Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Slobberdog Inspiration

Dozer is a slobberdog inspiration.  Our book trailer explains.

MPL Book Trailer #204
Dozer's Run: a True Story of a Dog and His Race,
written by Debbie Levy with Rosana Panza
(illustrated by David Opie)

The book is available to check-out from our Evergreen Indiana catalog (if you have an E.I.  library card).

On May 15, 2011, Dozer saw several people running a marathon--well, actually, a half marathon--and he decided to join the adventure. Uncharacteristically, he ran out of his yard and followed the runners.  It was the Maryland Half Marathon (MHM) to raise money for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC).  Not that Dozer knew that--he's a slobberdog, after all, not a super-intelligent feline--but he knew something exciting was happening, and he was determined to discover the fun on this grand journey.

Dozer ran most of the 13-mile course, inspiring his human counterparts to their best performances.  He crossed the finish line but was then overlooked by all the people milling about after the race.  It took him all night, but he reached his home safely.  Exhausted, he slept for two days.

People donated money to UMGCC in the names of runners.  The donations rolled in under Dozer's name--a whopping $25,000 total, more than twice as much as any other runner. Seven hundred donors from 43 states, as well as Canada and Great Britain, contributed.

Through his efforts, Dozer has shown that (quoting from the book) "anybody can take steps, big and small, to help others."



Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Half a Million Views

As of a couple days ago, our MPL YouTube Channel's videos (currently 485) reached (wait for it . . .)

HALF A MILLION VIEWINGS!


Click Image to Bigify

Canned tuna-in-oil for everyone!  Minions, make it so.

Thanks for watching!



Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Huit

Let's continue discussing smokehouses that Mooresville artist Paul Hadley (1880-1971), designer of the Indiana State Flag, painted in watercolor.

Last time, we decided we couldn't find the place where Hadley painted "Smokehouse," which is displayed at Mooresville Public Library.

Click images to bigify


But we found the location (154 West Harrison Street) of another Paul Hadley painting, "Full Bloom" (1942), which also portrayed a smokehouse.

"Full Bloom," by Paul Hadley (1942)

[Excerpted from Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 28 (1976).  Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]

Another Hadley painting captured a white smokehouse at the Samuel Moore Rooker house, constructed in 1877 and located at 30 West Harrison Street.  Rooker was the first child born in Mooresville after the town was founded, so he was named after the founder, Samuel Moore.  Rooker's granddaughter, Helen (York) Cook, and her husband, Claire Cook, lived there for decades.  

Newspaper Article About the Cook/Rooker Home
by Becky Hardin, Morgan County Historian
[Hardin, Becky, ed.  Morgan County Scrapbook, Volume I (1985).
Mooresville: Dickinson Publishing Co., p. 285.]
(Click image to bigify)


Cook/Rooker House (2009)


The smokehouse was located behind the home, as you can just barely see in the digital scan below.  The original image of this painting (used in Hardin's book) was very faint.

"White Smokehouse," by Paul Hadley
and smokehouse shown attached to the
Rooker/Cook residence (1976)

[Excerpted from Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer
(Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 30 (1976).

Let's see what the smokehouse attachment looks like today, shall we? Minions, make with the digital photos.

Rooker/Cook smokehouse was located
inside the now-screened-in porch area
on the back of the house

Paul Hadley must have been fascinated with smokehouses as watercolor subjects.  Next time, we'll see what back stories we can discover from more of our Hadley paintings on display at the Library.


Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Sept

Another Paul Hadley watercolor painting on display at Mooresville Public Library is "Smokehouse."



Click images to bigify


By now, I assume everybody knows who Paul Hadley was, but if you've missed my first six installments in this series, then click here to learn more about Mooresville's favorite son.

Where was this smokehouse?  There must have been a gazillion smokehouses scattered around Mooresville and vicinity during Hadley's lifetime, and this one was no exception.  He probably painted it during the 1920's, and it likely appeared at his 1924 or 1931 exhibitions at Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, where Hadley taught art during this period.

We've reviewed dozens of old local photographs, taken by longtime residents and professional photographers J. P. Calvert (1842-1917) and Manley Brown (1894-1968) (among other photographers), but we didn't see any smokehouses resembling Hadley's painting.


Jarvis P. Calvert (1842-1917)


Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church, Mooresville (1914)
(photo by J. P. Calvert)

Both Brown and Calvert climbed atop the Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church steeple (at the corner of South Indiana and East Harrison Streets in downtown Mooresville) to take panoramic photos of the town as it looked during the late 1880's-early 1890's and circa 1910 (Calvert) and in 1920 (Brown). That is WAAAAAAY up in the air--much too high for moi.  Here's what they saw.

 J. P. Calvert's photo atop the M.E. Church steeple
looking southeast (late 1880's-early 1890's)




J. P. Calvert's photo atop the M.E. Church steeple
looking northeast (late 1880's-early 1890's)


J. P. Calvert's photo atop the M.E. Church steeple
looking northwest (late 1880's-early 1890's)


J. P. Calvert's photo atop the M.E. Church steeple
looking west (along West Harrison Street) (ca. 1910);
 MPL now stands at the end of the street on the right


 Manly Brown looking west along West Harrison Street
atop the M.E. Church steeple (1920)


 Manly Brown looking southeast along East Harrison Street
atop the M.E. Church steeple (1920)


Manly Brown looking north along South Indiana Street
toward the center of downtown Mooresville
atop the M.E. Church steeple (1920)


 Manly Brown looking south along South Indiana Street
atop the M.E. Church steeple (1920);
The Village Shopping Center now stands in the
open fields beyond the trees (upper right)

There were several small structures that resembled smokehouses (and, for that matter, outhouses, or privies) in these photos, but I saw nothing that looked like Paul Hadley's painting.  Maybe we should try our sense of smell.  Good way to differentiate smokehouses from outhouses.

Some of my younger readers may not know what use was made of smokehouses.  Through the 1930's (maybe even later), there were in-town residents who, like their country cousins, raised livestock. Many had barns and outbuildings in their backyards to house these animals.  Pork was cured (preserved) by smoke in smokehouses.

So, as far as Hadley's "Smokehouse" painting hanging at the Library, we have absolutely no idea where it was located.  But wait!  Hadley painted other smokehouses, and we know where they were.  Does that count?


"Full Bloom," by Paul Hadley (1942)
(Click image to bigify)

[Excerpted from Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 28 (1976).  Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]

In 1942, Omri Schooley lived in the smokehouse at 154 West Harrison Street.  That's less than a block east of the Library.  Minions, hike down the street and see how things look there now.  We can wait.


154 West Harrison Street Today


The smokehouse was at the back of the property.  In Hadley's "Full Bloom" painting, you can see the fence row and an outbuilding to the left.  You can see those today in the photo below.


The smokehouse in "Full Bloom" was situated
at the closer fence corner (in front of the white
object and automobile).  The wooden outbuilding
on the left (in the painting) is where the
tan, concrete block structure now stands

It's pouring rain now, so lucky I sent my minions to take those photos. They got back to the Library just in time!  Nothing smells worse than a wet minion.  Especially Scowl-Face.




Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Six

I guess you've gathered my little joke about numbering the parts of my Paul Hadley series in French.  (I'm Cauli Le Chat, after all).  Six is spelled the same in French and English.  Spoils the effect, really.  (It sounds different, though.)

Paul Hadley Painting Gallery
at Mooresville Public Library
(Photo from my November 29, 2012 blog post

 "Cabin," by Paul Hadley (1939)

Click images to bigify

As we learned in my previous installment, Mooresvillian artist (and Indiana state flag designer) Paul Hadley painted "Cabin" in 1939. Longtime Morgan County historian Becky Hardin (1908-1995), whose knowledge of county (and local) history was encyclopedic, believed that "Cabin" portrayed "the Spoon home."  Quoting from Hardin's biography of Paul Hadley:
  • "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.]

