White Brick School Finniwig Studios KebIrish Gazette Ariadne Threads Guild

Volume 1, Issue 3

October 1, 1998


Click on title

or scroll down

for articles

Singer and Family

The Singer Cabinet Makers (photo)

Lorentz Jonsson 1851-1890

Do you have any stories about your family?

My Father, My Hero

Family Favorites - Lamb Stew

Photo Questions

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Christmas & Holiday Ides - Crafts

Lorentz Jonsson

1851 - 1890

On December 12, 1828 in Alem, Smaland, Sweden, Jonas Jonsson married his 2nd cousin Anna Kajsa Jonasdotter. Their families have lived in Sweden for generations.

Between the years of 1829 and 1854 Jonas and Anna had twelve children, eight sons and four daughters. The eleventh child was Lorentz Jonsson, born on July 31, 1851 in Alem, Smaland, Sweden. Jonas died in Sweden on July 16, 1875 and Anna died in Sweden on December 15, 1894.

In 1868, Lorentz’s brother, Adolf, immigrated to the United States. Three of his other brothers, Gustaf, Sven, and Otto immigrated to the United States in 1869. In June of 1872 Lorentz followed. Otto , a stonecutter, returned to Sweden in 1874.

In 1878 Lorentz filed his first papers for Naturalization in Chicago, Illinois and took the Final Oath of Naturalization in Chicago on October 25, 1880.

On December 14, 1878 in Chicago, Illinois, Lorentz married Selma Olivia Nelson. She was born on May 28, 1858 in Bjurback, Skaraborg,s Lan, Sweden. She came to the United States with her sister Wilhemina Chinlund and Mr. Chinlund when she was about 13 years old and settled in Chicago when the Chicago Fire was still burning.

Lorentz and Selma had eleven children from 1876 to 1900, five sons and six daughters. The children were Rognald Immanuel, Edla Amanda, Laura Emelia, Selma Cecelia, Carl Adolph, Esther Adolphine, Theresa Marie, Everett Waldemar, Melvin Albin Arnold, Wendelin Albert, and Olive Waldborg. Laura and Selma were twins. Rognald, Selma and Carl died in childhood. The spelling of their name also changed from Jonsson to Johnson.

He ran a Paint store and painted in the Chicago area. Selma worked as a maid in the home of the Buckinghams, a wealthy Chicago family.

Lorentz died on January 1, 1890. He is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Selma remarried to Hans Waldemar Nelson (no relation to her), an immigrant from Copenhagen, Denmark. Hans and Selma had four more children, three sons and a daughter. The children were Everett Waldemar, Melvin Albin Arnold, Wendelin Albert, and Olive Waldborg Nelson.

Selma died on April 11, 1925 and is also buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. Hans died on December 29, 1948 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in South Bend, Indiana.

(Return to page top)

Singer and Family

Around 1864 a South Bend agent for Singer, Grettner thought he could get local furniture factories to bid on sewing machine-cabinet construction. At the time, Singer didn’t build its own cabinets; it contracted them out.

South Bend was an excellent location for furniture making because black walnut and other hardwoods were in plentiful supply. Grettner approached several South Bend furniture makers - such as Smith and Rilling, Montgomery, and B.F. Price. The work included construction of tables, box covers and drawers for the machines. But all those approached refused to bid on such a small amount of work.

Then, in 1868, Leighton Pine came from the New York office to establish a Singer Cabinet Works in the South Bend area. Grettner raised money for the South Bend site by subscription from citizens and persuaded Miller and Greene, proprietors of the waterpower operation in South Bend, to offer free power to Singer.

The first plant was built on the East Race where they purchased land for $2,500. In 1891 Singer employed 898 at this plant. By 1900, it was clear that these facilities were becoming outgrown.

Pine acquired a site on Division Street (now Western Avenue.) It was close to the Economist Plow Works which he eventually incorporated into the Singer factory as a foundry. The Division Street plant was supposed to be the largest sewing machine-cabinet factory in the world when it was built.

