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Ray's Ramblings - Volume 6

Ray Kessler is a lifelong Mt. Vernon resident who has played a lot of ball, written about others playing a lot of ball and loves to wax eloquently about Mt. Vernon. We are fortunate to have access to many of his short stories and observations to show here.

We have organized the articles by the period of time Ray is referencing. This volume started in July, 2013.

Come back often, because Ray just keeps finding items to add. This is Volume 6.



Two of Mt. Vernon native's novels in the library that bear her name. They were published in 1881 and 1882. In "Going West" each chapter starts with a small poem.

Presidents Who Have Visited Evansville...In or Out of Office

James Polk, Millard Fillmore, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. Others who lost but were candidates include William Jennings Bryan, Eugene Debs, Charles Evans Hughes, Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewy, Henry Wallace, Adlai Stevenson, Barry Goldwater, George Wallace and Benjamin Spock. I'll give you a few election results for Posey County for some of these men. Polk won Posey by 481 votes in 1844. Benjamin Harrison lost by 583 in 1892, William Jennings Bryan won Posey twice in 1896 by 577 and by 624 in 1900. Teddy Roosevelt lost by 406 in 1904 with Eugene Debs finishing 4th as the Socialist candidate gathering only 59 votes. Bryan won for the third time in 1908 with a plurality of 637 over Taft. Debs was on the ballot many times but never got over 100 votes. Harding won Posey by 204 as our county went Republican for the very first time I believe. McKinley lost locally twice to Bryan in 1896 and 1900. FDR won by 2765 in 1932, 2542 in 1936, 508 in 1940 but lost to Dewy by 191 in 1944. Truman won in 1948 by 850, Ike beat Stevenson twice by 1458 in 1952 and by 1861 in 1956. JFK lost to Nixon in Posey by 912 in 1960 and LBJ beat Goldwater by 2591 in 1964. Carter defeated Ford locally by 162 in 1976 but lost to Reagan in 1980 by 1631. George Bush carried the county by 2519 in 1988. Clinton won by 197 in 1992 and 327 in 1996. The others I don't presently have the numbers. In Mt. Vernon FDR spoke at the courthouse before he was President, Robert Kennedy too. Birch Bayh ran for President and was here as was Truman in his train of 1949. Rumors of Lincoln in the county. William Jennings Bryan was in Poseyville, Taft in New Harmony. Quayle and Hendrickson were Vice Presidents who were in Mt. Vernon before they were selected. Probably a few others that I have forgotten. William Henry Harrison owned this land ...some say he had been here to visit a Mr. Edson on Walnut Street others say no.

3rd & Main.....January, 2014

233 Main...Owned today by Christine Babcock. It was built after the great fire of 1880 by Charles Frederick Leonard. This building has had many lives. It's housed a millinery shop, a bank, a couple of grocery stores, a jeweler, a men's clothing store, a few real estate offices, a doctor, a lawyer, home for a lodge, a CPA and a newspaper.

J & J Welding.....A Long Tradition of Excellence

In the late 1940's a business started by John J. Smith made its mark doing repair work for farm and oil field equipment. This turned into J&J Welding which became incorporated in 1964. They started doing specialized work for local industries. When I worked at GAF I remember their truck at our plant many times. Their machine shop got lots of work providing lots of services to corporate and to the individual. They even built me a nice basketball pole in the 1970's. They did sandblasting and fabrication, modifications for houses and cars, fixed windmills and all types of metal customizing. J.D. Smith was a good guy, a real good guy! He served the community in many ways as did his sons Bryan and Tim and daughter Ruth Ann. J.D. was involved in so many projects from sponsoring softball teams, the Lion's Club, donating winch trucks to the Fire and Rescue Street Festival water ball contest, and even built the batting cage for Mt. Vernon High School. J.D. was a good athlete also and is a member of the Mt. Vernon Athletic Hall of Fame. Seventy years is a long time for a local industry. We are glad to have them and all the workers that make it a success. Personal service and community minded. An example for us all!

Found in Rosenbaum Building from 1918

I meet Leo Angermeier Jr. (92) of Junior's Skating Rink which opened in 1948.

Sitting up at Koodie Hoos downing a few and I ran into Leo Angermeier Jr. once owner of the Mt. Vernon Skating Rink on Indiana 69 about where Farm Bureau Insurance is today. Leo doesn't hear well, but at 92 I guess he is okay. He can still pull up a chair to the bar is good. I thanked him for my childhood memories of Jr's Skating Rink where on Saturday afternoons I would roller skate and hope to have the courage to ask Debra Herron to skate around the rink with me during gentleman's choice. If I waited too long she would be gone and I had to wait to next week. LOL. Damn Tony Gross! hahaha. Leo said he had no pictures to share unfortunately. While there Jerry Miller pulled me over and he wanted to talk about skating in the 50's when he was a teen. He said Leo ran a contest and the prize was a new pair of skates with precision of the line. What you had to do was skate all the way to Evansville. First one there won. Jerry said he hung onto the back of a semi-trailer for a few miles but his wheels wore out and he had to drop out. One guy did win however and was presented the new $70 skates which is high even now. We talked for a good while about Orval Miles, Hokey Pokey, Shooting the Duck, and Four Corners before I had to go. Koodie Hoos in the afternoon is pretty cool to talk old history. ~Wavy~ loves old history.

Posey County Jail - Mill Street - 10/18/2013

Those stones are massive and beautiful. I would hope a few could be used somewhere for display. I wish maybe a couple sides of the walls could remain and maybe put a small park there or a farmer's market with a historical marker. Not my decision, but until it has a use...I don't see why it couldn't be so. I am not privy to the inside workings of the city and county government. I don't really want to criticize what I don't know.

Steven J. Dick... Author, Astronomer, MVHS Class of 1967

I want to thank Emily Allyn Moore, for showing me yet again how bright my class of 1967 are....they weren't all hippies like me. It would take all day to write all the accomplishments of Steven Dick. I mean you start out with this NASA photo. How cool is that? His bio says he is most noted for his work of astrobiology and that he served as the Chief Historian of NASA from 2003-2009. Earlier he had been historian of science at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. from 1979-2003. Sounds to me that we have here an outstanding candidate for Mt. Vernon Alumni to speak to the next graduating class. He is a graduate of Indiana University and has a PhD in the history and philosophy of science. He was in New Zealand for three years studying at the Southern Hemisphere Observatory. His list of published works are many: "Plurality of Worlds," The Biological Universe," Life on Other Worlds," The Living Universe," etc. He has received many awards including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Medal. In 2006 he was selected to deliver the first Billingham Cutting Edge Lecture at the International Astronautical Congress in Valencia, Spain. In 2009, minor planet 6544 Stevendick was named in his honor. Far Out Steven! Outtasight!

A Golden Rain Tree Inside the Walls of New Harmony's Roofless Church.....2013

William MaClure is said to have seen this tree growing in Mexico and sent seeds to his friend Thomas Say, the famous naturalist in New Harmony. The tree has many types of beauty even in the shape of the bare limbs. It leafs out then it blooms and the golden blooms drop in the fall in a "golden shower." I wasn't very familiar with the tree until someone pointed it out to me in a tour of the Fauntleroy Home recently. The tree is a native of the Orient and it was the Chinese who named it Golden Rain tree. They say there are thousands in New Harmony. Thomas Jefferson is given credit to bringing the tree to the United States in 1809.

Historical Marker Back Up in New Place.....2013

The marker that once stood on the hill by the Water Works in what some said looked like a brick BBQ grill has been moved north a bit by order of Homeland Security. Don't you feel safer now? The intakes of the water works were near the monument. That area needed more security from terrorists I reckon.

Mazda Tungsten Filament Light Bulb Donated to Posey County Historical Society

The bulb was donated by Scott and Linda Inman who will opening Richlind Emporium in the old 1894 Rosenbaum building this fall. The bulbs were trademarked by General Electric from 1909-1945. Rosenbaum's was active in Mt Vernon until the late 1940's. I also was given an 1877 Geography textbook found in the store. Haven't had a chance to review it yet. Been reading this 1877 geography book. It was written by Baron Adoph Wilhelm Frederich Von. Steinwehr who was once a union general. This is a geographical description of the earth. Strange reading about the territories out west that are not yet states like: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Evansville has the second largest population in Indiana at 21,870 and is bigger than Atlanta. There are countries that have different names like Persia and Palestine. Jerusalem is called El Kuds....interesting read and illustrations instead of pictures. Got that moldy smell though. I've been airing it out.

Riverfront 2013 taken by Greg & Lisa Scott

River Days 2013

Vandalism to 1912 Pagoda?

This weekend ....looks like someone kicked and kicked breaking 100 year old brick. I didn't see it, but was told racial slurs were painted and a few lights broken. I hope that is not true.

1913-1939 Poseyville Justice of Peace Items Found In Walls of Mt. Vernon Home.....2013

You know that home Bernie Moll has been renovating at 222 Walnut across from the Coliseum? Well it seems Bernie had found in the walls some unusual insulation. I am currently going through a box that found its way to Becky Higgins and is on loan to me before going to the Historical Society for possible use. What it looks like to me are items that were addressed to Dr. J.W. Rutter who was the Robb Township Justice of the Peace. There are two large stacks in rubber bands of Marriage Return Cards. These have some genealogical worth I am sure. It has date, who married them, race, mother and father, hometowns, age, etc. There are warrants for arrest, affidavits, a few letters with 2 cent stamps, a few burial permissions, a case a rabid dog, dockets of drunkenness, wife beatings, failure to pay rents, not paying a bill, there are writs of restitution and other papers. We have a fight on Locust Street in Poseyville, a man in that town assaulted "being struck with his hand in an angry rude and unlawful manner" in 1926. There is a woman in 1924 being struck by her husband "and touched in an angry manner." There are a few check receipts from banks like the First National Bank of Poseyville and others. Interesting material. I'll glean some more and see what I can find. Did some checking of the city directories we have for who might have been living there back then. It was vacant in 1915 and in 1925 it was the home of Otto Brinkman. Finally, in 1949 it lists that it held the Department of Public Welfare. Would they have done this? Beats me. There is one item where this Evansville Paper Company has been "stiffed" for $15 by a Poseyville Bakery for several months. They write the Justice of the Peace to see if he can recover their money. The paper company had sent a salesman to the bakery and he reported them saying: "May sellout in two or three weeks then we will settle. Man is coming down to look at the place Saturday." But the Paper Company people weren't satisfied. They said: "That sounds very, very fishy and we do not wish to wait for a possible sale. Go at it quick."

Old Marriage Returns Found in Wall.....2013

Marriage returns were forms filled out after the wedding ceremony by the person who performed the ceremony with the couple married. A return provided more personal info and details of the couple and wedding than our present marriage licenses require. The ceremony official was then required to take the marriage return to the county auditor to be recorded. Some states required these in 1800's into early 1900's.

For sale on Ebay.....2013

Riverbend Park.....2013

I just love our Eco-Dump!....2013

That caretaker (Philip Hawkings) is always doing something. Got a porch on that shack, solar panels, BBQ grill, picnic area , banana trees planted....the man has a vision. Maybe I need to interview him?

Recent Demolitions Bring Treasure.....Put it in the Bank

I was talking with some men who told me a few fairly recent discoveries of buried money on homes and barns that were razed. One was an old barn on the Kauffman Vineyards and when it was torn down two buckets of silver dollars were unearthed. In Upton it was said that up to maybe $30,000 in old bills was discovered after the owner died. Yet another story of an old cabinet being torn out and replaced and taped under it was an envelope containing several thousand dollars. In all three of these incidents the money was returned to the families who had lived there or their heirs. Get out those metal detectors folks. I wonder what surprises will be discovered in the old buildings on Main Street when they go down? I hope it is not more bodies. A diary of the names of the 1878 mob would be explosive wouldn't it?

Monument to Robert Dale Owen at State House..Friend of Women and Slaves....2013

Robert Dale Owen, like his father Robert believed in the socialist doctrines, but he was not easily pigeon-holed. A Democrat that broke from his party by opposing slavery, a socialist, a spiritualist, an advocate for birth control, and a friend of the downtrodden and helpless. When he lived in New York City he edited the "Free Enquirer," a socialist, anti-Christian weekly. Returning to New Harmony, he ran for Congress in 1839 against George Proffit, a very capable Whig. During the campaign Owen was smeared with charges of infidelity and crimes against religion and morality. Two days before the election, Posey County clergymen came to his defense in a published contradiction, but it was too late. He lost by 839 votes. After two unsuccessful campaigns he was finally victorious and served as U.S. Representative from 1842-1847. He drafted a bill for the founding of the Smithsonian Institute. He was instrumental in securing widows and married women property rights and a greater freedom to divorce. A monument from grateful women was dedicated to Owen in 1911 at the Indianapolis statehouse. The bronze bust of Owen that once sat upon the pedestal has been missing since 1970. Robert was a delegate to the 1850 Indiana Constitutional Convention where he pushed women's rights and spoke on slavery. On September 7, 1862 he wrote President Lincoln and urged him to end slavery on moral grounds. Just days later the Emancipation Proclamation was first read to Lincoln's cabinet. Owen submitted a draft to the 14th Amendment that was modified in the final draft. Lincoln said: "your letter has had more influence on me than any other document which reached me on this subject; I might say than ALL the others put together."

Plank Road Marker.....2013

This is the New Harmony marker. I have not actually ever seen it personally yet. I believe it is on the Old Plank Road (yes that is the name) on the right before you enter NH from MV. The marker in MV is on Highway 69 on the right as you come into town at the Lawrence subdivision.

"The Pocket".....2013

I don't hear this term so much anymore, but at one time it was used quite liberally. The pocket referred to southern Indiana because I guess we looked like a pants pocket. Evansville had the nickname "Pocket City." We still have the P.A.C., which is the Pocket Athletic Conference. Mt. Vernon was once a founding member of that sport conference going back to the late 1930's. North Posey today is a member. Our area is indeed steeped in historical stories, if one is willing to look for it. New Harmony in its rich traditions of creative thinking of experiments in communism and social communal living. So much has been preserved there to see along its tree bordered streets and Mt. Vernon on the beautiful Ohio River with its river history. Long ago we were described as having a southern atmosphere as we traded with the South. In fact many of Mt. Vernon's first settlers came from the Carolinas. Our river was the national and local highway. Settlers came here on keel boats and steamboats. The Rosenbaum Building was filled from materials purchased in New York and unloaded at our wharf. Our great agricultural base and fertile land provided crops and livestock to be sent to the southern states. Quite a place this "pocket."

Banner found in Upton, traveled 40 miles from tornado that hit Ridgeway, Illinois.....2012

Sara King from Upton area displays banner she found in a field. It was returned to the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ridgeway.

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Robin Hill Checked for Paranormal Activity.....2009

The old 1830's mansion was checked out by the Southern Indiana Paranormal investigators, but they found few facts to show any sign of spirits. Billy Miller, founder of the group took photos, used electronic voice recordings, etc., but there were no abnormalities recorded. Two members of the group did day they saw a "shadowy figure" on the stairs.

Foundation of 1825 Courthouse Found Under Present Courthouse.....2006

When the courthouse was completed in 1876, workers filled in an old cistern with building debris. They then covered up the foundation. There it stayed until found during renovations in 2006.

Dorothy Challman, Local Writer & Much More....1906-2005

From time to time in looking at old newspapers I come across columns written by local citizens. One of these that was very small but I enjoyed was Challman's "Domestic Daze" and a later one called, "On Second Thought". Born and raised in Warsaw, Indiana, she came here with her husband, physician, Dr. William Challman in the depths of the depression in 1932. Dorothy stayed busy writing, teaching in the Mt. Vernon school system, traveling and educating herself. She graduated from Indiana University in 1929 with a degree in English and Journalism. She enjoyed history, literature, poetry and world politics. During WWII her husband was stationed in China and India. They had five children. She and her husband traveled across the United States and Europe. She visited almost every Civil War battlefield there was it seems. The first lived on Tenth and Mulberry and later at Park Ridge. In 1975 they traveled to Vienna and on a boat down the Danube to the Black Sea. She even had a Russian passport during the Cold War. They would take telescopes with them and travel to parts of America and Canada just to view sun eclipses. She was an avid reader of the like of James Michener, John Galsworthy, E.B. White and the New Yorker magazine. Her last column in the Mt. Vernon Democrat was in 2004. Thanks Dorothy!

Pipe Bombs in Posey Mailboxes.....August 2001

Bombs made with pvc piping of CO2 cartridges were used in at least three mailboxes along Blackford Road and Middle Mt. Vernon Road. Also over 30 boxes were destroyed by vandalism within a few months. Incident reports came in from all around the county as well. Mail carriers were concerned of course that they might be maimed or killed from a bomb blast while delivering the mail. It didn't happen here thankfully, but in Georgia that summer a mail carrier was indeed killed from such an explosion. A fine of $250,000 and 3 years in jail is the penalty and they go up from there if someone is injured. Many boxes were damaged by baseball bats or similar objects. Many boxes belong to the elderly and they must depend on the kindness of others to get them replaced causing them a financial burden plus anxiety.

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Diond're Givens Slams Another Home in 1997

The Second Leading Scorer in Mt. Vernon History Goes On To All-Conference Heights at the University of Southern Indiana

Final Edition of Cynthiana Argus .....July, 1993

The final issue, Volume 103, Number 4 was published of the six-page weekly after over a century of serving the public. Rosalyn and Bob Oursler, (holding the paper) owned and operated the weekly for the past 25 years. The Oursler family ran the paper since August 1, 1914. Bob's parents Floyd and Mabel ran the paper back then, It was founded in 1888 by Josiah DeLong and James Fisher and was known as the Cynthiana Post its first two years. In 1890, the new owner, Joseph Blaze, changed the name to Argus. The term Argus has many meanings it seems. My best guess is that it is Latin and refers to being a "careful watchman."

New Harmony Students at Clinton's Inauguration.....1993

November 17, 1991.....Time Capsule

Dusty Gottman, Don Baier and Mike Brown also. I guess this will be recovered in 2016.

Hubert Charles Butler Dies at 102.....1991

A "jack of all trades" was the term that described this Mt. Vernon resident when he turned 100. Born in Russellville, Ky., he came to Mt. Vernon at age 15 and attended Booker T. Washington School here but didn't graduate. He was married for 69 years and he always worked hard supporting his family. His son Bene got an education and moved to Chicago and worked in government. Hubert worked in many ways...he retired from the Post Office, once worked for Grover Keck, and later painted automobiles independently as a side job. It seems he had many side jobs including raising chickens in incubators, selling the eggs and chickens. He built his own home on Second Street and he was often seen doing his own home repair until ill health came late in life. He was a good musician they say. When he worked at Keck's he formed the Butler Brass Band that played locally for dances. There were up to ten members in the band and Hubert usually played trombone. Many an occasion at Black's Grove had BBB as their band. He was a 50 year Mason and a trustee of the Bethel A.M.E. Church. His 100th birthday was announced by Willard Scott of the NBC Today Show. He is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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Early Posey County Pioneer's Grave Exposed in 1989

Elias Altizer was one of the first recorded settlers of Posey County born in 1776 and buried at Springfield in 1840. He was one of a group that had negotiations with Father George Rapp of New Harmony about purchasing 100 acres for a town to be the county seat of Posey County. He was a sawmill owner by trade and was called "an overseer of the poor." He frequently co-signed for debtors and paid their taxes in court when needed. This philanthropist was superintendent of roads there and for a time the judge of the new county seat in Springfield. There was a small cemetery there in Springfield called the Hust Cemetery and over time it became overrun by weeds and ditch work nearby eventually dug into the bank so far that his grave was in danger of falling into it. As of 1989, the headstone of Elias had been flattened and the township trustee said there was no money to repair the cemetery or the ditch. I need to get out that way again and see what is now visible. ~Wavy~ spends lots of time in interesting cemeteries, but I will not be buried in one. "Gonna fly in the breeze like a bird in the trees..."

Grandpa Jones.....September, 1988

Ben Mayville dies in 1987....Was He 117, 110. 107, or 106?

His tombstone says he was born in 1876; a Democrat article on him in 1976 says he was born in 1880, genealogist found dates of 1872 and 1881 also. He was an old man none the less. He said his father lived to be 110 and his mother 111. His family arrived on the Mayflower if you believe Ben and were his grandparents. His family traveled from Michigan to Kentucky by covered wagon when he was about 10 years old and took about three months he said. They went to Arkansas for one crop but returned. Farming was better here. He married Nellie Duncan either 1892 or 1902. After the 1913 flood hit Kentucky bad, he moved his family to Mt. Vernon to be "high and dry." The family grew to 12 children. By 1976 he had over 80 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren. By WWII, Ben was working at the Evansville Wing factory making airplane wings. When the war ended he farmed for a little while longer then retired. His philosophy on a long life was "don't eat every kind of trash, eat lots of fruit." Mayville said he also worked some on steamboats and railroads in his long life.

Jeff Embrey Closes Out Stellar Career at USI.....1986

Arch rival Kentucky Wesleyan took the final game of the season from the University of Southern Indiana and eliminated the Screaming Eagles from post-season action with an 18-10 record. Jeff Embrey closed out with 8 points and 6 assists. The all-time Mt. Vernon scoring leader to this day ended up second on the team's all-time assist list despite playing two years at the University of Evansville. Today Jeff is a high school coach in Kentucky.

Duane Daws Drops Into Football Game.....1985

Duane tells me he found an entry from 1985 of dropping into the stadium. He believes the pilot to be Dan Funk.

Christmas Parade....1981

WPCO's Courtney Smith was Grand Marshall

Storm Blows.....Orchard Damaged....July 1981

Local orchard Fairview, near Bufkin lost hundreds of trees as peaches both ripe and green littered the ground. Manager Dennis Blackburn said about 100 trees was lost in the young planting section and maybe 300 mature trees were destroyed. Mostly peach trees suffered the worst as the apple trees and grape vines did better against the strong winds. The nectarine crop was hit severely however. High winds caused workers at the orchard to seek shelter in the packing house and winds blew out two windows. Corn crops too were damaged across the county. In Mt. Vernon a young man, Tim Ricketts was moving on a riding lawn mower around a large tree as the storm approached. Scott Wade, across the street yelled at Tim and when Tim looked up the large tree was falling right at him. He jumped off the mower just in time as the tree hit the mower and only grazed him with branches causing some cuts and bruises.

"You Must Be a Redneck If....." 1981

Just kidding my adventurous neighbors. Bill and Marcie Floyd would have made Huck Finn proud with their wooden raft floating upon plastic drums. Here they were taking on the rapids of the Wabash River putting in at New Harmony. The whitecaps got pretty tough I reckon as they pulled in at Maunie, Illinois to dry off. Their dog "Smokes" went along with his rowdy masters the trip of 55 miles all the way to Hovey Lake. They said the rocks at what is known as "Grand Chain", west of Savah was difficult also. Not exactly a "Boatful of Knowledge" but cool as heck. Not something ~Wavy~ would do unless Shakira asked me to go.

James "Spider" Rich Comes to Solitude.....1981

Can u believe it? Here was this 50 something Nashville picker moving to Posey County to teach people how to play a few licks on the git-ar! The paper said he had a nephew, a Rev. Bobby Rich living in Solitude. I didn't know anybody who lived there hardly.....guess that's why they call it Solitude. duh. Now Rich had some roots around these here parts....he was on live TV in Evansville in the early days when we waited for the Indian test screen to go down and Uncle Dudley to come on. He had some strange way of picking I guess....don't know....I can't remember his big hit, "Yakety Sax" with Boots Randolph. You ever watch that English comedian Bennie Hill? That's his theme song...."Yakety Sax" a strange instrumental they say. I think I remember it now. Had some hot chicks on there as I recall. So there you go did "Spider" open up a studio in Solitude? I don't you? Let me know if Chet Atkins showed up in a big black limo will ya?

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The Glen Curtis Cartoon of the Enfield Monster & The Story Behind It.....1973

Back in 1973, an Enfield man reported two encounters with a "monster" that came up on his porch. The man said he heard a scratching noise at his door and when he opened his door he was confronted with a creature four or five feet tall with three legs, big pink eyeballs and short arms. This man by the name of McDaniel shot at him with his pistol and said he hit him in the chest and the creature screamed. He said then the monster escaped by running 75 yards to a nearby railroad track in three long bounds. A second meeting came a few days later and then the tale made national news. A Kokomo, Indiana radio station said they were able to record the animal's shrieks. Some hunters were arrested for firing a weapon at it in a pile of brush. The State Police found some prints in the area that looked like that of a dog except there was six toe pads instead of five. A neighbor boy said he saw it also and the creature shredded his shoes with the claws on his feet. Strangely, the boy grew up and was shot and killed on his front porch. A boy by the name of Greg Garrett claimed he was attacked by the beast at it had a grayish, slimy epidermis, short claws and reddish eyes. Fate magazine wrote a story on it and called it, "Swamp Slobs Invade Illinois." Some investigators suggested that the monster might be associated with many UFO sightings in the area during that time. A similar incident occurred in 1941 in Mt. Vernon Illinois.

CD Festival.....1970's

Funny how that carnival knew each year exactly where the swings, ferris wheel, dunking booth, bingo, etc. was ....every year the same!

Police Chase MV Man at High Speed Dodging Beer Bottles.....February 1971

A Mt. Vernon man and Vanderburgh County police were involved in a chase up to 90 mph with the policeman dodging beer bottles thrown from the fleeing car. The driver later abandoned the car in a field and fled on foot. Just like on TV. Helicopters would have been cool. Marcia Yockey would have been even better! Later the man was identified and arrested by another county mountie who saw him hitchhiking on Highway 62 near Schutte Road. The man 23, (name omitted) was charged with reckless driving. At the initial stop before the driver fled three passengers were arrested being two teenage girls ages 15 and 17 and a 20 year old soldier, all from Mt. Vernon.

Teen Catches Sixty Pound Beaver.....January 1970

Fourteen year old Jeff Rogers of Griffin caught a 61 pound beaver in the bottoms there being his most spectacular catch of his winter's trapping. Pioneers would have been proud.

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150th Anniversary...Athletic Park... July 4, 1966. (Doane Photo)


Left to Right: Vonnie McFadden Grabert, Woody McFadin, Jr., Hazel McFadden Cox, Hanie McFadden, and Bill


Re-enactment of McFadden's Bluff Landing. Was told insurance is too expensive to do this again. May have to leave the flatboat tied up in the marshes and have them walk up the hill to the amphitheater.


Jane Harp and Sara Stubblefield basking in the adoration of the crowd

Buying Sesquicentennial Stamps.....1966

John Doane photo. Harry Wilson buying the stamps.

Pioneer Production Plant.....1966

Main Street School.....1965

Wolflin Street.....1964

1964 Statistic

In 1964 there were 486,431 Wabash River crossings at the Wabash Memorial Bridge. Passenger cars at that time accounted for 84% of the traffic.

Photo of the Confederate engine "The General" in Mt. Vernon ...1962. Sent to me by Toni Knisley, former classmate now living in Maryland

The General is on display in Kennesaw, Georgia at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. The train made many stops during the 1960's for the centennial of the Civil War. In 1964 it was at the New York World's Fair.

Wavy and the General.....1962

My sister Phyllis and I in my little league hat (Jaycees) take a look at the Confederate "General" when it came to Mt. Vernon in early 60's.

Torrential Rains Hamper Carnival.....May 1961

The Sol's Greater Shows Carnival, playing Mt. Vernon at East Fourth and Kimball streets, sponsored by the Mt. Vernon Board of Aviation was having a hard time keeping its head above water. Plagued by heavy rains, crowds were down where the Aviation Board is to receive a share of proceeds for the maintenance of the Mt. Vernon Airport. With the aid of the city, water was being pumped from the show grounds and show and rides will be operating nightly through Saturday closing. All rides were a Roosevelt dime.

Anniversary.....September, 1960

On September 1, 1960 E.B. Schenk Hardware at 208 Main Street celebrated their 90th anniversary without ceremony. The firm was founded in 1870 by Eberhardt B. Schenk an early influential citizen of Mt. Vernon. Schenk started in his father's hotel business for a few years at the old Union Hotel but then became engaged in the pump and steam pipe business keeping stock of stoves, tin and hardware. Good Democrat.

Astronomer Frederich Leonard Born in Mt. Vernon.....1896-1960

Born in Mt. Vernon in 1896 the family moved to Chicago around 1900 and from an early age Leonard was fascinated by the stars and was an active astronomer in his teen years. He organized a national society for amateur astronomers in 1909 and it lasted until 1919. By age 14 he was writing and drew attention from numerous publishers for his articles. He received his masters at the University of Chicago and graduate education at the University of California at Berkeley receiving his PhD in 1922. He then joined USC in Los Angeles as an instructor of astronomy which he headed until his death in 1960. He discovered at least 25 double stars then moved on to meteorites. In 1933 he founded the Society for Research on Meteorites now known as the Meteoritical Society and they accumulated a large collection of them. As a teacher, three of Leonard's pupils became planetarium directors. He had something to do with "Kuiper belt hypothesis involving the trans-Neptunian population"......Whew! The man was far out!

