Updated: Sunday, 22 Nov 2009, 11:16 PM EST
Published : Sunday, 22 Nov 2009, 10:42 PM EST
KEMPTON, Ind. (WISH) - Barack Obama's family roots reach deep into central Indiana and
soon an old farm house near Kempton in Tipton County may serve as a
living tribute to the President's ancestors.
The President's mother, Ann Dunham, was born and raised in Kansas, but her grandfather moved there from Indiana and a historic preservationist is now at work reconstructing some of the Obama family history here.
Shawn Clements loves showing off the Dunham house, a 19th century farmhouse that he purchased in 2004 with the idea of preserving it so that he could live here. When a neighbor told him to research the home's ownership he got big surprise. He found a copy of a land grant that shows the property was settled by Jacob Dunham in 1840. Jacob Dunham was Barack Obama's great-great-great-great grandfather. He is one of 11 Obama ancestors buried in the Kempton Cemetery.
And when word of the research got back to Barack Obama, he came to a potluck dinner at the Dunham home just days before the 2008 May primary election. Clements later got tickets to the Obama Inauguration and to an inaugural ball.
"This stopped being my house a while back," said Clements.
Now, with White House photos hanging on the wall, the
preservation project has taken on new meaning and focus. Clements
is seeking contributions and partners for what he hopes will become
a nonprofit foundation.
He supported Obama in 2008 but says this is not about politics.
"You know I do historic preservation," he said. "It's about
history for me. If it had been anybody else's house you have that
obligation as a preservationist to restore it whether it was George
Bush's house or Hillary Clinton's house."
The Dunham house was actually built by Barack Obama's great uncle Riley Dunham, who was also a politician. He served in the Indiana General Assembly.
Barack Obama is not the first President to visit the house; that was Grover Cleveland.
Casey Bridgeford is on his way to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. …