Indiana Almanac

"On this day" happenings in Indiana History

January July
February August
March September
April October
May November
June December






















August 1

In 1912, Albert Beveridge accepted the nomination for governor by the Progressive Party.

In 1920, Frank Hanly, Indiana governor (1905-1909) and Prohibition Party presidential nominee (1916), was killed in an automobile accident.

In 1930, Indiana Railroad, the largest interurban company ever operated in the US, began operation over properties, such as the Union Traction Company.

August 2

In 1884, Frank B. Shields, inventor of Barbasol, was born in Seymour, Jackson County.

In 1915, Ruth Lilly, philanthropist and great-grandchild of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Eli Lilly, was born in Indianapolis.

August 3

In 1900, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, Vermillion County.

In 1946, theme park Santa Claus Land opened in Santa Claus, Spencer County. 

In 1949, the Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association. Indiana teams that played in the inaugural season included the Anderson Packers,  the Indianapolis Olympians, and the Fort Wayne Pistons.

August 4

In 1823, Oliver P. Morton, Indiana's governor during the Civil War, was born in Salisbury, Wayne County.

In 1848, James Brown Ray, Indiana governor from 1825-1831, died in Cincinnati, Ohio.

August 5

In 1816, Jonathan Jennings won the election to become the first governor of the State of Indiana.

In 1836, the US government concluded the Yellow River Treaty with the Potawatomi, calling for their removal from Indiana within two years.

In 1876, Historian Mary Ritter (later Beard) was born in Indianapolis.

In 1880, Paul Hadley, artist and designer of the Indiana State Flag, was born in Indianapolis.

In 1882, poet James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost is On the Pumpkin" was published in the Indianapolis Journal

August 6

In 1802, Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison informed President Jefferson of the platting of a town "I have taken the liberty to call . . . Jeffersonville."

In 1817, Zerelda Sanders (later Wallace) was born in Kentucky. She married David Wallace and became First Lady of Indiana when he was elected governor in 1837. She later advocated for societal reforms, including temperance and women's suffrage.

August 7

In 1791, Lt. Col. James Wilkinson conducted a military raid on the Wea town of Kenapacomaqua or L'Anguille, north of present-day Logansport.

In 1926, Charlie Wiggins captured the first Gold and Glory Sweepstakes championship, a segregated auto race for African American drivers.

In 1930, African American teenagers Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp were accused of crimes against white residents and were lynched by a mob in Marion.

In 1987, the Pan American Games opened in Indianapolis.

August 8

In 1900, Tarzan film and voice actor James "Babe" Pierce was born in Freedom, Owen County.

In 1929, Ball Memorial Hospital began operations in Muncie, Delaware County.

August 9

In 1893, Mosquio Creek valley essentially fell under martial law due to a violent feud between the White Caps and the Conrad brothers.

August 10

In 1951, decorated World War I hero Samuel Woodfill died on his Vevay farm.

In 1969, journalist, screenwriter, and author of the play "Chicago," Maurine Watkins, died. Watkins grew up in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County.

August 11

Governor Maurice Clifford Townsend was born in 1884 in Blackford County, Indiana.

August 12

In 1889, Zerna Sharp, originator of the concept for "Dick and Jane" textbooks, was born in Hillisburg, Clinton County.

August 13

In 1841, Miami leader Jean Baptiste Richardville  died in Fort Wayne.

In 1872, Purdue University trustees appointed Richard Owen as the school's first president.

August 14

In 1786, John Tipton, US Senator from Indiana and US Indian Agent, was born. Tipton became a member of the commission that selected Indianapolis to be the new state capital.

August 15

In 1900, archeologist Glenn A. Black was born in Indianapolis.

In 1942, IHSAA rescinded limits on membership, allowing African American and Catholic high schools to compete in state high school athletic contests.

August 16

In 1935, Special Agent Nelson B. Klein was killed at College Corner in a shoot out with George W. Barrett, a suspect in several motor vehicle scams.

In 1952, the US Air Force commissioned a Ground Observer Corps watch tower in Cairo, Tippecanoe County.

August 17 

In 1859, the first official air mail flight was undertaken out of Lafayette, Tippecanoe County. It subsequently crash landed in Crawfordsville before making it to its intended destination of New York City.

In 1863, author and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter was born in Lagro, Wabash County.

In 1940, lawyer and businessman Wendell Willkie accepted the Republican nomination to run for US president in Elwood, Madison County.

August 18

In 1988, Senator Dan Quayle accepted the nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention.

August 19

In 1888, physician, suffragist, and temperance leader Mary F. Thomas died in Richmond, Wayne County.

In 1909, the first automobile race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1942, construction began on Atterbury Army Air Field in Columbus, Bartholomew County.

August 20

In 1810, Shawnee military and political leader Tecumseh addressed Governor William Henry Harrison, hoping to convince him to stop taking tribal land.

In 1833, President Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio. He became the 23rd President of the United States and the only Indiana resident over elected to the office.

In 1864, Union soldiers raided Harrison Horton Dodd's Indianapolis printing press. They discovered revolvers and thousands of rounds of ammunition intended to challenge Union war efforts. 

August 21 

In 1805, Governor William Henry Harrison and leaders of Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel, River, and Wea tribes negotiated the Treaty of Grouseland

In 1865, the steamboat U.S.S. Argosy (Number 3) was returning 70th Ohio Infantry soldiers when it exploded, killing ten on board. The casualties were buried in a mass grave in Magnet, Indiana.

August 22

In 1840, the Indiana Horticultural Society was formed in Indianapolis.

In 1889, stonemasons laid the cornerstone of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

August 23

In 1961, the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, a World War II war ordnance plant in Charlestown, Indiana, was reactivated to produce material for the Vietnam War.

In 1849, Calvin Fairbank was pardoned from his prison term and traveled to Madison, Indiana; he was sentenced under the Fugitive Slave Law for aiding and abetting escaping slaves.

In 1857, Abraham Lincoln biographer Jesse Weik was born in Greencastle, Putnam County. He collaborated with Lincoln's law partner William Herndon to write Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.

August 24

In 1781, near present-day Aurora, Dearborn County, an American Revolutionary War battle was fought and became known as the Lochry Massacre.

In 1805, the first territorial legislature issued a charter to the Indiana Canal Company for the purpose of constructing a passage around the Falls of the Ohio, but the company never fulfilled the project.

August 25

In 1917, the 38th Division of the National Guard was formed. Regiments served in France during World War I.

In 1956, Alfred Kinsey, biologist and founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, died in Bloomington, Monroe County.

August 26

In 1985, AIDS patient Ryan White began attending classes via telephone.

August 27

In 1871, novelist of the naturalist school Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Vigo County.

In 1877, Lloyd C. Douglas, author of The Robe, was born in Columbia City, Whitley County.

In 1881, entrepreneur, banker, and railroad investor James F. Lanier died in New York.

In 1938, Homer Capehart hosted the "Cornfield Conference" for Hoosier Republicans at his Daviess County farm.

In 1947, the trial of German chemical company IG Farben, which manufactured gas used at Nazi extermination camps, commenced. Vincennes jurist Curtis Shake presided over the trial in Nuremburg, Germany. The judges found thirteen of the twenty-four defendants guilty of war crimes and sentenced them to prison terms.

