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A magazine for and about

Posey County, Indiana

Copyright 2013 No material can be reproduced without the written permission of Posey Magazine. Contact us at: “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” —H.L. Mencken ”No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow.” — Euripides ”For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.” —William Penn ”The act of dying is one of the acts of life.” —Marcus Aurelius ”No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.” —Samuel Beckett

Cover Story

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

Approximately 230 Harmonists lie buried inside the walls of the Harmonist Cemetery. Any Harmonist in the community who died between 1814 and 1824 was buried in this area, which was originally part of the Harmonist orchard. The graves were left unmarked because the Harmonists believed that just as they were all equal in life, so they were equal in death, no one having a bigger monument than the next person. The stones outside the walls belong to the Episcopalians who constructed the first organized church in New Harmony in 1841. The Episcopal Church was located on North Street, close to where the Lenz House sits today. — By Linda Neal Reising

“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” — Annaeus Seneca ”Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death.” —Annie Lennox ”People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.” —Sue Monk Kidd “May you live all the days of your life.” — Jonathan Swift

Special thanks to the following for their help Joseph Poccia


am a maker of lists. All manner of lists. To Do lists. Shopping lists. Reading lists. “Life” lists which is my version of a bucket list. Wish lists on my Amazon account. Grocery lists. Menus for holiday meals which is a kind of a list. Christmas gift lists. Well, the list goes on and on. Someone smarter than I has called lists a form of regimented procrastination. If you make a list of things you really need to do, it’s almost as satisfying as actually doing some of them. A couple of people I know have confessed to putting things on a To Do list that they have already done just for the satisfaction of crossing them off. Lists are a way for some of us to essentially order the world which is altogether too cluttered and confusing without that artificial construct. It puts problems in order so they can be dealt with in a constructive manner. Or maybe it’s just a way of justifying never getting anything done because there is just too much to do. My “life list” serves as a reminder of all the things I have yet to do in what remains of my life. I would like to visit all 50 states. I would like to write the book I promised my mother I’d write. I told her at the time that I couldn’t because too many people had to die first. Well, that excuse has just about run its course. The really expensive thing on that list, both in time and money, is to see the Northern Lights. I mean really see them take over the sky, not just a pale reminder of what they truly are. There was a story in a recent edition of the New York Times about a couple who went to Finland

for the sole purpose of wondering at the sight. Maybe, just maybe. But as I think about it at this time of the year, maybe I should be making lists of all the things I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for a friend who sends me a message saying that matzo ball soup will be delivered to my house at 6:30 p.m. if that’s OK. I am thankful for a friend who from time to time makes cornbread for me just the way my mother used to make it. I am thankful for a friend who calls just to say I love you. I am thankful for a little girl who never fails to remember a hand signal just between the two of us that says we are special to each other. I am thankful for a family of the heart who find the time to be together on a regular basis just to keep in touch. I am thankful to artists and authors everywhere who make my world a richer place in which to live. I am thankful for the special quality of light about an hour before sundown, the one that photographers call the magic hour. It makes me stop and see the beauty that surrounds me. And I am thankful for the knowledge that I could go on listing all the things I am thankful for without ever running out of reasons. Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas to all.

—Charlene Tolbert Contributing Editor Posey Magazine She can be contacted at:


“Art for art's sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for.” — George Sand

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

Always the epitaphs try to capture a final message, a last word. The fields lie fallow again.

Harvest has come and gone. The cycle of birth, life, and death has run its course. Once again we can see the family cemeteries, formerly overshadowed by sturdy stalks of corn, staking claim to the farmland their owners once plowed. Throughout Posey County, these historic cemeteries dot the landscape, and their stones have stories to tell.

