"On this day" happenings in Indiana History
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1893, Mosquito Creek valley essentially fell under martial law due to a violent feud between the White Caps and the Conrad brothers.
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.
Governor Maurice Clifford Townsend was born in 1884 in Blackford County, Indiana.
In 1889, Zerna Sharp, originator of the concept for "Dick and Jane" textbooks, was born in Hillisburg, Clinton County.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1988, Senator Dan Quayle accepted the nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention.
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.
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.
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.
In 1840, the Indiana Horticultural Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1889, stonemasons laid the cornerstone of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
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.
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.
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.
In 1985, AIDS patient Ryan White began attending classes via telephone.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
In 1949, the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans, held its final encampment in Indianapolis.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.”
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.
In 1886, a natural gas vein was discovered in Howard County, approximately 900 feet below a cornfield on A. F. Armstrong’s farm. City leaders developed an organization to attract entrepreneurs to Kokomo with free gas, where they established businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1854, Hoosier Group artist William Forsyth was born in California, Ohio. His family moved to Indiana in 1864 and he lived and painted in Irvington. He taught at the John Herron Art Institute for over twenty years and produced pieces for the Works Progress Administration. Forsyth participated in serveral art organizations in the city, such as The Art Association of Indianapolis, Society of Western Artists, and Portfolio Club. His art, along with that of Hoosier Group artists such as Otto Stark and T.C. Steele, won national acclaim and helped generate an appreciation of Indiana art.
In 1896, the first Rural Free Delivery post offices were established in Indiana, installed at Hartsville and Hope in Bartholomew County. The service delivered mail directly to rural farmers, eliminating the need to pick up mail at distant post offices or pay for delivery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1833, Abram C. Shortridge was born in Henry County. He is best known for the sweeping improvements he made in the Indianapolis public school system while serving as its superintendent from 1863 to 1874. In this role, he reopened the high school in Indianapolis (now Shortridge High School, home to graduates such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Richard Lugar), introduced a graded system, lengthened the school year from 3.5 months to 9 months, and oversaw the construction of two new school buildings in the city. He was also instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Public Library and reopening Indianapolis public schools to African American children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1854, James T.V. Hill was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. He moved to Indianapolis in 1874 and became the first African American to enroll and graduate from Central Law School in 1882. He became the first African American in Indiana to serve on a grand jury and the first to work as an attorney in Marion County. Hill was active in political and civic affairs in Indianapolis and served as one of the first board directors for the Senate Avenue YMCA.
In 1877, Willis D. Gatch, inventor of the adjustable hospital bed, was born in Aurora, Dearborn County. Gatch earned his A.B. from Indiana University in 1901 and graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1907, where he conceived of the hand-cranked bed. The "Gatch bed" reduced the rate of infection in patients by elevating their limbs. He returned to Indiana in 1912 and joined the faculty at the IU School of Medicine. He became dean of the school from 1931-1946.
In 1927, Mayor John L. Duvall resigned from office after being convicted of violating the state corrupt practices act, having traded jobs for electoral votes. Duvall studied law at Valparaiso University and after moving to Arcadia, Indiana was admitted to the bar, eventually practicing law in Hamilton County. He served as mayor of Indianapolis from 1926 to 1927, with the political support of the Ku Klux Klan. Following his mayoral resignation, Duvall pursued real estate and investments in Indianapolis.
In 1977, businessman and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Anton "Tony" Hulman died in Indianapolis. The Terre Haute native served in the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps during World War I and later worked for his family's business, Hulman & Co. At the end of World War II the Speedway was in disrepair. Hulman purchased it in 1945 and under his leadership repaired it and added the recognizable pagoda structure.
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.
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.
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.”
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 1903, players and staff for the Purdue football team were killed when their train crashed en route to Indianapolis to play against their Indiana University rivals. The miscommunication of a telegraph operator caused the wreck and the game was cancelled following the tragedy.
In 1963, an explosion at the Indiana State Fair coliseum killed seventy-four and injured 400 spectators at a Holiday on Ice performance. After the tragedy, the site was renovated and hosted a sold-out Beatles concert in 1964.
In 1851, Indiana's second constitution went into effect. One hundred and fifty delegates had convened for 127 days in the chamber of the House of Representatives of the State House to draft the document. This constitution banned black migration to the state and prohibited African Americans from voting, serving in militias, bearing witness in trials involving white citizens, and sending children to public schools.
In 1877, former Governor Oliver P. Morton died in Indianapolis and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. The Republican governor faced a Democratic majority in the Indiana General Assembly. His gubernatorial terms proved contentious, as he unconstitutionally dispatched the militia and financed state government through unauthorized private loans. After serving as governor, he was elected as a US Senator during the Reconstruction era, in which he sought to reform the former Confederacy.
In 1945, crooner Frank Sinatra made a special visit to Gary. He met with students at Froebel High School, whose students were striking against integration, to discuss racial tensions in the city. While many students appeared attentive and understanding of Sinatra’s calls for peace and an end to racial discrimination, the striking committee refused to back down.
In 1778, Delaware Indians captured five-year-old Frances Slocum from her home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania during a period of violence between settlers and natives. An elderly Delaware couple adopted Slocum, renamed "Maconaquah" by her captors, and they traveled west, settling along the Eel River near Ke-ki-ong-a (now Fort Wayne). Her first husband was Delaware and her second was a Miami leader, with which she had four children. The family resided on the banks of the Mississinewa River. Maconaquah sat for renowned painter of Native Americans, George Winter, before she died in Indiana in 1847.
In 1913, riots broke out in Indianapolis when 300 Pinkerton Agency strikebreakers were brought in to replace striking workers from the Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company. When the rioting ended days later, six people had lost their lives in the chaos.
In 1920, Anna D. Monroe became the first woman in Indiana to cast an electoral vote following the passage of the Nineteeth Amendment. Hoosier men and women elected Julia D. Nelson as a Representative in the 1920 election, the first woman in the state to serve in the Indiana General Assembly. During her term, she advocated for the support of impoverished parents and children. She introduced five bills, involving topics such as sexual assault and motion picture regulations. Nelson died in 1936 and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.
In 1930, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra played its first concert at Shortridge High School. German conductor Ferdinand Schaefer organized Indianapolis musicians from theaters and his Kirschbaum Orchestra, informing them that there would be little financial gain at first, given the economic conditions wrought by the Great Depression.
In 1851, author Mary Hannah Krout was born in Crawfordsville. One of few female writers employed at the time, she secured a job writing for the Crawfordsville Journal in 1879 and became its associate editor in 1881. She later became editor of the Terre Haute Express and wrote for the Chicago Inter-Ocean. Her work took her to Australia, China, and England. Krout became staff correspondent to Hawaii during a time of much political change and was soon considered an expert on the island. After author Lew Wallace died in 1905, she assisted in the completion of his autobiography. In addition to authoring several books and writing for newspapers, Krout was a suffragist and worked to provide women with more educational and economic opportunities.
In 1868, General Ulysses S. Grant and Hoosier running mate Schuyler Colfax won the presidential election on the Republican ticket. As founder and editor of the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend, Colfax had garnered a career as a political writer. He served as a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention, which produced the state's second constitution. At the convention, he opposed the prohibition of free persons of color from entering the state. Colfax was elected a member of the House, serving for fourteen years and appointed Speaker of the House in 1863. He helped secure congressional passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended slavery. Colfax served only one term as vice president, having been nearly impeached due to minor involvement in the Credit Mobilier scandal that also threatened Grant’s tenure in the White House.
