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The Versailles Republican

January 15, 2015 • Headlines

John Story made a presentation Sunday to the historical society about photos and preservation. He lives in Ohio but has ancestors from the area.
Pictured above is the house in Rexville when it first caught fire. The home ignited on the other side, but then smoke started billowing from the windows. Firefighters were still on the scene at press time and no other information was available.
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Friendship State BankKing's Daughters' HealthWhitewater Motor Company Inc.
Four Seasons Stove ShoppeRipley Publishing Company, Inc.

Fire department report given

The Versailles Volunteer Fire Department had a busy year in 2014 responding to 395 emergency calls. The volunteer firefighters also logged 1,729 man hours at emergency incidents and 2,028 man hours training. The average response time for the department in 2014 was just over 8 minutes. The fire department recently named officers for 2015. Business officers are President Adam Hunger, Vice President Zach Halcomb, Secretary Dylan Peak, Treasurer Randy Hornsby, Board of Director Bryan Buchanan and Board of Director Gary Back.

House fire in Rexville

A house near Rexville was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning. Ripley County dispatch received several reports of the fire around 11:09 a.m. at 7913 S County Road 400 West. New Marion Fire Department was on the scene with mutual aide from Versailles and Friendship fire departments. No one was home at the time. Some of the pets did escape.

The Versailles Fire Department line officers for 2015 are Chief Ben Sieverding, Asst. Chief Adam Hunger, Captain Randy Hornsby, Captain Gary Back, Captain Bryan Buchanan, Lieutenant Dylan Peak and Lieutenant Zach Halcomb and Safety Officer Darin Laird. The remaining firefighters serving the Versailles community are Sean Furlow, James Bennett, Dalton Garner, Eric Grossman, Nick Schwarte, Sean Guenther, Alex Hafft, Dwight Bauman, James Hartman, Brian Jackson, Derek Wood, and Jeffery Wirtz.

“The Versailles Volunteer Fire Department continues to work to improve your fire department and is looking forward to serving the Versailles community in 2015. The volunteers would also like to thank everyone that has supported this year’s calendar project, without the support of the community the department cannot continue to serve,” said Fire Chief Ben Sieverding. If you are interested in serving the Versailles community as a volunteer firefighter stop by the fire station or call Sieverding at 812-621-1150.

A permanent record...

County’s archives date back to 1800s

Sandy Day Howard

The Ripley County community is rich in history, from the time it was formed in 1833 through the present day. The Ripley County Historical Society has archived much of that history in the form of record books, newspaper clippings, obituaries, birth and death records and a wide variety of other artifacts, all chronicling times gone by in Ripley County.

Cheryl Welch, volunteer historian and president of the Ripley County Historical Society says people are always welcome to use any of the available materials and view the county’s relics. The society actually owns three separate buildings in Versailles. The old “Versailles Bank” building on the town square is home to the society’s library. The museum is located on the corner of Main and Water Streets, and the Smith-Engel log cabin which was built about 1830 is located behind the museum. The cabin was built and owned by Jacob and Nancy Funkhouser in those days.

Welch explained that the records date back to the 1830s where books containing marriage licenses, wills, family history, probate material and more are available for public viewing and research. Welch says the society also has the “Toph Papers: The People’s History” a 6,000 page compilation of genealogy on Ripley County families dating back to the 1800s. Miss Violet Toph, a retired teacher, researched and gathered the data in the 1930s. The papers have been recently re-indexed, and are current with sleeved pages.

Welch has spent hundreds of hours reviewing much of the Ripley County material. Coroner’s inquests, cemetery records, wills, commitment (insanity) records, old property deeds, and nearly any type of record detailing Ripley County families and happenings can be located at the museum. Several books are available for purchase, including ‘Brown Township Tales’ by the late local author and pharmacist Alan Smith and ‘Broken Wings’ by Robert Kelly. Also for sale is a book picturing a collection of vintage postcards by Alan Smith, as well as interesting reads ‘The Osgood Sesquicentennial,’ ‘Lest We Forget WWII,’ and ‘Versailles School Life,’ ‘Napoleon and Vicinity,’ as well as several township cemetery indexes can also be purchased. The county’s census records are available for public viewing on microfilm. Endless accounts of wars and battles fought by United States armed forces available for review inside the walls of the historic buildings as well.

“We have a lot of material available to help people in search of their genealogy and we welcome anyone with an interest to come and use these archives.” The archive building also has newspaper copies of The Versailles Republican, Osgood Journal and other Ripley County papers dating back to 1848. Some are bound and some are on microfilm.

Hours for the archives building are Monday-Friday from 1-4 pm. The museum is typically open from 2-4 on Sunday afternoons. For more information on the Ripley County Historical Society, call 812-689-3031. There’s so much more to Ripley County’s heritage than Morgan’s Raid and the Hanging Tree!

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Matching grants can help non-profits (front page)
Governor’s State of the State Address (front page)
• Jac-Cen-Del Elementary second nine weeks and semester honor roll (School News, section B)
• Getting to know those who serve our churches, by Cathy May (section B, page 3)

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