Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Celebrating Our Heritage: The 80th Niehaus Family Reunion

    What an enjoyable gathering we had on Saturday, September 21, 2019 for the 80th Annual Niehaus Reunion!  We brought together a very congenial group - all descendants of Joseph and Gertrude Niehaus.  Our location was just right - Pioneer Park in Mooresville, Indiana. We had another beautiful family heritage quilt raffle, thanks to Marti Fleetwood’s creative skills.  There were so many scrumptious dishes to share no one could decide on their favorite. The weather was outstanding and so was the company. 
     Rosie Walters, our organizer, made the usual seamless arrangements. She's decided to hand those reins on to someone else after generously providing her time and talents for several years. (Moan!) I can't blame her but we'll miss her leadership. Thanks so much Rosie. 
      It’s nice to know we’re continuing this tradition begun in 1939 by the children of our immigrant ancestors, Joseph and Gertrude. Each year we see a few different faces along with the loyal yearly attendees.  Some folks have conflicts and we’ll see them another time.  But one thing is for sure, it's always nice reminiscing all around within the family.  We miss those that have passed along but it’s refreshing to think of them during these reunions and how much the family meant to them. 
     Remembering those Niehaus brothers and sisters at the first reunion 80 years ago, I’m posting the group photo below. The gathering was held in a local Indianapolis park.  Eight of the nine living children of Joseph and Gertrude attended in 1939. They are seated in the row just behind the children: John, Rosa, Clara, Anna, Lena, Feenie, Ben, Minnie. One additional sibling, Joe, wasn’t there.  Maybe he had to work that day.  I also posted below the list of those in the photo, as far as we know. The identifications are about 95% complete.  You can see blanks where we’re still trying to get those names.  If anyone knows who they are, email me at nancyhurley1 at (Click to enlarge.)

1939 Niehaus Family Reunion

        Announcing a bit of 21st century techie news - We now have a Niehaus Family Reunions Facebook group page. It's very easy to find. If you go to FB and search for Niehaus Family Reunions you’ll see the page and you can ask to join.  It’s fun to see the postings there.
        To kick off the sharing from this year, below are some photos of our 2019 reunion.  Also, I am adding more photos to my family reunion page on this website, so take a look when you have a few minutes.  The link is at the end of this post - just click on it.  

       The 2019 Niehaus Reunion is now an addition to the family’s history.  Thanks to each and every one that participated.  You are a treasure!
      Now head on over to the page with more friendly Niehaus faces from September 21, 2019. Click here: Niehaus Family Reunion page. 

    Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

    Copyright (c) 2019, Nancy Niehaus Hurley,

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Discoveries at the Auction?! – Harry and Tillie Weber’s Life in the 1930s and 1940s

       Once upon a time I was enjoying myself at an auction of miscellaneous estate items in southside Indianapolis.  I didn’t know the owner’s name or anything about her. I was just there to explore. Among the boxes of ephemera left at the tail end of the auction were personal letters and cards from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as many other unidentified paper items. These types of ephemera always fascinate me. I’m not alone in that respect, but I was able to win the bid on a couple of those boxes of stuff for just a few bucks. Oh goodie! There was going to be some exploring when I could really take a look at the contents to see what I had.

        Well, I began pulling out the personal family history of a lady who had lived in Indianapolis her whole life.  This woman, Stella, had many friends, family and coworkers who appreciated her and kept in touch from around the world.  And she had a long career in the banking industry, judging from letters, cards and other documents dated in the 1930s through the 1950s.

Tillie Kuhn and Harry Weber -- 1913
         As I took a closer look, I realized that Stella worked for Fletcher Savings and Trust Company in downtown Indianapolis, the same company that employed my grandfather, Harry Lawrence Weber, in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. As I read through these many pieces of history, I became aware of the close connections between Stella and Harry.   My grandfather’s name appeared repeatedly in the items she had saved.   Among the items Stella left were programs from the “Twenty Year Club” meetings and dinners honoring longtime employees. Listed as honorees in 1938 and 1939,  right along with Stella Colman, were Harry L Weber, as well as two of his cousins, Albert Buennagel and Sylvester Kasberg.    I was so excited to see these programs shedding light on our family’s day-to-day lives over the years. (See program with green arrows posted here.)

    I also found copies of the bank’s newsletter, The Desklamp, from 1925, 1931 and 1950. All of these newsletters provide interesting family history information.  In the 1925 newsletter Harry and Stella, as well as Buennagel and Kasberg, are listed in the Company’s Officers and Managers. It’s fascinating to learn that Stella worked alongside these three in her position as Assistant in the Savings Department. At this point in his career, Harry is the Assistant Cashier in the Loan Department.

