Virtual Museum Features New Exhibits

From Time to Thyme

By Paula Dunn

Spring has brought a change of exhibits to the From Time to Thyme Virtual Museum! Come on in and don’t crowd — there’s room for everyone (especially since this is a museum that only exists in cyberspace.)

Our first exhibit is an artifact Jacob Case dug up in the alley beside his Cicero home in 1908. (Why he was digging in the alley, I don’t know.)

According to the July 3, 1908 Enterprise, Case’s find was a medal from Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 campaign. The medal, which was in surprisingly good condition, sported a likeness of Lincoln in profile on one side, along with the inscription, “Abraham Lincoln for president 1864.” The other side featured the U. S. Shield.

The Enterprise pointed out that Case, a Civil War veteran, undoubtedly valued the medal highly, so maybe it ended up being passed down in his family.

Our next stop is an item I’d have liked to have gotten my hands on.

The April 26, 1901, Hamilton County Ledger mentioned that Wayne Township’s J. S. Simmermon had been showing friends a copy of the Intelligencer, an old Noblesville newspaper. The issue, dated November 23, 1839, had been preserved as a family heirloom — although the Ledger didn’t explain why the Simmermons felt it was worth keeping.

I found little information about the Intelligencer besides the fact it was politically aligned with the Whig party, probably because it didn’t last long. In the words of the Ledger, “although it was but nine weeks old, conspicuous in its editorial columns was the announcement of its suspension.”

I’m afraid that newspaper has long since crumbled into dust.

Moving along to another exhibit I covet . . .

The June 1, 1870, Hamilton County Register reported that M. W. “Wallie” Essington, the county’s “efficient and untiring Recorder,” had just finished creating a new map of Noblesville that showed all the most recent additions and outlots, as well as the new (Crownland) cemetery. He also made an index as a reference to go along with the map.

The map measured 4’x5,’ and was to be framed or mounted and kept in the County Recorder’s office. (At that time the office was a small brick building that occupied the spot on the courthouse square where the old Sheriff’s Residence and Jail now sits.)

I’d love to know where that map is today. Good early maps of Noblesville aren’t easily come by.

Speaking of maps, our final exhibit is a book that includes a map.

The November 23, 1929, Noblesville Daily Ledger noted that the wife of Tipton businessman Simon Rosenthal had recently acquired a book published in 1838 by J. H. Colton, one of this country’s early map makers. Designed to accompany a map of Indiana, the directory and travel guide contained statistical, historical, geographical and business information about Indiana’s 88 counties.

Yes, that’s 88, not 92. Tipton and three other counties didn’t exist then. At that time the southern part of what is now Tipton County belonged to Hamilton County.

An interesting feature of the map is that the Central Canal is included among the “principal streams” of Hamilton County, even though the canal wasn’t yet finished (and never would be.)

The Ledger declared that Mrs. Rosenthal’s book was probably the only one of its kind in existence.

Um, no, it isn’t.

After doing a little research online, I determined that her book was most likely “The State of Indiana Delineated.” If I’m right, at least one other copy is still around. A first edition showing a little wear, but in decent condition, was sold by a Chicago auction house last year for  . . . $1,375!

It’s a good thing this is a virtual museum. If it was real, I’d have to hire guards!

– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at [email protected]

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