Friday, May 31, 2013

The Racetrack's First Fatality

Hobart's motorcycle racetrack opened May 30, 1920; not quite three months later it claimed its first victim.

The Hobart Motorcycle Club had gathered at the track around 2:30 on the afternoon of Sunday, August 22. That was the usual time for races, but this was no big event, just a practice race among the club members. As they organized as the starting line, one among them — Emerson Whisler, the club secretary — warned them to be careful. Or so said a witness, after the disaster.

It was Emerson Whisler, taking the curve at the south end of the track, who lost control of his bike and took a bad spill, striking his head. He was unconscious when the other riders stopped to help him. They carried him to the McAuliffe house. There he remained unconscious, as a doctor was sent for, and probably his family as well, as the hours went by with no improvement. About 1:30 Monday afternoon, Emerson died without ever having regained consciousness. The cause of death was concussion.

I do not know whether Hobart's motorcycle racers ever wore much in the way of protective headgear. We've seen images among the glass-plate negatives like this one of cyclists wearing ordinary caps or a rudimentary leather helmet. At an informal race in August, riders may well have gone bareheaded.

The 29-year-old Emerson left a wife and two children, besides his parents and four or five sisters. He had come to Hobart four years earlier, working first as a streetcar conductor, and then going into the Gary mills. In addition to the motorcycle club, he belonged to the local Odd Fellows lodge; his brothers there took charge of the funeral. It was held on Wednesday, August 25, at Emerson's home west of Hobart on Ridge Road. The motorcycle club "turned out in a body," according to the News, "and the long line of motorcycles at a funeral was an impressive sight as well as an unusual occurrence." The fallen rider was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Emerson Whisler
(Click on image to enlarge)

♦ "Dies as Result of Accident." Hobart Gazette 27 Aug. 1920.
♦ "First Fatality at Hobart Speedway Last Sunday." Hobart News 26 Aug. 1920.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Labor Day 1923, Part 2

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

Three guests who visited the Lindborg family in Ainsworth on Labor Day 1923.

18 Labor Day 1923 relatives
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

The man at center is Emil Lindborg; the woman at left might be his wife, Lydia, but the album's owner is not sure and Mildred did not record their names. As for the woman at right, elsewhere in the album she is identified as "Helen" — but Helen who, or what, I do not know. Perhaps that's her little dog, who was perched on Raymond's tricycle in the previous Labor Day photo.

Once again we get a glimpse of the Ainsworth general store through the late-summer foliage.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Farmhouse Under Construction

Sometime in 1938, a gentleman from Chicago bought up a good deal of land east of Ainsworth, including the old Harms farm on Ainsworth Road. The sellers in that case, I believe, were Henry and Anna Harms; I think they still owned that property, though their son, Herman, and his family lived and worked there.

The younger Harmses moved, but not far. Within walking distance of the old homestead — straddling 73rd Avenue on the east side of Randolph Street — lay another 80 acres owned by Henry and Anna Harms. Herman and Minnie bought the nine acres north of 73rd (excluding the corner lot where the old Deep River schoolhouse sat).

H. & M. Harms farm post-1938
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the 1926 Plat Book.

Among the steamer trunk treasures were these two little notes that seem to memorialize that transaction.

6-b Herman Harms debt
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

6-c Herman Harms debt

There was no house on that parcel, so the younger Harmses set about building it. Herman and his sons dug out the basement by hand. They hired Ed Piske to lay the blocks for the foundation. A Mr. Reese (first name unknown) did the carpentry.

This photo shows the house nearly completed.

1a - Harms house under construction

The house was located just slightly east of the house now standing at 7802 E. 73rd Avenue. It has since been demolished.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

South of Deepriver

Next best thing to an Ainsworth social column.

South of Deepriver column
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of August 19, 1920.

I don't know what ailed our old friend Otis Guernsey.

But we do know what ailed poor William Waldeck, don't we? Ouch.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Labor Day, 1923

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

17 Labor Day 1923
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

According to Mildred's caption, this was taken on Labor Day, 1923, with Uncle Emil Lindborg's camera.

