"On this day" happenings in Indiana History
In 1833, the Indianapolis Journal published John Finley's poem "The Hoosier's Nest," one of the first printed references of the word "Hoosier." According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Finley heard the term in 1820 when he traveled from Virginia to Indiana. He likely drafted his famous poem in 1830, describing the massive "flock" of people "to this rising 'Hoosher' nation." "The Hoosier's Nest" was widely circulated and earned Finley the title of "poet-laureate of Hoosierland."
In 1925, Knute Rockne coached the University of Notre Dame football team to a 27-10 win over Pop Warner’s Stanford University squad in the Rose Bowl. The team finished the season undefeated and earned Notre Dame its first football national championship title.
In 1940, entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher began work at Princeton Farms in Gibson County, where he first started working with popcorn. In his youth, the Brazil, Indiana native began growing corn and selling popcorn, participated in 4-H clubs, and studied vocational agriculture in high school. Redenbacher earned a degree in agriculture at Purdue University and served as a Farm Bureau extension agent. By 1965, Redenbacher and business partner Charlie Bowman had engineered a hybrid popcorn that was fluffier and lighter than previous varieties, making Redenbacher a brand name.
In 1857, Julia L. Dumont, one of Indiana's earliest writers, died in Vevay. She was widely-lauded as a teacher and author, praised by student and The Hoosier School-Master author Edward Eggleston, who noted that "in the time, before railways, when the west, [was] shut in by the Alleghanies . . . Mrs. Dumont occupied no mean place as a writer of poetry and prose tales. Eminent literateurs of the time from Philadelphia and Cincinnati used to come to Vevay, and see her."
In 1884, influential classical archaeologist and art scholar Dr. Mary Hamilton Swindler was born in Bloomington. Swindler earned an MA from Indiana University in 1906 and her Ph.D. in 1912 from Bryn Mawr with her dissertation Cretan Elements in Cults and Rituals of Apollo. Dr. Swindler taught archaeology at Bryn Mawr from 1912 to 1949, cultivating a new generation of scholars and transforming the college into a "distinguished archaeological center." According to the school, Swindler published her seminal work Ancient Painting: From the Earliest Times to the Period of Christian Art in 1929 and became the first woman appointed editor of the American Journal of Archaeology in 1932.
In 1825, Welsh industrialist Robert Owen purchased Harmony, Posey County from Father George Rapp and the Harmony Society. The social reformer renamed the town New Harmony and worked to create a utopian society based on the ideals of humanism, equality, and scientific study. With the help of scientist William Maclure, who brought a group of eminent thinkers and scientists from Philadelphia to the Indiana community, New Harmony established one of the first free schools for both boys and girls, as well as a library accessible to all members of society. Ultimately, the experiment devolved within two years, but left a legacy of education and scientific thought in New Harmony.
In 1941, Purdue University coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert captured his 200th Big Ten victory with a 64-19 win over Chicago in West Lafayette. He directed the Boilermakers to 11 Big Ten titles and a Helms Foundation national championship, while compiling a 371-152 mark in his 28 seasons at Purdue. Only former Indiana University head coach Bobby Knight (353 wins) and Purdue's Gene Keady (255) have since reached the 200-victory plateau in Big Ten play.
In 1869, author and humorist Mark Twain visited Indianapolis to perform a reading of his "The American Vandal Abroad." According to the Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, attendees could procure their tickets at Bonham's Music Store for the lecture held at Metropolitan Hall. Twain returned to Indianapolis in 1872, reading his Roughing It at the YMCA's Association Hall.
In 1865, Hannah Toliver was pardoned for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky in 1864. A free black woman living in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Toliver was arrested because the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) did not free slaves in Kentucky. Toliver was one of at least forty-four men and women, and one of nineteen "free persons of color," sentenced to the Kentucky Penitentiary for aiding fugitive slaves between 1844 and 1864. P. B. Muir, the judge who sentenced Toliver to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary also requested that Governor Thomas Bramlette pardon her.
In 1911, black male students founded Kappa Alpha Nu (changed to Kappa Alpha Psi in 1915) at Indiana University after being excluded from social events. Kappa Alpha Nu was one of the earliest black national social fraternities established in the US. The organization strove to expand to other schools and help members attain high "intellectual, moral and social worth." The chapter's 21st century mission is to promote "Purpose and Achievement from Cradle to Career."
In 1948, best-selling novel Raintree County was published, written by Bloomington native Ross Lockridge Jr. The book, described by some critics as the Great American Novel, takes place in 1892 in a fictionalized Indiana town. Over the course of one day its protagonist, John Shawnessy, recalls forty years of his life, including his Hoosier youth, Civil War battles, and Gilded Age politics. The book won MGM's best new literary work award of $150,000 and the movie studio produced a film adaption in 1957, featuring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eva Marie Saint.
In 1948, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was published, researched and written by Indiana University zoology professor Dr. Alfred Kinsey. In a New York Times review written one day prior to publication, Howard A. Rusk described the book as "by far the most comprehensive study yet made of sex behavior." For the book, Dr. Kinsey conducted more than 12,000 interviews over the period of eight years in a scientific examination of male sexual activities and attitudes. Rust noted that "These facts are presented with scientific objectivity, and without moralizing--but they provide the knowledge with which we can rebuild our concepts with tolerance and understanding."
In 1821, the Indiana General Assembly approved an Act that named the soon-to-be new state capital "Indianapolis," appointed commissioners to plat the area, and authorized land sales. The Act also specified that money received from the sale of lots would be used to erect public buildings, such as the governor's mansion on the circle, the first state house, and the first state prison (located in Jeffersonville).
In 1829, the Indiana General Assembly approved an "Act to Incorporate Hanover Academy," founded two years earlier in a log cabin with six students by the Madison Presbytery. The 1829 Act provided for expansion and a preamble to the Act noted that "a number of citizens of Jefferson County, residing in the vicinity of Hanover in said county, have, by the aid of private contributions, established an Academy at Hanover, by means of which a liberal education may be acquired by the youth of that vicinity . . . an act to incorporate the said Academy would greatly promote the landable object of the citizens aforesaid." The Academy would evolve into Hanover College by 1833.
In 1887, the Indiana General Assembly held its first session in the new statehouse. The original capitol building at the site was razed in 1878 to make way for the new statehouse. Construction would not be completed until September 1888, but at the time of the first session the chambers, corridors, atriums, and rotunda were completed. The building's architecture reflected a Renaissance Revival style with Neo-Greco style details.
In 1951, the Indianapolis Olympians defeated the Rochester Royals after six overtimes in the longest game in NBA history. Reportedly, free throws outnumbered baskets and the game helped lead to the creation of the twenty-four-second shot clock.
In 1965, US Senator Birch Bayh introduced Senate Joint Resolution 1 thirteen months after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Resolution became the basis for the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, regarding issues related to presidential succession. The Amendment, ratified by the states in 1967, was tested in 1973 when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid tax evasion allegations. In adherence with the Amendment, Congress approved President Nixon's appointment of Congressman Gerald R. Ford to the vice presidency.
In 1914, the Indianapolis News announced the appointment of Muncie's first policewoman, Alfaretta Hart. The wealthy reformer worked to expose the abuse of women and called for wholesale reform of Indiana's criminal justice system. Hart, who faced backlash for her efforts, devoted her salary to downtrodden and impoverished women before resigning at the end of the year due to "health reasons."
In 1927, inventor Philo T. Farnsworth applied for his first television patent. He conceived of the idea for electronic television at the age of fourteen and brought his conception to fruition in 1927 with his first electronic transmission. In 1939, he established the Farnsworth Television and Radio Company in Fort Wayne, eventually operating seven television and radio manufacturing plants in Indiana. Farnsworth also established a laboratory in Fort Wayne, where he reportedly achieved self-sustaining fusion.
In 1970, Chuckwagon Theater debuted on WTTV and introduced children to Cowboy Bob, played by actor Bob Glaze. The Indianapolis Star noted that "Glaze became a charismatic, guitar-playing cowboy who educated children about fire safety and animals. The show served as an introduction for syndicated cartoons." The 30 minute show, later called Cowboy Bob’s Corral, would run for nearly twenty years.
In 1862, US Representative from Indiana Thomas A. Hendricks lambasted the Lincoln administration in a major speech in Indianapolis. He delivered the speech during the state Democratic Party convention, which condemned Republicans for rejecting compromises that might have averted war, for its violations of freedom of the press, and for the domestic institutions of sovereign states. However, Hendricks consistently supported the war to save the Union, urged compliance with the draft, and deplored armed resistance to its enforcement.
In 1863, the US Senate confirmed President Abraham Lincoln's nominee for secretary of the interior, John P. Usher of Terre Haute. According to the Miller Center, in 1840 Usher moved from New York to Indiana, where he established a law practice and befriended Lincoln. Usher served as a Whig in the Indiana General Assembly from 1850 to 1851 and became state attorney general in 1861, resigning to serve as Lincoln's assistant secretary of the interior and eventual secretary.
In 1945, Governor Ralph F. Gates began his gubernatorial term. The Columbia City attorney and banker was elected State Commander of the American Legion in 1931 and led the Republican Party to control the Indiana General Assembly in 1944. As governor, he created the State Department of Veterans’ Affairs to aid Hoosier men and women returning from WWII in obtaining employment, education, and housing. Amid national post-war labor strikes, Gates oversaw the transition of Indiana's economy from war to peace. His administration streamlined Indiana government and worked to obtain funds for better roads and highways, higher salaries for teachers, and new state health facilities.
In 1864, co-founder of Sears, Roebuck and Co., Alvah C. Roebuck, was born in Lafayette. At 22, Roebuck worked at a small jewelry store in Hammond before moving to Chicago to work as a watch repairman for Richard W. Sears, owner of a watch business. The two became business partners and incorporated their famous retail company in 1893.
In 1932, Illinois clinched a 28-21 victory over visiting Purdue University, ending the Boilermakers' 15-game winning streak. Many blamed the loss on a pre-game injury of Purdue's leading scorer and All-American, John Wooden. The senior co-captain's hand was cut when his coaches' car, which he was riding in, hit a patch of ice and overturned as they headed to the arena. However, the Boilermakers came back to post a string of eleven victories, finishing the season with a 17-1 overall record and claiming the Helms Foundation national championship (prior to NCAA postseason play).
In 1968, the first American Basketball Association All-Star game took place at Hinkle Fieldhouse. According to Greencastle's The Daily Banner, the East defeated the West and "the nationally televised contest, with the exception of Indiana, drew the largest crowd ever to see an ABA game in Indianapolis and the stars put on a real show." Pacers players Roger Brown and Bob Netolicky contributed a combined 24 points.
In 1975, Virginia E. Jenckes, the first woman to represent Indiana in Congress, died in Terre Haute. In 1933, the Democrat unseated four term Congressmen Courtland C. Gillen to serve in the US House of Representatives. Jenckes helped end Prohibition and advocated for veterans and workers during the New Deal Era. She resigned from Congress early during her third term and returned to Terre Haute in her later years.
In 1895, suffragist and lawyer Helen Gougar was admitted to the Tippecanoe County Bar. After taking the oath, she acted as her own attorney in the case against the Tippecanoe County Election Board. Gougar argued for “The Constitutional Rights of the Women of Indiana,” challenging suffrage restrictions on the basis that the Indiana Constitution did not specifically prohibit women from voting. The Lafayette Morning Journal reported that Gougar “spoke for four hours, and made an eloquent appeal for her sex and the ballot” and that the address was “one of the finest efforts of her life.” The Tippecanoe County Superior Court ruled against Gougar and women’s suffrage on April 20, 1895. She later appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.
In 1949, Henry F. Schricker became the first Indiana governor to be elected to two four-year terms. The North Judson, Starke County native was elected to the state senate in 1932 and lieutenant governor in 1937. As a Democratic governor, he was intensely challenged by Republican legislatures in both terms, despite immense public popularity. Schricker's administrations were notable for the repeal in 1941 of the government reorganization laws of 1933 and legislative attempts to make welfare department records available to the public in violation of federal confidentiality requirements. Reportedly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered him the vice-presidential nomination in 1944, but Schricker declined.
In 1895, the Big Ten Conference formed when Purdue University president James H. Smart and leaders from the universities of Chicago, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as Northwestern University met, at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. They worked to "organize and develop principles for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics,” which included academic and work requirements for athletes.
In 1910, a statue of Lew Wallace was installed and dedicated at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Irish-American sculptor Andrew O'Connor designed the statue honoring the Crawfordsville author and Civil War general. In attendance were Indiana and Washington dignitaries, Governor Thomas Marshall, and poet James Whitcomb Riley.
In 1956, the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railroad officially adopted the "Monon" Railroad name. According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, the line became one of the US's first entirely dieselized railroads and was one of the most used railroads in Indiana during the Civil War due to its alignment with the directional pattern of the war.
In 1825, James Hudson was one of three white perpetrators hanged for the murder of nine Indian men, women and children at a winter camp in Madison County. This represented a rare case during the period in which natives obtained some justice from US law.
In 1874, Carl Fisher, an entrepreneur who helped make automobiles a viable form of transportation, was born in Greensburg. He co-founded the Prest-O-Lite Co. in 1904, which developed acetylene gas vehicle headlights distributed nationwide. He was co-founder and president of the Indianapolis Speedway, site of the annual 500 mile race and testing ground for new automobile technology. Fisher was a proponent of the Good Roads Movement to expand and improve the nation's road networks. He advocated construction of US transcontinental roads, which enabled long-distance travel by automobile. He also developed Miami Beach into a major resort destination.
In 1916, Indianapolis experienced the greatest single day fluctuation in temperature. An arctic cold front brought the temperature from 68 degrees down to 10 degrees. The Richmond Palladium reported "The temperature was changed from a spring-like balm[i]ness to almost zero weather. Window panes were frosted and puddles of water in the street were frozen."
In 1981, acclaimed Hoosier actress Beulah Bondi died in Hollywood. The Valparaiso native portrayed Jimmy Stewart’s mother four times on film, including Vivacious Lady and Of Human Hearts, in addition to Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith. Bondi was cast to play characters well beyond her age, becoming the equivalent of “Hollywood’s mother," and was regarded by MGM and Paramount as “America’s greatest character actress.”
In 1885, former speaker of the US House of Representatives and vice president under Ulysses S. Grant, Schuyler Colfax, died. As editor of the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend, he established a name for himself as a political writer. Defeated as a Whig party candidate for the US House of Representatives in 1851, he eventually won election to the House as a member of the newly-formed Republican Party in 1854. During his time leading the House, he helped secure congressional passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended slavery. His political career ended in controversy when news broke that he was a minor player in the Credit Mobilier scandal.
In 1890, well-known reporter and author Elmer Holmes Davis was born in Aurora, Dearborn County. He wrote for the Indianapolis Times and became an editor for The New York Times and Adventure magazine. He served as Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II. Davis also worked as a radio news reporter for CBS and NBC and, along Edward R. Murrow, helped sooth American anxiety during the early Cold War Era. In 1951, Davis was awarded the Peabody Radio Award for outstanding achievement in broadcasting.
In 1953, the Fort Wayne Pistons hosted the NBA All-Star game at Memorial Coliseum, featuring Hall of Famers Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, and Bill Sharman. According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, the game was historic because Don Barksdale became the first African American player in an All-Star Game.
In 1846, Governor James Whitcomb approved the Articles of Incorporation for the Female Seminary of St. Mary’s of the Woods (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College) in Terre Haute. The school was established by Mother Theodore Guérin and the Sisters of Providence, who came to Indiana from France and worked to provide Hoosier women with educational opportunities.
In 1861, a founder of the Republican Party Henry S. Lane was sworn in as governor, resigning two days later upon his election to the US Senate. Morton had been active candidates for the gubernatorial nomination. Morton, who had been the nominee in 1856, had strong backing, but it was felt that Lane would better insure the support of conservative old-line Whigs. A compromise was worked out between the two whereby if Lane and Morton were elected and if the Republicans gained control of the new legislature, Lane would be elected to the United States Senate and Morton would succeed to the governorship. This plan proved successful and Morton went on to become a controversial Civil War governor.
In 1919, Indiana ratified the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol. In June 1933, Hoosiers voted to repeal the Amendment and by December of that year the 21st Amendment was ratified, ending Prohibition in the United States.
In 1844, the University of Notre Dame was officially chartered by the Indiana General Assembly. The school was founded by French priest Reverend Edward Sorin and other members of the Congregation of Holy Cross. According to the university, "Early Notre Dame was a university in name only. It 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." Notre Dame grew to become one of the US's top 25 institutions of higher learning, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
In 1850, the Indiana General Assembly passed a charter for North Western Christian University (now Butler University). The school was organized by lawyer and abolitionist Ovid Butler, who envisioned an institution reflecting his ideals of freedom and equality.
In 1915, perhaps the earliest photograph of an Indiana high school basketball game was taken, featuring players from Wingate High School and Kokomo High School. The moment was photographically commemorated because Wingate was the defending state champion, having won back-to-back titles in 1913 and 1914, with the help of one of Indiana's best basketball players of that generation, Homer Stonebraker.
In 1920, Indiana ratified the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote. After Hoosier suffragists convinced two-thirds of both chambers to debate the issue, Governor James P. Goodrich called a special session, during which legislators approved women's suffrage in Indiana.
In 1942, Jane Alice Peters, better known as silver screen actress Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash the day after a visit to Indianapolis for a war bond rally. Approximately 12,000 turned out to see the Fort Wayne native's return to Indiana; millions others viewed the rally through newsreels. While in the city, Lombard attended tea at the governor’s mansion, a flag-raising ceremony at the Statehouse, and ribbon-cutting at an army recruiting office.
In 1842, black citizens met in Indianapolis to discuss organization of a statewide convention that would promote unity among the black population regarding the colonization movement. This movement advocated emancipating and returning slaves to Africa. Although Indiana state officials spoke in favor of the colonization effort, including Indiana Governor James Brown Ray, a majority of members of the black community opposed it. Some considered emigration to Jamaica, Canada, or Oregon, but African colonization received little support.
In 1920, author Gene Stratton Porter sold her "Limberlost" cabin in Geneva, Adams County, where she penned nature-inspired books, such as Freckles and A Girl of The Limberlost. The Muncie Evening Press noted she left because "this district has become so commercialized as to be on [sic] longer suitable for her to pursue her nature studies in."
In 1781, Governor Ratliff Boon was born in North Carolina. He moved to Warrick County, Indiana Territory in 1809. Boon then served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate, and in 1819 was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with Jonathan Jennings. Upon Jennings's resignation as governor in September 1822, Boon finished the gubernatorial term. Boon was again elected lieutenant governor in 1822 when William Hendricks was elected governor and served until January 1824, when he decided to run for Congress. Elected as a staunch Jacksonian Democrat that year, he was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1826, but was elected to the five succeeding Congresses.
In 1897, Representative Taylor I. Record introduced House Bill 246, also known as the "Pi Bill," to the Indiana General Assembly. Amateur mathematician Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin authored the bill, declaring the value of pi to be 3.2, rather than 3.14. The House unanimously passed the bill, but before the Senate could vote, Purdue professor Dr. Clarence Waldo convinced members of the theory's inaccuracy. Although HB 246 was shelved, it garnered much ridicule.
In 1809, Kentucky legislators Henry Clay and Humphrey Marshall crossed the Ohio River to duel near the mouth of Silver Creek in Clark County, Indiana. Marshall opposed Clay's resolution encouraging Kentuckians to purchase from domestic manufacturers rather than European textiles until "American rights were respected on the high seas." Clay challenged Marshall to a duel in Indiana, so as not to shed blood in their home state. Neither man was fatally injured, but experienced some criticism from assembly members who considered the practice below legislators.
In 1846, in response to the advocacy of local physicians, the Indiana General Assembly approved “An Act Authorizing the Erection of Suitable Buildings for the Use of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane.” This Act established what became known as Central State Hospital in Indianapolis, which treated patients suffering from mental illness and addiction. Since the hospital’s opening, lack of funding and understaffing led to patient abuse and neglect. In 1896, a groundbreaking pathology lab opened on the grounds and served as a state teaching hospital. The hospital closed in 1994 with the goal of community-based care.
In 1859, Dr. Mary F. Thomas became the first woman to address the Indiana State Legislature. She presented a petition calling for women's suffrage and property rights laws, urging "As mothers, as wives, as daughters, as sisters, and lastly as human beings, alike responsible with yourselves to God for the correct use of the rights bestowed on us, we come to you, humiliating as it may be to ask these rights at the hands of others possessing no more natural rights than ourselves." Although the legislature did not take her plea seriously, she continued to work for women's rights and became president of the Indiana Woman Suffrage Association.
In 1942, the first Hoosier Salon art exhibition opened in Indianapolis. The Hoosier Salon was established in Chicago in 1925 by members of the Daughters of Indiana. They organized the annual exhibition to generate recognition for Indiana artists, particularly for members of the Hoosier Group, such as T.C. Steele and William Forsyth. Following the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, the exhibition donated artwork to the Indianapolis Veterans' Hospital.
In 1961, Joseph E. Ritter was elevated to Cardinal by Pope John XXIII, the only Roman Catholic Cardinal from Indiana. The New Albany native was ordained in 1917 and assigned to his first parish in Indianapolis. He became Bishop of Indianapolis in 1934 and in the 1930s championed the rights of African Americans in Indiana. Ritter was the first Archbishop of the new Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1944. He was named Archbishop of St. Louis in 1946 and in 1947 he desegregated five Catholic St. Louis high schools amid protests. Cardinal Ritter was an outspoken, progressive participant in all three sessions of Vatican Council II.
In 1994, the thermometer hit -36 degrees at New Whiteland, Johnson County, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Indiana.
In 1828, Abraham Lincoln's sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, died during childbirth in Spencer County at the age of 21. According to the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, "Sarah Lincoln was an important person in Abraham Lincoln's life. When she had started to school, while the family was living in Kentucky, she had taken Abraham with her and had probably helped him learn his letters and numbers. When their mother died, they helped each other through the grief. Their relationship was characterized by a deep affection."
In 1889, black volunteers from Indiana returned home from Chickamauga, where they were stationed for three months in anticipation of garrison duty during the Spanish-American War. The Bethel A.M.E. Church celebrated their return with a banquet in Indianapolis sponsored by the Soldiers' Aid Society. The soldiers were hopeful that their service would lead to social equality.
In 1986, Americans observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time due to the efforts of an Indiana lawmaker. After a previous attempt to recognize King with a national holiday failed, first year Congresswoman Katie Hall from Gary introduced a bill in July 1983. She overcame conservatives' concerns about the cost of the holiday by proposing it take place on a fixed Monday rather than King's birthday, so that offices would not have to open twice in one week. Hall reminded colleagues, “'The legislation before us will act as a national commitment to Dr. King’s vision and determination for an ideal America, which he spoke of the night before his death, where equality will always prevail.'” The bill passed Congress, and President Ronald Reagan signed the measure into law on November 2, 1983.
In 1862, socialist minister George Davis Herron was born in Montezuma, Parke County. In 1883, he entered the ministry in Wisconsin and was influenced by liberal theological principles, becoming active in the Society of Christian Socialists in 1889. As a pastor in Iowa he vocalized his social criticism and drew crowds as a professor of applied Christianity at Iowa College. According to the Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, Herron "endorsed socialism publicly as a movement that embodied the sacrificial love and social solidarity of primitive Christianity. In 1900 he campaigned for the Social Democratic Party candidate, Eugene V. Debs [of Terre Haute]. He helped organize the socialist Party of America in 1901." Herron broke with socialism in World War I and was employed by Woodrow Wilson as a diplomat after the war to advocate for peace.
In 1875, Zerelda Wallace testified before the Indiana General Assembly, presenting 21,050 signatures on temperance petitions from forty-seven counties. In 1880, she testified before the US Senate, Judiciary Committee on woman's right to vote. Wallace was the first president of Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Indiana and a member of the Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis. She became the First Lady of Indiana in 1837 when her husband David Wallace was elected governor.
In 1901, Democratic legislator Dr. Henry V. Passage introduced an amendment that would replace hanging with morphine injection as the method of execution of criminals. The amendment, one of the earliest American proposals for lethal injection, was tabled and the proposed amended bill voted on along party lines.
In 1878, Charles G. Conn and Eugene DuPont of Elkhart received a US Patent for cornet improvements. Conn established the musical instrument industry in Elkhart, which has been called the Band Industry Capital of the World. He established a factory in 1875, which produced instruments until 1910 and was sold to Carl D. Greenleaf in 1915. Innovations by C.G. Conn, Ltd. under Greenleaf included promoting school band programs and one of the first musical instrument research labs. By the 1970s, about 40% of worldwide band instruments were made in Elkhart.
In 1944, Staff Sergeant Thomas E. McCall of Veedersburg, Fountain County led Company F, a machine gun section, into position to provide cover for American riflemen near San Angelo, Italy during World War II. After several artillery shells exploded near his company that killed or wounded his men and destroyed one of their guns, McCall rushed forward with the remaining machine gun and eliminated two enemy machine gun nests. The Indianapolis Star reported that he turned his sights on a third nest, and “was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machine gun from his hip.” German soldiers succeeded in capturing McCall. After the war, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
In 1974, dam gates lowered on the East Fork of the Whitewater River, which resulted in the formation of Brookville Lake. According to the Washington Times, construction began in 1965 by the Army Corps of Engineers, but President Richard Nixon stopped the project in 1968 due to the Vietnam War. Residents successfully petitioned for construction to be renewed in 1970 and the area became a popular tourist destination due to its campgrounds, hiking trails, and marina.
In 1946, fire destroyed the Evansville Shipyard, producer of 170 LST's (landing ship and tanks) during World War II. The largest inland shipyard in the US helped pull Evansville out of the Great Depression and by the end of World War II 75% of the city's factories produced war ordnance.
In 1836, Governor Noah Noble signed the Mammoth Internal Improvements Act, which authorized a $10 million loan and provided for three major canal projects, a macadamized road, and a railroad. However, according to historian Kelly Wenig, "After years of crushing debt incurred from loans associated with the 1836 Mammoth Internal Improvements Act, the state finally defaulted on their payments to investors, and continued to do so for the next half decade. Hoosiers—because of their insolvency—were attacked from all angles by angry investors and newspapers from as far away as London."
In 1847, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Butler Bill to relieve the state of growing internal improvement debt then totaling over $11 million. The bill stipulated that the state would be responsible for half of the debt, and the other half would be assumed by bondholders, who in exchange for Wabash and Erie Canal stock promised to complete the canal.
In 1900, Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet’s factory burned down in Albany, Delaware County less than a year after the business was founded. The company relocated to New Castle, occupying the former Speeder Cycle Company's bicycle factory. By 1921, one out of every ten American homes had a Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet.
In 1967, a fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a preflight test killed Mitchell, Lawrence County astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom, along with Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The mission was intended to be the first manned flight of the Apollo space program. The accident resulted in safety changes in the program, allowing for the first moon landing in 1969.
In 1818, the Indiana General Assembly passed an "Act to license and regulate taverns," requiring anyone operating a tavern to obtain a license from the county commissioners and pay a $500 bond. They were also required to submit twelve certificates from “respectable house-holders” which attested to their “good moral character.”
In 1822, the Indianapolis Gazette was first published by editor Nathaniel Bolton, who later sold his property to the state for establishment of Central State Hospital. In 1829, editor George L. Kinnard changed the paper's name to the Indiana State Gazette and the paper took a pro-Democratic bent, in support of Andrew Jackson's policies. In the 1830s, it was acquired and renamed the Indiana Democrat and State Gazette and in the 1840s the Indiana State Sentinel.
In 1851, land reformer and U.S. Representative George Washington Julian made a speech in Congress supporting Andrew Johnson's Homestead Bill. Julian combined advocacy of the Homestead Bill with an abolition argument. He stated that dividing the territories into small farms would help prevent slave plantations because they needed vast estates to function. Julian's speech may have hurt the bill because of his abolition argument. Both the House and Senate failed to approve the bill. Another decade passed before Congress passed the Homestead Act.
In 1915, Lucy Higgs Nichols, an escaping slave who served as a nurse with the 23rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War, died in Floyd County. Lucy came to New Albany with the returning veterans of the 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 1915, Disney illustrator Bill Peet was born in Grandview, Spencer County. He graduated from the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and moved to Los Angeles, where he sketched characters appearing in films like "Dumbo" and "Cinderella" for Walt Disney Studios. Despite a tempestuous relationship with Disney, Peet maintained a 27-year-career with the studio and wrote screenplays, such as "101 Dalmatians" and "Sword in the Stone." After working for Disney, Peet wrote and illustrated children's books, including The Caboose Who Got Loose, Kermit the Hermit, and Encore for Eleanor. His 1989 Bill Peet: An Autobiography, written in the form of a children's book, was a Caldecott Honor Book.
In 1906, composer of the Indiana state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash,” Paul Dresser died. The Terre Haute native wrote several popular songs in the Gay Nineties, such as "My Gal Sal." His famous brother, Theodore Dreiser, wrote An American Tragedy and other novels.
In 1945, US forces conducted a rescue of Allied POWs from a Japanese camp near Cabanatuan City, Philippines. The operation liberated more than 500 from the POW camp. Among those rescued was James W. Duckworth of Martinsville, a doctor who became the executive officer of the Manila Hospital Center. Six other Hoosiers were liberated, including Lt. Jarry Brown of Brownsburg, Lt. William Romme of Terre Haute, Sergeant Floyd Cooney of New Castle, and Private Carl Smith of Oakland City.
In 1957, the US Senate confirmed President Eisenhower’s nominee for Surgeon General, Leroy Edgar Burney. Burney was born in Decatur County and was educated at Butler University and Indiana University. He served as Indiana’s health officer from 1945 to 1954. As surgeon general, he was the first federal official to publicly link cigarette smoking with lung cancer.
In 1871, Jeffersonville ceded property to the US government for a permanent Quartermaster Depot, a military reservation that furnished the US Army with stores. The depot had been established during the Civil War to provide storage for Union supplies. Construction of the permanent depot was complete in 1874 and the facility manufactured uniforms during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
In 1970, The Jackson 5’s debut single I Want You Back topped the Billboard Top 100. The next three singles released by the Gary band, ABC, The Love You Save, and I’ll Be There, also topped the chart in 1970. The group made history as one of the first African American boy bands to achieve immense popularity among white audiences.
In 1896, several buildings at the Indiana State Soldiers' Home in Lafayette opened for occupancy. In 1886, the encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic at Indianapolis spearheaded the movement for a home to serve destitute and disabled veterans and their families. The institution's name changed to the Indiana Veterans' Home in 1976, and it continues to operate as a long-term care facility for Indiana's veterans as of 2018. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1919, Clessie L. Cummins filed articles of incorporation for Cummins Engine Company with the secretary of state. The Columbus company generated demand for its innovative diesel engines known for their quality and reliability. During the Great Depression, Cummins engines were introduced on racecars at the Indy500, and had a good measure of success. In the post-WWII years, Cummins became an industry leader in producing diesel engines for the heavy duty truck market. The company netted $1.39 billion in income in 2016. (Bartholomew Co.)
In 1889, an issue of African American newspaper the Indianapolis Freeman contained its earliest known work of political cartoonist Henry Jackson Lewis. The partially-blind former slave from Mississippi is considered the first African-American political cartoonist. After sketching prehistoric Native American mounds for the Smithsonian Institute, he moved to Indianapolis, where he utilized woodblocks and chalk-plates to create political cartoons for the Freeman. Many of Lewis’s works illuminated the failure of politicians to provide African Americans with job opportunities, particularly Hoosier President Benjamin Harrison. (Marion Co.)
In 1967, the American Basketball Association formed to rival the National Basketball Association. The Indiana Pacers were an inaugural franchise and played in the league for its entire nine years of operation. The Pacers won three league championships while in the ABA. The ABA Pacers featured several Naismith Hall of Famers, including Coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, two-time league MVP Mel Daniels, Indianapolis Washington High School and IU product George McGinnis, and playoff MVP Roger Brown. The ABA dissolved in 1976 and the NBA absorbed four ABA teams, including the Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs.
In 1809, Congress divided the Indiana Territory, and created the Illinois Territory. The act reduced the Indiana Territory to almost the exact area of Indiana at statehood (minus the ten mile wide tract later transferred from the Michigan Territory to Indiana in 1816). The Illinois Territory contained modern-day Illinois and Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
In 1913, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul opened a state-of-the-art hospital on Fall Creek Parkway in Indianapolis. It was the hospital’s third location in the city since 1881. St. Vincent’s Hospital improved and expanded its facilities and services to include a nursing school and residence hall in 1927, and a thirty-five-bed children's department in 1939. The Daughters of Charity moved to a convent built on the grounds in 1960 to make room for sixty-five additional patient beds. Building and land limitations resulted in a move to the 86th Street site in 1974. Ivy Tech Community College purchased the Indianapolis site in 2006.
In 1933, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Executive Reorganization Act, Governor Paul V. McNutt's signature achievement. This act reorganized more than 100 separate divisions of government into eight departments, overseen directly by the governor. Historian James H. Madison noted, "Leaders in both parties lamented the state's bureaucratic disorder and inefficiencies. More than one hundred departments and agencies existed in a patchwork of uncertain authority and control." McNutt's act ensured that the new departments' responsibilities were "more clearly defined and control more centrally administered."
In 2001, legendary jazz trombonist and composer J.J. Johnson died in his native Indianapolis. His innovative style, such as "transferring bebop to the trombone," earned him the title of "the most influential trombonist in postwar [World War II] jazz." After graduating from Crispus Attucks High School, Johnson traveled with Midwestern bands led by Snookum Russell and Clarence Love. In 1942, he returned to Indianapolis and Benny Carter hired Johnson to play with his big band for three years. He composed music in the 1960s, and moved to Los Angeles in 1970, where he contributed music for films like "Cleopatra Jones," and television shows like “Six Million Dollar Man.” Johnson continued to perform and record his unique pieces until retiring from public performance in 1997.
In 2007, the Colts, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, played in their first Super Bowl game since moving to Indianapolis. The team defeated the Chicago Bears at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium to win the title of World Champions. The game made NFL history as the first Super Bowl in which African American head coaches, the Colts’ Tony Dungy and the Bears’ Lovie Smith, led both teams.
In 1862, the U.S. Senate expelled Senator Jesse Bright of Indiana because of disloyalty to the Union. After the First Battle of Bull Run, Union troops captured a Texas arms merchant, who had in his possession a letter of recommendation from Senator Bright to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In the letter, Bright endorsed the merchant and his stock of firearms. After his expulsion, Bright sought to reclaim his seat, but the Democrat-controlled Indiana General Assembly refused to return their fellow Democrat to Washington. (Jefferson Co.)
In 1867, anti-Ku Klux Klan crusader, newspaper editor, satirist, and one-term Muncie mayor George R. Dale was born in Monticello, White County. He used the power of the pen in the Muncie Post-Democrat to combat the rising influence of the KKK, skewering Klan members with statements like, "Aint it grand to be a one hundred percent American and wear your wife's nightie and a mother goose cap?" Despite threats on his life, Dale won Muncie's 1929 mayoral race and served until 1935. His first action as mayor was to fire all members of the city's police force, many of whom supported the Klan's efforts. (Delaware Co.)
In 1873, the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious order devoted to caring for the elderly poor, arrived in Indianapolis to establish a home. At a time when the elderly were often ignored and unseen, the Little Sisters of the Poor provided assistance. The sisters opened the home to anyone over the age of sixty with no means of support, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. The Little Sisters solicited alms daily to provide shelter, comfort, and basic nursing care for residents. Their dedication garnered widespread appreciation. In 1967, the home moved to 2345 West 86th Street as the St. Augustine Home for the Aged.
In 1837, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that authorized the Indiana Geological Survey, and established the position of state geologist. Governor Noah Noble appointed David Dale Owen as the first state geologist later that year. Governor Noble informed legislators in 1836 that a scientific survey would enable the state to better develop its mineral resources. During the study, Owen, the son of New Harmony founder Robert Dale Owen, studied the Wabash and Ohio rivers and sampled formations. He spent the majority of his survey in southern Indiana, where he evaluated salt, limestone, and iron. Historian Donald Carmony concluded that Owen's initial survey findings "were significant achievements and particularly so when viewed in the context of geological knowledge as of that time." The 1837 Indiana Geological Survey evolved into a research institute at Indiana University.
In 1918, a fire at the Indiana Reformatory at Jeffersonville caused $300,000 in damage. None of the 1,500 prisoners were injured in the blaze. Guards temporarily transferred the inmates to a nearby schoolhouse to await transfer to Michigan City. In lieu of rebuilding the reformatory in Jeffersonville, the Indiana General Assembly decided to build a new facility in Pendleton, which opened on November 19, 1923. (Clark Co.)
In 1939, Army Air Corps pilot First Lieutenant Richard S. Freeman, a Pulaski County native, arrived in Santiago, Chile aboard a super-bomber “loaded with 3,200 pounds of medical supplies instead of bombs.” Freeman was a part of the flight crew on a humanitarian mission to help victims of the Chilean earthquake, an 8.3 magnitude quake which claimed over 30,000 lives. For his service, the Army awarded Freeman and his crewmates the Mackay trophy. Two years to the day later, in 1941, Captain Freeman died when his B-17-B bomber crashed in Nevada during an experimental exercise. All eight of the flight crew died. The West Point graduate posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross. His body was returned to Winimac for burial. Freeman Field, a World War II Army Air Forces training school in Seymour, Jackson County, was named in honor of Captain Freeman. (Pulaski Co.)
