Curt Lore: Knock, Knock, Knocking at the Door – 52 Ancestors #328

1908 ended in Rushville, Indiana with Edith Lore marrying John Ferverda in November, “quietly,” the same day as they obtained their license, in the home of the Presbyterian minister.

For socialites, Nora Kirsch Lore and Curt Lore, this turn of events for their daughter was quite out of character. Why on earth did Edith and John marry in this manner? And no, in case you’re wondering, there wasn’t a baby on the way.

Perhaps it was because Curt was out of commission for several weeks in 1908 when he had typhoid and nearly died.

Perhaps an unfortunate suicide within the family had made the couple decide that sooner was better than later.

Or, maybe there was more to the story.

What was happening in Rushville in the Lore family?

Rushville in 1909

Postcard courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

Never doubt for one minute that Rushville was a fast-living high-stakes horse-racing town.

This birds-eye view from 1909 clearly shows the racetrack beside the creek, in the flood-prone area. Rushville was built around racing.

Courtesy Indiana Historical Society

That horse racing track was quite large in comparison to the village itself, perhaps reflective of its outsized influence on the citizens. Much of Rushville’s early development was thanks to “horse money.”

Curt and Nora lived in town, raising their four daughters, but Curt’s racehorses were boarded someplace nearby. This postcard, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, shows a typical horse farm. Indeed, for all we know, one, or some of these could have been Curt’s.

Even today, the area that was originally the horse-racing track is still quite large when compared to the rest of the city and dominates the landscape.

The courthouse is marked with a red star, then the First Presbyterian Church where Nora and the girls attended services, and finally, on West Second Street, the location where the Lore family lived.

Panning out a bit, further to the left, we see the East Hill Cemetery. Curt Lore built a mausoleum there for the Reed family in 1907. It was the last stop for Rushville citizens.

Curt himself had cheated the grim reaper in 1907. In January, he came down with typhoid. For weeks on end, the newspaper reported that he was very ill and not expected to survive. Imagine reading that if you were his wife or daughters.

John Ferverda was a pallbearer in January for a typhoid victim, probably a friend of his future wife, Edith.

The river had flooded, contaminating wells with sewage. Nora sent the girls to their grandmother’s in Aurora, preparing for the worst.

One daughter, Curtis, remained at home to help care for her father.

Did the other daughters, especially the two youngest children, realize they were being sent away to spare them the agony of witnessing their father’s death?

On March 18th, Curt was still reported to be the same, but then, on the 21st, the newspaper reported him to be out riding. Not on a horse, I’m sure, but in a buggy. Then again, a week later.

Glory be! Curt had triumphed in his battle against the Grim Reaper.

On June 10th, Curt seemed to be functioning again. He applied for a position as the superintendent of light and water that he did not get. He still, however, retained the city’s street sprinkler contract, but on the 11th his horse died.

Curt still retained his spunk, mixing it up with the local Marshall and got himself arrested in June. This is the only record of Curt actually getting into legal trouble, although I suspect he stepped quite close to that line regularly.

Life continued for his daughters and Nora like normal. Social outings, card games, meetings at the social club, church – all reported in the local newspaper. Thankfully, for me.

In October 1907, Curt bid on and was awarded bridge repair contracts. That apparently worked well, because he was awarded additional contracts in May of 1908. In June, he purchased a “large cement mixer,” so he was apparently planning on doing more construction and bridge repair.

At that point, we were beginning to see less of Curt in the newspaper, but in September he was visiting Knightstown on business and in October 1908, was involved with a political parade.

We also find fewer mentions of Nora in the social columns. Of course, one might surmise that because her grandparents were ill and passed away and because her sister’s husband met with an untimely and tragic death on Halloween that perhaps Nora was otherwise occupied.

Everything seemed pretty much normal, if somewhat quiet…right up until the extremely subdued November wedding of Edith and John.

Normally, the Rushville newspaper social column tells us who is visiting whom on the train, especially during the holidays. Not one peep about any of the Lore family. Nada. Nothing.

What was going on?


  • January 27, 1909 – John Ferveda got several encores with his singing act.
  • February 1 and February 10, 1909 – C. B. Lore is in very poor health at his home on West Second Street.

Uh oh, now we know. Curt’s sick again.

  • April 15, 1909 – Nora Lore to Curtis B. Lore, part lot 5 in the original plat of Rushville, $1, etc.

Based on a later entry where Nora sells this lot, I suspect that this transaction is reversed and Curt deeded the lot to Nora. Curt is transferring assets to Nora.

  • May 14, 1909 – Newspaper states that John Ferveda (sic) is the operator at the Big 4 Station in Rushville and had at one time an assistant in the office in Carthage. Carthage is about 15 miles northwest of Rushville.
  • June 1, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore went to Aurora yesterday to be the guests of their grandmother for several weeks.
  • June 17, 1909 – Children’s Day will be observed at the Presbyterian church next Sunday. The Sunday School will render interesting exercises in the evening: “That Little Word of Don’t” – Eloise Lore
  • June 21, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore returned Saturday from Aurora where they have been the guests of their grandparents. Their sister, Eloise, who has been visiting there several months accompanied them home.

The girls are growing up. Curtis is 18, Mildred is 10 and Eloise is just under 6. Caring for a family in addition to Curt’s apparent illness must have been extremely difficult for Nora. Edith was married, but she and John helped Nora.

  • June 23, 1909 – Carrie Wieman of Aurora is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore and family on Second Street.

Carrie Kirsch Wymond was Nora’s sister. The daughters of the Kirsch family had been on the receiving end of grief for months. Margaret’s husband, Todd Fiske killed himself on Halloween the fall before.

Carrie’s husband was increasingly ill with syphilis which was probably quite the closely guarded family secret. Sadly, he had given it to her too.

  • June 26, 1909 – Curt Lore who is also in the business, is oiling in Main Street between First and Second. He heats the oil before applying it and says that it will last longer. The summer will probably come and go and all the streets in the downtown district will never be oiled, if the weatherman continues to oppose the movement. The rain is not injurious to the oil, but stops the work and it cannot be put on while the streets are wet. An almost continuous rain fell for 48 hours shortly after the improvement was tried in front of the Daily Republican office and did no harm.
  • June 29, 1909 – Tim Hiner and Curt Lore were busily engaged today oiling Main Street between 2nd and 3rd.

Curt is back at work! He recovered AGAIN. This is amazing!

  • July 13, 1909 – Rushville Daily Republican – Edgar Lore of Shelbyville is the guest of his uncle, C. B. Lore and family on West Second Street.

This is a fascinating record because it gives a name to one of Curt’s nephews. I wonder if this is Lon’s son. Census and Ancestry research don’t show this Edgar in Shelbyville or nearby. There is an Edgar in Butler Co., PA who may be related. The mystery remains about Curt Lore’s brothers and their families, but this is one more puzzle piece. Maybe someday a DNA match will help answer the questions about Curt’s family.

  • July 14, 1909 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond is the guest of C. B. Lore and family on West Second for several days.

I suspect that Carrie was no longer living with her husband, all things considered.

  • July 18, 1909 – Edger Kirsch returned to Shelbyville today after spending a few days with C. B. Lore and family.
  • July 28, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Russell Payne, Mr. and Mrs. John Ferveda, Miss Curtis Lore and George Kelly have established a camp a short distance north of this city.

I wonder what camping in 1909 was like? I never even considered that my grandmother even MIGHT HAVE camped.

FamilySearch offered this photo of camping and cooking, and I found a book written in 1909 about the same subject.

  • Martin Kirsch and son Edgar of Shelbyville spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Lore and family in West Second Street. They made the trip on motorcycles.
  • August 17, 1909 – C. R. Morgan of Alexandria is relieving J. W. Ferveda, Big Four operator. Mr. and Mrs. Ferveda while on their vacation will visit relatives in Aurora and Leesburg.

Edith and John spent their vacation visiting both sets of parents.

  • August 27, 1909 – Of course the I. & C. officials did not know that George Kelly and Miss Curtis Lore had spent the afternoon together on the fairground. But the car was crowded and the officials thought that the very last one had got on that could ride. Miss Lore was the last. George stood and watched the car pull out and wished there had been room for one more. And now their friends are having a lot of fun out of it.

We know that Curtis Lore had a boyfriend from my grandmother’s stories, but we’ve never known who he was. The boyfriend’s family apparently moved “west” as in to someplace like Arizona. Curtis wanted to go along, at that time, to improve her health. Nora said no, and always blamed herself for what happened to Carrie after he and his family left. Nora regretted that decision for the rest of her life.

Was that boyfriend George Kelly? I suspect so. I do not find any George Kelly in Rush County in the 1910 census, so he could have been “the one.”

  • September 1909 – Joseph Wymond, Carrie Kirsch Wymond’s husband is committed to the Wabash Valley Sanitorium near Lafayette, Indiana where he would eventually die of his “affliction.”.
  • October 20, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen arrived last night to be the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore in West Second Street.
  • October 21, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Ed. L. Beer entertained at 6 o’clock dinner last evening Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen and Mrs. Curt Lore.
  • October 22, 1909 – Mrs. Will Coverston has been the guest of Mrs. Curt Lore on West second street and went to Anderson before returning home to Goshen.

It seems that the Coverstons continued to be close friends of Curt and Nora. They had likely came to say goodbye to Curt and help Nora.

White Plague

You see, Curt had tuberculosis.

I’m amazed given the contagious nature of this disease which was untreatable before antibiotics that so many people came and went.

  • November 17, 1909 – C. B. Lore who has been ill for several months is very low at his home on West Second Street.
  • November 26, 1909

Curt died. He had cheated the Grim Reaper so many times before. In 1907 and 1908 and even earlier in 1909. But not this time.

The Grim Reaper came calling, knocking on the door, intending to collect. Sadly, there was no escaping, not even for seemingly invincible Curt Lore.

Curt was only 48 years old, or so this and his obituary both say.

Ironically, even with this death certificate, there is still uncertainty about when he was born, based on the 1860 census in Pennsylvania which tells us he was born in 1856.

It’s pretty hard to be in the 1860 census if you weren’t born until a year later.

Perhaps Curt had not been entirely forthcoming with Nora. Maybe once he had subtracted 5 years off of his age, it was just easier to remain “younger” than face the music of an angry wife.

Yep, born in 1861 it was. No one would ever know – at least not until genealogists started digging. Pesky great-granddaughter, anyway:)


It’s worth noting that the obituary mentions several things and omits others. Curt’s father is noted, for example, but not his mother who outlived his father. It mentions that Curt had four brothers. That’s true, but he had at least one more and possibly two that lived to adulthood.

He also had one sister who positively outlived him.

This family is incredibly difficult to unravel due to the combination of a lack of records and becoming so fractured and scattered after both parents’ deaths.

Curt was making his way in life on his own from about the age of 12 or so.

But perhaps most interesting is that there is no mention of children other than his daughters with Nora.

Three Years

My grandfather and my great-aunt used to talk about Curt’s illness. His death certificate tells us that he had tuberculosis for about 3 years. This article mentions that he has been quite ill for the past year, which equates almost exactly to the time when Edith and John married. Perhaps now we’ve solved the mystery of why they married “quietly.” Curt was becoming increasingly ill. Perhaps the young couple realized he wasn’t going to get better, so there was no pointing waiting to marry. He wasn’t going to be able to walk Edith down the aisle, nor pay for a wedding – ever.

Three years tracks back to about November of 1906, give or take. That was the fall that Edith was in business college, assuming she actually did attend in Indianapolis.

In early January of 1907, the newspaper reports that “Curt Lore who has been employed with the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southern Interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.” Sounds like he was no longer working at that job. Maybe now we know why.

This also tracks back to almost exactly the time that Curt contracted typhoid, in January of 1907.

Curt managed to beat typhoid, but unbeknownst to us, it appears that he beat BOTH typhoid AND tuberculosis at the same time. I can’t even begin to imagine the fortitude required to beat not one, but both diseases.

He worked through the next two years – sprinkling the streets, repairing bridges, and otherwise earning a living. I’m sure Curt simply tried to work through his misery until he was simply too sick to get out of bed.

Having recovered from simultaneous diseases earlier, I have immense respect for this man’s stamina. Sadly, he simply wasn’t able to do it again. His body was ravaged.

According to family members, when Nora realized how ill Curt really was, and the eventual prognosis – she quietly approached the city fathers and ask them not to award Curt more contracts. She was concerned about the legal ramifications if he were to die with a half-fulfilled contract. It’s not like she could repair bridges herself.

Nora once told my Mom that she thought Curt contracted TB when he went to Kentucky on horse business.

Curt lived fast and died relatively young.

Following Curth’s death, Nora’s life would become immensely more difficult. Their daughters at home were Curtis, 18, Mildred 10, and Eloise 6.

Curtis, named for her father, adored Curt and helped Nora care for him.

Daughter Edith, Curtis’s sister, and best friend was married of course, but lived locally and could help her parents.

The two youngest girls were sent to their grandparents in Aurora during Curt’s illness. Probably both to protect them and because Nora simply could not do any more. Caregiving is incredibly difficult and all-consuming, especially when taking into consideration that Curt was carrying a lethal disease and quite contagious.

Now we know why any mention of the couple ceased in the newspaper. Their social life ceased too – not just because of the illness itself and care requirements. Everyone in Rushville would have known to keep a safe distance.

Their Address

The 1900 census does not give a street address for Nora and Curt, so it was only through his death certificate that I was able to discover where they actually lived.

The map shows the location, given that “West” begins at Main Street. I can’t read the last digit of the street address, but it’s clearly 421, 427, or 429. Based on the other numbers on the same certificate, I believe it’s 421.

The property has to be the one outlined in red above. The houses to the right are 417-419 and the house to the left is 431, so too far west.

This earlier 1879 map shows the same property along with the depot and nearby warehouses. This makes sense, especially considering their good friends were station-masters and Edith, their daughter, married John Ferverda, the railroad station agent.

Regardless of which address was theirs, the house stood on this piece of land, and it looks like they had an extra-large backyard, extending onto what is now the lot 424 First Street, behind 423 Second Street.

It’s here that Curt and Nora lived for at least a decade, probably closer to two decades, and most of their married life.

While those properties hold contemporary buildings today, the neighbor house, at left, looks like it was probably standing when Nora and Curt lived next door.

  • November 27, 1909 – C. B. Lore who died Thursday evening held a $1000 policy in the State Life of Springfield, Mass. The funeral of Curtis B. Lore who died of tuberculosis on Thursday evening will be held at the home in West Second street Sunday afternoon at 2:30, conducted by the Rev. J. F. Cowling. Burial will be in East Hill Cemetery.

Curt would be buried in East Hill, like the rest of the Rushville folks, near the mausoleum that he had built just two years earlier.

I am very glad that Nora had this life insurance policy, but it would not last long. Ever darker times were ahead. However, first, she had to bury Curt and probably pay some large number of overdue bills.

There’s no record of Curt working beyond summer, and he likely could only work less and less as he became increasingly ill.

It’s interesting that Curt’s funeral was not in the Presbyterian Church, although his obituary said that he was a member. Perhaps he was a member in name only to placate Nora.

Curt’s father’s family had a traumatic emotional journey due to differences between Catholicism and the Protestant faith, literally severing the family, cleaving them clean in half like a religious saber. Curt’s father left the family and left Canada after his mother died. I doubt he ever looked back.

Curt’s avoidance of all churches may have been a result of those family experiences and a deeply ingrained suspicion of everything church-related held by the Lore family for generations.

Driving Up and Down Second Street

Wanting to see as much of Rushville as I could, I “drove” up and down Second street on Google, looking at homes. Second Street isn’t very long, extending left to right (west to east) on the north side of the courthouse, below.

Their home is the red star at left, and the courthouse at far right.

Would Curt and his family even recognize Rushville today? I think so. There’s a lot new, but the courthouse was build in 1896 and hasn’t changed much. Curt was certainly in this building a lot.

Driving down Second Street towards their house, then turning around and looking back at the courthouse gives is a peek, if you ignore the vehicles, at what the town might have looked like back in the day.

Many of these buildings in the downtown area likely stood when Curt watered these streets before they were paved. The courthouse is at right two blocks in the distance.

Turning around and looking westward on second, we pass by the Knights of Pythias Hall where Curt attended meetings.

The first actual homes today begin in the 200 block of West Second.

Most homes are gone and have been replaced by more contemporary buildings, but a few remain.

Looking west from Second and Harrison into the area that today remains residential with vintage homes. Curt and Nora lived about 2 blocks further west.

I love this house. This wasn’t where they lived, but they certainly would have passed by. Their home had to be spacious because they had 2 servants living with them in 1900, plus 4 children, and Curt was a successful businessman.

That old 1879 Rushville map shows that the area where the 400 block of West Second is today was at that time a warehouse and the train tracks were laid right down the side of what is today Second Street. The depot is shown too, near the stockyards. I’m sure that there was some sort of industrial or animal noise at all times. If I close my eyes, I can hear it.

In 1900, Nora and Curt’s neighbor was the railroad agent, so this location makes sense. Edith married John Ferverda, the station agent, so I should be extremely grateful that they lived where they did.

A lot changed in Rushville between 1879 and 1900 as well. At some point, those tracks down the street were removed and the warehouse replaced with homes.

It’s also possible that the houses have been renumbered sometime between 1909 and today. I’ve seen that happen more than once, and it plays havoc with dealing with early original records and trying to find current locations.

Google Maps shows that the entire 420 section of West Second appears to be gone now, replaced with a contemporary home and garage. The brick house on the left is probably where their house stood.

The house on either side looks to be original.

Standing in the street where they lived, looking downtown at the courthouse, I realize just how small this town was. Curt probably walked many places, or took the buggy, of course. Curt’s daughters are shown in the buggy with one of their horses, below

Two of the Lore daughters with horse and buggy near Rushville.

