Recently, I renewed a previously lapsed subscription to Newspapers.com (get 7 days free, here) in order to search for one particular event surrounding one specific ancestor. But then, as things do with genealogy, one thing led to another, and another, and to make a long story short…it was 3 AM and I wound up in Rushville, Indiana with Nora Kirsch Lore and her family in the very early 1900s. Talk about time travel!
I have written individual articles about the principles in this article, but this story is different than before. I’ve mentioned previously that the benefit of telling each ancestor’s life story separately is that you focus exclusively on just THAT one ancestor. Of course, they were born to parents, probably married someone, and had at least one child that survived to reproduce. Clearly, their story touches on the generations on both sides of them, and must, for continuity – but the story isn’t about anyone but that ancestor, told in their voice, from their perspective.
When you find a treasure trove that spans three generations of an extended family, and you’ve already written about the specific ancestors, it’s difficult to fit the new information into the cracks, because there aren’t any cracks big enough. Not to mention, this is a story all by itself.
Boy, is it ever!
As luck would have it, some of the Rushville newspapers have been imaged and OCRed at Newspapers.com so that you can search by keyword(s), which is often first name plus surname in either a particular newspaper or a particular area, like “Rushville, Indiana” or simply “Indiana”.
The bad news is that the surname, Lore, is also a word and also part of other words, plus Curtis Benjamin Lore never used his full name. Most often, he went by Curt or C. B. Lore. Initials are particularly difficult to include reliably in searches. His wife’s name was Nora, but as it turns out, the custom of the day dictated that she was always referred to as Mrs. C. B. Lore until after his death when she was occasionally referred to as Mrs. Nora Lore. Often, she was still referred to as Mrs. Curt Lore or some other derivative that did not include her first name.
Frustrating? You think so?
I changed the search parameters several times, and hopefully, I found all of the references. I discovered that even using the same search criteria, sometimes results varied, so search thoroughly.
Another challenge is that due to the search and OCR challenges, maybe only 25% or less of the matches were truly relevant. However, that’s OK, because I really didn’t need to sleep for 3 nights anyway. Yes, I waded through and read more than 500, and probably closer to 1000 results. Let’s just say I know way more about Rushville Indiana than I ever really wanted to know. Why, it’s almost like I lived there right along with my ancestors!
It really was like time travel as I experienced, albeit second hand, what they experienced in the 1890s and the first two decades of the 1900s.
One last challenge is that you can’t presume that all of the years of a newspaper are imaged just because some of them are. No place on Newspapers.com could I determine how to ascertain which parts of a particular newspaper’s publications have been imaged. It’s certainly possible that some weeks or months or pages are missing throughout. Remember, absence of evidence does not necessarily equate to evidence of absence.
First, before we look at what the newspapers revealed, let’s take a look at the players that we’ll visit.
The photo below, taken about 1907 or 1908 at the Kirsch House in Aurora, Indiana includes many of the people you’ll meet including Nora Kirsch Lore, her parents, and siblings.
Left to right, I can identify people as follows:
- Seated far left – one of the Kirsch sisters – possibly Carrie Kirsch.
- Standing male left behind the chair – C. B. Lore, husband of Nora Kirsch – which dates this photo to before January 1909 when he became ill for the last time
- Seated in the chair in front of CB Lore in a white dress – Nora Kirsch Lore, his wife
- Male with bow tie standing beside C. B. Lore – probably Edward Kirsch, if not then probably Todd Fiske, husband of Lou Kirsch
- Male standing beside him with no tie – probably Martin Kirsch
- Woman standing in the rear row – Kirsch sister, possibly Ida.
- Standing right rear with beard – Jacob Kirsch, father of Kirsch sisters and husband to Barbara Drechsel Kirsch.
- Front adult to the right of Nora with child – Kirsch sister, possibly Lou.
- Child beside Nora – Eloise Lore, her daughter, born in 1903, so dating the photo to about 1907
- Adult woman, seated, with black skirt – mother to Kirsch sisters and wife to Jacob Kirsch, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch
- Young woman beside Barbara to at right with large white bow – probably Curtis Lore, Nora’s daughter
Jacob Kirsch (1841-1917) and Barbara Drechsel Kirsch (1848-1930) are the parents of Nora Kirsch and her siblings. Jacob and Barbara lived in Aurora, Indiana where they owned the Kirsch House, a restaurant, tavern, and hotel that would be much like a B&B today. The Kirsch House was an exciting place, filled with travelers and colorful figures. In fact, it was at the Kirsch House that Nora met C. B. Lore who wasn’t quite exactly what he portrayed himself to be – single. His wife and children back home in Pennsylvania seemed to have slipped his mind until AFTER he had married Nora.
Whoo boy, is he ever lucky that Jacob Kirsch didn’t catch wind of that! In fact, I’m not at all sure that Nora or the Kirsch family EVER knew. There were so, so many secrets in this family.
Years of hidden drama in such a mundane, innocent-looking antique brick building. Nothing belies what lurked beneath.
Photo courtesy, Pat Allen, Allen Aerial
The Kirsch house is the L-shaped red brick building behind the depot and the white pickup truck. Today, you can still see the larger window where passenger tickets were sold.
The Kirsch house itself was interesting in other ways. Located strategically between the railroad depot and the Ohio River, in the background above, where paddle-wheeler riverboats docked, it was subject to massive flooding during the winter and spring months.
That’s the Kirsch House, just behind the RR crossing sign in 1937, courtesy of the historical society.
The basement bears the scars of many floods, and so too did the inside of the structure.
Flooding that included ice flows was more damaging yet. As you might imagine, stories about flooding, being trapped in floods and escaping from floods were legendary in the family.