  Looking further at the Desklamp contents. Stella seems to have saved the February 6, 1931, issue because she was mentioned in the news portion. It reads: “Mrs. Stella Colman is to undertake new service in the Insurance Department.”

      And once again there is a connecting coincidence. The item just above hers in this same column reads: “Harry Weber is on the injured list, with a broken arm, and Mrs. Weber is seriously ill as the result of an automobile accident.”  (See below excerpt. Click to enlarge.)

  •      What?!  Yes, there is a family recollection from Harry and Tillie’s children that their parents were in an automobile accident. In fact, two aunts told me that the car turned over with Harry and Tillie inside. But this is the first we have any information of when it was or the injuries.
     How ironic that I would come across these pieces of personal family history in this manner. The odds have to be against me connecting through a random auction of personal belongings.  I believe that Harry and Stella were at the very least coworkers who had contact on many occasions. I wonder if they might have been friends,  perhaps sharing interactions as a result of their career paths for many years. 
     It will always be a wonderment as to how well Harry and Stella knew each other.  But they certainly shared this Fletcher Trust Company portion of their lives in the 1930s and 1940s. I'm glad I was nosy enough to bid on those boxes at the auction. Thanks to Stella I know more about my grandparents’ lives and was able to see these mementos. She felt the importance of the Fletcher Trust Company in her life and, by way of her saving attitude we have a more focused image of our family history.
      I’m inserting here several photos of the items I’ve mentioned above. I have more that I’m happy to share as well. Email me if you'd like to receive copies.


     Harry and Tillie Weber's lives were complicated, as are all of ours. I'm glad that I just happened across these pieces of their story.  We may now have new speculations as to the what, hows, whens and whys of their lives.   I'll keep sharing as we fill in those pieces.  For now, if you're interested in catching up on a few other parts of those life stories, you'll find more Kuhn and Weber links at the left side of this page.

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Nancy (Niehaus) Hurley

Copyright (c) 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Family History At Its Finest: 2019 Weber Kuhn Family Reunion

      Smiles.  Hugs.  Reflection. Laughs. Updates. Teasing.  Consoling. Playing. Chowing Down.  And a little friendly competition.  The annual Weber Kuhn Family Reunion is a nice event all the way around.  I think I can speak for all of us by saying "It's so great to take time to share an afternoon with this family."

     It was sunny and not too hot when we gathered on August 24, 2019, at the Sarah Bolton Park in Beech Grove, Indiana. Remembering years gone by is always fun, but also having some time to share our current lives is just as special.  Our pitch-in lunch was another yummy feast of chicken, splendid casseroles, fruit creations and lots of desserts. Then, we all made guesses at  the weight of a watermelon and the number of bubble gums in the jar to see who would be chowing down on watermelon and blowing bubbles like crazy.

  Of course, a favorite feature is always the family heritage quilt raffle.  Marti Fleetwood made an outstanding creation that included wedding photos of each of Harry and Tillie Weber's children.  Becky (Holzer) Smith was the lucky winner (left). And we all set out to top this one with the creative quilt squares we made for next year's quilt.  

       From young to a little less young, everyone enjoyed the day. The above photos are just a sample of the reunion moments captured.  Click on the link at the end of this post to go to our reunion  page and see all those beautiful people and camaraderie!
       BUT WAIT ONE  MOMENT!  There was a huge history surprise also this year!  Joyce Holzer showed up with an old scrapbook-looking black book held together with rubber bands.  She handed it to me and said it had belonged to Grandma Weber.  Well, of course, I was so excited, to say the least.  Joyce's brother, Chuck, found it when cleaning out his office.  It's difficult to describe the entire book. This is a type of journal or poetry and news clipping book kept by our grandmother in the 1930s and 1940s.  There are many pages in Grandma's own writing and pages of newspaper clippings. We all examined it that day, drawing many varied opinions of what the writings and clippings meant; and/or if Grandma Weber composed some of them herself. We may never know.  But this is surely a treasure.  And it's fascinating!
     I promise to scan every page and provide those scans to anyone in the family who's interested.  For now, I'm including a few example pages here:  

     Let me know what you think or imagine about this book.

