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John B. Ford

Location: First Harrison Bank, 9849 US 150, Greenville (Floyd County), Indiana 47124

Installed 2019 Indiana Historical Bureau, Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County,
Greenville Historic Preservation Commission, and the Floyd County Historical Society

ID#: 22.2019.1

Text

Side One

John B. Ford (c. 1811-1903)

Entrepreneur and philanthropist John B. Ford, whose innovations advanced the U.S. glass industry, began his career in Floyd County. He lived in Greenville where, by 1837, he owned the Station Building property. After moving to New Albany in the 1850s, he built up a fleet of steam ships. During the Civil War, “Captain” Ford profited from government shipping contracts.

Side Two

John B. Ford

In 1867, Ford joined his son Emory in operation of the glassworks company J. B. Ford & Son, which launched the area’s glass making industry. In the 1880s and 1890s, Ford established companies near Pittsburg and Detroit that became glass industry leaders. He stayed connected to Greenville, funding construction of Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church in 1899. 

Annotated Text

Side One

John B. Ford (c. 1811-1903)[1]

Entrepreneur and philanthropist John B. Ford,[2] whose innovations advanced the U.S. glass industry, began his career in Floyd County.[3] He lived in Greenville[4] where, by 1837, he owned the Station Building property.[5] After moving to New Albany in the 1850s,[6] he built up a fleet of steam ships.[7] During the Civil War, “Captain” Ford profited from government shipping contracts.[8]

Side Two

In 1867, Ford joined his son Emory in operation of the glassworks company J. B. Ford & Son, which launched the area’s glass making industry.[9] In the 1880s and 1890s, Ford established companies near Pittsburgh[10] and Detroit,[11] that became glass industry leaders.[12] He stayed connected to Greenville, funding construction of Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church in 1899.[13]

 

[1] 1850 United States Census, Greenville, Floyd County, Indiana, Roll M432_145, page 375A, accessed AncestryLibrary.com; 1860 United States Census, New Albany Ward 3, Floyd County, Indiana, Roll M653_257, page 30, accessed AncestryLibrary.com; 1870 United States Census, New Albany Ward 2, Floyd County, Indiana, Roll M593_313, page 303A, accessed AncestryLibrary.com; 1880 United States Census, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, Roll 269, page 183B, accessed AncestryLibrary.com; 1900 United States Census, East Deer, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, FHL microfilm 1241366, page 10, accessed AncestryLibrary.com;  

“Capt. John B. Ford,” (Meadville, Pennsylvania) ­Evening Republican, February 2, 1901, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; Louis Ludlow, “A Wonderful True Story,” Plymouth Tribune, August 14, 1902, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “Capt. J. B. Ford Passes Away," (Meadville, Pennsylvania) Evening Republican, May 1, 1903, 1, accessed Newspapers.com; “Death of Capt. J.B. Ford,” Indianapolis Journal, May 2, 1903, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; “John Baptiste Ford,” New York Times, May 2, 1903, 9, accessed TimesMachine.com; “John Baptiste Ford,” photographs of mausoleum, Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Memorial ID: 10705, accessed https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10705/john-baptiste-ford.

Census records cite various ages for John B. Ford, putting his birth year in 1809 (1850 census), 1807 (1860 census), 1812 (1870 census), 1812 (1880 census), and 1811 (1900 census). However, as newspaper articles covering his career became more thorough and extensive in his later life, 1811 was given as his birth year consistently, and November 17, 1811 as his birthday more specifically. Such articles note that he was born in Danville, Kentucky. Ford died May 1, 1903 in Creighton Pennsylvania.

 

[2] Louis Ludlow, “A Wonderful True Story,” Plymouth Tribune, August 14, 1902, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “John Baptiste Ford,” New York Times, May 2, 1903, 9, accessed TimesMachine.com; “Death of Capt. J.B. Ford,” Indianapolis Journal, May 2, 1903, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; Aiken, 15.

