in 2007 by grandson
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
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
[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.
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
& Delaware Sts. Continued here till
the last half of the 8th year, when the whole class was transferred to
#3, at that time located on
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.
first tried to sell Real Estate on
commission in connection with the firm of C. F. Sayles and Co. Needless
I didn't sell any and after six weeks succeeded in getting a job
want ads for the Indianapolis Star at $l0.00 per week. During this time I made frequent trips back
[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.]
incorporated a company to be known as
the Bloomington Ice & Fuel Co.
 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.
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.
 In March
l907 after being with the Star
again for several months, through the help of Lewis Hoffman, the father
friend and former roommate in Bloomington, Harry A. Hoffman, I
getting a position in the purchasing department of the Atlas Engine
this city at $l5.00 per week under Mr. Beeler, the purchasing agent. 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,
general information, etc. but my pride continued to smart, for I felt
could do the work I was doing, the confinement irritated me, and I
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
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
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
Mr. Beeler informed me that conditions were such in the business that
been decided to cut down the purchasing department and my services
longer be required. [
[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.]
family had planned to spend my
vacation week on a trip down the
trip down the
soliciting want ads for the Star
I became acquainted with a number of real estate men, particularly Mr.
Day, who had desk room in an old building at the northwest corner of
The upshot of the matter was that shortly
return from the
He meets Ethel Stewart
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
me to be her company to a dance given by the Phi Kappa Theta's, a high
sorority, Dec. 2l, l907. It was there
that I met
return to the real estate
business. Mr. Pritchard had built
seventeen cheap houses in Beech Grove, an industrial town a few miles
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.
 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.
the same date that the purchase
agreement was entered into I entered into a separate contract with Mr.
under which he agreed to retain my services in looking after his
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
whenever he sold all or any part of the place.
It was understood that he would carry out the contract of
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
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.
in March, l9l0 a Mr. W. E. Crates
His Father, Christopher Rafert, dies
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 of pneumonia after a short illness of only
days. He passed the and ten mark by one year and one month
days. [Jan 26, l955 - I am now 7l and
today I am one year and three months beyond the & ten years, and am in excellent health.] He was born in this city on
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
connection with a lumberyard he owned on the south side of
father left no will so the estate was
settled by law, through the probate court of
Dealing with Family on Estate Business
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
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
The only opposition to this plan came from my niece and her husband Benjamin P. Alexander. 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  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  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 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.
We started saving right from the start. Our
never felt exactly at home in the flat
as both of us had always been used to living in a house but we
live there till the following March when we were expecting our first
knew that the flat would be impossible, so we gave it up, stored our
at my mother’s and went to live with Ethel's parents till the baby
Ethel wanted to be near her father at this time.
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 , 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,  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.
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
to relieve me from the contract and keep the register, so I bought it
net cash taking all discounts.
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
llth, l9l2 I bought a piece of
ground on the north side of
Problems with the Grocery Store
 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.
 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.
days later on the 9th of July,
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  time being and making it unnecessary to draw on my other resources.
He Quits the Grocery Business
& 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
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.
Elsa, second child born
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
that during the nine months preceding her birth, her mother had been
free from worry of any kind. I refer to
the fact that we were now entirely settled in our home and way of
had learned to adjust ourselves to the differences between our own
that while we recognized it as too bad, that it had to be that way,
gave us no cause for immediate concern.
Of course Ethel could not be out of doors quite as much as
before Jeanne came on account of Jeanne’s care and her increasing
duties and we were a little afraid that coming so soon after Jeanne she
not be so robust physically. However, my
fears in this direction have been allayed, for though Elsa weighed only
pounds when she came, she will be three months old in three days and
over l4 pounds and has been in perfect health as has her mother. [l/27/40
During the latter part of June of this same
l9l2, we left Jeanne with her Grandma Stewart and went to
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. 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.
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
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.
March of this year I made a deal with
the Glen's Falls Insurance Co through their local agent Mr. Harvey
which they had me appointed a special agent for the company on a 20%
basis. [4/l5/54 - I am still a
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
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
cost me. I sold my little machine March
19 to Dr. Cass of
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.)
 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.
