Both of my mother's parents were born and raised in Bloomington, in Monroe county, Indiana. Their families had lived in Indiana for several generations and we're still in touch with some of their descendants who are living in that area.
Alice Seward was a part of the fourth generation of Sewards in Bloomington. Her great-grandparents, Austin and Jane (Irvin) Seward, arrived shortly after the town was founded in 1818. Austin was a blacksmith and started the Seward foundry which was a well-known Bloomington institution for more than 160 years. He was born in Middlesex county, Virginia, in 1797 and came to Indiana via Kentucky. Jane was born in Madison County, KY, where the Irvins had stopped for a few years during their migration from Augusta County, VA, to Indiana.
Alice's mother, Jennie Lind Allen, came from Greenville, in Floyd county, where her family had lived at least as far back as 1820 when Jennie's grandparents Thomas Allen and Eliza (or Nancy) Brown, were married there.
Charles Walker's parents, John Wesley Walker and Sarah Elizabeth Voss, came to Bloomington from neighboring Lawrence County. Their ancestors came to Indiana from several different areas.
Alice Walker subscribed to the Bloomington Herald Telephone until the day she died, some 63 years after leaving Bloomington. She clipped articles and photos, not only from the Bloomington newspapers, but also from Tucson and Santa Monica papers, for her scrapbook which I've used while assembling this Family Album. Some of the articles weren't of any particular interest to our family, but described familiar sights around Bloomington, or were by or about such fellow Hoosiers as Ernie Pyle and Hoagy Carmichael. As I read over the wedding and funeral announcements, biographical sketches and stories of family reunions, I can't help but notice how interrelated my grandparents' families were in this small town. Bloomington's 1900 population, probably not including IU students, was reported to be 6,460 persons, up from only 4,018 in 1890. It took until 1950 to reach the 50,000 mark.
These may not be the people who "ran" Bloomington, but they did a lot to keep it running smoothly. They were the blacksmiths, schoolteachers, newpaper editors, and small business owners who played a very big part in everyday Bloomington life for more than a century. Most of them belonged to the Methodist or Presbyterian church. Most of the men were members of at least one of the fraternal organizations, e.g. Masons, Elks, Odd Fellows and Red Men. People from one line knew, and often married people, from other lines. I see these surnames, and a few others, over and over in news items of all kinds:
A good example of the close ties between these families can be found in the 1910 U. S. census, in which five families with four of the surnames above were listed on a single page, all living within a block of each other along North College Avenue.
If you, the reader of this Family Album, are also researching any of these surnames, let's get in touch and exchange information!