Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"A Judge Judges Mushrooms"

With all the talk in the last few days about  MOREL MUSHROOMS, I am reminded of a book written in 1982, by Brown County Circuit Court Judge Samuel L. Rosen, entitled, "A Judge Judges Mushrooms".

Brown County is, without a doubt, experiencing one of the best mushroom seasons that I can ever remember.

Brown County State Park Naturalist, Jim Eagleman recounts his Judge Rosen story in this May 2008 story published in Our Brown County.

Judge Rosen offered this advise when looking for morels, "Just remember "PETSBASH" ...Look near Pines, Elms, Tulips, Sassafras, Beech, Ash, Sycamore, and Hickory trees."  

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 17

 Label Family Photos
            Set aside a day, get out your family photos and label them!!!  You’ve seen them a million times because they’re YOUR photos, but what happens when they’re passed down to others? Will those people know the names of everyone in the pictures?
            Some families use their family reunion as a means of getting photos identified, you may not know the people in the photo, but your mother’s great aunt Bertha might. 
            Another means of identifying photos, is to create a Family Facebook Page. One of my lines has a Facebook Page, where we post and share photos.  You might not know everyone in the family Christmas Photo from 1963, but you can post it, and let others in your family tag the photos with the names of your forgotten great-great aunts and great-great uncles.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

THRILLER THURSDAY - Brown Murder Mystery (Part Two)

One of Brown Counties UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
Lee and Lourena Brown Murder Mystery (written by Rhonda Dunn)
Part Two:

Lee and Lourena Brown Coroner’s Inquest

     At an inquest a report is made by a coroner who examined the body and questioned witnesses to the event. There might also be witness statements from those that found the body, witnessed the person’s death, or was a witness to part of the day’s events involving the death. The report below was made by Joshua Bond the current presiding coroner for Brown County at that time. His report is based on his findings on the death of Lee and Lourena Brown.

      “According to the evidence obtained from Chester Bunge, I find that Lourena Brown was wounded by pistol shot and that she was standing in the kitchen as he left the house and according to the position in which her body was found I could not determine whether she went to the basement or fell through the burning floor to the basement. I could not determine whether she died of pistol shot or fire.”

     The two doctors that were present at the scene of the fire was Dr. M. T. VanDement and Dr. M. G. “Pat” Murphy. Their descriptions go into pretty graphic detail about the conditions of the bodies and how they determined the sex of each person found.

     When the bodies were taken back out of their graves for a second autopsy in Indianapolis the findings were different from the first two doctors’ findings. The Brown County Coroner and the two local doctor’s stood by their initial findings that the two bodies were that of Lee and Lourena Brown and that Paul Brown’s body was not found.

Chester Bunge made a statement about his experience at the scene of the crime.

Also Frank L. Crews made a statement about his part in the events of that day.
      “On Dec. 15th, 1930 about 12 o’clock noon our telephone rang . . . It was Mrs. Lee Brown calling and she asked, Is this Frank? and I answered yes. She then said, Come over here as quick as you can . . . I met Chester Bunge who had been working at Brown’s. He told me that Paul Brown had shot him twice and had also shot his father and mother. I took Chester home and telephoned Dr. Murphy, the sheriff and my nearest neighbor, Dan Allender. Before we got to the Brown’s house we saw the smoke coming from Paul Brown’s workshop.”

80 years later the final outcome remains a "Brown County Unsolved Mystery".

 (Article written by Rhonda Dunn, and appeared in the Brown County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Fall 2010.  Rhonda has written several local articles that have been later published by Indiana Genealogical Society publications.)

THRILLER THURSDAY - Brown Murder Mystery (Part One)

One of Brown Counties UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
Lee and Lourena Brown Murder Mystery (written by Rhonda Dunn)
Part One:

     Marion Lee Brown was the son of Michael T. Brown and Mary Veach and was born in Marion Co., West Virginia. His parents had moved to Indiana when he was three. On April 21, 1889 he married Lourena Baughman, the daughter of Jacob Baughman and Elizabeth J. Snider. Lee and Lourena had children: Rolland, Olive, Mary, Maudelle, Mark, Beryl, Glenn, and Paul Brown. Mark died as an infant. Glenn lost his life in France during World War I. For 40 years the couple worked to make their home and orchard on Lanam Ridge the best in the county. Their children had the best opportunities for education and advanced well in their lives. Lee was even featured in the “Biographical Record of Bartholomew and Brown Counties” 1904 as a highly esteemed citizen in his community.

     The day of Dec. 15, 1930 ended all that. Chester Bunge was working for Lee helping to cut wood. Somehow the day turned to a bad end when their son, Paul went in a rage and shot both his parents and shot Chester. Chester was able to get away from Paul and ran into Frank Crews. With help they returned to the Brown home and found it all in flames.

     In the rubble of the burned out home 2 bodies were found. Two doctors, were called to examine the remains, Dr. M. T. VanDement and Dr. Pat Murphy who had been Lourena’s physician. Of the two examined one was ascertained to be Lee Brown. The other was a little harder to tell the identity but was believed to be a female and Lourena upon careful examination of the remains.

     Paul was nowhere to be found. It was thought that Paul had left the area and had headed north toward the railroad to jump a train because the family dog was seen coming from that direction 3 hours later by a neighbor, Mrs. O. E. Hammer.

     Another thought had occurred that Paul might have gone out in the country and committed suicide so a search was conducted by Sheriff Fremont Weddle to look for him. Paul’s brother, Rolland accompanied them hoping to find his brother. He or his body was nowhere to be found.

