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I volunteer at the Indiana State Archives

An Indianapolis Eulogy For Abraham Lincoln


Marion County Circuit Court Book 21


Monday April 17 AD 1865 and 19″ Day of the Term

Monday morning at the hour of Nine oclock on the 17″ day of April 1865, Court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present the Hon Fabius M. Finch Judge

Death of Abraham Lincoln

On motion of Hon. James Morrison. It is ordered by the committee appointed at the meeting of the Indianapolis Bar on the occasion of the death of Abraham Lincoln, be entered on the records of this Court which is done in the words following to wit:

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States on the evening of the 14″ day of April 1865 is an event so shocking and deplorable as to fill the heart of every citizen worthy of his birthright, with the keenest anguish on this dreadful tragedy acted almost in the face of the nation, in circumstance of horror seems wanting. After a long season of gloom, the fruit of a desperate intestine war, the public heart was beating high with hope, as the triumph of our arms, the fall of the rebel capital, and the surrender of the rebel’s military leader, with his army, promised the speedy return of union and peace. The nation was elate with joy. The President not only shared these universal sentiments of delight, but was devoting his thoughts to confirm the public joy by measures that should insure the rapid pacification of the country with as little bloodshed or misery or individual wretchedness as possible. A day of general thanksgiving had been fixed – a day on which the nation was invited to praise God, the universal Father: to praise him in the spirit of worshippers who look on all men as brethren: to praise him without exulting over our enemies, but with prayers for their repentance and return to a true allegiance. At this auspicious moment, when the clouds are flying, and on their retreating folds the cheering colors of the rainbow gather, the hand of the assassin is bared, the people’s leader falls dumb in death and the Republic sinks under all the bitterness of our overwhelming sorrow.

The mode of the President’s death intensifies our anguish. Never before in this country has the pistol or the dagger of the assassin been employed to put out of the way a great public magistrate.


Monday April 17″ AD 1865 and the 19″ Day of the term

How twice in the same night a hideous spectacle, recalling the implacable hatred of darker ages, when we can discover the figures of Revaillac [“a French Catholic zealot who assassinated King Henry IV of France in 1610″ – Wikipedia] and Balthazar, is brought before our eyes in this the 19” century, in the midst of institutions that place power in the hands chosen by the public voice, in the capital founded by Washington the assassin appears and by his pistol shot, slaughtered the Chief Magistrate, by the side of his wife, in a scene of public festivity: while elsewhere in the same city around the bed of the Minister of State, prostrated by recent injuries, a crowd of assassinations cluster and culminate  in the effort to destroy his life. It is in the midst of such a complication of horrors that the political assassin first darkens our public reputation and casts our immovable shadow upon the pages of the future Bancroft or Prescott or Motley, who shall paint the closing scene of Mr. Lincoln’s career. We must take our share of the general shame that pours its bitter current of our cup of grief, shows that from our race and blood such monsters of crime and cowardice could spring!

The public sorrow deepens as we call to mind the character and services of the President. His reputation is with not a blemish. Pure and honest. Kind, strong and generous he stood before his country and the world, an example of inardent manliness and Republican simplicity. “A soul supreme in each hard instance tried. Above all pain, all passion and all pride. The rage of power, the blasts of public breath. The lust of lucre and the dread of death.”

His genial nature, his great heart full of tenderness and sympathy, his boundless charity for the faults of enemies as well as of friends: his unfailing good sense displayed in forms of reasoning and modes of expression entirely his own perfectly adapted to touch the Judgements and control the actions of plain men. Men were conspicuous in the high place he advanced, and have made his name a word of honor and love wherever it is breathed. The men of this generation can never estimate the value of his public labors. The work is so stupendous that at a near view we cannot see its vast proportions: time and distance will present to the eyes of another generation the symmetry and splendor of his administration.


Monday April 17″ AD 1865 and 19″ Day of the Term

We can see him displaying wonderful abilities, readiness in resources, a steady cheerfulness under the pressure of vast responsibilities, in the darkness of disaster, amidst the clamour of his own partizans, and when treason weaved its subtle web, under the dome of the Capitol and in the offices of every department he moved serene and unshaken, his clue through the mazes of danger and difficulty – devotion to principle : his support and consolation – a trust in the Providence of Almighty God – in truth he had

“Borne his difficulties so meek hath been

So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels, trumpet tounged, against

The deep damnation of his taking off.”

