By Heather Collins
Last July, Charlotte Robinson, an Arkansas resident, made a stop at Simon Moon Park to uncover her ancestry and learn more about the history of the City of Westfield.
In a letter to the City of Westfield Parks and Recreation Dept., Robinson revealed her family connection to one of the founders of Westfield.
“See, Simon Moon is my great-great-great-grandfather. On the way to the reunion in Michigan, the family letter showed the park and said (Moon) had donated land to Westfield years ago for a school for Quaker children,” Robinson wrote.
The legacy of Simon Moon
Simon Moon co-founded Westfield along with Asa Bales and Ambrose Osborne on May 6, 1834. Westfield was incorporated as a town in 1848 and became a city 160 years later in 2008. Moon was the first white settler in Westfield in 1832.
Robinson said learning more about the legacy of her ancestors inspires her to be a more thoughtful and helpful person.
“It’s nice to know that your ancestors cared,” Robinson said. “Now, the people of Westfield are enjoying the land that (Simon Moon) gave the city.”
In her letter, Robinson asked the City of Westfield to install a plaque at Simon Moon Park stating why the park was named after him.
Carol Daubenspeck, Westfield, also is a descendent of Moon but wasn’t aware of her connection with Robinson. Despite the two women not knowing each other, Daubenspeck shares Robinson’s desire for a plaque honoring her ancestors.
“I’d like to see something like that. There just needs to be an effort to make it very accurate,” said Daubenspeck said, who owns several Moon family artifacts, including a Bible and mixing bowl.
Connecting the past and present
Park communications spokesperson Zach Burton said Simon Moon Park is one of the most visited parks in Westfield because it is family friendly.
“Simon Moon Park serves as a way to honor one of Westfield’s founders and to keep his name alive in everyday, fun ways,” Burton said. “It is our hope that families from all over Westfield will come to the park to create memories of their own and build their own history within the community.”
Over the years, the park has developed several ways to connect Westfield residents with the past, present and future.
In 2015, the park unveiled a “smart playground” that enables park goers to interact with the playground via their smartphone or tablet and hear Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.
In 2016, the Tree of Hope, a tulip poplar tree, was planted by a local Boy Scout along with 10 honorary trees to celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial and to represent the park’s commitment to the sustainability of forests.
In 2017, The Little Library, which was funded through a $500 grant from Youth Service of America and the Walt Disney Company, was installed at Simon Moon Park to promote childhood reading. Robinson noted The Little Library was her family’s favorite addition to the park.
“Simon Moon Park has evolved many times since its initial construction,” Burton said of possibly installing a plaque at the park. “We are always looking for ways to enhance it, so that is certainly a possibility. We do have historical plaques, for instance, in Old Friends Cemetery Park that provide information on Westfield’s founding as a Quaker community. We appreciate Simon Moon’s great-great-great granddaughter for recommending this.”
The park is nestled on 6.75 acres. Burton noted the City of Westfield plans to expand the park to approximately 25 acres.
“With its involvement in the Underground Railroad, and its background as a historic Quaker community, Westfield has a unique and fascinating history,” Burton said. “We are always eager to learn more about that past and share these stories. Hearing from descendants of those previous citizens of our community is a great way to personalize the past and get closer to it.”
The Robinsons want to make a stop at Simon Moon Park an annual family tradition.
For more on Simon Moon Park, visit westfield.in.gov.
Letter from Charlotte Robinson to Simon Moon Park
To whom it concerns:
Hi my name is Charlotte Robinson and on a trip to Michigan in July we stopped at the Simon Moon Park. The park is great, loved the area for book trading, the part of the restroom picnic area – great – nice and clean.
See, Simon Moon is my great-great-great grandfather. On the way to the reunion in Michigan, the family letter showed the park and said that Simon had donated land to Westfield years ago for a school for Quaker children. I stopped and while it carries his name, there is no plaque stating how the park came to be named after Grandfather Simon. I thought since so much land was donated by him surely your fine city could afford a plaque stating why it was named this. I know my mom’s cousin Martin Moon lived in Westfield for years, and he has told us his great-grandfather loved that area, and had been a Quaker.
So I’m asking that you consider putting up a plaque stating the history of the park. It would be a great favor to the Moon’s in that area and to many of his descendants.
Thank you for consideration. I’d love to stop at the park again on my trip north.
Sincerely, Charlotte Robinson