of the North
Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XI, NUMBER 2 (MAY, 1994)
An Unforgettable Voyage
by Elmer Zimmerman I would like to tell you a little bit about the Titanic situation viewed with the eyes of a seventeen-year-old Swiss girl. Now the first question that comes up that people always ask me, "How did it happen that your mother, a teenager, was on a ship like the Titanic?" Had she gone to Europe to study or something? No, she was born in Switzerland. She was Swiss and I am proud to say that I am one hundred percent Swiss and I am proud of that part. So, how did this teenager manage to get on board the Titanic... this ship which just made people so excited? This Swiss girl from a common ordinary Swiss family happened to get on such an important ship
My mother was born into a family of three girls and a boy. The boy was the oldest, then a sister, then my mother about six years younger and another sister six years younger yet. My grandfather, my mother's father, and his brother were orphaned when they were quite young. My uncle, Fred, went to live with friends and those friends migrated to Iowa. They settled in Monticello, Iowa, and worked in the creamery business. Fred was a butter maker and he wrote to my grandfather, his brother, to persuade him to come to Iowa as well. They decided to come. First, the two older children left Switzerland and came to Iowa. There they both married and had children. Then my mother finished high school in Switzerland in 1911. Grandfather said the younger sister had to finish high school and then they would come. But before she finished WW I started and grandfather said, "We'll not go during the war. It's not safe." And he passed away before WW I ended.
But mother came. They decided she should come in 1911. About this time there was a coal strike in England. The miners went on strike and there was not sufficient coal for the steamships to travel. Mother's passage was on the White Star Line and they told her that she would travel on the first ship crossing. So the telegram came that she could go to America and she was to report at Cherbourg, France, on a certain day. She told her mother and sister good-by. Her father went with her to Paris and then to Cherbourg, where she told him good-by. She boarded a small boat as she called it and she wondered if it could take them across the Atlantic. But they went just a short distance out into the open sea and the huge Titanic stood there before them at anchor. So they transferred from the little ferry onto the great Titanic. After picking up some more passengers at Queenstown, England, some very wealthy passengers it was said, they set sail for America.
So that's how she happened to be on that ship. She was born in Lotsveil, Switzerland, and returned there only once in 1959. She did not go by ship but by airplane.
From the beginning it was an eventful voyage for her. Remember, a little Swiss girl, seventeen years old. She loved to dance and she danced whenever the band played dance music. One of the musicians liked the way she could waltz and he would put up his bass and go out on the floor to dance with her. She was very happy for this. He took her to her stateroom in the second class afterward. She saw him another time or two after that before the ship sank.
She also spent daytime playing with two little boys. They were four years old. She used to tell us these two boys were traveling with their father who had kidnapped them from their mother in France. Now mother could speak French, Italian, German and Swiss Romanish. She could not understand one single word of English. So this man allowed her to take the little boys for a walk. She enjoyed that very much.
I have the book written by Don Lynch, Titanic. On page 115 he tells about a French musician going to get a Swiss girl, putting a life jacket on her and putting her on the life boat. Mother told it just exactly as he tells it. He also says on page 170 that the same Bertha Lehman was allowed to keep the two little boys while their father went to the smoker to play cards on one occasion. He had kidnapped them from their mother who had custody of them and was bringing them to America hoping that she would follow and come as well.
Everything was going well. She had seen whales blowing. On one particular night, a Sunday, she went to her stateroom and went to bed. In the night sometime she was awakened by noise, people talking-talking loud-and she said it seemed like people running in the hall outside of her stateroom. She thought, "We have reached New York and we're going to get off the ship so I'll get out of bed and get dressed." So she did. She stayed in her stateroom until there was a knock on the door and it was the French musician. He told her she had to come to the deck. He took her there and put a life jacket on her. Then he took her to the edge of the ship. She said then for the first time she realized that the floor of the ship was leaning. In fact, it was leaning toward the starboard side an awful lot. She wondered what had happened. Then the man yelled in English as he came up toward the life boat, "Here is another woman!" And she said she never forgot those words. They were the first words she could speak in English, "Here is another woman!"