In 1952, civil rights leader and anti-lynching activist Katherine "Flossie" Bailey died. She became involved with the NAACP in 1918 when she founded the Marion chapter of the organization. In 1930, she assumed the presidency of the state NAACP conference. She is best known for her work to bring the perpetrators of the 1930 Marion lynching of Abe Smith and Tom Shipp to justice. Largely due to her tireless work, two of the several dozen members of the lynch mob were arrested and tried. However, the all-white jury returned a not-guilty verdict. Despite this, Bailey kept up her work with the NAACP and successfully lobbied for new anti-lynching laws in Indiana. The NAACP's national office recognized Bailey with the Madam C. J. Walker Medal in 1931 for her anti-lynching crusade. (Grant Co.)
In 1835, the Indiana General Assembly approved an act that created Adams, Wells, Jay, DeKalb, Steuben, Whitley, Kosciusko, Fulton, Marshall, Starke, Pulaski, Jasper, Newton, and Porter counties. Lake, Blackford, and Benton were later formed from three of these counties. Newton County was consolidated with Jasper in 1839, but made separate again in 1859.
In 1896, businessman, congressman, and vice-presidential candidate William H. English died in Indianapolis. Voters elected him to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1851 and he became one of the youngest Speakers in Indiana history at 29 years old. As member of Congress from 1853-1861, English became associated with a controversial bill bearing his name that exacerbated tensions in “Bleeding Kansas.” English left Congress before the Civil War, and entered the private sector. He served as president of the First National Bank of Indianapolis for fourteen years, which became one of the largest banks in the Midwest. During the Panic of 1873, he used his financial position to obtain real estate through foreclosures. In 1880, the Democratic Party nominated English for the vice-presidency, on the ticket with General Winfield Scott Hancock. They lost to Republicans James Garfield and Chester Arthur. During his later years, he developed an interest in history, particularly concerning George Rogers Clark and collecting biographies of Indiana General Assembly members.
In 1875, artist Frederick C. Yohn was born in Indianapolis. Yohn illustrated magazines and books, and specialized in historical and military subjects. He illustrated works by Hoosiers including Meredith Nicholson’s A Hoosier Chronicle, and Maurice Thompson’s best-seller Alice of Old Vincennes. Perhaps Yohn’s best-known painting among Hoosiers is The Fall of Fort Sackville, which depicts General Hamilton’s surrender to George Rogers Clark. The painting was the basis for the commemorative postage stamp issued in 1929 for the event’s sesquicentennial.
In 1901, Indiana University competed in its first intercollegiate basketball game. They played Butler in an away game at the Indianapolis YMCA. Butler prevailed 20-17.
In 1919, department managers at Remy Electric Company in Anderson learned that the company had become a subsidiary of the General Motors Company. Remy, a supplier of automobile electrical equipment, had been part of the United Motors Corporation for the previous five years. (Madison Co.)
In 1931, iconic film actor James Dean was born in Marion. Shortly after his birth, Dean moved to Fairmount, Grant County, where he was raised in a Quaker household. Dean excelled in athletics and drama at Fairmount High School before majoring in drama at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1949. He went on to star in three films: "East of Eden," "Rebel without a Cause," and “Giant.” His portrayals of angst-ridden teenagers symbolized a generation.. Just as he achieved national success, Dean was tragically killed in a car crash on a California highway in 1955 at the age of 24. The Fairmount Friends Church held services for the actor on October 8 and Dean’s body was buried at Park Cemetery near the farm where he grew up. (Grant Co.)
In 1866, playwright George Ade was born in Kentland. After graduating from Purdue University, he wrote for the Chicago Record, where his editorial column "Stories of the Streets and of the Town" captured the vernacular and distinct dialects of the multi-ethnic city.. Ade wrote several books, but his Fables in Slang became a national best-seller and led to a weekly syndication of fables. His 1902 opera The Sultan of Sulu, along with The County Chairman and The College Widow, qualified him as one of the best playwrights of the era. (Newton Co.)
In 1985, Indianapolis hosted NBA All-Star Game festivities at the Hoosier Dome. While the game was scheduled for Sunday, February 10, a lot of the excitement focused on the second annual Slam Dunk Contest held on Saturday, the 9th. The 1985 contest featured some of the greatest stars and dunkers of that generation. The line-up included Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, Dominique “Human Highlight Film” Wilkins, Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith, 1984 contest-winner Larry Nance, and Chicago Bulls’ rookie Michael Jordan. Lost in the shine of all that star power was Indiana Pacers rookie Terrence Stansbury, who stole the show in the first round with a 360° statue of liberty dunk. In the semi-finals, Jordan dunked from the free throw line to advance to the finals with Wilkins. Sports Illustrated called this matchup, “Chapter one of the greatest rivalry in the event’s history.” Wilkins clinched the crown with one of his signature two-hand windmill jams. The next day a crowd of 43,000 witnessed the West All-Stars beat the East All-Stars despite the 43 combined points from Larry Bird of French Lick and IU-product Isiah Thomas.
In 2009, during a period of national recession President Barack Obama visited Elkhart, where unemployment tripled to fifteen percent in 2008. In one of his first campaign-style visits since the 2008 presidential election, Obama sought support for his proposed $800 billion economic stimulus package. He told attendees at the Concord High School town hall meeting, "‘We can’t posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place.’" He contended that his program would save 80,000 Hoosier jobs and help rebuild U.S. Highway 31. Congress signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law on February 17 of that year. (Elkhart Co.)
In 1763, representatives from Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal signed the Treaty of Paris, which concluded the Seven Years’ War. One of the provisions of the treaty transferred French claims east of the Mississippi River (including Vincennes and the future site of Indiana) to Great Britain.
In 1839, Father Benjamin Marie Petit, a Catholic missionary to the Potawatomi, died in St. Louis, Missouri while on a journey back to Indiana. Fr. Petit left Indiana in September 1838 as he joined the Potawatomi in their forced removal from Indiana. Petit tended to the refugees’ physical and spiritual needs along the 660 mile Trail of Death to their destination in Kansas. (Marshall Co.)
In 2016, Carrier announced plans to relocate operations at its Indiana plants in Huntington and Indianapolis to Mexico. The decision affected 2,100 jobs. Carrier’s decision became politicized when Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump openly criticized the announcement, and cited it as an example of how U.S. trade policies negatively affected American workers.
In 1825, the Indiana General Assembly approved an act that established the Indiana State Library to serve state officials and legislators in Indianapolis. An 1895 law placed the State Board of Education in charge of library management and the library experienced a “large increase in material, service, and usefulness, as it also witnessed the beginning of the spread of popular libraries throughout the state." The General Assembly approved an act in 1925 that merged the Indiana Historical Bureau, State Library, and Legislative Bureau into the Indiana Library and Historical Department. In 1929, legislators authorized raising funds for a new building, to be located on the corner of Senate Avenue and Ohio Street. The building opened in 1934. According to the library’s website, "Through its history, the Indiana State Library has developed strong collections in the fields of Indiana history and culture, Indiana state government and United States government publications, Indiana newspapers, genealogy and family history resources on Indiana and the eastern United States."
In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln stopped in Indianapolis on his journey through Indiana, en route to Washington for his first inauguration. His train arrived that evening to a welcome from Governor Oliver P. Morton and 20,000 supporters. He addressed the citizens of Indiana from the train platform before he disembarked to his hotel room at the Bates House. Lincoln adherents called upon the president-elect later that evening, and he delivered an ad hoc speech from a balcony of the hotel. He resumed his journey east the next morning, which also happened to be his fifty-second birthday.
In 1817, both chambers of the U.S. Congress assembled to count the electoral votes from 1816. New York Congressman John W. Taylor interrupted the proceedings, and questioned whether Indiana's votes should be tallied since Indiana voters cast their ballots for presidential electors before Indiana became a state on December 11, 1816. In the ensuing debate, Indiana Congressman William Hendricks rose and argued for counting Indiana electoral votes. The House of Representatives ultimately ignored Taylor's objection, and allowed Indiana's three electoral votes in favor of James Monroe. Not that the votes mattered as Monroe soundly defeated his Federalist opponent Rufus King, 183-34.
In 1891, prominent abolitionist and orator Stephen S. Harding died in Milan. He was born in New York in 1808 and moved with his family to Ripley County in 1820. Here, he practiced law and delivered powerful anti-slavery speeches throughout the area, often against public sentiment. An early leader in the opposition to slavery, Harding helped to bring freedom to enslaved people in the U.S. He was active in the Liberty, Free Soil, and Republican parties during his lifetime. He received several political appointments from President Abraham Lincoln including governor of the Utah Territory, and chief justice of the Colorado Territory Supreme Court. (Ripley Co.)
In 1904, Lillian Thomas Fox, Indiana State Organizer for the National Association of Colored Women, convened a meeting at the Flanner Guild in Indianapolis to take the first steps toward organizing a state federation of colored women’s clubs. Representatives of fourteen clubs from Indianapolis and other Indiana towns attended this preliminary meeting. Delegates formally organized the Indiana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in April with the goal to "'improve existing conditions and to ask for racial fair-play” during an era of increased prejudice and lynchings. The Federation also worked to demonstrate the accomplishments of black women, serve the less fortunate, and give strength to one another by cooperation.
In 1834, the directors of the second State Bank of Indiana met for the first time. During their two-day meeting, they planned the location of ten bank branches at Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Richmond, Madison, New Albany, Evansville, Vincennes, Bedford, Terre Haute, and Lafayette. The State Bank operated from 1834-1859 when its charter expired. During its years of operation, it served as a bulwark against the Panic of 1837 and ensuing depression, and aided the growth of Indiana’s then undeveloped economy.
In 1920, Charles I. Taylor of the Indianapolis ABCs and other owners of African American baseball teams met in Kansas City, Missouri to form the Negro National League. Taylor served as vice president of the new league until his death in 1922. Although the ABCs (the name came from the initials of the original team owners and managers Adams, Butler, and Conoyer. The name was later associated with one time team sponsor the American Brewing Company) played games as early as 1907 as an independent club, their game on May 2, 1920 against the Chicago Giants was the first game played in the Negro National League. According to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, these leagues “became centerpieces for economic development in many black communities.”
In 1937, Governor M. Clifford Townsend declared martial law in Madison County. After the settlement of a 43 day labor strike by United Automobile Workers Association at General Motors-owned Guide Lamp Corporation in Anderson, violence erupted after midnight on February 13 between an arms-wielding faction of pro-union workers and a tavern owner. Conditions deteriorated from there. State police were the first on the scene, and 1,000 National Guardsmen soon joined them. The authorities successfully turned away a caravan of strike supporters from Michigan, and escorted them back to the state line. The governor lifted martial law after 10 days, on February 23.
In 1974, Governor Otis R. Bowen approved Public Law No. 60, which repealed all laws concerning sterilization of the mentally ill in Indiana. By the late 1800s, Indiana legislators enacted laws based on the belief that criminality, mental problems, and pauperism were hereditary. In 1907, Governor J. Frank Hanly approved the first state eugenics law, which made sterilization mandatory for certain individuals in state custody. Governor Thomas R. Marshall halted sterilizations in 1909 and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the 1907 law unconstitutional in 1921. A 1927 law reinstated sterilization and added court appeals. Approximately 2,500 in state custody were sterilized under state law.
In 1841, editor of Indianapolis freethought newspaper the Iconoclast William LaMaster was born in Shelbyville. LaMaster served in the Civil War. He returned to Shelbyville, where he established a law practice. LaMaster wrote for Indiana newspapers like the Indianapolis News, in which he advocated for religious skepticism, scientific advancement, and anti-temperance. His Iconoclast helped to cement a growing freethought community in Indianapolis through the 1880s, which included notable Hoosiers like Clemens Vonnegut. (Shelby Co.)
In 1913, controversial labor organizer James "Jimmy" Hoffa was born in Brazil. His family moved to Detroit in 1924, where he worked at a warehouse in the 1930s and began organizing union activities. He served as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 to 1971. His fraternization with organized crime figures drew the attention of the federal government and in 1967 he was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for jury tampering, conspiracy, and fraud. He served as president of the Teamsters while in prison until President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence in 1971. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 under mysterious circumstances possibly related to a meeting with a Mafia-related Teamster. (Clay Co.)
In 1947, the Indiana House unanimously passed a Senate bill that prohibited conspiracy "for the purpose of creating malicious hatred by reason of race, color or religion" and criminalized "racketeering in hatred." It also prevented hate organizations from operating in Indiana. Governor Ralph Gates, who promised, “I am going to smash the Klan in Indiana,” ordered the bill to be drafted and signed it into law. Lawmakers repealed the law in 1977 during an overhaul of Indiana's criminal code.
In 1848, Governor James Whitcomb signed an act incorporating the Cannelton Cotton Mill Company in Perry County. 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 had been promised an idyllic community in the model of Lowell, Massachusetts with company-owned housing. The Cannelton mill became one of the largest cotton mills in the United States. It operated under various owners and managers for almost a century. (Perry Co.)
In 1905, author, soldier, and statesman General Lew Wallace died in his hometown of Crawfordsville. A lawyer and state senator before the Civil War, Wallace advanced through the Union Army ranks from colonel to major general before his 35th birthday in 1862. He led divisions at the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Monocacy (dubbed the “Battle that saved Washington”). After the war, he received political appointments as governor of the New Mexico Territory (1878-1881), and U.S. Minister to Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) (1881-1885). Despite these accomplished careers, Wallace is best-known as an author. His 1880 book, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, was one of the best-selling novels of the 19th century. (Montgomery Co.)
In 1928, Norman Bridwell was born in Kokomo. After graduating from Kokomo High School, he attended John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and Cooper Union in New York City. He began his career as a commercial artist. At age 35, Bridwell achieved national fame with his children’s book Clifford the Big Red Dog. (Howard Co.)
In 1950, the Dubois County Daily Herald proclaimed "Garbage Man Gets Walking Papers in Jasper." The article reported the Jasper city council's surprising decision to contract with the General Electric Company to install garbage disposals in all Jasper homes and discontinue the public collection of garbage. This pioneering sanitation experiment was designed to curb disease and pollution and was one of the first of its kind in the country. Garbage collectors still dispose of our trash, so what happened? Find out through this Indiana Magazine of History article.
In 1852, brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker opened the H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop on the corner of Michigan and Jefferson streets in South Bend. The brothers built and sold only two wagons their first year. A decade later, however, as the Army required wagons for the Civil War, Studebakers’ sales excelled. In addition to building wagons, the Studebakers’ diversified their product line, and built their first carriage in 1857. Sales of their carriages boomed after the war, and grew from 6,000 in 1867 to 75,000 in 1887. With the advent of the automobile, many carriage companies tried and failed to transition from one generation of transportation to the next. Studebaker, however, was one of few able to adapt, and not only survive, but thrive. Studebaker was successful for its first three decades of automobile production, but struggled through the Great Depression. The company rebounded as World War II defense contracts bolstered production. According to the Smithsonian Libraries, in the post-war era Studebaker "was among the first auto manufacturers to introduce new styles rather than warmed over pre-war models. The 1947 Starlight Coupe included a wraparound rear-window and the 1950 models were styled with the now famous 'bullet nose.'" Lowey, Speedster, Lark, and Hawk models introduced in the 1950s experienced immense popularity among consumers. Financial shortcomings caused Studebaker to close its South Bend plant in 1963. Production at their Canadian plant ceased completely in 1966. (St. Joseph)
In 1928, Special Judge Charles M. McCabe found Governor Edward L. Jackson not guilty of trying to bribe former Governor Warren T. McCray for the office of Marion County prosecutor. The Greencastle Daily Banner reported "The acquittal was on the ground that the state had failed to prove [t]here had been any positive act of concealment of the alleged offer to bribe that would cause a cessation of operation of the statute of limitations." While acquitted in this case, Jackson's administration was plagued with repercussions from political scandals involving D. C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1951, the Sporting News named Indiana University basketball forward Bill Garrett, and Kansas center Clyde Lovellette (of Terre Haute), as First Team All-Americans. Indianapolis Recorder sportswriter Cy Kritzer remarked on the IU star “Above all, he [Garrett] was a playmaker. The game has none better than the Hoosier star on the fast break.” In 1947, African American civic leaders in Indianapolis worked with IU president Herman B Wells to give Garrett a chance to play for IU. His 1948 varsity debut directly challenged the Big Ten’s unwritten rule that barred African Americans from playing basketball. Garrett’s IU years saw parts of the campus desegregated and his achievements helped create opportunities for other black players in the Midwest.
In 1892, composer James F. Hanley was born in Rensselaer. He became part of the New York Tin Pan Alley music scene and wrote Broadway musical hits, such as "Second Hand Rose" and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” popularized by Judy Garland 1938. Hanley co-wrote "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" in 1917, which became an immediate hit. Louis Armstrong recorded a jazz version of the song in the 1920s and Benny Goodman recorded a swing version in the 1930s. “Indiana” has been performed at every Indianapolis 500 race since 1946 (most notably sung by actor Jim Nabors from 1972-2014) (Jasper Co.)
In 1851, journalist and suffragist Ida A. Husted Harper was born in Fairfield, Franklin County. She moved to Muncie, where she graduated high school, and attended Indiana University before withdrawing to teach in Peru, Miami County. She settled in Terre Haute with her husband Thomas W. Harper, an attorney, political leader, and associate of Eugene V. Debs. Despite her husband’s disapproval, she wrote for local newspapers, penning a column entitled “A Woman’s Opinions” for the Terre Haute Saturday Evening Mail. Harper helped establish the state woman suffrage society in 1887.In 1896 she directed public relations for the National American Woman Suffrage Association in California. Prominent suffragist Susan B. Anthony solicited Harper to write a three-volume biography about her life and work. Harper also published volumes for the History of Woman Suffrage series and edited women's columns for several newspapers around the nation. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "the steady stream of letters, articles, and pamphlets that issued from her office in Washington, D.C., played a large role in the successful campaign for passage of the Nineteenth Amendment."
In 1888, fires for glassmaking ignited at the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company in Muncie. The company led the nation in production of fruit jars by 1900. Ball Brothers expanded operations in Muncie and into other states, eventually producing plastics, rubber, and materials used in aerospace technology. The Muncie plant closed in 1962, but the company’s philanthropic gifts left a legacy of public health and education in the city. Ball Brothers funded a teacher’s college that evolved into Ball State University. (Delaware Co.)
In 1892, lawyer, corporate executive, and statesman Wendell Willkie was born in Elwood. In 1940, he became the Republican candidate for U.S. president despite never having held an elected office. After losing the election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he continued fighting for civil rights and advocated for the equal treatment of African Americans in the Armed Forces during World War II. He also became friends and political allies with President Roosevelt and served the president as a U.S. emissary. Willkie traveled the world, 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. (Madison Co.)
In 1831, the Vincennes Gazette published what is currently the earliest known printed variation of the word “hoosier.” In a letter to the editor from the pseudonymous “Rackoon,” the author wrote, “The "Hoosher" country is coming out, and the day is not far distant, when some states which have hitherto looked upon us as a kind of outlandish, half-civilized race, will have to follow in our train. - Let the "Half-horse, half-alligator" coun [sic] country look to it.” (Knox Co.)
In 1891, lawyer, suffragist, writer, and lecturer Helen M. Gougar spoke before the Indiana General Assembly. The Indiana State Senate Journal described the proceedings and noted that Gougar “delivered an eloquent and earnest address on prohibition, municipal suffrage, and other social and political reforms, making a strong appeal to the Senate for the enactment of laws on these subjects.” She also challenged suffrage laws by attempting to vote in 1894. She was denied and filed suit against the Tippecanoe County election board. While few women were lawyers at the time, Gougar gained admission to the bar and argued for “The Constitutional Rights of the Women of Indiana” before the Tippecanoe County Circuit Court in 1895 and the Indiana Supreme Court in 1897.
In 1939, "dunking donuts" comedian Red Skelton put on five shows and emceed a vaudeville revue at the Pantheon Theatre in Vincennes. Skelton’s wife Edna Stillwell wrote the act and played opposite him. By the late 1930s, Skelton had become famous for his vaudeville and radio skits. His Vincennes performance served as a gesture of gratitude to his hometown for their support. Skelton helped popularize television in the 1950s with The Red Skelton Show, which aired for twenty years and won multiple Emmy Awards. (Knox Co.)
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed HR 2470, which authorized the creation of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana. The State of Indiana previously established a memorial honoring Abraham Lincoln and his mother in Spencer County, but the congressional resolution signed by Kennedy recognized the home's national significance. Lincoln lived in the area from 1816 to 1830 and, according to the National Park Service, the Boyhood Memorial "preserves the place where he learned to laugh with his father, cried over the death of his mother, read the books that opened his mind, and triumphed over the adversities of life on the frontier." (Spencer Co.)
In 1854, U.S. Senator John Pettit of Indiana delivered a speech in Congress during a debate on allowing slavery in Kansas and Nebraska. Pettit, a Democrat from Lafayette, famously called the Declaration of Independence’s claim that “all men are created equal” a “self-evident lie.” His rhetoric became frequently cited by Abraham Lincoln, and other Republicans, and served as a rallying cry for those critical of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and other federal actions that exacerbated sectional conflicts over slavery.
In 1895, the Interstate Farmers’ Institute honored writer, speaker, stockbreeder, and Purdue University board member Virginia Claypool Meredith with a medal, inscribed “The citizens of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to the queen of American agriculture.” In 1882, she inherited Oakland Farm in Cambridge City from her father-in-law General Solomon Meredith. She successfully grew the business and her reputation as a farm expert. Meredith encouraged women to pursue education and careers related to farm life. She promoted the advancement of farm women to international audiences through speeches for farmers’ institutes and women’s clubs, and in publications, including the Breeders’ Gazette. (Wayne Co.)
In 1914, John Chirka and Harry Raisco (also spelled "Rasica") became the first prisoners to be executed by electrocution in the State of Indiana. The Rushville Daily Republican noted that Chirka's children "were made orphans" that day and "could not be consoled." Juries found both the men guilty of murdering their wives. Despite the petition of many Hoosiers to spare the lives of the prisoners—including signatures from "numerous kind hearted fathers of the Catholic church—" Governor Samuel Ralston allowed the execution to proceed at the Michigan City prison. The Daily Republican reported that the governor "could not close his eyes to the fact that the killing of wives was becoming more and more frequent, and that he should issue a warning that the death penalty would in most cases be carried out." It added that the somber executions in Michigan City "were in marked contrast to the hangings of other days when the sheriff of a county issued invitations to his friends and when these invited guests sold their tickets to the highest bidder." (LaPorte Co.)
In 1925, an explosion at City Coal Mine shook the town of Sullivan and claimed the lives of more than fifty miners. Adjacent towns dispatched rescue squads to Sullivan and National Guard units arrived from Terre Haute. The accident led to the introduction of legislation that improved the working conditions at Indiana mines. (Sullivan Co.)
In 1940, fire broke out at the paint shop of the Cole Bros. and Robbins Circus in Rochester. The fire destroyed the main structures and killed animals caged in the winter quarters, including tigers, antelopes, and elephants. Hundreds of other animals managed to escape and fled into the city, and startled residents. Citizens assisted police in rounding up the animals. (Fulton Co.)
In 1824, David W. Ballard was born in Bridgeport. He studied medicine in the Indiana town before earning his medical degree in Cincinnati. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson appointed Ballard governor of Idaho Territory. A Republican and Union supporter during the Civil War, he encountered conflict as governor among the territory's pro-Confederate Democratic majority during the Reconstruction Era. According to the Idaho Statesman, these legislators “had supported the Confederate cause in the Civil War but had fled the conflict to seek their fortunes in the gold fields of Idaho." In response to secessionists’ threats of violence against the territorial governor, he called in troops from Fort Boise. Despite hostility from lawmakers, Idaho’s citizens favored Ballard and unsuccessfully petitioned President Ulysses S. Grant to reappoint him after the expiration of his term. (Harrison Co.)
In 1925, Duesenberg Motors Company filed articles of incorporation with the secretary of state. The Indianapolis Star noted that this provided "definite assurance of the active resumption of the Duesenberg automobile factory in Indianapolis." Brothers Fred and August Duesenberg relocated the company from New Jersey to Indianapolis in 1920. Their luxury cars "sprang into national prominence following their success on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway." According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, "Duesenberg pioneered the use of straight eight-cylinder engines and four-wheel hydraulic brakes" and their Model A’s and Model J's won favor among celebrities and wealthy businessmen. Auburn Automobile Company President E. L. Cord acquired the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company in 1926. In 1929, the two companies became subsidiaries of Cord Corporation. Production of the vehicles ended in 1936.
In 1862, railroad cars carrying Confederate soldiers captured during the Battle of Fort Donelson arrived in Indianapolis. The prisoners disembarked and marched under guard to Camp Morton. The location was originally the state’s fairgrounds before becoming a mobilization point for Indiana recruits for the Union Army.. The anti-Republican Daily State Sentinel described the Confederate POWs, “Some looked sorry, some looked sick, some looked as if they didn’t care and others appeared in good humor. . . They had gone through a battle and had traveled hundreds of miles . . . We noticed a great majority of them were young men, many of them in fact mere boys.” The camp reportedly could take 3,000 prisoners, but 3,700 arrived instead. Many prisoners died that first winter. Over 1,700 soldiers died at the camp before the last prisoners were paroled in 1865.
In 1867, students at Indiana University published the first issue of The Indiana Student, now the Indiana Daily Student. The first issue noted that the "citizens of Bloomington, though generally noted for their energy and enterprise, had not, as yet, succeeded in establishing an organ, in the columns of which, a student or literary man, who had any respect for himself or regard for his reputation as a writer, would be willing for his productions to appear." Founders suggested names for the paper such as "The University Lightning Rod," "Bloomington Regulator," and "Bummer." The student-run paper continues to publish in the 21st century, delivering headlines to the community such as "IU Basketball Coach Bob Knight Fired." Famous alumni of the newspaper include Pulitzer Prize winning WWII reporter Ernie Pyle, and JFK’s congressional press secretary Robert E. Thompson. (Monroe Co.)
In 1917, comic book artist Reed Crandall was born in Pike County. He grew up in Jasper and Bloomington before his family moved to Kansas in his early teens. Crandall studied at the Cleveland School of Art in Ohio before moving to New York City to pursue a career in illustration. From the 1930s to the 1970s, he produced a prolific body of work that appeared in Quality Comics, EC Comics, DC Comics, and MAD Magazine. Crandall drew characters for titles including Captain America and Flash Gordon. He is probably best known for the superhero "the Firebrand" in the World War II aviation comic strip "Blackhawk." His work was easily recognizable to fans during the "Golden Age of Comics." In 2009, the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame posthumously enshrined Crandall into the hall.
In 1938, the International Harvester factory in eastern Marion County produced its first part, a drive pulley. In its seventy-one years of operation, the factory (which became Navistar International in 1986) produced an estimated ten million engines for trucks, tractors, combines, buses, generators, and World War II military vehicles.
In 1970, Tony Hinkle coached his final basketball game at Butler University. The Bulldogs lost to Notre Dame in what Hinkle described as a "hell of a ball game." The Indianapolis News reported that after the game Hinkle turned to the crowd of 17,000 and simply stated "Thanks. You've all been great." During his nearly fifty year career at the university, Hinkle's teams were 560-392 in basketball, 165-99-13 in football and 335-309-5 in baseball. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Hinkle as a member in 1965. The university changed its arena's name from Butler Fieldhouse to Hinkle Fieldhouse in his honor in 1966.
In 1985, controversial Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight famously threw a chair across the floor during a game at Assembly Hall as a Purdue University player prepared to shoot a free throw. Knight's gesture of frustration for what he considered poor referee calls drew cheers from IU fans. Referees ejected him from the game and the crowd chanted his name during his absence. The Big Ten conference suspended the combative coach for one game for his demonstration. (Monroe Co.)
In 1840, Indiana lawmakers approved “An Act to prohibit the amalgamation of whites and blacks.” Although an anti-miscegenation law from 1818 existed, the 1840 statute proscribed harsh penalties for interracial couples and those who married them. An 1881 law decreased some of the penalties, but a law against white and black marriages in Indiana remained in effect until it was repealed in 1965, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that such laws were unconstitutional.
In 1887, chaos and fighting erupted in the Indiana Senate Chamber regarding a disputed election, which resulted in the events of that day being called the "Black Day" of the General Assembly. The Republican-controlled House recognized the election of Republican Robert S. Robertson as lieutenant governor, who would serve alongside Democratic Governor Isaac P. Gray. The Democratic-controlled Senate, however, disputed the outcome and the Marion County Circuit Court concurred and ruled against Robertson. Upon appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision on February 23. This gave Robertson the impetus to try to take his seat as president of the Senate. Upon the orders of Robertson’s rival for the position, the Senate doorman forcibly removed Robertson from the chamber. Fighting and chaos ensued. Some legislators were even seriously injured. The incident led to a complete breakdown of the state legislature that lasted throughout the 1887 session.
In 1890, Marjorie Tomlinson was born in Acton, Marion County. Later in her life, she adopted the stage name Marjorie Main. Main appeared in over 100 films as a supporting actor, including "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Heaven Can Wait." She won accolades and became a fixture of popular culture through her portrayal of Ma Kettle in ten movies. For her first appearance as Ma Kettle in The Egg and I (1947), Main received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Motion Picture Academy. The New York Times contended the actress was "invariably a standout, and had a devoted following. With Percy Kilbride, she made a number of films as Ma Kettle to Mr. Kilbride's Pa Kettle, and the films were among Universal‐International's biggest money‐makers."
In 1923, prohibitionist and pastor Daisy Douglas Barr signed an agreement with D.C. Stephenson, head of Indiana’s Ku Klux Klan, to form a women’s auxiliary.
In 1779, British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton surrendered Fort Sackville in Vincennes to American officer George Rogers Clark. The surrender came after an eighteen day trek by Clark and his soldiers from Kaskaskia (in present-day Illinois). According to the National Park Service, "The fort’s capture assured the United States’ claims to the frontier, an area nearly as large as the original 13 states." (Knox Co.)
In 1919, Governor James P. Goodrich signed into law State Senator Franklin McCray's anti-German language act, which forbade elementary schools from teaching the language. The statute also prohibited correctional schools, parochial schools, and benevolent organizations from teaching German. Indiana became one of fourteen states to ban the teaching of German to children. The legislation was a reflection of the strong anti-German sentiment stemming from World War I. Many Americans considered retention of German language and culture in the midst of war as un-American. During this time, German-language newspapers folded, German names of streets or places changed (e.g Das Deutsche Haus became the Athenaeum), German surnames were Anglicized, churches were pressured to conduct their services in English, and even dachshunds came under attack because of their German origins.
In 1820, the McCormick brothers reached the White River where John McCormick erected a cabin. That summer a group of commissioners appointed by the General Assembly visited him in his home. The commissioner’s visit to the area led them to recommend to the legislature that the state capital be relocated there from Corydon, hence the site became Indianapolis.
In 1918, former Governor Otis R. Bowen was born near Rochester. After graduation from IU’s Medical School, he served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. After the war, he established a family medical practice at Bremen, Marshall County. Bowen served as a Republican representative in the state legislature, and became Speaker of the House for four sessions. Voters elected him governor of Indiana in 1972 and that same year ratified a constitutional amendment that allowed governors to serve successive terms. Bowen won re-election in 1976, and became the first governor elected to two consecutive four-year terms since Governor Joseph A. Wright (1849-1857). President Ronald W. Reagan nominated Bowen as Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services in 1985. In that role, he worked to abate criticism that the Reagan administration was not doing enough to deal with the AIDS crisis. He died in 2013. (Fulton Co., Marshall Co.)
In 1852, the Indiana Asbury Female College opened in New Albany under the auspices of the Methodist Church. One hundred and seventeen students attended classes that "prepared daughters of well-to-do residents for future roles as wives and mothers." By the mid-1860s, the school faced financial difficulties and Indiana businessman Washington C. DePauw organized a group of businessmen to pay its debts. DePauw also financed a new building for the school. In gratitude, the administration renamed the school DePauw College for Young Ladies, separate from DePauw University in Greencastle, also funded by the wealthy Hoosier. The women's college operated into the early-20th century, when "the growing influence of secular education led the trustees to shut its doors." (Floyd Co.)
In 1970, Purdue University's Rick Mount scored 61 points in a 108-107 loss to Iowa. As of 2018, his scoring feat remains the Big Ten Conference’s single-game record. The Lebanon native scored those points without the aid of the three-point shot. Nicknamed “The Rocket,” Mount finished his Boilermaker career as the school’s all-time leading scorer. He earned his second consensus All-American honor at the season’s end. As of 2018, his 61 point game remains a single-game Big Ten record. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1972, U.S. Senator Birch Bayh introduced amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ban gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid. President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, co-sponsored by Bayh and Representative Edith Green, into law on June 23, 1972, affording women and girls at public educational institutions more scholarship and sports opportunities.
In 1920, fire destroyed Hotel Mudlavia, a renowned health spa and sanitarium in Kramer. Sick patients struggled to escape the fire and suffered injuries after jumping out of windows. The accident resulted in no casualties, but the hotel never rebuilt due to the advent of antibiotics and financial setbacks inflicted by the Great Depression. Notable visitors in the resort's history include boxing champion John L. Sullivan, Indianapolis poet James Whitcomb Riley, and Hoosier songwriter Paul Dresser. Newspapers lauded Hotel Mudlavia, named for the soothing mud baths offered, as "one of the finest sanitariums in the United States." (Warren Co.)
In 1830, according to Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign biographer, William Dean Howells, Thomas Lincoln and his family, including 21-year-old Abraham, began their migration from Indiana to Illinois. The family had moved from Kentucky to Indiana in 1816. (Spencer Co.)
In 1897, women's rights and temperance advocate Amanda Way received a pension for her service as a Civil War nurse. In temperance speeches, Way discussed her experiences working on Civil War battlefields. The Randolph County native helped found the Indiana Woman's Rights Association in 1851 and participated in the 1854 "Whisky Riot." She held national offices in the Independent Order of Good Templars and was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. In 1869, Way helped found the American Woman’s Suffrage Association and a national prohibition party. (Randolph Co.)
In 1819, Connersville blacksmith George Pogue settled on land that would become the state's capital of Indianapolis. Although he disappeared under mysterious circumstances two years after he arrived, his name lives on in the stream, Pogue’s Run, that ran near his property. Pogue’s Run received cultural currency in 2016 when it was a setting for Ben Winters’ best-selling novel Underground Airlines.
In 1827, the U.S. Congress approved of an act to establish a road "from Lake Michigan, by the way of Indianapolis, to some convenient point on the Ohio river." Indiana officials acquired the right of way through a treaty with the Potawatomi in October 1826. One of Indiana's first highways, Michigan Road "opened the State's interior to settlement and connected two major waterways."
In 1867, legislators approved an act that authorized funds to improve the entrance to the Michigan City harbor. The Michigan City Harbor Company constructed two piers and dredged a channel connecting them. The construction enabled the harbor to accept large ships, and Michigan City quickly became one of Indiana's most profitable lumber markets. (LaPorte Co.)
In 1901, Purdue defeated Indiana in the first basketball showdown between the schools. According to the Indianapolis News, "Purdue played a fast game, though several of the men put an undue amount of roughness into it. . . . The Indiana men did not play their opponents close enough." (Monroe Co., Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1974, the Alexandria-based Bill Gaither Trio won a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance in the Gospel category. Bill and Gloria Gaither and their ensembles have performed for decades winning multiple Grammys and Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. The Gaithers built an empire through their songwriting and publishing, and wrote more than 700 songs, many of which became staples in the Christian community, such as "Because He Lives" and "I Am a Promise." (Madison Co.)
In 2012, an EF-4 tornado, traveling 60 miles an hour with wind speeds of 175 miles an hour, ripped through five Indiana counties, including Ripley, Scott, Washington, Jefferson, and Clark. The disaster took the lives of eleven people in southern Indiana, and even more in Kentucky. It decimated New Pekin, Henryville, Marysville and Chelsea and strewed debris seventy miles away, into Ohio and Kentucky. A West Liberty, Kentucky fire chief described the disaster as "the tornado version of Hurricane Katrina." (Ripley Co., Scott Co., Washington Co., Jefferson Co., Clark Co.)
In 1887, Governor Isaac P. Gray signed a bill that created a commission to build a monument on Indianapolis's "Circle Park" to honor Civil War veterans. In 1889, the monument's cornerstone was laid during a ceremony attended by Governor Alvin P. Hovey and President Benjamin Harrison. The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument was officially dedicated on May 15, 1902 in a ceremony presided over by General Lew Wallace.
In 1934, notorious bank robber John Dillinger broke out of the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, where he awaited trial for his role in the robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago and murder of an East Chicago police officer. Dillinger used a wooden pistol to intimidate inmates and jailers before fleeing from the "escape proof" jail and making a getaway in the sheriff’s personal car. Police shot and killed Dillinger on July 22 in front of the Biograph Theater in Chicago, where he and a companion had watched the gangster film Manhattan Melodrama. (Lake Co.)
