Mr. Mike Murphey presented last evening on “The Kimberlins Go To War A Union Family in Copperhead Country,” based on his book by the same title, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press 2016. The Kimberlins were a numerous family living in southern Indiana amidst majority Copperhead sympathy, yet who sent 33 men to fight for the Union, suffering a third of them to never to come home again to Indiana alive. His talk was about half a description of Indiana politics of that era, in an age when many more people then (than now) adhered with enthusiasm to a party allegiance; and half about this remarkable family. Those of you familiar with genealogy will understand how the study of a family of that period as involved as the Kimberlins would disclose some particularly real history, not found in books that treat the history of the period in a general way. Mr. Murphey also made connections between the politics of that period and those of today, they having many comparisons.
Of all our speakers, Mr. Murphey has been the sole example of one who could tell a fascinating story entirely from memory, other than quoting a few passages from Kimberlin letters. As he got into his subject it became apparent “here is a guy” who knows his subject matter in wonderful detail and able to relate it in a coherent, sequential stream of thought that was fascinating as it rolled back a curtain of Indiana history for us to see. His research for this story has preserved important Hoosier history that would otherwise have likely been lost to posterity.