Monday, October 31, 2011

Unidentified and CREEPY

Just for Halloween, I thought I'd post the creepiest photograph I've ever come across at the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Its subjects are not identified, but I'm guessing they are the students of some small school, dressed in their best clothes and assembled in front of the painted backdrop of a photographer's studio for their class portrait. Cute!

… But someone has taken a pin and run it through the photograph time and time again, to gouge out the eyes of several of the children. And then there's that boy in the middle row, toward the right — he got a pin straight through the heart.

Unidentified and CREEPY
(Click on image to enlarge. But don't say I didn't warn you.)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

… I'm going back on break now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've lost my mojo. I have to take a little break from blogging. Back in a week or two. I hope.

I Can't Even Guess (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Young women and grown men
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

These people are unidentified, and I can't even guess why they are all assembled on this early morning or late afternoon, as the case may be.

A bunch of girls and young women, and two grown men. Too many children too close in age to be one family — or so I hope, for the sake of their mother. And speaking of mothers, where are theirs?

[9/15/2013 update] From a comment on my Photobucket account: "Front row, seated, left = Olive Elizabeth Melin Spreenberg (my grandmother). Standing, back row, third adult from left = Olga Melin. Standing, back row, fourth adult from left = Florence Wilhelmina Melin (my great aunt)." (Thank you, J.R.!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Proud of His Corn

In the eight years that passed after Charles Gernenz raised 15-pound mangel-wurzels, he continued farming successfully but quietly. Then in October 1918, he was so overcome with pride in his corn that he sent four ears to the office of the Hobart Gazette, just to show them, I suppose, what real corn looked like. "If the ears he sent are a sample of this year's crop we can well say he has some mighty fine corn," was the Gazette's comment. "Yes, there is a big crop of good corn this year."

Source: "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 18 Oct. 1918.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daughters (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Looks like a family, but no ID and no clue.

Mr. Mustache looks happy enough about having five daughters, it's Mrs. Mustache who looks disgruntled. Or maybe just tired.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Epidemic versus Patriotism

"The people of the United States were stark raving patriotic in summer 1918," says historian Alfred Crosby. "The interweaving of the war and the [Spanish influenza] pandemic make what from a distance of a half-century seems to be a pattern of complete insanity." Just as it became apparent that a highly contagious and uncommonly deadly disease was on the loose, massive crowds gathered in cities and towns across the country for Liberty Loan parades and other patriotic rallies and meetings.

Public health officials were caught between the needs of patriotism and the dangers of contagion, and patriotism generally won out. Chicago's Health Department allowed that city's Liberty Loan parade to take place, knowing full well that influenza would be among the crowds participating; to minimize the spread of disease, officials suggested that marchers "go home right afterwards, remove all clothing, rub the body dry, [and] take a laxative." Philadelphia's Bureau of Health knew by the third week of September that the epidemic was coming, and yet allowed a massive parade on September 28 that probably sparked the subsequent deadly explosion of influenza.

As for the ordinary citizens who marched, rallied, and canvassed door-to-door to sell Liberty Bonds, they seemed either oblivious to the danger or fearless of it — or perhaps the fear of appearing unpatriotic swept aside all other considerations.

Around Hobart a similar pattern played out on a much smaller scale, and with less deadly consequences. Though Hobart apparently did not host a Liberty Bond parade, we have already seen the Gazette, in the face of evidence that the influenza epidemic had reached town early in October, urging local patriots to go out in public for the sake of the Liberty Bond drive. Its attitude soon became even more reckless.

Just after midnight on Sunday, October 6, a report came over the wires that Germany, Austria and Turkey had signaled a willingness to enter peace negotiations based on President Wilson's "Fourteen Points." The news spread around town in the pre-dawn darkness, arousing a joyous, if slightly premature, belief that the war was at an end. By 4 a.m. the whole town was awakening to the blowing of factory whistles, the ringing of church bells and the random firing of handguns. People poured out of their houses and gathered downtown in the dawning light.

Someone thought to telephone over to Gary to confirm the news, and learned that that town was already "wild in celebration."

