Oral History

Share Your Story

Veterans History Project

The Veterans History Project (VHP) collected and preserved the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. This project was created by the United States Congress in 2000 and was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton on October 27, 2000.

In support of this effort, the Peabody Public Library interviewed a number of veterans either at the library itself or at other designated locations.

These collections of first-hand accounts are made available to researchers and the general public, online via this website, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in the Indiana Room at the Peabody Public Library and via the Veterans History Project website. Please note that the hard copies in the Indiana Room cannot be checked out and are only accessible during library hours.

All Veterans History videos are now available on YouTube. View and subscribe to our oral history channel here.

If you would like to share your valuable stories please contact us at (260) 244-5541 or e-mail us with your request.

Whitley County Oral History

The goals of this project are to preserve historical and personal memories of Whitley County, Indiana and to make them accessible to all who wish to know Whitley County history.

Much of the “old” Whitley County has disappeared: downtown businesses, landmark buildings, farms and schools. Younger people and newcomers to the county like to know what was here before they came. This project is also intended to aid genealogists and family historians.

We feel that this is an important project and that it will be of service to the community, so any assistance would be greatly appreciated. We can come to you, or you may be interviewed at the library – wherever you feel the most comfortable. We can do individual or group interviews. The process is really simple and painless; just talk to us the way you would talk to friends or family, passing on “stories”.

Please note that this project is not just for Columbia City; we would like interviews from all over Whitley County – Churubusco, South Whitley, Collins, Laud, Collamer – just anywhere in Whitley County.

Feel free to call us at (260)244-5541 or e-mail us if you need additional information on this project or if you are interested in setting up an interview.

Watch Our Interviews Online

All Oral History videos are available on YouTube. View and subscribe to our oral history channel here.

Interviews by Category

WWII: 1941 – 1945

Narrator Branch & Location of Service Service Dates
Brown, Charles U.S. Army: Ft. Richardson, Alaska 1941-1946
Brown, Frances Military Wife: Alabama WWII era
Brown, Lewis Merchant Marines: Atlantic – Pacific 1944-1945
Byer, Gerald Eugene U.S. Naval Reserve: Boston, New York, Pacific, Portland 1942-1946
Cassell, Robert U.S. Army: Europe 1942-1945
Cornmesser, Robert U.S. Navy: USA, South Pacific, Philippines, Subic Bay, Mindonau, Panama Canal, Mediterranean, Rome, Naples, Malta 1944-1946, 1950-1952
Coverstone, George U.S. Navy: Atlantic & Pacific 1943-1946
Gipe, Dick U.S. Army: France, Belgium, Holland, Germany 1944-1947
Goudy, Dewey U.S. Army Air Force: Italy 1943-1945
Hammer, Janice Military Wife (WWII and Korea) 1942-1968
Haworth, Richard U.S. Air Corp: Florida, Indiana, Texas 1942-1945
Herr, John Benjamin U.S. Army: Omaha Beach [He was also a POW in Germany] 1942-1945
Keuneke, Arnold Signal Corp of Air Force—Army: Mostly N. Africa & Italy 1942-1945
Marsh, Howard U.S. Army: France & Germany 1944-1946
Mercer, Frank U.S. Army: South Pacific – New Guinea 1943-1945
Meyers, Edward Air Corps, U.S. Air Force: Texas, Kansas, Florida, Africa, Italy, Arizona 1943-1945
Mitchell, Clarice U.S. Navy: Pacific Ocean Theater 1943-1945
Nowling, Arthur U.S. Army: Japan, Asiatic Pacific Theatre 1945-1946
Perry, Clifford U.S. Army: West Coast 1942-1945
Pittenger, Talbert U.S. Navy: Pacific Area 1943-1945
Pontzius, Wilma WAVES (U.S. Navy): San Diego, Great Lakes IN, Chicago 1944-1946, 1950-1952
Ramp, Richard Army Air Force: Olk., Cal, Idaho, Ft. Myers FL, Norwich England 1942-1945
Shaw, Clarence Army Air Force? (Artillery): Europe 1942-1945
Strouse, Edgar John U.S. Air Corps: Basic Miss, Johnson Island 1944-1951
Tarleton, William U.S. Navy: Pacific 1943-1945, 1947-1952
Walker, Robert U.S. Air Force Reserves: Kessler, Miss – San Antonio Tex – Training etc. 1942-1945
Waterfall, Clark U.S. Army, Veterinary Corp: ASTP Michigan State University, Ft. Bnj Harrison, Indianapolis, Manch & Durmstadt Germany 1944-1947