The plant covered about 60 acres, including 20 acres of lumberyards. There was an in-factory railroad with about five miles of track which adjoined the Lake Shore & Michigan Railroad. All operations were performed in the plant, including drying lumber, cutting lumber, veneering and assembling cabinets. The foundry operation

cast treadles and stands.

By 1907, 10,000 cabinet sets were manufactured per day. Some of these were completely finished; many were shipped to Scotland “in the white,” that is, unfinished and unassembled. The peak year for the South Bend factory was 1914, when over 3.000 workers were employed. It was estimated that three-quarters of all sewing machine cases and cabinets in the world at that time were made in South Bend, which had a yearly output of 2 million cabinets.

During World War II, the Singer plant made wooden chests for the 90 mm Anti-Aircraft Gun Director and its Range Finder. They then started to build plywood parts for the Navy twin-engined TDN-1 airplane. They built the wings, ailerons, rudders, stabilizers and fuselages. Later they made all the wood parts for the Gorgon, a secret, experimental radio-controlled projectile and primitive guided missile. They also received a Coast Guard contract for 100 wood channel buoys to mark shipping lanes in harbors and rivers.

By 1945, there was becoming a lack of locally available raw material - the lumber which had been a selling point for the establishment. A strike at the New Jersey plant in 1949 cut off the supply of sewing machines and, therefore, reduced the need for the cabinets made in South Bend. Management announced the closing of the South Bend plant in April 1954, saying the cabinet work was to be consolidated at plants near the lumber supply.

Many in our family worked at this plant. Ernst Herman Scope was a cabinet maker, Frederick Keb was a veneer layer (which I am told was very hard to do well enough that it looked like a single piece of wood), and Wilbur Keb did time studies to find out how long it should take to a particular job.


Others that worked at Singer include Michael

Bohr, Andrew Keb, Ralph Ourebeck, Franz Scope, Joyce Stoddard Lipman, and Sally Stoddard Schrader. I suppose there were many others that I don’t know about, as Singer was the largest employer in South Bend.

We also have a collection of Singer items from this era because it is not only an enjoyment to collect, but it is also a part of our family history. We have Singer trading cards (showing Singer sewing machines from all over the world), a Singer envelope, sewing items, a craft tool, a couple of coloring books, two sewing machines (one treadle and one electric), and even a large cast iron Singer advertising symbol. We are still trying to get a small portable hand crank Singer sewing machine for our collection. We would also love to find a sewing machine cabinet like the one in the picture.

One sewing machine came from my mother. She taught me to sew on it as a little girl and I still use it as my main sewing machine today. Though I have a modern sewing machine and a serger, they only get used for things the Singer can’t do, such as very small button holes.

In the early 1900’s Singer was the most popular sewing machine and sold throughout the world. Singer was the first to sell on a payment plan so families could afford them. Many families at the time made their own clothes by hand or by machine because they could not afford to buy them.

Today we use it for enjoyment more than necessity. We still like to make clothes (so we can pick our own combination of fabrics), but we also use it to make doll clothes, toys and crafts.

Today we use it for enjoyment more than necessity. We still like to make clothes (so we can pick our own combination of fabrics), but we also use it to make doll clothes, toys and crafts.

(Top of article)

 (Return to page top)

The Singer Cabinet Makers

Do You Have Any Stories About Your Family ?

By Linda C. Detwiler

Throughout the years people have seen many things happen around their lives that mean something extra special to them. What have you seen that was extra special? Did one of your relatives invent something, were they a hero, or are they special because they help a lot of people in volunteering their services, maybe they own a company that provides services or products that help people.

In the past when something happened to a friend, neighbor, or relative, the whole community would pitch in and help. Did any of your relatives or ancestors do this? Maybe you remember a story your parents or grandparents told you about days of old. Did anyone travel here in a wagon train ? What was it like seeing the invention of television, telephone, cars, and air travel? How did your


ancestors survive during the depression?

Some stories I remember, was when I was a kid we went over to my grandfathers house to watch The Wizard of Oz on his TV because he had a color television set. Colored television sets were a new thing at that time and not to many people had them. What kind of stories do you have? Let us know, we would love to print them.