All the Ainsworth Lindborgs are here. In the back row (left to right): Gust, Anna, Mildred and Franklin; in the front row (left to right): Gladys, Raymond (dog's name unknown) and Norma. They are in the yard on the west side of the Lindborg house.

At the extreme right of the photo, behind the foliage, you can see part of the Ainsworth general store.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Minnie Harms, Lake County Voter

From the steamer trunk.

M. Harms registration card
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

M. Harms registration card verso

Wouldn't it be great if I could prove that this was Minnie Rossow Harms' registration for the 1920 presidential election? Unfortunately I can't find online information about when George W. Sweigart became Clerk of the Lake County Circuit Court — he was in office in the latter 1930s, but that's all I know.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Women Can Vote"

The Hobart News of August 16, 1920, brought the news of the 19th Amendment's ratification.

Suffrage amendment ratified
(Click on image to enlarge)

♦    ♦    ♦

Register for 1920 election

A reminder to register for the 1920 election, addressed to men and women, appeared in the Hobart News of September 2, 1920.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Poetry on This Cold, Wintry Day

From the steamer trunk.

Minnie Harms was about 56 when she wrote this letter to her daughter-in-law. How it ended up in the steamer trunk is a mystery to me. Perhaps it is only a draft, or was never mailed.

Letter with poems. 1953. by AinsworthIN

Courtesy of E.H.

I suspect she was writing out all those lines from memory. I have heard, from people who knew her, that Minnie loved poetry and could recite it readily.

The poem she mentions on the first page, and later quotes, is "An Order for a Picture" by Alice Cary (whom I had never heard of before — thank you, Minnie). On the second page, she quotes "Gradatim" by Josiah Gilbert Holland. Her trip to Virginia brought to mind "The Blue and the Gray" by Francis Miles Finch.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crystal Roller Rink Sticker

Here's something totally random for you:

Crystal Roller Rink
(Click on images to enlarge)

I bought this a few months ago. Since then I've spoken to a couple of people who remember this place. They tell me it was on the southeast side of the intersection of Cleveland and 130; that it consisted of a big army tent hoisted up over a cement floor; and that it was once the site of the wedding of a couple who had first met there.

The back has been marked with five stamps.

Crystal Roller Rink verso

I'd never heard of the "U.R.S.S.E." before and thought it sounded vaguely Communist — no, not really! Searching for it online, I found this article that explains the U.R.S.S.E. and roller-skating-sticker collecting. I have now been educated.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sonny and Uncle Emil

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

16 Sonny, Uncle Emil
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

Mildred identified these two bicyclists as "Sonny" and "Uncle Emil."

"Sonny" was Franklin Lindborg's nickname. The little boy on the back of the bicycle, harassing Sonny, is Raymond. I have reason to think both photographs date to 1923, which would make Franklin about 15 years old and Raymond about five. I don't know whose bicycle that was.

Uncle Emil was Gust Lindborg's brother, younger by two years. He had come over from Sweden in 1903, thus one year after Gust. Emil settled in Chicago, working as an electrician, and in 1915 — the same year he was naturalized — he married the 19-year-old Lydia Nelson. I can trace the couple only as far as 1930, at which time it appears they had no children.

The location of these scenes is probably near the Lindborg house in Ainsworth, perhaps on Ainsworth Road itself. I do not see any of the Lindborg buildings in the background — the photographer may have been facing south.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


A tantalizing story, but short on details:

Moonshine still raided
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of Aug. 12, 1920.

"About four miles southwest of Hobart" would be roughly northeast of Merrillville, but that's too vague a description for me to start speculating about exactly where these "foreigners" were committing their evil deeds. And there was no follow-up to this story (that I've seen), so maybe it never actually happened.

