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Greetings, today I want to talk about some of the historically notable people of Southeastern Indiana. I will use some of the historical markers located around the region as a reference point. My book, Southeast Indiana Day Trips from my Road Trip Indiana Series includes every historical marker installed by the Indiana Historical Bureau in the region. In the book, I include the text of the marker as well as some background information to give the marker more context. Historical markers, ignored by many, can give some interesting insights into the events, people and places of a city, town or village. Many of the topics of the markers are not well known.
I will now talk about some of the interesting people of history of southeastern Indiana.
Colonel Harland David Sanders
Our first stop is in Henryville in Clark County, which is the birthplace of a very famous American, Colonel Harland Sanders. You will find this marker at the intersection of Indiana State Road 160 and the northbound entrance ramp of Interstate 65 in Henryville.
Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
I have expanded on this rather brief recounting of his life.
Colonel Harland David Sanders (September 9, 1890 – December 16, 1980)
Harland Sanders’ life exemplifies the “rags to riches” story that comprises so much of the American experience. Colonel Sanders rose above poverty, failure and economic depression to eventually find success and launch the modern fast food franchise model. His resume included stints as a life insurance salesman, steam engine stoker, railway worker, secretary and entrepreneur. His fiery temper got him involved in brawls and made him the bane of early franchise holders that did not adhere to his strict standards.
His mother, Margaret Ann Dunlevy Sanders, gave birth to him in their four-room home near Henryville, Indiana. He was the eldest of four children borne by her and her husband, Wilbur David Sanders. Wilbur died suddenly from a fever when Harland was five. His mother found work in a cannery and was absent for long periods, leaving Harland to care for the younger children. During these years, Harland learned how to cook, using food the children foraged while their mother was away. At age ten two local farmers hired the boy as a farmhand. His mother eventually remarried and the family moved to Greenwood, Indiana.
Seventh Grade Dropout
In the seventh grade, Harland dropped out of school and moved to live with a farmer to do farm work. For a time he lived with an uncle in New Albany, working as a street car conductor. He falsified his age and joined the military in 1906. After serving as a teamster in Cuba, he received an honorary discharge and went to Alabama to serve stints as a blacksmith’s helper and ash pan cleaner at a railroad. He eventually rose to become a fireman, stoking the steam engines with coal.
From Alabama Harland went to Tennessee. He worked days as a fireman and studied law at night at the La Salle Extension University. A fight with a co-worker cost him his job, so he moved on to Arkansas, married by now with two daughters. A son had died of tonsillitis. In Little Rock Arkansas, he became a lawyer until a courtroom brawl with his client ended his law career. He ended up again in Indiana, this time operating a ferry company that he established. The ferry operated between Jeffersonville and Louisville and did well. During this time, he also worked as a secretary for the Columbus, Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He resigned from that job, sold the ferry company and used the funds to found a company that made acetylene lamps. This company failed.
Sanders ended up in North Corbin, Kentucky operating a service station that he rented free in exchange for a percentage of the sales. To make extra money, he started selling fried chicken, country ham and country fried steak dinners. His chicken was a hit. His restaurant became so popular that Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon commissioned him a Kentucky Colonel in 1935. During this time he was involved in a shoot-out in which his biggest competitor, Matt Stewart. Sanders, a Shell Oil official with Sanders, and Stewart got into an altercation over Stewart repainting some of Sander’s signs. he was directing people to his station and away from Sanders. During the altercation, Stewart pulled a gun and shot the Shell Oil man, killing him. His murder conviction eliminated him as a competitor.
By 1940, Sanders perfected his fried chicken recipe. He had opened a new 140-seat restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. When the war started, the government started rationing gas for the war effort. All tourism stopped, forcing Sanders to close the restaurant.
