Sunday, February 26, 2023
FACING THE MUSIC
The Rush County Big Band, celebrating founder Jim Sterrett, performs a free concert in Rushville last night. The band is made up of musicians throughout the regions, including drummer Jeb Bass, of Fairland, and Garry Lauziere, of Shelbyville, on trumpet (back row, middle of top photo). | photos by JACK BOYCE
LOCAL HISTORY IN PHOTOS
from the files of Doug Linne
‘All You Can Eat’ or ‘World's Greatest Outdoor Buffet’
Moving forward, columnist Kris Meltzer can be found at The Shelby County Post. Below is an archived column from September 1992, which “answers” several local history questions.
Dear Readers: This week I am sharing with you some of my mail.
Mrs. Hugh B. English wrote to tell me that Balser's cabin was located in the Brent Woods subdivision. In fact, that is why the area was named Brent Woods. Maybe when my book becomes a made-for-TV movie, they can film part of it on location at Brent Woods.
This week's mail also brought me a surprise from one of my clients who, unfortunately, is in prison. This fellow is in the same prison as Mike Tyson, and he sent me a picture of Mike.
The mother of Derbys Jim and John Branson called me this week. She was wondering if my next-door neighbor in 1961 was Bessie Hatton. Yes, it was. Her name was misspelled in last week's column. Bessie's husband was Trent Hatton, and he worked at the Car Liner, now called KCL.
This week's questions and answers:
Dear Kris: What was the first song ever written by former Mayor Dan D. Theobald when he performed (on drums) with a band called The Kandells during the 1960s?
Dear Rock Fan: I didn't know the answer to this question. I considered calling Mrs. Branson to see if she knew the answer. However, since it wasn't Derbys trivia, I didn't bother her. I called Dan Theobald. Dan said that he didn't write any of the songs, but the first songs they recorded were “Gator Tails and Monkey Ribs” and “I Love You So Much You Know I Can't Quit.” According to Dan, this second song caused a scandal second only to “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen and was actually banned in Milroy.
Dear Kris: Did Thomas A. Hendricks really live in the log cabin at the fairgrounds or was it actually used as a doghouse by his family?
Dear History Buff: Yes, young Tom did live in that little cabin at the fairgrounds, spending his days chewing tobacco and reading books that he had borrowed from Abe Lincoln. The only drawback to living at the fairgrounds was that it was not a free fair in those days. Every time the Hendricks family had to leave to run errands, they had to pay to get back home.
I worked up quite an appetite opening my mail and working on this column. Since I do my writing on Sunday, I decided to go to the best buffet in Shelbyville. Those of you who think the best buffet is at Shoney's or Golden Corral are wrong. The best Sunday buffet is at Morrison Park. This buffet isn't there every Sunday. If you like to plan ahead, call the Parks Department the week before, and if the shelter house is rented, you're in luck. The price is right, but you usually need to bring your own plate and silverware. Of course, I am referring to family reunions. Most of the food is prepared from scratch by cooks with many years of experience. Last Sunday, the McDaniel family was in the shelter house. This particular branch of the family is all descended from Clarence McDaniel, who was originally from Owen, Kentucky, before he moved to Shelby County. The sheltered table located near Second Street was occupied by the descendants of Thomas P. Means. Mr. Means was from Moral Township in Shelby County, and his daughter was my grandmother.
The Simpson family reunion was at the other sheltered table at the park. They are all ancestors of John Simpson, who was from Greenwood. None of the family is from Shelby County. They picked Morrison Park for its location so the family members from Rush County wouldn't have to drive too far. As far as the food was concerned, I gave the McDaniel family first place for potato salad, the Means family first place for baked beans, and the Simpson family first place for fried chicken.
For those of you wondering, there was no one at the Simpson family reunion named Homer or Bart. However, I checked with the parks department, and next Sunday at Morrison Park is the Bundy reunion.
CORRECTIONS: Yesterday’s edition incorrectly stated the last time Shelbyville High School had National Merit Scholarship finalists. The correct year was 2020, and those finalists were Reid Schoene and Josh von Werder. Also, the “Matilda Jr.” play at Shelbyville Middle School will be at 7:30 p.m. next Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4. Adult tickets are $8, students are $5.
HOOSIER NEWS: Indiana House Republicans passed their $43.3 billion budget proposal without any Democrat support, with the minority party denouncing the millions earmarked to expand school vouchers. Nearly half of the budget, 48%, goes to K-12 education, which will get a boost of nearly $2 billion over its current appropriation – of which one-third will go to vouchers. Democrats denounced the budget for taking funding away from traditional public schools. Under the new proposal, families making up to 400% of the federal poverty level, roughly $220,000, qualify for vouchers. Republicans said it was a matter of school choice and giving more power to parents who wish to control their children’s education. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
SHELBY COUNTY PEOPLE & PLACES: MAURICE TROTTER
Editor’s note: In the mid- to late 1940s, The Shelbyville Republican published a series of articles by Ave Lewis and Hortense Montgomery covering community people and places. Below is one of those features.
Maurice Trotter should be like a cat and have nine lives so he could devote one each to his varied talents. Most of us struggle along our merry ways happy if we're working at an occupation that we like, and a little extra thankful if we're blessed with any special ability. But here's a guy with any number of practical talents, and he enjoys them all. If he tires of his chosen vocation - teaching - he could build a log cabin; if that grew boring he might draw down fancy prices for his oil paintings; if he wearied of that, he might go into the furniture making and carving business, or he might go into the boat building business.
