Edited in 2007 by grandson Stewart J. Rafert to focus on family history and events.  I have also added footnotes to explain various family relationships, places of business, and other items of interest.  Talk of events remembered in family history are kept, while many of the business “musings,” and detailed business figures are omitted.  A full edition of the diary on disk is available.  Any notes I add in the text itself will in brackets followed by my initials, “SJR”. 


Granddaughter Chris Miller typed this text from the original diary volumes.  All text notes in brackets were added by George Rafert at later dates, which he usually indicated.  I have sometimes added a word or two to make the meaning of the diary more clear.  Numbers in brackets indicate the page in the original diary.  Volume 1 begins on page 3 and covers the period from January 1, 1912 to December 31, 1918.


     I have entered major topics in bold type.  These are not in the original, but are added for convenience.



Jan lst l9l2


The following is a record of the more important events of my life, particularly as regards their effect on my success or failure as a business man.  I am keeping this record first for the sake of the advantage I may derive from a more careful analysis of each situation on the result of putting it before me in black and white, and second for the sake of the pleasure I may derive from its perusal in latter years and in order that my children may have a record of their father's life, which I am sure they will be interested in reading and I trust that it may be profitable to them as well.  I know that if my father had kept such a record it would be of tremendous interest and advantage to me now.  I will give a brief record of the events preceding the

above date.


     [I was] born Oct. 26, l883 in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana in the house now known as ll3l N. Delaware St., my father Christopher Frederick Rafert at that time being forty-five years of age and my mother Christina Manche Rafert forty-three years of age.


     [I] entered the Indianapolis Public Schools in the Fall of l889, attending what was then known as School No. 2, now called Benjamin Harrison School, located at the northwest corner of Walnut & Delaware Sts.  Continued here till the last half of the 8th year, when the whole class was transferred to School #3, at that time located on Meridian Street on ground now occupied by the Federal building.  Graduated from the grade school in June, l898.


     During the summer of l90l-2 I got my first job collecting for the Central Union Telephone Co. at $7.50 per week.  The next summer before leaving for college I worked in the contracting department at $50.00 per month or ten dollars more on the month than I got at my first job after leaving college.


     Entered the Shortridge High School in the Fall of l898 and graduated June 20, l902.  I had sufficient credits to graduate in February of that year, but continued till June.


     Entered Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana in the Fall of l902.  Majored in Economics, taking Law and Psychology as side lines.  Became a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in February, l903.  Remained out of school during Spring term of l904 and took a trip west with my parents & sister visiting Chicago, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, The Yellow Stone Park, Milwaukee, St. Paul, etc.


     Returned to Indiana University in the fall of l904 and was [4] elected president of the Junior Class, also president of the Pan Hellenic League, etc.  In the beginning of my senior year I fell very much in love with a young lady by the name of Barbara Voyles.  Wanted to marry her as soon as possible after graduation, but the better judgment of my parents and circumstances combined to prevent this.  She is now Mrs. Hornaday, though I do not know what has become of her.  Graduated from Indiana University the 20th day of June, l906 and at our last class meeting was elected president of the class Alumnae Association.


     Returned to Indianapolis and my good parents very much discouraged and not in touch with everything real.  As I look back, the ensuing year was the hardest of my life.  I saw no opportunity to marry as I wanted to, I didn’t have a cent, or any immediate way of getting money, was entirely dependent on my parents, and had been so successful in our little college world that to drop all this and suddenly bump into the real world was a terrible shock.


     I first tried to sell Real Estate on commission in connection with the firm of C. F. Sayles and Co. Needless to say I didn't sell any and after six weeks succeeded in getting a job soliciting want ads for the Indianapolis Star at $l0.00 per week.  During this time I made frequent trips back to Bloomington, as my means would allow, to see Miss Voyles and finally within six months after leaving college hit on an idea of building and operating an ice plant and coal business in Bloomington.  I can see now that my main idea was to be near the girl.  A friend, Richard C. Griffith, who was in the same state of mind as myself in every way, succeeded in getting his mother to back him for a half interest in the project as the opening seemed excellent.  Mr. W. W. Hubbard, an old business man of this city, agreed to take a quarter interest and at his solicitation and my repeated urgings my father finally agreed very much against his judgment to take a quarter interest for me.


[Here follows the first of a number of notes George Rafert added to the margin of the text later on.  All will be bracketed like this one.  SJR]: 


[Feb. l2, 'l4   My parents had no real understanding of my state of mind at this time.  They made the mistake of openly and urgently opposing the young lady.  Would not meet or have anything to do with her.  In consequence they failed to see that I was entering a business proposition for reasons of sentiment.  If my father had said “This ice plant proposition is risky at least for a number of reasons,” which he could have given.  “Now if you borrow money and lose it you can probably never marry the girl.  Let me loan you the $l000 and you keep it in bank till we find a proposition my experience will approve.”  Approached in this manner, I think I would have waited.  However, it has all turned out for the best.]


     We incorporated a company to be known as the Bloomington Ice & Fuel Co.  Griffith made an initial investment of $2,000.00, my father put in $l,000.00 for me, and Mr. Hubbard gave his note for $l,000.00.  I gave up my despised $l0.00 a week job at the Star and Griffith and I went down to Bloomington in high spirits.


[5]   We advertised in the local paper our intention to relieve the town of its suffering from the gouging of the established local concern, paid two prices $3500.00 for a location on the representation of owners that sufficient water could be had for our purpose.  I enjoyed the society of my girl and Griffith and I both had a great time socially.  It was like getting home again.  I endorsed Hubbard’s note over to the parties, Ed Showers & Sanford Teeter, from whom we bought the ground and shortly we returned home to contract for machinery, etc.  This was a fine move too, though nothing came of it even if Hubbard did try to make out afterwards that he had intended merely to loan me the money.


     With Hubbard's help we had just closed a contract with the Wolf Machine Co. of Chicago for $l2,500 worth of machinery when a doubt began to arise in my mind as to whether after all we had enough water.  As the business side of this project began to intrude to the exclusion of the romantic side, I became more and more worried.  My state of mind was terrible.  I shall never forget it.  My fears proved correct.  I think Hubbard knew it all along, expecting we boys to get discouraged and sell out to him cheap.  I am sure he expected to make a profit out of the real estate.  Suffice it to say, I had an awful time getting the Wolf people to release us from our contract.  This was my first opportunity to learn how to think first and act afterwards, the first dawn of understanding in my mind of what a business contract meant. 


In my dealings with Hubbard, Showers, & Teeter I learned more of real value to me in my future business life than I had in all my four years of college.  I learned to take nothing for granted, to feel that every business man, whether a social friend or not, was out to get what money I had.  I have thought much of this deal and feel that it was at the heart and center of my business education in its beginnings.  I wouldn't go through the mental distress of that period again or give up what it taught me for a large sum of money.  Among the lessons, derived from it, is the ability to feel a keen sympathy for the young man just out of college.  [l/27/40.  It is likely true that these experiences and background of thought account for the fact that I did not urge my boys to go to college, but rather undertook the personal responsibility of teaching them wisdom & sound judgment.  Stewart is now 22 & Frank 20 and most certainly under this program they are both far ahead of where I was at their age.]


     The ice plant project was abandoned.  About a year later I sold my interest in the real estate of the company to Mr. Hubbard for five shares of stock in the Indiana Consolidated Canning Co. of a par value of $500.00.  I turned this stock and $85.00 my share of the treasury balance to my father.


     I again took up my work at the Star of $l0.00 per week. 


[6]  In March l907 after being with the Star again for several months, through the help of Lewis Hoffman, the father of my friend and former roommate in Bloomington, Harry A. Hoffman, I succeeded in getting a position in the purchasing department of the Atlas Engine Works of this city at $l5.00 per week under Mr. Beeler, the purchasing agent.[1]  The work consisted mainly in checking invoices and doing routine buying.  I learned a great deal of how business was conducted in a large plant, much general information, etc. but my pride continued to smart, for I felt any child could do the work I was doing, the confinement irritated me, and I concluded that beginning at the bottom of a large concern was no place for a young man of my ambition and temperament.  I saw too many around me who were mere cogs in a large machine, left where they were for the reason that they did their small duties well.  All this time I was having trouble with Hubbard and had one more illusion exploded when I received a letter from Barbara Voyles to the effect that she was engaged to a Mr. Hornaday.  I had little faith in human nature left to me at this time.  I was promised a week’s vacation the first of September, l907 and when the time came for me to leave, Mr. Beeler informed me that conditions were such in the business that it had been decided to cut down the purchasing department and my services would no longer be required.    [2/8/46.  This was in the summer of l907]     


[July l5, 'l6.   It is ten years since I last saw Barbara Voyles.  As much as I love my wife & babies the truth is I have never recovered from the shock of this experience.  Parents should let their children do their own love making as long as the other person is serious physically & morally.  My parents objected to Barbara because her people were poor financially.  They did to Ethel's too, for that matter, for the same reason.  I wish I didn't have this hurt in the back of my mind.]      


     Our family had planned to spend my vacation week on a trip down the Kentucky River.  I had saved $240 from my earnings at the Atlas, and when the boat started from Louisville I really felt better than I had at any time for a year past.  The Atlas went on the rocks during the panic of the fall of l907 and it never gained its feet.  2,400 men were discharged.  My father lost $l,500 he had invested in its preferred stock.[2]  As the result of the failure of this large concern and the Laycock Bed Manufacturing Co., a plant of like proportions some years later, I gave up an ambition I had once had to build up a large mercantile or manufacturing establishment, for I can see how, even granting my initial success, the plant might through changing conditions, new invention, or other reason become a millstone around my neck in later life.  Mr. Hanna who founded the Atlas Engine Works and Mr. Laycock both found this to be true.


[7]   Our trip down the Kentucky River contained only one matter worth noting.  I met Miss Ruth Ausinbaugh, who later introduced me to my wife.


     While soliciting want ads for the Star I became acquainted with a number of real estate men, particularly Mr. W. C. Day, who had desk room in an old building at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania & Washington streets.  He was about 35 at the time, had a wife and three children, practically no resources, but an abounding confidence and the resultant faculty of never getting discouraged.


The upshot of the matter was that shortly after our return from the Kentucky River trip I hit on the idea of going into the real estate business in partnership with Mr. Day.[3]  We reached an agreement in January, l908 and the following first of the month opened our office at l020 Lemcke Building.  We had two small rooms opening on a larger room which connected with the hall.  I occupied one of the smaller rooms, having furnished it with a desk and chair which cost me $60.  We rented desk room in the larger room to Mr. Frank D. Shera, a life insurance agent, and Mr. Carl C. Pritchard, who was conducting building operations on his nerve.  Day & I were fairly successful right from the start.  We made a number of fair sized deals for which I believe we were equally responsible.


He meets Ethel Stewart


     Before returning to one of these [deals] which meant a great deal to me in many ways during the ensuing four years, let me digress long enough to say that the Miss Ausinbaugh referred to above invited me to be her company to a dance given by the Phi Kappa Theta's, a high school sorority, Dec. 2l, l907.  It was there that I met Miss Ethel Elton Stewart, at that time l9 years old, a daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Frank C. Stewart, living at l728 N. Pennsylvania Street of this city.  I asked Miss Stewart to let me call, which she did the following Friday evening, and I kept on calling till we were married, but again I get ahead of the story.


     To return to the real estate business.  Mr. Pritchard had built seventeen cheap houses in Beech Grove, an industrial town a few miles southeast of Indianapolis which the Big Four Railroad [Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis, part of the New York Central Railroad] had just started.  A Mr. J. B. Harrell and a Mr. W. G. Mitchener owned Sect. 9, Colfax Township, of Newton County, Indiana.[4]  Mr. Day & I arranged a deal whereby Mr. Prichard was to give the equities in his houses for the equity in the section of land subject to a first mortgage of $13,000.00 held by the State Life Insurance Co. and a second mortgage of $6,500.00 which he was to give back to Harrell & Mitchener.  In order to get his houses [8] in shape so he could make the deal, Prichard needed $l0,000.  Day & I  tried to find it for him.  My father had just sold some property and I borrowed the $l0,000 from him, agreeing to pay him 6% on the money as long as I needed it, which we thought would be for only a short time.  Pritchard gave his notes for $l0,500 and a warranty deed to the property to my father as security.  The panic of l907-8 put Pritchard out of business.  When my father and I approached him for a quit-claim deed six months later, this being the agreement, he gladly gave it, but informed us at the same time that he had given a mortgage subject to our claim and that of the first and second mortgages to Mr. Nicholson & Mr. Ellis of Oklahoma City in the sum of $8,500.00.


     Mr. Ellis came East and I took the matter up with him.  I told him that Pritchard’s act had been entirely against our agreement and unless he wished to pay us out, we would be forced to foreclose.  We concluded the matter at that time, September 1, l908, by his taking a year’s option on the property, agreeing to pay $2,500.00 for same and 6% interest on our investment.  In addition he agreed to refund any money we found it necessary to advance in caring for the place during the year.  Mr. Ellis was cashier of the Planters & Mechanics Bank of Oklahoma City, which had loaned Prichard money while he was out there.  It was in an effort to get some sort of security that they persuaded him to give them a definite claim on this farm out of which he expected to make considerable money.  The panic foiled him and he fell hopelessly down and out.


     Shortly after concluding this option arrangement with Mr. Ellis, I invested about $600 of my real estate commission earnings in a pressing and cleaning establishment in connection with a man named Gross and two brothers.  To cut the story short, the brothers absconded & Gross & I lost all we had in the proposition.



     Day & I were the best of friends, but we came to the conclusion in the early part of l909 that we could do better in single harness.  He wanted to start building operations along the Pritchard lines and I wanted to sell something which people had to have and which they bought readily.  In other words, in view of the fact that I was thinking of the possibility that I might want to get married within the next few years, I wanted something definite in the way of an income and more dependable and less irregular than the real estate commission business. In consequence we severed our partnership in February, l909.



[9]    I felt at the time that I was leaving the Real Estate field only temporarily and I wanted to get back into it just as soon as I could arrange to do so.  I wanted mainly to establish a business which went on every day and from which I could make a regular profit.


He goes into the grocery business


     An opportunity came to my attention through the impending failure of Mr. Thomas O’Conner who was running a grocery business in a very small way at 249 East llth Street in a building owned by my father.  He was several months behind with his rent and owed my father this money besides.  At my father’s suggestion I bought him out.  The stock of merchandise amounted to only $329 so I found I could take over the whole proposition on a total investment of $l,0l5.  I had a little money left, assumed O’Conner’s debt to my father besides a couple of hundred dollars that he loaned me in addition, and borrowed $300 at the Indiana National Bank.  I hired a Mr. Joseph Eisen at $l2 per week and a delivery boy at $3 per week and started in March lst, l909.  Our first day’s sales amounted to only $l5.42 cash and credit together.  I knew nothing of the grocery business, but by the end of two or three months had the detail well in hand. 


I enjoyed the management of that little store immensely and it proved profitable right from the start.  I bought nothing but the best goods, saw that the customers were promptly and courteously served, and the business grew.  By the end of the first year the business was running over $50 a day.  I put all my profits except a little pocket money back into the business.  The net assets of the business June 2nd l9l0 amounted to $2,330.86.  During the eleven weeks preceding this date my average net profit was $43.l3 per week.  I now ran a small automobile which I had bought second hand for $375 for delivery purposes and employed a bookkeeper - Miss Rankin - at $l0 per week.  Let us leave the grocery business here and go back to the farm deal.


He enters farm management


     Mr. Ellis returned to Indianapolis the latter part of August l909 and on August 29th we entered into a contract under which he agreed to purchase the property under the terms of the option which he had held for the past year.  He allowed me $40.00 per month & expenses for looking after the place during that time, this having been part of the option agreement.  While building up the grocery business I had managed to spend a week or so whenever necessary on the farm and had made a number of needed improvements, such as a large corn crib, additional ditching, etc.  I got the crops for this year but the proceeds all went to pay my interest and other expenses.[5]


[10]     On the same date that the purchase agreement was entered into I entered into a separate contract with Mr. Ellis under which he agreed to retain my services in looking after his interests in the place till such time as he could sell it and get his money out.  He agreed to pay me $25 a month & expenses during this period and the additional sum of $300 as a commission whenever he sold all or any part of the place.  It was understood that he would carry out the contract of purchase not later than the 20th of the following Oct.  He had not yet succeeded in making his arrangement but asked my father & me to come down to Oklahoma the following November at his expense. We did so and talked the matter over.  Mr. Ellis explained that due to unforeseen contingencies it would be some months before he could complete the deal.  At my suggestion he paid us a thousand dollars on account, paid me up in full to date and agreed to add 6% interest to the agreed purchase price during the period of delay.


     In the meantime I continued to run the farm and the grocery as I had been doing.  I wrote Mr. Ellis vigorously from time to time but the only explanation I could get was that he did not yet have money enough to close the deal.  This was still the case the 4th of March l9l0 when the 2nd mortgage of $6,500 became due and we were forced to borrow the money to pay it off.  However in the mean time we had collected some twelve hundred dollars from the sale of the crops and held it to apply on Mr. Ellis' account continuing in the hope that since he now had about $3000 in the deal including interest charges on the first mortgage and taxes that he had paid, he would make every effort to close the deal.  We did not want the farm and were anxious to see him succeed for his own sake for we had learned to think a great deal of him personally and did not want to see him lose any money if we could help him avoid it.  However this was a time of considerable worry and stress for all of us.


     During this time I had been going to see Miss Ethel Stewart with great regularity.  It seemed that I couldn't be happy unless I saw her every day and Feb. l0, l9l0 we became engaged to be married.  The next day I went to see her father at his office and obtained his consent to our plans and bought an engagement ring of J. C. Sipe, the Jeweler.  I paid $l58.50 for it giving Mr. Sipe, if I remember correctly, $68 down.  I paid the rest with the $25 per month I was receiving from Mr. Ellis.  Our intentions at the time were to be married the following October, but shortly after our engagement we changed the date to August l0th, l9l0 as we wanted to take the trip down the Kentucky River as our wedding trip and the boat left Louisville on the llth.


11]   Sometime in March, l9l0 a Mr. W. E. Crates of Findlay, Ohio came into the store.  He was interested in the manufacture of an article called "Old Settler" the purpose of which was to clean muddy cistern water.  He seemed extremely anxious to make a sale, offering to let me have five cases at half price.  His proposition seemed entirely too good and I turned him down.  However he left several samples and I took them home and tried them.  To my surprise they did everything he claimed Old Settler would do.  A l0 cent package would clear 30 barrels of water.  I wrote to the factory at Findlay and ordered five cases on the basis of his offer.  The customer to whom we sold the stuff reported good results so I went among the local jobbers and obtained orders for some 50 cases.  With these orders in my pocket I went to Findlay and arranged for the exclusive agency in Indianapolis.  I was to pay $l.00 per case selling the jobber for $l.50 and the retailer for $l.80 all with 2% off for cash in ten days.  I made several hundred dollars out of this proposition during the next two years though I sold only to the jobbers and department stores leaving the retailers for their salesmen.


His Father, Christopher Rafert, dies


     And now I come to the first great sorrow of my life.  My dear father who had been such a loyal friend took sick and died May 25, l9l0 at 2 a.m. of pneumonia after a short illness of only ten days.  He passed the three score and ten mark by one year and one month lacking two days.  [Jan 26, l955 - I am now 7l and today I am one year and three months beyond the three score & ten years, and am in excellent health.]  He was born in this city on Illinois Street just below North Street April 27, l839.  A word here about his life may be appropriate.  His father and mother both came from Germany settling in Indianapolis in the early 1830s.  My father had no schooling unless you would count about a year of German night school.  The caliber of the man was shown by the leniency & consideration he showed me, considering the fact that up to the time he was 2l years old he had to give every cent he made to his father according to the old German custom.  From the age of l4 to 2l he salted meat at Kingan's pork house at $l.50 per day during the winter and practiced the carpenter trade during the summer.  From this he developed into a contractor & builder retiring from business at the age of 55.  He married my mother Friday, March l3th, l863.


[12]    At the time of his death he left a fortune of about $l00,000.  [As it afterward developed, $60,000 is nearer the correct figure.]  [In 2007 dollars, about $1.6 million.  SR]  Probably half of this was earned in the contracting business in connection with a lumberyard he owned on the south side of Pratt St. between Delaware & Alabama and the other half derived from his savings of rent and increase in value of property that he owned for years and later sold for twice what it cost him.  I sincerely wish that I had a record of his life such as I am trying to create of my own.  His was a fine simple life, straight-forward and honest.  Nowhere was his loss felt more keenly than at Robert's Park Methodist Church where he had been a trustee for thirty years.  My mother & sister were prostrated with grief.  I cannot begin to express what my own feelings were.


     My father left no will so the estate was settled by law, through the probate court of Marion County.  Mr. John S. Berryhill acted as our attorney and a better man or more competent lawyer never lived.  I was appointed administrator and agent for our realty interests, thus the responsibility for the management of the whole estate devolved upon me.


Dealing with Family on Estate Business


[13]     On June l6th, l9ll I completed an important deal for the estate.  The estate had now been held open more than the required year and during all this time I had insisted that it was to our best advantage to hold it together.  I especially wanted this done on account of my mother.  Her share of the estate would not have produced sufficient income to maintain the old home place at ll3l N. Delaware street and she felt she could never leave there as she had lived in it at that time for almost 37 years.  My father built the house in l875.  I wanted to see the estate incorporated and held together and the stock divided in the proportion of one third to my mother and two-ninths each to my sister and niece and myself.


     The only opposition to this plan came from my niece and her husband Benjamin P. Alexander.[6]  They insisted that they must have some money. The estate had no money on hand except for current expenses and as all the property was of [14]  such a nature that it couldn't be sold readily without loss and making it necessary to rearrange the whole business, I did everything I could to get them to change their views.  They could offer no business reason in objection to this course and their reason for opposing it did not develop till I learned that they had given their note for $l,200 for an automobile very shortly after my father’s death and as they did not immediately begin to roll in wealth as they seemingly contemplated, they had no money with which to meet the obligation and it had become urgent.  To meet this objection I agreed that if they would join the corporation with the rest of us I would personally loan them $2,000 taking an equal amount of stock as collateral.  [They were both mighty young at this time, my niece 20 and her husband 2l.  I did things just as foolish at their age as this history shows.]  Upon this proposition they removed all objection and entered into an agreement with the rest of us to incorporate. 


The estate was now ready to close.  I made my final report to the court March 2nd, l9l2 and was allowed $l,000 for my services.  It wasn't the money that gave me this satisfaction, but the feeling that I had developed from an [15]  impetuous boy of 23 years into a man of good reliable business judgment at the age of 27 and I felt that after all I had been through and the thought and scheming & planning and diplomacy that had been necessary to bring it all to such a successful conclusion, that I had earned this feeling of satisfaction.


              He and Ethel Stewart get married


     To go back, along in the early part of May l9l0, while my father was apparently in perfect health and when we had no intimation that he was going to be sick at all, my sweetheart and I had planned to be married August l0th following.  My father’s death made an awful change, but we felt that nothing ought to be allowed to interfere after we had set the day, so we were married Aug. l0, l9l0 at 3 pm sharp at the home of my bride's parents.  The wedding was very quiet, only the home folks and eight or ten of our most intimate friends being present.  My mother was unable to attend.  This was all awfully hard on her for within two months she felt she had lost the head of the house a second time.  She opposed our getting married at this time and when that failed insisted that we live with her.  I was constantly torn between two fires.  Though I was absolutely happy in every other way this situation was terrible.


Setting Up Housekeeping


It was finally decided (before our marriage of course) that we would live in the flat at l022 N. Alabama Street and when we were married we had it furnished very simply but with substantial things.  Our total investment in furniture was a little less than $600.  At the time we were married I had about $600 on hand and was out of debt except about $400.00 that I owed on my furniture.  Before this was due sixty days later I had collected about that amount from the sale of some corn belonging to me on the Newton County farm so that we started with $600 in bank, our furniture paid for and had an income of about $l50 a month beside the earnings of the grocery which at this time was running well, enough for us to live on all by itself.[7]   


We started saving right from the start. Our wedding trip to Lake Wawasee cost us less than $40, to be exact $37.50, and we had a glorious time.  I can't help but follow up [16]  everything in figures and I did this even to figuring the cost of getting married, which in my case including everything except house furnishing but including engagement ring, wedding ring, flowers, preacher, wedding trip, my clothes & miscellaneous, was $289.l5.  If this is a fault, I know of worse ones.


     We never felt exactly at home in the flat as both of us had always been used to living in a house but we continued to live there till the following March when we were expecting our first baby and knew that the flat would be impossible, so we gave it up, stored our furniture at my mother’s and went to live with Ethel's parents till the baby came, as Ethel wanted to be near her father at this time.  April l5th, l9ll having about $l200 in bank and wanting to keep Ethel out of doors as much as possible, I bought our second automobile, a little two passenger, two cylinder Buick for $450 cash and my old one cylinder Buick which I had used at the store.  They allowed me $ll5 for it and I felt that I was just that much to the good.


First Baby, Jeanne Belle Rafert


     That was a beautiful spring.  We drove way out in the country every afternoon and stopped to wander around and pick violets, etc.  We wanted our baby to have every advantage that good health and proper living, mental and physical on our part could give.  She was born on Sunday morning at 20 minutes after l2 o'clock midnight, May 2lst, l9ll and has been a joy and pleasure right from the start.  She weighed only 7 lbs & l0 oz to start with but gained very rapidly and was perfectly normal mentally & physically.  We are mighty proud of her and felt our responsibility keenly.  We named her Jeanne Belle Rafert after our two sisters and her only aunts.  [January 26, l955 - This dear daughter who was always a joy to us and who meant more and more to us as the years went by, passed away the 8th of this month.  She would have been 44 her next birthday and is survived by her devoted husband Bob Thomas & her son Steve, now 20, & her daughter Christy, now l5 years of age.]


     While living at Stewarts’, my mother continued to urge that we make our permanent home with her.  I felt for her keenly and joined in her solicitation till my wife agreed against her better judgment to give it a trial.  We felt that we could live at less expense and Ethel could give Jeanne her undivided attention.  Consequently I fixed up two rooms at my mother’s to suit us at an expense of $65 & furnished them with our bedroom and living room furniture.  But we never went there to live.  Ethel worried more and more about the prospect till I could see that it was making her very unhappy.  Finally my mother-in-law and my mother while visiting together one afternoon got to discussing the matter, [17] failed utterly to agree, and as a result do not speak to each other to this day.  I never hope to have anything baffle me like this situation does.  The upshot of the matter was that we decided to move into the house where we are now living at 239 East llth St.  This property is owned by the estate and I have all the advantages of both landlord & tenant.  Our two mothers are both the best women in the world and I sincerely hope they will come to understand and appreciate each other before our babies are old enough to have to suffer for it or to censure either or both of them.  I came firmly to the conclusion which my wife had held all the time, that the primary object of getting married is to establish a new, separate and individual home.  This we have done and we have been mighty happy in the doing of it.  The only cloud in our happiness is that our two mothers do not understand each other, but we have never permitted this to come between us though neither of us can help but be partial in our views.




     In all essentials this brings my story up to the first of January, l9l2.  However, during the fall of l9ll I became dissatisfied with Mr. Eisen’s management of the grocery.  I had had to be away a great deal in connection with the estate business.  He had a great many good qualities, but labored to a disadvantage under responsibility while giving the impression freely to others that he was the whole show.  His figuring was often inaccurate and it finally reached the point where his cash continually refused to balance.  It worried me a good deal.  I concluded to solve the problem by getting a multiple drawer cash register which I had made to order.  While awaiting delivery we separated by mutual agreement.  I didn't discharge him neither did he quit - we simply separated.


     I hired a man who had been with Buschman Co. for seven years, Charlie Carper, at $l8 [a week] and after trying him out for sixty days entered into the following arrangement with him Jan lst l9l2.  We invoiced the net worth of the business and he was to pay me $l2 per week in addition to $l0 per month as a fixed sum out of the earnings of the business. 


[18]   This left me with a contract in my hands for a $480 cash register for which I had no use.  The National people refused to accept a hundred dollars I offered them to relieve me from the contract and keep the register, so I bought it for $452 net cash taking all discounts.  Ethel had been wanting a player piano as we both felt very keenly the lack of music in our home.  I picked out one for $595 cash price and after considerable dickering with the piano company succeeded in trading them the register at $450 on the piano at this price.  This was in February, l9l2.


At this time I had control of the meat market next door to the grocery.  The butcher Bert Saffell furnished his own fixtures and paid his own rent and I furnished him with delivery service and telephone service and gave him a check once a week for all his credit business less l0% which I charged for the service.  In this way the meat market paid me a definite profit of about $40.00 per month. This arrangement had been running successfully since July l9ll and I turned it over along with the grocery to Carper as I wanted to be relieved of all detail and be given a chance to go after bigger game.  I felt that the time had come for me to get back into the real estate business, without a partner this time and in a way that would make the agents work for me.  The grocery arrangement started off fine.  Jan. l9l2 was the biggest business the store had in one month running over $2,500, meat included.  I felt I was free to look around.


First Property Purchase


[19]     March llth, l9l2 I bought a piece of ground on the north side of Pratt Street between Delaware and Alabama, vacant except for a worthless old brick house, for $8,750 cash with all taxes and assessments paid.  That deal gave me confidence in my judgment and nerve to put it through.  I would never have gotten it so cheap if the people I bought from had not had an overdue mortgage that was worrying them.


Problems with the Grocery Store


[20]    I had realized since March that things had not been going right in the grocery.  Carper and his wife could not get along well enough to work that close together.  He felt his importance too much and she worried him by being nervous and excitable so when we invoiced the first of May I was not surprised to find that he had lost his $l25 guarantee and a little besides.  Some men can work all right when someone else is over them taking the responsibility, but they go all to pieces when the responsibility is on their own shoulders.  I immediately concluded to sell the store and did so May 27th to Mr. W. C. Evans.  I kept the bills receivable amounting to about $l,200 and took $400 cash and the assignment of a first mortgage for $l,500 and accrued interest on a hundred acres of land in Washington County Indiana. 


[21]     Evans didn't seem to know how to handle the grocery and before he had it a week he wanted to sell out.  Finally the 5th of July l9l2 he brought a Mr. W. E. Young to me having first said he would give me $25 commission if through my help he succeeded in selling the store to Young for $l,l00 cash. 


     Four days later on the 9th of July, Young came to me and said he had decided to sell out and sell quick and he wanted me to make an offer.  He said he was willing to accept $200 loss.  I told him I didn't want the store and that he ought to sell to some one who did want it.  However, nothing would do - he had to have an offer so I offered him $600 for the whole thing including accounts.  He accepted it on the spot taking a loss of $l60 per day though I told him I would hold the offer open till he could see if he couldn't do better as there had been no change of facts and the store was still worth at least $l,500.  Young offered an interesting psychological study.  Every change that took place between the time he hurried into the deal and the time he stampeded out of it was in his mental attitude.  The store remained just the same.


     Well, I had the store back.  The first thing I did was to gather together all the unopened case goods and sell the whole bunch at a slight discount to August Buschman Co. for $l60, thereby getting cash to run the business for the [22]   time being and making it unnecessary to draw on my other resources.


He Quits the Grocery Business


     Carper & I ran the store just a month.  Aug. 9th, l9l2 I traded it to Mr. John C. Allison for his equity in a house at l04l Congress Avenue, subject to $2,000 encumbrance.  We figured the house at $3,500 and the store at $l,500.  Allison rented both rooms and is still running the meat market and grocery successfully.  He let Carper go and has his son helping him.  They are depending on themselves and are getting along nicely in spite of the increasing wholesale cost of commodities and the downward pressure of the consumer who is crying against the high cost of living on the retail selling price.


     I took the house and painted it, put in electric lights & new fixtures, hardwood floors, new paper throughout, etc. for a little over $350 and just three months from the day I got it on Nov. 9th l9l2 I entered into a contract with one Harry F. McNutt and his brother James S. McNutt under which they agreed to rent the property for $25 per month till June lst, l9l3, beginning at that time to purchase same at $40 per month for $3,900 which included $75 I advanced McNutt so he could get moved in.  This contract is now being fulfilled and unless my judgment of McNutt is badly wrong he will carry it through.  My combined profit in the sale of the grocery after buying it back from Young to the selling of the house to McNutt will be about $l,000 presuming that McNutt completes his contract, besides some $600 interest he will pay in the course of the same. Details of all these transactions will be found in my [account] books.[8]


Elsa, second child born



     November l3th, l9l2 at exactly one o'clock p.m. on Wednesday the second great event took place in our family.  Our daughter Elsa was born.  We had done everything we could for her before her birth the same as we had for Jeanne.  Ethel’s health had been perfect and Elsa had the additional advantage that during the nine months preceding her birth, her mother had been entirely free from worry of any kind.  I refer to the fact that we were now entirely settled in our home and way of living and had learned to adjust ourselves to the differences between our own mothers so that while we recognized it as too bad, that it had to be that way, still it gave us no cause for immediate concern.  Of course Ethel could not be out of doors quite as much as she had before Jeanne came on account of Jeanne’s care and her increasing household duties and we were a little afraid that coming so soon after Jeanne she might not be so robust physically.  However, my fears in this direction have been allayed, for though Elsa weighed only six pounds when she came, she will be three months old in three days and weighs over l4 pounds and has been in perfect health as has her mother.  [l/27/40  Elsa is a fine mamma now herself.  Tommy will be 2 his next birthday 3/5/40.


Trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey



During the latter part of June of this same year, l9l2, we left Jeanne with her Grandma Stewart and went to Atlantic City.  We intended to stay at least ten days, but both became so anxious to see our little Jeanne that we remained only three days. Jeanne had taken her first few steps alone the day we left, June 27, l9l2, and by the time we returned she was walking.  This was Ethel’s first trip East and it was a second honeymoon for both of us.


Earnings for 1912


     During l9l2 I kept an exact record of my earnings as I had always kept of my expenses.  The total for the year was $5,75l.98 or an average of $479.33 per month.[9]  June was my best month amounting to $20l0.20.  Our living expenses amounted to $2,4l5.45 which included $279.l9 which the machine cost during the year.  [We had added] a great many things to our household furniture such as a bookcase, an oriental rug, our music cabinet, a large rug for the dining room, and innumerable small things which we found we needed, one thing demanding another.  We kept help during nearly all the year besides the additional expense of a nurse for two weeks and the attendant expense when Elsa came.  The above amount does not include the $595 we invested in our piano via the cash register.  I was 29 years old the 26th of Oct of this year and Ethel was 24 the l5th of June.  All in all this was the best year I have had to date.





     This brings me up to the present year l9l3.  I entered it with about a thousand dollars cash on hand, owned about $l,700 worth of household goods, the equity in the Congress Ave. house worth $l950, and $500 worth of stock in the canning Company.  Bills receivable for over $400, the $l,500 mortgage on the Washington County land, my automobile, a diamond ring I bought for myself in l9ll costing $288.  Besides this I had my $22,200 worth of stock in the Rafert Estate, but for all practical purposes except as collateral, it was of little benefit as I drew out only $40 per month.  All the surplus was necessary to keep up the old home place for my mother and sister who still lived there.  My dependable income at the beginning of this year was a little less than $200 per month net. 





