IHB Marker Dedication: Queen of American Agriculture

An event five years in the making, the Indiana Historical Bureau historical marker for Virginia Claypool Meredith  was installed in Cambridge City. I had the opportunity to attend the marker dedication on Sunday, September 14, organized by Jerry Mattheis, dressed as town founder Ira Lackey, and Phyllis Mattheis, embodying Virginia Claypool Meredith herself.

At the dedication, I was able to publicly thank the collaborating organizations for their work to establish this marker: Western Wayne Heritage, the Indiana National Road Association, Purdue University Extension, the Indiana Women’s History Association, and INDOT.

As an IHB intern, one of my first assignments was to research Meredith, so it was an honor to read the marker text to dedication attendees.

Joe Frost of the Indiana National Road Association spoke briefly about the importance of marking local historical landscapes, and Jill Chambers of the Indiana Women’s History Association spoke about how the marker enriches Indiana’s women’s history. Senator Allen Paul, Richmond, presented remarks praising Meredith and her achievements.

After the unveiling of the marker (on U.S. 40), attendees proceeded to the Meredith House to hear Phyllis Mattheis, assuming the role of Meredith, discuss her life and agricultural work. Dr. Fred Whitford, author of Queen of American Agriculture, accompanied her talk with illustrated panels and spoke about the second half of Meredith’s life. Refreshments and a tour of the house followed the first person interpretation.

The Meredith marker is one of three markers along Cambridge City’s Main Street, including the Overbeck House and Studio and the Iron Brigade Commander. Virginia Meredith’s immense accomplishments in agriculture, education and women in business more than qualify her to stand among these markers.

They say good things are worth the wait and this marker certainly was.