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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

  •  ETCHED IN STONE: One by One – George Reeder Brown
    Monday, April 23, 2018 4:00 AM
    Oftentimes, in researching these veterans of war, Kim, Suzi and I are shocked that they do not have a stone. This is the prime example.
    George Reeder Brown was extremely well-loved, had a thriving lumber company, and was a creditable citizen. Born Oct. 17, 1837 in Hamilton County, Ohio, he passed away November 5, 1917 in Crawfordsville at his home on East Wabash Avenue. I did years of research on Montgomery County doctors, and his father, Ryland Thomas Brown was one of my all-time favorites. He was not only a physician, but a well-loved physician, reformer (especially in regards to drink and slavery), and chemist. George’s mother, Mary was a member of a most prolific Montgomery family, the VanCleaves.
    Brown began his business associations clerking on a dry-goods store in Parke County. His education in the country schools was quite sufficient to set forth in a similar business for himself; that is, until the Civil War emaciated America. Proving his patriotism immediately, he volunteered for service and served as an active member of the 9th Indiana Artillery where he quickly rose to the position of 1st Lt. Bravery was shown forth and he was promoted to Captain. Surviving the four-year stint while in this great conflict is proof in itself that Brown was a brave, sturdy and you’ll see, a lucky man.
    His first battle was at Shiloh. With Lew Wallace at Boliva, Tennessee, in the summer of 1862, he was detailed as Ordnance Officer (in charge of arms and ammunitions) to report twice every day to the commanding officer. Thus, he had close contact with not only Sherman but Grant, as well. Both had complete confidence and trust in his abilities. Vicksburg; Columbus, Kentucky; Union City, Tennessee; Vicksburg and on and on went the campaigns. Then, home George went, only he had the sad fate to be on the steamer, Eclipse. Now, get this! He was one of only ten men to come off that boat alive, with 30 men killed and 58 scalded, some dying later. If you love Civil War history, check out the Eclipse. Fascinating, tear-jerking and totally avoidable! 
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  • Karen's guest this week shares his unusual hobby
    Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:00 AM
    Before meeting this fellow, I became acquainted with his work and absolutely love it! Definitely, he’s making a positive impression recording area history. Of course, you all know, that’s right up my alley and I’m quite impressed!
    He grew-up in Wingate on a farm and lived in Linden for a while. Having attended school at the Oak Hill Christian Academy, school and home was very strict. “I had my rebellious years, but am pretty straight-laced at this point, and look back, realizing it certainly made me a much better person!”
    A bit nervous since I’d never met my guest before, I wasn’t real sure just how old he is, so when I asked (don’t panic, I don’t always ask that question – heehee), I discovered he’s just two weeks older than our son, so my mom instincts kicked in and I had a fun interview thereafter. He’s pretty easy to talk with, too.
    Kind of a workaholic, he was employed at Jerry’s Cafeteria in high school and Banjo for several years, then was a Tool & Die Supervisor for 15 years at Raybestos then returned to Banjo where he met his wife. “We were on the same shift, but we got along fine at work as we separated home from there!” He goes in extra time and loves teaching the younger workers how to do just that – work! 
    Speaking of his wife, he says he’s more than a bit forgetful about the important days in life, so wife Tracy suggested they marry on his birthday. When I asked if that helps, he just grinned and giggled. Certainly, his proposal was unique. She was going to change her married name back to her maiden, but since they’d gone together for so many years he said, “Ahhh, let’s just get married and you’ll have my last name forever!” I didn’t get to meet the little woman, as Tracy was sick the day we met, but he said she’s pretty shy, anyway.
    They love to travel. This often coincides with what used to be his business (until the government stepped into the field and it got crazy and expensive) that is now his hobby. “I don’t smoke or drink so all my money goes towards the fun!” Once I tell you what that is, too many will guess my mystery so let’s change the subject to his animals.