Purchases First Multi-unit Apartment Buildings


However I increased this [income] by the first deal of the year January 8, l9l3 when I bought two small double houses from the Reliance Realty Co. for $4,435.  The houses brought $50 per month or net about $25 after paying interest and then charges against them.  My first intention was to hold these houses, as they were excellently located at the N. W. corner of l9th & Ralston Streets within two squares of the old Atlas works where I had once worked and which had been sold and was now being used to manufacture automobile parts.  However, I decided to sell again rather that wait till I had saved enough to make another deal.  I succeeded in selling them through Hall & Hill Agents April 8, l9l3 to Huldah Webb McColl, a colored woman, for $4,900 cash. 


     In March of this year I made a deal with the Glen's Falls Insurance Co through their local agent Mr. Harvey Martin under which they had me appointed a special agent for the company on a 20% commission basis.  [4/l5/54 - I am still a Glen's Falls agent and this has saved me many thousands of dollars in insurance premiums.]


[26]    February 26th preceding I sold my canning stock for $504.67.  On the same day I bought a 4 passenger 1912 model second-hand Buick from the Buick auto people for $600.00.  I had it painted, etc. and added some equipment making its total cost $666.97 and I had a machine just as good as new for $500 less that the new 1913 model would have cost me.  I sold my little machine March 19 to Dr. Cass of Irvington for $300, taking $50 cash and his note for 120 days for the balance.



He Decides on the type of Rental Property he will build


May 3, l9l3  The l9th Street deal which I have told about in preceding page crystallized my thoughts on a point concerning which I have done a good deal of thinking during the past months.  It started with the idea of securing good corner lots on which I could build two, three or four double houses as the size of the lot would determine.  Thus the ground value per house would be made very low to what it would be compared with, building one house on an inside lot.  I next came strongly to the conclusion that a double house renting from $l5 to $20 a side offers the best possible investment and at the same time a very attractive profit in selling.  I reached this conclusion along this line of thought.  Cheap property such as small doubles for Negroes renting from $5 to $7 per side I dismissed because, though they pay a high rate in the investment necessary, you are bothered a good deal in the collection of the rent and are sure to lose some of it as the tenants are absolutely irresponsible.  Also when you wish to sell you have to do so on a basis of not less than l5% on the rental income so that the actual margin of profit is low.  Also this class of property not being standard does not command a ready market and since it is intrinsically cheap in every way offers no opportunity for an increase in value from unearned increment.  [4/l5/54  Today $50 a month is cheap rent. Everything is relative.  However, this sheet gives the fundamental thinking which was absolutely sound as the years have proved in my later building programs.]


On the other extreme we have the high class double renting from thirty to forty or even fifty dollars a side.  These I dismissed for the following reasons.  A house of this character must be located on a high priced lot in order to get it where it will bring that much rent.  This makes the proportion of ground value excessive and cuts down the percent of income.  The tenants who live in this kind of property feel they are doing you a favor to live there and are often unreasonable in their demands.  They demand new [wall]paper if they tire of the color of the old, though it may be perfectly good.  Also the man who will pay $50 rent is liable to be living beyond his means unless he is a transient which makes him an undesirable tenant.  (He could better afford to live in his own home and if his income was sufficient to pay $50 rent he should have arranged to do so unless transient.)


[27]     This class of property will sell in a ten per cent basis which means six percent or less net.  Again the assessment for taxation is usually proportionately higher than on cheaper classes of property.  On account of the quality of everything installed in such a house and the excessive proportion of ground value the opportunity for profit in selling is small.


     As regards the flat proposition, I do not like it because of the amount of management required and after you have paid for coal, high insurance, janitor, screens, shades, furnished stoves, ice boxes, etc. and done about everything except rocked the tenant to sleep at night, the actual profit left is small either to hold or sell.  The flat of small apartments renting from $20 to $25 offers a fairly attractive field largely on account of the difference in the kind of people with whom you have to deal, but in order to get a plant large enough to sufficiently pro-rate the expense of service the amount of capital is large.


     Of real estate investment proposition this leaves the medium priced double as the most attractive field in which to work.  As a class they meet all the objectives I have enumerated against the other kinds of rental investments and at the same time retain their virtues besides having other advantages entirely their own.  In the first place you can build two of these houses on a corner lot costing as much as a thousand dollars which means a good middle class neighborhood and at the same time your ground value per house is only $500.  I set this as a maximum for this kind of property.  The tenants you appeal to are first class people of moderate means who pay their debts promptly, earn their living honestly and make no effort toward display.  These people do not demand changes of wallpaper to suit their taste and are satisfied with the old paper as long as it is clean and good.  Practically no management of this property is required as compared with flats and you are never worried because the janitor overslept or failure to keep hot water in the pipes every minute.  Also there is a very ready market for this kind of property and, because it appeals to the greatest number of people, the amount of time you have from vacancies is exceedingly small.  In my estimates I figure l0 days per year per house.


     Again, since the kind of property stands in the middle between the extremes of high and low rent they are most likely to remain rented under all conditions.  In good times the man who has been paying $l2 per month rent will move into a $l5 house because he feels he can afford something better and during panic times the man who has been paying more will move into the cheaper house as a means of retrenchment.[10] 


[28]    The houses on l9th street were not entirely modern.  They had simply inside toilet, electric lights and city water in the kitchen & rented for $l2.50 per side.  I can see that by spending just a little more on their cost a house could be made entirely modern with furnace & complete bath, built a little better and with the location carefully chosen be made to bring in proportion to their cost much higher rent which means a margin of profit increased to over twice the amount of the additional cost for these things.  For these reasons I have concluded to explore this field next and have determined to build double houses modern in every respect that I can rent for from $l8 to $20 per side.  [Dec. 6, l9l3  I have since concluded that this rental margin should be placed between $20 & $25 per month.]  [June l2, l9l4  $22.50 & $27.]    [4/l5/54 - I was still thinking straight when I wrote this, now something over 40 years ago.]


Real Property more secure than stocks or bonds


I much prefer any kind of a real estate investment in any of the classes mentioned above to any stock or bond proposition if for no other reason because you have the absolute control of your investment in your own hands and are not subject to the mismanagement or manipulation of those in control.  If you remember that you have to make your money when you buy rather than when you sell you cannot go far wrong.  Incidentally you are paid for your time in connection with your capital with a fine speculative opportunity free from the risk attendant to speculation dependent on the activity of others for their successful conclusion.[11]


With the above thoughts in mind, as soon as I had sold the l9th Street home I started looking for a location where I could build such houses as I had determined upon.  Knowing the city as I do I knew I would have to look either east or north east and after covering this territory thoroughly in my machine, looking up corners and studying plats at the court house and consulting with agents, I found what I wanted at the N. E. corner of East New York and Bancroft Streets in a lot 47 feet on New York and l42 feet on Bancroft.  Side walks are all around the lot, a l5 foot ally on the north, New York Street is paved, and all public service is installed besides this on Bancroft street the sidewalk is next to the curb, which is included in an eighteen foot city lawn running in front of my line.  Also the lot lays well.  The owner proved to be a Mrs. Charlotte Schmitz of Alexandria, Indiana.  I went up to see her and succeeded in buying the lot for $905 April 25th, l9l3 under a contract dated April l4th. 


[29]      I propose to build three double houses on this lot fronting Bancroft St.  I paid Day $50 to help me work out the plans in detail.  They will be finished next week.  The houses will have an inside dimension of 38 x 4l ft. Each will be built on the bungalow style, porches on opposite sides and each room except the living room accessible without going through any other.  The corner house will have 4 rooms & bath downstairs and two rooms and attic upstairs.  I expect it to rent for $20 per side.  The other two houses will be five rooms to the side and I expect them to bring $l9 per side.  The property completed ought to sell for not less than $ll,600 and as I do not expect the houses to cost over $2,500 each as I intend to tackle my own contracting I have a good chance to make $3,000. 


     I am very anxious to learn something about building and what I do not know now I'll find out before I get through with this deal.  I would like to go ahead immediately but on account of the troubles in Europe, the tariff situation and financial conditions in general I have decided to wait a few weeks at least till I can make up my mind as to how things are going to go. If we are going to have a panic, even an artificial banker’s affair because underlying conditions do not warrant it, I would sooner know it before hand and incidentally I can save enough on the cost of the buildings during a money stringency to justify the wait.  I will need a loan of $6,000 for this deal and expect to arrange it for 5 years with a first mortgage on these houses.


He Begins his First Apartment Project


July 22, l9l3   Since writing the above I have been building the houses and already it becomes interesting to read my suppositions of May 3rd as outlined above.  I started excavating the cellars May l9, l9l3 and the carpenters began work on the north house May 3lst while excavation & foundation work on the other two were still in progress.  The plasterers are now at work, and if not delayed by anything now unforeseen such as strikes, etc. I ought to complete them in 30 days.  I decided to start building at once upon the assurance of a $7,000 loan from the German Home Building & Loan Association and successful arrangements for $6,500 with which to complete the houses from the Continental National Bank, prior to placing of loan.  With conditions as they are, I realize I am taking some chance in building on so narrow a margin, but could not bear to be inactive.  The banker and Trust companies are making no new loans at present, though I do not expect any trouble on account of my prior arrangements.  Instead of $2,500 each, the houses will cost me about $3,l50 each as near as I can now figure.  $800 of the difference was due to an error in making out the lumber bill and for the rest of the difference I decided that since it was going to cost me more than I had first figured I had better go the whole hog and get it all back in increased value based on increased rent so I added hardwood floors, etc. toward this end.  I now have the corner house rented at $22.50 per month & expect the sale value to run $l3,500.[12]


30]     Today I closed a deal for the purchase of lot 5l in Layman & Casey's Irvington Park Addition, same being located one square west of the Bancroft property at the N. W. corner of Riley & New York Streets.  The consideration was $800, which sum I obtained from Joseph G. Brannum for on or before one year giving deed to lot as security.  The details relative to closing this purchase will be found in the Caption of the deal in my Real Estate Record Book so I will not repeat them here.  I expect to build two more doubles on this lot as soon as I can get to it and this will probably depend on the sale of the Bancroft property.  These Bancroft houses & the ones I propose to build here are just a little bit above the class of doubles I described as most desirable, but I also realize that the rent I propose to start them at is high and I do not expect to be able to hold them at that figure.  If I can keep them there long enough to get my loan on an appraisement based on that rent and sell on the same basis I will be lucky.


Sudden Problems in Borrowing Money


     Aug l, l9l3  During the last few days I have been having a financial storm.  It started with the refusal of the German Home Building & Loan Co to carry out their agreement which was that I could absolutely depend on them for a loan of $7000 or approximately that amount.  As soon as I had the houses completed I was to let them know and they would then make the appraisement.  Several days ago I went in to see Mr. Fechtman, the secretary, and told him I would have the houses



all ready in about three weeks, [and] told him

I was ready to go to Bank for enough money to clean them all up and I wanted to know how long to take out the loan, as I knew they would want to get their money out as soon as possible, and I did not want to be paying interest in two places on money for the same deal at one time.  He waited till I got through and said with a smile, "We can't do you any good on the proposition".  Naturally I was very much dumbfounded as it was the first time in my experience that I had had a man go flat back on his promised word.  I remonstrated & he simply replied that he did not care to argue the matter that they didn't have any money.[13] 


I took the matter up with Indiana National Bank, and to cut the matter short, they discovered that I had placed an account with the Continental and said that that was the place for me to go for money.  It was the first time I was ever turned down in my life when I ask for a loan.  I simply said all right and walked out.  I went over to the Continental and ask Mr. Quick, the President, if he could let me have $3,000 now and then in 30 days $2,000 more.  He was very pleasant and agreed readily.  This provides me for everything for 5 months to come except the lumber bill and circumstances will have to determine my plans.



Five of the houses [at New York and Bancroft Streets] are now rented, two families having moved in.  The corner house is bringing $22.50 and the 4 inside ones are rented at $20 each.  If nothing unforeseen happens, will have them all completed & occupied by the l5th of this month.  I suspect I could have got 2l.00 for the inside houses but $20.00 will show a good profit and ought to keep them rented all the time.


Sun. Aug l0, l9l3  Ethel & I  celebrated our third wedding anniversary.  We took both babies and Rudolph Miller & his wife Agnes in the machine with us and drove down to Martinsville where we spent the day at the "Martinsill".  Ethel & I surely have much to be thankful for.  Jeanne & Elsa are both as well as can be.  This diary attests our financial progress and our home has been absolutely happy.


Ethel Rafert breaks wrist starting car


     Ten days ago today Ethel tried to crank the machine while I was in the house.  For some reason it kicked and broke her right wrist causing her intense pain.  Since it has been mending nicely, though it is extremely hard for her to handle little Elsa.  I have been keeping Jeanne home with me nights while Ethel stays with her mother who helps her with Elsa.[14]


Oct 22, l9l3  Ethel's arm is still troubling her.  The break is healed, but it may be a year before she recovers from the sprain.


[33]     Have had to change my financial plan again.  Mr. Quick ask if I could not possibly get along without the additional $l,500.  I have borrowed $405.00 on my New York Life policy and $300 for a year from Mary V. Stewart of Lafountain, all of which I have applied on this obligation.[15]  The first part of the month I went to Greenfield to see my uncle John Manche, my mother’s brother, to see if he had any money to loan.  He said he expected $2,800 in about the first of the year and that I could have it.[16]  If I get that I will clean up the small obligation I have incurred to pay the balance of my lumber bill


     Next Sunday Oct 26, I will be 30 years old.  Elsa will be one year old the l3th of next month.  The houses are all rented & bring $l25 a month.  The tenants seem entirely satisfied.  I am asking $l2,500 for them.


Trying to Borrow Money From Wealthy Family Members


[34]    Nov 25, 'l3    I have been out to see uncle John [Manche] again in regard to getting a $3,000 loan from him and learned that the money he had expected in about the first of the year would not only fail to come in, but that in order to protect it he would have to let the man who owes it have more money as there seems to be no hope from that source.  At Uncle John's suggestion I took the matter up with my cousin Ben Faut in his capacity as vice-president of the New Palestine bank at New Palestine, Indiana.[17]  I received a very nice letter from Ben stating money was so tight that they could not supply the needs of their local customers, and while the directors felt that the loan was a good one, they also felt that under present conditions their first duty was to their local customers.  I could not help but agree with this.  I also took the matter up with C. O. Fenton Co. of Logansport, a private firm loaning money.  I had been of service to them at one time and I knew that they would favor me if possible.  They replied to my letter that the banks in Logansport had stopped loaning money for the time being and that as a result they had had three times as many applications as they could care for and were loaned up.  I also advertised under a box number in the Indianapolis News but received no answers except from one loan shark who said I could have the money for l5%.  I let the matter rest then for a couple of weeks and then hit on this idea which I will put into execution tomorrow.



Since my last writing I received a letter from Mr. McNutt who is buying the Congress Avenue house from me in payments of $40.00 per month stating that he would be unable to continue the purchase.  He has a 6 month interest in the property at the present time.  I went to see him, encouraged him all I could and finally arranged to let the contract stand in abeyance for the next six months during which time he agrees to rent the house for $30.00 per month.  This arrangement really makes me more money than the 6% on my interest in the property has been amounting to though of course it does not bring in as much cash by $l0.00 per month. 




Dec 6, l9l3  I let Ethel and baby Elsa go to Rensselaer this morning to visit for a couple of days.  [Several pages of a complex business transactions are omitted here]


A Summary of the Year’s Earnings



A brief summary of what I have accomplished during the year may be timely.


     My total net earnings for the year l9l3 from all sources have amounted to $5,694.  As this is not a cash profit I am not liable on it for income tax under the new federal law which has just been passed.  [4/l5/54  Little did we then realize what this Federal Income Tax which started in l9l3 would later come to mean.  It started with l% after exemption of $4,000 and now is 22% on the lst 2,000 after an exemption of $600 and goes to a top of 9l% of income.]


     My total living and household expense for the year amounted to $l,63l.49 and my total automobile expense amounted to $272.52 or $l,904.0l in all.[18]


     Upon the following page I present a conservative invoice of any business to date of Jan l, l9l4.  I am sorry I did not keep such an invoice a year ago so that I would have it to compare with this one.  Undeveloped properties I have invoiced at exactly what I have in them.  (Jan 5, l9l4  See Page 48)


l9l3 has been my best year to date and I expect l9l4 to be still better.  I feel as if I am just getting started.



[47]               INVOICE JAN l, l9l4



Bancroft Street Property, $l2,000

l04l Congress Avenue, $3,829.79

Note - Laurence R. Alexander, $2,000

Pratt Street Mortgage, $8,000

Hiatt Note, $l25

Washington County farm mortgage, $l,l24.32

Household furniture, $2,000

Diamond ring, $250

Automobile, $500

Cash on hand, $9l.72

Rafert Estate Stock, $25,000

Riley corner lot 5l, $8l0.6l

Loan value Life Insurance, $500

Interest paid in advance, $26.75

Miscellaneous accounts, $50.00


[Total Assets] $56,308.l9    [2007 dollars, $1,689,245]



Ind. Trust Co.-Note due June l0,l9l4, $7,000

Mortgage l04l Congress Avevnue, $l,950

Note J. G. Brannum due July l8, l9l4, $800

N. H. Kipp note due July 22, l9l4, $l,l00

Continental National Bank 3 notes due Jan 6, l9l4, $7,500


Mary V. Stewart note due Oct l0, l9l4, $300

Frank C. Stewart note due Feb. 23, l9l4 balance, $300

New York Life Ins. Co. note due Dec 9, l9l4, $405

Undue interest accumulated to Jan l, l9l4, $69

Barrett against Bancroft St. property, $l22.59

Barrett against Congress Av.     "      about $35



[Total Liabilities] $l9,58l.59   [2007, $587,448]


Net worth  Jan l, l9l4, $37,726.60  [2007, $1,131,798]


Net worth  Jan l, l9l3, $33,404.85  [2007, $1,002,246]


*Net gain for year l9l3, $3,32l.75  [2007, $99,653]



[Page 48 of the original diary has been omitted-it contained the Invoice for Jan. l, l9l3 constructed Jan l, l9l4 from records.  Chris Miller, typist]



[49]                    l9l4


Jan 7, l9l4  I today completed the making of the new loan on the Congress Avenue property, executing a mortgage to Richard B. Griffith for $2000 bearing interest at the rate of 6% per annum payable semi annually.[19]



Jan l8, l9l4  I have had the blueprints for the four double houses I propose to build at Riley & New York Sts. in my possession since the l3th and have been busy getting estimates on cost.  To get everything arranged for before even a spade is put in the ground so you know pretty nearly where you are going to come out is the biggest work in connection with building.  After this is done it is simply a matter of carrying out your plans and seeing that the work is done properly.[20]


[50]  [Newton County farm grain sales omitted] 


[51]  .  .  .  my sister owes $2,000 to the Indiana Trust Co which she borrowed when she bought her electric machine.[21] 




.  .  .   Have been spending nearly all my time getting in bids & estimating costs on my four new doubles.  As near as I can figure they will cost me about $3,300 each [about $100,000 today, 2007].  I could cut it below this, but I believe that this is just about the lowest point consistent with getting their highest income.


     Just closed a deal with a Mr. Oscar Day.  He worked on the Bancroft job last year for Mr. Jenkins who put in the foundation work for me.  I told Day I would indorse his note for 90.00 so he could buy a cement block machine and get started for himself.  In turn he agreed to put the block in the foundation for l2 cents each.  Last year I paid Jenkins l3 cents for common blocks and l5 cents for panel blocks.  Day is a first class workman but like lots of chaps he simply lacks nerve.




Feb l9, 'l4   I today took out permit for the four double houses to be built at Riley & East New York Sts.


     Contracting the Building of Two Apartment Buildings


I have let the following contracts for the Riley houses:


     Brannum-Keene Lumber Co - all lumber & mill work including hardwood floor lumber, per list I hold, mill work not guaranteed, $4,760.

     A. Luke painting complete inside and out - 2 coats outside, including bath rooms, kitchen wall, floor upstairs to be painted & varnished, also including labor of putting in glass, $400.

     Donald Graham - Architect $l00 paid.

     Goldstein Bros. Electric fixtures complete - $l26.35

     Vonnegut Hardware Co - All hardware complete except nails $l38, including window cord.

     August Buschman & Sons - Plumbing installed complete except tile sewer for down spouts, $l400

     Frank Rafert[22] - Carpenter work complete, $2040

     J. C. O'Banion, 260 N. Temple - Plastering complete including keene cement work blocked off in bathrooms - $780

     Oscar Day - agrees to put blocks in foundation for 2 l/2 cents each.  I am to furnish all material.

     Building permit, $l2.90 paid.

     Irvington Coal & Lime Co. agrees to furnish all blocks necessary for foundation for 8 cents common & l0 cents panel face.  I paid them $200 in accepting contract and agreed to pay $l50 additional April first, l9l4 and balance when actual count could be obtained.  Will take about 5000 blocks.  This contract dated Feb. 20, l9l4.



Long Term Goals in His Business and Family Life




Feb 26, l9l4   I have some spare time this afternoon and it will eventually be interesting and possibly profitable if I jot down some of the more general plans which have been shaping themselves in my mind for some months past.  I shall attempt to show the larger goal toward which I am endeavoring under the continued sting of an insatiable ambition.  This ambition is so keen that at times it fairly hurts one. 


What I want is financial success based on honest effort and absolutely fair dealing.  Nothing short of this will satisfy me.  By financial success I do not mean the mere accumulation of money.  By it I mean the ability to maintain a standard of living which would recognize all the solid comforts of life, aesthetic & spiritual as well as physical, as necessities.  "Security" expresses it.  Now I live on a fraction of my income because I must save the balance to protect what I have already acquired and to enable me to increase my resources so that I can obtain other things I want.  To this end to illustrate, I shave myself to save time and the l5 cents per and I get my own breakfast, and whenever I can, help Ethel with the dishes to save the expense of a servant.  For the same reason Ethel does all her own work in the house.  We watch every expenditure.  We maintain an inhibitive frame of mind toward every expense of a personal nature which does not have a direct object.  I do not mean that we are parsimonious or that we never spend money foolishly.  But if on the other hand we see something we particularly want as in the case of an oriental rug we bought the other day, we buy it, but after we have made the purchase we have an instinctive feeling that we ought to offset it some other way.




I know we will never spend money lavishly without reference to value received no matter how great our income may become, but I do want freedom from that inhibitive instinct as regards our standard of living and personal comforts of all kinds.  First I want the satisfaction of knowing that if anything happened to me my wife and babies would be amply provided for.  Then I want the feeling of security against the ordinary vicissitudes of life over which we have control through money and protection as far as we can protect ourselves against the results of those happening, over which we have no controls.  Then I want the feeling that I can easily afford anything I want which is consistent with sane and wholesome living from a good cigar to a fireproof home.  [7/23/40 - This date is over 26 years later.  I am now 56.  I can honestly say that I have never varied from the doctrine I set forth in this entry of over a quarter of a century ago and I have surely seen and realize in great measure all that I looked forward to when I wrote this entry at the age of 30.] – [4/l6/54 I say this again at age 70.]


     The pleasure of scheming and planning and progressing toward these things is what makes life worthwhile.  A man is a fool who will poison his satisfaction in the final result, in the results, or as far as he may reach by stooping to do anything of which his innermost conscience and sense of what is fair and right will not approve in order to attain them.  If you cannot have these things and also the knowledge that you can look every man and every woman square in the eye, they are not worth while.  It is alright to be keen and shrewd but it is never worth while to take an unfair advantage.  It is awfully hard to draw the line.  .  .  .    It is hard to express these things.  I want all I can get fairly and honestly and for purely selfish reasons if no other, I do not want my satisfaction in these things spoiled by a guilty conscience. Life is too short.


[56]     All things are relative and our ambitions change with our tastes and any goal we obtain simply gives us a new point of view from which we can see other goals.  I never expect to reach a point where I can say "Now I have everything I want" for that would be the beginning of retrogression & decay.  I never expect to retire from business if I keep my health.  I do want more & more to know that I can pick and choose or go faster or slower as I may desire.   .  .  .  [dots mean a brief passage was omitted]



[57]  My estimate of the income capacity of the Riley corner completed is as follows:  Gross rent 8 sides @25.00 [equals] $2,400 annual [gross] income. [$72,000 in 2007 dollars]


Annual interest on $ll,000.00 @ 6%          $660

Allowance for vacancies per annum           $l00

Average upkeep per annum for a 5 yr period  $l50

Ins. Fire l2,000 Cyclone l0,000 per annum   $ 40

Tax estimates  .  .  . per  annum           $200        [Total expenses]                      $l,l50 

Net per annum, $l,250   [$37,500 today]


     On a similar comparable estimate my Bancroft houses are now netting me about $750 [$22,500 in 2007] per annum.  One half the gross is a pretty safe estimate for the net on the equity or after mortgage interest is paid.[23]

[From page 58 of the original to page 65 are a lengthy set of thoughts on business conditions which are omitted.  The summary of economic conditions he gives at the end on page 65 (on the next page of this text) is straight money and banking history and reflects his training in economics at Indiana University and his “hands on” business training from his father as well as personal experience.  Worldwide over-production and under-consumption and war clouds in the Balkans had shut down the world economy, leading to the labor disturbances he mentions as well as the need to create the Federal Reserve System.  I might mention that the massacre of over 100 miners and their families occurred in Colorado in 1914 at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, owned by the Rockefeller family.  In that case, the U.S. cavalry was called out to quell worker unrest and ended in killing many people.  SR]


[65]      The World-wide Economic Situation


Feb 28, 1914   .  .  .  We are emerging just now, at least I hope we are at, or near the end of a condition of panic or at least a condition of extreme conservation on the part of capital.  This condition began to manifest itself about a year ago.  Money has been extremely tight.  The larger sources of money for permanent loans, such as the life insurance and trust companies, are just now beginning to loosen up a bit.  They have been closed tight as far as loans were concerned.  The banks have been forced into piling up large reserves up to 60% in cases.[24]  Private individuals have been laying low waiting the turn of events.  This condition of affairs has been world wide, not local.       




A book could be written and would be necessary to give anything like a conception of the reasons for this condition.  Briefly, they fall under these headings:


     1st, A tendency toward over expansion prior to Jan. 1, 1913

     2nd, Waste due to war, particularly in the Balkans

     3rd, The increasing cost of living, in itself partly a result, and consequent social unrest expressing itself in strikes and labor troubles

     4th, Contraction and loss due to over capitalization of many lines of industry in the past, and a multitude of evil outgrowths of this crime in the last 25 years

     5th, In the United States, unrest and uncertainty due to tariff revisions, currency reforms, and the effort to adjust our Trusts.  These were our political issues.


[66]  I might add considerably to this list, but these are sufficient to convey what I mean by fundamental conditions.  Naturally, my progress will depend largely on freedom from disturbing conditions of a fundamental nature.  The outlook for general business prosperity seems good.  The war clouds are either passed or dropping to the horizon.  Even if the United States would be forced into intervention in Mexico it would mean no great war.[25]

The Wilson administration which has been in power for almost a year has done much to establish confidence.  The tariff question is settled for the present by revision downward and instead of disaster following, as was freely predicted, we find a keener incentive to greater efficiency.  Many necessities admitted free under the new law will help stem the increasing cost of living.


     The currency question is settled in a way remarkably satisfactory to everyone.  The rediscount privilege and reserve bank plan will go far toward giving us a more elastic currency and ought as a result to put a stop to such stringencies as we have been experiencing which are due to national conditions.


     The Wilson Administration has three years to run and as everybody seems pretty well satisfied, it will probably continue four years after that.


     The country is bare of merchandise which should give impetus to immediate production.  These improving conditions are reflected in the money market which is much easier than it was even 30 days ago.


     All signs point toward a period of great activity in the business world.


     For these reasons as far as fundamental conditions are concerned I feel that I am starting my program at a very fortunate time.


     .  .  .   My own health is perfect.  I never have any aches or pains.  I had typhoid fever when I was l3 and this is the only serious illness I ever had.  I used to have colds frequently but have not been bothered except at rare intervals in the last few years.  I have never had a contagious or transmittable disease in my life.  I live simply.  Our food is substantial and very plain.  We rarely have deserts and frequently make a meal off of mush & milk or some simple dish.  I eat more or less candy as I am very fond of sweets but I have yet to learn that I have a stomach.  I [67] have no habits except smoking and I do smoke a good deal and have ever since I was seventeen.  I cannot see that it has hurt me, though I would fare badly if I attempted to run a mile.  On the other hand, I know that at any time I could start out and walk twenty miles in five hours without stopping.  I know that I am considerably above the average in physique and I feel that I have nothing to fear in the score of my health.  I have trained myself not to worry, though I have a tendency in that direction.




March 2, l9l4  I hope to see my debts contracted for business and productive purposes increase tremendously during the next ten years.


     Consumption debts as opposed to production debts I handle on a 30 day basis with the people from whom I buy, as a matter of convenience but pay all these bills immediately when presented by mail or otherwise.  I have never been asked to pay a bill in my life after the same had once been presented.




     However, when money gets tight, no matter how excellent ones personal credit may be it is sometimes impossible to get money for long time real estate loans.  For example I know a man in this city who is close to being a millionaire who found it impossible to borrow $40,000.00 at 5% on the Lombard Building located on Washington St between Meridian and Penn Sts. four months ago.  .  .  .      


     In regard to securing locations, I may have some difficulty in obtaining just what I want at a price I want to pay.  As the city grows and streets and sidewalks and other improvements are extended, new locations will become available from time to time.  I may have to pay something over an average of $375.00 per house but if the location is worth it I would be justified in doing so, within reasonable limits say $500.00 a house.   .  .  . 




This program is also based upon the premise of using double houses exclusively.  I have already given my reasons for using this medium.  They are the best bet now I am sure, but if at any time something else presents that seems better I will use it and reorganize my whole program without hesitation.  I am aiming at net worth, not double houses.  They and in fact this whole program is simply a means to that end.  If I see a shorter road, consistent with my ideals I will take it. 


[26 years later, 7/22/40  I did not get to carry out this program in terms of double houses.  First I developed the double-double house which was a much better medium.  I did not and could not force the changed conditions due to the world war and our later entry into it.  Building shortly became impossible due to great increases in cost.  Later came the big depression, then the socialistic NEW DEAL and now another World War.  However, this was my fundamental program and in considerable measure I carried it out with various medium and adjustments to conditions.  The fundamental idea was to build a productive machine based on rental income so that the work done in any one year would continue to insure profit to subsequent years while you were working at something else.  I still own all the double-double houses I got to build and the idea is still good and in total revenue I have gone very considerably beyond my picture as set up in pattern.]



In my estimate as set out I have allowed $2,300 a year to cover our living expense including automobile expense.[26]  .  .  .   This average includes over $l,000 worth of additions to our household furniture, and as in addition we have spent more or less money for pleasure and had two babies in this period, I think my allowance of $2,300 a year will be sufficient not only to cover this item but to allow us greater freedom than we have been accustomed to exercise.  I expect to spend more and more in this way as long as I feel we are getting value received.  It pays for the same reason that it pays me to wear a handsome diamond ring.  Everything is relative, and should be kept in proportion.




March 3, 'l4   I believe the new girl will be alright.  A new broom always sweeps clean, however, Ethel is easy to get along with and as we will do everything in reason to give her a pleasant home with us I hope she will prove alright and stay a long time.


     In line with this better standard of living program we are doing much to improve the inside of our home.  The home we are living in at 239 E. llth Street belongs to the Estate.  It will be three years the l0th of next August since we moved in.  We have gradually improved it, and while I have always been careful not to get to much money in it, we have done much to make it more pleasing and livable.  .  .  .   At first we thought we would live in this house only a short time, but Ethel & I have talked it over and decided that the wise course will be to stay here till we are ready to build the kind of place we will be satisfied with.  With our increasing prosperity our standards are rising rapidly and there is no use putting $5,000 or $6,000 in a home now when in six or seven years we have a pretty good prospect of being able to build a much better place.




March l0 l9l4   I today completed purchase of Lot 52 in Layman & Carey’s Irvington Park Addition to the City of Indianapolis   .  .  .


[74]  Construction on Riley Avenue and New York Streets


April l8, 'l4   .  .  .   I have been very busy.  I have not yet completed the Bancroft loans and hated to start the Riley job before doing so as I will not have enough money to clean up the Riley property till these loans are made.  On the other hand the weather became favorable by the middle of March and the men were anxious to start work and for a number of reasons it seemed advisable to begin work as soon as possible.  I was in a quandary as my mind was set to clean up the balance I owed the bank on the Bancroft deal before going ahead with the Riley proposition.  I stewed around for several days and then sat down and wrote Mr. Quick a letter which I presented in person as usual.  I ask him whether, if I went ahead, he would protect me if I got into a "pinch".  He said alright go ahead" and I left his office with the feeling that I had made a fool of myself by being too cautious.


     After this I immediately began work, starting excavating March 23rd.  Then came a week of bad weather which filled up the cellars and caused them to cave more or less, but finally I got under headway again and things have been humming ever since.  Have kept from l2 to l5 men on the job right along.  Three of the houses are completely framed.  The corner house is not yet started as the men needed the room to work in till they could get some stuff off the ground.  I will begin excavating it day after tomorrow.  The weather has been fine all this week and I have completely regained my optimistic outlook, which I am free to admit I lost for a week or so when everything was hung up.


Household help and family sickness


This was due partly to the fact that we have been having our first siege of sickness.  Jeanne took the grip which culminated in an abscess in her ear which finally broke and is still running, though she is feeling alright again.  For ten days my sleep was all broken up. 


Maggie, the hired girl I spoke of a while back lasted just two weeks which with Jeanne’s illness made it very weary for Ethel.  Elsa too has been very fretful off and on with "toofies".  To cap the climax Ethel took to her bed where she has been for a week and where she still is with a trained nurse in attendance at $25 a week.  I escaped with a severe tooth ache which did not add any to my optimism. 



On the other hand we have our old girl Jesse back.  Also I have a pretty good prospect of selling the Bancroft houses for $l2,500  .  .  .   If this deal goes through I will try to buy the next lot west of my Riley property.  This would enable me to build another house facing New York Street and give me two lots l30' deep for the two houses I am building facing Riley.  .  .  .


April 29, 'l4  In my last entry I forgot to mention that Mary V. Stewart who is Ethel’s step-grandmother, told me she had more money to loan if I wanted it.  April 7th I took up the $300 note and executed a new one for $420 for one year from date.


     I today started excavating for the corner house at Riley.  The other three are practically ready to shingle.  The weatherboarding is on.


     The Bancroft deal still looks good though it has not progressed any further.


     Ethel is up and around again and she and the babies are all feeling much better.  All these things are extremely encouraging.   .  .  .




.  .  .   I am trying to get control of three lots at the corner of De Quincy & New York, one square west of the Riley property.  These lots would have a total footage of l26' on New York by l46 on De Quincy.  On these I could duplicate the Riley corner of 5 houses.  I am trying now to tie them up in options merely, but if everything goes right could build them all up this year making l0 doubles for the years work instead of 8 as I had planned.


     Ground values are increasing so rapidly in the East End that if I waited till next year I am confident I would have to pay a premium of 20% over present prices for the same ground.   .  .  .


