Affidavits for Soldier’s Exemptions

In 1927 the federal government determined that “any honorably discharged soldier, sailor, marine or nurse who had served at least 90 days or more in the military or naval forces of the United States and who was totally disabled as evidenced by a pension certificate or the award of compensation, and the widow of any such soldier, sailor or marine, may have the amount of $1,000 deducted from his or her taxable property providing the amount of taxable property as shown by the tax duplicate shall not exceed the amount of $5,000 and the amount remaining after such deduction shall have been made shall constitute the basis for assessment and taxation.  PROVIDED, FURTHER, that the age of 62 shall constitute the basis of total disability for any pensioner.  Acts 1927, p. 519.)”

In 1938 and 1939, Monroe County collected the information from those claiming an exemption under the 1927 Act and compiled them into books, one for each year.   The unpaginated books are compiled in alphabetical order by surname and available at the genealogy library at the Monroe County History Center in Bloomington, Indiana.

An index to the two volumes was recently completed and made available to the many county databases available online through the Indiana Genealogy Society website.  Although many of the Monroe County databases at the IGS website are free to anyone, the combined index to the two volumes of affidavits is restricted to members only.  The index includes:  name, address and age of recipient; war in which the veteran served; and year of volume.

affidavit

Post by Randi Richardson

Bloomington Man Loses Life Aboard the Titanic

The clipping noted below, written by Blaine W. Bradfute, was published in an undated, unsourced Bloomington newspaper under a column called “Looking Back.”  It was found in a scrapbook compiled by a man named Fred Lockwood.  The scrapbook is held by the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana. 

In 1900, according to census information, 47-year old John B. Crafton, the owner of stone quarries, lived with his wife, Sarah, and son, Harry, at 115 E. 7th Street (sic) in Bloomington; in 1910, Dr. J. Edmund Luzadder lived at 115 E. 8th St.  A digital image of Crafton’s January 1912 passport application indicates that he was born in Owen County, Indiana.

titanicThe first man who planned and boasted to his friends that he would make a million dollars out of the local stone industry was John B. Crafton, the only local man who was lost in the sinking of the Titanic when that great ocean liner struck an iceberg on its premier voyage nearly two decades ago.

Mr. Crafton was undoubtedly the most farseeing man of his day in the Bloomington stone belt and had he lived to an old age he would likely have cashed in his stone holdings for more than a million.  Having a great belief in the future of stone, Mr. Crafton leased many hundred acres of land in the local belt and at one time had a large amount of the finest stone land in the county under lease.  For twenty-five years Crafton dabbled in stone land, leasing tract after tract.  Four decades ago the investment in stone quarries and mills was very small and the output was correspondingly small.  The Hunter Valley quarry was one of the first successful companies operated northeast of Bloomington, and when the Hunter Valley was sold for $100,000 to become the Consolidated, the selling price was held up as a big fortune.

The writer as a boy heard John B. Crafton remark, “I may not live to see it but my son, Harry, will someday get a million dollars for my stone holdings.”

Mr. Crafton’s prediction that out of his stone leases would come a fortune of a million dollars to his son did not prove true as his life was cut short when the Titanic was lost; the Crafton stone operations ended just about the time stone properties began to greatly increase in value.  Had he lived and continued his stone operations as he planned, he would have undoubtedly left a fortune of over a million, and as it turned out he left a comfortable estate to his wife and son—or so it was generally supposed at the time.

Mr. Crafton was in his stateroom at the time the Titanic ran into the huge iceberg which ripped one side of the vessel open much as if it had been a huge can opener.  Mr. Crafton was not seen about the vessel by the survivors at any time after the accident, and it was supposed that he met an instant death in his stateroom when the iceberg was struck.

The Crafton family during the years of residence in Bloomington lived in the house on East 8th Street, now occupied by the Dr. Luzzader family.  Although the body was not picked out of the sea, and undoubtedly found a burial place in the hull of the Titanic which sank in the deep water off the Atlantic, a stone monument in Rose Hill Cemetery was erected by the widow to the memory of Mr. Crafton—one of the men who in the early days had a true vision of what the great Bloomington stone belt was to become.

Post by Randi Richardson

Tarzan: One in Twelve a Native of Bloomington

All totaled, twelve men played Tarzan on the silver screen.  Three were from Indiana.  One was a native of Bloomington.

Elmo Lincoln, a native of Rochester originally named Otto Elmo Linkenhelt, portrayed the ape man during the silent film era as did   James Hubert “Babe” Pierce  from Freedom, Owen County, Indiana.  Denny Miller was from Bloomington.

Denny Miller, according to the name on his birth certificate, was born Dennis Linn Miller.  Later he was known as Denny Scott Miller and Scott Miller. His parents were Bernard “Ben” W. and Martha (Linn) Miller.  They lived at 314 E. University at the time of Denny’s birth, and “Ben” was employed as a high school teacher.

Ben had a twin brother named Len.  Both boys were local basketball stars in Waldron, Indiana, and later played at Indiana University with Branch McCracken.  Ben later became a physical education instructor at IU.  It’s, therefore, not too surprising that Denny began playing basketball early and played it well.  His younger brother, Kent, followed in his footsteps.  By the time of Kent’s birth, the Miller family was living at 449 S. Henderson.

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Denny lived several years at this Bloomington home, 449 S. Henderson, before moving to LA.

When Denny was in the fourth grade, his father took another job and the family left Bloomington.  After living for a time in Maryland and New York, the Millers settled in Los Angeles where Ben was a member of the faculty at UCLA for many years and Denny and Kent had full-ride scholarships to play basketball.

To help pay for his schooling, Denny had a job moving furniture during his senior year.  A Hollywood talent agent took notice of   the good looking, 6’4” guy with a physically fit, athletic body and signed him to the MGM studio.  Denny’s first starring role was Tarzan in a 1959 remake of the 1932 classic Tarzan, the Ape Man.  It launched his career.

tarzan

Although Denny did not star in other Tarzan films, he went on have a role in more than 200 television and movie productions many of which were Westerns.   He was best known as a regular on 107 episodes of Wagon Train from 1961-1964.  He also appeared in more than 80 commercials.  For fourteen years he played the Gorton fisherman.

In later years he continued to live in LA where he wrote several books.  His first, Didn’t You Used to be What’s His Name, was a well-illustrated autobiography published in 2004.  It was selected for inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club.  The second book, Toxic Waist?…Get to Know Sweat! was published in 2006 and delivered an important message about the obesity epidemic in America.

Having earned his degree in physical education, Denny was an advocate of healthy living for most of his life.  Up until the time that his body was ravaged by ALS, he was able to wear the same loin cloth that he had worn as Tarzan in 1959.  ALS, commonly known as Lou Gerhig’s disease, affects those nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement like chewing, walking and talking.  Most people affected with ALS die from respiratory failure.

Denny died at the age of 80 on September 9, 2014.  He was survived by his second wife, Nancy, and a son and daughter.  His obituary, containing details of his long career, can be found many places online.

Sources: Fred D. Cavinder, More Amazing Tales from Indiana (Bloomington IN:  Indiana University Press, 2003), 208 pages.

Blog post by Randi Richardson