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Title: The Hoosiers

Author: Meredith Nicholson

Release date: September 12, 2021 [eBook #66276]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: The Macmillan Company, 1900

Credits: D A Alexander, David E. Brown, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



National Studies in American Letters.


By Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

By Lindsay Swift.

By Meredith Nicholson.


By The Rev. Daniel Dulany Addison.

By Paul Leicester Ford.

By The Rev. Henry van Dyke, D.D.

By John Kendrick Bangs.

By The Editor.

Others to be announced.



New York

All rights reserved

Copyright, 1900,

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith
Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

To the Memory of



These pages represent an effort to give some hint of the forces that have made for cultivation in Indiana. While the immediate purpose has been an examination of the State’s performance in literature, it has seemed proper to approach the subject with a slight review of Indiana’s political and social history. Owing to limitations of space, much is suggested merely which it would be profitable to discuss at length. It is hoped that such matters as racial influences, folk-speech, etc., which are but lightly touched here, may appeal to others who will make them the subject of more searching inquiry. Only names that have seemed most significant are included; many creditable writers are necessarily omitted.

I take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to Dr. Edward Eggleston, Miss Anna Nicholas, and Mr. Merrill Moores for their[viii] courteous responses to many requests for information. Miss May Louise Shipp gave me access to papers relating to her kinswoman, Mrs. Dumont, which I could not have seen but for her kindness. Miss Eliza G. Browning, the Public Librarian of Indianapolis, Mr. H. S. Wedding, the Librarian of Wabash College, and Mr. Charles R. Dudley, of the Denver Library, were most generous and indulgent on my behalf.

M. N.

Denver, July, 1900.



Indiana and her People 1
The Rural Type and the Dialect
The Word “Hoosier” 29
Pioneer Difficulties 36
The Dialect 45
Bringers of the Light
Religious Influences 63
Early Illiteracy 70
Caleb Mills 79
Julia L. Dumont and Catharine Merrill 89
An Experiment in Socialism
New Harmony 98
Robert Dale Owen and William Maclure 101
Thomas Say and the Scientists 104
The Hoosier Interpreted
Edward Eggleston 134
James Whitcomb Riley 156
“The Hoosier Athens” 177
Lew Wallace 180
Maurice Thompson 199
Mary H. Krout and Caroline V. Krout 212
Of making Many Books there is no End
Indiana a Point of Departure 214
Fiction 217
History and Politics 226
Miscellaneous 237
An Indiana Choir
Early Writers 244
Forceythe Willson and Elizabeth Conwell Willson 256
Later Poets 265
The Hoosier Landscape 269
Index 273




The rise of Indiana as an enlightened commonwealth has been accompanied by phenomena of unusual interest and variety, and whatever contributions the State may make to the total of national achievement in any department of endeavor are to be appraised in the light of her history and development. The origin of the beginners of the State, the influences that wrought upon them, the embarrassments that have attended the later generations in their labors, become matters of moment in any inquiry that is directed to their intellectual history. It is not of so great importance that a few individuals within a State shall, from time to time, show talent or genius, as that the general level of cultivation in the community shall be continually raised. Where, as in Indiana, the appearance of artistic talent follows naturally an intellectual development that uplifts the whole,[2] the condition presented is at once interesting and admirable. Owing to a misapprehension of the State’s social history, an exaggerated importance has been given to the manifestations of creative talent perceptible in Indiana, the assumption being in many quarters that the Hoosier Commonwealth is in some way set apart from her neighbors by reason of the uncouthness and ignorance of the inhabitants; and the word “Hoosier” has perhaps been unfortunate as applied to Indianians in that it has sometimes been taken as a synonym for boorishness and illiteracy. The Indiana husbandmen, even in the pioneer period, differed little or not at all from the settlers in other territorial divisions of the West and Southwest; and the early Indiana townfolk were the peers of any of their fellows of the urban class in the Ohio Valley.

The Indianians came primarily of American stock, and they have been influenced much less than the majority of their neighbors in other states by the currents of alien migration that have flowed around and beyond them. The frontiersmen, who carried the rifle and the axe[3] to make way for the plough, were brave, hardy, and intelligent; and those who accompanied them and became builders of cities and framers and interpreters of law, were their kinsmen, and possessed the natural qualities and the cultivation that would have made them conspicuous anywhere. The Indianians remained in a striking degree the fixed population of the territory that fell to them. They were sustained and lifted by religion through all their formative years, and when aroused to the importance of education were quick to insure intelligence in their posterity. The artistic impulse appeared naturally in later generations. The value of the literature produced in the State may be debatable, but there is no just occasion for surprise that attention to literary expression has been so general.

Indiana has always lain near the currents of national life, and her beginnings were joined to the larger fortunes of the national destiny. Three flags have been emblems of government in her territory, and wars whose principal incidents occurred far from the western wilderness played an important part in her history. Early[4] in the eighteenth century the French settled on the Wabash, which was an essential link in the chain of communication between the settlements of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes and those of the Lower Mississippi; and the coureurs des bois, as they guided their frail navies up and down the stream, or sang their chansons de voyage as they lay in lonely camps, gave the first color of romance to the Hoosier country. The treaty signed at Paris, February 10, 1763, ended French dominion and brought British rule. The American Revolution made itself felt on the Wabash when, in 1779, George Rogers Clark effected the capture of Fort Vincennes from a British commander. The first territorial governor of Indiana became the ninth president of the United States after the rollicking hard cider campaign of “Tippecanoe and Tyler too”; and when, years afterward, Benjamin Harrison, his grandson, was elected twenty-third president, the bonds between State and Nation were close and strong. Indiana valiantly defended herself against the Indians in the War of 1812; she sent five regiments to the Mexican War, equipped 208,300[5] volunteers for the war of the rebellion, and 7300 for the war with Spain. Slavery was an issue on Indiana soil long before the Northwest Territory had been divided. At a convention held at Vincennes in 1802, a year and a half after the organization of Indiana Territory, a memorial was sent to the National Congress asking that the antislavery proviso in the ordinance of 1787 be repealed, and slavery was thereafter a potent influence in territorial politics until the admission of Indiana, as a free state, in 1816.[1]

The victories of George Rogers Clark were not only of great importance in determining the future political relations of the Northwest Territory, but they defined the character of the population that should dominate in the region he conquered. The Ohio was the highway that led into the new world, and the first comers to Indiana in the years immediately following the Revolution were mainly drawn either directly from Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, or Virginia, or were of that fascinating band of hunters and frontiersmen of similar origin, who had only[6] a few years earlier begun the redemption of Tennessee and Kentucky from savagery. Kentucky was a temporary resting-place for many who later drifted West and Northwest; and their descendants, markedly of Scotch-Irish origin, are still clearly defined in Indiana. Philadelphia and Charleston were the two ports to which these Presbyterian Irish came in greatest numbers in the early years of the eighteenth century. They at once left the seaboard settlements and spread along the Alleghanies, the Pennsylvanians moving southward until they met their Carolina brethren, when the united stream swept with fresh strength boldly into the Ohio Valley. Emigration from the north of Ireland “waxed and waned,” says Dr. Eggleston,[2] “as the great Irish linen industry of the last century declined or prospered.” Some of these people were steady and thrifty; others were reckless and adventurous. The frontier life afforded an outlet for their wild spirits, and Indian wars and the hunting of big game were their congenial employments. The Germans, also derived from Pennsylvania[7] and the Carolinas, joined the westward stream; the English, the Dutch, and the Swiss added to it in varying degree, but the North-Irish element, dating from the earliest settlement, was long potent in politics, society, and religion, and became a most important factor in Indiana history.

Northern Indiana was settled much more slowly than the southern half of the State, owing primarily to the fierce resistance of the Miami Confederacy, which barred ingress by way of the lakes, rivers, and portages, and defeated successive armies that were sent against it. When the way was opened, the Middle States and New England slowly contributed to the population. Many of these immigrants paused first in the Western Reserve of Ohio, and a smaller proportion in Michigan. It is a question for the scientists whether the differences still observable between the people of the northern prairie region in Indiana and those of the woodland areas—differences of thrift, energy, and initiative[3]—are not due as much to natural conditions as to racial influences; and they may also have an explanation[8] of the fact that Indiana’s literary activity has been observed principally in the southern half of the State, below a line drawn through Crawfordsville. The seniority of the southern settlements is not a wholly satisfactory solution, and the difference in antecedents invites speculation.

It happened fortunately that the worst element contributed to the population of Indiana and Illinois in early years—known as “poor whites”—was the least permanent. Dr. Eggleston describes them as “a semi-nomadic people, descendants of the colonial bond-servants,”[4] who moved on in large numbers to Missouri so early as 1845, and thence from the famous Pike County scattered widely, appearing finally in California, where Bret Harte took note of them. Professor Fiske in his account of the dispersion of these people[5] does not mention Indiana as one of their outlets, and the State’s proportion was unquestionably small. Romance has not attached to them where they linger in Southern Indiana, although they are of the same strain as their kindred at the south who have[9] so often delighted the readers of fiction. By way of illustration it may be said that in the hills of Brown County the traveller passes here and there a rude wagon drawn by oxen. A dusty native walks beside the team, and seated on the floor of the wagon is an old grandmother, smoking a clay pipe with great contentment. The same picture may be met within the Kentucky and Tennessee mountains, but with the difference that in those regions the story-tellers have woven the spell of romance about the hill folk, whereas in Indiana similar characters are looked upon as ugly and uninteresting.

The rural and urban classes produced a first generation that realized a type drawing strength from both farm and town and destined to steady improvement throughout the century. New people poured in from the Eastern States and from Europe; but in no old community of the seaboard has loftier dignity been conferred by long residence or pioneer ancestry than in Indiana. This pride was brought in more particularly from the Southeast, and there are still communities in which the stranger will be sensible of it. The native Americans of Indiana have[10] continued the dominant element to a greater extent than in most Northern States, 74 per cent of the total population in 1890 consisting of natives; 20 per cent of natives of other States; while the foreign-born population comprised only 6 per cent of the total.[6] In the larger cities, as Indianapolis, Evansville, and Fort Wayne, the Germans had an important part from the beginning, and the Irish were well distributed; but before the Scandinavians and Slavs had begun to seek homes in America, the land values in Indiana had so appreciated that this class of immigrants could find no footing. The centre of population in the United States, which lay just east of Baltimore in the first decade of the century, moved gradually westward, until, in the last decade, it lay in Indiana at a point sixty-five miles south of Indianapolis.

The older Indiana towns enjoyed in their beginnings all the benefits that may be bestowed upon new communities by a people of good social antecedents. Many of these towns have lost their prestige, owing to changed political or commercial[11] conditions; the departed glory of some of them is only a tradition among the elders; but the charm of many remains. Indiana, as Territory and State, has had three political capitals, Vincennes and Corydon having enjoyed the distinction before Indianapolis finally attained it. Vincennes, however, refused to fall with her political dethronement, but built upon her memories, and became “no mean city.” In 1847 the railway connecting Madison with Indianapolis was completed. Madison was thus made the gateway of the State, and one of the most important shipping points on the Ohio, with daily steam packet to Cincinnati and Louisville; but this prosperity was only temporary, for east and west lines of railway soon drew the traffic away from the river. Madison retains its dignity in spite of reverses, and is marked by an air of quaint gravity. It may be called picturesque without offence to the inhabitants, who rejoice in its repose and natural beauty, and do not complain because their wharves are not so busy as they used to be. The social life there had a distinction of its own, which has not vanished, though the names identified with the town’s fame—Lanier,[12] Hendricks, Bright, King, and Marshall—have slowly disappeared, and few of the old régime remain. The juxtaposition of Kentucky was not without an influence in the years of the town’s ascendancy, and there was no little sympathy with Southern political ideas in the ante-bellum days.

Brookville is another town which, like Madison, sent forth many men to bring fame to other communities. It lies in the White Water Valley, amid one of the loveliest landscapes in all Hoosierdom. The Wallaces, the Nobles, and the Rays were identified with the place, and each of these families gave a governor to the State. Abram A. Hammond, still another governor, lived there for a short time, as did James B. Eads, the distinguished engineer, who was a native of Lawrenceburg; and William M. Chase, the artist, also a native Hoosier, is on Brookville’s list of notables. John D. Howland and his brother, Livingston, lived there before their removal to Indianapolis, where the former was one of the most cultivated men of his day, and the latter a creditable judge, and a wit much quoted by his contemporaries. Centerville[13] lives principally in its memories, having been the home of the Mortons, and of others who attained distinction. The removal of the seat of Wayne County to Richmond dealt the town a blow from which it has never recovered, though it shares with its successful rival in the reputation which the county enjoys for the cultivation of its people. The family of Robert Underwood Johnson was prominent in Wayne County; and though the poet and editor was not born there, he lived in the county from early infancy until his graduation in 1871 from Earlham College, whose seat is Richmond. His cousin, Mrs. Alice Williams Brotherton, the author of two volumes of verse, and a contributor to the periodicals, lived as a young woman at Cambridge, in the same county. Fort Wayne has always stood a little apart from the capital and the other towns lying nearer the Ohio. This has been due to its geographical position and direct railway connection with Chicago and the seaboard cities. Socially and commercially it has not been so intimately related to the capital as most of the other Indiana towns; but it was an important centre, with unmistakable[14] metropolitan airs almost as soon as Indianapolis. Fort Wayne’s list of distinguished citizens has included Hugh McCulloch, a native of Maine, who was Secretary of the Treasury under two presidents, and Jesse Lynch Williams, of North Carolina Quaker stock, who was prominently identified with canal and railroad building in Indiana. Mr. Williams was a leader in good works throughout his long life. Mr. McCulloch wrote “Men and Measures,” a volume of memoirs, and his family has produced a poet. A grandson and namesake of Mr. Williams is the author of several volumes of fiction.

Lafayette is one of the most attractive of Indiana cities, fortunate in its natural setting and in the friendliness of its people to all good endeavors. Purdue University, the state school of technology, which is situated there, is not diligent in the sciences to the neglect of the arts. Roswell Smith (1829-1892), the founder of the Century Magazine, practised law for twenty years at Lafayette. Terre Haute has been the home of distinguished politicians rather than of famous literary folk; but Richard W. Thompson, who became Secretary[15] of the Navy in President Hayes’s cabinet, was a writer of books; and Daniel W. Voorhees, long a senator in Congress, was the greatest forensic orator of his day in the Ohio Valley. Voorhees had none of the qualities essential in a great lawyer, but he was most effective as a speaker before the people. The code of 1852 contained a provision giving to the defence the final plea to the jury in criminal trials; but this was changed in 1873 because it had become notorious that Voorhees and others of similar persuasive powers could almost invariably procure the acquittal of persons charged with the gravest crimes by appealing to the natural sympathies and domestic attachments of the jurors. Voorhees received from Berry Sulgrove the name of the “tall sycamore of the Wabash.” His appearance was commanding, and many of the dangerous qualities that go to the making of personal magnetism were combined in him. Thomas H. Nelson, also of the Terre Haute group, was worthy to be named with Thompson and Voorhees as an orator, though never so widely known as they. He was a native[16] of Kentucky, and an accomplished man of the world, who filled acceptably several diplomatic positions. Salem, in Washington County, is another of the older towns that contained in its earliest years families of marked cultivation. John Hay, the author, diplomat, and cabinet officer, and Newton Booth, governor of California and senator in Congress from that State, were born there. At least one generation benefited by the instruction of John I. Morrison, sometimes called “the Hoosier Arnold,” who sent out from the Salem Seminary in the third decade of the century a group of men destined to take high place in nearly every field that called for character and intelligence. Hanover, the seat of Hanover College, enjoyed a somewhat similar atmosphere, and Noble Butler, who afterward became, at Louisville, the teacher in literature and elocution of Mary Anderson, the actress, was one of the Hanover faculty.

Indianapolis was planned under the direction of Christopher Harrison, a man of varied talents, who buried himself in the wilderness of Southern Indiana early in the century, followed[17] by the shadowy tradition that he had been an unsuccessful suitor for the hand of Miss Patterson, the famous Baltimore beauty who married Jerome Bonaparte. Emerging from his exile, he became a resident of Salem, sought consolation in politics, and was elected lieutenant-governor in 1816. Among those who assisted in marking the lines of the new city was Alexander Ralston, a Scotchman, who had aided in a similar task at the national capital, and who brought to his work a fancy for diagonal avenues and broad streets pleasantly suggestive of Washington. Ralston was said to have been obscurely implicated in Burr’s conspiracy; but he became a resident within the boundaries he had drawn for the capital in the woods, and died there, an exemplary citizen. Indianapolis was named by Jeremiah Sullivan, in the legislature of 1821, which formally designated the site of the new capital. The older towns on the Ohio and in the White Water Valley contributed at once to the population of the place, and the currents of migration from the East and South met there. Dr. Eggleston described the town[18] in his novel “Roxy” as it appeared in 1840:—

“The stumps stood in the streets; the mud was only navigable to a man on a tall horse; the buildings were ugly and unpainted, the people were raw immigrants dressed in butternut jeans, and for the most part afflicted either with the ‘agur’ or the ‘yellow janders’; the taverns were new wooden buildings with swinging signs that creaked in the wind, their floors being well coated with a yellow adobe from the boots of the guests. The alkaline biscuits on the table were yellow like the floors; the fried ‘middling’ looked much the same; the general yellowness had extended to the walls and the bed clothing, and, combined with the butternut jeans and copperas-dyed linsey-woolsey of the clothes, it gave the universe an air of having the jaundice.”

Old residents pronounce the description unfair; but however crude the earlier years may have been, the founders were faithful to the settlement, and among those who were there before 1840 were the Fletcher, Morris, Merrill, Coe, Ray, Blake, Sharpe, Yandes, and Holliday families, which were to be associated with the best that was thought and done in the community. In 1839 Henry Ward Beecher became pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, and he was a useful citizen through the nine years of his[19] residence. Good lecture courses were provided so early as 1855, and Edward Everett, Bayard Taylor, Dr. Holland, Theodore Parker, Park Benjamin, and Ole Bull were cordially welcomed. The Civil War disturbed the old order, lifting into social and political prominence men who had had no connection with the original leaders. Unfriendly feeling between the Eastern element and the Southerners had already been manifested in political contests, and the war greatly intensified it. “Copperhead” was the term of most odious significance known to the majority of Indianians during the war, and it continued to be such for many years afterward.

The club idea took hold in Indiana early, and societies for the study of art, music, and literature have by no means been limited to the capital. The Indianapolis Literary Club, formed in 1877, has illustrated perhaps better than any other expression of the life of Indiana, the quality of the men who have dominated there in the last three decades. In a State where not to be an author is to be distinguished, the members have written and read[20] their essays in that spirit of true cultivation which takes its aspirations and attainments as a matter of course, and not too seriously. A president and a vice-president of the United States have been on the club’s rolls, as have cabinet officers, senators in Congress and foreign ministers; but literary and ethical questions, oftener than political problems, have vexed its discussions, and it has been more interested as a society in Newman, Arnold, and Emerson, and in the thwarting of the Zeitgeist, than in material things. The women of Indiana have been important contributors to all agencies that tend toward ideal living, and at Indianapolis they have exerted an intelligent and beneficent influence in literature.

The first governors and law-givers were distinctly not of the bucolic type; and it is an interesting fact of Indiana history that in an agricultural State, where the “farmer’s vote” has been essential to the winning party, farmers have rarely found their way to the governor’s chair. James D. Williams, familiarly known as “Blue Jeans,” who was elected over Benjamin Harrison in 1876, was the first[21] farmer pure and simple to hold the office of governor; and this was not until Indiana had been sixty years a State, and had passed beyond the period in which an appeal to “Jeffersonian simplicity” would naturally have been most potent. The second farmer to be elected governor was Claude Matthews, who was a candidate in the year of Mr. Cleveland’s second success, and he was a college graduate and a man of affairs, and not really of the farmer type. When, in 1896, for the third time, the State went to the country for a governor, James A. Mount, a scientific farmer and reformer of farm methods, was chosen. The name of Posey County has long been used as a synonym for any dark and forbidding land; but the public services of Thomas Posey, the last of Indiana’s territorial governors, for whom the district was named, were of marked variety and value, so that the name can hardly be used as a term of opprobrium, particularly of the county that harbored the New Harmony settlement. After Indiana had gained the dignity of statehood, and throughout her earlier years, she continued fortunate in the[22] class of men to whom she gave her highest honors. Jennings, the first governor, was a native of New Jersey. He was a fair scholar and wrote creditable English. The Hendricks family came from Pennsylvania and contributed two governors to the State, and a vice-president to the nation; and the name remains after a century locally significant of character and attainment. David Wallace, the father of General Lew Wallace, and Joseph A. Wright, who was prominent in affairs in the earlier half of the century, were natives of Pennsylvania. Wallace had been educated at West Point, but resigned from the army to take up the law; he became noted as an orator and was governor of the State. Wright, who paid his way through Indiana University by acting as janitor, became governor, sat in the United States Senate, and was minister to Prussia. Governor Whitcomb was a native of Vermont, Governor Willard of New York, and Morton, the foremost man of the Civil War period in the State, was a native Indianian.

Isaac Blackford (1786-1859), for thirty-five years a justice of the Supreme Court in Indiana,[23] was a native of New Jersey and an alumnus of Princeton. He was one of the ablest judges the State has ever known, and his opinions as they appear in the eight volumes of reports which he published are models of lucid and direct writing. The law has always been served in Indiana by able men; and it is a satisfaction to contemplate the bench and bar of the earliest times, when the court was itinerant. Under the first constitution the Circuit Court bench consisted of a presiding judge, who sat in all the courts of a circuit, and of two associate justices, elected in each county, who were usually not lawyers. They were supposed to insure an element of common-sense equity in the judiciary, and even had power to overrule the presiding judge and give the opinion of the court. But the lawyers had little respect for the associate justices, and if the presiding judge could not attend a sitting of the court, they declined to submit important cases, and sought diversion at the expense of the associate justices by raising profound questions of abstract law. An attorney named Pitcher once used the phrase de[24] minimis non curat lex before an associate justice described by Robert Dale Owen as an illiterate farmer, short of stature, lean of person, and acrid of temper. The learned counsel had expected to translate for the benefit of the bench, but before he could speak, the justice interrupted impatiently, “Come, Pitcher, none of your Pottawattomie; give us plain English.” The lawyer did not pause or look at the court, but continued talking to the jury. “The case,” said he, “turns chiefly on that well-known legal axiom which I have already had occasion to bring to your notice,—de minimis non curat lex,—which, when reduced to the capacity of this honorable court, means—observe, gentlemen, means that the law does not care for little, trifling things, and,”—turning sharply around on the diminutive figure of the justice,—“neither do I!”

The first court houses were usually frame or log buildings of two rooms, one for the grand jury and the other for the court. A pole stretched across the room separated the members of the bar from the populace. Spectators travelled hundreds of miles to attend court and[25] hear the lawyers “plead.” The young attorneys, called “squires,” long clung to the queue as a kind of badge of their profession, and were prone to disport themselves before the rustics in the court yards of strange towns.[7] Good humor prevailed on the circuit; the long horseback journeys brought health and appetite, and cheerful landlords welcomed the bar at every county seat. Good horses, trained to corduroy roads and swimming, were a necessary part of the lawyer’s equipment; and a little quiet horse-trading between court-sittings was not considered undignified. The itinerant courts contributed to the political advantage of the attorneys, taking them constantly before the people of a wide area. Political ambition was usual, and the lawyers frequently cherished the hope of sitting in the State legislature, or of reaching the bench, with a State office or the United States Senate as their farthest goal.

The even balance maintained between the two greater parties in Indiana through many years gave a zest to all political contests.[26] Whether the Hoosiers have expressed wise preferences or not in the years in which their vote has been of consequence in national struggles may be questioned, but it is interesting to remember that Indiana and New York gave their electoral vote for the same candidate for the presidency at every election between 1872 and 1896, and that their vote in all these years, except in 1876, was with the winning side. Political independence has been fostered to good purpose; in recent years there have been instances of praiseworthy courage in the protest against party tyranny. In no other Western State has the idea of the merit system been propagated so vigorously as in Indiana. Lucius B. Swift, of Indianapolis, and William Dudley Foulke, of Richmond, were leaders in the movement for civil service reform, and enlisted under them from the beginning in a roll of honor were Oliver T. Morton, Louis Howland, Charles S. and Allen Lewis, of Indianapolis, and Henry M. Williams, of Fort Wayne. Indiana University and Franklin and Butler Colleges also gave moral support. Mr. Swift began, in 1889, the Chronicle, a small paper[27] whose publication was not undertaken for profit. For seven years, or until its object had been attained, he made it a merciless assailant of civil service abuses, local and national. When the historian of civil service reform comes to his task he will find that the Chronicle has in many ways simplified his labors.

The successes of several Indiana authors were a great stimulus to literary ambition in Indiana; and the literary clubs were an additional encouragement. Poetry seems to the amateur much more easily achieved than prose, and poets rose in every quarter of the State in the years following the general recognition of James Whitcomb Riley and Maurice Thompson. There was a time in Indiana when it was difficult to forecast who would next turn poet, suggesting the Tractarian period in England, of which Birrell writes that so prolific were the pamphleteers at the high tide of the movement that a tract might at any time be served upon one suddenly, like a sheriff’s process. At Indianapolis the end seemed to have been reached when a retired banker, who had never been suspected, began to inveigle friends into his office on the[28] pretence of business, but really to read them his own verses. Charles Dennis, a local journalist, declared that there had appeared in the community a peculiar crooking of the right elbow and a furtive sliding of the hand into the left inside pocket, which was an unfailing preliminary to the reading of a poem. Rhyming is, however, the least harmful of amusements, and so fastidious a poet as Gray expressed his belief that even a bad verse is better than the best observation ever made upon it.

“But Time, who soonest drops the heaviest things
That weight his pack, will carry diamonds long;”

and as the office of the discourager of genius is an ungrateful one, it is doubtless well that many should implore the gods, in the faith that an occasional prayer will be answered.



The origin of the term “Hoosier” is not known with certainty. It has been applied to the inhabitants of Indiana for many years, and, after “Yankee,” it is probably the sobriquet most famous as applied to the people of a particular division of the country. So early as 1830, “Hoosier” must have had an accepted meaning, within the State at least, for John Finley printed in that year, as a New Year’s address for the Indianapolis Journal, a poem called “The Hoosier Nest,” in which the word occurs several times. It is a fair assumption that its meaning was not obscure, or it would not have been used in a poem intended for popular reading. “Hoosier” seems to have found its first literary employment in Finley’s poem. Sulgrove, who was an authority in matters of local history, was disposed to concede this[30] point.[8] The poem is interesting for its glimpse of Indiana rural life of the early period. Finley was a Virginian who removed to Indiana in 1823 and had been living in the State seven years when he published his poem. He was an accomplished and versatile gentleman, and his verses, as collected in 1866, show superior talents. One of his poems, “Bachelor’s Hall,” has often been attributed to Thomas Moore. The “Hoosier Nest” is the home of a settler, which a traveller hailed at nightfall. Receiving a summons to enter, the stranger walked in,—

“Where half a dozen Hoosieroons
With mush-and-milk, tin cups and spoons.
White heads, bare feet and dirty faces
Seemed much inclined to keep their places.”

The stranger was invited to a meal of venison, milk, and johnny-cake, and as he sat at the humble board he made an inventory of the cabin’s contents:—

“One side was lined with divers garments,
The other spread with skins of varmints:
Dried pumpkins overhead were strung,
Where venison hams in plenty hung;
Two rifles placed above the door;
Three dogs lay stretched upon the floor,—
In short, the domicile was rife
With specimens of Hoosier life.”

“Hoosieroons” is never heard now, and was probably invented by Finley for the sake of the rhyme. Both Governor Wright and O. H. Smith were of the opinion that “Hoosier” was a corruption of “Who’s here” (yere or hyer) and Smith[9] has sought to dramatize its history:—

“The night was dark, the rain falling in torrents, when the inmates of a small log cabin in the woods of early Indiana were aroused from their slumbers by a low knocking at the only door of the cabin. The man of the house, as he had been accustomed to do on like occasions, rose from his bed and hallooed, ‘Who’s here?’ The outsiders answered, ‘Friends, out bird-catching. Can we stay till morning?’ The door was opened, and the strangers entered. A good log fire soon gave light and warmth to the room. Stranger to the host: ‘What did you say when I knocked?’ ‘I said, Who’s here?’ ‘I thought you said Hoosier.’ The bird-catchers left after breakfast, but next night returned and hallooed at the door, ‘Hoosier;’ and from that time the Indianians have been called Hoosiers.”

[32]This is the explanation usually given to inquirers within the State. The objection has sometimes been raised to this story, that the natural reply to a salutation in the wilderness would be “Who’s there?” out of which “Hoosier” could hardly be formed; but careful observers of Western and Southern dialects declare that “Who’s hyer?” was, and in obscure localities remains, the common answer to a midnight hail.

Sulgrove related the incident of an Irishman, employed in excavating the canal around the falls at Louisville, who declared after a fight in which he had vanquished several fellow-laborers that he was “a husher,” and this was offered as a possible origin of the word. The same writer suggested another explanation, that a certain Colonel Lehmanowski, a Polish officer who lectured through the West on Napoleon’s wars, pronounced Hussar in a way that captivated some roystering fellow, who applied the word to himself in self-glorification, pronouncing it “Hoosier.” Lehmanowski’s identity has been established as a sojourner in Indiana, and his son was a member of an Indiana[33] regiment in the Civil War. The Rev. Aaron Woods[10] is another contributor to the literature of the subject, giving the Lehmanowski story with a few variations. When the young men of the Indiana side of the Ohio crossed over to Louisville, the Kentuckians made sport of them, calling them “New Purchase greenies,” and declaring that they of the southern side of the river were a superior race, composed of “half-alligator, half-horse, and tipped off with snapping turtle!” Fighting grew out of these boasts in the market-place and streets of Louisville. An Indiana visitor who had heard Lehmanowski lecture on “The Wars of Europe” and been captivated by the prowess of the Hussars, whipped one of the Kentuckians, and bending over him cried, “I’m a Hoosier,” meaning, “I’m a Hussar.” Mr. Woods adds that he was living in the State at the time and that this was the true origin of the term. This is, however, hardly conclusive. The whole Lehmanowski story seems to be based on communication between Indiana and Kentucky workmen during the building of the Ohio Falls Canal. The original[34] canal was completed in 1830; and as the Polish soldier was not in this region earlier than 1840, ten years after the appearance of Finley’s poem, it is clear that those who would reach the truth of the matter must go back of “The Hoosier Nest” to find secure ground. No one has ever pretended that Finley originated the word, and it is not at all likely that he did so; but his poem gave it wide currency, and doubtless had much to do with fixing it on the Indianians. Bartlett, in his “Dictionary of Americanisms,” gives the novel solution of the problem that the men of superior strength throughout the early West, the heroes of log-rollings and house-raisings, were called “hushers” because of their ability to hush or quiet their antagonists; and that “husher” was a common term for a bully. The Ohio River boatmen carried the word to New Orleans, where a foreigner among them, in attempting to apply the word to himself, pronounced it “Hoosier.” Sulgrove may have had this meaning in mind in citing his Irishman, though he is not explicit. Hoosier as a Christian name has been known in the Ohio Valley; it was borne by a member of the Indiana[35] Methodist Conference in 1835. A Louisville baker named Hoosier made a variety of sweet bread which was so much affected by Indiana people that they were called “Hoosier’s customers,” “Hoosier’s men,” and so on; but no date can be found for this. The Rev. T. A. Goodwin, first heard the word at Cincinnati in 1830, where it described a species of gingerbread, but without reference to Indiana.