[77]      Rounding Out Purchase of Land for New York and De Quincy Street Double Houses


May 25 l9l4   I today definitely contracted to buy the lot at the N. W. corner of (59) De Quincy & New York Sts for $850, $200 cash and mortgage back for balance payable on or before one year from date.  Thus I can clean it up this year or throw it over into next year’s business as seems best.


     At the same time I also definitely contracted to purchase the lot next (60) west of the above lot for $750 upon practically the same arrangement.  This gives me a corner, 85 [feet] on New York Street by about l46 [feet] on De Quincy and will be the site for my next building.[27]  I am going out with [architect] Donald Graham tomorrow afternoon to figure out how best to use it.   .  .  .




May 30 l9l4   This is Decoration Day.  My old roommate Harry Hoffman came home from Akron, Ohio, and I took him and his parents and Ethel to the 500 mile race at the Speedway.  There were over a hundred thousand people there and I suspect at least l0,000 machines [cars].  We enjoyed a very pleasant day.[28]   .  .  .


[Business details from  remainder of 78 to 83 omitted]



[83]   .  .  .


     Last night the Brannum-Keene Lumber yard at East Washington and the Belt [railroad line] burned with a loss of $l50,000 covered by insurance.  The mill and office buildings were saved so that they will be in good shape again soon and I will not be materially delayed in my building.  I stopped and offered Mr. Brannum my sympathy, but found him unmoved.  He is a man of wonderful poise and constant good nature coupled with keen business ability.   .  .  .


[85]   June 19, ‘14


Ethel was 26 years old the l5th of this month.  I gave her a $20 gold piece for a birthday present.  This morning she and her mother and Jeanne & Elsa went up to Lafontaine, Indiana to visit Ethel’s step-grandmother Mary V. Stewart.  They will probably stay till I come for them in the machine about July 4th.  Jeanne was so excited over the prospect of a "choo-choo" ride that she could not eat her breakfast, but Elsa took all her bottle and ate an egg besides.  The trip will do them all good.




The Riley houses are coming along fine.  I have an open space in the rear 76 x 86' and the thought has occurred to me to build a small garage facing the alley on the rear of lot 43 which is clear of encumbrances.  According to my present idea it would have five separate spaces for machines so that each person could lock up his machine by separate, independent doors.  Each space would be 8' wide by l6' deep.  I could build it for $850 complete and it ought to bring at least $l7 a month which would be practically net.  I could thus use ground otherwise unproductive and help the rental of the houses.     .  .  . 



June 28   I just returned this afternoon from La Fontaine,  Indiana.  I spent yesterday and today there with Ethel & the babies we were sure glad to see each other.  I couldn't have stayed away from them much longer.  Will spend next Sunday with them too.  I want them to stay up there yet for a week or two as it is fine for all of them.  They all look as well as can be.


     I left last Wednesday & went to the Newton Co. Farm.  It looked fine.  The new tenant is O. K.  His corn is the best I have seen anywhere.   .  .  .




July 14  .  .  .  The Riley houses are coming along fine.  I will have two of them ready to rent in about l0 days.  

.  .  .


Aug 2, 14  .  .  .   We have been having extremely hot & dry weather.  The crops over the country are good, but in Indiana they are all shot to pieces.  I just returned from another trip to Newton County and while we had an excellent oat prospect of 60 bushels to the acre, we will be lucky if we get 30 bushels.  The corn will have to have rain in the next ten days or the crop will fall far short.


     It looks as if all Europe would be plunged into war.  If the Balkan war affected us as it did there is no telling what this would do to us.  The stock exchanges are all closed now.  This is a time to trim sails, I feel sure.   

.  .  .  [1/13/40   This was just preceding the start of the first world war with all that followed.  The 2nd world war started last September, 1939.]




Aug 6, ‘14     .  .  .   The situation in Europe looks very bad indeed.  Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, England, Russia & Serbia are now at war and it looks as if Italy & other nations would be drawn into the fight.  30 days ago we wouldn't have thought such a calamity possible.  It is hard to tell what the effect will be on the country.  Our financial condition seems very sound.    .  .  .




Aug l8,'l4   Things have been going pretty slow of late.  I have rented three sides of the Riley houses and two of the families have moved in, but though I have been advertising heavily on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays I cannot get any replies.  I am not at all uneasy as this may be due entirely to the hot weather and to the fact that it is a little early in the season.  However, it makes me restless.  It will be 30 days at least before the houses are all finished and I am not crowding them very fast since they are not renting readily.  I have two more sides ready to occupy and I don’t want to finish up and have too many waiting for tenants.   .  .  .


The war situation in Europe looks worse and worse.  It is hard to tell how it will affect us.  All together, this is a pretty trying time and it is impossible to do anything but wait.  The whole thing dropped out of a clear sky.


Sept l, 'l4  Since the last entry have been busy pushing the houses to completion and in another ten days or two weeks I ought to be through.  Four families have moved in the Riley houses.   .  .  .




As near as I can figure the summer’s work will increase my net income about $l700 a year.[29]  Have just arranged to take two more parties out to the houses in the morning and with the prospects I have on, I'll have them all completed and occupied in two weeks and then I'm going squirrel hunting and forget there ever was such a thing as a double house.  

.  .  .




Sept 24   I today completed the building of the five double houses at Riley Avenue and E. New York Street.  Families have been living in some of the houses for over six weeks, but the last work, that of grading and sodding, was completed today.

.  .  . 


[95]   .  .  .   This year like l9l2 has been very heavy [in terms of household expenses], due in part to the fact that I spent at least $250.00 in additions to our household furniture.  Also we have been reasonably liberal with ourselves all year. For example we have set a better table and have had help practically all year.  Since our old girl Jesse has been back with us the running of the household has been smooth as silk.  She lives with us though so inconspicuously that she is never in the way.  I pay her $5.00 a week and she does the washing & ironing.  I could hardly save much on this even if we had no girl.  She is entirely satisfied as she couldn't get a better home and for she and Ethel together the work is easy while it is entirely too heavy for one person.  Also Jesse takes care of the babies for us sometimes of an evening when we want to go out and this is mighty pleasant.  I won’t save on this item for Ethel’s sake.  .  .  .


[96]   .  .  .   Sept 26  I just rented the last of the Riley houses to a Mr. J. W. Perkins.


A Trip to the Newton County Farm and a Decision


Oct 8 ‘14   Business is sure "picking up".  I have been just about as rushed as I well could be ever since making the last entry.  Monday Sept 28th I left for the farm in my machine.  Had Ben Alexander, my niece’s husband come to Indianapolis and go up with me.  I felt that the time had come to decide the farm matter and in my own mind I felt that the thing to do was to start foreclosure proceedings at once but I wanted Ben to be on the ground and see the place and share in the decision with me.  This way he shared the responsibility and, if for any reason things did not turn out entirely satisfactorily, he could not come back and say "Why didn't you do it some other way."  We found the corn crops excellent.  I think there must be from $2,000 to $2,500 worth of stuff in the place of Bradford's share to market yet this year.  I was very much pleased.  Found that Bradford had collected the oats money.  We concluded that the thing to do was to start proceedings at once before he could get away with the corn.  The machine ran like a top and we made the trip without mishap. 


[97]  Got home Wed. night Sept 30th and found a letter awaiting me from Vanderslice  .  .  .  I just wired him this evening that I felt we could not settle the matter satisfactorily at long range and as I had been wanting to take a few days vacation my wife and I would leave here Sat morning Oct l0, at 7 o'clock arriving in Oklahoma City Sunday morning at 8:40 and that I would see him Monday.  I asked him to wire if this would be convenient.


[98]     I will probably hear from him tomorrow.  The trip will give Ethel a chance to see something of the southwest and we ought to have a good time and make a satisfactory deal. So much for that.


     To go back, - A few days after I returned from the farm a Mr. Leonard Estes of Livingston Ill. called me up and asked if I was the owner of a mortgage on the l00 acres in Washington county.  I told him I was and that I remembered some correspondence I had with him in regard to it about a year ago.  He said he would like to see me in regard to buying it.  I asked him $800 cash for it and finally agreed to take $760.  He has agreed to give this and we will close the matter up tomorrow.  I am glad to sell it and get the money out of it as it wasn't bringing me anything.  .  .  .



Hard Negotiations in Oklahoma City on Settling Newton County Land Issues


Oct 2l  Instead of the wire assigning the crops I received a wire from Bradford saying that Vanderslice would be back Wednesday, Oct l4th and for me to come ahead.  I had told Berryhill to go ahead with papers and we had planned to file suit Thursday Oct l5th.  In the mean time I had promised Ethel & her sister Jeanne & my old roommate Harry Hoffman who was home on his vacation that I would take them in the machine to Bloomington, Ind.  We left Monday morning Oct l2th and got back Tuesday afternoon.  Wed. morning Ethel & I left for Oklahoma City arriving Thursday morning and found Bradford & Vanderslice waiting for us at the Hotel Skirvin where we had arranged to stop.  I spent the rest of that day and all the next threshing the matter out with Bradford, his wife, Vanderslice and their attorney. 

.  .  .


[100]    Vanderslice promised to come East with Bradford just as soon as he could possibly get away to see the farm and determine whether he will take hold of it in permanent shape.  In consideration of their putting everything in good shape to date I agreed to give them further time.  We left the matter on a good will basis.  Bradford has plenty of property, but just now conditions are very bad in the Southwest on account of the European War.  They can’t sell their cotton and everything is at a standstill.  I was glad to arrange matters this way as it avoided the necessity of the suit, got us our interest and the money I had advanced and gives them a chance to work out the proposition. 

.  .  .


[101]     Ethel & I had a very pleasant trip and I am mighty glad we went.  We got home Sunday afternoon Oct l8th.  The babies stayed with their Grandpa and Grandma Stewart and we were sure tickled to see them again.


Dr. Stewart gets a new Overland automobile


     With part of the money I paid back to Dr. Stewart he traded in his old machine and bought a new l9l5 model Overland.  I am mighty glad he did for he needed it badly and deserves the comfort & pleasure the new modern machine will give him.[30]


     Mr. Moorer, attorney for Miss Quick, is out of the city so it will be the first of the week before we can close up the deal.  I don't mind the delay for every day I hold the property means $5 or $6.00 additional profit.  The more I think of that deal the luckier I think I am on account of the opportunity it gives me to clean up my rather large floating indebtedness.  I think too I have a good customer in Miss Quick and I expect this to lead to more business in the future.  [l/l3/40  As much as I realized the importance of the sale of the Riley Ave. houses at the time I can realize it even more now for as conditions developed due to our later entry into the war, if I had not made this sale at this time I could not have gone ahead and built both the De Quincy & Sherman Drive properties which became the back bone of my dependable income.]


Reflections on turning 31 years old


Oct 26, 1914.  I was 3l years old today.  I was born Oct 26, l883 on a Friday at 4 o'clock a.m.  I feel I have everything to be thankful for, good health, a dear wife, the two sweetest babies in the world, a prospering business, good friends, established credit, a clean heritage from my parents of a good name, a sound body and a keen mind a purpose in life, and a feeling of quiet contented happiness.  What more could a man ask.  .  .  .




[102]     Oct 27, 'l4  I today sold the five double houses I built this summer to Jeanette Quick of this city for $24,650.  .  . 


     I paid off the $5,000 I owed the Brannum-Keene Lumber Company and also the $2000 I owed the Continental National.  Thus at one crack I got rid of $22,000 indebtedness.  They can't come to me for the mortgages till both the properties and Miss Quick are exhausted.  I still have plenty of money on hand to clear up the De Quincy corner, etc., but have not yet shaped my plans.   This is the best deal I ever made.  It puts me in shape to go right ahead building next year.  I am ready now for that matter and in stronger shape than ever.


Nov 3,'l4  One thing I have been neglecting to put down, partly in the hope that I would know the outcome of the matter and that is the situation as regards the sale of the mortgage I hold on the Washington County farm.  I have not only not made the sale, but to date am out $l0l.05 and I feel pretty sure I am stung.  Leonard Estes of Livingston, Ill. agreed to buy the mortgage.  He claims to be the owner of the farm.  While I had never met him before I had no doubt as to his identity on account of his familiarity with some correspondence we had in regard to the matter about a year ago.  .  .  .


Devastating Effects of World War I on Business


[104]     In the middle of page 67 of this record on Feb. 28, l9l4 in discussing the possibility of my being able to carry out the plans I had out lined on the proceeding pages, I said "The thing I must fear is some unforeseen calamity such as might arise out of fundamental conditions of business or nature, fire, flood war or social upheaval.  Out of a clear sky with no warning, such a condition is now a fact.  Half the civilized world is at war. England & all her possessions, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Japan, Russia, Belgium, and  Serbia are at each others’ throats.


[105]     The map of Europe will be redrawn.  Credit is wrecked, the stock exchange closed and waste of human life and money which is stored human energy, is being committed on a scale never known before.  In this country, as a result, we are in a period of great uncertainty.  Just now we are in a panic, though we may be on the threshold of great prosperity, for the nations at war will have to depend on us in a great measure for their necessities.  That my individual plans will be seriously affected is beyond question.  There are more houses for rent and more people out of work in Indianapolis right now than I have ever know before.  You can’t build houses in the face of such a market, though I hope that by Spring things will readjust themselves even if the war is to be of long duration as I have no doubt it will be.  Money is very tight.  I was lucky beyond power of expression in selling the Riley Avenue property to such good advantage.  It enabled me to clean up all my floating indebtedness and pull for shore.  I owe the bank nothing, the Lumber company nothing, Dr. Stewart nothing besides getting out from under $l5,000 funded loans.  Have enough money on hand to clear up the De Quincy corner, pay off Mary V. Stewart and have plenty left provided I do not have to protect my sister’s note as explained above.  [l/l3/40  My sister and mother had bought an electric automobile which was the reason for this indebtedness in the first place.  They sure enjoyed it for several years.  It would go about 60 miles without recharging the batteries.  Some machine for $2000.00.][31]    .  .  .


I don’t know what my next move in the direction of making money will be.  I think the best thing for the present is to sit tight and stay close to shore.  Next Tuesday Nov. l0th if nothing unforeseen occurs I am going to take Ethel and go down in Green County on a quail hunt for a week.  We will stay with my old friends the Moods at whose house I have been every year for the last ten at sometime during the month of November.


[106]     .  .  .  Tomorrow morning I will take Ethel and go down to Moods’ and shoot quail and forget this ever was a note or a house or a tenant or a bank or a buyer or a telephone or a newspaper or anything else except recreation.


Nov l7 ’14   I returned yesterday morning from Moods’.  Ethel & I had a dandy time.  The weather was perfect.  Rabbits were very plentiful.  I must have killed fifty or more, giving them to Troy Mood and Ira Parker who hunted with me, to sell.  Quail were scarce and I only got ten.  I had my eye with me and I don't believe I wasted five shells.  We also gathered hickory nuts, persimmons, etc. and had a generally all round good time.  I am back full of vim and ready to take up business with renewed vigor.  The old Winchester shotgun I’ve got I bought when I was fifteen years old, saving it up in pennies and nickels which I accumulated in various ways.  I wouldn't take anything for it, for I have used it so long that it is a part of me and I can just naturally put the shot where I want them and never know that there is a sight on the gun.  I have never hunted with anybody who could shoot quicker than I can.  There is nothing that will absolutely make me forget everything else and entirely free my mind like picking up that old gun.


     I’ve got Donald Graham at work on plans for a four apartment flat building of which I propose to build four on the De Quincy corner next year if further investigation proves that the kind of building I want can be built for what I think it can.  You will remember that I passed up the flat idea for this corner (See Page 92) for the reason that the flats would be all tied together with one heating plant which would mean that they would have to be handled as one unit for loan or sale.  My idea now is to make them independent by placing a large furnace or small hot water plant in each building.  This will make them independent units.  It is a whole lot easier to get four loans of $5,000 each than one loan of $20,000.00.  I could put five buildings on the corner by crowding but have concluded on four instead which will give plenty of room. 


[107]   .  .  .  By giving a nice front porch these flats will be just as desirable to live in in the summer as in the winter and by building only four buildings on the corner they will all have a nice front yard.  When I get the rough plans I will begin figuring costs and gradually work the thing into definite shape.  Just as soon as I can get some idea of the details of the proposition but before going very far in this direction I will take up the financial end of it with the bank.  I want to hit them for a $20,000.00 line of credit just to see what they say if nothing else.  If upon further investigation this plan proves feasible so that I am satisfied in my own mind as to its being practical etc I will write Mr. Quick a letter.


     .  .  .


So far as I am personally concerned everything looks pretty good just now except that 3ll Bancroft is vacant and 305 Bancroft went vacant today though their rent is paid up to Dec 4th.  The house formerly occupied by the family I had to bring suit against to get out of 306 Riley is still vacant and I told Miss Quick I would pay the rent till I found another tenant.  I am going to get busy now and rent these or bust.


     In the Estate property I had five flats go vacant during the past month but have them all rented again I also filled up the vacancies in the Griffith building on Cornell Avenue.  .  .  .




Nov 2l  After getting my regular detail work in hand which had piled up while I was away I started figuring on my flat proposition in earnest.  I haven't gotten far enough yet to be sure whether it is the thing to do or not.  It will depend on what the buildings cost.  If they estimate too high I won’t build them.  .  .  .  This morning I saw Mr. Quick at the bank and told him what I was doing.  .  .  .  He said "If you decide to go ahead, I don't think there is any doubt about your getting the money."  He added, "You are careful and conservative in your business and are making good and I do not think the board will hesitate any more than I would."    .  .  .




Dec l, l9l4.  I just closed the account with the Riley Ave. houses.  I find that my net cash profit on the transaction from start to finish amounted to $3,260.l2 which is by far the best profit I ever made on one deal.[32]     .  .  . 

I cannot expect to escape unscathed, but when I see the number of houses and flats vacant that rent for $30 & up I feel that my theories are standing fire.  In this connection it is interesting to note that the l6 apartment Griffith building which I have charge of on Cornell Street renting from $l5 to $l8 is staying solidly occupied.  This building rents better in hard times than in good times.  I am going right ahead with my flat plans for even if conditions continue as they now are I think these buildings will rent readily.  I might fail to make a big profit but at least I can't loose anything and I'll buy material & labor at least l5% cheaper than I paid this summer. 

.  .  .


Harsh Business Conditions due to World War I




Dec 6 l9l4   That we are experiencing the hardest times just now that this country and this city have known in years and years is beyond all question a fact.  Even in this county, as the result of the upheaval in Europe, thousands of people are practically destitute and dependent on charity.  Business is all upset and no one knows just what to do or what to expect.  While I have made more money this year than any year before, at the same time I feel that our expenses should at all times be rigidly inside our dependable income so that all building profits and unforeseen profits go into our savings.  .  .  .




     I think I will have the plans for my flats completed this week.  I can then figure definitely and decide just what is best to do.








Dec. l9, l9l4.  Yesterday afternoon I received the completed plans for flat buildings for the De Quincy corner from the Architects, Graham & Hill.  Their services cost me $l25.  There are still a good many questions remaining to be answered before I decide to go ahead with this deal next spring, but as the result of having the definite plans I can now go after exact information.


Dec 23 l9l4.  Since receiving the above plans I have been figuring on them.  One thing I have concluded and that is not to build them out of stucco as I had first planned.  They will be either frame or brick veneer.  I want to use brick if possible as it will prove a much more solid and standard proposition in every way, easier to borrow on & sell.  If I can get the buildings up inside of $7,000 each I will use brick and figure on a $25.00 rental basis. 

.  .  .


[114]     Dec. 28,'l4.  The year’s business is for all practical purposes closed.  As I have a little more time now than I may have then I will close my books for the year, make up my invoice and see what I have accomplished during the last l2 months.


Looking Back at This Diary 26 Years Later


[January l6, l94l  I wrote the preceding pages almost 26 years ago.  Our daughter Jeanne, now almost 30 years old and the mother of my grandchildren Steve & Christie, asked me about reading this diary.  This pleased me a great deal.  I have kept it up consistently throughout the years and there are now seven volumes like this.  I get a big kick out of going back a good many years and reading what I then wrote and again getting the point of view of my then age.  Before turning this first volume over to Jeanne I have been reading up to this point and dotting "I's & crossing Ts” to make it a little more legible.  Most of the time spent on this diary were odd moments which I enjoyed filling in that way.  I am impressed by the good friends I made such as Joe Brannum, George Quick and others.  I am impressed by the unlimited faith and nerve that I had.  I was mighty careful, but I planned without fear and the Good Lord sure had his angels looking out for me.  I am impressed by the way things unfolded, one leading to another.  Now at age 57 I do not have to hurry quite so much and can at least write more legibly (or can I?).  I note a variation in the size of my writing from time to time.  The better I felt about what I was writing the bigger I wrote.  This was unconsciously done at the time.]


Invoice of all assets and debts, January 1, 1915


INVOICE  JAN. lst. l9l5        Assets [115]


Bancroft St. property, $12,000                              

Congress Av. Property, $3,800                                     

Note - Laurence R. Alexander, $1,925                             

Washington County farm mortgage, $1,000                              

Household furniture, $2,000                                     

Diamond Ring, $275                                              

Automobile, $400                                                 

Cash on hand, $721.64                                               

Rafert Estate Stock - Par $22,200.00, value $25,000

Loan Value life insurance, $553                                  

Interest paid in advance, $19                                    

Oscar Day note, $50                                              

G. S. Brewster notes, $l,582.44

Actual investment lots 59,60,6l, L&C Irv. Pk Addition,         2,525.85

Value unexpired fire insurance, $109                             

                                                        Total Assets:  $5l,960.93    [2007, about $1,560,000]





Mtg. l04l Congress Av. due Jan 7, l9l9   $2,000

    Richard B. Griffith

Mtg. 30l-3 N. Bancroft due Jan l9, l9l9  $2,300

    Mary M. Dinnin

Note to Mary V. Stewart due Apr.7, l9l5    $420

Mtg. Lot 59 L&C Ad due June l0, l9l5       $650

    John E. Phares

Mtg. Lots 60&6l L&C Add. due June l0,l9l5  $558.64

    Layman & Carey

Mtg 305-7 N.  Bancroft due June l7,l9l9  $2,000

    Geo. T. Blue-Trustee

Mtg. 309-ll N. Bancroft due June l7,l9l9 $2,200

    Geo. T. Blue-Trustee

Note-Nathan H. Kipp due July 22,l9l5     $l,l00

Note New York Life Ins. Co. due l2/l9/l5   $405

Paving Roadway Riley Ave. Per Contract     $385.96

  Oct. 8,l9l4 with J. Quick due l/4/l5

Allowance for carrying out other agreements $90

  with Jeanette Quick

Undue interest accumulated to date         $l8l

Barrett Congress Ave. & Roadway on New York $l30

  St. at Bancroft about                                


Total Liabilities:    $l2,420.60  [2007, about $373,000]


Net gain for year l9l4 over and above all living

expense, automobile expense & all depreciation   


$2,8l3.73     [2007, about $84,000]


See Page ll6 for further explanation of this invoice and other notes on the year’s business.


[116]   I sustained no actual losses during the year except the bad checks from Leonard Estes amounting to $l0l.00 and the rent I paid Miss Quick for 306 Riley Ave.


     Household furniture I have invoiced at the same value as last year though during the year I added probably $300.00 to it in new stuff.  A sewing machine at $45.00 and an oriental rug at $65.00 were the largest items.


I also put in a new furnace in the house I live in at a cost to me of $l30.00.  .  .  .


     My total household and living expense for the year not including life insurance premiums was $2,389.33 or $757.84 more than last year.  Automobile expense amounted to $235.87 or $36.65 less than last year.  This is rather surprising.  Living expense and automobile together amounted to $2,625.20 this year as against $l904.0l for the same times last year.  [about $78,750 in 2007 dollars]


     .  .  .   As the result of this year’s business my credit has more than doubled and I am in much stronger positions in every way.  Over and above my living expense, automobile expense, depreciation and losses I made a clear net gain of $28l3.73.  Taking the year by itself the net cash earnings of my business amounted to $5964.09 or $497.99 a month.  [today, 2007, about $180,000 or $15,000 per month]




[117]     In every way l9l4 has been a very profitable and satisfactory year.  It is my best year to date.  The outlook for l9l5 is uncertain in many ways but I am going ahead just as if there were no clouds in the sky.  Such clouds as there are I have no control over.  If I sit down and wait a year for times to get better I know I won’t make anything, while if I go ahead I may not make a lot but at least it is unlikely that I will loose anything.  When you are in the clear as I am now it is sort of trying to jump back into the middle of the swirl, but I would sooner be in the middle of something anytime than sitting still.  I'll get some exercise anyway.  I can not reasonably expect to build the De Quincy corner and sell it all in l9l5 as I did the Riley corner in l9l4, but on the other hand I know I will not unless I build it first.  That will be the big job for this year.  (l/l6/4l - Little did I realize at the time how wise this was.)  .  .  .


Tues. Jan l2,'l5.  I have been a bachelor for the last few days.  Ethel went to Chicago last Saturday to visit relatives.  She has never been in Chicago before and I know she will have a good time.  She will be home about day after tomorrow.  The babies are at their grandma Stewart’s.  The say their mama is in "Chuck-ca-ca-go."


     I have been very busy working on estimates and developing my ideas regarding the proposed flat buildings on the De Quincy corner.   .  .  .




Fri. Jan l5,'l5.  I left with the Continental National a letter stating my flat proposition in detail and asking for a credit of $22,000.00.  I told them they need not be afraid of turning me down, for if in their judgment it would be unwise to go ahead with the proposition this year, I would be glad to abide by that decision.  I also sent a copy of this letter to Mr. Brannum.  .  .  .


Tues. Jan l9 'l5.  I have succeeded in renting 305 Bancroft which still leaves 309 & 3ll vacant.  Family moved in today.  A reliable estimate places the number of vacant houses in Indianapolis at the present time at 7,000.  This is an awful situation and sometimes makes me feel as if I wouldn't risk building a chicken coop.  The newspapers are full of war and disaster.  During the past week an earthquake occurred in central Italy.  The number of dead is reported at 50,000 with many thousands more homeless and injured.


[119]     So used have we become to reports of huge numbers of human beings killed and injured in war and so calloused to tales of suffering that this disaster has caused very little comment.  After all what is it in comparison with the fact that over five millions of people are on the verge of starvation in Belgium.  I regret that these occurrences should happen to interfere with and possibly make impossible the carrying out for some time of the plans upon which I had set my heart, but on the other hand I am so thankful that we can live in peace and that I have enough to keep my family from want of any necessity that in the balance the mere earning of a few dollars more or less counts as nothing.   .  .  .


Tues. Feb. 2, 'l5.  Everything has practically been at a standstill the last two weeks and I never felt more restless or less certain of anything than I have lately.  Business conditions look worse now than they did 30 days ago.  Mr. Quick advises me to wait 60 days at least before deciding definitely whether to go ahead or not with the flats.


     I have a deal on with my cousin Henry Lantz to trade him the Griffith building for l20 acres he has adjoining the land of another cousin of mine, Ed Ruschaupt, to whom I expect to sell it if I get it.[33]  My plan is to buy the Griffith building myself & make the deal if I can see where I can make something out of it.  Ed Ruschaupt told me a while back he would give $ll7 an acre for Lantz's land.  Don't know if anything will come of it or not. Griffith offered to take $l4,000 for their building a while back.  My plan is to give Lantz an even swap for his land on condition that he lease the Griffith building back to me for five years at $700 a year with me agreeing to keep up taxes and repairs.  The building netted Griffith something over $2400 in the last two years over and above all expense and my commission, so that a lease of this sort would probably be worth about $600 a year to me as my present commission runs about $l00 a year.


     With the consent of Miss Quick I have turned the agency for the houses I sold her over to Richard Griffith.  [120]  They were more bother to me than they were worth with times as they are.  Griffith lives in one of the houses and can handle them to better advantage and with less effort than I could.  While this change cuts off something from my income, on the other hand it relieves my mind a whole lot.


Wed Feb. l0 'l5.  I have succeeded in renting the rest of the Bancroft houses though I had to make some concessions.  #3ll which has been vacant since Oct 20, l9l4 and which had always brought me $22.50 a month prior to that time, I let go at $20.  #309 on which I had lost rent since Dec l5th l9l4 I rented again Feb 4th for $20, its regular rent.  On the other hand #305 which had been vacant since Dec 5th I rented Jan l9th for $l8.00 to a very nice couple whom I knew.  They agree to keep this under their hat.  As it stands the property now brings me $l20.50 a month instead of $l25.00.  However, all things considered, I am pretty fortunate and $l20.50 is a whole lot better than $62.50 to which it dropped for a while when three sides were vacant.


     My business with Mr. Brewster has continued satisfactorily.  The earned, and un-earned, or uncollected, profit on the business to date since Jan lst, is $296.00 for the 40 days.


Mon. Feb. 15, ’15  I have hit on a new idea for my De Quincy ground and I am as tickled as can be.  .  .  .  In stead of flats, my idea is to build three terrace buildings of seven apartments each, each apartment being 5 rooms and bath with attic & basement, heated by furnace and modern in every way with possibly gas ranges and refrigerators furnied to rent for $20 each.  .  .  .



Fri. Feb. l9, 'l5.  The plan outlined on Page l2l won’t work.  The building inspector won’t let me by with it.  He insists that it comes under the tenement law, which demands at least l5 feet behind each building with all yards separate.  I believe I could bull it through, but can’t afford to antagonize him and besides I have hit on the following plan which he does approve and which in many ways is better and just as profitable on the money invested.  I plan to use the ground as follows unless I think of something better.  [Page 123 of the diary shows a 1/16 inch to the foot scale drawing of three four-unit buildings]


[Note dated Dec. 19, 1925 written on the scale drawing, “This is the plan I actually carried out & still own this property and its duplicate at Sherman Drive and East Market Street.  To this date I have collected $50,338.06 rent out of this deal and $46,603.17 out of its duplicate at Sherman Drive.  The six buildings I completed a year ago on 20th Street are also duplicates in interior at least & I have already collected over $16,000 out of them.  The Cornell Avenue property from which I developed this idea and later bought in 1919 has brought me $20,101.90 in rent to date.  It wasn’t a bad bid of thinking.][34]


(4/25/53, I completed this property in the fall of l9l5 and now almost 38 years later, I still own it as of now, brings $524.00 per month in rent.  The duplicate I built in l9l6 at Sherman Drive & E. Market St. and which I still own now brings $535.00 per month.)


[124] A decided advantage is gained by the fact that the units are smaller.  Thus it will be much easier to get a $5000 loan on one of these buildings than it would have been to get $8500 on one of the others.


     All the apartments face the street.  Six of them get light from three sides and each one has its own individual rear yard.  All this makes it a solid rental investment.


     When I get through with this proposition, after securing my loans I will have $5,000.00 of my own money invested upon which the net income l68l.60 for the first two years will be 33 6/l0% net.


     .  .  .   On this second proposition I have left unused a piece of ground 60 x 80 facing the alley which I could improve with a garage or sell separately.  It ought to be worth $400 or $500.


     Another advantage is that I have eliminated all need for janitor service.


[125]     .  .  .  For all these reasons I feel I have hit upon a much better plan than the first one.  Time will show how near right my calculations have been and that is the reason I have set them out in detail. (Feb.l5, l9l5)  (July l6, l923, I have collected almost $36,000.00 out of this property to date and it is probably worth $45,000.00 today.  It now brings $500.00 a month rent.)


Tues. Feb. 23, l9l5.  .  .  .  


     Graham wanted $l25.00 to draw the plans for one of my terrace buildings.  I decided I would save this and do it myself.  I am not an architect and I may be as foolish as the lawyer who acts as his own client.  On the other hand no architect can have the practical sense of the problem from all angles such as I have.  By the time I have the plans complete I will have the whole proposition threshed out from every angle with the result that no doubt I will save myself a good deal of money beside the architect fee.  At any rate, what I don't know now I’ll find out before I get through.  That is the only way to learn anything:  start something first, and by the time you have waded through you will learn all kinds of things that otherwise you would not have even thought of.  I bought an outfit of architect tools for $7.50 and while the work goes a bit slow, even if it takes me ten days the architect fee alone would about to $l2.50 a day.  As I do the work mostly in the evening anyway this by itself wouldn't be bad.


Tues. March 9, ‘15


[126]     I saw Mr. Brannum and he offers me a discount of 25% from list for my lumber as against ll l/2% last year.  This will result in a big saving in itself.


If this deal is the success I think it will be I will have by far the best year in l9l5 that I have had yet.



     When I get through with these buildings, and get my loans I will be in an independent position as regards whether I sell or keep them.  I am going to add to this independence by building them just as well as I know how.  I will have the plans completed in a few days and feel that I have a straight road ahead for this year.


Begins Building De Quincy Street Apartments


Tues March l6,'l5  I secured my building permits March l2th for the three double-doubles at De Quincy & New York St. so the deal is a go.  I am buying much cheaper all along the line than I did last year.  I should say an average of l5% cheaper.  I finished my blue prints several days ago.  Expect to start excavating Thursday morning the l8th.


Mon. March 22.   Started excavating first cellar March l8th and foundation men began work this afternoon.


[127]     Bought my lumber from the Capital Lumber Co.  Their bid of $l,2ll.00 per building figured on the three just $997.00 less than Brannum figured it.  I hated to break away from Brannum, but I couldn't afford to give him that much money.  Though one of these buildings is over l/3 larger than one of the Riley Ave. houses, the lumber at this price is costing me less than it did for one of them.  All material is wonderfully cheaper.  I sure ought to clean up on this deal.


     I have also broken away from Frank Rafert.  He wanted $900 each for the carpenter work.  I made a deal with a Mr. R. L. Castle to do it for l/2 the cost of the lumber and hardware, which will make it run about $700.  This job will be all non-union.  I am through with the union proposition, too.


Thurs March 25 ‘15   Have let contract for plastering to Joe Carr who agrees to do work complete in three building excepting blocking off bathrooms for $l,l46 furnishing all material.


     Let contract for l2 furnaces installed complete to Rybolt Heating Co. for $900.


     Have contracted with the Gibraltar Concretile Sales Co. to put in cement tile roof for $l0.00 a square less 3% for cash.  This roof is absolutely guaranteed for 20 years to be of permanent color and to be proof against all weather conditions.  The cost will aproximate $250.00 per roof.


     Oscar Day will put in all foundations and cement work at the following prices.  Lay blocks at 2 3/4 cents including mortar, cellar floors 6 cents, walks l0 cents, steps 40 cents, porchs l4 cents per sq. foot respectively.  Concrete work $4.50 per cu. yd.  Blocks above 5th run above grade in garage 4 cents including mortar.


     Bought cement blocks, lathe, plaster etc. from Davis Coal & Block Co. 84 concrete blocks & l0 cents for face.  This price is a cent below the market and to get it I advanced $500.00 on contract at time we signed up.[35]


.  .  .    


Sat. April l0, l9l5   Haven't made an entry for some time because I have been so busy that I have hardly had time to eat.  Have practically all my arrangements made for my De Quincy Street buildings and have the frame work all up on the first one.  Hope to have it ready for plastering in a week. Will start foundation of 2nd building Apr. l2th.  On the following page is an estimate of what it will take to put the deal through and how I will stand.


[128]   .  .  .


Fri. Apr. 23, l9l5   Made my appointment at Berryhill’s office and everything went smoothly.  He has the $5000.00 check which I will receive this morning after completing some details.  This loan is dated Apr. 23, l9l5 and runs for five years without privilege of pre-payment.  The mortgagee is Samuel Clark.[36]   .  .  . 


