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Blog post by Randi Richardson Family reunions bring families together with bountiful tables and information to share.  On August 28, 1921, descendants of George and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Smith) Skirvin got together for a family reunion in a shady grove about four and a half miles east of Bloomington. George and Betsy reportedly settled that part


Blog post by Randi Richardson The new Hotel Graham was one of the most modern in the Midwest.  And at long last, when weary travelers arrived in Bloomington looking desperately for accommodations there would be some relief. The Hotel Graham was known previously as the Hotel Bowles.  A third of the hotel was razed in

Tragedy in the Life of Emma (Breeden) Munson

Blog post by Randi Richardson Irvin Minneman, an IU freshman from Logansport rooming at the Bloomington home of Emma Munson on Fourth Street, awoke on Wednesday, May 24, 1911, not feeling well at all.  For the past few days he had been suffering from a bad cold.  About 8 AM he asked his roommate, Bernice

Canine Epidemic Threatens Stinesville

Blog post by Randi Richardson It was mid-August 1923.  The people of Stinesville were alarmed when a number of dogs living in the neighborhood went mad.  One of those dogs belonged to R. M. Snooks who lived half mile east of Stinesville.  When R. M. noticed his dog had symptoms of the disease, he tried

The Perilous Journey of a Fugitive Slave

Blog post by Randi Richardson Tony, a slave from Kentucky sometime in the years before the Civil War, escaped from his master and made his way north.  He got as far as Monroe County before he was captured on a Saturday night by the Corsaws who were prominent among Bloomington slave catchers.  The following morning

The Unsolved Mystery of Josiah Botkin’s Disappearance

Blog post by Randi Richardson If you are lucky enough to have an ancestor that left behind an oral interview, you may find the material both interesting and enlightening.  Consider, for example, the oral interview of Alva Botkin (variously spelled Botkins, Bodkin and Bodkins) on file at the research library in the Monroe County History

Disinterments at Covenanter Cemetery: Truth or Fiction

Blog post by Randi Richardson On October 28, 1902, the Bloomington (IN) Courier published a very interesting item from the Indianapolis Sentinel in which it was noted that John Blair, who in his old age, was digging up corpses from the “old Covenanter graveyard,” many of whom were friends and associates he had previously helped to bury. The article

Stories of Suffrage, Part 3: Monroe County Women Enter the Race

Blog post by Hilary Fleck I was fortunate enough through my fellowship from Indiana Humanities to research and rediscover some of the remarkable suffragists from Monroe County. I peered into the lives of Annabelle Miers, Isabella Seward, Agnes Evans, and Lillian Gay Berry and found strong women passionate about equal suffrage. The exhibit Votes for Women at


Blog post by Randi Richardson Much is known about the early history of Monroe County because a significant amount has been written.  The earliest and most comprehensive county history is that compiled by Charles Blanchard in Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown published in 1884.  Several decades later, in 1922, Forest M. “Pop” Hall also provided a

Wanted: Ox Team for Centennial Pageant

Blog post by Randi Richardson Two hundred years ago, in the early 1800’s, oxen and ox teams were common sights.  They pulled many of the Conestoga wagons that brought pioneers into Monroe County, hauled trees chopped from virgin forests and helped to break the sod to make the ground ready for crops.  Even after trains

Early History of the Bloomington Creamery aka Johnson Creamery

Blog post by Randi Richardson The Johnson’s Creamery smoke stack that rises skyward 110 feet is one of Bloomington’s most recognized landmarks.  Although the smoke stack was not built until 1949, the original creamery building at 400 W. Seventh Street was completed in 1914.  As the creamery business grew, it was necessary to expand the building.  The

Vernal/Mayfield Cemetery One of County’s Earliest Places of Burial

Blog post by Randi Richardson Behind the historic Mayfield house on Oard Road, with enough space in between for a nice sized garden, is a cemetery.    It’s relatively small in size, about half an acre, with 106 or 107 aging, barely legible tombstones.  Today it is known as the Vernal/Mayfield Cemetery. Rev. Leroy Mayfield probably

Leroy Mayfield Home on National Register of Historic Places

Blog post by Randi Richardson Richland Township, Monroe County, Indiana, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Lisa Schock did a nice article about the home published in the Bloomington Herald-Times on July 9, 1994.  It was accompanied by a lovely photo taken by Phil Whitlow that showed shuttered windows and a nicely kept

Phillips among the Last of Monroe County’s Two-room Schools

Blog post by Randi Richardson The Phillips Schoolhouse at the southeast intersection of Indiana 446 and Lampkins Ridge Road (Section 12, Perry Township) was among the last of the two-room schoolhouses in Monroe County.  In 1967 outdoor toilets were still in use—one for the girls and another for the boys.  Clarence Stewart, the School Superintendent,