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In a past column I told how on a hike in Vanderburgh County exploring wetlands near the Eagle Slough Nature Preserve I had a lasting encounter with what are known as swamp beggar ticks. These plants produce flat divided seeds that are commonly called sticktights and once on your clothing are…

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It is amazing that something that many people find so pretty and are wildly painted as an ornamental tree can in a few years turn into an invasive plant. Such is the case with the callery pear, a native to China and Korea and has become one of our most commonly planted yard and garden shrubs.

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In my last column I had left Colonel John Campbell and his force of nearly 800 mounted troops on the banks of the Mississinewa River on what is now the upper reaches of the Mississinewa Reservoir near the hamlet of Jalapa in Grant County. Campbell had indeed carried out General Harrison’s or…

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After the Battle of Fort Harrison, Indian raids increased all across Indiana. Fort Wayne, at what was to become our state’s second largest city, was the scene of a long siege and a number of settlers killed or wounded. General William Henry Harrison now in command of the Northwestern U.S. Ar…

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I conclude my series of columns on the uncommon native trees of Indiana with several trees you have probably never had the opportunity to see. They are the black hickory, sourwood, overcup oak, yellow brick, paper birch, water locust, yellow buckeye and the yellowwood.

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In my past columns on the uncommon tress of Indiana the trees I featured, while they had a very restricted range in our state, were more or less common in the locations where they are found. There are other native Hoosier trees that not only have a very localized range in Indiana, but usuall…

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One of my favorite trees is the hemlock. It is a pretty evergreen, but it is the location the tree loves to grow in that helps to make the hemlock one of my favorites. Native to 14 Indiana counties it seems to do best in a secluded ravine, rocky hillside, or even in places where it can put d…

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Indiana has three species of native pine trees that have very restricted locations in our state. They are the eastern white pine, jack pine and Virginia pine, which is also sometimes known as scrub pine. Other species of pines have been planted over the years in strip mined and abandoned are…

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In my last column we left Captain Zachary Taylor and a small combined force of troops from the 7th Infantry and settlers who had taken refuge in F ort Harrison surrounded by Indians who had set the fort on fire. Taylor knew if the fire was not put out and a segment of the walls burned down a…

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When General Harrison began his march from Vincennes to what became the Battle of Tippecanoe his army stopped at the present day city of Terre Haute, then stayed long enough to build a fort that would be used as a supply base for his troops. The fort when constructed was christened Fort Harr…

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When Tecumseh returned to Indiana after the Battle of Tippecanoe, he knew that his brother The Prophet had ruined his hopes of an Indian confederation, but was England going to war with the U.S.? Relations between the three nations were already at the breaking point and the war hawk of both …

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In two past columns I featured the bald cypress, which is a tree most often found in the deep southern United States. Its area extends northward into southern Indiana and Illinois. In Indiana it is only native in four southwestern Hoosier counties. This can be a large tree that can live for …

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In a past column I listed the bald cypress as one of the uncommon trees native to Indiana. I wrote so much about where it is found in our state that I ran out of space before I could describe what helps make this tree so interesting. One reason is it can thrive in a very wet habitat and anot…

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Indiana is home to a variety of tree species. While some range all across our state, a number of others have a rather limited range and only exist in a few sites, often in areas that are hostile to most other trees. I will be talking about several of these more or less uncommon trees in a se…

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As stated in a past column, the Battle of Tippecanoe has been called the most savage and well fought battle ever waged between the white and red races. The Indians charged again and again into the blazing rifles of the soldiers and they had kept their composure as few other Indians ever had …

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It is nearly dawn on Nov. 7, 1811, in General Harrison’s camp on a rise of ground along Burnett’s Creek near the Tippecanoe River in what was to become Tippecanoe County, Indiana. While it was still dark Harrison had left his tent to prepare for the new day. He did not know what to expect as…

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After getting out of the ravines of the Big Pine Creek area Harrison’s army made rapid progress to Prophetstown where some Indians appeared. But when they acted rather hostile Harrison did not send one of his scouts, Toussaint Dubois, into the town because he wanted to see what the Indians n…

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I continue my look back in early Indiana history with the resumption of Harrison’s march to Prophetstown. All had gone well so far for Harrison, but this was about to change. On the night of Oc. 10 a hidden sniper fired into the camped army and wounded a sentinel and also threw the camp into…

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In my last column on the historic time period between 1811 and 1815 here in Indiana I left Tecumseh on his way south to try and get the southern Indians to join his confederation of Native Americans and then join with the English in Canada and force the Americans to create an Indian homeland…

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From the feedback from the readers of my column it seems many of them really enjoy my articles on Indiana historical sites and the early history of Indiana, as well as the ones on our Hoosier natural history. They want me to keep doing both of them, so I guess I will continue to turn out bot…

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Bats have always been a great interest to me. When I was younger I spent many nights out in the yard watching the bats do their acrobatic movement up and down as they sought out the insects that they need to survive.

