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.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 23, 1784 - Land Ordinance of 1784

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 23, 1784 - Land Ordinance of 1784
The Ordinance of 1784 created an orderly procedure for the United States to deal with the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains that opened up by the compromises of 1781, 1782 and 1783 that led to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1784. Vast Landholdings in the West
New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia also had extensive land holdings in this vast area. Maryland had stalled ratification of the Articles of Confederation to force the states with these land holdings to relinquish them. Maryland's chief complaint was that these states held a huge advantage over the landless states like Maryland. This was because they could sell these lands to pay their debts. They felt that landless states like Maryland would have to levy heavy taxes to pay theirs off, stifling their growth. Virginia, the lone holdout, finally relinquished these claims on October 20, 1783. A satisfied Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation on January 30, 1781. Congress accepted Virginia's offer on March 1, 1784. The road now lay open for Congress to lay the groundwork for development of the vast region that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Ordinance of 1784 
Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft for the Land Ordinance of 1784. His draft included several important points:
The new states shall remain forever a part of the United States of America.
They shall bear the same relation to the confederation as the original states.
They shall pay their apportionment of the federal debts.
They shall in their governments uphold republican forms.
After the year 1800 there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of them
The proposed names of these states were Cherronesus, Assenisippia, Metropotamia, Sylvania, and Pelisipia
Congress considered Jefferson's draft and adopted it on April 23, 1784 after striking the slavery prohibition and the proposed names for the new states. This ordinance prepared the way for the Ordinance of 1785 that would provide a system for surveying the lands.

Friday, April 22, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 22, - 1858 - Paul Dresser Born

A Day in Indiana History - April

A Day in Indiana History - April

April 22, - 1858 - Paul Dresser Born
With no formal training in music, Dresser rose to become one of America's greatest and most popular composers in the years before the Twentieth Century. He published over 150 songs, of which twenty-five hit the Billboard Top 25. His most famous and successful song, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," became the official State Song of Indiana in 1913. 
Paul Dresser (April 22, 1858 (?) – January 30, 1906)
The fourth son and one of the eleven children of Johann Paul and Sarah Mary Schanab Dreiser, Paul was a native of Terre Haute, Indiana. The family moved to Sullivan, Indiana when Dresser was five. A local priest, Father Herman Joseph Alerding, may have taught Paul to play brass musical instruments during this time. He may also have played a role in his father's decision to send Paul to seminary. His father, a devout Catholic, hoped the boy would become a priest and sent him to study at St. Meinrad Seminary near Ferdinand, Indiana. By age sixteen, Paul knew that the priesthood did not lie in his future. He returned to Terre Haute to work odd jobs and during this time took piano lessons, his only formal training in music. 
Trouble in Terre Haute
During the years, 1872 through 1876 Paul had several run-ins with the police. He fell in with a bad crowd, spending most of his money on whiskey at local bars. His money exhausted, Paul robbed two saloons of their money. The police caught up with him and sent him to jail. Convicted of robbery, he spent some time in jail for robbery. Disgraced by his behavior, he returned home. 
Entertaining and Composing
Retiring from his life of crime, Paul changed his last name from Dreiser to Dresser and obtained gigs as an organist and singer. Through the next years, he improved his music skills and began composing songs. He ended up in Evansville Indiana in 1881 at the Apollo Theatre. His fame began to grow in Evansville. From there he traveled to Chicago and managed to headline his own act. He became involved in vaudeville, still performing mostly in Indiana and Chicago. 
Move to the Big Time
By 1888, Dresser moved to New York City in 1888 in the belief that his music would appeal to a national audience. He proved right. During the years of the 1890's Dresser reached the heights of his career. His income is estimated to have exceeded nine million dollars in 2009 currency. By 1900, his songs fell out of style. Never a good businessman, Dresser had squandered his fortune. A generous man, he had given much of it away. By 1906, ill health claimed his life and he died penniless in New York. With no funds to pay his funeral bill, his remains were held until they were moved to Chicago. After his funeral there, he lay in an unmarked grave until the Indiana Society of Chicago installed a boulder from the Wabash River placed on the grave.
Note – there is controversary over Paul Dresser’s birth year. Sources indicate it could be 1857, 1858 or 1859

