OF THE NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.
VOLUME VIII, Number 2 (May 1991)
Paul Hathaway, Our
By Shirley Hathaway Glade
There was something passionate in the driving force of Paul Hathaway. It gave him the ability to balance a love of technology and enterprise in business with a love of his town and his family. This is his story.
Hathaway was born in North Manchester on October 21, 1898, Homer and Myrtle Angle Hathaway’s first child. He grew up in Laketon but returned to town and, between his marriage to Oma Fisher in 1919 and his death in 1965, established several businesses and served 15 years as town marshal and fire chief and another five as street and water manager.
By the late 1910’s cars and trucks were more common, but blacksmiths still outnumbered competent mechanics. Once he mastered acetylene welding and complexities of contemporary auto care and repair, Hathaway opened his West End Garage in 1920. It was when car batteries were charged with acid which had to be added to and monitored to keep the battery charged. The acid ate at the batteries’ inner wooden compartments over time, creating a good market for battery maintenance and repair. He signed up with Willard Battery Company in 1922 and opened one of the town’s first battery repair stations at 224 East Main Street, just west of today’s Sears Catalog Store. In the 1920’s the second story at 224 was a large meeting room with a sink in the back.
In one January 1923 cold snap a pipe to the sink froze and burst, so the building’s owner decided to turn off the basement valve controlling the water flow to the upstairs. The valve was still shut off and the pipe unrepaired on an April evening when Paul was working late downstairs in the back of his battery shop. Hearing people go up the stairs, he went to the darkened front room in time to see several men carrying folded sheets and furtively slipping up the stairs to the meeting room: the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
Because of his low opinion of the organization and of those members he had recognized, Paul decided to change their meeting’s agenda that night. Once he heard them open their meeting, he opened the valve to the broken pipe, releasing a powerful, wide-angled spray over the upstairs crowd and precipitating their hasty adjournment. Telling me this story years later, he chuckled as he described the wet-sheeted figures’ stampede down the stairs onto Main Street that night.
Hathaway consolidated the battery service with the automotive, tire, and welding business by 1925 and moved to 106 North Mill, present site of Lambert Body Shop. He oversaw the demolition of the ramshackle Martin building just west of town hall at 101-103 West Main Street, where he constructed a new garage for his business, now including the sales and servicing of the latest technological advance: Atwater-Kent radios. The News-Journal praised him for not only sprucing up the downtown’s appearance but for being a “handy man to have about town anyway, for when a piece of machinery broke, Paul was usually able to find a way to fix it…[He] has a knack for doing this work and is deserving of encouragement.”
He expanded again in the new location in 1927, opening an Oakland-Pontiac car dealership jointly with Joe Urschel. Two years later he left the dealership and moved his family and remaining businesses to 105 West Main, our home for the next 16 years. He soon qualified as specialist in yet another area; refrigeration. He now installed and serviced commercial refrigeration units along with selling and servicing Frigidaire appliances and Crosley electric as well as kerosene-powered Electrolux refrigerators.
After he purchased two houses at 110 West Main Street, adjacent to the Zion Lutheran Church, he moved them back, created a paved driveway, and built a Shell service station. The sleek, modern structure contrasted architecturally and technologically with the harness shop which Charlie Felter continued to operate in one of the moved houses. Paul converted the rest of the houses into apartments taking on the role of landlord.
Now that his automotive business had new quarters, Paul went about using his knowledge of commercial refrigeration to convert the 105 West Main property to a frozen food locker. Few had home freezers or adequate refrigerator freezing compartments for the frozen foods that were becoming popular in the late 1930’s. A growing number of frozen food plants began renting locker storage space, as J.L. Shanahan and L.F. Radabaugh did at their Co-op Store on the northwest corner of Walnut and Seventh where they opened North Manchester’s first frozen food locker in 1939. Within three years Paul caught up with them and bypassed them, turning 105 West Main into two large meat storage lockers, 400 individual rental units, a slaughter house, and a processing area for meat and produce.
That was just one of the many commercial and domestic remodeling projects he undertook; the familiar crew of carpenters, plumbers and electricians became members of our extended family. Viewing his transformation of her former home at 301 West Main into our new residence in 1947, Attorney Sarah Kelton Browne predicted that, whether Paul’s post-death destination were Heaven or Hell, he would start remodeling it five minutes after his arrival
True to form, the Shell station became “The Filling Station,” a restaurant which Bill Fulton took over in 1944 and rechristened “The Grill,” its name until it closed in 1967, several operators, remodeling, and expansions later. The Grill became the town’s information center as well as a popular restaurant, where Betty, Ted, and I worked at various times. At one time customers were served at umbrella-shaded tables on the west patio, next to the addition where I made and sold frozen custard the summer I was 14.
