Indiana Invaded

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Did you know that a Civil War battle was fought in Indiana? It took place on July 9, 1863 in Corydon, only lasted an hour, and was probably not all that important in the overall arc of the war. But it is an interesting part of Indiana history, so let’s peek at it.

Battle of Corydon plaque found in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-087.

Battle of Corydon plaque found in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-087.

Portrait of John Hunt Morgan, n.d. Source: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/john-hunt-morgan

Portrait of John Hunt Morgan, n.d. Source: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/john-hunt-morgan

First, the villain of the piece (at least in the eyes of the those in Corydon)—John Hunt Morgan. Morgan was born June 1, 1825 in Huntsville, AL, but moved to his mother’s home state of Kentucky as a child. He served in the Mexican War and upon his return to Kentucky, formed the Lexington Rifles militia company at his own expense.

Remember that Kentucky did not secede and join the Confederacy. Morgan did not share this sentiment, however, and threw himself wholly into the cause, leading his Lexington Rifles to join up with General Simon Bolivar Buckner in Bowling Green. After taking part in the Battle of Shiloh, Morgan was promoted to colonel and attached to a division fighting with the Army of Tennessee.

Morgan, it seems, did not put much stock in that attachment. One source said he had little respect for officers’ decisions. He marched to his own drummer when he, against explicit orders to stay in Kentucky, crossed the Ohio to begin raiding. On July 7, Morgan and some 2000 troops seized 2 steamboats and crossed the river to near Mauckport, IN. “Colonel William J. Irvin of the “Harrison County Home Guard,” with a group of 100 men, positioned a cannon borrowed from the Crawford County Legion near an old farm house at Morvin’s Landing, a few miles east of Mauckport. Two shots were fired, but without much success. Irvin had ordered the men to fire at the boilers of the two boats, but Col. John Timberlake, Provost Marshal, fearing women and children were aboard the boats, countermanded the order and instructed the gunners to fire at Morgan’s troops on the Kentucky shore. It would prove a fatal mistake. The men on the Indiana shore were quickly silenced by Morgan’s parrot guns and retreated into the woods. Their loss was two men, Jeremiah Nance and Lieutenant James H. Current. After the rebels had crossed the river, Morgan ordered both the Alice Dean and John T. McCombs to be burned. Basil Duke, Morgan’s second in command as well as his brother-in-law, interceded, on behalf of Captain Ballard of the John T. McCombs and his boat was spared. The Alice Dean, however, did not fare so well and was put to the torch. All the local people had fled from their homes that night and Morgan’s men made camp for the night.

During the night the people of Corydon threw up what defenses they could from rails and logs, etc., and sent an urgent appeal to New Albany for its legion to come and provide support. Shortly before noon on the 9th, some 400 men of the Harrison County Home Guard (officially the Sixth Regiment of the Indiana Legion) faced Morgan’s superior forces. Completely outnumbered, the battle was brief, about an hour in duration, before the Home Guard was forced to retreat and surrender the town of Corydon. “Four of the guards were killed, several were wounded, 355 were captured, and the remainder escaped. The victory was not without cost to the Raiders. Eleven Raiders were killed and 40 were wounded. Morgan paroled the prisoners upon entering the town of Corydon. The Raiders began collecting the spoils of victory. Most of the afternoon was spent plundering the stores and collecting ransom money. The Harrison County treasurer was relieved of $690, two leading stores were relieved of $600 each, and contributions of $700 to $1,000 were demanded from the three mills to save them from being burned.

Gravestone remembering Morgan's Confederate dead in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-088.

Gravestone remembering Morgan’s Confederate dead in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-088.

Headstone of Green B. Bottomer, a member of Gen John Hunt. Morgan's command, in Cedar Hill cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-090.

Headstone of Green B. Bottomer, a member of Gen John Hunt. Morgan’s command, in Cedar Hill cemetery, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-090.

After wreaking havoc in Corydon, the Morgan’s raiders continued north to New Salisbury and Salem. “For three weeks Morgan terrorized the local defenses of southern Indiana and Ohio before he was captured at Salineville by Union cavalry under Gen. Edward H. Hobson and sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. Incredibly, on November 26, 1863, the same day Gen. Patrick Cleburne was doggedly defending Ringgold Gap in northern Georgia, Morgan escaped from prison and made his way back into Confederate lines. Morgan was appointed head of the Dept. of Southwestern Virginia in April, 1864, and determined to attack Knoxville, Tennessee, a city with a largely pro-Union citizenry. While bivouacked in Greeneville, Tennessee on September 3, Morgan was caught in a surprise attack and shot and killed by a Union private who had once served under him.

Corydon/Harrison County maintain a small 5-acre Corydon Battle Park to mark the site of the battle. A period cabin, cannon, and plaques tell the story.

The Confederate dead from the Battle of Corydon are buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery. John Hunt Morgan is buried in Lexington.

Cedar Hill Cemetery historical marker, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-089.

Cedar Hill Cemetery historical marker, 1986. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-089.

