Hosmer History

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

Odey's 66 Station in the 1930s.

Odey’s 66 Station in the 1930s.

 

Odey's Station

Odey’s Station

 

The Curtis Store

The Curtis Store

 

The Hosmer School

The Hosmer School

 

The Glezen Baptist Church int he 1950s.

The Glezen Baptist Church int he 1950s.

 

The Littles School

The Littles School

 

The Littles Mine

The Littles Mine

 

The Littles Mine

The Littles Mine

 

 

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12 comments on “Hosmer History

  1. Cheryl Weeks Smith says:

    I grew up the Hosmer and my father did too. My father was Baxter Weeks who taught and was principal at Hosmer School.

    • Hi Cheryl:
      Your mom gave me some pics of the school with your dad. I made copies and then
      returned them. She was in the apt. behind Hucks then. I have them posted on the
      Pike web page. http://www.ingenweb.org/inpike/Pikegen.htm Check them out.
      Your dad and my dad were good friends. He was Odey Pierce. Will yak at you later.
      Mike Pierce

    • Nancy Weeks says:

      Hey, what do you know? I grew up in Hosmer too and my Dad’s name was also Baxter Weeks!! Wow!

      • Rose says:

        Someone told me once that the big window in the front of Baxter Weeks house was from the old school. Is that true?

    • Mary Ann (Miller) Robling says:

      I went to the Hosmer School from the 2nd thru the 8th grades. I had several teachers but my favorite etcher was Baxter Weeks. I knew him, his wife Evelyn, their children, Baxter’s dad, who was a mail carrier & a wonderful man….

  2. rachelle gish says:

    I grew up in hosmer as well and just about al my family still resides there. My parents bought Evelyn and baxter weeks old home place and built a new home there but their old homestead still stands.

  3. Barb Ritter Kincaid says:

    The Glezen Baptist Church & Odey’s Station are they only things left standing. out of the pictures posted… it sure has changed over they years, i grew up in hosmer and lived there till 2009. and alot of my family still lives there. i remember going to heber battles store all the time…..

  4. Tracey Howard says:

    The original plat they mention in the story, I have that plat now. I am the grandson of Moses Howard

  5. Anonymous says:

    WOW – The past!! My Dad was Dick Wilhite (1903-1978). He and his baby brother – Russell – were in a cave-in, circa 1930. in the Littles mine. Russell was killed. My Dad was covered from the upper chest down and not ambulatory for a year or so. Docs said he’d never walk again. HE DID!. Moved to a farm plot 5 miles SE of Petersburg and built a new house there the year before I was born (1936); and moved in with my mother and two older sisters. Farmed 100 acres til 1970 when he sold the far to – guess whom – a strip mining company!! Moved the farmhouse to a major (local) hwy, City water yet!. But he was never really content thereafter.

    Writing this starts the tears as I recall his grit, love and tender kindness. He suffered greatly to “do his duty”, providing for his family, including sending me to Purdue for my Engineering degree. My mother referred to him as her “Diamond in the Rough” VERY apropos.

    Sure miss them both. Don’t see many like them anymore.

    Jack Wilhite, Clrwtr, FL

  6. Tracey Howard says:

    I have that original plat of Hosmer.
    Mose Howard was my grandfather.
    My name is Tracey Howard, and I still live there.

  7. Eddie Willis says:

    I am Eddie Ray Willis. Enjoyed reading this. I am the grandson of Johnny Knight and Doris. The wife and I bought Papaw’s old place back and built a new house just one block south of Odie’s Station. Odie’s station is still there, but it is in bad shape. I bought gas there. I’ve been in Mose’s barbershop for haircuts many times. I’ve tried to clean up Hosmer, and have made some progress. My wife teases me and says I mow half of Hosmer weather I own it or not!!

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