In 1952, Sanders began selling franchises for his recipe. He would go to restaurants around the country and cook for the owner and employees. He often slept in his car while on these trips. If they liked the chicken, he would offer to sell them his franchise. He would claim a royalty of four cents per chicken. He sold his first franchise in 1952 to a restaurant owner in Salt Lake City, Utah. His fledgling company grew and by 1964, he sold the company to the Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation. He received two million dollars for his company. At the time of the sale, the chain had over 600 franchises in the United States and overseas. The company went public with stock sales in 1966. Heublein Inc. acquired the company in 1971 for 250 million dollars. There were over 3500 franchises worldwide at that time.
Harland moved to Louisville, where he died of leukemia in 1980. His body laid in state at the state capitol in Frankfort. His grave lies in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. At his death, there were an estimated 6000 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises around the world. He did not do too badly for a poor farm boy from Henryville, Indiana.
The next stop on this historical personality tour is in New Trenton, Indiana in Franklin County, Indiana at the intersection of US 52 and St Peters Rd.
Magician, humorist, and innovator Lester Lake was born in New Trenton. He began performing magic as a profession in Brookville by 1925 and was inducted into Queen City Mystics, Assembly 11 of the Society of American Magicians the same year. He traveled extensively performing at parks, theaters, schools, and nightclubs, 1925-1960. Toured Europe with USO during WWII.
Lake is credited with developing a wide array of tricks and illusions including Burned Alive (1929), The Guillotine (1931), and Disecto (1942). He developed new magic tricks independently and later became an associate of Abbott’s Magic Company in Michigan. His contributions to the field influenced many magicians, such as New Trenton native John Calvert.
Here is a little bit more about this fascinating man.
Lester “Marvelo” Lake (July 1904 – August 1977)
The son of Clarence and Elizabeth Greatbatch Lake, Lester was native to New Trenton, Indiana in Franklin County. He and another New Trenton boy destined to become a magician named John Calvert, became friends while boys. Lake began his performances in Brookville in 1925. By 1927 he became part of the stable of performers on the magnificent showboat, Golden Rod, which sailed on the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers. He invented many of the famous tricks still used by magicians, including the famous Harry Houdini. During the 1940’s he hosted a Spook Show, which was a special live magic show usually done around Halloween. During World War II he traveled with the USO performing for troops fighting overseas. He invented many tricks on his own and developed more while associated with Michigan’s Abbott’s Magic Company. He receives credit for developing over 300 tricks and illusions. The tricks he devised includes the arm chopper Disecto, Burned Alive, Lester Lake Guillotine and Buried Alive. Lake was a regular performer on the television show You Asked For It and was inducted into the Queen City Mystics, Assembly 11 of the Society of American Magicians.
In Jefferson County at the Grandveiw Memorial Gardens a marker honors an extrodinary World War i hero who served in World War II as well.
Decorated soldier and marksman Samuel Woodfill was born on a farm near here in 1883. He joined the U.S. Army in 1901 and saw action in the Philippines. With American Expeditionary Forces he fought in the WWI Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France. On Oct. 12, 1918, with his company halted by enemy fire, Woodfill advanced alone to destroy three German machine gun nests.
For his courage, Woodfill received much recognition and the Medal of Honor, the only Hoosier so honored in WWI. He left the army in 1923 and faced hardship during the Great Depression. The army recalled him to serve as a firearms instructor during WWII. He quietly retired to Vevay in 1943, died in 1951, and was reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery in 1955.
The following is a brief biography I have written.
Samuel Woodfill (January 6, 1883 – August 10, 1951)
The son of John Samuel Goode and Christina Heaverline Woodfill, Samuel was native to Bryantsburg, Jefferson County, Indiana. Woodfill received his education at local schools and became an accomplished hunter as well as a superior marksman.
On March 8, 1901 Woodfill enlisted as a private in the 11th Infantry of the United States Army. In his first assignment he went to the Philippines. While there he engaged in several skirmishes with Filipino guerrilla forces operating there. In 1904 the Army transferred him to Fort Egbert in Eagle, Alaska along the Yukon River near the Canadian border. He requested a transfer to Fort Gibbon, near Tanana, Alaska, when the Army closed Fort Egbert in 1911. Fort Gibson was also along the Yukon River in central Alaska. The next year the Army transferred him to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. When tensions rose with Mexico during their Civil War.