By spring 1945 the food locker was so successful that Paul decided to excavate the basement under the front part of 105 to double his rental locker capacity, little realizing how this would affect our lives. On April 19, Mom had left me alone in our apartment over the locker plant to get her hair done for the first time since she and I were released from quarantine for my scarlet fever. As I waited for our neighbor to come stay with me, the building’s west front wall shifted and buckled under the excavation. In addition to crumbling plaster and cracking windows in our apartment, the movement also jammed our front door shut, trapping me inside until Ted came bounding upstairs and pulled me through a porch window. Because I was still too weak to run, he carried me downstairs to our neighbor’s apartment, where our very upset mother found me when she returned. After a brief stay in another apartment, our family moved to 404 North Market Street. By then Paul had reinforced the basement wall, finished his project and converted our old apartment into three rental units.
Al Weimer bought the locker business in 1947, and the next year Paul and his brother, Durwood, took over The Grill, which later was run by Lou Coon and Herb Werking. In 1957 Paul added a dining room on the back and fitted Loren and Mary Wing’s flower shop in between The Grill and the locker building, which now served John Paul’s Grocery. About the same time he converted the front part of the west rental into a beauty salon on one side and an office on the other.
This office housed the Hathaway Realty and Construction Company, founded by Paul and Durwood Hathaway, who purchased Liegh B. Freed’s orchard on East Street, extended East Seventh Street through it, and opened East Gate Addition where they built and sold several USSteel homes. From 1958 until his death in 1965, Paul used the Main Street office as he and Philip Oppenheim bought, developed, and sold lake property, starting with Long Lake’s Sandy Beach. By 1965 their corporation had created several developments throughout the state, including Marineland Gardens and Enchanted Hills on Lake Wawasee.
Paul served the community as the fire chief, town marshal, and manager of the town’s street and water department while he simultaneously ran several businesses. Judging from my gathered recollection and News-Journal articles, the earlier term was the more challenging and interesting.
When Paul began the 11-year tenure as fire chief in 1933, people living outside the city limits had to pay the department at least $25 for each fire run. For better rural coverage at a lower price, Paul created a private country fire service funded by yearly subscription fees, which considerably lowered farmers’ fire insurance rates.
Because he could not afford a properly equipped commercial fire truck, he constructed his own bright red unit from the chassis and high performance engine of a wrecked 1932 Dodge car, an old Service truck, a 100-gallon tank, and a pumper. It was parked in the town hall alongside the town’s fire truck, which it supplemented during big fires. On July 12, 1933, the News-Journal reported that subscriber Simon Neber was one of the first to benefit from Paul’s country service which quickly extinguished a dried grass fire in his orchard. The article commends Paul’s truck for “being more efficient than most of the ones offered for sale, and, being privately owned, [it] is kept in better condition than [public equipment].”
Whether a fire was in town or in the country, as soon as the siren sounded, the curious called the central phone operator to learn the fire’s location. The calls frequently jammed the switchboard so that emergency messages could not get through. Sometimes people panicked when calling in fires, while others retained their composure. One evening an elderly country lady called Paul at home and inquired about the health of each family member before adding, apologetically, “I hate to bother you this late, Paul, but my barn is burning, and I was wondering if you might be able to come and put out the fire.”
I do not recall if he saved the barn, but I do know that country calls especially challenged Paul’s ingenuity. In 1935, for example, the truck’s water tank had to be refilled with water carried in milk cans from a pond. Seven years later Joe Watson contributed ten gallons of milk to fight the fire in Victor Walter’s house. It was saved, but Paul suffered a broken toe and sprained ankle from a fall through the burning roof. The township took over the funding of country fire service in 1939, paying Paul $511 yearly.
In the 1940s wartime fear of spies caused townspeople to call Paul when they saw suspicious foreigners, like the shabbily-dressed fellow Lorin Werking found hiding in his haystack on October 6, 1941. Facing some 30 hostile [missing text]
When Paul replaced Earl Heeter as town marshal in 1932, he received a monthly salary of $50.00, raised $20 in 1937. None of us children remembers his routinely wearing a uniform until the 1950s. Throughout the 1930s the town’s police car was our family sedan which Paul accessorized with a siren, spotlight, and red light in 1936, the same year North Manchester updated the police department by installing a police radio in Paul’s garage. Paul used the radio in 1939 to alert State Police to catch a speeder trying to avoid trial in Huntington. By nightfall he was returned from Michigan City to North Manchester’s jail.
