Way Down Upon the White River…

Photo by Lori Samuelson

Earlier this month, hubby and I joined other Society of Indiana Pioneers (SIP) at an Intergenerational Day at Mounds Park, Anderson, Indiana.

We had never been to the park and after a short hike, the ranger explained research findings about the constructed mounds on the premises. We then trekked back to the nature center and had an informative hands-on wildlife experience with reptiles and amphibians. After a box lunch, pioneer activities were scheduled – butter churning, broom making, weaving, flint knapping, candle making, archery, and visiting a historic home. We also observed volunteers who were making a dugout canoe for a museum exhibit.

SIP’s program is helpful in getting a younger generation interested in history.

It wasn’t just the kids who were excited nor was intergenerational just for attendees. My husband’s Hoosier Pioneer was Jacob Troxell, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on 2 October 1797. By 1810, he had emigrated with his parents to Bear Creek near Miamisburg, Montgomery, Ohio. There he married first Catherine Ranck/Raunk on 29 December 1819.

By 1822 Jacob, Catherine, and their first of eight children, Elizabeth “Betsy” moved to the then-new state of Indiana. They settled in Harrison Township, Fayette County, one mile north of Waterloo.

Jacob first farmed his property that was adjacent to the White River. The growing community had a need and he met it by erecting a saw and grist mill. Later he opened a dry goods business and became a County Commissioner.

After Catherine’s death, he married widow Mary Jane Carlton Port. The couple had one daughter.

Jacob died on 6 April 1885 in Fayette and is buried in Robinson Chapel Cemetery there.

Of my to-do plans is to visit where Jacob lived. Between speaking engagements, renovating our landscaping with native plants, and volunteering, it’s not likely we’ll get to visit this summer. The SIP program, however, enabled my husband to experience the White River for the first time. In this preserved park setting, it likely looks much as it did when his 3rd great-grandfather came in the 1820s. Wow, 200 years ago. Five generations ago. Now that’s really intergenerational!

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