ACRES Land Trust
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Woodland Bog Nature Preserve
By Terri Gorney
In 1965, Burtis Elliott Horrall and his wife, Bernice Moody Horrall, generously donated 20 acres of land that would become ACRES' third preserve. Art Eberhardt had approached the Horralls about purchasing the old bog which could be obtained for less than $1000 at a tax sale. The Horralls bought it with the intention of gifting it to ACRES.
This land, which became known as the Woodland Bog Nature Reserve, became a state dedicated nature preserve in 1972. Part of an old bog that took centuries to develop, the property is dominated by pin oak, red osier dogwood, swamp white oak, big tooth aspen, red maple, red elm, and a few tamaracks. Many species of birds find this swamp forest a good place to nest. Stands of cinnamon and royal ferns with fronds as tall as six feet, give the area a tropical appearance. Burtis and Bernice were a fascinating couple, devoted to one another for 60 years. They passed on their passion for education, family history and the natural world to their two children, Louise and Ross.
Bernice was born in Mount Etna and graduated from high school in Angola. She studied two years at Tri-State College, then transferred to Purdue University - the first woman from Steuben County to attend Purdue. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the university and published professional papers in "The Journal of Genetic Psychology" and "Genetic Psychology Monograms." Bernice taught in the public schools and at the college level.
Bernice had a natural curiosity about her ancestors. She descended from some of the first white pioneers who settled in Steuben County in the 1830s. Her grandmother, Lydia Welch Moody, told her that their land was once covered with trees, especially walnut. When she met Burtis, his family shared information about his forebears. He was a native of Knox County in southern Indiana where his family had settled in the first half of the nineteenth century.
This lively couple met on a blind date October 4, 1918 and went canoeing up the Wabash River with the friends who introduced them. Burtis was also an alumnus of Purdue University and taught there. Beginning in the 1920s, he was involved in dairy research at the university. His published research involved studying factors affecting the body and texture of ice cream, milk and its products, and Indiana butter. Later, he taught at Tri-State University.
In 1982, Bernice and her daughter, Louise Horrrall Rogulic, used Bernice's lifetime study of their family lines to write "The Life and Times of Burtis Elliott Horrall and Bernice Moody Horrall and Their Ancestors." Burtis died in 1978 and Bernice in 1989. One of her favorite quotes was by Edmund Burke: "He only deserves to be remembered who treasures up and preserves the history of his ancestors." Both Burtis and Bernice deserve recognition for preserving one of Steuben County's natural treasures, now called Woodland Bog Nature Reserve. An easement to Woodland Bog which allows for easy access to the preserve was graciously given by Hershel and Virginia Cole.
Woodland Bog Nature Preserve
2600 E. 100 N, Angola, IN 46703
From Angola take US 20 east 1.5 miles to 100 E and turn left (north). Travel 1.3 miles to 100 N and turn right (east). Travel 1.4 miles to the preserve on the left.