It may have only lasted an hour and could be “much ado about nothing,” but to those who lived through the Battle of Corydon, it certainly was a big deal. Not all history has to be monumental!

It may have only lasted an hour (watch a reenactment) and could be “much ado about nothing,” but to those who lived through the Battle of Corydon, it certainly was a big deal. Not all history has to be monumental!

Resources Consulted

Battle of Corydon

Battle of Corydon, Indiana – July 9, 1863: CivilWarTalk forum

Corydon’s Historic Civil War Battlefield

John Hunt Morgan. American Battlefield Trust.

RH 031 Regional History (digital) Photograph Collection

Posted in Civil War, history, Indiana history | 1 Comment

“America’s Best Idea”

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Hawaii Volcano National Park, n.d.

Hawaii Volcano National Park, n.d.

Denali National Park, n.d.

Denali National Park, n.d.

Grand Tetons National Park, n.d.

Grand Tetons National Park, n.d.

What do these images have in common, other than incredible beauty? You probably guessed that they’re all national parks, specifically: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Denali National Park, and Grand Tetons National Park. Invaluable treasures, the parks encompass over 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.  In 2017, 330,882,751 visitors enjoyed the scenic beauty. The National Park Service has kept yearly visitation figures since 1904; the 113-year total is a whopping 13,918,617,696!   Follow this link to see more details about the most popular sites to visit: Visitation Numbers: National Park Service.

The parks are beautiful and clearly beloved, but how did all this begin?  According to National Park Service (History Channel online),  “Prior to the nineteenth century, most Europeans and Americans viewed nature solely as a resource for food, clothing and shelter. In Europe, early attempts at nature preservation centered upon the efforts of wealthy landowners to conserve trees for timber and wildlife for game hunting. While America’s national parks drew upon earlier examples of European woodland preservation, they were a uniquely American idea rooted in democracy, philosophy and art.”

Early in the nineteenth century, the philosophy of transcendentalism became prominent.  Transcendentalists “were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each person find, in [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s words, “an original relation to the universe.”” Inspiration and truth were found in the beauty of nature.  At the same time, most Americans believed in the doctrine of manifest destiny—that it was our inherent right and moral imperative to expand westward, to colonize the continent.  As travelers headed west, word came back of “awe-inspiring scenery in places such as California’s Yosemite Valley and along Wyoming’s Yellowstone River.” The naturalist and conservationist John Muir traveled extensively in the West and published a series of articles touting its wonders.  “It was California’s Sierra Nevada and Yosemite that truly claimed him. In 1868, he walked across the San Joaquin Valley through waist-high wildflowers and into the high country for the first time. Later he would write: “Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called no [sic] the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light…the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.””  His words inspired President Theodore Roosevelt, who joined Muir on a camping trip in Yosemite in 1903 and gained a passion for conservation. “President Theodore Roosevelt saw in conservation a means of keeping the natural wealth of the United States for the public and not leaving it as it had been for the economic benefit of entrepreneurs. In a move to preserve prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts on public lands, he signed the Antiquities Act of 1906, using it to create eighteen national monuments by presidential proclamation, including Devils Tower in Wyoming; El Morro in New Mexico; and, in Arizona, Montezuma Castle, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon. During his tenure as president Roosevelt established 150 national forests, 51 bird preserves, and 4 game preserves.  In those same years Congress established 5 national parks, including Crater Lake in Oregon, Wind Cave in South Dakota, and Mesa Verde in Colorado. Roosevelt increased natural forest lands from 43 million to 194 million acres.

Theodore Roosevelt, n.d. Source: Unknown.

Theodore Roosevelt, n.d.

Theodore Roosevelt was a great supporter of national parks, but he did not establish the first national park.  This was done by on March 1, 1872, when President Ulysses S. Grant approved the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.  Yellowstone was not only America’s first national park, it was also the first in the world.  The legislation that Grant signed “set aside 1,221,773 acres of public land in the future states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, broke with the established policy of transferring public lands in the West to private ownership.” Following his lead, Congress created three more national parks: Mount Rainier in 1899, Glacier in 1910, and Yosemite in 1890 (Yosemite was established as a state park in 1864 and returned to the U.S. in 1890).

Historic map of Yellowstone National Park, 1904. Source: https://bit.ly/2RS9H6H

Historic map of Yellowstone National Park, 1904. Source: https://bit.ly/2RS9H6H

By 1915, the United States had 8 national parks, but no centralized control. Over the years these parks had been administered by the Departments of War, Agriculture, or Interior, leading to an array of management and conservation decisions and activities.  Some resources were protected against human interference while others were not.  On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act, which created the National Park Service under the Department of the Interior.  The first Superintendent of Parks was Stephen Mather, a self-made millionaire who was deeply influenced by his encounter with John Muir in 1912. “Mather was a leader in the transformation of the poorly managed and underfinanced national parks and monuments into the centrally administered National Park Service. Under his dynamic leadership, Grand Canyon, Acadia, Bryce, Zion, Lassen, Hawaii, and Mount McKinley National Parks were established. He successfully lobbied for enabling legislation that ensured the future creation of other parks, including those that involved purchase from private owners in the eastern United States, such as Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and Mammoth Cave.” He paid salaries out of his own pocket, persuaded wealthy friends to purchase and donate land to the National Park Service, and even purchased and donated land himself. He waged a tireless public relations and lobbying campaign to promote the parks, professionalized the positions of park superintendent and ranger, and worked with the automotive industry to encourage park visitation. After his untimely death in 1929, it was noted: “There will never come an end to the good that he has done.

