Alpen, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Alpen


Submitted by: Mary E. Henrichs

Mrs. W. A. McCallum (Katherine Alpen) and her daughter, Mrs. Karl D. Henrichs (Mary McCallum) are the third and fourth generations of the Hans Alpen family to live in Valparaiso.

Hans Alpen was born in Germany in 1836 and came to Valparaiso in 1867. A dairy farmer for the last 20 years of his life, he had previously been a plasterer. When Alpen died Sept. 28, 1912, at his home near Harrison Boulevard and Indiana 49, he was described in his obituaries as "a prominent farmer" and "a cheerful, upright Christian citizen."

Alpen was survived by his wife, Margaret, and by three children who had been born in Valparaiso -- F. W. Alpen, Anna Alpen White, and Amanda Alpen Bruhn.

Margaret Plath Alpen was born in Germany in 1850 and was brought to the United States by her parents when she was a young child. Coming to Valparaiso in 1869, she was married to Hans Alpen the following year. At the time of her death, March 18, 1924, Margaret Alpen was commended for her life-long service to the Lutheran Church and she was described in local newspapers as "an exemplary citizen" and "a devoted mother".

Frederick William (Billy) Alpen, born Aug. 26, 1874, was serving his third term as Porter County Commissioner at the time of his mother's death. Having spent the first ten years of his adult life as a barber, F. W. Alpen later went into farming and dairying in what is now the Franklin and Harrison Streets area of Valparaiso. He is credited with having introduced Ayreshire dairy cattle to this area.

In 1919, Alpen began subdividing his 55-acre farm into a residential area known as Alpen Subdivision. When Citizens' Savings and Trust Company was formed in 1920, he was elected vice-president and two years later was president. When that institution merged with the Valparaiso National Bank, he became a director in the new bank.

In 1928 President Herbert Hoover appointed Alpen postmaster of Valparaiso, a job he held for four years. He was a leader in Valparaiso and Porter County Republican circles and served as chairman of the city committee in several campaigns.

In 1936, he was treasurer of the Porter County Centennial Committee.

Alpen was a two-term member of the Valparaiso Plan Commission and was one of three Indiana men appointed by Gov. Harry G. Leslie to compose the Indiana Commission for the Chicago World's Fair in 1933.

Alpen was a member of the Masonic Lodge and of the First Presbyterian Church which he served for ten years as trustee. In 1904, Alpen married Ida Claussen who died in 1910. They were the parents of Katherine Margaret Alpen McCallum who was born May 17, 1906. In 1911, he married Clara Claussen who was active for many years in Eastern Star and in the First Presbyterian and the Washington Township Churches. She died Feb. 15, 1959, surviving for nearly 15 years her husband who died Sept. 7, 1944.

Anna Alpen White worked for many years in Lowenstines Department Store. She and her children, Wilbert White and Geneva Leigh Inwood, are all deceased.

Amanda Alpen Bruhn's husband, John, was a telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad. They and their son, J. Vernon (Punch) Bruhn, are deceased.

On Nov. 11, 1931, Katherine Alpen married Woodburn A. McCallum, a local attorney who served from 1933 to 1964 as Porter and LaPorte County representative of the Federal Land Bank of Louisville.

Woodburn died April 6, 1968, but his wife still lives in the house they built on land which was part of her father's farm.

Katherine is a 50 year member of Eastern Star; she has held several offices in women's organizations of the First Presbyterian Church; and she is a member of the Porter Memorial Hospital Guild.

The McCallums are the parents of two daughters -- Mrs. Henrichs and Mrs. Gene R. Duffin (Margaret McCallum) of Goshen, Ind., and the grandparents of Ryan G. Duffin, Goshen.

Mary and Margaret were educated in Valparaiso public schools; Mary is a graduate of DePauw University and of Valparaiso University; Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University.

Mary is a former president of the Valparaiso branch of the American Association of University Women and she is a part-time feature writer for The Vidette-Messenger of which her husband is city editor. Margaret is president of Delta Theta Tau sorority in Goshen and her husband is an attorney.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 74-75

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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