Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Abstract & Title Part 8 - Fleece Family Part 2

We left off with the Fleece family in 1910. I had expected to go forward in this blog from there with the entire family as far as I could find information. Because I’ve found so many interesting tidbits, now I’m planning 2 - 3 blogs. Tonight, we’ll follow the Fleece family up to 1920 because we know that Silas sold the house in 1920 but at this point, I can’t find the exact date.

In the 1910 census, the Fleece family is still living at 410 South Emerson. Silas is now 51 and it says he is in the gas business, installing fixtures. Fannie is 55 and still keeping house. Verner is 20 and a salesman in the gas business. This made me wonder. We’ve been told that the house was plumbed for gas lights at one time. Did Silas & Verner experiment on the house? Did they actually install the fixtures themselves? Did Verner use the house as a “show home” for potential clients? It’s just too bad there is no way to find answers to this type of questions about the house.

In the next several years, we really haven’t been able to find much on the family. Apparently Silas’ business is doing pretty well because he is able to take out ads in the Indianapolis Star. On March 18, 1910, he ran an ad “For Sale – Tree sprayers, all aluminum fireless cookers, gas ranges, private lighting systems. S. F. Fleece, 114 Virginia Avenue.” And then in 1911, there is an ad for Fleece Hardware on E. Washington but the address is illegible. I’m guessing he has moved closer to home and is no longer commuting from Irvington to downtown Indianapolis. I wonder how much time it took to make this 5 mile commute?

1912 brings a happy family event. On May 1st,  Verner married Catherine McEvoy. I found their marriage record on but couldn’t find any marriage announcements in the Indianapolis papers. Some day when I have more time, I’d like to read the old newspapers to see if this was written up in the society pages. Verner was also in the box scores for a number of baseball & basketball teams between 1910 & 1912. It appears he was a very active sportsman.

And at the end of 1912, it looks like the entire family got together at the Horner House for Christmas.

In 1914 we find Silas’ business in the Indianapolis City Directory – “Fleece Silas F. hardware 1138 Garfield av, h 410 s Emerson Ave.” And it appears Verner is working for him and also living at home. Wonder what Catherine thought about that – “Vernon, hardware, b 410 s Emerson av.” Then in 1915, there’s an ad in the Indianapolis Star that I found quite interesting.

The next items we have are Verner’s Draft Record and the application for his service headstone. His draft record shows that he was tall with a medium build, blue eyes and brown hair. Most of the rest of it is very difficult to read but it does say he is working at the Indiana Daily Times. The application for his headstone is much easier to read.


WWI started on  July 28, 1914, however, the US didn’t enter until April 6, 1917. Verner enlisted on July 26, 1918. Armistice Day was November 11, 1918 and Verner was discharged on January 13, 1919. He spent just a little less than 6 months in the service. (This is more than Ron’s grandfather spent since he just barely got out of boot camp.)

And sadly, Verner was only home a little over 4 months when Fannie passed away. I found a very short obituary for her in the May 30, 1919 Indianapolis Star, however, I have not been able to find a more extensive one or where she was buried.


In the 1920 Census, I did find Verne & Katherine at 4027 E New York. Verne is 30 and a general Electrician. Katherine is 25 and it does not give any work information. I haven’t been able to find Silas or an entry for 410 S Emerson yet. To my surprise, I recently found a marriage certificate for Silas on November 20, 1920. He married Mary E. Spicer from Indianapolis. This means I have a whole new person/family to try to research.

So you can see why I may need another blog or two going forward to figure out what the Fleece family is up to during the rest of the 20th century.

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