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 Video Length
Brown, Charles U.S. Army: Ft. Richardson, Alaska 55:10
Brown, Frances Military Wife: Alabama 19:41
Brown, Lewis Merchant Marines: Atlantic – Pacific 24:09
Byer, Gerald Eugene U.S. Naval Reserve: Boston, New York, Pacific, Portland 52:13
Cassell, Robert U.S. Army: Europe 49:06
Cornmesser, Robert U.S. Navy 22:08
Coverstone, George U.S. Navy: Atlantic & Pacific 27:08
Gipe, Dick U.S. Army: France, Belgium, Holland, Germany 18:42
Goudy, Dewey U.S. Army Air Force: Italy 38:06
Hammer, Janice Military Wife (WWII and Korea) 33:02
Haworth, Richard U.S. Air Corp: Florida, Indiana, Texas 14:57
Herr, John Benjamin U.S. Army: Omaha Beach [He was also a POW in Germany] 6:33
Keuneke, Arnold Signal Corp of Air Force—Army: Mostly N. Africa & Italy 43:39
Marsh, Howard U.S. Army: France & Germany 29:01
Mercer, Frank U.S. Army: South Pacific – New Guinea 53:38
Meyers, Edward Air Corps, U.S. Air Force: Texas, Kansas, Florida, Africa, Italy, Arizona 21:02
Mitchell, Clarice U.S. Navy: Pacific Ocean Theater 50:36
Nowling, Arthur U.S. Army: Japan, Asiatic Pacific Theatre 38:18
Perry, Clifford U.S. Army: West Coast 49:22
Pittenger, Talbert U.S. Navy: Pacific Area 51:39
Pontzius, Wilma WAVES (U.S. Navy): San Diego, Great Lakes IN, Chicago 23:01
Ramp, Richard Army Air Force: Olk., Cal, Idaho, Ft. Myers FL, Norwich England 47:40
Shaw, Clarence Army Air Force? (Artillery): Europe 29:40
Strouse, Edgar John U.S. Air Corps: Basic Miss, Johnson Island 21:58
Tarleton, William U.S. Navy: Pacific 70:20
Walker, Robert U.S. Air Force Reserves: Kessler, Miss – San Antonio Tex – Training etc. 34:07
Waterfall, Clark U.S. Army, Veterinary Corp: ASTP Michigan State University, Ft. Bnj Harrison, Indianapolis, Manch & Durmstadt Germany 59:12


Korean War: 1950 – 1953

Narrator Branch & Location of Service Video Length
Cornmesser, Robert U.S. Navy 22:08
Coulter, Leroy U.S. Air Force: USA, England, Vietnam 27:19
Daniel, Daniel U.S. Navy: Great Lakes, IL; Norfolk and Little Creek, VA 36:02
Easter, Benjamin U.S. Army: Muchen, Germany 26:41
Forrester, Richard U.S. Air Force: Texas, Japan, Korea, Florida 25:29
Frey, Franklin U.S. Army: Korea 33:02
Gates, Paul U.S. Army: US, Germany 54:50
Hammer, Janice Military Wife (WWII and Korea) 33:02
Heinbaugh, William U.S. Navy: Port Huneme, Kwajalein, M3-Naval Amphibious base, Coronado, California 47:23
Henley, Keith U.S. Air Force: Germany, Norway, Pentagon, Alaska, Recruiting Duty 58:08
Kissinger, Keith U.S. Army: Germany 8:32
Klingaman, Lynn U.S. Army: France, Germany 57:45
Leas, Robert U.S. Army: Japan, Korea 16:14
*Loy, Grant U.S. Marine Corps: US & Japan (1957-1960) 33:52
Pontzius, Wilma WAVES (U.S. Navy) : San Diego, Great Lakes IN, Chicago 23:01
Rohrer, Gene U.S. Marine Corps: US & Korea 17:21
Schrader, Jack U.S. Marine Corps: Korea 21:01
Shaw, James U.S. Navy: USS Titania KA13, Anchorage Alaska A099 [Aog9?], USS Cavalier APA-37 24:44
Strouse, Edgar John U.S. Air Corps: Basic Miss, Johnson Island 21:58
Tarleton, William U.S. Navy: Pacific 70:20
Wilson, Ray U.S. Marine Corps Reserves: Miami Fl, Cherry Point NC 33:19
Yaney, James U.S. Army Medical Corps: Korea, Japan 48:21

