The Tumble March 2018


1. James Tillery Moffatt: Canal Trustee Wanna-Be 8. CSI Contributors
2. Anguilla 9. Welcome New Members
3. Koehler Speaks to Wabash Valley Genealogy Society 10. Whitewater Canal Metamora
4. Earliest Rails in Fort Wayne 11. Whitewater Canal Trails
5. Birding Along the Towpath Trail 12. Canal House in Connersville
6. Welcome Aboard Cate! 13. “Up and Over” Tour: Allen, Whitley & Huntington Counties
7. Canal Locator Project 14. News From Delphi


James Tillery Moffatt: Canal Trustee Wanna-Be

(1791-1861) Find-A-Grave # 128483347

By Carolyn and Bob Schmidt

James Tillery Moffatt was born in New York City on October 2, 1791. After residing for some years in New Jersey, he moved to Ohio for a short time and then to Vincennes, Indiana, in 1818. While at Vincennes he was the presiding officer of the Chapter of Masons there and was in possession of the Order.

James married Julia Bouidinot (1805-1864) on December 17, 1822 in Knox county, Indiana. They were the parents of 5 children:  Blackford Bouidinot Moffatt, Maria Moffatt, Catharine (Kate) B. Moffatt, Caroline Julia Moffatt, and Theodora Moffatt.

In 1829 James moved his family to Terre Haute. On January 12, 1829, age 27, he bought Lot 182 on North Second Street in Terre Haute from William Merriman. There he built a brick house, which was the family’s home for many years. He later moved into a new home on the north side of Mulberry, between Sixth and Seventh Streets in Terre Haute.

In Terre Haute James became the first High Priest of Terre Haute Chapter, No. 11 of the Order of Masons. He was a carriage maker by trade, but his interest in politics led him to be an Associate Judge [some sources say Probate Judge or Judge of the Circuit Court].  Although he held no law degree, there were many men in Terre Haute at this time who weren’t lawyers by profession and were called Associate judges.

Terre Haute was incorporated as a town on January 26, 1832 and, since James was an early pioneer of the village, he was made clerk and sometime before 1838 became its mayor. He did much toward the improvement of the city, working faithfully in its best interests until his death.

James T. Moffatt served his district as an Indiana State Senator from 1837-1843.  While in the Senate in 1838 he introduced Bill # 260 “an act to amend the act to incorporate the town of Terre Haute, which was read the 1st, 2nd and 3d times and passed. He was a delegate to the 1844 Whig Convention in Baltimore, which nominated Henry Clay.

Although the Wabash & Erie Canal was important to Terre Haute’s growth, it had many financial as well as physical problems.  Indiana wanted to be relieved of its burden. With the assistance of Charles Butler, the State of Indiana reached an agreement with the new bondholders and turned the Wabash & Erie Canal over to them on July 31, 1847.

Canal construction had ended at Lodi in 1847.  Now, emerging from the state’s financial problems of the early 1840s, the Wabash & Erie Canal appeared to have a new life and the potential for economic gain. Construction would proceed south from Lodi to Terre Haute. Then the Cross-Cut Canal to Worthington would be reworked. Construction would then continue south and connect to the old Central Canal works for the last 20 miles to Evansville. Terre Haute would now house the headquarters of the Wabash & Erie Canal from 1847 through 1876.

Administration of this new agreement was to be done by two trustees elected by the bondholders and one trustee elected by the state. The bondholders chose lawyers Charles Butler of New York and Thomas Blake of Terre Haute. With only one board position available, a struggle occurred for this position among the various regions along the western side of the state.

James T. Moffatt wanted to be elected the 3rd trustee.  On October 12, 1847  he wrote the following letter to Hon. W.A. Porter, a key member of the Indiana House of Representatives in Corydon, Indiana, seeking support for his candidacy for Trustee of the Wabash and Erie Canal:

“I shall be a candidate at the ensuing session of the Legislature for trustee on behalf of the State for the Wabash and Erie Canal and shall be much gratified to receive your favorable consideration and support. My location as well as my personal feelings induced me during several years service in the Legislature to make every effort in my power for the prosecution and completion of this work, and hence I believe that I am fully acquainted with all its interests and resources and as the State has but one Trustee, against two selected by the Bondholders, it seems to me important that he should not only be familiar with the subject, but should reside at this place where the office is kept, and take part in the transaction of the business, otherwise the office of Trustee will be a mere sinecure [little responsibility], and the agents of the Bondholders transact the whole business.”

