Members' Bulletin Board

This section of the Society of Indiana Pioneers website features news and information from members about upcoming family history, genealogy and other history events and items of potential interest to Society members.

Penchant for History Becomes Educator’s Passion

A professor of history at Ball State University, Ron Morris values historic places as physical manifestations of our forebears’ dreams, values, and stories. When he moved back to Indiana from Texas in 2002, his search for home drew him to an 1830 Federal-style rowhouse in Centerville. The property’s provenance sealed the deal: it was the former home of James Rariden, an Indiana congressman who hosted Henry Clay overnight as he campaigned for President along the National Road in 1844. Morris restored the rowhouse inside and out. To protect his hard work, he donated a preservation easement on the property to Indiana Landmarks.

Read more about Society Vice-President/President-Elect Ron Morris's efforts to preserve and restore historic Indiana properties in this article from Indiana Preservation magazine.

Follow Hoosier History Live!

Nelson Price, the Pioneers' pilgrimage chairman, is the host of "Hoosier History Live!" - a live, weekly radio show exploring all aspects of Indiana 's heritage. Broadcast on WICR-FM (88.7) in Indianapolis at 11:30 am on Saturdays, the program is believed to be the only live radio show – with call-in opportunities from listeners -- about a state's history in the country. (History usually is handled in a taped format.) Since its debut in January 2008, "Hoosier History Live!" has explored topics ranging from sports, arts, ethnic immigration, music and pioneer life to neighborhood and town histories.

Studio guests have included former First Lady Judy O'Bannon, jazz great David Baker, Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Mark Herrmann and several Pioneers board members as well as genealogist Michele Kerr for a show about ancestral roots-tracing. From anywhere in the world, people can listen online at the WICR website during the "Hoosier History Live!" broadcast on any computer with speakers or on a smartphone, so the show enjoys regular listeners from Fort Wayne to Corydon and Vincennes as well as "snowbird" Hoosiers in Florida and Texas. (There's even a regular listener in Romania; he's a transplanted Hoosier who moved to Europe years ago.)

The show's website is at Nelson is an author/historian who writes books about famous people from Indiana (both historic and contemporary figures) and books about Indianapolis city history; he is a former feature writer/columnist for The Indianapolis Star.

Former Society President Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobson honored by Propylaeum Historic Foundation

Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen, former President of The Society of Indiana Pioneers (2006-2007), has been selected by The Propylaeum Historic Foundation to receive the May Wright Sewall Leadership Award for her lifetime of working in education, working with children and substance abuse counseling. In addition, Jamia has made significant contributions in volunteer leadership positions in many civic organizations. The award was presented in Indianapolis on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

Andrew Olson authors book on David Kilgore and the Bee Line Railroad

I began my research and writing about various aspects of David Kilgore’s (1804-1879) life in 2009, and now the book I authored is being released by the Kent State University Press. My research on Kilgore’s railroad career with what locals called the 'Bee Line,' which extended from Indianapolis to Cleveland (and on to St. Louis) and existed between 1848-1889, blossomed into a much broader effort. The book is entitled: Forging the Bee Line Railroad, 1848-1889; The Rise and Fall of the Hoosier Partisans and Cleveland Clique. It falls into the 'popular history' genre. Here is a link to more information about it on the Kent State University Press web-site:

The result of my work is a book about the birth and evolution of the Bee Line Railroad – forerunner to the better-known Big Four Route. Along the way, it became entangled with several regional railroads as well as the bigger trunk lines like the Erie Railway, New York Central and the lesser known Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. All would impact the ultimate destiny of the Bee Line. This is really a story about the fundamental cultural and economic change brought about by the arrival of the railroad into the lives of Midwesterners.

Whether in the context of U.S. transportation history, cultural or economic history of the Midwest, or more specific regional or local history or railroad history, I hope you will find it of interest.

Andrew Olson

Terri Gorney Working To Track Down "Leading Hoosiers" From 100 Years Ago

Former Society board member Terri Gorney was featured in an article from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel recently. She has been working on tracking down the one hundred Hoosiers mentioned in a 1916 book celebrating the state of Indiana's 100th anniversary.

To date, she’s found 87 profiles, but she hopes someone may have a copy of the entire series so she can determine the remaining 13 "Leading Hoosiers."“It is part of our history,” she said of finding all 100 profiles. “It is neat to look at the founding of the state, how Indiana became a state and who was involved in it.”

Read the article by Kevin Kilbane of the News-Sentinel for more.

Dan McCain Receives Charles Carroll Award

Dan McCain (pictured right) receives the 2014 Charles Carroll Award.

In October, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce presented the Charles Carroll Award to Dan McCain, president of the Wabash and Erie Canal Association board and tireless volunteer with the canal park. McCain has served on the Board of Governors of the Society of Indiana Pioneers.

Mark A. Smith Appointed as Carroll County Historian

The Carroll County Historical Society hosted an open house to honor Mark A. Smith on his appointment as Carroll County Historian.

Smith succeeded Phyllis Moore who served as Carroll County Historian for 28 years. Moore, of Delphi, was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) for her “outstanding service as the Carroll County historian” upon her retirement from the program in December.

Smith began a three-year term as the official county historian following his appointment by the IHS and the Indiana Historical Bureau. The Indiana County Historical Program was established in 1981. Through this program, Indiana’s 92 volunteer county historians promote local history in their counties and serve primarily as resource people.

Smith currently serves as the coordinator for the Carroll County Historical Society Museum and the coordinator for History Club field trips. He serves as a board member of the Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc., also assisting as a docent, researcher, and tour guide.

Smith also acts as a “first person” narrator for Carroll County trolley tours that include the City of Delphi, cemeteries, French Post Park, and Delphi’s Reed Case House.

He is involved in Heartland Heritage Inc., Carroll County Old Settlers Association, the Historic Homes Educational Committee, Midwest Outdoor Museum Council, Delphi IOOF #28 Lodge, Promote Wildcat Valley, Covered Bridge Society, Society of Indiana Pioneers, and the Studebaker National Family Association.

Smith enjoys photographing historical sites and writing about history. His articles appear in the Carroll County Comet, Monticello Herald-Journal, and on his Facebook page.

Smith is a 1967 graduate of Delphi High School and a 1971 graduate ofIndiana State University. He completed the Leadership Carroll County course in 2012. He and his wife, Kay, reside in rural Brookston.

Berne Tri-Weekly News Article About 2013 Fall Pilgrimage

Following the Pioneers' Pilgrimage to Berne in September 2013, the Tri-Weekly News published an article about the trip, including quotes and mentions of several Society members. Here's a PDF version of that article.

Former SIP Board of Governors Member, Dan McCain, instrumental in relocating and preserving Houck River Bridge

Thanks to countless hours of volunteer labor and the support of the entire Carroll County community, the Gray Bridge, formerly known as the Houck River Bridge, made its debut on the Wabash and Erie Canal Park in July 2014. Dan McCain, president of the Wabash and Erie Canal Association and a former member of the Society's Board of Governors, said the disassembled bridge arrived in five semi trucks loaded with material.

Carroll County Working to Create a Bicentennial Park

Carroll County advocates are working to create a Bicentennial Park near Delphi adjoining the new four-lane Hoosier Heartland Highway. The highway opened in October 2013 from Delphi to Logansport. As of fall 2016, the park is still under development.

Indiana Department of Transportation land east of Delphi could be the site of the Park. Support from the community is needed. This land would include the earliest settlement area of Pioneers in Carroll County. Dan McCain, SIP member and supporter of the Park plan, counts his ancestors Daniel and William McCain among those settlers. 
Dan has provided the following documentation of this effort:

Bicentennial Commemoration Project
Heartland Heritage Inc.
March 2013

There is a local community need to commemorate the 2016 bicentennial of Indiana statehood. This project presents two basic ways to accomplish this for Carroll County and environs. Obviously other local bicentennial projects apart from this proposal may be initiated.

Project Goals
There are two main aspects of the current proposal:

  1. A call for individuals, organizations and government entities to consider their projects and/or plans that could be dedicated to the bicentennial. This is mostly a publicity activity accomplish by writing, speaking and meeting with individuals, organizations and media. Heartland Heritage Inc. will act as a catalyst or spur for others to create their own bicentennial projects. In 2016 Heartland Heritage could hold some kind of recognition for participating individuals and organizations.
  2. Make improvements for the 1916 Centennial Monument. This could be as little or as big as various people, including the current landowner, want to make it. Two additional expansions to this goal might be considered:
    1. An obvious expansion would be the erection of a 2016 Bicentennial Monument.
    2. Another potential expansion would be to identify and seek improvements for a Bicentennial Heritage District (or some such name), which would be from the east end of Delphi through the Deer Creek Valley over to the west end of the Deer Creek Valley Rural Historic District. Obviously big changes are already happening here, and this might be a chance to “codify” the area and seek additional improvements. Naming this area would be optional and would not necessarily require any official designation. 

            No funding appears necessary at this time.

Project Management
            David McCain can act as project leader.

David Cook on the Camino De Santiago de Compostela

Society member David Cook undertook a pilgrimage to Spain, and highlights of his trip can be seen on the web site or by following these two links:

David on the Camino.

David Cook shares his experience hiking el camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Dr. James Fadely Leads Effort to Preserve the Taggart Memorial

Indianapolis’s Thomas Taggart Memorial, built to honor one of Indiana’s early notable leaders, is in need of significant restoration efforts.  Society of Indiana Pioneers member Dr. James Fadely is the chairman of a task force that has been established to raise the $2 million needed to fund the repairs and to establish an endowment for the future.  “I have been amazed at the number of the people stepping forward because they find the project meaningful and valuable for our city,” he has said.

Thomas Taggart was the mayor of Indianapolis from 1895-1901, a U.S. Senator, a chairman of the Democratic National Committee and an owner of the French Lick Springs Hotel.  He acquired land for the city park system during his mayoral terms.  He died in 1929 and the memorial was built in 1931.

The memorial is a limestone colonnade and fountain in Riverside Park near 29th Street. They require extensive work and the site needs to be made more accessible.  “We want to open up the view and the prominence that the memorial once held,” Dr. Fadely said.

Indiana Landmarks has the memorial on its 10 Most Endangered List of historic structures.

For more information contact Dr. James Fadely, Chairman of the Taggart Memorial Task Force, at 317-733-4475, ext. 104.

(Information for this article was found at, and  The photograph is credited to Bill Morgan.)

Andrew Olson Presentation on Early Indiana Politics

Andrew Olson delivered a presentation entitled “The Politics of Third Party and Fringe Factions in Pioneer and Civil War Indiana: The Political Career of David Kilgore” in September, 2012, at Ball State University's Bracken Library.

Andrew has also written a paper, "Pioneer & Civil War Era Indiana Politics: The Political Career of David Kilgore."

Maxine Brown Receives Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Historical Society

Maxine Brown, a former board member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers, received an Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Historical Society. At the December 5, 2011, Founders Day banquet at the Indiana History Center, the award was given to Maxine as a tribute to her historic preservation efforts in southern Indiana. (Ralph Gray received the award in 2010.)

Maxine was honored for her historic preservation work that has included the renovation of the Leora Brown School (formerly the Corydon Colored School), the school attended by generations of African-American students. Thanks to Maxine, it is now a cultural and educational center. The award was also a tribute to her work in helping develop a Southern Indiana African-American Trail. The trail pinpoints significant historic sites in six southern Indiana counties. Sites across the entire state will eventually be identified. Her work has made it easier to access historic records about African Americans through deeds, court records and registers.

This year, the IHS presented two Lifetime Achievement Awards. Maxine received one, and Pam Bennett of the Indiana Historical Bureau received the other.

Works by Society Member Ralph Gray

Description: Editor's Outbasket cover 001.jpg Ralph has published a book, which he describes as: “The book, A Pike County Editor's Outbasket, is a self-published work issued last December that contains several historical essays by my grandmother, including two pieces about her that I and my wife, Beth, wrote some time ago.  The book's co-editor, Bill Harris, is a retired Presbyterian minister/librarian, who once directed the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library.  An old high school friend, he first suggested the book and helped in choosing the material printed. ”  Ralph has copies of the book on hand, available for $20 including tax and shipping charges.  The address is Gray Matters Press, 787 E. Tamarack Trail, Bloomington, IN 47408-1211.

