Orin and Catherine Elizabeth (Loomis) Bedenkop, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Orin and Catherine Elizabeth (Loomis) Bedenkop


Children: Doloris and Pamela

(Oris) I was born December 3, 1912, at New Burdick, 1/2 mile south of the intersection of 575 East and Burdick Road. There were seven houses there, a boardinghouse, a small store of general merchandise, and a pumphouse 1/4 mile east to water locomotives on the New York Central (now Penn Central). I was born in a house there on -- ground (40 acres) bought from Great Uncle Henry. In 1924 my family moved to the location where I live now, 575 East and Burdick Road. There we had a stone-foundation barn, a few sheds, and a low bungalow-type frame house.

My parents, John and Mussette, had five children -- Mayo, Leland, Ramona, Lorene, and me. Mayo and Lorene died in infancy.

I attended Smoky Row School, which was 1/4 mile west of my present home. Smoky Row School was probably named for the constant smoke from a nearby small industry, possibly a tannery. I rode a horse to Smoky Row School and drove a Model T Ford, one of very few, to Chesterton High School.

My dad and I joined Farm Bureau under the name of J. F. Bedenkop and Son and remained in it together until Dad's death in 1953. (Mother died in 1943.) The Farm Bureau met in a brick school house at the present site of the Farm Bureau Community Hall at the corner of Brown Road and 1400 North. The Pine Twp. Farm Bureau was organized in 1919 with my dad as one of the organizing members. We met around an old pot-belly stove. I was elected to some offices locally, then county, then to state office as a District Director since 1964. My past and present offices include being a director of the County Co-op for 10 years; director of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance; director of Indiana Producers' Marketing Assoc.; director of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc.; vice-president and president of the Board of Trustees of IV Tech (on the Board from 1965-1974), and currently being on the Porter County Sheriff's Dept. Merit Board. I've also been active in Republican politics for many years.

My first experience with farming was plowing with a bob-tail riding plow (1-bottom 14" Oliver) and three horses. The real test was just to get the job done; straight furrows were almost out of the question. Our first tractor was a Fordson, and the next one was a John Deere G with steel wheels around 1934. Instead of trading for a new tractor, we cut the steel off and mounted rims for rubber tires. We had a dairy farm for 32 years with as many as sixty head of cattle at one time.

I remember a Halloween stunt by a bunch of kids. They took apart a wagon loaded with bags of wheat and reassembled the wagon and loaded it on the gable roof of a shed.

In the early 1930's we could have a date in Michigan City, Valparaiso, or LaPorte for a dollar, including a movie for two and sandwiches and ice cream.

A professional carpenter and mason could be hired for $2.00 a day plus their dinners. A $150/month milk check was "big."

We were married in 1934 and started housekeeping with the supplies of a broom, groceries, etc., amounting to $3.00!

Doloris Ann was born on February 9, 1936, and Pamela Joan was born on February 1, 1947.

(Catherine) I was born on January 3, 1911, at Rolling Prairie, Indiana, seven miles east of LaPorte to Howard and Elizabeth Loomis. I have three brothers, Norman, Orphie, and Dumont (Bud), and no sisters.

I attended school at Byron School, walking 2 1/4 miles while I was in the first and second grades. I rode in a horse-drawn bus to Rolling Prairie High School, Hamilton School, and New Carlisle High School. I drove a Model A to Chesterton for my senior year of high school and graduated from Chesterton High School in 1929.

I worked at various jobs during the Depression, including being a doctor's receptionist.

Oris and I eloped on February 3, 1934, with Florence (Swenson) Nelson and my brother Norman helping plan it, including flowers and services by Rev. Clark at Berwyn, Illinois, in the parsonage. I left with my brother for the train from New Carlisle to Michigan City and drove with Oris to City Hall in Chicago. We had to place a call to Oris' folks to verify that he was 21 years old. Beyond our families, we kept our marriage a secret until October. Then we honeymooned at the Wisconsin Dells. Between February and October, we built the "bungalow," a house just east of our present home and where Oris' folks lived at that time.

I had a two-door Whippette car, made by the Overland Co., when we first met. That was at the Benton Farm, one of the prison farms, and I had gone there to see the dairy set-up and the individual water cups. Oris was in the same barn at the time and said to a companion, "There goes my wife," before we were introduced that day.

About 1930 or 1931 the state bought four farms to the north and east of our present home. Prison farms were built on these farms, but there was no real worry about their proximity at that time.

Doloris is a graduate of Ball State Teachers' College and the Ball State School of Nursing with the BS and RN Degrees. Pam is a graduate of Harding College with a BA Degree. We have four grandchildren: Doloris and Husband Earl Radke's Lisa and Dana and Pam and Husband Derald Ailes' Thaddeus (Thad) and Dena.

I helped organize the Pine Twp. 4-H and was an assistant leader for three years and a leader for twenty-seven years. I was on the Porter County Extension Board in the 60's and early 70's and was the secretary for several years and was also a 4-H Council member at one time.

We are members of the First United Methodist Church at Chesterton where I'm on the UM Women's Executive Board and serve as a Circle Chairman and as the secretary of Program Materials.

In 1944 we remodeled the original farm house and moved in after Oris' mom died. In 1957 we added a garage and breezeway, and in 1967 we remodeled again.

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: 80-81

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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