Thursday, September 24, 2009

Looking for the Downings? A note from a genealogist!

Most families have stories, and most family stories contain a kernel of truth and some chaff. In my neighborhood there is the story that the first Downing of the Downing farm north east of Crawfordsville was a Confederate prisoner of war who escaped from a railroad train, took shelter with a southern sympathizing family living near the railroad on the future Downing farm, and married into the family.

My research showed that Samuel Downing, Confederate soldier, date and place of discharge unknown, married Nancy Herron. Her father was born in South Carolina. Nancy's brother was William Parke Herron, captain in the Union Army. The Herron family was living west of town and not on the future Downing farm. Nancy and Samuel were married in 1867 when she was 39 years old.

Samuel died in 1874. The plat map of 1878 shows the farm as belonging to the heirs of J. D. Herron and in 1898 shows N. Downing as owning part of that land and G. Downing, Nancy's son George, as owning the other part. George was Nancy's only son. He farmed the land and was followed by his only surviving son, Harold, who died 1959 without children.

Samuel could have been a prisoner. He could have escaped from a train but he did not shelter on his future home. His in-laws were at best divided on the Civil War and were probably supporters of the Union. The marriage between Samuel and Nancy was far enough after the war for Samuel to have immigrated to Montgomery County, as did many other Confederates. Samuel probably never owned the Downing farm and might not have even lived on it.

The other Downing story is that Harold, the last of the Downing farmers, had never spent a night off the homestead until he got married and left for a honeymoon. He was so homesick that he returned the next day and never spent another night off the place until he was hospitalized as an old man. I'll let someone else sort out the facts of that story. -- Dian Moore

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Author Birthday: Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (born September 15, 1890 in Devon, England, died January 12, 1976 in Oxfordshire, England) was famous for her large body of work including novels, short stories, and plays. Best known for her eighty detective novels and West End theatre plays, Christie also wrote romances under the pen name Mary Westmacott. Christie's most famous and loved characters are Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Many of Christie's works, most notably Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, have been adapted for film and television.

Wikipedia Biography on Agatha Christie

Check out the author at CDPL: Agatha Christie

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Deweys Do

The Deweys Do

Adult Winter Reading Club

Meet: 1st Monday of the Month, (except September,which will be the 14th)

Time: 6:30 to about 8:00 to 8:15 PM

Location: Basement meeting rooms at the Crawfordsville District Public Library

Aim: Read books you might not read on your own and enjoy the discussion of the books chosen by the group with others interested in reading.

Explanation: We are trying a new format this year. We have chosen a topic for each month, September through August 2010. Janice Clauser suggested this format based on one used by the Historical Society.

The topic for September is QUILTS. You can chose to read anything that includes quilts, i.e., fiction books involving quilts, non-fiction how-to books about quilts, the history of quilting, the history of a particular quilt pattern, quilting in Japan, Europe, etc. Come prepared to tell us something about what you read and the name of the book in case some of us would like to pursue it more in depth.

We generally have refreshments -- often tied to the theme of the month -- brought by volunteers. September's refreshments will be furnished by Carol and Katy.

The topics for the year are Quilts -- September
Trees -- October
Thanksgiving -- November
Water -- December
Sculpture -- January
Gardening -- February
Cooking -- March
Music -- April
Ships -- May
Weddings --June
Space -- July
Travel -- August

If you are interested in meeting with us, we would be glad to have you attend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Genealogy Club Annual Dinner

Genealogy Club Annual Dinner
The Genealogy Club of Montgomery County, IN Corp's Annual Dinner and Meeting will be Tuesday, October 13, 2009. Dinner will be at 6:00 pm followed by a meeting at 7:00 pm in the Donnelley room of the Crawfordsville District Public Library, 205 South Washington Street, Crawfordsville, IN.

The program is entitled: Medicine, Maladies, & Marvels in Montgomery County by Kat Burkhart, Director, Carnegie Museu

Reservations are required for the dinner. RSVP before Friday, October 9). Payment of $12.00 for the meal must be made by Monday, October 12 at the Library's Local History section. Visitors are always welcome for program. For more information, contact: Dian Moore or Dellie Craig at (765)-362-2242 Ext 4, weekdays 9 am to 5 pm. Or e-mail:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Monthly Meeting: Genealogy Club

Genealogy Club of Montgomery County, IN

September 8, 2009
7:00 pm

"General Lew Wallace's Montgomery Guards 1856-1861"
by Joann Spragg, Montgomery County Historian.

The meeting will be held at Crawfordsville District Public Library, lower level, in the Donnelley
Room. The public is invited! For more information call: (765)- 362-2242, Ext 4.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Noteworthy Biography: Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe (born September 2, 1948, died January 28, 1986) was selected from more than 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. She planned to complete an experiment and teach two lessons to her social studies class at Concord High School in New Hampshire while in space aboard the Challenger. On January 28, 1986, Christa McAuliffe along with the six other members of the STS-51-L crew perished when the Challenger disintegrated (due to design-flawed o-rings and cold temperature) just over one minute after launch. Since the tragedy, approximately forty schools around the world have been named in her memory.

Wikipedia Biography on Christa McAuliffe

Check out the NASA teacher at CDPL: Christa McAuliffe

Learn more information about the Challenger at CDPL: Challenger

Check out non-fiction books on space at CDPL: Space and Space Travel

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wabash Community Fair

CDPL participated in the fourth annual Community Fair in Knowling Fieldhouse. Every year the community fair invites businesses, clubs, and other community organizations to Wabash and offers them the opportunity to advertise themselves to students, faculty and staff. Students learn about the community, pick up free stuff, and -- best yet -- can register for their free CDPL borrower's card!