Indiana Almanac

"On this day" happenings in Indiana History

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January

January 1 

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. (St. Joseph Co.)

In 1940, entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher began work at Princeton Farms, 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. (Gibson Co.)

January 2

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." (Switzerland Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

January 3

In 1825, Welsh industrialist Robert Owen purchased Harmony 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. (Posey Co.)

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. (Tippecanoe Co.)

January 4

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.

January 5

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. (Clark Co.)

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." (Monroe Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

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." (Monroe Co.)

January 6

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, U.S. 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.

January 7

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." (Delaware Co.)

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. (Allen Co.)

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.

January 8

In 1862, U.S. 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. (Vigo Co.)

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. (Whitley Co.)

January 9

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. (Tippecanoe Co.)

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). (Tippecanoe Co.)

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. (Vigo Co.)

January 10

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 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. (Starke Co.)

January 11

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. (Montgomery Co.)

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.

January 12

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. (Decatur Co. and Marion Co.)

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."

January 13

In 1890, well-known reporter and author Elmer Holmes Davis was born in Aurora. 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. (Dearborn Co.)

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. (Allen Co.)

January 14

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. (Vigo Co.)

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 U.S. 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.

January 15

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. (St. Joseph Co.)

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. 

January 16

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. (Montgomery Co. and Howard Co.)

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. (Marion Co. and Allen Co.)

January 17

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, 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." (Adams Co.)

January 18

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.

January 19

In 1809, Kentucky legislators Henry Clay and Humphrey Marshall crossed the Ohio River to duel near the mouth of Silver Creek in 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. (Clark Co.)

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. (Wabash Co. and Wayne Co.) 

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. (Floyd Co.)

In 1994, the thermometer hit -36 degrees at New Whiteland, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Indiana. (Johnson Co.)

January 20

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. (Lake Co.)

January 21

In 1862, socialist minister George Davis Herron was born in Montezuma, Indiana. 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. (Parke Co.)

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.

January 22

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. (Elkhart Co.)

In 1944, Staff Sergeant Thomas E. McCall of Veedersburg 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. (Fountain Co.)

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. (Franklin Co.)

January 23
 
In 1867, Indiana ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, one of the Civil War Reconstruction Amendments. The Amendment intended to give former slaves the same rights as those granted by the US Bill of Rights. However, according to the National Archives and Records Administration, "Not only did the 14th amendment fail to extend the Bill of Rights to the states; it also failed to protect the rights of black citizens. One legacy of Reconstruction was the determined struggle of black and white citizens to make the promise of the 14th amendment a reality. Citizens petitioned and initiated court cases, Congress enacted legislation, and the executive branch attempted to enforce measures that would guard all citizens' rights."
 
In 1885, African American State Representative James Matthew Townsend introduced a bill that would abolish Black Laws and all distinctions of "'race, color, or previous condition of servitude'" in state statutes. He told legislators "'This bill purposes [sic?] to wipe from Indiana’s laws, to say the least, the relic of the most barbarous age. This State stands alone in this injustice, and this is the very last chapter of the black laws which have disgraced Indiana. These are the laws preventing blacks from marrying whites and from their belonging to the militia of the State.'” Although the bill was well-received by many of his colleagues, members of the House motioned to postpone the vote indefinitely.
 
In 1937, martial law was declared in twenty-six Indiana counties due to the flooding of the Ohio River, which devastated Southern Indiana. The area was rapidly evacuated by Works Progress Administration workers and assisted by the National Guard. The Great Depression complicated restoration efforts and some towns along the river never recovered.
 
January 24
 
In  1828, a turnpike company was authorized to bid out sections for Brookville State Road. Brookville Road was the principal route for goods and people moving between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Road travel was difficult in the 1800s, taking days to reach destinations. Congress authorized the 78-mile state road in 1821, running from the Ohio border to Indianapolis through Brookville.
 
In 1897, the Ligonier Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated and opened to the public. This church formed a close relationship with Ligonier's Ahavath Sholom synagogue, unusual for the time period in Indiana. The diverse group of Ligonier residents celebrated the building of new places of worship together in the nineteenth century and mourned the nation’s fallen president in the twentieth. Over several decades, the pastors and rabbis of Ligonier congregations spoke at each other’s services and delivered public lectures, fostering an atmosphere of brotherhood and scholarship.
 
In 1911, science fiction writer Catherine Lucille Moore (C.L.) Moore was born in Indianapolis. She attended Indiana University in 1929 and wrote for the school's student magazine The Vagabond. She withdrew from the university during the Great Depression and took a job at an Indianapolis bank, where she wrote stories for fanzines on the building’s balcony. Moore sold her first piece of work, "Shamebleau," in 1933 to Weird Tales, which published several of her stories praised by contemporaries, such as H.P. Lovecraft. In the 1950s, she taught writing at the University of Southern California and wrote scripts for television shows like Maverick. Moore received several science fiction awards and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2004. Kirkus writer Andrew Liptak contended "that her contributions to the field are instrumental in the formation of the modern face of science fiction. As one of the single female authors in the field during the 1930s, she brought a unique voice and high quality prose to the SF magazine market that earned her much well deserved fame for the rest of her life."
 
In 1970, the Indiana State Fair Coliseum hosted the third American Basketball Association All-Star game. The Denver Rocket's Spencer Haywood led the West to victory over the East during the first nationally televised ABA game. The game nearly did not take place due to the ABA Players Association threats to strike unless given recognition by the league.
 
January 25
 
In 1978, Indiana was hit with a blizzard lasting until the 27th. The "Great Blizzard of 1978" left National Weather Service (NWS) employees stranded for days and prompted the NWS to issue its first statewide Blizzard Warning. Conditions were so extreme that the National Guard dispatched utility vehicles to help stranded travelers. Governor Otis Bowen declared a snow emergency and Indiana University closed for the first time in the campus's history.
 
January 26
 
In 1914, ground was broken for construction of Federal Park, the original home of the Indianapolis Hoosiers baseball team, belonging to the short-lived Federal League. After the Hoosiers relocated to New Jersey, the Indianapolis ABCs, which became an inaugural member of the Negro National League, leased the park for multiple seasons.

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. (Vanderburgh Co.)

January 27

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 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. (Delaware Co.)

In 1967, a fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a preflight test killed Mitchell 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. (Lawrence Co.)

January 28

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.

January 29

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. (Floyd Co.)

In 1915, Disney illustrator Bill Peet was born in Grandview. 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. (Spencer Co.)

January 30

In 1945, U.S. 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.

January 31

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. (Clark Co.)

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. (Lake Co.)

 

February

February 1

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.)

February 2

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.

February 3

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."

February 4

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.

February 5

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.

February 6

In 1837, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that authorized the Indiana Geological Surveyand 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.)

February 7

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.

February 8

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.)

February 9

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.)

February 10

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.

February 11

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. 

February 12

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. 

February 13

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.

February 14

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.

February 15

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.

February 16

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.

February 17

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.)

February 18

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.)

February 19

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.)

February 20

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.)

February 21

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.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/article95597167.html#storylink=cpy

February 22

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.

February 23

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.)

February 24

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.

February  25

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.  

February 26

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.)

February 27

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.) 

February 28

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.

February 29

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.)

March

March 1

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.)

March 2

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.)

March 3

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).

March 4

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.

March 5

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.)

March 6
 

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.)

March 7

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.)

 
March 8
 

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. 

 
March 9
 

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.

 
March 10

 

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.)

 
March 11
 

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.)

 
March 12
 
In 1906, U.S. Steel Corporation engineers began laying out a mill, harbor, and railroad on the south shore of Lake Michigan, effectively establishing the city of Gary. The city was named after U.S. Steel Corporation board chairman, Elbert H. Gary. Regarding the emergence of Gary, Calumet Regional Archives curator Steve McShane stated, "The construction of the world's largest integrated steel mill climaxed the dynamic post Civil War growth of the nation's steel industry and symbolized the incredible power and might of American industrial development in the early twentieth century." (Lake Co.)
 
March 13
 

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.)
 
March 14
 

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.)

 

March 15

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.'”

March 16

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.

March 17

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.)  

March 18

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.)

March 19

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.)

March 20

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.)

March 21

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.

March 22

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.)

March 23

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 Albanyranking 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.)

March 24

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. KleinBarrett 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.)

March 25

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.)

March 26

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.)

March 27

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.)

March 28

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.)

March 29

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.)

March 30

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.)

March 31

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)."

April

April 1

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.)

April 2

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.)

April 3

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.

April 4

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.  

April 5

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.)

April 6

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.)

April 7

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.

April 8

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.

April 9

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.)

April 10

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."

April 11

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.)

April 12

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.”

April 13

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. 

April 14

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 1926, the Indiana Limestone Company of Bedford incorporated. According to the company, Indiana Limestone's product has been used in the construction of thirty-five state capitols, the Indiana State War Memorial, Vanderbilt Mansion, the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, and Yankee Stadium. (Lawrence Co.)
 
April 15
 
In 1845, The Golden Fleece author and women's rights activist Elizabeth "Lizzie" Boynton Harbert was born in Crawfordsville. She studied at Indiana Asbury College (now DePauw University) and became active in the Women's Suffrage Association of Indiana. Harbert earned her Ph.D. from Ohio Wesleyan University. In the 1870s, she was the first editor of the "Woman's Kingdom" column for the Chicago Inter-Ocean. She became a nationally prominent reformer, known for leading the National Woman Suffrage Association, for serving as associate president of the World's Unity League and president of the National Household Economic Association, and for lecturing about suffrage. (Montgomery Co.)
 
In 1860, employees at the Seymour railroad depot discovered a damaged shipping box that contained Alexander McClure, an African American fleeing slavery in Nashville, Tennessee. McClure had been shipped in the box from Nashville, 229 miles away, with instructions for abolitionist Levi Coffin of Cincinnati to pick it up. Coffin strongly denied any knowledge of the escape plan. Adams Express Company agents took McClure to a Louisville jail, from whence authorities returned him to slavery in Nashville. McClure's testimony was used to convict two black men who aided his failed escape. After the Civil War and emancipation, McClure remained in Tennessee and worked as a tinner. (Jackson Co.)
 
April 16
 
In 1867, pioneering aviator Wilbur Wright was born near Millville. He attended primary school in Iowa and Indiana and attended high school in Richmond before moving to Dayton, Ohio. He and his brother Orville opened a bicycle repair and sales shop in 1893. Their interest in transportation inspired them to research propulsion and aerodynamics. According to the National Parks Service, "Through experimentation at the cycle shop using a small, homemade wind tunnel, the Wrights designed the airplane that made the first powered, controlled, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. Experimentation and flight testing over the next decade at Huffman Prairie . . . and at Kitty Hawk, resulted in the development of practical airplanes that could remain airborne for as long as fuel reserves permitted." The innovative brothers opened the Wright Company in 1909, which produced their patented airplanes. (Henry Co.)
 
In 1903, the West Baden Springs Hotel, the "Eighth Wonder of the World," formally opened in Orange County. Nearly 1,000 people attended the opening, including U.S. Senator Charles W. Fairbanks and Governor Winfield T. Durbin. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the hotel "is built in circular form of solid concrete, has over 700 rooms, with accommodations for 1,200 guests, and cost, with furnishings, about three quarters of a million dollars." According to the Indiana Magazine of History, the hotel's "unique circular structure displayed the world's widest unsupported dome, two hundred feet in diameter, surpassing in breadth the majestic St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome on which it supposedly was modeled." The hotel claimed that its mineral baths and drinking water could cure a range of ailments, from alcoholism to sterility. In addition to improving one's health, guests came for recreation in the form of horseback riding, billiards, hiking, and bowling. The resort even had a baseball team the West Baden Sprudels, whose players came from the resort’s African American wait and service staff. The Sprudels would often play another nearby resort team, the French Lick Plutos.
 
In 1926, paper industry business executive Darwin E. Smith was born in Garrett. After serving in World War II, he attended Indiana University and Harvard Law School. According to the Paper Discovery Center, he worked his way up to CEO at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and is "credited with turning what was perceived as a stodgy old paper company into an innovative consumer products powerhouse." Smith transformed the company's leadership, allocated more money to research and development, and popularized the "diaper business, against much opposition" to make HUGGIES a top American brand. Smith changed company culture by "forming the Educational Opportunities Plan to provide continuing education to all workers, and the Health Management Program to improve physical and mental health. He also worked to increase diversity among the workforce." (DeKalb Co.)
 
April 17

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.)

April 18

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.

April 19

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.)

April 20

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%).

April 21

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."

April 22

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.

April 23

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 Smithconsidered 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.”

April 24

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."

April 25

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."

April 26

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.

April 27

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."

April 28

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 1919, companies from the Indiana state militia travelled to Linton to quell a riot that stemmed from striking female workers of the New Home Telephone Company. On April 24, thirteen operators took off their headsets and refused to resume work until their manager, Harley Guthrie, gave them better working conditions, better pay, and recognition of unions. Many Linton residents supported the striking workers and 500 citizens took over the telephone building, hoping to get strikebreakers to leave. According to ones of Butler University, “Two recently returned World War I veterans in uniform scaled the building and removed the U.S. flag claiming that, ‘it should not fly over such a man as [Harley] Guthrie.’” When one strikebreaker reportedly shot at the veterans, chaos broke out and the crowd launched stones at the building, and broke windows. Governor James P. Goodrich al law and dispatched the state militia. Jones noted that the militia's presence only exacerbated protests and “Several militiamen patrolling the streets were grabbed by the mob, their guns torn from their hands and thrown to the street [while] the men [were] cuffed and kicked aside.” Despite the armed guards raising their guns, the crowd managed to remove the strikebreakers and refused to work until the National Guard left Linton. Residents also refused to serve militiamen at restaurants and hotels, and many citizens cancelled their service with the New Home Telephone Company. Linton’s mayor and police chief eventually managed to bargain with New Home officials on behalf of the strikers and Governor Goodrich signed an armistice. (Greene Co.)
 
In 1940, Indiana’s Socialist Party convention nominated Indianapolis's Mary Donovan Hapgood for governor. She became the first woman nominated for Indiana governor. During the election, she came in a distant fifth behind Democrat, Republican, Prohibition, and Socialist-Labor gubernatorial candidates. According to Indiana University's Lilly Library Manuscript Collections, in the 1920s Hapgood served as recording secretary for the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Fund, and was arrested at their bier. In 1959, she attended their posthumous pardon while wearing a death mask.

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.)

April 29

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.

April 30

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.

Undated April

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.)

 

May

May 1

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.

May 2

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.”

May 3

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.

May 4

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. 

May 5

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.'"    

May 6

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.)

May 7

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.

May 8

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.)

May 9

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."

May 10

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.)

May 11

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.)

May 12

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."

May 13

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.

May 14

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.)

May 15

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."

May 16

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.)

May 17

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.)

May 18

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.)

May 19

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 1991, Willy T. Ribbs became the first African American driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis Recorder reported that despite many doubting his chances, Ribbs "battled what many considered insurmountable odds, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to earn his place in sports history." Despite a "lingering air of racism" that hung over the Speedway, Ribbs credited racing legends Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt for helping him prepare for the race.

May 20

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."

May 21

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.)

May 22

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.)

May 23

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.)

May 24

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.

May 25

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.)

 
May 26
 

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."

May 27

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." 

May 28

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.)

May 29

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.)

May 30

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.

May 31

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.

June

June 1

In 1763, a group of Wea, Kickapoo, and Mascouten warriors captured Fort Ouiatenon from British troops without firing a shot. The Native Americans 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 at 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.

June 2

In 1864, Lucy Ann Seaton’s body 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, the bodies of 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 MarshallPulitzer.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 1990, thirty-seven tornadoes devastated southern and western Indiana. According to the National Weather Service, eight Hoosiers lost their lives including six in Petersburg. The Red Cross estimated that the tornadoes destroyed 237 homes and 106 mobile homes, and damaged another 665 homes and 158 mobile homes. The tornadoes also destroyed trees, barns, electrical transmission towers, businesses, a church, and a municipal airplane hangar. Some of the most powerful touchdowns occurred in Lawrence, Gibson, Pike, and Jackson counties.

June 3

In 1808, a group of Shakers from the South Union community in Ohio and arrived in Busro, Indiana Territory to establish 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 while mobilizing for the War of 1812. Territorial Governor William H. Harrison offered the Shakers protection in Vincennes, but they chose to leave for other Shaker communities due to their pacifist beliefs. After the war ended in 1814, the Shakers returned to Busro and remained in Indiana until 1827. In that year, the remaining adherents returned to Ohio after Busro’s population declined due to disease and drought. (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 Native Americans obtained justice from U.S. law during the period. (Madison Co.)

In 1897, master covered bridge builder Archibald M. Kennedy died in Rushville at the age of 78. According to Indiana Landmarks, “the Kennedy family holds status as one of the state’s three most prolific bridge-building firms.” Indiana Landmarks credits Kennedy and his sons and grandsons with building 58 bridges, mostly in southeastern Indiana. As of 2013, Indiana Landmarks stated that only six Kennedy bridges remained, all located in Rush County.

June 4

In 1791, General Charles Scott issued a declaration to the indigenous tribes living on the banks of the Wabash River. Scott stated, “The United States have no desire to destroy the red people, although they have the power.” Scott requested peace from the tribes following his troops’ attacks on mostly non-combatants, which resulted in the destruction of crops and three Wea and Kickapoo villages near Fort Ouiatenon, including Kethtippecanuck. Kethtippecanuck contained “about 120 houses[,] . . . gardens[,] . . . a tavern and, with cellars, bar, public, and private rooms . . . [The village showed] no small degree of civilization.” President George Washington and Secretary of War Henry Knox likely authorized the expedition as retaliation to the failed American offensive known the Battle of Kekionga (also known as Hamar’s defeat) in 1790 near Fort Wayne. Knox authorized Scott’s expedition “to proceed to the Wea, or Ouiatenon towns of Indians, there to assault the said towns, and the Indians therein, either by surprise, or otherwise, as the nature of the circumstances may admit – sparing all who may cease to resist, and capturing as many as possible, particularly women and children.” Knox continued, stating that Scott’s forces “were not bound by any moral codes of army behavior,” and encouraged him to “combat the Indians according to your own modes of warfare.” Scott’s force, which was comprised of Kentucky volunteers, including a 21 year-old William Clark, reportedly killed thirty-two people, and captured and transported approximately fifty-eight women and children to the Falls of the Ohio where they were held as prisoners. According to Scott’s report, his troops only engaged with a few combatants. A diary of a Moravian missionary and a letter from a British trader both refer to the torture and skinning of Wea chief, contrary to Scott’s claim in his official report that “no act of inhumanity has marked the conduct of the volunteers.” (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1918, former Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks died in Indianapolis. He served as in the U.S. Senate (1897-1905) before Theodore Roosevelt tapped him as his running mate in 1904. 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 1916, Fairbanks failed in his bid to secure the Republican nomination for president, which went to Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes of the Supreme Court. The Republican convention, however, did select Fairbanks as Hughes' running-mate, but the duo lost to the Democratic ticket of Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall of Indiana.

In 1939, Edwin G. O’Connor received his Bachelor of Arts degree during the University of Notre Dame’s commencement exercises. O’Connor’s novel The Edge of Sadness received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1962. (St. Joseph Co.)

June 5

In 1854, the U.S. Senate ratified 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 most of the Miami people to Kansas. Several Miami families including descendants of Jean Baptiste Richardville and Francis Godfroy were allowed to remain in Indiana due land allotments previously granted to their ancestors by the federal government. 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 Miami of Indiana was terminated in 1897. In 1937, these Miami descendants incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Their repeated attempts to reclaim federal recognition have been unsuccessful.

In 1908, dynamite exploded near the African American owned and operated Jersey European Hotel in West Baden. The Greencastle Herald reported that the explosion was likely in response to the prestigious West Baden Hotel's dismissal of white waitresses, who hotel managers replaced with black waiters. The paper noted that the town 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 explosion at the Jersey European Hotel caused fifty visitors “to rush panic stricken from the building." The paper added that prior to the explosion 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 race track, so Fisher elected to race balloons instead. The first Indy 500 took place two years later.

June 6

In 1839, the Madison railroad was completed as far as Vernon, twenty miles away. This project was part of the state’s massive internal improvements bill of 1836. A month after this stretch of the railway opened, Calvin Fletcher recorded in his diary that he boarded the train which took an hour and a half to travel the twenty miles to the Madison incline, which was still being built. At this point, Fletcher and the other train passengers, including Governor Noah Noble, disembarked and took carriages down the hill and into the town. The state ran out of money to finance construction of the railroad to Indianapolis in 1841. Private investors completed the project to Indianapolis in 1847, a distance of 87 miles. (Jefferson Co.)

In 1847, Friends Boarding School opened in Richmond, the site of the Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 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. According to historian Clifton Phillips, the college "remained a vital center of Quaker learning" into the 20th century. True to its roots in the historic peace church tradition, during World War II, the college trained conscientious objectors for overseas relief work. The college also drew the ire of some Richmond citizens when it enrolled a group of Japanese American students to save them from being sent to internment camps. In 1960, the school established the Earlham School of Religion, which is the only accredited Quaker seminary in the world. (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, at the corner of South and Delaware. Prest-O-Lite developed acetylene gas headlights for the burgeoning automobile industry. Carl Fisher co-founded the Prest-O-Lite Company in 1904, several years before he established the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This incident was the third explosion in a year at the building due to the volatile nature of the gases used 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.

June 7

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 their 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 the government relocated 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 attended a meeting of church leaders that President John F. Kennedy convened at the White House. The meeting was organized to mobilize support for the president’s civil rights legislation, which would eventually become the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (Bartholomew Co.)

In 1972, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Theon Jackson v. Indiana that the indefinite commitment of a defendant due to the lack of capacity to stand violates due process. Jackson was a 27 year old man who was deaf and mute, and also had cognitive impairments. He could neither read nor write, and only knew very limited sign language. He was charged with two counts of petty theft. Psychiatrists found that he was incompetent to stand trial and was committed to Central State mental hospital. His attorney challenged the diagnosis that he was “insane,” and began legal proceedings that reached the Supreme Court of the United States.

June 8

In 1816, fifteen charter members organized the Pigeon Creek Baptist Church in what was then Warrick County. Thomas and Nancy Lincoln and their children, Sarah and Abraham, attended this church after they moved to Indiana later that year. Thomas joined the church’s membership by letter of transfer in 1823, and served as a trustee, including making repairs to the meetinghouse. Sarah Lincoln also joined the congregation due to a conversion experience. When she died in 1828, her body was buried in the church cemetery. Abraham Lincoln, while he likely attended with his family, never joined this church or any other. (Spencer 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 (including for Irish immigrants) and hundreds of businesses, and allowed Hoosier products to reach beyond the state's borders.

In 1951, a squadron of eight U.S. Air Force F-84 Thunderjets crashed or crash landed in Wayne and Henry counties. The planes had just refueled at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. While flying near the Ohio-Indiana border they encountered a thunderstorm, and the squadron’s engines iced-up and failed. The jets crashed at rural Mooreland, Straughn, Fountain City, Cambridge City, and Williamsburg, and in Richmond near the municipal airport and near the Perfect Circle factory, which made pistons for aircraft engines. Three of the pilots died, two suffered injuries, and three others parachuted to safety. In an era that produced the civil defense film “Duck and Cover,” one Richmond local thought the explosions might have been a bombing campaign by the Soviet Union. The Richmond newspaper reported that “she thought that the Perfect Circle Company was being bombed and her thought was that ‘this is it.’” Some people suspected sabotage by the Soviets in the wake of the accident. The Palladium-Item even published an editorial the next day that urged the construction of underground fallout shelters. However, the FBI concluded that with the thunderstorm caused the ice-buildup in the engines.

June 9

In 1838, Joseph Albert Britton was born east of Rockville. After serving in the Civil War, and attempting to practice law, Britton turned his attention to carpentry and became one of Indiana’s premier covered bridge builders. Britton and his sons built fourteen bridges in Parke County, and reportedly erected twenty-six more in other counties. (Parke Co.)

In 1891, award-winning composer and songwriter Cole Porter was born in Peru. At the age of ten he wrote his first operetta. He 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 GoesJubilee, 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. He became Indiana University’s head coach in 1938. McCracken led IU’s teams to two national championships 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 Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 as a player. (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.)

June 10

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. The delegates elected Jonathan Jennings 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 describing the quality of the assembly, Knox County delegate John Badollet wrote, “It is unfortunate that, when called upon to form a constitution a territory is in the most unpropitious circumstances to success for the want of men of intellect and political knowledge . . . . This was woefully verified in our case, for though our convention contained several thinking men, the majority was composed of empty bablers, democratic to madness, having incessantly the people in their mouths and their dear selves in their eyes.” (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. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. According to his Medal of Honor citation, “While advancing with his platoon 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 resolutely 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.” (Vigo Co.)

June 11

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. Despite the short time the factory operated, the colorful, pressed glass products remain highly collectible. (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 whom 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 Muncie Star Press 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 at Washington Park on Indianapolis’ east side. 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. 

June 12

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 it closed in 1849.

In 1889, a mob lynched James Deavin and Charles Tennyson, two white men, in Corydon. Deavin and Tennyson shot James Lemay and his niece, Lucy Lemay, during an attempted robbery. Authorities apprehended the duo in New Albany and returned them to the Harrison County jail to await trial. The mob, which had congregated at the jail 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. Vigilantism was a problem in some communities in post-Civil War Indiana. In many cases, the actions were not racially motivated. As historian Clifton Phillips noted, “The White Caps in Indiana largely confined their efforts to the intimidation and punishment of white persons who were suspected of violating their peculiar code of morality.” (Harrison Co.)

June 13

In 1849, Abraham Lincoln traveled in a stagecoach with Abram Hammond, later a 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 made jokes at Lincoln’s expense. When they arrived at Indianapolis that night and stopped at Browning's Hotel, Lincoln, to their surprise, was greeted several notable politicians including by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John McLean, U.S. Senator Edward Hannegan, ex-U.S. Senator Albert S. White, and former Congressman 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 ParkE.T.: The Extra-TerrestrialRaiders of the Lost Ark, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Lake Co.)

In 1936, Don Lash set the world record for running two miles at Princeton University's annual invitational, beating Paavo Nurmi’s world record with a time of 8 minutes and 58.3 seconds. The Bluffton-born, Auburn-raised, Indiana University graduate competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, although he did not medal. He trained for the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, but they were cancelled due to WWII. During his professional career, Lash served with the Indiana State Police, worked as a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent for twenty-one years, and served as an Indiana state legislator from Rockville. (Dekalb Co.)

June 14

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. According to local lore, a Plainfield citizen, unhappy with Van Buren’s lack of enthusiasm in supporting the development of 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 Antoinette 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. Gouger argued her point before the Tippecanoe County Circuit Court in 1895, and the Indiana Supreme Court in 1897. (Greene Co., Sullivan Co., and Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke 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. 

June 15

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, Ohio. The site and new buildings continued to provide housing and education to 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 questions 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. A self-taught musician, Montgomery's unique style influenced countless musicians and changed the role of the guitar in popular music.

June 16

In 1806, a solar eclipse darkened the skies in Greenville, Ohio, where Shawnee religious leader Tenkswatawa, or The Prophet, was encamped with his followers. Tenkswatawa had previously foretold of the eclipse, and when it came to pass, it strengthened his religious authority among his adherents, and drew new followers. Within two years, Tenkswatawa and his adherents began construction of Prophet’s Town along the Wabash River. (Tippecanoe County)

In 1853, a group of women organized the Eleutherian Education Society to provide for "the Education of destitute children, particularly that unfortunate class whose color, in the eyes of the world, has seemed to be a barrier." Enrollment peaked at 150 students before the Civil War. Enrollment declined in the 1860s and 1870s when the state expanded public education opportunities for African American children. (Jefferson Co.)