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
side. I can see that by spending just a
little more on their cost a house could be made entirely modern with
& complete bath, built a little better and with the location
chosen be made to bring in proportion to their cost much higher rent
means a margin of profit increased to over twice the amount of the
cost for these things. For these reasons
I have concluded to explore this field next and have determined to
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.]
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.
With the above thoughts in mind, as soon as I
the l9th Street home I started looking for a location where I could
houses as I had determined upon. Knowing
the city as I do I knew I would have to look either east or north east
after covering this territory thoroughly in my machine, looking up
studying plats at the court house and consulting with agents, I found
wanted at the N. E. corner of East New York and Bancroft Streets in a
feet on New York and l42 feet on Bancroft.
Side walks are all around the lot, a l5 foot ally on the
I propose to
build three double
houses on this lot fronting
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.
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.
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
Aug l0, l9l3
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.
had to change my financial plan
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
 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. 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
McNutt who is buying the
6, l9l3 I let
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.
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.
 INVOICE JAN l, l9l4
Bancroft Street Property, $l2,000
Note - Laurence R. Alexander, $2,000
Hiatt Note, $l25
Household furniture, $2,000
Diamond ring, $250
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]
Trust Co.-Note due
Mortgage l04l Congress Avevnue, $l,950
Note J. G. Brannum due July l8, l9l4, $800
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
[Total Liabilities] $l9,58l.59 [2007, $587,448]
*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]
7, l9l4 I today completed the making of
the new loan on the
 . . . my sister owes $2,000 to the Indiana Trust Co which she borrowed when she bought her electric machine.
. . . 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.
closed a deal with a
Feb l9, 'l4 I today took out permit for the four double houses to be built at Riley & East New York Sts.
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 - Carpenter work complete, $2040
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.
 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]
 My estimate
of the income capacity of the
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.
page 58 of the original to page 65 are a lengthy set of thoughts on
conditions which are omitted. The
summary of economic conditions he gives at the end on page 65 (on the
of this text) is straight money and banking history and reflects his
in economics at Indiana University and his “hands on” business training
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
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
 The World-wide Economic Situation
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:
A tendency toward over
expansion prior to
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
 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
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  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.
when money gets tight, no matter
how excellent ones personal credit may be it is sometimes impossible to
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
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,
In my estimate as set out I have allowed $2,300 a year to cover our living expense including automobile expense. . . . 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.
l0 l9l4 I
today completed purchase of
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
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
three lots at the corner of De Quincy &
values are increasing so rapidly in
Out Purchase of Land for
25 l9l4 I
today definitely contracted to buy the lot
at the N. W. corner of (59) De Quincy &
the same time I also definitely
contracted to purchase the lot next (60) west of the above lot for $750
practically the same arrangement. This
gives me a corner, 85 [feet] on
30 l9l4 This
is Decoration Day. My old roommate Harry
Hoffman came home from
[Business details from remainder of 78 to 83 omitted]
 . . .
night the Brannum-Keene Lumber yard
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
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. . . .
28 I just
returned this afternoon from La Fontaine,
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.
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
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. 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.
. . .
24 I today
completed the building of the five
double houses at
. . .
 . . . 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. . . .
I just rented the last of the
A Trip to
 Got home
 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. . . .
2l Instead of the wire assigning the
crops I received a wire from
. . .
promised to come East with
. . .
 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.
gets a new
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.
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. . . .
 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
the middle of page 67 of this record on
Feb. 28, l9l4 in discussing the possibility of my being able to carry
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.
I don’t know what my next move in the
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
 . . . 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.
 . . . 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.
the Estate property I had five flats go
vacant during the past month but have them all rented again I also
the vacancies in the
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. . . .
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.
. . .
 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
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
volumes like this. I get a big kick out
of going back a good many years and reading what I then wrote and again
the point of view of my then age. Before
turning this first volume over to
all assets and debts,
Congress Av. Property, $3,800
Note - Laurence R. Alexander, $1,925
Household furniture, $2,000
Diamond Ring, $275
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
investment lots 59,60,6l,
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
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
Congress Ave. & Roadway on
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.
sustained no actual losses during the year
except the bad checks from Leonard Estes amounting to $l0l.00 and the
paid Miss Quick for
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]
 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. . . .
