In conjunction with the Indiana Bicentennial, the Indiana Archive and Records Administration (IARA) is planning to honor the 43 pioneer delegates, who met in Corydon 200 years ago, to compose Indiana’s first constitution and establish our statehood. To commemorate the contributions of our state’s founding fathers, the IARA will be holding public graveside ceremonies between June 10 and June 29, 2016, the same dates as the original Constitutional Convention. Ceremonies will feature an IARA staff member serving as Master of Ceremonies, a keynote speaker, a flag ceremony, wreath-laying and military honors, where applicable.
Washington County has 2 of these men, interred in eternal rest, at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem. The first of these men was Washington County Delegate; General John DePauw, who laid out the town of Salem, built Washington County’s 1st courthouse, was commander of the county’s militia (1814-16), a Washington County delegate to the state legislature and his descendants donated the ground that today serves as DePauw Park. The other delegate is Judge Benjamin Parke, who at that time represented Knox County, before his relocation to Salem. Judge Parke was a veteran of the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812, he was the first Attorney General for the Indiana Territory, the first Judge of the General Court of the Indiana Territory and the Indiana Territory’s first delegate to Congress. Later, he was appointed the first U.S. District Judge of Indiana, assisted greatly in the establishment of Vincennes University, the Vincennes Public Library, the Indianapolis Law Library and the Indiana Historical Society, serving as its first president.
Washington County’s ceremony will take place on Friday, June 17th, 2016, from 11:30 am to 1pm, in the old section of the Crown Hill Cemetery. This event is free and open to the public. State, County and City officials and employees, along with youth groups and the members of the historical society are strongly encouraged to attend. Please come out and pay your respects to these truly historically significant former Salem residents, who helped lay the foundation for the state of Indiana,…our home.