Certainly, Hardin's interpretation deserves our most serious consideration. Last time, we examined a probable cabin location involving one branch of the Spoon family (Herbert Spoon [1892-1954]), but we also discussed other branches (Peter Spoon [1806-1888] and descendants). We have it upon living memory of a family member (Peggy Killian Benson) where the Spoon cabin was situated, and that Paul Hadley painted it.  So that takes care of that.  Generations of Spoons had spent their entire lives in Mooresville at many different locations around town (on Harrison, High, Main, Madison, Washington, and St. Clair Streets, just to name a few) as well as in the surrounding countryside.  There were more Mooresville Spoons than in most restaurants. (Sorry--bad joke.)


Another (unlikely) candidate for whose cabin Hadley painted was "Robb." Around these parts, "the Robb Cabin" would most likely refer to John Robb.  Once again, Becky Hardin provides us with the historical details (quoting John Robb's great-great-grandson, Harold Scott):

  • "'John Robb lived at the foot of the hills just west of Centerton [in Morgan County, Indiana, about eight miles south of Mooresville].  He had taken out a patent of land on Oct. 30, 1834.  He moved in among a group of early settlers and soon became one of the community's leading citizens.  He had more education than most and became the scribe for his neighbors. In addition, he acted as a local lawyer in settling estates and was usually referred to as "Squire." [. . . .]  After building a small home just west of Centerton, he opened a clay pit and manufactured brick.  The hills behind his house are now known as Robb Hills.  He had a large and active family, some of whom became merchants in Centerton.'"  [Hardin, Becky, ed.. Morgan County Scrapbook, Volume I (1985).  Mooresville: Dickinson Publishing Co., p. 148.]
Where were the federal land patents that John Robb secured when he settled west of Centerton?  He obtained two, in 1834 and 1838.



Land Patents to John Robb (1834, 1838) in Section 3 of
Township 12 North, Range 1 East (2nd PM),
Morgan County, Indiana


 John Robb's land patents were near Center Valley
(upper left corner, above the railroad tracks
[where "Center Valley" is written on this map inset])

Map inset showing State Road 67 (dark road) and Milhon Drive
running across John Robb's land


[Maps from Boyd, Gregory A.  Family Maps of Morgan County, Indiana
(deluxe ed., 2010).  Norman, OK: Arphax Publishing Co.]

Our trusty Morgan County road map shows Robb Hill and Milhon Drive plainly:


Map courtesy of the Morgan County
Economic Development Corporation

Minions, make with the road trip!  Don't forget "Flat" Cauli.

Here's what John Robb's land looks like today.

Robb Hill (looking west)
at the intersection of Robb Hill Road & Milhon Drive
John Robb's cabin was approximately where
the house on the right is now standing

Paul Hadley's "Cabin" (again)

Was Paul Hadley's painting actually portraying John Robb's cabin?  Since the structure is no longer extant, and we don't know any surviving eyewitnesses, we may only speculate.  You can clearly see woods continuing for a considerable distance in the painting's background. This suggests a more rustic setting than, say, inside the town of Mooresville. The presence of winged dinners in the picture is inconclusive--folks throughout Mooresville raised chickens in their backyards during the 1930's, as did their country counterparts--but the continuing trees certainly spell rural to moi.

But trees, of course, are only one consideration.  There's a much bigger object missing from the painting.  Where's Robb Hill?  Or was Hadley facing in another direction, so the hill wasn't in his background view?  In other words, was the hill behind him (or to his left) as he painted?

Regarding town versus country, consider this description by Becky Hardin:
  • "Pictures by Paul Hadley have historic value. [. . . .]  His paintings depict a way of life that will soon be gone.  This old cabin, windowless at one end with a chimney for fireplace is a type no longer built.  A chicken is free to wander about the dooryard which is framed by a board picket fence.  Notice the gable which turns back which is Greek Revival style."  [Hardin, The Indiana State Flag (1976), p. 16.]
Was Hardin describing a country cabin or a town cabin?  We already know that Hardin believed Hadley's painting was the Spoon home, so, certainly, she was thinking town, but I can't help but feel that, in the above paragraph, she's describing a cabin couched in the countryside.  If so, then it could have been Robb's cabin, but it could just as easily have belonged to the Spoon family or somebody else.

As Hardin declared, Hadley's paintings have historic value.  Watercolor moments capturing a bygone era for us to enjoy now and in the future, I'd venture.



Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Monday, July 28, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Cinq

UPDATED APRIL 23, 2016:  We've added some new information that might prove helpful for those interested in Paul Hadley's Spoon Cabin painting.

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 longtime Mooresville resident, 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?

During a program celebrating Paul Hadley and the Indiana State Flag's centennial, one of the panelists, Peggy Killian Benson, vividly recalled that Spoon's cabin was situated near White Lick Creek just south of town.  In the video (below), you can hear her talking about her "Uncle Herb" who had lived in the cabin until his death.  This would have been Herbert Spoon (1892-1954), who was a livelong Mooresville resident.


Celebrating Paul Hadley & the Indiana State Flag Centennial, by MPL
(Peggy Killian Benson's presentation begins at the 26:44 mark)

Herbert Spoon's Obituary
(Mooresville Times, August 12, 1954)

The 1920 U.S. Census states that Herbert Spoon lived on a farm "east of the Vandallia Railroad," and Peggy Killian Benson remembers the cabin sitting near White Lick Creek.  If we look at the 1920 Plat Map of Brown Township, Morgan County, Indiana, we can see the probable location of the Spoon cabin portrayed in Paul Hadley's painting.


 Excerpts from the 1920 U.S. Census including Herbert Spoon

1920 Plat Map of Brown Township, Morgan County, Indiana
(Probable Location of the Spoon Cabin in Red)

What does this area look like today?  Paul Hadley painted another picture near Spoon's cabin, according to Peggy Killian Benson.  This was called "East Fork of White Lick Creek" and is on display at the library.

"East Fork of White Lick Creek," by Paul Hadley

 Modern Map of Area Near Spoon Cabin

 Aerial Views of Area


Modern Photo of East Fork of White Lick Creek
(Near Spoon Cabin Site)
 
Spoon's Cabin Was Near Today's Rooker Trace & Rooker Run Subdivisions

Peggy Killian Benson's living memory of the Spoon cabin site should be dispositive of its true location.  There were, however, many Spoons living in and around Mooresville during the 19th and 20th centuries, and perhaps it would be fun to talk a little about some of them. Using the U.S. Censuses from 1870-1920, 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 longtime Spoon homestead at 142 East Harrison Street, at which Spoon family members resided continuously for at least 75 years.

The house is listed by exact address in the 1920 census, when Alonzo and Etta May Spoon lived at 142 East Harrison Street.

 1920 U.S. Census for Mooresville, Brown Township, Morgan County,
Indiana shows Alonzo and Etta M. Spoon living at 142 E. Harrison St.
(the 1870-1880 censuses listed Alonzo's grandfather, Peter Spoon, residing there)


In the 1880 census, Alonzo Spoon was age 14 and lived on High Street with his parents, Mitchel (spelled Mitchell in the censuses) and Tempy Staley Spoon.  However, Mitchel's father, Peter Spoon, who was Alonzo's grandfather, lived at 142 East Harrison Street, according to the 1870 & 1880 censuses.


 1880 Census showing Peter Spoon, Alonzo's Grandfather,
living at 142 East Harrison Street


 Peter Spoon obituary record
(courtesy of MPL Legacy Links obituary database)

Peter Spoon's obituary
(Martinsville Republican, January 26, 1888)

When Alonzo's grandfather, Peter Spoon, died in 1888, the house remained in the family (going to Peter's son, Mitchel, who was Alonzo's father). Alonzo and Etta May Spoon were married on September 14, 1892, when they moved into 142 East Harrison Street (possibly a wedding present from Mitchel & Tempy?).  Alonzo and Etta May lived there 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

Peter Spoon and his descendants lived at 142 East Harrison Street continuously between at least 1870 and 1946.

Unfortunately, Hadley could have spared us all this speculation and historical research if he had simply named his painting "William Spoon's or Herbert Spoon's (or Alonzo Spoon's, or, even, Peter 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 unlikely possibility that the painting actually portrayed "the Robb cabin" (especially improbable, given the testimony of Peggy Killian Benson).  Still, it's a fun road trip for moi and my minions.  That will take us south to Centerton, Indiana (still in Morgan County, though).





Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat