The Hall-Carmer Wetlands bears tribute to the lives and visions of Perry and Florence Buchanan Hall and their son-in-law and daughter, Bill and Lilian Hall Carmer. The family was typical of many small farmers who once dotted the landscape of southeastern Indiana. They owned several forty-acre plots, raised a few crops, kept some cows and some chickens, and loved all that the land provided.
Perry passed when he was 89 years old. He had gone to the back forty to hitch a wagon, and died working the farm. Florence passed within a year of what the family called a broken heart. The land was willed to the Hall’s daughter, Lilian. For 52 years, Lilian worked for the North Vernon Plain Dealer and Sun. She was active in local preservation efforts and was well known for her photography and her love of nature. In the 1990s, she entered forty acres of the family farm into a Federal Wetlands program. It was her desire that it be preserved as a breath of natural nature, contrasting with other acreage in the area being used primarily for the needs of man. Lilian thought about birds and possums and raccoons and all of God’s creatures. She wanted to ensure that they, too, would have homes.
Lilian left the land to her three nieces. The girls grew up within a mile of the wetlands and called it “The Middle Place.” While Lilian placed no restriction on what they did with the land, they knew they wished to support Lilian’s desires that it be maintained in perpetuity as a reserve. In 2012, Lilian’s nieces donated the land to Oak Heritage Conservancy.
Years from now there will remain plants and trees and birds and rabbits on this spot. Lilian’s love of nature will be there for future generations to enjoy. Also on the site will be the Hall and Carmer names, a tribute not only to one family, but to the many small farmers who once were common in the area.
–Based on an article by Tom Taylor in the Oak Heritage Conservancy 2012 newsletter