Spencer County Historical Society
Activities


Historian of the Year Banquet - September 9, 2017

The 28th annual Historian of the Year Banquet will be held at the Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Chrisney, Indiana, on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at 10:00 AM. The honorees this year will be Jim Haaff and Henry Ayres. Bill Evans will be honored as the Commemorative Historian. Wayne Boultinghouse and Darrell Stephens will be the guest speakers.

The meal will be catered by the Cornerstone United Methodist Women. Tickets will be $15.00 per person and should be purchased by September 2, 2017. Tickets are available from Steve Sisley (Phone 812-362-8586) and Patricia Dawson (Phone 812-649-2939).


Bicentennial Recognition of Daniel Grass - June 15, 2016

2016 Daniel Grass Bicentennial

The Indiana Archive and Records Administration celebrated the Founders of Indiana by visiting the graves of each of the people who wrote the first Constitution. Daniel Grass was one of the 43 early settlers who met in Corydon. In the photo above of Daniel Grass' tombstone, there are two plaques. They were paid for by the City of Rockport and designed by a Society member. Member Steve Haaff installed them. One gives information about Grass and the other lists the names of the burials in the cemetery. It was an impressive ceremony held under the trees.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 23, 2016

2016 Historian of the Year Banquet

The 27th annual Spencer County Historical Society's Historian of the Year Banquet was held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, at the Cornerstone Methodist Church at Chrisney, IN. The Society honored Steve Haaff as Historian of the Year. Col. James S. Wright was honored as the Commemorative Historian. The guest speaker was Dennis Hutchinson whose topic was The H. L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine - the first sub to sink a warship.

The dinner began at 6:00 PM and was catered by ladies of the church.


Rockport Library Open House - February 24, 2016

The Historical Society had signs and handouts for the Library Open House February 24, 2016 from 2:00 to 7:00 PM. Membership forms, book order forms, links to our web site, a sample newsletter and a history of the Pyle family were available. The Pyle father is the one who built the "poor farm" west of Rockport where the EMT station is now located. The cornerstone of that building is on the northeast corner of the courthouse. He also constructed the old portion of the library.


Rare Lincoln Mallet Unveiled at State Museum - February 9, 2016

A mallet owned by Abraham Lincoln while he was in Spencer County is on display at the Indiana State Museum. A Society member helped document the ownership and unveiled the display at the Indianapolis museum.


Preservation of Lincoln's Forest College Sculpture - February 2, 2016

Two members created a folder of historical documents concerning the preservation of the George Honig sculpture, Lincoln's Forest College that hangs in Rockport Elementary. The folders were given to the South Spencer superintendent, administrators and school board members.


History of South Central Grade School - January, 2016

Two members are working on a history of South Central Grade School booklet. While doing research for the school, it was discovered that the artist who created and loaned the Lincoln Pioneer Village Museum paintings of Washington and Lincoln was Maud Jennings Cryderman. Cryderman is a relative of the Crawfords who owned the famous Lincoln cabinet. The paintings are at the courthouse.


Spencer County Historical Society Newsletter - July 28, 2015

As a member of the Spencer County Historical Society, one receives a subscription to the Society's newsletter--The Spencer County Historian. The newsletter is published quarterly and contains information about the activities of the Society as well as local, state and national events that affect the history of Spencer County. Special articles in the past included information about Abraham and Thomas Lincoln's cabinet making skills, the history of Lincoln City, the women of Spencer County and recently, historical information about the Coal Knobs which was considered as a possible site of the county seat of government.

A member recently said they enjoyed reading The Spencer County Historian about early settlers and the variety of articles published. The information is much appreciated. Thank you for your dedication to publishing this paper.


