The Evansville Courier and Journal, June 23, 1935

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

‘Lincoln Pioneer Village in Rockport Park Near Completion’

Dedication Program July 4 Expected to Draw Thousands

Lincoln Pioneer Village Buildings

The construction of log cabin replicas of buildings in Spencer county during Lincoln's boyhood has virtually been completed. The buildings stand in the Rockport City park. The village will be dedicated July 4. Pictured above are:

Upper row: Left, blockhouse fort and pioneer inn, with a two wheeled wooden cart; right, porch of John Pitcher's law office, a double log cabin used as an administration building, and a pioneer church.

Center row--Left to right, the Jones store in Gentryville where Lincoln clerked as a youth; the home of Azel Dorsey, Linconl's first school teacher, where the first court in Spencer county was held; cabin of Reuben Grigsby, neighbor of the Lincolns.

Bottom row--Pioneer schoolhouse where the McGuffey club will have its program; law office of Judge John Pitcher, where Lincoln borrowed books, walking from his home 22 miles away; covered wagon in front of church and group of FERA workers who built it.

Rockport, June 23—(Special)

The dedication here July 4 of the "Lincoln Pioneer Village" will bring to fruition the dreams and hopes and labors of George Honig, a sculptor of this city and Lincoln historian.

For many years Honig cherished this ambition and two years ago he and Mrs. Honig, well know as a musician, returned to Rockport from their home in Evansville so that he might devote his time and talents to this project—entirely a labor of love.

Honig met many obstacles. But he persisted, saying: "The citizens of Spencer county will see the vision, then we will build a historic memorial to Lincoln that will visualize the Spencer county environment in which Lincoln lived during the 14 formative years of his life, from 1816 to 1830.

Honig made the blueprints for the buildings after long and careful research, the superintended the construction of the village.

The dedication celebration, at which the governors of the three "Lincoln states"—Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, have been invited to speak, is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Rockport.


The village is made up of log cabins, public buildings, schools, and churches as they stood in Lincoln’s days in Spencer county. More than 3,000 logs were donated and two log cabins, more than 50 years old, were moved to the site. Labor was provided throught the FERA and money required was raised by popular subscription, schools, churches, clubs and civic associations of the county as well as individuals making donations.

The project was sponsored by the Spencer County Historical society assisted by Mayor T. Chinn and the city council: the Rockport Improvement association, Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis club. A county organization was formed with Mrs. Bess V, Ehrmann, president of the historical body, as general chairman. Mayor Chinn and Councilman Horace Sohn were co-chairmen of the building committee, and T. C. Basye and P. H. Axton are treasurers.


The village covers five acres of the 43 acres in the city park, which formerly was the Rockport fairgrounds. Huge forest trees give it a primeval setting.

Period furniture like that used by the Lincoln, Gentrys, Grigsbys and others of those pioneer days will be used in the cabins.

The dedication festivities will start at 10 o’clock in the morning of July 4 with a pioneer parade, which will form at the courthouse squared and march down Main Street to the city park. Hilbert Bennett and Claud Snyder are parade directors and Loney Parsley is parade marshal.

Every community in the county will be represented in the parade with a float. These are Rockport, Eureka, Hatfield, Richland, Grandview, Newtonville, Gentryville, Chrisney, Dale, Lincoln City, Fulda, Mariah Hill, St. Meinrad, Santa Claus, Lamar, New Boston and Evanston.


There will be three or more yokes of oxen, two-wheeled wooden carts, and a covered wagon in the parade. The 50-year-old band wagon, painted in white and gold as in the old days, drawn by four white horses driven by a negro coachman, will carry "President Lincoln" and a party of friends. Some of the floats will carry looms and spinning wheels, with women weaving rag carpets, spinning and knitting. Other floats will show young Abe splitting rails, an old time wheat cradle and cider press, among other things of pioneer interest.

There will be women on horseback, hunters in coonskin caps carrying squirrel rifles, Indians on spotted ponies.

A continuous program has been arranged for the park, with Henry Hoch and B. F. Stewart as co-chairmen in charge of amusements.

At the park there will be four reception committees, with T. C. Basye, president emeritus of the county historical society, as chairman of the main committee. Others will be U. S. Lindsey, society treasurer, chairman of the McGuffey club committee; Mrs. Mina Cook, society vice president, chairman of the press committee and within the village a pioneer group will form the reception committee.


For those not bringing basket dinners will be served an old fashioned pioneer dinner with chicken pot pie and other "goodies." Women serving will wear pioneer costumes made by members of the Rockport Trinity M. E. church Ladies’ Aid society. Mrs. Hilbert Bennett will announce that dinner is ready by blowing a conch shell once owned by her grandmother and now more than 100 years old.

