(Unexpected) Return of a NativePosted: June 17, 2014
I began this blog over three years ago. For regular readers you may have noted the paucity of posts in 2014. This has been due to many reasons. The principal one being my recovery from a January brain surgery. All went splendidly, but slowed down my research.
A much happier reason for being slow to post is the great change in my life since March. My wonderful and talented wife was named the new Dean of Libraries at our alma mater, Indiana State University. This allowed me to retire from Conner Prairie and start my own historical consulting firm. It also meant a return to the Terre Haute area. Anyone who has made such a major move know that selling your house, buying a new one, and simply packing and moving 19 years of accumulation is not for the faint hearted. We are settling in nicely to our new house which already feels like home and have unpacked all but a few of the 130 boxes which bore our “life” back to Terre Haute.
As you can see from the above photo, my new home office is now the center of the blog and research for the history of West Terre Haute. Being back “home” means I will have steady access to the materials I need. No longer will I have to schedule three-day getaways from work to drive to Vigo County for intense forays into libraries, etc.. Or wait weeks for microfilm to be gathered via inter-library loan.
So, I will soon be back on the trail. One story I am anxious to research is about my great-grandfather being framed for the wreck of an Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad train at St. Marys. If the county clerk’s office can find the old circuit court files I soon will be able to tell that tale.
There is another story, only tangentially part of the WTH story I have been anxious tell. That is about a lynching. I have received many wonderful comments and suggestions about the blog. But, mainly due to the entries I have written about WTH being a “sundown” town and discussing the scant history of African Americans in Sugar Creek Township, I have gotten some frankly racist screeds. Just this morning as I checked on the site (I can access the various search terms that Google and others have used to send searchers to the site) and read this search term: “hanging a nigger from a West Terre Haute bridge.” Obviously old hatreds die hard. The thing I found most interesting and appalling about it was it associated the lynching directly with West Terre Haute (actually the appalling event took place on the Wabash River Bridge.). Such are the tales. Such are the truths. Stick with me as I try to tell the stories.