In 1918, socialist leader and perennial presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs delivered an anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, as World War I raged on in Europe. The Terre Haute resident 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 him for violating a 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 presidential candidate in 1920. He accepted the nomination and ran while still incarcerated. (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 New Deal legislation, and his wife. The First Lady posed for photographs at a meet-and-greet. 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.

June 17

In 1915, a crowd of 8,000 attended the opening of Evansville’s Bosse Field. The $65,000 municipally funded stadium hosted a baseball game between Evansville and Erie (Pa.) in the afternoon and a wrestling match between Yussiff Hussane, a.k.a “The Terrible Turk,” and Jess Westegard in the evening. Over the next century plus, the landmark was home to several independent league baseball teams, major league affiliates, including a Triple-A team, the Evansville Triplets (1970-84), and even a short-lived NFL franchise, the Crimson Giants (1921-22). Baseball Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg, Chuck Klein, and Jack Morris all played for Evansville teams at Bosse Field during their minor league careers. In 1991, the field served as a film set for A League of Their Own. As of 2018, Bosse Field is home to an independent baseball team, and continues to host high school baseball and football games as it has throughout its history. (Vanderburgh Co.)

In 1838, Ramsay Crooks, general manager of the American Fur Company, wrote that “[Musk]Rats, Beavers & Otters are dead stock,” resulting from the popularity of silk hats in the 1830s. According to the Indiana Magazine of History, “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.”” The profitable fur business triggered a trade war in 1838 between Crooks’ American Fur Company and his chief competitor the Ewing Company. One of the Ewing proprietors, G. W. Ewing served in the Indiana State Senate, and introduced a bill that would heavily tax his business competitor. The bill passed the Senate but failed in the House. Nicholas 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.” Crooks was livid at Ewing’s bill. He “denounced it as unconstitutional and planned resistance.” Ewing, after failing to get his bill enacted into law, privately wrote to Crooks suggesting that the competitors make peace.

In 1856, Crawfordsville lawyer, banker, and politician Henry S. Lane became 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 deceived residents they encountered, and claimed that they were Union soldiers in search of deserters. They presented those whose horses they commandeered with phony vouchers supposedly from the quartermaster at Indianapolis. The raiders made it as far north as Valeene in Orange County before their ruse was discovered. The Confederates met armed resistance in the form of citizens and Home Guards and turned southeast to retreat across the Ohio River. 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 that the guerrillas’ intended to cross at Blue River Island near Leavenworth. An armed force of Hoosiers moved to intercept the Confederates 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 Captain Hines escaped to Kentucky some of his raiders surrendered or were killed by enemy fire. 

In 1884, Tri-State Normal College opened in Angola to serve the educational needs of northeastern Indiana, northwestern Ohio, and southcentral Michigan. It originated as a teacher’s college, but added law, pharmacy, and engineering departments by 1902. The college established satellite 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.)

June 18

In 1938, women's rights activist Grace Julian Clarke died in Indianapolis. Her body 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 resident Elbridge Blish Thompson, who was lost at sea after the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7. 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 many countries against Germany and contributed to the United States eventual decision to join the war. Thompson and his wife Maude, who survived, were en route to Holland to conduct business for his business, 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.)

June 19

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 2,100 newspapers by 200 million people. The comic has also been adapted to television and two feature-length films. (Grant Co.)

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan tried the legendary peach cobbler at Mac's in Mooresville. However, his love of cobbler didn't bring him to the small town 10 miles west of Indianapolis. The President visited Mooresville to meet with its local Chamber of Commerce and pitch his new tax proposal. He also answered questions about the emerging Beirut Hostage Crisis. He said, "You may have heard about out proposal to overhaul the tax code, make it fairer and simpler and more compassionate. And I wanted to bring the message directly to you in America's heartland." After his remarks, a question and answer session, and a little more cobbler, President Reagan left Mooresville to give a speech at the Jaycee's annual convention in Indianapolis. Mac's restaurant was demolished in 2016, but Reagan's visit has since been marked with a memorial monument. (Morgan Co.)

June 20

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 John Freeman, a free person of color, in Indianapolis. Ellington claimed that Freeman was his property. Ellington also claimed that Freeman, who he called Sam, 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 produced evidence that Sam was actually living in Canada and Freeman was released from jail.

June 21

In 1964, Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame, 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. He proclaimed, “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.

June 22

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. They undertook the action out of fear 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 maintenance and repairs on 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 LaPorte County. Although it is unclear if Scholl earned a 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, Australia, and even Egypt. He also established a Podiatry College and wrote 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. There were no circus animals on the train involved in the accident. 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."

June 23

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 hometown of 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.

June 24

In 1880, the Democratic Party nominated the Lexington-born William H. English for vice president alongside presidential nominee General Winfield Scott Hancock. In his acceptance letter, English, a former congressman and Indianapolis businessman, wrote that he was “profoundly grateful for the honor conferred.” The Hancock-English ticket 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, 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.

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 S. Truman appointed Knox County resident Curtis G. Shake as a member of the military tribunal at Nuremberg, which tried Nazi Party leaders and associates 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 Jewish people 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 were not performing, they participated in “pick and sing” sessions, improvisational jams where the professionals and amateur players joined in. The bluegrass festival regularly grew in popularity and became known as the "Brown County Jamboree." By 1977, the festival lasted nine days and hosted 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. The marker was a project of the Jennings County Junior Historical Society. 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.)

June 25

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 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. Press coverage of the fraud dominated Indiana newspapers for a month before the grand jury indicted the culprits.

In 1869, the Indianapolis Journal published Silas Shucraft's treatise on the Fifteenth Amendment, which would grant African American males the right to vote. Shucraft, an African American man, refuted Democrat's belief that African Americans were too "ignorant and debased" to vote and that Republicans aimed to prioritize black men over white. He 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 mass resignations 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, in part due to the amendment’s unpopularity in Indiana.  

In 1888, the Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated Indianapolis resident Benjamin Harrison for president. In the election, Harrison lost the popular vote, but won 233 electoral votes to win the office. In all 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. 

June 26

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 1878, the Madison Weekly Courier reported, “Ben Schroeder is erecting a new saddletree shop on the north side of Crooked Creek.” Madison was known in the late nineteenth century as the “saddletree capital of the Midwest” for its twelve factories that annually produced over 150,000 wood frames for riding saddles. John Benedict “Ben” Schroeder, a Prussian immigrant, became one of the leaders in the industry. At the time of his death in 1909, his sons continued the business until the last one, Joseph, died in 1972. Over the 94 years the company was in business, the factory produced between a third and a half a million saddletrees, two million clothespins, and other harness and saddle accessories. (Jefferson 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 three years later. (St. Joseph Co.)

In 1977, Elvis Presley performed his final concert at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Nearly 18,000 people attended the 90 minute concert. 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.

June 27

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 confirms that a person with that name lived near 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 in her testimony the deplorable conditions of jails and poor asylums that she visited in the Hoosier state the previous year. She 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. Heavy rainfall loosened the soil in the embankment. 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 died on site, and approximately fifty were wounded. Other deceased passengers were found days later after water carried their bodies down 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.)

June 28

In 1940, the Republican National Convention, held at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, nominated Elwood native Wendell Willkie as the party's presidential candidate. The delegates chose the lawyer and corporate executive despite the fact that he never held public office. Willkie’s 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 received 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. U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Sr., who chaired the 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 award continued the investigative journalistic legacy of the Times, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for exposing political corruption in Indiana including influences of the Ku Klux Klan.

June 29

In 1816, delegates at the constitutional convention in Corydon adopted the first Indiana State Constitution. The resulting document borrowed from previous state constitutions, but reinforced a lot of democratic ideals. Although there was a system of checks and balances, most of the power lay with the elected representatives, which many people viewed as being closer to the people than the governor. The constitution also allowed for universal white, adult male suffrage, gave voters the right to call for a new constitution, recommended a state-supported education system, prohibited establishment of private banks, and prohibited slavery. The new constitution went into effect without submission to the voters. (Harrison Co.)

In 1855, Centerville resident, 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 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, who grew up in Madison, starred in films that told "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. citizens deserted the downtown area, 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.)

June 30

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 trial, members of the military tribunal 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 officers recommended life sentences for Sam Arnold, Michael O’Laughlen, and Dr. Samuel Mudd, and a six year sentence at hard labor for 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.

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 Columbus Republic 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 disability, 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 group homes, nursing homes, or assisted living apartments. Central State Hospital followed the national trend away from state-supported care and toward community-based options. 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.

 

July

July 1

In 1896, actor, director, and black rights activist William Walker was born in Pendleton. Walker is best known for his role as Reverend Sykes in the Academy Award-winning 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. He was initially relegated to roles as a domestic servant because of his race. He became a fierce civil rights advocate in Hollywood, working with actor and future President Ronald Reagan to obtain more roles for African Americans. Walker and silent film actress Peggy Cartwright were one of Hollywood's early interracial marriages. He died in 1992. (Madison Co.)

In 1918, socialist leader Eugene V. Debs was arraigned in Cleveland, Ohio on charges that he violated the Sedition Act. The Terre Haute native and five-time Socialist Party candidate for president delivered a speech in Canton that was critical of American involvement in World War I, President Wilson's administration, and the suppression of dissidents. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. While in prison, he received nearly a million votes for president in 1920. President Warren G. Harding commuted his sentence in 1921. (Vigo Co.) 

In 1934, acclaimed film producer and director Sydney Pollack was born in Lafayette to first-generation American parents of Eastern European Jewish descent. His parents met while attending Purdue University. Pollack grew up in South Bend and developed a love of drama at South Bend Central High School. Pollack once recalled his experiences in South Bend, “I think of it with great sadness . . . . It was a real cultural desert. There weren’t many Jews like us, and it was real anti-Semitic.” He moved to New York, where he studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Pollack went on to direct classic films, such as The Way We Were (1973), Tootsie (1982), and Out of Africa (1985), the latter of which earned him two Academy Awards. He died in 2008. (Tippecanoe Co. and St. Joseph Co.)

July 2

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant Act into law, which afforded each state 30,000 acres of federal land per Congressional delegation member. States then sold the land and utilized the proceeds to fund colleges focused on agriculture and "mechanical arts." The act funded sixty-nine colleges, including Purdue University. (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1863, during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry joined the fight with approximately 500 men. During this one day of battle, the 20th Indiana "lost its commanding officer, Col. John Wheeler, and 152 men and officers [were] killed and wounded." Most of the soldiers in the 20th Indiana came from eight northerly counties including Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Marshall, Miami, Cass, White, and Tippecanoe, as well as two companies from Fountain and Marion counties. In 1885, the survivors of the regiment attended the dedication of the regiment’s monument on the Gettysburg battleground.

In 1911, the American Sheet & Tin Plate Company stripped forms for the first concrete houses constructed in Gary. The influx of workers to the newly-formed city's steelworks created a housing crisis that the company hoped to meet with the concrete houses. According to the Indiana Magazine of History, the Tin Plate Company constructed ninety-two "form-built, reinforced concrete dwellings, using a reusable metal form, for rental to its employees." (Lake Co.)

In 1915, Erich Muenter, who went by the alias "Frank Holt," broke into the U.S. Capitol with three sticks of concealed dynamite and set them next to Vice President Thomas Marshall's office before fleeing to New York. The blast rocked the Capitol, but injured neither Marshall, who hailed from North Manchester, nor bystanders. Holt, a German immigrant and Cornell University professor, engineered the bomb in protest to America’s potential involvement in World War I, believing that the war would only benefit American financiers. The anti-war American Socialist press appears to have sympathized with Holt. (Wabash Co.)

In 1937, groundbreaking pilot Amelia Earhart disappeared near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean during her attempt to fly around the world. In 1936, the Purdue Research Foundation helped create an Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research, which raised $80,000 for the Lockheed Electra that Earhart piloted on this last fateful trip. From 1935 to 1937, she served as a career counselor and Department of Aeronautics adviser at Purdue University, where she advocated for women's education. (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1964, House Minority Leader Charles Halleck (R-IN), after a phone call with President Lyndon B. Johnson, marshalled 136 Republican representatives to join 153 Democrats to ensure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A few hours after House approval, President Johnson signed the historic act, which prohibited segregation in public areas like theaters, pools, and schools, and banned discriminatory employment practices. (Jasper Co.)

July 3

In 1863, the bloody three-day Battle of Gettysburg ended, effectively halting Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. The Iron Brigade, originally composed of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin and 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiments, suffered such massive casualties that army command was forced to brigade other regiments with these veterans to make up for their severe lack of numbers. These new regiments were composed of easterners from Pennsylvania and New York, and the Iron Brigade’s western identity was no more. The brigade’s original regiments continued to fight through the end of the conflict in 1865 and their reputation remained intact.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft visited Marion before his Independence Day visit to Indianapolis. He spoke at the Marion branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, where he discussed relations with South and Central America. (Grant Co.)

In 1948, Governor Ralph Gates “turned the first shovel of dirt” at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cagles Mill Dam and Reservoir, funded and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This project, the first of its kind in Indiana, planned a permanent 2,240 acre lake in Putnam County that would protect 43,000 acres of farm land in the Eel River valley. This project originated in response to floods that devastated southern Indiana in 1945. Gates mobilized the Indiana State Guard to assist in evacuating Hoosier residents in cities and towns along the Ohio River during what was described as “the second largest flood of the Ohio River in the history of the State, only exceeded by that of 1937.” (Clay Co.)

In 1977, due to crippling financial conditions imposed from the merger with the NBA, the Indiana Pacers hosted a telethon on WTTV-4 and 1070-WIBC to stave off insolvency. Over the course of 16½ hours, Coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, his wife Nancy, All-Star Billy Knight, and front office staff worked to reach their target of 8,000 season tickets sold. With minutes left in the telecast, Nancy Leonard tearfully announced they had reached their goal. In succeeding years, new television contracts with the NBA allowed the Pacers to share revenue and avoid resorting to such dire tactics again.

July 4

In 1801, Secretary of the Indiana Territory John Gibson attested that the population of the entire territory (for purposes of political representation) was 4,875. This included 135 enslaved persons despite the provision in the Northwest Ordinance that prohibited slavery in the territory. The 3/5ths clause in the Constitution allowed for each enslaved person to be counted as 3/5ths of a free person for purposes of elected representation. The census also counted all other free persons "except Indians, not French," meaning free African Americans, of which there were 163. Neither the indigenous populations nor French were considered citizens despite their longer tenure in the Indiana Territory. In the case of the American Indians, the federal government was already advocating for removal of indigenous populations by this time.

In 1807, the Vincennes-based Western Sun published its first issue. The newspaper was founded by Elihu Stout, official document publisher of the Indiana territorial government. He previously founded and published the territory's first newspaper, the Indiana Gazette, from 1804 to 1806. When the publishing house of the Gazette burned to the ground, Stout regrouped, purchased a new printing press from Kentucky, and founded the Western Sun (now the Vincennes Sun-Commercial). (Knox Co.)

In 1836, the Lake County Squatters’ Union convened and drafted a constitution to protect their homes, properties, and homestead improvements located on public lands where they had settled. When the government announced that a federal land office would open in LaPorte to sell federal land in northern Indiana, the plan threatened the Lake County squatters’ claims to their homesteads. Potentially, any speculator could buy the land at the land office and evict the squatters from the property. The Lake County union members (nearly 500 strong) successfully organized to purchase clear title to their properties when the LaPorte land office opened in 1839. (Lake Co.)

In 1854, the New Albany and Salem Railroad opened for traffic between the Ohio River and Lake Michigan as workers completed the last section in Putnam County. The north-south line, popularly known as the Monon, benefitted businesses up and down the line, including Bedford’s limestone industry. Several changes of the railroad’s ownership and name occurred in the 1800s and 1900s. Indiana's beloved "Hoosier Line," provided over a century of passenger service to the state, with multiple transfer points to other lines, and it connected colleges and students from Indiana University, DePauw, Wabash, and Purdue. The "Monon" was known nationwide for fine passenger and dining service until 1967 when passenger service stopped. The remaining Monon tracks in the state continue to transport commercial freight as of 2018. 

In 1888, Benjamin Harrison, with his wife Caroline by his side, gave a speech at his Indianapolis home, accepting the Republican nomination for president. For the next four months, their Delaware Street home became the center of Harrison’s political campaign. Parades marched up and down the street in front of the house and the presidential nominee gave more than eighty speeches on their front porch. 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 1894, Hoosier inventor and automobile pioneer Elwood Haynes debuted his vehicle, the “Pioneer,” at Kokomo’s Fourth of July celebration. He established the Haynes Automobile Company to capitalize on the invention. Although debate continues as to whether or not he invented the first car, his company contributed to a major industrial and transportation revolution and helped position the vehicle as a popular form of transit. (Howard Co.)

In 1923, a Ku Klux Klan rally took place at Kokomo’s Melfala Park. Robert Coughlan’s 1949 article, “Konklave in Kokomo,” based in-part upon his boyhood recollections, popularized the event as one of the largest Klan gatherings ever in America with a reported 200,000 in attendance. Contemporary pro-Klan newspapers gave the attendance figure, which mainstream outlets likely picked up from there. Historian Allen Safianow called into question this estimate, and cited other contemporary sources and socio-economic data, including Klan membership rolls in the county, that suggested the crowd was likely no more than 10,000 in the city whose population was then 30,000. (Howard Co.)

In 1927, General John J. Pershing attended the laying of the cornerstone for the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis. As part of Indianapolis’ pitch for the American Legion to make its headquarters in the city, city officials promised to construct a World War I veterans’ memorial. Preliminary work began in 1921 with plans for not only the memorial, but also auxiliary buildings, the cenotaph, mall, and obelisk. Construction on the memorial commenced in 1926. Funding and the Great Depression interfered with the building progress. The Public Works Administration assisted with finishing the Neoclassical structure in 1936.

July 5

In 1905, the Indianapolis Star reported that the "largest deal in the history of the Indiana coal fields will be consummated" by Vandalia Coal Company's purchase of twenty-seven of the state's largest coal companies located mostly in the southwest quarter of the state. With one company overseeing all mining operations, Vandalia hoped to increase output and lessen the cost of coal. The company filed articles of corporation with the secretary of state on September 7.

In 1912, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in Ellingham v. Dye, and declared legislation, called the "Marshall Constitution," unconstitutional. Enacted under the leadership of Governor Thomas R. Marshall, it sought to remove hindrances to reform. The legislation simplified the amendment process, restricted voting rights, enlarged the House of Representatives and extended session length, increased the number of justices on the state Supreme Court, and given the governor expanded powers including a line item veto and a higher barrier for the General Assembly to override a veto.

July 6

In 1903, Indiana National Guardsmen and special deputy sheriffs guarded the Vanderburgh County jail against a lynch mob. The crowd sought vigilante justice for the fatal shooting of Evansville patrolman Louis Massey by Lee Brown, an African-American man, on July 4. As tension between law enforcement and white citizens escalated, a shot was fired. It is not known whether the crowd or the guards shot first, but the initial casualties from the clash included six people dead (including a 15-year-old female bystander), another six with fatal wounds, and 25-29 others wounded. Fearing for their own safety, many African Americans fled the city. Vanderburgh County historian Dr. Darrel Bigham wrote, “”The violence had a profound influence on black Evansville. Aside from property damage and threats to personal safety of hundreds of blacks, it blunted the development of the business and professional community.” As a response to the violence, Governor Winfield T. Durbin ordered more Indiana National Guard troops to Evansville to restore order. Troops patrolled the city for nearly a week before withdrawing from the city on the morning of July 10. Brown died in jail on July 31 as a consequence of a gunshot wound in his lung sustained during his altercation with patrolman Massey.

In 1913, the Senate Avenue YMCA kicked off a week of ceremonies that dedicated the new building in Indianapolis. The festivities included “Citizen’s Night,” in which crowds listened to the live music of Indianapolis jazz musician, Noble Sissle, and a “Colored Men’s Good Citizens League” banquet. They also included ladies’ night, which was “particularly significant because of the fact that Madam Walker is the largest paid up subscriber among the colored people” and her donation contributed significantly to purchasing the African American YMCA building. On July 8, civil rights activist and founder of the Tuskegee Institute Booker T. Washington delivered the dedication address. By August 2, the Indianapolis Recorder reported that the Senate Avenue Y had “become the center of attraction in many ways, not only in Indianapolis, but throughout the State of Indiana.” The Senate Avenue Y was located in the heart of the Indiana Avenue African American community and offered adult education classes, held bible studies, provided meeting space for a variety of organizations, and even established an amateur basketball team. The Senate Y hosted "Monster Meetings," in which some of the nation's most well-known African American leaders spoke, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Olympic gold medalist track star Jesse Owens.

July 7

In 1899, Centerville political leader George Washington Julian died at his Irvington home. 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 1909, baseball great Billy Herman was born in New Albany. He spent most his career with the Chicago Cubs (1931-41) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1941-46), before wrapping up his playing career with the Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1933, the second baseman became the all-time leader for putouts in a season with 466. He finished with lifetime batting average of .304. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, one of only ten Indiana-born men so honored as of 2018. (Floyd Co.)

July 8

In 1851, Hoosier Group artist J. Ottis Adams was born in Johnson County. The American impressionist painter helped form the Society of Western Artists in 1896. He trained at the South Kensington School of Art in London and attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Adams taught art classes at the John Herron Art Institute, which evolved into the Herron School of Art and Design and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

In 1874, Franklin Booth was born in Carmel. The artist and illustrator made his career with in leading national publications in the early 20th century. His illustrations appeared in Scribner’s, Harper’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Collier’s. He also illustrated the books of famous Hoosier authors including James Whitcomb Riley, Meredith Nicholson, and Theodore Dreiser. Specifically, Dreiser’s and Booth’s archetypal automobile road trip in 1916 was documented by both men in Hoosier Holiday. Some comic book historians have identified Franklin Booth’s distinctive pen and ink illustrations as an influence on the nascent comic book artists of the 1930s. Booth died in 1948 and his body was buried in the family plot at the Old Carmel Cemetery. (Hamilton Co.)

In 1913, civil rights activist and founder of the Tuskegee Institute Booker T. Washington delivered the dedication address for the Senate Avenue YMCA in Indianapolis. The Senate Avenue Y was located in the heart of the Indiana Avenue African American community and offered adult education classes, held bible studies, provided meeting space for a variety of organizations, and even established an amateur basketball team. The Senate Y hosted "Monster Meetings," in which some of the nation's most well-known African American leaders spoke, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Olympic gold medalist track star Jesse Owens.

In 1926, architect E. Hill Turnock died in his hometown of Elkhart. In the mid-1880s, he moved to Chicago and worked with architect William Le Baron Jenney until he established a private practice in 1890. His Chicago designs include noted apartment building Lincoln Park Palace. Turnock designed public and private buildings in Elkhart, such as the Water Works and Masonic Temple, and in other Indiana cities. (Elkhart Co.)

In 1946, trustees of Central Normal College in Danville relinquished control of the board to the newly named trustees of Canterbury College, which operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Dioceses of Indianapolis and Northern Indiana. The Normal School was founded in 1876 at Ladoga as the second private Indiana normal school specializing in teacher training. It was based on Alfred Holbrook's techniques at his normal college in Lebanon, Ohio, which pioneered teacher training in America. Central Normal College moved to the old Danville Academy building in 1878. Canterbury College struggled under the new management and closed its doors in 1951. (Hendricks Co.)

July 9

In 1863, approximately 400 Home Guard members organized in Corydon to stop Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's raid on southern Indiana. Morgan targeted railways and merchants, extracted ransoms to avoid the destruction of industrial properties, and stole horses. Initially, the "mainly untrained defenders" warded off the invaders, but as Confederate reinforcements arrived Union defenders fled and surrendered Corydon. According to Conner Prairie, the battle took the lives of four American Legion members, three civilians, and eleven Confederate troops. After taking Corydon, Morgan "extorted money from local government officials and businessmen and his men set about plundering the town." The Battle of Corydon was one of two Civil War battles fought on northern soil. Morgan’s raiders spent five days terrorizing Indiana communities including Palmyra, Salem, Vienna, Lexington, Vernon, Dupont, New Pekin, Bryantsburg, Versailles, and Sunman. Indiana militia eventually chased the Confederates out of the state and into Ohio where Morgan continued creating chaos for another two weeks. (Harrison Co.)

July 10

In 1845, the Paoli True American reported on Independence Day festivities at French Lick. Especially noteworthy, the article mentioned, “The festivities of the day were closed by a splendid dance, at Doctor [William A.] Bowles’ new building.” Many secondary sources recognize Bowles as the first to market and capitalize on the “miracle waters” of the area’s mineral springs when he established a health resort. (Orange Co.)

In 1874, the Benton County seat moved from Oxford to Fowler. Oxford is situated near the southern border, and in 1871 some Benton County residents established Fowler in the center of the county with the hopes of securing the county seat. After the courthouse in Oxford was condemned in 1873, the citizens of Fowler began a robust campaign to relocate the seat of government and filed injunctions, lawsuits, and petitions. Courthouse battles were relatively common in Indiana history. According to the Indiana Magazine of History, thirty-nine of Indiana’s ninety-two counties have had more than one county seat during their history. (Benton Co.)

In 1882, the St. Joseph County Orphan's Home (now the Family & Children’s Center, Inc.) opened in a rented building in Mishawaka. The Women's Christian Temperance Union founded the home, and Mishawaka and South Bend residents donated food and supplies. By 1891, the organization had placed 500 children in homes throughout the Midwest. 

In 1945, actor Ron Glass was born in Evansville. He was best known for playing Detective Ron Harris in the television show Barney Miller from 1975-1982. The role earned him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in 1982. The University of Evansville graduate also appeared on popular shows like FriendsAll in the FamilyStar Trek: Voyager, and Designing Women. He gained a sci-fi cult following in 2002 for his portrayal of Shepherd Derrial Book in the TV series Firefly, and its movie sequel, Serenity. Glass served as a board member for Los Angeles's Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, which works to protect and educate inner-city youth. He died in 2016. (Vanderburgh Co.)

In 1962, officials dedicated the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County. Abraham 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." 

July 11

In 1863, the 73rd Indiana Infantry and a detachment of the 5th U.S. Regulars captured Confederate Captain William J. Davis near Pekin. He and his troops had crossed the Ohio River at Twelve Mile Island, Kentucky to serve as a diversion for General John Hunt Morgan as he raided southern Indiana. After their capture in Pekin, Davis and several other soldiers were taken to New Albany and secured in the county jail. On July 13, Morgan's Indiana raid ended as he rode east out of Harrison on the Indiana-Ohio state border. (Washington Co.)

In 1927, the Indianapolis Times began publishing exact copies of papers that proved the Ku Klux Klan’s ties to Indiana politicians. They first printed a check from Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson to Governor Ed Jackson before the latter became governor. For the remainder of July and August, the Times filled its pages with reprints of letters and checks from Stephenson's papers, detailing how much money had been spent to help get Jackson elected. On July 21, the Times revealed that Indianapolis Mayor John Duvall had also reportedly sought Stephenson's aid when he was a candidate for Republican nomination for mayor in 1924. The Times wrote on July 27, that it had turned over Stephenson's documents to the Marion County grand jury for examination. According to a May 1928 Times article, Mayor Duval was eventually convicted of violation of the Corrupt Practices Act and forced to resign. The newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in Journalism in 1928 "for its work in exposing political corruption in Indiana, prosecuting the guilty and bringing about a more wholesome state of affairs in civil government."

