Page last updated September 9, 2016


Bloomington (IN) Daily Telephone, September 2, 1938, p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

Robert Dunn, member of the editorial staff of a Spencer newspaper, is charged with public indecency.Dunn is alleged to have stripped himself on the night of August 23 and to have put on a free show by prancing through a spirited nude an upstairs room of a Spencer building in front of a window in plain view of a beauty shoppe. Following his arrest on the charge Friday, Dunn was released under bond to await trial. As an Indiana University student, Dunn was known as a model youth.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana)Telephone, October 13, 1892.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

John Welsh's barn at Gosport burned Friday morning. The origin of the fire hasn't been learned. The barn was a very large one and worth fully $2,500. The contents, valued at $2,000, consisted of a fine horse worth $600 and hay, grain and implements. The barn belonging to Mr. Welsh's partner, Mr. Rumbarger, burned a few days before.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Weekly Courier, September 12, 1911, p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

Mr. and Mrs. Ray Phillis, I. N. May and others attended the dedication of the new court house at Spencer last Thursday.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Herald Telephone, March 3, 1953, p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

The Gosport bridge, perennial problem for the Monroe County Commissioners, was the topic that received the most discussion and attention at the Commissioners "road day" session today.Built in 1870, the Gosport Bridge spans the creek that is the boundary between Owen and Monroe Counties. Monroe County owns two spans, and Owen County, one span, of the three-section bridge Every year for the past six years new plans for repairing or replacing the bridge have been considered by the commissioners, but no action has been taken yet.

One Died and Several Injured in Barn Raising

Monroe County (Indiana) Citizen, June 4, 1885 p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

Last week while raising a large barn on the farm of Philip Graff near Patricksburg, Owen County, a bent (sic) that had been placed in position fell and injured six men. One of them, Eli Miller, Sr., has since died and aother, John Stickles, is not expected to recover. Adam Mader had his leg broken in two places and was otherwise injured.

Owen County Poor Asylum Houses Twenty Inmates

Monroe County (Indiana) Citizen, June 25, 1885, p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

There are twenty inmates of the county (poor) asylum. Nine are of unsound mind of which four are idiots. Three are cripples, two are blind and one child. The oldest inmate claims to be 93 years old.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Evening World, June 22, 1903, p. 4.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

Gosport now has a bell factory, and orders are on hand for 2,000 bells. The new concern is in charge of Mr. Henry.


Bloomington, Indiana, July 18, 1891

Submitted by Randi Richardson

A fire at Gosport at an early hour this morning destroyed the Wampler Building occupied by the Henrys' private bank, Moody's dry goods store, the Old Fellows Hall, an adjoining building owned by the Odd Fellows, and the residence property of Edward Mooney. The loss will reach $12,000 with very little insurance


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Weekly Courier, May 5, 1911, p. 3.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

A well kept secret was the marriage August 23, 1910, of Miss Lena Williams of Ellettsville to W. E. Chambers of Spencer. The announcement was not made by the couple to their friends until last Sunday. The ceremony took place in Cincinnati and was performed by a Methodist minister. The groom is one of Owen County's most prosperous young farmers, and the bride one of Ellettsville's most popular young ladies. The couple will reside with the groom's parents.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Weekly Courier, May 2, 1911, p. 1.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

As a result of a remonstrance filed with the county auditor yesterday, which the liquor people were unable to render void by withdrawals last night, Washington Township, Owen County, in which Spencer is located, will remain "dry" for two years more. A Spencer dispatch says: The remonstrance filed yesterday by the "dry" workers contained 536 names and last night the men who have been leading the fight for the liquor people filed 102 withdrawal cards. However, as twenty-eight names on the withdrawal cards were not on the remonstrance as filed, this left only seventy-four effective withdrawals. As only 445 names were necessary to make the remonstrance hold good, the seventy-four withdrawals left the "drys" with a majority of seventeen. Washington Township was one of the first townships in Indiana to go "dry." The first temperance fight in which the "dry" forces won took place under the Nicholson Law of 1903, and since that time the town never has had a licensed saloon. Practically every businessman in Spencer signed the remonstrance.


Stinesville (Monroe County, Indiana) Review, May 28, 1898, p 3.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

James Smith, the Romona tonsorial artist, gave us a call the first of the week. He reports Romona a flourishing city-electric lights, trolley cars, fare banks, etc. A wonderful city this.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Progress, May 30, 1867, p. 3.

Submitted by Randi Richardson

The citizens of Owen County held a public meeting at Spencer for the organization of a vigilance committee in each township in order to better secure the people against violence and robbery and for the ferreting out of crime. The organization is now perfected and a stock up hemp rope laid in.


Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Evening World, Jan 1, 1931, p. 1.

Submitted by Brenda Norris Robertson

(This item originally appeared on the Monroe County mailing list by Randi Richardson)

Owen County will be provided with a hospital according to the will of Miss Carrie Shell who bequeathed almost all of her life's earnings and property for this purpose. Her property lies in Owen and Greene counties. She further stipified (sic) in her will the persons she wished to be members of the board in charge of the hospital. No definite plans have yet been made public. The need for a hospital has long been felt in Owen County and at many times within the past few years sites for the proposed building have been considered by no action has ever been taken.


