Madison County Historical Society



Letter from the President:  To MCHS Members,

     We all know that today's post-pandemic world is fraught with new problems, difficulties, and needed changes.  It is no exception for the Museum of Madison County History.  Officials are facing several dilemmas in regard to our quarterly Gazette.  Some members have complained about not receiving the newsletter(MCHS always checks to verify copies were, in deed, sent) or receiving an incomplete or damaged issue(damage occurring in transit). 

     The financial expenditure for producing(paper, ink, toner) and posting(even with bulk mailing) the hard copy newsletter four times a year has reached an all-time high of over $800.  That is money we could well use to help pay for advertising, utilities, insurance, programming, etc.  The number of man-hours it takes the four volunteers to print pages, collate, seal, label, and deliver to the post office is into double digits.  These hours could be spent helping researchers in the library, giving tours, dismantling or organizing displays and preparing for projects like next year's bicentennial celebration.  The silver lining to this situation of over-extended volunteers is that the number of researchers, guests, and visitors to our Museum of Madison County History is markedly up in our post-pandemic new reality.

     In order to avoid an increase in membership dues, the MCHS Advisory Council would like to save most of the financial cost of the Gazette by converting our production and delivery system to a digital format using email services.  At the end of September, you will receive the next issue of the Gazette in two formats:  a hard copy to your mail box and a digital email.  Please compare the two versions.  We think you will find the email version not only easier to read -- being able to increase the viewing size -- but also more colorful and attractive throughout.

     We, of course, will need to make sure that we have everyone's current, correct email address.  Please email the MCHS at by October 15th with a brief comment on our experiment with "going digital."  That way we will have your current and correct digital address and con compare it with our members information database.

     If you do not have email capability, you can call us at 765-683-0052, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and ask for DEB.

     Trying to adjust to changes in our 21st century,

     Thank you,

     Melody Hull,  MCHS President


 ......To the Madison County Historical Society.  MCHS was organized in 1884 and incorporated in 1926.  From these humble and early beginnings, the Society has continued through the years with vigor, energy, and dedication on its mission to collect and preserve objects, artifacts, documents, and photographs pertaining to the history of Madison County, Indiana.  Through research, education, and exhibition, we seek to interpret and prompt an awareness and appreciation for that history for the benefit of all generations. 


At our home in downtown Andersonthere is a lasting record of a way of life preserved for all to see, treasure and enjoy.  We welcome all who are interested in exploring our rich culture and social history.  The earliest pioneers, seeking new homes and better farm land, came here when there were only Indian trails and buffalo tracks.  They settled along the White River and small creeks in Madison County, encountering the Indians, clearing the timber and stayed because of the richness of the soil and the promise of prosperity. 

Indiana was the cross roads to lands further west and many did pass through;  however, those who remained, built homes, farms, businesses, churches, and communities.  Our early history is interwoven with that of the Delaware Indians and those early pioneers who came to a new land.  Their lives and courage should give us pause and inspiration to continue with the work we have set for ourselves and the Society. 


2022 Car Show




First Gas Engine Auto

     The first gas engine auto and driven in Anderson, Indiana was in 1891. 
     It appears only briefly in an old, grainy black and white film shot on Anderson's near east side around 1915.  The camera's position is above the roof of the Buckeye Manufacturing Company's facility, once located at 1803-19 Columbus Avenue.  As the west-facing camera lens pans over the expansive top of the building from left to right(south to north), a mysterious odd-shaped trestle comes into view for a few seconds before disappearing from view. 
     That trestle was one of several methods utilized by the company to test a new concept, the gear-less friction drive speed change transmission, which made its automobiles unique in the ever-growing mix of horse-less carriages sweeping across America.
     The Buckeye firm was established on Columbus Avenue by John W. Lambert in 1904 and continued in business through 1917, reaching the height of its production from 1907 to 1910.  The plant produced an average of 2,000 cars per year.  Several different models incorporating different styling were offered.
     Mr. Lambert came to Anderson in 1892 to establish a buggy manufacturing plant after having been in that business in Ohio City, Ohio.  In 1895, his factory was between Third and Fourth streets on the west side of Sycamore Street.  Five years later, it was a massive facility encompassing a two-city block area between Third and Fourth streets employing about 250 people.
     While in Ohio, Lambert experimented with gasoline engines as the source of power for vehicles and built a three-wheeled single-cylinder automobile.  Today, he is recognized by the authoritative magazine "Antique Automobile" for inventing and driving the automobile in 1891, the first gasoline-powered car in America.
     By 1902, Lambert's concern was making gasoline engines and he established the Union Automobile Company in Anderson, with a subsidiary in Union City, Indiana.  The automobile business began to increase, necessitating an expansion of facilities.
     Finding five acres on Anderson's southeast side, he organized the Buckeye firm and, at the cost of $150,000, built the 300,000 square-foot plant on Columbus Avenue employing 35-400 workers.  In the plant, his signature automobile, the eye-appealing Lambert, was produced.  They sold for around $1,200 and could do up to 65 mph.  Buckeye claimed its care could go as fast backward as forward.
     The friction disk drive was one of the critical features of the Union and Lambert automobiles.  In Lambert's own words:  "In practice I have found that this combination of aluminum and fiber bearing surfaces gives the maximum degree of friction and durability, thereby especially adapting the gearing for use on motor vehicles of the heavier kind, where the friction surfaces are at times subject to great strains, and must, therefore, have a frictional contact of a high degree of efficiency in order to avoid slipping".

