Books and magazines
were not easy to come by here in the early
days.The first collective effort to provide a literary culture in
Franklinville appears to have been made in 1839.
Twenty men contributed a total of $100 to found what
to call The Franklinville Library Society, complete with a chairman
and four trustees. Beyond this information very little is known
about this earliest effort.
In 1848 a young man by the name of Henry F. Blount was
a store which was owned by Lorentus Salisbury and managed by William
Smit. Why this is interesting to us will become clearer a few more
sentences from now.
There was another effort to provide good reading
material put forth
in 1898 which actually laid the foundation for the library as we know it
today. One determined woman organized what she called a Magazine and
Library Club, the stated purpose being to provide good books and
magazines for the use of community residents.
By 1899 a room had been established for the use of the
in the basement of Morgan Hall. Old photographs show it to
have been a wallpapered room with orderly book shelves and
fairly comfortable looking chairs.
Sixty years after Henry F. Blount had been a clerk in
store the following article appeared in the local newspaper:
The Chronicle, Friday, May 8, 1908
LIVED HERE IN THE FORTIES
"The Evansville, Indiana Courier of last Saturday morning gives a
lengthy report of the annual banquet of the employees of the Blount Plow
Works given the day before.
The banquet was given by the management to the
employees and their
wives and sweethearts, and is the twentieth annual event of the kind.
Colonel H. F. Blount gave the first spread for the purpose of bringing
the men and the management closer together and it has continued ever
since. A number of years ago the event was changed to May 1 owing to
the fact that Colonel Blount's birthday falls on that date.
During the course of remarks made it was announced, to
and satisfaction of the employees, that hereafter the employees will be
granted full pay for a nine hour day, instead of being, as in the past,
compelled to put in ten hours.
Colonel Blount once lived in Franklinville and is still
remembered by many here, particularly by William Smith for whom he
worked in '46, '47 and '48. Mr. Smith was then managing the store of
Lorentus Salisbury and Colonel Blount was a clerk there.
In a letter to William Smith a short time since Mr.
'The stone in my brook of life, which changed the channel of it, was the
refusal of you to pay me ten dollars per month wages while clerking in
Mr. Blount has since amassed a large fortune and has
business with a capitalization of $500,000, making plows exclusively.
He visited Franklinville some five years ago. He is one of the many
successful men who spent their younger days in this vicinity."
Six years later the library in the basement of Morgan Hall began to
outgrow its quarters. A movement began, urging the construction of a
free standing building for the housing of a library. Henry F. Blount may
have been initially surprised at how "fondly" he had been remembered by
the local citizens the first time he opened a letter and discovered he
was being asked to contribute $5000 toward the proposed library.
Henry F. Blount came through for his old home town. He
the money. A house belonging to Andrew Adams stood at that time on the
lot on North Main Street which was desired for the building of the
library. Mr. Adams sold the house and lot to those working on the
library project; the house was then moved back so that it stood on Pine
Street. It has since disappeared.
In the meantime application for funds had also been
made to the
Carnegie Foundation which subsequently agreed to contribute $2200 to
the project, contingent upon a yearly pledge from the Town to contribute
$600 yearly for its maintenance. This was agreed upon.
On May 10, 1915 the new Library was dedicated. Henry F.
asked only one thing in return .... and that was given. To this day the
name Blount Library can be clearly seen on the front of the building.
The first librarian was Mrs. Isadore McVey, the original organizer
of the Magazine and Library Club which had started the whole process.
There have been several dedicated librarians over the
years, but none who put the heart, soul and years into it that did Miss
Kathryn Hawley. She became the librarian in 1927; she retired in 1974
.... 47 years later. Generations of village children learned the joy of
books under the unfailingly pleasant, watchful eye of Kathryn Hawley.
Her years of service did not end without proper recognition. Upon her
retirement she was presented with an oil painting of the Blount Library
done by the well known local artist Norman Maffei.