Friday, September 26, 2014
Henry "Harry" Adam Weber - Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods, Indianapolis, Indiana --- 52 Ancestors Challenge
Harry Adam Weber, the eldest of five children of Adam and Amelia (Micol) Weber, was born in Indianapolis on September 12, 1859. He was baptized six days later in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Indianapolis. On October 21, 1886, he married Mary Anna Keen in St. Mary's. They had twelve children between 1887 and 1908, the eldest being Harry Lawrence Weber, my grandfather. There are some interesting details to Harry Adam Weber's childhood and young adulthood in Indianapolis. But today the story's all about his livelihood….what he chose as his occupation as an adult.
His given name was Henry and it's unclear exactly when he began using Harry. Listings in the Indianapolis City Directories through 1887 indicate his name as Henry. His marriage record to Mary Anna Keen in 1886 also lists him as Henry. Somewhere in the late 1880s he became Harry.
To begin filling in the picture of his chosen field in life, city directories provide information on him working as a clerk in the Leon Kahn Dry Goods Store and The New York Store from 1875 to 1885, 15 to 26 years of age. In those last few years another person of note that also worked at The New York Store was Louis A. Zimmer, as a cashier. These young men were gaining experience in the retail business.
By looking at Henry's marriage license application in 1886 I learned that he had become a "merchant." It appears that he started his dry goods business close to the time of that he married Mary. The listing in the business section of the city directories from 1886 to 1912 read similar to this: Dry Goods: Weber & Zimmer, Henry A. Weber, Louis A. Zimmer, Dry goods, notions, ladies and gent's furnishing goods. (See the 1887 directory on the right.)
The Weber and Zimmer Dry Goods store at 178 Virginia Avenue was well situated for the commerce and local business of that time, close to the Indianapolis Wholesale District and Union Station, within a popular German district. City directories and Harry's obituary indicate the store operated from 1887 through 1913, having moved from Virginia Avenue to Shelby Street (two or three blocks) in the last couple of years.
I have often dreamed of finding an historical record that would give us an idea of what the Weber & Zimmer dry goods business looked like or how it operated. Well, it pays to keep Googling. The other day I made another stab at it. And this time something popped up! This discovery was inside the State of Indiana Department of Inspection report for 1906 that has been archived by Google. Weber & Zimmer is listed in the Marion County, Indianapolis list of businesses inspected. In the excerpt that I've posted, the company is number 2431. The heading for the second larger column is "business engaged in" and you can see that Weber & Zimmer is described as: dry goods and millinery. Reading across to the right, the columns are "Number of Employees" - 4 males and 5 females. The two blank columns mean they had no employees, male or female, between the ages of 14 and 16. Hours per week are listed as 59. Days worked in 1905 was 307. Sanitary conditions were "good." Workmen organized: No. Firm member of combination: No (what does that mean?) Kind of power: (blank) H.P. of Engine: (blank). Order issued and complied with: (blank). This last column had to do with any deficiency that was found and dealt with by the business owner. I believe "workmen organized - no" refers to non-union workers. There will be more analysis of this information in the future. But my first thought is that I need to examine the other businesses and evaluate how this business compared to others in the report. Did the blank in the column for power mean they had none? That could have been the case. Not all those listed had gas, steam, electric or supplied. I'll have to dig into the history of this Virginia Avenue section of the city to see what might be lurking out there to add to Harry's dry goods business story.
Weber & Zimmer operated through 1912. When Harry retired from the dry goods business after 26 years, he moved into other types of occupations. He worked in the Indianapolis city engineer's office in the administrations of Joseph E. Bell and Lew Shank. And later was employed at the George L. Paetz Company as a clerk. It appears that he retired around the age of 71. Harry A. Weber seems to have been an industrious person, setting out with his partner, Louis A. Zimmer, in his new business at the age of 27. He and Mary raised 12 children and provided a home for Harry's mother as well for about 12 years. During his years of building his business there may have been community involvement that brought him into political circles to some degree. Maybe that entry gave him an opportunity for the position he acquired at the time he closed his business. There's more sleuthing to be done to see if there could be any more hints about his life in newspapers, or wherever.
Thank you for visiting Indiana Ties. Let me know if you relate to this ancestor in the dry goods business.