New Outlet for Mossy Feet Books - Yore Mom's Napoleon Emporium

Yore Mom's Napoleon Emporium
8952 N. US 421
Napoleon IN 47034

Thursday, April 21, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 21, 1884 - Hammond Indiana Incorporated

A Day in Indiana History - April

A Day in Indiana History - April
April 21, 1884 - Hammond Indiana Incorporated
County - Lake
Township - North
Settled - 1847
Incorporated - April 21, 1884
Named for - George H. Hammond
Area - 24.89 sq mi
Elevation - 577–610 ft
Population (2010) - 80,830
Located between the Grand Calumet River and Lake Michigan, Hammond, Indiana also borders the Little Calumet River and Lake George. I-90 bisects the city, which also has US 20, US 12, US 212 and US 41 pass through the city. Numerous rail lines criss-cross the city, connecting it with other cities in Indiana, Ohio and nearby Chicago. They also connect with the ports along Lake Michigan, offering access to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Hammond History
German farmers began settling the area in 1847 to take advantage of the rich black topsoil that ranges from a few inches to several feet thick. The original soil also consisted of a layer of fine sand that has been mostly removed for construction and industrial purposes. The proximity of a vast supply of fresh water from Lake Michigan encouraged the development of industry in the area. In the 1870, George H. Hammond established a meat packing plant in the area. Hammond pioneered using refrigerated train cars to transport the meat his slaughterhouse produced all over the country. The plant grew, by the 1880's it slaughtered over 100,000 cattle a year.
As the settlement grew, largely because of Hammond's meat packing operation, the population became large enough to become incorporated. It did so on April 21, 1884, taking the name Hammond, to honor the area's largest employer.

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - Southwest Edition

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - Southwest Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - Southwest Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
 Markers & Museums -
Southwest Edition

Take a fun road trip through the rich history of Indiana using Exploring Indiana’s Historic Sites, Markers & Museums Southwest Edition as your guidebook. Celebrate the Indiana Bi-Centennial by traveling the roads and towns in Southwest Indiana. Visit the places and learn the stories of Indiana’s rich history.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 20, 1839 - Wabash and Erie Canal Opened to Logansport

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 20, 1839 - Wabash and Erie Canal Opened to Logansport 
By autumn, 1838 workers had dug the channel for the Wabash and Erie Canal through to Logansport, Indiana. However, the official opening was not until the following spring on April 20, 1839.
The 1818 Treaty with the Pottawatomie, signed by the Pottawatomie Tribe and Commissioners of the United States Governor Jonathon Jennings, Lewis Cass, and Benjamin Parke opened up the area that became Logansport. After the treaty signing, settlers began moving into the area. By 1828, the population was sufficient to form a county, which became called Cass County after Lewis Cass. The fertile land at the union of the Eel and Wabash Rivers was an ideal spot to begin a settlement. According to local lore, the new town received its name because of a shooting contest between Hugh McKeen, an early settler, and Colonel John B. Duret. The winner would get to choose the name of the new town. Duret won the contest and chose the name, Logan’s Port, naming if for an Amerindian scout for William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812 named Captain Logan.
Captain Logan (c. 1774 - November 25 1812) 
Captain Logan (James Renick-Logan) served as a valuable scout for William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812. There are two versions about the origins of Captain Logan’s ancestry, one that he was half-Shawnee/half European and the other that he was full-blooded Shawnee. Harrison admired Captain Logan, and the scout gained fame in Indiana due to his exploits in the service of Harrison. Thus, when Logansport incorporated in 1838, it chose the name Logan’s Port, naming it for the new port the Wabash and Erie Canal provided and Captain Logan. The name became shortened to Logansport.
Transportation Hub
Logansport's location along the Wabash and Erie Canal provided a means for its early growth. The Michigan Road, which traveled from the Ohio River through Indianapolis to Michigan, also went through the town. Later, railroads provided a dependable means of transportation after the demise of the canal.
Historic Attractions in Logansport
Cass County Historical Museum
1004 East Market
Logansport, IN

Dentzel Carousel
1208 Riverside
Logansport, IN
For information on the lodging, dining, shopping and other attractions of Logansport, contact:

Cass County Visitor's Bureau
PO Box 281
311 S 5th St
Logansport IN

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 1816 - President James Madison Signs Enabling Act - Allows Indiana Territory to Form Constitution

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 19, 1816 - President James Madison Signs Enabling Act - Allows Indiana Territory to Form Constitution
On December 11, 1816, the Indiana Territorial Assembly sent a petition to Congress, requesting it be granted statehood. The Territorial representative in Congress presented the petition to select committees in the House and the Senate. Both committees returned a favorable verdict, and the Enabling Act went on for a floor vote. The United States House of Representatives voted in favor of admitting Indiana as a state on March 30, 1816. by a 108 - 3. The Senate passed the Act on April 13, 1816. President James Madison signed the bill on April 19, 1816. The Indiana Territorial Assembly was now free to write a constitution. The Act specified that the Convention should meet on June 10, 1816 to draft the Constitution that would lead to Statehood.

Monday, April 18, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 18, 1945 - Ernie Pyle Killed - Hoosier War Correspondent

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 18, 1945 - Ernie Pyle Killed - Hoosier War Correspondent
Ernie Pyle (August 3, 1900 – April 18, 1945)
The son of William Clyde Pyle and Maria Taylor, Ernie was a native of Dana, Indiana. He attended local schools at Dana, and then enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve during World War I. He served three months active duty before the war ended. After completing his reserve duties, he attended Indiana University, editing the Indiana Daily Student Newspaper. He also toured Asia with members of his fraternity. He left Indiana University before graduating to take a job with a newspaper in LaPorte, Indiana. After a few months in La Porte, he went to Washington, DC to report for The Washington Daily News. During this time, he met Geraldine "Jerry" Siebolds, whom he married in 1925.
From Editor to Columnist
Pyle worked several stints as editor for the Washington Daily News. In between editing jobs, he quit to travel across the United States with his wife. He came down with a severe case of the flu in 1932 and went to live in California for several months to recover. Upon his return, he took over as columnist for syndicated columnist Heywood Broun, who was on vacation. Pyle's eleven columns about his life in California were a hit with his colleagues and the public. The Scripps-Howard newspaper chain hired him to write a daily column in 1935. His writing encompassed ordinary people that he encountered in his travels across America.
War Correspondent
He continued this column until 1942. War had broken out and Pyle became a war correspondent. He continued his trait of writing about common people by eschewing covering generals. Instead, he wrote about the GI's that fought the war in the trenches and on the line. His everyman reporting won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1944. His columns were popular among the public and the soldiers he wrote about and his fame rose to a national level.
Death Under Fire
Pyle hit the beach with the Army's 305th Infantry Regiment of the 77th "Liberty Patch" Division on the small island of Iejima. During the landing, he had a premonition about his death. The troops secured their positions, and Pyle walked to have a chat with a regimental commanding officer. Too late, they found that they had not secured the position completely. A Japanese machine gun fired a burst of bullets. Pyle and the officer dove for cover. After a pause, the two men rose up to reconnoiter their position. A bullet from another machine gun burst caught Pyle above the temple, killing him instantly. He is interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The 77th Army Reserve Command issued a Purple Heart to Pyle, a rare occurrence for a civilian.
The Ernie Pyle Development Fund Inc. maintains a museum to Pyle in his home town of Dana, Indiana. Those interested in further information or visiting the museum may contact:
The Friends of Ernie Pyle
P.O. Box 345
Dana, IN  47847
Ernie Pyle World War II Museum
120 W Briarwood Ave Dana,
IN 47847