Š Photographed by J. Bruce Baumann

By Linda Neal Reising

Maple Hill Cemetery

Hancock Cemetery

St. Francis Catholic Cemetery

Stillwell Cemetery

Dunn Cemetery

Their names are like a litany: Nisbett, Broyles, Hancock, Alldredge. Some names are still common in this area. Their descendents continue to reside here, carrying on the family name. Others have faded into time like so many of the words once chiseled into rock. Between Poseyville and Cynthiana lie the remains of Nisbett Cemetery. Once a serene resting place complete with iron fencing and magnificent maple trees, it is now a skeleton. Still standing is the obelisk erected to remember Ellison Cale, one of the founders of Poseyville. His wife, Margaret, is buried beside him, but her monument has toppled from its base. Most of the others are now covered by soil or stacked together like a loaf of stone bread. No wonder Ellison’s stone rises from the field like a shaking fist. Only a few miles from the Nisbett burial place, where Posey and Gibson counties join hands, is Wilson Cemetery. The road leading to it is now mainly used for farm equipment or perhaps as a lovers’ lane. The metal bridge is missing its sides, and trees have wrapped their roots around the remains of the railroad track that once ran through the area. Two deer cross the tilled field, hesitating, unaccustomed to finding the living in this place. Here Henrietta Wilson is buried, her headstone trimmed with the words “Trust in Jesus” placed above an engraving of a bleeding heart flower, followed by her epitaph, “The mother of 10 children, a true wife, a faithful mother, a devoted Christian” – a whole life summarized in fourteen words. Always the epitaphs try to capture a final message, a last word. In Knowles Cemetery, the hopeful headstone of Phillis Kimball, who was born in 1797 and who died in 1882, reads, “Farewell, my friends, weep not for me. We soon shall meet in eternity.” Some, however, read almost like a warning as does Nancy Axton’s in Stillwell Cemetery. Although her stone is broken apart, there is enough left to decipher, “Think of me when you pass by. As you are now, so once was I.” But sometimes the stones only speak of heartbreak, such as the monument belonging to Charles Donaldson, who died at the age

Cale/Jolly Cemetery

Goad Cemetery

Compilation from Posey County Cemetery Records (1814-1979) by Carroll O. Cox* Marrs Township Point Township Munsey Crunk Murphy Black St. Phillips Greathouse Stitt Dixon Robb Township Keister Old Union Bethelham Springfield Salem Poor Farm Smith Emanuel Price Hust Lawrence Bethsadia Bundy St. John’s Cox Marvel St. Peter’s Walker Center Township Smith Township Nelson Laurel Hill Liberty Miller Wade Mt. Pleasant Black River Ball Smith Jones Fillingham Williams Fitzgerall Forcum Whiting Murphy Nash Old Cynthiana Gwaltney Mt. Zion Cater Saunders Black Township Boyles Overton Bellefontaine Benson Schulz St. Mathew’s Nesbit Jolly Moore St. Wendel Heck Welborn Harmony Township Merritt Alldrege Maple Hill Defur Munsey Hancock Endicott Rowe Stillwell Boyles Barter Rogers Roberts Phillips Pelham Ferguson Mt.Pleasant Caranahan Casey Jones Stallings Jacquess Prairie Chapel Cox Catholic Dunn Johnson Robinson Township New Baltimore St. Jacob’s Overton St. Paul’s * This list does not Nettleton Zion contain innumerable Hopewell Kissick unnamed cemeteries. Williams Kunze Episcopalian Gwaltney Woods Lynn Township Bethel Township Beech Grove Davis Old Beech Sears Walls Mt. Pleasant French Cantrell Goad

Nestled in a cornfield, the Nisbett Cemetery is where Ellison Cale is buried. He is “one of the founding fathers of Poseyville.”

of twenty-three and is buried in the Hancock Cemetery. His headstone reads, “A person from us has gone. A voice so loved is stilled. A place is vacant in our home, which never can be filled.” Not far from Stewartsville, along a secluded stretch of Saxe Road, sits what’s left of the Cale/Jolly Cemetery. The block fence that once surrounded it has fallen into disrepair, collapsed in places. The gravestones themselves, covered in lichen and beaten by more than a century of rain, stand in forlorn silence. Forgotten. Their messages have been nearly erased as if carried away by the winds of time. And always there are the children. Sometimes there is a tombstone engraved only with block letters spelling out “BABY.” Usually, though, the children’s graves are topped with lambs. Some of the stone sheep have wandered away over the years and recline in the grass nearby. It is difficult to fathom the loss with which some parents had to cope. In Hancock Cemetery the Mynatt children are buried together, three small monuments—one little girl dead at two years, another at one, and an infant boy. The saddest stories are those that end before truly beginning. The fields are fallow. Harvest has come and gone. But always the cycle of birth, life, and death continues. Just listen to the stories of the stones.

A Posey County resident since 1980, Linda Neal Reising lives in the historic “Cale House,” where she writes fiction and poetry, as well as fending off rowdy raccoons and voracious Virginia creeper. She won the 2012 Writers Digest Poetry Competition and that has a chapbook of poetry forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She can be contacted at:

Bundy Cemetery

By Charlene Tolbert

There was a warm breeze blowing lightly

across the waters of the Wabash near the dock at New Harmony. Two friends were wetting a line and swapping lies when an uninvited guest joined them in their boat. An Asian or “flying” carp, apparently frightened by the sound of the boat’s motor, had jumped out of the water and into the boat. After a few minutes of frantic activity, the two fisherman managed to corral the finny intruder and return him to the river to join his fellow fish and no one was hurt. aaa Donnie Martin narrowly escapes a head-on with a monster “Flying Carp” on the Wabash. © Photographed by J. Bruce Baumann

The flying carp can jump up to ten feet, and weigh as much as 100 pounds, although most never reach more than 30-40 pounds.

Understanding fear is to be surrounded by these whoppers set off in a frenzy when disturbed by an outboard motor. By that time the waters were alive with fish jumping as much as four or five feet out of the water. One of the fishermen, Donnie Martin, said the flying fish have taken a lot of the fun out of spending a few hours on the river. Between avoiding injury by dodging the carp and returning them to the river and watching the otherwise calm waters be churned up, the idea of a quiet afternoon of fishing is all but gone.

The carp have been cultivated in China for more than 1,000 years and only relatively recently have they been declared an invasive species by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The fish, which feed by filtering plankton necessary for larval fish and native mussels, are well established in the Mississippi River basin. Because of their filter-feeding habits, they are difficult to capture by normal angling methods. They are voracious eaters, capable of eating 5 to 20

percent of their body weight each day. The silver, or flying carp, have become notorious for being easily frightened by boats and personal watercraft which causes them to leap high into the air. The fish can jump up to eight to 10 feet into the air. Numerous boaters have been severely injured by collisions with the fish. According to the EPA, “reported injuries include cuts from fins, black eyes, broken bones, back injuries and concussions.� The fish can grow to be 100 pounds but most

weigh in at about 30-40 pounds. There are no North American fishes large enough to eat an adult Asian carp. White pelicans and eagles, however, have been seen feeding on juvenile or smaller adult Asian carp. Largemouth bass have often been observed feeding on small juvenile Asian carp, and many other native predators probably also feed on them before they grow too large. Asian carp produce many offspring which grow quickly and, if conditions are

good, rapidly become too large to be eaten by North American predators. Juvenile Asian carp are also known to move into very shallow water where they are inaccessible to many large predators. The carp were imported from Southeast Asia in the 1970s to help clean ponds at wastewater treatment facilities and fish farms in the American South. But the wily fish escaped into the Missouri and Illinois rivers during flooding of the Mississippi.

All is not lost. The state of Illinois has a solution – selling the fish back to China as a delicacy. Said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, “If you can’t beat ‘em, you eat ‘em.”

Poetry THE SPARED (after The Snowshoe Hare, by Mary Oliver) Gaunt, ashamed

as someone’s turned-out dog,

a coyote haunts the stubblefield— even when he spies the downy breast shimmering in moonlight, averts his narrow yellow eyes, and circling slowly winds the coil tighter for the final, mortal spring, there is nothing you would notice but the wind, the furtive gabble of the spared— and even in the bitter dawn, before you find the blasted tent of feathers blown against the wire fence, you only sense a silence— before you know what isn’t there, you hear the horses snuffling at their hay, the spared complaining softly at their corn.

—© By Alison Baumann

Posey Portrait

Heather McNabb, director, Poseyville Carnegie Public Library

Š Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann

Posey Portrait will feature a random photograph of a friend or neighbor — in a place we call home

Feathers/By Sharon Sorenson


Editor’s note: Sharon and Charlie Sorenson are the premier birders in Posey County, and most likely in all of the midwest. As regular contributors to Posey Magazine since the beginning, we are pleased to let them share their new book on backyard birds. Many of the pictures have appeared in the “Feathers” column, including most recently the cover photograph. It’s a must-have book for those of you who love our feathered friends. Enjoy!

t reflects a lifetime of learning, a lifetime of birding, and a single year of every-week tallies of birds in the yard.

“Birds in the Yard Month by Month: What’s There and Why, and How to Attract Those That Aren’t,” published by Stackpole Books, brings backyard birders a how-to reference unlike anything else on the market. Boasting more than 300 full-color photographs and 400 information-packed pages, the reference shares personal experiences with birds common to backyards in the eastern half of the U.S.—and what kinds of habitats bring them in.

