Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Glimpse Inside the Walter Terry Scrapbook

Looking through a family scrapbook, in this case the Walter Terry family scrapbook, and seeing the very differences and similarities between the years can be so enriching. Activities that are captured and forever immortalized within these family photographs are most interesting, because it requires us to picture this time period and imagine life in a new way. Around this time 102 years ago, we see that playgrounds in the backyards of Montgomery County looked a little different than today. 

 Four girls, Jessie Foster, Edith Douglas, Cora Terry, and Ruth Remley, play ‘teeter-totter’ in the yard.

Vora Terry handwashes his buggy in August 1914, 

and two men and a little girl wash a large pile of potatoes in 1915.

Young Clayton Terry helps Aunt Gin (Virginia Terry) with the churning in 1917.

Everyday simple chores and playtime routines for these Montgomery County families living here around 100 years ago are peculiar to our modern life, but still somewhat relatable. We continue to do tasks wash our vehicles, scrub our vegetables, and play outside. These photos are from a family scrapbook loaned by Walter Terry; the pages were scanned by the library in 2011. The scrapbook contains more than 600 photographs, most of which are from Montgomery County, near Whitesville.  A photocopy of the scrapbook is available in the CDPL Local History Department.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Bard of Alamo, James B. Elmore

With Spring soon approaching, it would be appropriate to mention a local writer and poet who passed on some 74 years ago as of March 12. His name was James Buchanan Elmore. Much of the following information comes from an article Connie Riggs wrote for the bicentennial series from the Journal-Review of October 9, 1975.

In the preface of his writing of “Auburn Roses” (1907), Elmore described himself as “a poet-novelist and farmer, a common man who toiled in the fields in the summer and went to the fields in the winter.” At 23 he captured the heart of Mary Ann Murray of Nevada City, Missouri, and they married in 1880.

Mr Elmore’s first privately published book was “Love Among the Mistletoe” in 1889. He said of his works that he “didn’t get a publisher because the best he would get was 10 per cent, and you bet I’m not giving the children of my phenomenal fancy to the world just for the fun of it.”

Here are a couple of stanzas from one of his most famous poems, “Pearl Bryan’s Fate.”

Pretty Pearl Bryan had an elegant home,
With flowers and green pastures wither she roamed;
Her face like a rosebud, and teeth snowy white;
A gem of pure beauty- a star of the night.

There came to this cottage, in care of Will wood,
A wooer, Scott Jackson, an imp of the lewd,
And betrayed this kind maiden, her heart he did break,
Who laid down her life for a villain’s sake.

Elmore always claimed that his writing came to him quickly. “Poetry writing comes natural to me, and all I have to do is sit down and grind it out.” While the critics often panned his works, today James Buchanan Elmore’s books are being sought by many collectors. What do you think? Read Twenty-five Years in Jackville at the Indiana University Indiana Authors and Their Books project:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sgt. Tilney's WWII Heroism

Tilney mysteriously disappears from the store’s employment registry in 1941 due to his enlistment into the US Army on August 1 of that year.  The fact that Tilney enlisted into the military months before the Pearl Harbor attack is an interesting and noble aspect of his story’s timing.  As Tilney was serving his nation as a paratrooper, he kept a strong friendship with the Garners and consistently corresponded with the family.  The Garners received many letters from Tilney during the war, many in the form of V-Mail, or miniature letters for easier military organization and logistics.  One such letter to the high school age Robert Garner was emblazoned with personal artwork of the North African landscape Tilney was fighting in.
Tilney was deployed to North Africa in 1942 where he participated in the United States first combat parachute jump of World War II.  After initial military combat success in North Africa, Tilney was promoted to sergeant of his platoon.  However, Sgt. Tilney was tragically shot and killed in Nice, France after he intentionally drew enemy sniper fire in order to locate German and Italian strongholds on August 25, 1944.  Sgt. Tilney’s heroism would ultimately not be in vein, and due to his efforts these enemy positions were quickly eliminated by his platoon.  Nice was completely liberated from Axis occupation shortly after Tilney’s death.  Sgt. Tilney’s courage in combat and military service was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the French Croix de Guerre, the Expert Infantry Badge with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Service Bar, the Good Conduct Medal, Paratrooper Wings, and the before Pearl Harbor ribbon bar.