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Riverside Hotel facing College Avenue.....1959

Gravel Digging Unearths Prehistoric Bones.....August 1958

A slough adjacent to the Wabash River at Wabash Memorial Bridge, west of town is of interest to paleontologists. Carl McCarty, 827 Walnut Street of McCarty Sand & Gravel several weeks prior found the tooth of a prehistoric mammoth and more recently a tooth and ankle bones of a mastodon. The teeth and bones have been definitely identified by David Bigelow of the Evansville Museum. Bigelow visited the discovery site and said exploration by divers is contemplated as soon as the Wabash declines. The mammoth roamed earth around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago and its predecessor the mastodon was before that. Both fed on shoots and cones of fir and pine trees. The mastodon tooth with six cusps was found in the gravel digging operation and still bore the enamel. Of particular interest was a report that a tusk was raised to the surface by suction pumps but dropped back into the slough.

Remember Dick and Jane Books in the 50's? They Were Co- Authored by Mt. Vernon Woman.

Marion Monroe 1898-1983 was a child psychologist and author of some of the school books I used at Hedges Central Elementary. These books were used from the1940's through the 1970's. She co-authored those books with William Gray of the University of Chicago. The books were finally stopped because as times changed they were thought of as being sexist and possibly racist. It only showed one side of America. Born in Mt. Vernon she earned her undergraduate degree at Oklahoma and her doctorate at the University of Chicago. Marion was the daughter of Edwin Monroe, one time superintendent of Mt. Vernon schools. After leaving Mt. Vernon, Edwin became president at Oakland City College. She left fairly early I gather. I can't find her in any MV HoopPole. When she died few old residents remembered her. One said the Monroe' lived on the corner of Mulberry and Sixth Streets and that Kenneth and Wendall were her brothers. Marion's mom was said to have been a Potter from Ft. Branch and a well-known Primitive Baptist preacher.

Inside the old Methodist Church the day of the last service.....June 30, 1957

"Our American Heritage," is Theme of 1957 MVHS Commencement

A ceremony that was scheduled to be held outside was moved to the Canal Street gymnasium due to rain. One hundred and two students received their diplomas and listen to the speaker, Dr. J.R. Mitchell of Purdue University speak of the values of America. It was the heritage of free public schools that the educator devoted much of his address. "Good schools do not just happen. They have not been left to chance. They are the result of the belief that education is essential to the perpetuation of our republic," he said. "Whatever the investment made by this community in its youth is a good one. Citizenship in a democracy is important. We are living in times which test the courage of every intelligent person. The world is locked in a mighty conflict of ideas. Two philosophies are competing for the minds of men. One is a philosophy which enslaves, the other frees men. We must look to our young people filled with idealism, possessed of courage and fortified by intelligence and strength of conviction to lead us through these perilous times." Charles W. Hames then certified the class. Paul Hartmann presented the diplomas.

Tugboats.....March 2, 1957(John Doane Photo)

Otis Allyn, President of Chamber of Commerce Speaks at Wabash Bridge Opening... July 1956

"Good Morning....Start the Day Right with a Good Breakfast".....1956

I'm up early for work and was thinking of food.....I do that a lot. Could go out and get a donut and a cup of coffee, probably cost three or four dollars. Tired of egg mcmuffins. Wish I could go to say the Shario Cafe or the Friendly, maybe Gentil's or Schmucks for breakfast. Might even try the Parkett or the Parkmore. Back then you could get a cup of coffee for a nickel, a soft drink for 6 cents, orange juice for a mercury head dime and a doughnut for maybe 8 cents. I feel like two eggs, ham, toast, OJ and coffee....that should run me about 60 cents. Pick up the Democrat on the way out for a Buffalo head nickel. Well off to work to make about $10 today.

Whittling..."The Art of Manliness"....How I Remember It.....1950's

When I was a kid I would see old men sitting on the concrete stump of the court house on Saturday or on a bench at Sherburne Park with a jack knife making wood fly with a piece of stick or a small block of wood. At the Athletic Park, on Sundays was an old man who would come to watch the Double I League games. He had one of them knives with a stag-horn handle and was something of a "big shot" with that blade. Later men seemed to be satisfied with just a small ornamental knife in their pocket. I remember knives...have several that must have been dads or some relative, but I never carried one. Lots of talk in the late 50's of juveniles with switchblades know, "West Side Story?" I'm still not sure what "mumble peg or mumble the peg is. Back around 1910 a catalog had 104 different models of knives for sale. Do they still sell them in cases at the hardware store? I have read of several break-ins in Mt. Vernon history where only knives were stolen from hardware stores. Some people would carve little men, a wooden boat, a turtle, a flute and we kids would look on in amazement. Those were the "Kings of the Whittlers," real artists. Others would just pick up any old stick, sit and slice making a big pile of kindling while they told you a story about an old fat pig or a real pretty girl making you blush. Then they might ask you..."Pull my finger kid." I got one of those Swiss knives around here somewhere. Anybody ever use any of those weird combinations of punches, scissors, files, buttonhooks, wrenches or screwdrivers? ....Me neither.

Trinity Church....1950's

It is beautiful. TJ and I were married there. Records show there was an earlier Trinity Church on the same site.

Harold Brown -Coach - 1949-1955

Compiled a 70-72 record as MVHS boys basketball coach. He had a 36-28 record vs. Posey County teams .667 and was 8-7 vs. Evansville squads. His teams were 4-7 in Evansville Sectional play. In college he led all Indiana colleges in scoring as a senior and was captain of the Evansville Aces. He won the Evansville Kiwanis Club Award twice for the first time ever and played one year of pro basketball. He had three winning seasons in a row for Mt. Vernon from 1951-53. He was replaced by Robert "Tuffy" Scheller in 1956.

Dime Store Treasures.....1955

When I was a real young boy on West Eighth Street we had an old truck tire filled with sand. I sat in there and played with these little two inch plastic soldiers and they would be mixed with cowboys, Indians, horses, trucks and even dinosaurs. My little beagle puppy would sometimes join in the fun by taking one of my toy buffaloes or Indian chief and chew it up. Dad was always finding my little men while mowing. Some probably still haven't been exhumed from where they died.

Best Cheese.....1950s

I remember back in the 1950's when we would take Grandpa up town to pick up some federal surplus cheese and peanut butter. I think they also had oats. The trustees I think passed them out to those in need in all townships. The program started with the "New Deal" under Roosevelt in the 1930's and was changed many times by executive orders. In the 60's direct distribution started to fade and a form of food stamps was formed for the low income. The program still exists through emergency food assistance and food banks administered by the USDA.

WPCO is "On The Air".....December 1954

Erection of Mt. Vernon's first radio broadcasting station was completed and it was granted a license by the FCC in Washington for a 1590 kilocycle broadcasting station of 500 watt power, daytime only with fifty mile radius coverage. Under favorable conditions you might get 100 miles with a tower 195 feet high and employing around six people. The letters PCO were for Posey County and were assigned at the owner's request. The W designates location east of the Mississippi River. West of the river the letters start with K. My uncle Ken Kessler worked there getting his start in radio and made a long career of broadcasting. Oh yes, Courtney was everywhere "back in the day." His son Jerry was a DJ at WJPS and you still hear him doing commercials. Who was Jerry Webb? I thought WPCO was the most boring station in the world as a youngster. Mom would have it on every morning before I went to school checking on school closings and funerals. I did listen to the recorded broadcasts of the Wildcat games, even though I was always there live.

Doug McFadden on the Path to Integration of MVHS Sports.....Early 1950's

Mr. McFadden, earlier this spring wrote in the Posey County Historical Newsletter a wonderful summary of the march to integration in Mt. Vernon schools. I have touched on the subject from various angles in many of my books and especially my first one, "From Brownies to Wildcats." Mt. Vernon was blessed with many outstanding black athletes early on. Johnny Johnson, whom I interviewed in 1983, led the pack. Like Jackie Robinson he had to endure the name calling and rough treatment of the times. McFadden touched on an area I had not thought of too much....that of Evansville Lincoln High School. You see there was a time where Mt. Vernon would send their black high school students to Lincoln. Lincoln Lions were always tough in sports. When Johnny or Johnnie started making an input at MVHS the basketball coach of Lincoln, Art Taylor, according to Doug "tried unsuccessfully to lure Johnson to Lincoln." McFadden said, "The principal of Owensville telephoned principal Charles Hames of Mt. Vernon to warn of trouble if the MVHS team traveling to their school for a football game included colored players." Hames response "We are coming." McFadden states: "At towns such as Rockport, Cannelton, and Boonville, the fans hurled not only verbal abuses but debris and bottles. It was a challenging period for the athletes but both black and white players at MVHS never wavered in their support of teammates." Doug mentions Kenney Stewart, another great MV athlete. "In one incident, we were playing basketball at Boonville. The all-white fans from Boonville were hurling repeated racial slurs toward and particularly at Kenny. Kenney was a quiet person. After the game, Kenney dressed quickly and left through an outside door. Jim Challman and I followed. Outside a crowd of nasty white fans was waiting with their big center. A ring was formed and a fist fight began between Kenney and the big white center. Kenney knocked him down three times. The last time he'd had enough. Kenney with Jim and me following proceeded back to the dressing room. The crowd parted and not a sound was heard. Once inside, Jim and I exhaled a sigh of relief." Oh those Stewart boys...Kenney, Gary, and Mike. All were outstanding athletes. I always have said that Mike was the best overall MV athlete I ever saw. The Johnsons, Prices, Stewarts, etc. paid a price on the athletic fields for America in a troubled time. My thanks to them, the black students, who didn't play sports but contributed to integration, the administrators who finally opened the doors of opportunity, and the citizens and white students of Mt. Vernon who did the right thing.

Photo from 1953 that shows part of West Second and Main Street

You can see some of the late Pocket Hotel, Wheaton's Pharmacy and the roof of the Stinson building. People are gathered outside on the sidewalk because there is a fire on the other side of Second that burned the El-Rio restaurant as well as damaging many others including the Friendly Cafe. I wonder if this photo was taken by John Doane in an airplane or from a fireman's ladder. Pretty damn high for a reporter to take a photo. I go with plane.

First Electric Basketball Scoreboard.....1952

The 1951-52 was a very successful one. The Wildcats under Coach Harold Brown went 16-8, won the Posey County Tournament and won two games in the Evansille Sectional. Johnny Johnson was continually amongst the top scorers for the team. Gery Thompson, Bob Martin, and Challmen also were fine players. In the eighth game of the season the new electric scoreboard was used for the first time in the old Canal Street gym. I imagine it was the same one that changed colors in the last minute and was protected by a wire cage. Mt. Vernon defeated Mater Dei that night 41-31 with Milburn Stinson leading the way with 11 points. It was Mt. Vernon's 300th all-time win as a basketball team dating back to 1912.


The Peerless Caf. You also see the old Riverside Hotel and I believe it was called the Dunn House, once the oldest building in town going back to 1820's

Curls Anyone?.....1952

Wonder How Hedges Central Got Its Name? I'll Tell You....1952

Stoy Hedges 1898-1951, for 28 years was a Mt. Vernon teacher, principal and superintendent in our school system. It was Hedges who brought in the barracks to Mt. Vernon after the Central fire of 1945 and Mt. Vernon students were placed all over town. He died December 14, 1951 and the 1952 Hoop Pole was dedicated to him. The Mt. Vernon School Trustees decided that when the new elementary school was finished they would name it after Hedges. The Central part was kept because on that site for almost a hundred years the Central name had been used and they wanted it continued.

Mt. Vernon National Guard ....December 1957

John Doane photo

Starbursts at Athletic Park.....1950

There used to be Fourth of July fireworks at the Athletic Park and visitors would come early and picnic on the grounds waiting for the night program. The American Legion put many of these on and people would sit elbow to elbow enjoying over a hundred star bursts. By the way, these explosions had names like: Three Rosettes, Fountain of Youth, Eclipse of the Sun, Musical Wheels, Cleopatra's Fan, Whirling Wonder, World in Rotation, Sheba's Brooch, Dad of Demons, Whirling Cataract, Thunderstorm, Fool Wheel, Flying Eagles, High Fountain, Transformation Wheel, and Flora.

"Happy Kellams " Performs for Riley Chili Supper.....1950

Kellams was an Evansville professional clown and he presented a wealth of fun for the kids at a sellout function at the west side school. All the chili, sandwiches, pies and drinks were exhausted by the large turn out where proceeds would go the purchase of school and playground equipment. Besides "Happy", the Brownies of Troop 6 contributed songs to the program and Mr. Eilbert led singing at the piano with the audience joining in. So a job well done and thanks went out to the Riley Committee of Mrs. Francis Curtis, Mrs. Louis Tomlinson, Mrs. Stacy Givens, Mrs. Kenneth Duckworth, Mrs. Minear, Mrs. Merrill Harp and Mrs. Orvel Dailey. Boy, even in the 50's they didn't use the wife's name, like they weren't important beyond the husband.

Working a Lathe at Madden Handle Factory.....1950

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Western Star newspaper in the fall of 1948

In the final days of the Western Star newspaper in the fall of 1948 the weekly was printed at the Shawneetown, Illinois publishing plant and brought to Mt. Vernon each week by plane. This was in October....The Mt. Vernon Library has no issues after March of that year. Of course this was in the infancy of the Mt. Vernon airport and transient traffic was increasing every month. Business men, including many in the petroleum industry flew to and from Mt. Vernon. John Doane was out there giving test to pilots by the dozens to flyers from Mt. Vernon, Carmi, Evansville, and Henderson. 72 private flight tests were held in the first two years of operation.

Local Pilot Crashes in Field as Parents Watch Nearby.....October 1948

Leslie Barnes, 25, of 827 East Second Street was injured when the Cessna plane of Doane Aviation which he was piloting "petered out" and fell into a cornfield about six miles northwest of town near Upton Station. Barnes a WWII veteran suffered major fractures of his ankle and his back, but is expected to recover. By an odd coincidence he crashed in the field where his father Paul and brother Paul Jr. were working. Also his mother was standing on the porch of their home and saw the motor quit and the plane plunge straight down from a height of about 50 feet.

Speech of President Truman in Mt. Vernon.....September 1948

"I am very, very sorry that we got held up in Illinois and lost a couple of hours, but I couldn't help that. But I'm most happy to see all these smiling faces here in this great city, which I understand is the hometown of the Chairman here. I want to see you send Mr. Denton to the Congress because we must be sure that we have men in the coming Congress that are not looking backward, but looking forward. I understand that you're an agricultural community here. Therefore, your vital interest is at stake in this campaign, for the simple reason that the first thing the Republicans tried to do when they got to Washington-there were three first things they tried to do: they tried to sabotage labor, they tried to sabotage the farmer, and they tried to do away with all our public reclamation and power projects. You're interested in that because I tried to get a steam plant down here by TVA, for a standby plant to make that a complete integrated entity down there, and they kept that out of both appropriation bills. In fact, they knocked it out of one and kept it out of the other. Now the best thing for you to do, in your own interest, is to go to the polls early on Election Day and vote for yourselves, and when you vote for yourselves you vote the Democratic ticket straight because the Democrats are for the people. The Republicans are for special privilege. I'm extremely sorry that we're so late so I couldn't stand here and talk to you quite a while, but we must try to make up this schedule for I have an air broadcast in Louisville, Ky., which covers the whole country, and that won't wait. In these broadcast days even the President can't do as he pleases." Truman won Posey County 4729-3789. The Prohibition Party had 95 votes, the Socialist 14, the Progressives 12 and the Socialist Labor Party 2.

Niblo's Store Moves.....March 1948

In the same place in the Wasem Building on North Main Street since 1912....a new location is required. The lease of the old building is being issued to Tresslar's a regional chain. The Wasem Building was once a grocery at the turn of the 20th century. It too is in danger of going down before too much longer without a tenant.

President Truman in MV.....1948

In-Between Wars, Local Draft Board Operates Part Time.....1948

We actually had a lull in fighting for American servicemen and because of fall in economy and budgets being cut, the local draft board went under Chairman Ira Rothrock to be open just one day a week. On that one day, a Monday, those required to register for the draft could do it at the Coliseum. To make it easier for those in the northern part of the county to comply, volunteers were sent to Poseyville and New Harmony to take the information. New laws in effect allow eleven deferments for those 19 to 25 years of age. They are: husbands, fathers, irreplaceable agricultural workers marketing products essential for health and safety, workers with special skills in industry, those physically or mentally unfit, members already in service, veterans who served more than 60 days between 1941 and 1945, sole surviving son of a family that lost a son in the world war, conscientious objector, ministers and clergymen, and public officials deferred by law like governors and members of Congress as well as judges.

Last of Four Bodies Removed, Five Saved in Point Township Boat Accident.....1948

The tragedy made national news and radio broadcasts. The Mt. Vernon Democrat sold over 1000 extras which carried the first printed word of the incident. The location was at a place called "Swain Bridge." The young people were on a sightseeing trip in the Wabash River overflow and the boat capsized drowning Edward Uhde, 20, ray Goldman 20, Paul Denning 19, and Charles Weatherford 9.


65 Years Ago or so this went in your window turned to the number of pounds of ice you needed put in your ice box.

New American Legion Home.....1948

A drive thermometer was sat up at the Palace Soda Shop to keep the public informed of donations to purchase the home of Dr. J. R. Ranes on the northwest corner of Second and Walnut Streets. That home was purchased by Ranes in 1917 from Manual Cronbach.

The House in 1946-1947

FDR was dead and the House was more determined than ever to roll back the New Deal. Legislation came out of the lower chamber that divided the right whose more deliberate Senate members didn't want drastic change. The reluctance of the House to compromise provided the President ample evidence to win in 1948.

Post Card.....July 4, 1946

Sending Students to Evansville Lincoln.....School Year 1945-46

That year the Board of School Trustees decided to send the juniors and seniors from Booker T Washington High School to Lincoln. Mt. Vernon continued this practice until the African-American students were integrated within MVHS during the 1949-50 school year. If you look at the Hoop Pole of 1950 you will see black students with bios of first and second years at BTW and seniors with third year at Lincoln and fourth at MVHS. Grade schoolers at BTW waited one more year by request of their parents to see how smoothly integration went. In 1955-56 the old BTW school was renovated and became the junior high until the new high school was built on Harriet Street in 1960 and the Canal Street School became the junior high. I think a historical marker should be placed at the site of Booker T Washington.

VE Day In Great Britain Through the Eyes of Mt. Vernon Resident.....May 7, 1945

Charles Willis Carr lived a active productive interesting life. He had roles in the Spanish Civil War, WW1 and WWII. In the Spanish Civil War he was sent to Spain to direct accounting to supervise the distribution of flour and powdered milk to the starving. After working in the Mt. Vernon Western Union telegraph office for a while he rode a bicycle from Indianapolis with a friend to San Francisco. You can only imagine the roads in 1915. When the "War to End All Wars" began Carr was inducted into the signal corps of the Army and served as a wireless instructor at the Board of Trade Signal School in Chicago. After armistice he worked as a disaster relief director during the 1925 Midwestern tornado (Griffin) and directed relief work in Puerto Rico in 1928 and floods in South Carolina and in 1937 here in parts of Indiana. In the Second World War he supervised the transfer of the Harvard Field Hospital to the U.S. military and devised service club activities for the armed forces. He spent six years in Europe helping in ten countries. On V.E. day Charles was among those outside Buckingham Palace. Here in his words is what he saw: "Hysterical rejoicing had hit London when the news of the end of the war came. For 48 hours no one went to bed. The streets were filled with bonfires of blackout curtains and blinds. Strangers invited you in to have a drink of a sacred bottle, put away years before for just this occasion. Every lamp post had its quota of celebrators hanging from its branches. Victoria's statue in front of Buckingham Palace was black with young people climbing into her lap and up her shoulders. Every car that moved was a moving island of people, riding on the hood and top, and clinging to its fenders. Thus it was with thousands, crowded in front of Buckingham Palace, night and day. All through the night and day, the Royal Family came out on the balcony to wave to the crowds and to receive their cheers. We had driven over, threading a careful and slow way to the Palace with the unusual retinue of hangers, climbers, and sitters all over the car. We had seen the King and Queen come out on the balcony, heard the cheers, and cheered ourselves. Then very carefully circling Queen Victoria's statue, we started down the Mall. Two cars were in that crowded street heading toward each other-two ships afloat in a sea of people. Slowly, slowly, we approached each other-then the final and finest cap to V.E. day occurred. In the other car was a familiar and famous face-Churchill was on his way to visit the King. As we passed slowly, he raised two fingers in the "V" for victory sign. We answered with the same." This journal came from Mr. Carr's daughter-in-law Sarah Carr in an interview by Becky Boyer of the Mt. Vernon Democrat in 1995.

Central School Fire which happened in January 1945. Photo courtesy of Toni and John Knisley.

After this fire the cornerstone was removed that was placed in there in 1910. Found also were articles of the previous school that was built there in 1867. The contents of the two boxes were displayed at Rothrock's pharmacy on Main Street. The oldest contained the original deed for the site worth $1200 and called "College Square." The usual was in the boxes, old newspapers, coins, club programs, photos, school letterhead forms, a reprint of a picture of Abraham Lincoln, and a list of marriageable ladies. Now that was creative! I have seen a few pictures of the fire damage, but this photo and angle is new to me. I will make sure it is preserved.

Guy Bishop - Booker T. Washington Educator.....1940s

Guy Bishop and his wife Jennie Dickerson Bishop were responsible for developing African-American students in Mt. Vernon for decades before desegregation in the 1949-1950 school year. Guy graduated from grade and high school in 1907. He went to Terre Haute State Normal in 1910. After a year in Boonville he came to Mt. Vernon. He started out with what they called a Course "C" certificate to teach but later received his diploma from Terre Haute with some credits from Indiana University. He went to the University of Chicago where he earned his Ph. B and A.M. degrees. They allowed him to become principal at Booker T. Washington. He was a member of the Wallden Lodge No. 17 F&M that the stone of the lodge has just been found and identified. He was the Past Master of the Lodge and was a steward and trustee of the Bethel A.M.E. Church for many years. He was a regional advisor to the University of Chicago. His wife Jennie was a graduate of Rockville, Indiana high school in 1907 and also attended Terre Haute State Normal, Butler University and the University of Chicago. In 1911 she began teaching the primary grades at BTW and married Guy two years later. She continued teaching there until 1946. She wrote a weekly column titled "Colored News" in the Mt. Vernon Democrat in 1946 and 1947. She was an organist in the Bethel Church for 25 years and a member and Past Matron of Sheba Chapter #4 Eastern Star of Mt. Vernon, a Past Grand Deputy of District 4 of the Order and for 13 years a State Grand Treasurer of the Eastern Star. She was President of the Mt. Vernon Lesser Lights Club for 16 years and member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. After black students were allowed to attend school with white children the Bishops moved to Los Angeles to be near their daughter. These two citizens should not be forgotten. Oh the stories they could have told us! It was said that Guy spoke in front of all the students and said, "The day has come that the citizens of Mt. Vernon have seen fit to give all children of all races an equal opportunity."

Colorful Posey Historian and Newsman...B.O. Hanby Dead at 84....1944

Brainerd Oakes Hanby, a picturesque figure either walking the street or driving his jalopy with his beard flying over his shoulder made a mark working forty years in journalism in Mt. Vernon. He died at his home at 107 East Tenth Street after being in failing health for some months. A native of Ohio, the son of Benjamin who was the composer of the Civil War ballad, "Darling Nellie Gray" of which there is a public shrine in Westerville, Ohio. B.O. had been here since the turn of the 20th century editing many a newspaper like "The Unafraid," "The Unafraid Republican," and "The Republican News." He was charter member of the Posey County Historical Society. B.O. appeared three times in the NBC radio program, "We the People." His wife Alice Harper Hanby was also a collector of articles of historical value and her items were displayed at the PCHS in the coliseum of which she was the president. She gave over 190 objects to the society. Hanby services were done by the Short Funeral Home and then his body was shipped to Westerville Ohio where he was laid to rest not far from the Hanby Memorial Home which became a national shrine in 1937.

Booker T. Washington School Song.....1944

"Then hurrah for Booker T; shout to the rafters ring. Come and let us sing once again; let every Booker T man sing. Sing to all the happy hours; sing to the careless days; Sing to Booker T forever, the school of our hearts always."

You know I would very much like to know if some sort of annual was every made or a book of some sort describing the history was published. I have my doubts if there were any; but someone may have kept mementos of the school and I would very much love to see them and preserve the black history of our community.

There were two Booker T 's at the same location. The first one was first I believe the old Eastern School and it burned in 1933. Brick from the old MVHS on College Avenue was used to build the second building. BTW was closed I believe in 1951 when the elementary students followed the integration of the high schools students a year earlier. I have seen graduation figures early in the 20th century. Usually less than 5 students a year graduated. Some years there were none. Black education was conducted at times at Brewery Hills at the time of the Owenites from New Harmony. There was a community of blacks in Point Township for a while also. Main Street school was used temporarily for a while I believe after the 1933 fire.

Well House Camp Pahoka.....1940s

1940's.....Mt. Vernons Finest

1940's.....Coca Cola

June 1942

National Guardsmen Bensen; late 30's or early 40's

July 1941

Mt. Vernon Man Shown in Fox Movietone Newsreel.....June, 1941

Charles Carr, Mt. Vernon member of the Red Cross Commission to Spain, headquartered in Madrid, appeared on the Movietone newsreel at the New Vernon Theater. The scene showed Carr lifting child survivors off the sunken Egyptian cruise ship Zamzam sunk in the South Atlantic Ocean by a German raider. On board were 122 Christian missionaries, 24 ambulance drivers, and a crew of Muslims from Egypt. The Germans later claimed the Zamzam was carrying large amounts of oil and were justified in hitting it. Carr later wrote his wife about the making of the newsreel. Carr expected an invasion of Spain at any time by the Nazis but it never came. General Franco was officially non-belligerent during the war, but he was known as a sympathizer to the Axis. At times he played both sides of the war always looking out for personal and Spanish interests. I was stationed in Moron Spain for three months back in late 1970-early 1971 and I remember every day the local television was showing the Spanish Civil War of 1936. Franco owned the Nazis lots of money... aid he got during their war so he met with Hitler and Mussolini many times negotiating a possible entry into the war in return for other concessions. Spanish volunteers fought on both sides during World War11. Many fought for the French Foreign Legion. Some even fought for the Russians against the Germans on the eastern front. Franco supplied the Nazis with tungsten and records show gold was exchanged believed to be Nazi gold plundered from occupying lands. Churchill was said to have bribed Spain with cash to prevent Spain's entry into the war with the Germans and Italians. It had to be a pretty complicated life for the Spaniards during this period.

Posey County 1941

I believe this was one of Charles Cushman's photos. Cushman took several photos in Mt Vernon, New Harmony and rural scenes. He seldom pinned the location down. I am not sure. Maybe someone can pick it out. I'm thinking this is the Wabash.

Nah....That wouldn't happen to me!...1941

Aaron Hartung, MV Merchant for 47 Years Retires.....1941

Aaron was owner-manager of Hartung's department store in Mt. Vernon since he established it in 1894. Announcing his retirement, he sold his store to Central Mercantile House of St. Louis and it later became Model Department Store. Hartung's desire was to retire and take things easy. He said he always tried to give a dollar's worth of value for every dollar spent in his establishment. He started out in 1891 as a traveling salesman for an Eastern shoe firm. Then he became clerk at the original Rosenbaum & Brother Department store. Aaron shared his store with his brother Michael until he died a year earlier.

MV Police Start Regulating Street Charivaris..."Stop this Shake, Rattle, and Roll.".....1941

There was a time when it was usual to see street demonstrations in town celebrating weddings. Traffic mishaps had occurred in the past and people sometimes got frightened at all those pots and pans banging. Mayor George Krug, city councilmen and the police officers agreed on a crackdown. In the future no charivari would be permitted on the streets after 9 p.m. and advance notice must be given to the police so that traffic could be protected from the noisemakers. In ancient times these demonstrations were sometimes held in opposition to a marriage. Can you even imagine? What were they Puritans? It came over from France and in America it was known to put the wedding party in horse troughs and make them buy drinks or candy to onlookers. A little minor hazing goes a long way I guess.

Dugan Ferry.....1940

Believe this to be another Charles Cushman photo. Have seen 1936 photos of this ferry.

