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Adams reappointed as Sullivan County Historian

By Times Staff

Sullivan County Historian Donna Adams has been reappointed to a new three-year term effective Jan. 1.

Adams also oversees the Sullivan County Public Library’s genealogy and local history department.

When Adams was first appointed in 1996, she tapped into the collection of Dr. James Maple, a local physician. Maple compiled more than 40 scrapbooks of early newspaper clippings from Vincennes and Sullivan.

The collection has since been digitized through Wabash Valley Visions and Voices.

Adams was one of the area historians helping organize events celebrating the state’s bicentennial in 2016.

During that year, she led the charge to get two gravestones marking the resting spot of two pioneering dignitaries dedicated, according to a Tribune-Star story.

The first, Pennsylvania-born James Scott, served as a general court judge in the Indiana Territory for 18 years. He’s buried in Carlisle Cemetery.

Scott’s tombstone was listed in a historical society survey, but Adams couldn’t find it when she canvassed the cemetery. She soon discovered the marker had been knocked over.

The Sullivan County Cemetery Commission, which Adams serves on, paid to reset the stone.

John Benefiel, a frontier ranger who served in the War of 1812, is the other dignitary. He was a framer of Indiana’s original Constitution in 1816 and served in the state legislature. He’s buried in Johnson Cemetery, near Carlisle.

Adams also worked with a planning committee for celebrations of Sullivan County’s bicentennial in 2016. She currently serves on the Tourism Commission of Sullivan County.

In 1981, through an effort to improve the historical communication network in the state, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau established the Indiana County Historian Program.

County historians serve as volunteers appointed by the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Historical Bureau to promote local history in their counties, connect individuals and groups with history resources, promote collaboration between local history organizations and maintain connections with the IHS and IHB.

In addition, a number of other Indiana county historians have also been reappointed to new three-year terms effective Jan. 1, including Brown County, Diana Biddle; Dearborn County, Jenny Awad; Decatur County, Russell Wilhoit; Dubois County, Arthur Nordhoff Jr.; Grant County, William Munn; Johnson County, Max Fitzpatrick; Madison County, Stephen Jackson; Miami County, Kreig Adkins; Montgomery County, Dian Moore; Morgan County, Don Adams; Owen County, Anton Neff; Pike County, Sandra McBeth; Porter County, Kevin Pazour; Randolph County, Gregory Hinshaw; Starke County, Venita Cunningham; Union County, Vicky Logue; Vermillion County, Dail Henry; Warren County, Terri Wargo; Wells County, James Sturgeon; Whitley County, Mark Parker.

Five new Indiana county historians have been also appointed, in Pulaski (Mary Conner), Delaware (Karen Vincent), Vigo (Timothy Crumrin), La Porte (Bruce Johnson) and Shelby (William Aughe) counties, with their terms beginning January 2021.

Vigo County's new county historian, Crumrin, holds a bachelor’s degree in European history and a master’s degree in American history from Indiana State University, and he received the prestigious Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement in Indiana History Award from the Indiana Historical Society in 2014 for his contributions to history. Crumrin is an award-winning historian and author and has written or edited more than 35 scholarly publications and made numerous presentations at conferences. In addition to winning two national awards of merit from the American Association of State and Local History for his programs at Conner Prairie Museum, he received a national Telly Award as writer and director of the PBS documentary “Harvesting the Past.” He has served on the board of directors of the Vigo County Historical Society since 2014.


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