In 1945, the Indiana General Assembly enacted the Indiana Veterans' Affairs Law, proposed by Governor Ralph F. Gates. The law created a state-level Department of Veterans’ Affairs and branch veterans’ offices throughout the state to work with Hoosier soldiers returning from World War II service. The department provided information about the educational benefits available to returning veterans at Indiana colleges and universities. It also informed veterans about apprenticeship and on-the-job training opportunities at 7,500 state-approved manufacturing, commercial, and business entities.
In 1958, Edgar D. Whitcomb published his World War II memoir Escape From Corregidor. In the book, he described his experience as one of thousands of POWs imprisoned by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor. He and another American managed to swim to Bataan, only to be recaptured two days later. The Kirkus Review noted that for Officer Whitcomb "the war meant the two years of subterfuge, unbelievable hardship suffered alone and the heroism which war at its worst sometimes evokes." Whitcomb went on to serve as governor of Indiana (1969-1973).
In 1902, the Art Association of Indianapolis formally opened the John Herron Art Institute in the extensively remodeled former home and studio of Hoosier Group artist T. C. Steele (now the site of Herron High School). The main building contained classrooms and gallery space for the Association’s extensive collection, which included Steele’s "Oaks at Vernon." The rear studio building, where Steele had worked, served as a classroom for younger students. The institute grew quickly, fulfilling the Association's goal to "cultivate and advance Art."
In 1907, social realist painter and muralist Gilbert Brown Wilson was born in Terre Haute. According to Antioch College, Wilson's social realism was in vogue during the 1930s, but "Where he differs from many of his contemporaries is his nearly apocalyptic vision of the world in which he lived." Rather than celebrating progress, he used scientific elements to express anxieties about the future. The Hoosier artist painted murals in schools, including at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Terre Haute and Indiana State University. (Vigo Co.)
In 1914, Muncie's first policewoman Alfaretta Hart confronted the city's male prohibitionists at the Wysor Grand Opera House. The wealthy reformer accused them of being hypocrites for moralizing against drinking when they had frequented the red light district and engaged in behavior that harmed the city's disenfranchised. During her term as policewoman, Hart worked to expose the abuse of women and called for wholesale reform of Indiana's criminal justice system. She faced backlash for her efforts and resigned at the end of the year due to "health reasons." (Delaware Co.)
In 2018, Hoosiers purchased alcohol on Sunday for the first time in modern Indiana history. On February 28, Governor Eric Holcomb signed the historic bill allowing for carryout alcohol sales on Sundays between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. The Associated Press noted that "For decades, efforts to overturn the law foundered among bickering by interest groups — most notably liquor store owners, who stood to lose business to big box retailers on a major shopping day." The law, originally scheduled to take effect on July 1, allowed for approximately 3,800 Hoosier establishments, including grocery, convenience, and liquor stores to sell alcohol. Indiana became the forty-first state to allow for the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
In 1860, Samuel Luther "Big Sam" Thompson was born in Danville. Thompson got his start in baseball playing for teams in Danville, Indianapolis, and Evansville. His major league debut came in 1885 with the Detroit Wolverines of the National League (NL). In 1889, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies where he spent 10 seasons. Among his statistical accomplishments: he was the NL batting champion (1887), two time NL home run leader (1889, 1895), and three time NL leader in runs batted in (RBI) (1887, 1894, 1895). When he retired in 1898 with a .331 career batting average, and in second place on the career home run list with 126. He also had a career average of .923 RBIs a game, which as of 2018 remains a Major League Baseball career record. In 1906, at age 46, Thompson came out of retirement to play eight games with the Detroit Tigers. Even at that age, he batted .226, added four more to his RBI total, and became one of the oldest players to hit a triple. He was inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY in 1974. (Hendricks Co.)
In 1913, Senator John W. Kern became the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. While the designation of floor party leaders was not officially developed until later, the Howard County native is often recognized as the first majority leader. During his tenure, he worked closely with President Woodrow Wilson’s administration to advance progressive legislation and reforms.
In 1923, Governor Warren T. McCray vetoed the Moorhead Memorial Day Bill, which would have banned all “commercialized sporting events,” including the Indianapolis 500, from taking place on Memorial Day. According to historian Nick Sacco, the Grand Army of the Republic, comprised of Civil War veterans for whom Memorial Day was originally established, strongly supported the bill and criticized "the race as an insult to the memory of United States soldiers who died during the Civil War." The legislation also garnered support, primarily from younger World War I veterans and members of the newly-formed American Legion. Ultimately, the efforts of the GAR failed and the Indianapolis 500 continues to take place on Memorial Day Weekend.
In 1948, Raintree County, written by Bloomington author Ross Lockridge Jr., was declared a number one best seller. The book, described by some critics as the Great American Novel, takes place in 1892 in a fictionalized Indiana town. Over the course of one day its protagonist, John Shawnessy, recalls forty years of his life, including his Hoosier youth, Civil War battles, and Gilded Age politics. The day after the book was declared a best seller, Lockridge took his own life in Bloomington at the age of 33. The grueling process of revising to appease his publisher and public backlash about the book’s sexuality and irreverence had plunged him into depression. The death of the new literary star stunned the nation, attracting over 2,000 to his funeral and prompting an obituary on the front page of the New York Times. (Monroe Co.)
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Hugh McCulloch of Fort Wayne to become secretary of the Treasury. He continued to serve in the cabinet after Lincoln's assassination and throughout President Andrew Johnson’s administration. As secretary, McCulloch "maintained a policy of reducing the federal war debt and the careful reintroduction of federal taxation in the South" (according to the U.S. Treasury Dept.). McCulloch also fought a losing battle to conquer Reconstruction era inflation by returning U.S. currency to the gold standard. In 1884, President Chester Arthur tapped McCulloch again to serve as secretary for the final four months of his administration. (Allen Co.)
In 1900, the newly-formed Social Democratic Party of America held its national convention in Indianapolis at Reichwein's Hall. Convention delegates nominated Terre Haute socialist leader Eugene V. Debs as the party’s presidential candidate. Debs subsequently ran for president in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920 (which he did so from prison). (Vigo Co.)
In 1922, Sullivan native Will H. Hays Sr. became first chairman of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America. Film producers hired him to self-police the motion picture industry, which was under fire due to scandals in Hollywood, and production of movies deemed to be offensive to standards of public morality. The Motion Picture Production Code, instituted in 1930, which became popularly known as the Hays Code. The code began to lose its effectiveness in the 1950s, and in 1968 it was replaced with the MPAA film rating system. Before becoming chairman, Hays served as chairman of the Republican National Committee (1918-1921) and as postmaster general under President Warren G. Harding (1921-1922). (Sullivan Co.)
In 1733, François-Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes wrote perhaps the earliest extant letter from Post Vincennes (established a year or two earlier). He wrote, "The fort which I have built is about eighty miles in the Wabash country up the river by which the English have been able to descend and open up commerce with these nations. The place is very suitable in which to build a great settlement which I would have done if I had had troops enough." (Knox Co.)
In 1823, the first issue of the Western Censor, & Emigrants Guide was published in Indianapolis. It became the second paper established in the capital city. Two years after its debut it changed its name to the Indiana Journal. The Journal took editorial positions in favor of the National Republicans, Whigs, and later the Republican Party. It was strongly Unionist during the Civil War, and carried on a fierce rivalry with the Democratic Sentinel. In the late 1800s, the Journal established a reputation as a patron for Indiana authors including James Whitcomb Riley, who published hundreds of poems in its pages. In the 1880s, the Journal’s publisher, John C. New, became a major influence in Republican politics. New and the Journal lobbied hard for Benjamin Harrison’s presidential nomination in 1888. After 81 years in print, the Journal was acquired by the publisher of the Indianapolis Morning Star. The Journal title survived a few more months in the masthead of the Indianapolis Morning Star and Journal, before it disappeared in October 1904.
In 1883, classes began at the Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman) in Terre Haute. According to the school, the "’first private engineering college west of the Alleghenies’" trained future engineers through a combination of theoretical and practical work. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report College Guide named the school’s undergraduate engineering program best in the country for the nineteenth consecutive year. (Vigo Co.)
In 1893, Walter Q. Gresham, a native of Harrison County, became the thirty-third U.S. Secretary of State under President Grover Cleveland. A former Civil War general and long-time U.S. district court judge, Gresham previously served in President Chester Arthur’s cabinet from 1883-1884, where he was postmaster general for 16 months, and secretary of the Treasury for two months. A life-long Republican, Gresham accepted the secretary of State appointment from the Democratic president Cleveland in 1883, and cited his dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. As secretary, Gresham investigated the U.S.’s failed attempt to annex Hawaii. He concluded that the overthrow of Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani was a coup by pro-American sugar plantations. Also during his tenure, he cited the Monroe Doctrine in diplomatic attempts to counter British influence in Central and South America, and advocated for the interests of U.S. citizens in the Ottoman Empire. He served as secretary of State until his death on May 28, 1895. (Harrison Co.)
In 1913, Herman “Suz” Sayger scored 113 points for Culver in a 154-10 victory over Winamac. His feat remains the all-time single-game scoring record in Indiana High School Athletic Association basketball history. The Culver Citizen reported "This is the highest score that the team has ever made, and the second highest made in the state--the highest being 169-0." Sayger also had 79 and 60 point games during his high school career. Sayger continued his athletic career at Heidelberg College where he also later coached. In 1932 in Tiffin, Ohio, he organized an exhibition game played under rules that introduced the three point shot. This was over 35 years before the three pointer became a fixture in the ABA, and later in the NCAA and NBA. (Marshall Co.)
In 1915, the Indiana General Assembly established the Indiana Historical Commission to facilitate statewide commemorations of the centennial of Indiana's statehood in 1916. Under the commission's guidance, Hoosiers celebrated the anniversary with historical publications, pageants, monuments, creation of a state flag, and establishment of the state parks system. When the Indiana General Assembly ended the commission in 1925, its activities became the mandate of the Indiana Historical Bureau.
In 1949, Governor Henry F. Schricker signed the Hunter-Bidner Law, known as the School Bill. The law prohibited the segregation of students based on "race, creed or color." The Indianapolis Recorder noted that the law "was the culmination of a fight extending almost a score of years, and waged by literally thousands of freedom-loving citizens who battled on many fronts." The Indiana General Assembly enacted this desegregation legislation five years in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which declared the segregation of black and white students in public schools to be unconstitutional. However, Indianapolis' Crispus Attucks High School was not desegregated until 1971.
In 1902, Willem Aughe Ghere was born in Frankfort. He later anglicized his name to Will Geer, and became a popular character actor. Geer is best-known for his role as Grandpa Zeb on the television show The Waltons, for which he earned an Emmy Award in 1975. In the 1950s, he refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and was subsequently blacklisted for most of the next decade and a half. He appeared in television shows ranging from Bonanza and Mayberry R.F.D. to Bewitched, Mission: Impossible, and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. His movie credits included In Cold Blood, Winchester ’73, and Salt of the Earth. The New York Times noted that he typically "played the role of crusty but kindly men, men who seemed gruff but were really quite sentimental at heart." (Clinton Co.)
In 1907, Governor J. Frank Hanly signed the eugenic sterilization act. The new law "to prevent procreation of confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles and rapists" required prisons and state mental hospitals to sterilize inmates, as long as two physicians verified they suffered from a mental disability or mental illness. Governor Thomas R. Marshall halted sterilizations in 1909 and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the 1907 law unconstitutional in 1921. A 1927 law reinstated sterilization and added court appeals. In the decades that followed, approximately 2,500 persons in state custody were sterilized under state law. In 1974, Governor Otis R. Bowen approved Public Law No. 60, which repealed all laws concerning sterilization of people with developmental disabilities in Indiana.
In 1945, Governor Ralph F. Gates signed the Fair Employment Practices Act at a time when returning World War II veterans pushed women and black workers out of jobs at a higher rate than white male workers. In early 1946, the Fair Employment Practice Commission was set up “to discourage, the practice, when and where found, of denying employment by discriminating against employees on account of race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry.” The Indianapolis Recorder noted that the Indiana law, one of the first in the nation, was “advisory,” whereas the recently passed New York State fair employment law had “real teeth.”
In 1962, Purdue University’s Terry Dischinger finished the season averaging 32.8 points a game. The Terre Haute native became the third player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring for three consecutive seasons. Dischinger ended his Boilermaker career as a two-time consensus first-team All-American, and also earned a gold medal from the 1960 Olympics. He was drafted by the Chicago Zephyrs in the NBA and won Rookie of the Year in 1963. After nine season in the pros, Dischinger became an orthodontist in Oregon. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1972, over 10,000 Americans of color attended the National Black Political Convention in Gary. State delegates and attendees-comprised of Black Panthers, Socialists, Democrats, Republicans, and Nationalists-hoped to craft a cohesive political strategy to advance black civil rights. The three-day convention attracted the support of Reverend Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Bobby Seale, James Brown, and Muhammad Ali. Despite tension over issues like forced busing and the endorsement of a presidential candidate, the convention produced a National Black Agenda, designed to extend the movement beyond the convention. (Lake Co.)
In 1911, Crawfordsville won the state’s first high school basketball tournament, defeating Lebanon by the score of 24 to 17. The game was held at Indiana University's original Assembly Hall before an estimated crowd of 1,200. (Montgomery Co.)
In 1934, African American scholar and author Dr. W.E.B. DuBois spoke at the Senate Avenue YMCA as part of the association's Monster Meeting series. He addressed the law of Indiana and twenty-seven other states when he said he opposed the sterilization of the "feeble-minded," criminals, and epileptics. He alleged that sterilization would cause underprivileged groups to suffer "not because they ought to but because of lack of scientific basis for the proposition that all unfit parents have unfit children.” In his speech, Dr. DuBois also criticized the NAACP's stance on segregation and asserted that prejudice would end when black farmers and workers achieved “intelligent economic independence."
In 1963, with the encouragement of Noble County residents, the Indiana General Assembly made Arthur Franklin Mapes’ poem “Indiana” the official state poem. Mapes, a machinist for the Flint and Walling Manufacturing Company in Kendallville, wrote poetry as a hobby, and recited it in the community and on the radio. "Indiana," written in 1961, concluded "Lovely are the fields and meadows, That reach out to hills that rise / Where the dreamy Wabash River / Wanders on . . . through paradise." (Noble Co.)
In 1877, Terre Haute based politician Richard W. Thompson assumed the position of secretary of the Navy despite the fact that he never served in the Navy, a point of which newspapers took note. In an article speculating about how Thompson received the appointment, the Terre Haute Weekly Gazette ribbed that Thompson told President Rutherford B. Hayes “he presumed he owed his appointment to the recognition by the President of the necessity of establishing a first-class navy yard at Terre Haute.” A story, likely apocryphal, circulated that when Thompson toured his first naval vessel he exclaimed, “Why the durned thing’s hollow!” The newspapers soon mockingly nicknamed him the “Admiral of the Wabash.” (Vigo Co.)
In 1892, New Yorker writer Janet Flanner was born in Indianapolis, the daughter of Frank Flanner, co-founder of the long-respected Flanner and Buchanan Funeral business. Janet attended Tudor Hall School for Girls (now Park Tudor High School) and wrote for the Indianapolis Star as a cinema critic. She moved to France and in 1925 submitted her first manuscript, a “Letter from Paris,” to New Yorker co-founder Harold Ross. As a regular columnist, Flanner covered European politics and culture - from the Parisian art scene in the 1920s to the rise of Hitler in the 1930s.
In 1914, Purdue University received the bequest of Antoinette Fell for a 360 acre farm outside Oolitic. The same year Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service. The farm known as the Moses Fell Annex or the Moses Fell Experimental Farm was used for experimental purposes, such as soil fertility studies. The Purdue Agriculturist reported in 1919 that "forty-four lines of investigation have been in progress bearing on some of the most important problems affecting farm management in southern Indiana. This work involves the uses of line, legumes, various fertilizers and drainage in soil improvement work." The annex was renamed the Feldun-Purdue Agricultural Center and, as of 2018, "is Purdue's oldest, active research farm at the same location." (Lawrence Co.)
In the early morning hours of March 13, 1945, Second Lieutenant Harry J. Michael from Milford, Indiana led his rifle platoon in an assault on an enemy position near Neiderzerf, Germany. Lt. Michael discovered two Nazi machine gun nests during his company’s ascent up a wooded ridge. Without drawing notice, he “surprised the enemy and captured the guns and crews.” At daybreak, the U.S. soldiers heard voices, and discovered an SS (Schutzstaffel) unit near their position. Lt. Michael and his platoon flanked, and attacked the enemy with hand grenades. After a bloody fight, the platoon “captured 25 members of an SS mountain division, 3 artillery pieces, and 20 horses.” Lt. Michael continued a reconnaissance of the woods. He ventured out once and killed two Nazis, wounded four, and captured six others single handedly. He ventured out again, and this time returned with seven more prisoners. In the afternoon of the same day, he “led his platoon on a frontal assault of a line of enemy pillboxes, successfully capturing the objective, killing 10 and capturing 30 prisoners.” On the morning of the 14th, his company fell under sniper fire and, while attempting to discover the shooter’s location, Lt. Michael was killed. His body was returned to Indiana where it was interred in a Goshen cemetery. For his actions on March 13, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. (Kosciusko Co., Elkhart Co.)
In 1998, Valparaiso University's Bryce Drew made a "leaning" three-pointer to beat Ole Miss in a stunning NCAA Tournament victory. Sportswriter Martin Rickman described "the Shot:" “All of it -- the pump fake, the touch pass and the jumper with Bryce’s father and Valpo’s coach, Homer Drew, watching -- looks more like choreography than basketball in real time, a scripted moment to a storybook underdog saga that would lead to Valpo’s first and only Sweet Sixteen in school history." (Porter Co.)
In 2007, Indiana Wesleyan University’s women’s basketball team finished the season undefeated at 38-0 as they won the National Association of Interscholastic Athletics (NAIA) Division II championship. The Marion college squad became the first NAIA women’s basketball team to finish a season without a loss. The next season they extended their undefeated streak to 56. Since the Wildcat’s 2007 championship, several other women’s teams from Indiana have won the NAIA championship. IWU won a second title in 2013, Fort Wayne’s University of St. Francis finished with an undefeated record in 2014, and Marian University in Indianapolis won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. (Grant Co.)
In 1913, the Indiana General Assembly adopted Paul Dresser's "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" as the official state song. It became the first official emblem adopted by the state, and even predated the adoption of the state flag. According to a 2013 resolution by the Indiana General Assembly, the song’s chorus “reflects Paul Dresser’s love for Indiana and reminds all who hear it of the beauty of our state.” Contrary to popular belief, “Back Home Again in Indiana” is not the state song, even though it is more familiar to many people due to annual performances of it before the Indianapolis 500.
In 1944, the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons defeated Sheboygan to claim the franchise’s first National Basketball League championship. Bobby McDermott, a great scorer and a sometimes combative personality from the Queens, led the team to victory. McDermott was also named the league’s most valuable player. (Allen Co.)
In 1881, Marion County Representative John W. Furnas introduced a resolution to the House that would amend the Indiana Constitution to give women the right to vote. The House passed the resolution, and the Senate voted in favor of it the next day. However, proposed Constitutional amendments are required to pass two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before it goes before voters to decide. Despite an extensive campaign by women for the passage of the suffrage amendment, it failed to gain support in 1883 due to the links between prohibition and the suffrage movement. It would be another three decades before Hoosier women gained the right to vote in 1920.
In 1921, writer for the Emmy-award winning television show I Love Lucy Madelyn Pugh Davis was born in Indianapolis. She attended Shortridge High School, joining the school's fiction club with writer Kurt Vonnegut, and graduated from Indiana University’s School of Journalism in 1942. The Paley Center contended that “'During the formative years of television, when few women were working behind the screen, Madelyn Pugh Davis wrote one of the most popular shows of all time . . . [she] not only made her mark as a writer, but also opened the door for other women to follow in her footsteps.'”
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan visited Fort Wayne to meet with flood victims and observe relief efforts. According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, the flood caused approximately 9,000 residents to flee their homes and resulted in about $56 million in damages. Reportedly, the intensive efforts of volunteer sandbaggers earned Fort Wayne the moniker "The City That Saved Itself." (Allen Co.)
In 1950, a mock air attack over Indiana illustrated the failure of radar to detect potential Soviet planes transporting atomic bombs. B-26 bombers flown by members of the Air National Guard of Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois proceeded “completely undetected” by radar at Fort Harrison. Following the alarming mock air attack, Civil Defense Directors in fifty-one Indiana counties established Ground Observer Corps posts. The GOC was a collaborative program in which civilian volunteers built watchtowers in their backyards and community centers and contacted U.S. Air Force officials if they suspected Soviet aircraft. The GOC served as an opportunity for families, neighbors, and community members to spend quality time together through the shared objective of improving national security.
In 1890, the Bowen-Merrill Company stationery and book store in Indianapolis caught fire. Eighty-six firemen fought the flames. The building’s wood framed roof and floors collapsed, dropping many men into the fire. What began as a minor fire quickly turned into an inferno and "for some time pandemonium reigned supreme . . . and the fire department was thrown into a wild state of confusion." Over ten deaths resulted in the deadliest fire for firefighters in Indianapolis history.
In 1934, Purdue University won the Big Ten championship without a single player over six-feet tall. It was the seventh conference title for Coach Ward Lambert and the Boilermakers. Led in scoring by All-American Norman Cottom, the team posted a 17-3 overall record and a 10-2 conference mark. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1960, a Lockheed Electra en route from Chicago to Florida crashed in Tell City. Local residents discovered nothing but a crater and bits of debris at the crash site. The Indy Star reported "One wing and two engines were found five miles away, but at the main crash site there was little more than a crater 20 feet deep and 40 feet across. Shreds of clothing and paper blew in the wind and collected in trees." Due to the absence of bodies, investigators identified the remains of only a few of the sixty-three victims. (Perry Co.)
In 1992, the Lancers of Winona Lake’s Grace College defeated Northwestern College of Iowa to win the inaugural National Association of Interscholastic Athletics (NAIA) Division II men’s basketball championship. Several other small Indiana colleges succeeded Grace in winning the NAIA Division II title. Bethel College in Mishawaka won in 1995, 1997, and 1998. St. Francis in Fort Wayne won in 2010. Indiana Wesleyan won in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Since the tournament started, Indiana schools have appeared in the finals eleven times. (Kosciusko Co., St. Joseph Co., Allen Co., Grant Co.)
In 2007, Coach Kris Huffman led DePauw University’s women’s basketball team to their first national championship. The Tigers defeated Washington University-St. Louis, 55-52 to win the NCAA Division III title. Six years later, on March 16, 2013, Coach Huffman led the Tigers to an undefeated record as they claimed their second national championship. They defeated the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 69-51. (Putnam Co.)
In 1836, James Overall, a free person of color, defended his Indianapolis home against white gang members. Overall shot, and wounded one of the accosters in self-defense. At a time when African Americans had few civil rights, including the ability to defend themselves in court, Marion County Circuit Court Judge ruled that Overall, and ultimately all Indiana’s free people of color, had the “natural” right to defend his family and property.
In 1845, pioneering apple farmer John Chapman, better known as "Johnny Appleseed," died near Fort Wayne. He had been protecting his saplings from cows that had broken down the fence of one of his orchards just north of Fort Wayne. Overcome by his exertions, he succumbed to the “winter plague.” Appleseed was buried along the St. Joseph River and the old feeder canal bed on the Archer farm. (Allen Co.)
In 1925, a tornado destroyed Indiana towns, including Griffin, Owensville, and Princeton after first devastating parts of Missouri and Illinois. The tri-state tornado injured hundreds and killed seventy-six. The American Red Cross and Indiana National Guard provided assistance, but heavy rains caused the Wabash River to flood and disrupt rescue efforts in Griffin. This tornado is rated one of the deadliest in U.S. weather history. (Gibson Co., Posey Co.)
In 1945, Indianapolis native and U.S. Army medical assistant William D. McGee crossed the Moselle River with troops attempting to capture Mulheim, Germany. During the first wave, mines detonated and injured his comrades. Private McGee rescued one of the injured men and stepped on a mine while trying to rescue a second victim. Despite bleeding profusely, he demanded that his comrades not attempt to save him, lest they injure themselves. The military awarded Private McGee with the Congressional Medal of Honor for "a concern for the well-being of his fellow soldiers that transcended all considerations for his own safety and a gallantry in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service."
In 1945, the Zollner Pistons of Fort Wayne defeated Sheboygan to repeat as champions of the National Basketball League. Bobby McDermott averaged over 20 points a game for the season in earning his second consecutive MVP award. (Allen Co.)
1950 Indiana State Teachers College won the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) men’s tournament (established in 1937 by Emil Liston and James Naismith for small colleges and universities). It was the third consecutive trip to the NAIB final four for the Sycamores. They were runner-ups under Coach John Wooden in 1948, and earned a third place finish under rookie college coach John Longfellow in 1949. These teams were powered by a trio from South Bend Central who followed Wooden to Terre Haute when he became coach in 1946. The players included Lenny Rzeszewski, Dan Dimich, and Bill Jagodzinski, who were all first generation children of eastern European immigrants. (Vigo Co.)
In 1953, Indiana University’s Bob Leonard hit a free throw with 27 seconds remaining as the “Hurrying Hoosiers” earned IU their second NCAA basketball title. The one point victory (69-68) over Kansas, the defending national champion, featured two legendary coaches in IU’s Branch McCracken and the KU’s Phog Allen. The game featured a battle of 6-9 centers – IU’s Don Schlundt and KU's B.H. Born. Schlundt tallied a game-high 30 points that included 9 of IU's 10 in the last period, while Born finished with 26. (Monroe Co.)
In 1889, Indiana Hospital for the Insane Superintendent Thomas Galbraith fired Dr. Sarah Stockton, the lead physician in the Women’s Department, for testifying against dismal hospital conditions. One trustee lamented her dismissal and charged that "Dr. Stockton was the only really capable physician out there. . . . the discharged physician knew more in a minute about the hospital and how its affairs should be conducted than Dr. Galbraith would learn in a year." Around 1900, Dr. Stockton returned to her former hospital, renamed Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane. The Indianapolis Star hailed her a pioneer, noting “Not longer than thirty years ago there was only one woman physician in Indianapolis-Dr. Sarah Stockton. Now there are fifty.”
In 1955, two all-black high schools competed for the highest honor in Hoosier Hysteria for the first time in Indiana basketball tournament history. Indianapolis’s Crispus Attucks High School defeated Gary’s Theodore Roosevelt, 97-74. Coach Ray Crowe, and players Oscar Robertson, Willie Merriweather, and Bill Scott led Attucks to victory. The team successfully defended the championship in 1956 while compiling an undefeated record.
In 1966, Texas Western University became the first NCAA basketball champions with an all-African American starting lineup when they defeated Coach Adolph Rupp’s all-white University of Kentucky basketball team. Two of Texas Western’s starters were Gary, Indiana natives. 6’1” guard Orsten Artis was a Froebel High School graduate. He was the third leading scorer for Texas Western with a 12.6 average. Gary Emerson product Harry Flournoy was a 6’5” forward who led the Miners with 10.7 rebounds a game. (Lake Co.)
In 1971, Huntingburg’s Don Buse was the Most Outstanding Player as he led the University of Evansville to the NCAA Division II basketball championship. It was the fifth national championship for the college and its coach, Arad McCutchan. McCutchan, an Evansville native, led the Purple Aces to tiles in 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965, and 1971. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inducted McCutchan in 1981. His 1964 and 1965 champions featured Jerry Sloan, who was the Most Outstanding Player during both tournaments. Sloan subsequently played for the Chicago Bulls, and coached the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons. (Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1971, House Enrolled Act 1002, also known as the Ross Township Buffer Zone Bill, became law without the governor’s signature. The controversial legislation exempted towns and cities in Lake County from the prohibition on incorporation if the town or city was within a three mile buffer zone of a larger city. The legislation allowed Merrillville to incorporate and fend off annexation by Gary. Some critics charged that the bill was racially motivated with “white flight” from Gary, and Gary’s election of an African American mayor. Ross Township was majority white in 1971. (Lake Co.)
In 1837, free person of color Elijah Roberts filed a land deed for property in north central Hamilton County near anti-slavery Quakers. Here, he and a group of free people of color who migrated from the South established a large, self-sustaining community in rural Indiana in the mid-1800s known as Roberts Settlement. By 1870, the settlement included over 200 residents and 1700 acres. Emphasis on education prepared new generations for college and careers in medicine, law, and ministry. (Hamilton Co.)
In 1954, underdog Milan High School defeated Muncie Central to win the state basketball championship at Butler Fieldhouse. Tied at 30 points each, Bobby Plump made a shot in the final few seconds of the game to beat the Bearcats. The Indy Star described the now famous play: "From the top of the key, Plump faked left and drove right, stopping on a dime as defender Jimmy Barnes rushed to stop him from getting to the basket, his momentum carrying him away from his man." The 1986 film Hoosiers is loosely based on the "Milan Miracle." (Ripley Co.)
In 1982, Wabash College’s Little Giants defeated Potsdam State to win the NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship. All-American Wabash center Pete Metzelaars said of the game "It was a great team effort and a great way to end my career . . . At the beginning of the season we had a lot of unknown quantities, but everybody just meshed together really well." (Montgomery Co.)
In 1854, Benedictine monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland founded Saint Meinrad Church in Spencer County. According to the St. Meinrad's website, the monks "came to southern Indiana at the request of a local priest (Father Joseph Kundek) who was seeking help to serve the pastoral needs of the growing German-speaking Catholic population and to prepare local men to be priests." By 1861, the monks expanded general course offerings for undergraduates, including classes in philosophy and theology. In 1954, the Roman Catholic Church bestowed the title of archabbey upon Saint Meinrad’s, making it one of few archabbeys in the United States. (Spencer Co.)
In 1892, officials in Harrisburg formed the Gas City Land Company. A few days later officials changed the city's name to Gas City. With an abundance of natural gas, the company hoped to build up the area’s population by using "the proceeds from the first sale of lots to provide free sites, gas, and water for factories, also for putting in a sewer system and laying out streets." Three months later, businessmen established eight factories, drawing thousands of workers to Gas City. By 1900, the population was nearly twenty-five times higher than that of 1890. The gas supply proved exhaustible and by 1904 the Gas City Land Company formally dissolved. However, the boom left the city with new infrastructures, such as a bank, opera house, and hotel. (Grant Co.)
In 1932, Purdue University guard John Wooden became the Big Ten's first three-time All American. The All-American Basketball Board also named Notre Dame center Ed Krause to the 1932 All-American team. Wooden, who is known for his success as a coach at UCLA, led the Boilermakers to two conference titles. His senior year, Purdue had the highest winning percentage of any collegiate conference team in the nation. Wooden was also the Big Ten's top scorer during his senior year with a then impressive 12.1 points per game. Wooden's league record of three consecutive All-American honors would stand for thirty years until Ohio State University's Jerry Lucas was named an All-American from 1960 to 1962. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1952, Karl Malden won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Harold "Mitch" Mitchell in A Streetcar Named Desire. Born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago to a Czech mother and a Serbian father, his family moved to Gary when he was five. There his father worked in the steel mills. Malden participated in Serbian religious and social organizations in Gary. He attended Ralph Waldo Emerson High School, where he was involved in drama activities. After graduating from high school, he worked for a time in the steel mills before deciding to pursue acting. Malden went on to act in over fifty films, portraying the warden in Birdman of Alcatraz, Madame Rose's suitor in Gypsy, Father Barry in On the Waterfront, and General Omar Bradley in Patton. In the 1970s, he earned four Emmy nominations for his role as Lt. Mike Stone in the television show The Streets of San Francisco, co-starring actor Michael Douglas. In 2001, Valparaiso University awarded him an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. (Lake Co.)
In 1979, while many in Indiana were most excited about Larry Bird leading Indiana State University to the Final Four, Indiana University and Purdue University met in the final of the National Invitational Tournament. The Hoosiers squeaked past the Boilermakers, 53-52. (Monroe Co.)
In 1986, the last telecast of WTTV's popular children's program Popeye and Janie aired. Janie was one two local television hosts beloved by Hoosier children during the era, along with "Cowboy Bob." Janie's show premiered in 1963 and soon became a classic with its segments featuring cartoons, crafts, music, and joke-telling by local Girl and Boy Scouts.
In 1824, white men murdered nine Seneca, including three women and four children, at their winter camp on a stream near Pendleton. To allay tension between settlers and American Indians, U.S. Indian Agent John Johnston provided supplies to families of the victims and built a log jail to secure the accused. Following jury trials, three perpetrators were hanged in 1825. According to historian David Thomas Murphy, the incident represented the first time white men were "under American law, sentenced to death and executed for the murder of Native Americans." (Madison Co.)
In 1835, Robert Francis Catterson was born in Beech Grove. He gave up his medical practice to enlist in the 14th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War. Catterson participated during the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862 and the Battle of Antietam. He became colonel of the 97th Indiana, and commanded the regiment during the Siege of Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, and the Battle of Chattanooga. On May 31, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier general of U.S. volunteers. After the war, he moved to Arkansas as a carpetbagger. In the South, he aligned himself with the Republican Reconstruction government. Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton, a Republican from Pennsylvania, placed Catterson in command of an Arkansas militia, which included a company of African American soldiers, in order to suppress violence against persons of color. Catterson’s militia skirmished with armed citizens and reportedly discovered a Ku Klux Klan meeting place and materials, leading to the arrest of suspected Klan members. Catterson served as the mayor of Little Rock from 1872 to 1874.
In 1836, Francis Vigo died in Vincennes. The Italian-born trader and merchant moved to Spanish-held St. Louis in 1772, where he traded fur with indigenous tribes and French settlers. In 1778, Vigo supported American George Rogers Clark with finances and supplies to capture French inhabited Kaskaskia and Cahokia from British control. Later that year, the British took Vigo prisoner in Vincennes and released him only after he promised not to interfere with the British cause. However, he returned to St. Louis and provided Clark with information about British plans. Due to this information, Clark's army was able to surprise the British in Vincennes in the winter of 1779. Although Vigo was impoverished at the time of his death in 1836, he still anticipated reimbursement from the U.S. government for the aid he supplied during the American Revolution. He stipulated in his will that if his estate should ever receive compensation from the government, then the money should be directed toward the purchase of a bell for the courthouse of his namesake, Vigo County, in Terre Haute. In 1875, nearly 40 years after his death, and a century after the American Revolution, the federal government compensated Vigo’s estate for his financial contributions to the cause, and included over $40,000 in interest. (Knox Co.)
In 1921, George Crowe, Indiana's "first Mr. Basketball," was born in Whiteland. After a standout athletic career at Franklin High School and Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), Crowe served in the Army at the end of WWII. After the war, Crowe played opposite Jackie Robinson on the Los Angeles Red Devils touring basketball team. He then joined the legendary New York Rens basketball team. Crowe also played professional baseball, first with the Negro National League's New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans, and then with Major League Baseball teams like the Boston Braves, Cincinnati Redlegs, and St. Louis Cardinals. (Johnson Co.)
In 1902, production began at the South Bend Watch Company, first established in Columbus, Ohio and subsequently acquired by Clement Studebaker’s sons. According to The History Museum in South Bend, "A group of 145 workers, mostly German watchmakers, had moved from Columbus, Ohio, to help produce the new watch that later was to reach a production of 60,000 watches per year." The company became known for its quality watches with railroad-grade features. In 1929, the company announced its closing because "it, like many other famous American watch firms, learned that the end of the 1920s was the end of the pocket watch era and that they could not compete with the European market in the new fad of wrist watches." (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1913, the Great Flood devastated much of Indiana, as the Ohio and Wabash rivers and their tributaries spilled over banks and levees. For days, the flood swept through Indiana and proved to be one of the worst weather disasters in Midwest history, causing hundreds to lose their lives and thousands their homes. Film star Carole Lombard was one of thousands impacted and her Fort Wayne childhood home became a rescue center.
In 1917, a tornado struck New Albany, ranking among the deadliest to strike Indiana since 1900. The mayor and others formed the Citizens Relief Committee, which joined forces with the Red Cross. Within hours, workers dispersed throughout the affected area. Red Cross nurses treated the injured at St. Edward Hospital. The tornado killed at least forty-five people, including teachers and students at the "Olden Street Colored School," and injured hundreds more. It destroyed approximately 300 homes and buildings, left 2,500 homeless, and resulted in over $1,000,000 in total damages (over $20.7 million in 2018). (Floyd Co.)
In 1965, Mitchell native Virgil "Gus" Grissom commanded the Gemini III flight with John Young. They orbited the earth three times and became the first astronauts to maneuver a spacecraft in orbit. According to NASA, the objectives for the successful "five hour flight were to test all of the major operating systems and to determine if controlled maneuvering of the spacecraft was possible." (Lawrence Co.)
In 1930, actor Terence Steven "Steve" McQueen was born in Beech Grove. He drew from a troubled childhood of neglect and abuse to create his “King of Cool” Hollywood persona. McQueen starred as a tough anti-hero character in iconic films such as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1966 film The Sand Pebbles, directed by fellow Hoosier Robert Wise.
