I have had some requests to do the history of Hosmer after the post I had written on Littles. Littles and Hosmer pretty much share backyards. Hosmer is now called Glezen, but a lot of us including myself still tend to call it Hosmer.
Art Miley shared an article with me from the Pike County Dispatch on the history of Hosmer, dated Oct 7, 1954. Mike Pierce offered to share his pictures of Hosmer from the Pike County Indiana genweb site for this post. There is not much left there in Hosmer, but it was once a thriving coal mine community.
The Press Dispatch, October 7, 1954
GLEZEN BARBER SHOP CHORDS AROUSE ANCIENT MEMORIES
Formal observance of the 100th anniversary of Hosmer’s founding has not been planned but one can pick up plenty of historical background about the community “now called Glezen” by paying a visit to Moses Howard’s barber shop and listening in on general conversation.
Howard displays a copy of the original plat of Hosmer on the wall of his shop. Survey was made for Stephen R. Hosmer, owner of the land and according to the record the village was laid out February 28, 1854 on the banks of the Wabash and Erie Canal. Provision was made for nine 66 foot wide streets and 75 foot lots. A mill on the canal bank was operating in that year and a canal lock made the site a terminus for canal traffic until competition from railroads put it out of business.
IRONHORSE REPLACES BARGE
In 1882, according to Howard, the Evansville railway was established and built a right of way through Hosmer. Howard’s grandparents, Calvin and Elizabeth Howard, gave the railway land rights through their land near the village.
Dello Coleman and John Stephens, both oldtimers in Glezen, joined Moses Howard in reminiscing about the boom days in Glezen when 400 of the residents were employed by the S. W. Littles Coal Company which operated an 85 foot shaft mine on the I & E railway at what is now the village of Littles.
OLD LITTLES REMINISCENCES
In those days the barber shop had three chairs which were busy until 10 o’clock at night on Friday and Saturday. One saloon operated in the place until the county when dry several years before Prohibition.
The Littles Mine was termed the safest in Indiana because it had a good steelband (hard slate) top. In 41 years of operation, which was a hand loading proposition, only four men lost their lives in “Old Littles”. The shaft mine was purchased by Indian Creek Coal Company and finally became the Ben Neal Coal Company. In 1927 its operation was suspended and a year later it’s tipple, a familiar landmark, was destroyed by fire during a lightening and rain storm.
The Littles Mine was the most independent coal shaft in the state Howard said. The company had its own farm and provided as many as 22 mules each day to pull cars from the rooms below the shaft. The mine also owned timber land and produced timbers at it’s own sawmill located near the shaft.
RISE OF UNIONS RECALLED
An important date remembered by oldtimers is 1898 when a United Mine Workers Local was formed at Old Littles. Prior to the Union, workers went to work never knowing how many hours they would be needed. After the Union came, housewives could plan supper because quitting time was regular each day.
With the closing of the Old Littles Operation, about two thirds of the populace around Glezen moved out to seek other employment. Many of those who remained found employment in a new shaft, the Engles Mine which operated for 12 years as a machine loading operation a mile southwest of the Littles Mine.
An effort to remove coal pillars from the Old Littles Mine proved too hazardous to continue, one old timer said. “It’s hard to rob a steelband top because it won’t fall one room at a time. Pressure builds up between you and the shaft.”
Besides the barbershop, Glezen is served by two general stores. One operated for the last 10 years by Blythe Carr, brother to the postmaster, and the other for the past 14 years by Heber Battles. The other business, a service station is operated by Odey Pierce. There are about 75 dwellings in and around Glezen, a school serving grades one through eight, and a church.
The Glezen Community is a place where the old folks do a lot of thinking about years gone by while younger folks hurry back and forth from their jobs in Evansville and other points outside the area. Glezen is a friendly place and about the biggest excitement there in recent weeks was a 10 pound carp brought to the village in a washtub from White River by Lawrence Brock.
Mike Pierce has a history of Hosmer and Glezen on the Pike County Genweb. In it he says that two churches, General Baptist and Presbyterian were established. A lady by the name of Miss Mary Glezen of Petersburg drove to Hosmer every Sunday to teach Sunday School. Miss Glezen had, in her youth, become a successful business woman in the late 1800s, long before women’s lib. She had established a successful insurance business in Petersburg and was Notary Public. She so endeared herself in her spiritual service of the Hosmer community, that in 1939 the name of the town was officially changed to Glezen in her honor.
For more Hosmer pictures visit at: http://www.ingenweb.org/inpike/Pikepik.htm