A man got out of the lifeboat to make room for her. She said she saw that man as he stood on the deck, lit a cigarette and stood there smoking that cigarette as the lifeboat went down. It was lifeboat 16, the last of the lifeboats. As they went down they were in such a hurry that the front went down first and hit the water. The boat filled and there was water up to her knees. There was no room to sit down. The boat was so crowded that everyone stood so there was room. They pulled away from the ship as quickly as possible. Sometimes people told how they saw a lot of bodies in the water and they all had life jackets on. They appeared to be asleep just laying in the water. Most did not drown; they died from exposure. The water was under 30 degrees at the time and when it's that cold you cannot survive very long.
Don Lynch tells the story of the chief baker on the ship who jumped off the boat and came swimming toward one of the lifeboats that had people in it. They said he was doing a good job of it. But he had drunk a quart of whiskey or so before and he had antifreeze in him so he was able to swim that distance, come out and be rescued. That's one time it paid to drink, I guess.
Mother said that as they pulled away from the ship she saw the front part of the ship go down into the ocean. When they had the special showing of "The Night to Remember" she was one of the guests in Minneapolis with the Pillsbury couple. They were there and came through it as well. Pillsbury said, "No, the ship did not break in two, Bertha." But she said, "It did. I saw the front end go down first as we pulled away from the ship." People were jumping into the ocean. Now some of them would tell you the sea was littered with people in the ocean but she said she only saw a couple. But she did see the people jumping off of the ship as it went down. Of course, Dr. Ballard, in his book that I have, proved that the ship did break in two and the two parts are about one half mile apart on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean today. And that is the way she saw it happen.
It was a nightmare afterward, after the ship was gone; the screaming, the calling, the sounds from the people in the ocean. Those in the lifeboats were screaming as well. They were calling for loved ones that were left behind. It was all a real, real nightmare to live through! The whole thing does not become real until one has time to sort of wake up and grasp it. I know she told this story many, many times and relived it. Yet she would say, "I don't want to tell it again because I don't want to go through it again.
She never liked water after that. Even before they had the Mackinaw Bridge she and my stepfather crossed there in a ferry. She stayed in the car on the ferry. She did not get out at all.
They were rescued by the Carpathia. They had a real mix up on the radio because, of course, the Titanic was the ship that wasn't supposed to sink. Don Lynch says in his book that they picked up bodies as much as 130 miles away from where the ship sank. So they were put on the Carpathia-not in staterooms; some slept on the floor or wherever they could if they could sleep at all. They had a very difficult time and some screamed in the night as they went through the whole ordeal again. Then a storm came up. They landed in New York City in a terrible rain.
Now the end of the story is that my mother went to Iowa on the train. Incidentally, in New York City she saw the first black person she had ever seen. It was a real shock to her. She went to Iowa and there my aunt and uncle had arranged for her to have a boy friend when she arrived. I guess they got along all right because they were soon married and about two years later I came along. Then my father went into the army and went to France in WW I. He died over there on November 12, 1918, the day after the war ended.
We have three sons and seven grandchildren and they are very proud to tell anyone that their grandmother or great grandmother was a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic. That was an unforgettable voyage.
How long did it take to get across the ocean?
The Carpathia wasn't sure which way to go. They were really going toward the Mediterranean on a spring cruise. But they turned around and came back to New York. It took about six days.
Did your mother know what happened to the little boys? No, she didn't, but some of the books say that their mother came and got them and took them back to France. The only men that were supposed to get in the boats were those that were to row.
Did the rest of the family come later? My mother came alone. Her parents and her younger sister never came. My grandfather died during WW I and my grandmother died during WW II. We have been to Switzerland several times and we visited my aunt who lives in Lotsveil where my mother was born. We went to the church and sat in the pew where they used to sit as a family. We saw the house where she lived and visited my aunt and two of my cousins. They are still there.
