I am somewhat obsessed with online historical newspapers and regularly check several archives to see what new content has been added. When I find a newspaper from the hometown of one of my ancestors, I tend to ask myself whether it covers the dates that my ancestor lived in that place. A recent discovery reminded me not to limit my searches to those time periods.
A Google search for the name of my 3X great-grandfather Ambrose Epperson turned up a newspaper from Greencastle, Indiana, where I knew Ambrose had lived from 1833-1850. To my surprise, however, the newspaper was from 1939, almost 90 years after Ambrose left Greencastle! The article that included his name was a historical review of interesting court cases found in the Putnam County Circuit Court records [i]. In 1839, 21-year-old Ambrose apparently took part in a fight involving a group of men who “riotously did gather together to disturb the peace in a public place armed with divers sticks, stones and other offensive weapons in the said highway and did make a great noise and disturbance to the terror of the citizens of the state of Indiana”! Each man was fined $2 plus costs. I can’t wait to learn more about the circumstances that led to Ambrose’s arrest.
This exciting find served as a good reminder that newspapers often print local history articles, as well as columns containing summaries of news printed in years past. Don’t limit your newspaper searches to the lifetime of your ancestors or the years they resided in a particular place. You might miss some great stories!
[i] Brief Account of Unique Cases Presented in Records of Court, Greencastle, Indiana, The Daily Banner, 19 Aug 1939, p. 1, https://newspapers.library.in.gov
Teresa is the the owner of KinSeeker Genealogy Services. She has a Ph.D. in Biology and a lifelong fascination with genealogy. She been researching her own family history for over 20 years and loves helping others "find their stories."
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