     Thanks again everyone in our Weber Kuhn family who came to the 2019 reunion.  It was so good to share some time with you.
LINK to Family Reunion Photo Page. ( Lots more great photos are there.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Flashback - Imagining With Krissy

     As a child I remember putting imagination into our Halloween costumes.  We had a chest with various types of masks and a few old pieces of costumes/clothing.  It was fun to drag out something to see what we could make each year.  It was entertaining to see what everyone created.   A great deal of the enjoyment was about roaming the neighborhood with friends and gathering as much candy and treats as we could.  Then, we'd dump it out on a newspaper when we got home to see what we wanted to keep and what we might try to trade, or just give to the parents.   And then, we put the scary devil mask away until next year.Krissy as a hobo for Halloween, about 1988.

     When Krissy started going trick-or-treating I guess I was still somewhat in that mode. (That would be about 1982-1992.)  Here's a photo of her in about 1988 when we used one of my jackets and a pair of my boots and pants.  I think she's a hobo.  The mask is really great, and especially that huge fake cigar.  I can't remember if it was bubble gum…..maybe.  The hat is a mystery too.  I don't think it was mine.

    Fast forward a few years to middle school.  She's creatively painted her own mask and became a cat with the addition of the ears.  Steve goes along with anything, as usual.  So, he's posing with the kitty cat.

Steve 005

     Pretending and imagining and creating alter egos is good for the psyche for this one day a year! 

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Copyright © 2018 , Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

More Weber Scrapbook Photos Reveal The Family Outlook -- Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

      The Wordless Wednesday Almost posts have gained a new chapter thanks to cousin Carole Greer, daughter of Edith (Weber) Ditlinger.  As I've mentioned in past posts, Carole generously provided me with many new-to-me photographs from her family albums.  I'm happy to have them all scanned now and will keep sharing them on the blog as I have the time.  It's hard choosing which one to post next, but the ladies below are having such a good time they jumped right onto this page.Edith (Weber) Ditlinger and her sister, Alberta (Weber) DeJong share something  -- Maybe it's winnings from the card game.
   Back of photo of Edith & Alberta   Above is a photo of Edith (Weber) Ditlinger and Alberta (Weber) DeJong, two sisters happily sharing a day together. I wanted to post the back of the photo also since sometimes we aren't fortunate enough to have them marked for us.  I don't know the date of the photo but would guess it's mid-1940s.  From the history I know, I'll say that this is a common happening when a few of the large Weber family came to visit at the former home of their parents, Harry Adam and Mary Anna (Keen) Weber on South Alabama Street in Indianapolis.  A few of the siblings lived in the home until somewhere in that time frame.  
    As soon as I looked closely at this setting I saw the signs of a card game and a few beers. (Note the remnants on the table.)  There seems to be something in Edith's hand that these two are pleased with.  Maybe it's winnings from the card game.
     I am thrilled to have this little piece of the Weber family history.  Edith and Alberta were two of my mother's aunts who were admired greatly.   I can see my mother and her siblings in both of these ladies' faces.  Their love of life and sense of humors were definitely passed down.  My cousins and I thank you, Edith and Alberta for your smiles! 
     Anyone have a story about these sisters or their siblings that you'd like for me to share?  We would be happy to hear from others who grew up knowing these ladies or members of the extended huge family.  Keep watching for more Weber Scrapbook photos to follow.
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
    Other related family posts can be found in the left column.  Here are a few samples: 
     Out For A Sunday Drive
    Going Fishing
    Will of Henry Adam Weber
Copyright © 2018, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Help Me With A Mystery Person in the Louis Risch Family

     I have a photograph in which two of the three people are identified.  I'm wondering if there's anyone out in the internet hinterlands that might read this and know who this third person could be. Or perhaps someone has a suggestion as a lead.
     I know the lady on the left in the below photograph is Clara Ariens Risch (Mrs. Michael Joseph);  and the man in the center is her father-in-law, Louis Risch (1855 - 1925).    I've been told by a descendant that the person on the right is not Michael Joseph Risch, Clara's husband and a son of Louis.
     The person on the right does appear to be a woman.  She's dressed in military type uniform and has her hair pushed up under her hat.  Louis has two daughters who could qualify for this spot: Clara Mary Risch (1896-1980) and Catherine Anna Risch (1887-1976).  I'm just not able to put either one of them in this photo as the one photo I have of each of them is younger or I can't be sure by looking at them.    

Risch Family, Clara Ariens (Mrs. Michael Risch) and Louis Risch  and  ??