Bugtown, Indiana Accidental Fireworks, Circa 1940

A few years ago Sherry Graves wrote of Bugtown or Stillwell or Winfield, or Rapture in the northern part I believe of Harmony Township. This community was laid out by John Cox in 1838 and has close to as many names as people it seems. The old grocery store closed in 1942 and by the 1970's only five houses remained in the community that once had a post office, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, drug store, barber, a general store and a farm implement facility. Now the story goes that the store had got in some fireworks in preparation for the Christmas/New Year's holiday. The sky rockets, roman candles, torpedoes, and fire crackers were stored away and a group of men were sitting around a stove, lighting their pipes and eating shelled peanuts. One joked, "I think I will light a sky rocket." A rocket took off and the men hit the floor and crawled behind furniture as the rocket ran its course in the store. Canned goods hit the floor, potatoes came off the shelves, and onions and flour was turned over. I shot one in my garage by accident once and I can relate. "No harm no foul." It all turned out all right. "Come out, come out wherever you are," as Glenda the good witch would say. John Cox had an unusual nickname... "Doubleheader," because of an unusual formed head. Wow and to think he was a surveyor. Hmm

Black School Privy in Point Township ...1940

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Marker Erected to Record Flood Stage.....September 1939

A concrete high water marker, commemorating the record 1937 flood was erected at Sherburne Park under the sponsorship of the Mt. Vernon Kiwanis Club. A bronze tablet was placed on the concrete slab and engraved the number of feet. Herman Bray was MV's 27th Mayor at the time. The shaft is seven feet high and rests on a base three feet square which is sunk into the ground.

Globetrotters in Cythiana.....1939

This was the year that the Globetrotters began developing routines after a decade traveling the country as a professional team. During a game in 1939 they led 112-5 and all of a sudden began "showing off" their skills with comedy. The audience loved it and from then on they were encouraged, once they had established their dominance of an opponent to clown. Later they had their own traveling opponent...The Washington Generals. In this game the flashy quintet destroyed the Cynthiana Businessmen by a large margin. Admission was a quarter. In a preliminary game the Cromwell CCC Camp from Henderson, Kentucky played a group of Cynthiana and Stewartsville men. It would be another 12 years before Mt. Vernon High School would have their first black athletes. I can't think of one at another county school can you? Has North Posey had black athletes yet?

Neu Way Cleaners Modernizes Equipment.....1939

G.W. Hutson, proprietor, extended an invitation to the public to inspect is improvements at his shop. Hutson and Harry Blackburn first opened in 1928, but now the cleaning department is entirely ran by electric motor including the washer and deodorizer. He can finish two suits every 45 minutes. In the finishing department he has two Huffman presses, a Stressel combination electric and steam iron as well as a hat blocking machine that keeps five people busy.

1939 photo just sent me from Deanna Grissom. Looks like her aunts and friends made a stop at the " Greeks."

Deanna said she was related to the Thompson family in Mt. Vernon.

MVHS Industrial Exhibit in Gym 5/13/1938

I always wondered what became of that pull chain scoreboard. It should have been preserved! That old scoreboard dated back to the 1920's. I remember it up there in the early 1960's. It belongs in the MV trophy room. Why don't we keep stuff?

Gaming Machines Ordered Out of Town....1938

Gaming machines that have been in operation for many years in the city of Mt Vernon have been ordered out by Sheriff Charles Frieg, acting on the action of the Posey County Grand Jury.

L&N Depot.....1937

Lighted Cross of Trinity Church.....1937

The top of the cross of Trinity Church is 141 feet above the sidewalk and although it looks shorter than St. Matthew's it is actually taller because it is farther down the slope of the street. During the 1937 flood river boat captains were said to use the lighted cross to guide their boats down the river as they brought in refugees. Kathryn Breeze, whose father owned the ferry at the time, told her parents and two brothers aiding the people with transportation and food. "It was dark out on that river and there were no lights or nothing. The steeple at the church was our guiding light. You could tell where you were by the church steeple because everything else was covered up." Rev. August Binder said that the Trinity United Church of Christ took in about 160 people that winter. Binder was pastor 1945-1963.

Reading Right Wing Evansville Paper of 1936 Prior to Election

Cleaning my hobby room today getting rid of "stuff." Got lots of "stuff." Don't know where I get it all! Someday I am gonna die, gonna have to get rid of it someway, either give it away or toss it. Found a paper called "The Evansville Weekly" and they are coming down hard on FDR calling him a "false Moses," and a "hope to be master of the black race." That is pretty low don't you think? In the Indiana governor's race they go after New Deal candidate, M. Clifford Townsend about his support of social security and how it is "tomfoolery, pretending to offer security for working men in their old age." They were saying to watch out for "New Deal Henchmen" watching you vote and they will be watching the watcher to make sure all irregularities are reported. They actually show a picture of the Republican candidate for governor, Raymond Springer's boyhood home of a dilapidated, shabby, rickety, decrepit log cabin saying, "He is truly a man of Hoosier soil." Townsend was due at the Evansville Coliseum to deliver a speech prior to the election and the Evansville Weekly said the crowd will no doubt be full with Unionists and Socialists and they will "try to win the election on a campaign of fear." They said the parade for Townsend will be more than a handful of people "forced" to participate by unions and "not people proud of their party." After the speech, the paper said, "The enthusiasm displayed at the rally was a sham." Well, well, well, oh well....Townsend won by 180.000 votes and we all know FDR did too. Townsend unfortunately had a Republican House who blocked much of his progressive appeals during his administration. Faced immediately with the great 1937 Flood, Townsend did a good job by accounts with disaster relief. Not much was passed during his tenure due to obstructionists but he did get passed drivers license examinations, firemen's pensions approved, and got to paint all school buses yellow. So in my opinion, the paper that boasted..."one flag, one language, one loyalty." was one loser.

Ice Gorge on Ohio River Looking from Uniontown Kentucky side 2/19/1936

I remember reading where the waterworks would blow their steam whistle to inform the town that the ice was moving so they could come down and witness it. This is a Willard Library photo done by a photographer named Newman. There are many photos of this ice from the Evansville wharf. After the winter of the ice gorge, we had one of the hottest summers on record then we followed that up with the great 1937 Flood. This was the first time since 1918 a person could walk across the river on ice. The river was frozen for some 50 miles. The ice started to break on February 24th and moved quickly. By the 26th navigation was returning.

1936 Riverfront

Camp Pohoka Staff Worker a Two Time Olympian....1932 and 1936

Holding special interest locally to the Boy Scouts was Charles Hornbostel, who starred at Evansville Central in high school and Indiana University later on. He was on the Pohoka staff when he was called up for racing trials in Chicago in 1932. Hornbostel was a hard luck Olympian it seems. He won several 880 meter NCAA Championships and finished second in the trials in 1932. At the 1932 Olympics he won his first heat and beating the individual silver medalists, but in the finals he ran sixth. In1933 he equaled the world record in the 880 yards with a 1:50.9, but was beaten by Glenn Cunningham in the national championship. In 1934 he again won the NCAA championship, qualifying for the Olympics. He placed second to the gold medalist in the initial heat, but in the finals he finished fifth. After that Olympics Charles took part in two world record setting relays.

Retired Rube Sez.....1936

Rube wondered why so many high school girls were smoking, why Democrats were burning court houses in the south to prevent Republican votes and why haven't they invented a "face paint that will hide wrinkles?" He also thought the question of the age of Prohibition that someone needed to come up with a deodorizer that will take away the scent in town of bottled illegal booze....especially for those in Point Township.

Sioux at 1934 or 1935 New Harmony Rodeo

"The Rebels are Coming, The Rebels are Coming!".....1930's

Eliza Mills came driving home one Sunday in the spring at a fast rate, described like "a chicken killing gait" and reported that someone had shot at him with a cannon! He said a cannon ball had lodged inside of his car and was still hot. Investigation showed that his windshield was broken by a baseball from a foul ball as he drove by the baseball diamond at Wadesville.

Native Americans Visit New Harmony Times Office.....1935

A delegation including Henry Horse Looking, John Running Bear, Solomon Afraid of Eagle, and Frank Spotted Horse called upon the Times in town for the rodeo at the fairgrounds. One of them age 79 recalled hunting buffalo on the plains and shooting them with a bow and arrow. He could not speak English but his Sioux words were interpreted. Henry Horse Looking was a graduate of Carlisle and spoke and understood the English language well.

Posey County Prisoner Jumps in an Attempt at Suicide.....1935

Charles Ward, sentenced 2-14 years for forgery and confined at the Mill Street jail leaped from the railing around the landing at the second tier of cells and fell 15 feet, a few hours previous to his transfer to the penitentiary. Ward sustained a broken thigh and a deep gash on his forehead. The next day he was taken to the Indiana State Prison in an ambulance to begin his term behind bars.

Crisis of Romantic Sincerity.....1930's

Years ago a certain young man of Mt. Vernon wrote a very impassioned letter to his sweetheart. In part of the letter it read: "Darling, I would wade through the most blinding snow storm or laugh as I walked the blazing fires of hades to be with you" Well a short time later there was this cold spell that draped over the county and the editor overheard on the party line this conversation between the two lovers. "Say, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm afraid that I won't be over tonight. Why? It's too cold!" The editor quit listening hoping the young maiden understands.

In 1935, Mt. Vernon High School played only one baseball gme defeating Evansville Reitz 7-5 behind the great local pitcher, Alfred "Dutch" Wehr. He was the only one awarded a letter in that sport.

From 1932 -1937 Mt. Vernon dropped football until the Pocket Athletic Conference was formed in 1938. Hence, for two years, 1933 and 1934 the only athletic letters awarded were in basketball. It's amazing to me that we had some really fine athletes in those classes. Dutch Wehr pitched against many major leaguers while in the military and played semi-pro at home for many years. Dale Gentil pitched at Indiana University and pitched a no-hitter in the minor leagues. George Ashworth played football at Indiana State, was captain and is the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. Paulie Moeller played some low minors in baseball; Wesley Waterhouse was a fine player as were Ollie Willis and Bill Keck.

No Hunting On Sunday.....1934

Hear ye, hear ye...the State of Indiana, Posey County brings before me the defendant who being by me first duly sworn, deposes and says that on or about the 18th day of November A.D. 1934 in the County and State aforesaid, one (say your name) did unlawfully "hunt wild game with dog and fire arm on Sunday so to do" contrary to the statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State of Indiana you are since found guilty and we will fine you. .....Now go over there and sit on the Group W!

While Baseball Argument Continues at Athletic Park...Sportswriter/Poet Bill Causey Puts Pen to Paper....May 1934

Bill Causey was my favorite Mt. Vernon sportswriter. He was known to add some poems to his write-ups of any local sport. He was a good man; almost single handedly starting the local Little League program. On this occasion the Mt. Vernon Arrows were playing the Mt. Carmel Aces. The locals had a pretty good ball club that season with Malcolm Abell leading the way with a .443 season average and seven stolen bases, A. Templeton was the RBI leader and Cliff Bullard was the ace of the staff. There were three Kost boys on that team too. Anyway, the game was a scoreless duel into the ninth when the Mt. Vernon leadoff hitter G. Kost reached first base on a disputed play. An argument ensued and for over 20 minutes it went on. In fact Arrow fans were starting to expect them every Sunday at the ball park. It seemed like every fan in the bleachers was getting their "two cents" in also. Kost calmly sat down on the first base bag coolly drinking one of those orange sodas out of a bottle from the Mt. Vernon Creamery. Causey scribbling away on a pad wrote: "There's and expression been coined of late and no one's been able to break it; It's not the man with the pugnacious chin that leads the field and goes on to win, but it's the man or the team that can 'take it.' Baseball is like life and the living. You must fight hard and never give in. though you're six runs behind, an inning to go. There's always a chance, you can never know. And if you can 'take it' you'll win." The argument over but still simmering, the Mt. Carmel pitcher, forgot about the runner on first, discarded his stretch for a wind-up and Kost stole second and third and came home on a grounder for the win. "Hoo-ray," said the fans.

Ira Rothrock Pharmacy.....1934

Born just west of the first state capital of Indiana...Corydon he spent his early days working on a farm doing the chores that farmers do. His first job away from home was driving a rig....a five team binder and threshing outfit. At age 24 he moved to Mt. Vernon and soon he was off to war in France. When the "world was safe for democracy," Ira joined his brother in business until 1929 and his brother went to Evansville. The Rothrock pharmacy seems to have been a very serious place. It was located on Main Street, formerly Dawson's Drugs. Later it became Culley's. Ira was a Mason, an Elk and a member of the American Legion. He served 8 years in the National Guard and helped organize Battery E, 139th Field Artillery. He wasn't much on hobbies it seems other than reading. Very pronounced and definite in his opinions. He wasn't "wishy-washy." I met him just one day at the draft board in 1969.....I will leave it to your imagination of how that one worked out. I hope I didn't upset him so as he died in 1971. At his store he didn't believe in "soda jerks," and fountains. He was there to fill prescriptions. "You step into my store and you realize that it is a drug store."

Mt. Vernon Native James Posey in Jail with John Dillinger When he Escapes from Crown Point.....March 1934

James Posey,26, Negro cellmate of Herbert Youngblood, who escaped with John Dillinger from jail at Crown Point, Indiana with a fake gun decided to stay in the jail rather than escape with the famous criminal. Posey born and raised in Mt. Vernon had resided in Gary Indiana for the past few years. Posey accompanied Dillinger and Youngblood to the jail garage, but then decided he was not going to go. Dillinger whittled a rail of a washboard with a razor handle and painted it black with shoe polish to fool the guards. John escaped with machine guns. He took a hostage to drive him to Chicago and then it became a federal manhunt with the FBI which ultimately led to Dillinger's death. Dillinger after acquiring the Thompson machine guns raked his fake pistol across the cell bars in front of the police, grinned and said, "This is what I did it with." Posey was in jail for a robbery charge and before Dillinger was killed he was expected to be an important witness at a future grand jury trial.

California Orangeade Bottled by Mt. Vernon Creamery..1934

The summer of 1934 brought a new line at the local Mt. Vernon Creamery on College Avenue. Bireley's Orange soda drink was the product. It was pasteurized, non-carbonated and was a "healthful beverage of fruit juices of tree ripe Valencia oranges and a dash of lemon juice sweetened." It was placed in town at most "refreshment parlors" at 5 cents a bottle and could be delivered to your home by calling the creamery.

Town Square.....1934

John C. Leffel Steps Down from Newspaper Business.....July 1932

Retirement came after 56 years as head of the Western Star newspaper in Mt. Vernon. So entrenched in the community and he saw so much and wrote of what he saw since 1876. He even published a Posey County History in 1913. The Star now belongs to his son Herbert and may it continue to be one of ablest edited and best printed papers in the pocket." Few men last at a job for 56 years and his works cannot be measured in words."

Mt. Vernon Honors War Dead.....May 31, 1932

Amid the flower and flag bedecked graves of Bellefontaine cemetery, Mt. Vernon as tradition bears out honored their soldiers of many wars. Three of the five surviving local Civil War veterans, Alonzo Erwin, G.W. Kimball and J. M. Nelson were present. Harrow Relief Corps, Legionnaires, Spanish-American war veterans and the public composed the remainder of the large audience. In ideal weather the Rev. A.J. Schneider, pastor of Trinity Evangelical church was the principal speaker.

Turn of Century MV Teacher Becomes National Activist...

Born in Chicago of Jewish immigrants Lillian Herstein attended Northwestern University earning a degree in Latin and Greek. Like most educated women of her era she became a school teacher, coming to Mt. Vernon for a while before heading back to Chicago to teach in 1912. She taught high school and college for 36 years and became a union and civil rights activist. She joined the newly formed Federation of Women High Teachers in 1914 and advanced to the executive council and started organizing across the country. She joined the Labor Party and in 1932 she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Illinois. She ran as a progressive calling for old age pensions and unemployment benefits. She worked to secure human rights, equally for women and minorities. She said, "one cannot tell where genius lies by race, creed, religion, or sex." She supported Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 and FDR selected her to a special delegation of the International Labor Federation that met in Geneva Switzerland. She lived to age 96 and never married. Life magazine called her the "most important woman in the American Labor Movement in 1937."

New Harmony Depression Story.....1932

According to the New Harmony Times and Editor Clarence Wolfe quite a commotion was stirring at the Ed Garrett Garage when a fellow tried to pay for gasoline with a twenty dollar bill. It was said to have been the largest piece of currency seen on Church Street since Louie Cox sold his cow in 1924. Ed looked at the bill and his heart started to flutter and he turned the color of a blue blaze...damn near fainted. Finally, he composed himself enough to say he couldn't change it. Policeman John Russell just happened to be in the garage at the time and enough money was rounded up to change the bill for the customer. Russell took several snap shots of the money thinking he had heard that the government was no longer making any money larger than a dollar. He exclaimed: "I bet we hear from that fellow later."

Man Sets Out Trot Line to Catch His False Teeth.....1932

A man made a high dive into the Wabash River and came up minus his $17 pair of glasses and his upper set of false teeth. He said, "If any fisherman catches a catfish wearing a pair of specs and a set of false teeth you know where to return them." People made fun of him and one said he should try to coax his teeth to the surface by holding hot dogs and chocolate drops above the place they went under.

"Just Like Romeo and Juliet" at the Infirmary.....1932

In 1932 two inmates, both over 50 years of age eloped from the Posey County Infirmary/Poor House by way of a removed screen and a ladder. An investigation found they took all their clothes with them and had been having an affair in secret for many months. It was felt that their love urge became so strong that they decided to leave what was comfortable to them and to challenge once again the perils of the outside world. Several months later, the woman Clara returned to the infirmary saying that Charles would not marry her, so she left him. The infirmary has said a "not welcome" sign is figuratively being hung for Charles at the home.

Bus Service Ended Between New Harmony and Mt. Vernon.....1932

After 16 years there would be no more bus travel between the two communities. An estimated 439,855 miles were traveled by Lawrence Glichman who was the owner and driver. Reason given for the discontinuance was the growing number of private vehicles now owned.

Clyde Wilson Father of Seven Pens Poem.....1932

"The farmers fight the chicken hawks and oft time shoot a crow, the truckmen kill the sparrows to let their gardens grow; Now there's one bird I am after and it's not a wren or lark, Its paid me seven visits Oh, tell me where's that damn stork?"

Artist Completes Additional Paintings of Mt. Vernon...I Would Love To See Even One.....1932

James F. Davis completed the painting of additional pictures of historic old building in Mt. Vernon. I wonder what happen to them. Included in the group were the old Wolflin & Munchoff distillery, erected in 1855 just south of the C & E I railroad depot on the river front and which burned in 1873; the old plank road toll house, which was formerly located just north of the city; the general store of Darius North, of which North cemetery is named, located on the southeast corner of Water street and College Avenue; the old Farmer's hotel which was located on Walnut Street ; the C.M. tannery building on Locust street, between Second and Third, which was still standing in 1932; the C.W. Thomas wharf boat, and the old Nelson House, later known as the Damron House which was located on the northwest corner of Water street and College Avenue. He also touched up a previous painting of Mt. Vernon made in 1888 from the hills west of town. Prominent in that portrait was the old Peerless Mills, destroyed by fire, the old Masonic building now occupied by Alles Bros. Furniture Company and the court house.

Evansville Man Found Murdered on Highway 69.....1932

The mutilated body of a man was found in a ditch on highway 69, one mile west of Mt. Vernon. At first two families lay claim to the body found by two farm hands on their way to work. The head of the man had been fractured in front and back, his throat had been cut, his two index fingers severed and four deep stab wounds were inflicted in his back, one piercing a lung and the other a kidney. The right shoulder was also dislocated. The body found by Louis Key and Claude Meredith of Mt. Vernon was later identified as Albert Johnson, 31, of Evansville. Evidence of a terrific struggle was revealed alongside the highway at the top of the ditch where the body was found. At the scene was a large pool of blood and about 150 feet west was a smaller pool, near which a button was found. The button came from the victim's trousers. A piece of "moulder's lead" was found nearby, believed to be the instrument used on Johnson's head. The body dressed in a tie was found with a pipe and a portion of a twist of tobacco, safety razor, pocket knife, comb, razor sharpener, aluminum cup, shaving brush and belt. It was said he came looking for work. Several Mt. Vernon persons expressed their beliefs that they saw the victim in town over several days. Several truck drivers came forward stating they had given the man lifts between Uniontown, Kentucky and Mt. Vernon, but the man would invariably get off the trucks when nearing the city limits. At first the body was identified as Clifton Claibourne of Evansville. Two families and several relatives all identified the mutilated body. It was finally identified by a heel scar from a co-worker of that from molten metal when the two men worked together. A minister, Rev. Harold Clayeanip told authorities that he had seen a car parked near the scene of the murder the night before and two men walking slowly along the edge of the ditch. They made an effort to shield their faces with their hands. After the Johnson funeral, Mrs. Johnson was taken into custody by police of Evansville for questioning as they alleged she was a lover of Clifton Claibourne. She stoutly denied she had been acquainted with the man and was released. Another man was arrested in Louisville after he wrote a letter telling his wife to remove the "red" out of his clothes. Brought to Posey County he was questioned and it was determined that the "red" meant a receipt. Soon the suspect became Claibourne himself and 500 printed descriptions of the man were sent out across the country for a nationwide manhunt. A charge of murder was filed against him in the Posey circuit court and a warrant issued. Witnesses said they heard a commotion during the night of the murder at about the time the correct time. A woman's voice could be heard according to one's testimony. Sad to say I am unable to finish this story...I have searched in months ahead with no success. On the internet I have not been able to find graves for the two men. I found one lead of a death of a Clifton Claibourne, 31, in a Miami paper in late March (one month after murder) but I can't bring the story up as the print is too small. So, maybe if you are interested, maybe someone can try something else to give us ..."the rest of the story."


Martin Jensen (r), pioneer aviator with mechanic came to Mt. Vernon in the 1930's several times. He flew in at least once to a farm and took a few on rides. In 1932, he and his wife came to Mt. Vernon to visit his sister living here...Mrs Holger Anderson.

Letters and 2 Cent Stamps.....1931

The 1931 letters found in the home are personal letters to Dr. Rutter from former Poseyville friends who moved to Covina California. They describe a continuous town between Covina and Los Angeles, fields of vegetables, beautiful snow capped mountains and buying oranges for 10 cents a dozen. Funny, that neither the writer nor the reader has an street address and of course no zip code as yet. Just a name, town, and state. The friend in California said he lives next door to the Post Office and they know where he lives.

Old Rappite Mill Wheel Found at Old Dam.....January 1930

What was probably an important find was made by Dr. C.L. Rawlings who found a water wheel that once turned a Rappite mill. Found near the center of the falls and was covered by an immense slab that had been washed over the remaining timbers. "Only a section of the wheel could be removed but it was understood the trustees of the Workingmen's Institute would unearth the balance and reconstruct it." The wheel was oak, fastened with wooden pins and hand wrought nails evidently bound with iron. The find came as the river was experiencing exceeding lowness of water. Long ago the followers of George Rapp erected the mill, with the water wheel turning by the water that poured through the stream known as the Cut-off. When in the course of time the stream became sluggish with silt, rude plows drawn by oxen deepened the channel so the burrs might turn and grind the corn. Corn pone was found on almost every settler's table back then.

1930 Hoop Pole

The Hoop Pole had just gone to a hardback cover for the first time in 1929 then the Depression hit. The annual was sub par in 1930, the worst in school history. It disappeared altogether the next year until the depression ended.

Posey Pioneer Family Find Purse with Old Receipts of Interest.....1930

Sylvanus Johnson, 60, while looking through some old papers at the home of his father Pitts, of near Farmersville discovered a purse in which were a number of receipts. Sylvanus, county agent officer, found one from Thomas F. Prosser, editor of the Mt. Vernon Courier for a subscription starting in the spring of 1838 and it was issued to D.F. Johnson, his grandfather. The first paper in the county was the New Harmony Gazette, published in 1825. D.F. was born in 1804 in New York State. The first Johnson in Posey was Rufus who brought his family here in 1822. As a matter of fact the Johnson's traced their roots to Captain Edward Johnson who came from England with Governor John Winthrop at the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Other receipts found by Sylvanus included one issued by Rufus Johnson, great grandfather of the attendance officer, by Dr. Moses Winings, showing payment of $8.75 for medical services to the Johnson family and the date was November28, 1820. Other receipts issued to Rufus showed he paid $1 for school tuition on April 22, 1829 and on December 9, 1840; he paid $1.17 in full for one third part of the state and county tax on a farm which belonged to Samuel Phillips. All the receipts were written in ink on a very good grade of paper and were well preserved. It is said that the Johnson family were the first famers in the county to bring a reaper onto the farm fields. I can't imagine the burdens they endured when the land was wild and the weather unforgiving.

Editor Donates Birds to MVHS.....1930

John C. Leffel, editor of the Western Star, donated a number of mounted birds to the biology department of the local high school. The specimen included a Great Northern loon, a rail, a clipper rail, Great Blue heron, and a cormorant.

Unusual on the Main Drag.....1930

Long ago we had our first miniature golf course, known as the "Golf Gardens" at Fourth and Wood Streets. Bob Stinson, was putting off at the eighteenth hole and hit the ball with so much force that it went over not only the mound but also the hazard, the fence, and bounced off the edge of a car and into the pocket of Fred Dietz nearby. Unusual hole in one. No free game awarded however.

Partial Poem about Covered Bridge at Solitude by D.M. Duckworth. Bridged Stood 1867-1930

For the bridge was to have a wooden frame and stand there night and day. So they covered it over with a clapboard roof, lest its timbers might decay. With yellow popular and white oak beams, they built it strong and good, it bore the traffic for many a day, for sixty-two years it stood. Our fathers with oxen to wagon and part with their grinding across it came. Taking it down to the old water mill that stood just down the stream. Lads and lassies both on horse then with horses to buggies they rode. The traction steam engine drawing thresher also passed over this bridge and road. Then the automobile, with its horn and its lights, came by at a rapid gait and the state taking over this once plank road, declared this bridge...out of date. They have built a fill and straightened the road that the Ford can have a straight run and the bridge was left and a curve cut off, so now they are tearing it down today. W.T. Washer built this bridge, a workman skilled in his way. The bridge like its builder, has served its time, and is now being taken away. Washer was from Cannelton Indiana and was an active bridge builder after the Civil War. He built at least 20 covered bridges of which at least 4 are still standing. His bridges were built in Posey, Gibson, Vanderburgh, Perry and Spencer counties.

Old Relic Shown at Western Star Newspaper Office.....1930

A trunk, maybe 200 years old brought to the States by J.J. Juncker, from Darmstadt, Germany in 1843 was on display at the Western Star office on East Second Street. The old relic was made entirely by hand and the nails used for holding it secure were wooden pegs, the body is tongue and grooved, the hinges hand-made and extend the entire width of the trunk. The lock was hand-made. I wonder if it is still around? These Junckers lived in the Caborn area and was handed down to that time to sons of John, Jake and Phillip who were all deceased by 1930. The trunk seemed to be in the possession of a Rev Townsend and he said he thought it would one day be in a museum.

There Once Was A Restaurant Called "Shadow." 1920's-30's?

I come across an ad without an address in Mt. Vernon of a restaurant owned by August Gentil and assisted by Mrs. Gentil and Joyce Blackburn. Now I am familiar with Gentil's which was the predecessor of Gundi's, but I have not heard of Shadow They said they bought out the building and the fixtures from the Smokewell on the same location. It advertised ice cream, sherbets, tasty sandwiches and cigars. I can just see a fat old stogie pushed into a dish of ice cream....yuk! They also sold some sort of box candy called "Elmer's." Sure would like a location if possible. (Bob Gentil says: Was on Main and Third in the old Whipple building)

To Top


New Harmony Bridge Worker Makes Big Splash Into Wabash.....November 1929

Richard Dunn, working on the Harmony Way Bridge was struck by a piece of pump pipe and knocked from the trestle into eight feet of water. After another worker said, "he came up after what seemed to be an extremely long time," he was rescued. The pipe was swinging overhead when a piece 18 feet long broke off and struck Dunn on the head, making a severe scalp wound. Dunn returned to work a few days later.

Dancing Girls at the Coliseum....THAT's ENTERTAINMENT!...October 1929

Carr Bros I believe we're from Mt. Vernon. They called one "Biff" I run across his name a bunch in the 1920's as a MC and a entertainer, actually going back to his high school days. Decades later at a milestone class reunion ....maybe a 50th he MC'd it.

What Happened on Black Tuesday in Mt. Vernon.....October 1929?

At 231 B on Main Street is a relic of another time with a mystery I have not been able to crack. Following a lead from Becky Higgins I was led up to the apartment for rent by Beth McFaddin Higgins to view this bedroom where two complete walls are dedicated to stocks and grain futures. Bernie and Linda Moll once owned this building and they uncovered the wall when they took down the wallpaper maybe around 2004. He was told by an old timer, now deceased that on "Black Tuesday," October 29, 1929 a man stockbroker took his life by shooting himself in the head. I have searched almost everywhere I can for death records of a suicide on that time period, by a gun in that building to no avail. In 1929 this building would have been owned by Charles Dawson who was a pharmacist before Ira Rothrock. Dawson didn't die for a few more years (1935) and not by suicide. I can't find any business for that building listed anywhere on the second floor. The First National Bank was on the corner of Third and Main Street connected to this building. I have been thinking maybe there was a connection with the bank. Still no body or name. I am sorry I have let you down, but maybe some future historian will pick up the ball and continue the search. The man would have been very tall unless he stood on something. I am 5'10' and it is at least four or five inches taller than me.