In 1896, James A. Mount was elected governor of Indiana. The Mountgomery County farmer served with the Seventy-Second Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. While lecturing at farmers' institutes after the war, he began to establish a political base. Mount was elected to the state senate in 1888 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1890. He served in 1892 as president of a vigilante organization, the State Horse Thief Detective Association. Mount was elected governor in 1896 and served his full term, during which he was called upon to mobilize Indiana troops to serve in the Spanish-American War.
In 1816, the first General Assembly session was held, convening until January 3, 1817. The Constitutional Convention, which took place in Corydon in the summer of 1816, produced a constitution that created a General Assembly. This Assembly was comprised of a House of Representatives and a Senate, with members serving one and three years, respectively. During its first ten years, the General Assembly faced many challenges, including the issue of slavery, infrastructure, and selecting a new state capital.
In 1862, Indianapolis resident Richard Jordan Gatling received his first patent for the Gatling Machine Gun. According to Popular Mechanics, he was inspired to design the gun with hopes that it would "minimize the number of men needed to fight a war, and thus minimize the number of men exposed to its horrors." However, the Gatling gun, along with other machine guns, caused massive death tolls in the wars to come.
In 1921, Supreme Allied Commander during WWI Marshal Ferdinand Foch visited Indianapolis at the invitation of the American Legion. Upon his arrival at Union Station, he was greeted by former Governor Samuel M. Ralston and thousands of citizens. A parade and banquet was thrown in his honor and he was presented with the Laurel Wreath.
In 1855, Socialist Party presidential candidate and founder of Industrial Workers of the World Eugene V. Debs was born. 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.
In 1912, Wabash County native Thomas Riley Marshall was elected US vice president under Woodrow Wilson. He refused to assume powers of the presidency after Wilson's stroke in 1919, believing it would be unconstitutional. The former governor of Indiana (1909-1913) was only the third vice president to serve two full terms. He died in 1925 and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.
In 1940, Indianapolis attorney Robert Lee Brokenburr became the first African-American senator in Indiana. During his twenty years in the General Assembly, he authored anti-discrimination bills and wrote an act that established the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. As a lawyer, Brokenburr successfully challenged housing segregation and served as Madam C.J. Walker's counsel. He advocated for the NAACP and Flanner House, as well as other Indianapolis organizations that championed civic causes.
In 1888, Indianapolis lawyer Benjamin Harrison was elected the 23rd President of the United States. According to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, President Harrison "paved the way for the future success of the Republican Party. He helped introduce civil rights legislation and established relations with Central America—resulting in the Pan-American games. But most importantly, he helped unite the factions of the Republican Party after the fallout created by Congress and helped to create a unified party that would win the White House back in 1896." During the presidency, his wife Caroline Scott Harrison promoted preserving the White House and its collections. She secured congressional funding to direct renovations modernizing the interior, saved historic furnishings, and founded the White House China Collection.
In 1894, suffrage leader Helen Gougar attempted to vote in Tippecanoe County but was turned away by the election board due to her gender. She filed suit against the county election board and acted as her own lawyer in the hearings. The Tippecanoe County Superior Court ruled against Gougar and women's suffrage on April 20, 1895; Gougar appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the lower court's findings.
In 1935, famed pilot Amelia Earhart assumed duties as visiting faculty member at Purdue University. She worked as a career consultant to the female students as well as a technical adviser in aeronautics at the Purdue airfield, the only university airfield in the nation at that time.
In 1966, Philadelphia Eagle player Timmy Brown, a Richmond native and Ball State athlete, became the first NFL player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game.
In 1811, Indian Confederacy forces led by Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, attacked US troops commanded by General William Henry Harrison. Despite an indecisive outcome, the Battle of Tippecanoe caused multiple casualties on both sides. According to MHUGL, "While largely indecisive, the battle helped sway the country to war with Britain in 1812. For the natives, the battle was the end of their dreams for a confederacy against the settlers, forcing them to join forces with the British as the only defense to their homeland."
In 1846, "Indiana's Soybean Pioneer" Adrian A. Parsons was born in North Carolina. A Civil War veteran, Parsons engaged in diversified farming in Hendricks County, Indiana in 1884. In the 1890s, he began purposeful, sustained cultivation of soybeans used for forage and fertilizer on his farm. Soybeans were not widely grown in U.S. agriculture until the 1930s. He originated the Mikado variety in 1905. He boosted yields by inoculating seed with nitrogen fixing bacteria in soil. In 1928, the American Soybean Association recognized Parsons as “the pioneer of all soybean growers in Indiana.” He demonstrated the crop’s practical utility for average farms and advanced its importance.
In 1922, Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Samuel Luther Thompson died in Detroit. In the 1880s, the Danville native played for the Danville Browns baseball team and for Evansville and Indianapolis minor league ball clubs. He played for the National League Detroit Wolverines (1885-1888), Philadelphia Phillies (1889-1898), and American League Detroit Tigers (1906). Thompson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. Thompson remains first in runs batted in per game, edging out Lou Gehrig.
In 1967, Richard G. Hatcher won Gary’s mayoral election, which made him the first African American mayor of the city. He and Mayor Carl Stokes of Cleveland became the first black mayors of major US cities. During his mayoral tenure, Hatcher advocated for civil rights and "encouraged African American entrepreneurship by awarding the majority of contracts to black business owners, he attracted outside government and private capital to support Gary’s economic development and growth and he promoted activities designed to instill pride in the city’s African American residents and to discourage middle class blacks from fleeing the city." Through his guidance, Gary managed to avoid race riots prevalent in the 1960s in cities such as Detroit and Chicago.
In 1900, author and journalist Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie was published. Despite dissapointing sales initially, the "greatest of all American urban novels" became an influential example of realism in American writing. The Terre Haute native was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Liberature in 1930.
In 1904, Indianapolis lawyer and US Senator Charles Fairbanks was elected vice president as Theodore Roosevelt’s running-mate. Nicknamed the “Hoosier Icicle” because of his stoic and intense persona, Fairbanks would play a peripheral role in Roosevelt’s administration. He ran as Charles Evans Hughes’s running mate in the 1916 election, although they were defeated by Woodrow Wilson and Hoosier running mate Thomas Marshall.
In 1969, revolutionary astronomer Vesto Silpher died in Flagstaff, Arizona. Born on a farm near Mulberry, Indiana, Silpher went on to earn a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D in Astronomy from Indiana University. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, his "systematic observations (1912–25) of the extraordinary radial velocities of spiral galaxies provided the first evidence supporting the theory." Slipher demonstrated that the universe was not static, but rather expanding and often pushing objects towards each other.
In 2004, physicist and professor Dr. Melba Phillips died in Petersburg. The Hazelton, Gibson County native was a trailblazer for women in physics, student of the famous physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, and crusader against atomic war and McCarthyism. Fired from her university positions due to the Red Scare, she authored two science textbooks, which became university classroom standards. Dr. Phillips also developed programs instructing high school teachers how to teach elementary science and physics.
In 1968, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck Indiana and was felt in at least 20 states. The epicenter of the earthquake was just ten miles from the Indiana - Illinois boarder, near Mt. Vernon. Although there were no injuries reported, structural damage included cracked sidewalks in Terre Haute, damaged chimneys in Princeton, and broken windows in New Harmony.