Clara Ariens Risch, Louis Risch and who?
    This Risch family is from Dearborn and Fayette Counties in Indiana and Hamilton County, Ohio.  Some were born one place and died in the other.  My line of this family is through Mathias Risch, Sr, who emigrated to Dearborn County, Indiana, from Hugstetten, Baden, in 1828.  Louis Risch is one of his grandsons.  He lived his entire life in New Alsace, Dearborn County, Indiana.   (For more background, there are a few stories relating to this family in the Family: Risch link in the left column next to this post.)
     I thought it would be fun to see if there's a Risch descendant out there who could provide the information on this mystery lady in the uniform pictured with Louis and Clara.  It's such an interesting photo and I don't know much about the background. Where?  When?  Why?  Or maybe just WHO?   Are you there Risch cousins who can tell me anything???

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright 2018 © , Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Monday, October 1, 2018

2018 Niehaus Family Reunion - It's Nice To See You Annually

       We've set aside one day each year for 79 years to stop and say "It's Nice To See You."  Many of us don't talk on the phone or go out to lunch, or whatever.  Maybe we see each other at a funeral.  OR, thanks to our tradition, we say hi at the reunion.  Niehaus 2011 wordle 2The annual Niehaus Reunion on Saturday, September 15, at Pioneer Park in Mooresville, Indiana, was another one of those pleasant "It's Nice to See You" days.  A big thanks goes again to Rosie Walters who keeps the organization going and works hard to make sure we all have a nice event.  There were less people attending this year but it sure didn't effect the sharing, camaraderie and laughs.  We had more food contributions than we could all eat in several days.  And It was all yummy!  Can you say fried chicken, barbecue, casseroles galore and too many desserts to mention.

      And after the great meal, we mixed it all up:  Friendly people, a comfortable location,  remembering our families by creating heritage quilt squares, silent auction bidding, sharing old photos, laughter and good stories about family events.  To add to this year's story, we were introduced to a newfound cousin.  DNA testing told one of our Hickman blood-related cousins who her family is.  Dawn arrived at the reunion after meeting a few of her family through DNA connections and being invited to come on over.  It was fun speaking with her, making further ties and even putting together childhood connections that none of us knew were there.  Welcome to the family Dawn.

     The family heritage quilt that's created each year contains the squares that are made by hand by those attending the previous year's reunion.  A personal touch is included in each square, depending on the preference of the person writing it out.  Martha (Niehaus) Fleetwood brought together those squares and a few more historical pieces that I contributed into another beautiful quilt for the raffle this year.  The winner of this year's Niehaus Family Heritage Quilt was our cousin, Evelyn (Ellis) Simmerman. In the photo below they are displaying this treasure.  Marti's on the left and Evelyn's on the right.  Fantastic creation Marti.  Congratulations Evelyn.  2018 Quilt Winner, Evelyn Simmerman, right, with Quilt Creator, Marti Fleetwood, left.

  .    To remind us all of the history of this annual Niehaus gathering, it began in 1939.  The members of this family are all descendants of Joseph and Gertrude (Wilmsen) Niehaus who immigrated to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1885 from Emsdetten, Westphalia (Germany).  Their 11 children gathered their offspring for a picnic at Garfield Park in Indianapolis in 1939 and the tradition has carried on since.  Of course, the relatives have swelled over the years and many may not even be aware of the family ties.   Just in case anyone else reading this is thinking they may want to join in next year for the 80th celebration of this family reunion, here is a sampling of the surnames represented down the years and across collateral lines:   Albers, Albertson, Beerman, Buis, Donahue, Hickman, Hoskinson, Kirn, Lark, Marsischky, Niehaus, Sapp, Schott, Stull, Van Benthuysen, Wilmsen and more…..   I am happy to answer any questions about family connections or background if I'm able to do so.  But anyway, if you think you may be related, come on down to the reunion next year.  Leave me a message through the comments section or the space on the left. I'll pass along your address for the invitation list. We welcome everyone!

     It's refreshing to take the time to get reacquainted, to reflect back on those who brought us together and to just have a few laughs with kinfolk.  Thanks to everyone who attended.  Let's see how huge we can make next year's gathering for the 80th.  Below are just a couple of examples of  Niehaus family enjoying the 2018 reunion. (Also, click on the tab at the top of this page for more.) 

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Below: Lisa Rhoades with her Dad, Mike Collins, and her cousin, Terri Dunn

Lisa Rhoades, with her Dad, Mike Collins and Cousin, Terri Stull Dunn

Below: Piper Jackson, her cousin Scotty Moreland and the newest member of the clan, Willow Moreland

Piper, Scotty, Willow