Sunday, February 18, 2007

Henry A. Phend - Part 1 of 3

Henry A. Phend, my great-grandfather and the youngest child of Jacob and Louisa (Fisher) Phend, was born at the "Phend Homestead" near Hepton in Scott township, Kosciusko county, Indiana on the 7th of November 1865. There was a seventeen year age difference between Henry and his oldest brother John. As a result, Henry became an uncle before he reached the age of three.

His life on the farm was probably typical of the era. The Phends were not wealthy in terms of money but they were hard working and industrious. The Phend Homestead was the third farm purchased by Henry's father, Jacob. The first was in Greene County in southern Indiana and the second one, which he still owned when Henry was born was located in German township in Marshall County, bordering the Kosciusko and Elkhart county lines.

Hepton was a small community with a general store, a mill, a creamery, and a school. Henry attended that school in Scott township and it was there that he received his education in the English language, however, only German was spoken at home. In his later years, Henry often joked that the only reason he learned to speak English was so that he could talk to the girls - Susie in particular.

Susie Yarian lived with her parents, Eli and Lovina (Berlin) Yarian, in the town of Locke which was located in Elkhart county, several miles north of Hepton. In the early 1870's Locke was a thriving community consisting of three dry goods stores; one drug store; one grocery store; one hardware store; one tin shop; one furniture store; two shoe shops; two sawmills as well as a shingle-mill; one wagon-making shop; one steam and grist mill; three blacksmith shops; about 40 dwellings; one hotel; a public school house; one church; and three physicians. Its official population in the 1870 census was 167. As you can see, Locke was considerably larger than Hepton and it was likely that the Phends purchased supplies and various other necessities there.

It was in the early 1870's that the Baltimore and Ohio railroad laid out its route in such a way that it passed midway between the two towns of Hepton and Locke. A depot and passenger house was put up and in December 1874, the town of Nappanee was born. There was nothing else there at the time, but they called it a town! The creation and platting of Nappanee eventually led to the demise of the towns of Locke and Hepton. There are a few houses and a church in Hepton now. And Locke is a quiet village with some houses and a general store.

In January of 1890, when Henry was 24 years old, his parents sold their farm at Hepton to his oldest brother, John, and moved into Nappanee. On September 4th, 1892 Henry was married to Susie Yarian. They made their first home in Nappanee, but shortly thereafter moved to Harvey, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Their first child (and my grandfather), Rolland Victor Phend, was born there on June 19th, 1893. Henry was one of tens of thousands of workers who helped in the construction of the site and buildings used during the Columbian Exposition which was open from May 28th through October 28th, 1893.

To be continued...

Henry A. Phend - Part 2 of 3
Henry A. Phend - Part 3 of 3

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