Tuesday, June 14, 2016

300 posts and " Only in Andrews"

I'm taking a break this week from regular ancestor blogging.  Today's post may be news to one or two of my readers.  Besides working on genealogy and reading history to better understand the lives of our ancestors, I've been researching and writing a book for the past two and a half years.  Saturday, it went live on Amazon.com and great was the rejoicing in this household.

The book is Only in Andrews and here is the link.https://www.amazon.com/Only-Andrews-Janice-Harshbarger/dp/1530732859/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465820638&sr=8-1&keywords=Only+in+Andrews.  It's the story of the early years of the town I've lived in for about 46 years of my life.  Husband has lived here his entire life, except for time in the military way back when, and his parents, grandparents, and one set of great grandparents lived here also. 

Andrews is a fascinating little town of about 1100 people in northern Indiana.  At one time, it was the site of a village of Miami Indians.   The Wabash canal was located a mile or so north of what became "town", and later the Wabash railroad came through.  That's when a town was platted and growth began.  The railroad made the town their "division point" and for a time the town had a boom.  Population grew from 450 in 1870 to something around 2500 in 1883.  The railroad gradually pulled out, and the town went into a bit of a recession, but after several years the traction line came through, again north of town, and a fair sized factory was put into operation. 

Over the next years, the town suffered a bank failure (actually caused by the founder's frauds and forgeries), major fires, common crimes, political fights, the bankruptcy of the factory, and other injuries, but the town pulled itself together, attracted new families, and by 1916, when the book ends, Andrews was in good shape to continue as a small but vital part of Indiana. 

I've told some stories in the book that are similar to those on some of the gossip TV shows today.  There was a pastor who caused a terrible scandal, there were gambling dens and houses of ill-fame, there was a blind tiger during an early experiment with Prohibition.  The town elections of 1913 were as divisive as the Presidential election is this year.  Angry newsmakers attacked the editor of the local paper with fisticuffs and even stones.  Two juveniles got in a fight and one didn't survive. 

But there are also good stories, such as the faith healer who had a large practice from her home in Andrews, the Civil War veterans who were the backbone of the town for years, the many fund raisers and socials that gave the townspeople something to look forward to, and the influence of churches, lodges, and the school. 

All in all, I fell in love with the people of the town.  I came to love their successes and moan over their failures and tragedies, and I'm glad I took the time to learn some of their stories.  I hope some of my readers will enjoy the stories from the early years of the town, too. 

I never dreamed when I started this blog that I'd ever get to 300 posts, and I certainly never dreamed that I'd have a book published at the same time.  I'm still having fun, and there are still stories to write and ancestors to find, so I hope to be able to continue both blogging and possibly researching for another book.  Who knows what will come next?

Thanks to my faithful followers and readers, and here's to the next 100 posts, Lord willing.