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Black Civil War vet may get place in history

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners will ask the council for $50,000 in riverboat funds to move the house in which a black Civil War veteran lived next to the Leora Brown School in Corydon.
The purpose is to showcase contributions African Americans made to Harrison County history and to promote tourism.
‘I’m interested in history and certainly the contributions African Americans and others have made to our community,’ said Commissioner James Goldman, whose motion Monday night to ask for the funds passed with a second from Jim Heitkemper. Goldman chaired the meeting in the absence of president J.R. Eckart.
Heitkemper, a builder and farmer, had offered a compromise solution which would have kept the small, two-room frame house where it is for use by the House of New Beginnings. That group is just about ready to begin construction of a half-way house on the same grounds where Leonard Carter’s old house stands, so it must be moved or bulldozed. Heitkemper said it’s possible to save the house where it now stands if the half-way house plans were altered slightly.
Maxine Brown, who restored the Leora Brown School where her aunt, Leora Brown, taught school many years ago, said, ‘My first preference would be to use the house for historic purposes.’
She said after the school was built in 1891, the school system was segregated although a white teacher was hired to teach the black children.
Carter, she said, took a bold step when he petitioned the school board to hire an African American to teach there instead. ‘Blacks weren’t even allowed in the Civil War for the first two years,’ she said. ‘We had about 12 in our county who did go.’
For now, few tourists who visit Harrison County have a sense of the roles African Americans played. Brown said that knowledge could be expanded by moving the house on Floyd Street next to the school.
She said the house was given to the non-profit Brown School, but it must be moved soon so construction of the half-way house can start. It would take about $20,000 to purchase the lot next to the school for the house to sit on, $15,000 to move the house there, and additional sums to build a foundation for the house and fix it up.
Brown’s non-profit group applied to the Harrison County Community Foundation for a grant but was turned down. And the Convention and Visitors Bureau doesn’t have extra funds to contribute to the project, Brown said. She submitted about 500 signatures on a petition to show community support for the project plus letters from each of the three public school system superintendents.
The request for funds is expected to be heard by the council at its meeting Monday evening, which begins at 7.
In other matters Monday night, the commissioners:
‘ Signed a contract with Jacobi, Toombs & Lanz Inc. for the design of a hospital front road at a cost not to exceed $72,450. Riverboat revenue in the commissioners’ contractual services accounts will be used.
‘ Opened 10 bids for road construction, all from Gohmann Asphalt & Construction in Corydon. Four bids under $150,000 each were awarded in the northern district, three in Eckart’s district were taken under advisement pending his return, and three in Heitkemper’s southern districts were also taken under advisement. Two of those came in at more than $150,000, which requires that wages be set by a wage control board. So those bids are under advisement at the recommendation of Harrison County’s interim engineer Kevin Russel.
‘ Voted to accept three bids from Atlantic Construction Co. in Louisville to strip the sides of rural roads. The bids, the only ones received, were $17,124 in the northern First District, $30,639 in the central Second District, and $20,847 for the southern Third District.
‘ Approved the engineer’s recommended speed limits for Foundation Way and Keller Court at the YMCA entrance road. County attorney Chris Byrd will prepare ordinances to be signed at the commissioners’ next meeting to set the speed limit at 20 mph on both roads.
‘ Heard a request from the U.S. Census Bureau for three layers of the county’s Geographic Information Systems map to use in developing a global positioning system.
‘You’re not the first who wants our information, that costs us a lot of money,’ Goldman told the census representative, Gail A. Krmenec of Westchester, Ill. ‘We will pay some of the costs of reproduction, generally,’ Krmenec said. The commissioners took the request under advisement.
‘ Heard from Recorder Barbara Mathes that a new account the commissioners must name needs to be set up to deposit funds her office must collect under a bill passed in the last General Assembly. On Jan. 1, 2006, the office must charge $2 more to record documents, such as deeds, which will require that the person drafting the document certify it contains no Social Security numbers. That will bring the price for deeds to $16 for the first page and $2 each additional page.
Mathes said this is apparently one of the measures being taken to avert identity theft, but she’s not sure what will be done when a tax lien is filed. Those usually require a Social Security number for accuracy. She’s also not sure why there’s a $2 charge. She expects recorders will receive more information when the time to implement the change nears.
‘ Heard complaints from Warren Haun that national issues, such as illegal immigration, are not being discussed in public meetings as they should be. ‘That’s why it’s getting out of control,’ he said. ‘Nobody’s talking about it.’
County official solves mystery of missing cannon, whipping post
In response to a recent Live Wire query, three ‘conniving thieves’ have admitted their guilt for removing a World War I cannon from the courthouse lawn in Corydon.
The guilty are commissioners J.R. Eckart, Jim Heitkemper and James Goldman. ‘The cannon was in need of repair,’ Goldman said. ‘The spokes were rotten and dangerous.
‘We took them to Montgomery, in Daviess County, for the Amish to repair. They are now being reassembled at the highway department. The cannon is being painted and will be back at the courthouse by the July 4 weekend,’ Goldman said.
The same threesome is also guilty of removing the historical whipping post and sign from their place in front of the old jail, which is currently being renovated.
Goldman said the sign and post have been in storage, but a new site has been selected. They should be in place in the next few days.
Lastly, Goldman wanted to clarify that neither he nor the other two commissioners have had anything to do with the clock missing from the front of the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon.
‘I think Father Time stole it, and I don’t have a clue where he’s at,’ Goldman said.
This reporter has been told by an anonymous source that the face of the clock has been shielded until it can tell the right time.