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Pulaski County Historical Society (Indiana)

Annual Meeting

Dan McCain, a founding member of the Wabash & Erie Canal Association, will present the program at the Annual Program & Meeting.

The Wabash & Erie Canal Association restores and promotes the Wabash & Erie Canal by providing educational experiences that teach history and inspire others to become involved. Those who visit the Canal can:

  • Experience a 35-minute floating trip on The Delphi, a replica 19th century canal boat. Tour guides share adventures and stories of everyday life as it was 150 years ago on the Wabash & Erie Canal.
  • Walk or bike trails and roads that were once the towpath used by mules and horses pulling canal boats.
  • View several National Historical Register sites along the way, including the Canal Construction Camp site, Lock #33, the lockkeeper’s home site, and the 1857 Harley and Hubbard Lime Kiln.

Come to our program and meet one of the men involved in the founding of this unique open-air museum.


Slate of Officers for Annual Meeting

Officers/Executive Committee

President: Ryan Harrison
Vice-President: Kathi Thompson
Secretary: Janet Onken
Treasurer: Lin Morrison
Curator: Natalie Daily Federer

Director, Term Ending March 2019

Steve Morrison

Directors, Term Ending March 2021

Mike Shurn
Louise Gudas
Brian Capouch

From The November 2017 Newsletter

History of Sunday School Work in Franklin Township

“Once upon a time, supposed to have been during the year 1843, when the portion of county now known as Franklin township consisted principally of wilderness and swamp, a rather strange personage by the name of Jacobs, came, from no one knew where, and settled near the southwestern boundary, there erecting a round log hut, very rude in structure, represented as having been covered with poles and bark and its dimensions about sixteen by twenty feet. It stood on the land now owned by Mr. Harry Fox, about 1¼ th miles north of Ripley (Morrow post office). After living there for some time, Mr. Jacobs disappeared and never returned. His hut remained untenanted for some years, when the early settlers decided to repair and use it as a place of religious worship. It was known as the “Jacobs House”, and here in April of 1857, the first Sunday school ever held in Franklin township was organized by Mr. N. R. Freeman, who is now a well-known merchant of Winamac. He was the first superintendent and was at the time eighteen years of age.

This Sunday school was attended by the families of the following named settlers: David Jones, W. H. Hornback, Charles Sedgwick, John Hunter, J. B. Agnew, Jacob Ginder, Samuel Mann, Jacob Keller, Thomas Johnson, Conrad and George Smith and D. R. and Asa Freeman. It was also well attended by persons from a distance, many of whom came in ox wagons on many occasions, especially during summer months the house was not large enough to accommodate the people who gathered there and many remained outside under shelter of the trees, by which the house was surrounded. The school was held at 10 a.m. and was evergreen for three years.
In our imagination we picture some of the scenes and note the friendly greetings of those people, many of whom had left their old homes and friends to battle with the hardships and privations of a new and undeveloped country. The approach of the Sabbath must have been one of the bright spots in the lives of both old and young.

In the spring of 1858, Mr. Freeman also organized a Sunday school at the log school house in the eastern part of the township, and in what was then known as the “Jenkins Settlement”. This school house stood in the present site of Henry Taylor’s residence and was built in 1856. B. D. Cooper was the first superintendent of this Sunday school, which has an attendance of about thirty and was held for three consecutive summers. Quite a library was collected during this time and considerable interest was manifested in the work. Mr. Cooper was succeeded as superintendent of Rev. Robert R. Drake, a United Brethren minister, who then lived in the vicinity and who continued the work in the new frame school house, which took the place of the old one in 1867. Father Grant, and old settler, and one well known to most of us, was at one time superintendent at this place.

An organization in 1884 at District No. 5, with E. G. Freeman, superintendent, and A. Bransky, secretary, had an attendance of from twenty to thirty members and was held for several summers or until the erection of Center church in the neighborhood, where it was continued until a later date and where the work will be resumed again soon.

An organization at District No. 7, also in 1884, with Mrs. J. H. Fradenburg of Winamac as superintendent, was held two summers; was reorganized June 9, 1895, with Mrs. Hattie Starling, superintendent, and Media Nees, secretary. This school was closed for the winter of ’95.