Around 8 a.m. an impromptu parade started up in Hobart, composed of "about 50 citizens, with drums, horns and various implements for noise-making," followed by perhaps a couple hundred marchers of all ages; they marched all around town during the morning. In the afternoon, Hobart's Company K organized a more formal parade, with its own band, some 500 other participants and countless spectators, that carried on for hours and did not disband until night had fallen, and "America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" had been duly sung. Sometime during the afternoon, a dozen autos laden with merry-makers left Hobart for Crown Point to help the county seat celebrate.

From the point of view of public health, it was foolhardy behavior in the face of an epidemic. But one could hardly blame these war-weary people for being caught up in their enthusiasm in the hours just after the news broke.

On the other hand, the Gazette, a weekly paper, probably went to press on Thursday evening, so its editor had several days to weigh his words. And yet, in commenting on Sunday's celebrations, he came out with this: "Those who were not in sympathy with the peace offer either stood by or remained indoors, as did those who may have pro-German proclivities. It was not any time for a Kaiser sympathizer."

That opinion ran on the very same page with the Gazette's reprint of the standard advice for avoiding influenza, which included: "Avoid feeding or spreading of the disease. … Avoid crowds."

The schools and churches, the theaters and pool halls were closed; even the ladies of St. Bridget's Church had cancelled their little fund-raising bake sale out of health considerations; but here in black and white was an implication that anyone who had not willingly thrown himself into Sunday's crowds "may have pro-German proclivities." Apparently the Gazette was among those who had gone stark raving patriotic.

♦ "Avoid Taking Influenza." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ Crosby, Alfred W. America's Forgotten Epidemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
♦ "Hobart Celebrates Peace Offer." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Hobart, Like Gary, Fell for the Peace Noise from Germany." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Moth Mullein Gone to Seed

Moth Mullein gone to seed
(Click on images to enlarge)

We had a good summer for moth mullein. I saw a lot of them blossoming by the Grand Trunk tracks. As we all know, they die after they blossom. But not before they have produced seeds.

Moth Mullein seed pod

A Well Kept Back Yard, Part 2
(Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Same family, same yard, different pose. The photographer is now aimed more toward the house, so you can see the neighbor's house through the foliage. Looks like a two-story brick, with a side porch well trimmed in decorative woodwork.

Well Kept Back Yard Part 2
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seriously, No One Was Immune

No one was immune from gossip: not the Red Cross, not wounded soldiers, not even, as we now learn, octogenarians.

In October 1918 the 84-year-old Benjamin W. Strattan became the subject of an inquiry by the Lake County Council of Defense. Someone had accused him of some sort of unpatriotic behavior — the details of the accusation and the identity of the accuser(s) were passed over in silence by the local newspapers. The Council saw fit to summon Benjamin to appear before it in Crown Point and answer the charges, which he did on October 14.

The next day the Council's chairman wrote a letter to Benjamin telling him the good news: the Council had cleared him of all charges; better than "not guilty," he was found innocent. At Benjamin's request, the Hobart News of October 17 reprinted the letter for the benefit of the local gossips:
B.W. Strattan letter from Council
(Click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hobart Then and Now: Georgiana and Illinois Streets

A while back, and 2014:*

BB Bale house, Georgiana and Illinois streets
Georgiana and Illinois
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Yeah, I don't have a date on that top photo, and I'm finding it pretty hard to guess at one. One the one hand, Tabbert's store seems to have hitching posts for horses out front. On the other hand, there are telephone/electrical wires strung all over the place, and a fire hydrant on the street. No vehicles or fashions to help us out.

As for the location … well, after getting it wrong when I first posted this in 2011, and with help from Bonnie's remarks (preserved below) and the 1910 Sanborn map of this area, I think I've finally figured out where the older photo was taken: the photographer stood on Georgiana Street, facing Illinois Street. The focal point seems to be the house (B.B. Bale's, I think), but the camera picked up the side of Tabbert's grocery store, which faced onto Illinois.

♦    ♦    ♦

10/28/11 UPDATE: Well, what do you know — someone did come along and educate me. Here's what Bonnie says: "I can't say too much about the picture but I do know it was Tabbert's Grocery Store where the parking lot is now behind T's Pizza. It faced Illinois St. The store was later owned by one of the Scharbachs. After that it was a laundromat."