At the beginning of World War I Woodfill was serving with the 60th Infantry Regiment. The regiment received assignment to deploy to Europe as part of the Fifth Infantry Division with General John Pershing in command. The need for more officers led to his promotion, first the first lieutenant and later to second lieutenant by July 11, 1917. Woodfill and Lorena “Blossom” Wiltshire married on December 26, 1917 prior to his shipping out. His regiment formed part of the defensive force occupying the region between Meuse, France and the Argonne Forest in Northwestern France in August 1918.
The Allies, consisting of Britain, the United States and France, began what would be the final offensive action in the year when they initiated the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on September 26, 1918. This action cost 26,277 American lives, 28,000 German lives and lasted 45 days. This offensive consisted if three phases and ended when the Allies and Germany signed an Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Early in Phase Two, Woodfill’s company had reached to Counsel, France and was advancing towards enemy lines in a thick fog when machine gun fire erupted. Woodfill noted muzzle flashes that came from a church tower in the village about 300 yards away. Using the marksmanship skills learned as a boy near Madison, he studied the tower. He could not see the gunner, however he aimed his rifle as the spot he judged the man’s head would be, and fired. Four men in succession attempted to occupy the tower, however he killed them as they appeared. Another German soldier emerged from the emplacement and attacked Woodfill in hand to hand combat. Woodfill managed to kill his attacker with his pistol. His company continued their advance when a second machine gun located in a stable opened up. Woodfill aimed carefully at the position and silenced the machine gun with one shot. They continued advancing carefully, taking cover when a third machine gun began firing at them. The Germans had earlier deployed mustard gas, which Woodfill and his men were exposed to. Suffering the effects, Woodfill crawled to a nearby ditch about 40 yards from the gun emplacement and shot the gunner and four of his replacements. he used his pistol to dispatch two more enemy soldiers. After reloading, he shot a German sniper out of a tree. His company once again began advancing, however a fifth machine gun began firing. Woodfill once more led the charge against this gun and killed five men. He jumped into the pit. The two remaining occupants began firing at him. As he was not in a position to shoot, he picked up a pickax lying in the pit and battered his attackers to death.
The mustard gas and exhaustion from his exertions had its effects. Medics evacuated him from the battlefield and he spent the next 10 weeks in the hospital. the damage to his lungs from the mustard gas bothered him for the rest of his life. Army General John Pershing awarded Woodfill with the Medal of Honor on February 19, 1919, promoting him to captain at the same time. He was one of the pallbearers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Nov. 11, 1921 at Arlington National Cemetery. After returning to Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Woodhill left the army. Civilian life did not suit him, so he reenlisted three weeks later as a sergeant.
Woodhill retired from the Army with a pension in 1923, however it was inadequate to allow he and his wife to live comfortably. Local Democrats attempted to enlist him in a run for Congress, however he demurred. When World War II began, the Army recalled him to service, giving him a special exemption to serve in 1942. He received assignment to Fort Benning, Georgia to serve as an instructor at 59 years of age as a major. When he turned 60 the next year his wife died. He had hit the mandatory retirement age of 60, so he left the Army and retired to a farm near Vevay, Indiana. Searchers found his body in a field on August 13, 1951, having died of natural causes. He was initially interred at Jefferson County Cemetery near Madison, Indiana, however he efforts of a United States Representative Earl Wilson, his body was moved to Arlington National Cemetery, Section 34, Grave 642, in October 1855.
Harvey Washington Wiley
Our next stop is in Kent, Indiana. Harvey Washington Wiley, native to Kent, Indiana, led the effort to pass the Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the establishment of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. A marker noting the site of his birth is found at the corner of SR 256 & CR 850 West, Kent. (Jefferson County, Indiana) This marker is located just west of Kent.