In 1955, an explosion destroyed the Standard Oil refinery in Whiting, Lake County. 

August 28

In 1855, fur trader, politician, and language interpreter William Conner died in Noblesville, Hamilton County.

In 1960, Father John Francis O'Hara died. He graduated, taught, and served as president (1934-1939) of the University of Notre Dame. He later was Archbishop of Philadelphia (1951-1960) and became a cardinal (1958).

August 29

In 1814, a territorial census was authorized, a requisite to the consideration of statehood.

In 1958, award-winning entertainer Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Lake County.

August 30

In 1865, botanist Charles Deam was born in Wells County.

In 1883, Henry F. Schricker, the only Hoosier governor elected to two non-consecutive terms (1941-1945, 1949-1953), was born in North Judson, Starke County.

In 1916, Hilbert Circle Theatre opened in Indianapolis, a venue for film and live acts and later home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

August 31

In 1949, the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans, held its final encampment in Indianapolis.

Undated August

In 1837, George Winter visited a Potawatomi camp near Logansport and remained in the Wabash valley for most of his life. There he sketched and painted happenings from their daily lives and later their forced removal from the state.


September 1

In 1868, cartoonist Kin Hubbard was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He is best known for his depiction of Brown County wise-cracker Abe Martin, who delivered witticisms like "You won't skid if you stay in a rut."

In 1912, Carl G. Fisher announced his proposal for a transcontental highway at a dinner party for automobile manufacturers, which took place at Indianapolis' Deutsches Haus. He proclaimed “A road across the United States! Let’s build it before we’re too old to enjoy it!” The construction of US transcontinental roads, including the east-west Lincoln Highway and north-south Dixie Highway, enabled long-distance travel by automobile.

In 1915, Indiana University football coach Clarence C. Childs announced that Olympian Jim Thorpe would join his staff to coach IU's backfield.

September 2

In 1874, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of the State of Indiana held its first meeting in Indianapolis. The union sought to generate awareness about societal problems wrought by alcohol and marched on saloons in an effort to end the sale of alcohol. Temperance and suffrage lecturer Zerelda Wallace served as the organization's first president.

In 1941, operations began at the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Charlestown, Clark County, which produced smokeless powder used in World War II efforts. The plant bolstered the town's economy and provided job opportunities for women and African Americans.

September 3

September of 1812 was a violent time in Indiana's territorial history. That summer, military units of a pan-Indian confederacy conducted a series of attacks on American forts, military, and settlements in the territories of the Old Northwest, including at Fort Dearborn in present-day Chicago. A primary motivation for the actions stemmed from treaties in which communally held Indian land was ceded to the American government. Leaders of the confederacy, like Tecumseh, argued that the treaties' signers did not have the authority to relinquish title to the land. Tecumseh warned that American settlement on the land would be met with Indian resistance. Within a larger context, the battles were part of the War of 1812. The British actively recruited Indians as allies in the territories, and armed them to fight against Americans. 

On September 3, 1812, a force comprised of Shawnees, Potawatomis, and Delawares attacked the American settlement of Pigeon Roost in present-day Scott County. Over twenty whites and an unknown number of Indians were killed. A day later, on September 4, an Indian force attacked, set fire, and laid siege to Fort Harrison, under the command of Captain Zachary Taylor, in present-day Terre Haute. A military company dispatched from Fort Knox II in Vincennes to bring supplies to Fort Harrison was ambushed en route in present-day Sullivan County. Beginning on September 5, Indian forces attacked Fort Wayne (which was then a fort as its name implies) and held the fort under siege for nearly a week. 

In 1918, Second Lieutenant Aaron R. Fisher, of Lyles, Gibson County, commanded a seven-man African-American outpost near Lesseux, France. When German troops raided Fisher's outpost, he "showed exceptional bravery in action . . . by directing his men and refusing to leave his position, although he was severely wounded. He and his men continued to fight the enemy until the latter were beaten off by counterattack." President Woodrow Wilson presented him with the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism.

In 1927, the Indianapolis Recorder reported that the Indiana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs filed articles of incorporation. The club lent visibility to local women’s clubs throughout the state. It provided a network and common forum for the discussion of racism, discrimination, housing, employment, education, and healthcare. 

In 1964, the Beatles played two shows at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum before 30,000 screaming fans. 

September 4

According to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, in 1838, "a band of 859 Potawatomi, with their leaders restrained in the back of a wagon, set out on a forced march from their homeland in northern Indiana for a small reserve in present-day Kansas. To minimize the temptation for the Potawatomi to try to escape and return home militia members burned both fields and houses as the dejected members of the wagon train departed." The forced march, known as the Trail of Death, claimed the lives of many, who died as the result of typhoid and famine.

In 1915, Kiilhsookhkwa (also spelled Kilsoquah) died in Huntington County at the age of 105. According to Fort Wayne's The History Center, she was the granddaughter of Little Turtle. Born in 1810, "she saw unprecedented change in her 105 years of life. From growing up in a traditional Native woodland culture to the removal of her people from Indiana in 1846 to the industrialization of America, Kiilhsoohkwa experienced a changing of worlds during her lifetime. Throughout her life she spoke only the Miami language and her son Anthony Revarre acted as her interpreter. She and her son were allowed to stay in Indiana because of a resolution passed by Congress in 1850 exempting Miami who held treaty reserves, and their descendants, from removal."

In 1968, Indiana University Chancellor Herman B Wells, IU President Elvis Stahr, Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar, and other officials broke ground for Cavanaugh Hall. Cavanaugh Hall, Lecture Hall, and University Library would form the beginning corps of IUPUI’s undergraduate campus when the buildings opened in 1971.

September 5

In 1862, when a Confederate invasion of Kentucky seemed eminent, Governor Oliver P. Morton instituted martial law in the counties bordering the Ohio River. He insisted that all but crucial businesses shutter their doors at 3 p.m. and that able-bodied men form militia companies and drill at that time.

In 1872, a fire destroyed most of the downtown Mishawaka area. It started in a wooden outbuilding on the grounds of the Presbyterian church and moved northeast through the downtown business district. When the fire was finally put out the next morning, most of downtown Mishawaka had been burned to the ground, with a total loss of over $176,200.

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Following the ceremony, he met with Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt. The president also visited the James Whitcomb Riley Hopsital for Children, where he met with children who suffered from polio-related afflictions as he had. This was the third time Roosevelt visited the state in 1936, an election year.

In 1940, Carroll County farmer and Purdue University graduate Claude Wickard began his term as US secretary of agriculture. During World War II, he developed programs that allowed farmers to produce enough food for US citizens and armed forces, as well as their allies.

September 6

In 1821, Alvin P. Hovey was born. To date, he is the only person to serve as an Indiana Supreme Court justice (1854) and Indiana governor (1889-1891). He was also a delegate to the 1850 Constitutional Convention, Civil War general, U.S. Minister to Peru, and a one-term member of Congress.

According to the Indiana Department of Conservation (now Department of Natural Resources), in 1883 Marengo Cave was discovered "by two children of the name [Blanche and Orris] Hiestand. The children were at play in the grove and were attracted to the opening at the bottom of a sink hole."

September 7

In 1819, Governor Thomas A. Hendricks was born on a farm near Zanesville, Ohio. He became the most prominent Democrat in Indiana during the Civil War Era and staunchly supported maintaining the Union. He served as US senator (1863-1869), Indiana governor (1873-1877), and US vice president (1884-his death in 1885).