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
 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.
have a deal on with my cousin Henry
Lantz to trade him the Griffith building for l20 acres he has adjoining
land of another cousin of mine, Ed Ruschaupt, to whom I expect to sell
it if I
get it. My plan is to buy the Griffith building
myself & make the deal if I can see where I can make something out
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.
With the consent of Miss Quick I have turned the agency for the houses I sold her over to Richard Griffith.  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.
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]
 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.
 . . . 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.
 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.
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.
 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.
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.
. . .
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.
 . . .
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. . . .
 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.
 . . .
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.
. . .
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.
 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
June l3, 'l5 Early last winter my mother
was taken sick with a growing condition of Bright’s disease. 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
steadily worse till she could not eat anything and became very, very
weak. At this time about 90 days ago I
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
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
come to after crossing the bridge on the other side of New Palestine
East. Her maiden name was Christina
Manche and her mother’s maiden name was Lang.
Her parents both came from
 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.
 Laurence Alexander is here and some time this week we will open mother’s will.
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
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.
. . .
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.
. . .
 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. 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.
. . .
will soon be through with the
. . . 
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
A Week’s Vacation tour on the Great Lakes
Aug 2, 'l5 My sister left for
Mon Aug 30 'l5 We returned yesterday morning about l:00 o'clock from the above trip. We certainly had a dandy time. . . .
spent the balance of the week up to Aug.
2l visiting friends Mr. & Mrs. Walt Turner who live in
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
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
striving is worthwhile. Their son Troy
and his wife Lulu live in a little 2 room log cabin way down in a
back a l/4 mile from the  road.
They have 80 acres that fairly stands on edge. This is in another small place called “
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.
. . . 
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.
. . . 
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.
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
. . . 
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
Net worth Jan lst l9l5 39,540.33
Net gain for the year l9l5----- $l3,892.43
(Pages l55 thru l60 omitted)
 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.
Interesting Trip to
two weeks ago I received a letter
from my old friend, Dr. Edward J. Kemper, who is a physician at the
Hospital for the Insane at Washington D. C., inviting me to take a duck
with him on the Chesapeake Bay and asking Ethel to visit his wife in
till we returned. I hated to take the
time but at the same time felt that this was an unusual opportunity and
him that we would come. We left the
babies at Stewarts’ and started at
Tuesday Jan. l8th. Ethel went with me as
far as Harrisburg, changing there for Washington where she arrived at
o'clock the l9th. I went on to
Philadelphia and then changed for Wilmington and there caught a train
a little town at the south edge of Maryland.
Ed and a Dr. Ralph Truitt of
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
night and traveling by auto & train, reached
 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
[The trip cost $123.06]
to Build at
 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
Spann’s office and signed a proposition for $3,000 cash for the three
the N. W. corner of
. . .
Probable actual construction cost of 3 buildings....l9,500
Cost of ground................................... 3,500
of improving Market
& sidewalks..................................... 500
Cost of garage & cement court..................... l,000
Probable rental at least $300 per mo.
Probable loan at least $l5,000, possibly l6,500
Probable building profit $5,500 [2007, $165,000]
 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
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
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. Yesterday he told me that at the most he could not expect to continue
his practice more than four years and as he has no income to speak of,
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
he has about $20,000 of assets [2007, around $600,000], the great bulk
is unproductive. He owns an undivided
interest in the old Stewart farm in Wabash County 4 miles west of La
worth $3000, 40 acres in
. . .
Supplies and Contractors for
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.
 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.
 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.
. . . 
Feb. l9, 'l6 I will leave the rest of
this sheet and enter from time to time prices at which I close on
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)
Plaster & Roofing Co.
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
3/l5 Campbell Smith Richie Co-Lebanon-l2 special
kitchen cabinets @ $l7.50 each
for 3 bldgs, 270.00
3/3l John Cooper - wiring & hanging fixtures, 40.00
. . . 
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. . . .
 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.
March l3 'l6 Have
made a contract with Ray W. Bowman
renting him the l5 acres on E. l0th
We are putting on the roof of the garage and have started work on the first foundation this morning. Weather is elegant.
. . . 
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.
. . . 
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
April 4th I completed the
purchase of l5 8/l0 acres of ground at the N. E. corner of Arlington
East l0th Street from Samuel C. Askren who now lives at
. . . [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.
