Through the Ages

Author Murray publishes book
on history of Hanover, Ind.

She will speak May 21
at Hanover Library branch

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(May 2011) – Last year while Marty Lenzini Murray was working on her pictorial history of Hanover, Ind., she was also busy thinking about the future as well. Even while collecting photos and composing chapters for her own book, she took the time to meet with area fourth-grade classes to encourage the students in their own writing.

Images of America Hanover Cover

Now that her project is complete, some of those students will now be taking a field trip to Murray’s historic home, which incorporates walls from the 1809 log house built by her great-grandfather. The author intends to pass around the finished book and “tell each class, ‘One of you is going to write another history in about 50 years.’ ”
While Murray herself was not born in Hanover and lived all over the world before coming back to her family home, her formative years were still touched by the town. “My mother grew up here and told wonderful stories about Hanover College and Hanover,” she recalls.
These tales inspired her to look beyond her own family history and learn more about the hometown of her ancestors. She describes the book as a collaborative effort drawing from “dozens if not hundreds of people. It was really a community project for the town of Hanover.”
“She has done a wonderful job of going out into the community and seeking out only only photographs but also stories,” explains Jefferson County Historical Society Archivist Ron Grimes. He believes that the the resulting book “really emphasizes the people” and has managed to “draw out a lot of history that was out there that hadn’t been recorded.”

Marty Lenzini Murray

Photo by Lela Jane Bradshaw

Marty Lenzini Murray’s new book
about Hanover, Ind., contains hundreds
of photos of town’s past, present.

Now the entire community can appreciate the results of hard work with the release of “Hanover.” The book joins the Madison volume in the popular “Images of America” series that profiles towns across the county.
Murray said she is looking forward to reconnecting with those who made the book possible and meeting new friends interested in history at a series of book talks and signings over the coming weeks. A book launch was celebrated at Madison’s Village Lights Bookstore on April 23, and upcoming talks include a presentation at the Jefferson County Historical Society at 7 p.m. on May 12. She also plans signing events at the Jefferson County Public Libraries, where so much of the information for the book was collected.
At 1 p.m. on May 21 she will speak at the Hanover Branch, then on May 25 a 6:30 p.m. talk will take place at the Madison Branch. These talks will give Murray a chance to tell some stories that didn’t make their way into the book, including one that involves her home, Morgan’s Raiders of the Civil War, the family silver and some very modest relatives.
The book involved thousands of hours of work, and Murry is quick to credit the many people who helped in its creation by sharing stories and photos. “Dennis (her husband) and I examined close to 7,000 pictures” while working on the book Murry says.
At least 35 families contributed to the 206 pictures that appear in the final version. The author spent several days at the public library gathering photos from members of the community and was even woken up one evening by someone stopping by her house with stories of the town to share. In the end, the hard work of all the collaborators was rewarded as Murry says, “I think the reason this is such a nice book is that so many people’s hands touched it.”
The book is sweeping in its scope, presenting ancient fossils and modern day school children. One of the set goals of the book was a desire to be “all inclusive.”
Murry was determined to show the variety of people who made up the Hanover of yesterday and today. “I wanted to get all kinds of people,” she stresses, pointing out the desire to show photos of residents of different ages and occupations.
While Murray includes extensive coverage of the Native Americas who lived in what would become Hanover, she found researching the earliest inhabitants a challenge. “I just wanted to know what Indians were here – no one knows,” she says, explaining that much of the information on artifacts collected in the area is unfortunately uncertain.
Many artifacts were collected by farmers plowing the fields, unconcerned with careful documentation, and the notes covering the most extensive Hanover farm excavation were lost in a fire. Despite these challenges, Murray worked to remain true to the past. “The most important thing I learned is you can’t re-write history. What happened happened.”
Those inspired by the book to learn more about area history should make sure to visit the Jefferson County Historical Society’s County Bicentennial exhibit. On May 13, the society will present the exhibit free to the public. The exhibit will run through the end of October and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. Highlights of the exhibit include a wagon crafted more than 100 years ago at the Madison Wagon and Carriage Co., on loan from Harold Yancey; a newly donated autograph quilt from the Deputy Bethany Baptist Church and sewn between 1911 and 1912; and a four-piece silver church service from Morris Chapel Methodist in Milton Township.
“We’re digging out stories that help tell the history of the townships,” notes Grimes.

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