In 1920, the US Patent Office approved a patent for Henry Dill's fish bait that would attract fish by mimicking a minnow. The bait was sold by the Creek Chub Bait Company in Garrett, DeKalb County, which became one of the country's leading manufacturers of artificial fishing lures.

September 8

In 1875, the Vigo County Circuit Court admitted Elizabeth "Bessie" Jane Eaglesfield to the bar. She is the earliest known woman in Indiana to have that distinction.

In 2003, Governor Frank O'Bannon, elected in 1997, suffered a stroke and died five days later. The Air Force veteran and lawyer also served eight years as lieutenant governor (1989 to 1996) and eighteen years as a state senator from Corydon. He was considered a tenacious consensus-builder, who advocated for education, tax relief, and economic development via "Energize Indiana."

September 9

In 1844, J. Maurice Thompson was born in Fairfield, Franklin County. He studied engineering, law, and ornithology, and settled in Crawfordsville. There, he wrote poetry, novels, and articles for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. He popularized archery with Witchery of Archery and is best known for his novel Alice of Old Vincennes.

In 1848, the Free Soil Convention in Buffalo, New York appointed James H. Cravens of Versailles, Ripley County, as one of the convention's three vice presidents. Cravens served four terms in the Indiana General Assembly, was elected as a Whig to the Congress in 1841, debated against the extension of slavery, and unsuccessfully ran as a Free Soil candidate for Indiana governor in 1849.

In 1883, Joseph F. Gent filed a patent for the "Art of Making A Product from Indian Corn Known as Cerealine." The Cerealine Manufacturing Co., which operated in Columbus and Indianapolis, produced Cerealine Flakes, a precursor to cold breakfast cereal and used as a malt alternative by brewers.

In 1890, Harland "Colonel" Sanders was born near Henryville in Clark County. He developed a popular recipe for frying chicken in a pressure cooker, becoming famous as the Kentucky Colonel of KFC restaurants.

In 1945, writer and poet Max Ehrmann died in Terre Haute. Although he published his poem "Desiderata" in 1927, it became famous after his lifetime.

September 10

In 1866, President Andrew Johnson arrived in Indianapolis as part of his "Swing Around the Circle" tour, a campaign for the 1866 mid-term congressional elections. He was met by hostile Republicans, who opposed his plan to restore the Union without safeguards for freed people. Rioters prevented the president from speaking, greeting him with "an overwhelming storm of groans, hisses, bellowings . . . it seemed as if all hell had broken loose." The melee resulted in shots being fired and violence directed at city marshals.

September 11

In 1847, Theodore Clement Steele, Impressionist and "Dean of Indiana Painters," was born in Owen County. A leading member of the "Hoosier Group" of Indiana painters, he helped advance the quality of midwestern art and provided many Indiana residents with their first exposure to nationally recognized fine art.

In 1865, Grace Julian Clark was born in Centerville, Wayne County. The daughter of politician and abolitionist George Washington Julian, she was exposed at a young age to issues of social reform. She helped revive the women's suffrage movement in Indiana, wrote for the Indianapolis Star, and lectured in support of international peace and the League of Nations after World War I.

September 12

In 1822, Lieutenant Governor Ratliff Boon became governor following Governor Jonathan Jennings' resignation after his election to Congress. Boon served three months until the term expired in December. He resumed his former position as lieutenant governor, but this time alongside Governor William Hendricks from 1822 to 1824.

In 1889, synagogue Ahavath Sholom was dedicated in Ligonier, Noble County. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of American Reform Judaism, spoke on religious tolerance at the event, which included attendees from other cities and states.

September 13

In 1881, Major General Ambrose E. Burnside died. The Liberty native invented the breech-loading rifle and served in the Civil War, leading the Ninth Corps during the Battle of Antietam. Appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, he was relieved of command after the Battle of Fredericksburg ended in disaster. After the war, he represented Rhode Island in the US Senate.

In 1915, William King Harvey, "America's James Bond," was born. He attended Wiley High School in Terre Haute and graduated from Indiana University's School of Law. A Cold War CIA agent, he undertook a surveillance operation against the KGB, but is best known for his role in Operation Mongoose, an attempt to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

In 1925, Janet Flanner submitted her first manuscript, a “Letter from Paris,” to New Yorker co-founder Harold Ross. Over six weeks later, Ross informed Flanner that he would be publishing her submission, and made her a regular columnist for the magazine. She covered European politics and culture - from the Parisian art scene in the 1920s to the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. She was born and spent her younger years in Indianapolis and was the daughter of Frank Flanner a founder of the long-respected Flanner and Buchanan Funeral business.

September 14

In 1915, Carl Fisher, James Allison, Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, and Theodore Myers incorporated the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company. Allison assumed control of the team soon after, and opened a precision machine shop and experimental firm in Speedway, which would evolve into what is now Allison Transmission.

In 1918, a federal jury found Terre Haute native Eugene V. Debs guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. The presidential candidate of the Socialist Party and founder of Industrial Workers of the World was sentenced to ten years in prison, where he ran for president for a fifth time

September 15

In 1952, while campaigning for president, Dwight D. Eisenhower visited northern Indiana. He visited seven communities that day including Indiana Harbor, Warsaw, Gary, Plymouth, La Porte, Fort Wayne and South Bend.

In 1974, singer Glen Campbell performed the inaugural concert for Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.

September 16

In 1843, African American orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other black advocates spoke about abolition in Pendleton, Madison County. During the speeches, over 30 men attacked the speakers with stones and brickbats until local supporters interceded. Despite injuries, Douglass spoke the next day at a nearby Friends meetinghouse.

In 1874, classes began at Purdue University in West Lafayette, consisting of thirty-nine students and six instructors. 

September 17

In 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Alois O. Bachman suffered a mortal wound leading a charge during the Battle of Antietam. He was the highest ranking Hoosier in the Union Army killed on the "Bloodiest Day of the Civil War." Born in Madison, Jefferson County, Bachman organized Madison City Greys in 1858, which became part of Sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Five Indiana regiments participated in the battle (casualties listed in parentheses): 7th Indiana Infantry (four wounded), 14th Indiana Infantry (180 casualties, including 49 killed or mortally wounded), 19th Indiana Infantry (over 70 killed and wounded including their commanding officer, and nearly 20 more missing out of 210 men in the regiment), 27th Indiana Infantry (17 killed and 192 wounded out of 443 men in the unit), and the 3rd Indiana Cavalry (5 casualties).

In 1864, General Alvin P. Hovey issued Special Order 129, authorizing military commissions to try civilians. This order led to the trials of Southern sympathizers Lambdin P. Millingan and H.H. Dodd, who were suspected of planning an uprising in Indianapolis in August.

In 1912, classes began at Arsenal Technical High School on the grounds of the former Civil War army arsenal in Indianapolis.

In 1997, Emmy-winning comedian Richard "Red" Skelton died in Rancho Mirage, California. The Vincennes native became famous for skits such as "dunking donuts" and characters like Freddie the Freeloader.

September 18

In 1877, Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin died. He moved from North Carolina to Newport (now Fountain City), Wayne County, Indiana due to his opposition to slavery. Here, he sold free-labor products, which were not produced from the labor of enslaved persons. For twenty years, he and his wife Catharine aided freedom seekers along routes from Madison and Jeffersonville.

In 1921, former Governor James P. Goodrich sailed to the Soviet Union for a two year humanitarian aid mission.

In 1927, Fort Wayne radio station WOWO, along with sixteen other stations across the nation, became a pioneer station for the CBS network. 

In 1944, "Czar" of the Indiana High School Athletic Association Arthur Trester died in Indianapolis. Under Trester, the showcase of IHSAA became high school basketball, reflected in the term "Hoosier Hysteria."

In 1945, hundreds of white students at Gary's Froebel High School walked out of classes to protest African American attendance at the school. By September 21, over 1,000 Gary students had participated in the walkouts. As the strike continued throughout the fall, popular singer Frank Sinatra spoke to students about racial tension in the city. The strikes ended in November 1945, but racial tension continued and the 1950s saw a resurgence in de facto segregation in the city.

In 2002, trailblazing journalist and photographer Bettie Cadou died in Indianapolis. She wrote for publications such as the Indianapolis News, Sports Illustrated, and New York Times, covering a variety of topics from the struggle of migrant workers to the Indiana General Assembly. In 1971, Cadou became the first woman admitted into the pits at the Indianapolis 500.

September 19

In 1859, Abraham Lincoln visited Indianapolis and delivered a speech at the city's Masonic Hall. He reminisced about growing up in Indiana and critiqued Stephen Douglas's advocacy of popular sovereignty, and repeated his famous quote: "this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free; that a house divided against itself cannot stand." Historians have recently argued that the speeches Lincoln delivered throughout the Midwest around this time mobilized crucial political support among Midwesterners for a successful presidential run.

In 1892, the Indiana State Fair opened at its new location on East 38th Street in Indianapolis. The fair had previously been held at Military Park, former site of Civil War training grounds Camp Morton, as well as other locations around the state such as Terre Haute, Lafayette, Madison, New Albany, and Fort Wayne.

In 1995, popcorn entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher died in Coronado, California. The agricultural scientist "experimented with hybrids for years before he came up with the first significant genetic improvement in popcorn in more than 5,000 years." His 1965 discovery created a "fluffier" product, which he peddled in his native Indiana. The Purdue University graduate developed his product into one of America's leading popcorn brands.

September 20

In 1942, the Republic Aviation Corporation produced the first P-47 Thunderbolt at its Evansville factory. World War II defense factories like Republic drew 25,000 permanent citizens to Vanderburgh County, employing African Americans, women and the physically handicapped.

September 21

In 1954, Houghton Mifflin published Edwin Way Teale's The Wilderness World of John Muir. One of the most influential naturalists, Teale credited his career to his childhood spent in the Indiana Dunes, where he developed a love for nature, an eye for photography, and an accessible writing style.

September 22

In 1853, the first boat to travel the entire length of the Wabash and Erie Canal reached Evansville. The canal connected the Great Lakes with the Ohio River, generated a multitude of jobs, and transported Hoosier products beyond the borders of the state. 

In 1919, a steel strike erupted in Gary and East Chicago. The National Guard could not manage the violent clashes in Gary, so the city's mayor requested over 1,000 federal troops dispatched to the area.

In 1920, approximately 15,000 fans watched an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and Indianapolis Indians at Washington Park. The Indians won the game 7-6 and held Babe Ruth, then in his first season with the Yankees, to a double and two singles. 

September 23

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Roosevelt delivered the speech while wincing with pain. His leg was infected from a carriage accident he had been in earlier in the month. After the speech, doctors at St. Vincent's Hospital lanced and drained his infected leg. He cancelled his Midwest tour following the Indianapolis surgery and returned to Washington.

September 24

In 1936, members of the notorious Brady Gang were transferred to the Hancock County Jail at Breensfield. They escaped and were killed in a shoot-out with FBI agents in 1937.

In 1964, advocate of desegregation and racial equality Faburn DeFrantz died in Indianapolis. He served as executive secretary of the African American YMCA on Senate Avenue for more than three decades. DeFrantz also fought against the segregation of Crispus Attucks High School and led the fight for black schools to gain full membership in the Indiana High School Athletic Association. He successfully used his influence to get African American basketball player Bill Garrett the chance to attend and play for Indiana University, breaking the Big Ten's color barrier.

September 25

In 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery was incorporated. Notable Hoosiers such as Sarah Bolton, James Whitcomb Riley, and President Benjamin Harrison, and twelve Indiana governors are buried at the Indianapolis cemetery.

In 1894, Culver Military Academy, located on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Marshall County, opened for its first regular session.

September 26

In 1774, John Chapman, known as "Johnny Appleseed," was born in 1774. He traveled to Fort Wayne as early as 1822, where he established apple orchards. He died in Allen County in 1845 and was buried along the St. Joseph River and the old feeder canal bed on the Archer farm.

In 1892, Robert S. Lynd was born in New Albany. A founder of modern sociology, he and wife Helen Merrell Lynd conducted the "Middletown Studies," case studies of Muncie that shed light on social changes and cultural norms in middle-America during the 1920s and 1930s. 

In 1918, the Indianapolis News reported the first case of Spanish Influenza at military training detachments in and around Indianapolis. From the report until the end of November, Indiana lost 3,266 Hoosiers to the illness.

September 27

In 1880, the English Opera House opened on Monument Circle. Built by William Hayden English, Indiana businessman and politician, it featured entertainment such as musicals, minstrel shows, and films. In 1902, the theater hosted an elaborate stage play of Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur.

In 1927, inventor of television, Philo T. Farnsworth, transmitted the first electronic television image at his San Francisco lab. He moved to Fort Wayne and opened a television and radio manufacturing plant called the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation. There, he established a lab, where he devised a “fusion reaction tube” and reportedly achieved self-sustaining fusion.

In 1946, Gary boxer Tony Zale, nicknamed "The Man of Steel," defended his middleweight title against Rocky Graziano at  New York's Yankee Stadium. His hometown embraced his return following the victory. Zale was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

September 28

In 1853, the Indianapolis Union Depot, predecessor to Union Station, officially opened. In 1864, a teenaged Thomas Edison worked there briefly as a telegraph operator. 

In 1880, the cornerstone of the new Indiana Statehouse was laid. The first capitol building in Indianapolis, completed in 1835, was razed in 1878 to make room for the current Statehouse.

In 1919, Tom Harmon was born in Rensselaer. He became a multi-sport star athlete at Gary’s Horace Mann High School. After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Michigan where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1940. He served as a pilot during World War II, surviving a bomber crash en route to North America, and was shot down near Kiukiang, China. Following the war, he played two seasons for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

September 29

In 1832, the Vincennes Western Sun reported that an estimated three to five thousand Indiana boatmen arrived in Evansville annually. The boatmen were passing through on return trips to their homes in the Wabash and White river valleys after delivering their goods to markets on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. A teenaged Abraham Lincoln took a similar trip in 1828.

September 30

In 1809, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison convinced a consortium of native tribes to sign the Treaty of Fort Wayne or "Ten O'Clock Line Treaty." The following year, Shawnee leader Tecumseh challenged the legitimacy of the treaty. He alleged that without unanimous agreement of all tribes the treaty was invalid. The Ten O'Clock Line became Indiana's northern border when it achieved statehood in 1816. The treaty acquired three million acres for white settlement.