It takes special people to live in a place where devastation visits regularly, and you know you’re just going to clean up and start over to have it happen all over again in a few weeks, months, or next year.
These folk were cut from a different cloth. Brave. Resilient. Not one bit risk-averse. It’s no wonder that these people or their parents were immigrants. That too required exceptional bravery.
Jacob Kirsch was quite the character, having one glass eye and other “interesting” characteristics.
The children of Jacob and Barbara, other than Nora, are:
- Caroline (Carrie) Kirsch (1871-1926) married Joseph Smithfield Wymond (1861-1910). Joseph, a wealthy riverboat gambler contracted syphilis and eventually died of the disease. Then 16 years later, Carrie died too. She never had children. For obvious reasons, her family despised Joseph. He, in essence, killed Carrie, slowly and painfully. Given that Carrie’s father, Jacob Kirsch, was involved in one lynching AND was a crack shot, even with one eye, Joseph is lucky he didn’t “die by enraged father,” although maybe Jacob decided that a quick death would be too good for him.
- Margaret Louise (Lou) Kirsch (1873-1940) married Charles Theodore “Todd” Fiske (1874-1908). Todd lost his job as a civil engineer and committed suicide by gunshot at the Kirsch House where they were living at the time. Lou never had children.
- John Edward Kirsch (1870-1924) married Emma Miller and lived in Edwardsport, Knox Co., Indiana. Edward died at age 54 of paralysis, according to his death certificate, which generally means a stroke, given that he appears to have died the same day he became ill.
- George Martin Kirsch (1868-1949) married Maude Powers and died in Shelbyville, Indiana at age 80 of a cerebral thrombosis, another form of stroke.
- Ida Caroline Kirsch (1876-1966) married William “Billy” Galbreath (1891-1921) who died of acute alcoholism. She never remarried and never had children.
As you can see, there was a lot of grief under the roof of the Kirsch House.
Nora Kirsch (1866-1949) married Curtis Benjamin Lore in 1888 at the Kirsch House and eventually moved to Rushville Indiana, where drama to rival any soap opera unfolded. Their children were:
- Edith Barbara Lore (1888-1960) married John Whitney Ferverda in Rushville, Indiana, and moved to Silver Lake. Edith is my grandmother who is absent in the family photo at the Kirsch House.
- Curtis Lore (1891-1912), a daughter who died of tuberculosis in Rushville.
- Mildred Elvira Lore (1899-1987) married Claude Martin in Wabash, Indiana, and moved to Houston, Texas (Absent in Kirsch House photo.)
- Eloise Lore (1903-1996) married Warren Cook and moved to Lockport, New York. Eloise never had children.
The Lore of the Lore Family
If you just read the newspaper accounts, the Lore family looks like an upwardly-mobile, probably fairly well-to-do, carefree family – based on how much socializing they are doing. Of course, no one in Rushville had any idea that they had left Aurora, in part, to disguise the “premature” birth of their first child.
And no one, ever, knew about the past of roguishly handsome, charismatic C.B. Lore. Probably not even his wife and assuredly, not his daughters!
Looks, or in this case, snippets and sound bites, can be very deceiving.
Striking Gold Off the Bat
The very first newspaper entry is actually quite enlightening. It begins by telling us that C. B. Lore has his own company.
April 30, 1888, Indianapolis News – Shelbyville, Indiana – The Natural Gas Company today contracted with C. B. Lore & Co. of Greensburg to drill three more wells for $2400 on the farm of Mrs. tenant, east of this city.
Given that the 1890 census does not exist, this tidbit provides us with previously unknown information.
- May 16, 1889, Rushville, Indiana – In the column titled “Horse Talk” we discover that O. Posey and son, owners sold to C. B. Lore of Greensburg a horse named Moscoe for $400 at the Rush County Horse Breeder’s sale at the fairgrounds.
This had to be a racehorse. I wonder what Nora thought about this.
Horses would shape their future in unexpected ways.
Horse Racing In Rushville
As it turns out, Rushville was a race-horse town in the 1880s and 1890s, known for its fast horses. James Wilson began this legacy with one sire in the 1860s and 1870s that sired many record-breaking Standard Bred Trotters.
By the early 1890s, there were three competition harness tracks on the edge of Rushville, north, south, and east. Every township had at least one training track, and there were a total of 25 tracks in the county. Of course, racing-related people were attracted as were associated businesses. C. B. Lore could have been one of these.
The main track, Riverside Park, located by the old mill location in Rushville had a 60-foot wide regulation track and grandstands. A swinging footbridge was erected across the river to allow easier access to the track, saloons, of course, and businesses.
While the local articles don’t mention gambling, you know that betting was a big draw and lucrative business in its own right too, because betting and horse-racing go hand in hand. What the articles do say is that many of the large Victorian homes were built with “horse money.”
And you can bet that where there’s money, there’s always someone looking to turn a quick buck in less than scrupulous ways.
In September of 1899, the race at Riverside wasn’t held, but somehow a bogus record of the horses that “won” that day was submitted to the American Trotter Association. When the fraud was discovered, local horsemen and officials were expelled, the incident being called “one of the most extraordinary turf frauds ever perpetrated.”
The racing heyday was over, Rushville’s reputation forever tarnished, along with those who participated, but that didn’t mean individuals who loved horses and racing didn’t continue to breed horses and race.
In March of 1907, fifty horses were training at the local track according to the local paper.
But where was C.B. Lore during this time?
Where Was C. B. Lore?
The newspaper tells us what the 1890 census cannot.
- October 2, 1890 – C. B. Lore of Greensburg was here Saturday.
