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PLYMOUTH â€” Saturday, the Marshall County Historical Museum sponsored a book signing for three authors with roots in Marshall County.
The event took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each author hosted a table with their books on sale as fans had the opportunity to chat with the authors while getting their book signed. Authors were Amy Wenger, Jan Shupert-Arick and William Erwin.
Author William Erwin was raised on a farm just south of Bourbon. Erwin bought his first 80 acres with money earned from 4-H projects. After serving in WW II, he earned a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois, and fed his passion for history through continuing education classes and his love for reading.
As a public servant, he served as a state senator, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, and EPA environmental expert. As a grandfather, he loved making up adventures for his grandchildren, and he wrote many down never intending to publish them. With the encouragement from his wife and help from his daughter-in-law his stories are now being published.
When asked for the inspiration for his stories, Erwin related that he had taught Sunday school to Junior High students for more than 20 years and in that time he noted that many of the children felt like they didnâ€™t fit in. Erwin wanted his books to reach these kids and give them hope so although set in different times, each of his characters are young and have difficulties they must overcome. His latest book, â€śAngusâ€ť takes place in the 1700s and is about a young Scottish immigrant and the difficulties he faces in the new world as an indentured servant.
The Historical Society was delighted to host these authors as many people came out for autographs and to chat with the authors. The museum will continue to sell the authorsâ€™ books.
Writer and author Wenger began writing professionally at the age of 16, when she was hired to compose feature stories and sports news for her hometown newspaper, The Bremen Enquirer. Wenger said in second grade when a student teacher encouraged her to become a writer, she took that advice to heart and has achieved a career that spans three decades. Though born in Bremen, she currently resides with her husband, Larry, and their three children, Hannah, Rebekah, and Josiah in the town of Wakarusa.
Wengerâ€™s articles have appeared in several area publications including the Pilot News, the South Bend Tribune, the Warsaw Times-Union, the Elkhart Truth, the Goshen News, the Advance-News in Nappanee, and The Bremen Enquirer.
In 2001, Wenger was contacted by Arcadia Publishing, a distributor of regional historical books, and her career as an historical author was born. Her first book, â€śImages of America â€” Elkhart, Indiana,â€ť was released in 2002 with her second book, â€śAround Nappanee â€”Hometowns of the Heritage Trailâ€ť following in 2003. For her work on â€śAround Nappanee,â€ť she was the recipient of the Historic Preservation Commission award for â€śHistoric Preservation Education.â€ť
Wengerâ€™s current book, â€śMarshall County, Indiana â€”The Crossroads of Americaâ€ť chronicles the rich history of Marshall County through pictures and written accounts of its Native American heritage, the perseverance of its first settlers, and itâ€™s growth through both agriculture and industry. Wenger credits the Marshall County Historical Society for their cooperation in granting her access to both pictures and historical records. Wenger felt that she had learned a lot about Marshall County through her research even about her own hometown Bremen.
Another featured author was Jan Shupert-Arick. Shupert-Arick is the author of â€śThe Lincoln Highway Across Indianaâ€ť (Arcadia Publishing) and has an extensive background in history, education, and historical preservation. Shupert-Arick grew up near South Bend in the area known today as Potato Creek State Park. She was also a â€śBowen Baby,â€ť delivered by former Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen, M.D.
A graduate of Indiana University, Jan lived in Oregon and California for several years before returning to Indiana. She and her husband Bill currently reside in Fort Wayne. She relocated to Fort Wayne in 1996 to serve as director of education at the Lincoln Museum.
During this time her desire to learn more about the Lincoln Highway grew into a passion to see it restored.
The Lincoln Highway (old U.S. 30) was the first paved highway to go from the east coast to the west coast. By using archival photographs and distinctive stories from the past, Shupert-Arickâ€™s book explores Indianaâ€™s unique relationship with Lincoln Highway not only in its creation but also in its development of the neighborhoods, towns, and cities that lie along its route.
Her next book will be about the Dixie Highway (old U.S. 31) which originally went from Northern Michigan to Florida.