Further family information: I've written before about Harry's mother, Amelia Micol, about his father, Adam Weber, and about his wife, Mary Anna Keen.
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley
Friday, September 12, 2014
I had heard stories from Niehaus relatives over the years that Uncle Joe had to register with the government during World War II because he was German and not a citizen. They mentioned he was required to report on his whereabouts. I filed this information in my family history memory bank. As I learned more through the years of research, I still had a few questions. How many of the eight immigrant brothers, and maybe sisters, also had that obligation? Was that World War I and II? It's one of those stories I wanted to complete at some point.
But then, my fellow family researcher cousin, Patsy (Niehaus) Cracraft, sent me photos of Gerald Niehaus's "Alien Registration" dated 1918. Gerald was her grandfather and Joe Niehaus's brother and my grand uncle. He was the first born of the Niehaus children who immigrated to Indianapolis from Germany with their parents in 1886. He died at the young age of 44, leaving his widow, Amanda, with four young children and one on the way. Evidently, he never became a citizen of the United States. His face and fingerprint were now calling me to investigate. I soon found more of Gerald's alien enemy story.
When Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany in April of 1917, Gerald John Niehaus was the quintessential "alien enemy." He was classified within the group of "all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of Germany, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, who for the purpose of this proclamation and under such sections of the Revised Statutes are termed alien enemies." This is a section of Presidential Proclamation 1364 of April 6, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson declaring war against Germany, 04/06/1917. You might want to read the proclamation later. The link's at the bottom of this post. For now you can see the page about alien enemies on the right.
Six months after the definition of alien enemies within the declaration of war, there was another proclamation that required those folks to register with the federal government, (Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917). Provision #19 of this proclamation reads:
All alien enemies are hereby required to register at such times and places and in such manner as may be fixed by the Attorney General of the United States and the Attorney General is hereby authorized and directed to provide, as speedily as may be practicable, for registration of all alien enemies and for the issuance of registration cards to alien enemies and to make and declare such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for effecting such registration; and all alien enemies and all other persons are hereby required to comply with such rules and regulations; and the Attorney General in carrying out such registration, is hereby authorized to utilize such agents, agencies, officers and departments of the United States and of the several states, territories, dependencies and municipalities thereof and of the District of Columbia as he may select for the purpose, and all such agents, agencies, officers and departments are hereby granted full authority for all acts done by them in the execution of this regulation when acting by the direction of the Attorney General. After the date fixed by the Attorney General for such registration, an alien enemy shall not be found within the limits of the United States, its territories or possessions, without having his registration card on his person.I now know that Gerald complied with this requirement on February 15, 1918. Each person completed an affidavit giving background information. According to his personal record shared by my cousin, Patsy, he registered with Police Precinct No. 3 in Indianapolis, having his photo and fingerprint taken. These are the copies of that "registration card" that he carried on his person.
When he wanted to change his residence one-and-a-half miles south from Chadwick Street to R. R. E, Box 91, Gerald was granted permission by Sergeant Harry Howard on March 26th, 1918. Here's another provision of the November, 1917, proclamation containing that requirement:
"…An alien enemy shall not change his place of abode or occupation or otherwise travel or move from place to place without full compliance with any such regulations…."
Also I want to talk about the piece of this proclamation that relates further to this family history. The registered people were required to report to the federal government. This was true in World War 1 for Gerald, and his brother, Joe, and others as well. Here is that reference within the proclamation we've been looking at for November, 1917:
"…such regulations concerning the movements of alien enemies as he may deem necessary in the premises and for the public safety, and to provide in such regulations for monthly, weekly or other periodical report by alien enemies to federal, state or local authorities; and all alien enemies shall report at the times and places and to the authorities specified in such regulations."
Not many of these records of alien enemies survive today. The affidavits completed included questions on the person's residence, involvement in military or anyone in their family who may have taken arms for or against the United States, and other personal information. No one knows for sure, but the Indiana records haven't surfaced in any institution. By the way, women were also required to register, so the sisters weren't disregarded. The National Archives has posted online some examples of the existing affidavits in other states. (Link below.)