In 1986, the movie "Hoosiers" premiered at the Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. One of the most popular sports movies of all time, it is loosely based on the 1954 Milan High School basketball championship.
In 1907, African American activist, playwright, and composer Shirley Graham DuBois was born in Evansville. After receiving degrees from Oberlin College, she taught music and arts at Nashville's Agricultural and Industrial State College. Graham married African American activist W.E.B. DuBois and toured with him, taking over his projects upon his death in 1963. She moved to Cario, Egypt, where she wrote stories and novels, such as The Zulu Heart, until her death in 1977.
In 1916, the Indianapolis News reported that the state had successfully purchased Turkey Run for $40,200. The effort to save the old-growth forest from destruction by a lumber company was spearheaded by columnist Juliet V. Strauss. Turkey Run became Indiana's second state park during Indiana's centennial celebration in 1916 at a time of heightened national interest in conservation. Indiana women's clubs dedicated a statue to her efforts at Turkey Run in 1922.
In 1922, novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born in Indianapolis. The Shortridge High School graduate wrote for the student paper, The Echo and edited Cornell University's student paper, The Sun. Vonnegut served in World War II, where he was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. His traumatic experience as a POW in Dresden served as the inspiration for his acclaimed Slaughterhouse-Five. According to William Rodney Allen, through his novels Vonnegut "mastered his trademark black comic voice, making his audience laugh despite the horrors he described. He had already developed a cult following of college students, but he broke through to a mass audience with Slaughterhouse-Five and the excellent film version of the novel that soon followed. By the early 1970s, Vonnegut was one of the most famous living writers on earth." In the years leading up to his death in 2007, Vonnegut "acted as a powerful spokesman for the preservation of our Constitutional freedoms, for nuclear arms control and for the protection of the earth’s fragile biosphere."
In 1949, WTTV Bloomington began broadcasting as the second television station in Indiana. In the 1960s the station introduced icons of Indiana popular culture with Janie, Cowboy Bob, and Sammy Terry.
In 1880, Harper and Brothers published Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by General Lew Wallace of Crawfordsville. The best-selling novel exceeded Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin in sales and inspired other literary works involving biblical settings.The book was adapted into a popular stage play at English's Theater in Indianapolis in 1902 and an Academy Award-winning film adaption in 1959.
In 1919, at the First Legion convention in Minneapolis, delegates voted to locate American Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, rather than Washington. The organization was created by World War I veterans and, according to legion.org, "has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth."
In 1922, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded at Butler University. The sorority's founders were seven African American women educators who navigated a racially segregated education system in order to attend the predominantly-white campus. According to Khalilah A. Shabazz and Remitha Norman, "Their common mission to promote educational equity for children and support women of color led to an array of philanthropic activities and advocacy in Indiana."
In 1948, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East convicted Japanese officers Seishiro Itagaki and Iwane Matsui of war crimes. Their defense attorney was Floyd J. “Jack” Mattice of Fulton County. Mattice originally volunteered to serve as a prosecutor, but finding too many prosecutors on hand, he offered his legal services for the defense.
In 1850, reformer and legislator Robert Dale Owen pleaded for women’s suffrage rights during the Constitutional Convention organized to draft Indiana's second constitution. As chairman of the Standing Committee on the Rights and Privileges of Inhabitants of the State, Owen introduced a section to secure such rights to Indiana married women. His efforts set the stage for legislative action in 1853.
In 1925, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson was convicted of the murder of Irvington native Madge Oberholtzer and sentenced to life in prison. Within a few years of his conviction, the Klan's popularity and influence in Indiana politics had plummeted.
In 1930, workers finished moving the Indiana Bell Building on Meridian Street in Indianapolis, shifting it ninety degrees. When the Indiana Bell Telephone Company purchased the Central Union Telephone Company Building in 1929, they planned to demolish it. However, in a stroke of innovation, architect Kurt Vonnegut Sr. (father of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.) convinced them to reorient it to make room for expansion.
In 1934, Walkerton native, Dr. Harold Clayton Urey, received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on isotopes, leading to his discovery of deuterium. His work contributed to the development of the atomic bomb and from 1940 to 1945 Urey served as Director of War Research, Atomic Bomb Project at Columbia University. The recipient of numerous awards for scientific achievement died in 1981 and was buried in DeKalb County.
In 1880, the Bowen-Merrill Co. published "Elf Child" by James Whitcomb Riley. The Hoosier poet renamed it "Little Orphant Allie," after the orphaned neighbor taken in by the Riley family. A typesetter misread the title and it became the now famous "Little Orphant Annie," which inspired Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann and the musical Annie.
In 1899, African American bicyclist Marshall "Major" Taylor broke the 1-mile record with a time of 1:19. The Indianapolis native won his first professional race December 1896 and quickly established himself as a world-class cyclist. He won US circuit championships in 1899 and 1900, despite discrimination he encountered as cycling's first African-American champion.
In 1915, the famous Coca-Cola bottle was patented, based on a design by Chapman J. Root, of the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute. The Coca-Cola Company sought a manufacturer to design a "bottle which a person will recognize even when he feels it in the dark." Root's bottle imitated the ridges in a cocoa pod. He made prototypes of the classic bottle out of wood and iron.
In 1995, acclaimed African American playwright Charles Gordone died in Texas. Born in Ohio in 1925, Gordone and his family moved to Elkhart, Indiana, where he graduated from high school in 1944. In the 1950s, he moved to New York City and worked as an actor, director, and playwright. During the 1960s, he worked to ensure more opportunities for African Americans in the entertainment industry. In 1970, Gordone won national acclaim as the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for No Place to Be Somebody, also the first off-Broadway play to win the award. In the 1980s, Gordone advocated integrating minority actors into the casts of classic dramas. In 1987, he joined the Texas A&M University faculty.
In 1807, the US House of Representatives denied a petition from the Indiana Territory to allow slavery.
In 1978, unidentified attackers robbed an Indianapolis Burger Chef -a successful burger chain originating in Indiana. The attackers kidnapped four employees, whose bodies were found two days later. The perpetrators of the "Burger Chef murder" were never identified.
In 1873, wealthy merchant William S. Culbertson opened the Culbertson's Widows' Home to provide food, clothing, and shelter for New Albany's destitute widows. The home had gas lighting, an upstairs restroom, and an up-to-date kitchen. Residents' lives were structured according to strict rules. Culbertson's will provided support for the home after his death in 1892. A Board of Trustees for the home was formed in 1922, turning it into a boardinghouse with a monthly fee in 1947. The home closed in 1971.
In 1967, Indianapolis native Sergeant Sammy L. Davis faced enemy fire and suffered wounds from mortar blasts, while providing cover fire for his gun crew and helping rescue three wounded soldiers. Sergeant Davis later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War.
In 1752, surveyor and militia officer George Rogers Clark was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. After being forced to resign from leadership during the Northwest Indian War, Clark moved to Indiana. In 1779, he captured Fort Sackville at Vincennes, marking the beginning of the end of British influence in America's western frontier. The surrender came after an eighteen day trek by Clark and his men from Kaskaskia (in present-day Illinois).
