"On this day" happenings in Indiana History
In 1833, the Indianapolis Journal published John Finley's poem "The Hoosier's Nest," one of the first printed references of the word "Hoosier." According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Finley heard the term in 1820 when he traveled from Virginia to Indiana. He likely drafted his famous poem in 1830, describing the massive "flock" of people "to this rising 'Hoosher' nation." "The Hoosier's Nest" was widely circulated and earned Finley the title of "poet-laureate of Hoosierland."
In 1925, Knute Rockne coached the University of Notre Dame football team to a 27-10 win over Pop Warner’s Stanford University squad in the Rose Bowl. The team finished the season undefeated and earned Notre Dame its first football national championship title.
In 1940, entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher began work at Princeton Farms in Gibson County, where he first started working with popcorn. In his youth, the Brazil, Indiana native began growing corn and selling popcorn, participated in 4-H clubs, and studied vocational agriculture in high school. Redenbacher earned a degree in agriculture at Purdue University and served as a Farm Bureau extension agent. By 1965, Redenbacher and business partner Charlie Bowman had engineered a hybrid popcorn that was fluffier and lighter than previous varieties, making Redenbacher a brand name.
In 1857, Julia L. Dumont, one of Indiana's earliest writers, died in Vevay. She was widely-lauded as a teacher and author, praised by student and The Hoosier School-Master author Edward Eggleston, who noted that "in the time, before railways, when the west, [was] shut in by the Alleghanies . . . Mrs. Dumont occupied no mean place as a writer of poetry and prose tales. Eminent literateurs of the time from Philadelphia and Cincinnati used to come to Vevay, and see her."
In 1884, influential classical archaeologist and art scholar Dr. Mary Hamilton Swindler was born in Bloomington. Swindler earned an MA from Indiana University in 1906 and her Ph.D. in 1912 from Bryn Mawr with her dissertation Cretan Elements in Cults and Rituals of Apollo. Dr. Swindler taught archaeology at Bryn Mawr from 1912 to 1949, cultivating a new generation of scholars and transforming the college into a "distinguished archaeological center." According to the school, Swindler published her seminal work Ancient Painting: From the Earliest Times to the Period of Christian Art in 1929 and became the first woman appointed editor of the American Journal of Archaeology in 1932.
In 1825, Welsh industrialist Robert Owen purchased Harmony, Posey County from Father George Rapp and the Harmony Society. The social reformer renamed the town New Harmony and worked to create a utopian society based on the ideals of humanism, equality, and scientific study. With the help of scientist William Maclure, who brought a group of eminent thinkers and scientists from Philadelphia to the Indiana community, New Harmony established one of the first free schools for both boys and girls, as well as a library accessible to all members of society. Ultimately, the experiment devolved within two years, but left a legacy of education and scientific thought in New Harmony.
In 1941, Purdue University coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert captured his 200th Big Ten victory with a 64-19 win over Chicago in West Lafayette. He directed the Boilermakers to 11 Big Ten titles and a Helms Foundation national championship, while compiling a 371-152 mark in his 28 seasons at Purdue. Only former Indiana University head coach Bobby Knight (353 wins) and Purdue's Gene Keady (255) have since reached the 200-victory plateau in Big Ten play.
In 1869, author and humorist Mark Twain visited Indianapolis to perform a reading of his "The American Vandal Abroad." According to the Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, attendees could procure their tickets at Bonham's Music Store for the lecture held at Metropolitan Hall. Twain returned to Indianapolis in 1872, reading his Roughing It at the YMCA's Association Hall.
In 1865, Hannah Toliver was pardoned for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky in 1864. A free black woman living in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Toliver was arrested because the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) did not free slaves in Kentucky. Toliver was one of at least forty-four men and women, and one of nineteen "free persons of color," sentenced to the Kentucky Penitentiary for aiding fugitive slaves between 1844 and 1864. P. B. Muir, the judge who sentenced Toliver to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary also requested that Governor Thomas Bramlette pardon her.
In 1911, black male students founded Kappa Alpha Nu (changed to Kappa Alpha Psi in 1915) at Indiana University after being excluded from social events. Kappa Alpha Nu was one of the earliest black national social fraternities established in the US. The organization strove to expand to other schools and help members attain high "intellectual, moral and social worth." The chapter's 21st century mission is to promote "Purpose and Achievement from Cradle to Career."
In 1948, best-selling novel Raintree County was published, written by Bloomington native Ross Lockridge Jr. The book, described by some critics as the Great American Novel, takes place in 1892 in a fictionalized Indiana town. Over the course of one day its protagonist, John Shawnessy, recalls forty years of his life, including his Hoosier youth, Civil War battles, and Gilded Age politics. The book won MGM's best new literary work award of $150,000 and the movie studio produced a film adaption in 1957, featuring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eva Marie Saint.
In 1948, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was published, researched and written by Indiana University zoology professor Dr. Alfred Kinsey. In a New York Times review written one day prior to publication, Howard A. Rusk described the book as "by far the most comprehensive study yet made of sex behavior." For the book, Dr. Kinsey conducted more than 12,000 interviews over the period of eight years in a scientific examination of male sexual activities and attitudes. Rust noted that "These facts are presented with scientific objectivity, and without moralizing--but they provide the knowledge with which we can rebuild our concepts with tolerance and understanding."
In 1821, the Indiana General Assembly approved an Act that named the soon-to-be new state capital "Indianapolis," appointed commissioners to plat the area, and authorized land sales. The Act also specified that money received from the sale of lots would be used to erect public buildings, such as the governor's mansion on the circle, the first state house, and the first state prison (located in Jeffersonville).
In 1829, the Indiana General Assembly approved an "Act to Incorporate Hanover Academy," founded two years earlier in a log cabin with six students by the Madison Presbytery. The 1829 Act provided for expansion and a preamble to the Act noted that "a number of citizens of Jefferson County, residing in the vicinity of Hanover in said county, have, by the aid of private contributions, established an Academy at Hanover, by means of which a liberal education may be acquired by the youth of that vicinity . . . an act to incorporate the said Academy would greatly promote the landable object of the citizens aforesaid." The Academy would evolve into Hanover College by 1833.
In 1887, the Indiana General Assembly held its first session in the new statehouse. The original capitol building at the site was razed in 1878 to make way for the new statehouse. Construction would not be completed until September 1888, but at the time of the first session the chambers, corridors, atriums, and rotunda were completed. The building's architecture reflected a Renaissance Revival style with Neo-Greco style details.
In 1951, the Indianapolis Olympians defeated the Rochester Royals after six overtimes in the longest game in NBA history. Reportedly, free throws outnumbered baskets and the game helped lead to the creation of the twenty-four-second shot clock.
In 1965, US Senator Birch Bayh introduced Senate Joint Resolution 1 thirteen months after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Resolution became the basis for the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, regarding issues related to presidential succession. The Amendment, ratified by the states in 1967, was tested in 1973 when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid tax evasion allegations. In adherence with the Amendment, Congress approved President Nixon's appointment of Congressman Gerald R. Ford to the vice presidency.
In 1914, the Indianapolis News announced the appointment of Muncie's first policewoman, Alfaretta Hart. The wealthy reformer worked to expose the abuse of women and called for wholesale reform of Indiana's criminal justice system. Hart, who faced backlash for her efforts, devoted her salary to downtrodden and impoverished women before resigning at the end of the year due to "health reasons."
In 1927, inventor Philo T. Farnsworth applied for his first television patent. He conceived of the idea for electronic television at the age of fourteen and brought his conception to fruition in 1927 with his first electronic transmission. In 1939, he established the Farnsworth Television and Radio Company in Fort Wayne, eventually operating seven television and radio manufacturing plants in Indiana. Farnsworth also established a laboratory in Fort Wayne, where he reportedly achieved self-sustaining fusion.
In 1970, Chuckwagon Theater debuted on WTTV and introduced children to Cowboy Bob, played by actor Bob Glaze. The Indianapolis Star noted that "Glaze became a charismatic, guitar-playing cowboy who educated children about fire safety and animals. The show served as an introduction for syndicated cartoons." The 30 minute show, later called Cowboy Bob’s Corral, would run for nearly twenty years.
In 1862, US Representative from Indiana Thomas A. Hendricks lambasted the Lincoln administration in a major speech in Indianapolis. He delivered the speech during the state Democratic Party convention, which condemned Republicans for rejecting compromises that might have averted war, for its violations of freedom of the press, and for the domestic institutions of sovereign states. However, Hendricks consistently supported the war to save the Union, urged compliance with the draft, and deplored armed resistance to its enforcement.
In 1863, the US Senate confirmed President Abraham Lincoln's nominee for secretary of the interior, John P. Usher of Terre Haute. According to the Miller Center, in 1840 Usher moved from New York to Indiana, where he established a law practice and befriended Lincoln. Usher served as a Whig in the Indiana General Assembly from 1850 to 1851 and became state attorney general in 1861, resigning to serve as Lincoln's assistant secretary of the interior and eventual secretary.
In 1945, Governor Ralph F. Gates began his gubernatorial term. The Columbia City attorney and banker was elected State Commander of the American Legion in 1931 and led the Republican Party to control the Indiana General Assembly in 1944. As governor, he created the State Department of Veterans’ Affairs to aid Hoosier men and women returning from WWII in obtaining employment, education, and housing. Amid national post-war labor strikes, Gates oversaw the transition of Indiana's economy from war to peace. His administration streamlined Indiana government and worked to obtain funds for better roads and highways, higher salaries for teachers, and new state health facilities.
In 1864, co-founder of Sears, Roebuck and Co., Alvah C. Roebuck, was born in Lafayette. At 22, Roebuck worked at a small jewelry store in Hammond before moving to Chicago to work as a watch repairman for Richard W. Sears, owner of a watch business. The two became business partners and incorporated their famous retail company in 1893.
In 1932, Illinois clinched a 28-21 victory over visiting Purdue University, ending the Boilermakers' 15-game winning streak. Many blamed the loss on a pre-game injury of Purdue's leading scorer and All-American, John Wooden. The senior co-captain's hand was cut when his coaches' car, which he was riding in, hit a patch of ice and overturned as they headed to the arena. However, the Boilermakers came back to post a string of eleven victories, finishing the season with a 17-1 overall record and claiming the Helms Foundation national championship (prior to NCAA postseason play).
In 1968, the first American Basketball Association All-Star game took place at Hinkle Fieldhouse. According to Greencastle's The Daily Banner, the East defeated the West and "the nationally televised contest, with the exception of Indiana, drew the largest crowd ever to see an ABA game in Indianapolis and the stars put on a real show." Pacers players Roger Brown and Bob Netolicky contributed a combined 24 points.
In 1975, Virginia E. Jenckes, the first woman to represent Indiana in Congress, died in Terre Haute. In 1933, the Democrat unseated four term Congressmen Courtland C. Gillen to serve in the US House of Representatives. Jenckes helped end Prohibition and advocated for veterans and workers during the New Deal Era. She resigned from Congress early during her third term and returned to Terre Haute in her later years.
In 1895, suffragist and lawyer Helen Gougar was admitted to the Tippecanoe County Bar. After taking the oath, she acted as her own attorney in the case against the Tippecanoe County Election Board. Gougar argued for “The Constitutional Rights of the Women of Indiana,” challenging suffrage restrictions on the basis that the Indiana Constitution did not specifically prohibit women from voting. The Lafayette Morning Journal reported that Gougar “spoke for four hours, and made an eloquent appeal for her sex and the ballot” and that the address was “one of the finest efforts of her life.” The Tippecanoe County Superior Court ruled against Gougar and women’s suffrage on April 20, 1895. She later appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.
In 1949, Henry F. Schricker became the first Indiana governor to be elected to two four-year terms. The North Judson, Starke County native was elected to the state senate in 1932 and lieutenant governor in 1937. As a Democratic governor, he was intensely challenged by Republican legislatures in both terms, despite immense public popularity. Schricker's administrations were notable for the repeal in 1941 of the government reorganization laws of 1933 and legislative attempts to make welfare department records available to the public in violation of federal confidentiality requirements. Reportedly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered him the vice-presidential nomination in 1944, but Schricker declined.
In 1895, the Big Ten Conference formed when Purdue University president James H. Smart and leaders from the universities of Chicago, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as Northwestern University met, at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. They worked to "organize and develop principles for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics,” which included academic and work requirements for athletes.
In 1910, a statue of Lew Wallace was installed and dedicated at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Irish-American sculptor Andrew O'Connor designed the statue honoring the Crawfordsville author and Civil War general. In attendance were Indiana and Washington dignitaries, Governor Thomas Marshall, and poet James Whitcomb Riley.
In 1956, the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railroad officially adopted the "Monon" Railroad name. According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, the line became one of the US's first entirely dieselized railroads and was one of the most used railroads in Indiana during the Civil War due to its alignment with the directional pattern of the war.
In 1825, James Hudson was one of three white perpetrators hanged for the murder of nine Indian men, women and children at a winter camp in Madison County. This represented a rare case during the period in which natives obtained some justice from US law.
In 1874, Carl Fisher, an entrepreneur who helped make automobiles a viable form of transportation, was born in Greensburg. He co-founded the Prest-O-Lite Co. in 1904, which developed acetylene gas vehicle headlights distributed nationwide. He was co-founder and president of the Indianapolis Speedway, site of the annual 500 mile race and testing ground for new automobile technology. Fisher was a proponent of the Good Roads Movement to expand and improve the nation's road networks. He advocated construction of US transcontinental roads, which enabled long-distance travel by automobile. He also developed Miami Beach into a major resort destination.
In 1916, Indianapolis experienced the greatest single day fluctuation in temperature. An arctic cold front brought the temperature from 68 degrees down to 10 degrees. The Richmond Palladium reported "The temperature was changed from a spring-like balm[i]ness to almost zero weather. Window panes were frosted and puddles of water in the street were frozen."
In 1981, acclaimed Hoosier actress Beulah Bondi died in Hollywood. The Valparaiso native portrayed Jimmy Stewart’s mother four times on film, including Vivacious Lady and Of Human Hearts, in addition to Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith. Bondi was cast to play characters well beyond her age, becoming the equivalent of “Hollywood’s mother," and was regarded by MGM and Paramount as “America’s greatest character actress.”
In 1885, former speaker of the US House of Representatives and vice president under Ulysses S. Grant, Schuyler Colfax, died. As editor of the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend, he established a name for himself as a political writer. Defeated as a Whig party candidate for the US House of Representatives in 1851, he eventually won election to the House as a member of the newly-formed Republican Party in 1854. During his time leading the House, he helped secure congressional passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended slavery. His political career ended in controversy when news broke that he was a minor player in the Credit Mobilier scandal.
In 1890, well-known reporter and author Elmer Holmes Davis was born in Aurora, Dearborn County. He wrote for the Indianapolis Times and became an editor for The New York Times and Adventure magazine. He served as Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II. Davis also worked as a radio news reporter for CBS and NBC and, along Edward R. Murrow, helped sooth American anxiety during the early Cold War Era. In 1951, Davis was awarded the Peabody Radio Award for outstanding achievement in broadcasting.
In 1953, the Fort Wayne Pistons hosted the NBA All-Star game at Memorial Coliseum, featuring Hall of Famers Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, and Bill Sharman. According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, the game was historic because Don Barksdale became the first African American player in an All-Star Game.
In 1846, Governor James Whitcomb approved the Articles of Incorporation for the Female Seminary of St. Mary’s of the Woods (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College) in Terre Haute. The school was established by Mother Theodore Guérin and the Sisters of Providence, who came to Indiana from France and worked to provide Hoosier women with educational opportunities.
In 1861, a founder of the Republican Party Henry S. Lane was sworn in as governor, resigning two days later upon his election to the US Senate. Morton had been active candidates for the gubernatorial nomination. Morton, who had been the nominee in 1856, had strong backing, but it was felt that Lane would better insure the support of conservative old-line Whigs. A compromise was worked out between the two whereby if Lane and Morton were elected and if the Republicans gained control of the new legislature, Lane would be elected to the United States Senate and Morton would succeed to the governorship. This plan proved successful and Morton went on to become a controversial Civil War governor.
In 1919, Indiana ratified the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol. In June 1933, Hoosiers voted to repeal the Amendment and by December of that year the 21st Amendment was ratified, ending Prohibition in the United States.
In 1844, the University of Notre Dame was officially chartered by the Indiana General Assembly. The school was founded by French priest Reverend Edward Sorin and other members of the Congregation of Holy Cross. According to the university, "Early Notre Dame was a university in name only. It encompassed religious novitiates, preparatory and grade schools and a manual labor school, but its classical collegiate curriculum never attracted more than a dozen students a year in the early decades." Notre Dame grew to become one of the US's top 25 institutions of higher learning, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
In 1850, the Indiana General Assembly passed a charter for North Western Christian University (now Butler University). The school was organized by lawyer and abolitionist Ovid Butler, who envisioned an institution reflecting his ideals of freedom and equality. According to the Journal of the Butler Society, "From the first day, the school admitted women and students of color, as well as students of any or no religious background, since the university was nonsectarian from its founding. Among the first class were students who had been dismissed from Bethany College because of their abolitionist beliefs. North Western Christian was the first college in Indiana to admit women on an equal basis with men, and the second in the U.S."
In 1915, perhaps the earliest photograph of an Indiana high school basketball game was taken, featuring players from Wingate High School and Kokomo High School. The moment was photographically commemorated because Wingate was the defending state champion, having won back-to-back titles in 1913 and 1914, with the help of one of Indiana's best basketball players of that generation, Homer Stonebraker.
In 1920, Indiana ratified the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote. After Hoosier suffragists convinced two-thirds of both chambers to debate the issue, Governor James P. Goodrich called a special session, during which legislators approved women's suffrage in Indiana.
In 1942, Jane Alice Peters, better known as silver screen actress Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash the day after a visit to Indianapolis for a war bond rally. Approximately 12,000 turned out to see the Fort Wayne native's return to Indiana; millions others viewed the rally through newsreels. While in the city, Lombard attended tea at the governor’s mansion, a flag-raising ceremony at the Statehouse, and ribbon-cutting at an army recruiting office.
In 1842, black citizens met in Indianapolis to discuss organization of a statewide convention that would promote unity among the black population regarding the colonization movement. This movement advocated emancipating and returning slaves to Africa. Although Indiana state officials spoke in favor of the colonization effort, including Indiana Governor James Brown Ray, a majority of members of the black community opposed it. Some considered emigration to Jamaica, Canada, or Oregon, but African colonization received little support.
In 1920, author Gene Stratton Porter sold her "Limberlost" cabin in Geneva, Adams County, where she penned nature-inspired books, such as Freckles and A Girl of The Limberlost. The Muncie Evening Press noted she left because "this district has become so commercialized as to be on [sic] longer suitable for her to pursue her nature studies in."
In 1781, Governor Ratliff Boon was born in North Carolina. He moved to Warrick County, Indiana Territory in 1809. Boon then served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate, and in 1819 was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with Jonathan Jennings. Upon Jennings's resignation as governor in September 1822, Boon finished the gubernatorial term. Boon was again elected lieutenant governor in 1822 when William Hendricks was elected governor and served until January 1824, when he decided to run for Congress. Elected as a staunch Jacksonian Democrat that year, he was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1826, but was elected to the five succeeding Congresses.
In 1897, Representative Taylor I. Record introduced House Bill 246, also known as the "Pi Bill," to the Indiana General Assembly. Amateur mathematician Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin authored the bill, declaring the value of pi to be 3.2, rather than 3.14. The House unanimously passed the bill, but before the Senate could vote, Purdue professor Dr. Clarence Waldo convinced members of the theory's inaccuracy. Although HB 246 was shelved, it garnered much ridicule.
In 1809, Kentucky legislators Henry Clay and Humphrey Marshall crossed the Ohio River to duel near the mouth of Silver Creek in Clark County, Indiana. Marshall opposed Clay's resolution encouraging Kentuckians to purchase from domestic manufacturers rather than European textiles until "American rights were respected on the high seas." Clay challenged Marshall to a duel in Indiana, so as not to shed blood in their home state. Neither man was fatally injured, but experienced some criticism from assembly members who considered the practice below legislators.
In 1846, in response to the advocacy of local physicians, the Indiana General Assembly approved “An Act Authorizing the Erection of Suitable Buildings for the Use of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane.” This Act established what became known as Central State Hospital in Indianapolis, which treated patients suffering from mental illness and addiction. Since the hospital’s opening, lack of funding and understaffing led to patient abuse and neglect. In 1896, a groundbreaking pathology lab opened on the grounds and served as a state teaching hospital. The hospital closed in 1994 with the goal of community-based care.
In 1859, Dr. Mary F. Thomas became the first woman to address the Indiana State Legislature. She presented a petition calling for women's suffrage and property rights laws, urging "As mothers, as wives, as daughters, as sisters, and lastly as human beings, alike responsible with yourselves to God for the correct use of the rights bestowed on us, we come to you, humiliating as it may be to ask these rights at the hands of others possessing no more natural rights than ourselves." Although the legislature did not take her plea seriously, she continued to work for women's rights and became president of the Indiana Woman Suffrage Association.
In 1942, the first Hoosier Salon art exhibition opened in Indianapolis. The Hoosier Salon was established in Chicago in 1925 by members of the Daughters of Indiana. They organized the annual exhibition to generate recognition for Indiana artists, particularly for members of the Hoosier Group, such as T.C. Steele and William Forsyth. Following the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, the exhibition donated artwork to the Indianapolis Veterans' Hospital.