Lambert Run About 1908

     "It will be observed that the aluminum is advantageous also, because it will not tarnish or rust appreciably, but will always present a smooth, clean surface to the fiber periphery, so that wear will be reduced to a minimum."
     To test the performance and durability of the friction disk drive, unique test tracks were needed, ones that each automobile had to pass successfully before be sold.  Three testing facilities were built on vacant lots on both sides of the East 19th Street property, immediately west of the manufacturing plant.  Note:  Watch what is coming in October......"With assembly complete, the cars would be driven out of the plant and then............

Stephen T. Jackson, Madison County Historian


Local Veterans To Be Honored

The Madison County Historical Society wishes to advise the public and our members that the society will once again be honoring our local veterans in an advertisement in the Madison Life & Times magazine winter edition 2022.  If you would like to honor your veteran, please contact the Madison County Historical Society by email at, or by phone at 765-683-0052, or go to our Facebook page.(

You may wish to attend our next monthly meeting at the Museum of Madison County History at 11 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana.  The meeting will be on Monday evening, April 25, 2022 at 7 p.m..  Enter at the double doors of the building.


Elwood H. Phillips Memorial Award

The Madison County Historical Society annually honors a person or organization who is deemed by the Board of Trustees to have made noteworthy contributions to the cause of preserving the heritage of Madison County, Indiana.


1986     Eugene R. Bock*

1987     Raymond M. Davis*

1988     Ruth Dane*

1989     Howard Eldon*

1990     Haroldyne Zook*

1991     Esther Dittlinger*

1992     Helen Harvey Baumer*

1993     David Bucove*

1994     Maude Ward*

1995     Georgia Lyons*

1996     Phyllis Leedom*

1997     Lillie Givens Manuel*

1998     Dr. Jack Nicholson*

1999     Stephen Jackson

2000     Ray Wood*

2001     Gloria Lamper*

2002     Linda Hummel Shelton

2003     Gerald Jones

2004     Richard Bowman*

2004     Marilyn Moneyhun*

2004     Dr. James Moneyhun*

2005     Max Howard

2006     Robert B. Quinn*

2007     Milton C. Otto

2008     Donald Hunt

2009     Suzetta Chambers

2010     Nancy Draper

2011     Roger Hensley

2012     Carolyn DeLawter Shettle

2013     William Upperman*

2014     Theodore Vinson*

2014     G. Eugene Yates*

2015     William Knepp

2016     Terry King

2016     Jim Jackson*

2017     Pendleton Hist. Museum

2018     Lucretia S. Lawler*

2019     Bob Post

2020     Award Postponed

2021     Jay Brown




The Museum of Madison County History is a place that you can definitely use most and/or all your skill set.  We love to welcome volunteers to our Museum and its many and varied departments and projects.  There really is no job that is too small, too large or too mundane.  If you have a couple of hours a week, you may want to spend that time with us.  Please consider coming in to speak to someone about volunteering.  We are conveniently located in downtown Anderson on the corner of Meridian and 11th Street.  Please visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or call for more information at (765) 683-0052.


The Mohawk Comes In

An L-4b at work in Anderson just before the end came for it.  This Mohawk was retired in June, 1956.(James C. Suhs Collection)

Train and Dollhouse Exhibits Open

The Christmas Train and Dollhouse Exhibits are open for everyone.  Please ask your guide to see them.  You, your family and friends are invited to stop by the Museum on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to visit these exhibits.  The Museum is located at 15 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana.

The Museum In The Classroom

by  Stephen Jackson,  County  Historian
Anna Epperly, Assistant Professor of Education, Anderson University wrote in an email the following:
"I am currently supervising thirteen EDUC 4120 and EDUC 4710 students in their senior classroom management courses.  With Covid-19 restrictions in local schools regarding visitors and volunteers, we had to think creatively in terms of providing our AU students with authentic access to mentor teachers and "real, live students" this semester.  As a volunteer at the Museum of Madison County History, operated by the Madison County Historical Society(MCHS), I was able to seek and receive approval from MCHS for AU students to virtually instruct Frankton 4th, 5th, and 8th grade students from temporary "broadcast studios" within the museum.  AU students are currently teaching live lessons virtually, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, using various museum exhibits and artifacts.  This partnership has required much collaboration among AU students and faculty, local historians, and Frankton classroom teachers and administrators, providing multiple benefits to all concerned."
During a recent Zoom meeting of Indiana County Historians, Indiana Historical Society, and Indiana Historical Bureau staff, I shared this joint project of how a successful collaboration between the two Anderson, Indiana, educational organization/institutions has overcome the Covid crisis negativity by creating a positive that benefits our local schools.  Needless to say, it was greeted with much enthusiasm and with discussion to expand to other counties with institutions of higher learning.




