A Special Thank You to Jan Dickson

We really enjoyed having our special guest Jan Dickson of The Society of Indiana Pioneers with us for our September 2023 meeting.

Jan shared with the group how to learn more about Indiana’s pioneer relationships, stories, and ideals as well as Society of Indiana Pioneers records, publications, scholarships, grants, tours, rallies, & programs. Lots of great information.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the special presentation. We will meet again on October 24th 7 p.m. at the Paoli Library.


Donation to Orange County Historic Newspaper Exhibit 

Many thanks to our friend and OCHS member Arla Spoonmoore Fraizer who recently donated the typewriter belonging to the late Mary Alice Spoonmoore to the Museum's new Orange County Historic Newspaper exhibit display. The daughter of Frank and Osa Morris, Mary Alice, often know as Slats or Slatty, graduated from Paoli High School and attended I.U. for two years. She married Jack Spoonmoore in 1952 and spent 38 years at the Paoli Newspaper. She passed away in 1992. Accepting the donation was OCHS President Robert Henderson. 



Pioneer Research Tools and the Society of Indiana Pioneers

September 12th 7 p.m. - Paoli Public Library Meeting Room - Everyone Welcome!

Jan Aikman DicksonJan Aikman Dickson

Explore how to learn more about Indiana’s pioneer relationships, stories, and ideals. The focus will be on frontier research resources online and in libraries for Indiana and the Trans-Allegheny West as well as Society of Indiana Pioneers records, publications, scholarships, grants, tours, rallies, & programs. There may be names in your own family tree that have already been proven to qualify you for Society of Indiana Pioneers membership because an ancestor was here by 1840 in most counties or 1850 in some northern counties.

The Society of Indiana Pioneers speaker for this program is Jan Aikman Dickson, who lived most of childhood in Lawrenceburg and Terre Haute, Indiana. Jan and her husband were married in Milan, Indiana, the home of Jan’s maternal grandparents and the 1954 Indiana State High School Basketball Championship Team featured in the film “Hoosiers.” The Dicksons have 3 married sons, 9 remarkable grandchildren, and one truly amazing great-grandson.

Jan has visited all 92 counties in Indiana, all 50 U.S. states, and 1 territory; but continues to love exploring Indiana most of all. When the Dicksons lived in West Lafayette as adults, Purdue University courses in The History of the Family in America, Indiana History, and The Ideology of the American Revolution sparked Jan’s interest and eventual discovery of over 30 Indiana pioneer ancestors. They came to Indiana as early as 1807 and lived in such Indiana counties as Knox, Daviess, Dearborn, Parke, Vermillion, Fountain, Tippecanoe, and likely others. She also created a map of all the first Pioneer Period land purchasers of Wabash and Shelby Townships of Tippecanoe County, indexed an early county deed book, and learned of some of their stories as well as those of her own ancestors. To discover more about pioneer and colonial lives Jan has visited historical libraries, museums, and courthouses in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Scotland, England, and even Arizona, Michigan, and Florida when the original intent in those three states was a relaxing vacation.

Jan is writing a booklet on 40 loving conflict resolution exercises and serves on the Board of The Society of Indiana Pioneers. Her other memberships include the Indiana Historical Society, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, the Indiana State Assembly Club, and the Tippecanoe County Historical Association. She was made an Indiana “Sagamore of the Wabash,” and received awards from the National Center for State Courts and Conference of Chief Justices for founding the national Judicial Family Institute (JFI) in 1986. Jan continues to serve that nonpartisan organization’s mission of sharing best practices on ethics, stress management, and other areas unique to judges’ households and extended family. She encourages all families today to take heart from Indiana pioneer family stories, and often says: “if they got though all that, we can get through all this!”



Storm Damage Report - August 2023

A Storm Assessment has been completed at both the Museum and historic Lindley House in Paoli. The Museum thankfully received only some very minor damage with an upstairs window being knocked out and lots of debris and dirt on the front exterior. Sadly, the historic Paoli Courthouse Square has suffered significant damage including the Courthouse as result of Monday night’s tornado. No visible structural damage was found at the historic Lindley Farmhouse but considerable brush limbs etc. are down on the grounds.

From the Museum Collection

Did you Know?

This 10-foot-long livestock trough is an early piece of Orange County history from the William Lindley farm. He came on the wagon train with Jonathan Lindley.

