Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 28, 2014

History highlighted in series

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — “Hooked on History,” the Franklin County Public Library District’s Hometown History Series, begins the third Wednesday of April and continues each month through October, reports Julie Schlesselman, local history and genealogy department manager.

The series, which began in 2007, is presented by local residents (please see box).

“Being a non-native of Franklin County and having only lived here since 2002, many of my topics and presentations stem from my own curiosity,” Schlesselman recalls. “After I first moved here, I spent many hours traveling the country roads and was intrigued by many of the old structures, farm buildings and structural remnants dotting the beautiful countryside and small towns and simply wanted to know more about them. After I discovered these fabulous histories and stories, I wanted to share them.

“Some of the program ideas come from research requests from our library patrons, such as wanting information about the one-room schools, what structure stood in what is now a vacant lot and, simply, old picture presentations. As for the two topics this year that focus on the Cincinnati area, they were chosen because many people in our tri-county area work, shop or have relatives in Cincinnati. Many have a connection with that city, and it is a familiar location, and both authors are well known. I wanted people in this area to be able to experience their presentations and programs for free, without having to travel too far.”

She reveals information about two of the speakers: In April, Rich McDonough, author of four books and the subject of many magazine and newspaper articles, will also discuss his background in the private detective business. At the September program, J.T. Townsend, a freelance writer and lifelong Cincinnati resident, will explore a criminal. He is the former true crime historian for Snitch Magazine and his work has appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Magazine, Word Magazine and Clews. He appeared in the 2008 British documentary “Conversations With a Serial Killer.” Book sales and signings will be held after both programs.

“I enjoy everything about this series, lining up the programs, meeting new people who have an interest in history and who want to make presentations and I especially love the research involved in the programs that I compile and present. The greatest satisfaction ... comes from our program attendees who talk to me after any program and say, ‘Thanks, I learned something new tonight.’ Inspiring people to take an interest in their past and teaching someone, no matter what age they are, is extremely gratifying.

“One of the things I am looking forward to most this year is talking with all of those that attend our programs and learning something new myself. Our history series serves as a reciprocal program – it teaches people, who in turn always teach me something new and/or donate items to our local history collection, which in turn can be shared with others in the future. It is a wonderful continuous cycle of sharing and learning,” Schlesseman announces.

“I encourage people to attend because ... (the programs) are fun and informal lessons in local history. They are interesting as well as thought provoking and by no means simply the typical scenario of ‘stuffy, boring old facts about dead people’ that most adults and students think history is all about.”

Persons are invited to “come and take some extra time before a program to visit our local history and genealogy room to see what secrets await them.”

Diane Raver can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

Hooked on History • April 16, "A Cincinnati Private Eye Protecting Princess Di" by Rich McDonough • May 21, "A Moment in Time: Franklin County as Seen Through the Eye of the Camera: Part 4" by Julie Schlesselman • June 18, "The Tombstone Trail: Part 2" by Julie Schlesselman • July 16, "Killed in the Line of Duty" by Julie Schlesselman • Aug. 20, "Notable Dearborn County Structures ... Gone but not Forgotten" by Joyce Baer • Sept. 17, "The Unknown Legend of the Cincinnati Strangler" by J.T. Townsend • Oct. 15, "Franklin County's Whitewater River: A Canal, a Railroad, a Trail" by Jim Lierl The free programs are at the Brookville Library at 6:30 p.m. Info: 765-647-4031 or