Also, paving continues in Hobart.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mickey and Edna

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

15 Mickey and Edna
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

I have just spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out the Kimball family, and I would not be able to justify it except that history records two occasions on which William and Elma Kimball set foot on the sacred soil of Ainsworth — in August 1911, "Mrs. Wm. Kimball of Hegewisch visited Mr. and Mrs. Gust Lindborg," and a couple weeks later, "Wm. Kimball of Hegewisch spent Sunday with Gust Lindborg." So there.

Here's what I've gathered so far: Gust Lindborg had a younger sister, Elma. She came over from Sweden in 1906. The following year she married William Kimball, a railroad man who lived in Chicago. In 1908, they had a daughter, Edna; another daughter, Helen, was born around 1915.

I suppose it's these two girls, cousins to our Ainsworth Lindborgs, who are pictured above. How Helen came to be called "Mickey" I have no clue, nor can I identify the girl sitting on the ground in the photo at left.

These photos were taken in Pocatello, Idaho, where the family had moved sometime between the First World War and the 1920 census. By 1930 Edna had left the household — I have not been able to find out what became of her. In 1940 we find Elma Kimball in San Bruno, California, in the household of Helen (aka Mickey), who is now the wife of John Ellis. In the marital-status column, the census-taker first wrote "M" for Elma, but that was crossed out and someone wrote in something that looks like "7." I can't find William in 1940; however, when the Second World War broke out, he showed up in Pocatello, listing his daughter, Helen Ellis, as his contact. That's all I've got, and I'm not entirely sure I have found the right people.

Further confusion comes from the fact that the owner of this photo album gave me the surname "Goyette" in connection with these people. I have yet to discover how that fits in.

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Ainsworth." Hobart News 24 Aug. 1911; 7 Sept. 1911.
Cook County, Illinois, Marriage Index.
WWI Draft Cards.
WWII Army Enlistment Records.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Musical Stylings of Herman and Minnie

From the steamer trunk.

Minnie and Herman Harms 1960
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

Herman Harms, Sr., belts out a tune with some help from a bottle of beer and his wife, Minnie. Circa July 1960. I wish I'd been there.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

On Second Thought, Don't "Trade in Hobart"

Burt Thompson, Sr. and Jr., had been operating the ten-cent store on Third Street for nine years when they decided, in late July 1920, to close their Hobart location and concentrate on their Crown Point store. The Gazette, reporting on their departure, couldn't resist mentioning their past Hobart boosterism.

Thompson store closes
(Click on image to enlarge)

… Also, tidbits of news about some acquaintances.

William Waldeck, the village blacksmith of Deep River, was selling a cow. The 1920 Census shows his wife, Augusta, at home with him, so apparently she had recovered from her health problems.

While the report of George Severance, Jr.'s accident doesn't say what kind of machinery was involved, I'd like to think it was aviation-related — if the poor guy had to have his fingers mangled, I mean — rather than some mundane factory equipment.

♦ "10¢ Store Quits Hobart." Hobart Gazette 6 Aug. 1920.
♦ "All kinds of Wants." Hobart Gazette 6 Aug. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 5 Aug. 1920.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 6 Aug. 1920.

They're Back! (Random Pointless Photo)

Barn swallow building
(Click on image to enlarge)

Barn swallows are building a new nest right where the old one was.

The old one, by the way, was completely destroyed by a combination of (a) me hosing the window area down in the autumn to clean off the barn-swallow droppings, and (b) sparrows, during the winter, poking through the nest in search of food, I suppose.

Since barn swallows tend to mate for life, this could be the same pair as last summer. I can't tell by looking. They all look the same to me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Motorcycle Racetrack?

Someone had told me that you can still see traces of Hobart's motorcycle racetrack in the landscape, so I was looking on the Google Maps satellite view for it. I didn't see any such thing, but I saw something cute in roughly the same location. I think it's a corn maze. Go and look if you don't believe me. (This is Google Maps, now, not Google Earth, and you really have to zoom in.)

However, to return to history, here's a 1938 aerial view of that general area. It includes an oval line in the fields that could be a racetrack, in what seems to me about right for the location of the McAuliffe land.

