Carl Gahimer and Mabel Wagoner

Memories by Fred Gahimer.

Photo is Carl Gahimer and Mabel Wagoner on their wedding day, August 24, 1929.

For more information about Carl’s younger years, see this story. For more information about Mabel’s younger years, see this story.

Origin of the farm – memories by Fred Gahimer

On August 29, 1832, six months prior to the arrival of Johann Jacob Gegenheimer in America from Germany, Pressley Morris purchased from the U. S. Government the East 1/2 of the Northeast Quarter of Section 21 in Township 13 North of Range 8 East in Union Township, Shelby County, Indiana. This 80 acre plot, bordering the Shelby/Rush County line on its east side, was the forerunner of our farm. At various times the farm was bought and sold in pieces, but with a few minor changes, was reformed close to its original state by our time.

About 1855, the portion of the Madison to Indianapolis Railroad (eventually part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system) was put in between Shelbyville and Rushville, passing through the northwest corner of the farm and the southeast corner of the farm north of ours. The two triangle parcels thus cut off were about 2 1/2 acres each. Eventually, the parcels were sold to the owner of the farm which was then contiguous with each parcel.

It was common practice back then that a farmer would provide each of his children with a farm when he died. In 1927, Grandpa Gahimer bought the farm for Dad (Carl Gahimer) to inherit upon Grandpa’s death. It was one of two farms owned by my grandfather Conrad “Coony” Gahimer. Grandpa lived on the other farm, about a mile away by road, with his other child, Edna, and her husband, Leonard Evans, and her son, Richard (Dick).

Life on the farm – memories by Fred Gahimer

My parents, to put it concisely, were the proverbial salt of the earth. Hard working, honest, religious, and although they never completed high school, they had a natural intelligence and good common sense. And they put great value on education.

I was born in 1933 in the big old 1840 two-story house on land inherited by my father on the eastern edge of Shelby County, Indiana. I was the third child of Carl and Mabel Gahimer. My eldest sister Anna was born 3 years before me, followed by my older sister Martha, born a year and a half before me.

They said I was born sick, of a sick mother. It was probably influenza, the scourge of adults and children alike in those days. Doc Barnett came in his horse and buggy the three miles from his home and office in Homer and stayed with us for three days until the danger passed. Since State Road 44 didn’t exist yet, he came by way of the old Rushville-Shelbyville Road which passed through Manilla and on west about a half mile, then south on the county road, through the jog at Taylor’s place and on into our lane west of the house. He probably entered the back door, since the only way to get to the front (north) door was to walk around the house on the grass, since there was no path, or walkway to it. No one used it in the early days. I used to wonder why they built it facing north instead of to the west facing the road. I guess it was probably to have the kitchen facing south for a sunny exposure.

Doc Barnett was often paid with some chickens, eggs, meat, or some other form of barter. 1933 was in the depth of the great depression, and few farmers had cash money. Doc was a tall, thin, kindly man. We saw a lot of him in our growing up days. He used part of his house as an office, and had a little shed to the east side of the house for his medicines. Most of the medicines were liquid, stored in one or two-gallon sized brown glass bottles. He would sit on a little short stool, tip the big bottle over his knee, and pour the medicine into a small medicine bottle, and then replace the caps. He would then take a label, write the name of the medicine and any instructions on it, then draw it over his tongue; the biggest, wettest tongue I ever saw. Then he would slap it onto the curved face of the bottle and rub it good to make it stick.

THE FARM – memories by Fred Gahimer

In 1935, State Road 44 was built; again cutting through the northern end of the farm. It entered the farm from the east alongside the south side of the railroad, then made a long sweeping curve away from the railroad until it crossed the county line at the east edge of the farm where it proceeded in a straight line. The result was the formation of a five acre triangle parcel formed between the railroad and the highway. So we had to cross the highway to farm the field. Because of its small size and resultant difficulty in tilling it, it was normally used for growing hay.

The original lane was a gravel drive which came from the gravel county road at the west border of the farm. It went east from the road toward the front (north end) of the house, then turned and went south into the barnyard where the big garage was located. After the highway was put in, a new gravel drive was put in from the highway running straight south to join the old drive on the west end of the house.

The main farm on the south side of the highway had five major fields. There were four long rectangular north-south fields of virtually identical size and shape, about 15 acres each, comprising the south end of the farm. A ten acre field was in the northeast corner, and a small 1 1/2 acre field was in the northwest corner through which the old lane passed. Access to the five large fields was provided by the barnyard and a drive from the east end of the barnyard to the easternmost of the fields. All the fields were fenced to contain the livestock.

Fred’s drawing of Carl’s farm
Drawing by Fred Gahimer of Carl’s farm buildings
In back of Carl Gahimer farmhouse. Buildings are L – R: House, woodhouse, warm house (partial cellar), and milkhouse/smokehouse.

 

Beth Ann Percell at back of Carl Gahimer farm house
Behind the old garage on Carl Gahimer farm with house in background. Carl Gahimer dog Pepsi and her basketball.

THE FARMHOUSE – memories by Fred Gahimer

Carl Gahimer farmhouse. Photo taken in the summer of 1958, just before it was torn down.