Nora and C. B. married in January 1888. I know that Edith was born in Marion County a few months later, but between August 1888 when Edith was born in Indianapolis, and the 1900 census, I had no idea where they were living. According to this, in 1889 and 1890, they were living in Greensburg, Indiana. Who knew?
It’s about 20 miles from Greensburg to Rushville, and about 50 miles from Greensburg to Indianapolis.
And yes, Greensburg did have a newspaper, and no, it’s not available on Newspapers.com yet. Just in case you were wondering. Trust me, I keep checking.
This makes sense of another piece of information. The photo of Edith, taken when she was maybe 3 or so, was in a studio in Greensburg.
Also worth noting – those beads she is wearing were actual gold.
Not mentioned is that Curt and Nora’s second child, Curtis, a daughter arrived on March 8th, but we aren’t sure exactly where she was born.
In 1891, the Rushville newspaper notes that C. B. had drilled wells “here” but doesn’t say that they live in Rushville. Edith would turn three in August of 1891, so they were probably still living in Greensburg at this point.
Greenburg is most famously known for the tree growing from the roof of the clocktower – a site Nora and Curt would have seen.
On May 14th, 1891, Curtis sustained a financial loss because his drilling outfit burned. The paper says Greenfield, but I think they meant Greensburg. Greenfield is quite a distance away.
C. B. Lore had been a well-driller in Pennsylvania, which is what brought him to Aurora, Indiana initially. He drilled the Blue Lick Well, there, so the fact that he continued in the drilling business isn’t a surprise. It’s just that we didn’t know well-drilling was connected to Rushville before.
I’m guessing, since his rig burned, that it was something like this Drake Well, common in Pennsylvania where Curtis learned well-drilling.
- On June 10th, 1892, Curtis, then a Rush County resident, filed a lawsuit.
This suit was apparently settled, as we hear nothing more. But who was John F. Pleffer and why did C. B. Lore sue him?
C. B. or Curt Lore was mentioned often in the local newspaper. Obviously, they moved to Rushville sometime in 1891 or early 1892.
- On August 2nd, 1892, “Curt Lore shipped his horses to Columbus yesterday.”
I’m betting this was for a race, pardon the pun. The Columbus newspaper provides some context for this event.
- On December 9, 1892, W. A. Jones, Rich Wilson, Curtis Lore, and William Dagler shipped several head of horses to Chicago to be entered in the great sale.
- The April 14, 1893 newspaper tells us that Mrs. Curtis Lore visited at Indianapolis last Wednesday.
- On August 1, 1893 report that Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore.
- August 6, 1893 – Indianapolis Journal – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.
- On September 12th, Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is visiting her sister, Mrs. Curtis Lore.
- On Friday, September 22nd the newspaper reports that Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained in honor of Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora.
- On December 12th, Mrs. Curt Lore and children left today to visit homefolks at Aurora over the holidays.
So, I wonder what C. B. Lore was doing with himself while his wife and children were visiting her parents for a month.
1894 was a busy year.
- January 12, 1894 – Mrs. Curtis Lore returned home last Tuesday from an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
- February 23, 1894 – Nineteen members of the “What Not” Club of this city went to Manilla last Tuesday and spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Trees. A very pleasant day was spent by all. The list includes Mrs. Curtis Lore.
- March 20, 1894 – Mrs. Cad Kirsch of Aurora is visiting Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore. This answers the question of who Cad was – Carrie – which means I have a photo someplace.
- March 23, 1894 – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is visiting Mr. and Mrs. Curtis B. Lore.
- April 3, 1894 – It appears that Curt has become an entrepreneur.
$12,000 is a HUGE sum of money in 1894 and converts to about $365,000 in today’s dollars. I can’t help but wonder where he obtained that kind of money. They didn’t even own a house.
- April 6, 1894 – under the City Council news, we discover that Curt plans to build an ice house.
C.B. Requested that the land be donated to him, but the council had a different idea.
- April 10, 1894 – C. B. Lore closed the contract last Saturday for the old site of the woolen mill on which to build the ice factory. Work will begin as soon as the weather settles.
According to Rushville history, the woolen mill stood on the riverbanks just south of the Presbyterian Church and was consumed by fire in 1887. The fire and flood-prone location would certainly make the site unbuildable for most purposes and therefore available for C. B. for his ice business.
On this 1908 plat map of Rushville, you can see Water Street, where the original mill was located, along with the footbridge.
On April 13th, Curt apparently bought the land.
It doesn’t say how much he paid, but he would have needed even MORE money. That’s no small building.
But wait, we’re not done.
Also the same page:
Now, in addition to horses, ice, and oil, C. B. Lore is one of the founders of the local phone company. Not only that, we know, based on this article that they would have a phone for $12.50, or about $380 today, in addition to his founding stock in the company.
Either his horses and wells were either wildly successful or he had found a monetary source someplace else. I can’t help but wonder about gambling which is often synonymous with horse racing. Big winners and big losers.
- May 25, 1894, reported in the Indianapolis News – Curt Lore, Rushville, sold to E. Wiles, Charlottesville, a 3-year-old filly by Aparka, dam Sue King by King Rose.
- May 25, 1894 – C. B. Lore started his ice factory today.
- June 9th – C. B. Lore is at Louisville, KY today to purchase a new ice wagon.
This ice wagon from this timeframe was from Washington, DC.
- August 31, 1894 – C. B. Lore is putting down another well for use at the ice factory.
More and more money invested in the ice factory. I wonder if Curt could sleep at night. Nothing like pouring huge amounts of money into a business venture that has yet to produce much if any revenue.
- September 11, 1894 – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore.
