In 1804, a group of pioneers left South Carolina to travel along the Ohio River, eventually settling in what is now Union County, Indiana. In 1805, one of the settlers, John Templeton, built a new log cabin for his family on a site where Hanna’s Creek flows into the Whitewater River.
In 1980, the Union County Historical Society moved the cabin to its current location on the courthouse lawn in the National Register-listed Liberty Courthouse Square Historic District, where it’s used for town festivals, field trips, and fundraisers.
“The log cabin of John Templeton, which has been restored and stands on the Union County Courthouse square in Liberty, is generally accepted as the first home built in Union County, ” says Steve Logue, the president of the Historical Society. “He raised nine children in the cabin, and several original items still remain inside. We now proudly use it for various events in our community so that the public can enjoy it,” he adds.
The historical society cares for and invests in the building, including installing a new cedar roof in 2020. Though the structure remains remarkably intact, in recent years chinking between the logs has begun to deteriorate. Traditionally a mixture of clay, lime, and sand – depending on what was available locally – chinking fills the gaps between logs, sealing out the elements. To protect the structure and preserve it for future generations, the historical society is raising money to replace the crumbling material with soft lime mortar.
The project received a fundraising boost via a $5,000 grant from the Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Indiana Landmarks serves as a preservation advisor to the fund, recommending projects throughout the state.
The Union County Historical Society is continuing to seek additional funds for the repairs. Supporters who wish to donate to the project securely online via the Union County Foundation, or by contacting the foundation at 765-458-7664.
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