Sunday, April 17, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 17 - 1810 - Joseph Albert Wright - Indiana Governor Born

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 17 - 1810 - Joseph Albert Wright - Indiana Governor Born
Joseph Albert Wright (April 17, 1810 - May 11, 1867)
Governor Term - December 5, 1849-January 12, 1857
The son of bricklayer John and his wife Rachel Seaman Wright, Joseph was a native of Washington, Pennsylvania. The family moved to Bloomington Indiana in 1820. His father was one of the workers employed to build the new Indiana State Seminary that later became Indiana University. His father died in 1824. Joseph worked at various jobs, including stints of his father's craft of bricklaying to pay for his schooling and to help the family's finances. He attended Indiana State Seminary, mainly because he could live at home, cutting the expenses of a college education. He earned money by selling fruits, nuts and other things he gathered from the forest surrounding Bloomington to his wealthier classmates.
Law, Then Politics
After graduating from the Seminary in 1829, he studied law with Judge Craven Hester, gaining admittance to the bar in 1829. He opened a law practice in Rockville, Indiana. He married Louisa Cook. Together they had one child. Sickness from malaria prevented her from having more children, so the couple adopted other children. He served two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives, prosecuting attorney, and then the Indiana Senate in 1839.
United States Congress
He served one term in the Indiana Senate, and then reopened his law office. He ran for Congress in 1843, winning a narrow election. His bid for re-election in 1845 went down to narrow defeat, as did another bid in 1847.
Wright was a Democrat, but opposed slavery. The Democratic Party chose him as its standard-bearer in the 1849 governor's race. His anti-slavery stance helped him gain election as Governor of Indiana in 1849. During his term, he ushered in Indiana's new Constitution and championed agriculture in the state. He signed legislation creating the State Board of Agriculture and supported the first Indiana State Fair in 1851. The new constitution took effect in 1851. Under the old constitution, a governor could only serve one term. The new constitution forbid serving consecutive terms. Wright decided to run again, a move opposed by his political foes as unconstitutional. However, it was decided that since his first term was under the old Constitution and his second term would be under the new one, he was eligible to serve. He went on to win a "second" term in 1852.
Wright and Senator Jesse D. Bright had been political foes during their political lives. Both Democrats, Wright opposed slavery, while Bright supported it. After Wright completed his second term, he deferred a chance to run for United States Senator in 1857against Bright under a promise that Bright would help Wright secure a cabinet post with new President James Buchanan. Instead, Bright recommended that Buchanan appoint him as envoy to Prussia. During Wright's tenure in Prussia, Bright had Wright removed from the Democratic Party. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Wright returned to Indiana. Bright had written a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis promising support. The letter was intercepted and the United States Senate expelled Bright from the chamber. Indiana Governor Oliver Morton appointed Wright to fill Bright's term. Morton proceeded to confiscate Bright's property in Jeffersonville, Indiana for use as a military hospital. Bright, impoverished, moved to Kentucky where he served in various political posts until his death in 1875. President Lincoln named Wright again as ambassador of Prussia in 1863. He died in that post in 1867. His body is interred in New York City.

Friday, April 15, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - April 15, 1861 - Governor Oliver P. Morton Calls for 10,000 Volunteers