[130]     I feel certain my De Quincy corner will be a winner.  The double-double house is my own idea.  It is the best investment proposition ever worked out in this town.  I think I can sell the completed corner for close to $30,000.00 which will show me close to $8000.00 profit on the deal.  The first building is now ready to plaster and the second has the frame work up.  I will begin excavating for the third this week.  Good fortune seems to be coming my way and I have lots to be thankful for.


     Louise Stewart, Ethel’s cousin, married Tracy Ellis several weeks ago and have rented one of the De Quincy houses. 


[131]  .  .  .


     I have rented two more apartments and two garages in the lst building @$25.00 each including garage.  In one of these, the family wants to move in May l8 and I will come pretty near having it ready.


     Since my finances have gone so much better than I had any hope for, with my loans all arranged for on the De Quincy corner and my bank credit practically untouched and with the possibility of completing the De Quincy corner by the middle of July I am beginning to figure on the possibility of some additional building yet this year.


Ethel’s step-grandmother Mary V. Stewart died recently after an operation for gallstones.  I have paid off the $420.00 I owed her.  She was a splendid woman and everybody loved her.[37]


.  .  .


Tues. May l8, 'l5   It is two months today since I began construction work on the De Quincy buildings.  The carpenter will complete the inside finish of the lst building this week and I hope to have the first apartment ready to occupy a week from today.  With any luck the entire building will be ready by June lst. 


[132] Three apartments in this building are rented.  I had them all rented but one family went back on me.  The tenants in this building took two of the garages.  The second building will be completed as far as plastering by tomorrow.  The 3rd building is up to the 2nd floor joist.  The garage building will be practically completed this week.  This is a lot of work to get done in two months.  At the same rate I ought to finish the whole proposition in another two months.  My finances have certainly gone fine, I could not have hoped for my loan arrangements to have gone any smoother.  One apartment in the 2nd building is rented.  I am getting splendid work all the way through on this job and feel entirely satisfied with it.   .  .  .


His mother, Christina Manche Rafert, dies


Sun June l3, 'l5  Early last winter my mother was taken sick with a growing condition of Bright’s disease.[38]  She was never confined to her bed but had to stay in her room.  My sister took faithful care of her and for a while we had a nurse till she became better.  Dr. Boaz who attended her at first said she could not live 30 days and under his care she seemed to get steadily worse till she could not eat anything and became very, very weak.  At this time about 90 days ago I insisted that Ethel’s father, Dr. Stewart, take charge.  Mother did not want to hurt Dr. Boaz’ feelings, but consented.  Under Dr. Stewart’s care she seemed to mend steadily till she was able to go up and down stairs, take rides with Jennie in her electric machine and once about a month ago went with me out to the buildings and enjoyed the ride.  I went to see her twice every day as I had always done when at all possible.  Mother was born in Hancock County, May 30, l84l.  The house in which she was born stood on the north side of the Brookville road at the top of the hill which you come to after crossing the bridge on the other side of New Palestine going East.  Her maiden name was Christina Manche and her mother’s maiden name was Lang.  Her parents both came from Germany.[39]  I was born when she was 43 years old. 


[133]     Her improved condition continued up to June l0th.  On the morning of that day Jeanne & Elsa were over at her house and she played with them in the back yard helping them make mud pies.  She also held the low branches down so they could pick cherries.  The afternoon of the l0th I was very busy and did not get home till almost 6 o'clock.  As we were going to Stewarts’ for supper, I called mother up and told her I would not get over till after supper.  She always expected me and I never disappointed her. 


In the evening while at Stewarts’, my sister called up and said mother was complaining of a slight pain in her face and suggested that I bring some medicine with me from Dr. Stewart.  I started at once getting there about 7:l5. Mother was sitting downstairs and said she was feeling alright.  She talked and laughed as usual.  I had an appointment at my home at 8 o'clock with Mr. Brewster so I stayed till that time talking to mother and took her arm while she walked upstairs.  I then went to meet Brewster.  I finished with him about 9 o'clock just after Ethel & the babies returned from a ride with father Stewart.  At 9:30 while I was reading a little while before going to bed my sister called up and said mother had undressed and gone to bed but was not feeling so well.  She wondered if we had better ask Dr. Stewart to come.  We did not want to startle mother as he had not been there for two weeks.  I thought best to call him and did so and started for the house myself.  Before I could get there Jennie called Ethel and said mother was much worse. 


By that time I was there and realized at once that her condition was serious.  We called Dr. Stewart again.  Mother was having more and more difficulty in getting her breath but seemed to suffer no pain.  I had my arm around her all the time and sister was right there. Dr. Stewart had to dress first and got there at 4 minutes of ten.  Mother died at ten o'clock.  The day was Thursday.  She was conscious to a few minutes before she died.  She could talk little but I knew she realized she was dying.  She said "Good God, don't forsake me now"  "My end has come".  As I sat with my arm around her, her last words were "My sweet son".  We buried her beside her dear husband whom she loved so well at l0 o'clock Saturday morning June l2, l9l5.  As I write this there have been tears in my eyes, the first since I was a baby.


     We have brought my sister home with us but our plans for the future are not yet determined.


[134]  Laurence Alexander is here and some time this week we will open mother’s will.


Fri June l8, 'l5  Monday afternoon Mr. Berryhill read mother’s will to us at my house.  In brief she left l/3 of her estate to me in fee-simple.  The other 2/3 she left to me as trustee for my sister Jane B. Rafert.  During her life my sister receives the income of this 2/3 and at her death it comes to me in fee-simple.  To my niece, after stating various reasons, she left some furniture and incidentals.  My sister & I told Laurence she could have anything she wanted in the old home.  We have decided to sell the home place.  I have given Spann & Co. an exclusive agency for 60 days.  My mother owned l/3 of the stock in the C. F. Rafert Estate Inc.,  333 shares worth about $33,000.00  Have priced the home property at ll3l N. Del. St. at $25,000.00.[40]


     Bradford has been in Chicago for a week or more trying to sell the farm.  He writes encouragingly and I am in hopes that he will close a deal that will wind this matter up.


     My De Quincy St. buildings are coming along fine.  4 apartments are occupied, 7 rented in all.  I expect to have this deal entirely completed by the lst of August.


     I have obtained a judgment in my suit foreclosing on the Washington County farm and have a deal on to sell same to one Charles Queen.


.  .  .


[135]  Sat. June 19, ‘15     I have rented the last apartment in the 2nd building making eight in all.  The first family moved in this building today.  All of them will be in by the end of the week.  It will take at least three weeks before I have the 3rd building ready to occupy.


Fri July 9, 'l5   I got my new machine [car] June 26th and we have enjoyed it immensely.  The 3rd of this month we drove down to Bloomington and spent three days with the Kinsers, friends of ours who live about a mile and a half north of Bloomington.  I went on to Moods’ and spent one night there and two days squirrel hunting.  The babies and all of us had a grand time.


.  .  .


[136]  July 18, 15     We have decided to move into our old home place at ll3l N. Delaware St. till we can sell it rather than let it stand idle.  I do hope I can sell it soon.  I am not at all pleased with the prospect.  The main advantage is that the babies will have a yard to play in.  I hate to give up our sleeping porch, electric lights etc. but have it to do.[41]  My sister is with us and while we are glad to have her, at the same time it upsets our home to a considerable extent.  I have agreed to give my niece $20.00 a month as rent for her part of the home. I  am under no obligation to do this but I didn't want to be put in the position of tying up her money for my apparent benefit if the place does not sell soon, as it probably will not.


Tues July 27, 'l5  Last Tuesday the 20th we moved into the old home place.  I am really liking it much better than I thought I would.  The babies enjoy the big back yard.  We carried over all the small stuff and there were three big truck loads of furniture besides.  As the home was already completely furnished the big problem was where to put the furniture.  Though mother left my niece only a few pieces we told her to take anything she wanted.  This she did though she has not yet gotten her things.  We gave her mother’s diamond earrings, her diamond ring, mink furs, some silverware, and probably 40 rugs & pieces of furniture.[42]


.  .  .


[137]     I will soon be through with the De Quincy Street buildings.  Two of the buildings are completed and occupied.  The third one will be ready to occupy in another week and I ought to have the whole proposition entirely completed by the l0th of August.  This is getting through a good deal sooner than I did last year.  By the first of the month I will have collected almost $500.00 rent out of the proposition already before it is entirely complete.  I have only two apartments left to rent.  This proposition has certainly gone smooth from start to finish.  If I can sell something else I would like to keep this property for a while at least though I will sell the first thing I have a good offer on.  (l/l6/4l  I am still holding it after over 25 years and it is bringing more rent today than when it was new.)


.   .   .   [138]    


Sun Aug lst l9l5  I just rented the last two of the De Quincy apartments.  This deal is sure a winner.  I suspect I spent $40.00 advertising the Riley Avenue property last year besides staying there every Sunday afternoon and making any number of trips hauling people back and forth.  This year I have made practically no effort toward renting the De Quincy buildings.  My total advertising cost was .30 cents in the newspapers and the cost of a sign in front of the property.  I took one family out to see them day before yesterday and as a result rented the last two apartments and one garage.  I have 4 garages left.  I will need two of these for a while myself to store things.  I have learned a lot out of this deal and feel that at last I have developed something in which I see no flaws.  When I got through with Bancroft & Riley there were a lot of things I would have done differently if I could have after I was finished.  With this De Quincy property there is nothing that I can think of that I would change if I could.  The property is built absolutely right all the way through.  Every detail is taken care of thoroughly.  I have learned how.


A Week’s Vacation tour on the Great Lakes


Mon Aug 2, 'l5  My sister left for Petoskey, Michigan, this evening and we will have a little time for and to ourselves.  I want to do my duty but no matter how big a house is it is not big enough for two families.  I have engaged passage for Aug 2lst on the S. S. South American for a week’s tour of the great lakes.  We expect to leave here Aug l6th and drive to Chicago where we will leave the machine for the boat.  Ethel & I expect to leave the children with their grandparents.  I want to stop a day at the Newton Co. farm on the way up and hope to see Bradford there.  We will also spend a few days in Chicago.  My old friend & roommate Harry Hoffman will take the boat trip with us.  I have sent my check for $80.00 to cover the boat trip.  This includes meals & stateroom.


Mon Aug 30 'l5[43]  We returned yesterday morning about l:00 o'clock from the above trip.  We certainly had a dandy time.   .   .   .


[139]     We spent the balance of the week up to Aug. 2l visiting friends Mr. & Mrs. Walt Turner who live in Evanston.  Under their guidance we drove around [Chicago] and saw a good deal of it. It was a liberalized education to me as I never realized before what the relative possibilities of Indianapolis could become in say 20 years.  The Chicago boulevards are wonderful and we certainly enjoyed them.


     Aug 2lst we took the boat and in the course of the week visited Mackinac [Island], the Soo, Duluth, Penetang, from there taking a smaller boat the “Waulic” through the 30,000 islands and rejoined our boat at Parry Sound from which place we started back to Mackinac and arrived in Chicago at 8:30 Sat morning the 28th.  I again saw Mr. Bradford and we started to drive home at noon.  Harry Hoffman was with us on the boat and drive home.  We met a lot of fine people becoming particularly acquainted with a Miss Peters of Washington D. C. a Mr. Tozer & family of Cincinnati (Mr. Tozer is Purchasing Agent for the Big Four R.R.) and a Mr. & Mrs. C. L. Stevens ll0 Clifton St. Springfield, Ohio, Mr. Stevens is manager of the Woolworth 5 & l0 cents store at that place.  In all we traveled 66l miles by machine and 2,275 miles by boat.  The whole trip cost me $ll4.72.  I found everything in good shape when I returned home and have been busy picking up the loose ends.  I was certainly glad to see Jeanne & Elsa.  I never realized before how much I love them.


Sun Sept l9 l9l5.  My friends the Moods came up for the State Fair on my invitation last Thursday a week the 9th.  We showed them the best time we know how.  They especially enjoyed the machine.  I drove them back home the following

Sunday and stayed till last Thursday the l6th.  Had a good time squirrel hunting.  When I see how simply and happily they live I wonder if all this striving is worthwhile.  Their son Troy and his wife Lulu live in a little 2 room log cabin way down in a hollow and back a l/4 mile from the [140] road.  They have 80 acres that fairly stands on edge.  This is in another small place called “Cincinnati”.  Troy is a big, fine, simple straight-forward chap and he has a dandy wife who is a real help to him.  He has 8 pigs that he hopes to sell for $l25.00 next December.  This money he wants to use to buy wire so he can fence in his farm and raise sheep.


Family Problems with the Family Estate


     I have been having lots of trouble lately and I do not yet know the outcome of it all.


     Ben Alexander, my niece’s husband, has written several insulting letters and threatens to bring suit to break mother’s will.  He claims that my sister & I influenced mother in the making of her will.  As a matter of fact we never discussed the matter with her and she never mentioned it to us.  I am going up to their house at Roll, Indiana, next Wednesday the 22nd and see if I can dope out the situation.


     Last Friday the l7th we took little Jeanne to St. Vincent’s hospital and had her adenoids and tonsils removed.  It was an awful ordeal but I know she will thank us for it later.  She had a tendency toward ear trouble and caught cold easily and one of her tonsils was diseased.  She cannot eat yet but is feeling lots better.


     Our household is upset.  It seems impossible for my wife and sister to live under the same roof.  It is against nature for two families to live together.  The only solution I see is to sell the roof and that is what I am trying to do.  That will give my sister enough money so she can live independently and she will be happier that way, though she does not realize it now.  I want to do my duty, but it is pretty hard to know sometimes just what it is.  My wife & family come first, that is sure, but at the same time I am the only one my poor sister has to look to and I want to do what is right by her too.  Time will show the way.  It is a pretty safe bet that when you are uncertain what to do, don’t do anything.  Stand pat and wait.[44]


.   .   .   [141]


Fri Oct 8 'l5  Instead of going up to Roll as I had planned my niece came down here to see her grandmother, Mrs. Stafford, who was in poor health.  Later she had her husband come.  We talked some of compromise, that is the Alexanders and I did.  I took the position that as it did not make any difference to me financially except in regard to my fee in my sister’s life estate that I was in position to be neutral and would try to save trouble for everybody concerned.  Laurence feels she ought to have her 3rd of my mother’s estate but Ben pulled in his horns when I ask him if he really thought that my sister & I tried to influence mother.  My sister feels that since she is by herself in the world with no husband and since her mother saw fit to provide for her as she did that there is no good reason why she should give any of it away.  Laurence & Ben went home and the situation remains unchanged.[45]


.   .   .    [143]


One thing that worries me like everything is our household arrangements.  My sister and wife simply can’t get along under the same roof.  They are simply incompatible.  It has me up in the air most of the time.  What the solution is I don’t yet see.  I wish to goodness I could sell the house.


Fri Nov l9, l9l5   Well, I have taken a very decided step which  I hope will solve our household troubles.  My sister has taken a room in a house on Meridian Street near l8th and I have moved my family out to 306 N. De Quincy Street in one of the new apartments.  I turned this over and over in my mind before deciding to make the change.  The quarters are small but convenient and we can be happy there because it is all our own.  Two families simply cannot live under the same roof and it ought never to be tried.  In many ways I feel awfully sorry for my poor sister and I certainly do not blame her a bit.  She has a very nice room & bath and board in the same home and I feel confident that she will realize it herself.  I will try and rent the Delaware Street house till we can sell it.


.   .   .   [152]


Mon Dec 27 l9l5  Well, another year has almost rolled around and the time has come for a casting up of accounts.  An invoice of my present net worth will be found on the following page.


     Net worth Jan lst l9l6            $53,342.76[46]

     Net worth Jan lst l9l5             39,540.33

       Net gain for the year l9l5----- $l3,892.43

(Pages l55 thru l60 omitted)




[160]  Wed Jan 26, 'l6   I just received a letter from Laurence & Ben saying that it would be alright with them to proceed with the above matter as outlined.


An Interesting Trip to Washington, D.C.


[161]    About two weeks ago I received a letter from my old friend, Dr. Edward J. Kemper, who is a physician at the Government Hospital for the Insane at Washington D. C., inviting me to take a duck hunt with him on the Chesapeake Bay and asking Ethel to visit his wife in Washington till we returned.  I hated to take the time but at the same time felt that this was an unusual opportunity and wired him that we would come.  We left the babies at Stewarts’ and started at 3 p.m. Tuesday Jan. l8th.  Ethel went with me as far as Harrisburg, changing there for Washington where she arrived at one o'clock the l9th.  I went on to Philadelphia and then changed for Wilmington and there caught a train for Hershey, a little town at the south edge of Maryland.  Ed and a Dr. Ralph Truitt of Snow Hill, Md. joined me on the train. 


We spent our time on a houseboat out in the bay.  It had a fair sized living room four state rooms with two bunks in each, a dining room and kitchen even a little bath room.  The crew consisted of four guides and a cook, and he was some cook.  They had complete equipment, three launches, a big flat scow and four push boats not to mention a sink box, about 800 decoys, and both live geese & ducks.  We would start out with the launch towing the scow & boats to the various stations from which we shot.  There were thousands of ducks & geese on the bay and I got a good bunch including black ducks, red heads, blue bills, sheldrakes, etc.  One of the boys got a canvasback and cub-head.  There were many brant but we didn't get any though the party got l7 geese and all told about l00 ducks. 

.   .   . 


Ed & I left Saturday night and by staying up all night and traveling by auto & train, reached Washington at 7 o'clock Sunday morning.  We put in Sunday & Monday there.  We covered in a rapid way most points of interest.  The Government Hospital for the Insane has l600 acres and at this time 3,l00 patients.  We stayed there.[47]  We visited the Congressional Library which is probably the finest building in the United States.  Every book published is kept there.  Not a nickel was spared in making it as fine as it could be made.  We also covered the Navy Yard.  

[162]  I was particularly interested in the l4" guns.  They are 60 feet long, cost $l00,000 each, will penetrate l0 inches of the best steel plate at l2 miles, cost $800 per shot and can only be fired l50 times before they have to be relined.  This plant covers about 60 acres. 


We went up in the Washington monument.  It is 550 feet high.  We visited the bureau of Printing & Engraving and saw them making money & stamps.  I could have spent a week right there.  Of course we went in the Capitol building, attending Congress for a short time, but we did not go in the White House.  Tuesday afternoon we spent at the Zoo and it was well worth while.  I was almost as much impressed by the Pennsylvania Depot as by any other building except the Congressional library. We left Washington at 6:l5 p m. arriving home yesterday noon the 25th.  I found everything O.K.


     [The trip cost $123.06]



Preparations to Build at Sherman Drive


[163]  Tues Feb l, 'l6  I took up the question of duplicating the De Quincy corner on the Sherman Drive lots with Mr. Kilkenny, the building inspector, and got his permission and assurance of a permit without differences.  I was loaded for bear and was very agreeably surprised after all the argument I had had last year when I was figuring on the Wallace corner as to whether these buildings classified as flats or not.  This pleases me immensely. 


On the strength of this assurance I at once went to Spann’s office and signed a proposition for $3,000 cash for the three lots at the N. W. corner of Sherman Drive and E. Market St.  If I get them for this price I will sure be buying them right.  The proposition is good till 6 p m Feb. 5th.  I will go higher than this if I have to.


     .   .   .


Probable actual construction cost of 3 buildings....l9,500

Cost of ground...................................    3,500

Cost of improving Market St., roadway, curb

  & sidewalks.....................................     500

Cost of garage & cement court.....................   l,000

                                      Total       24,500


Probable rental at least $300 per mo.

Probable loan at least $l5,000, possibly l6,500

Probable Sale value $30,000

Probable building profit $5,500  [2007, $165,000]


[164]  On this estimate I am allowing $230.00 more cost per building than the De Quincy buildings ran, and on account of the excellent lay of this piece of ground, etc. I can see where I can save over $l00.00 per building under the cost of the De Quincy proposition.  I find I can actually save on my plumbing supplies for example as well as on ice boxes and stoves.  The only thing that is likely to cost me very much more is lumber and I hope to get around that.  I now have a set of plans with the North American Construction Co. of Bay City, Michigan, and they are figuring on furnishing me lumber direct cut to size to fit, thus saving carpenter work and eliminating waste.


Fri Feb 4, l9l6   I today entered into a contract through John S. Spann & Co. in which I agree to purchase Lots l2, l3,  & l4 in Hartman's Addition subject only to the taxes for l9l6 payable in l9l7 for the sum of $3,500.00. 

.   .   .  This property is the North West corner of E. Market Street and Sherman Drive.  It is l30.l feet on Market Street and l42 feet on Sherman Drive.  I propose to duplicate the De Quincy Corner garage and all upon this ground.  The investment account for this property will be found on Page 75 of my ledger.[48]


Fri Feb 4, l9l6   Since writing the above I have secured my building permits duplicating the De Quincy corner, including the garage, so I guess this deal is a go. 

.   .   .  The numbers on these new buildings will be l02-4-6-8, ll0-l2-l4-l6 N. Sherman Drive and 3730-32-34-36 E. Market Street.  The permits grant me 60 days before I have to start construction.  I hope to get started shortly after March first.


Grandpa Stewart’s illness and financial condition


Feb 9, 'l6   Yesterday, Ethel's father had me come to his office to talk over his business affairs.  He has not been well for about a year.  The trouble started in his spine and he found that he was gradually losing the use of his right arm.  He has been unable, for instance, to put on his overcoat unassisted for some time.  He and grandma returned a few days ago from Chicago where they went to consult specialists.  These agreed that his condition was a sort of palsy akin to infantile paralysis.[49]  Yesterday he told me that at the most he could not expect to continue

[165] his practice more than four years and as he has no income to speak of, he was very blue and worried.  I tried to cheer him up in every way I could, but the situation is really tragic.  He has devoted his whole life to the service of others going any time of day or night.  He was never a businessman and has never had the least conception of how to use money as a tool.  We went over the situation carefully and on a fairly liberal estimate including $2,500 life insurance he has about $20,000 of assets [2007, around $600,000], the great bulk of which is unproductive.  He owns an undivided interest in the old Stewart farm in Wabash County 4 miles west of La Fontaine worth $3000, 40 acres in Martin County worth $200.00.[50]  Two lots on Tremont street worth $l,000, all of these things being unproductive.  Then there is the home on Pennsylvania. Street which might bring $5,000.  Some common stock about $l,400 in an Investment co which is probably worth par.  I owe him $l,l00.  These items and the money owing him for services which may or may not be collectible constitute his assets.  I forgot to mention an old home across the [White] river worth maybe $l,200.  It is his only source of actual income and it produces $8.00 a month which is eaten up by expense.  This is a pretty poor assortment out of which to create an income upon which he and Jeanne and grandma can live, but I have it to do and will undertake it cheerfully, for I think a lot of all of them.[51]


.   .   .


Building Supplies and Contractors for Sherman Drive


I find that furnaces have advanced in price about 35%, but I can get l2 more from the Rybolt Heating Co. at the old price of $75.00 each, same as last year.  The Capital Lumber Co.'s bid is over $l,600 higher than last year but I will be surprised if I cannot cut this difference down 50% before I get through.  I have a plastering bid of $l,l00 from Mr. J. M. Cross whom I want to do the work.  This is $65 less than last year including the blocking off of bath rooms.


[166]     Electric equipment has advanced 50% amounting to about $60 on the job.  This I see no way of getting around. 

Plumbing supplies I will buy from the Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co. at a saving of about $l20 over last year.  I am using Paragon brass goods instead of Mueller goods.  It is of equal quality but has less copper in it.


     Tile, plaster, lath mortar color etc. are about the same as last year.  Cement will cost me about 30 cents more on the barrel amounting to about $67.50 increase, unless I buy 300 barrels, which is about 70 barrels more than I will need.  However, I think I will do this anyway and save $40 which would go some ways toward paying for the extra 70 barrels.  It will be good property.


     I have made a deal with Mr. Castle to pay him 65 cents an hour as carpenter foreman, though he is to work right along when he can.  Considering that I will have the same carpenters as last year, I expect to save at least $l50.00 on carpenter work due to their knowledge of these buildings.


     I expect to save another $75.00 on plumbers’ labor as I will use the same man again as head plumber.  I expect by using the same men all the way through wherever possible to cut down the time the job requires at least ten days or two weeks.  If these houses rent as readily as De Quincy did, this would mean from $l00 to $l50 gained in rents besides the saving in labor time.


     I can buy refrigerators @ ll.75 against $l8 last year.  This is a plenty good box and the saving is $75.  Again on stoves I can save $2l.  Glass will cost me $25 more on the job, but paints and oils will be about the same.  Nails & Hardware will run about $30 more.


     This ground is level with the street & sidewalk, and while my excavating will cost me more, I expect to save at least $300 in grading, cinders, cement step work and on the general efficiency of the job as the result of having clear ground to work on not messed up with a lot of dirt that you have to keep to fill in with and that is the way of about everything you have to do.


     My present judgment is that when I get through the net increase in the cost of the buildings will be about $l,200.  The ground is costing $l,l00 more.  This I will equalize by an increase of $2.00 on the rent of each apartment which I think I can easily get as conditions are much better than last year and this location is over a mile closer in.


[167]     Cement blocks will cost me the same 8 cents & l0 cents.  The concrete tile roof on the De Quincy buildings cost me $9.70 a square.  They are now quoting 8.50 a square.  This is on sheeting set l2" on center.  The tile has been entirely satisfactory and puts up a splendid appearance, but if I use it again I will sheet the roof solid and lay the tile on stripe over staten felt.  The felt & stripe would add 95 cents a square and the extra sheeting about $2.00.  In place of tile I may use Neponset shingles which would cost me about $7.50 a square put on the roof.


.   .   .  [168]


Sat Feb. l9, 'l6  I will leave the rest of this sheet and enter from time to time prices at which I close on material etc. for the Sherman Drive proposition.


Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co all plumbing supplies       787.80

  (fixtures except pipe for services)  (rough in)


Sat. Feb. l9  Western Electric Co-All electrical          628.49

  supplies except garage which I will not wire this



John Cooper - Contract price for installing wiring etc.     75.00


Davis Coal & Block Co

  Cement - Carload on track @l.49 per bbl

           From yard delivered on job l.80

           Blocks - 8 cents & l0 cents

           Sewer tile per list

           Flu lining @ 35 cents

Plastering - J. M. Cross, including blocking bath room   l,l36.00, including lathing & all material

Vonnegut Hardware Co.-all hardware guaranteed 3 bldgs., 200.00    

Brannum-Keene Lumber Co. - common brick @8.50 per thousand              

Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co - Base 2.55 Nails

Rybolt Heating Co-l2 furnace-installed complete            900.00

2/2l  Van Camp - Stoves @l2.75 - 2% (#58

2/21  Van Camp - Ice boxes @ll.75 - 2% (#8l0l)

2/22  Indiana Plaster & Roofing Co. 920 E North St

      Ml4l0-l6 rolls Myroid 3 ply with cleats for

        garage @.25 - 2%


2/25  Capital Lumber Co. -Bought:  Garage, 355.00

             Lumber & mill work one building, l,590.00            

2/26  Gibralter Concrete Tile Sales Co. three buildings

        roofs complete - open work, 790.00                        

3/9   A.B. Meyer & Co - Denison Interlocking tile, 6300

@44.l5 net per M on job    

3/ll  Century Heating Co-all tin work except garage        3l3.00

3/l5  F. W. Alday Co 4500' Stucco board (l500 to bldg) all for 98.00

3/l5  Columbia School Supply Co., l2 bathroom cabinets

        @ $2.l5

3/l5  Campbell Smith Richie Co-Lebanon-l2 special

        kitchen cabinets @ $l7.50 each

3/30  Retherford Bros - Muncie fixture parts complete

        for 3 bldgs, 270.00                                      

3/3l  John Cooper - wiring & hanging fixtures, 40.00              

.   .   .  [170]


Sat. Feb 26 'l6   I effected another considerable saving today.  Last year I paid $865.00 for my tile roofs.  This year (today) I closed the same deal for $790.00 with the Gibralter Concrete Tile Sales Co.  This is $85.00 actual saving on last year.  This year I first figured on sheeting my roofs solid instead of placing 4" of sheeting l2" on center and my lumber price above includes 6,000 ft. of sheeting necessary for this work @ 25.00 per thousand.  This will be a further saving of $l50.00 on my lumber bill besides another $60.00 that I will save in labor.  All these items count up.    .   .   .


Construction of Sherman Drive Begins, March 16, 1916


[171]  Tues. Feb. 29, ’16    I am ready to begin work on buildings whenever the weather warms up enough for concrete work.


[172]   Tues. March 7, l9l6   I sure haven't got time to write any.  Got staked out yesterday and began work on garage and first excavation today.  Weather is fine.


Thur. March 9   Weather turned cold yesterday and had to stop work except excavating.  Are going again today.


Mon. March l3 'l6   Have made a contract with Ray W. Bowman renting him the l5 acres on E. l0th St. for $l6.67 per month up to March l, l9l7.[52]  He will move on at once and will begin paying me rent from the date I get title.  I closed this deal as it is getting late in the season and I was afraid I might not be able to rent it.  I provided in the contract that I could get possession of any part of the ground at any time by paying him the appraised value of the crops in the part I wanted.


     We are putting on the roof of the garage and have started work on the first foundation this morning.  Weather is elegant.


.  .  .  [173]


Sat. April lst   We have been having some fine days and some rainy days.  The work has been delayed some but we have worked every hour possible.  The first building is all framed, floors in, frames set partitions in and ready for the tile roofer to begin Monday.  This is Saturday.  We got rained out at noon.  The 2nd foundation is up to grade except cross walls.


.   .   .  [174]


Wed. April 5, 'l6   The new buildings are sure coming along fine.  The lathers will begin on the first building next Friday - day after tomorrow.  The carpenters have begun work on the 2nd building.  Have been doing a little insurance business lately, by that I mean fire insurance commissions.  Made three deals in the last week netting me $58.75.


Buys 15 acre Askren Farm at 10th & Arlington Avenue


     Yesterday April 4th I completed the purchase of l5 8/l0 acres of ground at the N. E. corner of Arlington Av. & East l0th Street from Samuel C. Askren who now lives at Edinburg, Ind., Rural Route #29.  This ground fronts 475 8/l0 feet on Arlington Av. and l449 3/l00 ft. on E. l0th St.   .   .   .    As consideration for the ground I deeded Mr. Askren my Bancroft property being three double houses located on Lot 42 in Layman & Carey’s Irvington Park Addition, and known as 30l-3, 305-7, 309-ll N. Bancroft St. 

.   .   .   [l/20/4l  When this page was written I could of course not foresee the limitation of building and high prices that were to follow the war.  These conditions delayed the use of ground and increased the value of property already built.  While I finally sold the ground at over $l,000.00 per acre I would have been better off to have held the houses which are still in good shape, now 25 years later.  It does not pay to take on unproductive ground unless you know you can use or turn it right away.]


.   .   .    


Wed April l2, 'l6   Started excavating for the third building at Sherman Drive this morning.  The work is certainly going along fine.  I bought my porch brick this morning @ l9.00 from A. B. Meyer & Co.  This is $2.50 less per thousand than last year.  I now have everything bought for the buildings except, screens, shades, & linoleum and expect to close on them within the next few days.  .  .  .



Sunday April 23, 'l6   The buildings continue to progress nicely.  The plasterers will be out of the first building by the middle of the week and they can go right ahead with the 2nd bldg. as it will be ready for them.  The lathers have been working in it this past week.  The roof is on the 2nd building and the carpenters have about a day’s work weatherboarding, etc. left.  The 3rd foundation will be ready for the carpenters tomorrow evening.


.   .   .     .


Sat. May 20, 'l6   I have certainly neglected this record of late but have been so busy that I simply had to neglect something.  Everybody seems to think I am making wonderful progress with the buildings.  I have been driving them hard, that is sure, but have been hampered considerably by not being able to get enough of the right sort of men and because some of my regular men have had to be off more or less.  As matters stand now, the carpenters have finished with the first building except porch work.  The inside finish is completed.  They are about l/3 through the 2nd building on the inside.  The lathers will finish in the 3rd building in a couple more days.  I will start the plasterer right back of them.  The first family moved into #ll2 last Tuesday.  The 2nd family will move in ll6 next Tuesday and the 3rd family will move in #ll4 next Thursday.  There are no front or back steps in this building yet but we will get them in next week.  Ten out of the l2 houses are now rented.  With any luck I ought to be through with the whole job in another seven weeks.




[179]  .   .   .       Had a flare up at the job this morning.  I canned my foreman Mr. Castle and six of my carpenters.  This leaves me four good carpenters and I will finish the job with them.


     The 2nd building is finished and as far as carpenters are concerned, except some porch work and the plasterer will be out on the first.  I expect to have the whole deal completed before July first.  [180]  If I can complete it by July first, I will have been just l6 weeks on the job and lost one of these due to rain.  Last year it took over five months to build the De Quincy property.  That means that I am to the good an extra $300.00 rent on this property in the saving of building time.


.   .   .


Tenth Year Reunion At Indiana University


[184]  Sun June ll, l9l6   Ethel & I are going to drive down to Bloomington tomorrow afternoon.  There is to be a dance at the Phi Psi house tomorrow evening and considerable doing in connection with commencement.  However, I want to go chiefly because our class holds their l0 year reunion.  We plan to come back Wed. morning.  I can’t get away very well, but these occasions do not happen very often. 


The babies will stay with their Aunt Jennie.  I love those little kids more every day, if that is possible.  To watch and train their development is surely worthwhile.  Elsa will be four next November and Jeanne was five last month.  Their characteristics are very different.  Elsa has a sunny, cheerful irresponsible disposition.  She never knows where her dolls are because when she is through playing with anything she will give it a toss and does not think of it again till she wants it and then she doesn't know where it is.  For the same reason she is very generous, too much so, for she is imposed upon.  This does not disparage her spunk, for on occasions she can be stubborn.  Most always she is acquiescent, cheerful and lovable.  She is a regular little flirt.  Can wink one eye in a most fetching way.  Life will be easy for her I think.  That little wink and fetching manners will take her through and her shortcomings in the way of irresponsibility and possibly carelessness will be overlooked. 


[185]  My effort shall be to train her in these things which she lacks.  She is a healthy little animal that is sure.  She sleeps well, eats lots and is brim full of life and fun all day except when she gets sleepy and then she can be very cross indeed.  She has no sense of relative values, no trading sense.  She will want to eat all the jelly on the table and I’ll say, "Now Sweety, you eat all your good ‘tatoes’ first and then you can have some more jelly."  She can't get the point, she wants to do what she wants to do directly.  She will not do one thing for you so that you will do something she wants for her.


     My big girl Jeanne is almost the antithesis of her little sister.  She is careful, reliable and couldn't wink one eye to save her life.  She always knows where her things are.  Her things are her things and she doesn't want anyone else to monkey with them.  She is not at all ungenerous when properly approached, but the point is she must be approached properly, as her first instinct is to refuse.  As she gets older she will learn that the way to get what you want is not to insist upon it too loudly. She has a keen trading instinct and will always do something for you on your promise to do something for her.  She also sees to it that you make good on your promise, whether it be a walk or an all-day-sucker. 