At a great national crisis when an exhausting war seems about to close in a series of victories: when the war of opinion seems about to be renewed, and policies are to be discussed and delicate questions must be settled before peace and union are permanent and universal, the Country looked to Mr. Lincoln with unshaken confidence in his sagacity and moderation. The Moses who stood on the top of Pisgah had indeed brought us through the wilderness, and his clear eye in the near distance the inviting land stretched out, where the missions of coming generations are to live prosperous, happy and glorious with one country and one destiny. How ardently we hoped he might lead us to our rest: how bitterly we mourn him dead, none but God can know.

O friends our chief state oracle is mute.

Mourn for the man of long enduring blood,

The statesman moderate resolute –

Whole in himself a common good.

Mourn for the man of amplest influence,

Get clearest of ambitious crime:

Our greatest yet of with least pretense,

Rich in saving common sense,

And as the greatest only ave,

In his simplicity sublime.

And there upon, on motion, Court adjourned until next Monday morning at Nine oclock. Read and signed,

T. M. Finch20190127_193843425261280.jpg

While this eulogy upon the assassination of President Lincoln is not as poetic as Walt Whitman’s famous poem “O Captain! My Captain!”, it shows heartfelt shock and sorrow three days after Lincoln’s death. Also, the mastery by the eulogy’s author of the character and importance of Abraham Lincoln’s guidance of the  United States through the Civil War is impressive; as well as his prophetic lament for the loss of Lincoln’s guidance after the War. Finch and his family moved to Indianapolis in 1859 after many years working as a lawyer and judge in Franklin, Indiana. I think he was chosen by his peers to write Lincoln’s eulogy because they knew he had a deep interest in literature, he was a published poet and a strong anti-slavery Republican with two sons in the U.S. Army.

Hon. James Morrison


Hon. James Morrison, who motioned that the Indianapolis Bar record a eulogy of Lincoln, was a prominent Indianapolis Democrat lawyer and judge who was not pro-slavery. He immigrated from Scotland with his parents,  and was an early Indianapolis settler who enjoyed his Havana cigars and fishing on the banks of the White river and Fall Creek.

This was a bi-partisan support for remembering President Lincoln’s unique greatness during tumultuous times; and they both knew his wise counsel and leadership would be sorely missed by the Nation. “How bitterly we mourn him dead”.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, an Indiana State Archives volunteer










Indiana World War Memorial



Barb Wood, the coordinator of the Friends of the Indiana State Archives and a long-time volunteer at the Archives, for several months processed the paperwork of the Indiana World War Memorial located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The paperwork consists of numerous plans and notes made by the Cleveland, Ohio architectural firm of Walker and Weeks, and are contained in 132 boxes and several roles. The paperwork dates from the early 1920s to the early 1930s.


Even though most of the exterior of the Memorial building had been finished by the time General John Pershing laid its corner stone in 1927, construction of its beautiful interior continued through the early 1930s.


The 132 boxes contain numerous artistic, detailed, hand-drawn plans for the exterior and interior of the Memorial structure and for the layout of the War Memorial Plaza. There are also many hand-written notes and instructions made by the firm’s architects, besides invoices for the material used and the work done.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, and Indiana State Archives volunteer



A Bounty For Wolf Scalps in Early Indianapolis/Marion County, Indiana

Indianapolis, the capitol city of Indiana, was surveyed and designed in 1821 by Alexander Ralston, and Marion County was established on December 31, 1821.

The early Indianapolis/Marion County Indiana Commissioner Record books contain a detailed history of the county as recorded by the county commissioner. An interesting reference was a local law that a bounty would be paid to anyone who brought in a wolf’s scalp from a wolf killed in Marion County.


“September Session 1827, Ordered by the Board that the holder of any certificate for a grown wolf killed in the County under the law, approved Jan. 27, 1827 receive from the Clerk also an order on the County Treasury for one dollar for a grown wolf and for fifty cents for each one under six months old.”