It is clear that the cultivated people of Indiana recognized the nickname in the early half of the century. Wright and Smith, as mentioned above, had sought to determine its genesis; and Tilghman A. Howard, when a congressman from Indiana, writing home to a friend in 1840, spoke casually of the “Hoosier State.”[11] The word occurs familiarly in Hall’s “New Purchase” (1855), and it is found also in Beste’s rare volume, “The Wabash; or, Adventures of an English Gentleman’s Family in the Interior of America,” published at London in the same year, and in Mrs. Beecher’s “From Dawn to Daylight” (1859). And when, in[36] 1867, Sandford C. Cox published a book of verses containing the couplet,—

“If Sam is right, I would suggest
A native Hoosier as the best,”—

the word was widely known, and thereafter it frequently occurs in all printed records touching the State. It is reported from Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina by independent observers, who say that the idea of a rough countryman is always associated with it. In Missouri it is sometimes used thus abstractly, but a native Indianian is usually meant, without reference to his manners or literacy.

No reader of Hoosier chronicles can fail to be impressed by the relation of the great forests to the people who came to possess and tame them. Before they reached the Indiana wilderness in their advance before civilization, the stalwart pioneers had swung their axes in Pennsylvania or Kentucky, and had felt the influence of the great, gloomy woodlands in their lives; but in Indiana this influence was greatly intensified. They experienced an isolation that is not possible to-day in any part of the country, and the loss of nearly every civilizing[37] agency that men value. These frontiersmen could hardly have believed themselves the founders of a permanent society, for the exact topography of much of their inheritance was unknown to them; large areas were submerged for long periods, and the density of the woods increased the difficulty of building roads and knitting the scattered clearings and villages into a compact and sensitive commonwealth. Once cleared, the land yielded a precarious living to the pioneers in return for their labors and sacrifices; after the first dangers from beasts of prey, the pestiferous small animals anticipated the harvest and ate the corn. One ear in four acres remained after the gray squirrels had taken their pleasure in a Johnson County field.[12] Sheep were out of the question on account of the wolves; and always present and continuing were the fevers that preyed on the worn husbandmen and sent many to premature graves. The women, deprived of every comfort, contributed their share of the labor, making homes of their cabins; dyeing the wool, when they had it, with the ooze of the walnut,[38] carding, spinning, and weaving it, and finally cutting the cloth into garments; or if linen were made, following the flax from the field through all the processes of manufacture until it clothed the family.

The pioneers could not see then, as their children see now, that the wilderness was a factor in their destiny; that it drove them in upon themselves, strengthening their independence in material things by shutting them off from older communities, and that it even fastened upon their tongues the peculiarities of speech which they had brought with them into the wilderness. But their isolation compelled meditation, and when reading matter penetrated the woodlands it was usually worth the trouble of transportation in a day of few roads and little travel. The pioneers knew their Bibles and named their children for the Bible heroes, and most of their other books were religious. There have been worse places in which to form habits of thought, and to lay the foundation for a good manner of writing our language, than the Hoosier cabin. Lying before the fireplace in his father’s humble Spencer County home[39] during the fourteen years that the family spent in Indiana,—years that were of the utmost importance in his life,—Abraham Lincoln studied his few books and caught the elusive language-spirit that later on gave character and beauty to his utterances.

The social life of the first comers also drew its inspiration from their environment, and was expressed in log-rolling, house-raising, and other labors that could best be done by coöperation, and which they concluded usually, in a fashion quite characteristic, with a frolic. After the axe, the rifle was most important among their belongings; for they trusted largely to the fortunes of the hunt for food; and peltries became a valuable medium of exchange in their simple economy. Expertness in the use of the rifle and friendly rivalry in marksmanship among the settlers led to other social gatherings; and even professional men took pride in the sport and participated in these contests. The militia system in the early days was not an important feature of Hoosier life. The Hoosier’s sense of humor has always been keen, and where, as[40] once occurred on muster day in the White Water country, a part of the officer’s duty was to separate wearers of shoes from those who appeared in moccasins, and bearers of cornstalks from those who carried rifles, there was nothing of the pomp and pageantry of war to captivate the imagination of the people.

The Hoosier fiddle was a factor in all the festivities of the country folk. The fiddler was frequently an eccentric genius, ranking with the rural poet, who was often merely a maker of idle rhymes; however, the country fiddler in Indiana has held his own against latter-day criticism and the competition of the village brass band. Governor Whitcomb enjoyed local fame as a violinist, and Berry Sulgrove and General Lew Wallace, in their younger years, were skilful with the bow. Dr. H. W. Taylor, a conscientious student of early Hoosier customs, connects the Hoosier fiddler with the Scotch Highlanders, and has expressed his belief[13] that the Highlander folk coming to the United States naturally sought the mountain country of Virginia, North Carolina,[41] Tennessee, and Georgia, and that the Scotch fiddle and its traditions survive principally in these mountainous countries. We are told that the fiddle of the Hoosiers is an exotic and cannot long survive, though fifteen years after this prediction a contest of Hoosier fiddlers was held in the largest hall at Indianapolis, and many musicians of this old school appeared from the back districts to compete for the prizes. The great aim of the old time fiddlers was to make their instruments “talk.” Their tunes enjoyed such euphonious names as “Old Dan Tucker,” “Old Zip Coon,” “Possum up a Gum Stump,” “Irish Washerwoman,” “Waggoner,” “Ground Spy,” and “Jay Bird.” Dr. Taylor discovered that the very Hoosier manner of bowing, i.e. fiddling, was derived from the Scotch, and he gives this description of it: “The arm, long, bony, and sinewy, was stretched forwards, downwards, and outwards from the shoulder, and at full length. There was absolutely no movement of the wrist, a very little at the elbow, and just a degree more at the shoulder.” Hall ironically observed that the country fiddler could,[42] like Paganini, play one tune or parts of nearly two dozen tunes on one string; and like the great maestro he played without notes, and with endless flourishes. He gives this attractive portrait of one of the New Purchase fiddlers:—

“He held his fiddle against his breast—perhaps out of affection—and his bow in the middle, and like a cart-whip; things enabling him, however, the more effectually to flog his instrument when rebellious: and the afflicted creature would scream right out in agony! Indeed, his Scremonah bore marks of premature old age—its fingerboard being indented with little pits, and its stomach was frightfully incrusted with rosin and other gummy things, till it looked as dark and careworn as Methuselah! Dan was, truly, no niggard of ‘rosum,’ for he ‘greased’ as he termed it, between his tunes every time! and then, at his first few vigorous jerks, fell a shower of dust on the agitated bosom of his instrument, calling out in vain for mercy under the cruel punishment.”[14]

James Whitcomb Riley corroborates the impression of earlier writers in a characteristic poem, “My Fiddle:”[15]

“My playin’s only middlin’—tunes I picked up when a boy—
The kind o’-sort o’ fiddlin’ that the folks calls ‘cordaroy’;
‘The Old Fat Gal’ ‘Rye-Straw,’ and ‘My Sailyor’s on the Sea,’
Is the old cowtillions I ‘saw’ when the ch’ice is left to me;
And so I plunk and plonk and plink
And rosum-up my bow,
And play the tunes that make you think
The devil’s in your toe!”

In several of the Southern Indiana counties the least admirable traits of the ancestors of the “poor whites” who came in from the South have been continued into a third and fourth generation; but these do not appear prominently in any fair or comprehensive examination of the people. Much has been written of the lawlessness of Indianians, and lynching and white-capping have sporadically been reported from many of the southern counties. An attorney-general of the State who had brought all the machinery of the law to bear upon particular instances of lynching during his term of office, and who had given much study to the phenomena presented by these outbreaks, expressed his opinion that the right of way of the Baltimore and Southwestern Railway marked the “lynching belt” in Indiana. Statistics in confirmation[44] are lacking, but it is safe to say that a large percentage of the lynchings reported in the State have occurred either in counties on the line of the road or in those immediately adjoining. Lynchings have also occurred in at least half a dozen counties north of Indianapolis, so that all the crimes of this sort perpetrated in Indiana cannot be charged to the descendants of the “poor whites” in the more Southern counties. Lynching has not been viewed with apathy, and every instance of it has been followed by vigorous efforts at punishment. In 1889 a drastic law was added to the statutes, defining lynching and providing severe penalties. It struck to the quick of the matter by making possible the impeachment of law officers who yield prisoners to a mob. But under any circumstances these people are so intensely clannish that even the sincerest prosecution usually fails for lack of witnesses. The Hon. W. A. Ketcham, State attorney-general, after heroic efforts to fix responsibility for the lynching of five men in Ripley County on the night of September 14, 1898, gravely stated in his official report that he had applied the Sherlock Holmes principle to the incident;[45] that is to say, after excluding every other possible hypothesis he had assumed the correctness of the one remaining, and this he stated in his syllabus of the case to be: “That A broke jail and travelled across the country to the town where the revolver had been pawned, a distance of seven miles, broke into the store, stole the revolver, returned again, broke back into jail, shot himself, then killed B and C and hung their dead bodies to a tree, put the finishing touches to his crime by hanging D and E, and then in order that suspicion might be directed against innocent men, finally hanged himself.”[16] The milder form of outlawry, known as “white-capping,” has also been practised in Indiana occasionally, and sometimes with barbarous cruelty; but it, like lynching, is not peculiar to the State, and its extent has been greatly exaggerated by Eastern newspapers.

It has been insisted by loyal Indianians that the speech of the later generations of natives is almost normal English; that the rough vernacular of their ancestors has been ground down in the schools, and that the dictionaries are[46] rapidly sanctioning new words, once without authority, that inevitably crept into common speech through the necessities of pioneer expression. It may fairly be questioned whether, properly speaking, there ever existed a Hoosier dialect. The really indigenous Indiana words and novel pronunciations are so few as to make but a poor showing when collected; and while the word “dialect” is employed as a term of convenience in this connection, it can only be applied to a careless manner of speaking, in which novel words are merely incidental. A book of colloquial terms, like Green’s “Virginia Word Book,” could hardly be compiled for Indiana without infringing upon the prior claims of other and older States to the greater part of it. The so-called Hoosier dialect, where it survives at all, is the speech of the first American settlers in Indiana, greatly modified by time and schooling, but retaining, both in the employment of colloquial terms and in pronunciation, the peculiarities that were carried westward from tide water early in the nineteenth century. The distinctive Indiana countryman, the real Hoosier, who has been little in contact[47] with the people of cities, speaks a good deal as his Pennsylvania or North Carolina or Kentucky grandfather or great-grandfather did before him, and has created nothing new. His speech contains comparatively few words that are peculiar to the State or to communities within it; but in the main it shares such deviations from normal or literary English with the whole Southwest.

In his book “The Wabash” Beste describes his interview with an Indiana carpenter, who questioned whether the traveller was really an Englishman, because his speech was unlike that of the usual English immigrants whose trouble with the aspirate had evoked derisive comment among the Americans. This occurs in his chapter on Indianapolis, in which the carpenter is quoted thus:

“‘You do not say ‘ouse’ and ‘and’ for ‘house’ and ‘hand’; all the children, and all of you, pronounce all these words like Americans, and not as real English pronounce them. Their way of speaking makes us always say that we talk better English than the English themselves.’ I had, indeed, often heard the Americans laughed at for saying so; but now the matter was explained. My carpenter repeated with great accuracy various instances[48] of provincialisms and vulgarisms which he and all of them had noticed more or less, in all the English emigrants who had come amongst them. Seeing none of any other class, they naturally supposed that all English people pronounced the language in the same manner, and so prided themselves upon the superiority of American English. For notwithstanding the disagreeable nasal tone and drawling whine in which most of them speak, and notwithstanding a few national phrases and the peculiar use and pronunciation of certain words, it must be admitted that the American people, in general, speak English without provincial dialect or vulgarisms. Whence, in fact, could they acquire such, since all the emigrants they see came from different parts of England, and the provincialisms of the one neutralize those of the other.”

Professor Whitney, in his “Language and the Study of Language,” expresses in academic terms much the same idea.[17]

Lapses in pronunciation have never been punishable with death on the Wabash, as at the fords of the Jordan, where the shibboleth test of the Gileadites cost the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. The native Indianian is not sensitive about his speech and refuses to be humble before critics from the far East who say “idea-r” and “Philadelphia-r.” James Whitcomb[49] Riley has made the interesting and just observation that the average countryman knows in reality a wider range of diction than he permits himself to use, and that his abridgments and variations are attributable to a fear lest he may offend his neighbors by using the best language at his command.[18] This is wholly true, and it is responsible in a measure for contributions to the common speech of local idioms and phrases. In rural Indiana and generally in the Southwest the phrase “’s th’ fellah says” is often used by a rustic to indicate his own appreciation of the fact that he has employed an unusual expression. Or it may be an actual quotation, as, for example, “Come over fer a visit, an’ we’ll treat you ’n a hostile manner, ’s Uncle Amos use t’ say.” This substitution of hostile for hospitable once enjoyed wide currency in Indiana and Illinois. Sulgrove confirms Riley’s impression:—

“Correct pronunciation was positively regarded by the Southern immigration as a mark of aristocracy or, as they called it, ‘quality.’ The ‘ing’ in ‘evening,’ or ‘morning’ or any other words, was softened into ‘in,’ the[50] full sound being held finical and ‘stuck up.’ So it was no unusual thing to hear such a comical string of emasculated ‘nasals’ as the question of a prominent Indiana lawyer of the Kentucky persuasion, ‘Where were you a-standin’ at the time of your perceivin’ of the hearin’ of the firin’ of the pistol?’... To ‘set’ was the right way to sit; an Indian did not scalp, he ‘skelped’: a child did not long for a thing, he ‘honed’ for it,—slang retains this Hoosier archaism; a woman was not dull, she was ‘daunsy’; commonly a gun was ‘shot’ instead of fired in all moods and tenses.”[19]

While the French settlements in Indiana made no appreciable impression on the common speech, yet it has been assumed by some observers that the inclination at the South to throw the accent of words forward, as in gentlemen, settlement, was fairly attributable to the influence of the French Catholics in Louisiana and of the Huguenots who were scattered through the Southeastern colonies, though this would seem a trifle finespun; but the idiosyncrasy noted exists at the South, no matter what its real origin may have been, and it has been communicated in some measure through Southern influences to the middle Western people. However, Southern Indianians sometimes say Tennes-sy, accenting[51] the first syllable and slurring the last, illustrating again the danger of accepting any theories or fixing any rules for general guidance in such matters. Dr. Eggleston remembers only one French word that survived from old French times in the Wabash country,—“cordelle, to tow a boat by a rope carried along the shore.” The most striking influence in the Indiana dialect is that of the Scotch-Irish, who have left marked peculiarities of speech behind them wherever they have gone. Notwithstanding the fact that both the English Quakers and the Germans contributed largely to the settlement of Pennsylvania and of the Southeastern colonies, the idiosyncrasies of speech most perceptible in the regions deriving their population from those sources are plainly Scotch-Irish; as, for example, the linguistic deficiency which makes strenth and lenth of strength and length, or bunnle of bundle, and the use of nor for than, after a comparative adjective. The use of into for in and whenever for as soon as are other Scotch-Irish peculiarities. These, however, are heard only in diminishing degree in Indiana, and many of the younger generations of Hoosiers[52] have never known them. The confusion of shall and will and of like and as is traceable to North-Irish influences, and is not peculiar to the spoken language at the South and West, but is observed frequently in the newspapers, and is found even in books.

The anonymous writer of “Pioneer Annals” (1875), a rare pamphlet that contains much invaluable matter relating to the occupation of the White Water Valley, speaks of the prevalence of Carolina Quakers among the first settlers of that region, and remarks that when newcomers were asked where they came from, the answer would be “Guilford County, near Clemmens’s Store”; or “Beard’s Hatter-shop”; “Dobson’s Cross Roads”; or “Deep-River Settlement of Friends.” The same writer gives a dialect note which illustrates the ephemeral character of idiom. Sleys (slays) was a term applied by the Carolinians to the reeds used by them in their home-made looms. A Carolina emigrant bound for Indiana stopped at Cincinnati and offered to sell a supply of these. It was in August, and the storekeeper knew but one word having the same sound, sleighs,[53] which were not used in Cincinnati in midsummer. His ironical comment almost led to a personal encounter before the Carolinian could explain. John V. Hadley states in his “Seven Months a Prisoner” that “Guilford County” and “Jamestown” (North Carolina) were household words in many families of Hendricks County (Indiana), where he lived. At Jamestown, on his way to Libby Prison, he was accosted by a citizen who asked whether a former neighbor who had moved to Indiana, but still owned property in North Carolina, had not enlisted in the Union army, the purpose of the inquiry being to obtain testimony on which to confiscate his estate.

The circulation of newly coined words has been so rapid in late years, owing to the increase of communication between different parts of the country, and to dissemination by the newspapers, that few useful words originating obscurely are likely to remain local. Lowell amused himself by tracing to unassailable English sources terms that were assumed to be essentially American; and if Chaucer and the Elizabethans may be invoked against[54] our rural communities, the word-hunter’s sport has grown much simpler when he may cite a usage in one State to disestablish the priority claimed for it in another. There is risk in all efforts to connect novel words with particular communities, no matter how carefully it may be done, and it is becoming more and more difficult to separate real dialect from slang. Lists of unusual words that have been reported to the American Dialect Society afford interesting instances of the danger of accepting terms as local which are really in general use. The word rambunctious, reported from New York State as expressing impudence and forwardness, cannot be peculiar to that region,[20] for it is used in Indiana in identically the same sense. Other words, collected through the same agency and common in Indiana, are: scads, reported from Missouri, signifying a great quantity; and sight, meaning a large amount, noted in New England and New York. Great hand for, meaning a penchant, traced from Maine to Ohio, may be followed also into Indiana, but this,[55] like druthers, for a preference or choice, belongs to the towns rather than to the country. Go like, in the sense of imitation, as “go like a rooster,” is reported from both Maine and Indiana; and foot-loose, meaning free and untrammelled, observed in Georgia, is used in the towns, at least, of Indiana. The natural disposition of Americans to exaggerate led to the creation by the Southeastern element in Indiana population of bodaciously,[21] a corruption of audaciously; and to the employment of powerful, indiscriminately with big or little, as a particularly emphatic superlative. Curiously enough powerful, which is usually identified with the earlier generations of the Southwest, is reported also from Eastern Massachusetts.[22] Sarcumstansis for circumstances, b’ar for bear, and thar for there reached Indiana through Kentucky, and are now rarely heard. Dr. Eggleston employs the broad a in “The Graysons,” where one character says bar while another pronounces the word correctly, explaining that words are not always pronounced the same[56] in a dialect—an observation that has also been made by Mr. Riley.

Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, whose unamiable novel, “From Dawn to Daylight,” is a dreary picture of Indiana life, gives a few interesting usages; as a right smart chance of money, heap of plunder, sight stronger, proper hard, showing that her acquaintance was principally with the Southern element, which she had known at Lawrenceburg and Indianapolis. Plunder, as a synonym for baggage, seems to be largely Southern and Western, and was probably derived from the Pennsylvania Germans. The insolent intrusiveness of dialect is illustrated by the appearance of the word in its colloquial sense in the first chapter of General Wallace’s “Prince of India.” Dr. Eggleston in “The Graysons” gives weth for with, air for are, thes for just, sher’f for sheriff, and yer’s for here is. Indianians usually pronounce the name of their State correctly, though the final vowel sometimes becomes y. Benjamin S. Parker remembers that in the early days pioneers sometimes said Injuns, Injiana, and immejut; but these usages are[57] obsolete in the State.[23] Mr. Riley frequently uses miled (mile), and yet the word is somewhat similarly spoken on Nantucket, maild. Ornery, a vulgar form of ordinary, seems to be generally used, and has been observed in the Middle States as well as in Indiana and Kentucky. The injunction mind out, which is used in Kentucky in such admonitions as “mind out what you are doing,” becomes watch out in Indiana. Wrench for rinse, used in the States contiguous to the Ohio, is rense in New England. Critter for horse is still heard in parts of rural Indiana, which derived population through Kentucky, where the same usage is noted. Fruit, as applied to stewed apples (apple sauce) only, is a curious limitation of the noun, heard among old-fashioned people of Southern origin in Indiana. Some place for somewhere is not chargeable to Indiana alone, but this and the phrases want on and want off seem to be used chiefly in the[58] West Central States, and they belong to the borderland between slang and dialect. It would seem a far cry from the Hoosier speech to the classic Greek, and yet Dr. H. W. Taylor has pursued this line of philological inquiry with astonishing results, tracing an analogy of sound and sense most ingeniously between Greek terms and words found in the American dialects.[24]

In the speech of the illiterate, there is usually something of rhythm and cadence. All slang shares a feeling for the balance and nice adjustment of words, and slang phrases are rarely clumsy. The cry of a boy calling his mate has its peculiar crescendo, and pedlers the world over run the scale of human expression in pursuit of odd effects. The drawl of the Southerner and Southwesterner is not unmusical, though it may try the patience of the stranger. Even cultivated Indianians, particularly those of Southern antecedents, have the habit of clinging to their words; they do not bite them off sharply. G performs its office as final consonant in ing under[59] many disadvantages; and it was long ignored, though the school-teachers have struggled nobly to restore it. The blending of words, which begins with childhood, is often carried into maturity by the Indianian; thus by a lazy elision “did you ever” is combined in jever, and “where did you get” becomes wherjuget. Ju is, in fact, usual in the Ohio Valley. The history of the Italian a in this country is in itself interesting. In New England and in Virginia it finds recognition, whereas in the intermediate region the narrower sound of the vowel prevails; and likewise the softening of r is noted in New England and among the Virginians and other Southerners, while in the intermediate territory and at the West r receives its full sound. The shrill nasal tone is still marked in the back country folk of New England, while the Southern and Southwestern farmer’s speech is fuller and more open-mouthed. Whether climatic influences have been potent in such matters remains a matter of speculation, but such theories are to be received with caution.

It is unfortunate that there are so few trustworthy[60] records of the early Southwestern speech, and that first and last bad grammar, reckless spelling, and the indiscriminate distribution of the printer’s apostrophe by writers who had no real knowledge to guide them, have served to create an erroneous impression of the illiteracy of the Indianians and their neighbors. It is likely that during the next quarter of a century the continued fusion of the various elements of Western population will create a dead level of speech, approximating accuracy, so that in a typical American State like Indiana local usages will disappear, and the only oddities discernible will be those of the well-nigh universal slang, which even now reach Colorado and California almost as soon as they are known at the Atlantic seaboard. At the South and in New England, where there is less mingling of elements, the old usages will probably endure much longer; and it is a fair assumption that in the Mississippi Valley and in the Trans-Missouri country, a normal American speech free of local idiosyncrasies will appear first. Our keen sense of humor and our love of the conveniences[61] of speech are likely to continue to be national traits, leading to the creation and adoption of slang from time to time; but where a people imply quotation marks in all their lapses from propriety, they anticipate and destroy criticism.

After all, there is nothing reprehensible in dialect, as we loosely use the word, or even in slang. Flexibility is necessary to the living language; and the word-hunter who really delights in his avocation, and is not limited in his researches to the remoter fields of classical philology, hearing in his daily walks and in the tranquil talk at peaceful inns the pungent or pictorial word that no lexicographer has yet detected, knows a joy that is greater than that of fly fishing or butterfly hunting. “No language,” writes Lowell, “after it has faded into diction, none that cannot suck up the feeding juices secreted for it in the rich mother-earth of common folk, can bring forth a sound and lusty book. True vigor and heartiness of phrase do not pass from page to page, but from man to man, where the brain is kindled and the lips suppled by downright living interests, and by passion in its[62] very throe.” He continues: “Language is the soil of thought, and our own especially is a rich leaf-mould, the slow deposit of ages, the shed foliage of feeling, fancy, and imagination, which has suffered an earth change, that the vocal forest, as Howell called it, may clothe itself anew with living green.” And this suggests Horace’s words, in “Ars Poetica”:—

“Ut silvae foliis pronos mutantur in annos,
Prima cadunt; ita verborum vetus interit aetas,
Et juvenum ritu florent modo nata vigentque.”

As the leaves have fallen through a century in the Wabash country, they have buried words that will never reappear; and the change will continue, old words vanishing and new ones taking their places, so long as tradition and heredity yield to the schoolmaster, that ruthless forester who grafts and trims to make all trees uniform.



In his address to the annual council of the Protestant Episcopal diocese of Indiana in 1863, Bishop Upfold spoke with much vigor against the use of flowers in the decoration of churches, and said:—

“There is no sound principle, no true doctrine involved in the practice. It is all poetry, and the very romance of poetry, the conception of romantic and imaginative minds, dictated less by religious sentiment than by a fondness for show and gaudy display. Instead of the decoration concentrating the attention devoutly on the great and glorious fact which flowers are erroneously supposed to symbolize, it is far more likely to divert it, and impair the true spiritual emotions and impressions, which the commemorative services of the day (Easter) are destined to awaken and deepen.... The practice will not be allowed in this diocese; and I now declare and desire it may be distinctly understood and remembered,—and I may as well say it, because I mean to do it—that I will not visit or officiate in any parish, to administer confirmation, or perform any other office on Easter Sunday, or on any other occasion, where this floral display is attempted.”

[64]Bishop Upfold greatly modified his views before his death, in 1872; but this declaration is expressive of the general religious attitude of the earlier Indianians; it was Protestant, intensely Protestant. The religious phenomena observable in the State are not complex and are readily explained. The early French were, of course, Roman Catholics, and their first priests were of the heroic type that had its highest expression in Marquette and Joliet, and hardly less notably in Father Sorin of the Order of the Holy Cross, who founded, in Northern Indiana, Notre Dame University, and lived to see it one of the great Catholic schools of the continent. But the prevalent religious ideas of the Hoosiers were not inherited from the early French settlers. North Carolina contributed members of the Society of Friends to the new territory, and Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania sent Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists, members of the sect established by Alexander Campbell, and German Lutherans. Episcopalians were few among the first Indiana colonists. The diocese of Indiana was created in 1838, and many earnest men have given their[65] labor to its service first and last; but the slow progress of the Episcopal Church in the commonwealth has been due to conditions antedating the settlement of the Ohio Valley, running back, indeed, to the efforts of James I. to establish Scotch and English colonies in Ireland, the most turbulent part of his kingdom, and thus forming the base for a migration to America that was to color the life and thought of a vast area of new soil. As so large a proportion of the pioneers had rejected apostolic succession in the Old World, they saw no reason for accepting it in the Western wilderness. The rugged apostles of Methodism, and the less rugged but equally diligent and earnest preachers of Presbyterianism, were leaders in the strenuous religious labors of the early years of the century. The advance guard of these two religious bodies did not always dwell together in unity; in educational work, for example, envy, hatred, and malice were sometimes awakened. The Rev. F. C. Holliday, writing in 1872,[25] complained of the self-complacency with which the leading Presbyterians at the West had assumed[66] authority in educational matters, and “the quiet unscrupulousness with which they seized upon the trust funds of the States for school purposes, and made these schools as strictly denominational as though the funds had been exclusively contributed by members of their own communion.” It is true that Presbyterians controlled the State University in its early years, but this was due to their zeal in education and to the exceptional fitness of many Presbyterian clergymen for teaching. Princeton extended a friendly hand to the Presbyterians who were struggling in the new State, and sent, among others, the Rev. George Bush (1796-1859), who reached Indianapolis in 1824, and two years later shocked his congregation in the malarious village by denying that there was any authority of Scripture for the Presbyterian form of church government.[26] His views became increasingly radical and in 1829 he left Indiana, accepted the chair of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in the University of the City of New York, and became a Swedenborgian. He was a life-long student and a writer of recognized ability.

[67]The Baptists organized the first Protestant church in Indiana in 1798. The Methodists formed a society in 1803, and in 1805 Peter Cartwright, one of the great pioneer Methodist evangelists, was at work in the State. The oldest Presbyterian society was formed in 1806, near Vincennes, then the capital, and William Henry Harrison, the governor, who had married a Presbyterian wife, was numbered among its parishioners.[27] The very nature of the pioneer life compelled the simplest of religious as well as of social observances. The meeting-houses were of logs, and the ministers were often tillers of the soil. One of the early Presbyterian clergymen aided the support of his family by farming, writing the deeds, wills, and other formal papers of his neighbors, by teaching singing, and by making shoes, and from all these sources of labor, including his pay as minister, he averaged only $80 a year for a period of sixteen years. Father (the Rev. James) Havens, one of the famous apostles of Methodism,[68] who, in 1824, rode what was known as the Connersville circuit, embracing several county seats, received $56.06½ for his year’s services. This does not indicate indifference among the scattered flock, but a lack of actual money. Instances are reported of men splitting rails or working in the harvest field at fifty cents a day in order to aid their ministers. Meetings were held in wayside cabins, in which the near neighbors gathered, and after the service the housewife prepared a meal for the clerical guest, and for those of the little congregation who remained. The ministers of the day were not always profound scholars, but they were light-bearers, who went ahead of the schoolmasters, communicating to scores of the youth of the new land an interest in the world of men and books. It has been said that three-fourths of the early students of Asbury (DePauw) University came from homes that were visited by the itinerant Methodist preachers.[28]

Ministers were required to be extemporaneous speakers, and they often indulged in joint[69] debates that aroused the greatest interest. These contests were markedly frequent during the period in which the “Campbellite” movement gathered force and began to attract members of the older religious societies. Lay discussion was common, and the free interpretation of the Bible urged by the Campbellites encouraged it. “Revivals” and camp-meetings were conducted frequently, and were often attended with great excitement. During the first quarter of the century religious enthusiasm manifested itself with an excess and abandon that were unknown in politics. “Father” was often prefixed to the names of the venerable pioneer ministers as a mark of affection, and in recognition of long service. This was not unusual among the Methodists, and even the Presbyterians occasionally bestowed the term on some of their old and worn missionaries of the early days. Many of these men lived until late in the century, and saw the theology of their young manhood altered or superseded, and amid new men and new manners became almost strangers in the land they had first known as a wilderness.