Monday, January 11, 2016

192 Year Old Letter

This letter was written to Martha McClure by Eliza Ann Ristine. ~ January 6, 1824 ~ Not only was Montgomery County newly established, from the description in the letter it is understood that Ms. Ristine was new to the area. Interestingly, 1824 was also the year John Remley arrived in Montgomery County.

The letter reads: Dear School Mate, I take this opportunity of corresponding with you by letter as that is the only medium by which we can converse together for a long time. I should feel very well satisfied here but some of my companions here from that country but feel somewhat lonesome notwithstanding now live in town there is a great forest of timber all around us but the situation of the place is pleasant to be no more improved than what it is at this time. I should be very glad to hear from you and I want you to write to me by Father as he will be in that country for sometime. We have no school here of any description and not much prospect of one for some time there has been about seven families settled in this place since we got here we had a very pleasant journey all the way out and nothing happened to us that was very difficult we camped out every night after we left I want you to remember me to all my companions that thinks proper to inquire after me I remain your loving companion. (Transcribed as written.)

The letter was discovered in a safe at the Madison Presbyterian Church in 2015, and was given to the Montgomery County Historical Society. 

The envelope reads: Miss Martha McClure, Madison Indiana. The name May or Mary Elizabeth Bird is also written on it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Armantrout Bros. Orchestra

CDPL recently acquired numerous artifacts from the estate of the late Robert Garner who was a life-long Crawfordsville citizen. In fact, his father, Sherman Garner owned Garner's Grocery that was located on Chestnut Street. The store closed sometime in the mid 1950's.

Included in the donated items was this business card advertising the Armantrout Bros. Orchestra. This dance orchestra was from Ladoga, Indiana. Three of these gentlemen were brothers.

The musician playing the banjo (sitting in the foreground of the photograph) was not a brother. However, the back of the business card has his name listed as Henry Armontrout. The spelling is actually different than the spelling of the three brothers. Originally, this appears to be a typo, but it may very well have been purposefully done to designate him as a cousin or nephew.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wabash Football

Wabash College football dates back to 1884, when Wabash gathered a team and beat Butler University in Indiana’s first ever intercollegiate football game. Football at Wabash is a storied program, as Wabash and Depauw have played each other in the annual Monon Bell Classic game 122 times. The Little Giants lead the all-time series 60-53-9.
Wabash has only had one losing season since 1976. The only year Wabash made it to the Division III National Championship game was in 1977, but Wabash has never won a national championship.  Recently, the Wabash football program has been making strides toward that first national championship crown. Wabash has reached the playoffs seven times since 2002. This past Saturday Wabash ended their season, losing to St. Thomas University in the quarterfinals of the DIII playoffs. Wabash ended their season with a school best tying 12-1 record.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas shopping in 1915

A century ago, in December 1915, Crawfordsville’s commercial district was advertising and preparing for the busy holiday shopping season just like today.  Similar to today’s holiday season, a great deal of advertising for holiday shoppers appeared throughout the Crawfordsville newspapers directly after the Thanksgiving of 1915.  The December 7, 1915 issue of the Crawfordsville Review ran an independent ad claiming, “SHOP EARLY IN THE SEASON." If your Christmas giving is to measure up to the true spirit of the season it should not be neglected until the last possible moment.   In the November 30, 1915 issue, the popular Louis Bischof Big Store ran an advertising relaying the message, “We urgently request of Patrons to make their Xmas purchases as early as possible.”  Commercial venues have always advocated for “early” shopping, but there was no mention of holiday shopping in the 1915 papers earlier than November 30 and after Thanksgiving.  This was the case because the tradition of “Black Friday” shopping did not begin until the late 1930s when President Franklin Roosevelt made the national proclamation of making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.