The truth of this judgment can be seen in the 417 parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, recreational areas, rivers, trails, and parkways administered by the National Park Service today (60 of these are officially ‘national parks’). Indiana has George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Porter, and the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City.  If you’ve not visited these, follow the links for more information. Two of these (George Rogers Clark and Lincoln Boyhood) are within 1 to 1.5 hours from campus.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 14, 1936 and became part of the National Park Service in 1966. The memorial honors the capture of Fort Sackville to Clark on February 25, 1779.  The fort was on or near this site. In this 1978 photograph, the memorial is seen from the Wabash River. Source: Gregory Smith collection, MSS 034-2234.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 14, 1936 and became part of the National Park Service in 1966. The memorial honors the capture of Fort Sackville to Clark on February 25, 1779. The fort was on or near this site. In this 1978 photograph, the memorial is seen from the Wabash River. Source: Gregory Smith collection, MSS 034-2234.

264-1601

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Visitor Center, under construction in 1941. This building was completed in 1943; the angle of this photograph makes it difficult to see the semi-circular shape of this building. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-1601.

“Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national lakeshore's 15,000 acres will continually enchant you.  Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests.” Source: https://bit.ly/2AMsHd2

“Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national lakeshore’s 15,000 acres will continually enchant you. Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests.” Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/noaa_glerl/8741872906

University Archives and Special Collections has a few more photographs from visitors who fell under the spell of the parks as did so many others. If Yellowstone was our first national park, Canada’s was Banff National Park, established in 1885.  It’s in Alberta, covering 2,564 square miles of the Canadian Rockies.  Here’s a glimpse of its beauty, taken in 1954.

mss 129-101

View at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, 1954. Source: Olive Carruthers collections, MSS 129-101.

Take a look at this 1974 photograph of the state of Wyoming taken from NASA’s Skylab space station.  It shows a number of national parks, including the oldest.

A near vertical view of the snow-covered northwest corner of Wyoming as seen from the Skylab space station in Earth orbit. A Skylab 4 crewman used a hand-held 70 mm Hasselblad camera to take this picture. A small portion of Montana and Idaho is in this photograph. The dark area is Yellowstone National Park. The largest body of water is Yellowstone Lake. The Absaroka Range is immediately east and northeast of Yellowstone Lake. The elongated range in the eastern part of the picture is the Big Horn Mountains. The Wind River Range is at bottom center. The Grand Teton National Park area is almost straight south of Yellowstone Lake. Approximately 30% of the State of Wyoming can be seen in this photograph, 1974. Source: Lee William Jones collection, MSS 244-0255.

A near vertical view of the snow-covered northwest corner of Wyoming as seen from the Skylab space station in Earth orbit. A Skylab 4 crewman used a hand-held 70 mm Hasselblad camera to take this picture. A small portion of Montana and Idaho is in this photograph. The dark area is Yellowstone National Park. The largest body of water is Yellowstone Lake. The Absaroka Range is immediately east and northeast of Yellowstone Lake. The elongated range in the eastern part of the picture is the Big Horn Mountains. The Wind River Range is at bottom center. The Grand Teton National Park area is almost straight south of Yellowstone Lake. Approximately 30% of the State of Wyoming can be seen in this photograph, 1974. Source: Lee William Jones collection, MSS 244-0255.

The National Park Service (NPS) publishes information about a diverse array of topics.  Since the NPS is a government agency, these publications are government documents.  These are distributed through the depository library system.  Rice Library is such a depository library, and owns a selection (not nearly all) of NPS publications.  Below is a sampling of these, all of which are available to be checked out.

All photographs are from: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/agency/national-park-service-nps

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If you’re intrigued and want to know more about this topic, I suggest watching The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a documentary by Ken Burns.  It’s available in the DVD section on the first floor, with this call number: SB482.A4 D85 2009b.

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (General Collection: SB482.A4 D85 2009b)

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (General Collection: SB482.A4 D85 2009b)

What national parks have you visited?  What’s your favorite?  Why?  If we get enough response, I’ll post a short update to this blog.  You can respond anonymously or provide your name if you want to be credited.  In the meantime, enjoy our country’s ‘best idea!’