However, teaching is his favorite profession, and his other gifts he uses merely as creative hobbies. He is instructor in vocational agriculture, chemistry, physics and shop at the Waldron High School, and he sums up his 23 years as a pedagogue with “I like it better every year.” However, he adds, “But when my 35 years are up, I'm going to make a career of hunting.”
That's where the boat building comes in. Since March 1947 he's been constructing an all-steel 26-foot cabin cruiser, and when it's completed and properly launched, he and Mrs. Trotter will take it to St. Joseph Island - about 55 miles out if Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where it will be put to use in bear hunting trips, et cetera. The Trotters and three other families have a cabin there, and that's their favorite retreat each summer. The hull of the boat is completed and at present is securely cabled and standing on its starboard side at the rear of the Waldron school building. And sometimes Mrs. Trotter wishes she either had a hog-calling voice or a walkie-talkie from their home to that spot. “He's always there when I need him.”
But Florence, who merely changed her name from Tranter to Trotter at their marriage 17 years ago, is as enthusiastic as her husband about his various activities. She is justly proud of their unique home which sets on a quiet Waldron street amid trees and flowering bushes. The home was constructed from an old, but well preserved log cabin, which Maurice found in Union township, and a barn. The log cabin was used to form a large living room complete with stone fireplace and an open stairway which leads to a “loft.” This loft provides a spacious sitting-bedroom. The barn torn down, rebuilt and paneled was added as a cozy kitchen and dining room.
His furniture building, carving and painting gifts are in evidence throughout the home. Colorful paintings blend with the stained walls and in the dining room is a gleaming curly maple drop leaf table which he built in his “spare time.” Because Mrs. Trotter likes a “big table.” It will seat 12 people. In the living room are a large round coffee table and footstool which he made and carved to match a valuable chair. The upstairs bedroom holds a solid cherry four poster bed, which he made to harmonize with old-fashioned chests. Both the Trotters are antique minded, and many articles in their home are collectors’ gems. Nobly among these is a German sea chest bearing the date of 1851.
Maurice is a gun collector too, and the day of our visit he had taken time off from boat building to go groundhog hunting with a crony - with a Flintlock rifle of pre-Revolutionary vintage. A den adjoining the living room holds his collection and also a varied collection of Indian flints and numerous other articles. “None worth a whoop to anyone but me,” he says. The gun group contains the first weapon he ever owned. It was a hand-made affair and shot sand, rocks or most any object at hand in hunting rabbits.
Mr. Trotter began his teaching career in West Virginia after attending Purdue. He also taught in Michigan and at New Salem and Terre Haute before going to Waldron. He's a popular teacher, and it's easy to see why. He's full of energy, likes people, particularly young people, and has more fun than any six people.
This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.
THIS DAY IN SHELBY COUNTY HISTORY
News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.
20 YEARS AGO: 2003
Miriam Willey was named 2002 Citizen of the year by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. The more than 450 people in attendance gave Willey a standing ovation as she made her way to the podium. Willey was the volunteer coordinator for the Shelby Health Clinic. Other award winners were Kathy Callahan, John A. Hartnett Sr. Business Person of the Year; the late W.S. Major, Shelby County Lifetime Citizenship, Community Heritage; Jackie Meloy, Lifetime Citizenship, Community Involvement; Lee McNeely, Shelby County Lifetime Citizenship, Community Growth and Development; Jane Kuhn, outstanding teacher.
30 YEARS AGO: 1993
An inspection of the abandoned Hendricks Township School on State Road 44 revealed the building was in very poor condition. The home had been evaluated with the idea that Dan and Kathy Blackburn and their adopted children - 11 girls and 18 boys ages 6 through 17, might move in. But experts said the cost of renovations might exceed what the property was worth.
40 YEARS AGO: 1983
The Shelbyville Parks Department and Shelby County Fair Board announced plans to co-sponsor a contest to name the recently acquired park in the Berwick Clearview area. The winner would receive two tickets for the 1983 Shelby County Fair, a parking pass, the choice of two tickets for two events during the fair and free admission to Porter Pool during fair week.
50 YEARS AGO: 1973
T. Sgt. Charles VanScyoc, son of Mrs. Frank Lutes of St. Paul, had the honor of x-raying the first recently-released prisoner of war from Vietnam taken to the Clark Air Force Base Hospital, Philippines, for medical checkup, as well as several of the POWs at Clark AFB. “They were all in real good mental condition after all they had been through,” Sgt. VanScyoc said.
60 YEARS AGO: 1963
Adult school crossing safety guards were honored by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce with engraved medals. Receiving the medals were Elmer Ferguson, Albert VanArsdale, Clodella Wagoner, Ruella Lee, Lester Valentine, Donald “Rusty” Gordon, Albert Gilbert, Edward Firsich, Orville Branson, Harry Foxworthy and Omer Cherry.
70 YEARS AGO: 1953
A weekly newspaper publisher and former Shelbyville resident, Mary Wedding, protested to Gov. George Craig because she had been ordered out of the Indiana House twice due to her critical editorials. Wedding, publisher of The Herald in Liberty, Ind., said her press pass was still valid in the Senate.
80 YEARS AGO: 1943
One-fourth of the typewriters in use at Shelbyville High School became the property of the War Production Board and would be turned over to the government at the end of the present semester.
90 YEARS AGO: 1933
The new stage built in the basement of the Presbyterian church was used by the Broadway Players for the first time. Graham Lemon and Herbert Small were in charge of lighting. Helen Whitcomb, Nina Schnaitter, and Mary Louise Metzger also helped with stage effects.
100 YEARS AGO: 1923
A lunar eclipse was visible just after 8 p.m. in Shelby County.