Carmel Clay pioneer descendants to serve as CarmelFest parade grand marshals


In celebration of the Hamilton County Bicentennial, the Allied Solutions CarmelFest parade will feature descendants of Carmel Clay pioneers as the grand marshals.

“If their family was in our community in the 1800s up to early 1900s, the descendants are representing their family,” Carmel Clay Historical Society Executive Director Debbie Gangstad said.

Gangstad’s ancestors, the Hershey family, is among them.

The descendants will ride in a trolley, which seats 36 people, during the parade.

One of the families represented is Kinzer, who owned the log cabin on Main Street that is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.

Brian Wise is a seventh-generation Hamilton County resident. His granddaughters, Quinn and Evelyn, are ninth-generation county residents.

“The Wise family donated the property where White Chapel Church is on 116th Street and the lumber to build the church,” Gangstad said.

Two of the descendants are Clay Township Trustee Paul Hensel and former Clay Township Trustee Doug Callahan.

“They’ve been helpful in this endeavor,” Gangstad said. “It’s been a coordinated effort between the county, Clay Township board, City of Carmel, Hamilton County commissioners and CarmelFest. We’re trying our best to represent every one of the good families that built our community from the get-go.”

Participating families

As of May 24, the descendants of Clay Township pioneer families who are participating as grand marshals of the CarmelFest parade:

  • Hensel: Paul Hensel
  • Callahan: Doug Callahan
  • Kinzer: Joan Kinzer Ball and her son, Joseph Kinzer Ball
  • Wise: Brian Wise, his granddaughters, Quinn and Evelyn
  • Pursel: Jim and his sister, Jan Pursel Arbuckle
  • Williamson: Barbara Williamson Lawlor and her children, Steve Patrick Lawlor, Karen Laukaitis
  • Hinshaw: Judy Hinshaw Singleton
  • Randall: Waneta Randall Dunkerly
  • Cotton: Jay Cotton and his daughter, Linda Cotton
  • Horton: Phyllis Horton Rockhill
  • Hershey: Debbie Clark Gangstad
  • Myers: Jerry and Kay Myers
  • Estridge: Betty Bales
  • Childs:  Nancy Cox
  • Randall: Neal and Jan