Resources Consulted:

Brief History of the National Parks (Library of Congress)

John Muir: A Brief Biography (Sierra Club)

National Park Service (History Channel online)

The national parks: America’s best idea.  PBS documentary by Ken Burns.  DVDs, Audiovisual Materials, 1st Floor  Call Number:  SB482.A4 D85 2009b

Scott, Gary.  The Presidents and the National Parks (The White House Historical Association)

Quick History of the National Park Service

Stephen Tyng Mather (American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration)

Transcendentalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

U.S. National Parks—In the Beginning (National Geographic, May 26, 2010)

Visitation Numbers: National Park Service

Posted in American history, history, Nature, nature photography | Leave a comment

Gypsies in Evansville

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Did you know that the king and queen of the gypsies lived in Evansville in the latter part of the 19th century and are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery? Let’s take a brief dip into the culture and then I’ll tell you the story.

First, terminology. Gypsy is a pejorative term, dating from the time when this ethnic culture was thought (mistakenly) to have originated in Egypt. “Roma is the word that many Roma use to describe themselves; it means “people,” according to the Roma Support Group, (RSG) an organization created by Roma people to promote awareness of Romani traditions and culture. They are also known as Rom or Romany. According to Open Society Foundations, some other groups that are considered Roma are the Romanichals of England, the Beyash of Croatia, the Kalé of Wales and Finland, the Romanlar from Turkey and the Domari from Palestine and Egypt. The Travelers of Ireland are not ethnically Roma, but they are often considered part of the group.”

It is now believed that the Roma came from India and began their westward migration about 1,500 years ago. “A study published in 2012 in the journal PLoS ONE concluded that Romani populations have a high frequency of a particular Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA that are only found in populations from South Asia.” As further proof, linguistic studies have shown that the Romany language has its roots in Sanskrit and is related to other Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi.  There are an estimated 8-10 million Roma worldwide, with some 1 million in the United States. There is much more to learn about the Roma, their culture, myths about them, and how they were/are persecuted, so look at the links listed below.

This map shows the migration of Roma people from northwest India to Europe. Credit: PNAS and https://www.livescience.com/44512-gypsy-culture.html

This map shows the migration of Roma people from northwest India to Europe. Credit: PNAS and https://www.livescience.com/44512-gypsy-culture.html

Meanwhile, back to the Evansville connection.

Stanley-Harrison House, n.d. Source: Ken McCutchan collection, MSS 004-10-5.

Stanley-Harrison House, n.d. Source: Ken McCutchan collection, MSS 004-10-5.

This elaborate house was built at what became 525 East Olmstead Ave. shortly after the Civil War. (It was razed in the 1960’s.) The second set of owners were two Roma families–the Stanley’s and the Harrison’s—Isaac Harrison was married to Adam Stanley’s sister, Elizabeth.  They lived here for about 10 years before moving on.  According to a presentation given by local historian Ken McCutchan (1913-2002) in 1998,

“In the latter part of the 19th century a tribe of wealthy Romany gypsies had their headquarters in Evansville.  The leader of the tribe, a man named Isaac Harrison and his wife, Elizabeth, dubbed King and Queen of the Gypsies, owned a large tract of land along Stringtown Road near Pigeon Creek.  On the property was a large, beautiful Victorian house that they occupied when not traveling.  The house stood in the center of what is now the 500 block of Olmstead Ave.  Harrison reportedly had stables of fine horses, and once a year the members of the tribe would converge on his property and pitch their tents for a tribal convention.” (MSS 004-10-5)

Gravesite of Elizabeth Harrison, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2R6uKCK

Gravesite of Elizabeth Harrison, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2R6uKCK

Elizabeth Stanley Harrison (May 17, 1831-November 1895) was born in England, as was her husband, Isaac (1837-1900). Their tribe of Romany immigrated to the United States in the mid-19th century. Little more is known about them, but their funerals (particularly hers) made the headlines. Elizabeth Harrison died in Corinth, MS in 1895, but was returned to Evansville so her widespread family could gather for her funeral. Her funeral did not take place until April 1, 1896, and a crowd, said to number 6,000, showed up hoping to see a spectacle—it had been rumored that her wagons and possessions would be burned.  There was no spectacle—the service, held by a Presbyterian clergyman, was a simple one. Mrs. Harrison’s family and friends had been staying at a place called Lake Park (location not identified) and there was a huge procession of several thousand from there to the gravesite.

Four years later Isaac Harrison was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. He died in Alabama, but only had to be held in the vault for three weeks until his burial. His death was a tragedy—he was separating his sons who were quarreling, and one of them accidentally shot and killed him. That son (Harry) fled and was persona non grata; he seems to be the only one of the clan not buried at Oak Hill.

“Today, most Roma have settled into houses and apartments and are not readily distinguishable. Because of continued discrimination, many do not publicly acknowledge their roots and only reveal themselves to other Roma.” But it’s interesting to learn about the Evansville connection!

Resources Consulted:

Bradford, Alina.  “Roma Culture: Customs, Traditions & Beliefs.”  Live Science (online), January 16, 2017.

MSS 004: Kennneth McCutchan Collection

“Roma.”  New World Encyclopedia online.  Entry last modified July 2015.

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Local history, Religion | Leave a comment

“Hizzoner”

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

city of evansville seal

City of Evansville seal, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2AMzLpT

“Hizzoner” is a corruption of the words, His Honor, used to refer to mayors.  Although it’s more commonly used in big cities, particularly New York City, I’m using it to kick off this brief exploration of some of the mayors of the city of Evansville.