In 1855, Potawatomi ogimaa (leader) Osheakkebe, also known as Stephen Benack, died in St. Joseph County. Born circa 1780 of Potawatomi and French-Canadian heritage, Benack resisted United States’ taking of lands long inhabited by Indians and sided with Great Britain in War of 1812. He and allied Indian leaders signed an 1815 peace treaty at Spring Wells near Detroit. From 1817 to 1832, Indian leaders traded tribal lands in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin to the US for annuities, reserves, and land rights. By treaty, Benack secured 2000 acres of land including his village, which remained despite US forced removal of Indians from Indiana in the 1830s and 1840s.
In 1863, National League baseball player and influential evangelist Reverend Billy Sunday was born in Story County, Iowa. Sunday left professional baseball to pursue a career in Christian ministry, preaching to large crowds in the Midwest. In 1911, by then a household name, Sunday moved his ministry headquarters to Winona, Indiana. The Sunday family lived at their house here, dubbed "Mount Hood," for many years. Sunday preached in Indianapolis and held revivals in Richmond, Wayne County.
In 1875, James Washington Cockrum, aid to escaping enslaved African Americans, died in Oakland (now Oakland City), Gibson County. The North Carolina native purchased land in Gibson County in 1818. He and Jacob Warrick Hargrove laid out the town of Oakland in 1856. Cockrum and his son William Monroe Cockrum, along with sympathizers in Warrick, Gibson, and Pike counties, aided enslaved blacks seeking freedom.
In 1927, African American passenger Laura Fisher boarded a Greyhound Bus at a station in Richmond and moved to the front after feeling ill. Infuriated bus driver Glen Branoski forcefully ejected Fisher after her refusal to return to the back. Police officers intervened, following Fisher's second ejection. This unlawful attempt to enforce of Jim Crow segregation led to Branoski’s arrest the day following the incident. Fisher took Branoski to court with the purpose of obtaining racial justice and Branoski was found guilty. In announcing the verdict, Richmond police judge Fred Pickett stated that “The Indiana law on racial discrimination is clear. It does not tolerate discrimination.”
In 1824, Clemens Vonnegut, patriarch of the Vonnegut family and founder of Vonnegut Hardware Store in Indianapolis, was born in Münster, Westphalia. His love of community, freethinking, and humanism influenced his great-grandson, Hoosier novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
In 1856, the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregration was founded by fourteen men. The Jewish community in Indianapolis originated with the arrival of British and German immigrants in the mid-1880s. Many Jewish settlers worked in the notions industry, at companies such as Kahn's Tailoring and the William H. Block Company. According to Traces of Indiana, by 1870 approximately 500 Jewish residents lived in Indianapolis.
In 1878, journalist, historian and diplomat Claude Bowers was born in Westfield. He attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and wrote for the Terre Haute Star. Bowers became an influential and nationally-prominent Democratic politician, serving as temporary chairman of the 1928 Democratic National Convention and US Ambassador to Spain and Chile. Bowers worked to keep the US out of the Spanish Civil War through his diplomatic work.
In 1880, Governor James "Blue Jeans" Williams died in 1880 while in office. His political career as a Democrat began as justice of the peace in Knox County and continued with many terms in the Indiana legislature, in both houses between 1843 and 1874. He was elected to Congress in 1874 and to the governorship in 1876, defeating Benjamin Harrison by five thousand votes in the latter race. The extensive railroad strike of 1877 created problems for Williams, who sympathized with the strikers. He was an especially capable legislative leader and was identified with many important state laws.
In 1906, the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis was dedicated. The Art Association of Indianapolis purchased the property in 1901 to create the Institute, which included a school and museum. Herron opened in 1902 and grew quickly, fulfilling the Association’s goal “to cultivate and advance Art.” Herron hosted large exhibitions of Hoosier artist T.C. Steele’s work in 1910 and 1926. The Institute evolved into the Herron School of Art and Design and Indianapolis Museum of Art.
In 1832, Presbyterian ministers and laymen met in Crawfordsville, establishing the Wabash Teachers' Seminary and Manual Labor College, later Wabash College. Trustees resolved "'the institution be at first a classical and English high school, rising into a college as soon as the wants of the country demand.'" Caleb Mills, father of Indiana's public school system, served as the school's first faculty member, working to improve public education in the region.
In 1903, Juliet V. Strauss published her first column for the Indianapolis News under the byline "the County Contributor." Strauss idealized simple rural life and traditional roles for women in a time of national shifts in class and gender relations. Through her columns and influence, Strauss worked to save an old-growth forest, now known as Turkey Run, from destruction by a lumber company.
In 1955, trailblazing Indiana University president William Lowe Bryan died in Bloomington. According to IU's Archives Online, Bryan studied ancient classics, philosophy, and psychology, becoming a leader in the scientific study of children. In 1902, he was appointed the tenth president of the university and during "his tenure the schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry were established, in addition to many graduate programs and several satellite campuses throughout the state."
In 1812, the "Battle of Spurs Defeat" occurred in Tippecanoe County. According to the Indiana State Library, "The force of sixty soldiers, led by Lieutenant Colonels Miller and Willcox, had ridden to the site of the body of a soldier named Dunn to retrieve it for burial, leading to an ambush. It resulted in the deaths of eighteen Kentucky soldiers at the hands of Native Americans. The name of the battle apparently refers to the use of spurs on their horses by remaining soldiers to escape the slaughter."
In 1890, DePauw defeated Wabash in the first football game between the schools. In 1932, the Monon Bell, a traveling trophy, would become associated with the “the oldest football rivalry west of the Alleghenies” in 1932.
In 1899, songwriter and composer Hoagy Carmichael was born in Bloomington. His popular songs include "Stardust," "Heart and Soul," "Georgia on My Mind," "Lazybones," and "Ole Buttermilk Sky," which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946. Carmichael won an Academy Award in 1951 for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from Here Comes the Groom. Considered one of the most important American songwriters of the twentieth century, Carmichael was inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
In 1891, Governor Alvin P. Hovey died in office. The son of impoverished Posey County pioneers, Hovey was orphaned as a teenager and went on to teach himself law. He began his legal career in Indiana by fighting for education reform. After serving in a company in the Mexican War that did not see action, Hovey was elected to the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850 and later as circuit court judge. He was Indiana Supreme Court judge for one year and United States district attorney for two. Hovey had a distinguished military career during the Civil War. After the war, Hovey was appointed United States minister to Peru and was elected to Congress in 1886 and governor in 1888. His administration was notable for the passage of election reform laws.
In 1928, composer and Naval Reserve Band leader in WWI, Lieutenant Commander John Philip Sousa, played at Indianapolis' Cadle Tabernacle. Sousa was known for his patriotic marches, composed in an American military style.
In 1852, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the Decatur Circuit Court's conviction of Luther A. Donnell for aiding fugitive slaves. Donnell had helped Caroline and her four children escape to Canada. The Indiana Supreme Court stated that the section of the Indiana statute on which Donnell was indicted was unconstitutional based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Prigg v. Pennsylvania. Prigg, a pro-slavery decision, was used in this case and elsewhere to benefit the anti-slavery cause.
In 1889, veterans arrived in Marion to help construct the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS). At the end of the Civil War, the US undertook care of disabled Union veterans in a system of homes known as the NHDVS. Members had access to health care, training, work, and recreation. In 1920, the Marion branch was converted into a neuropsychiatric hospital for World War I veterans. As part of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, the facility continues to care for veterans.