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  • ETCHED IN STONE: One by One - Isom R. Farmer
    Monday, April 16, 2018 4:00 AM
    Today’s Civil War soldier has complete birth and death dates that always make Kim, Suzi and I happy. Born in Morgan County, Indiana, Isom R. Farmer was the son of Peter and Blanch Westley Farmer, entering the world on April 10, 1832. He was one of eleven children, having seven brothers and three sisters, at least one of his brothers serving in the Civil War, but not in the same company (Eli Co D 70th Indiana; Isom Co H, 40th). 
    Isom (spelled Isham) was found with the large family in Morgan County in the 1850 census but appears June 22, 1854 in Montgomery when he married Lydia M. Moore. Her parents, Robert S. and Freelove (Groves) Moore lived in Waveland as did Isom and Lydia for a while until they moved to Crawfordsville on South Green Street. 
    It was on October 6, 1862 when he was mustered into Company H, of the 40th Indiana Volunteers, Col. William C. Wilson, his commanding officer. He left Lydia home with three small children, upon a leave, producing her another child, then they would have three more, totaling seven children. Her mother and younger brothers were extremely helpful to her when Isom was off to war. Although he reupped once, he spent three years, mustering out on October 22, 1865. 
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  • This fella' graduated from Speedway HS when it was a little town
    Thursday, April 12, 2018 4:00 AM
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  • Community lucky for these two
    Thursday, April 5, 2018 4:00 AM
    Although their name is quite unusual, today’s couple are wonderful, down-to-earth people. In fact, when I found out he is Italian (I’d thought Greek), we had a great conversation about the ancestors. We both consider ourselves quite lucky to have seen the area where our grandparents grew-up. Neither of my guests were born and raised in Montgomery County, but both love the community like their own. Her mother-in-law even referred to the C’ville area as, “the apple of God’s eye!” 
    Thrilled to call a place, “home,” she grew up a Baptist minister’s daughter, and from her freshman year to graduation, went to five high schools. Lots of changes to adapt to, for sure! The kids would ask, “Is your father in the Army? Is that why you move all the time?” Her standard answer was, “Well, yes, he’s in God’s Army!” So, putting down roots was important to this young lady.
    They both feel that life is about “traditions and memories,” and they have so many wonderful ones of both. We all got quite a laugh discussing one of his traditions while he was coaching. Thursday was Zach’s root beer day when they bought drinks for the team from our restaurant. “Power the football team with Zach’s root beer.” It got to be the joke that they were all having, “Beer with the boys,” and more and more root beer was purchased as time went on, something like 24 gallons / game. Surely, it must have been powerful stuff as they kept on a winnin’!
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  • ETCHED IN STONE: One by One – Zach Williams
    Monday, April 2, 2018 4:00 AM
    Our soldier this time is one of the most interesting you’ll probably read about who lived in Montgomery County. He is certainly one of a kind, born (August 11, 1841) in Lebanon, Kentucky to Moses and Ellen Williams, his father a slave and mother an Indian princess. Certainly, he is one of my favorites of the soldiers we’ll be presenting who are receiving a government stone for their unmarked grave, thanks to Kim Hancock and Suzi Petrey. 
    At an early age, Zachariah (Zach) Williams served as a waiter on a boat, but by age 14, his mad desire for freedom came to fruition when Zach ran to the north, landing in Springfield, Ill. where he worked in a hotel, probably furthering his waiting trade.
    As the Civil War was just piquing, he was hired as an aide waiting on General Thomas Hood but it was back south he went and that was not his desire; thus, he ran again to the north, this time to Chicago where he enlisted in Co. F, in the 81st Illinois regiment. It was quite unusual for a colored man not to be in a colored troop, but Zach never felt he was anything but a good soul, equal to the next man. 
