Time for another reader feedback column!
After I wrote about the tornado drills of the 1960s, Neil Stahl and my South Bend Friend both brought up how some school children had similar “duck and cover” drills for atomic bomb attacks during the 1950s.
My Anonymous Friend recalled being one of the students forced to sit in the bleachers of the Noblesville High School gym while the boy’s locker room beneath us was searched for bomb material. That allowed me to pinpoint the year of that bomb threat as 1971-’72.
My AF didn’t remember much about the incident, but he did add that Jim Belden, our varsity football coach, was “cussing up a storm.”
The column on James Robinson’s circus prompted Jeanne Flanders to point out that another big circus, the Forepaugh circus, also performed in Noblesville in 1869.
She’s right.
They actually appeared here a few months before Robinson’s troupe. I didn’t pull up any articles on them in the old newspapers during my search, however, partly because the ink on those early papers is too smeared for the search engine to read, and partly because the circus was billed as “Adam Forepaugh’s Grand Zoological and Equestrian Aggregation.”
I knew the Forepaugh circus had played here, though. Last year, when I was researching Frank Stark, the circus acrobat killed in 1862 while attempting a stunt, I ran across a May 27, 1869 Hamilton County Register story that reported Forepaugh’s band had played a dirge over Stark’s Riverside Cemetery grave.
The article stated that the band of every show that came through here followed that tradition. That’s why I said other circuses besides Robinson’s had likely played this area between 1858 and 1869.
The Register went on to note Forepaugh’s band also played over the grave of a local farmer, Hamblin Shepherd. I didn’t include that in the Stark column because I was mainly concerned with Stark and because I was unable to clarify Shepherd’s relationship to the circus.
(I’m using “Shepherd” because that’s the most common spelling I’ve seen, but you’ll find several variations, including “Hanlus Shappard” in the 1860 census.)
Jeanne provided some information about Shepherd’s circus connection.
She has an abstract that shows her husband’s ancestor, James Monroe Flanders, partnered with Shepherd to buy 160 acres near Strawtown. That’s why the ford in that area is known as Shepherd’s Ford.
In 1980, Georgianne Neal wrote in the Noblesville Daily Ledger that local legend had it that the Shepherds were circus people, and that circus animals were kept on that land and often crossed White River via Shepherd’s Ford.
That jives with what Jeanne heard about circuses wintering along the river there.
Jeanne also kept track of the August fogs (I’ll get into that when I do the winter weather prediction column) and sent me information about CoCoRaHS, an organization completely new to me.
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the “Community Collaborative Rain Hail & Snow Network.” According to their website, it’s a “grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation in their local communities.”
Basically, volunteers take measurements of rain, hail and snow, and report their findings to the network. The data collected is used by a number of organizations and individuals, including the National Weather Service.
To learn more, visit the CoCoRaHS website, www.cocorahs.org.
It’s time again to keep your eyes peeled for wooly worms! If you spot any, please let me know what color they were and where you saw them so I can include that in the winter weather forecast column.
Notable Nineties Update: Winona Moss of Sheridan has been added to the list. (Her mother was Clara Hoover, Sheridan’s “Weather Lady.”) Congratulations, Winona!

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com