I'm grateful to Patsy Cracraft for sharing this rare record created by Gerald Niehaus. Maybe there are a few more in the boxes in the attic of other cousins. There is a sad and ironic ending to Gerald's story. He died suddenly of a heart attack approximately six weeks after moving to his new residence in Indianapolis in 1918. We don't know if he would have become a citizen and avoided the same enemy alien registration that occurred during World War II. We know that immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation authorizing detention of potentially dangerous enemy aliens. So, there is a lot to this story passed along in the Niehaus family!
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties. Please leave me a comment if you want to add to this story!
More about Gerald Niehaus's life at this post: Gerhardt "Gerald" John Niehaus: The Eldest Child of Joseph and Gertrude
For further reading on the alien enemy topic:
Presidential Proclamation 1364 of April 6, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson declaring war against Germany, 04/06/1917. ( http://research.archives.gov/description/299966)
Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917, pertaining to "the movements of non-naturalized males of German origin, 14 years of age and older." : https://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/USA/EnemyAlien2_1917.html
National Archives records: http://research.archives.gov/description/286181
Following the onset of hostilities during World War I, non-naturalized "alien enemy " by definition, were required to register with United States authorities as a national security measure. Under the provisions of a Presidential Proclamation of April 6, 1917, non-naturalized female aliens were likewise registered as an additional national security measure that included those women of American birth that were married to enemy aliens. Registration affidavit include questions about whether any male relatives have been in arms for or against the United States or its allies. Also, have you been registered for draft. Have you declared intent to be citizen.
Here's an blogger who wrote an excellent overview on the topic: The Legal Genealogist blog: An Alien Notion, 16 Nov 2012 - http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2012/11/16/an-alien-notion/
Note on 52 Ancestors Challenge: I am participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge being led by Amy Johnson Crow at www.nostorytoosmall.com. She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014. There's a wide variety of stories each week written by people everywhere and about people from everywhere. Visit Amy's blog to read some interesting histories.
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
This Sunday, September 14, 2014, represents 75 years of Niehaus Family Reunions for the Indianapolis family of Joseph and Gertrude (Wilmsen) Niehaus. The family has been gathering for reunions since that first day at Garfield Park in 1939. A group of the people responsible for maintaining those family ties is in this photo from the 2002 reunion: Bernie Niehaus (1910-2005), Charlotte (Niehaus) Baxter (1912-2012), Robert Niehaus (1914-2006), Alberta (Stull) Hickman (1917-2006), Jane (Stull) Hickman, Frank Kirn (1920 - 2004), Marie (Kirn) Dallessandro (1905 - 2012), Larry Niehaus.
Everyone's encouraged to stop by the Pioneer Park in Mooresville, Indiana, to add to these good memories!
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Aunt Peg's heritage quilt, stitched with the signature squares made by last year's attendees, added more beautiful tradition. A happy Mary Anne Lindblom was the lucky winner of the quilt raffle. Both sharing the family's past and making new history annually give this event special meaning. We always try hard not to miss saying our hellos to everyone. But it's also enjoyable to just sit in a lawn chair and watch the kids enjoying themselves on the playground.
Our 2014 Weber Kuhn Tribune (Volume 4) shared newsy updates along with history. I am grateful that Bob Weber's daughter, Janet, read the newsletter carefully and gave me a couple of corrections for my Family Spotlight on her father this year. I am posting a corrected version of the newsletter on our family history website. (See the link below.) I'm happy to send the newsletter by email or snail mail if there are any requests from those who are unable to attend the reunion. Send me a name and address or email address in the comments section below.
Lastly, I am posting a few photos from this year's reunion. This time I was less busy with my camera, but still managed to snap the flavor of the good times. I'm sure my sister, Marti, has some goodies to share also. I'll add hers later. Click on the album link below or go to the tab above marked Weber Kuhn Reunion.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.
(Click Here to find the 2014 Weber Kuhn Tribune.)
Copyright © 2014 Nancy Niehaus Hurley
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Actually, the struggle to attain the right to vote for women took nearly 100 years. Women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony campaigned, wrote, gave speeches, were imprisoned and found whatever avenues they could to enlighten people and fight for women's suffrage. Isn't it amazing that this movement took so long to be successful, let alone that it was necessary. Who knows which of our ancestors supported in some way the groups and programs leading up to the success of 1920.
