White Brick School Finniwig Studios KebIrish Gazette Ariadne Threads Guild

Volume 6, Issue 4

November 1, 2003


Click on title

or scroll down

for articles

Gideon Irish

German Immigration

Evolving with the Times

Family Favorites - Curried Lamb Stew

Photo Questions

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Christmas & Holiday Ides - Crafts

Gideon Irish

Abt 1791—aft 1858

Gideon Irish was one of four children born to Gideon Irish (the son of William and Dolly Irish) and Phebe White (the daughter of Andrew and Amy White). He was guessed to be born around 1791 in Danby, Vermont where his eldest brother Andrew was born.

Gideon first volunteered at Perce, in Clinton County about November 1812 in the Battalion of Captain Ezra Turner under the command of Major John Roberts and continued in active service 13 days and was honorably discharged and paid at Plattsburg, New York.

Next he volunteered at Peru about August 31, 1814 and again served in the War of 1812 as a private under Captain David Cochran's Company commanded by Colonel Thomas Miller in the New York State Militia.

He was engaged in the battle of Plattsburg until September 13, 1814, but did not ask for or receive pay for this service, but was honorably discharged on September 13, 1814. His request for Bounty Land is filed in the Archives at Washington D. C. under 160 W. T. 82638. Can #1350; bundle #102, dated July 16, 1858.

The date of his death is unknown. He died in the County Poor House in Plattsburg, Clinton County, New York.

(Return to page top)

German Immigration


Until the 1870’s Germany did not exist as a unified nation. Various regions were separate estates, duchies and kingdoms, each with its own ruler and subject to its own laws and regulations, currencies and taxes. Added to this was bad harvests, the potato blight, a rapid growth in population and an atmosphere of violence and fear. The survival of independent master craftsmen and farmers was becoming increasingly threatened.

The big railroads in the Midwest of the United States was putting ads in the German newspapers stating ‘Open land, work for all who are willing to work; a higher standard of living for all, religious freedom, political democracy, social equality, and a second chance for the young’. Hence, a massive immigration to America.

In New York, what struck most at first was the commercialism of the teeming city. Isaac Mayer Wise said “The whole city seemed like a large shop where everyone buys or sells, cheats or is cheated. I had never before seen a city so bare of all art and of every trace of good taste; likewise I had never witnessed anywhere such rushing, hurrying, chasing, running”

Larger cities, such as New York and Chicago, were rampant with disease, especially cholera epidemics.

South Bend and northern Indiana were good places to settle. The town was poised at the brink of tremendous growth and major industrial development, and the surrounding country still had relatively cheap public land available for immigrants not afraid of the labor involved in carving farms out of the wilderness.

About 50% of all immigrants were of German origin. They came early enough to help build South Bend from an isolated trading post into a thriving city. They owned hardware stores, and groceries; they were cabinet-makers, tinsmiths, tanners, weavers, butchers, tailors, shoemakers, coopers, blacksmiths, and harness-makers. A smaller group of professionals opened doctor’s

offices, pharmacies, and architectural firms. Most of the clothing and dry goods stores were owned by German immigrants, many of the Jewish faith. Brewing and baking were fields dominated by the Germans, who owned flour mills, bakeries and pastry shops. In 1871, eight out of twelve saloons in South Bend were German-owned. All three major breweries, the Kamm and Schellinger and the Mussel Brewing Companies, and the later Hoosier Brewery, were German.

They build their own Churches and Schools, where they were taught in the German language. Some churches also published monthly newsletters such as the Monatsblatt, the monthly newsletter of the German Protestant Zion Church, to preserve the German language and traditions.

In 1873 the only German language newspaper of the area, Der Indiana Courier, began. It was renamed Der South Bend Courier in 1878.

The Germans also pioneered inventions and were fascinated with trying new ideas. They started the first delivery wagon in the city and employed the first cash girl. They had the first gas pipes in their residence, pioneered in building their stores without shutters and were the first to excavate under the sidewalk and utilize this valuable space. They also had the first drive well in South Bend and laid the first stone gutter. A brewer had a patent for a bottle decanting and cleaning device and his daughter owned two patents for a device that made it easier to do the laundry. The son of an immigrant invented the All-Knit Boot, which later developed into a tennis shoe with a black band around the top and a red ball at the back. It became a nationally know trademark of Ball Band, later called Uniroyal. A German also held the patent for the machine that produced the boot.

A German constructed a dam to harness the power of the St. Joseph River. He also owned the car company American Simplex, later Amplex, which had two of its card race in the first

Indianapolis 500; one crashed and it driver became the first Indianapolis fatality and the other finished eighth. After the US entered the first World War, being of German decent was hidden. Schools, churches and papers were no longer allowed in the German language.

