Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sample Chapter - Dearborn Historical Marker — Guilford Covered Bridge

Sample Chapter - Dearborn  Historical Marker — Guilford Covered Bridge 
Dearborn  Historical Marker — Guilford Covered Bridge 

August 22, 2015
Inscription. Built 1879
Original Design by Archibald M. Kennedy and Sons
Additional Structural Supports added in the early 1900s to sustain heavier loads produced by Guilford's rail commerce
Moved from Yorkridge Rd to park in 1960
Damaged by fire in 1993
Restored in 1997 by LL Brown Co. and the Amos Schwartz Co
For the Dearborn County Park and Recreation Board
And the Dearborn County Commissioners
Location. 39° 10.215' N, 84° 54.508' W.
Marker is in Guilford, Indiana, in Dearborn County.
Marker can be reached from Main Street.
Marker is inside the bridge on the right side as you pass under the bridge from the road.
The Bridge is located in the Guilford Covered Bridge Park.
Marker is at or near this postal address:
4785 Main Street, Guilford IN 47022, United States of America.

Brief History by the Author
Guilford Covered Bridge
A Visit to Aurora and Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Guilford has the last remaining covered bridge in Dearborn County, constructed by noted bridge builder Archibald M. Kennedy & Sons of Rushville. Mr. Kennedy was hired by the County Commissioners in 1879 to construct the 101-foot long bridge spanning East Fork Tanners Creek. Because the bridge was to be torn down and replaced by a concrete bridge in 1961 the people of the county banded together to save the old structure. The populace of Guilford raised the funds needed to tear it down and move it to its current location, in the Guilford Covered Bridge Park, at the intersection of Indiana State Road 1 and York Ridge Road. An arsonist damaged the bridge in 1993; locals restored the bridge in 1997.  Visitors to the park drive through the bridge as they enter the park.
Archibald Kennedy (August 25, 1818 - June 3, 1897)
A native of Guilford County, North Carolina, he was the son of E. L. Kennedy and Martha Kennedy. The family moved to Fayette County, Indiana in 1818. He started working as a carpenter in 1841 and started building covered bridges as a side business in 1853. His first bridge was a two span bridge over the east fork of the Whitewater River in Franklin County. Archibald showed prowess as a bridge builder and this soon became his chief occupation. He passed the bridge building business on to his sons who in turn passed it on to their sons. The family bridge building business lasted three generations and during that time, they built at least fifty-eight bridges.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.17017, -84.90867   (decimal degrees)
39°10'13" N, 84°54'31" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/680665/4337743 (zone/easting/northing)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Day in Indiana History - The Great Circus Fire

A Day in Indiana History - The Great Circus Fire
February 20, 1940 - The Great Circus Fire
Few people know that during the hey day of the American circus, many of the famous circuses made their winter headquarters in Indiana.
Cole Brothers Circus
Peru, Indiana served the most circuses, as Ringling Brothers, Hagenbeck-Wallace, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and a few others wintered near the city. This particular story involves another circus and another Indiana town, Rochester, Indiana, which is in Fulton County in north central Indiana. The Cole Brothers Circus, one of the largest touring circuses in that era, had made their winter headquarters in Rochester, Indiana since 1934. Established in 1884 when William Washington Cole left the Barnum and Bailey Circus of which he was part owner, and began his own traveling circus. The circus changed hands several times as it grew to include a total of thirty-five circus wagons. The circus toured through a large part of the United States and even into Canada.
The Fire
On February 20, 1940, an electrical box overloaded and started a fire that eventually engulfed the main building and, fueled by hay, straw and other combustibles, spread to the animal barn. Circus workers struggled to free the animals from the raging flames as they rose as high as 150 feet into the air. Embers launched by the intensity of the fire began raining down on the houses and businesses in nearby Rochester, causing businessmen and residents to work frantically wetting down their roofs to prevent them from igniting. The animals, frightened by the flames, stampeded down the streets of Rochester. A tsunami of elephants, horses, camels, monkeys, mules and ponies swept down the streets as the creatures fled the disaster. Two elephants, two tigers, six lions, two leopards, a hippopotamus, two zebras, two llamas, four wild sheep, a sacred cow and 100 monkeys died in the conflagration. The circus recovered from the loss and started their tour on schedule the following spring.
If you enjoy this little historical tidbit, you may like the books in this series:
Hoosier History Chronicles
A Year of Indiana History Stories - Book 1
A Year of Indiana History Stories - Book 2

The International Circus Hall of Fame is located in Peru, Indiana. Circus buffs interested in going to this museum can find information here:
International Circus Hall of Fame
3076 E. Circus Lane
Peru, IN 46970

Monday, February 18, 2019

Snowdrops - Harbinger of Spring

Snowdrops - Harbinger of Spring
Snowdrops - Harbinger of Spring
The humble snowdrop has emerged from its winter sleep, performing its annual role of being the first flower of spring. Though not magnificent, the flower does announce that winter is drawing to a close and the blooming of the first spring wildflowers is less than a month away.
Galanthus sp.

