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Vol. 1 Number 1. Winter 2018
From the Presidents Desk
The new year brings many new and exciting things to the Adams County Historical Society.
Plus many of the successful features of the years past will continue.
New Board Members...
I would personally like to welcome Sasha Harrison and Jason McCullough to the Board of
Directors. Both have been very active volunteering these past few years and they bring a
new younger insight to the operations of the ACHS.
Last year the ACHS celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary as an organization. This year we
celebrate 50 years with a physical location and home for the ACHS Museum. The former
Charles Dugan Mansion which houses the museum will be getting additional restoration
work done this year, financed by a generous grant from the Indiana Historical Society
(see story on page three). But even with this grant we will still need additional funding to
complete all the necessary work that needs done to restore and maintain the historic1902
structure. This building is our most valuable artifact, so in 2018 we will continue and set
new goals for seeking grants and fundraising events.
The formal ACHS TRUMPETER Newsletter has a new look and a new name, the HISTORIAN.
The goal of this newsletter is to inform all ACHS members and any others that are interested
to all the happenings of the society in print form. Plus we hope to include interesting history
articles and interviews, but most importantly to get back on a regular publishing schedule.
2018 promises to be as exciting as the past year has been. Be sure to visit the museum
this upcoming season and be sure to participate in the many activities planned. If you also
want to help out by volunteering or making a donation we really would appreciate it.
Max A. Miller
Max A. Miller ACHS President
* The Adams County Historical Society
was formed in 1957?
Vol.1 Number 1
* The first ACHS Trumpeter was
published in March 1982?
Published quarterly by
Adams County Historical Society
* The first home built in the original
boundaries of Decatur was a cabin at the
NE corner of Monroe and First Streets,
it was occupied by Jacob Hoffer the
surveyor who laid out the original streets
and plots of Decatur?
420 W. Monroe Street
Decatur Indiana 46733
Mail inquiries P.O. Box 262
Decatur, Indiana 46733
Adams County Historical Society
Board of Directors 2018
Max Miller President
Sandy Collier Vice-President
* The large rock on the Courthouse
Square that is dedicated to the memory of
Gene Stratton Porter was pulled from the
St. Marys River near Pleasant Mills?
The Adams County County Historical Society
Board Meetings are the last Monday of the month,
6:00 PM at the museum. All members and the
public are welcome to attend.
“We are not makers
January 2018 No content of this newsletter
may be re-printed without consent of the Adams
County Historical Society.
Martin Luther King Jr.
of history. We are
made by history.”
Adams County Historical Society News
Good Start to New Year for Two Local Organizations
Melissa Norby, Decatur City Coordinator and grant
writer, ACHS Vice President Sandy Collier and ACHS
President Max Miller
Offical Press Release from Indiana Historical Society
Adams County, Ind.—The new year is off to a promising
start for two local organizations receiving the largest
grants available from the Indiana Historical Society
(IHS). IHS is awarding $50,000 Heritage Support Grants
to the Adams County Historical Society in Decatur and
the Swiss Heritage Society in Berne.
The Swiss Heritage Society says the funding will
support its “Reroofing the Village” campaign. The
project will target six buildings located on the grounds
of Swiss Heritage Village, at 1200 Swiss Way Road in
“Our mission is to spark and sustain interest in the
cultural heritage of Berne, Indiana, and southern Adams
County by promoting learning through discovery,” said
Anita Miller, executive director of the Swiss Heritage
Society. “The Heritage Support Grant will support
our efforts to continue community-oriented and
educationally-aligned daily tours and annual events, as
well as numerous school trips throughout the season.”
While it is the first Heritage Support Grant awarded
to the Swiss Heritage Society, it is the second for the
Adams County Historical Society. In 2016, the Society
received $5,000 to conduct a historic structures report,
one of the first steps toward restoration of the Charles
Dugan House and Historical Society Museum. The latest
grant of $50,000 will allow the organization to continue
repairs to the home at 420 Monroe St. in Decatur.
“There is much that needs to be done to restore the
structure,” said Sandy Collier, vice president of the
Society. “The Heritage Support Grant provided by the
Indiana Historical Society and made possible by Lilly
Endowment Inc. has given us a very good start. The
Society is now sponsoring a restoration campaign to
raise funds for future projects.”