Spencer County 4-H Fair Genealogy Award - July 7, 2015

For the past several years, the Spencer County Historical Society has sponsored the Genealogy Award at the Spencer County 4-H Fair. We do this to encourage youngsters to research their families' histories with the hope they become interested in History and help to preserve it in the future. It is hoped that some of the projects will be preserved in the Genealogy Room of the Rockport library.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 7, 2015

2014 Historian of the Year Banquet  2014 Historian of the Year Banquet

Raymond and Patricia Miller Dawson were chosen as 2014 Historians of the Year. Circumstances required the celebration to be held in 2015. At their request, they were recognized at a small gathering at the Rockport Inn. The Dawsons have been active in the Historical Society since 2003. They have designed plaques, planned banquets, and produced the Society's newsletters. A web page was created for the Society and their research on the history of the South Spencer County School Corporation. In addition, their research on the Lincoln Pioneer Village in Rockport and George Honig have resulted in web pages to share their information with the public.

There was no Commemorative Historian of the Year selected for 2014.


Historian of the Year Banquet - October 11, 2014

The banquet has been postponed until next year (2015).


Gen. James C. Veatch Plaques Mounted on Cannon - May 30, 2013

General James C. Veatch Plaques Mounted on Cannon  General James C. Veatch Plaques Mounted on Cannon

The weather finally warmed up enough and the rain stopped long enough to attach the General James Veatch plaques on the cannon. The first photo on the left is of Grandview Aluminum attaching the plaques and the second photo shows the completed work.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 13, 2013

Tom Brauns receiving award from President Steve Sisley

2013 Historian of the Year Banquet  2013 Historian of the Year Banquet  2013 Historian of the Year Banquet

The public was invited to the 25th annual Spencer County Historical Society's Historian of the Year Banquet on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Spencer County Youth and Community Center at Chrisney, IN. This year the Society honored Tom Brauns as Historian of the Year. Kate Milner Rabb was honored as the Commemorative Historian. The guest speaker was Bill Emmick. His topic was "The 25th Infantry at the Battle of Shiloh." This battle included men from the Spencer County area.

The dinner began at 6:00 PM and was catered by The Rockport Inn. People attending received a "I'm a Lincoln Fan" fan, a commemorative program, booklets written by Rabb, and information about Spencer County men who served in the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh.


Gen. James C. Veatch Plaque Dedication - March 22, 2013

General James C. Veatch Plaque Dedication March 22, 2013

General James C. Veatch Plaque Dedication March 22, 2013  General James C. Veatch Plaque Dedication March 22, 2013  General James C. Veatch Plaque Dedication March 22, 2013

The Spencer County Historical Society unveiled two plaques at the cannon on the courthouse square in Rockport on March 22, 2013 at noon. The plaques are dedicated to General James C. Veatch who was responsible for obtaining the cannon from the Federal Government after the Civil War. Speeches were made by the Society President, Veteran's Service Officer and a Civil War Reenacter. Muskets were fired along with a salute and taps from American Legion Post 254. Due to the cold, wet weather, the plaques will be mounted on the cannon at a later date.


New Web Site Announced - March 1, 2013

The Spencer County Historical Society has moved to a new site at www.spencercountyhistory.org. It shares the site with the history of the South Spencer County School Corporation. The site allows expanded features such as an alumni search and other details of the operation of the Society.


Huffman Mill Plaque - June 20, 2012

Huffman Mill Plaque  Huffman Mill Plaque  Huffman Mill Plaque

The photo on the left shows the plaque which is mounted on the Perry County side of the bridge. The photo on the right shows the other side of the plaque with the entrance to the parking area. This marker is painted a beautiful blue and was donated by Grandview Aluminum Products. The Spencer County Historical Society helped with the text and photos. This plaque has a photo of the old mill on one side and a photo of the bridge on the other.

Text of the Huffman Mill Plaque


Historical Grandview Plaque - June 18, 2012

Thomas Lincoln  Grandview Plaque  Sandy Creek

Grandview Aluminum Products donated a historical marker that has been erected on the Grandview riverfront. The Spencer County Historical Society assisted in providing the information printed on the plaques. One side deals with Thomas Lincoln and the other with Sandy Creek Landing. An embossed picture of a flatboat is on one side and a picture of Thomas Lincoln is on the other side. Sandy Creek flows into the Ohio River near the boat launch ramp in Grandview.