James T. Moffatt had been a state senator, served Terre Haute well, and lived on the western side of the state where the canal was to be completed, but he did not fare well in the early balloting. Although his name appeared on the first ballot that was put before the Indiana House of Representatives, one source shows his name being withdrawn after the 4th ballot by Mr. Cookerly while another source shows his name not appearing on the 4th ballot.  Names of other candidates were withdrawn, some put back on again, and new names added as they attempted to get a majority vote for someone.

This competition between individuals for the 3rd Trustee position is reflected in the other candidates on the legislative ballot. Initially Nathan Palmer was appointed by Governor Whitcomb to fill this position and he served from July to December 1847, but now the position was to be an elected one. In the early balloting Palmer was the favorite. As the balloting continued strength was gained by 3 regional candidates. Robert N, Carnen, a Whig from Vincennes, who was running pretty equal with Austin Puett, a Democrat, from Rockville in Parke County. Joseph S. Hanna, a Lafayette businessman, also polled well.

On December 11, 1847 Mr. Cookerly presented a bill fixing the salaries of the Trustees of the Wabash & Erie Canal as follows:  the non-resident trustee, Mr. Butler, $1,500; the two others $1,200 each. It was ordered to a second reading.

By the llth ballot on December 16, 1847 a majority for trustee had still not been reached. There was a frenzy in the House and Senate at that time because Andrew Kennedy, an ex-member of Congress, had come down with smallpox while staying in Indianapolis at the Palmer House, which was owned by Nathan Palmer. Some of Indiana’s senators and representatives had visited him prior to the diagnosis, were scared they would catch it and wanted to get out of town.  The Indiana House of Representatives asked the Senate to adjourn until January. The Senate came back saying they would adjourn until the 1st Monday in February, then later changed it to the 2nd Monday in January.

The adjournment due to the one case of smallpox was thought to be ridiculous. The Wabash Express, Volume 7 Number 1, Terre Haute, Indiana of December 22, 1847 quotes the following from the Sentinel:

“Upon the whole, is not this one of the greatest farces ever enacted by a legislature of grave and wise men?  So it seems to us, and so we feel bound to say.

“If the legislature had done up the little work of importance requiring its action—which might have been done since the occurrence of this ‘alarming’ case of Small Pox, and had then adjourned sine die, we think they would have shown much more wisdom than they have done under the influence of the ridiculous panic, by which they, or many of them, have been affected.”

The balloting did not take place when scheduled on January 10, 1848,  but a few days later. The House invited the Senate to attend the ensuing balloting and the Joint Convention then proceeded to vote by ballot for  the Wabash and Erie Canal trustee. It took 14 more ballots and several days to reach a majority vote.

Judge James G. Jones, the 1st Mayor of Evansville in 1847 and Secretary of the Canal Bank of Evansville, was a Whig and only received a smattering of votes. On the 12th ballot votes for Jones were switched to Willard Carpenter, a business man from Evansville. Meanwhile Austin Puett was emerging with a vote count of about 63. Joseph S. Hanna, of Lafayette, polled a steady 20-30 votes early on but emerged in the 19th ballot with 45 votes to become a challenger to Austin Puett. By the 23rd ballot most of the opposition support for Hanna switched to a new candidate from Evansville, Judge John Pitcher, but it was too late. Another late candidate, Robert A. Chandler, a businessman from Williamsport, received 9 votes on the 24th ballot. However, on the 25th ballot Chandler’s previous votes went to Puett, who received 75 votes, the majority. The political contest was over.

On January 18, 1848, “Austin M. Puett having received a majority of all votes given was declared by the President of the Convention duly elected Trustee on the part of the part of the State, of the Wabash and Erie Canal, to serve as such for a term of three years from the date of his election.”  Journal of the Indiana Senate During the 32nd Session of the General Assembly See also Austin Puett in the CSI website Canal Biographies (G-M) sction.

Although James T. Moffatt was not elected a canal trustee, his public service did not end. On May 25, 1849 he was appointed Postmaster of Terre Haute.  He held this position for four years, 1849-1853. During an 1862 court case, involving the delivery of mail by the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad Company versus the United States, he testified that he was an owner of some stock in the TH&RR Company and explained how the mail was transported by the railroad as follows:

“I was postmaster at Terre Haute when the United States mail was first put upon the [rail] road, and remained in the office about one year afterwards. The amount of mail matter carried daily each way during that time was about one thousand pounds.  I was also acting as a substitute for A. O. Hough, who was route agent on the mail line between Terre Haute and Indianapolis, and on said road about one month before the mail was thrown off said road, and I think the weight of mail matter carried would average about three tons each way, and two trips per day.

