Southern Indiana Living

SEP-OCT 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Sept/Oct 2018 • 32 Happy 200th Birthday Founded in 1818, Crawford County celebrates two centuries J ames Monroe was president. Con- gress chose a flag with 13 red and white stripes and 20 white stars on a blue field. President Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was born. "Silent Night," the first known Christmas carol, and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" were published. Indiana had become the 19th state two years earli- er. It was 1818. And on Jan. 29 of that year, Indiana Gov. Jonathan Jennings signed the order that created Crawford County. "It actually became law on March 1," said Roberta Toby, Crawford County his- torian. "That is when the last needed sig- nature went on the document. So that is when we celebrate the birth of our county. "It was in December of the previous year that Martin H. Tucker, a prominent local citizen, presented a petition to State Sen. Dennis Pennington with the request. People needed to conduct government business without traveling a long distance — something difficult in those days." Celebrations An open house at the Crawford County Historical-Genealogical Society Building in English on Jan. 29 celebrated the 200th anniversary of the governor's signature. The open house featured an art exhibit by the late Earl A. Denbo, a local artist who designed the county seal and whose work has been displayed in the Statehouse, the governor's mansion, businesses, churches, hospitals and many homes. Also on display were artifacts de- picting the county's history, and Toby pre- sented a brief account of the county's past. A birthday party was held at the Crawford County 4-H Fair in July with Zoey and Delilah Crecelius, 9-year-old twin daughters of Michelle and Jonathon Crecelius, serving 200 cupcakes baked by their mother to celebrate Crawford Coun- ty reaching its two-century milestone. The event was sponsored by the Crawford County Tourism Board and the Chamber of Commerce. "It was a lot of fun," said Sharon Wilson, office manager of the Crawford County Tourism and Welcome Center, who organized the party. "Michelle made five kinds of cakes for the girls to pass out. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the cel- ebration. Actually, I had people request an encore — wanting us to do it again next year, maybe make it an annual event." Beginnings Nestled in the hills of the south- ern part of the state, the 300-square-mile county was carved from parts of Perry, Orange and Harrison counties. Many were already living in the area when the county was organized, accord- ing to H.H. Pleasant's "Crawford County History." Settlers found heavily forested land providing excellent hunting and logs to build cabins. Fish were abundant in streams and rivers — Big Blue, Little Blue, Turkey Fork and Bogard, as well as the Ohio River. Farmland was fertile and plentiful. Communities soon formed with schools, churches, stores and banks. Some historians believe the new county was named to honor William H. Crawford, a treasurer in President Mon- roe's cabinet and later a presidential can- didate; others think it was named for the unfortunate Indian agent Col. William Crawford, a veteran of the French-Indian and Revolutionary wars, serving under General George Washington. Tragically, Col. Crawford was scalped and burned at the stake in Ohio when he was sent west to negotiate. Toby's research causes her to lean to the latter man, she said. The mar- tyred agent was quite popular and con- sidered a hero. "There have been several coun- ties (in other states) named after Col. Crawford," she said. "And I can't find any connection with (the other) William Crawford. He was from Georgia and ran for president in 1824, well after we were already a county." She added that she is open to research documenting otherwise. Looking Ahead One of the state's smallest counties, Crawford is one of its most scenic and has become a destination spot for out- door lovers. Its two commercial caves, Marengo and Wyandotte, are thought to be among the most beautiful in the coun- try. Lucas Golf Course, Patoka Lake, Syca- more Springs and Cave Country Canoes also attract visitors and provide enjoy- ment to locals. The county has an industrial park, a thriving school system with three el- ementary schools, a middle school and a high school. There is a nursing and re- hab facility, physician's offices, two den- Story by Sara Combs History of Southern Indiana

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