Thirteen members of the Fries family perished in a 1913 Brookville flood.
Area residents are invited to observe the tragedy’s 100th anniversary Saturday, March 23, with the Franklin County Historical Society and descendants of the Fries family, reports FCHS Vice President Pam Beneker, Brookville.
The timetable: 9:30 a.m., Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church; 11 a.m., gathering at the Fries flood memorial, located at U.S. 52 near the Save-A-Lot and IGA parking lots; noon, light lunch, then 1 p.m. flood presentation by descendant Grant Rice, Dayton, Ohio, and county historian Don Dunaway, Brookville Knights of Columbus, 333 Main St. RSVP required: 765-647-7365.
Three other FCHS dinner meetings in Brookville are slated this year. Meals begin at 6 p.m. and programs at 7 p.m.:
• April 15, The Hermitage, 650 E. Eighth St.: The 1913 Flood in the Whitewater Valley by Julia Dian-Reed, National Weather Service, Wilmington, Ohio, hydrologist. Dinner cost is $12. RSVP required: Martha Shea, 765-647-5182.
• Aug. 19, Goldfinch Diner, 11161 U.S. 52: Pioneer Association of Franklin and Union Counties, Ind., and Butler County, Ohio, by Mike Condo. Come a little earlier to order from the menu. RSVP requested: Pam Beneker, 765-647-7365.
Oct. 21, Brookville United Methodist Church, 150 E. Eighth St.: topic to be announced, county historian John Newman. Dinner cost is $10. RSVP required: Pam Beneker, 765-647-7365.
According to the Web site, “Our members bring with them a wealth of experiences and knowledge bases. We are retired chemists, businessmen and -women, public servants in politics, authors, retired teachers ... We are mostly folks interested in sharing a love of history.”
Other officers are President Wayne Bauer, Brookville; Treasurer Tom Rowe, Brookville; and Secretary Gail Ginther, Metamora. To better communicate, “Gail has created a Facebook page for us” at Franklin County Historical Society, Beneker reports.
The nonprofit has about 50 members. Others can join by paying $10 annual dues.
The public is invited to FCHS board of directors meetings, which will take place in May, September and November on the third Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Seminary, 5th and Mill streets, Brookville, to plan fundraisers and other activities and clean and organize that building. The group’s annual picnic is slated on the June date at 6 p.m. Each attendee should bring a covered dish and chair.
Residents may bequeath books, photos, mementoes and money to FCHS by contacting the president at 765-647-3932.
Vintage items ranging from an 1867 county atlas and 1889 map to an ornaments, note cards and bicentennial plates may be purchased on the Web site.
• “The impending destruction of the Little Cedar Grove Baptist Church was the impetus for the formation (in 1908) of the Brookville Historical Society,” which later became the Franklin County Historical Society, reports member Don Dunaway, who updated the club’s history in 2002. The oldest Protestant church in Indiana standing on its original foundation, built in 1812, was deeded to the society April 20, 1910. After members restored it, interest in the group waned and the society became dormant.
• The group was reactivated in 1949 when a rising creek came within three feet of the church.
• FCHS also owns four other historical sites: an Indian burial ground; 1821 Old Brick Church, Brookville; 1830 Seminary, Brookville, which houses a museum; and Fries Memorial, Brookville.
• The museum can be opened for meetings or special occasions and the churches are available to rent for weddings and other gatherings. Bauer takes reservations at 765-647-3932.
• Info: www.franklincountyhistoricalsociety.com; e-mailFranklinCountyHistSoc@gmail.com; or write P.O. Box 342, Brookville, IN 47012.