A Day in Indiana History - April

A Day in Indiana History - April
April 15, 1861 - Governor Oliver P. Morton Calls for 10,000 Volunteers
On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Three days later President Lincoln called on the states loyal to the Union to raise 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion. Indiana Oliver P. Morton, a long-time Lincoln supporter, sent President Lincoln a telegraph pledging to raise 10,000 troops for the Union.
Anticipation of War
Morton had anticipated war between the slave and free state. Prior to the outbreak of war, he established, without legislative approval, a state arsenal. This arsenal eventually consisted of 700 men producing ammunition for the war effort. At the beginning of his tenure of governor in January, 1861 he appointed men to state government positions that opposed any compromise with the southern states.
War Preparations
Indiana was not prepared for the war effort. It would be difficult to borrow money, as its credit rating was still poor from its financial problems following the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 and the following Panic of 1837 that bankrupted the state. As the war effort began, the Governor faced the mammoth task of recruiting and paying soldiers, supplying them with arms and ammunition and supplies the soldiers needed to train. He transformed the Indiana State Fairgrounds into a military camp, appointing Democrat Lew Wallace to oversee the transformation. Wallace was equal to the task and had the new camp ready for the first recruits in just a few days. The legislature voted to provide funds for the governor to conduct the war effort. Morton appointed another Democrat, Robert Dale Owen, to find arms for the soldiers. Morton, though most of his appointments were to Republicans loyal to him, appointed enough prominent Democrats to high profile positions to cement his claim of a bipartisan war effort.
Lincoln's Call for Troops
Lincoln initially called for 75,000 troops to fight the war. Indiana's allotment was set at six regiments totaling 4,683 men. Indiana residents responded to Morton's call with 12,000 recruits by the end of April. Owen's monumental efforts led to the purchase of enormous quantities of arms, including over 30,000 Enfield rifles, a fast loading, and highly accurate weapon. Indiana would eventually send 196,363 Hoosiers to war in both the Army and the Navy, the second highest proportion of troops of any state in the Union. This amounted to about fifteen percent of the state's population. On May 30, 1861, the first Hoosier soldiers marched off to war.

This Day in Indiana History - April 14, 1927 - Indiana Limestone Corporation Founded - Bedford

A Day in Indiana History - April

A Day in Indiana History - April
April 14, 1927 - Indiana Limestone Corporation Founded - Bedford
Founded on April 14, 1927, the Indiana Limestone Corporation has grown to include ten quarries spread over six central Indiana counties. The quarries combine to cover over 4500 acres and have a 100-year supply of quality Indiana Limestone.
The Quarries of Indiana
Indiana's quarries produce rock known by many names, Indiana Limestone, Indiana Oolitic Limestone, Bedford Oolitic Limestone, and Bedford Rock. The limestone belt that produces this high quality stone encompasses most of Monroe and Lawrence Counties. Limestone of lesser quality underlies much of the rest of central and east central Indiana. Hoosiers began quarrying limestone during the middle of the Eighteenth Century. Indiana has been at the forefront of limestone production. Limestone from Indiana has been the preferred building material for many buildings from New York to Washington DC and other places. The Empire State Building has Indiana limestone as a major component of its structure.
County - Lawrence
Area - 12.16 sq mi (30.8 km2)
Elevation - 686 ft (209 m)
Population (2010) - Total  - 13,413
Time zone - Eastern
Area code(s) – 812
Bedford is a city of just over 13,000 people at the intersection of Indiana State Road 37 and US 50. It has served as the county seat of Lawrence County since about 1825.  It is about ten miles north of Mitchell, Indiana.
For information about dining, shopping and lodging in Bedford, Indiana contact:
Lawrence County Visitors Center
533 West Main St
Mitchell, 3-1/2 miles from Spring Mill State Park
Monday - Friday: 8:30am-4:30pm
Parts of this article excerpted from:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South Central Edition

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Southeast Indiana Historical Marker - Pigeon Roost, Scottsburg Indiana

Pigeon Roost - Scottsburg, Indiana
Pigeon Roost - Scottsburg, Indiana
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums
South East Edition
Title of Marker:
Pigeon Roost
Entrance to Pigeon Roost State Historic Site, US 31, 5 miles south of Scottsburg. (Scott County, Indiana)
Installed by:
2004 Indiana Historical Bureau, Preservation Alliance, Inc., and Scott County Community Foundation
Marker ID #:
Marker Text:
Side one:
Pigeon Roost, settled 1809 in Clark County, was attacked on September 3, 1812. Over twenty settlers and an unknown number of Indians were killed. Clark County militia unsuccessfully pursued the remaining Indians. That same month Fort Harrison and Fort Wayne were attacked by Indians. The U.S. had declared war on Great Britain, June 18, 1812.
Side two:
The Pigeon Roost raid was part of the ongoing conflict between Indians—influenced by the British—and settlers along the frontier, one of the contributing factors of the War of 1812 in the west. The State of Indiana appropriated $2, 000 for construction of the memorial here, dedicated October 1, 1904. This site became a State Historic Site 1929.