Actual Work Begins on New Harmony Bridge.....April 25, 1929

The man in the pit on the left was a New Harmony native named Clayton and he actually had the distinction of shoveling the first dirt. This is a partial of a larger picture. Some others identified are from the left Thomas Richards, Edgar Leathers, Ulya Pyle, John Pyle, Mrs. Nan Boren....the rest I don't know. I know one is C.P. Wolfe the New Harmony Times editor. I believe second to right in front. Pyle was a promoter as was Leathers. Earlier that day a ceremonial stake was driven by E.H. Goode, engineer for the United States War Department. The papers were there for the county and the Evansville Courier. Certainly Illinois had their dignitaries there also.

Burglar Fires on Nightwatchman...Makes Large Mess...Gains No Loot.....1929

Wm. Landreth, Sycamore Street, night watchman at the Sunlight Milling Company had a narrow escape late one night when he was fired upon by a burglar operating for over an hour in the Westhoff Brothers Garage, just east of the mill. Landreth threw a flashlight on the intruder and the bad guy fired a shot with the bullet going through the plate glass window of the A.A. Schenk Grocery across the street. The burglar then fled. Nothing of value was taken from the garage, but the entire interior of the garage showed evidence of a search for money. Landreth had saw movement earlier but thought that Mr. Westhoff was in the building. No identity of the gunman was noted and he got away.

Mountaineers Trample Boonville.....1929

That's the title of a Western Star article in the fall of 1929. Although if you have read my book on boy's basketball, the 1912 team was called the Brownies only because the coach was George Brown. The Mountaineers became our first official nickname I guess in the 1920's. Getting back to this game in 1929 of which the paper said the "mountaineer Indians scalped the Boonville Pioneers 19-13. Before all the line plunges, end runs, aerial attacks there was a big monster pow-wow at the Athletic Field. The night started at Sherburne Park with a parade of youngsters running down the street with the band and drum corps taking part. I can remember a "snake dance" winding through town for a big game when I was in school. Probably~Wavy~ got to hold hands with a girl for the first time. Maybe, I am exaggerating just a tad. After the group of spirited students got back to the park they had one of them pep sessions where the postmaster, Phillip E. Rowe, gave a big inspiring rah rah speech. "Go play like a house afire!"

MVHS Moves Into New School, New Principal, New Nickname.....1929

Back in the 1980's longtime Mt Vernon principal and 1915 graduate Charlie Hames would drive over to see the hippie and he would bring me money wrapped in rubber bands that he had collected of sales of my hardback book, "From Brownies to Wildcats." Because having him as a salesman to push it, it was like having LBJ twisting arms in the Senate. That first book has sold more than any of my seven to date. He would sit at my dinner table and we would discuss sports and students and World War I and just about anything. He couldn't remember me from school or my family. That bothered him because he knew and remembered just about everything about Mt. Vernon. Well, I asked him about the Wildcat nickname and the school colors. He went on in great detail and said that G.S. Rust was selected Mt. Vernon principal in August of 1929 to succeed Earl Nash who resigned after five years to attend Columbia University in New York. Rust had been a teacher in the Mt. Vernon school for about four years and principal of the Junior High for a couple. He also taught history and science at the Senior High. Mt. Vernon was being called, "The Mountaineers" and well Rust looked for a new beginning in a new school. What kind of mascot is a mountain and we don't have a mountain? Rust, according to Hames took the gray school color of Evansville Reitz where Rust had been and the maroon from the University of Chicago where Rust did graduate work. The Wildcats came from Northwestern University which he had also attended. Don't you wish he was a UCLA graduate?

Main Street.....1929

Old Dam in New Harmony Opens for the Season.....April 1928

The Old Dam, owned and operated by Charles Dawson, of Mt. Vernon was opened for the public on April 22nd. Dawson had been busy for weeks engaged in getting the place in readiness for the trek of visitors that were sure to come.

More Words Found to School Song I Wasn't Aware Of.....1928

I was looking through a Memory Book that once belonged to the late Mildred Blake, a 1928 Mt. Vernon graduate, a fine violinist, and a school teacher. There were all sorts of memories in this book of recitals, orchestra clippings, girls' basketball mementos, even a wrapper from a candy bar that coach Homer Allgood gave to each player before an important game. One page struck my eye...the School Song. The first verse I was familiar with from standing and singing it at countless athletic events. Here is the full version: "We will shout for the red and white boys and we'll yell Mt. Vernon High. Never daunted, never taunted, we will rout M..V..H..S...Rah! Rah! Rah! Loyal to our school boys, till we die we'll praise her name. In victory or defeat, we'll never ever retreat, but fight for her the same. "March, march on down the field, shouting Mt. Vernon High. Break there the enemies' line, their strength to defy. We'll give a long shout for Vernon's men. We're here to win again. Fight, fight unto the end, Mt. Vernon High."

MVHS on College....1927

Heroism by Theodore Roosevelt "Peanuts" Waller Saves Property and Lives.....June 1926

The Western Star reported that on June 13, 1926 Theodore Waller averted a serious train wreck at the L&N depot in Mt. Vernon. The excursion train bound for St. Louis came into the station and Waller observed that one wheel looked strange to him. As the train pulled out, Theodore ran to the front of the train and notified the conductor of a potential problem. A wrecker from Howell was summoned and the damage was repaired. A formal citation was presented to him for his alertness. Theodore (1903-1986) was the father of Carlton "Tiny" Waller many of us remember as the great local baseball star that lost his leg in the grain elevator accident.

Mt. Vernon Girls End Two Long Winning Streaks, But Start Another....1925-1926

"Lady Champs," Mt. Vernon's elite high school mythical state champions were defeated by Huntingburg at their place 34-32. This stopped MV's 19 game winning streak and 27 game regular season winning streak. Huntingburg hit the winning basket with less than ten seconds left in the game. Neither team substituted in the game. Mt. Vernon was led by future school Hall of Famer, Sara "Never Miss Sally" McGregor with 24 points. Immediately the team won 17 more in a row claiming another state title. The good times ended in 1927 in their opening loss 18-15 to Mt. Olympus and they went 6-9-1 that season for their first losing season since they started playing in 1917. Basketball for girls was stopped after the 1930 season and their record for 14 years of play was 135-38-4. The girls were 43-9 against Evansville teams and never lost to a Posey County team except in one alumni game. It was stopped statewide by commissioner Trester of ISHAA as "studies showed that athletics was harmful to the female's reproductive system." MV's girls' team was so popular that the boys' varsity team played first at home and the girls' team was the headliner. Our '26 team was invited to a post season national tournament in Ohio. In the midst of raising contributions to go the state banned us from attending. Sara McGregor went on to play women's field hockey in college. The tourney was in Youngstown, Ohio. Evansville Courier Feb 27, 1926 says, "Down here in Posey County where girls' basketball reigns supreme there is an unusual star. They call her, "Never Miss Sally"and a more appropriate word cannot be found. Statistics indicate her name is Sara K. McGregor. "She averaged more on the season then the opposition did scoring 56 vs. Evansville Memorial. Sadly, we seem to discount our great teams and their accomplishments like they never happened.

Exlyn Raincoat Factory Lineage.....1926

During the Civil War in Mt. Vernon we had a brick Seminary on the property that would one day become Main Street School on North Main Street. It was located on the west side of Main between West Tenth and an alley running east and west. It was used as a hospital for the Shiloh battle wounded. It was torn down about 1878 according to a 1926 Western Star printing. Later this property would house the Exlyn raincoat factory.

Teddy Engler.....1926

7'2", 169 lb, 17 year old Teddy Engler with his dad in 1926. He traveled with the Hagenhack-Wallace and Shrine Circus.

New Harmony Robbery.....1925


Although I have never seen a picture, the traction line barns were located in 1925 at 330 North Wood Street. The interurban train ran from Evansville to People's Bank. Turn of century to late 1920's

Editor of Western Star...."We Do Suppress the News"....1920's

John C. Leffel, editor of the Western Star newspaper in Mt. Vernon said for the longest time "anything that the Good Lord will permit to happen we will publish",was the policy of the pioneers of journalism. He said the world was so bad with so much lurid and nauseating reading matter that it had become "extremely distasteful to intelligent readers." He felt that there were social consequences to printing unethical material. Leffel had been local editor since 1876. He said the Star would suppress details of crime "that are suggestive, or repulsive, that stimulate unbalanced minds to deeds of violence, that have no place in a well-managed newspaper." He felt that indiscretions of the youth, details of brutality served no purpose beyond morbid curiosity. He would give us the news....minus the blood and guts.

MVHS Graduate Becomes Active Minister for 48 years... Walter Dickhaut. 1903-1997. Shown in photo as Baldwin Wallace Center in mid 1920's.

While in high school in Mt. Vernon someone said he should go out for the Mt. Vernon basketball team. Walter wasn't so sure; in fact he had never seen the game played before! He did however and made the team. His first couple of years it took quite an effort to get to the games. He had to take a horse and buggy ride to Caborn then ride the interurban into town. Practices and games got him home after 11 pm. In his junior and senior years he took a job in town at a cafeteria and a hotel that belonged to MV's center's dad. They gave him a room during the school year so he could play ball. He was on that first county basketball team that won the tourney in 1922 and in 1923 he made the all-county team. Wanting to go to Earlham College like classmate Owen Huntsman did, his mom said no...."you will only want to play basketball and you won't do your homework." He was to go to a Christian school. He went to Baldwin-Wallace. Here someone asked him to play football. He didn't know that game either. The coach put him at guard in the first practice and he started to tackle the man in front of him! Finally, they decided to make him the center even though he was only 5'9" and 145 lbs. He also played basketball earning two letters and was captain in his senior year. From there he continued his education and became a minister traveling to many towns and states as a pastor. A long life filled with many blessings and a witness for the Lord. Proud to think it all started here.

Mildred Blake on Main Street Teachers of the 1920's

"As one entered the front door, the first door on the right was the domain of Miss Ina Ruminer who taught writing and English." She taught fifth and sixth grade using the Palmer Method of writing. "She would call out the arm movements as she walked up and down the aisles. She kept a rhythm as she chanted...Over, over, over, under, dot, etc.... Across the hall in the other first floor room, Ersine Utley held forth. He taught arithmetic. He was red-headed and had a temper to go with it. No one liked to see his face turn red and that vein protrude in the middle of his forehead. On the second floor, the north room was the domain of Miss Dercie Richards. She taught reading, art and music. Across the hall was W.O. Klotz who taught history, geography and spelling. He was a kind person and also principal. It had indoor toilets in the basement in 1921, but they were always in poor condition. More than once at noon, I would wet myself because I would try to wait until I got home at lunch rather than use those toilets. It had a dirt basketball court on the back lot. Mildred did play for the Mt. Vernon Redbirds high school team.

Hasting Zebroid...1920's

Captain Philip Rowe and Bride Given Ride Through the City.....September 1923

A wild ride through the city was on tap for the captain and his bride aboard an army caisson. It was said that for the first time since the organization of the local battery his men did not follow orders. Immediately after drill at the armory the soldiers pounced upon their commanding officer and placed him in the caisson. They then secured Mrs. Rowe and the 45 minute sightseeing tour of the city took place. At the end of the ride the newlyweds served refreshments to the soldiers. Battery E stood at attention as Lieut. Gilbert Behrick, on behalf of the soldiers presented the captain with a "handsome chest of silver" to show their esteem for the officer.

"Clink" Bullard Scouted by Manager of Evansville Three-I League....September 1923

This photo is of the Mt. Vernon Arrows team in 1934. I think Bullard is at top left. Johnny Dee, manager of Evansville came to Athletic Park to see Bullard pitch. The skipper stood behind the press box in back of home plate and watched Bullard pitching. Delayed in getting here from Henderson, he only saw him pitch four innings but he said he saw enough to convince him that the boy was a comer. The Western Star newspaper placed a call to the manager the next day and Nee said, "The boy looks good. From in back of home plate I watched his curve ball and it is a wonder. He has plenty of steam, a good change of pace, mixes them up and in fact, looks like good material. But he seemed to weaken in the last few innings." When asked if he would be given a tryout next season, he was non-committal. Nee did get Bullard's mailing address. Bullard, I think his first name was Clifford, went 8-1 that season. I don't know if he ever got that chance. Nee the next season left Evansville and managed a team in the Sally League. He had managed locally in 1919; 1922 and 1923. Nee was a good scout having signed Hall of Famer Bill Dickey and all-star Tommy Heinrich of the Yankees.

Walter Dickhaut MVHS.....1923

The 1923 team was 11-11 and coached by Charles Turpin and was still called "The Brownies." They played their home games that season in the Kof P Hall or the Modern Woodman of America. It sat on Walnut Street behind the Elks. The next season the Brownies would move to a new home....The Armory.

Walter Bros Bakery...established 1884; continued into the 1920's

Local historian, Linda Young submitted this heading in a 2010 Posey County Historical Society Newsletter. Pop Fessenden said in his book that by 1900 Peter Walter turned over the bakery to his sons. They had some of their breads named like, "Betty Ann," "Real Loaf," and Ma-Ma's Bread." They made rye bread too along with cakes, pies, cookies and donuts. The bakery itself was on East Third but they sold their product at the location which would be the "Palace of Sweets." It was one of two or three local bakeries of the time that kept Mt. Vernon smelling fine. I have a city directory of them on Main in 1915.

Klantauguas Locally.....Early 1920's

In 1920 Joe Huffington was chosen the Imperial Wizard from Evansville and started the Indiana branch of the Ku Klux Klan. By 1925 the state Klan was at their zenith with hundreds of thousands of members and members of local and state government elected. Of course hatred lies everywhere. It is a taught thing for I believe human nature isn't inherently violent. Klantauguas were lectures of the principles of the Klan and were common in semi-public or club meetings. Klan robes even occasionally found their way into the church. I have been told of at least one incident on a Sunday morning when a robed Klansman walked up to the altar and dropped a big sack of money in the offering plate and walked out. Can you imagine and the response was what? A few names have been circulating locally from that time of members, but I will not use them. By the 1920's the tactics were more intimidation it seems then physical violence. I have read of at least two cross burnings at a farm just north of town at a Sheriff's home they were trying to squeeze and one on the old sandbar across the river from Sherburne Park during a local celebration. It was not just racial but religious bigotry. The Klan was anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant from eastern and southern Europe. Signs said, "Save Our Land, Join the Klan." The Klan once marched over 5000 hooded members, women and children down Seventh and Main Street in Evansville. They carried burning crosses on long poles. In Boonville in 1924, 3000 gathered for a day long picnic, parade and speeches calling for "unity of the white race and what it entailed to be 100% American." During the evening a plane circled overhead dragging a twenty foot cross. The Klan liked to show up at county fairs too. They showed up in mass at a fair in Dubois County where the population was predominately Catholic. In New Harmony at their fairgrounds in 1922, a village ripe with experiments of Dale Owen's racial equality doctrine and friend of Lincoln, the Klan held a public initiation class of over 300 new members. I know hate still exists here; it seems I see division more than union again growing. I met a man although not from here who is very knowledgeable about the Civil War. We got talking about the 1878 hangings at the courthouse. I told him I thought they may have had some connection to the Knights of the Golden Circle. He called them "White Caps," and said he knew who a few of them theory anyway. I don't think we will ever really know, but as we dig into secret societies we will start having some suspicions. Alvin Hovey who talked down another mob gathering later said, Go home, I know whom some of you are.

A List of the Black Lodges and Locations in 1922

  • Gayflower Lodge 1685 at 806 East Third
  • Household of Ruth at 806 East Third
  • Waymon Lodge at 107 West Second
  • Friendship Company at 107 West Second
  • Ohio Valley Court at 107 West Second
  • Wallden Lodge at 108 Main
  • Corinthian Tabernacle at 107 West Second
  • Ethiopian Tabernacle at 107 West Second

"Welcome to my Nightmare; Hope I did not scare you".....1922

John E. Schenk, salesman at the Weibrenner and Son grocery, found a large and I mean large tarantula one morning while moving a bunch of bananas from a crate. The spider was put in a glass candy jar and placed on display in the show window of the store.

Hitching a ride.....July, 1921

In July of 1921 the Flesher Towboat and Barge Line of Mt. Vernon ran regular excursions to the Kentucky sandbar across from Sherburne Park to accommodate local bathers and sun worshipers. Grove Flesher, the captain got a new ferryboat in 1929 he called "Carmen." This ferry would operate on the Wabash River.

The Big Show of 1921

The first session of Mt. Vernon Chautauquas was held in the summer of 1905. It was organized by local citizens with the help of the superintendent of the Mt. Vernon public schools. It went on for eight days and was held at Black's Natural Park (Black's Grove). That year a terrible storm hit on the fourth night flooding the park to the depth of one foot, completely stopping everything for two days. As a result the event ended with a big deficit. The next year it was held at the Central school grounds. So let's jump ahead to 1921 shall we? Another eight day event where prices were $2 for the week for an adult or fifty cents per session at the door. Sometimes if you just went during the daylight hours you got in for a quarter. All kinds of entertainment available. There was the Starr Russian Company which were real Russians playing native instruments and singing. Dr. Thomas Green did a lecture on "Holding the Outposts." The Venetian Troubadours, a mixture of singers and instrumentalists played romantic music from Italy. A stirring political address, "The Americanism That Will Save America," was given by Will Upshaw, a member of Congress from Georgia. The Dietrics performed music and magic. The audience was stumped by the tricks, even those sitting on the first row. They also introduced various novelties of instruments including the xylophone, hand-bells, chimes and various string instruments. Another speech by Clifford Roe, a United States District Attorney from Chicago was on hand. His discussion was on white slavery and it was entitled, "Barriers Burned Away." The show ended with the Pageant, "America, Yesterday, and Today," staged by Mt. Vernon children and young people. It started with the spirit of the Indian people showing a ceremonial dance of the last of the harvest brought in as a sacrifice to the Great Spirit. Next the Spirit of the Wilderness, and the scene following represented of daises, wild roses, butterflies, poppies, dryads, grasshoppers, bluebirds, etc. The Spirit of Patriotism then spoke and the Spirit of State enters followed by scenes representing the various nationalities which have settled in this country, ending with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Chanukah Comes On Christmas..MV Jewish Citizens Celebrate.....1921

At the local synagogue and in the homes the festival sometimes called the "Feast of Lights" was observed in Mt. Vernon beginning Sunday evening December 25 and for eight days thereafter. The feast is coupled with a historical event, the Macabean revolt, which is of national importance to the people of Israel. The stories of the events date to the years 165-168 B.C., and recount the loyalty of the people to their heritage. "That man does not prevail by the exercises of might but by the spirit of God working for justice and fair play." Locally, the Ohio River was a lifeline of the Jewish people into the tri-state. The river towns were the first places eastern United States Jewish families settled. By the 1830's only two Jewish families were in Evansville, but by the 1950's, Jewish merchants appeared in Lawrenceburg, Aurora, New Albany, Mt. Vernon, Cairo, Paducah, Golconda and Metropolis. They came as a trickle and most were second generation Jewish Americans. Cincinnati was the stopping off point along the river to the other communities. In Mt. Vernon we had mercantile, jewelers, tailors and butchers to name a few.

White Front Restaurant on West Second Street...February 1927

Run by Orin and Myrtle Cox. Hot dogs a dime, hamburgers a nickel or a dime, steak 20 cents, two eggs 15 cents, plate lunch a quarter and a bottle of pop a nickel.

Philip Mann & Sons .....Merchant Tailors 1864 Until Around 1920

Philip was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1835 and learned the tailor trade there before immigrating to the United States in 1852 living first in Philadelphia and later Henderson, Kentucky. In 1864 he came to Mt. Vernon and started his trade here at first on a small scale, but soon had the largest business of his trade in the county. An 1867 advertisement shows his establishment at that time was at 49 Main Street. "As a cut of clothing, Mr. Mann is superior in the county. Full line of piece goods from the finest and most costly to cheaper grades. Able to make at every style, condition, fashion, shade and color. Mann is a liberal affable gentleman and satisfaction is guaranteed." "The Old Timer," Pop" Fessenden wrote of his store too. By the turn of the century, Mann had moved his store to 218 Main Street. The building would have been on the alley adjoining what us baby boomers remember as Oliver Jewelers. Philip in later life was assisted by his two sons Charles and William where customers could make their selection. "Having selected the material, the entire garment could be made there, all work being done by hand. This was the only shop in Mt. Vernon which kept in stock material necessary for the suit of clothes, therefore causing no delay in supplying customers with their orders," Pop wrote.

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New Harmony Actress "Bella" Golden....1842-1919

Born in London in 1842, Emma Isabella Llewellyn Golden immigrated to America with her parents in 1848. She became an orphan at a young age and was taken in by actress Kate Reynolds. As a child playing backstage she was used in bit parts and developed a beautiful singing voice. She started finding work as a teenage actress in St. Louis where she met her husband Martin Golden. In 1860 she joined the William Rouse Company and traveled to many communities including New Harmony where they made their home. Opinionated, she supported the Union during the Civil Was and at timed feared for her life while touring in the South. Her children were also talented acting as well as authoring plays. The entire Golden family is buried at Maple Hill Cemetery.

The Start of Tying Your Class Colors To A Hoop Pole.....1919

I guess they still do this...

Into Eternity A Young Woman Goes.....1919

Irene Grace, just 18, unmarried, was buried at Bellfountaine Cemetery . She had tried to stop a runaway team of horses hitched to a delivery wagon. Knocked to the ground she bruised her knee badly and it was diagnosed as "tuberculosis of the bone," and they amputated her leg. It didn't get better and she died very early unable to fulfill her promise.

Concrete Boat Docks At Mt. Vernon Wharf.....August 1918

The little launch, "Concrete," the first concrete boat to navigate the inland waters of America arrived at our wharf and stayed 24 hours. Many locals went down to see the ship, but it was very small. The launch was 18 1/2 feet in length and just 4 1/2 feet broad. She was manned by just three sailors, CQ Smith, coxswain Hogan, machinist's mate, and Merriman, bugler. The object of the trip was to show our citizens the first concrete boat built in America, and how many ocean going steamers are being built on the same plan. Advantages were the saving of timber and steel and the quick manufacture some taking only two days to construct. At that time 45 ocean going concrete boats were under construction and one, the "Faith" had been finished and was on a voyage to Japan. They came a little late for the First World War, but some were used in WWII.

Draft Card.....1918

This fellow was 4A ( too old for the draft)

Draft Card.....1918

Belonged to Sgt First Class date WWI era probably.

"In Freedom's Name" Food Conservation World War I.....1918

Every hear of "Meatless Mondays" or "Wheatless Wednesday?" The United States as a whole and Mt. Vernon tried to follow the process to preserve essential resources for the troops and allies abroad. Pamphlets were handed out that showed meals without wheat and potatoes. We also had "Porkless Saturday" and "Baconless Breakfast" every day. Not sure how effective this was or whether the citizens participated beyond maybe the restaurants in town. What happened in the rural districts may have been different than high profile districts. Each day at least one meatless meal was encouraged. Herbert Hoover was then the head of the U.S. Food Administration and he urged people to follow the "gospel of the clean plate" not wasting food.

Unjustified Suspicion.....1917

In 1860 Germans outnumbered southerners in Posey County but started to decline in the 1870's. by 1857 a German Aid Society was formed to help their own which lasted until 1942. We had a German Cemetery and two German speaking newspapers. The Wochenblatt lasted from 1875-1881 and in 1895 we had the Mt. Vernon Rundschau. There were German bands and German speaking churches. When WWI came our German neighbors were looked on with suspicion. Names were changed from Karl to Charles and August to Gus. In 1918 Trinity Church was threatened to be blown up with dynamite. The congregation petitioned The Lord in prayer for safety not knowing whether they would be harmed or not. As is the ways of man we seldom learn from our mistakes.

Yom Kippur Observed in Mt. Vernon.....1916

Our Jewish citizens observed the Day of Atonement, closing their places of business for the entire day. Considered one of the most solemn of Hebrew holidays, services were held at the local synagogue. "On this day it is believed by orthodox Hebrews that the "Book of Fate," in which God inscribed the judgment of each person on New Year's Day, will be sealed, and that by sincere repentance the adverse judgment will be blotted out and favorable ones substituted before the book is sealed." Our local faithful spent the day praying and fasting. The "Shofer" or ram's horn was sounded a number of times during the local service.

Pageant Book of Mt. Vernon Centennial.....1916

Writer of the Pageant was Mrs. Nora Fretageot of New Harmony. The seal on this book is that of Posey County, adopted in 1835, in honor of Wm. Henry Harrison, and which bears his initials. During the play the guns used were owned by local people. The pioneer scenes by flat boat, rafts and canoes were descendants of the families who actually came here by that manner. Likewise in some scenes those who came by horse, wagon or ox cart were played by actual descendants.

Former Indiana-Kentucky Semi-Pro for Mt. Vernon Once Held Chicago Cub Great Hitless....1916

Clarence Groh was a crafty southpaw who pitched several years for Mt. Vernon's I-K entry. Before when he was younger, he was hurling for the Belleville, Illinois Hustlers against the St. Louis Southerns. Groh when he left Mt. Vernon became a deputy sheriff in Belleville. He and his buddies were at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis to watch the Cubs, managed by Charlie Grimm play the Cardinals. The conversation evolved to where Clarence remarked that he had pitched against the .290 lifetime hitter Grimm years before in a game before Grimm debuted in the major leagues. His buddies didn't really believe him, even though he had a reputation in town of having been a pretty fair hurler in the minds of the old-timers. On return back home Groh went to work looking through musty piles of old newspapers until he found the game of July 25, 1916. The box score showed that Grimm, born in St. Louis went 0-3 with a walk vs. Groh who pitched a six hitter and striking out 3. Later that summer Grimm would start his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. Grimm also managed three N.L. Championships in 1932, 1935, and 1945. Since that "goat incident" we won't see that again!

100th Anniversary.....1916

Chas Rhein Grocery 211 Main; Niblos Notions 213 Main; and Mt. Vernon Bank...215 Main. At Niblo's Variety Store at that time you could bu what they called "The Priscilla" a gay colored girlish looking sun hat 50 cents. Just right for the cut off shorts and halter top doing gardening. Whoops....wrong decade. Anyway....a warm weather necessity.

Stinson Bros. 205-207 Main.....1916

Wm. Bryant Dry Goods & Clothing...130-132 Main.....1916

I believe this building sat on the corner of Second and Main. Once was Stuffle's.

Elks Home.....1916

It was built in early 1860's by Alvin Hovey. He lived there with his wife and children. His wife Mary died there. The home and furnishings were sold to Matthew Thompson who sold it to Daniel and Mose Rosenbaum. A son of Mose...Lee lived there for a while. In 1909 they sold it to the Elks Lodge.

Largest Barn in Indiana....Hasting Barn in Point Township.....1915-Late 60's

Just sold all five of my volumes to the Hasting family and we talked a spell. My grandfather Jim use to work for the Hasting family probably in the 1920's and 1930's. I believe I have added an 's' to their name many times in is Hasting. They told me that a barn was constructed in 1915 that was 90,000 square feet! It was largest in the state. Mr. Hasting said he had no pictures of it or Hasting Equipment Company. Isn't that something? Of course, cameras weren't used like we use them today. The barn was in the location of the Hasting Farm Greenhouse today. I was also told that he had a picture somewhere of some of the employees of Hasting Equipment dated 1957. I hope to get see that one. I know Don Russell worked there. Don worked as a military policeman at the Nurrenberg Trials. Spoke of a home in his family on West Fourth Street that had a cupola on the roof and the first radio broadcast in Mt. Vernon originated from there in the 1920's. I sure would like to find someone who had a photo of that barn! I have seen one photo of a barn that was huge, but Hasting said that one is the small one. The barn was built by Dr. William Edward Hasting who was born in Point Township in 1867. The family itself came to Point between 1830 and 1835. Looking at my references they too use an 's' and make it Hastings. In John Leffel's "History of Posey County", Hasting was said to have been interesting in farming and had over 1000 acres in Point and was a breeder of cattle and mules and well...zebroids.

Educator Charles W. Hames MVHS Class of 1915

New Harmony Centennial Celebration.....1914

In the New Harmony Centennial Celebration of 1914 only one Rappite was left. Mr. John S. Duss, (no age given), spoke on June 9th to the crowd at the auditorium and his subject was "The Rappite Women."

Be Careful What You Ask For.....1914

Judge Hertis Clements entered the drug store on the corner of Main and Second of Wm. Fogas and asked the pharmacist, Otto Zerze to fill his prescription. After the pills were counted out and handed to him in a vial he said, "What's the damage Otto?" Zerze said, "fifty cents will take care of it." Handing Otto a dollar bill, the judge remarked, "Give me half of that back." Zerze feeling "squirrely" quickly folded the bill and tore it in halves and handed one piece to the judge as change. The judge was shocked as some interpret the law that to deface, mutilate, and impair currency is a federal crime. He didn't see the humor of the moment and refused to accept the torn currency. Zerse smiled, compromised and took back the torn bill and gave him fifty cents in coin. Nobody was arrested. Should have given him one of those flatten pennies from down at the depot I say.

