Curt Lore “Shoots Wells” With Nitroglycerine and Dynamite – 52 Ancestors #325

In the article, Outside the Pale: The Lore Family’s “Remarkable” Life Revealed Through the Newspaper, we discovered details about the life of Curt Lore, known as C. B. Lore, in Rushville, Indiana. One article stated that he lived in Greenburg, but the Greensburg newspaper was not available for that timeframe at

My wonderful cousin came to the rescue, providing information from another source that helps bridge the gap of that pesky missing 1890 census.

Curt Lore married Nora Kirsch in January of 1888 in Aurora, Indiana. Based on the fact that he drilled for gas in Aurora, Indiana and instead, accidentally tapped into a mineral water reserve that became the Blue Lick Well, I thought he lived in Aurora, at least for a while before he married Nora. The Blue Lick well was about a mile from the Kirsch House, the tavern/hotel that her parents owned.

But, as it turns out, Curt apparently was only visiting Aurora, according to a news article in the Greensburg, Indiana, newspaper.

Even more interesting is the fact that Curtis not only wasn’t living in Rushville, or Greensburg, but was a resident of Findlay, Ohio. Who knew?

This map of the gas fields might explain that situation.

Shotgun Wedding & Two Wives

  • January 10, 1888, in the Greensburg, Indiana newspaper.

Not only do we discover that Curt lived in Findlay, but we learn that he rode the 1:23 train from Greensburg to Aurora, with his well-driller crew, and was married at 4:30. I don’t know how long that train ride took, but he obviously wasn’t late. Nor, apparently, was there a lot of prep involved for the groom.😊

That journey is about 40 miles, so maybe an hour’s train ride.

I can’t help but wonder what Curt was thinking as the train whizzed along. As the scenery blurred, was he thinking about someone, someplace else, in the not-so-distant past?

Today, by digging in the “Lunatics, Alcoholics and Divorcees” book of records in the Warren County, Pennsylvania courthouse, we know that Curt was still legally married to his wife, Mary, in Pennsylvania. Maybe that was a legal technicality, or maybe not. Mary had filed for divorce in November of 1887, stating that he had deserted her and their four children and had been gone for more than a year. Not only that, he either left Mary 9 months pregnant and never came back, or with a newborn baby. There’s no question that he knew this because he was in the courthouse in Pennsylvania on November 17, 1887, when the divorce papers were “read to him,” according to the court records.


Pesky details anyway!

Did this bother Curt as he rode the train to marry Nora? Even a little bit?

Curt was technically a bigamist, because the divorce wasn’t granted until April 5, 1888, four months after he married Nora.

Complicating everything, Nora was pregnant by the time they married, and her Dad was a crack shot and probably mad as hell.

Angry father who was a national shooting champion or divorcing wife several states away.

Decisions, decisions.

Curt Lore may not have been risk-averse – but he also wasn’t crazy. We know which decision he made. He smiled, acted like everything was just fine, and got married at 4:30.

This is Curt’s wedding picture and one of only three we have of him. He certainly doesn’t look stressed. In fact, he looks quite happy.

Shooting Wells

Until I read the next article, I didn’t realize that well-drilling dealt with explosives. No wonder this was a high-risk occupation and attracted only those who weren’t afraid to take risks. Of course, like many things, if you survived, the potential rewards were significant. And if not…

  • January 13, 1888

Hoo boy. Curt “assumed the alleged temperature of a lime kiln.” What a description. I love that reporter! Just in case you’re wondering, that’s between 900 and 1000C.

Curt had a temper.

This isn’t the first time we’ll hear about Curt Lore getting hot behind the collar. Then again, that’s probably a survival mechanism in the oil fields. Those oil fields were populated with men full of testosterone. Couldn’t find work elsewhere – join the rough and rowdy oil crews. If you could survive, you were welcome in the world of wildcatters and roughnecks where every job was dangerous and some were extremely so.


  • The Indianapolis News on March 28, 1888 – The people of Shelbyville are excited over the striking of natural gas in well #4 on the farm of Jonathan Tenant. The well will be “shot” on Thursday, when the flow will, no doubt, be greatly increased. C. B. Lore, the contractor says the well, as it now stands, is equal to any three in Greensburg. Other wells will be put down at once.

Shelbyville is about 22 miles northwest of Greensburg.

  • April 3, 1888 – Gas well #4 on the farm of Jonathan Tenant, 2 miles east of Shelbyville was “shot” yesterday by C. B. Lore of Greensburg. The result was highly satisfactory, the well being 5 times as good as before the shooting. It has a capacity of 1,500,000 cubic feet per day. Other wells will be drilled at once, and the piping of the town commenced within 90 days.

Shooting Oil Wells

So, what is oil well shooting? According to Wikipedia, “oil well shooting is a method of increasing production of an oil well by removing obstructions to drilling, straightening crooked holes, preventing water penetration, and/or increasing the flow of oil.”

Prior to 1910, a “shell,” made of dynamite and a sheet metal casing was lowered into a well and detonated by a blasting cap with a fuse. Both dynamite and nitroglycerine were used to fracture the oil shale and increase productivity. Premature explosions which did more harm than good were common and of course, were often fatal. You can read technical details, here.

Striking gas was the precursor to gas lights for municipalities and eventually gas-heated homes in cities and towns near the gas fields. Everyplace was anxious to drill in the hope of finding this valuable resource.

The Library of Congress site has several photos of filling metal “shells” with nitroglycerine in preparation for shooting wells in Pennsylvania, here.