Text of the Sandy Creek Landing Plaque


George and Alda McCoy Honig Cemetery Plaques - May, 2012

George and Alda McCoy Plaques

The George and Alda McCoy Honig graves in Mt. Zion Cemetery on County Road 200 N. in Richland, Indiana were marked with plaques on March 31, 2012. The final installation was completed in May. The plaques give a brief description of each of their lives along with a photo. Costs of the plaques were mainly paid for with donations with a contribution from the Spencer County Historical Society. Installation was done by a member of the Society.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 14, 2012

The Spencer County Historical Society's annual Historian of the Year Banquet was held Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 6:00 PM at the Spencer County Youth and Community Center at Chrisney, Indiana. James and Barbara Hevron were honored as the 2012 Historians of the Year. Thomas Brumett was remembered as the Commemorative Historian of the Year.

The guest speaker was Robert Reid. His topic was "The 1937 Flood". This is the 75th anniversary of the 1937 flood.

The Historical Society had a display of flood photos from the towns of Rockport and Grandview. There was a display area available where those attending the banquet shared their photos of the 1937 flood.

The meal was catered by The Rockport Inn of Rockport, Indiana.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 16, 2011

The Spencer County Historical Society's annual Historian of the Year Banquet was held Saturday, April 16, 2011, at 6:00 PM at the Spencer County Youth and Community Center at Chrisney, Indiana. The Lincoln Club of Southern Indiana was honored as the 2011 Historian of the Year. David Turnham was remembered as the Commemorative Historian of the Year.

Guest speaker was James Hevron whose topic was "Lincoln's Neighbors".

The meal was catered by The Rockport Inn of Rockport, Indiana.


Boner Bridge Plaques Stolen, Reordered, and Remounted - September, 2010

Boner Bridge Plaque  Boner Bridge  Boner Bridge Plaque

The above photos were taken June 30, 2009. Sometime after that date, the plaques were stolen. They had been purchased by Historic Newburgh and erected by members of the Spencer County Historical Society. The Spencer County Historical Society voted to replace the plaques. Boner Bridge is located over Pigeon Creek on the Warrick-Spencer County line on County Road 900 West, four miles West of Richland. The area was known as Pyeattsville. The plaques were remounted on September 30, 2010.


David Turnham Plaque Refurbished and Reinstalled - September, 2010

Refurbished David Turnham Plaque in front of Heritage Hills High School

The David Turnham Historical Plaque in front of Heritage Hills High School at Lincoln City, Indiana had become so badly weathered that it couldn't be read. Several members of the Historical Society removed and refurbished it according Indiana Historical Bureau's specifications.


Damaged Lincoln Ferry Marker at Troy, Indiana Repaired, Refurbished, and Reinstalled - June 2, 2010

Broken Lincoln Ferry Park Plaque      Repaired Lincoln Ferry Park Plaque

The Spencer County Historical Society paid half of the cost to have the Lincoln Ferry Marker at Troy, Indiana repaired, refurbished and reinstalled by Grandview Aluminum Products. The other half of the cost was paid from the Indiana Historical Bureau's maintenance fund. Something struck the marker and broke it in half. Grandview Aluminum Products had the work done within ten days of rescuing the damaged sign from Lincoln Ferry Park.


Presentation by Hoosier Photographer, John Bower - May 13, 2010

The Spencer County Historical Society along with co-sponsors, the Spencer County Public Library, The Spencer County Journal-Democrat, and Pat Koch, presented a Power Point presentation at the Spencer County Public Library in Rockport, Indiana on Thursday, May 13, 2010 by Hoosier photographer, John Bower. His topic was "Capturing the Soul of Indiana - A celebration of our overlooked heritage."


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 17, 2010

The Spencer County Historical Society's annual Historian of the Year Banquet was held Saturday, April 17, 2010, at 6:00 PM at the Chrisney, Indiana Youth and Community Center. Steve Sisley of Chrisney was honored as the 2010 Historian of the Year. Evelyn Swallow, a retired schoolteacher, was remembered as the Commemorative Historian of the Year.

