Friday, May 18, 2012

Displaced Families of Brown County

Weed Patch Hill - Parade

Last year I wrote about how my grandparents, Alonzo and Millie Conner, and their families where forced to moved from their ancestral homes for the good of the rest of mankind and progress. Today here in Brown County this has been run over and over again like a broken record. Today, a couple of my genealogy girlfriends and me made a visit to Brown County State Park to view their historical records. One of these friends wrangled a visit for us to see what types of records they carried and if any of it was worth our getting copies for our Archives. We’ve always had a good working relationship with the State Park management from time to time. They’ve given us the Scrapbook of the CCC and info on the history of the State Park.

Reflecting on the history of the State Park brought to mind the instances that has had an effect in our county. After all, besides the State Park, we have the Camp Atterbury Military installation, Yellowood State Forest, Hoosier National Forest, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, and Monroe Reservoir all bounding our county. Brown County is full of beautiful and useful natural resources. Our county has never grown to be a major metropolis. Of all this beautiful wilderness the one natural resource that has never been studied much is the people. This is just now coming about due to the efforts of the Historical and Genealogical Societies.

So what about all these families that have been displaced from their homes? Entire communities have disappeared. Some have made a good effort to keep their history alive by the former residents mostly because their families never moved much farther away. In the southwest corner of the County Lake Monroe reservoir cut off communities such as Elkinsville, Youno, and Cooper. The former Elkinsville residents hold an annual community reunion every year and have written several books on the community and the families. The State Animal Preserve, which is now called Brown County State Park, swallowed up the communities of Kelp and Weed Patch Hill. There is a lot of interested genealogy research done on the families of Kelp, but not much in the way of a published history. Camp Atterbury Military reserve took over land in the northeast part of the county and small communities like Mt. Moriah and Kansas have disappeared. A lot of good history was lost about these communities and their people. There is one published history written many years ago on the coming of the Camp and the process of moving the people. There is some history of the communities and what remains of their passing – mostly their cemeteries.

Browning Mountain - Root cellar remnants

Of the other three government acquisitions there is not much know about the history of the communities and families that were displaced from the areas of Yellowood State Forest, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, and Hoosier National Forest. Not much of the histories of these areas have been published. Most likely it is because they were located in more remote areas of the county with little or no usable farm land. You can bet though that there are stories out there that need to be written or told so these people and their communities won’t be forgotten. All that is left testifies to the fact that there are communities lost to time with names like Scarce-o-Fat Ridge in Yellowood and Browning Mountain in Hoosier National Forest. Sometimes the only evidence left behind are from remote cemeteries miles from civilization that was left after their families moved out.

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