In 1938, member of the famed African American Crispus Attucks state winning high school basketball team and future basketball hall of famer Oscar Robertson was born in Indianapolis. He led the University of Cincinnati to the NCAA Final Four in 1959 and 1960 and went on to play for the US Olympic Team. Robertson played professionally with the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks, where he helped the team win the 1971 NBA Championship.
In 1863, Elkhart's Ruel M. Johnson, Major in the 100th Indiana Infantry, risked his life to enemy fire while in command of the regiment. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on August 24, 1896.
In 1902, the wildly popular theatre production of Lew Wallace's "Ben-Hur" opened in Indianapolis at the English Theatre. Although English’s stage was new, crews needed to rebuild it in order to accommodate the chariot race. Producing that scene called for eight live horses running at full gallop on treadmills, cycloramic scenery and, other apparatus. Sales figures for the show broke all Indianapolis box office records.
In 1915, Olympian and sports legend Jim Thorpe suited up with the Pine Village football team in Warren County. The Villagers faced the Purdue All-Stars at the Thanksgiving Day game, beating their rivals 29 to 0. The Pine Village team helped found the Indiana Football League in 1917.
In 1842, French priest Reverend Edward Sorin and members of the Congregation of Holy Cross established the University of Notre Dame. The Bishop of Vincennes had given them more than 500 acres with which they established the school, initially naming it the “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac” (The University of Our Lady of the Lake). According to the university's website, at first the thriving school "encompassed religious novitiates, preparatory and grade schools and a manual labor school, but its classical collegiate curriculum never attracted more than a dozen students a year in the early decades."
In 1878 Marshall W. “Major” Taylor, the first African-American world cycling champion, was born in Indianapolis. He unofficially broke two world track records while racing in the city. Taylor won US circuit championships in 1899 and 1900, despite discrimination he encountered as cycling's first African-American champion.
In 1982, unidentified arsonists firebombed The Seahorse, an LGBTQ club established in South Bend in 1971 by activist Gloria Frankel. According to code, the bar would be shut down if it could not get back to standards within ten days. Members of the community rallied to repair and clean it, shocking officials by getting the club back to code and reopening within the allotted time. They celebrated by hosting their annual anniversary party.
In 1848, Jefferson County's Eleutherian Institute held its first session. Thomas Craven and anti-slavery advocates in the area created and supported the institution for education of students of all races and genders. Eleutherian provided one of earliest educational opportunities for women and African-Americans before the Civil War. The Institute developed into Eleutherian College in 1854.
In 1909, Governor Harold Handley was born in La Porte. He graduated from Indiana University and helped his father with the management of a furniture company in La Porte. Handley's political career in the state senate (1940-1941) was interrupted by his army service during World War II. Upon his return he was elected to the state senate in 1948 and lieutenant governor in 1952. Handley ran for governor and lost in 1952 but was elected governor in 1956. Handley raised some controversy when he ran for the United States Senate in 1958 midway in his term of office. He lost the Senate race to Democrat Vance Hartke and returned to the State House to complete his term. Handley was accessible to both the press and the public, establishing an unusual rapport with the citizens.
In 1803, the Lewis and Clark expedition party landed near Kaskaskia, Indiana Territory. That same day, Lewis left Clark in charge of the boat. He left December 5 on horseback for St. Louis to meet with the Spanish commandant.
In 1840, a treaty was signed by the Miami Indians, ceding all Indiana tribal lands to the US. According to teachmyaamiahistory.org, "The Miami were given $550,000 and agreed to move within five years to a 500,000 acre reservation in Kansas. Jean Baptiste Richardville received $25,000 and Francois Godfroy and his family received $15,000. The United States would pay the expenses of the removal and provide them with rations and supplies for a year. Some Miami families petitioned to stay in Indiana. In 1846 the Miami were removed by canal boat to lands in Kansas."
In 1882, suffragist and lawyer Helen M. Gougar filed suit against Lafayette Police Chief Harry Mandler for slander, who had sought to damage her reputation -- and thus discredit her advocacy of suffrage and temperance causes. Mandler, an influential Lafayette Democrat, alleged that Gougar was having a romantic affair with Captain De Witt Wallace, who was running as a Republican for the Indiana Senate and who was a well-known supporter of temperance and women’s suffrage (policies contrary to the views of the local Democratic Party). Gougar successfully sued Mandler, charging that his slanderous attack was intended to discredit Wallace as a political opponent and her as a leading suffrage and temperance advocate.
In 1954, the Indianapolis Times reported that the Indiana Association of Mental Health honored the paper with the first Indiana Mental Health Bell Award for "'outstanding service' in encouraging mental health reforms." In the early 1950s, the Times published articles advocating for better care of the mentally ill. In a January 1953 piece, the paper commented on the poor conditions of Indiana's mental hospitals, describing problems with overcrowding and hospital mismanagement. In a November 1954 article, it wrote that "mental illness is a sickness that should carry no stigma of shame" and that "the state - representing society - takes on as an obligation to the patients, their relatives and also to the public the job of caring for the mentally ill."
In 1806, Vincennes University was established when the Indiana Territory legislature chartered the school in the territory's capitol. Although it initially struggled to attract students due to transportation and funding struggles, Vincennes University eventually flourished and "From 1806, the school’s board had kept alive the ideal that higher education would be available not only along the settled eastern coast but on the western frontier of the growing United States."
In 1975, Indiana University men's basketball team opened the season by defeating second ranked UCLA 84-64. This win was the first of a 32-0 season which ended with them winning their third NCAA title and coach Bobby Knight's first title.
In 1863, the US War Department authorized Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton to raise one regiment of infantry composed of black men. This became Indiana's only African-American Civil War regiment, which served as part of the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops.
In 1873, columnist and political analyst Frederic William Wile was born in La Porte. The Notre Dame graduate worked as a reporter for the Chicago Record, a correspondent in Berlin for several newspapers, such as the New York Times, and served as an analyst for NBC and CBS. From 1917 to 1918, Wile was a German affairs specialist at the Headquarters of the Intelligence Section, American Expeditionary Force.
In 1854, William Temple Hornaday, who is widely credited with saving the American bison, was born near Avon. Hornaday became chief taxidermist at the US National Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution) and established the National Zoo.
In 1857, Governor Samuel Ralston was born in Ohio. Ralston moved to Owen County, Indiana in 1865, where his family farmed. Later he read law in Spencer, was admitted to the bar in 1886, and settled in Lebanon. In 1912, he was the Democratic nominee for governor and was elected. Among many progressive measures enacted under his leadership, the state park system was initiated and a public service commission was created to regulate utilities. In 1924, the Democratic presidential nomination was virtually Ralston's for the accepting after a long, complex battle in the convention, but Ralston stunned the convention by withdrawing his name. His reason, though unexplained at the time, was his precarious health.
In 1886, detective writer Rex Stout was born in Noblesville to Quaker parents. After serving in the Navy at the turn of the 20th century, he began writing for pulp fiction publications and moved to Paris, where he wrote novels. Stout returned to the US and penned his Nero Wolfe series. During WWII he campaigned against Nazism via the War Writers Board. He also established Vanguard Press, advocated for copyright laws, and was active in the ACLU.
In 1942, the US Army activated Seymour Army Airfield, renamed Freeman Field. This became the site of an uprising, when in 1945 white officers refused to admit African Americans to the officers' club. After forcibly entering the white officers’ club, dozens of black personnel were arrested. The Freeman Field uprising resulted in the War Department revising regulations on segregation and ended segregated officers’ clubs. It has been described as a “bellwether for integration of the U.S. military.”