Discovering that Curt shot wells really gives me pause, especially since this dangerous technology was responsible for a great many deaths in the oil fields. The technology was patented after the Civil War and was employed widely in the Pennsylvania oil fields, including Warren County where Curt grew up.

Perhaps it was perceived that an orphan like Curt had little to lose and was expendable. No family to be devastated if he died. Perhaps Curt found this way to make a living with a career that few wanted. He obviously wasn’t careless, or I wouldn’t be here today.

Curt was a natural-born gambler, it seems. Good at what he did and self-assured. When you’re confident enough to deal with nitro and dynamite, some aggressive guy won’t bother you much.

I have a newfound respect for this man. Just the though of nitro plus dynamite gives me the shakes.

Family Life Begins

  • August 2, 1888 – Edith Lore, the first child of Curt and Nora entered this world, apparently in Marion County, several miles away. I have absolutely no idea why Nora would have had a baby there, unless by some chance she was staying with unknown relatives. She would not have stayed with her parents because of the stigma of a baby arriving “early.” Everyone could count to 9.
  • August 22, 1888 – The fine saddle mare belonging to C. B. Lore died of fever last week, according to the Greensburg paper.

Rig For Sale

  • March 9, 1889

Ok, I’m flummoxed. Why was Curt selling his well drilling outfits? Maybe his bride thought his career choice was simply too dangerous. Maybe he had a close call. Perhaps fatherhood caused him to be somewhat more cautious. He may have sold his drilling equipment, but those skills served him well for his entire life.

Maybe Curt didn’t sell all of his rigs.

This 1885 photo of natural gas miners and their drill was taken near Kokomo, Indiana, part of the Trenton gas field that stretched beneath this part of both Ohio and Indiana.

The first well was drilled in 1886 and the natural gas boom began. At least now we know when and why Curt came to Indiana, and why he would have been in Findlay Ohio. 1886 dovetails with the fact that in 1887, Mary Lore, in her divorce filing stated that Curt had been gone a year.

The Blue Lick mineral water well that Curt stumbled across in Aurora was an accident and from a gas perspective, was a “dry hole.” The best thing to come of that accident was his marriage to Nora Kirsch and my grandmother, Edith.

This natural gas “flambeau” display took place in 1889 in Indiana, at which time it was believed that natural gas was unlimited, so gas was lit at the tops of vent pipes to call attention to the wells. Notice the crowd.

Pythias Lodge

  • March 30, 1889

The Greensburg paper carried the story about Curt’s induction into the Phythian Lodge, a fraternal organization.

His membership certificate would have looked like this one from 1890. The verbiage says:

Friendship, Charity, Benevolence. Knights of Pythias. Founded February 19th, 1864. The Order is founded upon naught but the purest and sincerest motives. Its aim is to alleviate the suffering of a brother, succor the unfortunate, zealously watch at the bedside of the sick, soothe the pillow of the dying, perform the last sad rights at the grave of a brother; offering consolation to the afflicted, and caring, with all a brother’s love, for the widow and orphan. Brotherly love and charity are the Pillars on which it rests; Friendship and Truth the bond and surety of its preservation. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

The Greensburg Lodge building wasn’t built until 1899, so Curt might have attended neighboring Rushville. This building was built in 1850 and purchased by the Lodge in 1889. After moving to Rushville, Curt assuredly attended meetings here.

Unfortunately, much of 1889 and 1890 in the Greensburg paper is silent.


  • March 8, 1891 – Curt and Nora’s second daughter, Curtis, clearly named for her father, was born, apparently in Greensburg.
  • May 14, 1891 – The paper reported about C. B. Lore that “all of a drilling outfit that would burn” was destroyed by fire by some meddlesome boys that lit the gas escaping from a well he had just finished drilling. His losses were heavy, nearly $1000.” Obviously, he had not sold all of his drilling equipment, or maybe the earlier sales funded the purchase of better equipment.
  • June 7, 1891 – The Cincinnati Enquirer Newspaper, under “Aurora, Indiana News,” reported that Mrs. Curt Lore of Greensburg, Indiana is visiting her parents Mr. and Mrs. J. Kirsch, and that her brother, Martin Kirsch has returned from Buffalo, New York. I wonder what Martin was doing in Buffalo.
  • October 7, 1891, back in Greensburg, we discover that changes are underway.

Breaking Up Housekeeping

In October of 1891, Edith would have been just over three years old and Curtis 6 months old.

The phrase “breaking up housekeeping” makes me wonder if their marriage was in trouble, and they subsequently patched things up. Did Nora find out about Mary and Curt’s four other children?

Being a single mother, or divorced, in that time and place carried an extreme stigma. Furthermore, as I accidentally discovered reading the Rushville newspapers from this timeframe, divorce laws were not universal. One could be divorced in one state, and other states not recognize the divorce. Furthermore, one party could petition the court to change their mind, causing the couple to become legally married again, without remarrying. In other words, someone could actually believe they were divorced when they weren’t.

Not to mention that the mere fact that divorce records were kept separately, in at least one state, in a book along with the “Alcoholics and Lunatics” says all we need to know about how divorce was viewed.

We hear nothing more about the Lore family until June of 1892 when C. B. Lore, then living in Rushville, filed a lawsuit in the courthouse.

The Rushville Chapter Begins

Nora and Curt had obviously settled in Rushville at this point where they would live the rest of their married life. They settled into a rented home and their life commenced among the horse-racing socialites.

Perhaps Curt was no longer drilling and shooting wells. We know he owned racehorses and established an ice plant at the location of the old woolen mill on the riverbanks, near the footbridge and the horse race track.

I suspect the “Race” in this postcard is the old mill race.