    Of course, the troops took him back south again, but this time he saw a pure purpose, to free his people, especially his parents. He fought at Vicksburg, Little Rock, Nashville, Frankfort and Guntown. At the latter the excitement was nonstop for a whole day as he was chased by five Rebels and was shot at for at least four dozen times. Yet, he escaped and was sent to Chattanooga where he took sick and was again sent to Chicago. Our good Zach was not finished with the war yet, but well deserved to be, so he joined his group and was in time for the Red River Campaign, a tactic that President Lincoln had to invade Texas. After months of major mistakes on both the North and the South, the Union finally gave it up. After serving three years and a month, he was honorably discharged and went again to Chicago. 
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  • Valentine’s was the wedding date but her dad decided something else
    Thursday, March 29, 2018 4:00 AM
    Gracious, these two have had an exciting life. Pretty sure my mouth flew open half a dozen times as I heard yet another thrilling tale of adventure or dread. 
    Although the New Market pretty junior met the CHS handsome senior at Lake Holiday, it was the next June that they began dating, were engaged October 1st and married December 31st. The original plan was for a Valentine era wedding, but her dad gave his new son-in-law a tax deduction instead. A beautiful day for New Years’ Eve, they were wed at New Market Methodist Church by two ministers, one just shy of becoming ordained and the other the older preacher who had been there. Guess two sealed the bond tightly as that was 52 years ago. However, it did snow like crazy afterward for a couple of days.
    At CHS, he played some baseball, wrestled too, but football was his big sport that he loved. A member of the ABC Club, he also enjoyed going to other sports. His heart though has always been on the farm and he still does some farming today. She was in Sunshine and they both still enjoy their get-togethers with class members. Actually, he is still reading the biographies (over and over) of his classmates from their 50th reunion. 
    Through the years, they have been involved in various aspects of life. Some laid-back and fun, like coaching baseball for their boys, playing softball and bowling, sometimes singly and other years together. From many different teams, they threw away a bunch of trophies and still have them everywhere. In good weather, he also golfs. There has also been Dubble Duzzen Home Ec for her. He also says she has a woman cave, “Or you could call it JoAn Fabrics II,” as she has piles of crafty things everywhere in a room. Jokingly, he tells her that when he passes he wants his ashes spread in her cave so they can visit. Plants, flowers, and yard work is what she loves in the summer, so she says her sewing line is mainly for winter. It’s not just for fun, though as she makes blankets and such and sells them at craft shows. 
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  •  This gal's education in Kentucky was the "real" thing
    Thursday, March 22, 2018 4:00 AM
    What were you doing at age 14? Riding a bike? Playing basketball? Cheerleading? My guest this week was getting married! Serious! A Ladoga fellow quit high school (finished though just delayed) and went to Kentucky to help some of his relatives. There he met an astonishingly beautiful auburn-haired gal whom he fell in love with ‘til death do us part!
    Later, her father became extremely sick. The young man knew that he could help her mother who was left with six other mouths to feed. He queried “daddy” for her hand in marriage. The answer was a sad but true one: “In any other situation, I’d say no, but as sick as I am . . . just take care of her!” So off the two, her sister and mother went to the courthouse in Sudith, Kentucky where in her pretty white dress, they married, a love that lasted 61 years.
    My gal adored her parents and referred to them often in our interview as Mommy and Daddy. Although my guest didn’t graduate (there was no high school), she is extremely intelligent and went through 8th grade, repeating it for higher learning.
    She grew-up in Frenchburg, Kentucky, a little smaller than Ladoga, where her father was a sharecropper. You remember the old song of Tennessee Ernie Ford that went, “I owe my soul to the company store?” Well, that was her family’s life. In fact, my little sweetie even worked in the tobacco fields when she was young. “We were truly poor, but we didn’t know it!” Their fun was school, and on Sundays, they’d pile into the wagon with straw to sit on and Daddy would gee/haw the horses to church for more enjoyment. 
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  • ETCHED IN STONE: One by One - Thomas A. Smith
    Monday, March 19, 2018 4:00 AM
    Thomas A. Smith lived his last time on earth at the Montgomery County Poor Farm. Upon his death on June 27th in 1895, Superintendent George Myers put plans in action to ensure Tom was buried elsewhere than a Potter’s Field. Just an FYI, the term Potter’s Field goes back to Biblical times, referring to a ground where clay was dug for pottery. Later, the high priests of Jerusalem purchased these pots in order to bury strangers, criminals and the poor. 
