History of West Terre Haute

This blog will follow the progress of my research into the history of West Terre Haute, Indiana, which will result in a book tentatively titled Til the Coal Train Hauled It Away: West Terre Haute, the Rise and Demise of a Scorned Town.  As the title indicates, WTH is a town that has ranged from being essentially ignored to being actively derided and scorned as the setting for a perpetual underclass.  The people in towns like West Terre Haute have seldom been given a voice by history.  They have been ignored, or simply gone unmentioned.  They deserve more and my hope for this book is to give both a scholarly view of its history and a compelling portrait of its people.

My family has lived in WTH since at least 1850.  Among the many good people who have roamed its streets were my grandparents, Ray and Hilda Chrisman.  It was they who regaled me with stories of the town and their lives that made me an historian, something I have known I wanted to be since the age ten. 

This blog and book are dedicated to them.

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7 thoughts on “History of West Terre Haute

  1. Very interesting. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Really enjoy reading the “History of West Terre Haute”. Some great stories. Keep it coming!

  3. Just discovered your blog. Looking forward to the book. Both sides of my family were from the West Terre Haute area.

  4. Tim, my father’s family had a store on Poplar in WTH I the 1940s. Have you found anything about it in your research? I know nothing more and no living relative that would. The family name is NEWBURN. Harry Newburn Sr. Was my grandfather that had the store. Any info would be appreciated. Please email response to snew1234@twc.com.

  5. I found this while trying to research any info I could find on my home. I have lived in wth 10 years now in a house built in 1850. I have found many old bottles and keys. The only info I have came from neighbors. A family named Ellis lived here. The husband worked in construction. After that came the Rowe family. I look forward to hearing the history behind this wonderful town.

  6. Linda L Harris April 2, 2016 — 8:16 pm

    Do you have any info on an early photography business in Terre haute- like 1910? Owned by a Beck family. Edward Newton Beck died in W Terre Haute March 1910- I got from the library.

    1. Sorry, I have checked early city directories and found no businesses under that name.

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