There are currently over 63,000 pages of historic Indiana newspapers available for free through the Chronicling of America website at the Library of Congress. You can find many great pieces of the past there. For instance, if you wanted to find out what happened 100 years ago today, you could check out the Jasper Weekly Courier for August 29, 1913. The Courier ran a column titled “Happenings in Indiana,” click on the image to the right, and go to the sixth column.
In 1825, Indiana state printer John Douglass relocated with the state capital from Corydon to Indianapolis, then a town with less than 1,000 residents. Douglass had previously published the short-lived Madison (IN) Western Clarion, and upon arriving in Indianapolis purchased a share of the Western Censor and Emigrants Guide. Douglass and his partner, Douglass Maguire, changed the name to the Indiana Journal, and produced their first issue on January 11, 1825. The anti-Jacksonian publishers advocated for government sponsored internal improvements and protective tariffs that would aid Indiana’s agricultural economy. These political positions led the Journal to align with the emerging Whig Party in the 1830s.
Beginning in 1839 the publishers increased and varied the Journal’spublication frequency based upon when the Indiana General Assembly convened; what had hitherto been a weekly edition, became semi-weekly, tri-weekly, and daily at different times from 1839-1851 to accommodate more state legislative news. In 1840, Douglass and his new partner, Samuel V. B. Noel, also issued a campaign newspaper, the Spirit of ’76, which supported former Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison’s Whig candidacy for President of the United States. After eighteen years operating the Journal, Douglass sold his interest to Noel in 1843. Noel only maintained sole ownership of the paper for two years, but during that time he changed the name of the paper to the Indiana State Journal, and he allowed Henry Ward Beecher to edit and issue the Indiana Farmer from the Journal’s presses.
John D. Defrees, former publisher of the Northwestern Pioneer and St. Joseph Intelligencer in South Bend, acquired the Journal in 1845 and operated it until 1854. Defrees continued the Journal as a Whig organ, and the paper’s editorials criticizing the Democratic administration’s conduct of the Mexican-American War echoed Whig rhetoric heard around the country. Defrees’s use of the Journal to spread Whig ideas made him an important Indiana political voice, and when the Whig Party collapsed in the early 1850s Defrees became an important leader in the fusionist movement that established the Republican Party in Indiana. Defrees also made several important changes to the Journal and Indiana journalism. He installed the city’s first steam driven printing press, expanded the page format from four to six columns, and introduced better quality illustrations. Defrees also conducted a fierce rivalry with the Democratic Indiana State Sentinel, and introduced Indianapolis’s first permanent daily, the Daily Indiana State Journal, one week before the Sentinel’s daily premieredin April 1851. The daily edition’s title changed to Indianapolis Morning Journal in 1853, the Indianapolis Daily Journal in 1854, and simply the Indianapolis Journal in 1867. The fledgling Indianapolis Locomotive, the brain-child of some Journal apprentices in 1845,demonstrated the reading public’s appetite for more local and society news. The Journal’s daily production schedule created room for local stories, and next day reporting.
One of the most important nineteenth-century Indiana journalists, Berry R. Sulgrove, joined the Journal in 1854 as editor. Sulgrove also wrote much local news copy. He acquired controlling interest in the Journal by 1856, and transitioned the Journal from Whig into the Republican camp. During the Civil War, Sulgrove penned strong Unionist editorials that supported the policies of President Abraham Lincoln and Governor Oliver P. Morton. During the war, the Journal’s daily circulation reached 6,000; for comparison the city’s pre-war population was 18,611.
Indiana had a bustling literary scene in the late 1800s, which was due in part to the Journal’s managing editor Elijah W. Halford’s advocacy and support of Hoosier authors. James Whitcomb Riley, the “Hoosier Poet,” greatly benefitted from Halford’s patronage. Riley published hundreds of poems and humor pieces in the Journal from 1877-1901, and also worked as a Journal reporter for few years.