Our home was a big old 1840 two-story house with a brick chimney in the middle of each end, and one on the east end of the kitchen for the cook stove. The house had white weatherboard siding and a gray slate roof. It faced north, presumably to have the kitchen with a southern exposure. It had a center hall running from the front door on the north side to the rear door on the south. A staircase was on the east half of the center hall starting inside the front door. There was a small closet under the stairs where were kept the shotguns and rifles for hunting, floor sweepers, boxes of yarn and pieces of fabric in a box for making quilts. It was the only closet downstairs. A large living room was on the west side, with a wood burning stove. The like sized room on the east was the master bedroom, also with a wood burning stove. The front door had a small-pane vertical glass on each side and a two step concrete entrance.

Rear addition on Carl Gahimer farmhouse.
L – R: Fred Gahimer, Anna Gahimer, Martha Gahimer, Carl Gahimer. Photo taken near the fish pond.

At some time, an addition had been put on the south end of the house along its entire width. It was white weatherboard siding like the main house, but had a wood shingle roof instead of slate. In the south addition, the dining room was at the west end, and a kitchen was on the east. An extension of the center hall was in the middle, with the back door. The floor of the back hall sloped down to the door. Coat hooks were placed on both side walls for the convenience hanging coats upon leaving and entering. The kitchen had a big wood burning cook stove, with oven and griddle. It was my job the first thing early each morning to start the fire in all the stoves in the kitchen and the two at each end of the house, and in the evening after school to carry out the ashes. For some reason a door had been built in the west side of the dining room. It was never used, at least not by us. It was about 1 1/2 – 2 feet off the ground, with no steps.

Anna May Gahimer at Carl Gahimer 2 story farm house. Photo shows west side of farmhouse with the door that was never used (no steps down).

At the top of the stairs was a small short door into the attic, where could be found all manner of old unused furniture, wallpaper, a mandolin, and other fascinating things, including a picture of a tough looking hombre in cowboy boots and a heavy mackinaw coat and a black cowboy hat sitting in a chair with an attractive young woman in a nice dress and hat standing next to him. It was in a large gold leaf wooden frame. It wasn’t until I was about 56 years old that my widowed mother pulled it out of storage in her white bungalow (which replaced the old house about 1958), and told me the couple was her grandparents, Ephraim and Katie (Huson) Ford, and that he had been a cowboy in Wyoming. That started my interest in genealogy.

Ephraim Ford and Hattie Huson Ford. Thought to be their wedding photo (Dec 1882).

The rest of the upstairs consisted of two rooms. The room on the west end had two built-in closets in the west end. It was my bedroom when I was young, but later I switched with my sisters. The other room on the east side was very large because it had no closet. Each room had a small register in the middle of the room to allow heat from below to come up into the room. The edge of my bed was next to the register. In the winter, I would jump in bed, cover up my entire body with the covers, then hold my arm out so as to cause the blanket over my arm to form a funnel to force the heat from the register to come into the bed under the covers and warm it.

We had no utilities until we got electricity when I was about five. In my early years we had to carry water from the windmill-pumped well in the barnyard up to the house. There was a dug well outside the back door of the house, but it did not work. It was about three feet in diameter and lined with stone. It appeared to be about 25 feet deep. It probably had gone dry, because when I was about six, Virgil Gahimer drilled it down to about 100 feet deep, and from that time on, we pumped water from the hand pump until we got modern plumbing some years later.

DAILY LIFE ON THE FARM – memories by Fred Gahimer

We lived pretty much like our pioneer ancestors. We farmed with horses. We had a matched team of brownies, and a huge white mare called Malt who was too big to be matched with any other horse in a team, and she was used for one-horse jobs such as plowing the garden, pulling the rope to raise the hay fork loads into the barn, etc. I always rode her. She was so big and broad, that when I got off of her after a morning of work, I could hardly walk for a while because I couldn’t get my legs together.

We harvested corn by hand shucking and throwing the ears into the wagon as it was pulled along side of us. Dad and Grandad could shuck at a slow walk. I was much slower with my small hands. The horses were trained to keep the wagon even with the shuckers without any signal. I had to guide them around the corners.

Grandad and his brother Ed were partners in a threshing business. They had a giant engine and a smaller one and two threshers. They threshed over a three county area. I will never forget the first time I saw the monster engine pulling its thresher followed by a long train of horse-drawn wagons coming down the country road toward our farm. The huffing, puffing, smoking, hissing, clanging, giant engine was a marvel to my eyes. It was so heavy it would crush the stone on the road. In the last year of threshing before we changed over to a tractor-pulled combine, Grandad let me drive the engine down the road toward his house for a while. The steering consisted of a big chain to each of the front wheels on the center pivot axle. The slack in the chains was such that I had about a one-turn play in the steering wheel, and I quickly wore myself out spinning the wheel back and forth while weaving back and forth down the road. I was about 12-13 years of age and was very happy to turn the job back to Grandad.

The threshing season was always exciting because of the crowd of men and machines assembled for the task, and the huge meals the women cooked each day for the men.  It was an unforgettable sight to see the threshing parade of huge steam engine pulling the thresher followed by a long line of horse-drawn wagons as they came down the road to the farm.  Once they got the engine set up to power the thresher with a long wide belt, the men in wagons would load up with the sheaves of grain which had been stacked in shocks by the binder crew and proceed two-by-two on each side of the thresher intake to fork the sheaves into the hungry jaws of the monster from both sides at once, while a man on top guided the exhaust of beaten straw to a stack of beautiful gold to provide bedding material for the animals.