Standing in this very place on Second Street back in their day, horses would have been clip-clopping, carriages creaking perhaps, and the train whistle in the distance. You would have been able to hear people talking, especially in the hot summertime with windows open. Maybe smell dinner cooking too.

Now, Nora and the girls would have to navigate without Curt.


  • December 14, 1909 – East Hill Cemetery Company to Mrs. Nora Lore, lot in cemetery, $35

This lot was Curt’s burial plot and where Nora would eventually be brought home to rest by his side as well.

My very sad mother beside Nora’s grave, not yet covered with grass, at left, beside C. B. Lore’s stone

Mom is standing by Curt’s stone in the cemetery, probably not long after Nora was buried in 1939.


Before the spring of 1910, according to the newspaper, Nora and her three girls would move from where she lived with Curt on West Second Street to 324 West First Street.

The house was smaller, cute as a button, and certainly less expensive to rent.

Plus, Nora may have needed a change of scenery. While moving was difficult, the fact that they didn’t own the West Second Street property probably made the move easier.

At least Edith still lived in Rushville, and John would have helped his mother-in-law.

In fact, it was here, in this house, that Nora received a visitor.

The Visitor

John Ferverda was sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee and visiting with Nora, when someone knocked on the door, asking for Curt.

Nora told the young man standing there, hat in hand, that Curt had, unfortunately, passed away.

Curt was well-liked with a charismatic personality and had hundreds of acquaintances, given his broad spectrum of business dealings. Nora assumed, of course, that this caller was another business associate dropping by to say hello or see what kind of horse-trading might be in order.

This young man was different. He shuffled, hesitated a bit, and a wave of disappointment visibly washed across his face. He was crestfallen.

This man, you see, had come to find his father.

I’d wager that was one incredibly awkward moment. A tongue-tied young man standing on this porch at the door, probably wishing he was absolutely anyplace else – face to face with the grieving wife – neither one of them knowing exactly what to do or say.

Nora invited him in, and they sat at the kitchen table and talked, but she took that conversation to her grave.

It wasn’t Nora who revealed this incident – nor was it ever spoken of while she lived.

It was John who told Edith and her sister, Eloise. One of them told my mother years later.

Mom and Eloise were under the impression that this son was previously unknown to Nora and might have been from Kentucky. Somehow the dots were connected and it was presumed this son has been fathered when Curt was involved with racehorses in Kentucky sometime after Nora and Curt were married.

So Nora discovered that Curt caught more than tuberculosis in Kentucky. Or, at least, that’s what everyone thought. Apparently, judging from this information, Curt had visited Kentucky regularly for decades.

Well, Did He or Didn’t He?

Before I discovered Curt’s marriage in Pennsylvania, Mom was certainly unaware Curt had been previously married, let alone still married when he married Nora in 1888. Imagine her shock!

Was this man knocking on the door Curt’s son from his first marriage, Herbert Judson Lore, who would have been age 30? Kurt Lore and Mary Billings are given as Herbert’s parents on his death certificate in 1968.

Herbert looks incredibly like Curt. I can see my mother in his face too. No DNA test needed here.

Neither my grandmother, Edith, nor her sisters, Eloise or Mildred had ANY IDEA they had a living half-brother who only lived about 140 miles from Eloise.

Was the man at the door Curt’s son that I’ve never been able to locate, John Curtis Lore, born January 20, 1881?

Was he Curt’s son Seldon B. Lore, known as “Sid,” born in June of 1886 and found in 1904, as a laborer in Oil City, PA?

Or, was this yet another young man?

If the young man had been born after Curt and Nora were married, he would have been 22 or younger that day he stood nervously on Nora’s porch, looking for answers.

Digging Deeper

One John Curtis Lore who lived in Kentucky registered for the 1918 draft giving Mary Galliland as his next of kin. Mary Bills, Curt’s first wife married Allen Galliland after their divorce in 1888. In 1900, Herbert J., John C., and Seldon B Lore were living in Warren County, PA with Mary and Allen and their half-sister, Alta Gilliland. In 1910, Mary and Allen were living in Cowlitz, Washington with Alta, but the boys were on their own. In 1918, Mary was living in Crewe, Virginia.

John Curtis Lore certainly seems to be Curt’s son, but this record is from 9 years after Curt died. Who knows where John was living in 1909 or 1910 when that young man appeared on Nora’s porch.

What happened to John Lore?

The May 1, 1924, Franklin County, Pennsylvania newspaper tells the story.

Tragedy seems to follow the Lore family like an ominous ever-present dark shadow. An 11-day old baby? His poor wife.

Is this the same John Lore? The name is slightly different.

There’s a lot of incorrect information in this article, but I found this man’s death certificate based only on his death month and year. His nickname was apparently Jack or was misrecorded on the delayed death certificate.

John died of tuberculosis too. How heartbreaking. Even more tragic, his young wife, Annie Jewell Cox Lore died in May 1927 of tuberculosis as well. The children were raised by their Cox grandfather.

Hmm, given the circumstances, I’m doubting if John Curtis Lore or his wife have a tombstone, but let’s take a look.

I didn’t find them, but I did find that child buried in that same cemetery 42 years later.

That baby, born just days before his father’s demise was James Harold Lore, according to FindAGrave.

John’s son also died at age 42 in a motorcycle accident, striking a truck.

Tragedy seems to have run generations deep.


Nora forgave a lot while married to Curt, like the fact that he was still married to another woman when they were married in 1888, assuming she discovered that fact.

Nora certainly stuck by him through thick and thin. Multiple business ventures, that embarrassing horseracing scandal, a lawsuit or a few, then multiple illnesses.

Regardless of all that, I do believe Curt was Nora’s true love with his infectious impish smile, curled locks, and piercing blue eyes that melted her soul.

My grandmother, Edith, spoke of Nora’s intense grief surrounding Curt’s death. Nora wanted to be buried beside him and with the Lore surname on her stone, even though she eventually remarried.

She would join Curt in the East Hill Cemetery almost exactly 30 years later.

It would prove to be a very long 30 years.

So, what happened to Nora?



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Edith Lore Blossoms: Floods, Typhoid, The “Beauty Bunch,” a Scholarship…Plus a Plot Twist – 52 Ancestors #327

The newspapers of the early 1900s often reported on the social lives of their local residents. Thank goodness, for researchers today, that they did.

There’s so much to glean about these family members – sometimes by what IS said, and sometimes by what isn’t. I’ve learned so much about my grandmother, Edith Lore, and her parents, Nora Kirsch and Curtis Benjamin Lore, a self-made man and jack-of-all-trades.

A great deal has been revealed in these old black and white pages. I wrote about unexpected discoveries in Outside the Pale: The Lore Family’s “Remarkable” Life Revealed Through the Newspaper and Curt Lore “Shoots Wells” With Nitroglycerine and Dynamite.

We left the Lore family in 1906, when their eldest daughter, Edith Lore, was graduating from high school and turned 18. 1906 was a year of polar opposites with a few curve-balls thrown in. Let’s join the family and see what was going on.

Unidentified Connection

The social scene in Rushville was sometimes reported as far away as Indianapolis, Indiana, about 40 miles distant as the train runs.

  • April 1, 1906 (Indianapolis, Indiana newspaper) – Miss Bertha Helm entertained a number of friends Saturday evening in honor of Mrs. J. F. Wymond of Peoria, Illinois who is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Of course, I have to wonder who Mrs. J. F. Wymond was, and how she is connected to Nora. Randall J. Wymond, it turns out, was the vice-president of the Peoria Cooperage Company and his business address was Aurora, Indiana, where Nora was born. He married Mabel Criswell in 1884. Nora’s sister, Carrie, married Joseph Smithfield Wymond, the brother of Randall. Perhaps the society column got the initials wrong or another one of Nora’s friends married a Wymond.

Sometimes these articles raise more questions than they answer and I run down every imaginable rabbit hole.


Edith Lore, oldest child of Curt Lore and Nora Kirsch graduated from high school in the spring of 1906.The Indianapolis paper tells us that Gladstone Barrett is class President, Anna Meges Vice-president and Mertha Monjar Secretary-Treasurer. The class colors are royal purple and gold. A few weeks later, the Indianapolis paper carried this article about the commencement.

For most young ladies of that time, graduation would be the end of the line for education, but, surprisingly, not for Edith.

A few days later, Edith was already employed.

  • May 31, 1906 – J. B. Workman, the tax ferret, recently employed by the city of Rushville, has a force of young ladies at work in the Recorder’s office at the court house, copying mortgage records. Those who are at work are. <names omitted>, Edith Lore.

As a genealogist, I could go to Rushville and if the old mortgage book still exists, at least some of those records recopied into that book, I’m guessing, would be in my grandmother’s handwriting.

But Edith, born a hundred years too early, had larger ambitions.


The local newspaper carried a fascinating article:

  • June 15, 1906

Edith, my grandmother, won a 6-month scholarship to Business College in Indianapolis.



I never heard A PEEP about this!

For any female to aspire to attend college in 1906 was amazing in and of itself – let alone with a scholarship.

Did she attend? I would presume that she did. I certainly hope so.

I can’t imagine Edith wasting this opportunity, especially not after specifically seeking the scholarship.

The Central Business College

The Central Business College became the Indiana Business College in the 1940s, located at 802 North Meridian. Established in 1902, it was represented as, “A modern business-training organization. This beautiful college home, located in the heart of cultural downtown Indianapolis – with its spacious commodious classrooms, its numerous and convenient transportation facilities and its various other accommodations presents an attractive appeal to young people who are ambitious to prepare for business careers.”

Amazingly, this building, now apartments, still stands. It’s really not the leaning either – Google maps.

When I saw the large building at right, above, down the street on Google Maps, I thought it looked familiar. Sure enough, it’s the library, and I’ve been there. Of course, I had absolutely NO idea that my grandmother went to college just a block away, and probably lived in that building or nearby while she was attending.

The Business College is the building in the lower left corner that resembles a church.

If walls could only talk.

Edith, who would turn 18 in August, was apparently used to traveling by herself by train – but living in a big city is something else entirely.

The question remains – did Edith actually attend the Business College in Indianapolis?

We know because of what we find out later that there was a backstory going on at home.

If Edith attended, beginning immediately in mid-June, then she would have been finished mid/late December, perhaps just in time for the holidays.

If she did attend, she must have returned home with her eyes open and full of lively discussion about Indianapolis, the big city.

Living away, alone, changes you and opens your eyes to possibilities you would never see otherwise.

There is enough time for Edith to attend college in Indy, but barely.


  • January 4, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore has returned from a visit with relatives at Aurora. Her mother will return later.
  • January 5, 1907 – Greensburg Review: Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughter of Rushville after a visit here, the guests of Miss Stella Wise, have returned home.
  • January 9, 1907 – Curt Lore who has been employed with the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southern Interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.

Apparently Curt found a job after his earlier challenges and illness. Those words “has been” are troubling. Is this a nice way of saying he lost that new job? What is going on? This is very unusual for Curt.


  • January 22, 1907 – Curt Lore is quite ill at his home on west Second street, being threatened with typhoid fever.

Curt must have become sick after his return on the 9th and before the 22nd. Typhoid is a disease associated with consuming drinking water contaminated with human fecal matter and it’s often fatal. Ironic that Curt is the man drilling the wells for the city of Rushville to have clean water – although he could clearly have been exposed elsewhere.

Symptoms include severe headache, cough, extreme fatigue, abdominal cramping and distension, plus a range of other, more severe, symptoms. Typhoid can last from weeks to months. Generally, if the person is going to live, the fever begins to subside in the 4th week. That’s weeks, not days. Four long weeks. Holy cow!

Typhoid is highly contagious and risk of death without treatment with antibiotics is about 20%, generally in the third week of infection. Of course, they didn’t have antibiotics in 1907, so either the disease ran its course and you lived, or you didn’t. It sounds like a horribly long and dreadful ordeal.

Curt must have been miserably ill. He actually hadn’t been well since the fall, so typhoid was on top of whatever else was wrong. Later, we will learn what that “something else” is.

  • January 25, 1907 – John Ferveda pall bearer for Miss Maude Foust who died of typhoid followed by pneumonia.

Apparently, Rushville was having a typhoid epidemic.

This is the first mention of John Ferverda, Edith’s future husband, in Rushville. We don’t know when John was assigned to the depot there, although we know that he didn’t begin working for the railroad until 1904 and he was in Carthage for some amount of time.

Indeed, Rushville homes were still using outhouses and associated cesspools which was contaminating the drinking supply.

This graphic illustrates the contamination cycle.

This situation in Rushville was probably exacerbated by flooding.

An article on January 17th from Evansville regarding the severe floods stated that the conditions haven’t been worse relative to flooding since the great flood of 1884. “The present high stage [of the water] is backing the water up into the downtown sewers, and an epidemic of typhoid fever has resulted in some sections.”

Another report on January 18th says that the Ohio River is between 10 and 35 miles wide, resembling an ocean. Holy moley.

Of course, this means that Nora’s parents and sisters living in Aurora, at the Kirsch House, just a few blocks from the Ohio River were dramatically affected – as were her grandparents.

The local Aurora paper reported:

The city was entirely cut off from railroad or traction connection with the outside world, although the telephone and telegraph wires were still working. People can only get in or out of the city by boat. The last train to arrive had to feel its way along tracks covered in several places by water. The telegraph office is surrounded by water and has to be reached by boat.

That telegraph office was the depot beside the Kirsch House.

The city gas plant shut down because of the shoot and there is serious danger of a shortage of oil. Danger has been further enhanced by the toppling over of the big Standard Oil Tanks undermined by the flood.

Meanwhile, the waters continue to advance and the whole business section of the town has been invaded. About 1800 in all were rendered homeless by the flood, but those whose homes are still high and dry are generously throwing them open to the refugees. Great suffering is threatened in case of a sudden cold snap.

This picture of the 1937 flood in Aurora shows the magnitude of flooding in river towns and cities.

The Kirsch House where Nora grew up was about half a block behind the photographer.

This photo was taken from the intersection of Second and Bridgeway. You can see the same buildings.

Main Street in Aurora during the 1884 flood. Flooding occurred regularly.

Lawrenceburg, neighbor town to Aurora, that unlike Aurora had a levee, expected during the 1907 flood that if the levee was breached, the entire town would be under 6-9 feet of water. Rain was falling in torrents with gale force winds as the men attempted to reinforce the levee and keep it from breaching during the night.

Rushville too was directly on the Flatrock River, and if the rivers were flooding throughout the region, they were flooding in Rushville too. A Rushville article dated January 3 states that the “entire lowlands is flooded” with the water covering many roads and that the water is within 2 or 3 feet of houses in several places.”

These 1913 photos of flooding in Rushville, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, gives an idea of the what flooding in Rushville looked like when the Lore family lived there.

Rushville resembled a lake. Even the railroad undergirding became mucky and unstable, causing the timbers and rails to twist.

You can see the current and waves in the water. Imagine how cold this must have been in the middle of winter. Looks like meat and grocery delivery was a service as well – just not during the floods.

The rains continued for weeks, explaining how and why typhoid was introduced in the winter of 1907 in Rushville.

  • February 22, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore is suffering from the grip at her home on west Second Street. Her father, Curt Lore still continues ill.

We learn that both Edith and her father are ill, and I’d assume that they both have the grip, another word for flu. But that’s not the case.

  • February 25, 1907 – Miss Leah O’Neil entertained at six o-clock dinner Sunday the Misses Lucile Wilson, Fanny Gregg, Zelma Cox, Harriet Vredenburg, Curtis Lore and Lenore Wooden.
  • March 4, 1907 – Curt Lore of West Second continues quite ill.
  • March 6, 1907 – Misses Edith, Eloise and Mildred Lore left yesterday for a trip to Aurora. Miss Edith will enter a business college in Cincinnati.

Wow – so much to unpack in these articles. Business College, again, but this time in Cincinnati. And Curt is quite ill and has been now for weeks, since before January 22nd.

I suspect that the reason that these 3 daughters went to Aurora was so that they would not contract typhoid, or perhaps because Nora didn’t want the girls to see their father die, or both. Nora very clearly had her hands full.

But where was the fourth daughter, Curtis? Why didn’t she go to Aurora too? Curtis, by all reports, was extremely close to her father. Our family history says that Curtis helped care for Curt, her namesake parent. She remained in Rushville while Edith left to go to school and took the two youngest children with her. Curtis would have been 16 on March 8th. Some 16th birthday.

I find it interesting that Edith went to business college in Cincinnati, not in Indianapolis. Did she decline the Indy scholarship? Did she attend in Indy and then also in Cincy? Mom said that her aunt Carrie paid for Edith’s college in Cincy. Does this imply that Curt and Nora were having financial difficulties? That’s certainly possible, given that Curt has been very ill and unable to work.

This photo of Eloise taken at the depot in Aurora is labeled 1907, so I strongly suspect it was taken during this visit.

Eloise and Mildred in 1907.

Edith lived with her grandparents at the Kirsch House, located beside the depot, and took the train to Cincinnati each day where she attended business school.

  • Mrs. Wymond, of Aurora is visiting her sister Mrs. Curt Lore on west Second Street. Mr. Lore who has been ill some time continues about the same.
  • March 7, 1907 – Mrs. Joseph Wymond of Aurora who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. Curt Lore on west Second street returned to her home yesterday afternoon.

If Curt was desperately ill, why was Nora’s sister visiting? Perhaps she came to take the girls to Aurora, although Edith was old enough to supervise her younger sisters.

Perhaps Carrie was helping to care for Curt. If he was bedfast, with intestinal symptoms, Nora probably needed all the help she could get.

Or perhaps she came to support her sister.

  • March 8, 1907 – Curt Lore of west Second Street is in a precarious condition, with little hope for recovery.

Given this, Nora probably asked her sister to come and take the girls so that they didn’t see their father pass away. Curtis, however, remained by his side.

Oh no!

  • March 16 and 18, the same notice – Curt Lore of west Second street remains about the same.

Curt is hanging on by a thread. It seems that typhoid is doing what oil wells, nitroglycerine and dynamite couldn’t do – lay Curt low.