    Smith joined the service, Co. A, 19th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry on the 29th of July, not long after the Civil War began (April of 1861). His battalion covered the retreat of General John Pope at the second Battle of Bull Run and merged with the 20th Indiana on October 18, 1864. They fought in a few other battles. Altogether, through Smith’s time in the war, six officers and 310 enlisted men were either Killed In Action or Died from Diseases. Thus, Thomas was spared from being a casualty of the war. 
    Upon Thomas’ death, preparations were started by Myers, a veteran himself, and were continued by M.F.R. Smith, a fellow member of the Grand Army of the Republic. About three dozen of these old soldiers met at the “Poor Farm,” for the service conducted by CW Veteran, Rev. H.A. Tucker. No relatives were present, only men, sorrowing from their hearts because they were close to him as comrades in America’s oh so tragic fight.
    The men, “bounded to him by ties that were welded in the fire of war,” (obit) proceeded with him to his final resting place at the Masonic Cemetery. 
    Now, what gives this tale of our unknown hero a bit of a twist is that someone else, besides Kim (local genealogist/historian) and Suzi (Oak Hill Cemetery) cared about this fellow, proved his worth and received a stone, shipped from the Vermont Marble Company. Great, but what happened to that tombstone is completely unknown. Nor is it known as to who ordered it. The girls were very nervous as to whether the government would replace a lost stone (deteriorated, destroyed, yes – lost, nope) but yippee, it is here and ready for re-entry! So, please RIP Thomas Smith, one of Montgomery’s unknown heroes, Etched in Stone: one by one!
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  • Karen’s guest this week says, “Follow your dream!”
    Thursday, March 15, 2018 4:00 AM
    Although I don’t know my guest this week well (other than to say hey to him as I’m at his place of work quite a bit), I’m a super good friend with his first cousin. Love you, Amy! Actually, they are similar in many ways: smart, fun and driven. Pretty great traits, I’d say.
    Born and raised in Crawfordsville, he was a 1973 graduate of North Montgomery High School which was the second graduating class from NMHS. While there, he was all about sports, playing football and baseball. When I asked him his favorite, he noted baseball and it still is. We discussed his large sports card collection that he didn’t think of as an investment in those days. In fact, one of them is marked-out with Cardinals written over the Cubs when the player switched teams. One of his favs is his Willy Mays card. 
    Broadcasting sports was this man’s dream, and he went after it with great passion. However, off to college right out of high school he didn’t put great effort into the studying part of his freshman year, thus took a year off and worked in the rough and tumble world for Fauber’s. Easy decision after that to head back to the academic world and buckle down. With some work on the WISU Radio station (with probably 50 listeners he noted with a bit of laughter) and majoring in Radio, TV & Film at ISU, he graduated and went right into a stint as the weekend sportscaster at Channel 2. 
    Immediately, following that ISU graduation, it was into the world of national attention with Larry Bird, the Sycamore team and coach Bill Hodges. ISU went all the way to the Final Four. As many of you Bird watchers will know, they were beaten by Magic Johnson and the Spartan’s. 
    In 1980 (through 1993) my guest walked into the Sports Directorship at WTWO-TV in Terre Haute. He loved it as he got to meet many wonderful sports heroes, including Minnesota Fats and since my fellow loves playing pool (has for many years with Bill Green) it was a particularly exciting interview. The Pacers and Colts (his beloved teams yet today) Preview interviews were always particularly thrilling.
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  • Everything will work out is the motto for this week's guests
    Thursday, March 8, 2018 4:00 AM
    We have a couple of Alamo graduates this week and they’ve stuck to the South. He was in all the sports Alamo had to offer: baseball, basketball and track. “We all had to do them or we’d have no team!” She was in music. Well, choir, because there was no band. Exciting times included going to the County Choir Fest and hanging out at Mr. Marlett’s house between times. Two years her senior, he graduated in 1957 with a large group of 17; she in 1959 with nine in her class.