BFJ-01-090 Hobart motorcycle racetrack
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Indiana Geological Survey.

Here, I'll do my label thing.

Hobart motorcycle racetrack detail
(Click on image to enlarge)

So? Whaddaya think?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Franklin and Mildred

I'm taking the photos in Mildred Lindborg's photo album in the order in which she placed them. Here I shall skip over three we've already seen — one of little Raymond, and two of the fresh-looking W.G. Haan School.

Next in line:

14 Franklin and Mildred in backyard
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

Mildred wrote a short caption to this photo, but it's illegible.*

Still, we can easily recognize Franklin Lindborg, at left, and Mildred herself beside him.

They are in the backyard of the Lindborg house in Ainsworth. The little structure behind Franklin is the outhouse. The Lindborg house did not have indoor plumbing until about 1930.

*My best guess at the caption is '"26".' If Franklin completed the eighth grade in 1922, I suppose he'd expect to complete high school in 1926, so that's not completely nonsensical.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Harms Farmhouse ca. 1894/5

Yet another view of the farmhouse.

Harms house 1890s
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

According to the family story handed down to the person who let me scan this, Herman Harms is in the smaller baby carriage. He was born in May 1894, so that story, if true, would date the photo to sometime in 1894 or 1895. (It looks more like a doll carriage to me, but what do I know?)

No one else in the photograph is identified to my knowledge. I'm not going to try to guess.

The image above is a scan of a photocopy, hence the poor quality. I do not have access to the original photo.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ainsworth School Completed

The jewel was set in the Ainsworth crown. It just needed a little polishing.

Ainsworth school completed
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of August 6, 1920.

"Hahn" is a misprint.

The statement about "high school work" may cast some light on the timing of the petition we've seen before. If true, then perhaps it was at some point during the planning and building of this school (1918-1920) that the petition was circulated — in which case I was wrong in saying it was unsuccessful. I don't recognize any name on the petition that would make that timing impossible. I don't recall seeing anything in the papers about a petition being circulated, but then Ainsworth news was so neglected!

One thing I can say is that the potential for a second story on the building was never realized until a few years ago, long after it had ceased to be a school.

♦    ♦    ♦

As for The Unpardonable Sin, apparently it was war propaganda produced in 1919, after the war was over.

Blanche Sweet/Unpardonable Sin
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Graduation 1922

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

10 Graduation 1922 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of N.B.

10 Graduation 1922 2

"Graduation 1922" is what Mildred wrote on the page with these two photographs. We can recognize the tall boy in the dark suit as Franklin Lindborg. Born in December 1908, he would have been 13 years old if this is May 1922, so I suppose it's his eighth-grade graduation.

His friend in the light suit and plus-fours is not identified.

They are standing in the back yard of the Lindborg home in Ainsworth. I believe the wooden structure behind them is the frame (west) part of the blacksmith shop building.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Minnie Rossow

From the steamer trunk.

Minnie Rossow ca. 1912
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

This is probably an eighth-grade graduation photo, which would place it around 1911 or 1912, based on her own notes and her age (Minnie was born in 1897). Or it might be a confirmation photo, but that wouldn't necessarily make a great difference to the date.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Cut Off From the Rest of the World"

The sorry state of the Lincoln Highway in 1920.

Lincoln Hwy work
(Click on image to enlarge)

The following week, the Gazette added: "The Lincoln Highway through Porter county is to have a stone dressing to tide the highway over the winter. It is said to be in bad condition."

♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 6 Aug. 1920.
♦ "Lincoln Highway Improvement Stopped." Hobart Gazette 30 July 1920.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mabel and Myself

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

9 Mabel and Myself
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

You can see the captions yourself. "Mabel" would be the same Mabel Larson (last name still uncertain) we've seen before. She always poses for the camera the same way: chin slightly down, arms stiff at her sides. Perhaps she did not like having her picture taken.