In addition to the fire department’s two drivers and volunteers, Paul was assisted by a night watchman. In 1939 State Policeman, Cliff Snyder, future owner of the Ford Agency, was assigned here to patrol Highway 13 and assist local officials. At the end of 1942 the town board enlarged the police department by hiring patrol officer Don Sheak, in addition to night officer Jesse “Sarge” Huffman. Sheak took over as town marshal in 1944, followed by Artie Lowman and Bill Lambert. Paul had the post again 1952-1955, simultaneously in charge of streets and water until 1957.
The town marshal had broad responsibilities. Before automatic timers, he (or Max or Betty) turned on the street lights nightly from a switch next to the former monument shop at the northwest corner of Main and Mill Streets. The night officer turned them off the next morning.
During the 1930’s he monitored hundreds of unemployed men passing through town. From 1932 to 1936 most of these hoboes stayed overnight in the jail which the News-Journal dubbed “Hotel de Hobo” and were given breakfast the next morning, after which they were expected to leave town without seeking additional handouts. The “hotel” seldom lacked guests: between October 1932 and April 1933, 853 hobos” checked into” the jail. The premises had to be fumigated periodically.
He frequently handled problems not covered by local laws and ordinances. In late August 1937 members of the Methodist Church called him to deal with a swarm of bees by the church’s front door. Unable to reach the local beeman, Paul managed to disperse the bees with gasoline.
There were the petty mischief-makers, like the town boys who, when faced with a harsher alternative, chose to clean up every seed remaining from a “watermelon mess” they had left in front of Chester School in 1937. In December 1937 the News-Journal published the names and hometowns of four college students Paul had apprehended for damaging downtown Christmas decorations. He ordered them to purchase and install replacement bulbs, costing a total of $10.50.
Less innocent pastimes, such as illegal gambling, required intervention. When Paul seized a slot machine from the Blickenstaff barber shop in 1938, however, Blickenstaff sued Paul to regain his confiscated “amusement device.” Before leaving on a fishing trip, Town Attorney Raymond Brooks successfully established the legality of the seizure. In 1940 state authorities, the sheriff, and Paul raided another gambling den in the local poolroom after undercover detectives had place racing bets over a few weeks.
Dishonest traveling salespeople and gypsies frequently preyed on naïve crooks unwittingly targeted Paul, probably because his business was centrally located and he did not wear a police uniform. The News-Journal gleefully recorded several of these encounters. An article on October 18, 1936, reported that, after accosting Paul in his garage and offering him a fur coat at a bargain price, the salesman “almost dived out a back window into the river when Hathaway told him he was talking to the marshal and was under arrest for not having a peddler’s license.” Paul allowed a woman claiming to be from South Whitley to finish her spiel about selling magazine subscriptions to raise her 1938 Manchester College tuition before he arrested her for misrepresentation. Unable to pay the $10 fine, she became the first female inmate in the town’s newly remodeled jail until the rest of the sales crew came to bail her out before leaving town in a car with Florida license plates. In 1940 a man, pretending to raise money for American Rescue Workers, came to Paul who arrested and fined him after learning that he actually was funding his family’s trip home to Buffalo, New York.
Editor’s Note: The conclusion of this interesting article by Shirley Glade will continue in the next Newsletter, August 1991. We suggested the lead paragraph for his article. For the rest, Shirley wrote that the material above was drawn from her own recollections, the memories of her brothers Max (b. 1920) and Ted (b. 1929) and her sister Betty (b. 1922), as well as those of Dr. L.Z. Bunker, and other reliable sources. Reading through 45 years of microfilmed News-Journal newspapers, she found many front-page articles that verified and supplemented most of this information.
Source: NMHS Newsletter, August 1991
Paul Hathaway: Our
By Shirley Hathaway Glade [CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS ISSUE.]
In the 1940’s wartime fear of spies caused townspeople to call Paul when they saw suspicious foreigners, like the shabbily-dressed fellow Lorin Werking found hiding in his haystack on October 6, 1941. Facing some 30 hostile farmers guarding him with rifles, rakes, and pitchforks, the outsider may have been relieved when State Trooper Cliff Snyder and Paul arrived to take him in for questioning. His lack of documents and erratic behavior prompted them to send his photograph and fingerprints to the FBI to verify his claim of Austrian citizenship. Noting that the man not only seemed recently shaved and shorn but was wearing clean underwear beneath his worn, dirty outer clothes, the News-Journal suggested he might have donned a hobo disguise to hide sabotage activities. Perhaps Mrs. Ray Keim recalled this warning when she called Paul to pick up a suspicious foreigner claiming to be from Switzerland when he asked for a handout at her door in 1942.