The City of Evansville was incorporated as a city by an act of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, which was approved January 27, 1847, and entitled “An act granting to the Town of Evansville, in the County of Vanderburgh, a City Charter.”  Evansville’s first mayor was appointed on April 12, of the same year.”  Note that this refers to Evansville as a city. As early as 1819, only 3 years after Indiana gained statehood, it had been incorporated as a town, but it now moved into the “big leagues” of cityhood.

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Until 1870, mayors were appointed by the City Council for 3-year terms. The first mayor was James G. (Garrard) Jones, who served from 1847-1853.  Jones (1814-1872) was born in the small town of Paris, KY on July 3, 1814.  A lawyer, he also served as Indiana state attorney general 1860-61 and circuit judge in Indiana 1869. During the Civil War he was a colonel in the Union Army.  He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.  The marker  on the left is his gravestone; the other commemorates his Civil War service.

The mayor with possibly the shortest term in office was Eccles G. Van Riper (1841-1914).  Mayor William Hall Walker died in office on September 9, 1870, and Van Riper was appointed to fill the last 3 months of his term. Van Riper was offered the nomination for the upcoming election, but declined to accept it, wishing to spend his time on business instead of politics.  But the interesting thing about Van Riper is his adventures during the Civil War.  In 1862, the company for which he was working, Messrs. Fatman & Co., decided to go into the cotton business.  “He was sent to Alabama, and did a splendid business there, until the fall of Memphis, when he removed his headquarters there, and immediately started on a trip through the federal lines in Arkansas. He went about 80 miles in the interior, crossed the St. Francis River, and on the fourth day was captured by the Rebels and charged with being a Spy. After wandering for two weeks in the bushes with them, he was at last taken to Little Rock on foot, and thrown into jail. He remained there three weeks without hearing what was to become of himself, and without having a friend in the State. Gen. Hindman was in command of the confederates. Mr. Van Riper wrote several letters to headquarters asking to be heard or released. At last one Sunday afternoon, he was escorted by a guard of Soldiers to the Anthony House in Little Rock, and went through the farce of a trial before a drumhead court martial, composed of three officers. Of course he had no witness, and they would not take his word for anything. It was enough that they charged him with being a Spy and found him guilty, and sentenced him to be hanged on the Tuesday following at 12 M., not a very agreeable prospect to say the least for a young man. He was apprised of it and became reconciled. On Monday night a new commander for that district arrived, General Holmes, an old U. S. Army officer; had traveled night and day from Richmond, to relieve Hindman, on account of his cruelties. There was a reign of terror in Little Rock, and hanging and shooting were the order of the day. Gen. Holmes reprieved everybody under sentence, and after a re-examination of his case he sentenced him to the penitentiary to remain during the war. This was in July, 1862. He was kept in solitary confinement for a period of five months, spending his twenty-first birthday in prison. He was now released through the intercession of President Lincoln, acting through Gen. Sherman. Messrs. Fatman & Co. had labored hard to this end. He came out a sickly young men, having lost 45 lbs. by the wretched treatment which he received.” (White, p. 388-389) One final note of interest about Eccles G. Van Riper—he married the daughter of Evansville’s first mayor, James G. Jones. Look at this story on Van Riper, produced by 44 News, October 31, 2016 at: http://44news.wevv.com/mystery-behind-missing-mayor-evansville/.

Head shot of Benjamin Bosse, n.d. Source: https://www.evansvillegov.org/egov/images/1503438949_23887.jpg

Head shot of Benjamin Bosse, n.d. Source: https://www.evansvillegov.org/egov/images/1503438949_23887.jpg

In 1914, one of the most popular and charismatic of Evansville mayors assumed office, Benjamin Bosse. Born in 1874, he was the son of Prussian and German immigrants.  He grew to be a smart businessman. “In later years, through diversifying his business interests, he became a millionaire owner, or co-owner, of numerous companies in different industries. … He had been president of at least 20 companies and served on the boards of directors of more than 25 companies. Bosse was the president and owner of both The Evansville Courier and the old Vendome Hotel. He also owned, or partly owned, American Bankers Life Insurance Co., American Packing Co., Bennett Hutchinson Agency, Bosse Coal Co., Bosse Furniture Co., Bosse Realty Co., Evansville Baseball Club Co., Evansville Pure Milk Co., Evansville Furniture Co. and Evansville Top & Panel Co., General Forrest Hotel Operating Co., Globe Furniture Co., Globe Paper Co., Graham Brothers Motor Truck Co., Grocers Quality Banking Co., Imperial Desk Co., Karges Wagon Works, Metal Furniture Co., Ohio Valley Roofing, World Furniture Co., W.H. Dyer Co., West Side Real Estate Co., and numerous others.

Bosse was both a reformer and a promoter.  His favorite slogan was, “When everybody boosts, everybody wins.”  During his tenure:

Bosse was in his third term when he died unexpectedly at the age of 47. Crowds for his funeral were so large that it was held at the Coliseum. Here are people surrounding his house, at 813 SE 1st Street as his casket is carried down the steps.