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Without doubt Knox County is the most historic county in Indiana. For one thing it is an old town. It was founded in 1732 as a town but it was certainly a French trading post at an earlier date. It had an early French fort that was commanded by Francois-Marie Bissot de Vincennes in 1732 who …

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Most Hoosiers who spend a lot of time in the outdoors and follow the history of the formation of our Indiana State Parks know that McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run were our first two state parks. However, this was in 1916 and when you ask them what and when was our next state park establishe…

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Indiana has a National Historical Park, a National Memorial, and a National Historic Landmark. The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is in Vincennes, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is at Gentryville and the third is the Tippecanoe Battlefield National Historic Landmark near…

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As most of us would expect our largest and most impressive nature preserves are in rather remote areas and not next to a major city. Such, however, is not the case with a very large and most impressive site just a short distance from Indiana’s second largest city, Fort Wayne. This is the 831…

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I continue our look at the mansions of Indiana with part three of the large old houses of Hoosierland. Let’s start this tour in Gentryville down in Spencer County at the Colonel William Jones State Historic Site. Jones was born in Vincennes in 1803 but came to Spencer County with his family …

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In our world today with all that has happened in the last few months we all need something to help get us back to a near normal lifestyle. Perhaps a good walk or two might help to relieve the stress and strain we have all been under. Hoosiers are lucky to have a lot of opportunities to walk …

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I continue our look at historic sites in Indiana with some additional impressive Hoosier mansions. We have already featured Lanier and Culbertson mansions in a past column. A number of really nice mansions were located along the Ohio River and were constructed in the 1800s during the steambo…

I continue our look at the Indiana historic sites and buildings with two Indiana mansions. You may well say mansions, you have to go way down south to find old antebellum mansions and it is true there are some great old homes down in Dixie, but we here in Hoosierland have our share also.

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The dictionary states that the word hoary has three definitions: 1. Something that is white on gray. 2. Having white or gray hair from old age. 3. Very old. Now what does it all mean when an Indiana wildflower has a name like hoary puccoon? Who gave this pretty little plant its name? I don’t…

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While Indiana does have a number of grand old mansions it also has more than its share of monuments and memorials. Take Indianapolis as an example. It is claimed that it is second in the U.S. in the number of Memorials and monuments it features and only Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital…

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Indiana does indeed have a lot of natural wonders that can be found from one end of the state to its other boundaries. It also has a lot of historical sites that we often overlook as we travel across Hoosierland. I though a series on our historical past would be of interest and there are som…

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I continue my columns on the carnivorous plants of Indiana with the bladderwort family. In past columns I featured the Venus flytrap, sundew and pitcher plant. Two of these are native plants in Indiana while the Venus flytrap is only native to a few locations in North and South Carolina.

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While I try to keep a positive outlook on life it seems to get harder each day to see the best in people and events that occur around us. One recent report from the U.N. Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity had a very troubling effect on me. I have tried my best to have a small hand in tr…

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While we do have occasional earthquakes in Indiana, one thing we don’t have to worry about is a volcano eruption. This, however, is not the case in several other states. There are 14 other states and territories that are in danger of a major eruption. Where are these volcanoes that could in …

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Over the years I have had the opportunity to visit a number of museums and have even had a chance to view some of the fossils and artifacts that have been stored in some out of the way location. It’s amazing what they have stored away for future viewing. In some cases they acquire something,…

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In a past column I featured some of the early history of the Indianapolis area when the state capital was moved from Corydon to a more central location in 1824. There was no building to house this new state capital, so in 1825 a two-story brick building was constructed. It was to serve as a …

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As I have written our Indiana State Forests can provide some really quality outdoor recreation opportunities. While the main goal of the State Forests is timber production and management, recreation still has its place. A classic example of this is the Morgan-Monroe State Forest located in t…

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In a past column, I featured the buildings in Corydon that Indiana utilized while it was both the territorial and state capital. Most of the early settlement of Indiana had been in the southern one-third of Hoosierland. After the War of 1812, settlers had started moving north into former Ind…

The dictionary states a kettle is a vessel for holding liquids, and that is true. So what do kettle lakes have to do with Indiana? Well for one thing, that is what many small lakes in northern Hoosierland are called. In both the past and present times, these bodies of water have been christe…

Have you ever had a dream of taking a boat trip from Boston to Brownsville, Texas, and never have to venture out into the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico? There is no way, you might say, but don’t be so sure. Most Hoosiers have probably never heard of the Intracostal Waterway. This allows …

I know some people who seem to worry about everything. Then on the other hand some seem to worry or care little about anything. It also seems most of the events the first class worry about never do happen or are not as bad as they anticipate. On the other hand, the second group perhaps need …

The name muskellunge conjures up visions of the north woods country of the northern United States and Canada and its pristine lakes and rivers. Well it should for this is the region that is famous for what is often called the king of fresh water fish. The muskie, as it is most often called, …

I enjoy visiting a variety of both state and federal properties. Fish and Wildlife Areas are always a treat. In most you never know what creatures you may encounter. Indiana has 24 State Fish and Wildlife Areas and three National Wildlife refuges. There are Muscatatuck, Big Oaks and Patoka. …

Indiana state forests are an often overlooked segment of our Hoosier natural heritage. These are multi-purpose areas that are utilized for timber production, scenic locations, and recreation activities. While there is one state forest, Salamonie River, in norther Indiana, all the rest are lo…

There are a lot of Hoosiers who enjoy fishing. It is an outdoor experience that can be utilized by both young and old. While not an avid fisherman, I still on occasion like to try my luck and catch a nice-sized fish. To really enjoy a fishing trip, it is a great idea to go where the fish are…

In a past column I featured the Eagle Creek City Park in Indianapolis, one of the largest and most informative in the U.S. One of the most interesting attractions in the park is the Ornithology Center where one can learn all about the birds in Indiana. The building where the center is locate…

I have always tried to keep a positive outlook on life, but it seems it gets harder each year. There is always a sad note in out outdoor news. For years scientists have been concerned about the warming temperatures in the world’s oceans and how it will affect their aquatic life. Sad to say i…

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