DAVID BRANDT BABB. Among the highly esteemed and public-spirited citizens of Eaton, Delaware county, Ind., may be mentioned David Brandt Babb, who was born Nov 11, 1836, in Clinton county, Ohio, son of John B. and Eve (Brandt) Babb, of German and Welsh stock.

David Babb, who was probably born in Virginia of an old Colonial family, was a farmer for some years in that State, where he married Mary Ann Hamilton, of Scotch-Irish stock. He moved in early days as a pioneer to Clinton county, Ohio, and settled on new land, which he cultivated until coming to Delaware county, Ind., about 1839. He settled on forty acres bought from his son, John B., in the woods, which was but partly cleared, and here he continued to live until his death at the age of seventy-two years, Feb. 17, 1851. His wife died in January, 1863, at the home of her son John B. They were members of the Christian Church, and had these children: John B., David, George, Mary, Barbara, Eliza and one who died young in Ohio.

John B. Babb was born Nov. 30, 1807, near Fredericksburg, Va., and received a common school education, removing with his father to Clinton county, Ohio, where he married Eve Brandt, born in 1804, in Susquehanna county, Pa., daughter of David and Ruth Brandt. David Brandt later removed to Fairfield county, Ohio, where he had a farm, and then to Auburn county, Ind., where some of his children had settled. He was a saddler by trade, but most of his time was given to agricultural pursuits. He died aged seventy-two years. Among his children were: Adam, Martin, David, John, Isaac, George, Eve and one daughter whose name is not remembered. Mr. Brandt was a German Baptist by religion, and a man of true worth.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Babb settled on forty acres in the woods, which he bought, cleared and cultivated until 1839, at which time he removed to Delaware county, and on Oct. 13, of that year, settled in Union township. He made the journey with teams, his five children, Martha, Mary Ann, Matilda, David B. and Louisa M., making the journey with him. Those born in Indiana were: Maria, John and Isaac. Mr. Babb bought 160 acres of land, a small part of which was cleared and a cabin erected. This land he cleared and improved, and later purchased 120 acres more, and owned a fine farm. He built a one and one-half story house of hewed logs, and this was his home the remainder of his life. Mr. Babb weather-boarded this house, and made it very comfortable, and it still stands on the farm now occupied by his son, David B. John B. Babb was, a hard-working, industrious pioneer, and at the time of his death was in very comfortable circumstances. He and his wife were members of the Disciples Church, meetings of members of which were first held in the homes of the settlers, later in a frame church at Eaton, which is still standing and used as a dwelling, and finally in a brick church on Harris street. Mr. Babb was one of the organizers of this church and was ever liberal in its support. In politics he was a Democrat, and served as commissioner two terms. He died Aug. 30, 1866. Two of his sons served in the Civil war, David B.; and Isaac, in Company B, 84th Ind. V. I., three years service, participating in many battles, was shot through the wrist and on the retreat for sixty miles in hot weather gangrene set in, entered his body and caused his death in the hospital at Stevenson, Alabama.

David Brandt Babb was about three years old when he was brought to Delaware county, Ind., by his parents, and he attended school for about two months in the winter seasons. Being the eldest son, he had to remain home much of the time and assist in the work on the farm. The first school he attended was a log house, with puncheon floor and greased paper window, one end of the cabin being filled with a big fire-place and mud chimney. The seats were split out of puncheons and supported by pins, as was the writing desk. Mr. Babb’s first teacher was Susan Wilson. He continued to go to school until nineteen years of age, working on the farm in the summer months. When twenty-five years of age Mr. Babb enlisted Aug. 28, 1861, at Eaton, Ind., and was mustered in at Indianapolis as a private of Company A, 8th Ind. V. I., to serve three years or during the war, and served until honorably discharged at St. Louis, in January, 1863. His services were in Missouri and Arkansas, and he was in a march through Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas, it being on this march that General Fremont, then commander of the Western Division, was superseded. He was also in a march of 125 miles from Springfield, Mo., to Otterville, Mo., and sleeping on wet ground and marching through wet, marshy land kept the soldiers wet through all of the time and caused them to suffer greatly from rheumatism, from which Mr. Babb has never entirely recovered. After the war he returned to Indiana.

Mr. Babb was married Sept. 28, 1865, five miles east of Eaton, in Niles township, to Elizabeth Youngs, born in that township, Jan. 31, 1845, daughter of Enoch and Catherine (Ray) Youngs, the former born in Cincinnati. Mr. and Mrs. Youngs were married in Fayette county, Ind., whence he had come with his father and where he cleared a good farm from the woods. After marriage they settled in Niles township, Delaware county, and here he cleared eighty acres, which he sold to remove to Jay county, Ind., but in later life he was disabled by paralysis, and he died at the home of one of his children in Eaton, aged seventy years. His wife passed away on the farm in her forty-fourth year. Their children were: Mary Jane, who married and died aged sixty years; Lewis R., Benjamin Franklin, Margaret Ann, Sarah Matilda, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Mary Jane, Amanda and Catherine. Mr. and Mrs. Youngs were members of the Christian Church. In politics he was a Democrat, and for a number of years was a trustee of Niles township, Delaware county.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs Babb settled one and one-half miles west of the present home, and then moved to eighty acres of the old farm inherited by his mother, where he lived five years. His next location was his uncle Brandt’s place, where he continued to reside for some years, in the meantime buying forty acres in the woods, two miles west of Union cemetery, where he built a log house of two stories, cleared the farm, and finally sold it and removed to Wells county. He purchased 120 acres of improved land and there resided five years, or until 1893, when he located on the present homestead, which is a part of his father’s old homestead. The property, which consists of twenty acres of fertile soil, is in the best of condition and yields large crops. The present home was erected by Mr. Babb.

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Babb were as follows: Orville L., who works in a grist mill and resides at Eaton, married Minnie King, Cora Viola, who died at the age of four years; Carlton Goldsberry, of Eaton, who married Mabel Ryan and has two children, Corinne and Lowell; John Alfred; Dora Mary; Bertie E. and Myrtie E., twins, the latter of whom married J. W. Taylor, a restaurant keeper of Upland, and had three children, Orville E., Vernie G. and Freedom A., and William Asa, who graduated from the high school at Eaton, and the Muncie Business College.

David B. Babb is a member of the Disciples Church, which his wife and family also attend, and which they support liberally. In his political beliefs Mr. Babb is a Democrat, but he has never taken an active interest in public matters, although interested in anything that promises to be of benefit to the community in which he has made his home. He was a member of the G. A. R. post at Eaton, which, however, has since been disbanded. He is one of the good citizens of Eaton, and is highly esteemed by his fellow townsmen, who can recognize and, appreciate his many sterling qualities of character.

F. M. BACHMAN, who has been engaged in business in Indianapolis for over a quarter of a century, is a native of Germany, born Jan. 20 1850, son of Michael Bachman (3)-The latter was of the third generation to bear the name Michael, and was born in the same province as was our subject, in 1803. The family was an old and honored one in the beautiful region where they were settled, hav-ing been there established for many generations. The father of our subject was a farmer and miller in Germany and was in comfortable circumstances, while his name was a synonym of honor and integrity in all the relations of life. His wife died in 1852, and he came to America in 1865, accompanied by two of his children, and here joining others who had previously emigrated to the United States. Michael Bachman passed the remainder of his life in Louisville, Ky., where he died in 1882. Having been well advanced in years when he left the Fatherland he was tenderly cared for by his children in his declining days. Of his family we offer the following brief record: Philip remained in Germany, where he reared his children, and there his death occurred in 1891; Michael (4) came to America in 1852, locating in Louisville, Ky., where he engaged in gardening, and where he died in 1900; Wilhelm, who also came to America, met with an accidental death; Barbara died in Louisville, unmarried; Jacob died in Germany, unmarried; Mary is the wife of C. Hinkle, of Allegheny City, Pa.; Valentine is the owner and operator of a flouring mill in Indianapolis; F. M. is the immediate subject of this review.

F. M. Bachman accompanied his father and sister Mary to America in 1865, being at the time fifteen years of age. In the Fatherland he had received about seven years' discipline in the excellent schools of his native land, and after coming to the United States he supplemented this by attending business college about three months. They joined the brother Michael in Louisville, and with him our subject was associated in the gardening enterprise until 1867. He had entered busi-ness college, as noted, for the purpose of gaining a better idea of American methods, and though his college course left him with an indebtedness of $100, the knowledge which he gained so fortified him for practical business that he has ever considered the investment a wise one. In 1867 he came to Noblesville, Ind., where he was employed in a restaurant for two and one-half years, gaining valuable experience and familiarizing himself more fully with the English language. For the en-suing fourteen months he was employed as clerk in a dry-goods establishment in the same town, and within this time succeeded in paying his indebtedness and also saving a small balance, with which he purchased a bankrupt stock of dry goods, assuming an incidental obligation of $1,000. He assorted his stock systematically and later added a grocery stock, and by careful management and assiduous application he was successful in his ven-ture, securing a good start on the road to independence and prosperity, paying his indebtedness and gradually expanding the scope of the business, which he continued for a period of five years, when he closed the same out, realizing ten thousand dollars surplus. In 1879 he came to Indianapolis and purchased a grocery business at the corner of Illinois and Market streets, a central and popular location, and there he became well known to the people of the city during the four years of his association with the enterprise, conducting the business individually for two years and for the following two years in association with Mr. Kuhn. In 1883 he disposed of his grocery business and purchased an interest in a run-down sawmill plant, located at the corner of Madison avenue and Lincoln street, with more than four acres of ground. Mr. Bachman sawed rough wagon material and afterward, acquiring the interest of his partner, engaged in the manufacture of building materials of all kinds, while to the equipment of his plant he added a veneer and planing mill. He carries at all times a large stock of hard and soft building material, fine hardwood veneering, and all similar products demanded by builders, while careful attention is given to special contract work and original designing. Mr. Bachman is sole proprietor of the business and the success which has attended his efforts redounds to his credit and also shows what is possible of accomplishment on the part of a self-reliant man who has the will to dare and to do. He is entirely free from ostentation, enjoying the respect and confidence of not only those with whom he has business dealings but also of those in his employ, who appreciate his kindness and fairness and work for his interests. He employs a corps of forty men and his enterprise is constantly increasing in scope. He is also a stockholder and director in the City Garbage Bins. Mr. Bachman is recognized as one of the solid business men of Indianapolis and as one who has achieved pronounced success by worthy means. In his beautiful home, on North Meridian street, he enjoys rest from the cares and exactions of business hours and extends hospitality to his friends. In politics he gives allegi-ance to no particular party, reserving the privilege of supporting such men and measures as meet the approval of his judgment, he was reared in the Protestant Church and his religious views are in harmony therewith.

In 1877 Mr. Bachman was united in marriage to Miss Louisa C. Rentsch, who was born in the Province of Westphalia, Prussia, a member of a sterling old family of that locality. She was a daughter of Augustus Heinrich and Charlotte L. Rentsch, both natives of that Province, where the father was engaged in business for many years, having conducted a hotel in the village of Werther, where he died in 1892. His wife survived him. They had eight children, namely: Christian Ferdinand, who came to America but later returned to the old world; Frederick W.; Henry Augustus; Christian H.; Franz H. R., of Indianapolis; Louisa C., Mrs. Bachman; Johanna C. M., and Caroline E. The family has long been identified with the Lutheran Church. Augustus H. Rentsch first married a widow, Mrs. Eikhoff, who had children by her first marriage, one of whom, Henry Eikhoff, came to America and settled on a farm east of Indianapolis. Mr. Rentsch thus reared three families of children having been born of his first marriage namely: Christian W. E., Franz Herman and Amelia C. (wife of Henry Severin), Lousica C. Rentsch came to America in company with her half-sister, Mrs. Severin, for the purpose of visiting relatives, and here she met Mr. Bachman, who prevailed upon her to remain and link her life destinies with his. They became the parents of two children, Frederick, and Alma, the son now assisting his father in his business. Mrs. Bachman was summoned into eternal rest Feb. 27, 1892. In 1897 Bachman married Miss Catherine D Reger who was born in Indianapolis March 23, 1869 a daughter of W. C. Reger, a native of Germany and an early settler in Indianapolis where he followed his trade of cabinetmaker, and was prominently concerned in the organization of the Cabinetmakers' Union, in which he maintained a lively interest until his death. He was survived by his wife and their seven children, and by good management the widowed mother kept the family together and also increased the property left by her honored husband. The children were as follows: Emil, purchasing agent for a Chicago dry-goods house; Henry, a cigar manufacturer and dealer in Indianapolis; William, a cabinetmaker of Indianapolis; John, a traveling salesman for Griffith Brothers, of this city, Bertha, wife of C. Otte; Catherine D., Mrs. Bachman; and Teresa. Mr. and Mrs. had one child, who died in infancy.


The following, which was submitted by Ken Hixon, is a transcription of a nine page handwritten autobiography written by his maternal grandmother, Miriam Weir Bates (1902-1997), as an assignment in a course (“Growth and Development of the Adolescent”) she took at Butler University in 1954. Original punctuation and paragraphing has been preserved, as have her parenthetical comments. Editorial comments are in brackets: [example]. Genealogical notes are contained in the postscript.

Course No. 442
Miriam W. Bates

My Autobiography

For anyone born as far back as November 8, 1902 to write an autobiography and really do himself and his era justice, he should write a complete book. The “youngsters” whose birth dates come within the last quarter of the century have many events to record, but for “oldsters,” such as I, who was born at the beginning of the century, there is a preponderance of memories and happenings to record.

I am a native Hoosier. I was born November 8, 1902, in Indianapolis, at 2145 Ashland Avenue (now Carrollton Avenue). My father, Elmer Elliott Weir and my mother, Anna Jervie Somers, bought the house and started housekeeping there when they were married in 1901. There the children were born as was the custom in those days. (Mothers did not go to the hospital then for the delivery of their children.) Miriam Somers Weir was first; then three years later, a brother, Kenneth Elmer Weir, was born. That was their family.

We were of Scotch-Irish descent. Religion played a very important part in our family life. We always gave thanks before each meal. We read from the Bible, usually some Psalm before we retired and all said our prayers at night and in the morning. My brother and I both were born into the United Presbyterian Church, which I attended until I was married, at which time my husband and I drew out our letters from our respective churches and joined Fairview Presbyterian Church, where our membership still is. We were baptized at a very early age and from then on taken to regular church services. We in time went to Sunday School, church suppers, picnics, lawn fetes, oyster stews, and various other activities. Much of our social life as children centered around the church and certain friendships there.

Certain events stand out in my mind as a child. The first memorable one was the birth of my brother, at which time my mother almost lost her life and although I was too young to understand everyone’s anxiety, I sensed something was wrong.

I remember when I went to Kindergarten at Baker’s Teachers’ College at 23rd Street and Alabama Street. Some teachers “collected us” and walked us to “school.” On rainy days we were taken in a cab, a horse-drawn buggy, which was lots of fun. Starting to school proper was a big event. How happy I was the day my mother took me to Oliver Perry Morton School, No. 29 at 21st Street and College Avenue and enrolled me there! I “loved” school and really enjoyed working for the highest grades. I remember when I was in the fifth grade, I was asked to be Carol in the Christmas play “The Bird’s Christmas Carol,” which the 8A’s were presenting for the community. I was delighted until all of a sudden I realized Carol had to die, then I objected strenuously and refused to take the part until I was assured the death scene would be “played down.”

In 1913, we had a very disastrous flood here and I shall never forget certain events in connection with it. My father was Superintendent of the Parry Manufacturing Company (a position he held until his death). This large company manufactured buggies, wagons, etc. (Later they made automobile bodies and were eventually taken over by General Motors.) The factory was located on White River and it was before the huge retaining walls were built, which was done after the flood. The sandbags hadn’t held and the whole factory was inundated. With a police escort, my father, in hip boots, rowed through the flood waters to the office to get into the safe for some valuable papers. Then later that day, we drove our that way in a storm buggy as far as we could safely go to see the flood. The great expanse of swirling water made a lasting impression on me.

The year we remodeled our house and put in electricity, but left a few gas jets in strategic places in case the electric current failed, was a memorable one.

Then a little later we got our first car, a Model T Ford. What good times we had as a family going on picnics, Brown County, Madison, and the lakes!

The year, Teddy, our pony arrived I shall never forget. My father brought this thoroughbred Shetland pony home to us one Saturday. We were expecting a “surprise” but not such a great one. We had a small buggy or cart, sleigh, and a saddle for him and when Teddy died of old age, we thought we had lost our best friend.

My high school days at Shortridge were happy ones. The school was then located on Pennsylvania Street between Michigan and North Streets. There I had some teachers, namely, Amelia Warring Platter and Laura Donnan, whom my mother had had during her days there when it was called the Indianapolis High School.

I enjoyed studying and making good grades and was on the honor roll. I was in high school during World War I, having graduated in 1919. I shall never forget when the Armistice was signed in 1918. When the “extras” on the street announced the news, we all walked out of school with one accord. It proved to be a false alarm, but a few days later we repeated the celebration when it became authentic. Then, too, Bob Hall, a member of our class, left school along with many others to respond to the call of his country. It was only a few months until he returned minus a leg which he had lost at the Battle of the Marne. I can see him now on the stage at the old Caleb Mills Hall, accepting the office of president of his class; the seriousness of was really gripped me then.

I enrolled in Butler in September of 1919 and my four years there were some of the happiest and some of the saddest. As a freshman everything was wonderful, but during my sophomore year the whole world seemed to drop out from under me. We had sold our old home and were planning to build a new one farther north that spring. On that Christmas my father died, after having been ill only a week, and then just two months later, February 23rd, my mother died. Such a turn of events was hard to understand for awhile. I went to live with my mother’s sister and family; my brother went to an Uncle’s. We were fortunate to have relatives who were willing to share their homes.