Poseyville Bank Stamp.....1913

John C. Leffel.....1913

Newspaper editor and publisher of The History of Posey County

John H. Moeller (R) Mayor of Mt. Vernon 1909-1913

Let's start the New Year talking well of a local Republican...shall we? John H. Moeller, 1867-1959. His father John was an immigrant from Germany and came to Mt. Vernon in 1857 after two years in New Orleans. His father was in the cooperage business as well as a saw mill and stave business. Now Mayor Moeller was born and raised here, in our schools and learned the cooper trade. He took employment as a clerk too and learned telegraphy and worked in town with the Western Union, in Evansville and in Texas. Returning home from Texas in 1885 he went back in business with his brother Charles in the cooperage business. His saw mill caught on fire in 1911 and he persuaded the Whitmore Handle Factory to come to Mt. Vernon and use his property. In politics he started in an appointed position as city commissioner in 1901-1907. He then ran for Mayor and won by a large majority, maybe the largest to that time. He was broadminded, frugal, but made improvements. He is credited with improving lights, water, telephone, public drinking fountains, safety gates for the railroad tracks and he improved sanitation and sewage conditions within the town. His leadership was tested during the April flood of 1913, but he secured from the War Department, rations for 10,000 people for ten days. He commanded every boat available to bring into town refugees from the lowlands of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. He got the militia in town to help in the rescue work also. He lived a long life and is buried at St. Matthew's Cemetery and should be known as a public servant who furthered the general welfare of our community. Sherburne Park also came into being during his administration in 1912 a gift of Jacob Cronbach.

New City Park Coming.....February 1912

The Mt. Vernon levee would soon be turned into a city park and the slope of the river bank will be changed...."where once the sides resounded the tuneful chant of the Negro deckhands in palmy days of steam boating will be now covered with children playing on the playground."

Cover of our first Hoop Pole.....1912

Putting attractive women on the cover always boosts sales. Hey...I should do that; and a centerfold too!

Mischief At Carmi Fair.....1912

What was described as a descendent of the original "meanest man" who ever lived in Carmi took several pounds of shoe tacks and large poster tacks, some of them prepared with putty on the heads to insure their standing with the points up, and spread them on the streets of Carmi on the rock road leading into the Fair Grounds. The malicious mischief led to many flats of automobile tires.

Shawneetown Battle Over Card Cheating Kills Three.....August 1911

Sometimes I like to include a story outside of Mt. Vernon, but close enough to be neighbors. Old Shawneetown, Illinois has had an interesting relationship with Mt. Vernon since early in the 19th century. Visited there this past year with the Posey County Historical Society and found the old part fascinating, especially the museum near the river. On this particular summer date the penalty of cheating at cards was paid with three men mortally wounded and a fourth suffering the loss of his hand. A fifth man made his escape through the weeds and willows of the Little Wabash bottoms and was later captured and put into a buggy. He was brought to the jail there. The men had been playing cards all night in a "boot-legging" shanty boat in the willows of the river. They played something called, "three card monte" all day and night. One of the men was accused of cheating. They agreed to wait until sunrise to carry on a pitched battle on the Illinois side of the river. The fight was short and furious. The survivor said it was like a deadly Indian skirmish. The injuries of the dead were: shot through the abdomen, mortally wounded; next guy shot through the right jaw, entirely blown away, mortally wounded; shot though the stomach, dead ; and another man had his right hand shot off. All the dead were taken to their homes. The shooting took place at a spot called, "Yellow Bank."

Second Cousin and Look Alike of Abraham Lincoln Lived in Ft. Branch.....1911

The little town in Gibson County for over fifty years had the distinction of being the home of Elijah Lincoln born near Zanesville, Ohio in 1832. His grandfather was Josiah Lincoln, the younger brother of Thomas who was Abe's father. The resemblance of Elijah to the dead president was said to be very striking. His tall and gaunt body was the same and he like his namesake was a good story teller, loved children and jokes. Elijah was a great hunter in his younger days. He had lived in the Ft. Branch area since his 20's and at 79 he was living with his daughter, Mrs. Clinton Bell. Elijah served during the Civil War in the 58th Indiana regiment. He also had a son, Abraham living in Wharton, Texas among other children. Elijah only saw his famous cousin Abe a couple of times but he always tried "to keep the Lincoln name above reproach." A widower he is well read and keeps up on all current events. He loves to tell stories and never mentions his kinship to the president unless asked and when he speaks of him it is a tribute to his greatness. He died in Ft. Branch on March 20, 1916. He was also the great grandnephew to the ex-governor Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts.

Third Balloonist Falls To His Death At Mt. Vernon Fairgrounds.....1911

Okay, what's going on here? The third man to fall to his death from a balloon was T.C. Artway. Artway had just given the signal to cut loose and the balloon soared upward and the ropes of the parachute caught in the guy wire which supported the poles that held the balloon during inflation, hurling the man to the ground, a distance of maybe 25 feet. The balloonist grabbed at the wire but the balloon snapped the parachute loose from the balloon and he hit "with a sickening thud." The crowd rushed forward and the unfortunate was rushed to town to Dr. Whiting's office but died fifteen minutes later. He had a fractured skull and a fracture of his left arm at the wrist plus internal injuries. He was 32 years old and had a wife in Shelbyville. Coroner Weisinger prepared the body for shipment home. Just one year before Jack Cassett of Louisville lost his life on the exact spot. A photo of that exists of a patched balloon that burst high in the air. I have shown that one before and the photo is on the cover of Ray's Ramblings Volume 4. In the 1890's a man named Rice of Detroit lost his life by drowning when his parachute dropped him in the Ohio River near Mt. Vernon and he became entangled and held underwater.

Launch Takes City Folk to Uniontown Fair.....August 1910

Nice little packet taking two hours to the fair left Mt. Vernon to Uniontown, Kentucky for the fair. Round trip was a dollar and on the way back from the fourteen mile journey there was a delicious lunch and liquid refreshments served by Chas Joest of the St. Nicholas hotel. Also the E.B. Schenk orchestra played their famed, "Schnitzel Bank." Some of the dignitaries on the launch were Mayor John H. Moeller, Will Dietz, Chas Joest, Chas Kreie, J. W. Krug, Jas Blackburn, John Conlin, Wm Frier, Jesse Wade, Fred Lichtenberger, Harry McKay, Fred Welcher, E. B. Schenk, Fred Hironemus, Joseph Ayers, Chas Dexheimer, John Schultheis, Geo Hironemus, Jester Hostettler, Pete Roche, editor of the Democrat, JohnC. Leffel, editor of the Western Star, and newspaper reporters from the Evansville Courier and Journal News.

Catholic Chapel in Point Township.....1910

~Wavy~ was reading about an outing at the Catholic Chapel in Point Township way back in August of 1910. One of that old-fashion, box social affairs with a program to it. A short speech on "how a good person exerts influence to benefit another. " Darkness brought singing...patriotic and whimsical. "There ain't no flies on us; no there ain't no flies on us. There may be flies on you guys, but there ain't no flies on us. " Strange song...I wonder at its origin. What I have is that a frame church 72x 35 was built on acquired land and dedicated in October 1902. It was called "Poor Souls Chapel." The mission was attended for St. Matthew's until 1907 but was gradually abandoned when hard surface roads made it easier to come to Mt. Vernon. In 1937 the chapel was destroyed by fire and according to a Democrat article in 1979 the land was still in the possession of the St. Matthew parish.

Horse-Drawn School Bus of Enoch Butler who drove for the old Poseyville school on Cale Street circa 1910

New Harmony Man Sees Hailey's Comet Twice in 1836 and 1910.

"Uncle Ben" Stoker was born east of New Harmony in 1820. His father settled there in 1804 and out of a clearing built a log home. Uncle Ben he became the first ever mailman between New Harmony and Mt. Vernon traveling by horse-back in 1836. That must have been when he looked up saw the comet. Wasn't much but a few cabins between the two towns back then. I saw it in 1986, but I don't remember much about it....2061 it is due again....I'll pay more attention. (wink, wink)

Pitiful Wreck of Humanity Sent To Asylum.....1910

A man who said he came here from Virginia was found in a stable and the rumors of leprosy soon spread throughout town. Dr. Hardwick was called and upon examination found he was a "dope-fiend." Reports say he was run out of town and walked to Evansville where he was found by police. The man, George Gorden, 21 was covered with sores, caused by the injection of cocaine and morphine with rusty needles. He was first taken to St. Mary's Hospital then removed to stand before 'Squire Pool's court three days later and to be examined by the insanity commission. Fatigued after his strenuous experience of walking from Posey County it was first feared again that he had a well-developed case of leprosy. He told authorities that he was in the habit of taking sixty grains of morphine and thirty grains of cocaine every day. Police Surgeon Baughman said Gorden is undoubtedly insane, caused by the over indulgence of the drugs and had him sent to the Woodmere Evansville Hospital for the Insane. By 1902 there were estimated 200,000 cocaine addicts in the United States. Three years later the totals tripled and by 1914 the drug was outlawed.

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Frank M. Greathouse Loved a Patriotic Parade.....1908

Captain Frank loved to put on his Civil War Calvary uniform, mount his white horse and carry the Stars and Stripes at the head of Mt. Vernon's parades until he died in 1916. He served many times as the Grand Marshall of Decoration Day and Fourth of July parades. He was Chief Marshall of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument dedication in 1908 and he served his town and country well in many venues.

When President Teddy Roosevelt Visited Cairo Illinois...1907. Even then it was quite an expense.

In November of 1907 Teddy stopped to give a speech on tour supporting "deep water transportation." He was on his way to a convention in Memphis on the subject. Many Republicans found Roosevelt too much of a reformer for their tastes. God he even asked for universal health care! He also endorsed an inheritance tax, advocated resource conservation, and wanted more regulatory organizations. He also proposed railroad regulations, and higher taxes on corporations. What happened to those Republicans? Oh well I guess maybe he was an impractical visionary.

"Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?" New Harmony.....1906

An ordinance prohibiting the spitting on the sidewalks and in public places within the town of New Harmony and providing a penalty therefore was passed at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees on March of 1906. The New Harmony Times said, "If we must respect the sidewalk, wouldn't it not be a good thing to have proper sidewalks to respect?"

A Whopper.....May 4, 1905

James Goodman of New Harmony found a 70 pound catfish in his field. The fish had gone in when the water covered the land and crossed a wire fence. When the Wabash fell the fish could not get back through the fence and was left in a shallow pool of water.

MV's Medal of Honor Soldier....Sgt. Francis C. Green 1835-1905

Francis was born in Mt. Vernon and enlisted in the U. S. Army and served with the 8th U. S. Calvary during the Indian Wars in the Arizona Territory in 1868 and 1869. He was one of eight men to receive the award for "bravery in scouts and actions" during several engagements against the Apaches. The Chiefs he fought against were Vittorio and Nana. Nana was married to Geronimo's sister. Green is buried on private property near the court house square in Erin Tennessee.

More of a Ride then they Bargained for....1905

It was a Sunday morning when George Green and Roscoe Barnett, employees of the Klein-Wasem Grocery ("Busy Corner Grocer") concluded to take a drive into the country with one of the firm's mules. They had hardly taken their seats in the spring wagon when the mule took off down Main Street. At the corner of Fourth she left one rear wheel of the wagon as well as Green. At the next corner, the left front wheel flew off and out flew Barnett. The mule ran two more blocks ending up in a stable without doing further damage.

One of McFaddin Bluff's First Born (1809) Milton Black Dies.....1905

Old Milty, the oldest and last of the earliest town pioneers born here passed away. His family James and Margaret (Todd) Black came here from North Carolina in 1806 and moved first along Big Creek engaged in farming, grist and saw mills. Milton as a boy learned about those jobs and a few times took the flat boat down to the southern states. He took a job selling Yankee clocks in the tri-state and in 1836 he started working in Mt. Vernon for a steam mill. That mill burned in 1837 and in 1839 he started surveying in Iowa and Wisconsin for New Harmony's David Dale Owen. Back home again in 1840 he purchased an interest in a saw mill for a couple of years. He married Mary Jones and had a farm west of town. He did that until 1849 then became restless and headed out to California to pan gold with five other men. He was said to have done pretty well but he came back home after a year and continued farming until his wife died in 1858. He then came to Mt. Vernon and lived with his mother n law until his death. Black then made his living buying and selling real estate. He must have been pretty good at it because he owned 500 acres of farm land and helped start the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon. The Black family had a good name in town. Black Township is named after relatives of him...three brothers named Hugh, William, and Thomas. There was also Black's Grove. He even had relatives who fought at the battle of Tippecanoe. One a John Black was killed in the battle and his hat was preserved by his mother which bore the mark of the fatal bullet.

200 block of Main....1905

Tombstone of Girl Killed in Evansville Mob Riot of 1903

That year as written about in "the Social Gospel in Black and White" by Ralph Lurker a young girl was killed by a stray bullet as she sat in a carriage with her father watching a lynch mob try to break out a black man who killed a police officer. The mob turned back by 200 deputies and militia killed 9 rioters. The mob turned on the black community of 8000 and ran many out of state to Illinois and Kentucky as they were not able to find a "safe haven" in nearby towns. The mob gathered after a black man got into an argument with a black bartender over the price of a nickel beer. Run out of the saloon the troublemaker was stopped by a white policeman and during the arrest he was shot point blank in the stomach. Papers in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Life Magazine ran stories on this event that July.

Poor Soul's Chapel.....1902

Immoral Shows Get the Boot at Mt. Vernon Street Fair.....July 1901

So hot maybe the girls want to take their clothes off...but nooooo said Mr. Wright, manager of the local event. Horses were wearing bonnets to keep the sun off them, but no hoochie coochie was going to be tolerated. Numerous booths and attractions were advertised, but interest was down. Several immoral tents were chased away near the show by Marshal Barnett wearing his new uniform with a big star on his helmet and his nightstick. Eight extra patrolmen were hired to patrol the streets against that filth.

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Brinkman's Tile Works Expands....March 1898

Henry Brinkman was quite the business man coming to Mt. Vernon in 1850 and had stores of implements, of retail hardware and furniture and then he had the Tile Factory. You've heard of it.....that road out by the Middle School. The drain tile plant was getting bigger as a local manufacturer, so much so he started his fourth kiln that spring. Last year I went to the site of it and all these trees had been bulldozed over exposing long ago broken tile. I finally found a two or three foot unbroken piece that was lodged in the roots of an old tree. It's in my back yard. I'm a weird cat....really weird.

Foot Warmer Sets Wagon Bed On Fire....Hot Foot!.....Winter 1898

Henry Marshall placed a hot rock at the bottom of his wagon so that he could keep his feet warm as he headed into Mt. Vernon. The Posey County farmer and his wife filled the wagon half full of straw and placed a red hot stone on the bed. They then covered it with quilts and blankets and drove off. The rock heated their feet all right but as they reached the city the heat became so great it started to blaze. The occupants were so cold they didn't notice the blaze behind them until they smelled the smoke. Instead of extinguishing the blaze they discussed whether they should actually dispose of the rock. The men of the Peter Foltz Produce Store ran out and shoveled snow on the fire while they were deciding on a plan of action. The wagon was badly damaged, the rock cooled, but they got to town. Now to get back....maybe they went and bought a new wagon at Henry Brinkman's.

This Doenn't Happen Much Anymore!....1898

At the turn of the 20th century detachable celluloid collars were the rage of gentleman. One winter's evening at the People's Theatre in Evansville a man in the balcony lit his cigarette and threw his match over the railing. Of course, it landed in the collar of a man below and before it was extinguished a ring of flame encircled the man's neck nearly starting a panic. Words were yelled up to the balcony, but finally calm prevailed.

"Lightnin' Strik'in Again and Again and Again.".....1898

In late March reports were that many people received electrical shocks from a storm that passed through New Harmony. Homes were hit, a hotel and Workingman's Institute. A few people were knocked unconscious.

MV in the book, "Afloat on the Ohio".....1897

Reuben Gold Thwaites wrote a journal of his 1000 mile ride on a skiff from Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois and he stopped at Mt. Vernon...the 819 mile marker. "Mt. Vernon Indiana is on a high rolling plain with a rather pretty little courthouse set in a park of grass, some good business buildings and huge flouring mills which appear to be the chief industry."

New Harmony.....1897

Rosenbaum Window Display.....1897

The "Big Store" had a nice display in their show-window which attracted the attention of passer-byes. They rigged up a buzz-saw, which was run by a water motor and a dummy or doll, representing a boy, is standing at the head of the saw, cutting blocks of wood in halves. The Christmas shoppers seemed to like it....especially the kids.

Riverside Lake Tragedy.....May 1896

There was once a pond or a lake somewhere outside the then city limits just north of the E & TH railroad tracks at the foot of Main Street. The newspaper said it was about twenty feet south of Schneider's Saloon. Visitors to the lake that morning saw a sign at the pond which said: "No fish'n aloud in this hir Pond." Yep, that's their words, not mine. A fishing pole was securely fastened to the railroad track and a few feet beyond was found a pair of shoes and a suit of clothing, evidently belonging to a six year old boy, who becoming tired of fishing, went swimming and drowned. Somebody put a sign over the clothing which read: "Who will care for mother now?" Coroner Weissinger was notified and when he arrived at the lake, a dozen or more men were fishing away "yanking" dozens of fish out onto the bank. Captain Hockman and Chas. Gardiner prepared a drag, but after about 20 minutes failed to locate the boy, but did bring in about a dozen more fish. Later, the body was found and a newly elected city council worked on fencing off the pond securely.

Mad Dog Leaves Long Trail of Pain and Suffering.....1896

It's springtime and a rabid dog traveling north in Posey County on a old trail left a path twenty miles long that infected dozens of horses, pigs, cows and calves that died weeks later from bites. Hundreds of animals were quarantined until the danger passed. The dead animals were ordered to be burned and on one farm in early May, 20 hogs and cattle were euthanized on a farm of John Junker. Rabies was a common occurrence in the 19th century. Mt. Vernon would kill dogs running wild at times. The head count would be posted in the newspaper. A vaccine was developed in the 1880's for humans thankfully although painful. After every incident ordinances would be enforced of dogs running at large and pet owners were told to chain their pets up or they would be killed. A Bloomington newspaper headline years ago said, "Kill your dogs! Better every one of them should die than one human being should suffer." Can't help it, when I think of rabies I think of "Old Yeller." My generation memory I reckon.

Ingenious Laborer Saves the Day in Uniontown.....December 1895

A big fat cow, weighing maybe 1200 pounds, fell into a fifteen foot cistern two-thirds full of water in neighboring Uniontown Kentucky. The farmer wasn't present and Bill Wilson, a Negro man came to the rescue. The man quickly got a rope, fastened it to some timbers overhead, slid down the rope to the back of the swimming cow, fastened the rope about the horns, climbed up the rope again, and drawing it taut so the cow's head would be kept above water, and went for further assistance. He got a pulley, rigged up a derrick, hitched a pair of mules to the rope, after going down to the cow, and fastening a gearing of ropes about her body, whipped up the mules and hauled her safely out!

Drawing of C. P. Klein and New Rosenbaum Building....1894

The illustration says: "is gorgeous and majestic in its outward appearance. The front is of stone and pressed brick, and is artistically arraigned. Two elegant show windows flank the doors, and they are almost as big as an ordinary room being 8x15 ft. The finest plate glass is used and an attractive display of goods will always be found here. A hydraulic elevator for passenger service will be placed on shortly, as every floor in the building will be occupied. "

Negro Convention In Mt. Vernon....March 1894

The convention of citizens of Mt. Vernon and the county was held at the Rosengart's Hall on a Saturday and according to the Western Star newspaper it was well attended by "the men of the race and reflected credit upon all who participated in it." The convention was of deliberate purpose and Rev. Harrison was the number one presiding officer. "He filled the chair with dignity, promptness and tact." Professor Tomkins essay on "The Intellectual Status of the Race," was said to have been highly creditable, well composed and well researched. The idea of the convention to what I can understand was to start a preliminary goal of organizing something permanent for the advancement of the race in the city. The newspaper was more supportive than more recent issues I have read and lauded the object of the grand meeting. He mentioned that there were "several visionaries present and the two races are destined to live in juxtaposition, citizens of a common country, and surely to be desirable neighbors and that this endeavor is to morally elevate and intellectually cultivate." The writer mentioned that only about a half a dozen of the "white complexion" were present to witness the convention. I'm at this time not able to tell you where the Rosengart Hall would have been.

Rosenbaum's Used Lamson Rapid Wire Cash System.....1894

Allen Davis, owner of the old Rosenbaum Bros. store on Main Street showed some pictures of the remains of a reel from a Lamson wire system used to make cash. William Lamson patented the system in 1892. It started with an elaborate wire and pulley system using a cash box. It was connected to the wrapping stand and cash was sent to the cash office where the safe was in the back of the store. Sales slip and cash were inserted and a salesperson would release a catapult spring launching it to its destination. These wires ran the length of the store and from floor to floor. So next time you go to the bank and put your money in the pneumatic tube....think of Lamson and Rosenbaum's. Elevators and Lamson wire system....state of the art was the mammoth Rosenbaum store.

Donations for a Public Library.....1893

The committee appointed by the Alexandrian Literary Society to secure funds for the establishment of a public library in Mt. Vernon was out in force amongst the public on a busy downtown Saturday. They "met with a flattering success, and succeeded in raising $750 cash." This was only a start, but a good start that would prove to be a continually great blessing to this day. At first the donated volumes of founder Matilda Alexander were stored in one of the upper rooms of the City Hall (fire and police station). Soon demand increased and need was for a larger building. Jacob Cronbach (same man who gave us Sherburne Park), Prof Edwin Monroe and Prof E.G. Bauman began a correspondence with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for funds. Carnegie finally gave in after several attempts granting Mt. Vernon $12,500 for building costs and $1400 to equip the building. Erection began in July 1904 and was dedicated in the fall of 1905.

First Booker T.Washington High School Commencement.....June 6, 1890

The first commencement of Booker T. Washington High School occurred on June 6, 1890 at the Court House. . There were five graduates: Emma Barbour, Minnie Bishop, George P. Brown, Minnie Patterson, and George Thompkin. This was the first BTW school, earlier known at the Eastern School, later destroyed by fire.

Jewish Rabbi Preaches in Mt. Vernon Christian Church.....May 11, 1890

For the first time and maybe the only time, Rabbi Dr. R. Farber of the Mt. Vernon Jewish congregation took the pulpit of our local Methodist Church. "Representatives from all local churches were kept spellbound as the rabbi delivered a masterly sermon." Every seat was taken, standing room only was hard to Farber spoke on Malachi 2:10 and Chapter 11 of Isaiah. The subject was of being of one father and the messiah coming sprout of David.

Prominent People Buried at North Cemetery.....1834-late 1890's

This long neglected intercity cemetery behind Athletic Park was opened around 1834 when the daughter of Darius North was laid to rest. North and McFaddin were partners in the hog packing business starting probably in the 1820's. They also owned a steam saw-mill. Here at this cemetery lay Judge John Pitcher nominated for the Supreme Court and friend of Lincoln. Also Mary Leonard was buried here who was the grandmother of John Hay, National Secretary of State. Someone called, "Ole Man Reis" is here who fought for Texas independence under Sam Houston and saw service in Nicaragua under General Walker. Even by the end of the 19th century this cemetery was being neglected. Two murderers who were hung in 1884 are buried here too. After the cholera epidemics, especially the one in 1873, the town's people were concerned about disease and of the dead being buried within the city limits. German Cemetery, later called Bellefontaine became the place to go for many. Some people were dug up from here and reburied north of town.

Mt. Vernon Racetracks....1880's and 1890's

Three miles North West of Mt. Vernon was the Egmont Farm operated by George Curtis of thoroughbred horse fame. His horse, "Egmont," a stallion broke the track record in Memphis and was sold that same day for $10,000. Some of his other fast horses were "Tea Set," Red Cap," and "Blue Wing." Tom Nepper was the trainer at the farm according to "Pop" Fessenden. Where the Athletic Park is today was once a track operated by Dr. Elwood Smith and he trained and stabled harness horses. His best trotters were: "Paterson," "Nutwood," and "Alex Kiler." Horses from Lexington were also stabled there. Two of the trainers were Jim Peentiss of Galesburg, Illinois, and Bent Byers of Du Quoin, Illinois. The third track was on the Fred Nolte farm about a half a mile north of Bellefontaine Cemetery. Nolte raised his harness horses throughout the state and Chas Alexander helped in developing them. Other prominent horse men were Val Fisher, John Colton, and Col. Alfred Owen who kept horses at the various stables.

Mt. Vernon Fire Wagon.....1890's.

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Grave Markers Added to Local Cemeteries for Civil War Veterans.....December 27, 1888

The Harrow Post GAR received 94 tombstones with names of the fallen veterans which were placed at the German (Bellefontaine) and Leonard cemeteries. I wander about cemeteries a bit pausing to reflect at the life of a person buried there. It used to be just family, but now like my parents I recognize people I knew and because I write some history, people before me. I scrubbed a stone of a child relative of mine killed by a train tying to free his toy caught in the tracks, I have paused to remember a newspaper editor I respected, a doctor who fought cholera in Mt. Vernon, a sheriff who pulled the lever of a hanging, a blacksmith who made the Posey plough, a Jewish merchant of fine goods, a soldier lost at Shiloh or in the Ardennes of Europe or the Mekong Delta. The designs of lambs, angels, hands in prayer, shells, branches, vines, wreaths, urns, obelisks, bronze and metal grave markers, marble and slate, and stone. I like the old areas, the graves sinking, bricks crumbling, stones leaning, vines taking over and reclaiming a forgotten person no longer visited. Our soul may be immortal, but the resting place of our mortal remains is not. Time will have its way with all things.

Letter from Judge Pitcher Read at Cornerstone Laying of Vanderburgh Courthouse.....1888

In November of 1888, one of the speakers to address the crowd was Thomas Garvin who read a letter from his mentor, Posey's John Pitcher. Pitcher was the oldest member of the Indiana state bar, then 95 years old. In the letter the distinguished judge praised Evansville for its growth over the last 75 years, but had a warning....."We are living in a fast age and I very much fear that our great danger is that we are living TOO FAST!"

Alvin Hovey Wins Governorship but Loses Posey County.....1888

General, diplomat, lawyer, congressman, home grown boy was not enough to win Posey County who remained loyal to their Democratic principles. The New Harmony Register said: "Personally, I have nothing against Gen. Hovey; but he is a Republican, a very pronounced dyed in the wool, bloody shirt, Republican, and is such not worthy to receive a single Democratic vote." Albert Sparks, editor of the Mt. Vernon Democrat said: "Gen. Hovey has been charged by his neighbors with doing many heartless things. He has oppressed his tenants, bought widows homes at tax sales and turned them out in the cold when they failed to redeem in time. He has prosecuted colored people for fishing in his lake, kept out poor widow's cows from gazing over his wild lands, and has done hundreds of other mean things unbecoming of a man or a friend. He even turned away a blind soldier who wished to have a meeting with him about benefits." Hovey won a majority in the state by only 2191 votes but lost Posey County 2641-2371. The only precinct I have found that he won was Black township which Hovey carried 1002-762.

The Great Sleet of 1888

That January the ground was covered with two inches of ice locally. The trees bent low under the heavy weight. It was said chickens that were roosting out of doors were frozen to their perches. The telegraph wires were coated with ice as thick as a man's arm. Barn doors that opened outside had to be cut loose with axes before the farmers could feed their stock. The wind came from the north and stayed that way for three weeks and the sun shining through the trees and bushes made a most glorious light. Coasting down hills in sleds was the thing as it always is after a snowfall. They were everywhere! Some children made their own sleds of various materials as no one wanted to miss out. Great big two horse sleds were brought into use and would be taken to the top of a hill and then piled through with "laughing, yelling, screaming girls and boys" then pushed off and they would go flying to the bottom of the hill. Once there the sled would once again be pulled to the top and again made ready for another slide.

Downtown Alley Goes Up in Flames.....1888

Just eight years after the first Main Street fire in Mt. Vernon history a careless drayman the name of Al Smith hauled a barrel of gasoline down the alley from Second to Fourth Streets, between Main and Store. Gasoline escaped from the barrel and flowed freely from one end of the alley to the other. A man by the name of Topper who worked as an express driver set it afire and in less than a minute the alley was ablaze. Leunig's stable and an out building in the rear of Clark's jewelry store burned to the ground. The fire department responded with the fire wagon and in a few minutes the fire was extinguished. In returning the fire apparatus the Assistant Chief, Louis Fuelling, was accidently thrown under the wheel of the hose reel inflicting a painful but not serious scalp wound. He was to take several days off and several weeks of rest to recover.

Stage Coach Critized by Local Editor.....1888

John C. Leffel said that the strongest smelling place on the North American continent was the passenger coach of the Mt. Vernon branch. He called it, "old, out of date, nasty, rotten," and wanted to know when it was launched. He remembered it to be at least 25 years old. He said, "What material was this constructed? I believe it may have been the rotten timbers of the ark Noah left!"

Ice and Beer.....1888

The firm of Messrs. Kaiser & Son in 1888 delivered two ice wagons and one beer wagon to the establishments of Henry Bischoff and Lee Wolf. Kaiser & Son was located on Store Street between Third and Fourth.