In 1901, the Chicago & Indiana Air Line Railway, progenitor of the Dune's South Shore Line, was incorporated. According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, "The incorporation of Gary and the construction of the world's largest steel mill, in 1906, by the United States Steel Corporation spurred expansion of the Lake Shore Line eastward to South Bend." The South Shore Line was America's last electric interurban railway.
In 1915, Bloomington residents petitioned to change the name of Benjamin Banneker School to the Booker T. Washington School, citing Washington's greater notoriety, his stance on vocational training, his recent death, and his reputation as "the greatest negro of America." Since 1874, African American students had attended the "Colored School," which was integrated under Indiana law in 1949, despite some protest.
In 1832, James H. Cravens of Versailles, Ripley County, began his term with the Indiana House of Representatives. 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 1833, Caleb Mills, the first faculty member of Wabash Teachers' Seminary and Manual Labor College (now Wabash College), rang a bronze bell with a wooden handle. This was the start of a tradition that persists even today. Every August, the bell rings in the freshman class and every May, the bell rings out the graduating seniors.
In 1863, general orders were issued by Indiana's adjutant general to begin accepting enlistments for one regiment of infantry composed of colored men. This Civil War regiment was known as the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops. Recruits trained at Camp Fremont, established on Indianapolis land owned by Calvin Fletcher. The 28th Regiment served valiantly in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia on July 30, 1864, when nearly half of the men were killed or wounded. The 28th returned to Indianapolis in 1866 to a reception.
In 1837, Henry Lane served as a Whig in the Indiana House of Representatives. This was the beginning of his political career, in which he served in the US Congress. By 1854, Lane helped unite diverse Indiana political groups into the People's Party to oppose Democratic administration, especially the extension of slavery into US territories. The People's Party joined Republican Party. Lane was elected governor in 1860, serving two days before the Indiana General Assembly elected him to US Senate. He helped secure the presidential nomination of Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention.
In 1914, automobile entrepreneur and co-founder of the Indianapolis Speedway Carl Fisher wrote to Governor Samuel Ralston, proposing an interstate that would extend from Chicago to Miami. Fisher was a proponent of the Good Roads Movement to expand and improve the nation's road networks. He advocated construction of U.S. transcontinental roads including east-west Lincoln Highway (1912) and north-south Dixie Highway (1914). Such roads enabled long-distance travel by automobile.
In 1780, a battle of the American Revolution was fought at the Indiana Dunes. British forces and Potawatomi allies defeated American forces at Petit Fort in the dunes near the current State Park Pavilion.
In 1850, 250 workers arrived at the Cannelton Cotton Mill from New England. With the textile mill, founder Hamilton Smith hoped to make a profit and "'also had dreams of founding a model industrial community on the frontier.'" Due to his lobbying, in 1848 the Indiana legislature chartered eight factories in Cannelton, including five cotton mills, a glass company, a paper mill, and a foundry. When the first wave of workers arrived in December 1850, they experienced a housing shortage, an ongoing problem for workers who'd been promised an idyllic community in the model of Lowell, MA.
In 1933, Prohibition was repealed. On the same day, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., began production of whiskey in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. At its height, the company employed more than 2,500 workers in the Hoosier state, many of which worked at a separate bottling plant.
In 1837, David Wallace, father of author Lew Wallace, began his term as governor of Indiana. Born in Pennsylvania, he eventually moved to Brookville, Indiana, where he studied law. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia. Wallace served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1828 to 1831, when he was elected lieutenant governor on the Whig ticket with Noah Noble. He defeated John Dumont, also a Whig, in the 1837 election for governor. Wallace's administration was plagued with economic disaster as a result of the collapse of the internal improvements program. He was elected to Congress in 1841 but was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1843.
In 1924, best-selling author Gene Stratton-Porter died in an automobile accident. With her work, she hoped to inspire an appreciation of nature in readers and wrote for magazines such as Outing and Ladies’ Home Journal. Ten million copies of her books were sold by 1924, including internationally popular Freckles (1904) and Girl of the Limberlost (1909). She secured financial independence through her writing at a time before many women had professional careers. In California, she pursued production of movies based on her novels and organized her own movie production company by 1924.
In 1971, Ryan White was born in Kokomo. He was born with hemophilia A, requiring injections to promote clotting. Ryan received a contaminated injection and contracted HIV sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He was discriminated against due to his disease and barred from attending school because administrators feared the spread of HIV through casual contact. Ryan was permitted to return to classes after winning a lengthy court case. Even then, he and his family were targets of abuse until the Whites moved to Cicero and Ryan enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. There, the principal welcomed him and encouraged accurate and informative discussions about HIV/AIDS.
In 1831, Noah Noble began his term as governor. Born in Virginia, Noble moved to Brookville, Indiana where he experienced success with land speculation and operating wool carding machines. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia, in 1817 and a colonel in 1820. Noble was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1824 and was elected to the governorship in 1831. It was during Noble's administration that a state bank was created and an internal improvements program was begun.
In 1846, Caleb Mills authored the first of his anonymous letters to the Indiana General Assembly calling for the establishment of a public school system. He cited that only 1 in 7 Hoosier adults could read. He also wrote that only 37% of Indiana children attended school, and of those most attended only a few weeks a year. Mills would author six anonymous addresses to the General Assembly between 1846 and 1851, each spurring the body to take action for public education.
In 1868, abolitionist and US Representative George Washington Julian proposed a constitutional amendment to Congress. The amendment proposed that “the right of suffrage in the United States shall be based on citizenship, and shall be regulated by Congress… all citizens of the United States whether native or naturalized shall enjoy this right equally, without any distinction or discrimination whatever founded on race, color or sex.” After the resolution was voted down, Julian attempted to make further inroads for women’s suffrage by presenting more targeted bills. A political leader defined by his moral convictions, he advocated for equal rights and land reform, and served as an attorney for notable fugitive slave cases.
In 1912, widely-read poet Gertrude Louise Garrigus was born in Evansville. She moved to Greenwich Village, New York City in 1940 and her poetry was soon published in the Partisan Review and The Kenyon Review. Her book Country without Maps, published in 1963, was a National Book Award finalist. Despite being imitated and celebrated by her contemporaries, her work disappeared from critical review after her death, perhaps because her poems did not adhere to a particular movement. Garrigus' poetry has been described as "Mozartean," "romantic," and "strange."
In 1866, author Meredith Nicholson was born in Crawfordsville. His family moved to Indianapolis five years later. Nicholson worked as a journalist for the Indianapolis News and penned several books, plays, and essays in the capital city. He is best known for The House of a Thousand Candles, a novel, and The Hoosiers, a collection of essays. Eventually Nicholson pursued a political career as a Democrat, serving as FDR's US Ambassador to Paraguay, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
In 1967, a helicopter carrying Santa Claus and his helper crashed at the North Park Shopping Center in Evansville. Over 1,000 onlookers witnessed the accident, as the helicopter got tangled in powerlines. Pilot William B. Dorr and William C. Bretz, who played Santa, died in the crash.