In 1936, car thief George W. Barrett was hanged in the Marion County jail yard for the killing of FBI Special Agent Nelson B. Klein. Barrett was on the run for his suspected involvement in motor vehicle thefts in Ohio and across the country when Agent Klein and Agent Donald C. McGovern located him in College Corner along the Indiana-Ohio border. The lawmen and outlaw engaged in a shootout. Barrett and Agent Klein were both wounded. Agent Klein, however, was mortally wounded and died at the scene. A 1934 law made killing a government agent a federal offense, punishable by death.
In 1973, Indiana University women’s basketball team advanced to the semi-finals of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). This occurred less than a year after Title IX went into effect, which banned gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid. The AIAW was the premiere women’s college athletic organization before the NCAA began sponsoring women’s tournaments in 1982. (Monroe Co.)
In 1919, farmers founded the Indiana Federation of Farmers' Associations, now known as the Indiana Farm Bureau. Low commodity prices and a depleted labor force due to World War I conscription impelled farmers to organize. The grassroots, member-led organization presented farmers' issues before local, state, and federal governmental agencies. The Bureau's purpose, as of 2018, is "'to be an effective advocate for farmers and through its policies and programs, promote agriculture and improve the economic and social welfare of member families.'"
In 1995, the University of Southern Indiana’s Screaming Eagles rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat Cal State-Bakersfield for the NCAA Division II men’s basketball national championship. Coach Bruce Pearl, and Stan Gouard, the Division II Player of the Year, led the Evansville-based university to the title.(Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1979, the undefeated Indiana State Sycamores, led by Larry Bird of French Lick, lost in the NCAA championship game to Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the Michigan State University Spartans. This meeting of the legends skyrocketed the popularity of college basketball. In his When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball, Seth Davis described the 1979 match as "'the game that ushered in March Madness as we now know it. . . . About 18 million households housing 40 million sets of eyeballs—translating to a 24.1 Nielsen rating—tuned in that night. That broadcast rating still stands as a record."
In 2015, Governor Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in Scott County due to an HIV outbreak caused by intravenous drug use. Executive Order 15-05 allocated resources to combat the outbreak and ordered the state to coordinate a "multi-agency response." It also required the State Department of Health to establish a command center that would coordinate treatment of HIV and substance abuse. The order authorized Scotty County officials to respond to the epidemic, including implementing a controversial needle exchange program. (Scott Co.)
In 1812, the founder of what would become the City of Evansville Hugh McGary purchased land from the general government near the Ohio River. He, along with James W. Jones, and General Robert M. Evans (who served with William Henry Harrison during the Battle of Tippecanoe and for whom Evansville was named) laid out Evansville. McGary, considered the community's "first" citizen, was elected president of the town trustees and owned a tavern that "had something of the character of a club. All the prominent people met there and discussed the events and gossip of the day."
In 1933, Governor Paul V. McNutt gave the keynote speech at an anti-Hitler meeting in Chicago. In his speech, he asked, "Are we to join with the traitors of brotherhood, or to enlist in the war of justice? What nation would deny its pioneers and a people who have made such contributions to culture? No government can long endure that fails to guarantee to its people the right to live as human beings. The present government of Germany thus writes its own destruction.” McNutt served as High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands from 1937-1939 and 1945-47. His commitment to the protection of European Jews extended into this role, as McNutt denounced the horrific policy of Kristallnacht and ensured the escape of “1,200 German and Austrian Jews” to the Philippine Islands in 1938-39.
In 1971, Indiana University hired 30-year-old Bobby Knight to coach the men's basketball team. Under his leadership, the Hoosiers went undefeated during the 1976 season and won the NCAA championship. Knight also led IU to titles in 1981 and 1987. He coached the U.S. men's basketball team to gold at the 1984 Olympic Games. As winning as he was controversial, Knight notoriously threw a chair across the floor during a game at Assembly Hall in 1985, earning a one game suspension. After a series of accusations of verbal and physical abuse of players, Indiana University President Myles Brand fired Knight in 2000. At the time of his termination, he was the all-time leader in Big Ten wins with 353. He won over 73% of all the games he coached during his 29-year IU career. (Monroe Co.)
In 1903, Indiana University’s board of trustees voted in favor of President William Lowe Bryan’s proposition to establish a two year preparatory medical course in Bloomington. Five years later, IU merged with the Medical College of Indiana, and established clinical instruction in Indianapolis. This became the IU School of Medicine. In 1914, the IU Medical Center came into being when the first teaching hospital was completed. By 2018, the IU School of Medicine operated eight regional campuses and became the U.S.'s largest accredited school of medicine.
In 1936, basketball’s founder Dr. James Naismith attended the 25th annual Indiana High School Athletic Association basketball tournament, which pitted Everett Case’s Frankfort Hot Dogs against Murray Mendenhall’s Fort Wayne Central Tigers. In his first exposure to Hoosier Hysteria, Naismith recalled that the sight of Butler Fieldhouse “packed with fifteen thousand people, gave me a thrill I shall not soon forget.” During his visit, Naismith told an Indianapolis audience “Basketball really had its beginning in Indiana which remains today the center of the sport.”
In 1984, under the cover of night Baltimore Colts Owner Robert Irsay moved the NFL franchise to Indianapolis. After unsuccessfully convincing Maryland to establish a new stadium, Irsay shocked Baltimore fans by relocating the team to Indiana. Over the team’s first decade and a half in Indianapolis, the Colts only had five winning seasons, and compiled a 38% winning percentage. The team’s fortunes began to change in 1997 when Jim Irsay succeeded his father as owner. He hired Bill Polian as general manager, who subsequently drafted quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James, defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, and other key players. Polian hired Tony Dungy as coach in 2002, who led the team to victory in Super Bowl XLI.
In 1998, for the first time in Indiana history, the Indiana High School Athletic Association recognized four state champions in boys’ basketball as a replacement for the single-class system that had been in place since 1912 (the 1911 tournament was not held under the auspices of the IHSAA). In the final games, Pike High School defeated Marion for the 4A title, Indianapolis’ Cathedral triumphed over Yorktown for the 3A championship, Alexandria beat Southwestern (Hanover) for the 2A crown, and Lafayette Central Catholic bested Bloomfield in the single A final. The decision to move from a single-class to a multi-class format was a matter of great and sometimes heated public debate in the state due to the Cinderella-like stories in “Hoosier Hysteria” lore where David could slay Goliath. As recently as 2012 a state senate bill contained a clause to abolish the class tournament, but the senate ultimately struck that provision out of the legislation.
In 1999, Purdue University’s women’s basketball team beat Duke University to win the NCAA championship. Purdue rallied after Stephanie White-McCarty, "an all-American and a player of legendary status in Indiana," suffered an injury during the game. The victory was Purdue's first women's basketball national championship and the first national championship for a women's Big Ten team. The Boillermakers’ Ukari Figgs was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1849, a jury found Luther A. Donnell guilty under a state law of aiding Caroline and her four children in their escape from slavery in Kentucky. The court fined Donnell $50. Donnell and his attorney appealed the conviction. In Donnell v. State, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the conviction, claiming that under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Prigg v. Pennsylvania federal law superseded state law regarding aid to fugitive slaves. Prigg, a pro-slavery decision, was used in this case and elsewhere to benefit the anti-slavery cause. (Decatur Co.)
In 1878, composer Albert Von Tilzer was born in Indianapolis. After dropping out of high school, he moved to New York, where he began his career in the music industry. Von Tilzer went on to compose famous hits like "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time."
In 1976, for the first time in NCAA history, two teams from the same conference met in the national title game when Indiana University and Michigan competed for the championship. Scott May and Kent Benson triggered the IU offense, scoring 26 and 25 points, respectively, while leading the Hoosiers to an 86-68 victory over the Wolverines. Finishing with a perfect 32-0 record, Indiana became one of only seven teams to win the NCAA tournament without a loss during the regular season. (Monroe Co.)
In 1940, Indiana University claimed the school’s first-ever NCAA title with a 60-42 win over Kansas. Coached by Hall of Famer Branch McCracken, the "Hurryin' Hoosiers" used a display of speed to break an early 14-14 tie and roar to a 13-point lead at halftime against the Jayhawks. IU's 34 percent shooting performance in that game was a figure considered astounding at that time. Marvin Huffman, who earned MVP honors, joined Bill Menke and Jay McCleary as members of the All-Tournament team. (Monroe Co.)
In 1981, Indiana University claimed its fourth NCAA title with a 63-50 victory over North Carolina. The Hoosiers, coached by Bobby Knight, put the game away in the second half, jumping out to an 11-point lead seven minutes into the period. Isiah Thomas became the third Indiana player in school history to win tournament MVP honors after posting 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. (Monroe Co.)
In 1987, Indiana University’s men’s basketball team defeated Syracuse University to claim its fifth NCAA championship. Trailing by three points in the last minute, IU’s Keith Smart sunk two late shots for the victory. The 1987 title was coach Bobby Knight's third and final with IU, having led the team to victory in 1976 and 1981. (Monroe Co.)
In 1880, the city of Wabash became the brightest spot in Indiana after four of Charles Brush’s carbon-arc lamps were installed on the Wabash County courthouse tower. The Wabash Plain Dealer reported that at 8 p.m., “electric lamps of three thousand candle power each, put forth a noonday light for one circumference." It is estimated that the power of the lights illuminated to a half-mile radius, which was most of the town’s area. Hence, the city’s claim to be “the world’s first electrically lighted city.” (Wabash Co.)
In 1931, legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne died in a plane crash. The aircraft burst into flames before spiraling down upon a farm near Bazaar, Kansas. In addition to the "world-wide known football wizard," the crash took the lives of seven other passengers. The Greencastle Herald reported that when the news reached Notre Dame "class examinations which being conducted were suspended and thousands of students and townspeople swarmed the campus awaiting verification of the report which seemed utterly impossible to believe at first." Rockne led the Fighting Irish to national championships in 1924, 1929, and 1930. He coached the team to a 105-12-5 record between 1918 and 1931. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 2018, Indiana University's women's basketball team beat Virginia Tech, 65-57, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall to win their first WNIT Championship. According to the university, the team, led by Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, "tied a program-record 23 wins for the second-straight season, finishing 23-14 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play. Statistically, IU once again set program marks in points scored (2,595) and finished tied for second in field goals made (934) and 3-point field goals made (240)."
In 2001, Notre Dame University’s women’s basketball team defeated Purdue University’s team, 68-66, and won the NCAA championship. The victory represented Notre Dame's first national title in a "revenue-sport" since 1988. According to Notre Dame Magazine, "Notre Dame’s title seemed to trigger a collective shift of the campus hero structure that shook an Irish athletic culture traditionally rooted in machismo. All of a sudden, [Coach] Muffet’s Misses were mentioned in the same sentences as [Coach Frank] Leahy’s Lads, and the Notre Dame women’s basketball coach was in greater demand publicly than the Notre Dame football coach."
Seventeen years to-the-day later, in 2018, Coach McGraw led her team to the university’s second women’s basketball NCAA championship. The University of Notre Dame squad defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 61-58. The Fighting Irish clinched victory in the last second of the game with Arike Ogunbowale's jumper. Two days before, Ogunbowale made another last second shot to beat the previously undefeated University of Connecticut Huskies in the national semifinals. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1918, Prohibition went into effect in Indiana, nearly two years before the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution made it illegal to produce, transport, and sell alcohol in the United States. The Indianapolis News reported that unlike other states that celebrated Prohibition with statewide parties, Hoosiers "were focused on the more important things of war [World War I] in this serious time in the nation's history and that they deemed revelries of the Bacchanalian variety to be improper and not in accord with the meaning of the times." The paper reported that all 3,520 bars in the state and 547 in Indianapolis ceased to stop selling liquor and that many saloon owners had already sold most of their stock before midnight. In June 1933, Hoosiers voted to repeal the Amendment and by December of that year the 21st Amendment was ratified, which ended Prohibition in the U.S.
In 1920, Myrtle G. Meara, a delegate from the Hammond Woman's Franchise League, filed a request to be on the ballot for the Indiana General Assembly's May Primary. The state attorney general denied her request five days later and no female candidate for office appeared on the 1920 ballot. On January 16 of that year, a joint session granted Indiana women the right to vote. In 1921, Julia D. Nelson of Muncie became the first woman to serve in the Indiana General Assembly. (Lake Co.)
In 1866, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase handed down the Supreme Court of the Untied States’ decision in Ex Parte Milligan. During the Civil War, Huntington lawyer and ardent Democrat Lambdin P. Milligan joined a secret order called the Sons of Liberty, which aided draft dodgers and supported armed uprising against Union efforts. In 1864, a military commission in Indianapolis tried and convicted civilian Milligan of treason and conspiracy, and sentenced him to be hanged. While awaiting execution in prison, Milligan and his co-conspirators petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. The April 1866 Supreme Court decision ruled that civilians shall not be tried by military tribunals when civil courts are open (as they were in Indiana) and that Milligan was entitled to a discharge. He returned to Huntington and resumed his law practice. (Huntington Co.)
In 1902, the last verified passenger pigeon in the wild was shot near Laurel. The birds were once so abundant that they blocked out “almost the entire visible area of sky" in the Hoosier state. Their extinction spurred necessary support from the public for broader wildlife protection. (Franklin Co.)
In 1911, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the Dr. Miles Medical Company in the price fixing case Dr. Miles Medical Company v. John D. Park & Sons Company. The ruling determined that it was unlawful for a manufacturer to set the minimum price at which an independent reseller may sell the product. According to americanbar.org, Dr. Miles claimed his company's "distribution system was intended to address deep discounting by department stores that had led consumers to view Dr. Miles’ medicines as inferior and a majority of retail druggists to drop (or ignore) the line as unprofitable." The Floridian company, which originated in Elkhart, manufactured and sold Dr. Miles' Nervine, Restorative Nerve and Liver pills, and other medicines. Dr. Miles is considered a classic anti-trust case. (Elkhart Co.)
In 1926, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, one of NASA’s original astronauts, was born in Mitchell. In his youth, he served as Honor Guard leader of his local Boy Scout troop and delivered newspapers. In 1944, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and in 1950 graduated from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He served as a U.S. Air Force combat pilot during the Korean War, and subsequently became a flight instructor and test pilot. NASA introduced Grissom, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, Gordan Cooper, Wally Schirra, and Donald Slayton at a 1959 news conference as America’s first astronauts, dubbed the “Mercury Seven.” Grissom became the second American in space in 1961 on board the Liberty Bell 7. He later commanded Gemini 3 in 1965. In 1967, the command module for Apollo 1 caught fire during a pre-launch test, and killed Grissom and his crew, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. (Lawrence Co.)
In 1974, a "Super Outbreak" of tornados swept through thirteen states, including Indiana. Over the course of two days, twenty-one tornadoes swept through thirty-eight counties. The cyclones took the lives of approximately fifty-two Hoosiers and injured approximately 1,000. The Greencastle Banner Graphic reported on the day following the outbreak that Governor Otis R. Bowen undertook an eight hour tour of devastated Indiana cities and "rural Hoosier farmland." The tornadoes hit Monticello and Rochester especially hard in northern Indiana and in the southern part of the state the cyclones "ripped along the Ohio River, smashing into an area on the Indiana side from Louisville, Ky., to Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Madison area the hardest hit along this path." President Richard Nixon declared Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Alabama national disaster areas, making them eligible for federal funds.
In 1825, classes began at the State Seminary of Indiana in Bloomington, the genesis of Indiana University. Asserting that education was necessary for representative government, Congress granted Indiana one township of land to support a seminary as part of its admission to statehood in 1816. In 1820, Governor Jonathan Jennings approved an act that created the State Seminary. Legislation recreated the Seminary as Indiana College (1828), and Indiana University (1838) to teach “useful arts and sciences” and attract more students. In 1883, lightning destroyed the University Library, Science Building, the Owen Cabinet (a collection of 85,000 fossil and mineral samples), and the Zoological Cabinet, perhaps the largest private collection of fish specimens in the world. Following the fire, university trustees purchased land at Dunn's Woods for a new campus that would allow for development and enlargement of the university. Classes began there in 1885. (Monroe Co.)
In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy informed Indianapolis citizens that civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Kennedy was in the city as part of the Democratic Party presidential primary. After speaking at Ball State in Muncie, Kennedy arrived in Indianapolis to the news of King’s murder. Going against the advice of the chief of police, he decided to keep his next appointment in an African American neighborhood near 17th and Broadway. He asked that the attendees lower the campaign signs as he climbed the makeshift stage on a flatbed truck. Shaken, he delivered the tragic news to the audience. He then launched into an impromptu speech about the assassination and urged the crowd to respond with prayer and understanding, as Reverend King would have wished. Kennedy stated: "What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black." While other cities reacted with violence to King’s murder, Indianapolis’ African American civic and faith leaders, as well as Kennedy's speech, contributed to keeping Indianapolis citizens reflective and peaceful during this time of national mourning.
In 1883, the Art Association of Indianapolis was informally organized following an art lecture hosted by educator and women’s rights activist May Wright Sewall. The association helped generate an appreciation of art in Indiana and led the way in hosting important exhibitions and developing art education. It incorporated on October 11, 1883. The association purchased property on 16th Street in 1901 to create the John Herron Art Institute, which included a school and museum. Herron opened in 1902 and grew quickly, fulfilling the association’s goal “to cultivate and advance Art.” It evolved into the Herron School of Art and Design and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
In 1945, dozens of African American Army officers were arrested after forcibly entering the white-only officers’ club at Freeman Army Airfield in Seymour. The Freeman Field uprising resulted in the War Department revising regulations about segregation and ended segregated officers’ clubs. The incident has been described as a “bellwether for integration of the U.S. military.” (Jackson Co.)
In 1862, the Battle of Shiloh began near the Tennessee River in south eastern Tennessee. The 44th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, comprised of soldiers from Steuben, Allen, Kosciusko, Noble, Whitley, DeKalb, LaGrange, and Elkhart counties, suffered the highest number of casualties among Indiana regiments in the two-day battle. Of 478 men engaged, the regiment suffered 212 casualties including thirty-four killed, 177 wounded, and one missing. The regiment earned the nickname the “Iron Forty-four” as it engaged Confederates in some of the deadliest areas of the battlefield, including the Hornet’s Nest, the Peach Orchard, and the Bloody Pond.
In 1901, the Indianapolis News declared Henry Hart and his family of musicians a "social necessity." Hart was born to free African American parents in Kentucky in 1839. He moved to Evansville in his late twenties where he carved out a musical career as a performer and composer. He managed a touring minstrel act, but later transitioned to performing with his four children who he taught to play various stringed instruments. Hart and his family moved to Indianapolis around 1879. The family orchestra performed for politicians, including governors and presidents, and were regularly scheduled to perform at high society clubs and parties. (Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1940, Gary’s Theodore Roosevelt High School basketball team won their sixth National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament (NIBT). Excluded from the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) basketball tournament on account of segregation, Roosevelt first entered the NIBT in 1932. The NIBT welcomed African American high schools from across the country to compete for a national championship beginning in 1929. Roosevelt finished in third place in 1932, but they won the tournament the following year. This victory inaugurated a period of tournament dominance for Roosevelt, as they won the next five NIBT tournaments in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1939, and 1940 (there was no NIBT in 1937 and 1938). In 1942, the IHSAA rescinded its limits on membership and allowed segregated schools to compete in its tournament. (Lake Co.)
In 1968, an explosion ripped through downtown Richmond, which killed forty-one and injured 150. Although officials never determined the exact cause of the explosion, it likely started with the ignition of natural gas seeping from a pipe, which then set off gunpowder at sporting goods store Marting Arms. The disaster damaged fifteen buildings and generated an estimated $30 million in damages. While cities around the country rioted due to the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. two days prior, Richmond citizens of all races joined together to help the injured and extinguish the blaze. (Wayne Co.)
In 1942, Republic Aviation Corporation broke ground on a P-47 "Thunderbolt" manufacturing plant in Evansville, which bolstered the city’s economy. The Thunderbolt became renowned for its ability to survive extreme battle damage and its speed enabled it to become the first American fighter to accompany Flying Fortress and Liberator bombers on roundtrip flights to Germany during World War II. The P-47 had a profound effect on combat in two theaters by bombing communication lines between Italians and Nazis and literally blowing Japanese “lightly built aircraft out of the sky” with machine guns. Along with Republic's plant in Farmingdale, New York, the Indiana factory produced over 6,000 of the fighter planes. (Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1990, Indianapolis hosted Farm Aid IV, a concert organized to raise money and awareness for family farmers. The Indianapolis Star reported that over seventy artists and approximately 45,000 fans attended the event. Willie Nelson opened the show, "father of bluegrass" Bill Monroe played Blue Moon of Kentucky, and Iggy Pop performed I Wanna Be Your Dog. Elton John dedicated Candle in the Wind to Hoosier AIDS victim Ryan White, who succumbed to his illness the following day. The newspaper noted that "The ever-controversial Guns N' Roses started its set on a polite and cautious note. Singer Axl Rose, a Lafayette native, dedicated the new Civil War to his Uncle Bob, and later apologized that the only farm song the band knew was the suggestive Down Here on the Farm." Other artists who performed at the 12+ hour event included Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, and Seymour’s John Mellencamp. Concert organizers achieved their goal to raise $1 million for American farmers.
In 1851, African Methodist Episcopal trustees, comprised of free persons of color and former slaves, purchased land in Corydon to build a church. Many early churches served as schools and enriched black social, cultural, and political life. (Harrison Co.)
In 1865, public housing reformer Albion Fellows Bacon was born in Evansville. After visiting the city's riverfront slums, Bacon was convinced that substandard housing caused social problems and worked to regulate tenements and reform child labor laws. In 1911, she helped organize the Indiana Housing Association. After years of lobbying, in 1917, she rejoiced as the Indiana General Assembly passed a law authorizing the condemnation of unsanitary dwellings. Bacon became Indiana's foremost "municipal housekeeper," a Progressive Era term for women who applied their domestic skills to social problems plaguing their communities. (Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1947, zoologist and sexologist Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his research team at Indiana University incorporated as the Institute for Sex Research (now the Kinsey Institute). According to the Institute, "Incorporating as a non-profit entity helped protect research data, enable more avenues of research funding, and ensure a more stable and sustainable environment for the research collections and library." The organization strove to research human sexual behavior and administer research resources like case histories. Dr. Kinsey's 1948 Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and 1953 Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, books based upon thousands of interviews conducted at the institute, revolutionized ideas about human sexuality. Dr. Kinsey served as director of the institute until his death in 1956. (Monroe Co.)
In 1990, 18-year-old Kokomo native Ryan White died of complications of AIDS at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He passed away surrounded by his mother, grandparents, and singer Elton John. White acquired the disease through blood transfusions used to treat his hemophilia. He experienced discrimination due to his HIV-positive diagnosis and school administrators barred him from attending school in Howard County because they feared the spread of the disease through casual contact. Eventually the Whites moved to Cicero in Hamilton County and Ryan enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. There, the principal and student body president welcomed him and encouraged accurate and informative discussions about HIV/AIDS. An obituary published by the New York Times noted that White "put the face of a child on AIDS and served as a leader for gaining greater understanding and compassion for those with the deadly disease." 1,500 people, including First Lady Barbara Bush, Michael Jackson, and Elton John, attended his funeral at Second Presbyterian in Indianapolis and a choir from Hamilton Heights sang "That’s What Friends Are For." Governor Evan Bayh ordered Statehouse flags to be flown at half-mast in his honor.
In 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley was sworn in as chief of the Division of Chemistry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this role, the Kent native worked to ensure federal protections for food and drug consumers. Wiley received his M.D. at the Indiana Medical College in Indianapolis in 1871. He developed an interest in adulterated food while working as a chemist at Purdue University. During his career, he worked tirelessly to prove the dire need for food regulation. Through his “hygienic table trials,” which tested the effects of adulterated food on twelve volunteers known as the "Poison Squad," Dr. Wiley's findings contributed to the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. (Jefferson Co.)
In 1962, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins shared the Best Director Academy Award for their film West Side Story, which also won for Best Picture. Robert Wise was born in Winchester, grew-up in Connersville, and attended Franklin College as a journalism major, but withdrew because of financial problems caused by the Great Depression. He joined his brother in Hollywood, where he found early success working as an editor on the Orson Welles film Citizen Cane. He also directed hit films such as The Sound of Music and The Andromeda Strain. (Randolph Co.)
In 1827, Lew Wallace, best-selling author of Ben-Hur, was born in Brookville. Prior to achieving fame as a novelist, Wallace was a lawyer, politician, and Civil War general. His Civil War service included commanding divisions at the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh. He is also credited with saving Washington D.C. from Confederate capture at the Battle of Monocacy, near Frederick, Maryland. As a lawyer and high ranking officer, he was tasked with serving on the court-martials that convicted the co-conspirators in President Lincoln’s assassination, and Henry Wirz, commander of the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp in Georgia. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) was published while Wallace served as governor of the New Mexico Territory (1878-1881). The novel’s sales climbed dramatically while Wallace was overseas serving as United States Minister to Turkey (1881-1885). A Renaissance man with eclectic talents, Wallace spent most of his adult life in Crawfordsville, where his private study is preserved as a museum and a National Historic Landmark. (Franklin Co., Montgomery Co.)
In 1853, Diedrich August Bohlen founded D.A. Bohlen (later Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates) in Indianapolis, one of the oldest continuously operating architectural firms. Four generations of Bohlens designed several important landmarks in Indianapolis and the State of Indiana. These include St. Mary-of-the-Woods Convent and Chapel (1858), Morris-Butler House (1864), Crown Hill Cemetery Chapel (1877), City Market (1886), English Opera House (1897), French Lick Springs Hotel (1898), Union Station, (1903), and the Indianapolis Star-News Building (1924). According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, the National Register of Historic Places lists over twenty projects completed by the Bohlen firm.
In 1874, social worker and socialist Robert Hunter was born in Terre Haute. According to the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries Social Welfare History Project, Hunter grew up in an upper middle class family and graduated with a B.A. from Indiana University in 1896. After witnessing the impoverished conditions wrought by the economic depression of 1893, he became a social worker. He served as superintendent of the Municipal Housing Lodge for Vagrants and as director of Chicago's first free dental clinic for children. In 1905, Hunter officially identified as a socialist and in 1907, he represented socialists at the Third International in Stuttgart. In 1908, he ran for election to the New York legislature as a Socialist and in 1910 campaigned to be governor of Connecticut. Disillusioned after socialism failed to prevent World War I, he left the party and later opposed the New Deal as a member of the National Economic League. In 1940, Hunter published Revolution, "in which he rejected Marxism and revolution and strongly asserted that American capitalism had essentially eliminated poverty."
In 1906, trailblazing cartoonist Dalia "Dale" Messick was born in South Bend. According to the New York Times, Dalia changed her name to Dale after experiencing "discrimination against women entering the newspaper cartooning business." She was best known for her "Brenda Starr, Reporter" comic strip, which featured a glamorous and ambitious redheaded journalist. The strip debuted in 1940, and ran until 2011. "Brenda Starr" appeared in over 250 newspapers and was adapted into films in 1945 and 1986. Messick, who died in 2005, found success that paved the way for other women cartoonists. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1916, Indianapolis News columnist Juliet V. Strauss wrote that the "institution of State Parks furnishes every citizen of Indiana with a personal interest in something higher…[giving] each man, woman, and child a share in a priceless estate." In articles for the Indianapolis News and Rockville Tribune, Strauss detailed her personal connection to an old-growth forest in Parke County, her conviction that it must be saved from destruction, and encouraged others to get involved. Her advocacy helped save the forest from destruction by a lumber company and Turkey Run became Indiana's second state park during Indiana's centennial celebration in 1916. (Parke Co.)
In 1970, Lance Corporal Emilio De La Garza lost his life trying to save his squad from enemy fire. The East Chicago native served as a machine gunner during the Vietnam War. On the day he died, he and his squad were searching for enemy soldiers. De La Garza located one of the Viet Cong and while trying to remove the enemy soldier, witnessed him pull the pin on a grenade. De La Garza placed himself between the blast and his comrades. He sacrificed his life to save theirs. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. De La Garza was one of only two Hoosiers so honored for actions in Vietnam. (Lake Co.)
In 1838, innovating doctor and librarian John Shaw Billings was born in Allensville. As a Civil War surgeon, he established field hospitals at the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He transferred to the Surgeon-General’s Office and developed a comprehensive library that revolutionized medical research. In the 1870s, he helped compile the Index Catalogue and Index Medicus, the forerunner to databases like MEDLINE. Billings’s experience treating and transporting wounded Civil War soldiers made him an innovator in hospital design. He planned the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in so doing reflected his novel ideas about medical education, hygiene, and sanitation. Billings served as the first director of the New York Public Library (1896-1913). Among his many accomplishments, he also devised more efficient systems to tabulate vital statistics for the U.S. Census. (Switzerland Co.)
In 1949, the Indianapolis public school board approved a plan to desegregate Indianapolis schools, due in part to the work of Henry J. Richardson, Jr. The decision reversed the segregationist policies adopted under the influence of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926. The following fall, kindergarten and first grade pupils would attend schools nearest to their homes. African American newspaper the Indianapolis Recorder reported, "As usual, there was a protest against the forward step in race relations.”
In 1889, cryptologist Herbert O. Yardley was born in Worthington. According to the National Security Agency Hall of Honor, he worked as a code clerk in the U.S. State Department. During World War I, he served as a cryptologic officer with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. In the 1920s, Yardley was chief of MI-8, the first American peacetime cryptanalytic agency, where "he and a team of cryptanalysts exploited nearly two dozen foreign diplomatic cipher systems." After the program disbanded, Yardley published his memoir The American Black Chamber, which detailed the activities of MI-8. His revealing publication earned the distrust of the U.S. government, so he lent his cryptology skills to Canada and China during World War II. (Greene Co.)
In 1902, American Hominy Co. took over Indianapolis's Cerealine Manufacturing Company and nine other midwestern firms that manufactured "brewers' grits and a variety of table goods manufactured from white corn." The conglomeration owned infrastructure that produced 75% of the U.S. corn goods and operated into the 1920s.
In 1894, the editors of the Indiana Farmer wrote about soybeans: “In this country experiments are being made with the plants for forage. It remains to be seen whether it is adapted to our climate. They are not quoted in our seed catalogs.” The editors raised the legitimate question about whether soybeans could grow successfully in Indiana. The next spring Adrian A. Parsons, likely after a few years of experimentation, planted the first of successive crops of the legume on his Hendricks County farm. Parsons’ advocacy for planting soybeans earned him the moniker “the soybean crank” from his more-skeptical fellow farmers. Parsons, however, was proved correct as the crop began to become more widely grown in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1939, Indiana ranked second in the nation in soybean production with over 1.3 million acres planted.
In 1859, associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court Willis Van Devanter was born in Marion. After earning his law degree from the University of Cincinnati Law School in 1881, he worked for his father's Marion law firm. Van Devanter moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him to the Wyoming Territorial Supreme Court. When Wyoming became a state the following year, Van Devanter became the first chief justice of the court, although he also became the shortest serving chief justice when he resigned shortly thereafter. In 1897, while serving as an Assistant Attorney General of the United States, he authored a legal opinion that terminated federal recognition of the Miami in Indiana. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated him to become a federal judge. In 1911, President William H. Taft nominated Van Devanter the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served for twenty-seven years. His conservative judicial philosophy led him to consistently oppose New Deal economic and social legislation. (Grant Co.)
In 1846, Abraham Lincoln wrote to Andrew Johnston, editor of the Quincy [Illinois] Whig, and enclosed a poem he wrote, which opened with the line “My childhood home I see again.” Lincoln authored the poem to capture his memories of the first, and only, time he ever returned to his boyhood home in Spencer County in 1844.
In 1929, a teenaged Richard "Red" Skelton performed as a clown in the local YMCA circus in his hometown of Vincennes. The Vincennes Sun described his Spanish bella donna skit as “outstanding.” By the 1930s he performed on vaudeville stages and became famous for skits such as “dunking donuts.” MGM signed Skelton to a film contract in 1940, which advanced his comedy career. He solidified fame in 1941 with the debut of his national NBC radio show. During World War II, Skelton served in the U.S. Army and performed numerous comedy shows for the troops. In 1951, he helped popularize television with The Red Skelton Show, which aired for twenty years and won multiple Emmy Awards. Skelton is remembered for on-screen characters like Freddie the Freeloader. (Knox Co.)
In 1945, intrepid war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed on Ie Shima (or Iejima) near Okinawa by Japanese gun fire. The New York Times reported "The slight, graying newspaper man, chronicler of the average American soldier's daily round, in and out of foxholes in many war theatres, had gone forward early this morning to observe the advance of a well-known division of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps." He and commanding officer Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge were traveling in a jeep to "watch front-line action" when Japanese machine gunners fired from a ridge above and struck down Pyle. Col. Coolidge remarked "'I was so impressed with Pyle's coolness, calmness and his deep interest in enlisted men. They have lost their best friend.'" The Dana native studied at Indiana University and edited the school's Indiana Daily Student before quitting to work for a newspaper in LaPorte. Hoosiers mourned his death along with the nation. Dana held a memorial in his honor and painted a gold star next to his name on the roll of locals who served, located on the town's main street. (Vermillion Co.)
In 1949, the Anderson Packers defeated the Oshkosh All-Stars to win the National Basketball League championship. This was the last championship for the league. The NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America in the summer of 1949, and formed the National Basketball Association. The Packers played the 1949-50 season in the NBA. The team withdrew from the league the following season, joined with another professional league, and folded in 1951 after five seasons in existence. (Madison Co.)
In 1998, the Indianapolis Colts selected University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning with the first pick in the NFL draft. Manning ushered in nearly a decade of success for the often moribund franchise. In thirteen seasons playing for the Colts, Manning won four Most Valuable Player awards, and led the team to victory in Super Bowl XLI.
In 1816, President James Madison signed into law the Enabling Act, which served as official approval from Congress for the Indiana Territory to formally begin the process of becoming a state. The act authorized inhabitants of the territory "to form for themselves a constitution and state government, and to assume such name as they shall deem proper" and that "said state, when formed, shall be admitted into the union upon the same footing with the original states, in all respects whatever."
In 1905, the Indianapolis Indians baseball team, then in their fourth season, opened their schedule at the new Washington Park stadium when they took on the Milwaukee Brewers in the first official league game of the American Association for that year. During their time at Washington Park (1905-1931), the Indianapolis Indians won three American Association pennants in 1908, 1917, and 1928.
In 1958, alumnae of Theta Sigma Phi, a national journalism fraternity for women, held an award ceremony at Indianapolis's Athenaeum in honor of actress Irene Dunne, whom they named Woman of the Year. Dunne spent her childhood in Madison and attended the Indianapolis conservatory of music, before becoming a Hollywood actress. She appeared in forty-two films and earned five Academy Awards nominations for Best Actress. In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In an article about the award ceremony, the Indianapolis News noted, "In Hollywood Miss Dunne has spent her extra time in charity work, instead of bridge playing." The article added, "Because of her interest in the unhappy people of the world, she was given the privilege of announcing that the United States would contribute $24 million for the relief and rehabilitation of Palestine Arab refugees." The award was made in absentia due to Dunne's prior commitment in Canada, but Indiana University President Herman B Wells stood in for her. Dunne delivered the commencement address at St. Mary's College at Notre Dame the following month. (Jefferson Co.)
In 1900, award-winning fashion designer Norman Norell was born as Norman David Levinson in Noblesville. His father, Harry, operated a men’s clothing store in town before opening a men’s hat store in Indianapolis. Norman completed high school in Indianapolis then moved to New York City to begin his fashion education at Parsons Institute. At 19, he attended the Pratt Institute, where he studied drawing and fashion illustration. 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. The "Dean of American Fashion" won the first Coty Award of fashion for his innovative designs during World War II, which promoted silhouettes that adhered to war-time restrictions on material. (Hamilton Co.)
In 1963, Republican Lieutenant Governor Richard O. Ristine (who was elected alongside Democratic Governor Matthew E. Welsh) risked his political future by breaking a 24-24 tie in the state senate to pass a bill that created the state’s first sales tax (2%).
In 1862, the Indianapolis Journal published Colonel Richard Owen's letter in defense of his humane treatment of Confederate POWs at Indianapolis's Camp Morton. As commandant of the camp, Owen chose to treat prisoners "in such a way 'calculated to make them less restless in their confinement, and likely, when they returned to their homes, to spread among their friends and acquaintances the news that they had been deceived regarding northern men.” He compiled a list of eleven rules related to prisoners’ laundry, provisions, punishments, and other facets of daily life at the POW camp. These rules were more lenient than those at other camps and allowed prisoners to read books and assemble in groups. His leniency sparked criticism, which prompted his open letter to the Journal. In May, Owen and his regiment, the 60th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, received orders to move into Kentucky for combat. Lamenting a change in camp leadership, prisoners unsuccessfully petitioned Governor Oliver P. Morton to keep Colonel Owen at the camp. After the war, Owen’s humane actions were still so fondly remembered by former Confederate POWs that Confederate veteran associations contributed funds to create a bronze bust of Owen in 1913. The bust is on display in the Indiana Statehouse.
