County resident considered father of state police youth services

Don Lindsay tells us about retired State Police Sgt. Ernie Alder, who lives in Hancock County. In reviewing the facts, I believe Alder deserves recognition.

He is considered to be the father of the Indiana State Police Youth Services. In 1969, he made the proposal to the Indiana District Kiwanis Club that got the project rolling.

The proposal stated that the Kiwanis club would cosponsor a summer camp that appealed to high school boys interested in pursing a law enforcement career. The Kiwanis would provide financial support and the Indiana State Police would provide troopers.

The Indiana State Police/Kiwanis International Camp was conducted in the summer of 1970 at the Hoosier 4-H Leadership Center near Purdue University.

In 1973, Ernie was instrumental in the career camp opportunities being expanded to include young ladies. In 1979, the Indiana District of Optimists teamed up with the Indiana State Police to cosponsor the “Respect for Law Camp” for fifth- and sixth-graders, which eventually became the Lions Law Camp. Alder raised funds for the establishment of the Indiana State Police Museum, getting the Indiana State Police Alliance to contribute $100,000 to the project. Good job, Ernie!

From the mailbag

Glenna Shelby informs us that the 2006 Daily Reporter Time Machine column tells, “Seventy-five years ago … Among the Civil War veterans still living in Hancock County were Louis Richmond, Martin Mailey, Ed Hart, Frank Hayes, Frank Sanford, William Powers, Samuel Shelby, Scott Watts, Joseph Lamer, James M. Elliot, and Taylor Morford, according to the American Legion.”The year would have been 1931.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with Bob Wortman the other day. I do believe that Bob is the unofficial mayor of Morristown. Bob was born in Blue River Township in Hancock County and attended the Westland School. In addition to his businesses of J.R. Wortman’s, started by his father in 1945, Fountaintown Gas and Southeast Natural Gas, Bob is a community-spirited philanthropist in Hancock County. The Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center at Hancock Regional Hospital was named after his late wife thanks to a naming rights contribution made by Bob Wortman.

The Morristown Library is named after his mother Velma, who is 105 years old and still lives alone. Velma was a school teacher in Morristown for years. Wortman has fond memories of Westland, which include the post office, general store, telephone exchange, the huckster wagon and Tubby Tom’s weather forecasting abilities.

Did you know that Faith United Methodist Church on Swope Street was once a United Brethren Church?

Tom Allison tells us about the old railroad watch tower that was on South Pennsylvania Street in Greenfield. Do you remember it? It was probably 20 to 25 feet off the ground. In about 1974 or 1975, it was moved to French Lick, and is an exhibit at the French Lick West Baden Museum.

Bud Goodyear from Wasilla, Alaska is writing a book on his life in Hancock County, especially the areas around his childhood home at 5337 North 25W in Greenfield. Does anyone have any photographs from 1950 and later?

Bev Estell reminds us about the Brown Township history book 1830-1976. Do you have one?

She reminds us that in 1882, there was a horse track in the township. In fact Warrington’s claim to fame in later years was the Driving Park Association Race Track. Crowds from miles around came to witness the racing of famous horses on a track. It claimed to be the best half mile track in the area. There was an amphitheater and grandstands at the track. Much of the site was destroyed in a 1902 storm. Warrington was in its hey-day during this time period.

Enough. I have told you everything that I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.