- September 14, 1894 – Miss Edith Lore is at home from a visit with Greenburg relatives.
Who lived in Greensburg that was related? I still don’t know, but this might explain why Nora and Curt moved to Greensburg in the first place.
- October 2, 1894 – C. B. Lore has an aluminum bicycle, the first one in the city.
- November 20, 1894 – C. B. Lore is drilling a gas well near the ice factory. It is now over 450 feet deep and gas enough is supplied to make a blaze about 4 feet high.
C.B. is utilizing the land surrounding the ice factory to drill for gas.
On November 23rd, Curt was in the paper 3 times.
Wow, Curt has been busy!
What? Now in addition to oil, gas, horses, ice, and a phone company, he’s establishing an electric company for commercial lights?
No moss is growing under this man’s feet!
1895 is, unfortunately, missing entirely from Newspapers.com. I need to know what happened with the lights!!!
- Jan 10, 1896 – Civil cases set for trial, Indianapolis Brewing Co. vs Lore
A brewing company? Is Curt brewing beer too?
- Jan 26, 1896 – Ladies Musicale met with Mrs. C. B. Lore on January 20.
- Jan 31, 1896 – Curtis B. Lore resumed operations at his ice-plant yesterday.
Why had operations stopped? Does this have anything to do with the lawsuit? Maybe he bought equipment from them?
This is truly frightening. Runaway horses were a danger and killed many. Ironic that his horses became frightened by a bicycle, and he’s the one who introduced bicycles to Rushville.
- April 21, 1896 – C.B. Lore (and others) formed a party of wheelmen which rode to Greensburg last Sunday and spent the day there.
Wheelmen refers to bicyclers. Curt would have been 40 years old.
- April 24, 1896 – Mrs. C. B. Lore won a prize at a card party on Wednesday afternoon.
The following notification ran 8 different times in the local paper. I’m sure they saw it, and so did everyone else in town.
May 8, 15, 22, 26 and 29, 1896. Also June 2, 9, and 16.
The risks of entrepreneurship. Clearly, things were not going well. This would appear only to be for the pumps inside, not the building or the land. This would have been in addition to the initial $12,000 in a separate contract.
One interesting aspect is that they sued Nora too, which is very unusual for that timeframe. Apparently, Curt used the land as collateral, and this suit forces the sale of the lots to pay for the machinery.
This suit tells us exactly where this land is located. I wish there was a picture of his ice building.
Today, this is the Eagles Lodge.
Apparently, the horses were afraid of both “cars” and bicycles. This would have been train cars, not automobiles.
- June 2, 1896 – Miss Mina Lore left last week to spend the summer with her grandparents in Pennsylvania.
Mina is Curt’s niece, his brother A. D. Lore’s daughter. So is Gertie mentioned on August 4th.
- June 30, 1896 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children left last Saturday for an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
- July 28, 1896
Indeed, there was betting involved. I KNEW it.
$25 doesn’t sound like much more than a friendly wager until you realize that’s about $800 in today’s dollars.
- August 4, 1896 – Miss Gertie Lore of First Street is on the sick list.
August 18, 1896:
I believe this is baseball.
- October 16, 1896 – A. D. Lore has moved his family to Albion, PA.
Adin apparently moved back to Pennsylvania, then to Ashtabula, Ohio before 1904 and lived there, working as a blacksmith and in the “car barn”, which I presume means rail cars, until the year before his death when he returned to Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, in 1913, he was working as a well driller and died of blood poisoning from an abscess on his hand.
Nora appears to have been somewhat of a socialite. I hope she enjoyed these years, because, sadly, they wouldn’t last.
- February 5, 1897 – Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
- February 19, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and Mrs. George T. Aultman elegantly entertained a large number of friends at the Social Club rooms last Tuesday afternoon. Progressive Euchre was played. Dainty refreshments were served.
- Feb 26, 1897
- March 12, 1897 – C. B. Lore and Mrs. Lore are a team engaged in the duplicate whist tournament at the Social Club. The 4th contest will be held on Monday Night.
The number 428 is beside their names. According to Wikipedia, Duplicate Whist was the precursor to Duplicate Bridge.
A week later, they were still in the running as well as on March 30th.
- March 23, 1897 – Miss Carrie Kirsch who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore returned home to Aurora yesterday afternoon. Also, C. B. Lore and Mrs. Lore are one of the standing teams engaged in the duplicate whist tournament at the Social Club. The next contest of the series will be Monday night.
- March 23, 1897 – Curt Lore had a severe strain last Friday at the ice plant while lifting a heavy wood-rack, but is able to be out again.
- April 23, 1897 – Curt Lore will manage the Rushville ice plant this summer.
This is an odd announcement, given that he purchased the land and built that plant. Of course, we don’t know if he lost the land when that suit was filed.
- April 30, 1879 – Rev. C. W. Tinsley, C. B. Lore and Walter Wilson spent Wednesday at Indianapolis.
- June 11, 1897
Amazing. Now it appears Curtis is going to manage a baseball team too. When does he find the time? What doesn’t this man do?
- July 6, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughters are visiting her parents at Aurora.
- July 27, 1897 – C. B. Lore left yesterday for a few days visit at Aurora.
- August 3, 1897 – Orville E. Scott succeeded Curtis B. Lore yesterday in the management of the Rushville Ice Plant.
Based on this, I’m guessing Curt no longer owns that land or the plant. Did he lose all that money? What happened???
- August 24, 1897 – Miss Lulu Kirsch and Will Fisk, of Aurora, who have been visiting C. B. Lore and wife have returned home.