Life was not always easy for the German immigrants. Although the Germans, as is all too often the case with ethnic groups, are often treated as a unit, they were by no means a homogeneous group. They came from different classes and different states, and did not even bring with them a sense of national identity until after the unification of Germany in 1871. They were split along many different interests as well,

especially in terms of religion. The Roman Catholics were at odds with the Lutherans, and both were separated from the German immigrants of the Jewish faith. The church-oriented Germans wanted little to do with the club-oriented Germans. The earlier immigrants, who came in the 1830s and 1840s, had little sympathy with those who arrived in the 1850s after the failed 1848 revolution. The so-called “Forty-Eighters” were critical of earlier immigrants, especially of their conservatism and religion, and the earlier immigrants in turn disapproved strongly of the “infidel” Forty-Eighters’ radicalism and arrogance.

German immigrants on the whole did very well, but it was a gradual progress toward economic security, built on years of thrift, hard work, and endurance. They moved in with relatives whenever possible, or boarded in one of the German-owned boarding houses. Over a span of 10 to 20 years, they were finally able to purchase their own homes or even businesses of their own. They often started out not by themselves but in partnerships with other Germans, most often relatives.

According to the 1990 census one out of three Hoosiers can claim at least one German ancestor.

(Top of article)

(Return to page top)

Life in the 1500s’


These are interesting stories of life in the 1500s’ in England. Believe what you may but enjoy the story.

Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children! Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying “dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a “thresh hold.”

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with

tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “upper crust.”

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a “wake”.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to the “bone-house” and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the “graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer.”

Now, whoever said that History was boring!

 (Top of article)

(Return to page top)

Family Favorites

Curried Lamb Stew




3 Tbs. All-purpose flour

3 tsp. Curry seasoning, divided

1/2 tsp. Salt, divided

2 lbs. Lamb stew meat, cut into 1” pieces

3 Tbs. Oil, preferably olive, divided

1 onion, cut into 1/2”-thick wedges

1 lb. Carrots, cut into 1” pieces

10 oz. Mushrooms, trimmed and quartered, about 4 cups

1/2 cup white wine

2 cans (14.5 oz. Each) fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth

1 bay leaf

12 oz. Wide egg noodles

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed


Preparation: In bowl combine flour, 1 tsp. Seasoning and 1/4 tsp salt. Add lamb; toss to coat. In pot heat 2 Tbs. Oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb in batches, turning, until browned, 4-5 minutes. Remove from pot; reserve. Add onion, carrots, mushrooms, remaining oil, seasoning and salt to pot; cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, bay leaf and reserved lamb. Reduce heat to simmer; cook, stirring, until lamb is tender, about 45 minutes. Cook noodles according to package directions. Add peas to stew; continue cooking until peas are heated, 10 minutes. Serve over noodles.

(Return to page top)

Photo Questions

Della Johnna Nelson

(on left)


Esther Olive Wilhelmina Nelson

(on right)

Two surviving triplet daughters of Albin Nelson and Augusta Lindeen. They were born March 27, 1883. The third daughter Agnes Marie Nelson died August 25, 1895 at the age of 12.


(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Cornish Hens with Apple-Pear Stuffing



1/4 cup + 3 Tbs. Apple brandy, such as Calvados, divided

2 Tbs. Chopped fresh parsley, divided

1 Rome apple, 10 oz., cored and chopped

1 Anjou pear, 10 oz., cored and chopped

2 slices white bread, cubed, 1-1/2 cups

3 Cornish hens, about 1-1/2 lbs. Each

3/4 tsp. Salt, divided

1/4 tsp. Pepper, divided

1/3 cup apple jelly

1 Tbs. Butter

2 Tbs. All-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 small onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. Dried sage, divided

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine 1/4 cup brandy and raisins; reserve. Stir 1 Tbs. Parsley into jelly; reserve. In large nonstick skillet over medium heat melt butter. Add onion, celery, garlic, 1/2 tsp. Sage, 1/4 tsp. Salt and 1/8 tsp. Pepper; cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add reserved raisins with liquid; cook 1 minute. Stir in apple and pear; heat through. Remove form heat. Stir in bread and remaining parsley. Fill hen cavities with stuffing; truss, if desired. Place hens in roasting pan. Sprinkle with remaining sage, salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Roast, brushing several times with jelly mixture during last 15 minutes of cooking time, until juices run clear when pierced with fork and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, about 30 minutes. Transfer hens to platter; cover. For gravy, stir flour into broth until smooth. Place roasting pan with drippings over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add remaining brandy; cook, scraping up browned bits with spoon. Stir in flour mixture. Bring to boil; cook stirring, until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve with hens.


