The Indiana History Series
Listeners to this episode will learn a little bit about each of the books in the author’s Indiana History Series. The seven books in this series cover libraries, fire departments, railroads, roads and highways, parks, the Indiana Constitution, and Indiana counties. Two books on the near horizon include books on basketball and Indiana’s role in the Civil War.
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About the Series:
The Indiana History Series
Greetings, listeners to this episode will learn a little bit about each of the books in my Indiana History Series. The seven books in this series cover libraries, fire departments, railroads, roads and highways, parks, the Indiana Constitution, and Indiana counties. Two books on the near horizon include books on basketball and Indiana’s role in the Civil War.
The first book in the series, Short History of Libraries, Printing and Language – Indiana Edition includes a section on early Indiana libraries. The Indiana Territorial Assembly created the first library in Indiana when they established the Vincennes Library Company.
The Indiana Territorial Assembly passed an act that established the Vincennes Library Company on December 3, 1806. The Vincennes Library Company formed an important cultural development in the frontier areas of the Indiana Territory. Private citizens contributed to the establishment and maintenance of the library. At the time of its formation, Vincennes had approximately 700 residents, including French and Amerindians. The library grew, by 1823, the collection included 1023 volumes.
This book, in addition to this story, includes a short history of books and printing, ancient libraries, the Library of Congress as well as information about Indiana library laws and a history of the Indiana State Library.
The second book in the series, Short History of Fire Fighting – Indiana Edition includes the story of Indiana’s first fire department, The Madison Fair Play Fire Company.
Platted in 1809, Madison had no fire company until 1821, when local citizens formed the United Volunteer Fire Company. City officials decided to create a paid fire company in 1826. this company lasted less than a year and the project was abandoned. many of the former members of the original United Volunteer Fire Company joined together and organized the Fair Play Fire Company No. 1, charter granted on September 15, 1849. The Fair Play Fire Company Number One still exists in a station made from converted streetcar barn. The Ones, as locals call them, occupied that site in 1888. They added a fifty-five-foot bell tower topped by a weathervane they called “Little Jimmy.” A storm in 1997 damaged this vane, and it has been replaced by a new hand made copper vane. The Fair Play Fire Company Number One is the oldest active fire volunteer fire company in Indiana.
In addition to fire stories throughout the state, this book includes an history of the development of the fire department from the bucket brigade to the first European fire departments. It covers the early development of fire companies in the United States and Indiana as well as extensive list of fire museums in the United States as well as fire museums in Indiana.
The Short History of Railroads- Indiana Edition is the third book in the series. It includes the story of Indiana’s first interurban which connected Alexandria Indiana with Anderson.
Charles L. Henry’s Union Traction Company, the first electric rail line specifically designed for interurban service, began operating through here on January 1, 1898. It ran from Alexandria to Anderson. Indiana became the traction center of the United States.
The Interurban rail lines of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries provided the first mass transit system connecting the rural areas with the cities. In the era before the automobile and paved highways, the interurban lines provided fast, cheap transportation across not just Indiana, but the nation as well.
An interurban was a rail line that used electricity for power and operated between cities. The 1905 Census definition was “a street railway having more than half its trackage outside municipal limits.” this definition separated an interurban from suburban railroads. Indiana State Senator Charles L. Henry coined the term interurban at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 while watching a demonstration railway.
Charles L. Henry (July 1, 1849 – May 2, 1927)
A native of Green Township, Indiana Henry served three terms in the Indiana State Senate, then two terms in the United States House of Representatives. He declined a third term in Congress to pursue his interest in the new interurban trains. He managed the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co in Indianapolis, Indiana until his death in 1923.
Charles L. Henry organized the Union Traction Company in 1897 and the line began operations in 1898. The line expanded, eventually operating 410 miles of interurban line across the state. By 1917 passenger traffic declined and by 1925 the line went bankrupt. Portions of the line survived until 1931 under other companies.
This book includes a history of railroads from the first tramways used by the Romans and the rise of the steam engine. It includes railroad stories from around Indiana and an extensive listing of both United States and Indiana railroad tourist railways and museums.
The fourth book in the series, the Short History of Roads and Highways – Indiana Edition, covers Indian trails and pioneer traces in the state. One of which is the Indian Trail from Thorntown to Greenville.
This trail proceeded west from Greenville, Ohio to the current Indiana Border and met the White River near its source close to the current site of Winchester, Indiana. It followed the White River to its confluence with Duck Creek in Hamilton County. From that point it proceeded west to cross Sugar Creek in northwestern Boone County at Thorntown. The Wea Trail intersected it at this point. From Thorntown it proceeded west to cross northern Montgomery County and into Warren County to cross the Wabash near its confluence with Big Pine Creek. From that point it proceeded northwest across Benton County and into Illinois to join the Vincennes Trail that connected Vincennes with Chicago.
This book includes a history of roads from the beginning of civilization, Amerindian and pioneer traces in the United States and Indiana. A history of the Indiana state highway system is also included.
Short History of Public Parks – Indiana Edition includes a history of McCormick’s Creek State Park, Indiana’s first state park.
