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Last night at 10:30 p.m. our Weather/All Hazard’s Alert radio told us to take shelter. It got dark. It got windy. Abby ran through the dog door and out into the back yard to bark at the storm. Buster hid under a chair. Our cats, Simba and Biggs paced nervously, staying close to DH and I.  Kitty was out in the woods somewhere.

We turned our television to our local satellite weather channel. The announcer said a tornado had touched down and was 16 minutes away.  Our Police Scanner reported  a couple calling in on a cell phone phone saying they were trapped under the rubble of their house.

DH watched out the back door and saw nothing in the dark.

It was a long night.

This morning  we found fiberglass insulation from homes in Nappanee in our front yard. According to the news some of Nappanee’s debris was found in Constantine, Michigan…40 away.

Here are some pictures of Nappanee. I may have more this weekend.

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A barn down the road lost its roof.

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Electric poles down…DH and I did not lose our electricity.

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200 Homes and buildings were damaged. It is estimated that 100-150 are damaged beyond repair.

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The south side of Nappanee. Winds reached 165 m.p.h.

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More damage from the powerful F-3 tornado.

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The Dairy Queen.

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A closer view of rubble and metal wrapped around an electrical wire.

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A farm east of Nappanee.

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Here is where I get vegetables in the summer. The Weaver’s lost some of their roof, several trees, and all of their vegetable stand. Notice the right porch post.

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 A picture of Weaver’s vegetable stand sign I took in June.

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Where the sign and vegetable stand used to be.

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Splitting wood.

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More wood splitting.

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Neighbors and relatives work together.

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Stocking up for winter.

Media Links:
Powerful Tornado in Nappanee, Residents clean up/Includes Video Coverage,
Fort Wayne WPTA-TV

MORE TORNADO DAMAGE PICTURES, PLUS NEWS UPDATES

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Sarah J.’s tombstone.

DH is a collector of stuff. Ask him for anything and he probably has one. He even has a gravestone, which appropriately enough, right before Halloween, has become my latest project.

It is a mystery to be solved,  with grave robbing, a secret society and fascinating historical detail.

Why did the I.O.O.F. Lodge take Sarah Jane Cole’s tombstone? 

Why did they use the other side of it for the cornerstone of their lodge? 

Who are the I.O.O.F.? Who was Sarah Jane?

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The other side of Sarah Jane’s tombstone, which the I.O.O.F. made into a building cornerstone with their masonic emblem and name.

DH aquired the “tombstone/cornerstone” in 1983. Fueled by rising oil prices Texas was booming. Houses couldn’t be built fast enough for the oil executives of Houston and Dallas. Rustic, weathered & aged bricks were especially-desired building materials  for newly rich oilmen wanting  to look like old money. Which meant the former I.O.O.F. Lodge in Windfall, Indiana, three layers deep in bricks, was coming down.

A contractor was hired. Teenage workers and kids started cleaning up the bricks, brick by brick, for fifteen cents a brick. During the painfully slow and tedious procedure, Sarah’s perfectly carved tombstone was found on the other side of the building’s I.O.O.F. embellished cornerstone. The contractor, a friend of DH’s, had no use for it.  He thought my husband might want it.

DH did.

 And now I am on a quest. I am trying to find out everything I can about Sarah Jane Orem Cole and the people who took her tombstone.

The “1850 Federal Census” listed Sarah Jane as a 15 year old living in Prairie township in Tipton County, Indiana. She shared her home with her father, Josiah Orem, 43, her mother, Ann, 34, two sisters and four brothers.

Originally part of the Miami Reservation, much of Tipton County was not opened up to settlers until 1847. In their early years in Prairie township, Sarah Jane’s family would have depended very largely upon game for their chief substinence.

 G.K. Berry describes pioneer days in Tipton County, “Wild animals of all kinds infested the woods, and every settlers table was supplied with choice meat. Venison was no rarity, but served as a staple article of food, deer being so numerous as to cause, great injury to the crops. Some bear were found by the early hunters. To kill one of these animals was considered a mark of superior skill, and the man who was fortunate enough to bring down a bruin enjoyed an enviable reputation in the community. Three of these animals were killed by Samuel Baldwin a short distance east of Windfall, in the year 1847. Wolves were especially numerous, and for several years all domestic stock had to be tightly penned at night in order to protect them from the fangs of these gaunt scourges. During very cold winters, they became voracious, and old settlers tell of having to take their dogs into the house to keep them from being torn to pieces.”

According to the “United States Federal Census of 1860“, Sarah Jane Orem married Newton Cole in 1853. In 1860, they had two children, Martha A., 3 years old and Mary J., 1 year old.

December 1, 1866, Sarah Jane Orem Cole died.

By 1880, Newton was remarried to Nancy Elizabeth Vargus. According to the “1880 Federal Census“, he was an engineer. Martha, listed as single, lived with her father and stepmother. Josiah Cole, 19 years old, also shared the home. He must have been Sarah’s last child.