“A portion of the letter mail from Cincinnati and the east was carried from Louisville, by the way of Vincennes, to St. Louis, in four-horse coaches; a small portion of the letter mail came by the Terre Haute route to St. Louis, also in coaches, but the mass of the mail matter went from Cincinnati, via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, to St. Louis, by steamboats. — Railroad communication opened between Terre Haute and St. Louis about the first of July, 1855.”

While serving as postmaster, James hired 18-year-old Preston Hussey to work in the post office. Preston was the son of George Hussey, who had a farm near the village of Terre Haute.  Preston eventually married Moffatt’s daughter, Kate B. Moffatt.

The 1850 and 1860 U. S. Federal Census reports give us the following information about James and his family. Note that his age, that of his wife and the ages of his children vary between the two and do not totally agree with other sources.

The 1850 U. S. Census lists James T. Moffatt as post master, with real estate valued at $8000, born in New York.  His household includes Julia Moffatt, age 43, born in New Jersey; children all born in Indiana — Blackford Moffatt, age 24, lawyer; Maria Moffatt, age 19; Catharine Moffatt, age 13; and Caroline Moffatt, age 11; Preston Hussey, age 24, clerk, born in Indiana; Catharine Boudinot, age 39, $1000 estate, born in New York [likely Julia’s sister]; Theodore Moffatt, age 8

The 1860 U. S. Census shows James T. Moffett (Moffatt) age 67 living in Ward 5, Terre Haute, Vigo county, Indiana.  Living with him are Julia Moffett age 55, his wife, who was born in New Jersey; children all born in Terre Haute: Catherine age 20, Caroline age 19, Theodora age 18; Cath Bondirnt [Bouidinot] age 53 and Miles Day age 18, color black. His real estate and personal estates were valued at $16,000 and $3,000. Shown also in this census is B. B. Moffett (Blackford Moffatt), age 32, attorney, real estate $8,000, personal estate $9,000, born in Indiana.

Judge James T. Moffatt was a member of the Terre Haute City Council for several terms. He was appointed Street Commissioner  on May 30, 1853 when Terre Haute became a city. He was an active Mason.  He died at age 70 in 1861 and was buried November 12 in Woodlawn Cemetery, Terre Haute. Find-A-Grave #128483347

Julia Bouidinot Moffatt, James’ wife, died in 1864. She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery as well. Find-A-Grave #128483428

We know the following about James’ and Julia’s children:

Blackford Bouidinot Moffatt graduated from Indiana University in 1851. He was appointed the City Attorney on May 30, 1853 when Terre Haute became a city. He died May 21, 1865 and was buried in Terre Haute.

Maria Bouidinot Moffatt, who was born in Indiana on June 10, 1830, married John Dayton Condit, Sr. (1825-March 31, 1900) on March 8, 1853 in Vigo county, Indiana. They had 5 children:  Mary Louise Condit, born Jan. 23, 1856; Harold “Harry” H. Condit, born May 27, 1861, died 1937; James M. Condit, born July 1, 1863, died 1907; Charlotte M. Condit, born February 15, 1866, died 1937; and John Dayton Condit Jr., born June 17, 1868, died July 14, 1870.  Maria died on July 4, 1906 in Chicago, Illinois and was buried on July 6, 1906 in Woodlawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana. Find-A-Grave #36070816

Catherine “Kate” B. Moffatt,  who was born in Terre Haute in 1837, married Preston Hussey (1825-1914) on September 21, 1865. Kate died at age 39 on June 13, 1876, leaving her husband with 2 children: Florence Hussey Early (1868-1927) and Warren Hussey (1822-1937). Kate was buried in Highland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana. Find-A-Grave # 127551743

Caroline Julia Moffatt, who was born in Terre Haute in February 1839, married Edward L. Huestis (1839-1917) in 1873. After struggling with breast cancer for two years she died at the age of 66 on June 7, 1905. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute. Find-A-Grave #130771546

Theodora Moffatt was born in Indiana. The 1850 Census shows Theodore Moffatt as being a male, age 8. The 1860 Census shows Theodora Moffett (Moffatt) as being a female, age 18.  No more was found to clarify these records.


Sources:  United States Federal Census: 1850, 1860

Appointments of U. S. Postmasters 1832-1971.