The New York Times referred to Ford as the “father of the plate glass industry in this country” and reported that he was “noted for his philanthropy.” The Indianapolis Journal bestowed the same title and reported “Captain Ford’s philanthropy has been extensive.” Among his innovations, John B. Ford is recognized as an early developer of processes to use natural gas to make glass and as among the first Americans to make clear plate glass suitable for shop windows. In the towns where he had large factories in Pennsylvania and Michigan, he donated large amounts of money for parks and churches. He was known for giving generously to charity, helping others enter business, and helping friends when needed. Writing for the Indianapolis Sentinel (republished by the Plymouth Tribune) Louis Ludlow reported that between 1900 and 1902, Ford donated half a million to charity. See footnote # for his Greenville charity.

 

[3] Arthur Pound, Salt of the Earth: The Story of Captain J. B. Ford and Michigan Alkali Company (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Company, 1940), accessed GoogleBooks; William Earl Aiken, The Roots Grow Deep: A Story of Captain Ford, his son Edward and their contribution to America’s Glass Industry (Cleveland: Lezius-Hiles Company, 1957); Roberts Family, “History of the Station Building,” 1993, Greenville Historic Preservation Commission, submitted by applicant, copy available in marker file;

Two secondary sources, Arthur Pound’s 1940 Salt of the Earth and William Earl Aiken’s 1957 The Roots Grow Deep, both corporate histories sponsored by companies founded by John B. Ford, give specific information on the beginnings of his career in Floyd County. They agree that he left Danville, Kentucky, in 1825 and settled in Greenville where he worked in saddle making. These authors agree that that he was soon running a dry goods store and a flour mill. Local histories collected by the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission claim that Ford was running these and other businesses out of two buildings located on the plot of land occupied by the structure referred to as the “Station Building.” These secondary sources could be correct. Ford did buy the plot of land occupied by the Station Building and he did earn enough capital to start a shipping business by the late 1840s. However, the exact nature of his business in Greenville has not been confirmed by primary source research in Floyd County newspapers or through the collections at the New Albany Public Library. See footnote 4 for more information on Ford’s purchase of land in Greenville. On the other hand, numerous primary sources confirm his work in New Albany. See footnote 6 for more information.

 

[4] “John B. Ford,” March 17, 1831, Floyd County, Indiana, Indiana Marriage Index, 1800-1941, accessed Ancestry.com; 1840 United States Census, Greenville, Floyd County, Indiana, Roll M704, Group 29, Page 155, National Archives, accessed AncestryLibrary.

Secondary sources detailed in footnote three place Ford’s arrival in Greenville in 1825, but this has not been confirmed by primary sources. The earliest primary placing him in Floyd County is his 1831 marriage record. He owned land in Greenville by 1837. See footnote 5 for information on the related land deeds. The 1840 census confirms his residence in Greenville and 1843 land deeds confirm his purchase of more land. Again, see footnote 5 on land deeds.

 

[5] The following land deeds accessed Indiana Room, New Albany Floyd County Public Library, submitted by Andy Lemon of the Greenville Town Council, copies available in IHB marker file: Land Deed, George Lease, Jane Lease, John B. Ford, and Mary Ford, August 25, 1837, Book K, Page 183; Land Deed, John B. Ford and Sam Steele, March 21, 1850, Book X, Page 271; Land Deed, John B. Ford and Martha Steele, et al., April 19, 1851, Book I11, Page 563; The following land deeds accessed Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, U.S. Department of the Interior: United States of America to John B. Ford, April 10, 1843, Certificate No. 17041; United States of America to John B. Ford, April 10, 1843, Certificate No. 17040; “Greenville Station,” Greenville, Floyd County, Survey No. 043-059-41004, Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation.

