Sunday, February 25, 2018

Crawfordsville Basketball--50 Years Ago


     As we gear up for this year’s March Madness, let’s go back and remember a team from our past. The 1968 Athenian basketball team, coached by Richard Haslam and Charles Fiedler, was quite successful. They won 15 games, beating such teams as Brownsburg, Noblesville, Central Catholic,  and Ben Davis. They triumphantly brought home the 1968 Sectional and Sagamore Conference trophies. The five hard-fighting seniors on this year’s team were Captain Larry Grimes, Kelly Cochrane, Bob Hodges, Dave Kitts, and Wayne Steele.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lest We Forget.....

    Sadly, several of our county’s World War I soldiers died of disease, many even before they left training camp.  Private Harley Edgar Jones of New Ross joined the service in September of 1917, and died at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, of pneumonia in February of 1918. May he never be forgotten. This obituary is from the February 8, 1918, issue of the Crawfordsville Weekly Journal.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Groceries--great prices! for 1885

     Back before we had at least two cars in every driveway, people actually had to walk to the grocery store. Therefore, grocery stores abounded in Crawfordsville. In the 1891 city directory, there are at least 35 groceries listed. One to the far west was Mr. Watson’s, at 819 W. Pike Street. It is easy to identify today, as it is a long, narrow building on the corner of Pike and Blair Streets. Several were in the downtown area, such as Barnhill, Hornaday, and Pickett’s at 229, 231, and 233 E. Main Street. Gus Truitt sold foodstuffs at 131 N. Washington, right next door to Vancleave & Houlehan, at 127 N. Washington. 
     Mr. Sloan's Cash Grocery would have been located on the block where the Journal Review is located today. This ad is from a July, 1885 local newspaper. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How To Use Our Local History Resources

     Have you wondered how you might go about starting research on your family in Montgomery County? Let me show you some easy ways to get your family tree started. First of all, start with yourself, writing down all you know about you. Write down your birth date, parents’ names, schools, marriage, military service, divorce, children, anything that may have a legal document. Remember where you lived throughout your life. Then go back to your parents. Do the same for them. See if you can get at least a copy of birth and marriage certificates, baby pictures, school diplomas, old addresses, and if they lived in 1940, the latest released U.S. Census records. Ask your parents about their parents—you might be surprised by what you find out!
     At CDPL, we have all sorts of local history records for Montgomery and many surrounding counties. On microfilm, we have the local county newspapers back to 1831, and now you may search them online with “Hoosier Chronicles,” available on our library website at
     Also, through our local history online database are available newspapers indexed for birth announcements, adoptions, marriages, engagements, obituaries, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant life events that may have made it into our local newspapers. Cemetery records are searchable, along with having printed records in our local history department.

     A very popular section in our local history department is the old school yearbooks. They are searchable by school and name, and the volumes we have in the library are listed. We are always looking for spare old copies that anyone would like to donate. 
This is the 1985 Swing Choir for North Montgomery High School. The people in this picture are as follows: First Row (bottom row, crouching, left to right): S. Irvin, M. Bymaster, and K. Evans; Second Row (left to right): T. French, B. Skinner, and ---; Third Row (left to right): J. Stoneceipher, B. Wathen, R. White, ---, J. Kirkpatrick, K. Karle, and D. Thompson; Fourth Row (left to right): E. Runyan, A. Clinton, J. Rooze, S. Schenck, B. Crosier, A. Horney, B. Vance, A. Horn, and T. Budd. The names for this photo came from a similar photo of the same swing choir in the 1985 Charger Flashback (the yearbook for North Montgomery High School) on pages 26-27. The photo was taken on the North Montgomery High School stage.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Fresh Air School" to fight tuberculosis

     Due to the high number of tuberculosis cases in the area in December, 1917,
Mills School
Crawfordsville’s Mills School, at 801 West Main St., was the location of an educational experiment by the principal, Elizabeth Winter, and a new teacher, Miss Adda Fraley. An Indiana University graduate, Miss Fraley came across the “fresh air” method of education while attending special training in Chicago. “Fresh air” schools hold to the tenets of “fresh air, cleanliness, proper food, and sobriety” in order to fight tuberculosis. There were 34 students involved in this experiment, in which they wore warm coats made of horse blankets while the room temperature was kept at between 54 and 64 degrees.

It was thought that the students would be more alert, and learn more in the same amount of time, and that their bodies would be healthier from breathing fresh air, and not the stale air of a closed room. 

from Crawfordsville Daily Journal, December 13, 1917

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hoosier Chronicles--Reading Our Local Past

     Hoosier Chronicles, available on our Local History page on the CDPL website, is a wonderful resource for early Montgomery history.  Papers available are: four Crawfordsville papers from 1834- 1902; one New Richmond paper from 1900-1915; and three Waynetown papers covering various years from 1880-1930. Not only do you find marriages and obituaries, but various other events or legal matters in a family's life. Here are several examples from the Crawfordsville Recorder, 1835. 
Real Estate Probate

Directors of the Indianapolis and Lafayette Rail Road Co.
All Montgomery County Residents

Candidates for Local Election, 1835

and, of course, a SWINDLER!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Letters Home from Our Local Soldiers in 150th Field Artillery

     The previous blog post pertained to the local Indiana National Guard Field Artillery unit that became the 150th Field Artillery when they were all shipped to France in October, 1917.  After a thorough search through all the Crawfordsville Daily Journals from 1917-1918, almost one hundred letters from our soldiers were found, or news was shared by families. In researching each of the soldiers in the picture in the previous post, I found some shocking information. Frank Manning, of Darlington, was reported to his parents as being killed in action during the spring of 1918. This must have been terrible for that family. However, I found a letter written on November 11, 1918, describing the last day of the war, written by Frank Manning of Darlington. I was puzzled. With further research, I found that a different Frank Manning from New York had died that day, and not the Frank from Darlington.
    An excerpt from Manning’s  note, written on Nov. 11, 1918, and printed in the Crawfordsville Daily Journal on December 20, 1918, read:

“I am on the front, yet a front that 48 hours ago was the hottest and bloodiest front of the war and has been since August, 1914. In this ruined French village… there are perhaps 200 souls. They have been under German yoke for four years and they look more like hunted animals than human beings. … to have peace, blessed peace in so short a time, is more than their tortured souls can stand.”
     Claude Grissom wrote home to his mother on September 10, and the letter appeared on October 28, 1918.

"Well, Mother, Old Fritzy just sent over his best regards just now, about a 210 shell, I think.  I met an old buddy of mine from Crawfordsville. His name is Jack Harris. I saw L. Merrell about a month ago. Have not seen Clarence Zook for four or five months."

     Albert Wright served alongside his brother, Cecil. Albert wrote to his sister on September 21, 191, and it was printed on November 4, 1918.

"One big boche prisoner was coming down the road with about 100 others smoking a pipe that looked like a young steam engine; he was all smiles. Well, in less time that it takes to tell it, I rode up to him and grabbed it out of his mouth."
"Another column of prisoners came at dawn: I cited a big Prussian officer. With very few words, I told him I wanted his cap, which he gave up very gratefully. I a few minutes I discovered his cap was full of--not bombs--but genuine Turkish cigars!"