Matilda Homfeld, the eldest child of Henry and Caroline, was born January 27, 1881 in Valparaiso, IN. before the family moved out to the log cabin southwest of town. Known as “Tillie,” she was possibly named after her grandmother Mette who apparently went by the name “Matilda” part of the time. Tillie’s middle name Johanna was also the middle name of her mother. After completing the eighth grade, she transferred to the parochial school in Valparaiso. She later went to Chicago to work for a teacher for a period of time, until she was called back home in 1896 to help her mother who was about to give birth to another son. Later she did housework for several families in Valparaiso.
Tillie married May 1, 1907 at the Homfeld farm to John Hamann, a carpenter on the railroad. After their marriage, they lived on West St. in Valparaiso, but by the time of the 1910 census, they were living on the farm across the road and a half mile south of the Homfeld farm. They bought this 56 acre farm on June 14, 1911. Though much of the farm, including the house and barn, were on the western edge of Morgan Township, it was adjoined on the south and west sides by Porter Township. They moved to the next farm south, the “ McKonkey Place” in Porter Township when their eldest son married, and bought this farm in 1938.
John Hamann died in July 11, 1942, not long after Tillie had suffered a heart attack. Two weeks after his funeral, Tillie had a stroke, and she died on November 8, 1942. She was the eldest child of Henry Homfeld, and was the first child to die, though Henry’s youngest child Albert would die just four months later. Matilda and John were the parents of six children, the first five born within five and a half years (1908-1913). On 2 Aug 1919, their second child Evelyn had died of spinal meningitis at the age of ten. Seventeen days later, Matilda gave birth to her youngest son Alfred, who died at birth. One can only wonder if the death of her daughter had been a contributing factor to Alfred’s death.
The other four children who lived to maturity included Caroline Emilie (1908-2001, wife of Walton Challman); Fredric John (1910-1988, husband of Mary Koontz); Laura Matilda (1912-2001, wife of Roger Swain who died near Japan as a POW during World War II), and Louis Henry (1913-1997, husband of Helen Malik).
After the death of Tillie and John in 1942, the south “ McConkey Place” was rented for a couple of years. When the war ended in 1945, son Louis came home from the service and moved onto the main farm. His brother Fred moved his family to the south farm for about a year, and then removed to the Marshall Grove area of the county where his wife’s Anderson ancestors had lived since 1838. Their sister Carolyn lived in Chicago, in Plymouth, IN., in Rochester, IN., and then in Indianapolis. The other sister Laura served in World War II, then lived in Valparaiso until moving in 1957 to Clearwater, FL. Both of the Hamann farms were later sold to other families.
- Allen Hamann July, 2006