*Served between the Korean War and the Vietnam War

Vietnam War: 1961 – 1975


Narrator Branch & Location of Service Video Length
Alspaugh, James U.S. Army: Ft. Knox Kentucky, Ft. Polk, Louisiana, Ft. Hood, Texas 28:14
Coulter, Leroy U.S. Air Force: USA, England, Vietnam 27:19
Crabill, Roger U.S. Army: USA, Vietnam 27:30
Davis, Larry U.S. Marine Corps: Okinawa, Japan, Caribbean, Pannama & Cuba 46:14
Davis, Tim U.S. Marine Corps: Vietnam, DaNang 29:53
Disbrow, Charles U.S. Air Force: Texas, Japan, Pakistan 20:26
Hayes, Julia Military Wife: France, Florida, Illinois, NY, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Indiana 15:47
Hayes, Michael U.S. Air Force: U.S., France, Korea, Puerto Rico 17:17
Henley, Keith U.S. Air Force: Germany, Norway, Pentagon, Alaska, Recruiting Duty 58:08
Hess, Richard U.S. Army/Reserves: Ft. Knox, KY, Ft. Carson, CO., Vietnam 25:43
Hicks, William U.S. Army: CONUS, S.E.A. USAREUR 12:43
Johnson, Ronald U.S. Army: Korea 17:10
Koch, Richard U.S. Air Force: Biloxi, Ms, Arkansas, and Crete Lubbock, Tx 13:34
Lehman, Harold U.S. Army: Ft. Polk, Ft. Eustis, Qui Nhon RVN, Ft. Wayne; ANG USAF: Middle East, Africa, Panama 44:47
Nowling, John U.S. Army: An Khe, Vietnam, Ft. Campbell, KY 39:47
Tagtmeyer, Jeanne U.S. Air Force: Chanute AFB, Cam Ranh Bay, SV, Cannon AFB, NM, Shaw AFB, SC, CCK AB, Taiwan 39:17

Other Conflicts


Narrator Conflict, Branch & Location of Service Video Length
Cook, Chris Operation Just Cause; U.S. Army: Ft. Ord, CA 28:41
McKown, Jason Iraqi Freedom; U.S. Marine Corps: Kings Bay, GA, Camp Lejune, NC 45:56
Wentworth, Robert Global War on Terror; U.S. Army Reserves: Ft. Wayne, IN, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan 52:19


Whitley County Oral History

Narrator Area Discussed Video Length
Anderson, Betty Larwill, Tri-Lakes 53:49
Bailey, Ralph Columbia City, WCCS 48:59
Boardman, Tom Coesse 45:33
Bollinger, Marian South Whitley 54:08
Brittain, Robert Columbia City 46:32
Brown, Frances Thorncreek, Columbia City 50:31
Cassell, Robert Columbia City, Larwill, S. Whitley 32:49
Daniel, Daniel L. Columbia City 60:42
Fleck, Jim Columbia City 47:43
Geist, Joe Tunker, Peabody, Columbia City 62:47
Haworth, Dick Whitley County Agriculture 57:05
Heckman, Gene Tri-Lakes, Thorncreek Township 58:47
Heinley, Elmer & Helen Columbia City 71:59
Hively, Jeanie Columbia City 54:21
Jefferson Home Extension Club Churubusco, Columbia City, Laud 45:27
Johnson, Bonnie Columbia City, Laud 38:40
Klingaman, Lynn Rural Whitley County/Ag Museum 69:58
Mathieu, Chuck Churubusco 50:53
McNagny, Patricia Columbia City 24:18
Metzger, Roger Columbia City Basketball/Newspapers 49:53
Myers, Mary J. Collins, Churubusco 30:37
Oliver, Jayne Columbia City 99:44
Overdeer, Bill Columbia City, County Council 50:52
Parliamentary Law & Literary Club Told by Marge Pence 17:12
Passages, Inc Told by Tom O’Neal and Alice Anderson, Columbia City 34:17
Pontzius, Jon Columbia City 49:33
Pugh, Mary Alice Columbia City 52:36
Ramp, Richard & Viola Columbia City 56:59
Reed, Max Columbia City 58:07
Rosenberger, Janice Laud, Jefferson Township 39:21
Rothert, Dulanna Tri-Lakes 44:57
Schneider, Alice Columbia City 64:16
Schuman, Billie Ormas, Etna, Columbia City 44:14
Sexton, Roy Columbia City 36:02
Sexton, Susie Columbia City 88:52
Smith, Nathan Collamer 58:51
Strouse, Mary Louise Columbia City 42:52
Tawasi Home Extension Club Churubusco, Collins, Columbia City, Etna, Larwill, Tri-Lakes 85:13
Trier, Vernon Columbia City 27:42
Wagner, Scott Donated paintings 5:45
Waterfall, Clark Columbia City 19:55
Whitley County Historical Museum Annex 19:09
Whitley County Historical Museum Marshall House 37:26
Wineland, Don Columbia City, Tri-Lakes 57:03