Monday, January 15, 2024
Ducks brave the bitter cold in Little Blue River yesterday near Kennedy Park. | photo by JACK BOYCE
LOCAL HISTORY: IN OBSERVANCE OF MLK DAY
Editor’s note: The following is republished from an early Addison Times edition.
With the 15th Amendment recently ratified, guaranteeing the right to vote for all men, Shelbyville’s Black citizens celebrated in April 1870 with a parade through town and a program at Blessing Hall on the second floor of 18 Public Square.
Over 100 years later, the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day was commemorated in 1986.
“King was one of the most controversial men of his time, but few would dispute that he was a great American,” The Shelbyville News editorial page said then. “Laws have been passed and court rulings made that outlaw discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in the voting booth, in places of public accommodation, in the schools.”
Below are listed several notable Black citizens of Shelbyville, curated from a local history document by Lucille Murray and Betty Randall. To be sure, there are countless others who could be included.
Rebecca Anderson, of Locust St., a native of Virginia, helped collect supplies during the Revolutionary Army.
Joe Hill, a Democrat in the 1860s, wrote a weekly column for the newspaper.
Dan Morgan was a barber in a room under the Ray House/Hotel Shelby. His wife, June, was a caterer. “She baked all the wedding cakes, made the Christmas and Thanksgiving fruit cakes, roasted the turkeys, and made the mincemeat for people far and near,” the document said.
Pious Simms was a former slave who lived with his wife near Norristown.
Robert Smith served in the Union army from 1865 to 1867. He died January 1, 1920.
In 1902, John Hodge was the first Black person from Shelbyville to attend Indiana University.
Grissom Lane is named for the three Grissom brothers who lived on the street. Chester Grissom operated a neighborhood grocery store.
James Reeves opened his tailor shop in 1920, which was later owned by Arnold Fykes.
Martha Stafford Crayton graduated from SHS in 1933 and was the first Black person enrolled in the National Honor Society at the school.
Kennedy Car Liner hired its first Black woman during World War II.
Bill Garrett was captain of the 1947 Shelbyville High School basketball team that won the state championship. Other Black players on the team were Emerson Johnson and Marshall Murray. Garrett played at Indiana University, where he graduated in 1951. The SHS gym was named after him in 1975.
Robert Cheatum was killed in the Korean War.
Cassius Bennett was elected to serve on the Shelbyville Common Council in 1971 and also was on the plan commission. Upon his death in 1984, an editorial in The Shelbyville News said, “‘Cash’ will be remembered for saying, ‘I always make my decisions on what beneficial effect they will have on the people, rather than any political effect they might have.’”
Doris B. Henry was the first Black R.N. hired at Major Hospital. She was employee of the year in 1984.
James Garrett Sr. was elected Justice of the Peace and then Addison Township Trustee. James Garrett Jr. now serves in the trustee’s office.
NATIONAL NEWS: Hidden Valley brand is collaborating with Burt’s Bees to create four new lip balm flavors: Ranch, Buffalo Sauce, Crunchy Celery, and Fresh Carrot. (Morning Brew)
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This Day in Shelby County History
2014: A group of Chinese educators visited Triton Central and Fairland. Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins said having the delegation inside the building was beneficial, despite the fact that school had been canceled due to snow and horrendous road conditions.
2004: Steve Richeson, longtime coordinator at the Shelbyville-Shelby County Animal Shelter, stepped down after 14 years with the shelter.
Participants of a 1964 nine-overtime basketball game in Swayzee, Ind., gathered for a reunion. The game was officiated by John Thomas of Shelbyville.
1994: A school board meeting was set to discuss building a new $7 million vocational school to replace the “dilapidated and condemned former factory at 789 St. Joseph St.,” The Shelbyville News reported. Twenty residents, including some elected officials, had signed a petition opposing the expense, saying taxpayers should not provide a place for private industries to train workers. Accountant Robin K. Gahimer told the News the group was not completely opposed. “We really just want to know what alternatives have been considered, if any, what exactly will be the true total cost, and how many students will it serve,” Gahimer said.
