ERNEST N. ZUFALL, son of Julius T. and Helen (Cating) Zufall, was born in West Lebanon, Warren County, Indiana, on December 27, 1897. The father was of German descent and was a carpenter during the Cleveland Money Panic. He moved the family to Danville, Illinois and worked as a carpenter during the summer and coal miner during the winter. As became available he moved the family back to West Lebanon, Indiana, and set up a small planing mill near the railroad. In 1903 when building work was available, Julius moved the family back to Danville, Illinois. Five children were born to Julius and Helen Zufall: Ernest, Herb, Earl, Madge, and Helen. Ernest’s public schooling was hit and miss due to bad weather, illness, and moves. He only went as far as the seventh grade. Ernest showed great mechanical skills as a young boy and worked with his father in various machine shops after the automobile hit the streets. Since his father didn’t like staying in one place very long, they moved to Rossville, Illinois, in 1907 and eventually to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1912. In 1915, Ernest was part of the crew that built a car for a rookie driver who raced it in the Indianapolis 500 that year. Young Ernest was supposed to navigate, but was deemed too young by the officials. He watched from the sidelines as the car he helped build was the second one off the track due to the driver’s mistake. As a young man, Ernest continued to tour the racing circuit. He also toured the country as a chauffeur and played trombone in a jazz band. He married Ena M. Butler, daughter of Ira and Anna B. (Garshwiler) Butler on May 23, 1906, in Franklin, Indiana. Mrs. Zufall was born May 23, 1906 in this county. Ernest and Ena had three boys, one of which is still living. They were: Gordon, born February 8, 1928; John, born June 18, 1933; and Nick, born September 24, 1943. Nick died December 22, 1960, in a car/train accident which also left Mrs. Zufall bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Gordon died March 5, 1983, in a tree cutting accident. After their first child was born, Ernest moved the family to Hollywood, California, and opened a garage there on the main strip. Unfortunately road construction caused the endeavor to fail. Upon returning to Johnson County, Indiana, in 1929 Ernest started to work for Allison’s. He continued at Allison’s until his second child was born when he took up farming on his mother-in-law’s Garshwiler property. He eventually bought the farm from Mrs. Butler and continued to farm until he died on January 1, 1995. Mrs. Zufall died about 12 years earlier on February 23, 1982. Mr. and Mrs. Zufall were both members of the Trafalgar Christian Church.
Written by Cheryl Zufall Parker January 2000