- September 7, 1897 – Mrs. Daisy Navin of Indianapolis visited C. B. Lore and wife last week.
- September 17, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore is visiting friends at Indianapolis.
- October 15, 1897 – C. B. Lore put 37 new flues in the boiler at the Riverside dairy this week.
What? Add metal and furnace work to the list of things Curt does!
- October 15, 1897 – Jacob Kirsch and wife of Aurora are the guests of C. B. Lore and wife, and will remain here until Monday.
This is the first of only two times that Nora’s parents ever came to visit. Of course, being the proprietors of the Kirsch House was a full-time 24x7x365 job, so it was probably very difficult for them to get away.
- October 27, 1897 – C. B. Lore has filed a suit against the Rushville Ice Co., on account, Demand $350. John F. Joyce attorney.
Apparently Curt had to file suit for some funds owed.
- November 16, 1897 – Curtis Lore has contracted to fit up an Aurora hotel with a hot water heating apparatus.
Add hot water heating to Curt’s skill set, which of course is not only for heating water, but likely for heating the building with radiators. They don’t say, but that hotel is likely the Kirsch House.
In 2008, the old Kirsch House structure was being evaluated by a structural engineering firm for the City of Aurora. In that report, they took photographs inside the building and noted that the original hot water radiators were still evident on the second floor and the plumbing and boiler remained in the basement. It’s likely that this is the handiwork of Curt Lore.
That stairway, slightly visible to the right in the photo above, and below, is the stairway his bride, Nora, descended on January 18, 1888, the day of their wedding, wearing a dress she made herself.
- December 14, 1897 – Charles Morgan left yesterday where he will assist C. B. Lore in putting in a heating apparatus.
- December 17, 1897 – The lady minstrel entertainment given at Melodeon Hall last night for the benefit of Canton No. 21 IOOF was a marked success in the high class of the performance given and the large audience which attended. The sketch given by Jesse Pugh and Little Miss Edith Lore in which the former took the part of the burglar was cleverly acted.
Little Miss Edith Lore was my grandmother, all of 9 years old. How I would love to peek back in time and see her as a child.
I’m a quilter, and I couldn’t help but notice the prices of fabric in the newspaper.
At these prices, one could purchase enough fabric to make a full-size bed quilt for about 50 cents. In 2021, it’s closer to $150, at a minimum and that’s before batting, quilting, thread, etc. A single spool of thread today costs more than all of the fabric needed for a quilt then.
Currently, 100% cotton fabric sells for about $12 per yard, on average, and feather ticking for about $35 per yard. Linens range from $10 at bargain-basement prices to about $200 per yard for the finest.
Nora was a quilter. Was she, like me, drawn like a moth to a flame when fabric was on sale?
Nora created absolutely stunning applique quilts later in her life, in the 1930s, that would represent Indiana at the Chicago World’s Fair. I’m betting that back in 1897, with a six-year-old, a nine-year-old, and a calendar full of social engagements, her quilting was probably for sanity and utility, and not for show. Many of her quilts were loved and used by the family, for years. This yellow quilt, cherished by her daughter, Eloise, escaped much use.
I couldn’t help but notice this ad for Christmas handkerchiefs. Women of that time, before Kleenex, owned many handkerchiefs. Who didn’t need handkerchiefs? They were functional, pretty, and fun. Handkerchiefs made a lovely, thoughtful gift that didn’t cost too much.
Nora had an entire box of handkerchiefs, passed to her daughters eventually, then to Mom, then to me.
One of the favorite family quilts made by Nora was this blue quilt that was literally worn and loved to death. I used several of Nora’s handkerchiefs to patch this quilt some 30 years ago, giving it a second or maybe a third life, a century or so after Nora made this quilt. Perhaps in Rushville.
I can’t help but look at the ads for both the calico fabrics and the handkerchiefs and wonder if perhaps this quilt is the marriage of both.
Ok, climbing out of the rabbit hole and back to Rushville in 1898.
- January 14, 1898 – Mrs. R. F. Scudder and Mrs. C. Lore will entertain this afternoon at the Social Club rooms.
- January 18, 1898 – Mrs. R. F. Scudder and Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained 40 of their lady friends at the Social Club rooms last Friday afternoon and evening, at cards. A nice luncheon was served to the guests.
- February 4, 1898 – S. H. Teneyck and wife and E. L. Lenix and wife of Indianapolis are the guests of C. B. Lore and wife.
- February 11, 1898 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and Mrs. R. F. Scudder gave a masked party at the Social Club last Wednesday night which was attended by several couples.
Mrs. Scudder’s husband was the president of the Republican party in Rush County. I have to laugh at the idea of masked balls. Royalty in Rushville.
- February 25, 1898 – The colonial party given at the Social Club’s hospitable home on First Street…on Washington’s birthday, was an event which will be looked back to with pleasure by the 50 lady friends and other guests that attended. The rooms were decorated in red, white and blue with pretty colors. In the dancing hall the pictures of George and Martha Washington were conspicuous being surrounded with stars and stripes.
During the afternoon the ladies played hearts, the scores being kept on red, white, and blue cards formed in the shape of a heart. The honors were awarded to Mrs. C. B. Lore.
I’m beginning to think any reason was a good excuse for a party.
I wonder if the women’s dresses looked anything like this drawing from the turn of the century.
Or perhaps these women from 1893.
Or these more matronly women.
The men in this horse-racing town might well have accompanied the women dressed like this, sporting gold-handled and gold-tipped canes and smoking cigars.
- April 1, 1898 – The spectacular production of “Queen Flora’s Day Dream, or the Butterflies Frolic,” given at the opera house under the direction of Miss Beatrice Raymond of Chicago in which a large number of young ladies and children of this city took part was attended by a large crowd last night.
