SIP Member Interests

Some of our SIP members are very active outside of our society. Below are some history/genealogy-related events and honors that our members are involved in.

Magazine Articles

Maxine Brown

The “Indiana African American Heritage Trail” article written by Maxine Brown appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of My Indiana Home, which is published by the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Dr. Ralph D. Gray

An article titled, “Around Indiana on Two Wheels,” written by Ralph Gray, 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.

Ronald Morris

“Penchant for History Becomes Educator’s Passion” Indiana Landmark’s Indiana Preservationist Magazine, May/June 2020 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.


Nelson Price

HOOSIER HISTORY LIVE: A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price. The show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nelson Price is the SIP Pilgrimage chairman who is also an author/historian and a former feature writer/columnist for The Indianapolis Star.

Molly Head

HOOSIER HISTORY LIVE: Molly Head is the producer and general manager for this weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price. She handles many of the behind-the-scenes details for the show.

Authored Books

Nelson Price

Pioneers board member Nelson Price is the author of six books, all of them with a focus on Indiana. His books include “Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman”, which features profiles and vignettes of 160 men and women from all walks of life, including both contemporary notables (whom Nelson interviewed) and historic figures. He also is the author of “Indianapolis Then and Now”, a visual history of his hometown. Both of these books have gone into multiple editions and printings. Nelson’s other books include three written for young readers: “The Quiet Hero: A Life of Ryan White”, a biography published by the Indiana Historical Society; “Legendary Hoosiers”, and “So You Think You Know Indiana?”, a book written in connection with the state’s bicentennial in 2016.

Arthur Andrew Olson III

Forging The “Bee Line” Railroad, 1848-1889: The Rise and Fall of the Hoosier Partisans and Cleveland Clique written by Arthur Andrew Olson III. // Mr. Olsen began his research and writing about various aspects of David Kilgore’s (1804-1879) life in 2009 which lead to research on Kilgore’s railroad career and what locals called the ‘Bee Line,’ which extended from Indianapolis to Cleveland (and on to St. Louis) and existed between 1848-1889.

Dr. Ralph D. Gray

In 2011, Ralph D. Gray published a book, “A Pike County Editor’s Outbasket.” Ralph describes it as a self-published work 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.

Eunice Brewer-Trotter

This book, written in 2020 by current SIP member Eunice Brewer-Trotter, is the story of Mary Bateman Clark, who resided in Knox County, Indiana. Indiana is thought of as a free state, but Mary Bateman Clark is an example of how slavery was practiced in Indiana, even though it was banned.

The case that went all the way to the Indiana State Supreme Court was the first case addressing indentured servitude. Many of her descendants still remain in the State of Indiana.

This historical fiction, Black in America, can be purchased on

Honors Given

Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen

In 2017, Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen was selected along with Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, by The Propylaeum Historic Foundation to each receive the 2017 MAY WRIGHT SEWALL LEADERSHIP AWARD. Each year the one or more individuals are selected and Dr. Jacobsen was awarded this honor for her lifetime of working in education, with children, and substance abuse counseling. Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen served as  the 2006-2007 president of The Society of Indiana Pioneers.

Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen and Genda Ritz.

Dr. Ralph D. Gray

Ralph D. Gray received an Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Historical Society. At the December 6, 2010, Founders Day banquet at the Indiana History Center, the award was given to Ralph for his contributions as an author, a member of the faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI), and for his contributions to the Indiana Historical Society over the years.

As noted on the IHS website, “The Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award is made annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions over an extended period of time to the field of history and/or the affairs of the IHS. According to one colleague, Dr. Gray’s accomplishments “define a career and lifetime of devotion to the History of Indiana—teaching, research, publications, and public and professional service—all done joyfully with the impeccable character of a gentleman, mentor and scholar.””

Maxine Brown

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.

Dan McCain

In October, 2014, 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.

Dan McCain (pictured on the right)

Projects and Presentations

Terri L. Gorney Lehman

One Hundred Leading Hoosiers 1816 – 1916″ newspaper profiles published in a 1916 newspaper series has been the focus of research performed by current SIP Board of Governors’ member, Terri Gorney. Active in area conservation efforts, she learned of the 1916 profiles while researching Stratton-Porter research material. Click HERE to see the listing that she was able to produce along with a few examples taken from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.

Dr. James P. Fadely

In 2011 the Thomas Taggart Memorial was added to the Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered List of historic structures. SIP Board of Governor’s member, Dr. James Fadely, became the chairman of a task force that established to raise funds needed for repairs to the memorial built to honor the Indianapolis mayor who held the office from 1895 – 1901. Now, in 2021, the restoration project is nearing completion and getting ready to open with The Taggart Memorial as an amphitheatre to feature free summer concerts and much more.

Dan McCain

Canal’s Gray Bridge taking shape” article in the Carroll County Comet on August 7, 2013 outlines the process of disassembling the former Houck River Bridge and moving to its debut in the Wabash and Erie Canal Park in July of 2014. The bridge was dedicated and a crowd of several hundred watched as Canal President, Dan McCain, helped to cut the ribbon.