Brief History

The first War of 1812 action in Indiana occurred at the village of Pigeon Roost when native warriors, seeking scalps to claim bounties offered by the British, struck at the village at dusk on September 6, 1812.
The War of 1812
There were many reasons for the American declaration of war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812. The most important ones were Britain’s habit of stopping United States ships on the high seas and impressing sailors into the Royal Navy and other humiliations of US ships. Trade restrictions imposed on the United States by Great Britain during their war with France were another reason. Britain also threatened American western expansion by encouraging the native tribes to attack settlers moving into new areas. They encouraged the attacks by offering bounties on any scalps the natives brought to a British Outpost. The attack at Pigeon Roost was in response to this bounty system.
Pigeon Roost Village
William E. Collings (1758-1828) established the village of Pigeon Roost in 1809. The settlement was in lands still claimed by the Shawnee. There was an Amerindian village a few miles from the new settlement. Most of the settlers came from Kentucky. The village consisted of a line of cabins along the mud road leading to Vienna from Henryville. Vienna and Henryville were the closest blockhouses to Pigeon Roost. The settlers chose the name of Pigeon Roost because large numbers of passenger pigeons inhabited the area.
The Attack
Few men remained in Pigeon Roost at the time of the attack, as most were at Vincennes with William Henry Harrison's force there. The war party consisted mostly of Shawnees, but some Pottawattamie and Delaware were probably in it as well. Legend says they crossed the White River near Sparksville and proceeded through Vienna without attacking it. There are stories of bad blood between the Collings family and the Shawnee and that is why the natives chose Pigeon Roost. The first settler to sense something was wrong was Jeremiah Payne of Vienna. Upon investigating his cattle lowing, discovered arrows protruding from several of them. He rode to his cabin and took his wife and children to Vienna's blockhouse, then sped to Pigeon Roost to spread the warning to his brother Elias. Upon arrival at his brother's cabin, he discovered the dead and scalped bodies of his sister-in-law and their seven children. Elias and a neighbor had been scouring the forest, searching for bee trees and the honey they offered. The attackers went on through the settlement, burning the cabins, killing and scalping anyone they encountered. Many of the settlers managed to escape to the blockhouse at Henryville, but not before the warriors killed over twenty settlers.  The survivors buried most of the victims in a mass grave near the site.
Militia units located in Charlestown heard of the attack and set off in pursuit of the war party. They lost the trail near the Muscatatuck River. A band of Indiana Rangers from Washington County led by Captain Henry Dawalt intercepted them at Sand Creek in Bartholomew County. They engaged the party, but failed to stop their escape.
Pigeon Roost Memorial
Scott County maintains the site, a former Indiana State Historic Site. Indiana turned the facility over to Scott County. Scott County has built a log cabin on the site similar to the cabins that would have been there in 2014. The State of Indiana erected a limestone memorial to the victims in 1904. The Memorial is on US 31 just south of Scottsburg, Indiana

This Day in Indiana History - April 13, 1871 - Cornerstone Laid for the New Dearborn County Courthouse

