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Meridian Hills Country Club
Indianapolis, Indiana
Saturday, November 6, 2021

Submitted by Robert H. Everitt

After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions on public gatherings, the Society of Indiana Pioneers members met again in person for the 2021 Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 6, 2021. More than one hundred members and guests met at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis for the annual luncheon and business meeting.

Meeting Details

President Bob Clements called the meeting to order at 11:00 am with 102 members and guests in attendance, and five members signed on to participate via Zoom.

Genealogist Michele Kerr reported that so far in 2021, 264 applications have been submitted and approved, resulting in an additional 168 new proven pioneer ancestors; the number of proven pioneer ancestors in the database now stands at 9,660. Participation in the Facebook page continues to grow, and interest in the Guide to Applying for Membership now posted on the Facebook page has generated interest in membership in the Society.

The membership elected the following persons to the Board of Governors for three-year terms ending in 2024:

  • Joan Rothrock Everitt*, Indianapolis
  • James P. Fadely*, Indianapolis
  • Eric A. Koch, Bedford
  • MacKenzie Ulm Ledley*, Winamac
  • Robert D. Rati*, Carmel
  • William A. Rhodehamel, Brownsburg
  • Charles E. Short*, Kokomo

*Nominated to serve a second full term.

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

  • Dr. Robert E. Clements, President
  • Dr. Ron Morris, Vice President/President-elect
  • Robert H. Everitt, Secretary
  • Bruce W. Oakley, Treasurer
  • Marcia Ahrens Krieg, Registrar
  • Jeanie Pike Hornung, Yearbook Editor
  • Julie Hughes Newhouse, Immediate Past President
Front row (L to R): Marcia Krieg, Jeanie Hornung, Janet Barb, Joannie Everitt, Jinsie Bingham, and Michele Kerr. Back row (L to R): Robert Clements, Ronal Morris, Julie Newhouse, James Fadely, Charles Short, Eric Koch, Bruce Oakley, Robert Rati, and Robert Everitt.

After the business meeting was concluded, all those present adjourned to the dining room for the annual luncheon. Former President Julie Newhouse offered the invocation after the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

2021 Winner of the Master’s Thesis Fellowship

Following a sumptuous lunch, Awards Committee Chairman Jim Fadely introduced Dylan Rawles, the 2021 winner of the Master’s Thesis Fellowship. Dylan, a graduate student at Ball State University, spoke on his thesis topic, Hoosiers and Slavery; Racial Politics in Indiana 1800-1830, and expressed his appreciation to the Society for the fellowship, which made it possible to broaden his research.

2021 John H. Holliday Award

The 2021 John H. Holliday Award winner, Matthew Barnett, offered a presentation with pictures of his winning project to broaden his students’ experience at Maconaquah Middle School in Bunker Hill. U.S. History, science, industrial arts, and math classes will collaborate on building a 1750s fort and cannon battery behind the school using period-specific tools. Once completed, the fort will be the site of a simulated battle between England and France from the French and Indian War (1756-1763). As a result of that war, what is now Indiana changed from French to British ownership and control.

Society of Indiana Pioneers Medallion

President Clements next called on Bob Everitt, a member of the Awards Committee, to describe the Society of Indiana Pioneers Medallion, awarded periodically to persons rendering outstanding service to the organization. Medallions were presented in 2020 to Chuck Bragg and Karen Bragg for exemplary service during Chuck’s tenure as president. Chuck and Karen were called forward to re-enact the presentation, which could not be done in person at an annual meeting in 2020 because of the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

Members of the Awards Committee and President Clements were successful in surprising Jim Fadely with a special presentation of a Society of Indiana Pioneers Medallion for his service to the Society as President during the centennial year, his several terms as a member of the Board and various committee chairmanships. Jim became the seventh person to receive the award since it was implemented in 2006.

“Back Home Again” Traditional Closing

The gathering closed with the traditional singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” led by Board member John Herder and his wife Margaret.