In 1996, the Indianapolis Indians played their inaugural game at Victory Field against the Oklahoma City 89ers. Governor Evan Bayh and Mayor Stephen Goldsmith were on hand to toss the first pitch. The Triple-A ball club previously played in Bush Stadium on 16th Street from 1931-1996.

July 12

In 1835, two factions of Irish immigrants—the Corkonians and Fardowns—, who had been constructing the Wabash and Erie Canal, skirmished at Lagro. The militia was called in and arrested those laborers who had not already dispersed. According to historian Jay M. Perry, “The Irish War stemmed from real and perceived grievances related to laborers’ economic concerns.” He expounded that “members had organized themselves into protective associations aimed at securing and defending the economic interests of their membership, namely preserving access to employment on the nation’s canals and railroads. Violence and intimidation, their key tools in achieving these goals, periodically resulted in brawls like the one on the Wabash and Erie [Canal].” (Wabash Co.)

In 1881, lawyer and founder of North Western Christian University (now Butler University) Ovid Butler, Sr. died at his home in Indianapolis. His opposition to slavery on moral and religious grounds was reflected in his political affiliations and support of anti-slavery newspapers. His writings publicly condemned slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Butler wrote the charter for North Western Christian University in 1849. The coeducational school opened in 1855, and reflected his ideals of freedom and equality. Although it was founded by Butler and other members of the Christian (later Disciples of Christ) denomination, the school was nonsectarian. The school was renamed in Butler’s honor in 1877.

In 1883, lightning struck the Science Building at Indiana University and the resulting fire caused massive losses for the school. The fire destroyed items like the Owen Cabinet (a collection of 85,000 fossil and mineral specimens) and the Zoological Cabinet, which many newspaper reports claimed was the largest private collection of fish in the world. The fire also destroyed the University Library, including 13,000 volumes and attendance, class, and graduation records. (Monroe Co.)

July 13

In 1787, while the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, the Congress of the Confederation enacted the Northwest Ordinance. The ordinance planned for governance of the territory north and west of the Ohio River. It also asserted that freedom of religion, right to trial by jury, and public education were rights of the people. Slavery was also provisionally banned. Out of the Northwest Territory came five states and part of a sixth: Ohio (1803), Indiana (1816), Illinois (1818), Michigan (1837), Wisconsin (1848), and a portion of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River (full statehood was achieved in 1858).

In 1837, Christ Church organized in Indianapolis. The Episcopal congregation met in a rented room on Washington Street before they constructed a church the following year on Governor’s Circle (now Monument Circle). That building served the congregation until the 1850s when the congregation constructed a new Gothic structure that opened in 1859, and as of 2018, is still a notable city landmark. Christ Church became pro-cathedral for the Diocese of Indianapolis in 1954. Eli Lilly was a principal benefactor of the church in the 20th century.

In 1854, Henry S. Lane and other prominent ex-Whigs called a state convention to organize a new political party. That day, ten thousand people reportedly rallied at Indianapolis to protest the Kansas-Nebraska Act. These included Hoosiers favoring political issues that ranged from temperance advocates to anti-Catholic, xenophobic Know-Nothings to defecting Democrats to staunch abolitionists. It was clear to Lane that the new party must include all of these diverse political voices, and unite them against slavery’s expansion. They chose to call it the People’s Party and reasoned that by avoiding the name “Republican” they could avoid the association with the eastern abolition movement that many Hoosiers saw as too radical. Despite the efforts of detractors, the convention was a success. This was due, in large part, to Lane’s unifying speech where he outlined the platform of the new party. He appeased the prohibitionists by calling for a liquor ban and the Know-Nothings by calling for a “lengthy citizenship” process, all without offending the German immigrant members in their midst. Mostly, however, he set the party in opposition to the detested Kansas-Nebraska Act and the expansion of slavery into the territories. Over the next few years, the People’s Party aligned itself with the national platform and adopted the name “Republican.”

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke to roughly 150 people at the Hendricks County Courthouse in Danville. Governor Robert Orr and Health and Human Services Secretary Otis R. Bowen, a former governor, also attended. Reagan championed the success of the newly-enacted tax reform law and called for an "economic bill of rights." President Reagan noted "You see, 200 and more years ago, when our Constitution and Bill of Rights were being debated . . . the debates took place in towns like Danville, in farming communities like the towns in rural Indiana, in virtually every community in America. The people themselves—the farmers, the craftsmen, and local officials—were directly involved. It's this kind of involvement on the part of the people themselves that I'd like to see take place again." He also spoke in front of nearly 5,000 people later that day in Indianapolis at the National Association of Counties. (Hendricks Co.)

In 1995, a heat wave killed nearly all 800,000 chicks at the Rose Acre Farms in Seymour. The losses cost the company nearly one million dollars. (Jackson Co.)

July 14

In 1812, Miami leader Little Turtle, or Mihšihkinaahkwa, died near Fort Wayne. Born near the Eel (Kenapocomoco) River, Little Turtle led the Western Confederacy against American troops who wanted to push them out of the Northwest Territory in the 1780s and 1790s. While Little Turtle led many military victories, he was eventually defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1894 by General Anthony Wayne's troops. According to the Myaamia Project of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, "Mihšihkinaahkwa (ca. 1752-1812) has long been characterized by historians as both a great leader - praised for his military defeats of Generals Harmer (1790) and St. Clair (1791) - and a traitor to his people for his willingness to work with the United States government after signing the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795. Absent from these superficial descriptions is an understanding of Myaamia leadership and the cultural, political and social environment of his time. . . . His story depicts a struggle to maintain an impossible balance between the wellbeing of his own people and a strategic resistance against those who gave little value to his existence as an indigenous person." (Allen Co.)

In 1936, Indiana experienced the highest recorded temperature in the state's history when thermometers hit 116 degrees in Collegeville. The United Press reported: "Relief from one of the most severe droughts in the history of the state . . . The scorching heat wave will leave in its wake a state death toll of at least 173 lives. Thousands of dollars of damage has been done to crops, and additional damage has been caused by fires, started by the intense heat. Fifty-seven deaths, including nine in Indianapolis, were reported in the state yesterday. The blistering heat took hold on the state July 4 and for the last eight days the temperature has soared above 100 degrees, establishing a record for Indiana. City dwellers and rural folk suffered alike in the heat."

July 15

In 1921, the Indiana General Assembly created the Indiana Motor Vehicle Police. Originally equipped with only sixteen officers, the force was tasked with enforcing traffic and licensure laws. They also had to deal with the problem of auto theft. The Greencastle Herald reported on July 20 that the new agency had to track down at least five stolen cars in Indianapolis alone in its first week. With the crime wave of the 1920s and 1930s came new resources and duties. Governor Paul V. McNutt reorganized the force as the Indiana State Police in 1933, which still serves the public today.

In 1935, professional football player and actor Alex Karras was born in Gary to Emmaline and George Karras, a Greek immigrant and doctor. After an all-state football career at Gary Emerson, he went on to be a two-time All-American at the University of Iowa. Karras, a defensive lineman, was a first round pick of the Detroit Lions, where he spent his entire twelve year career (1958-62, 1964-70). He earned All-Pro honors nine times during his career, three of which were First Team nods. After retiring from the NFL, he became a sports broadcaster and actor. Perhaps his most famous film role was as Mongo in the Mel Brooks' comedy Blazing Saddles. In the 1980s, Karras portrayed the adoptive father in the television show Webster. He died in 2012. (Lake Co.) 

July 16

In 1855, Kelly and Hanchett in Ascension (later Farmersburg, Sullivan Co.) ran an advertisement announcing their recent purchase of the Sullivan Coke Bank and advertised their coal. Indiana historian Logan Esarey noted, “Coal mining on an extensive scale is contemporaneous and inseparable from the railways.” In the late 19th century, eastern Indiana produced the most coal, and had the most people employed in the mines. In 1898, Clay County produced over one million tons of coal while employing over 2,500 miners. Vigo, Sullivan, Parke, Greene, and Vermillion were also among the state’s leading producers with between 400,000 and 819,000 tons produced per county.

In 1878, Scribner’s Monthly announced the forthcoming publication of Crawfordsville author Maurice Thompson’s The Witchery of Archery, a witty manual that described how to manufacture and use archery implements. The magazine noted that "The audience in this instance has sought the author in advance, and to satisfy the various demands of those to whom archery is becoming a pastime or a sport, he has wisely enlarged the scope of the published papers, putting into his treatise not only the enthusiasm of the hunter and the dolce far niente of the poet, but even the most practical knowledge of the bow-maker and the target-shooter." (Montgomery Co.)

In 1907, popcorn entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher was born in Brazil. In his youth, he 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. (Clay Co.)

July 17

In 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act. Among the provisions of the law, it mandated "That all slaves . . . escaping . . . and taking refuge within the lines of the army . . . shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves." One woman affected by the law was Lucy Higgs. According to the New Albany Daily Ledger, “Lucy was born a slave and continued in slavery until she was twenty years old, when she joined the Twenty-third [Volunteer Indiana Infantry] at Bolivar, Tenn., and thus secured her freedom.” Thousands of enslaved African Americans emancipated themselves by heading to Union lines in what W.E.B. Du Bois called “a general strike against the confederacy.” Many went to work in service of the Union, the men mainly as laborers or soldiers, the women as laundresses, cooks, nurses, and even spies. By the time Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, the United States Army officially considered formerly enslaved peoples working behind Union lines as “contraband.” Considered spoils of war, they were given protection by the U.S. government to prevent them from contributing to the Southern labor force. According to historian Ella Forbes, defining them as contraband “allowed the denial of basic civil rights to the African Americans who had liberated themselves by fleeing enslavement” and placed the formerly enslaved “at the mercy of a generally racist bureaucracy which exploited their labor and humanity.” By escaping the Higgs family, and fleeing to the regiment camped in Bolivar, Lucy became a “captive of war” as described in the act. Lucy served the duration of the war with the 23rd Indiana, and acted as a regimental nurse. After the war, she followed some of the soldiers back to their homes in New Albany where she too settled. In 1892, she applied for a Civil War pension designated for nurses, which the Pension Office denied. Lucy and 55 veterans of the 23rd Indiana petitioned Congress, and in 1898, Congress passed a special act that awarded her a pension for her service.

In 1891, reformed Communist leader Louis Budenz was born in Indianapolis. He received his LL.B. from the Indianapolis Law School and was admitted to the Indiana State Bar. He became a member of the Communist USA Party, organized several union strikes, and served as editor for the Labor Age for ten years, leading to over twenty arrests against him. In 1945, Budenz renounced Communism, returned to the Roman Catholic Church, and became a vocal anti-Communist. He appeared as an expert witness at various governmental hearings and publishing six anti-Communist books. Budenz taught economics at Notre Dame University and in 1950 testified in the hearings before the Tydings Committee, led by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy based on his claim that a number of Communists were employed within the State Department.

In 1901, award-winning race horse Dan Patch debuted on the Grand Circuit in Detroit. He became famous there for never losing a race. The standard-bred colt was foaled and raised in Oxford, Indiana. In 1902, he was sold to M. E. Sturgis, of New York, and then to Marion W. Savage, owner of International Stock Food Company in Minnesota, who used the horse's fame to market his stock food and other products. Patch's 1906 world record 1:55 mile held for thirty-two years and he retired in 1909. (Benton Co.)

In 1997, Space Shuttle Columbia landed at the Kennedy Space Center. On board was astronaut Janice E. Voss from South Bend. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in engineering sciences and, as an undergraduate began working at NASA. She stated “I would take a course and use it the next semester at NASA” or “I would do something at NASA and it would then show up in my coursework. That interplay of work and schoolwork made everything so much more interesting and exciting for me.” In five missions, Voss logged 18.8 million miles in space, circling the earth 779 times. (St. Joseph Co.)

July 18

In 1862, Confederate Brigadier General Adam R. "Stovepipe" Johnson led a band of men across the Ohio River from Kentucky to Newburgh, Indiana. The raid, resulting in the seizure of Union weapons and the release of Confederate POWs, shocked Hoosiers. Disappointed with the performance of his militia, Governor Oliver Morton returned to Indianapolis and devoted much time to improving militia equipment and training, and extending the telegraph network along the exposed Ohio River. (Warrick Co.)

In 1902, Jessamyn West was born in Jennings County. Her mother had deep Quaker roots in the area. As a child, West relocated with her family to California. Her mother frequently told her tales about her ancestors, which inspired her future writing. In 1945, she published The Friendly Persuasion, which told the story of a Quaker family in Jennings County who wrestled with their pacifist beliefs during the Civil War. In 1956, William Wyler adapted the book into an Academy Award-nominated film that starred Gary Cooper. West wrote many other essays and books, many of which she set in Indiana including The Witch Diggers, Except for Me and Thee, and the Massacre at Fall Creek. (Jennings Co.)

In 1913, "dunking donuts" comedian Richard "Red" Skelton was born in Vincennes. In his youth, he performed as a clown in the local YMCA circus and emceed a vaudeville revue at the city's Pantheon Theatre. By the late 1930s, Skelton had become famous for his vaudeville and radio skits, many of which were written by his wife Edna Stillwell. He helped popularize television in the 1950s with The Red Skelton Show, which aired for twenty years and won multiple Emmy Awards. (Knox Co.)

In 1949, innovative surveyor Jasper Sherman Bilby died in Batesville. The Rush County native joined the United States Coast & Geodetic Survey as a surveyor at 20 years old. He performed geodetic surveys, accounting for the curvature of the earth, for commercial and infrastructure purposes. In the 1920s, he invented the Bilby Steel Tower, which allowed surveyors to see over obstacles when measuring long distances. His tower was made of steel instead of wood and was reusable, portable, and quickly assembled. It saved federal government $3,072,000 within first ten years of use and was used nationally and internationally for over fifty years. The resulting data served as a foundation to modern mapping and GPS. (Franklin Co. and Ripley Co.)

July 19

In 1891, Paul V. McNutt was born in Franklin. A progressive governor of Indiana during the New Deal, McNutt's signature achievement was his Executive Reorganization Act of 1933, which reorganized more than 100 separate divisions of government into eight departments, all overseen by the governor. After his gubernatorial term, McNutt served as High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands from 1937 to 1939 and 1945 to 1947. He demonstrated his commitment to the protection of European Jews when he secured the escape of “1,200 German and Austrian Jews” to the Philippine Islands. McNutt sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1940, but acquiesced to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bid for a third term. (Johnson Co.)

In 1897, Mennonite theologian Harold Bender was born in Elkhart. He graduated from Goshen College in 1918 and served as dean of the college from 1931 to 1944. Bender organized the Mennonite Historical Society and in 1927 founded the Mennonite Quarterly Review. He articulated the "Anabaptist Vision" in the midst of WWII, which reinforced the church's historic commitment to pacifism and biblical nonresistance. As a leader of the church, he served as chairman of the Mennonite Relief and Service Committee and chairman of the Peace Problems Committee and the Historical and Research Committee. (Elkhart Co.)

In 1933, during the Great Depression, the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger reported on the $1.5 million spent on the development of Beverly Shores, “one of the most attractive residential areas in the country.” According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, the company envisioned the resort community to be "only one portion of a much larger development rivaling Atlantic City. The stock market crash of 1929 led the Bartlett Company to scale back its grand plans, but Beverly Shores nevertheless began to take shape shortly thereafter." By 1933, the community located along the Indiana Dunes boasted a botanical garden, championship golf course, theatrical playhouse, and Florentine revival hotel. (Porter Co.)

In 1940, Gary boxer Tony Zale beat Al Hostak for the National Boxing Association middleweight crown at Seattle's Civic Stadium. According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, in the twelfth round Hostak went down for a nine-count and, after being knocked down again in the thirteenth round, the referee halted the match. The knockout "sent hundreds of Gary celebrants cascading down Broadway at two in the morning." The "Man of Steel" was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. (Lake Co.)

In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Judge John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. 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 serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 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.)

July 20

In 1806, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison presided at a meeting of citizens of Vincennes held to organize a lending library. The attendees formed the library company and adopted a constitution. By 1809, the library had 245 volumes. (Knox Co.)

In 1868, just ten days after the Reno Gang’s last train robbery, the Jackson County Vigilance Committee lynched gang members Thomas Volney Elliot, Charles Roseberry, and Frelinghuysen Clifton near Seymour. 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. 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. In some cases, like this one, local citizens enforced the laws through vigilantism and lynching. (Jackson Co.)

In 1868, the Daily State Sentinel reported that Jeffersonville mechanic Reuben Wells built a "monster locomotive engine" for the Jeffersonville, Madison, and Indianapolis Railroad. "One of the most wonderful specimens of machinery ever made," it replaced the cog wheel system used to climb the 7,012 feet of the Madison Hill incline and cut, which had a 5.89% grade. The newspaper noted that Wells' engine weighed fifty-eight tons and on a trial run was able to haul four loaded cars "up the plane from depot to depot in eleven minutes." The locomotive took the name of its maker, Reuben Wells, and climbed and descended the Madison incline for thirty years. After the engine was retired, it had several owners including Purdue University. In the 1960s, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis acquired it and placed it on permanent display. (Jefferson Co.)

In 1892, Catholic leader and civil rights advocate Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter was born in New Albany. He 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. In 1961, he was elevated to Cardinal by Pope John XXIII, the only Roman Catholic Cardinal from Indiana as of 2007. Ritter was an outspoken, progressive participant in all three sessions of Vatican Council II. (Floyd Co.)

In 1969, Purdue University graduate Neil Armstrong became the first human to stand on the moon. According to Purdue, he earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1970. The groundbreaking astronaut selected Purdue because of his love of football and played baritone horn in Purdue's "All-American" Marching Band. Armstrong frequently returned to his alma mater and served as co-chair of a fundraising campaign with astronaut and Purdue alum Eugene Cernan. (Tippecanoe Co.)

July 21

In 1838, the Logansport Telegraph published a report that claimed that a monster inhabited Lake Manitou in Fulton County. The author cited stories from the Pottawatomi, who at this point still resided in the area (although the state would forcibly remove them a month later). Some other contemporary witnesses also supported the claims. The Telegraph printed an illustration of the beast a month later. The illustration filled the majority of a column in the newspaper. Notable artist George Winter also took a special interest in the tale, and even used descriptions to make a painting of it.

In 1841, the Indiana State Sentinel debuted with the Democratic rooster featured prominently on the masthead. The rooster became associated with the party in Greenfield during the 1840 political campaign of Joseph Chapman. The Chapmans who published the Sentinel were unrelated to Joseph Chapman, but adopted the rooster and the motto “Crow Chapman Crow” for their paper. The rooster was the unofficial Democratic Party mascot before the donkey overtook it in popularity in the late 19th century. (Hancock Co.)

In 1862, gun violence between two black men and four white men in New Albany sparked two days of attacks by white mobs on black residents and their property. New Albany newspapers reported on beatings of blacks, the presence of armed soldiers, and crowds threatening to break into the jail to get to black inmates. The violence lasted for about thirty hours. One black man escaped attackers and obtained shelter at the Israel boarding house, as the owner barred her door to the mob. The newspapers made no mention of the arrests of any mob leaders, although several arrests were made of suspects in the initial incident. (Floyd Co.)

In 1888, Edward Cooper became publisher of the Indianapolis Freeman. Under his management he transformed a local weekly newspaper into a nationally-circulated periodical as the first illustrated African American newspaper, which Cooper billed “the Harper’s Weekly of the Colored Race.” Cooper employed political cartoonists like Henry Jackson Lewis, Moses Lenore Tucker, and Edward H. Lee. The political cartoons strongly chastised the Republican Party on issues of civil rights.

In 1961, Mitchell native and Purdue University graduate Virgil "Gus" Grissom became the second American in space in 1961 on board the Liberty Bell 7. NASA noted that "A problem with the hatch led Grissom's capsule to sink after splashdown." In 1965, 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. In 1967, a fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a preflight test killed Grissom, along with astronauts 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. (Lawrence Co.)

July 22

In 1820, the Indiana Supreme Court in Corydon ruled in State v. Lasselle that “slavery can have no existence” in Indiana. The case was brought to court by Polly Strong, an enslaved African American woman who was purchased by Vincennes innkeeper Hyacinthe Lasselle at the age of ten. She 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 by the 1816 Indiana Constitution. The Indiana Supreme Court's decision liberated Strong and the court ordered Lasselle to pay the fees and expenses of the trial. This decision did not free other enslaved people in Indiana (of which there were 190 according to the 1820 U.S. Census), but it did establish the 1816 Indiana Constitution as the authority for decisions in Indiana courts regarding slavery and involuntary servitude, including the 1821 Mary Clark case. (Knox Co., Harrison Co.)

In 1900, Indianapolis hardware salesman and inventor Willis C. Vajen died at his home on Vermont Street. He and German immigrant William Bader invented the Vajen-Bader Smoke Protector in 1893. The helmet filtered toxins out of the air in firefighting situations, as well as supplied a continuous stream of air into the helmet to keep the wearer cool. Operating out of a space on the second floor of the old Indianapolis Public Library a block north of Monument Circle, their company filled orders from customers as diverse as meatpackers, mining and gas companies, breweries, and the British and Chilean navies. The gas masks utilized in the trenches of World War I evolved partly from the Vajen-Bader smoke protector.

In 1916, "Hoosier poet" James Whitcomb Riley died in Indianapolis. 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, 35,000 mourners paid their respects by visiting his casket at the Indiana State Capitol.

In 1920, educator and women’s rights activist May Wright Sewall died in Indianapolis. She began her suffrage work in the 1880s and became a prominent ally of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Sewall founded over fifty organizations that promoted women's rights and education. In 1888, she led efforts to establish the Indianapolis Propylaeum, which 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. Sewall was also instrumental in forming the National Council of Women of the United States. 

In 1935, the Boone County Rural Electric Membership Corporation (REMC) became one of the first federally-funded electric projects in the country, and the first in the state. In January 1936, Boone County REMC ran its first five miles of power lines to the Clark Woody farm. According to historian Teresa Baer, “By 1965, nearly all Hoosier farms had electricity.” (Boone Co.)

In 1935, following a prolonged labor strike at Columbian Enameling in Terre Haute, the factory owners transported 60 non-union “guards” from out of the city and into the plant. What immediately followed was a citywide general strike in protest when 40 local unions united with the striking workers. County historian Mike McCormick wrote, “The community was paralyzed. No newspapers were published; no goods were sold in stores; no taxis or trolleys operated. Only workers at plants that provided electric power, gas and water – and a few other isolated plants – were permitted to stay on the job.” Governor Paul V. McNutt declared the county under martial law and dispatched over a thousand Indiana National Guardsmen. McCormick added, “The image of soldiers manned with rifles and fixed bayonets touring downtown Terre Haute streets in military vehicles haunted the community for several decades.” The strike was called off after two days, the governor slowly drew down the number of guardsmen although martial law remained in effect until February 1936. The workers at Columbian eventually won their grievance of “unfair labor practices” against the company, but in the meantime the company moved to replace the strikers with non-union employees. (Vigo Co.)

July 23

In 1860, Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln wrote to Caleb B. Smith, a former congressman from Indiana, regarding the upcoming election: "From present appearances we might succeed . . . without Indiana; but with it, failure is scarcely possible. Therefore put in your best efforts." In the end, Lincoln won 51% of the popular vote in Indiana. Lincoln would subsequently make Smith his first secretary of the Interior, and later appoint him as judge of the United States District Court for the District of Indiana.

In 1888, the Marion branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS) was established. The Civil War created an unprecedented number of disabled soldiers in need of care beyond that available through pensions or state homes. In response to this need, Congress established the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, which was later renamed the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. NHDVS services, which included health care, training, work, and recreation, were available to all honorably discharged Union soldiers. In 1930, the Marion Branch of the NHDVS consolidated with the newly formed Veterans Administration. (Grant Co.)

In 1908, Lafayette resident Ray Ewry won the standing high jump to earn his eighth career Olympic Gold Medal. After overcoming polio as a child, Ewry accumulated his medals over the course of three Olympics from 1900 to 1908. His eight gold medals in individual events would be a record for 100 years until swimmer Michael Phelps surpassed Ewry’s total in 2008. (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Indianapolis and Vincennes. In the capital, he spoke at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and recognized Indiana's Sesquicentennial (150th). He then traveled to Vincennes and signed legislation that designated the George Rogers Clark Memorial and grounds as a national park. "This is going to be a very beautiful park," President Johnson noted, "It will include the memorial to George Rogers Clark that the people of Indiana built, with Federal help back in the 1930's. This will be the first park in our entire national system to commemorate the Northwest Territory." He also used this visit to defend his administration's policies in Vietnam. (Marion Co. and Knox Co.)

July 24

In 1901, an article in the Indianapolis Journal announced that Indiana University trustees created the position of dean of women and appointed Mary Bidwell Breed to serve. A Pennsylvania native, Breed earned several degrees, including one in philosophy from Bryn Mawr. She was awarded a fellowship to study chemistry in Europe. According to Women Administrators in Higher Education, Breed "expanded her role beyond discipline, involved students in policies and program decisions, and advocated for women in ways that made tangible differences in their lives. She did not believe in elaborate 'machinery' to regulate people." (Monroe Co.)

In 1924, "Dean of Indiana Painters" T.C. Steele died at his home in Brown County. He was a leading member of the "Hoosier Group" of painters and helped advance the quality of midwestern art, notably as part of the Society of Western Artists. His work was often Hoosiers' first exposure to nationally recognized fine art.

July 25

In 1856, author Charles Major was born in Indianapolis. He moved to Shelbyville with his family and was later admitted to the Shelby County Bar. He later focused on writing and penned popular books like The Bears of Blue River and When Knighthood Was in Flower, which became a bestseller and was adapted into a comic opera. (Shelby Co.)

In 1907, Leonard A. Scheele, U.S. Surgeon General from 1948 to 1956, was born in Fort Wayne. He worked at his father's pharmacy and received his medical degree in 1934 from the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery. According to the Washington Post, Scheele worked for the U.S. Public Health Service before transferring to the National Cancer Institute. During World War II, he served with the Army Medical Corps and by the end of the war he was tasked with fighting a typhus outbreak in the U.S. occupied zone of Germany. President Harry S. Truman appointed him U.S. Surgeon General and during his tenure he "was credited with playing a major role in certifying and making available the Salk anti-polio vaccine. He also was responsible for building a 500-bed research clinic at the National Institutes of Health and establishing the National Library of Medicine." In 1961, he helped negotiate the release of prisoners held captive during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. (Allen Co.)

In 1917, glassmaking industrialists, the Ball Brothers, bought the Indiana Normal Institute in Muncie. In 1918, they gifted it to the Indiana General Assembly and it became the Eastern Division of the Indiana State Normal School, which trained teachers. The legislature changed the school's name to the Ball Teachers College in 1922 in honor of the benefactors. In 1965, the Indiana General Assembly renamed the school Ball State University, "acknowledging its phenomenal growth in enrollment and facilities, the variety and quality of its educational programs and services, and the anticipation of the broader role it would play in the state’s future." (Delaware Co.)

July 26

In 1834, Indiana’s first governor (1816-22) Jonathan Jennings died at his farm in Charlestown. Elected at age 32, Jennings ushered in an era of autonomy and democratic values for pioneer Hoosiers in contrast to the aristocratic governance of Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison. Jennings wrestled with alcoholism later in his life, which likely contributed to his death at age 50. (Clark Co.)