Well, thinking of these times and the issues, it didn't take me long to connect the time frame to one person in my family. In 1910 when suffragettes were organizing protests and lobbying congress, my grandmother, Otillia "Tillie" Kuhn, was 19 years old. She was 29 years old in 1920 when these activities succeeded in opening the voting booth to women. No, I have no knowledge of Tillie being involved in any women's suffrage activities. I can't know exactly what her feelings or her actions were. But if we stop to take a closer look at my grandmother's life from 1910 to 1920, at the crescendo of the fight for women's right to vote, it could be interesting to contemplate what may have run through her mind.
1910 - 1912:
Although some states and municipalities had taken action since the early 1800s to grant women the vote, in 1910 they were as yet denied that right on the federal level. Tillie Kuhn was 19 to 21 years old from 1910 to 1912, the time frame when we now take it for granted that young people begin exercising their voting rights. Tillie was fortunate enough in those early years to attend a year of business college. And by 19 was employed as a bookkeeper at a retail dry goods store. She lived with her family in the home where she was born on High Street in Indianapolis. In this year when Tillie was a young working girl the first suffrage parade was held in New York City, organized by the Women's Political Union. And by 1912 that parade grew to 20,000 suffrage supporters with a half-million onlookers. 1911 was also the year that the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage was founded, bringing more attention to the opposing views.
Tillie would surely have been aware of these activities by reading the local newspapers and discussing events with her family and co-workers at the dry goods store. She had three older sisters and one younger one, as well as her older brother, Charlie. In fact, Tillie's older sister, Lill, was employed as a saleslady at a dry goods store. I am going to venture to say that the Kuhn family was informed of these issues of the day. Perhaps Tillie and Lill walked to work together discussing their thoughts about suffrage events, or even how they might have voted. Here's a retro piece published by the Indianapolis Star that helps paint the landscape of the suffrage campaign in Tillie's locale:
The right to vote for women in Indiana was a long, hard-fought battle that began in 1851 when a man -- Robert Dale Owen (founder of the New Harmony utopian society) -- advocated for women¹s rights at the constitutional convention held in Indianapolis. His proposal went nowhere and it would be another 70 years before women in Indiana had the right to vote. Suffragettes such as Amanda Way, Zerelda Wallace, May Wright Sewall, Helen Gougar, Dr. Amelia Keller and Grace Julian Clarke led the push for suffrage. In 1911, the Woman¹s Franchise League of Indiana was formed and became a driving force for the right to vote. The women of Indiana held rallies, marches, participated in parades, and lobbied the government.1913 - 1915:
In June of 1913, four months after she turned 22, Tillie Kuhn married Harry Weber in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Indianapolis. As far as we know she did not work outside the home after she married. Their son, Bob, was born in May of 1914. Establishing a marriage and her family probably became Tillie's main focus, if I could make a presumption. But the push for women's suffrage was continuing wholeheartedly. For instance, in 1913 Illinois became the first state to grant women presidential suffrage by legislative enactment. And in March of that year preceding President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, 8,000 suffragists paraded in Washington, D. C. The explosiveness of the issue is evidenced by the abusive crowds that mobbed the marchers. Some say that a faction of those against women's right to vote were wealthy and influential women who were afraid they would lose power when all women were allowed to vote. The stature that they had attained through wealth was threatened. (Follow the money!)
Speaking of the power of money, in September 1914, a bequest from Mrs. Frank Leslie, publisher of Leslie's Weekly, put $1,000,000 at the disposal of Carrie Chapman Catt for "the furtherance of the cause of woman suffrage." As Tillie was maturing, becoming a wife and mother, the women's suffrage movement became more mature also. The leaders kept their campaigns strong, working state by state and dogging their representatives in Congress. However, who knows if a young mother in Indianapolis who wasn't active politically had many thoughts about these efforts. On the other hand, she must have read updates in the newspaper she received each morning on her front porch. Maybe she felt grateful for those who had the ways and means to be involved. Seems logical to me.
1916 - 1920:
In March of 1916 Tillie gave birth to her second child, Rosemary Ethel Weber, my mother. Things keep evolving for her; now she has a female descendant. Did the right-to-vote movement take on a new meaning? Did she have a keener interest in change? At 26 years old her views on how the decisions of the leaders of the country and her community impacted her life may have been developing.
