Monthly Archives: August 2018

Dubois County Soldiers and Sailors Monumental Association

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“The object of this Association shall be to build and maintain a monument on the Public Square at the Town of Jasper, Dubois County, Indiana, in commemoration of the Soldiers and Sailors of said Dubois County, who served in the Union Army and Navy during the war of the Rebellion.”

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The following men donated to the construction of the monument:                                             20180816_202511-114160367451354578138.jpg 20180816_2047451229282384.jpg These were a diverse group of veterans and non-veterans who donated their time and money for commemoration of a cause they felt was the most important event of their lives, and they wanted the sacrifices made by the soldiers of the union cause should not be forgotten. This list of men included Dubois County leaders, attorneys, physicians, merchants, and a farmer who was a Medal of Honor winner.

There were five donators named to be the directors for the first year of the corporation: John S. Barnett, Conrad Eckert, Winfield S. Hunter, John P. Salb, and William A. Taylor. John S. Barnett, b. 1830, was a teamster who was mustered in the Army of the Shenandoah on March 9, 1865 with duty at Charleston, Winchester, Stevenson’s Depot, Jordan’s Springs and Summit Point. He was mustered out on August 31, 1865. Conrad Eckert, b. 1842, was a German immigrant who was a flour miller and farmer.  He enlisted on 12 September 1861 as a musician in the Co. K, 27th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, and after participating in a few battles he was wounded on 9 August 1862 at Cedar Mountain, Virginia, and discharged on October, 1862 due to his wounds.

Winfield S. Hunter, b. 1849, must have lied about his age when he enlisted on 15 December 1863, because he declared he was 18 years of age when he joined. He enlisted in Co. L,131st Regiment, 13th Indiana Cavalry as a private, saw action at Newmarket, Alabama and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and was discharged as a saddler on 18 November, 1865. John P. Salb, b.1854 in Germany, was not a veteran, but must have doctored many of the veterans as their physician. William A. Taylor, b. 1843, enlisted in Co. K., 13th Indiana Cavalry on 12 March 1864 as a private, and was discharged on 30 April 1865 as a saddler. He became a lawyer after the War.

John Gramelspacher, b. 1846 in Jasper, joined Co. E., 15th U.S. Infantry, 2nd Battalion and was discharged on Christmas Day, 1862. Its interesting that he used the alias “John Greaner” when he enlisted; maybe he thought his name would be too hard to pronounce or too German? It also looks like he lied about his age, for his discharge record shows that he was 21 years of age in 1862, but he was only 16. He probably participated in the Battle of Shiloh on April 7, 1862. His family was prominent in Jasper and after the War he became a druggist, a lumber dealer, and a manager of a desk manufactory. His father’s house, built in 1848 in Jasper., is on the National Historic Register.

George Mehringer, b. 1843, enlisted on 12 September 1861 in Co. K., 27th Indiana Infantry, engaged at Antietam and was wounded at Chancellorville. He was discharged as a Sergeant on 01 September 1864. Britian Leming, b. 1844 in Ohio,  joined Co. D., 56th Ohio Infantry which was organized at Portsmouth, Ohio in October, 1861. He participated in the Battle of Shiloh and the siege of Vicksburg. His post-war occupation was as a printer.  Herman Eckert, b. 1865, was not a vet, but was a lawyer in Jasper. Joseph Friedman, b. 1832 in Pennsylvania, worked as a merchant in civilian life. He joined the Co. H. 22 Veteran Reserve Corps in Washington D.C. from April 1863 to the end of the Civil War. This Corps gave light duty to partially disabled or otherwise infirm soldiers or former soldiers.

Trusten K. Dougherty, b. 1859, was not a veteran, but worked as a school teacher, hotel owner, and drug store owner in Jasper. Jacob Burger, Jr., b. 1853, was a banker in Jasper and not a veteran. Possibly his older brother, William, was a veteran. William A. Wilson, b.1866, was an insurance agent in Jasper and not a veteran, but possibly his father had enlisted in the Civil War.

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William W. Kendall, b. 1839 and was a farmer in Dubois County, Indiana. He joined the Co. A, 49th Indiana Infantry, and was a Medal of Honor winner. Here is his story as published in 1901 in “Deeds of Valor, How American Heroes Won the Medal of Honor”:20180817_0341451694251351.jpg20180817_0355092055775998.jpg

William E. Cox, b.1862, lawyer and congressman, was not a veteran. Frank Joseph, b. 1841 in Bavaria, banker, not a veteran. Frank Troxler, b. 1843, a saddler and harness maker, enlisted in Co. E, 43rd Indiana Infantry Regiment, on 17 February 1865 and mustured out on 17 October 1865 in Nashville, Tennessee. George P. Wagner, b. 1867, merchant, not a veteran. Dr. E.J. Kempf, b. 1858, not a veteran; a physician in Jasper. Joseph F. Friedman, b. 1861 in Jasper, worked as a manager of a venere factory. His father, George Friedman, b. 1838, enlisted in the Company Band, 27th Indiana Infantry Regiment, and was in Co. E., 143rd Indiana Infantry from February to November 1865.