In 1961, Joseph E. Ritter was elevated to Cardinal by Pope John XXIII, the only Roman Catholic Cardinal from Indiana. The New Albany native was ordained in 1917 and assigned to his first parish in Indianapolis. He became Bishop of Indianapolis in 1934 and in the 1930s championed the rights of African Americans in Indiana. Ritter was the first Archbishop of the new Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1944. He was named Archbishop of St. Louis in 1946 and in 1947 he desegregated five Catholic St. Louis high schools amid protests. Cardinal Ritter was an outspoken, progressive participant in all three sessions of Vatican Council II.
In 1994, the thermometer hit -36 degrees at New Whiteland, Johnson County, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Indiana.
In 1828, Abraham Lincoln's sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, died during childbirth in Spencer County at the age of 21. According to the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, "Sarah Lincoln was an important person in Abraham Lincoln's life. When she had started to school, while the family was living in Kentucky, she had taken Abraham with her and had probably helped him learn his letters and numbers. When their mother died, they helped each other through the grief. Their relationship was characterized by a deep affection."
In 1889, black volunteers from Indiana returned home from Chickamauga, where they were stationed for three months in anticipation of garrison duty during the Spanish-American War. The Bethel A.M.E. Church celebrated their return with a banquet in Indianapolis sponsored by the Soldiers' Aid Society. The soldiers were hopeful that their service would lead to social equality.
In 1986, Americans observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time due to the efforts of an Indiana lawmaker. After a previous attempt to recognize King with a national holiday failed, first year Congresswoman Katie Hall from Gary introduced a bill in July 1983. She overcame conservatives' concerns about the cost of the holiday by proposing it take place on a fixed Monday rather than King's birthday, so that offices would not have to open twice in one week. Hall reminded colleagues, “'The legislation before us will act as a national commitment to Dr. King’s vision and determination for an ideal America, which he spoke of the night before his death, where equality will always prevail.'” The bill passed Congress, and President Ronald Reagan signed the measure into law on November 2, 1983.
In 1862, socialist minister George Davis Herron was born in Montezuma, Parke County. In 1883, he entered the ministry in Wisconsin and was influenced by liberal theological principles, becoming active in the Society of Christian Socialists in 1889. As a pastor in Iowa he vocalized his social criticism and drew crowds as a professor of applied Christianity at Iowa College. According to the Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, Herron "endorsed socialism publicly as a movement that embodied the sacrificial love and social solidarity of primitive Christianity. In 1900 he campaigned for the Social Democratic Party candidate, Eugene V. Debs [of Terre Haute]. He helped organize the socialist Party of America in 1901." Herron broke with socialism in World War I and was employed by Woodrow Wilson as a diplomat after the war to advocate for peace.
In 1875, Zerelda Wallace testified before the Indiana General Assembly, presenting 21,050 signatures on temperance petitions from forty-seven counties. In 1880, she testified before the US Senate, Judiciary Committee on woman's right to vote. Wallace was the first president of Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Indiana and a member of the Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis. She became the First Lady of Indiana in 1837 when her husband David Wallace was elected governor.
In 1901, Democratic legislator Dr. Henry V. Passage introduced an amendment that would replace hanging with morphine injection as the method of execution of criminals. The amendment, one of the earliest American proposals for lethal injection, was tabled and the proposed amended bill voted on along party lines.
In 1878, Charles G. Conn and Eugene DuPont of Elkhart received a US Patent for cornet improvements. Conn established the musical instrument industry in Elkhart, which has been called the Band Industry Capital of the World. He established a factory in 1875, which produced instruments until 1910 and was sold to Carl D. Greenleaf in 1915. Innovations by C.G. Conn, Ltd. under Greenleaf included promoting school band programs and one of the first musical instrument research labs. By the 1970s, about 40% of worldwide band instruments were made in Elkhart.
In 1944, Staff Sergeant Thomas E. McCall of Veedersburg, Fountain County led Company F, a machine gun section, into position to provide cover for American riflemen near San Angelo, Italy during World War II. After several artillery shells exploded near his company that killed or wounded his men and destroyed one of their guns, McCall rushed forward with the remaining machine gun and eliminated two enemy machine gun nests. The Indianapolis Star reported that he turned his sights on a third nest, and “was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machine gun from his hip.” German soldiers succeeded in capturing McCall. After the war, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
In 1974, dam gates lowered on the East Fork of the Whitewater River, which resulted in the formation of Brookville Lake. According to the Washington Times, construction began in 1965 by the Army Corps of Engineers, but President Richard Nixon stopped the project in 1968 due to the Vietnam War. Residents successfully petitioned for construction to be renewed in 1970 and the area became a popular tourist destination due to its campgrounds, hiking trails, and marina.
In 1946, fire destroyed the Evansville Shipyard, producer of 170 LST's (landing ship and tanks) during World War II. The largest inland shipyard in the US helped pull Evansville out of the Great Depression and by the end of World War II 75% of the city's factories produced war ordnance.
In 1836, Governor Noah Noble signed the Mammoth Internal Improvements Act, which authorized a $10 million loan and provided for three major canal projects, a macadamized road, and a railroad. However, according to historian Kelly Wenig, "After years of crushing debt incurred from loans associated with the 1836 Mammoth Internal Improvements Act, the state finally defaulted on their payments to investors, and continued to do so for the next half decade. Hoosiers—because of their insolvency—were attacked from all angles by angry investors and newspapers from as far away as London."
In 1847, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Butler Bill to relieve the state of growing internal improvement debt then totaling over $11 million. The bill stipulated that the state would be responsible for half of the debt, and the other half would be assumed by bondholders, who in exchange for Wabash and Erie Canal stock promised to complete the canal.
In 1900, Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet’s factory burned down in Albany, Delaware County less than a year after the business was founded. The company relocated to New Castle, occupying the former Speeder Cycle Company's bicycle factory. By 1921, one out of every ten American homes had a Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet.
In 1967, a fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a preflight test killed Mitchell, Lawrence County astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom, along with Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The mission was intended to be the first manned flight of the Apollo space program. The accident resulted in safety changes in the program, allowing for the first moon landing in 1969.
In 1818, the Indiana General Assembly passed an "Act to license and regulate taverns," requiring anyone operating a tavern to obtain a license from the county commissioners and pay a $500 bond. They were also required to submit twelve certificates from “respectable house-holders” which attested to their “good moral character.”
In 1822, the Indianapolis Gazette was first published by editor Nathaniel Bolton, who later sold his property to the state for establishment of Central State Hospital. In 1829, editor George L. Kinnard changed the paper's name to the Indiana State Gazette and the paper took a pro-Democratic bent, in support of Andrew Jackson's policies. In the 1830s, it was acquired and renamed the Indiana Democrat and State Gazette and in the 1840s the Indiana State Sentinel.
In 1851, land reformer and US Representative George Washington Julian made a speech in Congress supporting Andrew Johnson's Homestead Bill. Julian combined advocacy of the Homestead Bill with an abolition argument. He stated that dividing the territories into small farms would help prevent slave plantations because they needed vast estates to function. Julian's speech may have hurt the bill because of his abolition argument. Both the House and Senate failed to approve the bill. Another decade passed before Congress passed the Homestead Act.
In 1915, Lucy Higgs Nichols, an escaping slave who served as a nurse with the 23rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War, died in Floyd County. Lucy came to New Albany with the returning veterans of the 23rd Regiment and applied for pension after Congress passed an 1892 act for Civil War nurses. She was denied because the War Department claimed to have no record of her work. In 1895, Lucy and fifty-five veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress and she received her first check in 1899.
In 1915, Disney illustrator Bill Peet was born in Grandview, Spencer County. He graduated from the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and moved to Los Angeles, where he sketched characters appearing in films like "Dumbo" and "Cinderella" for Walt Disney Studios. Despite a tempestuous relationship with Disney, Peet maintained a 27-year-career with the studio and wrote screenplays, such as "101 Dalmatians" and "Sword in the Stone." After working for Disney, Peet wrote and illustrated children's books, including The Caboose Who Got Loose, Kermit the Hermit, and Encore for Eleanor. His 1989 Bill Peet: An Autobiography, written in the form of a children's book, was a Caldecott Honor Book.
In 1906, composer of the Indiana state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash,” Paul Dresser died. The Terre Haute native wrote several popular songs in the Gay Nineties, such as "My Gal Sal." His famous brother, Theodore Dreiser, wrote An American Tragedy and other novels.
In 1945, US forces conducted a rescue of Allied POWs from a Japanese camp near Cabanatuan City, Philippines. The operation liberated more than 500 from the POW camp. Among those rescued was James W. Duckworth of Martinsville, a doctor who became the executive officer of the Manila Hospital Center. Six other Hoosiers were liberated, including Lt. Jarry Brown of Brownsburg, Lt. William Romme of Terre Haute, Sergeant Floyd Cooney of New Castle, and Private Carl Smith of Oakland City.
In 1957, the US Senate confirmed President Eisenhower’s nominee for Surgeon General, Leroy Edgar Burney. Burney was born in Decatur County and was educated at Butler University and Indiana University. He served as Indiana’s health officer from 1945 to 1954. As surgeon general, he was the first federal official to publicly link cigarette smoking with lung cancer.
In 1871, Jeffersonville ceded property to the US government for a permanent Quartermaster Depot, a military reservation that furnished the US Army with stores. The depot had been established during the Civil War to provide storage for Union supplies. Construction of the permanent depot was complete in 1874 and the facility manufactured uniforms during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
In 1970, The Jackson 5’s debut single I Want You Back topped the Billboard Top 100. The next three singles released by the Gary band, ABC, The Love You Save, and I’ll Be There, also topped the chart in 1970. The group made history as one of the first African American boy bands to achieve immense popularity among white audiences.
In 1896, select buildings at the Indiana State Soldiers' Home opened to the public in Lafayette. These included the Dining Hall, Commissary, Power House, Adjutant's and Quartermaster's Building, Old People's Home, Hospital, and Waterworks Plant. In 1886, the encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic at Indianapolis spearheaded the movement for a home that would serve destitute and disabled veterans and their families. The institution's name changed to the Indiana Veterans' Home in 1976 and it operates as a long-term care facility for Indiana's veterans, as of 2018.
In 1919, Clessie L. Cummins filed articles of incorporation for Cummins Engine Company with the secretary of state. The Columbus company established offices at the former site of the Cerealine Manufacturing Co. Prior to filing articles, Cummins employed a workforce to fulfill World War I war contracts. Cummins's new company generated immediate demand for its innovative engines that operated with any type of oil and at any temperature. The company experienced a net income of $1.39 billion in 2016.
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.
In 1940, Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra performed at Indianapolis's Lyric Theater to a cheering audience. The Indianapolis Star noted that Dorsey introduced crooner Frank Sinatra, a "radio favorite who sings in the well-known radio tempo." The paper added that African American entertainers Winfield and Ford "put on one of the best dance turns we have seen recently. It is worth sitting through the bill to watch one of them slipping around over a huge drumhead."
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, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs.
In 1913, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul opened a state-of-the-art hospital in Indianapolis, its third location in the city since 1881. St. Vincent 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 that "Leaders in both parties lamented the state's bureaucratic disorder and inefficiencies. More than one hundred departments and agencies existed in a patchwork of uncertain authority and control." McNutt's act ensured that the new departments' responsibilities were "more clearly defined and control more centrally administered."
In 2001, legendary jazz trombonist and composer J.J. Johnson died in his native Indianapolis. His innovative style, such as "transferring bebop to the trombone," earned him the title of "the most influential trombonist in postwar [World War II] jazz." After 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 wrote music for films like "Scarface." Johnson continued to perform and record his unique pieces until retiring from public performance in 1997.
In 2007, the Indianapolis Colts, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, played in their first Super Bowl game. 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 led both teams.
In 1862, the U.S. Senate expelled Senator Jesse Bright of Indiana. His colleagues considered him disloyal to the Union after discovering a letter written by him. In the letter, found on an arms dealer, Bright introduced himself to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and offered “a great improvement in fire-arms.”
In 1867, anti-Ku Klux Klan crusader, newspaper editor, satirist, and former 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.
In 1873, the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious order devoted to caring for the elderly poor, arrived in Indianapolis to establish a home. At a time when the elderly were often ignored and unseen, the Little Sisters of the Poor provided assistance. The sisters opened the home to anyone over the age of sixty with no means of support, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. The Little Sisters solicited alms daily to provide shelter, comfort, and basic nursing care for residents. Their dedication garnered widespread appreciation. In 1967, the home moved to 2345 West 86th Street as the St. Augustine Home for the Aged.
In 1837, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that authorized the Indiana Geological Survey and appointed David Dale Owen the first state geologist. Governor Noah Noble informed legislators in 1836 that a scientific survey would enable the state to better develop its mineral deposits. 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 1941, Pulaski County Army Air Corps pilot Captain Richard S. Freeman died in a plane crash in Nevada. Captain Freeman commanded the B-17, en route to Denver for cold weather training, when it crashed and took the lives of eight crew members. The West Point graduate earned the Distinguished Flying Cross award. Freeman Field, a World War II Army Air Forces training school in Seymour, Jackson County, was named in honor of Captain Freeman.
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 a U.S. Representative, English would be remembered for his “wise and patriotic course in Congress,” notably his important role in crafting a controversial bill that gave Kansas the choice of whether to enter the Union as a free or slave state. After his time in Congress, he served as president of the First National Bank of Indianapolis for fourteen years, which became one of the largest banks in the Midwest. 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.
In 1919, Detroit headquarters informed departmental managers at the Anderson branch of the Remy Electric Company that it had become a subsidiary of the General Motors Company. Remy, a supplier of automobile electrical equiment, had been part of the United Motors Corporation for the previous five years.
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 dramatics at Fairmount High School before majoring in dramatics at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1949. He went on to star in films such as "East of Eden" and "Rebel without a Cause," reprising roles representative of youthful rebellion. Just as he achieved national success, Dean passed away 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 was buried at Park Cemetery near the farm where he grew up.
In 1866, playwright George Ade was born in Kentland, Newton County. After graduating from Purdue University, he wrote for the Chicago Record, where his editorial column "Stories of the Streets and of the Town" later served as literary inspiration. 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.
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.
In 1851, the Constitutional Convention concluded after a 126 day session in Indianapolis. Elected delegates produced a new state constitution in response to years of political and budgetary turmoil, created largely by the Mammoth Internal Improvements Act. The new constitution, based on various sections of the 1816 Constitution, created more effective organizational tools for the legislature. It provided the General Assembly with biennial sessions with sixty-one days of legislative time, and a two-year term for representatives and a four-year term for senators. Furthermore, it limited the House and Senate to only one hundred and fifty members, respectively. The delegates also instituted a stronger push for public schools and easier access to citizenship for immigrants. Although Indiana was a free state, Article 13 of the 1851 Constitution institutionalized discrimination against African Americans and asserted “No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.”
In 1985, Indianapolis hosted the NBA All-Star Game at Market Square Arena. Sports Illustrated ranked the Slam Dunk Contest as one of the top five greatest in All-Star history. According to the Indianapolis Star, Chicago Bull Michael Jordan sported Nike Air Jordans as he dunked from the free throw line, Portland Trail Blazer Clyde Drexler excited fans with a reverse dunk, and Atlanta Hawk Dominique Wilkins won the contest with a windmill jam.
In 1825, the Indiana General Assembly approved an act establishing 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. 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. Lincoln had visited Indianapolis on September 19, 1859 and delivered a speech so obscure that it was largely forgotten. In his speech, Lincoln critiqued Stephen Douglas’s advocacy of popular sovereignty.
In 1891, prominent abolitionist and orator Stephen S. Harding died and was buried in Greendale Cemetery in Lawrenceburg. He was born in New York in 1808 and moved with his family to Ripley County, Indiana 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 Party and Republican Party and received several appointments from President Abraham Lincoln.
In 1904, Lillian Thomas Fox, Indiana State Organizer for the National Association of Colored Women, convened a meeting at the Flanner Guild in Indianapolis to take the first steps toward organizing a state federation of colored women’s clubs. Representatives of fourteen clubs from Indianapolis and other Indiana towns attended this preliminary meeting. Delegates formally organized the Indiana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in April with the goal to "'improve existing conditions and to ask for racial fair-play” during an era of increased prejudice and lynchings. The Federation also worked to demonstrate the accomplishments of black women, serve the less fortunate, and give strength to one another by cooperation.
In 1889, the Columbia Club of Indianapolis filed articles of incorporation with the county recorder's office. According to the Indianapolis Journal, the certificate noted that the club "is organized for literary and scientific purposes, for the advancement of political economy and politico-legal historical criticism from the stand-point of the Republican party." Members of the Harrison Marching Society, organized in 1888 to support Benjamin Harrison's presidential campaign, established the permanent club. The institution has hosted prominent political and cultural figures, such as President Dwight Eisenhower and Hoagy Carmichael.
In 1974, Governor Otis R. Bowen approved Public Law No. 60, which repealed all laws concerning sterilization of the mentally ill in Indiana. By the late 1800s, Indiana legislators enacted laws based on the belief that criminality, mental problems, and pauperism were hereditary. In 1907, Governor J. Frank Hanly approved the first state eugenics law, which made sterilization mandatory for certain individuals in state custody. Governor Thomas R. Marshall halted sterilizations in 1909 and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the 1907 law unconstitutional in 1921. A 1927 law reinstated sterilization and added court appeals. Approximately 2,500 in state custody were sterilized under state law.
In 1841, editor of Indianapolis freethought newspaper the Iconoclast William LaMaster was born in Shelbyville. LaMaster served in the 89th Indiana Infantry and the 146th Indiana Infantry during 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 Ambrose Bierce, Clemens Vonnegut, and Robert Ingersoll.
In 1913, controversial labor organizer James "Jimmy" Hoffa was born in Brazil, Clay County. 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.
In 1947, the Indiana House unanimously passed a Senate bill that prohibited conspiracy "for the purpose of creating malicious hatred by reason of race, color or religion" and criminalized "racketeering in hatred." It also prevented hate organizations from operating in Indiana. Governor Ralph Gates, who promised, “I am going to smash the Klan in Indiana,” ordered the bill to be drafted and signed it into law. Lawmakers repealed the law in 1977 during an overhaul of Indiana's criminal code.
In 1848, Governor James Whitcomb signed an act incorporating the Cannelton Cotton Mill Company in Perry County. With the textile mill, founder Hamilton Smith hoped to make a profit and "'also had dreams of founding a model industrial community on the frontier.'" Due to his lobbying, in 1848 the Indiana legislature chartered eight factories in Cannelton, including five cotton mills, a glass company, a paper mill, and a foundry. When the first wave of workers arrived in December 1850, they experienced a housing shortage, an ongoing problem for workers who had been promised an idyllic community in the model of Lowell, MA. The mill produced fabric for uniforms worn during the Civil War (by Union soldiers), World War I, and World War II.
In 1905, author, soldier, and statesman General Lew Wallace died in his hometown of Crawfordsville. He enlisted in an Indiana regiment and served in the Mexican-American War. After the war, he began a law practice and won election as prosecuting attorney for Indiana’s first district. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Governor Morton commissioned Wallace as adjutant general to recruit and organize Indiana’s quota of troops. Wallace subsequently became colonel of the 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and became a major-general by 1862. He participated in the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh. After the war, Wallace served as Governor of the New Mexico Territory from 1878 to 1881, and U.S. Minister to Turkey from 1881 to 1885. He also began a literary career, publishing his novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ in 1880, which became one of the best-selling novels of the 19th century.
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. Sales of the company's durable and high quality carriages surged during the Civil War and by the 1880s Studebaker was one of the largest manufacturers of horse-drawn carriages. The company was one of few able to transition from the production of carriages to automobiles. Studebaker struggled through the Great Depression until 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 moved to Canada and ceased completely in 1966.
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 Daily Banner (Greencastle) 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 1892, composer James F. Hanley was born in Rensselaer, Jasper County. 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, traditionally by actor Jim Nabors.
In 1920, newspapers reported that black baseball player, manager, and team owner Andrew “Rube” Foster formed the Negro National League, which included the Indianapolis A.B.C.s among seven other teams. The A.B.C.s played their first game in May and defeated the Chicago Giants. An African American newspaper described the event 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.” The formation of the Negro National League led the way for other Negro leagues at a time when black players were prevented from playing in the major leagues. According to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, these leagues “became centerpieces for economic development in many black communities.”
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 his 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 and 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 started 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 generous 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.
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.
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 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 county 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.
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 had established a memorial honoring Abraham Lincoln and his mother in Spencer County, but the bill 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."
In 1854, U.S. Democratic Senator John Pettit of Indiana delivered a speech in Congress during a debate on the allowance of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska. Pettit famously called the Declaration of Independence’s claim that “all men are created equal” a “self-evident lie.” His rhetoric would serve as a rallying cry for Abraham Lincoln and other Republicans critical of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and allowed for territorial voters to determine the issue of slavery. From 1859 to 1861, Pettit served as chief justice of the U.S. courts in the Territory of Kansas.
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, Wayne County and 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.
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 Daily Republican (Rushville) noted that Chirka's children "were made orphans" that day and "could not be consoled." Despite the petition of many Hoosiers to spare the lives of the prisoners found guilty of murdering their wives—including signatures from "numerous kind hearted fathers of the Catholic church—" Governor Ralston allowed the execution to commence 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."