We raised milk cows and beef cattle, hogs, and chickens. We had the biggest log barn I have ever seen. It had stables at each end, and a center mow and two granaries on the ground floor, and three haymows above. We eventually tore the barn down. It was a monumental job. The beams were hand hewn and fastened by wooden pegs – no nails. My mother was so embarrassed because we were the only farm that had a log barn that she would not permit it to be photographed. I have searched all the literature but have not found a picture of such a huge log barn.

[Note from Joe, Fred’s son: After Dad wrote this, but before he passed away, I found two old photos that showed the barn. Dad was elated to see them. They must have survived my grandmother’s censorship.]

Anna May Gahimer at Carl Gahimer farm. Fred’s favorite old barn is in the background to left. The barn overhang is on the right toward windmill. The windmill is between the barn and the house.
Anna May Gahimer at Carl Gahimer farm. Favorite old barn in background to right.

I milked and fed the stock before and after the hour bus ride to and from school. We butchered our own beef and pork, and put it in our smoke house, which was part of the milk house. We also canned from the garden and orchard and stored it in the “warm house.” Mother sewed most of the women’s clothes. We bought very little from stores in the early days, and that was mostly from the huckster wagon where we bartered for sugar and thread, etc.

Up until 1940, Dad was a full time farmer. When the war started, Dad went to work at Allisons in Indianapolis in the machine division. He made good money, and we felt prosperous. Most necessities were rationed during the war, and we spent a lot of time flattening metal cans, and saving other materials that were scarce. One of the oddities was that we roamed the fields and roadsides to pick milkweed seed pods. We were better off than many because Dad was both farming and working in a defense factory, so we got more ration stamps.

Even though quite young, I had to help a lot with the chores, and even more as I grew older. On a typical day, I would get up about 4:00, get dressed, start the fires in the stoves, and head for the barn. I would go into the barn and fork hay into each of the cow stalls and put some ears of corn or some oats into their little feed box. The cows loved the treat. That is why they are so anxious to get into their stalls in the barn. They each had a particular stall, and woe unto any cow who went into the wrong stall, for she would be butted out by the rightful occupant. Once in the stalls, I would put a light chain, which was attached to the manger, around the neck of each cow and fasten it. Then I would sit on a little stool and milk the cows in turn. Some cows were skittish and had to have their rear legs shackled together to keep them from jumping around. It was somewhat dangerous, because once in a while the cow would fall – maybe on you. The cats used to sit in a line along the wall, and if Dad wasn’t there, I would squirt milk into their mouths as they held it open. I became quite a marksman. I also used to squirt flies when they landed on the wall. When the bucket was full, I would carry it up to the milk-house and pour it through a big metal funnel with a filter in it, to strain out the straw and anything else (like manure) that might have fallen into it. The milk flowed through the funnel into a 10 gallon milk can which was sitting in a big tub with cold well water in it to keep the milk cool.

After milking, I would let them back out to the pasture. I would then mix some powdered feed with water in two 5-gallon buckets to make a slurry which we called slop, because that’s what it looked like. I then carried it over to the hog lot and poured it into a 5-foot trough on the ground, and the hogs would make pigs of themselves snarfing it down. This was called “slopping the hogs.”

I hated raising hogs. They were dirty, dumb, and dangerous. After a day of ringing, vaccinating, and castrating hogs, I was deaf for an hour or so because of the constant squealing. I will never forget the time that three sows farrowed (had babies born) down in the far end of the field. We hooked the tractor up to a small hog house and pulled it out to the field next to the sows and their litters of pigs. Dad had a herding gate with him, and a club. He got the three sows on one side of the herding gate and he on the other side. I ran around grabbing the pigs and putting them into the house through the fold-open roof, while he kept them at bay. The sows were standing on their hind legs on one side of the gate trying to climb over to get Dad, while he kept hitting each sow in turn with the club. They were too dumb to go around. I was amazed that Dad was able to keep the gate upright with all that weight on it. Farrowing sows are very dangerous. If a sow happens to step on a pig and causes it to squeal, the sow with often kill the pig. Also, a farrowing sow emits a fearsome loud noise that is very frighting, and in that state it is very dangerous to man and pig.

In addition to pasture, we fed our hogs supplemental food via a trough to fatten them for market. Sometimes a stupid chicken would try to get in on the feast by walking on the heads of the hogs as they ate, hoping to snatch a bite or two. But if the chicken’s foot happened to slip down into the trough, it would become part of the feed, and would be ingested by the hogs a little at a time as if it was being slowly sucked into the hog. You couldn’t see what was happening, only that the chicken was squawking and slowly sinking into the trough until it disappeared. The hogs never moved their heads up or anything. They probably didn’t even know that the chicken was part of the meal.

There was a large mud-hole in the east end of what we called the “hog lot” close to the gate to the northeast field. It had a bare trunk of a dead tree laying horizontal in the water. The hogs would spend most of their time sleeping or wallowing in the mud-hole during the warm seasons.

Lastly, I would take feed and water out to the chicken and hen houses and put it in the dispensers, which would mete out the food or water to replenish any they consumed.

Anna May Gahimer at Carl Gahimer front yard (hen house is in background to left).

When we had horses, they were fed and watered also, but we had to lead them by a halter over to the water tank and stand there while the horse drank its fill, taking one at a time, then taking it back to its stall. During the summer when there was pasture, they stayed there and ate in the pasture and came up to the water and drank by themselves, as did the hogs. They had a little drinking trough at the bottom edge that meted out water for them to drink. We had to clean the mud out of it occasionally, because the hogs would drop mud from their bodies as they drank, and it would build up eventually and plug it up. The feeding chores were much easier in the warm seasons because we let all the livestock into the pasture full time except when we milked twice each day, and when we used the horses, and only fed them some supplemental food, usually grain.