I am afraid that Jeanne will not find life as easy as her little sister as she will stir antagonism by being too assertive.  However, her keen sense of relative values may save her from this.  Her reliability and sense of order will make her satisfying to live with even if she is a bit insistent at times. She will make a good business woman or a good housekeeper.  She may miss something of love and sentiment of which Elsa will always have plenty, but on the other hand such friendships as she does form will probably be deeper as she will wear well.  Jeanne has an iron will.  You cannot force her though she is susceptible to persuasion.  Both my little girls are pretty much this way and they come by it naturally.


     Some day they may read this, 20 years from now possibly.  Jeanne will have commented before now on the number of misspelled words she has found.  "Honey, I couldn't spell straight with a dictionary hung on my arms."  20 years from now I ought to still be in my prime at the age of 52.  They will be grown young ladies, 24 and 25 years old.  I hope they are both married and have given me some grand children.  They may think their daddy didn't think much of them but was all for his business.  If so they are wrong for they are the whole motive for my life.  Business is incidental as a means to an end.  I love them dearly, that is sure, and I want business success so that I can do for them the things which success brings.  I'll not spoil them either if I can help it.  [Well, Well, this is Sept l8, l940.  Over 24 years later.  I will be 57 next month.  Jeanne & Elsa are both happily married.  Jeanne has a son and daughter and Elsa a son.  Steve Thomas, my oldest grand-son, started to school this month.  How time flies.  When this page was written, Stewart, Frank & Harriet were still unborn.  Stewart will be 23 tomorrow and he and Mildred are expecting their first baby any day now.  I am not quite so peppy as I was 24 years ago, but am a pretty good old wagon yet.]


[186]  Thur  June l5, 'l6  Ethel & I made our trip to Bloomington and returned safely yesterday afternoon.  We went to the Phi Psi house Monday evening and also attended the alumnae reception on the campus the same evening.  Tuesday the day started with an Alumnae breakfast in the students Bldg.  The Alumnae dinner at noon was attended by about 400 persons.  This was followed by speeches.  The various classes sat together.  A loving cup was awarded to the class having the greatest percent of its members present.  This was won by the class of l876, 40 years out with 7 members present.  This was 50% of the number living.  The oldest alumna present was of the class of l852, but we received greetings from the oldest alumnae living.  I forget his name but he is of the class of l838.  He graduated the year before my father was born and father would have been 77 had he lived. 


We found time to see the Kinzers and attend a private reception in the afternoon.  At 6 o'clock the classes had their dinner at separate tables on the campus.  There were 206 members in our class when we graduated.  Including about l5 who live in Bloomington we had 44 attend this reunion.  After the dinner we arranged our chairs in a circle on the campus and each told his experience for the ten years.  I was called on first but didn't say much except that I was building houses and had had more than my share of prosperity.  This certainly seemed true as I looked around the circle and heard the various stories.  Most of them are school teachers or lawyers and I do not believe that they would average $1,200 a year in earnings.  Only one other man really seemed prosperous.  His name is Wildermuth, of Gary Ind.


.   .   .


[186]  Fri June 16  I want to make another estimate of where I will be at the end of the Sherman Drive job.  I am near enough through now that I can figure pretty close.  An estimate of items yet to be paid is as follows:


  Advance to be refunded by Gas Co. for main         75.00

  Cement porch work                             15.00

  Copings                                       20.00

  Labor on brick work, porches                  45.00

  Walks                                         75.00

  Rear steps                                    30.00

  Cellar steps                                  40.00

  Coal walks [?]                                12.00

  Lumber                                       750.00

  Carpenter work                               150.00

  Tile roofing                                  90.00

  Plumbing                                     350.00

  Davis [?] and block co.                       65.00

  Plastering                                   135.50

  Wiring fixtures work                          32.00

  Wiring garage                                 20.00

  Papering                                     175.00

  Tin work                                     135.00

  Fences                                       270.00

  Painting                                     100.00

  Hardware                                     210.00

  Hardwood floors                              213.00

  Grading                                       50.00

  Sodding                                      100.00

  Walk on E. Market St.                        195.00

  Garage floor and flag in court               300.00

  Curb around property                          40.00

  Stoves                                        85.00

  Fixtures                                      20.00

  Front steps, 3rd building, balance             30.00

  Screens                                       25.00

  Tuxedo Coal Co., sand, etc.                        40.00

  Miscellaneous                                 50.00



     Furnaces,                                  600.00

     Estimate of all items yet to be paid to complete

Deal,                                         4,542.50

          Total amount paid out to date                     19,445.42


     $300 shades & linoleum omitted above


Estimated total cost of property when completed, $23,947.92


[188]     I have decided to build 16 garages on lots 62 & 63 in two buildings of eight each just like the ones already built.  This will keep things in better proportion and will probably care for the demand.



Sat June l7, 'l6   I took out permits for the double-double dwellings and the l6 garages on Lots 62 & 63 this morning.  This will make a dandy little deal I am sure.  I rented the last house on Sherman Drive last night. This will surely be my biggest year’s business so far.  Each year it gets bigger.


Ethel’s first cousin Bessie Bloomer’s Wedding


Thur   June 28, 'l6  Yesterday noon I took Ethel & Grandpa & Grandma Stewart and drove up to Wabash, Ind.  Made the run in 3 hrs & 45 minutes.  We attended Ethel's cousin Bessie Bloomer's wedding.[53]  Drove back this morning.  The babies stayed with Aunt Jennie.


.   .   .  [191]


Barbara Voyles and a long meditation on marriage


Sat. July l5, 'l6   I have just been glancing back through my notes and have just finished a notation on the margin of page 6.  I feel that more ought to be said of this.  I can't get over the scar left by the strong affection I once felt for Miss Voyles.  When we were down at our class Reunion last month I heard of her.  She is living in Duluth and has no babies.  Her husband is a salesman for a local firm and can’t be making very much.  I know Barbara loved me as dearly as I did her and I don’t blame her for breaking off.  My mother raised the very Dickens every time I spoke of her, though she never even saw the girl.  This was not just.  I loved my parents and did not want to go against their wishes.  They once offered me $l0,000 if I would have nothing more to do with her.  This I refused.  They would not let me receive her letters at home so she wrote me care of General Delivery where I called for them.  I told Barbara I loved her, but I couldn't ask her to marry me till I was in shape to come for her.  I didn't have a cent except $l0.00 a week.  The motive of the whole ice plant deal was to be near her and naturally that failed.  I was almost in despair.  My parents failed to see all this. 


[192]   What should have been one of the happiest times of my life was one of the unhappiest times.  Tears never came to my eyes but twice, when Barbara wrote me that she was engaged and when my mother died.  The girl was proud, as she had a right to be and she resented my parents’ attitude.  I was making $l0.00 a week and didn't look like a very good prospect, Hornaday asked her to marry him and she did.  I hope she loves him dearly and that he has made her a good husband and that she has made him a good wife.  Mine was a driving passion for this woman.  I could have fought for her, right or wrong, through thick or thin, if I had had a chance.  She was a perfect woman physically and we always had something to laugh & talk about.


[2/l5/21  In reading these two pages after the passing of 5 years I am afraid they might give a wrong impression.  I want to clear this up by saying that the "said scar" is gone for good.  No two people could be more compatible or more happily married than Ethel & I are.  We have had five more years of happiness & prosperity since this was written and our two fine boys, Stewart & Frank have come to us in this time.]


[7/l2/24  Barbara Voyles & her husband are now living in Indianapolis, I was told by mutual friends.  I have no curiosity to even see her.]


     When my girls grow up they shall have the men they want for their husbands.  They will not choose a weakling or a man lacking in moral character.  Sweethearts, you are babies now but I am talking to you as if you were l5 years older than you are now.  These written pages will last.  Life is uncertain and I do not know what the next l5 years will bring to me.  My love for you is different from what it is for your mother or what it was for my mother or Barbara Voyles, but it is limitless and fast & true.  It is for you that I would sacrifice everything if necessary.  "The test of life is Love and the test of Love is Sacrifice."  When the time comes for you to choose a mate it will be harder for me than I can now realize, but that is just what I want you to do and I will not interfere. 


A young person’s instinct is as good or better than an older person’s judgment.  Test your man this way.  Are you proud of him?  Not merely proud of him in your conscious thoughts or as you speak to others, but are you really proud of him?  Do your instincts, your deep lying instincts, approve?  Is their anything about him that you apologize to yourself about in your deepest inmost thoughts?  Be careful, don’t fall in love with love, but if he rings true, if he is sound physically and if he is honest, if he meets the approval of your deepest instincts, if he does these things, take him, in spite of Hell and High water.  Don’t expect him to be a blessed saint as regards women he may have known in any relation before he asked you to marry him, for if he is worth a tinker’s damn his passions run high.  You can’t expect a man to be brim full of energy and be otherwise.  If I am alive, I'll make him show me a clean bill of health.  After you are married, it will be your business to keep him satisfied.  It isn’t necessary to feed bait to a fish after he is caught, but a husband is not a fish.  If he loves you he will crave your body and absorb your mind and you must give both freely.


[193]     Now honeys, get this straight.  The things I have written do not mean that I do not love your mother dearly, for I do.  She has been a good wife and a good mother.  How close our relations are is proved by the fact that I do not have a single guilty thought in writing about Barbara Voyles as I have, nor would I feel the least hesitation in letting your mother read anything I have written.  She would understand.  When I go home this evening I will take her in my arms and kiss her and I will not be thinking of anyone else when I do it.  I have been square with her always and she has been square with me.  There is never a doubt in my mind as to where I will find her on any proposition and she knows that she can always rely on me.  We have been very happy together both working for our babies.  They are everything.  Other things matter little.  Barbara Voyles and I had our love affair three years before I even knew your mother and the fact that it has left a deep scar on my mind does not for a minute mean that I would be otherwise than absolutely true to all the relation and duties I assumed when your mother & I were married.  [9/4/l6  Your mother’s love and mine for each other has been one of quiet contentment and happiness.  This is what constitutes a real marriage.  I could never have had that kind of a life with Barbara Voyles, I know.  My idea in writing all this was partly to keep me from being a fool when you choose your own husbands.  I’ll let you do that.]


.   .   .


Sherman Drive Apartment Buildings Finished


Sat. July 29 'l6  There is still a little odd & end work in the way of painting up, foundations, painting garage, etc. to do at Sherman Drive, but as far as earnings go, the property has been completed since about July 7th.  Just four months from the day I started excavating.  A young married couple, Watsons, at ll0 Sherman Drive are going to move back to "Mama's" Monday.  They didn't tell me till [194]  last night but I rented the house this morning for Tuesday the lst and also a garage with it.  Everything is rented except 4 garages.  These did not become available till just now and will be taken soon I feel sure.  .  .  .  I will have the exact cost soon.  It will run pretty close to $25,000.00 for the whole deal.




     Next Thursday Ethel & I are going to start on another honeymoon trip.  We will drive to Chicago and visit the Turners in Evanston where we were last summer.  We will probably spend close to a week there and will then take the boat and go up to the L’Horeaux Islands and spend a week or so there.  The babies will stay with their grandma & grandpa & Aunt Jennie.  I feel guilty to leave them behind, but know that our trip would be no fun for them and their mama needs a vacation.  I'll sure be glad when they are big enough to go with us.


     It has been awfully hot for two weeks.  The temperature has been over l00 degrees almost every day.  However, every evening we take a long ride in the country and cool off.  Last night Elsa stretched out in the bottom of the machine and slept for an hour and a half while we were riding.


     Our wisdom in moving from the big house to De Quincy St. has been proved.  My sister now seems pretty well acclimated to living by herself or rather away from our house.  She comes out to see us frequently to take a meal or spend an afternoon and she and Ethel get along fine.  It is certainly a source of satisfaction to me.


[195]   Monday Aug 7, l6  Ethel & I drove up to Chicago last Thursday as we had planned  .  .  .


Sat. Aug l2, 'l6  Well the old home is sold.  I signed a contract of sale this morning for $l5,500.  This is the best I could do.  I feel satisfied that I did the best I could, and yet I feel sort of blue as if all old ties had been cut.  I was born there and that old home was home till I was grown.  No word in the English language means more than that simple word “home.”  However, I am glad the deal is made.  It relieves us of a considerable burden and expense and we were getting no good out of it whatever.  It had served its purpose well.  It stood four-square to all the conditions of time and weather for 4l years.  It was substantial and rugged and honest like the man who built it.  My father was just four years older than I am now when he built this house.  It was my mother’s wish that she could live there as long as she lived.  Through my efforts this wish was granted.  I am certainly glad that this could be.[54]


Discovering the New Bethel Home (residence 1916 to 1923)


[196]   Sat. Aug l9, 'l6  We expected to close the deal selling the Delaware St. house yesterday, but some unexpected details arose and it will probably be next Tuesday before we finish it.  Well it is sure funny how quick things will develop sometimes.  I made a deal or rather entered into a contract this morning which will mean a big change to us and certainly kills several birds with one stone.  I was glancing through the paper last Thursday evening and I saw advertised a country home.  The proposition looked good on paper and I investigated with the result that I contracted to buy it this morning.  We will fix it up and make it our home and the babies will sure have some place to grow up in.


     It is located down the Michigan road about a quarter mile southwest of New Bethel.  There are four acres in the tract.  It has some magnificent forest trees a good deal of shrubbery, etc., some of which could not be produced in a lifetime.  It fronts the road 432 feet and runs back square about the same distance.  A hedge is clear across the front.  A driveway winds back to the home which is about 200 feet back from the road.  The home has a big porch clear across the front and about half way back on each side.  You enter a very large living room, back of which is a large dining room with built in buffet and off of which is a breakfast room.  The kitchen is also large.  Upstairs are four bedrooms, a sleeping porch, and a tile bath room. 


The house is of frame, cypress siding of heavy boards stripped and stained.  It has a Peck Williamson underfeed furnace, electric lights from the traction [interurban line] and a gas engine water system from a deep 200' well and gravity soft water system. City phones are available.  The only thing we give up is gas and this place has an acetylaic plant if we decide to use it.  It is about a l/4 mile from the traction line with a 20 cent fare to the city.  By next year I will have concrete road all the way into town, which is 9 miles, or about a 25 minute drive.[55]  Also it is within a half mile of a commissioned high school and grade school.  It looked good to me from every angle.  The owner, Robert B. Allison, asked $l0,000 for it.  The property had $3,000.00 against it. 


I have been wanting to get rid of the Congress Avenue house for some time, so I offered to give it clear for his [197] equity.  I wound the deal up within $300 of this basis.  As the contract stands, I take his property subject to the $3000.00 and he assumes my $2000 and I give him $2l25 in cash and pay the commission amounting to $l75.00.  Taking my actual cost in the Congress Avenue property makes the property cost me less than $6,500.00, which is a whole lot less than it could be produced for.  .   .   .  I think that this is the best deal I have made in a long time and I expect it to yield some big dividends in satisfaction and pleasure.  It will be worth a thousand dollars a year to have my youngsters out in the country and my sweet wife and family living in such pleasant surroundings.  I just called Ethel up to tell her that I had completed this deal and she is tickled as can be.  As soon as we get possession, which ought to be with in the next ten days, we will start fixing it up and move in this fall.[56]


Tues Aug 22, 'l6   I closed up the deal selling the Delaware St. house for the Rafert Estate to Thomas O. Gasaway this morning.[57]  All papers are dated Aug 2l. 


.   .   .  [199]


Sat Sept 2, 'l6   I closed the deal with Robert B. Allison purchasing the 4 acre tract and house & improvement in Franklin Township of Marion County this afternoon.  The deal was closed in accordance with our contract of Aug l9, l9l6.  I also deeded the property at l04l Congress Avenue. 


.   .   .  [203]   [He traveled to Jefferson, Iowa, in an attempt to sell or trade the Newton County farm in mid-September, 1916]


Renovations to the New Bethel Home


     As soon as I got home I started work on our new home and this is progressing very nicely.  It will probably be at least a month or 6 weeks before we get moved in.


Sat Oct 7, 'l6   Have been crowding the work on our new home.  Am sure going through it with a fine tooth comb and am putting everything in absolutely first class shape.  Have added on a breakfast room, sleeping porch & laundry room.  Will put on a tile roof and am redecorating outside and inside.  Am changing the plumbing all around putting in a double electric motor system and new fixtures including shower bath.  Am also rewiring the home complete with every wire in iron conduit and am putting in all new electric fixtures.  This will sure be some place when I get done with it.  This work will cost at least $3,000.00 as I am not sparing any expense to make it right.   .   .   .


[204]   Sat Oct l4   I today paid off a $4000.00 note due at the Continental National and executed a new note for $6,000.00.  .   .   .    My gross dependable income now amounts to $9,666.00[58] per year in addition to which I have my building profits and such incidental profits as I make from time to time.   .   .   . 


[205]     Sometimes when I don't get quite enough sleep or something of that sort I feel a little worried when I think how much money I owe, and sitting down and figuring up and writing out things like I have just done is a wonderful help.  My credit is certainly gilt edge and I see no reason why I cannot keep it that way.  The more healthy loans I have, the more I can make.  I am developing a structure which will either make or break me.  However I am taking no serious risk, as I am all the time developing real values which are worth more than they cost me.  My next invoice will show my gross worth, conservatively estimated to be over twice my indebtedness and by keeping down my floating [loans] at the bank and using the bank only for short loans I am not likely to get caught in a "Pinch".    .   .   .   As my business continues to get more and more complicated it takes more & more watching but I have built it from the ground up and I have every detail at my finger tips all the time.  I hope to see it grow to where I cannot handle it personally but will have to work through an organization.  This is entirely possible though I am a long ways from that point yet.


[206]   Fri Oct 20 'l6   I have a little time and I want to say a word about general conditions.  The country is choked up with prosperity.  Every body is busy.  Our exports are greater than ever before and we are piling up an enormous trade balance.  Foreign exchange is cheap.  All the gold in the world seems to be headed toward this country.  Result, cheap money and the highest prices this country has ever seen since the civil war.  The war abroad continues to rage with no prospect of stopping.  The chances are it will last for two years yet.[59]  Commodities are getting scarce in many lines.  Some things are off the market and have been for some time.  The following is a brief list of building material prices for last spring & now.


     Last Spring                                        Now

6 l/2 cents per lb.       white lead         l0 l/2 cents per lb.

l.49 per bbl.             cement             2.00 per bbl.

44.l5 per M.              interlocking tile  advance 40%

     -                    lumber             advance 25%

     -                    glass              advance l00%

8 & l0 cents              cement block       l0 and l2 cents

     -                    hardware           advance from 25-l00%

last year 9 l/2           gasoline           l8 l/2 cents per gal

     -                    electric supplies  advance from 30-l00%


     The above is enough to give an idea of how things are going.  Foodstuffs are scarce, as we have had a poor crop and are trying to feed about half the civilized world besides ourself.  Bread is 6 cents [8/l2/l7 - Now l0 cents] a loaf and a smaller loaf at that.  Butter is 43 cents a lb.  Eggs 40 cents a dozen.  Our largest packing plant is repricing further orders for canned goods including beans, pears, corn & tomatoes.  Just where this situation will lead is the question.  The only thing that is plentiful is money.  The banks are all full.  A dollar as compared with last year is not worth over 75 cents in what it will buy.[60]


     I think it is a good time to lay low.  What comes up will come down.  It is a time to sell & not to buy.  If conditions do not change I will not build any next year.  Neither do I want to sell either the Sherman Drive or De Quincy St. properties, as I could not begin to replace them for what they cost me.  I would like to discuss this matter more but will have to wait till a later time.


.   .   .  [207]


Fri Nov 3 'l6   I had a birthday last Thursday the 26th of Oct.  I was 33 years old.  By George! That begins to sound sort of old but as far as feelings go I feel younger now than I did when I was 23.  I had a lot to worry about when I was 23 that I don’t have now.  I have settled a lot of things in the last ten years that were burning, open problems.  I didn’t have a cent then, wasn't married, no established way of making any money and taking care of a family looked like a trip to the moon.  I remember that at that time I used to comfort myself when I was walking down the street by looking at the houses on each side set close together.  I'd say to myself, somebody is certainly getting by with this proposition of getting married and supporting a family or they wouldn't need all these houses and I will certainly get the hang of the proposition before long.  Three years later I got married and have been giving my family about everything they could want ever since.  My business is pretty well established and I have a reasonably fair chance of becoming fairly well to do.  Other things being equal the next ten years ought to show a much bigger advance than the last l0 and I am well satisfied with the last l0.


[208]   We are still working on the home.  Have just decided to put in hardwood floors all over it and that will take two weeks.  We think more of it all the time, but the test will come after we have lived there for a while.  I killed two rabbits in the back yard this morning.


.   .   .


     Am planning to spend a few days shooting with my old friend John Marxson next week.  He lives about three miles west of Bloomington.  Am going down Sunday.  Have a chance to get away while the floor work is going on at our new home.


Sun Nov l9 'l6   I returned yesterday noon from a week’s shooting trip as above planned.  Found everything O.K. on my return.  Am intending to go up to the Newton County farm tomorrow.  I want to see just what the situation is up there.  .   .   . 




[211]   Fri Dec l l9l6   Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day.  The Stewarts & my family went to Greencastle on the traction & spent the day with the Greggs.  We had a very pleasant time.  This was the babies’ first ride on an interurban car.  They have been on the "choo-choo" but never on an interurban as we usually drive short distances.


     This morning about 3:30 Jeanne woke us up with croup.  She was barking in a frightful manner.  We gave her some medicine however and her mama got in bed with her and warmed up good and after a bit she went to sleep again.


Friday Dec 8, 'l6   With a little luck it looks as if we might get moved into our new home during the next ten days.  The electric motor we have been waiting for has come.  The stove is the only thing left to come.  It was shipped from Milwaukee the l8th of last month and surely ought to show up soon.   .   .   .


They Move into the New Bethel House


[212]   Sat. Dec l6 [1916]   We started moving into our new home today and hope inside of the next week to get settled.  It certainly looks fine.  Our stove has not come yet, but we got a coal cook stove from the Stewarts.  They bought this the year Ethel was born [1888].  I brought the babies into Aunt Jennie’s this evening and will leave them there till Tuesday.  By that time we ought to have the worst of it over with.  From now on those kids will certainly have plenty of room.


.   .   .


[213]     I have decided to move my desk from llth & Alabama Street where it has been since March l909 out to our new place.[61]  I have city phone there and can do lots of work evenings and other times which I could not do if I had to drive l0 miles to get to it.  Some days this winter I will not have to come in at all.  It was below zero yesterday but is much warmer today.  Well it is after ten o'clock and I want to get home and get to bed.  I have certainly enjoyed the year at De Quincy Street in many ways and am glad and thankful that everything has worked out so fine.


Thurs Dec 2l   We finished our moving last Monday and are pretty well settled down by now.  It certainly is fine.  Had about l0" of snow yesterday so we got in just in time.  Stewarts spent last night with us.


Tues. Dec 26   Yesterday was Christmas and it was certainly the finest Christmas we ever experienced.  The little fellows are just big enough now to enjoy it thoroughly.  We had a big Christmas tree and Grandpa & Grandma Stewart and my Sister were with us.  Not the least of my pleasure rested on the fact that my sister seems to be entirely herself again.  She is spending the week with us and fits in fine.  She and Ethel seem to enjoy each other and understand each other.  In this respect things are quite different from a year ago.  On top of all this we are in our new home which is the attainment of an ambition we have been driving at for some time.  It came a good deal quicker than we would have thought possible even a year or two ago.  All in all we had a most happy time indeed.  Ethel’s sister Jeanne is in Boston attending school and could not be with us.[62]


.   .   .



[214]     I have also begun work on my annual invoice.  Getting the figures together in exact shape is quite a job.  The following is an invoice of what I consider the actual conservative value of the property belonging to the C. F. Rafert Estate, Inc.  I want to give this so as to show how I arrive at the value of my stock in the Corporation.


Wed. Dec 27, 'l6  Assets of C. F. Rafert Estate - Inc.

     Value of entire corner at llth & Alabama St.       37,500.00

       "   "    "    Pratt & Arch St. Property          l7,500.00

       "   "  Alexandria Property[63]                        8,000.00

     Due from me (loan)                                  l,000.00

     Cash on hand                                          482.00

     Value in Newton Co. farm mortgage                  l6,000.00

                   Present net worth--------  80,482.00



               Liabilities None


[l/l6/4l - The llth St corner later sold for $30,000.00 as I recall.  I have never been able to move the Pratt St ground.  It is today worth not over $4,000.00, the houses having been torn down because they could no longer be rented.][64]


     As the year is practically closed I will start at once to getting this invoice together on the following page where I will have more room.


[There follows on page 216 and 219 a complete listing of assets, showing a total of $117,071.55 and liabilities showing $59,809.45, the difference being $57,262.10 (He cut out pages 217-218 in the orginal ledger)]


     Net Worth Jan lst l9l7                            57,262.l0

     Net Worth Jan lst l9l6                            53,342.76

     Net gain for year of l9l6                          3,9l9.34


.   .   .



See next page for net earnings, etc. of the year 1916 taken by itself.   .   .   .


[220]   [There follows a listing of income and expenses showing net earnings for 1916 of $9,698.39.  This is the 2006 equivalent of about $243,000]


     In the little day book which I always carry in my pocket the total of my net earnings for the year 1916 figured from day to day and totaled monthly is $9,670.01 as against the above figure of $9,698.39.  Thus the day to day totals and the yearly estimate figured separately and independently and by entirely different methods agree very substantially.





[225]    Sunday Jan l4, 'l7   We have been enjoying a quiet day at home.  In fact we don’t go anywhere unless we have to.  I cannot begin to express how thoroughly we are enjoying our new home.  We have had a good deal of company and we have certainly enjoyed it, as we had to forego entertaining in our small quarters at De Quincy St. except an occasional couple for a meal.  [226]  We will have been here four weeks tomorrow and are pretty well settled and feel thoroughly at home.  I have my desk and all my office papers & books here.  It makes my work ever so much easier to have it here with me as I can work at it at odd times which would be wasted as far as that kind of work goes if I had to go down town to do it.


     The babies have just been in to kiss me good night.  In fact they usually come several times before they finally get to bed.  Jeanne cut her first second tooth today and has been trying to get the baby "toofie" out all day.  It is loose but stubborn.  I offered her a penny for it if she got it out tomorrow, but she held out for a nickel and I had to "come to it".


     I had to stop long enough to hear their little prayers and tell them a good night story.  (Jeanne is calling for a mirror to see how loose her tooth is).  They sleep together now, quite a liberal education in a way itself.  They learn to stay on their own side of the fence and not kick too much.  We have been having rather cold weather the last few days and have about 4" of snow on the ground.  They were out kicking around in it this morning. I took several pictures of them.  I have been so thoroughly enjoying myself since we moved out here that I have found it hard to get my mind down to business.  I suspect that is a good thing, too, in a way.  Yesterday morning, for example, I was intending to go to town and one of the neighbors came in and wanted to know if I would join in a pigeon shoot.  Said they wanted to kill them off for fear of their spreading hog cholera.  I had the most fun I have had in a long time.  It was as good as a duck hunt.  The weather was murky and snowing and the birds wild.  There were three of us and we fixed ourselves blinds around the barn lot.  The pigeons would fly over & circle just like ducks, sometimes one or two, and again in a bunch of ten or twelve.  We killed ten of which I got seven.  One of the other fellows got one and the other two.  These are, of course, domestic pigeons but they forage from one farm to another and have been shot at till they are very wary.


Mon. Jan l5,'l7   Jeanne got her tooth out today and collected her nickel.  I have tied the tooth up in a piece of paper and will put it in the envelope in the front of this book.  .   .   .


[227]   Sunday Jan 22, 'l7   Ethel & the babies were over to Greencastle yesterday where they "helped Aunt ‘Nomi’ get married'.  Aunt Nomi is Naomi Gregg who married Mr. John Emmison of New York.  She is an old friend of Ethel’s.  Elsa carried the ring and Jeanne was a ribbon bearer.  They say the babies attracted more attention than the bride and Naomi is a mighty-attractive girl.  I would have liked to have gone, but had to stay home on account of the furnace

as the weather has been pretty cold.


.   .   .


     More and more it looks to me as if I cannot do any building this spring.  Prices are simply too high, and things will have to change.


Mon. Feb 5,'l7   Well it is sometime since I made an entry and not much of anything has happened in the mean time. We have certainly had some severe changes in the temperature which in the last week has varied from 65 degrees above zero to 8 degrees below.  However, our home has been very comfortable.  It is 2 degrees below this morning.


.   .   .    


War in Europe Looms


[228]     It looks as if our foreign situation would become more complicated than ever with the possibility of war for this country with Germany nearer than ever.  Diplomatic relations between the two countries were broken off last Friday by President Wilson.


     I have practically decided not to do any building this year.  As things stand now prices are simply too high.  I hope that by fall there may be a change.


.   .   .


We are liking the place more and more.  It is so fine for the children.  I feel that I am giving them the very best there is.


     Feeling that we were settled in our home, Ethel & I made preparations for another heir.  We expect this person to arrive about the lst of next October.  We are both mighty tickled as our two girls have a fine start and if we are going to have any more children we ought to have them now so that we can enjoy them and they can know us as comparatively young people when they are grown.  My mother was 43 and my father 45 when I was born so that they were getting along in years when I reached maturity.


     .   .   .


[229]   Tues Mar. l3, 'l7   There certainly seems to have been very little to write about so far this year.  I have been simply looking after routine matters and staying at home when I did not have to go into the city. 


Conditions are very unsettled.  It looks as if we were on the verge of war with Germany.  Diplomatic relations have been broken off, Germany has declared for unrestricted submarine warfare and the U. S. has replied by arming all vessels. Things look bad.


     Food and commodity prices are at levels never known before and a great deal of suffering is resulting.  On account of supplies I bought ahead in considerable quantities and because of our living in the country where we can buy a good many things direct from the producer we are not feeling this much.


     However, it has put me out of business so far as doing any building is concerned.  I am simply following a policy of lying low and seeing what will happen.


    To change the subject, for some time I have intended to note cute things the kids say.  The other morning at the breakfast table the following took place: Occasion - Elsa spills a glass of milk all over herself and surrounding area.  Her mama (very much provoked)  Elsa! I do wish you would be careful when handling liquids.


     Jeanne - Mama - What's a liquid?

Mama - something that runs.

Daddy to Jeanne - You run so you must be a liquid.

Jeanne - (Rather reproachfully)  I run alright but I don’t drip.


[230]     I thought that was a pretty good one.  My big girl is not usually given to repartee.  Just this evening I overheard a conversation between Jeanne & Elsa.  They were discussing Jeanne’s dolly.  Jeanne advanced the sad information that the dolly had been drowned.  Elsa – She must have been trying to play like a boat.    .   .   .


The U.S. Enters World War I


Sat. April 7, 'l7   Yesterday the United States Congress declared war on the German Government.  Every great nation of the world is now at war.  No one knows where this will all end.  My own guess is that that it will not end till there is an internal revolution in Germany overthrowing the Emperor.  Congress began by appropriating $3,400,000,000, which as war goes now is only a drop in the bucket.  This sum would have put a checker board of concrete roads all over the United States.[65]


     I have neglected this diary of late but as it is a business diary and as I have been doing nothing except routine business there has been nothing much to write.  I have been fairly busy, however, and have spent all my spare time at home working on the place.  We are all in love with it.      .   .   .


The New House Catches Fire


[231]      Last Wednesday afternoon the l8th I took .  .  .

Ethel and the babies and we all went in the machine down to Buck creek on the chance of catching some fish.  We returned a little after six.  .  .  .  .   [We] were out in the yard setting out some elderberry bushes we had dug up in the woods.  All of a sudden I heard a neighbor scream "Look at your house!"  I looked up and the smoke was simply rolling out of the attic.  I ran as fast as I could, grabbed a Pyrene fire extinguisher and started for the attic.  I could only get up the attic stairs part way and from what I saw wouldn't have given l0 cents for our chances to save the house.  Worse yet, when I tried to pump the extinguisher I found it was gummed up and wouldn't work.  I started down stairs with it and by that time the neighbors began to arrive.  In less than ten minutes there were at least fifty men on the scene with buckets.  We had plenty of water but couldn't get to the fire with the water on account of the gas and smoke.  (We had a bucket brigade too.)


     By that time I had gotten a hat pin and opened up the fire extinguisher and passed it up to the man farthest up the stairs.  It did the work and put out the fire.  I can’t express the gratitude I feel toward the neighbors for their timely assistance or how thankful I am that we were able to save the house.  We got the fire before it burned badly.


     The insurance companies allowed me $309.00 on the building and $255.75 on the household stuff in the attic.[66]  As the rafters were not weakened I will not have to remove the roof   .  .  .   If it had not been for my tile roof, the fire extinguisher, and an extension ladder that I had on the place the house would have gone sure.  In gratitude to the neighbors I am buying some more extinguishers which I will present to the community to be placed in a public place ready for the next fire that happens.


[232]     .   .   .


     My chickens are sure doing fine.  I have 48 hens and 4 roosters.  Am getting 30 eggs a day, have l90 eggs in my incubator and have 6 hens setting on l5 eggs each.  The first will come off the 27th of this month.  I wouldn't go back to town to live for anything.


Walt Turner & his wife and baby will spend this night with us.  They are the folks we visit in Evanston.  Am sorry they couldn't stay longer, but Walt is on a business trip and cannot stay.[67]


[233]    May 7, 'l7   We have about l50 little chickens now.  Two hens and the incubator have hatched.  One hen had ten chicks and the other l2 and the incubator did the rest.  Another hen will come off today.


Wartime inflation becomes a serious problem


     The war situation looks serious and prices are soaring.


[234]     About three weeks ago I bought one barrel of flour for ten dollars and two more for $ll.20 each.  Flour is now worth $l6 & $l7 a barrel.  Potatoes are worth $8.00 for a bag of 2 l/2 bushels.  Sugar is worth $20 per barrel of 200 pounds.  Hogs are selling for over $l6 per hundred on foot and lard is worth 30 cents per lb.  Canned goods and everything else is in proportion.  Fortunately I have a big supply of canned goods still on hand.  I also have several hundred pounds of rice and other staples.  Corn is worth $l.65 per bushel & wheat over $3.00.[68]


     The coal situation is serious.  I bought Pocahontas coal last year for $3.90 per ton delivered in the bin.  The other day I was tickled to buy a [rail] car @ $6.90 per ton on track and arrange to haul it myself.  I am only hoping that nothing will happen to it on the way.  It is now worth $8.50 per ton.


     The coal situation will be serious with the flats at llth St., I am afraid, as it is impossible to get a contract now.  I am going to gamble on the situation and wait 30 days before buying for the flats.  Some of this is manipulation and [rail] car shortage.


     We are expecting a universal service conscription bill to pass congress daily.  I will not have to go on the first call I know as I am married with dependents and almost 34 years old.  However, I expect to do my part in full when the right time comes.  Now is too early to tell what that part will be.


[235]     Monday May 28,'l7   I just closed my books for the month of May and have been casting up my accounts for the first five months of the year as compared with the first five months of last year.  Figuring to date of June first, I find that last year my living expense was $l0ll.48 as against $84l.54 this year, or a saving in favor of this year of $l69.94.


[236]     .   .   .   This is very pleasing as we are living on a much bigger scale and so much better that there is no comparison possible.  Here we employ two servants all the time, but the difference between servants in the country and in the city is that the labor of the servant in the country is largely productive so that really they cost nothing if their time is properly used.  For example, with any luck at all, we will produce enough foodstuff on the place to go a long way toward wiping out the grocery bill. 


Just now with a condition of unparalleled food shortage and high prices this is particularly important.  Potatoes for example cost $l.00 a peck just now.  Our crop should amount to 50 or 60 bushels, enough for our own needs and some to sell.  Cabbage for example is worth l2 cents a pound.  We expect to produce enough to run us all through next winter in the form of Kraut, etc.  Dry beans are worth l5 cents a pound, tomatoes 30 cents a can, eggs just now 40 cents a dozen. Pear & corn 25 cents a can.  We should have enough of all these things from our own place not to mention many others besides fruit, etc.  Flour is now worth $20.00 a barrel, but our living expense for this year includes flour bought at $l0.00 a barrel to last us the rest of the year, besides many other items.  Taking it all together, living in our fine new home under ideal conditions will not cost us any more than living at De Quincy St. did, and as we get better organized and the place becomes more productive, it will cost actually much less.  The experiment of moving to the country is a success.[69]


     So far this year the auto has cost me $l65.40 as against $l04.67 for the same period last year.  The increase of $60.73 is due largely to the increase in the cost of gasoline, which is now worth 23 cents a gallon wholesale.[70]


     .   .   .


     Building anything is out of the question this year and may be for several years to come.  It all depends on the length of the great war.  This no one can tell.  I shall figure out some other way of making some money when the situation clears a bit and mean time am very thankful that everything is as satisfactory as it is.  All in all I am in very snug shape, but it is impossible to tell what is ahead of us just now.


[237]    Fri June l,  'l7  I entered into a contract yesterday with Sam Askren in which I agreed to trade him my l00 acres in Washington County for three acres adjoining my Arlington Avenue ground on the east.  I think this is a pretty good trade.  The Washington County land is not worth over l000.00 or l200.00 at most and will never be worth any more, and I would have a pretty hard time selling it at all.  Therefore at the outside, this three acres is not costing me over $400 an acre and I figure my land adjoining worth not less than $l,000.00 an acre.  I can handle this ground in connection with the rest of my Arlington acreage and get just as much out of it as I will any of the rest.  [l/l6/4l  Here is some fundamental real estate philosophy.  Joining back ground to the front.  I afterwards sold the whole tract at over l000.00 an acre, thus realizing over $3000.00 for the 3 acres I joined in.]


     l00 acres for 3 looked so good to Askren that he did not even go to look at the l00 acres.  I told his agent Lee Dove all I knew about it.


     .   .   .


     The other day I notified the tenants at De Quincy St. of a raise of $l.00 per month per house effective July first.  They all paid their rent as usual this morning and all seemed to be satisfied just the same.  This increase will add $l,200.00 to the value of the property whenever I go to sell it.


Tues June l9, 'l7  Tuesday, June 5th, two weeks ago today, was registration day for all men between the ages of 2l & 3l both inclusive under the conscription act for the army as recently passed by Congress.  If the war lasts much longer, I fully expect that the age limit will be increased from l8 to 40 which will include me.  Naturally, I have no desire to shoot anybody or get shot, but when the time comes as I hope it will not, I will be ready to go.  I think I have my fair share of patriotism, but so far I have been unable to get "all worked up" over our entry into the war and as I have met and talked to people here and there, I find that their attitude is serious.  They regret the necessity, but are ready to do whatever there is to do.  There is a good deal of fireworks in the newspapers but very little among the people.  [2/l/4l - Now almost 24 years later it is the same thing over again though we are not yet actually in this 2nd world war.  A new generation has come and must learn all over again itself.]


[238]     Our help is doing fine, but I am afraid we will have to lose them.  They are expecting a baby in January it develops, and it is doubtful if Mrs. Whittaker could handle the housework.


     Everything is going fine.  Our gardens are fine and the place is beautiful now.  Yesterday I had to appear in police court and got fined $l5.00 for parking my machine in the wrong place.  I failed to see the marker on the curb.[71]




Thurs 6/28/l7   .   .   .   


.   .   .  As far as I can see, it will be impossible to do any building for some time to come on a profitable basis, and having all my detail and routine work closely organized as I have, I am able to keep completely busy hardly half the time.  [239]  For the rest, I have been having a whale of a good time developing our home place and enjoying it.  For example, for supper this evening we had peas, new potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, radish, green onions & turnips on the table, all produced on the place.  The bread was home baked.  That left only the meat, butter, etc. bought outside.  I expect to produce these a little later.  (We have over 250 spring chickens and some ducks coming on and later we will keep a cow and produce our own pork.)  This is fine as far as it goes, but I want greater activity.  Also, I realize that while to a considerable extent there is strength in playing lone hand in business, that on the other hand, cooperation is necessary for my larger growth, especially under our present modern conditions.


.   .   .


Bringing Democracy to Germany


I find my attitude toward the war and my understanding of it is changing and becoming clarified.  It is now almost midnight and too late to enter into a considerable discussion of this.  I will say only that I find that my attitude has changed from one of shock at the contemplation of such a sacrifice of life and property and from an attitude of individualism as applied to myself individually and as applied to the United States as a nation in its relation with other nations to a realization that we must cooperate in every way possible to make "the world safe for democracy" as President Wilson states it.  We must crush the Prussian autocracy and military caste and crush their ambition to rule the world and we must free the German people themselves from the domination of this military caste and all it stands for.  [2/l/4l  We now look back 24 years.  "We made the world safe for Democracy" by wrecking every Democracy in the world and now the war is on again and we hear other catch phases of clever propaganda. I was 33 when I wrote this page and am 57 now.)


     .   .   .  


[240]    Tues. July 3, 'l7   Tomorrow is the 4th.  The Stewarts, the Atens and my sister will spend the day with us.  .   .   .


[241]    The Turners of Chicago spent all last week with us with their two babies.  The little boy age l5 months is sure some squaller.  He kept things in an uproar all week and while we enjoyed their visit, at the same time we were glad when they left.


Thoughts on Abortion, Use of Condoms and Abstinence


     The Whitakers left today also.  They were expecting a baby next February but it seems that Mrs. Whittaker chose to induce abortion and put herself in a bad way in consequence, so that she had to start for a hospital today.  He intends to go back on the road as a fireman.  He was a fine man.  I’ll tell you, this self abortion business is bad, morally & physically.  Life is life whether before birth or after.  It is only good common sense to regulate the size of one’s family and this can be done with proper care, but if conception takes place the deal should go through.  If a man will use what are commonly known as "fish skins" which, by the way, are the appendix of a hog or sheep - conception can be regulated with but little inconvenience.  If we did not regulate our families we would be but little better than cats and dogs and we have no right to invite a child into the world with out we feel confident that we can care for it properly in justice to itself and the other children. 


[242]   I presume that a strict moralist would say that we should simply desist, but nature and love and happiness are too insistent.  The beauty of the fish skin method is that in the first place it is the surest, in the second place if anything does get by it will be healthy.  This business of using various things to kill the germ is too likely to not quite succeed and then you have a child which may be an idiot or deformed.  Well this is some digression sure, but I don't mind expressing my views on this important but little discussed subject as it comes up for decision in the life of every married couple. 

I hope to see my girls happily married some day and I don’t mind them knowing what I think about this when the time comes.  I will sure want some grandchildren but I don’t want their mothers to be merely brooders.  Said little mothers are now age 4 & 6 respectively, so I guess I'll have to wait a while for grandchildren, however time sure flies.  [2/l/4l  Time sure does fly.  Now I have four grandchildren and I now suspect that their parents know all the "facts of life".  Stewart has a son and he wasn't born yet himself when I wrote this page.]


Thurs July 26, 'l7  I today completed deal in which I deeded the Washington County land in even exchange to Sam C. Askren for 3 acres adjoining my other acreage at Arlington Avenue & E. l0th St.  .   .   .    The 3 acres is planted in corn and rented half & half to a Mr. A. H. Estell - Indianapolis R.R. #l, Box l56.




[244]  Wed. Sept. 5, ’17     The main thing we are looking forward to just now is the little one we expect soon.  We expect the event to take place the 2lst of this month.  Ethel is as well as can be, and everything is just as it should be.  Uncle W. B. Stewart and Grandpa, both doctors, examined her this morning and that is their report.  We have been doing our own work for almost seven weeks by choice and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  However next Monday a young colored girl, Cora Wallace, who worked for us the year we were at De Quincy St., will start in.  She will come back and forth from the city every day.  The nurse, Miss Hand, will be here the l4th, a week from next Friday, to take Ethel in hand before the event to give her alcohol rubs, etc.


     The examination would indicate that we are to have another little daughter.  I would like to have a boy, but that does not mean that I do not want another daughter too.  I wouldn't trade Jeanne or Elsa for any boy I ever saw.  We are prepared to welcome either.  Our sincere hope is that everything will go right and that mother and baby will both be well and strong.  I don't see how this can help but be true, considering the healthy, simple life we lead.  But you can’t get away from the fact that life and death are at that time held in most delicate balance.  I can't begin to express my admiration for Ethel’s nerve & courage or the love that I feel for her.


     Our little Jeanne starts to school next Monday.  This is some event itself.  I will take her the first day.  She is such a brave, dependable little thing that we have the greatest confidence in her.  It surely doesn't seem over six years since she came to us.


     Elsa is the worst kid to venture and fall down and into things I ever saw.  She is so sunny and light-hearted that even bitter experience seems unable to teach her forethought.  Day before yesterday I was picking tomatoes in the lower garden when the awfullest yowls I ever heard split the air.  I ran toward the creek and found that Elsa had fallen in.  She was sure scared. The water was less than a foot deep and there was really no danger so I couldn't help but laugh at her.  She looked like a pussy cat that had been dipped in a bucket of water.


     Yesterday she fell down the front steps and this afternoon part of a pile of boards fell over with her.  The pile wasn't over a couple of feet high and five or six boards across and I had told her to keep away from it, but she had to dance a jig on top of it.  Fortunately she was not hurt.  The little sweetheart.  I could eat her up.


[245]    Sun Sept l6, 'l7  .   .   .  


     Have been pretty busy of late getting in my crops and helping to can some of them.  We have over 400 cans of all kinds of stuff on hand now besides potatoes, beans, flour, etc., enough to more than take us through the winter.  This means something now days.


     Last Monday, the l0th, Jeanne started to school.  I took her over and stayed for about an hour.  She has a dandy teacher, Miss Hoffman, who seems to have a special knack of handling children.  Jeanne seems to like it fine, though she looked forward to Saturday.  I took her picture before she started and hope it turns out well.  [6/l0/25  We attended Jeanne's graduation exercise at School #60, 33rd & Pennsylvania Street in Indianapolis this morning.  She also secured l/2 years credit toward high school.]


     The time begins to draw very near now when we expect the little one.  Ethel is just as well and happy as can be.  We really do not expect the event till the 2lst, next Friday, but the nurse Miss Hand will be here tomorrow so as to be on hand if things should develop a little sooner than expected.


     I have had several changes of tenants lately, but have everything rented except the bakery on Eleventh St.  I had one change at De Quincy St and three at Sherman Drive since the first and three at Eleventh Street.  The draft is causing a good deal of shifting around.  The first 5% of the drafted men are now in camp and the next 40% leave next Wednesday.  I hope Germany comes to their senses soon.


Son Stewart born


Wed. Sept. 19, 1917     It is now almost midnight.  At 20 minutes after ten this evening a baby boy was born to us.  Ethel and I are happy beyond expression.  His name is George Stewart Rafert.  My! My! He can never know what his sweet mother went through within the last few hours.    If he could only have seen her suffer as I did, he would feel that he could never give her enough of love and loyalty to repay her.  He is crying lustily while I write this.  He has brought in great joy.  I am thinking now of his manhood and I pray that we may live to see him a strong, robust, honest, man.  We have given him our blood, pure as our parents gave it to us.  If blood counts, and it does, he can't help but fulfill our expectations and justify our joyful hopes.  [Christmas l2/25/39 - He is now 22, married, and no parents could have ever had greater joy in a son than we have had in Stewart.]  [246]  We will do our part to the best of our opportunities and we pray for guidance and help in this great undertaking.  We just weighed him, 8 pounds & 5 oz. net.


[246]   Wed. Sept 26,   'l7   Well, our big boy will be a week old this evening, and he is surely doing fine.  His mama has not done quite so well.  She has had a little fever.  Yesterday grandpa curetted her and this morning early her temperature was normal, but the fever has come up again during the day.  She seems to feel pretty good considering what she has gone through and she has the very best possible care.  I sincerely hope and pray that she will soon regain her good health.[72]


Sun. Oct l5, 'l7  Ethel is all alright again and the baby boy doing fine.  The nurse left last Tuesday.


Purchasing Niece Laurence Alexander’s partial interest in 640 acre Newton County farm


     [There follow a two pages, 247 and 248 of the original diary, of financial estimates on the farmland.  The conclusion follows.]


[248]     Cost as shown on preceding page, May 30, 1918        $16,460.00  First mortgage held by State Life                  $18,000.00


     This would be $53.84 per acre for 640 acres.[73] 


     In this even I would be in possession of a now self-supporting property which I had obtained by adding about $30,000 to my obligations and on which I would have to pay interest, which would hamper me a good deal.  This is, however, a first class gamble if it turns out alright.  I might make some money and if it does not, I might let myself in for no end of worry and trouble.


     [1/27/40 – This is 23 years later.  It sure was a good gamble, for with the subsequent trades and rent from the Chicago flat which I obtained later out of the deal I must have made near $80,000, having sold the Chicago flat into which the farm value eventually went.  I got it back and now own it clear of encumbrance and received $323.00 today as the net rent for January, 1940.  I got $8,000.00 in cash back out of it in the prior deal for the North Dakota land.]


     [Another paragraph of complex financial musings is omitted here.]


Sun. Nov. 4, ’17   Some days ago I had a talk with the bank and with Mr. Quick.  They assure me of any support I may need in the above deal.  Yesterday Laurence was here and we brought the matter to a definite conclusion.  [249]   I agree to pay $14,000.00 for the certificate and assume any expense which may be necessary before the farm is either deeded to me or redeemed by Bradford.  I told Laurence that she could either have her share, which will be about $3,388.00, in cash or I would give her a note for it due May 30, 1918.   .   .   .   . 


     I do not doubt but what I will eventually work out the farm matter in good shape and make a profit, though with conditions as they are it tests my nerve a little to take it on.  [Nov. 1941, age 57 – Wish I had half as much nerve now.]


     Had another birthday the 26th of October.   It was my 34th.


     The baby son is doing fine and his mother is herself again.  This makes me very happy.  Jeanne is getting along nicely in her school work too.  I had a $1,000.00 life insurance policy I took out a few months ago changed so as to be payable to the boy the same as I have $1,000.00 each for Elsa and Jeanne.  It is New York Life Policy #6,136,649.  


Wed. Nov. 28, 'l7  I have been neglecting this diary of late, but the truth of the matter is that sitting down to do any kind of work at the desk is irksome in a way that it never used to be.  I have had to be in town a good deal and when I am not there I have more than I can do almost around the place here.  There are so many things I want to get done and I thoroughly enjoy doing them.  I was in the city this morning and this afternoon finished making a corn crib in one end of the big chicken house.  My half of the corn on the 3 acres I got for the Washington County land amounted to about 75 bushels.  I went up there and helped shuck it out and am having it hauled down here for chicken feed.


250]     Last night I read a paper before a guest meeting of the Century Club in Indianapolis.


     We have the farm matter all agreed to and it is in process of being closed.  I am paying $l4,000.00 for the certificate.  I will give these details of the matter in this book when it is closed up.


Have a deal on to sell the Pratt St. property.  I would sure like to get rid of it as the houses are becoming old.[74]


     Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  The Stewarts & my sister and Mr. & Mrs. McGuire of Kokomo will be with us.  We sure have lots to be thankful for.


     Young George Stewart Rafert is coming along fine.  He was ten weeks old today and now weighs l3 pounds.  He has more or less colic but is certainly coming fine.  It is a pleasure to see him and his mama together.  There never was a baby that received better care.  Ethel is well too and the girls the same as always - so full of "pep" they don’t know what to do next.  Jeanne is rapidly learning to read and is getting along fine.  Elsa is still all play.  My! My! how I love them all.  We are so happy in our little family circle that sometimes I feel as if I would "bust".


     Two weeks ago I drove down to Moods’ & Maxsons’ for my annual hunt.  I took our next door neighbor John Sheimer with me.  We had a dandy time.


     The war still gives no hope of coming to an end.  If it wasn't for Ethel and the babies I’d like to get into it.  It would be the greatest shooting trip a man ever undertook, but when you think of all the sorrow and suffering, it is awful.


Fri. Nov. 30, ’17  Laurence and Ben could not come down here to attend the meetings of the stockholders and directors of the C. F. Rafert Estate called to pass on resolutions in which the Rafert Estate, Inc. agrees to accept my offer of $14,000.00 for the Sheriff’s Certificate served by the estate in the foreclosure suit against the Newton County land.  I had Berryhill draw up the resolutions in blank and also draw up proxies for Laurence and Ben to sign giving my sister the right to vote their stock at these meetings for thse resolutions.  All these papers I mailed to them several days ago.  I received these papers back properly signed in this morning’s mail.  This afternoon we held the meetings going through the prescribed form.  The resolution state that the certificate should be assigned by the vice president, (Benjamin F. Alexander) and attested by the Secretary, Jane B. Rafert.


[251]     This evening I wrote out the estate’s checks for the distributive shares of the $14,000.00 due each stockholder.  Amounts and shares as follows:  999 shares into $14,000.00 = $14.014 per share. 


     Geo. O. Rafert, 332 shares,       4,652.65

     Ethel S. Rafert, 1 share,            14.01

     Jane B. Rafert, 222 shares,       3,111.11

     Geo. O. Rafert, trustee, 202      2,830.83

     Benjamin F. Alexander, 1 share       14.01

     Laurence R. Alexander, 241, 2 cks 3,000.00



All the above checks I dated Dec. 5th, ‘17


[There is further detailed comment on page 251 of the original diary]


All this takes time, but is all according to Hoyle.


.   .   .


I am taking on obligations in large gobs, not to mention the $18,000.00 first mortgage ahead of the certificate, but I feel sanguine that [252] it will turn out alright.  I was in for the responsibility of the thing, anyway, and handling it individually puts me in much free position to and decide quickly whatever is necessary.  I want to get out from under this farm as soon as possible and hope to make a deal with either Forbes or Bradford in the spring.  As an individual, I can deal with them in a way with terms, etc. that I couldn’t as a representative of the corporation.


     This transaction will immediately increase my sister’s income about $30.00 per month and I believe is a good deal all around.  It makes the interest with all the rest I’ve got pretty heavy on me, but unless something entirely unforeseen comes up, I ought to get through all right and niggle a profit out of it justifying the risk.


Mon. Dec. 3, ’17  [On page 252 of the original diary, he summarizes the profit from the De Quincy property from Dec. 1, 1916 to Dec. 1, 1917 as $1,768.56.  In the dollars of 200, this would be about $53,000.00.  In a note at the top of page 253 he finally explains that “Barrett” is street improvements under the Barrett Law allowing improvements to be paid in ten annual instalments.  He then follows with calculations of profit on the Sherman Drive property and gives a detailed comparison with De Quincy.]


[254]  .   .   .    Tues Dec ll, 'l7   Since last Saturday we have been having the severest cold weather I have ever known in December.  According to the newspaper, the coldest for this month in 40 years.  I know it is colder than any weather we have had at any time during the winter for several years.  My thermometer hangs on the south side of the house and when I looked at it this morning at 6 o'clock it registered l4 below zero.  One of the neighbors told me that at 4 this morning it was l7 below.  Also we have about 5" of snow on the ground.  I drove into town yesterday and as I was fixed for it, it didn't seem bad at all and we are keeping the house snug and warm.  They have closed school till the weather moderates.  The coal situation is pretty bad.  At the flats I am running from hand to mouth already.  I stored every pound I could (about 90 tons) but it is gone.  A [rail]car I ordered 30 days ago has not come in.  Yesterday I was promised 30 tons from the yard.  As a means of economizing coal, they are talking of closing the schools, prohibiting electric signs etc. etc.  I hope I can keep the flats going for it would hit the estate pretty hard if I can’t get enough coal.  However, there is no use crossing bridges till you come to them.


     We have changed our boy’s name.  Ethel readily fell in with my suggestion that instead of calling him George Stewart Rafert we change it to Stewart G. Rafert, the G. for George.  I had several reasons for this.  The chief of these is that I think every man is entitled to his own name and his own personality without having a Junior, or Little, attached to him or have his personality or business life overshadowed by his father.  [l/30/4l - Stewart's birth certificate in Marion County, Indiana, has his name George Stewart Rafert.]


     .   .   .   Neither Ethel or I have any brothers, of course, so this little chap is the only one to carry forward both the name Rafert and the name of Stewart in our end of both families.  My! how I wish his grandpa and grandma Rafert could have seen him.


[255]     This afternoon I moved my office from the room I had been using to the little one the girls had had.  They took my former room.  It makes an improvement all round as they have a larger room and this little room is more to itself so that when I get there, the kids can make all the noise they wish in the rest of the house when I am at work.


Thur. Dec. 18, ’17   The weather has turned somewhat warmer and we are having a heavy snow today.  I have just closed my chicken account and find that after charging off my original investment, I made a profit of $65.31.  I will not bother to keep a further record of them, as the record to date I will know that they [i.e., the chickens] are making something.


     I have the time now and will start work on my annual invoice and then wait till the last of the month before finishing it.   .   .   .



Invoice Jan. 1st, 1918

[Pages 256-257 of original diary]


[Note, SR:  I am listing only properties]


Property at 302-316 De Quincy St and 4826-4332 E. New York St & 8 garages in rear, 28,500.00


Property at 102-116 N. Sherman Drive and 2730-2736 E. Market St. & 8 garages in rear, 28,500.00


18+ acres at Arlington [Avenue] and E. 10th Sts., 18,000.00


New Bethel property, 12,000.00


Rafert Estate stock, 21,494.00


Lots 62 & 63 Layman & Core’s Irvington Park Addition        1,800.00

                                      2007 dollars

Total Gross Assets, 1/1/18    $132,983.98  (rounded)


Total liabilities, 1/1/18      68,347.06


Total net assets             $64,546.92    $1,936,000


Net worth, Jan. 1, ’17        $57,262.10   $1,717,000


Total Net Earnings for 1917     9,961.08     $298,000



.   .   .


As the year closes I feel that we have very much indeed to be thankful for.  We have our boy, and Ethel has her usual good health again.  We have all been well and happy all year.  We feel settled in our home and are thankful to be out of the city for a number of reasons.  The year has brought us nothing but those things which are good and in these war times that is certainly something to be thankful for.




[255]   Jan l8, l9l8   The whole country has been having an awful time lately on account of a shortage of coal.  On top of this we have been experiencing the coldest weather in 33 years.  Our thermometer on the south side of the house has showed 20 below zero several times.  Mere zero really seems quite pleasant.  Last Saturday was the worst day I have ever seen. Temperature at l8 below and the wind blowing 50 miles an hour.  The day before we had about l0" snow.  The wind drifted this till all traffic was blocked.  The next day we had 4 or 5" more snow.[75]


     Going into effect today, the government has ordered a shut-down for five days of all factories east of the Mississippi River to save coal for domestic use.  I have been having an awful time at the llth Street flats, but have managed to get enough coal to keep the fires going though at one time it was all in the boilers.  All churches, schools etc. are closed till further notice and the next ten Mondays will be treated as national holidays to save fuel.  At the home here we have been getting along fine.  Our baby boy will be four months old tomorrow and he is surely doing fine.  Weighs about l7 lbs now.  (This entry should be on Pg 259.)


[259-263]   Mon Jan 28   This is a business diary and I have confined myself pretty much to business matters, however, from time to time other things of equal or greater importance force themselves in.  These things are hardest of all to say.  It is hard to feel sure, when you get through saying them, that they convey the exact thought you intend.  The babies and their mamma all went to bed early tonight and I will have an opportunity to do a little uninterrupted writing.


A Tribute to the Children’s Mother

And His First Impressions of Her


     This thing I am trying to say I will address to Jeanne & Elsa & Stewart knowing that at some time their eyes will chance upon it.  I might entitle it a "Tribute to their Mother".  When I first met your mother at a dance in December l907 I was still smarting internally from two causes.  [260]  First I felt that after spending the time I had in college, etc. that I was not making adequate progress in the outside world.  Of course like any fairly young person I lacked perspective and was inclined to be impatient as I can now see.  Second, although some considerable time had passed since I had given up all hope of marrying Barbara Voyles as I had wanted to do, (She was then married) nevertheless the memory was more than keen and I felt pretty generally blue & defeated. 


But even with these things in my mind I can remember the first sight of your mother as clearly as if I had it actually photographed in my brain.  She was standing facing away from me but turned her head and looked over her shoulder as I approached.  We had several dances together and a few evenings afterwards I called for the first time.  There was no love at first sight or anything of that kind about it all I feel sure, and the first night I called on her, her house was filled with the fumes from an undiscovered gas leak and smelled like a glue factory.  She says I did all the talking and whether this was literally true or not, I do remember that she was pretty quiet.  She was too bashful to explain the terrific odor permeating the house and I was too polite to ask even if it did smell like a combination of skunk & ammonia. 


What with the smell and all I don’t know that I had any definite idea of going back after I left that first evening.  However, it wasn't but a very short time till I did go back and continued with great regularity.  There was something so encouraging and comforting about her.  I may horrify her daughters, but I think it was only a few months later, that we were sitting on the piano bench together when suddenly I blew up and grabbed her and gave her a great big kiss.  She has claimed for a long time that on this occasion I maneuvered for position and acted deliberately.  I can honestly say that this is not the case.  The whole thing was so spontaneous and sudden that it surprised me as much as it did her.  She was hurt and tried to act "more hurt" and I felt like a fool.  Your mamma was a pretty prim young lady and no one had ever kissed her or tried to before and got away with it.  She wouldn't kiss me and never did till we were engaged but has since admitted that she was disappointed if I didn't do my part from that first time on.  (If I remember rightly she had little cause for disappointment)


     (I have started too big a subject to cover it in one writing but will come back to it next time.)


Thurs. Feb. 7, 'l8   I had expected to return to this before now but what with one thing and another I did not find opportunity.  Can't write much this evening, for it is late already and I want to be up early.


Falling in Love


     Well things continued along and without realizing it I was falling in love.  Your mamma says she knew she was all along.  My intuition told me as much at the time and it worried me a good deal.  I hardly knew what to think of myself.  There was nothing hot-blooded and passionate in my attitude toward her as there had been toward Barbara Voyles, at least not in anything like the same degree and yet I found one thing to be sure and that was that I couldn't stay away.  I know it often happened that I would tell my father I would spend the evening with him and would tell Ethel that I would not be up that night and in an hour later start up as usual (She has always been fond of onion and says I always did this stunt just after she had eaten some). 


During this period I know I blew hot & cold alternately.  I wanted to be square.  I knew I was monopolizing her time and yet I couldn't get away.  The mere thought of it took my breath away.  On the other hand I felt that in fairness to her it was up to me to stop coming unless I meant seriously.  I wasn't making very much money yet, though by this time I had the grocery going pretty good.  Finally I began to wonder if I was really in love or whether, smarting under my last experience, I was merely seeking solace which one girl or another might supply.  Acting on this thought, without saying a word, I stayed away from several weeks and went to see other girls, rushed one girl in particular, Josephine West, now Mrs. McKinstry. 


I had about concluded that it was a case of solace.  However, I was sitting at my desk in the rear of the grocery one afternoon when a messenger boy came in with a small package.  I don’t know what it was now, but I do remember the shock he gave me.  I knew my mind then and there.  I thought “By George, I’ve done it now.”  A year or so before I had given your mother a Phi Psi bracelet (cost $9.00 and I had to dig up $2.00 to make the check good).  I was morally certain that she had heard how I had been acting and had returned the bracelet etc.


     The relief I felt when I found it to be something else sent me hustling to the phone to see if I could call that same evening.  She seemed glad as usual to see me and gave no evidence of pique at my recent conduct.  (Your mother never got up and stood on her dignity like a lot of girls would have done).  We took a walk and when we returned were sitting there talking.  I don’t know just how it came about, but I took off my fraternity pin and pinned it on her with the statement that it looked well.  According to custom, a girl wearing a fraternity pin is supposed to be engaged to the man who owns it.  I knew this, of course, and yet I had no exact realization of what I was doing at the time.


A Sweet and Timeless Moment


I don’t know exactly what she said, but she expressed the thought that as we were not engaged she couldn't wear it.  I told her I meant it that way.  She choked up and got up and walked to the middle of the room.  I followed and took her in my arms.  We stood there a moment.  I said "Sweetheart are you my girl?"  She said "I guess so".  I knew then I had done something.  My knees came as near shaking as they ever did.  I was frightened and happy all at once.  The day was Feb. l0, l9l0.  [Jan 27,l940 - This is almost 30 years later and I am still certain that on Feb. l0th l9l0 when I asked your dear mother to marry me, that I did the best day’s work I ever did.  Our two fine sons & three fine daughters, not to mention our three fine grand-children & 30 years of happy married life all attest the importance of the day of Feb l0, l9l0.]  [page 261, original]


     As I look back I cannot but marvel at her forbearance and kindness, for I must have seemed like a very cad a good many times, and yet the things which worried me most all this time was the fear that I might not be playing fair & square.  When a man sits down and tells the truth about himself he realizes that he is a funny proposition.  Well, so much for tonight.


Engagement, February 10 – August 10, 1910


Tues Feb. ll, 'l8   We did not set our wedding day right away, but in a general way expected to be married in the fall.  However, we later determined on August l0th, 3 pm. as the time, as things went better with me than we had reason to expect.  During the six months we were engaged--on May 25, l9l0--my father died.  This was an event of very serious input for us and is fundamentally responsible for our first troubles.  Father’s death left my mother & sister alone and mother insisted that we come and live with her.  I feel sure that I have told all about this elsewhere in this book.  We were not married yet when we had to decide this and in my mother’s sorrow I felt mighty keenly for her.  Ethel insisted that in getting married we must establish a separate, independent home.  Torn between two fires as I was at that time I agreed with her very grudgingly.  I want to say right now that she was everlastingly right.


Mon Feb l8,'l8  The above lesson was pretty hard for me to learn at that time under the circumstances then existing, and I want to pay tribute to your mother's strength of will & character which made her insist upon it and hold fast to it with everything she held dear in the balance.


Beginning Marriage


     We were married and stayed overnight at what was then the Grand Hotel, starting on our honeymoon trip to Lake Wawasee the next morning.  I hate to put these next things down, but if my children read this when they are old enough, in the spirit in which I speak, it will be worth while.  I feel a quiver of regret as I think back on that night.  I had no intention of being unkind or inconsiderate and I heard no word of reproach and yet your mamma has told me since that she cried that night when I was asleep.  Stewart, you will be only 5 months old tomorrow and yet I want to tell you now.  You are a healthy little animal and when the time comes your blood will run hot and fairly burn in your veins, but by all you hold sacred and dear, do not touch your wife the first night you are married.  You will probably think as I did that Solomon showed his greatest wisdom in having a thousand wives, but if you can control yourself at this time it will be a source of everlasting satisfaction to you all the rest of your life and you will gain your wife's undying respect for your kindness and consideration. 


Jeanne & Elsa! I wish you no greater happiness than strong virile men for husbands and if they ever [do] as I did, do not hold it against them, for the error will be due to lack of understanding and an excess of love which has not yet learned to control itself.  [l/27/40  Stewart was married the 5th of last Nov. & I remembered to emphasize this to him.  Jeanne & Elsa are now both "old married women" and have just the kind of husbands I prayed for for them.  They are all happy and that sure makes old "Grandpa" happy.  Frank and Harriet were not born yet when I wrote this page.]


     When two people are pronounced man & wife they are not yet married in the true and full since by a good deal.  They have to learn to live together.  The corners will have to wear off of both.  If they really love each other this will soon occur, though if the circumstances are difficult as they were in our case, it may take time.  We both experienced many a heartache before our love blossomed out into full bloom.  As our difficulties were solved, your mamma and I have learned to love each other more and more.  There were times since we were married when without any disloyalty to your mother I thought a great deal of Barbara Voyles and what I thought she might have meant to me.  There were times when I would have given anything to see her again.  That thing weighed on my mind at times to such an extent that it made me fairly savage and I feared it, but I can truly say now that it is gone absolutely and will never trouble me again.  I could meet her on the street and tip my hat and pass on without turning a hair. 


I held your mother’s hands Stewart, when she was going through her great labor of love to bring you into the world, and as I helped her and felt for her and prayed for her at that time, I knew that our love blossom was full blown and that in the future nothing would detract from or mar its beauty.


Diary Resumes with everyday life



[263]   Sun Mar l0, 'l8   .  .  .


     I do not believe that I have mentioned yet that Ethel's parents & sister have been in Florida for the past ten weeks.  They went down for Dr. Stewart’s health.  His condition has been getting steadily worse and the change has been more rapid of late.[76]  [264]  Six months ago he could still drive his machine and make his calls.  Then Jeanne drove for him till they went away.  By the time they left he found it difficult to get in and out of the machine or to arise from a chair.  When they first got to Dunedin, the little town in Florida where they are located, he could play croquet and walked about a good deal.  Our last letter said that he could only walk to the front gate.  He is now finding it difficult to talk.  They had intended staying till May, but with Grandpa growing so much worse so rapidly have written that they will take the first reservation they can get for home, so we expect them any day.  It is certainly very sad to see a strong, useful man go down that way.  He might linger on for a good while but my guess is that he will not last another sixty days.[77]


     We had a 66 mile-an-hour gale last night.  It did some damage, for one blowing off tile on several buildings and blew off quite a few shingles at Arlington Avenue.  Quite a little damage was done all over the city and in northern Ohio some small towns were wiped out and over a score of people killed.


.  .  .


Sun Mar 24, 'l8   Grandpa & Grandma Stewart and Aunt Jeanne came directly from the train to our house two weeks ago yesterday and have been here ever since.  Grandpa will not go home, but wants to stay here.  He has reached the point where some one has to sit up with him all night every night but still while he cannot turn over in bed he can go up and down stairs.  It is our duty to take care of our old people.  At the same time I wish we were to ourselves again.  This cannot last very long as it is.


     We plowed two of our three gardens last week and I have planted some early six weeks potatoes & onion sets.  Had our first hen of the season come off with l0 little chickens this morning.


World War I Enters the Final Stage


     It looks as if the war were nearing a crisis.  The Germans have started a vast offensive on the West front in France, and have forced the British back at tremendous loss of life on both sides.  Last nights’ paper reported that the Germans were shelling Paris at a range of 62 miles with some new gun.  The maximum range before has been about 22 miles.  I am anxious to hear tomorrow’s news, for heavy fighting must be going on today.


He decides to get rid of the Newton County farm


 [268]   Sun. June, 2, ’18    .  .  .     As to the farm, I went up there as I intended and went over it carefully.   .  .  .   Various major things ought to be done in the way of tiling, cleaning ditches, tight fencing & building another barn, etc. but I have concluded after reviewing my business as a whole to handle the farm merely as a real estate transaction and sell it or trade it out at the earliest opportunity.  I wouldn't mind handling a farm productively but I want it nearer at home and I want it where you are surer of an adequate return on money invested.[78]  Down here for example if you put tile in the ground your land will stay tiled while up there the light sandy soil is likely to sift into the joints and fill them up in a year or two and you have it all to do over again.  This land is very flat, hardly, enough fall to drain, result, the open ditches must be kept clean to be effective and this is very expensive.  I have no doubt some money could be made up there, but on the other hand I suspect the same time, money and energy expended elsewhere would produce more and with greater certainty.   .  .  .


Acquisition of Apartment Building in Chicago



     I am on a deal to trade [the Newton County farm] for a flat in Chicago.  Expect to go up there this week and then I will know all about it.  This apartment building is said to be fire proof construction 28 apartments bringing a gross rental of $l5,400 per annum.  There is a straight loan of $65,000 with about 8 years to run and an unpaid balance or a 2nd of $5,l00.  I am pricing the farm at $l25.00 per acre in trade.  I don’t know if this will amount to anything or not.  Mr. Foster a real estate man from here is going up with me.  We will stop at the farm on the way.  [2/l5/4l  I have always found it nice to decide even before going into a deal, whether it was for quick turnover or for the long pull.  This is what I was doing here in reference to the farm.  In this deal I could not do this ahead of time but I decided the policy as soon as I could.]


     .  .  .


     The subject of general business conditions is a large one but I want to give a brief summary of how I have it doped out in a few words if possible.


     Money is tight now and if this war continues very long as seems likely it will get so tight as to make it almost [270] impossible for the private borrower like myself to get money except at a high rate of interest maybe 8 or l0%.  I have a good many large loans maturing in the next three years and I want to prepare for this situation.  On the other hand whenever the war ends, considerable prostration is bound to follow.  All the firms now working over time on war contracts will suddenly find their business shut off.  The longer the war lasts the greater will be the reaction. 


This country will have a hard time finding a market for its normal surplus.  Europe will be bled white of money and will buy nothing it does not have to have and will have to pay in goods for what it does buy.  These goods will displace just so much American production here.  The result will be stagnation, unemployment and tight money and fallen prices.  Now if my theory is right and I cannot see any other logical hypothesis to work on, I must get my loans in shipshape order.  [2/l5/4l  I sure had it figured right as this record later shows in l932-33, etc., but it took longer than I expected and the crash did not come till after the postwar boom due to replacement of depleted normal inventories.)


     .  .  .


[271]    Mon June l7, 'l8  I made the trip to Chicago referred to a few pages back and saw some flat properties offered me in trade for the farm.  The trip amounted to absolutely nothing as all these properties were encumbered for about all they were worth.


     .  .  .


[272]   Mon July l, 'l8  .  .  .


Sale of 11th & Alabama Street Lot

(Later site of Sears, now O’Malia Market)


     Today I signed a contract selling the corner at llth & Alabama Sts.  A few days ago I went up to Roll, Ind. to see my niece.  She and Ben wanted to make the deal.  They certainly are just as nice as they can be.  They also want me to borrow their share of the money and handle it for them the same as I do for my sister.  This I will be glad to do.


     As accepted the estate will receive $3,900 in cash, $6,600 par value liberty bonds, a mortgage back for $l7,000, 80 acres in Lawrence County and a lot on Central Avenue between l2th & l3th.  The lot is probably worth between $3,000 and $3,500.  The 80 acres is about like the l00 acres I had in Washington County.[79]

[273]  Figuring the 80 acres at 500.00 and the lot at 3500.00 and the bonds at 6,300.00 which is about there actual market value make a total consideration of $3l,200 for the property [2007, about $936,000].  This seems pretty cheap but when I mentally put myself in the other fellow’s shoes, knowing all I know about the property, I would rather sell than buy at that price.[80]


     .  .  .


     This will be a long step in the right direction surely.  The deal will result in an increase in income for both my sister and niece and a loss in income to me as I propose to cut my estate salary in half, but on account of the much stronger position in which it places me I feel that I can afford to take the loss in income.  I will give the exact details of the deal when it is closed.


Children’s sicknesses and doings


Mon July 8, 'l8   Our little Elsa has not been feeling right for the last ten days.  She has had considerable fever at times.  We were very much afraid of typhoid and have had a trained nurse for her since Sat. evening.  However she is now greatly improved and while she will have to stay in bed for a while we feel greatly relieved to know that she does not have typhoid.  Blood tests for malaria & typhoid were both negative and I guess the trouble is no more serious than an irritation in the colon which caused a [274] disproportionate amount of fever.  Her temperature was practically normal all day today and we have every reason to hope that she will soon be her sweet sunny little self again.  We will keep the nurse for a while anyway.


     Jeanne is her own responsible, vigorous little self all the time.  She is growing like a weed.


     Young Stewart is sure a "beaner".  He has certainly developed fast. We put him in the baby walker for the first time today and he makes it scoot.


.  .  .



[275]   Tues July l6,'l8   Elsa is all right again for which we are mighty thankful.  We were afraid she was going to have typhoid fever, but it turned out to be merely some kind of intestinal disturbance.  Let the nurse go last Saturday morning.    .  .  .


Active Management and Work at the Newton County Farm


Sun Aug ll,'l8   I returned last Thursday evening from another trip to the farm and to Kankakee.   .  .  .


     We are threshing.  Expected to start last Monday but machine didn't get set till Thursday afternoon.  I had to come home on account of the llth St. deal which we expected to close Friday.  However it has run over.  Now we expect to close it Monday morning.  I expect to go to Lafayette Monday evening and reach the farm early Tuesday morning in time to be in at the finish of the threshing anyway.  Oats is turning out fine and rye pretty fair.


Fri Aug l6,'l8   I arrived at the farm again last Tues. morning and did not get back home till Wed. mid-night.  Finished threshing Wed. noon.  Oats totaled 3,7l7 bushels, half of which is mine.  We sold ll83 bushels to the elevator.  [276]   I received $354.90 for my half and made the farmer take up a note he owed me amounting with interest to $230.96 out of his half.  It made him kind of sore but I insisted on it and am glad to get the collection made as he owes a good many people.  When I was up there before we sold l000 bushels to a private individual @ 62 cents and I collected the $3l0.00 for my share.  Farmer has 7l9 bushels in granary which he wants to keep for feed.  I have left on the place 767 bushels which are still unsold.  @ 60 cents these will bring $460.20.  We will have them as soon as possible as in view of large crops, shrinkage, "farmerage", rottage etc.  I don’t care to hold them.[81]


     I have not yet heard from Wiggins in regard to contracts I sent him, but I know he received them as I have the registered letter return.  We only had 309 bushels of rye which was very disappointing.  The frost hurt it much worse than I expected.  Corn prospect seems very good but I don’t care to count on it till it is in the crib at least.


Sale of the 11th and Alabama Street Lot


     Last Monday Aug. l2th before I went to the farm I closed the llth [and Alabama] Street deal.  We deeded the property to Bernard Dorfman and Fannie Dorfman, his wife, an undivided l/2 interest and to Nellie Jaffe the other undivided half.  They executed mortgage back for $l7,000.00 and gave us $3,900 in cash and $6,600 par value liberty bonds and executed deeds in our favor for the following described properties.


     The N.E. l/4 of the S.W. l/4 and the S.E. l/4 of the N.W. l/4 of Sect 3, Tp 6. N. Range l East containing 80 acres more or less in Lawrence County, Indiana.


     Also a part of Lot ll4 in Ovid Butler’s College Corner Addition to the city of Indianapolis described as follows to wit.: Commencing at a point on the west line of said lot 50 ft. North of the SW corner thence East parallel to the South line, to the East line, thence North with the East line of said lot 40 ft. thence West to the W line, thence South 40 ft. to place of beginning a plot of which addition is recorded in Plat book 2 Pg 7l in the Marion County Recorder’s office.[82]


     This lot is on the E. side of Central Av. between l2th & l3th Sts.  It is probably worth from $3,000 to $3,500  The 80 acres in Lawrence County is worth what we can get out of it.[83]


     The mortgage referred to above for %l7,000.00 is for 5 years @ 6% semi-annual with privilege of prepayment in multiples of $500.00 at any interest date.  I had it executed on American Mortgage Guarantee form as I expect to sell it to that Company.  I left the bonds with the bank to sell yesterday.  All of which is in line with my program as outlined on preceding pages.


     During the past 30 days I paid off the $l,l00.00 I owed Nathan H. Kipp.  I have also paid off all I owed the bank and have taken up a $500.00 note due the 22nd of next May on the home.


     Returning to the llth St. deal - They also paid us the sum of $45l.00 in the net adjustment of water, insurance, janitor & rents.  All properties were turned subject to the taxes for l9l8 payable in l9l9.  All abstract & title difficulties were over same & corrected for all properties except in regard to our lot 22.  We find it necessary to bring a suit to quiet title on this lot.  The matter goes back over 20 years so it will probably be merely a formality.  We executed an agreement to do this and they completed the deal subject to this agreement.  They would have completed it several weeks ago but I held it up as we were getting the rents. In adjustment of insurance I made a commission of $l22.90 off of them.


     We hold all insurance ($l7,000.00 fire & $l4,000.00 cyclone) and abstracts with the mortgage.


     I thought it best to write to Laurence again.  They seemed very anxious for me to keep their money and use it, but I don’t want any misunderstanding about it.  I told them I would take it @ 6% per annum payable in monthly installments on the basis of a l0 year note, the $3000.00 I already owe them to be included in the arrangement.  As soon as I hear from them I will proceed further in regard to arrangements for taking up the Arlington Avenue loan, etc.


Sun Aug l8,'l8   Yesterday I bought a new Buick six same as my old car, except it is much improved in minor details.  It sure is a peach.  Paid $l,340.00 for it.  It goes to l575.00 the first of the month.  I really did not have to have a new car yet but as they are getting hard to get on account of curtailed production due to the war and as the price will go up very rapidly in the near future due to increased cost and new taxes at the factory I thought I had better get one while I could.  I expect to use my old car this winter and on account of above conditions expect to sell it in the Spring for about as much as it cost me over three years ago.  If I can come any where near doing this I will not have much net cash outlay in the new machine.


Thurs Aug 2l,'l8  Just returned this afternoon from a trip to Moods’ with my neighbor Frank Kimberlin.  We left l o'clock Tuesday in his car.  Killed a bunch of squirrels and had a dandy good time.  I found Mr. Mood very much interested in a mining venture.  Essentials Producing Co. of Kansas City Mo.  Lead & Zinc.  His Brother has been on the ground l6 years and is attorney for this company.  I have met him and he impressed me as being a straight honest man just as I know Mood to be.  On his brothers advice Mr. Mood took $500.00 worth of the stock and hopes to take $500.00 more.  I had a hunch and bought 500.00 worth myself.  This is a flier pure & simple.  I have kissed the money goodbye.  But knowing the Moods I took a chance on the personal element though I don’t know anything about the company.  I have been conservative for so long that I enjoy taking this flier no matter how it turns out.  We will see what my tail light shows up later on.  $500.00 for Moods is about the same as $l0,000.00 would be for me.  I don’t think his brother would mislead him and being the attorney for the company and knowing the property, he ought to know what he is talking about.


[2/15/41   I only went party way in paying for this stock and as I remember, I only lost what I paid in.  The war stopped soon after and the market for zinc went out.]


[Brief section on selling of $6,600 in bonds that uyielded $6,271.57 from page 278 of original diary omitted.]


     Tomorrow our whole family will go in the new machine to visit Quicks in their cottage at Lake Wawasee.  Ethel and I will be glad to see it again, as we spent our honeymoon there.  With the three kidlets, new machine and all, we will go back some differently.  We expect to stay there a few days and then stop at Wabash a night and also stop with Lawrence and Ben a night on the return trip.  In associating myself with the Continental National Bank some years ago I didn’t realize that I was also gaining a warm personal friend in its president, Mr. George Quick, who has certainly been a great help to me as this record shows from time to time.  He is certainly a fine man.


Tues Aug 27,'l8   We had a delightful visit with Quicks. Went fishing Sat & Sunday morning and caught some good bass.  Harry Quick landed one that weighed 3 l/2 lbs.  We left Monday and drove to Roll and spent the night with Laurence & Ben.  I came home on the traction this afternoon leaving Ethel & the babies & machine.  She will stay another day with the Alexanders and then go back to Wabash and probably spend the rest of the week visiting relatives.  Laurence & Ben have a deal on and may want their money.  I am figuring now on paying them their share of the distribution in cash and also paying off the 3,000.00 I now owe them.  This will still leave me enough to pay off Blue and clear the Arlington Avenue ground if I cash the llth St. mortgage.


I was anxious to get back home on account of the farm deal.  I sent the contracts to Wiggins on the l0th of Aug and gave him till the 20th to sign and return them.  I have heard nothing at all from the son-of-a-gun.  I have concluded to go to Minnesota and look over Dawson's farm and deal for it myself if it shows up.  I have wired him and will probably start tomorrow or next day depending on what I hear tomorrow in reply to a wire I just sent him.


Mon Sept 2,'l8   The next morning I received a wire from Dawson to come ahead.  I started the same afternoon, (last Wed) and arrived in Kankakee at 8:40 that evening.  Stayed there overnight and left with him for Chicago Thurs. afternoon.  That evening we got a sleeper over the Milwaukee R.R. arriving in Minneapolis the next morning at 8 o'clock and got a train over the Great Northern, arriving at Fergus Falls, Minnesota Friday afternoon about 4:30.  We got a machine and drove out to his farm.  I was very much pleased with it and so was he.  He was so pleased in fact that he kicked out of the deal entirely and refused to trade after I said I would accept his proposition same as he had made Wiggins.  I was sure sore to put it mildly after all the trouble & work & expense I had had.  The only decent thing he did was to refund me $50.00 on my R.R. fare.  I guess the comfounded deal is off entirely and I will have to figure what to do next.  I arrived home yesterday afternoon.  Ethel and Stewart and Jeanne are still away but I expect them back today.  Elsa came home from her Grandma's with me last night.  I certainly did hug her when I got back.


Tues Sept 3  Just received a letter from Forbes stating that Mr. Wiggins had been very sick but that he knew it was his intentions to accept the farm proposition.  Mine expired Aug 20 and the one from Dawson Sept lst.  He wanted extensions.  Knowing the state of mind Dawson had reached I just sent a straight wire to Forbes as follows.



     "Have Wiggins or some one with power of attorney accept both propositions as of Aug 20th and mail all papers to me today.  Otherwise deal off.  Write me letter explaining delay."


     If this goes through Dawson will surely blow up but it will serve the old goat right.  After dragging me all over the country he went flat back on his verbal proposition simply because I had not tied him up to me same as the proposition he signed to Wiggins.  He would have refunded the $50.00 on my rail road expense if he hadn't wanted some kind of a receipt nominally acknowledging that there was no deal and purporting that no deal had been made. I gave him a written statement stating that there was no contract between him and me, which there was not, as both his former written proposition and mine were made to Wiggins.  I had arranged the three cornered deal this way as I wanted Wiggins on the paper I took.  I told Dawson distinctly that as it was then the 30th day of Aug. and as his proposition to Wiggins did not expire till Sept first that it might be that I would find the accepted papers from Wiggins when I returned home and in that event, as I could not speak for Wiggins, the deal would have to go through.  However, the paper I gave him stating that he refunded 50.00 on my expense agreed to be refunded in the event no deal was made between him and me seemed to satisfy him.  As this was certainly the case I did not hesitate to give it to him for the $50.00.  He thinks he is some foxy old devil.  He is an old devil alright anyway.  If I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peal at the age of 76 I would sure reform.


     The last time before this that I was in Kankakee, he tried to drag me in as a witness when the parents of a l6 year old girl were raising Cain and had him scared out of his wits.  He wanted me to go along with him to see them and talk it over.  "Not for Uncle Dudley."  No indeed.


Wed. Sept 5, ’18   I just made the following distribution for the Rafert Estate, same being part of money derived from sale of bonds and cash from 11th St. property.  This distribution is based on the sum of $9.50 per share, the amounts being as follows:


     Geo. O. Rafert,         333 shares @ 9.50 per share       3,163.50

     Jane B. Rafert,         222                          2,109.00

     Geo. O. Rafert, trustee 202                          1,919.00

     Laurence R. Alexander,  242                          2,200.00


     I am borrowing my sister’s share, having executed a demand note bearing interest @ 6% per annum payable in monthly installments on the 15th of each month.  Note is of even date.  The trustee money I will pay her 6% for in the same way as formerly.


     I am today sending my niece my personal check for $3,010.00, which is in full principal and interest to date for the $3,000.00 note she held against me out of the farm deal of last December.  This cleans up everything I owe her.


     The $17,000.00 mortgage we have concluded to hold for a while, as it seems likely that it will be taken up within the next six months.  The Dorfmans, who executed it on the 11th St. property have $75,000.00 worth of whiskey in bond and as the whole country goes dry July 1st, 1919, they will sure want to get rid of it before that time and will want to cut off interest.


Thurs Sept 6  ’18   I paid off another $500.00 on the New Bethel property today.  This makes %1,500.00 I have paid on this loan, cutting it to $6,000.00 with nothing due till 1921.


     Have received letter from Forbes stating that Wiggins was much better and had said he would sign papers and mail at once.  If he registered them, they ought to reach me today.  I also received a letter from Mr. Dawson, wanting to know why in the world the deal between myself and Mrs. Dawson did not go through, that he had written her that I had gone home made and she couldn’t understand it.  I am waiting to reply till I have a chance to hear from Wiggins.


     I raised De Quincy and Sherman Drive rents $1.00 per month effective Oct. first.  All the tenants seemed to think they were being fairly treated except one.  He blew up and went down to the Marion County Council of Defense and lodged a charge of profiteering against me.  As the cost of everything I have to buy in the upkeep of the buildings has increased upwards of 50%, I can’t see how he can prove his charge on the basis of a 4% increase in rent.  I have written the Council a letter stating the facts.


Thurs Sept l2, 'l8   I just returned from registering under the new draft law which includes all men from l8 to 45.  The former draft law in operation to date since we have been in the war included men from 2l to 3l only.  We have close  to 2,000,000 men in the army abroad and probably more than l,000,000 more in training in this country with more being called every month.  The

Kaiser will sure find he started something when he dragged this country into the war.  The Germans made some awful drives in March to June of this year and came mighty near to taking Paris and the Channel ports.  Since then the Allies under General Foch have gained the initiative and have been driving them all steadily back.  It seems possible just now that they may be driven back to the Belgium frontier and out of France before snow flies.  Peace will come when they are absolutely licked and ought not to come before that time.


Mon Sept l6,'l8   I want to say a word about our little boy.  He will be a year old next Thursday.  If ever a little fellow had a fine start he surely has.  We haven't weighed him lately but I am sure he will tip the scales at all of 28 pounds.  He has seven teeth and is beginning to talk.  He says "boo-cow" whenever he sees a cow or picture of one.  This was his first word unless it was "daddy".  He calls his mamma "Nana".  He says "gedap" quite plainly for horse and has several other known expressions of his own manufacture which we understand but which are not in the English language as "she is spoke".  He has been perfectly healthy right from the start and is as full of fun as a kitten.  He neither walks nor crawls, though he can maneuver very rapidly by a means of locomotion peculiar to himself.  He sits down and draws both legs toward him together, first on one side and then on the other.  He makes his walker scoot and all he really lacks to actually walk is confidence and the first step alone.  He will have experienced both in another two weeks I feel sure.  We are surely enjoying him.  He is "some" boy.


     Elsa has begun her second week of school.  Last Friday noon she came home because "she thought she had been there long enough.”  I took her back, which was agreeable to her after she had seen her mamma.


     I am very much impressed with the quality of Jeanne's mind. She grasps things very quickly.  I spend an hour or so with her every evening helping her with her studies and it is a great pleasure to teach her.  About next week Elsa will be bringing her primer home.  Jeanne is very much interested in her school work.  Elsa has the same teacher that Jeanne had last year, Miss Fern Hoffman, and I am very glad, as she has a wonderful knack with children.  A good start means so much to them.  It is beyond me to express how much I am in love with this little family and their dear mother.


Sun. Sept 29, ’18   In connection with the draft, for which I registered Sept. 12th, I received my “Questionnaire” last Saturday, the 21st.  It was some job to fill it out and took me the best part of three days.  I turned it in last Wednesday, which was in good time, as I had seven days from the time received.  By the time you have filled out one of these questionnaires, there isn’t anything I can think of that you haven’t told.  About 10 million men between the ages of 21 and 31 registered under the first draft and about 13 million under this draft, so the magnitude of the task of sorting all these men and assigning them to classes is evident.  You are placed in one of five classes, each of which has 4 or 5 subdivisions.


     The classification is made according to your occupation, dependents, etc.  It is certainly a very fair proposition all round.  Your number in the class or your order of liability to be called inside the class is determined by lot, the drawing being held in Washington tomorrow.  I have not yet received word as to how I have been classified.  I expect to be put either in class 2 of class 4, depending on how the draft board views my dependency.[84]


     The 4th Liberty loan drive started Saturday.  The government is asking for six billion dollars from the loan.  Ethel is acting as lieutenant in this sector  in sale of bonds, together with six other women.  Aunt Jennie is staying with “brother” [i.e., baby Stewart] while is momma is out.  I gave her my subscription for $500.00 worth of bonds this evening together with my check for $50.00, being an initial payment of 10% under the government plan of puchase. The balance is due 20% Nov. 21, ’18, 20% Dec. 19th, 20% Jan. 16 and 30% Jan. 30, ’19.[85]


     [The remainder of page 284 and all of page 285 in the original diary is taken up with a review of financial plans and circumstance.  He gives a one-paragraph narrative summary at the top of page 286, then in what follows explains his business plans for after the war.]


     Since selling the 11th Street property I have been figuring on various ways to so organize my business as to get my time comparatively free with the idea of taking on something else till after the war, when I can get back to building again.  I don’t want to figure on anything requiring investment for obvious reasons and because I want to work into the clear as far as possible so as to be in position to take on a considerable building program when conditions make it possible again.  If I could do this and line up for a job with some kind of concern [i.e., business organization], even if I didn’t make over a couple hundred a month out of it, I would be just that much to the good while I am waiting.


     Of course, there is the possibility of my being called into the army, but I feel at the present time that that possibility is rather remote.  Class 1 is made up mainly of single men without dependents, though one subdivision provides for men whose families are independent of their labor for support.  This might include me if the draft board can so figure it out.  For my part I can’t.  As to enlistment, a draft man 18 to 45 can not enlist, though a man between 45 and 55 can enlist, subject to passing physical examination.


     If I can make some such temporary arrangement as above indicated, I would not only be to the good by the amount of my salary, but would be a whole lot more content to be real busy for a change.


Fri. Oct 4, ’18   Yesterday my friend Ned McGaughey, who is general manager of the Bedrod Stone and Construction Co. called me up and ask if I would consider taking a position with his company in connection with a contract they had practically closed with the government for several million dollars’ worth of new building at Ft. Harrison.  I went out to the Fort, which is eleven miles north of our house and saw him.  The position he had in mind was general labor superintendent and [he] suggested a salary of $50.00 a week.  I have an idea the salary end of it could be increased considerably.  I will know more of this later, as they are not yet in position to talk very definitely till they get the go-ahead from the government.  I hope it goes through, as I could arrange to delegate my other work and the extra money I could thus earn would “help the folks” considerably.


     Brewster paid $95.00 more on the principal of his note today and $25.98 interest to Nov. 1st.  This leaves him owing me $1,200.00.


     The tenant at Arlington Avenue also paid his rent in advance to March 5th today.  All these items will help in the program outlined a few pages back.


     I have been appointed a lieutenant in the Liberty Loan Sales organization in this sector.  Ethel and I go to Acton to a meeting this evening.[86]



Oct 7, 'l8   I saw Mr. Strathman, who is the head man for the Bedford Stone & Construction Company, in connection with the proposed government building at Ft. Harrison.  He told me that if the government gave the final word to go ahead with the work that I could depend on the job of general labor superintendent.  He didn't go into details either as to salary or as to exactly what my work would be, but left this for me to settle with Mr. McGaughey.


     The proposed work involves the construction of over 300 buildings at an approximate cost of 5 million dollars.  As near as I can get at it I am to have charge of all labor foremen on the work and through them all laborers.  He wanted to give me the job of general carpenter superintendent, but said he was afraid to do this as, I did not use union carpenters he was afraid it might cause trouble.  The whole thing is tentative till we hear from the government but Mr. Strathman said this word might come any day.


     The whole country is suffering with a disease called Spanish Influenza.  All schools, picture shows, etc. are closed.  No public gatherings are permitted.  A great many deaths have occurred and every precaution is being taken to avoid its further spread.


Thurs Oct l0  I drove up to Rensselaer Tuesday afternoon & spent most of yesterday at the farm, arriving home last night.


     I sold the rest of my oats except those kept for seed.  All told I have sold l,85l bushels, bringing me $l,l53.22.  I also collected $82.48 for some rye.  Rush, the tenant, still owes me $200.00 for pasturage.  The corn is out of danger and I feel sure will turn out much better than I have hitherto calculated.  It will bring me upwards of $l,500.00 I feel sure.


     Yesterday while I was away Stewart started walking by himself and now he doesn’t want to do anything else.  He was one year & 20 days old.


     I have with the farmer something like l50 bushels of oats on the place for seed.  I also have my half of 254 bushels of rye left, some of which we will sell.


     It looks as if I would run well ahead of my cash program as outlined a few pages back.  By the first of the year it looks as if I would be a thousand dollars ahead of it at least.  This is very gratifying.


     In that program my cash on hand for Nov. first was estimated at $6l0.75.  The other day I loaned my neighbor Everett McClain $200.00 and I have now left on hand $l,l42.00.


Fri Oct 25,'l8   I received notice yesterday from the Draft board that I had been classified in Class 4A.


     Tomorrow I will be 35 years old.  Nothing has been heard as yet from the government in regard to the construction work at Ft. Harrison.  If anything comes of it I hope it will wait till after the middle of next month as I am planning to go down to Moods’ for my annual hunt Nov. l0th.  My neighbors, Everett McClain, John Shimer and Frank Kimberlin plan to go along.[87]  We ought to have a great time.  I have a beagle pup "Bob" who is just beginning to hunt good.  I bought him last spring for $3.00.  He will be worth $50.00 next year.


     Schools, churches and all public gatherings are still closed on account of the influenza epidemic.  There have been over 4000 cases to date in Marion County alone and something like 300 deaths.  We are all well as can be and being out in the country are not likely to be affected, though you cannot tell.  Mrs. Mumford, formerly Elsa Frenzel for whom our little Elsa was named, died within the last ten days of pneumonia resulting from influenza.  The epidemic is world wide in scope.


Mon Nov 4,'l8   I have advised the Bedford Construction Company that I had decided not to accept their offer in connection with the government buildings at Ft. Harrison.  The government has given the word to go ahead and they are now getting material on the ground, but after figuring the matter over carefully, I concluded that I could not afford to give it the time necessary for $2l5.00 a month.  Several things entered into this conclusion.  For one thing it looks as if the war were about over.  Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey have surrendered, leaving Germany all alone.  It is probable too that Germany will surrender in the very near future.  If my judgment is right there will be a great fall in prices within a year after the war ends so that it might be possible to get back to building again some time next year, surely by a year from next Spring.  For another thing I have a number of deals on which it would not do to neglect.  I made a proposition today for a l2 apartment flat on Vermont Street between New Jersey & East Streets.  It produced $4,680.00 gross or about $2,500 net.  It is clear of encumbrance.  I offered the Arlington Avenue ground subject to $6900.00, the Central Avenue lot clear and a mortgage back on the flat for $l2,000.00 for 6 years.[88]


     I also have several deals stirring for the farm.


Fri Nov 8,'l8   It looks as if the war were about over.  Yesterday the whole country went off at half cock in a premature celebration of the end of the war.  I was down town at noon when a [Indianapolis] Times extra came out stating that an armistice had been signed and hostilities had ceased between Germany and the allied countries.  The city simply went crazy. People began to march, machines were going every way blowing their horns.  The factories, and stores and schools all closed and everybody joined in a wild unorganized carnival.  Everyone was happy.  It was a sight to see.  I saw a florist wagon go down the street throwing out flowers.  People in the upper stories of the office buildings tore up newspapers and apparently everything else they could get hold of and threw the strips out of the windows so that the air was full of the fluttering particles.  The celebration in Indianapolis was indicative of what took place in other cities.  Then late in the afternoon came word that it was all a mistake.  How it all occurred is yet to be explained.  The next few days will bring out the information as to whether Germany will accept the Allies’ terms, thus bringing the war to an end or whether she will try to fight a while longer.


Sat Nov. l6,'l8   The war came to an end last Monday the llth by the signing of an armistice the terms of which are so stringent upon Germany that in the peace conference to follow she will have to accept anything the United States and the allies see fit to enforce.  This means the beginning of another chapter in world history.  The problems of peace will be almost as great as those of war as I think we shall soon begin to see.


     My neighbors and I returned from Moods’ last Thursday evening.  We sure had a fine time.


Sun Nov 24,'l8   Last week a Mr. Ed Taylor of Montmorenci and his agent Mr. Maupin of Lafayette went up to look over my farm.  The deal came to my attention through Mr. Will Evans who is an agent here, the same Evans to whom I once sold the grocery.  He answered an ad of mine a while back.  Mr. Taylor owns a section of land in S.W. North Dakota.  He sent a proposition down here offering to trade his section clear for mine subject to l3,000.00.  I left here last Friday afternoon to drive to the farm and stopped in Montmorenci to see Taylor on my way up.[89]  I told him I would go look at his land if he would offer it to me clear for my farm subject to $l8,000.00 and $500.00 road and ditch assessments.  He wouldn't do this at first, but I saw him again in Lafayette yesterday evening on my way home and secured his proposition to this effect.  I also got him to agree to pay $50.00 on my railroad fare whether the deal went through or not.



     While up at the farm I sold my corn to Mr. Hillis for $l.00 per bushel in the crib.  It will take them two or three weeks yet to finish shucking.  I think I will have l500 bushels alright.  As soon as it is all shucked I will go up and measure it up with Hillis.  This arrangement suits me fine, as I will get the money in a lump before the first of the year.  I also arranged to sell the balance of the rye except seed and ought to get the money in yet this week.  I also expect $200.00 from Evert McClain, as he has arranged a new loan which ought to finish up before the 30th when I have $540.00 interest due at the State Life.  Brewster will probably pay a hundred too.


     I got home last night about l0 o'clock.  Expect to leave for Chicago tomorrow noon on my way to see the North Dakota farm.  Hope to be back by next Friday.


Sun Dec l,'l8   I left here last Monday as planned and spent the night in Chicago catching an early train over the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul.  I arrived at Mott, North Dakota, Wednesday afternoon at 3 o'clock.  I investigated the farm very carefully.  A local banker appraised it for me at $35.00 per acre.  It is good prairie land, chocolate loam with clay subsoil. While rolling it lays well and the improvements, barn, home, granary, etc. are fair.  It is just one mile south of the little elevator station of Satrons and 8 miles from the county seat of Mott.  It is Sect 25. Tp l33 North Range 92 West in Hettinger County, N. D.[90]  I was satisfied with it on the basis of the proposition on which I went to view it, that is clear for my land subject to $l8,000.00 and $500 assessments.  At $30.00 an acre, $5.00 less that I feel its real value to be it would mean $37,700.00 or about $59.00 an acre.  I would have been satisfied with this as I was getting rid of a big chunk of encumbrance.  However I thought I could do a little better and felt that it would do no harm to try.


     I left Mott Thursday afternoon arriving in Lafayette yesterday evening at 7:40.  I had wired ahead an appointment with Taylor and Maupin.  To cut the story short, I offered to close the deal on the basis of $l5.00 an acre additional consideration, or $9,600.00.  I asked for $2,600.00 of this in cash and offered to carry back the remaining $7000.00 in a second mortgage for one year on the Indiana farm.  Taylor scratched his head quite a bit and finally offered $l0.00 an acre or $6,400.00.  We split the difference at $8000.00.  $4000.00 cash at time of conveyance and $4000.00 in one year secured by second mortgage on the Indiana land.  Interest and insurance adjusts to date of December first, so my expense stops today.  I keep my crops and he keeps his.  We signed this up in a contract last night about 9 o'clock.  Considering how slow some deals go this one sure went fast.  With this added I actually get $7l.50 an acre out of the Indiana farm, or a profit of about $l6.00 an acre or a little over $l0,000.00.  Besides this I will probably make a net profit over $2000.00 on the crops.  Incidentally I got rid of $l8,500.00 worth of debts and selling at the end of the crop year I save almost $l,000.00 which it would have cost me in interest and taxes to carry the farm till next Spring.  This is undoubtedly the best deal I ever made.  Whether I keep the Dakota land very long remains to be seen.  However I have a deal in mind now on which I hope to turn it at a good profit over $30.00 an acre.  If I do keep it, it will make me some money from year to year and will most certainly grow in value rapidly.  I liked the tenant, Ray Hallum very much.  I furnish the seed and get half the crop.  He valued the land at $40.00 per acre.  To be entirely conservative I am going to carry it on my books at $27.50 an acre and figure profit accordingly.  We ought to get the deal closed by the 20th of December.


     I am going to try and get cleaned up and arrange to drive the family down into Florida and spend January and February there.  It would be some trip.[91]


     School has been closed again for several weeks on account of the influenza epidemic and we have decided to keep Elsa out of school entirely the rest of the year.  It will be next April before she is as old as Jeanne was when she started anyway.  Jeanne is getting along so fine that it won’t hurt her to miss a couple of months and I will help her while we are away and keep her abreast of her class in her studies.


     It will sure do them all good to get down there on the sea shore in the sand.  With the machine we will be independent and can go and come as we please.  I hope to rent a cottage and hire all the work done as I want Ethel to have her time as free as possible.  We have thought of this every year but this is the first time everything has combined to give us the chance and I sure hope we get to go.


     I have decided not to sell Lots 62 & 63 that I own on New York Street, as I have figured out a new way to handle them to good advantage.  Under normal condtions, an investment net of $3,500 will ad $1,200 a year to my net income under this plan.  I can build an 8 apartment building arranged as the De Quincy houses next to it, running long ways of the lot.  I expect suitable building conditions to arrive by the Spring of 1920.


     The money I will get out of the farm deal, etc. will put me in good shape to clear the Arlington Avenue acreage of incumbrance next year.  That is sure a good deal.