[70]Great care had been taken to assure to the Northwest religious liberty and free schools. The ordinance of 1787 touched directly on the questions of religion and education in the Northwest Territory. “No person,” it declared, “demeaning himself in a peaceable, orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in the said territory;” and “religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.” The ordinance has clearly been one of the great guiding influences of the nation. It prepared the way in the Ohio Valley for the attitude of the people toward slavery; and its assurance of religious freedom and friendliness to learning brought to the new territory the benefit of the experience of those who had striven for such liberties and advantages in the seaboard colonies. The history of civilization in Indiana may be said to date from its passage. When, in 1804, Congress provided for the disposal of public lands in the districts of Detroit,[71] Kaskaskia, and Vincennes, the act carried with it a reservation of the sixteenth section in each township for the support of schools, and also an entire township in each land district for the use of a seminary of learning; and later, the act of 1816 that raised Indiana Territory to statehood, provided “that one entire township, which shall be designated by the President of the United States, in addition to the one heretofore reserved for that purpose, shall be reserved for the use of a seminary of learning, to be appropriated solely to the use of such seminary.” Under the first law Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, selected a township in Gibson County; and, following further the direction of Congress, Governor Harrison approved, in 1806, an act of the territorial legislature, incorporating Vincennes University, which was not, however, fully open until 1810. The territorial legislators believed that it would serve a good purpose to admit Indian youth to the privileges of the school, and the law enjoined the trustees “to use their utmost endeavors to induce the said aborigines to send their children[72] to the University for education, who, when sent, shall be maintained, clothed, and educated at the expense of said institution.”[29] Only one Indian ever availed himself of this offer. In 1822 a law was enacted calling for the sale of the Gibson County lands and the use of the proceeds for the State seminary already planned at Bloomington. Thus the State boldly confiscated the fief of one institution and turned it over to another—an act that led to long litigation; and though Vincennes University was partially successful in the courts, its revenue was curtailed and permanent injury resulted. It continues, however, in spite of reverses a lively member of the company of Indiana schools of the preparatory type.

Under the act of 1816 President Monroe designated Perry Township, in the county which was named for him when, in 1818, Orange County was divided.[30] The selection of the “seminary township” became of great importance, for it determined not merely the location of the contemplated seminary, but of[73] the State University, into which it grew. Efforts have been made repeatedly to remove the institution from Bloomington, the town that rose about it; but they have been unavailing. The site chosen by President Monroe, as it was impossible for him to foresee, was not to remain the most fortunate in point of convenience and accessibility; but Monroe County has clung tenaciously to the honor conferred upon her, and seems destined to carry her dignity through the twentieth century. The first principal of the seminary was Baynard Rush Hall (1798-1865), the son of a Philadelphia physician. He was a graduate of Union College and of Princeton Theological Seminary. He was not only an early and valuable teacher, but a pioneer author. One of his books “The New Purchase; or Seven and a Half Years in the Far West” contains a vast amount of information touching pioneer customs; and while it is not always wholly good-natured, it is written in the main with spirit and humor.[31] He declared his belief[74] that he was “the very first man since the creation of the world that read Greek in the New Purchase”; which is extravagant, as many of the earlier Protestant ministers were doubtless learned in the languages, even if the distinction of which he boasted did not belong to some Roman Catholic missionary. Ten boys and young men were all that were admitted to the new seminary when it opened, May 1, 1824. The standards of admission seemed wholly novel and unnecessary. “Daddy says he doesn’t see no sort a use in the high larn’d things, and he wants me to larn Inglish only, and book-keepin’, and surveyin’, so as to ’tend store and run a line,” was the tone of protest heard from many applicants, as reported by Hall in the “New Purchase.” Local politicians, viewing the new school as something exclusive and aristocratic, declared that “it was a right smart chance better to have no college nohow, if all folks hadn’t[75] equal right to larn what they most liked best.” Hall was the sole teacher employed for the first three years, and during this period the only branches taught were Greek and Latin.[32] While he thus filled all the offices of the seminary in the woods, he organized his handful of students into a literary society, which he called the Henodelphisterian, and for which he made the rule that members should drop their proper appellations while in the academic shades and assume Greek or Latin names. “Thus,” says Judge Banta, in his reminiscences, “every member of the society was an Ajax, a Pericles, a Timoleon.” Hall’s salary at this time was two hundred and fifty dollars a year, and there is ground for the suspicion that he compensated himself for deficiencies of income by the free indulgence of his sense of humor. As the young gentlemen of the Henodelphisterian were occupied out of school hours in wood-chopping and swine-herding, the joke was rather broad. Additional instruction was demanded in the third year, and a teacher of mathematics was employed. The seminary[76] became the State University in 1838, and among the first trustees were David Wallace, Governor William Hendricks, Jesse L. Holman, Robert Dale Owen, and Richard W. Thompson, all of whom were otherwise factors in the early history of the State, and in several cases members of families distinguished in subsequent generations. The University’s influence in the State has been inestimable. It has usually been fortunate in its administrators, and it has more and more grown to be the centre of agencies related to the better life and advancement of the commonwealth. After leaving Indiana, in 1831, Hall taught academies at Bordentown and Trenton, New Jersey, at Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, New York, and in 1852 he became principal of Park Institute, Brooklyn. He received the degree of A.M. from Princeton and of D.D. from Rutgers College.

So early as 1793 W. Rivet, a French missionary, “a polite, well-educated, and liberal-minded enthusiast, banished to this country by the French Revolution,” had conducted a school successfully at Vincennes. A system of county[77] seminaries was introduced early in the nineteenth century, and such schools were organized in about half of the counties; and between 1825 and 1850 seventy-three private and incorporated schools were opened, traces of which remain. These were known sometimes by the name of the founder, or were identified with the name of the town in which they were situated. The democratic idea that secondary and higher education could not properly be provided by the State found early and wide acceptance. It was believed that the obligation of higher education should be undertaken by private enterprise and by religious organizations; and out of this spirit came a group of seminaries, similar to those of the counties, and representing the several churches that had established outposts on the frontier. Many of these grew into colleges. Hanover and Wabash colleges thus began under Presbyterian auspices, DePauw (Asbury) University under the Methodists, and Franklin College under the Baptists; and while their beginnings were not strictly in the seminary, Notre Dame, a Catholic university, and Earlham College, an institution of high character[78] allied to the Society of Friends, were of like origin. Late in the period during which the seminaries flourished there rose a number of schools for women, of the academic grade, and all of them private or denominational.

Institutions for higher education often precede schools for primary and intermediate training; and in Indiana care had been taken to provide seminaries and colleges before the important matter of establishing a common school system had received intelligent attention. David Starr Jordan, long identified with education in Indiana, has remarked that “the growth in educational systems is from above downwards. In historical sequence Oxford must precede Rugby, and the German University must come before the gymnasium.” Nearly half a century after the organization of the first territorial government, no system of common schools had been perfected in Indiana. Efforts had been made and the subject had not been wholly overlooked by the lawmakers, but a prejudice existed in the minds of many against free schools as undemocratic. The principle that enlightenment must be a condition precedent to the intelligent exercise[79] of citizenship was not grasped by the populace; and as a result of inattention the Hoosier, as Eggleston’s schoolmaster found him, was appearing on the scene. And yet, in 1837, while this type was increasing, a member of the legislature declared, during the discussion of a proposed school tax, that “When I die I want my epitaph written, ‘Here lies an enemy to free schools.’”[33]

But while many enemies of common school education were blocking the way, an unheralded champion was to appear, whose identity was not generally known for several years after he took the field, and whose services entitle him to first place among all who have striven for the advancement of learning in Indiana. This was Caleb Mills, a native of New Hampshire (1806) and a graduate of Dartmouth (1828) and of Andover Theological Seminary (1833). In 1831 he had made a tour of the Southwest in the interest of Sunday-schools, and the social and intellectual conditions that he found had deeply impressed him. It was a kind providence that led him back to Indiana in 1833, and[80] that gave to his adopted State the benefit of his sympathy, intelligence, and spirit to the end of his life. Among his classmates at Dartmouth were Milo Parker Jewett, who helped to mould the common school system of Ohio, and later became the first president of Vassar College, and Edmund O. Hovey, associated with Mills as a founder of Wabash College, and long a member of its faculty. Others of his Indiana contemporaries may have appreciated the gravity of the situation as fully as he, but it was left for Mills to sound the alarm and lead the charge. In the first year after he entered the State it was averred by a reputable witness that “only about one child in eight between five and fifteen years is able to read.” Dr. Joseph F. Tuttle, the honored president of Wabash College for nearly a third of a century, described the condition of affairs in these words:—

“In 1840 there were 273,784 children in the State of school age, of whom only 48,180 attended the common schools. One-seventh of the adult population could not read, and a large proportion of those who could read did so imperfectly. In spite of the constitutional provision of the State and the famous ‘sixteenth section,’ the common schools of Indiana were in bad condition. As late as[81] 1846 the State rated lowest among the free States as to its popular intelligence and means of popular education. Even the capital of the State did not have a free school until 1853, and then one was kept open only two months.”[34]

The census of 1840 showed the illiteracy of Indiana to be 14.32 per cent. The return made by Illinois at this time was but little better, while Ohio, on the eastern boundary, showed only 5.54 per cent of illiterates. Omitting Illinois and Indiana, the illiteracy of the Northern States was only one in forty; in Illinois and Indiana it was one in seven. In twenty-two counties of Indiana the average illiteracy was more than 26.5 per cent. Montgomery County, the home of Wabash College, returned at this time one-fifth of her adult population as illiterate, and Putnam County, the seat of Asbury College, returned one-sixth of her adult population as belonging to the same class.[35]

With a knowledge of these facts Mills made and published, in the winter of 1846, “An Address to the Legislature of Indiana,” and[82] signed it “One of the People.” The motto of this, as of his five succeeding addresses, was, “Read, discuss, and circulate.” These were all written in a tone well calculated to interest and arouse. He handled his statistics skilfully, and made clear the alarming progress of illiteracy in the State. He was as ready with suggestions as with criticisms, and his several papers show him to have been thoroughly informed as to the educational conditions existing in every part of the country. He possessed great patience, and the series of pamphlets was marked throughout by good temper. He wrote in a deliberate manner, rarely showing haste or anxiety, as if confident of the impression that would be created by fair and judicial statement, and with faith in the ultimate triumph of his cause.

In the year following the publication of his first address, a call was issued for a general meeting of educators to be held at Indianapolis. Among those interested in the movement were Ovid Butler, afterward the generous benefactor of Butler College, Henry[83] Ward Beecher, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, and John Coburn. A series of common school conventions followed, and was of great value in unifying sentiment. In the roll of those who were prominent in the first meeting appeared the names of Isaac Blackford, Oliver H. Smith, Calvin Fletcher, Jeremiah Sullivan, Richard W. Thompson, Solomon Meredith, and James Blake, who were of the saving remnant of their time. As a result of the agitation by Mills, the conventions of educators, and the ceaseless activity of many friends of education, the legislature of 1847-1848 authorized the people to express their sentiments for or against a tax for the support of free schools, at the election to be held in the fall of 1848. This was a presidential year, and the Mexican War issues were discussed bitterly in Indiana and in the border States, where slavery lifted its head ominously; but the advocates of free schools forced their issue and evoked from the enemy a variety of objections which strike the sense curiously in these later years. Should the industrious be taxed to support the[84] indolent? Should the people be made benevolent by law? There was priestcraft in the scheme; free schools were merely a bait; the real object was the union of Church and State. Free schools would make education too common, said some; but the fiercest antagonism came from the class for whom the friends of free schools were laboring—the wretchedly poor and ignorant.[36] The vote on the school question was 13,000 less than the vote for president cast the same day, but free schools won, the affirmative vote being 78,523; the negative 61,887—a majority of 16,636 for free schools. The principal opposition to free schools was manifested in the counties lying south of a line drawn across the map along the southern boundary of Marion County, in which Indianapolis is situated. The northern counties gave a majority of 18,270 for free schools; while the southern division, deriving its population chiefly from the South, gave a majority of 1634 against the proposition. Professor Boone has pointed out that “notwithstanding the denser population having the[85] older settlements, the established industries, and all of the colleges but one, the most insistent opposition to free schools came from the southern half of the State. The influence of local seminaries and colleges seems to have gone for nothing in the movement for free elementary schools.”

Mills returned imperturbably to the attack in a third message carefully scrutinizing this vote, and showing that of the thirty-one counties voting negatively, twenty were below the general average of intelligence. The same measure and tolerance that characterized all his addresses show finely in this paper, in which he said: “Let the record of the affirmative vote stand as a proof of the existence in our State of the spirit of ’76. I rejoice that we have such indubitable evidence of it. I rejoice that we have been furnished with such proof that we are not the degenerate sons of noble fathers, but that we possess the spirit to rebuke selfishness wherever found, and however disguised—a kindred spirit to that which pledged life and fortune and sacred honor to the cause of national independence.”

[86]A new school law was framed by the legislature in 1848-1849, which legalized public taxation for schools and changed the existing system of school administration; but the respective counties were to be free to adopt or reject the law as they might see fit, and it was only a via media, beyond which lay still much ground for the friends of education to conquer. At an election held in August, 1849, the counties exercised their privilege to pass on the new law. Friends and foes of free schools again conducted a heated campaign, both sides amplifying the arguments advanced in the former contest. The result was a majority in favor of the law of 15,767, a decrease from the majority given in the preceding election, though the two results may not fairly be compared, owing to local issues and animosities. Fifty-nine counties voted for the law and thirty-one against it, and of those that rejected it twenty were in the southern half of the State. But the battle was more nearly won than the friends of education imagined. The constitutional convention that met in 1850 prescribed in the organic law of[87] Indiana a foundation which subsequent legislatures have built upon until a comprehensive system of schools, intelligently administered and adequately supported, is now the pride of the State.[37] The friends of education were to meet with further trials and discouragements; but the pioneer work in Indiana education closed when the new constitution had been ratified by the people. It is clear that any examination of the forces that raised Indiana into an enlightened community must comprehend a knowledge of these early struggles, and that the showier attainments of later citizens cannot obscure for the sincere student the services of those who dared to stand for the cause of free schools in the day of their peril.

Mills is an especially admirable and winning figure. He was hardly equalled for sagacity[88] and suavity among his contemporaries, and he brought to bear upon his great task a steadfastness and quiet energy that no defeat could overcome. The State recognized his abilities and rewarded his services by confiding to him the office of State superintendent of public instruction, of which he was the second incumbent. He was deeply though sanely patriotic, and during the Civil War his zeal for the Union cause was so marked that one of his associates pronounced him the best recruiting officer in Indiana. He belonged to Wabash College, and continued in its faculty until the end of his long life (October 17, 1879), giving his last years, with characteristic unselfishness and devotion, to the organization of the college library.

The early Hoosier school-teachers were often poorly trained, and sometimes were adventurers from England, Scotland, or Ireland. Occasionally they were intemperate, and frequently they were eccentric characters, whose vagaries made them ridiculous before their pupils; but there were competent instructors among them. One of the most charming figures in the history of[89] cultivation in Indiana is Mrs. Julia L. Dumont (1794-1857), who was born in Ohio, but for forty-three years resided at Vevay, in Switzerland County. Among all the light-bringers of the first half of the century in the Hoosier country Mrs. Dumont was one of the most distinguished; and she was easily the woman of most varied accomplishment in the Indiana of her day. She possessed an instinct for teaching, and Dr. Eggleston remembers that after she was sixty a schoolroom was built for her beside her husband’s house, and that she taught the Vevay High School in her old age, when no properly qualified teacher appeared to take charge of it. Dr. Eggleston draws her portrait from memory:—

“I can see the wonderful old lady now, as she was then, with her cape pinned awry, rocking her splint-bottom chair nervously while she talked, full of all manner of knowledge; gifted with something very like eloquence in speech, abounding in affection for her pupils and enthusiasm in teaching, she moved us strangely. Being infatuated with her we became fanatic in our pursuit of knowledge, so that the school hours were not enough, and we had a ‘lyceum’ in the evening for reading ‘compositions’ and a club for the study of history. If a recitation became very interesting, the entire school would sometimes[90] be drawn into the discussion of the subject; all other lessons went to the wall; books of reference were brought out of her library; hours were consumed, and many a time the school session was prolonged until darkness forced us reluctantly to adjourn. Mrs. Dumont was the ideal of a teacher because she succeeded in forming character. She gave her pupils unstinted praise, not hypocritically, but because she lovingly saw the best in every one. We worked in the sunshine. A dull but industrious pupil was praised for diligence, a bright pupil for ability, a good one for general excellence. The dullards got more than their share, for, knowing how easily such an one is disheartened, Mrs. Dumont went out of her way to praise the first show of success in a slow scholar. She treated no two alike. She was full of all sorts of knack and tact, a person of infinite resource for calling out the human spirit.”[38]

Her natural grace and refinement gave to her discipline many a novel turn. She endeavored, and most happily succeeded in the attempt, to link the life of the time and place to “high thought and honorable deeds.” Once, during her administration of the Vevay High School, a game of ball proved so absorbing that the boys were an hour late in reporting after the noon recess. They found the teacher calmly[91] enthroned in her rocking-chair. She did not ask for an explanation, but spoke to them firmly of their indifference; they had humiliated her, she said, before the whole town. No recesses would be allowed for a week, and an apology must be forthcoming the following day. The apology was duly submitted in writing. The remainder of the incident is best described in Dr. Eggleston’s own words:—

“The morning wore on without recess. The lessons were heard as usual. As the noon hour drew near, Mrs. Dumont rose from her chair and went into the library. We all felt that something was going to happen. She came out with a copy of Shakespeare, which she opened at about the fifth scene of the fourth act of the second part of King Henry IV. Giving the book to my next neighbor and myself, she bade us read the scene, alternating with the change of the speaker. You remember the famous dialogue in the scene between the dying king and the prince who has prematurely taken the crown from the bedside of the sleeping king. It was all wonderfully fresh to us and to our schoolmates, whose interest was divided between the scene and a curiosity as to the use the teacher meant to make of it. At length the reader who took the king’s part read:—

“‘O, my son!
Heaven put it in thy mind to take it hence,
That thou mightst win the more thy father’s love,
Pleading so wisely in excuse of it.’

[92]Then she took the book and closed it. The application was evident to all, but she made us a touching little speech, full of affection, and afterward restored the recess.”[39]

Mrs. Dumont was the first Hoosier to become known beyond the State through imaginative writing. In the little school of story-tellers and poets that flourished in the Ohio Valley in its early history, she was one of the chief figures. It had not then become the fashion to transcribe with fidelity our American local life, and her prose sketches usually reflected nothing of the pioneer times. Her “Life Sketches from Common Paths: A Series of American Tales,” published at New York in 1856, is in the best manner of the day. Western is italicized in the preface of “Ashton Gray,” the novelette which closes the volume, and the author evidently believed that she was making a record of the life that lay about her; but after all, the scene is laid in Ohio and not in Indiana, and a Western atmosphere is not discernible. The hero is the traditional hero of old romance, “whose innate delicacy was refinement, and whose generous impulses, chivalry,” and whose “extreme[93] beauty” was a subject of comment from fair lips. It is not surprising that Annabel, “the dreamy, the impressible, the desolate Annabel,” should have found Ashton “her beau-ideal of the distinctive characteristics of the fearless and self-sustained backwoodsman.... The untamed horse that tosses his mane in the green savannas could scarcely have moved with more freedom; and the perfect development of limb and muscle evidently arose from the conscious vigor and habitual action of one accustomed to tread, not the gay saloon and prescribed walks of fashion, but the rough paths of danger, and the limitless range of voiceless solitudes.” Ashton rescues three children from a burning cabin, using a ladder, in keeping with the best traditions, thus winning the heart of Annabel, who marries him clandestinely, just before he is arrested for murder. He is acquitted by the testimony of his supposed father, and an old Indian appears opportunely to confess that Ashton was really the son of Colonel Ainsworth, Annabel’s guardian.

There was a particular vocabulary that[94] belonged to this school of romance, and Mrs. Dumont employed it in all its copiousness. When rightly used it minimized the importance of invention; and it was better adapted to the portrayal of delicate and shrinking heroines and noble and handsome heroes, than to the rougher work of depicting action. A nice instinct was essential to its proper use, and no one of her generation wielded it with more grace and ease than Mrs. Dumont. Scott and Irving were the inspiration of the school in which she took so high a place; and the verse which it produced so abundantly showed frequently the influence of Mrs. Hemans. Mrs. Dumont’s technical skill was superior to that of her Western contemporaries; but it is idle and ungracious to criticise the writings of one whose talents were so varied, and whose life was consecrated to good works.

Her name inevitably suggests that of another teacher, her kinswoman, Miss Catharine Merrill (1824-1900), who, with a wider field and larger opportunity, filled a similar place at Indianapolis for fifty years. She was born at Corydon, the old capital. Samuel Merrill,[95] her father, was a cultivated man, a native of Vermont, and an early settler of Indianapolis. He subscribed to the English reviews and owned a large library, whose contents circulated freely among the pioneers. He had been educated at Dartmouth, and occasionally taught the higher branches, but he was a man of affairs, served the public in important offices, and was one of the ablest of the State’s early financiers. The daughter taught English literature in Butler College for eighteen years, and during this time, and subsequently as a teacher of private classes, inculcated in the minds of three generations a discriminating taste for literature. Miss Merrill wrote (1869) “The Soldier of Indiana,” a valuable record of the State’s participation in the war of the rebellion, which contains much biographical matter that is nowhere else collected. Mrs. Dumont and Miss Merrill afford delightful illustrations of the compelling force of personality. In a sense one succeeded the other, and, though they labored in different fields, throughout a century they impressed upon the youth of the commonwealth the nobility[96] of character and the love of learning which they so happily combined in themselves.

Samuel K. Hoshour is another sterling figure in Indiana pedagogy. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and a minister, first in the Lutheran and afterward in the Disciples Church; but he was a school-teacher first, last, and always, and taught many hundreds of the youth of Indiana. He was, in his later years, a resident of Indianapolis, and died there in 1883. Oliver P. Morton, Lew Wallace, and others of the distinguished men of the State sat under his teaching. In the eyes of two generations he was the embodiment of learning and scholarship; and he retained to the last something of the austerity and exaggerated dignity of the old-fashioned school-teacher. He was, indeed, always the schoolmaster, and a pedant, though naïvely seeking to avoid the appearance of it. He was a linguist of wide reputation, and delighted in comparative philology. He had a fancy for unusual words, and took pleasure in illuminating their meanings from obscure origins. He wrote a book, prized by many of his old pupils, called “Altisonant[97] Letters” (1840), which, as the title indicates, was written in high-sounding words. It is in the form of correspondence, and was devised as a kind of philological primer, to be “a stepping-stone from the current everyday English to the Latin and Greek.” The plan was not a bad one, and was in some respects a forerunner of the inductive methods of teaching languages that have since been popular.



New Harmony, the scene of Robert Owen’s experiment in socialism, lies in Posey County, in the far southwestern corner of Indiana. The village is without direct communication with the outer world, but may be approached by boat on the Wabash River, or by a branch railroad which ends abruptly at New Harmony after a rough course through wheat fields, which are, in spring and summer, a charming feature of the landscape of this region. George Rapp gave expression to his peculiar religious ideas in the community which he established there, and he sold his large estate to Owen, who began building on the foundations left by Rapp a social structure after plans of his own. Owen’s ideas are not strikingly novel when taken in connection with the history of socialism; but the movement carried to Indiana many distinguished persons, and the life[99] of subsequent generations in and about the village has, to this day, been colored by it.

George Rapp came to the United States from Germany, in 1803, in search of a more tolerant home for the sect which he had founded. He purchased a tract of land in Butler County, Pennsylvania, and during the summer of 1804 six hundred of his followers, chiefly mechanics and laborers, joined him, and in the following year the community known as the Harmony Society was formally organized. The members were banded together in a Christian brotherhood, and were orthodox in all essentials. Property was held in common, and thought was directed away from mundane affairs to the second coming of the Lord, which Rapp believed to be imminent. The members experienced, in 1807, a great spiritual awakening, and one of its results was their acceptance of celibacy as an implied if not obligatory tenet of the sect.

In 1814, the community sold the greater part of its holdings of real estate in Pennsylvania and purchased 30,000 acres of land in Indiana, of which Harmony became the centre.[100] The following year the Rappites moved to the lower Wabash and continued in a new wilderness their severe labors and ascetic practices. They marked out a village in squares, with broad streets, and built houses in which beauty was sacrificed to stability. It is a tribute to their excellent workmanship that many of these structures are still in use, having survived two communistic experiments and falling at last to the incidental needs of a Western village. The Rappites had been annoyed during their sojourn in Pennsylvania by unsympathetic neighbors, and fearing similar experiences with the rough characters that roamed the Wabash country in those days, they deemed it wise to prepare a defence. They thereupon built, of brick and stone, a substantial fortress which was used as a granary. The walls were three feet thick and the loopholes were barred. The story that this building was connected with Rapp’s house by an underground passage is authoritatively denied at New Harmony.

The Rappites had first used a frame building as a place of worship, but later they erected a[101] large brick meeting-house, carving on the pediment above the main door a wreath and a rose, the date, 1822, and the inscription, “Mich IV, 8; in Memory of the Harmony Society; by George Rapp, 1805.” The colonists were industrious and thrifty. They cleared the land, planted vineyards, manufactured woollen and cotton goods and shoes, and found a ready market for all their products. The original population of the Pennsylvania settlement had been about six hundred persons; and during the community’s life in Indiana accessions of friends from Germany increased the number of members to between seven and eight hundred. In 1824 Rapp again decided to move, and appointed Richard Flower to negotiate a sale. Flower visited Scotland, sought Robert Owen, a manufacturer and social reformer, and sold him the Rappites’ land for $132,000. Subsequently there was an additional sale of live-stock, tools, and merchandise for $50,000, so that the total of Owen’s original investment at New Harmony was $182,000. The Rappites thereupon disappeared from Indiana, returning to Pennsylvania, where they established[102] a new settlement called Economy, and prospered greatly.

Robert Owen was born in Wales, March 14, 1771. His father was a saddler, and Robert began his career under no favoring circumstances. He became interested in cotton spinning, for which he showed genius and at which he made a fortune. He married the daughter of David Dale, the owner of extensive cotton mills at New Lanark, on the Clyde, became Dale’s successor, and with growing fortune gave an increasing attention to social and political questions. He was a pioneer in the reform of factory abuses; and in his own establishment at New Lanark he made practical application of his theories. He visited the Continent, where he became acquainted with many persons of note, not the least of these being Pestalozzi and Fellenberg; he was much in London, usually in advocacy of some reform; he acquired skill in writing and speaking, and taken altogether his biography gives the impression of a strong, zealous, and indefatigable nature. He was intense and uncompromising, and, it must be confessed, sadly[103] lacking in humor. He expected to find in the new world larger opportunities for the demonstration of his principles. The New Harmony incident illustrates a curious conflict between the ideal and the practical in Owen. It was quite like him to undertake the planting of a communistic settlement in America, and to invest his own money in it; but a natural business caution checked his generous impulses, and while he extended a sweeping invitation to the industrious and well-disposed of all creeds to join him, he was in no haste to divide his property.

Owen’s lectures in the hall of the House of Representatives at Washington, February 5 and March 27, 1825, before audiences composed of the famous men of the day, gave wide publicity to his views. He displayed a model of the ideal village which he proposed to found on the Wabash. The community buildings were to form a hollow square 1000 feet long. The material needs of his proposed colony were all provided for in the buildings of his model village; and he announced a comprehensive system of education in which[104] the young of the community should be led from the lowest to the highest branches. Owen had announced that “these new proceedings,” as he called his plans, were to take effect at New Harmony—he gave the prefix to Rapp’s name for the place—in April, 1826. He spent the summer of 1825 in England, but returned to America in the fall, reaching New York November 7. His hospitable invitation had awakened the interest of a large number of persons, ranging from sincere converts to eccentric and irresponsible vagabonds, drawn from all parts of the United States and Europe. What is known in New Harmony literature as “the boat load of knowledge” set out from Pittsburg in December, 1825. About thirty people assembled on a keel boat, which they made comfortable for the voyage, and turned toward New Harmony. The ice closed upon them near Beaver, and they did not reach their destination until the middle of January. The passengers included Robert Owen and his sons, Robert Dale and William, William Maclure, Thomas Say, Charles A. Lesueur,[105] Achilles Fretageot and wife, Captain Donald Macdonald, Dr. Gerard Troost, Phiquepal d’Arusmont, and Stedman Whitwell, a London architect.[40] Joseph Neef followed in the spring, and Frances Wright, of Nashoba fame, who married d’Arusmont, first appeared there in the second year of the community. Schoolcraft and Rafinesque were both visitors at New Harmony, but not during the life of the Owen community, though Rafinesque has been erroneously named as an original member.

The strength of the keel boat’s contribution to the community lay in special scientific knowledge; and if Owen’s inclination toward socialism had been increased by the success of Rapp’s submissive peasants, he erred gravely in his own choice of followers. William Maclure (1763-1840) was a wealthy Scotchman, who turned from a successful mercantile career to the natural sciences. He first visited the United States in the last years of the eighteenth century, and planned a geographical[106] survey of the whole country. He explored at his own expense a vast territory, and prepared maps showing the result of his investigations. He was a founder of the Academy of Natural Sciences, at Philadelphia, to which he gave generously of his fortune, and was its president for more than twenty years. His friend, Thomas Say (1787-1834), called “the father of American zoölogy,” was also connected with the Academy in its formative years. The place of both is secure in the history of American science. Lesueur came to the United States from the West Indies. His scientific researches had included extensive investigations in Australia, and he was an early, if not indeed the first, student of the Mound-builders’ remains in Indiana. He was an artist of considerable merit, and some of his work may be seen in the New Harmony library. Troost (1776-1850) was a scientist of wide and exact knowledge, who went to Tennessee after the collapse of New Harmony, taught the sciences for many years in the University of Nashville, and was for eighteen years State geologist. Neef was a native of Alsace. He[107] had been a teacher in Pestalozzi’s school, in Switzerland, and met there his wife, who was educated under the direction of Madame Pestalozzi. They removed to Philadelphia immediately after their marriage, and became acquainted with Maclure, who, like Owen, had been attracted by the Pestalozzi system, and who persuaded them to join the Owenites. Little is known of Macdonald, though there is a tradition at New Harmony that he returned to Scotland and inherited a title of nobility.

Owen’s followers moved into the houses that had been vacated by Rapp’s colonists, and set about organizing the new community. On April 27 Owen addressed them in the Rappite church, which had been preëmpted for sectarian uses and dedicated to liberal thought and free speech. He spoke with great enthusiasm, declaring that he had come to introduce a new and enlightened state of society, eliminate ignorance and selfishness, and remove all cause for contest between individuals; but the change from the new to the old could not be accomplished in a day, and he called New Harmony a halfway house between the evils[108] he complained of and the ideal. In May, the modus vivendi of a preliminary society was promulgated, as a means of preparation for the perfect community to which Owen looked forward. Negroes were excluded from membership, though they might become “helpers,” or they might form an independent community. Age and experience alone were to confer precedence. For the first year a committee to be appointed by the founder was to have charge of affairs, and later the society might elect three representatives of this council. Members were required to provide their own household effects, to accept houses assigned to them, and to render their best services to the community. They were to receive credit at the community store for their labor, which was to be appraised by the committee of management. Members might be expelled for cause, or they might voluntarily retire by giving a week’s notice, receiving in merchandise any balance that remained to their credit. Persons wishing to live in the community as non-participants in its labors might do so by paying for the privilege, and the capital of any who cared to[109] become investors would be received. American products were to have the preference in the purchase of supplies. The young were to be drilled in military tactics, to the end that they might be of service to their country in emergencies, until society had been reformed and war made unnecessary.