Guest speaker was Jane Ellen Boultinghouse who spoke about the Gentry family in Spencer County

The meal was catered by The Rockport Inn of Rockport, Indiana.


Donation Made to the Lincoln Pioneer Village for Benches to be Used in the Honig Room - December 1, 2009.

The Society purchased six benches to be used in the future George Honig Room to be located in the Lincoln Pioneer Village Museum. The room will feature items made by George Honig, the designer of the Lincoln Pioneer Village, and give a brief history of his life and accomplishments. The room will also be used to show visitors a short film about the Village and Honig.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 25, 2009

The Spencer County Historical Society's annual Historian of the Year Banquet was held Saturday, April 25, 2009, at 6:30 PM at the Chrisney, Indiana Youth and Community Center. Daryl Lovell, of Dale, was honored as the 2009 Historian of the Year. Captain Tom Miller, a fourth generation river boat pilot, was remembered as the Commemorative Historian of the Year.

Guest speaker was Steve Haaff who made a presentation on the wood working and cabinet making skills of Thomas and Abraham Lincoln.

The meal was catered by Windell's Cafe of Dale, Indiana.


Society Renovates Lincoln Flatboat Plaque - September 9, 2008

The Spencer County Historical Society paid to have a plaque made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the flatboat trip made in 1958. It was dedicated at the 2008 launching ceremony on September 9. The plaque is on the south side of the marker above the 1937 flood marker.

In addition to the new plaque, the Society had Grandview Aluminum Products renovate the old plaques on the flatboat monument. They had been erected in 1939 and were almost unreadable. GAP did a great job.

To see the plaques, go to the George Honig website:
http://www.georgehonig.org/tablets/in/rockport/landing.html


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 12, 2008

The banquet was held on April 12, 6:30 PM, at the Chrisney Community Center. Harold and Georgia Banks were recognized as Historians of the Year.

John B. Chrisney was recognized as the Commemorative Historian of the Year. Don Rebel gave a talk about Mr. Chrisney.

William Bartelt was the guest speaker. His topic was "Fabrications, Exaggerations, and Misinterpretations of Lincoln's Indiana Years".

The catered meal was provided by Windell's of Dale.


Monument Honoring George Honig Erected - August 28, 2007

From The Rockport Democrat, June 1, 1951
Tablet Honors Creator of Village
A bronze tablet honoring George H. Honig, artist and sculptor, was unveiled Sunday afternoon during ceremonies in the Lincoln Pioneer Village which marked the formal opening of the new museum there.

Memorial in front of Lincoln Pioneer Village Museum honoring George Honig

Society and Members Contribute to Memorial

The tablet mentioned above was recently found in storage at the Lincoln Pioneer Village. It was taken to Grandview Aluminum Products where it was restored to its original beauty. Through the efforts of society members, a five foot granite stone was obtained from Schum Monuments in Dale, Indiana. The original plaque was mounted on it. In addition, a member contributed a bronze replica of a Honig plaster of the Village. A portrait of Mr. Honig was not found in the museum as the newspaper articles stated; however, a photo of a young George Honig was placed upon the granite memorial.

The Society contributed $500 towards the total cost of $1,278.36.

The Historical Society received a complimentary letter from the Rockport Parks & Recreation Board thanking them for the plaque. It stated in part "The plaque is a wonderful donation to our facility and we are happy that people can be made aware of just how much Mr. Honig did for us."


Historian of the Year Banquet - June 9, 2007

The banquet was held on June 9, 6:30 PM, at the Chrisney Community Center. Kristine Manley was recognized as Historian of the Year.

Jerry Hargis, the guest speaker, told many interesting tidbits about his father, Joe Allen Hargis, who was recognized as the Commemorative Historian of the Year. He also talked about baseball in Spencer County.

The catered meal and Jerry's speech was enjoyed by all in attendance.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 22, 2006

The banquet was held on April 22, 2006, 5:30 PM, at the Chrisney Community Center. Mr. Orville Martin was recognized as Historian of the Year. State Representative Russ Stilwell presented the award honoring former Congressman Charles Lieb as the Commemorative Historian of the Year.

A crowd of 70 people enjoyed the catered meal and the speech by Former Governor Edgar Whitcomb.


History of South Spencer School Corporation - 2006

A member of the society has developed a web page that is a collection of articles and web pages about the history of the South Spencer County School Corporation.


Rockport High School Column - August, 2005

Rockport High School Column

Through the efforts of a member of the Society and Rockport High School alumni, the second column to the entrance of Rockport High School campus was rebuilt in August, 2005.

The entrance is on Walnut Street in Rockport, between Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue. It marked the location of Rockport Collegiate Institute which later became Rockport High School.


Huffman Covered Bridge Workday - 2005

The Society is working to paint and remove graffiti from the bridge. The County Commissioners has approved money for supplies.


Historian of the Year Banquet - Dr. James Cooper Gives Presentation on Boner Bridge - April 23, 2005

The banquet was held on April 23, 2005, 5:30 PM, at the Chrisney Community Center. Mr. Joe Groves and his wife Eugenia were recognized as Historians of the Year and Mr. Benno Schum was the Commemorative Historian of the Year. The meal was catered.

Dr. Cooper, using dual projectors, made a presentation on the preservation of Boner Bridge. Everyone is waiting for the engineering firm to complete new plans. Dr. Cooper also showed slides of other bridges throughout the state that were saved from the ravages of time.

It was an interesting meeting with good food, friends, and historical information being shared by all.


Don Rebel and Walter Yeager Talk About George Honig - April 5, 2005

At the April 5, 2005 meeting, Don Rebel gave a talk about his relative, George Honig. Walter Yeager, who is also related to Honig attended and provided more information about the Rockport artist.

George Honig was a noted artist, sculptor, and also designer of the Lincoln Pioneer Village. Mr. Rebel told of how he had acquired some of the works and other memorabilia of George Honig's. When George was in art school in New York, NY, one of his teachers said that the Lincoln family just passed through Indiana on their way to Illinois. The teacher, and many others, did not know that the Lincoln's lived in Indiana for the formative years of Abraham Lincoln's life, 1816 - 1830. George did a lot of research into the life of Abraham Lincoln and had intended to publish a book about him, but the book was never published.

Mr. Yeager told of some of his recollections about George and his wife Alda when they would visit his family. He also had pictures of a plaque that George had made for his family's homeplace.


Rockport High School Historical Marker - April 2, 2005

On Saturday, April 2, 2005, at 10:00 AM, there was a historical plaque dedication program in the Rockport Elementary gym on Sixth Street. The plaque, sponsored by the Spencer County Historical Society, was placed on the white column facing Walnut Street in Rockport. This column is what remains of the old Rockport Collegiate Institute/High School campus.

The program in the gym at Rockport Elementary consisted of readings about early pioneer education in Indiana, history of the Academies in Indiana, history of the Rockport Collegiate Institute, and a multimedia presentation giving a timeline history of Rockport High School. There were displays of photos, paintings, memorabilia, and a zebra. Of special interest was the first diploma granted by the Rockport Collegiate Institute.

The history of Rockport High School will be available on the South Spencer School Corporation web site at a later date.


Plaques - May 3, 2004

The membership has been exploring the marking of historical places in the county with various types of plaques during the June and July, 2004 meetings. Grants are being pursued for this purpose.

The Society purchased a plaque for the 150th anniversary of the Spencer County Fair.

The Society agreed to fund, with the financial help of two members, a plaque to mark the location of the Rockport Collegiate Institute/Rockport High School on Walnut Street.


Historian of the Year Banquet - April 23, 2005

The banquet will be held on April 23, 2005, 5:30 PM, at the Chrisney Community Center. Cost of a ticket will be $10 and will soon be available from society members or at the Rockport Library. Mr. Joe Groves and his wife Eugenia will be recognized as Historians of the Year and Mr. Benno Schum will be the Commemorative Historian of the Year. The meal will be catered.