The Adams County Historical Society and the Swiss
Heritage Society are two of 13 organizations recognized
statewide with IHS’s fourth round of Heritage Support
Grants. There is still time for organizations to apply for
the fifth cycle, but the deadline is fast approaching.
Applications for smaller awards of $500 to $4,999 and
a mandatory Summary of Proposal for larger grants of
$5,000 to $50,000 are due Feb. 1, 2018.
To be eligible, organizations must be incorporated as
nonprofits in the State of Indiana. Organizations should
be history related or propose a project that is clearly
history focused. Annual budgets must be less than
Guidelines and applications are available at www.
indianahistory.org/grants. Organizations looking for
more information can also call IHS at (317) 232-1882.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private
philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three
members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in
their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.
In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment
supports the causes of community development,
education and religion and maintains a special
commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its
home state, Indiana.
About the Indiana Historical Society
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been
Indiana’s Storyteller™, connecting people to the past by
collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history.
A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS
maintains the nation’s premier research library and
archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest
and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called
the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support
Continued on next page
Continued from page 3
and assistance to local museums and historical groups;
publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher
workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum
theater and outside performance groups; and provides
youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian
Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of
Sites of Conscience.
IHS Heritage Support Grant Recipients
Adams County Historical Society, Decatur
Swiss Heritage Society, Berne
Friends of T. C. Steele State Historic Site, Nashville
Daviess County Historical Society, Washington
Elkhart County Historical Society, Bristol
Friends of the National New York Central Railroad
Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, Syracuse
Friends of the Knox County Public Library, Vincennes
Indianapolis Firefighters Museum and Survive Alive,
Storytelling Arts of Indiana, Indianapolis
Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society Inc.,
Switzerland County Historical Society, Vevay
Tipton County Historical Society, Tipton
The November election resulted in adding Jason
McCullough and Sasha Harrison and returning Dorothy
Reiter to the Board of Directors of the Adams County
Jason is a current member and has served on the
Halloween committee for 2 years. He also designed
the 2017 Escape Room. Both events have brought in
significant funds for the betterment of the Society. Jason
has a passion for the Museum and believes he can bring
fresh ideas to the board, help to preserve our county
history and help the ACHS become a bigger part of the
Sasha is a current member and has volunteered
with the Halloween committee during 2016 and 2017.
She also helped with the Escape Room and served as
a Summer Docent to the Museum in 2017. She loves
being involved with the Historical Society and sharing
the history of Adams County with people through
the activities the Society offers. She looks forward to
devoting her time and effort to educate and get the
community more involved in its abundant history.
Dorothy is a returning board member who has led
the Education Committee the last few years, volunteered
at various ACHS events during her term and been proactive in obtaining Thrivent Financial grants for the 60th
Anniversary event. She has been an active volunteer in
other parts of the community as well including the Girl
Scouts, 4-H, her church and the IVFAA.
NEW BOOKKEEPER NAMED
Steve Bailey of Monroe
has volunteered to take
on the role of bookkeeper
for the ACHS. He replaces
former board member and
bookkeeper Connie Bailey
who had resigned at the end
of 2017. Steve’s duties will be
to work closely with current
ACHS Treasurer, Dorothy
Reiter with the day to day
finances of the society.
Steve and his wife Diana have helped on a number
of committees in recent years including the Escape the
Museum and Haunted Dugan Mansion events. He is
semi-retired from First Bank of Berne and has worked
practically his whole career in banking and accounting.
Your dues can now
be paid online!!!
Board Votes to End
After the departure of the recent renters of the second
A new feature on the membership page of the Adams floor apartment in the building behind the museum that
County Historical Society’s website now allows you to the ACHS owns, the board voted to no longer be in the
pay your yearly dues to the society online. It is a safe and rental housing business. The building which also houses
secure way to get your payment to us instantly. You just the offices for the museum on the first floor will now be
need to enter your charge card information or you may available for storage or other ideas for the organization.
choose to pay with PayPal. Just visit our website at...
Additional ideas will be discussed in upcoming months
www.adamscountyinhistoricalmusem.com on what is the best use for the space and the long range
If you prefer you can still pay your dues by mail or in plans for the building.
