By Mark Ambrogi
John Graves has lived in Maryland since graduating from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, but he’s never forgotten his Carmel roots.
In fact, he has been studying them regularly for nearly seven years.
John Graves will lead a panel, which will present Agricultural Roots at 2 p.m. April 9 at the Carmel Clay Public Library. The discussion is part of the Carmel Clay Historical Society speaker series. Other members of the panel include Jay Cotton, Bob Huber and Doug Callahan, Clay Township trustee.
Graves’ grandparents, Fred and Rose Graves, lived on the property that is now Bub’s Burgers in downtown Carmel. Graves, 70, graduated from Carmel High School in 1963. Graves’ father worked for Foster Kendall Co., a feed and seed supply company.
Graves, a retired microelectronics engineer who lives near Annapolis, got the idea to research the farming history from 1930 to 1965 from ex-CCHS executive director Tom Rumor.
Graves said Rumor told him there was lots of information on the 1800s but didn’t have very much on the mid-1900s.
“I got to thinking that was my time from when I was born until I grew up,” Graves said. “I got to thinking what I might be able to do to help out in that regard. I thought if I could contact some of my high school classmates that might be a start. So I did. Some of them were farmers or they knew other classmates who were farmers. I developed a contributor group, which fed me information about different farms.”
Graves said he has more than 70 contributors, most CHS graduates. Graves said he has developed profiles for 140 farms. Graves created profiles for the farm on where it was located and who owned it.
“I figured out who owned the land at different times by plat maps from Hamilton County,” Graves said.
Graves uses Google Maps to determine where farms used to be located.
“I have a historical memory in my head,” said Graves, who returns to Carmel twice a year. “It has been wiped out yet.”
For more, visit carmelclayhistory.org.