Willis O. Tyler: Early Civil Rights Activist, Orator Extraordinaire and IU Graduate

Willis O. Tyler, the son of Isaac and Mary Tyler, members of Monroe County’s black community, was born in Bloomington on July 19, 1880.  His parents lived on East 10th Street in what was at that time known as the “Buck Town” neighborhood.  He attended Bloomington’s public schools including, undoubtedly, the Center School at 6th and Washington, the only Bloomington school designated specifically for black children.

Continue reading Willis O. Tyler: Early Civil Rights Activist, Orator Extraordinaire and IU Graduate

New Library Resources

A new edition of the 1818-1881 Monroe County Marriage Records Index is available in the library and for purchase in the museum store. The second edition, re-indexed by volunteer Lee Ehman, makes many corrections to the index originally published in 1995. Lee has also been busy digitizing our marriage records. Now records through April, 1921 are available in PDF format.

Marriage Index
18181-1881 Monroe County Marriage Records Index, 2nd Edition

We have also added the Buildings and Houses Index to our website. This resource makes it easy to locate materials on local structures found in the library’s collection of print materials. This index was created by volunteers Lee Ehman, Beth Lau, and Ben Williams. Currently, it is only available online.

Buildings & Houses
Buildings & Houses Index

Post Submitted by Emily Noffke (Library Manager)

Indiana’s Vital Records on Ancestry

In early June 2016, Ancestry made available on their subscription website
tens of thousands of digital images of vital records from the State of
Indiana.

Birth Records: 1907-1940
Marriage Records: 1958-2005
Death Records: 1899-2011

While these records represent a rich and valuable resource for Indiana
genealogists, it isn’t quite as good as it sounds. For starters, this is a
monumental project, and it takes considerable time to put all the records
online. When all is said and done, however, it is expected that 17,000,000
records from these three sources will be available online. Some of the
records are up now and others are being added until the project is complete.
Those records already online are searchable.

Continue reading Indiana’s Vital Records on Ancestry

A Bicentennial Burial Ground: Rogers Cemetery

On Fee Lane, north of the railroad tracks and on the east side of the road facing north, stands Foster Quadrangle, an Indiana University dormitory built in 1964 as part of the university’s post-war expansion. Between the dorm and Fee Lane is a small cemetery enclosed by a low limestone wall. This is called the Rogers Cemetery, and is one of the original ones in the county. Its oldest grave is that of a one-month newborn, James Baugh, who was born and died in 1818, Monroe County’s founding year.

There are 32 graves listed in the County Cemeteries of Monroe County index, which names it as Rogers 2 Cemetery. Half the graves are from the Rogers family, with Baughs and Hooks also buried there. The pioneer Rogers and Baugh families lived in log cabins on the knoll just north of the cemetery. Most died before the Civil War, and the most recent recorded burial was in 1879.

The Bloomington Evening World reporter writing about Rogers Cemetery (“Little Cemetery on Fee Lane is Old Burying Ground,” Bloomington Evening World, Nov. 21, 1926), pointed out the unusual proximity in time, within a week during early July 1829, of three Baugh children’s deaths, at ages 2, 7 and 14, perhaps due to an epidemic or fire. Life in those frontier years was often short– the ages of the Rogers’ buried in the cemetery show that except for six of the 16, they died very young: two as newborns, two one year-olds, a four year-old, and five between 10 and 20.

The land on which the cemetery stands is in the northwest quarter of Section 34 of Bloomington Twp. This 160 acre tract was originally purchased in 1821 from the Vincennes Land Office by John Henderson, who in 1830 sold 85 acres of it, for $750, to George W. Hook. George, who died in 1839, and his wife, Sarah, who died in 1863, are buried in the cemetery.

George Hook’s two daughters, Martha and Eliza, sold the 85 acres to William O. Fee in 1863 for $3,825. The deed mentions the cemetery:

 “But it is agreed and so understood that the grave yard or burial ground on said land is reserved and not conveyed by this Deed which is now inclosed [sic] by a plank fence. [Deed Book U, p. 298]”

I could find no subsequent deed that mentioned the cemetery, so I assume that it still belongs to the Hook family. The land eventually passed to the Rogers family, who sold it to Indiana University in 1914 (Deed Book U, p. 298).

Post submitted by: Lee Ehman (Library Volunteer)

Lake Monroe Oral History Project

Using materials generously donated by Alice Reed Morrison, the History Center Research Library has launched its first online exhibit. The Lake Monroe Oral History Project focuses on the stories of Salt Creek Valley residents who were displaced by the construction of Lake Monroe in the 1960s.

This exhibit, created for the History Center by interns Delainey Bowers and Dorothy Berry, uses original audio recordings and photos from Morrison’s 1986 dissertation entitled “Portrait of a Lost Community: A Folklife Study of the Salt Creek Valley of South Central Indiana and the Effects of Community Displacement Following Formation of the Monroe Reservoir.” Continue reading Lake Monroe Oral History Project

County’s First Deed Book Preserved

In honor of the 2018 Monroe County Bicentennial, we have had Monroe County’s first deed book preserved. Dating from December 1817-December 1825, this book is a record of the first land transactions in the county. Along with these first land sales, Deed Book A also contains numerous city plat maps. This invaluable piece of Monroe County history can now be viewed in the MCHC Research Library.

Restored Deed Book A3
Bloomington Plat Map, Deed Book A, 1818. Note that this map may have been added in later, or may have been edited by various recorders.

Continue reading County’s First Deed Book Preserved

New Cemetery and Community Maps

The MCHC library has two new maps on display!

A map showing the location of all cemeteries in Monroe County is mounted near the southeast corner of the Education Room beside the Cemetery of the Month display. This map is the result of years of work by the Cemetery Committee in locating as accurately as possible all cemeteries that are now extant or have ever existed in the county. It is plotted on a modern map showing present roads and other geographic features to simplify finding the cemetery. Unfortunately we do not know the exact location of many of the cemeteries. Others have been destroyed and some removed to new locations.

Cemetery Map Bloomington Twnshp
A portion of the cemetery map showing cemeteries found in Bloomington Township

Continue reading New Cemetery and Community Maps