Friday, June 9, 2023

Louis Paulsen and the Citizens Band, Wheatfield, Indiana 1910

In March 1910, Louis Paulsen sent this Real Photo Postcard to his friend, Eulin E. Brown, in Cypress, Illinois. 

He writes to Eulin: 

"Dear friend Eulin,
How are you and 
family. Hope you are all well. We
are all O.K. here. 
Haven't heard from —
for some time.
— As ever,
— Louis Paulsen"

Louis adds: 

"You perhaps recognize some
familiar faces on the 
opposite side of this card."

The photo itself shows the Citizens Band of Wheatfield, Indiana, posing in front of a barber shop. Louis has helpfully marked hinself with an X. 

Louis Paulsen was born in Indiana in 1876. His parents, Hans and Carrie, were Norwegian immigrants who settled in Indiana to farm. They brought with them on their journey Hans' mother, Mary, and their daughter, Matilda. The rest of their children, including Louis, were born in the States. 

In 1900, Louis was living in Wheatfield with his aunt and uncle, Louis and Martha Gilbranson. His uncle ran a dry goods store and it looks as if Louis worked for him. His younger brother Henry, who was also living with them, is listed only as a student. 

In 1910, the year this photo was taken, Louis was 32 years old, married to Francis (neƩ Graves) and the father of two children, England and John. Also living with them was Francis' 17-year-old niece, Beulah Glasscoe, a daughter of her sister Katherine. When Louis wasn't participating in the town band (sadly, I can't quite make out what instrument he played) he served as postmaster.

By 1920, the Paulsens had left their home state and were residing in Harvey, Illinois. Here, Louis became the assistant manager at a bank. 
Tragedy struck in 1928 when Louis, his wife Francis, her sister Dora, and their father John were involved in a car accident. Though no one was injured in the initial collision, a bus driving through thick fog was unable to stop before hitting and killing both Francis and Dora. John was also seriously injured, but lived for four more months. Louis was the only survivor. 

In 1930, 51-year-old Louis was now listed as a widower. He continued to work at the bank and lived with his two sons, now in their early 20s, his 88-year-old mother, and his sister, Lillie. Lillie was, like Louis, widowed after the death of her husband George Brown in 1925. 

Louis Paulsen died December 1951 at age 75. 

I wish I knew more about the other men in this photo, about their band, and about Louis' time growing up and raising a family in Wheatfield. He must have been proud enough of their little band to share it with his friend. I wonder if he carried an appreciation of music through the rest of his life?

If you know who this may be (or any of these folks!) let us know in the comments.