Through dendrochronology, the scientific method of dating, based on analysis of patterns of tree rings, Hanover professor, Dr. Darrin Rubino determined this poplar tree began growing in 1522 and was harvested in 1850. Today, the wood in the trough is over 500 years old!

The trough has remained on the Lindley farm, owned for decades by Rachel and Jim Bowen. It was purchased from the Bowens by Saving Historic Orange County (SHOC) and is now being shared with Orange County Historical Society at the Thomas Elwood Lindley House.

Hoosier Author & Civil War General Lew Wallace Visits Lindley House

Attendees of Saturday's "Living History Day" at the historic Lindley House in Paoli had the rare opportunity to meet and interact with Hoosier Author and Civil War General Lew Wallace.   Wallace was portrayed by Civil War reenactor and living historian Terry Furgason of North Vernon.  Despite the soggy conditions the event drew a sizeable number of participants and visitors alike.  Sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society the event included a Civil War Muster, historic house tours, and other heritage type activities.


Join us for Living History Day at the Farmhouse


May 2023 Meeting - The Buffalo Trace National Monument Project

Our program for the recent May meeting focused on the Buffalo Trace and efforts underway to preserve the rich link to our Hoosier heritage. Thanks Dave Drake, Steve Stewart and Rick Hockett for a most interesting presentation.

Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana

About The Project

The Buffalo Trace has been known by a lot of different names over the years. Vincennes Trace, Old Indian Road, Clarksville Trace, Harrison’s Road, Kentucky Road, and the Louisville Trace. Pre-contact, Buffalo Trace was called Lenaswihkanawea or “buffalo road”. Used by Native Americans for centuries, the Buffalo Trace was an important route for early European settlers and played a key role in Indiana’s settlement and development.

It is David Drake and Steven Stewart's intention to preserve this landmark as a heritage project. They are working at making the Buffalo Trace a national trail through the federal Hoosier Forest for hikers and visitors to marvel at the path their ancestors took. Richard (Rick) Hockett is the third primary member of the group and a retired professional Geologist.  Rick is currently working with Arc-Gis (a GIS mapping system/software) to record the location data.  Once finished, they will have a modern data set of the physical, geological, and historical information. John Anslinger and Lisa Hendrixson also serve the group as Historical Researchers.

With his career study of surveying methods, in 2013 Drake took it upon himself to perform a new survey of the old Buffalo Trace, spending several years searching for its path through the Hoosier forest. Following old maps, he walked through the Hoosier, standing on the original trail his ancestors used to cross the Ohio River. His ancestors came from Virginia, stopping in Kentucky for a couple years, then moving on to Indiana, Drake described, making their stop about 1823. In this survey, Drake covered Dubois, Crawford and Harrison counties, as the road originally brought many pioneers from great distances to many local areas.

(Click on the image below to see a larger version of this plat map.)

Click on the image below to see a larger version of this plat map.

As Stewart grew up in Orange County, he didn't know he lived alongside significant history. He had only known the Buffalo Trace as an old road that ran by his house but was naive about how it was formed. Once he made the discovery about its deep history, he was hooked.

They are working to build a cultural center and national monument to the Trace. "The trail has potential for national designation," Stewart said. Collaboration with parks and interest groups in the area can make this happen, he said.

Our group hopes to publish a broader work covering the entire trace in the coming years. Orange County is right in the middle of the trace and its important history to our state. Orange County holds the majority of the remaining segments of the original trace. This in itself is most significant.

For additional information please contact

David Drake - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steven Stewart - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


SHOC is celebrating National Historic Preservation Month

Our partner Saving Historic Orange County is celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by recognizing the county’s many historic barns. Information about the barns is displayed at the Paoli Public Library. In addition, two free books dealing with barns, are available while the supply lasts. One of the books contains drawings of Orange County barns done by high school artists. The other is a publication of the Indiana Barn Foundation, which promotes the preservation of historic Hoosier barns. That booklet contains a plethora of information about the many styles and components of Hoosier barns.



Paoli 4th Graders Enjoy Visit To Museum


We always enjoy having school groups visit us at the Museum. These Paoli 4th Graders are among those visiting during the month of May. The O.C. Historic Museum is now open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other times available by appointment. Admission is always FREE; however, donations are accepted to help us defray the cost of upkeep and maintaining the historic collection.



2023 Annual "A Night at the Museum"

The Orange County Historical Society was proud to have once again partnered with Mr. Chris Lindley and Paoli High School's Advanced U.S. History class to sponsor the "Best of Show" Gold Award for the 2023 Annual "A Night at the Museum" event held on May 7th

This year's theme was "Chicago: The Second City's First Century and the making of Modern America."

