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Friday, May 6, 2016

A look back into Putnam's history

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Greencastle City Council member Jinsie Bingham gives a presentation she self-titled "Mildew in the Basement" Wednesday night at the Putnam County Museum. Her talk featured a series of historical and personal anecdotes for the audience. Banner Graphic/JOSH GARVEY

Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE -- Jinsie Bingham, a Greencastle City Council member, gave a presentation on the history of Putnam County at the Putnam County Museum Wednesday.

Bingham called the presentation "Mildew in the Basement," which she explained was a play on words.

"I invited members of the Greencastle Rotary Club to come tonight and I said I'm going to speak about mildew in the basement, or, 150 years in a Green Castle," Bingham said to groans from the audience. "Nobody got it."

Bingham provided the audience with a variety of historical anecdotes. She began with one of the stories about how the name Putnam County came about.

"I kind of like the one that says we were named for a man named Israel Putnam," Bingham said. "He is reputed to have left his plowshare in the field and gone off to join the militia. Israel had been a soldier before the revolution started so he knew what he was getting into.

Bingham said there was another Putnam involved in the county's history: Rufus Putnam, a judge who started out in Ohio.

"He arbitrated some land arrangements, but I think Israel is a much more romantic story," Bingham said.

In addition to stories from the area's past, Bingham also provided some more personal anecdotes, including the involved process of her family moving from more outlying areas to the town center.

"When we moved to town, and it was a move to town back in 1941, my dad put skids under the garage and pulled it into town and parked it at 105 Bloomington St.," Bingham said. "I had the only smokehouse in the city of Greencastle. It didn't bother me as long as I was on the Zoning Board for those 25 years; I knew no one would say a thing.

"The aroma is pretty much gone now, but the cords that my grandpa hung the ham and bacon on to cure are still in there and I don't have to dust it, because it's in the garage," Bingham said.

Bingham also recounted some of her favorite stories from the area's past, including Jubal DeWeese, also known as Jubilee DeWeese.

Bingham said he was one of her favorites.

"He was also a good citizen -- he kept a public house on the north side of the square, and some court sessions were held in Jubilee's place of business," she said.

She also described someone named Pleasant Wilson, who opened a tavern on the west side of the downtown square.

"What wonderful names for purveyors of spirits, Pleasant and Jubilee," she said.

Bingham also included a variety of different historical dates of significance during her talk and included a broad historical perspective on the region.

"The telegraph got here in the 1850s and the telephone, for those who could afford it, got here in the 1880s," she said. "Electricity came to Greencastle around 1900. We had flour mills here, a cabinet maker, a saddlery we had all kinds of things going on here."

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Jinsie Bingham's love and dedication to the people of Greencastle and Putnam County are not exemplary?

She is down to earth and approachable. We need more like her!

-- Posted by VeggieMD on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 5:57 AM

An amazing woman-creative, energetic, and smart. Brush those haters off lady! Keep it up!

-- Posted by compassion first on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 11:25 AM

anonymous 101 must have never met Jinsie. She is a wonderful ambassador for Greencastle and for Putnam County. She is bright, educated, creative, and personable. She is a blessing to this community. Right on, Jinsie!

-- Posted by nordicheart on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 12:34 PM

Jinsie is a treasure that Putnam County is lucky to have. She was giving a talk about the history of a small town in Indiana. It's not going to be a Las Vegas show with dancers and fireworks so cut her some slack.

Jinsie... you are loved by many people!!

-- Posted by conffool on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 4:57 PM

I love the information she gives us about life in the past. It gives me a little more view of how some of my Putnam County ancestors lived. Thank you so much, Jinsie Bingham. It saddens me that the longer I live, the more I see that many people are losing the art of being respectful of others. It seems we all need to be setting a better example for our youth.

-- Posted by MLHazelrigg on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 6:09 PM

Well, we all have made an attempt at being humerous at one time or another and fell on our face. I do have to agree with anonymous on one thing though. If you are a member of a board and do things that are to your advantage than attempt at making a joke about it a public forum, that sounds a little arrogant in the fact that you seem to be bragging about taking advantage of your public position for personal gain. The history lesson was interesting.

-- Posted by purple_heat on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 9:28 PM

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