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Wabash Carnegie Public Library oral history transcripts

Identifier: OH033

Scope and Contents

This collection contains oral history transcripts of interviews with 45 individuals, conducted by George Dingledy for the Wabash Carnegie Public Library Oral History Project ranging from 1971 to 1986, regarding their lives and the history of Wabash, Indiana and the surrounding area.


  • 1971-1986


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights, including copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their legal heirs and assigns. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts. The publisher must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Florence Allen was born March 10, 1899 in Wabash, Indiana, the daughter of Thomas and Francenia Loughery Jester. She attended Wabash High School for three years and was a member of the Wabash Christian Church. On November 5, 1919, she married Edward (Eddie) Allen, with whom she would have three children; a son Richard E., and two daughters Ruth and Edwina. She died in Wabash, Indiana in April 1983.

Floyd Bates, son of Sidney (S. C.) and Rachel Catherine Henry Bates, was born in Speicherville, Indiana on February 26, 1899. Bates worked as a conductor and motorman on the streetcars and interurban in Wabash Indiana from 1918 until 1929.

John W. Beauchamp was born on July 29, 1909 in Andrews Indiana to Ward and Cora Mason Beauchamp. The family moved to Wabash Indiana in 1913. He attended Manchester College, Kokomo Jr. College, Indiana University, Michigan University, and Harvard Law School. He married Ruby Walker on December 25, 1932. John and Ruby had two daughters, Patricia Ann (Tad) and Beverly Kay (Cookie). After law school, Beauchamp worked for the firm of Davis, Pantzer, Baltzell, and Sparks in Indianapolis then moved back to Wabash in 1940. He was elected prosecutor in Wabash in 1942 and became a circuit court judge in 1955.

Cecil Beeson, son of William Henry and Jenny Jinks Beeson, was born in Wabash Indiana on August 19, 1905. He is a twin to Claude Stuart Beeson. The family moved to Hartford City, Indiana, in 1911 following the death of Jenny Jinks Beeson. Beeson graduated from Hartford City High School. He married Hannah Catherine Sills on 19 August 1928. In 1938, Beeson married Cittie Pearl Helm of Adair County, Kentucky. He retired from the U S Postal Service in 1965 and then became deputy surveyor of Blackford County. He was an avid genealogist and was instrumental in opening the Blackford Historical Museum and Cecil Beeson Genealogical Library. Beeson died April 4, 1994.

Samuel Garfield Bowlby, son of Wilson D. and Mary Garvin Bowlby, was born in Muscatine, Iowa on September 16, 1881. He attended school through the ninth grade, and then went to work at a button factory in Muscatine. Maude Bowlby, the daughter of Anthony Gorman and Delia Cunningham Gorman Bartlett, was born in Andalusia, Illinois on December 8, 1884, moving to Muscatine as a child. She was raised by her grandparents, Thomas and Cordelia Cunningham, and graduated from Muscatine High School in 1903. The couple married on June 24, 1903 in Rock Island Illinois and had eleven children, Ralph, Ruth, Bernard, W. Donald, Iona, Samuel, M. Cordelia, Damon, Paul, Joyce and Ann. In 1912, Sam and Mauda moved to Wabash Indiana to operate a button factory for the Iowa company, which later became the Wabash Button Company. In the 1920s, Sam Bowlby bought a truck and operated a local delivery service in Wabash until 1945, when they moved to a farm in Owen County. Sam Bowlby died March 25, 1974 and Maude died September 27, 1974.

Born near Bluffton, C. Glenn Coolman was a teacher and coach for decades in the Bluffton/Wabash areas. His father was also a teacher. Coolman began teaching at the age of 17 after graduating high school; he later got a degree from Ball State University in 1926. He taught and coached, mainly basketball, in Wabash and Bluffton until moving to the Culver Military Academy for 12 years. He also was a coach at the YMCA’s Camp Tecumseh. In 1929, he married fellow teacher Grace Michael. They had attended high school together and she supported him in his coaching career. She died in 1969 after getting sick earlier that year.

Born December 25, 1890, in Peru Indiana, Grace Cooper (Miller) was a wife and mother who lived through the drastic social and technological changes in small town America. Her parents had 9 children, and Cooper’s father left when she was 3 years old; her mother remarried a few years later. At the age of 18 1/5, Grace secretly married Clint Cooper, 22, in 1909. He moved to California to work on electric cars and after the birth of their 2nd son, she joined him in Pasadena, California. They moved back to Indiana in 1915 where they bought a farm in Kokomo. They bought a Model-T Ford and had many advanced appliances and farm tools, but no electricity in the house. Together they had 5 children, 4 who were still living at the time of the interview. Clint died in 1969. At the time of the interview, Grace was 96 years old.

Ray Dawson was born on July 28, 1888 to Ed and Jenny Fulton Dawson. Dawson had two brothers and one sister. He grew up on a farm outside of Wabash and Lagro Indiana. Dawson attended school until the eighth grade, when he quit in order to help his father on the farm. He worked as a farm hand until 1930 when he purchased his own acreage. Dawson states that his friends pressured him to join the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), but stood firm on his beliefs that the KKK was an organization “full of idiots.”


0.01 Cubic Feet (45 transcripts)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged alphabetically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from the Wabash Carnegie Public Library.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Marcia Caudell during July 2011. EAD finding aid created by Bethany Fiechter on 2019/07/01. Collection reprocessing completed 2020/03/06 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid revised 2020/03/06 by Brittany Kropf.


Wabash Carnegie Public Library oral history transcripts
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.