How to tell if it’s going to rain

“The hollow winds begin to blow,
The cloud looks black, the grass is low.
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cob-webs creep.
Last night the sun went pale to bed
The moon in halos hid her head
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh
For see, a rainbow spans the sky.”

So beings the poem “Signs of Rain” by Edward Jenner (1749-1823). Yes, that Edward Jenner of smallpox fame! The poem is also known by its subtitle, “Forty Reasons for Declining an Invitation to an Excursion.”

These three typed pages of this poem belong to the Indiana Writers Program Collection, Special Collections Department at Indiana State University Library.

This assignment on folklore and poetry was completed by Lucile Conn. To view the document more closely, click here.


Honoring a Terre Haute educator

“Imbued with an insatiable desire to improve her skills, Sarah Scott was an unpretentious Terre Haute school teacher for 40 years.”

This descriptive sentence of educator Sarah Scott (1856-1915) begins a Wabash Valley Profiles ad sponsored by Terre Haute First National (Financial) Bank and written by Vigo County Historian Mike McCormick. The ad appeared in the Aug. 30, 2001, issue of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.

Indeed, Sarah Scott was “imbued with an insatiable desire” for education. Soon after graduating from Terre Haute High School in 1874, Sarah enrolled at Indiana State Normal. While teaching school, she spent her summers attending classes in Chautauqua, N.Y. She pursued classes via correspondence and enrolled in more summer classes. Sarah later earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Indiana University.

Two years after her death in 1915, the Terre Haute School Board voted to name a new school at the corner of Ninth and Minshall streets in her honor. Today, Sarah Scott Middle School is still one of the fine schools in the Vigo County School Corporation.

To view this ad more closely, click here.


There’s no blarney in this wish!

Aunt Lucy sent Irish wishes to some loved one with this 1949 St. Patrick’s Day greeting card. The inside of this card shows a boy and a girl holding a shamrock with the following words on the next panel: “To wish you worlds o’ Irish luck An’ lots o’ Irish cheer Not only on St. Patrick’s Day But all throughout the year.”

This greeting card is part of the collection of the Vigo County Historical Society at 1411 S. 6th Street, Terre Haute, Ind. To view this card more closely, click here.

To get you in the mood for the St. Paddy’s, take to heart this Irish blessing:

“May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.


A green way to go

“For the first four decades of the 20th century, electric railroads — urban and interurban — provided the Wabash Valley with rapid and inexpensive transportation.”

So begins an article on the interurban transportation system in the Terre Haute area by Vigo County Historian Mike McCormick. The article appeared as an ad in the Jan. 25, 2001, issue of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star. The ad, Wabash Valley Profiles: A series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history, was sponsored by Terre Haute First National (Financial) Bank.

At the end of World War I (1918), the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Co. (THI&E) included 454.7 miles of track. “Interurban cars were named after local schools and local people. Each stop adopted a name and number.”

The coming of more paved roads and more automobiles doomed the interurban.

To view this article more closely, click here.