The two little daughters had to be Edith born in 1888 and Curtis born in 1891 because the next child was not born until 1899.
- April 1, 1898 – Curtis B. Lore and wife to Harry B. Jones, lots in Rushville, quit claim $1000.
I wonder which lots these are. They must have been the icehouse lots. This is confusing. Perhaps deed records would help resolve this information. I need to look again. Maybe another trip to Rushville would be in order.
- April 5, 1898 – C. B. Lore delegate to the Congressional convention.
I just had a feeling Curt would be dabbling in politics.
- April 12, 1898 – C. B. Lore is a delegate of the second ward Republicans which met at the engine house. Each delegate was given the privilege to select his own alternate.
- April 15, 1898 – C. B. Lore found a lady’s pocketbook on Main Street yesterday which the owner can have by calling on him.
- April 19, 1898 – C. B. Lore was given a judgment against the Rushville Ice and Cold Storage Co. of $206 last Saturday morning. The claim was for services as Superintendent of the ice plant and the use of his team and wagon.
Apparently, Curt was providing management services, and delivery, but no longer had an ownership interest. I suspect as the result of that earlier lawsuit. Regardless, it appeared, at least until now, to be amicable, even though his interest had been foreclosed upon.
- April 22, 1898 – Claim by C. B. Lore, assisting engineer for $3.75 filed
- April 29, 1898 – Edith Lore and Master Thomas Wallace, two Juniors, sang a missionary song. This took place at the 6th Convention of the Christian Endeavor Union of the 14th district, held at the Presbyterian Church on Wednesday and Thursday. The church was handsomely decorated in white, pink, green and gold colors, and flowers.
- May 13, 1898 – Application of Curtis B. Lore for street commissioner was read to Council and placed on file.
Now he’s applying for Street Commissioner too?
- July 5, 1898 – C. B. Lore and wife went to Trader’s Point last week where they joined an Indianapolis camping party for a 2 weeks outing.
Trader’s Point is near Indianapolis in a now-defunct village near Eagle Creek Reservoir.
Ironically, we know that at least one child didn’t go along on this trip.
Thanks to my cousin, Chelsea, we have a photo of Edith in Aurora with her Rabe cousins taken in July 1898 at her great-grandmother’s house.
- September 16, 1898 – The machinery in the old electric light building is being loaded on cars by C. B. Lore for shipment to Indianapolis.
- December 27, 1898 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children are visiting her parents at Aurora.
The pilgrimage home at Christmas time has lasted for four generations and counting, a luxury not afforded Nora’s grandparents who immigrated from Germany.
On April 8th, not reported in the paper, Mildred was born to Curt and Nora.
- May 23, 1899 – Curt Lore and daughter of Rushville were in our city a short time this morning.
- June 23, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children are visiting her parents at Aurora where they will remain for 4 or 5 weeks.
- July 21, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children returned home yesterday from an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
- July 25, 1899 – Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is visiting her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
I wonder how Curt was involved with the Rushville Gas Company. Perhaps, given his oil and gas experience, he was simply providing an emergency service in a dangerous situation.
- September 1, 1899 – Harry Siebern and C. B. Lore have formed a partnership under the name of the Cineograph Electric Advertising Company. They will visit surrounding towns and give entertainments. Siebern has resigned his position with Bliss and Dowing.
- September 15, 1899 – The Warograph Company of this city, composed of C. B. Lore, Harry Seiburn and Charles E. Wolfe, will give an entertainment at Newsom’s hall, in Carthage tonight and tomorrow night. It is worthy of patronage.
- September 22, 1899 – Charles E. Wolfe went to Mattoon, Illinois, yesterday where he will join the Warograph Company owned by Frazee and Tichenor.
Apparently, Curt has now formed two new companies and inside of a week, lost one of his partners. A week later, Charles E. Wolfe joined the military.
In the book, “Film before Griffith” by John Fell, the author states that the “cinematographe” and “Warograph” were the very first examples of projected motion pictures. Although they were identical to each other in their workings and manufactured by Luciere Brothers, the subject matter to be shown determined the choice of machine. The “Warograph” showed pictures of the Spanish American War – hence its title – “and seems to have created quite a stir among viewers. It provided “motionized pictures” of an actual war which viewers had read about in the pages of the newspaper, even though the original footage had probably been staged at the Edison studios in 1898-1899.”
I certainly didn’t see this coming. I’m beginning to wonder if Curt moved to new things because he IS successful, or because he isn’t. Is Curt struggling here? Or are they well enough off that he simply has the freedom to do whatever moves him?
- September 29, 1899 – C. B. Lore will give his warograph entertainment in the yard at the Pythian Hall tonight and tomorrow night.
- October 3, 1899 – Jesse W. Guire went to Mattoon, Illinois, yesterday where he will join the Warograph Company owned by Frazee and Tichenor.
- November 14, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore went to Aurora yesterday afternoon to attend the wedding of her sister, Miss Lulu Kirsch which takes place this evening.
- December 12, 1899 – C. M. Ford, of the Big Four office, is at Claypool, called there by the sickness of his wife. Curt Lore is attending to the duties during his absence.
C. M. Ford would be the local railroad stationmaster or agent. This tells us that Curt had a working knowledge of Morse Code, mandatory for communicating up and down the line. Another skill we didn’t know Curt possessed.
- December 22, 1899 – C. B. Lore succeeded in getting out the tools, yesterday morning, which were lost in the gas well that William L. Price is drilling south of the race bridge.
It seems like Curt had a lot of experience in dealing with whatever problems surfaced.