     Lee and Lourena’s bodies were so badly burned they were buried together in a double casket in a single grave. It was decided in March of the following year to have the bodies exhumed to have further testing done and were taken to Indianapolis. At the second autopsy it was determined that the 2 bodies were male and thought that it was Lee and Paul that had burned up in the fire. If that is so then what had happened to Lourena? This fueled all sorts of theories of what had really happened. With the mystery still open 80 years later it is doubtful it will ever be solved.

A single stone in Lanam Ridge Cemetery lists all three:
Marion Lee Brown
1862 - 1930
Lourena Brown
1864 - 1930
Paul Brown
1901 - 1930

SEE PART 2 of this story for the report of the Coroner's Inquest.

 (Article written by Rhonda Dunn, and appeared in the Brown County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Fall 2010.  Rhonda has written several local articles that have been later published by Indiana Genealogical Society publications.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 16

 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - State Archives

The State of Indiana has several digital online archive sites; 

Indiana State Library
Indiana Memory Project  http://www.in.gov/memories/

 Indiana State Archives

From photos to manuscripts, books and recordings - there are a great many resources that could connect you to members of your family tree.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Motivation Monday

MOTIVATION MONDAY – Organizing my Projects

I have so many  ideas and things swimming around in my head after the IGS Conference this weekend that I have decided to make a list to keep me motivated and on track.  The idea is to generate a monthly list of goals to make myself more accountable in the area of COMPLETING the actual projects.   I admit I am a bit of a perfectionist procrastinator, meaning I will keep putting things off until I can do them EXACTLY the way I want the first time.  I also have a bad habit of chasing ‘rabbit trails’ and getting side tracked away from my original goal.

Since it is only a few short weeks until May, I have decided to just start listing my various projects, then in the first week of May, I will start sorting the projects into a timeline, with dates and goals.

1.    “Helmsburg Church History 100 Year Anniversary 1915-2015: Publication,
2.    Early History of Jackson Township, Brown County, Indiana (before 1850): Publication
3.    Powerpoint Presentation for August Society Meeting: “”The Day John Dillinger Came to Bean Blossom”, ok, well, not really – but James Jake Jenkins did, and he shot my grandfather, Herb McDonald.’
4.    ‘Once a Hoosier’, and “Always a Hoosier’ submission for IGS Quarterly.
5.    Lineage papers for “Territorial Guard’, Society of Civil War Families, DAR,
6.    Revise society by-laws and standing rules to reflect Roberts Rules 9th edition
7.    Update society standing rules to reflect 21st century technology J
8.    Tales & Trails: Publication  - edit new edition for 175th County Anniversary.
9.    Transfer genealogy correspondence output from computer to archives surname files.
10.   Research ISG Grants (deadline 12/2011)
11.  Research article proposal for IGS Newsletters, and Quarterly
12.  Create FamilySearch wiki for society.

As crazy as it sounds, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Indiana Genealogical Society - Annual Meeting

Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Conference

Spent the last few days attending the IGS Society Management Seminar, County Genealogist Roundtable, and Annual Meeting. 

Friday morning found us at the Hancock County Library in Greenfield for the IGS Society Management Seminar.  Interesting topics for the day included a presentation by Jim Corridan, the Indiana State Archivist; and an introduction to www.IndianaMemory.IN.gov – a digital archive of the Indiana State Library. 

Saturday’s events were held at the Sterrett Center at Fort Benjamin Harrison.  Once used as the enlisted men’s club, this historic building has been repurposed into a meeting and reception hall.  The speaker for this year’s event was Diane VanSkiver Gagel from Ohio.  Ms. Gagel presented very engaging presentations on Historic Military Records, Roles of Women in the Civil War, and Writing Family Narratives.

One of my favorite things about conferences is meeting new people, and this conference was a gold-mine of interesting people.

Harold Henderson, of northern Indiana, is someone I met online through the Pro-Gen Study Group, and it was a pleasure to meet Harold in person; as well as Andrea Ackerman, another Pro-Gen Study Group member.

Tina Lyons, a fellow Geneablogger who I spotted because she was wearing her Geneablogger pin, writes the blog GenWishList.blogspot.com -an interesting combination of family history, project updates, and genealogy time management techniques.  I really appreciate her ideas on listing your genealogical research goals on a monthly basis, as a way of keeping on track.  Tina was also elected Vice President of the Indiana Genealogical Society for the next year.  Congratulations to my fellow Geneablogger!

Lastly, on Friday I became acquainted with a rather quiet gentleman who was sitting with the rest of us ‘techno-genealogists’ (we were the ones with laptops in the back of the room) he only introduced himself as Michael, a member of IGS, who lived in Utah, and worked at Family Search.  WELL, on Saturday, Michael introduce himself again, and handed me his business card..."Mr. Michael Hall, the Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer at Family Search".  Interesting turn of events, but a very pleasant gentleman who was just as interested in my new experiences blogging, as I was in his professional pursuits.
Overall, an extremely informative weekend, lots of notes and  many new ideas!

Friday, April 15, 2011



Upon starting this blog, I had no idea WHAT I was going to write about.  While researching other genealogy focused blogs, I began to see a loose pattern, more research uncovered the sources of these blogging prompts.  It is with grateful appreciation that I acknowledge these two wonderful sources!

Thomas MacEntee, of “Geneabloggers”, http://www.geneabloggers.com/about/  provides daily writing prompts for genealogy bloggers.

The “52 Weeks to Better Genealogy” is the brainchild of Amy Coffin of the “We Tree Genealogy Blog”    http://wetree.blogspot.com/

Amy has written several very successful series’ of 52 weekly genealogy prompts
The list I have been using can be found here

 My thanks to both of these individuals for creating such a wonderful resource for genealogy bloggers everywhere!