Benjamin Bosse funeral in Evansville, Indiana, 1922. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-2969.

Benjamin Bosse funeral in Evansville, Indiana, 1922. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-2969.

Bosse had little formal education himself, but he was a big promoter of its value.  Benjamin Bosse High School at 1300 Washington Avenue is named in his honor. It was built in 1922.

Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana, 1940. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0483.

Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana, 1940. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0483.

Also named in his honor is the nation’s 3rd oldest-still-in-regular-use-for-professional-baseball ballpark, built in 1915—Bosse Field at 23 Don Mattingly Way (only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are older).

Front entrance of Bosse Field, n.d. Source: https://www.visitevansville.com/attractions/bosse-field

Front entrance of Bosse Field, n.d. Source: https://www.visitevansville.com/attractions/bosse-field

Inside Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: Regional Postcard collection, RH 033-172.

Inside Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: Regional Postcard collection, RH 033-172.

John William Boehne, Sr. (1856-1946) was born in a log cabin in Scott Township in Vanderburgh County, the son of German immigrants. At the age of 17, he came to Evansville and worked at his uncle’s grocery store while attending Kleiner & Reitz Commercial College. After working as a bookkeeper for another firm, he co-founded a firm that became Indiana Stove Works. “When the firm was incorporated in 1887 he became secretary, treasurer, and general manager.  Much of the success of the company is due to his ability as a manager and his close attention to detail” (History of Vanderburgh County, Indiana…, p. 415). He served as mayor from 1905 to 1909, when he resigned because he was elected to the U.S. Congress.  In 1908, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Indiana. After 4 years in Congress, he served as director of the Federal Reserve Bank at St. Louis. During his mayoral administration the filtration/waterworks plant was built; prior to this households took their water directly from the river. This improvement helped to eradicate typhoid fever outbreaks in the city.  In 1907/1908, in response to tuberculosis outbreaks, an open-air tent colony treatment facility was opened on land donated by Boehne. When the county took over operation in 1924, it was renamed Boehne Tuberculosis Hospital, aka Boehne Camp Hospital.

Boehne Camp Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, c. 1912. Source: Regional Postcards collection, RH 033-234.

Tuberculosis Sanitarium/Boehne Camp Hospital on Boehne Camp Road between Hogue Road and Upper Mt. Vernon Road, c. 1912.  It closed in the 1960’s. Source: Regional Postcards collection, RH 033-234.

Boehne Camp Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, 1989. Source: Regional Photographs collections, RP 031-022.

A building at Boehne Camp Hospital, located on Boehne Camp Road between Hogue Road and Upper Mt. Vernon Road. The hospital closed in the 1960’s, and the main building was razed around 2000.  This is thought to be the administration building. It still stands and today houses luxury apartments, 1989. Source: Regional Photographs collection, RP 031-022.

William H. Dress (1879-1949) was mayor of Evansville twice, 1935-1942 and 1948-1949 (he died in office). He also served as Vanderburgh County Treasurer (dates unknown) and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Indiana in 1940. Dress’ first term as mayor took place while the country was still struggling to recover from the Great Depression. One of the federal agencies created to help with the recovery was the Public Works Administration (PWA). It “budgeted several billion dollars to be spent on the construction of public works as a means of providing employment, stabilizing purchasing power, improving public welfare, and contributing to a revival of American industry. Simply put, it was designed to spend “big bucks on big projects.”” Evansville got its share of PWA projects, one of which was riverfront improvement. “On May 14, 1936, Mayor William H. Dress pried out a twenty-pound cobblestone from the old levee which had been put there in 1848. This started the riverfront improvement project, which had been a dream of citizens and rivermen for many years…. The P.W.A. provided the labor and materials for the project….  The name, Dress Plaza, was given to it by the designer, Louis Geupel, who was then city engineer.”  (Morlock, p. 200)

If you noted that date of 1936 and know anything about area history, you’ll realize that Mother Nature presented Mayor Dress with his next challenge, in the form of the 1937 flood. (Brief background: torrential rains, in addition to ice and snow, in January 1937 caused massive flooding all along the Ohio River valley. Not until January 31 did the river peak in Evansville, at 54.74 ft. This is almost 19 ft. above what the flood stage was back then.  Martial law had been declared, with federal troops and WPA (another Depression program, the Works Progress Administration) workers sent in to maintain order and restore the city.) Only 6 months after it was constructed, that Dress Plaza riverfront improvement project looked like this.

There are steps here (unseen) that led down to Dress Plaza, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0341.

There are steps here (unseen) that led down to Dress Plaza, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0341.

Dress Plaza is completely covered here—it would be to the right of the lamp posts, 1937. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0333.

Dress Plaza is completely covered here—it would be to the right of the lamp posts, 1937. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0333.