Inspired by the movie “The Big Year,” I spent 52 weeks tallying which birds came and went in the yard, which stayed year-round, which came only for summer, which came only for winter, and which simply sailed through on spring and fall migrations. At year’s end, our little patch of habitat had hosted 114 bird species, some for a day, some every day, verifying that the habitat befriended birds every season of the year. And here’s a hint: That tally results from far more than feeders and feed.

© All Photographs by Charles and Sharon Sorenson

Wild male turkey

Mute swan

Great horned owl

Northern mockingbird

Carolina chickadee While the book details how our bird-friendly habitat came to be, it also answers the subtitle: which birds came when and why. Why do some birds leave while others stay for the winter? Conversely, why do some birds arrive only for winter and leave at the first hint of spring? Why do South American birds fly 2,000 miles to Canada to raise their families and return to the tropics within months, flying through Posey County both ways? How can a four-inch bird fly 4,000 miles in a single year? Did you know that bill shape determines which birds go and which stay? For those which go, how do they know where to go—or how to get there? How do they survive the trip? The book also answers questions about birds in general. Why do some birds live along forest edge while others live in grasslands? How do birds survive rain and hail storms, or snow and ice storms and sub-freezing

“I’ve been watching birds since I was a kid in Vanderburgh County. By the time Charles and I were married and in our own Posey County home, I was feeding birds at a homemade feeder, had bought a field guide and learned the birds’ proper names. And Charles had begun taking photographs of the birds. In 1976, Posey County experienced a severe blizzard. Among the hundreds of birds that crowded into our cleared feeding area, two species showed up I’d never seen before—snow buntings and horned larks. I started making notes in the margins of my field guide—which birds I’d seen, when and where. Now, my bird list includes 164 species in my own backyard. I began writing a bi-weekly newspaper column which, in turn, led to my conducting short seminars and teaching month-long birding classes. After more than ten years of these activities, I have put it all in a book.” —Sharon Sorenson

Sharon Sorenson

temperatures? Why don’t their feet freeze? Do they shiver? Do they ever snuggle together to keep warm? Which plants help birds survive cold? And then there are the more curious questions: Why don’t woodpeckers get headaches? How can owls see in the dark of night? Why do birds crash into windows? Why do birds molt their feathers and grow new ones every year? Did you know some birds change color in winter—even bill color? Did you know that birds are irrevocably tied to the plants around them for food, nest sites, nesting materials and shelter? Did you know that each bird species builds a distinctive, identifiable nest? And did you know some nests are made of bird spit? Well, okay maybe that was more than you wanted to know. So, which plants best serve birds? Are roses better than hollies? Why would a red cedar tree earn the title “bed-and-breakfast tree”? Which plants feed birds?

Charles Sorenson

Then there are the most serious questions: Why have some bird populations crashed by 80 percent in the past 40 years? Why have some birds become extinct? And given those dire scenarios, why have bluebirds raced from the edge of extinction to once again become numerous? Can the same happen with those other birds facing serious decline? Birds in the Yard Month by Month answers all these questions and more, all explained in a folksy, chatty narrative. Available online, as an e-book, or in your favorite bookstores, the book makes a lovely holiday gift for anyone who cares about birds and their conservation.

Sharon and Charles Sorenson settled in St. Philip in 1966 and continue to improve their certified backyard wildlife habitat that to date has hosted 161 bird species and 53 butterfly species. Send your bird questions and comments to them or contact them for publicvenue programs, conferences, or seminars at Downy woodpecker

Out of the frame/J. Bruce Baumann

Out of the frame focuses on moments found without a story or context. We all pass something that catches our eye and tweaks our curiosity during the course of everyday living. Sometimes it makes us smile or even chuckle. You might say it tickles the mind. Other times it makes us think about life in a serious way. Regardless of how we react, in that instant the image touches a part of our brain or heart and becomes part of who we are. For the moment it takes us out of the frame.