Gardener's Guide to Full Sun 
Perennial Flowers
The snow drop is always the first flower to emerge in the spring here in my southeastern Indiana garden, the pure white blossoms sometimes pushing through a light layer of snow. A native of the Pyrenees Mountains and other areas of Europe, this perennial spring-flowering bulb likes full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, humus-rich soils that are well-drained and will grow six to eight inches tall. There are several species and many named cultivars of this pretty plant.
Plant the bulb in the fall about two to three inches deep. It should flower the following spring. If happy Snowdrops will both multiply its bulbs and self seed. To propagate dig the bulbs after the plant has finished blooming and goes dormant. Store the bulb in a dry, cool place until autumn, then plant in the garden.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Researching the History of the County Fair
Today I make a trip to Vevay, Indiana to the Switzerland County History Museum to continue an ongoing project that I started last summer, researching the history and activities of the Indiana county fairs. This first edition will cover the ten counties of southeastern Indiana. I hope to continue the series to other regions of the state in the future.
County Fairs Popular With City Folk
During my research visits to various museums, libraries and county extension offices in southeastern Indiana I have discovered a multitude of interesting things about the histories of these fairs. Most started in the 1850's, though a couple started earlier. The county fairs provided a popular entertainment venue for not just the local population, but residents of nearby big cities, as well. Railroad companies ran excursion routes from the cities to these small towns to visit the fairs. One fair, the Ripley County Fair, moved from Versailles to Osgood to take advantage of the rail line that ran through the town and make it easier for city people to attend the fair.
Agricultural Exhibits
The 4-H organization was not established until 1914, so these early fairs were not 4-H fairs like the current ones are. They did attract manufacturers of agricultural equipment that hosted huge displays of their most current equipment. Farmers exhibited their best livestock and crops for judging and many came from miles away to display their prize commodities. The most popular entertainment at these fairs was horse racing. Dearborn County built what many considered one of the best horse racing tracks of its type in the United States.
Fairs Have Ancient Origins
The book will not just have the histories of the county fairs, but will also include the history of the agricultural fair, which has it roots in ancient times and a history of agricultural education in the United States.
Federal Department of Agriculture and Abe Lincoln
Congress passed the legislation that established the Department of Agriculture during the dark days of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln, a staunch advocate of the program and of the Morrill Land-Grant Act that established land grant agricultural universities like Purdue that followed. The Extension Service sprang out of the United States Department of Agriculture followed by legislation that established the 4-H program in 1914. This program built on the kids agricultural and home making programs established across the nation by teachers and other adult youth leaders around the turn of the century.
The book has been a fascinating project that has taught me a lot.
I hope to publish the book in March or April.

Guide to Indiana's Historic Sites - South East Edition

Monday, February 11, 2019

Why Study History?

Why Study History?
"Why Learn History," is a lament often heard from many people. "It is just a collection of dates and dead people's names. It is not important."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
History can be "Just a collection of dates and dead people's names."
History is Stories
However, history goes far beyond dates and dead people's names. History is really a collection of stories. Everyone loves a good story. While reading these stories from the past the reader can not only learn how people did things long ago, they can also reveal why things are the way they are.
Educate Yourself
Do you want to eliminate the Electoral College?
Before embarking on that course, first learn the history of the Electoral College and discover why the Founding Fathers designed it
Do you want to criticize and hate on Christopher Columbus?
First it may be helpful to study Christopher Columbus' motivations and learn the long term results of Columbus' discoveries before judging him.
Do you want to worry about climate change?
First, learn about the history of climate change and the role it has had in shaping our world over the eons that the planet has existed.
History is a Tapestry
Think of history as a tapestry that is never finished. Each part of a tapestry's design is essential to the entire scene. So it is with history. We are all part of that tapestry and we continue to add our part to it as we live our lives. The people and events of long ago touch our lives in many more ways than we can imagine.
Your Roots in History
If you live in the United States, the chances are good that you or your ancestors came here from somewhere else. Even Native Americans came to this continent from somewhere else. Finding out when and why you or your ancestors migrated away from their native lands can be instructive and important to your own life. The foods your family eats, the way they celebrate, or don't celebrate, certain holidays all have roots in your own, or your families, history.
Informed Choices
Only by studying history can we make informed choices as citizens. Faced with two candidates running for political office and not sure who to choose? Listen not so much to their rhetoric, but study their history. What have they said, or done in the past? Past words and actions are more an indicator as what they will do than current campaign slogans or what their opponents say about them. Also, study their proposals and study the history of the things they want to change. How did the situation they want to change get into its current state? Is the problem really a problem? Has the candidate's solutions been tried before? What was the result if they were?
History Helps Plan the Future
History is more important than many people realize, as past events and people have created this moment in time. Only by understanding the past can we understand the present and plan for the future.

