Howard Luke Werner, Family
From "Memiors of One John Edward Werner Volumes 1 & 2 (1997,TOMBAUGH HOUSE 700 Pontiac Street Rochester, Indiana)
John Edward Werner:
My father was Howard Luke Werner and he was born in Eglon, West Virginia on 26 August 1892. His father was Hampton Werner
and his mother was Lucinda Werner nee Miller...
Now to my mother's family. Her maiden name was Lessie Elizabeth Taylor. She was born in Arcadia, Ohio on 12 July, 1885. She was
the oldest of nine children of Robert Franklin Taylor ... My mother's mother was Mary Maria Pore...
I was born on 25 March, 1915 in a small home on Main Street in Culver, Indiana. The home is no longer there. It was replaced by a
concrete block building which became a dry cleaning establishment operated by my future brother-in-law, Charles Ricciardi. Both my
father and mother are buried in the cemetery in Culver, Indiana.
My oldest sister was Mary Werner, born on 17 July, 1909 in Morgantown, West Virginia, 104 Beechham Street. She died on 7 January,
1993 in Culver, Indiana. Mary is buried with her husband, Charles Ricciardi, in the Cemetery in Culver, Indiana. Mary's twin sister was Martha
Werner, who was born 15 minutes later. Martha died 3 January, 1991 in Culver, Indiana and is buried in the cemetery in Culver, Indiana
along with her first husband, Harold Robinson.
Ruth Werner and Robert Hampton Werner were also born in Morgantown, West Virginia on 23 November, 1910. Robert died 16 August,
1984 in South Bend, Indiana. He was cremated and the ashes were scattered on the St. Joseph river in South Bend. Ruth Werner lives in
Jackson, Mississippi having never married...
My father wanted to be a teacher. To that end he attended Tri State College in Angola, Indiana to get his teacher's certificate. My mother,
who had moved to Indiana when her father, R. F. Taylor, bought a 156 acre farm near Liberty Mills and moved his family there shortly after
the turn of the century, decided to also teach school. She also went to Tri-State College. They met there and fell in love...
...He soon found out that teaching in West Virginia did not pay much so he went to Polk’s Conservatory of Piano Tuning in Valparaiso,
Indiana. I am not sure of the chronology of these events, but I believe the Piano Tuning School was just before they were married on 13
October, 1906. Anyway, after a short stay in Fort Wayne, Indiana, my father and mother moved to Montgomery, Alabama where my father
tuned pianos for some sort of a piano company or store.
This job in Alabama apparently did not pay too well, for both my parents moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where Dad went to Bowman's
Technical School to study the trade of watchmaking. After completing the course of watchmaking he worked for a while in a Jewelry Store
in Baltimore, Maryland before finding a better job in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he again worked in a Jewelry Store....
...My father decided that he would like to own his own business, and to this end he began a search in the advertising section of a Jewelry
and Watchmaking trade journal for a suitable store to buy. I do not know how long he looked, but he found a store for sale at a suitable
price in Culver, Indiana and since my Mom's father, R. F. Taylor, was only 50 miles from Culver, in Liberty Mills, Indiana, my Dad asked him to
go to Culver and look at the store. Grandpa Taylor wrote back a favorable report on his observations. I suspect that Grandpa Taylor may
have been influenced with the thought that his oldest daughter would be much closer if they would move from Morgantown, West Virginia
to Culver, Indiana. The result of this report was that my Father came by himself to Culver on the railroad to take a look at the store and
the town. Apparently he did not like what he saw, even after he talked with the local banker, a Mr. Schuyler Schilling and several other
people including, of course, the owner of the store, a Mr. Sutherlin. Dad returned to the Culver railroad station to wait for a train to take
him to LaPaz, Indiana where he could get the return train to Morgantown, West Virginia on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad....
The store that my Dad bought consisted of one room about 18 foot square with a hard coal burning Base Burner heating stove. It had
two showcases for the display of the merchandise. Although this was not much compared to today's big malls, we all were fascinated
with it, especially the big stove. There was a doorway with a curtain over it that led to living quarters part of the building. This consisted
of a combination dining room, living room, and kitchen leading to a small enclosed back porch with sink and a water well hand pump.
The balance of the plumbing was in the outside toilet, which was nothing. There was another door in the back of the store that led
to Mom and Dad's bedroom and still another door that led to the stairway going up to two bedrooms for the kids. The one bedroom
in the front of the house was only accessible by going through the back bedroom first. The only heat upstairs came through a small
register, open to the downstairs.
We did have a cellar, though, with a dirt floor and with the access only through a single door opening onto the back yard at the foot
of the steps coming down from the back porch. Incidentally, the side yard sloped from the front of the house, which opened directly
onto the sidewalk, to the back yard which was at the level of the cellar floor...
My father paid $10 a month rent for the whole place and he had to do any painting that was done. He also had to provide the heat and
the electricity when it became available in Culver. There was no gas, but we did have a telephone which was a hand-cranked affair with the
bell-shaped receiver on the end of a two foot cord...