This Order was amended in 1834 to say that a wolf’s scalp should be brought in to receive the bounty:


“It is ordered that for each wolf Scalp taken from a wolf hereafter killed, and which have heretofore been killed in this county and duly proved according to law and which have not been been paid for[,] an allowance of one dollar on each wolf over six months old, and on each wolf under six months old fifty cents is hereby allowed payable out of the County Treasury of this Board issue orders on the County Treasury to any person or persons producing said Scalps – and that the County Treasurer receive said orders as in any other case – and that the order heretofore made prohibiting such order be and the same is hereby repealed.”

It clumsily sounds like there was some confusion about how a hunter was to prove that he killed a wolf in Marion County to receive the bounty. So, the hunter was to bring in the wolf’s scalp. But, how prove that the wolf was over or under six months old?

Anyway, in 1840:


“Allowed Elias C. Baldwin for a wolf scalp taken from a wolf killed by him in Marion County & duly proved before the Clerk, on December 14, 1839 the sum of one dollar payable out of the County Treasury.”

There is also a list of men who were paid the bounty, available at the Indiana State Archives.

This bounty to kill wolves in Indianapolis/Marion County clearly shows that Indianapolis was literally planned and built in the midst of a forest.

A painting of Indianapolis in 1820:20181212_133210270289412.jpg


Side note: early on the County paid to have a pen built around the sheep that were grazing on the State House grounds. I wonder if wolves were sneaking into the Capitol’s settlement and killing the County’s sheep.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, an Indiana State Archives volunteer



Gene Stratton-Porter’s Company

Kendallville Broom and Brush Company, incorporated from 1914 to 1926.

The object of this company was to manufacture brooms and brushes in the town of Kendallville, Indiana. This company was started by Gene Stratton-Porter, a very popular novelist and naturalist from northern Indiana in the early 20th century. There are copies of the incorporation papers, amendment papers and annual reports for the company in this file. The first papers are the Articles of Incorporation filed on May 14, 1914. It is interesting that her husband, Charles D. Porter, did not sign on as a director at the inception of the company as he did in the subsequent years.

There are various annual reports signed by the directors from 1914 to 1926. Besides the Porters the directors were Gertrude Lay Sumption and her husband Rinaldo Sumption, Wells S. Murphy, and John E. Jellison. Rinaldo Sumption was listed in the 1910 Federal Census as a General Merchant and Gertrude had no listed occupation. Wells S. Murphy was listed in the 1910 Federal Census as a Railroad Yard Marker in Cadillac, Michigan, and was listed as a manufacturer of brooms in Kendallville in the copy of his WWI registration. He was also the company’s secretary. John E. Jellison was listed as a laborer in the 1910 Federal Census, and was listed as manager of the broom company in 1920. Gene was listed as a writer of fiction in the 1920 Federal Census, and her husband as a bank manager in Rome City.

The Amendment papers for the company on January 20, 1921 increased its Capital Stock from $15,000 to $100,000. By that time the Porters had moved to California, where these papers were signed. Its interesting that all of the company’s directors had also moved to California by then. Gene was involved in producing films of her novels while in California, but was killed in an auto accident in December of 1924.

The last set of papers in this file is the Corporation Report of 1926. It looks like some investors from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania had bought the broom and brush company by then. Arthur A. Auer of Kendallville, Indiana is listed as the Vice-President of the company. Auer’s occupation listed on his death certificate in 1967 was as a manufacurer of brooms and brushes in Kendallville, so maybe the company started by Gene Stratton-Porter stayed in business in Kendallville for many years after she died.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, an Indiana State Archives volunteer

Mono-Wing Aircraft Corp. or Arup Inc.

In 1926 Dr. Cloyd L. Snyder, a podiatrist from South Bend, Indiana, supposedly got the idea for a single-wing aircraft after noticing the shape and gliding ability of a shoe’s heel lift. So, with the help of others he developed a mono-wing glider which was successfully piloted in 1932 by Glen Doolittle, cousin of the well-known pilot Jimmy Doolittle.