Hoosier History Stories 

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. An Indiana History Story a Day – January, like the Indiana Bicentennial History Series that preceded it, presents Indiana history in an easy to read “this day in history format”

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Writing - One Thing Leads to Another

Writing - One Thing Leads to Another
Many times in the course of researching and writing an article for one of my books I come across a topic that, when I start reading about it, I discover a new course of events that leads to several more articles. The result of all of this leads me to include many events in my books, especially history, that readers will find in few, if any, other books on history.
A Good Example
This morning provides a good example of my writing and research methods. As I sipped my coffee, I noted the next topic that came up in my database of events that I created to track my articles. The topic was:
November 20, 1775 - Dr. John Connolly Captured
A check through my articles revealed that I had not written anything about Mr. Connolly, save for a prior short reference in one of my earlier books.
I followed the reference link I had placed in the entry and discovered that Mr. Connolly was at the center of a plot to incite the Indians to attack and harass colonists in the early stages of the American Revolution.
The Background
Mr. Connolly had been involved in some campaigns in an earlier war, Pontiac's Rebellion in the 1760's while still a young man. At the end of hostilities he settled in Pittsburg where he made acquaintance with George Washington, who plays little part in this story. He also became friends with British Royal Governor John Murray, Lord Dunmore. Dunmore was at the forefront of another war, Lord Dunmore's War, on the eve of the Revolution. Lord Dunmore had designs on making the Pittsburg region, in the Province of Pennsylvania, a part of Virginia based on his interpretation of the Royal Charter granted to Virginia when it was settled in the 1600's. He appointed Connolly as the Commandant of the local militia and had him occupy Fort Pitt in early 1774. The British had abandoned in the early 1770's and sold to a private landowner. Connolly organized a militia force and occupied the fort, renaming it Fort Dunmore.
Imagine that.
Land Conflict
Connolly began collecting taxes imposed by Lord Dunmore that annoyed the local Pennsylvanians. He also instituted some new courts at the behest of Lord Dunmore. These actions led to conflicts that led to animosity between the two colonies. The affair came to a head in May 1775 when the local Pennsylvanians heard the news about the first shots fired in what would become the American Revolution. They passed a resolution supporting their Massachusetts brethren and created enough heat for Connolly to abandon the fort, which the Pennsylvanians reoccupied in August 1775. Pennsylvania officials then arrested Connolly.
This created a quandary for Pennsylvania officials, as Connolly had been in the process of conducting treaty negotiations with some American Indian tribes. The chiefs had already gathered at Pittsburg and wondered at the sudden disappearance of Mr. Connolly, whom the officials had arrested in front of them in the early stages of the talks.
More Articles
While reading all of this information, related on about five different websites, I found I needed several more articles to cover this fascinating turn of events. The Pennsylvanians did not trust Connolly, as his history suggested he might use the negotiations to incite the Indians to harass them. However, they needed the treaty he was working on to quell unrest among the natives at the very time that they sensed the conflict with Great Britain was going to escalate. They did release Connolly, who did go on to finish the treaty.
Thus, this generated these, and possibly more, articles:
The Treaty
Connolly's Later Meeting with Dunmore where the two spent two weeks plotting Connolly's trek into the area north of the Ohio River to incite the tribes
Connolly's progress in this plot
I still need to write about his arrest in November 1775 when colonial officials discovered his activities.
For those that would like to follow this story line, and more events in the saga that led to the creation of the United States, you can find them in my series:

Timeline of United States History

Timeline of United States History

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Attending the 34th Annual IAHE Home Educators’ Convention

Attending the 34th Annual IAHE Home Educators’ Convention
Home School Convention
This year I will attend the 34th Annual IAHE Home Educators’ Convention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on March 22 and 23. I am quite excited to have this opportunity to present my books to Indiana home school parents and students. I will write more about this later.