*This is a 2014 do-over of a 2011 post that I got wrong.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"If Pneumonia Set In …"

A week after the first reports of Spanish influenza in and around Hobart, some 50 people had fallen ill with it. A week later, there were about 100 cases. (Among them was W.B. Owen, of brickyard fame; after several days of serious illness, he began to recover.) The whole force of the post office was out sick, except for Postmaster Kostbade himself. At the Pennsy depot, Agent Sayger struggled along with a depleted crew.

The Red Cross appealed to all nurses with any degree of training to help with nursing the sick.

By October 10 Indiana's Health Commissioner, Dr. J.E. Hurty — acting on a request by the federal government — ordered the closing of all places where people congregate, including schools and churches, theaters and pool halls. Worship services and public funerals were forbidden, along with all other public meetings. These measures, Dr. Hurty, insisted, were "wholly as a preventative against an epidemic."

The local newspapers ran advice for avoiding the contagion. Some of it was both sensible and effective (avoid crowds; stay at home if you feel sick), but some was useless (regulate your bodily functions, gargle with salt water, wear a mask). Dr. Hurty offered his own advice on how not to catch Spanish influenza: seek out fresh air, sunlight, exercise, clean surroundings, and avoid "the use of brushes and dusting"! That such an eminent doctor could offer such quaint advice is a reminder of the state of medicine in 1918.

Influenza was then widely and mistakenly thought to be caused by a bacillus. (While that was true of pneumonia, a common and sometimes deadly complication of Spanish influenza, the discovery of penicillin was a decade away, and the age of antibiotics would not come until the next world war.) A few late-19th-century experiments had demonstrated the existence of an infectious agent smaller than bacteria, but no one knew what that agent was or how it operated. No one had ever yet seen a virus: microscopes of that era were not powerful enough to capture those tiny, mysterious things. In the words of historian Alfred Crosby, researchers trying to find the cause of Spanish influenza "were in the position of looking for an invisible needle in a haystack crowded with visible needles and of not knowing that the visible needles were not what they were seeking."

And he is speaking of research conducted in the wake of the epidemic. At its height, overburdened doctors could do no more than hurry from one sickbed to the next, giving out words of reassurance and useless medicine. Those nurses called for by the Red Cross were the best remedy; again quoting Alfred Crosby: "Warm food, warm blankets, fresh air, and what nurses ironically called TLC — Tender Loving Care — to keep the patient alive until the disease passed away: that was the miracle drug of 1918."

♦    ♦    ♦

Ulric Blickensderfer left the little Ainsworth home where he had lived since 1903 for a visit to Chicago. There he caught influenza and died of pneumonia on October 5. His body was brought back to Hobart and buried in Crown Hill Cemetery beside his wife, Susan, who had died in 1911.*

From Chicago also came the sad news of the death of Florence "Flossie" Carey. Her family had spent several years farming southwest of Ainsworth before relocating near Wheeler, so she had grown up in the area. As a young woman she moved to Chicago and trained as a nurse, hiring herself out to work cases in private homes and, according to reports, becoming highly in demand among wealthy and prominent Chicagoans for her skill. Most recently, she had nursed a Catholic priest stricken with Spanish influenza. Just as he recovered, she fell ill. Her knowledge of the disease and its methods led her to remark that "if pneumonia set in she would never recover." She judged her last case correctly. Her parents brought her body home for burial in the McCool Cemetery.

Back in Ainsworth, August and Dora Maybaum heard from their son, Harold, late in September: he was now stationed at a training camp near London, England. The next news they had was of his death from pneumonia. That the newspapers could not agree on the date of his death may have been bad reporting, or may have reflected the disruption of the army's organization as the epidemic swept through its camps.

A couple days later, Bertha Bodamer left for Wheatfield, Indiana to attend the funeral of a nephew who had died of influenza at Camp Sherman in Ohio. Another nephew lay ill in a camp in Alabama.

*The Blickensderfers can no longer be found there; either their remains were later moved, or their grave markers lost.

♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 27 Sept. 1918.
♦ Crosby, Alfred W. America's Forgotten Epidemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
♦ Davies, Pete. The Devil's Flu: The World's Deadliest Influenza Epidemic and the Scientific Hunt for the Virus That Caused It. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2000.
♦ "Death of Florence M. Carey." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Death of Harold Maybaum." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918; 17 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918; 18 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Mrs. Blickensderfer Dead." Hobart News 11 Nov. 1911.
♦ "Nurses Are Wanted For Red Cross Work." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Quarantine May Be Lifted Sunday." Hobart Gazette 18 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Schools and Public Places Closed." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Schools to Be Closed Until Oct. 20 Is the Order Received Today." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Spanish Influenza Claims Miss Flossie Carey as a Victim." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Suggestions Regarding Influenza Epidemic." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Ulrick Blickensderfer Buried at Crown Hill Tuesday." Hobart News 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ Untitled obituary. Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Well Kept Back Yard (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Well Kept Back Yard
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

These people are unidentified, but they look like a family to me.

Considering the absence of power mowers and weed wackers in those days, their back yard is remarkably neat.

Note the very young man sitting cross-legged, who apparently can smoke a pipe in the presence of his parents without objection.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Flowering Spurge Gone to Seed

It's that time of year again. Time to go seedy.

Here's a flowering spurge whose leaves have turned a pretty coppery orange.
Flowering Spurge turned pretty colors
(Click on images to enlarge)

It must be gone to seed but I can't see anything I'd call a seed.
Flowering Spurge gone to seed

Yeah, I know, I'm a disgrace to botany.

Spanish Influenza

Local people who bought Chicago newspapers may have seen some mention of Spanish influenza in September 1918, but its first appearance in the Hobart papers came in early October with reports of the funeral of Arthur Wischmann. That young man had entered the military about four months earlier and was stationed at Fort Sheridan, north of Chicago, when he fell ill with influenza; pneumonia followed, and he died on September 27. His body was brought back to Hobart for a funeral with military honors, attended by some 30 members of Company K. At the request of his mother, who did not understand English, the Rev. E.R. Schuelke conducted the service in German.

The issues of the News and Gazette that reported on the funeral were strewn with evidence that Spanish influenza had become "almost epidemic" locally. Among the Hobart citizens stricken with it were Arthur Melin, William Halstead, William Wischman, Danny Shearer, Mrs. Henry Holler, Wilson and Walter Tolle, and Willard O. Halsted, who had been "quite sick" but now seemed to be mending. And those were just the ones who got into the social columns.

Dr. Clara Faulkner, as health commissioner, issued a plea to parents to keep influenza-stricken children out of school to avoid spreading the disease.

George Sauter and Fred Rose, Jr., tentmates at Camp Custer in Michigan, suffered indirectly from epidemic, as an army quarantine cancelled their leave and their planned visit home to Hobart.

The timing of the disease was most inconvenient: the fourth Liberty Loan drive had opened on September 28, and as we've seen, such drives involved door-to-door canvassing and massive public rallies. The News seemed to be trying to allay fear when it commented that the Spanish influenza was "the same old disease" that had sprung up every winter at various places around the nation for the past 30 years — only conceding that this time it took a "severe form." Meanwhile the Gazette positively urged its readers to go out: "Would you, Hobart citizen, like to have the 175 Hobart boys now in the service hear from home that they are not supported? … Go at once to the banks and do your full duty." Those who failed to subscribe for Liberty Bonds, it suggested, would be summoned to Crown Point to explain themselves to the Lake County Council of Defense.

♦ "Bond Drive Still On." Hobart Gazette 4 Oct. 1918.
♦ "First Funeral of a Hobart Boy in Service Held Here Monday." Hobart Gazette 3 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Fourth Liberty Loan Drive." Hobart Gazette 23 Aug. 1918.
♦ "Hobart Soldier Boy Dies of Pneumonia." Hobart Gazette 4 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 3 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 4 Oct. 1918.
♦ "School Children With Spanish Influenza Should Remain at Home." Hobart News 3 Oct. 1918.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Persimmon Report (Random Pointless Photos)

(Click on images to enlarge)

Almost-ripe persimmon.