Land deeds show that by 1837 John B. Ford owned the lot where the building referred to as the “Station Building” stands today. Secondary sources claim that Ford built the Station Building in 1840 and ran several businesses out of it, but IHB staff were unable to confirm the erection of the building nor what businesses were established within it using primary sources. (See footnote 3 for more on the secondary sources). Deed transfers involving Ford were recorded in 1850 and 1851, when he likely sold the building and business. The town plat map accessed in the “Greenville” file at the New Albany Public Library and the map accessible through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation’s SHAARD database confirm that the location is the same. The current address of the Station Building is 9870 US 150 not far from the location of the historical marker at 9849 US 150 in Greenville. Land deeds transferring public lands to Ford from the U.S. government show Ford bought other property in Greenville to build his residence.

 

[6] Daily State Sentinel, April 23, 1857, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; Evansville Daily Journal, October 20, 1859, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; Evansville Daily Journal, September 12, 1860, 4, accessed Newspapers.com; 1860 United States Census, New Albany Ward 3, Floyd County, Indiana, Roll 653_257, page 30, accessed AncestryLibrary.com.

Secondary sources (noted in footnote 3) claim Ford moved to New Albany in 1854, but this exact date has not been confirmed by primary sources. The (Indianapolis) Daily State Sentinel reported in 1857 that “Mr. John B. Ford, and other enterprising citizens of New Albany proposes establishing a cotton factory at that place.” This is the earliest primary source located during this research identifying New Albany as Ford’s residence. Later newspaper articles and the 1860 census confirm his New Albany citizenship.

 

[7] Advertisement, Evansville Daily Journal, August 29, 1857, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; Evansville Daily Journal, October 20, 1859, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; Report from the New Albany Ledger, Evansville Daily Journal, February 10, 1860, 4, accessed Newspapers.com;

As early as 1857, newspapers advertised coffee received by a steamer owned by J. B. Ford. The Evansville Daily Journal reported in 1859 on a new “packet,” aka a transport ship, purchased by Ford. The same newspaper shared a report from the New Albany Ledger in February 1860 that Ford had contracted a “side wheel boat,” aka a paddle steamer, from New Albany boat builders. The Journal reported in September 1860 that Ford purchased a wrecked boat and towed it back to New Albany to have its machinery rebuilt into a new boat, “the fourth boat contracted for by Capt. Ford within a short space of time.”

 

[8] Evansville Daily Journal, September 12, 1860, 4, accessed Newspapers.com; Evansville Daily Journal, January 11, 1861, 1, accessed Newspapers.com; “River News,” Evansville Daily Journal, July 17, 1862, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; “Government Transportation,” Evansville Daily Journal, January 28, 1864, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “River News,” Evansville Daily Journal, February 19, 1864, 3, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “River News,” Evansville Daily Journal, August 30, 1864, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; “River News,” Evansville Daily Journal, November 9, 1864, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; “Additional River Items,” Evansville Daily Journal, February 10, 1865, 1, accessed Newspapers.com.

Ford had begun shipping goods as early as 1857 and acquired several boats over the following few years. By 1860, however he had extended trade from New Albany south to Louisville, St. Louis and New Orleans according to the Evansville Daily Journal. The New Albany Ledger (via the Evansville Daily Journal) reported that Ford was “utterly opposed” to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and “Black Republicanism and all its odious doctrines.” Despite this, he profited during the Civil War from government shipping contracts. The Journal reported in July 1862, that Ford shipped a load of government supplies up the Tennessee River. The same newspaper reported on his bod for a government shipping contract again in January 1864. The Evansville Daily Journal reported throughout 1864 on the “mammoth” new shops added to Ford’s fleet and the large quantities of freight they carried. By this point, his son Emory Ford was serving as a freight clerk aboard J. B. Ford’s steamers. Also, by this point, newspapers reported that J.B. Ford was operating his own shipyard. One interesting incident of note during the Civil War occurred November 1864. Union troops burned one of Ford’s large ship, which was loaded with government supplies, at the Battle of Johnsonville in Tennessee to prevent its capture by Confederate troops led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. As late as February 1865, Ford was adding new steamers to his fleet.