Within six months nearly one thousand persons had gathered at New Harmony, and a considerable proportion of these seem to have been incapable, either through inexperience or disinclination, of aiding in the success of Owen’s plans. Rapp’s industries had certainly not fallen into the hands of skilled or adaptable laborers. Many of the manufactories which he had made profitable were not operated under the new régime, and less than a hundred farm laborers volunteered for service in carrying on the plantations. Plans for education and social pleasure were received more kindly than those requiring skilled labor. All children between two and twelve were placed in a separate house, and clothed, lodged, and educated at the public expense. The fall of 1825 found 130 children so cared for, and[110] there were also day and evening schools where old and young alike might receive elementary instruction. A band was organized to provide music, and Tuesday evenings were set apart for balls and Friday evenings for concerts. Wednesday evenings were reserved for the more serious business of discussing the purposes of the society. Military exercises, as proposed by Owen, were duly conducted, and companies of artillery and infantry were formed and drilled.

The senior Owen was absent in Scotland during the summer and fall of 1825, but returned January 18, 1826, and was received with great cordiality. He expressed his satisfaction with the progress that had been made during his absence, and in a few days announced that he felt justified in suspending the preparatory stage and inaugurating full equality. A new constitution was adopted February 5, after careful consideration in town meetings. It provided for community of property and business and social coöperation. The members were to dwell together as one family, and no discrimination was to be shown on[111] account of occupation. Similar houses were to be provided for all, and no differences in food or clothing were to be permitted. The community was to be divided into departments of Agriculture, Manufactures and Mechanics, Literature and Science, Domestic and General Economy, Education and Commerce. Superintendents for these departments were to be chosen by an assembly consisting of all adult members of the community; but the individuals in the several departments might select their own foremen. A schism occurred before this constitution had been signed by the members of the preliminary society. The exact cause is not assigned in the Gazette, the official organ of the society, conducted by Robert Dale Owen, which announced, February 15, that a new community was about to be formed within two miles of the village “by some respectable families who were members of the preliminary society, but from conscientious motives have declined signing the new constitution.” Two new communities were, indeed, organized, one called Macluria and the other Feiba Peveli. This latter name was[112] coined after an intricate system of geographical nomenclature, invented by a member of the society, by which the latitude and longitude of any place could be represented. The sole direction of the community was intrusted to Robert Owen two weeks after the reorganization, the inference from this fact being that the separation of the two branches had eliminated those who were antagonistic to the founder. At the end of the first year the population was distributed about as follows: the original New Harmony settlement, 800; Macluria, 120; Feiba Peveli, 60 or 70. The relations between Owen and the seceders were apparently friendly. In an address delivered at New Harmony, May 9, he spoke with satisfaction of the success of his undertaking, saying that his hopes had been surpassed, and mentioning both Macluria and Feiba Peveli with approval. At Macluria temporary cabins had been built and more land had been cultivated than was necessary to sustain the members. Spinning and weaving were practised by the women and children, who produced cloth in excess of their requirements. Feiba Peveli was[113] a farming and gardening community, reported by Owen to be doing well.

At this time the first Rappite church was given up to carpentry and shoemaking. Boys received industrial training there and slept in the loft. The second and more pretentious edifice had become a town hall, used for lectures, open discussions, dances, and concerts. Rapp’s former home—the best residence in the place—was occupied by Maclure, who had given $45,000 to assist Owen in his enterprise. Owen lived at the tavern, which was conducted by the society. The rank and file were accommodated in four boarding-houses pending changes that would bring all together at a common table. A uniform dress for the members had been adopted, but it was not generally worn. Wide trousers, buttoned over a short collarless jacket, were prescribed for the men; the women wore a coat reaching to the knee, and pantalettes. Bernard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who visited New Harmony in the spring of 1826, and wrote a most entertaining account of the community, described the costume and remarked that the members who had already[114] donned it were of the higher social class, and that these did not, in the gatherings at the public hall, mingle with the ruder element. Previous conditions and employments were evidently remembered in the community, in spite of the founder’s insistence that there should be no discrimination. Many in the settlement found the practical details of community life exceedingly irksome; and one, a Russian lady, confided to the German nobleman her disgust with New Harmony, stating that “some of the society were too low, and the table was below all criticism.”

The educational features of the community were, from all testimony, a great failure and disappointment. It was one thing to assemble distinguished scientists, and quite another to organize them into an effective teaching corps. The school taught by d’Arusmont lasted but a short time, and Robert Dale Owen, who was himself a teacher in one of the community schools, while admitting the man’s good qualities, described him as “a wrong-headed genius, whose extravagance and wilfulness and inordinate self-conceit destroyed his usefulness.”[115] Neef had been an officer under Napoleon, and his rough military habits had not been wholly corrected by his subsequent association with Pestalozzi. The Duke of Saxe-Weimar gives a lively picture of him, drilling his boy pupils in military tactics as he led them to the performance of certain labors in the village. Maclure, Say, and Troost did not engage actively in teaching. Paul Brown stated, in a pamphlet assailing the society, that he began teaching in the boarding-school in September, 1826; but from his own story Brown was chiefly employed with meditations on the evils of the place, and his manifestations of temper argue against his value as a teacher. Madame Fretageot was associated with Neef, and the two had charge of the boarding-school. Madame Neef was not regularly employed as a teacher, but sometimes assisted her husband.

Robert Owen’s unfriendly attitude toward religion had awakened hostility in England before he came to the United States. Packard, one of his biographers, expresses no doubt as to Owen’s disbelief in the inspiration of the[116] Bible and in the divine origin of Christianity. Lloyd Jones, the writer of another life of Owen, seeks to mitigate the effect of some of the statements in Owen’s “New Moral World”; but it is sufficiently clear that when he was at the height of his fame and usefulness in England, Owen estranged many of his most influential friends and admirers by his flings at religion, which were serious enough to arouse the wrath of an occasional heresy-hunting bishop. Sargent, the author of “Robert Owen and his Philosophy,” says that Owen suffered for his religious opinions “neglect, hatred, contempt, calumny, and all the evils that follow the excommunicated man.” In his “Declaration of Mental Independence” at New Harmony, July 4, 1826, Owen inveighed against “a trinity of the most monstrous evils that could be combined to inflict mental and physical evil upon the whole race. I refer to private or individual property, absurd and irrational systems of religion, and marriage founded on individual property combined with some of these irrational systems of religion”—a statement that was somewhat advanced for the Wabash Valley of that period. He[117] seemed to ignore the spiritual element in man, though, according to Sargent, he expressed in his old age his belief that a Divine Providence had guided him through his long career; and late in life he became a convert to spiritualism. There is no evidence that Owen ever held loose ideas of the relations of the sexes, though such opinions were attributed to him. He believed that marriage should be founded on mutual sympathy and congeniality, and he wished the imagination to be excluded and judgment made the sole guide in such matters. This, like many of his teachings, seems equivocal; but he believed that where these prerequisites ceased to exist it should be possible to terminate a marriage. Owen and Maclure both believed fully in the equality of the sexes. New Harmony schools were co-educational, and women were admitted to all the councils of the society. It is not clear that they were always permitted to vote, though widows succeeded to the suffrages of their husbands. A woman’s society was organized, and is supposed to have been similar to literary clubs as now known, though there is but one reference to the organization in[118] the Gazette—a notice of the postponement of a meeting in November, 1825.

Owen’s refusal to make a formal transfer of his property to the community continued to be a cause of dissatisfaction. The founder spoke hopefully of the future, but he took care that his enthusiasm should not run away with his judgment, so he continued to hold his little principality in fee simple. When questioned as to his intentions in this particular, he replied, as officially reported in the Gazette of August 30, 1826: “I shall be ready to form such a community whenever you are ready for it.... But progress must be made in community education before all parties can be prepared for a community of common property.” The assembly thereupon adopted a resolution that they meet three evenings in the week for community education, but this was evidently regarded by the members as a severe penalty to pay for the cause of socialism. Robert Dale Owen wrote that the meetings continued “with gradually lessening numbers.”

Troubles came thick and fast in the fall of 1826. Several adventurers openly tried to[119] defraud Owen, and an era of suspicion began. A man named Taylor joined the community, at Owen’s invitation, to take charge of the industries, but after getting possession of a tract of land he started a distillery, greatly to the founder’s annoyance. Brown describes with great particularity the unhappy condition that prevailed during the fall and winter of 1826. He complains that Owen was living in luxury at the tavern, while the laborers in the large boarding-houses fared badly. Although there were several professional gardeners in the community, there was a lack of vegetables, and the necessities were doled out sparingly. Brown believed that the founder was trying to retrieve his fortunes, and he speaks of him as “willing to shift into the character of a retailer and tavern keeper.” The Gazette was, in Brown’s belief, the personal organ of Owen, whom he calls “the lord proprietor of the press”; but this may be merely the wail of the rejected, for Brown admits that his own contributions were repeatedly scorned, so that to gain publicity he was obliged to post them on the gateway of the educational society, taking them in at night for[120] safety. He says that in spite of the balls and promenade concerts the people remained strangers, and he deplores the amount of time and candles wasted in these frivolities. As to the educational features of the place, Brown expresses his opinion that there was no other place in the United States where a like number of children in the same compass “were of so harsh, insolent, rash, boisterous, and barbarous dispositions.” Brown deals drastically with the auditing department of the community. He intimates that when a debit balance appeared against a member on the books, credit was immediately stopped at the store. He gives the instance of a gardener named Gilbert, who was suddenly served with his discharge in December, when his family were ill, because he was performing no labor and had fallen in arrears. Gilbert asked for an investigation, which was held, and the court found in his favor.

Twenty heads of families were notified to quit February 1, 1827; March 21 there was an exodus of about eighty persons, who took a steamboat for the upper Ohio, and March 28[121] the Gazette contained an editorial admitting the failure of New Harmony, the central community, but maintaining that the auxiliary societies were successful. The reason assigned for the collapse was that “the members were too various in their feelings, and too dissimilar in their habits, to govern themselves harmoniously as one community.” Owen delivered a farewell address to the citizens, May 26. He spoke with patient forbearance of the element that had joined the community merely to become a burden upon him; but he was severe upon his associates who had undertaken the educational work of the society but had failed to organize such schools as he had expected. He had wished the children to be “educated in similar habits, dispositions, and feelings, and be brought up truly as members of one large family, without a single discordant feeling.” If the schools had not proved ineffectual, he believed that even with the heterogeneous mass that had collected on his lands a successful society could have been founded. However, turning from these unpleasant reflections, with characteristic optimism, he declared that “the social system is now[122] firmly established; the natural and easy means of forming communities have been developed by your past experience.... New Harmony is now, therefore, literally surrounded by independent communities, and applications are made almost daily by persons who come from far and near to be permitted to establish themselves in a similar manner.” The eight communities referred to were probably little more than tentative colonies, planted on Owen’s lands under lease. There is no evidence that a community organization was maintained for any length of time at Macluria or Feiba Peveli after the collapse at New Harmony village, and of the remainder of the eight to which Owen referred there is no further record. They vanished with the others, and presently passed to individual owners or lessees. Brown summarizes the disappearance of communism and the return of the old order in these words: “The greater part of the town was now resolved into individual lots; a grocery was established opposite the tavern; painted sign boards began to be stuck up on the buildings, pointing out places of manufacture and trade; a sort of wax figure[123] and puppet show was opened at one of the boarding-houses, charging twenty-five cents for adults and twelve and a half for children; and everything went on in the old style.”

Owen’s teachings and example led to other experiments in America besides those he personally conducted on the Wabash; but American socialism of the Owen period was most fully expressed at New Harmony. Owen’s ardor for social reforms continued unabated. He visited Mexico shortly after the New Harmony failure, to secure a concession of land for further experiments. The negotiations failed, and he is next heard of at Cincinnati, in April, 1829, debating religious questions with Alexander Campbell. He did not appear in America again until the fall of 1844, when he spent a short time on his New Harmony lands, lectured in many cities, established friendly relations with Brisbane and other Fourierites, and, in the spring of 1845, visited Brook Farm. He was last at New Harmony in the fall of 1846.

It could hardly be expected that a village which had been the home of two orders of exiles could descend at once to the commonplace, and[124] the subsequent history of New Harmony is not disappointing. Through many years scientists of distinction and radicals of all degrees visited the place; Maclure made it his headquarters; Say lived and died there; the sons of Robert Owen became residents and gained honorable distinction in science and politics; books that still have value were written and published in the village. Robert Dale Owen (1801-1877) turned from communism to politics and literature, and few citizens of Indiana have lived lives more useful or memorable. He was educated at Hofwyl, under Fellenberg, and after a few years of commercial experience at New Lanark, he joined the New Harmony community. He shared, in large measure, his father’s interests in social and economic matters, and after the fall of New Harmony he and Frances Wright conducted a radical paper called the Free Enquirer at New York. In 1833 he returned to New Harmony and was soon launched upon a brilliant career. He was elected a representative to the Indiana General Assembly and to the National Congress, and he was an influential and active member of the convention[125] that revised the Indiana constitution. The Indiana laws granting independent property rights to women were largely due to his efforts, and he introduced in Congress, in December, 1845, the bill under which the Smithsonian Institute was organized. He was appointed chargé d’affaires at Naples in 1853, and when the grade of the post was raised he was continued as minister until 1858. In 1863, he was chairman of a commission appointed by the Secretary of War to examine the condition of the freedmen. He had written to the President, urging emancipation before this step had been determined upon, and Secretary Chase said that Owen’s letter to Lincoln had greatly influenced the President to make his proclamation. Mr. Owen wrote often and well, and with a facility and force that gave him wide reputation for learning and literary accomplishment. His books include “Pocahontas: A Dream” (1837); “Hints on Architecture” (1849); “Footprints on the Boundary of Another World” (1859); “Beyond the Breakers: A Novel” (1870); “Debatable Land Between this World and the Next” (1872); and “Threading my[126] Way” (1874). He became deeply interested in spiritualism, and two of his books, as the titles indicate, are devoted to this subject. He travelled much and knew many of the men and women eminent in the early years of the nineteenth century, including La Fayette and Mrs. Shelley. His daughter Rosamund married Laurence Oliphant.

David Dale, another son of Robert (1807-1860), was educated at Hofwyl and Glasgow, and reached New Harmony in the year of the community’s failure. He was employed by the Indiana legislature to make a geological survey of the State, and in 1839 the general government engaged him to examine Western mineral lands. He explored Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin under this appointment. Ten years later he made similar surveys in Minnesota. During all this time New Harmony was his home and headquarters, and the rendezvous of his associates, and his collections of specimens were assembled there. He was State geologist of Kentucky from 1854 to 1857, and then turned to Arkansas, of which he made thorough geological surveys. In 1859 he was appointed[127] State geologist of Indiana, and held the office until his death. He was a skilled chemist and a doctor of medicine as well as a trained natural scientist and geologist. He knew the use of pencil and brush, and illustrated his reports with sketches that greatly enhanced their value.

Military talent expressed itself in the Owen family in Richard, still another of Robert’s sons (1810-1890), who was also a graduate of Hofwyl. He came to America and engaged in business until the Mexican War, in which he served as captain, and later assisted his brother, David Dale, in his surveys of the Northwest. He taught the natural sciences in the Military Institute of Kentucky, and when it was merged in the University of Nashville he continued in the same capacity with the new institution. Meanwhile he had, with the energy and ambition characteristic of his family, earned the degree of Doctor of Medicine, though he never practised. He served in the Civil War as colonel of the Sixtieth Indiana Regiment, principally in the Southwest, and was once taken prisoner. After the war he taught in the University of Indiana for fifteen years, retiring finally to New[128] Harmony, where, in the old Rapp mansion, he continued his studies, writing constantly for the scientific periodicals. He married a daughter of Neef. William Owen, who had reached New Harmony in time to aid his brother, Robert Dale, in editing the Gazette, continued to live in Indiana, and became a successful financier. Descendants of Robert Owen still live at New Harmony, and the name is one to conjure within all the lower Wabash Valley.

The excellent work of the New Harmony press proves that good craftsmanship was encouraged and appreciated in the early days. The Gazette, and its successor, the Disseminator, are models of accurate and tasteful typography, and the books published from this isolated village are even more creditable. Say’s “American Conchology” was wholly printed at New Harmony, the title page bearing date 1830. Its copious illustrations are the work of New Harmony lithographers, and the tinting of the engravings, which was done by Mrs. Say, reproduces accurately the delicate shadings of the shells. Her colors are still fresh and true in copies of this work. Parts[129] of Say’s “American Entomology,” which he had begun at Philadelphia, were finished at New Harmony. Maclure was an industrious writer, and the imprint of the New Harmony press is found in two substantial volumes, one dated 1831, the other 1837, in which he collected short essays on innumerable topics. Josiah Warren was for a time at least the New Harmony publisher, and Michaux’s “North American Sylva” was reprinted by him from plates brought from Paris by Maclure, though the unbound sheets of the New Harmony edition were consumed by fire.

Warren was a reformer as well as a publisher. He was connected with New Harmony for a short time in community days, but left, returning in 1842 to establish a “time store.” In the “time store” he sold merchandise to none who could not return the actual cash cost, plus a profit which must be paid in a “labor note.” This form of currency represented a specified number of hours of labor, pledged by mechanics or others. When a customer entered his shop and began discussing a purchase, Warren started a clock which marked the amount of[130] time consumed in the sale: this was the basis for computing the merchant’s profit. Warren could often be seen in the streets of New Harmony with large amounts of labor currency. This medium of exchange required careful handling, as some would appraise their labor too high, and now and then depreciation followed an over-issue by some careless or unscrupulous individual. Warren conducted this enterprise for about two years, departing to carry the gospel of “equitable commerce,” as he called it, elsewhere.

In 1838 the Workingmen’s Institute and Library was organized at Maclure’s suggestion and with money that he contributed. Later, Dr. Edward Murphy generously gave to this association a handsome building, which contains the library, an art gallery,—largely Dr. Murphy’s gift,—a hall, and museum. The building stands in a pretty park and is ideally adapted to its purposes. The library contains 12,000 volumes, well selected and particularly rich in scientific works. It includes every available book relating to American socialism, and many of the original New Harmony records[131] are preserved there. Dr. Murphy has provided an endowment for it and for an annual course of lectures. The lecture course is greatly prized by the citizens, who have heard under its auspices many of the learned men of the day. There was no church in the village for many years; indeed, with the passing of Rapp little attention was paid to religious matters at New Harmony until late in the century, and though there are Episcopal and Methodist organizations in the village now, the life of the people does not centre about the churches as in most communities of the same size. An old citizen describes the attitude of the inhabitants toward religion as one of tolerance merely. Several branches of the Owen family are Episcopalians. Dancing as a feature of social life has survived from community times, and a first-of-May ball, followed by a dance for children, has long been fixed in the local calendar.

Thus Robert Owen’s brief experiment, failing of his purpose, led to the founding of an American family whose members have shown unusual talents, creditable alike to their distinguished progenitor and to the State which[132] became, by chance, their home. He failed to establish an asylum for the oppressed, as he had intended, but he was responsible for the impulse that made of his village a centre of scientific inquiry and the home of men of renown. It is impossible to separate the New Harmony of to-day from the village of the past. At every turn, the buildings of the Rappites and the traces of Owen’s disciples suggest the old times; and descendants of the Owens, Fretageots, Beales, Fauntleroys, Dransfields, Wheatcrofts, and many others dating back to community times, still live there. New Harmony is a pleasant place in May and June, when the great lines of maples in the broad streets are at their best, and all the quiet valley is fresh and green. It invites by its air of antiquity and peace; the sheltered life is still possible there. In the present, it is the ideal Western village; in its memories it marks the first high tide of cultivation at the West.



The rural type in Indiana has found notable interpretation at the hands of two writers who, working independently of each other and at different periods, have made records of great social and literary value and interest. As already indicated, country life at the West and Southwest has not varied widely in different communities. The same social conditions and peculiarities of speech have been observable in many regions deriving population from common sources; but the type found in the Ohio Valley was best defined in Indiana, and it has gained its greatest fame through the interpretations of Edward Eggleston and James Whitcomb Riley. Their outlook on life has been wholly different, and their literary methods have been antipodal; but they have both been keen observers of the rural Indianians, though of different generations. They meet in a strong[134] affection for their native soil, and in an appreciation of the essential domesticity and moral enlightenment of the people they depict.

I. Edward Eggleston

Switzerland County lies in the far southeastern corner of the State, and Vevay, its principal town and capital, is on the Ohio River. The name of the county is explained by the fact of its settlement by Swiss immigrants, who were drawn thither by the supposed adaptability of the soil to the growth of the grape. Vevay lies about midway between Louisville and Cincinnati, and the steamboats plying between these two cities are its only medium of communication with the world, as no railway touches it. It was to this pretty village that Joseph Cary Eggleston, the father of Edward and George Cary Eggleston, came in 1832. The impression has been abroad that the author of “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” was himself reared amid the squalor and ignorance which he described so vividly, but this is without foundation of fact. The Egglestons were of good Virginia stock, and the members of the Indiana branch of the[135] family were cultivated people. Joseph Cary was graduated from William and Mary College in his seventeenth year with high honors. He had studied law before he left Virginia, and the fourteen years of his life that remained to him after his removal to Indiana were spent in the successful practice of his profession. He was, moreover, popular in the community, for he sat in both branches of the General Assembly, and was nominated for representative in Congress, but failed of election. He married, soon after reaching Indiana, the daughter of George Craig, of Craig township, in Switzerland County. The Craigs were of a distinguished Kentucky family, and, like the Egglestons, looked back to a Virginia ancestry. Edward Eggleston was born at Vevay in 1837, and has never failed to speak with great cordiality and affection of the pretty river town whose chief distinction lies in his own attainments. He has even taken occasion in recent years[41] to rebuke “a certain condescension in New Englanders,” which had prompted the Atlantic Monthly to comment on the hardship it must[136] have been “to a highly organized man” to be born in southern Indiana in the crude early years of the nineteenth century. Dr. Eggleston declares that he has retained enough of local prejudice to feel that he would have lost more than he could have gained had Plymouth Rock or Beacon Hill been his birthplace rather than Vevay. He was sensitive to the loveliness of the Indiana spring and summer, and has paid tribute to it in words which it is a pleasure to repeat:—

“The sound of the anvil in the smithy, and the soft clatter of remote cow-bells on the ‘commons,’ linger in my mind as memories inseparable from my boyhood in Vevay. A certain poetic feeling which characterized me from childhood, and which, perhaps, finally determined my course toward literary pursuits, was nourished by my delight in the noble scenery about Vevay, Madison, and New Albany, in which places I lived at various times. My brother George and myself were walkers, partly because our father had been one before us. Nothing could be finer than our all-day excursions to the woods in search of hickory-nuts, wild grapes, blackberries, paw-paws, or of nothing at all but the sheer pleasure of wandering in one of the noblest forests that it ever fell to a boy’s lot to have for a playground. Then, too, when we had some business five or twenty miles away, we scorned to take the steamboat, but just set out afoot along the[137] river bank, getting no end of pleasure out of the walk, and out of that sense of power which unusual fatigue, cheerfully borne, always gives.”[42]

Dr. Eggleston’s early life was full of vicissitude, but he has himself disclaimed credit for being what is called “a self-made man.” It is true that he had his own way to make, in great measure, but he began with all the benefits of good ancestry, and he was, in his own phrase, “born into an intellectual atmosphere.” Joseph Cary Eggleston, who died when Edward was only nine years old, provided in his will for the exchange of his law library for books of general interest, that his children might have good literature about them in their formative years—a direction that was followed faithfully by his widow. The boy Edward grew up with the ideal of a scholarly father before him, and with an ambition to know books and to read other languages than his own. He learned also the mystery of type-setting, and contributed items to the Vevay Reveille, duly “set up.” Dr. Eggleston records that in his primary schooling, conducted by[138] his mother, he proved himself a dull scholar, but that some kind of climacteric was passed in his tenth year, and that thenceforward he was the pride of his teachers. Manual training was hardly dreamed of in those days, but Joseph Eggleston had an appreciation of its value and left what Edward has described as “a solemn injunction that his sons should be sent to the country every summer and taught manual labor on a farm.” This injunction was carefully obeyed, so that Edward Eggleston had an actual experience of farming and a contact with farm folk that was a part of his preparation for the writing of the tales that gave him his first fame. Judge Miles Eggleston, Joseph’s brother, was more distinctly an Indianian than any other member of the family by reason of his long residence in the State and his public services. Guilford Eggleston, Joseph Eggleston’s cousin, was identified with the family life at Vevay. He was a man of many accomplishments, and left a deep impression on Edward Eggleston, who has spoken of his brilliant talk as a perpetual inspiration: “He incessantly stimulated my love[139] for literature, guided my choice of books, taught me to make a commonplace book of my reading, and by his conversation and example made me feel that to lead an intellectual life was the most laudable pursuit of a human being.” The direction thus given to the boyish impulse, and the atmosphere of his home, were of great importance to Edward, for of systematic schooling he was to know little. He was never but once in his life able to spend three consecutive months in school, and after he reached his tenth year the sum of his schooling was only eighteen months.

Joseph Eggleston had foreseen his own death and provided in various ways for the education of his sons. He purchased a scholarship in Asbury (DePauw) College, but continued ill health made it impossible for Edward to avail himself of its benefits, though his younger brother, George Cary, became a student there. Just what Edward Eggleston lost by his irregular schooling, which was almost wholly independent of instructors in the usual sense of the term, is hardly a profitable subject for speculation. By following his own bent, he strengthened[140] himself along lines of natural preference, and he formed that habit of wise selection and rejection which in itself marks the educated man. Although schoolhouse doors were closed against him on account of his precarious health, he was nevertheless permitted to court death by close application in home study. He acquired, by the time he reached his twenty-fifth year, some knowledge of six or seven languages, and a familiar acquaintance with classical English and French poetry. He knew both the English and French dramatic literature, though, having been bred in the strictest teaching of the Methodists of that day, he read few novels, and he gives his own testimony that he should have esteemed it “a damnable sin to see a play on the stage.”

When Edward Eggleston was in his twelfth year, his mother remarried, taking for her husband the Rev. William Terrell, a Methodist minister. This change brought with it a wider horizon for the boy, as his stepfather’s duties led the family away from Vevay to Madison and New Albany, also on the Ohio, but larger towns than Vevay. When sixteen, he spent[141] more than a year with his father’s family in Virginia. The sharp transition from the conditions in the newer to those of the older country quickened his powers of observation. The tribulations of the Western pioneers had been discussed in his hearing by his elders during the most impressionable years of his childhood; his grandfather Craig’s stone house was a reminder of times not remote when the Indians were a daily menace; and the recitals of the wandering apostles of Methodism in his mother’s house had given him further contact with the adventure and romance of pioneer life. Virginia opened new vistas, and the novel conditions of life that he found there extended his knowledge of men and manners, and afforded an opportunity for criticism and comparison that was of definite value. He found himself cousin to a considerable part of the population, and this wide relationship gave him an acquaintance with the charming social life of old Virginia; but he counted himself an abolitionist, he says, from the time of this visit.

The abundant vitality of Dr. Eggleston’s later years has been so strikingly characteristic[142] that it is difficult to believe that ill health followed him from semi-invalid boyhood into manhood; but the year after his return from Virginia he was sent to Minnesota in the hope that the change might benefit him, and the kind fates thus threw him into still other and different experiences. He was in the new Northwest when the free-soil excitement in Kansas thrilled the country, and he set out afoot, with a dirk knife as his only weapon, for the scene of conflict. He has himself described the failure and result of this excursion:—

“After weeks of weary walking and nights spent in the discomforts of frontier cabins, I grew sick at heart and longed for the companionship and refinements of home. I was rather glad to learn that men from the free States were entirely shut out of the besieged territory on the Iowa side. My moccasins were worn out, my feet were sore, my little stock of money was failing, and I was tired of husbanding it by eating crackers and cheese. I turned eastward at a point west of Cedar Falls, crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine, and after walking in all three or four hundred miles, I at length boarded a railway train at a station near Galesburg, and reached my nearest relatives after an enforced fast of twenty-four hours, without a cent in my pocket, and looking, in my soiled and travel-worn[143] garments, like a young border ruffian. I had left home a pale invalid; I returned sun-browned and well.”

But this gain in bodily strength was not to profit him long. He had been bred in the Methodist faith; his stepfather was a minister of wide reputation in this denomination, and the youth, with his studious disposition and gift for speech, turned naturally to the ministry. He has said of himself that an inward conflict between his predisposition to literary work and the tendency to religion and philanthropy began in boyhood and has continued throughout his life. There were times in his youth when his love for literature seemed an idolatry, and once in a repentant mood he destroyed his youthful manuscripts and resolved to abandon literature. He was now launched upon the Methodist circuit rider’s life of hardship and peril, covering a four weeks’ itinerary in the county of which New Albany is the capital, and performing his duties with such diligence that in six months he was again a wreck. He therefore removed to Minnesota, and continued in the ministry, save for intervals of physical prostration, until,[144] in 1866, he accepted the editorship of The Little Corporal, a popular juvenile periodical published at Chicago, and from that beginning was irresistibly drawn to the business of making books. In 1874, he became pastor of a church in Brooklyn, to which he gave the name of the Church of Christian Endeavor, and which sought to make sunshine in shady places. It was, indeed, the “Church of the Best Licks,” of the “Hoosier Schoolmaster,” slightly conventionalized. Dr. Eggleston continued in the pastorate for five years, devoting himself to his work with his accustomed zeal and enthusiasm, which resulted in another collapse. He then retired finally from the ministry; but the phrase, “Christian Endeavor,” first applied by Dr. Eggleston to his Brooklyn church, is widely known as the name of a society of young people.