The Best of Show Winner was Lily Stroud who is shown receiving her certificate and cash award with Mr. Lindley (left) and OCHS President Robert Henderson (right).


Orange County Community Foundation Contribution - March 2023


The Orange County Historical Society received a tremendous boost during its first meeting of 2023 held on March 28th at the Paoli Library. Imogene Dedrick (far right) , Executive Director of the Orange County Community Foundation presented a check to OCHS in the amount of $7,850 to go towards the Society's purchase of a microfilm reader as part of the Historic Paoli Newspaper Project.

The reader when purchased will be placed at the Paoli Public Library along with scanned reels of the newspaper collection for the purpose of historic research and genealogy work. Also pictured during the presentation was l to r OCHS Treasurer Carolyn Clements, President-CEO Robert F. Henderson and Vice President Roger Moon. Not pictured was Terry Cornwell, OCHS Board Chair.

Henderson speaking on behalf of the Society's Board of Directors and membership expressed his appreciation to Dedrick and the OCCF for their partnership and support in the newspaper preservation efforts.

Photo Credit: Valarie Moon


Orange County Historical Society Meeting - March 2023


Roger Moon (right) and Ron Prosser (left) presented an interesting and informative program for the first meeting of 2023 of the Orange County Historical Society held last Tuesday night at the Paoli Library.  Moon and Prosser have been working the last few months gathering World War II era letters that were originally printed in the historic Paoli newspapers from the 1940s.  The end result of the project will be a forthcoming book, "Visions from Home." with proceeds benefitting the OCHS. 



The Sun Has Set On Our 2022 Season

We'd like to thank all those who visited and supported us during this special 50th Anniversary year, including who everyone who attended our Annual Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Farmhouse event this past weekend.

We would also like to send a special thank you to all of our wonderful members & dedicated volunteers! Without you none of what we do is possible and we sincerely thank you!

We hope to see everyone again in 2023.

May there always be a lighted candle in your window.

Happy Holidays everyone!



Annual Christmas Dinner

The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) held its Annual Christmas Dinner on December 1st at the historic Lingle Room in Paoli.  OCHS President Robert F. Henderson gave the welcome with Chris Lindley providing the invocation.   The tables decorated festively for the occasion with a delicious meal being catered by Jerry Wall.  


A brief business session followed dinner with President Henderson highlighting some the historical society’s activities from this past special 50th Anniversary year. 

Officers and Board members for 2023 were installed and they are as follows:

Exec. Committee members:

Robert F. Henderson, President
Roger Moon, Vice President
Gary Spear, Recording Secretary
Carolyn Clements, Treasurer

Board of Directors:

Terry Cornwell, Chair, Carolyn Clements, Jeff Lane, Janet Newton and Brenda Cornwell.

Henderson expressed appreciation for the many things accomplished by the Society and its members noting the sizeable undertaking taken on by the group for the Paoli Historic Newspaper project.

Traditionally, the group does not meet during the months of January and February.  The Society typically meets the fourth Tuesday of each month 7 p.m. at the Paoli Library from March through November.

Henderson related a brief history of the 1897 legendary editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Kirby Stailey performed a program of Christmas music for the closing out portion of the meeting.

Those persons wanting information on the OCHS, becoming a member and/or any of their activities should contact Henderson at 812.653.1212.



50th Anniversary Celebration

Orange County Historical Society members and guests celebrated the Society's 50th Anniversary during their last regular meeting of 2022 held November 22nd at the Paoli Library.  The present-day historical society was formed 50 years ago in November, 1972.

Those on hand for the celebration included left to right Charter Member and Board Member Janet Newton, Vice President Brenda Cornell, Board Member Jeff Lane, President-CEO Robert F. Henderson, Longtime OCHS volunteer Duane Radcliffe, Treasurer Carolyn Clements, Past President Chris Lindley and Board Chair Terry Cornwell.



Old-Fashioned Holiday Event at The Historic Lindley House


The Orange County Historical Society will once again play host to an old-fashioned holiday event at the historic Lindley House in Paoli this coming Sunday, December 4th 2022 from 2 to 4 pm.

