Reliving history: Ancestor’s Civil War relics spurs Carmel resident’s interest


Stan Hurt’s fascination with Civil War artifacts started innocently enough.

Hurt, who grew up in Indianapolis, would visit the home where his mother grew up in Ft. Wayne when he was a child.

“There was nothing for me to do,” the 82-year-old Carmel resident said. ‘The only thing interesting there was the storeroom, and it had Civil War relics, so that’s what I played with, the rifle and bayonet. It was the only thing that interested a 6-year-old.

“I’d immediately go there, get the rifle out and play with it. This went on for a number of years.”

The Civil War items belonged to a cousin, Leander Miner, who was a corporal in a Fort Wayne Regiment for the Union Army. Miner died of yellow fever a week before the war ended.

“I inherited his rife and sword when my aunts died,” Hurt said.

Hurt brought the relics to Indianapolis and put them on display in his bedroom.

“It was the first time I got into a display of artifacts,” Hurt said.

After a 15-year stint in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander, he started a business. He eventually got a house in Indianapolis with a den and put the relics on display.

“I thought I would buy some uniforms and things to put around the guns to make it more of a collection,” Hurt said. “We did a lot of entertaining, and people really enjoyed the Civil War room.”

Hurt attended a Civil War flea market at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and met the commanding officer of Eli Lilly’s reenactment artillery battery.

“We get into a long conversation, and a month or two later he asked if I would like to go to Gettysburg,” Hurt said.

Passion leads to reenactments

So, Hurt said that was when he began participating in reenactments.

“Through the years, I started collecting more and more stuff besides being in the reenacting,” Hurt said.

As a reenactor, he started bonding with Miner.

“That grew as I was reenacting, so I wrote a story about him,” said Hurt, who was then retired from daily operations in the company he owned.

After participating for several years, Hurt retired from reenacting approximately six years ago.

“There gets to a point where you can’t put the tent up anymore,” he said.

Hurt started out as a Union lieutenant in Civil War reenacting.

“They made me an officer, so I became a staff officer,” he said. “I didn’t carry a rifle. As you live as a Civil War soldier, you do bond with that era and it keeps history alive. That is what reenacting is about, keeping history alive.

“It was a very interesting hobby for me for 17 years.”

On occasion, Hurt would portray a Confederate soldier.

“I have a Confederate uniform, but I don’t display it,” Hurt said. “The more I studied the Civil War and the whole era, I have a real distaste of the Confederates and I don’t want to ever wear their uniform again. Then what they did during Reconstruction and the Ku Klux Klan (was appalling).”

Hurt has read many books on the Civil War and the era.

“I love journals,” Hurt said. “The way to study the Civil War is to read journals of people that were really there.”

Hurt, an Indianapolis Shortridge High School graduate, sold his company, Indiana Supply, which supplied heating and air conditioning parts, in 2007. Hurt and his wife, Sandra, moved to Carmel in 2002.

He serves on the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and Songbook Foundation boards. He previously was on the Center for the Performing Arts board.

Hurt’s wife released a novel in August 2020 called “Priestess of Pompeii, The Intimate Journey.” She has been fascinated with the art and history of Pompeii for 30 years.

“Stan’s passion for the history of the Civil War and the people who lived in those times and my passion for the history of Greek and Roman societies are certainly linked at this moment,” Sandra said. “We can only hope that the lessons learned from generations past will be heeded by generations to come.”


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