In 1802, William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition (and brother of George Rogers Clark), filed a document that released Ben McGee from enslavement. The following day, Clark turned McGee's enslavement into an indenture of thirty years servitude. The practice of emancipating enslaved persons who had been brought into Indiana Territory, and then forcing them to enter into long-term indentures was commonly practiced to circumvent territorial laws prohibiting slavery. Indentured servitude remained common practice until the Indiana Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1821.
In 1864, a military commission convicted civilian Lambdin P. Milligan of treason and conspiracy. The Huntington lawyer and ardent Democrat was sentenced to be hanged for his attempts to stymie Union war efforts. He had joined a secret order called the Sons of Liberty, which aided draft dodgers and supported armed uprising. After the war, Milligan and his co-conspirators petitioned for a writ of habeas. The US Supreme Court ruled that civilians shall not be tried by military tribunals when civil courts are open. Ultimately, Milligan's sentence was commuted in 1866 and he returned to Huntington to practice law.
In 1816, President James Madison signed an Act of Congress admitting Indiana to the Union as the 19th state. Indiana was the second state, after Ohio, to be created out of what was the Northwest Territory.
In 1880, prolific cartoonist Gaar Williams was born. In 1909, the Indianapolis News hired the Earlham College graduate to create illustrations for the front page. Here, he worked alongside "Abe Martin" artist Kin Hubbard. Williams left the News to work for the Chicago Tribune in 1921, returning to Indiana often until his death in 1935.
In 1891, B-film cowboy star Buck Jones was born in Knox County. Born Charles Frederick Gebhart, the actor became popular in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s for his daring stunts. Prior to his film career, he served in the US Army and performed in the Miller 101 Wild West Show, touring with the Ringling Bros. Circus. He and his horse Silver starred in several best-selling westerns, many with Columbia Pictures. Jones died in 1942 in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire that took the lives over nearly 500 people.
In 1946, Indiana University zoology professor Hermann J. Mueller received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of mutations caused by X-rays. He later advised DNA co-discoverer James Watson’s graduate work at IU.
In 1953, "First Lady of the World" Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the Murat Theater as part of the Senate Avenue YMCA Monster Meeting series. The Indianapolis Recorder noted that the "peerless champion of human and minority civil rights" would be speaking about the United Nations and joined by prominent local African American figures, such as Dr. Harvey Middleton and State Senator Robert L. Brokenburr.
In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a crowd of 4,000 at Indianapolis' Cadle Tabernacle. Originally scheduled for the Senate Avenue YMCA's Monster Meeting, the event was moved to the tabernacle to accomodate the large crowd. In King's speech, entitled “Remaining Awake through a Revolution,” he asserted that segregation was “nothing but slavery covered up by certain niceties and complexities. We know that if democracy is to live, segregation must die.”
In 1799, the Northwest Territory General Assembly concluded its first session, passing the 1799 Road Law. This law required men between 21 and 50 years of age to work two days per year on public roads.
In 1816, the year of Indiana's statehood, the Indiana General Assembly approved an Act providing for a "Public Seal and Press." It was not until 1963 that the State of Indiana officially adopted the seal, which depicted a fleeing buffalo and a woodsman chopping down a tree. Debate regarding the placement of the sun-namely its rising or setting-has endured since the early 19th century.
In 1977, a plane crash killed all members of the Evansville University men's basketball team, along with coaches, fans, and administrative staff. The plane crashed shortly after take off en route to a game at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A makeshift morgue was established at a local community center.
In 1938, oil was struck in Griffin, Posey County at Fitzpatrick and Hayes #1 Cooper well. A gusher, it produced an estimated 1,000 barrels a day and began an oil boom in Griffin and the surrounding area. Oil brought economic and social change to Griffin and adjacent areas. Oilmen and their families moved in, businesses flourished, and land was leased to oil companies.
In 1871, the first edition of Edward Eggleston’s The Hoosier School-Master was published. The classic novel began as a serial publication on September 30th of that year in the periodical Hearth and Home, a New York City weekly that Eggleston became editor of. The Hoosier School-Master was lauded by early 20th-century critics for its depiction of rural American life, written with a Hoosier sentimentality.
In 1916, the earliest yet known radio transmission of an Indiana high school basketball game was made by a Jefferson High School physics teacher. While players for Jefferson and Lebanon High School duked it out, the teacher transmitted updates about the game via wireless radio to a Lebanon resident, Rayard Shumate. Shumate then telephoned businesses in Lebanon to convey the "first hand dope" to local fans. The Lebanon squad went on to defeat Jeff, 21-13, and would later succeed Jeff by winning the 1917 state championship the following March.
In 1811, the New Madrid earthquake swept through a seismic zone that included Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Samuel Swan McClelland, a Shaker in Busro, Knox County wrote, “On the 16th of December, the whole nation was suddenly awakened at 2 o'clock in the morning by the shaking of the earth."
In 1778, American commander Captain Leonard Helm surrendered Fort Sackville in Vincennes to the British. He was easily overtaken by British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton, who had assembled a troop of British, French, and Native Americans. In February of 1779, George Rogers Clark led his men across Illinois to retake the Indiana fort during the Battle of Fort Sackville.
In 1904, fictional Brown County wise-cracker Abe Martin made his first appearance in the Indianapolis News. The brainchild of cartoonist Kin Hubbard, Abe appeared in the News from 1905 to 1930. The cartoons were syndicated and brought national attention to Brown County, Indiana.
In 1812, US Senator Jesse Bright was born in Chenango County, New York. He and his family settled in Madison, Jefferson County. Bright became a leading Democratic figure in Indiana, in favor of state-rights and slavery. Bright served as a state and US senator, as well as lieutenant governor and in 1854 became president pro tem of the Senate. In 1862, he was expelled from the US Senate for writing a letter in 1861 to President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, in which he offered “a great improvement in fire-arms.”
In 1896, the Central State Hospital pathological laboratory was dedicated. The Indiana Medical Journal noted that the lab “marks a most significant step in the advancement and the improvement of the humanitarian work." The facility provided medical staff with courses in histology, clinical chemistry, pathology, and bacteriology and was opened to medical students, allowing them to observe autopsies and attend lectures in the amphitheater. Pathological findings were published in reports and “presented to the local medical society, and distributed to colleges and universities throughout Indiana. Such data provided a picture of sociological factors in disease, thus opening possibilities for understanding causes.”
In 1958, the star-studded film "Some Came Running" premiered. Vincente Minnelli directed and shot the MGM movie in Madison. Actors Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine reportedly found the Hoosier town lacking, while midwesterner Dean Martin was rather content in Madison. Many of the town's structures were converted to accommodate filming, such as a former hatchery that was used as headquarters and Madison High School, which served as a commissary.
In 1894, pioneering baseball executive Ford Frick was born in Wawaka, Noble County. Frick covered the New York Yankees as a sportswriter before becoming president of the National League and commissioner of Major League Baseball. He spearheaded the effort to establish the Baseball Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted in 1970. Frick is remembered for his leadership, particularly when in 1947 he threatened to ban St. Louis Cardinals players who wanted to sit out games due to Jackie Robinson's debut.
In 1917, African American architect Samuel Plato experienced Jim Crow discrimination when a white Fort Wayne restaurant proprietor refused to serve Plato and another African American customer, William L. Evans, because they were black. Plato and Evans sued the restaurant owner for discrimination.
In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly established the Indiana State Normal School, renamed Indiana State University in 1965. The Terre Haute school's objective was to train teachers for Indiana's common schools, free of charge. The university now offers more than 100 programs related to subjects such as technology and health care.