In 1880, John C. New became Indiana’s Republican Party Chairman, and purchased the Journal. New’s greatest success as a political operative and a newspaper publisher was his advocacy of Benjamin Harrison for the Republican presidential nomination in 1888. New first suggested Harrison for president in 1884, and redoubled his efforts in 1888. He avidly promoted Harrison’s candidacy in Journal editorials, and distributed thousands of Journal issues among delegates at the Republican National Convention that subsequently nominated Harrison. The Journal’s role in Harrison’s nomination and subsequent election to the presidency elevated the newspaper’s national profile.
The increased profile, however, did not translate to better sales. In 1890, the Journal’s daily circulation of 8,263 was paltry compared to its competitors the Indianapolis News with 21,468 and the Sentinel with 15,800. In the late 1890s the Journal faced even more competition from yellow journalism that used sensational headlines to drive sales. The ever respectable Journal editors explained, “The Journal refuses to put itself on a level with the cheap papers flooding the country, and therefore appeals only to that class of reading public which wants the news presented in a decent and dignified manner.” The Journal managed to boost its daily circulation to a high in 1901 with 22,320, but in a city of 170,000 the News remained the leader with almost 50,000 daily issues in circulation. Three years later in June 1904, George McCulloch, publisher of the recently established Indianapolis Morning Star, purchased the Journal. McCulloch issued the paper as the Indianapolis Morning Star and Journal until October 26, 1904 when he dropped Journal from the title.
The following is a news release from the Library of Congress about new grant awards for the upcoming two years, including more Indiana newspapers! Historic newspapers slated to be added in the coming two years include more issues of the Indianapolis Journal and the Indiana Tribüne, that we were unable to incorporate during the first grant. In addition, the Western Sun, published in Vincennes, Indiana, will be included in the project. The Sun has a long history in Indiana; it has been in continuous publication, despite turnovers in ownership and name changes, since it was started on July 4, 1807.
NEH Announces $3.5 Million for 2013 NDNP Awards, including Participation by 4 New States and Territories
July 29, 2013
Recently the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced 14 awards totaling $3.5 million to institutions representing their states or territories in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). Three projects – sponsored by the Connecticut State Library; the Idaho State Historical Society; and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History – are new to the program this year. The University of Florida returns to NDNP, partnered with a new NDNP participant, the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, to digitize newspapers from both locations. Ten other institutions – University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Indiana State Library; Kansas State Historical Society; Louisiana State University Libraries; Montana Historical Society; State Historical Society of North Dakota; Oklahoma Historical Society; University of Oregon Libraries; University of South Carolina; and West Virginia University Research Corporation – have received continuing awards to contribute additional content to the program.
This funding will support the selection and digitization of historic American newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 by each participating state, according to NDNP technical guidelines. The Library of Congress (LC) will make these newspapers freely available through the Chronicling America Website (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) beginning in mid-2014. In all, 37 states and territories have participated in the program.
NDNP, a partnership between the NEH and the LC, is a long-term effort to provide an Internet-based, searchable database of all U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. The NEH grant program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories…. Read more about it!
In the midst of the fight for repeal of Free Silver coinage in 1893, Cleveland sought the advice of the White House doctor, Dr. O’Reilly, about soreness on the roof of his mouth and a crater-like edge ulcer with a granulated surface on the left side of Cleveland’s hard palate. Samples of the tumor were sent anonymously to the army medical museum. The diagnosis was not a malignantcancer, but instead an epithelioma.