Curt had been ill for over two months now and it appears obvious that the consensus is that he won’t survive.

But Wait…

  • March 21, 1907 – Curt Lore of west Second street was able to be out riding this morning.

That man is amazing. Three days ago, he was still given up for dead. This man, I swear, has nine lives.

  • March 22, 1907 – Clyde Clumber of Silver Lake has succeeded John Ferveda at the Big Four station. Mr. Ferveda is located at Rushville.

Does this mean that John was being transferred elsewhere? With Edith gone, studying in Cincinnati?

  • March 30, 1907 – Curt Lore was able to be uptown again today.

I didn’t expect to see this. Curt has obviously escaped the grim reaper and is on the mend. Close call!

Edith Receives Honors in Cincinnati

  • May 8, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore of this city who is attending school in Cincinnati has been highly complimented by the faculty of the institution.

Edith has been in school 2 months. I wish this article had provided the name of the institution.

Some creative googling with city directories shows that there are three candidates for business schools that Edith might have attended.

The Bartlett Commercial College was located near the Union Depot at 641 W. 4th, which would have been the closest distance to walk from the depot. The Mueller School of Business at 6th and Vine and Nelson’s Business College at 7th and Elm.

Edith learned office skills, specifically shorthand and administrative skills, along with bookkeeping.

I wish those academic records were available today.

  • May 10, 1907 – Daily Republican, Rushville, Indiana – Jacob Kirsch of Aurora, who has been here this week at the home of his daughter, Mrs. C. B. Lore and family, of West Second Street, returned home yesterday.

This is the only visit by Jacob that I found. He would have had a difficult time getting away from the Kirsch House even though he was clearly retirement age – 66. I wonder if there was an occasion or if he just decided to visit. Perhaps because Curt nearly died and he wanted to support his daughter.

Curt Goes Back to Work

Just a month later, Curt appears to be ready to go back to work.

  • June 10, 1907 – There are two applicants for the position of superintendent of the city water and light plant made vacant by Oliver M. Ong’s resignation. Curt Lore and T. Melville Greenlee are both aspirants for the position.

Interesting that after his recovery, Curt is now hunting for a job. I wonder what he was doing before and how the family managed financially while he was so desperately ill.  Maybe Jacob Kirsch delivered money.

Curt did not get the job, but that didn’t keep him from working. Although, life’s deck of cards seemed to be stacked against him.

  • June 11, 1907 – Quite a loss sustained by Curtis Lore yesterday when one of his horses which he drives to his street sprinkler died from some unknown cause.

This is the second horse that dropped dead on Curt, 18 months apart. The first one was on a farm though, so Curt wasn’t personally involved.

About this time, Curt must have felt like if it weren’t for bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. He must have been crushed and felt defeated.

  • June 24, 1907 – Mildred Lore of West Second street has returned home from several months visit with relatives in Aurora, Indiana. She was accompanied home by her sister, Miss Edith.

This was 3 months after Edith left to attend business school. Mother said that Edith’s Aunt, Carrie, paid for Edith’s schooling. Was this the extent of Edith’s college education?  Was there more schooling yet to come?

Mildred was born in 1899, so she would have been 8 years old. How was she able to visit Aurora for months on end? What about school?


  • June 25, 1907 – City Marshal Price arrested Curt Lore this afternoon on West Second street on a charge of provoking an officer.

Oh my! This man is full of surprises!

  • June 26, 1907 – Lore Trial Will Come Up Monday – City Marshal Declares that Lore insisted on Making Provoking Declarations – Curt Lore was before Mayor Cowing this morning, charged with provoking an officer and his trial was set for next Monday morning. F. J. Hall appeared for him. The case is the outcome of an altercation between Lore and City Marshal Price. The controversy arose over a statement Lore is said to have made to Price declaring that the city officials only made arrests to secure the fees. This incensed the officer and after repeated demands of Lore to refrain from making such a statement, he was placed under arrest.
  • July 2, 1907 – Special Judge Will Hear the Curt Lore Case – The trial of Curt Lore who is charged with provoke on City Marshal Price was again postponed yesterday in Mayor Cowing’s court, and the case will be heard Friday morning by Special Judge George Young. A constable will be sworn in to fulfill the city marshal’s duties in making up a jury.

Was a special judge required because Curt or the Marshall was friends with the judge?

  • July 3, 1907 – Miss Curtis Lore of West Second street will go to Aurora Saturday for a visit with her grandparents.

I need a scorecard to keep track of where the girls are. Even though this extended family lived in separate towns, they remained very close, despite distance. This was probably facilitated by the fact that both families lived very close to the depots in Rushville and Aurora. The granddaughters spent a great deal of time with their grandparents and aunts at the Kirsch House. Their great-grandparents, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch’s parents were living as well, with Barbara Mehlheimer Drechsel passing away in January of 1906 and George Drechsel in February of 1908 at age 85.

Maybe they went to visit their grandparents because Nora didn’t want them at home during the trial. Curt Lore seemed to be a bit hotheaded and I’d wager, he was swearing a bit. Nora certainly would NOT have wanted her girls hearing that.

  • July 5, 1907

The court sustaining the motion means that the judge agrees with the motion. Quashing an indictment means that it is made void or invalid.

This is over. I guess hiring attorney Hall was worth the money for Curt. Nora was probably furious with him.

This episode leaves me with two thoughts. First, that perhaps Curt wasn’t entirely “right” after his severe illness, or maybe there is more to this story that we’ll never know.

Never Mind – Nothing to See Here

My second thought is the remarkable contrast between this drama involving Curt and the next entry about his wife who, the same day, is apparently playing cards and trying to act as if nothing has happened. “Nothing to see here. Just men being men. Carry on.”

  • July 6, 1907 – A delightful time was spent Wednesday afternoon at the Social club when Mrs. Oliver Dale entertained the 3 card clubs. A three course luncheon was served. Mrs. Curtis Lore won the honors for the Five Hundred.

Five Hundred must have become a family tradition. Mom played with her mother, Edith, and I played with my Mom.

  • July 9, 1907 – Curt Lore was in Greensburg this morning on business.
  • August 3, 1907 – Mrs. J. R. Whyman (is this Wymond?) of Aurora, Indiana is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore on West Second Street.

I suspect this is Nora’s sister, with the initials mistyped and the last name misspelled.

  • August 3, 1907 – Miss Eloise Lore, daughter and Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore returned today from 6 months stay in Aurora.

Wow – 6 months. That’s a VERY long time to be away from home, especially for a young child. This is odd.

  • August 9, 1907 – Misses Curtis Lore and Lucile Meredith are the guests of Miss Pauline Coverston at Goshen.
  • August 19, 1907 – Miss Curtis Lore will play piano at the Star beginning tonight.

The Star appears to be a movie theater where films are shown. This entry appeared under “Amusements.”

  • September 5, 1907 – Festival Queen Voting Lively: First Day Marks Many Nominations and Many Votes are Cast

At first, I thought of this as trivial, but then noticed the prize – a piano. Clearly NOT trivial, but Curtis isn’t in the lead.

Edith had returned home in June. The youngest daughter, Eloise was sent to Aurora as well in February, about the time that the Typhoid epidemic hit and returned home in August. Both Curtis and Mildred, the middle daughters, seem to have remained at home.

Building Bridges

By October, Curt was bidding on bridge repair contracts and traveling again.

  • October 7, 1907 – There were two bridge contracts awarded. The building of the Hinchman Bridge was let to Curtis Lore at $828.
  • October 9, 1907 – Curt Lore made a business trip to Indianapolis and Columbus yesterday.
  • October 11, 1907 – Curt Lore has received the steel for the construction of the HInchman bridge and work will begin immediately.

How did Curt know how to build bridges? Bridges and oil wells don’t seem connected. Apparently Curt became a contractor, either intentionally or accidentally during this time.

If money could be made, Curt, the consummate entrepreneur, figured out how and executed on that plan.


By November 1907, we know that Edith was at least flirting with John Ferverda. She sent him a postcard with her photo on the front. This at least suggests that she is living back at home, and her schooling only lasted for three months.

  • November 20, 1907 – Curt Lore, the contractor, has just completed the excavation for a vault being built for Theo. Reed at East Hill cemetery. It will be constructed of concrete and have nine receptacles for caskets in it. The vault will be located on the side of a hill in the new part of the cemetery.

Ok, add mausoleum builder to Curt’s lengthy resume. This substantial building still stands today.

  • December 18, 1907 – Miss Estelle Brehm, of Spokane, Washington comes this week to spend the holidays with her cousin, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.

Estelle Brehm, born in 1884 in Chicago, is the daughter of Nora’s mother’s sister.

  • December 19, 1907 – Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me a doll, a go-cart, a sled, some candy and oranges. Your friend, Mildred Lore


This oh-so-cute photo is labeled “Mildred and Eloise, Rushville, 1908.” Given the winter scene, I’d suspect it was January or February. I surely wish I recognized one of those houses today.

Of course, I have to laugh. Is Mildred sitting on a sled? Maybe she had been good and Santa delivered!

  • January 24, 1908 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond of Aurora is here the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.
  • February 26, 1908 – George Drechsel, Nora’s grandfather, died in Aurora and was buried on the 28th. There is nothing in the paper to indicate that either Nora or her sister went home to Aurora and attended his funeral, but I bet they did.

The Watson Beauty Bunch

Based on various newspaper articles, it appears that there were two groups of women called the “Watson Beauty Bunch.” The first group was disbanded on February 8, 1908 where it was reported that “they got their last pay envelope and an honorable discharge this evening.” However, that certainly wasn’t the end of the line.

The “Beauty Bunch” appears to have been reconstituted shortly thereafter with new women. Edith Lore was a member of the second group which was formed in an effort to garner publicity and get candidate Jim Watson elected.

  • March 12, 1908

  • March 20, 1908 – In a local minstrel talent show that packed the theater, we find “the Misses Curtis Lore and Mabel Condon played piano for the various acts and songs.”
  • April 2, 1908 – Watson Beauty Bunch:

Edith’s schooling paid off in that she secured a high-profile position with Jim Watson’s political campaign. Today, we might look askance at this characterization, but in the time and place where she lived, being part of the “Beauty Bunch” would have been far more exciting that what the other young women in Rushville were doing.

These young ladies were able to travel and meet exciting people.

Watson had a crew of young women, stenographers, who wrote his flyers, probably his speeches, and worked as his staff to get him elected.

By reading this newspaper account of Watson’s nomination, we can share in some of the heady atmosphere of that day as Edith pinned badges on supporters at Watson’s headquarters. How she must have loved the energy generated by doing something she believed in.

She must have been so excited. This next article conveys some of that electricity, even 113 years, almost to the day, later.

The Watson Beauty Bunch group photo was published many times.

The Watson Beauty Bunch would have been considered very sexist today, in essence exploiting women, and not for their benefit. I don’t know how Edith felt about this, then or later – although she often told stories about this time to her family. For Edith, these seemed to be “the good old days.” My mother mentioned this, and never in a negative context, simply as something interesting involving her mother’s involvement with politics before women even had the right to vote.

Edith and the other “Beauty Bunch” ladies experienced some amount of notoriety and their involvement was exciting and unique for that time.

This experience shaped Edith. In 1920 and 1921, she focused on obtaining Indiana’s ratification of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote, then registering women the following year and working the polls. She provided a welcoming, friendly face at the polling location, explaining the voting process to women uncertain about how to vote that first time.

Edith clearly believed in what she was doing and she made a difference. Maybe a bit of Curt’s tenacity and “can do” attitude rubbed off on her.

I smile and think of her every single time I vote. I’m grateful to her and the other women who advocated for that right.

Based on this next short article, perhaps these ladies felt that they were involved in something larger than themselves – that they were able to be recognized contributors instead of remaining invisible and anonymous.

  • March 17, 1908, Indianapolis Star

Mother said that James Watson wanted Edith to accompany him to Washington DC to work for him permanently, but she declined – a decision she always regretted. Watson, a Republican, was defeated in his 1908 bid for Indiana governor after resigning his seat in the House of Representatives to run for governor, but continued to be very influential in politics, eventually returning to Washington in the Senate.

Edith married John Ferverda just 10 days after James Watson’s defeat. I wonder if those two items are in any way connected.

It’s sad that in 1908 the extent of these women’s acknowledged contributions were as stenographers and eye candy.

Another perspective would be that while Watson certainly couldn’t help how women were socially perceived and the institutional discrimination that existed at that time, he was giving credit where credit was due, allowing those typically marginalized to the shadows to experience some limelight. I can’t speak to his motivation, but I’m certainly delighted to have this information about an extremely interesting and inspirational chapter in Edith’s life.

Her skills opened doors and her example paved the way for others.

A stenographer was “one who transcribes,” according to Wikipedia, “such as a secretary who takes dictation,” often in shorthand.

Edith’s stint in business school wasn’t really about business at all, but focused more on secretarial skills that were supportive to those in business. Few jobs or career opportunities were available to women at that time, and stenography was one that was.  The barrier to entry was apparently “business school.” Even secretarial jobs required skills and training beyond what most women were likely to possess. Today, people who fill these types of positions are more aptly called administrative assistants. They were often the glue that held everything together.

Despite the restrictive nature of these positions, it was this skill set that saw Edith’s family through the Great Depression. Aunt Carrie would have been very pleased that her investment reaped life-saving benefits for her niece, years after Carrie had passed on. Perhaps that early scholarship had, indeed, been life-changing.

  • April 2, 1908 – Story covering the convention: Miss Mae Bebout and Miss Edith Lore of this city…officiated at headquarters, pinning Watson badges on all who entered.
  • April 9, 1908 – The Watson Beauty Bunch will have a “Dissolution Dinner” at Whitehead’s Saturday evening.

Building Bridges

Then as now, road maintenance begins in the spring, just about Easter time, and continues through late fall when the ground freezes.

  • April 18, 1908 – Easter Sunday reading at the First Presbyterian Church by Mildred Lore: “Daisies in the Meadow”
  • May 7, 1908 – Curt Lore was in Connersville yesterday evening on business.
  • May 25, 1908 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughter Mildred left Saturday for a visit with relatives at Aurora.
  • May 28, 1908 – A number of contracts were awarded…C. B. Lore was successful on the Rudy Arch, $214, Booth bridge $514, Kennedy bridge repair, $410 and Kiplinger, $750.

The Library of Congress shows this drawing of the Kennedy Bridge, built in 1881. Curt repaired it in 1908.

Of course, today, drivers don’t even realize they are crossing a body of water.

  • June 5, 1908 – Miss Ethel Walker of Shelbyville is visiting Miss Curtis Lore this week.
  • June 6, 1908 – Curt Lore who was recently awarded a number of bridge building contracts went to Cincinnati today where he purchased a large cement mixer.
  • June 7, 1908 – Curt Lore was in Connersville yesterday evening on business.

I can’t help but wonder what Curt was doing in these various locations where he traveled regularly throughout his residence in Rushville.

  • June 10, 1908 – C. B. Lore has returned from a trip to Columbus and Indianapolis
  • June 10, 1908 – C. B. Lore who purchased a large concrete mixer at Cincinnati this week began work today on the Booth bridges, south of this city.

Frog Hunting

  • June 12, 1908 – Took Wagon Along to Haul Greenback – Party Went Frogging But Horse Did Not Suffer Hauling Bagged Game. – In a frog hunting party that started in a spring wagon but only captured six of the green backs last night along Flatrock were <names omitted>, John Ferveda and Edith Lore. The usual catch for a small boy is 50 frogs in one night, but this throws no discredit on the party as it was not a good night for greenbacks.

So John Ferverda took Edith on a frog-hunting date??? In those long skirts?  And she married him anyway! Must have been true love!

Maybe they weren’t really concentrating on those frogs…hmmm.

Summer in Rushville

  • June 13, 1908 – Recitation at Presbyterian Church by Eloise Lore – “The Party”
  • July 2, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore will go to Lake Tippecanoe tomorrow to spend a two week vacation with relatives and friends.

If Edith spent two weeks at Lake Tippecanoe, she clearly wasn’t employed someplace.

  • July 3, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore went to Lake Tippecanoe today for a visit with relatives.

I’m unclear as to who, but I think someone in the family owned a cottage on the lake.

  • July 9, 1908 – Ed Kirsch has returned to his home in Burnsides, Kentucky after a visit with his sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.

This is Ed’s only visit that I’ve found. Nora’s other brother, Martin, apparently never visited or if he did, it didn’t get reported in the paper.

  • July 27, 1908 – Miss Chloe Ferveda has returned to her home near Lake Tippecanoe after a visit here with Miss Edith Lore.

Aha – perhaps Edith’s visit to the lake was to spend time with John Ferverda’s family.

  • July 18, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore has returned from a visit with friends at Lake Tippecanoe.

Chloe Ferverda is John Ferverda’s sister. Was the family checking Edith out as possible in-law material? Is that why Edith visited Lake Tippecanoe?

  • August 5, 1908 – Miss Curtis Lore will go to Aurora next week for a visit with relatives.

Curtis would have been 17 years old and probably traveled on the train by herself. When she stepped off the train at the depot in Aurora, she was literally on her grandmother’s doorstep.

Amusement Park Summertime Fun

We don’t think of our ancestors a century ago visiting amusement parks, but they did. In fact, that was the beginning of that summer tradition.

  • August 10, 1908 – Misses Curtis Lore and <names omitted>, of this city were in Indianapolis yesterday. They visited Wonderland and Riverside Park.

These two amusement parks were new at that time. Riverside opened in 1903 and didn’t close until 1970. Wonderland, a trolley and water themed park, shown below, opened in 1906, was raided for selling illegal liquor in 1911, and subsequently burned.

I can’t imagine visiting an amusement park wearing those long multi-layered dresses.