 . . . 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.  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.
. . .
 Sun June
ll, l9l6 Ethel
& I are going to drive down to
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.
 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.]
 Thur June
l5, 'l6 Ethel & I made our trip to
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.
. . .
 Fri June 16
I want to make another estimate of where I will be at the
end of the
Advance to be refunded by Gas Co. for main 75.00
Cement porch work 15.00
Labor on brick work, porches 45.00
Rear steps 30.00
Cellar steps 40.00
Coal walks [?] 12.00
Carpenter work 150.00
Tile roofing 90.00
Wiring fixtures work 32.00
Wiring garage 20.00
Tin work 135.00
Hardwood floors 213.00
Garage floor and flag in court 300.00
Curb around property 40.00
Front steps, 3rd building, balance 30.00
Tuxedo Coal Co., sand, etc. 40.00
Estimate of all items yet to be paid to complete
Total amount paid out to date 19,445.42
$300 shades & linoleum omitted above
Estimated total cost of property when completed, $23,947.92
 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. Drove back this morning. The babies stayed with Aunt Jennie.
. . . 
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.
 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.]
Voyles & her husband are now
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.
 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.]
. . .
July 29 'l6 There is still a little odd
& end work in the way of painting up, foundations, painting garage,
do at Sherman Drive, but as far as earnings go, the property has been
since about July 7th. Just four months
from the day I started excavating. A
young married couple, Watsons, at ll0
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.
Aug 7, l6 Ethel & I drove up to
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.
Discovering the New Bethel Home (residence 1916 to 1923)
 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. 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
Aug 22, 'l6 I
closed up the deal selling the
. . . 
Sept 2, 'l6 I
closed the deal with Robert B. Allison
purchasing the 4 acre tract and house & improvement in Franklin
Marion County this afternoon. The deal
was closed in accordance with our contract of Aug l9, l9l6. I also deeded the property at l04l
.  [He
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. . . .
 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 per year in addition to which I have my building profits and such incidental profits as I make from time to time. . . .
 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.
 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. 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.
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.
. . . 
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.
 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.
. . .
planning to spend a few days shooting
with my old friend John Marxson next week.
He lives about three miles west of
Nov l9 'l6 I
returned yesterday from a week’s shooting trip as above planned. Found everything O.K. on my return. Am intending to go up to the
 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.
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
into the New
 Sat. Dec l6  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 . 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.
. . .
have decided to move my desk from llth
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.
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
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
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
. . .
 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
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
[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.]
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. . . .
 [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.
 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.  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. . . .
 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.
. . .
 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.
. . .
 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.
 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. . . .
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.
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
 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. 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.
 . . .
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.
 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.
 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.
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.
 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.
 . . . 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.
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.
. . .
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.
June l, 'l7 I
entered into a contract yesterday with Sam Askren in which I agreed to
my l00 acres in Washington County for three acres adjoining my
ground on the east. I think this is a
pretty good trade. The
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.]
 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.
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.  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.
. . .
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.)
. . .
 Tues. July 3, 'l7 Tomorrow is the 4th. The Stewarts, the Atens and my sister will spend the day with us. . . .
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.
 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.]
July 26, 'l7 I today completed deal in
which I deeded the Washington County land in even exchange to Sam C.
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,
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.
 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.
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.
We attended Jeanne's graduation exercise at School #60,
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.
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.
Son Stewart born
 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.
Sun. Oct l5, 'l7 Ethel is all alright again and the baby boy doing fine. The nurse left last Tuesday.
Niece Laurence Alexander’s partial interest in 640 acre
[There follow a two pages, 247 and 248 of the original diary, of financial estimates on the farmland. The conclusion follows.]
as shown on preceding page,
This would be $53.84 per acre for 640 acres.
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.
[Another paragraph of complex financial musings is omitted here.]
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.
night I read a paper before a guest
meeting of the Century Club in
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.
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.
 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  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.
 . . . 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.
 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.
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. . . .
[Pages 256-257 of original diary]
[Note, SR: I am listing only properties]
Rafert Estate stock, 21,494.00
Lots 62 & 63 Layman & Core’s Irvington Park Addition 1,800.00
Total net assets $64,546.92 $1,936,000
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.
 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.
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.  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.