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 13, 1871 - Cornerstone Laid for the New Dearborn County Courthouse
Dearborn County officials laid the cornerstone for a new courthouse at a festive ceremony on April 13, 1871. The new courthouse would replace the first one, built in 1810, that had been gutted by a fire.
The First Court House
Built in 1810, the first Dearborn County Court House was a two-story brick structure that mimicked the standard courthouse design of that period. It had a hip roof and octagonal cupola. This courthouse burned on March 26, 1826. Only the brick shell remained.
The "Second" Court House
Most of the county records burned in the fire so county officials asked Dearborn County residents to bring their deeds and other public records to Lawrenceburg to copy them by hand into the records. County commissioners decided not to build a new structure. They decided to use the exterior walls to house the building, constructing a new interior within the burned out walls. This building opened in 1828. The commissions authorized two annex buildings nearby to house the county clerk and the treasurer.
The New Court House
By 1870, Dearborn County needed a new courthouse. The needs of the county had outgrown the capacity of the old courthouse. The commissioners inspected several Indiana courthouses and decided they liked the Floyd County courthouse the best. The contacted the architect that designed it, George H. Kyle to build the new one. Mr. Kyle, a Virginia native living in Vevay since about 1840, had designed other courthouses and had built up an excellent reputation. He drew up plans that the commissioners accepted on June 15, 1870.
Cornerstone Ceremonies
The cornerstone laying ceremony took place on April 13, 1871 and included guest speaker Louis Jordan. County officials included a time capsule in the cornerstone in which they secreted many items from the period. These included  histories of the Masons, Odd Fellows, Druids, and Good Templar as well as Lawrenceburg religious societies. They also inserted other historic documents, continental money and old coins from the Revolution.
Completion of the Court House
Workers completed construction in 1873. During the three years construction the Odd Fellows Hall served as the temporary Court House. The building cost $135,775.00 to build. A three-story building included city hall offices and a public opera house. The magnificent courtroom occupied the back half of the second floor.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Southeast Indiana Historical Marker - Muscatatuck Park

Muscatatuck Park  - North Vernon, Indiana
Muscatatuck Park  - North Vernon, Indiana
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums South East Edition
Title of Marker:
Muscatatuck Park
CR 325 N & SR 7 at park entrance, North Vernon. Hit by a car August 7, 2004. Reinstalled January 2005. (Jennings County, Indiana)
Installed by:
1999 Indiana Historical Bureau and Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department
Marker ID #:
Marker Text: 
Opened 1921 as Indiana's fourth state park for its natural beauty and recreation potential. Named Vinegar Mills State Park after stone-cutting mill in park. Renamed Muscatatuck State Park 1922. Stone shelters and stairways, fire tower, trails, and retaining walls were built by Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930s.
Side two:
Nearby home (built 1850) of William Read, owner of stone-cutting mill, was used as an inn by the state park. Quail were raised in park 1953-1962; park was renamed Muscatatuck State Park and Game Farm. State youth camp was started in park 1962. In 1968, park was returned to Jennings County for recreational uses. Walnut Grove Schoolhouse (1913) was moved here 1990.