  • August 29, 1908 – Misses Mildred and Eloise Lore returned Friday afternoon after a visit with W. R. Coverston and family at Goshen.
  • September 23, 1908 – C. B. Lore is at Knightstown on business today.
  • September 24, 1908 – The new Republican headquarters on the ground floor of the K of P building are the most adequate ever secured. County Chairman Charles A. Frazee is in charge and Miss Edith Lore is officiating as stenographer. Drop in and do a little dictating, is the slogan; talk it over and pass your hand around. Everybody made welcome.
  • September 25, 1908 – Mrs. Theodore Bosse of Aurora is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Mrs. Theodore Bosse was “Aunt Lou,” Nora’s aunt, her mother’s sister who was widowed and had remarried on May 3, 1908 to Theodore Busse/Bosse in Aurora. I’m sure Nora was thrilled to see her aunt who arrived with Nora’s mom, Aunt Lou’s sister.

  • September 25, 1908 – Mrs. Jacob Kirsch visiting her daughter Mrs. C. B. Lore.


Nora’s mother, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch was having a tough year. Her father died. Barbara’s daughter, Lou, and husband, Charles “Todd” Fiske, had come home to live. Todd had lost his job as a civil engineer, a situation he found devastating, forcing the couple to return to the Kirsch House to live. A few weeks later, on October 31st, Halloween, tragedy struck. It’s a good thing Barbara visited Nora when she did.

  • October 15, 1908 – Circuit court allowances – Edith B. Lore – court stenographer $8.00

I had no idea my grandmother was a court stenographer, recording trials by taking shorthand, a specialized skill.

  • October 28, 1908 – Night Parade for Saturday Republican Rally – Fireworks Committee – Curt Lore.

On Halloween evening, October 31, 1908, Todd Fiske, husband of Nora’s sister, Lou Kirsch Fiske, committed suicide by shooting himself in the courtyard at the Kirsch House in Aurora, Indiana.

November 5, 1908 – Seymour Indiana Tribute

Three days later, on November 3rd, the Indiana election was held in which James Watson was defeated. While the Watson Beauty Bunch had apparently been officially disbanded, meaning they were no longer paid – they continued to appear in at public events and are mentioned often in the newspaper. They participated in parades, riding floats, performed readings, and were generally front, center and visible.

Edith must have been extremely disappointed with the outcome of the election. Not to mention heartbroken for the grief her family was experiencing as a result of two deaths.

A double whammy, especially since the girls spent so much time in Aurora with their grandparents and aunts.

  • November 9, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore left this morning for a visit at Aurora.
  • November 10, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore went to Aurora yesterday for an extended visit with relatives.
  • November 14, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore returned today from a visit with her grandparents in Aurora.

Did Edith have news to share with her grandmother or was she simply going to participate in the funeral? Where was Nora and the other Lore daughters? Why didn’t they travel to Aurora?

Is something else going on?

  • November 15, 1908 – Fine musical program rendered at the First Presbyterian church Sunday might was a quartette…John Ferveda, tenor.

I never knew my grandfather sang, outside the general choir, or that he was a tenor.

The paper has consistently misspelled his name in every entry. Goes to show the value of searching for variants of names.

Surprise Wedding!

Three days later, we find at least some answers.

  • November 17, 1908 – A marriage license was issued yesterday evening to Miss Edith Barbara Lore and John Whitney Ferveda.
  • November 18, 1908 – Miss. Edith Barbara Lore and Mr. John Whitney Ferveda were quietly married at the Presbyterian church parsonage in North Harrison Street last night by Rev. J. L. Cowling.

No one in the family ever knew that this wedding was “quiet.” Edith was assuredly not pregnant, so that wasn’t the reason. Their first child wasn’t born for more than 7 years.

If this wedding had been being planned previously, there would have been invitations and the entire event would have been a social happening in Rushville. The Lore family was well known.

Why was did the marriage occur at this time, in the parsonage and not the church, and “quietly?” Why subdued with no celebration? The same day as the license was issued? A Tuesday. Did they decide to get married on the spur of the moment? Did they tell ANYONE in advance?

Did her parents and sisters attend? Clearly, her aunts and grandparents did not.

This is so out-of-character for this family. Why?

And what about John Ferverda’s family?

  • November 21, 1908

Why is this article titled, “Left a Deep Impression?”

I suspect that quietly married meant that it was a private, not public, service, with just the bride and groom and perhaps her parents.

I wonder if, given Edith’s father’s illness that they simply couldn’t afford a wedding. That may well have been true, but perhaps there were other factors involved too.

The suicide three weeks earlier surely affected everyone in the family. Jim Watson lost the election. Edith married just 10 days later. Did Edith have other plans had Watson won? Did Todd’s suicide make Edith realize that life was short and perhaps she should marry her love?

Maybe some combination?

We’ll never know.

Or perhaps it was quiet for another reason.

John Ferverda’s family was Brethren, so they would not have been pleased about this marriage. Was the “quiet” wedding an effort to spare his family, or for his family’s disapproval not to be made public by their conspicuous absence at a wedding?

John wasn’t the only Ferverda brother to marry outside the faith and inform his parents later. The Ferverda family had met Edith during her summer visit. Edith’s stenography, attending college and Beauty Bunch membership would have rubbed against the grain of expected female behavior within the Brethren faith.

John and Edith could have married at the Kirsch House, but then again, given Todd’s untimely death, that wasn’t such a good idea either.

The other tidbit in this article is that Curt drilled the first gas well in Greensburg. I wonder when? We know he resided in Findlay, Ohio but had been drilling in Greensburg for several months when he married Nora in January of 1888.

Research in newspapers and historical books indicates that 1889 and 1890 were years of intensive gas drilling in adjacent communities. I would guess that the gas well is what prompted the family’s move to Greensburg between 1888 and 1890.


Four days after her wedding, Mrs. Edith Lore Ferverda hosted her friends. That “Mrs.” is a coveted status symbol, so important to note.

  • November 23, 1908 – The Watson Beauty Bunch were entertained by Mrs. Edith Lore Ferveda at her home in West Second street last Saturday evening.

This was probably Edith’s wedding reception, of sorts. The newlyweds didn’t even have time for a honeymoon – even a short trip. Nothing was mentioned in the paper.

By now, with the newspaper announcement, everyone would have known that Edith and John had married. They were living with her parents, at least temporarily. Even though today, we don’t know what was happening behind the scenes – trust me – everyone in Rushville did.

For now, we fade to black for the next few months.

There was more going on than met the eye.

In the frozen depths of the 1909 winter, we’ll find out exactly what…



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Van Oeyen/Oijen Synchronicity in Venlo – 52 Ancestors #326

In 2017, I traveled to the Netherlands, land of my ancestors, where Yvette Hoitink, Dutch genealogist extraordinaire, me and my husband visited the city of Venlo in the southeast corner of the Netherlands.

I’m not ready to publish articles about those ancestors just yet, but suffice it to say that Yvette’s in-process research brought us to this lovely old city.

In the Netherlands, you park wherever you can, and then you walk – enjoying the lovely historic buildings and shops along the way. Everyone walks and bicycles everyplace, and it’s wonderful. It’s a Dutch thing, although you won’t find me on a bicycle.

The old Venlo market square, town hall, and churches, thankfully, survived WWII.

Venlo is not a small town, currently sporting a population of just over 100,000.

Venlo, a historic Hanseatic league city, is located on the Meuse River which meanders its way to the sea. The old medieval market square and town hall is located at the left arrow and the church at the right arrow. You’ll notice a red pin in-between. Keep that in mind for a minute.

Here’s a lovely map of the walled-city of Venlo in 1652 where you can see the same old-town region. We know that my ancestor was indeed living here just a couple of years later.

You can see the same streets on the current map, although they have changed some.

An earlier map of the 1586 siege of Venlo indicates that this area was significantly built up between 1586 and 1652. However, there were structures standing in 1586, although the 1652 map shows more substantial buildings, along with adjacent fields within the gated city.

We walked those same streets.

This particular street where I was standing right about that red pin/star, led to the church where my ancestors baptized their children.

The Church

The church is massive and ancient, one of Venlo’s oldest structures.

The stud reinforced doors of the churches and town hall speak to sieges and mariners past. Pretty much all of the Netherlands is maritime and my ancestor was born dead-center in the midst of the Thirty Years War. A gated city was the safest place to live anyplace in Europe.

We tugged on the church door handle and found it unlocked – not uncommon in European cities during the day.

We entered the sacred space reverently, with great anticipation.

The engulfing silence separated us from the bustle of the city and transported us back to an earlier time. Medieval churches feel timeless.

Seeing no one, we walked in the very footsteps of my ancestors.

Those young parents, almost 400 years ago, may have stood before this window baptizing their second child who would eventually leave for the new world, but never arrive. That baby eventually baptized his own children standing right here.

A tradition, we lit candles, paid homage and absorbed the silence of the ages.

What were they thinking and feeling? Did they have any clue what the future would bring?

The Antiquarian Bookshop

Upon leaving the sanctity of the church, retracing our path back down the curves of the street, Yvette and I noticed an antiquarian bookshop.

Truth be told, we actually noticed it during our arrival, but that church was calling loudly to us so we hurried past.

On the return trip, the bookstore was screaming at us!

We could see those vintage books, beckoning us with a crooked finger. Come hither ladies…

Maybe there would be old maps too. We both love maps. Poor Jim. I have no idea what he did, other than guard our bags outside and stand ready to carry packages if need be. He was such a good sport.

This building was obviously old too. My ancestors probably passed this very building as they walked to church every Sunday. Perhaps they went inside, crossing the same threshold we just stepped over. Did they know the residents? Was it a shop they frequented?

Yvette and I could see the books piled high on tables, the ultimate flea market. Dusty bins to look through, searching for treasures. How could we possibly resist?

Our eyes adjusted to the dim light casting the room much as it would have looked centuries earlier, minus the tables stacked with books of course. There were no windows in the sides or rear of the building, so the further back in the building you ventured, the darker it became.

The inside of this shop still resembled a home, with a steep, narrow stairway in the rear. Families and merchants in medieval times had shops on the street level of the house and often lived upstairs or in the rear, as did animals. This building is actually 5 or 6 stories high, plus that tiny door at the top. That small door at the very top suggests a pulley arm hoist that extended outside over the street, possibly to hoist either feed for livestock, merchandise, or furniture.

A house on the street by the church would have been prime real estate back in the day.

I can’t even begin to explain what happened next.

The Plate

I noticed an old Dutch plate or shallow bowl hanging on the dimly lit back wall. It wasn’t particularly beautiful, but I was mesmerized by this plate. I don’t collect plates. I’ve never bought a plate as a souvenir, before or since.

But this plate, this plate, was different.

I asked about the plate and the owners knew nothing about it. Had been there a long time, they said. Didn’t remember how long and seemed entirely disinterested. I asked if I could take the plate off the wall to look at it. “Of course,” they said, waving the question off.

Indeed, when I took the plate off the wall to look at the back, it was covered with layers of grime that suggested no one had paid it any attention in years. Maybe decades.

The finish was cracked by years of age and wear and the back was signed in some way, probably the personal monogram of the ceramic Delftware potter.

I wondered if the plate might have been in Venlo at the time my ancestors lived there, maybe on some merchant’s dinner table. It appeared to be old enough and quite worn.

I hung the plate back on the wall and walked away.

The last thing I needed was a fragile plate, and besides, what would I DO with it anyway. Maps and books were much easier to transport and not in danger of breaking. If I actually wanted a plate, I could buy a stunning new beautiful Delft plate anyplace in the Netherlands.

I walked back to the front of the shop and began looking through the bins and boxes with Yvette.

That old plate called relentlessly to me, begging, and refused to leave me alone.

I finally turned around and walked back to the plate again. There was no price tag. Was it even for sale?

I asked the shopkeeper how much it cost – or rather – Yvette did. No price marked on the plate, but yes, they would sell it. Hmmm, was that a bad sign that the plate would be quite expensive? I was leery about the situation.

Yvette said to make an offer. I was way, way out of my league here.

I had absolutely NO IDEA what to offer. It was old and probably valuable, but that’s not why I wanted it. Actually, I had no idea why I wanted it, but I simply had to bring that plate home with me.

It was refusing to be left behind.

Yvette offered something – a small amount. They accepted. Transaction done. As we exited the shop, I was ecstatic. Like I had scored the prize of the century and won the ancestor lottery – although I still can’t explain this way “out of proportion reaction.” Jim was quite surprised and said, “You bought a what???”

I told him I had no idea why. He chuckled, shrugged, and proceeded to discuss ways to pack the plate safely in the carry-on luggage somehow.

Research Continues

Yvette has continued to research my ancestors. Before the lockdown, she returned to Venlo to sort through information in records not available digitally.

She was working with the old maps to see if she could figure out if my ancestors owned property, and if so, where.

She posted on Facebook after one of her trips to say that indeed, she HAD found a house.

Wow! Talk about a needle in a haystack. Her work is truly amazing!

She was kind enough to send me a picture she had taken.

I was SOOOO excited!

Drum roll…..

Photo courtesy Yvette Hoitink

It’s the old bookshop, of course! Yes, that exact same building with the plate on the wall.


Deep breath…

It seems that in our excitement about the contents of the bookstore and the plate on the wall inside, we had overlooked something on the wall outside, on the bricks, just above that bicycle.

Photo courtesy Yvette Hoitink

The plaque says this is the van Oeyen – Boener house, via Google translate:

Renaissance – façade. 1588. With family crest of Oeyen – Boener. Restoration in 1921 and following.

Both the date of construction and the crest are embedded in the front of the building.

Of course, now we need to unravel this thread.

Is this the home of my family or connected to my family? We know they were living in Venlo and baptizing their children at the church within sight, just down the street.

We don’t know for sure if or where my family fits in with this house yet. It’s possible the name is similar but not the same family at all. Fate pulls tricks like this, especially on me.

Of course, all of these people with the same or similar surnames are all attending the same church, at the same time, in the same city, naming children the same names.

We have the Y DNA of our ancestral line, and a Y DNA test of any male descended directly paternally from and carrying the Oeyen, Oijen, Van Oeyen or derivative surname from the various Venlo lines would answer the relationship question definitively.

These unresolved questions are why I’m not publishing the ancestor article now.

Rest assured that Yvette will sort this out as soon as she can travel again.

In the meantime, I’m loving my plate, now hanging on my “Dutch” wall in a place of honor!



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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

  • August 22, 1905 – Lon Lore left today on a business trip to Cincinnati.

This entry is 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 if 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.

If Lon lived in Rushville, this 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.

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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Outside the Pale: The Lore Family’s “Remarkable” Life Revealed Through the Newspaper – 52 Ancestors #324

Recently, I renewed a previously lapsed subscription to (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!

The Papers

As luck would have it, some of the Rushville newspapers have been imaged and OCRed at 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 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.

The Players

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 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!

Wait, what?

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!

  • December 7, 1894

1895 is, unfortunately, missing entirely from 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?

  • April 17, 1896

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.

  • May 19, 1896

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.

  • November 10, 1896

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.

Rabbit Hole

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.

  • December 7, 1900

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?

Maybe not.

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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Rudolph Muller’s Blacksmith Shop in Grossheppach

Just when you thought we were finished with Rudolph Muller and his wife, Margretha, in Grossheppach, we’re not😊

Cousin Wolfram, using the 1832 cadastral maps, made an important discovery and has been kind enough to share. THANK YOU!!!

Blacksmith and Ferrier

If you recall, in the Grossheppach records for Johann Rudolph Muller and his wife, Margretha, we discovered that Rudolph was noted as a blacksmith and ferrier in different records.

I asked Wolfram if he thought that perhaps Rudolph’s blacksmith shop was at the castle, given that horses were rare and that Margretha was listed as either a chambermaid or “waiting maid.” Both of those professions suggested that they worked for someone who had enough money to pay for non-essential items like horses and services like maids.

Wolfram had mentioned that he had not been able to determine, previously, the location of the blacksmith shop – but that has all changed now.

Make yourself a cup of tea, or beverage of your choice, because we’re going along with Wolfram on an adventure to find the elusive blacksmith shop!

Wolfram’s Discovery

I LOVE emails from Wolfram!

Here is something more which might be quite interesting.

One entire word about the job of a blacksmith in Großheppach. You need to know, horses were really rare. I have seen this in the inventory lists of mid/end 18th century. There is absolutely rarely a horse. Maybe only the mill, the castle and the Lamm Inn had horses. There was no need for it and the space of the valley did not allow to plant food for the horses. Even my mother told, there was only one house who had horses. Also oxes were not available, my mother told. They carried the carts either by hand (smaller ones) or with milk cows. I was also asking if it was difficult having cows for the carts. But she mentioned they had very calm cows. They were able to do everything. So for a blacksmith the job were not so much horseshoes (yes, sometimes for troups who came along). Mainly they were surely doing all kind of metal work. Tools for work, for the carts and for buildings.

Now, where the family was located in Großheppach. I did not know where he lived. But now I analyzed the facts:

I have following facts:

I have the cadastre of 1832. There are three smith’s named:

  1. Joseph Friedrich Löffler, Schmied
  2. Christoph Ellwanger, Schmied
  3. Johannes Lutz, Schlosser together with Johannes Pfund, Nagelschmied (= Nailsmith?)

Wolfram provided a document which included the following information based on the cadastral map of 1832.

Location #1

Urnummerkarte 095, Grunbacher Straße ca. Nr. 20

Hauptstraße 34, today Grunbacherstraße (number. 20 is no longer there)

Consisting of:

Area square rods [QR]
House and barn 12,8
Wooden hut 3,2
Courtyard space 9,9
Total 25,9
in sqm 212,6

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2015]



Joseph Friedrich Löffler, Schmied (blacksmith)

Here the explanation for the above location:

Ground of no.1 is named as a living house and barn, a wooden cabin and a courtyard. It does not look like a fix installed blacksmith. But it is located close to the castle (to the right) and close to the Lamm inn (to the left).

