Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 24, 2011

History of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, Part 4

Pat Smith
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Dodie Stutz and Jo McClain spent part of their childhood in the IOOF Orphanage in Greensburg and both have only good memories of it. Dodie said they had reunions, like class reunions, for years after it closed. There was less of a need for an orphanage after Social Security was up and running. For those that don't remember when the home was there, the buildings were impressive. The high school and library are on what was the IOOF property.

They said the whole place was self sustaining. The power house served them with hot water and the buildings were heated by steam.

June Tumilty lived with her parents Emmett and Florence Taylor on the IOOF farm from the age of two until she was 15. Her father ran the dairy and her mother occasionally substituted in the kitchen or laundry.

They lived in the house, where the dairy barn was located, across the Clarksburg Road, just east of where the main buildings were. It's now the new Charlie Buell Rebecca Park area. As Dodie and Jo stated last week, they had to walk to school because the home was in the city, but because the dairy barn was in the county, June could ride the school bus. Dutch Richards was their bus driver.

"Dad would milk the 28 to 30 cows every morning and evening and take the milk to Mrs. Walls (later Dessie Thompson) who would pasteurize it, put in the milk bottles and it would be automatically capped," said June. She said each cow had a name and all knew which stall to go in. Her Dad kept records of everything pertaining to the Dairy Cows.  Before her Dad quit working there he got each of his kids a milk bottle with cap. The bottles, valued by antique hunters, had red line drawings of the Tree on the Tower, a cow, the IOOF Home, Greensburg, Indiana. Dodie said one time she saw the caps being used for Bingo at the IOOF Nursing Home. They now sell for various prices on the Internet. IOOF milk bottles have sold for up to $125 but lower now.

June has a silver collector spoon that has the Administration building engraved in the bowl, and a small mirror with the buildings pictured on the opposite side.

The IOOF farm consisted of 490 acres which June said was made up of three farms. There were many apple trees, several peach trees with the fruit mainly used in the kitchen of the home. A lot of corn was raised and fed to the cows.

Dodie, Jo and June remember the storeroom below the kitchen that had a dumb waiter from the kitchen to the storeroom.

Ruth Ainsworth and her family moved to Florida in 1959 but returned to visit relatives many times. Once when she and teenage son Jon were walking east on East Washington St. he noticed writings on the sidewalk. He removed grass and dirt from the letters and saw, "C.I. Ainsworth," Jon's  great grandfather whom he had only heard  about.

This stone was evidently the corner of the IOOF Home property. It is about 24 inches square and is embedded in the concrete sidewalk. It's still there but the letters have been worn away.

 Ruth said, "We later found the names on the cornerstone of what is referred to now as the ÔMurphy Bldg,' the first building on the square built by the Lodge.

The names still visible on the North side of the Building are:

C.I.Ainsworth - Harry Lathrop - J.H. Christian - W.C.Ehrhardt - W.A.Watson -C.E. Northern  B ldg. Com.

 East side of same stone facing Broadway - C.I.Ainsworth - J.H.Christian -W.W.Dixon  Trustees

 Ruth and husband Franklin David Ainsworth moved to Gainesville, FL where David passed away in 1997. Their son Jon served in the Air Force for 20 years and now lives in Colorado Springs, Co.  He is, as far as is known, the only living male of the Ainsworth family. Ruth's daughter, Jo Ellen Janvrin lives in New Hampshire. Ruth has four granddaughters. "When they visit," she said, "we tell them this story and show them some of the legacy left by their pioneer kinfolks."

Ruth returned to Greensburg in 2003 and has turned over pictures and memorabilia of the family to the Historical Society.

Harding's 1915 History has a good story about the home and in the Harding's biography of Charles I. Ainsworth is the story of his part in selecting Greensburg for the home.

I am especially grateful to Dodie Stutz who is, as far as I can determine, the only local former resident of the IOOF Orphans Home. Thanks also to June Tumilty and to Ruth Ainsworth for their memories.