In 1916, the Indiana Association of Colored Men honored Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass with a memorial at Tomlinson Hall. African American businessmen and white citizens attended the event. The Indianapolis Star reported that "The life of Lincoln was traced from his birth in Kentucky, through the few years that he spent in Indiana, his career and life in Illinois, particularly in Sangamon County, his ability as a lawyer, his meager schooling, and finally his trying administration as President of the United States." Candidate for U.S. Senator James E. Watson praised Lincoln’s Gettysburg Speech and his response to slavery. Municipal judge Robert H. Terrill “proclaimed Douglass as the proper type for all colored men to emulate" and contended that "if he had lived in England he would have been knighted, and if in France he would have been decorated with the Legion of Honor.”
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 were dispatched from Terre Haute. The accident led to the introduction of legislation that improved the working conditions at Indiana mines.
In 1940, fire broke out at the paint shop of the Cole Bros. and Robbins Circus in Rochester, Fulton County. 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, startling residents who assisted police in rounding them up.
In 1824, David W. Ballard was born in Bridgeport, Harrison County. 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 Southern 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 to reappoint him after the expiration of his term.
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 Iowa 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.
In 1862, railroad cars carrying Confederate prisoners captured during the fall of Fort Donelson arrived in Indianapolis. The captured soldiers disembarked and marched under guard to Camp Morton, becoming the first prisoners at the camp. The Daily State Sentinel reported “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 last prisoners at Camp Morton were not released until over three years later.
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."
In 1917, comic illustrator Reed Crandall was born in Pike County. He moved to Kansas and in 1935 graduated from Newton High School. 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 illustrated characters for the Captain America and Flash Gordon series and is probably best known for the superhero "the Firebrand" in the World War II aviation comic strip "Blackhawk." Fans easily recognized his work during the "Golden Age of Comics." In 2009, the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame inducted Crandall as a member.
In 1938, 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 17,000 crowd 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 and the Indiana school 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 crowds chanted his name during his absence. The Big Ten conference suspended the combative coach for one game for his demonstration. Under Knight’s coaching the Hoosiers won the NCAA championships in 1987. He coached IU to the title in 1976 and 1981.
In 1887, chaos broke out in the Indiana Senate chamber regarding an electoral dispute in what is regarded as 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 under Democratic governor Isaac P. Gray. The Democratic-controlled Senate fought the outcome and the circuit court ruled against Robertson, but the Indiana Supreme Court overturned its decision on February 23. This gave Robertson the impetus to try to take his seat as president of the Senate. When he was forcibly removed from the chamber, fighting and chaos broke out. 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. Main received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Motion Picture Academy for her first portrayal of the character in 1947’s The Egg and I. 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 1951, the Indianapolis Recorder announced that Sporting News named African American basketball player Bill Garrett to its All-American team. Recorder sportswriter Cy Kritzer remarked of the Indiana University star “Above all, he [Garrett] was a playmaker. The game has none better than the Hoosier star on the fast break.” Teammates also voted Garrett Most Valuable Player of the season and he came in second in balloting for the Big Ten’s most valuable basketball player of the year. In 1947, Indianapolis black leaders worked with IU president Herman B Wells to give Garrett a chance to play for IU. His 1948 varsity debut directly challenged the Big Ten’s unwritten rule that barred African Americans from playing basketball. Garrett’s IU years saw parts of the campus desegregated and his achievements helped create opportunities for other black players in the Midwest.
In 1779, British Lieutenant General of Detroit 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 men from Kaskaskia (in present-day Illinois), who overtook the garrison. The National Park Service stated that "the fort’s capture assured United States claims to the frontier, an area nearly as large as the original 13 states."
In 1919, Governor James P. Goodrich signed State Senator Franklin McCray's anti-German bill, which forbade elementary schools from teaching the language. The bill also prohibited correctional schools, Parochial schools, and benevolent organizations from teaching German. The Warren Times Mirror (Pennsylvania) noted that these Indiana institutions "are subject to [a] fine and imprisonment if German is taught today." Indiana became one of fourteen states to ban the teaching of German to children, speaking to the pervasive fear that “future German propaganda” would be aimed at American children in the post-World War I era. Governor William Terry McCray overturned the bill in 1923.
In 1918, former Governor Otis R. Bowen was born near Rochester, Fulton County. During World War II, he served in the Army Medical Corps and assisted the first wave of allied troops during the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. After discharge, he established a family medical practice at Bremen, Marshall County. Bowen served as a Republican representative in the state legislature, the first ever to serve three consecutive sessions as Speaker of the House. Voters elected him governor of Indiana in 1972 and that same year ratified a constitutional amendment allowing governors to serve successive terms. Bowen won re-election in 1976 to become the first governor since 1851 to serve two consecutive four-year terms. President Ronald W. Reagan nominated him as Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services in 1985 and he served until 1989.
In 1852, the Indiana Asbury Female College opened in New Albany, Floyd County 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 businessmen 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 Greenfield, 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."
In 1970, Purdue University's Rick Mount posted a Big Ten single-game record of 61 points in a 108-107 loss to Iowa. Known as "The Rocket," Mount scored those points without the benefit of the three-point shot and many speculate that if the arc had existed he would have finished with 13 three-pointers and 74 points. Mount concluded his senior year claiming his second consensus All-American honor, while ranking first on Purdue's all-time scoring list with 2,323 points. His feat of 61 points remained the Conference record in 2018.
In 1972, U.S. Senator Birch Bayh introduced amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which would ban gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid. President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, co-sponsored by Birch and Representative Edith Green, into law on June 23, 1972, affording women and girls at public educational institutions more scholarship and sports opportunities.
In 1920, fire destroyed Hotel Mudlavia, a renowned health spa and sanitarium in Kramer, Warren County. 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."
In 1830, Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign biographer, William Dean Howells, reported that Thomas Lincoln and his family, including 21-year-old Abraham, began their migration from Indiana to Illinois. The family had moved from Kentucky to Spencer County, Indiana, where "The rude cabin of the settler was hastily erected, and then those struggles and hardships commenced which are the common trials of frontier life." As the family journeyed from Indiana to Illinois, Abraham helped drive ox-wagons.
In 1897, women's rights and temperance advocate Amanda Way was awarded a pension for her service as a Civil War nurse. In Prohibition speeches, Way discussed her experiences working at the southern 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, she helped found the American Woman’s Suffrage Association and a national prohibition party.
In 1867, an act was approved 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. With the construction, the harbor could accept large ships and Michigan City quickly became one of Indiana's most profitable lumber markets.
In 1901, Purdue University's team defeated Indiana University at 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."
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 have written more than 700 songs, many of which became staples in the Christian community, such as "Because He Lives" and "I Am a Promise."
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 in a Ford patrol 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.
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 and through apprenticeships and on-the-job training 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, as an officer, for 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 two terms as Governor of Indiana (1968 and 1972).
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.
In 1914, Muncie's first policewoman Alfaretta Hart confronted the city's Prohibitionist men 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 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."
In 1860, Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Samuel Luther Thompson was born in Danville. In the 1880s, Thompson played for the Danville Browns baseball team and for Evansville and Indianapolis minor league ball clubs. He played for the National League Detroit Wolverines (1885-1888), Philadelphia Phillies (1889-1898), and American League Detroit Tigers (1906). Thompson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. Thompson remains first in runs batted in per game, edging out Lou Gehrig.
In 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, Indiana native is often recognized as the first majority leader. During his tenure, he worked closely with President 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, "while criticizing the race as an insult to the memory of United States soldiers who died during the Civil War. The legislation, however, attracted both vehement support and opposition—the latter from many younger veterans of World War I 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.
In 1922, Sullivan native Will H. Hays Sr. became first chairman of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America. The 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, 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 was chairman of the Republican National Committee (1918-1921), and served as postmaster general under President Warren G. Harding (1921-1922).
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."
In 1823, the first issue of the Western Censor, & Emigrants Guide was published in Indianapolis. The second paper established in the capital city, the Censor opposed the political beliefs of Andrew Jackson. It changed its name to the Indiana Journal in 1825.
In 1945, U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Second Lieutenant Harry J. Michael was shot and killed in action in Germany. The previous day the Milford, Kosciusko County led his rifle platoon in an assault on an enemy position upon a wooded ridge near Neiderzerf. He discovered two Nazi machine gun nests during his company’s ascent. Without drawing notice from the enemy, he “surprised the enemy and captured the guns and crews.” The U.S. soldiers heard voices at daybreak, and discovered an SS unit near their position. 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 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.
In 1869, abolitionist and legislator George Washington Julian was announced as a member of the Standing Committee on Reconstruction. According to the Encylopaedia Britannica, the Centerville reformer advocated Radical Reconstruction policies that would punish Confederate leaders. He and other party members attempted to block President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies.
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, but the Senate voted it down. The legislature approved a provision that prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
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 IU’s School of Journalism in 1942. According to the Indiana State Archives, Pugh named the character Fred Mertz after her urologist neighbor, Henry O. Mertz, whom she lived near during the 1920s. The Paley Center contended that “'During the formative years of television, when few women were working behind the screen, Madelyn Pugh Davis wrote one of the most popular shows of all time . . . [she] not only made her mark as a writer, but also opened the door for other women to follow in her footsteps.'”
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan visited Fort Wayne to meet with flood victims and observe relief efforts. According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, the flood caused approximately 9,000 residents to flee their homes and resulted in about $56 million in damages. Reportedly, the widespread efforts of volunteer sandbaggers earned Fort Wayne the moniker "The City That Saved Itself."
In 1950, a mock air attack over Indiana illustrated the failure of radar to detect potential Soviet planes transporting atomic bombs. B-26 bombers flown by members of the Air National Guard of Indiana, Missouri and Illinois proceeded “completely undetected” by radar at Fort Harrison. Following the alarming mock air attack, Civil Defense Directors in fifty-one Indiana counties established Ground Observer Corps posts. The GOC was a collaborative program in which civilian volunteers built watchtowers in their backyards and community centers and contacted U.S. Air Force officials if they suspected Soviet aircraft. The GOC served as an opportunity for families, neighbors, and community members to spend quality time together through the shared objective of improving national security.
In 1890, the Bowen-Merrill Company stationery and book store in Indianapolis caught fire. Eighty-six firemen fought the blaze. The woodframed roof and floors collapsed, dropping many men into the fire. What began as a minor fire quickly turned into a blaze 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 one man over six-feet tall. The Boilermakers, led by All-American Norman Cottom, posted a 17-3 overall record and a 10-2 Conference mark to claim Purdue's seventh Big Ten title in school history. Cottom finished the season as the League's leading scorer, averaging 9.0 points per game.
In 1960, a Lockheed Electra en route from Chicago to Florida crashed in Tell City, Perry County. 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." With an absence of bodies, investigators identified only a few of the sixty-three victims.
In 1836, white gang members attacked free person of color James Overall's home. After shooting a gang member, Overall was aided by white residents like Calvin Fletcher, and appealed to Indiana's legal system to assert his rights. Overall owned land in Indianapolis and aided escaping slaves migrating from the south. Judge William W. Wick affirmed that 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 some cows that had broken down the fence of one of his orchards just north of Fort Wayne. Overcome by his exertions, he succumbed to what the people of the time called the “winter plague.” Appleseed was buried along the St. Joseph River and the old feeder canal bed on the Archer farm.
In 1933, excluded from competing in the Indiana High School Athletic Association basketball tournament on account of segregation, Gary’s Theodore Roosevelt High School basketball team entered the National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament hosted by Virginia’s Hampton Institute. The tournament welcomed African American high schools from across the country to compete for a national championship. Gary Roosevelt defeated Henderson Institute of North Carolina in the championship game, 37-6. 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.
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 the 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 the Sheboygan basketball team to repeat as champions of the National Basketball League.
In 1953, Bob Leonard hit a free throw with 27 seconds remaining to give Indiana University its second NCAA title in a 69-68 victory over the defending national champion Kansas. The game featured a battle of 6-9 centers - Indiana's Don Schlundt and Kansas' B.H. Born. However, Schlundt came out on top, tallying a game-high 30 points that included nine of IU's 10 in the last period, while Born finished with 26.
In 1889, Indiana Hospital for the Insane Superintendent Thomas Galbraith fired Dr. Sarah Stockton, suffragist and leading physician in the Women’s Department, for testifying against dismal hospital conditions. One trustee lamented her dismissal, charging 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 as 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 high school 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 champion 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.
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.
In 1837, free person of color Elijah Roberts filed a land deed for property in 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 clergy.
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 last 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."
In 1982, Wabash College’s basketball team defeated Potsdam State to win the NCAA Division III national championship. All-American Wabash player 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.'"
In 1997, International Boxing Hall of Famer Tony Zale died of Parkinson's disease in Portage, Porter County. 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.'''
In 1854, monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland founded Saint Meinrad Church in Spencer County. In 1954, the Church bestowed the title of archabbey upon Saint Meinrad’s, making it one of few archabbeys in the United States. According to the St. Meinrad's website, the monks "came to southern Indiana at the request of a local priest 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 1892, officials in Harrisburg, Grant County 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.
In 1979, while many in Indiana were most excited about Larry Bird leading Indiana State to the Final Four, Indiana University’s and Purdue University’s basketball teams met in the final of the National Invitational Tournament. The Hoosiers squeaked past the Boilermakers, 53-52.
In 1986, the last telecast of WTTV's popular children's program Popeye and Janie aired. Janie was one of three television hosts beloved by Hoosier children during the era, along with "Cowboy Bob" and Sammy Terry. Janie's show premiered in 1963 and soon became a classic with cartoons, crafts, music, and joke-telling by local Girl and Boy Scouts.
In 1824, white men murdered nine Native Americans at their winter camp on a stream near Pendleton. To allay tension between settlers and American Indians, U.S. Indian Agent John Johnston used federal funds to provide supplies to families of the victims and to build a log jail near here 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."
In 1902, production began at the South Bend Watch Company, first established in Columbus, Ohio and acquired by founders of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company. 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."
In 1913, the Great Flood devastated much of Indiana, as the Ohio and Wabash Rivers and their tributaries spilled over banks and levees. For days, the flood swept through Indiana and proved to be one of the worst weather disasters in Midwest history, causing hundreds to lose their lives and thousands their homes. Film star Carole Lombard was one of thousands impacted and her Fort Wayne childhood home became a rescue center.
In 1917, a tornado struck New Albany, ranking among the deadliest to strike Indiana since 1900. The mayor and others formed the Citizens Relief Committee, which joined forces with the Red Cross. Within hours, workers were deployed 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.
In 1965, Mitchell, Lawrence County native Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew as the command pilot in 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." He, along with Roger B. Chaffee, and Edward H. White, were chosen to pilot the first Apollo mission, with Grissom as the command pilot. On January 27, 1967 a flash fire in the Apollo 1 capsule killed all three men.
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, which was directed by another Hoosier, Robert Wise.
In 1936, car thief George W. Barrett was hanged in the Marion County jail yard for the killing of Special Agent Nelson B. Klein. Barrett was on the run for his suspected involvement in motor vehicle scams in Ohio and across the country when Agent Klein and Agent Donald C. McGovern located him along the Indiana-Ohio border. The men engaged in a shootout and the FBI agent succumbed to his gunshot wounds 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. 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 sports tournaments in 1982.
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 national 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 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 combatting 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.
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 to his role as High Commissioner. 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 championships title. Knight also led IU to the title 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 alleging that he verbally and physically abused players and employees, Indiana University fired Knight in 2000.
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. This led to the state’s decision to consolidate Indiana University’s and Purdue University's medical programs into the IU School of Medicine five years later. In 1914, IU Medical Center came into being when the first teaching hospital was completed. By 2018, the IU School of Medicine opened 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 IHSAA basketball tournament, which pitted Frankfort against Fort Wayne Central. In his first exposure to Hoosier Hysteria, he recalled that the sight of the stadium “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 transitioning the team to Indiana. In 1996, the Cleveland Browns moved to Maryland, changing their name to the Baltimore Ravens. The Indianapolis Colts, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, won their first Super Bowl game on February 4, 2007.
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 national championship and the first national championship for a women's Big Ten team.
In 1849, a jury found Luther A. Donnell guilty of assisting fugitive slave Caroline and her four children escape from Kentucky. The court fined Donnell $50 to be paid for the Decatur County public seminaries. 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 a 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.
In 1878, composer Albert Von Tilzer was born in Indianapolis. After dropping out of high school, he left home to move to New York where he began his career in the music industry. Von Tilzer went on to compose his most famous hits "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 two schools ever to go undefeated.
In 1870, the United States adopted the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote. Indiana was one of twenty-nine states to ratify it, meeting the three-fourths requirement needed to adopt an amendment. Celebration was short-lived, as the Constitutional Rights Foundation described "While Republicans acquired loyal black voters in the North, the South was an entirely different matter. The Ku Klux Klan and other violent racist groups intimidated black men who tried to vote, or who had voted, by burning their homes, churches and schools, even by resorting to murder."
In 1940, Indiana University claimed the Conference's first-ever NCAA title with a 60-42 win over Kansas in the 1940 NCAA Championship. 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.
In 1981, Indiana University claimed its fourth NCAA title with a 63-50 victory over North Carolina. The Hoosiers, coached by Bobby Knight, put this one 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 pick up Tournament MVP honors after posting 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. He also set single-season school records in assists (197) and steals (74) that year.
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.
In 1880, the City of Wabash was the brightest spot in Indiana, perhaps becoming the “the first electrically lighted city.” 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."
In 1931, legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne died in a plane crash. The aircraft burst into flames before spiraling onto the Seward Baker farm. 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 university at South Bend, 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 a national championship title in 1924, 1929, and 1930. He coached the team to a 105-12-5 record between 1918 and 1931.
In 1912, Albert Beveridge accepted the nomination for governor by the Progressive Party.
In 1920, Frank Hanly, Indiana governor (1905-1909) and Prohibition Party presidential nominee (1916), was killed in an automobile accident.
In 1930, Indiana Railroad, the largest interurban company ever operated in the U.S., began operation over properties, such as the Union Traction Company.
In 1884, Frank B. Shields, inventor of Barbasol, was born in Seymour, Jackson County.
In 1915, Ruth Lilly, philanthropist and great-grandchild of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Eli Lilly, was born in Indianapolis.
In 1900, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, Vermillion County.
In 1946, theme park Santa Claus Land opened in Santa Claus, Spencer County.
In 1949, the Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association. Indiana teams that played in the inaugural season included the Anderson Packers, the Indianapolis Olympians, and the Fort Wayne Pistons.
In 1823, Oliver P. Morton, Indiana's governor during the Civil War, was born in Salisbury, Wayne County.
In 1848, James Brown Ray, Indiana governor from 1825-1831, died in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1816, Jonathan Jennings won the election to become the first governor of the State of Indiana.
In 1836, the U.S. government concluded the Yellow River Treaty with the Potawatomi, calling for their removal from Indiana within two years.
In 1876, Historian Mary Ritter (later Beard) was born in Indianapolis.
In 1880, Paul Hadley, artist and designer of the Indiana State Flag, was born in Indianapolis.
In 1882, poet James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost is On the Pumpkin" was published in the Indianapolis Journal.
In 1802, Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison informed President Jefferson of the platting of a town "I have taken the liberty to call . . . Jeffersonville."
In 1817, Zerelda Sanders (later Wallace) was born in Kentucky. She married David Wallace and became First Lady of Indiana when he was elected governor in 1837. She later advocated for societal reforms, including temperance and women's suffrage.
In 1791, Lt. Col. James Wilkinson conducted a military raid on the Wea town of Kenapacomaqua or L'Anguille, north of present-day Logansport.
In 1926, Charlie Wiggins captured the first Gold and Glory Sweepstakes championship, a segregated auto race for African American drivers.
In 1930, African American teenagers Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp were accused of crimes against white residents and were lynched by a mob in Marion.
In 1987, the Pan American Games opened in Indianapolis.
In 1900, Tarzan film and voice actor James "Babe" Pierce was born in Freedom, Owen County.
In 1929, Ball Memorial Hospital began operations in Muncie, Delaware County.
In 1893, Mosquito Creek valley essentially fell under martial law due to a violent feud between the White Caps and the Conrad brothers.
In 1951, decorated World War I hero Samuel Woodfill died on his Vevay farm.
In 1969, journalist, screenwriter, and author of the play "Chicago," Maurine Watkins, died. Watkins grew up in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County.
Governor Maurice Clifford Townsend was born in 1884 in Blackford County, Indiana.
In 1889, Zerna Sharp, originator of the concept for "Dick and Jane" textbooks, was born in Hillisburg, Clinton County.
In 1841, Miami leader Jean Baptiste Richardville died in Fort Wayne.
In 1872, Purdue University trustees appointed Richard Owen as the school's first president.
In 1786, John Tipton, U.S. Senator from Indiana and U.S. Indian Agent, was born. Tipton became a member of the commission that selected Indianapolis to be the new state capital.
In 1900, archeologist Glenn A. Black was born in Indianapolis.
In 1942, IHSAA rescinded limits on membership, allowing African American and Catholic high schools to compete in state high school athletic contests.
In 1935, Special Agent Nelson B. Klein was killed at College Corner in a shoot out with George W. Barrett, a suspect in several motor vehicle scams.
In 1952, the U.S. Air Force commissioned a Ground Observer Corps watch tower in Cairo, Tippecanoe County.
In 1859, the first official air mail flight was undertaken out of Lafayette, Tippecanoe County. It subsequently crash landed in Crawfordsville before making it to its intended destination of New York City.
In 1863, author and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter was born in Lagro, Wabash County.
In 1940, lawyer and businessman Wendell Willkie accepted the Republican nomination to run for U.S. president in Elwood, Madison County.
In 1988, Senator Dan Quayle accepted the nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention.
In 1888, physician, suffragist, and temperance leader Mary F. Thomas died in Richmond, Wayne County.