The activity of the suffragists were still gaining strength as state after state secured legislative enactments and the National Woman's Party were arrested for picketing and sent to jail, creating martyrs for the cause. On December 2, 1916, suffragists flew over President Wilson's yacht and dropped suffrage amendment petitions. Again I'm wondering what Tillie Weber's opinion was of all of these events, especially of the women who went to jail for their commitments?
The persistence of the women and men behind this cause resulted in President Wilson giving his public support of the federal woman suffrage amendment in January of 1918. Then, on January 10, the House voted in favor of a suffrage amendment. In September of that year the President addressed the Senate personally, arguing for women's suffrage.
If these activities hadn't yet brought the impact home for Tillie, it became personal when in 1919 Indiana also secured presidential suffrage by legislative enactment. In the final stages of the fight, on June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the 19th Amendment with just two votes to spare, 56 to 25. The Constitutional Amendment contained the same wording drafted by Susan B. Anthony in 1878. The 19th Amendment was ratified by the required 36th state on August 18, 1920 and signed into law by the Secretary of State on August 26, 1920.
In these four years of tremendous advancement for women in the United States, Tillie Kuhn would have been raising her son and daughter. Also, she and Harry moved into what became their family home of approximately 50 years at 2160 Singleton Street in Indianapolis. Harry Weber was advancing in his career with Fletcher Trust Company. And by December of 1920 Tillie had delivered another baby girl, Virginia. There were a lot of demands on Tillie to occupy her waking moments. Just about any political event may have been squeezed out of her thought process most of the time. However, judging from my knowledge of the Weber family personalities I would imagine Harry and Tillie having discussions of these national and local events over dinner, or when they found a few moments time in the evening.
Of course, all of my speculation and imagining is just that. There are most likely no more details to learn. But I have a new perspective on this momentous time of progress for women in the United States by traveling through it with Tillie Kuhn Weber. Regardless of what her opinions were or if she realized the full impact of these events, she had an intimate involvement by being there.
Speaking of women in my life, I want to wish my sister, Linda, a happy birthday. As she always reminds me, she's the youngest! The relationship chart posted here traces her maternal line back to Tillie. And I'm also posting a photo of Lin holding a photo of our mom. I'm glad to have all of these ladies in my line. Hope the entire year's a good one for you, Lin!
Helen Holshauser's blog is Heart of a Southern Woman. Here's a link to that thought-provoking blog on Women's Suffrage.
You may be interested in reading these related posts:
Happy Anniversary to Harry and Tillie (Kuhn) Weber
Tillie Kuhn Weber - Ladies In My Line
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley
Saturday, August 9, 2014
The time is almost here for another reunion of the descendants of Harry Lawrence Weber and Tillie Kuhn Weber of Indianapolis. Just in case there are members of our family who did not yet hear about this year's Weber-Kuhn Family Reunion on August 23, I am posting the details below. I would be glad to find the answers to any question about the reunion. Leave me a comment in the section below this posting. It's so nice to have this day of visiting with everyone. I look forward to seeing you there!
Weber Kuhn Family Reunion
Saturday August 23, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sarah T. Bolton Park – Hilltop Shelter
1300 Churchman Avenue
Beech Grove, IN
Bring the whole family, your stories, and photos to share.
Plans are to share a pitch-in lunch, some laughs and catch up on each other's lives.
So make plans to be there. Bring something to contribute for lunch.
You’ll also want to bring beverages and lawn chairs.
There are picnic tables, shelter for some shade and playground equipment.
Special ingredient: “Raffle of the Family Memories Quilt”
Handmade by Peg Stull
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Look at this catch! Summer fishing trips are special memories in this Niehaus family. I thank my cousin, Pat Cracraft, who shares these great photos from her family album. You can see her special touches in the mounting around the edges and her hand lettering in her scrapbook.
Don't you just love the seriousness of these guys. Knowing the usual boisterous attitudes in this group, surely they weren't subdued for long. From left to right: Kemo Hickman joined the family when he married Janie Stull, Dick Stull (Janie's brother) is a son of Al and Feenie (Niehaus) Stull and Abe is a son of Gerald and Amanda Niehaus. This super fishing day was during their families' summer vacation at Cross Lake, Minnesota in the 1940s.
There had to be a delicious fish fry that evening.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties. For a look at other family photos in this series click on the Wordless Wednesday link at the left.
Copyright © 2014 Nancy Niehaus Hurley