In 1854, temperance advocate and women's rights leader Amanda Way, along with other women in Winchester, were tried for their role in the "Whisky Riot." In April 1854, forty to fifty women assembled and marched to the grocery stores and drugstores of the town, requesting that their owners sign a pledge agreeing “Not to sell any more liquor in Winchester.” When one owner, William Page, refused the pledge, the ladies “chopped his door down, knocked in his window, rolled the barrels [of liquor] into the street and poured his whiskey out.” Page took the women to trial for their actions. The Fort Wayne Standard recounted this story and included a letter from Amanda Way to L.M. Ninde regarding the trial. In it, she states “We were prosecuted for malicious trespass” and includes herself among the witnesses for the defendants. The jury ruled the women “Not Guilty.” She wrote “I feel that Randolph County has given a death blow to Intemperance.”

In 1913, Roderick M. Wright earned his pilot's license, one of the first in the state. Wright was born in Daviess County. He attended the Wilbur and Orville Wright Flying School in Dayton, Ohio. After receiving the Federation Aeronautique Internationale pilot license, he worked as an instructor at the Wright Flying School, as a pilot for several private companies, including Ford Motor Company, and as a test pilot for the War Department during World War I. He was a member of the prestigious Early Birds, an organization for the nation’s first pilots who flew solo between 1903 and 1916. Wright served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1953 to 1957. (Daviess Co.)

In 1925, the earliest extant issue of El Amigo del Hogar was published. It was the first Latino newspaper in Indiana. The Spanish-language newspaper, which translates as "Friend of the Home," was issued for the "'working Catholics of the Mexican Colony'" and ran until the early 1930s. (Lake Co.)

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order that desegregated the armed forces. He was inspired, in part, by the 1945 uprising of black officers at Freeman Field Airfield in Seymour. These officers were arrested after forcibly entering the white officers’ club, from which they had been barred. 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.” (Jackson Co.)

July 27

In 1905, Reid Memorial Hospital opened in Richmond. Daniel G. Reid, a Richmond native and New York industrialist, founded the hospital when he learned that St. Stephen's Hospital needed to be replaced because it turned away patients due to lack of resources. His business partner, William B. Leeds, also a former Richmond resident, also donated to the hospital fund. According to the Palladium-Item, the structure "was built over one of the area’s largest mounds built by the earliest humans in the Whitewater Valley, prehistoric peoples called Mound Builders." When it opened the electricity-equipped hospital was one of the most modern in the country. The hospital served the community for nearly a little over a century. In 2004, construction began on a new Reid Hospital, and by 2006 it scored in the 99th percentile of U.S. hospitals that met federal quality standards. (Wayne Co.)

In 1917, Anna Marie Ridge of Irvington filed registration for the first Girl Scouts troop in Marion County. The troop was registered as Indianapolis Troop 1 by Girl Scouts, Incorporated. In 1918, it was awarded a flag for selling over $6,000 in bonds during a Liberty Loan drive for World War I. The Indianapolis Marion County Girl Scout Council was chartered in 1921, with the basic goals of community service, ideals of conduct, patriotism, and diversity in membership. The earliest known Girl Scouts in Indiana were in Jackson County in 1912.

In 1945, the Jewish Post reported that twenty-five musicians with the Brown County Jamboree would perform at B’nai B’rith’s congregational picnic for 200 soldiers from Camp Atterbury's Wakeman Hospital. The musicians would arrive at Longacre Park “in army buses, with a police escort, and will be escorted back to Brown County following the performance." A baseball game was scheduled between soldiers and B'nai B’rith lodge members prior to the event.

July 28

In 1902, workers started the furnaces at Inland Steel’s new $1.5 million factory at Indiana Harbor. According to the Bristol Banner, these workers produced ingots, the "first to be manufactured by the great million and a half dollar plant. The new town is growing rapidly." The Encyclopedia of Chicago noted that by 1910 the open-hearth steel mill employed 2,600 workers. In World War II, Inland Steel produced over 3.5 million tons of steel annually. By the 1970s, approximately 25,000 people worked at the Indiana plant. (Lake Co.)

In 1908, prominent freethinker W.H. LaMaster died in Westphalia, Knox Co. His freethought newspaper, the Iconoclast, promoted this worldview for several years in the 1880s. LaMaster advocated for religious skepticism, scientific advancement, and was a staunch anti-temperance advocate. Although the Iconoclast was short-lived, LaMaster continued writing columns until his death.  He, alongside notable freethinkers like Ambrose Bierce, Clemens Vonnegut, and Robert Ingersoll, contributed to the Midwest's religious diversity during the late nineteenth century.

In 1968, riots in Gary's Midtown section resulted in gunfire, looting, and burning. In April of that year, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated, which set off a string of riots across the country. According to the Munster Times, the violence in Gary began when two African American youths were arrested, one for the suspected rape of a white woman and the other for disorderly conduct. As news of the arrests spread, "youth gangs" began rioting and looting liquor and furniture stores. Snipers fired at police and firemen attempting to quell the rioting. Over the course of two nights, hundreds of National Guard troops occupied the city and approximately 150, mostly black males between the ages of 17 and 25, were arrested. Mayor Richard Hatcher implemented a dawn-to-dusk curfew and banned sales of liquor, gasoline, and firearms. The Times reported that Mayor Hatcher had been "feuding" with the city council in his efforts to hire building inspectors, which would qualify the city for federally-funded housing projects. Mayor Hatcher contended that "'slum conditions in the city and inequalities in education and employment have fostered the tenseness'" that led to the riots. (Lake Co.)

In 1978, former Governor Ralph F. Gates died in his native Columbia City. During his time in office (1945-49), Gates prioritized leading the state's transition from wartime production to peacetime. In 1946, when factories began laying off women and African Americans at higher rates than white men, Governor Gates signed the Fair Employment Practices Act. The act formed the Fair Employment Practice Commission, whose job it was “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.” Although one of the earliest fair employment laws in the nation, some criticized it as "advisory" and "lacking teeth." At the end of his term, Governor Gates was praised for significantly upgrading state public and mental health programs and facilities, for establishing the State Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the state’s first aviation and flood control commissions, and for creation of the state's Department of Commerce and Public Relations to attract new industry to Indiana (Whitley Co.)

July 29

In 1805, the General Assembly of the Indiana Territory met for the first time in Vincennes at the Indiana Territorial Capitol. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison urged the legislators to “strive to accomplish the wishes of the friends of representative government and to disappoint its enemies.” The session lasted until August 26 and the legislators passed thirty-three laws, which codified the courts, taxes, debt relief for prisoners, and established weights and measures. One of the more controversial acts they passed was a slavery law that allowed slaveholders to keep enslaved persons in the Indiana Territory if they were purchased outside of it. This legislation was in direct violation of Article VI of the Northwest Ordinance that prohibited slavery in the territory. The act created pushback from newspapers in Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C. publicly denounced it. In a challenging contradiction, Harrison himself brought slaves to the territory, all the while calling for “representative government.” (Knox Co.)

In 1869, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Booth Tarkington was born in 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 Indianabased on his brief experience as a legislatorset 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 for Best Novel (now Fiction) in 1919 and 1922, respectively. His Hoosier viewpoints are evident in his literary work, specifically his examination of how urbanization and industrialization changed midwestern life.

In 1902, the first Carnegie library in Indiana was dedicated in Crawfordsville. The Current Events Club, a local women's organization, had been organizing the city's public library for four years when Andrew Carnegie donated $25,000 for construction costs. While this was the first Carnegie library to open in the state, Indiana would come to have more Carnegies than any other state in the nation. Crawfordsville's public library relocated in 2005 and the original building reopened as the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County in 2007. (Montgomery Co.)

July 30

In 1864, the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, in which six companies of Indiana's  African-American soldiers served, fought valiantly in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia. Nearly half of the regiment’s men died or were wounded in the battle. Following the Battle of the Crater, the decimated ranks of the 28th were filled with recruits and four more companies were raised in Indiana and sent to the command making it a full regiment. In Indiana, a total of 1,537 African Americans served in the Union Army.

In 1877, social reformer and preacher Oscar McCulloch began his ministry at Plymouth (Congregational) Church in Indianapolis. According to historian Genevieve C. Weeks, within a few years the church served as the city’s "center of cultural and charitable activities” and remained open to the public every hour of every day. McCulloch practiced "applied Christianity," or the Social Gospel, which involved "supporting the right of labor to organize, seeking to improve the working conditions for men, women, and children, developing better and additional social welfare programs and legislation, or organizing ways to benefit the community through civic improvements and increased cultural and educational opportunities." Weeks noted that, although McCulloch was a humanitarian, he "accepted the restrictive concepts of his day in regard to relief-giving." Thus, in his opinion, the "unworthy" class of poor citizens did not deserve private aid, but rather public institutional care. McCulloch studied the cause of poverty in order to ease it. McCulloch’s legacy was tarnished with his Tribe of Ishmael study, where he concluded that poverty originated with hereditary factors, an argument that was later advanced by advocates of eugenics in the early 20th century. 

In 1945, a Japanese submarine torpedoed the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which sank in twelve minutes. Of the 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. Facing saltwater poisoning, shark attacks, and dehydration, only 316 survived. Survivors drifted in the ocean until as late as August 2. Forty Hoosiers were aboard the Indianapolis, only ten of whom returned home to their Indiana hometowns and cities: Ninevah, Elkhart, New Albany, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Mishawaka, Idaville, and Martinsville. At the time of the attack, the U.S.S. Indianapolis had just delivered material to Tinian Island. This material was used for the "Little Boy," the world's first atomic bomb, which was dropped over the city of Hiroshima, Japan during World War II. 

July 31

In 1804, Elihu Stout published the first issue of the Indiana Gazette in Vincennes. The Indiana Territory's first newspaper ran until 1806, when the publishing house of the Gazette burned to the ground. Stout regrouped, purchased a new printing press from Kentucky, and founded the Western Sun (now the Vincennes Sun-Commercial). (Knox Co.)

In 1839, Henry Ward Beecher accepted the pastorate of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis. He came to Indianapolis from his previous pastorate at First Presbyterian in Lawrenceburg. Beecher served in Indianapolis for eight years. During his stay in the state he also edited the Indiana Farmer and Gardener and served on the board of trustees at Wabash College. He left Indianapolis in 1847 when he became pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn. His wife, Eunice White Bullard Beecher, wrote an unflattering autobiographical novel about their lives in Indiana called From Dawn to Daylight (1859) Beecher’s legacy as one of the most influential orators of the 19th century, including on the matter of abolition, has been tarnished as historical evidence of his extra-marital affairs have come to light.

In 1893, Taylor University was re-chartered and moved to Upland. The college was established at the Fort Wayne Female College in 1846. In 1852, it merged with another college and became the co-educational Fort Wayne Methodist Episcopal College. The school was renamed for Methodist Bishop William Taylor in 1890. (Grant Co.)

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Angola native General Lewis Blaine Hershey head of the U.S. Selective Service System, in which he served until 1970. In 1911, Hershey joined the Indiana National Guard and in 1936 was appointed secretary of the Joint Army and Navy Selective Service Committee. By the end of World War II in 1945, approximately 10 million men were inducted into the military. According to Nicholas A. Krehbiel, Hershey, in cooperation with the Historic Peace Churches, established the Civilian Public Service Program for conscientious objectors as an alternative to combat service. These objectors worked as conservationists, janitors, farm laborers, and cooks at mental hospitals. (Steuben Co.)

In 1943, Sergeant Gerry H. Kisters of Bloomington captured two German machine guns near Gagliano, Sicily. Kisters captured the second gun single-handedly, despite being wounded in both legs and his right arm. For his actions, Kisters received the Medal of Honor. He was the first American serviceman in World War II to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross (which he received for separate meritorious actions in Tunisia in May 1943). (Monroe Co.)

August

August 1

In 1912, Indianapolis lawyer and politician Albert Beveridge accepted the nomination for governor at the Progressive Party national convention. The Richmond Palladium reported that upon his nomination "there was an ovation accorded him which was one of the most remarkable tributes ever received by a public man in this state." After nominations for state office, reform resolutions were read and included "A minimum wage law for women," "Workmen's compensation," and "Equal suffrage for vote both sexes at all elections." Beveridge first appeared on the national stage after delivering speeches advocating U.S. imperialism. In 1899, the Indiana Asbury (now DePauw) graduate was elected to the United States Senate. His 1912 gubernatorial bid was unsuccessful and afterwards he shifted his focus to writing history, including the Pulitzer Prize winning The Life of John Marshall

In 1916, J.J. Daniels, one of Indiana's preeminent covered bridge builders, died in Rockville. He constructed bridges for the Evansville and Crawfordsville Railroad and by 1904 had built approximately fifty covered bridges in western Indiana. Parke County became the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World" because the area was rife with timber for building and because later preservationists recognized they were "were part of a unique cultural heritage and moved to protect these structures at a time when other counties were choosing to tear them down to make room for more modern bridges."

In 1935, the first three Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in the State of Indiana began in Gary and Marion County. The WPA, a program enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide relief to those impoverished by the Great Depression, allocated $1.2 million and employed 1,500 men to work in Gary and Marion County. Gary workers were tasked with improving city parks, such as Gleason's Park and Lincoln Park, by constructing a bird path, golf courses, roads, and a greenhouse. (Lake Co.) 

August 2

In 1884, Frank B. Shields, inventor of Barbasol, was born in Seymour, Jackson County. Shields first began manufacturing "brushless shaving cream" in 1918 and by 1936, the operation occupied four buildings in downtown Indianapolis, despite the Great Depression. According to historian Deborah Markisohn, "During World War II, Barbasol was standard issue for combat troops. To keep up with increased demand the company employed 700 to 800 people on day and night shifts, with a special shift for housewives." (Jackson Co.)

In 1915, Ruth Lilly, great-grandchild of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Eli Lilly, would become one of the most philanthropic Hoosiers in history. An amateur poet who attended Herron School of Art, Ruth was a major donor to the arts, especially in the field of poetry. It is estimated that she donated $800 million in the course of her life, mostly to Indiana-based organizations such as the Riley Hospital for Children and the Indiana Repertory Theater.

In 1952, the United States played the Soviet Union in Olympic basketball, the first year that the USSR participated in the games. Amidst early Cold War tension, the New York Times contended in June that "'There will be seventy-one nations in the Olympics at Helsinki. The United States would like to beat all of them but the only one that counts is Soviet Russia. The communist propaganda machine must be silenced so that there can’t be even one distorted bleat out of it in regard to the Olympics.'" Hoosiers Clyde Lovellette, of Terre Haute, and Howie Williams, a New Ross native and Purdue University alumnus, helped the team achieve this goal and the U.S. took gold. Historian Erin Redihan noted that although the U.S. won, the Soviet performance "raised some concerns about American competitive abilities" and sportswriting soon focused on the "cultural and political differences between the two superpowers." (Montgomery Co. and Vigo Co.)

August 3

In 1864, Major General Henry Ware Lawton, of Fort Wayne, commanded skirmishers from Company A during the Atlanta Campaign. In actions that would earn him the Medal of Honor in 1893, he led the men "against front-line enemy rifle pits, seized a trench filled with rebel sharpshooters, and then 'stubbornly and successfully' held it against two fierce counterattacks." Lawton served in the Army for nearly forty years and he commanded 1st Division of the Eighth Army Corps during the Philippine-American War. He was killed during the Battle of Paye and, according to military historian Steven L. Ossad, became the first serving American general to be killed outside of North America. (Allen Co.)

In 1900, renowned Hoosier war correspondent Ernie Pyle was born in Dana. Pyle attended Indiana University, where he edited the Indiana Daily Student newspaper, but before graduating took a job as a reporter with The La Porte Herald-Argus. He is best known for reporting about those on the front lines of combat in WWII, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work in 1944. The Indy Star noted "Pyle did not shy away from conveying the loneliness, terror and horror of war. Pyle told the folks back home what every soldier really wanted to tell them - war is hell." (Vermillion Co.)

In 1946, theme park Santa Claus Land opened in Santa Claus. The park was the brainchild of Evansville industrialist Louis Koch and included a toy shop, toy displays, a restaurant, themed children’s rides, and, of course, Santa Claus. In 1984, Santa Claus Land expanded to include Halloween and 4th of July themed sections and was renamed Holiday World. When Splashin' Safari Water Park was added in 1993 the park became known as Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. (Spencer Co.)

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

August 4

In 1823, Oliver P. Morton was born in Salisbury. Morton became Governor of Indiana in 1861 and served in the office throughout the Civil War, until 1867. During the Civil War, Morton was a staunch supporter of President Abraham Lincoln and the Union cause. According to historian Ed Runden, "Morton was one of Abraham Lincoln's most capable and resourceful war governors, aggressively and successfully raising troops; supplying soldiers with uniforms, arms, and munitions; and ensuring treatment for the wounded." In 1867, Morton was elected to the United States Senate and served two terms. (Wayne Co.)

In 1906, the Indianapolis News reported that Warrick County ranked sixth in coal production in the state. Six mines were in operation employing between 80 and 200 men, with a combined daily output of 500 to 1,000 tons. The paper noted that the Ohio River afforded a "cheap and efficient transportation and a ready market." The southern Indiana coal belt began in Warrick County and extended to Pike County.

August 5

In 1816, Jonathan Jennings won the election to become the first governor of the State of Indiana. According to historian Carl Kramer, the first governor faced the daunting challenge of “placing Indiana on a sound financial footing, implementing a court system, and developing rudimentary educational and internal improvements systems, while also attempting to prevent government from becoming so burdensome that it obstructed personal advancement and enterprise.” As governor, Jennings concentrated on “organizing an educational system that reached from the common schools to a state university; creating a state banking system; preventing illegal efforts to capture and enslave blacks entitled to their freedom; organizing a state library; and developing a plan of internal improvements.”

In 1836, the U.S. government concluded the Yellow River Treaty with the Potawatomi, calling for their removal from Indiana within two years. According to Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the treaty repealed an 1832 peace treaty that promised the Potawatomi they could maintain their northern Indiana land. Although several chiefs refused to sign it, the Yellow River Treaty forced the Potawatomi to sell their reservation for $14,080 and move west. Many members of the tribe refused to move, but "ultimately the federal government would send them on a forced march to their new reservation in Kansas. This forced removal became known at the Trail of Death."

In 1880, Paul Hadley, artist and designer of the Indiana state flag, was born in Indianapolis. Hadley attended Indianapolis High School (later Shortridge High School) before transferring to Manual Training High School to study under "Hoosier Group" artist Otto Stark. Hadley attended art school in Philadelphia and then returned to the Hoosier state, settling in Mooresville. Primarily, he painted watercolors of local landscapes, but when the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution held a contest for designs for an Indiana state flag in 1916, he submitted several designs. One of these designs was the now familiar torch and stars design. In 1922, Hadley joined the faculty of the John Herron Art Institute as an interior decorating instructor but later was moved to watercolor instructor until he left the school in 1933.

In 1882, "Hoosier Poet" James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost is On the Pumpkin" was published in the Indianapolis JournalAccording to the Indiana Historical Society, the Greenfield native'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 1965, Congress passed the landmark Voting Rights Act in response to African American protest against the murder of voting rights activists. President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose political savvy helped get the bill passed, signed it into law the following day. The act outlawed literacy tests as a requirement for voting, which disproportionately barred black citizens from casting their vote. Indiana Congressman Andy Jacobs (D), described as the "conscience of the House," assisted in drafting the legislation. By the end of the year, nearly 250,000 new black voters were registered. According to the National Archives, the 1965 act was the "most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required."

August 6

In 1802, Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison informed President Thomas Jefferson: "[A] a Town has been laid out with each alternate square to remain vacant forever . . . and I have taken the liberty to call it Jeffersonville—The beauty of the spot on which the Town is laid out, the advantages of the situation (being just above the Rapids of the Ohio) and the excellence of the plan, makes it highly probable that it will at some period not very remote become a place of considerable consequence . . . . I have very little doubt of its flourishing. It is my ardent wish that it may become worthy of the name it bears, and that the Humane & benevolent views which dictated the plan may be reallised [sic]." At this time, Jefferson's vision for urban places called for abundant open spaces and fresh air. To accomplish this, he recommended a plan that resembled a checkerboard with alternating areas of green space and subdivided blocks. However, the residents of Jeffersonville petitioned the government in 1816 to abandon the plan. The General Assembly approved the petition, and allowed the city to re-plat it according to the conventional city grid pattern.

In 1817, temperance leader and suffragist Zerelda Sanders (later Wallace) was born in Kentucky. After the death of her husband, former Indiana Governor David Wallace, Sanders Wallace began her reform work in 1874 at the age of 57. For fourteen years, Wallace dedicated her life first to the temperance movement and later to woman's suffrage. Speaking on suffrage at the 1887 National Suffrage Convention, Wallace said, "It took a hundred years and a Civil War to evolve the principle in our nation that all men were created free and equal. Will it require another century and another Civil War before there is secured to humanity the God-given inalienable right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?" Wallace died in 1901, nineteen years before the 1920 passage of both temperance laws and woman's suffrage.

In 1994, Pittsboro stock car driver Jeff Gordon won the first Brickyard 400 race, which took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IMS noted that Gordon, driving his iconic 24 DuPont Chevrolet, became the "first driver to win a race at IMS in a stock car, as only open-wheel Indy cars had raced at the fabled facility since it opened in 1909." The race furthered his friendly rivalry with driver Dale Earnhardt, who placed fifth in the race. Gordon's victory generated popularity for NASCAR, expanding "its fan base far beyond its traditional Deep South roots," and also spurred the construction of oval-shaped tracks across the U.S. (Hendricks Co. and Marion Co.)

In 1999, Roselyn Bakeries, with thirty-six locations throughout central Indiana, ceased operations after over five decades of business. The company, known for their Danish Dandies, closed due to financial distress and sanitation violations, like soiled equipment and rodent infestations. The IndyStar reported "The Roselyn Corp. was blind to socioeconomic division. Before the Colts, Roselyn was one of the few unique, local things that everyone in Indianapolis had in common."

August 7

In 1915, Morocco native Sam Rice made his major league baseball debut with the Washington Senators. Over a twenty season career, Rice had a .322 batting average. One of the leading American League hitters, he was remembered "for much more than anything his numbers or awards could convey. Most notably, Rice was a 'throwback', a dead ball style player competing mostly in the live ball era, an early example of what in current lingo would be labeled 'old school.'" The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted him in 1963. (Newton Co.)

In 1926, Charlie Wiggins captured the first Gold and Glory Sweepstakes championship, a segregated auto race for African American drivers. Racing in front of over 12,000 people at the Indiana State Fair Grounds, Wiggins took the lead in the 72nd lap and held it until victory. The Gold & Glory race was founded by the Colored Speedway Association, an organization devoted to auto racing for African-Americans during segregation. Wiggins won the Gold & Glory three more times, in 1931, 1932, and 1933.

In 1930, African American teenagers Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp were lynched in Marion. Smith, Shipp, and James Cameron, who narrowly escaped the same fate as his companions, were arrested on suspicion of the murder of Claude Deeter and the rape of Mary Bell, both white residents. Before the young men could stand trial, a mob comprised of white residents tore them from their cells and brutally beat them, mutilating and hanging Shipp and Smith from a tree on the courthouse lawn. The mob intended to send a message to other African American residents, one which Marion NAACP leader Katherine “Flossie” Bailey tried to prevent hours prior to the lynching. Unable to convince the sheriff and governor to intercede prior to the lynching, she worked diligently to hold the perpetrators accountable, at risk to her own life. Bailey collected a list of twenty-seven alleged participants, along with evidence of their involvement, but only seven men were arrested, two tried, and both acquitted. While Bailey’s efforts were ultimately unfruitful, she used the Marion lynchings as a springboard to enact anti-lynching legislation in Indiana. (Grant Co.)

In 1987, the Pan American Games, which takes place every four years and hosts athletes from nations across the American continent, opened in Indianapolis. The opening ceremony was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but events were held in several locations throughout the state, including Brown County State Park, the Hoosier Dome, and Lake Michigan. The Elwood Call-Leader reported that 1,000 more athletes than anticipated participated in the games, creating a severe housing shortage. The athletes' village, located at Fort Benjamin Harrison, became so overcrowded that the U.S. hosts volunteered to move competitors to local hotels. U.S. Olympic Committee President Robert Helmick said "'When you have a lot of house guests and you run out of beds, you're the one that sleeps out on the porch.'" President of the Pan American Sports Organization Mario Vazquez-Rana added "I think that this gesture was a fantastic gesture of solidarity and friendship.'" 

August 8

In 1900, Tarzan film and voice actor James "Babe" Pierce was born in Freedom. According to IMDb, Pierce was an all-American center with IU's football program and coached football at Glendale High School (CA), coaching notable actors such as John Wayne and Robert Livingston. While attending a party at Edgar Rice Burrough's house, Pierce accepted the host's insistent proposal that he portray Tarzan in a film. He later wed Burrough's daughter, Joan, and the two portrayed Jane and Tarzan in a successful radio show. (Owen Co.)

In 1900, before a crowd of 15,000 "whooping and hurrahing" people at Indianapolis's Military Park, William Jennings Bryan received news of his nomination for president and Adlai Stevenson for the vice presidency. A brilliant orator, Bryan "sounded the keynote of the Democratic national campaign" by delivering a speech entitled “Imperialism,” a policy which he opposed in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. As with the 1896 and 1908 elections, Bryan lost the presidency to the Republican Party.

In 1916, former Republican governor and prohibitionist leader J. Frank Hanly accepted the presidential nomination from the Prohibition Party. During his term as governor of Indiana, which he served as a Republican, he worked to enact laws related to halting liquor trafficking. After his gubernatorial term, he wrote and published pamphlets calling for stricter laws for state liquor trafficking and for nation-wide prohibition. He also formed an organization called the Flying Squadron Foundation that routinely gave speeches throughout the country in defense of outlawing alcohol. On the day of his presidential nomination, Hanly reiterated his resolve to the cause of Prohibition and argued that “legislative enactments, administrative action, judicial decision and constitutional amendment—all shall be used for its [alcohol’s] dethronement.” During his campaign, Hanly also advocated women’s suffrage, an eight-hour work day, environmental protections, and military preparedness in line with the Monroe Doctrine. During the 1916 presidential election, Hanly only captured 1.19 percent of the popular vote. Despite the Prohibition Party’s electoral loss, the prohibition movement made great strides after the election. Hanly played a key role in lobbying for the state-wide prohibition of alcohol by 1918, two years before the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandated prohibition across the United States. 

In 1929, Ball Memorial Hospital began operations in Muncie. The Ball brothers, originally from Buffalo, New York, moved their glass manufacturing company to Muncie in 1887. As the company became successful, the brothers gave back to their community through philanthropy. The eldest brother was particularly interested in public health and, upon his death, his will formed the Ball Brothers Foundation and provided funding for a modern hospital. When operations began in 1929, the hospital could accommodate 142 patients and included a surgical amphitheater, laboratory, x-ray facility, and emergency room. (Delaware Co.)

August 9

In 1893, newspapers reported that much of the Mosquito Creek valley in Harrison County was under martial law due to violent activity of “White Caps” in the area. The White Caps was a vigilante group that was active in the late 19th century in southern Indiana, often using the guise of justice to drive out or murder those who they found undesirable. In this instance, the vigilante group had taken it upon themselves to seek justice for the murder of John Conrad, believed to have been committed by his sons, Edward and William. The vigilantes warned the brothers to leave the county. Instead, the brothers armed themselves heavily and waited for an attack. When that attack came, the brothers snuck away from their cabin with their weapons and waited for the mob of 100 men to reach the cabin. Once the mob was in their sights the brothers opened fire, killing five and wounding another five. After the incident, the brothers ran from the state while the vigilantes promised to lynch them if they were ever found.

