News from around Johnson County as reported on March 9 in the pages of the Daily Journal and the Franklin Evening Star from the last 111 years.
On this day in 1973, the main story on the Daily Journal’s front page was about the start of observances for Johnson County’s 150th anniversary.
The formal observance of the county’s sesquicentennial began with an opening gala inside the Franklin Community High School gym the day before. An estimated 1,500 people attended the program, including then-Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen, who later issued a statement.
Former Governor Roger Branigin, a Franklin-native, was the master of ceremonies for the program. He outlined the county’s early history and praised founder George King.
“From (King’s) strong bloodline have come fine leaders across this nation,” Branigin said.
Later, Branigin lit the centennial candle which had been lit 50 years ago by his father, Elba Branigin Sr., during the centennial celebration in 1923.
Johnson County Sesquicentennial Chairman Harold Toombs of Greenwood told the audience the significance of the date. On March 8, 1823, the county’s first sheriff and board of commissioners were elected, beginning the formation of local government.
“Some of the early pioneer traits remain our heritage — belief in God, desire for a better way of life and determination to make the county a better place in which to live — these things have perpetuated through to future generations,” Toombs said.
Other memorable Johnson County stories from this day
Johnson County historians were reminiscing on the county’s history, including Greenwood’s original name. The city was originally called Smocktown, then Greenfield before being renamed again to Greenwood.
The mystery of a shrinking Prince’s Lakes water tower had been solved by police and town officials. A person who was salvaging items from Camp Atterbury cut up part of the tower thinking it was part of the salvage operation. It was not.
What was reportedly the first Ku Klux Klan parade ever staged in Franklin took place the night prior when 200 men from Columbus marched around the Johnson County Courthouse and down Jefferson Street with a burning cross.