In 1909, the first automobile race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1942, construction began on Atterbury Army Air Field in Columbus, Bartholomew County.
In 1810, Shawnee military and political leader Tecumseh addressed Governor William Henry Harrison, hoping to convince him to stop taking tribal land.
In 1833, President Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio. He became the 23rd President of the United States and the only Indiana resident over elected to the office.
In 1864, Union soldiers raided Harrison Horton Dodd's Indianapolis printing press. They discovered revolvers and thousands of rounds of ammunition intended to challenge Union war efforts.
In 1805, Governor William Henry Harrison and leaders of Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel, River, and Wea tribes negotiated the Treaty of Grouseland.
In 1865, the steamboat U.S.S. Argosy (Number 3) was returning 70th Ohio Infantry soldiers when it exploded, killing ten on board. The casualties were buried in a mass grave in Magnet, Indiana.
In 1840, the Indiana Horticultural Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1889, stonemasons laid the cornerstone of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
In 1961, the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, a World War II war ordnance plant in Charlestown, Indiana, was reactivated to produce material for the Vietnam War.
In 1849, Calvin Fairbank was pardoned from his prison term and traveled to Madison, Indiana; he was sentenced under the Fugitive Slave Law for aiding and abetting escaping slaves.
In 1857, Abraham Lincoln biographer Jesse Weik was born in Greencastle, Putnam County. He collaborated with Lincoln's law partner William Herndon to write Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.
In 1781, near present-day Aurora, Dearborn County, an American Revolutionary War battle was fought and became known as the Lochry Massacre.
In 1805, the first territorial legislature issued a charter to the Indiana Canal Company for the purpose of constructing a passage around the Falls of the Ohio, but the company never fulfilled the project.
In 1917, the 38th Division of the National Guard was formed. Regiments served in France during World War I.
In 1956, Alfred Kinsey, biologist and founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, died in Bloomington, Monroe County.
In 1985, AIDS patient Ryan White began attending classes via telephone.
In 1871, novelist of the naturalist school Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Vigo County.
In 1877, Lloyd C. Douglas, author of The Robe, was born in Columbia City, Whitley County.
In 1881, entrepreneur, banker, and railroad investor James F. Lanier died in New York.
In 1947, the trial of German chemical company IG Farben, which manufactured gas used at Nazi extermination camps, commenced. Vincennes jurist Curtis Shake presided over the trial in Nuremburg, Germany. The judges found thirteen of the twenty-four defendants guilty of war crimes and sentenced them to prison terms.
In 1955, an explosion destroyed the Standard Oil refinery in Whiting, Lake County.
In 1855, fur trader, politician, and language interpreter William Conner died in Noblesville, Hamilton County.
In 1960, Father John Francis O'Hara died. He graduated, taught, and served as president (1934-1939) of the University of Notre Dame. He later was Archbishop of Philadelphia (1951-1960) and became a cardinal (1958).
In 1814, a territorial census was authorized, a requisite to the consideration of statehood.
In 1958, award-winning entertainer Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Lake County.
In 1865, botanist Charles Deam was born in Wells County.
In 1883, Henry F. Schricker, the only Hoosier governor elected to two non-consecutive terms (1941-1945, 1949-1953), was born in North Judson, Starke County.
In 1916, Hilbert Circle Theatre opened in Indianapolis, a venue for film and live acts and later home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
In 1949, the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans, held its final encampment in Indianapolis.
In 1837, George Winter visited a Potawatomi camp near Logansport and remained in the Wabash valley for most of his life. There he sketched and painted happenings from their daily lives and later their forced removal from the state.
In 1868, cartoonist Kin Hubbard was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He is best known for his depiction of Brown County wise-cracker Abe Martin, who delivered witticisms like "You won't skid if you stay in a rut."
In 1912, Carl G. Fisher announced his proposal for a transcontental highway at a dinner party for automobile manufacturers, which took place at Indianapolis' Deutsches Haus. He proclaimed “A road across the United States! Let’s build it before we’re too old to enjoy it!” The construction of U.S. transcontinental roads, including the east-west Lincoln Highway and north-south Dixie Highway, enabled long-distance travel by automobile.
In 1915, Indiana University football coach Clarence C. Childs announced that Olympian Jim Thorpe would join his staff to coach IU's backfield.
In 1874, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of the State of Indiana held its first meeting in Indianapolis. The union sought to generate awareness about societal problems wrought by alcohol and marched on saloons in an effort to end the sale of alcohol. Temperance and suffrage lecturer Zerelda Wallace served as the organization's first president.
In 1941, operations began at the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Charlestown, Clark County, which produced smokeless powder used in World War II efforts. The plant bolstered the town's economy and provided job opportunities for women and African Americans.
September of 1812 was a violent time in Indiana's territorial history. That summer, military units of a pan-Indian confederacy conducted a series of attacks on American forts, military, and settlements in the territories of the Old Northwest, including at Fort Dearborn in present-day Chicago. A primary motivation for the actions stemmed from treaties in which communally held Indian land was ceded to the American government. Leaders of the confederacy, like Tecumseh, argued that the treaties' signers did not have the authority to relinquish title to the land. Tecumseh warned that American settlement on the land would be met with Indian resistance. Within a larger context, the battles were part of the War of 1812. The British actively recruited Indians as allies in the territories, and armed them to fight against Americans.
On September 3, 1812, a force comprised of Shawnees, Potawatomis, and Delawares attacked the American settlement of Pigeon Roost in present-day Scott County. Over twenty whites and an unknown number of Indians were killed. A day later, on September 4, an Indian force attacked, set fire, and laid siege to Fort Harrison, under the command of Captain Zachary Taylor, in present-day Terre Haute. A military company dispatched from Fort Knox II in Vincennes to bring supplies to Fort Harrison was ambushed en route in present-day Sullivan County. Beginning on September 5, Indian forces attacked Fort Wayne (which was then a fort as its name implies) and held the fort under siege for nearly a week.
In 1918, Second Lieutenant Aaron R. Fisher, of Lyles, Gibson County, commanded a seven-man African-American outpost near Lesseux, France. When German troops raided Fisher's outpost, he "showed exceptional bravery in action . . . by directing his men and refusing to leave his position, although he was severely wounded. He and his men continued to fight the enemy until the latter were beaten off by counterattack." President Woodrow Wilson presented him with the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism.
In 1927, the Indianapolis Recorder reported that the Indiana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs filed articles of incorporation. The club lent visibility to local women’s clubs throughout the state. It provided a network and common forum for the discussion of racism, discrimination, housing, employment, education, and healthcare.
In 1964, the Beatles played two shows at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum before 30,000 screaming fans.
According to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, in 1838, "a band of 859 Potawatomi, with their leaders restrained in the back of a wagon, set out on a forced march from their homeland in northern Indiana for a small reserve in present-day Kansas. To minimize the temptation for the Potawatomi to try to escape and return home militia members burned both fields and houses as the dejected members of the wagon train departed." The forced march, known as the Trail of Death, claimed the lives of many, who died as the result of typhoid and famine.
In 1915, Kiilhsookhkwa (also spelled Kilsoquah) died in Huntington County at the age of 105. According to Fort Wayne's The History Center, she was the granddaughter of Little Turtle. Born in 1810, "she saw unprecedented change in her 105 years of life. From growing up in a traditional Native woodland culture to the removal of her people from Indiana in 1846 to the industrialization of America, Kiilhsoohkwa experienced a changing of worlds during her lifetime. Throughout her life she spoke only the Miami language and her son Anthony Revarre acted as her interpreter. She and her son were allowed to stay in Indiana because of a resolution passed by Congress in 1850 exempting Miami who held treaty reserves, and their descendants, from removal."
In 1968, Indiana University Chancellor Herman B Wells, IU President Elvis Stahr, Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar, and other officials broke ground for Cavanaugh Hall. Cavanaugh Hall, Lecture Hall, and University Library would form the beginning corps of IUPUI’s undergraduate campus when the buildings opened in 1971.
In 1862, when a Confederate invasion of Kentucky seemed eminent, Governor Oliver P. Morton instituted martial law in the counties bordering the Ohio River. He insisted that all but crucial businesses shutter their doors at 3 p.m. and that able-bodied men form militia companies and drill at that time.
In 1872, a fire destroyed most of the downtown Mishawaka area. It started in a wooden outbuilding on the grounds of the Presbyterian church and moved northeast through the downtown business district. When the fire was finally put out the next morning, most of downtown Mishawaka had been burned to the ground, with a total loss of over $176,200.
In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Following the ceremony, he met with Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt. The president also visited the James Whitcomb Riley Hopsital for Children, where he met with children who suffered from polio-related afflictions as he had. This was the third time Roosevelt visited the state in 1936, an election year.
In 1940, Carroll County farmer and Purdue University graduate Claude Wickard began his term as U.S. secretary of agriculture. During World War II, he developed programs that allowed farmers to produce enough food for U.S. citizens and armed forces, as well as their allies.
In 1821, Alvin P. Hovey was born. To date, he is the only person to serve as an Indiana Supreme Court justice (1854) and Indiana governor (1889-1891). He was also a delegate to the 1850 Constitutional Convention, Civil War general, U.S. Minister to Peru, and a one-term member of Congress.
According to the Indiana Department of Conservation (now Department of Natural Resources), in 1883 Marengo Cave was discovered "by two children of the name [Blanche and Orris] Hiestand. The children were at play in the grove and were attracted to the opening at the bottom of a sink hole."
In 1819, Governor Thomas A. Hendricks was born on a farm near Zanesville, Ohio. He became the most prominent Democrat in Indiana during the Civil War Era and staunchly supported maintaining the Union. He served as U.S. senator (1863-1869), Indiana governor (1873-1877), and U.S. vice president (1884-his death in 1885).
In 1920, the U.S. Patent Office approved a patent for Henry Dill's fish bait that would attract fish by mimicking a minnow. The bait was sold by the Creek Chub Bait Company in Garrett, DeKalb County, which became one of the country's leading manufacturers of artificial fishing lures.
In 1875, the Vigo County Circuit Court admitted Elizabeth "Bessie" Jane Eaglesfield to the bar. She is the earliest known woman in Indiana to have that distinction.
In 2003, Governor Frank O'Bannon, elected in 1997, suffered a stroke and died five days later. The Air Force veteran and lawyer also served eight years as lieutenant governor (1989 to 1996) and eighteen years as a state senator from Corydon. He was considered a tenacious consensus-builder, who advocated for education, tax relief, and economic development via "Energize Indiana."
In 1844, J. Maurice Thompson was born in Fairfield, Franklin County. He studied engineering, law, and ornithology, and settled in Crawfordsville. There, he wrote poetry, novels, and articles for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. He popularized archery with Witchery of Archery and is best known for his novel Alice of Old Vincennes.
In 1848, the Free Soil Convention in Buffalo, New York appointed James H. Cravens of Versailles, Ripley County, as one of the convention's three vice presidents. Cravens served four terms in the Indiana General Assembly, was elected as a Whig to the Congress in 1841, debated against the extension of slavery, and unsuccessfully ran as a Free Soil candidate for Indiana governor in 1849.
In 1883, Joseph F. Gent filed a patent for the "Art of Making A Product from Indian Corn Known as Cerealine." The Cerealine Manufacturing Co., which operated in Columbus and Indianapolis, produced Cerealine Flakes, a precursor to cold breakfast cereal and used as a malt alternative by brewers.
In 1890, Harland "Colonel" Sanders was born near Henryville in Clark County. He developed a popular recipe for frying chicken in a pressure cooker, becoming famous as the Kentucky Colonel of KFC restaurants.
In 1945, writer and poet Max Ehrmann died in Terre Haute. Although he published his poem "Desiderata" in 1927, it became famous after his lifetime.
In 1866, President Andrew Johnson arrived in Indianapolis as part of his "Swing Around the Circle" tour, a campaign for the 1866 mid-term congressional elections. He was met by hostile Republicans, who opposed his plan to restore the Union without safeguards for freed people. Rioters prevented the president from speaking, greeting him with "an overwhelming storm of groans, hisses, bellowings . . . it seemed as if all hell had broken loose." The melee resulted in shots being fired and violence directed at city marshals.
In 1847, Theodore Clement Steele, Impressionist and "Dean of Indiana Painters," was born in Owen County. A leading member of the "Hoosier Group" of Indiana painters, he helped advance the quality of midwestern art and provided many Indiana residents with their first exposure to nationally recognized fine art.
In 1865, Grace Julian Clark was born in Centerville, Wayne County. The daughter of politician and abolitionist George Washington Julian, she was exposed at a young age to issues of social reform. She helped revive the women's suffrage movement in Indiana, wrote for the Indianapolis Star, and lectured in support of international peace and the League of Nations after World War I.
In 1822, Lieutenant Governor Ratliff Boon became governor following Governor Jonathan Jennings' resignation after his election to Congress. Boon served three months until the term expired in December. He resumed his former position as lieutenant governor, but this time alongside Governor William Hendricks from 1822 to 1824.
In 1889, synagogue Ahavath Sholom was dedicated in Ligonier, Noble County. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of American Reform Judaism, spoke on religious tolerance at the event, which included attendees from other cities and states.
In 1881, Major General Ambrose E. Burnside died. The Liberty native invented the breech-loading rifle and served in the Civil War, leading the Ninth Corps during the Battle of Antietam. Appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, he was relieved of command after the Battle of Fredericksburg ended in disaster. After the war, he represented Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate.
In 1915, William King Harvey, "America's James Bond," was born. He attended Wiley High School in Terre Haute and graduated from Indiana University's School of Law. A Cold War CIA agent, he undertook a surveillance operation against the KGB, but is best known for his role in Operation Mongoose, an attempt to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.
In 1925, Janet Flanner submitted her first manuscript, a “Letter from Paris,” to New Yorker co-founder Harold Ross. Over six weeks later, Ross informed Flanner that he would be publishing her submission, and made her a regular columnist for the magazine. She covered European politics and culture - from the Parisian art scene in the 1920s to the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. She was born and spent her younger years in Indianapolis and was the daughter of Frank Flanner a founder of the long-respected Flanner and Buchanan Funeral business.
In 1915, Carl Fisher, James Allison, Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, and Theodore Myers incorporated the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company. Allison assumed control of the team soon after, and opened a precision machine shop and experimental firm in Speedway, which would evolve into what is now Allison Transmission.
In 1918, a federal jury found Terre Haute native Eugene V. Debs guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. The presidential candidate of the Socialist Party and founder of Industrial Workers of the World was sentenced to ten years in prison, where he ran for president for a fifth time
In 1952, while campaigning for president, Dwight D. Eisenhower visited northern Indiana. He visited seven communities that day including Indiana Harbor, Warsaw, Gary, Plymouth, La Porte, Fort Wayne and South Bend.
In 1974, singer Glen Campbell performed the inaugural concert for Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.
In 1843, African American orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other black advocates spoke about abolition in Pendleton, Madison County. During the speeches, over 30 men attacked the speakers with stones and brickbats until local supporters interceded. Despite injuries, Douglass spoke the next day at a nearby Friends meetinghouse.
In 1874, classes began at Purdue University in West Lafayette, consisting of thirty-nine students and six instructors.
In 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Alois O. Bachman suffered a mortal wound leading a charge during the Battle of Antietam. He was the highest ranking Hoosier in the Union Army killed on the "Bloodiest Day of the Civil War." Born in Madison, Jefferson County, Bachman organized Madison City Greys in 1858, which became part of Sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Five Indiana regiments participated in the battle (casualties listed in parentheses): 7th Indiana Infantry (four wounded), 14th Indiana Infantry (180 casualties, including 49 killed or mortally wounded), 19th Indiana Infantry (over 70 killed and wounded including their commanding officer, and nearly 20 more missing out of 210 men in the regiment), 27th Indiana Infantry (17 killed and 192 wounded out of 443 men in the unit), and the 3rd Indiana Cavalry (5 casualties).
In 1864, General Alvin P. Hovey issued Special Order 129, authorizing military commissions to try civilians. This order led to the trials of Southern sympathizers Lambdin P. Millingan and H.H. Dodd, who were suspected of planning an uprising in Indianapolis in August.
In 1912, classes began at Arsenal Technical High School on the grounds of the former Civil War army arsenal in Indianapolis.
In 1997, Emmy-winning comedian Richard "Red" Skelton died in Rancho Mirage, California. The Vincennes native became famous for skits such as "dunking donuts" and characters like Freddie the Freeloader.
In 1877, Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin died. He moved from North Carolina to Newport (now Fountain City), Wayne County, Indiana due to his opposition to slavery. Here, he sold free-labor products, which were not produced from the labor of enslaved persons. For twenty years, he and his wife Catharine aided freedom seekers along routes from Madison and Jeffersonville.
In 1921, former Governor James P. Goodrich sailed to the Soviet Union for a two year humanitarian aid mission.
In 1927, Fort Wayne radio station WOWO, along with sixteen other stations across the nation, became a pioneer station for the CBS network.
In 1944, "Czar" of the Indiana High School Athletic Association Arthur Trester died in Indianapolis. Under Trester, the showcase of IHSAA became high school basketball, reflected in the term "Hoosier Hysteria."
In 1945, hundreds of white students at Gary's Froebel High School walked out of classes to protest African American attendance at the school. By September 21, over 1,000 Gary students had participated in the walkouts. As the strike continued throughout the fall, popular singer Frank Sinatra spoke to students about racial tension in the city. The strikes ended in November 1945, but racial tension continued and the 1950s saw a resurgence in de facto segregation in the city.
In 2002, trailblazing journalist and photographer Bettie Cadou died in Indianapolis. She wrote for publications such as the Indianapolis News, Sports Illustrated, and New York Times, covering a variety of topics from the struggle of migrant workers to the Indiana General Assembly. In 1971, Cadou became the first woman admitted into the pits at the Indianapolis 500.
In 1859, Abraham Lincoln visited Indianapolis and delivered a speech at the city's Masonic Hall. He reminisced about growing up in Indiana and critiqued Stephen Douglas's advocacy of popular sovereignty, and repeated his famous quote: "this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free; that a house divided against itself cannot stand." Historians have recently argued that the speeches Lincoln delivered throughout the Midwest around this time mobilized crucial political support among Midwesterners for a successful presidential run.
In 1892, the Indiana State Fair opened at its new location on East 38th Street in Indianapolis. The fair had previously been held at Military Park, former site of Civil War training grounds Camp Morton, as well as other locations around the state such as Terre Haute, Lafayette, Madison, New Albany, and Fort Wayne.
In 1995, popcorn entrepreneur Orville Redenbacher died in Coronado, California. The agricultural scientist "experimented with hybrids for years before he came up with the first significant genetic improvement in popcorn in more than 5,000 years." His 1965 discovery created a "fluffier" product, which he peddled in his native Indiana. The Purdue University graduate developed his product into one of America's leading popcorn brands.
In 1942, the Republic Aviation Corporation produced the first P-47 Thunderbolt at its Evansville factory. World War II defense factories like Republic drew 25,000 permanent citizens to Vanderburgh County, employing African Americans, women and the physically handicapped.
In 1954, Houghton Mifflin published Edwin Way Teale's The Wilderness World of John Muir. One of the most influential naturalists, Teale credited his career to his childhood spent in the Indiana Dunes, where he developed a love for nature, an eye for photography, and an accessible writing style.
In 1853, the first boat to travel the entire length of the Wabash and Erie Canal reached Evansville. The canal connected the Great Lakes with the Ohio River, generated a multitude of jobs, and transported Hoosier products beyond the borders of the state.
In 1919, a steel strike erupted in Gary and East Chicago. The National Guard could not manage the violent clashes in Gary, so the city's mayor requested over 1,000 federal troops dispatched to the area.
In 1920, approximately 15,000 fans watched an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and Indianapolis Indians at Washington Park. The Indians won the game 7-6 and held Babe Ruth, then in his first season with the Yankees, to a double and two singles.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Roosevelt delivered the speech while wincing with pain. His leg was infected from a carriage accident he had been in earlier in the month. After the speech, doctors at St. Vincent's Hospital lanced and drained his infected leg. He cancelled his Midwest tour following the Indianapolis surgery and returned to Washington.
In 1936, members of the notorious Brady Gang were transferred to the Hancock County Jail at Breensfield. They escaped and were killed in a shoot-out with FBI agents in 1937.
In 1964, advocate of desegregation and racial equality Faburn DeFrantz died in Indianapolis. He served as executive secretary of the African American YMCA on Senate Avenue for more than three decades. DeFrantz also fought against the segregation of Crispus Attucks High School and led the fight for black schools to gain full membership in the Indiana High School Athletic Association. He successfully used his influence to get African American basketball player Bill Garrett the chance to attend and play for Indiana University, breaking the Big Ten's color barrier.
In 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery was incorporated. Notable Hoosiers such as Sarah Bolton, James Whitcomb Riley, and President Benjamin Harrison, and twelve Indiana governors are buried at the Indianapolis cemetery.
In 1894, Culver Military Academy, located on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Marshall County, opened for its first regular session.
In 1774, John Chapman, known as "Johnny Appleseed," was born in 1774. He traveled to Fort Wayne as early as 1822, where he established apple orchards. He died in Allen County in 1845 and was buried along the St. Joseph River and the old feeder canal bed on the Archer farm.
In 1892, Robert S. Lynd was born in New Albany. A founder of modern sociology, he and wife Helen Merrell Lynd conducted the "Middletown Studies," case studies of Muncie that shed light on social changes and cultural norms in middle-America during the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1918, the Indianapolis News reported the first case of Spanish Influenza at military training detachments in and around Indianapolis. From the report until the end of November, Indiana lost 3,266 Hoosiers to the illness.