In the last part of our story, we left Curt and Nora Lore in December of 1900, just as Curt was publicly named in a horse racing scandal where he and several other men were nationally sanctioned for submitting falsified race sheets for “wins” in races that were never run.

Nora likely went home to her parents for a month or so at Christmas, and Curt might have been censured, but he doesn’t seem to have been chastened. Perhaps this year, he accompanied his wife to Aurora with Edith, now 12, Curtis, 9 and Mildred 8 months old.

I can only imagine the conversations that occurred between Curt and Nora. In light of this, maybe he didn’t visit Aurora with Nora after all. The new year came and went without the couple being mention in the newspaper at all. That in itself is unusual – because normally the fact that Nora plus whoever else visited Aurora is mentioned in the social columns.

Curt was probably regrouping, trying to figure out what to do next. Did he have a future in Rushville, or did he need to move on again?


  • Feb. 15, 1901 – Real estate transfers. John H. Muire and wife to Curtis B. Lore part of lot 5 in the original plat of Rushville, $100.

Lot 5 is the original mill site/icehouse property again. Curt had apparently lost this land in the 1890s, but now purchased it again. I wonder why, but the next article provides a clue.

  • Feb 22, 1901

Curt ha procured the contract for street sprinkling. While I can’t find a copyright-free photo, think of a wagon-sized barrel of water pulled by two horses where the driver rides on top of the barrel while a hose sprinkles the dirt streets to reduce the dust.

Curt wanted to pump water from this lot into his wagon. The ice plant he formerly owned occupied (at least part of) this lot and lot 152 next door, within sight of the old covered bridge crossing the river at Main Street.

I can hear the clip-clop of the horses hooves crossing this bridge, pulling carriages.

  • March 5, 1901 – The Presbyterian Sunday school graduated 8 pupils from the infant class into the primary department last Sunday morning. Bibles and diplomas were presented to the graduated after the rendition of the program. Graduated included Curtis Lore.

Curtis, then 10 years old, was the daughter of Curtis Benjamin Lore. She was obviously named for her father. So was his son from his first marriage, John Curtis Lore.

The old Presbyterian church, shown here about 1910, was attended by Nora and the girls. Although Curt was officially a member too, he didn’t seem active.

Mom and I visited this church about 1988.

It warms my heart to see Mom walking in the literal footsteps of her mother and grandmother.

  • March 19, 1901 – C. B. Lore was one of the officers elected for The Social Club which was reported to be in “flourishing condition.”

Curt may have been publicly shamed, but that didn’t seem to damage his social standing. He was reported to be very personable and most everyone liked him.

  • April 19, 1901 – C. B. Lore is recovering from an attack of the grip.

The grip is an old-fashioned word for flu.

  • May 10, 1901 – On motion of Mr. Keating, the Street committee was instructed to see C. B. Lore in regard to his putting too much water on the streets.

I’m guessing they didn’t want mud.

  • May 21, 1901 – Judge Morris has dissolved the temporary restraining order in the injunction proceedings brought by Alger and Gray against C. B. Lore.

I’d love to know what this was about.

  • June 7, 1901 – The City Attorney was instructed to draw an ordinance governing street sprinkling by C. B. Lore.
  • The Presbyterian Church Children’s Day program will take place next Sunday evening at 7:30 and Curtis Lore will present “The First Children’s Day.”
  • The matter of C. B. Lore’s pumping apparatus in the neighborhood of the mill was referred to the Street Committee.

I wonder if this suit has to do with his rig being parked in the way, interfering with something that Gray and Alger were doing.

  • July 5, 1901

  • Oct. 8, 1901 – The following cases have been set for trial at the November term of court which convenes on November 18th: Lore vs Alter, Nov. 29th
  • Nov. 22, 1901 – The High School has had no visitors this week, but Mrs. Lore visited the grades.

The grade school was the Graham School, shown here about 1910.

The Lore girls attended this school given that it was the only school in town.

Mom and I visited this building too, almost 80 years later. I wish we had gone back with my grandmother’s sister, Eloise, before she passed away. What stories she could have told.

I can’t help but think of Nora and Edith walking in and out of this very door, maybe holding hands. Perhaps Edith happily skipped.

Edith turned 13 in 1901. Perhaps too old to skip along or hold her mother’s hand.

  • Nov. 26, 1901 – C. B. Lore is recovering from an attack of sickness.
  • Nov. 29, 1901 – Lore vs Alger trial to convene Monday.
  • Dec. 24, 1901 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children left last Saturday to visit her parents at Aurora, during the holidays.


  • January 7, 1902 – Lore vs Alger trial will be heard at February term of court.
  • February 21, 1902 – The Presbyterian Junior Christian Endeavor Society has elected Mattie Hogsett as President, Edith Lore Vice-President.
  • February 14, 1902 – C. B. Lore returned home last night from Kentucky where he has been drilling oil wells.
  • March 15, 1901 – The firm of Alger and Gray, by John M. Stevens, attorney, have filed a suit in court against Curtis B. Lore to enjoin him from putting a building in the driveway that runs past their coal shed at the foot of Morgan street. Judge Morris has granted a temporary restraining order until the final hearing of the case.

So it appears this suit is about land use and access to a coal shed. Of course, nothing of the original structures remains today.

  • March 18, 1902 – Curtis Lore and wife played cards with a number of other couples.
  • March 21, 1902 – Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Kirkpatrick of near Henderson entertained Claude Kirkpatrick and wife, W. R. Coverston and wife and C. B. Lore and wife at dinner, Sunday the 16th. An enjoyable day was passed and all report a good time.

These always make me laugh. Who was going to tell the newspaper that they had a miserable time for the social column?

  • March 28, 1902 – The Presbyterian Sabbath School will have special exercises at the Sabbath-school hour on Easter. The following program: Duet – Edith Lore and Mattie Hogsett.
  • April 4, 1902 – Cradle Songs of Many Nations – this pretty and interesting entertainment, given under the management of the ladies of St. Paul’s M.E. church last Tuesday was well attended. The program began with a grand match by the children, in costume, and was followed by a chorus including a Chinese tambourine duet by Edith Lore and Mattie Hogsett. Gross receipts were $105 and net were $78.


  • April 25, 1902

This is odd. Nora’s sister, Carrie, married in her sister’s home in Rushville instead of in Aurora at the Kirsch House. Given what I know is coming next, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Jacob Kirsch knew that Wymond was bad news.

Why did Carrie marry him? Carrie was 31 years old – no child bride.

I would take this elopement as proof positive that Carrie’s parents’ didn’t approve. Joseph Wymond and his family lived locally in Aurora, and the entire Kirsch family would have known that he was a “playboy.”

Every photo I’ve ever seen of Carrie shows her smiling and joyful. The one photo of Wymond, a decade older than Carrie and from a wealthy family shows an unsmiling man that looks “stiff.”

Carrie assuredly thought this was the beginning of happy-ever-after – but in reality – it was the beginning of a nightmare. He died 8 years later, of complications from syphilis after being institutionalized for 8 months. She died 24 years later, also institutionalized, after suffering terribly, of organ failure from the same disease.

I’m sure the entire Kirsch family rued this day, but no one more than Carrie herself.

Visiting and Entertaining

  • July 8, 1902 – Mrs. C. B. Lore left yesterday for a visit at Aurora.
  • Aug 22, 1902 – C. B. Lore and family, Miss Ida Kirsch of Aurora (and others) formed a party which drove out to White’s Mill yesterday and spent the day fishing.
  • Aug. 22, 1902 – C. B. Lore returned home last Wednesday from Corbin, KY where he has been drilling gas wells.
  • October 21, 1902 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond of Aurora is visiting her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • October 24, 1902 – Mrs. W. A. Jones and Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained a large number of friends at the Social Club rooms last Wednesday evening.
  • October 31, 1902 – Mr. and Mrs. Lore of Greenfield visited Mrs. Carpenter this week.

No Lore appears in Greenfield, or Greensburg, in the 1900 census.

  • Dec. 30, 1902 – Scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5, Lore vs Alger.

I don’t know exactly what this case was about, but Alger owned land where gas wells were being drilled, so I suspect perhaps something in this vein.

These men seemed to be at almost constant odds for several years.


  • February 6, 1903 – The case of C. B. Lore against Alger and Gray was tried in court yesterday. A compromise was reached between the parties before the case was finished.
  • March 6, 1903 – Phil Wilk and C. B. Lore were visitors at Greensburg Wednesday.
  • March 6, 1903 – C. B. Lore, J. C. Clore, George T. Caldwell, George T. Aultman and the Rushville Gas and Light Company petitioned council to vacate Water Street west to Jackson Street. The request was continued until the next morning.

In this aerial, it certainly looks like a street used to be located where the red arrows are pointing.

I can’t help but wonder why the request to vacate the street. Did they drill a well in this location?

  • April 10, 1903 – The following program will be rendered on Easter night at 7:30 at the Presbyterian Church by the Sunday School. All are cordially invited. Solo – Mildred Lore, Recitation, “An Easter Prayer” – Edith Lore

Edith would have been a few months shy of 15.

  • April 14, 1903 – Mrs. Joseph Wyman of Aurora is visiting C. B. Lore and family.
  • July 7, 1903 – C. B. Lore Drilling Company has been organized with C. B. Lore of this city as manager and B. B. Conway of Jeffersonville, Indiana as treasurer. Mr. Phil Wilk is also a member of the company. The company purchased the drilling outfit of William Price and they will ship it to Scott county next week to develop a promising oil field.

This looks like “go big or stay home” time.

Note that Phil Wilk is the father of Edith Wilk, the eventual wife of Wendell Wilkie, an Indiana politician who unsuccessfully ran for president. Nora was friends with Edith and visited her during her husband’s political campaign in 1940. Edith worked for Wilke during his campaign.

  • July 7, 1903 – Mrs. Joseph Wyman of Aurora and Mrs. Luisa Fiske of Jeffersonville who have been visiting their sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore returned to their homes yesterday afternoon.

I suspect that this may have been the occasion when this lovely summer hat photo was taken. It would have had to have been when Carrie, Lou, and Edith were together, along with someone taking the picture – likely Nora.

Those long skirts look miserably hot in July.

October 8, 1903 – Not noted in the paper, but Curt and Nora’s fourth daughter and last child, Eloise, joined the family.

  • September 8, 1903 – list of unclaimed letters at the post office: P. L. Lore

This is interesting because there is a P. L. Lore who appears in Warren County, PA, where Curt was born, also involved in well-drilling, that I’ve never been able to identify.

  • October 13, 1903 – List of unclaimed letters at the post office: Mr. W. L. Lore
  • October 28, 1903 – Indianapolis Journal – Rushville. Headline: “Roaring Rushville Well – Strong Flow of Gas Struck at Depth of 915 Feet.” A gas well drilled by C. B. Lore for George Caldwell, a liveryman of this city, is considered the best well ever put down in this vicinity. A strong flow of gas was struck this morning at a depth of 915 feet, 15 feet in Trenton rock, which showed a 17-foot blaze without shooting the well. This is the 6th well recently drilled in this city and is the best one.
  • November 24, 1903 – Kurt Lore was in Indianapolis Sunday.
  • November 24, 1903 – Miss Edith Lore who has been spending 3 weeks at Cincinnati and Aurora having her eyes treated returned home yesterday.