I would wash my face and hands and change clothes and be ready for the school bus by about 7:00. The bus driver lived just up the road, so we were his first pickup in the morning, and the last stop in the evening. The bus route took about an hour each way.

After school, much of the morning chores had to be repeated. In addition, I had to gather the eggs from the hens in the henhouse. I hated this job when I was young and small. First of all, when I entered the house, one of the hens would usually fly off the roost and land on the back of my neck and peck me. I had to really watch them as I entered and left the house. The hens would sit on the nests, and when I tried to reach under them to get the eggs, they would peck me hard on the wrist. I got so I would carry a big corn cob into the henhouse and whack the hen over the head to knock it dizzy while I got the eggs. When I got older and bigger, the pecking didn’t hurt much, and I quit using the cob.

When the World War II started, Dad went to work at Allisons in Indianapolis in the machine division. He made good money, and we felt prosperous. It meant more work for me because I had to do most of the chores in the morning or afternoon, depending on which shift he worked.

Most necessities were rationed during the war, and we spent a lot of time flattening metal cans, and saving other materials that were scarce. One of the oddities was that we roamed the fields and roadsides to pick milkweed seed pods. We were better off that many because Dad was both farming and working in a defense factory, so we got more ration stamps.

In the evening, we did the extra things that we didn’t have time to in the morning. We often took grain up to the Manilla grain elevator and had them grind the wheat into flour for Mom to use in baking bread and making noodles and pie crusts, etc. The elevator would put it in sacks that had a colorful pattern, and Mom would use the empty sack material to make aprons, and small items of clothing. We also would go out after dark to capture the hens that would not lay eggs in the hen house, but would roam wild on the farm. They were of no use to us, so we would capture them and sell them to the Fishback family in Manilla, who would then sell them to the food markets. We snared the hens by sneaking up behind them as they were roosting on a fence or post, and, with an eight foot long #9 wire with a hook bent on the end just big enough to get the hen’s leg in but not let the foot slip through, we would hook it around the leg and pull the hen to us and grab it. Roast hen for somebody.

We butchered our own beef and pork, and put it in our smoke house, which was in the back part of the milk house, and also canned some meat and stored the jars in the warm house. We also canned produce from the garden and orchard and stored it in the “warm house”, a small shed with 4-inch thick walls, door, and ceiling filled with sawdust for insulation, and the bottom two feet of concrete wall and floor set into the earth to keep it at a uniform cool temperature for storing the food. It was essentially a half-cellar, half above ground and half below. I have no idea why they called it a warm house instead of a “cool house”. We stored the potatoes from the garden in a big bin in the warm house. We also kept the lard from the butchering in a very large covered crock in the warm house.

Like any farm family back then, we all went to town on Saturday night for music lessons, shopping, and movies. But only after the usual Saturday night bath in the big galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen floor. Women first, men last. We men got all the scummy stuff. Equal rights for women–HA!! When Aunt Edna’s son Dick was young, she would give him a bath in a large bucket. He looked like he was stuffed into it. I don’t know how she could wash him. We got an indoor bath when I was about 10.

Horses were used in the early farming, a matched pair of brown ones, and a huge white mare called Malt.  Malt was too big to be matched in a team, so she was used for all the single-horse tasks such as putting hay up in the barn or working in the garden.  I usually rode her during these jobs.  One time while putting up hay, Dad got his hand caught between the rope and pulley on the hay fork as it was being pulled up by Malt with me astride her.  He yelled STOP!!.  I heard the cry, reined in Malt, and started to back her up to slack the rope.  Dad, thinking I was too slow, yelled, “God dammit, I said stop!”  (Having one’s hand being ground up in a pulley would tend to make one impatient.)  His hand was torn up pretty bad, especially two fingers, but as usual, he wrapped them up and went back to work.

There were no conveniences in the early years of raising the family.  All the water had to be carried into the house from a hand pump in back of the house, and all heating and cooking was done with wood stoves.  All the wood was cut from the woods on Conrad’s farm with big cross-cut hand saws, and cut to proper lengths for splitting by a huge buzz saw powered by a tractor power-take-off and long belt.  The wood was stored in a wood house near the house, and was split with an ax as needed for use.  An outside privy was used except when someone was too sick, and then a covered pot was kept in the bedroom.

Corn, wheat, oats, chickens, hogs, milk cows, and beef cattle were raised.  The meat for the table was butchered using huge black iron pots outside.  The meat was stored in the smoke house or canned.  Milk for drinking was chilled in the icebox, cooled with a block of ice delivered by the iceman.  The cream was skimmed off for churning into butter.  Any surplus was sold.  Vegetables from the garden were canned and stored in the warm house.  Potatoes were stored in a bin in the warm house.  The big windmill in the barnyard pumped water from the barnyard well to the horse tank nearby for the stock.  The hay was stored in the huge log barn.  Five to eight cows were milked morning and night.

Electricity was wired into the farm about 1937, and water was piped into a hand pump at a sink in the kitchen a short time later.  Running water and a bathroom did not come until about 1945.  The wood stoves gave way to coal, then coke, then oil.

Life events:

Carl Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer at the Bridge over the Flat Rock river.