Roasted Golden Potatoes


1-1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 3/4” pieces

2 medium parsnips, about 8 oz., peeled and cut into 3/4” pieces

1 small red onion, halved and cut into 1/4”-thick slices 

2 Tbs. Grated Parmesan cheese1 tsp. Dried Italian seasoning

3 Tbs. Oil, preferably olive

1 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

Position one rack in meddle and one rack in lower part of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter jellyroll or shallow roasting pan. Place potatoes, parsnips and onion in pan. Combine oil with salt, seasoning and pepper. Pour over vegetables; stir mixture until evenly coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake vegetables, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Continue cooking vegetables until crisp and golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Loosely cover with foil if browning too quickly


Cheesecake-Stuffed Baked Apples


4 slices cinnamon-swirl raisin bread, toasted

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature

3 Tbs. Butter or margarine, at room temperature

3 Tbs. Light brown sugar, divided

1 cup shopped pecans, divided

6 apples, preferably Gala

1 egg

1 cup apple juice

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In food processor process raisin bread until medium-coarse crumbs form. In bowl combine 1 cup crumbs, cream cheese, egg, 1/2 cup pecans and 2 Tbs. Sugar; reserve. In separate bowl combine remaining crumbs, pecans and sugar with butter; reserve. Cut off top quarter of each apple. With knife remove apple cores. With melon baller or knife scoop extra apple from hole in center to make slightly larger. Fill each apple with cream cheese mixture, mounding on top. Press some of pecan-crumb mixture onto tops. Place apples in ungreased 13” x 9” baking pan. Stir together juice and honey; pour into pan. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes. Remove foil; spoon some of juice mixture over apples. Bake until just tender, 20-30 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, in pot over high heat bring liquid form pan to boil. Cook until thickened, 3 minutes. Serve apples with syrup.

(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Crafts

Quick Gift Wraps

Quick Gifts

Make coupons for doing daily things like mowing the lawn, shoveling the drive, or just a day out without the kids. Bind the coupons together into a small booklet and give as a gift. It costs you nothing but time and when the recipient redeems the coupons, they will be grateful for your kindness

Take your child with you to shop for a gift for a needy child. Let your child decide what to buy and let them deliver the gift. It will teach your child the joy of giving, especially when they see the joy of the needy children.

Volunteer your time and talents to make Christmas a cheerful time at a nursing home, homeless shelter or food kitchen. Many of these people don’t have family or friends to visit them and would feel loved to be visited at this time of year when it would otherwise be especially lonely. Or invite a needy person to your home for Christmas dinner.

Holiday Ornaments

Use small squares of fabric and have your child draw pictures or write something on them. Sew the squares together (maybe put the year on the back), stuff, and attach a string to one corner. Hang on the tree.

Cut sprigs of herbs and berries, hang and dry. Tie a string on them and hang on the tree, or lay on the tree branches. If you use a quantity of them, you can also use them for a centerpiece or hang on the door.

Fabric Gift wrap

Cut a square piece of fabric (or use a decorative towel). Sew edges or cut with pinking shears.

Wrap around gift.

Tie loose edges with ribbon.

Easy Decorations

Make a Cookie Christmas Tree. Start with a round base with a 12” dowel rod in the center. Bake star shaped cookies in a variety of sizes. Place a hole, slightly larger than the dowel rod, in the center of the cookies (before baking). When the cookies are done, stack them on the dowel rod starting with the largest cookie on the bottom and the smallest cookie on the top. Use as a centerpiece for the dinner table and eat it for desert.

Make an easy table runner for your dinner table. Cut a piece of fabric about the same width as the space between your plates on the table (this way when you set the table the plates will not be sitting on the table runner). Use silk leaves (with the veins pulled off), cutouts from cards, or any flat decoration you like. Glue these to the edges of the fabric. Place down the center of your table

Take sprigs of berries, herbs, flowers, or just small branches. Shape them into letters and wind a thin wire around them to keep their shape. Decorate with ribbon if desired. Spell words such as JOY, PEACE, or someone's name. Make each letter out of the same sprigs or make each letter out of something different for variety. Hang on the wall, place in the tree, or attach them to gift packages.

Place a decorative bowl in the center of the table. Fill with a few sprigs of evergreen and place apples and oranges or round glass ornaments on top. This makes a eye appealing, aromatic and inexpensive centerpiece.

(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 © 2005 Finniwig Studios
Last modified: 10/12/09