12/18/1997 NOTES From The White County Historical Society Library

White County Historical Society Library
by Charlene Shields!
This article appeared in THE CARMI TIMES
December 18, 1997

Make A Difference Day

As our part in "Make A Difference Day" in October, our library announced an essay contest for all White County school pupils from grades 4 through 12. The assigned topic was "My Favorite Ancestor." We hoped it would get young people asking questions and talking to their parents and grandparents about their ramifies. In my opinion, it was a success.
The winners' pictures and the results of the contest will be published soon. However, a picture of nine winners of monetary prizes doesn't tell the story. There were more than 200 essays which came in.
I read them all more than once before they were turned over to the judges.
They were all winners!

The number of pupils mentioning a famous ancestor was exciting. Some of those mentioned were Daniel Boone, John Alden, Abraham Lincoln, James Whitcomb Riley, Mark Hamill, Ulysses S. Grant, Jesse James, Sick Dove (a Cherokee Indian), a deputy sheriff at the time of Charlie Birger's activities, Pocohontas, a "real Cajun," Mary Draper Ingles, a full-blooded Apache Indian, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian chief, actor James Stewart, a sheriff who ran the Ku Klux Klan out of White County, the man who started the Hershey chocolate company and White County's own "Watermelon John L. Brown." Many mentioned war heroes, from the American Revolution, Civil War and two World Wars.

One pupil wrote about Noah, challenging us to prove he wasn't a descendant of that ancient bearded patriarch.
However interesting reading all this proved to be, it wasn't necessary to find a famous ancestor. And 90 percent of the pupils chose as their favorite ancestor either a parent or grandparent.
One writer couldn't select between his grandmothers, so he wrote about both his maternal and paternal grandmother.
One wrote about both a great-grandmother and great-grandfather, for he said, "after seventy-two years of being married, how can you split them apart'?"

As I read these essays, I wished the grandparents and parents mentioned could have the privilege of reading them.
They would surely "bust their buttons" with pride at the love which showed up on every line of these essays.
From, "My favorite ancestor is grandpa because he takes me fishing," to "I love granny because she makes the best pancakes"-- these essays were a delight to read.

It was evident the pupils had talked with parents and grandparents to obtain names, dates and family stories. So our purpose was accomplished. Who knows? Perhaps this will start some young people onto the fascinating search for family history.

Our thanks to all the pupils, their teachers and all the relatives who helped in this assignment.

........ REMEMBER: The Genealogy Library will close at 5 p.m. Dec. 17 and will not open again until Feb. 4, 1998. Merry Christmas!

We continue to be comfortably busy with letters and visitors to our Genealogy Library. We're open from 11 to 5 on Wednesdays. Come join us.

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