Like most small towns in the 1930’s and 1940’s, North Manchester was plagued by window peepers. Buckshot and buckets of water discouraged some nocturnal voyeurs, but recurring cases usually required police surveillance. One of Paul’s stakeouts in the late 1930’s had surprising consequences. On a chilly night, Paul’s sister, Mary Kreamer, bundled up to take a walk in the neighborhood he had staked out for several nights. Catching sight of a shadowy figure, each sibling suspected the other was up to no good and immediately started to run. Mary headed across a yard with Paul close on her heels. Just as she rounded a tree, Paul grabbed her, and she let out a shriek. They collapsed in laughter over this case of mistaken identity which became a favorite family anecdote.
Townspeople frequently summoned Paul to settle family problems. Some of these disputes caused more property damage than bodily harm, however. One time he responded to a call reporting murderous marital mayhem and arrived to find the couple reconciling in the middle of their kitchen which was strewn and plastered with the contents and remnants of every jar, bottle, plate, and pan with reach when the fight began. Forgetting the cause of their altercation, they berated Paul for invading their privacy.
Paul’s job also involved him in more life-threatening situations. For example, in April 1935, Paul tried to persuade Artee Witt to admit himself to the Marion Veteran’s Hospital after the shell-shocked World War I veteran began threatening his family and others. Since Paul had no warrant to arrest Artee, he agreed to let him go home to clean up for the trip. Artee disappeared, however, before Mrs. Witt returned with commitment papers from Wabash. That evening Deputy Sheriff Farr and Paul finally found him aiming his sawed off shotgun at them from the top of the stairs of a house on West Third Street. After shot through the shoulder by Farr, Artee lunged at him and Paul, breaking out the stairway light, and they all tumbled down the stairs in the dark. Finally the subdued Artee was taken off to the Wabash jail before being institutionalized.
More than once Paul’s mechanical expertise came in handy during emergencies. In 1939 he and Dr. [L.Z.] Bunker were called to a doctor’s office at 107 East Main where hemorrhaging and shock had caused eight-year-old Virginia Dickerhoff to stop breathing following a tonsillectomy. As Dr. Bunker worked on her, Paul rushed over to his garage for a tank of oxygen, which he used in acetylene welding, and dragged it down the basement recovery room. Improvising a mask from the cupped hands and a hose, he and Dr. Bunker took turns administering oxygen until she was out of danger several hours later.
Out on the roads and streets Paul had to spend more time enforcing traffic laws as the number of vehicles increased. In 1938 Virgil Opperman showed the lighter side of this job by filming Paul running after, catching, and ticketing Tom Peabody for “speeding” up Market Street in his 1903 Oldsmobile. A year later Lee Brubaker was not amused at the prospect of going to jail when he could not pay the $6.00 which Justice of the Peace John Brunjes fined him for riding his motorcycle on the sidewalk. Lee avoided the lockup however by working off his fine at $2.00 a day, cleaning mortar off cement blocks Paul would use to construct the locker plant. The same year, when a drunken driver refused to pull over and stop east of town. Paul stopped him with a bullet through his back tire. It was far easier to nab the drunk from Indianapolis who pulled into Paul’s service station one evening in 1942, boasting that he was too drunk to find his way out of town.
Since robbers rarely were so cooperative Paul had to track them down. During the 1920’s and 1930’s chicken thieves kept him particularly busy. In 1938, after arresting one culprit driving to pick up his partner, Paul concealed himself in the back seat and nabbed the other thief as he jumped into the car with a chicken in his sack. The next year he helped round up a gang of chicken and egg thieves through matching the track of a worn tire to their leader’s car.
The rise of car ownership in the thirties was matched by an increasing number of car thefts by big city and local gangs working in this area. On June 3, 1935, the News-Journal announced that Paul, Sheriff Shoemaker, and his Deputy Farr had captured one professional car thief named Frank Bruno, a.k.a. James Mareno, after cornering him in a stall of the Berry’s barn near Laketon the previous night. Fortunately Bruno-Mareno had left his gun in the car. In some cases car thieves tried to burn the evidence, as two members of a Fort Wayne gang did near Liberty Mills in 1938, but Paul got the State Police on the scene before the culprits could get away.