ŠPhotograph by J. Bruce Baumann


istory can provide facts, but it cannot always tell us what once lay in the heart of a person. We know that on Friday night, October 6, 1882, Hume Redman’s Posey County log cabin became a house of horrors as he tortured his wife to death. What we don’t know is why. Did she attempt to leave him? Did she talk back to him, speaking her mind for the first and last time? Or did she do something unspeakably simple, such as burning his venison steak? Although these questions remain a mystery, we do know what happened after the murder. Many nineteenth-century residents of Posey County appeared to harbor a mistrust of the criminal justice system, preferring to take matters into their own hands. It was no surprise, then, when a mob of two hundred or more formed outside the jail the night after the horrendous murder. However, even a mob needs a leader, and this swarm of angry citizens lacked just that. Alex Crunk, the sheriff, and Ed Hayes, his deputy, persuaded the group to leave. But Sheriff Crunk, fearing their return, decided to smuggle Redman out of Posey County, hiding him in Evansville, where the lawman believed the accused would be safe. The sheriff, however, underestimated the outrage that the Posey County residents

felt over the heinous murder of Mrs. Redman. On the night of October 10, 1882, forty-one men from Mt. Vernon and the surrounding area gathered at Buchanon’s Woods, located three miles northeast of the city. This time, they were organized, having elected officers to lead them in their mission—to retrieve Redman, to return him to his cabin, and to lynch him in the same place where he had deprived his wife of her life. The vigilantes had one buggy to carry sledgehammers, which were taken from a blacksmith shop at Miller’s and St. Phillips. They were also equipped with ropes and a noose. However, when they crossed the Franklin Street Bridge a little before one o’clock in the morning, they discovered that the man in charge of the lynching materials, along with five others, had developed cold feet and had quietly sneaked away into the darkness. Not to be deterred, the “posse” confiscated ropes from two men who were leading several yoke of oxen near a mill. By the time the mob reached the jail in Evansville, there were thirty-five members left, eleven from Mt. Vernon and twenty-four from the surrounding countryside. They attacked the jail, beating the doors down with the sledgehammers. The prisoner, having been seized, was placed inside a buggy

between two of the mob members. In the meantime, a fire alarm was turned in, and the responders struck the buggy containing the murderer. The vehicle was turned over, throwing the occupants out. In the chaos that followed, Redman’s hands became untied, and he “fought like a demon,” according to newspaper accounts. One of the men from the buggy then shot Redman five times, and the other, just to be sure, crushed his head with a sledgehammer. The entire police department was in the neighborhood of the jail when the attack occurred, but they could not prevent it. In the midst of the melee, a man named Murphy was shot and killed by police. According to eyewitness accounts, he was disarmed a half dozen or more times during the evening “but always succeeded in procuring another revolver from one of the many citizens who were attracted to the scene.” Although it’s difficult for us to imagine today, the bodies of Redman and Murphy were placed on the courthouse steps, perhaps as a lesson in morality and selfcontrol. According to the Evansville Courier, thousands arrived to view their corpses. Justice, Posey County style, had been meted out once again.

—By Linda Neal Reising

Out In The Back Of Beyond/Editor’s Notebook


he more we explore the flora and fauna of Posey County, the more connected we become with the land. The connection and bond to this tiny part of the universe grows like any romance, going from curiosity — to involvement — to commitment. In this issue Sharon and Charlie Sorenson are in their all-out stage of commitment. The “Feathers” column breaks away from the standard offering to an announcement about the quintessential life as birders in Posey County. “Birds in the Yard — Month by Month” is a must-have book for everyone who loves our feathered friends, and it would make for a perfect gift for the holidays.

Curiosity can be dangerous. We heard about the flying fish on the Wabash River, but wanted to see up close for ourselves. True to the stories we’ve heard, the slimy carp can leap out of the water to amazing heights. One landed in our boat, a small guy of about 12 pounds, flopping around our feet, taunting us to fish or cut bait. We dispatched the uninvited guest, using a very large fish net. Another monster came so close to my head that it brushed my silver locks. Had either carp delivered a broadside to the head, curiosity would have left the cat homeless. As the weather brought a nip to the air, the offerings afforded us took a turn

to a different kind of photograph. This year has been slow to color the palette of our imagination. By mid-October, Posey County is normally ablaze in yellows, reds and oranges. There are some hot spots, however, and it tells us that we better have the wood split and the chimney swept. The joy of living includes being involved with both the things we can change and the things we can’t. As our cover story suggests, many have made a commitment to Posey County, including making it their final resting place. But it is for those of us still living to provide the nexus for those who come after us. We dare to ask, what is your commitment?

J. Bruce Baumann Editor Posey Magazine

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” — Mary Oliver

© Photograph by J. Bruce Baumann


Posey Magazine November/December 2013  
Posey Magazine November/December 2013  

Posey Magazine is a bi-monthly feature publication on Posey County, Indiana, edited by J. Bruce Baumann. It focuses on the people and geogra...