"Friendly Fire" On Main.....December 1887

Let's see here, our new military company after parading the streets of Mt. Vernon one Saturday evening, formed into a line at the Public Square and fired a salute. Instead of holding their guns at an angle our boys fired their blank cartridges into the crowd, standing in front of them. Now how smart is that? Johnny Baldwin received a full charge of powder in the neck and several others hit the ground with powder burns. Baldwin was in great pain, but his wound was not considered dangerous. Well so much for a pleasant time to be had by all. The town was full still in holiday spirit until the shooting. They had been singing Christmas carols; even the local drunks were intoxicated with exceeding joy and gladness. You should have seen them run down the alley after the firing began!

Measles Breakout.....1887

We have heard the stories of the great cholera epidemics, especially 1873 and the Spanish Flu of 1918, but from what I have read the worst epidemic in Posey County may have been the measles breakout of 1887. In the first five months of that year 150 deaths were reported by the Weisinger and Neuman funeral homes. In Evansville there were 491 cases of measles. A report said with the exception of January and September the epidemic in Mt. Vernon prevailed the entire year. They also reported 10 cases of cerbral-spinal meningitis and six of typhoid fever and also 2 cases of diphtheria. The report mentioned that some deaths had not been reported fully.

Veteran of the War of 1812 Lived on West Ninth Street....1887

John Noel lived to almost 95 years old and he lived on West Ninth Street in Mt. Vernon in a fine large two story house with a beautiful interior finish. They say it had high cupboards and a wonderful homemade front door. Tradition says Noel served on the flagship of Commodore Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie when the Americans secured control of the lake from the British and recovered Detroit. Noel was born June 16, 1792 and died June 17, 1887, buried at French Cemetery in Lynn Township.

I Smoke Old Stoogies, I Have Found, Short But Not Too Big Around....1886

A burglar entered Max Rosengart's store on Main Street on a Friday night and besides emptying the showcase of all its pocket knives, carried off two revolvers, some shells, and whole bunch of cigars. You could even smell the cigars in the store when the burglary was found. Entrance was made through one of the rear windows.

You Sling Mud at Me....I'll Bust You Up!.....1886

After the polls closed that Tuesday evening long ago, Frank Kight, the Democratic candidate for sheriff assaulted James Barter, the editor of the Republican leaning Mt. Vernon Sun newspaper. Barter got up wiping blood from a busted lip, assorted bruises and a big ole black shiner for an eye. Western Star reporter said, "I guess both parties today got their satisfaction."

Mt. Vernon Democrat Office Burns.....1886

Albert Sparks was the editor of the Mt. Vernon Democrat and is one of my favorite writers....not always because of what he said, but the passion he put in his paper. I mean he "would tear you a new one!" Oh, he was an unrepentant Democrat and advocated the principles of the party in every issue. His attacks were terrible at times against minorities and Whigs but he was bold and fearless. He challenged businesses to pull their ads if they didn't agree. He stood on the First Amendment and his words flew with quantity and quality. The fact that the office burned to me it could have been arson. Many hated him. He had by this time also become postmaster and had been shouted down at the courthouse once for coming out against Alvin Hovey for political office. After the fire, Sparks rented a room on the second floor of another building for a year and used the presses of the Western Star until he had his press overhauled and his office rebuilt. Papers were good about that in the day; they would fight like dogs, but when a tragedy occurred they would help the other...happened several times. The fire department was still in its infancy at that time. The engine was one of those men had to man to pump the water. Crowds would gather and sometimes citizens would stand around the fire and had to be drafted to help. A law was even passed making it mandatory to assist. Special notes of this fire were a compliment to Jake Cronbach for keeping the inner-man of a nozzle man in good trim. "The faucets to his water barrels were always wide open to the fireman." Henry Weisinger, made a narrow escape from death while fighting the flames on the roof when he fell to the ground from 25 feet. He was picked up, taken to his residence, but found to be only slightly injured.

"Sharpshooter, Take Another Moment to Please".....1885

A boy of 13, his name of John Elliott was at the New Harmony County Fair and he was watching "Buck-skin-Jim" a sharpshooter do his tricks. The gun Jim was using had an unexpected delay in firing, what they call "hang-fire," and the boy was accidently shot in the head. Panic broke out in the crowd and police were called in to take charge. Physicians hurried to the scene where young Johnnie laid. He was picked up and taken to a farm about a half mile distance from the fairgrounds and he lay there unconscious for three days. The boy lived! The bullet was described to have "glanced in the head and out." Future fairs he avoided the gun play. Try the hootchie koochie tent son is my advice.

Sou Lee Chinese Laundry.....1880's

An early laundry in Mt. Vernon was a native of China, Sou Lee who rented a store room in the first half block on the west side of Main Street. Sou was very visible with his queue hairstyle braided down his back. It was said people liked to stop by around lunch to watch him work those chop sticks. Once Lee went back to China on a visit and returned with all sorts of silk items and boxes of Chinese walnuts to give to friends and children. They said Sou came from a very prominent family in China. Once a niece came to visit and although she was a very large woman she had feet the size of a six year old child. In the 19th century it was the custom of wealthy families to bind girls' feet to keep them small. It started with the upper class, but soon became thought of as attractive by Chinese men. Thankfully, this practice has diminished because it caused lifelong disabilities for most of the people. During the practice all the toes were broken. Lee's business was doing well when he made a second trip to China and passed away there. Without a city laundry, a man named David Scholey, a clerk on a steamboat, looked around and conceived an idea of putting in a steam laundry. Starting small, it wasn't long before he built a place on West Second Street and lasted for decades. Just in this century was that old business razed.

Champion Horses Once Raised Right Here in Posey.....1880's

George William Curtis, a Democrat clerk of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit here in Mt. Vernon was also a farmer and breeder of pedigreed horses on a national scale. Married to Ruth Greathouse he started his breeding stock from the Belle Meade farm in Tennessee in 1883. By 1887 he had Egmont, the "sensation of the season of 1887." In 1888 the stakes totaled over $80,000. In 1889 his horse, Topmast won the greatest number of races in the United States. His horses raced at tracks in Louisville, Memphis, Chicago, St. Louis, Lexington, New Orleans, Covington and elsewhere. His son George William Jr. became a lawyer and senator representing the first district of Indiana as a proud Democrat.


Wolflin Distillery Brick Smokestack "Blown Down by Powder".....May 1883

The old landmark had set idle for ten years. It was founded in 1831 and was destroyed by fire at least three times. It was a four story building on the river front west of what is now ADM and south of what is the train depot. Herman Munchoff and George Wolflin were two of the owners of a grist mill and distillery in the past and both have been honored by naming streets after them. I always wanted to name streets. I would have some great names and some doozies!

Mayor's Proclamation Against Filth....May 1883

A decade after the last deadly cholera epidemic in Mt. Vernon, Mayor Edwood Smith wrote: "Whereas, the Board of Health of the city of Mt. Vernon, has adopted the following: Resolved, that the Board of Health order a general cleaning up of streets, alleys, cesspools, privies, and the removal or destruction of all garbage from kitchens, outhouses and lots to insure good sanitary conditions, and to disinfect all privies, cesspools, etc., by the use of quick lime or coperas, or other disinfectants. Therefore, I Ellwood Smith Mayor of the city of Mt. Vernon, do hereby order it be done within ten days from the date of this notice, in accordance with the above resolution." Back in that time diseases were killing us from what they then called, "filth diseases." Spring and fall cleanups in towns were ordered often by administrators. By 1906 typhoid in this country reached epidemic proportions and the papers were full of terrible stories of epidemics in other towns. Newspapers would offer suggestions on how to remain disease free be it cholera, typhoid, small pox, or the Spanish flu. Some people would mix whiskey with their water hoping to kill diseases before filtration water systems were provided. Horse waste and farm animals contaminated our wells. It had to be a very scary time.

Court House Gate Left Open; Cows Play Havoc.....May 1883

The Marshall of New Harmony brought down a prisoner from New Harmony one evening and after turning him over to jailer Ed Hayes, he left the jail the on the public square, but in doing so neglected to close the front gate of the iron fence that once surrounded the square. Soon every cow in the neighborhood was aware of that fact, and away they went....finding Mrs. Hayes' garden truck full of veggies, taking down her fancy shrubbery and pot plants (that would make me mad too!). Let's make that potted plants) and tearing up the lawn. When the Hayes got up the next morning, they behold the ruin done during the night and more than a few cuss words were used. Good thing the New Harmony Marshall was not around.

Illinois Man Throws Himself In Front of Moving Train at MV Depot.....1883

On a cold February morning as the eastward bound freight L&N passed through the city an Belleville, Illinois man was run over and instantly killed. The train was due here at 6:30 A.M., and shortly before its arrival a stranger entered the saloon of John Naas, near the depot, and purchased a pint of whiskey. He then walked down the track and entered the coal shed about fifty feet west of the depot, where he was seen no more until his mangled remains were found upon the track. He was seen upon the track the night before, and in a conversation with the bar keep informed him that his home was Belleville and he intended to go to Evansville, and from his actions it is supposed he was insane. From appearances he spent the night in the coal shed, and undoubtedly committed suicide by throwing himself under the cars, as his pipe, two plugs of tobacco, one new sock, and about one-half of the whiskey purchased a few minutes before, were left lying beside the door upon which he passed the cold night. He had poorly written a note left at the Nass' yard saying that Mr. John Courar your wife and Annie are here. Respectfully J.H. Isums." No one knew what it meant and coroner Hendricks took what was left of the body and buried him in Potter's Field.

Who Goeth a Borrowing, Goeth a Sorrowing.....1883

James Chamberlain borrowed a mule from John Weatherford and didn't return the animal within the two hours he promised. Weatherford needed his mule, so he sat out to find James and his ass. Chamberlain had been riding around the county all night it seems and when he got to John's house he waited on him to return. When the mule's owner returned he found the source of his irritation sitting in his house, in his favorite chair, singing obscene songs in a loud voice. Weatherford tore into him and pistol whipped Chamberlain all about the head. Crawling home, Chamberlain pressed charges for assault and both men were handed a stiff fine before the Mayor's Court.

"Ooh, Ooh, that Smell; Can't You Smell that Smell?".....Winter of 1882

The Board of Commissioners ordered an inspection of the relatively new jail on Mill Street after numerous complaints to a Grand Jury that it stinks! Yes, my friends, a letter was read at a meeting addressed to the Honorable W.F. Parrett, Judge of Posey County Circuit Court to that effect. The commissioners basically said to the public...."Gotta live with it." Their comeback was a little more diplomatic: "it is of our opinion that the jail is well ventilated as any jail in existence, and we believe it is impossible to make a jail secure and not have the pungent aroma which invariably pervades a prison and perfume the air like a hot desert wind." Awe man, that's beautiful...Steinbeck would have been proud.

Mt. Vernon Dollar Democrat Banner.....1882

1882 Ruling

In 1882 Superintendent Bloss of Mt. Vernon stated if a "colored" student lived an unreasonable distance from a "colored" school, the student could attend a white school. Indications are that this decision only affected those in the context of township or rural schools.

Raben & Naas Dry Goods.....1882

At 26 and 28 Main Street you could buy much of what you needed for men and boys. There were boots, hats, caps, and notions. Theodore Raben was a big wheel in town being president of the Mt. Vernon Construction Company as well as the Consumers Ice and Cold Storage business. His father Anton owned the store in 1882 which he formed with George Naas. In 1884 Naas died and the store became Raben & Sons. The store closed in 1893. There was also a competitor between First (Water) and Second Streets ran by Ed Zimmermann who made his boots and shoes for all genders. A.W. Uri was also active at that time with his dry goods and millinery. He was big on ladies hats and they were big in that era. Rosenbaum's too could bring you the latest fashions from the east coast. Lots to do in the city at that time if you had some cash. Street numbers no longer exist on Main Street below 100. I don't know when they changed. I believe I could pen it down with a little work. I know they were starting at #100 by 1915. The old ads many times did not use a number in their advertisements. They would just say something like: "Store St, bet. 1st and 2nd" or "Third Street, between Main & Store." Sometimes they would say "Foga Building" or the "Evertson Block." One I like is: "Fourth Street Fill" referring to Mill Creek being filled in enough for a bridge and a strip of land for a new grocery.

"Blinded By the Light".....October 1881

John Kepler of Mt. Vernon had a miraculous escape from Mother Nature's majestic performance of bad temper when he survived death when lightning struck the Oak tree under which he took shelter during a thunderstorm. The tree, near the German Cemetery (Bellefontaine) exploded and Kepler's clothing was literally ripped in shreds and he suffered burn wounds over his entire body. Young John was the son of A.L. Kepler, the cabinet maker, and he is darn lucky not to need one of his dad's boxes!

New Harmony Fort Lock was Still Around 1881...Is it Now?

In 1881 it was reported that a lock to the old fort, built by the Rappities was in the possession of Louis Pelham of New Harmony. The fort was later a mill or granary and has now been restored. It had almost been destroyed by fire in 1879. The lock was said to have been massive and strong, with a keyhole three inches long and three quarters of an inch wide. The body of the lock was 18 inches long, eight inches wide and three inches deep. Made of heavy sheet iron, the lock was said to have been made in the commune. The key of considerable size had been lost for many years.

Mt. Vernon Lays Down the Law on Main Street Wood Buildings.....1881

After the "Great Fire of 1880" that destroyed almost an entire block of wood buildings the town in order to get insurance enacted an ordinance under the "General Welfare" clause. It established fire limits and prevented the erection of wooden buildings in such parts of the city as may be determined; the city can compel the removal of a wooden building, have it repaired or consider it a liability as a nuisance and is liable to destruction by fire. A law suit was brought up against one wealthy man in the First National Bank of Mt. Vernon v Sarlls. That was most likely Richard Sarlls, a really self-made man. He came here around 1846 and became an expert at judging grain and worked at a mill that once stood where Sherburne Park is today. He became employed with Lowry Welborn and Sullivan a large grain business in town until the cholera epidemic of the 1870's and his business failed. He ventured out on his own making profits buying corn and flour and selling it at a profit. Soon he was back on top buying livestock and land. He got back into the grain business and owned thousands of acres in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. During the Civil War he was a lieutenant in the local Home Guard.

G.O.P. Gathers In Caborn Station for Picnic and Food for Thought....October 1880

The Democrat said it was a puny gathering of only about 40 wagons loaded with people to see the big wig, soon to be U.S. Senator William Heilmann speak to the crowd in both English and German. Must have impressed the Marrs Township folks as 91 men attended dressed in uniforms and mounted on horseback. We don't do that much anymore. An American flag lapel pin works good enough or a red tie. Mt. Vernon did show up with the local Brass Band, but they sounded flat. Our glee club sang a few numbers and Evansville sent a choir and the Schmidt's Silver Band to entertain between the four other political speeches. No word on whether the wurst was cooked properly.....Prost!

Black's Grove 4th of July.....1880

It started on a hot Saturday night as street fights were numerous around the bars and in what was then called Belleville on Second Street a killing. A son of a wealthy Carmi merchant came to town to visit a girl when two cousins tried to stop him from entering a house. For three hours this trio traded insults and accusations then the Carmi man pulled a knife and stabbed one of the Baker men in the heart. Taken into custody by Marshall Hayes, he was released three days later pending further investigation. hmm. So, Sunday the fourth was quieter as rain came in. Monday, was the official holiday celebration and a large celebration went to the grove to hear political speeches of dignitaries, both local and statewide as was the practice in those days. Some hung out by the trees sipping whiskey from a ladle tied to a bucket. The Brass Band played early that morning at the public square then marched along with the Firearm Society and the Belleville Guard to Black's Grove. Nothing like a mixture of guns and liquor as the Firearm Society put on a noisy shooting demonstration and set the dogs a barking. All in all it was said to be a excellent show, abundant food and fun for all. "Give me a slice of that watermelon Gotlieb."

Mt. Vernon Minister Runs Off With Another Women Leaving Wife and Seven Kids in Destitute Condition.....June 1880

That is the story of a Trinity minister who eloped with the daughter of one of Mt. Vernon's most respected families. The town was outraged at the news and the newspaper headlines were brutal: "Meanest Man Ever Heard Of," "A Villain That Deserves Hanging," and "Wolf in Sheep' Clothing," the papers claimed. The Western Star began its account with: "Mt. Vernon and Posey County may be said to be the cradle of sensation; but the announcement ....(about) Rev. J.C. Schneider....He is a fair preacher, well educated, and a very fair musician, and soon after locating here secured a position in our public schools as teacher of the German and Latin languages; was the teacher of the Mt. Vernon Liederkranz, and was receiving a liberal remuneration for all the work he did; and also had the respect and confidence of the entire community, and was to have been the editor of the Geman Demokrat paper about to be started." The papers said the woman scorned had the sympathy of the entire town and "her family will have every material aid granted them." According to the Wochenblatt, which carried the breaking news the minister took along $700 and that Schneider had adopted at least four different names. Seventeen months later in West Haven, Connecticut a poor typesetter and good singer, who played the piano with perfection and was the master of four languages, had committed suicide. The man suffered considerably from "private diseases,".....his name was Theodore Schneider. The obituary was the same man and his wife had died earlier. He was known to have played the piano in houses of ill fame. This was an unfortunate experience for Trinity and the town, but it happens in all cities and all professions.

Skeleton Found In New Harmony Garden.....March 1880

George Paddock was digging in the garden belonging to W. Baldwin when his spade struck against a hard skull. Upon further examination the whole of a human skeleton was unearthed, together with a string of mussel shell beads, a stone hatchet and a few other items proving that a Native-American grave had been discovered.

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Please, May I have my Daddy's Boots?.....October 1878

After the mob lynching of the Negroes on the court house lawn, the next day a young boy asked if he could have the boots of his father swinging in the air. It wasn't recorded if he got them. The exodus of blacks following this period was rapid with the number reported in 1880 to be half what it was in 1870. Not one man in the mob ever was brought to justice.

Could a State Militia Have Saved Lynchings in Mt. Vernon in 1878? I Found Source I Never Heard Before that Maybe It Could....

Looking through some state books on the Civil War and Reconstruction I found an item which mentions our town when a mob overpowered the guards of our local jail butchering one man and hanging four others on the court square. The Indianapolis paper "The Daily Journal" reported that rumors of "the governor (Thomas Henricks) sending militia to prevent the lynching circulated, but there was no evidence of local authorities ( Mayor Oliver Terry) requesting troops so none were sent." Got a little touch of Benghazi Libya in it don't you think my friends on the right? Hendricks had sent troops to other parts of southern Indiana in similar incidents like when he sent a 50 man militia to Washington County to prevent a prisoner accused of murder from being lynched. Local officials seldom requested assistance and mob law was evident throughout our state. Many of these lynchings were carried out by groups (Knights of the Golden Circle, White Caps, Copperheads, etc.) as a result of a particular incident. Leaders from these groups would instill hatred and instigate the riot. These vigilante committees apparently operated more or less continuously for decades. In Harrison County...billboards served notice to "walk a bee line in the way of good behavior or face the prospect of a whipping post." In Brown County a group of "regulators" almost beat a man to death; in Boonville a hanging, in Orange County a feeble-minded man, accused of theft was strung up without a trial. I guess they called that speedy justice despite the absence and defiance of the law. It took a long time before our state legislature took steps to penalize lynchings and strengthen law enforcement and facilities to hold criminals awaiting trials.

Poor Mt. Vernon Beggars Looking for Generosity.....1878

Social conscience was hoped for when those on the outs looked for a kind heart, a job, and a meal. It seems to be a timeless dilemma to find out what to do with the hobo, the bum, the gypsy, the wretched, and the poorest of the poor, those down on their luck. Sometimes we see a man at the intersection with a sign asking for money. Do we believe him and become a Good Samaritan or act like we don't see? In 1878 I have a couple of short stories. A stranger that fall came to the house of Mark Roger and asked for something to eat and while the womenfolk put together something, the man slipped into the house and into one of the family beds. It had been a long time between beds. It took the marshal to get him up and he gave him a bunk and a meal at the jail. The second story is of a beggar, who played a little tune, on an instrument of some sort sitting down on the porch of the widow Aldrich. Since she was not a lover of music nor of beggars, the woman of short temper and large strength gave the man a thrashing so severe with a broom that a physician had to be called to bind his wounds. Of course, he did it for free.

New Harmony Letter Writer Sorry to See Old Constable Go......July 1875

"Our town has had the official service as constable of a pious, though decrepit old man. A real considerate old soul, whose kindness of heart, I have no doubt, has often been misconstrued by the boys having lost confidence in this old man and his cane. They have been wicked enough to cast reflections upon his courage and insinuate that he is timid- a regular old granny. It seems the boys should be more charitable and have more respect for age, especially when the shoulders have become humped and rounded in consequence of the weight of official obligations that have been accumulating during a long life spent in the same office." Note: The constable was retired and immediately the new man went out and cleaned up the town of "the boys" raising hell.

Pioneer Doctor Buried At North Cemetery.....1875

The old cemetery behind Hedges Central and the late High School contained they say over 500 graves. I believe I have heard less than 100 have been identified and only a couple dozen if that many now have stones fenced in, not even where they lay. It's a sad commentary on our community that this inner city cemetery was neglected and abused, not only by the public, but really city officials. Some prominent people were buried there like Judge John Pitcher, friend of Abraham Lincoln and mentor to Alvin P. Hovey. I was told that this grave once was one of those above ground with a concrete slab. Now how could that be so easily destroyed and location lost? The grandmother of Col. John Hay, a poet and Secretary of State of the United States is buried here. There is a veteran of the Texas Independence laid there, our first postmaster and a doctor...Dr. Mose Wining or Winnings. Winnings was born in 1790 and came to this area in the 1820's. He was said to be one of our earliest doctors. I am sure he was very busy with the cholera epidemic and other diseases that were in that time so deadly. Mose was the maternal grandfather of Peter Roche who was editor and publisher of the Mt. Vernon Democrat starting in 1907.


An Evansville man imagined himself and his dog as great double agent detectives. They would frequently go out across Evansville and sometimes Mt. Vernon slinking around corners of buildings and alleys. The man would wear three top coats or suits of clothes to disguise him, watching out for imaginary criminals. His weird behavior soon began to frighten his influential family. Soon he pulled a pistol on his wife and as he aimed, a servant hit his arm and the fired ball lodged in the ceiling. The wife blew out the light and escaped to safety in the darkness. Her husband was taken to the "lunatic asylum" in Evansville.

Pittsburgh Towboat Loses a Barge After Loading in Mt. Vernon.....December 18,1874

The steam towboat, "Iron Mountain" was pushing several barges down to New Orleans and dropped one off in Mt. Vernon. Hands quickly loaded it with sacks of corn waiting at the riverfront wharf. While pushing it out to the channel it hit an unknown snag and sank. It was alleged that the boat was loaded incorrectly being overloaded on the portside. I am sure no one was happy...lawsuit followed waiting until 1880 to be decided. A suit was held in Evansville and Mt. Vernon wharf boat proprietor for 25 years, Enoch Thomas testified. Witnesses were called in to testify of the loading procedure. A complicated case but the case was dismissed against Mt. Vernon. Enoch became Mayor of Mt. Vernon in 1888.

Rev. J.F. Sondermann.....1868-1874

This pastor born in Prussia was sent here as his first mission in 1868. I believe he was the first resident priest in Mt. Vernon. At that time the Catholic congregation was about forty families and the church took on quite a bit of debt, hoping for growth. In every way their facilities were poor, but they had a vision. A pipe organ was purchased as well as three acres of ground for a cemetery. Many of the flock were Negroes and times were hard. Sondermann would have been here during the great cholera epidemic of 1873. He moved on in 1874 to a new location and it was said that a great flood scourged that town......Coincidence?

Presbyterian Church Dedicated.....October 1873

On a beautiful fall Sunday the beautiful edifice was crowded to capacity. Long had the congregation wanted a proper home going back to 1839 when they were formed in Mt. Vernon. They had a missionary preacher who came in the beginning and held monthly services. This building was erected with much admiration. People stopped to watch the workers build to the sky. Planned by Robert Boyd, a skillful architect of Evansville the plans were carried out by Mt. Vernon builder Ed Brown who built many of our 19th century buildings. The Mt. Vernon Democrat said: "The church is a paragon of beauty, and excites the admiration of strangers."

Evansville Journal Headline During MV Cholera Epidemic of Summer 1873

The article spoke of people fleeing the city by the hundreds. "It has been one of the gloomiest days ever known here. The citizens who stayed are working nobly and are much more hopeful and brave than we have reason to expect. "Our northern neighbors in the county, despite the dangers, opened their doors to the refugees. Doctors from New Harmony and Grafton joined the Mt Vernon doctors in doing all they could. A great need was experienced nurses. "Night has settled, so dark and gloomy, but we hope for a brighter day tomorrow."

Cholera Epidemic in 1873

Cholera Epidemic in 1873 killed around 80 in Mt. Vernon. Here is a poster from New Harmony from that time.

NY Times On Mt. Vernon's 1873 Cholera Epidemic.....

A correspondent, writing from Mt. Vernon saw a town depopulating itself over what he called, "Asiatic Cholera." Fifteen families he said on the day he arrived were abandoning their homes, several merchants had closed their stores and the only things being sold seemed to be along the drug line. The Republican and Democrat newspaper offices only did issues of a half a sheet. One paper said that nine deaths were on Friday, eight on Saturday, six on Sunday, and five on Monday bringing the death rate to forty. Close to 80 would die overall in the epidemic.. The reporter said, " no one not actually here can understand the nature of the dreadful panic that has dwarfed the courage of all." He described a old woman dying with the disease and she was giving her account of the agony, and shortly thereafter all who had heard her account began having symptoms. He also said that those who had remained cool and free of the scare also died. Prominent families were taken. A family by the name of Bell lost five members, one Hovey died kin to the general, two died that were Sheldens, and four Wooleys, proprietors of the local foundry. "Every person smells of assafetida and camphor. Rosin, pine, tar and coal were burned by orders of the Board of Health, so much so that I could feel the heat all over the city." At midnight the reporter said he could hear the wailing of a new death and burial was immediate of the black corpses to try to conceal the havoc and "preventing contagion from the stench." He praised the physicians, but said medical aid was insufficient. The doctors could not be in all places at all times. Only one doctor left the city to a storm of indignation, but up until he himself got sick he worked hard. The most active disease area is Belleville and the Mill Creek Bottom, but cases were found in every section of all social classes. Banks were closed, and the depot is thronged with people wanting to get out

Property Tax Receipt.....1872

L&N Completes Tracks To Mt. Vernon.....July 3,1871

The tracks were done from Evansville to Mt. Vernon and on the following day...Independence Day, a monster celebration was held to commemorate the event at Black's Grove. The last week of laying the track, the railroad put on several more crews, working day and night to finish for the big event of the 4th. On that day a special train came from Evansville consisting of three coaches and a large number of freight cars. John C. Leffel, editor of the Western Star said 5000 people were estimated at the event, the largest ever held at Black's Grove.

1870 ads

The Nelson House is a very important part of early Mt. Vernon history. The hotel was the best in town and one of the finest on this stretch of the Ohio River years ago. Steamboat visitors would book a room here. In 1873 a cholera victim would die here after coming off a boat and may have started the entire epidemic that took around 80 lives in Mt. Vernon, causing a panic with many people leaving town.


This would have been a earlier store...not the one that was built later, that we see today.

She's a Heartbreaker, Dream Maker, Love Taker...Don't Mess Around With Me.....1870

A hot lady in New Harmony boasts of 27 matrimonial engagements ended by her in the past five years. She carries her string of rings hanging in her boudoir (lady's private bedroom) and points to them with pride "akin to an Indian showing scalps."

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"Don't Harm Me; I'm Just the Messenger".....1867

To give my gun rights friends more ammunition I give you this: An attempt was made to rob the mail coach between Evansville and Mt. Vernon, by a man who seized the horses' heads and presented a revolver at the driver. Only the fortunate appearance of some citizens armed with shotguns thwarted the would-be thief who made good his escape. No sense killing a man over junk mail.

Patriotic Speeches.....1867

The Evansville Journal newspaper reported that the great German orator Becker spoke in five locations in Posey County before heading back to Evansville to meet with Mt. Vernon's General William Harrow to give another address. The subjects were liberty, loving people after a war and free institutions of the United States. Not able to determine who this Becker might have been. Mt. Vernon was a magnet in the early 19th century as a stalwart for Democratic candidates. Because of this, we were visited by candidates and speakers continually to keep Mt. Vernon democratic and those who wanted to turn us. The governor of the state of Indiana once sent representatives to speak to us after the Civil War broke out to combat the "copperhead" movement and talk of southern Indiana and Illinois breaking off and joining the confederacy. Posey was loyal however, and enlistments were it seems always making their goals locally. They did however continue to vote Democrat in EVERY national election from 1820 until 1920 when Republican Warren Harding carried the county by a slim 204 votes. Mt. Vernon remained true to form but the northern part of county changed. After Hoover we went back to being Democratic until Ike. Since that time we have split a few elections, but are mostly Republican......but not ~Wavy~.