Carl married Mabel Wagoner on August 24, 1929, and they lived on the farm which Conrad had bought south of the railroad on State Road 44.

Carl Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner
Aug. 24, 1929

PRETTY WEDDING AT HOME OF PASTOR

Rush County Couple, Well Known in Community, Married at Indianapolis

The home of the Rev. Mr. And Mrs. Harry T. Bridewell, 413 West 40th Street, Indianapolis, was the scene of a very pretty wedding in which the contracting parties were Mabel Wagoner, of Homer and Carl Gahimer of Manilla.  The ceremony was performed at two o’clock by the Rev. Bridewell, who is pastor of the Christian church at Manilla.  The young couple was attended by Miss Edna Gahimer, sister of the groom, who was maid of honor, and Mr. Basil Wagoner, the brother of the bride, who was best man.  The beautiful ring ceremony was used.

Mr. and Mrs. Gahimer are widely known in their respective communities and are highly respected.  The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Wagoner of Homer.  She attended the Homer and Manilla schools as did Mr. Gahimer.  The groom is the son of Conrad Gahimer, a prominent farmer, who lives one and a half miles southwest of Manilla.  Mr. and Mrs. Gahimer will be with the parents of the bride for a few days while their lovely country home is being furnished, after which they will take residence at that place which is a mile south of Manilla.
Carl Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer

Carl and Mabel had three children: Anna Mae, born July 6, 1930; Martha Jean, March 21, 1932; and Frederick Hugh, August 27, 1933.

Carl Gahimer holding Anna May Gahimer at Conrad Gahimer’s place. Photo likely taken summer of 1932.
L – R: Anna Gahimer, Martha Gahimer, Fred Gahimer. In front of old garage on Carl Gahimer farm.

 

Carl and Mabel were both active in the Manilla Christian Church. Carl had attended there since he was a young child. In 1934 and in some years after, Carl was the superintendent and later he was an elder in the church. He also sang in a quartet. Mabel volunteered on many committees.

In 1935, SR44 was built.

In 1937, electricity was installed in the farmhouse.

In the summer of 1939, SR44 was shut down and oiled/tarred. Fred, not yet 6 years old, played in the tar and became covered with it. His parents had to bathe him in gasoline to remove the tar.

In 1939, Virgil Gahimer drilled the existing well in the back of the old farmhouse down to 100 feet to reach water. Until this time, the 25 foot well had been dry and so Carl and his family had to carry water from the pump near the windmill to the house.

In 1945, Carl got a job at Detroit Diesel’s Allison’s in Indianapolis, IN in the machine division. Fred had to pick up extra farm chores.

Also in 1945, Carl had indoor plumbing installed in the big farmhouse. No more carrying water from the outdoor pump. No more having to use the outhouse.

L – R: Martha Gahimer, Carl Gahimer, Fred Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, Anna May Gahimer
Carl Gahimer, on the family vacation trip to the Smoky Mountains. As farmers, it was hard to get away for vacations. This was the only trip taken as a family.
Herbert Wagoner and Mabel Wagoner. Herbert died in a tractor accident in 1945. Herbert and Mabel were close siblings, and he was about 3 years older than Mabel.

In November 1945, Mabel’s close brother, Herbert, died in a tractor accident. It is believed he fell asleep while driving the tractor, and fell off, and was then further injured by the rolling tractor and wagons.

Rushville Republican
Monday, November 26, 1945

Tractor Accident Proves Fatal to Herbert Wagoner

Herbert Carl Wagoner, 40, Orange township farmer, expired Sunday night at 11:50 in the Major hospital at Shelbyville where he was removed earlier in the day following an accident.

Mr. Wagoner was injured in a tractor accident while pulling two loads of corn at his home, west of Moscow. He was unconscious when found about noon and never regained consciousness.

He was born in Orange township where he resided all his life. He was a son of Claude and Myrtle Ford Wagoner and was born November 2, 1905. Mr. Wagoner was a member of the Homer Christian church.

Survivors are: the widow, Mrs. Ruth Miller Wagoner, and three daughters, Marjorie May, Evelyn Maxine and Marilyn Ann, all at home; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Wagoner of Orange township; four brothers. Huson and Bacel of Rush county. Lester of Shelby county and Norman with the army at Luzon; two sisters, Mrs. Carl Gahimer of Shelby county and Mrs. William Purcell of near Rushville.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock in the Moscow Christian church. The Rev. C. B. Wraith of Homer Christian church will officiate. Burial will be made in the East Hill cemetery here. Friends may call at the home beginning Tuesday noon.

In 1946, Conrad let Fred drive the huge threshing engine down the road toward Conrad’s house for a while. The steering consisted of a big chain to each of the front wheels on the center pivot axle. The slack in the chains was such that I had about a one-turn play in the steering wheel, and Fred quickly wore himself out spinning the wheel back and forth while weaving back and forth down the road.

In 1947, Fred graduated 8th grade and started his freshman year at Shelbyville High School.

High School – Memories by Fred Gahimer

When my oldest sister Anna started high school, my parents sent her to the county seat school, Shelbyville High. She was in the first class of students from the country to be allowed to go there. The school administration apparently thought country kids were dumb, because they would not let her take college prep, but made her take home economics, etc. When she made straight A’s her freshman year, they let her change to college prep. She went on to Ball State Univ., and became a librarian.

Both of my sisters were excellent singers, and both won the choir medal when they were seniors.

It has been a family joke that if my other sister Martha had started high school first, we would all still be farming. Martha never liked studying, but was a happy-go-lucky, gregarious, friendly person who preferred reading romantic novels to Shakespeare and math.

When I was a senior, as the top scholastic male in my class, I was the Lord Mayor who presided over the traditional May Festival and crowned the May Queen, then sat with the rest of the May Court and watched the music and dancing program, after which it became an open dance. It is still a tradition to this day, except now they also crown the top girl also.

While I was in high school I would work summers tearing down the old buildings – the wood house, warm house, garage, milk-house/smokehouse, and the log barn. We had quite a time unlocking the 60 foot long logs at the corners. They were not round logs, but were hand hewn about nine inches thick and about twenty inches high. Mom and Dad built a big new garage. They also built a new barn.

In the summers of 1949 and 1950, Fred helped Carl to tear down the old farm buildings.

On November 23, 1950, Anna Mae married Fred John.

Rushville Republican
Saturday, November 25, 1950

ANNA MAE GAHIMER BECOMES BRIDE OF PVT. F. D. JOHN

In a pretty Thanksgiving Day ceremony. Miss Anna Mae Gahimer. daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Gahimer. became the bride of Private Frederick Dale John, son of Mr. and Mrs. George John. all of near Manilla. in the Manila Christian Church.

At 7:30 o'clock in the evening. the Rev. F. 0. Reisinger officiated at the candlelight ceremony before an arrangement of ferns and greenery accented with a bouquet of white chrysanthemums. The light was from the four seven-branch candelabra. The nuptial music was played by Miss Katie Hinschlaeger.

Given in marriage by her father. the bride chose a gown of white satin and lace. The dress was fashioned with an imported lace yoke and Peter Pan collar. long sleeves tapering to lace edges and a full skirt with lace panels. Her imported lace veil fell from a seed pearl tiara and she carried a white Bible arranged with white roses, mums and an orchid. Her jewelry was a pearl necklace.

Miss Martha Jean Gahimer was her sister's maid of honor in royal blue and the bridesmaids were Misses Marcia Anders and Jane Fox in American Beauty and green. The gowns were in satin with two overskirts of net. sweetheart necklines and rolled collars. They wore matching mitts and headbands of net adorned with tiny mums. Their flowers also were mums and their gifts from the bride were pearl necklaces.

Patty John and Beth Purcell were flower girls in frocks of American Beauty and they were made like those of the other attendants. They carried baskets of flowers.

Dean Unhun was best man and ushers were Jack Skillman. Floyd Linville. Frederick Gahimer, Lowell and Hugh John.

Both mothers of the couple wore navy ensembles with black accessories and white rose corsages.

Following the congratulations. light refreshments were served at the church from a table centered with a three-tier wedding cake. Serving were Miss Shirley Gosnell. Miss Frances Kuhn and Miss Lucille Hunsinger. all students at Ball State. Muncie.

For the wedding trip. the bride donned a navy satin two-piece dress with hat and gloves of white and other accessories of black.

Upon their return, the bride will resume her studies at Ball State Teachers College where she is a junior and Pvt. John will return to duty at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He attended Indiana Central College before entering the Army last fall.

In March 1951, Martha married Jack Skillman.

Rushville Republican
March 28, 1951

Skillman-Gahimer

Miss Martha Jean Gahimer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Gahimer of near Manilla. became the bride of Jack Earl Skillman. son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell T. Skillman of Shelbyville. Rural Route 6, in a pretty ceremony which was solemnized Easter evening at 7:30 o'clock in the Manilla Christian Church.

Baskets of gladiolus and snap-dragons and palms softly lighted by six candlebra formed the background for the ceremony which was read by the Rev. F. 0. Reisinger of Indianapolis.

Mrs. Frederick John. sister of the bride. sang "The Wedding Prayer" and -Yours Is My Heart Alone" and the nuptial music was played by Miss Katie Hinschiaeger of Shelbyville.

The bride chose a gown of white Imported Chantilly lace made with scalloped collar. cap sleeves, fitted bodice and a full skirt extending into a cathedral train. Her ice blue veil of scalloped net was caught with a Juliet cap and she wore long lace mitts and a strand of pearls, a gift from the bridegroom. She carried a white Bible adorned
with a nosegay of white rose and lilies of the valley. Mr. Gahimer gave his daughter in marriage.

Mrs. John of Ball State Teachers College was matron of honor in a gown of orchid net over taffeta with a matching stole, mitts and a sweetheart bonnet of net. Mrs. Howard Wilson of Rays Crossing and Miss Mary White of Ball State were the bridesmaids in outfits of green net over taffeta like that of Mrs. John. All carried nosegays of violets and wore pearl necklaces and earrings. gifts of the bride.

Lena Farlow and Janet Chesser of Manilla were the flower girls. Their frocks of yellow net over taffeta had ruffles trimming the necklines and the bottoms or the full short skirts. They wore ruffled mitts and pearl necklaces and bracelets, gifts of the bride.

Frederick Hugh Gahimer, brother of the bride. was best man and the ushers were Carroll Pitts. Jr., Norman Waggoner, Lowell and Hugh John. The groomsmen were Howard Wilson and Cloyd Linville.

A reception was held at the church and refreshments were served by Misses Sheila McDonald, Katherine Buckler, Eileen Reuter, Shirley Hey, Cindy Kuhn and Mildred Hey.

Mrs. Skillman traveled in a navy dress with an orchid trimmed cape, navy accessories and a purple orchid. After their wedding trip through the West. they will reside in Rays Crossing.

Guests were present from Rushville, Shelbyville, Flat Rock, Plainfield, Danville, Indianapolis, Muncie and Anderson.

In May 1951, since Fred was the top scholastic male in his high school class, he was the Lord Mayor, and presided over the traditional May festival, crowned the May Queen, and then sat with the rest of the May Court and watched the music and dancing program, after which it became an open dance. Fred graduated high school.

In 1951, Fred was a freshman at Purdue University studying engineering. He roomed at the Cary Quadrangle dorm.

In the summers of 1952 and 1953, Fred worked at Inland Container Corporation in Indianapolis, IN.

In fall of 1952, Fred started his sophomore year at Purdue, this time staying in the “X” residence hall on campus.

In the fall of 1953, Fred started his junior year at Purdue, and moved into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity on campus. He also lived there his senior year.

College Life – Memories by Fred Gahimer

I went on to Purdue for a degree in Chemical Engineering. I had a great time there; as I always liked school, but especially my years at Purdue.

I paid my way through college by the good fortune of getting a job as a summer replacement in the corrugating department of a corrugated box plant near downtown Indianapolis. I replaced regular union workers on their job when they went on vacation. I got paid their wage rate. None of the other plant employees wanted to work there because it was a sweatshop, hard work, and dangerous. It was also the highest paying department. I off-beared and roll shafted on one of the three big corrugating machines. In roll shafting, I had to roll a paper roll about 6 feet wide and diameter weighing two tons off a platform gently onto a small steel dolly. Then I rammed a 220 lb steel shaft into one end and rammed it as far into the roll as possible, then drove it the rest of the way in with a 20 lb lead-headed sledge. Then I put the big hub on the other end and drove it on, then moved the roll into position and winched it onto the bearings. I then fed it into the paper stream, hoping I wouldn’t break the paper and gain the enmity of the machine operator. I often worked four hours overtime unloading 116 lb bags of starch from boxcars by hand. It was the hardest work I ever did, but I got used to it, and I made big money. In off-bearing, I worked at the other end taking the cut sheets corrugated cardboard off the end and stacking them on a cart for use in finishing. It was not as heavy work as roll shafting, but was quite hectic at times trying to keep up with the machine. The old operator with burn scars all over his back always delighted in pushing us to our limit and sometimes beyond.

When I was at Purdue, Dad would wait for me to come home to help him castrate the bulls. He had given up hogs (hurrah!). It was always my job to catch the bull and wrestle him down by hand. One time a bull escaped his notice, and when I came home here was this almost fully grown bull tied to a post in the middle of a pen in the barn. I complained that it was too big. Dad said not to worry that he was calling the local vet out and we would use the clamps. Well, we three got into the pen and the vet put on the clamps, and the bull pulled the post out and was standing there looking mad as hell at Dad and me. The vet was already over the board fence. I still don’t know how he jumped it. Dad and I slowly edged toward the gate and slipped through it. The bull knocked a few windows out before he calmed down. Now mind you, he still had the clamp on, and he was not in a good humor. I don’t remember how we got it off.

After graduation, I worked for eight months at a plant in Jacksonville, Illinois where they made shortening, margarine, and salad oil from soybean and cottonseed oil.

In the spring of 1955, Fred graduated Purdue with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering. He was hired by the Anderson Clayton Company, Jacksonville, IL where they made shortening, margarine, and salad oil from soybean and cottonseed oil. Moved to Jacksonville.

Carl Gahimer holding his grandson, Dan Skillman. Photo taken in 1955. Carl was about 47 years old.

In March of 1956, Fred was drafted into the U. S. Navy. He went through boot camp at Great Lakes. From there he was sent to the Naval Air Technical Training Center near Memphis, Tennessee to teach Radiomen to become electronic technicians. Dad enjoyed teaching and enjoyed working on electronics.

In October 1957, Fred received an honorable discharge from the U. S. Navy and moved back home. He determined that he wanted to get a job working on electronics. In November, Fred was hired by the U. S. Naval Avionics Facility, Indianapolis, IN as a materials engineer in the Engineering Department. About a year later he was transferred to the material lab to run a small experimental shop with two technicians.

In April 1958, a young man accidentally drove his car through Carl’s property fence.

In the summer of 1958, Fred helped Carl and other relatives tear down the old 1840 farmhouse.

The Indianapolis Star
Sunday, October 4, 1959

Ethel Matthews Weds In Church

Miss Ethel M. Matthews became the bride of Frederick Hugh Gahimer yesterday In St. Philip Neri Catholic
Church.

The Rev. Francis Dooley performed the double-ring ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert L. Matthews, 410 North Beville Avenue, and the bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Gahimer of Shelbyville.

THE BRIDE wore a white satin dress styled along princess lines. It featured a scalloped neckline trimmed in Chantilly lace and a chapel train. Her veil was held by a half-hat of orange blossoms and seed pearls, and she carried a cascade bouquet with an orchid center surrounded by carnations and pearlized stephanotis with orange blossoms. Her father gave her in marriage.

Mrs. Matthews J. Dillane, sister of the bride, was matron of honor. and Mrs. Richard C. Bogan of Whiteland, sister of the bride, and Mrs. William R. Williams were bridesmaids.

They wore mint green peau de soie sheath dresses with matching green taffeta over-skirts. Their bouquets were cascades of green FujiMU MS and bronze mums.