The nearly 170-year-old farmhouse will be decorated downstairs in part to reflect a simple 1860s Christmas past and will be open for informal touring. Robert Henderson, president of the Orange County Historical Society, said volunteers will be present to share information related to the house. The musical group “Wildflowers & Weeds” will perform period music in the front parlor of the house that afternoon as well. 

Hot Cider and cookies will be served.



Orange Historic Museum Holiday Open House November 20th

The Orange County Historical Society will host its annual “Holiday Open House” at the Orange County Historic Museum in Paoli Sunday, November 20th from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is being held in conjunction with the annual Paoli Merchants Christmas Open House being held that same day.  The Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.

Artifacts and items of historical significance of Orange County’s 200 years of rich and interesting history can be viewed during the event at the Museum located on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square in Paoli. Admission will be FREE; however, donations are accepted to help with the museum’s upkeep. This will also mark the last official day of operations for the museum this season.

The Museum Gift Shop will have a number of unique and interesting items for sale that day for the “history buff” including the Society’s new 2022 Christmas ornament celebrating the historic Monon Trestle at Paoli. A limited number of the Paoli Historic Newspaper “History Mystery” Totes will be available as Commemorative Bundles of historic Paoli papers of the past.

In addition, local author Kevin Tower will be signing copies of his latest book, Early French Lick West Baden Valley Hotels, Clubs, and Boarding Houses, which will be available for sale in the gift shop.

For more information on the Orange County Historical Society or any of its activities please contact President Robert F. Henderson, 812-653-1212.



Help Us Save Paoli Historic Newspapers!

As the sorting and inventory process has continued, Orange County Historical Society members have announced some new offerings in the popular “History Mystery” packets of old Paoli newspapers presently being made available to the public. The suggested donation for a History Mystery packet is $10.

Society President Robert Henderson said the following options now are available, with opportunities for picking up History Mystery totes being Friday, Oct. , 14 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Orange County Museum on the Paoli square:

1. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.

2. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 30s, 40s and 50s (four per decade).

3. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 1960s.

4. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 1970s.

A tote of 12 newspapers from the 1980s or the 1990s, is also available upon request.

In addition, Henderson said that Society members will also be set up outside at the old JSI building on hospital road on two Saturdays both October 15th and October 22 from the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone wishing to purchase one of the totes. Also, for the first-time individual commemorative type issues may be obtained on these two dates only for anyone wishing to have a specific dated paper related to a birthday, graduation, anniversary etc. Note: Some years are very limited and, in some cases, may not exist or be available. Henderson encourages those interested to please try and have specific date and year for the paper they wish to obtain. Individual copies will be available for a suggestive donation of $5. This will be a very limited type offer. Proceeds from the commemorative paper sales will benefit the historical society’s Historic Paoli Newspaper Preservation Project.



September OCHS Meeting - Historic Lick Creek Settlement

Thanks to everyone who came out for the regular September meeting of the Orange County Historical Society held at the Paoli Library. Tesa Villalobos, Heritage Program Manager with Hoosier National Forest was our presenter this month. Tesa gave an interesting and informative program on the historic Lick Creek Settlement.



2022 Paoli Fall Festival

The Orange County Historic Museum in Paoli will be open in conjunction with the upcoming 2022 Paoli Fall Festival.  The festival's general theme this year is "Hoosier Heritage." The Museum, which is located on the NW corner of the historic Courthouse Square will be open for visitors on both Friday, September 9th and Saturday, September 10th of the event from 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Admission is FREE; however, donations are accepted to help defray cost of upkeep of the museum and historic collection.



Lick Creek African American Settlement Exhibit

New at the Museum is a special temporary display on the "Lick Creek African American Settlement".  A number of related rare items and artifacts are presently on loan for display purposes from the Indiana State Museum, in cooperation with the Hoosier National Forest.



Last Civil War Veteran Buried in Orange County Honored

Ceremonies were conducted at Ames Chapel Cemetery on August 28th to formally rededicate the grave of Thomas Jefferson Cave (1844-1940)-Last Civil War Veteran to be buried in Orange County. The brief ceremony included a biography of Sgt. Thomas J. Cave, a presentation of wreaths and a full musket salute by Civil War Reenactors. The event was sponsored by the French Lick West Baden Museum, in conjunction with the Sons of Union Veterans, John W. Foster Camp.



OCHS Will Host IHS’s Traveling Exhibit Faces in the Crowd: Indiana and the Political Process

FacesCrowdShow.pngThe Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) will host Faces in the Crowd: Indiana and the Political Process, an Indiana Historical Society (IHS) traveling exhibit that shows how Indiana has entertained debates on issues and candidates throughout the state's history. From August 16th through September 20th, the exhibit will be on display at Orleans Public Library, located at 174 N. Maple (S.R. 37). 