 

[9] New Albany Daily Ledger, May 12, 1865, 2, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; “Manufacture of Glass,” Indianapolis Star, May 15, 1865, 2, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; “Glass Works,” New Albany Daily Ledger, October 24, 1865, 2, accessed Newspaper Archive.com; “Large Sale,” Evansville Daily Journal, November 2, 1865, 4, accessed Newspapers.com; “Burning of the Glass Works,” New Albany Gazette, February 21, 1866, 4, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; “Miscellaneous,” (Memphis, Tennessee) Public Ledger, July28, 1866, 3, accessed Newspapers.com; Evansville Daily Journal, July 30, 1866, 7, accessed Newspapers.com; “New Albany Manufactures: Glass Works Company Organized,” New Albany Daily Ledger, July 30, 1866, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; “State Items,” Evansville Daily Journal, August 7, 1866, 6, accessed Newspapers.com; “State News,” Evansville Daily Journal, August 28, 1866, 6, accessed Newspapers.com; “The Glass Works,” New Albany Daily Commercial, September 6, 1866, 4, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; Indianapolis Daily Journal, November 9, 1866, 4, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; “Burning of the New Albany Glass Works,” Louisville Daily Courier, February 21, 1867, 4, accessed Newspapers.com; “State Items,” Evansville Journal, February 27, 1867, 4, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “Indiana Items,” Evansville Journal, May 28, 1867, 4, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; Advertisement, “Glass Works, New Albany Glass Works,” Louisville Daily Courier, July 12, 1867, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; “New Albany Glass Works,” Indianapolis Daily Herald, September 17. 1867, 4, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “City Features,” Louisville Daily Courier, April 25, 1868, 1, accessed Newspapers.com; “Jottings,” Jasper Weekly Courier, January 29, 1869, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; “State Items,” (Indianapolis) Daily Sentinel, June 3, 1869, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “River News,” Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, June 5, 1869, 3, accessed Newspaers.com; 1880 United States Census, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, Roll 269, page 183B, accessed AncestryLibrary.com.

 

Emory Ford was operating a glassworks with partners by 1866 after their first attempt was stalled by a fire. Emory likely used capital invested by his father who joined his son in operating the business by 1867. Newspapers detail the evolution of the company.

In May 1865, newspapers reported vaguely on “a company of capitalists” considering investing in a glass works in New Albany. By August, the New Albany Daily Ledger reported more definitively that “a company is being formed for the establishment in this city of extensive glass works.” The “capitalists” still went unnamed at this point. In November 1865, the Evansville Daily Journal reported that J.B. Ford sold his foundry, shipyard, and sawmills for $50,000 (approximately $772,000 today). By this point then, John B. Ford would have had significant capital to invest in a new business. In February 1866, the New Albany Gazette reported that “the glass works of Montgomery, Ford & Co.” was “in complete running order.” However, on February 20, 1866, the glass works caught fire, burning down the glassblowing building completely and causing between $10,000 and $15,000 worth of damage. The New Albany Gazette reported that it would be immediately rebuilt, but it took some time. In July 1866, the Evansville Daily Ledger reported that Emory L. Ford and two partners officially organized a glassworks company on July 28, 1866 and deposited the capitol “to erect their buildings, buy the necessary machinery and set it up.” That same evening they purchased land just outside New Albany to begin building the factory. In August, newspapers reported that despite the delay, the glass factory would be “put in operation within a short period” and that the buildings were being erected as rapidly as the masons can put the brick and mortar together.” By September, the glass works was almost complete, notably made of “the best of fire-proof tile” and the owners were also building employee residence buildings nearby. In December, the Indianapolis Daily Journal reported on its completion. Indiana and Kentucky newspapers reported on February 21, 1867 that only two weeks after its opening, the factory (called both the New Albany Glass Works and the Glass Works of Montgomery, Ford & Co.) burned down.