Lincoln Presenter - April 15, 2004

A Lincoln presenter who attended our banquet in 2003, as part of their national convention, wrote that he wanted to put on a program to show his appreciation to the Society. It was open to the public and we had minimal costs as he was in the area for the 2004 convention. The auditorium of the Courthouse was scheduled for April 15, 2004. This year was the 160th anniversary of Lincoln's return to Spencer County in his campaign for Henry Clay. Also, April 15 was the date he died. The 80 minute show depicted the President's last day in office, as he reflected on major events in his life. This was an interesting evening.

March 2, 2004
Tickets sold fast for this event. Seating was limited and the cost was $7. They were available from the Rockport Library or a Society member.

There was a work day on Saturday, April 10, 2004, 1:00 PM for decorating the Courthouse in preparation for the program.


Olde Rockport Pioneer Cemetery - January 25, 2004

The Historical Society has taken the lead in cleaning up the cemetery (See December Meeting Notes). As of January 25, 2004, around 100 man-hours have been contributed to the cleaning and marking of stones. These hours include the South Spencer High School Key Club members who worked on January 24, 2004. Click on the above link for more information.

February 28, 2004
Nine Historical Society members reported for another work day. More brush was hauled and trash was cleaned up from the grounds. No Key Club members were present. Two members worked on the property on February 23. The grounds are looking much better but a great deal of work remains. Of concern is the regrowth of shrubs and stumps that have been cut as Spring is near. A member found two new stones that appear to be carved bases under trash and trimmings that had been dumped. No words were on them. Over 126 hours of work has been devoted to the project.

July 7, 2004
Storms during the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays caused trees to be broken and limbs down in the cemetery. One large tree has a "widow maker" at the top making it dangerous to work in the area. Weeds and brush have regrown in the cemetery.


Boner Bridge - 2004

Boner Bridge

Boner Bridge is thought to be one of only five of its kind in the United States. The one-lane, iron bow, string-trussed bridge has sandstone abutments, iron bents and a wood plank floor. It is unique because it is known as a three-span bridge as it contains three arches. The two arches on both ends of the bridge measure 50 feet in length. The middle arch is the bridge's longest, measuring 160 feet. It was re-floored and repainted in 1931.

The preservation of Boner Bridge has been a topic of several meetings. The DePauw professor who is concerned with the restoration was at a meeting to explain what progress is being made. This is a Warrick County project as the county on the west side is the one responsible. Members of the Pyeattesville community and Warrick County Historical Society attended one meeting. Several years ago, a company was hired to make recommendations. They wanted to make changes to the bridge that would not keep its integrity as an historical structure. This project has been stagnant and both Societies are attempting to keep their concerns before the responsible parties.

March 2, 2004
It was expected that action would have taken place by the Warrick commissioners by this time but the project is on hold again.


Huffman Mill Covered Bridge - 2004

Huffman Mill Covered Bridge

Work is progressing on building a new bridge around the only covered bridge in Spencer County. All three commissioners expressed concern with the bridge's preservation at a recent meeting. However, there will be no grant application to completely rehabilitate the historic bridge in 2004. This is disappointing to the Society but members will continue to monitor and work for the preservation of the bridge.


Web Sites - January, 2004

Two members developed Web Sites for Olde Rockport Pioneer Cemetery and Spencer County Historical Society in January, 2004. It is hoped the sites will help keep members informed of Society activities. For those who don't have a computer, the sites can be accessed at a public library.


Historical Tour of Rockport on CD - December, 2003

Several years ago, a cassette tape of the historical sites in Rockport was made by a Society member. It was designed to be played while you drove to the different places in town.

In December of 2003, two members of the Society were so impressed that they decided to update and add to the information. They created a CD that covers three miles of the town and will take about an hour depending upon how long a person stays at any of the sites.

This CD is informative even if you don't drive to the different places. Especially if you are acquainted with the town. It costs $10 plus shipping, includes a map, and is available at the Rockport Library.


Lincoln Pioneer Village

Several members have been involved with restoration work in the Village and Museum. Most work has been preserving the artifacts in the Museum. An organization called Friends of Lincoln Pioneer Village has been formed to help with the project. A grand re-opening has been scheduled for April 15 - 17.