Born near Kent, Jefferson County, Dr. Wiley graduated from Hanover College (1867), received his medical degree from Indiana Medical College (1871), and taught at Butler and Purdue universities. As Chief Chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he led the nationwide movement that culminated in the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the establishment of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Harvey Washington Wiley (October 18, 1844 – June 16, 1930)
Born in a log cabin to Preston Prichard Wiley and Lucinda Maxwell near Kent, Indiana, Harvey obtained a B.A. from nearby Hanover, College and an M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine and a B.S. from Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard. Wiley became a chemist and led a movement for better food labeling. His efforts led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the later establishment of the Food and Drug Administration. His achievements led to his moniker, the “Father of the Food and Drug Administration.”
His father ran a subscription school during the winter months when farm work was slack. Sensitive to his son’s intelligence, he made sure the boy got a good education. He attended nearby Hanover, University until 1863. At nineteen, he enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. He served as a corporal in Company I of the 137th Regiment Indiana Volunteers. When the war concluded, he returned to Hanover, graduating in 1867. He obtained the M. D. from Indiana University Medical School in 1871 and the B. S. from Lawrence Scientific School in 1873.
He joined Purdue University and then became Indiana state chemist, a post he served at until 1883. In that year, he received an appointment to head the Division (later Bureau) of Chemistry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His work as an analytical chemist led him to become concerned about food quality, ingredients and labeling. During this time, food-labeling bills saw introduction into Congress, only to die at the hands of powerful, established lobbies. To make his point, Wiley organized a group of young men that became known as his “Poison Squad.” These volunteers tested various food ingredients on themselves and recorded the results. The publicity gained by this caused the major food canners to finally support the reform bill and voluntarily abandon some of the ingredients that they used.
Passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906
Congress passed the law on June 30, 1906 and President Theodore Roosevelt signed it into law. The law led to the formation of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
After the law passed, Wiley resigned his government post to take a position with Good Housekeeping Magazine. He became head of the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation, and Health for Good Housekeeping. Using the resources of the magazine, Wiley continued his work of testing food. His work was instrumental in the Good Housekeeping Label of Approval, still a coveted award for any product or food.
Wiley died at his Washington D. C. home and is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
From Kent we travel to Madison, Indiana. Famous movie actress Irene Dunne had deep roots in Madison, Indiana. A marker honoring her achievements is located at 105 E. Main Street, Madison in Jefferson County, Indiana.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky 1898; after father’s death, moved with family to Madison. Graduated from Madison High School 1916. After voice training in Indianapolis and Chicago, began singing professionally. Won lead in road show of Florenz Ziegfeld’s Show Boat 1929. Began Hollywood career 1930; in 42 films; nominated for five Academy Awards.
Dunne maintained ties with Madison, which has honored her; she helped with restoration of Broadway Fountain 1976. She received Laetare Medal from University of Notre Dame 1949. President Dwight Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to United Nations General Assembly 1957; was Kennedy Center Honors Awardee 1985. Died 1990 in Los Angeles.
Irene Dunne (December 20, 1898 – September 4, 1990)
The daughter of a steamboat inspector and a concert pianist instructor, Irene Dunne lived up to her father’s dying advice, saying, “Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we choose wisely from life’s great stores.”
Her parents were Joseph Dunn and Adelaide Henry Dunn. Adelaide gave birth to her daughter in Louisville, Kentucky. Her father Joseph died when Irene was twelve. The family moved to Madison, Indiana to live with her grandparents. Irene debuted her music career at five, performing in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in Louisville. Her mother taught her to play the piano when she was young. She took voice lessons in Madison and continued to play the piano. Upon graduating from Madison High School in 1916, she went to Indianapolis to study in a music conservatory. She won a singing contest at the Chicago Musical College. She went on to New York, auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera Company. She was rejected, however she gained a gig with a road theater company and landed parts in several plays.