"Myself," of course, is Mildred Lindborg. She is standing in the back yard of the Lindborg house in Ainsworth.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Harms Farmhouse ca. 1920

From the steamer trunk.

Another view of the Harms farmhouse.

Harms house ca 1920
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

We don't know the date of this photo. Judging from the apparent age of Minnie Harms (left) and Herman Harms, and from the ladies' fashions, my rough guess is around 1920.

The woman at right is unidentified.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blood Poison and Home Sales

Bad health plagued George Sauter. In July 1920 a simple cut on the index finger of his left hand led to "an attack of blood poison" (sepsis). He "suffered greatly," according to the Gazette.

At the same time his mother, Augusta Fiester, was ill, suffering from rheumatism. His sister Lizzie Epps came down from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to visit Augusta, bringing along her two teenaged sons. (Lizzie's husband, Alfred, was away visiting his "old home in England.")

But Lizzie's visit was more than a mission of mercy. She had a house to sell.

Epps house for sale
(Click on images to enlarge)

This house was still the home of her suffering brother George. (The earlier report that George and his wife, Mabel, had bought the house appears now to be in error.)

But by mid-August, it seems that George had recovered from his blood poison sufficiently to attend to real estate matters. In the week following Lizzie's putting their home up for sale, George and Mabel bought Willard Stevens' house (described as being "on Lincoln avenue, in Joryville"), while John Ziegler bought Lizzie's house.

On August 30 George and Mabel moved into their new home. Within a month, the industrious George had installed a new cement sidewalk in front.

Ad for Sauter's grocery store

♦ Advertisement. Hobart News 26 Aug. 1920.
♦ "All kinds of Wants." Hobart Gazette 13 Aug. 1920.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 22 July 1920; 5 Aug. 1920; 19 Aug. 1920; 2 Sept. 1920; 30 Sept. 1920.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 23 July 1920; 13 Aug. 1920.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Their Sandy Sunday Best

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

Mildred captioned this:
Beach at Miller, Ind.
July 1922
8 Beach at Miller Ind July 1922
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

Here we have (according to the album's owner) the Lindborgs and their friends, the Bowman family of Miller, along with some other unidentified people.

We can recognize Gust Lindborg, standing at the far left, with Anna beside him. The boy in a suit and tie, standing next to the man in suspenders at right, is Franklin Lindborg. The first three children on the left are Raymond, Gladys and Norma Lindborg.

That's probably June Bowman, standing at center and showing off her pretty scalloped hem. So proud of it! — and why shouldn't she be?

Monday, May 6, 2013

William and Antonia Rossow

From the steamer trunk.

Wm & Antonia Rossow
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

Handwritten on the back of the original photo are these cryptic notes:
Did you see Ma's enlargement something like this?
I think that one of Ma's is a peach don't you?
At left is William Rossow, at right Antonia. They are showing off their beautiful horses.

We don't know where this photo was taken. It may have been on the Rossows' farm.

Rossow farm
(Click on image to enlarge)
The Rossow farm as it appeared on the 1908 Plat Map.

William Rossow married Antonia Stolp on August 16, 1890 (Indiana Marriage Collection). The 1910 Census shows their complete family: William, 44 years old, the Illinois-born son of German immigrants, farming his own land; Antonia, 38, who immigrated from Germany in 1879; and daughters Wilhemina, aka Minnie (13), Ella (10) and Louise (7). Antonia's widowed mother, Carolina (78), also lived with them.

Those three daughters were their only children to survive to maturity.

Red Light District (Not What You're Thinking!)

Here's another installment of Cap'n Jim's Hobart memories that I forgot about until now.
At the corner of Third and Main in front of the Dyche drugstore there was a lamp post. High on the post there was a pipe at the end of which was a red light.

When a police officer was needed, the telephone operator would turn on the light. The on-duty officer would then call the operator to determine the nature of the emergency. He could then walk to the station and get the one patrol car the town possessed.