Cleveland decided to have surgery secretly, to avoid further panic that might worsen the financial depression. The surgery occurred on July 1, to give Cleveland time to make a full recovery in time for the upcoming Congressional session. Under the guise of a vacation cruise, Cleveland and his surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bryant, left for New York. The surgeons operated aboard the Oneida, a yacht owned by Cleveland’s friend E. C. Benedict, as it sailed off Long Island. The surgery was conducted through the president’s mouth, to avoid any scars or other signs of surgery. The team, sedating Cleveland with nitrous oxide and ether, successfully removed parts of his upper left jaw and hard palate. The size of the tumor and the extent of the operation left Cleveland’s mouth disfigured. During another surgery, Cleveland was fitted with a hard rubber dental prosthesis that corrected his speech and restored his appearance. A cover story about the removal of two bad teeth kept the suspicious press placated. Even when a newspaper story appeared giving details of the actual operation, the participating surgeons discounted the severity of what transpired during Cleveland’s vacation. In 1917, one of the surgeons present on the Oneida,Dr. William W. Keen, wrote an article detailing the operation.
Cleveland enjoyed many years of life after the tumor was removed, and there was some debate as to whether it was actually malignant. Several doctors, including Dr. Keen, stated after Cleveland’s death that the tumor was a carcinoma. Other suggestions included ameloblastoma or a benign salivary mixed tumor (also known as a pleomorphic adenoma). In the 1980s, analysis of the specimen finally confirmed the tumor to be verrucous carcinoma, a low-grade epithelial cancer with a low potential for metastasis.
David C. Hennessy (1858 – October 16, 1890) was a police chief of New Orleans, Louisiana. His assassination in 1890 led to a sensational trial. A group of not guilty verdicts shocked the nation, and an enormous mob formed outside the prison the next day. The prison doors were forced open and 11 of 19 Italian men who had been indicted for Hennessy’s murder were lynched. The leaders of the mob justified the lynching by claiming the jury had been bribed, but only six of those lynched had been put on trial. In addition to the 11 lynch victims, five prisoners were severely wounded in the attack and died soon afterwards. Charles Mantranga, believed to be a ringleader, survived. A grand jury investigated and cleared those involved in the lynching. The word “Mafia” entered U.S. popular usage due to newspaper coverage of the trial and lynchings. The U.S. government paid a $25,000 indemnity to Italy to repair and restore broken relations due to the anti-Italian sentiment raging across America. The lynchings were the subject of the 1999 made-for-TV movie Vendetta, starring Christopher Walken.
Although the donkey is used as a symbol of the U.S. Democratic Party, it has never been officially adopted. The rooster, however, was. The story begins in 1840, when the famous “Log Cabin Campaign” occurred.
It must be said that the donkey did come first. In 1828, Democrat Andrew Jackson was ridiculed and called a “jackass” by the supporters of John Quincy Adams during the heated presidential campaign. However, it wasn’t used until 1870 when Thomas Nast used it as a symbol for the Democratic Party. And it has been widely recognized as the party’s unofficial symbol since that time.
Now for the rooster. The origin of the rooster as the emblem of the Democratic Party was in Greenfield, Indiana. Joseph Chapman, a native of Greenfield, a Jacksonian Democrat, and a state legislator, was an acclaimed orator and derided by the opposition Whigs for his “crowing.” During his campaign for a seat in the lower house of the Indiana State Legislature, the Whigs’ critical “Crow, Chapman, Crow!” was seized by the Democrats and used in support of their candidate and Chapman won, despite the Whigs’ nationwide victory that year. Indiana Democrats, followed by the national party, soon chose the rooster as their symbol, and Chapman was hereafter known as “Crowing Joe Chapman.”
Samuel M. Ralston, Indiana: Governor, Senator, endorsed by the KKK and the front runner expected to be the next Democratic presidential nominee for the 1924 elections.
Confederate Civil War ‘Dancing Circus Horse’
Samuel Moffett Ralston
(December 1, 1857 – October 14, 1925) was a Democratic politician, the 28th Governor of and a United States Senator from the U.S. state of Indiana. Born into a large impoverished family, he took many jobs as a child including working in a coal mine. He taught school and studied law, becoming a prominent state lawyer.