After a performance in the “Show Boat,” Hollywood movie moguls caught wind of her. She signed a contract with RKO Pictures. She added an “e” to her surname, went on to do several movies, and was nominated once to the Academy Awards. She ended her movie career in 1952. She has been described as the best actress that never won an Academy Award. She did get five Best Actress awards and many other honors and medals.
Marriage and Later Life
She went on to serve as President Dwight Eisenhower’s delegate to the United Nations. In later life, she contributed time and money to civic organizations. She maintained ties with Madison, donating 10,000 to the town fountain restoration. She married Dr. Francis Griffin, a marriage that produced one daughter. The couple remained married until Dr. Griffin’s death in 1965.
Hannah Milhous Nixon
A marker near Butlerville, Indiana at the intersection of US 50 & County Road 325 N, Butlerville notes the birthplace of United States President Richard Milhouse Nixon.
Mother of President Richard M. Nixon was born on a farm four and a half miles southeast to which her grandparents came in 1854. Hannah’s parents moved to California in 1897 when she was twelve years old.
Hannah Milhous Nixon (March 7, 1885 – September 30, 1967)
Daughter of Franklin Milhous (1848-1919) and Almira Park Burdg (1849-1943), Hannah married Francis Anthony Nixon (1878-1956) in Whittier California on June 25, 1908.
Richard Nixon’s words about his mother from the White House after his mother’s death in 1967 perhaps tell her story the best. They were”
“Nobody will ever write a book, probably, about my mother. Well, I guess all of you would say this about your mother — my mother was a saint. And I think of her, two boys dying of tuberculosis, nursing four others in order that she could take care of my older brother for 3 years in Arizona, and seeing each of them die, and when they died, it was like one of her own. Yes, she will have no books written about her. But she was a saint.”
Jasper Sherman Bilby – Bilby Tower
In Osgood, Indiana at the intersection of County Road 300 N and US 421 we find a marker honoring the inventor of an invalualble surveying tool, the Bilby Steel Tower.
Jasper Sherman Bilby, internationally known surveyor, moved to Ripley County by 1893. Joined U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1884. He performed geodetic surveys, accounting for the curvature of the earth, for commercial and infrastructure purposes. Invented Bilby Steel Tower, 1926-27; improved efficiency and cost. Herbert Hoover commended Bilby’s invention in 1927.
Bilby’s tower allowed surveyors to sight over obstacles when measuring long distances. Made of steel instead of wood, they were reusable, portable, and quickly assembled. Saved federal government $3,072,000 within first ten years of use. Used nationally and internationally for over 50 years; the resulting data served as foundation to modern mapping and GPS.
Jasper Sherman Bilby (July 16, 1864 – July 18, 1949)
The son of Jasper N. Bilby and Margaret E. (Hazard) Bilby, Jasper was native to a farm near Rushville, Indiana in Rush County. Forced to leave school in the eigth grade after his father died, Bilby helped support the family. He worked on the family farm in Fayette County until taking a job with the United States Coast & Geodetic Survey in September, 1884. He married Luella Cox in 1891 and moved to Ripley County, near Osgood, Indiana in 1893. He leased land at first for his family to live on while he was away doing survey work. He purchased land later on, first near Osgood, then near Holton in 1896, then back to Osgood in 1921. Bilby left the Survey in 1894 to take a job as foreman at a Holton Stone Quarry. After less than a year, he returned to the survey foreman on a C&GS triangulation party. He overcame his lack of formal education with hard work. Eventually, he would become “signalman.” This job entailed using flags or lights to indicate points within a geometric calculation. This usually consisted of a point between two survey points to ensure the surveyors could make an accurate calculation. Bilby’s work took him all over the United States, leaving his family in Ripley County for extended periods of time. He retired in 1937, having travled 511,400 miles during his career. He retired to Batesville, where he passed away on July 18, 1949. He is interred Washington Park Cemetery in Indianapolis.