Unconscious preparation for a life-employment has rarely been more clearly exemplified in American literature than in the case of Dr. Eggleston. This is not true as to his novels of Western life merely, but as to the later historical writing in which he has so successfully[145] detected and appraised various aspects of our social growth. His early experiences at the West were indelibly written in his memory, and though he did not at once transcribe them, his work as editor sharpened his instincts and helped him to an appreciation of his own material. His removal to New York in 1870 was another fortunate step of preparation, for it gave him a perspective which he could not have gained had he remained at the West. He wrote almost immediately “The Hoosier Schoolmaster,” the first draft, designed for Hearth and Home, being in the form of a short story, which he extended to its present form at the suggestion of one of the proprietors of the periodical. The reading of Taine’s “Art in the Netherlands” was the quickening influence that led to the writing of the story. Dr. Eggleston learned from Taine that an artist should paint what he sees, and he therefore undertook to portray the illiterate people of southern Indiana. The story was published in book form and gained wide popularity, which has not diminished in the thirty years since its appearance. Dr. Eggleston has been criticised[146] severely in Indiana for the series of novels that began with “The Hoosier Schoolmaster,” but this criticism has come largely from a new generation that does not view these tales in the light of history, and is, therefore, hardly competent to pass on their veracity. By the legal tests for expert witnesses Dr. Eggleston is certainly qualified to speak; his own experience and the social evolution of the people of Indiana contribute to the creation of his competency; and when we add to these considerations his instinctive interest in the beginnings and tendencies of American life, it is not possible to reject him. He knew, as he says, “the antique Hoosier.” The Indiana of 1850 was very different from that of 1870, and Dr. Eggleston was looking backward a score of years when he created Ralph Hartsook, the youthful schoolmaster, and threw about him an atmosphere of ignorance and vice. The story is an instructive footnote to the history of education in Indiana. “Bud Means” is of the second generation of Hoosiers—the generation which, outside of the first social order, had little or no benefit of education, and[147] which sank to the condition of illiteracy that awakened presently the efforts of the faithful few who won the fight for free schools. Courage preceded knowledge as a requirement of pedagogues in the period of which Dr. Eggleston wrote. “‘Lickin’ and larnin’ goes together; no lickin’, no larnin’,’ declared Pete Jones.” The student who may hereafter scan the educational history of Indiana and read with dismay the statistics compiled by Mills, will welcome this unadorned tale, that illuminates and confirms the dry facts of the statistician. Eggleston, the novelist, kept Eggleston, the preacher, well in hand, and there is no tedious moralizing in the book. It is not difficult to understand the prompt recognition of the story or its long-continued attraction. The subject was novel, the characters were new, and the scene was set in a region that had never before been seriously explored by the story-teller. It was, as an army officer put it, a cavalry dash into literature. The incidents were linked together with skill, and their air of entire credibility has not been lost in the years that have passed since it surprised and delighted its first readers.[148] Enjoyment of the story was not limited to English readers. It was translated into French by Madame Blanc, and was published in condensed form in the Revue des Deux Mondes with the title “Le Maitre d’École de Flat Creek.” German and Danish translations followed, so that “Bud Means” has enjoyed opportunities for foreign travel quite unusual among his neighbors.

“The End of the World” (1872) continued the series of stories which Dr. Eggleston had begun in the “Schoolmaster.” Religious phenomena were the most marked social expression in the time and place of which he wrote. It was religion that offered to the isolated people of the new frontier the only relief that their lives knew from toil, hardship, and danger; and what appears now, at the distance of fifty years, to have been a mania was with them a grave and vital matter. “The End of the World” is a tale of the Millerite excitement, which swept the country in 1842-1843, and Dr. Eggleston adapted it very entertainingly to the purposes of fiction. “The Mystery of Metropolisville” (1873) led away from Indiana[149] into Minnesota, with which Dr. Eggleston had become acquainted as a minister. Against a background of the land-booming period, he illustrates the dangers and temptations of the pioneers; and while the tale is less satisfactory than any of the Indiana series, it remains after thirty years a readable novel. It was hardly possible for Dr. Eggleston to forget wholly the people he had known on the Ohio, and he introduces in “The Mystery of Metropolisville” a Hoosier poet, who had left the “Waybosh” because his literary efforts were not appreciated there. He carried his ambitions into Minnesota, became a trapper and land speculator, and there, to quote from one of his own stanzas,—

“His Hoosier harp hangs on the wild water-willer.”

Dr. Eggleston had been established at New York for eight years when he wrote “Roxy” (1878), one of the best of his books, and one which depicts even more vividly than “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” his early environment. He was now forty-one, and the years that had added to the sum of his experience had developed[150] also his natural instinct for character. The dramatic quality, too, shows strongly in this tale, which is, in its moral relation, a kind of Western “Scarlet Letter.” There is more or less of Vevay in this novel,—it is not important to inquire too curiously whether it be more or less,—and the pretty river village, with its slight foreign color, which was derived from the Swiss residents, the mystery and novelty of the broad river highway, the simplicity of the life, its lazy gossip and its religious enthusiasms, are all depicted with fidelity. The Bonabys, father and son, the lurking figure of Nancy, Twonnet, and Roxy, possess the interest that attaches to fresh types. The introduction of the volatile Twonnet, a member of the Swiss Colony, in contrast with the sober Roxy, the unobtrusive presentation of the religious problems that held the attention of the community, and the blending of the threads of young Bonaby’s destiny, are accomplished with skill and power.

In “The Circuit Rider” (1874) Dr. Eggleston crossed the Indiana boundary into southern Ohio, but for all critical purposes the type remained[151] the same. Political frontiers do not deter the novelist, who enjoys extra-territorial privileges. “The Circuit Rider” is not so entertaining a story as “Roxy.” The characters do not take hold of the imagination here as in the later book, and those somewhat vague qualities that combine to the creation of atmosphere are not blended so effectively. But as a picture of the strenuous religious life of the Ohio Valley in the early half of the century, the story is most important. In “Roxy” the strife between Calvinism and Wesleyism is more strongly contrasted; but “The Circuit Rider” gives a vivid impression of a period that was made remarkable by the heroism and sacrifice of the Methodist evangelists. After “Roxy” Dr. Eggleston did not return to the field of his early successes until he wrote “The Graysons” (1887). Like “The Circuit Rider” this story is not, geographically speaking, of Indiana, but it is nevertheless of that broader Hoosierdom which comprehended a small part of southern Ohio and considerably more of Illinois. This is one of the best of all the Hoosier cycle, and, indeed, one of[152] the best of American novels. There is not an inartistic line in the book, and the manner in which Lincoln is introduced as a character,—appearing as the attorney for a boy charged with murder, and winning his freedom by a characteristic resort to homely philosophy,—is achieved so simply that the reader is left wondering whether it could really have been the great Lincoln who participated in one scene, performed his part, and thereupon disappeared from the stage. A clumsy artist would have dwelt upon Lincoln, hinting at his future greatness and reluctantly dismissing him; Dr. Eggleston introduces the incident (which is based on fact) with an inadvertence that enhances its interest and increases its suggestiveness. The dialect in this tale is much more critical than that in any other novel of Dr. Eggleston’s Western series. In his earlier stories, written before the scientific study of American folk-speech had been undertaken, the dialect is more general. Dr. Eggleston’s other works of fiction are: “Mr. Blake’s Walking Stick” (1869); “Book of Queer Stories” (1870); “The Schoolmaster’s Stories for Boys and[153] Girls” (1874); “Queer Stories for Boys and Girls” (1884); “The Faith Doctor” (1891); “Duffels” (1893). “The Faith Doctor” is a novel of New York, in which the prevailing interest in what Dr. Eggleston called “aerial therapeutics” supplies the motive. “Duffels” is a collection of short stories written at intervals throughout his literary career, with scenes laid in many parts of the country, and illustrating happily the versatility and the story-telling gift of the author.

Dr. Eggleston began in 1880 researches for a history of life in the United States. He pursued his studies abroad, as well as in American libraries, and assembled at his summer home on Lake George a large collection of Americana. The only published result of these studies thus far is “The Beginners of a Nation” (1896), the most serious, searching, and exhaustive essay in Kultur-Geschichte yet presented by an American. The mere politics of our history and its military incidents had long received the attention of students, to the exclusion of the social and domestic. A work such as Dr. Eggleston has undertaken is vastly[154] more difficult and therefore more important, for it requires original research in the strictest sense. His other historical works so far completed are: “A History of the United States and its People for the Use of Schools” (1888); “The Household History of the United States and its People” (1888); and “A First Book in American History” (1889).

Dr. Eggleston’s life makes in itself a delightful story of aspiration and achievement. Many Americans have experienced hardship and discouragement, but few have profited so richly as this novelist and historian by every whim of fortune. Ill health has menaced him all his days, but physical infirmity has never conquered his ambition or diminished his mental vitality. There is about him an exuberance of spirits that is not only a distinguishing personal trait, but a quality of all his stories. And if ill health in his youth and young manhood interrupted the orderly course of education, it also brought him opportunities for acquiring a broad knowledge of American provincial life that no school could have given him. When Dr. Eggleston began to write there was, outside[155] of New England, little local literature, and the value of dialect in interpretative fiction was only beginning to be understood. Cable, Page, Harris, Murfree, “Octave Thanet,” were names unknown to the catalogues when “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” appeared. Mark Twain and Bret Harte were well embarked upon their careers; but the one was a humorist and the other a romanticist, and neither had undertaken to reproduce local speech accurately. Dr. Eggleston was the pioneer provincial realist; and if, as he says, the great American novel is being written in sections, he certainly contributed early chapters, and indicated the lines to be followed.

His marriage, in 1891, to Frances E. Goode, a granddaughter of his father’s cousin, Judge Miles Cary Eggleston, renewed ties with Indiana that had never been wholly broken during long years of absence. He has often been a visitor to Madison, which was Mrs. Eggleston’s home, and he spent the winter of 1899 in that beautiful and tranquil town.


II. James Whitcomb Riley

Crabbe and Burns are Mr. Riley’s forefathers in literature. Crabbe was the pioneer in what may be called the realism of poetry; it was he who rejected the romantic pastoralism that had so long peopled the British fields with nymphs and shepherds, and introduced the crude but actual country folk of England. The humor, the bold democracy, and the social sophistication that he lacked were supplied in his own day by Burns, and Burns had, too, the singing instinct and the bolder art of which there are no traces in Crabbe. Something of Crabbe’s realism and Burns’s humor and philosophy are agreeably combined in Mr. Riley. His first successes were achieved in the portrayal of the Indiana country and village folk in dialect. He has rarely seen fit to vary his subject, and he has been faithful to the environment from which he derived his inspiration. James Whitcomb Riley is an interesting instance—perhaps, after Whittier, the most striking in our literature—of a natural poet, taking his texts from the familiar scenes and[157] incidents of his own daily walks, and owing little or nothing to the schools. He was born at Greenfield, the seat of Hancock County, in 1849. His father, Reuben A. Riley, was a native of Pennsylvania, of Dutch antecedents, though there is a tradition of Irish ancestry in the family. He was a lawyer, who enjoyed a wide reputation as an advocate, and was long reckoned among the most effective political speakers in Indiana. He was a discriminating reader and an occasional writer of both prose and verse. The poet’s mother was a Marine, of a family in which an aptness for rhyming was characteristic. The Greenfield schools have always been excellent, and young Riley was fortunate in having for his teacher Lee O. Harris, himself a poet, who tried to adapt the curriculum of the Hancock County schools to the needs of an unusual pupil in whom imagination predominated to the exclusion of mathematics.

Learning is, as Higginson has aptly condensed it, not accumulation, but assimilation; and “the Hoosier poet” was born one of those fortunate men to whom schools are a mere incident[158] of education, but who walk through the world with their eyes open, adding daily to their stock of knowledge. Bagehot enlarges on this trait as he discovers it in Shakespeare, “throughout all whose writings,” he says, “you see an amazing sympathy with common people.” The common people caught and held the attention of Mr. Riley, and as the annalist of their simple lives he established himself firmly in public affection. The half a dozen colleges within a radius of fifty miles of his home did not attract him; he was bred to no business, but followed in a tentative way occupations that brought him into contact with people. He began to write because he felt the impulse, and not because he breathed a literary atmosphere or looked forward to a literary career. His imagination needed some outlet, and he made verses just as he drew pictures or acquired a knack at playing the guitar, taking one talent about as seriously as the other. A Western county seat, with its daily advent of pilgrims from the farms, affords an entertaining panorama for a bright boy, and Mr. Riley began in his youth that careful observation of[159] the Indiana country folk, their ways and their speech, that was later to afford him a seemingly inexhaustible supply of material.

He had in his younger days something of Artemus Ward’s fondness for a hoax, and he wrote “Leonaine,” in imitation of Poe’s manner, with so marked success that several critics of discernment received the poem, and the story of its discovery in an old school reader, in good faith. In the experimental period of his career he read widely and to good purpose, learning the mechanics of prosody from the best models. His ear was naturally good, and he was distinctly original in his ideas of form. He delighted in the manipulation of words into odd and surprising combinations, and though the results were not always dignified, they were, nevertheless, curious and amusing, and brought him a degree of local fame. Mr. Riley’s contributions were wholly to newspapers through many years, during which the more deliberate periodicals would have none of him. He printed poems in the Herald, an Indianapolis weekly paper, in which the poems of Edith M. Thomas and others who have since[160] gained a literary reputation first saw the light; and having attracted the attention of E. B. Martindale, the owner of the Indianapolis Journal, he was regularly employed on that paper, between 1877 and 1885, printing many of his best pieces there. He had the pleasure of seeing his verses widely copied at that period, when the newspaper press was his only medium of communication, and before he had printed a volume. His first marked recognition followed the publication in the Journal of a series of poems signed “Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone,” which not only awakened wide interest, but gave direction to a talent that had theretofore been without definite aim. He encouraged the idea that the poems were really the work of a countryman, and prefaced them with letters in prose to add to their air of authenticity, much as Lowell introduced the “Biglow Papers.” This series included “Thoughts fer the Discuraged Farmer,” “When the Frost is on the Punkin,” and “To My Old Friend, William Leachman,” which were winningly unaffected and simple, bearing out capitally the impression of a bucolic poet celebrating his own joys[161] and sorrows. The charm of the “Benj. F. Johnson” series lay in their perfect suggestion of a whimsical, lovable character, and wherever Mr. Riley follows the method employed first in those pieces, he never fails of his effect.

It should be remembered, in passing from Riley masquerading as “Benj. F. Johnson” to Riley undisguised, that two kinds of dialect are represented. The Boone County poet’s contributions are printed as the old farmer is supposed to have written them, not as reported by a critical listener. There is a difference between the attempt of an illiterate man to express his own ideas on paper, and a transcript of his utterances set down by one trained to the business—the vernacular as observed and recorded by a conscious artist. In every community there is a local humorist, a sayer of quaint things, whose oddities of speech gain wide acceptance and circulation, and Mr. Riley is his discoverer in Indiana. Lowell, with his own New England particularly in mind, said that “almost every county has some good die-sinker in phrase, whose mintage passes into the currency of the whole neighborhood”; and[162] this may be applied generally to the South and West. Mr. Riley writes always with his eye on a character; and those who question his dialect do not understand that there is ever present in his mind a real individual. The feeling and the incident are not peculiar to the type; they usually lie within the range of universal experience; but the expression, the manner, the figure of the subject, are suggested in the poem, not by speech alone, but by the lilt of the line and the form of the stanza. Mr. Riley is more interested in odd characters, possessing marked eccentricities, than in the common, normal type of the farm or the country town, and the dialect that he employs often departs from the usual vocabulary of the illiterate in the field he studies, and follows lines of individual idiosyncrasy. The shrewdly humorous farmer who is a whimsical philosopher and rude moralist delights him. This character appears frequently in his poems, often mourning for the old times, now delighting in “noon-time an’ June-time, down around the river”; and again expressing contentment with his own lot, averring that “they’s nothin’[163] much patheticker ’n just a-bein’ rich.” To these characters he gives a dialect that is fuller than the usual rural speech: ministratin’ (ministering), resignated (resigned), artificialer (more artificial), competenter (more competent), tractabler (more tractable), and familiously (familiarly), not being properly in the Hoosier lingua rustica, but easily conceivable as possible deviations. Mr. Riley has been criticised for imputing to his characters such phrases as “when the army broke out” and “durin’ the army,” referring to the Civil War, and many careful observers declare that he could never have heard these phrases; but very likely he has heard them from the eccentric countrymen for whom he has so strong an affinity; or he may have coined them outright as essential to the interpretation of such characters. In the main, however, he may be followed safely as an accurate guide in the speech of the Southeastern element of the population, and his questionable usages and inconsistencies are few and slight, as the phrase “don’t you know,” which does not always ring true, or “again” and “agin,” used interchangeably[164] and evidently as the rhyme may hint. The abrupt beginning of a sentence, frequently noticed in Mr. Riley’s dialect verses, is natural. The illiterate often experience difficulty in opening a conversation, expressing only a fragment, to which an interlocutor must prefix for himself the unspoken phrases. There is no imposition in Mr. Riley’s dialect, for his amplifications of it are always for the purpose of aiding in the suggestion of a character as he conceives it; he does not pretend that he portrays in such instances a type found at every cross-roads. “Doc Sifers” and “The Raggedy Man” are not peculiar to Indiana, but have their respective counterparts in such characters as Mark Twain’s “Pudd’n-head Wilson” and the wayside tramp, who has lately been a feature of farce comedy rather than of our social economy. “Fessler’s Bees,” “Nothin’ to say,” “Down to the Capital,” “A Liz-town Humorist,” and “Squire Hawkins’s Story” show Mr. Riley at his happiest as a delineator of the rural type. In these sketches he gives in brief compass the effect of little dramas, now humorous, now[165] touched with simple and natural pathos, and showing a nice appreciation of the color of language which is quite as essential in dialect as in pure English. But it matters little that the dramatis personæ change, or that the literary method varies; the same kindliness, the same blending of humor and pathos, and the same background of “green fields and running brooks” characterize all. “The crude man is,” the poet believes, “generally moral,” and the Riley Hoosier is intuitively religious, and is distinguished by his rectitude and sense of justice.

Mr. Riley made his work effective through the possession of a sound instinct for appraising his material, combined with a good sense of proportion. His touch grew steadily firmer, and he became more fastidious as the public made greater demands upon him; for while his poems in dialect gained him a hearing, he strove earnestly for excellence in the use of literary English. He has written many poems of sentiment gracefully and musically, and with no suggestion of dialect. Abundant instances of his felicity in the strain of retrospect[166] and musing might be cited. The same chords have been struck time and time again; but they take new life when he touches them, as in “The All-Golden”:—

“I catch my breath, as children do
In woodland swings when life is new,
And all the blood is warm as wine
And tingles with a tang divine....
O gracious dream, and gracious time,
And gracious theme, and gracious rhyme—
When buds of Spring begin to blow
In blossoms that we used to know,
And lure us back along the ways
Of time’s all-golden yesterdays!”

It is not the farmer alone whose simple virtues appeal to him; but rugged manhood anywhere commands his tribute, and he has hardly written a more touching lyric than “Away,” whose subject was an Indiana soldier:—

“I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead—He is just away!”

He has his own manner of expressing an idea, and this individuality is so marked that it might lead to the belief that he had little acquaintance with the classic English writers. But his series of imitations, including the prose of Scott and Dickens and[167] the characteristic poems of Tennyson and Longfellow, are certainly the work of one who reads to good purpose and has a feeling for style. When he writes naturally there is no trace of bookishness in his work; he rarely or never invokes the mythologies, though it has sometimes pleased him to imagine Pan piping in Hoosier orchards. He is read and quoted by many who are not habitual readers of poetry—who would consider it a sign of weakness to be caught in the act of reading poems of any kind, but who tolerate sentiment in him because he makes it perfectly natural and surrounds it with a familiar atmosphere of reality. The average man must be trapped into any display of emotion, and Mr. Riley spreads for him many nets from which there is no escape, as in “Nothin’ to say, my daughter,” where the subject is the loneliness and isolation of the father whose daughter is about to marry, and who faces the situation clumsily, in the manner of all fathers, rich or poor. The remembrance of the dead wife and mother adds to the pathos here. The old man turns naturally to the thought of her:—


“You don’t rickollect her, I reckon? No; you wasn’t a year old then!
And now yer—how old air you? W’y, child, not ‘twenty’! When?
And yer nex’ birthday’s in Aprile? and you want to git married that day?
I wisht yer mother was livin’!—but I hain’t got nothin’ to say!
Twenty year! and as good a gyrl as parent ever found!
There’s a straw ketched onto yer dress there—I’ll bresh it off—turn round.
(Her mother was jest twenty when us two run away.)
Nothin’ to say, my daughter! Nothin’ at all to say!”

The drolleries of childhood have furnished Mr. Riley subjects for some of his most original and popular verses. Here, again, he does not accept the conventional children of literature, whom he calls “the refined children, the very proper children—the studiously thoughtful, poetic children”; but he seeks “the rough-and-tumble little fellows ‘in hodden gray,’ with frowzly heads, begrimed but laughing faces, and such awful vulgarities of naturalness, and crimes of simplicity, and brazen faith and trust, and love of life and everybody in it!” It is in this spirit that he presents now the naïve, now the perversely erring, and[169] again the eerie and elfish child. He is a master of those enchantments of childhood that transfigure and illumine and create a world of the imagination for the young that is undiscoverable save to the elect few. He does not write patronizingly to his audience; but listens, as one should listen in the realm of childhood, with serious attention, and then becomes an amanuensis, transcribing the children’s legends and guesses at the riddle of existence in their own language. “The Raggedy Man” is not a romantic figure; he is the shabby chore-man of the well-to-do folk in the country town, and the friend and oracle of small boys. His mind is filled with rare lore, he—

“Knows ’bout Giunts, an’ Griffuns an’ Elves
An’ the Squidgicum-Squees ’at swallers therselves!”

And he may be responsible, too, for “Little Orphant Annie’s” knowledge of the “Gobble-uns,” which Mr. Riley turned into the most successful of all his juvenile pieces. He reproduces most vividly a child’s eager, breathless manner of speech, and the elisions and variations that make the child-dialect. Interspersed[170] through “The Child World,” a long poem in rhymed couplets, are a number of droll juvenile recitatives; but this poem has a much greater value than at first appears. It presents an excellent picture of domestic life in a western country town, and the town is Mr. Riley’s own Greenfield, on the National Road. This poem is a faithful chronicle, lively and humorous, full of the local atmosphere, and never dull. The descriptions of the characters are in Mr. Riley’s happiest vein: the father of the house, a lawyer and leading citizen; the patient mother; the children with their various interests, leading up to “Uncle Mart,” the printer, who aspired to be an actor—

“He joyed in verse-quotations—which he took
Out of the old ‘Type Foundry Specimen Book.’”

The poem is written in free, colloquial English, broken by lapses into the vernacular. It contains some of his best writing, and proves him to possess a range and breadth of vision that are not denoted in his lyrical pieces alone. “The Flying Islands of the Night, a fantastic drama in verse,” his only other effort of length, was written earlier. It abounds in the curious[171] and capricious, but it lacks in simplicity and reserve—qualities that have steadily grown in him.

Humor is preëminent in Mr. Riley, and it suggests that of Dickens in its kinship with pathos. It seems to be peculiar to the literature of lowly life that there is heartache beneath much of its gayety, and tears are almost inevitably associated with its laughter. Mr. Riley never satirizes, never ridicules his creations; his attitude is always that of the kindly and admiring advocate; and it is by enlisting the sympathy of his readers, suggesting much to their feeling and imagination, and awakening in them a response that aids and supplements his own work, that Mr. Riley has won his way to the popular heart. The restraints of fixed forms have not interfered with his adequate expression of pure feeling. This is proved by the sonnet, “When She Comes Home Again,” which is one of the tenderest of his poems. In the day that saw many of his contemporaries in the younger choir of poets carving cherry stones of verse after French patterns he found old English models sufficient, and[172] his own whim supplied all the variety he needed. Heroic themes have not tempted him; he has never attained sonority or power, and has never needed them; but melody and sweetness and a singular gift of invention distinguish him.

Many imitators have paid tribute to Mr. Riley’s dialect verse, for most can grow the flowers after the seed have been freely blown in the market-place. Perhaps the best compliment that can be paid to Mr. Riley’s essential veracity is to compare the verse of those who have made attempts similar to his own. He is, for example, a much better artist than Will Carleton, who came before him, and whose “Farm Ballads” are deficient in humor; and he possesses a breadth of sympathy and a depth of sincerity that Eugene Field did not attain in dialect verse, though Field’s versatility and fecundity were amazing. There is nowhere in Mr. Riley a trace of the coarse brutality with which Mr. Hamlin Garland, for example, stamps the life of a region lying farther west. There is no point of contact between Lowell and Mr. Riley in their dialectic performances, as civic[173] matters do not interest the Indianian; and his view of the Civil War becomes naturally that of the countryman who looks back with wistful melancholy, not to the national danger and dread, but to the neighborhood’s glory and sorrow, as in “Good-by, Jim.” It might also be said that Mr. Riley has never put the thoughts of statesmen into the mouths of countrymen, as Lowell did, consistency being one of his qualities. There has sprung up in Mr. Riley’s time a choir of versifiers who are journalistic rather than literary, and who write for the day, much as the reporters do. Mr. Riley, more than any one else, has furnished the models for these, and it would seem that verses could be multiplied interminably, or so long as such refrains as “When father winds the clock” and “The hymns that mother used to sing” can be found for texts.

With the publication of the “Benj. F. Johnson” poems in a paper-covered booklet, Mr. Riley’s literary career began. The intervening years have brought him continuous applause; his books of verse have been sold widely in this country and in England, and that, too, in “the[174] twilight of the poets,” with its contemporaneous oblivion for many who have labored bravely in the paths of song. He early added to his reputation as a writer that of a most successful reader of his own poems, and on both sides of the Atlantic his work and his unique personality have won for him the friendship of many distinguished literary men of the day. It is to be said that the devotion of the people of his own State to their poet, from first to last, has been marked by a cordiality and loyalty that might well be the envy of any man in any field of endeavor. No other Western poet has ever occupied a similar place; and the reciprocal devotion, on the other hand, of the poet to his own people, is not less noteworthy or admirable. He has always resented the suggestion that he should leave Indiana for Boston or New York, where he might be more in touch with the makers of books; and in recent years he purchased the old family residence at Greenfield, to which he returns frequently for rest and inspiration. For fifteen years he has been the best-known figure in Indianapolis, studying with tireless attention the faces in the streets,[175] nervously ranging the book-stores, and often sitting down to write a poem at the desk of some absentee in the Journal office. His frequent reading and lecturing tours have been miserable experiences for him, as he is utterly without the instinct of locality, and has timidly sat in the hotels of strange towns for many hours for lack of the courage requisite for exploration. Precision and correctness have distinguished him in certain ways, being marked, for example, in matters of dress and in his handwriting; his manuscripts are flawlessly correct, and the slouch and negligence of the traditional poet are not observed in him.

His long list of books includes “Afterwhiles” (1887); “Pipes of Pan at Zekesbury” (1888); “Old-fashioned Roses” (1889); “Rhymes of Childhood” (1891); and “Poems Here at Home” (1897); and he has known the luxury of a cosmopolitan edition of his writings in a series that embraced the definitive Stevenson. Fame came to Mr. Riley when he was still young, and it is only a fair assumption that he has not exhausted his field, but that he will grow[176] more and more secure in it. Serious work it has not always been possible for him to do, for his audience learned to expect humor in all his verses, and refused to be disappointed; but his ambition lies beyond humorous dialect, though he finds no fault with the public preference. All that he writes is welcome, for he is a preacher of sound optimism and a sincere believer in the final good that comes to all.



There is an ineffable charm about an old town that has outlived its ambition to be a great city, and Crawfordsville is a fine type of such a place. The region was settled in 1823, and the Montgomery County people, both farmers and townfolk, have long been counted among the sturdiest and most intelligent in the State. A cultivated society has always existed at Crawfordsville, and as the seat of Wabash College it acquired in its youth an academic air that it has never shaken off. The town has been called “The Hoosier Athens,” by envious and less favored neighbors. The analogy is not wholly fortunate, as there are neither porticoes nor statues on the college campus, and no Cimon found occupation here, as at the elder Athens, in tree-planting. Nature had anticipated the need of “groves of academe,” and the trees about the college and through[178] the town are truly of the forest primeval, giving the agreeable impression of a rus in urbe. Crawfordsville has often sent young men elsewhere to find occupation; but if its commercial attractions have been slight, its educational advantages have been proportionately great, and Wabash is able to point to a long list of successful alumni. The spirit of change has rarely invaded the college, and men are now holding chairs who have grown old in its service. Wabash has been content to do honest college work and has never made false pretensions as to its ability to do more. “Mere literature,” as Bagehot fondly called it, has not been disregarded, and in no college of ampler endowment have the classics been taught more sympathetically or intelligently. It is one of the few colleges remaining at the West which close their doors to women, although importunate hands have long besought the wicket.

The honor and dignity of learning have come to have a real meaning here, not only to those who seek instruction at the college, but to the people of the town as well. Wabash may not have directly influenced those who[179] made Crawfordsville a seat of authorship, but certainly a fortunate chance led makers of books to seek the congenial atmosphere created by the college. In such a place one may not grow rich, but one may dwell contented; and while coarser commerce has not flourished greatly, much valuable manuscript has freighted the east-bound mails from Crawfordsville. Authorship and scholarship alone have not engaged the inhabitants. Joseph E. McDonald, later a senator in Congress, once lived here, as did also John M. Butler, who became McDonald’s law partner at Indianapolis and one of the ablest men of the Western bar. Butler’s son, John Maurice Butler, was born at Crawfordsville, and his untimely death (1896) removed the man of most charming personality, and the keenest wit of his generation at the capital. Henry Beebee Carrington had identified himself with Indiana’s participation in the War of the Rebellion before he became (1870-1873) professor of military science at Wabash. His stay at Crawfordsville was brief, but the inhabitants prefer to believe that as he once breathed the Athenian[180] air they are entitled to share with Connecticut, his native State and later home, in the credit for his writings. The Whitlocks and the Elstons were among the first settlers, and were prominent in all the earlier labors of the community. Henry S. Lane, General Wallace’s brother-in-law, was a senator in Congress (1860-1867), and lived and died here.

I. General Lew Wallace

General Lew Wallace, whose varied achievements have contributed so largely to the town’s fame, was not born at Crawfordsville, but at Brookville, in Franklin County, April 10, 1827. His father, David Wallace, had resigned from the regular army soon after his graduation from West Point in 1821. He studied law at Brookville, and soon began an interesting public career. He was one of the political giants of the State in his day, holding many offices and positions of honor. His first wife, General Wallace’s mother, was the daughter of John Test, of a family long prominent in the State. General Wallace was an adventurous boy, impatient of all restraint, and fond of wandering, and he therefore received[181] little systematic education; but his father owned an excellent library, and, as has happened with other boys who have refused to submit to the schoolmaster, he found his own way to the book shelves. He was for a time a student at Hoshour’s school at Centerville; and he once ran away to join an older brother at Wabash; but he was either unwilling or unable to break his nomadic habits, and continued to roam the woods until, at sixteen, his school bills were audited for the last time. He was beset by several ambitions; literature, art, and a military career invited him. He had some skill at sketching, and painted a portrait of Black Hawk, the Indian chief, drawing on the family medicine chest for castor oil to use in mixing his colors. He also completed a novel, “The Man at Arms: A Tale of the Tenth Century,” of which he remembers little; but Sulgrove in one of his chronicles darkly hints that it was of the school of G. P. R. James. Robert Duncan, clerk of Marion County, in which Indianapolis is situated, employed him as copyist, and he varied this prosaic occupation by reading law in his father’s office. The Mexican War now broke upon the country,[182] and as Lewis—the second syllable disappeared during the Civil War—had painted a picture and written a romance, he now turned naturally to his third ambition. He organized a company and went south with the First Indiana Infantry. The regiment saw little of the war, but the campaign and his personal experience in military matters confirmed young Wallace’s purpose to write a novel of Mexico, for which, by a kind of prevision and the inspiration of Prescott, he had already made tentative sketches. On his return to Indiana he again took up the law, and practised at Covington until 1852, when he removed to Crawfordsville, which has ever since been his home. He presently organized a military company, known as the “Montgomery Guards,” and equipped it with the Zouave uniform. This furnished an outlet for his ceaseless energy, and also for his pocket-book, as the State contributed nothing to the company’s support. He brought it to a high standard of efficiency, and at the outbreak of the Civil War it was one of the best-drilled military organizations in the country. Governor Morton appointed Mr. Wallace adjutant-general of the[183] State at the first sign of hostilities, but he served in this capacity for a short time only, and organized the Eleventh Indiana Regiment, with his original Crawfordsville company as nucleus, and began an active and brilliant career in the army. Almost immediately his regiment distinguished itself in West Virginia. He was a brigadier-general before the capture of Fort Henry, and was made major-general for gallantry at Donelson. A year after Shiloh, a friend called General Wallace’s attention to the official reports of that engagement, and he learned for the first time that he had been censured for his conduct on the first day of the battle. He asked at once for a court of inquiry, which was denied, and a long controversy followed. This died out for a time, but was renewed when Grant began the serial publication of his memoirs. It was always maintained by General Wallace’s friends that Grant was unjust to Wallace; that the Indiana officer faithfully obeyed orders actually given him; and certainly no one who ever had any acquaintance with General Wallace would believe him capable of intentionally taking a circuitous[184] route to a battle-field. The effective service of his command on the second day of the battle should forever have stilled criticism; as it was, Grant wrote in his memoirs—the last words that ever came from his pen—a footnote to his account of Pittsburg Landing that fairly acquitted General Wallace of all blame. Much has been written, by participants and others, touching the incident, and it has been made the subject of an exhaustive study by George F. McGinnis.[43] While stationed at Baltimore, in 1864, General Wallace prevented a Confederate descent upon Washington by intercepting Jubal Early at Monocacy. He threw 6,000 men against Early’s force of 28,000, suffering defeat, but detaining the enemy until Grant could send reënforcements from Virginia. This was one of the most important of all his military services, and he received for it Grant’s cordial praise. General Wallace was a member of the court that tried the conspirators implicated in the assassination of Lincoln; and he was president of the commission that tried and convicted Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville Prison.