In 1880, the English Opera House opened on Monument Circle. Built by William Hayden English, Indiana businessman and politician, it featured entertainment such as musicals, minstrel shows, and films. In 1902, the theater hosted an elaborate stage play of Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur.
In 1927, inventor of television, Philo T. Farnsworth, transmitted the first electronic television image at his San Francisco lab. He moved to Fort Wayne and opened a television and radio manufacturing plant called the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation. There, he established a lab, where he devised a “fusion reaction tube” and reportedly achieved self-sustaining fusion.
In 1946, Gary boxer Tony Zale, nicknamed "The Man of Steel," defended his middleweight title against Rocky Graziano at New York's Yankee Stadium. His hometown embraced his return following the victory. Zale was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
In 1853, the Indianapolis Union Depot, predecessor to Union Station, officially opened. In 1864, a teenaged Thomas Edison worked there briefly as a telegraph operator.
In 1880, the cornerstone of the new Indiana Statehouse was laid. The first capitol building in Indianapolis, completed in 1835, was razed in 1878 to make room for the current Statehouse.
In 1919, Tom Harmon was born in Rensselaer. He became a multi-sport star athlete at Gary’s Horace Mann High School. After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Michigan where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1940. He served as a pilot during World War II, surviving a bomber crash en route to North America, and was shot down near Kiukiang, China. Following the war, he played two seasons for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.
In 1832, the Vincennes Western Sun reported that an estimated three to five thousand Indiana boatmen arrived in Evansville annually. The boatmen were passing through on return trips to their homes in the Wabash and White river valleys after delivering their goods to markets on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. A teenaged Abraham Lincoln took a similar trip in 1828.
In 1809, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison convinced a consortium of native tribes to sign the Treaty of Fort Wayne or "Ten O'Clock Line Treaty." The following year, Shawnee leader Tecumseh challenged the legitimacy of the treaty. He alleged that without unanimous agreement of all tribes the treaty was invalid. The Ten O'Clock Line became Indiana's northern border when it achieved statehood in 1816. The treaty acquired three million acres for white settlement.
In 1818, The Life of Bonaparte, considered the first literary work published in Indiana, was printed by Ebenezer Patrick and Beebe Booth in Salem, Washington County.
In 1952, the game show Two for the Money premiered on NBC, hosted by Herb Shriner. A Fort Wayne native, Shriner opened each episode with a humor monologue about Indiana. For four years, Shriner hosted the show at the height of his professional success.
In 1955, James Dean was killed in an automobile accident in California. The actor, best known for his roles in Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant was buried in his hometown of Fairmount, Grant County.
In 1811, troops began construction on Fort William Henry Harrison near Terre Haute. General Harrison ordered its construction to protect Vincennes, the capital of the Indiana Territory, against Native American forces. In September of the following year, a force of native tribes, including the Wea, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Winnebago, and Kickapoo unsuccssfully attempted to seize the fort.
In 1843, Willard School, later Indiana School for the Deaf, opened in Indianapolis. The school's teacher William Willard and his wife, both of whom were deaf, traveled through Indiana on horseback to recruit students for the school. In 1846, a law passed making Willard School the first state school to offer free education for deaf children.
In 1847, workmen laid the last rail of track connecting Madison and Indianapolis. Prominent Indianapolis businessman and legislator Calvin Fletcher wrote in his diary that the line "was so far completed that the cars from Madison on the Ohio [River] came in . . . full at 3 P.M."
In 1867, the Indiana State Fair opened in Terre Haute and ran until October 5, attracting over 55,000 visitors and hosting 1,552 exhibits. Harper's Weekly reported that the Vigo County Society hosted the fair on its grounds and erected $20,000 worth of buildings for the event.
In 1887, President Grover Cleveland visited Indianapolis as part of his midwestern "goodwill tour" to garner support for reelection. He arrived at the nearly completed State House, where he gave a speech about the legacy of Thomas Hendricks, a former governor of Indiana who served as Cleveland’s vice president until his untimely death in 1885. Following his speeches, upwards of 20,000 people went through the rotunda of the State House to greet the President and First Lady. Cleveland’s 1888 presidential bid ultimately failed, as Hoosiers cast their votes for Indianapolis resident Benjamin Harrison.
In 1907, poet and writer Susan Wallace died in Crawfordsville. The wife of Civil War general and Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace, she made her name in the literary world with poems like "The Patter of Little Feet" and travel books such as The Land of the Pueblos.
In 1999, the Indianapolis News ceased publication after a 130 year run. The first edition ran on December 7, 1869 and readers soon heralded it as "The Great Hoosier Daily." The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for its 1930-1932 series about the elimination of waste and reduction of tax levies.
In 1905, L.S. Ayres & Co. opened its flagship store on the corner of Meridian Street and Washington Street in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star praised the store at its opening and noted that it "is one of the finest and most completely equipped in the West. It offers . . . up-to-date facilities for the display and handling of merchandise," as well as a "commodious rest room," innovative soda fountain, basement budget store, and an art department that offered "treasures" from around the world. It is best remembered for its Tea Room, holiday events, displays, and fashionable women's apparel.
In 1864, antiwar draft protesters murdered Daviess County draft officer Captain Eli McCarty. Five men were convicted of his murder and reportedly several other men involved fled West. The testimony of John McAvoy, printed in the Indianapolis Daily Journal in 1865 provided the following motive: “These men gave as a reason for killing McCarty that, if he was killed they would not then be drafted into the abolition army. There was no other reason for killing him.”
In 1852, former Indiana governor James Whitcomb died while serving in the United States Senate. He served as governor from 1843 to 1848, resigning upon his election to the Senate. During his gubernatorial administration, the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Indiana Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Indiana Institute for the Education of the Blind were established.
In 1818, Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Lincoln, died in present-day Spencer County of milk sickness. She contracted the illness after drinking the milk of a cow that had consumed the poisonous white snakeroot plant. The National Park Service noted that after her passing, Abraham helped his father Thomas construct Nancy's coffin and they buried her near the family farm. According to the NPS, "Undoubtedly she left her mark on the young boy in the countless small and intimate ways that mothers do with their children. The experience of her death also prepared her son for facing the tragedy and loss that is a part of life as well. The intangible effects of both her life and her death became a part of Abraham's life and helped shape the man he became."
In 1954, Baseball Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston died in Philadelphia. The Indianapolis native began his career with the city's A.B.C.'s in 1915, a team belonging to the Negro National League. In 1954, he managed the Indianapolis Clowns. Charlestown is considered one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball history. In 1920, the Indianapolis Star reported that he was “known as the black ‘Ty Cobb,’ being one of the greatest colored players the country has ever known.”
In 1818, representatives of the United States and the Miami signed the Treaty of St. Mary's in Ohio. According to Stewart Rafert’s The Miami Indians of Indiana: A Persistent People, 1654-1994, the treaty resulted in the Miami ceding the majority of central Indiana to the U.S., which allowed for platting of the new state capital and rapid white resettlement. The treaty changed the Miami’s way of life. According to Rafert the “large annual cash payments increased the purchase of goods and consumption of alcohol among the Miami, the fur trade declined in relative importance and the subsistence economy was subverted. Tribes-people quickly found themselves becoming dependent on their annuities and credit with traders, in effect trading land instead of furs.”
In 1862, rioters in Hartford City broke the draft box and assaulted officers in protest of the Civil War draft. According to historian Stephen E. Towne, “Emancipation changed the war from one to restore the Union to one to free Southern slaves. Men who would not volunteer to fight in such a cause certainly did not want to be drafted into it. A draft-day riot in the northern Indiana town of Hartford City, in strongly Democratic Blackford County, revealed profound opposition to the war and prompted authorities to send 500 troops from Indianapolis to quell disorder. Troops remained in the area for several days until after Election Day. Commanders posted soldiers at polling places to arrest rioters who attempted to vote, adding to Democratic fears of tyranny.”
In 1866, John Reno, Simeon Reno, and Frank Sparks-members of the "Reno Gang"-robbed the Ohio and Mississippi Railway express car on its way out of Seymour. They were arrested, but after posting bail committed more robberies in Indiana. Following an attempted train robbery in Brownstown, members of the gang stopped in Seymour, where the Jackson County Vigilance Committee lynched them. In an era of vast economic, social, and political change, criminals took advantage of an antiquated system of law enforcement that was never designed to suppress them. When the system did not evolve, the citizens forced it, through vigilantism and lynching.
In 1886, a natural gas vein was discovered in Howard County, approximately 900 feet below a cornfield on A. F. Armstrong’s farm. City leaders developed an organization to attract entrepreneurs to Kokomo with free gas to establish industries.
In 1849, "Hoosier Poet" James Whicomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Hancock County. He was employed by the Indianapolis Journal, which published his famous When the Frost Is on the Punkin'. According to the Indiana Historical Society, his characters like Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man, "along with his sentimental style that harkened back to simpler times, struck a chord with a reading public struggling to come to grips with the industrial age." Upon his death in 1916, 35,000 mourners paid their respects by visiting his casket at the Indiana State Capitol.
In 1850, elected delegates of the constitutional convention met in the Hall of the House of Representatives in the State Capitol to draft a new constitution. Historian David G. Vanderstel noted it was not a radical revision of the original document, but addressed numerous concerns and problems that had emerged during the formative years of the state, such as population growth and a changing economy.
In 1917, the Central Library of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library system opened. According to the Indiana Historical Society, "The building was conceived and built under the direction of librarian Eliza G. Browning. The land where the library is located between Pennsylvania and Meridian Streets was donated by James Whitcomb Riley. Philadelphia architect Paul Cret designed it in the Greek Doric style using Indiana limestone on the Vermont marble base."
Due to a influenza epidemic, the Indiana Board of Health issued an order banning all public gatherings in the state until October 20, 1918. By the end of November, Indiana had lost 3,266 residents to the disease. However, according to the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine, Indianapolis "had an epidemic death rate of 290 per 100,000 people, one of the lowest in the nation," due to “how well Indianapolis as well as state officials worked together to implement community mitigation measures against influenza.”
In 1952, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents arrested Gary resident Katherine Hyndman under the McCarran Internal Security Act, which called for the deportation of subversive immigrants. Hyndman emigrated from Croatia as a child and joined the Communist Party in 1929. Her protest of the Korean War and involvement with the International Workers Order drew the attention of the agents, who transported her to the Crown Point County Jail. She served ten months in the jail before being released under the terms of the McCarran Act.
In 1821, the initial sale of lots in Indianapolis began. By the 1830s, the young city was a violent place. Early Indianapolis historian Ignatius Brown noted that "work on the National road . . . had attracted many men of bad character and habits to this point. These, banded together under a leader of great size and strength, were long known as ‘the chain gang,’ and kept the town in a half subjugated state. Assaults were often committed, citizens threatened and insulted, and petty outrages perpetrated." James Overall, an African American man, shot a white gang member while defending his home and family from attack; white allies came to Overall's aid. Despite an 1831 Indiana law that barred black testimony against whites in court, he gained legal protection from further attack.
In 1838, John Milton Hay was born in Salem, Washington County. Hay became one of President Abraham Lincoln’s private secretaries. He served in a variety of diplomatic posts after the Civil War, including as assistant secretary of state in the presidential administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. He and fellow Lincoln secretary, John G. Nicolay, authored a ten volume biography on the martyred president. In 1898, President William McKinley appointed Hayes secretary of state. He held the cabinet position into President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, and until his death in 1905.
In 1914, Indianapolis Hoosiers (or HooFeds) won the Federal League pennant with an 88-65 record, which topped the Chicago Whales by a single game in the standings. This would be the one and only season the team played in Indianapolis. It relocated to Newark, New Jersey for the 1915 season, and the Federal League disbanded at the end of that season.
In 1944, lawyer and corporate executive Wendell Willkie died. He was later buried in Rushville's East Hill Cemetery. The Elwood native became the Republican candidate for U.S. president despite never having held an elected office. After losing the 1940 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he continued fighting for civil rights and advocated for the equal treatment of African Americans in the Armed Forces during World War II. He also became friends and political allies with FDR and served the president as a U.S. emissary. He traveled the world, observed the war abroad, and met with foreign leaders. As an internationalist, he worked for "world peace" and in 1943 wrote about his global experiences in his book One World.
In 1824, President Judge William W. Wick sentenced James Hudson to death by hanging. Hudson was among a group of white men who murdered nine Seneca men, women and children living at a winter camp on a stream near Pendleton. He was one of three perpetrators hanged for the crime in 1825, a rare case in which indigenous people obtained some justice from U.S. law during the period.
In 1847, African American David Powell and his family fled their enslavement in Boone County, Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. Two years later their owner John Norris caught up to them and initiated what became known as the "South Bend Fugitive Case." According to Claire Harvey, "This case was not just a controversial litigation; it also exposed the impact of local cultural attitudes towards slavery at the time upon the outcomes of legal proceedings. The South Bend Fugitive Slave Case involved two individual judges, each of whom examined the evidence and rendered quite a different judgment. . . . By examining the proceedings of each judge, one can identify how perspectives of justice and judicial objectivity differed as a result of local community influence. Strong abolitionist views present in South Bend affected the outcome of the case there, and ultimately affected the destiny of the defendants."
In 1960, Indianapolis artist and art educator Lucy M. Taggart died. She studied with celebrated artists like William Forsyth and William Merritt Chase. She specialized in portraiture and exhibted her art at midwestern shows.
In 1834, entomologist and naturalist Thomas Say died in New Harmony. He helped found the Academy of Natural Sciences in his hometown of Philadelphia, before traveling on the "Boatload of Knowledge" in 1825 to Robert Owen's utopian society in Indiana.
In 1908, two Hoosier pitchers faced off in the first game of the 1908 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. Nyesville’s Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown of the Cubs and Ladoga’s Ed “Kickapoo Ed” Summers of the Tigers were born only 30 miles apart. Brown and the Cubs won game one. The pitchers faced off again in game 4 on October 13, but Brown prevailed again. The Cubs clinched the series and the title in game 5.
In 1917, noted glassmaker and Civil War veteran Henry Crimmel died in Hartford City, Blackford County. He received two patents related to his work and co-founded the Novelty Glass Company.
In 1933, United Airlines flight NC13304, a Boeing 247, exploded in the air above Chesterton, Porter County. Investigators concluded that an on-board explosive device downed the aircraft. The crew of three, and four passengers were all killed. The saboteur's identity and the motive remain a historical mystery.
In 1954, Christ Church on Monument Circle was consecrated as pro-cathedral for the Episcopal Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
In 1864, Governor Oliver P. Morton won reelection in a landslide. Concerned about Democratic and Copperhead insurgents affecting the vote, Morton persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to grant Indiana soldiers furloughs to return home to vote. The War Department extended the furloughs until November to allow the soldiers to vote for Lincoln in the presidential election on November 8.
In 1928, Paul V. McNutt won the election as National Commander of the American Legion. He utilized the organization's structure to aid his campaign for Indiana governor in 1933. McNutt ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1940 presidential race, but dropped out when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for a third term.
In 1965, the Indianapolis Times ran its final issue. The Times published numerous articles that exposed the collusion and corruption between the Indiana state government, Governor Ed Jackson, and the Ku Klux Klan. The paper won a Pulitzer Prize for the series in 1928. Alongside this coverage, the Times also covered multiple scandals, from corruption in the state’s highway fund, and voter fraud in congressional districts to exposing falsely reported Indianapolis crime statistics.
In 1878, a white mob murdered five African American men on the grounds of Posey County's courthouse. Four of the men were accused of assaulting women at a brothel (and the fifth was the father of one of the accused). The white mob broke into the jail where the suspects were held, dragged them out, and lynched them on nearby trees. According to the Indianapolis News, after the lynching the mob removed their masks and blended in with bystanders.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson helped Hoosiers celebrate Indiana's Centennial Highway Day. Over 10,000 people traveled to the state's capital to hear the president speak about road improvements.
In 1918, commander of M Company of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 1st Lieutenant Samuel Woodfill demonstrated bravery in combat against German soldiers at Cunel, France during World War I. After being promoted to captain, Woodfill returned to his unit in Luxembourg, where he served with the Army of Occupation. General John Pershing awarded Woodfill with the Medal of Honor in 1919.
In 1925, African American poet Charles Gordone was born in Chicago as "Charles Fleming." He grew up in Elkhart, Indiana before moving to New York City, where he worked as an actor, director, and playwright. During the 1960s, Gordone worked for greater opportunities for blacks in the entertainment industry. In 1970, he won national acclaim as the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for No Place to Be Somebody. In the 1980s, Gordone advocated for casting minority actors into the roles in classic dramas.
In 1859, fire destoyed homes and businesses opposite Court House Square in Vernon, Jennings County.
In 1893, The Door of Hope, which became Wheeler Mission Ministries, opened its doors in Indianapolis and held its first service. The organization initially provided friendless and unwed women with assistance. Throughout its history, it provided aid to those with few resources.
In 1960, Roderick M. Wright, "Indiana's Early Bird Pilot," died and was buried near his family farm in Daviess County. One of Indiana's first pilots, he received his Federation Aeronautique Internationale pilot license and became a member of Early Birds, a national group of pilots who flew solo between 1903 and 1916. Wright was a flight instructor and a test, charter, and cargo pilot. During World War II, he tested parachutes over his property. Wright served in the Indiana General Assembly from 1953 to 1957.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke at Weir Cook Airport in Indianapolis. He urged voters to consider electing Democratic representatives from Indiana in order for the nation to progress in areas such as labor, housing, agriculture, and national defense. Birch Bayh's election to the U.S. Senate was the only Democratic seat gained in Indiana's congressional delegation.
In 1857, automobile pioneer Elwood Haynes was born in Portland, Jay County. He moved to Kokomo, where he built a "horseless carriage" with the help of Edgar and Elmer Apperson. Haynes publicly debuted his vehicle, dubbed the “Pioneer,” during Kokomo’s Fourth of July celebration in 1894. He established the Haynes Automobile Company to capitalize on the invention. Although debate continues as to whether or not he invented the first car, his company contributed to a major industrial and transportation revolution and helped position the vehicle as a popular form of transit.
In 1910, John Wooden, one of the winningest collegiate basketball coaches, was born in Martinsville. In 1927, he led Martinsville High School to three consecutive state finals and was an all-American at Purdue University. While coaching the UCLA's basketball team to ten national championships, he created a sports dynasty and established the NCAA's record for winning the most consecutive games.
In 1925, former Democratic Governor Samuel Ralston died and was buried in Lebanon. Among many other progressive measures enacted under his leadership, Ralston's administration initiated the state park system and created a public service commission to regulate utilities. Governor Ralston championed Indiana's centennial celebration, serving on the Indiana Historical Commission.
In 1849, Charity Dye was born in Madison County, Kentucky. Her family moved to Indianapolis, where she later taught at Shortidge High School. She advocated for peace and women's suffrage. Dye served as the only female member of the Indiana Historical Commission, and was active in planning the statewide celebration.
In 1851, Indiana's first woman's rights convention concluded at Dublin, Wayne County. Women and men who supported temperance, abolition, and suffrage attended the convention. Members adopted resolutions for political, social, and financial rights for women. In 1852, the convention formed Indiana Woman's Rights Association to promote united action for woman's rights. The association demanded equality in all political rights and functions at the 1853 convention. It voted to be auxiliary to American Woman Suffrage Association 1870 and later the Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association.
In 1854, Hoosier Group artist William Forsyth was born in California, Ohio. His family moved to Indiana in 1864 and he lived and painted in Irvington. He taught at the John Herron Art Institute for over twenty years and produced pieces for the Works Progress Administration. Forsyth participated in several art organizations in the city, such as The Art Association of Indianapolis, Society of Western Artists, and Portfolio Club. His art, along with that of Hoosier Group artists such as Otto Stark and T.C. Steele, won national acclaim and helped generate an appreciation of Indiana art.
In 1896, the first Rural Free Delivery post offices were established in Indiana at Hartsville and Hope in Bartholomew County. The service delivered mail directly to rural residents and eliminated the need to pick up mail at distant post offices or pay for delivery.
In 1920, the Collyer's Eye announced boxer Ray Bronson's retirement. The "Indianapolis Pugilist" made a name for himself boxing in the city. He fought in 104 matches, with 48 wins and 22 Knock-Outs. His skill in the ring took him all over the world, from Sydney to London, where he was one of the first American boxers to fight abroad. Later in life, he cultivated upstart boxers, acting as their manager, and worked to promote the sport.
In 1944, Columbus native and Women's Air Service Pilot Jean Lewellen died when the plane she was piloting crashed. Lewellen was one of thirty-eight women pilots killed in service during World War II, and the only woman from Bartholomew County killed in the line of duty.
In 1934, famed pilot Amelia Earhart spoke at Purdue University on the subject “Activities for Women after College.” In 1935, the university employed her as a visiting faculty member. Until her 1937 disappearance she served as consultant in the Department for the Study of Careers for Women and technical advisor in the Department of Aeronautics at Purdue.
In 1974, the Indianapolis Racers played their first hockey game of their inaugural season at Market Square Arena. In 4 ¼ seasons the team won less than 37% of its games. However, future NHL hall of famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier suited up for the team for brief stints.
In 1844, Harvey Washington Wiley was born on a small farmstead near Kent, Jefferson County. He earned his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Indiana and worked as a chemist at Purdue University. Dr. Wiley tirelessly advocated for food regulation. Through his “hygienic table trials,” which tested the effects of adulterated food on twelve volunteers known as the "Poison Squad," Dr. Wiley's findings contributed to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
In 1897, the Marion County Circuit Court accepted Moy Kee's argument that since he filed a declaration of intent to become a U.S. citizen before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 he should be granted a certificate of citizenship. Although the court decision would be revoked fourteen years later, Moy remained an active and prominent member of Indianapolis’ small Chinese immigrant population until his death in 1914.