The McGuffey clubs will present their program at 1 o’clock in the afternoon under a huge brush arbor with log benches in front of the pioneer schoolhouse. J. Roy Strickland, organized of the McGuffey clubs will be in charge. Mrs. Charles H. Salm and the club will sing songs composed in the McGuffey manner by Mrs. Elmima Cassady Huffman of Troy.

Mrs. Ehrmann will preside at the chief program, to be held at 2:30 o’clock. Fifty young ladies will be honor escorts for the speakers. Invited to speak are Governor Paul V. McNutt of Indiana; Governor Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky; Governor Henry Horner of Illinois; United States Senators Sherman Minton and Frederick Van Nuys, Representative John W. Boehne, Jr., Attorney General Phillip Lutz, Jr., and former Lieutenant Governor F. Harold Van Orman, Judge Rosco Kiper, William Fortune, Lincoln historian; Mayor Chinn, who will make the address of welcome; Honig, who will make the dedicatory address.

Mrs. Ben Smith will sing a solo and the Rockport high school band and Dale high school girls’ drum corps will play.

Also Guns On Display

Shotguns and rifles from the collection of Dr. Claud Lomax of Dale, will be placed over the door of each cabin, and powder horns will hang on the mantlepiece over the old fashioned stone fireplaces. Different organizations will be in charge of the cabins.

A pageant in each cabin, will portray the every day life of the pioneer. Each actor will be dressed in pioneer costume. Characters to be impersonated will be Nancy Hanks Lincoln by Mrs. Grace Pattie; Thomas Lincoln, by Judge F. A. Heuring; Sarah Bush Lincoln, by Mrs. Fannie Wright; President Lincoln, by William Parsley; Mary Todd Lincoln, by Mrs. K. C. Atchison; and descendents of the Gentry, Grigsby, Grass, Barnett, Morgan, Brown, Snyder, Graham, Hall, Stowers, Turnham and other families of those days.

In the "clearing" around the cabins are ash hoppers, old brass and iron soap kettles swung over a bed of coals, stone walled wells with sweep, and tree-legged milking stools.

The citizens of Chrisney, under the direction of Miss Wilma Moesner, with Gus Sarver, teacher, will conduct school in the pioneer school building.

The Rev. Karl Kramer will be pioneer preacher at the "meeting" in the pioneer church and the congregation will be members of the Rockport and Grandview adult educational music classes, with citizens of the village drifting in.

To Conduct Jones’ Store

The Rockport Women’s club will conduct the "Jones Store" at Gentryville where Abraham Lincoln clerked, when a youth and here young "Abe" Lincoln will be represented Mildred Huffman, and Col. William Jones, by Edgar Shrode.

The home of Azel Dorsey, the first Spencer county teacher of Abraham Lincoln and where the first court in Spencer county was held, will be in charge of the Rockport Garden club.

Miss Laura M. Wright, and sister, Miss Puss Wright, the descendant of Daniel Grase, the first man to enter land in Spencer county, with other descendants will live for that day in the Daniel Grass cabin.

Many interesting and quaint records and files of newspapers will be found in the Judge John Pitcher law office, to which Lincoln, when a youth, walked to Rockport, a distance of 22 miles, to borrow a book. Judge Pitcher will be impersonated by Attorney Edgar Houston.

The administration building is a double log cabin with an entry between. On one side the Jenkins Post American Legion and its auxiliary will use as a pioneer home and the other side there will be a display of guns, muskets and swords. The Nancy Hanks Lincoln candy will be in the building in charge of Garnet Chapter Order of Eastern Star.

The Pioneer inn will be in charge of the Silverdale Home Economics club and will be used for demonstrating industrial arts of pioneer days as follows: members of the Ladies Aid society of the Rockport Lutheran church, "quilting bee;" Mrs. Elizabeth Harris, rag carpet weaving; Mrs. Elizabeth Jolly; Mrs. Bess Hart and Mrs. Kate Lashbrook, spinning wool; St. Bernard’s Catholic Church Guild, knitting and crocheting, candle molds, clay pipe molds and many other pioneer articles will be on display and there will be home made molasses cake with fresh butter milk from the spring house.

The Reuben Grigsby cabin will be occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Eli Grigsby, descendants of Rueben Grigsby, who was a neighbor and friend of the Lincolns while they lived in Spencer county, a friendship that continued through life. Rueben Grigsby, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, were members of the historical and famous "Old Baptist church, near the Lincoln home. Abraham Lincoln’s sister, Sarah, married Aaron Grigsby and was buried in Old Pigeon church cemetery.

Descendants residing in Grandview, Hammond township of the Bays, Lamars and Hammonds, are: Mrs. Louis Woolfolk, Mrs. Mary Cadick and Mrs. Ethel Hammond Newman. They will greet visitors at the blockhouse.

At 5 o’clock the closing act will be an Indian raid on the village. The old church bell hanging outside of the church will ring to notify the village of danger. The Indians, who have been lurking around all day with their tomahawks and bows and arrows will be members of the Rockport Kiwanis club.