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Confederate spy story part of Jasper County History

late 20th century photo of Baums Bridge with inset portrait of John C. Brain.

Indiana may have been part of the Union during the Civil War, but not everyone agreed with that decision.

Rebel sympathizers abounded in all parts of Indiana, even far remote Jasper County.

Rensselaer's own Gen. Milroy, and his wife Mary, referred to them frequently in their wartime letters as "butternuts," a common nickname, and at one point, in August of 1863, Mary proclaimed the butternuts had interrupted a Methodist church service and local guards had to be called out to keep the peace.

So it was not surprising that confederate spies thought they would find willing partners here to rally to their cause.

This weekend, you can experience the capture of John C. Brain, a confederate spy who crossed the Kankakee River at present day Baum's Bridge in September of 1861, looking for like-minded supporters.

The re-enactment of Brain's capture is the latest addition to the 9th Annual Aukiki River Fest, held just north of the Kankakee River at the Collier Lodge at Baum's Bridge.

The festival, which features live historical demonstrations from various eras, is sponsored by the Kankakee Valley Historical Sociecty and celebrates the history of the Grand Kankakee Marsh and efforts to restore the river and wildlife that once thrived in abundance in the region.

Baum’s Bridge connects Jasper and Porter Counties and is a historical passage across the once-wide river. The area has been home to many cultures throughout pre-history, and was the site of a 10-year archaelogical dig conducted by Notre Dame with artifacts as old as 10,000 years found at the lodge.

For more information, read the Chicago Tribune or NW Indiana Times articles.

The capture is planned to take place at 2 pm both days.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Aukiki River Festival

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Collier Lodge, 1097 Baums Bridge Road, Kouts

Admission: $3 adults; free ages 12 and younger

Information: 219-766-2302 or

Photo: Modern photo of Baum's Bridge with inset portrait of John C. Brain.