Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Monday, July 28, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Cinq

In 1939, Paul Hadley painted this cabin.  Well, he painted a picture of the cabin.  I assume somebody else painted the cabin itself.  (There's a great Paul Hadley joke about that.  I'll tell you in a minute.)

"Cabin," by Paul Hadley (1939)
(Click photos to bigify)

For those who have missed my first four installments in this series, Paul Hadley (1880-1971), a Mooresville native, designed the Indiana State Flag; taught painting at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis; was an art curator; and was himself an accomplished artist (primarily in watercolor). Several of his paintings are permanently displayed at Mooresville Public Library, and my minions and I are tracing Hadley's footsteps to see the places he painted and how they look today.

How do we know when Paul Hadley painted this cabin?

 Yep.  Pretty much.

The much tougher question is (wait for it . . .):  Where was this cabin? Does it still exist?  (Okay, that's two questions.)  But first, some comic relief.

Paul Hadley roamed the countryside (literally walking most places near Mooresville, because he never drove a motor vehicle) painting landscapes, structures, and other places. Anywhere that was too far to walk (or that he couldn't conveniently reach by the interurban railway or other railroad) required Hadley's friends to kindly give him a lift to the locations.  These folks were often repaid with a Paul Hadley original painting.  Pretty sweet deal, I'd wager.

I'm getting to the joke!  Once, when Hadley was walking about, he came upon a particularly appealing barn that he wished to grace his canvas.  He saw the barn owner and asked if he (Hadley) could paint his (the farmer's) barn.  The farmer replied, "No thanks.  I just had the barn painted last year."

Back to the tough questions.

According to long-time Morgan County historian Becky Hardin, in her biography of Paul Hadley, she stated:
  • "This painting ["Cabin"] was presented to the Mooresville Library by the Tri Kappa Sorority.  A newspaper story says it is 'The Robb Cabin' but some people think it was the Spoon home. [. . . .]  Spoon's Cabin was the subject of Hadley's Paintings at different seasons of the year.  [One shown in her book] is Spoon's Gate and was probably for his [Spoon's] cabin.  It is owned by one of Hadley's cousins Mrs. Harold Swift.  The gate is something like the one [in "Cabin"], which has an open gate.  Although the location may have been the same the paintings are different."  [Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 16-17 (1976).  Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]
Obviously, Hardin believed that the cabin Hadley painted was the Spoon house.  There is only one difficulty:  There were generations of Spoons who were born, raised, and lived lifetimes in Mooresville (on various streets, including Harrison, High, Madison, Washington, . . .  you get the idea), as well as in the country surrounding town.  Which Spoon family branch belonged to the cabin in Hadley's painting?

The most likely location would have been the place at which generations of Spoons continuously lived longest in town.  Using the U.S. Censuses from 1880-1920, along with genealogical information from our Spoon family vertical file (in the MPL Indiana Roving Reporter Room) dating to the 1830's, we found a reasonable candidate at 142 East Harrison Street, at which Spoon family members resided continuously for at least 60 years (quite possibly over 80 years).

 1920 U.S. Census for Mooresville, Brown Township, Morgan County,
Indiana shows Alonzo and Etta M. Spoon living at 142 East Harrison
Street (previous censuses showed Alonzo and other Spoon
family members living there since the 1880 census)

Alonzo Spoon was age 14 when the 1880 census was taken, living in his family's house at 142 East Harrison Street.  Paul Hadley was born in 1880, so he would have known 142 East Harrison Street as the "Spoon place" since his infancy.

Alonzo and Etta May Spoon were married on September 14, 1892.  They lived in their home at 142 East Harrison Street until their deaths (1937 and 1946, respectively).

 Alonzo Spoon obituary
(Mooresville Times, December 30, 1937)

Etta May Spoon obituary card
MPL Indiana Room obituary files

It's reasonably likely that "the Spoon home" that historian Becky Hardin believed to be portrayed in Paul Hadley's "Cabin" painting would have been a home in which Alonzo's parents and family lived (where he was raised), which subsequently became his and Etta May's home for the remainder of their lives.  Hadley painted it in 1939, when Etta May still lived there.

Unfortunately, Hadley could have spared us all this speculation and historical research if he had simply named his painting "Alonzo Spoon's cabin," but the artist probably wasn't imagining that anyone (especially a feline roving reporter) would be writing about it 75 years after the fact.  But, still.

How do things look at 142 East Harrison Street nowadays?

In our next installment, we'll consider the possibility that the painting actually portrayed "the Robb cabin."  That will take us south to Centerton, Indiana (still in Morgan County, though).

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Quatre

My minions and "Flat" Cauli embarked upon another adventure following in the footsteps of Paul Hadley (1880-1971), designer of the Indiana State Flag, artist, teacher, curator, and Mooresville, Indiana native.  It was really hot, humid, and, periodically, raining, so I stayed home.  As boss kitty, I can do that.  Just ask Tober, another famous library boss feline.

At either Hadley's 1931 or 1924 art exhibitions at Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, at which he taught during the period, Hadley's watercolor, "Simon Moon's Cabin," was displayed.  It was donated to Mooresville Public Library, where it hangs today in our Paul Hadley gallery.

"Simon Moon's Cabin," by Paul Hadley
(click photos to bigify)

Scowl-Face's photo leaves something to be desired, so here's a clearer image of the painting (borrowed from page 28 of this magazine article: Perry, Rachel Berenson. "Paul Hadley: Artist and Designer of the Indiana Flag." Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 15(1) [Indiana Historical Society, Winter 2003]), pp. 20-29 (click here to find links to the full article.)

