Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tenants of the Owen Block - Edward N. Viele

Edward N. Viele was born June 1860 into one of the most prominent families in Evansville. His father, Charles Viele, was president of the First National Bank and a businessman in Evansville. 

The 1880 Vanderburgh County shows Charles and Mary Viele with their younger son Edward, who was age 20 and "off at school,"[1] along with their older son Walter and his wife, Maggie. They were living in the platial family home at 704 Water Street, now re-addressed as 400 SE Riverside Drive. 

Edward was educated in preparatory schools in Connecticut and in Europe. By 1885, he was back in Evansville, where he met Miss Daisy Potter of Delaware, Ohio, who often visited a sister living in Evansville. Their marriage occurred 8 April 1885 in Ohio and was followed by a wedding tour to Cincinnati, Louisville and New Orleans.[2]  Later that year the local newspaper reported that Mr. and Mrs. Ed Viele had moved to one of the flats in the Owen Block.[3] 

Edward Viele was a merchandise broker and proprietor of Caldwell-Viele Co. of Evansville. Apparently, they did not live at the Owen Block very long because the 1890 City Directory lists their home address as 624 Upper 2nd Street [4] He was a musician of note and he and Mrs. Viele were very active in the social scene of Evansville.  They had one son, Douglas, who died of meningitis  at Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1917.  The Vieles were active members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, just one block from the Owen Block.

By 1920, Mr. and Mrs. Edward N. Viele were living in his father's former home on Riverside Drive. In late February 1924, Mr. and Mrs. Viele left on a trip to Chicago and beyond.  On the 1st day of March, Mr. Viele died suddenly in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His remains were brought back to Evansville for burial at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Mrs. Viele continued to live in Evansville and remained active in social circles until her death 2 September 1937. She had been an officer of the Rathbone Memorial Home as well as the Public Health Nursing Association and the Fortnightly Literary Club. She, too, was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

A number of paintings were bequeathed in Mrs. Viele's will to St. Paul's Church and to the Society of Fine Arts and History. The paintings were given as a memorial to her late husband, whose father, Charles Viele, had collected many of them during trips abroad. Other art items were given in memory of her deceased son, Douglas.

Viele Home
400 SE Riverside Drive
Evansville, Indiana

[1] 1880 Vanderburgh County, Indiana census, p. 287B, E.D. 78, image 215, Ancestry.com, accessed 13 Mar 2015.
[2] "Personals," Evansville Daily Courier, 31 Mar 1885, p. 4.
[3] "Change of Domicile," Evansville Daily Journal, 6 Oct 1885, p. 8.
[4] 1890 Evansville City Directory, p. 470.

 Published 21 April 2015, Rambling Thoughts ... Out of My Mind by Brenda Joyce Jerome, C.G.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tenants of the Owen Block - Belle & Minnie Murray

Owen Block
121-127 Chestnut Street
Evansville, Indiana
4 April 2015

One of the few single women to live in the Owen Block during the first 20 years of its existence was Mrs. Belle Murray, wife or widow of Enos Murray of Owensboro, Kentucky.  When or if they they married is unknown. Belle, age 31, and her daughter Minnie, age 10, first appear on the 1880 Daviess County, Kentucky census. By 1886, they are living in Evansville, where a new items stated Minnie Murray of Evansville had been visiting her father, Enos, a railroad agent in Owensboro.[1]

Belle, a widow, and Minnie lived at 515 Upper 1st Street in Evansville 1899-1900.[2] The 1900 Vanderburgh County census lists Belle's occupation as modiste, or dressmaker.  A brief news item in an Evansville newspaper in 1902 announced that Mrs. Belle Murray had moved her family to the Owen flats.[3] From 1902 through 1907, the Murrays lived at 125 Chestnut Street and later moved next door to 127 Chestnut Street.

By 1903 Mrs. Belle Murray and her daughter had moved away from the Owen Block. When she died in January 1926, she was living in the Harrison Apartments at 626 S. 1st Street.  The funeral was in her home with the Rev. Powell, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, officiated. Belle's survivors included her daughter, Minnie, and two sisters living in Owensboro. She was buried at Locust Hill Cemetery.

Minnie Murray continued to live in Evansville, where she had a distinguished career in the trust department of Old National Bank and was a prominent member of the Altrusa Club of Evansville. Miss Minnie Murray, 75, died at the Rathbone Home in February 1948 and was buried at Locust Hill Cemetery.

[1] "Personals," Evansville Journal, 22 Jul 1886, p. 5
[2] 1899 Evansville City Directory and 1900 Vanderburgh County, Indiana census, p. 2B, E.D. 88, lines 51-55, ancestry.com, accessed 3 Feb 2015.
[3]  "Personals," Evansville Journal-News, 13 Feb 1902, p. 7.

Published 13 April 2015, Rambling Thoughts ... Out of My Mind, http://brendasopinions.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tenants of the Owen Block - S.W. Douglas

Owen Block
4 April 2015

Work on the Owen Block has begun. Judging by the number of trucks on Chestnut Street and the noise from hammers and saws, no time is being wasted in stabilizing this beautiful old building.   Fire escapes go from upstairs windows down to the ground, but there are no rear doors to the outside. A workman told us the fire escapes are all being removed, but  he did not know if this was a temporary situation or not.

In the above photo, note the door. It's hard to say if this door was from the time the building was constructed, but it certainly appears to be old. I wonder if it was in use when Sidney W. Douglas moved  to the Owen Block in 1894.

Douglas, a professional photographer,  moved his family from New York to Evansville in 1878. For a time in the early 1890s, he lived at 1002 Upper Water Street, but moved to 125 Chestnut Street in 1894. The Douglas family consisted of S.W. and his wife, Lucy Ellen Tucker, and their three sons, James, Dallas and Kenneth.  The second son, Dallas, had worked on steamboats as a cub pilot and later as a freight clerk and shipping clerk before becoming a traveling salesman for the Crown Baking Powder Company of Chicago.  He contracted typhoid fever and passed away 26 May 1895. The funeral took place at nearby St. Paul's Episcopal Church with burial at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The Douglas family continued to live at the Owen Block from 1894 until at least 1901. In 1904, they were living at 426 Upper 1st Street.[1]

S.W. Douglas was initiated into Masonry in May 1877 and at his death was the only past grand master living in Evansville.  Douglas suffered a blow in 1910 of his photographer's studio on the third floor of the old Bray building on First Street, between Main and Locust Streets, in the fire that originated in the Fendrick building.[2]  In this fire the negatives collected in a career of 40 years were destroyed. Rather than reopen a gallery, Mr. Douglas retired.

In addition to being one of the most prominent Masons in Indiana, Douglas was president of the Board of Children's Guardians. He helped bring about its organization in 1898 and became president of the board in 1900. It was through his efforts that the home on Lincoln Avenue was built in 1904.[3]

On the first day of January 1916, both S.W. Douglas and his wife contracted "the grip." Douglas became a victim while on an inspection trip to a Masonic commandery in Aurora, Illinois. Mrs. Douglas became ill at their home at 816 Upper 1st Street. Just seven hours after Mrs. Douglas died on 10 January 1916, her husband passed away. The funeral was held at the home with the Rev. A.L. Murray of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in charge. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas were buried beside their son, Dallas, at Oak Hill Cemetery.

[1] 1904 Evansville City Directory, p. 227.
[2] "Partners of Half Century Called a Few Hours Apart," Evansville Journal-News," Tuesday, 11 January 1916, p. 1.
[3] Ibid.

Published 5 April 2015, Rambling Thoughts ... Out of My Mind, http://brendasopinions.blogspot.com/