Raul Hoffman, an experienced aircraft engineer, then added a motorcycle motor and stronger landing gear to the glider, which was successfully tested in 1933 by Glen Doolittle. They designated this single-wing aircraft the Arup S-2 for its quick take-off ability, or Air & Up.


“The purpose or purposes for which it is formed are as follows:

  1. To engage or become engaged generally in the manufacture and sale of aeroplanes, dirigibles, and all other types of flying craft and all parts and accessories thereof including gas bags and balloons.
  2. To manufacture, purchase, lease or otherwise acquire and/or  sell, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of any and all kinds of flying machines or motors; to export or import the same and to carry on any trade or business incidental thereto or connected therewith.
  3. To apply for, purchase or otherwise acquire, hold, own, use, operate, sell, assign or grant or conduct licenses in respect to any and all inventions, improvements and processes used in connection with or secure under letters patent of the United States or elsewhere in the whole world.”20181203_19563288407807.jpg

The 1932 investors in this unusual airplane were all South Bend, Indiana, residents. Francis J.Vurpillat was a doctor, Roland W. Goheen a banker, Forbes A. Hurcomb an automobile engineer, Otto H. Collmer, Jr. a tool maker shop owner, Harold A. McCollough a life insurance agent, Paul O.Kuehn a shoe store merchant and J. Clifford Potts an attorney. I couldn’t find anything about H. L. Stuart.

20181203_135622_001331476601.jpgPhoto from “365 Aircraft You Must Fly” by Robert F. Dorr

The Arup S-2 was shown off at events like the Indianapolis 500, the 1933 National Air Races, and for the Army, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

Strangely enough, a modified version called the Arup S-3 was destroyed by arson. A re-engineered version, the Arup S-4, was built on a tight budget and again successfully tested by Glen Doolittle in 1935.


This new and improved model could not be sold to aircraft companies during the Depression. It was mainly flown to advertise the Sears & Roebuck Co., and then was grounded and abandoned during WWII.

Dr. Snyder’s mono-wing airplane was significant as a bold experiment. It later influenced the radical aeronautic designs of Charles H. Zimmerman who interested the U.S. Navy after WWII in his quick take-off mono-wing airplane. But his creative concepts were cancelled with the development of jet aircraft.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, an Indiana State Archives volunteer


Anderson Amusement Corporation, owner of the Anderson, Indiana Paramount Theatre




Anderson Amusement Corporation owned the Anderson Paramount Theatre located at 1129 Meridian Street, Anderson, Indiana; Anderson Amusement was incorporated from September 15, 1933 to 1946. The directors were Isaac R. Holycross, Claribelle Holycross, Neil M. McCullough, and Harry W. VanNoy.



Isaac R. Holycross had been a printing press manager and an oil salesman before he got into the real estate  and theatre businesses; Claribelle was his wife. Harry W. VanNoy was a messenger and then the manager of the Western Union Telegraph office in New Castle, Indiana. He also got into the real estate business and then became the manager and part owner of the Anderson Paramount Theatre. Neil M. McCullough was the president of the Citizens Bank in Anderson, and was also an owner of the Riviera Theatre across the street from the Paramount.

The Anderson Paramount Theatre was originally owned by the Publix chain of theaters, a division of Paramount Pictures. It was designed by architect John Eberson, a famous designer of impressive theaters across the United States. According to the Wikipedia article about the Anderson Paramount Theatre, it “is an atmospheric theatre (an architectural style that gave the appearance of an open star-filled sky) and is one of the twelve atmospheric theatres left standing in the United States and Canada. The auditorium was decorated in the style of a Spanish village.” The theatre opened on August 29, 1929, but closed on June 1, 1930 due to the Depression. Anderson Amusement Corporation probably bought the theatre from Publix and reopened it on December 27, 1931.

Anderson Amusement gave up ownership of the theatre in 1946, after which different owners let the structure slowly deteriorate. The Anderson Paramount Theatre was beautifully restored by community interests and reopened in 1995.

by Robert F. Gilyeat, an Indiana State Archives volunteer