[185]When General Wallace returned to Crawfordsville at the close of the war he was thirty-eight; he had served creditably in one war and with enviable distinction in a second, and he turned to the arts of peace from a military experience that had given him wide reputation and acquaintance among public men of the Civil War period. He began industriously to reëstablish himself in his law practice, and varied his occupation with study and literary work. “The Man at Arms,” his youthful attempt at “A Tale of the Tenth Century,” had disappeared during his absence in Mexico; but the ambition to write a romance of the invasion of Cortez, and his manuscript beginnings of it, had survived two wars, and he now set about finishing the story. He had at this time no definite ambition to become an author, and he gave his evenings to the writing of “The Fair God” with little idea of ever publishing it. After its completion he carried it East with him on a business journey. Whitelaw Reid gave him an introduction to a Boston publisher, and the result was the appearance of the tale in 1873. He had spent in all about twelve years[186] on the book, part having been written, as already stated, in his boyhood; and the author’s faithfulness to his early purpose through many years that had brought new duties and obligations is in keeping with his whole character.

The scenes of “The Fair God” were unfamiliar to the novel reader, and the very names in the book were somewhat disconcerting; but the tale was received in the beginning with a fair degree of interest, and it has ever since enjoyed a steady sale. The subsequent success of “Ben Hur” directed attention anew to General Wallace’s earlier tale, but the romance was something more than an amateur effort, and time has not diminished its entertaining qualities. As a picture of Aztecan civilization it is accurate, and the incidents are related in an orderly and natural manner that holds the attention. The devotion of the people to their religion is impressive; but the tale is essentially a military romance. The battle scenes following the appearance of Cortez and his Spaniards are described with an animation and an amplitude that impart to the reader the sense of beholding a series of great spectacles. The book is[187] rich in those surprises which it is the business of the romancer to produce; and the chapters descriptive of the battle towers (mantas) which were among the European’s resources, and of the retreat of the invaders, are noisy with the clang of battle. The prophecies of the mystic priest Mualox, who sees through the eyes of a child the coming of the Spaniards, are interesting; and curiously enough they had their origin in an incident of General Wallace’s own experience in Indiana, showing how the imagination may play upon the commonplace. When he lived at Covington, he formed the acquaintance of a tailor who was deeply interested in the occult sciences, and who once invited General Wallace to his shop to witness manifestations of his powers. The tailor placed his apprentice under a kind of hypnotic influence, and told General Wallace to take the boy’s hand and to follow in his own mind some route with whose details he was familiar. General Wallace obeyed, mentally reviewing a highway that led to the house of a farmer client. The boy’s lips moved, and he coherently described the road, and presently the farmhouse,[188] just as General Wallace saw them; then he abruptly ceased to follow the leader’s train of thought. He said that it was night; that some one came out of the house with a light, walked about inspecting the barnyard, and then returned to the house. The boy had now become exhausted; the tailor revived him, and General Wallace went on to his home. A few days later, when the countryman whose farm had figured in the incident came to town, General Wallace asked him if he had been at home at the hour mentioned; he replied that he had been at home and asleep. Further questioning elicited the statement that at about the time of the experiment at the tailor shop he had been aroused by noises in the barnyard, and that, fearing some marauder was after his fowls, he had taken a light and gone out to see that all was secure.

The friendly reception of “The Fair God” did not awaken any unusual interest in General Wallace as a writer. He continued at Crawfordsville the life of a lawyer of polite tastes, keenly interested in politics. “The Fair God” out of the way, he began almost immediately[189] to cast about for some new literary employment. In about 1874 it occurred to him to write a novelette, whose principal incident should be the meeting of the Wise Men in the Desert and the birth of Christ. The brief account in the Gospels had long appealed to his imagination, and he wrote what is now the first book of “Ben Hur,” intending to offer it to some magazine for publication as a sketch, with illustrations. While the manuscript still lay in his desk, he met on a railway journey an old friend, Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, and in the course of conversation the famous sceptic touched on the subject of Christianity. General Wallace had always been indifferent in religious matters, neither denying nor affirming; but Ingersoll’s downright iconoclasm alarmed him. He determined to investigate the subject and form his own conclusions; and he began researches and studies which continued through five years. When he had concluded, he fully accepted the tenets of Christian faith, and he had amplified his sketch of the Wise Men into the novel “Ben Hur.” Continuous labor had not been possible during the writing of this tale: he had been busy with[190] everyday affairs; politics received a share of his attention; and he became, in 1878, by appointment of President Hayes, governor of New Mexico Territory. He lived at Santa Fé for three years, and much of “Ben Hur” was written in the governor’s house there. General Wallace had never visited Palestine when he wrote “Ben Hur,” but there are points of resemblance between the landscape of New Mexico and that of the Holy Land, and these were of assistance. He procured a profile map of Palestine, and was so attentive to topographical detail that later, when he visited the scenes of his story in company with a recognized authority in ancient history, every feature of the country as described in the book was verified. An immense amount of labor is represented in this novel. Many volumes were consulted in the search for antiquarian lore, that it might lack nothing that would aid in conveying an accurate impression of the period.

The book was capitally planned, striking episodes falling into place naturally, and not too abundantly. The meeting of the Wise Men, the sea fight, and the chariot race are dramatic[191] to a degree; but the sombre picture of the crucifixion is unmarred by excess. The reverence which characterizes every mention of the Saviour is the author’s happiest achievement in the story. The subject is difficult, but it is handled with admirable taste and refinement. However, the book does not depend for continued attention on its interest as a religious novel; it is equally noteworthy for its comprehensive grasp of the politics of the period, its picture of the various peoples that flowed through the streets of Jerusalem and Antioch, and the suggestion of a romantic commerce whose exploits lay in strange seas and beyond the deserts. Nothing in the book is accomplished more skilfully than the slow extinction of the idea of the coming of a great ruler of the world, to rebuild the throne of Solomon, and the gradual acceptance of the spiritual significance of Christ’s advent; and it may be taken, in connection with the history of the novel, as a revelation of the growth in the author’s own mind of a belief in the divine Saviour. Historical novels, particularly those that look to antiquity for subjects, follow necessarily certain traditions, and these are observed[192] carefully by General Wallace. Scott, more than any other, helped him, and “Ivanhoe,” in particular, was his model. The writing in “Ben Hur” is uniformly good, and the dialogue in archaic speech is well sustained. General Wallace wrote out of an ample vocabulary enriched by the constant reading of Oriental narrative, and in his descriptions the epithets are always apposite. The success of “Ben Hur” was not immediate. It sold slowly for several years, but it gained steadily in popularity and continues in favor with the booksellers. It has been translated into all the European languages, into Arabic and Japanese, and it is accessible to the blind in raised-letter. The sale of the copyright edition in America (1900) exceeds 1,200,000, which is probably greater than that of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Many playwrights and actors proposed to General Wallace from time to time the dramatization of “Ben Hur,” but he feared that the spirit of reverence, which he had so consistently communicated to the novel, would be lost in any play founded upon its incidents. He declined all offers until, in 1899, a plan was submitted which met his approval, and in the fall[193] of that year the play was given its first presentation at New York.

When President Garfield appointed General Wallace minister to Turkey, he wrote across his commission “Ben Hur.” General Wallace called at the White House, just before leaving for his post, to pay his respects to the President, and Garfield said to him: “I expect another book from you. Your official duties will not be so onerous that you cannot write it. Make the scene Constantinople.” The opportunity thus presented for further literary work was a consideration in accepting the post. The Turkish occupation of Constantinople is an incident of great historical importance, and in his search for material for a new romance, General Wallace determined to write a tale that should present a picture of the fierce struggle between Christian and Moslem. His studies at Constantinople led to the writing of “The Prince of India.” The Prince is “The Wandering Jew.” He appears as a man of mysterious gifts, who wields great wealth and power. He has discovered what he believes to be common ground upon which all the spiritually minded[194] may meet, irrespective of religion. He appears before the Emperor Constantine and presents his plan for a universal religious union, but he horrifies the theologians, and finding the Christians unsympathetic, he turns to Mohammed, and bestows upon him the sword of Solomon, the sign of conquest, which he had found in the tomb of Hiram, King of Tyre. The tale has neither the interest of “Ben Hur” nor the novelty and military ardor of “The Fair God.” The subject required deliberate treatment, and the hero, who is a scholar and a mystic, naturally deals in words oftener than in actions.

General Wallace’s other writings are “The Boyhood of Christ” (1889), and “The Wooing of Malkatoon: a Turkish Tale, with Commodus, a Play” (1898), both in blank verse.

There is nothing in General Wallace’s literary career to encourage hasty and careless workmanship. His methods have been, from the beginning, those of a conscientious artist, who strives for excellence and is capable of cheerfully casting aside the work of many days if, by additional labor, he can gain better results. He[195] parleys with a sentence or debates with a synonym with a caution that is akin to Oriental diplomacy. He has probably never written even a social letter carelessly, and if his correspondence were to be collected, it would prove to be of the same quality as his best printed work. There has always been a dignity in his ambitions. Military leadership came to him naturally, and when he took up literature, it was in a serious way, with subjects that were new and daring. By making every stroke count, and paying no heed to changing literary fashions, he has, in the intervals of unusually varied and exacting employments, cultivated the literary art with enviable success.

Heredity and environment explain nothing in General Wallace. He is an estray from the Orient, whom Occidental conditions have influenced little. This is proved by all his imaginative writing, by his military tastes, by many qualities of his personality, and by his appearance and bearing. He has never written of American life, and the attraction of Mexico as a field for fiction lay in the splendor and remoteness of the early civilization of the country,[196] combined with the romance of its conquest by soldiers of Spain. In like manner, “Ben Hur” and “The Prince of India” are such subjects as would naturally appeal to him. His fancy has delighted always in the thought of pageantry, conquest, mystery, and mighty deeds; it has pleased him to contemplate the formal social life of the old heroic times. The beginning of his friendship with the Sultan illustrates a sympathy, native in him, with the Oriental character. General Wallace had reached Constantinople after his appointment as minister, but had not been formally received. On Friday, the Moslem Sunday, he went with the multitude to see the Sultan go to prayer. General Wallace was entitled, by act of Congress, to wear the uniform of a major-general in the United States army, and he was clad in all the regalia of the rank. Between the gate of the imperial park and the Mosque which the Sultan attended was a small house, with a platform in front of it, set apart to strangers, and there General Wallace viewed the procession. The dark man in the rich uniform attracted the attention of the Sultan as he passed, and from the Mosque[197] he sent Osman Pasha, the hero of Plevna, then marshal of the palace, to learn the identity of the stranger. On finding that he was the new American minister awaiting audience, the Sultan sent an invitation to General Wallace to accompany him on his return to the palace, an honor never before accorded to a minister not yet received. A carriage was sent for the American, who returned in the brilliant cortège next to the carriage of the Sultan. The reception at the palace was particularly distinguished, and thereafter the relations between the two were intimate and cordial. The Sultan often summoned the minister to the palace, sometimes requesting interviews at the dead of night. All their conversation was through an interpreter, as the Sultan knew no English and General Wallace did not speak French.

There was early stamped upon General Wallace an air of authority that went well with the military profession; but later years have softened this into a courtliness and grace of manner wholly charming. The Oriental strain in him has become more and more pronounced, suggesting that the years spent in the study of[198] Eastern history, and his actual contact with Oriental peoples, have emphasized it.

Mrs. Wallace (born Susan Arnold Elston) is a native of Crawfordsville. Her father was a pioneer of central Indiana. The homes of his descendants are grouped in Elston Grove, one of the prettiest spots in Crawfordsville. General and Mrs. Wallace were married in 1852, and she is “the wife of my youth,” to whom “Ben Hur” was dedicated. He received so many consolatory letters based on this inscription, which seemed to be misunderstood, that in later editions he changed it, adding “who still abides with me.” Mrs. Wallace began writing at an early age, both prose and verse. She has never collected her poems, though several of them, as “The Patter of Little Feet,” written years ago, are frequently brought to the attention of a new audience by the newspapers. She has printed one book of fiction, “Ginevra” (1887), and three books of travel sketches, “The Storied Sea” (1884); “The Land of the Pueblos” (1888); and “The Repose in Egypt” (1888). Mrs. Wallace has a happy manner of describing places and incidents, and the papers[199] in these volumes show the spontaneity and ease of good letters, and are without the guide-book taint. They were intended, as the author stated in the preface to “The Storied Sea,” for patient, gentle souls seeking rest “from that weariness known in our dear native land as mental culture.” Mrs. Wallace shares her husband’s liking for Eastern subjects, and her Egyptian and Turkish papers, in particular, are delightful reading.

II. Maurice Thompson

No other Indianian has lived so faithfully as Maurice Thompson a life devoted to literary ideals, and none of his contemporaries among writers of the West and South has been more loyally devoted to pure belles-lettres than he. Abstract beauty has appealed to him more strongly than to any other writer of the Indiana group, and he has expressed it in his poems, through media suggested by his own environment, with charm and grace. He is a native of Indiana, having been born at Fairfield, near Brookville, September 9, 1844. His father was of Scotch-Irish ancestry; his maternal grandfather[200] was of Dutch origin; and both lines were represented in the Southwestern migration at the beginning of the century. In Maurice’s childhood his father, who was a Baptist clergyman, made several changes of residence, all tending southward, removing first to southeastern Missouri, then to Kentucky, and again within a few years to the valley of the Coosawattee in northern Georgia. Here the senior Thompson became a planter, and Maurice enjoyed thereafter, until he reached manhood, a life in which the study of books was ideally blended with the freedom of the country. He has always expressed great obligations to his mother’s influences during these years; her literary tastes were sound, and she imparted to her children the love of good books, overcoming by her own encouragement and guidance the absence of schools in their neighborhood. Tutors were procured for higher mathematics and the languages; but the chief impulse to the study of the old literatures lay in the youth’s own taste and temperament. Like Lanier, Hayne, Esten Cooke, John B. Tabb, and others who were to become[201] known in literature, he entered the Confederate army (1862), and saw hard service until the surrender. Even these years of soldier experience did not interrupt wholly his studies, for he usually managed to carry with him some book worth reading, the essays of De Quincey and Carlyle belonging to this period. Mr. Thompson returned to his father’s plantation at the close of the war, and remained there for three years, continuing his studies as before, but substituting hard manual labor for the life of pleasant adventure by field and flood that had given him from boyhood into early manhood an intimate acquaintance with wild things. He now began, of necessity, to accommodate himself to the changed conditions of the community and of his own family. He had studied engineering, and he perfected himself in it, and read law. Reconstruction moved forward slowly, and wishing to get as quickly as possible into a region where his material prospects could be improved, he went to Crawfordsville, without fixed purpose, and found employment with a railway surveying party. He supported himself by engineering until he felt justified in taking[202] up the law, in which he was successful, and to which he was constant until the increase of literary reputation and steady employment in more congenial labor made it possible for him to abandon it. His marriage to a daughter of John Lee, an influential citizen of the county, fixed him as a resident of Crawfordsville, which has since remained his home. For a number of years he was prominent in local politics. He sat once in the State legislature, and he was appointed State geologist in 1885.

Mr. Thompson had written experimentally in boyhood, and after his removal to Indiana he continued the cultivation of his gifts, and beginning slowly, attained to an abundant production, in both prose and poetry, that made him through many years the Western author whose name most frequently occurred in the indices of the best magazines. During his youth in the Cherokee country he had been initiated into the mysteries of archery by a hermit who lived in the midst of a pine forest near his home. Mr. Thompson and his brother, Will H. Thompson, were both enthusiastic archers and hunters, and their adventures in the wilds of Florida were full[203] of romantic interest. The bow was with them a kind of protest against the shot-gun, and assured a less murderous extirpation of game. Their own skill with the primitive weapon was remarkable, and as a recurrence of interest in the bow in this country is not imminent, they may be considered the last of American archers. Proficiency in this sport and the acquaintance with woodcraft to which it led were important influences in Mr. Thompson’s first literary work. In the seventies, a great revival in archery swept the country, and this was wholly due to a series of articles on archery and on hunting with the long bow which Mr. Thompson printed in the periodicals. These papers were gathered into a book (1878), and although he had published three years before a volume of sketches called “Hoosier Mosaics,” his writings on this subject, with the attractive title “The Witchery of Archery,” gave him his first footing as an author. The long bow has again fallen into disuse, but the freshness and zest of those sketches have not passed away. However, the archer had found in his woodlands more important material than he had yet[204] made use of; for while he was following Robin Hood, he was also the servant of Theocritus and Meleager, and he wrote at this period many lyrics that suggested, by their spirit at least, the Greek pastoral poetry more than anything in English. They were published under the descriptive title “Songs of Fair Weather” (1883), and are included also in a larger volume of Mr. Thompson’s verse, “Poems” (1892). E. S. Nadal writes[44] that he has never known any scenery so classical as the glades which border the forests of Ohio and Indiana. In fancy, he is able to people them with figures of mythology, and in no other spots, he says, has his imagination been equal to this task. It is pleasant to find this comment running into a reference to Mr. Thompson: “When I was the literary reviewer of a New York daily,” says Mr. Nadal, “I was always on the lookout for the verses of a young poet who lived in this part of the world. I remember that one of his poems related how that once when Diana was at her bath in some clear spring, no doubt known to the poet, a sort of sublimated Hoosier of the[205] fancy, himself quite nude and classic, passed near by. He quickly, however, ran away far through the green thick groves of May,—

“‘Afeard lest down the wind of Spring
He’d hear an arrow whispering.’”

There is a great deal of the Indiana landscape to be found through Mr. Thompson’s poems, though he often looks southward to the north Georgia hills and to Florida. Servile descriptions he does not give, but against backgrounds traced with great delicacy and beauty he throws suddenly and for a moment only some fleeting spirit of the woodland. There is in his language “the continual slight novelty” which is indispensable in poetry that is to haunt and taunt the memory. As an instance of his felicity a poem called “Before Dawn” may be cited:—

“A keen, insistent hint of dawn
Fell from the mountain height;
A wan, uncertain gleam betrayed
The faltering of the night.
“The emphasis of silence made
The fog above the brook
Intensely pale; the trees took on
A haunted, haggard look.
“Such quiet came, expectancy
Filled all the earth and sky:
Time seemed to pause a little space;
I heard a dream go by!”

Such subjects he always handles finely, leaving the thought in a spell of mild wonder and awe, as if something beautiful had passed and vanished. Similar effects were often possible with him in his younger days; and it is a question whether the moods from which such work proceeds recur after youth, the dream, has departed and taken that from the heart which “never comes again.” Those early pieces could not have been written by an indoors man; there is a refreshing quality of the open air in every line of them. The note is unusual, and is perhaps best sounded rarely; lightness and deftness are necessary to him who would evoke its entire purity and melody. In “The Death of the White Heron,” “A Flight Shot,” “Diana,” “The Fawn,” and “In the Haunts of Bass and Bream,” he trusted his fortunes to rhymed couplets of eight syllables, which are particularly well adapted to his purposes. The last-named poem relates[207] with tantalizing deliberation the taking of a bass; the life of the stream pending the capture is described in musical, transitional passages to the refrain,—

“Bubble, bubble, flows the stream,
Like low music through a dream.”

He again employs couplets in one of the most appealing of all this series, “In Exile,” which is the prayer of an archer of the new world that England, the mother of archers, will call him home. Later Mr. Thompson essayed a number of poems in a flexible ode form, showing a broadening of his powers and a widening of his personal horizons. The flight in such pieces as “In Captivity” and “Before Sunrise” is longer than in the earlier poems. It is a pleasure to find a poet to whom America is so satisfactory as a field that he dares to set up the mocking-bird against the nightingale. Mr. Thompson makes the home-songster a medium for communicating the spirit and significance of our democracy to our friends overseas. The movement through all these poems is free and vigorous, and the irregular lines please by the happy chance of[208] the rhymes. The pleasant winds of which the poet writes so refreshingly creep often into his measures. Patriotic subjects he touches with nobility and fervor; and he became the laureate of reconstruction when he penned his ringing poem “To the South,” the conclusion of which must not be omitted here:—

“I am a Southerner;
I love the South; I dared for her
To fight from Lookout to the Sea,
With her proud banner over me.
But from my lips thanksgiving broke
As God in battle thunder spoke,
And that Black Idol, breeding drouth
And dearth of human sympathy
Throughout the sweet and sensuous South,
Was, with its chains and human yoke,
Blown hellward from the cannon’s mouth,
While Freedom cheered behind the smoke!”

Again, when invited to read a poem before the Phi Beta Kappa, of Harvard, in 1893, he chose for his subject “Lincoln’s Grave,” expressing, with greater care, similar feelings of loyalty, and recounting Lincoln’s high qualities with eloquent appreciation.

Mr. Thompson has published a number of novels: “A Tallahassee Girl” (1882); “His[209] Second Campaign” (1882); “At Love’s Extremes” (1885); “A Banker of Bankersville” (1886); “A Fortnight of Folly” (1888); and “Stories of the Cherokee Hills” (1899), a volume of short tales reminiscent of slave days and the author’s boyhood. “A Tallahassee Girl” is a graceful and pretty story, the scene of which is laid at the South, as is true also of the two tales that immediately followed it. They convey distinct impressions of phases of Southern life in the early post-bellum period, and abound in romantic color. “Alice of Old Vincennes” (1900), is a captivating tale of the French period of Indiana history, closing with the surrender of Vincennes to Clark. The heroine is delightful, and Father Beret is a character worthy of Dumas. The book shows in all ways a marked advance over any previous prose work of this author. He has also written “The Boys’ Book of Sports” (1886); and “Louisiana” (1888), in the Stories of the States series, and “The Ocala Boy” (1885), all for juvenile readers. He has written many essays in which some phase of literature has been observed from the point of view of a nature-lover;[210] and his touch in such instances is always light and his matter bright and stimulating. Two volumes of such papers have been collected, “By-ways and Bird Notes” (1885) and “Sylvan Secrets” (1887). The scientist and the litterateur meet in his discussions of the mind and memory of birds, and the anatomy of bird-song; and his essay on Shakespeare, written within sound of the Gulf of Mexico, to the accompaniment of the songs of mocking-birds, is wholly characteristic of his independence in literary matters. He has been one of the most courageous champions of the romantic as against the analytic and realistic. He delivered at the Hartford Theological Seminary, in 1883, a series of lectures dealing comprehensively with the question of morality in literature, and he embodied these in a volume, “The Ethics of Literary Art” (1883). Mr. Thompson became, in 1889, literary editor of the New York Independent, reserving, however, the privilege of continuing his residence at Crawfordsville. His home, “Sherwood Place,” is on a quiet margin of the town, and the house has stood for[211] half a century shielded from the public eye by native beeches and alien pines. Mr. Thompson’s life is wholly devoted to study and writing. His instincts are thoroughly scholarly, and in some directions, as in Greek poetry and Old French literature, where long and loving study have given him special knowledge, he is an authority. He has no complaints of the world’s treatment of him or his work, and he declares that his writings have been received with much more cordiality than they have deserved. He is exceedingly kind to beginners in literature, and his criticisms have been of benefit to many young Western and Southern writers. Wabash College conferred upon him, in 1900, the degree of Doctor of Letters.

His brother, Will H. Thompson, was born in Missouri (1846), and the experiences of their youth and early manhood were similar. Will Thompson was a marvellous archer, and shared his brother’s enthusiasm for hunting with bow and arrow. He has not been, in recent years, a resident of Crawfordsville, having removed to the State of Washington, but[212] he wrote while in Indiana his “High Tide at Gettysburg,” one of the few poems of the Civil War that has adequately expressed the spirit of battle and the larger meaning of the conflict.

III. Mary H. KroutCaroline V. Krout

Mary H. Krout, another Crawfordsville author, has added to the distinction of an Indiana family in which an admiral, George Brown, and several scholars and scientists have appeared. In her girlhood she wrote the verses “Little Brown Hands,” which have enjoyed a vitality not always relished by the author, whose later and longer flights are better deserving of recognition. Miss Krout has been an indefatigable traveller, and her books include “Hawaii and a Revolution” (1898), an account of her personal experiences in the Sandwich Islands during the political crisis that preceded annexation; also “A Looker-on in London” (1899), which describes novel phases of English life freshly. Miss Krout more recently penetrated to the interior of China, visiting cities remote from the beaten track of travel. Her sister, Caroline V. Krout,[213] a classical scholar of high attainment, has written, under the nom de plume “Caroline Brown,” “Knights in Fustian” (1900), a novel of Indiana. The “knights in fustian” are “Knights of the Golden Circle,” a treasonable society which menaced Indiana during the Civil War. The principal characters are the fatuous rustics, who indulge their crude taste for the mysterious in the secret meetings and sonorous ritual of the society. Miss Krout knows the people of her own soil thoroughly, and the particular type that has attracted her is set out in her pages with photographic accuracy. The tale is true to history and to the local life, and its literary excellence places the author’s name high on the roll of Western writers. She has also written many short stories for the periodicals.



The multiplication of books by Indianians increased steadily during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Much of the production in prose is unimportant save as it is taken in connection with the general rise of cultivation in the State, and not a little derives interest principally from the personality of the writers. Fiction attracted many during the period indicated, and the impulse in this direction has been attended with notable successes. The part played by Indiana in the Civil War has latterly received attention, and the newer phases of village life have also been treated. Local history has not, unfortunately, attracted the literary fledgling in Indiana so often as could have been desired, though the field is inviting, and thorough work of this kind is far likelier to enjoy permanency than fair or indifferent fiction or mediocre verse. Criticism is naturally last to receive[215] attention, and little critical writing can be credited to the State. It is, however, remarkable that so much good work is done in the several departments, the inference being that where so many are moved to make experiments, the general average of cultivation must be high.

Indiana has been a kind of way station for many who have gained their chief distinction elsewhere. Joaquin Miller and John James Piatt were born in Indiana, but left in childhood, and Mary Hartwell Catherwood lived in the State for a number of years; but these writers may hardly be numbered among Indiana authors. James Newton Matthews, an Indianian who has lived for many years in Illinois, has written much good verse, and is included in discriminating anthologies. Lyman Abbott began his ministry in Indiana as pastor of the Congregational Church at Terre Haute. Both Charles Warren Stoddard and Maurice Francis Egan were members of the faculty of Notre Dame University at different periods. The Rev. Arthur Wentworth Eaton, a poet and writer on Acadian life, was once a resident of Indianapolis; and Henry F. Keenan, who wrote “Trajan”[216] and other novels, edited the Indianapolis Sentinel before he became an author. The Rev. Bernard Harrison Nadal (1812-1870) held a professorship at Asbury University from 1854 to 1857, and was the father of E. S. Nadal, an essayist whose critical papers appeal to the admirers of a calm and pensive style of writing. Miss Lucy S. Furman’s “Stories of a Sanctified Town” (1896) were written at Evansville, though the scenes are laid in Kentucky. The Rev. James Cooley Fletcher, of the well-known Indiana family of that name, is the author of “Brazil and Brazilians” (1868); and his daughter, Julia Constance, wrote, under the pen-name “George Fleming,” the novels “Kismet” (1877); “Mirage” (1878); “The Head of Medusa” (1880); “Vestigia” (1884); and “Andromeda” (1885). Both have long been absent from the State, Mr. Fletcher in California and his daughter in Italy.


I. Fiction

Booth Tarkington stands with Mr. Riley as the exponent of a Hoosier who is kindly, generous, humorous, and essentially domestic. His novel, “A Gentleman from Indiana” (1899), depicts the semi-urban type that Mr. Riley so often celebrates in verse. Whitecapping as introduced in this story is only the coarse exploit of a vicious colony living on the outskirts of the town in which Mr. Tarkington’s tale has its habitation. The author plainly states that his whitecaps are not to be confounded with vigilance committees that undertake to reform the morals of individuals, but that they are rowdies who masquerade as whitecaps merely for purposes of private mischief and vengeance. Their settlement resembles in some degree the “tough neighborhood” often found in cities. The hostility between the people of Plattville and the Cross Roads element dates back to the first movement of population on the long trail from North Carolina into the Ohio Valley. The Cross Roads folk had been evil and worthless in their early homes, and they carried their worst traits[218] with them into Indiana. Mr. Tarkington has followed accurately the social history of the good stock and the bad, illustrating the antipathy existing between the prosperous and intelligent and the idle and ignorant. The distinction of Plattville as a county seat of the central West is well established, and its indolence, amiability, and pride are characteristic. The hero is a new type of Hoosier, who has little kinship with the earlier people of Eggleston, or with the Hoosier as Riley reports him; he is a native, but has experienced at an Eastern college an intellectual change “into something rich and strange,” and after long absence becomes a pilgrim of light among his own people.

Mr. Tarkington has a perfect appreciation of the strength of local affection in the Hoosier, and also of the thoroughly American absorption in politics which seems to be more marked in county seats of a few thousand inhabitants than in large cities. History in towns like Plattville is not dated, anno urbis conditæ, but from a political incident or the visit of a President; and a national campaign is a quadrennial blessing that renews in the obscurest[219] inhabitant the sense of his individual responsibility to the government. Mr. Tarkington emphasizes the homogeneity of the Middle Western folk; and this is warranted fully by the statisticians. The people of his town live together like a great, kind family, who are sufficient unto themselves. He has thrown into the story the sincerity, affection, and loyalty that are their attributes; and he adds, moreover, the atmosphere of the Indiana landscape, with a nice appreciation of its loveliness, sometimes hinted and often charmingly expressed. There is a crisp, bracing quality in the writing that fitly accompanies the story, which is, taken all in all, one of the most creditable novels yet written of life in the Ohio Valley. There is every reason why Mr. Tarkington should know his Indiana well, as his family has been prominent in the State for three generations, and he is a native, having been born at Indianapolis (1869). He was educated at Purdue and Princeton, receiving from the latter the degree of A.M. in 1898. He has also written (1900) “Monsieur Beaucaire,” a dramatic novelette of the eighteenth[220] century, in which a few striking incidents are handled most effectively. The story has the charm of an exquisite miniature.

