A reader wants to know if there are any Indian mounds at the proposed new county fairgrounds site. Some claim it is true but does anyone know for sure?
I know that there is the old pauper cemetery in a clump of trees from the old poor farm. If you go into the clump you can see the sunken graves. William Kemmer, the African American who was accused of rape but not given the benefit of trial, is buried in this pauper’s plot. Supposedly the noose is still around his neck. Are there plans to protect this plot?
John Rasor stopped by the library the other day to talk. Ruth Apple’s old home on the Old Centerville Road today 100 South is an old stage coach stop. Rasor says you can see egg shells mixed in the mortar and there are five fireplaces in the old house. Also he tells that the Napoleon Trace is the Old Carthage Road or 700 East. The old Trace was the first road by which pioneers entered the county. Does anyone know about the old factory which was located in Charlottesville but is long since gone?
Speaking of businesses in Charlottesville, do you remember Weldon Schultz’s Plumbing, or the Pure oil station? Did Bill Barton work on school buses at the site? How about the filling station which now is a car lot? Do you remember Robert’s Motel and Inn? Some say this at one time was a stage Coach Inn. Do you remember the King’s Restaurant in the 1940s in Charlottesville on the South Carthage Road?
Have you ever eaten at the Copper Kettle in Morristown? The Junction Railroad served the community Shelbyville to Knightstown in 1849 and it was 25 miles long. It was abandoned in 1858 and the grain elevators at Morristown became useless. In 1860 the building was converted into the Davis Tavern. In 1885 the name was changed to the Valley House. In 1923 with a new owner the name was changed to the Copper Kettle. James Whitcomb Riley was a frequent visitor. Other visitors over the time included Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and Herbert Hoover. In 2004 Gray Trudeau and Jane Pauley held their wedding reception at the site. Presidential candidate Wendel Wilkie also would hold strategy sessions at the site. There are many priceless antiques in the building.
Do you know John Delany? He was born in Virginia in 1789 and in February 1833 he purchased 18.24 acres of land from James and Sarah Parker for the sum of $1,300 which would be $37,142.86 today. He opened up a grocery and tavern. In 1860 he sold his holdings to William Nichols for $4,000. In the 1860 sale he reserved a quarter acre of land for a grave yard which still exists today on Route 52. He had three wives and two are buried on site. Delany, according to the Binford History, was a mulatto or in today’s terms and African American. I know that there are other African American sites in Hancock County but the problem is identifying them. Do you know of any others?
Enough. I have told you everything that I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.
Joe Skvarenina is an expert on local history and author of several books on Hancock County’s past. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, IN, 46140.