Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Montgomery County Library, 1827

This ledger, stored in the CDPL archives, gives us an inside view of the Montgomery County Library – in 1827! The fee for an annual membership at that time was was 75 cents, and members included Benjamin Ristine and I. C. Elston,  founder of Elston Bank. The detail page shows I. C. Elston was charged a fifty-cent fine in 1827 for “an injury to book.”   Another line of the ledger (not shown) for 1828 shows a subscriber by the name of John Beard, for whom the local school was named. Sanford Cox’s diary listed the local residents circa 1825, and several of these listed library subscribers had arrived in the county before 1825: the Cox, McCullough, and Catterlin families.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Celebrating Irish immigrants to Montgomery County

The Irish-American Clark family of Crawfordsville is well recorded after a large collection of family photographs was donated to the library a few years ago. This circa-1880 photograph shows Irish immigrants to Crawfordsville, John Clark (third from left), Richard Clark (next to right), and Thomas Clark (last on right). The sons of John Clark stand to the left of the photograph: Thomas Clark (far left), and Jess Clark.  John Clark married Mary Slattery, another Irish immigrant, in 1857 in Crawfordsville. Thanks to all those generous people who donate photographs and documents to preserve the history of Montgomery County!

Monday, March 9, 2015

John Remley came to Crawfordsville with this walking stick

The Crawfordsville District Public Library has received the largest collection of original artifacts relating to Montgomery County Pioneers in its history with the donation of the Remley collection, completed in early March.  The family of John and Sarah (McCain) Remley were early settlers, arriving to live permanently in Montgomery county in 1825. Among the donated items include a circa 1835 muzzle-loader, several family Bibles (ca. 1834) recording the births of Remley family children, a very early leather wallet dating to the 1830s containing Montgomery County tax receipts,  daguerreotypes of John and Sarah (McCain) Remley;  and various other ledgers and documents. The highlight of the collection was just received:  the Sassafras walking stick John Remley used in his journey to Montgomery county to buy land in 1824 inscribed "J. R. 1824." When Mr. Remley was in his old age, he had the stick “capped” with German silver fittings. It originally had a leather thong looped through the hole near the top of the stick.

 In the detail below, you can see the date "1824" carved into the stick.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This week in March 1914 and 1916

 What was happening this week in March 1914 in Crawfordsville?

Annual Triangular Debate, March 6, 1914. Crawfordsville beat Frankfort with the team of Byrl Enoch (Rebuttal), Harvey Breaks, Walter Remley and Norvin Baker (Alternate). Crawfordsville beat Lebanon with the team of Lewis (Louis) Spilman (Rebuttal), Ray Harris, Carter Henry, Raymond Merrell (Alternate).

Two years later, we can find some of the same boys!

The four members of the Crawfordsville High School winning debate team that defeated Frankfort, Indiana, in March 1916. From left to right, they are Louis Spilman, Ray Harris, Paul Manson, and Simon Walden, who was the alternate.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

August 7, 1914 -- same scene, different angle

In August 2014 we posted this blog:

On August 7, 1914 at 12:15 p.m. the east-end fire wagon was attempting to get to a grass fire by the Monon Tracks when the Northwestern Traction Car struck the back side of the wagon, hurling it 15 feet. Fire Chief John Hurley (headquartered at the central station) had jumped on the wagon as it was going past his home. Chief Hurley was thrown 20 yards from the collision, suffering a broken shoulder and a badly bruised body. Unfortunately, Clarence Williams (47-year old fireman) was standing on the back steps of the wagon and did not survive; six children (ages 1-19) and a widow were left behind. The other two firemen involved were driver Frank Esra and fireman Otis Stephens. Esra was upset because he had not heard the gong of the traction car's approach.

And we included the first image below.

But we just recently received a donation from a descendant of Frank Esra (the fire wagon driver in the incident) that shows the same site...yet at a slightly different moment (second image). It is quite unusual that we have two photographs taken so close in time, so this is a unique opportunity to examine a moment on August 7, 1914 from two vantage points!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ladoga East School in winter -- 1910

You can't see this school building any more!

This is the Ladoga East School building (the town's elementary school), pictured in winter.

This photograph was taken around 1910.

To show you some "color," here is the school in an early 20th century post card, printed around the same time as the photo.

Do you have any items you would like to have preserved in the CDPL Local History archives? Contact us at 765-362-2242 ext 117 or e-mail at ref@cdpl.lib.in.us

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Levi B. Willson -- discovered at Willson School!

Although the list of talented educators in Montgomery County is certainly long, one of the most noted was Miss Anna Willson. According to school records,Miss Willson began to teach in 1887, and became principal of the Central School in 1896. Her photograph still hangs today at Willson School as well as CHS. Just last week, the staff of Willson School found several framed photographs in remote storage. One photograph was an antique photograph of an unidentified man. The frames were not easily removed, so the items were brought to the library for examination in hopes of learning the man’s identity. Upon carefully removing the frames, our staff discovered the name of the man in the photograph: Levi B. Willson, father of Crawfordsville educator Anna Willson. A note written on the back of the photograph says that Mr. Willson was the donor of the land the Willson school stands upon. The library’s collection has many items once belonging to Miss Anna, including her scrapbook, writings, and various other items, including a photograph of her mother, Sarah G. (Webster) Willson, also a teacher at Crawfordsville’s Central School. But no photograph was known of Levi B. Willson, Crawfordsville attorney, who died in 1881 at the age of 35, until the repairs at Willson school brought it to light.