Historical Researcher

Author Moore to release new book
on Jefferson County, Ind. history

The book has varied topics
and is set for a November release

Staff Report

(October 2011) – Jefferson County, Ind., home to 32,428 people and comprised of 362.94 square miles, was created out of ancient Native American hunting grounds in 1811. But for George Rogers Clark’s victories in the Revolutionary War, the residents could all be British citizens.
To celebrate these 200 years of democracy in Jefferson County, a book was proposed by the Jefferson County Historical Society. The result – “Jefferson County Bicentennial Book, Before We Forget” – was written by local historian Mike Moore and is expected to be released in November.

Mike Moore

Photo providfed

Since retiring from
the Jefferson Proving
Ground, Mike Moore
has devoted much
of his time to
historical projects.

As a matter of Providence, several years ago, the St Patrick’s Parish decided to celebrate its 150th anniversary by conducting oral history interviews of its members. Those interviews never made it into print; however, they became a learning experience for the author. These interviews remained on tape for 27 years – until recently when the interviews were transcribed.
“The senior citizens interviewed in 1984 have died, but their memories live on. That’s what this book is about – preserving memories as valuable treasures,” said Moore, a retired employee of the Jefferson Proving Ground. “These vestiges of North Madison’s past became the nucleus of the book.”
Thirty longtime residents from many of the 10 townships created for Jefferson County were interviewed about growing up in the county. They were asked about their genealogy, farming, business, schools, families and other topics.
“One advantage of the book,” said Moore, “is that when people drive along county highways and see the rusty iron fences, stone houses with roofs caving in, or houses with only one wall standing, they’ll know at least most of the story.”
He added that there is a lot for those who like facts and figures and there is much history – from Clark defeating the British in Vincennes; to World War II veterans talking about North Africa campaigns; to companies such as Grote that moved to Madison in the 1950s.
The many photographs are exceptional. There are 44 color photos taken by the author and 80 photos from many individuals including the Madison Courier and RoundAbout Madison newspapers.
The first photo is a collage of the pictures of the Jefferson County Historical Society emphasizing the physical location of the museum and the teaching mission provided to the children and residents of the county.

Before We Forget Book Cover

There are many personal stories from members of families that forged their farms out of the Indian hunting grounds. Much of the land has been in the same family for generations. Small histories of several small communities such as Barbersville, Beecamp, Sugan, Rykers Ridge, Canaan, Deputy, Dupont, Hanover and Kent and Saluda, are presented.
Interviews about World War I and World War II indicate that families and individuals were asked to sacrifice and were willing to do so. The cemeteries, with soldiers ranks and units served, emblazoned on stone, reflect the patriotic spirit of our ancestors. Some 75 veterans of the American Revolutionary War are buried in Jefferson County. Thirty to 35 graves of these first American soldiers have been located and identified by local resident Nick Schultz and are listed in the appendix.
These Indiana families were forced to make sacrifices so powerful that those not involved in this Bicentennial Oral Project can’t possibly imagine having to do it. Jefferson County was formed in 1811. It was named for Thomas Jefferson, principal draftsman of the Northwest Ordinance and president of the United States from 1801-1809.
The book points out that Jefferson County was one of Indiana’s first counties and many important early Hoosiers hailed from Madison, including William Hendricks. Throughout the early history of the state, Madison was one of the leading cities competing with Vincennes and later New Albany to be the largest city in the state.
Stories include the “Missing five Miles,” an effort to document the five miles of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s Raid that is located on the old Jefferson Proving Ground. The book is the only opportunity that folks can see the markers that pinpoint the route that Morgan took in 1863.
By 1953, Madison moved up on the hilltop and factories such as Grote moved in. Al Huntington, former Madison mayor, calls this Madison’s Second Industrial Revolution – the first revolution being the building of the Madison Railroad and the factories in Madison prior to the Civil War.
The author has interviewed or typed up transcriptions for 30 individuals, with each person bringing his individual personal experiences to the book. Some folks took charge of their interview and talked non-stop, while others had to be asked questions to flesh out their history. This resulted in an uneven format of the book; however, it was designed to be easily read. The book is printed as 8.5x11 inches with 12 point, Times New Roman font. The photographs are large and the photos are in color where possible.
Folks were interviewed in their homes, churches, businesses, nursing homes, automobiles and the Reference Library of the Jefferson County Historical Society.

• When the book arrives in November, a book signing event will be announced. For information, call the Jefferson County Historical Society at (812) 265-2335.

Back to October 2011 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta