We're all part of history, whether we do anything 'historic' or not.
And if you live in Allen County, all you need to do to get in the history book is write your own story.
Genealogist Margery Graham says, “Oh, we got a nun and a house. That's the original homestead, been in the family a hundred years.”
Fact by fact, photograph by photograph, the biography of Allen County, Indiana is coming together.
Librarian John Beatty says, “I just received Washington Township. I have Maumee, Milan's done, Perry's done, Springfield's done.”
For two years, this small group of dedicated historians has met in a corner of the downtown public library to write, collect, digitize and otherwise assemble as much of Allen County's history as possible.
Beatty says, “There've been a few pictorial histories done about Fort Wayne, but nothing really covered the county. The last one was this one in 1917, and we have a whole 80-year period where we have no stories told except what's in the newspaper.”
This is the Allen County history book project and it's an ambitious effort.
The goal is to publish early next year a comprehensive history of Allen County, including Fort Wayne, right up to the 21st Century.
Librarian John Beatty is assembling written histories of each of Allen County's townships.
Margery Graham is collecting family histories, submitted from as far away as Hawaii.
Family histories will be included in the book, along with a photograph, free of charge.
Though the stories of Indian battles and settlement, industry and government are important, organizers say the family stories are the building blocks of any history book.
Graham says, “And the aspects of all the different types that came to Allen County and settled here and what they did and how they raised their families. I find that quite fascinating. It’s like a great novel. You just want to know more about it.”
And the history book project would like to know more about you.
The deadline for submitting family histories is April 1st.
Especially needed are stories of African Americans, women, and Allen County's more recent immigrants from Central America and Southeast Asia.
Businesses, clubs, churches, schools and other organizations can submit histories, too.
They'll all appear in the book when it's published later this year...making the Allen County history book a family heirloom, to pass along from generation to generation...until the next history is published a century or so from now.
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