Despite being under martial law, Mayor Dress had his part to play in recovery.  In the first picture below, the leftmost man is Dress, next to him is James Fieser, vice president of the American Red Cross, and then Dr. Thomas Parran, Jr., Surgeon General for Public Health Services.  They are discussing flood information.  In the second photo, Harry Hopkins, advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and director of his WPA, is lunching with Dress. Hopkins is the man with the newspaper; Dress is the other man smoking.

264-1047

William H. Dress (far-left) discussing flood business over a meal in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-1047.

mss 272-0833

Harry Hopkins lunching with William H. Dress in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0833.

Evansville’s airport was built in 1928/1929, pre-dating Dress’ first term as mayor.  But a new airport terminal complex opened in 1950, and on October 11, 1950, the Evansville City Council passed an ordinance to change the name of Evansville Municipal Airport to the Dress Memorial Airport, in honor and in memory of Mayor Dress.  In 1970 the name became Evansville Dress Regional Airport.  Today’s name of Evansville Regional Airport removes any reference to the former mayor.

Evansville Municipal Airport in Evansville, Indiana, 1950. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0438.

Evansville Municipal Airport in Evansville, Indiana, 1950. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-0438.

Here’s a final picture of several former mayors, taken on October 28, 1946.

Evansville Mayors: Charles G. Covert (1901-1906), John W. Boehne, Sr. (1906-1909), William H. Elmendorf (1922-1926), Herbert Males (1926-1930), Frank W. Griese (1930-1935), William H. Dress (1935-1943, 1948-1949), and Manson Reichert (1943-1948). They are probably posing in front of Boehne's home at 1119 Lincoln Avenue, 1946. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-2490.

Evansville Mayors: Charles G. Covert (1901-1906), John W. Boehne, Sr. (1906-1909), William H. Elmendorf (1922-1926), Herbert Males (1926-1930), Frank W. Griese (1930-1935), William H. Dress (1935-1943, 1948-1949), and Manson Reichert (1943-1948). They are probably posing in front of Boehne’s home at 1119 Lincoln Avenue, 1946. Source: Thomas Mueller collection, MSS 264-2490.

Evansville has had 37 “hizzoners” since the first was appointed in 1847.  The incumbent, Lloyd Winnecke, is in his second term, making him no. 36 and 37.

Resources Consulted

“Benjamin Bosse: Evansville’s Inspiring Icon.”  Evansville Courier and Press online, March 7, 2011.

Browning Genealogy/Obituary Index (an online project of Browning Funeral Home)

Elliott, Joseph Peter.   A History of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Indiana: A Complete and Concise Account from the Earliest Times to the Present, Embracing Reminiscences of the Pioneers and Biographical Sketches of the Men who Have Been Leaders in Commercial and Other Enterprises.  Evansville, Ind.: Keller Print. Company, 1897.  (Google Books online); also in print in the General Collection  F532.V2 E4; there is another copy in the Regional Collection section of University Archives/Special Collections

Evansville’s Mayors. (City of Evansville, Indiana website)

FindaGrave database

History of Vanderburgh County, Indiana: From the Earliest Times to the Present, with Biographical Sketches, Reminiscences, etc.  Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, Inc., 1979 (reprint of a 1889 publication)   General Collection F532.V2 H5 1979; there is another copy in the Regional Collection section of University Archives/Special Collections

Mayors and Postmasters of Evansville, Indiana. (PoliticalGraveyard.com)

Morlock, James E.  The Evansville story: A Cultural Interpretation.  Evansville, Ind.: Creative Press, c1956.  General Collection F534.E88 M6 1974; there is another copy in the Regional Collection section of University Archives/Special Collections

Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt Glossary: Public Works Administration. (The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, George Washington University)

White, Edward, ed.  Evansville and its Men of Mark.  Evansville, Ind.: Historical Publishing Company, 1873.  General Collection F534.E9 W5; there is another copy in the Regional Collection section of University Archives/Special Collections

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Local history, Politics | Leave a comment

“Girls Don’t Do That…”

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Anna Helena Cluthe didn’t subscribe to that way of thinking. Her father, William (1847-1937) was born in Wabern, Germany, where he studied for the priesthood.  He decided on a different path and became a chemist, then went to Paris and later sailed for New York at the age of 20. He graduated from Ohio Medical College in 1875 and opened a drugstore in Cincinnati. He moved to Tell City, IN and practiced medicine there from 1880 until 1911.

Anna’s older brother, Charles F. (1869-1935) was also a graduate of Ohio Medical College and practiced medicine for 40 years. Her younger brother, Walter J. (1882-1937) graduated from the medical school at the University of Louisville in 1903 and was a doctor in Kansas City, MO and Tell City, IN. Yet another brother, Edward C. (1879-1960), although not a doctor, was in a related field—he operated a local salt pool until it dried up in 1937. Salt pools were beneficial to health and well as being fun for recreation.

Cluthe family in their living room in Tell City. Standing in back, from left: Hulda Illing Cluthe, Dr. Charles F. Cluthe, Edward C. Cluthe, Laura Rahm Cluthe. Sitting, from left: Grandmother Cluthe holding Helen, Anna Helena Cluthe with Oramay Cluthe in front, Grandfather Cluthe holding William August Cluthe, Walter J. Cluthe. Grandfather Cluthe would be Dr. William Cluthe and Grandmother would be Lena Cluthe. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-043.