(Top of article)

(Return to page top)

My Father, My Hero

by Linda C Detwiler

A long time ago my father, Clifford Keb, became a hero to many people. I was only about 12 years old at the time, but I remember it just like yesterday. At the railroad tracks on Olive Street, just north of the PHA bowling club, in South Bend, Indiana, my father prevented a terrible crash between a car and a train.

A women had somehow gotten the wheel of her car caught on the edge of the railroad crossing and could not drive it off the crossing. The crossing gates came

down, as a train was coming down the tracks. The women got out of her car but the car was still stuck on the tracks.


My father and many other people had stopped to try to help this women get her car off of the tracks but without much success. When my father saw the train coming, he got some flares out of the trunk of our car and ran down the railroad tracks with the flares. He laid some of the flares on the track so that the train engineer could see

that something was wrong. Then he took a couple of flares and ran down the track and waved down the train engineer.

He succeeded in getting the train to stop by the time the train reached the edge of the crossing. No one got injured, not even the car, thanks to my father in stopping the train.

My father has always been my hero but this day was extra special because he was someone else’s hero also.

(Top of article)

(Return to page top)

Family Favorites

Lamb Stew

Ingredients for 6 servings

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1-1/2 lb. lamb shoulder, cut into 1” cubes

1/2 cup chopped onion 

1-1/2 cups beef broth

2 cups cubed white turnip

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in to 1” pieces

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. rosemary, crushed

1 cup frozen peas


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is browned and onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add broth and turnip. Cover and cook meat mixture over low heat 40 minutes. Add beans, salt and rosemary. Cover and cook 20 minutes, or until beans are tender. Stir in peas during last 5 minutes of cooking.

This recipe is from Nancy Tubbs. It is one of our family’s favorite dishes. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious. It is especially good on a cold winter day. I am sure to make it every year for Chuck’s birthday.

(Return to page top)

Photo Questions

This issues picture

Since I didn’t have any pictures with questions this issue, I thought I would show you a picture of the editor. It is always nice to put a face with a name.

My name is Nancy Jo (Keb) Tubbs. My mother was Gail (Irish) Keb and my father is Clifford Keb.


(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Regal Plum Pudding

4 slices bread, torn up

1 cup milk

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

6 ounces finely chopped suet

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground mace

2 cups raisins

1 cup pitted dates, cut up

1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruits and peels

1/2 cup broken walnuts


Soak bread in milk; beat. Stir in next 5 ingredients. Sift together dry ingredient; add fruits and nuts; mix well. Stir in bread mixture. Pour into well-greased 2-quart mold. Cover with foil; tie with string.

Place on rack in deep kettle; add boiling water, 1 inch deep. Cover; steam 3-1/2 hours, adding water if needed. Cool 10 minutes; un-mold. Serve warm with Hard Sauce. Serves 12.

Hard Sauce

1/2 cup butter

2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Thoroughly cream 1/2 cup butter with 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Just before serving Plum Pudding, heat the hard sauce and pour over the top of the Plum Pudding, letting it run down the sides.


Hot Cranberry Wassail

48 oz. cranberry juice

5 c. water

23 oz. pineapple juice

3/4 c. sugar or to taste

1 rounded Tbsp. Lipton Instant Ice

            Tea mix  with lemon

Bag of Spices:

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Food coloring, if desired. (Lemon in ice tea mix will affect the red color of the cranberry juice.


Heat in large pan or coffeemaker and enjoy!

Holiday Butterballs

1 c. butter

1 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1-2 c. ground pecans

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 c. sifted all-purpose flour


Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and salt, creaming well. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Add flour gradually; mix thoroughly. Shape rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 325º for 15-18 minutes. Watch cookies and do not brown. Roll warm in confectioner’s sugar.