In May 1867, John B. Ford purchased the other partners’ interests in the glass works. The Evansville Journal reported, “The works are now owned by Captain J. B. Ford and Emory L. Ford.” On June 7, the same newspaper reported that the buildings burned in the fire had been replaced by better ones and the glassworks would commence operations in two weeks. By July, J.B. Ford & Son advertised in Indiana and Kentucky newspapers that they were open for business and currently “manufacturing extensively all kinds of window glass of a very superior quality.” In September, the Indianapolis Daily Herald reported that the company was producing “the best looking glass we have ever seen of American make” and especially praised the large windows available that could be custom made for churches and public buildings. In April 1968 the Louisville Daily Courier also reported on the “large scale” of the operations of J.B. Ford & Son as well as noting the “superior quality.” In January 1869, the Jasper Weekly Courier reported that the factory employed 200 people. The Daily State Sentinel reported that Ford sold his interest, which was half, for $50,000. A Pittsburg newspaper confirmed the sale and listed the new owners as John S. McDonald and Mrs. Mary Lapsley. John B. Ford stayed involved in the company which was soon taken over by William C. DePauw, the largest stockholder of the company and a relative. The glass works, renamed the Star Glass Company was incorporated February 3, 1870. John B. Ford remained for some time as one of three directors. However, Ford soon took his business to more lucrative sites. According to the 1880 census, Ford lived briefly in Jeffersonville, Indiana, before removing to Pennsylvania. See following footnotes for more information.

 

[10]“State News,” Indianapolis News, January 22, 1883, 2, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles; “State Items,” (Scranton, PA) Evening Times, September 1, 1883, 1, accessed Newspapers.com; “A Monopoly in Plate Glass,” (Port Huron, MI) Times Herald, April 18, 1889, 4, accessed Newspapers.com; 1900 United States Federal Census, East Deer Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Page 10, Line 19, Enumeration District 0370, microfilm 1241366, U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Archives, accessed Ancestry.com; “Pittsburg Plate Glass, Ford City Works,” Pennsylvania Historical Marker, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, explorepahistory.com.

Ford and his partner John Pitcairn founded the Pittsburg Plate Glass Co. which was located in Creighton Pennsylvania in 1883. The Indianapolis News reported in January 1883, “Captain John B. Ford, a former citizen of New Albany, has made $80,000 by the purchase and sale of a gas well near Pittsburg.” The (Scranton, PA) Evening Times reported, “The Pittsburg Plate Glass Company has been organized in that city . . . to be located at Creighton Station, on the West Pennsylvania Railroad.”  Secondary sources (including the Pittsburg Plate Glass historical marker) state that he “established” the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. However, according to the (Port Huron, MI) Times Herald in April 1889, Ford was the owner of “the Ford City Plate Glass Works” and a stockholder of the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company. According to the Times Herald, Ford sold his Ford City Plate Glass Works to the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company on April 16, 1889. The 1900 census shows him living just north east of Pittsburg and lists his occupation as “glass manufacturer.”

 

[11] South Detroit Plate Glass,” Detroit Free Press, December 13, 1890, 5, accessed Newspapers.com; “Returning Activity,” Detroit Free Press, January 11, 1891, 14, accessed Newspapers.com; “Will Make Soda Ash,” Detroit Free Press, February 19, 1891, 5, accessed Newspapers.com; “Michigan News,” (Port Huron, Michigan) Times Herald, October 13, 1894, 8, accessed Newsappers.com; “Licensed To Do Business,” (Chicago) Inter Ocean, October 17, 1894, 10, accessed Newspapers.com; Pound, 6; “Michigan Alkali Company,” Marker Number L1790B, Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State, 1992.