Auto theft started Harry Singer on the road to a life of crime which culminated in a sensational murder case which Paul helped to solve in the summer of 1936. Paul initially picked up Singer, Wesley Cauffman’s hired hand, as a suspect in the Wabash holdup killing of Joseph Bryant. The plot thickened the next morning when Cauffman’s landlord called Paul to report no one had seen the family since July 21. Paul went out to inspect the house and returned to ask Singer about the traces of blood, gunshots, and burned clothing he had found. Singer denied any responsibility for them and insisted that the family had moved away after asking him to sell their belongings and send them the money. After Paul and Huntington Detective Al Teusch took him out to walk around the farm, however, Singer confessed to shooting Cauffman and his wife and beating their nine-year-old daughter to death because they had been “mean” to him. Word of the murders spread fast, and a huge crowd gathered to watch the exhumation of the bodies from the shed floor where Singer had buried them 12 days earlier. At the height of the investigation the News-Journal observed that the town looked like the site of a reunion of state and regional police officers.
By September 17 Singer had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in the electric chair on December 26. A few days before his death he admitted having killed Joseph Bryant, too. Because he helped solve the case, Paul was invited to witness the execution, the second one in Wabash County history. Ironically the previous case in 1855 also involved the murder of a family and the theft of their property. Oddly enough, only two years before Singer killed the Cauffmans, his mother and uncle had been murdered by a man who later killed himself. After Singer’s execution his remaining family did not claim his body, which ended up at the Indiana University Medical School. The story of the crime and Paul’s role in solving it was widely publicized. In 1943 when Max was stationed on the Galapagos Islands, a fellow airman asked if his dad were named Paul and showed him True Detective’s illustrated account of the crime.
A still-unsolved crime resulted in Paul’s only serious injury suffered between his terms as town marshal. On December 5, 1944, he was working late in his office at the locker room when Charles Goehler ran in to report a burglary in progress across the street at the Bashore Feed Store, the present site of the fire department. While people tried in vain to contact Marshal Sheak and Night Officer Lambert, Paul called the store’s manager, picked up his repeating .22 rifle and went over to investigate, which he legally could do, having been deputized following the burglary and fire at the Peabody factory the previous spring. Crouching behind a telephone pole in the alley in back of the store, Paul fired warning shots which flushed the burglar out of the store. Retreating down the dark alley, he tossed a pipe bomb at Paul. Despite being knocked off balance, Paul managed to exchange gunfire with the culprit. By the time local officers arrived on the scene the burglar had escaped, and Jean Oppenheim had driven Paul to Dr. Bunker’s office to be treated for a gunshot wound to his right arm. Fortunately the bullet had not hit the bone, as it entered below and exited above his elbow, leaving a fairly clean wound except for some embedded shirt fragments which my mother drew out with flaxseed poultice. Although the culprit’s identity was fairly well established from clues at the scene of the crime and other evidence, for some still mysterious reason he was never brought to trial, making this one of the few crimes Paul could not resolve.
Years later people still bring up this and other incidences connected with Paul’s years in the community. So far, however, none of us children has figured out the best response to “Your father arrested me once,” a statement we frequently hear. Sometimes people have given us new stories about Paul. Several years after Paul’s death, Russell Bollinger, former dean of students at Manchester College, expressed his appreciation for Paul’s quick and effective quelling of an incipient student riot during an early-1950’s panty raid on Oakwood Hall.
Just a few years ago Dr. Bunker told me the following story. In the early 1930’s she was determined to improve working conditions for the grave diggers who suffered from frostbite and pneumonia caused by shoveling frozen earth through the harshest winter months. Reading that Notre Dame had begun using a backhoe in its cemetery, she suggest to Clay Syler, a town board member, that the town purchase one for Oaklawn. The budget was tight, but Paul managed to find a good second-hand one that held up for some 30 years. In fact it probably was used to dig Paul’s grave in 1965.
That year my college classmate, wrote to share a memory he had overheard while lunching at The Grill on March 17, the day Paul died. The lunch crowd fell silent when Paul’s death was announced. Then Virginia Dickerhoff Heisler spoke up, “If it wasn’t for Paul Hathaway,” she asserted, “I wouldn’t be here today.” After she finished telling how Paul and Dr. Bunker had saved her life some 26 years earlier, others added their stories about Paul’s impact on the community and on their lives. I think that it was especially fitting that his memories were shared that day in The Grill, a business and building Paul had constructed alongside his other property in the heart of North Manchester, the town he had known and served in so many roles since 1898.