When all the leaves fell off my persimmon tree, I found that I had a total of five (5) fruits, not four, as I previously thought.

They started looking riper. Early last week, I picked one and took a bite. Big mistake. Not ripe.

Late last week I found one on the ground. Picked it up and took a bite. Not bad! Not good, either; bitter aftertaste.

OK, here's a non-artsy version of an almost-ripe persimmon.

Here's a persimmon with a bite out of it. For those of you who are not familiar with persimmons, they have large, dark seeds inside.
Persimmon minus bite

Odd Man Out (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Odd Man Out
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This looks like a cozy crowd, doesn't it? — all hand-in-hand and arm-around-shoulder — until you get to that poor wall-eyed guy at the right end of the back row. What have they got against him? Or what has he got against them? — in which case, why is he even there?

And how did his tie get pulled askew like that?

All unidentified.

♦    ♦    ♦

[8/14/2017 update] — From C.K. Melin, two more possible identifications:
standing, at far right end: Arthur Melin

seated, at far right end: Deering Melin

They are both sons of Andrew & Emma Melin. Art was quite tall and gangly, with rather protruding ears. You could compare the images to the Andrew Melin family photo in your blog.
We also have a portrait of Deering Melin as a high-school senior.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Mexico Not Dangerous Enough For You, Emma?

This announcement appeared in the "Local Drifts" column of the Hobart Gazette of October 11, 1918:
Mr. and Mrs. John Gruel's daughter, Emma, who for the past ten months, had been nursing at Camp Cody, Deming, N.M., was home for a few days last week prior to her leaving on Friday for the eastern seacoast. She will probably sail shortly overseas to do nursing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hobart Then and Now: Mundell Homestead/Wise Way Grocery Store

Circa 1888, and 2011:

Mundell homestead ca. 1888
Wise Way 2011
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I will just quote from the text that accompanied the top image in a file at the Hobart Historical Society Museum — perhaps intended for a newspaper article, but if so I don't know the date it was published.
The Mundell homestead on Old Ridge Rd., c. 1888. The original log cabin, built about 1837, is on the left.

Seated at left is Joseph Mundell, b. Oct. 13, 1800, in Green Co., Pa.; d. Aug. 20, 1888, Hobart, Ind. Standing next to Joseph is his youngest son, James, b. Feb. 28, 1844, in Hobart; d. Dec. 12, 1918, in Hobart. Seated to James' right is his mother and Joseph's wife, Amanda Malvina Sigler Mundell, b. Aug. 13, 1813, in Hampshire Co., (W.) Virginia, d. April 28, 1890, in Hobart. Next to her is James' wife, Mary Knothe Mundell, b. Jan. 20, 1853, probably in Chicago; d. Sept. 21, 1831, in Hobart. Amanda is holding James and Mary's daughter, Edna, b. Oct. 16, 1886, in Hobart, d. Aug. 22, 1937, in Hobart. The small boy is the son of James and Mary, Joseph M. Mundell, b. April 17, 1883, in Hobart, d. Dec. 3, 1965, also in Hobart.

Not long after this picture was taken, an addition was built, completely enclosing the log cabin in its walls. Mary lived in the house until the 1920's, when she built a new Sears house next door. (The Sears house is still standing, at the corner of Delaware St. and Old Ridge Rd.) The homestead was sold to the Parks family. After Mrs. Parks died in the late 1970's, it was purchased by a local businessman, who razed the house, hoping that he could get the property rezoned for commercial use. That failed, but several years later, Wiseway bought both the vacant property and the brick house east of it, tore down the brick house and the two lots became the west end of the Wiseway parking lot.
I don't know the exact location shown in the 1888 photo, just took a shot of the general area.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

William Wollenberg, Jr. as Romantic Lead

The Wollenbergs have left Ainsworth, never (so far as I know right now) to return, but I came across a memento while rooting around in the files at the museum: Will Jr. and his fellow actors in costume for the high school play of 1917, "Anne of Old Salem."