In 1818, The Life of Bonaparte, considered the first literary work published in Indiana, was printed by Ebenezer Patrick and Beebe Booth in Salem, Washington County. 

In 1952, the game show Two for the Money premiered on NBC, hosted by Herb Shriner. A Fort Wayne native, Shriner opened each episode with a humor monologue about Indiana. For four years, Shriner hosted the show at the height of his professional success.

In 1955, James Dean was killed in an automobile accident in California. The actor, best known for his roles in Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant was buried in his hometown of Fairmount, Grant County.



October 1

In 1811, troops began to erect Fort William Henry Harrison near Terre Haute. General Harrison ordered its construction to protect Vincennes, the capital of the Indiana Territory, against Native American forces. In September of the following year, troops protected it against siege by a force of native tribes, including the Wea, Potawatomi, Shanee, Winnegago, and Kickapoo. The Battle of Fort Harrison is considered the first American land victory of the War of 1812.

In 1843, Willard School, later Indiana School for the Deaf, opened in Indianapolis. Deaf teacher William Willard and his deaf wife traveled through Indiana on horseback to recruit students for the school. In 1846, a law passed making Willard School the first state school to offer free education for deaf children.

In 1847, the last rail was laid on track connecting Madison and Indianapolis. Prominent Indianapolis legislator and businessman Calvin Fletcher wrote in his diary that the line "was so far completed that the carrs from Madison on the Ohio came in . . . full at 3 P.M."

In 1867, the Indiana State Fair opened in Terre Haute and ran until October 5, attracting over 55,000 visitors and hosting 1,552 exhibits. Harper's Weekly reported that the Vigo County Society hosted the fair on its grounds and erected $20,000 worth of buildings for the event.

In 1887, President Grover Cleveland visited Indianapolis as part of his midwestern "goodwill tour" to garner support for reelection. He arrived at the nearly completed State House, where he gave a speech about the legacy of Thomas Hendricks, a former Governor of Indiana who served as Cleveland’s Vice President until his untimely death in 1885. Following his speeches, upwards of 20,000 people went through the rotunda of the State House to greet the President and First Lady. Cleveland’s 1888 Presidential bid ultimately failed, as Hoosiers cast their votes for Indianapolis resident Benjamin Harrison.

In 1907, poet and writer Susan Wallace died in Crawfordsville. The wife of Civil War general and Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace, she made her name in the literary world with poems like "The Patter of Little Feet" and travel books such as The Land of the Pueblos.

In 1999, the Indianapolis News ceased publication after a 130 year run. The first edition ran on December 7, 1869 and readers soon heralded it as "The Great Hoosier Daily." The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for its 1930-1932 series about the elimination of waste and reduction of tex levies.

October 2

In 1798, Theodore Guerin was born and baptized at Etables in Brittany, France. Along with other Sisters of Providence, she traveled to Indiana, first stopping in Vincennes and settling in Terre Haute in 1840. Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and is remembered as a champion of women's education. She was canonized and officially determined a Saint on October 15, 2006.

In 1905, L.S. Ayres & Co. opened its flagship store on the corner of Meridian and Washington in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star praised the store at its opening, noting it "is one of the finest and most completely equipped in the West. It offers . . . up-to-date facilities for the display and handling of merchandise," as well as a "commodious rest room," innovative soda fountain, basement budget store, and an art department that offered "treasures" from around the world. It is best remembered for its Tea Room, holiday events, displays, and fashionable women's apparel. 

October 3

In 1799, William Henry Harrison was elected delegate to represent the Northwest Territory in Congress, where he served until May, 1800, when he was appointed governor of the Indiana Territory

In 1864, antiwar draft protesters murdered Daviess County draft officer Eli McCarty. Five men were convicted of his murder and reportedly several other men involved fled West. The testimony of John McAvoy, printed in the Indianapolis Daily Journal in 1865, provides the following motive: “These men gave as a reason for killing McCarty that, if he was killed they would not then be drafted into the abolition army. There was no other reason for killing him.” 

October 4

In 1852, former Indiana governor James Whitcomb died while serving in the United States Senate. He served as governor from 1843 to 1848, resigning upon his election to the Senate. During his gubernatorial administration, the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Indiana Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Indiana Institute for the Education of the Blind were established. 

In 1860, Governor Ashbel Parsons Willard died in office. Lieutenant Governor Abram Adams Hammond served out the remaining three months of Willard's term as governor.

October 5

In 1813, Shawnee military and political leader Tecumseh was fatally wounded in the Battle of the Thames. His confederacy, in alliance with Great Britain, battled American troops in an attempt to stay in the Northwest Territory. In the summer of 1810 and 1811, he met with Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison in Vincennes. There, Tecumseh spoke for a growing confederacy of American Indians led by his brother Tenskwatawa (The Prophet); he denounced 1809 Treaty at Fort Wayne in which U.S. government continued policy of taking Indian lands by treaties with village chiefs. Tecumseh told Harrison that Indian lands were common property and could not be sold without agreement of all Indian nations; the confederacy wanted to keep peace and their lands, but would defend their villages from U.S. advance. According to Ohio History Central, Tecumseh's "death began a rapid decline in American Indian resistance and the War of 1812 is marked as the beginning of removal in the upper Midwest."

In 1954, Baseball Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston died in Philadelphia. The Indianapolis native began his career with the city's A.B.C.'s in 1915, a team belonging to the Negro National League. In 1954, he managed the Indianapolis Clowns. Charlestown is considered one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball history. In 1920, the Indianapolis Star reported that he was “known as the black ‘Ty Cobb,’ being one of the greatest colored players the country has ever known.” 

October 6

In 1818, representatives of the United States and the Miami tribe, as well as other territorial leaders, signed the Treaty of St. Mary's in Ohio, in which tribes ceded land. The Indiana State Library noted "This treaty was drafted as part of a large-scale effort by the United States to purchase land from indigenous people, moving them to lands west of the Mississippi River."

In 1862, rioters in Hartford City broke the draft box and assaulted officers in protest to the Civil War draft. According to historian Stephen E. Towne, “emancipation changed the war from one to restore the Union to one to free Southern slaves. Men who would not volunteer to fight in such a cause certainly did not want to be drafted into it. A draft-day riot in the northern Indiana town of Hartford City, in strongly Democratic Blackford County, revealed profound opposition to the war and prompted authorities to send 500 troops from Indianapolis to quell disorder. Troops remained in the area for several days until after Election Day. Commanders posted soldiers at polling places to arrest rioters who attempted to vote, adding to Democratic fears of tyranny.”

In 1866, John Reno, Simeon Reno, and Frank Sparks-members of the "Reno Gang"-robbed the Ohio and Mississippi Railway express car on its way out of Seymour. They were arrested, but after posting bail committed more robberies in Indiana. Following an attempted train robbery in Brownstown, members of the gang stopped in Seymour, where the Jackson County Vigilance Committee lynched them. In an era of vast economic, social, and political change, criminals took advantage of an antiquated system of law enforcement that was never designed to suppress them. When the system did not evolve, the citizens forced it, through vigilantism and lynching.

