Bourbon Sesquicentennial


Special Names on the Bourbon Quilt

The history of a community consists of the people living there and the things they did. This story is about four young ladies who lived and worked in Bourbon, off and on, for about 25 years. Their names will appear on the Sesquicentennial Quilt. Amanda Graber Kuhns, Edna Yoder Helmuth, Caroline Graber Weaver (she and Amanda are cousins), and Lizzie Chupp. The four of them lived in the Wolf apartment above a store on Main street across from the present day Lemler Locker. Amanda says there was a bay window in their apartment from which they could see everything that was happening both to the south and north on Main Street. The girls enjoyed visiting the corner soda fountain in Cumberland's Drug Store. Amanda remembers that their apartment was a convenient haven for Amish travelers. Both singles and couples stopped in to wait for someone to pick them up or until they could catch the bus at the corner. It was often people going east to Ohio or someone getting off of the bus in the evening and needing shelter until further transportation arrived.

Amanda, who has kept a diary since she was 16 years old, keeps in touch with many of the local people. She went to school through the 9th grade in Etna Green. Betty White (now Mart) was a classmate. Amanda was especially close to Joyce King and Don Hooley. Joyce talked Amanda into selling World Book Encyclopedias with her which she did for around I0 years. Amanda was with her friend, Joyce, when her dad, Jay Caldwell, passed away and is still in contact with the King boys.

From 1949 to 1952, she worked for the Ecker family caring for Grandma Ecker (Cora). She had already gone home for the weekend when Ed Ecker passed away. Harry McCollough and Russ Filson were sent to get her and, finding her not at home, continued on clear to Middlebury so she could return to the Ecker home. Ed died in January of 1952 and his mother died in December of the same year. Amanda had help in caring for Cora from Maxine Cullison, Faith Shearer's sister who was an RN, and from Faye Robinson who lived upstairs in the Ecker home. After Cora's death, Amanda worked in the Armstrong Dime Store for almost two years with co-workers, Eva Berkey, Edna Guy, Hona Hawley and a Mrs. Smith.

Edna Yoder worked at Eby's Bakery where she received the nickname of "Cookie". Caroline Graber worked for the John Ritzenthaler family, the George Redman's, and at Tubby Hibbett's Restaurant. Lizzie Chupp worked for Harvey Byrer in the 40's, for their daughter, Helen & Wayne Wright, and baby sat for Boyd & Ella Mae Byrer. Amanda, Edna, Caroline and Lizzie were each in and out of Bourbon for a number of years helping wherever needed. The families of Tom Eby, George Roy, Conda Martin, Hap Burt, Lewis & Bill Erwin, Merl Millbern, Joe Miller, lvo Dinkledine, Clayton Gottschalk, as well as Max, Bob & Bill Gottschalk were all aware of the capable care given by the ladies whether nursing the sick or helping with new babies. Lizzie writes that Bill's kids all called her "Mom" and she was still working for Bob Gottschalk yet in 2001.

Many of the Grabers originated in North Dakota. Mandy's father was born there. Single boys went to the Dakota's for work during the wheat harvest. Some stayed. Girls went up to work in the "cook cars" providing the harvest crews with 3 hardy meals a day plus a morning and a afternoon snack. After Mandy's parents were married they returned to Indiana. Amanda Graber was delivered into this world on the 4th of July 1928 by Bourbon's own Dr. Graham. Charlie Heisler came to town to get Dr. Graham and they drove 8 miles through fierce thunder and lightning to get to the Graber home. Amanda's brother Ralph was named after Ralph Mason, whom the family admired greatly.

Mandy proudly tells about the time she drove Ed Ecker's horse, Sylvia Henley, in a parade at the race track. Then she finishes with emphasis, 'only once!" Bob Riddle was an elderly man who lived not far from the horse barns. Ed paid Bob to care for his horses.

These four special friends have added a sparkle to the history of Bourbon and it's fitting that their names will be a special part of the Bourbon Quilt.


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