The last of Jacob and Elizabeth's children was Charles Ulysses Link and the only child born in Indiana. Born on January 19, 1869, the Ulysses used as his middle name was in honor of the Union general voted in as President of the United States that year, Ulysses S. Grant.

Westward Thinking Peoples

Five months and seven days after Charles' birth, the country was joined for the first time ever by the Overland Route, a transcontinental railway linking the Central Pacific Railway coming up from Sacramento through the Sierra Nevada range and the Union Pacific which had forged west from Omaha. The nation was shrinking, and travel across it suddenly became a matter of days rather than months.

German Life in Wakarusa, Indiana
in the late 1800s

Charles Ulysses, who would be known as "Charley" or "C.U." for most of his adult life, grew up in the rural atmosphere of Indiana. The farm, on an 80-acre tract, was close to town, but not so close a wagon ride was not customary for the trip in for trading or to attend church. When Charles was 11, in 1880, he was recorded in the census information for that year along with sister Margaret, also at home. He would have little or perhaps no personal memory of the the sad times in 1872 as he was only a toddler.

In 1881, nearby Wakarusa had 400 citizens, two wagon and carriage factories, two harness shops, two drug stores, two dry good stores, one hardware and implement store, one furniture store, one grist mill, two blacksmith shops, one meat market, one hotel, one millinery store, one barber shop, one saloon, two physicians, and one veterinary surgeon. (History of Elkhart County, 1881).

  • Two of Jacob and Elizabeth's children, Charles, age five and Margaret, age 15, in 1874. Charles was the only Link child of his generation born in Indiana. 

Cora Chupp, a niece, was Charles' closest friend for many childhood years. She came to live with the Links when her mother, Anna Mary Chupp had died in 1872. Charles and Cora were close in age and attended Longstreet School and were both active in Holdeman Church. Cora later married as an adult and became Cora Clouse. Her father, Levi, went on to marry again and moved two counties to the west.

Although the family's Mennonite faith was an integral part of Charles' daily life, there was still room for many other activities and fun of various kinds. Edna Frances Link (Jones) remembered stories her father told of parties, singing schools, spell downs, cipher downs and debates. The Link family members were all singing enthusiasts. Charles also played the clarinet and for a time led the Wakarusa Band. His son Forest would later take up the clarinet and play in more than one band. Charles was chorister at Holdeman Mennonite for many years.

Family activities were generally set on a schedule everyone came to expect. Saturday evenings the family went to Wakarusa to do a week's worth of trading. Saturday night baths and Sunday school preparation were next on the list before the family members settled into their beds.

The first meal of each day was preceded by Bible reading and prayer. Edna Link (Jones), sister of Forest, recalled "On Sunday mornings the family drove four miles to a country church (Holdeman Mennonite) rain or shine. Father (Charles) was Sunday school superintendent and chorister for singing. There was no organ, but folks did sing," she recalled of those days while recounting some of her childhood memories during an interview with one of brother Forest's grandsons in 1977.

  • C.U. Link, at age 19.