In 1963, Clowes Hall opened with a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. According to WFYI, "The theater was designed in part as a home for the orchestra. Dr. George Clowes and his wife Edith also envisioned the space as a center of culture and entertainment." Performers such as Elton John, Barbara Steisand, and Miles Davis graced the concert hall's stage.
In 1968, Indianapolis artist John Wesley Hardrick died. He is best known for his painting "Little Brown Girl," which was awarded the Harmon Foundation Bronze Medal in recognition of African Americans for distinguished achievement in the fine arts. He exhibited at the Negro Business League convention, Indiana State Fair, Hoosier Salon, and Smithsonian Institution. In 1933 and 1934 he worked as a Works Progress Administration muralist.
In 1980, naturalist, photographer, and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Edwin Way Teale died. He wrote that boyhood summers and holidays spent at his grandparents’ farm in Porter County inspired his interest in nature. During his life, he wrote, edited, and contributed to over 30 books, which educated Americans about nature’s importance and beauty.
In 1876, Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” Brown was born in Nyesville, Parke County. In fourteen seasons with six major league baseball clubs, Brown, a pitcher, won 64.8% of his games with a 2.06 ERA and 55 shutouts. He compiled this impressive record despite the fact that a childhood farm accident mangled his pitching hand and resulted in the loss of his index finger (hence his nickname “Three Finger”). Brown’s outstanding pitching contributed to the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championships in 1907 and 1908.
In 1852, the first Indiana State Fair opened at Military Park in Indianapolis. Approximately 15,000 visitors attended on its first day. When the Civil War ended the fair was moved to the former site of Camp Morton.
In 1926, Eugene V. Debs died. He was a five-time presidential candidate of the Socialist Party and founder of Industrial Workers of the World. In 1918, a federal jury found the Terre Haute native guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, where he ran for president in 1920.
In 1875, "Iron Brigade" Commander Solomon Meredith died and in 1908 was reinterred at his hometown in Cambridge City. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Meredith was placed in command of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was brigaded with the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin. Meredith commanded the brigade during the battles of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. After the war, he returned to his Cambridge City farm and continued his pre-war commitments to public service and political office. He won election to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1846 and served as U.S. Marshal for Indiana, 1849-1853.
In 1975, Birch Bayh announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. He had served as U.S. Senator from Indiana since 1963, where he authored two constitutional amendments. The Terre Haute native is known for authoring Title IX in 1965, which banned gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid.
In 1794, Fort Wayne was dedicated. Following General Anthony Wayne's victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Legion of the United States under Wayne's command moved into present-day Indiana. Wayne selected a site for a fort at the Miami town of Kekionga. The site was strategically and militarily located at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee rivers. Wayne sought to exert American influence and control in the region over the claims of indigenous peoples and the British. Major John F. Hamtramck was placed in command of 100 soldiers stationed at the fort.
In 1840, Sister Theodore Guerin and other Sisters of Providence arrived in the middle of a thick, village-less forest four miles outside of Terre Haute. This eventually became the site of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
In 1833, Abram C. Shortridge was born in Henry County. He is best known for the sweeping improvements he made in the Indianapolis public school system while serving as its superintendent from 1863 to 1874. In this role, he reopened Indianapolis High School, now Shortridge High School [home to graduates such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Richard Lugar], which had been closed in 1858. He introduced a graded system, lengthened the school year from 3.5 months to 9 months, and oversaw the construction of two new school buildings in the city. Shortridge was also instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Public Library and reopening Indianapolis public schools to African American children.
In 1865, one hundred and fifty African American delegates, representing most Indiana counties, met at the African Methodist Church in Indianapolis to establish an organization that would advance their rights. Convention delegates formed a Committee on Business and adopted Resolutions, which included a pledge to “do all in our limited power to secure that intellectual and moral worth necessary to sustain a republican form of government, and for the encouragement of our race. We will petition the Legislature of this State, at its next session, to grant us access to the public school funds, and that we be permitted, with other men of other races, to testify in all cases before the courts of justice in this State."
In 1892, First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison died in the White House. The wife of President Benjamin Harrison, she used her influence to advocate for the arts, women’s interests, and the preservation of the White House.
In 1909, four explosions ripped through Indianapolis and destroyed buildings linked to contractor Albert von Spreckelson. Local attorney and employee of the ironworkers union John (J.J.) McNamara set the dynamite explosions because von Spreckleson had hired non-union workers. According to Historic Indianapolis, "McNamara was released after serving 10 years in San Quentin, and rejoined the ironworkers union. He continued to have minor brushes with the law, and in 1928, he was expelled from the union for allegedly stealing $200."
In 1972, Coty Award-winning fashion designer Norman Norell died. His father Harry opened a men's hat store in Indianapolis, and moved the family from Norell's native Noblesville in 1905 to the capital city once the business experienced success. After studying at Parsons Institute and Pratt Institute, Norell crafted costumes, worked under war-time limitations, resisted pressure to substitute quality for quantity, and worked to bring NYC fashion houses on par with those of Paris. His influence endures, notably with former First Lady Michelle Obama wearing one of his dresses to a White House Christmas party.
In 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the state’s women’s suffrage law unconstitutional. The legislation’s defeat was short lived and the Indiana General Assembly would subsequently ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in January 1920, which granted women the right to vote.
In 1926, legendary baseball player George "Babe" Ruth visited Fort Wayne. After putting on a show during at practice, he joined the Fort Wayne Lincoln Lifers, a semiprofessional team sponsored by Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., in a game against a very good Kips team. Ruth proceeded to put on a demonstration by playing every position except catcher. He topped the game off by hitting two balls out of the park. With the Bambino in their arsenal, the Lifers won 11 to 1.
In 1854, James T.V. Hill was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. He moved to Indianapolis in 1874 and became the first African American to enroll and graduate from Central Law School in 1882. He became the first African American in Indiana to serve on a grand jury and the first to work as an attorney in Marion County. Hill was active in political and civic affairs in Indianapolis and served as one of the first board directors for the Senate Avenue YMCA.
In 1877, Willis D. Gatch, inventor of the adjustable hospital bed, was born in Aurora, Dearborn County. Gatch earned his A.B. from Indiana University in 1901, and graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1907, where he conceived of the hand-cranked bed. The "Gatch bed" reduced the rate of infection in patients by elevating their limbs. He returned to Indiana in 1912 and joined the faculty at the IU School of Medicine. He became dean of the school from 1931-1946.
In 1927, Mayor John L. Duvall resigned from office after being convicted of violating the state corrupt practices act, having traded jobs for electoral votes. Duvall studied law at Valparaiso University and after moving to Arcadia, Indiana was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Hamilton County. He served as mayor of Indianapolis from 1926 to 1927, with the political support of the Ku Klux Klan. Following his resignation as mayor, Duvall pursued real estate and investments in Indianapolis.
In 1977, businessman and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Anton "Tony" Hulman died in Indianapolis. The Terre Haute native served in the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps during World War I and later worked for his family's business, Hulman & Co. At the end of World War II, the Speedway was in disrepair. Hulman purchased it in 1945 and under his leadership repaired it and added the recognizable pagoda structure.
In 1834, Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget consecrated Simon Bruté the first Bishop of Vincennes. According to New Advent, "After travelling over his vast diocese, comprising the whole State of Indiana and eastern Illinois, Bishop Bruté visited France, where he secured priests and funds for the erection of churches and schools in his needy diocese."
In 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Fort Wayne. Joined by Indiana Governor Henry Schricker and Senator Sam Jackson, Roosevelt delivered a speech, hoping to persuade Hoosiers to re-elect him as president. Most Hoosiers voted for Republican candidate Thomas Dewey instead.
In 1792, legislator and businessman Samuel Merrill was born in Peacham, Vermont. He moved to Vevay and then to Indianapolis, where he served three terms in the Indiana General Assembly (1819-1822) and served as State Treasurer (1822-1834). He was president of the State Bank of Indiana, president of the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, and owned the Merrill Publishing Company, which became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. Additionally, Merrill helped incorporate Wabash College in 1833 and served as second president of the Indiana Historical Society.
In 1914, Indiana historian and editor Gayle Thornbrough was born in Hendricks County. She earned her B.A. at Butler University and became editor at the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and Indiana Historical Bureau. Thornbrough edited the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Old Northwest. With the support of pharmacist and philanthropist Eli Lilly, she became the director of publications at IHS, where she increased library access for researchers, established two documentary editing projects, and developed a new library and historical building. Her collaboration with Lilly resulted in IHS receiving part of Eli Lilly Company's stock at his bequest, which she utilized to promote and preserve Indiana history.
In 1844 Abraham Lincoln spoke to a large crowd at the Spencer County courthouse in Rockport. The thesis of his speech was in favor of protective tariffs. The purpose of his visit was to campaign for Whig presidential candidate Henry Clay. This was Lincoln’s only return to his boyhood home in Spencer County. The return visit inspired him to write a few pieces of nostalgic poetry, including a piece titled, “My childhood home I see again.”
In 1938, WIBC radio first broadcast. It operated for sixty-nine years as an AM station (1070) and transitioned to 93.1 FM in 2007. The Indianapolis Star reported that day: "There will be no commercials on the morning programs, no newscasts, no stock marketreports, no beauty hints, etc. The entire morning will be devoted to musical entertainment. . . . old-time music, popular music, concert music, dramatics, news, special features, educational programs, etc.—each will have its specific time daily. In this way we hope to develop regular listening habits for those who enjoy only certain types of radio entertainment.”
In 1820, Ashbel Parsons Willard, governor of Indiana from 1857 to 1860, was born in New York. He moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1845 and practice law. Willard served in the Indiana House of Representatives (1850-1851), and in 1852 was elected lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket with Joseph Wright. He was only thirty-six years old when he defeated Oliver P. Morton in the 1856 election for governor. He died in 1860, the first of Indiana's chief executives to die in office.
In 1903, players and staff for Purdue University's football team were killed when their train crashed en route to Indianapolis to play against their Indiana University rivals. The miscommunication of a telegraph operator caused the wreck. The game was cancelled following the tragedy.
In 1963, an explosion at the Indiana State Fair coliseum killed seventy-four and injured 400 spectators at a Holiday on Ice performance. After the tragedy, the site was renovated and hosted a sold-out Beatles concert in 1964.
In 1851, Indiana's second constitution went into effect. 150 delegates met for 127 days in the House of Representatives’ chamber in the State House to draft the document. According to historian David Vanderstel, “The constitution that emanated from those four months of deliberations was not a radical revision of the original document nor did it significantly alter the existing form of state government. Rather, the proposed draft addressed numerous concerns and problems that had emerged during the formative years of the state.” Changes included a prohibition on incurring state debt, a commitment to public schools, an increase in the number of elected officials, and suffrage rights for foreign-born males. This new constitution also codified racism in Article XIII, which prohibited the immigration of African Americans into the state.
In 1877, U.S. Senator Oliver P. Morton died in Indianapolis and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. From 1861-1867, Morton governed Indiana during the Civil War. His gubernatorial terms proved contentious as the Republican governor faced a Democratic majority in the Indiana General Assembly, and civil discontent in the state due to Copperhead activity and anti-draft protests. After serving as governor, he became a US Senator during Reconstruction, and sought to reform the former Confederacy.
In 1945, crooner Frank Sinatra made a special visit to Gary to discuss the heightened racial tensions due to the integration of Froebel High School. White students at Froebel were on strike against having African American classmates. While many students appeared attentive and understanding of Sinatra’s calls for peace and an end to racial discrimination, the striking committee refused to back down.
In 1913, riots erupted in Indianapolis when 300 Pinkerton Agency strikebreakers replaced striking workers from the Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company (interurban). When the rioting ended days later, six people had died in the chaos.
In 1920, Hoosier women and men voted for the first time since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. In Delaware County, the citizens elected Julia D. Nelson as a state representative. She was the first woman to serve in the Indiana General Assembly. During her term, she advocated for the support of impoverished parents and children. She introduced five bills, involving topics such as sexual assault and motion picture regulations. Nelson died in 1936 and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.
In 1930, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra played its first concert at Shortridge High School. German conductor Ferdinand Schaefer organized Indianapolis musicians from theaters and his Kirschbaum Orchestra. He informed them that there would be little financial gain at first, given the economic conditions wrought by the Great Depression.
In 1851, author Mary Hannah Krout was born in Crawfordsville. One of few female writers employed as a journalist at the time, she secured a job writing for the Crawfordsville Journal in 1879 and became its associate editor in 1881. She later became editor of the Terre Haute Express and wrote for the Chicago Inter-Ocean. Her work took her to Australia, China, and England. Krout became staff correspondent to Hawaii during a time of much political change and was considered an expert on the island. After author and fellow Crawfordsville resident Lew Wallace died in 1905, she assisted in the completion of his autobiography. In addition to authoring several books and writing for newspapers, Krout was a suffragist and worked to provide women with more educational and economic opportunities.
In 1868, General Ulysses S. Grant and Hoosier running mate Schuyler Colfax won the presidential election on the Republican ticket. As founder and editor of the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend, Colfax had garnered a career as a political writer. He served as a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention, which produced the state's second constitution. At the convention, he opposed the prohibition of free persons of color from entering the state. Colfax won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854. He served fourteen years in that body including three terms as Speaker of the House (1863-1869). As Speaker, he helped ensure Congress’s passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery. Colfax served only one term as vice president, after the press implicated him in the Credit Mobilier scandal, which also threatened Grant’s tenure in the White House.
In 1896, James A. Mount won election as governor of Indiana. The Montgomery County farmer served with the 72nd Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. While lecturing at farmers' institutes after the war, he began to establish a political base. Mount won a state senate seat in 1888, and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1890. He served in 1892 as president of a vigilante organization, the State Horse Thief Detective Association. As governor, Mount mobilized Indiana troops to serve in the Spanish-American War.
In 1816, the first session of the General Assembly convened, and was in session until January 3, 1817. The Constitutional Convention, which took place in Corydon in the summer of 1816, produced a constitution that created a General Assembly as the state legislature. This lawmaking body was comprised of a House of Representatives and a Senate, with members serving one and three years, respectively. During its first ten years, the General Assembly faced many challenges, including the issues of revenue and infrastructure, and selecting a new state capital.
In 1862, Indianapolis resident Richard Jordan Gatling received his first patent for the Gatling Machine Gun. According to Popular Mechanics, he designed the gun with hopes that it would "minimize the number of men needed to fight a war, and thus minimize the number of men exposed to its horrors." However, the Gatling gun, along with other machine guns, caused massive death tolls in the wars to come.
In 1921, Supreme Allied Commander during WWI Marshal Ferdinand Foch visited Indianapolis at the invitation of the American Legion. Ex-Governor Samuel M. Ralston and thousands of citizens greeted him upon his arrival at Union Station. A parade and banquet was held in his honor and he was presented with the Laurel Wreath.
In 1855, Socialist Party presidential candidate and founder of Industrial Workers of the World Eugene V. Debs was born in Terre Haute. In 1918, a federal jury found Debs guilty of violating the Espionage Act after delivering a speech in which he urged resistance to the World War I military draft. The court convicted him and sentenced him to prison. While incarcerated, he ran for president a fifth time in 1920.
In 1912, Columbia City resident Thomas Riley Marshall was elected U.S. vice president under Woodrow Wilson. Marshall refused to assume powers of the presidency after Wilson's stroke in 1919, in the belief that it would be unconstitutional. The former governor of Indiana (1909-1913) was only the third vice president to serve two full terms. He died in 1925, and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.
In 1940, Indianapolis attorney Robert Lee Brokenburr became the first African-American senator in Indiana. During his twenty years in the General Assembly, he authored anti-discrimination bills and introduced the law that established the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. As a lawyer, Brokenburr successfully challenged housing segregation and served as Madam C.J. Walker's counsel. He advocated for the NAACP and Flanner House, as well as other Indianapolis organizations that championed civic causes.
In 1888, Indianapolis lawyer Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote, but won 233 electoral votes to win the 1888 presidential election. In the course of American history, the winning presidential candidate lost the popular vote on four other occasions: 1824, 1876, 2000, and 2016.
In 1894, suffrage leader Helen Gougar attempted to vote in Tippecanoe County but the county election board turned her away due to her gender. She filed suit against the board and acted as her own lawyer in the hearings. The Tippecanoe County Superior Court ruled against Gougar and women's suffrage on April 20, 1895; Gougar appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the lower court's findings.
In 1935, famed pilot Amelia Earhart assumed duties as visiting faculty member at Purdue University. She worked as a career consultant to the female students as well as a technical adviser in aeronautics at the Purdue airfield, the only university airfield in the nation at that time.
In 1966, Philadelphia Eagle player Timmy Brown, a Richmond native and a former Ball State athlete, became the first NFL player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game.
In 1811, Indian Confederacy forces led by Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, attacked American troops commanded by General William Henry Harrison. Despite an indecisive outcome, the Battle of Tippecanoe caused multiple casualties on both sides.
In 1967, Richard G. Hatcher won Gary’s mayoral election, which made him the first African American mayor of the city. He and Mayor Carl Stokes of Cleveland became the first black mayors of major U.S. cities. During his mayoral tenure, Hatcher advocated for civil rights and "encouraged African American entrepreneurship by awarding the majority of contracts to black business owners, he attracted outside government and private capital to support Gary’s economic development and growth and he promoted activities designed to instill pride in the city’s African American residents and to discourage middle class blacks from fleeing the city." Through his guidance, Gary managed to avoid race riots prevalent in the 1960s in cities such as Detroit and Chicago.
In 1900, Doubleday, Page & Company published Sister Carrie, the debut novel by Terre Haute native Theodore Dreiser. Despite disappointing initial sales, the "greatest of all American urban novels" became an influential example of realism in American writing.
In 1904, Indianapolis lawyer and U.S. Senator Charles Fairbanks was elected vice president as Theodore Roosevelt’s running mate. Nicknamed the “Hoosier Icicle” because of his stoic and intense persona, Fairbanks would play a peripheral role in Roosevelt’s administration. Fairbanks ran again as Charles Evans Hughes’s running mate in the 1916 election, although the Republicans lost to Woodrow Wilson and his Hoosier running mate Thomas Marshall.
In 1969, revolutionary astronomer Vesto Slipher died in Flagstaff, Arizona. Born on a farm near Mulberry, Clinton County, Indiana, Slipher went on to earn a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D in Astronomy from Indiana University. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, his "systematic observations (1912–25) of the extraordinary radial velocities of spiral galaxies provided the first evidence supporting the expanding-universe theory." Slipher demonstrated that the universe was not static, but rather expanding and often pushing objects towards each other.
In 2004, physicist and professor Dr. Melba Phillips died in Petersburg, Pike County. The Gibson County native was a trailblazer for women in physics. She was a student of the famous physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, and a crusader against atomic war and McCarthyism. Fired from her university positions during the McCarthy era, she authored two science textbooks, which became university classroom standards. Dr. Phillips also developed programs instructing high school teachers how to teach elementary science and physics.
In 1968, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck Indiana and was felt in at least 20 states. The epicenter of the earthquake was just ten miles from the Indiana - Illinois boarder, near Mt. Vernon. Although there were no injuries reported, structural damage included cracked sidewalks in Terre Haute, damaged chimneys in Princeton, and broken windows in New Harmony.
In 1986, the movie "Hoosiers" premiered at the Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. One of the most popular sports movies of all-time, it is loosely based on the 1954 Milan High School basketball championship.
In 1907, African American activist, playwright, and composer Shirley Graham DuBois was born in Evansville. After receiving degrees from Oberlin College, she taught music and arts at Nashville's Agricultural and Industrial State College. Graham married African American activist W.E.B. DuBois and toured with him, taking over his projects upon his death in 1963. She moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she wrote stories and novels, such as The Zulu Heart, until her death in 1977.
In 1916, the Indianapolis News reported that the state successfully purchased Turkey Run for $40,200. Columnist Juliet V. Strauss spearheaded the effort to save the old-growth forest from destruction by a lumber company. Turkey Run became Indiana's second state park during Indiana's centennial celebration in 1916 at a time of heightened national interest in conservation. Indiana women's clubs dedicated a statue to Strauss’ efforts at Turkey Run in 1922.
In 1922, novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born in Indianapolis. As a student at Shortridge High School, Vonnegut wrote for the student paper, The Echo. While in college, he edited Cornell University's student paper, The Sun. Vonnegut served in World War II, where he was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. His traumatic experience as a POW in Dresden served as the inspiration for his acclaimed Slaughterhouse-Five. According to William Rodney Allen, through his novels Vonnegut "mastered his trademark black comic voice, making his audience laugh despite the horrors he described. He had already developed a cult following of college students, but he broke through to a mass audience with Slaughterhouse-Five and the excellent film version of the novel that soon followed. By the early 1970s, Vonnegut was one of the most famous living writers on earth." In the years leading up to his death in 2007, Vonnegut "acted as a powerful spokesman for the preservation of our Constitutional freedoms, for nuclear arms control and for the protection of the earth’s fragile biosphere."
In 1949, WTTV Bloomington began broadcasting as the second television station in Indiana. In the 1960s the station introduced icons of Indiana popular culture with Janie, Cowboy Bob, and Sammy Terry.