Did Newton fight in the civil war? No children were conceived during the war years. And what about Mary? Mary wasn’t listed as part of her father’s household in the 1880 census. I wonder if she married before her older sister? Or did Mary succumb to a childhood disease or accident?

A Mary J. Cole was buried in 1865 in Sarah’s hometown. Was she Sarah’s Mary? Did the heartbreak from losing her little girl contribute to Sarah’s early death? Or did Sarah Jane die from childbirth, a year after her husband’s return home from the war? Or both?

Did Newton ever take Sarah’s children to visit their mother’s gravesite?

And what about the people who took Sarah Jane’s tombstone?

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The Independent-Order-Of-Oddfellows’ Lodge Emblem. The three chain links are carved into a  eye on the I.O.O.F. Cornerstone.

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The I.O.O.F. Masonic Eye Emblem.

fullshield.gif The Full Shield…the Odd Fellow is introduced to universal symbols important to the teachings. All symbols are regarded as derived from a common source of symbolism and are said to scintillate with meaning.

Historical Origins of Secret Associations

From the I.O.O.F. Lodge Philosophy and History site , “History records the existance of secret associations among nearly all the nations of the earth. They have accompanied and been a part of the advancement of civilizations. They have served as the conservators and promoters of religious, scientific and political life.

Associations have their beginnings in ancient cultures where they were a means of passing on teachings to the un-initiated. These teachings included writing, arts and sciences. Associations provided a means of education and training in philosophical matters of conscious human existence. This required both theoretical learning and rituals. The ancient societies where associations originated include the Egyptians, Babylonians, Jews, Greeks, Persians, and other Eastern cultures.

The motto of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows has always been ‘to elevate the character of mankind under the Fatherhood of God and within the brotherhood of man’. The Lodge existed for decades as the only source of security for working families, and provided a crucial social safety net in times of unregulated labour markets and fledgling government services.”

To Improve and Elevate the Character of Man

In 17th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called “Odd Fellows“. Odd Fellows are also known as “The Three Link Fraternity” which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.

Odd Fellows have also been linked to an organization known as the Ancient Order of Bucks which thrived in England in the 18th Century, and had as its emblem three bucks with their antlers intertwined. These men had as their leader a “Most Noble Grand” and met in club rooms and taverns. One of their principal emblems was “a bundle of sticks,” familiar to modern Odd Fellows as signifying strength in union. They dropped “Bucks” from the name in 1802. 

Among the first records of the Order in America is that of five Brothers of the English Order who met in New York City in 1806, and formed Shakespeare Lodge No. 1. The founders were three boat builders, a comedian and a vocalist – a group befitting the name “Odd Fellows,” indeed.

 Windfall Lodge, No. 438, I. O. O. F., was instituted November 20, 1873, with the following charter members: F. S. Zeek, George Dunn, William Brooks, G. W. Boyer, W. S. Armstrong, Joel Reece, S. G. Young and H. H. Lindley. The first officers were J. H. Zehner, N. G.; John B. Thorn, V. G.; F. S. Zeek, Secretary, and T. J. Lindley, Treasurer. Meetings were held in a hall belonging to the lodge.

 Charter Member and first I.O.O.F. officer J.H. Zehner was elected president of Windfall’s town council when Windfall was incorporated in 1871. I.O.O.F. officer, F.S. Zeek was also elected to Windfall’s town council. By 1888, Sarah Jane’s tombstone had been removed from the cemetery and become the I.O.O.F. Lodge’s cornerstone. Without a grave marker, her burial site wasn’t noted by those compiling genealogical and historical society records.

Sarah Jane doesn’t come up on cemetery search sites . None of her family can visit her grave.

Why? Did the stonemason take the tombstone from an unkept grave for extra profit? Or was there a symbolic reason for Sara’s grave marker becoming the back of a cornerstone?

I wonder how Sara died? I wonder how Martha got along as the “maiden” daughter living at home with a new stepmother? Did she ever marry? What happened to Mary? Or Josiah?

This is a puzzle for conspiracy addicts, history buffs, genealogy researchers,  or anyone who would like to help Sarah’s Cole’s descendents who may be searching for information, burial records…or a tombstone.

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I have been tagged by paperseedblog of http://paperseed.wordpress.com/ and asked to post 7 honest things about myself. It sounds easy,  but I’ve been putting it off. Until now.

I am a homebody. Crowds make me uncomfortable. I hate shopping malls and supersized “one-stop” groceries. Give me a little shop anyday. I dread parties. My home is warm and cozy. It has my husband, my animals, my books, my computer, my hi-def tv and all of my favorite foods. I love my house and being in my house.

 I hate small talk. I am not good at it. I feel awkward and tongue-tied. My mind drifts. When I was single I suggested movies for first dates to avoid conversation.

 With  friends and family or when talking about things I care about, I am a chatterbox. My poor husband sometimes has to wait to get in a word edgewise.