What was wrong with my grandmother’s eyes? She would have been 15 years old. I sure wish I could ask my mother.


  • March 14, 1904 – Curt Lore was among the Indianapolis passengers this morning.
  • April 14, 1904 – Miss Curtis Lore of West Second street who has been sick with the grip is now some better.
  • April 28, 1904 – Mrs. Jos. Wymond of Aurora is visiting C. B. Lore and family of this city.
  • May 9, 1904 – The water and light committee of the city council has contracted with C. B. Lore to drill the 2 new wells ordered by council at the last meeting.

I wonder if this is why they vacated Water Street and this is where the wells were drilled.

  • May 9, 1904 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughters, Mildred and Eloise are the guests of relatives at Aurora.

Where was Edith? She would have been old enough to stay at home. Perhaps she needed to rehearse for the upcoming play.

  • May 25, 1904 – Large Audience Greeted Senior Class in Merchant of Venice

Miss Edith Lore in the part of Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, could not have played her part better.

  • May 26, 1904 – C. B. Lore left this morning on a business trip to Dillsboro, Indiana.
  • June 2, 1904 – The C. E. Society of the Presbyterian church will give a “Seven Social” at the church, Tuesday, June 7th. The program will begin at 7:60 PM. Admission: seven times two and one half cents. Program includes: Seven times three – Love; Edith Lore
  • June 22, 1904 – Curt Lore passed through here from Dillsboro where he has been transacting business, to Fairmount and Marion.
  • June 23, 1904 – Curt Lore returned home this morning from a business trip to Fairmount and Marion.
  • June 24, 1904 – Curt Lore who has been home with his family for a day or two returned to Dillsboro this morning.
  • June 30, 1904 – Miss Curtis Lore is visiting relatives at Aurora, Indiana.
  • July 20, 1904 – C. B. Lore returned this morning from a business trip to Dillsboro.

Curt seems to have transitioned to businessman from oil driller.


  • January 4, 1905 – C. B. Lore and two daughters, Edith and Curtis, have returned from Aurora where they spent the holidays with relatives.
  • January 5, 1905 – Greensburg Graphic: Curtis B. Lore of Rushville spent Wednesday here with relatives.

Who was Curt related to in Greensburg? Why couldn’t they just SAY???

  • January 10, 1905 – Curt Lore will drill a 10 inch well for the city, near the water plant for the purpose of increasing the water supply.
  • January 17, 1905 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughter Mildred have returned home from a visit with relatives at Aurora.
  • January 19, 1905 – Expenses submitted to council include Lillian Lore for teaching in Posey Township, also Lillian Lore, “institute”

I have no idea who Lillian is and she may not be related. I can find no link.

  • January 27, 1905 – Mildred, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore is sick with fever.
  • January 27, 1905 – Curt Lore has returned from Lawrenceburg. He expects his well drilling outfit here at any time and expects to go to work on the city well as soon as the weather moderates.
  • February 1, 1905 – Those who Attended the Masked Party Enjoyed Themselves Hugely – occurred in the big yellow house on the corner of Harrison and Second Street.

Edith would have been about 17.

Today, only one original house remains at this intersection and based on the house numbers, this appears to be the “large yellow house” where this party was held.

  • February 4, 1905 – Mrs. Joseph Wymond of Aurora is the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • February 6, 1905 – The Ladies Band of Workers of the Presbyterian church will meet Wednesday afternoon with Mrs. C. B. Lore at her home on West Second Street.
  • February 10, 1905 – The Ladies Band of Workers of the First Presbyterian Church held their weekly meeting last Wednesday at the home of Mrs. C. B. Lore on West Second Street.
  • February 11, 1905 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond of Aurora who has been visiting Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore returned home today.
  • February 11, 1905 – C. B. Lore has purchased the casing for the new well at the water and light plant and expects to begin work as soon as the weather moderates.
  • February 22, 1905 – C. B. Lore reported that he is making good progress with the new water well at the water and light plant and stated that the well will undoubtedly be a good one
  • February 28, 1905 – Headline “Question of Drilling More Wells Led to Some Heated Discussions” – The City Council convened in special session last night with all members present and Mayor Hall presiding to consider the letting of the fuel contract for the water and light plant for the year beginning April 15th. Eight proposals submitted.

Sounds like that meeting got a bit heated!

  • March 20, 1905 – Curt Lore is drilling another new water well for the city supply in the center of Washington Street near Second.
  • March 22, 1905 – The committee having in charge the construction of the new water wells, reported that they had contracted with C. B. Lore to drill 3 wells at the price of $3.30 a foot, he to furnish and guarantee everything.
  • March 25, 1905 – Curt Lore is now at work on the second of the new water wells being drilled by the city. The work is progressing nicely.
  • March 28, 1905 – The second water well drilled by C. B. Lore for the city proved to be not so good as the first one. Mr. Lore is now at work on the third well. The second well is about 84 feet deep.
  • Thursday, March 30, 1905 – Misses Pauline Coverston and Edith Lore have gone to Franklin for a visit. They will return home on Monday.

Edith Lore, born in 1888, would have been a few months shy of 17. Pauline was the daughter of William and Ethel Covertson and was a few years younger than Edith, born in 1892. Pauline married Richard Wangelin in 1917 and lived in Goshen, Indiana, near Edith after she married for a few years, then in Indianapolis. I don’t know if those ladies kept in touch.