W. Wollenberg, 1917
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

According to handwritten notes on the back of the original, this picture includes "William Wollenberg [in back, at left], Elsa Rossow, Helen Wild, Gladys Flynn?, Geneva Gill, Ralph Melin?, Grace Henderson, Algot Nelson?, Elsie Gruel, Wayne Thompson?." Yes, the question marks are in the original.

Ruth Miller reportedly was in the play as well, but she's not listed by our note-writer. If I were really interested, I'd go get the microfilm and look up an article entitled "Cast of characters, H.S. Play, Friday Evening," from the Hobart News of May 17, 1917, to compare its listing with this (since I didn't print it out back when I was reading it the first time, or take full notes). But I'm not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jerome Settles Down

When last we heard of Jerome Chester, he was just visiting Hobart from Ithaca, New York. Now we hear of him again, and suddenly he is living in Chicago and working "in the hotel business," which sounds to me as if he might be helping his mother and stepfather run their little hotel empire.

The reason we hear of him now is because — at last, at the age of 40 — Jerome had apparently gotten tired of sowing wild oats. The Gazette announced that he would soon be married to "Alice Howkins." Actually, it was Esther A. Hawkins — perhaps her middle name was Alice. She, too, was 40 years of age.

All I can say is, she must have loved him very much to be willing, for his sake, to become Esther Chester.

In making this announcement, the Gazette was kind enough not to mention his scandalous past.

1920 Census.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 4 Oct. 1918.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baby Will Get You For This
(Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Baby Will Get You For This
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

All the young women look happy to have their picture taken. Baby, at center, looks as if she can't wait to grow up so she can kill the photographer.

I think the girl at the left end of the back row is the one on the right in this group.

[9/15/2013 update]: A comment on my Photobucket account identifies a couple of these people: "My grandmother, Olive Elizabeth Melin Spreenberg, is holding the older child. Her younger sister, my great aunt Florence Wilhelmina Melin, is standing in the right rear wearing the black necktie." (Thank you, J.R.!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Helen Scroggins

Helen Scroggins, ca. 1914
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

By the handwritten notes below it, this photo purports to show us Helen Scroggins, daughter of Daisy Chester and Edward DeWitt Scroggins. Unfortunately those arrows are a little confusing. I'm not sure if Helen is the little girl in front at right, or the other little girl just behind that one, peeking over her shoulder.

If this is circa 1914, Helen was six or seven years old.

I don't even know at this point if she was still living with her father and stepmother, since I don't know when her grandmother became her guardian.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Other End of the Amazon

Demolition of former Amazon building
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The remains of the two-story brick building that once housed the Amazon restaurant. January 14, 1951, according to handwritten notes on the back of the original.

The End of the Amazon

Amazon closing announcement
(Click on images to enlarge)

In the September 13, 1918 issue of the Hobart Gazette, George Watkins announced his intention to close the Amazon restaurant.

The following week he advertised a sale of his household goods. Apparently he and his wife, Tillie, and their family had been living in rooms in the same two-story building that housed the restaurant.

Watkins sale

George was then about 51, Tillie 42. They had been married around 1901 and now had two children, Elizabeth (12) and William (10).

According to the Gazette, the end of the Amazon meant that Hobart was left with "only three public eating houses in town, the Orcott restaurant and the boarding houses of Mrs. Pio and Mrs. Barnes." A week later the News amended that list to exclude Mrs. Barnes.*

The Amazon in happier days.
Click on image to enlarge.
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

*And it spelled the restaurant owner's name "Orcutt." Two newspapers, two spellings. *sigh*

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 27 Sept. 1918.
♦ "Amazon to Close." Hobart Gazette 13 Sept. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 3 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Public Sale." Hobart Gazette 20 Sept. 1918.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Town Cousins (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Town Cousins
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

No ID on any of these, and the photographer botched the lighting/exposure so badly I had to raise the "Brightness" to make the adults' facial features visible.

But from the differences in dress among the children, I'm just guessing that the town cousins were visiting the country cousins.

♦    ♦    ♦

[8/14/2017 update] — C.K. Melin has offered a possible IDs for three of these people:
I think some of these are the Carlson family members — possibly Oscar at left, holding the baby, and his wife Beda is one of the 2 ladies at right.