Bilby’s work with the United States Coast & Geodetic Survey initially consisted of building wooden observation towers for the surveyors to use to make calculations concerning the longitude and latitude of the site they were surveying. Surveyors attempting to make accurate calculations had to contend with trees, building, hills and other obstructions that blocked their observations. Thus, surveyors needed tall towers to climb above all the obstructions to make their observations. The wooden towers in use at the time required a great deal of time and expense to build and could only be used once.
Bilby devised his tower in 1926. The tower consisted of two steel towers, one of which nestled inside the other. The survey equipment rested on the inside tower while the surveyor used the outside tower to climb and make his observations. The two towers did not connect at any point, so any movements the surveyor made did not affect the instruments. The towers were quickly assembled and reusable. After the Survey began using his improved tower, they saw immediate savings in both time and money. The tower found use all over the United States and in many foreign countries. They were used for many years, the last Bilby Tower erected in 1984. Satellite and GPS have displaced the Bilby Tower, however these systems use much of the data collected by observers using the Bilby Tower.
In Scott County we find the William Hayden English Home, the one time residence of William Hayden English. The marker is located on State Road 203, on north edge of Lexington on the west side of the highway at the entrance toEnglishton Park, Lexington, Scott County, Indiana.
English (1822-1896), politician, banker, and historian, served as secretary of 1850 Indiana Constitutional Convention, as Speaker of Indiana House, and in U.S. House. Candidate for U.S. Vice President, 1880; President, Indiana Historical Society. Town of English named for him.
William Hayden English (August 27, 1822 – February 7, 1896)
The only son of Elisha Gale English and his wife, Mahala (Eastin) English, William was born in Lexington, Indiana. His parents had migrated from Kentucky in 1818. His father, Elisha, served in the Indiana state legislature and built a successful business. William attended Hanover College in nearby Hanover after attending local public schools as a boy. He graduated in three years and studied law, gaining admittance to the bar at age eighteen in 1840. He opened his practice in Scott County that year and attended the Democratic State Convention in Indianapolis as a delegate.
Indiana Lieutenant Governor Jesse D. Bright met English and assisted him in his political career. English worked on Democratic presidential candidate James K. Polk’s campaign and as a reward, Polk appointed him a clerk in the Treasury Department in Washington D. C. In 1850, he returned to Indiana and served as a secretary during the Constitutional Convention for the Constitution of 1851. The Democrats held the majority of delegates and passed the new Constitution easily. This Constitution restricted the voting franchise of blacks, who had been able to vote under the previous Constitution. It also contained Article 13, which restricted movement of free blacks into the state. He won election to the first state assembly under the new constitution in 1851. Because of his familiarity with the new Constitution, the House elected him Speaker of the House. He served in that capacity until 1853.
In 1853, he gained election to the United States House of Representatives. During his tenure, he served an instrumental role getting the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 passed, which nullified the Missouri Compromise. With the passage of the Act, territories would be able to vote on the issue of slavery, as opposed to banning slavery in the new territories. He served eight terms in Congress, and then retired to private life in Scott County in 1861.
English moved to Indianapolis in 1862 and helped organize the new First National Bank of Indianapolis, remaining as president until 1877. During this time, he became involved in the Indianapolis Street Railway Company and ran that company until 1876. English also started several lucrative real estate ventures, constructing several commercial buildings, buying, renovating several buildings and built a new opera house.
Major General Winfield Scott Hancock won the nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1880. English, who had remained in contact with local politics in Indiana, gained the vice-presidential nomination. The ticket ran against a Republican slate of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. Garfield won the election. English returned to Indianapolis.
After his return to Indianapolis, he resumed his business activities. He developed an interest in history and served as president of the Indiana Historical Society. During this time he wrote two books and helped plan the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Monument Circle. He died in the room of one of the hotels he built, the English Hotel. After lying in state at the Capitol, he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. The Indiana State House has a bust of English on display in a niche on the south corner outside of the Rotunda, facing east.
