Congrats in order for new Hancock County genealogist


The Indiana Genealogical Society recently announced the appointment of Paul McNeil as Hancock County’s genealogist.

Paul completed his undergraduate degree in history at Ball State University, and received his Master of Library Science degree from Indiana University, specializing in archives and records management.

Paul is in charge of the Indiana/Hancock History Room at the Hancock County Public Library, and earlier this year was awarded the Indiana Genealogical Society Library Staff Educational Scholarship, which allowed him to attend a Genealogy Library Services course through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He also is the project director for a Library Services and Technology Act digitization grant, which will digitize numerous microfilmed newspapers for online publication as part of the Hoosier State Chronicles.

He is an incredible resource for individuals interested in researching their Hancock County roots. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Congrats to Paul.

Thanks to Dave Gray, Beverly Gard and Paul McNeil at the Hancock Public Library for nominating me for the Herbert Hawkins History Award from the Indiana Historical Society, which I received at the recent Founders’ Day. It was really a nice evening.

Were electric guitars made in Shirley?

I have been doing some research for Beverly Estell in Shirley. She is attempting to determine if Tele-star Electric guitars were ever manufactured in Shirley. These would probably have been the 1967 Sparkle Body Electric Guitars. In 1967, the company changed names to Tele-Star Musical Instrument Co., now a subsidiary of Music Craft Electronic Corp. Some tell me they might have been made at the cheese factory in Shirley.I know that Jay Wilfong had manufactured speakers at Grant City for a time. Does anyone have a clue on this mystery?Delaware rumored to have county rootsI have some more information on Hancock County Native Americans. Jane Wakeland said her son, Brent, lives north of Philadelphia and finds arrowheads in his backyard. Some say Delaware Tribe Native Americans had villages in this area. Marlena Linne writes, “Several years ago, I talked to a lady who grew up at the northwest corner of County Road 300 West and Highway 40. It’s just west of where Highway 40 crosses Sugar Creek. She remembered there used to be a big rock in the neighborhood that people would come to see. The owners got tired of the hassle and decide to destroy it.”Marlena wonders if this is the rock written about that Native Americans would go and find because it was sacred. Others say that this sacred site was at Gem.

It was recorded that Cyrus Steele from Buck Creek Township remembers his mother speaking of Native Americans coming back and camping near the site.

Do you know anything more about Native Americans in Hancock County? For example, there is some rare mention of Native American Mounds, but I believe that these relics were destroyed by early farmers. Some Native Americans’ skeletons have been found in gravel pits.

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 [email protected]. or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, IN, 46140.