                                       February 5, 2023 - Union Township

                                       March 5, 2023 - Pipe Creek Township

                                       April 2, 2023 - Richland Township

                                       May 7, 2023 - Monroe Township

                                       June 4, 2023 - Lafayette Township

                                       July 2, 2023 - Van Buren Township - July 4th weekend

                                       August 6, 2023 - Boone Township

                                      September 3, 2023 - Duck Creek Township - Labor Day Weekend

                                      October 1, 2023 - Stony Creek Township

                                      November 5, 2023 - Madison County - November 10, 2023 - 200 years

1913 Flood

     The FIRST SUNDAY PRESENTATIONS will take place in the Bowman Room at the Museum of Madison County History, 11 West 11th Street, Anderson, Indiana.  Each presentation will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be about one hour in length plus time for questions.  There is no fee for this activity.  Please inform your family and friends of these history presentations. 
    The First Sunday events will be presented by County Historian, Stephen T. Jackson.



Little Log Cabin on Mill Street


     Sometime in the 1830's it is believed a log cabin was built west of Pendleton.  Also, it is believed, the cabin was moved sometime around 1940 to Mill Street in Pendleton where it was occupied, on occasion, by local persons.  

     It sat vacant for a number of years until being acquired by the Town of Pendleton about two years ago with the idea to place it within Falls Park. 

     Madison County Historical Society member, Jay Brown, was contacted to disassemble, move, and reassemble the old cabin on Falls Park property.  Jay stated the cabin is quite unusual because in its original design it was "L" shaped, a design he had not seen around here before.


     A site was selected near the north entrance to the park and construction was begun in the summer of 2019.  Jay enlisted help of many, all volunteers with various talents and local construction firms, to rebuild the cabin with modifications to make it a place that could be used and appreciated.  They call themselves "The Pendleton Log Cabin Project."

     When completed, the cabin will be available for weddings on the back porch, receptions, reunions, family gatherings and other social events which can be scheduled through the Superintendent of Falls Park.

     Jay had had many willing hands assist him.  One is the Madison County Historical Society's 2019 Elwood H. Phillips Historical Award recipient, Bob Post, who undertook the building of the chimney and fireplace.

     Congratulations to Jay Brown and Bob Post and to all who are so willingly helping to preserve this unique piece of Madison County history.


Article and pictures by Steve Jackson, Madison County Historian



The Madison County Historical Society, due to increased expenses, has decided to raise the membership dues for the Society.  The majority of the dues have been held at its present level for about 13 years.  Beginning immediately, single membership dues will be $25.00 and family memberships will be $40.00.  Please be aware that membership dues will be due in December and January for the year 2021.  For those who wish to mail your dues to us, please go to our membership page.  Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding as we go forward into the new year.  If you have any questions and/or comments, please call the office at 765-683-0052.


Stephen T. Jackson, Madison County Historian, has embarked upon a new history series that will be published occasionally in the Herald Bulletin and in the Madison magazine.  Please be looking for these articles about our county.
The series is titled "What's in a Name?"  Steve brings to light the early organizing of the county, the people and interesting place names like Toad, Hardscrabble and Buzzardville.  You can follow the link here for the first two articles.
For Steve, a question or statement may lead to a subject that he becomes exceptionally curious about.  When that happens, as it did, with names and places, you know you will get a detailed and informative program!  That certainly is true with this series on townships.  For Steve's "Fall Creek Township" live presentation at the Museum, you can go here.



Everyone anywhere can join our Society.  Join us today.

Looking for an ancestor in Madison County?  Let us help.

Sign up for our eNewsletter here and keep up-to-date with all of our activities.

Have a special talent or interested in a project?  Come volunteer with us.



Madison County  Historical Society
The Madison County Historical Society is an all volunteer organization.  Our goal is to preserve the history of our rich heritage through the use of exhibits, speaking engagements, tours of interesting and educational destinations, cataloging artifacts, and providing a safe place for historical items and documents. 

Contact Us:  15 West 11th Street, P. O. Box 696, Anderson, Indiana 46015-0696,, Office:  765-683-0052
Open Hours:  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays;  9 am to 3:30 pm.  Exhibit Hours:  10 am to 3:30 pm