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  • 12/10/2019 While working on last week’s column about Judge Jonathan Colborn, I decided to also research Francis B. Cogswell, since the judge said Cogswell had assisted him in burying the first person in Riverside Cemetery.
    Curiously, although Cogswell was one of the county’s earliest settlers, there are relatively few references to him in the usual sources. However, Lisa Hayner was able to gather some additional biographical information from genealogical documents. (Thanks, Lisa!)
    Francis Beard Cogswell was born in 1800 in Upper Canada, which today is a part of the province of Ontario. He was the first commissioned Colonel of the Hamilton County militia and he represented Hamilton County in the Indiana House of Representatives twice (1838-1840 and 1841-1842.)
    Why someone from Canada would move to the wilderness that was 1825 Hamilton County is a mystery to me, but move he did, and he established one of Noblesville’s first businesses, a tannery.
    I’ve actually found more information on the tannery than on Cogswell himself. It’s mentioned in Augustus Finch Shirts’ 1901 Hamilton County history, as well as in several articles Shirts wrote for the local newspapers of his day.
    Located between Conner and Logan Streets, the tannery took in all the territory from Sixth Street to White River. (That’s the area just west of the Hamilton County Judicial Center.)
  • 12/6/2019 I’d like to celebrate some of the special people I interviewed while doing my weekend segments on WISH-TV in 2019.
    Gregg Bell is 90 and still practices dentistry and is director of that department at Logansport State Hospital. But wait, there’s more! In 1953 Bell won the Olympic gold medal in long jumping, in Melbourne, Australia. When I interviewed him, I asked to him to show me the 26-feet, 5.2-inch distance that won him first place. Greg eyeballed the floor and walked it off within a quarter of an inch.
    Gary Varvel is one of the few remaining nationally syndicated political cartoonists in the country. He is now retired from the Indianapolis Star but offers his work from his website. Gary invited me to his home to see how, with the help of a high-tech software program, he creates his award-winning drawings. I seldom agreed with Gary politically, but there is no arguing with his creativity. He also did a caricature of me. I love caricatures. I don’t seem to get any older in them.
  • Seminary Park shines again
    12/6/2019 Noblesville residents can stroll through the newly renovated Seminary Park when it lights up tonight for the holiday season.
    The City of Noblesville will show off Noblesville’s small downtown neighborhood park at 10th and Hannibal streets during tonight’s Lights Over Seminary.
    Carolers will sing at 5:30 p.m. prior to a 5:45 p.m. Noblesville Preservation Alliance lighting ceremony, during which Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear will cut a ribbon, reopening the park. The ceremony will also include a brass quintet and free hot chocolate.
  • 12/4/2019 It was a soggy Sunday afternoon. Just as I walked out the door of my house to go to the Noblesville Christmas Parade, I felt raindrops.
    So I turned around and traded my red wool coat for my green waterproof jacket. And my boots for my waterproof hiking shoes.
    The trek was just a block to the Ivy Tech Community College parking lot, where I had earlier seen a couple of Miller’s Towing trucks already parked in the parade-staging area. 
    By the time I got to Ivy Tech parking lot, at about 1:30 p.m., many of the parade entries were already lining up for the 2 p.m. parade. Parade entries have lined up there at 16th and Harrison ever since I can remember.
    Even way back when I worked at The Noblesville Ledger and got to drive a golf cart or a Hare Chevrolet convertible with Ledger/Topics mascot, Flip the Turtle, sitting on the back. I always donned a newspaper carrier’s bag filled with Tootsie Rolls to give out to kids. Back in the day, people in the parade threw candy into the crowd. But the City has since banned throwing candy, which must be handed out. 
    On Sunday, the parade may or may not have had as many entries as past Noblesville parades. To me, the parade was about typical for Christmas. But the crowd was pretty slim due to the weather.
  • 12/3/2019 My husband, Peter, and I have settled into the little house we are calling home for a month in southern Spain. The house is old and quirky—but I’ve come to believe that all homes are quirky in their own way.
    Whenever I spend time in another person’s home, I realize there are a lot of different ways of doing things that would never have occurred to me. 