The kid that gave it away for me is that scamp at far right, with the suspenders — now isn't that rascal Harry Carlson, the son of Oscar & Beda?

The women here also show up in your summer picnic photo of "the womenfolk."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pretty Poison Ivy (Random Pointless Photo)

Pretty Poison Ivy
(Click on image to enlarge)

I will say this about poison ivy: it turns pretty colors in the fall.

Teddy the Basket Ball Girl

Yet another postcard from an old friend, unearthed while searching for Downtown Hobart images. Etta "Teddy" Bullock is second from the right.

Etta Bullock
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

It's a postcard. On the other side is a message to her friend, or maybe it's her cousin, Louise Halladay (or Hallady).

Etta Bullock verso

I can't read the year in the postmark — "190_" and the last digit is illegible.

The things I find while looking for Downtown Hobart images — I came across even more glass-plate negatives tucked away in a file. They look to be by the same photographer as the ones I've been posting. They too will be posted in due course.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Persimmon's Progress (Random Pointless Photo)

(Click on image to enlarge)

The many blossoms on my one persimmon tree have produce four (4) fruits. Now those four (4) fruits look as if they are thinking about maybe getting ripe.

Junior Horse Thieves

Stommel's storefront early 20th century
The scene of the crime: Stommel's store on Third Street in Hobart.
Image courtesy of Bonnie.

It was a Saturday afternoon in September when Frieda Foreman drove a horse and buggy up to Hobart from south of Ainsworth, where she and her husband, William, farmed. Evidently she was going to do a little shopping: she pulled up at Stommel's store and tied the horse to a "hitchrack" out front.

Some time later, having finished her business, she returned to the hitchrack and found — nothing. The horse and buggy had vanished.

Neither Frieda nor anyone inside the store had noticed its departure. Naturally, they sent for Marshal Fred Rose, Sr. He set about trying to trace the rig. A witness reported seeing it, or similar rig, traveling along the Hobart-East Gary road (S.R. 51, I suppose), but evidently had paid no mind to who was driving it. After that sighting, it seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

Later that afternoon, it suddenly reappeared, right out front of Stommel's. And the horse hadn't just wandered back, either — someone had tied him to the hitchrack. Yet nobody saw anything.

Frieda was satisfied in having her horse and buggy back, although a blanket had gone missing in the adventure. But the Marshal, deeply puzzled, persisted in the investigation. By the following week, the Gazette was able to report his findings.

The horse thieves turned out to be two little boys, one seven years old and one only three. They had taken the horse from the Stommel hitchrack and set out driving toward East Gary (Lake Station), as the witness had reported. Near the Isakson farm at the intersection of S.R. 51 and Route 6, their ride somehow came to an unexpected end — the newspaper report said only that they "met with an accident." A stranger on the scene asked them where they'd gotten the rig; they told him; so he brought it back and simply tied the horse up to the Stommel hitchrack without a word to anyone, then went on his way.

Where exactly the boys had intended to go, and how they intended to explain their new acquisition when they got there — these are questions that history cannot answer.

♦ "Horse Mystery Cleared." Hobart Gazette 4 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Somewhat of a Mystery." Hobart Gazette 27 Sept. 1918.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chatting on the Lawn (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

Chatting on the Lawn    No. 30
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

These gal-pals are unidentified. I think the one on the left looks a bit like Tekla Anderson, but then perhaps I've got some kind of disease that makes me see Tekla Anderson everywhere.

Somehow I was captivated by the details of their clothing and jewelry, which is why I left this image so large.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ruth and Dwight and Helen and Dusty

When we left Ruth and Dwight Mackey, on the eve of his departure for Camp Greene in South Carolina, I was wondering whether she meant to go with him.

In September it becomes evident that Ruth stayed behind, as we have these letters of thanks from soldiers in camp to Ruth as head of the local Red Cross:

Red Cross letter 9-13-1918
R.C. letter 9-20-1918
(Click on images to enlarge)

Later that month, Ruth heard from Dwight: he had been transferred to the 317th Labor Battalion, was about to leave Camp Greene for an eastern seaport, and presumably would soon be on his way overseas. Now she was just waiting to hear when she might come to see him off.