  • April 7, 1905 – Miss Mildred Lore has issued invitations for an afternoon party, Saturday from 2 until 5 o’clock.
  • April 14, 1905 – C. B. Lore has returned home from a business trip to Aurora.
  • April 19, 1905 – C. B. Lore who contracted with the city for 4 deep wells at the city power house has completed two and is now beginning on the third.
  • May 4, 1905 – Curt Lore was at Lawrenceburg yesterday buying repairs for his drilling outfit.
  • May 6, 1905 – C. B. Lore made a business trip to Indianapolis yesterday.
  • May 9, 1905 – The water and light committee of the city council has contracted with C. B. Lore to drill the 2 new wells ordered by council at the last meeting.
  • May 9, 1905 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughters, Mildred and Eloise are the guests of relatives at Aurora.
  • May 20, 1905 – C. B. Lore will spend Sunday at Aurora where his wife and little daughter, Eloise are visiting.

Eloise would have been about 18 months old at this time. She was the youngest and last child they would have.

  • May 27, 1905 – An immense audience attended the Commencement Exercise at the Christian Church – The Girls Glee Club delighted the audience with a song, “Merry June” and being heartily applauded responded with an equally pretty selection. The club is composed of <list of names omitted> and Edith Lore.

Edith played the piano very well and it was her life-long love. I have vague memories of her sitting at the piano, playing, in the music room in Silver Lake, some 55 years later.

Clearly, Nora and Curt had a piano in the house. Her friend, Pauline, according to later newspaper accounts, played as well.

  • May 30, 1905 – C. B. Lore is now at work on the 6th of the new wells drilled near the water and light plant. The drill is down about 50 feet.
  • May 31, 1905 – Misses Marie Clark and Edith Lore visited friends in Morristown yesterday.
  • June 10, 1905 – First Presbyterian Church – Following is given in a program of the Children’s Day exercises to be held at the church tomorrow evening. Duet – “A Message from Heaven” – Edith Lore and Katherine Petry.

Mother or Eloise believed that Curt may have built or helped to build the church that stands today. I wonder if he installed gas lights or heat, perhaps.

  • June 13, 1905 – It seems now that the 6th well sunk in Arthur Street north of the C.H. and D. tracks by C. B. Lore for the city water and light, is a dry hole. The well is now down 105 feet and the committee having the matter in charge does not know whether it wants to go farther down or not. Members of council have objected to this well being drilled and they do not believe that the committee would be justified in going farther down.

At the meeting last night Councilman Smith refused to OK Mr. Lore’s bill of $315 as a partial payment for his work. Mr. Lore grew hot under the collar and said some very warm things. Mr. Lore objects to working and then being kept continually waiting for his money.

I can’t say as I blame him.

  • June 21, 1905

This isn’t the only time that Curt “grew hot under the collar and said some warm things.”  His temper caused him to wind up in the paper more than once. That’s not something that ever filtered down through the family, but then again, his daughters may not have known. Nora probably kept them pretty well insulated.

  • June 22, 1905 – Curt Lore was among the Rushville people at Greenfield yesterday attending the institution of an aerie of Eagles.

Curt Lore apparently belonged to the fraternal order of Eagles. An aerie is the name of their lodge. The Eagles started advocating for Mother’s Day in 1904 and in 1935, for Social Security. Founded in 1898, “the Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international non-profit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.”

It’s fitting that the Eagles Lodge in Rushville now stands on the land Curt once owned, where ice company once stood.

  • June 23, 1905 – Misses Mary Neutzenhelzer, Edith Lore, Marie Clark and Hazel Moore picnicked yesterday near Arlington.
  • August 7, 1905 – Miss Ida Kirsch who has been the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore returned home today to Aurora, Indiana.

Did Ida visit to celebrate her niece, Edith’s, 17th birthday on August 2nd? This dress appears to be from the same era as the white dresses of the other women in the earlier photo.

  • August 11, 1905 – C. B. Lore has completed the 6th water well for the city water and light plant.

Lon Lore

Greensburg Standard newspaper – October 2, 1903

Curt’s brother was P. L. Lore? Is this Lon?

  • Rushville Newspapers – September 8, 1903 – list of unclaimed letters in the post office includes P. L. Lore
  • August 22, 1905 – Lon Lore left today on a business trip to Cincinnati.
  • November 6, 1906 – Curt and Lon Lore who have been working on the Indianapolis and Louisville traction line, near Scottsburg, returned home to vote today.

These entries are actually extremely interesting. Curt’s brother’s name, or nickname, was Lon as reported by Aunt Eloise, Curt’s daughter. It’s thought this might have been short for Alonzo but from the records I’ve found, there is no Alonzo in this family. The only place Alonzo is found is mistakenly on the grave marked A. D. Lore, as given by his death certificate and every census record we can find. A. D. Lore is not Alfonzo Lore.

One Alonzo Lore is born and lived near Philadelphia and is found with his parents, so clearly not this man.

However, there is an Alonzo Lore born about 1861, according to the Crawford County, Pennsylvania 1880 census. He was divorced by Mary getting divorced in Warren County, Pennsylvania in 1898, and then he disappears in the records entirely – until now – a decade later.

It’s possible that Alonzo is Curt’s youngest sibling, born the year after the 1860 census, and unaccounted for in 1870. There is a Mary Clark who died in 1909 who had two children, Hazel then married to Henry Haser, and one Henry Lore born in 1894. Somehow her husband at death, Fred Clark, was involved with P. L. Lore and oil drilling.