In 1918, Italian aviation engineers and British Brigadier-General Charles Lee arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making it "a center in the allied air program." The Indianapolis News described the visit of Italian engineers, including Ernesto Pomilio, Corradino di Ascanto and Amini Sactaldi, as a "secret mission.” It was later made public that the U.S. government had invited the Pomilio Brothers Corporation to Speedway’s Aviation Repair Depot to carry out experimental work manufacturing airplanes during the war. These planes were manufactured for the Liberty engine, which used Allison Experimental Co. parts. The Speedway area became an innovative aviation hub during WWI and the Aviation Repair Depot increased pilot safety and aircraft structural integrity.

August 10

In 1951, decorated World War I hero and Jefferson County native Samuel Woodfill died on his Vevay farm. Woodfill’s bravery and marksmanship skills saved several American lives, when he forged ahead of his company to single-handedly take out nests of German snipers. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions, as well as the French Croix de Guerre with palm and the Italian Croce di Guerra. General Pershing described Woodfill as the “greatest single hero in the American forces.”

August 11

In 1884, Governor Maurice Clifford Townsend was born in Blackford County. After working as a teamster and in a factory, he graduated from Marion College and served for fourteen years as school superintendent for different counties. Townsend's mother put his name on the ballot for governor at the 1936 Democratic state convention, and he was elected after an intense contest. During World War II Townsend used his farm experience in government service, directing the Office of Agricultural War Relations, Agricultural Conservation and Adjustment Administration, and Food Production Administration. Townsend was the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in 1946, but was defeated by William E. Jenner. He is credited with having all school buses painted yellow to improve safety. 

In 1948, Hagerstown’s Ralph Teetor, blind since youth, filed a patent for what he trademarked as Speedostat, what we popularly today call cruise control. He grew up among his family's manufacturing company, which constructed bicycles and automobile engines. Like his family, Teetor excelled at mechanics and he invented a "breakthrough process for dynamically balancing steam turbines on U.S. Navy warships." Theories as to why he turned his attention to regulating automobile speed include the shaky accelerator foot of his chauffer and World War II speed restrictions, which were designed to save gas and tire rubber. According to Smithsonian.com, "Cruise control, Teetor’s 1950s electro-mechanical device that partially automated driving speed, paved the way for more recent digital technologies like GPS driving directions, hazard anticipatory breaking and active lane control." (Wayne Co.)

August 12

In 1854, Illinois state geologist and New Harmony resident Dr. Joseph Granville Norwood wrote to Dr. Joseph Leidy, curator of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, regarding the discovery of the first known dire wolf fossil near Evansville. He wrote "Enclosed you will find drawings of a bone found a short time since in the bank of the Ohio, near the mouth of  Pigeon Creek, a short distance below Evansville, Indiana. It is from a locality where several bones of a Megalonyx [a now extinct ground sloth] were obtained some years ago-and in the same geological position." The now extinct species belonged to the genus Canis and is one of the most notable North American prehistoric carnivores. (Vanderburgh Co.)

In 1864, Mary E. Wise drew pay at the Paymaster General's Office for two years of service with the 34th Indiana volunteers. The Washington D.C. Evening Star reported that while dressed as a male soldier she fought in several battles in the West. During the Battle of Lookout Mountain, she was injured in the shoulder and, when the surgeon treated her, Wise's "sex was discovered, and she was mustered out of the service."

In 1889, Zerna Sharp, credited as the originator of the concept for Dick and Jane textbooks, was born in Hillisburg. Sharp taught elementary school in Indiana, before taking a job as a textbook consultant. She believed children were expected to learn too many new words at once, which discouraged their interest in reading. In response, she created the Dick and Jane illustrated primers, which followed the adventures of a brother and sister. Children she observed playing on the beach in Chicago inspired the dialogue and plot, making the tales realistic for her young readers. Schools used these book widely from the 1930s through the 1970s. (Clinton Co.)

August 13

In 1872, Purdue University trustees appointed Richard Owen as the school's first president. Born in Scotland, Owen immigrated to New Harmony as a teenager, where his father founded a short-lived utopian experiment. Owen served as a colonel in the Civil War and was tasked with overseeing Camp Morton in Indianapolis, a Confederate POW camp. He was recognized for his humane treatment of the prisoners. After the war, he taught natural sciences at Indiana University and worked to establish an agricultural college affiliated with IU, using funds from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. However, the state chose to fund a new school in 1869, which became Purdue University. As president, Owen helped establish the first library and "devised several proposals for the trustees' consideration, including one that called for student rule-violators to be tried by a jury of fellow students. Owen also advocated for the creation of more comfortable dormitories and for an academic emphasis on agriculture over other fields of study."

In 1877, railroad tycoon and philanthropist Chauncey Rose died in Terre Haute. He donated funds to build a progressive home for orphaned children called the Rose Orphan Home. Most notably, Rose, along with nine friends, established "The Terre Haute School of Industrial Science." The Board of Managers changed the school's name to the Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman) and classes began in 1883. 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.)

August 14

In 1918, Kokomo's Opha Johnson became the first woman to enroll in the Marine Corps. The Washington, D.C. Evening Star noted that she had worked in the Civil Service Commission and with her appointment at Marine headquarters "is the first woman on the job there to relieve men for active service." The paper reported that the Marine Corps Reserve planned "to make a 'drive' for young woman privates to fill the clerical positions at headquarters, and thus release a number of 'devil dogs,' now irked by desk jobs, for overseas service." The Marines assigned her to oversee other young women soon to enroll. According to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, in 1919 the military issued an order for women to be moved to inactive status and Johnson lost her job. However, she continued to work with the American Legion and she received the same benefits as male veterans, including the right to burial at Arlington Cemetery. In addition to freeing men to fight on the front lines, women in the Marine Corps "brought political recognition to the importance of women in the United States, which assisted the suffragette cause."

August 15

In 1900, archeologist Glenn A. Black was born in Indianapolis. Through his work at Native American sites such as Nowlin and Angel Mounds, Black 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.

In 1928, the American Soybean Association recognized experimental Hendricks County farmer Adrian A. Parsons as “the pioneer of all soybean growers in Indiana.” In the 1890s, he began the purposeful, sustained cultivation of soybeans used for forage and fertilizer on his farm. Soybeans were not widely grown in U.S. agriculture, but he demonstrated the crop’s practical utility for average farms and advanced its importance. When Parsons died in 1929, Indiana farmers had planted 326,000 acres of soybeans. By 1939, over 1.3 million acres were planted, ranking Indiana second in nation.

In 1933, Purdue University announced Dr. Dorothy C. Stratton as dean of women, the first to serve in the position full-time. According to the school, "During her tenure at Purdue, Dr. Stratton saw the enrollment of women students increase from 500 to more than 1,400, and three modern residence halls for women constructed. A liberal science program for women in the School of Science was inaugurated and an employment placement center for Purdue women was instituted." In 1942, the U.S. Navy commissioned her as senior lieutenant and later that year she was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard, where she created and served as the first director of the Women's Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard. The military awarded her the Legion of Merit medal for her work. She later served as director of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and first director of personnel at the International Monetary Fund. (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1942, the Indiana High School Athletic Association's (IHSAA) rule allowing African American and Catholic high schools to compete in state high school athletic contests went into effect. The Muncie Star Press reported that nineteen high schools would become eligible for membership, including "twelve parochial, five Negro and one state-operated" schools. These schools included the State School for the Deaf of Indianapolis, Crispus Attucks, and St. Mary's of Anderson. 

August 16

In 1915, Freckles and His Friends debuted, the creation of Nappanee cartoonist Merrill Blosser. The strip was based in fictional Shadyside, which was supposedly based upon the Nappanee of Blosser’s youth. Freckles ran until 1973 and was syndicated by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Nappanee produced six cartoonists of merit, but Blosser was the first to gain national recognition. (Elkhart Co.)

In 1935, Special Agent Nelson B. Klein was killed at College Corner in Union County during a shoot-out with fugitive George W. Barrett. 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 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 1943, the Bituminous Coal Producers Advisory Board for Indiana appointed officers to oversee Indiana coal-production in response to the rules and regulations established by the Solid Fuels Administration for War. Historian R.C. Freytag noted that unprecedented demand for coal, which served as a major source of energy, "following the declaration of war on Japan and Germany returned the production of Indiana to an amazing upward sweep." Indiana was able to meet increased war production requirements because "of having followed for years a policy of initiating and maintaining the highest mechanization of their mines."

In 1952, the U.S. Air Force commissioned a Ground Observer Corps (GOC) tower to be constructed in Cairo. The GOC was established to monitor the skies of America for Soviet airplanes potentially escorting an Atomic bomb over the U.S. in the early Cold War era. 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. (Tippecanoe Co.)

August 17 

In 1859, a balloon carrying the first U.S. Air Mail departed from Lafayette, destined for New York City. With 123 letters and twenty-three circulars, Jupiter got as far as Crawfordsville before it was forced to land due to "lack of buoyancy." The Lafayette Daily Courier described the ill-fated trip as "'trans-county-nental." Professional balloonist John Wise, of Pennsylvania, believed that he could carry light mail and passengers in a balloon from the Midwest to the east coast based on upper air current patterns and the citizens of Lafayette invited him to prove his theory. Following the failed journey, a railroad postal agent transferred the mail from Indiana to New York via train (Tippecanoe Co. and Montgomery Co.) 

In 1863, author and conservationist Gene Stratton-Porter was born in Lagro. She lived and worked at Limberlost Cabin in Geneva (then Wildflower Woods). 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. (Wabash Co.)

In 1940, lawyer and businessman Wendell Willkie accepted the Republican nomination for U.S. president in his hometown of Elwood. Despite never holding political office, Willkie was nominated after the sixth ballot was taken at the Republican National Convention, described by the Indianapolis News as “one of the most dramatic events in American political history.” He defeated well-known political figures such as Governor Thomas E. Dewey and Senator Robert A. Taft. It was here that he earned the campaign moniker of “Dark Horse,” since his candidacy was such a political upset. Republicans sought a fresh candidate to represent the party as World War II intensified abroad and Americans became more determined than ever to avoid war at home. Despite a well-fought campaign, Willkie lost the election to incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide, earning only 82 electoral votes to Roosevelt’s 449. Many commentators thought that his progressive position on civil rights and support of liberal internationalism alienated him from his party. Even though he lost the presidential election in 1940, Willkie and FDR became friends and political allies, and Willkie supported FDR’s policy to dispatch war aid to Britain in 1940, as opposed to fighting abroad or remaining isolated from the war. Willkie’s support allowed FDR to pass the Lend-Lease Bill in 1941, which postponed U.S. involvement in the war. He also served the president by traveling the globe as a U.S. emissary to observe the war abroad and meet with foreign leaders, reporting on his experiences. As an internationalist, Willkie worked for “world peace.” (Madison Co.)

August 18

In 1922, operators at approximately twenty coal mines throughout the state, where workers had been striking, signed or agreed to sign the Cleveland agreement. Resolution to the nation-wide strike began on August 1, when the president of the United Mine Workers called operators together in Cleveland. The conference produced an agreement that raised rates for day workers and increased efficiency of operations. The South Bend News-Times reported that with the planned signing, several Indiana mines again began "hoisting coal" and that state troops  and strikebreakers would be moved out of strike zones.

In 1988, U.S. Senator Dan Quayle accepted the nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention. A graduate of DePauw University and the IU Law School, Quayle ran for his first election at the age of 29, as a Republican for a seat in the U.S. House held by an incumbent Democrat. He won and served two terms. After his time in the House, Quayle ran for the Senate in 1980 and won, helping give Republicans control of the Senate for the first time since 1952. In 1988, he was nominated for Vice-President with George H.W. Bush and they won against Democrats Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Benson. In 1992, Bush and Quayle were defeated in their reelection bid by Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Quayle ran a brief presidential primary campaign seeking the 2000 Republican nomination, but bowed out after a few months. After the Vice-Presidency, Quayle maintained a career in the private sector.

August 19

In 1888, physician, suffragist, and temperance leader Mary F. Thomas died in Richmond. The North Carolina native married Dr. Owen Thomas and accompanied him to medical lectures. In 1845, she heard Lucretia Mott speak and became a supporter of women’s suffrage. After graduating from Penn Medical University in 1854, she and her husband lived and practiced medicine in Fort Wayne for several years, before moving to Richmond. In 1859, she became the first woman to address the Indiana General Assembly, alongside Mary Birdsall and Agnes Cook, demanding protection for married women’s property rights and the right to vote. She is also known for providing hospital service during the Civil War, serving as physician for the Home for the Friendless in Nashville, and for urging the Indiana State Medical Society to accept women physicians. (Wayne Co.)

In 1907, the Indianapolis News reported that the Indiana Village for Epileptics was open for admission of patients. The institution, located near New Castle, opened first to residents of county jails and poor asylums. The paper noted that the Village would accept "at the present time only such patients as are not violent and are capable of doing something for the State farm." The state legislature approved an additional three villages to accommodate those suffering from epilepsy. (Henry Co.)

In 1909, the first automobile race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fifteen thousand spectators "cheered frantically" during three events, in which drivers raced either five or ten miles. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators. The Indianapolis Sun reported that spectators attended the race expecting to see injuries and fatalities. The paper noted that "The matter of life and death has come to be bandied about in joking comment and humorous speculation. The whizz and roar and terrific speed of the motor cars has bred in a large part of the people a new philosophy that accepts the maiming or slaughter of the dare-devil driver as an incident in a game." With this first race, the press concluded that the Speedway is "'now a success.'"

In 1942, construction began on Atterbury Army Air Field in Columbus. More than 1,000 workers were employed in the construction of the base, which sprawled over 2,000 acres and cost over 4 million dollars to build. The air field was used during WWII for the training of B-25, B-26, and glider pilots. The field hospital, Wakeman Hospital, received and cared for wounded soldiers during WWII and the Korean War. In 1954, the air field was renamed Bakalar Air Field and closed in 1970. (Bartholomew Co.)

August 20

In 1810, Shawnee military and political leader Tecumseh addressed Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison in Vincennes. Through this address, Tecumseh hoped to persuade Harrison to both relinquish American claim to land acquired in the Treaty of Fort Wayne and to dissuade him from further encroachment upon Native people’s land, saying “If you will not give up the land and do cross the boundary of your present settlement it will be very hard and produce great troubles among us.” Tecumseh had travelled to Vincennes from Prophetstown, just north of present day Lafayette, with an escort of seventy-five warriors. The Treaty of Fort Wayne, signed in 1809, exasperated tensions between Prophetstown and the territorial government as Prophetstown leadership had not been informed of the proceedings. According to historian Adam Jortner, the August 1810 summit “did not produce any changes in relations, but it did produce some of the most eloquent explanations and defenses of the Prophetstown position on land ownership.” (Knox Co.)

In 1864, Union soldiers raided the Indianapolis printing press of Harrison H. Dodd, state leader of the Sons of Liberty, a secret organization that conspired against the Union. They discovered revolvers and thousands of rounds of ammunition intended to challenge Union war efforts. Historian Stephen E. Towne noted that military leaders, fearful of an uprising, arrested Dodd. In September, General Alvin P. Hovey issued Special Order 129, authorizing military commissions to try civilians. This order led to Dodd's trial and that of fellow Southern sympathizer Lambdin P. Milligan. Dodd escaped prison and fled to Canada. The military commission found him and Milligan guilty of treason and sentenced them to be hanged. Milligan and his co-conspirators petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. An 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 their sentences were commuted.

In 1934, potato chip company Seyfert’s opened in Fort Wayne. According to the company, founder Charles Seyfert traveled from his Pennsylvania home to the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933 and on his way back stopped in Fort Wayne. He returned, liking "what he saw of the northeastern Indiana town," and established a pretzel business that ultimately failed. He then founded his potato chip business. The company noted that "the operation was much different than today's. Charles Seyfert did everything himself – from peeling potatoes to making chips to delivering the finished product. Today, miles and miles of conveyor belts carry the raw ingredients, cooked snacks and bags of goodies from one area of the plant to another." Troyer Potato Products acquired Seyfert Foods in 2001. (Allen Co.)

August 21 

In 1805, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison and leaders of the Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel, River, and Wea tribes met at Harrison’s Vincennes home and negotiated the Treaty of Grouseland. The U.S. had recognized the Delaware as sole owner of the tract of land in an 1804 treaty. This aroused the anger of the Miami, who claimed to have owned it and had only permitted the Delaware to occupy it. With the August 1805 treaty, Harrison sought to settle the dispute, so as to obtain land for the U.S. According to Indiana to 1816: The Colonial Period, with the "promise of additional annuities the Governor was able not only to get the Delaware to relinquish their claim, but succeeded in purchasing the Miami claim to the tract." In addition to increasing their annuities, Harrison distributed $4,000 to each of the tribes involved in the treaty. Although he considered the conference a success, Native American tribes lost the southern fourth of what would become the State of Indiana. Through a mixture of bribery and pressure Harrison secured the cession of approximately one-third of Indiana in a series of treaties from 1803 to 1809, including that signed at Grouseland. Historian Dr. James Madison noted that Harrison's methods succeeded because "many Indians did not share the American concept of landownership and transfer of title to land." (Knox Co.)

In 1865, the steamboat U.S.S. Argosy (Number 3) was returning 70th Ohio Infantry soldiers from war service when a storm blew it ashore near Huffield's Landing, south of Louisville. According to the Daily State Sentinel, the "concussion exploded the mud drains and the steam coming aft scalded twelve, two fatally and two more not expected to live. Between thirty and forty jumped overboard, eight of whom were drowned." The explosion took the lives of at least ten men, including Hoosier soldiers, and the casualties were buried in a mass grave in Magnet. (Perry Co.)

In 1894, classes began at the Elkhart Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. The Institute advertised "Instructions thorough and eminently practical. Terms very reasonable. Expenses low. Both sexes admitted. Careful home training." The Mennonite Church soon took over operations of the school. On September 29, 1903, the school moved to Goshen and assumed the name Goshen College, offering classes in methods, elocution, physical culture, and civics. (Elkhart Co.)

August 22

In 1840, the Indiana Horticultural Society held its first meeting in Indianapolis at the new statehouse. According to a Moment of Indiana History, attendees came from across the state with samples of fruit they had grown. Participants learned about varieties being grown in other states and at later meetings were able to purchase seeds of different fruit varieties.  W.H. Ragan recalled his parents' departure to the first meeting, stating "In August, 1840, I saw my father and mother, each well mounted, he with saddlebags filled to their uttermost capacity, and she with a good-sized bag swinging from the horn of her saddle, vanish from view into the wilderness that well nigh surrounded our cabin home, and for a period of almost or quite a week they were gone from us. On their return they had much to tell us about their visit to the great city and of the many things they saw and heard while gone."

In 1889, the cornerstone for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was laid. In 1887, the Indiana General Assembly created a commission to establish a monument on the circle, at the recommendation of Indiana Civil War Governor Oliver P. Morton. In 1888, the state held a design competition and chose the proposal of German architect Bruno Schmitz. His design was “a remarkable Victorian confection, part Egyptian obelisk, part Romantic-era sculpture, part Neo-Baroque with cascading fountains and theatrical, stage-like groupings.” The monument was constructed with limestone from Owen County and honors Indiana service men and women from the Revolutionary War to the Spanish-American War. On May 15, 1902, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was officially dedicated in a ceremony presided over by General Lew Wallace in Indianapolis. 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." 

August 23

In 1961, the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, an award-winning World War II ordnance plant, reactivated to produce powder and other supplies for the Vietnam War. At the time, there was "some discussion about whether it was reactivated to curb unemployment in the area” or due to “necessary military preparedness.” Regardless, applications flooded in after the announcement, including many sent from those who had worked at the plant in the WWII and Korean War eras. The plant would remain active until the 1970s.

In 1849, Kentucky Governor John J. Crittenden pardoned Reverend Calvin Fairbank from his fifteen year prison term. Under the Fugitive Slave Law, Fairbank had been sentenced to prison for aiding and abetting escaping slaves. After his release, Fairbank crossed the Ohio River to Madison, Indiana, made a trip up the Underground Railroad line to Detroit, and then went home to New York. He returned to Kentucky, where he met Tamar, an enslaved girl who sought freedom. Fairbank agreed to help her secure her freedom. They ferried across the Ohio River to Madison and followed the Underground Railroad line north. Fairbank then returned to Indiana and settled in Jeffersonville. Agents from Kentucky "kidnapped" him and took him to Lexington without benefit of a trial in Indiana (although Indiana Governor Joseph Wright had issued a warrant for his arrest and authorized Kentucky agents to seize him). Fairbank stood trial in the slave state, was found guilty, and served an additional ten years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary. (Clark Co.)

In 1857, Abraham Lincoln biographer Jesse Weik was born in Greencastle. Weik witnessed Lincoln's funeral train pass through Indianapolis as a child and, according to the University of Illinois Press Blog, later helped put "a reputation and a personality to Lincoln’s haunting, haunted face." Weik attended the forerunner of DePauw University and, while there, corresponded with abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and joined the Republican Party. He moved to Springfield, Illinois and with Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon, reviewed Lincoln's papers and interviewed his acquaintances. The men produced the acclaimed Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.  (Putnam Co.)

August 24

In 1781, near present-day Aurora an American Revolutionary War battle was fought and became known as the Lochry’s Defeat. Members of the Iroquois, Shawnee, and Wyandot tribes, allied with British troops, attacked and killed or captured all of American Colonel Archibald Lochry's men, most of whom had been recruited from Pennsylvania. Lochry's force was part of an army organized by George Rogers Clark, who intended to lead a campaign against the British at their Detroit headquarters. According to Indiana to 1816: The Colonial Period, the "loss of Lochry's reinforcements proved to be the finishing blow to Clark's hope of a successful campaign against Detroit as well as any hope of an immediate campaign against the Indians." (Dearborn Co.)

In 1861, the first recruits of the 32nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry mustered into service in Indianapolis. Most of the enlistees were German immigrants. Colonel August Willich, an officer of the German Revolution in 1848, had organized the 9th Ohio Infantry Regiment in Cincinnati and was asked to organize the 32nd Indiana. Archivist Don Heinrich Tolzmann noted that "As a result of his reputation, Willich attracted German-American volunteers to the newly formed Indiana Regiment, and not surprisingly drew especially from the ranks of German-American Turner societies." On December 17, enemies attacked four companies of the 32nd Regiment as they repaired a railroad bridge in Kentucky. The 32nd drove back the enemy, resulting in thirty-three fatalities and fifty wounded men. General Don Carlos Buell and Governor Oliver P. Morton complimented the regiment on their success in the Battle of Rowlett's Station.

August 25

In 1920, Tuskegee Airman Charles 'Buster' Hall was born in Brazil. He graduated from Alabama's Tuskegee Institute and served with the 99th Pursuit Squadron. According to African Americans at War: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Hall was likely the first African American pilot to shoot down an enemy fighter during World War II. In 1943, he took out a Focke Wulf 190 while escorting B-25s over Sicily and the following year shot down two more fighters. The Distinguished Flying Cross recipient retired from the Air Force as a major, but was unable to find work at an airline or transportation company upon his return to the U.S., likely due to racial discrimination. (Clay Co.)

In 1956, Alfred Kinsey, revolutionary biologist and founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, died in Bloomington. The New Jersey native began teaching at IU in 1920 and in 1938 he taught a course on marriage and family with a team of instructors. By teaching students about contraception and denouncing restrictive laws and social conventions, he revolutionized traditional concepts of marriage and sexual behavior. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and National Research Council, he established the Institute of Sex Research and conducted thousands of interviews with students and residents of nearby states about their sexual history. These interviews resulted in Kinsey's groundbreaking Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). The American Journal of Public Health noted that these revelatory studies demonstrated the "enormous gap between social attitudes and actual practices." Although his publications generated backlash, they "helped usher in the 'sexual revolution' of the 1960s and 1970s." (Monroe Co.)

August 26

In 1985, Ryan White, a 14-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with AIDS from a blood transfusion in 1984, attended classes via telephone after being barred from school due to his diagnosis. At his diagnosis, White was given three to six months to live, but soon beat the odds and regained enough of his health to attend school. However, he was barred from doing so by the Western School Corporation superintendent. The school board later upheld the decision. Eventually, Ryan and his family moved to Cicero, where he was allowed to attend school and even held a job. Ryan White lived for over five years after his diagnosis. (Howard Co. and Hamilton Co.)

August 27

In 1862, Frederick Knefler became colonel of the 79th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He commanded the regiment through several significant battles and campaigns in the South including the battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge, and sieges of Chattanooga and Atlanta. Knefler was one of the highest ranking Jewish officers in the Union Army. He was retroactively breveted as brigadier general with a date of March 13, 1865, which made him the only Jewish officer to become a Civil War general.

In 1871, novelist of the naturalist school Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute and grew up in an impoverished family of twelve. He attended Indiana University for one year before working as a reporter for newspapers in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York City. In 1900, Doubleday, Page & Company published his first novel, Sister Carrie, which initially experienced disappointing sales. Eventually the book was deemed the "greatest of all American urban novels" and became an influential example of realism in American writing. According to the Encylopaedia BritannicaSister Carrie "was the first masterpiece of the American naturalistic movement in its grittily factual presentation of the vagaries of urban life and in its ingenuous heroine, who goes unpunished for her transgressions against conventional sexual morality." The book's initial reception sent Dreiser into a depression, for which his brother, acclaimed songwriter Paul Dresser, arranged for treatment at a sanitarium. After Dreiser’s recovery, he served as editor for several women's magazines and wrote plays and short stories. His sprawling novel An American Tragedy (1925) critiqued the American legal system and won the praise of social reformers. The book helped make him "the leading figure in a national literary movement that replaced the observance of Victorian notions of propriety with the unflinching presentation of real-life subject matter." (Vigo Co.)

In 1877, Lutheran reverend and popular novelist Lloyd C. Douglas was born in Columbia City. The son of a reverend, Douglas studied at Wittenberg College in Ohio and attended Hamma Divinity School. After being ordained, he served as pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church in North Manchester, Indiana from 1903 to 1905. Douglas served at churches in Michigan, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. After retiring at the age of fifty, he wrote his first novel Magnificent Obsession, followed by popular novels Forgive Us Our Trespasses, and The Robe. These books explored religious themes and have "have endured because of their moral purpose rather than their literary workmanship." Douglas sought to deliver guidance and "spiritual counsel" not through traditional essays, but through compelling storytelling. (Whitley Co.)

In 1938, Homer Capehart hosted the "Cornfield Conference" for Hoosier Republicans at his Daviess County farm. Democrats had won massive victories in the 1936 election, leaving the Republican Party in disarray. Capehart, millionaire and leader in the jukebox industry, decided to contribute his wealth to the Party and spent $25,000 on a clambake rally. Over 20,000 Republicans across the state and nation attended and consumed over 5,000 barbecued chickens, 70,000 clams, and 3 tons of corn on the cob as they listened to speeches given by prominent Republicans. In November, Republican representation in the House and Senate increased by eighty seats, most representing Midwest states. Capehart later became a U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1945 to 1963.

In 1947, the trial of German chemical company IG Farben commenced. The German pharmaceutical company had manufactured Zyklon B gas, used by the Nazis to commit genocide against Jewish people during the Holocaust. 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. (Knox Co.)

In 1955, an explosion destroyed the Standard Oil refinery in Whiting, hurling tons of steel into the nearby community. According to the Chicago Tribune, the explosion began when night workers attempted to restart a fluid hydroformer, but instead of passing through the plant's pipelines the gasoline set forty-seven acres on fire at the refinery and storage facility. The explosion created an 8,000 foot mushroom cloud that obscured the sun and prompted one witness to wonder if it was the "'end of the world.'" The National Guard and 3,000 emergency workers tried to quell the inferno that raged for over two days as four million gallons of high octane gasoline burned. The explosions left 800 homeless, took the lives of two, and cost ten million dollars in damages. Standard Oil bought 140 of the 180 damaged homes and eventually rebuilt its Whiting plant. (Lake Co.) 