February 10 –
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.
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
 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.  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.
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.
to get rid of the
of Apartment Building in
am on a deal to trade [the
. . .
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  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.)
. . .
 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.
. . .
 Mon July l, 'l8 . . .
(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.
accepted the estate will receive $3,900
in cash, $6,600 par value liberty bonds, a mortgage back for $l7,000,
 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.
. . .
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  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.
. . .
 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. . . .
Management and Work at the
Aug ll,'l8 I
returned last Thursday evening from another
trip to the farm and to
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. . Oats totaled 3,7l7 bushels, half of which is mine. We sold ll83 bushels to the elevator.  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.
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.
Monday Aug. l2th before I went to the
farm I closed the llth [and
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
or less in
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.
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
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.
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.
[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.
Sept 2,'l8 The
next morning I received a wire from
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.
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.
$17,000.00 mortgage we have concluded
to hold for a while, as it seems likely that it will be taken up within
next six months. The Dorfmans, who
executed it on the
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Oct l0 I drove up to
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. 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.
Nov 4,'l8 I
have advised the Bedford Construction Company
that I had decided not to accept their offer in connection with the
buildings at Ft. Harrison. The
government has given the word to go ahead and they are now getting
the ground, but after figuring the matter over carefully, I concluded
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,
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
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
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. 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.
Dec l,'l8 I
left here last Monday as planned and spent
the night in Chicago catching an early train over the Chicago,
St. Paul. I arrived at Mott,
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
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
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.
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:
 Cash from farm deal 4,000.00
Sale of remaining crops including rye, corn, etc. 1,700.00
Pasturage money 200.00
E. McClain 200.00
Rafert Estate 190.00
Sal [?] 375.00
Rents from Sherman Drive, D.Q., Arlington Ave., etc. 4,300.00
Interest (my share from $17,000 mortg. 11th St. prop. 170.00
Interest, $4,000 mortgage, Newton County 120.00
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
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,
$2,000 increased value on the
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
 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.]
 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
12, 13, 14, Hartman’s Addition,
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
640 acres @ 27.50 17,600.00
 Forward total gross assets, 138,430.51
Note due, on demand, Rachel Blue 4,000.00
Note due, on demand, Jane B. Rafert 3,111.11
Note due, on demand, “ “ “ 2,109.00
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
Undue payments on Liberty Bonds 250.00
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
Net earnings for this year considered by itself $ll,658.08
3l, l9l8 Before discussing the invoice
just completed on the preceding page I want to note the closing of the
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.
closing all papers were dated Dec. 30th
l9l8. He executed deed to the
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
Edward Taylor is unmarried and lives
The Dakota land is all of Sect 25 Tp l33 N. Range 92 W in Hettinger Co.
Figuring this land at 27.50 per acre which is entirely
 conservative, my account of this deal figured up exactly shows a net profit of $9,352.58.
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
had at this time of the year. Yesterday
I paid the remaining balance on my
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
year, which was the best up to that time.
After charging off living expense and depreciation against
net earnings, I have remaining the sum of $6,668.29 as the net gain for
year. The depreciation occurred entirely
in the Rafert Estate stock due to our selling the llth
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.
year was not so important in direct
profits as it was in clearing the way for future undertakings when the
arrives for them. At the beginning of
l9l8 I was not hardly  in shape yet to undertake additional
if conditions had been ripe. As a result
of the cleaning up processes of this year’s business, I am in excellent
to go ahead on a much larger scale than ever before whenever the right
comes. I have paid off a number of
loans. I will shortly have
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.]
photo of Rafert in a hunting outfit with a shotgun in his right hand, a
his mouth, and wearing a hat. Under it
is this note:
youngest daughter Jesse entered
the front cover of volume 1 is a photo of George Rafert’s mother,
Manche Rafert. The caption reads, “This
picture was taken in July of 1914 in
nearby is an obituary from the weekly bulletin of the Roberts Park
Church of Indianapolis under the date of
The obituary reads,
Christina Manche Rafert, the widow of
Mr. C. F. Rafert, died at her home on Thursday night,
“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.”
 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.
 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.
 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.
 A section of land is a square mile, or 640 acres.
 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.
 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.
 $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.
 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.