October 7

In 1849, "Hoosier Poet" James Whicomb Riley was born in Greenfield. He was employed by the Indianapolis Journal, which published his famous When the Frost Is on the Punkin'. According to the Indiana Historical Society, his characters like Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man, "along with his sentimental style that harkened back to simpler times, struck a chord with a reading public struggling to come to grips with the industrial age." Upon his death in 1916, 35,000 mourners paid their respects by visiting his casket at the Indiana State Capitol.

In 1850, elected delegates of the constitutional convention met in the Hall of the House of Representatives in the State Capitol in Indianapolis to draft a new constitution. Historian David G. Vanderstel noted it was not a radical revision of the original document, but addressed numerous concerns and problems that had emerged during the formative years of the state. Notably, the document restricted African American immigration and settlement in the state.

In 1917, the Central Library of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library system opened. According to Indiana Memory, "The building was conceived and built under the direction of librarian Eliza G. Browning. The land where the library is located between Pennsylvania and Meridian Streets was donated by James Whitcomb Riley. Philadelphia architect Paul Cret designed it in the Greek Doric style using Indiana limestone on the Vermont marble base." 

Due to a influenza epidemic, the Indiana Board of Health issued an order banning all public gatherings in the state until October 20, 1918. By the end of November, Indiana had lost 3,266 residents to the disease. However, according to the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine, Indianapolis "had an epidemic death rate of 290 per 100,000 people, one of the lowest in the nation," due to “how well Indianapolis as well as state officials worked together to implement community mitigation measures against influenza.”

In 1955, South Bend native and poet Kenneth Rexroth introduced Allen Ginsberg, who read his revolutionary poem Howl at a poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. Scholars often point to this as the culminating event of the San Francisco Renaissance and solidification of the Beat movement. 

October 8

In 1821, the initial sale of lots began for the City of Indianapolis. By the 1930s, the young city was a violent place. Early Indianapolis historian Ignatius Brown noted that "work on the National road . . . had attracted many men of bad character and habits to this point. These, banded together under a leader of great size and strength, were long known as ‘the chain gang,’ and kept the town in a half subjugated state. Assaults were often committed, citizens threatened and insulted, and petty outrages perpetrated." African American James Overall shot a white gang member while defending his home and family from attack; white allies came to his aid. Despite an 1831 Indiana law that barred black testimony against whites in court, he sought legal protection from further attack.

In 1838, John Milton Hay was born in Salem, Washington County. Hay became one of President Lincoln’s private secretaries. He served in a variety of diplomatic posts after the Civil War, and also as assistant secretary of state in the Hayes administration. He and fellow Lincoln secretary, John G. Nicolay, authored a 10 volume biography on the president. In 1898, President William McKinley appointed him secretary of state. He held the cabinet position into President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, and until his death in 1905.

In 1914, Indianapolis Hoosiers (or HooFeds) of the Federal League won the league pennant with an 88-65 record, which topped Chicago Whales by a single game in the standings. This would be the one and only season the team played in Indianapolis. It relocated to Newark, New Jersey for the 1915 season, and the Federal League disbanded at the end of the 1915 season.

In 1944, lawyer and corporate executive Wendell Willkie died, later buried in Rushville's East Hill Cemetery. The Elwood native became the Republican candidate for US President despite never having held an elected office. After losing the election to Franklin Roosevelt, he continued fighting for civil rights and advocated for the equal treatment of African Americans in the Armed Forces during WWII. He also become friends and political allies with FDR, serving the President by traveling the globe as a US emissary, where he observed the war abroad and met with foreign leaders. As an internationalist he worked for "world peace" and in 1943 wrote about his global experiences in his book One World.

October 9

In 1824, President Judge William W. Wick sentenced James Hudson to death by hanging. He was among a group of white men who murdered nine American Indian men, women and children living at their winter camp on a stream in Pendleton. He was one of three perpetrators hanged for the crime in 1825, a rare case in which natives obtained some justice from US law during the period.

In 1847, African American David Powell and his family fled their enslavement in Boone County, Kentucky. Two years later their owner John Norris caught up to them, initiating what became known as the "South Bend Fugitive Case." According to Claire Harvey, "This case was not just a controversial litigation; it also exposed the impact of local cultural attitudes towards slavery at the time upon the outcomes of legal proceedings. The South Bend Fugitive Slave Case involved two individual judges, each of whom examined the evidence and rendered quite a different judgment. . . . By examining the proceedings of each judge, one can identify how perspectives of justice and judicial objectivity differed as a result of local community influence. Strong abolitionist views present in South Bend affected the outcome of the case there, and ultimately affected the destiny of the defendants."

In 1960, Indianapolis artist and art educator Lucy M. Taggart died. She studied with celebrated artists like William Forsyth and William Merritt Chase, specializing in portraiture, and exhibted her art at midwestern shows.

October 10

In 1834, entomologist and naturalist Thomas Say died in New Harmony. He helped found the Academy of Natural Sciences in his hometown of Philadelphia, before traveling on the "Boatload of Knowledge" to Robert Owen's utopian society in Indiana.

In 1908, two Hoosier pitchers faced off in the first game of the 1908 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. Nyesville’s Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown of the Cubs and Ladoga’s Ed “Kickapoo Ed” Summers of the Tigers were born only 30 miles apart. Brown and the Cubs won game one. The pitchers faced off again in game 4 on October 13, but Brown prevailed again. The Cubs clinched the series and the title in game 5.

In 1917, noted glassmaker and Civil War veteran Henry Crimmel died in Harford City, Blackford County. He received two patents related to his work and co-founded the Novelty Glass Company.

In 1933, United Airlines Boeing 247 flight NC13304 exploded in the air above Chesterton, Porter County. Investigators concluded that an on-board explosive device downed the aircraft. The crew of three, and four passengers were all killed. Crash investigators concluded that an on-board explosive device downed the aircraft. The saboteur's identity and the motive remain a historical mystery.

In 1954, Christ Church on Monument Circle was consecrated as pro-cathedral for the Episcopal Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

October 11

In 1864, Governor Oliver P. Morton was re-elected in a landslide. He was concerned about Democratic and Copperhead insurgents affecting the vote. He persuaded President Lincoln to grant Indiana soldiers furloughs to return home to vote. The War Department extended the furloughs until November to allow the soldiers to vote in the presidential election on November 8.

In 1928, Paul V. McNutt was elected National Commander of the American Legion and utilized its infrastructure to get elected to the governorship in 1933 as a Democrat. He ran for the Democratic Nomination in the 1940 presidential race, but dropped out when Roosevelt ran for a third term.

In 1965, the Indianapolis Times ran its final issue. The Times published numerous articles exposing the collusion and corruption between the Indiana state government, Governor Ed Jackson, and the Ku Klux Klan, winning a Pulitzer Prize for the series. Alongside this coverage, the Times also covered multiple scandals, from corruption in the state’s highway fund and voter fraud in congressional districts to exposing falsely reported Indianapolis crime statistics.

October 12

In 1878, a white mob murdered five African American men on the grounds of Posey County's courthouse. Four of the men had been accused of assaulting women at a brothel (and the fifth was the father of one of the accused). The white mob broke into the jail where the suspects were being held and dragged them out, hanging them on nearby trees. According to the Indianapolis News, as a crowd "rushed forward the mob quietly slipped away, unmasked and the members mixed with the bystanders."