The Stockdale Mill-Roann, Indiana
by Norma P. (Deck) Krom One of the few remaining water-powered flour mills is on Eel River, at the Wabash and Miami County line, in the old village of Stockdale, Indiana.
Today as motorists travel along State Road 16 and cross the old cement bridge, their glance may include the mill and dam to the east, but casual observation will not reveal the almost forgotten history of the place.
Shortsightedness of landowners on the north side of Eel River caused the town of Stockdale to die. When a branch of the railroad was projected through that area, most of the farmers donated right-of-way, but several refused. They figured the railroad would have to buy their land. Instead, surveyors routed the railroad to the south side of the river through the village of Roann. So Roann continued to grow and Stockdale dwindled until only the old flour mill was left.
In 1836 John Anderson and his family cut a trail through the wilderness and located their cabin just off Eel River on Squirrel Creek near the Indian village of Chief Niconza. They were the only white family between Logansport and North Manchester. That first cabin was not even of hewn logs, but round logs notched at the ends to lock after a fashion and with the crevices chinked as well as possible. Not that Anderson was shiftless, but he was in a hurry to get a corncracker and a sawmill in operation on Squirrel Creek. Mills were necessities in those days for a sawmill meant better homes and a grinding mill meant converting grain into edible meal and flour.
Anderson was soon followed by other settlers and it was probably in 1839 that Thomas Goudy started a sawmill on Eel River a little below Squirrel Creek and sawed the lumber with which he built a new flour mill and a flour run of buhrs (millstones.) By far the most elaborate and best mill in that section, it soon put Anderson's corncracker out of business, but his sawmill, using an up and down saw, operated for many years. In the old mill is probably the only existing handwriting of John Anderson. He wrote his name on a joist in the basement in 1873. The writing is still legible and he was a better scribe than many schooled persons today.
Platted in 1839 and originally named Vernon, Stockdale once boasted a cooperage mill, two hotels, a drug store, two doctors at one time, a large general store, a Lutheran church, several saloons, and an Odd Fellows Lodge. A post office was established in 1853, but was discontinued in 1883. The post office fixtures were moved north to the village of Niconza, and later farther north to Disko. The post office was discontinued at Disko in 1967, and the owners of the Stockdale Mill were able to purchase the same fixtures that were originally in the old Stockdale post office. They may be seen in the mill, along with many other unusual remains of the past. Stockdale was reputed to be the toughest village in the state at one time. Curiously, no mention is made of a town jail.
Standing at the mill today, one cannot but feel wonder and admiration for the courage, foresight and judgment of those pioneers. What insight told them where to build a dam? Surveyors were few and far between. Yet the Stockdale dam is at one of the best power sites on Eel River. What effort it took to dam a stream as large as Eel River is at that point! Nothing to work with but logs, brush, stones, and earth. No concrete with reinforcing steel nor modern motive machinery. Nothing but ox teams and human brawn. Yet that is what was done by Thomas Goudy over a hundred and fifty years ago.
Oddly enough, Goudy never owned the mill site. That section of land had been granted to Aubenaube, a Fulton County Indian chief, at the Treaty of Tippecanoe in 1832. In 1838, this grant was annulled and turned to Topanowkong (wife of Peter Longlois.) Then came a title dispute, for the Indians had sold the site to a group of five white settlers two years before it was given to Mrs. Longlois. This was settled by a deed from Mrs. Longlois and a quit claim by the sons of Aubenaube, who had died in the meantime. Apparently the owners leased the mill site to Goudy for there is no record of them being active in the mill at any time. The abstract of title does not clearly indicate just how the interest was divided, but at no time did any one person own entire interest.
In 1856 the mill built by Goudy was undermined and washed away by high waters roaring over the dam. It had stood out in the river and grain was carted to it by a board tramway. Baker and Ranck, apparently partners, rebuilt, settling the new structure on the north bank and building a short mill race to operate the waterwheels. So well did they plan and construct this building that it has withstood the elements for over 135 years, characteristic of the sturdy pioneers who settled in this part of the country. Huge timbers support the floors. Sixty foot beams were hand hewn by broad-axe from oak, walnut, and poplar, and one is of hickory elm. It is a marvel how the builders ever managed to raise those timbers to all floors without a hoist. No nails were used; rather the timbers were tightly fitted together by notches. The building has three stories and a basement, and there is little perceptible sag even though the first foundation rotted away and had to be replaced with concrete.
