Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

April 2, 2013

Pat’s Potpourri

Greensburg — Am I the only person in Decatur County that didn’t know that Fred Clemons was born here?

Today I’ll share information about Fred Clemons, born in Greensburg Feb. 14, 1889, a famous man in the racing car business and Indianapolis 500. He died in Indianapolis in 1945 and was buried in Greensburg at South Park Cemetery. Fred Clemons, often called “Skinny,” became well known to many people all over the world, especially those interested in cars and racing and the Indianapolis 500.

There has been a lot written about Clemons since he got in the business of racing. His work is described a lot in Griffith Borgeson’s, “The Golden Age of the American Racing Car.” The Dixon’s Graphite Special engine was originally built by Fred Clemons in 1927. He owned it when Joe Russo, Benny Benfield, Red Campbell and Bryan Saulpaugh raced it at several of the tracks in the Midwest. The car with the Clemons engine was raced in 2009 in England and you can see the car on “You Tube.” In an issue of the “National Speedway Weekly,” Clemons was mentioned several times. In “Museum of American Speed,” his cars are pictured and his and his cars’ histories are described. He was written about or mentioned in more newspaper articles than could be noted here. He is written about in Terry Reed’s “The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500,” second edition, on pages 26, 66, and 68. Type his name for the Internet and you will get many stories. Mike Porter has added information about him on “Find A Grave.” Judy Bodwell, Clemons granddaughter, shared the information she has so I could pass it on to you.

First, even though this column and next week’s column are about Fred Clemons, I hope you’ll excuse my going back to one of his ancestors. Yes, I got pretty excited when I learned of this connection to something I wrote 38 years ago. In 1975, for the bicentennial, I started a series about the Revolutionary War veterans that came here from their home state after the war was over. They settled in Decatur County and when they died they were buried in this county. In 1975, I didn’t have a computer which would have made it a lot easier to look up the battles in which the veterans had fought. There were some that I couldn’t find their graves. I believe that Decatur County Historian Russell Wilhoit has found the graves of other Revolutionary veterans buried here. Maybe he will let me share those with you sometime.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gave me a list of the known veterans they had and, if known, where they were buried. In some cases the burial site wasn’t known but with some sleuthing I found them, took a picture of the headstone and included that with what information found.

One of those veterans was Samuel Lloyd. For those who have one of the booklets that the Bicentennial Committee made from the series it is on page 20. Samuel Lloyd was born May 27, 1747 in Essex Co. Va. and served two years and two months as a Minute Man, primarily in Wake County, North Carolina. He was at Rolla Court House on the Haw River; at the Yadkin River; at Crawford’s Farms; on Noose (Neuse) River; at the falls of the Neuse River on the Pee Dee. He was at Guilford Court House two or three times. Saw skirmishes, mainly against the Tories. He was with the regular troops when at Rolla Court House. He served under Capt. Garrett and Cols. Lee and Crawford. He died April 24, 1834 and is buried in Sandcreek Cemetery in Decatur County.

The battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought March 15, 1781 with the Americans under the command of Major General Nathanael Green and the British forces under the command of Lt. General Cornwallis. The British commander said after the battle, “I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons.”

Samuel Lloyd came to Decatur County after the Revolutionary War when land opened up. A few generations later Edwin Wallace Clemons was born, direct descendant of Samuel Lloyd. He married Anna Laura Withers, also born in Decatur County.  

Edwin and Anna were parents of Fred, Alice and Joseph N. (Alice married Edward Tichenor and at one time they lived at 743 East Central Ave.) Fred “Skinny” Clemons went to Emmerich Manual Training school in Indianapolis. He was a shop welder and parts chaser for “The little Chevrolet Brothers Mfg. Co. on W. Tenth St. in Indianapolis when his career began. More next week.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Five Decades of 'Progress “Political polarization,” “divided government” and “Washington gridlock” have been on the rise for the last 15 years. Public calls for compromise and de-emphasis on centralized government stand out in public opinion polls; yet, nothing changes, and t

    July 31, 2014

  • Governor Pence addresses President regarding unaccompanied children Dear President Obama,I am writing to express my profound concern about the federal government’s mishandling of the present crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the nation’s Southern border by the tens of thousands. The federal government has not

    July 31, 2014

  • Now why didn't I think of that? According to the dictionary definition, repurpose means “ to change or adapt something so it can be used for a purpose other than its original intent.” As one of the many who spend their free time “repurposing,” I like to think of it as bringing new

    July 31, 2014

  • Getting on with the program Now that the fair has been written in the history book, it’s time to get on to more Extension Homemaker News. But first, I would like to extend thanks to Eileen Fisse for the wonderful job she did for the Open Class exhibits. The building looked nice

    July 30, 2014

  • Pat Smith: An actor's life Chances are that Ben Tebbe would have been successful anyhow but it’s refreshing that he remembers who gave him a chance. No doubt, Karen (Clemenson) Hoak would have been proud of what he has accomplished since she gave him a part in a Tree County Pl

    July 30, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Nature’s BountyOur daughters were raised in the country and definitely couldn’t be considered “citified” children. Not with Dad around! From the time I was a little boy, I learned there are a lot of good things coming from the wild, and I set about e

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word?Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which th

    July 29, 2014

  • 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures INDIANAPOLIS – Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Rising up to meet Putin's thuggery BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my pa

    July 29, 2014

  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014