In 1880, Harper and Brothers published Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by General Lew Wallace of Crawfordsville. The best-selling novel surpassed Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin in sales and inspired other literary works involving biblical settings. In 1899, the book was adapted into a popular stage play that ran for nearly twenty years. Producers have also adapted the work for the small and big screens on several occasions, most notably the 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston, which won a record eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
In 1919, at the First Legion convention in Minneapolis, delegates voted to locate the American Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, rather than Washington, D.C. The organization was created by World War I veterans and, according to legion.org, "has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth."
In 1922, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded at Butler University. The sorority's founders were seven African American women educators who navigated a racially segregated education system in order to attend the predominantly-white campus then located in Irvington, east of downtown Indianapolis. According to Khalilah A. Shabazz and Remitha Norman, "Their common mission to promote educational equity for children and support women of color led to an array of philanthropic activities and advocacy in Indiana."
In 1948, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East convicted Japanese officers Seishiro Itagaki and Iwane Matsui of war crimes. Their defense attorney was Floyd J. “Jack” Mattice of Fulton County. Mattice originally volunteered to serve as a prosecutor, but finding too many prosecutors on hand, he offered his legal services for the defense.
In 1850, reformer and legislator Robert Dale Owen pleaded for women’s suffrage rights during the Constitutional Convention organized to draft Indiana's second constitution. As chairman of the Standing Committee on the Rights and Privileges of Inhabitants of the State, Owen introduced a section to secure such rights to Indiana married women. His efforts set the stage for legislative action in 1853.
In 1925, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson was convicted of the murder of Irvington native Madge Oberholtzer and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction exacerbated the already precipitous decline of the Klan's popularity and influence in Indiana politics.
In 1930, workers finished moving the Indiana Bell Building on Meridian Street in Indianapolis, and shifted it ninety degrees. When the Indiana Bell Telephone Company purchased the Central Union Telephone Company Building in 1929, they planned to demolish it. However, in a stroke of innovation, architect Kurt Vonnegut Sr. (father of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.) convinced them to reorient it to make room for expansion.
In 1934, Dr. Harold Clayton Urey, a Walkerton, St. Joseph County native, received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on isotopes, leading to his discovery of deuterium. His work contributed to the development of the atomic bomb. From 1940 to 1945, Urey served as Director of War Research for the Atomic Bomb Project at Columbia University. He received numerous awards for scientific achievement during his career. He died in 1981, and was buried in DeKalb County.
In 1880, the Bowen-Merrill Co. published "Elf Child" by James Whitcomb Riley. The Hoosier poet renamed it "Little Orphant Allie," after the orphaned neighbor taken in by the Riley family. A typesetter misread the title and it became the now famous "Little Orphant Annie," which inspired Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann and the musical Annie.
In 1915, the U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for the Coca-Cola bottle, based on a design by Chapman J. Root, of the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute. The Coca-Cola Company sought a manufacturer to design a "bottle which a person will recognize even when he feels it in the dark." Root's bottle imitated the ridges in a cocoa pod. He made prototypes of the classic bottle out of wood and iron.
Charles Gordone died in Texas. Born in Ohio in 1925, Gordone and his family moved to Elkhart where he graduated from high school in 1944. In the 1950s, he moved to New York City and worked as an actor, director, and playwright. During the 1960s, he worked to ensure more opportunities for African Americans in the entertainment industry. In 1970, Gordone won national acclaim as the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for No Place to Be Somebody, also the first off-Broadway play to win the award. In the 1980s, Gordone advocated integrating minority actors into the casts of classic dramas. In 1987, he joined the Texas A&M University faculty.
In 1807, the U.S. House of Representatives denied a petition from the Indiana Territory to allow slavery.
In 1978, unidentified attackers robbed Speedway Burger Chef -a successful burger chain that originated in Indiana. The attackers kidnapped four employees, whose bodies were found two days later. The perpetrators of the "Burger Chef murder" were never identified.
In 1873, wealthy merchant William S. Culbertson opened the Culbertson's Widows' Home to provide food, clothing, and shelter for New Albany's destitute widows. The home had gas lighting, an upstairs restroom, and an up-to-date kitchen. Residents' lives were structured according to strict rules. Culbertson's will provided support for the home after his death in 1892. A board of trustees for the home was formed in 1922, turning it into a boardinghouse with a monthly fee in 1947. The home closed in 1971.
In 1967, Mooresville high school graduate (’66) Sergeant Sammy L. Davis faced enemy fire and suffered wounds from mortar blasts, while he provided cover fire for his gun crew and helped rescue three wounded soldiers. Sergeant Davis later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War.
In 1927, African American passenger Laura Fisher boarded a Greyhound Bus at a station in Richmond and moved to the front after feeling ill. Infuriated bus driver Glen Branoski forcefully ejected Fisher after her refusal to return to the back. Police officers intervened, following Fisher's second ejection. This unlawful attempt to enforce Jim Crow segregation led to Branoski’s arrest the day following the incident. Fisher took Branoski to court with the purpose of obtaining racial justice and Branoski was found guilty. In announcing the verdict, Richmond police judge Fred Pickett stated, “The Indiana law on racial discrimination is clear. It does not tolerate discrimination.”
In 1878, journalist, historian and diplomat Claude Bowers was born in Westfield, Hamilton County. He attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and wrote for the Terre Haute Star. Bowers became an influential and nationally-prominent Democratic politician, serving as temporary chairman of the 1928 Democratic National Convention and U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Chile. Bowers worked to keep the U.S. out of the Spanish Civil War through his diplomatic work.
In 1880, Governor James "Blue Jeans" Williams died in while in office. His political career as a Democrat began as justice of the peace in Knox County, and continued with many terms in the Indiana legislature, in both houses between 1843 and 1874. He served in Congress from 1875 until his December 1876, when he resigned, having been elected governor of Indiana. In the 1876 gubernatorial contest, Williams defeated Benjamin Harrison by five thousand votes. During his term as governor, the extensive railroad strike of 1877 created problems for Williams, who sympathized with the strikers. He was an especially capable legislative leader and was identified with many important state laws. Williams was also notable as one of the tallest Indiana governors, 6’4”.
In 1906, the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis was dedicated. The Art Association of Indianapolis purchased the property in 1901 to create the Institute, which included a school and museum. Herron opened in 1902 and grew quickly, fulfilling the association’s goal “to cultivate and advance Art.” Herron hosted large exhibitions of Hoosier artist T.C. Steele’s work in 1910 and 1926. The Institute evolved into the Herron School of Art and Design and Indianapolis Museum of Art (now Newfields).
In 1832, Presbyterian ministers and laymen met in Crawfordsville, and established the Wabash Teachers' Seminary and Manual Labor College, later Wabash College. Trustees resolved "'the institution be at first a classical and English high school, rising into a college as soon as the wants of the country demand.'" Caleb Mills served as the school's first faculty member. He later earned the sobriquet “father of Indiana’s public school system” for his work and advocacy to improve public education in the region.
In 1903, Juliet V. Strauss published her first column for the Indianapolis News under the byline "the County Contributor." Strauss idealized simple rural life and traditional roles for women in a time of national shifts in class and gender relations. Through her columns and influence, Strauss worked to save an old-growth forest, now known as Turkey Run, from destruction by a lumber company.
William Lowe Bryan died in Bloomington. According to IU's Archives Online, Bryan studied ancient classics, philosophy at IU, and earned a Ph.D. psychology at Clark University. He returned to IU as a faculty member and became a leader in the scientific study of child development. In 1902, he was appointed the tenth president of the university. During his 35 years leading IU, he established the schools of medicine, education, nursing, business, music, and dentistry. He also established many graduate programs and several satellite campuses.
In 1812, the "Battle of Spurs Defeat." also called the Battle of Wild Cat Creek, occurred in Tippecanoe County. According to the Indiana State Library, a force of sixty soldiers rode out to retrieve the body of a soldier killed in a skirmish the day before. A group of Kickapoo, Wea, and Shawnee warriors ambushed the troops, which resulted in the deaths of eighteen Kentucky soldiers. The name of the battle apparently refers to the remaining soldiers use of spurs on their horses hasten their retreat.
In 1890, DePauw University defeated Wabash College in the first football game between the schools. In 1932, the Monon Bell, a traveling trophy, would become associated with the “the oldest football rivalry west of the Alleghenies” in 1932.
In 1899, songwriter and composer Hoagy Carmichael was born in Bloomington. His. Considered one of the most important American songwriters of the twentieth century, Carmichael was inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
In 1891, Governor Alvin P. Hovey he son of impoverished Posey County settlers, Hovey was orphaned as a teenager and went on to teach himself law. He began his legal career in Indiana by fighting for education reform. After serving in Mexican-American War, Hovey was elected to the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850. He was a justice on the Indiana Supreme Court for one year and served as United States district attorney for two. Hovey had a distinguished military career during the Civil War, and rose to the rank of brigadier general. After the war, Hovey served as a diplomat to Peru. He was in Congress at the time of his election to governor in 1888. His administration was notable for the passage of election reform laws.
In 1852, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the Decatur Circuit Court's conviction of Luther A. Donnell for aiding “fugitive slaves.” In 1847, Donnell assisted Caroline and her four children who sought freedom in Canada. The Indiana Supreme Court stated that the section of the Indiana statute on which Donnell was indicted was unconstitutional based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Prigg v. Pennsylvania. Prigg, a pro-slavery decision, was used in this case and elsewhere to benefit the anti-slavery cause.
In 1889, veterans arrived in Marion to help construct the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS). At the end of the Civil War, the U.S. undertook care of disabled Union veterans in a system of homes known as the NHDVS. Members had access to health care, training, work, and recreation. In 1920, the Marion branch was converted into a neuropsychiatric hospital for World War I veterans. As part of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, the facility continues to care for veterans.
In 1938, Oscar Robertson was born in Indianapolis. Roberston starred on Crispus Attucks’ state championship winning high school basketball teams in 1955 and 1956. Attucks became the first African American high school basketball team in the nation to win a state title. Robertson continued his basketball career at the University of Cincinnati, and led the squad to the NCAA Final Four in 1959. In the summer of 1960, Robertson played for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, which won the gold medal, and ranks as one of the greatest Olympic basketball squads of all-time. Robertson played professionally with the Cincinnati Royals (1960-1970). During the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season (a feat only matched one other time in 2017). Robertson won NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 1964. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1974), where he teamed with Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to win the 1971 NBA Championship. Robertson was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
In 1863, Goshen’s Ruel M. Johnson, major in the 100th Indiana Infantry, “bravely exposed himself to the fire of the enemy, encouraging and cheering his men” during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on August 24, 1896.
In 1902, the wildly popular theatre production of Lew Wallace's "Ben-Hur" opened in Indianapolis at the English Theatre. Although English’s stage was new, crews rebuilt it in order to accommodate the chariot race. Producing that scene called for eight live horses running at full gallop on treadmills, cycloramic scenery and, other apparatus. Sales figures for the show broke all Indianapolis box office records.
In 1915, Olympian and sports legend Jim Thorpe suited up with the Pine Village football team in Warren County. The Villagers faced the Purdue All-Stars at the Thanksgiving Day game, and defeated their rivals 29 to 0. The Pine Village team helped establish the Indiana Football League in 1917.
In 1842, French priest Reverend Edward Sorin and members of the Congregation of Holy Cross established the University of Notre Dame. The Bishop of Vincennes granted them more than 500 acres with which they established the school, initially naming it the “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac” (The University of Our Lady of the Lake). According to the university's website, at first the school "encompassed religious novitiates, preparatory and grade schools and a manual labor school, but its classical collegiate curriculum never attracted more than a dozen students a year in the early decades."
In 1878 Marshall W. “Major” Taylor, the first African-American world cycling champion, was born in Indianapolis. He unofficially broke two world track records while racing in the city. Taylor won U.S. circuit championships in 1899 and 1900, despite discrimination he encountered as cycling's first African-American champion.
In 1982, unidentified arsonists firebombed The Seahorse, an LGBTQ club established in South Bend in 1971 by activist Gloria Frankel. According to the city’s fire code, the bar would be shut down if it could not get back to standards within ten days. Members of the community rallied to repair and clean it, shocking officials by getting the club back to code and reopening within the allotted time. They celebrated by hosting their annual anniversary party.
In 1848, Jefferson County's Eleutherian Institute held its first session. Thomas Craven and anti-slavery advocates in the area created and supported the institution for education of students of all races and genders. Eleutherian provided one of earliest educational opportunities for women and African-Americans before the Civil War. The Institute developed into Eleutherian College in 1854.
In 1909, Governor Harold Handley graduated from Indiana University, and joined his father in management of a La Porte furniture company. Handley's interrupted his political career in the state senate (1940-1941), and joined the Army during World War II. Upon his return, he was elected to the state senate in 1948 and lieutenant governor in 1952. Handley ran for governor and lost in 1952 but won the gubernatorial election in 1956. Handley raised some controversy when he ran for the United States Senate in 1958 midway in his term of office. He lost the Senate race to Democrat Vance Hartke and returned to the State House to complete his term. Handley was accessible to both the press and the public, establishing an unusual rapport with the citizens.
In 1840, Miami leaders signed a treaty with the United States, and ceded all Indiana tribal lands to the U.S. According to the Myaamia Center teachmyaamiahistory.org, "The Miami were given $550,000 and agreed to move within five years to a 500,000 acre reservation in Kansas. Jean Baptiste Richardville received $25,000 and Francois Godfroy and his family received $15,000. The United States would pay the expenses of the removal and provide them with rations and supplies for a year. Some Miami families petitioned to stay in Indiana. In 1846 the Miami were removed by canal boat to lands in Kansas."
In 1882, suffragist and lawyer Helen M. Gougar filed suit against Lafayette Police Chief Harry Mandler for slander, who had sought to damage her reputation -- and thus discredit her advocacy of suffrage and temperance causes. Mandler, an influential Lafayette Democrat, alleged that Gougar was having a romantic affair with Captain De Witt Wallace, who was running as a Republican for the Indiana Senate and who was a well-known supporter of temperance and women’s suffrage (policies contrary to the views of the local Democratic Party). Gougar successfully sued Mandler, charging that his slanderous attack was intended to discredit Wallace as a political opponent and her as a leading suffrage and temperance advocate.
with the first Indiana Mental Health Bell Award for "'outstanding service' in encouraging mental health reforms." In the early 1950s, the Times published articles advocating for better care of the mentally ill. In a January 1953 piece, the paper reported on the poor conditions of Indiana's mental hospitals, and described problems with overcrowding and hospital mismanagement. In a November 1954 article, it wrote that "mental illness is a sickness that should carry no stigma of shame" and that "the state - representing society - takes on as an obligation to the patients, their relatives and also to the public the job of caring for the mentally ill."
In 1806, Vincennes University was established when the Indiana Territory legislature chartered the school in the territory's capitol. Although it initially struggled to attract students due to transportation and funding struggles, Vincennes University eventually flourished and "From 1806, the school’s board had kept alive the ideal that higher education would be available not only along the settled eastern coast but on the western frontier of the growing United States."
In 1975, Indiana University men's basketball team opened the season and defeated second ranked UCLA, 84-64. This win was the first of a 32-0 season that ended when the Hoosiers won their third NCAA championship and coach Bobby Knight's first title.
In 1863, the U.S. War Department authorized Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton to raise one regiment of infantry composed of African American men. This became Indiana's only African American Civil War regiment, which entered service as the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops.
In 1873, columnist and political analyst Frederic William Wile was born in La Porte. The Notre Dame graduate worked as a reporter for the Chicago Record, a correspondent in Berlin for several newspapers, such as the New York Times, and served as an analyst for NBC and CBS. During World War I, Wile was a German affairs specialist at the Headquarters of the Intelligence Section, American Expeditionary Force.
In 1854, William Temple Hornaday was born near Avon. Hornaday, widely credited with saving the American bison, became chief taxidermist at the U.S. National Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution). He also established the National Zoo.
In 1857, former Governor Samuel Ralston was born in Ohio. Ralston moved to Owen County, Indiana in 1865 and settled in Lebanon. In 1912, voters elected the Democratic nominee as governor. Among many progressive measures enacted under his leadership, his administration initiated the state park system and established a public service commission to regulate utilities.
In 1886, detective writer Rex Stout was born in Noblesville to Quaker parents. After serving in the Navy, he wrote for pulp fiction publications and penned novels in Paris. Stout returned to the U.S. and wrote his Nero Wolfe series. During World War II he campaigned against Nazism through his work with the War Writers Board. He also established Vanguard Press, advocated for copyright laws, and served on the board of the ACLU.
In 1942, the U.S. Army activated Seymour Army Airfield, renamed Freeman Field. This became the site of an uprising in 1945, when white officers refused to admit African American personnel to the officers' club. Dozens of black personnel were arrested after forcibly entering the white officers’ club. The Freeman Field uprising resulted in the War Department revising regulations about segregation and ended segregated officers’ clubs. It has been described as a “bellwether for integration of the U.S. military.”
In 1901, the Chicago & Indiana Air Line Railway, progenitor of the Dune's South Shore Line, was incorporated. According to Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, "The incorporation of Gary and the construction of the world's largest steel mill, in 1906, by the United States Steel Corporation spurred expansion of the Lake Shore Line eastward to South Bend." The South Shore Line was America's last electric interurban railway.
In 1915, Bloomington residents petitioned to change the name of Benjamin Banneker School to the Booker T. Washington School, citing Washington's greater notoriety, his stance on vocational training, his recent death, and his reputation as "the greatest negro of America." Since 1874, African American students had attended the school, which was integrated under Indiana law in 1949, despite some protest.
In 1832, James H. Cravens of Versailles, Ripley County began his term with the Indiana House of Representatives, serving four terms in the Indiana General Assembly. He was elected as a Whig to the Congress in 1841, where he debated against the extension of slavery. Cravens unsuccessfully ran as a Free Soil candidate for Indiana governor in 1849.
In 1833, Caleb Mills, the first faculty member at the Wabash Teachers' Seminary and Manual Labor College (now Wabash College), rang a bronze bell with a wooden handle. This was the start of a tradition that persists today. Every August, the bell welcomes the freshman class and every May, the bell rings out the graduating seniors.
In 1863, Indiana's adjutant general issued orders to begin accepting enlistments for one regiment of infantry composed of colored men. This Civil War regiment was known as the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops. Recruits trained at Camp Fremont, established on Indianapolis land owned by Calvin Fletcher. The 28th Regiment served valiantly in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia on July 30, 1864, when nearly half of the men were killed or wounded. The 28th returned to Indianapolis in 1866 to a reception.
In 1837, Henry Lane began his term as a Whig in the Indiana House of Representatives. By 1854, Lane helped unite diverse Indiana political groups into the People's Party to oppose the Democratic administration's objectives, especially the extension of slavery into U.S. territories. The People's Party joined the Republican Party. Lane was elected governor in 1860 and served for two days before the Indiana General Assembly elected him to the U.S. Senate. He helped secure the presidential nomination of Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention.
In 1914, automobile entrepreneur and co-founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Carl Fisher wrote to Governor Samuel Ralston. He proposed an interstate that would extend from Chicago to Miami. Fisher was a proponent of the Good Roads Movement to expand and improve the nation's road networks. He advocated construction of U.S. transcontinental roads, including the east-west Lincoln Highway (1912) and the north-south Dixie Highway (1914). Such roads enabled long-distance travel by automobile.
In 1780, a battle of the American Revolution was fought at the Indiana Dunes. British forces and Potawatomi allies defeated American forces at Petit Fort near the current State Park Pavilion.
In 1850, 250 workers arrived at the Cannelton Cotton Mill in Perry County from New England. With the textile mill, founder Hamilton Smith hoped to make a profit and "'also had dreams of founding a model industrial community on the frontier.'" Due to his lobbying, in 1848 the Indiana legislature chartered eight factories in Cannelton, including five cotton mills, a glass company, a paper mill, and a foundry. When the first wave of workers arrived in December 1850 they experienced a housing shortage, which proved an ongoing problem for workers who had been promised an idyllic community in the model of Lowell, MA.
In 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment passed, repealing Prohibition. On the same day, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., began production of whiskey in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. At its height, the company employed more than 2,500 workers in the Hoosier state, many of which worked at a separate bottling plant.
In 1837, David Wallace, father of Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace, began his term as governor of Indiana. Born in Pennsylvania, David eventually moved to Brookville, Indiana, where he studied law. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia. Wallace also served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1828 to 1831, when he was elected lieutenant governor on the Whig ticket with Noah Noble. In 1837, he defeated John Dumont, also a Whig, in the gubernatorial election. Wallace's administration was plagued with economic disaster as a result of the collapse of the internal improvements program. He was elected to Congress in 1841 but was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1843.
In 1924, best-selling author Gene Stratton-Porter died in an automobile accident in California. With her work, she hoped to inspire an appreciation of nature in readers and wrote for magazines such as Outing and Ladies’ Home Journal. Ten million copies of her books were sold by 1924, including the internationally popular Freckles (1904) and Girl of the Limberlost (1909). She secured financial independence through her writing at a time before many women had professional careers. In California, Stratton-Porter pursued production of movies based on her novels and organized her own movie production company by 1924.
In 1971, Ryan White was born in Kokomo. He was born with hemophilia A, which required injections to promote blood clotting. Ryan received a contaminated injection and contracted HIV sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He was discriminated against due to his HIV status and barred from attending school because administrators feared the spread of HIV through casual contact. Ryan was permitted to return to classes after winning a lengthy court case. Even then, he and his family were targets of abuse until the Whites moved to Cicero and Ryan enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. There, the principal welcomed him and encouraged accurate and informative discussions about HIV/AIDS.