In addition to running a Jewelry Store my father also repaired watches, clocks, and most everything else that people brought into his store,
including opening safes when the owners forgot the combination. He also did piano tuning and repair work for many years. However, he
never did much in the way of home repairs, believing that type of work should be left to trained workmen who knew what they were
My mother was an expert seamstress and loved to sew and quilt. For many years she made all types of dresses for the ladies in Culver and
the wives of the officers at the Culver Military Academy...
Along about 1920 or 1921 my father decided it was time for a change to improve his business. To this end he rented a small store across
the street in the next block which was in the actual "business district" in Culver.
The store that he rented was one-half of a standard sized store and actually consisted of about one-half of the front entrance of a theater
that Mr. John Osborn was opening. This theater was built backwards with the screen in the front near the entrance and showed silent films
only, since talking pictures had not yet been invented...
The apartment above the theater also became available a few weeks later since Mr. Otto Stabenow, who was half owner of a clothing store
next door, was building himself a new home and was moving out. Pop rented the apartment and we moved in as soon as possible. It was
much bigger than the old house we had been living in and consisted of three bedrooms, a dining room, two living rooms, a kitchen, and a
bathroom with a tub and sink as well as the usual necessity. The front looked down to Main street and the back onto a large porch with
steps down to the alley. There was also a ladder going from the back porch up to the almost flat roof of the apartment,...
Pop paid $35 a month rent for the store alone and had to furnish his own heat by installing a large furnace in the basement. This furnace
also heated our apartment by means of a large duct in the back of the store that went straight up from the furnace in the basement. He
also paid $15 a month rent for the apartment, making the total new rent now $50 a month compared to $10 a month which he was paying
The new store allowed Dad to have a show window on the street, and Mom always enjoyed fixing the display of jewelry in the window. Dad
also had a clock, which was linked to the Naval Observatory by Western Union, in the window display.
Dad stayed in this same location for many years, some good and some lean until Mr. Osborn decided to enlarge the front of his theater to
make it look like a conventional theater. He had already reversed the screen to the back where it should have been all the time. To make
this screen shift meant that we lost about three fourths of our back porch, but we didn't mind since the projection booth was now just
outside our back door. Bob and I found the projection booth to be a very interesting place. When Mr. Osborn enlarged the front of his
theater he rented about a third of the apartment next to our apartment to Dad for his store.
This, of course, moved all of my Dad's activities up to the second floor and also eliminated the window clock and display....
Howard Luke Werner, Culver Watchmaker and jeweler from 1911 to 1954, was born in Preston county West Virginia in 1882, of German ancestry.
Raised on a farm, he decided to teach, which he did for three years in West Virginia. He came to Tri-State Normal School at Angola where he
met Lessie Elizabeth Taylor, his future wife. They were married in 1906 at Liberty Mills.
Mr. Werners was of Old Order Dunkard background, but Mrs. Werner was of Methodist faith, and it was in this church that the Warner’s remained
most of their life, both of them teaching Sunday School and participating in other church activities.
Mrs. Werner was born in 1885 in Arcadia, OHio, the eldest of nine children, daughter of parents who had both farmed and taught school. Her family
was of Scotch-Irish descent.
Mr. Merner became a piano tuner, after training at Polk's Conservatory of Piano Tuning at Valparaiso, and practiced his trade in Fort
Wayne and in Montgomery, Alabama. He then decided to become a watchmaker and entered that trade at Bowman's Technical school at Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. He worked in Baltimore, Maryland and Morgantown, West Virginia, the latter being near where his parents lived. Twin
daughters Mary and Martha were born in Morgantown in 1909, twins, Robert Hampton and Ruth, 16 months later in 1910. John was born in
1915 in Culver.
In 1911, Mr. Werner purchased the Sutherlin Jewelry Store on South Main Street where the present Culver Auto Parts is; he later moved the
store across the street into the Osborn building, and then moved both family and business into the upper story of the same building. For
some years previous to that, he and Mrs. Werner lived at 200 White Street with their daughter Mary.
In 1926, Mary and Martha graduated from Culver High School and in 1927 from International Business College in Fort Wayne. Mary worked at
the Military Academy for some years and both girls worked for W. O. Osborn at the State Exchange Bank in Culver. Ruth took nurse's
training at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois and retired as head of school of nursing at Jackson University Hospital in
Mary married Charles Ricciardi
in 1944 and the couple had four children: Mary Elizabeth, Lucinda Anne, Charles Edward, and Judith
Celesta "Sally". Charles Riccardi died in 1984.
Martha married Harold H. Robinson in 1937 and the couple had two children: John William and Marizetta. After Harold's death in 1960
Martha married Elia B. Stapan in 1962, and he died in 1968.
Robert Hampton Werner married Naomi Dunn and had three children: Robert George, Antia, and Michael. Robert died in 1984.
John Edward Werner married Doris Hughes in 1942 and had two daughters: Jeannie and Janice. John is retired from mining safety
engineering and he and his wife live in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania.
Howard Werner died in 1954 and Lessie Werner in 1970.