In 1876, the House of Representatives passed the Turf Protection Law, effectively ending the annual Easter Monday egg roll at the U.S. Capitol. Indiana Congressman William Steele Holman spearheaded the effort, hoping to protect grass torn by children rolling after their eggs. President Rutherford B. Hayes revived the tradition with a White House egg roll in 1878. (Dearborn Co.)
In 1971, philanthropist and pharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly Jr. dedicated the Glenn A. Black Laboratory (GBL) of Archaeology at Indiana University, established by the Lilly Endowment. The lab was named in honor of archaeologist Glenn A. Black, who, through his work at Nowlin and Angel Mounds, redefined methodology and brought systematic excavations and innovative technology to the field. Black cultivated a new and increasingly-professional generation of archaeologists in his work with the Works Progress Administration and Indiana University. Lilly funded Black's work and the two men became lifelong friends. As of 2018, the lab works to "discover new information about the people of Indiana—continuing the work started by Black. From the pre-Columbian Angel Mounds site to 18th century Fort Ouiatenon, the work of the GBL centers on learning about the people of the past."
In 1911, New York detective William J. Burns arrested John J. McNamara, secretary-treasurer of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, at his office in the American Central Life building in Indianapolis. The previous year, McNamara had been involved in the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building, which resulted in the death of twenty-one people. The bombing followed an anti-picketing ordinance created by Los Angeles Times owner and anti-unionist Harrison Gray Otis after a strike by LA iron workers. After McNamara’s arrest, detectives found 100 pounds of dynamite, fuses, and other bomb-related components at the American Central Life building. According to the Indianapolis Star, Detective Burns stated that Indianapolis "has been the central point from which dynamite disasters that have shocked the world were dictated and consummated." John and his brother James eventually pled guilty to the bombings and both died in prison in 1941.
In 1913, Muncie illustrator "Chic" Jackson’s first Bean Family comic appeared in the Indianapolis Star. The comic strip depicting the middle class Hoosier family ended when Jackson died in 1934. One observer noted, "For more than a score of years the daily doings of this family took precedence in public interest over problems of state, fluctuations of the stock exchange, business depressions and similar relatively unimportant matters."
In 1970, Hoosiers celebrated America's first Earth Day. Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar proclaimed it “a day for contemplation, conversation, and action to halt and reverse the impending crisis of the decay of man’s environment.” Throughout Indiana, Hoosiers hosted clean up campaigns, panel discussions, and seminars. Students built monuments made of trash, participated in marches, and even donned gas masks and abandoned their cars to dramatize the need for citizens to “Give Earth a Chance.” Though most activities took place on April 22, students and community members attended ecological events at their local university or college throughout the week, such as lectures by politicians, scientists, and industry representatives.
In 1918, Fort Wayne native 1st Lt. Paul Frank Baer of the U.S. Army Air Service scored a fifth kill of an enemy pilot in World War I, which qualified him as the second American flying ace. He became the first Hoosier to do so. He would record four more aerial victories before the end of the war. Any enemy flyer succeeded in shooting down Baer in his final air battle on May 22, 1918. He survived the crash but the Germans captured and imprisoned him for the remainder of the war. In addition to being recognized as a flying ace, Baer’s other military honors included the Distinguished Service Cross, the DSC Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, and the French Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, and the Croix de Guerre. (Allen Co.)
In 1921, Mamie Smith, considered the first African American woman to record the blues, sold out the Richmond Coliseum, a 2,500 person venue. Residents clamored to see Smith and her Jazz Hounds live, despite the city being a Ku Klux Klan stronghold at the time. Three days before her performance, The Richmond Palladium Sun-Telegram claimed that she “has done more than any other singer perhaps in America to popularize the genuine ‘blues’ song of the day” and lauded Smith for her ability to make songs into “living, potent things charged with a pulsing and individual rhythm.” (Wayne Co.)
In 1969, the majority of students at Crispus Attucks High School walked out of classes to protest the mandatory addition of "'inexperienced'" white teachers to the school. The Indianapolis Recorder noted that students claimed the "most experienced and competent Negro teachers are to be transferred to white schools." The faculty changes followed a U.S. Justice Department directive to end de facto segregation in the education system. The newspaper reported that "unlike some of the other demonstrations at colleges across the nation, Attucks demonstrators were orderly and without violence." On August 18, 1971, United States District Judge S. Hugh Dillin found the Indianapolis Public School system guilty of operating a segregated school system and maintaining segregation via zoning changes that created artificially segregated districts. On September 7, 1971, full integration of Crispus Attucks was implemented.
In 1970, Indianapolis housewives and college students united to protest the use of laundry detergents high in phosphate. They encouraged the use of soaps with lower levels because of phosphate-polluted lakes and streams. The Indianapolis Star reported that the women “stood at the entrances to numerous grocery stores around the city yesterday to convey their message to shoppers. They distributed handbills listing laundry products in order of phosphate content.” Historian Annette M. Scherber noted that their “actions encouraged Indiana legislators to enact the nation’s first statewide ban in 1971 on the sale and use of phosphate detergents to improve the quality of North American lakes, thus requiring all consumers to use non-phosphate detergents instead.” Scherber cited the movement as an example of how women of the period “carved out ways to influence environmental regulation and participate in larger discussions regarding science, technology, and health.”
In 1847, the City of Indianapolis held its first mayoral election, and the voters chose Whig candidate Samuel Henderson. He was an early settler when the city was new, and held several prominent civic positions, including postmaster of Indianapolis, president of the board of town trustees, co-director of the State Bank, and founding officer of the Central Lodge, Masonic Order. Henderson served a two-year mayoral term. According to The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, "[B]y the end of his term in 1849 the first mayor of Indianapolis had lost confidence in the city's future. Henderson believed that the growth of railroads would relegate Indianapolis to a ‘way station,’ a place where passengers would not stop long enough for a 'drink of water." After leaving the mayor’s office, he sold his property and moved to California to participate in the gold rush.
In 1855, Reverend Father Edward Sorin blessed the cornerstone for St. Mary's College in present-day Notre Dame. The Sisters of the Holy Cross came to the United States from Le Mans, France and established St. Mary's College in Bertrand, Michigan in 1844. Father Sorin asked the Sisters to search for a location in northern Indiana in which "to look after the laundry and the infirmary . . . and also to conduct a school, perhaps even a boarding school" and St. Mary's relocated to St. Joseph County. According to the school, "From modest beginnings as a boarding school teaching and ministering to orphans, to offering five bachelor’s degrees and boasting more than 18,000 living alumnae, the College has continued to grow and prosper as a Catholic women’s college in the liberal arts tradition."
In 1864, Indiana's only African-American Civil War regiment, the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, left Indianapolis. At the beginning of the war, federal law banned African Americans from armed military service. In 1862 and 1863, Congress passed several laws that authorized the formation of black regiments, and allowed the soldiers to help states fill federal quotas for soldiers. The 28th trained at Camp Fremont in Indianapolis and 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. Following the Battle of the Crater, the decimated ranks of the 28th were filled with recruits and four more companies were raised in Indiana, making it a full regiment again. The 28th returned to Indianapolis on January 6, 1866 to a reception in its honor.
In 1986, developers of the renovated Union Station in Indianapolis hosted a gala party for the station's grand reopening. The Indianapolis News reported that media from around the country, representing networks like NBC and National Geographic, covered the reopening. According to the Indianapolis Star, preliminary discussions and planning for project began in the late 1970s to salvage the "then-dilapidated structure." Renovations began on the 130 year-old landmark in 1983. The newspaper noted that planners converted the midwestern transportation hub into an entertainment center and that "A 276-room Union Station Holiday Inn, tredny [sic] restaurants and shops have replaced the ticket booths and the tracks once found in the head-house and train shed."
In 1960, Indiana basketball luminaries were well represented in the second class of inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Of the eleven inductees that year, four had Indiana roots. Indiana University coach Emmett “Branch” McCracken was inducted for his playing career at IU. Former Purdue players John Wooden and Charles “Stretch” Murphy were also inducted, as was their old coach, the late Ward “Piggy” Lambert.
In 1861, Governor Oliver P. Morton established the state arsenal to repair weapons and manufacture ammunition and gunpowder used during the Civil War. According to historian Dr. Anita Morgan, women comprised the majority of the arsenal's 250 workers. Morgan noted, "Women were hired for this task because they could be paid lower wages, were considered to be more pliable and obedient workers than men, and were considered to have better dexterity and smaller hands. Although women worked in a different room from men, male supervisors kept watch over them."
In 1865, the Sultana, a wooden steam transport contracted by the U.S. Government, burned and sank on the Mississippi River after its faulty steam boiler exploded several miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. The ship with a passenger capacity of 376, was overladen with 2,300 people, many of whom were malnourished and traumatized Union soldiers who were anxious to return home after being recently released from Confederate prisons like Andersonville and Cahaba. Over 1,700 passengers perished during the Sultana disaster, which was the worst maritime disaster in American history. According to recent estimates, 198 of the dead were Hoosiers, with another 30 Hoosier missing. Of the 179 Indiana natives who survived the disaster, many suffered severe burns or other trauma as a result.
In 1915, at the prompting of columnist Juliet V. Strauss and members of the Indiana Federation of Clubs, Governor Samuel Ralston appointed a Turkey Run Commission. He tasked the commission with examining the area and determining what could be done to save it from deterioration and desecration. The Hoosier Veneer Company purchased Turkey Run for $30,200, but the committee quickly began negotiating with the company. During these negotiations, committee members learned that McCormick’s Creek Canyon in Owen County was up for auction. With help from citizens there, the committee purchased the land, giving McCormick’s Creek Canyon the distinction of being Indiana’s first state park. Turkey Run followed soon after. On November 11, 1916, the State Park Memorial Committee purchased the property and the first links in Indiana’s state park system were in place. (Parke Co.)
In 1925, at 10:06 p.m. an earthquake shook midwestern states, including Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. The Indianapolis Star reported that it rattled windows, jostled furniture, and cracked the walls of a house. The newspaper noted the "quake was felt in practically every part of the city and many thought at first the disturbance was caused by an explosion or by heavy trucks being driven over the streets."
In 1887, the Indianapolis Hoosiers (formerly the St. Louis Maroons) of baseball’s National League opened their first season in Indianapolis against the Detroit Wolverines. The visitors won 4-3. The Hoosiers spent three seasons in the National League and compiled a 146-249 record. Mooresville native and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Amos “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” Rusie played his rookie year with the Hoosiers in 1889, which was also the team’s final season.
In 1939, the Crosley automobile debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, designed by radio and broadcasting entrepreneur Powell Crosley. The Greencastle Daily Banner reported, "A radical innovation in automobile design made its official debut at the Indianapolis motor speedway today with the christening of the Crosley Corporation's 'economy car.'" The Crosley was known for its compact size, gas efficiency, and competitive pricing. The company operated assembly plants in Richmond (1939-1942) and Marion (1946-1952). (Grant Co. and Wayne Co.)
In 1912, the Victor Talking Machine Company recorded James Whitcomb Riley at his Lockerbie Street home while he recited "Little Orphant Annie," “The Raggedy Man,” “The Happy Little Cripple,” “Out to Old Aunt Mary’s,” and several other of his poems. The sixty-two year old Riley was a fan of the phonograph, and exchanged recordings with Uncle Remus author Joel Chandler Harris. According to the Indiana Historical Society, Riley’s 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."
In 1949, multi-sport athlete George Crowe, a Franklin native and the first winner of Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, became the first African American from Indiana to sign with a major league baseball team, the Boston Braves. This was two years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line. Crowe would spend most of the next few years in the Braves’ farm system before making his major league debut on April 16, 1952.
In 1863, Plymouth Weekly Democrat editor Daniel E. VanValkenburgh published an editorial that criticized General Milo Hascall’s General Orders No. 9, which allowed for military punishment of Hoosiers who expressed opposition to the federal government or sympathy for the Confederacy. VanValkenburgh described the order's style as "imperial" and criticized its "total disregard of civil law and the rights of citizens in loyal districts." It would have been wise for VanValkenburgh to end his editorial at this point, however he continued and called Gen. Hascall a “country politician” and braying donkey. In response, Gen. Hascall ordered troops to Plymouth to arrest VanValkenburgh on May 4. The arresting soldiers took VanValkenburgh to Indianapolis, where he was held in a prisoner-of-war-camp, before being sent to General Ambrose Burnside in Cincinnati. The general released VanValkenburgh only after he pledged an oath of loyalty. VanValkenburgh’s was one of a series of arrests and punishments of Democratic newspaper editors in Indiana, including those from the South Bend Forum and Pulaski Democrat.
In 1865, the train carrying the body of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Indianapolis. Following his April 19 funeral at the White House, Lincoln’s funeral train departed for Springfield, Illinois on April 21 and stopped in various cities to allow mourners to pay homage to the fallen president. Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton boarded the train in Richmond and the train arrived in Indianapolis as rain fell. Soldiers escorted Lincoln’s coffin along streets crowded with mourning citizens and soldiers to the old State House. Reports noted that at least 50,000 people viewed Lincoln’s open casket in the capitol rotunda. Through streets lit by bonfires and torches, a military escort returned the coffin to Union Depot and the train departed at 12:00 a.m. for Michigan City, the last scheduled Indiana stop.
In 1924, Republican Lieutenant Governor Emmett F. Branch became governor of Indiana when his predecessor, Governor Warren T. McCray, resigned after being found guilty of “using the mails in furtherance of a scheme to defraud [his creditors]." Branch, a Martinsville native, was the first Indiana University alum to become governor. Before building upon his predecessor's goals, he launched an investigation to ensure that the administration had not been compromised by McCray’s actions. In his short tenure, Branch proved an avid proponent of the people by focusing on improving schools, roads, and care of the state’s wards.
In 1942, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Richard Nott Antrim of Peru was imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp on Sulawesi (Celebes) in Indonesia. In April of that year, a prison guard violently beat a naval officer unconscious. Antrim intervened on behalf of the victim, and offered to take the rest of the punishment. His actions confused the Japanese, and “elicited a roar of acclaim” from the Allied prisoners. For his actions, Antrim received the Medal of Honor: “By his fearless leadership and valiant concern for the welfare of another, he not only saved the life of a fellow officer and stunned the Japanese into sparing his own life but also brought about a new respect for American officers and men and a great improvement in camp living conditions.” (Miami Co.)
In 1813, the capital of the Indiana Territory moved from Vincennes to Corydon, a more central location. Corydon was the first capital of Indiana when it became a state in 1816 and served as the capital city until 1825, when it was transferred to Indianapolis. (Harrison Co.)
In 1878, the Indianapolis Blues, a new baseball team in the National League, played their first game of the season at South Street Park against the Chicago Whites [Stockings]. The Blues lost the game, 4-5. Over the course of the season, the team compiled a 24-36 record, and ended up 5th out of six teams in the NL standings. The team originated in 1876 in the International Association, but the team folded after their one and only season in the NL.
In 1944, Dana journalist Ernie Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Correspondence for his 1943 columns written about soldiers from the war front. The Pulitzer committee chose Pyle's pieces, published in Scripps-Howard newspapers, for prompting "international understanding and appreciation." (Vermillion Co.)
In 1970, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed African American legislator Harriette Bailey Conn as State Public Defender. The daughter of Robert L. Bailey, deputy attorney general to James Ogden, Conn grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Crispus Attucks High School at fourteen years of age. She earned her law degree from Indiana University in 1955 before serving as deputy attorney general for Edwin K. Sears. In 1966, she was elected a Republican state representative and sponsored bills related to civil rights, abortion, and property rights for married women. During Richard Lugar's administration, Conn served as counsel to the City Council and helped write Unigov Council rules and advised the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission.
In 1996, Richard Lugar became the longest serving U.S. Senator from Indiana, breaking Daniel Voorhees’ record of nineteen years, three months, and twenty-six days. Lugar, a Republican, would continue to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate until 2013, a span of thirty-six years. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded the “visionary” former senator with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his commitment to bipartisanship and for reducing the threat of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.
In 1823, the steamboat Florence became the first such vessel to travel up the Wabash River when it arrived at Vincennes with cargo. It continued upstream to Terre Haute before returning to Louisville. The Vincennes Western Sun & General Advertiser commented, “With a climate mild and salubrious, a soil happily adapted to every species of vegitation [sic] – commercial and manufacturing facilities which only want capital and enterprize [sic] to elicit and promote them – this luxurient [sic] and highly favored country, has cause of felicitation that this steam boat has pointed out the way for others.” (Knox Co.)
In 1920, Washington Park in Indianapolis hosted the first National Negro League baseball game, in which the Indianapolis A.B.C.s defeated the Chicago Giants. One African American newspaper described the day as “an epoch in local baseball circles, for upon that date what is as near a national baseball league as conditions will allow will be the offering for the baseball fans at Washington Park.”
In 1853, education-minded citizens incorporated the Liber College Joint Stock Company, which established Liber College, an institution that furnished "to any person whomsoever the facilities of a common and collegiate education.” Along with Union Literary Institute in Wayne County and Eleutherian College in Jefferson County, Liber was one of three schools at the time that offered education beyond elementary schooling to black students in Indiana. (Jay Co.)
In 1876, a riot erupted between groups of African Americans, Irish Americans, and policemen in Indianapolis over the special election for city councilmen. According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, a rumor spread to African American voters, the majority of whom were Republican, were being turned away and beaten at the polls in Ward 6, a "Democratic stronghold." Some black residents from Ward 4 armed themselves with wooden wheel spokes and set out to investigate the activity at Ward 6. As they approached Pogue's Run, police attempted to disarm them, which spurred a fight between the two groups, as well as Irish bystanders. One African American resident was killed and several were injured, but white residents sustained no injuries. Following the melee, Mayor John Caven addressed the situation from downtown at the Bates House and urged calm. Local newspapers disagreed on who shouldered the blame for the riot. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis noted that the riot encompassed the "agitation that sometimes resulted as the political process began to accommodate the participation of newly enfranchised African-American voters in the years following ratification of the 15th Amendment."
In 1892, the executive committee of the Local Council of Women convened their first meeting at the Propylaeum. The council, comprised of fifty local organizations, was established to provide a forum for city women’s clubs engaged in civic reform. The Local Council undertook key Progressive Era reforms, including issues like suffrage, public sanitation, women in policing, and child labor. Around 1916, Emma Miller Farrabee described the organization as "a born agitator.” She explained, “It has agitated for better streets, for sanitary side-walks and clean streetcars; for better ventilated and more sanitary public school buildings, and for clean grounds surrounding them; for the raising of the age of consent from eleven years to sixteen years; for a consideration of the conditions under which clerks in department stores, and women and girls labor in factories; for a woman factory inspector in order that the environment of all females working in factories may be made more respectable and conducive to morality." In 1926, the name of the Local Council was changed to the Indianapolis Council of Women.
In 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players began its inaugural season at Fort Wayne's Grand Duchess ballpark. The Fort Wayne Kekionga beat Cleveland’s Forest City team in an upset with a score of 2-0. The Society for American Baseball Research noted that "there were no errors by Cleveland and only three by Fort Wayne, a marvel in those days of bare hands and rutted fields. Moreover, the low score was unprecedented among top-level clubs." (Allen Co.)
In 1969, Charles Gordone's No Place to Be Somebody opened to mixed reviews. After the play’s opening, it quickly moved to the Anspacher Theater for an extended period of time and opened for a limited run on Broadway in the ANTA Theater. Exactly one year after the play opened at the Shakespeare Festival, May 4, 1970, Gordone, an Elkhart High School graduate, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play was the first off-Broadway winner of the prize, and Gordone became the first African American playwright to win the award. (Elkhart Co.)
In 1977, Governor Otis R. Bowen approved Public Law 303, which amended the Indiana Code, eliminating the clause that forbade the issuance of marriage licenses to "imbeciles." This followed a series of repeals in the 1970s of laws from the early 1900s related to the sterilization and marriage restrictions on individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses.
In 1817, the Indiana Supreme Court held its first session in Corydon, the capital of the newly-formed state of Indiana. According to the Indiana Judicial Branch, the court consisted of three judges, appointed to seven-year terms by the governor "'if they should so long behave well.'" Two early decisions made by the Supreme Court "enforced the new Constitution's prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude." (Harrison Co.)
In 1817, George Washington Julian was born near Centerville. A political leader defined by his moral convictions, Julian switched his party allegiance to the Free Soilers in the 1840s. He was the only member of the Free Soil Party ever elected to Congress from Indiana. In 1852, he became the first Hoosier nominated for vice president, but the Free Soilers’ presidential campaign was unsuccessful. He joined the fledgling Republican Party in the mid-1850s and advocated and agitated for liberal policy positions including emancipation. Elected to Congress at the outbreak of the Civil War, Julian aligned himself with the Radical Republicans that pushed for unconditional emancipation, enlistment of African American troops, and voting rights for African American men. Julian and other Radical Republicans regularly critiqued President Lincoln’s prosecution of the war via the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. Julian was a strong advocate for the Homestead Act, the Second Confiscation Act, the Southern Homestead Act, and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. During Reconstruction, Julian advocated liberal positions that would take land and property from those who took up arms against the United States, and redistribute that land to African Americans and settlers from the North. He also pushed for harsh prosecution of Confederates. (Wayne Co.)
In 1994, co-founder of the Indianapolis (now Indiana) Youth Group, an organization that offers support to the local LGBT community, Chris Gonzalez died of AIDS-related complications at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star noted that he fought for the welfare of disenfranchised youth, educated the public about homosexuality, and was nationally known for his activism related to gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights. Gonzalez lobbied for an anti-hate crime bill in Indiana and challenged state law by trying to legally marry his partner Jeff Werner in 1991. His colleagues noted that although he was "in perpetual motion," he was also a "private, spiritual man to whom faith and family were paramount." One colleague recalled that Gonzalez "made sure national advocates heard the 'voices from the Heartland.'"
In 1869, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill that allowed for the acceptance of $15,000 and one hundred acres from Lafayette philanthropist John Purdue, as well as $50,000 from Tippecanoe County to establish an "agricultural college." Classes officially began at Purdue University on September 16, 1874. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1870, Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune news illustrator John T. McCutcheon was born near South Raub, due south of Lafayette. He attended Purdue University, where he helped found Sigma Chi and served as co-editor of the school's first yearbook, the Debris. After graduation, he worked as a graphic artist for the Chicago Morning News (later the Record-Herald). In addition to illustrating “all the events that photographers were to cover later,” McCutcheon teamed with fellow Indianan and Purdue alum George Ade to illustrate Ade’s “Stories of Streets and Town.” In 1896, McCutcheon’s front page, political cartoons of the presidential race between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley, promoted his skill and drew a considerable public following. During this time, he inserted a floppy-eared dog into his cartoons, which became a signature feature of his artwork. McCutcheon was a serious news artist, but in 1902 he developed a popular cartoon, “A Boy in Springtime,” depicting common-day scenes of turn-of-the-century midwestern boyhood. R.C. Harvey of the Comics Journal noted McCutcheon’s cartoons were “the first to throw the slow ball in cartooning, to draw the human interest picture that was not produced to change votes or to amend morals but solely to amuse or to sympathize.” The Chicago Tribune recruited McCutcheon away from the rival Record-Herald in 1903. At the Tribune, he was sent on a tour of Asia, accompanied President Theodore Roosevelt on safari, and reported on World War I before U.S. entry into the war. In 1907, he developed one of his most famous strips called “Injun Summer.” In 1932, he received a Pulitzer for an editorial cartoon entitled “A Wise Economist Asks a Question,” where a squirrel asks a Depression-era man on a bench, “Why didn’t you save some money for the future, when times were good.” To which the man, identified in the panel as a “Victim of Bank Failure,” replies to the squirrel, “I did.” (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1927, baseball legend Babe Ruth and his New York Yankees played an exhibition game in Fort Wayne against the city's Lifers at League Park (now Headwaters Park). The teams played the regulation nine innings. The Lifers held the Yankees to a 3–3 tie in the 10th, with two outs and a runner on first when “The Sultan of Swat" came to the plate. He took two strikes and then in classic style belted the next pitch over the center field wall, landing on the roof of one of the city utility barns across Clinton Street. The hit enabled the Yankees to defeat the Lifers 5-3. (Allen Co.)
In 1800, President John Adams signed legislation that divided the Northwest Territory into the Northwest Territory (which comprised most of the future state of Ohio, half of Michigan, and a sliver or “gore” of Indiana) and the Indiana Territory (which comprised most of the future states of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan and Minnesota). The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 20, 1800. It passed the House on March 31, and the U.S. Senate on April 21 with amendments. A conference committee ironed out the differences before sending it on to the president. The principal supporters of the measure were William Henry Harrison, territorial delegate from Northwest Territory, and Robert C. Harper of South Carolina. They urged that the existing situation was too unwieldy for good government, that the growth of population justified the change, and that popular sentiment made it highly desirable.
In 1836, Indianapolis’ Indiana Journal published the “Opinion of Judge Wick, In the matter of David J. Leach, on Habeas Corpus.” Leach, a white gang member, tried to break into the Indianapolis home of James Overall, a free person of color, and threatened to kill his family. Overall shot Leach in self-defense. In this tense circumstance, prominent white allies of Overall came to his aid. Despite an 1831 Indiana law that barred black testimony against whites in court, Overall gained legal protection from further attack. In his official opinion, Judge William W. Wick affirmed Overall’s “natural” right to defend his family and property. Unfortunately, Judge Wick’s interpretation of the 1836 law did not affect any change in the actual law and African Americans in Indiana continued to be without legal recourse in causes where only black testimony was available against a white party.
In 1919, 20,000 men and women walked in the Welcome Home Parade for World War I soldiers in Indianapolis. The parade stretched for thirty-three blocks, and left the city awash in red, white, and blue. Trains unloaded returning Hoosier soldiers who displayed their regimental colors. Many parade attendees, like the men and women of Hospital No. 32, trained and mobilized at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Others had survived the Spanish Influenza, nursed the sick at Fort Harrison, or lost friends and relatives to the pandemic.
In 1951, the Pulitzer Prize Award Committee announced R. Carlyle Buley as the winner in history for The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period 1815-1840, which was published by the Indiana Historical Society Press with underwriting from Eli Lilly and Company. The Georgetown (Floyd Co.) native and Indiana University professor taught high school history in Indiana and Illinois. He served a year with the U.S. Army Signal Corps before receiving his Ph.D. in 1925 from the University of Wisconsin. Buley taught history at Indiana University for thirty-nine years, where he penned the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and other titles, such as the two volume The American Life Convention, 1906-1952: Study in the History of Life Insurance. (Monroe Co.)
In 1995, facing a six point deficit with 18.7 seconds left to play, Indiana Pacers’ guard Reggie Miller scored eight points in nine seconds as he rallied his team to defeat the New York Knicks in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals. After the Knicks ended the Pacers’ seasons in the 1993 and 1994 playoffs, the Pacers emerged as a genuine rival in 1995, thanks in part to Miller’s heroic game one performance. The Larry Brown-coached Pacers defeated the Knicks in game seven of the series at Madison Square Garden to advance to the team’s first Eastern Conference finals since joining the NBA in 1976. The Knicks-Pacers rivalry in the ‘90s was lampooned by some media outlets as the “Knicks versus Hicks,” contrasting the East Coast, urban metropolis of New York City with the midwestern agricultural heartland.
In 1822, President James Monroe signed a law establishing a land office at Fort Wayne to sell federal lands taken by treaty (1818) from Native Americans inhabiting the central part of Indiana. The land office recorded its first sale on October 22, 1823 for 93.30 acres east of Fort Wayne at the bend of the Maumee River. The office managed land sales for counties mostly in the northeastern part of the state. (Allen Co.)
In 1901, Governor Winfield Taylor Durbin approved a law supported by the state board of charities that made unsupervised, “feeble-minded” women from 16-45 wards of the state. Eugenics factored into the intent of this legislation, as it aimed at preventing future “generations of feebleminded persons.” An official state report called the law “one of the wisests steps taken by that body [the General Assembly]. . . as a legal step towards the prevention of imbecility.”
In 1928, the Indianapolis Times won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in journalism the "conspicuous champion" of the independent press. It praised the paper’s effort to combat the Ku Klux Klan and corruption in state government and contended that it represented "the new spirit of public service that [was] moving the newspapers of the nation to new ideals."
In 1968, a group of African American students and members of the Afro-Afro-American Students Association barricaded themselves in Indiana University's old football stadium. One month after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., they sought to protest racial discrimination on campus by preventing the Little 500 bicycle race from taking place. After a three day sit-in, the school met students’ demands and the race began. According to IU's Bicentennial blog, "This protest was one of the more effective ones on campus and led to many more protests by students for the remainder of the 1960s." The sit-in also resulted in the university developing a black studies program and increasing recruitment of black students and faculty. (Monroe Co.)
In 1861, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase sent a circular to the surveyors of customs, including Andrew L. Robinson at Evansville and Jacob Anthony at New Albany, instructing them to be aware of possible contraband transported via the Ohio River to Confederate forces. Secretary Chase wrote: "I instruct you to cause a careful examination to be made of the manifests of all steam or other vessels departing from your port with cargoes whose ultimate destination you have satisfactory reason to believe is under the control of such insurrectionary parties, and to compare the same with the cargo on board; and if any such manifest be found … you will take all necessary and proper measures to prevent departure of the vessel and to detain the same in your custody until all such articles be removed there from…. You will also make a careful examination of all flatboats and other watercraft without manifest … and if arms, munitions of war, provisions, or other supplies … you will seize and detain the same to await the proper legal proceeding for confiscation or forfeiture." (Floyd Co. and Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1865, Civil War nurse Eliza "Mother" George, of Fort Wayne, died from a typhoid outbreak scarcely a month after the war ended. At 54 years of age, following the death of her son-in-law in the Battle of Shiloh, she applied for duty in the Sanitary Commission, a civilian-run relief and medical organization. George's value as a nurse was quickly realized in the rapidly overflowing hospitals in Memphis, her first duty station. Her tireless work caring for thousands of Union soldiers earned the commendation of beleaguered field doctors and Indiana’s Governor Oliver P. Morton. (Allen Co.)
In 1989, in a private ceremony Governor Evan Bayh signed House Bill 1409 into law, which created the state lottery and allowed for "pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing." The Muncie Evening Press noted that he signed it "quietly and without the fanfare that surrounds other bill ceremonies because of Bayh's reservations about pari-mutuel wagering . . . Ironically, the quiet protest comes only three days after Bayh attended the Kentucky Derby." The previous November, Indiana's constitutional lottery prohibition was repealed, which made the bill's enactment possible. According to the lottery's website, the program has "significantly lowered excise taxes for Hoosier citizens, bolstered pension and disability funds for Hoosier police and firefighters, and helped to finance a number of other projects for the State of Indiana."
In 1857, George S. Cottman was born in Indianapolis. In 1905, he founded, edited, and published the Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History, one of the nation’s oldest history journals. Cottman’s management of the journal ended in 1913, at which point it became a project of Indiana University’s History Department. The Indiana Magazine of History, still published as of 2018, is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in Indiana history.
In 1876, Colonel Eli Lilly opened a laboratory on Pearl Street in Indianapolis. He and three other employees, including his fourteen-year-old son, worked seventy-two hours a week. Business grew so quickly that Lilly had to move twice in four years, eventually settling in the city's southern industrial district. His firm grew to become one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and advanced medicine with the "first successful large-scale production of insulin" and the manufacture of penicillin during World War II.
In 1878, Central Normal School moved from Ladoga to Danville, becoming Central Normal College, in order to accommodate a rapid increase in students. W.F. Harper and Warren Darst organized the school in 1876 as the second private Indiana normal school specializing in teacher training. Central was likely the last self-supporting private normal school in the Midwest and closed in 1946. It reopened as Canterbury College by the Episcopal Church, but a declining financial situation forced its closure in 1951. (Hendricks Co. and Montgomery Co.)
In 1867, Emil Reininghaus produced the first issue of the Huntingburgh Signal, a "Deutsches Organ für Dubois und angrenzende Counties." The Signal served the area’s large German-speaking population, and in fact boasted a larger circulation than the English-language weekly published in Jasper, the county seat. The Signal continued to be published in German until 1914 when it transitioned to English. Although not the case here, anti-German sentiment during World War I forced most German-language newspapers published in Indiana to close. (Dubois Co.)
In 1938, Irene Ray and her husband Charles were driven from Rochester due to allegations that Irene practiced witchcraft and had hexed several town folk. Residents alleged that her hexes had caused personal property damage, serious illness, and even death. After moving from Plymouth to Rochester six years prior, Irene’s family applied for and were given “relief” or welfare support. They were placed in a house on Audubon Street, where their neighbors soon came to resent them and viewed them as outsiders who were living off of the tax money of the citizens of Rochester. This, along with accusations that Ray was part-Native American and her alleged consultant was African American, suggests that the incident stemmed from issues related to race and class. (Fulton Co.)
In 1820, Polly Strong, an enslaved African American woman, appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court in Corydon after the Knox County Circuit Court ruled that she was not free, despite the prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude by the 1816 Indiana Constitution. Strong was enslaved at birth circa 1796 in the Northwest Territory. When she was ten Vincennes innkeeper Hyacinthe Lasselle purchased her. In 1820, Strong and her attorney Amory Kinney unsuccessfully pursued her freedom in the Knox County Circuit Court and appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled in State v. Lasselle on July 22, 1820 that “slavery can have no existence” in Indiana. The decision liberated Strong and the court ordered Lasselle to pay the fees and expenses of the trial. This decision did not free other enslaved persons in Indiana, but it did establish the 1816 Indiana Constitution as the authority for decisions in Indiana courts regarding slavery and involuntary servitude.
In 1823, prominent entrepreneur William Conner hosted the first meeting of the Hamilton County commissioners at his house. According to an Indiana Magazine of History article, Hamilton County formed on April 7 of that year and the "commissioners first met to lay out the boundaries of the county and set in motion the machinery of local government." Conner's house served as a "regular courtroom for both circuit justices and county officials for at least two more years." (Hamilton Co.)
In 1825, Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette visited Jeffersonville during his thirteen month “farewell tour” of America. The Indiana Palladium in Lawrenceburg reported, “A sumptuous dinner was prepared for the occasion . . . and a handsome and appropriate address was delivered by the Governor [James B. Ray], to which the General replied in a very interesting manner.” One researcher concluded, “[Lafayette’s] Farewell Tour provides a unique opportunity to look at the core of American society almost 50 years after the Revolutionary War, and to assess what the country thought of itself. It taps into remote and vivid historical backgrounds and reveals how the United States celebrated one of its heroes in large cities as well as in the countryside, all across the nation.” Lafayette’s visit reportedly influenced William Digby to name his platted town in Tippecanoe County after the general. (Clark Co.)
In 1973, the Indiana Pacers won their second consecutive American Basketball Association championship and their third in franchise history, beating the Kentucky Colonels at Louisville's Freedom Hall. The Indianapolis Recorder noted that the victory, attributed primarily to Darnell Hillman and George McGinnis, was "indeed a sweet victory for the Pacers, who seemed to drag through most of the season, but who won when the money was on the line."
In 1800, President John Adams appointed William Henry Harrison as Governor of the Indiana Territory, which at that time included parts or wholes of the future states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Harrison served in this role for twelve years, during which he sought local recommendations for appointees, encouraged the development of representative government in the new territory, and sought to extinguish American Indian claims and remove them from the territory. Harrison, a Virginia-born patrician, tried unsuccessfully to introduce slavery into the territory, despite the Northwest Ordinance’s prohibition against it. In 1811, he led a military force against Tenkswatawa near Prophet’s Town. Tactically, the battle is often viewed as a draw, but the outcome had significant geopolitical ramifications which affected the strength of the pan-Indian alliance, influenced the forthcoming War of 1812, and many years later led to Harrison’s ascension to the presidency with the memorable campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” (Knox Co.)
In 1869, at a special session called by Governor Conrad Baker, and after much deliberation the Indiana General Assembly approved a law that admitted African American children to public schools. In a 1912 article for the Indiana Magazine of History, Professor Abram C. Shortridge noted that around 1862 the Indiana State Teachers' Association began to lobby for "colored schools," but lawmakers failed to take on the issue until 1867. Shortridge lamented that until the 1869 special session it looked as if “the black children were doomed to run the streets for another term of two years while their fathers and mothers continued to pay their taxes, by the aid of which the children of the more favored race were kept in school ten months of the year." He noted that shortly after the amendment passed, Indianapolis prepared to accommodate these students and reported, "[S]ome of the buildings already abandoned were repaired and refurnished; others were rented, properly seated and made quite comfortable. By the first of September we were ready for all who might apply."
In 1920, the Indianapolis News announced the planned relocation of the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company from New Jersey to Indianapolis. The newspaper noted, "Indianapolis was chosen as the home of the Duesenberg factory because of many advantages-its supply of American labor, surrounding rich territory, transportation facilities and the Motor Speedway for research work in engineering." According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, Duesenberg "pioneered the use of straight eight-cylinder engines and four-wheel hydraulic brakes" and their Model A’s and Model J's won favor among celebrities and wealthy businessmen. Auburn Automobile Company President E. L. Cord acquired the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company in 1926. In 1929, the two companies became subsidiaries of the Cord Corporation and in 1936 production of the vehicles ended.