In 1831, Noah Noble began his term as governor. Born in Virginia, Noble moved to Brookville, Indiana where he experienced success with land speculation and the operation of wool carding machines. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia in 1817 and became a colonel in 1820. Voters elected Noble to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1824 and the governorship in 1831. Noble's administration established a state bank and initiated an internal improvements program.
In 1846, Caleb Mills authored the first of his anonymous letters to the Indiana General Assembly calling for the establishment of a public school system. He cited that only one in seven Hoosier adults could read. He also wrote that only 37% of Indiana children attended school and, of those, most attended only a few weeks a year. Mills would author six anonymous addresses to the General Assembly between 1846 and 1851, each spurring the body to take action for public education.
In 1868, abolitionist and U.S. Representative George Washington Julian proposed a constitutional amendment to Congress. The amendment proposed that “the right of suffrage in the United States shall be based on citizenship, and shall be regulated by Congress… all citizens of the United States whether native or naturalized shall enjoy this right equally, without any distinction or discrimination whatever founded on race, color or sex.” After Congress voted down the resolution, Julian attempted to make further inroads for women’s suffrage by presenting more targeted bills. A political leader defined by his moral convictions, he advocated for equal rights and land reform, and served as an attorney for notable fugitive slave cases.
In 1912, widely-read poet Gertrude Louise Garrigus was born in Evansville. She moved to Greenwich Village, New York City in 1940 and the Partisan Review and The Kenyon Review soon published her work. Her book Country without Maps, published in 1963, was a National Book Award finalist. Despite being imitated and celebrated by her contemporaries, her work disappeared from critical review after her death, perhaps because her poems did not adhere to a particular movement. Garrigus's poetry has been described as "Mozartean," "romantic," and "strange."
In 1866, author Meredith Nicholson was born in Crawfordsville. His family moved to Indianapolis five years later. Nicholson worked as a journalist for the Indianapolis News and penned several books, plays, and essays in the capital city. He is best known for his novel The House of a Thousand Candles and collection of essays entitled The Hoosiers. Eventually Nicholson pursued a political career as a Democrat, serving as Franklin D. Roosevelt's U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
In 1967, a helicopter carrying Santa Claus and his helper crashed at the North Park Shopping Center in Evansville. Over 1,000 onlookers witnessed the accident, as the helicopter got tangled in powerlines. Pilot William B. Dorr and William C. Bretz, who played Santa, died in the crash.
In 1802, William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition (and brother of George Rogers Clark), filed a document that released Ben McGee from enslavement. The following day, Clark turned McGee's enslavement into an indenture of thirty years servitude. The practice of emancipating enslaved persons who had been brought into Indiana Territory, and then forcing them to enter into long-term indentures was commonly practiced to circumvent territorial laws prohibiting slavery. Indentured servitude remained common practice until the Indiana Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1821.
In 1864, a military commission convicted civilian Lambdin P. Milligan of treason and conspiracy. The Huntington lawyer and ardent Democrat was sentenced to be hanged for his attempts to stymie Union war efforts. He had joined a secret order called the Sons of Liberty, which aided draft dodgers and supported armed uprising. After the war, Milligan and his co-conspirators petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that civilians shall not be tried by military tribunals when civil courts are open. Ultimately, Milligan's sentence was commuted in 1866 and he returned to Huntington to practice law.
In 1816, President James Madison signed an Act of Congress admitting Indiana to the Union as the 19th state. Indiana was the second state, after Ohio, to be created out of what was the Northwest Territory.
In 1880, prolific cartoonist Gaar Williams was born in Richmond. In 1909, the Indianapolis News hired the Earlham College graduate to create illustrations for its front page. Here, he worked alongside "Abe Martin" artist Kin Hubbard. Williams left the News to work for the Chicago Tribune in 1921 and returned to Indiana often until his death in 1935.
In 1891, B-film cowboy star Buck Jones was born in Knox County. Born Charles Frederick Gebhart, the actor became popular in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s for his daring stunts. Prior to his film career, he served in the U.S. Army, performed in the Miller 101 Wild West Show, and toured with the Ringling Bros. Circus. He and his horse Silver starred in several best-selling westerns, many produced by Columbia Pictures. Jones died in 1942 in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire that took the lives over nearly 500 people.
In 1946, Indiana University zoology professor Hermann J. Mueller received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of mutations caused by X-rays. He later advised DNA co-discoverer James Watson’s graduate work at IU.
In 1953, "First Lady of the World" Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the Murat Theater as part of the Senate Avenue YMCA Monster Meeting series. The Indianapolis Recorder noted that the "peerless champion of human and minority civil rights" would speak about the United Nations and be joined by prominent local African American figures, such as Dr. Harvey Middleton and State Senator Robert L. Brokenburr.
In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a crowd of 4,000 at Indianapolis' Cadle Tabernacle. Originally scheduled for the Senate Avenue YMCA's Monster Meeting, the event moved to the tabernacle to accommodate the large crowd. In King's speech, entitled “Remaining Awake through a Revolution,” he asserted that segregation was “nothing but slavery covered up by certain niceties and complexities. We know that if democracy is to live, segregation must die.”
In 1799, the Northwest Territory General Assembly concluded its first session, passing the 1799 Road Law. This law required men between 21 and 50 years of age to work two days per year on public roads.
In 1816, the year Indiana became a state, the Indiana General Assembly approved an Act providing for a "Public Seal and Press." The State of Indiana did not officially adopted the seal until 1963. The emblem depicted a fleeing buffalo and a woodsman chopping down a tree. Debate regarding the placement of the sun-namely its rising or setting-has endured since the early 19th century.
In 1977, a plane crash killed all members of the Evansville University men's basketball team, along with coaches, fans, and administrative staff. The plane crashed shortly after take off, en route to a game at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A makeshift morgue was established at a local community center.
In 1919, "wholesome" World War II pinup girl Margie Stewart was born in Wabash. She attended Indiana University for a year before landing a modeling job in Chicago and was then signed by RKO to appear in films. During World War II, her image accompanied war bond advertisements and she appeared on a dozen Army posters.
In 1920, Notre Dame University's first All-American football player George Gipp tragically died at the age of 25 due to a streptococcic throat infection. The "Gipper" contracted the infection while leading the Irish to victory in a game against Northwestern University. A versatile player, he led Notre Dame in rushing and passing in 1918, 1919, and 1920. In 1951, Gipp was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.
In 1938, oil was struck in Griffin, Posey County at Fitzpatrick and Hayes #1 Cooper well. A gusher, it produced an estimated 1,000 barrels a day and initiated an oil boom in Griffin and the surrounding areas. Oil brought economic and social change to Griffin and adjacent areas. Oilmen and their families moved in, businesses flourished, and oil companies leased local land.
In 1974, the Hulman Center in Terre Haute opened by hosting an Indiana State University basketball game. In addition to sporting events, the building quickly became a venue for musical performances and hosted acts such as Elvis Presley, Motley Crue, and Dolly Parton.
In 1871, the first edition of Edward Eggleston’s The Hoosier School-Master was published. The classic novel began as a serial publication on September 30th of that year in the periodical Hearth and Home, a New York City weekly edited by Eggleston. Early 20th-century critics lauded The Hoosier School-Master for its depiction of rural American life written with a Hoosier sentimentality.
In 1916, a Jefferson High School physics teacher made the earliest yet known radio transmission of an Indiana high school basketball game. While players for Jefferson and Lebanon high schools duked it out, the teacher transmitted updates about the game via wireless radio to Lebanon resident Rayard Shumate. Shumate then telephoned businesses in Lebanon to convey the "first hand dope" to local fans. The Lebanon squad went on to defeat Jefferson, 21-13, and would later succeed Jefferson by winning the 1917 state championship the following March.
In 1811, the New Madrid earthquake swept through a seismic zone that included Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Samuel Swan McClelland, a Shaker in Busro, Knox County wrote, “On the 16th of December, the whole nation was suddenly awakened at 2 o'clock in the morning by the shaking of the earth."
In 1778, American commander Captain Leonard Helm surrendered Fort Sackville in Vincennes to the British. He was easily overtaken by British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton, who had assembled a troop comprised of British, French, and Native American forces. In February of 1779, George Rogers Clark led his men across Illinois to retake the Indiana fort during the Battle of Fort Sackville.
In 1812, the Battle of Mississinewa took place, the first offensive victory of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Under orders from Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison, Lt. Col. John B. Campbell led 600 U.S. troops from Ohio in an attack against Miami villages located along the Mississinewa River near the city of Marion. The two day battle resulted in casualties on both sides, although the Miami suffered more.
In 1904, fictional Brown County wise-cracker Abe Martin made his first appearance in the Indianapolis News. The brainchild of cartoonist Kin Hubbard, Abe appeared in the News from 1905 to 1930. The syndicated cartoons brought national attention to Brown County.
In 1896, the Central State Hospital pathological laboratory was dedicated. The Indiana Medical Journal noted that the lab “marks a most significant step in the advancement and the improvement of the humanitarian work in which institutions like the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane are engaged." The facility provided medical staff with courses in histology, clinical chemistry, pathology, and bacteriology and was opened to medical students, allowing them to observe autopsies and attend lectures in the amphitheater. Practitioners published pathological findings in reports, which were “presented to the local medical society, and distributed to colleges and universities throughout Indiana. Such data provided a picture of sociological factors in disease, thus opening possibilities for understanding causes.”
In 1958, the star-studded film "Some Came Running" premiered. Vincente Minnelli directed and shot the MGM movie in Madison, Jefferson County. Actors Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine reportedly found the Hoosier town lacking, while midwesterner Dean Martin enjoyed his stay in Madison. Many of the town's structures were converted to accommodate filming, such as a former hatchery that was used as headquarters and Madison High School, which served as a commissary.
In 1894, pioneering baseball executive Ford Frick was born in Wawaka, Noble County. Frick covered the New York Yankees as a sportswriter before becoming president of the National League and commissioner of Major League Baseball. He spearheaded the effort to establish the Baseball Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted in 1970. Frick is remembered for his leadership, particularly when in 1947 he threatened to ban St. Louis Cardinals players who wanted to protest Jackie Robinson's debut by sitting out of games.
In 1917, African American architect Samuel Plato experienced Jim Crow discrimination when a white Fort Wayne restaurant proprietor refused to serve Plato and William L. Evans because they were black. Plato and Evans sued the restaurant owner for discrimination.
In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly established the Indiana State Normal School, renamed Indiana State University in 1965. The Terre Haute school's objective was to train teachers for Indiana's common schools at no cost. By 2018, the university offered more than 100 programs related to subjects such as technology and health care.
In 1898, Congress approved “An Act Granting a pension to Lucy Nichols,” an escaping slave who served as a nurse with the 23rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War. Lucy came to New Albany, Indiana with the returning veterans of 23rd Regiment and applied for pension after Congress passed an 1892 act for payment of Civil War nurses. The War Department denied her claim for pension because they claimed to have no record of her work. In 1895, Lucy and fifty-five veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress and she received her first check in 1899.
In 1907, explosions at the Prest-O-Lite plant in Indianapolis claimed the lives of employees and ruined equipment. The fire spread rapidly due to gas manufactured at the plant used to light automobiles. Co-founder and president of the Indianapolis Speedway, Carl Fisher, co-founded Prest-O-Lite in 1904. The company developed acetylene gas vehicle headlights distributed nationwide. The explosions generated some negative press, and many questioned the safety of maintaining a volatile gas plant in such a densely populated area. However, Prest-O-Lite plants remained in Indianapolis and profits continued to soar. In 1912, the company built a factory on the outskirts of town near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1963, Studebaker Corp. closed its South Bend automotive manufacturing plant, causing 6,000 workers to lose their jobs. Production transferred to Ontario, although the Canadian plant closed in 1966. The company, founded in 1852 to produce wagons, became one of South Bend's largest manufacturers and employers with the production of its classic, art deco automobile.
In 1898, actress Irene Dunne was born in Kentucky. Her family moved to Madison, Indiana and she graduated from Madison High School in 1916. After voice training in Indianapolis and Chicago, she began singing professionally. In 1929, Dunne won the lead in a road show of Florenz Ziegfeld's "Show Boat." She began her Hollywood career the following year, eventually appearing in forty-three films and nominated for five Academy Awards. President Dwight Eisenhower named her an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1957.
In 1905, Hoosier author George Ade spoke at the inaugural dinner for the Indiana Society of Chicago, an organization intended to celebrate Indiana's history and culture. Initially the society was literary in nature, but eventually it attracted public, business, and political figures. In his address, Ade noted "I found Chicago surcharged with Hoosier exiles-men who were here not because they wanted to leave Indiana, but because the population up here could be worked more easily than the bright native article down home."
In 1905, "Father of the Beat Movement" Kenneth Rexroth was born in South Bend. Orphaned at 14, Rexroth moved to Chicago to live with his aunt and later moved to San Francisco. His World War II poetry reflected his pacifist stance and he helped Japanese-Americans escape West Coast internment camps. He laid the foundation for the San Francisco Renaissance, organizing weekly salons attended by such beat poets as Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. He organized the 1955 reading at which Ginsberg introduced “Howl.” While Rexroth did not consider himself a Beat poet, his anti-establishment, unsentimental, erotically-charged work gave way to the politically-conscious poetry of beatniks.
In 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO) opened a canteen for servicemen at Union Station in Indianapolis. The USO was tasked with meeting the recreational needs of on-leave military members and was comprised of the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Travelers Aid Association and the Salvation Army. Many of these USO's prohibited African Americans personnel from utilizing their facilities, including in Indiana.
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover pardoned former Indiana Governor Warren McCray, who was forced to resign from office in 1924 after being convicted of mail fraud in a case relating to his financial collapse. McCray served three years in a federal prison, then returned to Kentland, Newton County to rebuild his stock farm.
In 1944, Sgt. John H. Parks of Mill Creek, LaPorte County died in combat during the Battle of the Bulge. On New Year's Day, 1945, fellow GI's voted Parks "Our Man of the Year" because he represented the self-sacrificing, war-weary soldier of World War II. Stars and Stripes published his photo without identifiers, so as to represent all GI Joes fighting in the war.
In 1944, U.S. Army Private First Class Melvin E. Biddle, from Anderson via Daleville, demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action” during a twenty hour operation to relieve enemy-encircled American personnel during the Battle of the Bulge. For his actions, including single-handedly eliminating several German machine gun nests, Biddle received the Medal of Honor.
In 1914, naturalist, writer, conservationist, and co-founder of the Sierra Club John Muir died. Born in Scotland in 1838, he came to Indianapolis in 1866 and worked at a carriage materials factory. Following a severe eye injury, Muir left Indianapolis in September 1867 to begin extensive travels. His deep friendship with Catharine Merrill and others, however, resulted in a lifelong connection with Indianapolis. Muir is remembered as a champion of protecting the natural heritage of the United States.
In 1968, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, commanded by Gary native Frank Borman. According to NASA, Borman served in the Air Force and "is well remembered as a part of this nation's history, a pioneer in the exploration of space" and for his work with "the Gemini 7, 1965 Space Orbital Rendezvous with Gemini 6." He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 1830, poet and travel writer Susan Wallace was born in Crawfordsville. Susan married Lew Wallace, a Civil War adjutant general and author of Ben-Hur. Harper & Brothers published Susan’s first poem, “The Patter of Little Feet,” in February 1858. Before the Civil War, Susan’s poetry was often sentimental and centered around children, women, flowers, and lives cut short. During and after the war, her writings took a more mature and incisive tone as she continued to write about women and their situation in life.
In 1834, the first African American to serve in the Indiana State House James Sidney Hinton was born in North Carolina. Hinton pursued his education at schools in Terre Haute and Ohio before making his living as a teacher and barber. He settled in Indianapolis and became known as a forceful advocate for civil rights and a stirring public speaker. Hinton urged African Americans to take their place as citizens and during the Civil War recruited black men to serve in the United States Colored Troops.
In 1883, Central State Hospital Superintendent William Fletcher burned patient restraints in a bonfire as part of his initiative for moral reform. The hospital’s annual report asserted that “moral force methods are stronger than physical restraints in aiding the mind to recover its balance.” In addition to abolishing restraints, moral therapy included reducing the use of “medical agents,” like stimulants and tonics.
In 1848, Paris Chipman Dunning began his term as governor. He was born in North Carolina and moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1823, where he studied law with his gubernatorial predecessor, James Whitcomb. Dunning was the only person in Indiana history who held all the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, president pro tempore of the state senate, and state representative.
In 1815, Dr. Benjamin Adams purchased Wyandotte Cave in Crawford County for the purpose of epsomite mining. Adams called it his "Epsom Salts Cave" and contended that "The quality of the salt in the cave is inferior to none and when it takes its proper stand in regular and domestic practice must be of national utility." According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wyandotte was likely inhabited during the prehistoric era and used by Native Americans.
In 1981, influential songwriter Hoagy Carmichael died in California. He was buried in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was born and raised. Carmichael graduated from Indiana University with a law degree in 1926. After attempting a law career, he returned to music. He composed "Stardust," "Heart and Soul," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Ole Buttermilk Sky," which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946. Carmichael won an Academy Award in 1951 for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from Here Comes the Groom. The Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Carmichael in 1971.
In 1812, Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison resigned and commanded the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812. While governor, he was tasked with removing native peoples from Indiana Territory with the purpose of opening the land to white settlers. He accomplished this through coercive treaties, economic pressure, and military action, such as the defeat of Tenskwatawa and his followers during the Battle of Tippecanoe. This battle garnered Harrison national recognition and damaged Tenskwatawa's reputation. Following the war, Harrison served as a legislator for Ohio and in 1840 was elected U.S. president. Harrison died one month after his inauguration, the shortest term of any president in American history.
In 1847, Congressman Caleb B. Smith presented a petition from the citizens of Jay County asking for abolition of slavery and slave trade in Washington D.C. Members of Congress voted to table the petition. Smith went on to serve as Chairman of the Indiana Republican delegation at the 1860 Chicago Republican National Convention and as Secretary of the Interior during President Lincoln's administration.
In 1966, former Governor Henry F. Schricker died in Knox, Starke County. Known as a man of the people, he was the only Indiana governor to be elected to two full non-consecutive terms (1940 and 1948). After serving as a state senator, voters elected Schricker governor because of his personal popularity, independent political thinking, and civic engagement. He established the Indiana State Defense Council in 1941, developed civil defense jobs for African Americans, and mobilized Indiana for World War II.
In 1885, the first meeting of the Indiana Academy of Science was held at the Marion County Courthouse. In 1881, Hoosier ornithologist Dr. Amos W. Butler attempted to remedy difficulty in procuring scientific books and information about the studies of other Hoosier scientists by creating the Brookville Society of Natural History. Through his efforts, this organization evolved into the Indiana Academy, a professional membership organization whose members included scientists accomplished in laboratory techniques, disease control, and health care.
In 1903, the first board was elected for the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. (IHSAA). The organization sought to coordinate the efforts of regional athletic associations, ensure uniformity of game rules, and limit abuses. That day, a constitution was presented to a group of high school principals, which stated: "The purpose of this organization is the encouragement and direction of athletics in the high schools of the state. No effort has been made to repress the athletic spirit that is everywhere in evidence in our schools. On the contrary, this organization gives recognition to athletics as an essential factor in the activities of the pupil and seeks only to direct these activities into proper and legitimate channels."
In 1941, Eddie Rickenbacker, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1927, cancelled the 1942 Indy 500 race due to the United States' involvement in World War II. During World War I, the track was used as an aviation repair depot, but could not accommodate the larger airplanes of the second war. By the end of World War II, the Speedway was in disrepair. Businessman Tony Hulman purchased the structure in 1945 and under his leadership repaired it and added the recognizable pagoda structure.
In 1861, the 40th Regiment, Indiana Infantry mustered in. The regiment, organized at Lafayette and Indianapolis, served in several significant Civil War engagements, such as the Battle of Shiloh and Siege of Atlanta. By the end of the war, the regiment had lost a total of 359 men to wounds or disease.
In 1859, lawyer, politician, and businessman Isaac Blackford died and was buried in Indianapolis. Born in New Jersey, Blackford moved to Vincennes, Indiana Territory by 1815. He was elected Speaker of the first state House of Representatives. Governor Jennings appointed Blackford to the Indiana Supreme Court, where he served from 1817 to 1852. He published the Court's decisions in his nationally acclaimed eight-volume Reports of Cases. Blackford invested in Indiana land, including properties in the new state capital of Indianapolis. He helped establish the Indiana Colonization Society, which advocated for the return of free African Americans to Africa, despite opposition from the majority of black Hoosiers residents. In 1855, President Franklin Pierce appointed Blackford to the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C, where he served until his death.
In 1862, Reverend John Milton Whitehead, chaplain of the 15th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, demonstrated bravery at the Battle of Stones River. Congress awarded the Wayne County native the Medal of Honor for rescuing wounded men after the commanding officer ordered all soldiers away from the battlefield.
In 1936, approximately 3,000 pro-union workers at the Guide Lamp factory in Anderson, a subsidiary of General Motors, began to strike. Guide Lamp strikers, along with other automobile industry workers, demanded recognition of the United Automobile Workers of America by GM. The Alexandria Times-Tribune reported that the protesters also requested "seniority rights and an annual wage of $2,400 for every employee, together with the establishment of a 30-hour week based on five six-hour days." By February 1937, tension resulted in a violent skirmish, despite GM's recognition of the union. The governor dispatched the Indiana National Guard to Anderson. These events essentially shut down the city for about two weeks until the conflict died down.