The summons came, and on the last day of September, Ruth, her little daughter Marian, and her mother-in-law set off from Crown Point (by train, presumably) for Newport News, Virginia. But after several days' travel they arrived only to learned that Dwight had not yet left Camp Greene. So more precious time was spent in traveling there. Finally on Thursday the little family reunion took place. It lasted only until sometime on Friday, when the order finally came for Lieutenant Mackey to move.

The bereft women set out for home again. On the way they stopped in Baltimore for a visit with Helen and George "Dusty" Rhodes,* who were living there while he worked for the government, plumbing for victory, one supposes.

♦    ♦    ♦

That week, another local man received his commission: J.C. (John Carlisle) Dorman became a second lieutenant. The Gazette reported that he had recently transferred from Camp Custer in Michigan to the main offices of the quartermaster corps in Chicago. There Lieutenant Dorman was put in charge of the motor service branch (fittingly enough, since he had run a garage business before his enlistment) with nearly a hundred employees under his supervision.

*This is the first reference I've seen to George's nickname.

1920 Census.
♦ "J.C. Dorman Promoted." Hobart Gazette 11 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Letters from Army Camps." Hobart Gazette 13 Sept. 1918; 20 Sept. 1918.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 26 Sept. 1918; 3 Oct. 1918; 10 Oct. 1918.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 27 Sept. 1918; 11 Oct. 1918.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bad Times at the Black Cat

Since the Black Cat restaurant has serendipitously become a feature on this blog, I simply have to post this photo of two wrecked cars, with the Black Cat sign just visible in the background at left. (This is also going in the Downtown Hobart blog.)

Black Cat behind wrecked car, no date
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Look at that hood ornament. Designed to impale.

This is a police photo, undated.

Oh, and a long-time Hobart resident who used to eat at the Black Cat assures me that the food there was very good.

Boating in Boaters (Unidentified Glass-Plate Image)

unidentified fishers    no. 11
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Either the photograph was badly exposed in the first place, or the glass-plate negative deteriorated. I cropped away the worst of it so as not to waste pixels.

I like their fishing fashions. Notice the garter on the sleeve of the man at right.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Postcards from Friends

In looking for images for the Downtown Hobart blog, I recently came across two postcards from old friends.

Here's Howard Shearer courting Elsie Wojahn (who apparently was staying at the home of her friend, Bertha Nolte). I have added this one to their correspondence.

Shearer-Wojahn May 3, 1910
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images in this post courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Next we have birthday greetings from Ruth Bullock to baby sister Etta, who was visiting someone in Chicago. Yes, "R.B." has to be Ruth Bullock. Because I say so.

Postcard, Ruth Bullock to Etta, Aug. 15 1908

I have no idea who Steve Clinton was, or why his impending arrival should evoke such merriment.

This is the front of the card — no hearts or flowers for these young ladies:

Postcard, Ruth Bullock to Etta, verso

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Violet Toothed Polypore

Violet Toothed Polypore
(Click on image to enlarge)

Found on a fallen tree in Deep River County Park. It would be utterly boring if not for that violet margin. I think these are older specimens, or they would be more flamboyant.

What Next for Ellsworth?

Part of the reason I've been following Ellsworth Humes is his employment by the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus — I was wondering whether he would be involved in the deadly train wreck on June 22, 1918.

But the local papers reported on the disaster without mentioning Ellsworth. I suppose that as a publicity agent he would travel ahead of the circus itself. Whether he had friends aboard that train is another question.

I don't even care anymore about the finger that his brother Kenneth left behind on a farm in Ainsworth; now I'm just following his career for its own sake. From the "Local and Personal" column of the Hobart News of September 26, 1918, comes news of a change of employer:
Ellsworth Humes, who has been with one of the advertising cars of the Hagenbeck-Wallace shows the past season, arrived home Saturday, the season having closed. He expects to leave soon for Boston, Mass., to begin work as advance advertising man for Thurston, the magician, playing in the larger cities.
I never heard of Howard Thurston the magician before, but then I'm not into magic. Yet according to his Wikipedia entry, he was bigger than Harry Houdini, in his day.

Thurston poster
Image credit: Library of Congress.