 

Ford founded J. B. Ford Company (later Michigan Alkali Company) in the early 1890s, while still connected to the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company. Secondary sources agree that Ford purchased property in Wyandotte, Michigan outside Detroit on October 17, 1890. The Detroit Free Press reported on December 13, 1890 that “the new chemical company of J. B. Ford & Co. at South Detroit has begun drilling for salt . . .The company will go into the manufacture of plate glass.” The same newspaper reported in January 1891, “the work being done by the J. B. Ford & Company’s plate glass works is assuming gigantic proportions” and that almost 300 people were at work there. In February the Free Press reported that Ford himself arrived at the site with his son. Ford explained that they “just finished our salt well” and were analyzing it to determine if it was suitable for glassmaking purposes. Some secondary sources (including the Michigan historical marker) state that the company incorporated as Michigan Alkali Company in 1893. However, newspapers don’t record the new name until 1894. The (Port Huron, MI) Times Herald reported, “the Michigan Alkali Company, capital $1,000,000 was incorporated” on October 11, 1894 in Detroit. The (Chicago) Inter Ocean reported from Lansing, Michigan, on October 17, 1894 that the Michigan Alkali Company had just filed articles of association with the Michigan Secretary of State. The company mined the soda ash and sand needed to make glass. The salt and limestone solution produced was useful in a variety of industrial products and created the foundation of the future chemical company. See footnote 12. After founding Michigan Alkali, Ford left Pittsburg Glass and founded the Ford Glass Company in Ohio.

 

[12] “Arthur Pound, Salt of the Earth: The Story of Captain J. B. Ford and Michigan Alkali Company (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Company, 1940), accessed GoogleBooks; William Earl Aiken, The Roots Grow Deep: A Story of Captain Ford, his son Edward and their contribution to America’s Glass Industry (Cleveland: Lezius-Hiles Company, 1957); ”Wyandotte Chemicals Organized,” Detroit Free Press, January 3, 1943, 22, accessed Newspapers.com; “Wyandotte Makes Products to Clean Anything at All,” (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) Pocono Record, March 16, 1973, 46, accessed Newspapers.com; “PPG to Exit Glass Business by Year’s End,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 26, 2017, accessed https://www.post-gazette.com/business/pittsburgh-company-news/2017/05/26/PPG-glass-business-pittsburgh/stories/201705260277 ; “Company History,” PPG, https://corporate.ppg.com/Our-Company/company-history.aspx; “Who We Are,” BASF, https://www.basf.com/us/en.html;

 

 

Both the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company and the Michigan Alkali Company became leaders in the glass industry. According the PPG “Company History,” glass production grew exponentially over the first decade of operations and in 1899 acquired an Ohio-based alkali plant which allowed for diversification. In 1900, the company acquired a Wisconsin-based paint company. They continued to expand, diversify and profit and still exist today as PPG with a focus on paint. They stopped producing glass in 2017.

                Soon after its founding, the Michigan Alkali Company expanded from manufacturing soda ash for glass making to also making soaps and cleaners. In 1943, it merged with Wyandotte Chemical Corp and J.B. Ford and Co (stock company) under the name Wyandotte Chemicles Corporation. In 1969, chemical company BASF purchased the company, according to corporate histories, although newspapers report the purchase occurred in 1970. According to their website, BASF Corporation is currently “the world’s leading chemical company.”

 

[13] “Remembering His Old Home,” Indianapolis News, April 1, 1899, 10, accessed Newspapers.com; “General State News,” Indianapolis News, October 23, 1899, 2, accessed Newspapers.com; “Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church,” Greenville, Indiana, Site Number 043-237-00119, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, United States Department of the Interior, National Parks Service, submitted by applicant, copy in IHB historical marker file.

In April 1899, the Indianapolis News reported that the Methodist Episcopal congregation of Greenville was only able to raise $500 of the $2000 needed to build a new church and wrote to John B. Ford at his home in Ford City, Pennsylvania for assistance. Ford responded to their request “in effect that he would build the church himself and that they should save the $500, with which to pay the preacher.” In October of that year, the Indianapolis News reported that “the handsome new M. E. Church at Greenville, donated to the congregation by Capt. John B. Ford of Pittsburg” was dedicated. It cost $3,500, according to the report. According to the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, the congregation wanted to name the building after Ford, but he declined and recommended it be named after Bishop Matthew Simpson, a former U.S. senator from Indiana and chaplain of the U.S. Senate. The National Register form names the building the “Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church.” A local historical marker tells the same story about the naming but refers to the building as the “Simpson Memorial Chapel.”