1984: Second Baptist Church hosted Community Relations Day Sunday, during which the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was observed.
1974: The Shelby National Bank assumed control of the Union State Bank of Morristown. The Morristown branch would offer full banking facilities and be managed by David Drake, previously manager of Shelby’s facility on W. Jackson St. Plans were in the works to add drive-up facilities. On the same day, Farmers National Bank announced plans to construct a full-service branch bank at the west edge of Morristown. Arthur Thurston, president of Farmers National Bank, said he had just received formal approval from Washington D.C. to build the bank about 1,000 feet west of Asbury Road, near the site of the new International Packings Corp. plant. Plans were in the works for a mobile banking facility at the location until the building was complete.
Warmer temperatures caused ice to melt. The weight of ice and snow on the porch roof of Ryan Farm Service, 511 E. Washington St., caused the porch to collapse. There were no injuries.
1964: A special judge in Shelby Circuit Court cleared the way for Blue River Lanes bowling alley to sell liquor. A stipulation in the property deed had stated no alcoholic beverages could be sold there, but the judge nonetheless chastised the city council and city plan commission for “exceeding its lawful authority in requiring that the restrictive stipulation be contained in the warranty deed as a condition of zoning the real estate from residential to business.”
Shelbyville native Richard Jones, vice president of the Pet Milk Company, was slated to speak at the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce meeting. Jones was the son of Bess Reimann and the late Stanley Jones. He graduated from SHS in 1926, Indiana University in 1930 and Harvard Law School in 1933.
A Shelbyville News survey revealed that the majority of local retail outlets supported enforcing the ban against cigarette purchases by those under 21. A recent Surgeon General’s report discussing the connection between smoking and cancer had led to local police enforcing state statute with greater force.
1954: An Indianapolis Times reporter set up shop to chat with and report on conversations with locals at Worland’s Pharmacy. He discussed locals’ views of communism, and reported, “In Shelbyville or Shelby County, you’re either a Communist or you’re an American. You can’t be both. Those who were interviewed gave full approval to the President’s proposal to deprive subversives of American citizenship.”
1944: The J.L. Reece Canning Company of Shelbyville was awarded a contract for baling 10,000 comforters to be shipped to Russia. Reece said that his canning factory was equipped to pack such materials without purchasing new equipment. The comforters were made of khaki cloth and filled with lint. The one-month project would employ 75.
1934: The Shelby County Tournament had netted $500 profit (approximately $11,600 in today’s money), county school superintendent Thomas Fogarty reported. The money would be split among participating schools.
1924: West Street Methodist Episcopal church had been packed nightly during revival, which children taken to basement rooms to make room for adults. The evangelist preached against dancing, which he said every Protestant church opposed. “He gave numerous statistics from notable men of churches and prisons, and society where the percentage was high in wrong-doing attributed through the evils of dance,” The Republican said. He noted that “no dance is ever opened with prayer.” At the end of the sermon, 81 young men and women came forward and many others raised their hands as going on record against dancing.
1914: The Republican reported that a “well-known Shelbyville woman” had purchased “two dresses of the best and finest materials at the L.S. Ayers store in Indianapolis during the week preceding Christmas and had them charged to the account of C. Steinhauser, the well-known jeweler of this city, representing that she was his wife.” Upon receiving the bill, Steinhauser asked his wife about the dresses, but she denied buying them. They then obtained a description of the dresses. Several days later at a “card party,” Mrs. Steinhauser noticed a woman wearing a dress matching the description. Mr. Steinhauser later went to Indianpaolis, got the Ayers manager and had him point out the woman at another party. He pointed out the same woman who had been wearing the dress. “The entire matter, it is said, will be allowed to drop, as the guilty woman has suffered greatly from her act,” the paper said.