Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show. We invite you to visit our website!
Sept. 4 show
Where did your county name come from?
Lake County is easy to figure out, name-wise. Ditto for Boone County - at least if you are familiar with frontiersman Daniel Boone. But what about Marion, Allen and, for heaven's sake, Kosciusko or Ripley counties?
Turns out we have an in-house expert on the origin of county names among our WICR-FM colleagues. Nelson will be joined in studio by our attorney friend Charles Braun, founder and co-host of Legally Speaking, the longest-running legal advice show on American radio. Charles, a Fort Wayne native, is a fellow Hoosier history lover, so he and Nelson enjoy swapping tidbits in between his show - which airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays - and ours.
Now we will go public with the history chatter, with Charles sharing his research and insights about Indiana county names for all listeners to enjoy. Promising to come to the studio armed with the origins of each of our 92 county names, Charles and Nelson will welcome your calls.
A former deputy state attorney general, Charles is an instructor at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, where he helps train police officers from across Indiana. Charles launched Legally Speaking in 1983. For the last 14 years, he has rotated the mic on the show with his co-host, attorney Charles Gantz.
Fun fact: The law enforcement academy is in Plainfield of Hendricks County, which was named after a family of early Hoosier politicians. We have a slight correction from last week's e-newsletter. The county's namesake was Gov. William Hendricks, who was in office at the time the county was formed - not, as we indicated, his nephew Thomas Hendricks, a Hoosier who served as vice president in the 1880s under President Grover Cleveland.
A sampling of other county name origins:
Knox County - which includes Vincennes, our state's oldest city - was named after a military leader with no Hoosier connections. Henry Knox, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, became the country's first Secretary of War. As such, he oversaw both the Army and the Navy.
Miami County in north central Indiana takes its name from the Native American people who lived in the area before white settlers arrived.
As you would expect, Switzerland County in the state's far-southeastern corner is named after the homeland of many of its early settlers. The county seat, Vevay, has a Swiss Wine Festival to this day.
History Mystery question
A city in Indiana takes its name from the French phrase for "high land" or "high ground."
Question: What is the name of the city?
The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a gift certificate to Cadillac Ranch All American Bar and Grill in downtown Indy at Union Station, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
Chris Gahl of the ICVA highlights a special exhibit at nation's oldest surviving pathology laboratory, the Indiana Medical History Museum. The building provided physicians in the late 1800s and 1900s with state-of-the-art facilities to study mental and nervous disorders.
The museum now uses its more than 15,000 artifacts to educate visitors about the developments that made today's advanced medical treatments possible. It is located on the grounds of the former Central State Hospital on the near westside of Indianapolis.
There's a unique exhibit running the entire month of September.
Austrian-born painter John Zwara came to Indianapolis in 1933 and spent several years living on the streets and selling his artwork. His friend, Alexander Vonnegut (uncle of Kurt Vonnegut), committed Zwara to Central State Hospital in 1938, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent six months at the hospital before escaping.
This exhibit features many of his works that were completed at Central State and will also highlight what little is known of his fascinating life.
Your team on the Hoosier History Live! e-project,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Chris Gahl, Roadtripper
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Henry's Coffee Bistro on East, The Fadely Trust, Indiana Historical Society, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.
Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Chelsea Niccum and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships, grants and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.
Sept. 11 show
Fall Creek Massacre
When white men were found guilty by a jury and executed for the slaughter of nine Native Americans in March 1824, it was a milestone in American history. Following what became known as the Fall Creek Massacre, whites for the first time were convicted and executed for the murders of Indians under American law.
To explore all aspects of the brutal crimes in the swampy woods of Madison County - where Native Americans (including three women and four children) were gruesomely murdered - Nelson will be joined in studio by David Thomas Murphy, author of a new book, Murder in Their Hearts: The Fall Creek Massacre (Indiana Historical Society Press). A professor of history at Anderson University, David has spent four years researching the massacre, trial and subsequent developments, including the social history of pioneer Hoosiers (Indiana only had been a state for about seven years at the time of the massacre) and of the Native Americans in the region.
David says he struggled to reconcile conflicting accounts of the events (the tribal origins of some of the victims remain unclear) as well as the motivations involved.
"The slaughter in the soggy Indiana creek bottoms created a short-lived but serious national security crisis," David writes, referring to concerns across the country that warfare would erupt across newly developing states. Noting that tensions had been brewing between whites and Native Americans for weeks prior to the massacre, David says the attitudes of many white settlers toward Indians were complex and nuanced, mixing respect, fear, tolerance and suspicion.
Even though the carnage of the Fall Creek Massacre drew national attention at the time, the slaughter and judicial outcome often are not mentioned in accounts of white-Native American relations, David says - although the late Jessamyn West, an Indiana native, wrote a best-selling novel, The Massacre at Fall Creek (1975), about the shocking episode in Hoosier history.
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