Apparently, Lon did live in Rushville, which leads me to wonder if he and Curt worked together.  Searching for other instances of Lon or Alonzo Lore in the Rushville paper came up empty-handed. Whoever Lon was, he reportedly “never came back” to visit Curt after Mildred and Eloise put a thumbtack on his chair and he sat on it.

Upon rising, rapidly, he reportedly announced that Curt’s girls were terrible, and departed. Eloise who was born in 1903 remembered this event and said she was maybe 4 or 5, so that would have been about 1908.

Are Lon Lore and P. L. Lore two different people?

Fun and Fairs

  • August 26, 1905 – Greensburg News – Friday – Our city has outgrown Curt Lore, of Rushville, a former resident here. He took the wrong one of the numerous out-bound trains, yesterday evening, in his attempt to get home. This is Curt’s second or third offense of a like nature within a very short time.

I bet Curt was probably distracted at the time and quite embarrassed by this. It made me laugh. There are so many serious events in his life – I enjoyed this light-hearted humor. I think I inherited this trait!

  • August 29, 1905 – Among the Rushville people who will have stands at the fair are C. B. Lore, southwest corner of floral hall.

I’m dying to know why Curt had a stand at the fair. He clearly wasn’t advertising for municipal well-drilling business. And in the floral hall? His movies perhaps? Electricity? Phones? Plumbing?

The Rush County fairgrounds looked like this around 1907. Horses and buggies were the transportation of the day. But those poor horses would have gotten awfully hot with no trees for shelter.

Alas, with the fair over, it’s back to work.

Back to the Daily Routine

  • Sept. 6, 1905 – The committee which had been appointed to make a report as to what should be done about the matter of connecting the 3 water wills which were drilled by Curt Lore for the city water and light plant, reported that they thought it the wisest plan not to connect these wells with the reservoir until next year.
  • Sept. 20, 1905 – City Clerk Lakin was instructed to order C. B. Lore to move his drilling outfit from Arthur Street.
  • Sept. 25, 1905 – Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Coverston, Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore (and others) spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Earl Coverston at Fairmount and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Coverston at Jonesboro.
  • Oct. 10, 1905 – Zike Lore, an old-timer of this county is in this city for a few days. Mr. Lore is a specimen writer and deals in specialties, in pens and advertising supplies. He is located on the corner of Main and Second streets.

I have no clue who this might be, but he doesn’t seem to be related. I don’t find any similar name in the 1900 census.

  • Oct. 17, 1905 – Republicans choose delegates for city convention tonight. Curt Lore – alternate for second ward.

Satan Visits the Masked Ball

  • Nov. 1, 1905

I had to read this twice. I can just see these women in long skirts climbing the ladder and entering through the window. I’d wager there was a HUGE amount of laughter, and not one person had any dignity left by the time everyone managed to get inside.


  • Nov. 6, 1905  – If the Democratic party has conducted AN HONEST city administration, why is it that the contract for the first new water well, the test well, was let to C. B. Lore and no other well ?? was consulted. W. A. Mull a ??(torn) was not given a ??torn honest way of let- ??torn…

Uh-oh, trouble in paradise.  Sounds like dealing with municipal government contracts and politics hasn’t changed much in 100+ years.

  • Nov. 8, 1905 – P. L. Lore of Cincinnati among those who came home to vote.

Is this man in some way related to Curt?  No absentee ballots then? There was a P. L. Lore in Pennsylvania, a relationship that I could never figure out. Of course, this could be entirely unrelated and P. L. Lore may be entirely unrelated to Curt.

However, the link between a P. L. Lore, well-drilling, Curt, Adin, Alonzo, the Clark family, and more in Warren County, PA is just too much coincidence. Somehow, these families are related. Most of the people simply disappear from the records. This seems to be a Lore family thing.

Never a Dull Moment

  • Nov. 17, 1905 – Miss Curtis Lore has been absent from school on account of sickness.
  • Nov. 25, 1905 – Miss Edith Lore of west Second street is visiting her friend Miss Marie Clark of North Main Street who is attending school at Butler University, Irvington. Miss Lore will remain over Sunday.
  • Nov. 28, 1905 – Miss Edith Lore has returned from a visit with Miss. Marie Clark, at Irvington.
  • Dec. 1, 1905 – Insurance case on trial. Men who compose the jury are (list of names omitted> and C. B. Lore.

Jury duty – what fun!  Here’s the courthouse that Curt Lore knew up close and personal and where he sat as a juror.

I can’t help but wonder if Curt installed those utility poles.

Then, and now.

  • Dec. 5, 1905 – Bids submitted by C. B. Lore and the Ohio Valley Bridge Co. for repairs to the Arlington bridge were rejected for the reason that they were in excess of the appropriation.

Arlington bridge, photo courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society BH photo #445954.

I wonder what Curt was doing to repair bridges. He seemed to be able to do literally just about anything.

  • Dec. 8, 1905 – C. B. Lore suffered quite a loss yesterday. A horse belonging to him dropped dead while at work on the farm of Clarence Carney in Noble Township.

Curt had terrible luck with horses it seemed. This is not the first horse that dropped dead. How terribly sad.

What kind of a relationship did C. B. Lore have with Clarence Carney? Why was his horse working there?

  • Dec. 12, 1905 – The Young Ladies Missionary Circle of the First Presbyterian Church will meet this evening with Miss Edith Lore, west Second street.
  • Dec. 13, 1905 – The Young Ladies Mission Circle of the Presbyterian church met last night at the house of Miss Edith Lore on West Second Street.
  • Dec. 22, 1905 – Mrs. C. B. Lore has gone to Aurora to spend the holidays with relatives.