The ACHS has applied to the County Auditor to
person by printing a form from the website or using the
the building as a rental property and register it
one on the back page of this newsletter.
as not for profit.
Pleasant Mills High School Champs 1942
Bottom row: Nyle Williamson, Roy Taylor
2nd Row: Glen Marsh-Principal, Bob Frey
Dorothy White, Joe Martz, Coach (Doc)
3rd Row: Bob Workinger, Doris Williamson
Harold Sapp, Harold August, Herb Smitley
Top Row: Earl Geyer, Miles Jones, Harvey
Winans, Lyle Bailey
Sectional Champs 1956
Kneeling: Ray McDougal
(Manager), Ron Bittner,
Bob Hildebrand, John
Meyers, Wayne Myers,
Fred Macke, Bob
Standing: Coach Porky
Holt, Assistant Coach
Richard Keunke, Dick
Brandt, Norb Witte, Dave
Brown, Stew Schnepf, Clint Fuelling,
Principal Loran Jones
An Interview with Edith Cole
In her later years, Mrs. Dugan didn’t do much entertaining at all. She played Bridge occasionally at other people’s
Edith Cole is 85 years old and worked as a companion homes. She went to church. She would travel to the east
to Mrs. Fanny Dugan from 1948 – 1950 at the same coast to see her daughters in the summer. Occasionally, her
time she attended high school. Mrs. Dugan was the wife of daughters would come and see her. I never saw the grandCharles Dugan and they lived in the home that is now the children at the house, though.
Adams County Historical Society Museum.
Mrs. Dugan gave me a very nice purse as a graduation
June 12, 2017
Who all was living in the home when you worked
Just Mrs. Dugan. The girls had all grown up and moved
Mrs. Edith Cole
away. Although Francis came to visit often for a few days
at a time.
How did you come to be a companion for Mrs. Dugan
and what all did that involve?
I had helped another family in town with kids, light housework, etc. Mrs. Dugan called the high school office and What do you remember about the house?
asked if I might be interested in helping her.
It seemed to be light and airy to me. The ½ bathroom
I stayed with her 6 days per week keeping her company wasn’t added until after 1950. Until then, it was the telesince she was in her 80’s by that time. After school, I phone room. I was told that Mr. Dugan took his business
would come to the house where Mrs. Dugan had made our calls in that little room. However, there wasn’t a door with
dinners. (She didn’t have a cook at that time or any other glass on the upper half. It was a solid swinging door. They
servants that I can remember.) We often had dessert and had a coal furnace – a neighbor came to take care of the
coffee. One of her favorites was ice cream which she ate in furnace for Mrs. Dugan.
an unusual way. She would take a scoop of ice cream and
There was a pie safe in the butler’s pantry. The Foyer had
dip it in her coffee before she ate it. I would wash the dishes a lot of antique furniture and lots of big pictures and a large
afterward and clean up the kitchen. Mrs. Dugan spent a mirror in it. The Music room had a baby grand piano and a
lot of time in her bedroom (Master bedroom) reading in the few chairs. She had lots of books in the library. I don’t know
what the little room off the library was used for. The door
I slept in the servant’s bedroom at the end of the hall. I was always closed and I never looked in it. The wrought
wasn’t paid while I was there. My ‘pay’ was room and board iron fence went all the way around the property on 3 sides.
while I was in school.
There were no bushes in the front. The dining room had a
While my husband and I were courting, he would come to nice dining table in the center and tea cart at one end of the
the Dugan house and play his ukulele for me while we sat on room – opposite the windows along with a couple of chairs.
the porch swing in the evenings.
Me and Mrs. Dugan ate our suppers in the kitchen since
What was Mrs. Dugan like?
there was a small table in the center of the kitchen.
She was very nice to me. Although, she always called
I don’t remember the paint colors or outside trim colors,
me ‘Edna’ for some reason. Even when she traveled to see but it seemed like it was all the same color. Most of the
her daughters, she would write me a postcard inscribed to upstairs bedrooms were closed off except for mine and the
“Dear Edna…” She didn’t have a lot of rules in place. How- Master bedroom. When Francis came to visit, she stayed in
ever, she was a strong and determined woman.
the northwest bedroom – next to the Master bedroom.
