, six of whom survived them. The family doesn't seem to have been very prosperous. Christian described himself to census takers as a "laborer" or "day laborer," and although by 1900 he was a homeowner, he had not owned enough land to appear on the 1891 Plat Book.

In 1907 Lena died. Christian left the Deep River home and moved in with his daughter, Emma, and her second husband, John Hooseline, who farmed rented land in southeast Ross Township. They had three sons at home. Christian should have finished out his years pleasantly there, resting from his labors, playing with the littlest grandson (born in 1906) and going fishing with the older boys.

But his health grew worse. He suffered some kind of partial paralysis as well as crippling neuralgia. He couldn't do any more than the lightest work around the farm, and he couldn't enjoy being idle. He sank into depression. Sometimes he would say that he felt useless, a burden to Emma and her family, and even that he would be better off dead.

On the morning of September 19, 1912, Christian left the house to go out to the barnyard, as he did every morning. Emma thought nothing of it until she happened to step into his room, where she noticed that his best suit of clothes was missing. That he would go and get all dressed up before heading out to the barnyard struck her as so odd that she sent one of her sons to find him, to make sure he was all right.

He wasn't all right, of course. They found him in the corn crib, dead. He had tied a rope to one of the rafters and strung it around his neck, and then — because the rafter was too low to allow for jumping — he had simply bent his knees so the rope could do its work.

And to put on his best suit for the task! Did he want to look nice when he met Lena?

Christian and Lena are buried side by side in Woodvale Cemetery.

(Click on image to enlarge)

1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
♦ "Christian Carbine, Aged 76, Commits Suicide by Hanging." Hobart News 26 Sept. 1912.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 27 Sept. 1912.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: St. John's Wort

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In the 1990s the extracts of St. John's Wort were thought to be an antidepressant on the level of Prozac. I think that's been disproven, but Jack Sanders quotes an English herbalist, writing in 1799, who affirmed that the plant was effective in treating "maniacal disorders," and a 1911 source stating that the plant was thought to cure melancholy "if it is gathered on a Friday in the hour of Jupiter and worn away about the neck."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bruce & Lee, or Lee & Bruce, Ads

Soon after they went into partnership, Charles Lee and George Bruce started running a series of ads in the two Hobart papers, and trying to make up their minds which of them should be named first.

Lee Bruce ad 5-23-1913
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From the Hobart Gazette, May 23, 1913.

Lee Bruce ad 6-5-1913
From the Hobart News of June 5, 1913.

Lee ad 6-6-1913
From the Hobart Gazette of June 6, 1913.

Lee Bruce ad 7-10-1913
From the Hobart News of July 10, 1913.

Lee Bruce ad 7-11-1913
From the Hobart Gazette of July 11, 1913.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Rose Pink?

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The question mark is there because these don't meet all the characteristics of rose pinks — mainly, the blossoms are too small — but they don't look like anything else, either.

These grow right beside Ainsworth Road, where it veers off to avoid the railroad tracks it used to cross.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pigeon Shoot at the John Gruel Farm

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Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I came across this photo at the museum, captioned "Pigeon Shoot at the John Gruel Farm." While it's not dated, I suspect it was taken at a big birthday bash, described in the Hobart Gazette of October 14, 1904.

Birthday Pleasantly Spent

The 44th birthday of Chas. Gruel was celebrated last Sunday by a number of his friends from Chicago and Hobart in a most pleasant manner and the event will long be remembered. The day being pleasant, a live pigeon shoot was given at his brother John's place southeast of town. About twenty were present. Those from Chicago were: Gottfried Mayer, Victor Mey, C. Carr, Sr. and Jr., H. Ulrich, John Hetzel, Henry Sierks, Ed Mayer and Albert Francel. From Hobart: John Hillman, Wm. Boldt, Ed Keilman, A.J. Smith, Wm. Hollister, Jas. Ballantyne, Seward Lightner, J.H. Conroy, Art Newman, Gib Bullock, Ed Scheidt. After the day's sport had been enjoyed, Mr. Gruel entertained his friends at supper, to a most elegant spread. Following is the score of the different shooters and the "dead" birds out of ten:
G. Mayer—7
Carr, Sr.—1
Carr, Jr.—4
E. Mayer—5
Smith—5 out of 8
Bullock—5 out of 5
John Gruel's farm was where the River Pointe Country Club is now.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Scarlet Pimpernel

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Folk names include Shepherd's Barometer and Poor Man's Weatherglass because the blossoms supposedly close up at the approach of rainy weather. I haven't made any careful observation to confirm this.

This plant was between two of the sunflowers in my garden. Pimpernel grows in and around my garden every year.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Two Practical Plumbers

In the spring of 1913, Charles Lee went into partnership with George Bruce. This ad is from the Hobart News of April 3, 1913:

Thoroughly Practical Men
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I'm assuming Mr. Bruce's first name was George because of an item in the "Personal and Local Mention" column of the Hobart News of March 20, 1913: "Chas. Lee and George Bruce transacted business in Chicago, Wednesday."

(Poor Frank Pio! That's the sort of thing that could happen to a person before the development of antibiotics.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Yellow Sweet Clover

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Supposed these can grow to be ten feet tall. I've never seen that happen, though.

Sweet clovers belong to the genus Melilotus, "honey lotus."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Baseball, Criminally Insane and Otherwise

Found this in the Hobart News of May 29, 1913 — am I bad because I laughed?
Playing under the names of the Cubs and the White Sox, the criminal insane convicts in the Michigan City prison, under the direction of Warden Edward J. Fogarty, have organized two ball teams, and daily games are being played.
…Well, it seemed funny when I was at the library, anyway.

It's been years since I've heard anything about an Ainsworth baseball team, but come 1913 we suddenly find some activity. On May 17, 1913, a ball game took place at Deep River, "which proved a vigorous contest between Ainsworth and Deep River in which Ainsworth was victorious." Early in June, a "picked up" Hobart ball team came to Ainsworth "and played a game of ball, more for the practice than with an idea of winning, and were nosed out by the Ainsworth team, 10 to 9." Sure, Hobart, sure. You were just having fun. You didn't mean to win. Otherwise you definitely would have beaten Ainsworth. We know.

♦ "Northwestern Indiana News Notes." Hobart News 29 May 1913.
♦ "Personal and Local Mention." Hobart News 5 June 1913.
♦ "Ross Township." Hobart News 15 May 1913.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Wild Parsnip

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These are all over the place. In fact, they are considered an invasive species. Supposedly the roots are edible, but I'm not going to try it. And according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, "Wild parsnip can cause phytophotodermatitis to the skin. If the plant juices come in contact with skin in the presence of sunlight, a rash and/or blistering can occur, as well as skin discoloration that may last several months."


I'm back on Summer Posting Time and I'm going to try to stick to it!