In 1850, Centerville reformer and legislator George Washington Julian delivered a speech entitled "The Slavery Question" to the U.S. House of Representatives. This was his most poignant speech advocating for the end of slavery and the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, which not only prohibited Hoosiers from aiding freedom seekers but required them to return self-emancipated African Americans to their enslavers. (Wayne Co.)
In 1856, Mother Theodore Anne-Thérèse Guérin died in Vigo County. She was buried on the grounds of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the school established by Guérin and the Sisters of Providence to provide women with more educational opportunities. On December 3, 1907, Mother Theodore’s remains were moved from the burial plot to a crypt. During the re-burial process workers discovered what is considered the first sign of Mother Theodore’s holiness: her brain was still intact. On October 15, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI canonized her, making her officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church to be a saint. (Vigo Co.)
In 1869, after several months of political shenanigans, the Indiana General Assembly ratified the 15th Amendment, which prohibited the denial of voting rights of men based "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." When the legislation was first introduced in the state legislature the previous spring, fifty-four Democratic state senators and representatives submitted their resignations in an attempt to block voting on the law. Governor Conrad Baker ordered a special election to fill the vacancies caused by the mass resignations, but most of the protesting lawmakers reclaimed their seats. When the state senate again tried to vote on the amendment in May, many of the same legislators tried to pull the same stunt. However, since a few resigning Democrats dawdled in leaving the Senate Chamber, the Republican leadership quickly called a quorum and held a vote, which passed. The House Republicans afterwards followed suit, although there was disagreement there if they had enough lawmakers present for a quorum. The Indiana Magazine of History staff commented, “So, was the Fifteenth Amendment legally ratified by the state of Indiana? Public opinion was hotly divided at the time. The question has long since faded away. But the question of whether members of one party can walk out of the General Assembly if they object to the business at hand remains topical.” Despite ratification, the Library of Congress noted that "the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means" voting rights of African Americans were regularly curtailed.
In 1896, Eastern Indiana Normal University was incorporated. After nearly two decades of repeated failed attempts to operate a college in Muncie, the Ball brothers purchased the college property in 1918 gifted it to the state. The business men continued to act as the school’s benefactors, and it was re-named in their honor in 1922. (Delaware Co.)
In 1914, Erwin "Cannon Ball" Baker arrived in New York City after driving over 3,000 miles across the country on his Indian motorcycle. Baker’s run from San Diego to New York City in eleven and a half days shattered the previous transcontinental record set by Volney E. Davis in 1911 by almost nine days. Prior to the record-breaking transcontinental run, he won one of the first motorcycle races at the newly-opened Speedway in 1909. NASCAR named Baker its first commissioner at its 1947 founding meeting, where he served until his death in 1960. (Dearborn Co.)
In 1889, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS) officials arrived in Marion and selected locations for various buildings. The NHDVS provided a system of homes for disabled Union veterans. With the help of veterans, six barracks were completed by June 1890. Between 300 and 400 hundred men resided at the Marion branch. 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. It consolidated under the new Veterans Administration in 1930. (Grant Co.)
In 1902, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was officially dedicated in a ceremony presided over by General Lew Wallace in Indianapolis. The Huntington Weekly Herald reported that before the 10 a.m. ceremony, veterans met at the statehouse and "took the old battle flags from their resting place and escorted them to the monument." Among more than 50,000 attendees were G.A.R. National Commander General Ell Torrance, former Secretary of State John W. Foster, Attorney General John M. Sheets, and Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, who read his original poem "The Soldier." A Muncie newspaper noted that in attendance were wives, mothers, and grandmothers "of those boys who wore blue. They had felt the heart pains of parting with their loved ones and they, too, were in tearful sympathy."
In 1983, Indianapolis native William Ruckelshaus began his second stint as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, having previously served in the position from 1970-73. In reflecting upon his tenure at the EPA, Ruckelshaus said, "You are dealing with things that are so intimate to people, so important to them in terms of public health, their own health, and the health of the planet we all share. If [the public] do not think you are doing the best you can to act in their interest, and you lose their trust and support, I think you will have real trouble in succeeding."
In 1893, U.S. Minister to Liberia William McCoy died in Monrovia, Liberia. President Benjamin Harrison appointed the African American educator to that post in 1891, and the Senate confirmed him in January 1892. Upon McCoy's death, his widow dedicated funds from his estate to the McCoy Fund, which assisted black pupils in Indianapolis. Indianapolis Public School 24, where McCoy had served as principal, was renamed in his honor.
In 1944, playwright George Ade died in Brook. After graduating from Purdue University, the Kentland native wrote for the Chicago Record, where his editorial column "Stories of the Streets and of the Town" captured the vernacular and distinct dialects of the multi-ethnic city. Ade wrote several books, but his Fables in Slang became a national best-seller and led to a weekly syndication of fables. His 1902 opera The Sultan of Sulu, along with The County Chairman and The College Widow, qualified him as one of the best playwrights of the era. Ade was one of the largest donors to his alma mater, and financially supported the construction of Purdue’s Memorial Gymnasium and Memorial Union. Ross-Ade Stadium, where Purdue’s football team plays, is named in part for Ade who was a major financial contributor to its construction. (Newton Co.)
In 1891, the New Albany and Highland Railway, one of the earliest electric railways in the state, opened. The New Albany Evening Tribune reported, “Thousands of people carried to the summit of the Knobs. . . . The Hills covered with people anxious to feel the refreshing breeze.” The scenic railway ran from Eighth and Spring Streets in New Albany and ascended 189 feet up the ridge for one and three-eighths of a mile to Oakwood. At the peak of the interurban or electric railway’s popularity, Indiana had 1,825 miles of track, second only to Ohio. Interurbans started to decline after World War I due to the popularity of the automobile, and a string of notable accidents on the lines. The Great Depression delivered the final blow to the form of mass transit, although interurbans continued operating out of Indianapolis until 1941, and the South Shore Line between South Bend and Chicago continues to operate as of 2018. (Floyd Co.)
In 1924, University of Notre Dame students rioted for two days against the Ku Klux Klan in South Bend, where the supremacist group had organized a rally to send a message to the Catholic university. When Klan members stepped off the train platform they were met with hundreds of students and faculty members, who "descended upon them, beating them and shredding their robes and regalia before forcibly putting them back on the train." Police intervened, but the two groups clashed throughout the weekend. On the 20th, Fighting Irish football coach Knute Rockne implored students to refrain from violence and tensions eased when the Klan left a few days later. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1860, the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate at the party's national convention in Chicago. Lincoln clinched the nomination on the third ballot, beating out candidates like Ohio Senator Salmon P. Chase and former New York Governor William Seward. According to an Indiana Magazine of History article, Indiana played a "conspicuous role" in his nomination, which was "seconded by Caleb B. Smith in behalf of the Indiana delegates." Henry S. Lane, a Hoosier legislator and a founder of the state’s Republican Party, worked behind the scenes to help secure the nomination. Upon Lincoln’s selection, Lane reportedly leaped "upon a table and swaying hat and cane . . . performed like an acrobat” in celebration.
In 1924, a Sociedad Mutualista Benito Juárez chapter was formally established in Indiana Harbor. According to the Indiana Magazine of History, “This mutualista, organized by Chicano railroad workers in the district, provided group insurance for sickness and accidents.” The organization first appeared in the Calumet Region in 1917. Over the next few decades, as more Latinos migrated to the region to work in regional industries including the steel mills, the society expanded its offerings from specializing in insurance to focus more on Latino cultural, educational and recreational events. The mutualista merged with the Sociedad Mutualista Cuauhtémoc in 1956 to form Unión Benéfica Mexicana. (Lake Co.)
In 1921, a committee of African American women from the American Citizenship Department of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC) met with Indiana Governor Warren McCray. During a revival of Ku Klux Klan activity, the NACWC asked the governor for a statewide committee of white and black women that would work with other state committees toward “a better understanding between the races” and “for economic and civic advancement of race.” Governor McCray took no action to form the committee.
In 1943, Army officials disclosed that Italian POWs were at Camp Atterbury and would be assisting with agricultural tasks "which can not be filled by civilian labor." The Richmond Palladium-Item reported that initially the POWs would begin work in five counties within twenty-five miles of the internment camp and that employers would be responsible for equipment and restroom facilities. At first, POWs picked apples, beans, and tomatoes, and hoed, detasseled, and picked corn. By the summer of 1943, some Italian POWs worked in tomato and corn canning plants as far away as Austin (Scott Co.) and Elwood (Madison Co.). Italy’s surrender to Allied forces in the fall of 1943 threatened Hoosier food producers’ new labor supply, but the War Department began to transfer Italians at Camp Atterbury to labor battalions, called Italian Service Units. All Italian POWs were gone by May 4, 1944. (Bartholomew, Johnson, and Shelby Co.)
In 1946, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Booth Tarkington died in his native Indianapolis. Tarkington was a prolific author of short stories, plays, and novels, some of which were made into Hollywood movies and performed on Broadway. Tarkington’s first novel, The Gentleman from Indiana-based on his brief experience as a legislator-set him on an illustrious career during the “Golden Age of Indiana Literature.” He was best known for The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams, both of which won the Pulitzer Prize. His Hoosier origins are evident in his literary work, specifically his examination of how urbanization and industrialization changed midwestern life.
In 1834, about 200 Mormons passed along the National Road from Richmond to Knightstown. Brookville’s Indiana American reported, “It is stated that this caravan of Mormons were well armed.” The group, known historically as Zion’s Camp, was headed to Jackson County, Missouri, where the Mormons there had recently been driven out of their homes. Mormonism founder Joseph Smith had earlier in the year called for followers to mobilize and aid those adherents in Missouri. (Wayne Co. and Henry Co.)
In 1863, approximately 10,000 Democrats met in Indianapolis at the State House for the state convention. The convention operated under the watchful eyes of Colonel John Coburn and his troops, who were on the lookout for any signs of unruliness or pro-Confederate sympathizers or Copperheads. At the end of the convention, as some delegates were leaving town via train, armed soldiers halted some exiting trains to search the passengers for weapons. When soldiers stopped one train at Pogue’s Run, on the city’s east side, it "prompted many Democrats to toss knives, pistols, and rifles out the car windows, some of which landed in the small creek." Estimates of the discarded weapons varied widely from 500-2,000. Republicans framed the incident, described as the "Battle of Pogue's Run," as one which thwarted the meeting of men treasonous to the Union cause. Democrats considered the incident to be another “assault upon constitutional rights by the supporters of President Lincoln and Governor Oliver P. Morton.”
In 1972, the Indiana Pacers became the American Basketball Association's first two-time champions, beating the New York Nets, 108-105. The Logansport Press attributed the victory to "poise, experience and the ability to win on the road," as well as a "veteran team that has depth on the bench and abundance of talent in the starting lineup."
In 1878, African American doctor Algernon B. Jackson was born in Princeton. He attended Indiana Medical College before transferring to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he became the school's first black graduate. Jackson was appointed assistant surgeon at the all-white Philadelphia Polyclinic Hospital and founded the first African American Greek fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi, known as Boulé. According to Thomas Jefferson University Archives & Special Collections, in establishing the fraternity, he hoped to "afford the dozen black physicians in Philadelphia access to the city's African American leaders and to extend opportunities for others within the community. The Boulé continues to benefit many African Americans to this day.” Jackson helped found Philadelphia’s second hospital for African Americans, the Mercy Hospital for Colored People. In the 1920s, he became head of the Department of Bacteriology, Public Health and Hygiene at Howard University College of Medicine, where he conducted a survey of 120 African American hospitals across the country, including Indiana. He was a prolific writer and lecturer about topics like public policy and health education. (Gibson Co.)
In 1933, the first two Indiana Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were established in Henryville and Martinsville. The Indianapolis News described the Martinsville camp as "a great social experiment," established as part of the New Deal program in the "battle against unemployment." The newspaper reported that 6,500 Hoosier men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five had enrolled in the program, which employed men to build state park facilities and assist with forest reclamation projects. By the program's end, 64,000 Hoosiers worked at CCC camps. (Clark Co. and Morgan Co.)
In 1950, a group of African American Studebaker workers and their wives formed a building cooperative in South Bend called “Better Homes of South Bend.” Many members had moved from the South in 1940s to escape segregation and Jim Crow policies. However, federal lending and real estate policies in the North prevented them from obtaining mortgages equal to those of whites, which limited members to dilapidated homes in poor areas. To avoid racist backlash, co-op members kept their plans secret. The co-op’s collective power enabled members to secure land, loans, and contractors despite the prejudiced housing market. By the mid-1950s, Better Homes of South Bend built twenty-two homes on the 1700-1800 blocks of North Elmer St. and created a vibrant and peaceful community here in a formerly all-white neighborhood. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1863, Hoosier soldiers joined with 150 Union volunteers in a suicide mission at Stockade Redan at Vicksburg, Mississippi during the Civil War. It was an act that General William Tecumseh Sherman reportedly called "the forlorn hope." In a move that would certainly draw enemy fire, the volunteers were to "build a bridge over the ditch which protected the front of the enemy's fort." As the "gallant little band" advanced, it became evident that a bridge could not be built there and the men sought shelter from enemy fire in a ditch. Other brigades advanced, but heavy Confederate fire repelled them and "the bottom of the ditch was strewn with mangled bodies, with heads and limbs blown off." Seventy-five of the "volunteer stormers" were recognized for their bravery and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. This included ten Indiana recipients: Clinton L. Armstrong of Franklin, Dearborn County residents Thomas A. Blasdel of Guilford, William W. Chisman of Wilmington, John W. Conaway of Hartford, David H. Helms of Farmers Retreat, and Ripley County residents Joseph Frantz of Osgood, Jacob H. Overturf of Holton, Reuben Smalley of Poston, William Steinmetz and Frank Stolz, both of Sunman. All ten of these soldiers survived the assault.
In 1868, the Reno Gang stole approximately $96,000 of U.S. Treasury notes and government bonds from three Adams Express Company safes in a rail car near Marshfield, Scott County. Credited with some of the earliest U.S. train robberies, the Renos were a band of outlaws that roamed the Indiana and Missouri countryside in the 1860s, stealing from banks, railcars, and county treasuries. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency investigated the Marshfield robbery and apprehended suspects Frank Reno and Charles Anderson. Before any were tried, the Jackson County Vigilance Committee lynched 10 gang members during the second half of 1868. Their infamous robberies inspired three films: The Great Train Robbery (1903), Rage at Dawn (1955, starring Hoosier Forrest Tucker as Frank Reno), and Love Me Tender (1956, with Elvis Presley as Clint Reno). (Jackson Co.)
In 1918, popular columnist Juliet V. Strauss died in Rockville. Writing as "The Country Contributor," Strauss idealized simple rural life and traditional roles for women in a time of national shifts in class and gender relations. She wrote for the Rockville Tribune, Indianapolis News, and Ladies Home Journal, which reached a million readers worldwide. Through her columns and influence, Strauss worked to save the old-growth forest, called Turkey Run, from destruction by a lumber company. Turkey Run became Indiana's second state park during Indiana's centennial celebration in 1916, in an era of heightened national interest in conservation. (Parke Co.)
In 1926, Boardwalk Park opened at the intersection of Five Points in Hammond. The amusement park boasted the King Bee rollercoaster, a miniature railroad, Ferris wheel, shooting gallery, and Madura's Danceland, which hosted marathon dance competitions. In 1929, the Boardwalk closed and Madura's Danceland moved and reopened near Geneva House. (Lake Co.)
In 1820, James Buchanan Eads was born in Lawrenceburg. Eads significance rests in his accomplishments an inventor, entrepreneur and engineer. Eads settled in St. Louis where he launched his first business in river salvage. During the Civil War, he received contracts from the federal government to manufacture ironclad gunboats, which proved instrumental in the Union’s attempts to seize control of the Tennessee River, the Mississippi River, and Mobile Bay. In 1867, he started his most famous project, the Eads Bridge, which many engineers deemed impossible. The National Park Service calls the steel truss bridge that spanned the Mississippi River at St. Louis and continues to be used nearly 150 years later “one of the man-made wonders of America.” His other notable engineering project was in New Orleans where he devised a way to open up Mississippi River channels for ships by using river jetties to dig wider and deeper channels. (Decatur Co.)
In 1824, Ambrose E. Burnside was born in Liberty. After graduating from West Point graduate and serving in the Mexican American War, he opened a factory in Rhode Island that manufactured breech-loading rifles of his own design. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he received a commission as a colonel and quickly advanced to major general. His thick, distinctive mutton chops-styled facial hair, caused his surname to be forever linked to the word “sideburns.” Following a less than stellar command at the Battle of Antietam, Burnside assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, where he suffered high casualties and an embarrassing loss at the Battle of Fredericksburg. President Lincoln quickly removed him from command. After the war, Burnside became the first president of the National Rifle Association. He also served Rhode Island as governor and represented the state in the U.S. Senate. (Union Co.)
In 1910, Benjamin Sherman Crothers was born in Terre Haute. He began playing drums as a teenager in city speakeasies. He adopted the nickname “Scatman” as a young man trying to break into show business. Crothers, an all-around entertainer, was best known for his 40 year career as a character actor where his most memorable roles included Louie the Garbage Man on Chico and the Man and Dick Hallorann in The Shining. (Vigo Co.)
In 1806, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States approved a resolution appointing Samuel Thornton Scott as a missionary for three months in the Indiana Territory “especially at Vincennes.” According to county histories, Scott became pastor of the first Presbyterian church in the Indiana Territory, which was established sometime within the previous year. According to Hoosier Faiths, Presbyterians led reform efforts in the Indiana Territory and "were enthusiastic about taking up collections for societies supporting Sunday schools, missions, Bible distribution, education, temperance, and many other specific efforts dedicated to the relief of suffering and the improvement of morality." Scott remained in Indiana beyond his initial three-month mission and became an influential citizen in Vincennes including serving on the Vincennes Library Company board, the Vincennes Branch of the State Bank board of directors, and the first president of Vincennes University. (Knox Co.)
In 1921, Taggart Baking Company in Indianapolis introduced Wonder Bread. An advertisement in The Indianapolis News informed readers that it was "made with milk, and plenty of it" and "wrapped at the bakery, by the famous Sevigne process." Smithsonian Magazine noted that the bread became a "cultural icon" because in addition to the vibrancy of its packaging and logo, it was the first to weigh 1.5 pounds, and was the first to appear on shelves pre-sliced.
In 1937, electrifying NFL halfback Tim Brown was born in Richmond. He was placed in foster homes at the age of seven and at twelve was placed in the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home in Knightstown. Brown excelled at basketball, track, and football at Knightstown Morton Memorial High School, where he won the Outstanding Athlete Award as a senior. He played football at Ball State University and was named All-Indiana Collegiate Conference halfback. Brown signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he contributed to Vince Lombardi’s only title game loss in a game against the Packers. He set an NFL record of 2,428 combined yards, led the team in rushing four times, and was drafted to the Pro Bowl three times. During his NFL career he excelled at kickoff returns for the Baltimore Colts, Packers, and Eagles. (Wayne Co.)
In 1945, the Fort Wayne Daisies won their first game of the inaugural season in the All-American Girls Professional League. The league was established during World War II to help keep baseball in the public eye while men were drafted in the U.S. Armed Services. The Daisies were league champions from 1952 to 1954. (Allen Co.)
In 1987, Al Unser Sr. tied A.J. Foyt's record by winning his fourth Indy 500 race. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Unser pulled into the lead with his 1986 March-Cosworth after Mario Andretti dropped out and Roberto Guerrero's car stalled following his final pit stop. Unser started in a total of twenty-seven Indy 500 races and, as of 2018, holds the title of "all-time lap leader" with a total of 644 in eleven races.
In 1801, a group of Moravian missionaries, including several Lenape (Delaware) who had converted to Christianity, arrived at the site of their proposed mission on the west fork of the White River several miles north of the Lenape village Wapeminskink (Chief Anderson’s town and modern day Anderson). The first Protestant missionaries in the Indiana Territory, the Moravians’ plans for religious conversion were ultimately plans to acculturate indigenous populations to Anglo-American ways of life and belief. The German-speaking Moravians quickly ran afoul of two competing ideologies in the territory. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison had no interest in the Moravians’ missionary enterprises. Harrison wanted Native Americans removed from the territory entirely, and was active in acquiring land for white settlement. Conversely, more and more Shawnee had been migrating out of Ohio and into the Indiana Territory. Many of the Shawnee settled nearby and among the Lenape, where they became important political influences. One Shawnee religious leader, Lalawethika or Tenkswata (also known as the Prophet), resisted all white influences on tribal cultures, including Christianity, and rejected the Moravians’ aims. After several years on the White River, Moravian leaders in Ohio recalled their missionaries from the territory in 1806.
In 1871, the Haskell & Barker Car Co. incorporated in Michigan City. Its founders established the firm in 1852, which produced rail and freight cars, reapers, and corn shelling threshing machines. The National Museum of American History noted, "The American Civil War brought a surge in business because of government contracts. This increase in business not only grew the company but made it one of the largest employers in Indiana and one of the wealthiest." The northern Indiana company originated the PS-1, the "first standardized box car" in the U.S., and the "factory is said to have been the birthplace of the modern assembly line, an innovation often credited to Henry Ford." Haskell & Barker Car Co. announced its closing in 1970 and the site became the location of Lighthouse Place outlet mall. (LaPorte Co.)
In 1937, infamous Brady Gang members robbed the Goodland State Bank. Following the holdup, the robbers concealed themselves behind a church and waited for state officers. The Brady Gang intercepted Elmer Craig and Paul Vincent Minneman and "their guns blasted the door from the officers' car, and both men pitched onto the pavement." While Craig survived, Minneman succumbed to his injuries and became the first trooper to be killed by criminals' bullets since the formation of Indiana State Police in 1933. After the shoot-out, the Brady Gang headed towards the Illinois state line as 180 state police officers and 300 special deputies pursued them. (White Co.)
In 1970, the Indiana Pacers won their first American Basketball Association title, defeating the Los Angeles Stars, 111-107. Roger "Dodger" Brown led the team to victory by scoring 45 points and setting a new ABA three-point record of seven in one game.
In 1973, Chief Justice John G. Roberts graduated from La Lumiere School, a Roman Catholic boarding school in La Porte. The Buffalo, New York native moved to Long Beach, Indiana with his family in 1959, where he spent his childhood and adolescent years. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in history, he attended Harvard Law School and edited the Harvard Law Review. Roberts served as a clerk and aid for various judicial figures in Washington, D.C. before President George W. Bush nominated him for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2005. Oyez, a project of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, noted that "During his confirmation hearings, the Senate responded very well to his kind Midwestern demeanor and his promise of refocusing the court into a limited role of interpreter, not creator, of laws," and he became the youngest Chief Justice in 100 years. His most unexpected decisions, which disappointed conservatives, include National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and King v. Burwell, in both cases he joined the majority opinion of the court to uphold key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. (LaPorte Co.)
In 1849, the Indiana Conference of the United Brethren accepted the transfer from the Haw Creek Township of a school building and property which became Hartsville Academy. Charted by the Indiana General Assembly the following January, the academy, later known as Hartsville College and Hartsville University, was a co-educational denominational college that equipped its students for roles in ministry and education. The school operated until 1897 when financial problems, and denominational splits prompted it to close. A new Brethren college with the same president from Hartsville opened in Huntington, and became Huntington University. (Bartholomew Co.)
In 1909, industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller was born in Columbus. Miller served as chairman of the Columbus-based Cummins Engine Company. During his tenure, he grew the company from a local Indiana business to an internationally renowned Fortune 500 Company. Miller was a patron of modern architecture and made his hometown a showcase for buildings designed by famous architects. Through his Christian faith, Miller was also deeply interested in religion and social justice. He became the first layperson to serve as president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) in 1960. In this role, he supported signature civil rights legislation including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he directed the NCC to assist in organizing the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. (Bartholomew Co.)
In 1950, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist James Watson defended his dissertation at Indiana University. According to Nobelprize.org, while at IU Watson studied with geneticists Hermann J. Muller, Tracy M. Sonneborn, and Salvador E. Luria, and he examined the "effect of hard X-rays on bacteriophage multiplication." Three years after earning his Ph.D., Watson co-discovered with Francis Crick the double-helix structure of DNA, a discovery that built upon prior research of Rosalind Franklin and others. Watson helped establish the Human Genome Project in his work with the National Institutes of Health. (Monroe Co.)
In 1991, Rick Mears became the third racer to win four Indy 500 races, joining Al Unser Sr. and A.J. Foyt. The New York Times described Mears as "Mr. Sensible" and remarked that it was out of character for him to seize the lead by passing Michael Andretti wide on the 188th lap. The paper informed readers, "In front of half a million witnesses today at the Speedway, the 39-year-old Mears transformed himself into some kind of teen-aged hot shot. He was James Dean, playing chicken with Andretti and the low white wall."
In 1825, William Digby and Richard Johnson filed their plat at the Crawfordsville Land Office for a town in Tippecanoe County. They conducted the survey two days before, and named the town Lafayette, after the Revolutionary War hero who had a few weeks before visited Jeffersonville, Indiana (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1851, the State Board of Agriculture was formed, which facilitated the exchange of information about farming techniques and research findings. Historians Frederick Whitford and Andrew G. Martin noted that the state board "brought together politically astute individuals, progressive farmers, and agricultural leaders to discuss the current state of agriculture in Indiana." The board compiled and published reports annually until 1907, and each volume "contained agricultural information dealing with the changing trends of agriculture, new production techniques, scientific papers, policy recommendations, and legislative proposals."
In 1903, the state forestry board bought land near Henryville for $16,000 from seventeen land owners and the land officially became state property. The board soon undertook its goal of demonstrating the profit of scientific forestry management at Clark State Forest. In 1904, experimental plantings and reforestation of old cleared fields not suitable for agriculture began. Clark State Forest and the forestry school at Purdue University collaborated in the spring of 1921 and students attended the "Purdue Forestry Camp." The camp and provided a place for forestry students to apply the theories they learned in the classroom and practice sustainable forestry management in Indiana and the greater Midwest. Purdue held the camp every summer until 1959. (Clark Co.)
In 1820, Baptist missionary Isaac McCoy opened a school at Fort Wayne. Among the pupils in attendance were ten English speakers, six French speakers, eight Miami or Potawatomi, and one African American. (Allen Co.)
In 1840, approximately 45,000 people attended a Whig rally at the Tippecanoe Battleground near Lafayette to kick off William Henry Harrison's presidential campaign in the state. This took place at the site of his military battle against Shawnee leader Tenskwatawa twenty-nine years before. The event was replete with a parade featuring a full-rigged ship from Michigan City, numerous mobile log cabins and canoes, and an effigy of Democratic opponent Martin Van Buren. Reportedly, a tent "three-fourths of a mile long housed the crowd, and a grazing farm of three hundred acres accommodated their houses. On one corner of the grounds a whole ox was barbecued and served with corn bread on shingles." A Lake County publisher "turned out Whig propaganda and Tippecanoe songs for the overstimulated spectators" on site. According to the Miller Center, the Whig Party misrepresented Harrison to voters to win the presidency: “They flooded the electorate with posters and badges extolling the virtues of their colorful, down-home "log cabin and hard cider" candidate, the hero of Tippecanoe” despite his aristocratic background and lifestyle. Once elected, Harrison served for only thirty-one days, becoming the first president to die in office. Harrison consistently ranks among the least influential presidents. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1977, A.J. Foyt became the first four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Janet Guthrie became the first woman to start in the race. Upon victory, Foyt took Speedway owner Tony Hulman on his ceremonial lap, the last time Hulman would experience the 500 race before his death later that year.
In 1996, 188 acres of farmland were re-flooded to restore part of the original Limberlost Swamp in Geneva. Much of author Gene Stratton-Porter's work was penned at her Limberlost cabin. With novels like Freckles and columns for magazines such as Outing and Ladies’ Home Journal, she hoped to inspire an appreciation of nature in readers. (Jay Co. and Adams Co.)
In 1896, acclaimed film director Howard Hawks was born in Goshen. With a career that spanned seven decades, Hawks directed some of the most iconic films of all time, including "Scarface" (1932), “Bringing Up Baby,” "To Have And Have Not," “The Big Sleep,” and "Rio Bravo." Film critic Leonard Maltin called him "the greatest American director who is not a household name." (Elkhart Co.)
In 1911, Ray Harroun won the first 500 mile race with an average speed of 74 mph. An engineer for the Indianapolis-based Marmon Motor Car Company, he helped build the Marmon Wasp that catapulted him to victory. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, "One key feature of the Wasp that Harroun was given credit for is the development of the rear-view mirror, a device he successfully used in his Indianapolis win that eliminated the need for a riding mechanic and spotter."
In 1918, the first automobile races in Randolph County were held at Funk Lake Track in Winchester. Three events took place at the half-mile track: the Ford, the "gentleman's race," and the twenty-five mile race. (Randolph Co.)
In 1943, the South Bend Blue Sox played a double header against the Rockford Peaches and won both games on opening night for the inaugural season of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was established during World War II to help keep baseball in the public eye while men were drafted in the U.S. Armed Services. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1946, the Indianapolis 500 race resumed for the first time since 1941, when the Speedway closed due to America's involvement in World War II. In 1945, Terre Haute businessman Tony Hulman purchased and renovated the dilapidated track. The Sullivan Daily Times reported on the 1946 race made possible by Hulman and noted that Californian George Robson won "like a real champion, going to the front early and staying there."
In 1949, Indiana's first television station WFBM-TV, Channel 6, had its initial broadcast in Indianapolis. The station aired a documentary about the Indy 500 called "Crucible of Speed," followed by live broadcast of the event. When McGraw-Hill purchased the channel in 1972, its letters changed to WRTV.
In 1919, the Indianapolis 500 race resumed after Indianapolis Motor Speedway owners cancelled it in late March 1917, when the United States teetered on the verge of World War I. Secretary and treasurer James Allison explained the decision: "Racing means taking away from the government the services of skilled mechanics whose services can be used by the government to better advantage in time of war than by a speedway corporation as a means of entertainment." The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was offered to the government to be used as an aviation field or for any other purpose that might be needed during the war. It did serve as a repair depot for planes, where mechanics fixed 313 planes and 350 engines.
In 1968, at the prompting of a group of African American parents, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the Indianapolis Public School System for unconstitutional segregation. The case, United States v. Board of School Commissioners, was tried in Indianapolis in July of 1971. The verdict, given on August 18, 1971, found “a purposeful pattern of racial discrimination based on the aggregate of many decisions of the Board and its agents.” IPS was guilty of de jure segregation, including racially-motivated “gerrymandering of school attendance zones, the segregation of faculty, the use of optional attendance zones among the schools, and the pattern of school construction and placement.” In 1973, the district court asserted jurisdiction over the issue after IPS had taken no significant steps towards desegregation. Judge Samuel H. Dillin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered a one-way busing system to force IPS and the township schools to integrate. Not all schools responded to the desegregation order immediately and some townships, including Perry, Decatur, Franklin, and Lawrence only began accepting IPS students bused to their schools in 1981.
In 1763, without firing a shot a group of Weas, Kickapoos, and Mascoutens captured Fort Ouiatenon from British troops. The Native Americans had asked garrison commander Edward Jenkins for council at their village. When he entered one of their cabins, they held him captive and forced him to order his men to surrender the fort located along the Wabash River. Jenkins wrote that his captors “say they are very sorry, but that they were obliged to do it by the Other Nations.” In the context, a confederation of tribes led by Pontiac attacked several British controlled forts that summer, including Fort Miamis near present day Fort Wayne. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1861, Northern Indiana State Prison opened in Michigan City to take in all sentenced men from "counties north of the National Road." According to the Yearbook of the State of Indiana, an 1897 act changed the institution's name to the Indiana State Prison, which incarcerated "men convicted of any crime, the sentence for which is death or life imprisonment, also all men thirty years of age or over, convicted of felony in any court in the State, and men transferred from the Indiana Reformatory." (LaPorte Co.)
In 1918, the final issue of German newspaper Indiana Telegraph und Tribüne was published. It was among over 175 German-language newspapers published in Indiana between 1843 and 1920. These newspapers served as important vehicles for readers in integrating and maintaining their cultural identities with American values. U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 created suspicion and antipathy toward German-American schools, churches, clubs, and newspapers. Despite trying to present balanced war coverage, the Telegraph und Tribüne ceased publication due to anti-German sentiment.
In 1864, Lucy Ann Seaton was the first to be buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Founders organized the cemetery in 1863 as a non-profit because the city’s Greenlawn Cemetery was unable to provide enough burial ground. In 1866, the U.S. government purchased land at Crown Hill to create the United States National Military Cemetery. In 1931, more than 1,000 Confederate POWs who died at Camp Morton were transferred to Crown Hill's Confederate Mounds. The cemetery serves as the resting place of many notable Hoosiers, including author Booth Tarkington, bank robber John Dillinger, industrialist Eli Lilly, and President Benjamin Harrison.
In 1919, Indianapolis author Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons won the Pulitzer Prize for "the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life and the brightest standard of American manners and mankind." He won the prize again in 1922 for Alice Adams. His Hoosier origins are evident in his literary work, specifically his examination of how urbanization and industrialization changed midwestern life. Tarkington was also renowned for his works about adolescent adventures, such as the Penrod series.
In 1920, historian and Indiana Senator Albert J. Beveridge won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his four-volume work The Life of John Marshall. Pulitzer.org noted that he received the $1,000 award for "the best American biography teaching patriotic and unselfish services to the people, illustrated by an eminent example, excluding, as too obvious, the names of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln."
In 1808, a group of Shakers left the South Union community in Ohio and arrived in Busro, Indiana to found the West Union Shaker community. The group's belief in equality between the sexes and races created a community in which African Americans and women were members and leaders. In the summer of 1812, soldiers came to Busro to prepare to fight both Tecumseh and the British. Harrison offered the Shakers protection in Vincennes, but they chose to leave for other Shaker communities due to their belief in pacifism. (Knox Co.)
In 1825, three men were hanged near Pendleton for the brutal murder of nine Native Americans at their winter camp along a stream. A fourth man had his noose removed at the last minute as Governor James Brown Ray arrived with a pardon. The hanging represented a rare case in which natives obtained some justice from U.S. law during the period. (Madison Co.)
In 1852, the Indiana Legislature gathered in a committee of “friends of Ireland” headed by James Henry Lane of Lawrenceburg. The committee resolved to invite Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish revolutionary and commander of the Union Army’s Irish Brigade, to Indiana. As one of the leaders of the failed 1848 rebellion in Ireland, he was nearly sentenced to death by a judge, but received a mercy verdict and was deported for life to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He escaped to America and visited Indiana in 1852 and in 1858 gave a speech at the Universalist Church in Terre Haute. (Vigo Co.)
In 1791, under orders from the War Department, General Charles Scott and his forces captured and burned Wea homes and crops surrounding Fort Ouiatenon. Local tribes had used the fort as a base of operations in their efforts to resist American expansion. The fire took the lives of approximately thirty-two Weas. (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1918, lawyer and Republican Party activist Charles W. Fairbanks died in Indianapolis. He served as a U.S. Senator (1897-1905) and Vice President under Theodore Roosevelt (1905-1909). Known as the “Indiana Icicle,” Collier’s magazine noted that the Vice-President “strives to win favor by the obscuring of personality, by concealment, by burrowing.” Due to personal and ideological differences, Fairbanks found himself isolated in Roosevelt's administration. His hopes to occupy the presidential office in 1909 were thwarted when Roosevelt tapped William Howard Taft as his successor.
In 1854, the U.S. Senate signed a treaty that recognized the Indiana Miami as a tribal group separate from the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. According to an essay published by the University of Illinois Department of Anthropology, in 1846 U.S. officials forcibly removed the Miami Tribe to Kansas, which then split into the Eastern (Indiana) and Western (Oklahoma) Miamis. The 1854 treaty recognized the 148 “Indiana Miamis remaining scattered along the Upper Wabash Valley of Indiana from Lafayette to Fort Wayne.” Federal recognition of the Eastern Miami was terminated in 1897, but the Indiana legislature voted in support of federal recognition.
In 1908, dynamite exploded near the West Baden Hotel in French Lick. The Greencastle Herald reported that the explosion was likely in response to the hotel's dismissal of white waitresses, who managers replaced with black waiters. The paper noted that the city was on the verge of a "race war" and that the explosion was "believed to have been a warning to the negroes to quit their work and leave the hotel." According to the Richmond Palladium, the hotel was leased by Charles Rice, an African American man, and the explosion caused "fifty negroes to rush panic stricken from the building." The paper added that prior to the incident, fifty shots from a revolver were fired. (Orange Co.)
In 1909, co-founder and president of the Indianapolis Speedway Carl Fisher hosted the first national balloon race at the Speedway. Forty-thousand spectators watched the race, sponsored by the Aero Club of America. Weather had prevented completion of the track, so Fisher elected to use balloons and the first 500-mile race took place two years later.
In 1847, Friends Boarding School opened in Richmond, the annual meetinghouse site for the Quaker body. In 1859, the school added a collegiate department and became Earlham College, likely the first coeducational Quaker college in the world. By 1865, the college accepted non-Quaker students and by the 1890s the school offered intercollegiate sports. Earlham College became the charitable trustee of the William Conner house and developed the area into Conner Prairie, a living history museum. (Wayne Co.)
