It all started with Conner Prairie. Ever been there? It's a living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. It's has an 1836 village centered around the William Conner home, which was built overlooking the White River. In fact, it was in that very home that it was decided that the little hamlet of Indianapolis would become the new state capitol.
Indiana is chockfull of history. Mounds State Park is another one if you're interested in prehistoric Native American history. Koteewi Park in Strawtown is another, as is River Road Park in Carmel. Spring Mill State Park has a little pioneer village with a working mill that was built almost 200 years ago in 1817. I just bought cornmeal there the other day when we were there camping. If you're a pioneer history nerd like I am, Indiana is a must visit.
William Conner home Log cabin at Conner Prairie
1817 mill at Spring Mill State Park
But I think the real reason I find Indiana history so enthralling is because I am a part of it. My life is intricately tied in with many of my ancestors who came here so long ago. Take Jesse Vawter, who came around 1803 - one of the earliest Baptist preachers in the territory. He baptized over 800 people. Almira King Holsclaw is another; she wrote a short detailed memoir about her life growing up in southern Indiana. John and Mary Ellen Raridan Mulry came to Indianapolis in 1868 almost straight from Ireland. Patrick Garrity, an Irish potato famine immigrant, came to Wayne County. Elias Caylor was one of the earliest preachers in Hamilton County. The list goes on.
William and Almira King Holsclaw
So it was only natural that I set Going over Home and the entire series following it in Indiana. They say you should write what you know, and with so many ancestors' stories and resources at my fingertips, it was a natural, cathartic adventure. I am writing Going over Jordan now, which is set entirely in the 1840s in southern Indiana, and I am living it all over again.
Cabin at Spring Mill State Park Cabin on the front cover of Going over Home
I love the writer's life, and the genealogist's life. What story do you have to tell?