Brief History
Muscatatuck Park 

The picnic area at the Vinegar Mill Shelter offers a superb view of the Muscatatuck River below it. Hikers can enjoy Trail 1, the River Trail, in mid-April for the wealth of wildflowers. It is also an ideal hike during the cooler fall temperatures when the fall foliage in on the bluffs above the river is stunning.
The park offers seven miles of hiking trails on four trails. Many of the trails double as biking trails.
During warm days, many people enjoy frolicking and swimming in the Muscatatuck River. The park also has some shelters available for rent or on a first come, first serve basis. There are also playgrounds and basketball courts in the park. The public pool is only two miles away.
Muscatatuck Park History
Muscatatuck Park has an interesting history. Indiana purchased the property and established the fourth State Park there in 1921 as Vinegar Mills State Park. They named it for the stone cutting mill that existed there during pioneer times on the banks of the Muscatatuck River. The State changed the name in 1922 to Muscatatuck State Park. They drew the name from the winding river that wends its way through the Indiana countryside.
During the 1930, the Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures in the park. These include the road leading into the park, bridges, fire tower and the stone steps at the river overlook area at the Vinegar Mill.
Too small to serve as a State Park, the State decommissioned it and used the grounds to use it for quail and pheasant raising operations. This continued for a number of years until 1962. The State then used it for its new Youth Camp program. In 1967, the State offered to give the property to Jennings County to use as a park. After much discussion, the County took it. After the park deteriorated for several years, they began upgrades in the 1990's. The County moved the Walnut Grove One-room School there in 1991. They moved the Jennings County Visitors Center to the William Read Home in 1998.
William Read Home
William Read, the owner of the Vinegar Mill, built this home in 1850. Locally cut timber make up the wooden frame. The stone foundation comes from stone cut from his stone cutting mill along the river. The brick were also made and kiln dried on the property. The State of Indiana used this home as a bed and breakfast inn during the time the park operated as a state Park. The Jennings County Visitors Center used the home for several years. The Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department uses it for offices now. The Visitors Bureau still keeps maps and other information there.
The Walnut Grove School
This school served students as a one-room schoolhouse in Sand Creek Township from the time of its construction in 1912. The Jennings County Preservation Association took up the monumental task of moving and renovating the school in 1990. They cut it into three pieces and moved it to the site it now occupies in Muscatatuck Park. It reopened in 1995 as a children's educational facility. They use it for an annual outing in which they dress in period clothing. They also get a lesson in pioneer life as it was in Indiana during its early days. The Preservation Association will open it for group or individual tours. The school has a library with old books, and other school items from its time as a schoolhouse.
The Campground has eight pull through sewer sites and twenty-six sites with water and electric. All sites have a fire ring and picnic table. There is a campground shower facility and there is a dumpsite at the campground entrance. Most of the campground is shaded.
Muscatatuck Park
325 North State Highway 3
North Vernon, IN 47265

This Day in Indiana History - April 12, 1985- Green Hills Donald E. Williams Makes His First Space Shuttle Flight

A Day in Indiana History - April
A Day in Indiana History - April
April 12, 1985- Green Hills  Donald E. Williams Makes His First Space Shuttle Flight
On April 12, 1985, Astronaut Donald Williams logged his first flight aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Williams, Donald is a native of Green Hills, Indiana. After graduating from Otterbein High School in 1960, Williams attended Purdue University, graduating in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Military Career
While at Purdue, he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), receiving a commission as an officer. After graduation, Williams received his Naval Aviator wings in May 1966 after completing flight schools at  Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi and Kingsville, Texas. Upon receiving his wings, he served two deployments during the Vietnam War aboard the  USS Enterprise. During his war service, he logged over 330 combat missions. His flight time included  5,700 hours in jets and 745 carrier landings.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected him for astronaut training in 1978. He completed training in 1979. Before his first shuttle flight, Williams served in various administrative capacities at Johnson Space Center.
Shuttle Discovery Flight
NASA selected him to serve as pilot for the shuttle flight STS-51D. This was Discovery's fourth flight and the sixteenth overall shuttle mission. The flight launched on April 12, 1985. During the mission, the crew launched two satellites,  the ANIK-C for Telesat of Canada, and Syncom IV-3 for the U.S. Navy. The crew also conducted several medical experiments and filmed experiments with toys in space. The flight completed 168 hours of orbital operations, and 109 orbits of the earth before landing on Runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center on April 19, 1985.
Williams would complete one other flight, on the Space Shuttle Atlantis on a five-day mission in October 1989.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Day in Indiana History - April

A Day in Indiana History – April
A Day in Indiana History – April

Learn about Indiana history a day at a time. Ideal for history lovers or home school history teachers, A Day in Indiana History – April teaches the historical facts about Indiana in an easy to understand format.
This volume includes the following articles:
April 11, 1831 - Steamboat General Robert Hanna Reaches Indianapolis
April 15, 1861 - Governor Oliver P. Morton Calls for 10,000 Volunteers
April 17 - 1810 - Joseph Albert Wright - Indiana Governor Born
April 18, 1945 - Ernie Pyle Killed - Hoosier War Correspondent
April 26, 1884 - The Great Wallace Show Begins Peru

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