Prior to settlement, many Amerindian tribes hunted the area’s rich wildlife population and utilized many of the other food sources in the area. Tribes using the land included the Miami, Pottawatomie, Eel River Indians and Delaware tribes. Game animals included white tailed deer, wild turkeys, bison, squirrels and rabbits. The forests yielded a rich supply of nuts and acorns while the forests floor provided blackberries, raspberries, plum, persimmons and grapes.
Early settler John McCormick homesteaded about 100 acres of land in the area around the waterfall on what became known as McCormick’s Creek in 1816. Numerous attempts to build a gristmill failed because the creek’s water flow was not sufficient. The soil was too poor to farm, and the difficult terrain made transportation of the quarried limestone in the area almost impossible. Physician Frederick Denkewalter, impressed with the tranquil atmosphere of the site, established a sanitarium on the site now occupied by Canyon Inn in 1888. When Dr. Denkewalter passed away in 1914, the State of Indiana purchased his estate for the establishment of a state park.
The founder of the Indiana State Park system Richard Lieber had become aware of the area and pressed for the property to be used as one of the state’s first state parks. In honor of Indiana’s centennial in 1916, the state established the state park system, with McCormick’s Creek becoming the first state park on July 4, 1916. The park’s dedication was part of the state’s Centennial celebration. Originally, 350 acres, the park has grown to 1924 acres through the acquisition of surround farmland.
This book includes a history of public parks from their beginning in England, the evolution of public parks from cemeteries, a history of the National Park System, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Indiana State Park system and short histories of each of Indiana’s 28 state parks.
The next book, the Stories of Indiana’s Counties, includes a thumbnail history of the first county in Indiana, Knox.
Knox County was the third county organized as part of the Northwest Territory in 1790. The first three counties were Washington County, organized in 1788 and Hamilton County, organized in January 1790 and Knox on June 20, 1790. The original territory encompassed by Knox County included the current states of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. The county takes its name from Henry Knox, the United States Secretary of War at the time the county was formed.
This book includes a history of the county form of government and a thumbnail sketch of each of the counties as well as each county’s namesake.
I have two more books in this series completed, but not yet ready for publication. The first of these is Indiana’s Role in Civil War. One article includes a short sketch on the 6th Indiana Infantry.
The soldiers that enlisted in this regiment came from Madison, North Vernon, Orleans, Washington, Kokomo, Knightstown, Seymour and other Indiana towns. The regiment’s term of enlistment was for three months. It mustered in Indianapolis on April 25, 1861, with Colonel Thomas. T. Crittenden in command. The 6th Indiana Infantry was part of President Lincoln’s initial call for the enlistment of 75,000 men. The regiment left immediately for West Virginia to participate in the Civil War’s first battle, the Battle of Philippi. It next participated in the conflict with Confederate General Garnett on July 6, 1861. The regiment returned to Indianapolis to muster out on August 6, 1861.
The 6th Indiana Infantry suffered 267 casualties, 9 officers and 116 enlisted men killed in battle and 140 men to disease.
This book includes a short thumbnail sketch of each of the cavalry, infantry and artillery regiments the State of Indiana fielded during the Civil War. It also includes an account of General John T. Morgan’s raid across the state as well as some of the minor Confederate incursions into the state. Expected publication is in early 2022.
The History of Basketball – Indiana Edition includes an article about the first basketball game played in Indiana.
The traditional first basketball game held in Indiana was between the Crawfordsville and Lafayette YMCAs after Nicholas C. McCay introduced the game to Indiana. Recent research by blogger S. Chandler Lighty has uncovered earlier reports of basketball in Indiana.
Nicholas C. McCay (1860 -?)
A native of Ireland, McCay (Often McKay) immigrated to the United States in 1881. McCay was a presbyterian minister that became an enthusiast of the game, which he learned of the game while at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield. McCay moved to Indiana and became secretary of the YMCA.
The teams played the game at the Terminal Building, 100 West Main St., in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Crawfordsville won that game 45-21. The Terminal building in Crawfordsville no longer stands.
According to recent research, YMCA Athletic Director William A. McCulloch organized a four-team league in Indianapolis and played the first exhibition game in this league between the Active, Rex, Aletta and the US Clubs on March 30, 1893. The writer of the story reported that basketball “has taken hold here and is awakening interest and promises to become the all-around game for general fun in the future.” He found reports of earlier games than that, the earliest in Evansville, Indiana in November 1892. There is more research by other basketball historians that confirm that the first game did not occur in Crawfordsville. However, tradition is hard to dispute, and most people hold to the tradition of Crawfordsville being the first basketball game in Indiana. Whatever the truth is, the new game caught on and spread rapidly throughout the state.
This book includes a history of basketball as well as a history of the sport in the state. It will concentrate on high school basketball, however there will be short forays into college and professional basketball. Expected publication is February 2022.
The Indiana History Series is available as a box set on my web site, which is available on my web site at http://www.mossyfeetbooks.com. The box set is only available directly from me, the author. The web site lists links to the individual books to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other online book retailers in both softbound and ebook formats. Those books are also availble direct from me on the site. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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