During the Civil War, this mill, under lease to Holt and Son, supplied flour and meal to the Union Armies. After the war, Thomas Goudy had an active connection with the mill.
In 1881 James Madison Deck came to Stockdale from Hamburg, Berks Co., Pennsylvania. It would seem that he first worked for the owners and then entered into contract to purchase interest in the mill as he was able to do so. That year also, the old buhr mill was changed to a roller mill, and Mr. Deck named the flour White Loaf Brand, with a picture on the sacks of a loaf of Vienna-style bread. His wife designed the picture and this was never changed. In 1886, Deck acquired his first interest in the mill and in 1902 became sole owner. He operated the mill until 1916. At that time a new dam was needed and Mr. Deck superintended the construction of a concrete dam sloped in such a manner that the water flows over it with a minimum of wear on the spillway below. He died before it was completed, and his son took over. James Hurst Deck operated the business for thirty-five years and at the time of his death in 1952, his daughter and son-in-law, Norma and Addison Krom, took over the management. At the present time, the fifth generation of the Deck family has an interest in the old mill.
The mill had a capacity of fifty barrels of flour a day; in addition, commercial feed grinding was done by a hammer mill. The superb engineering kept the flour grinding evenly through the machinery on all floors by a belting system from a line shaft powered by three vertical turbines located in the water of the mill race in the basement. They developed about 75 horsepower. The wooden bevel gears were those installed in 1856. (The cogs in one had to be replaced in 1934.) This simple yet complex system ran the machinery which converted the wheat into flour. Starting in the first brake, the wheat was rolled a little finer in each subsequent operation through a series of eight brakes. The flour was constantly sifted through pure silk which was made on hand looms in Switzerland. This sifting is called bolting. All in all, the flour went through 64 silks before being bagged from the finishing sifter.
Water power from Indiana's rivers and streams once operated over 2000 grist mills. There were 13 on Eel River alone, one about every six or seven miles. The Stockdale Mill operated commercially until 1964, when it was no longer profitable to operate; however, the machinery is intact and could be operated with a minimum of preparation.
The Bureau of Tests and Measurements
by Ferne Baldwin If anyone asked what were the most noted items, beyond the academic program, on which Manchester College built its reputation in the 1930's, the answer almost always included the same three activities.
First, the football and basketball teams. They were a threat to any team in the state, including Purdue, Butler and Ball State. The competition with Ball State was particularly intense and a summary of that early period shows that Manchester won 6, lost 8 and tied 2.
Second, the debate tourneys. George Beauchamp came to Manchester College about 1929 and built a program in debate. He developed a High School Debating League which held an annual contest at Manchester. Then he organized a college debating tournament which attracted college teams from all over the eastern United States. As many as 144 teams competed and at least one year an overflow section was sited at Huntington College because there was simply no more room at Manchester.
Third, the Bureau of Tests and Measurements. This activity began in the College Education Department and was placed under the direction of Professor J. G. Meyer and a committee of A. R. Eikenberry, O. Stuart Hamer and I. H. Frantz. The first year, 1933, about fifty thousand semester tests in more than a dozen subjects were sent to city and town high schools in the northern half of Indiana.
By 1935 the work was one of the major functions of the College. Tests compiled by permanent instructors from the college, the local school system and some neighboring systems were being tested in the North Manchester schools before printing. Tests were sold to schools all over Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and other states. Tests covered a wide variety of subjects and by 1936 were expanded to include the International Sunday School Lesson Quarterly.
The work was centered in a small room in the basement of the Administration Building. There tests were sorted and tied into packages ready for mailing. Orders were carefully tabulated. By 1937 Ira Frantz became the Office Manager, receiving the orders and filling the orders. In that year 80,000 tests were sold in the fall semester and plans were underway to standardize the tests and expand the circulation area.