In 1888, the Indianapolis Propylaeum incorporated under the leadership of suffragist and educator May Wright Sewall. It provided educational opportunities and a meeting place for cultural and civic clubs. In 1891, the association opened its original building on North Street, one of the first in the U.S. financed entirely by women stockholders. The Propylaeum association organized the Indianapolis Local Council of Women in 1892 to provide a forum for city women’s clubs engaged in civic reform.
In 1908, an explosion at the Prest-O-Light building in Indianapolis destroyed the building and badly damaged the nearby St. Vincent's Infirmary. Indianapolis Speedway president Carl Fisher co-founded the Prest-O-Lite Company in 1904, which developed acetylene gas vehicle headlights distributed nationwide. This was the third explosion in a year at the building due to the volatile nature of the gases produced at the plant. 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 profits continued to soar and in 1912 the company built an additional factory on the outskirts of town near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1820, commissioners appointed by the Indiana General Assembly identified the future site of Indianapolis as the new state capital. Commissioner John Tipton wrote in his journal that day: "we met at McCormicks [sic] and on my motion the Commissioners came to a resolution . . . we left our clerk making out his minuts [sic] and our report and went to Camp to dine . . . at 5 we decamped & went over to McCormicks our [clerk] having his riteing [sic] ready the Com[misione]rs met and signed thier report and certified the service of there [sic] clerk . . . the first Boat landed that ever was Seen at the seat of Government it was a small Ferry Flat with a cannoe [sic] Tied along side boath [sic] loaded with the household goods of 2 Families mooving [sic] to the mouth of fall creek they came in a keel Boat as farr [sic] as they could get it up the river." In 1813, the capital of the Indiana Territory moved from Vincennes to Corydon, a more central location, and Corydon became the first capital of Indiana when it achieved statehood in 1816. It served as the capital city until 1825, when it was transferred to Indianapolis.
In 1963, the general board of the National Council on Churches, under the leadership of Columbus industrialist J. Irwin Miller, established the Commission on Religion and Race. The commission helped organize support for the March on Washington and lobbied for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. On June 17, 1963, Miller presided over a committee convened at the White House by President Kennedy of church leaders. The meeting was organized to endorse the president’s civil rights legislation, which would eventually become the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (Bartholomew Co.)
In 1839, the Ben Franklin became the first boat to travel the entire length of the Whitewater Canal, which extended from Lawrenceburg to Brookville. According to the Indiana Magazine of History, at the ship's arrival "Joyful citizens went out to meet her, unhitched the mules, and towed her in by hand to the accompaniment of lusty cheers and thunderous cannonading." The Whitewater Canal was authorized by Indiana Internal Improvement Act 1836 and was intended to serve as a "highway" on which goods could be exchanged among Franklin, Fayette, Wayne, Union, Henry, Randolph and Dearborn counties. Indiana canals created thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses, and allowed Hoosier products to reach beyond the state's borders.
In 1865, the 70th Indiana Regiment mustered out from Washington, D.C. The regiment, organized in Indianapolis, mustered into service in August 1862 under the leadership of Colonel Benjamin Harrison. The troops participated in General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea, bold offensive operations that led to the Confederacy's eventual surrender.
In 1891, award-winning composer and songwriter Cole Porter was born in Peru. At the age of ten he wrote his first operetta and went on to attended Yale University, where he wrote 300 songs. Unlike many Broadway composers, he wrote both the lyrics and composed the music for his songs. His first hit musical, Paris, came in 1928 and the musical's song Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love experienced widespread popularity. Cole’s most popular musicals include Anything Goes, Jubilee, and Kiss Me, Kate, which won a Tony Award in 1949. (Miami Co.)
In 1908, esteemed basketball player and coach Branch McCracken was born in Monrovia. McCracken played for Indiana University from 1927 to 1930, where he led in scoring for three years and became a three-time All-Big Ten Team member. He coached Ball State basketball from 1930 to 1938 and was hired as Indiana University’s head coach in 1938. McCracken led IU’s team to the national championship title in 1940 and 1953. He coached IU’s Bill Garrett, the first African American regular starter in Big Ten basketball from 1948 to 1951. McCracken was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1960. (Morgan Co.)
In 1931, Dr. Miles Medical Company's patent for "Alka-Seltzer" was registered as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Elkhart company's "anti-acid effervescent preparations" were first developed by Dr. Miles chemist Maurice Treener after a flu epidemic rendered employees unable to work. Treener's tablets, comprised of aspirin and bi-carbonate of soda, were intended to prevent colds and flu. As of 2018, the effervescent pain reliever and anti-inflammatory is used internationally to treat acid reflux, heartburn, and upset stomach. (Elkhart Co.)
On June 10, 1811, future U.S. president Captain Zachary Taylor took command at Fort Knox in Vincennes, Indiana Territory. Taylor arrived at the garrison following an "unfortunate occurrence" perpetuated by his predecessor, Captain Thornton Posey. In late June, Posey fatally shot Lieutenant Jesse Jennings as a result of a personal feud. Following the shooting, Captain Posey abandoned the fort and fled. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison utilized Fort Knox to prepare troops for the Battle of Tippecanoe against Indian Confederacy forces led by Tenskwatawa in the Fall of 1811. (Knox Co.)
In 1816, delegates chosen to form Indiana's first state constitution assembled at Corydon. Jonathan Jennings was chosen as president and William Hendricks as secretary of the convention. By a vote of 33 to 8, the delegates asserted that it was expedient to form a constitution. In preparing Indiana's fundamental law, they borrowed heavily from existing state constitutions especially those of Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. The new constitution forbade slavery (at least formally) and incorporated an advanced concept of state responsibility for public education. Indiana officially joined the Union on December 11, 1816. After numerous unforeseen state crises, a new constitution was adopted in 1851. (Harrison Co.)
In 1951, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Charles G. Abrell of Terre Haute lost his life near Hangnyong, Korea while serving as fire team leader in Company E. As his platoon advanced in an attack against well-concealed and heavily fortified enemy hill positions, Cpl. Abrell voluntarily rushed forward through the assaulting squad, which was pinned down by a hail of automatic-weapons fire from a hostile bunker. Although previously wounded by enemy hand grenade fragments, he proceeded to carry out a bold, single-handed attack against the bunker, exhorting his comrades to follow him. Sustaining two additional wounds as he stormed toward the emplacement, he pulled the pin from a grenade and hurled himself into the bunker with the live missile still in his grasp. Fatally wounded in the resulting explosion, which killed the entire enemy gun crew within the stronghold, Cpl. Abrell, contributed directly to the success of his platoon in attaining its objective. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. (Vigo Co.)
In 1894, glass production began at the Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Company. According to the National Greentown Glass Association, Greentown was "eager for industrial development and with the seemingly abundance of natural gas, citizens willing to invest funds, and experienced glassmen with the entrepreneurial spirit, the Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Company was born." The factory expanded rapidly and by 1898 had added a sixty ton "continuous pot" furnace. Due to changes in the glass industry, the Greentown company was absorbed into the National Glass Company with nineteen other "glass tableware factories" across the country. In 1903, a fire destroyed the plant and glassworkers sought work elsewhere. (Howard Co.)
In 1945, Evansville citizens, police, and members of the Young Men's Democratic Club (YMDC) clashed in what became known as the "Bingo Riot." According to the Evansville Courier & Press, Republican Mayor Mason Reichert had permitted fraternal organizations and patriotic non-profits to hold bingo games following a six month moratorium. Mayor Reichert prohibited the YMDC from hosting a bingo game, an action the group considered politically motivated. The club continued to promote the event taking place at the Union Club, despite the mayor's warning that police would arrest all "'operators, players and spectators.'" On June 11, approximately 9,000 spectators gathered to witness the contentious event, some of which attempted to prevent police from arresting organizers. Officers confiscated bingo equipment and arrested eight operators. They also arrested several rioters and charged them with damage to public property and disorderly conduct. (Vanderburgh Co.)
In 1988, the Indianapolis Zoo opened at its new location at the White River State Park. The Star Press, of Muncie, reported that the zoo boasted sixty-four acres of "water, desert, forest and plains" and featured over 2,000 animals. The zoo originally opened in 1964 on the east side of Indianapolis at Washington Park. Opening day at the White River State Park location featured a clown band, "Noah's Ark" balloon structure, Indiana University calliope, and drum and bugle corps.
In 1837, the Indianapolis Female Institute opened in the second story of what was known as the Sanders' building, on Washington Street near Meridian, and later relocated to a frame building adjoining the old Presbyterian Church. The institute taught "the mathematical and natural sciences, with history, and every branch of a thorough English education, and also music, drawing and the languages as desired." Arrangements were made for private boarding in connection with the school. It attained a high reputation for excellence until its closing in 1849.
In 1889, a mob lynched attempted robbers James Deavin and Charles Tennyson in Corydon. The white men shot James Lemay and his niece Lucy Lemay in a failed robbery and were captured in New Albany. While awaiting trial at the Harrison County jail, the mob, which had congregated for days prior to the lynching, overpowered the sheriff and deputies and removed the prisoners from their cells using battering rams and crowbars around 1:30 a.m. The maskless mob, unrecognizable "under cover of darkness," fastened a rope around the men's necks and hung them from a bridge across Big Indian Creek. The Indianapolis News reported that a "note was placed on the side of the bridge warning parties not to cut down the bodies until 9 o'clock" in the morning.
In 1849, Abraham Lincoln traveled in a stagecoach with Abram Hammond, later Governor of Indiana, and Thomas H. Nelson, en route from Terre Haute to Indianapolis. According to Lincoln biographers William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, not knowing Lincoln, the men had such merriment at his expense. They arrived at Indianapolis that night and stopped at Browning's Hotel, where Lincoln, to their surprise, was greeted by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John McLean, U.S. Senator from Indiana Edward Hannegan, former U.S. Senator from Indiana Albert S. White, and former U.S. Representative from Indiana Richard W. Thompson.
In 1910, aviation pioneer Orville Wright "made two complete circuits of the great speed course" with his airplane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Aviation Week. The Indianapolis News reported that "Aeroplanes have been subjected to all manner of tests, such as distance, duration, and high flights, but the events this afternoon were to mark their first appearance in actual competition." During the week, one of the Wright brothers’ pilots, Walter S. Brookins, rose to 4,384.5 feet, breaking the world altitude record.
In 1917, Harold L. Gray, creator of the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, received his degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, where he grew up. During his time at Purdue, he illustrated and sold advertisements for the Lafayette Morning Journal and served as the assistant art editor for the Debris yearbook. After graduation, he worked as a reporter and illustrator for the Chicago Tribune. According to the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Gray intended for his character to be a boy named "Little Orphan Otto," but given the prevalence of boy comic strips he drew a dress over the figure and reconceived the little orphan as "Annie." From 1927 and 1929, the comic strip featured outings set in Lafayette and Purdue University. A conservative Republican, Gray gradually incorporated political commentary into his strip, including issues related to "income tax, organized labor, communism, left-wingers, food and fueling rationing, and public welfare. In regard to the latter, he named one of his characters Mrs. Bleeding Heart." (Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1929, conceptual artist Ralph Angus McQuarrie was born in Gary. After United Artists and Universal rejected George Lucas's proposal for the film Star Wars, he hired McQuarrie to create paintings that conveyed the film’s tone and landscape. His renditions helped 20th Century Fox executives visualize Lucas's concept and convinced the company to finance the first film, which premiered in 1977. The New York Times noted that McQuarrie transformed Lucas's "rudimentary concepts and earliest scripts into lush, vivid images of intergalactic expanse and light-saber combat," which became the "the visual core of the 'Star Wars' saga." The appearance of iconic characters, including Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO, are attributed to McQuarrie, and his artwork was incorporated into The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). His conceptual illustrations also appeared in films like Jurassic Park, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Lake Co.)
In 1936, Indiana University athlete Don Lash set the world record for running two miles at Princeton University's annual invitational, beating record-holder Paavo Nurmi with a time of 8 minutes and 58.3 seconds. The Bluffton native competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. While he did not medal, he trained to place in the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, but they were cancelled due to WWII. Lash served as an Indiana State Policeman, worked as an FBI agent for twenty-one years, and served as an Indiana state legislator. (Wells Co.)
In 1842, while traveling east on the National Road from Putnamville, where he delivered a speech, former President Martin Van Buren's carriage overturned in the mud near Plainfield. Reportedly, a Plainfield citizen, unhappy with Van Buren’s lack of enthusiasm for the National Road, purposefully “tipped over” the former President’s stagecoach as a “protest [of] Van Buren’s veto of a federal road improvements bill.” (Hendricks Co.)
In 1893, the Indiana Supreme Court decided in Attoinette Dakin Leach's favor, agreeing that the law did not specifically exclude women from admission to the bar. In February of that year, Leach applied to the Greene/Sullivan Circuit Court for admission to the bar and was denied. The circuit judge cited Article VII of the 1851 Indiana Constitution which reads, “Every person of good moral character, being a voter, shall be entitled to admission to practice law in all courts of justice.” The judge interpreted the wording to mean that women, not being allowed to vote, could not practice law. However, the judge did note that Leach was “of good moral character” and “possesses sufficient knowledge of the law.” Leach successfully argued that the term “voter” was meant to expand the class of people eligible to practice law. Lafayette suffragist Helen Gougar immediately realized that the In re Leach verdict could serve as precedent for a Supreme Court decision that would grant Indiana women the right to vote. She gained admission to the bar and argued for "The Constitutional Rights of the Women of Indiana" before the county court in 1895 and the Indiana Supreme Court in 1897. (Greene Co., Sullivan Co., and Tippecanoe Co.)
In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a speech at the dedication ceremony of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes. He concluded his remarks: "Because man did not have our knowledge in those older days, he wounded Nature and Nature has taken offense. It is the task of us, the living, to restore to Nature many of the riches we have taken from her in order that she may smile once more upon those who come after us.” He also stated, "George Rogers Clark did battle against the tomahawk and the rifle. He saved for us the fair land that lay between the mountains and the Father of Waters. His task is not done. Though we fight with weapons unknown to him, it is still our duty to continue the saving of this fair land. May the Americans who, a century and a half from now, celebrate at this spot . . . think kindly of us for the part we are taking today in preserving the Nation of the United States." (Knox Co.)
In 1948, influential naturalist, author, and photographer Edwin Way Teale delivered the commencement address at his alma mater Earlham College in Richmond. He wrote, edited, and contributed to over thirty books, which educated Americans about nature’s importance and beauty. Teale wrote that boyhood summers and holidays spent at his grandparents’ farm in Porter County inspired his interest in nature. His Wandering Through Winter won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize. (Wayne Co.)
In 2013, President Barack Obama welcomed the Indiana Fever to the White House and congratulated them on their 2012 WNBA title. Obama also took time to recognize and meet with the DePauw women’s team, who had finished with an undefeated record and won the 2013 NCAA D3 championship.
In 1867, the Indiana Soldiers' and Seamen's Home formally opened in Knightstown. The Indiana General Assembly legally authorized the institution earlier in the year with the mission of providing care for the sick, military widows and orphans, and disabled veterans, especially those who fought in the Civil War. The original building burned in 1871, and the veterans in residence were moved to the National Military Home in Dayton. The site and new buildings continued to house and instruct orphans, and other children until the institution's closure in 2009. (Henry Co.)
In 1917, the Indiana State Normal board of trustees investigated Professor John J. Schlicher, who, during a chapel address earlier in the month, issued “a mild and thoughtful warning” induced by concern “lest super-heated American citizens . . . use undemocratic methods at home.” Some in the audience questioned the second-generation German-American’s loyalty to the United States and his support of the war effort. Schlicher answered the board’s question to their satisfaction and they voted to retain the professor. However, another controversy again raised questions about his loyalty and prompted the board to fire him in January 1918.
In 1968, influential jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery died in his native Indianapolis of a heart attack at the age of 45. He recorded albums considered “essential,” such as the renowned 1960 Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, 1963 Boss Guitar, and the Grammy Award-winning 1965 Goin’ Out of My Head. The album Echoes of Indiana featured songs recorded in clubs on Indiana Avenue in 1957 and 1958. Self-taught, Montgomery's unique style influenced countless musicians and changed the role of the guitar in popular music.
In 1806, a solar eclipse darkened the skies in Greenville, Ohio, where Shawnee religious leader Tenkswatawa, or The Prophet, was encamped with his followers. According to Ohio History Central, Governor of Indiana Territory William Henry Harrison, feared "the Prophet's growing number of followers. He dared the Prophet to prove his power by carrying out some miracle." Tenkswatawa had this opportunity when his prediction about the eclipse came to pass. It strengthened his religious authority in the eyes of his followers, and increased the numbers. His brother, Tecumseh, hoped to unite Native American nations west of the Appalachians and, scholars believe, he alerted his brother to the solar event based on information from American scientists. Tecumseh believed that "if the American Indians worked together, they would be able to stop white encroachment onto their western lands. Tecumseh's Confederation became linked with his brother's religious movement. As one's position strengthened or weakened, so did that of the other." The eclipse succeeded in growing their numbers and within two years, Tenkswatawa and his adherents began construction of Prophetstown along the Wabash River in modern day Tippecanoe County.
In 1853, a group of women organized the Eleutherian Education Society to provide "the Education of destitute children, particularly that unfortunate class whose color, in the eyes of the world, has seemed to be a barrier." (Jefferson Co.)
In 1918, socialist leader and presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs delivered an anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, as World War I raged on in Europe. Debs told his audience, "They have always taught you that it is your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at a command. But in all of the history of the world you, the people, never had a voice in declaring war. You have never yet had. And here let me state a fact . . . the working class who fight the battles, the working class who make the sacrifices, the working class who shed the blood, the working class who furnish the corpses, the working class have never yet had a voice in declaring war." Police arrested the Terre Haute native for violating war-era espionage law. He represented himself at his federal court trial in Cleveland and his statement and appeal are "regarded as two of the great classic statements ever made in a court of law." The judge sentenced Debs to a ten year prison term, during which the Socialist Party nominated him as their candidate for the 1920 presidential campaign. (Vigo Co.)
In 1936, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arrived in Indianapolis after visiting other midwestern states. She arrived at the Governor's Mansion, where she met Governor Paul V. McNutt, a fellow Democrat and proponent of the New Deal, and his wife. The First Lady posed for photographs at a meet-and-greet and The Indianapolis Star reported that “'Mrs. Roosevelt smiles and looks tidy when lesser souls would growl and look disheveled.'” She dined at the mansion with members of the Indiana Democratic Party and then spoke at the Murat Theatre about housing for the poor, focusing on living conditions for miners. After staying the night at the Governor's Mansion, Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to Purdue University the following morning.
In 1838, Ramsay Crooks, of the American Fur Company, wrote that “[Musk]Rats, Beavers & Otters are dead stock,” resulting from the popularity of silk hats in the 1830s. Beaver prices tumbled and raccoon prices rose. This was a boon to the Maumee-Wabash trade since that region “produced enormous numbers of raccoons’’ and as a result “became for a few years the center of interest of the fur business of America.” In the ensuing boom of the trade, the Ewings and the American Fur Company engaged in a trade war in 1838. The following year a trade agreement was tried, but proved ineffective and war resumed. It was a cut-throat competition with no holds barred. G. W. Ewing, a member of the Indiana State Senate, introduced a bill in January, 1840, laying a heavy tax upon the American Fur Company. The bill passed the Senate but failed in the House. N. D. Grover reported from Logansport that if any legislator voted for Ewing’s bill “his Hide will be on the fence and well Stretched at that.” Ramsay Crooks was enraged at Ewing’s bill. He “denounced it as unconstitutional and planned resistance.” Having failed to get this bill enacted into law, Ewing privately wrote to Crooks suggesting that peace be made.
In 1856, Crawfordsville lawyer and politician Henry S. Lane was installed as president of the first Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia. The convention nominated John C. Frémont as the party’s first presidential nominee, who campaigned with slogans like “Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Frémont.” In his 1856 Republican National Convention address, Lane reiterated that the party opposed only extension of slavery, not its abolition, but added that he believed the Declaration of Independence to be “an anti-slavery document.” He described the Republican Party as representing “every shade of Anti-slavery sentiment in the United States” and that the party hoped to see a time when God would “look upon no slave North or South.” (Montgomery Co.)
In 1863, Confederate Captain Thomas Hines led about 100 cavalrymen from Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s division across the Ohio River from Kentucky into Perry County, Indiana. The driving purpose of Hines's raid was to steal horses. The men informed those they encountered that they were Union soldiers who had been sent into Indiana in search of deserters and presented those whose horses they commandeered with vouchers from the quartermaster at Indianapolis. The raiders made it as far north as Valeene, Indiana before their ruse was discovered. The troops met armed resistance in the form of citizens and Home Guard and turned southeast to cross the Ohio, while being pursued by the local forces. On their march south, Hines’s men induced Indiana resident Bryant Breedon to show them to a viable river crossing. Breedon managed to pass word to the Home Guard of the guerrillas’ intended crossing at Blue River Island near Leavenworth, so a force prepared for their arrival on June 19. The raiders forded the river onto the island, but the federal steamer Izetta (or Isetta) blocked their crossing into Kentucky. The citizens and Home Guard from Crawford, Perry, Harrison, and Orange counties cut off their escape back to Indiana. A short fight ensued and although Hines escaped to Kentucky some of his forces surrendered or were killed by enemy fire.
In 1884, Tri-State Normal College, one of the first co-ed colleges in Indiana, opened in Angola. The School of Engineering opened in 1902 and the school established education centers in Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Merrillville in the 1990s. Tri-State was renamed Trine University in 2008 to honor trustees Drs. Ralph and Sheri Trine and to "better define its mission." (Steuben Co.)
In 1932, actor Peter Lupus Jr. was born in Indianapolis. He starred as "Willy Armitage" in the popular Mission Impossible television show during the 1960s and 1970s. In high school, Lupus dedicated himself to body building and after graduation attended Butler University. He made his first professional acting appearance in an Indianapolis stage production of "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"
In 1938, women's rights activist Grace Julian Clark died in Indianapolis and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. The daughter of politician and abolitionist George Washington Julian, Grace was introduced 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 1915, a memorial service was held in Seymour for native Elbridge Blish Thompson, who was lost at sea after the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7 of that year. An early incident in World War I, a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland torpedoed the ship, killing 1,200 passengers. The sinking turned the favor of many countries against Germany and contributed to the U.S. eventual decision to join the war. Thompson and his wife Maude, who survived, were en route to Holland to conduct business for his Blish Milling Company in Seymour when the vessel sunk. Elbridge had studied at Yale and while there, reportedly defended his home state by saying “A man from Indiana can do no wrong.” (Jackson Co.)
In 1901, Vesto Slipher received his degree in Mechanics and Astronomy from Indiana University. Born on a farm near Mulberry, Slipher went on to earn a B.A., M.A. (1903), and Ph.D (1909) in Astronomy from IU. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, his "systematic observations (1912–25) of the extraordinary radial velocities of spiral galaxies provided the first evidence supporting the expanding-universe theory." Slipher demonstrated that the universe was not static, but rather expanding and often pushing objects towards each other. (Clinton Co. and Monroe Co.)
In 1978, Garfield the cat, a creation of Hoosier cartoonist Jim Davis, made his first appearance in forty-one newspapers around the country. After other attempts at newspaper comics, Davis tried his hand at drawing a comic strip based on the cats he grew up with as a kid in Fairmount. He named the cat in honor of his grandfather, James Garfield Davis. As of 2018, the strip is read every day in 2100 newspapers by 200 million people. The comic has also been adapted to television and two feature-length films. (Grant Co.)
In 1837, officials laid the cornerstone for Indiana Asbury University's "Edifice," the school's first building. Later known as DePauw University, more than 10,000 spectators attended the ceremony, in which trustee Calvin Fletcher spoke. Reverend Henry B. Bascom, "reputedly the greatest orator in the West," delivered the main address at the Greencastle university. According to DePauw University: A Pictorial History, the building's first floor contained a large chapel and three recitation halls, the second floor had several classrooms, and a library and halls for student literary societies graced the third floor. In 1852, a clock was installed on the tower's cupola. (Putnam Co.)
In 1853, based on an affidavit by Pleasant Ellington, a Deputy Marshal arrested free person of color John Freeman in Indianapolis. According to Ellington, Freeman was actually a fugitive slave named Sam, who had run away from him seventeen years ago when he lived in Kentucky. When Freeman’s friends learned of his arrest they persuaded Squire Sullivan, U.S. Commissioner for Indianapolis, to allow him to have legal aid. Based on the request of Ellington’s attorneys, U.S. Marshal John L. Robinson “examined” Freeman naked in front of Ellington’s witnesses, so that they could identify physical similarities between him and the man they professedly knew as Sam. After the humiliating incident and nine months of imprisonment, witnesses arrived from Georgia to testify on behalf of Freeman. His counsel found that Sam was actually living in Canada and he was released from jail.
In 1865, at its opening session the Indiana Supreme Court adopted three resolutions regarding the death of President Lincoln, who had been assassinated two months prior. The resolutions proclaimed Lincoln's death a "great national calamity, which nearly and profoundly touches the whole people," that "his example, in all the stages of his life, is worthy of imitation by his countrymen," and that "we tender to the family of the illustrious dead our heartfelt condolence in this night of their affliction and sorrow." After the resolutions, the court heard from Supreme Court Justice James Frazer, who had “a slight personal acquaintance with Mr. Lincoln, before his first nomination for the presidency.” Frazer stated that it was apparent to him, even then, that Lincoln was “the fittest man in the nation for that high office, during that crisis of our national affairs which, it was apparent, could not be much longer delayed.”
In 1964, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame President and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, attended a rally organized by Martin Luther King Jr. at Soldier Field in Chicago. A member of King's staff hoisted Father Hesburgh up to the podium, where he gave an impromptu speech in support of the Civil Rights Act, which awaited President Lyndon Johnson's signature. Father Hesburgh encouraged the crowd's African American attendees to be proud and he proclaimed that “We want to strive for dignity with you.” In what became an iconic photograph, Father Hesburgh linked arms with King and sang "We Shall Overcome." The historic Civil Rights Act, enacted in July of that year, banned segregation in U.S. schools and public spaces.
In 1814, politician and lawyer James Henry Lane was born in Lawrenceburg. Lane was a Mexican-American War officer, served as lieutenant governor of Indiana (1849-53), and represented Indiana for one term in Congress (1853-55). He then moved to the Kansas Territory, where he became "the most colorful and fascinating personality in the history of Kansas," according to historian Albert Castel. (Dearborn Co.)
In 1854, residents of Clay County, under the cover of night, broke the embankment and drained water from the recently constructed Birch Creek Reservoir, fearing that the reservoir brought malaria and cholera to their community. Other acts of sabotage followed on the reservoir and the feeder dam, which cost the canal company money in repairs and lost revenue from shippers. The unknown saboteurs, dubbed the “Reservoir Regulators,” eventually drew the ire of Governor Joseph A. Wright, who dispatched militia to guard the infrastructure. Although some men were indicted under charges of arson and malicious trespass, no one was ever convicted. Other acts of vandalism persisted as late as 1857. By 1860 the owners of the canal conceded that man-made waterways could not compete with railroads, and abandoned the project.
In 1882, advertising master and founder of the famous foot care brand, William Mathais Scholl, better known as "Dr. Scholl," was born in Kankakee. Although it is unclear if Scholl earned his medical degree, he invented various devices to alleviate foot pain. In 1904, Scholl set up shop in a small office in Chicago, the first location of the Scholl Manufacturing Company. He would purportedly travel to various shoe stores, ask for the manager, and take out a human foot skeleton and put it on the counter. He used the foot to show how complicated and delicate the bones were and demonstrated how his products supported the feet. Advertising methods such as these led to booming business. By the end of World War I, Scholl’s company expanded across the U.S., Europe, Egypt, and even Australia. He had also established a Podiatry College and written a text book. During World War II, the Scholl plant in England made surgical and hospital equipment, while the Chicago plant converted to the manufacture of military equipment. Historian Fred Cavinder writes, “As Word War II ended, Dr. Scholl invented the compact display fixture with the familiar blue and yellow colors.” (LaPorte Co.)
In 1918, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus Train was struck in the rear by an army troop train in Hammond. An estimated eighty-six were killed and another 200 injured. It is considered one of the worst train wrecks in U.S. history. The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, formed in 1907, was headquartered in Peru, Indiana. (Lake Co. and Miami Co.)
In 1945, the U.S. Senate confirmed Claude Wickard as administrator of the Rural Electrical Administration. The Carroll County farmer and Purdue University graduate started working in federal agricultural agencies during the Great Depression. According to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, as Secretary of Agriculture during World War II Wickard, "developed and administered programs which enabled the American farmer to produce enough food to feed the country, its armed forces and most of its allies. By 1945, America's level of food production was high enough to make the difference between life and death for many people in the war-torn countries of Europe."
In 1906, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, also known as The Wiley Act, for Jefferson County chemist Harvey Washington Wiley. Dr. Wiley developed an interest in adulterated food while working as a chemist at Purdue University. To test the effects these foods had on people, he conducted "hygienic table trials," the members of which were known in the media as "The Poison Squad." His findings contributed to the passing of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
In 1950, following a gun battle, agents captured the FBI's Most Wanted #9 Henry Harland Shelton in his native Indianapolis. The Indianapolis News reported that agents sought the fugitive for kidnapping, following his escape from Northern Michigan State Prison on Labor Day in 1949. He had been serving six years to life at the prison for armed robbery and days after the escape he and an accomplice, armed with knives, "staged a reign of terror through the Midwest." Agents brought him down in front of the K & M Tavern on East Michigan Street and he recuperated at the city's General Hospital.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law. Co-Sponsored by Indiana Senator Birch Bayh and Oregon Representative Edith Green, Title IX “prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid.” This included athletic opportunities, both in scholarships and in sports programs, for women and girls within public institutions of education.
In 1880, the Democratic Party nominated Lexington, Indiana native William English for the vice-presidency with running mate General Winfield Scott Hancock. In his acceptance letter, the legislator and businessman wrote that he was “profoundly grateful for the honor conferred” and that his election with Hancock would be a triumph over the dominance of the Republican Party in the presidency. Their chances to win the White House were dashed when they lost to Republicans James Garfield and Chester Arthur in the general election. While he was running for Vice-President, English expanded his business empire with his financing and construction of the English Hotel and Opera House in Indianapolis. (Scott Co.)
In 1901, Charles "Chuck" Taylor was born in Brown County. He grew up in Columbus, Indiana and played basketball for the Columbus High Bull Dogs, before playing for various semi-pro teams. Taylor accepted a sales job in Chicago at the Converse Rubber Shoe Company, which manufactured the Converse All-Star basketball shoe. As a traveling salesman, he put on demonstrations for college, high school, and YMCA teams as part of his sales pitch. He immediately started modifying the shoe to make it more flexible and supportive, most famously adding the "ankle guard" patch with the Converse logo. In 1932, Converse added his name to the patch. The shoe was worn by both teams at the first NCAA tournament and the first U.S. Olympic basketball team. By 1966, Converse had an 80% share of the U.S. sneaker market. Taylor is also notable for convincing Converse to make the first stitch-less basketball in 1935, which made it much easier to dribble and shoot, and changed the game forever.
In 1904, band leader and comedic radio host Phil Harris was born in Linton. The New York Times described him as the "brash, bourbon-swigging, fast-drawling band leader who became a comic radio star as a Jack Benny sidekick in the 1930's." As a member of the Jack Benny ensemble, his "trademark 'Hi ya, Jackson,' was the epitome of the slang-slinging, wise-cracking slacker, a drummer given to one-line quips and two fingers of bourbon." Based on his popularity in the ensemble, NBC gave Harris his own half-hour radio broadcast on Sunday nights. In 1932, he formed an orchestra that experienced immense success on the big-band circuit and radio airwaves. Harris was also known as the voice of Baloo the Bear in Disney's animated film "Jungle Book." (Greene Co.)
In 1947, President Harry Truman appointed Monroe City native Curtis G. Shake as a member of the military tribunal at Nuremberg, which tried leaders of the Nazi Party for war crimes. Shake served as the presiding judge in the trial of I.G. Farben, a German pharmaceutical company that manufactured Zyklon B gas, used by the Nazis to commit genocide against Jews during the Holocaust. (Knox Co.)
In 1967, "Father of Bluegrass" Bill Monroe held his first annual music celebration in Bean Blossom. When the headlining musicians weren’t performing, they participated in “pick and sing” sessions, improvisational jams where the professionals and amateur players exchanged ideas. The internationally-popular bluegrass festival would become known as the "Brown County Jamboree." By 1977, the festival was extended to nine days and was expected to accommodate crowds of up to 50,000 people. (Brown Co.)
In 1971, President Richard Nixon attended an Indiana state historical marker ceremony honoring his mother, Hannah Milhous Nixon, who was born in Butlerville. At the marker dedication, President Nixon remarked, "My mother left Indiana when she was 12 years old, but I can tell you, Indiana never left her. From the time that I knew her until she died—and she was 82 years old—my mother always spoke with great affection and love about back home in Indiana." He added that she "had a very great dedication to peace, because coming from this quiet, beautiful Indiana countryside and with her Quaker background, peace was uppermost in her mind." (Jennings Co.)
In 1862, a New York grand jury indicted Ladoga native and former Indiana state agent Daniel C. Stover and his Wall Street accomplice, Samuel Hallett, on third degree forgery. The men had parlayed $2.5 million in fraudulent Indiana stock into nearly $20 million. In the midst of the Civil War, their actions threatened to dramatically affect Indiana’s economy as it sought to purchase finished goods to equip its troops and to conduct business with the rest of the North. It also threatened severe political fallout for Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton.
In 1869, the Indianapolis Journal published black Hoosier Silas Shucraft's treatise on the Fifteenth Amendment, which would grant African American males the right to vote. He refuted Democrat's belief that African Americans were too "ignorant and debased" to vote and that Republicans aimed to prioritize black men over white. Shucraft wrote "Old systems and prejudices, engendered by race and color, are gradually and harmoniously yielding to the more broad, liberal, and philanthropic principles of an enlightened public mind. This car of progress is grandly moving onward and upward, and the puny hands of the opposition can not stay its course." After Democratic protests, including resignation from office, the Indiana General Assembly ratified the Fifteenth Amendment. In 1870, the Democrats gained control of the Indiana General Assembly for the first time since 1862 and swept the state offices, partly on the basis of the amendment’s unpopularity in Indiana.
In 1888, the Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated Indianapolis senator and lawyer Benjamin Harrison for president. Harrison lost the popular vote, but won 233 electoral votes to win the 1888 presidential election. In the course of American history, the winning presidential candidate lost the popular vote on four other occasions: 1824, 1876, 2000, and 2016. The 23rd President of the United States was the only Indiana resident ever elected to the office and the first to live in an electrically lit White House.
In 1866, the Lafayette Courier reported that Moses Fowler and Adams Earl sold 1,900 cattle at $90 per head for a total of $171,000. The Benton County stock raisers were the top producers in the state. Later, in different partnerships, Fowler with William S. VanNatta, and Earl with his son-in-law Charles B. Stuart, the men imported and developed some of the best Hereford cattle herds in the country.
In 1867, the board of trustees opened Indiana Asbury (now DePauw University) to women. According to DePauw emeritus of history professor George B. Manhart, "'Their first entrance into the chapel was memorable. As they reached the door the men turned and stared, and the impulse of the girls was to flee. One suggested that they take seats in the rear, to which Bettie Locke replied: 'What, women take a back seat? Never.' So they marched to the front, taking seats in the Amen corner.'" (Putnam Co.)
In 1920, the Studebaker Corporation of America celebrated the opening of its new plant in South Bend, which was constructed specifically to build Light-Six passenger cars, rather than carriages. The Lafayette Journal and Courier reported that the plant had the capacity to produce 500 automobiles per day. In order to accommodate the influx of workers, the company constructed over 800 houses. Studebaker, 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 1963, the company 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. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1977, Elvis Presley performed his final concert at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. The concert was attended by nearly 18,000 people and Elvis performed for nearly 90 minutes. While some of his performance was reportedly lackluster, he pulled out some great numbers, including "Hurt" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Presley died nearly six weeks later on August 16, 1977 of heart failure.
In 1838, the name "Koh Koh maw" was written in a ledger, next to a charge of $12.00 for a barrel of flour, at Miami leader Francis Godfroy's trading post along the Mississinewa River. Questions regarding the existence of the City of Kokomo's namesake abound, but the ledger seems to confirm he indeed resided or visited the area. Second hand and tertiary stories about “Kokomo” run the gamut from heroic, incredibly tall, Miami chief to drunk. (Howard Co.)
In 1848, social reformer Dorothea Dix presented her report to the U.S. Congress regarding the need to establish hospitals to treat those suffering from mental illness, particularly in Indiana. She recounted the deplorable conditions of jails and poor asylums she visited in the Hoosier state the previous year and noted: "I found one poor woman in a smoke-house, in which she had been confined more than twenty years. In several poorhouses the insane, both men and women, were chained to the floors, sometimes all in the same apartment. Several were confined in mere pens, without clothing or shelter; some furious—others for a time comparatively tranquil." Her advocacy, along with that of local physician Dr. John Evans, convinced the Indiana General Assembly to fund the establishment of Central State Hospital, which opened in 1848 in Indianapolis.