Bert Dittemore, Young Merchant, Plunges To Death

Vandals Blamed In Firing Old, Disputed Bridge Over White River; Volunteer Firemen Fall With Span

Pg. 1 & 7. Daily Herald - Telephone. Friday. Oct. 28, 1955. Vol. 79, No.143. Price Five Cents. Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana


Submitted by Albert Scarborough

A flaming span of the ancient covered Gosport Bridge collapsed 30 feet into White River early today, killing one volunteer Gosport fireman and injuring nine others who were battling the fire which was believed to have been started by vandals. The same firemen had extinguished a similar fire at the bridge a night earlier in a two hour fire-flghting chore. The body of Bert Dittemore, Jr., 32, Gosport merchant and assistant fire chief, was recovered from the stream an hour after the bridge fell. The other firemen had to pry him loose from a cable that was across his chest and was being held down by the weight of the bridge span. Joseph King, 22, who held Dittemore's head out of the water while the others worked with the cable, said "he never was conscious. He didn't know what hit him." Others listed as Injured: Robert Tharp, Larry Snodgrass, J. V. Wampler, Darrell Porter, Richard Felton, Frank Burkhart, Jr., Charles Morgan and Vernon Wampler. Porter, Tharpe and Fulton were treated and released at the Bloomington Hospital. The volunteer firemen had been called out at 12:45 when someone discovered the bridge was on fire. King said they took the Gosport fire truck to the edge of the bridge, and stretched a hose to the end, and started spraying water on the flame, which were primarily on the roof and the sides. "The floor was burning a little," he said, "but It seemed solid enough." King said he and Felton were holding the end of the hose when he heard a "loud crack, and I knew we were going down." "What saved most of us," he , said, "was that cables attached to the sides of the bridge pulled the sides away and the V-shaped roof came down over us like covering." King said when the bridge stopped falling the men found themselves knee-deep in water. "We looked around to see who was hurt," he said, "and I saw Bert with his face in the water." King said the men had difficulty removing the cable from Dittemore's body because the bridge was across the cable, and that handsaws and other tools were used in the effort. "We finally got him loose and pulled him back to the bridge," he said. Nightmare Experience King, who called the whole thing "like a nightmare", said he didn't know how long it took to remove Dittemore's body and to get the other injured back to shore, but that it was approximately 4:40 a.m. when he finally left the scene. Police and firemen converged on the area from all surrounding communities, including Bloomington. The Bloomington Fire Department rescue truck was sent after a call was received here for a fire truck. Fire Chief Horace Robertson said he had refused to send a fire truck because the bridge had been condemned and was not worth saving. Sheriff Clifford Kinser and several of his deputies went to the scene, and were joined by State Troopers and other volunteer rescue workers. The bridge span that fell was the last of two spans built by Monroe County in the joint 3 span bridge project. The first span fell in 1954, but no one was Injured in that crash. The remaining, span, owned by Owen County, is made of steel, but has a wooden floor. The bridge has been the center ot controversy between the two counties for years, with Owen County Commissioners demanding Monroe County help them recondition the bridge, and with Monroe County refusing on grounds the bridge was beyond repair. Recommend Razing State Engineers recently recommended the fallen span be razed and removed from the area because it was hazardous. Feeling In Gosport today was mixed. Some residents felt the tragedy was the work of Halloweeners. Others declared It was "pure vandalism." Still others Indicated they though the fire was started by "someone in Bloomington." "We knew this would happen sooner or later," said Joe King. "That bridge was bound to hurt someone. " However, he added, "We thought It was our duty to try and put the fire out."

Douglas said the work "definitely was the work of vandals." He said the bridge had been set afire the night before, but the blaze was discovered in time to be extinguished. Fire Chief Horace Robertson said he understood two gasoline cans had been found near the bridge Tuesday night. "This ought to give someone something to think about," said one Gosport resident darkly today. Actual cause of Dittemore's death had not been declared today, but Owen County authorities said they believe it will be either "suffocation" or "drowning."

Gosport Native

Mr. Dittemore was a native of Gosport, the son of Bert and Hattie Dittemore Sr. He was operator of a dry goods store in Gosport, a veteran of World War II, president of the Gosport Lions Club, and a member of the Gosport Methodist Church. Survivors include his wife, Lois Dunning Dittemore; a daughter, Victoria; his mother, Hattie Burton Dittemore and a sister, Bernice Dittemore. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Whitaker Funeral Home in Gosport. Rev. Arnold Adklns, and Rev. E. M. Minton will officiate. Burial will be in the Gosport Cemetery. The body remains at the Whitaker Funeral Home where friends may call after 7 p.m. today.

The Gosport Volunteer Fire Department had just been reorganized in the community's bid to lower fire Insurance rates and the membership had been bolstered to 26. Dittemore was named assistant chief. The department was described as "fired up" under the new leadership and the belief was expressed freely in the community today that the department perhaps would not have sought to save the condemned bridge had it not for been for the fresh emphasis on fire-fighting. Meanwhile, Gosport merchants were seeking to raise $1,000 to offer as a reward for Infomation leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspected arsonists. Occupations of those injured flre-fighters were varied. Porter, Burkhart and Livlngston are filling station employees, Tharpe is the Monon agent at Gosport, Felton works for the Chrysler Corporation in Indianapolis, Snodgrass Is a trucker, Wampler a member of the Town Board and operator of a nursing home and King is assistant manager of the Indianapolis Tent & Awning factory at Gosport.

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