Sunday, April 19, 2009

Researching in Brown County, Indiana

Over the past few days we've been in a favorite Indiana spot, Brown County. It's a place that thousands enjoy each year and for good reason. Nature abounds in them thar hills! The scenes in the hills turn bright in the spring with blossoms and warm oranges in the fall. It's also a lot of fun to to experience the shops in Nashville, the county seat that began as an artists' colony. We can now find a myriad of handmade jewelry, leather goods, fudge and furniture, in addition to the art. There's always the popular stop in the Nashville House for some famous fried biscuits or a quaint cafe for fresh selection of coffees or ice cream.

Our location for these few days was the Brown County State Park. It's a beautiful park with winding scenic views. The winter browns are just starting to disappear. Spring rains are bringing out the buds on the trees and the robins are nesting. This is a park that draws loads of hikers, bikers, campers and picnickers for many weeks of the year. We were early enough that it was pretty quiet during the past week. I took long walks in the evening through our sparsely occupied campground. It was a little wet for me to get out on the trails, but there are sure some super ones here.
We did take note of a certain type of connoisseur appearing this time of year in the woods of Brown County. As we leisurely enjoyed the few miles of road leading us out of the park each day, we would see a few cars parked along the road without occupants. But then quickly we noticed two or three people walking very slowly staring intently at the brown leaves on the ground. This deliberate glare looks a lot different than the usual hiker's pose. Ah, hah, the spring time brings out the Morel mushroom hunters! Later, I had a strong confirmation of the value of this activity when I visited the local IGA -- $29.99 per lb for these treasures. Maybe this hobby is one to consider.

However, no time for that now, our main motivation for this particular trip was one of our favorite passtimes, family research. Jerry's Hurley ancestors were among the early settlers of the area in the 1830s. In fact, one historical account states that the first election in the county was held in the home of Cornelius Hurley. Although many family facts have already been discovered, there are a few pieces to find. What are all the circumstances of Elisha Hurley's family after he was killed in 1847 in the Mexican American War?

Often going directly to the locale to investigate the records proves more successful. So we spent a few of our afternoons searching through the genealogical section of the Brown County Public Library. We did get a few leads to follow.

Our research also took us out and about, to the Mt. Zion Cemetery at the top of a hill on highway 135 between Stone Head and Story, Indiana. Jerry was able to get photos and plot GPS locations of Ephraim, Cornelius and a few other Hurley tombstones for his records. Stone Head was the home of the Hurleys in the 1800s and the resting place of several of them today. Roaming an old cemetery on a sunny day amidst the forests and fields of southern Indiana can be somewhat good for the soul. Who knows! Maybe a few still roam the hills and cornfields.

One thing you can depend on in the spring time in Indiana is that there's no telling what weather there may be. Typically, we had three days of sun and two days of clouds and rain. Soon the greens will be everywhere. It was nice to be here. Now we're moving on east.....looking towards our next destination in the D. C. area.


  1. Having lived in Brown County for the last 8 years I was in Indiana, I found this story interesting. I lived at the 'End of the Road' in Spearsville. That was before I knew Jerry, so didn't realize I should be looking for Hurley stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  2. That is a great piece on Brown County. It makes me want to get there and have a good look at my Vandeman family. They could have been neighbors to the Hurleys.
    Chuck Moore

  3. it looks like beautiful country

  4. Hey - As usual, a very well written blog entry! We are glad that you are heading East because maybe we can see you sometime in the Fall when we are heading down the East Coast after being in Newfoundland for July & August. Any idea what your schedule might be? If so, please e-mail it to us. Today we are in CO and are heading for Denver to visit my sister. Big hugs to you both. We miss you!!!
    Mary & Elaine

  5. This is Kaye huckelberry from North ranch. My dad, Geo Wahington Huckelberry was born in that Medora. Lots of Huckleberrys down there no matter which way they spell it.
    Have you ever tasted a Morel Mushroom? $29.99 a LB is well worth it. Favorite hunting spots are well guarded and a little dangerouse to trespass. But so worth it.
    Jerry T.sent this site along in his email. Will be fun to follow along...if that is OK. Some of us who are now grounded would stillbe traveling if curcumstances were different and who knows someday they just might.
    Thanks for trip down memory lane. ever been to Bean Blossom in Brown County for the Covered Bridge Festival? Awesome. That is indeed beautiful country.
    By the in the world are you supposed to pick just one song for JTs CD? I stuck to rock and still had a hard time. No Beach Boys or Beatles?? Wow That blows my mind! I sent him another email with my country favorites for his next project. Just one song...impossible. I think he secretly wanted us to go insane!
    HUGS an ol' Hoosier kaye


Hi: Thanks for your thoughts.