Condit, Blackford, The History of Early Terre Haute from 1816 to 1840. New York, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1902.

E-bay  Neil Sowards, CSI member from Fort Wayne, Indiana, found on E-bay a stampless folded letter with a red circular date Terre Haute, IA. OCT 12 (1847) that was hand stamped “PAID.” It was written by J. T. Moffatt to Hon. W.A. Porter, a key member of the Indiana House of Representatives, in Corydon, Indiana seeking support for his candidacy for Trustee of the Wabash and Erie Canal. 

Esarey, Logan. History of Indiana from its Exploration to 1922. Dayton, OH: Dayton Historical Publishing Company, 1922.

Indiana Compiled Marriages 1802-1850. (James Moffatt & Julia Bouidinot)

Indiana Death Certificates 1899-2011. (Caroline Julia Huestis)

McCormick, Mike. Terre Haute: Queen City of the Wabash. Great Britain: Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in the State of California at its Annual Convocation, A. I. 2424. San Francisco, CA: Frank Eastman & Co., Printers, 1904.

Reports The Court of Claims, Submitted to the House of Representatives, during the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress, 1861-’62. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1862.

The Wabash Express, Volume 7 Number 1, Terre Haute, Indiana of December 22, 1847.

U.S. Find-A-Grave Index 1002—Current.

     Condit, Maria Bouidinot Moffatt #36070816

     Huestis, Caroline Julia Moffatt #130771546

     Hussey, Catherine “Kate” B. Moffatt #127551743

     Moffatt, James Tillery #128483347

     Moffatt, Julia Bouidinot #128483428



Clay City Independent, September 23, 1881

Sam Ligget, CSI member from Terre Haute, has gained permission from the Clay County Genealogical Soc., Inc.  to reprint this article from The Clay County Researcher, Volume 39, No. 2. Apr/May/June 2017 (Patricia Wilkinson,ed.).

“Anguilla is the Latin for eel; hence, an appropriate name for the town, which was laid out on the west bank of Eel River, just below the Feeder Dam, in July, 1838, by William J. BALL, the chief engineer on that section of the Wabash & Erie Canal lying between Terre Haute and Newberry. The canal company bought twenty acres of land on which to build the town, anticipating the development of a large and flourishing commercial town.

The name was given the town by Judge Daniel HARRIS grandfather of Daniel HARRIS of Middlebury, who is usually spoken of as the Father of Clay County. Judge HARRIS represented Owen County in the State Legislature at the time Clay County was organized and was instrumental in effecting the organization of territory taken from Owen and Vigo counties, the Judge residing near the Vigo line on the west side of Owen County. Thomas HARRIS, our Daniel’s father, engaged in merchandising at this town, having his store in the only remaining house of the town, that is now occupied as a dwelling by Jesse ALLEN, and was also appointed post-master when the office was established there, and was succeeded, in his official capacity, by W. F. T. McKEE, father of Arnold McKEE, of Middlebury.

Besides other improvements, a large flouring mill was built about 1845, but, owing to the insecurity of the foundation, Eel River soon inundated and undermined it, so that the machinery was all taken out and removed, the building afterward toppling over into the river. On the opposite bank of the river, at this place, was the famous Buckeye Grocery, kept in a cabin built wholly of buckeye timber by Riley LUTHER.

Owing to the opposition of the people of the county to the permanency and security of the canal feeders and the final failure of the canal itself, the projectors and proprietors of the town never realized their anticipations. It has long since been wholly vacated, and but little remains of the Feeder Dam structures.”

(Researcher editor’s note: I had asked Mark BARNHART about Anguilla; he sent the above newspaper article to me and mentioned that investors from Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia had purchased a patent for the NW 1/4 of Section 6, T 10N, R 6W of his father’s farm as an investment in the Anguilla area. Several years ago John BAUMUNK had told Mark that the town well was still at the site where Anguilla was located: south of the HARRIS/BAUMUNK Cemetery and north of the Feeder Dam Bridge. The Feeder Dam was located Northeast of the Feeder Dam Bridge.)

Pictured [below] is the map of Upper Anguilla, which was on the west side of the Eel River. The following information was written below the map:

“I do certify that the above is a true plat of upper Anguilla situated on the west bank of Eel River at the feeder dam Twenty-five miles SE of Terre Haute and nine miles SW of Bowling Green the lines of said town run parallel with those of the Section given from under my hand July 11th 1838


Deputy Surveyor of Clay County, In.”

