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  • Keeping record straight on 19th Amendment struggles
    3/25/2020 I didn’t want to let Women’s History Month go by without noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.
    With so many of the earliest local newspapers missing, it’s not clear exactly when the notion of women voting first popped up in Hamilton County. I can, however, tell you that a two-day “Woman’s Rights Convention” was held in Westfield in 1869. (1869!)
  • What the heck are brambles?
    3/18/2020 I had this lovely column on the Herb Society of Central Indiana’s annual Spring Symposium all set for this week, then . . . well, you know what happened. Like so many other gatherings, the symposium was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
    That’s a shame because they had some really great speakers lined up. I’m hoping they’ll be able to reschedule the symposium at a later date. (I’ll let you know when / if I find out anything.)
  • Do not mess with Pukwidgies
    3/11/2020 I wanted to do a column with a St. Patrick’s Day theme this week, but when I searched the old newspapers, most of the “Irish” references in local articles pertained to Irish potatoes or Irish linen. I couldn’t do much with that.
    Then I tried searching “leprechaun” and had even worse luck.
  • Census in county dates back to 1820
    3/4/2020 According to the United States Census Bureau, in a week or two we’ll all be receiving an “invitation” in the mail asking us to complete the 2020 United States Census.
    I had to laugh at their use of the word, “invitation.” It’s an invitation you really can’t refuse — not unless you want to risk getting into legal trouble and paying a fine. (The census is mandated by the Constitution.)
  • Paula leaps through decades
    2/26/2020 If you’ve looked at a calendar lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed there’s an extra day at the end of this week — not that it matters that much.
    Oh, we can probably count on seeing stories in the news about babies born on February 29 or about people who can only truly celebrate their birthday or anniversary every four years, but otherwise leap year doesn’t get a lot of attention these days.
    That wasn’t always the case.
  • Paula shares feedback
    2/19/2020 It’s another reader feedback week!
    I’ve gotten more responses about the old telephone exchanges than anything else in the past several months.
    Judith Stanley Shuck emailed that her great-grandfather organized the first phone company in Westfield. (I believe that would have been Irvin Stanley, who, according to the Westfield history book, established the White Star Telephone Company in 1901.)
  • Germantown's Romeo and Juliet
    2/11/2020 With Valentine’s Day coming up, it seemed appropriate to put a little romance in the column this week.
    This story, which appears in Augustus Finch Shirts’ 1901 county history, concerns a couple who were deeply in love — or, at the very least, extremely determined to get married.
  • A Roberts Settlement success story
    2/5/2020 It’s Black History Month! What better way to celebrate it than to devote a column to one of Roberts Settlement’s biggest success stories?
    That small African American farming community produced an amazing number of professional people. (In 1951, Ebony Magazine counted 11 ministers, 26 educators, three lawyers, six politicians, eight professional entertainers, six businessmen and eight doctors!)
    No one, however, was more accomplished than the noted Chicago surgeon, Dr. Carl Glennis Roberts. That his achievements came at a time the color barrier was a much bigger obstacle than it is today makes them all the more remarkable.
    Born in 1886, Dr. Roberts grew up as one of ten children on the family farm originally purchased by his grandfather, Elijah Roberts. (Elijah Roberts was one of Roberts Settlement’s founders.)
  • Paula offers T-F test
    1/29/2020 When you read about various people and events in Hamilton County history, you sometimes run across information that’s commonly believed to be true, but is actually a misconception, or occasionally, an out-and-out tall tale.
    See if you can separate fact from fiction in the quiz below. I’ve covered most of these subjects before, but some myths are so persistent, it’s worth digging them up from time to time so the truth doesn’t get lost.
  • More info on phone exchanges
    1/21/2020 I’ve got some reader feedback this week!
    After I ran the column on the Delaware Indian villages along White River, Beth Lively wrote that her father frequently plowed up arrowheads on their family farm when she was growing up. The farm was in the Clare/Riverwood area.
    Beth also noted that a team from Ball State that conducted a dig on the farm a few years ago found many artifacts, as well as evidence of a town dating back 8,000 years!
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Monday, March 30, 2020

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