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Meridian Hills Country Club
Indianapolis, Indiana
Saturday, November 3, 2018

Submitted by Robert H. Everitt

More than 100 members and guests of The Society of Indiana Pioneers – the largest crowd in recent memory – met on Saturday, November 3, at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis for the 2018 Annual Meeting. Before the meeting was called to order, many visited the table where copies of the Society’s Deep Forest – now in its second printing – and Pioneer Founders books were sold. Pins and tacks bearing the Society emblem were also available for purchase. President Chuck Bragg, Treasurer Bruce Oakley, and Genealogist Michele Kerr all appeared dressed in authentic pioneer garb, which added to the celebratory air of the day.

President Bragg welcomed those attending and called the meeting to order. Minutes of the 2017 Annual Meeting were approved as distributed, and the Treasurer’s report distributed by Treasurer Bruce Oakley was received for audit. Special mention was made in tribute to two former Governors who had recently died: Marjorie Glass Conly on August 7 and Dr. Gilbert H. Barnes on October 26.

Following a tradition that began with the first Annual Meeting in 1916, a roll call of members was led by former President Robert D. Rati. Members were invited to stand when the decade of their earliest ancestor’s entry into Indiana was called. Only one member stood when “prior to December 31, 1800” was called.

The membership elected the slate presented by the Nominating Committee to serve on the Governing Board:

For one-year terms ending in 2019:
Thomas P. Ewbank, Carmel
Margaret Weir Smith, Indianapolis

For three-year terms ending in 2021:
Ann Boggs Bader*, Oxford, OH
Martha Gee Barnhart*, Churubusco
Joan R. Everitt, Indianapolis
James P Fadely, Indianapolis
MacKenzie Ulm Ledley, Winamac
Robert D. Rati, Carmel
Charles E. Short, Kokomo

*Nominated to serve a second full term.

The Board elected the following to serve as officers of the Society for one-year terms: 

President: Julie Hughes Newhouse             
Vice President/President-elect: Dr. Robert E. Clements
Secretary: Robert H. Everitt
Treasurer: Bruce W. Oakley
Registrar: Marcia Ahrens Krieg     
Yearbook Editor: Jeanie Pike Horning
Immediate Past President: Dr. Charles F. Bragg

Newly elected Society Officers for 2018-19.

Morgan Lee Wilson, candidate for the MA degree in Public History at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, was the 2018 winner of the $2,000 Society of Indiana Pioneers Fellowship awarded to further her studies of early Indiana history. Ms. Wilson introduced the title of her thesis, “Threshing the Grain: Revealing the Lived Experiences of Hoosier Farm Women, 1830-1890.” She described the source of some of her research and expressed appreciation to the members of the Society for their support.

Morgan Lee Wilson with President Chuck Bragg.

The meeting adjourned for lunch and the program of the day. St. Richard’s Episcopal School, Indianapolis, was the recipient of the 2018 John H. Holliday Society of Indiana Pioneers Jr. Award. Kristin Cavolick, Head of Early Childhood and Lower Division at the school, was presented with a check for $500. In remarks following the presentation, she explained the Famous Hoosier project for all fourth graders at the school and expressed appreciation to the Society for its recognition of their efforts.

Dr. James Fadely presents the Junior Award check to Kristin Cavolick.

Tom and Doreen Kephart of Marine City, Michigan, were introduced. In 1997, Tom – now an Associate Member of the Society – redesigned and expanded the Society’s website. Since then, he has served as a volunteer webmaster, making regular enhancements, expanding content, and adding updates regularly to the more than nine thousand names in the database of proven Pioneer ancestors. The website is recognized as a user-friendly source of information for members and prospective members alike. His significant and generous contribution of service to the Society was acknowledged.

New Society President Julie Hughes Newhouse receives the gavel from previous President Chuck Bragg.

A PowerPoint presentation by Pilgrimage Chair Nelson Price highlighted the May 22, 2018, spring visit to southeastern Indiana. A first stop was in the historic Ohio River town of Aurora and then to Rush County where David Willkie, grandson of the 1940 presidential candidate, led the travelers to the burial plot of his grandparents and then hosted a light supper in the mansion which was the residence of the candidate at the time of his run for the presidency. Concluding his presentation, Nelson shared comments and photos of the fall pilgrimage to Ft. Wayne. Highlights included tours of the spectacular Allen County Courthouse, the beautifully restored Embassy Theatre, and the Bass Mansion on the University of St. Francis campus. Of great interest to Pioneers was a presentation by Curt Witcher, nationally prominent genealogist, and manager of the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. The collection of materials for genealogical research in the Ft. Wayne library is said to be second only to the library in Salt Lake City.