The streets listed in Upper Anguilla are Perl Street, Lafayette Street, Front Street, and Water Street.

The information with the  Anguilla map “I do certify that this is a true plan of so much of the town of Anguilla as lies on the west side of Eel River situated in Clay County at the feeder dam 25 miles SE of Terre Haute and nine miles SW of Bowling Green the Base line bears S. 50 degrees 30 degrees W. and the at right angles and parallel given from under my hand July 11th 1838.


Deputy Surveyor of Clay County.”

Streets listed are Commerce Street, Water Street, and Main Street. (Notice that both Anguilla and Upper Anguilla have a Water Street.)

Those listed as having purchased lots were:

B– Owen No 11

REED Daniel No 12

COLIN Patrick No 15


FAIN G. No 6


FAIN G. No 13-14

WALLACE David No 7

HAUDLIN William No 4


McCAIG James No 1


NUCKOLLS David No 10

WILLCOX L. H. No 19-20

Koehler Speaks to Wabash Valley Genealogy Society

The following article was sent to Terre Haute’s Tribune-Star by Jo Ligget after attending CSI director, Jeff Koehler’s, presentation to the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society. It appeared in that paper on Sunday November 19, 2017.

The large meeting room in the lower level of the Vigo County Public Library was packed with people for the November 13 meeting of the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society. Why was there such a crowd that included WVGS members, Canal Society of Indiana members, and interested members of the public? They had come to hear the excellent presentation on the Wabash & Erie Canal in Vigo and Clay counties given by Jeff Koehler, Clay County Historian.

Listening to the comments and questions from the crowd afterwards, one could conclude there obviously is much interest in our historic canal. At the same time, more local canal sites are being lost. Recently the carriage house for the long-gone canal office was demolished on the old Mace property downtown. Part of the canal was destroyed in the construction of the 641 Bypass. The timbers from the Little Honey Creek aqueduct were saved with the hope they could be used in the proposed Riley canal park. But the plans for that park, which would showcase the best stone lock on the entire Wabash & Erie Canal, were abandoned when the very large grant received in 2009 by the county commissioners was given up in 2013. The canal park is not even mentioned in the current five-year plan for parks.

One only needs to check guest registers at canal parks such as those at Delphi, Indiana and Grand Rapids, Ohio to see that even foreign tourists come to visit canal sites. Thank you to Indiana State University for erecting a historical marker telling about the canal at the site of the Wabash & Erie Canal dry dock. Hopefully other entities in Vigo County will realize the asset the canal sites are before all traces are lost.

Note:  Over 100 people attended the meeting. CSI members attending were: Leon & Sandy Billing, Jeff Koehler, Jerry & Barbara Lehman, Sam & Jo Ann Ligget.

Earliest Rails in Fort Wayne

By Tom Castaldi

Before the 1830s, Fort Wayne and the surrounding countryside depended heavily on the fur trade industry. With the arrival of the Wabash & Erie Canal, Fort Wayne emerged as the hub of a thriving transportation system.  Ironically, the canal was instrumental in the construction of the first railways in Fort Wayne, which became a railroading center in the Midwest. In 1852, along the canal at the present-day railroad elevation which boarders the south edge of Headwaters Park at Lafayette Street, the first locomotive was unloaded from a canal flatboat.

Placed on tracks that were laid on Lafayette Street, the steam engine headed to the south side of town where the main line of the new Ohio and Indiana Railroad was due to be built to Crestline, Ohio. Later this became the Pennsylvania Railroad system for which Fort Wayne once again enjoyed the position as a major hub. The tracks remained in place on Lafayette Street until 1857 when a depot, freight house, and other structures located on the canal towpath were transferred to the new locations on the south side of town.

In 1874, a boat on the old canal was becoming a rare sight, even though a few did in fact officially operate over short stretches of water. With the spring of 1875, however, came floods and down the line boats that sank into the muddy bottom often were left to rot away.  When railroad competition had reduced the effectiveness of the canal, a circuit court in Chicago ordered the canal sold in 1876 and it was acquired by William Fleming a local newspaper publisher, public office holder and entrepreneur.

Shortly, surveys for a rail line extended north of Fort Wayne were underway, and in 1881, officials of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, known commonly as “The Nickel Plate Road,” purchased the old Wabash & Erie right-of-way through central Fort Wayne.  Construction of the railroad on the site of the old canal channel was going strong from 1881 to 1882.

It has been said that the New York, Chicago & St. Louis was the only railroad company in the United States built for cash in advance of the issue of stocks and bonds.  The subscribers to the founding syndicate agreed to furnish the money in ten percent calls as fast as required.  It became possible for the company to build a railroad through a sizable Midwestern city, passing less that two blocks from the county courthouse, without having to raze one building.

While the Nickel Plate put Fort Wayne on another major east-west trunk line, the railroad also divided the city, discouraging growth on the north side.  The Journal-Gazette newspaper broadcast on its daily masthead: “Why Wait? Let’s Elevate!” and the call to “Elevate the Nickel Plate” became a community issue throughout the first half of the twentieth century.

In 1947 the City of Fort Wayne signed an agreement with the railroad to elevate the tracks, but it was not until 1953 that ground was broke for the project. Temporary tracks were laid and construction of the elevation itself began on August 27, 1954; the project was completed on July 29, 1956, inaugurating an era of expansion to the north of the city.  The railroad elevation, allowed the north side of the city to develop and grow rapidly. Today, it is a landmark structure between the downtown portion of Fort Wayne and that of Headwaters Park.

Tom Castaldi prepared this story based on an original article, which appeared in Fort Wayne Monthly and was recorded for broadcast on Northeast Indiana Public Radio 89.1 FM

Birding Along the Towpath Trail

By Cynthia Powers

Many of you have walked along the Towpath Trail that runs beside Eagle Marsh in Fort Wayne. Several years ago, CSI sponsored an interpretive sign there, titled “Lost Birds of Canal Days.” These were the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, and Greater Prairie-Chicken. But there are several species, now hard to miss, that were not there in canal days. What would the canalers have missed?

European Starlings were only introduced to the U. S. in 1890, by one Eugene Schieffelin, who thought it would be cool to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare. Most of them didn’t survive very long, but Starlings thrived! (As a side note, they are now declining in Great Britain, and they are concerned. Most of us, on hearing this, would be willing to send them some!)

House Sparrows, another too-common species, were introduced in the 1850’s, but probably didn’t reach Indiana until several years later, as the canal era was nearly over. They were supposed to control insects in farmers’ fields, but it turned out that they mostly eat seeds. Bad idea!

Most of you have seen House Finches at your feeders. They look like sparrows with pink trimming. Here’s an interesting story: House Finches are native to the western U. S. but were kept as cage birds in the East. When it became illegal to keep native birds as pets, unscrupulous dealers in Long Island just let them go free. From there they gradually spread westward, reaching Fort Wayne in the 1970’s. This created a sensation among the local birders. Soon House Finches were everywhere, and by now they have met up with their long-lost cousins, somewhere out on the Great Plains.

Two more species, common now at backyard feeders, have spread to Indiana from the south. Northern Cardinals were here by the 1900’s. Maurice McClue of Steuben Co. (1878-1957) was so unfamiliar with cardinals when they first came that he thought the brownish female was a male in winter plumage. Jane Brooks Hine (1831-1916), the “Bird Woman” of DeKalb County, saw her first wild cardinal in 1895. Gene Stratton Porter wrote her “Song of the Cardinal” when they were still unusual. The cardinal is so spectacular that it was made the state bird of seven states, including Indiana (1933).

Red-bellied Woodpeckers have also moved northward to Indiana, notably in the early 1900’s. Even though you notice their red heads first, if you’re lucky you can notice the pink wash on their bellies that gives them their name. It’s a bit strange, but another woodpecker was already named Red-headed, and that was that.

Even though you won’t see Passenger Pigeons any more, a walk along the Towpath Trail is still rewarding, as local birders have seen 230 species at Eagle Marsh since it was restored in 2005. In spring and summer you’d probably see Indigo Buntings and Tree Swallows, in early spring and fall lots of ducks and shorebirds, Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. A Bald Eagle would be a special treat, as they now nest nearby, a conservation success story!


References: Trysten Loefke: “The Bird that Birders Love to Hate” Birding magazine, October 2017, pp. 48-53. (Published by American Birding Association)
Research on Maurice McClue and Jane Brooks Hine: Terri Gorney
Starling, House Finch, and Indiana State Bird pictures are from the Internet
Red-bellied Woodpecker photo by Ed Powers
Cumulative Bird Records for Eagle Marsh: Ed Powers, compiler, with input from many local birders

Welcome Aboard Cate!

The Canal Society of Indiana is working with Ball State University students under the direction of Dr. Ron Morris, CSI member from Centerville, Indiana, on its website and its news and journal, The Tumble.  As the students graduate, other students are assigned to work with us.  In December, Nick Siano, who was working with CSI The Tumble coordinator, Carolyn Schmidt, and who just finished the CSI video “Indiana Canals” with new color and voices, moved on to pursue his career.  We thank him for his excellent work the past year.

During his last semester, Nick trained Caitlin Smith to take over his duties for The Tumble and she worked with him on the video. We feel she will be a perfect fit for us.

Cate graduated with an Academic Honors diploma from East Central High School. While at East Central she participated in the Drama Club for three years, the Spanish Club for two years and the Echo Club for a year. She volunteered at the Special Olympics for three years, worked at the IGA in Sunman, Indiana, for almost two years, and was a worship leader at Oasis Church for three years.

Cate won a $1000 scholarship through the Sons of the American Revolution her senior year of high school for writing an essay about an influential person associated with the revolution.  She chose Adam Smith and won both her district and the state of Indiana competitions.  The picture is from the state ceremony in Indianapolis.

Cate is currently a Social Studies Teaching Major focusing on “Historical Perspectives.” She is studying to become a history teacher and eventually become a professor like Dr. Morris.

Since Cate is a freshman, we look forward to working with her for several years. Welcome aboard Cate!

Canal Locator Project

Students of Ball State University’s “Digital Corps” have begun working on the Canal Locator map for the CSI webpage.  CSI president, Bob Schmidt, is furnishing statistics and pictures. If you have any pictures of canal structures to share please send them to CSI, PO Box 10808, Ft. Wayne, IN 46854-0808. You can keep track of their progress on the website.

Since the January publication of The Tumble, CSI headquarters has received further memorials to Dick Winchell and contributions from CSI members for this project.  We thank the following for their support:  Marion Diehl, Susan Gooch, Frank & Kay Rice, Allen & Ruth Steurer, Jim & Mary Snavely, Stan Schmitt, Steve & Sue Simerman, and a Prudential Insurance Company match.

CSI Contributors

The following Canal Society of Indiana members have contributed beyond the $20 annual dues level.  This year some of these extra funds will be used for the CSI website, Canal Locator project, Delphi’s Canal Park and signage for canal sites in Warrick county. We thank all of you for your support.

$1,000 Life Membership:  Carl & Barbara Bauer

$500 Canal Commissioner:  Linda Winchell, Bob & Carolyn Schmidt/ Prudential match

$100  Frog Prince: Tom & Linda Castaldi, Richard & Mary Hatch, Andy Olson III, Terry & Anne Bodine

$75 Patron: Dwight & Ann Ericsson/ Historic Forks of the Wabash, Sue Jesse, Steve & Sue Simerman

$50 Contributor:  Leon & Sandy Billing, Charles Carbaugh, Scott Evenbeck, Guy Filchak, Frances French, Lowell & Jerry Goar, John & Susan Hatton, Mark Hauer, Robert & Kate Hoffman, David & Bernie Krieg, David Kurvach, Sam & Jo Ann Ligget, Linn Loomis, Jerry & Phyllis Mattheis, Dan McCain, Ed & Cynthia Powers, Ann Tangeman & Jeff Lomax, Bob Rose, Bob Sears & Sherry Spark, Brian & Judy Stirm, Dan & Ceri White, Whitewater Canal Trail, Inc., Charles & Ann Whiting

$25-$45 Other: Bonnie Andrews, Webster & Dorothie Hall, Gerald & Jean Hulslander, Annadell Lamb, Michael Morthorst, Andy Rebman, Stan Schmitt, Earl & Marilynn Toops

Welcome New Members

The Canal Society of Indiana welcomes aboard the following new members who have joined at the $20 membership level unless otherwise noted.

Susie Gooch    Fishers, Indiana

Whitewater Canal Metamora

Landmark Consumed by Fire

Christian Church on Whitewater Canal in Metamora Photo by Lynette Kross in 2001

On Tuesday December 21, 2017, on the final weekend of the Metamora Christmas Walk, the old Christian Church on the Whitewater Canal burned to the ground. The building currently housed Meeting House Antiques. Everything was destroyed except for the brick chimney.

Serving as a house of worship in the late 1800s it was well known to T. C. Steele, an Indiana plein air artist, who moved his family from Indianapolis to Metamora for a summer to paint Franklin county scenery. He lived in a  house next door to the church and his studio was across the canal from it.