August 28

In 1855, fur trader, politician, and language interpreter William Conner died in Noblesville. Best known as the namesake for Conner Prairie, Conner's life was a study in contradictions. He began his career as a fur trader, and married a Delaware woman. He acted as an Indian interpreter on the behalf of the federal government, and participated in treaty negotiations that led to the removal of the Delaware, including his wife and children, from the state. He quickly remarried a white woman, and set about using the wealth accumulated during his years with the Delaware to create more wealth through land speculation. (Hamilton Co.)

In 1907, the Kahler Co. of New Albany filed Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State. The woodworking company built automobile bodies for companies like the Ford Motor Co. Founder Ferdinand Nickolas 'Ferd' Kahler, Sr. immigrated from Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) to the U.S. in 1881 and settled in Floyd County, Indiana, where he worked for the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Co. In addition to constructing auto bodies, Kahler Co. made "store fixtures, saloon fixtures, special furniture and anything in the wood line that has to be made to order." In 1908, the federal government awarded his company a contract to construct furniture for laboratories, which were increasing in number following the passage of pure food laws. (Floyd Co.)

August 29

In 1814, the Indiana Territorial Legislature adopted a resolution requiring a census of the "free inhabitants" of the territory, which excluded Native Americans and enslaved African Americans. In 1812, the U.S. Congress recommended that the territory's population be at least 35,000 as a qualification for statehood. The census, completed in 1815, enumerated the population of Indiana at 63,897. 

August 30

In 1865, botanist Charles Deam was born in Wells County. He had his first brush with the curative powers of plants early in his life when he survived typhoid fever after drinking an old pioneer remedy made of boiled milk and an herb called Old-Field Balsam. Deam eventually became Indiana's first state botanist and author of several books about flora and fauna, like Shrubs of Indiana (1924) and Flora of Indiana (1940).

In 1883, Democratic Governor Henry F. Schricker was born in North Judson. 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. Reportedly, President President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered him the vice-presidential nomination in 1944, but Schricker declined. (Starke Co.)

In 1900, award-winning race horse Dan Patch competed in his first race at Boswell. The standard-bred colt was foaled and raised in Oxford, Indiana. In 1902, he was sold to M. E. Sturgis, of New York, and then to Marion W. Savage, owner of International Stock Food Company in Minnesota, who used the horse's fame to market his stock food and other products. Patch's 1906 world record 1:55 mile held for thirty-two years and he retired in 1909. (Benton Co.)

In 1916, Circle Theater (now Hilbert Circle Theatre) opened on Monument Circle. During Indiana's centennial's year, local businessmen organized and financed the theater, locating it on the former site of a livery stable. The house rivaled New York's Strand Theatre and featured motion pictures, classical concerts, and photoplays billed as Cinema-Symphonic Spectaculars. In 1928, the first movie with sound ever shown in Indianapolis, The Jazz Singer, was shown at the theater. In the 1940s, big band jazz groups, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, played at the theater. Other famous performers who graced the Indianapolis stage included Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, and Rudy Vallee.

In 1993, the Late Show with Indianapolis native David Letterman debuted on CBS. The Emmy Award-winning comedian attended Ball State University, where he began his broadcasting career as host of Make It or Break It in 1965 on the school's radio station WBST. After graduation, Letterman worked as a weatherman in Indianapolis before moving to Los Angeles, where he got his big break on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In 1980, he hosted his own morning talk show, which convinced NBC to grant him Late Night with David Letterman. He moved to NBC in 1993, where he resumed the delivery of his famous "Top Ten" lists.

August 31

In 1949, the final encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Civil War veterans, was held in Indianapolis. Six surviving Civil War veterans gathered in the city, the youngest being 100 years old, and decided that the 1949 meeting would be the last as "Some of the boys [were] getting so feeble." The Greencastle Daily Banner reported that the last meeting included a parade and campfire, although "The deafness of some of the vets, plus the blindness of others, made the conversation desultory."

In 1967, the last section of Interstate 74 opened in Indiana without ceremony. The final 13.5 mile stretch near Waynestown and Veedersburg completed Indiana’s first toll-free superhighway between two states, and ran 171.54 miles. The Indianapolis News noted that with the opening of the highway motorists could travel across the state without making a single stop and remarked that "this superhighway passes through farmland, and farmers can see plenty of cornfields." The first twenty mile section opened to traffic on October 4, 1960 between Indianapolis and Shelbyville, with Governor Handley on hand to dedicate it.

Undated August

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

September

September 1

In 1880, African American orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass travelled to Noblesville with the State Central Committee via the I.P. and C. railroad. The Indianapolis Leader noted that throughout the trip, the "old sage" was the "object of curious observation and the center of an admiring group." When Douglass arrived in Noblesville, a band played "Hail to the Chief" as African American and white Republicans welcomed him, a response far different than that of 1843. On September 16 of that year, Douglass and his companions attempted to rouse abolitionist support in Indiana, but were unable to deliver a speech once a mob assembled. They then attempted to speak in Pendleton, where more than thirty white men marched in, armed with stones and brickbats, and demanded that the speakers leave. In the assault that followed, Douglass and others were injured. Local supporters defended them and carried them to safety. When he was introduced to the crowd in 1880, the Indianapolis Leader noted that in his speech Douglass "eloquently contrasted this reception with the treatment accorded him thirty-seven years ago, when he attempted to speak on the slavery question." At the end of Douglass's 1880 speech, in which he encouraged listeners to "stand by the party of freedom and equal rights," hundreds approached to shake his hand and express their admiration. The Leader concluded "The day was one of the grandest, Noblesville has ever seen." (Hamilton Co.)

In 1912, Carl G. Fisher announced his proposal for a transcontinental 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. A Sac and Fox Indian born on the Oklahoma frontier, Thorpe was orphaned as a teenager and became a ward of government schools. He went on to take gold in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee stripped Thorpe of his medals and removed his achievements in their official records because he violated rules of "amateurism" by playing minor-league baseball three years prior to the Olympics. However, Smithsonian Magazine noted that his sports legacy was cemented by the records he obliterated, his career as a major-league baseball player and pro basketball player, and co-founding of the NFL. Of his season at IU, the Indiana University Archives blog noted that "he asked for $1000 plus a room for his family at a Bloomington hotel. A deal was struck and the students were thrilled to learn that the "World’s Greatest Athlete" would be joining the coaching staff. Sadly, his addition to the staff did not help lead the Hoosiers to glory that season. They finished with one victory, over Northwestern, and tied with Washington and Lee. Despite the poor record, Thorpe was welcomed as a hero on the campus and in the Bloomington community.” He played one game with the semi-professional Villagers of Pine Village, Indiana later that year. He continued to advance his professional baseball and football careers outside of the Hoosier state. (Monroe Co. and Warren Co.)

In 1971, the National Center for Law and the Handicapped, with support from the University of Notre Dame, officially opened in South Bend. In that era, disability law was nearly nonexistent and law professor Robert L. Burgdorf Jr. recalled "It was scary, heady and fulfilling for those of us still in law school to be doing significant, innovative legal work." Although federal budgetary cuts led to the center's closing in 1981, the agency "played a critical role in the formative stage of the disability rights movement. And many of its 'alumni' went on to do groundbreaking advocacy work in disability rights." The efforts of the NCLH and Notre Dame student interns and faculty, helped lead to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, which improved the quality of life for millions of disabled persons. (St. Joseph Co.)

September 2

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

In 1941, operations began at the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Charlestown, which produced smokeless powder used in World War II efforts. Due to a propellant shortage in the war abroad, the federal government hired DuPont to establish a smokeless powder plant in the town of 900. An influx of over 27,000 workers created widespread sanitation, traffic, housing, and social issues that led to the improvement of local businesses and infrastructure. The plant received multiple military awards for production, provided job opportunities for women and African Americans and served as a model for major WWII defense industries in small towns. Production ceased at war's end in 1945, but the plant reactivated to produce munitions for the Korean and Vietnam wars. (Clark Co.)

September 3

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

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

In 1918, Second Lieutenant Aaron R. Fisher, of Lyles, 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. (Gibson Co.)

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 1933, officials dedicated the approach to the Lincoln Memorial Bridge, which connected Vincennes, Indiana with Lawrence County, Illinois. This was reportedly the site in which Abraham Lincoln first crossed, via ferry, from Indiana to Illinois in 1830. According to the National Park Service's Historic Structure Report, more than 3,000 attendees witnessed the dedication, which included salutes by Battery D, 139th Field Artillery, Indiana National Guard and addresses by Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt and Illinois Governor Henry Horner. The dedication date was chosen because it marked "the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, signaling the end of the Revolutionary War and confirming the United States' possession of the old Northwest Territory." (Knox Co.)

In 1964, the Beatles played two shows at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum before a combined 30,000 screaming fans. The Indianapolis News reported that the group arrived at the Allison Division landing strip at Weir Cook Airport around 1:00 a.m. and was taken to the Speedway Motel. When asked what George knew of Indianapolis, he replied "'It's the place with the hot rod races, isn't it? It's the only sport I like.'" The Indianapolis Star noted that when the Beatles arrived at the coliseum "souvenir-hungry teen-agers" broke the windows, upholstery, and mirrors of the cars escorting the group. The fanatic crowd, which nearly trampled former first lady of Indiana Maude Schricker, screamed for five minutes once the musicians appeared on stage and "when the shrieks died, they rose again whenever one of the Beatles moved.” The musicians opened with "Twist and Shout" and played hits like "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Hard Day’s Night." The Star noted that some girls in the crowd threw jellybeans on stage, "continuing a sort of Beatle tradition," while others sat and wept quietly. Others "had the forlorn looks worn by victims of great unrequited love. Still others held signs, including one that read 'Ringo for President.'" When the show ended, it "was as though someone suddenly turned off the screaming machine." Pre-teen and teenaged fans were treated for injuries, including an asthmatic attack, head injury, and "nine emotional reactions diagnosed as probably hysteria."

September 4

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

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

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

September 5

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

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

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Following the ceremony, he met with Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt and politicians from Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky at the Athletic Club. The president also visited the new hydrotherapy pool at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital 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.

September 6

In 1821, Alvin P. Hovey was born in Mount Vernon. A lawyer, he began his legal career in Indiana by fighting to uphold the will of educational reformer William Maclure of New Harmony, bequeathing libraries for workingmen. Hovey was elected to the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850, which produced Indiana's second constitution. He had a distinguished military career during the Civil War, after which he was appointed United States minister to Peru. Hovey was elected to Congress in 1886 and to the Office of Governor in 1888. His administration was notable for the passage of election reform laws. He died in office in 1891. As of 2018, he is the only person to serve as both an Indiana Supreme Court justice (1854) and Indiana governor. (Posey Co.)

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." By October, property owner Samuel Stewart officially opened the cave to the public at a charge of 25 cents. The southern Indiana cave, encapsulated by limestone hills, was designated a U.S. National Landmark in 1984. (Crawford Co.)

September 7

In 1888, Indiana Attorney General Louis T. Michener’s report on his investigation into the “White Caps” was published in the Indianapolis Journal. The White Caps was a vigilante group that was active in the late 19th century in southern Indiana, often using the guise of justice to drive out or murder those who they found undesirable. Michener wrote: “For at least two years past the most outrageous offenses have been committed with impunity by the 'White Caps;' they have in many ways shown their entire disregard for the law and its officers; they have driven citizens out of the county and out of the State; they have cruelly whipped their victims in the villages of the county without molestation; they have dragged large numbers of persons from their beds and whipped them until the blood flowed to the ground; they have repeatedly flogged helpless women until life was nearly extinct, and they have procured the publication of their law-defying notices in the newspapers of the county.” The General Assembly passed a law in 1889 to curtail vigilantism, but the unlawful behavior persisted for several decades. (Crawford Co., Orange Co., Perry Co., Harrison Co., Spencer Co. and Dubois Co.)

In 1915, the U.S. Patent Office issued a patent to Johnny Gruelle for Raggedy Ann. Theories abound, but the iconic redheaded doll may have been named after "Hoosier Poet" James Whitcomb Riley's poem "The Raggedy Man." According to the Indiana State Library, Gruelle's family settled in Indianapolis when Johnny was a child and they lived near Riley, who visited the Gruelle family, along with other prominent artists and writers. Johnny illustrated for the Indianapolis Star and went on to create his famous Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy picture-book anthologies in the early 20th century.

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, which became one of the country's leading manufacturers of artificial fishing lures. Crafted by a largely female workforce, the high quality lures featured a patented spray-painted scale pattern and metal lip, giving them a lifelike appearance and motion to help attract fishThe company shipped products all over the world and became a key industry in Garrett. (DeKalb Co.)

September 8

In 1875, the Vigo County Circuit Court admitted Elizabeth "Bessie" Jane Eaglesfield to the bar. She is the earliest known woman in Indiana to have that distinction. A Clay County native, Eaglesfield earned a degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1878 (after she had been admitted to the bar). According to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, she became the first practicing female attorney in Grand Rapids. Unlike most female lawyers of the period, Eaglesfield "did not confine her practice to the office and entered the world of litigation whenever she was allowed by clients. Records illustrate the attempts of this atypical woman attorney to cobble together a living as a guardian for minor children, a representative for widows in property disputes, and representing herself in real estate trades." Eaglesfield also operated a steam ship on the Great Lakes called the "Golden Girl" and was involved in real estate in Benton Harbor.

In 2003, while in office Democratic Governor Frank O'Bannon suffered a stroke and died five days later. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, O'Bannon grew up in Corydon, Indiana and went on to earn both his B.A. in government and his J.D. from Indiana University. The Air Force veteran and lawyer served eight years as lieutenant governor (1989 to 1996) and eighteen years as a state senator. Elected governor in 1997, he was considered a tenacious consensus-builder, who advocated for education, tax relief, and economic development via "Energize Indiana." (Harrison Co.)

September 9

In 1844, J. Maurice Thompson was born in Fairfield. He studied engineering, law, and ornithology, and settled in Crawfordsville. There, he wrote poetry, novels, and articles for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. His Witchery of Archery popularized archery and Scribner's Monthly noted that with the publication Thompson "has wisely enlarged the scope of the published papers, putting into his treatise not only the enthusiasm of the hunter and the dolce far niente of the poet, but even the most practical knowledge of the bow-maker and the target-shooter." Thompson is best known for his novel Alice of Old Vincennes. (Franklin Co. and Montgomery Co.)

In 1848, the Free Soil Convention in Buffalo, New York appointed James H. Cravens of Versailles 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. (Ripley Co.)

In 1856, classes began at Moores Hill Male and Female Collegiate Institute in Moores Hill. The Southeast Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church organized and operated the school. A second building was established in 1907, named Carnegie Hill in honor of primary donor, Andrew Carnegie. In 1917, the conference began considering a proposal to relocate the college to Evansville due to a lack of colleges in and around the state’s third largest city. The college relocated in 1919, and operated as Evansville College until 1967 when it became the University of Evansville. (Dearborn Co.)

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. The product was used in a wide variety of recipes including waffles, muffins, soups, bread, and malt liquor. Cerealine was marketed to consumers as a product with more nutrition, digestibility, and ease of use than any other grain product on the market. A wave of mergers swept the U.S. industry at the turn of the twentieth century and Cerealine joined nine midwestern mills in 1902 to form the American Hominy Co., which continued business into the 1920s. (Bartholomew Co. and Marion Co.)

In 1890, entrepreneur Harland "Colonel" Sanders was born on a farm near Henryville. According to Business Insider, as a child he was tasked with feeding his siblings and learned to cook at the age of seven. In 1930, Sanders bought a service station in Kentucky, where he served classic Southern food and after business boomed he converted it into a traditional restaurant. Business Insider noted that he got his big break in 1939, when "he found that frying his chicken and its signature ‘11 herbs and spices’ in a new device, a pressure cooker (different from the ones used today), resulted in the ideal consistency he had been looking for." With his recipe, he quickly made a name for himself. The Governor of Kentucky dubbed him the "colonel" and soon after he adopted his famous white suit and colonel tie that "would help make him a pop-culture icon." In 1952, Sanders made an agreement with a restaurateur friend to sell his "Kentucky Fried Chicken" for a 4-cent royalty per piece. When this tactic succeeded, he made the agreement with other local restaurants. Sanders closed his own restaurant and "hit the road with his wife, the car packed with a couple pressure cookers, flour, and spice blends. He would enter a restaurant, offer to cook his chicken, and then make a deal if the owner liked what they tasted." After 600 restaurants agreed to sell his product, he established his own KFC restaurants in 1965 at the age of 75. Business Insider concluded "It seems Sanders' pursuit was never really about becoming rich, but rather about becoming renowned for his food." (Clark Co.)

In 1945, writer and poet Max Ehrmann died in his native Terre Haute. According to the Vigo County Historical Society Museum, his father read the German classics to him and recited Friedrich Schiller's poetry, nurturing a love of literature and the arts while Ehrmann was a child. He graduated from DePauw University and studied law and philosophy at Harvard University. When he returned to Terre Haute, he worked as an attorney, while writing at night. Ehrmann penned over twenty books, along with essays and poems published in newspapers and magazines, in which he mused about the meaning of life. Although he published his most famous poem "Desiderata" in 1927, it was not celebrated until after his death. (Vigo Co.)

In 1969, an Allegheny Airlines jet and a single-engine Piper Cherokee, piloted by a student, collided near Fairland and crashed into a soybean field. The crash took the lives of all passengers and crew of Allegheny Airlines and the life of the Piper Cherokee pilot. The National Transportation Safety Board noted that "there was an intervening cloud condition which precluded the crew of either aircraft from sighting the other until a few seconds prior to collision" and that the "technical limitations of radar in detecting all aircraft" resulted in the crash. Witness Ronnie Douglas told The Indianapolis Star "I thought kerosene had fallen out of the sky and sprayed all over my truck," not realizing the material was jet fuel. Officials could only identify fifty-two of the eighty-three victims because of the severity of the crash. Victims were buried in a mass burial at Forest Hill Cemetery. (Shelby Co.)

September 10

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

In 1914, prolific film director Robert Wise was born in Winchester. He grew up in Connersville and attended Franklin College as a journalism major, but had to withdraw 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 became a success in his own right as a director, winning Academy Awards for films such as West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965). (Randolph Co. and Fayette Co.)

In 1960, the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, hailed as one of the greatest amateur teams ever assembled, won the gold medal in the XVII Olympiad. The team defeated its opponents by an average of 42.4 points per game. Three of the team’s members had Indiana ties, including Indianapolis native Oscar Robertson, Purdue University’s Terry Dischinger of Terre Haute, and Indiana University’s Walt Bellamy.

September 11

In 1847, Theodore Clement Steele, Impressionist and "Dean of Indiana Painters," was born in Owen County. In the 1880s, he resided in Indianapolis on his estate called Tinker or Talbott. Steele built a studio on the grounds and opened it to the public. He taught classes, exhibited work, and helped advance the quality of midwestern art, notably as part of the Society of Western Artists. From 1907 until his death in 1926, he lived and painted at his Brown County property, "House of the Singing Winds." Indiana University President William L. Bryan named him “Honorary Professor of Painting” in 1922 and he worked at an IU campus studio. Steele is remembered for providing many Indiana residents with their first exposure to nationally recognized fine art. (Monroe Co.)

In 1865, Grace Julian Clarke was born in Centerville. 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. (Wayne Co.)

In 1920, at the Indiana State Fair first prizes were awarded in the Better Baby Contest, which was overseen by the Board of Health and managed by Dr. Ada Schweitzer. Rather than being judged on their temperament and personalities, babies were meticulously scored based on health and hygiene criteria. Judges deducted points for “physical defects,” such as scaly skin, delayed teething, and abnormal ear size. On the surface, Dr. Schweitzer and the Indiana State Board of Health had admirable goals: to “lower infant and maternal death rates and to convince Indianans of the importance of scientific motherhood and child rearing.” However, Dr. Schweitzer’s hope to “breed” a better generation of Hoosiers came directly from the eugenics movement, which was popular across America in the early 20th century. The exclusion of African American and immigrant babies from the contests furthered the widespread nativist and xenophobic ideas of the time. The assumption that socioeconomic standing was determined by genetics, and not environment, was central to sterilization laws implemented in the state. While Better Baby Contests ended in 1933, the eugenics movement persisted in the state for decades and Indiana’s last compulsory sterilization law was not repealed until 1974.

In 1989, the first vehicles were produced at the Suburu Isuzu plant in Lafayette. Japanese representatives and over 600 employees celebrated the occasion with a luncheon at the site. This was the first Japanese owned auto plant in the state. Toyota opened a plant in Princeton in 1996, and Honda opened a plant in Greensburg in 2008. As of 2012, the three plants employed 10,000 Hoosiers and gave business to suppliers across the state. The Indianapolis Business Journal noted that the plants provided an "economic boost that has helped offset thousands of Indiana job cuts by Detroit’s Big Three automakers." (Tippecanoe Co., Decatur Co., and Gibson Co.)

September 12

In 1822, Lieutenant Governor Ratliff Boon became the second Governor of Indiana. He succeeded Governor Jonathan Jennings, who resigned 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. Boon began his political career in Warrick County as treasurer and worked his way up to congressman (1825, 1827, 1829, and 1839). Historian Will Fortune observed that Boon's "education was limited, but he was a man of extraordinary tact and sagacity."

In 1876, Purdue University's namesake and benefactor John Purdue died at the Hygienic Institute near the university. According to Purdue University Libraries, John Purdue was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Lafayette around 1834, where he opened a merchandise store and became civically engaged, donating to local churches and libraries. His business flourished when the Wabash & Erie Canal opened nearby in 1843, which afforded him the resources to help establish a local railroad. Purdue helped select sites for Lafayette's first public schools and "While the Indiana Supreme Court debated for a year over the legality of taxation and local schools went without funding, Purdue donated his own money to keep the schools running. Purdue also contributed to the Tippecanoe Battle Ground, Stockwell, and Purdue Institutes, and to the Waveland and Alamo Academies." During the Civil War, he donated to the Union, became its main pork supplier, and funded a militia to stop local vandalizing by Confederate sympathizers. Under the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Law, each state received 30,000 acres of federal land per congressional delegation member. States then sold the land and utilized the proceeds to fund colleges focused on agriculture and "mechanic arts." According to Purdue Universitythe Indiana General Assembly passed a bill in 1869 that allowed for the acceptance of land and money from Lafayette philanthropist John Purdue, as well as money from Tippecanoe County to establish an "agricultural college." With these resources, Purdue University was established and classes began in 1874. When John passed away two years later, he was interred on campus and a headstone was placed at his grave the following year.

In 1889, Ahavath Sholom dedicated a new synagogue in Ligonier. 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 the 1860s, Ligonier's Jewish residents formed the congregation Ahavath Sholom (Hebrew for "peace loving") and built a small synagogue nearby in 1867. The congregation formed close relationships with local churches. Ligonier’s Jewish community prospered, providing Ligonier with civic and business leaders until the early 20th century, when younger generations moved to larger cities for educational and economic opportunities. (Noble Co.)

In 1927, Crispus Attucks High School opened in Indianapolis, becoming the first and only African American public high school in the city. According to the National Park Service, in the post-World War I era of Ku Klux Klan influence, a delegation of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce lobbied for a segregated high school. Although black citizens, black churches, and the Better Indianapolis League protested the petition, the school board unanimously voted for a separate school for African American children in 1922. The board initially wanted to name the institution "Thomas Jefferson High School," but ceded to petitions to change the name to "Crispus Attucks High School." The name honors the "former slave killed in the 1770 Boston Massacre, who is generally considered the first to die in the American Revolution." Crispus Attucks High School became a source of pride for Indianapolis's African American community, as teachers were hired from southern black colleges and students took a black history course. The community was especially proud when Attucks became the first all-black basketball team to win the Indiana state title in 1955, defeating Gary's Theodore Roosevelt High School. This was also the first time two all-black high schools competed for the honor. However, discrimination continued throughout the school’s history and, despite a 1949 law that prohibited school segregation, Crispus Attucks High School was not desegregated until 1971. 

September 13

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 co-founder of the long-respected Flanner and Buchanan Funeral business.

In 1928, iconic artist Robert Clark, better known as "Robert Indiana," was born in New Castle. According to the New York Times, he moved twenty-one times in the state of Indiana by the time he was 17. After graduating from Arsenal Technical High School, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to New York City in 1954 to advance his artistic career and changed his last name to "Indiana" in 1958 in honor of his home state. In New York City, he began to introduce short 3- or 4-letter words into his colorful, hand-edged paintings and sculptures, which became his innovative signature style. The New York Times noted that "A particular sort of peppy, Midwestern-seeming earnestness soon became a central theme in his work." Indiana created his famous "LOVE" painting in the mid-1960s and by 1970 built a steel version for the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now Newfields). “LOVE” went beyond popular culture and in 1976 he recast the image as “VOTE” for a poster for the Democratic National Committee. The New York Times reported that in 2008, “he built a sculpture for the Democratic National Convention using the word ‘Hope’ and authorized the image’s reproduction on T-shirts, buttons and limited-edition prints sold by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign." Former IMA Director Maxwell Anderson contended that "LOVE" should also "be remembered in a broader political context, as a product of the 1960s.’To be true to the artist’s intentions,' he said, 'we should see ‘Love’ in relation to the antiwar moment, and not as a decal on a baby boomer’s Volvo.” Indiana’s "LOVE" has been used in numerous paintings, prints, and postage stamps. (Henry Co.)

In 1974, Indianapolis's Market Square Arena, home of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Racers and the fifth largest sports arena in the U.S. at the time, was formally dedicated. Over 3,000 members from Indiana high school bands and choirs provided music for the ceremony. The Greencastle Banner Graphic noted that the dedication ushered in two months of sporting and entertainment events at the "steel sports palace," including a performance from singer Glen Campbell. Famously, Elvis Presley's final concert took place at the arena in 1977.

September 14

In 1897, five suspected burglars were lynched by a masked mob in Versailles. The Logansport Pharos-Tribune reported that the men were jailed for attempting to rob a store at Correct and were suspected of belonging to a gang that committed various crimes in the area. At 1 a.m. a "skyrocket went up south of town," signaling the formation of the mob and the "march to the jail proceeded as orderly as a regular army till the men met from all parts of the county at the jail." The mob killed three of the men in the jail, but dragged all five men to a tree located between two farms, where the other two suspects were killed via hanging. The lynchers fled town within fifteen minutes of the hanging and when the bodies were removed a few hours later onlookers began to tear apart the tree to claim "relics." The Logansport Pharos-Tribune noted that "piece by piece it was carried away until nothing but the bare trunk is left standing. It was stripped of every leaf and twig, and then the limbs were sawed off and cut into small pieces." These "relics" were shared throughout Ripley County and adjacent counties. Following the lynching, deputies flooded to town to prevent acts of retribution by friends of the lynched men. Threats to set fire to the jail and court house came from nearby Osgood, rumored to have been the headquarters of the lynched men. The Pharos-Tribune noted that "the feeling between the two places is of the bitterest, and the opinion expressed here is that there are plenty of others in Osgood who deserve the same fate as the five found dangling to limbs yesterday morning." Versailles residents claimed that the perpetrators were from out of town, but generally condoned the lynching. Governor James A. Mount noted that because the site of the lynching was remote and removed from communication, via railroad and telegraph station, he was unable to intervene.

