County to mark
Bicentennial anniversary in 2011
Center to commemorate
with special exhibit, events
(June 2010) In the late 1700s, Jefferson County,
Ind., was a vast wilderness frontier filled with adventure for the few
fearless trappers and explorers who braved the threats from Indians
and other dangers. That all changed in the early 19th century, however,
when American pioneers, many of them former Revolutionary War soldiers,
began to settle and expand westward.
By 1811, Jefferson County had been approved by the state
legislature as courageous men and women looking for opportunities steadily
set up homesteads and created towns and communities in the area.
In 2011, the county, named for U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, will
celebrate its Bicentennial anniversary. The Jefferson County Historical
Society and Heritage Center has planned to commemorate the 200th birthday
of the county with special exhibits and events.
We want to celebrate the creation of the county with a different
approach than what was recently done to honor the Bicentennial anniversary
of Madison, Ind., said Joe Carr, director of the Jefferson County
Historical Society. Our commemoration will be more decentralized
and focus on the history of the townships that many people do not know.
In 2009, Madison, the county seat, celebrated with a year-long series
of special events that included a 200-hour birthday party, parades,
balls and other festivities.
There are 10 townships in Jefferson County: Graham, Hanover, Lancaster,
Madison, Milton, Monroe, Republican, Saluda, Shelby and Smyrna. Many
of those townships had their own post offices, physicians, blacksmiths
and one-room schoolhouses. While the city of Madisons history
has been well-documented, much of the rest of the countys history
is not as well-known.
This will be more of an observation than an actual celebration,
said Carr. Although, we hope to have some special events, like
a railroad excursion, a childrens art show and historic cemetery
Historian Ron Grimes, a volunteer at the Jefferson County Heritage Centers
Research Library, said there are many anniversary celebrations that
will run concurrently with the county Bicentennial that planners hope
to capitalize on and tie into.
The 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War
will happen in 2011, said Grimes. We hope to work with the
Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable to do something.
Local historian Mike Moore said other anniversary celebrations ongoing
in 2011 include the Bicentennial of the First Steamboat to the area,
and the 50th anniversary of powerboat racing on the Ohio River. We
can also do something with the annual ongoing events throughout the
county, such as the Canaan Fall Festival, the Neavills Grove Old
Settlers Meeting and the Chelsea Jubilee, he said.
Moore said the major focus of the commemoration, however, will be an
exhibit featuring oral history and artifacts from the 10 townships that
comprise the county. Already, historians are searching for descendants
of pioneer families and longtime residents of the townships that would
like to be part of the oral history project.
We are also looking for people who have vintage family photos
of the earlier years of the townships they would allow us to reproduce
and use for the exhibits, said Grimes. Many people have
photographic treasures that would greatly benefit us in our quest to
document the history of the county, but they are not aware of what they
Moore said the extent of the exhibit and oral history project largely
depends on the funding that can be raised.
Fundraisers for Madisons Bicentennial collected close to
$350,000, said Moore. We are hoping to raise 1 percent of
that, or $3,500. We welcome any and all donations for the effort.
The oral history part of the exhibit will be stored digitally in the
hopes that funding will allow the publication of a printed book at some
point. It is also hoped there will be enough money for the exhibit to
be able to travel to special events throughout the county.
We are going to do an exhibit no matter what, said Carr.
The quality and mobility depend entirely on financing.
For more information about the Jefferson County
Bicentennial, to offer financial donations or to loan photos to the
research library, call (812) 265-2335.
Back to June 2010 Articles.