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson helped Hoosiers celebrate Indiana's Centennial Highway Day. Over 10,000 people traveled to the state's capital to hear the president speak about road improvements.

In 1918, Samuel Woodfill demonstrated bravery while combatting German soldiers in Cunel, France during World War I. After being promoted to Captain, Woodfill returned to his unit in Luxembourg, where he served with the Army of Occupation. General John Pershing awarded Woodfill with the Medal of Honor in 1919. 

In 1925, African American poet Charles Gordone was born in Chicago as "Charles Fleming." He grew up in Elkhart, Indiana before moving to New York City, where he worked as an actor, director, and playwright. During the 1960s, Gordone worked to ensure more opportunities for blacks in the entertainment industry. In 1970, he won national acclaim as the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for No Place to Be Somebody. In the 1980s, Gordone advocated integrating minority actors into the casts of classic dramas.

October 13

In 1859, fire destoyed homes and businesses opposite Court House Square in Vernon, Jennings County.

In 1893, The Door of Hope, which became Wheeler Mission Ministries, opened its doors in Indianapolis and held its first service. The organization initially provided friendless women and unwed women with assistance. Throughout its history, it provided aid to those with few resources.

In 1960, Roderick M. Wright, "Indiana's Early Bird Pilot," died and was buried near his family farm in Daviess County. One of Indiana's first pilots, he received his Federation Aeronautique Internationale pilot license and became a member of Early Birds, a national group of pilots who flew solo between 1903 and 1916. Wright was a flight instructor and a test, charter, and cargo pilot. During World War II, he tested parachutes over his property. Wright served in Indiana General Assembly from 1953 to 1957.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke at Weir Cook Airport in Indianapolis, urging voters to consider electing Democratic representatives from Indiana in order for the nation to progress in areas such as labor, housing, agriculture, and national defense.

October 14

In 1857, automobile pioneer Elwood Haynes was born in Portland, Jay County. He moved to Kokomo, where he built a "horseless carriage" with the help of Edgar and Elmer Apperson. Haynes publicly debuted his vehicle, dubbed the “Pioneer,” during Kokomo’s 1894 Fourth of July celebration. He established the Haynes Automobile Company to capitalize on the invention. Although debate continues as to whether or not he invented the first car, his company contributed to a major industrial and transportation revolution and helped position the vehicle as a popular form of transit.

In 1910, one of the winningest collegiate basketball coaches, John Wooden, was born in Martinsville. In 1927, he led Martinsville High School to three consecutive state finals and was an all-American at Purdue University. While coaching the UCLA's basketball team to ten national championships, he created a sports dynasty and established the NCAA's record for winning the most consecutive games.

In 1925, former Democratic governor Samuel Ralston died and was buried in Lebanon, where he practiced law. Among many other progressive measures enacted under his leadership, the state park system was initiated and a public service commission was created to regulate utilities. Governor Ralston championed Indiana's centennial celebration, serving on the Indiana Historical Commission

October 15

In 1849, Charity Dye was born in Madison County, Kentucky. Her family moved to Indianapolis, where she later taught at Shortidge High School. She advocated for peace and women's suffrage. Dye served as the only female member of the Indiana Historical Commission and was active in planning the statewide celebration.

In 1851, Indiana's first woman's rights convention concluded at Dublin, Wayne County, attended by women and men who supported temperance, abolition, and suffrage. The convention adopted resolutions for political, social, and financial rights for women. In 1852, the convention formed Indiana Woman's Rights Association to promote united action for woman's rights. The association demanded equality in all political rights and functions at the 1853 convention. It voted to be auxiliary to American Woman Suffrage Association 1870 and later Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association.

October 16

In 1920, the Collyer's Eye announced boxer Ray Bronson's retirement. The "Indianapolis Pugilist" made a name for himself boxing in the city. He fought in 104 matches, with 48 wins and 22 Knock-Outs. His skill in the ring took him all over the world, from Sydney to London, where he was one of the first American boxers to fight abroad. Later in life, he cultivated upstart boxers, acting as their manager, and worked to promote the sport.

In 1944, Columbus native and Women's Air Service Pilot Jean Lewellen was killed when the plane she was piloting crashed. Lewellen was one of 38 women pilots killed in service during World War II and the only woman from Bartholomew County killed in the line of duty.

October 17

In 1934, famed pilot Amelia Earhart spoke at Purdue University on the subject “Activities for Women after College.” In 1935, the university employed her as a visiting faculty member. Until her 1937 disappearance she served as Consultant in the Department for the Study of Careers for Women and Technical Advisor in the Department of Aeronautics for Purdue.

In 1974, the Indianapolis Racers played their first hockey game of their inaugural season at Market Square Arena. In 4 ¼ seasons the team won less than 37% of its games. However, future NHL hall of famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier suited up for the team for brief stints.

October 18

In 1844, Harvey Washington Wiley was born on a small farmstead near Kent, Jefferson County. He earned his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Indiana and worked as a chemist at Purdue University. Dr. Wiley worked tirelessly to prove the dire need for food regulation. Through his “hygienic table trials,” which tested the effects of adulterated food on 12 volunteers known as the "Poison Squad," Dr. Wiley's findings contributed to the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

In 1897, Marion County Circuit Court accepted Moy Kee's argument that since he filed a declaration of intent to become a U.S. citizen before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 he should be granted a certificate of citizenship. Although the court decision would be revoked fourteen years later, Moy remained an active and prominent member of Indianapolis’ small Chinese immigrant population until his death in 1914.

In 1963, Clowes Hall opened with a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. According to WFYI, "The theater was designed in part as a home for the orchestra. Dr. George Clowes and his wife Edith also envisioned the space as a center of culture and entertainment." Performers such as Elton John, Barbara Steisand, and Miles Davis graced the concert hall's stage.  

In 1968, Indianapolis artist John Wesley Hardrick died. He is best known for his painting "Little Brown Girl," which was awarded the Harmon Foundation Bronze Medal in recognition of African Americans for distinguished achievement in the fine arts. He exhibited at the Negro Business League convention, Indiana State Fair, Hoosier Salon, and Smithsonian Institution. In 1933 and 1934 he worked as a Works Progress Administration muralist.

In 1980, naturalist, photographer, and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Edwin Way Teale died in 1980. He wrote that boyhood summers and holidays spent near here at his grandparents’ farm inspired his interest in nature. During his life, he wrote, edited, and contributed to over 30 books, which educated Americans about nature’s importance and beauty.

October 19

In 1790, Colonel John Hardin, of the Kentucky Militia, and Captain John Armstrong, of the U.S. Army, and their men were routed here by Native Americans reportedly led by Miami Chief Little Turtle during General Harmar’s Campaign. Hardin's Defeat was part of the Hamar Campaign, an attempt by the United States to subdue American Indians who defended land in the Northwest Territory.

In 1876, Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” Brown was born in Nyesville, Parke County. In fourteen seasons with six major league baseball clubs, Brown, a pitcher, won 64.8% of his games with a 2.06 ERA and 55 shutouts. He compiled this impressive record despite having his pitching hand mangled in a farm accident as a child where he lost his index finger (hence his nickname “Three Finger”). Brown’s outstanding pitching contributed to the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championships in 1907 and 1908.