This makes me wonder why Curt wasn’t mentioned.


On January 3, 1906, Barbara Mehlheimer Drechsel, Nora’s grandmother, died of cardiac arrhythmia after being ill for almost a year. She was buried on January 7th.

  • January 4, 1906 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughters have returned from Aurora where they spent the holidays.

This is an interesting entry. I’m surprised that they didn’t stay in Aurora for Barbara’s funeral. She was Nora’s grandmother after all, and Nora would have wanted to be supportive of her mother, so I’m mystified by Nora’s return to Rushville on January 4th.

The paper entry mentions holidays, but this season would have been overshadowed by Barbara’s impending death.

  • January 11, 1906 – The following cast of characters of “The Union Depot” which will be given tomorrow night at the opera house under the auspices of the Ladies of the Presbyterian Church. Curtis Lore – School girl.

Curtis, the second oldest daughter would have been couple months shy of 15.

  • February 10, 1906 – Republican delegates chosen for county convention. C. B. Lore from the second ward.

This is interesting. Curt is a Republican, but earlier, someone was complaining that a Democratic council has been unfairly biased towards Curt. Curt’s father-in-law, Jacob Kirsch was a Democrat and served in that capacity in Aurora. Of course, the leanings and platforms of the parties were entirely different than they are today.

I bet those conversations were interesting, nonetheless. I wonder if the women left the room and made sure the granddaughters couldn’t hear.

  • Feb 22, 1906 – The Websterian Literary society, section B, division 2 composed of Freshmen and Sophomores in the high school will present the following program tomorrow afternoon at the high school building in honor of Washington’s birthday. Recitation – “On the Shores of Tennessee” by Curtis Lore.

The Websterian Literary Society appears to be a coeducational society with programs that included instrumental and vocal music, readings, declamations, and debates.

  • February 24, 1906 – Edith Lore to furnish special music on the Presbyterian Church Sunday.
  • March 21, 1906 – C. B. Lore agreed to tear down and rebuild the stack to its present height furnish all labor and material for $775. (Someone else underbid him by $10 and he did not get the contract.)
  • March 26, 1906 – Mrs. J. F. Wymond of Aurora, is the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • March 26, 1906 – Miss Bertha Helm entertained a number of friends Saturday evening in honor of Mrs. J. F. Wymond, the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Carrie married Joseph Wymond in 1902 and he died of syphilis in 1910, so clearly by this time, she surely knew that he, and she, both had the disease. Was this when she came to talk things over with her sister? Nora must have been devastated, understanding that syphilis at that time was a sure, and slow, horrific death sentence.

Wymond’s family was quite wealthy and he was reportedly a riverboat gambler. Mom referred to him as a “dandy,” which, trust me, was not a term of endearment.

  • March 27, 1906

I’m glad Curt wasn’t harsh with these boys. Perhaps he remembered being desperately poor as a child.

This speaks to me personally about Curt Lore and how he treated children. These boys probably didn’t have a bicycle – given that it was ridden to death. Curt probably wanted to teach them a valuable lesson, but not damage them. Hopefully his charity, generosity, and gentle lesson served them well for the rest of their life. Curt was apparently a kind man.

  • April 16, 1906 – A large audience attended the services at the Presbyterian church at night. Special exercises were held at that time by the Sunday School. Miss Edith Lore furnished special music at the morning service. She also did a reading.

I don’t know where, exactly, Edith learned to play the piano, but it was clearly as a child in Rushville. It would serve her well for her entire life in many ways. She played for church, friends and her daughter, my mother’s, dance recitals.

  • April 18, 1906 – C. B. Lore bids on bridges.
  • April 19, 1906 – Graduates at Milroy – Music by Glee Club – Music was furnished by the Rushville high school Girls Glee Club which consists of the following young ladies <list of names omitted> and Edith Lore. There were 8 graduates.
  • April 24, 1906 – The local high school this spring will have one of the largest graduating classes in recent years. A more brilliant set of students has seldom graduated here. The class will consist of 23 young people – 14 young ladies and 9 young gentlemen including the following students <list of names omitted> and Edith Lore.

Apparently, if the students didn’t pass their exams, they didn’t graduate. Edith’s friends for the past dozen years would have been the other students in her graduating class. I wish there was a photograph of the graduating class.

The following photos were taken of Edith about this time and may have been taken for graduation.

On August 2, 1906 – Edith Lore turned 18. Officially an adult.

Unforeseen Changes

Edith graduated, and Curt became ill.

Very ill.

Gravely ill.

And he’s not the only one.

What will happen to Curt? To Edith? To Nora?

What about the rest of the family?

Life is changing rapidly and in unanticipated ways…that’s for sure.

There’s only one thing to say.


Tune in next week.



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6 thoughts on “Curt Lore “Shoots Wells” With Nitroglycerine and Dynamite – 52 Ancestors #325

  1. Loved this! Aren’t newspapers wonderful … especially digitized ones. I remember all the hours and hours pouring over microfilmed ones and before that the actual physical ones.

  2. Please let us know when this becomes a NetFlix Series. Seriously, the Halloween episode alone would be great! As I was reading this, I thought that Mr. Lore had a streak of kindness regardless, and you affirmed that with your comment about the bicycle story. If you wrote a script for this, I really think his character would be well-liked. However, I almost had tears at the end. I wonder if I would be too sad for next week’s installment. Thank you for sharing this well-documented story!

    • I tried that. I can’t figure out if he was a local why he wasn’t recorded, at all. Maybe spelling. I don’t know.

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