This was the nineteen thirties. There were no portable police radios. Fortunately, there were not many malefactors in Hobart. The system worked.
I mentioned this to another long-time resident who also remembers this, although vaguely. The red light was just for use at night, when the police station wasn't staffed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lathrop Catch-Up

If I have neglected the Lathrops, I am not alone — well known Lake County historians, such as the Rev. T.H. Ball and Sam Woods, skipped over them as well.

Samuel Lathrop was born in Ohio around 1822. By 1853 he had come to Lake County, Indiana, for that was the year he married the 30-year-old Mariah Castle — a widow, I gather, with four young children from her first marriage. In 1856 Samuel and Mariah had their first child (or first to survive), George. Charles, their second and last, was born in 1860.

I cannot find any evidence that Samuel served in the Civil War.

The 1860 census shows them near the Chester family, which may mean that Samuel already owned the land that bore his name in 1874:

Samuel Lathrop farm
(Click on image to enlarge)

In December 1880, as we know, George Lathrop married Eva Niles. In 1885 Charles Lathrop married Emma Jacobs.

After his disastrous career as an assistant postmaster, George seems to have made a success as a wholesaler buyer of apples for resale in Chicago and perhaps locally. He traveled widely in search of good fruit, including to Illinois, Colorado, New York, Utah — and, of course, Michigan, where he met his second wife.

In 1901 came a great change: the Lathrop farm was sold to Gib Bullock. A "Mr. Lathrop" bought a lot and house in Ainsworth from John Ols — that would probably be George, as we soon find him moving himself and his father from the farm they had just sold. Perhaps George's son, Samuel (Jr.), lived with them for a time, as he was "operating a feed mill at Ainsworth." George and Samuel Jr. bought some threshing machinery from the Aultman Co. of Ohio.

An even greater change came in March 1903. George uprooted his family and moved to Portland, Michigan, where he owned a fruit farm. "His family" was pretty small — besides his wife, it may have included his father and his son from his first marriage (Samuel Jr.). But the first child of his second marriage was born in Michigan.

As for brother Charles and his wife, Emma — by 1910 they too had moved to Michigan, taking their two youngest children (Earl and Etta) with them, their two oldest children (Henry and Clara) having apparently left home already. But I am not sure what happened to their marriage. This report on Earl's death has some suggestive wording:
Mrs. Catherine Pierce and sister, Louise, and brothers, John, Adam and Henry Jacobs, went to Muskegon, Mich., to attend the funeral on Wednesday of their nephew, Earle Lathrop, who died Sept. 22 at the home of his mother, Mrs. Chas. Austin, formerly Emma Jacobs-Lathrop. Earle was her youngest son, and was born Oct. 18, 1898, near Ainsworth, and was said to have been a most promising young man. Besides his parents, he is survived by one brother and two sisters.
(Emphasis added.) Make of that what you will, but to me it sounds like divorce.

And now, dear Reader, you know as much as I do about the Lathrops.

1860 Census
1870 Census.
1874 Plat Map.
1880 Census.
1900 Census.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 18 Jan. 1901; 5 Apr. 1901; 26 Dec. 1902; 6 Mar. 1903.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 6 Oct. 1899; 7 Sept. 1900; 20 Sept. 1901; 4 Oct. 1901; 26 Dec. 1902; 28 Sept. 1917.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eva Lathrop Sandilands
Or, The Mystery of the First Marriage

Very early in my blogging — when I had no idea what I was doing, few resources and fewer readers — I happened to stumble upon a titillating item about George Lathrop, and that was enough to endear all the Lathrops to me, whatever their faults may have been.

Now we have lost a woman who was only temporarily a Lathrop.

Eva Lathrop Sandilands obit
(Click on image to enlarge)

Eva Niles had been just short of 16 when she married the 25-year-old George Lathrop in Lake County, Indiana. I do not know when the couple separated. George's disgrace came in 1885; perhaps Eva decided that the shame of divorce was less than the shame of being married to a thief. Her joining the Berrien Springs church in 1890 may mean that they were already living apart, but not necessarily. By 1900, George and their son Samuel (along with George's father, Samuel Sr.), were living in the household of George's brother, Charles. Eva was nowhere to be found.

