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Fun facts from Kate Heron

Caroline McCarty Heron was born May 29, 1829, and lived to be 93 years old, until Aug. 16, 1922. She was a writer and a historian most of her life and recorded much of Connersville history as told to her by the people who made it.

She wrote the history for the Connersville Centennial in 1913. She left many fun facts about our early history I thought were interesting.

The following story was told of how Indiana received her nickname: The night was dark, the rain falling in torrents, when the inmates of a small cabin in the woods of Indiana were aroused by a loud knock at the door. The owner of the cabin called out “Who’s here?” The man outside answered, “Friends out bird catching. Can we stay here until morning?” The stranger inquired of his host, “What did you say when I knocked?” “I said Hoosier.” The quail catchers left after breakfast and returned the following night, and called at the door, “Hoosier,” and from that time on Indianians have been called Hoosiers.

Newton Claypool came to Connersville in 1810. He built a tavern called the Claypool Tavern between 3rd and 4th streets on the east side of the street where Gulley’s body shop sits now. This tavern was the site of the first mass in Connersville.

The first marriage in Connersville was Stephen Philpot to Rebecca Hawkins on Feb. 9,1819. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Adam Banks.

In the winter, Kate skated in McFarlantown, now known as Edgewood. In summer, the pond or swamp disappeared and corn was grown there.

She was a student at 5th Street School and recalled later that after a flood, children would go to the river bank and look for skeletons from the cemetery, which was located near 3rd Street.

There are two monuments alike in City Cemetery. They were erected by Henry Moore. When his first wife died, he had a monument put up and marked, “A gem on earth, a star in heaven.” When his second wife died, the monument to her was enscribed, “Another gem on earth, another star in heaven.”

The first storen in the town was that of Joshua Harlan. The business was conducted in a log cabin. In 1820 Mr. Harlan built an inn on the site of Buckley house hotel, now the home of Hardee’s at 5th and Eastern.

Twenty dollars was allowed as payment to the County Prosecutor for the May term of 1819.

In 1822, the new courthouse was accepted by the Commisioners from Jonathon John. He was paid $1,262.50 for the brick structure, one of the first locally. It was used for nearly 30 years on the site of the present courthouse.

The bell used in the old courthouse was sold for $117.00 to the Presbyterian Church.

The first Presbyterian Church was on the site later to be The Andre Theatre. This site is now the home of 5/3 Bank at 5th and Western Avenue.

Many distinguished guests have inhabited Historic Elmhurst, among them President Benjamin Harrison and his wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, and Edward Green, the son of the richest woman in the world.

Brad Colter is superintendent of Connersville Utilities and president of Historic Connersville Inc. He writes Looking Back for the Connersville News-Examiner.

CALLOUT FOR STORIES

For over a year now I have been writing Looking Back. I have been so humbled and happy about all the kind words I have received about this column so far. Nearly every day someone tells me how much they enjoy reading about our local history.

What I enjoy most is to be able to find things that bring a story or a person to life. It is at times difficult, as it gets hard to find people who were around or information about people that is more personal. This is why I’m asking for your help. Maybe you have a personal item or photos and a story to go with them. History doesn’t have to be 200 years ago sometimes its much more recent but can still be very interesting to the reader.

I’m looking in particular for stories about local corner stores or, for example, I’ve been working on a story about local barbers. No tidbit is too small. Maybe I can use it as a part of a bigger story at some point.

Maybe you have a family heirloom that has a story. One of my favorite columns so far was a story about a breadbox I found that belonged to a local mercantile 150 years ago. Its possible that you live in a historic local home that has a cool story.

Think about it a bit and if you think you have something fun to write about, contact me at bradcolter@connersvilleutilities.com or through Bob Hansen at the Connersville News-Examiner. In the meantime I will keep digging so you can keep reading.