October 20

In 1852, the first Indiana State Fair opened at Military Park, accommodating approximately 15,000 visitors on its first day. When the Civil War ended the fair was moved to the former site of Camp Morton, a Confederate POW prison. 

In 1926, presidential candidate of the Socialist Party and founder of Industrial Workers of the World Eugene V. Debs died. In 1918, a federal jury found the Terre Haute native guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, where he ran for president for a fifth time.

October 21

In 1870, artist Ada Walter Shulz was born. The subject of her paintings were typically the children of Brown County and she was one of the founders of the Brown County Art Colony.

In 1875, "Iron Brigade" Commander Solomon Meredith died and in 1908 was reinterred at his hometown in Cambridge City. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Meredith was placed in command of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was brigaded with the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin. Meredith commanded the brigade during the battles of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. After the war, he returned to his Cambridge City farm and continued his pre-war commitments to public service and political office. He had been elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1846 and served as US Marshal for Indiana, 1849-1853.

In 1975, Birch Bayh announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. He had served as U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1963-1981, where he authored two constitutional amendments. The Terre Haute native is known for authoring Title IX in 1965, which banned gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid.

October 22

In 1794, construction of General Anthony Wayne's fort-for which the City of Fort Wayne was named-was completed, one of five forts built in the campaign against the Miami Confederacy. According to Fort Wayne's Architecture & Community Heritage writer Tom Castaldi, "Wayne had this fort built to erase the army’s bad reputation from being defeated by the Miami Nation at the Battle of Kekionga four years earlier.  He also realized that this fortification would lower the morale of the Native Americans and the fort would be able to control at least two important rivers." 

In 1840, Sister Saint Theodore Guerin and other nuns arrived in the middle of a thick, village-less forest four miles outside of Terre Haute on their journey from Ruillé, France. This eventually became the site of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. 

October 23

In 1844, the Lucy Walker steamboat exploded near New Albany, killing approximately fifty on board. Victims of the disaster were buried at Fairview Cemetery in the Hoosier city. The vessel was owned by Cherokee businessman Joseph Vann. According to the News and Tribune, the Lucy Walker facilitated the U.S. Army's forceful relocation of southern tribes to the Indian Territory.

October 24

In 1816, slave owner B.J. Harrison cancelled enslaved person Mary Clark's indenture and transferred it to General Washington Johnston. In 1821, Clark and attorney Amory Kinney petitioned Knox County Circuit Court to terminate her indenture because she was held illegally “as a slave.” The Circuit Court ruled Clark “freely” entered into her indenture and had to complete it. Upon appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in November 1821 that Clark’s suit proved her service was involuntary, violating Indiana’s 1816 Constitution. The court discharged her from service and the ruling contributed to the end of indentured servitude in Indiana.

October 25

In 1892, First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison died in the White House. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., the couple lived in Indianapolis on Delaware Street. The wife of Hoosier President Benjamin Harrison used her influence to advocate for the arts, women’s interests, and the preservation of the White House. 

In 1909, four explosions ripped through Indianapolis, destroying buildings linked to contractor Albert von Spreckelson. Local attorney and employee of the ironworkers union John (J.J.) McNamara set the dynamite explosions because von Spreckleson had hired non-union workers. According to Historic Indianapolis, "McNamara was released after serving 10 years in San Quentin, and rejoined the ironworkers union. He continued to have minor brushes with the law, and in 1928, he was expelled from the union for allegedly stealing $200. McNamara died in 1941."

In 1916, prolific painter William Merritt Chase died in New York City. Born in (what is now) Nineveh, he studied art in Indianapolis before moving to the Big Apple. There he opened the lavish Tenth Street Studio where he painted, hosted cultural events, and exhibited oil, watercolor and pastel pieces. Chase's work influenced many prominent artists and he helped develop and promote a style internationally recognized as distinctly American.

In 1972, Coty Award-winning fashion designer Norman Norell died. His father Harry opened a men's hat store in Indianapolis, and moved the family from Norell's native Noblesville in 1905 to the capitol city once the business experienced success. After studying at Parsons Institute and Pratt Institute, Norell crafted costumes, worked under war-time limitations, resisted pressure to substitute quality for quantity, and worked to bring NYC fashion houses on par with those of Paris. His influence endures, notably with former First Lady Michelle Obama wearing one of his dresses to a White House Christmas party.

October 26

In 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled state’s women’s suffrage law unconstitutional. The legislation’s defeat was short lived and the Indiana General Assembly would subsequently ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in January 1920.

In 1926, legendary baseball player George "Babe" Ruth visited Fort Wayne.  After putting on a show during at practice, he joined the Fort Wayne Lincoln Lifers, a semiprofessional team sponsored by Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., in a game against a very good Kips team. Ruth proceeded to put on a demonstration by playing every position except catcher. He topped the game off by hitting two balls out of the park. With the Bambino in their arsenal, the Lifers won 11 to 1.

October 27


October 28

In 1834, Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget consecrated Simon Bruté the first Bishop of Vincennes. According to New Advent, "After travelling over his vast diocese, comprising the whole State of Indiana and eastern Illinois, Bishop Bruté visited France, where he secured priests and funds for the erection of churches and schools in his needy diocese."

In 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visted Fort Wayne. Joined by Indiana Governor Henry Schricker and Senator Sam Jackson, Roosevelt delivered a speech, hoping to persuade Hoosiers to re-elect him as president.

October 29

In 1792, legislator and businessman Samuel Merrill was born in Peacham, Vermont. He moved to Vevay and then to Indianapolis, where he served three terms in the Indiana General Assembly (1819-1822) and served as State Treasurer (1822-1834). He was president of the State Bank of Indiana, president of the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, and owned the Merrill Publishing Company, which became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. Additionally, Merrill helped incorporate Wabash College in 1833 and served as second president of the Indiana Historical Society.

October 30

In 1844 Abraham Lincoln spoke to a large crowd at the Spencer County courthouse in Rockport. The topic of his speech was in favor of protective tariffs. The purpose of his visit was to campaign for Whig presidential candidate Henry Clay. This was Lincoln’s only return to his boyhood home in Spencer County. The return visit inspired him to write a few pieces of nostalgic poetry, including a piece titled, “My childhood home I see again.”

In 1938, WIBC radio first aired, operating for sixty-nine years as an AM station (1070) and transitioning to 93.1 FM in 2007. The Indianapolis Star reported that day: "There will be no commercials on the morning programs, no newscasts, no stock marketreports, no beauty hints, etc. The entire morning will be devoted to musical entertainment. . . . old-time music, popular music, concert music, dramatics, news, special features, educational programs, etc.—each will have its specific time daily.  In this way we hope to develop regular listening habits for those who enjoy only certain types of radio entertainment.”

October 31

In 1820, Governor of Indiana (1857-1860) Ashbel Parsons Willard was born in New York. He moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1845 and practice law. Willard served in the Indiana House of Representatives (1850-1851), and in 1852 was elected lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket with Joseph Wright. He was only thirty-six years old when he defeated Oliver P. Morton in the 1856 election for governor. He died in 1860, the first of Indiana's chief executives to die in office.

In 1927, Emil Seidel's orchestra recorded Hoagy Carmichael’s "Star Dust" at the Gennett Studio in Richmond, becoming the first musicians ever to do so.