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Editorâ€™s note: The following is the fifth of a six-part series.
CHURUBUSCO â€” A Churubusco manâ€™s search for his familyâ€™s history led him to a much larger story. Chuck Mathieu opened the Churubusco History Center in March of 2011 with Chuck Jones. His interest in history though began with his own family.
Mathieu began by going backwards from his mother and then tracing the generations forward from David Craig. He said there was a lost generation for which he could not account. Then, a second cousin in Florida sent him the Craig family Bible, which closed the remaining gaps.
â€śI am the great-great-great-grandson of David Craig,â€ť Mathieu said.
It was this family connection that nurtured some of Mathieuâ€™s interest in the townâ€™s history. As a lifelong resident of the community, he spent much time with his family, whose roots in the area ran deep as well.
During his career, Mathieu had an interest in history. He would collect old postcards and other photos. He said the missing generation in his familyâ€™s tree caused a delay. Still, he had a dream of displaying his collection, which had grown considerably by the early 21st century. Then his health intervened.
Mathieuâ€™s partner in the venture is a person to whom he owes much for his search through history â€” Chuck Jones. Mathieu had Jones as a history teacher in school before Jones left to go into insurance. Together, the two were fortunate to have more help along the way.
It took some time, but once the ball started rolling the project kept its momentum. Mathieu said after his postcard and photo collection began, friends kept giving him more.
The history center is currently open from 10 to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, with Mathieu and Jones usually there the whole time. People have been visiting, with some giving donations.
What has excited Mathieu about the history center is the opportunity to lay the groundwork for future generations. He had to do a great deal of legwork to acquire the photographs and information about Churubusco, and some aspects of history were not preserved. For instance, Mathieu possesses very few photographs of the city from the time period covering the 1940s to the 1980s.
For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Dec. 29 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.