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Meridian Hills Country Club
Indianapolis, Indiana
Saturday, November 4, 2023

Submitted by Robert H. Everitt

Pre-meeting ceremony welcomes Bayh family to the Society

In late September, applications for membership in the Society of Indiana Pioneers were submitted for former Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh and his twin sons, Beau and Nick. The applications showing lineage to Andrew Evans, Sr., who entered Owen County in 1824, were approved by staff genealogist Terry Engel. In a brief ceremony before the Annual Meeting of Members was called to order on November 4, membership certificates were presented to the three Bayhs, a fitting welcome to three of the Society’s newest members.

Presentation of membership certificates to the Bayh family members on November 4, 2023. (L to R) Terri Gorney Lehman (Society Vice President), William Rhodehamel (Society Board Member and great-grandson of Society founder John H. Holliday), Nick Bayh, Beau Bayh, Evan Bayh, Carolyn Rose, and Stanley Evans (former Co-Presidents of the Society and descendants of the Bayhs’ pioneer ancestor, Andrew Evans, Sr.)

Meeting Details

Vice President Terri Gorney Lehman called the 2023 Annual Meeting to order at 10:30 am with 99 members and guests in attendance.

The membership elected the following persons to the Governing Board for three-year terms ending in 2026:

  • Martha Susan Batt, Indianapolis
  • John David Cook, Indianapolis
  • Jeffrey Wayne Hornung, New Palestine
  • Andrea Davis Neal*, Indianapolis
  • Kathy Parkison*, Rensselaer
  • Lori Leininger Samuelson, Auburn
  • Patrick Joseph Smith, Bedford

*Nominated to serve a second full term.

Committee member Kathy Parkison made the Education Committee report. She introduced guests representing the Brownsburg Education Foundation, winner of the 2022 John H. Holliday Award, who presented a program with visuals featuring the historic log cabin on the Brown Elementary School grounds. With the assistance of the cash award from the Society, the school system presented a hands-on immersive pioneer experience for many students.

(L to R) Brown Elementary School third grade teacher Rosalie Bonacasa, her student Isla Casey (in appropriate costume), and Foundation Board member Tara Casey.

The meeting was recessed, and those present adjourned to the dining room for lunch and the conclusion of the day’s activities.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Yearbook Editor Jeanie Hornung offered the invocation.

Dr. Jim Fadely, Awards Committee Chair, introduced Cory Balkenbusch, winner of the 2023 Society of Indiana Pioneers $2,000 Fellowship for Graduate Research for a master’s thesis. Cory recently completed work for his Master’s Degree from Ball State University and presented a most interesting summary of his Master’s Thesis: “The Forts of Fort Wayne: Twenty-five Years of Army Occupation at the Three Rivers.” Cory expressed appreciation to the Society for the fellowship, which permitted him to expand his research into areas not otherwise possible.

Cory Balkenbusch, 2023 Winner of the Society of Indiana Pioneers Graduate Fellowship, presents at the Annual Meeting and Luncheon.

Terri Lehman and Nelson Price next made PowerPoint presentations detailing the educational experiences offered to the membership in 2023 at sites around the state:

  • Intergenerational Day at Mounds State Park, July 12, 2023. Three generations were represented in the group that gathered at Mounds State Park to learn more about this historic site and the homestead of the Bronnenberg family, who settled the property in 1820.
  • Spring Pilgrimage, May 20, 2023. A near-capacity motorcoach explored the rich diversity of far-eastern Indiana with opportunities to learn more about an Indiana stop on the Underground Railroad, the acclaimed Art Museum in Richmond High School, the Jazz music heritage in Richmond, and the Hoosier Poet’s boyhood home in Greenfield.
  • Fall Pilgrimage, September 21, 2023.  Society travelers spent a day learning more about the rich heritage of scenic southeastern Indiana with features like the Eleutherian College building in Jefferson County dating to 1848, tours of historic homes and businesses among the architectural treasures in Madison, and a walking tour of the Hanover College campus led by Hanover Trustee and former SIP President Jim Fadely.

The gathering adjourned with the traditional singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” led by SIP  Treasurer Bruce Oakley.