Korean War: 1950 – 1953

Narrator Branch & Location of Service Service Dates
Cornmesser, Robert U.S. Navy: USA, Manus Island, the Philippines, Subic Bay, Mindonau, Panama Canal, Mediterranean, Rome, Naples, Malta 1944-1946, 1950-1952
Coulter, Leroy U.S. Air Force: USA, England, Vietnam 1950-1970
Daniel, Daniel U.S. Navy and Reserves: Great Lakes, IL; Norfolk and Little Creek, VA 1951-1955, 1955-1959
Easter, Benjamin U.S. Army: Muchen, Germany 1953-1955
Forrester, Richard U.S. Air Force: Texas, Japan, Korea, Florida 1951-1952
Frey, Franklin U.S. Army: Europe, Japan, Korea 1951-1953
Gates, Paul U.S. Army: USA, Germany 1950-1952
Hammer, Janice Military Wife (WWII and Korea) 1942-1968
Heinbaugh, William U.S. Navy: USA, Port Huneme, Kwajalein, M3-Naval Amphibious base, Coronado 1948-1952, 1958-1959
Henley, Keith U.S. Air Force: Germany, Norway, Pentagon, Alaska, Recruiting Duty 1951-1973
Kissinger, Keith U.S. Army: Germany 1951-1952
Klingaman, Lynn U.S. Army: USA, France, Germany 1952-1955
Leas, Robert U.S. Army: Japan, Korea 1953-1954
*Loy, Grant U.S. Marine Corps: USA & Japan 1957-1960
Pontzius, Wilma WAVES (U.S. Navy) : San Diego, Great Lakes IN, Chicago 1944-1946, 1950-1952
Rohrer, Gene U.S. Marine Corps: USA & Korea 1950-1953
Schrader, Jack U.S. Marine Corps: Korea 1951-1954
Shaw, James U.S. Navy: USS Titania KA13, Anchorage Alaska A099 [Aog9?], USS Cavalier APA-37, Hawaii, Yokohama, Sasebo, Japan & Korea 1952-1955
Strouse, Edgar John U.S. Air Corps: Basic Miss, Johnson Island 1944-1951
Tarleton, William U.S. Navy: Pacific 1943-1945, 1947-1952
Wilson, Ray U.S. Marine Corps Reserves: Miami Fl, Cherry Point NC 1948-1952
Yaney, James U.S. Army Medical Corps: Korea, Japan 1953-1961

*Served between the Korean War and the Vietnam War

Vietnam War: 1961 – 1975


Narrator Branch & Location of Service Service Dates
Alspaugh, James U.S. Army: Ft. Knox Kentucky, Ft. Polk, Louisiana, Ft. Hood, Texas 1966-1968
Chivers, Craig U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air National Guard: SC, NC, Cuban Missile Crisis, South Vietnam 1961-2003
Coulter, Leroy U.S. Air Force: USA, England, Vietnam 1950-1970
Crabill, Roger U.S. Army: USA, Vietnam 1967-1969
Davis, Larry U.S. Marine Corps: Okinawa, Japan, Caribbean, Panama & Cuba 1969-1972
Davis, Tim U.S. Marine Corps: Vietnam, DaNang 1967-1968
Disbrow, Charles U.S. Air Force: Texas, Japan, Pakistan 1962-1970
Eckert, Richard U.S. Air Force: Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Thailand, New Jersey 1966-1970
Hayes, Julia Military Wife: France, Florida, Illinois, NY, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Indiana 1960-1978
Hayes, Michael U.S. Air Force: U.S., France, Korea, Puerto Rico 1958-1978
Henley, Keith U.S. Air Force: Germany, Norway, Pentagon, Alaska, Recruiting Duty 1951-1973
Hess, Richard U.S. Army/Reserves: Ft. Knox, KY, Ft. Carson, CO., Vietnam 1964-1969
Hicks, William U.S. Army: CONUS, S.E.A. USAREUR 1966-1986
Johnson, Ronald U.S. Army: Korea 1969-1970
Koch, Richard U.S. Air Force: Biloxi, Ms, Arkansas, and Crete Lubbock, Tx 1964-1968
Lehman, Harold U.S. Army: Ft. Polk, Ft. Eustis, Qui Nhon RVN, Ft. Wayne; ANG USAF: Middle East, Africa, Panama 1966-1972, 1973-2005
Nowling, John U.S. Army: An Khe, Vietnam, Ft. Campbell, KY 1966-1968
Robertson, Mike U.S. Marine Corps: Okinawa, Vietnam, Pakistan 1970-1974
Tagtmeyer, Jeanne U.S. Air Force: Chanute AFB, Cam Ranh Bay, SV, Cannon AFB, NM, Shaw AFB, SC, CCK AB, Taiwan 1968-1975