Also in Scott County we find the John Kimberlin Farm on 5765 S. Westport Road, 0.2 mile northwest of SR 362, near Nabb inScott County, Indiana.
Kimberlin, a Revolutionary War veteran, was first person to purchase land in what is now Scott County. In 1804 he bought Tract 264 of land grant to soldiers of George Rogers Clark. His family settled 1805 in well-built cabin northwest of here, cleared land, built fences, and farmed. He and his wife are buried in the cemetery southwest of here.
After Pigeon Roost Massacre in September 1812, his cabin was converted to fortified blockhouse and sheltered area settlers. Nearly 600 mounted volunteers from Kentucky and Indiana Territory came to protect the area, encamped on his land, and used his supplies. He petitioned the U.S. Congress in 1832 for payment and received $150 in 1834.
John Kimberlin (1751-1835)
A native of Virginia, Kimberlin served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. After the war he and his two sons, Daniel and Isaac, and wife Ruth voyaged down the Ohio River by flatboat from Pennsylvania in April 1805. The family settled on current Kimberlin Creek, near a generous spring that still flows. Felling huge white oak trees, the Kimberlins built the cabin from the logs near the spring. The white oak provided a sturdy cabin that stood until 1876. The militia converted this cabin to a blockhouse for protection against native attacks.
John and his wife lie in a cemetery nearby in unmarked graves. The Scott County Cemetery Commission has cleared and restored the cemetery.
We have all heard of Lake Mead in Colorade, but you may not know about the man the lake derives its name from. That honor belongs to a historic resident of Patriot Indiana named Dr. Elwood Mead. The marker noting his birthplace is located at the intersection of State Roads 250 & 156 west of Patriot, in Switzerland County, Indiana.
Engineer Who Made the Desert Bloom” Patriot, Ind., native; supervised Hoover Dam construction in Colorado R.; Lake Mead named for him; appointed Director, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, President Coolidge; served under Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, top authority on irrigation, reclamation.
Elwood Mead (January 16, 1858 – January 26, 1936)
Born to Daniel and Lucinda Davis Mead near Patriot, Indiana, Elwood Mead attended Purdue University at Lafayette. While there, he attained a B.S. degree in 1882 and the M.S. in 1884. He served in the United States Engineer Corps, from July 1882, to January 1883. He became one of the leading engineers in the drainage and irrigation field in the world. His reputation led to posts at the Colorado Agricultural College and University of California. In 1907, he traveled to Australia to become Chairman of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. He served in this post until 1915. President Calvin Coolidge appointed him as Superintendent of the United States Bureau of Reclamation. During this time, he oversaw the construction of the Hoover, Grand Coulee and Owyhee dams. Lake Mead is named after him.
Of course, this is not a complete listing of all the historic personalites honored by historical markers in the region. I have omitted markers covered in previous podcasts as well as any included in underground railroad and civil war topics, as I will cover those in later podcasts.
Find out more about these Indiana day trip destinations and many more by purchasing the book Southeast Indiana Day Trips. The book includes contact information for all of these museums as well as information on include, state parks, nature preserves, golf courses , wineries, breweries and much, much more. You can find it on my web site, http://www.mossyfeetbooks.com on the Road Trip Indiana category. Just scroll down to categories, click the Road Trip Indiana Series. There are links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and other online book sellers. You may choose to purchase the book in ebook or softbound versions. An audio book version is available on Google Play. There will be four more podcasts in this series covering some of the historical markers, court houses and underground railroad sites in the southeastern part of Indiana. At the conclusion of this series I will compile the episodes into an audio book. The next series will cover Indiana’s role in the Civil War. Listeners may also be interested in my book, The Ultimate Indiana Day Trip Travel Guide. The 747 page book includes a plethora of day trip destination in Indiana. A complete tourism guide the book includes local and state parks, museums, golf courses and much, much more. The book includes information on all of Indiana’s 92 counties. No traveler in Indiana should be without it.
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