The Evansville Courier and Journal, July 4, 1936

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

Expect Thousands At Program Today In Rockport Park

Senator Minton, Townsend, Springer and Coy Speakers at Pioneer Village Exercises

Tribute will be paid to the boy Lincoln in Rockport today, when four new buildings constructed by WPA workers in the Lincoln Pioneer Village are to be dedicated. This program will be the climax to the Lincoln Country Summer Festival, which opened last Sunday.

Thousands of persons are expected to hear a quartet of notable speakers in the afternoon’s dedicatory program. The speakers will be Wayne Coy, Indiana WPA director, who will make the official dedicatory talk. United States Senator Sherman Minton, and M. Clifford Townsend and Raymond Springer, democratic and republican nominees respectively for governor of Indiana.

The program as arranged for the day will open at 9 o’clock this morning with a "children’s hour" in charge of Miss Lucille Richards, Miss Essie Lee Williams, Miss Ethel Lawburg and Charles Fay. At 10 o’clock will come the "March of Progress" parade, at which Loney Parsley will be marshal and Hilbert Bennett and Claude Snyder, chairmen. Tours of the village and a picnic dinner will take up the time until 2 o’clock.

Then Robert Atkinson, with a cornet solo, will call the group to attention and Arthur P. Eberlin of Evansville, president of the Southwestern Indiana Civic association, will be master of ceremonies.

Following the cornet solo, the program has been arranged as follows:

Music by Rockport high school band, directed by Downey Kessner; opening remarks by Mrs. C. D. Ehrmann, president of the Spencer County Historical society; invocation by the Rev. Wilbur M. Allen; welcome address, Mayor Harvey T. Chinn; greetings from Kentucky to Indiana, Thomas Finley of Madisonville, Ky.; reception to "President and Mrs. Lincoln" on the platform; address by Sherman Minton, United States senator.

Talk on "What Spencer County gave to Lincoln," by Dr. C. B. Coleman, director of the Indiana Historical society; music by the Swiss Hill Billies of Tell City; address by Prof. Ross Lockridge of Indiana university; music by Prof. Donaven Hichman’s band of Owensboro, Ky.; address by M. Clifford Townsend, democratic nominee for governor of Indiana; music by the Hartman quartet; address by Raymond Springer, republican gubernatorial candidate.


Dedication of the new village buildings, Wayne Coy, Indiana director of WPA; the entering of 10 bathing beauties into the lake; introduction of George H. Honig, sculptor and director of the Lincoln Pioneer Village construction; remarks by William Fortune of Indianapolis and Lew O’Bannon of Corydon; music by the Rockport high school band; benediction, the Rev. Lee S. Jarrett.

A fireplace like the one before which Lincoln as a boy sat on long winter nights reading Scott’s Elocution book, and memorizing the quotations from Shakespeare that he was to use so many times in the years to come, has been placed in one of the new cabins, a reproduction of the last home of the Lincolns in Spencer county.

Tradition has it that Lincoln was so impressed with Hamlet’s soliloquy. Portia’s famous "quality of mercy" speech and others, that he memorized them before the fireplace of his Indiana log cabin home and recited them with the skill of an experienced orator. James K. Hackett, the famous Shakespearean actor, visiting Lincoln in the White House, is said to have told the president that he read Shakespeare with more expression than he who had made it his life work.


As a permanent Lincoln shrine, a village gradually is being built up in a park in Rockport, containing authentic reproductions of some of the buildings extant in Spencer county at the time of the residence of the Lincoln family there. First opened to the public last July 4, with 11 buildings constructed by FERA workers, the village gradually is being expanded. During the past year the four buildings and a lake have been added by WPA workers.

As the result of extensive research by the Spencer County Historical society and George Honig, sculptor and designer of the village, the buildings are believed to be fairly accurate reproductions of the buildings of Lincoln’s day.

The last Indiana home of the Lincolns, for example, has a bed built into the logs in the side walls, a unique feature of some of the earlier pioneer homes.

The old Pigeon Creek Baptist church, which Thomas Lincoln and his son Abraham assisted in building in Spencer county, has been reproduced, even to the high pulpit and puncheon seats.


A barter and market house, where pioneers exchanged their wares has been built and equipped with skins, tobacco and other merchandise popular in Lincoln’s day. Old newspapers in the county, dating back as far as 1823, mention these trading marts.

The last of the new buildings is the home of Daniel Grass, the founder of Rockport.

It is a two-story structure, containing five rooms. Much of the furniture in the original Grass home, which has been presented by descendants of the family, has been placed in the house.

A three-acre lake, built outside the stockade which surrounds the Lincoln Pioneer Village, will provide recreational facilities, as well as beautify the park in which the village is situated.

More than 20,000 persons have visited the Lincoln village since it was opened to the public, not quite a year ago. Its register contains names from all over the world. People of all races and nationalities, hearing of the shrine, have come to pay their respects to the memory of Lincoln. One of the most illustrious visitors was Toyokia Dagava, well-known Japanese statesman.

Future plans for the village call for a statue of the boy Lincoln, by Honig, and museums. It is hoped eventually to people the buildings with wax figures dressed in authentic reproductions of the costumes of the time.


A play, "Lincoln’s First Great Sorrow," written by Miss Alice Hebert of gram.

The program, which was held in the Rockport high school auditorium, opened with music by the high school orchestra. Then followed the introduction by Mrs. C. D. Ehrmann of Karl Kae Knecht, Evansville Courier cartoonist, and Miss Hebert, Mrs. Ben Smith gave the introduction to the play in song.

After the play Mrs. Charles H. Salm sang, accompanied by Mrs. O. P. M. Thurman. Succeeding numbers on the program were songs by the Hartwell quartet; group of old time dances by Rockport girls; pioneer dance, quadrille, waltz, schottische and waltz of today; vocal solo, by Miss Eugenia Basham, dance by Miss Virginia Sargent, and music by the high school orchestra.


A. J. Heuring, Winslow editor; Charles T. Baker, Grandview editor, and P. E. Buechler, Ferdinand banker, will judge the floats in the "March of Progress" parade in Rockport this morning. They were appointed judges yesterday by A. P. Eberlin of this city, president of the Southwestern Indiana Civic association.

The association is offering prizes of $25, $10 and $5 for the three floats adjudged best.