Saturday, August 27, 2016

Montgomery County Fair—1906 style!

                                                                                   It’s just past county fair week for 2016 in Montgomery County!  Animals, competitions, 4-H!  But it didn’t always look like it does today.  In 1906,  horse racing was the big event, and horses and riders came from all over to compete for $300, $600, and $1000 prizes.  $1000 translates to over $25,000 in 2016, so to say that our county was becoming known as a pony center was not an understatement!  There was competition with livestock and flowers.

                                                                                                                            Newspaper readers were urged to not miss the octopus in the wild animal exhibit!  And everyone would want to stop to see the pair of three-legged chickens from Fort Wayne.  Every night a daredevil would ascend in his hot air balloon and fly aloft over the crowds.  And talk about crowds!  Buggies and carriages would line the streets, and over 1000 picnic baskets were checked in on just one day of the fair! The interurban ran in and out, and on one occasion, crammed 156 people on a car meant for 60. That must have been some fair! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Montgomery County Citizens Counted in Far Away Places

Company K, 44th USV Infantry, c. 1900

Believe it or not!  This photo was taken on Cebu Island, Philippines, in 1900, during the Spanish-American War.  When this picture was given to the library,  only one soldier from Montgomery County  was identified--Charles C. McClure, a musician,  sixth from the right sitting on the ground.   How were 7 more residents of our county identified in this unit?   CENSUS RECORDS!  The United States took a census in the Philippines of our soldiers during the war there.  Who knew?  

(Compiled from the 1900 U.S. Census Enumerated at Balamban, Cebu Island, Philippines, 1 June 1900):
Oliver R. Fry, Sgt., 1001 W. Wabash Ave., Crawfordsville
John C. Maxwell, Sgt., Crawfordsville
James C. Holmes, Cpl., 707 E. College St., Crawfordsville
Charles C. McClure, Musician, Mace
George R. Hamilton, Pvt., Darlington
Herbert Morgan, Pvt., 708 E. Market St., Crawfordsville
Claud Reese, Pvt., 310 Beach St., Crawfordsville

Monday, August 22, 2016


Ben-Hur has hit the theaters again! The bestselling, academy award winning film adaptations of Ben-Hur were inspired by a novel written by General Lew Wallace in 1880. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was known as “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.” Lew was from Indiana and Crawfordsville was his home.

Mr. Wallace started his career as a lawyer, wrote books in his spare time, and then became a General and served in the Civil War. Lew and his wife Susan had one son, Henry Lane Wallace.

Lew Wallace’s great-great granddaughter Carol Wallace is also a writer and will be presenting her new book, an updated version of Ben-Hur, at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum on September 8th, 2016.