Indiana village life has been made the subject of careful study by Anna Nicholas, in a series of short stories collected under the title “An Idyl of the Wabash” (1899). Religious phenomena have greatly attracted Miss Nicholas, and she has supplemented Dr. Eggleston’s studies of an earlier period with her artistic sketches of contemporary life. The social importance of the church, the vagaries of belief in a typical Western village, and the intensity of the “revival” spirit are treated with sympathy and humor. Several of these tales are, between the lines, a tribute to that vigorous Protestant evangelization of Indiana, which triumphed over mud and malaria and carried the gospel far beyond the sound of church bells. Miss Nicholas has written with keen penetration of the suppressed tragic element in rural life, but without morbidity. Her characters are always inevitably related to the incidents, and she communicates with unfailing success a sense of the humble atmosphere[221] of her farm and village. These stories are distinguished by the evident sincerity of their purpose to reflect life honestly, and they are written in a straightforward manner that aids the impression. They illustrate anew the possibilities of a local literature that follows progressively the formative years of a community’s life. It is even now difficult to persuade the present generations of Indianians that Dr. Eggleston’s Hoosiers ever lived; and Miss Nicholas, Mr. Riley, and Mr. Tarkington have continued the story that was begun by their predecessor, adding chapters equally instructive and valuable.

Mary Jameson Judah’s “Down Our Way” (1897) is not limited to a particular region, but combines with studies of the author’s own Indiana, sketches of social life at the South. The allurements of those organizations for individual improvement and general reform that have enlisted the energies of so many women in recent years have appealed to Mrs. Judah’s sense of humor; and her stories show a fine appreciation of the niceties of social perspective and proportion in Southern and[222] Western cities. The short story is happily adapted to the need of the casual observer of local life, and tales like these, which bear the stamp of fidelity, have an inestimable value for future students.

An increasing attention to local historical matters has lately been marked, and an excellent instance of this is afforded by Millard Cox (“Henry Scott Clark”) in “The Legionaries” (1899), a story of the Morgan raid into Indiana. The political and social conditions on the Indiana-Kentucky border during the Civil War were interesting, and worthy of the study that has been given to them in this novel. The military episode of which Morgan was the chief figure, though slight in comparison with the larger movements of the war, was dramatic and daring, and it lends itself well to this romantic setting. Mr. Cox is a native Indianian (1856).

James A. Wickersham, an Indiana educator, has analyzed certain religious conditions minutely in “Enoch Willoughby” (1900). This is a novel of character rather than of incident, and marks still another departure in[223] method among writers of the Indiana group. The tale is not wholly indigenous, as the characters belong as truly to one State as to another of the Middle West. The Willoughbys are studied as a family in which peculiarities have always been observed, and in Enoch an hereditary “queerness” is manifested in religious idiosyncrasies.

The revival of interest in romantic fiction, that marked the closing years of the century, witnessed the unusual successes of a number of novels by American authors. One of the most popular romances of this period is “When Knighthood was in Flower” (1898), by Charles Major, a native of Indianapolis (1856), who is living at Shelbyville, twenty miles distant from the capital. Mr. Major served no apprenticeship as an author; this romance was his first book. He was educated in the Indiana public schools and at the University of Michigan, and was actively engaged in the practice of law when he wrote the novel, as a diversion, on his Sunday afternoons at home. The friendliness of the English-reading public to this tale is not difficult to understand. It is a love story[224] whose chief characters, Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, possess those qualities of youth, vivacity, and spirit that so inevitably win the heart in fiction or the drama. The tale is told by Sir Edwin Caskoden, a master of the dance at the court of Henry VIII., and not by the author direct,—a familiar trick of the historical novelist; and it serves an excellent purpose, affording a valid excuse for the ostensible editor to render the sixteenth-century narrative of Caskoden into racy nineteenth-century English. This novel is one of the noteworthy achievements of Indianians in the field of romance, suggesting again what has been so true of General Wallace,—that the imagination is superior to all laws, and that the romantic vision easily pierces barriers of circumstance.

George Cary Eggleston, a brother of Edward, was born at Vevay (1839), received his preliminary education in the schools of Vevay and Madison, and attended Asbury University, but did not complete his course there. When still under seventeen he took charge of a school in a wild district of the State, but at the end of his engagement he went to Virginia to the old[225] homestead of his father’s family, completed his college course, studied law, and served in the Confederate army. He has for many years been a well-known New York journalist, and he is the author of many books. He has always maintained relations with his native State, and has utilized his knowledge of it in his writings. In his novel “A Man of Honor” (1873), the hero is an Indiana boy, the son of a Kentucky mother and a Virginia father, as was the case with Mr. Eggleston himself. Another novel, “Juggernaut” (1891), opens in Indiana. A Hoosier boy is the hero, and the description of his early life among the hills of southern Indiana is pleasantly reminiscent of the author’s own experiences. In a number of juvenile stories, among them being “The Last of the Flat-boats” (1900), Mr. Eggleston has drawn upon his recollections of Hoosierdom, and there is, he says, something of Indiana in everything that he has written. Before Mr. Eggleston had seriously begun literary work the name of his brother Edward was so identified with Hoosier soil that the younger man could hardly invade it with literary intent without risking the charge[226] of imitation; yet it is significant of the tenacity of his early impressions that throughout his life the scenes of his childhood and youth have continued to invite his imagination.

II. History and Politics

It is a pleasure to include George W. Julian (1817-1899) among those who have added lustre to Indiana’s name. He was born at Centerville, Wayne County, of Quaker parents who had followed the familiar line of march from North Carolina to Indiana. He worked in the fields, studied by the light of the fireplace, taught school, read law, and in general experienced those vicissitudes and embarrassments that beset so many ambitious American youths of his generation. The law was a stepping-stone to politics, and from 1840 until the last years of his long life he was constantly an eager observer of political movements when not an active participant in campaigns. He was a founder and leader of the Free-soil party, and was its candidate for the vice-presidency on the ticket headed by John P. Hale in 1852. He was repeatedly elected a representative in Congress, first as a[227] Free-soil candidate, and thereafter as a Republican, from what was known as “the burnt district” in eastern Indiana, serving through the Civil War. He was a vigorous opponent of slavery, and his “Speeches on Political Subjects” (1872), for which Lydia Maria Child wrote an introduction, is a record of his radical opposition that began in 1850 and continued to the close of the rebellion. His integrity of opinion was unimpeachable. He was a laborious student, and, although without the graces of oratory, he was an impressive and effective speaker. He shared the ignominy that was visited upon Lovejoy, Phillips, Giddings, and others of the early antislavery phalanx, and his Congressional campaigns were marked by bitter and violent abuse from his opponents. His powers of invective made him a formidable antagonist. When his severity was criticised, he would say that “there is nothing in my speech but the truth that hurts.” He was essentially a reformer and an independent, and broke fearlessly with his party when he could not conscientiously follow it. Thus he joined in the Liberal Republican movement, and supported Greeley. He then[228] became, and remained to the end of his life, a Democrat, and was appointed by Mr. Cleveland surveyor-general of New Mexico. He made his home for thirty years at Irvington, a suburb of Indianapolis and the seat of Butler College, where he was the village Nestor. He delighted in literature, lived among books, contributed often to the periodical press, and wrote (1892) the “Life of Joshua R. Giddings.”

Civic interests have marked also the career of William Dudley Foulke, who was born in New York City (1848) and educated at Columbia College, being graduated in 1869. Mr. Foulke’s antecedents were Quakers, and he removed, in 1876, to Wayne County, one of the principal centres of the Society of Friends in Indiana. Mr. Foulke practised law and sat in the State senate (1883-1885) as a Republican, but became an independent upon the nomination of Mr. Blaine, and thereafter gave his attention to various political reforms, notably in the civil service, conducting investigations and frequently delivering addresses. He published (1887) “Slav and Saxon,” an essay on the future of the two races which are,[229] in his belief, to contend finally for supremacy in the world. He gave many years to the study of the war period in Indiana, with a view to writing the life of Oliver P. Morton, Indiana’s “War Governor,” who had been a citizen of Wayne County; and this biography (1899) is not only a thorough study of Morton’s public services, but of the period to which he belonged as well.

Early associated with Mr. Foulke in civil service reform work in Indiana was Oliver T. Morton (1860-1898), the son of Governor Morton, who was born in Wayne County and educated at Yale and Oxford. His volume of essays, “The Southern Empire” (1892), contains, besides the title paper, an historical essay on Oxford and an excellent discussion of civil service reform. The opening essay is a most suggestive presentation of the slaveholders’ ambitions to found a vast tropical slave empire. It is of interest to read this, in the light of the senior Morton’s herculean efforts against slavery; but that one generation may easily differ from another is proved by the concluding essay in advocacy of the merit system,[230] which found few friends in the period of which Senator Morton was a dominating figure.

Mr. Foulke’s brother-in-law, Arthur Middleton Reeves (1856-1891), found employment for his scholarly tastes in unusual channels. After his graduation from Cornell (1878), he devoted himself to the study of Icelandic language and lore, in which his interest had been aroused by Professor Willard Fiske; and he subsequently continued his studies abroad in Europe and Iceland. He was an industrious and painstaking student, with a passion for accuracy, and the volume of his letters collected and published for his friends shows him to have possessed unusually varied talents. He wrote “The Finding of Wineland the Good: The History of the Icelandic Discovery of America” (1890); “Lad and Lass: Story of Life in Iceland” (1890); “Jan: A Short Story” (1892); and he had begun, with Dr. Valtyr Gudmundsson of Copenhagen, a translation of the Laxdæla Saga when, on the occasion of a visit to his home in Indiana, he was killed in a railway accident.

[231]The first Indiana historian was John B. Dillon, who was born at Wellsburg, West Virginia (1808), learned the printer’s trade, and removed to Indiana in 1834. While resident at Logansport he studied law and was admitted to the bar; but his quiet, studious habits and natural reserve unfitted him for the practice, and he never tested his powers. He turned, fortunately, to the study of Indiana’s history; and appreciating the importance of assembling data before the death of witnesses and participants, began collecting material, and published (1859) a “History of Indiana,” covering the period from the first explorations to 1856. This work represents many years of laborious research in a field that was practically untouched. It is the point of departure for all who study Indiana history, and it is as exact as diligent care could make it. Dillon published “Notes on Historical Evidence in Reference to Adverse Theories of the Origin and Nature of the Government of the United States” (1871); and at his death left the manuscript of a work called “Oddities of Colonial Legislation.”[232] He received a number of minor appointments under the Federal government, residing at Washington from 1863 to 1875. He returned to Indianapolis at the termination of these employments and died there, in 1879. He was gentle, patient, modest, and industrious, a man of merit, faithful in all things. He never married, and had no interests save those of the student. His proper place was in the quiet alcoves of libraries; and it must always be remembered to his credit that with little encouragement, and for the love of the labor, rather than for any reward, he gave many laborious years to the task of establishing the State’s place in history.

Jacob P. Dunn, who wrote “Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery,” in the American Commonwealth series (1888), employed critical methods that were not known in Dillon’s day. His work deals with a brief period, and with events that had not previously been viewed in their proper perspective. He brought to bear upon his subject a scientific analysis and an exhaustive research that show especial fitness for historical writing. His descriptions[233] of the early French habitant are delightfully written, and give a distinct impression of the first white settlers of the Wabash. Mr. Dunn has written also “Massacres of the Mountains” (1886), an account of the Indian wars of the West, which is noteworthy for its thorough treatment of the Mountain Meadows incident. It is a standard work of reference, and one of the most popular books catalogued in Western libraries. Mr. Dunn served a term as State librarian, and has been for many years tireless in promoting interest in libraries for rural communities. He was born at Lawrenceburg (1855), and was graduated (1874) from Earlham College.

John Clark Ridpath (1840-1900), one of the most prolific of Indiana authors, was born in Putnam County and was graduated from Asbury University, with which he was subsequently connected in various teaching and administrative capacities for many years. He was a most successful teacher, particularly of history. Besides many text-books he published “A Cyclopædia of Universal History” (1885);[234] “Great Races of Mankind” (1894); “Life and Memoirs of Bishop William Taylor” (1895); and many monographs on historical and biographical subjects.

Richard G. Boone’s “History of Education in Indiana” (1892) is one of the most important books in the State’s bibliography. Mr. Boone is also the author of “Education in the United States” (1894). He was for ten years identified with the common schools of Indiana, and for seven years held the chair of pedagogics at Indiana University, resigning to become superintendent of schools at Cincinnati.

“The Puritan Republic” (1899), by Daniel Wait Howe, shows further the grasp of newer methods in historical writing, and is distinguished by thorough treatment and judicial temper. It would seem that nothing could be added to the literature of this subject, which has attracted so many skilled historians; but Judge Howe adduced much new material and presented the old and familiar in an orderly and attractive manner. This is a thorough and exact work, which has taken[235] rank with the accepted authorities. Judge Howe is entitled to his word on the Puritan, as his ancestors were among the pioneers of Sudbury, Massachusetts. He was born in Switzerland County (1839), was graduated from Franklin College, served four years in the Civil War as an Indiana soldier, and enjoyed the unusual distinction of sitting for fourteen years continuously as a judge of the Superior Court at Indianapolis. He has contributed valuable essays to the publications of the Indiana Historical Society.

William H. English (1822-1896) gave many years to a study of the life and services of George Rogers Clark, and produced (1896) “Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, and Life of George Rogers Clark,” an elaborate work in two volumes, which is a veritable encyclopædia of facts. As Clark had been one of the neglected figures in American history, the preparation of his biography was in the nature of a public service. Mr. English is also the author of an historical and biographical work on the Indiana constitution. He was born in Scott County, and received his education[236] in the public schools and at Hanover College. He served as a representative in Congress (1853-1861), and in 1880 was the Democratic candidate for vice-president on the ticket with Hancock.

“Early Indiana Trials and Sketches” (1858) is a racy record of the personal experiences of Oliver H. Smith (1794-1859), who had a kind of Boswellian instinct for the interesting. As a lawyer he “rode circuit” with Miles Eggleston, David Wallace, James Rariden, John Test, and others famous in the early days; and no one has written of these men with nicer appreciation of their high qualities. He was elected a senator in Congress in 1836, and served for one term.

William Wesley Woollen (1828) has also added to the literature of local biography. His “Biographical and Historical Sketches of Early Indiana” (1883) contains information that is nowhere else accessible, and it is, moreover, a well-written and entertaining volume.

David Demaree Banta (1833-1896) wrote often and well on subjects of local history, and his “Historical Sketch of Johnson County”[237] (1881) shines amid the dreary waste of Indiana County histories. It contains a rare fund of information touching pioneer life in general, and reflects in some degree the personality of the accomplished and versatile author, who was a fine type of the native Hoosier.

III. Miscellaneous

The press of Indiana has aided greatly in the State’s intellectual advance. In the larger towns the newspapers have usually been well-written, and many of them have extended sympathetic encouragement to beginners in authorship. Many Western writers found their first friendly editors at the offices of the Herald or Journal at Indianapolis. John H. Holliday, G. C. Matthews, Anna Nicholas, Elijah W. Halford, Charles Richard Williams, A. H. Dooley, Lewis D. Hayes, Morris Ross and Louis Howland are among those who, in the hurried labors of daily newspaper-making, have found time to preach the gospel of “sweetness and light” through the Indianapolis press. High on the roll of Indiana journalists whose talents are especially deserving of remembrance is Berry R.[238] Sulgrove (1827-1890), who was born at Indianapolis, attended local schools, learned the saddler’s trade, and worked for a short time as a journeyman. His aptness and love of learning had attracted attention, and in 1847 he was enabled to enter Bethany College, West Virginia, then under the presidency of the famous Alexander Campbell. His preparatory studies at the “Old Seminary” of Indianapolis had been so thorough that he was graduated at the end of one year with all the honors of the college, and delivered his commencement oration in Greek. He studied law and practised for a few years, but became connected with the Journal in 1854, and was thereafter identified with the press of Indianapolis. He possessed an extraordinary memory that was a source of constant amazement to his friends and associates. His information in many departments of knowledge was both extensive and exact, and he retained, to the end of his life, his interest in public matters, foreign and domestic. He wrote with precision and grace, and his use of homely, local illustrations added to the interest and force of what he had to say. Now and[239] then a Macaulay-like roll would sound in his sentences; and he would frequently imitate Macaulay’s rhetorical tricks, as by declaring, with conscious humor, that some local event had “never been equalled between the old bridge and the bayou”; but he wrote usually without affectation, and his prodigious memory made possible a variety of suggestion and illustration that never failed to distinguish his work. During many years he was at different times a contributor of editorial matter to all of the Indianapolis newspapers, extending his field at intervals to the Chicago and Cincinnati dailies. He wrote usually at his home, and latterly had no desk in any newspaper office, though a member of the News staff to the end of his life. His manuscript was famous among Western printers, who encountered it at Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago, and in the day of Mr. Sulgrove’s greatest activity seemed unable to escape from it. He wrote habitually on the backs of old election tickets, on scraps of programmes, on bits of paper picked up on his country walks, but never by any chance on a clean new sheet designed for the purpose.[240] His handwriting was microscopic, but perfectly legible, carefully punctuated, and free from erasure. A slip the length and breadth of the hand might contain half a column. No more interesting figure than he ever appeared in Indiana journalism; but his ambitions were not equal to his talents, and he was long an obscure figure in the city of his birth, whose intimate history he knew familiarly. His “History of Indianapolis and Marion County” (1884) contains only slight hints of his superior abilities.

His contemporary, George C. Harding (1829-1881), was a native of Tennessee, but gave the best years of his life to journalism at Indianapolis. He was a student of human nature rather than of books, but his literary instincts were true, and in the two weekly newspapers, the Herald and the Review, which he conducted, he was at once the inspiration and the terror of his contributors. Some of the sketches in a volume of his “Miscellaneous Writings” (1882) show an agreeably humorous turn. He had the trained journalist’s appreciation of condensed wisdom. It was his habit to repeat, week after week, a satirical paragraph in which some individual[241] was pilloried until the victim’s name became a by-word and a hissing in the community. Sometimes this served a moral purpose; again the intention was purely humorous. Years ago a candidate for constable, who was also a delegate to the nominating convention held at Indianapolis, received therein exactly one vote. The question, “Who voted for Daubenspeck?” was thereupon reiterated weekly in the Herald, until it passed permanently into a phrase of local speech.

Angelina Teal’s “John Thorne’s Folks” (1884), and “Muriel Howe” (1892); Margaret Holmes’s “Chamber Over the Gate” (1886); Martha Livingstone Moody’s “Alan Thorne” (1889); Harriet Newell Lodge’s “A Bit of Finesse” (1894); many excellent short stories by Helen Rockwood Edson, literary essays by Harriet Noble and Kate Milner Rabb, and Ida Husted Harper’s “Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony,” emphasize the part that women have played in the State’s literary achievement. The Rev. Charles R. Henderson, of Lafayette, a member of the faculty of Chicago University, has been a prolific writer on sociological subjects.[242] John Augustine Wilstach, also of Lafayette, has busied himself with philological studies. He translated Virgil (1884) and Dante (1888), and coincidently with the publication of these versions issued critical reviews of the literature touching his subjects. The text of Lucian was edited for school use (1882) by Charles Richard Williams, who became an Indianapolis journalist; and Demarchus C. Brown translated selections of Lucian into English (1896). George Ade, who discovered fresh subjects for materialistic fiction in Chicago, was born in Indiana and educated at Purdue, as was also his illustrator, John T. McCutcheon. Mr. Ade has a touch all his own, and his character studies are thoroughly original. He and Hector Fuller, another Hoosier writer of short fiction, show how the journalist may successfully turn his hand to book-making. William P. Fishback, one of the founders of the Indianapolis Literary Club, has published (1895) his “Recollections of Lord Coleridge,” with whom he enjoyed a delightful acquaintance; and another member of the club, Augustus Lynch Mason, wrote “Romance and Tragedy of Pioneer Life”[243] (1883). Benjamin Harrison’s public services cannot obscure the fact of his authorship of “This Country of Ours” (1899), a capital account of the functions of the several departments of the Federal government.

That form of humorous writing which has become a feature of American journalism, and which is, moreover, a sharply critical commentary on contemporaneous American life, not to be rejected lightly, is also produced in great volume in Indiana. This goes to the public anonymously, but Emma Carleton, R. D. Stevenson (“Wickwire”), and Wood Levette Wilson are among those whose dialogues, paragraphs, and jingles constantly appear in many publications. S. W. Gillilan, who wrote “Finnigan to Flannigan,” the verses in Irish dialect which have become a kind of American railway classic, is an Indianian.



I. Early Writers

The specific talent necessary to the expression of local life is much rarer than the ability to write of life in the abstract. If the knack of writing accompanied a sensibility to the life that lay nearest, we should long ago have had an abundant American literature descriptive of conditions that have passed and will not, in the very nature of things, recur. But the line of impressionability may not be controlled; and though many protests have been launched against minor American poets for looking beyond the robin to the nightingale, the rejection of the near continues, though in a diminishing degree. The early poets of the Ohio Valley did not often approach closely to the Western soil; they lacked insight and courage and their work was usually not interesting. When they occasionally essayed a Western subject, they were[245] unable to bring to bear upon it any novelty of treatment; it was all “icily regular, splendidly null.” William T. Coggeshall states in the preface to his “Poets and Poetry of the West” (1864) that in the early years of the nineteenth century “soldiers, hunters, and boatmen had among them many songs descriptive of adventures incident to backwoods life, some of which were not destitute of poetic merit; but they were known only around campfires, or on ‘broadhorns’” (flat-boats), and tradition, he adds, preserved none worthy to be included in his anthology. But these racy songs would have been of greater value than much of the verse that he has preserved in his pages, though as a part of the history of development this, too, is not to be spurned. Coggeshall’s work includes notices of ninety-seven men and fifty-five women. Twenty-three of the total he attributes to Indiana by reason of residence, and thirteen of the number were natives of the State. Only a small proportion of the poets named by Coggeshall survived, though the writers of the biographical notes accompanying his selections were cordial and anxious[246] to confer immortality. William D. Howells and John J. Piatt are included, and Mr. Howells wrote several of the sketches. It is diverting to read the opinion of Mr. Howells’s biographer that “some of his prose sketches are quite equal in grace of conception and individuality of treatment to any of his poems.” He was then twenty-seven.

Cincinnati and Lexington, Kentucky, were early rivals for literary prominence at the West: one was the seat of Cincinnati College, the other of Transylvania University. Many books were published at Lexington before 1825, and The Medley, or Monthly Miscellany, which appeared there in 1803, is believed to have been the first magazine published west of the Alleghanies. Hunt’s Western Review, which was formerly regarded as the pioneer, dated from 1819, and was also a Lexington publication. Lexington dropped out, and Louisville fell into place as a defender of the literary faith with the advent of George D. Prentice, who became the ardent champion of the muses in the Ohio Valley. The headquarters of poets for this region was the office of the Louisville[247] Journal during Prentice’s reign, and all of the Coggeshall poets laid the tribute of their song before him. To paraphrase Bishop Butler’s remark about the strawberry, quoted by Walton, doubtless Prentice might have declined a poem or discouraged a poet, but doubtless he never did. He was not an exacting critic, and he encouraged many who were without talent; but he took away the reproach of the neglected and unappreciated, and now and then he found a few grains in the chaff to pay him for his trouble.

The Literary Gazette, which appeared at Cincinnati in 1824, with the motto “Not to display learning, but to excite a taste for it,” numbered Mrs. Julia L. Dumont, of Vevay, among its contributors; and she was the first Indiana writer to become identified with the group of aspirants that now began to appear along the Ohio. The prospectus of another Western Review, published at Cincinnati for three years from May, 1827, declared that “we are a scribbling and forthputting people. Little as they have dreamed of the fact in the Atlantic country, we have our thousand[248] orators and poets.” However this may have been, “the Atlantic country” invaded the Ohio Valley in 1835, when the Western Messenger was begun at Cincinnati, under the auspices of the Western Unitarian Association. It was edited first by the Rev. Ephraim Peabody, and later, at Louisville, by James Freeman Clarke. Clarke left Louisville in 1840, and the Messenger was continued at Cincinnati by the Rev. W. H. Channing. John B. Dillon represented Indiana in its table of contents, and found himself in good company, with Emerson, William Ellery Channing, Jones Very, and C. P. Cranch. The periodical was, as Venable calls it, “an exotic—a Boston flower blooming on the Ohio,” and it ceased to appear in 1841. In the same year, the Ladies’ Repository made its appearance at Cincinnati, under Methodist auspices, and was published continuously for thirty-six years. Mrs. Dumont, Mrs. Sarah T. Bolton, Miss Mary Louise Chitwood, Mrs. Rebecca S. Nichols, Mrs. A. L. Ruter Dufour, Horace P. Biddle, and Isaac H. Julian were the principal Indiana contributors. The number of Indiana writers[249] increased steadily, and the Genius of the West, a Cincinnati magazine dating from 1855, extended the list to include the names of Benjamin S. Parker, John B. Dillon, and Louise E. Vickroy. Peter Fishe Reed, also a contributor to the Genius of the West and similar magazines of the period, combined farming with literary experiments near Mount Vernon (Indiana), and lived for a time at Indianapolis. The majority of these pioneer periodicals lived only a short time, and the Civil War brought a final interruption to most of them; they passed out with the “annuals,” whose literary flavor was similar. Indiana’s ante-bellum writers usually looked to Louisville and Cincinnati for publicity, and no serious effort was made to establish literary magazines within the State.[45] It curiously happened, however, that Emerson Bennett, a voluminous producer of “penny dreadfuls,” published a literary paper called the Casket, at Lawrenceburg (1846), but soon abandoned it. The patient research of Venable discovered the Western Censor, published[250] at Indianapolis in 1823-1824, and The Family Schoolmaster, which had a brief existence at Richmond in 1839. The Querist was conducted by Mrs. Nichols for a few months at Cincinnati in 1844, and Henry Ward Beecher’s Indiana Farmer and Gardener was begun at Indianapolis in 1845, but removed to Cincinnati in the following year. Beecher’s contributions to this paper were the nucleus of his book “A Pleasant Talk about Fruits, Flowers, and Farming.” The Literary Messenger is credited to Versailles, 1854.

Coggeshall included among the Indianians in his anthology William Wallace Harney, who was born (1832) at Bloomington, where his father was a professor in Indiana University; and William Ross Wallace, born (1819) at Lexington, Kentucky, and educated at Bloomington and Hanover colleges; but as the literary life of both began after they had left the State, they may hardly be catalogued as Indiana authors. The Rev. Sidney Dyer, a native of New York State (1814), was for a number of years (1852-1859), a Baptist minister at Indianapolis. He is the author of a number of books, and his writings[251] include many popular songs and poems. Isaac H. Julian, a native of Wayne County (1823), and the brother of George W. Julian, hardly added subsequently to the reputation he had gained prior to the publication of Coggeshall’s book, and the same is true of Granville M. Ballard, who was born in Kentucky (1833), and after his graduation from Asbury University became a resident of Indianapolis, where he is still living. Horace P. Biddle, born in Ohio (1818-1900), removed at an early age to Indiana, where he became prominent in affairs, and held many public offices before his retirement. He aided in the early efforts in behalf of common school education, and was a diligent student and writer. Noble Butler is placed in Kentucky’s list of early writers, though his residence at Hanover gives Indiana a claim upon him. He frequently translated German poetry and wrote original verse occasionally; but the fugitive essays of his nephew, Noble C. Butler, of Indianapolis, are better literature. Coggeshall includes also Jonathan W. Gordon and Henry W. Ellsworth, of Indianapolis, whose contributions to the literature of the[252] period were slight and without distinction. Ellsworth was a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Yale (1834). Amanda L. Ruter Dufour (1822-1899) and Laura M. Thurston (1812-1842) are properly included among Indiana’s early poets. The latter wrote the lines “On Crossing the Alleghanies” and “The Green Hills of My Fatherland,” which are above the average in the collection and were once much applauded. George W. Cutter, whose “Song of Steam,” beginning,—

“Harness me down with your iron bands;
Be sure of your curb and rein,”—

was once in favor, lived in Indiana, and sat in the General Assembly. He died at Washington in 1865. Rebecca S. Nichols was long associated with the little band of writers who printed verses and tales in Louisville and Cincinnati publications, and her literary instincts were truer than those of most of her contemporaries. She is still living at Indianapolis.

A mournful interest attaches to the work of Mary Louise Chitwood, who was born at Mount Carmel, October 29, 1832, and died there twenty-three years later, sincerely mourned[253] by the whole choir of Western poets. Prentice had encouraged her, and he wrote a memoir to accompany a volume of her verses that appeared in 1857. Her work promised well, though it shared the defects of most of the verse of the day.

Sarah T. Bolton is one of the most interesting figures in Coggeshall, and though born in Kentucky (1820), her long life was spent principally in Indiana. Her husband, Nathaniel Bolton, edited the first newspaper ever published in Indianapolis. Mrs. Bolton began writing at an early age, and through many years it may be said that she stood for poetry in Indiana. Many of her poems are stiff and formal and show little originality; but often her pieces are free and spontaneous, and she had humor, which most of the early poets of the West lacked. Her last volume (1891) is dedicated “To the poets of Indiana, my children after the spirit.” She was known to Willis and Morris, of the Knickerbocker group contemporary with her. Her husband was appointed consul at Geneva in 1855, and she lived for a number of years abroad, finding fresh material for poems in her[254] travels. She died at Indianapolis in 1893. Her best-known poem is “Paddle Your Own Canoe.” She was a loyal Indianian and wrote the lines:—

“The winds of Heaven never fanned,
The circling sunlight never spanned
The borders of a better land
Than our own Indiana.”

Benjamin S. Parker, of all the poets discovered in Indiana by Coggeshall, acquired the greatest skill in versification, and wrote most comprehensively of the pioneer life. He was born on a farm near New Castle (1833), and is one, at least, to whom the phrase “racy of the soil” needs no explanation. He lived in a log cabin, performing the hardest farm labor, and long observation of life at the West made him an authority in matters of customs and dialect. His volume “The Cabin in the Clearing” (1887) contains many poems in which the trials of the earlier settlers are graphically depicted, and it was his right, as one who had aided in the rough work of the pioneers, to urge the new generations to use worthily the opportunities[255] which they inherited. Of the fauna and flora of his own woodlands Mr. Parker became the especial celebrant. The following lines from one of his most graceful pieces are characteristic of his happiest moods:—

“I had a dream of other days,—
In golden luxury waved the wheat;
In tangled greenness shook the maize;
The squirrels ran with nimble feet,
And in and out among the trees
The hangbird darted like a flame;
The cat-bird piped his melodies,
Purloining every warbler’s fame:
And then I heard triumphal song,
’Tis morning and the days are long.”