The 1900 census shows Nora and Curt living in Rushville with 3 children, married 13 years, according to the census. They had actually been married 12 years, but often adjusted their marriage date to align in a more socially acceptable way with their first child’s birth. He notes his occupation as a “machinist.” Two female servants are living with them, ages 19 and 27.
To afford two live-in servants, they must be at least marginally well-off. They weren’t alone though. There were a total of 121 servants out of a total population of 6,027 for all of Rushville Township, which includes the city of Rushville.
Their neighbor is William Covertson, the railroad agent.
William Covertson and his wife Ethel whose full name was Ida Ethel Clark were the best friends of Nora and Curt Lore. They were neighbors, their children grew up together and they remained fast friends long after Rushville was in the rearview mirror.
- February 20, 1900
- February 27, 1900
- March 23, 1900 – Under the title, Social Club Entertainment: A company of about 150 persons gathered at the Social Club last Tuesday night and after indulging in a fine supper, prepared by the ladies, they adjourned to the hall upstairs where a program which had been arranged by the gentlemen was rendered. The stage was nicely decorated with the national colors and a dressing-room arranged on one side for the performers. C. B. Lore in the part of a Dutch comedian, sang a song in the Dutch dialect.
A comedian?? It’s probably a good thing he didn’t quit his day job. At least we know the man wasn’t shy if he would sing in public and was confident enough to play a comedian.
- April 17, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore won a favor at a card party last Friday. At 6 o’clock a tempting supper was served.
- June 5, 1900 – C. B. Lore signed a petition declaring that he was in favor of a street fair, along with many other individuals and businesses. No gambling games or devices nor any kind of vulgar or indecent shows will be allowed. Only clean attractions that will interest and amuse the people will be allowed.
- June 26, 1900 – A party consisting of…C. B. Lore and family…spent Sunday near Moscow.
- July 6, 1900 – Andy Pea had his merry-go-round at the 4th of July celebration at Laurel. C. B. Lore was there with his warograph. Both attractions were well patronized.
I wonder if Curt was promoting the Warograph for future bookings, or if one could pay and watch a movie on the spot. Now we know why he petitioned for the street fair.
- July 10, 1900 – Mrs. Charles Fisk and Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora are visiting their sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
- July 13, 1890 – A street fair was taking place in Rushville, with very large crowds with an estimated 7000 visitors in one day.
- August 24, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and family returned home last Wednesday from an extended visit at Aurora. She was accompanied home by her sister, Miss Ida Kirsch, who will visit here.
- September 28, 1900 – C. B. Lore and wife are visiting her parents at Aurora.
- October 30, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained about 40 friends last Friday afternoon with cards at the Club House. A pleasant time was spent by all.
- October 30, 1900 – Republican Rally – Third Division, all on horseback. New Salem Band, Aides included Curt Lore. Mounted Rough Riders and all persons on horseback.
- November 23, 1900 – C. B. Lore is putting in a bathroom outfit for Dick Wilson in the house formerly owned by Mrs. Helen Wilson.
Homes are getting that all-important indoor plumbing!
It’s interesting to note that Rushville did have at least some telephones, but the ads in the same paper don’t list phone numbers for businesses, or anything indicating that they have telephones. I’m guessing this is before the days of phone numbers. You simply picked up the phone and asked the operator to connect you to a specific house. I’d also wager that most families didn’t have phones and that they were somewhat of a status symbol. Now I wonder if people had phones before indoor bathrooms.
- November 27, 1900 – Mrs. Lore received a prize at the club house when Mrs. Sexton entertained a number of ladies.
All Hell Breaks Loose
Remember that horse racetrack scandal that took place on September 16, 1899, where the race didn’t actually occur, but a list of winning horses was submitted anyway?
This story was published nationwide on December 6th, and the local paper ran it on the following day.
If you’re guessing that C. B. Lore was involved up to his eyeballs, you’d be right.
The board of review of the American Trotting association investigated one of the most extraordinary turf frauds ever perpetrated, and at the close of the inquiry issued an edict of expulsion against the following persons, all residents of Rushville, Indiana.
Note that the parenthesis are my notes.
- W. A. Jones (race track owner)
- Harrie Jones (was in Evansville that day, son of W. A. Jones)
- James Williams
- W. J. Wilson (17 years old, son of Dick Wilson who was in Rhode Island with his horses)
- W. W. Wilson (invalid and has been for several months)
- J. D. Hiner (signed record knowing very little of its contents and because asked to do so)
- C. F. Vance (signed papers at the solicitation of friends)
- J. B. Vance (says he is driver, in case the race happened)
- C. B. Lore (have not seen him, but newspaper was told he had no part in making the bogus record)
- R. F. Scudder (says he is not a horseman and knew nothing about this until months later)
- John Sail (colored stable boy)
The offense for which these people were put outside the pale of reputable turfdom – the sentence being effective on tracks of the National associations as well as the American – is the “faking” of an entire day of alleged trotting and pacing over the Rushville track on Sept. 16, 1899, procuring the admission of summaries of the same in the official records of the American Association as well as the year book of the American Trotting Register Association and then selling and otherwise making use for gain of the horses alleged to have made fast records on the day in question.
W. A. Jones (horse breeder in 1900 census) who owns Riverside Park informs the Republican that bona fide arrangements were made for a race meeting there on Sept. 16, 1899, and that he consented that two or three of his horses might be entered in order to fill out classes. In consequence of bad weather the meeting was not held. He had no other connection whatever with the affair.