I like old things better than new. I have a passion for antiques. Only I want to use them instead of storing and preserving them. I read the old books, display the arrowheads, work with the kitchen tools and stir my cakes in antique bowls. These items have a history and I like adding to it.

blog-pictures-001.jpg I don’t love all of my animals the same. I secretly love Abby and Simba the most. I love Abby because she has become my dog. I love Simba because he smells so good and because he snuggles. Simba would rather be DH’s cat, but sometimes he bestows himself upon me and purrs and cuddles. I love smelling his fur and hearing his purr.

Sometimes, when DH asks me to go for walks I say no and make excuses. There is always something else I’d rather do. But, “if “I go, I am always glad I did. A walk through our woods is more relaxing than a tranquilizer.

“All the Critters” has a quiz (http://allthecritters.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/take-this-quiz-to-find-out-what-animal-you-are/) to find out what kind of “animal” you are.

I took the quiz.

I am a “pale giraffe” — an introvert. Imagine.

What kind of animal are you?

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My neighbor and friend, Freeda, working in her kitchen.

Monday through Friday, while their mother works, 89 year old Freeda babysits for her two year old, 4 year old and 6 year old great-grandchildren. She also gardens, keeps house and quilts. When I talked to her today she had made grape jelly and grape juice from her homegrown grapes.  She also told me about freezing her special cucumber and onion mix. 

When she is not busy with chores, Freeda says she loves to read.

Today, I got one of Freeda’s almost impossibe to get quilts. Freeda only accepts a few orders per year so her waiting list is years long. But, this was my lucky day. One of Freeda’s customers failed to pick up an order and Freeda thought I might be interested.

I was not a hard sell.


My new quilt is cream with a wedding ring pattern in shades of lavender with green accents.

While DH and I were admiring some of Freeda’s other quilts, she talked about growing up and living Amish. I was spellbound. I was also hoping Freeda would reveal her secret to being such a youthful almost 90 (in December) year old.

Freeda grew up in North Dakota during a time of dust storms and the depression. She was the fifth child from a family of eleven. Her nearest neighbors were a mile away.

“We raised most of our food,” says Freeda, “mother always had a big garden. We had small fruits like strawberries, currants, red and black raspberries, gooseberries and Juneberries. We had our chores to do.  We carried wood, coal and water.

“We had chickens to feed, eggs to gather and cows to milk. I started milking when I was ten.

“Mother set her own hens — sometimes 24 hens at one time. She also had turkeys, ducks and geese. The little peeps were my job when I was old enough to do it. I would feed them clabbered milk and hard boiled eggs with chick powder mixed in. In the winter, chickens, calves, cows, sheep, pigs, sheep, cats, dogs and horses were all in the same barn. When the doors were opened, the steam rolled out. Frost gathered on the inside of the walls so thick that we would write our names there while doing chores and it would stay there until spring.”


The barn was 100 feet long. In the summer cooking was done in the summer kitchen in front of the barn.

In 1936 Freeda married Eli and by 1959, they had eight children. Then they further expanded their family by taking in foster children needing a home. Over the next 25 years Freeda and Eli took in 46 children including those with handicaps and serious illnesses.

 “Several children came that were so undernourished,” says Freeda, ” one girl was hit on the head by her daddy and was blind and paralyzed because of it. She had surgery on her head and was able to see and walk again. She was soon adopted after that.

“It’s hard to give up children in foster care. They never left without tears and a prayer, knowing that God would take care of them wherever they are.

“After 25 years we quit foster care. Five years later they wanted us to start up again, but in the meantime, friends and neighbors had started bringing in their babies and I started daycare. I did not realize it would last until now, over 20 years later. I just thank God for my health so I can continue to have the children since it helps pass the time and the days are not so long.”


Eli’s first horse and buggy.

 In 1981, Freeda and Eli traveled to Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. In 1987 they took a 6 week trip to Alaska. They went up to see the pipeline. While in Fairbanks, they saw an eskimo lady sweeping the sidewalks.

She said, “Are you what we call Amish?” She told Freeda and Eli that she had read about the Amish and that there were just a few left. Freeda told her there were Amish in almost every state in the United States.

Says Freeda, “She had the Shaker people in mind. There are just a few of them left.”

In 1990, when Eli was 80 years old, he and Freeda went to Paraguay, South America for two weeks for a wedding. In 1993, Eli had flu symptoms and a pain in his side.

Only it wasn’t the flu. Eli had had an abdominal aneurysm. Freeda and Eli had been married 57 years when he died. Together they had bought and paid for their farm. They had traveled around the world. They had raised 8 children and fostered 46. In addition, Freeda has 20 grandchildren and 24 greatgrandchildren.

“We had a good life,” says Freeda, “It was a busy one, I’m still busy and I have no regrets. The Lord has been good to me and for that I am grateful and truly at peace.”

Freeda’s Frozen Cucumber and Onion Mix

Slice your cucumbers and onions

Cover cucumbers and onions with 2 tablespoons of salt.

Let sit 2 hours.

Then drain the salt off.

Boil sugar and water to taste.

Put cucumbers and onions into freezer container and cover them with boiled sugar water.

Freeze.

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