Though the 1900 census describes George as married, by December 1902 he was free to marry again:
Geo. Lathrop returned a few days ago to his home at Ainsworth from central Michigan where he had been packing apples for some time and was accompanied by a bride, formerly Cora Baker, to whom he was married at Portland, Mich., Dec. 6th. This part of his late affairs was a surprise to his numerous friends but all will join us in extending congratulations and a welcome to the bride.
Notes on the 1910 census suggest that this was Cora's third marriage.

I cannot find Eva in the 1910 census. She does not resurface until her 1913 marriage in Cook County, Illinois, at which time she was still calling herself Eva Lathrop. Her having been "a patient sufferer for the past eight years" before her death in 1920 suggests she was ill throughout their marriage.

George Sandilands has proven as elusive as Eva. I cannot find any history on him, and together they evaded the 1920 census.

1880 Census.
1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index, 1878-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: "Illinois, Cook County Deaths 1878–1922." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health. "Birth and Death Records, 1916–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
♦ "Funeral of Former Hobart Resident Held in Chicago Tuesday." Hobart News 29 July 1920.
Indiana Marriage Collection.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 26 Dec. 1902.

Friday, May 3, 2013

At Palms, June 1922

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

7 At Palms June 1922
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

This photo was taken "at Palms', June 1922," according to Mildred's caption. That would be the farm of Peter and Hulda Palm.

What was the occasion, I wonder? They all are dressed well, and (judging by the collar) there is a pastor among them … but pastors are allowed to picnic too.

None of these people are identified. Among the men standing in back, we can recognize (third from the left, wearing a driving cap) Gust Lindborg, and to the right of him, behind the other women, Anna Lindborg, holding Raymond (who would turn four years old on June 12, 1922, but if this were his birthday party, surely he'd be front and center in the photo?).

As for the rest, I can only say that the young woman second from the left in the row of women resembles Mabel Larson(?) of the Jolly Three.

Harvey's Dime Store Bag?

Yesterday I took another dive into the steamer trunk and brought up (among other things) this bag:

(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

Those of you who experienced Harvey's Dime Store may be able to tell me if the "Harvey's" on this bag is that "Harvey's."

This bag was stuffed with little treasures that will be showing up on the blog in the weeks to come. I got so much new material, in fact, that I am freaking out a little over how much work will be involved in organizing/scanning it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Farmer's Town Lot, 1895

From the steamer trunk.

8 1895 Survey
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of E.H.

While Henry and Anna Harms had been farming east of Ainsworth since 1880 at least, they already owned a town lot by 1895, as this survey shows. This is probably where they took up permanent residence in 1915, when Herman Harms married Minnie Rossow and took over the Ainsworth farm. If it was the same lot they owned in the 1930s, it was on the west side of Lincoln Street, across from where the Burns Funeral Home sits now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Of Threshing and Road Trips

Since we don't have an Ainsworth social column in the newspapers anymore, the next best thing is the "South of Deepriver" column.

South of Deepriver social column
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of July 29, 1920.

You may remember "Mr. and Mrs. Ed Cole" as the foster parents of the orphaned Harry Breyfogle.

The same issue of the News mentioned that important matter, the commencement of wheat threshing.

Local and Personal

(The Frank Popp who had a newborn son was brother to Charles. And I think a certain someone out there has a Moehl family connection.)

What wouldn't fit on that print-out was a little story about a road trip by someone outside the Chester and Faulkner families:
Mr. and Mrs. Chris Ols, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Herman Harms and Bruce McCable motored to Lafayette Sunday, that being Bruce's former home. They report the crops in excellent condition down there and about three weeks in advance of Lake county. While there they also visited the Indiana State Soldiers' home — a beautiful place.
Judging by a collection of images from 1901, the Soldiers' Home was indeed a beautiful place. It is now called the Indiana Veterans' Home.