Description: Around Indiana Title Page 001.jpg
An article of Ralph’s has also appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Traces, pp. 38-45, and features some slide photographs he took during a motorcycle tour of the state in the summer of 1974 (a tornado year) for use in his Indiana history classes at IUPUI.  Traces is one of the many benefits of an IHS membership.




Maxine Brown Articles Appear in My Indiana Home and Traces magazines

Maxine Brown has the subject of an article (viewable online) by Kim Ranegar in the November 11, 2011 issue of My Indiana Home, which is published by the Indiana Farm Bureau. The article is titled "Indiana African American Heritage Trail."

Maxine's own article about the Heritage Trail, titled "The Trail," appeared in the fall 2011 issue of the Indiana Historical Society’s popular history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. It can be read at this link to a PDF file.

Works of Terri Gorney

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel highlighted Terri Gorney's research concerning some early Fort Wayne conservationists.

Terri is also a member of the Friends of the Limberlost board in Geneva, Indiana. She was inducted at the annual meeting in September 2011. She also completed a four-year project for the Charles McClue Nature Reserve, a DNR state dedicated preserve in Steuben County. Maurice McClue kept a 38-year nature journal which Terri transcribed (book one), family notes and those of Steuben County history (which she edited and made into book two), as well as book three, which includes 25 articles and an early history of the reserve.

The Song of the Cardinal

By Terri Gorney

The cardinal, sometimes called the "redbird," is known to most Hoosiers as Indiana's state bird. Today it is a common sight in both urban and rural areas but this has not always been true. The cardinal is not a native to Indiana, like the early settlers, they migrated here. There were originally from the southern United States.

In June of 1903, when Gene Stratton Porter's book "The Song of the Cardinal" was published it was still a novelty to see the bird and it was not yet our state bird, that did not come until 1933. Gene named her book the "The Song of the Cardinal" as she thought the male bird a fine musician. She writes that she was a true lover of the bird. As a child, she found a cardinal's nest close to the front door of her home and was able to observe the nest for hours.

Prior to the 1890s it was unusual to see one. Jane Hine, a female ornithologist from DeKalb County, reported seeing her first "wild" one in the spring of 1885. She was very excited and wrote about the encounter in her journal. The beautifully colored bird soon proved it was hearty enough to survive Indiana winters and no longer would fly south in the fall to warmer climates.

As Gene's character Freckles soon discovered, the male cardinal is different from the female. The male is a vibrant red and the female is brown with touches of red in her feathers. Both have bright orange beaks. The young birds have dull brown beaks.

The Limberlost is a perfect nesting place for the cardinals with its thickets of brambles, bushes and the low trees. The nest usually contains two to four eggs. The hatchlings leave the next in about 13 days.

The cardinal, with its flash of red against the gray skies of winter, is our own ambassador of sunshine on a cold day. Gene summed up the cardinal well, when she wrote, "not only are field and stream enriched by his summer music, but our winter woods during the gray days, in severe cold, resound with his cheery whistle, and oh, how we need every winter singer!"

A Letter of Thanks from a Recipient of Society Grants

Mr. Fadely,

My name is Keith Erekson and I received a dissertation research grant from the Society of Indiana Pioneers in 2006 and 2007. I am pleased to report that the dissertation is now about to become a book.

Everybody’s History tells the story of nearly 500 Hoosiers in the 1920s and 1930s who worked to write the “missing chapter” in the life of Abraham Lincoln—his boyhood in Indiana. They were upset with Lincoln biographers who either ignored Indiana or characterized it as a backwoods place that Abraham was happy to escape. To right this wrong, they preserved, researched, wrote, and shared the history of southern Indiana pioneers as integral to the life of Lincoln and to the history of the American frontier. Along the way, they engaged most of the state’s historical agencies, competed with contemporary Lincoln biographers, and crossed paths with the Ku Klux Klan. See more on the book’s web page.

I am grateful for the assistance provided by the Society of Indiana Pioneers.

Thank you,

Keith A. Erekson
Assistant Professor of History, UTEP
Director, Center for History Teaching & Learning

Link to Indianapolis History

Click on the LINKS tab on the home page, and under the “Indiana history sites” section you can now find a link to the web site “Historic Indianapolis.”

This page last updated on Thursday, March 4, 2021 .
© 2018 The Society of Indiana Pioneers.
Design & hosting by Kephart + Associates.