Way Back Wednesday: Bloomingport Livery Stable and Carlos City to Carlos Mystery Solved –
My great-great-great-grandfather John Henry Bales operated the livery stable at Bloomingport in Randolph County, Indiana. A livery was sort of like a hotel for horses. In the days before other forms of transportation, someone stopping in a town would need more than just a room for the night. That traveler would also need a place to board the horse(s).
John Henry was the father of the Ozro Bales you met in prior posts.
For those of you who know Bloomingport, if you are standing at the stop sign walking south, a few houses past the 4-way is a dilapidated house on the west side of the road that is painted a very dark green. That was the house of my great-great-great-grandparents John Henry and Martha (Bachelor) Bales, and the livery was behind it.
For those of you who do not know Bloomingport, you should know just as you learned in our prior post Bales and Others at Carlos that Carlos is pronounced Carlus, Bloomingport is generally pronounced Bloomingsport. Apparently, there is an invisible ‘s’ in the name.
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Bloomingport Livery and Boarding House
I’ve been told that John Henry and Martha also took boarders in their home. This is likely true considering I’ve seen no record of a hotel, and the owners of the horses would have needed a place to stay. There’s an obituary for John Henry on this page if anyone would like to find out a little more about him.
A livery was not only for the boarding of horses traveling through town briefly. A livery stable generally kept teams of horses that could be rented out for various purposes. This is likely why I have so many old pictures of wagons being pulled in the process of making hay. Those will eventually be featured in a future post.
The people in the photo of the livery were not labeled. However, I am pretty sure the tall man standing just left of the buggy behind the white horse is John Henry Bales. The young girl standing in front of him appears to be one of his granddaughters, either Hazel (Oberander) Engle or Hilda (Oberander) Oler. The side profile of the lady with them seems to be Rosella “Zella” (Bales) Oberander. Based on other photos that were labeled, I believe the white-haired lady on the other side of the buggy is John Henry’s sister Sarah (Bales) Keever.
I struggle with the dating of this photo. If I am correct about the identity of the young girl being one of the Oberander sisters, it would be difficult for the white-haired lady to be Sarah (Bales) Keever because Sarah passed away in 1904. Hazel was born about 1895, and Hilda was born in 1902. Hazel Oberander married Elbried Engle who was the brother of the Price (or Prise, shows up both ways in records) Engle who took the photo of Ozro Bales Driving a Buggy Fast. If I am correct about Sarah’s identity, then Hazel Oberander could have been no older than 9. The girl in this photo looks older than 9, so I might be wrong on one or the other.
Regardless, this picture is definitely more than 100 years old, and it’s a pretty cool scene with a lot going on in it.
The Carlos City to Carlos Mystery Solved
Someone who commented on the Bales and Others at Carlos post asked when the name of Carlos changed from Carlos City. That was a good question. I had also seen Carlos City used in certain places, but it is definitely not used today. My grandpa had a commemorative plate that listed it as Carlos City (or Carlas or Carlus, seems like there was a different spelling on that plate).
I just happened to come across the answer this week in Randolph County, Indiana 1818 to 1990.
Yes. I do own copies of both Randolph County, Indiana 1818-1990 and E. Tucker’s History of Randolph County 1882 because I’m kind of a nerd like that. You can actually access E. Tucker’s history online here because it’s available for free at archive.org, but trying to read it there is a bit impractical. It’s a huge book, and my dad, fortunately, found a used copy at an estate sale. My copy is full of post-it notes and underlining. The digital copy will do if you just need to look up something quick though.
I was browsing the other Randolph County, Indiana 1818-1990 book and happened upon this gem with a listing of discontinued post offices on page 173 which answered the question posed last week.
Carlos was known as Carlos City until 1895. The same book offers the following explanation of how Carlos got its name in the first place. The histories of Bloomingport and Carlos are inextricably intertwined. My grandpa always told me the railroad (he meant the Indianapolis, Bloomington, & Western Railroad) was supposed to run through Bloomingport, so people moved there and built up quite a town in anticipation. Then the railroad company changed its plans, and the station ended up being where Carlos is now, so Bloomingport waned, and Carlos became the thriving city.
There seems to be some truth to that, though I believe Bloomingport was already a town before the railroad was even a thought in anyone’s wildest imagination.
The Naming of Carlos
According to the 1818-1990 history, even though the railroad passed within a mile of Bloomingport, the town could not get a station because the federal government required there to be at least seven miles between stations. Lynn was less than seven miles away. They had to push the Bloomingport station two miles west to meet that federal guideline. The name Bloomingport was originally painted on the station, but the people living around the station wanted a post office too, so they had to come up with a different name, since Bloomingport already had a post office.
The following is found on page 247 of Randolph County, Indiana 1818-1990:
The most important citizen at that time was William Coggeshall, a cabinet-maker, farmer, sawmill operator, and practicing physician. He had a son Corlistus, called Carlie, who was very popular among the young folks, and they started calling it Carlie’s town. The post office changed it to Carlos so it would not be confused with Carlisle, in Sullivan Co. It became Carlos City, and finally “City” was dropped, maybe for the reason of saving ink, as one old-timer remarked.
William Coggeshall did have a son named Corlistus. This does seem to make as much sense as far as why we say it “Carlus” as anything else I’ve ever heard. Another one of William Coggeshall’s sons was Caswell. Caswell Coggeshall married Mary Jane Bales who was the daughter of my John Henry’s brother William Dickey Bales. It’s a small world in Carlos, in case you haven’t realized.
You are welcome to share the picture with others who might like it, but please leave the link listed on the photo, so other people can find their way here.
Both of the major history books I referenced can be purchased from the Randolph County Historical Society through this link. The operating hours of the Randolph County Historical Museum depend on the availability of volunteers. If you would like to purchase these books in person, you can message them through their Facebook page to find out when they are open for visitors and researchers.
So what do you all think? Is that really how Carlos got its name?
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