Repairs to Aqueduct

Work has begun on Duck Creek Aqueduct in Metamora. Photo courtesy Whitewater Canal State Historic Site Album on Facebook

The Whitewater Canal Aqueduct across Duck Creek in Metamora sat drained of water through most of 2017.  Repairs to the structure were scheduled to begin on January 8, 2018. However, due to the severe weather, repairs were not begun until January 16.  The cold and ice deterred much progress and the construction crew did not return the next day.

Managing the project for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is Link Ludington, Director of Historic Preservation. Daniel J. Kurdziel, P. E. is the project manager for V.S. Engineering, Inc. with the contractor being Marcus A. Robertson of Duncan Robertson, Inc. They will be making weekly posts of photographs showing the progress of the project on Facebook.

If the project goes as planned, the canal boat “Ben Franklin III” should begin operation again on May 2, 2018. It will carry passengers through the Duck Creek Aqueduct and back.


Whitewater Canal Trails

Snow, ice and extremely cold weather in December 2017 and January 2018 led to the cancellations of schools and other activities.  This was the fate of the New Years Day trail walk scheduled by Whitewater Canal Trails. Better luck next year.

Canal House in Connersville

The Canal House, which was the headquarters for the Whitewater Canal when it was operational, was all lit up and decorated for Christmas during the holiday season. Jerry and Phyllis Mattheis, CSI directors from Cambridge City, saw it and asked Donna Schroeder of Connersville to send the picture for you to see. It originally was published in the Gadabout.

The lot on which the Canal House was built at 111 East Fourth Street was originally acquired by John Conner when he platted Connersville in 1813. He purchased it from the U. S. Government’s representative, the Federal Land Bank at Brookville. In 1825 Conner sold the land to A. H. Dill for $500. In 1827 Meredith Helm purchased it and started construction of the building, Helm later sold the property to Daniel Hankins for $12,000.

The Whitewater Canal Company purchased the building in 1842 and began using it as its headquarters in 1843. When the canal company had financial difficulties, the ownership passed to Samuel W. Parker, president of the company (1848). During its lifetime it has had many different occupants.

“Up and Over” Tour: Allen, Whitley & Huntington Counties

Don’t forget to register for CSI’s spring tour led by Tom Castaldi on April 13-14, 2018. Registration forms are on the CSI website. Deadline March 15, 2018. Limited to 40 participants on a first paid basis $85 member/ $95 non-member

Book your room at Best Western Luxbury Hotel 260-436-0242 asap  Room rate $87.99 a night.


Text and photos from Dan McCain

New Railroad/Canal Boat Display

Ron Burkhardt (l),  model railroad builder and Canal Park volunteer from Monticello, Indiana,  shows his table top display of how a train is faster than a canal boat to Gary Stanley, VP of Administration. The central white area is a limestone quarry just like the real one in Canal Park.

Mac Carlisle, a Monday-Wednesday-Friday volunteer at Canal Park has built a canal boat model over a hidden electric engine that will run back and forth on the canal in the display while the train engine with rail cars runs circles around it.  The guest operator will be able to count the times the train circles the boat as the boat makes one pass down the canal.

Realistic buildings along the towpath and an industrial setting where the canal boat is picking up lime products from a kiln is relevant to the commercial/industrial exhibits guests can visit outdoors in the Red Bridge Settlement just two blocks from Canal Park. This new exhibit is funded by grants from the Carroll County Community Foundation and the Canal Society of Indiana.


Case House Domestic Quarters Completed

Photo by Mark Smith

Volunteers at Delphi’s Canal Park have put the finishing touches on the domestic quarters in the Reed Case house.  Case was a contractor on the Wabash & Erie Canal.


Volunteers Make the Difference

A new forge to heat metal for forming and bending into usable shapes by Pioneer Village’s blacksmith is one of many volunteer projects in Canal Park. “Smithy” Tom Johnson (left) directs Al Auffart (top) in fitting the smokestack on the chimney while Mac Carlisle  (right) assists.

Volunteers also prepared an authentic stone foundation to support the Sleeth Post Office that is being restored. It will be located near the Leiters Ford Depot that houses rail transportation artifacts.

They also started the foundation for a “kid sized” mill where water will flow over a mill wheel. It will be near the warehouse that houses the canal boat during the winter.

Besides creating new displays and exhibits, Canal Park must be maintained by the volunteers.  One oak board was replaced on the 1873 Bowstring Arch bridge and  a light was replaced on the Canal Boat warehouse.