     I expect the following moneys in between now and July first of next year:


[293]     Cash from farm deal                        4,000.00

     Sale of remaining crops including rye, corn, etc.    1,700.00

     Pasturage money                                   200.00

     Brewster                                     300.00

     E. McClain                                        200.00

     Rafert Estate                                190.00

     Sal  [?]                                     375.00

     Rents from Sherman Drive, D.Q., Arlington Ave., etc. 4,300.00

     Griffith                                      50.00

     Interest (my share from $17,000 mortg. 11th St. prop.   170.00

     Interest, $4,000 mortgage, Newton County               120.00

     Miscellaneous                                   100.00



                   Obligations to Meet


     Living, 7 months @ $225.00                      1,575.00

     Interest due in the period                      3,168.00

     Property expense                                  350.00

     Liberty bonds, remaining payment                  350.00

     Taxes & Barrett                                   450.00

     Commission on farm deal                           200.00

     Miscellaneous                                350.00

     Life Insurance                                   60.00





     This leaves me $5,200 to meet the $2,300 note in Juanauary and $4,200 in June, or not enough by $1,300.  On the other hand, I will have $500 worth of paid for bonds, and my old machine to sell in the spring to cover this difference, if necessary.  The above is not accurate, but it is substantially correct and fairly conservative.  I estimated living high enough on the average to cover the Florida trip and while not trying to be exact, I figured expense items plenty high.  If I shouldn’t quite cover, I will have $4,000 coming in again from Newton County the last of next year and my crops from Dakota and the months of July, August and September free of interest.  The chances are that before this time is up, I will make some other deals which will change the whole face of the matter again, but it is always well to figure on the basis of the status quo and that is sure a whole lot better than the last time I figured.   So much for tonight.



Wed. Dec. 11, 1918   I want to begin work on my invoice for January 1st 1919.  I expect to get in my corn money and close the farm deal before the first of the month and that will make a considerable difference, but I know now what most of the items will be and can finish up later.  First, I want to figure the present value of the Rafert Estate stock.  The estate invoices at present as follows:


          Pratt & Arch St. property         $15,000.00

          11th St. mortgage                 $17,000.00

          Alexandria building          $10,000.00

          Note owed by me                   $1,000.00

          Cash on hand                     648.81

          Note against C. A. Chambers             145.00

          Undue interest accrued to 1/1/19        371.13

          Unexpired insurance premiums          131.60



     Allowance for taxes, dividends to Jan. 1, ’19 and undue fee

To J. S. Berryhill                        303.00


                        Net assets                   $43,993.54


     This would be $44.04 per share, or the value

Of my 333 shares would be 1/3 of the above or               $14,664.51


     [One paragraph of figures on lower value of 11th Street

property and depreciation on Pratt & Arch St. properties,

plus $2,000 increased value on the Alexandria building

follows and is omitted here]


     It just occurs to me that in the above I forgot to include the 80 acres in Lawrence County and the Central Avenue lot which we got out of the 11th

[295] Street deal.  The two items are probably conservatively worth $4,000. 

In consequence, the net assets of the estate will be increased to $47,993.54.

Value per share, $48.04.  Value my interest (round), $16,000.


     [Two paragraphs concerning the value of his sister’s share of the estate and details of his share of the estate follow and are omitted here.]











[296]              Invoice, Jan. 1st, 1919


Value, 333 shares stock Rafert Estate           16,000.00

Lots 59, 60, 60 L & C PK Addition, De Quincy corner  28,500.00

Lots 62 & 63 L & C In. PX Add., Sherman Drive corner 1,800.00

Entire acreage, Arlington Ave & E. 10th Streets       18,000.00

Lots 12, 13, 14, Hartman’s Addition, Sherman Dr.

     Corner                                28,500.00

Note, G. S. Brewster (balance)                  1,200.00

Note, E. McClain                                   200.00


New Bethel property (home place)                12,000.00


New machine [car]                               1,200.00

Old machine                                        700.00

Household goods & miscellaneous supplies             2,250.00

Diamond ring                                  300.00


Loan value, life insurance policies                     850.00

Investment unexpired fire & cyclone policies            405.16

Stock in Essentials Producing Company              250.00

Liberty bonds                                 500.00

War Saving stamps                                   50.00

Cash on hand                                 3,867.22

Interest paid in advance of date                    19.13

Rents due & unpaid                             24.00

Deposit with State Life Ins. Co. for abstract             15.00

Due me from Frank Rush                             200.00


Mortgage note by Edward Taylor                  4,000.00

Lot 25, Tp133N.R., 92W, Hettinger Co. N.D.

     640 acres @ 27.50                          17,600.00



[297]              Forward total gross assets,        138,430.51





Note due, Apr. 23, 1920, Sam Clark, De Q.            5,000.00

Note due, May 6, 1920, American Mort. Co.               5,000.00

Note due, June 11, 1920,                          5,000.00

Note due June 27, 1922,              “ Sh. Drive    16,000.00

Note due, on demand, Rachel Blue                4,000.00

Note due, May 22, 1923, Aetna Trust Co. New Bethel   5,000.00

Note due, May 22, 1921,                             500.00 

   Paid 12,31/’18

Note due, May 22, 1922                              500.00

Note due, on demand, Jane B. Rafert                  3,111.11

Note due, on demand,                         2,109.00

Note due, Dec. 9, 1919, New York Life              405.00

Note due, Jan. 12, 1919, Geo. Blue, Trustee        2,500.00

Note due, on demand, Jane B. Rafert                     266.03

Note due, on demand, C. F. Rafert Estate             1,000.00

Note due, on demand, Mrs. Elnora Elton Stewart       1,550.00

Trustee Fund, Jane B. Rafert                    7,256.95

Barrett Law liens                                  439.97

Undue interest accrued to date                     427.24

Note due, Jan. 19, 1919, S. Askren, Arlington Ave.   2,300.00

     Paid, 1/2/’19

Note due, June 17, 1919, “                          4,200.00

     Paid, 1/14/19

Note due, April 4, 1921                             400.00

Undue payments on Liberty Bonds                    250.00

     Paid 12/31/18


              Total Liabilities                 67,215.30




Net Assets Jan lst l9l9                           7l,2l5.2l

     Net Assets Jan lst l9l8                           64,546.92

     Net Gain for year l9l8                             6,668.29

     Living & Auto expense for year                     2,5l9.29

     Net earning for year l9l8                        $ 9,l87.58

     Net depreciation allowed as compared with last

          invoice                                       2,470.50

     Net earnings for this year considered by itself  $ll,658.08




Dec. 3l, l9l8  Before discussing the invoice just completed on the preceding page I want to note the closing of the Newton County farm deal.  It seems very fitting that the closing pages of this book should contain this information,

for the Newton County farm has figured in its pages in one form or another almost from the first page.


     Some ten days ago I went up to the farm and measured up the corn which I sold in the crib for l.00 per bushel.  I was very much misled in my calculations for it only figured to 825 bushels.  I received a check for the corn from Mr. Hillis several days ago.


     I have already given the facts of the contract with Mr. Taylor on Pg

29l-2.  We have been delayed by the fact that his abstract was lost in the mail.


     In closing I took his contract under date of Dec 30, 'l8 in which he agrees to furnish an abstract showing clear merchantable title within 60 days from date and agreeing to pay me a penalty of $l0.00 per day for any delay beyond that period.


     In closing all papers were dated Dec. 30th l9l8.  He executed deed to the North Dakota section and his note and mortgage for $4000.00 due Dec. 30 l9l9 secured by the Newton County land junior to the first mortgage of $l8,000.00.  I deeded the Newton County land subject to the l8,000.00, subject also to road & ditch assessments not in excess of $500.00, which amount covered them and subject to the taxes for l9l8 payable in l9l9.  We adjusted interest, insurance, etc. to date of Dec. first, l9l8.


     He paid me the following amounts in cash.


Cash in consideration                               4000.00

Cash for my unexpired insurance                      l2l.32

Cash for seed oats 75 bu @ 66 cents                   49.50

Cash for seed rye 30 bu @ l.45                        43.50

Cash & expense my trip to N.D.                        50.00

Cash for l/2 taxes due in l9l9 N.D.                   72.03

                Total                                       4336.35


     Mr. Edward Taylor is unmarried and lives at Montmorenci, Ind.

The Dakota land is all of Sect 25 Tp l33 N. Range 92 W in Hettinger Co.

North Dakota.


     Figuring this land at 27.50 per acre which is entirely

[299] conservative, my account of this deal figured up exactly shows a net profit of $9,352.58.


     As the result of this deal I end up the year in pretty strong shape.  I have more clear property and more liquid assets and more cash on hand than I have ever had at this time of the year.  Yesterday I paid the remaining balance on my Liberty bonds, paid back $500.00 of the Estate’s money I used during December, which saved me going into bank, and also paid off the $500.00 note due May 22, l92l at the Aetna Trust Co.  This cuts the amount I owe on the New Bethel property down to $5,500.00.  Tomorrow I expect to take up the $2,300.00 note due Jan l9, 'l9 on the Arlington Avenue property.  After doing this I will still have about $800.00 left with over $600.00 in rents coming in tomorrow and no interest or heavy expense for three months to come.  This will enable me to accumulate a considerable surplus of cash ahead toward taking up the 4,200.00 due on Arlington Avenue next June.  I am using most of the money that has come in out of the farm deal at once in order to stop interest, as it wouldn't pay to keep it on hand for six months.  I would sooner trust to something else turning up in the meantime and going to bank in June if necessary.


     Though I did no building this year I have been able to show a larger net profit than for any year yet recorded.  Considered by itself, the net earnings of the year’s business amounted to $ll,658.08, which is $l,697.00 better than last year, which was the best up to that time.  After charging off living expense and depreciation against the year's net earnings, I have remaining the sum of $6,668.29 as the net gain for the year.  The depreciation occurred entirely in the Rafert Estate stock due to our selling the llth St. corner for less than I had formerly invoiced it.


     The farm profit of $9,352.58 named above is the net profit on the deal from start to finish beginning with my cost of $l4,000.00 for the certificate.  This was bought in December, l9l7 and I invoiced it Jan first l9l8 at $2,000.00 more than it cost me, so that the $2,000.00 of the farm profit was included in the l9l7 profits and only $7,352.58 of the total amount credited to this year’s earnings.


     This year was not so important in direct profits as it was in clearing the way for future undertakings when the time arrives for them.  At the beginning of l9l8 I was not hardly [300] in shape yet to undertake additional building even if conditions had been ripe.  As a result of the cleaning up processes of this year’s business, I am in excellent shape to go ahead on a much larger scale than ever before whenever the right time comes.  I have paid off a number of loans.  I will shortly have Arlington Avenue clear of encumbrance and can use it as the basis of a 9 or 10 thousand dollar loan when I need the money.  The two lots on East New York St. are clear and will be used in the first building undertaking.


     The section of land in Dakota is clear and can be used as the basis of another considerable loan when the time to expand comes again.  Through the sale of the llth Street property, the Estate has a liquid asset share of $l7,000.00 in the mortgage on that property.  My personal share of this would be $5,667.00.  To this would be added the trustee share of $3,434.00 and my sister’s share of $3,774.00 on which I could probably borrow a long time.


     In addition I have $4,000.00 due me Dec 3l, l9l9 from Edward Taylor, and cash and other notes amounting to over $2,000.00 additional.  Thus I have in all in the neighborhood of $35,000.00 available in liquid assets or in assets which will serve as a basis for long time loans.  This will margin a whole lot of building.  I can stretch it to cover over a hundred thousand dollars worth of construction when material prices come back to somewhere near normal.



I think the time is not far distant now when I can look for net earnings in excess of $20,000.00 a year and from that point it should climb pretty fast.



     While it covers a longer period this book has been written during the past 5 l/2 years, since May, l9l3 which is a comparatively short period after all.  Things have seemed to go pretty low at times, but when I look back and compare my outlook of that time with my present prospects and hopes, I realize that the development has been considerable.  The keeping of this record has proved to be well worth while and it has helped me a good deal.  I find that I turn back its pages for exact information quite frequently.  As I grow older I find that my point of view on many things changes.  When my little son is at the age I was when this record began, I can turn back to my viewpoint of that age and sympathize with him and get close to him.  When he starts to pull off a "bone head" play I will likely be able to show him a written record of its duplicate in my own experience.


[301, written on unlined inside cover sheet]




The last page of this book was written December 3l, l9l8.  It is volume

# one of my diary.  Six other volumes of equal size have been added in the years that have passed since this first volume was completed.  This volume was for the most part dashed off at odd times during very busy years.  I have just gone through it and tried to make the writing a little more legible by crossing T's & dotting I's & closing O's.  In a few places the ink had faded and I again wrote over the original lines.  When this book was completed I was 35 years old and still in my twenties when I began to write it.  I was 57 my last birthday.]




[A photo of Rafert in a hunting outfit with a shotgun in his right hand, a pipe in his mouth, and wearing a hat.  Under it is this note:  2/11/55  This picture was made in October, 1903.  I was 20 years old that month and this was the beginning of my 2nd year in Indiana University.  Like my grandson Steve Thomas, who entered I.U. just 50 years after I did.  I then spent all my spare time hunting and shooting, as he does no.  My old friend & college roommate Harry A. Hoffman, now of Akron, Ohio, took this picture.  As of now, I will be 72 years old this year.  I though this picture should be somewhere in this record for my 15 grandchildren to have of their grandpa when he was young.]


My youngest daughter Jesse entered Hampshire College in September, 2002, 100 years after her great-grandfather started college.  She graduated 100 years after him in May, 2006.  Thus the generations roll on.  [SR, Jan. 14, 2007]


Inside the front cover of volume 1 is a photo of George Rafert’s mother, Christina Manche Rafert.  The caption reads, “This picture was taken in July of 1914 in Petoskey, Michigan, when my mother was 73. It is now January 27, 1955 and I am 71 myself as I place the above here.


Pasted nearby is an obituary from the weekly bulletin of the Roberts Park Methodist Church of Indianapolis under the date of June 20, 1915.    Rafert write, “My mother was 74  on Decoration Day, May 30, 1915 and died June 10, 1915.  See this volume, page 132.”


The obituary reads,


     “Mrs. Christina Manche Rafert, the widow of Mr. C. F. Rafert, died at her home on Thursday night, June 10, 1915, after an illness lasting several months.  During the past few weeks she was thought to be improving and on Docration Day went to Crwon Hill cemetery with flowers for the graves of her loved ones.  On that day, she was 74 years old.  For many years she had been a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Devout and conscientious, she quietly bore witness to her faith in Christ as her Savior.  As a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society she was able and willing to serve the Church faithfully in little things.  Five years ago her faith husband was called from earth and in loneliness and grief she walked, looking for the reunion of the better land.


     “On Thursday evening, after spending an afternoon with a friend, she retired for the night, but growing suddenly worse, realized that the end had come.  With her daughter by her side, and in the arms of her beloved son, George, she quietly fell asleep in Jesus, to await the resurrection of the just.”

[1] The dollar of 1907 was worth about 30 times the dollar of today, so he was offered about $450 a week, or $22,500 a year for this beginning job.

[2] Multiplying by 30, Christopher Rafert lost around $45,000 in today’s money. $1,500 was enough to by a modest house in a working class neighborhood in those days.

[3] Going into real estate seemed like a new and idea to him, but his father had been engaged in buying and selling properties for decades.  The complex business deals of the diary tell how much George Rafert had learned from his father.

[4] A section of land is a square mile, or 640 acres.

[5] This is the beginning of his direct interest in not only managing a farm, but in doing work on a farm.  He was always an outdoors person, and this was another way of being outdoors and working physically.

[6] His niece Laurence Rafert was the only daughter of John Lawrence Rafert.  He died in 1889 before her birth in 1890.  She was the only first cousin of Jeanne, Elsa, Stewart, Frank and Harriet Rafert.  She married Benjamin Alexander.                                                                                                                                     

[7] $150 a month sounds like a pittance, by multiplied by 30 to get our value, he was making $4,500 a month or about $54,000 a year, plus whatever income the grocery brought in.  The cost of the wedding in today’s funds would be about $9,000.

[8] There are many “deals” in the diary, some of them very complex and covering up to ten pages in the original.  I am omitting the detail of most as they don’t tell us much. 

[9] In 2007 dollars, the $5,750 would be about 30 times as much, about $170,000.

[10] He followed this property investment philosophy the rest of his life, building rentals for the middle class.  It worked well through the Great Depression of the 1930s as well as in the 10 years after World War II until his death, at which time he owned all the properties he had developed from 1914-1924, except the first at New York Street and Bancroft, which he soon sold.


[11] In a world full of corporate fraud, insider trading, and grossly overpaid executives, this remains true.  Investing in a corporation is like investing overseas.  There is too much you don’t know.  In addition, managing one’s own properties is enjoyable.  SR

[12] Relative values have not changed much.  The $22.50 per month of 1913 is in 2007 about $675 per month.

[13] There was a sudden tightening of credit in the summer of 1913, which probably caused the bank to back out.  This sudden shock to the U.S. financial system encouraged Congress to go ahead and set up the Federal Reserve System that year.

[14] Cars at that time did not have starters.  You hand cranked to start, and as this event shows, it could be dangerous!

[15] Mary Stone Stewart was Ethel Rafert’s step-grandmother, her grandfather Stewart’s second wife after Elizabeth Stewart died in December, 1885.  She lived in La Fontaine, Indiana, in Wabash County.  Named for a Miami Indian chief, the name is still pronounced “Lafountain.”  Robert Stewart died in 1906.

[16] Uncle John Manche, born in 1845, was a Civil War veteran and led the building of the present Hancock County courthouse in the 1890s.  He and his brother-in-law John Ashcraft were the two wealthiest farmers in Hancock County.  John Ashcraft’s sister Mary Ashcraft was John Manche’s wife and Ashcraft’s wife Mary Catherine Lantz was John Manche’s niece, daughter of his sister Elizabeth Manche Lantz.  Thus they were doubly related.  John Ashcraft was Great grandfather to me and Leslie, and our Great grandmother  Mary Catherine [“Molly”] Ashcraft was our Grandfather George Rafert’s first cousin.  Christopher and Christina Rafert, our Dad’s grandparents were also our Grandmother Flora Ashcraft Hawk’s great aunt and uncle.

[17]  Ben Faut was the son of Mary Manche, Christina Rafert’s sister born in 1843, died in 1904.  Ben Faut died in 1957 at age 90. His sister Julia Faut Ruschhaupt was a favorite cousin of Aunt Jennie Rafert, who used to visit her often.  After moving to Fortville, George Rafert also enjoyed visiting favorite cousins Ben and Walter Faut, Julia Ruschhaupt, and Fannie Faut Schilling who all lived near New Palestine.  They are all buried in the New Palestine cemetery.  

[18] Around $57,000 in 2007 dollars.

[19] Richard Griffith was a life-long friend and the rest of us older family members knew him well.

[20] This comment is “pure George Rafert”.  He planned the expense of land, borrowing, and materials to the penny while also making a sharp estimate of the rental return.  I have business papers from several properties that show the supply estimates.  Before the Federal Reserve Bank was set up, the money supply was very rigid, calling for this extremely cautious planning.

[21] The family has a much-loved photograph of Aunt Jennie at the wheel of this electric car with her mother sitting in the rear seat taken about 1914.

[22] Frank Rafert was a first cousin, some of one of Christopher Rafert’s six brothers.  The Brannum-Keene Lumber Company, by the way, furnished many building materials for the family home in Fortville, which was also built in 1914.  Joe Brannum became a good business friend of George Rafert.

[23] Today this would be considered a rich return.  During World War I, which began in August, 1914, urban building slowed world wide because high interest rates and uncertainty ended this boom.  In Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for example, private builders dropped out, and hundreds of cooperative housing projects were built.

[24] This was the reason for creating the Federal Reserve Bank.  When private companies held back reserves, the Federal Reserve could furnish the reserves to keep the economy going by issuing government bonds.  In a note added on April 16, 1954, he comments, “The Federal Reserve had not at this time been organized.  Considering today’s national debt, it might have been well if it had never been set up to relieve credit conditions.”  If we take a 21st century perspective in which the world is flooded with money leading to hyper-development and a huge drain on world resources, to the extent that depletion of many is becoming a risk, as well as a real threat of damage to the global ecosystem, perhaps he was right.  SR

[25] The United States had as a matter of national principal avoided all European War since the American Revolution.  It was bedrock doctrine that the United States would not endanger our own welfare by meddling in Europeans wars.    Rafert was right that the outlook for prosperity looked good, except that there was no way of knowing the Woodrow Wilson would make the stunning decision to declare war against Germany in April, 1917.  In 1914, England was the “bad guy” because of atrocities against the Irish, and, among liberals, for the treatment of colonial subjects.  Germany was seen as a leader in modern scientific research.  It should be added that Germany had full worker benefits, and that German Jews had full civil rights after 1890.  Twelve thousand Jewish men lost their lives fighting for their beloved Kaiser Wilhelm and Germany in World War I. 

[26] Today, $69,000 a year.

[27] I remember, and I am sure other older members of the family remember stopping by this property at New York and De Quincy Streets.  This property is mentioned in the diary often over the next forty years.

[28] Grandpa attended the first Indianapolis “500 mile race” in 1911.  I talked with him about it near the end of his life.  He remembered that Ray Harroun won the first year.  The race was created and sponsored by friends of George Marott who were investors in the Indianapolis automobile industry.  At the time of the writing of this first volume of the diary, several car companies including Cole, Duesenburg, and Waverly were in business in Indianapolis.

[29] This would be an increase in income of about $51,000 in 2007 dollars.

[30] Frank Stewart traveled with daughter Jeanne and her cousin Grace Stewart to Knoxville, Tennessee in this car on portions of the new Dixie Highway in 1915.  He wrote an article on the trip which was published in the Wabash, Ind. Plain Dealer.  They visited James Stewart and other distant cousins there.  Several photographs of this trip survive as well as a family copy of the newspaper article which I have with family papers. 

[31] The photo of Aunt Jennie and her mother, Christina Rafert, in this electric automobile is a family favorite.  It hangs in the Rafert house at Fortville.

[32] Today this would be a profit of about $98,000.  There were not capital gains taxes in those days.  The price we pay for a more flexible money supply and greater business stability is a variety of taxes.  I prefer our flexibility to the rigidity of the old money system based on gold.

[33] It was Henry Lantz who in 1926 alerted him to the home in Fortville that he bought and moved into with the family on June 12 of that year.  Henry Lantz was a first cousin, the son of Elizabeth Manche Lantz who was the older sister of Christina Manche Rafert.  According to my Aunt Hazel Ashcraft, Henry Lantz was once visiting the Rafert house on Delaware Avenue when he was a boy.  He went to what he thought was an open window to spit, and instead dirtied plate glass.  Aunt Hazel’s husband George Ashcraft was himself a Great-nephew of Christopher Rafert and a grandson of Elizabeth Manche.  In that way, this story was passed down to me, Stewart Rafert, in the early 1960s.  The memory brought peals of laughter to Aunt Hazel.  The spitting “accident” occured in the 1890s. 

[34] These were the core rental properties along with the Chicago apartment building.  Chicago was sold in the late 1940s.  The others were still owned at his death in 1955, and were sold in the following year.  The De Quincy and Sherman Drive properties still exist.  Cornell Avenue and 20th Street, known as Garden Court, were torn down long ago.

[35] These materials lists with the various companies still exist.  SR

[36] This was a typical five year mortgage of the time.  Twenty and thirty year mortgages were unknown.  These short mortgages which had to be renegotiated or paid down each five years caused huge problems during the Great Depression.

[37] Mary Stone came to Indianapolis from time to time to visit family.  Allegra Stewart told a story to me of a time that “Aunt Mary” stepped off a city streetcar and fell.  She got up, laughing, and said “No harm done—I just rolled.”  In the words of those days, she was “stout.”

[38] Chronic nephritis, or inflammation of the kidneys.  Robert Stewart, Ethel Rafert’s grandfather, died of the same disease in 1906.

[39] Christina Rafert’s parents were John Manche, born in 1808 and died Jan. 6, 1851, and Catherine Elizabeth Lang, born Jan. 17, 1816, died Feb. 23, 1865.  They were married in Hancock County, IN on May 17, 1838 and bought their 160 acre farm in 1848, where they cleared the land and built a log house and barn.  Their five children have over 50 descendants who by the year 1995 owned over 16,000 acres in close proximity in Hancock and Shelby Counties.

[40] I have the will, which became a problem because Laurence Alexander was left out except for furnishings.  SR

[41] Apparently the Rafert home did not have electricity, which is surprising, because there had been electric service in Indianapolis since the early 1890s.  This suggests that Mr. and Mrs. Rafert were happy without renovation or just “old fashioned.”

[42] Four generations down the line, a number of Rafert descendants have various items from this house.  The largest number today are with Aunt Hattie Anderson at her house in Fortville.  Aunt Jennie gave my parents, Stewart and Mildred Rafert, the silverware for their wedding in November, 1939.  Each piece is engraved with “C.F. Rafert.”  I also have a pewter water pitcher and two pewter cups.  We use this silver service with every holiday dinner for extended family here in Newark, Delaware.  For Christmas, 2005, my sister Leslie Kirby gave me Christopher Rafert’s silver tie pin.  Like everything else, it has his initials.

[43] This perhaps the longest break in the entire diary.  GOR didn’t like being away from business more than about two weeks at most.

[44] This was a typical saying and probably good advice.  The diary itself is remarkably consistent.  Our grandfather (or add “greats” as necessary) was remarkably mature at an early age.  Despite his complex business activities he never seemed rushed or hurried to those of us older grandchildren who knew him.  In fact, he often seemed to have time to visit with us, share stories, or to take us on trips. 

[45] Of course, there is no way of knowing the truth of this matter.  No matter who was telling the truth, it led to difficult relations with the Alexanders the rest of my grandfather’s life.  In later years, our families kept up visits.  I had a pleasant visit with Laurence Alexander and her daughter Juanita Young in Huntington, Indiana, in 1984.  Mrs. Alexander died in 1985 at the age of 95 and is buried with her parents in the Rafert plot at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

[46] Translation with a multiplier of 30 into approximate 2007 dollars, the net worth today would be about $1,600,000.

[47] This was known as St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and was located on East Capitol Street in Washington, D.C., just south of today’s Convention Center and along the Anacostia River.  It closed sometime in the 1980s.

[48] I have all the ledgers.  SR

[49] This was the onset of what we used to call “shaking palsy” and today Parkinson’s disease.  Dr. Stewart died Jan. 1, 1920, so the estimate of the time he had left was about right.

[50] My father, Stewart G. Rafert ended up with this property.  It was all woods with a large rock shelter just west of Shoals, in Martin County, Indiana. we visited in 1979.  Dad sold it for $12,000 or $300 an acre in the mid-1980s.  Soon after Larry Bird, the professional basketball player, purchased it.  Doctor Stewart acquired the land in trade for medical bills in 1898. 

[51] Frank Stewart was solidly middle class and prosperous, but not a “businessman” able to make money from money.  His love was medicine!

[52] This tract was also known as the Askren farm.  He sold lots there until near the end of his life in the late 1940s.

[53] Bessie Bloomer was the daughter of Ellis Bloomer and Julia Ann Stewart, born Jan. 21, 1893, she married Don Gurtner.  Her daughter Virginia Black and husband Andy Black were friends of Stewart G. Rafert years later in Florida, as mentioned earlier in these notes.  The Blacks lived in Fort Wayne, and their four children still live in the area.  Steven came to a book signing I had for my Miami Indian book in Fort Wayne in 1997.

[54] The house at 1131 Delaware Avenue in 1875, was torn down to make way for Interstate 70 in early 1967.  Several of us visited the house in the summer of 1966.  In November of that year there was an open house and over 1,000 people came to walk through the place. 

[55] This was part of an early move several miles from the city, facilitated by good transportation.  The main highway is now Southeastern Avenue.  The interurban was the Indiananapolis and Southeastern Railroad (electric), which ran through Shelbyville to Greensburg, Indiana.  The house is still standing, not far from the intersection of Southeastern Avenue and Hanna Avenue.  New Bethel is called Wanamaker on maps. 

[56] The family lived in this beloved home for seven years.  There are many photos of them around the house.  Talk springs up to this day of “New Bethel.”

[57] Dr. Gasaway lived in the home a few years, then it was sold to a member of the Lilly family who added a large sun room to the south side and an elevator.  In 1945, the home was sold to the national Gold Star Mothers organization.  The state highway department bought it from them in 1966.

[58] The dollar of 1916 was worth at a minimum 30 times the 2007 dollar, so he had “gross dependable income” of around $290,000.  The renovation of the house with a new breakfast room, new tile roof, etc. would cost at least $90,000 in today’s money.  Of course, income taxes were negligible in those days and there were no state or social security taxes.

[59] This is a rather amazing prediction, written October 20, 1916.  The war ended two years and three weeks ater, November 11, 1918!

[60] This kind of inflation eventually comes with every war.  Only a brutal price drop in 1921 brought prices back to their pre-war levels.

[61] This is the oak desk that he kept his whole business life.

[62] Aunt Jeanne Stewart was 26 at the time and was attending a “finishing school” in Boston, proper for a doctor’s daughter.  Acting was part of her training.  She appeared as Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” shortly after her return to Indianapolis.

[63] This property was a city block of commercial buildings in the small city of Alexandria, 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis and 10 miles north of Anderson in Madison County.  Alexandria today has a population of around 6,000.

[64] The 11th and Alabama Street corner was bought for by Sears, Roebuck for their downtown Indianapolis store.  Located at the intersection of Massachusett’s Avenue, it is today an O’Malia’s Market in the Lockerbie Street area.  Pratt Street was the nearby location of the Rafert lumberyard.

[65] Concrete roads were a great boon to someone like GOR who loved to drive.  In fact, the first modern highways were just under construction at the time he wrote this.  The Dixie Highway, from Detroit to Mobile, Alabama, was under construction at the time, as was the east-west Lincoln Highway and a few other of today’s beloved “Blue Highways.”  Dr. Frank Stewart drove the Dixie Highway from Indianapolis to Knoxville, Tennessee, to visit cousins in 1915 and wrote an article on highway conditions for the Wabash (Ind.) Plain Dealer.  So far as Rafert was concerned, modern highways were much preferable to war.  At 18.5 cents at the time, gasoline was about $5.50 a gallon!

[66] The “stuff” included some antiques from the Stewart grandparents dating back to the 1840s.  Some has survived.  I have a small two drawer table which Robert and Elizabeth Stewart bought when their were married in 1846.  Many letters remain from the Stewart family.

[67] Walter and Ladella Turner were lifelong friends.  Late in life they moved to Geneseo, Illinois, in the northwest corner of the state near Moline. 

[68] During World War II price controls and extremely high taxes were used to try to control wartime inflation.  Speculation in commodities became rampant.  Staunton Fletcher, one of the richest men in Indianapolis, speculated in sugar and lost his fortune (and 47 room house) when prices collapsed at the end of the war.  Grandpa Rafert used to tell us older grandchildren of seeing him as a lowly elevator operator in later years in a downtown office building. 

[69] These lessons were well learned by World War II, 25 years later.  In Fortville, the garden was huge and fruit trees planted in 1936 began to bear.  Horses were brought back to work to save gasoline for tractors, and a cow was bought for milk.  Mexican Americans and Mexican “nationals” as we then called non-citizens replaced the poor whites from Arkansas and the south as migrant workers, supplemented by a large number of German prisoners of war.

[70] The 23 cents a gallon of 1916 would be nearly $7.00 a gallon today (2007).

[71] Cars were still for the wealthy and a fine of $450 in 2007 dollars was strictly for the rich.  The $20 gold coin of those days equaled an ounce of gold, now over $600.  Three fourths of $600 is $450. 

[72] My father was the last baby delivered by Dr. Frank Stewart before symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease that killed him on January 1, 1920, caused him to cease practicing medicine.  Today it would seem indelicate, to say the least, for a father to deliver his own daughter’s baby and to scrape her uterus, the curetting that is mentioned.  SR   

[73] He’s off a little.  I used a calculator and got $54.125 per acre.

[74] Christopher Rafert built these houses on the lumberyard property for rental to African Americans when he retired in 1894. 

[75] This became known as “Black Saturday,” a deathly cold and windy day that was still talked about forty and fifty years later.  My mother’s father, James Hawk, mentioned it to me on more than one occasion.

[76] These were the growing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  Several photos and letters from the Florida trip exist.

[77] Dunedin is now a city of 36,000 located on the Gulf Coast of Florida in the Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg area.  After Dr. Stewart’s death on Jan. 1, 1920, his brother and partner, Dr. Willis Benton Stewart, became the pillar of the Stewart family in Indianapolis.  “Uncle Bent” delivered the last two children, Frank and Harriet Rafert.  He was also physician to Aunt Jennie Rafert.  His brother, John Stewart, remained a physician in Wabash, Indiana, and died there in 1937.  Another brother and physician was John Wade Stewart, who practiced in Indianapolis until his death in 1939.  His wife, “Aunt Della,” then moved to Chicago to live with her daughter, Marjorie Fuller.  In my childhood, Aunt Della made long visits to my grandparents’ home at Fortville and became a beloved great-grand aunt.  Her stories of attending a Quaker orphan and Indian school, White’s Institute in Wabash, were fascinating as well as her extremely alert mind.  Dozens of stories of the Stewart and Graves family are contained in the biography of Wesley Graves, 1802-1890, written by his grandson Stewart Lincoln Macdonald.  I can photocopy this biography for any family member who is interested.  Uncle Bent Stewart, by the way, got his middle name from Thomas Hart Benton, the powerful Missouri senator of the early 19th century, whose wife, Jesse Graves, was a first cousin of Wesley Graves.

[78] After moving to Fortville in 1926, he bought over 200 acres of surrounding farmland in the fall of 1929 and began one of the most enjoyable phases of his life rebuilding the rundown land and starting a cattle business in conjunction with the grain elevator he bought in Pendleton.

[79] Bedford is the seat of Lawrence County.


[81] All of this hands-on work with the Newton County farm prepared GOR for managing the 234 acre Fortville farm and the Pendleton elevator when he bought them 11 years later in 1929.  It is interesting that a city boy and graduate of Indiana University would be so interested in farm work and farm management.

[82] This lot was in the original area of Butler University when Butler was on the near north side of Indianapolis, before moving to Irvington.  In the late 1920s, Butler again moved, to its present location north of 56th Street.

[83] This lot near in downtown Indianapolis was the crown jewel of Christopher Rafert’s estate, amounting in value to half of his estate, or $30,000 when he died.  Thus, the sale for $31,200 was a good deal and added other properties which would be sold later.

[84] Among George Rafert’s papers was an 8 x 10 book about Camp Zachary Taylor located south of Louisville, Kentucky, showing all of the steps of turning raw recruits into troops.  He had written his name and “October, 1918” on the cover.  Apparently, the military life held some appeal for him, even though he turned 35 that month.  His father Christopher Rafert paid $300 for a substitute during the Civil War.  I donated the paperback book to the Smith Library at the Indiana Historical Society.

[85] A Liberty bond ribbon, apparently worn while making sales, was among loose papers inside the cover of the diary.

[86] Acton remains a tiny town in the southeast corner of Marion County, only three or four miles from the equally tiny town of New Bethel [also known as Wanamaker], where they lived.

[87] John Shimer worked as a manager at “Lost Freight” warehouse on Massachusetts Avenue when I was a child in the late 1940s and 1950s.  Goods lost or damaged in rail shipment were consigned here and we stopped there occasionally for bargains.  As I recall, we once purchased several cases of apricot juice.

[88] The value of money is so different 90 years later that $2,500 net doesn’t sound like much.  In our dollars, it would be around $60,000 net per year, or $5,000 net per apartment. 

[89] Montmorenci is a tiny town a few miles northwest of Lafayette.

[90] The farm was in southwestern, North Dakota.  Mott is around 75 miles southwest of Bismarck.  It is well west of the Missouri River as well as the huge Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation.  It is surprising that G.O.R. would consider land in this arid region.

[91] By “cleaned up” he means to settle business loose ends.