All posts by Melissa Widner

October Newsletter

Photo of historic schoolhouse with freshly painted walls and plastic-covered furnishings
The one-room schoolhouse at the historic village at the fairgrounds was painted this summer by Pat Kingman.

October 2016 Newsletter

Please enjoy our October Newsletter. Bring your 2016 photos to the museum so they can be added to the time capsule and the museum’s collection.

The newest edition of Vintage View contains articles on Kevin Moriarity; Left Clark; Rev. Helenor Davisson; Ramon Sayler; Punt, Pass and Kick compiled by Myles Beeching and Ernie Reyes; the Pioneer Village; Chuck Bahler; and Jasper, the Bicentennial Bison. Send $14.00 to the museum if you want a copy mailed to you.

Retired Iron Club member to speak

Tuesday, May 17th at 6:30 PM at Museum

The Jasper County Historical Society invites the community to hear Phil Teske tell about the new happenings of the Jasper County Retired Iron Club after a short business meeting beginning at 6:30 PM at the Museum, 479 N. Van Rensselaer St, Rensselaer. Visitors are welcome.


A grave matter in Indiana

Please Join the Jasper County Historical Society on APRIL 19, 2016 at 6:30 PM at the Jasper County Historical Society Museum, 479 N. Van Rensselaer Street, Rensselaer

for A GRAVE MATTER IN INDIANA by Jeannie Regan-Dinius of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

This program by Indiana’s cemetery expert will teach about cemetery law, preservation, and good practices. A short meeting will follow the program. Contact for more information:  Judy Kanne, 863-6860 or

History of Chief Industries topic of March meeting

Jasper County Historical Society will meet Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 PM at the Museum. Our speaker is Chris Hannon, Safety Director of Chief Industries and he will present the History of this company: 1966-2016  50 Years.

Indiana’s Bicentennial Year:  1816 – 2016

The Museum is open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month 10:00 to 1:00 PM.  March 19 is the 3rd Saturday.

In April, the Museum is open on Saturday 2nd and the 16th.

We are looking forward to the April 19th meeting:  Jeannie Regan-Dinius, DNR:  A Grave Matter in Indiana. Several have heard her on other subjects and really like her presentations.

Help us create a county timeline

Celebrating 200 Years from 1816 to 2016Indiana’s Bicentennial in Jasper County is the subject for the Tuesday, February 16th meeting of the Jasper County Historical Society at 6:30 PM at the Museum, 479 N. Van Rensselaer, Rensselaer.

Help the curator, Judy Kanne, add to the Timeline list of key events, places, and people to Jasper County’s History since the 1950’s. Bring your suggestions.

Visitors are welcome and refreshments are provided.

Contact if you have suggestions for the Timeline or questions.

Dues for 2016 may be paid at this time.

January 2016 Newsletter

photo of tombstone
The grave of John Hall, “The Rover,” can be found at Welsh Cemetery in Jasper County.


This issue will include information from some of the collections we have received in the last year. Several of the articles reprinted in this first newsletter for 2016 were printed 120 years ago in the People’s Pilot published January 2, 1896. The newspaper was included in a collection of Hugh Tom Kirk materials provided to the museum by Karen Marr. The newspaper includes photos of people, homes, churches, and businesses existing in 1896. Also included are many biographies of local businessmen with familiar names like Randle, Mills, Willis, Parkison, Osborn, Ferguson, Washburn, Thompson, Kahler, Nowels, Robinson, Healy, Paxton, and McCoy. Over the next year, we plan to include a couple of these biographies or articles about the businesses run by these people in each 2016 issue.

We will also be highlighting Donna Strole’s article about The Rover that was provided by Rose Nesius. Unfortunately we do not have space to show everything that has been contributed, but we do want to emphasize how much we appreciate each and every contribution to our collections.

Download and Read: JCHS newsletter JAN 2016

October 2015 Newsletter

JCHS-newsletter-OCT-2015-2David Vohlken’s collection of Native American artifacts is on display now at the Rensselaer Library and the museum is host to a display through the end of the year on Rev. Helenor Alter Davisson.

Read more about these collections, as well as the work the society has been doing this summer — painting the Parr post office, running the historical village at the Jasper County Fair, restoring tombstones and more.

Also check out the latest issue of Vintage Views, featuring a photo of the Wright’s Furniture fire and several articles.

Download and Read: JCHS newsletter OCT 2015

Mayor to speak at Sept. meeting

Rensselaer Mayor Steve Wood
Rensselaer Mayor Steve Wood

Come to hear Mayor Steve Wood give a Rensselaer Update on Tuesday, September 15th at the Jasper County Historical Society meeting.

A short business meeting begins at 6:30 PM in the Museum, 479 N.

Van Rensselaer Street.

Visitors are welcome and refreshments will be served.

126 years of Saint Joseph’s College

Colorized black and white photo. Caption reads "Terrace, St. Joseph's College, Collegeville, Ind."
Postcard of the Chapel and Administration buildings at SJC, constructed 1890. The Administration Building was destroyed by fire in 1973.

St. Joseph’s College is now in its 126th year of serving our community. You can read more about this institution in the latest issue of our newsletter, as well as the 1938 County Fair, an update on the Rev. Helenor Davisson Site, Monnett School for Girls and Photographer Harry Parker.

Additionally, you can take a peek at some of the old St. Joseph’s College postcards from our museum collection. We would like to obtain additional college postcards so they can be included in a Jasper County postcard book that we plan to publish next year. It is going to take a lot of post cards to fill a tiny book, so we invite the Jasper County and Saint Joe communities at large to contact us if you are able to help.

For many years the Chicago Bears trained at St. Joseph’s College. Unfortunately, the Historical Society does not have any records or photos of their time in Rensselaer. Can anyone help our curator eliminate this gap in our collection?

Finally, The historic buildings at the fairgrounds including the log cabin, post office, Roosevelt privy, and school house will be open during the Jasper County Fair Sunday, July 19 from 1-4, Tuesday, July 21 from 1-4, and Thursday, July 23 from 1-4.

The society will also have a table at the Volunteer Fair in the Community building from 4 pm to 7 pm on Sunday, July 19. Come visit us and pick up a copy of the latest Vintage Views while you are there.

JCHS newsletter JULY 2015

2015 JC Fair Dates Announced

Step back into history this summer at the Jasper County Fair.

The 1967 Quick/Walters Log Cabin, the 1874 Rosebud School, and the 1938 Paar Post Office, part of the county’s historical village at the Fairgrounds, will be open during the Jasper County Fair, Sunday, July 19, Tuesday, July 21, and Thursday, July 23, 2015 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.