The house was hard to heat, so Mrs. Dugan had a ceramic
space heater that she sat inside her fireplace and she would
sit in front of it to read.
(Mrs. Cole also stated that the tub and sink in the bathroom today are not the originals. The original tub was much
larger and more grand. The sink she described sounded like
the one beside the portico door. She said it was marble and
much larger than the small one presently in the bathroom.)
Do you remember if there were globe lights on the stair
No there weren’t any globes. I don’t remember any lights
at all on the stairs.
Edith shared a story about Mr. Dugan.
During the depression most banks suffered “runs on
the money” they held because the people were afraid
their money wasn’t safe anymore. To prevent this from
happening at his bank, Mr. Dugan arranged to accidently
drop a bag of money upon entering the bank one day and
spilled a lot of money onto the ground. This was seen by
many and reported about town. That little trick showed the
people of Decatur that their money was still in the bank and
they needn’t worry. Mr. Dugan’s bank was the only bank in
Decatur to stay open during the depression.
Photos clockwise above: The Dugan
Mansion circa 1902, Fannie Dugan with
granddaughter Margaret, in the early
1920’s, Follow-up letter from Edith Cole
arriving a few days after the interview.
Interview conducted by Sandra Collier
and Rebecca Webb, June 17, 2017 at
Mrs. Cole’s residence Leo, Indiana.
The views and opinions expressed in this
article are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the opinion of
The HISTORY of
THE DUGAN MANSION
by Max A. Miller
THE DUGAN FAMILY
The large yellow brick mansion at the corner of
Monroe and Fifth Streets in Decatur that now houses
the Adams County Historical Society Museum was
once the home of Charles and Fanny Dugan. The
Dugan family lived in the house for 65 years and
was the only family to own the home before it was
purchased at auction by the Adams County Historical
Dugan was born to William
and Francis Green Dugan
in 1862 in Pennsylvania.
Not long after Charles’
birth the family moved to
northeast Indiana. Growing
up, Charles was offered a
fine education attending
first Blackburn College, a
school at Carlinville, Illinois and later studying math
and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. After college Charles took up the
profession of a schoolteacher. In 1890, he became the
Decatur Indiana School Superintendent.
On June 30, 1890
Charles married the former
Fanny B. Dorwin. Fanny was
born in Decatur on November
7, 1862, to Dr. Thomas Tyron
Dorwin and Samantha Naomi
Porter Dorwin. Fanny was a
first cousin to Charles Dorwin
Porter (1850-1926), husband
of famed author and naturalist
Gene Stratton Porter.
In 1894, Fanny’s father passed away, at the time
of his death he was the president of the First National
Bank in Decatur. Charles then entered the banking
business and replaced his father-in-law as the bank’s
president and would continue in banking for forty years.
Eventually the bank would change its name to the First
State Bank of Decatur and was the only bank in Decatur
to survive the stock market crash of 1929 and the run
on the banks in 1930. Its survival is credited to Charles’
management in reassuring that the banks money was
In 1935, Charles was battling asthma and was
forced to retire on July 24, of that year due to his health.
Just a few days later on Saturday, July 27, 1935 he would
die of a heart attack at his residence. He was 73 years
old. Rev. George O. Walton, pastor of the Presbyterian
Church would conduct the funeral at the Dugan home.
Fanny would continue to live at the mansion
until her death in 1959 at the age of 97. Over the years
while living alone she would hire high school girls to
help her with her daily needs.
The Dugan’s had four daughters, Francis born
in 1891, Naomi in 1894, Dorothy in 1896 and Helen in
1902. Charles and Fanny made sure that each of their
daughters would get a formal education and attend
Francis would attend Vassar Women’s College
in Poughkeepsie, New York. She was a schoolteacher
and for a time lived in Boston until eventually moving
back home. Francis never married. She passed away in
1967, being the last resident of the mansion.
Naomi attended college at Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois. On June 17, 1916 she
married Alexander Morton. Together they had one
child, Margaret born in 1917. In 1919 Naomi would
die of tuberculosis, her funeral was held at the Dugan
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