Location #2

Urnummerkarte 105, Brückenstraße 1

Mühlweg 1, steht nicht mehr, heute Brückenstraße 1. War Gasthaus zum Schlüssel. Dieses Gasthaus hatte den größten Saal im Ort, so dass hier de facto alle Hochzeiten gefeiert wurden. Auf älteren Gruppenbildern ist meist der Eingang, flankiert von zwei aufgestellten  Bäumen, abgebildet.

Deepl translation of above:

Mühlweg 1, no longer stands, today Brückenstraße 1. Was Gasthaus zum Schlüssel. This inn had the largest hall in the village, so de facto all weddings were celebrated here. Older group pictures usually show the entrance flanked by two upright trees.

Consisting of:

Fläche Quadratruten [QR]
Residential house 18,1
Staffeln (Seasons) 0,7
Scheuer [b] 8,0
Forge [a] 2,4
Oven the garden 0,4
Courtyard space 16,4
Total 46,0
in sqm 377,6

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2015]



Christoph Ellwanger, Schmied

Ground of no2 is named as living house, stairs (even there it is flat ???), barn, blacksmith, baking oven in the garden and courtyard. The blacksmith workshop itself is the small building right at the edge of the crossing.

Location 3

Urnummerkarte 170, Brückenstraße 5

Mühlweg 3 und 5, today Brückenstraße 5

Consisting of:

Fläche Quadratruten [QR]
Residential house 5,8
Courtyard space 5,4
Total 17,0
in sqm 139,5

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2017]



Johannes Lutz, locksmith and

Johannes Pfund, Nailsmith, joint

Ground of no3 is neighbor of no. 2 and next to the mill. Owner of this building is Johannes Lutz, locksmith and Johannes Pfund, nailer [= nailsmith?]

Wolfram’s Analysis

Only no. 2 is named as a blacksmith workshop. Therefore I think this was the original place. It is a good strategic place, by the way, because this was on the old street from east to west, it was on the way to the bridge over the Rems to reach Beutelsbach, Endersbach, Schnait or on the way to the south and finally, it was located next to the mill.

This place became a restaurant, I think in the 20th century (but I am not 100% sure), called “Zum Goldenen Schlüssel” (The golden key) and was THE RESTAURANT for all kind of events because they had the biggest room for celebrations (wedding, funeral feast…)

Also, my parents married there and my grandparents, and…

Basically, all old wedding pictures from Großheppach have this motive you can see an example in the picture below.

Now looking backwards. For sure I have a list of blacksmiths.

The inventory files from mid/end 18th century I have not analyzed fully. But I had a look in some records of the Barchet family (also blacksmith). There is saying, the house was standing “in the middle of the village, touching at the one side to the common entrance street, and on the other to Matthäus Lösch and Jerg Leonhard Stock.”

As Matthäus Lösch was a cooper in mid-1750s and the two houses east of the smith along the old roman main street were also owned from coopers in 1820, It seem that the Barchet owned this blacksmith in mid 1750s. But further backwards I actually cannot go.

 Finally, it is sure, that the place of a blacksmith was at that particular corner also in mid-1800s. And the probability is high, that 100 years before the blacksmith was at the same place as there was not so much movement those days in houses/jobs etc. And I am quite sure, Rudolph Müller owned this blacksmith at this particular corner or even founded it.

By the way, at the corner is today the butcher “Klass.”

Still today they have the golden key in their logo which is coming from the former restaurant “Zum Goldenen Schlüssel”. And it looks logic, that the real root of the key-logo is laying in the old blacksmith. I really have to ask the owner who is my friend 🙂


So, there you have it. Wolfram has been able to identify the location of Rudolph’s blacksmith shop which is of course where the family lived too. Comparatively speaking, their home seemed quite large. Did Rudolph build this home, and the forge, or did he purchase the property from an earlier blacksmith, perhaps from the heirs of one who had perished during the Thirty Years War?

Is there any hint of the blacksmith shop, or bricks from the oven, perhaps, still recognizable or to be found on the property, today?

This “corner lot” would have been a prime piece of real estate, passed by all travelers because it was directly on the road to the bridge and the mill, locations frequented by everyone.

I wonder if Rudolph knew the history of this road, that it was, in fact, the old Roman road.

That legions of men in boots had marched around the corner and past his blacksmith shop for hundreds, if not thousands of years. That battles had been fought here, and on the bridge nearby.

Some lucky men rode horses and those horses needed shoes. Perhaps Rudolph had some wine on hand too for thirsty riders as well as water for thirsty horses. At least men who owned horses had enough money to pay for his services and perhaps some discretionary purchases too.

Local farmers bringing their grain to the mill might have needed the axle on their cart or wagon fixed, or a tool or something else repaired. Rudolph was right nearby, literally next door, within sight.

Even people not needing a blacksmith’s services might have been lured by the smells of whatever was baking in that outdoor oven. Maybe the blacksmith’s shop became the corner gathering place where vineyards were discussed and the quality of fermenting wine along with the weather. Or if the visitors were women, who was courting whom, and later, who was “expecting.” Or maybe even more scandalous when that order was reversed.

I’ve noted the two blacksmith locations that were located very closely adjacent in 1832, 140 years or about 4 generations after Rudolph’s death, on the current map, above. The arrow at left is, of course, the blacksmith shop where Rudolph is believed to have lived, although the blacksmith shop is incorporated into the larger “residential” building which has been significantly expanded, and the garden oven is gone. It’s still quite recognizable 189 years after the cadastral map was drawn and would likely have been recognizable if a map had been drawn in Rudolph’s lifetime as well.

The arrow at right points to the location that was, in 1832 the locksmith and “nailsmith.”

The large building to the far right, in the corner, is the old mill, both then and now.

The long corner building appears to be where Rudolph and Margretha would have lived, with the blacksmith workshop right on the corner and a baking oven in the courtyard. Grain was readily available at the mill next door. This large oven and oversized residential building suggest that maybe Rudolph provided more than blacksmith services and wine to his visitors. Were he and Margretha also proprietors of a food establishment of some sort – maybe the equivalent “fast food” of the 1600s? Grab a glass of wine and a pastry, “to go,” or while you wait for your repair to be completed?

Was “waiting maid” perhaps a way of conveying that Margretha waited on customers, a waitress or server in today’s vernacular? Was this the actual beginning of what would evolve into the Golden Key restaurant? The location was certainly ideal!


Now it makes sense why the local miller at the time, Jerg Leonhard Herman and his wife Magdalena stood up as godparents for all but one of Rudolph and Margretha’s children. Jerg Leonhard was born in 1630, so the couple would have been the same age as Rudolph and Margretha Muller. They were not only neighbors, but the families along this stretch, the blacksmith, the miller, and the cooper were all tradesmen essential to life in a German village.

And now, of course, I wonder who Jerg Leonard Hermann’s wife, Margaretha, was. Were these couples related? Perhaps there is yet another chapter to this story and even more than meets the eye.



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Painting the Life of Rudolph & Margretha Muller in Grossheppach, Germany – 52 Ancestors #322

It never fails to amaze me when fate joins cousins from across the globe.

Yep, it has happened once again and I’m jumping for joy.

Johann Rudolpf Muller and his wife, Margretha had several children – among them, two daughters.

I descend from daughter Sibylla born in 1672, and my distant cousin, Wolfram descends from her older sister, Veronica, born in 1666. That makes us roughly 7th cousins.

Let me say before going any further that this article would not have been possible without Wolfram’s generosity – sharing his research, information, time, and photos. He has been immeasurably patient with me asking what probably feels like endless questions.

For me, the view he has provided of where our ancestors lived is like drinking the nectar of the Gods. This not only provides a glimpse into the village of Grossheppach, but transports me across time as well.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

This ancient stone marks the boundary of Grossheppach where it borders neighboring Kleinheppach. Gross means large and Klein means small. Of course, both are a matter of perception.

Originally, these two villages were one.

Großheppach and Kleinheppach emerged as a joint expansion site in the 9th century (at the time the Fronhof constitution was still in force) and was probably founded in Waiblingen. The place takes its name from the stream, which at that time was already called Heckebach or Heggebach, which stands for a stream between hedges; the village and corridor image of the Middle Ages was characterized by the many hedges that served as fences. The oldest spellings of the place name are Hegnesbach (1236) and Hegbach (1365). As an independently tangible place, Kleinheppach first appears as Heckebach superiori (1294) or Obernheggebach (1297).

Kleinheppach, the smaller village consisted of a church surrounded by a few houses in 1686.

Sometimes the church records of residents of Kleinheppach are mixed with those of Grossheppach in the Grossheppach church register.

Wolfram has a unique perspective because he still lives in Grossheppach, village of our ancestors, along the little stream beside the church, the blacksmith’s shop, the old inn, and the mill.

I’ve asked Wolfram a lot, and I mean A LOT of questions this week. I’m very grateful for his answers and insights, not to mention, pictures.

Did I mention pictures???

Grossheppach in Pictures

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Yes, pictures of beautiful Grossheppach, today and yesteryear! Notice the stately church dome in the background.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Many of these buildings hail from the time when Johann Rudolph and Margretha lived here. They walked these streets which were probably cobblestones or even dirt at the time and saw these very same buildings. This building on the corner above, now the Schreiber bakery, is one of the oldest buildings in town, built before 1560.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

The historic Lamm Inn was the only place for travelers to rest, standing across from the church in the center of the old part of town, also originating on the old Roman road before 1560.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Rudolph and Margretha knew these buildings well. They would have been in and out of these structures over the years. Their daughter, Sibylla, may have been the midwife in Grossheppach before she became the official midwife in neighboring Beutelsbach.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Given the apparent age of this building in this early 1900s photo, Wolfram thinks it’s from the 1800s. It’s not connected to our family.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Wolfram tells us about the milk house:

The milk house was a house where the people sold their milk to if they had more than they needed. I am not sure. Maybe they did cheese out of it but definitively also butter. There you were able to buy milk, butter, cheese.

The people you can see on the picture was the family of my grand-grandfather.

The small child at the hand of my grand-grandfather Gottlob Stilz (1875-1942) was my grandmother Sophie (1909-1977). The wife is my grand-grandmother Sofie Böhringer (1881-1964) with her other child (aunt Anna Bertha) on her arm. The picture must be from 1912.

The house is not existing any more. But my mother told it was placed at today’s Kleinheppacherstrasse 26.

By the way, maybe interesting for you. Normally the people had beside the chicken, some cows for the milk and sometimes maybe meat. Most people were poor. And as you might know, a cow needs to birth every year a calf to get milk. Means you need a bull. So the bull was normally a municipal owned animal, so not everybody needed to have one. They had an extra stable for these bull which was called “Farrenstall”. Because the name of such a bull was “Farren”. In Großheppach it was located in former days in the town hall – ground floor;)

I’m sorry, but this made me just laugh out loud. I was raised on a farm in the US and am all too familiar with bulls. We too shared one bull for the entire neighborhood. You might say he got to go for slumber parties. Happiest bull ever.

German “farms” are much different than in the US. Because of the need to cluster houses together defensively, all the houses are built with the barns in the village, and the farm fields extend behind the village.

Medieval cities were walled, but in smaller towns, only the church and cemetery were walled. In some cases, estates that enclosed several houses and barns were walled as well.

In the Beginning

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius.

Let’s start closer to the beginning, with the bridge and the mill, above and also seen in this beautiful 1686 drawing of Grossheppach when Rudolph, Margretha and their children were living in one of these approximately 55 homes.

The count is approximate for two reasons. First, it’s hard to discern between roofs, and second, because some of those roofs are likely barns beside houses. I can’t tell. So perhaps as few as 20 or 25 houses.

In 1832, Grossheppach had a total of 125 houses.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Even in the 1950s, Grossheppach was still a small village nestled snugly in the Rems Valley beneath sloping hillside vineyards.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

We do know a few things for sure.

Rudolf and Margretha didn’t live at the mill, although they were quite close to the miller who stood up for several of their children’s baptisms. They didn’t live in the church or in the vineyards. People didn’t actually “live” in either of those places. Farmers and vinedressers lived in the village and walked up to the fields to work. The village was established in time out of mind beside the little stream of Heppach and grew slowly over many centuries.

Wolfram begins:

I can tell you the origin of “Heppach” which is “Heck-bach”. This phrase of the town is often shown in early documents. Origin is ‘Hecke’ and ‘Bach’ which basically means ‘hedge’ and ‘creek’. So the creek at the hedge, or hedge at the creek – as you wish😉

On your second picture you can see a big building close to the bridge. This is the old mill. The buildings still existing. And today the bridge is almost at the original place. Two years ago they digged part of an old bridge. You can read an article about the bridge here.

The archivist Bernd Breyvogel is working in the archive of Weinstadt which is – by the way – located in the old castle of Großheppach. In the 1970’s there was a reform and the 5 villages Großheppach, Beutelsbach, Endersbach, Schnait and Strümpfelbach went together to the new city “Weinstadt” but still the people here know which village they relate to;).

The article asks, “Is the historical bridge the bridge where there was heavy fighting between the imperial and Swedes with 300 dead in January 1643?”

Based on the archaeological dig in combination with this drawing, the answer appears to be yes.

As a genealogist, I have to wonder – how in the heck would a small village bury 300 dead people all at once. That’s probably more people than the entire adult population of the village, maybe more than the population of surrounding villages, combined.

The battle in 1643 occurred during the Thirty Years’ War. This bridge connects Grossheppach with the vineyards on the north side of Beutelsbach. Clearly, anyone living in either village would have been painfully aware of this battle. While Rudolf Muller wasn’t yet living in Germany, my ancestors from Beutelsbach certainly were, and they would clearly have heard that battle, assuming they weren’t involved in some way themselves.

That battle lived in infamy and shaped the village where Rudolph and Margaretha would settle 17 years later.

Wolfram continues:

About the small island close to the mill. This “island” can still be recognized, even though it is not in use any more. On site you can see, that there is the old mill race between the two old buildings. I marked it here into the google map. The one building above the yellow arrow is the one in the map of Kieser’s forest map with the mill wheels. The building below the arrow is built after 1686. But the river course of the Rems has been changed.

Ahh, this explains why I was having trouble finding that island on the map today.

By the way, you can also use Google Maps in 3D. Then you have even a more real and realistic view of my (actual) village:

Wolfram explains that Grossheppach is much older than this though.

As of location of this village you need to know, the village is placed directly at an old road from roman times. Which were going from east to west. The road is today located in Großheppach as “Grunbacher Straße” and “Pfahlbühlstraße” and came from Bavarian region along the former roman border “Limes” and finished in Bad Cannstatt.

There was a roman fort at this strategic place, built in the first century AD. Still today some construction from roman times in the ground of the former castle. Unfortunately, I have only found a site in German. Maybe Google can do the rest for you:

Also the corresponding Wikipedia article is only in German:

But about the roman border “Limes” there is an article in English:

It’s only about 500 feet from the castle to the church, so it’s probable that this old portion of the village is much older than Grossheppach as we know it.

The Roman limes passed directly through Grossheppach, guarded by Roman soldiers from the first through the fifth centuries.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the original families in this area are descendants of the soldiers and local women. Y DNA of early families might well tell that story.

Grossheppach to Beutelsbach

It’s just over a mile from church to church, across the infamous bridge. Throughout Europe, it’s quite common to see steeples in every direction in the countryside, looking at the horizon across the fields. Most villages remained small and all residents needed to be able to fit inside the church and get there quickly.

The mile between villages would only have taken a few minutes to walk. During that 1643 battle, the sounds of armor clashing and the screams of men would have traveled piercingly through the air.

I sure wish Google had StreetView in Europe.

Understanding the dynamics of chronic warfare in Europe over the ages, the walled church and churchyard/cemetery make much more sense.

Both churches retain at least a portion of their original walled structure.

Seen from the air, the church in Beutelsbach is walled with a separate entrance through a small tower near the bottom of the photo.

The yard beside the church is the old cemetery where Rudolph and Margretha’s daughter, Sibylla would have been buried.

Residents would have gathered within those walled churches. Looking at the front, we can see the fortification slots that would allow archers to shoot from the church towers.

Safety was found within churches, in more ways than one. It’s no wonder that everyone lived as close as possible to the church, made of stone, easier to defend and less likely to burn.

The church would literally have been where the community sheltered and literally made their last stand.

Wolfram shares this bit of history:

Rudolph Müller was a farrier, specialized in horseshoes. But you need to know, this was a small village with not so many people living – especially after the 30-years-war. I estimate that 70 – 80% of the people died during the war – mainly from diseases and hunger.

There were some bad periods which were mainly two pest pandemics: 1627 and 1634 after the lost battle of Nördlingen where thousands of marauding foreign soldiers came down the valley of the Rems from Aalen and taking everything which was not nailed down. They destroyed even wine yards. The big and important city Waiblingen – which is only 5 km away – was destroyed totally (only 2 or 3 buildings from the period before are still available in the town). Details of the battle you can read here,

The Church

The church in Grossheppach is ancient, predating Rudolph and Margretha. Their children were baptized in this building. Some of their funerals were preached here too, just before their tiny caskets were carried out the side door into the churchyard, their final resting place. Eventually, Rudolf and Margretha would join them, the dust of their bones still lingering.

Wolfram tells us about the church:

The nave of the church was built in 1468, so it is a Gothic building.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

But they built on an older building which was has been built between 1300 and 1350 as a chapel and became a church around 1430. The chapel was built on a place which was part of the estate “Gmünder Hof” and was owned by the earl of Württemberg (by the way, three estates merged together and founded the village Großheppach).

In 1540’s the church converted from catholic to protestant by decree from Duke Ulrich of Württemberg. His son, Duke Christoph ordered on 30 Jun 1550 to stop catholic mass. The protestant baptism records of Großheppach are available from 1558. Earlier church documents are not available as far as I know.

The lower part of the tower is the oldest part (Romanesque) and might even older than the first chapel. Still today you can see the arrow slits on the east side. I am not sure, if those you can see on the south side are original. The helmet of the tower was different in the past and was looking similar to the one of the church in Endersbach:

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

In the local historic book is a small but quite nice drawing how it could has been around 1560. In the book you can read, that the drawing has been made according to researches of old documents:

You can see the gothic church with its churchyard. A high wall around with a 2-floor wall walk and arrow slits. Parts of the wall on the east and south side are still existing (west is left, east is right at the pic). On the right side you can see the former estate “Gmünder Hof” on the lower right corner of the estate you see a bigger timbered house. This is also still existing and contains today the bakery Schreiber (they have the world’s best Prezel!). Across the street you can see the Lamb Inn with its double roof.

Courtesy Wolfram Callenius

There’s a significant difference in this drawing from 1560, which was followed by the Thirty Years War which began in 1618, and the drawing from 1686. Wolfram doesn’t say when the three estates merged to form Grossheppach, but based on the 1686 map, I’d wager it was between 1560 and 1686. By 1686, based on the map, we know it’s called Grossheppach.

If more than half of the people died during that war, then some of these homes would likely have been empty. Families would have been recombining, attempting to make the best of things. If the three independent estates had not yet merged, it would have made sense at this time.

Income of the nobility relied on taxes, and if people weren’t living on the land and raising crops, there was nothing to tax. After the devastation of the war, Germany needed people to work the land again and rebuild the economy.

After the war ended, it was common for German localities to advertise, in the vernacular of the day, for settlers from neutral countries such as Switzerland that were relatively unaffected by the war – hoping to relieve overpopulation there and provide opportunities for land ownership, freedom of religion and other benefits that might entice settlers.

Devastation for some, leaving empty homes, meant opportunity for the next generation.

Looking at Google Maps, we see those same three buildings today. The church at left, the Lamm Inn with a yellow star and the bakery with red.

Wolfram tells us that in 1769 the top of the church tower roof was replaced by a baroque helmet. The original tower would have been in place when Rudolph and Margretha walked from their home, not far away, to worship.

I asked Wolfram if he had a photo of the interior of the church, and if the baptismal font is original.

Unfortunately, the inside of the church is very puristic.

In former days the church has been painted inside, like you can see in the church of Beutelsbach or Schnait today and there were pictures at the walls and statues.

Also the windows have been different.

The protestant pietists broke very much with the catholic and wanted to reduce more to the inner spirit of the people. They destroyed a lot of old interiors in all of Europe. So today the chorus area/chapel looks like this which is directly below the tower:

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

If the baptismal is original from former days I do not know and I was not able to find it in the Grossheppach history book.

The baptismal font is underneath that tablecloth.

When I first saw that church tower, I wanted to see what was inside. Church towers are often off-limits for safety reasons.

It was my lucky day because Wolfram sent several photos from inside of the church tower and narrates his visit.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

The picture is from inside the church tower. Normally the tower is closed and only some small wooden stairs are going up. The entry is outside from the north. Some years ago there was an open house day and I had the opportunity to get up the tower. I took some pictures.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Just look at this bell. I wonder if this bell was in place when Rudoph and Margretha lived there? Fortunately, Wolfram has the answer:

About the church bells – the biggest was from 1495, called “Hosanna bell”. But this bell was melted in 1904 into a new one after it has been broken during ringing on 28 Feb 1904. But this new big one has not been melted then. Neither in the first nor second World War. (You need to know, many bells have been melted because metal was rare). So at least the size and material is original:)


Then there were two smaller bells. They had to be melted in 1917 for the first World War. Only 1922 they had money enough to get two new ones but those both had to be melted again in 1942. The two small ones we have now are from 1948.


And here is a link for something you will definitively love. There are some videos of the church and you can hear the bells ringing 🙂


The history of the church provided in Wolfram’s link says that the church had a beautiful peasant painting above the pulpit at one time. I suspect this is beneath the paint and I can’t help but wonder if that couldn’t be painstakingly restored, or at least exposed. It also mentions that the church had an organ by 1600. I wonder how much damage the church sustained during the Thirty Years War. I suspect a substantial amount, but no one would want to carry parts of an organ or church bells away. The original organ was replaced more than a century ago.

You can see and hear Easter and Christmas services here and here 

Still, we know that even after a couple of remodels, it’s still the same church. Rudolph and Margretha sat in pews in this very place, baptized their children in this very building, probably in a baptismal font in just about that same location.

They would have been as at home in this church as they were in their own house.

They would have heard the voices of the bells every time they rang. They would have heard them ring to announce deaths, including those of their own children. The only thing they never got to do in this church, together, was to attend one of their children’s marriages. The family attended Margretha’s funeral in this very sanctuary in 1689 before any of their children married.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

This bell would have summoned residents to church on Sundays.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Of course, the beams had to be strong enough to support the weight of the bells and not shift as they rang. Thinking about the engineering required for these early churches and large buildings – it’s actually an amazing feat and not only do they still stand, they are functional. These buildings have truly withstood the test of time.

If only these walls, beams and bells could talk. What stories they could tell.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Two bells side by side. The bells do sound quite different.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Well, this is a mystery. Always a curious genealogist, I asked Wolfram about this whatever-it-is.

It turned out to be an old clock that used to be located outside on the tower.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Also this one which looks like a cupboard or cabinet, it is from the old church clock.

Today the clock is electric and this one is from 1900 and they placed it there. I do not know if this is the original place but there was space in the tower. As you can see on the picture there is some text. I will translate it for you:

“In memory of
Miss. Elise Vreede,
died here 19 Nov 1899,
donated from her three sisters
Mrs. Marie Schmid, Schorndorf,
Mrs Luise von Wendland, München,
Mrs. Therese von Abel, Grossheppach
In the year of salvation 1900.”

Therese von Abel was the local landlord’s wife. They lived here in the small castle.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

I would guess that this is the platform inside the tower and the steps to the bell lead upward from there. Back then, the bell-ringer would have climbed those steps to ring the bell as needed. It would be interesting to know how often the bell rang.

The churchyard in Grossheppach is now bricked with pavers, but the graves of both Rudolph and Margretha assuredly lie beneath these pavers, within the fortified walls.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Wolfram added information about the cemetery beside the church in Grossheppach.

As of cemetery: There were three of them. The oldest was around the church in the churchyard, you are totally right. Once this cemetery became too small because of higher population and some pandemic diseases and they needed to create a new cemetery. And outside the village also because of the pandemic. In Großheppach they built a new one northwest of the church. The location you can see here:

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

This second cemetery does also not exist anymore. And since some years people totally forgot about it. But then bones came out of the ground due to some new buildings, people remembered. By the way, the bones have been buried a second time on the actual cemetery. The third one is that what is used today, northeast of the church. The age I have to estimate (never thought about it) but it is maybe interesting for you to sort it historical wise. I think it is around 100 years old, maybe 120 years. But honestly, I do not know, it could be also only 80, or 150 years.

What this tells us is that in 1832, when this map was created, that part of the village was still pretty much vacant. Notice the fields surrounding the cemetery. What we don’t know, of course, is when it began to be used. Of course, I wonder if those soldiers were buried here in 1634, while spaces in the churchyard were reserved for Grossheppach families.

On this current map, I’ve marked the church. The red star shows the 1832 cemetery and the purple star at right indicates the castle.

The blue dots are the end of the walking path from Beutelsbach to the church in Grossheppach. It’s clear that the old village consists of the buildings immediately surrounding the church. You can view many at this link.

Extracting More Information

Understanding the culture and customs in the village allows descendants to extract more information about the life and time in which our ancestors lived.

Wolfram made this observation about the burial record of Johann Rudolph’s second wife, also named Margaretha.

Her second marriage:

“Den 12 Nov. ist H, Johann Heinrich Berger Schulmeister v. Gerichtschr. alhir Mit Margretha Margaretha Knauß[en] Copuliert word[en] ./.“ [On 12 Nov has been married here Mr. Johann Heinrich Berger, schoolmaster and law clerk (the one who was writing the official documents of the village) with Margretha Knauß.]

Margaretha’s burial record:

„Eodem ward begraben Margaretha, Rudolph Millers, gewesenen Schmidts u burgers allhir hinterbliebene wittib, (…) genannt die Knaußerin, weil ihr erster Mann Hanß Jerg Knaußen, Barbier alhier geweßen.“ [at the same date has been buried Margaretha, survived widow of Rudolph Miller, former smith and citizen here, (…) called the „Knaußerin“ because her first husband was Hanß Jerg Knaußen, barber here].

Interesting here is, that this wife was from a “better” family because she was the widow of the schoolmaster and law clerk Knauß. And well-off family members have mostly married in a family with similar social status. Means, the smith Rudolph Müller was also part of the “upper class”.


Wolfram found Hanss Rudolph and Margretha’s citizenship records in Grossheppach in 1662.

Hanß Rudolph MÜLLER/MILLER; von Stein am Rhein; „aus dem Schweitzerland“ [Seelenbuch GH, pg 431]; Bürger und Hufschmied zu Großheppach; * um 1632 Stein am Rhein [Fleckenbuch GH, pg 422]; □ 28.07.1692 Großheppach [TotB]

Hanß Rudolph becomes a citizen from Großheppach at 28.02.1662 together with his wife

No marriage record in Großheppach]

Margretha NN.; von Schefen [= Stäfa?], area of Zürich [Fleckenbuch GH, pg422]; from 1662 Bürgerin in Großeppach; * in Switzerland; „ein Cammermädgen“ [Seelenbuch GH, S.431]; □ 30.10.1689 Großheppach [TotB]; Die Margaretha becomes a citizen from Großheppach at 28.02.1662 together with her husband.

Their first child born in Grosshappach arrived in May of 1661 and died in October of the same year. On the last day of February in 1662, when both Rudolph and Margretha became citizens, she was about 4 months pregnant for their next child.

I have no idea what the criteria was at that time to become a citizen. Did Rudolph and Margretha always intend to become citizens, or did they make that decision after living there for some time? Did they discover that the village needed a blacksmith and ferrier and moved to Grossheppach from Switzerland intentionally for that position?

Were the local residents excited about the young couple settling in their midst, providing a much-needed craftsman?

Perhaps these new settlers helped them heal from the ravages of such a long, miserable war.

Drum Roll – Origins

Wolfram’s research about Rudolph and Margretha is very, VERY illuminating and resulted from his one-place-study research.

And now about the origin of Johannes Rudolph and his wife.

During searching for interesting sources for my study of Großheppach in the archive of Großheppach, I found a historical source which is called “Fleckenbuch”. Which means basically “book of the village”. The record started in 1529. The recorder of the village was writing important things in. Also people who became citizen in Großheppach. You know, church records are the most important while searching about family history. But sometimes also civil sources are important. Especially during and after 30-years-war many people moved around and settled somewhere. Furthermore, church books from the period of 30-year-war are often missing or information are listed bad. Even in the years after the war – so 1648 until around 1670 – church records are often not precise and information missing. In addition to this, these civil records become very important.

 As in this case with Johannes Rudolph Müller.

Anno 1662. „Denn. 28 Februarÿ seindt NachFolgende Persohnen zue MitBurgern vff: vnnd angenom[m]en worden.

1. Hannß Rudolph Miller, Huoffschmidt von Stein am Rhein gebürtig, vnd seine HaußFraw Margaretha. von Schefen, im Zürcher gebieth.“ [On 28 February following persons became citizens. 1. Hannß [= Johannes] Rudolph Miller, farrier and born in Stein am Rhein and his wife Margaretha, from Schefen, territory of Zurich.]

So it is written clearly that he came from Stein am Rhein.

The name of the town where his wife came from could be also read as ‘Schefer’, ‘Sehefen’ or ‘Sehefer’ but these villages cannot be located. So finally, this is open.

I can tell you, here and now, that indeed Rudolph has been located (thanks to cousins Wolfram, Pam and Tom) and we have a lead on a possible marriage to Margretha thanks to Tom’s sleuthing.

There’s going to be a wonderful article in the future. You’re just not going to believe how this unfolded between several very eager people. Now, we wait for another friend to see if she can find the original record we need.

Fingers crossed!

The Castle

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Rudolph was a ferrier, and Margretha was a “waiting maid,” according to Wolfram’s translation of her death record. Tom translated it as “chambermaid,” but the essence is the same. This makes me wonder if she was a “waiting maid” at the Grossheppach Castle. Who else would be able to afford a maid?

Von Khor – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This castle photo dates to about 1930, and below, the castle as restored today.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A portion of the original defensive wall remains today. I wonder how badly this structure was damaged during the Thirty Years War.

By Silesia711 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

This castle dates to 1592 and was expanded in 1655. In addition to the castle itself, the property included a horse stable, below.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Is this the farm building at the castle where Rudolph shoed horses? I’d wager that answer is yes.

The castle cellar door is at right. The stone vaulted wine cellar dates from 1593 but I think that has a separate entrance.

Families who owned this castle were reportedly not aristocrats, but the bourgeois upper class.

Hmmm, a horse stable…Rudolph was a ferrier and Margretha was a “waiting maid”….

This surely makes me wonder. These families could assuredly afford both a ferrier and a waiting maid. Could Rudolph and Margretha possibly have lived in one of these buildings on the castle property?

Beautiful Vineyards

Grossheppach is located in the middle of the wine region where the entire economy is dependent on the grape harvest.

After the soldiers destroyed the fields in 1634, the residents would have immediately begun to replant the vineyards. From seedling to grape harvest takes about 3 years – years which are filled with pruning and cultivation. Baby and pamper those vines.

And pray. Pray that the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing and damage those tender shoots.

A good vinedresser knows how to strike the perfect pruned balance of shoots and buds that will produce not just a good harvest, but quality, sun-ripened grapes.

It’s very unusual to find a cousin, interested in genealogy and history, who still lives in the ancestral area. Wolfram has graciously provided several photos with historical significance, which I’m including here.

You can also see additional photos on his website, here, including basket weaving.

Why is basket weaving important? Baskets were used for harvesting grapes without damaging or bruising them.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Grapes were and are picked by hand, but that’s just the final task.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

When the vines are dormant in the winter, they need to be tended and pruned.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Vines are tied to stakes so that they will grow and produce as much yield as possible. Too much shade from leaves and other vines prevents ripening. Hence the ancient occupation in the wine region known as a vinedresser.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

This work needed to be done in the winter when the vines were dormant, without leaves.

Note the little buildings on the hills in the background. They look to be too small for people to live in, so I asked Wolfram.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Wolfram says:

The tiny houses are not for living. You are right, they are for the needed tools and in former times definitely also for sudden bad weather or to warm up by using a small oven inside. Still today you can see them. I guess you can see them also at google maps🙂

I never thought about warming up, but of course. Much of their work was done in the winter.

And yes, most pictures were from grape harvesting. For the people these were festival days. You collect the fruits of the whole-year-work!. When I was young it was still this way. And relatives and friends helped relatives and friends. Today it became different. It became more a business and during harvesting seasons there are also foreign workers from Poland etc. So on these pictures mostly relatives are working. But still today the most of the grapes are harvested by hand. This improves the wine quality.

“Festival days.” What a wonderful way to view this activity. Of course it was festive. A celebration. I never thought about that. I had commented to Wolfram about how happy everyone in the following photo looked. They are all smiling and happy, and the people sitting on the ground are eating grapes right out of the basket. They must have been luscious, sweet and warm.

I notice that the women all have their hair pulled back with scarves. Having long hair myself, this would be to prevent your hair from getting in the way and to prevent it from getting tangled in the vines and leaves. I’m thinking grape juice in hair would be very sticky.

I asked Wolfram about the various sized baskets, from small to the one on the man’s back, to the vat in the wagon behind the man.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Yes, these were the standard “baskets” for carrying the grapes. They were made from wood and they are called “Butte” (single) or “Butten” (two or more). In former days most of the people were poor. Horses were almost not existing (only at the mill). Mostly they had some single cows for the milk and some chicken for the eggs and meat. All for their own need. And the hills are quite steep. In some areas they were able to use cows to transport the grapes in bigger barrels (as you can see at this pic) but often they had to carry the grapes in these baskets downhill to the wine press. Therefore this bigger size. When I was young, we still had always these “Butten”. But made of plastic instead. Today you can drive almost everywhere in the vineyards in Großheppach with tractors through the rows. So you cut also by hand but you are using buckets to put in a 1000 l tub on the tractor.

The age of this picture is quite clear because the man with the “Butte” is my grandfather Hermann Mayer (1904 – 1996) and the wife with the white bucket is my grandmother, Sophie Stilz (1909 – 1977). And the wife next to her with the white cap is my grand-grandmother Pauline Mayer (1872 – 1945) 😉 My grand-grandmother died in 1945 and in 1939 my grandfather got injured very heavy and was not able to work for at least 1.5 years. And it seems for me the picture has been made before 1939. So maybe between 1932 and 1939.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

This “mountain press” was built in the Grossheppach vineyards in 1660, which means it was brand new when Rudolph and Margretha moved to Grossheppach.

I asked Wolfram about the mountain presses along with the man, the cart and what he was doing:

There were three presses in Großheppach. I tried to localize it but for me it was only possible for two of them.

The use of the small barrel honestly I do not know. It might can be for some wine. But definitively not for grapes, you carry them always open. It could also be used to transport cider. Unlikely water. The man is also interesting. He is wearing a backpack sprayer for agent. And therefore the barrel could be also for the agent.

I noticed in this picture that the vineyards seem to be fenced with rocks. This is somewhat enlightening because it’s reported in the records for Sibylla Muller’s husband, Johann Georg Lenz, a vinedresser, that “stones fell on his body and back.” Were those stones being quarried for the vineyards? I notice that the stones are all squared. Where were they quarried and how far were they transported?

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

This looks like a new vineyard, with the stakes for tying vines just waiting. Lots of small sheds for supplies. I must admit, I’m quite curious as to why it appears they were “starting over” with such a huge swath of land.

Wolfram included another photo of an old house in the vineyards.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Wolfram didn’t know the history of this structure, but it’s clearly old and is no longer standing today.

I asked if the vineyards are privately or governmentally owned.

The vineyards are privately owned. Behind my house my cousin has one of his vineyards here.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Wolfram indicated that most of the work was done by oxen and not horses. The vat is an open barrel into which grapes were deposited as family members picked the harvest.

He noted:

The man on the back is my grandfather Hermann Mayer (1904 – 1996) and right next to him his wife and my grandmother Sophie Stilz (1909 – 1977) And yes, it is a picture from autumn, harvesting grapes. My mother told, they had some cows for the milk. I do not know if they had oxes just for work. Maybe I should ask my mother.

Photo courtesy Wolfram Callenius

Translation via Google translate: Here too, grapes were harvested in 1928 in Bader, below the steep Buhlerbuckel. At the front as the smallest you can see my father Gottfried Klopfer holding his sister Johanna’s hand.


I’ve been drawn to vineyards ever since I can remember. I have no idea why. I like only a few wines – ones that tend to be sweet. Muscatos and Niagaras – and oh yes, ice wines.

Or maybe some Moscato wine and apricot liqueur. Oh yes!!!

Of course, a real vintner would laugh me right out of the building. These are “sissy” sweet wines when compared to the “real thing.” My husband accuses me of loving grape juice – and he’s right. I love grape juice too – including the sparkling variety.

But I love, and I mean LOVE vineyards.

Not to get all sappy on you, but, can I tell you a secret?

I got married at a winery. Outside, in the yard, with the majestic medieval stones providing a beautiful backdrop. The vineyards are right next door where you can’t see them in the photo.

Weddings don’t’ normally happen at wineries, but we told them not to worry – the yard outside would be just fine.

Such a beautiful day

You can see the barrels stacked behind the wedding party. We stood in front of the grape arbor, of course. What else?

The Mon Ami Winery original building was purchased in Europe in the 1870s, essentially in ruins, disassembled, transported to the US on ships, then reassembled.

When I travel, I almost always seek out wineries. I don’t actually mean to – it just kind of happens.

  • Indiana – check
  • Michigan – check
  • Ohio – check
  • California – check
  • Williamsburg – check
  • Texas – check
  • Austria – check
  • Germany – check
  • Norway – check
  • Australia – check
  • Homer, Alaska – check
  • New Zealand – check
  • Tasmania – check
  • North Carolina – check

Oh, look! I think I found the colonists…

Finding dark chocolate while following a “wine trail” I just happened across. Check.

Yes, I find wineries everyplace. I have never understood this allure, especially given that I’m not much of a wine drinker. Maybe it’s the old-world ambiance I love. Maybe it’s my roots showing through.

Our standing joke when we go wine-tasting is that Jim gets his and mine too, and I drive. But if there’s a lovely sweet wine, I’m sunk. Unfortunately, there almost never is – but I’m just happy being around grapes, vineyards and anything that smells like wine. Winery tours are always wonderful fun and every one is unique.

I’ve made grape and wine-themed quilts. There are also Quilt Wines but they look too dry for my taste.

Although in all fairness, I should warn you that quilting and wine do not pair well. Well, at least the mistakes are funny.

At one point, I made wine at my own very own “Ore Creek Winery.” Don’t ask, I’m not a vintner. I’m more the vinedresser. But designing and making those hand-stitched wine bottle labels was fun nonetheless.

I often take pictures of grapes when I travel, with the sun shining on or through them. They represent liquid sunshine and I feel incredibly close to both the earth and my ancestors.

It’s amazing where you find grapevines growing. While these are in a vineyard, it’s not unusual in Europe to find them growing up the side of a house or fence in a very small space. Grapevines are beautiful as well as functional.

I especially love grapevines with roses blooming nearby. Roses are often planted at the end of rows of grapevines in vineyards and serve as an early-warning system for fungus and other pests that invade both plants. If they appear in the rosebushes, the grapevines need to be treated before the year’s harvest is damaged.

Not only that, roses attract pollenators and beneficial insects, and they are a feast of color for the eyes, and the soul.

I even have wild grapevines growing in my yard that I can’t seem to get rid of. It’s like they sought me out and found me, compliments of my ancestors, I’m sure.

Yes, I know, my ancestors are probably rolling over in their graves at the thought of me trying to “get rid” of grapevines.

My husband tried to harvest these, and they are, bar none, the sourest grapes either of us has ever tasted. The birds wouldn’t even eat them and the bear threw them back. The raccoon and possums looked at us like we were crazy. No wonder their seeds are proliferating all over the place – no one wants them.

There’s simply not enough sugar or fermentation to fix this problem. We tried. But darn, those leaves, berries and vines are just so stunningly beautiful.

How ironic that my ancestors prayed for the vines and grapes to grown and here I am with doing everything possible to arrest their growth.

Nevertheless, these cumulative experiences connect me with my German vintner, vinedresser, vineyard roots.

My moth-to-flame attraction to anything and everything vineyard connects me to those ancestors – where they lived, what they saw and experienced. I can paint their lives in the colors and flavors of the vinebow.

Winemaking wasn’t just a part of their life – their entire economic existence depended on the ripening harvest on the hillside – whether they were vinedressers or the ferrier who serviced their horses and oxen. Everyone depended on the lowly grape.

I can close my eyes and almost smell the earthy soil and see them among the rows of vines, picking grapes in the warm sunshine, smiling at me across the centuries.

Or maybe, just maybe, they’re amused at their descendant with a wild grape problem.




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Margretha Muller (c1632-1689), Wife to Rudolph Muller, Born in Switzerland – 52 Ancestors #321

We don’t know Margaretha or Margretha’s birth surname, but we do know that she was born in Switzerland and married Johann Rudolph Muller, probably in Switzerland as well – sometime before the birth of their first child in Grossheppach, Germany in 1661. Clearly, the young couple migrated from Switzerland before that time, probably about that time, and not long after their marriage.

They theoretically could have met and married in Grossheppach, on the Rems River in Germany after both families migrated, but there are no records to support that theory – and church records in Grossheppach do exist during this timeframe.

It’s most likely that the newlyweds answered the call of the German nobles for settlers in the German lands that had been devastated and depopulated during the Thirty Years War which had ended in 1648. It took generations to recover from that war – in terms of rebuilding and in terms of population loss which averaged 50%, but ranged from 30% to 100% in various regions.

Grossheppach, shown here in 1686, was spared the worst of the devastation, so was probably more stable with at least some remaining original population. Note the mill – you’ll see it again later!

Grossheppach, a small village, is located smack dab in the middle of the wine-growing region, but Margretha’s husband, Rudolph, was a blacksmith and ferrier.

Like many women of that era, what little we know about Margretha is from the church records.

Margretha’s Birth

We can estimate the year of Margretha’s birth based on when her last child was recorded in the Grossheppach baptismal records.

Her first child in the Grossheppach church records was born in 1661 and her last child was born in 1675. If we presume Margretha was about 43 when the last child was born, that places her birth at about 1632, give or take a couple years in either direction.

If Margretha was born about 1632, she likely married sometime after 1652. She may have married and had children in Switzerland, but there are no burial or marriage records for Rudolph and Margretha in Grossheppach as parents to children not born there.

My suspicion is that the young couple married and saw settlement in Germany as the “great adventure” that awaited, promising reprieve from taxes among other perks for settlers.

Opportunity awaited.

They may have migrated with others. After all, there’s safety in numbers and family is more likely to help you in a time of need than unknown strangers.

One-Place Study

How lucky could I have been to stumble across a one-place study about Grossheppach families, which you can find here.

The one hint I can find about the Swiss location of Margretha is in the document of tracking “foreigners” in Grossheppach, in German, on page 59 where we find the locality, name of the individual, a year, and what the researcher found.

In this case, the locality is “Schefen, Kanton Zurich (=Stafa?), the individual is Margaretha, no known birth surname, This indicates von “Shefen” which translates literally to “from sheep,” followed by (wird Bg. in GH) which means became a citizen in Grossheppach.

Her husband’s information is noted with him being from Stein am Rhein. What the heck is Stein am Rhein? It’s the name of a village!!!

The researcher also lists Rudolph as “Bg.” meaning berger, and farrier. This is the researcher’s list of ancestors, so I suspect that the researcher descends through daughter, Veronica.

If this location is indeed accurate, this provides us with a location, probably for both Rudolph and Margretha. I’ve written to the researcher and heard back just before publishing this article today. Hint – there will be a chapter 2😊

Stein am Rhein is breathtakingly beautiful, the central, compact medieval old city still quite visible. It was probably walled at one time.

By Hansueli Krapf – Own work: Hansueli Krapf (User Simisa (talk · contribs)), CC BY-SA 3.0,

Be still my heart!

Stein am Rhein is a small, stunningly beautiful village on the Rhine River in Switzerland, with the medieval church still intact. Just take a look. OH MY.

By JoachimKohlerBremen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I’m trying to tell myself NOT to fall completely in love until I can confirm the accuracy of this information. I already want to climb on a plane.

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Stein am Rhein is 20-25 miles from Zurich as the crow flies.

Church records do exist for Stein am Rhein, but I’d need the transcribed records, only available at the Family History library in Salt Lake, here, as opposed to the unindexed and German script original records, here. Not only that, but Stein am Rhein has records dating from the 1400s. I might have to seek out someone with expertise in Swiss records who can actually read that script!

Stein am Rhein would have been about a 100-mile journey to Grossheppach.

Let’s hope there are records in Switzerland and they are somewhat available. My heart is racing just thinking about an additional 200 years of possible records and ancestors.

Margretha’s Life’s Story Spun Through Her Children

A huge thank you to Tom for finding and translating these Grossheppach records.

By Silesia711 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Margretha’s known children were all born in Grossheppach and baptized in the local church which includes the remains of a fortified wall.

If Sibilla, born in 1661 was Margretha’s first child, this was truly a heartbreaking time. Margretha had looked forward to the arrival of her first baby, loved her, and then lost her 24 short weeks later. I wonder if the baby struggled from birth or contracted some childhood disease that ripped her from her mother’s arms and broke her heart.

Baptism: 6 May 1661 + Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Sibilla

Parents: Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Lienhardt Herman; Margretha, Ulrich Schweikhardrt from Stutg(art); Sibilla, Stöckler(in) from Stutgardt, farm maid.

Note that one of the godparents was also named Sibilla, which might be a hint indicating a relative.

Burial: 19 Oct 1661 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Sibilla, 2 weeks old, child of Rüdolph Müller, smith

These churchyard fortifications likely enclosed the cemetery at the time Margretha buried her baby.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

In this aerial view, you can see the area that would have been the cemetery, with its fortified wall remaining yet today, at the lower right.

The treed area may be another portion of the ancient cemetery, now returned to nature.

Margretha became pregnant about the same time that Sibilla died, and the first son, Hanss Rudolph, named for his father, arrived the following August.

Baptism: 7 Aug 1662 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Hanss Rüdolph

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Leonhardt Herman; Ulrich Schweickhart from Stutg(art); Sibilla Glöckhler(in) also from ?

The next two baptisms are somewhat confusing. Someone later stamped the church records with dates. Obviously these two children could not have been born 8 months apart – or at least not unless the first child died and the second child was very premature. If these girls had been twins, they would have been baptized at the same time. There are no death records, nor any further records for either Anna Magdalena nor Anna Margretha.

After I originally wrote this article, cousin Wolfram who lives in Grossheppach and has access to the original records and corrected this record for Anna Margaretha’s birth in 1663.

Baptism: 12 Feb 1663 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Anna Magdalena

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Schmid from Grunbach; J.L. Herman, miller; Daniel’s wife, Magdalena.

Baptism: 11 Oct 1664 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Anna Margretha

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Leonhard Herman, miller; Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler; Anna Margretha, wife of Ulrich Schweickh(a)r(t).

Given that the next child, Veronica, didn’t arrive for 21 months, it’s unlikely that Anna Margretha died at or near birth.

Baptism: 29 July 1666 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Veronica

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Daniel Ziegler….; Hanss Eiber……; Maia Elisabetha Blaror(in)?

Two years and a few days later, Hanss Jacob joined the growing family.

Baptism: 9 Aug 1668

Child: Hanss Jacob

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Ulrich Schweigger from Stuttgardt; Jerg Lienhard Herman, miller; Magdalena, Daniel Ziegler’s wife.

A death record for Hans Jacob exists on August 18, 1675, but with no parents’ names, and is most likely this child. Just 9 days after his 7th birthday.

The next baby arrived 16 months after Hanss Jacob, just before Christmas. By this time, assuming all children except two lived, when Anna Barbara was born, Margretha would have had four children ages 16 months to 7 years. I’d say she had her hands full.

Baptism: 17 Dec 1669 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Anna Barbara

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Schmid, schoolteacher in Grunbach; Jerg Lienhard Herman, miller; Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler.

Anna Barbara died on October 31, 1679.

It would be almost three years before the next child arrived, hinting at a child that was stillborn in late 1671. We don’t see births of children who were not baptized in the records – nor burial records.

Baptism: 6 Sept 1672 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Sibylla

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Schmid, schoolteacher in Grunbach; Jerg Lienhard Herrman, miller; Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler.

It’s interesting that they named a second child Sibylla. It’s also interesting that the original godmother, Sibilla, of the first Sibilla born in 1661 is not present for this baptism. That original Sibilla Stockler(in) or Glockler(in) was only present for the births in 1661 and 1662, causing me to wonder why she wasn’t present later, and isn’t present for this birth when the child is apparently named in her honor. Of course, this makes me wonder if she died.

This also causes me to ponder the possibility if she is a sister or maybe niece to Margretha. The (in) suffix to her surname indicates that she is not married, so either Stockler or Glockler would be her birth surname.

Fortunately for me, this child named Sibylla lived. She’s my ancestor and her story can be found here.

Baptism: 27 Sept 1674 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Child: Jerg Lienhardt +

Parents: Hanss Rüdolph Müller & Margretha

Godparents: Jerg Schmidt, schoolteacher in Grunbach; Jerg Lienhard Herman, miller; Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler.

I noticed that Jerg Leinhard Hermann, the local miller, is the godfather for six of seven of Margretha’s children. This close association also suggests a close relationship. Their last child, who, unfortunately, did not live long, was named for Jerg Leinhard.

Burial: 31 January 1675 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Cause of Death: ?

Decedent: Jerg Lienhard, 18 weeks old

Child of Hanss Rüdolph Müller, smith.

It appears that Margretha ended her childbearing years in almost exactly the same way she began them. In 1675, Margretha was likely in her early to mid-40s. She had given birth to at least 9 children whose baptisms appear in church records.

Given the three-year space, she probably had one stillborn child who was simply buried but not baptized, meaning she had at least 10 children.

We don’t know that Margretha didn’t have more children that died in Switzerland before settling in Germany, or after the child born in 1675. We do know that the last child baptized, in 1675, Jerg Lienhard passed away 18 weeks later.

To Margretha, who 14 years earlier had lost her firstborn daughter 24 weeks after she was born, this must have seemed terribly, horribly familiar.

Margretha’s Death

Margretha died on October 30th, 1689 when she was about 57 years old.

Burial:30 Oct 1689 Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Buried the wife of Rudolph Müller.

At the time of her death, none of her children had married. Her eldest son would have been 27 years old, but he wouldn’t marry until 1696.

Daughter Veronica would marry a year after Margretha’s death, in 1690.

Sibilla, born in 1672 would have just turned 17 that late October day when the family gathered inside the medieval church to hear Margretha’s funeral sermon, then walked outside to bury her mother’s coffin. Sibylla didn’t marry for another several years, in 1698.

There are no marriage records for any other children, before or after Margretha’s death.

No grandchildren were born before Margretha died, so she never had the opportunity to enjoy those cherubic faces. I hope they all heard stories about Margretha and her life, including her family left behind in Switzerland.

In 1689, Margretha’s home was probably bustling with activity as her adult and near-adult children helped with household activities. Her son named for his father, or two sons if Hans Jacob survived, likely assisted Rudolph in the blacksmith shop and as the local ferrier.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The men may have worked in this very barn, or one similar, still standing, in Grossheppach.

The daughters would have assisted Margretha with the never-ending household chores and probably took care of her in her final illness.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Margretha’s home might have looked like, or could even been this medieval cross house in Grossheppach.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Or maybe this one.

Regardless, Margretha would have been in and out of all of these homes over the years. They would have been familiar, likely open to the neighbors, most of whom were related, at any time. Women likely came and went, especially in a time of need – childbirth, illness and the ever-present death.

Two years later, Rudolph remarried to another Margaretha. He died a year later, in 1992, joining Margretha and their children in the cemetery beside the church in Grossheppach.

It’s somehow ironic, and not just a little sad, that Margretha’s daughter, Veronica died in 1708 at only 41 years of age. Of course, there were many causes of death, but I always wonder about childbirth for women of childbearing age. Her sister, Sibilla, was a midwife and I wonder if she delivered Veronica’s children.

Unfortunately, the minister, in the Register of Souls, incorrectly attributed Veronica’s step-mother, who was also named Margaretha, as her mother. I realize that’s an easy mistake to make, but it hurts my heart for Veronica’s mother, our Margretha.

Hopefully, this error meant one thing – either Veronica and step-mother Margaretha had a wonderful relationship. Of course, it could also be that the minister was new to the church and didn’t know the family history. We don’t know exactly when this register was compiled, but it was clearly after 1711.

Seelenregister (Register of Souls) Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Veronica (spouse of Johann Jacob Mahler); died 11 January 1708, aged 41 years, 6 months.

Father: Rudolph Müller, citizen and farrier (smith) from Switzerland Cand (Kanton?); died 1692.

Mother: Margaretha, born in Switzerland, a chambermaid; died 23 March 1711, about 71 years of age.

Note by Tom who performed these translations: This Margaretha is Veronica’s step-mother. Her birth mother died in 1689 and was also named Margaretha.

This does cause me to wonder if step-mother Margretha truly was also from Switzerland, or if the two Margrethas have been intertwined, which I suspect is the case. If the step-mother is also from Switzerland, this tells us that perhaps several Swiss families settled in Grossheppach – and maybe they are related or from the same region or village.