Other Conflicts

Narrator Conflict, Branch & Location of Service Video Length
Chivers, Craig Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War; U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air National Guard: USA, Cuba, South Vietnam, England 1961-196?, 198?-2003
Cook, Chris Operation Just Cause; U.S. Army: Ft. Ord, CA 1989-1992
Lehman, Harold C. Vietnam War, Middle East, Africa and Panama 1966-1972, 1973-2005
McKown, Jason Iraqi Freedom; U.S. Marine Corps: Kings Bay, GA, Camp Lejune, NC 1999-2003
Wentworth, Robert Global War on Terror; U.S. Army Reserves: Ft. Wayne, IN, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan 2000-2008

Whitley County Oral History

Narrator Area Discussed Date Recorded
Anderson, Betty Larwill, Tri-Lakes 10/1/2009
Bailey, Ralph Columbia City, WCCS 9/22/2009
Boardman, Tom Coesse 2/11/2010
Bollinger, Marian South Whitley 11/16/2009
Brittain, Robert Columbia City 3/23/2009
Brown, Frances Thorncreek, Columbia City 5/5/2010
Cassell, Robert Columbia City, Larwill, S. Whitley 8/6/2008
City Hall of Columbia City Told by Mayor Ryan Daniel 12/12/2018
Coyle, Rosie City Clerk of Columbia City, Coesse 12/13/2018
Daniel, Daniel L. Columbia City 10/8/2008
Fleck, Jim Columbia City 11/2/2011
Geist, Joe Tunker, Peabody, Columbia City 1/26/2010
Haworth, Dick Whitley County Agriculture 11/5/2009
Heckman, Gene Tri-Lakes, Thorncreek Township 3/9/2010
Heinley, Elmer & Helen Columbia City 9/17/2009
Hively, Jeanie Columbia City 3/20/2012
Hockemeyer, Gregg Columbia City Legal Community 12/21/2018
Jefferson Home Extension Club Churubusco, Columbia City, Laud 3/5/2009
Johnson, Bonnie Columbia City, Laud 11/19/2008
Klingaman, Lynn Rural Whitley County/Ag Museum 9/8/2009
Mathieu, Chuck Churubusco 12/1/2009
McNagny, Patricia Columbia City 11/12/2009
Metzger, Roger Columbia City Basketball/Newspapers 12/10/2009
Myers, Mary J. Collins, Churubusco 4/29/2010
Oliver, Jayne Columbia City 4/15/2013
Overdeer, Bill Columbia City, County Council 4/15/2010
Parker, Mark Columbia City 12/6/2018
Parliamentary Law & Literary Club Told by Marge Pence 4/5/2010
Passages, Inc Told by Tom O’Neal and Alice Anderson, Columbia City 3/7/2011
Pontzius, Jon Columbia City 12/17/2009
Pugh, Mary Alice Columbia City 8/27/2009
Ramp, Richard & Viola Columbia City 9/25/2008
Reed, Max Columbia City 3/16/2010
Rosenberger, Janice Laud, Jefferson Township 2/16/2010
Rothert, Dulanna Tri-Lakes 7/24/2008
Rush, Mike Whitley County Judicial System 12/7/2018
Schneider, Alice Columbia City 5/16/2016
Schuman, Billie Ormas, Etna, Columbia City 10/8/2009
Sexton, Roy Columbia City 11/24/2012
Sexton, Susie Columbia City 10/4/2012
Smith, C. Taron Smith and Sons Funeral Home 11/19/2018
Smith, Nathan Collamer 3/23/2010
Strouse, Mary Louise Columbia City 10/29/2009
Tawasi Home Extension Club Churubusco, Collins, Columbia City, Etna, Larwill, Tri-Lakes 4/27/2009
Trier, Vernon Columbia City 8/31/2009
Wagner, Scott Donated paintings 5/24/2012
Waterfall, Clark Columbia City 11/12/2008
Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Told by Jennifer Zartman Romano 12/5/2018
Whitley County Community Foundation Told by September McConnell 11/27/2018
Whitley County Courthouse Told by Bev Henley 12/12/2018
Whitley County Economic Development Corporation Told by Jon Myers 12/7/2018
Whitley County Historical Museum Annex (with Dani Tippmann) 11/13/2018
Whitley County Historical Museum Marshall House (with Angie Maley) 3/11/2010
Whitley County Veteran’s Marathon Told by Gary Bird 11/29/2018
Wineland, Don Columbia City, Tri-Lakes 10/22/2009