Saturday, April 30, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 30, 1865 - Lincoln's Body Lies in State - Indianapolis

A Day in Indiana History - April

Southern sympathizer and actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 15, 1865. It was just six days after General Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The surrender effectively ended the Civil War that had raged across the nation for four years. After funeral services in the White House on April 19, 1865 after lying in state in the East Room of the White house on April 18.  After the funeral, an honor guard transported the casket holding the body to the Rotunda at the United States Capitol for a ceremonial service. The body lay in state on April 20. At 7:00 AM, an honor guard escorted the President to a waiting funeral train that would transport the President to Springfield, Illinois for burial. The funeral procession for President Lincoln began at 8:00 AM with around 10,000 people observing. The route the train would take would mirror the route he took on his journey to Washington DC from Springfield, Illinois on his inauguration journey in 1861. Before reaching Indiana, the train would travel through Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. The President's son, Todd, who had died in the White House was disinterred and placed in the train for burial with his father.
Last Time in Indiana
The President reached the state he spent his boyhood in, crossing the Ohio Border into Richmond, Indiana at 7:00 AM, April 30, 1865. Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton got on the train and accompanied the fallen President to Indianapolis, where Lincoln lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Thousands gathered to pay their last respects to the fallen President. Along the way, the train passed through various Indiana towns, including Centreville, Germantown, Cambridge, Knightstown and Charlottesville. Church bells tolled and crowds gathered to watch the solemn procession stream by. A heavy rain had accompanied Lincoln along the route. The rain prevented Governor Morton from delivering his public address. The train departed Indianapolis late in the evening and arrived at Michigan City, Indiana. At Michigan City, the train delayed while Chicago dignitaries gathered to board the train to accompany the President to Chicago. Local officials conducted an unscheduled funeral as they waited. The train departed Michigan City May 1, 1865 at 8:35 AM. Lincoln left Indiana, the place of his boyhood, for the last time. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 29, 1969 - John F. Kennedy Visits Columbus, Indiana

A Day in Indiana History - April

On a campaign swing that included the Indiana cities of Seymour, Columbus and Kokomo, then Senator John F. Kennedy stopped for a few memorable hours as he campaigned for the Presidency. His stop began at a farm just outside Columbus, where he greeted a sizable group of supporters. Kennedy suffered from a bout of laryngitis after his months of speaking. He signed notes he handed out to the crowd that informed people of his condition. From the farm, he traveled to the city hall to meet with the mayor. After his visit to city hall, he visited Columbus High School for a visit with the students. By mid-afternoon, he departed for Kokomo, Indiana. Kennedy went on to win the Bartholomew County primary and later the Democratic nomination for President. He won the Presidency in November 1960.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 28, 1941 - James Whitcomb Riley Begins Regular Passenger Service

A Day in Indiana History - April

The New York Central railroad rolled their new passenger train, called the James Whitcomb Riley, on April 28, 1941. The train offered deluxe, daytime service between Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois via Indianapolis, Indiana. The train joined the other luxurious trains that New York Central called the Great Steel Fleet. In a short period of time it became one of the New York Central's top passenger trains. They named the train after famous Hoosier poet and writer, James Whitcomb Riley.
James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916)
A native of Greenfield, Indiana, James Whitcomb Riley wrote several books and published many poems. His poems were popular with children, earning him the sobriquet "Children's Poet," as well as the "Hoosier Poet," because of the Hoosier dialect he adopted for his poetry and performances. Riley died of a stroke in 1916. At his wake in the Indiana Capitol Building 35,000 people filed past his casket.
The James Whitcomb Riley
The train debuted sporting a sleek design that featured a shrouded steam locomotive. The elegant gray and red train departed Cincinnati, Ohio at 8:15 AM as Train #3 and arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana at 9:00 AM. After a ten minute layover, the train departed Union Station and completed the 302 mile trip by 12:45 PM. Designated Train #4 the James Whitcomb Riley departed Chicago for the return trip at 4:40 PM, arriving in Indianapolis at 8:10 PM. After a ten-minute layover, the train departed, arriving in Cincinnati at 11:10 PM. In 1948, the s New York Central upgraded the locomotives and the service. Amenities of the train included a tavern-lounge, grill-diner, and tavern-observation complementing lightweight coaches. The train maintained its name and luxurious amenities until the mid to late 1960's. During that time rail, authorities lengthened the timetable to accommodate more stops along the route. The name was finally discontinued 0n October 30, 1977, replaced by the Cardinal.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 27, 1876 - Martin County Court House Burn

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 27, 1876 - Martin County Court House Burns
Martin County early in its history developed a reputation for changing its county seat frequently. The residents of the county petitioned the Indiana General Assembly eight times for a change in county seats. Finally, on July 4, 1871, the ninth county seat in Martin County opened for business in West Shoals. The Court House burned on April 27, 1876, creating a need for a new one. Since then the town of Shoals has encompassed the town of West Shoals, so the courthouse moved to a new town without having to be relocated. The old court house served as the county seat of government until 2002, when a new one replaced it. The building currently houses the Martin County Historical Museum. For information, contact:
Capital Ave
P.O. Box 564
Shoals, Indiana 47581

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This Day in Indiana History- April 26, 1884 - The Great Wallace Show Begins - Peru