In addition to the high school tests, the bureau was publishing twenty-nine different sets of tests for grades four to eight. The tests for main subjects of elementary were prepared in booklets of sixty-four pages containing eight monthly tests on each of four subjects. Other booklets of sixteen pages covered three other subjects. The high school semester-end tests were printed in eight page booklets containing 100 objective questions.
To print the high school tests alone, the bureau used five tons of paper. The bureau argued that this type of mass production allowed them to sell the booklets at a price which made it uneconomical for schools or teachers to build their own tests. Teachers found them to be significant time savers.
In later years the Bureau of Tests was no longer related to Manchester College. A flyer for winter, 1955 advertises Unit-Elementary Tests covering 150 different text books with 10 tests per book and Semester-End Tests in most high school subjects.
An advertising booklet in 1965 states that Manchester tests are completely ready to administer when you receive them, tough enough to measure both the best and the poorest in your class, and objective and easy to score. Final tests should be MANCHESTER TESTS. That booklet is Volume 32 No. 3.
Perhaps someone among our readers can provide more information about this Bureau of Tests which performed an important function for schools for more than thirty years.
by Ferne Baldwin In July of 1994 ground is to be broken for a new 2.2 million dollar North Manchester Library to be built on the old Central School lot on North Market Street. Funds for this building have come from the Mary Peabody estate. This library will be an especially wonderful addition to the town.
It seems appropriate to briefly consider the life of this lot as an educational area and the continuing focus on education provided by the new library.
The original Central School was built in 1874 at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars. It was a two and a half story brick building used for both elementary and high school classes. It was heated by wood stoves and lighted by coal oil lamps. Drinking water came from a nearby well. Near the northwest corner of the lot was the standpipe, completed in 1894, which still stands and is still used. The area around the school was shaded with maple trees but there was space north of the building for outdoor games. The main front entrance facing Fourth Street was used only by teachers, high school and eighth grade pupils and visitors. The school bell in the tower could be heard all across town.
The basement was used for science, manual arts and domestic science. Physical education was not part of the curriculum. Both boys and girls were expected to get their exercise working at home. Sometimes on Friday mornings a local minister or some entertainer would appear for one period. The janitor lived on the premises. The building was used until 1922.
The cost of the new Central School was about $140,000. The classes rotated to the teachers and study hall was held in the library. This building was torn down in 1976.
Some of the special memories related to this building concern the gym floor. There was a dead spot in the floor where a ball would not bounce and visiting teams often lost the ball there. Termites were a constant problem and on one occasion when the Civic Symphony moved the grand piano one leg went through the floor.
Many people now living have memories of this Central School. Some may remember when Mr. Freed's Crosley was placed between two trees. Others remember the twinges of memory when Central came down-slowly it seemed for a "decrepit" old school-in 1976.
And now for nearly twenty years the Central lot has stood vacant and silent except for some ball games or a few miscellaneous gatherings. It seems so very appropriate that now it will once more be a place where children and adults will become part of the great adventure of learning.
Famous North Manchester Storms It was on January 12, 1918, that a storm struck North Manchester that made even the old timers admit they had never seen anything like it. The snow and wind had raged all day on Friday, the 11th, and a southbound Big Four freight got stuck in a snow drift south of the river about 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The northbound passenger train never made it to North Manchester on Friday and finally returned to Wabash.
Two engines were sent from Wabash to try to reach the stranded freight but were unable to get through. Shovelers worked all day Saturday but because of the high wind and the intense cold could not get the tracks cleared. A carload of hogs was part of the train and canvas was used to cover the slatted side of the car to keep the hogs from freezing. The train had two engines and all the water had to be drained from them to keep the pipes from bursting.
The crew was in the caboose with plenty of fuel and food so they were reasonably comfortable. The train stayed there all day Saturday and Sunday and finally, late on Monday, the snow plow from Wabash cleared the track so the train could proceed.