He became active in his local politics and eventually secured the Democratic nomination for governor. Because he served during the state’s 100th anniversary he is sometimes called the Indiana’s Centennial Governor. He was responsible for implementing many progressive era reforms in the state and putting down a violent riot in Indianapolis. He gained the support of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan for his anti-Catholic political positions, and with their support was elected to the United States Senate in 1922. He had become popular among the national Democratic party as the front-runner for the Presidential nomination in 1924, but he dropped out of the race because of his failing health.
Ralston campaigned for the United States Senate beginning in 1922. Because of his friendly relationship with the Indiana branch of the Ku Klux Klan, he was able to get their endorsement. Ralston delivered a speech at St. Mary’s of the Woods where he condemned religious interference with the state. The Klan’s primary goals at the time were to remove all Catholic influence from the government and public schools, and to shut down Catholic private schools. His speech earned him considerable popularity among the group who said he “was not afraid to tell off the papists to their faces.”
The Klan was one of the most influential groups within the state at the time, and they reprinted his speech and circulated it. Their support of Ralston was one of their most forceful attempts to have a candidate elected in Indiana, as they feared the Republican candidate who had publicly condemned the organization. The Klan fell apart in 1926—the year after Ralston’s death—after a scandal, revealing that the majority of Indiana’s politicians, including Ralston, had ties to the Klan.
Ralston won election to the United States Senator from Indiana defeating Albert Beveridge in November 1922. The New York Times ran a lengthy story on his wife, referring to her as a “Chicken Farmer” because she was reluctant to move to Washington D.C., she did not want to leave her chickens unattended. He took up his Senate seat on March 4, 1923. In the senate he advocated the adoption of the Melon Tax Plan, which was effectively a wealth redistribution plan.
In 1924 he was the front runner and expected to be the Democratic presidential nominee, but for reasons that were unknown at the time, he dropped out of the race just before the national convention. He later revealed that due to his failing health he did not believe he was fit to become President. His steadily worsening health lead to his death on October 14, 1925, he died in his home near Indianapolis. He was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon.
A Circus Horse in Battle.
Colonel Charles Marshall, who was aid-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee and who went through the battles of the war with his chief told the following amusing story of his experience with a new horse: His old horse had been shot from under him in the fight of the previous day, and he had taken possession of an animal that seemed to suit the work. In the battle a few hours later he was riding across a field in which there were numerous stumps.
Suddenly the performance opened. The guns roared, and the air was filled with smoke and noise. Before Colonel Marshall knew what was happening the horse had his four feet on one of the stumps and was gaily dancing in a circle. In the meantime the firing was increasing, and the situation was anything but comfortable. But the horse kept on as if he were enjoying it.
“It was not until afterward,” said Colonel Marshall, “that I found the horse had belonged to a circus and had been trained to do this act amid the firing of cannon.”
Lt. Col. Charles Marshall
He was a personal aide to General Lee during the Appomattox Campaign, was born in Warrenton, Virginia in 1831. He was the great-grand nephew John M. Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1801-1835). Charles Marshall himself studied law but resigned from his Baltimore law firm after the war began. He joined Lee’s staff as an aide-de-camp in March 1862 when Lee was advisor to President Davis. Marshall’s legal training proved useful in drafting military legislation for submission to the Confederate Congress.
After Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, Marshall’s duties included preparing drafts of Lee’s dispatches. It was Marshall who penned Lee’s first response to Grant’s proposed terms for surrender. His letter requested the interview for that purpose.
Initially General Lee asked Colonels Marshall and Taylor to accompany him to the conference with Grant but Taylor declined. Consequently, with Lee for the meeting were Marshall, orderly Pvt. Joshua Johns, and members of Grant’s staff Col. Babcock and his orderly Capt. William Dunn. Upon reaching the outskirts of the village, Marshall and Johns road ahead to find a suitable place for the meeting. The first white citizen they encountered was Wilmer McLean.
At some point after the surrender meeting Lee directed Marshall to write a farewell letter to his army. Interrupted constantly, Marshall finally moved to General Lee’s ambulance to complete the historic task on the morning of April 10th.