Hoosier History Live! features host Nelson Price, Saturdays noon to 1 p.m. on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis.

Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM.
And always online at hoosierhistorylive.org!

Aug. 10 show - encore presentation

Ancient people here - and agricultural beginnings in Indiana

Awl, 10,400 years old, from Carroll County, Indiana, found in 2003.Never let it be said Hoosier History Live does not dig deep into our rich heritage. As evidence, our focus during this show is on the so-called "Very First Hoosiers," or ancient people who lived more than 10,000 years ago in the densely wooded forests that became the site of Indiana.

During this encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our archives (its original air date was Sept. 29, 2012), Nelson's guest is Dr. Christopher Schmidt, an archaeologist, biological anthropologist and director of the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory at the University of Indianapolis.

In addition to sharing insights about the ancient people who lived in what became the Hoosier state, Chris also discusses the beginnings of agriculture here. He is credited with discovering the oldest known man-made tool in Hoosier soil, an awl (used for making clothes) found during a dig near the town of Flora in Carroll County. Christopher Schmidt.The awl is estimated to be about 10,400 years old.

During the show, Chris, a popular U Indy faculty member who has overseen excavations across Indiana, shares details about the ancient Hoosiers of nearly 11,000 years ago, as well as information on the animal and plant life that surrounded them.

After many centuries, the ancient people began to develop agriculture, a move that, according to Chris, also meant an increase in various diseases. He discusses the correlation, as well as the origin of maize in Indiana.

Chris describes the ancient people as biological ancestors of Native Americans, although they differed culturally from the Native Americans who were living in the Eastern Woodlands when white settlers arrived.

According to Chris, the first evidence that Eastern Woodlands people manipulated plants - the beginnings of agriculture - occurred about 3,000 years ago. The ancient people, who lived in structures similar to wigwams, initially cultivated four varieties of plants that, according to Chris, today might be dismissed as "weeds."

Conclusions about the ancient people's diet and agricultural cultivations come from analyzing a variety of sources, including fossils found in Indiana.

Referring to the early cultivation of maize - a term Chris says is generally synonymous with corn - he explains that the ancient people often selected floodplains as sites of their fields. Floodplains provided a way to irrigate their crops.

"The actual corn they cultivated to eat was very similar, nearly identical, to the corn we eat today, except smaller," Chris says.

Initially, though, the plant did not produce multiple seeds in cobs. In what Chris describes as a "huge achievement," ancient people selectively bred their maize to produce cobs filled with corn kernels.

Your Hoosier History Live! team,

Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director

Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, grant consultants
Joan Hostetler, photo historian
Dana Waddell, volunteer-at-large


Second Presbyterian Church 175 years.Aesop's Tables.

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Indiana Historical Society logo.Print Resources logo.

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | Indiana Historical Society | Lucas Oil | Print Resources | Second Presbyterian Church | Story Inn.

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities, Visit Indy, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo & Research Services, Derrick Lowhorn 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 Indiana Humanities. We do not receive any government funding. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.

This & that

Funders, listeners, etc.

Ah, to make the "financial ask" ... that is the question.

Or is it nobler in the mind to not ask and continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

Yes, the June 29 Indianapolis Business Journal article made us look quite important and well-heeled. We agree that we are important and fill a media niche.

If you would like to make an individual contribution, you can visit our website and hit the yellow button.

You might even consider helping to defray the costs of our website, or email marketing software, our editing costs, etc. If you wish your contribution to be tax-deductible, visit the "Support us" page on our website.

We wish to thank Danny and Sofia Lopez, Gary BraVard in memory of Sunny Brewer, James and Elizabeth Worley of Columbus, Ind., David Meek, E.F. Wilde, Theresa and Dave Berghoff and Margaret Smith for their new or renewal contributions.

Also, the Irvington Library Listening Group continues to meet on a regular basis from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to listen to and discuss the live show. If you think you would enjoy listening with fellow history lovers, just stop by the library at 5626 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis and ask for the listening group.

By the way, it's easy to form your own listening group; all you need is a relatively quiet room with comfortable chairs and either a radio or an online listening device to pick up the show from the live Web stream on Saturdays. We do have listeners all over the country. If you need any advice on how to get started, please contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org. A weekly listening group is an easy way to get "regulars" into your organization or place of business, and it is a relatively low-cost programming idea.

Aug. 17 show

Christ Church Cathedral, Zion and Second Pres in Indy

Three historic congregations in the Hoosier capital - each with a heritage of more than 150 years and each celebrating a significant milestone - will be the focus of our show.

Located on a high-visibility site on Monument Circle, Christ Church Cathedral was built in the 1850s; the Gothic Revival building is considered the oldest religious structure in the city. The Episcopalian congregation, though, dates back even further, to the 1830s, and is currently celebrating its 175th anniversary.

Sometimes called "the Little Church on the Circle," Christ Church remained at the heart of downtown even as neighboring churches moved or closed. Christ Church is known for its support of the arts, annual Strawberry Festival and renowned choirs, which sang at the Indiana State Capitol when Abraham Lincoln lay in state during a stop on his funeral procession to Illinois.

Rev. Stephen Carlsen, dean and rector at Christ Church Cathedral, will join Nelson in studio. So will Rev. Jonathan Basile, senior pastor at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ, which has a deep German heritage in Indy.

Founded in 1841 by German immigrants and considered to be the city's second-oldest Protestant congregation, Zion is celebrating 100 years at its current building on the corner of New Jersey and North streets. The church's neo-Gothic style building includes a sanctuary with wood sculptures of the disciples (a rendering of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper") by a German woodcarver.

One of Indy's largest congregations also is celebrating its 175th anniversary. Second Presbyterian Church, which has been known for decades for the "movers and shakers" in its pews, was founded in 1838.

Initially located on Monument Circle, followed by a building near the World War Memorial, Second Pres has been at its current site at 7700 N. Meridian since the late 1950s. Since then, several wings and other additions have been added to the massive structure, most recently a music and fine arts department addition, youth area and social activities room called McFarland Hall. The church's historian, Fred Kortepeter, will join Nelson and the other guests in studio.

Some history nuggets:

  • Bill Hudnut moved to Indy in 1963 to become senior minister at Second Presbyterian, then served a record-setting four terms as Indy's mayor. When former Mayor Hudnut was a guest on our show in June, the History Mystery focused on his well-known predecessor from the 19th century. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher served as the Second Pres pastor beginning in 1839, then moved to New York City and became one of the most famous spiritual and civic leaders in the country.
  • The caller who answered that History Mystery was current civic leader Henry Ryder, a member of Second Pres and retired lawyer who is a well-known re-enactor for his performances as Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.
  • At Christ Church Cathedral, the acclaimed Choir of Men and Boys, founded in 1883, has toured Europe, performing at Westminster Abbey in London and Notre Dame in Paris; the Cathedral Girls' Choir also has appeared overseas and performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
  • Although there's no longer a regular German-language service on Sundays at Zion, services in German continues to be offered during Lent and Advent.
  • Irish immigrants in the 1830s are credited with founding St. John's Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic parish in Indy. The heritage of the church at 126 W. Georgia St. was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show in October 2010.
  • In addition to being the oldest religious structure in Indy, Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest building on Monument Circle. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

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