It’s been a while since we’ve had a reader column. Time to correct that!
Jeanne Flanders emailed to say she’d run across more wooly worms. One was a dark rust color and another was black. Also, my cousin, the Dancing Librarian, spotted a couple of brown ones. (I’m not sure I trust those wooly worms anymore. They never seem to agree on their winter predictions.)
The column on Halloween tricks brought back memories to Barb Mitchell.
Barb said when she was a young girl living in Fishers around 1945, she and some friends spied a couple sitting by a window playing cards on Halloween, so they started “tick-tacking” the couple with a large wooden spool.
It was the young pranksters who got the scare, though — their “victims” came out and chased them!
Barb also recalled Fishers’ main street being blocked by farm equipment every Halloween, but said the main mischief was pushing over outhouses.
Remember the columns about the Revolutionary War veterans buried in Hamilton County? We may have one more name to add to the list.
I recently ran across a letter in the July 11, 1884 Republican-Ledger written by an early Noblesville settler, Jonathan Colborn. Judge Colborn was one of the county’s leading citizens during his lifetime. (In addition to serving as a judge, his resumé included stints as sheriff, coroner and court bailiff.)
In the letter, the judge states that the first man to die in Noblesville was Lawrence Willison, a Revolutionary War soldier who’d been present at the battle of Yorktown, the final major battle of the war.
Nancy Massey and I have been trying to verify Willison’s service. Neither of us have come up with anything concrete so far, but, although Judge Colborn was fairly old when he wrote the letter, his account of Willison’s burial is so detailed, I tend to believe he knew what he was talking about.
The really exciting thing, though, is that the judge describes Willison as the first person buried in the “old graveyard.” This is the first definite date — 1825 — I’ve seen for the establishment of Riverside Cemetery.
Thanks to Nicole Kobrowski’s dogged research, some of the mysteries surrounding the family of Tie Loy, the Chinese laundryman, have been solved.
Nicole discovered that Ethel, the daughter of Tie Loy and his wife, Lydia, was placed in foster care when Tie Loy’s family entered the County Home in 1901. Ethel was eventually adopted by an Indianapolis couple who adored her. She grew up, attended Central Business College, was married three times and died in 1964.
Arlow Edward, the “Infant of Tie Loy” buried in Crownland Cemetery in 1902, is referred to as “Edward” in one County Home record. That makes it appear he was actually a boy. Curiously, however, the space for gender on the records is left blank and the death certificate says “female.”
Tie Loy’s wife, Lydia, is shown as having been discharged from the County Home apart from Tie Loy in October, 1901, which suggests they divorced or at least separated at that time. According to Ethel’s placement records, Lydia was believed to be dead. However, Ethel’s file also includes letters, dated 1917 and 1923, from a Mrs. B. A. Nickerson who lived first in Tennessee, then Florida. Mrs. Nickerson claimed to be Ethel’s mother and she was trying to locate Ethel.
The 1920 census shows there was indeed a Lydia Nickerson, the wife of Benjamin Nickerson, who lived in Florida during that time period, and who was originally from Indiana and the correct age.
It would appear the Hamilton County Ledger was a bit premature in reporting Lydia’s death.
Ethel’s file didn’t indicate if Lydia and Ethel ever made contact again.

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at