    She grew-up in the Alamo-Yountsville area and attended Alamo her whole time. Going to New Market his first several years, he moved to Alamo to finish up high school, but it wasn’t a big deal as he had spent much time in the little town with close relatives. In fact, his Grandma’ and Grandpa’ Farley owned a small restaurant there, only three or four tables, but it didn’t need to be big for Alamo. Although an only child, our fellow this week had two uncles, one a year and the other two years older than him so they were like brothers. 
    Positive thinkers, these two have the attitude that everything will be okay; it’ll all work out, although he says that, “After 59 years of marriage, she’s still in training!” Speaking of marriage, he had worked all night at Donnelley’s, and they up and decided to (sort of as her mom went with them) elope. They did the farm chores because her dad was sick, then headed down to Kentucky to get married. Whoops! Closed! Someone there told them to go to Shawneetown, Illinois and they got the job done there, getting married at the local ministers’ house. Back home, they stayed the night in a motel on 136 and were back up early the next morning to feed again. He was 20; she almost 18 and they are glad they married young, “So we could enjoy our kids, grands and we have lots of fun with the greats.”
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  • Monday, March 5, 2018 4:00 AM
    Kim Hancock was in the Oak Hill cemetery on Memorial Day several years ago when a veteran stuck a flag in the corner of a lot. When she queried him as to why it wasn’t on a grave, he said, “Well, since there’s no stone, we don’t know where the guy’s buried, but he’s on our list!” Thus, the flag was just stuck. Yes, it obviously honored someone . . . at least, in a general area of a burial place. 
    Oh, did that remark get Kim moving! She and Suzi Petrey, Administrative Assistant at Oak Hill put their heads together and began researching just how many and where the unmarked graves of the Civil War soldiers are in Oak Hill. Then they determined that was not acceptable, to have so many brave men unknown.
    So, on Feb. 20, 2018, I ventured out to see the newest stone. It belongs to Walter "Bruce" Carr - he was a farmer and member of the Trinity ME Church for many years. He was a captain and although born in Union County, Indiana (July 8, 1841) he lived the majority of his life in Montgomery. His brother, Col. Montgomery Carr went to the front and although his parents sent Bruce off to a Quaker school to protect him, the war fever grabbed hold. Oddly, the Carrs had come to Montgomery County in 1855 where his father was a Christian ministry in Crawfordsville. Bruce, ever so wily, eluded the instructors and went off to Terre Haute to join-up. While there, he secured several enlistment papers, went back to school and recruited 16 of his classmates in to Co K of the 58th Indiana Infantry (better known as the Montgomery Home Guards). He served through most of the war, but came home ill. Not for long, it was back again in Co. D of the 135th. At his death, his only child, Thomas Baker Carr having lived only one year, his only brother had passed and Henry Montgomery (Gum’s) only son, age 15 was gone. Thus, Capt. Bruce’s death closed the family name, Carr. Although his death record and his obituary say he was buried at Oak Hill (as were most of the Carrs) there was no stone, but Kim fixed him right up. Since he’s lain there unknown for 105 years, I dare say, it’s about time! 
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  •   Their home and lives reflect hard work
    Thursday, March 1, 2018 4:00 AM
    If I was to give awards for the folks I interview, I would certainly give these two King and Queen of Volunteers. Many give of their money, others time. True that, yet these two are just a bit different from the norm. His folks and her mom taught and modelled volunteerism, so they both agreed, “It’s in our blood!” In turn, they passed the trait on to their own children. “We respect our community,” and the excitement in their voices and large smiles on their faces emulated their love for their little town of about 800 residents.