LINDA LEE Bogan was flower girl in d white and mint green taffeta dress. She carried a colonial bouquet of green Fuji mums, coral roses and white carnations.

H. Leslie Matthews, brother of the bride, was best man, and ushers were William D. Mann and Jack E. Skillman, both of Shelbyville and both brothers of the bridegroom.

After a reception in the Heritage the couple left for a honeymoon to the Smoky Mountains. Upon return, they will reside at 928 North Keating Avenue.

The bridegroom was graduated from Purdue University. His fraternity is Phi Kappa Tau.

In June of 1960, Mabel’s father Claude died. Fred was very fond of Claude (see the photo below), and spoke of his friendly, caring, and soft-spoken nature. For more information about Claude, see this story.

L – R: Anna May Gahimer, Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, William “Junior” Percell, Fred Gahimer, Claude Wagoner, Mary Rose Wagoner Percell, Martha Gahimer, Patti Percell, Beth Ann Percell Doddridge, Mabel Ford McFatridge, Huson Wagoner, Myrtle Ford Wagoner, Marjorie Wagoner, baby, Ruth Wagoner (Huson’s wife)

After Carl retired from farming, he kept one bull that he had become so attached to he couldn’t bring himself to take him to the butcher.

Carl Gahimer and his “pet” bull Snowball on his farm.
Mabel Wagoner Gahimer and Carl Gahimer on the rare vacation. Comment from Joe: “I love this picture. First, because they never took vacations – I think Grandma wanted to travel and learn about the world and Carl wanted to be busy doing something productive. Second, because this captures their personality differences – Grandma looks very cautious, clutching the handle tightly, while Carl looks at ease, perhaps even bored.”
35 year wedding anniversary for Carl and Mabel at a restaurant. Standing L-R: Fred John (Anna’s husband), Jack Skillman (Martha’s husband), Fred Gahimer. Sitting is Carl Gahimer. Comment from Joe: “This is one of my favorite pictures of Grandpa and my dad, and uncles. They always enjoyed getting together, but that night they were especially happy. This is how I picture them all together in Heaven now.”
Carl and Mabel Gahimer at their 35 year wedding anniversary party at a restaurant. Comment from Joe: “They both really enjoyed that night”

In 1970, Jack Skillman (Martha’s husband) and his parents, Russell and Mae Skillman operated Skillman’s General Store in Rays Crossing and he and his father operated Skillman & Son Trucking from 1936 -1970.

Mabel Wagoner Gahimer, Carl Gahimer

In May 1973, nearly 65 years of age, and after 28 years of working at Detroit Diesel Allison, Carl retired.

In September, he had open heart surgery to replace a failing heart valve with a replacement. Those were the early days of valve implants, and the valves were not very reliable. The surgery was extremely painful for Carl, and he said he’d not want to go through that again.

At Christmas, Carl knew his heart valve was failing, and told his son Fred goodbye for the last time. He said goodbye in a way that it was clear to Fred that Carl believed he was going to die before seeing Fred again.

Carl Gahimer in his favorite chair.

Three days after Christmas 1973, early in the morning Carl shoveled snow from the long rock drive and afterwards was resting in his favorite living room chair while Mabel worked in the kitchen. When she came back into the living room, she discovered Carl had died (of heart failure).

Dec. 28, 1973

MR. GAHIMER DIES AT HOME

Carl Fredrick Gahimer, 65, R.R. 6, Shelbyville, died unexpectedly today at 7 a.m. at his home.  He had been in failing health one month and seriously ill two weeks. A lifelong resident of Union Township, Mr. Gahimer was employed with Detroit Diesel Allison Division, General Motors Corp., Indianapolis, retiring last summer.  He was a member of the Manilla Christian Church. Mr. Gahimer was born July 8, 1908, in Union Township, the son of Conrad and Sally (Gruell) Gahimer.  On Aug. 24, 1929, he married Mabel Deloris Wagoner, who survives.

Also surviving are three children, Mrs. Frederick (Anna Mae) John, New Carlisle; Mrs. Jack (Martha Jean) Skillman, R.R. 6, Shelbyville; and Frederick Hugh Gahimer, Indianapolis; and 11 grandchildren.  A sister preceded in death.

Services will be Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Carmony Funeral Home, Shelbyville, with the Rev. Terry Fulk officiating.  Burial will be in East Hill Cemetery, Rushville.  Friends may call at the funeral home after 2 p.m. Sunday.

In October of 1974, Mabel held a public farm sale to auction off possessions that she no longer needed.

In November 1975, Fred took his mom, Mabel, on his business trip to San Diego, California and they stayed at the historic Del Coronado Hotel.

In January 1980, Mabel’s mother, Myrtle (Ford) Wagoner, passed away at the age of 93. For more information on Myrtle, see this story.

In April 1989, Mabel died from pneumonia at the age of 80.

The Indianapolis Star
April 6, 1989

MABEL D. WAGONER GAHIMER, 80, Shelbyville. died Wednesday. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Carmony-Ewing Broadway Funeral Home. Shelbyville, with calling from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. She was a member of Manilla (Ind.) Christian Church. She was the widow of Carl Gahimer. Survivors: daughters, Anna Mae John and Martha Jean Skillman: son. Frederick Hugh Gahimer: brothers, Lester and Norman Wagoner: sister, Mary Rose Purcell: 11 grandchildren: five great-grandchildren.