Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Dirty Day

Today was spent getting really dirty! Last fall the Genealogical Society of Whitley County (GSWC) was given 30+ boxes of old records from the county archives that they were going to dispose of (not sure if they were going to destroy them or send them to the state archives). Anyway, they were offered to the society and, of course, we said yes! The records are from the office of the Clerk of Courts and include packets from small claims court, civil actions, insanity applications, divorces, past due notes, and other miscellaneous stuff. It appears that they cover a period of 100 years or so, roughly from 1847-1947.

Like I said, we got dirty! After 5 hours our hands were black with grimy dust. And don't say we should have worn gloves to protect the records! Maybe we should have, to protect our hands! There were five of us that gathered for a "fun-filled" day at 9 a.m. We moved the boxes from the storage building at the Historical Museum to the annex where we had some good light and plenty of room to spread the packets for sorting. Right now we are basically trying to get them into some semblance of order so they can be indexed. We foolishly thought we'd be able to get them in packet number sequence today, but that didn't happen. We stopped today at about 3 p.m. We're going back tomorrow morning and will work until the sorting and boxing is finished 'cause the Museum will need their space back on Monday morning.

In one of the boxes was a very nice surprise. A bunch of loose papers were literally stuffed into one box amongst the packets. It's a stack of maybe a hundred or so marriage affidavits with some parental consents thrown in for good measure. Way cool. Dated 1893-1902. What I wouldn't give to have something like that for one of my ancestors!

Like I said, we got dirty! But, oh, what an interesting day it was! And in the company of good friends too!

This is an example of one of the court records:

Packet 373 dated September 1883
State of Indiana Whitley County

In the Whitley Circuit Court Sept Term AD 1882
The State of Indiana on the relator of George Snyder Trustee of Columbia Township in said Whitley County Indiana vs Seth E Kerns, a minor

To the Hon Elisha V Long, Judge of the Whitley Circuit Court, the above assigned, would respectfully show, that one Seth E Kerns, who is now at the County Asylum in said County and in the charge of Cyrus Coplin, Superintendent of the same, is about thirteen (13) years of age. That said Seth E Kerns, should be committed to the state House of Refuge, for the reason that it is not safe for him to be at the county asylum. That he is addicted to stealing and has stole articles of value at said asylum, and that he has threatened to burn the barn on the county farm. That has by his own confession burned one barn in the north part of the town of Columbia City – in said county. That his father Jeremiah Kerns, has wholly abandoned his child, the said Seth E Kerns, and that the then said Jeremiah Kerns now resides somewhere in the state of Michigan. That Catherine Kerns mother of said Seth E Kerns died more than three years ago. That said Seth E Kerns was born at the Village of Coesse in said County about January 1869. That the said Jeremiah Kerns was a day laborer and so was the mother Catharine Kerns. That the said Seth E Kerns can read a little. That the said Seth E Kerns is an incorrigible boy and dangerous to be where he can not be watched and managed all the time. That this complainant obtains this information from Cyrus Coplin the Superintendent of the County Asylum and other reputable persons. Wherefore he asks that the said Seth E Kerns be committed to the State House of Refuge, and such other orders as the court may deem proper in the premises.

George Snyder, Trustee of Columbia Township Sept 1882

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