Cluthe family in their living room in Tell City. Standing in back, from left: Hulda Illing Cluthe, Dr. Charles F. Cluthe, Edward C. Cluthe, Laura Rahm Cluthe. Sitting, from left: Grandmother Cluthe holding Helen, Anna Helena Cluthe with Oramay Cluthe in front, Grandfather Cluthe holding William August Cluthe, Walter J. Cluthe. Grandfather Cluthe would be Dr. William Cluthe and Grandmother would be Lena Cluthe. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-043.

Clearly medicine was in Anna’s blood, and she wanted to follow in her father’s and brothers’ footsteps. Her family, however, had different ideas—they believed the life of a horse-and-buggy doctor was too rigorous for a girl. Nor was being a doctor “ladylike.”  A compromise was reached—Anna could study to be either a pharmacologist or a dentist.  But Anna had a bit of rebellion in her blood—while she seemingly agreed to the compromise, she pursued medical training for 2 years until her family found out and stopped her allowance. She then shifted to dentistry, graduating from Indiana Dental College in 1904.

Anna Cluthe’s graduation from Indiana Dental College, 1904. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-035.

Anna Cluthe’s graduation from Indiana Dental College, 1904. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-035.

Dr. Anna Cluthe was the first woman dentist in Evansville, practicing from 1904-1960, retiring only when her eyesight was no longer good enough to do this work. She saw a lot of changes in her life time. Before it was commonly accepted, she advocated a good diet/less sugar for preventative care. Her alma mater, Indiana Dental College, which was founded in 1879, was acquired by Indiana University in 1925, becoming today’s Indiana University School of Dentistry.

In 1895, the 1st dental X-ray of a living person was taken. In 1903, Charles Land developed the 1st porcelain jacket crown. A German chemist named Alfred Einhorn developed the 1st local anesthetic, called procain—this became novocaine. Nylon toothbrushes came into being in 1938.  The earliest adoption of water fluoridation, only in a few cities, began 1945, with fluoride toothpaste following in 1950.  1958 saw the first fully reclining dental chair. The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science has a section called Rivertown, USA, which provides a slice of life in Evansville/the Midwest in the 19th and 20th centuries. One of these exhibits there is a dental office, furnished with Dr. Anna Cluthe’s dental equipment (seen on right).

Anna Cluthe wasn’t the only woman in her family to be an entrepreneur. Her niece (daughter of Anna’s brother, Charles F.) was Oramay Cluthe Eades (1895-1987). Oramay graduated from Combs Broad Street Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia (founded in 1885, since 1923 the Combs College of Music, closed in 1990). She studied harp and piano, and upon graduation in 1918, joined the faculty.

MSS 091-036

Dr. Anna Cluthe, n.d., c. 1913-1933. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-036.

In 1924, she returned to Evansville and opened Cluthe Studios, later the Cluthe School of Music. It started with piano only, but in 1931-1932 voice and violin lessons were also offered. It continued to grow, with the addition of pre-school classes, dancing for children, cello, and music theory, until it became a full school of music. At the time, it was one of the largest private music schools in Evansville.

2. UE Music

University of Evansville Department of Music Seal, n.d. Source: https://www.facebook.com/music.evansville.edu/

The school was located at 1133 Lincoln Avenue, relatively close to what was then Evansville College (now the University of Evansville). “The Cluthe school was for all ages, from the beginner to the advanced.  When the school became affiliated with Evansville College in 1940, the advanced students went to the college and the younger ones remained at Cluthe Hall, which became known as EC Preparatory School of Music. The Cluthe School was donated to EC by Mrs. Eades [Oramay Cluthe Eades] when she retired in August 1942. She gave furniture and music to the college outright.  The 200 students enrolled were transferred to EC. The college had only to buy the building on Lincoln Avenue, and for half the going rate. The sign there then read “Evansville College–Cluthe School of Music.” When the new EC Fine Arts Building was completed in 1962, the prep school moved on campus. The college then sold the building at 1133 Lincoln and the Cluthe name was no longer used” (Jeffries, p. 21).

Dr. Charles F. Cluthe, his wife, Hulda Illing Cluthe, daughter Oramay, and son, William, c. 1900. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-020.

Dr. Charles F. Cluthe, his wife, Hulda Illing Cluthe, daughter Oramay, and son, William, c. 1900. Source: Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection, MSS 091-020.

Clearly, girls DO do that!

Resources Consulted:

American Dental Association.  History of Dentistry Timeline.

Browning Genealogy/Obituary Index online

Find a Grave online

Indiana University School of Dentistry—About Us—Background.

Jeffries, Phil.  “EC Music School was Gift—Including 200 Students.” The Sunday Look, October 30, 1966, p. 21.  (in MSS 091-1-3)

MSS 091 (Oramay Cluthe-Eades collection), in University Archives/Special Collections

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Local history, women's history | Leave a comment