Ripped Off At The River.....1866

Long ago besides the legitimate entertainment of a Dan Rice Circus, a minstrel show, or a glamorous showboat with actors and calliopes there were rip off artists. Grubby little "medicine " boats would tie up near the wharf , a banjo player or a hoochie koochie dancer would appear drawing a crowd. After a few numbers and a dance some "professor" would start selling his miracle elixirs that were guaranteed to heal any ailment known of the human condition. There were also pick pockets working the crowd, astrologers and faith healers. It was best to spend your money watching musical vaudeville on the Cotton Blossom or River Maid I figure.

Thomas Ries in 1866. He was a private in the Civil War and was a gunsmith running a store on Main Street in 1870s and 1880's.

A drawing of the town in 1865 shows the gunsmith shop between Fourth and Fifth Street on the west side of Main. It sat next to a shoe shop. He had been born in Oberschep, Baden, Germany in 1829 and came to Mt. Vernon around 1855.

Soldier in Washington DC Writes Brother in Cynthiana.....June 1, 1865

"As I have nothing else to do I thought I would write a few lines. We are making out papers to have our recruits of 1862 discharged. The remainder of us will go to Seouswill Kentucky. Do not know what they will do with us. Some think we will be mustered out soon. We have turned our train over, and will go tomorrow I presume to the 2nd Brigade 1st Division 14th Army Corps, Buells Brigade. I do not know how long they are going to keep the veterans. Well I was down yesterday at the pay masters office and was paid up to the 8th of May. I took a stroll through the Capitol building and Patent Office building and yesterday a man can see all he wants to see. They are still at work on both of them yet. Well I see some are still harping on General Sherman yet, trying to get up a fuss between him and some of the head officials. Sherman has more friends in the army than any other man. Well hurrah for old Billy Sherman. Hoping soon to come west I will close. As ever your brother, J.M. Endicott,"

President Lincoln's Meeting with Son Robert on Day of Assassination.... April 15, 1865

It was reported in the New Harmony Register in May of 1868 that on that fateful day of his demise, his son Captain Robert Lincoln, came into his father's room with a portrait of General Robert E. Lee in his hand. The President took the picture, laid it on the table before him, scanned the face thoughtfully and said, "It is a good face of a noble brave man. I am glad the war is over at last. I trust that the era of good feeling has returned with the close of the war, and that henceforth we shall live in Peace."

Lincoln and Thanksgiving.....1864

Sometime in November of that year....Thanksgiving sort of moves around in those days the President "recommends his fellow citizens to humble themselves in the dirt, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great disposer of events, for a return of the inevitable blessings of peace, union and harmony throughout the land."

More Gunboats Pass Mt. Vernon Down the Ohio River.....Week of October 26, 1864

On a horrid day of drizzling rain, dark and dreary two Union gunboats the 34 and the USS Silver Lake passed by patrolling the Ohio River against confederates and guerillas. The very next week guerillas were in Henderson, Kentucky where they tore down the American Flag off an election pole and trailed it in the dust behind their horses. It was said some ladies of the town met them with bouquets of flowers and refreshments. The Rebs then went to a church and the entire congregation hustled to hide their watches and valuables.

U.S. Gun Boat Springfield #22 Pulls Into Evansville for Repairs.....September 1864

A letter from Yeoman George Lythe survived the war and Evansville was mentioned. "Our boat is getting repairs, blacksmiths, carpenters, painters working away," it read. He went on: "Our boat is a small one carrying six 24 pound howitzers and with a landing party we are very much crowded. I have secured a petty officer and I am called yeoman, and have charge of one of the lockers in which one kept lamps, ropes, pails, lanyards, twine, yarn and a variety of things. Evansville is nearly as large as Erie. Have not been in town but once for it requires too much red tape to get out. First one must write a pass, and then carry it to the officer of the day on deck. If he sees fit, it goes to the Captain, an if it suits him, he signs it and sends it back. Then you report yourself to the officer of the deck, who gives the permission to the sentry to let you go." Springfield was one of four gunboats deployed at that time on the Ohio River in pursuit of the Confederate raider John Morgan of which the Springfield clashed with twice. On July 7, 1863 the Springfield and the Victory fought against 1500 of Morgan's men capturing 39 men and 40 horses, destroying many skiffs.

New Harmony Posey County Fair.....September 27-30, 1864

  • First Day: Devoted to arraigning everything in the Floral Hall and boys and girls riding ring.
  • Day Two: Saddle horses, buggy, gentleman and ladies riding rings. Cattle and hogs judged.
  • Day Three: Horses of general purpose judged. There was dancing and a pig race.
  • Day Four: Sweepstakes race. Gate receipts and rent for stalls came to $1,535.50. It rained every day of the fair.

"Here's To All the Draft Resisters in this Land of Liberty".....August 1864

American citizens of African descent were brought into Evansville according to the Evansville Daily Journal to be substitutes for the draft. The substitute business was a good one locally as the war wore on and the horrors mounted. A price as high as $550 was paid for an able-bodied substitute. "Several brethren of the conservative ink have taken advantage of this by escaping Uncle Sam's lottery, their objections to the employment of Negro troops notwithstanding."

Reporter Visits Evansville Refugee Camp.....July 1864

A Daily Journal reporter made a visit to the refugee camp at Blackford's Grove where 97 people were, 91 of which were women and children and sick...everybody was sick. "It is a sad sight to see a mother of four or five children all ill living in one tent, neither able to help the other," wrote the Journal. Two ladies were seen possessing the spirit of humanity walking amongst the multitude doing Samaritan work. Mrs. Dr. Mills and Mrs. Captain Coyle, whose husbands were serving as officers on the gun boat Silver Lake voluntarily, undertook the work of helping the runaways from the South. Everybody in the camp it seemed was from Mississippi and Louisiana. One little boy was seen fanning his little sick brother unceasingly. Witnesses said he does that all day and night....every day. An old man of 82 from Louisiana told of his son who is hiding from conscription into the Confederate army had his family burned out and his wife and children driven from their property. Death and sickness was everywhere and more arrive each day.

Brig. General Carrington in Mt. Vernon to Take on "Copperheads.".....November 1863

General Henry Beebee Carrington spoke in Mt. Vernon at the request of Governor Oliver Morton to help organize resistance against rebel sympathizers, Copperheads, Knights of the Golden Circle, and even Democrats. The Carrington people worked their repressive tactics to suppress freedom of speech and association in areas of Indiana that showed tendencies of anti- Union feelings.

Evansville Journal Praises Posey's Patriotism.....November 1863

Posey County was well on their way to raising their newest quota of troops with volunteers. A company of cavalry would soon be ready to go to camp. Farmers were forming associations to gather the crops and provide winter fuel for those who volunteer. "She has furnished some of the best officers and most gallant champions in the service," the Journal wrote. "Posey, a name to draft for them!" It was said that the young ladies took a keen interest in the soldier boys. "The boys learned straight hand that their hearts were reserved for the soldier boys and if the young gentleman of that county had no good excuse for not volunteering and didn't at once step into the ranks, there would be no more Sunday courting calls." Nice piece of propaganda.

Hovey Speaks In Vincennes.....October 1863

On a balmy "Indian Summer" day, Alvin P. Hovey spoke in front of 6000 citizens, "coming fresh from the heroes who opened up Mississippi and his words carried great weight and will be productive of great good in Knox County." Hovey arrived in Mt. Vernon on the tenth of October appearing according to sources, "in robust health and possessing a most soldiery bearing." Hovey was back in the North for a short time doing "special duty." Meanwhile, at the Posey County Fair in New Harmony, two "copperheads" were roughed up by "loyal men."

Mt. Vernon Clique Called Traitors.....October 1863

At Wadesville, the MV clique, "who flatter themselves that they carry the Democratic Party of old Posey in their breeches pockets fixed upon the convention to defeat any aspirants by fair men by foul means," wrote the Evansville Journal. At the convention for recorder, G.W. Thomas announced himself as a candidate saying, "I am in favor of old men in office and young men in the Army." Thus, a young union war veteran was defeated as a candidate. "Mt. Vernon did some wire pulling and trickery to give Thomas the nomination over candidates from other townships. For coroner, Dr. A.M. Barbish was selected and he had been a surgeon in the Rebel army!!! "Mt. Vernon said the Journal is giving the rebels a victory of more importance than their armies could win." One day the Journal would praise us in Posey and the next day hate us. "The Copperhead Party in Posey hates soldiers, unless they have served in the Rebel Army!," said a headline. The Mt. Vernon Democrat denied the Journal's attack. Barbish, under fire withdrew from the coroner's race after the publicity and released a handbill to that effect. A fight took place at the convention it was said when a man knocked down another man who applauded the South.

Trial of Confederate Soldiers in Mt. Vernon.....September 29, 1863

In the State of Indiana vs. Paul Marrs, William Quinn and six other rebel soldiers they were indicted for larceny and kidnapping. On the eighth day of November 1862, a small band of Rebs, consisting of some 25-30 soldiers and officers crossed the Ohio River at West Franklin in the early morning hours and took three or four horses, some arms, and clothing belonging to private citizens and kidnapped Dr. Wm. Ham and carried him to Kentucky. The men were captured and it seems tried separately. Quinn pleaded not guilty of the indictment of kidnapping. The State proved his guilt by taking the doctor against his will and releasing him two days later in Providence, Kentucky. The defendants were captured the next day by Union forces and two of them were turned over to civil authorities who kept them in the Posey jail the next 10 months. Evidence presented said the soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes and were under the command of Col. Hall. The reason for taking the doctor hostage was hopes of using him in an exchange as their doctor had recently been captured. In the trial Quinn proved he was a soldier following orders and had been conscripted into military service to the South. Quinn's attorneys were Pitcher, Blythe, and Spencer and they claimed he acted as a soldier in a justifiable fashion and should be treated as a prisoner of war and not a felon. The prosecution conducted by Chas Marsh and assisted by Col. Baker argued that Indiana was not a theatre of war and that West Franklin had no forces to assail. The honorable Wm. Parrott presided and instructed the jury of the law of the case. The jury found the defendant guilty and assessed his punishment to two years in the penitentiary. A motion for a new trial and change of venue was over ruled. So the case ended proving petty larceny and kidnapping raids are felonies and not war....I guess. Anyway the mighty Quinn was sent to Indy to fulfill his prison sentence.

Vincennes Sun Reports Five Deserters Shot in Kentucky Sitting on their Coffins.....September 1863

In the years 1863 and 1864 the membership of over 60,000 was claimed of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Soldiers in the Union army were encouraged to desert and found shelter in the strongholds of the underground. Communications with the South and aid to the Confederate cause continued until the end of the war. Vincennes reported that five deserters were caught and seated on their coffins, then shot by their comrades. All the deserters had enlisted for three years and were substitutes for drafted men. The Sun supported the killing saying, "Their death we support, not because of their sufferings, but because it will suppress more desertions."

"What Condition My Condition was In"..... "Top Heavy" in 1863

An aged gentleman was seen driving down Main Street....well he dropped the reins but he was still on his horse. He had evidently consumed a large quantity of corn juice and from his movements he seemed to be trying to tilt his horse over by his alternating vibrations from side to side. The horse maintained his balance however in the upright position and deposited him on the street in front of the next local saloon where after a while he crawled in......Mama not gonna be happy.

"Town Ball" in Evansville.....1863

Many magnificent strikes were made, but so agile were the fielders, and so accurate in their catching, that the innings were not large, the largest number scores while we stayed being eighteen.


Most of us know recruiters don't lie..right? "Those who voluntarily enlist within the next few weeks in any of the old or new cavalry, infantry, or artillery company or regiment will be entitled to the LARGE bounties of money offered by the government. Those failing to do so, those slackers may have to go as conscripts when the draft rolls around and then you can whistle for your bounty."

Civil War Hospital Ship Louisiana Docks in Mt. Vernon.....May 17,1862

Can you imagine the battlefield of Shiloh of April 1862 in southwestern Tennessee when over 100,000 troops fought for two days? 23,000 casualties in this two day battle.....seared trees, rutted ground, broken wagons, torn garments, abandoned haversacks and weapons. Civilian souvenir hunters waded through the stench of death like hyenas gathering relics for trophies. Hospital ships like the Louisiana, D. A. January, Imperial and Empress picked up the sick and wounded and took them to St. Louis, Keokuk, Louisville, Paducah, Mt. Vernon, Mound City, Evansville and Cincinnati. On May 17, Mt. Vernon took 325 soldiers from the hospital steamer Louisiana. Each ship had a surgeon, volunteer nurses (many Catholic sisters) medical supplies, bedding, clothing and food.

A Father Takes His Soldier Son Home to Rest.....April 1862

One day after a violent storm hit the tri-state with heavy rain and winds, rattling shutters, tearing away awning posts, and bringing down chimneys a calm Sabbath day beckoned. In Evansville, a reporter took a ride to Oak Hill Cemetery to see if any damage had been done and the first object of his attention was a small group of men. One was wheeling a wheelbarrow containing a coffin which contained the remains of a Union soldier who died at the Evansville hospital. The old man, plainly dressed, followed the sad procession bowed with grief. He had come all the way from Wisconsin to bring his son home. Only a few months before he was set forth in full vigor for the cause, now cut off in his youth.

Not A Good Day...Weather and Military Hospital....February 19, 1862

The day started off most disagreeable with rain freezing as it fell, soon the sidewalks were frosted with ice and everywhere the evergreens were covered. As it was in Mt. Vernon or Evansville, soldiers would be dropped off from time to time to be buried or to go to a hospital. In Evansville, a reporter went to the hospital on First Street and was shown a specimen furnished to sick soldiers. It looked like beans or sawdust. If it was indeed a piece of cornbread it should be thrown away. Immediately following this report, donations started to come in from the public of good cornbread, biscuits, and gallons of milk, pocket handkerchiefs and tumblers of jelly.

Homeland Security....November 1861....St. Louis

So you wish to travel north from St. Louis to say Cairo or Mt. Vernon? If you board a steamer at St. Louis all freight, baggage, are to be carefully examined. No liquids in your carry on, no knives, take your shoes off....whoops wrong century. Okay, now this is for real....all passengers must take an oath...I'm serious. "No patriot can object and no traitor forget," was the motto.

MV- Uniontown Ferry Flag Captured.....June 1861

The American Flag aboard a pole on the ferry run by Wash McKinny was captured at gunpoint by marauding southern sympathizers on the Kentucky side. Ten men boarded the ferry and soon union soldiers from Henderson County armed themselves across from Mt Vernon to show their strength against anymore incidents. Later in the month, the steamer Samuel Orr, an Evansville and Paducah packet was seized by secessionists and taken to the Tennessee River. Gunboats left Cairo, Illinois to retake her if possible.

Throwing Rocks at Troop Train Draws Strict Punishment.....June 1861

A man was seen throwing rocks at a passing troop train in Evansville. Ninety car loads of mules and wagons were headed to supply the 31st Regiment of the Great Army of the Republic. The train was stopped and troopers ran the man down, raised his shirt, stretched him out and gave him 40 lashes across his back.

Stabbity Stabbity Stab Stab Stab.....June 1861

A little knifing here in the city. Intoxicated unnamed citizen stabbed three times by intoxicated Town Marshall by the name of Carter who was arrested by?

Workman in Evansville Build Own Cannon for Defense of Town.....April 23,1861

Workmen at the E&O Railroad shop made a wrought iron 150 inch rifled cannon for the public defense of a 6 lb. caliber. An 8 pounder was in the works also. It should carry a shell some three miles. At the time, Evansville was the second largest city in the state. The Evansville Journal said: "this glorious government of ours is threatened with destruction by traitors. This must not be! The memory of our patriot fathers forbids it; without the union we are nothing. "

New Harmony.....1861

Gunboats Pass Mt. Vernon.....August 1861

The gunboats A.O. Tyler, Conestoga and Lexington passed by town. Staunchly built, the three had on board 16 guns, 10 of which were 32 pounders and 6 64 pounders. They were fully manned and a large crowd assembled on the levy to watch. They were on their way to Cairo. I thought at first this photo looked like metal but if you magnify it some you can see it is wood. This is the Conestoga. This ship was called a "timberclad". 1861-1864. Sunk in a collision with another ship.

Shots Fired in Rockport at Steamer Carrying Stars and Bars.....May 12, 1861

One month after the start of the Civil War the first shots fired in Indiana may have been in Rockport when the towboat GUTHRIE passed by flying the colors of Dixie. Small arms fire from the shore fired on the boat and the GUTHRIE retaliated by firing at the Stars and Stripes that was flying on the bluff. Cannon was quickly rushed to the bluff and two shots were fired. One was blank and the other fell just short of the boat who hugged the Kentucky shoreline. For a short time they lowered their colors then brought it back up as they were fired upon again at the small community of Grandview by rifle fire.

The "Autocrat" Passes Mt. Vernon.....January 27, 1860

Records say she was made at Paducah and was 255 feet in length, the Evansville Journal newspaper says she was the largest boat "turned out of Evansville" and was 270 feet in length. Whichever, she made her way down the Ohio past Mt. Vernon that winter day on her maiden voyage to New Orleans. It had 48 staterooms and sky lights of ornamental stained glass. Most of its furniture and its five engines were taken from the steamer, "The Southern Belle." Built in 1860 she was taken over by the Union Army in 1862 and used as a hospital ship. After the war she was renamed The Southerner," and burned in 1866.

Osage Indian Tribe.....1860

In 1860, five Indians of the Osage tribe, "in destitute condition" came into New Harmony. They were persuaded to perform at the local theatre songs, dances, etc., and the proceeds were turned over to them the next morning. The tribe proceeded to take up their march westward to Oklahoma.

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Editor Now a Music Critic.....May 1859

"An agreeable feature of the FLOATING PALACE was the absence of the hideous musical contraption called the calliope which formally announced the advent of the sawdust opera in our town and others along the river." The steamer was in town featuring the Tych's Indian Troupe which included four "savage" nations.

MV Wharf Boat Sinks.....January 28, 1857

The wharf boat FAWN was sunk in Mt. Vernon but all the cargo was removed without loss. The boat was a very old one and for years piled the Ohio River between Evansville and Louisville as a regular packet line. A packet ship was given as a vessel that was employed to carry the mail in the old days and later meant a transport of a regular service between towns carrying passengers and packages. An 1851 entry in the Evansville Daily Journal says that the "entire cost of the MV wharf does not cost in excess of $18,000 and it was built by Messrs. Roos and Nettleton.

Interesting Happenings at the Nelson House.....1850's

This hotel was very popular during the mid-19th century with a colorful history. The location was at the northwest corner of Water Street and Store Street (College Avenue) and was part of the property where Andrew McFaddin built his first log cabin in 1805. The hotel was built by Turner Nelson and it was a fine Georgian structure with a small pillared portico in front and on the side, a cupola on top with many small panes of windows. Visitors to our town, usually those with some means would stay here coming in off the steamboats. Meals were served and usually there was some sort of entertainment. During the cholera epidemic of the 1870's one infected soul died here and the lady cleaning the sheets died also as did people of her family and panic spread. Tradition says that General William Henry Harrison once owned a small cabin at this site too, but I don't know the truth of the matter. Mr. Nelson is said to have owned a couple of beautiful white horses that were later purchased by a traveling circus and for many years afterwards pulled parade wagons. A bear had been caught by a produce buyer in Tennessee and was given to the Nelsons when it was just a cub. Raised as a pet it grew to over 200 pounds and became troublesome. Finally it was slaughtered and the hotel guests dined on bear steaks. The Nelson House changed hands and was known as the Damron House. For a while it remained an important hotel and a place for social gatherings. As it aged it became a second rate hotel and finally a tenement house. Like all things it served its purpose and was torn down. By August of 1955 the site became the location of the water works office. In the 1970's, Mrs. Grover Keck still had a whiskey bottle which use to be on the bar of the Damron House. A newspaper of the past said of the Nelson House..."With the coterie of local wit and intelligence mingled with the traveling sophistication, a social gathering outstanding in the backwoods drabness was the result." Another ad from 1870 says: "Nelson House (opposite the steamboat landing) U.G. Damron, proprietor....This house has been newly furnished throughout with a view to the comfort of its guests. The proprietor keeps a good livery stable for the accommodations of his patrons."

A 1855 Drawing of New Harmony by Karl Bodmer of his Visit in 1832-1833 in the Publication "United States Illustrated."

Fredrich Engels, you know the co-founder of Marxism with Karl Marx, said about Robert Owen: "All overall movements and all real advancements in England in the interest of the working class where associated with Robert Owen's name." Owen was one of the founders of Utopian Socialism. The commune in New Harmony was said to have failed when one of his business partners ran off with the profits. Owen's contribution to socialist thought was said to have been his view that social behavior is not fixed or absolute and that humans have the free will to organize themselves into any sort of society they choose. Owen made a mark in Scotland when he opened a textile factory and introduced shorter working hours, introduced renovated housing and schools for children. In 1813 he published a book called, "A New View of Society." Owen rebelled against private property and the "irrational system of religion." In New Harmony he had house inspections and severe fines for drunkenness, and having illegitimate children. He stressed practical training for education and not education in the classical sense. Although he worked for more equality for women, little evidence of it was present in the community.

Old Plank Road Tolls.....1850's

The toll was one cent a mile for horse and rider, one and a half cents for a horse and a vehicle, three cents for four horses and vehicle, five cents for a score of cattle or mules, and two cents for sheep and hogs.

Runaway Slaves Captured & Returned To Chains...Evansville Journal.....1855

The American economy had invested too much in the slave trade to let it die without a fight which would come soon enough. A million lives and billions of dollars would soon be swallowed in the tense struggle. Under the headline, "Runaway Slaves Caught," came this story: "Mr. Barrett's two slaves that left him on Saturday night last were caught yesterday by Sheriff Gavitt near Princeton. They were concealed in the house of a white man by the name of Carothors (sic) who was not disposed to surrender them. But finding the sheriff fully authorized to take them and not at all disposed to do anything else; he bid his sable guests an affectionate goodbye and made no forcible resistance. "

On August 2, 1854 the 124 ton side wheeling packet the "Cape May" hit a snag near Mt. Vernon

The collision tore open her wooden hull. 18 people were lost on the four year old steamer built in Pennsylvania.

The Great Drought of 1854.....

You probably wouldn't think of droughts too much when this great land was covered so much by forests, but there was a bad one in 1854 from Maine to the South and through the Midwest which, back then was actually the western part of these United States. Locally, it was unprecedented in scope, grasses died, gardens turned to dust, and plants withered and drooped and then died in the heat of the day. Potatoes shriveled up and corn?.....forget about it! There was no rain from June until September and the corn crop was a failure and many farmers didn't even drive their teams into their fields. All the corn that was gathered was by farmers walking in with baskets and shucking out the nubbins that could be found here and there. When the rains came, people in disbelief stood in awe in the middle of it like they had never seen it before. But then the rains became too heavy and flash flooding occurred, and lightning burned barns and stored feed for the animals. Definitely, not a good year.

Old Plank Road Opens 1851

Timber was felled from near Big Creek and floated down to a steam sawmill called, "The Mammoth." Actually, it seems the old plank road was two roads running parallel to each other. From Big Creek to Mt. Vernon the planks were on the west side and a dirt road on the east. From Big Creek to New Harmony, the plank was on the east side and the dirt on the west. Why? Got me, unless the dirt road was free and the plank a toll. The planks covered the road and were 8 feet long and 2 foot thick. The widths varied from 4 to 18 inches. Over made levies two layers of boards were put down, going in opposite directions. At Rush Creek a10 foot levy was constructed and 18 feet wide. The levy was 650 foot long. At Big Creek a similar levy was made including a covered bridge. Mile posts were on the right side of the road, a mile apart, painted white, with black letters and distance to the next town; either Mt. Vernon or New Harmony. Toll was collected at three places: One was just north of Mt. Vernon near the Saltzman farm, one located a quarter mile south of Smith School and another near New Harmony. The road most of us took to New Harmony before the recent change was the same route the pioneers took. The road bed was covered up by rock, asphalt and later concrete and used for over 130 years. The organized stock company consisted of John Pitcher, President, Robert Dale Owen, Secretary and Treasurer and the directors were N. G. Nettleton, John Sweeney, Enoch James, Charles Leonard, and Richard Barter.

Indiana Constitution of 1851 Required African-American Registration

There was a time when Indiana's constitution prohibited blacks from immigrating into the state. The ones that were already here could not vote or serve in the militia and black children were not allowed to attend public schools. Jobs were relegated to farm labor mostly. Many settled along the Ohio River where some jobs were available loading and unloading steamboats. After the adoption of Article XIII of the 1851 Constitution, blacks living in Indiana were required to register with the clerks of the circuit courts. Section 1 says: "No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of the Constitution. Those who employed such a person were to be fined a sum not less that $10 nor more than $500. "The fine money was to be collected and set apart to be appropriated at a later date for the colonization of such Negroes or mulattoes, and their descendants, as may be in the State at the adoption of this Constitution, and may be willing to emigrate." The location was to be Liberia. All those here legally had to have been in the state prior to November 1, 1851. Data shows that in 1853 Posey County had around 90 Negroes registered. The surnames were Acuff, Baker, Black, Brooks, Caldwell, Cooper, Dimeny, Donaldson, Fauver, Francis, Jacobs, Jenkins, Jones, Lemans, McCallister, Nixon, Rudd, Simons, Sims, Smith, Tyler, Walker, Williams, and Worrells.

Checking Out Cash Payments of "Old Plank Road".....1850

I was doing some research today on the Old Plank Road that was finished between New Harmony and Mt. Vernon in 1851. I have enough for a couple of stories so let's just make this on the ledger. New Harmony's Workingman's Institute was kind enough to let me look at a book from 1850 that was used during the construction of the road. Got to use one of those "micro-spatulas" too. Pretty cool. Made me feel like a real archivist! The book only has about 14 pages filled out from April 6, 1850 until June. It has a recapitulation of payments due certain individuals for unspecified work on the road. This book was titled, "New Harmony Hill Accounts." My theory is that New Harmony Hill may have been one of the three toll places along the road. Workers paid on the road included: Thompson, Quinn, Phillip Farley, Welch, Pat Malone, David Randolph, Mason, James Burnell, Duncan, James Williams, John Smith, Ward, Dickman, Garrett, W. King, Franklin, Tom Varner, Christian Myers, Wagoner and John Shull. A note on the back cover of the book was of Shull. "Swapped horses with John Shull, Thursday 25th of April, 1850 and he commences driving the carts as the driver on Thursday the 25th at the following terms: We pay him $1.25 per day for driver, the yellow horse and for taking care of our horse. He will pay us $1.50 per week for feed and stable of his horse." Other noted expenditures were for picks and shovels.

1850 Petition

In 1850, 81 men signed a petition against selling retail alcohol in Mt. Vernon. No women signed of course, they had few rights and I don't recogize too many names except William Nettleton, who became our first Mayor in 1866 after incorporation. There is a John Hancock, but he signed his name real small....never heard of him.

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Old Mansion House.....1844

Where the new beautiful Riverbend or Riverview park is today on Water Street and way before all the mills of Short, Hominy, Hudnut, etc. stood a grand hotel. They called it, "Mansion House" at first and it was three stories of brick design, built in 1844. James Lowrey, Enoch James and Charles Hovey are said to have constructed it. Reports say there were some real "wind dings" back then full of visitors from the steamboats. Lots of fiddle playing and pipe smoking. Lowrey, by the way had the home at Robin Hill constructed too I believe in the 1830's. Well the Mansion as time has its way moved into many hands and many names as the 19th century progressed. It was The Flower House, the Carter House, the Stewart House, then the Mt. Vernon Hotel and the Duckworth House. In 1874 it was bought by Theodore Hudnut of the Hudnut Milling Company of Terre Haute. Because it was constructed so well Hudnut incorporated the building into his flour mill. Many fires occurred there and it was destroyed in 1893.

Courier to George Washington Buried in Poseyville.....1843

Jonathan Jacques's Jr. is buried about a mile from Poseyville in an orchard. His stone is inscribed: "Here lies a soldier of the American Revolution. A patriot who faithfully served his country five years both by land and by sea. " The private was born in New Jersey in 1753 and served in the 2nd New Jersey Regiment, later named the "Light Horse Brigade." He fought the British at such places as Clinton Ridge, Hancock's Bridge, Three Rivers, Trenton, Princeton and Springfield. He aided in loading vessels down with rocks to sink them in the North River to prevent the British from moving up river. He also carried messages to and from George Washington and his officers. He became a Washington aide and was present at Yorktown of the surrender of Cornwallis. At the beginning of the war he served on a Baltimore packet. He came to Poseyville around 1815 and owned over 1200 acres of land.


In 1842 Democrat congressional candidate Robert Dale Owen debated Whig John W. Payne in Blairsville, a community of maybe 200 in Robinson Township. Located on Big Creek in the western part of the township it was fossil rich and early New Harmony scientists William MacClure, Thomas Say and Owen visited there frequently for specimens.