Society President Robert F. Henderson said “Faces in the Crowd is not the story of the candidates behind the microphone, but of the individual citizens in the crowd—each of whom play a crucial role in ensuring the electoral process works.” “Since the early years of the electoral political system, Hoosiers have attended rallies, expressed their opinions and participated at the polls. They have supported and opposed candidates, and of course, run for office themselves.” 

“We are grateful to our community partners at the Orleans Library for allowing us to showcase this educating and informative display in their main reading room.” Henderson added.

The included images have been collected from across the state, showcasing Hoosiers at a host of campaign events throughout history. The IHS collections images that appear in the exhibit were placed in context with support and cooperation from The Indianapolis Star, the Calumet Regional Archives and the University of Southern Indiana.

For more information about this exhibit, call 812-653-1212.



August Monthly Meeting

Attendees at the August meeting enjoyed a fun Historic Music Presentation presented by Becky Sprinkle, Marty Mundy, Randy Tuell, Eric Harmon, Sarah Calhoun and Gary Spear. The group performed a variety of songs both traditional and folk stretching from the Civil War through modern day while also sharing tidbits of history behind the music and some of the instruments.

Tuell shared the background on one of his Dulcimers, handmade by Jim Fox created from historic wood dating back to tree cut about 1757.



May Monthly Meeting

Author Bob Moody was the guest presenter for the May 24th Orange County Historical Society meeting held at the Paoli Library. Bob held attendees fairly spellbound while sharing the strange story and tragic death of Professor Wilbur at the Orange County Fair in 1871. Bob also presented some new interesting and informative research about events leading up to that tragedy and beyond.




Orange County Historical Society Meeting - May 24th

Special Guest - Author Bob Moody

The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) will meet for its next regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 24th 7 p.m. at the Paoli Public Library.  Author Bob Moody will be presenting a program on the 1871 strange and sad fate of “Professor R.H. Wilbur.”  The event once again placed Orange County in the National Spotlight.   The public is welcome to attend.





Old-Fashioned Holiday Event at The Historic Lindley House

The Orange County Historical Society will once again play host to an old-fashioned holiday event at the historic Lindley House in Paoli this coming Sunday, December 5th 2021 from 2 to 4 pm.

The nearly 170-year-old farmhouse will be decorated downstairs in part to reflect a simple 1860s Christmas past and will be open for informal touring. Robert Henderson, president of the Orange County Historical Society, said volunteers will be present to share information related to the house. The musical group “Wildflowers & Weeds” will perform period music in the front parlor of the house that afternoon as well. 

Hot Cider and cookies will be served.

No admission will be charged; however, donations will be accepted to help maintain the historic home site.

Due to the lack of ability to adequately social distance masks are recommended inside the historic farmhouse.

The house was the home of Thomas Elwood Lindley, an early Orange County settler and is located just off Hwy. 150 West on Willow Creek Rd. in Paoli




Orange County Historical Society To Host IHS’s Traveling Exhibit Faces of the Civil War

Civil War history will come alive for visitors who experience Faces of the Civil War, an Indiana Historical Society (IHS) traveling exhibit. From May 25th through June 22nd, Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) will host the special exhibit at the Paoli Public Library, located at 100 W. Water Street in Paoli.

Society President Robert F. Henderson said the exhibit brings to life the stories of many Hoosiers whose lives were touched, and in some cases taken, by the Civil War.  “Not all are well known or revered—many were just everyday citizens fulfilling their duties to their friends, family, state and country,” He added.  Rather than focusing on statistics and large-scale battles, the exhibit illustrates how regular people coped with the tragic experiences of the day—all from an Indiana perspective.

“We certainly appreciate our partnership with the Paoli Library and staff and their wiliness to allow us to display this interesting and informative exhibit.” Henderson said.

About IHS Traveling Exhibitions

Historical societies, museums, libraries, schools and other nonprofit organizations in Indiana can book this and other traveling exhibits through IHS’s Local History Services department. Exhibits may be borrowed for approximately four to five weeks at a time. To book an exhibit, please contact Karen DePauw at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 233-3110. For more information about the traveling exhibit program, visit www.indianahistory.org.

About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.




Orange Peelings Newsletter - Spring 2022

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