White Brick School Finniwig Studios KebIrish Gazette Ariadne Threads Guild

Volume 9, Issue 1

February 1, 2006


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William Henry Hughes

Old Settlers Records

Business in Wartime

Family Favorites - Hearty Split Pea Soup

Photos of the Past

William Henry Hughes

b. abt 1846

William Hughes was a Corporal in the Civil War. He was in the 24th Indiana Light Artillery Battery. He was captured July 31, 1864 in Macon, Georgia and was sent to Andersonville Prison.

Following his release at the end of the war, William was one of some two thousand other emancipated prison survivors who was put aboard the steamboat “Sultana” at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for their trip home.

On the night of April 26th, 1865, the boilers of the boat exploded, setting the ship on fire. In this disaster, 1700 former prisoners perished. One of the fortunate survivors was William.

He returned home to marry Robert Shigley’s half sister Sydney on January 21, 1866 in Owasco, Indiana, She was the daughter of Jacob R. Shigley and Sarah Elizabeth Lester Simpson.

William and Sydney had eleven children together.

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Old Settlers Records

In your research, don’t forget to look for Old Settlers records. These organizations kept records that may help you prove your ancestor lived or died in a specific place at a specific time.

Each year, Old Settlers of the county met, usually in the summer; to attend the annual meeting of the local organization. It was usually an all-day affair complete with a potluck dinner among the participants. The annual meeting of the pioneers was held following the dinner.

Each pioneer organization was rather sophisticated in that it elected a president, secretary, treasurer and music director: Appointments also included a nominating committee to select nominees for office in the following year and a resolutions committee to make various resolutions to the group involving social or political issues of the day.

Many organizations had official bands and choirs who provided the entertainment. The official records of the meeting often included the names of officers, pastors, guest speakers and those who provided the entertainment.

Other interesting information can be found by reading the records. In 1888, George Rogers, secretary of a group noted that the attendance at this year’s meeting was not as numerous as it has been of late years because the Grim Reaper had trimmed the ranks of the pioneers.

Many records usually contained the name and occupation of the settler along with the list of origin of the person.

A list of pioneers who died during the previous year usually followed the minutes of each annual meeting.

 Old Settlers records vary in each county. Some contain a wealth of information, including a place of origin, parents’ names and a description of the prior place of residence. Others include accounts of the pioneer’s journey to the listed county and may include other places of residence on the journey.

Some accounts contain brief biographical information on the pioneer: his parents or children, occupation and sometimes even veteran status.

Finding Old Settler records may be difficult in some counties. With the help of the Internet, some counties have listed them on their Web sites. A check of local or state historical or genealogical societies and libraries may produce them.

Many, however, have not been reproduced in any form and are only available in the local repository in which they are housed.

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Business in Wartime
While Bendix and Studebaker flourished under wartime priorities, other South Bend industries struggled to keep going. The most interesting perhaps was the Singer Manufacturing Co., producer of sewing machine cabinets. Furniture makers generally suffered during the war, and Singer’s 1,3000 prewar employees produced cabinets to unusually close tolerances for the woodworking industry. But where was the demand for precision woodworking in a modern war? Singer struggled unsuccessfully to keep its valuable and experienced work force together. But by 1945, only 450 employees remained on the payroll.

Singer was underbid on many contracts. However, the company did win contracts to make tables and benches for commercial sewing machines, as well as some cabinets for Army sewing machines. The Singer plant in New Jersey made packing cases for Colt .45 pistols.

A long effort to persuade the Army Air Forces to accept wooden propellers failed. Singer’s most important war contract was shipping cases for anti-aircraft fire control directors made in New Jersey, but this required only a small part of Singer’s vast plant.

Singer’s great hope was for something far more exciting. That hope appeared in the form of an all-plywood airplane for the Navy, the TDN-1 designed by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia. Obviously skilled workmanship would be required, and the plane was built on time and to specification, although complex curved panels had to be shaped under heat and pressure. In September of 1942, Singer received another Navy aircraft contract, for the TD2R-1, but the prime contractor in California was slow, and it was the spring of 1944 before the tooling was ready, and then the contract was canceled. Singer manufactured a few wooden gliders, called the Gorgon Glider, but only two were completed by the war’s end. Singer did make 500 plywood belly tanks for Navy planes during 1943, but better supplies of aluminum made this poor substitute unnecessary.

The South Bend Toy Manufacturing Co. was a more successful woodworking plant. South Bend Toy made croquet sets and doll carriages during peacetime. The company turned to special packaging for Studebaker and Bendix and produced 4 million poles for shelter tents and 150,000 night sticks for military police around the world. South Bend Toy could not make doll carriages because

of priority regulations, but it did receive allocations of supplies for full-size baby carriages.

The O’Brian Varnish Co. operated only on a limited basis during the war because of tung oil and soybean oil shortages after imports were cut off. O’Brien produced truck and tank enamel (in olive drab, of course) and some special camouflage paints and lacquers for bombs and shells.

Bendix Home Appliances Inc., entirely separate from Bendix Aviation, turned from washing machines to parachute flares and photo flash bombs, and also parts for Bendix Aviation’s gun turrets.

The Wilson Brothers shirt factory made 3-1/2 million articles of military clothing, and Electro-Voice Manufacturing Co. produced a special “mustache lip” microphone that could be worn under a gas mask. The Oliver Plow Works kept right on making plows, although in 1944 labor was in such short supply that there was a plan to use Italian and German prisoners of war because Oliver was the only factory in town not engaged in direct war production, from which POWs were excluded by the Geneva Convention. Labor unions objected firmly, and no POWs came to South Bend.

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Family Favorites

Hearty Split Pea Soup



1 Tbs. Olive oil

1 lb. Ham steak, cut into 1-1/2” pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. Salt

3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2” pieces

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1/4 tsp. Dried thyme

1 lb. Dried split peas

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

Croutons, optional

In pot heat oil over high heat. Add ham; cook until browned, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pot; reserve. Add onion, salt, pepper and thyme to pot; cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Add peas, broth and 2 cans water. Reduce heat to simmer; cook, stirring, 45 minutes. Add carrots and reserved ham; simmer, 15 minutes. Garnish with croutons, if desired.

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Photos of the Past


Chinlund Family Photo probably taken in the 1890s

Standing from left: Ruth, Victor, Mildred, Theodore, Anna and Ferdinand

Seated from left: Emil Chinlund, (possibly the wife of one of the older boys), Ellen, Emil, Edwin, and Wilhelmina Charlotta Ottiliana Nelson. Married in Sweden they immigrated to the United States around the 1970s


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Keb/Irish Gazette
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