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One of Largest Makers of Whiskey in U. S. Started Right Here in Mt. Vernon....1838

Leffel's History of 1913 says that in 1831 Darius North, Virgil Soaper, and Andrew McFaddin built a saw mill and eventually a grist mill which turned into a distillery. In 1838 it was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt immediately by other parties. This is most likely the Phoenix Distillery as the date of fire matches. It says it again burned in 1853 after Moore would have liquidated his holdings. Built again on even a larger scale it burned for a third and last time in 1873. Maybe, I can find something in the papers on that one at a later date. No names to report Connie.

The Phoenix Distillery.....1838

Jesse Moore, 1812-1898 once rebuilt a distillery in Mt. Vernon in 1838, named the Phoenix and produced 1300 gallons of whiskey a day selling it in 40 gallon barrels. He sold his company and moved to Louisville and became rich selling his bourbon in every state in the union and in Europe.

Will Worhip Make Us Law-Abiding.....1836

An early educated preacher on his way to Mississippi got off at the landing sort of by accident..."I was sort of thrown into this place," and stayed too long it seems. Lewis Pennell, a Presbyterian clergyman wrote in December of 1836 that "these people with their distillation of whiskey use the drink as a besetting (chief) sin." After spending one year he left because "it is uninviting and unpromising field, most are not interested in ministers of any denomination." His church had only nine members when he left but the Presbyterian message did take root with a beautiful church. Four years later another missionary came to us heathens because "they needed fostering care, sympathies, and laborers of someone." Ain't that the truth?

Posey Resident Keeps Journal of Flatboat Trip to New Orleans...1834-1835

Twenty-two year old Ashbury Cloud Jacquess was part of a farming family and he joined a crew of five as clerk on the large flatboat "Davy Crockett" on December 20, 1834. The "Crockett" was 80 feet long and 17 foot wide loaded with 14,000 pounds of barreled beef and pork, 350 live chickens, 500 turkeys, 1700 bushels of corn and 15 bushels of oats. It also carried 40 kegs of lard to New Orleans. Each evening the boat would tie up at some quiet shore and Ashbury would write in his journal. Sometimes he would write about the good river men he would meet and the stories told. He wrote about wild mink that would come on board at night trying to kill chickens that were in crates. He said that one of the crewmen was killed in a fight in one town. He also witnessed a black dock worker being lynched after being accused of a murder. He arrived in New Orleans on February11, 1835 and got back to Mt. Vernon on March 9, 1835. The trip proved profitable for the Jacquess family. In 1838 he married and they had ten children, one of which was killed during the Civil War. Ashbury lived to age 82 and was a prosperous farmer and was remembered as "generous and liberal to a fault."

Let's Take A Walk Through New Harmony and Check out the Prices, Shall We?.....1835

Okay got my basket handy let's get some dried bacon. "Yes, give me two pounds of bacon at 12 1/2 cents a pound and some fresh beef at 3 cents a pound. Not too thin please. Yes, that's fine Gotlieb thank you." I walk around the store sampling the apple brandy at 59 cents a gallon and pick up some butter for a pound at 13 cents and a dozen eggs for 6 1/2 cents. I grab a bushel of corn on the ear for two bits and the same for a bushel of Irish potatoes. I have the boy drop them in the wagon for me. I grab the manager and he walks out with me and we haggle over the price of skins I have brought in. We make a trade where I gave him three deer skins, two coons, four muskrats, a mink and three otters for 12 live chickens. Time to go home.

Traveling Menagerie Exhibited in Mt. Venon.....1835

I.T. and J.P. Bailey and Company menagerie came to Cynthiana, New Harmony and Mt. Vernon that July with a camel, an African lion, Bengal tiger, polar bear, hyena, a zebra, a leopard, an elephant, a moose, an elk, as well as a panther and a Noah's Ark containing 15 animals at once.

The First Steamboat Excursion from New Harmony to Grayville.....1835

In the spring of 1835, Robert Dale Owen, John Jenkin, and Geo. Hugo purchased and brought to New Harmony the steamboat, "Amity," and invited citizens for a pleasure trip to Grayville, 15 miles up the Wabash. You know like Gilligan..." a three hour tour." Well, it didn't happen quite that way either. Oh, the citizens piled in men, women and children in excitement. They had a skipper and also an mention of Ginger and MaryAnn. The boat left the New Harmony wharf around 9 in the morning and made the first four miles in two hours, when the engine ceased to work...examination had the pump going out as there was no water in the boiler. The boat tied up for several hours as the boiler was filled by a bucket brigade, then back on its way. In a few more miles, the same thing happened. "If not for the courage of the crew that day the Amity would be lost, the Amity would be lost." The skipper was determined to make that trip that day or perish it seems. Finally at midnight they got to Grayville. Passengers thinking they would be back home in New Harmony by dinner now have been on this freaking boat for 15 hours and the mothers and children who had not eaten were "fit to be tied." A man named Fred and a few other men were sent out into the night to knock on doors of the Grayville citizens for provisions. They knocked on cabins on both sides of Main Street and the residents pointed guns at them as the opened the log doors and said they had nothing. The men found a corn crib and each of them carried back an arm full of corn to the boat which was laid upon the boat stove, parched and devoured pigs. One man, a Prussian, just arriving in the United States fell into a deep ravine in the darkness and had to be pulled out by several men with a long rope procured from the boat. Finally the run of 30 miles was ended after 27 hours on the river. One thing was good however.....the boat was loaded with beer from Albion Illinois and the barrels were tapped on the way home and they arrived dry.

Mt. Vernon's First State Senator Dies.....August 1834

Col. Thomas Givens of Mt. Vernon was for several years the associate judge of Posey County and in 1824 (or close) he was elected senator for the counties of Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick. He was twice elected and in 1832 he was chosen as the Presidential Elector for the state of Indiana. His obituary in the New Harmony Disseminator says: "He believed fully in the doctrine of the representative obeying the will of his constituents and was known to have voted at least once in an important matter against his own private judgment and interest. Few faulted him knowing it is not possible to satisfy all."

William Maclure Looks Back On First 20 Years of New Harmony Commune.....1834

I was reading in the New Harmony Disseminator an article edited by William Maclure, the great geologist and founder of the Workingman's Institute. So great to read in the newspaper this great man's own words. I found many pages of his writings from 1829 to 1838 before he died in Mexico in 1840. In 1834 he wrote of the "innumerable Germans" who died the first two years of the settlement of New Harmony. By 1834 things had settled down, the death rate was only about 1% of the population per annum. Twelve stores now filled the community, 2 steam mills, and 2 taverns. The principle streets had been raised and side rails and hand rail fences protected the walks. The buildings were more brick than the wood they were 20 years earlier and covered with whitewash. Aboriginal cabins, "more romantic than tidy still linger here and there. The old cabins are gradually being converted into firewood and vacant lots have become cultivated gardens." A levee had been increased near the river and on top was a dry wagon road. Maclure said of his paper: "The Disseminator is of no party, and as such is treated with indifference, scorned and found contemptible by all parties." His paper contained, "useful knowledge containing hints to the youth of the states from the school of industry." He wrote about everything it seems. I saw articles on making bullets, whooping cough, education, recipes, animal husbandry, the use of the dead for the living, methods of bleaching and making cement, theatre, scalding hogs, pruning, Mexico, Indians and natural science.

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William Maclure on Sleep Patterns....1829

"Studious people ought to be in bed by 8, 9, or 10 o'clock at farthest and rise by 4, 5, and 6, by which means they will be in bed 8 hours. That is sufficient rest for any man not under an acute of the sharp fits of chronic distemper. Lying in bed too long thickens the juices enervates the solids and weakens the constitution. Take a cold bath after rising from a warm bed to make the emulation brisker and more complete. Sedentary life is very injurious to the health and interferes with intense thinking."

Robert Owen, Socialist-Utopian on Children.....1827

New Harmony's great thinker believed in courtesy in all discourse, in the acquisition of knowledge and the equality of rights regardless of sex. I would differ with some of his ideas of course, like all work was to be equal like the teacher and the laborer and the same rate. Even in his own time the people of his colony complained that musicians had it too easy compared to the farmer in the field. Owen kind became a ruler of one and democratic ideas began to fade and members of the commune began to break away. Being a philosopher, Owen was a better visionary than a practitioner. His most worthy ideas I think came in education. He said, "Children are the guests of humanity and should be treated with honor, care, and kindness." Physical punishment was forbidden. Teachers were instructed to teach the children using "steps of more pleasant measure." "Learning was to be pictured as a pleasure and not a chore, something that the individual would seek and not avoid." He started kindergarten and the first free public school in America. "No child should be deprived an education, and free thinking will allow them not to become automatons in the mills."

Owenites Meet With President of the United States, John Quincy Adams.....January 1826

On a Saturday, Captain McDonald and Stedman Whitwell, friends of Robert Owen, and deputized by him, called upon the sixth President of the United States. Adams was interested in transforming America with internal improvements such as road building and infrastructure in the 24 states in the union. The Owenites came and presented to him a model of a city for a population of 2000. The model was six feet square and the general disposition of the residences were on the four sides of a square. The group then went to Philadelphia where papers mentioned that 900 inhabitants of that city showed interest to come to Owen's New Harmony that he had purchased from the Rappities.

"Smoke on the Water; Fire in the Sky".....November 1825

It was reported in New Harmony that dense smoke from forest fires in Illinois was blocking out the sun across the Wabash River.

Posey County Seen Through Rappite John Duss's Eyes.....1820's

"Property is covered with heavy timber, compromising oaks, beeches, ash, three kinds of nut trees three to four foot in diameter with trunks fifty to sixty feet high--splendid material for cabinet work. Gum trees, hackberry, sycamore, persimmons, wild cherries, apple and plum, wild grapes of enormous diameter, all of which bear fruit. There are also large numbers of maple and sugar trees from which great quantities of brown sugar can be made in the spring. Sassafras trees from two to three feet in diameter and all kinds of poplar; these have a very solid wood good for boards which in the lowlands one finds very large cypresses good for articles made by the coopers and for shingles. The forest is full of deer, antelope, bears, wolves, wildcats, groundhogs, squirrels, snakes and wild turkeys."

General Lafayette Came Up the Ohio River to Visit Shawneetown.....1825

At every town of consequence it seems during that era entertainment and honors were offered to the General on his steamboat. Two New Harmony citizens saw him in Shawneetown those being Victor Ducios and David Schnee. At the Illinois town extensive preparations were made to receive the guest. Shawneetown had few dwellings other than huts. There were no more than three brick buildings back then and one was a hotel called the Rawlings. The house stood on the bank of the river. A walk was constructed from the hotel door to the landing, some 200 feet down the bank of the river. The walk was covered with calico and then strewed with flowers. When the boat ran up to the gang plank, the distinguished guest marched to the hotel, preceded by the reception committee. The walk was lined on each side with people who threw roses and flowers in Lafayette's path as he doffed his hat.

Robert Owen Leaves From Mt. Vernon, Looking for More Recruits.....1825

Robert Owen had a heart and was always moved by the suffering of children and the waste of human life. His mind was always active and full of philanthropy. He pushed socialistic reforms when he bought New Harmony from the Rappities. He became an apostle of communism in an order he felt would provide equality in comfort and morality. He recognized later he had been a failure, but he knew it had been a splendid failure. "Owen's theories may not have survived in their entirety, but his love for man remains as the spiritual and moral motive for social life today." In March of 1825, Robert's son William rode over cut-off island in a dull rain with Father Rapp and a Mr. Flower to tour the place. William wrote in his diary of the plentifulness of grass and ordered that cattle be turned out of their enclosure to graze. He observed the steamboat the William Penn docking which produced a great sensation in the town. In June Robert rode into Mt. Vernon and spent the night with the postmaster J.Y. Welborn (corner of West Second and Store, now College) before heading out the next day on a steamboat, "The Pioneer." While waiting, Robert spoke to maybe 40 or 50 people at the landing. The talk of his principles was given without taking questions. He then climbed aboard the Pioneer accompanied by a Captain MacDonald to tour the east coast looking for more recruits for New Harmony then on to Scotland to visit many of family still in Europe. He would return the following spring.

First Courthouse.....1825

Our first courthouse in Mt. Vernon was built around 1825 or 26 by Jesse Y. Welborn and it had a little cupola on the top. The building was only 40 foot square. The cupola was a place the local Masons held their early meetings. Our famous Judge John Pitcher, mentor of Abe Lincoln and Alvin Hovey joined there in 1832 and by the time he died in 1892 at age 98, he was the oldest Mason in the United States.

William Owen Describes a Sunset in Mt. Vernon.....December 1824

William Owen arrived from Louisville on a steamboat. As he passed Evansville he said it held 30 or 40 houses. Arriving in Mt. Vernon a little after dark he saw "a most lovely sunset. A clear sky except one or two clouds in the west, which came of fiery red, soon changing into a beautiful neutral tint and then again into a dull pink." Moving up to the bank at the riverfront, they had difficulty getting in and had to wait for nearly 15 minutes for a cart to convey their luggage in the James Inn. They had supper at the hotel and complained that there was no milk to be had. The next morning they awoke at daybreak and headed for New Harmony. He described the roads as pretty good at first but soon the horses had difficulty with the rutted roads. Few log houses were seen, but he was impressed by the many trees of white walnut, beech hickory, dogwood, etc. They arrived in sight of New Harmony around 2 p.m.

New Harmony Town Plat.....1814-1824

Mt. Vernon's Best Brawler Finds One Better in White County.....1824

Like an old gunslinger looking for the fastest gun to make a name for himself, a rough fellow named Dennis headed to Illinois looking for a certain man of reputation. Now William was a big man, the kind of man needed to clear up the country of bears, wolves, Indians and other tough crazy white men. His reputation had traveled far and wide. One day there in Illinois, William came out into a clearing to eat dinner. Here came Posey's Dennis riding up, with his long legs almost touching the ground. "Howdy," came the greet'n from Dennis. "Air ya the man that whipped Joe Logsten, over in Mt. Vernon at the house Turner Nelson is a raisin?" "I is as reported," replied Will. "Well then," continued Dennis, "my name is Dennis and I reckon i's one of the best thar ever was, an' come over her to see if you could do me as you did Joe." "All-right," said William "anything to be friendly. Just light off yur saddle thar bud...dinner is about ready. Hitch yur critter to the fence and afterwards if you are of the same mind, I'll tend to the job." So they sat down facing each other smiling, being waited on by the puzzled wife of William. Then they got up and Dennis in describing to his friends later said: "The first pass that fellow made at me showed me I had no call to leave Posey, and the thin hadn't more'n got started fore I wanted to resign; but I had to try to git n a few licks. After he mopped up the ground with me and walloped me a 'round a sapplin' once or twice I bleated like a sheep. He helped me up on my critter, and he sorta felt sorry for me. He told me when I git home and gather up with other folks that as soon as he gits his korn laid up, he might come over for amusement." Dennis he decided he had enough and would stay on his side of the river in the future when looking for trouble.

New Harmony Economy.....1820's

Here we have this little community of maybe 900 rising to the sounds of French horns at 5 a.m. to start their day. These people besides farming were producing beer, cider, wine and whiskey. The whisky was mostly used as medicine and the surplus exported.....yes, exported. In 1820, the Census of Manufacturers had the market value of New Harmony to be over $50,000....second highest in the young state! Harmonist had stores in Vincennes and in Illinois....Albion and Shawneetown, which was an important place back then. These people making oil, baskets, chairs, shoes, pottery, and lots of rope to be sent to markets not only in the south; but according to sources in 1824 they were trading with 22 states and 10 foreign countries!

What You Waiting On Lord?.....1820's

William Michaux, was a retired Englishman living in New Harmony during the Owenite era. In his will he was to leave $1000 to the Workingman's Institute for the library. "Becoming tired of his life, and not wanting to destroy himself by person of violence, he carried a lightning rod and exposed himself during thunder showers in the hope that Providence might gratify his wishes." Despite all his efforts he lived and when he died it was of natural causes. And the library got their money.

Rappite Holidays.....1820

New Harmony paused for the religious holidays of Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas. They also celebrated the 4th of July. Not so much for Independence Day, but because 300 plus of their members had come to America on that day decades before. Father George Rapp had three other holidays: Hamonie Fest, which celebrated the founding of Harmonie or New Harmony and was a closed community celebration on February 15th. The next holiday was Erntefest which was the celebration of the harvest which came in August. The third holiday was Agape or the Lord's Supper which usually came in October, but could be done at really anytime. On that occasion those who had confessed their sins to Rapp were allowed to be at the great feast; of course, men and women were segregated.

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Visitor Calls Rappite Women...."Ugly!".....1819

A man named W. Faux in 1823 wrote of his visit to Rapp Town. "Rode up around 10 am and Father Rapp was speaking. He used his arms a lot. In an impressionable manner he used signs and said his arms were that of God's. The people were working folk, look much alike and rather shabby. None are genteel. The women are intentionally disfigured and made ugly as possible. Their hair is combed straight up behind and before, so that their temples are bared and have a little skull cap tied under their chin. Couldn't wait to leave the place."

Wavy~ Takes That Time Machine Back Again to Point Township.....1819

Some of you might remember my pretend trip back to McFadden's Bluff 1805 in Volume V. It just so happens that when I ain't got nuttin to rite bout, I make s*t up. Last book ~Wavy~ snuk a kiss from that red headed gal after chow with Big Jim, Little Jim and the two beavers. I thought I'd go back a little later and see what is a happening in Daniel Township later to be Point. I check in at the farm of Thomas Jones. He's good dimmacrat. Soon as ~Wavy gets off the gangplank of my flatboat I notice quite a few homesteaders or squatters. I see the ugly women folk tended ter de chilluns. Amazing how much a women ages in these pioneer days. You gotta get em young I figure, because by thirty they look like an old bear.All kinds of stock em the fences...I see hawgs, cows, mules and hosses. Big families working in te fields hoe cawn, chop wood, cut down the tree, drag it to the house. Doin all um that thar in all kind ub weathah too! There's Thomas. I wave, he says hey. He ask me to tote in some wood, and pick some plums. Damn, ~Wavy~ didn't cum all this way to wok...I's retired! All Thomas' brudders got ugly women too and all dem chilluns of all dem families playing tergedder like dogs. They's a rastling and crawl'n all over each utter, muddy as hell. Bet 'em get a whippin. Bath day still four days off. I wanna stay for suppa, cus I's no these ugly women can cook possum four or five ways...truss the lord! I can't though. They gonna have a hog killin and curin and I ain't up for that. These people strange brood. I cum back when they is civilized.

English Traveler Not Impressed with Southern Indiana.....1819

William Faux was a celebrated traveler in the New World and kept a diary of his visit in 1818-1820. He spent some time here in the "west" and was not really taken by the sight. In Princeton in November it was 66 degrees and in a week later it had tumbled to 3 degrees below zero. He said he had to travel in three shirts, two waist-coats, three coats, three pair of breeches, three pair of hose and a seal cap. His saddle was then covered with a bear skin. He found our farmers "very poor, dirty, and wretched, because idle and semi-barbarians, work about half the day and camp out all night, in all seasons and weathers." He went on to write that" they surround a large fire, and lie on leaves under a clap-board tent or wooden umbrella, wrapped in a blanket, with their clothes on. Their shirts are rotting off their backs. They rarely shave, but clip off the beard, and their flesh is never washed; they look pale, wan, yellow, and smoke dried." I bet o Willy didn't say that to their face, what you say? "They live like the deer they shoot with their muskets and not high minded to go to services, not suffering their children to go to service either. They just live in rags, idleness, and filth." He went to a dance with the communists of New Harmony and said..."there are class distinctions found in the colony where equality was to be a keystone." Men at the dance wore a costume of white pantaloons, button over a jacket, sort of like little girls wear among us (British). The women wear a coat down to their knees and the men do not participate in the dance, but read newspapers which are scattered on the tables" I guess that about covers it.....oh he said the muddy puddles reminded him of the "poor idea of the morality of the place." I hope he didn't put all that in the Trip Advisory of nobody would want to come to America.

Welcome Wagon in New Harmony.....1817

Back then those commies of New Harmony looked out for the new guy. When that newcomer from Pennsylvania came in on his wagon or flatboat there was Father Rapp and the settlers already here without distinction or ceremony went at once to pay the new folks a visit. All kinds of warm sentiments were exchanged and the residents helped to provide all the tools, teams, wagon, provisions and even their own personal services to get the citizens settled. So within a few days "all hands were on deck" as they put up fences and the land was broken up to help them cultivate. The new town in a new state owned 20,000 acres by this time and built 160 houses and buildings in just three years. Soon it had a distillery, a wool spinning factory, a newspaper, a vineyard with a winery along with a granary. Their goods were made in such abundance they were able to export their wool cloth, knit goods, yarn, tin ware, rope, beer, whiskey, brandy, flour, beef, pork , butter, leather and other goods throughout the area and to southern markets by way of the Ohio River from Mt. Vernon.

Dann Lynn, Posey Delegate to Indiana Territory Constitutional Convention.....June 1816

Dann Lynn was born in 1787 in Christian County Kentucky and died of cholera in 1833. Little is known of him and how he came to represent the only delegate from Posey. Joined 42 white men at the territorial capital of Corydon to form a Constitution. The Constitution by and large was a copy of other states, especially Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. It was approved 33-8 and was never submitted to the people living in what became Indiana that year. A few notable entries was that all white males 18-45 were required to serve in the militia, but soon New Harmony Rappities were violating that law and fined. Non- whites could not serve, but slavery was banned from the state. To vote or run for office you had to prove U.S. citizenship for five years. Lynn was a member of the U.S. House being elected in 1816 and 1818. It was said he ran a ferry from Diamond Island to West Franklin and was buried in either a private or family cemetery.

Smoking Home Grown and Drinking Home Brew.....1815

Back when horses hitched to each other pulled grist mills distilling of liquors was very popular locally. They said the first building in what would become Mt. Vernon was a tavern. Money wasn't too plentiful and it was likely if you wanted a gallon of whisky you bartered a bushel of corn for it. I wonder what happened to these guys. About 1815, two human skeletons were discovered in the forest near Stewartsville. Near them was a jug of whisky. Their identity was never found, nor what happened to them. Did they die of exposure or violence or wild beasts while they slept it off? Indians would have taken the whisky right?

McFadden Settlement.....early 1800's

I have read that the initial settlement was near where SABIC is today; but the first McFadden cabins were built at the foot of Store Street (College Ave) in 1806. The first trading boats landed out there at the first settlement until the wharf was built at the end of what became Main Street in 1810. Well, actually Main was called Harrison Street in the beginning. Where Fourth, Fifth and Main Streets are was once a pond favored by the settlers for goose and duck hunting. Darius North and William Robison opened the first general store here in our village. North I believe was the first person buried at the Cemetery behind the old high school/ junior high school.

Three Daniel Boone Decendants Born In Posey County.....Circa 1815

Somewhere "along the banks of the Wabash in Posey County" Elizabeth, Zachariah, and Enoch Garrison were born decedents of the great pioneer Daniel Boone. Dinah Boone was the niece of Daniel and she married Zachariah Allen and they had a daughter Sally who married Elijah Garrison who became the parents of the three mentioned. Soon they moved to Pike County, Illinois. The family struggled to pay debts from creditors of Zachariah Allen who lost money in real estate. Money was scarce and the auctioneer was busy taking back land the family once owned.

Panther Kills Man At What Would Become Become Fifth & Main.....1815

Long ago a pond filled that site of our small community and a panther sprang from a tree and killed a Mr. James Culbertson according to Miss Alice Fogas. Later the pond was drained or filled in and a large home was built there by Enoch Randolph James who was a banker here in town. The home took up over half a block sometime before 1853 and was enclosed by an iron fence. James had two daughters named Mary became the wife of General Hovey and Juliette became the wife of General Harrow. They say this old two story home was the scene of many a social event prior to the Civil War. Enoch who died in 1863 was a Democrat and served Posey County as its Treasurer and was elected senator in 1859. He was a captain in the War of 1848 with Mexico with Hovey who was a lieutenant. James later changed his party affiliation to the Republicans and was a strong advocate for the Union. He died in 1863.

According to Local Paper; New Haven, IL was Once Called Boone's Fort.....1812

It was named after the first settler Joseph Boone according to the New Harmony Times. He was united in marriage to a daughter of Joseph Dagley, a Revolutionary soldier attached to Washington's staff. One of their fondest traditions was that their town was visited by his brother Daniel. Today it's kind of a forgotten town. Gone is the river traffic. I had relatives that lived there 50 years ago and I saw no signs as a teen that it ever had any dreams of being a metropolis. Later, I only thought of it as a place to get alcohol on Sunday or lottery tickets.

How About a Christmas Story of Old Posey.....Say 1810?

It's a little early for Christmas, but I would like to get this into Volume 6 before it gets too big...may not be a 7. Said that last time didn't I? LOL. This story was found by our city historian, Else Horcek and published in 1989. I'll copy it the way she wrote it. "This is a Christmas story. A story of a little boy and a Christmas long ago in the early days of Posey County. It was told to a Posey County Historian some 80 years ago by that grand old patriarch of the Wabash Valley mussel diggers. "Uncle Johnny Stockton and they were sitting in the old man's ramshackle, high stilted house near the river, when a thunderstorm blew up and heavy rain beat down. The old house swayed and creaked at the mercy of the wind and old, ailing "Uncle Johnny" reclined on his cot. The younger man noticed and spoke in admiration of an old powder horn which hung in dusty repose above the rickety door. In so doing he touched off one of the quaintest stories of old Posey County he had ever heard. "Yes," said the old man, "That is a purty thing. Let me tell you about it." "A long time ago, when I was first a mite of a lad, my daddy moved us all the way from Virginny out here to Indiany. Twas a wild country here in them days, mostly woods, and neighbors were scarce, I tell you." "Well late one winter's evening the fire went out in our cabin and my dad was laid up at the time with a split foot, feverish and everything, where his axe had glanced off a log while he was fellin' timber." Mother said, "Johnny, you run over to Terrells and fetch us some fire." The Terrells were our nearest neighbors, only about three or four miles away. So she bundled me up good, gave me a pail to fetch the fire in and I sat out across the clearin' and along the path through the woods to Terrells. And all the white snow was tricklin' down like blossoms under an apple tree." "As I trudged along a whistlin' and a singin' to my pail, I got to think'n' about Christmas and Santa Claus, and the more I thought the further I went, and the further I went the thicker the snow fell and purty soon all the woods had turned white and I said to myself, tomorrow will be Christmas sure, and tonight Santa Claus will come " " And just then, a little ways ahead, I saw a deer leap across the path and then another and I thought I heard sleigh bells a jinglin' and I started to run, faster and faster, to meet up with Santa Claus. I wanted to tell him where our cabin was and what I wanted for Christmas and for him not to forget my daddy and my mother. But I ran too fast and stumbled over a snow covered root and went crashing head long into a tree. The last I remember was the pail tearin' from my grasp and banging away down the path." "Well, sir, when I came to, I was a sittin' on Santy Claus' lap, my head against his shoulder, and he was huggin' me close to him. He wasn't dressed like most Santy Clauses are dressed. He wore a fringed coat, but it wasn't white fuzzy fringe, and his coat wasn't red except near the shoulder where my head lay, and he wore a coon skin cap like all the settlers wore. But he was Santy Claus alright! His long white hair, his kindly face, and his merry, twinklin' eyes told me so." "I tried to talk to him, but he motioned me to be quiet. Then he stood up, still holdin' me, and walked down the path where he picked up the pail, then he turned and we started back through the darkening woods towards my home. I fell asleep in his arms and so I don't remember coming to the cabin, but when I awoke, Christmas mornin' in my own bed there was a brisk fire burning in the hearth. I called for Santa Claus but mother came instead and said Santa was gone." Then she said, "O. yes he left a present for you," and she brought me that powder horn. You might know I was the happiest kid on the frontier that Christmas, me with a man sized powder horn all my own. "Yes, sir, that was my first Christmas in Indianny and I've kept that powder horn ever since. You might like to look at it. Take it down if you like." The visitor got up from his dilapidated, cane bottom rocker, walked over to the door and took down the old relic. "It's a mite dark in here." said Uncle Johnny. Take and light that lamp over there on the shelf, then you can see what a fine horn it really is." The visitor followed his instructions and inspected the cherished keepsake in the lamp light with admiration for its finely turned workmanship. On it he found a most surprising inscription. It read: Merry Christmas to Johnny Stockton from D. Boone."

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Massacre at Diamond Island.....1803

Long ago the Barnard family was working their way down the Ohio River moving from their previous home in Virginia. While floating down the river they spotted a deer and shot it. They pulled up onto the bank to retrieve their game when they were attacked by ten Indians. The first brave to enter the boat was killed by Mrs. Barnard with an axe. The oldest son James took off running with a knife. Two Indians chased him and when one lagged behind he turned to fight the other one. He too turned back towards the boat. When James got back his mother and father were dead and his two younger brothers and a sister were missing, never to be seen again.

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Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 1
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 2
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 3
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 4
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 5
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 7
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 8
Ray Kessler - Unplugged Volume 9
Other Memories