(Image courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society)

Since Hadley did not drive motor vehicles, his friends drove him around to various places where he could paint landscapes and structures.  Carl Harris, whose estate donated this (and another) Hadley painting to MPL, was one of Hadley's neighborly "chauffeurs."

Simon Moon (1786-1879) was a Quaker (Society of Friends) who, during the 1830's, settled land in Morgan County, Indiana (first in Gregg Township, then in Brown Township). He lived near Long Ridge, a few miles southwest of Mooresville.  On May 6, 1834, Simon Moon founded the town (now city) of Westfield, Indiana (in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis), along with fellow Friends Asa Bales (Mooresville's first postmaster in 1826) and Ambrose Osborne.  All had relocated to Indiana from North Carolina.

Simon Moon's cabin sat atop a hill immediately west of the Bethel Friends Meeting, founded in 1842.  The church and cemetery are still located there. Simon Moon, along with his wife, Lydia Harvey Moon (1798-1878), daughter Elmima Moon Lindley (1827-1859), and other family (daughter-in-law, grandchild), are buried in the back row of Bethel Cemetery. Most of the Moon's children, however, are buried in other Morgan County cemeteries.

 Bethel Friends Meeting & Cemetery
(a few miles southwest of Mooresville)

posing at Bethel Friends Meeting

Simon Moon's grave marker (2012)
(courtesy of Slimbeaux, from Find-a-Grave website)

Close-up of Lydia Moon's grave marker (2014)
(we took this photo today)
(a book was carved atop this stone--not visible
in this picture--see photo below)

Because of heavy underbrush, we were unable to see the rear side of Lydia's grave marker, but we think Simon's marker is on the other side. (We had to clear overgrowth to take photos of the grave stones.)  The photo (below) shows a similar carved "drapery" for Lydia's side as appears on Simon's side (2012 photo above), and the stone in these three photos (above & below) appears to be the same shape and size.

Lydia Moon's grave marker (2014)
(we took this photo today)
Note carved "drapery" atop Lydia's side,
which also appears on Simon's side

The Moon burial plots sit along an ancient fence row at the back of the cemetery, all hidden beneath weeds and brush, and we were unable to reach all of them.

Elmima Moon Lindley's grave marker (2014)
(we took this photo today)

But let's get back to Paul Hadley's painting of Simon Moon's cabin.  Looking due west of the church beyond the old section of the cemetery, which rests behind the building, there stands heavy underbrush and woods.  From this vantage you can't really see the hill upon which Simon Moon's cabin once stood.

Looking west toward the Bethel Friends Meeting & Cemetery
(note heavy brush & woods behind)

You can, however, see the hill in the wintertime, thanks to this Bethel Cemetery photo.

Note hill beyond Bethel Cemetery (Jan. 16, 2008)
(courtesy of SixDogTeam, from Find-a-Grave website)

To see if we could discover the hill as it now looks, I sent my minions about a quarter mile south along the road that runs in front of the church (called, logically, Bethel Church Road), and they soon found a good view of the hill upon which Simon Moon's cabin once stood.

 Quarter mile south of Bethel Friends Meeting & Cemetery
(looking northwest toward hill upon
which Simon Moon's cabin stood)
(see church at far right)

 Simon Moon's cabin hill behind
the Lady With the Red Hair & "Flat" Cauli

 Notice general upward slope of hill
westward toward the trees (far left)
where cabin once stood

Paul Hadley's painting (again)

Simon Moon's cabin was torn down well over half a century ago.  In her history of the Bethel Friends Meeting (1958), Dela Lindley stated:
  • "Simon Moon was one of the outstanding Quakers in his day, being a farmer, tanner, shoe cobbler, herb doctor, and was believed by some to be a conductor for the 'Underground Railroad.'"
"When the cabin was destroyed," wrote longtime Morgan County historian Becky Hardin, "Mrs. Lindley said there were two closed spaces [that] were discovered on either side of the fireplace large enough to hold two people. The only entrance was from the attic.  It is thought this may have been a place to hide runaway slaves, or as they were described, at that time, 'Men of Color.'"  [Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 15 (1976). Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]

When you're next visiting the Library, take a look at this and all of our other Paul Hadley paintings.  History in watercolor.  Pretty neat, I'd venture.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cows Falling Out of the Skies!

Look out!  Cows are falling out of the skies!

Click logo (above) for details
Click logo (below) to go to GPL Website

Today Greenwood Public Library presented the second annual Great Cow Drop in the football field next to the library.  There were lots of fun activities, and several vendors displayed their wares and services.  Click the photos to bigify.

sold her baskets to raise money
for the Friends of GPL

 Cow Wagon Rides

 Part of the Great Cow Parade

The Parade Begins!

 Giant Cow with a message
we kitties can get behind
 Parade ends and cow rides begin

Wave to your favorite cow

 Cow photo ops

 GPL Children's Department
doing custom face-painting

Pretty cool!

 GPL Children's Department
freestyle drawing & crafting table

 Surfing Simulator


 Bounce House

 Cornhole competition

Follow the bouncing ball!

Helicopter drops the cows
from an incredible height!

 Safe landings (even without a parachute)
What an amazing stunt!

 None the worse for wear, I'd venture

Ready for more fun

The Great Cow Drop was a tremendous success, with many lucky patrons winning donated prizes.  Everybody had a lot of fun, and proceeds helped support Greenwood Public Library.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat