Friday, December 18, 2015

Our lasting memories -- Part 3

Main Street (looking south)

The marvelous book Town Under the Lake is chock full of interesting anecdotes, trivia and fun stuff.

I found a few items worth sharing, alleging the publishers don't sue me. Bring it on!


This early description of lots for sale in Fairfield came from the Indiana American, of March 30, 1849. Apparently editor Clarkson had found an old issue of the Brookville Plain Dealer of the date February 25th, 1817. It was No. 21 indicating to him that the Brookville Plain Dealer had been established Nov. 6th, 1816, by B. F. Morris and John Scott. This issue No. 21 carried a notice of the first sale of lots in Fairfield. It reads as follows:

Lots for Sale in the Town of Fairfield: This town is beautifully situated in Franklin County, State of Indiana, on the road leading from Brookville to Salisbury, on the East Fork of the White Water; also a road leading from the College Township in the state of Ohio to Connersville will pass through its center. 

This town is laid out on a level second bottom on the above stream; this situation unites as many advantages as any other in this section of the state. There is both a grist and saw mill now in complete operation, within a quarter of a mile of the town, the country around is fertile, populous and healthy, good well water can be got by digging twenty-five or thirty feet; there will be a public well sunk as soon as the season will admit; also a brick-yard erected early in the ensuing summer. There is no part of the eastern section of the state more fertile, healthy, populous, and wealthy than the country around Fairfield, and the population is fast increasing.”

Mechanics of any occupation whatever, that will be considered of public utility in the country will get Lot gratis, if they come well recommended and will improve and settle the ensuing summer in the said town; a good Black Smith and Tanner will meet with great encouragement.

Sale to commence on the second Monday in April next, terms made known of the day of sale, attendance by James Wilson, Thomas Osborn, Hugh Abernathy, George Johnston. February 25th, 1817.

Then, there was this yarn. Pictures or it didn't happen!


As an interest story, the following article appeared in the September 10, 1891, Franklin Democrat.

Merritt Walker brought to town last Thursday an oak log from Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson's farm north of Fairfield, measuring five feet, two inches in diameter. It is one of the largest ever brought here and one several persons declared could not be hauled to town. Tom Rose was on hand with his camera to catch a sketch of it. 

Doyle's log table, used by local lumber dealers, failed to size up the amount of lumber it contained, forty-nine inches being the greatest diameter given. It was estimated to contain 2,600 feet of lumber. The length of the log was 12 ft. Two other logs, 52 inches and 49 inches in diameter, 12 ft. and 10 ft. long respectively were obtained from the same tree making in all about 5,500 ft. of lumber.

(Sorry, but Tom's photo seems lost to the ages.)

Meanwhile ... oh, the tragedy!


An undated, unidentified newspaper clipping appeared in the scrapbook collection of Blanche Stelle.

Reed Engle of Lynn, an employee for General Telephone Co.,…was sent to a small Franklin County town, after a report had come in that wires were down and telephone communications disrupted.

He headed south from Liberty on Indiana 101, and upon seeing a town lying off to the right, turned down a side road to see what was up. When he reached the town he said, “It looked like a bomb had hit dead center. One house was off its foundation. Another was in ruins. Telephone poles were pushed over. Tree limbs were down. I never saw such a mess.”

So Engle called by radio, for help. He said there was more to be done than he could handle himself. Soon it was on the way. While help was coming, Engle decided to find out what had happened. He stopped beside a house where two people were picking up branches from a maple tree and casually asked if anyone had been hurt when the destruction occurred.

The answer sent him scurrying to his truck to head off the help that was on its way. He found that instead of the town where slight trouble had temporarily cut off telephone communications, he had accidentally stopped in Fairfield where houses are being moved or torn down to make room for the Brookville Reservoir.


Maude Cory Smalley, was actually a doctor. Well, sort of a doctor. According to the 1899 Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Mrs. Smolley did some understudy with her husband, Dr. J. G. Smolley.

Eventually, she began to study in Cincinnati at a medical college. She eventually earned an honorary degree but apparently never did any real medical practice. Her ability to study is illustrative of how the well-to-do people of her time were able to succeed. Wealth being relative, the Cory family was indeed considered "upper-crust" at the time.

Mary Cory
Mary Cory, Maude's mother, was considered a matriarch at the time and their home on Main Street in Fairfield was considered luxurious at the time.



"When I was little, there was a boarding house across from the Masonic Hall. Ogden owned it. They had a crazy son. Everyone was afraid of him. Once he had an iron pump handle and tried to hit people with it." -- Marilyn Luke Gausman

"Our yard was filled with lots of dandelions, and we were awarded graham crackers (I've forgotten how many) for so many dandelions dug up. I recall it as being fun but can't imagine why. I suppose graham crackers were quite a treat." -- Bertie Updike Herman

“It was not a good feeling. The elderly couldn't do anything. My mother was there. My dad had built their home 20 years before. She didn't want to leave. She went to Liberty and died a year later. Another (elderly) guy died before he could move into his new house. It stirred them up internally. Some had been there all their lives. Younger people could handle it better.” -- Herschel Klein


Inside the Cory home, around 1890

What was left of it in 1967

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