In 1859, the Night Express train wrecked in South Bend when it crossed a bridge, the soil under which had been loosened by heavy rainfall. According to The History Museum, of South Bend, the collapse resulted in the train being buried in the mud bank and cars piling onto each other. The crash obliterated the train's first class cars and others were carried downstream. Of the Night Express's 150 passengers, sixty passed away on site, and approximately fifty were wounded. Other deceased passengers were found days later after water carried their bodies down the stream. Church bells alerted South Bend and Mishawaka residents to the accident in the middle of the night and many came to help the wounded. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1940, the Republican National Convention, held at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, nominated Elwood native Wendell Willkie as the party's presidential candidate. The lawyer and corporate executive was chosen, despite never holding public office. His presidential campaign included a civil rights plank that was at odds with some members of his party. Despite losing the election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Willkie continued fighting for civil rights and advocated for the equal treatment of African Americans in the Armed Forces during WWII. He also became friends and political allies with President Roosevelt and served the president as a U.S. emissary. Willkie traveled the world, 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. (Madison Co. and Tipton Co.)
In 1957, the Indianapolis Times announced that it had been selected as winner of the Scripps-Howard's national "story-of-the-month" award for uncovering state highway corruption. The Times reported that the Marion County Grand Jury had indicted five men involved in the scandals on counts of bribery and conspiracy to embezzle funds, including former State Highway Chairman Virgil W. Smith. Albert Gore, Sr., Chairman of the Senate Public Works Highway Subcommittee praised the Times, stating that "the fine work of the Times reporters in bringing to the public the misapplication of highways funds is another typical example of how a newspaper serves the community." The newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for leading the crusade against the Ku Klux Klan, exposing the Klan's influence in Indiana politics, and spurring investigations into corrupt state elections.
In 1816, delegates at the constitutional convention in Corydon adopted the first Indiana State Constitution. In preparing Indiana's fundamental law, they borrowed heavily from existing state constitutions especially those of Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. They produced a strongly democratic document for that period, which served Indiana for thirty-five years, until a second constitution was adopted in 1851. The 1816 constitution forbade slavery (at least formally) and incorporated an advanced concept of state responsibility for public education. The new constitution went into effect without submission to the people. (Harrison Co.)
In 1855, Centerville native, abolitionist, and U.S. Representative George Washington Julian delivered a speech in Indianapolis entitled "The Slavery Question in its Present Relations to American Politics." In his speech, Julian addressed the issue of immigration, arguing that immigrants could help develop the "physical resources of the country." The political leader defined by his moral convictions added: "Let them come. Trodden down by kingly power, and hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of our free institutions, let them have a welcome on these shores. Their motive is a very natural and at the same time honorable one, -- that of bettering their lot. They prefer our country and its government to every other. . . To proscribe him on account of his birthplace is mean and cowardly as to proscribe him for his religious faith or color of his skin. It is the rankest injustice, the most downright inhumanity."
In 1949, film star and Madison native Irene Dunne received the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame, awarded annually for "outstanding Catholic layman." Presented during the early-Cold War era, Reverend John J. Cavanaugh called Dunne an "apostle of sanity in days of hysteria." According to the Terre Haute Star, a citation accompanied the medal, noting that when the Great Depression and World War II generated "discouragement, gloom and sorrow,” Dunne's films shared "stories of encouragement and hope that wrinkled with healing laughter the taut features of a war-wracked world." (Jefferson Co.)
In 1955, 35,000 South Bend residents participated in a civil defense exercise dubbed "Operation Exit." The objective was to test the city to see how quickly residents would respond to a large-scale military attack or a natural disaster in the early atomic era. In the months leading up to the evacuation, news of the test was distributed in newspapers, on the radio, and on television. When the evacuation sirens sounded at 3 p.m. the downtown area was deserted, aside from guards and traffic control officers, within ninety minutes. The exercise was deemed a success and a more extensive drill was planned for 1956, including a mock nuclear bomb attack on Notre Dame Stadium. (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1857, James Oliver received his first patent for the major components of what would become the Oliver Chilled Iron Plow. Oliver's patent improved upon existing designs by replacing the wooden plow with a metal edge with a fully metal plow blade. His plow increased efficiency by reducing how often the blades broke. The new design was so successful that by the early 20th century, Oliver Chilled Plow Works, located in South Bend, produced nearly 300,000 plows a year. The company exported plows all around the world and adopted the moniker "Plowmakers for the World." (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1865, after a seven-week military trial, members of the court-martial reached verdicts for the co-conspirators involved in President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Two of the nine members of the tribunal were Hoosiers, including Major General Lew Wallace of Crawfordsville and Brigadier General Robert S. Foster of Indianapolis. The commissioners convicted all of the defendants. They recommended that Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, David Herold, and Mary Surratt be executed for their roles. The tribunal recommended life sentences for Sam Arnold, Michael O’Laughlen, and Dr. Samuel Mudd. Finally, the officers recommended that Edman Spangler, who was only circumstantially involved with the events on the evening of April 14, 1865, and likely had no knowledge of the assassination plots, was still given a six year prison sentence at hard labor.
In 1940, trailblazing South Bend cartoonist Dalia "Dale" Messick's Brenda Starr, Reporter comic strip debuted. The comic, published in the Chicago Tribune, featured Starr, a fashionable and intrepid female reporter that inspired young female readers who harbored professional ambitions. Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History noted that "Delighted readers followed along as Starr broke stories in exciting locations, agitated for better assignments, and sassed back to her grumpy editors long before Doris Day appeared on the movie screen and the characters of Mary Richards and Murphy Brown were hits on television." (St. Joseph Co.)
In 1972, Governor Edgar Whitcomb was on hand for dedication ceremonies of the final stretch of Interstate 65, completed between Taylorsville and Southport. The Republic, of Columbus, reported that southbound traffic was so backed up that "some motorists were forced to sit in their vehicles for over an hour and a half while official opening ceremonies were conducted in the middle of the major interstate highway at the Franklin interchange near Road 44."
In 1994, Central State Hospital, which treated Hoosiers afflicted by mental illness and addiction issues since 1848, closed in Indianapolis. Patients were temporarily transferred to the Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital before being placed in community centers. Central State Hospital followed the trend toward community-based health care. The decision was also motivated by the drowning of a patient, one of many instances of neglect due to lack of funds in the hospital’s history. Central State’s groundbreaking pathology lab, which opened in 1896, served as a state teaching hospital.
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 U.S., 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 U.S. 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, U.S. Senator from Indiana and U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. secretary of agriculture. During World War II, he developed programs that allowed farmers to produce enough food for U.S. 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 U.S. senator (1863-1869), Indiana governor (1873-1877), and U.S. vice president (1884-his death in 1885).
In 1920, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 construction on 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, a force of native tribes, including the Wea, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Winnebago, and Kickapoo unsuccssfully attempted to seize the fort.
In 1843, Willard School, later Indiana School for the Deaf, opened in Indianapolis. The school's teacher William Willard and his wife, both of whom were deaf, 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, workmen laid the last rail of track connecting Madison and Indianapolis. Prominent Indianapolis businessman and legislator Calvin Fletcher wrote in his diary that the line "was so far completed that the cars from Madison on the Ohio [River] 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 tax levies.
In 1905, L.S. Ayres & Co. opened its flagship store on the corner of Meridian Street and Washington Street in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star praised the store at its opening and noted that 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 1864, antiwar draft protesters murdered Daviess County draft officer Captain 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 provided 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 1818, Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Lincoln, died in present-day Spencer County of milk sickness. She contracted the illness after drinking the milk of a cow that had consumed the poisonous white snakeroot plant. The National Park Service noted that after her passing, Abraham helped his father Thomas construct Nancy's coffin and they buried her near the family farm. According to the NPS, "Undoubtedly she left her mark on the young boy in the countless small and intimate ways that mothers do with their children. The experience of her death also prepared her son for facing the tragedy and loss that is a part of life as well. The intangible effects of both her life and her death became a part of Abraham's life and helped shape the man he became."
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 signed the Treaty of St. Mary's in Ohio. According to Stewart Rafert’s The Miami Indians of Indiana: A Persistent People, 1654-1994, the treaty resulted in the Miami ceding the majority of central Indiana to the U.S., which allowed for platting of the new state capital and rapid white resettlement. The treaty changed the Miami’s way of life. According to Rafert the “large annual cash payments increased the purchase of goods and consumption of alcohol among the Miami, the fur trade declined in relative importance and the subsistence economy was subverted. Tribes-people quickly found themselves becoming dependent on their annuities and credit with traders, in effect trading land instead of furs.”
In 1862, rioters in Hartford City broke the draft box and assaulted officers in protest of 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 to establish industries.
In 1849, "Hoosier Poet" James Whicomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Hancock County. 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 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, such as population growth and a changing economy.
In 1917, the Central Library of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library system opened. According to the Indiana Historical Society, "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 1952, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents arrested Gary resident Katherine Hyndman under the McCarran Internal Security Act, which called for the deportation of subversive immigrants. Hyndman emigrated from Croatia as a child and joined the Communist Party in 1929. Her protest of the Korean War and involvement with the International Workers Order drew the attention of the agents, who transported her to the Crown Point County Jail. She served ten months in the jail before being released under the terms of the McCarran Act.
In 1821, the initial sale of lots in Indianapolis began. By the 1830s, 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." James Overall, an African American man, shot a white gang member while defending his home and family from attack; white allies came to Overall's aid. Despite an 1831 Indiana law that barred black testimony against whites in court, he gained legal protection from further attack.
In 1838, John Milton Hay was born in Salem, Washington County. Hay became one of President Abraham Lincoln’s private secretaries. He served in a variety of diplomatic posts after the Civil War, including as assistant secretary of state in the presidential administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. He and fellow Lincoln secretary, John G. Nicolay, authored a ten volume biography on the martyred president. In 1898, President William McKinley appointed Hayes 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) won the Federal League pennant with an 88-65 record, which topped the 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 that season.
In 1944, lawyer and corporate executive Wendell Willkie died. He was later buried in Rushville's East Hill Cemetery. The Elwood native became the Republican candidate for U.S. president despite never having held an elected office. After losing the 1940 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he continued fighting for civil rights and advocated for the equal treatment of African Americans in the Armed Forces during World War II. He also became friends and political allies with FDR and served the president as a U.S. emissary. He traveled the world, 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. Hudson was among a group of white men who murdered nine Seneca men, women and children living at a winter camp on a stream near Pendleton. He was one of three perpetrators hanged for the crime in 1825, a rare case in which indigenous people obtained some justice from U.S. law during the period.
In 1847, African American David Powell and his family fled their enslavement in Boone County, Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. Two years later their owner John Norris caught up to them and initiated 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. She specialized 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" in 1825 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 Hartford City, Blackford County. He received two patents related to his work and co-founded the Novelty Glass Company.
In 1933, United Airlines flight NC13304, a Boeing 247, 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. 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 won reelection in a landslide. Concerned about Democratic and Copperhead insurgents affecting the vote, Morton persuaded President Abraham 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 for Lincoln in the presidential election on November 8.
In 1928, Paul V. McNutt won the election as National Commander of the American Legion. He utilized the organization's structure to aid his campaign for Indiana governor in 1933. McNutt ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1940 presidential race, but dropped out when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for a third term.
In 1965, the Indianapolis Times ran its final issue. The Times published numerous articles that exposed the collusion and corruption between the Indiana state government, Governor Ed Jackson, and the Ku Klux Klan. The paper won a Pulitzer Prize for the series in 1928. 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 were 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 held, dragged them out, and lynched them on nearby trees. According to the Indianapolis News, after the lynching the mob removed their masks and blended in with 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, commander of M Company of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 1st Lieutenant Samuel Woodfill demonstrated bravery in combat against German soldiers at 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 for greater 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 for casting minority actors into the roles in 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 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 the Indiana General Assembly from 1953 to 1957.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke at Weir Cook Airport in Indianapolis. He urged 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. Birch Bayh's election to the U.S. Senate was the only Democratic seat gained in Indiana's congressional delegation.
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 Fourth of July celebration in 1894. 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, John Wooden, one of the winningest collegiate basketball coaches, 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. Among many other progressive measures enacted under his leadership, Ralston's administration initiated the state park system and created a public service commission 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. Women and men who supported temperance, abolition, and suffrage attended the convention. Members 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 the 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 several 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 at Hartsville and Hope in Bartholomew County. The service delivered mail directly to rural residents and eliminated 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 died when the plane she was piloting crashed. Lewellen was one of thirty-eight 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 at 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 tirelessly advocated for food regulation. Through his “hygienic table trials,” which tested the effects of adulterated food on twelve volunteers known as the "Poison Squad," Dr. Wiley's findings contributed to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
In 1897, the 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. He wrote that boyhood summers and holidays spent at his grandparents’ farm in Porter County 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 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 the fact that a childhood farm accident mangled his pitching hand and resulted in the loss of 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 in Indianapolis. Approximately 15,000 visitors attended on its first day. When the Civil War ended the fair was moved to the former site of Camp Morton.
In 1926, Eugene V. Debs died. He was a five-time presidential candidate of the Socialist Party and founder of Industrial Workers of the World. 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 in 1920.
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 won election to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1846 and served as U.S. 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 since 1963, 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, Fort Wayne was dedicated. Following General Anthony Wayne's victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Legion of the United States under Wayne's command moved into present-day Indiana. Wayne selected a site for a fort at the Miami town of Kekionga. The site was strategically and militarily located at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee rivers. Wayne sought to exert American influence and control in the region over the claims of indigenous peoples and the British. Major John F. Hamtramck was placed in command of 100 soldiers stationed at the fort.
In 1840, Sister Theodore Guerin and other Sisters of Providence arrived in the middle of a thick, village-less forest four miles outside of Terre Haute. 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 Indianapolis High School, now Shortridge High School [home to graduates such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Richard Lugar], which had been closed in 1858. He 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. Shortridge was also instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Public Library and reopening Indianapolis public schools to African American children.
In 1865, one hundred and fifty African American delegates, representing most Indiana counties, met at the African Methodist Church in Indianapolis to establish an organization that would advance their rights. Convention delegates formed a Committee on Business and adopted Resolutions, which included a pledge to “do all in our limited power to secure that intellectual and moral worth necessary to sustain a republican form of government, and for the encouragement of our race. We will petition the Legislature of this State, at its next session, to grant us access to the public school funds, and that we be permitted, with other men of other races, to testify in all cases before the courts of justice in this State."
In 1892, First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison died in the White House. The wife of President Benjamin Harrison, she 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 and destroyed 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."
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 capital 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 the 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, which granted women the right to vote.
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 and practiced 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 resignation as mayor, 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 visited 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. Most Hoosiers voted for Republican candidate Thomas Dewey instead.
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 1914, Indiana historian and editor Gayle Thornbrough was born in Hendricks County. She earned her B.A. at Butler University and became editor at the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and Indiana Historical Bureau. Thornbrough edited the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Old Northwest. With the support of pharmacist and philanthropist Eli Lilly, she became the director of publications at IHS, where she increased library access for researchers, established two documentary editing projects, and developed a new library and historical building. Her collaboration with Lilly resulted in IHS receiving part of Eli Lilly Company's stock at his bequest, which she utilized to promote and preserve Indiana history.
In 1844 Abraham Lincoln spoke to a large crowd at the Spencer County courthouse in Rockport. The thesis 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 broadcast. It operated for sixty-nine years as an AM station (1070) and transitioned 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, Ashbel Parsons Willard, governor of Indiana from 1857 to 1860, 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 Purdue University's 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. 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. 150 delegates met for 127 days in the House of Representatives’ chamber in the State House to draft the document. According to historian David Vanderstel, “The constitution that emanated from those four months of deliberations was not a radical revision of the original document nor did it significantly alter the existing form of state government. Rather, the proposed draft addressed numerous concerns and problems that had emerged during the formative years of the state.” Changes included a prohibition on incurring state debt, a commitment to public schools, an increase in the number of elected officials, and suffrage rights for foreign-born males. This new constitution also codified racism in Article XIII, which prohibited the immigration of African Americans into the state.
In 1877, U.S. Senator Oliver P. Morton died in Indianapolis and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. From 1861-1867, Morton governed Indiana during the Civil War. His gubernatorial terms proved contentious as the Republican governor faced a Democratic majority in the Indiana General Assembly, and civil discontent in the state due to Copperhead activity and anti-draft protests. After serving as governor, he became a US Senator during Reconstruction, and sought to reform the former Confederacy.
In 1945, crooner Frank Sinatra made a special visit to Gary to discuss the heightened racial tensions due to the integration of Froebel High School. White students at Froebel were on strike against having African American classmates. 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 1913, riots erupted in Indianapolis when 300 Pinkerton Agency strikebreakers replaced striking workers from the Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company (interurban). When the rioting ended days later, six people had died in the chaos.
In 1920, Hoosier women and men voted for the first time since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. In Delaware County, the citizens elected Julia D. Nelson as a state representative. She was the first woman 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. He informed 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 as a journalist 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 considered an expert on the island. After author and fellow Crawfordsville resident 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 won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854. He served fourteen years in that body including three terms as Speaker of the House (1863-1869). As Speaker, he helped ensure Congress’s passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery. Colfax served only one term as vice president, after the press implicated him in the Credit Mobilier scandal, which also threatened Grant’s tenure in the White House.
In 1896, James A. Mount won election as governor of Indiana. The Montgomery County farmer served with the 72nd Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. While lecturing at farmers' institutes after the war, he began to establish a political base. Mount won a state senate seat 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. As governor, Mount mobilized Indiana troops to serve in the Spanish-American War.
In 1816, the first session of the General Assembly convened, and was in session 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 as the state legislature. This lawmaking body 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 issues of revenue and 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 designed 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. Ex-Governor Samuel M. Ralston and thousands of citizens greeted him upon his arrival at Union Station. A parade and banquet was held 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 Terre Haute. In 1918, a federal jury found Debs guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. The court convicted him and sentenced him to prison. While incarcerated, he ran for president a fifth time in 1920.
In 1912, Columbia City resident Thomas Riley Marshall was elected U.S. vice president under Woodrow Wilson. Marshall refused to assume powers of the presidency after Wilson's stroke in 1919, in the belief that 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 was 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 introduced the law 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 lost the popular vote, but won 233 electoral votes to win the 1888 presidential election. In the course of American history, the winning presidential candidate lost the popular vote on four other occasions: 1824, 1876, 2000, and 2016.
In 1894, suffrage leader Helen Gougar attempted to vote in Tippecanoe County but the county election board turned her away due to her gender. She filed suit against the 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 became the first NFL player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. An electrifying, three-time Pro Bowl halfback, Brown was born in Richmond. He grew up in foster homes starting at age seven. At age twelve he was placed in the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home in Knightstown. Brown excelled in athletics at Knightstown’s Morton Memorial High School, and earned a football scholarship to Ball State Teachers College. He played ten seasons in the National Football League, mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles where he was a three-time second-team All-Pro. Following his retirement from football he became a full-time movie and television actor. (Wayne Co.)
In 1811, Indian Confederacy forces led by Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, attacked American troops commanded by General William Henry Harrison. Despite an indecisive outcome, the Battle of Tippecanoe caused multiple casualties on both sides.
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 U.S. 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, Doubleday, Page & Company published Sister Carrie, the debut novel by Terre Haute native Theodore Dreiser. Despite disappointing initial sales, the "greatest of all American urban novels" became an influential example of realism in American writing.
In 1904, Indianapolis lawyer and U.S. 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. Fairbanks ran again as Charles Evans Hughes’s running mate in the 1916 election, although the Republicans lost to Woodrow Wilson and his Hoosier running mate Thomas Marshall.
In 1969, revolutionary astronomer Vesto Slipher died in Flagstaff, Arizona. Born on a farm near Mulberry, Clinton County, Indiana, Slipher 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 expanding-universe 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, Pike County. The Gibson County native was a trailblazer for women in physics. She was a student of the famous physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, and a crusader against atomic war and McCarthyism. Fired from her university positions during the McCarthy era, 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 Cairo, 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 successfully purchased Turkey Run for $40,200. Columnist Juliet V. Strauss spearheaded the effort to save the old-growth forest from destruction by a lumber company. 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 Strauss’ efforts at Turkey Run in 1922.
In 1922, novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born in Indianapolis. As a student at Shortridge High School, Vonnegut wrote for the student paper, The Echo. While in college, he 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 surpassed Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin in sales and inspired other literary works involving biblical settings. In 1899, the book was adapted into a popular stage play that ran for nearly twenty years. Producers have also adapted the work for the small and big screens on several occasions, most notably the 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston, which won a record eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
In 1919, at the First Legion convention in Minneapolis, delegates voted to locate the American Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, rather than Washington, D.C. 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 then located in Irvington, east of downtown Indianapolis. 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. His conviction exacerbated the already precipitous decline of the Klan's popularity and influence in Indiana politics.
In 1930, workers finished moving the Indiana Bell Building on Meridian Street in Indianapolis, and shifted 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, Dr. Harold Clayton Urey, a Walkerton, St. Joseph County native, 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. From 1940 to 1945, Urey served as Director of War Research for the Atomic Bomb Project at Columbia University. He received numerous awards for scientific achievement during his career. He 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 1915, the U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for the Coca-Cola bottle, 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, Charles Gordone died in Texas. Born in Ohio in 1925, Gordone and his family moved to Elkhart 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 U.S. House of Representatives denied a petition from the Indiana Territory to allow slavery.
In 1978, unidentified attackers robbed Speedway Burger Chef -a successful burger chain that originated 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, Mooresville high school graduate (’66) Sergeant Sammy L. Davis faced enemy fire and suffered wounds from mortar blasts, while he provided cover fire for his gun crew and helped rescue three wounded soldiers. Sergeant Davis later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War.
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 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, “The Indiana law on racial discrimination is clear. It does not tolerate discrimination.”
In 1878, journalist, historian and diplomat Claude Bowers was born in Westfield, Hamilton County. 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 U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Chile. Bowers worked to keep the U.S. out of the Spanish Civil War through his diplomatic work.
In 1880, Governor James "Blue Jeans" Williams died in 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 served in Congress from 1875 until his December 1876, when he resigned, having been elected governor of Indiana. In the 1876 gubernatorial contest, Williams defeated Benjamin Harrison by five thousand votes. During his term as governor, 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. Williams was also notable as one of the tallest Indiana governors, 6’4”.
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 (now Newfields).
In 1832, Presbyterian ministers and laymen met in Crawfordsville, and established 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 served as the school's first faculty member. He later earned the sobriquet “father of Indiana’s public school system” for his work and advocacy 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, William Lowe Bryan died in Bloomington. According to IU's Archives Online, Bryan studied ancient classics, philosophy at IU, and earned a Ph.D. psychology at Clark University. He returned to IU as a faculty member and became a leader in the scientific study of child development. In 1902, he was appointed the tenth president of the university. During his 35 years leading IU, he established the schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry. He also established many graduate programs and several satellite campuses.
In 1812, the "Battle of Spurs Defeat." also called the Battle of Wild Cat Creek, occurred in Tippecanoe County. According to the Indiana State Library, a force of sixty soldiers rode out to retrieve the body of a soldier killed in a skirmish the day before. A group of Kickapoo, Wea, and Shawnee warriors ambushed the troops, which resulted in the deaths of eighteen Kentucky soldiers. The name of the battle apparently refers to the remaining soldiers use of spurs on their horses hasten their retreat.
In 1890, DePauw University defeated Wabash College 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. 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 he son of impoverished Posey County settlers, 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 Mexican-American War, Hovey was elected to the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850. He was a justice on the Indiana Supreme Court for one year and served as United States district attorney for two. Hovey had a distinguished military career during the Civil War, and rose to the rank of brigadier general. After the war, Hovey served as a diplomat to Peru. He was in Congress at the time of his election to governor in 1888. His administration was notable for the passage of election reform laws.
In 1852, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the Decatur Circuit Court's conviction of Luther A. Donnell for aiding “fugitive slaves.” In 1847, Donnell assisted Caroline and her four children who sought freedom in 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 U.S. 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, Oscar Robertson was born in Indianapolis. Roberston starred on Crispus Attucks’ state championship winning high school basketball teams in 1955 and 1956. Attucks became the first African American high school basketball team in the nation to win a state title. Robertson continued his basketball career at the University of Cincinnati, and led the squad to the NCAA Final Four in 1959. In the summer of 1960, Robertson played for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, which won the gold medal, and ranks as one of the greatest Olympic basketball squads of all-time. Robertson played professionally with the Cincinnati Royals (1960-1970). During the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season (a feat only matched one other time in 2017). Robertson won NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 1964. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1974), where he teamed with Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to win the 1971 NBA Championship. Robertson was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
In 1863, Goshen’s Ruel M. Johnson, major in the 100th Indiana Infantry, “bravely exposed himself to the fire of the enemy, encouraging and cheering his men” during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. 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 rebuilt 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, and defeated their rivals 29 to 0. The Pine Village team helped establish 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 granted 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 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 U.S. 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 the city’s fire 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 graduated from Indiana University, and joined his father in management of a La Porte furniture company. Handley's interrupted his political career in the state senate (1940-1941), and joined the Army 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 won the gubernatorial election 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 1840, Miami leaders signed a treaty with the United States, and ceded all Indiana tribal lands to the U.S. According to the Myaamia Center 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.
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 reported on the poor conditions of Indiana's mental hospitals, and described 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 and defeated second ranked UCLA, 84-64. This win was the first of a 32-0 season that ended when the Hoosiers won their third NCAA championship and coach Bobby Knight's first title.
In 1863, the U.S. War Department authorized Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton to raise one regiment of infantry composed of African American men. This became Indiana's only African American Civil War regiment, which entered service as 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. During World War I, Wile was a German affairs specialist at the Headquarters of the Intelligence Section, American Expeditionary Force.
In 1854, William Temple Hornaday was born near Avon. Hornaday, widely credited with saving the American bison, became chief taxidermist at the U.S. National Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution). He also established the National Zoo.
In 1857, former Governor Samuel Ralston was born in Ohio. Ralston moved to Owen County, Indiana in 1865 and settled in Lebanon. In 1912, voters elected the Democratic nominee as governor. Among many progressive measures enacted under his leadership, his administration initiated the state park system and established a public service commission to regulate utilities.
In 1886, detective writer Rex Stout was born in Noblesville to Quaker parents. After serving in the Navy, he wrote for pulp fiction publications and penned novels in Paris. Stout returned to the U.S. and wrote his Nero Wolfe series. During World War II he campaigned against Nazism through his work with the War Writers Board. He also established Vanguard Press, advocated for copyright laws, and served on the board of the ACLU.
In 1942, the U.S. Army activated Seymour Army Airfield, renamed Freeman Field. This became the site of an uprising in 1945, when white officers refused to admit African American personnel to the officers' club. Dozens of black personnel were arrested after forcibly entering the white officers’ club. The Freeman Field uprising resulted in the War Department revising regulations about 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 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, serving four terms in the Indiana General Assembly. He was elected as a Whig to the Congress in 1841, where he debated against the extension of slavery. Cravens unsuccessfully ran as a Free Soil candidate for Indiana governor in 1849.
In 1833, Caleb Mills, the first faculty member at the 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 today. Every August, the bell welcomes the freshman class and every May, the bell rings out the graduating seniors.
In 1863, Indiana's adjutant general issued orders 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 began his term as a Whig in the Indiana House of Representatives. By 1854, Lane helped unite diverse Indiana political groups into the People's Party to oppose the Democratic administration's objectives, especially the extension of slavery into U.S. territories. The People's Party joined the Republican Party. Lane was elected governor in 1860 and served for two days before the Indiana General Assembly elected him to the U.S. 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 Motor Speedway Carl Fisher wrote to Governor Samuel Ralston. He proposed 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 the east-west Lincoln Highway (1912) and the 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 near the current State Park Pavilion.
In 1850, 250 workers arrived at the Cannelton Cotton Mill in Perry County 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, which proved an ongoing problem for workers who had been promised an idyllic community in the model of Lowell, MA.
In 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment passed, repealing Prohibition. 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 Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace, began his term as governor of Indiana. Born in Pennsylvania, David 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 also served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1828 to 1831, when he was elected lieutenant governor on the Whig ticket with Noah Noble. In 1837, he defeated John Dumont, also a Whig, in the gubernatorial election. 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 in California. 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 the 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, Stratton-Porter 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, which required injections to promote blood clotting. Ryan received a contaminated injection and contracted HIV sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He was discriminated against due to his HIV status 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 the operation of wool carding machines. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia in 1817 and became a colonel in 1820. Voters elected Noble to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1824 and the governorship in 1831. Noble's administration established a state bank and initiated an internal improvements program.
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 one in seven 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 U.S. 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 Congress voted down the resolution, 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 the Partisan Review and The Kenyon Review soon published her work. 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's 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 his novel The House of a Thousand Candles and collection of essays entitled The Hoosiers. Eventually Nicholson pursued a political career as a Democrat, serving as Franklin D. Roosevelt's U.S. 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 corpus. The U.S. 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 Richmond. In 1909, the Indianapolis News hired the Earlham College graduate to create illustrations for its front page. Here, he worked alongside "Abe Martin" artist Kin Hubbard. Williams left the News to work for the Chicago Tribune in 1921 and returned 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 U.S. Army, performed in the Miller 101 Wild West Show, and toured with the Ringling Bros. Circus. He and his horse Silver starred in several best-selling westerns, many produced by 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 speak about the United Nations and be 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 moved to the tabernacle to accommodate 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 Indiana became a state, the Indiana General Assembly approved an Act providing for a "Public Seal and Press." The State of Indiana did not officially adopted the seal until 1963. The emblem 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 1919, "wholesome" World War II pinup girl Margie Stewart was born in Wabash. She attended Indiana University for a year before landing a modeling job in Chicago and was then signed by RKO to appear in films. During World War II, her image accompanied war bond advertisements and she appeared on a dozen Army posters.
In 1920, Notre Dame University's first All-American football player George Gipp died tragically at the age of 25 due to a streptococcic throat infection. The "Gipper" contracted the infection while leading the Irish to victory in a game against Northwestern University. A versatile player, he led Notre Dame in rushing and passing in 1918, 1919, and 1920. In 1951, Gipp was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.
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 initiated an oil boom in Griffin and the surrounding areas. Oil brought economic and social change to Griffin and adjacent areas. Oilmen and their families moved in, businesses flourished, and oil companies leased local land.
In 1974, the Hulman Center in Terre Haute opened by hosting an Indiana State University basketball game. In addition to sporting events, the building quickly became a venue for musical performances and hosted acts such as Elvis Presley, Motley Crue, and Dolly Parton.
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 edited by Eggleston. Early 20th-century critics lauded The Hoosier School-Master for its depiction of rural American life written with a Hoosier sentimentality.
In 1916, a Jefferson High School physics teacher made the earliest yet known radio transmission of an Indiana high school basketball game. While players for Jefferson and Lebanon high schools duked it out, the teacher transmitted updates about the game via wireless radio to 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 Jefferson, 21-13, and would later succeed Jefferson 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 comprised of British, French, and Native American forces. In February of 1779, George Rogers Clark led his men across Illinois to retake the Indiana fort during the Battle of Fort Sackville.
In 1812, the Battle of Mississinewa took place, the first offensive victory of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Under orders from Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison, Lt. Col. John B. Campbell led 600 U.S. troops from Ohio in an attack against Miami villages located along the Mississinewa River near the city of Marion. The two day battle resulted in casualties on both sides, although the Miami suffered more.
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 syndicated cartoons brought national attention to Brown County.
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 in which institutions like the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane are engaged." 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. Practitioners published pathological findings in reports, which were “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, Jefferson County. Actors Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine reportedly found the Hoosier town lacking, while midwesterner Dean Martin enjoyed his stay 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 protest Jackie Robinson's debut by sitting out of games.
In 1917, African American architect Samuel Plato experienced Jim Crow discrimination when a white Fort Wayne restaurant proprietor refused to serve Plato and 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 at no cost. By 2018, the university offered 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 payment of Civil War nurses. The War Department denied her claim for pension because they 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 claimed the lives of 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 Prest-O-Lite in 1904. The company 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 the 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 it attracted public, business, and political figures. 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 World War II 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, including in Indiana.
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover pardoned former Indiana Governor Warren McCray, who was forced to resign from office in 1924 after being convicted of mail fraud in a case relating to his financial collapse. McCray served three years in a federal prison, then returned to Kentland, Newton County to rebuild his stock farm.
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, fellow GI's voted Parks "Our Man of the Year" 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 twenty 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 in 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 the natural heritage of the United States.
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 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 1830, poet and travel writer Susan Wallace was born in Crawfordsville. Susan married Lew Wallace, a Civil War adjutant general and author of Ben-Hur. 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 and centered around 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 a 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. The Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Carmichael in 1971.
In 1812, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison resigned and commanded the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812. While governor, he was tasked with removing native peoples from Indiana Territory with the purpose of opening the land to white settlers. He accomplished this through coercive treaties, economic pressure, and military action, such as the defeat of Tenskwatawa and his followers during the Battle of Tippecanoe. This battle garnered Harrison national recognition and damaged Tenskwatawa's reputation. Following the war, Harrison served as a legislator for Ohio and in 1840 was elected U.S. president. Harrison died one month after his inauguration, the shortest term of any president in American history.
In 1847, Congressman Caleb B. Smith presented a petition from the citizens of Jay County asking for abolition of slavery and slave trade in Washington D.C. Members of Congress voted to table the petition. Smith went on to serve as Chairman of the Indiana Republican delegation at the 1860 Chicago Republican National Convention and as Secretary of the Interior during President Lincoln's administration.
In 1966, former Governor Henry F. Schricker died in Knox, Starke County. Known as a man of the people, he was the only Indiana governor to be elected to two full non-consecutive terms (1940 and 1948). After serving as a state senator, voters elected Schricker governor because of his personal popularity, independent political thinking, and civic engagement. He established the Indiana State Defense Council in 1941, developed civil defense jobs for African Americans, and mobilized Indiana for World War II.
In 1885, the first meeting of the Indiana Academy of Science was held at the Marion County Courthouse. In 1881, Hoosier ornithologist Dr. Amos W. Butler attempted to remedy difficulty in procuring scientific books and information about the studies of other Hoosier scientists by creating the Brookville Society of Natural History. Through his efforts, this organization evolved into the Indiana Academy, a professional membership organization whose members included scientists accomplished in laboratory techniques, disease control, and health care.
In 1903, the first board was elected for the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. (IHSAA). The organization sought to coordinate the efforts of regional athletic associations, ensure uniformity of game rules, and limit abuses. That day, a constitution was presented to a group of high school principals, which stated: "The purpose of this organization is the encouragement and direction of athletics in the high schools of the state. No effort has been made to repress the athletic spirit that is everywhere in evidence in our schools. On the contrary, this organization gives recognition to athletics as an essential factor in the activities of the pupil and seeks only to direct these activities into proper and legitimate channels."
In 1941, Eddie Rickenbacker, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1927, cancelled the 1942 Indy 500 race due to the United States' involvement in World War II. During World War I, the track was used as an aviation repair depot, but could not accommodate the larger airplanes of the second war. By the end of World War II, the Speedway was in disrepair. Businessman Tony Hulman purchased the structure in 1945 and under his leadership repaired it and added the recognizable pagoda structure.
In 1861, the 40th Regiment, Indiana Infantry mustered in. The regiment, organized at Lafayette and Indianapolis, served in several significant Civil War engagements, such as the Battle of Shiloh and Siege of Atlanta. By the end of the war, the regiment had lost a total of 359 men to wounds or disease.
In 1859, lawyer, politician, and businessman Isaac Blackford died and was buried in Indianapolis. Born in New Jersey, Blackford moved to Vincennes, Indiana Territory by 1815. He was elected Speaker of the first state House of Representatives. Governor Jennings appointed Blackford to the Indiana Supreme Court, where he served from 1817 to 1852. He published the Court's decisions in his nationally acclaimed eight-volume Reports of Cases. Blackford invested in Indiana land, including properties in the new state capital of Indianapolis. He helped establish the Indiana Colonization Society, which advocated for the return of free African Americans to Africa, despite opposition from the majority of black Hoosiers residents. In 1855, President Franklin Pierce appointed Blackford to the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C, where he served until his death.
In 1862, Reverend John Milton Whitehead, chaplain of the 15th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, demonstrated bravery at the Battle of Stones River. Congress awarded the Wayne County native the Medal of Honor for rescuing wounded men after the commanding officer ordered all soldiers away from the battlefield.
In 1936, approximately 3,000 pro-union workers at the Guide Lamp factory in Anderson, a subsidiary of General Motors, began to strike. Guide Lamp strikers, along with other automobile industry workers, demanded recognition of the United Automobile Workers of America by GM. The Alexandria Times-Tribune reported that the protesters also requested "seniority rights and an annual wage of $2,400 for every employee, together with the establishment of a 30-hour week based on five six-hour days." By February 1937, tension resulted in a violent skirmish, despite GM's recognition of the union. The governor dispatched the Indiana National Guard to Anderson. These events essentially shut down the city for about two weeks until the conflict died down.