(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Crafts

Gift Wrapping

Try some new ideas with your gift wrap. Why not use fabric to give a different texture. For smaller packages, try weaving ribbon around the box to decorate the box. If you wrap the gift in plain paper, you could cut pictures out of old Christmas cards and glue them to the paper to form a collage. Another idea is to cut two slits crossing each other, then starting at the points, curl the paper back. Glue a picture behind the hole created and it forms an interesting frame on the package.

Other ideas might be to use fabric lace ribbon in place of Christmas ribbon. Try using the ribbon to form a frame around the face of the package, instead of wrapping it around the package. You might also try using a tie or a scarf.

How about adding trinkets to the outside of the package. These could be a rattle or pair of booties for a baby, a couple of crayons or small toy for a child, and for a teenager maybe a piece of jewelry, a computer disk, or something sporty. An adult might like a cookie cutter or some other kitchen utensil, a homemade ornament, or a small tool. Try to think of anything small that the person might like.

Christmas Trees

Ever get tired of seeing the same Christmas decorations every year. We do.

We now have a very nice artificial tree. We have about 10 strands of miniature lights on it that go completely through the tree, from the outside to the trunk. It is really beautiful and gives the tree a lot of depth when they are on. Since this takes about 4 hours to do, we never take them off. After Christmas we just put a bag over the tree and store it until next year.

For decorations, we collect ornaments and trimmings whenever we see one we like. However, they are stored in different boxes and labeled for different styles of trees. One year it might be a Victorian tree, it might be all handmade ornaments, a white Christmas, or a colonial look. Each box of ornaments and trimmings would be labeled for the style of tree. When Christmas arrives, just decide on a theme and grab the appropriate box. Everything you need will be at hand.

Since you see something different every year, this will make Christmas more exciting. You are not seeing the same old stuff and your friends and family will enjoy the anticipation of seeing what theme you pick this year. Your children will also be more eager to decorate. Let them guess what the theme is.

Snow Lanterns

To make a dramatic snowball sculpture, start by propping a 40-watt outdoor light fixture in a jelly jar or glass tumbler. Place it in a wide-mouthed bucket, urn, or other container. Make equal-size, tightly packed snowballs. Use them to build a pyramid around the bulb, with the container as a base.

These fire-and-ice decorations will actually make you long for snow. Placed on the front porch, they provide a warm welcome for your guests on chilly winter evenings.

Openwork Pumpkins & Gourds

Don’t like carving pumpkins with those silly faces anymore. Try this idea with a twist. Openwork pumpkins, gourds, or squash.

Select a pumpkin or squash such as Lumina, spaghetti squash, or Blue Hubbard. Assemble your tools. Hardware and art-supply stores sell reasonably priced sets of wood-carving tools. Other items, such as small pieces of pipe, can also be used to make cuts. When choosing tools, imagine the design you’ll carve. Bear in mind the shape of the perforation the tool will make, and choose tools that will produce unusual punctures. For example, top and bottom incisions made with a V-shaped gouge leaves a diamond form.

Cut an opening in the bottom (yes I said bottom) of your gourd. Scrape out the seeds and most of the flesh. Place a length of masking tape around the circumference of the gourd for a carving guideline. Start cutting.

The going gets easier once you’ve circled the gourd with a pattern—just keep following it, adding more cuts. If you carve a small, simple design, make an air hole on one side to help the candle burn.

With careful carving, your pumpkin or gourd will look like lacy pottery.

Table Centerpiece

Take a horizontal slice of a tree trunk and sand it smooth. If a finish, such as varnish, is desired, do it at this point following directions on the can.

In the center of the circle place as a deer laying down, a Santa, a sleigh, or any other object. Around this glue some moss to cover most of the circle. Glue some small round ornaments, dried berries, or other decorations in various spots on the moss. Sprinkle the entire centerpiece with artificial snow.

Now you have a wonderful, inexpensive, easy to make centerpiece for your dining table, window sill, or under the Christmas tree.

(Return to page top)

Keb/Irish Gazette
 Nancy (Keb) Tubbs
19500 Co Rd 14
Bristol, IN 46507-9405

Send mail to chucktubbs@prodigy.net with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003 Finniwig Studios
Last modified: 10/12/09