Not much moved in Manchester on Saturday. No mail came to town; there were no rural deliveries and James Almack was the only city carrier to make a delivery. Busses and rigs were stuck in snow drifts. Car owners did not venture out. Telephone and telegraph lines were down. Temperatures ranged from 20 to 25 degrees below zero, but a very strong wind made it much worse.
WW I was on and because of fuel rationing, there was a very limited amount of coal in town. Most stores closed Saturday afternoon and did not reopen in the evening. Beginning Monday the town slowly came to life again.
A much more sustained storm period came in 1936. On January 21 North Manchester had a heavy snowfall with almost blizzard force winds which caused blocked highways. Several people in stranded autos froze to death in northern Indiana. Others who lived alone were found dead in their homes.
On January 22, North Manchester had 17 below zero; International Falls, Minnesota had 55 below. Day after day there was subzero weather. By early February the ground was frozen so deeply that water began to freeze in both town and country. Some farmers hauled water from North Manchester for the livestock. Water users in town were told to keep their water faucets partly open.
On February 3, there was snow, sleet and rain along with a high wind that glazed roads and closed the schools. Then it started thawing for a day or two but by Saturday night another blizzard hit the community and temperatures were about twelve below zero by Sunday morning February 9. Most schools were closed.
Some opened briefly but another heavy snow on February 12 caused them to close again for Thursday and Friday. Thirteen inches of ice was reported on Eel River and ice on lakes was as thick as three feet. More water pipes froze. Chester school was closed on February 17 and 18.
Then came the rain, thaw and flood. Eel River and Pony Creek both rose above flood stage. The thick ice heaved up in thick chunks. It jammed up at the bends of the river, especially below Liberty Mills and just below the Pennsylvania railroad bridge. The Liberty Mills jam broke but collected again at the Second Street bridge. Water flowed from the river across Sycamore and Mill Street and flooded several homes in Riverside. Dynamite was finally used to break the ice jam at the Second Street bridge.
Other towns were flooded, too. Peru was isolated for a time. Logansport was flooded and even part of Lagro and Rich Valley. Wabash residents in low areas had to be evacuated and about 100 were lodged at the city hall or other buildings. Some factories were under water. The temporary bridge across the Eel on Road 15 was washed away as well as forms and material. There were no Pennsylvania trains for two days. Eel River overflowed and water poured directly into Pony Creek. Officially the river was 14 feet above low water level. New York Central trains were held south of Urbana because the track washed out at Paw Paw Creek. Old timers in many parts of the U.S. remember the winter of '36.
Certain winters become fixed in the memory of people as record breakers either for cold temperature, heavy snowfall, or floods. Maybe with all the talk of global warming such winters are a thing of the past. Some are eager for a real humdinger again just to reassure us that we are not becoming "too warm."
The Big Four Depot Fire The Big Four Railroad depot burned February 26, 1904. There was all kinds of trouble fighting the fire. The engineer at the water works had gone home for the night and had to be awakened to get up steam and start the pumps. Marshall John Lockwood had to be aroused to close the valves at the standpipe so direct pressure in the mains could be used.
Once the standpipe was shut off and the pumps were in operation it did not take long to control the fire. Of course, by that time most of the depot was burned.
After the fire there was a real attempt to get a union depot built to serve both the Big Four and the Pennsylvania but that never came about and there continued to be two depots. The hack drivers were most disgusted about that since it required a frantic rush when a train arrived at each depot about the same time.
From the Rays of Light for March 6, 1901
When it was discovered that Adam Bear and Norma, the wife of William Staver,
had eloped together, the following reward sign was released.
TEN DOLLARS REWARD
North Manchester, Ind.
March 1, 1901
"Adam Bear, age 38, complexion light, sandy mustache, hair dark and very
curly, height about five feet nine inches. gone away with Norma Staver and child
of four years, girl of light curly hair, very intelligent, drove a team, both
"Ten dollars reward for above parties. Have warrant; arrest and
charge with adultery. Wire all information to N.E. Lautzenheiser, Marshal, North
Now I'm not quite clear....Who was very intelligent and who drove the team.