Mr. Jones says that his son, Harrie Jones (horseman in the 1900 census, living with his in-laws), had no connection with the proposed races here. He was at Evansville that week with his string of horses, a fact with Secretary John Steiner, of the American Association knows, because he was, in his official capacity receiving reports from the Evansville races.
R. F. Scudder (Insurance agent in 1900 census) says he is not a horseman and had nothing at all to do with the proposed races, and did not sign or authorize anybody else to sign his name to any paper or record of that meeting. As a matter of fact, he never heard of any such record until months afterwards.
Jesse Vance (salesman in 1900 census, boarder, looks to be brother of Cicero) says his only part in the races was that of driver, in case they had come off.
Cicero F. Vance (widowed, drayman, boarder in 1900 census) says he signed the papers as one of the judges at the solicitation of some friends. Personally, he had no interest whatever in the matter.
John Hiner (liveryman in 1900 census) says he signed the record, knowing very little of its contents, and because he was asked to.
W. J. Wilson is a son of Dick Wilson (age 42, no occupation listed, his family lives with his wife’s family who list their occupation as “landlord”) and is about 17 years old. Dick was not here at the time, being in Rhode Island with his horses.
W. W. Wilson, better known as “Boo!,” is an invalid and has been for several months. (On the same page as this article, his death was reported on the same day of heart trouble. Born in 1862, son of late James Wilson, wealthy breeder who owned the original sire of the race horses in Rushville.)
We have not been able to see Mr. Lore (machinist in 1900 census) but are told that he had no part in making the bogus record.
John Sail is a colored stable boy.
Up to this date, no one has been found who made the bogus record of the races. Whoever it was has not helped the fast horse business in Rush County.
Oh boy, what a shameful mess.
It’s interesting that one man admitted signing the papers at the behest of others, but doesn’t say who. I can’t help but wonder if he did tell the association, and that’s why these men were expelled and publicly shamed.
Notice that there is no notice that year about what Curt and Nora were doing for Christmas. This was probably a very difficult time for them, especially Nora and the girls who clearly had nothing to do with this, regardless of Curt’s involvement.
This smacks of outright fraud. The value of horses depends on their speed and wins. It looks like the track owner, members of the wealthy Wilson family who were horse breeders, a few businessmen, a couple of people who worked at the livery and probably had little choice in the matter, and perhaps a few irresponsible fringe-element people looking to make an easy buck were all involved.
It’s hard for me to believe that no one knew anything – including Curt.
One Hum Dinger
This was one long decade.
Nora and Curt’s lives seem oddly juxtaposed against one another.
They seem wealthy and have servants, but don’t own a house.
They act the role of wealthy socialites but owe an incredible amount of debt, which is foreclosed.
Curt seems to be quite focused on success, trying one thing after another or perhaps several things simultaneously. Nora seems oddly disconnected from whatever he is doing – concentrating on cards, the social club, luncheons, her children, church, and visiting other similarly situated wives. Perhaps being able to provide Nora and his daughters with this lifestyle is part of what Curt feels defines him as successful.
But then again, they aren’t entirely disconnected. They went “camping” together for two weeks, having a child nine months later, and he traveled to Aurora to visit her parents. But then again, she went home for Christmas alone.
Rushville may be a small town, but there’s a lot of horse-racing money and proportionally many wealthy people. Maybe it’s similar, on a somewhat grander scale, to those make-it-or-break-it oil boomtowns where Curt was raised, back in Pennsylvania. Live fast and take risks, because tomorrow isn’t assured.
Curt had to be a scrapper his entire life. He was orphaned young and began making his way in the oilfields before he was even a teenager. He had certainly known fear and grief and hunger and cold and poverty. He seems to be driven never to endure those things again. He adored his daughters, and they, in turn, nearly worship him.
Curt was always busy, granted, but never too busy for his girls. He took them with him when he went visiting for business, or out to check on his horses – and they loved to ride along in the buggy with their father. As old women, they would talk about those cherished days in Rushville where he told them tales about his father being a river pirate. Maybe those weren’t tall tales after all.
In the span of a decade, Curt had:
- Drilled for oil and gas in multiple locations
- Bought and raced horses
- Founded an ice plant company
- Drilled water wells for the ice plant
- Bought an ice delivery wagon
- Lost the ice plant through foreclosure
- Been hired as the superintendent of the ice plant
- Started a telephone company
- Started an electric light company
- Applied to be the street commissioner
- Founded a baseball team
- Managed the team
- Was perhaps brewing beer, or at least was sued by a brewing company
- Founded two “moving picture” companies
- Been the delegate for the Republicans
- Applied to be the Street Commissioner
- Functioned as a stand-up comedian at the “social club”
- Installed indoor plumbing in homes
- Installed hot water heat in a hotel
- Repaired a broken gas line
- Substituted for the local railroad station agent
- Gambled, perhaps for high stakes, and apparently…lost
- Suffered very public humiliation and expulsion from horse racing. Tarred with the brush of dishonesty and labeled, along with the rest, as “outside the pale of reputable turfdom.”
Did Curt simply think that rules were for other people and he was above all that?
Perhaps as an orphan back in Pennsylvania, Curt had learned to do whatever needed to be done to get ahead, to survive. Perhaps he got carried away. Maybe founding those companies, in particular, the Warograph company, the day before the racetrack event, is a symptom of financial desperation.
Was he close to losing it all – and with it – his pride? Was he afraid to bringing shame to his wife, daughters, and her family? Was he afraid of losing or maybe worse yet, being pitied by his beloved daughters?
What drove Curt? He was, assuredly, a driven man. I keep hearing Kenny Rogers in my mind, singing, “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”
Curt was only 45 years old and seems to have lived enough for several lives already.
What tales will the next decade of newspapers reveal?
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