It was rather fortunate for me that Butler officials should permit sororities to have houses for the first time in my junior year, and I was allowed to live in one by my family even though I was a town girl. Everyone thought it would be good for me, and it did help me immeasurably. It was good for me to be with the group. I decided I would keep myself just a busy as possible, so I went out for activities along with everything else. I was one of the founders of Scarlet Quill, a Phi Kappa Phi, President of French Club, Secretary of Philokurian Literary Society, President of Delta Delta Delta and a member of many other groups and organizations. Butler was in Irvington then. The old campus is no more, but I shall always remember Butler with its old brick buildings, its chapel, the congestion under the clock in the hall in the main building, the sports events, the old “dorm,” and the Campus Club.

I shall never forget the time Butler defeated Illinois in football (I was there) and the famous era of Pat Page.

I shudder now when I think of the night sheet-attired visitors came to a literary club meeting, which was held at night in a corner room of the third floor, and warned us not to go ahead with our discussion of the Ku Klux Klan. (This occurred during the time of the greatest activity of this organization.)

Oh, I could write a book on my experiences at Butler!

During my junior year, I started dating Howard Haywood Bates, president of the freshman class at Indiana Law School, then affiliated with Butler. I had first met him when he came to Butler in the fall of 1920 after having been away in the army serving in France. The dating grew into a real romance, and in my senior year I was “pinned” and it was serious business.

I graduated from Butler in June 1923 with majors in English and French and all requirements to teach, which I did until I was able to qualify for a First Grade High School License. I taught in the junior high school department at School No. 76.

In the meantime on October 3, 1925, we were married and established our home in the 4600 block of Kenwood Avenue. In June 1929, I resigned and from then on until about 1938 or 1939, I raised a family of two daughters, Jean Ann Bates, now Mrs. George Lewis Vonnegut, Butler ‘51, and Patricia Weir Bates, now Mrs. Kenneth Lee Hixon [Patricia second married Robert Hoffmann.

At that time [1939], I decided to go back to the field of teaching and was sent to Whittier School, No. 33 in junior high school work at which place I was located until this fall [1954] when I went into the high school field. Now I am happily situated at Shortridge teaching in the English Department where I have always dreamed of being.

My husband and I have a very comfortable home at 49th and Capitol where we enjoy our work, our hobbies, our children and our three grandchildren, Kitty Jean Vonnegut and Kenny Lee and Jeffrey Mark Hixon.

My husband, a lawyer by profession, now Sales Manager for the Law Department of Bobbs Merrill Publishing Company is an avid reader and a student and authority of Civil War and Revolutionary War facts and data. He is a lieutenant-colonel in the Reserve and attends meetings at Fort Harrison every Monday night, so you see he is busy, too.

Several years ago I did some graduate work in English at Butler, and now I am interested in getting some graduate work in education. Somehow or other I plan to “squeeze” into a very busy schedule time for outside reading and class assignments for your “Growth and Development of the Adolescent” Class. I feel that after nineteen years of teaching experience, and after having raised two daughters along with currently helping to spoil three grandchildren, that I am well qualified to be in such a class, for I still have much to learn.

As for the future, I hope and pray that my husband and I may both enjoy good health and that we may have many more happy and useful years ahead of us.


Miriam Weir Bates (b. 8 Nov 1902, Indianapolis - d. 30 Aug 1997, Indianpolis) taught in theIndianapolis public schools for thirty-nine years over a span of five decades. She began teaching inJanuary 1924, took an eleven year hiatus beginning in 1929, then resumed teaching in 1940 and continued until her retirement in June 1973. The final nineteen years of her career she taught English at her beloved alma mater, Shortridge High School.

Born Miriam Somers Weir, she was the daughter of Elmer Elliott Weir (b. 23 Jan 1869, Jefferson Co., Indiana - d. 25 Dec 1920, Indianapolis) and Anna Jervie Somers (b. 6 Feb 1875, Louisville, Kentucky - d. 23 Feb 1921, Indianapolis). Her only sibling was her younger brother, Kenneth Elmer Weir (b. 27 Dec 1905, Indianapolis - d. 11 Feb 1991, Louisiana).

Miriam married Howard Haywood Bates (b. 6 Jan 1901, Mt. Comfort, Hancock Co., Indiana - d. 23 July 1962) on 3 Oct 1925 in Indianapolis. Howard Bates was an amateur historian and one of the founders of the Indianapolis Civil War Round-Table and the Marion County Historical Society.

At the time of her death, in August 1997, Miriam was survived by her two daughters, seven grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Miriam, her husband, Howard, and her parents are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis.

Submitted by Ken Hixon. Ken Hixon is the Miriam's eldest grandchild.