Mr. Parker felt, more than any other poet of the Ohio Valley, the grandeur of the vast woodlands as the pioneers found them, and he has touched upon it constantly in his writings. He lived for several years in Canada, as a consular officer, and wrote a series of poems under Northern influences; but he has been most fortunate in subjects derived from home experiences. He is a connecting link between the earliest Indiana writers and their successors, and he has been one of the humblest[256] and most devoted and sincere of all the servants of literature in his State.

II. Forceythe Willson

It is an abrupt transition from these pioneers of poesy to Forceythe Willson, the only Indiana poet who ever came in contact with the New England group. Emerson, in the preface to his “Parnassus” (1874), says, “I have inserted only one of the remarkable poems of Forceythe Willson, a young Wisconsin poet of extraordinary promise, who died very soon after this was written.” The poem chosen was “In State.” This placing of Willson in Wisconsin is, as Piatt says in his eloquent sketch of the poet,[46] rather needless, for he was never connected with Wisconsin in any way. He was born at Genesee Falls, New York, April 10, 1837. In 1846 his father removed to Kentucky, and in 1852 to New Albany. Willson spent about a year at Antioch College, in Ohio, and went afterward to Harvard, but left in his sophomore year, owing to ill health. His home was in Indiana[257] from 1852 to 1864. He wrote his best poems, indeed the greater part of his slender product, at New Albany, and his residence there, in immediate contact with the seat of war, colored his distinctive work. He married, in 1863, Elizabeth Conwell Smith, whom he had met the preceding year at New Albany, and whose literary gifts created a bond of sympathy between them. They removed shortly to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where one of Willson’s brothers was in school. He purchased a house on the Mount Auburn road, near Lowell’s home, with an outlook on the Charles River. James R. Gilmore (Edmund Kirke) was his neighbor and saw much of him at Cambridge. He wrote, in 1895, his recollections, testifying to Willson’s unusual qualities, and giving this description of his personal appearance:—

“Take him, all in all, he was the most lovable man I ever knew; and as a mere specimen of physical manhood he was a joy to look at. A little above the medium height, he was perfectly proportioned and of a sinewy, symmetrical figure. His hair was raven black, wavy, and glossy as satin. His skin was alight olive, slightly tinged with red, and his features were regular, somewhat prominent, and exceedingly[258] flexible, showing an organization of a highly sensitive character. But his eyes were what riveted the observer’s attention. Mr. Longfellow told me they were the finest type of the Oriental, but I never saw eyes—Eastern or Western—to compare with them in luminous power. They were full, large, and dark, with overhanging lashes; but for the life of me I cannot tell their precise color. At times they seemed a deep blue, at other times an intense black, and then they were balls of fire, as he was stirred by some strong emotion. They spoke the ready language of a deep, strong, fiery, yet chastened, nature as it was moved by love, joy, sorrow or indignation.”[47]

Piatt remarks upon his “Oriental look and manner,” and all who knew him were impressed by his distinguished appearance and grave courtesy. In 1858 New Albany became interested in spiritualism. Willson fell under the spell and began a study of the subject. Piatt says that Willson “soon abandoned the professors, but retained until his death a serious spiritual theory or faith of his own. He believed—and he was absolutely honest and sincere, I am sure, in his faith—that the spirits of the dead could, and at times do, have communication with the living.”

Willson seems not to have had an active occupation at any time. His father had been successful[259] in business, and dying at New Albany in 1859, left a comfortable fortune to his children. The poet lived by himself for a number of years, at New Albany, in a small house where he surrounded himself with books and led the life of a student. Louisville is directly across the Ohio from New Albany, and Willson was known to a few of the literary people on the Kentucky side, particularly to Prentice. The approach of the Civil War aroused in him a deep interest in its great issues, and he wrote editorials in support of the Union cause for Prentice’s Journal. He began in the first year of the war, and concluded later, his poem “In State,” which, in spite of its occasional vagueness and its despairing view of the political situation, is written in an effective stanza and is splendidly imaginative. He gloomily assumed that the nation was dead—hence his personification of it as a prone figure lying “in state,” and he brings the rulers of Europe to look upon it,—

“The winds have tied the drifted snow
Around the face and chin; and lo,
The sceptred giants come and go
And shake their shadowy crowns and say: ‘We always feared it would be so!’”

[260]There is hardly a stanza in the poem that does not contain some striking image. It moves on in the mournful cadence of a miserere:—

“The Sisterhood that was so sweet,
The Starry System sphered complete,
Which the mazed Orient used to greet,
The Four and Thirty fallen Stars glimmer and glitter at her feet.”

He published, January 1, 1863, as a carrier’s address in the Louisville Journal, “The Old Sergeant,” which Piatt believed to have been “the transcript of a real history, none of the names in it being fictitious, and the story being reported as exactly as possible from the lips of a Federal assistant surgeon named Austin, with whom Willson was acquainted at New Albany.” The poem appeared anonymously, and for some reason, which was never explained, Willson seemed reluctant at first to admit its authorship. It attracted wide attention. Gilmore relates that early in 1863, in the office of the Atlantic Monthly, he met Dr. Holmes, who held in his hand a copy of the Louisville Journal, containing “The Old Sergeant.” “Read that,” said he, “and tell me if it’s not the finest thing since the[261] war began. Sit down and read it here; you might lose it if I let you take it away.” The ballad is found in “The Old Sergeant and Other Poems” (1867). It is a vivid narrative of sustained power and interest, deriving strength from the earnestness of the recital and the simple language, sometimes descending to army slang, of the soldier. The poem is historically accurate and is a fine celebration of the battle of Shiloh:

“There was where Lew Wallace showed them he was of the canny kin,
There was where old Nelson thundered, and where Rousseau waded in;
There McCook sent ’em to breakfast, and we all began to win—
There was where the grapeshot took me, just as we began to win.
“Now, a shroud of snow and silence over everything was spread;
And but for this old blue mantle and the old hat on my head,
I should not have even doubted, to this moment, I was dead—
For my footsteps were as silent as the snow upon the dead!”

There is a suggestion of Poe, whom Willson greatly admired, in the repetition, with slight[262] variation, of the third line of the stanza; but such points Willson always considered carefully. He was certainly not servilely imitative, and he is an ungenerous critic who would pick flaws in a poem that is so fine as a whole. “The Old Sergeant” is entitled to a place with the best poems of the war—with Mrs. Howe’s “Battle Hymn,” Brownell’s stirring pieces, Will H. Thompson’s “High Tide at Gettysburg,” and Ticknor’s “Little Giffen.” These stand apart from Lowell’s “Commemoration Ode” and similar poems, which are civic rather than military. In “The Rhyme of the Master’s Mate,” Willson turned again to the heroic, and while the poem is less artistic than “The Old Sergeant,” it has a swing and a stroke that fit his theme well. His volume contains a number of mystical pieces, colored by his belief in spiritualism, and a few lyrics, as “The Estray” and “Autumn Song,” which have an elusive charm and increase admiration for his talents. Willson was emphatically a masculine character. In literature and in life he liked what he called “muscle,” and he certainly showed a sinewy grasp in his best poems. It is related[263] that once during the war he organized, and armed at his own expense, a home guard to protect New Albany in a dangerous crisis, and at other times he displayed great personal courage. If it had not been for his ill health he would undoubtedly have enlisted.

Willson was not immediately identified at Cambridge as the author of “The Old Sergeant.” As Dr. Holmes said after Willson’s death, “He came among us as softly and silently as a bird drops into his nest,” and it was not like him to call attention to his own performances. After the death of his wife and infant child, October 13, 1864, Willson was often at Gilmore’s house, where he first saw Emerson. Gilmore relates that he returned home one day from Boston to find Lowell lying at full length on a lounge in the library, in animated conversation with Willson. On this occasion an incident occurred illustrative of Willson’s gift of “second sight.” Longfellow was mentioned in the conversation, and Willson remarked that the poet would be there shortly. No one had an intimation of the visit, but Willson described the route that Longfellow[264] was then following toward the house; and when the poet presently arrived, he affirmed the statement of his itinerary as Willson had given it. Willson’s interest in life ended with the death of his wife, whose few poems he published privately. She is remembered at New Albany as a girl of great beauty and refinement.

Willson left Cambridge in the fall of 1866 for New Albany. While there he suffered hemorrhages of the lungs and was ill for a month. He never regained his strength, and his death occurred February 2, 1867, at Alfred, New York. His convictions as to spiritualism grew firmer after his wife’s death, and toward the last, so one of his brothers wrote, “his wife and child seemed to be with him constantly, and he talked to them in a low voice.” He was buried at Laurel, the home of Mrs. Willson’s family, in the White Water Valley. His wife and child lie in one grave beside him. The quiet hilltop cemetery commands a view of one of the loveliest landscapes in Indiana, and it is fitly touched with something of the peace, strength, and beauty that are associated with Willson’s name.


III. Later Poets

Willson marked the beginning of better things, and a livelier fancy and a keener critical spirit is henceforward observable—in the writings of a veteran like Parker, and in the new company of writers that was forming. The Civil War had profoundly moved the Central States, and Indiana had perhaps felt it more than her neighbors. Willson had lifted his voice for the Union while the war cloud still lay upon the land, and the Thompson brothers spoke for the South from Indiana soil on the arrival of the era of better feeling. Ben D. House, who had served in the Federal armies, wrote with truth and spirit. He ran away from his home in Vermont when he was seventeen, and entered the army from Massachusetts. He saw hard service, and received wounds which were a constant menace for the remainder of his life. He was mustered out finally at Indianapolis, and lived there almost continuously until his death in 1887. His idiosyncrasies and affectations were many, and included the wearing of a great cloak, in which he sombrely wrapped[266] himself in cold weather. His poems were printed privately by his friends in 1892. He had fair luck with the sonnet, and wrote, on the occasion of Grant’s death, “Appomattox,” which follows:—

“To peace-white ashes sunk war’s lurid flame;
The drums had ceased to growl, and died away
The bark of guns, where fronting armies lay,
And for the day the dogs of war were tame,
And resting on the field of blood-fought fame,
For peace at last o’er horrid war held sway
On her won field, a score of years to-day,
Where to her champion forth a white flag came.
O nation’s chief, thine eyes have seen again
A whiter flag come forth to summon thee
Than that pale scarf which gleamed above war’s stain,
To parley o’er the end of its red reign—
The truce of God that sets from battle free
Thy dauntless soul, and thy worn life from pain.”

Lee O. Harris, a native of Pennsylvania (1839), removed to the State in 1852, and was an Indiana soldier in the Civil War. His verse, as collected in “Interludes” (1893), shows little of the military feeling, but is strongly domestic, a forerunner of the work of Mr. Riley, whose teacher Mr. Harris had been at Greenfield.

Dan L. Paine, an Indianapolis journalist[267] (1830-1895), possessed a sound taste, and his occasional pieces were well executed. He wrote an elegy on the death of his friend and fellow-journalist, George C. Harding, which is a meditation on the courage of such spirits:—

“On Freedom’s heights they stand as sentinels,
Brave tropic suns, delve in earth’s deepest caves,
And climb the ladder of the parallels
To sleep in icy graves.”

Such felicities were not uncommon with him. He was the friend and helpful critic of all the younger Indiana writers, and literary reputations have been created from slighter talents than his. His poems were collected privately, under the title “Club Moss” (1890).

So far nearly every name identified with the literary impulse in Indiana has been met south of a line drawn across the State at Crawfordsville; but Evaleen Stein carried it farther north, to Lafayette. Miss Stein’s verse illustrates happily the growing emancipation of the younger generation of Western poets from bare didacticism, and an escape from the landscape of tradition. She finds her subjects in nature, and draws pictures for the[268] pleasure of it, and not with the expectation of tacking a moral to the frame. Earnestness and conviction characterize her verses, and there is often a kind of exultance in the note when she sings of the rough hill pastures or the marshes and bayous that invite her study. She has something of Thoreau’s genius for details, and her volume “One Way to the Woods” (1897) is an accurate calendar of the moods of nature. Her work marks really a new generation, the change of fashion, and the passing of the ante-bellum poets of the region. Twenty years earlier no Ohio Valley poet would have explored a bayou, or could have written of it so musically as Miss Stein:—

“Ah, surely none would ever guess
That through that tangled wilderness,
Through those far forest depths remote,
Lay any smallest path, much less
A way wherein to guide a boat!”

A small volume of the poems of M. Genevieve Todd (1863-1896), of the order of Sisters of Providence, was published after her death. They are wholly devotional, and are marked by elevation of spirit wedded to correct[269] taste. Sister Mary Genevieve was born at Vevay, of Protestant parents, and died at the convent of St. Mary’s of the Woods near Terre Haute. Albion Fellows Bacon, Mrs. D. M. Jordan, Richard Lew Dawson, and William R. Williams have also been creditable contributors to the Hoosier anthology.

Indiana offers, on the whole, a fair field for poets. The prevailing note of the landscape is tranquillity. There is hardly a spot in the State that touches the imagination with a sense of power or grandeur, and yet there are countless scenes of quiet beauty. The Wabash gathers breadth and grace as it flows southward. Long curves here and there give to the eye the illusion of a chain of lakes, and the river’s valley is a rich garden. The Tippecanoe is another beautiful river, famous among fishermen, and there are a number of charming lakes in the northern part of the State. The Kankakee marsh was long haunted by the migrant wild birds, and in recent years a wild goose was found there with the piece of an Eskimo arrow, made of reindeer bone, through its breast. Poets and[270] novelists have found inspiration in the Kankakee. Maurice Thompson and Evaleen Stein have celebrated the region in song; and there is a tradition that the manuscript of “Ben Hur” visited both the Kankakee and Lake Maxinkuckee at certain crises in its preparation. The possibilities of mixed forests are nowhere more happily illustrated than in Indiana, whether in the earliest wistful days of spring or in the full glory of autumn. The beech and the elm, the maple, the hickory and the walnut, and the humbler sassafras and pawpaw are companions of a royal order of forestry, from which the sycamore—the self-constituted guardian of rivers and creeks—is excluded by nature’s decree confirmed by man’s preference. The variety of cereals that may be grown saves the tilled areas from monotony. There are no vast plains of corn or wheat as in Kansas or the Dakotas, but the corn ripens between wheat stubble on one hand, and green pastures or remnants of woodland on the other. The transitional seasons bring more of delight to the senses than the full measure of winter[271] and summer, and have for the observer constant novelty and change. There are qualities in the spring of the Ohio Valley—qualities of sweetness and wistfulness that are peculiar to the region; and when the winds are all from the south, and the winter wheat is brilliant in the fields; when the sap sings beneath the rough bark of the old forest trees, and the young orchards are a blur of pink and white, spirits are abroad there with messages for the sons of men.




Abbott, Lyman, 215.

Ade, George, 242.

“Artemus Ward,” 159.

Bacon, Albion Fellows, 269.

Bagehot, Walter, 158, 178.

Banta, D. D., 75, 236.

Baptists, organized first church, 67.

Beales, at New Harmony, 132.

Beecher, Henry Ward, 18, 83, 250.

Beecher, Mrs. H. W., 35, 56.

“Ben Hur,” how written, 189, 193;
Ms. of, 270.

Benjamin, Park, 19.

Bennett, Emerson, 248.

Bernard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, 113, 115.

Biddle, Horace P., 248, 251.

Blackford, Isaac, 22, 83.

Blake family, 18.

Blake, James, 83.

Bolton, Nathaniel, 253.

Bolton, Sarah T., 253.

Boone, Richard G., 234.

Booth, Newton, 16.

Brook Farm, Robert Owen visits, 123.

Brookville, 12.

Brotherton, Alice Williams, 13.

Brown, Admiral George, 212.

Brown, Demarchus C., 242.

Brown, Paul, at New Harmony, 115, 119.

Bull, Ole, 19.

Bush, Rev. George, 66.

Butler College, 26, 82, 95, 228.

Butler, John M., 179.

Butler, John Maurice, 179.

Butler, Noble, 16, 251.

Butler, Noble C., 251.

Butler, Ovid, 82.

Cambridge, 13.

Campbell, Alexander, 123, 238.

Carleton, Emma, 243.

Carleton, Will, 172.

Carrington, H. B., 179.

Cartwright, Peter, 67.

Catherwood, Mary Hartwell, 215.

Centerville, 12.

Century Magazine, 14.

Channing, W. E., 248.

Channing, W. H., 248.

Chase, W. M., 12.

Child, Lydia Maria, 227.

Chitwood, Mary L., 248, 252.

“Christian Endeavor,” origin of name, 144.

Civil Service Chronicle, 26.

Clark, George Rogers, 4, 5.

Clarke, James Freeman, 248.

Coburn, John, 83.

Coe family, 18.

Coggeshall, W. T., 245, 250, 251.

Corydon, 11, 94.

Costume at New Harmony, 113.

Cox, Millard, 222.

[274] Cox, Sandford C., 36.

Craig, George, 134.

Cranch, C. P., 248.

Crawfordsville, 8, 177, 267.

Cutter, George W., 252.

Dale, David, 102.

D’Arusmont, Phiquepal, 105, 114.

Dawson, Richard Lew, 269.

Dennis, Charles, 28.

DePauw University, 68, 77.

Dillon, John B., 231, 249.

Dooley, A. H., 237.

Dransfields, at New Harmony, 132.

Dufour, Mrs. A. L. Ruter, 248, 251.

Dumont, Mrs. Julia L., 89-94, 247, 248.

Duncan, Robert, 181.

Dunn, Jacob P., 232.

Dyer, Rev. Sidney, 250.

Eads, James B., 12.

Earlham College, 77.

Eaton, Arthur Wentworth, 215.

Edson, Helen Rockwood, 241.

Egan, Maurice Francis, 215.

Eggleston, Edward, 8, 17, 51, 79, 89, 91, 133-155, 225.

Eggleston, George Cary, 134, 224.

Eggleston, Guilford, 138.

Eggleston, Joseph Cary, 134, 137, 139.

Eggleston, Miles, 138, 236.

Ellsworth, Henry W., 251.

Emerson, R. W., 248, 263.

English, William H., 235.

Episcopalians, early difficulties of, 65.

Everett, Edward, 19.

Fauntleroys, at New Harmony, 132.

Feiba Peveli, 111, 112, 122.

Fellenberg, 102, 124.

Field, Eugene, 172.

Finley, John, 29, 34.

Fishback, W. P., 242.

Fiske, John, 8.

Fletcher, Calvin, 83.

Fletcher family, 18.

Fletcher, Julia C., 216.

Fletcher, Rev. J. C., 216.

Flower, Richard, 101.

Flowers in churches, 63.

Fort Wayne, 13.

Foulke, William Dudley, 26, 229.

Franklin College, 26, 77.

Fretageot, Achilles, 105.

Fretageot, Madame, 115, 132.

Fuller, Hector, 242.

Furman, Lucy S., 216.

Gallatin, Albert, 71.

Garland, Hamlin, 172.

Gillilan, S. W., 243.

Gilmore, James R. (“Edmund Kirke”), 257, 260, 263.

Goode, Frances E., 155.

Goodwin, Rev. T. A., 35.

Gordon, Jonathan W., 251.

Hadley, John V., 53.

Halford, E. W., 237.

Hall, Bayard Rush, 73.

Hanover College, 77.

Harding, George C., 240, 267.

Harney, W. W., 250.

Harper, Ida Husted, 241.

Harris, Leo O., 157, 266.

Harrison, Benjamin, 4, 243.

Harrison, Christopher, 16.

[275] Harrison, W. H., 4, 67, 71.

Havens, Rev. James, 67.

Hay, John, 16.

Hayes, Lewis D., 237.

Hayes, President, 190.

Henderson, Rev. C. R., 241.

Hendricks, William, 76.

Henodelphisterian Society, 75.

Higginson, T. W., 157.

Holland, J. G., 19.

Holliday family, 18.

Holliday, John H., 26, 237.

Holliday, Rev. F. C., 65.

Holman, Jesse L., 76.

Holmes, O. W., 260, 263.

“Hoosier Athens,” 177.

Hoosier dialect, 45-62, 152, 163.

Hoosier Fiddle, 41.

Hoosier, origin of word, 29-36.

“Hoosier Schoolmaster,” 145.

Hoosierdom, extent of, 151.

Hoshour, Samuel K., 96, 181.

House, Ben D., 265.

Hovey, Edmund O., 80.

Howard, Tilghman A., 35.

Howe, Daniel Wait, 234.

Howells, W. D., 246.

Howland, John D., 12.

Howland, Livingston, 12.

Howland, Louis, 26, 237.

Indiana: relation to national life, 3-5;
slavery in, 5;
foreign and native element, 11;
political preferences, 26;
pioneers, 36, 39;
religious influences, 65-69;
education in, 70;
illiteracy in, 81, 87;
early poets, 245;
landscape of, 36, 219, 269.

Indiana University, 26, 73-76.

Indianapolis, 17-20.

Indianapolis Literary Club, 19.

Ingersoll, Robert G., 189.

James, G. P. R., 181.

Jennings, Governor, 22.

Jewett, Milo Parker, 80.

Johnson, Robert Underwood, 13.

Jordan, David S., 78.

Jordan, Mrs. D. M., 269.

Judah, Mary Jameson, 221.

Julian, George W., 226, 251.

Julian, Isaac H., 248, 251.

Ketcham, W. A., 44.

Keenan, Henry F., 215.

Krout, Caroline V., 212.

Krout, Mary H., 212.

Lafayette, 14, 267.

Lane, Henry S., 180.

Lee, John, 202.

Lehmanowski, Colonel, 32.

Lesueur, Charles A., 104, 106.

Lewis, Allen, 26.

Lewis, Charles S., 26.

Lincoln, Abraham, 38, 125, 152.

Lodge, Harriett Newell, 241.

Longfellow, H. W., 258, 263.

Lowell, J. R., 160, 172, 263.

Lynching, 43.

Maclure, William, 104, 105, 115, 129.

McCulloch, Hugh, 14.

McCutcheon, John T., 242.

McDonald, Joseph E., 179.

McGinnis, Gen. George F., 184.

Macluria, 111, 112, 122.

Macdonald, Donald, 105, 107.

Madison, 11, 155.

Major, Charles, 223.

[276] “Mark Twain,” 164.

Martindale, E. B., 160.

Mason, A. L., 242.

Matthews, Claude, 21.

Matthews, G. C., 237.

Matthews, James Newton, 215.

Meredith, Solomon, 83.

Merrill family, 18.

Merrill, Miss Catharine, 94.

Merrill, Samuel, 94.

Militia, early, 39.

Miller, Joaquin, 215.

Millerites, 148.

Mills, Caleb, 79, 80, 85-88.

Moody, Martha Livingstone, 241.

Morris family, 18.

Morrison, John I., 16.

Morton, Oliver P., 22, 229.

Morton, Oliver T., 26, 229.

Mount, James A., 21.

Murphy, Dr. Edward, 130.

Nadal, E. S., 204, 216.

Nadal, Rev. Bernard H., 216.

Nashoba, 105.

Neef, Joseph, 105, 106.

Neef, Madame, 115.

Nelson, Thomas H., 15.

New Albany, 140, 143, 256, 257, 258, 259.

New Harmony, 21, 98-132.

New Harmony Disseminator, 128.

New Harmony Gazette, 111, 118, 128.

Nicholas, Anna, 220, 237.

Nichols, Rebecca S., 248, 250, 252.

Noble, Harriet, 241.

North Carolina, influence of, in dialect, 52.

Notre Dame University, 77, 215.

Oliphant, Laurence, 126.

Owen, David Dale, 126.

Owen, Richard, 127.

Owen, Robert, 99, 101, 103, 104, 110, 115, 121, 122, 123, 124, 131.

Owen, Robert Dale, 24, 76, 104, 111, 114, 124, 125.

Owen, William, 104, 128.

Paine, Dan L., 267.

Parker, Benj. S., 56, 249, 254, 265.

Parker, Theodore, 19.

Peabody, Rev. Ephraim, 248.

Pestalozzi, 102, 107.

Piatt, John James, 215, 246, 256, 258, 260.

Pioneers, books of, 38.

Poe, Edgar A., 261.

Poetry, characteristics of early Western, 244.

“Poor Whites,” 8, 44.

Posey, Thomas, 21.

Prentice, George D., 246, 247, 253.

Protestantism, phases of, in Indiana, 64.

Rabb, Kate Milner, 241.

Ralston, Alexander, 17.

Rapp, George, 98-101.

Rariden, James, 236.

Ray family, 18.

Reed, Peter Fishe, 249.

Reeves, Arthur M., 230.

Reid, Whitelaw, 185.

Richmond, 13.

Ridpath, John Clark, 233.

Riley, James Whitcomb, 27, 42, 49, 57, 133, 156-176, 217.

Riley, Reuben A., 157.

Ross, Morris, 273.

[277] Salem, 16, 17.

Say, Thomas, 104, 106, 115, 128.

Scotch-Irish, 7, 51, 65.

Sharpe family, 18.

Smith, Elizabeth Conwell (Willson), 257.

Smith, O. H., 31, 83, 236.

Smith, Roswell, 14.

Sorin, Father, 64.

Stein, Evaleen, 267, 270.

Stevenson, R. D., 243.

Stoddard, Charles Warren, 215.

Sulgrove, Berry, 15, 49, 181, 237.

Sullivan, Jeremiah, 17.

Swift, Lucius B., 26.

Tarkington, Booth, 217-221.

Taylor, Bayard, 19.

Taylor, Dr. H. W., 40, 58.

Teal, Angelina, 241.

Terre Haute, 14, 215.

Terrell, Rev. William, 140.

Test, John, 180, 236.

Thomas, Edith M., 159.

Thompson, Maurice, 27, 199-211, 270.

Thompson, Richard W., 14, 76, 83.

Thompson, Will H., 202, 211.

Thurston, Laura M., 252.

Todd, M. Genevieve, 268.

Troost, Gerard, 105, 106, 115.

Tuttle, Joseph F., 80.

Unitarians, in Ohio Valley, 248.

Upfold, Bishop, 63.

Venable, W. H., 249.

Very, Jones, 248.

Vevay, 89, 134.

Vickroy, Louise E., 249.

Vincennes, 5, 11.

Vincennes University, 72.

Voorhees, Daniel W., 15.

Wabash College, 77, 80, 88, 173, 211.

Wallace, David, 22, 76, 180, 236.

Wallace, General Lew, 22, 56, 180-199, 261.

Wallace, Mrs. Lew, 198.

Wallace, William Ross, 250.

Warren, Josiah, 129.

Wheatcrofts, at New Harmony, 132.

Whitcomb, Governor, 22.

Whitecaps, 43.

Whitwell, Stedman, 105.

Wickersham, James A., 222.

Willard, Governor, 22.

Williams, Charles R., 237, 242.

Williams, Henry M., 26.

Williams, James D., 20.

Williams, Jesse Lynch, 14.

Williams, W. R., 269.

Willson, Forceythe, 256-264.

Wilson, W. L., 243.

Wilstach, J. A., 241.

Woodlands, influence of on pioneers, 36.

Woods, Rev. Aaron, 33.

Woollen, William Wesley, 236.

Wright, Frances (D’Arusmont), 105, 124.

Wright, Joseph A., 22, 31.

Yandes family, 18.


Old Cambridge



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Brook Farm



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The Transcendental Club—Brook Farm—The School and Its Scholars—The Members—The Visitors—The Closing Period—Bibliography—Index

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[1] Dunn’s “Indiana,” p. 302 et seq.

[2] Preface to “The Hoosier Schoolmaster,” Library Edition.

[3] McCulloch’s “Men and Measures,” p. 78.

[4] Preface to “The Hoosier Schoolmaster,” Library Edition.

[5] “Old Virginia and Her Neighbors,” II, 320.

[6] Statistical Atlas, U. S. Census, 1890, p. 24.

[7] Smith’s “Early Indiana Trials,” p. 6.

[8] “History of Indianapolis and Marion County,” p. 72.

[9] “Early Indiana Trials,” p. 450.

[10] “Sketches,” p. 45.

[11] Woollen’s “Sketches,” p. 265.

[12] Banta’s “Johnson County,” p. 55.

[13] The Current, November, 1884.

[14] “The New Purchase,” p. 401.

[15] “Neighborly Poems,” p. 26.

[16] Report of W. A. Ketcham, attorney-general, 1897-8, p. 173.

[17] Fifth Edition, 1872, pp. 171-172.

[18] The Forum, Vol. 14, p. 465.

[19] Sulgrove, p. 90.

[20] “Dialect Notes,” Part VIII, p. 392.

[21] “The New Purchase,” p. 143.

[22] “Dialect Notes,” Part IV, p. 211.

[23] D before i or u does not become j in cultivated usage anywhere at the west. Personally, I have never heard Injiana within the State; but I have heard it from a Bostonian, a native of Maine, who had never lived outside of New England.

[24] “Souvenir of the Western Association of Writers,” 1891.

[25] “Indiana Methodism,” p. 317.

[26] Edson’s “Early Indiana Presbyterianism,” p. 171.

[27] Evans’s “Pioneer Preachers,” p. 43; Edson’s “Early Indiana Presbyterianism,” p. 40.

[28] Goodwin’s “Heroic Women of Indiana Methodism,” p. 9.

[29] Woodburn’s “Higher Education in Indiana,” p. 31.

[30] Woodburn, p. 75.

[31] In Dr. Hall’s narrative “Woodville,” “Spiceburg,” “Sugartown,” “Sproutsburg,” and “Timberopolis” are respectively Bloomington, Spencer, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, and Indianapolis. The author assumes the names “Carlton” and “Mr. Clarence.” “Cutswell” became Governor Whitcomb; “The Rev. James Hilsbury” is the Rev. Isaac Reed; “Dr. Bloduplex” is Dr. Wiley, and “Dr. Shrub” is the Rev. George Bush.

[32] Banta’s “History of Indiana University,” p. 44.

[33] Boone’s “History of Education in Indiana,” p. 87.

[34] “Caleb Mills and Indiana Common Schools,” Tuttle Miscellany, Vol. 38.

[35] Boone’s “Education in Indiana,” p. 87.

[36] Boone, supra, p. 104 et seq.

[37] In 1899 Indiana’s total school fund, exclusive of college endowment, was $10,312,000. The school revenue for that year, from all sources, was $6,534,300. The census of 1890 showed the per cent of illiterates (ten years of age and older) in Indiana to be 6.32; in Ohio 5.24; in Illinois 5.25; in Michigan 5.92. In Massachusetts it was 6.22; in New York 5.53; in New Jersey 6.50; in Pennsylvania 6.78.

[38] “Some Western Schoolmasters,” Scribner’s Magazine, Vol. 17, p. 747.

[39] Scribner’s, supra.

[40] One of the passengers on “the boat load of knowledge,” Victor Duclas, is still living (July, 1900) at New Harmony.

[41] The Forum, November, 1890.

[42] The Forum, supra.

[43] “War Papers,” Indiana Commandery, Loyal Legion, 1898.

[44] “Essays at Home and Elsewhere,” p. 211.

[45] “Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley,” by W. H. Venable, LL.D., p. 58 et seq.

[46] Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 35.

[47] Indianapolis News, March 2, 1895.


Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.