Was our Margretha a chambermaid, or was the step-mother the chambermaid? Was chambermaid somehow different than “housewife” in that time and place? If so, how?


I’m always so grateful when ministers include the names of the various godparents with baptisms. I wish when records are indexed, the godparents’ names were indexed too, because they are often the keys to unraveling relationships.

I compiled this table of godparents in order to see who is found in multiple baptisms and what can be discerned about those individuals. People who journeyed from out of town were more likely to be relatives than those who might have been godparents because they were neighbors or village officials.

It’s worth remembering that the Godparents were responsible for raising the child, and raising them up in the church, if something were to happen to the parents. Before the days of modern medicine, that happened all too often. Godparents were making this solemn promise in from of everyone, including God.

Godparents made a serious commitment, which is why they are often trusted family members.

Child Godparent Location Comment
Sibilla 1661 Jerg Leinhardt Herman, Margretha In 1657, one Georg Leonhard Hermann married Maria Magdalena Krausin. This family seems to have been in Grossheppach for several generations, so not Swiss.
Sibilla Stockler(in) Stuttgart, farm maid Given the same first name, the distance from Stuttgart and her peasant status, this person is likely related.
Hans Rudolph – 1662 Jerg Leinhardt Herman This family is found in the region in the earlier 1600s, so not Swiss.
Ulrich Schweikhardt, Stuttgart I don’t find this individual, but I do find this family in Stuttgart earlier than this timeframe, so apparently not Swiss.
Sibilla Glockler(in) Also from…[probably Stuttgart] These 3 people at this baptism are the same as the 1661 baptism, so likely all 3 connected in some way. There is a 1626 birth in Stuttgart for Anna Sybilla Gletler or Gloeckler.
Anna Magdalena 1664 Jerg Schmidt Grunbach Jerg died in 1686 in Grossheppach. Grunbach was perhaps 2 miles distant.
J. L. Herman Miller Probably Jerg Leonhard Herman
Daniel’s wife, Magdalena Probably Daniel Ziegler, see below
Anna Margretha – 1664 Jerg Leonhard Herman Miller
Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler
Anna Margaretha, wife of Ulrich Schweickh(a)r(t)
Veronica 1666 Daniel Ziegler
Hans Eiber Mayor in Grossheppach
Maria Elisbetha Blaror(in)?
Hans Jacob 1668 Ulrich Schweigger Stuttgart
Jerg Leinhard Herman Miller
Magdalena, Daniel Ziegler’s wife
Anna Barbara 1669 Jerg Schmid Schoolteacher in Grunback
Jerg Leinhard Herman Miller
Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler
Sibylla 1672 Jerg Schmid Schoolteacher in Grunbach
Jerg Leinhard Herrman Miller
Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler
Jerg Leinhardt 1674 Jerg Schmidt Schoolteacher in Grunbach
Jerg Leinhard Herman, miller
Magdalena, wife of Daniel Ziegler

Typically, when we see the same people repeat as godparents, especially when they have to travel from out of town, that often means they are relatives, and probably close relatives – often siblings.

Stuttgart is not nearby, about 11 miles distant. Either Rudolph or Margretha had some connection to the individuals from Stuttgart.

In this case, the fact that these families were living in this region for at least a generation suggests strongly that they were not from Switzerland, but perhaps they had married people who were, or there is a connection from an earlier generation.

By Silesia711 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Johann Rudolph and Margretha appear to be particularly close to Jerg Leinhardt Hermann, the local miller. They both would have seen the former Grossheppach mill, above and below, daily.

Von Silesia711 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Why Johann Rudolph Muller and Margretha selected the same godparents for their children repeatedly will have to remain a mystery, at least for now.

Mitochondrial DNA

The mitochondrial DNA of Margretha would have been passed on to her children of both sexes, but only females pass it on.

We don’t know what happened to three daughters:

  • Anna Magdalena reportedly born in 1664
  • Anna Margaretha reportedly born in 1664
  • Anna Barbara born in 1669

We know that two of Margretha’s daughters did in fact marry and have children, Veronica and Sybilla.


From the Register of Souls, we see that Veronica had six daughters.

  • Veronica’s daughter Veronica born in 1700, died in 1717.
  • Veronica’s daughter, Anna Barbara Mahler married Jacob Kloepfer in 1732 and died in 1763. It looks like she had one daughter in 1733, but only three children are shown in the Grossheppach book through 1737.


Margretha’s daughter, Sibilla Muller born in 1672 married Johann George Lenz/Lentz in neighboring Beutelsbach in 1698. She had two daughters who lived.

  • Elisabetha was born in 1709, but we know nothing more.
  • Anna Barbara Lenz born in 1699 and died in 1770 married Johann Georg Vollmer in 1729, having four daughters who lived to adulthood:
    1. Barbara 1729-1744
    2. Maria Elisabetha 1732-1795
    3. Regina 1738-1740
    4. Anna Maria 1740-1781

Descendants of these females, through all females, to the current generation which can be male or female would carry the mitochondrial DNA of Margretha. I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first person who qualifies.

Stay Tuned

Just before I finished this article, I received a reply from the researcher who performed the one-place study of Grossheppach. They, indeed, to descend from Johann Rudolph Muller and Margretha through daughter Veronica – and – they have additional information they are willing to share. Bless that person.

As it turns out, they still live in Grossheppach.

I’m doing the genealogy happy dance.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come!



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Johann Rudolph Muller (circa 1630-1692), Swiss Blacksmith in Grossheppach, Germany – 52 Ancestors #320

Rudolph Muller lived in Grossheppach, Germany, sometimes known as Heppach, in the 1600s.

While Grossheppach is located in the middle of the wine region, as seen in this photo and the village shield, Rudolph didn’t work in the vineyards. Nor was he a miller, as his surname would suggest. Rudolph was a blacksmith.

The Village Blacksmith

This 1606 print of a German blacksmith shows us what Rudolph’s blacksmith’s shop would have looked like, and the tools he would have worked with. Google translate provides us with the following”

Work block; Anvil; Hammer; Pliers; Poker; bucket

Description: The brother works a glowing metal tip with a hammer, which he holds on the anvil with pliers. Further metal points lie next to the anvil and on a table in the background of the workshop. There is a second anvil here. Various saws hang on the wall and on the wall bracket in the window opening, a large saw blade lies on the ground in the foreground, while a poker and metal spikes lie in the fireplace.

The art of medieval blacksmithing is described here and here.

One thing is for sure. It was beastly hot, especially in the summers, probably outright miserable from time to time, and dangerous. Notice the bucket which would have contained water, on the floor.

Rudolph was probably burned in one way or another almost daily. Metals were scalding hot after being taken out of the forge, and hammering caused hot sparks flying everyplace. I shudder to think about his unprotected eyes.

Unknown to them then, carbon dioxide poisoning is also a concern for blacksmiths, but I’d wager their shops were probably pretty open due to heat.

They didn’t have safety goggles back then, or welder’s gloves. While this man is wearing long sleeves and some type of apron, I think, his legs are bare as are his hands and face.

I wonder if Rudolph might have been hard of hearing in his later years due to the noise of years of constant pounding.

Rudolph died at 59 years of age. No cause of death was entered, but I can’t help but wonder why he died.

Rudolph’s First Appearance

The first record we find is the birth of Rudolph’s daughter, named Sibilla, in 1661, in the Grossheppach church records. That daughter passed away and is not to be confused with the second daughter named Sibilla, born in 1672 who survived and is also my ancestor. I can’t help but wonder if the fact that they attempted that name twice means she was named after the mother of either Rudolph or Margaretha.

Both Rudolph and his first wife, Margaretha, were born in Switzerland, as determined by their death records, which means that either they married in Switzerland and subsequently settled in Heppach, or they met and married in Heppach.

Baptisms records begin in Grossheppach in 1558 and marriage records in 1564. Part of 1627 is missing due to an epidemic, according to this site. Deaths begin in 1648, immediately after the Thirty Years War.

Therefore, if Rudolph and Margaretha had married in Grossheppach, there should have been a record, so we can probably presume they married in Switzerland sometime between 1650 and 1660, and may have had their first children before arriving in Grossheppach.


All early villages grew up beside a stream, the life-giver, and nourisher to people and animals. You can see the little stream of Heppach as it exists today, here, connecting Grossheppach with its neighbor village, Kleinheppach. The word grossen translates to “huge” and klein means “small.” There doesn’t seem to be a translation for heppach.

The stream named Heppach connects those two villages and looks quite small today. This early drawing shows the Rems River, not the stream of Heppach that empties into the Rems.

This drawing, made in 1686 from Kieser’s forest map would have been created during the time that Rudolph was the village smith. In fact, his house would have been one of those shown. The village wasn’t large, about 55 homes, as best I can tell, with maybe between 5 and 7 inhabitants each.

The church, as always, was in the center of the village and the cemetery would have been located outside, in the churchyard.

By 1686, Rudolph would have buried at least two children there and would bury his wife just three short years later. But in 1686, Rudolph and his family would have been living happily in one of these houses, going about the routine of daily life in the village.

An artist drawing the village would have been quite an interesting event. Perhaps Rudolph and the other villagers would have watched the artist as he worked, or listened in the evenings at the pub as he told tall tales about other German villages he had visited. Did they look at their own houses on the map and comment?

Another view shows the village from the opposite perspective.

The same area today, for comparison. That little river island looks to be long gone, or under the bridge.

I can locate the original Kirschstrasse on this current map, along with the castle for orientation. The church, with a different steeple, is located at the end of Kirschstrasse and matches up with an 1832 map.

The orderly rows on the hillsides are vineyards as seen looking down at the region from the top of one of the hills.

The map below shows the distant hills with the villages clustered in valleys along the streams.

These villages were not isolated.

Rudolph’s daughter married Johann Georg Lenz from Beutelsbach, across the Rems River, and spent her adult life living there, but she was clearly within walking distance of her family members. It’s less than 3 miles from Beutelsbach to Kleinheppach, north of Grossheppach.

You can view more photos of Grossheppach here and here

History and Vineyards

The vineyards in Grossheppach reach back into time immemorial. As with any location, geography and climate dictate what can be grown, and agriculture defines the occupation and lifestyle of the residents. Viticulture has sustained the Grossheppach residents, along with their neighbors, probably since humans have inhabited this valley and figured out what happens when you ferment grapes.

Historical information is found on the Wayback machine, translated as follows:

The first mention of this village [vineyards] is when the knight ‘Fridericus miles de Heggebach’ in 1279, Master Rudolf (doctor in Esslingen) bequeathed three “Jauchert vineyards” from Großheppach to the Bebenhausen monastery in addition to his house in Esslingen.

A castle site mentioned in 1485 once had a wooden castle on which Staufer ministerials – the Knights of Heppach – sat; they are first mentioned in a document in 1236 [where Grossheppach was identified as Hegnesbach.] The monastery Gundelsbach was founded by a hermit in 1359 for the St. Pauls hermits, to which houses and farms have been attached since 1470. The church consecrated to St. Aegidius – a foundation of Waiblingen – was raised to an independent parish in 1489. In 1769 the church received a so-called ‘Welsche Bell’ as a tower dome.

Note that Welsche likely refers to the colloquial term for “French-speaking Swiss, their portion of Switzerland known also as Welschland.

Next to the church, the renaissance castle is a landmark of Großheppach. It was built in 1592 by the Württemberg Chancellor Dr. Martin Eichmann from a town house; at the same time he acquired various rights on site. The castle property later passed into the hands of the noble families von Abel, von Goeben and von Gaisberg.

During the uprising of the ‘poor Konrad’ in 1514 (see also the local history of Beutelsbach), Großheppach saw peasant revolutionaries in its corridors. On Easter Monday 1514, the goat Peter moved with a group of farmers to the Rems between Beutelsbach and Großheppach in order to subject the newly introduced weights of the Duke of Württemberg to a ‘water test’: the weights promptly sank below what the farmers saw as a judgment of God. They marched against castles, cities and monasteries, but were soon blown up. The leader of the Großheppacher Fähnlein, Klaus Schlechthin, later took part in the peasant uprising of 1525 and was captured in the Battle of Böblingen and executed by running the gauntlet.

During the Thirty Years’ War, on January 21, 1643, there was a skirmish between the imperial and Swedes at the Remsbrücke, where around 300 soldiers were killed. In the War of the Spanish Succession [1701-1714], Großheppach was again the starting point for warlike ventures. On June 13, 1704, the greatest generals of the time – Prince Eugene of Savoy, the English military leader Marlborough and Margrave Ludwig von Baden – held a council of war on the operations of the Battle of Höchstädt here in the Lamm Inn, which still exists today.

The listed buildings of the Häckermühle and the town hall from the 16th and 17th centuries are well worth seeing.

Rudolph’s Life

The only evidence we have of Rudolph’s age is the age at which his wife had their last child which was born in 1675. If Margaretha was 43 at that time, she would have been born about 1632, so we can assume he was born sometime around 1630, or perhaps slightly earlier.

Rudolph would have married between 1650 and 1660, most likely, and they would have packed up their cart, maybe hitched up a mule and walked from someplace in Switzerland to Germany, assuredly after all danger from the Thirty Years War had abated.

Most German villages had been heavily depopulated during the war, although Grossheppach did not appear to have been abandoned. In the best-case scenarios, German villages lost only one-third of their population. Some lost 50%, and some were entirely destroyed and depopulated.

This settlement pattern suggests that Rudolph came from the German-speaking portion of Switzerland.

By Marco Zanoli (sidonius 13:20, 18 June 2006 (UTC)) – Swiss Federal Statistical Office; census of 2000, CC BY-SA 4.0,

How might Rudolph and Margaretha have made the journey to Grossheppach?

While we don’t know Rudolph and Margaretha’s departure point in Switzerland, we do know that the Bernese Oberland was far more Protestant than much of the rest of Switzerland.

The mountains southwest of Bern marked the dividing line between the German and French-speaking regions of Switzerland. Regardless of where they originated in the German-speaking region, it was not a short journey and was probably a one-way trip – forever leaving family behind.

This trek was likely not undertaken by water unless they navigated the Rhine, then backtracked down the Neckar (against the flow) followed by the Rems.

Perhaps German villages issued advertisements or notices that they were looking for specific skilled trades. Maybe Rudolph knew that Grossheppach needed a blacksmith. It’s certainly possible that they joined with other family members, either as they journeyed or joined those who had already settled in Germany.

Rudolph’s daughter, Veronica’s death record gives us the closest approximation with the phrase, “Switzerland Cand.”

Seelenregister (Register of Souls) Grossheppach Evangelical Church

Veronica (spouse of Johann Jacob Mahler); died 11 January 1708, aged 41 years, 6 months.

Father: Rudolph Müller, citizen and farrier (smith) from Switzerland Cand (Kanton?); died 1692.

Mother: Margaretha, born in Switzerland, a chambermaid; died 23 March 1711, about 71 years of age.

Note by Tom who performed these translations: This Margaretha is Veronica’s step-mother. Her birth mother died in 1689 and was also named Margaretha.

If anyone has any further idea what “Cand” might mean other than perhaps Canton, or which Canton, I’d be forever grateful.

I do wonder if the newlywed couple set off for Germany on a great adventure, arriving before their first child did. Of course, they could have married a few years earlier and had already begun their family when they decided to leave, which meant travel would have been more difficult. If so, there are no marriage records for those earlier children in Grossheppach, although, clearly they could have married in nearby villages.


  • One way or another, Rudolph and Margaretha had settled in and welcomed a baby, Sibilla in May of 1661.
  • Heartbreak followed a few months later. Sibilla died in October, when she was just 24 weeks old, the first family member to be buried in the cemetery beside the church.
  • In August of 1662, Hans Rudolph, named for his father, joined the family. Johann Rudolph Muller married in 1696 to Anna Barbara Mercklin and died sometime between July 1718 and January 1735. We don’t have the Y DNA of Rudolph Muller, which is passed from father to son. If Hans Rudolph and Anna Barbara had sons, who had sons, whose descendants carry the Muller (or derivative) surname today through all males, I have a DNA testing scholarship for that Muller male.
  • 1663 saw Anna Magdalena baptized in February. She married Jacob(y) Sonntag on August 14, 1688.
  • Anna Margaretha was baptized in October 1664.
  • Veronica was born in July 1666 and married in 1690 to Hanss Jacob Mahler the local tailor. She died on January 11, 1708.
  • Son, Hanss Jacob Muller, was born in August 1668. Cousin Wolfram, living in Grossheppach indicates that one Hans Jacob died in 1675, but with no parents listed. If he did not die and had male children who have direct line male descendants today, they would qualify for the Y DNA scholarship as well.
  • Anna Barbara’s baptism is recorded in December 1669 and died in October 1679.
  • There is almost three years before the birth of Sibilla which makes me wonder if they lost a child.
  • September of 1672 welcomed the second daughter named Sibilla who married Johann Georg Lenz/Lentz in 1698 in Beutelsbach, living the rest of her life there as a midwife.
  • Jerg Lienhardt was born in September of 1674 and died in January of 1675 at 18 weeks of age.

That was the last child and the last church entry for 15 years. But on October 30th of 1689, Margaretha, Rudolph’s wife, died.

We don’t know exactly how many children were living at this time. There were no marriage records yet, and the oldest child, Hans Rudolph, Rudolph’s namesake wouldn’t marry until a few years later. He would have been age 27, living and working at home when his mother died.

At least two daughters were living; Veronica who would have been 23, and Sibila, the youngest, who would have been 17. It’s possible that up to four other children were living as well. Rudolph wasn’t alone, nor did he have a number of small children.

A year later, almost exactly, on October 28, 1690, Rudolph’s daughter, Veronica married the local tailor, Hanss Jacob Mahler.

Perhaps that wedding made Rudolph ponder marriage again and realize that he did not want to remain a widower forever. Or, perhaps his daughter had done a good deal of the cooking and dome