In 1915, Carl Fisher, James Allison, Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, and Theodore Myers incorporated the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company, a racing team. Earlier that year, foreign participation in the Indianapolis 500 began to decrease as a result of World War I. Motor Age reported “there are not as many foreign cars and foreign drivers in this year’s contest as there were in 1913 and 1914,” noting that many European drivers who had participated in earlier years were “on army service” and could not hope to get a discharge to compete. Anticipating the reduction in foreign cars and foreign drivers while the war raged abroad, Fisher, Allison, Newby, Wheeler, and Myers, organized the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company. The team offered a way of “putting a high-class racing team in the field to assure real competition at the various speedway events throughout the country,” as noted in the Omaha Sunday World Herald. The Indianapolis Speedway Team Company represented the beginning of the company that would later evolve into Allison Transmission, a precision machine shop and experimental firm in Speedway.

In 1918, a federal jury found Terre Haute native and founder of Industrial Workers of the World Eugene V. Debs guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in Canton, Ohio, in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. The socialist leader 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." 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 presidential candidate in 1920. While still incarcerated, he accepted the nomination and began his fifth presidential run. (Vigo Co.)

In 1942, a news item from Alexandria reported that women were flocking to work in canneries in Madison County due to homefront labor shortages during World War II. The U.S. Employment Service, a federal agency, worked to place workers in critical agriculture jobs during the war. Among the canneries in Madison County that employed the female workers was the Orestes Canning Company. The company was established earlier that year by Grover Hutcherson and his daughter Fran. The business would eventually rebrand as Red Gold in the 1970s.

September 15

In 1942, Indianapolis native Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith became chief of staff of the Allied Forces Headquarters. According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, Smith attended Manual High School, but dropped out to work at the National Motor Vehicle Company. In 1910, he joined the Indiana National Guard, training at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Smith served with the 4th Infantry Division in World War I, but after being wounded during the Aisne-Marne Offensive he was sent to the U.S. Department of War, where he worked within the Military Intelligence Division. Through his dedication and drive he worked his way up the ranks of the military and, in 1942, served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief of staff during the North African and European campaigns. Smith worked with foreign representatives to negotiate the surrender of Germany and signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of General Eisenhower. The Wall Street Journal noted that during World War II Smith served as General Eisenhower’s sounding board and “shock absorber” and that “Eisenhower has always received the credit for the close Allied cooperation, but in ‘Beetle’ we find that Smith achieved much of it working behind the scenes.” Given General Eisenhower’s desire to be liked, Smith was forced to make tough diplomatic and tactical decisions, as well as handle the press. For his accomplishments, Smith was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and in 1951 was appointed full general. During the early Cold War years, Smith served as ambassador to the Soviet Union and his "firm demeanor" in the effort to contain Communism "reflected the hardening U.S. policy toward the Kremlin." In 1950, President Harry S Truman appointed Smith to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and through his innovation he put the CIA "'on the map.'" CIA historian Nicholas Dujmovic contended that with Smith’s appointment "for the first time CIA had a leader with sufficient prestige, vision, leadership experience, and White House support to improve the Agency’s operations and activities and to raise CIA’s profile in Washington and among policymakers." Smith revolutionized the agency when he "initiated CIA’s mission of providing daily intelligence reporting to the President . . . and fostered cooperation within the emerging U.S. Intelligence Community." President Eisenhower appointed Beetle the under secretary of state in 1953. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis noted that in this role he "strove to guide the State Department through the complexities of evolving Cold War foreign policy and to cushion its impact on America's allies, particularly Europe."

In 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower visited South Bend as the Republican Party presidential nominee. Historian Andrew E. Stoner noted that while en route to the University of Notre Dame, Eisenhower stopped in the parking lot of the Northern Indiana Children's Hospital, where staff rolled patients out in their beds so they could meet the candidate. While on Notre Dame's campus, he encountered throngs of young fans and told a group of students "'never forget for one second this is the one country where you can do and act and think and worship as you please.'" He then made his way to downtown South Bend, where he gave a campaign speech to the thousands of people gathered on the streets and rooftops to see him. Eisenhower delivered speeches at six other Hoosier communities that day (including Indiana Harbor, Warsaw, Gary, Plymouth, La Porte, and Fort Wayne), in which he criticized the Korean War and contended that his Democratic opponent Adlai Stevenson was out of touch. He went on to defeat Stevenson, becoming the 34th U.S. President and the first Republican-elected president since 1928. (St. Joseph Co.)

In 1965, Indiana State University at Evansville began classes with 412 students. In 1972, the Evansville Center of the Indiana University School of Medicine opened on campus. ISU at Evansville operated as a satellite campus until 1985, when Governor Robert Orr granted its independence and the school was renamed the University of Southern Indiana. (Vanderburgh Co.)

September 16

In 1843, as part of the "One Hundred Conventions" movement, African American orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other black advocates traveled to Pendleton to gain support for abolition. During the speeches, over thirty white men attacked the speakers with stones and brickbats until local supporters interceded. Despite injuries, Douglass spoke the next day at a nearby Friends meetinghouse without incident. The rioters went unpunished. Douglass was welcomed back to Indiana in 1880 with fanfare and the Indianapolis Leader noted that in his speech Douglass "eloquently contrasted this reception with the treatment accorded him thirty-seven years ago, when he attempted to speak on the slavery question." (Madison Co.)

In 1874, classes began at Purdue University in West Lafayette, consisting of thirty-nine students and six instructors. The school was made possible when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant Act into law in 1862. The law afforded each state 30,000 acres of federal land per Congressional delegation member. States then sold the land and utilized the proceeds to fund colleges focused on agriculture and "mechanic arts," such as Purdue. According to Purdue University, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill in 1869 that allowed for the acceptance of land and money from Lafayette philanthropist John Purdue, as well as money from Tippecanoe County to establish an "agricultural college." The school broke ground for the new campus in 1871 and Richard Owen began his term as first president in 1872. The school has produced a variety of distinguished graduates, including Orville Redenbacher, Claude Wickard, George Ade, and Neil Armstrong. (Tippecanoe Co.)

September 17

In 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Alois O. Bachman suffered a mortal wound while 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, Bachman organized the Madison City Greys in 1858, which became part of the Sixth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Five Indiana regiments participated in the battle: 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 (five casualties). (Jefferson Co.)

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. Milligan and H.H. Dodd, who were suspected of planning an uprising in Indianapolis in August. The military commission found Dodd and Milligan guilty of treason and sentenced them to be hanged. Milligan and his co-conspirators petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. An 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 their sentences were commuted.

In 1912, classes began at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis on the grounds of the former Civil War Army arsenal. According to HistoricIndianapolis.com, the federal government maintained the property for military purposes until 1903, before selling it in 1904 to a Christian organization, the Winona Chautauqua Movement. One of two Movement schools in Indiana, the Winona Technical Institute at Indianapolis offered courses in fields like electricity, pharmacy, and lithography. This school closed in 1909 and in 1912 principal Milo Stuart opened Arsenal Technical High School, Indianapolis's third public high school, following Manual and Shortridge. Similar to its predecessor, Arsenal specialized in technical training, and offered state-of-the-art courses in automotive construction, machinery, and salesmanship, earning its moniker the "School of Tomorrow." 

In 1956, officials, including Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan mayors, dedicated the Indiana Toll Road in South Bend. The Munster Times reported that the dedication "heralds atomic-age highway transportation for Lake County" and that the "westernmost 32.6 mile section of the toll road between Gary-East and LaPorte interchanges will . . . carry turnpike traffic from the rest of the state, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the county's door." The paper claimed that the toll road would be the nation's first major toll highway furnished with "snow and ice-melting" equipment at each of the toll plazas. At its opening, the Indiana Toll Road generated $8,228 per day. (St. Joseph Co.)

September 18

In 1927, Fort Wayne radio station WOWO, along with sixteen other stations across the nation, became a pioneer station for the CBS network. The Muncie Star Press noted "A new era in radio broadcasting will be ushered in today and tonight when the inaugural programs of the recently-formed Columbia broadcasting system go on the air." According to the Indiana Historical Society, "Radio gave everyone, rural and urban alike, access to a broader world and new ideas. Beyond providing entertainment, radio had the ability to alert people to important news faster than newspapers could. During natural disasters, broadcasters organized relief efforts, provided vital information, and calmed fears." In July 1929, the Main Auto Company, where WOWO was located, caught fire and damaged broadcast wires. The damages were minimal to the building, the wires were replaced, and the station was up and running the next day. The Indiana Historical Society noted that the station went on to be the first "to broadcast a basketball game and the first to air a Man on the Street program, which it did from the lobby of the Old Indiana Theater." (Allen Co.)

In 1944, "Czar" of the Indiana High School Athletic Association Arthur Trester died in Indianapolis. He was born in Pecksburg and received degrees at Earlham College and Columbia University. Trester served as superintendent at several Indiana schools, including Martinsville High School and La Porte High School. The Basketball Hall of Fame stated that he "Served as Commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association from 1929 to 1944 and as its permanent secretary from 1913 to 1929. A strict disciplinarian, coach and referee, Trester also had strong personal integrity, a personal commitment to the game of basketball, and demonstrated an efficiency not often seen in governing organizations.” Until 1942, IHSAA excluded black and parochial schools, stating they were not public high schools because of exclusive enrollment. The Trester Medal for Mental Attitude was first awarded 1945. Trester was enshrined in the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965. Under the Czar, the showcase of IHSAA became high school basketball, reflected in the term "Hoosier Hysteria." (Hendricks Co. and Marion Co.)

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. (Lake Co.)

In 2002, trailblazing journalist and photographer Bettie Cadou died in Indianapolis. She graduated from Indiana University and wrote for publications such as the Indianapolis News, Sports Illustrated, and New York Times. She covered a variety of topics, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Indiana General Assembly. According to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, Cadou worked among migrant workers in Frankfort and her "Children of the Field" series "almost immediately resulted in changes in state laws that improved sanitation and working conditions for migrant laborers." In 1971, the Bainbridge native became the first woman admitted into the pits at the Indianapolis 500. (Monroe Co. and Marion Co.)

September 19

In 1859, Abraham Lincoln visited Indianapolis and delivered a speech at the city's Masonic Hall. He reminisced about growing up in Indiana and critiqued Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas's advocacy of popular sovereignty, repeating 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, and Fort Wayne. At the 1892 fair, the Indianapolis Journal reported that the venue ran out of room for exhibitors, particularly in the livestock farms. The paper noted that President Boggs "was at his wit's end to get these people settled in some shape, and made the declaration then and there that before another fair there would be ample accommodations or he would know the reason why." Nevertheless, visitors to the "greatest show of live stock that Indiana ever saw" visited exhibits from the Studebaker Bros., bet on horse races, and marveled at a "pyramid of jellies and cakes. 

September 20

In 1937, the Hammond Times reported “Twenty-five new businesses giving empyoyment [sic] to 1,400 have moved into Elkhart. The baby industry that is fast growing up in Indiana, house trailer manufacturing, is Elkhart’s newest boom business. Eight hundred and fifty of the new jobs in the northern Indiana city are in the seven new trailer and equipment-making factories.” Thirteen years later, the Indianapolis Star reported, “About 40 per cent of the nation’s trailers are produced in Indiana, largely in the Elkhart area. Altogether, there are 19 trailer manufacturing plants in and near Elkhart. Output of the larger plants averages about seven new trailers each week.” In the early 21st century, the health of Elkhart’s manufacturers, particularly the RV industry, has served as a barometer for the state of the American economy. This was demonstrated by President Barack Obama's 2009 visit to Elkhart, where unemployment tripled to fifteen percent in 2008. He successfully sought to gain support for his proposed $800 billion economic stimulus package.

In 1942, the Republic Aviation Corporation produced the first P-47 Thunderbolt at its Evansville factory. 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. World War II defense factories like Republic drew 25,000 permanent citizens to Vanderburgh County, employing African Americans, women and the physically handicapped. Along with Republic's plant in Farmingdale, New York, the Indiana factory produced over 6,000 of the fighter planes. 

September 21

In 1859, Valparaiso Male and Female College (now Valparaiso University) opened in Porter County, one of the first coeducational colleges in the U.S. According to the Valpo Magazine Archives, the school focused on STEM education, offering courses in the sciences and mathematics. The "reverses of the Civil War" forced it to close in 1871 and when educator Henry Baker Brown reopened the school in 1873 he renamed it the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. In the late 1800s, the school added departments of engineering, biology, medicine, pharmacy, and biology. The school was renamed Valparaiso College in 1900 and Valparaiso University in 1905. The university struggled financially during World War I and the Lutheran University Association purchased it in 1925. In the 1960s, the third oldest honors college, Christ College, was founded and in the 1970s Valparaiso University's athletics program moved into the NCAA's Division I.

In 1910, one of the deadliest interurban crashes occurred on the sharp curve of track near Kingsland. A car, empty except for crew members, collided with another car carrying passengers from Bluffton to the Fort Wayne County Fair. The emptier car rode atop the full car, ripping the top off of it. Because of Kingsland's remoteness, no physician was available to treat the victims and train cars could not transport doctors until an hour and a half after the crash that took the lives of over forty passengers. Survivor John Boyd recalled "There was a splintering crush, a dull, grinding as wood and iron resolved themselves into a mass of wreckage and mingled themselves with human blood and flesh and bones." A 2014 Indy Star article noted that a crash investigation found that dispatchers failed to monitor the extra cars on the track that day. (Wells Co.)

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 1943, he published Dune Boy, recollections of time spent exploring the dunes and woodlands of the area. During his life, the Pulitzer Prize winner wrote, edited, and contributed to over thirty books, which educated Americans about nature’s importance and beauty.

In 1984, the U.S.'s first compact audio disc manufacturing plant, Digital Audio Disc Corp. (a subsidiary of CBS and Sony Corp.), began full-scale production in Terre Haute. The Indianapolis Star wrote that many predicted the discs would replace record albums and "revolutionize the stereo industry." Although Japan had been producing the discs two years prior, the first U.S. made disc was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA. Digital Audio Disc Corp. helped Terre Haute enter the global economy and was projected to produce 300,000 discs per month. Sony Corp. president Norio Ohga stated "'I couldn't find the word Hoosier in my Japanese-American dictionary so I have made up my own definition. I have decided that it is the English word that means 'Somebody who makes things happen.'" (Vigo Co.)

September 22

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

In 1889, the Chicago Tribune reported that construction was underway on the Standard Oil Refinery in Whiting. The paper noted that "Out on the sand dunes along the lake shore just beyond South Chicago and the Indiana state line, there are 800 men hammering rivets through great plates of boiler iron." The men were building fifty foot tanks for John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. Indiana-based subsidiary. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, by the mid-1890s the Whiting plant was the U.S.'s largest refinery, "handling 36,000 barrels of oil per day and accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity." In 1955, an explosion destroyed the Whiting refinery, leaving 800 homeless, taking the lives of two, and costing ten million dollars in damages. Standard Oil bought 140 of the 180 damaged homes and eventually rebuilt its Whiting plant. (Lake Co.)

In 1919, a steel strike organized by the American Federation of Labor erupted in Gary and East Chicago. Over 350,000 workers demanded higher wages, shorter workdays, and recognition of unions. The National Guard could not manage the violent clashes in Gary, so the city's mayor requested that over 1,000 federal troops be dispatched to the area. According to Ohio History Central, the strike failed because company officials portrayed workers, many of whom were immigrants, as "dangerous radicals who threatened the American way of life, preying on many Americans' fears of Communism during that era." (Lake Co.)

In 1920, approximately 15,000 fans watched an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and Indianapolis Indians at Washington Park. The Indianapolis News reported that fans lined up early to see Babe Ruth, the "greatest attraction in the history of baseball, not even excepting the many years that the famous Ty Cobb was going at his best." The Indians won the game 7-6 and held Babe Ruth, then in his first season with the Yankees, to a double and two singles. 

September 23

In 1902, wincing with pain, President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. 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, located on the corner of South and Delaware streets, lanced and drained his infected leg, preventing Roosevelt from contracting blood poisoning. According to the Indianapolis Journal, “He took only a local anesthetic . . . which was applied to the leg. He seemed to feel that an unnecessary amount of fuss was being made over him.”  Yet as the surgery proceeded, the president’s “arms were thrown behind his head with his hands clasped. Occasionally the pain became so severe that his elbows bent close to the sides of his head as if to ease the pain. His eyes were closed and his teeth pressed close together.” He cancelled his Midwest tour following the Indianapolis surgery and returned to Washington, D.C.

In 1908, Republican candidate William Howard Taft launched his presidential campaign at the farm of Pulitzer Prize winning writer George Ade in Brook. Historian Howard F. McMains noted that Taft chose the location because "he thought that a rally already planned for Ade's farm by the Indiana Republican committee offered a convenient opportunity to publicize the national ticket in a state beset by factional difficulties." The Star Press, of Muncie, reported that attendees travelled via automobile, hay rack, and excursion train from Chicago and several Indiana towns. They dined on "full dinner pail[s]" for twenty-five cents each and enjoyed performances by the Purdue Glee club and the "ready humor" of the Rev. Dr. John Wesley Hill. Taft addressed the farmers in the audience, criticizing Democratic opponent William Jennings Bryan's legislative support of tariffs. Attendees dubbed him the "rain maker" because prior to his visit it had not rained in Indiana for two months. With the backing of President Theodore Roosevelt and Taft's support of labor unions, he easily won the 1908 election. (Newton Co.)

September 24

In 1894, Culver Military Academy, located on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, opened for its first regular session. Forty-five cadets representing seven states attended the session. St. Louis businessman Henry Harrison Culver opened Culver Park Hotel along the north shore, but when it closed two years later due to financial struggles he converted it into the college preparatory boarding school. According to R.B.D Hartman, Culver utilized a military system to "'thoroughly prepare boys and young men for our best colleges or scientific schools, or for business.'” In 1902, the Culver Military Academy formally introduced summer programs for its Naval School, and over the years expanded summer programs to the Aviation School, the Summer School for Girls, and the Woodcraft Camp. As male students served abroad in the Vietnam War, the Culver Girls Academy opened in 1971. (Marshall Co.)

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 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 an opportunity to attend and play for Indiana University, breaking the Big Ten's color barrier.

September 25

In 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis was incorporated. Founders organized the non-profit cemetery because the city’s Greenlawn Cemetery was unable to provide enough burial ground. On June 2, 1864, Lucy Ann Seaton’s body was the first to be buried at Crown Hill. In 1866, the U.S. government purchased land at the Indianapolis cemetery to create the United States National Military Cemetery. In 1931, the remains of 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, poet Sarah Bolton, and President Benjamin Harrison.

September 26

In 1892, Robert S. Lynd, a professor, editor, and a founder of modern sociology, was born in New Albany. He and wife Helen Merrell Lynd, a professor and writer, came to Muncie in 1924 to study the city's white population. They chose Muncie for their case study because it represented the typical small American city, having recently transformed from an agricultural community to an industrial city. Their book Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, published in 1929, shed light on social changes and cultural norms in middle-America during the 1920s and 1930s. (Floyd Co. and Delaware Co.) 

In 1905, classes began at Indiana Central University (now the University of Indianapolis) upon completion of the first building, Good Hall. The university, known as Indiana Central College from 1921 to 1971, was founded in 1902 by the St. Joseph and White River conferences of the Church of the United Brethen in Christ. Since its formation, the school has been "coeducational and open to all races." HistoricIndianapolis.com noted that the school's "early years were sometimes marked by struggles for sheer existence, by mid-century the school was clearly headed for solid ground. . . . several new buildings were erected on campus, and the improved facilities made it possible for many new programs and activities to be initiated. Musical and theatrical productions were mounted. A lecture series was started. Radio station WICR 88.7 began broadcasting. The college sponsored a state-wide science fair for junior and senior high school students." Historic Indianapolis contends that UIndy "remains the most prominent cultural institution on the southeast side."

In 1918, the Indianapolis News reported the first case of Spanish Influenza at military training detachments in and around Indianapolis. The city would be infected with over 6,000 cases of the flu that swept the globe during World War I. With a makeshift hospital, outfitted with 300 beds, Fort Benjamin Harrison cared for over 3,000 patients. Indianapolis leaders presented a united front in halting the flu's spread, shop and theater owners complied despite personal loss, and men and women volunteered their services at risk to their own lives. From this first report until the end of November, Indiana lost 3,266 Hoosiers to the illness.

In 1925, Evansville native Elbert Frank Cox received his PhD in mathematics from Cornell. According to the Indiana University Archives, he became the first African American in the U.S., and possibly the world, to earn his PhD in mathematics. Despite receiving an inadequate education in Evansville due to segregation, Cox studied physics and mathematics at Indiana University. After graduation, he taught the sciences at a segregated school in Kentucky and at North Carolina's Shaw University, where he became head of the Department of Natural Science. In 1921, Cox applied for a doctoral program at Cornell University, with the help of former IU professors. A historically progressive university, Cornell accepted Cox and he graduated in 1925. After European publishers declined to print his dissertation, he successfully appealed to the Tohoku Mathematical Journal in Japan to "to help legitimize his position as the first African-American in the world to receive his PhD in mathematics." Cox became the first African American admitted to the American Mathematical Society, headed Howard University's mathematics department, and "acted as that same role model that his black teachers in Evansville were to him half a century earlier." (Vanderburgh Co.)

September 27

In 1880, the English Opera House opened on Monument Circle. Built by William Hayden English, Indiana businessman and politician, it featured entertainment such as musicals, minstrel shows, and films. In 1884, English began construction on a hotel that connected to the opera house. In 1902, the theater hosted an elaborate stage play of Lew Wallace's novel Ben-HurThe English Hotel and Opera House was demolished to make room for a J.C. Penney store in 1948.

In 1927, inventor of electronic 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 defended his middleweight title against Rocky Graziano at New York's Yankee Stadium. His hometown embraced his return following the victory. The "Man of Steel" was born Anthony Florian Zaleski in Gary. He began his professional career in 1934 at the age of 21. In 1940, he became the National Boxing Association middleweight champion and in 1941 became the world champion, a title he claimed until 1947. New York Times columnist Red Smith wrote "Ask any fight buff of the 1940's to name the most memorable series fought in his time and without hesitation he will say the Zale-[Rocky] Graziano battles of 1946, 1947, 1948." Opponent Billy Soose described Zale's punches as if "someone stuck a hot poker in you and left it there.'' Zale was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. (Lake Co.)

September 28

In 1853, the Indianapolis Union Depot, predecessor to Union Station, officially opened. Every railroad that entered the city used the depot, ensuring that passengers did not have to leave the station in order to change trains or routes. In 1864, a teenaged Thomas Edison worked at the depot briefly as a telegraph operator. HistoricIndianapolis.com noted that there he invented "the automatic repeater telegraph, which recorded incoming telegraph signals and replayed them at any desired rate. This allowed him, a slow local message telegraph operator, to transcribe the much faster messages sent over the news wires." According to the National Park Service, for many immigrants the depot served as the gateway to the booming Hoosier city. 

In 1880, the cornerstone of the new Indiana Statehouse was laid. The first capitol building in Indianapolis, which was completed in 1835, was razed in 1878 to make room for the current Statehouse. The Indiana General Assembly held its first session in the new Statehouse in 1887. 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 1919, professional athlete and military veteran 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. Harmon served as a pilot during World War II, surviving a bomber crash in South America, while en route to North Africa, in 1943. Later that year, he was also shot down near Kiukiang, China. Following the war, he played two seasons for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. (Jasper Co. and Lake Co.)

September 29

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

In 1862, Clark County native General Jefferson C. Davis (not to be mistaken for the President of the Confederate States) shot and killed his superior officer, Union General William “Bull” Nelson in Louisville, Kentucky. The conflict began when Nelson criticized Davis's military performance. When Davis retorted, Nelson dismissed him to Cincinnati. Davis returned to Kentucky days later and confronted Nelson at the Galt Hotel. They argued over perceived insults and Davis threw a crumpled piece of paper in Nelson's face, which prompted Nelson to slap him. Davis borrowed a colleague’s pistol and followed Nelson, shooting him in the chest at point-blank range. Nelson died within a half hour. Davis was never charged for the crime, despite witnesses being present. Some suggest it was due to the fact that he was needed on the warfront and fellow officers personally disliked Nelson, while others credit the influence of Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton.

In 1903, the Auburn Automobile Company (AAC) filed articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Founded by the Eckhart family, who had established the Eckhart Carriage Company factory, AAC produced stylish models that broke speed and endurance records. In 1919, the owners sold the company to Chicago investors, including William Wrigley Jr. AAC acquired the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company in 1926 and during the 1920s the Duesenberg racing team won its third Indy 500 and a French Grand Prix. Production of the vehicles ended in 1936. (DeKalb Co.)

September 30

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

In 1818, The Life of Bonaparte: Late Emperor of the French, From His Birth Until His Departure to the Island of St. Helena, considered the first literary work published in Indiana, was printed by Ebenezer Patrick and Beebe Booth in Salem. While the author is identified only as "a Citizen of the United States," he was likely Marshal (Michel) Ney, a French commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. (Washington Co.) 

In 1937, Miami descendants filed articles of incorporation for the "Miami Nation of Indians of the State of Indiana" with headquarters in Wabash. In 1846, U.S. officials forcibly removed most of the Miami people from Indiana to Kansas. Several Miami families, including descendants of Jean Baptiste Richardville and Francis Godfroy, remained in Indiana due to land allotments previously granted to their ancestors by the federal government. An 1854 treaty recognized the 148 “Indiana Miamis remaining scattered along the Upper Wabash Valley of Indiana from Lafayette to Fort Wayne.” However, federal recognition of the Miami of Indiana was terminated in 1897. With the 1937 filing, these Miami descendants incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Their repeated attempts to reclaim federal recognition have been unsuccessful. (Wabash Co.)

In 1952, the game show Two for the Money premiered on NBC, hosted by Herb Shriner. Raised in Fort Wayne, Shriner played harmonica at the local music store during high school and briefly performed on vaudeville. In 1940, NBC hired him to perform comedy on the radio. During World War II, Shriner served in the special services unit and performed USO shows for two years in Europe. When he returned from war, he performed on Broadway and achieved television fame with Two for the Money. Traces Magazine of Indiana and Midwestern History noted that "After a 'small-town Indiana' story or two, he introduced a pair of contestants who received five dollars for every correct answer given within fifteen seconds." For four years, Shriner hosted the show at the height of his professional success. He frequently returned to Indiana and, in homage to his home state, named his daughter Indy and son Kin, after Abe Martin cartoonist "Kin" Hubbard. (Allen Co.)

In 1967, passenger service on the Monon Railroad ended. The Lafayette Journal and Courier reported that the train's final run to Chicago, which passed by Lafayette's depot, marked the "end of an era" for the railroad that was established in 1853. The "Hoosier Line" would begin to haul only freight, with the exception of "special trains" designated to take fans to football games at Indiana universities.

October

October 1

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. (Vigo Co.)

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. The first Indiana State Fair was held in 1852 Indianapolis' Military Park. Through the next four decades, the fair was held in a variety of towns including Lafayette, Madison, New Albany, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute. In 1892, the Fair took up residence at its current site on 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway. (Vigo Co.)

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 the majority of 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. This travel book, written during her husband’s tenure as Governor of New Mexico Territory, tells the story of unstoppable exploration and exploitation of the West. It is central to our 21st-Century understanding of environmentalism by demonstrating how land and its inhabitants' fates are intertwined. (Montgomery Co.)

In 1999, the Indianapolis News ceased publication after a 130 year run due to "changing reader needs." 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.

October 2

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. According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, "in 1972 Associated Dry Goods acquired L.S. Ayres and Company . . . the May Company acquired Ayres in 1986 . . . A dispute with the city over the proposed Circle Center Mall resulted in the flagship store finally being closed in January, 1992, ending 120 years of business in downtown Indianapolis."

October 3

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.” The first draft law for the Civil War was passed by Congress on July 17, 1862. In Indiana, white men 18 to 45 years of age were subjected to the draft; however, those who could afford to pay a $200 commutation fee could get out of service. In three drafts between 1862 and 1865, 44,161 Hoosiers were drafted into the army. After all exemptions, deserters, and substitutes, 10,822 men were sent to the war front as a result of these drafts. 

October 4

In 1852, former Indiana governor James Whitcomb died while serving in the United States Senate. Whitcomb was born in Vermont, raised in Ohio, educated in Kentucky, and finally moved to Indiana at the age of 29. After serving as the state prosecuting attorney from 1826 to 1830, Whitcomb was elected to the Indiana Senate, where he served for 6 years. He served as governor from 1843 to 1848, resigning upon his election to the United States 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. According to historian David Baker, Whitcomb is credited with saving Indiana from insolvency "establishing benevolent institutions for the physical and mentally disabled, advocating the first system of free public education, mobilizing the state's participation in the Mexican War, and setting the stage for the second Indiana Constitution."

In 1860, Democratic Governor Ashbel Parsons Willard died in office, the first of Indiana's chief executives to die during their term. Reportedly, the New York native spoke in New Albany, Indiana while campaigning for James Polk in the 1844 presidential campaign, and the citizens were so impressed with him that they asked him to settle in the area. He moved there the following year and practiced law. Willard served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1850 to 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. Willard's administration was plagued by problems with the legislature, and he was forced to borrow money to pay the interest on the state's debt. Historian James St. Clair noted that Willard's political strength was his oratory skills. He put those skills to use soon after his election when he traveled to Jackson, Mississippi in order to deliver a speech in which he affirmed his support of slavery in the South. He also assured the crowd that he would uphold the Fugitive Slave Law by sending any slaves who escaped to Indiana back to their owners. A heavy drinker with longstanding health problems, in 1860 Willard, in a vain effort to regain his health, went to Minnesota where he died. Lieutenant Governor Abram Adams Hammond served out the remaining three months of Willard's term as governor. (Floyd Co.)

October 5

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."

October 6

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. Rafert wrote that 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." He noted that the riot in 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 enforced their idea of justice 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. Six months prior, local businessmen A.Y. Comstock and D.C. Spraker had organized a subscription drive to raise money to drill for gas. The venture was not without its detractors, though. The Kokomo Gazette-Tribune published the concerns of some citizens, noting "There is a move on foot, as yet in the embryotic [sic] state, to tap this terrestrial ball somewhere in the immediate vicinity of Kokomo for natural gas. . . . We venture to ask, that in case an inexhaustible supply of this dangerous combustion is found, who's going to pay for spoiling all our good drinking water, and ruining our olfactory organs with a continual smell of coal oil?" Despite these concerns, drilling commenced in September and less than a month later, gas was struck. In the aftermath, Kokomo's economy boomed. The Diamond Plate Glass Company, Kokomo Window Glass Company, the Kokomo Strawboard Company, and other factories flocked to Kokomo to take advantage of the nearly free supply of natural gas. Between 1886 and 1890, the population of Kokomo exploded from 4,000 to 8,261 people. 

October 7

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

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 that 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. Reformer and legislator Robert Dale Owen pleaded for women’s suffrage rights at the convention. 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's married women. His efforts set the stage for legislative action in 1853.

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." 

In 1918, due to a influenza epidemic, the Indiana Board of Health issued an order banning all public gatherings in the state until October 20. 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. In 1942, she became an organizer for the International Workers Order. According to Traces magazine, "Hyndman devoted most of her time to breaking down racial barriers in Gary. When white students at the Froebel School organized a boycott of classes, she mobilized the Gary Civil Liberties Committee to work for a resolution . . . without giving in to white student demands that Principal Richard A. Nazum be fired or that black [students] be transferred to other schools." Nearly a decade later, 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. Traces magazine concludes "Hyndman never abandoned her principles, however. Until her death in 1978 she continued to write scathing letters to public officials, hectoring them about racism and economic inequities." (Lake Co.)

October 8

In 1821, the initial sale of lots in Indianapolis beganIt would take fifty years to sell all of the land donated by the federal government for the new Indiana state capital. All proceeds from the sale of this land were used to erect public buildings, including the clerk's office, the governor's mansion in the circle (now Monument Circle), a house and office for the state treasurer, the first Marion County courthouse, and the first state house. Part of the money went toward construction of the first state prison in Jeffersonville. 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. 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. (Washington Co.)

In 1914, the Indianapolis Hoosiers (or HooFeds) baseball team won the Federal League pennant with an 88-65 record, which topped the Chicago Whales (then known as the Chicago Federals or Chi-Feds) by a game and a half 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.

October 9

In 1824, Fifth Circuit Court 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. (Madison Co.)

In 1847, African American David Powell and his family fled their enslavement in Boone County, Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. The family’s enslaver, John Norris, unsuccessfully sent a party of 40 men to track down the Powells. Two years later Norris received word that the family was living in Michigan and set out to find them. He found them in their home and the family was taken through Indiana on their way to Kentucky. When neighbors heard of their abduction, they set off in pursuit of Norris and the Powells. They caught up with them in South Bend and halted their progress. Edwin Crocker represented the Powells in the "South Bend Fugitive Slave Case" and argued that Norris failed to acquire a certificate to transport the Powells through Indiana on their way to Kentucky. The judge ruled in their favor and, after an additional hearing a few days later, the Powells returned to their home in Michigan. Norris, outraged by the court's decision, filed suit in the U.S. Circuit Court against those who had assisted the Powells in their escape. He sued for the cost of his lost "property." Although just months before, it had been decided that the Powells were not his property, he won the suit and was awarded $2,856. According to historian Claire Harvey, the case “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." (St. Joseph Co.)

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 exhibited her art at midwestern shows.

October 10

In 1834, entomologist and naturalist Thomas Say died in New Harmony. He helped found the Academy of Natural Sciences in his hometown of Philadelphia, before traveling on the "Boatload of Knowledge" in 1825 to Robert Owen's utopian society in Indiana. (Posey Co.)

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. (Parke Co. and Montgomery Co.)

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

In 1933, United Airlines flight NC13304, a Boeing 247, exploded in the air above Chesterton. The plane had begun the trip at Newark Airport in New Jersey and was bound for California. After a refueling stop in Cleveland, the plane continued on its journey. On board the 10-seat plane were two pilots, one flight attendant, and four passengers. An additional passenger had missed his flight by 20 minutes after his taxi driver got lost on the way to the airportWitnesses in Chesterton recalled that a loud noise caused them to look to the skies at around 9:00 PM. There they saw a yellow light circling down, plunging to the ground. It was the plane. Nobody on board survived the crash. While it seemed at first to be an accident, investigators later concluded that an on-board explosive device downed the aircraft. The saboteur's identity and the motive remain a historical mystery. (Porter Co.)

October 11

In 1864, Governor Oliver P. Morton was elected to a second term in a landslide, defeating Democratic candidate Joseph E. McDonald. In the months leading up to the election, Morton revealed knowledge of a plot being hatched by a fringe Democratic group called the Sons of Liberty. Working with military officials, Morton gathered evidence to show that the group planned to seize the state arsenal and release Confederate prisoners being held in Indianapolis, presumably in an effort to start a coup of the Indiana state government. Morton ordered the arrest of the leader of the Sons of Liberty, along with his accomplices, and the men were charged with treason and tried before a military court. Morton used the arrests and fears of conspiracy as talking points before the election. To further secure his reelection, Morton convinced President Lincoln to grant Indiana soldiers furloughs to return home to vote. Those who returned home overwhelmingly supported Morton, who was also known as the "soldiers' friend."

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 began publication as the Sun in 1888, was renamed the Indianapolis Sun in 1899, the Indiana Daily Times in 1914, and finally the Indianapolis Times in 1922. In the mid-1920s, 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 throughout its run, from corruption in the state’s highway fund and voter fraud in congressional districts to exposing falsely reported Indianapolis crime statistics.

October 12

In 1878, a white mob murdered five African American men on the grounds of Posey County's courthouse. Four of the men 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. The News reported on the 17th that "Nobody seems to think that there is the slightest possibility of the law's vengeance reaching one of the assassins, or even that anybody will be indicted, arrested or disturbed for it."

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, 1st Lieutenant Samuel Woodfill, commander of M Company of the 60th Infantry Regiment, demonstrated great bravery on the field of battle while fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France during World War I. With his company halted by enemy fire, Woodfill advanced alone and singlehandedly destroyed three German machine gun nests. For his courage, the Jefferson County native received the Medal of Honor. General John Pershing presented the medal to him in ceremonies at Chaumont, France on February 9, 1919.

October 13

In 1893, The Door of Hope, which became Wheeler Mission Ministries, opened its doors in Indianapolis and held its first service. The Door of Hope was established by the Central Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church's WCTU with the goal of serving "friendless women and unwed mothers." According to the Indiana State Library, "in 1895, it became known as the Rescue Mission and Home, and its purpose was to be a charitable organization serving the material and spiritual needs of poor individuals and families in Indianapolis through Christian evangelism and conversion. In 1905, it was renamed the Rescue Mission and Home of Indianapolis. William V. Wheeler, originally a volunteer and hardware salesman, was an important force in the organization, becoming part-time, then full-time superintendent, and when he died in 1908, it was renamed in his honor."

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.

October 14

In 1857, automobile pioneer Elwood Haynes was born in Portland, Indiana. 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. (Jay Co.)

In 1910, John Wooden, one of the winningest collegiate basketball coaches, was born in Martinsville. He became a star basketball player for Martinsville High School in the mid-1920s and helped lead the team to the 1927 Indiana state championship. He was later a three-time All-American at Purdue University. After graduating from Purdue in 1932, Wooden began teaching and coaching. In 1948, he accepted the head coach position at UCLA, where he would go on to make basketball history. While there, his teams won ten national championships in a twelve-year stretch spanning 1964-1975. Four of these teams had perfect 30-0 seasons. From 1971 to 1974, UCLA won 88 consecutive games, still an NCAA men’s basketball record. Wooden retired after UCLA’s 1975 championship victory over Kentucky. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 99. (Morgan Co.)

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. (Boone Co.)

October 15

In 1851, Indiana's first woman's rights convention concluded at Dublin. 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 the 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 an auxiliary to the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1870 and later the Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association. (Wayne Co.)

In 1896, the first Rural Free Delivery post offices were established in Indiana at Hartsville and Hope. The service delivered mail directly to rural residents and eliminated the need to pick up mail at distant post offices or pay for delivery. John Wanamaker, U.S. Postmaster General from 1889 to 1893 reasoned that with Rural Free Delivery, businesses could expand their markets, important information could be spread more quickly in rural areas, and young people might be more likely to stay on the farm if things like magazines and mail delivery items were more readily available. In the early years of Rural Free Delivery, everything from lard pails to old cigar boxes were used as mailboxes, but by 1901 it was decided that a standardized box would improve service. From then on out, specifications had to be met. (Bartholomew Co.)

October 16

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

In 1944, Columbus native and Women's Air Service Pilot Jeanne (also spelled Jean) Lewellen Norbeck died when the plane she was piloting crashed. Norbeck became interested in flying while in high school and took flying lessons during her senior year. According to the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum, Norbeck and her husband, Edward, were living in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. After her husband joined the Army in 1943, Norbeck completed additional pilot training at the Dallas Aviation School and entered the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) training program in 1943. On October 16, 1944, Jeanne Norbeck and Marybelle Arduengo reported for assignment at Shaw Field in Sumter, South Carolina, where they were ordered to test two BT-13 trainer planes. They flipped a quarter to see who would test which plane, then commenced testing. Soon into her flight, Norbeck realized there was a problem with the plane and turned back toward the base. Suddenly, the plane rolled and went into a spin and Norbeck was unable to regain control. Norbeck 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.

October 17

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

In 1974, the Indianapolis Racers played the first hockey game of their inaugural season at Market Square Arena. In just over four seasons the team won less than 37% of its games. In the 1978-1979 season, which would prove to be their last, the Racers signed rookies Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, both of whom went on to have very successful careers in the National Hockey League. Even with these rising stars on the roster, the team struggled financially and eventually ceased operations partway through the season.

October 18

In 1844, Harvey Washington Wiley was born on a small farmstead near Kent. He earned his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Indiana and worked as a chemist at Purdue University. While at Purdue, Wiley became interested in the health effects of adulterated food. At the time, lax government oversight allowed food manufacturers to add harmful additives and preservatives to their food and then mislead consumers about what they were actually eating. In 1883, Wiley was appointed Chief Chemist of the Bureau of Chemistry and during his term the government began testing food, beverages, and ingredients. 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. (Jefferson Co.)

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. Moy was an active and prominent member of Indianapolis’ small Chinese immigrant population. He lived in the city as a citizen for 14 years before the decision was reversed and his citizenship rescinded. However, he was permitted to stay in the country and resided in Indianapolis 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 have graced the concert hall's stage.  

In 1968, African American artist John Wesley Hardrick died and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. The Indianapolis artist is best known for his painting "Little Brown Girl," which was awarded the Harmon Foundation Bronze Medal, in recognition of distinguished achievement by African American artists 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.

October 19

In 1876, Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” Brown was born in Nyesville. 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. (Parke Co.)

October 20

In 1852, the first Indiana State Fair opened at Military Park in Indianapolis. The State Fair was one way in which the newly formed State Board of Agriculture attempted to foster development in farm production and animal husbandry, establishing a venue for farmers to share ideas and theories as well as exhibit the products of their hard work. From October 20 to October 22, farmers gathered to display over thirteen hundred exhibit entries. Cash premiums were awarded in such categories as “best 3 year old bull,” “best stallion for heavy draft,” “best manure fork,” and “best lot of butter made from 5 cows in 30 consecutive days.” Approximately 30,000 Hoosiers visited the fair in its first year. When the Civil War ended, the fair was moved to the former site of Camp Morton. It moved to its current site on 38th Street in 1892.

October 21

In 1870, artist Ada Walter Shulz was born in Terre Haute. The subject of her paintings were typically the children of Brown County and she was one of the founders of the Brown County Art Colony. (Vigo Co.)

In 1875, "Iron Brigade" Commander Solomon Meredith died at his Cambridge City home. Meredith was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1846 and served as U.S. Marshal for Indiana from 1849 to 1853. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, he was placed in command of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This regiment, along with the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments, formed what would later become the Iron Brigade. 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 served as Surveyor General of the Montana Territory from 1867-1869. (Wayne Co.)

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. Title IX was signed into law in 1972. (Vigo Co.)

October 22

In 1794, Major General Anthony Wayne's soldiers completed construction on Fort Wayne. 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. (Allen Co.)

In 1840, after over three months of travelling from France, Sister Theodore Guérin and other Sisters of Providence arrived in the middle of a thick, village-less forest four miles outside of Terre Haute. In 1839, Vicar-General, Reverend Célestine de la Hailandiére recruited Guérin and six other Sisters to move to the United States to create schools and orphanages for the Diocese of Vincennes. Once the group arrived in Indiana, they began the construction of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods school (later Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College). Sister Saint Theodore Guérin dedicated her life to providing women with educational opportunities, assisting in establishing several schools in Indiana. (Vigo Co.)

October 23

In 1833, Abram C. Shortridge was born in Henry County. He is best known for the sweeping improvements he made to 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 author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Senator 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.

October 24

In 1865, 150 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 1888, Republican National Committee treasurer William W. Dudley of Richmond, authored a letter on RNC stationary to GOP leaders in Indiana. He urged his readers to take preemptive action to ensure Republicans' and presidential nominee Benjamin Harrison's success in '88. Dudley wrote, "Divide the floaters (non-partisan voters open to accepting bribes) into blocks of five, put a trusted man with the necessary funds in charge of these five and make him responsible that none get away and that all vote our ticket." Floaters were rumored to vote early and often. Dudley's letter became public weeks before the election. Democrats called foul. Republicans disingenuously called the missive a forgery. Harrison immediately tried to distance himself from Dudley, but the taint of corruption followed his electoral victory. As a result, Harrison and the Republicans (Dudley included) were regularly lampooned in political humor magazines like Puck. (Wayne Co.)

October 25 

In 1909, four explosions ripped through Indianapolis and destroyed buildings linked to contractor Albert von Spreckelson. At the time, it was suspected that local attorney and employee of the ironworkers union John (J.J.) McNamara set the dynamite explosions because von Spreckleson had hired non-union workers. Eighteen months later, that suspicion was confirmed. McNamara was tied to additional dynamite blasts in multiple states, including the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building on October 1, 1910. That bombing killed twenty-one people and injured over 100 others. 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. It was this bombing which set McNamara up for arrest and on April 22, 1911. He was hauled out of his office on Monument Circle by detectives. 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."

October 26

In 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the state’s women’s suffrage law unconstitutional. The law, called the Maston-McKinley Partial Suffrage Act, granted Hoosier women the right to vote in municipal, school and special elections. Between its passage and the ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court, between 30,000 and 40,000 women registered to vote in Indianapolis alone. The decision shocked the women of the state but they soon rallied and began to work again for their right to vote. 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 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. (Allen Co.)

October 27

In 1877, Willis D. Gatch, inventor of the adjustable hospital bed, was born in Aurora. Gatch earned his B.A. 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. (Dearborn Co.)

In 1927, Indianapolis 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 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. (Marion Co. and Allen Co.)

October 28

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

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. (Allen Co.)

October 29

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.

October 30

In 1844 Abraham Lincoln spoke to a large crowd at the Spencer County courthouse in Rockport. The purpose of his visit was to campaign for Whig presidential candidate Henry Clay and the thesis of his speech favored protective tariffs. 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, the third radio station of Indianapolis, aired its 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 in 1938: "There will be no commercials on the morning programs, no newscasts, no stock market reports, no beauty hints, etc. The entire morning will be devoted to musical entertainment. . . . old-time music, popular music, concert music, dramatics, news, special features, educational programs, etc.—each will have its specific time daily.  In this way we hope to develop regular listening habits for those who enjoy only certain types of radio entertainment.”

October 31

In 1903, players, staff, and fans for Purdue University's football team, aboard the team's car, were killed when their train crashed en route to Indianapolis to play against their Indiana University rivals. Around 10 o'clock a.m. the train rounded a corner and crashed into a group of coal cars. The cause of the crash was attributed to the miscommunication of a telegraph operator. Memorial Gymnasium (renamed Felix Haas Hall in 2006) was constructed in 1909 on the Purdue University campus to honor the memory of those who perished.

In 1963, an explosion ripped through the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. With just 3 minutes left in the "Holiday on Ice" performance, propane gas which had been leaking from a tank in the concession area, came into contact with an electric popcorn machine and ignited, causing a massive explosion on the south side of the Coliseum. The blast killed seventy-four people and injured nearly 400. A temporary morgue was set up on the ice floor and every hospital in the Indianapolis area treated the wounded. According to the IndyStar, "a Marion County grand jury indicted the state fire marshal, the Indianapolis fire chief, the general manager and the concessions manager of the Coliseum, as well as officers of the company that supplied the gas. But there was only one conviction, the president of the gas supplier, and that verdict was later overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court."

November

November 1

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. Article XIII was repealed in 1866 when the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the provision unconstitutional because it was contrary to the newly passed 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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. (Lake Co.)

November 2

In 1913, riots erupted in Indianapolis when 300 Pinkerton Agency strikebreakers replaced striking workers from the Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company. In August, labor organizers approached the workers to discuss unionization; the low wages and long working hours of the trainmen made them receptive to the idea. According to The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, "[On October 31] union sympathizers attacked workers who resisted the job action. The striking employees vandalized streetcars and effectively closed down business. The following day 65 crews reported to work, but strikers prevented the movement of the streetcars and demanded that employers recognize the union." By November 4, Governor Samuel Ralston ordered 2,200 national guardsmen to the city. An agreement between the workers and the company was reached and the strike ended on November 7. The company was ordered to increase pay, reduce working hours, allow workers to organize, and grant them one Sunday off per month. However, six people had died in the chaos of the strike.

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.

November 3

In 1851, author Mary Hannah Krout was born in Crawfordsville. One of the 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 for the Chicago Inter-Ocean 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. (Montgomery Co.)

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 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.

November 4

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 World War I 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 a laurel wreath as a "memorable token of friendship from our Allied nation."

November 5

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. (Vigo Co.)

In 1912, Columbia City resident Thomas Riley Marshall was elected U.S. vice president under Woodrow Wilson. Marshall served as Governor of Indiana from 1909-1913. Under his leadership, the Indiana General Assembly enacted legislation called the "Marshall Constitution," which sought to remove hindrances to governmental reform by simplifying the amendment process, restricting voting rights, and expanding the governor's powers. The "Marshall Constitution" was declared unconstitutional by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1912. When President Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, his condition was largely hidden by his wife and close advisors, even from Vice President Marshall. As rumors about the President’s condition circulated, Marshall was urged to seize the presidency. Marshall refused, stating that such an act would be unconstitutional and saying "I could throw this country into a civil war, but I won't." President Wilson survived and Marshall unsuccessfully ran for president in 1922. (Whitley Co.)

In 1940, Indianapolis attorney Robert Lee Brokenburr became the first African-American state 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.  

November 6

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. The Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research was created with the Purdue Research Foundation. The Fund purchased the "flying laboratory" in which Earhart and her navigator disappeared on July 2, 1937. (Tippecanoe Co.)

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.)

November 7

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. (Lake Co.)

November 8

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. (Vigo Co.)

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 2004, physicist and professor Dr. Melba Phillips died in Petersburg. 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. (Pike Co.)

November 9

In 1968, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck Indiana and was felt in at least twenty states. The epicenter of the earthquake was just ten miles from the IndianaIllinois border, 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.

November 10

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.

November 11

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. (Vanderburgh Co.)

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. (Parke Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

November 12

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. (Montgomery Co.)

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, seven African American women founded Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. at Butler University. The founders 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.

November 13

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's married women. His efforts set the stage for legislative action in 1853.

November 14

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. After a year in prison, Stephenson began correspondence with the Indianapolis Times. In his letters, Stephenson revealed evidence of corruption in the state government, as well as in the Indianapolis city government. The Times published these letters and called for justice to be served. By 1928, Indiana Governor Warren McCray had been indicted on charges of bribery, Mayor John Duvall was convicted of corruption and forced to resign, and six city councilmen were indicted for accepting bribes and were forced to resign.

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 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. (St. Joseph Co.)

November 15

In 1885, the Indianapolis Times 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

November 16

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. (Vigo Co.)

November 17

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. 

November 18

In 1873, wealthy merchant  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. (Floyd Co.)

In 1967, Mooresville high school graduate 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. (Morgan Co.)

November 19

In 1927, African American passenger Laura Fisher boarded a Greyhound Bus at a station in Richmond and took a seat in the back. After feeling ill, Fisher moved to the front of the bus. The 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.” (Wayne Co.)

November 20

In 1878, journalist, historian and diplomat Claude Bowers was born in Westfield. He attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and wrote for the Terre Haute Star. Bowers became an influential and nationally-prominent Democratic politician, serving as temporary chairman of the 1928 Democratic National Convention and U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Chile. Bowers worked to keep the U.S. out of the Spanish Civil War through his diplomatic work. (Hamilton Co.)

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 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 the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now Newfields).

November 21

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. (Montgomery Co.)

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. in 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. (Monroe Co.)

November 22

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 U.S. 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. (Putnam Co. and Montgomery Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

November 23

In 1891, Governor Alvin P. Hovey died in office. The 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 the 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. 

November 24

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, violating an 1843 Indiana law which stated that "any person assisting a slave to escape or hindering any person in lawfully recovering any 'fugitive slave or person owing service,' upon conviction can be fined up to $500." 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 which found that federal Fugitive Slave Acts superseded state acts, was used in this case and elsewhere to benefit the anti-slavery cause, when lawyers argued that since all state Fugitive Slave Laws were null-and-void, fugitive slave cases could not be tried at the state level.

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.

November 25

In 1863, Goshen’s Ruel M. Johnson, a 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. (Elkhart Co.)

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.

November 26

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." However, by Father Sorin's death in 1893, "the foundation was firmly set for the growth of what has become the world's leading Catholic university and one of the nation's top 20 institutions of higher learning." (St. Joseph Co.)

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 and went on to set several official world records in many of cycle racing's sprint distances. 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.(St. Joseph Co.)

November 27

In 1848, Jefferson County's 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 before closing in 1938.

In 1909, 1909, Governor Harold Handley graduated from Indiana University, and joined his father in management of a La Porte furniture company before the company was forced to close due to the Great Depression. After working for some time for a North Carolina furniture company, Handley made a successful run for the Indiana state senate in 1940. Handley interrupted his political career in the state senate to join the Army during World War II. Upon his return, he was elected to the state senate in 1948 and lieutenant governor in 1952. Handley won the gubernatorial election in 1956. Handley raised some controversy when he ran for the United States Senate in 1958 midway through his term of office. He lost the Senate race to Democrat Vance Hartke and returned to the State House to complete his gubernatorial term. Handley was accessible to both the press and the public, establishing an unusual rapport with the citizens. (Monroe Co. and LaPorte Co.)

November 28

In 1840, Miami leaders signed a treaty with the United States, which "ceded all remaining tribal lands in Indiana to the United States, including 511,000 acres left of the Big Miami Reserve." According to the Myaamia Center, "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 a slander suit against Lafayette Police Chief Harry Mandler, who had sought to damage her reputationand 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. (Tippecanoe Co.)

In 1954, it was reported that the Indianapolis Times would be honored by the Indiana Association of Mental Health 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." 

November 29

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 It was the trustees’ intention to provide higher education “on the western frontier of the growing United States,” and not just on the “settled eastern coast.” (Knox Co.)

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.

November 30

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. (LaPorte Co.)

December

December 1

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. (Hendricks Co.)

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. (Hamilton Co.)

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.” (Jackson Co.)

December 2

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. (Lake Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

December 3

In 1832, James H. Cravens, of Versailles, 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. (Ripley Co.)

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. (Montgomery Co.)

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.

December 4

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. 

December 5

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. (Porter Co.)

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, Massachusetts.

In 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment passed, repealing Prohibition. On the same day, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., began production of whiskey in Lawrenceburg. At its height, the company employed more than 2,500 workers in the Hoosier state, many of which worked at a separate bottling plant. (Dearborn Co.)

December 6

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 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. (Howard Co. and Hamilton Co.)

December 7

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. (Franklin Co.)

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.

December 8

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." (Vanderburgh Co.)

December 9

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. (Montgomery Co.)

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. (Vanderburgh Co.)

December 10

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. (Huntington Co.)

December 11

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.

December 12

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. (Wayne Co.)

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. (Monroe Co.)

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.” 

December 13

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. (Vanderburgh Co.)

December 14

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. (Wabash Co.)

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. (St. Joseph Co.)

In 1938, oil was struck in Griffin 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. (Posey Co.)

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. (Vigo Co.)

December 15

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. (Clinton Co. and Boone Co.)

December 16

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."

December 17

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. (Knox Co.)

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. (Grant Co.)

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.

December 18

In 1896, the Central State Hospital pathological laboratory was dedicated in Indianapolis. 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.

December 19

In 1894, pioneering baseball executive Ford Frick was born in Wawaka. 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. (Noble Co.)

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. (Allen Co.)

December 20

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. (Vigo Co.)

In 1898, Congress approved