    Both were raised in a church and they brought their children up in the same that he attended when young. They enjoy not only their three children, four grands and six great grands, but their community and church families as well. It was in the Lebanon Christian Church where they wed 55 years ago, but they have belonged to the Darlington United Methodist ever since. “It was a small wedding, my brother stood up with me; her sister with her; might have cost $50!” 
    Volunteerism and the love of the Lord weren’t the only things they passed on to their three. Add in an amazing work ethic. He carried the Indianapolis News for several years growing up and their children delivered the Crawfordsville Journal-Review. 
    Hard workers, as well, it was quite obvious in their beautiful home. They used an Oak tree from their property, cured the wood, dried it and processed it into the lumber needed. The trim (molding) is gorgeous. Mike received his skills from his carpenter gpa. They converted two porches into rooms to use, one the kids’ play room with cute stuffed animals and the like. Kids should “play,” not just on a computer or phone. 
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  • Karen takes us to Nostalgic Darlington
    Wednesday, February 28, 2018 4:00 AM
    Recently, I was privileged to enjoy one of the best kept secrets of Montgomery County. Oh, my, what an enjoyable time hubs and I had with Butch Dale, Darlington librarian. When I did a Town Talkins article at Darlington a couple of months ago everyone I talked to said, “Hey, you need to go check the museum out at the library.” So, had it on my bucket list and we did indeed get there. What a grand day!
    In the main part of the library, one wouldn’t know you were anywhere else but; however, when entering the basement area of the old Carnegie Library (built in 1915) it’s like a step-back in time. Seriously, other than the “D” things, I could have sworn I was back in the assembly at Waveland High School. Several hooked together seats are like being in a classroom or study hall. A small stage has students; nostalgia just reigns.
    Butch was wonderful giving me not only a copy of his Darlington book, which I’ve used for references before but never owned one, but also his absolutely incredible “Darlington Herald,” library/museum newsletters that I spent three hours perusing and enjoying. They are amazing. For instance, in several of the papers, he had childhood memories. Probably my favorite display was the drug-store set-up with its nifty wooden and rod-iron chairs surrounding the round table with the sundae glasses alighting in their joy. Only thing would have made it perfect is that we had been able to sit and have what I discovered in one of the newsletters was a favorite of Butch’s, a “Sawdust Sundae.” No clue what that is, so if you see Butch before I do, ask him. Many pictures, events, sports and anything relating to Darlington spread over 4-6 large pages of the fabulous not only current events (story hour; movie night; new books) regarding the library but also an historical publication (sports events; local news items; 4-H affairs). By the way, he sends out over 1,100 four times a year. 
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  •   It was second grade that clinched their 70 year love connection
    Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:00 AM
    It all started in second grade (or thereabouts) when these two began their love connection. Of course, it was a few years later when they tied the nuptial knot, and that was over 70 years ago!
    “Yep, we’ve been together all these years and we’re still speaking,” she said. In fact, they both agreed that they’ve had very few disagreements. Definitely, nice folks. I had made the remark that I don’t really know many people from the north so I was thrilled when Mary Lou Weliever gave me their names and they agreed to an interview.
    We were so happy to meet them. Such a big, warm smile from her when we went in their front door, and a handshake with, “Hi, I’m Jim,” from him. The welcome stage was set when hubs pumped his hand saying back, “Hi, I’m Jim!” Funny!
    Naturally, his first date in his first car, a 1928 Model A, was with his beloved that he bought in 1943. It was passed along to him from a boy going into the service, and he did the same. “You couldn’t buy a new car back in those days.” She added, “Well, you couldn’t even buy a pair of shoes.” 
    They graduated from Darlington HS on a Saturday in May of 1945 after being classmates for their dozen years, then he left for the Army on Monday. He was one of the lucky ones, turning 18 on January 2nd (91 this year) so since that was his last semester, he was allowed to finish. Although the war was winding down, they were still drafting, and off he went. Trained as an infantryman, his officer called out five men of 3,000 to be medics. He was one. After a short course, he was wrapping arms and giving plasma with the best of ‘em. 
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