In 1898, Congress approved “An Act Granting a pension to Lucy Nichols,” an escaping slave who served as a nurse with the 23rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War. Lucy came to New Albany, Indiana with the returning veterans of 23rd Regiment and applied for pension after Congress passed an 1892 act for Civil War nurses. She was denied because the War Department claimed to have no record of her work. In 1895, Lucy and fifty-five veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress and she received her first check in 1899.
In 1907, explosions at the Prest-O-Lite plant in Indianapolis injured and killed employees and ruined equipment. The fire spread rapidly due to gas manufactured at the plant used to light automobiles. Co-founder and president of the Indianapolis Speedway, Carl Fisher, co-founded the company in 1904. Prest-O-Lite Co. developed acetylene gas vehicle headlights distributed nationwide. The explosions generated some negative press, and many questioned the safety of maintaining a volatile gas plant in such a densely populated area. However, Prest-O-Lite plants remained in Indianapolis and profits continued to soar. In 1912, the company built a factory on the outskirts of town near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1963, Studebaker Corp. closed its South Bend automotive manufacturing plant, causing 6,000 workers to lose their jobs. Production transferred to Ontario, although the Canadian plant closed in 1966. The company, founded in 1852 to produce wagons, became one of South Bend's largest manufacturers and employers with the production of its classic, art deco automobile.
In 1898, actress Irene Dunne was born in Kentucky. Her family moved to Madison, Indiana and she graduated from Madison High School in 1916. After voice training in Indianapolis and Chicago, she began singing professionally. In 1929, Dunne won the lead in a road show of Florenz Ziegfeld's Show Boat. She began her Hollywood career the following year, eventually appearing in forty-three films and nominated for five Academy Awards. President Dwight Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to United Nations General Assembly in 1957.
In 1905, Hoosier author George Ade spoke at the inaugural dinner for the Indiana Society of Chicago, an organization intended to celebrate Indiana's history and culture. Initially the society was literary in nature, but eventually public, business, and political figures attended. In his address, Ade noted "I found Chicago surcharged with Hoosier exiles-men who were here not because they wanted to leave Indiana, but because the population up here could be worked more easily than the bright native article down home."
In 1905, "Father of the Beat Movement" Kenneth Rexroth was born in South Bend. Orphaned at 14, Rexroth moved to Chicago to live with his aunt and later moved to San Francisco. His WWII poetry reflected his pacifist stance and he helped Japanese-Americans escape West Coast internment camps. He laid the foundation for the San Francisco Renaissance, organizing weekly salons attended by such beat poets as Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. He organized the 1955 reading at which Ginsberg introduced “Howl.” While Rexroth did not consider himself a Beat poet, his anti-establishment, unsentimental, erotically-charged work gave way to the politically-conscious poetry of beatniks.
In 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO) opened a canteen for servicemen at Union Station in Indianapolis. The USO was tasked with meeting the recreational needs of on-leave military members and was comprised of the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Travelers Aid Association and the Salvation Army. Many of these USO's prohibited African Americans personnel from utilizing their facilities.
In 1867, African American businesness woman and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in Delta, Louisiana. In 1910, she moved to Indianapolis and by 1911 she established a laboratory and manufacturing company for products developed for black clientele. With the company’s national expansion, Walker became one of the wealthiest businesswomen of the era. She enabled African Americans to make a living as sales agents and beauty culturists when they were often relegated to manual and domestic jobs.
In 1944, Sgt. John H. Parks of Mill Creek, LaPorte County died in combat during the Battle of the Bulge. On New Year's Day, 1945, he was voted "Our Man of the Year" by fellow GI's because he represented the self-sacrificing, war-weary soldier of World War II. Stars and Stripes published his photo without identifiers, so as to represent all GI Joes fighting in the war.
In 1944, U.S. Army Private First Class Melvin E. Biddle, from Anderson via Daleville, demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action” during a 20-hour operation to relieve enemy-encircled American personnel during the Battle of the Bulge. For his actions, including single-handedly eliminating several German machine gun nests, Biddle received the Medal of Honor.
In 1914, naturalist, writer, conservationist, and co-founder of the Sierra Club John Muir died. Born in Scotland in 1838, he came to Indianapolis in 1866 and worked at a carriage materials factory. Following a severe eye injury, Muir left Indianapolis September 1867 to begin extensive travels. His deep friendship with Catharine Merrill and others, however, resulted in a lifelong connection with Indianapolis. Muir is remembered as a champion of protecting our natural heritage.
In 1968, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, commanded by Gary native Frank Borman. According to NASA, Borman served in the Air Force and "is well remembered as a part of this nation's history, a pioneer in the exploration of space" and for his work with "the Gemini 7, 1965 Space Orbital Rendezvous with Gemini 6." He was inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 1799, Christmas (Noel) Dagenet was born near Terre Haute to Ambrose Dagenet, a Canadian French fur trader, and Mechinquamesha, sister of Wea chief Jacco. He became fluent in English, French, and several languages spoken by Native Americans living near the Wabash River. His language skills enabled him to serve the Wea nation and the U.S. government as an interpreter in 1818, at the signing of the Treaty of St. Mary’s. William Clark later nominated him to be an official interpreter for the U.S. government at Fort Harrison, a position he held from 1824-1827.
In 1830, poet and travel writer Susan Wallace was born in Crawfordsville. Susan married Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur and Civil War adjutant general. Harper & Brothers published Susan’s first poem, “The Patter of Little Feet,” in February 1858. Before the Civil War, Susan’s poetry was often sentimental, reflecting upon children, women, flowers, and lives cut short. During and after the war, her writings took a more mature and incisive tone as she continued to write about women and their situation in life.
In 1834, the first African American to serve in the Indiana State House James Sidney Hinton was born in North Carolina. Hinton pursued his education at schools in Terre Haute and Ohio before making his living as a teacher and barber. He settled in Indianapolis and became known as a forceful advocate for civil rights and stirring public speaker. Hinton urged African Americans to take their place as citizens and during the Civil War recruited black men to serve in the United States Colored Troops.
In 1883, Central State Hospital Superintendent William Fletcher burned patient restraints in a bonfire as part of his initiative for moral reform. The hospital’s annual report asserted that “moral force methods are stronger than physical restraints in aiding the mind to recover its balance.” In addition to abolishing restraints, moral therapy included reducing the use of “medical agents,” like stimulants and tonics.
In 1848, Paris Chipman Dunning began his term as governor. He was born in North Carolina and moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1823, where he studied law with his gubernatorial predecessor, James Whitcomb. Dunning was the only person in Indiana history who held all the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, president pro tempore of the state senate, and state representative.
In 1815, Dr. Benjamin Adams purchased Wyandotte Cave in Crawford County for the purpose of epsomite mining. Adams called it his "Epsom Salts Cave" and contended that "The quality of the salt in the cave is inferior to none and when it takes its proper stand in regular and domestic practice must be of national utility." According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wyandotte was likely inhabited during the prehistoric era and used by Native Americans.
In 1981, influential songwriter Hoagy Carmichael died in California. He was buried in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was born and raised. Carmichael graduated from Indiana University with a law degree in 1926. After attempting a law career, he returned to music. He composed "Stardust," "Heart and Soul," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Ole Buttermilk Sky," which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946. Carmichael won an Academy Award in 1951 for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from Here Comes the Groom. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.