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 26, 1884 - The Great Wallace Show Begins - Peru
Benjamin E. Wallace opened his Wallace and Co.'s Great World Menagerie, Grand International Mardi Gras, Highway Holiday Hidalgo and Alliance of Novelties in Peru, Indiana on April 26, 1884. The show began with great fanfare, featuring a parade of exotic animals, top-notch performers and brass band.
Benjamin E. Wallace (October 4, 1847 - April 7, 1921)
A native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Benjamin was the son of Ephraim and Rebecca Wallace. Wallace migrated to Peru, Indiana and established a livery business there. He became interested in the circus business so he and a business partner, James Anderson, began assembling a collection of circus equipment. The largest complement of equipment came from a circus called the W. C. Coup Circus. This circus had become financially unstable and went bankrupt. Wallace traveled to Detroit and purchased much of the equipment, which included rail cars full of tents, poles, costuming and other equipment. From other circuses, he obtained many of the animals he would need for the act. He set up headquarters outside of Peru and billed his first show for April 26, 1884 in Peru.
Fire Strikes
On January 25, 1884, a fire from an overheated stove swept through the circus. The fire killed many of the animals. Monkeys, tigers, deer and other animals perished in the fire. Wallace persisted with the opening of the show. Until the damaged living quarters for the animals could be repaired, he kept many of the surviving animals in an abandoned chair factory on Second Street in Peru.
Opening Night
The Wallace and Co.'s Great World Menagerie, Grand International Mardi Gras, Highway Holiday Hidalgo and Alliance of Novelties in Peru opened on schedule, accompanied by the Peru brass band and over 5,000 spectators. Spectators packed the two performances, with many turned away. The show was a success. The season open, the circus went on tour, visiting many small towns in southern Indiana and Ohio. The tour also included towns in Kentucky and Virginia. Since there was no entertainment of any sort in most of these towns, people packed the shows. Wallace did not disappoint them as his retinue included some of the best performers and animals that were well trained and treated. The next year he shortened the name to The Great Wallace Show. He had winter quarters for the circus in Peru.
Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus

The circus continued for many years with increasing success. In 1907, Wallace purchased the Carl Hagenbeck Circus. He combined the two acts into the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, which continued operations until the Flood of 1913 damaged the circus and killed many of the animals. He sold the circus to a corporation that continued the circus as the American Circus Corporation before operations finally ceased in 1938.

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 25, 1898 - Governor James A. Mount Calls for Volunteers - Spanish American War

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 25, 1898 - Governor James A. Mount Calls for Volunteers - Spanish American War
When war broke out between the United States and Spain in 1898, President William McKinley issued a call for volunteers on April 22, 1898 to fight the war. Indiana Governor James A. Mount received the notification on April 25 the War Department wanted Indiana to supply four regiments of infantry and two batteries of light artillery.
Spanish American War
The Cuban War of Independence had begun in 1895 as the Cubans rebelled against Spanish repression. The Americans saw their conflict a century earlier mirrored in the Cuban revolt against Spain. American sentiment thus ran towards the Cuban revolutionaries. McKinley sought a peaceful resolution of the conflict and, by negotiation, managed to get a Cuban government installed. The island still teemed with unrest and riots erupted in Havana. McKinley sent the USS Maine into the harbor to protect United States interests. On February 15, 1898, a massive explosion rocked the harbor. Moments later the Maine sank, because of the explosion. When an investigation, concluded March 28, revealed that an external explosion had caused the ship's powder magazine, suspicion settled on the Spanish. Major newspapers began publicizing the incident and the United States soon developed war fever. Spain declared war on the United States on April 23. Congress declared war on Spain on April 25.
Indiana Responds
Governor Mount assured the President that Indiana's quota of troops would be filled within 24 hours. Mount issued a call to the state for volunteers to assemble at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which had served as a recruiting and training camp during the Civil War. Indiana mustered Volunteer regiments 157 through 160. This number system continued the regimental numbers began during the Civil War. The state also organized the 27th and 28th Light Batteries. Enthusiasm in the state was so high that it was the first state to fulfill its quota of troops. On May 25, McKinley issued a call for more troops. The Indiana General Assembly had reorganized the Indiana National Guard in 1895, so the Guard was trained and ready to go. Indiana supplied over 7000 troops for the War; however, none went to battle. The war only lasted four months, Spain surrendering before the bulk of United States troops could be deployed. Seventy-three soldiers died of disease during the short war.
Hostilities between the two nations stopped on August 12, 1898 when Spain and the United States signed a Protocol of Peace. The peace treaty, ratified February 6, 1899 gave the United States the territories of Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guantánamo Bay on Cuba, which became a protectorate of the United States.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

This Day in Indiana History- April 24, 1844 - St Mary's College and Academy - Cornerstone First Building Laid

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 24, 1844 - St Mary's College and Academy - Cornerstone First Building Laid
The Bishop of Vincennes had sent priests and brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross to northern Indiana in the early 1840's to found a university. The Congregation responded by founding the University of Notre Dame in 1842. The next year Notre Dame Founder Father Edward Sorin sent a request to Father Basil Anthony Moreau for sisters to come to northern Indiana to found a boarding school. In answer to the call, four Holy Cross sisters voyaged for forty days across the ocean from Le Mans, France. The sisters arrived in late May 1843. They established their school on April 24, 1844 in Bertrand, Michigan, just across the Indiana State Line. At this school, they taught orphan girls and ministered to the sick and poor. Mother Angela Gillespie, head of the school called Saint Mary's Academy, moved the school to its present site near Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 1855.