 In 2007 dollars, the $5,750 would be about 30 times as much, about $170,000.
 He followed this property investment
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
which time he owned all the properties he had developed from 1914-1924,
the first at
 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
 Relative values have not changed much. The $22.50 per month of 1913 is in 2007 about $675 per month.
 There was a sudden tightening of credit in
of 1913, which probably caused the bank to back out.
This sudden shock to the
 Cars at that time did not have starters. You hand cranked to start, and as this event shows, it could be dangerous!
 Mary Stone Stewart was Ethel Rafert’s
her grandfather Stewart’s second wife after Elizabeth Stewart died in
1885. She lived in La Fontaine, Indiana,
 Uncle John Manche, born in 1845, was a Civil
veteran and led the building of the present
 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.
 Around $57,000 in 2007 dollars.
 Richard Griffith was a life-long friend and the rest of us older family members knew him well.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Today this would be considered a rich
return. During World War I, which began in
1914, urban building slowed world wide because high interest rates and
uncertainty ended this boom. In
 This was the reason for creating the Federal
Bank. When private companies held back
reserves, the Federal Reserve could furnish the reserves to keep the
going by issuing government bonds. In a
note added on
 Today, $69,000 a year.
 I remember, and I am sure other older
members of the
family remember stopping by this property at
 Grandpa attended the first
 This would be an increase in income of about $51,000 in 2007 dollars.
 Frank Stewart traveled with daughter Jeanne
cousin Grace Stewart to
 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.
 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.
It was Henry Lantz who in 1926 alerted him to the home in Fortville
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
These were the core rental properties along with the
 These materials lists with the various companies still exist. SR
 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.
Mary Stone came to
 Chronic nephritis, or inflammation of the kidneys. Robert Stewart, Ethel Rafert’s grandfather, died of the same disease in 1906.
Christina Rafert’s parents were John Manche, born in 1808 and died
 I have the will, which became a problem because Laurence Alexander was left out except for furnishings. SR
Apparently the Rafert home did not have electricity, which is
because there had been electric service in
Four generations down the line, a number of Rafert descendants have
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
and two pewter cups. We use this silver
service with every holiday dinner for extended family here in
 This perhaps the longest break in the entire diary. GOR didn’t like being away from business more than about two weeks at most.
 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.
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
 Translation with a multiplier of 30 into approximate 2007 dollars, the net worth today would be about $1,600,000.
 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.
 I have all the ledgers. SR
This was the onset of what we used to call “shaking palsy” and today
Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Stewart died
 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.
 Frank Stewart was solidly middle class and prosperous, but not a “businessman” able to make money from money. His love was medicine!
 This tract was also known as the Askren farm. He sold lots there until near the end of his life in the late 1940s.
Bessie Bloomer was the daughter of Ellis Bloomer and Julia Ann Stewart,
The house at
This was part of an early move several miles from the city, facilitated
transportation. The main highway is now
 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.”
 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.
 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.
This is a rather amazing prediction, written
 This kind of inflation eventually comes with every war. Only a brutal price drop in 1921 brought prices back to their pre-war levels.
 This is the oak desk that he kept his whole business life.
Aunt Jeanne Stewart was 26 at the time and was attending a “finishing
This property was a city block of commercial buildings in the small
The 11th and
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 “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.
Walter and Ladella Turner were lifelong friends. Late
in life they moved to
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
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
poor whites from
 The 23 cents a gallon of 1916 would be nearly $7.00 a gallon today (2007).
 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.
My father was the last baby delivered by Dr. Frank Stewart before
the Parkinson’s disease that killed him on
 He’s off a little. I used a calculator and got $54.125 per acre.
 Christopher Rafert built these houses on the lumberyard property for rental to African Americans when he retired in 1894.
 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.
These were the growing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Several photos and letters from the
 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.
All of this hands-on work with the
This lot was in the original area of
This lot near in downtown
Among George Rafert’s papers was an 8 x 10 book about Camp Zachary
located south of
 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.
John Shimer worked as a manager at “Lost Freight” warehouse on
 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.
Montmorenci is a tiny town a few miles northwest of
The farm was in southwestern, North Dakota.
Mott is around 75 miles southwest of Bismarck. It is well west of the
 By “cleaned up” he means to settle business loose ends.