Union Sunday school, organized June 12, 1892, in District No. 6, was continued during the same and following summers. It was re-organized June 2, 1895, by President Gear, with Ernest Owens, superintendent and Callie Davis, secretary. Average attendance during the year; twenty-three.
Organization at Guss school house, District No. 1, in the spring of 1888, with Mr. A. Gellinger, superintendent, and Emma Guss, secretary, was continued four years. The first Children’s Day service ws held at this place in June of 1891. The exercises were continued during the entire day, and all present partook of a basket dinner in the grove near-by.

Bethel Sunday School was organized by Elder Beck of South Bend, Aug. 16, 1891; that being the occasion of the dedication of Bethel Chapel. Average attendance of first year, 28; second year, 35; third year, 48; fourth year, 50. In 1895 the average was 53, and that of the first quarter ending March 31, 1897 is 57. These figures show the average to be almost double that of first year. It is an evergreen school and success has attended the efforts out among the country schools represented at our county conventions. Children’s Day is regularly observed and with growing interest. Mr. William Patty, one of the early superintendents, is still an active worker in both Sunday school and church. We cannot praise too highly the work of Mr. Gear, our worthy township president, for his untiring effort in making Bethel Sunday school what it is today; coming to our aid when the cause was young and assistance so much needed, he has assumed the office of superintendent much of the time for the past four years and has proved a satisfactory officer. Mr. Fell, for the past two years, has been a valued assistant, and for part of the time superintendent. Mrs. Adams, an organist, has been faithful and has done much to make our music exceptionally good for a country Sunday school.

We now bring the work of our first convention to a close, thanking those who have so kindly assisted us in making the occasion both pleasant and profitable. We greet our fellow workers in this cause, and trust the He who guides all will help us to be more earnest in the future.”

Abstracted from Winamac Democrat-Journal published at Winamac, Ind. May 1, 1896 issue

Pulaski County Historical Society Awarded $50,000

IHS Heritage Support Grant to allow for renovation of new museum space

March 2, 2017

Indianapolis—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is proud to be part of a major announcement from the Pulaski County Historical Society of Winamac. IHS has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the Historical Society, which will support the organization as it moves its museum to a new location.

The funding comes from the second round of IHS’s Heritage Support Grants, made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant funds from the Endowment are allowing IHS to award a total of $2.5 million to organizations across Indiana, in at least five cycles through 2019.

The funding, along with the generosity of Don and Dee Galbreath, will allow the Pulaski County Historical Society to renovate the carriage house on the Galbreath property, located at 500 S. Monticello Street, Winamac, into a new museum space.

As a first step in receiving the donated property, the Historical Society and the Galbreaths are working together on a plan that includes the provision of environmental controls, more appropriate space for exhibits, classroom space, garden space, public space and storage.

“The value of the opportunity presented by the Galbreath family cannot be measured,” said Kathi Thompson, Pulaski County Historical Society president. “The Historical Society is ecstatic to announce that work has begun, and with the addition of funding from the Indiana Historical Society, we can look forward to displaying the artifacts important to Pulaski County in the manner and style they deserve.”

The museum, currently located inside the Quonset hut behind the Pulaski County Public Library, is open only on weekends during the summer months. The renovation of the Galbreath property will allow the Historical Society Museum to remain open year round, featuring a number of rotating themed exhibits focused on local history.

The Historical Society hopes to open the new museum space in 2018. Updates will be posted online at www.pulaskihistory.net and on the Historical Society Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pulaskihistory.



2017 Annual Program

13 Presidential Libraries. 13 Presidential Life Stories.

Did you know there are 13 Presidential Libraries in the United States? We can learn much about these leaders – their childhoods and their life stories – when we visit them.

But wait! You don’t have to plan a trip to all 13 libraries! Steve Lee, a history teacher from North Judson, has made the 12,000-mile trek for you!

Come to the annual program to hear about Steve’s travels and what he learned as he visited each library.

Steve’s program is for youth and adults.  He will share interesting facts and insights. He will focus on the formative years and introduce you to each president as a child.

Thursday, March 9, 2017, Opera House, Winamac.   Learn more about us from our Facebook site!

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