The soldier at the top of the monument leans back a little, and is at parade rest. The Civil War veterans of Dubois, County, Indiana did not want us to forget what they did for the Union as young soldiers.

Jungle Park Racing Company, Inc.

Jungle Park Racing Company was incorporated on July 22, 1929, and its last annual junglepark1report was sent to the Secretary of State of Indiana in 1938. This sprint car race track, which was within the Jungle Park Resort, was located in Parke County, Indiana, near Bloomingdale, Indiana, and ten miles north of Rockville, Indiana. It was close to Sugar Creek and Turkey Run State Park.

Some short documentaries and descriptions of the Jungle Park race track can be found on the internet, and they state that its founder and owner was Albert Padgett. He was listed on the Federal Census as an electrical engineer. But, there are some differences between the online descriptions and what was stated on the Jungle Park Raceway incorporation papers.

One of the most entertaining differences is the description of the object of the race track’s incorporation. Remember, this track was a sprint car race track in the middle of the woods, with midget race cars speeding around it. “The purpose or purposes for which it is formed are as follows: [to operate] a racing track and/or tracks, racing plant and/or plants and/or racing establishment and/or establishments, including concessions, fields, grandstands, bleachers and/or other seating facilities for spectators adjacent to and/or in connection with said track and/or tracks, plant and/or plants and/or establishment and/or establishments, for automobile, aeroplane, horse, mule, dog and/or human and any and all kinds, types and/or forms of racing and do and perform any and all other acts and things necessary, convenient or expedient thereto.” Well, that just about covers it doesn’t it, but for a sprint car track in the middle of the woods?

According to the online descriptions of the track, it opened in 1926. But the the original incorporation was in 1929. Maybe the Jungle Park Resort was planned and the buildings were built in it starting in 1926. And then, the original incorporator of Jungle Park Racing was not Walter Padgett. The names and signatures on the 1929 incorporation papers and the 1930 incorporation report were Moad Copner (President), Emma Copner (Vice-President), Harrison Holaday and Opal Holaday (Secretary and Treasurer). Who were these two married couples? According to the Federal Census Moad Copner had been a farmer laborer and did odd jobs; Harrison Holaday had been a farmer and coal mine operator; their wives had no stated employment. Maybe these two couples were employed at the Jungle Park Resort, but I don’t think they would have had the financial means to build the race track. Were they “ghost directors”, and why?

Albert E. Padgett showed up on the 1931 company’s corporate annual report as its President and treasurer, his wife Bertha A. Padgett as Vice-President, and his son Charles K. Padgett (also an electrician) as secretary. Also, Frank Punk, who had supervised the building of the Jungle Park quarter-mile race track, signed as a director. Frank Punk was the owner and promoter of the Winchester  sprint car race track, as well as other sprint car tracks, and later was voted a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. The company’s 1932 directors stayed the same, except Mr. Funk was not a director.

No corporate annual reports for the company were filed in 1933 and 1934. According to a letter written by the legal firm of McFaddin & McFaddin of Rockville, Indiana, to the state’s Secretary of State, on March 25, 1935, “for the past few years no races had been held there”. Six months earlier Bertha filed for divorce from Albert and took the corporate records with her.  The attorneys wrote another letter to the Secretary of State on May 21, 1935, advising that Bertha still had not given up the records. There must have been some sort of agreement made by the divorce proceedings on June 11, 1935, for Albert, Charles, and Bertha were listed as the company’s directors on the company’s annual reports of 1935 and 1936. Bertha was dropped as a director in 1937 and Ellen C. Padgett (a cousin?) was added. The company’s last annual report in 1938 showed that the Jungle Park Raceway was now “not operating”.

I related the history of the company’s different directors to show that the rocky relationship and marriage between Albert and Bertha Padgett was possibly a reason for the use of the “shadow directors” of the Copners and Holadays. Maybe Albert just did not trust the strength of his marriage?

According to the descriptions of the Jungle Park Raceway (or Speedway), the straightaways were paved, but the curves were gravel. This made the track particularly dangerous, for the track was literally bounded by woods and the nearby Sugar Creek on the back straightaway causing many crashes and some deaths. But, despite these hazards, or maybe because of risks, well-known drivers such as Mauri Rose, Wilbur Shaw, Bill Holland, Tony Bettenhausen and many others raced there as young men.

According to a video documentary, the track closed in 1941, reopened in 1945, and stayed in operation till 1955 when it was closed down due to a death of a fan. It was reopened for just one year in 1960. Also a historical marker in front of the remains of the park states that Ralph Jordan and Lawrence reopened the park in 1945, and that the Sentman family bought the rundown property in 1971 and are preserving what is left of the bleachers and track. There is now an annual get-together of enthusiasts of restored sprint cars at the old Jungle Park Raceway.