    When I was young, my family would drive to visit my great-grandmother. She had a neighbor named Mrs. Johnson (I never learned her first name). Mrs. Johnson had a pug and when I uncurled the pug’s tail, he caught sight of it and chased it until he was exhausted. This was endlessly entertaining as an eight-year-old. But my other vivid memory of visiting Mrs. Johnson was the way she ate pears. Mrs. Johnson took the pear and banged it on the table—side to side and top to bottom—until the whole pear was soft. 
    “Why are you doing that?” I asked. 
  • 12/3/2019 A few weeks ago I mentioned early Noblesville settler Jonathan Colborn in a reader column.
    If you’ve never heard of him, I’m guessing you’re probably not alone. I doubt if very many people today would recognize that name. During his lifetime, however, he was one of Hamilton County’s more prominent citizens.
    (When he was in his 80s, it was said he had shaken hands with every Indiana governor except the one currently in office — but he looked forward to adding him to the count!) 
    Colborn led a long, interesting life and was a good source of information about the county’s first years. Because of that, I felt he was worth featuring in a column of his own.
    He was born in Pennsylvania in 1799, but his family moved to Ohio the following year. That’s where he grew up.
    At the age of 20, he traveled west with a group of men tasked with surveying the “New Purchase,” the central Indiana land acquired from the Delaware Indians as a result of the Treaty of St. Mary’s.
  • 'A Christmas Carol' gets us into the spirit
    12/3/2019 Maybe it’s the holiday season. Everybody wants to go watch a Christmas classic.
    Maybe I’ve done a good job promoting the play. 
    Or maybe it’s word of mouth.
    Regardless, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Doris Baizley, the holiday play that I’m producing for The Belfry Theatre in Noblesville, was “sold out” even before the play opened on Friday night. The last ticket was gone about a week ago.
  • Shop local on Small Business Saturday
    11/29/2019 We love shopping in Downtown Noblesville, where storefronts are decorated in different themes and different colors for the holidays.
    And while today is Black Friday, I usually defer my Friday shopping until Small Business Saturday in downtown Noblesville.
    Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, founded in 2010 by American Express to promote small businesses.
    In Noblesville, Mayor John Ditslear has previously proclaimed the day to “support local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy and preserve our neighborhoods.”
    And according to American Express, for every $1 spent in a small business 67 cents of that goes back into the local community. 
    I like to support our downtown shops and encourage the community to do the same.
  • 11/27/2019 Two years ago I wrote a Thanksgiving column in which I gave thanks for the two new little furry boys in my life, Beau and Oliver. 
    I never dreamed I’d be doing another Thanksgiving column like that so soon, but here I am.
    When Oliver died suddenly and unexpectedly in September, I worried about Beau. Not only had Beau and Oliver been extremely close, but Beau had never been the only cat any place he lived.
    I really felt Beau needed feline companionship, so after we’d had a few weeks to adjust to our loss, I contacted the woman who fostered Beau and Oliver, to see if she had someone who might make a good buddy for Beau.
    She sent back photos of some candidates and one of them stood out — a six month-old male kitten. He was all black (even his nose and whiskers!,) except for a few frosted highlights on his tummy. She described him as “very playful.”
    The kitten sounded like a perfect fit, but when I actually met him, I was a little jolted to discover that at six months he was already only slightly smaller than Beau. I nearly didn’t adopt him because he was so big, but after seeing how well he played with the other cats at the shelter, I decided to give him a try.
  • Life lessons lead to more giving
    11/27/2019 Gary Reynolds never likes to make a big deal about anything that his family does.
    But yet the Reynolds family continues to amaze us with its generosity.
    Five years ago, in November 2014, Gary Reynolds and his wife, Cindy, and the Reynolds family -- of Reynolds Farm Equipment -- pledged $1 million over 10 years to Conner Prairie in Fishers. 
    Two months later, in January 2015, on the heels of Conner Prairie’s largest individual gift, the Reynolds family announced a commitment to sponsor the 1859 Balloon Voyage at Conner Prairie. Through the end of 2019, the Reynolds family would provide $375,000 -- $75,000 per year for five years -- to cover the cost to operate the helium balloon and its then new exhibit space. The balloon, which was constructed in Paris, features Reynolds Farm Equipment’s corporate logo, with a tractor.
    With the balloon commitment coming to an end in December, I asked, “Now what?”
    “We just re-signed for three more years, and hopefully more years to come as time goes on,” said Reynolds, 76, Noblesville, during an exclusive interview with The Times. 
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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