Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CDPL Acquires Back Issues of County Papers from Ladoga Library and the Boone Family!

     The Ladoga Library and the CDPL board have recently come to an agreement on the permanent loan of three county newspaper back issues from Ladoga Library to CDPL. Crawfordsville Library would like to thank the Ladoga Library for their very generous loan of valuable local history!
            The Ladoga Leader is available on microfilm from 1890 to 1950.
The Jamestown Press is available from 1898 to 1974.

     Also, the New Richmond Record back issues have been given to CDPL by the family of Phyllis Waye Boone for public use, and in hopes of getting them microfilmed. These papers are not available for viewing at this time.

However, some issues of this paper are available on “Hoosier Chronicles.”  On the CDPL home page, click on SERVICES, then scroll down to Reference and  Local History.  Open the page, and halfway down is a link to Early Montgomery County Newspapers. This will take you to a page that lists our local papers that are readable on their site. 
     The following newspapers are also available online.  At, go to Databases tab, then scroll down to Vital Statistics. Click on this link, their links appear at the bottom of the Vital Statistics page.    

May 1890 - Feb 1900
Jan 1907, Jan 1908 - Dec 1910
July 1900 - Jan 1903
Jan 1911 - Feb 1920, Jan 1923 - Jan 1928
Feb 1872 - Feb 1889, Jan 1892 - Feb 1898
Feb 1898 - Jan 1899, Jan 1901 - Feb 1903

Monday, July 10, 2017

Young Man Meets His End in the Trenches--This Week in World War I

     Upstairs in the Local History/Reference Department is a large display on World War I. Part of the work in putting together this project was finding all the obituaries printed in the Crawfordsville Daily Journal of Montgomery County soldiers who died during this war. The young man who lost his life one hundred years ago on June 30 was Alexander Colman.  His death was reported in the July 13 edition of the "Crawfordsville Daily Journal."
    Alexander Colman was an English-born Canadian lad when he came to live here in 1912-13 with the James Thomas family to attend high school.  He was well-liked and had many friends in our area. The Thomases learned of his death from a letter they had received from his broken-hearted mother, Annie Coman Griffie, in Toronto, Canada. She reported that her son had died at the sixth clearing station in France on June 30,  two days after he had been wounded. She received a letter written by her son two days after learning of his death. It was a cheerful letter, full of his thanks for a parcel received from home full of gifts.
   Colman had been in the trenches for over a year and a half. He had served as a Lewis machine gunner for the last six months, and had earned the rank of corporal. He had recently celebrated his twentieth birthday.

   This entry for Colman in the Gold Star Honor Roll Book, that lists the dead from Indiana in World War I, states that he died in the battle of Lens, but I found that that battle happened in August, so we are not sure exactly what battle he was in. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hunting the Wild Panther!

    This week’s local history post digs way, way back into the newspaper database we have available online at  We now have access to “Hoosier Chronicles,” an online database for scanned newspapers from around the country, and several from our county.  As I was proofreading the January 2, 1836, issue of “The Crawfordsville Record,” I found an article about wildlife in northern Montgomery County.
     It seems that in Coal Creek Township, back in the 1830’s, a six-foot panther made several appearances.  Now, this being a time without television, or computers, young men needed something to occupy their time. A few intrepid young men, including the sons of Rev. Benjamin Brooks, decided to go out night hunting for this panther. Upon sighting the big cat, the boys sent in their hunting dogs to do their jobs.
One of the smaller boys involved asked for the ax to kill the panther, but the biggest boy, having half his wits about him, decided it was time to hightail it home to Pa, and get some help.  Once home, they could hear the panther screaming in the distance. They also found one of their dogs later, ripped to shreds by this beast. It was decided by the neighborhood dwellers that finding the cat and dispatching him from his earthly life would happen on the next snowy day when he would be easy to track.  

       Rev. Benjamin Brooks (1779-1855), the father of some of these brave young lads, was an original purchaser of land in Township 20-N and Range 5-W, section 36, land now occupied by Pleasant Hill Elementary School.  He is buried nearby, next to his son, William (1821-1834). He and his wife (her name is lost) together had a family of eight children: Rev. Stephen, Nancy B. Kirkpatrick, John, Sarah B. Springate, William, James, Benjamin, and Samuel.