of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

Story of Two Chairs

By the late Robert F. Lancaster
from files of Whitley County Historical Society and
reprinted with permission of the
POST & MAIL Columbia, City, Indiana

This is a story of two chairs.
One is a common, old-fashioned bent hickory rocker used for many years in Columbia City. The other was a massive and impressive looking, throne -like presiding officer's chair in Washington, D.C.  One was liked and used. The other was disliked and refused. Both concern Thomas Riley Marshall, born years ago on March 12, 1854 in North Manchester.

The old hickory rocker (pictured here) was the one that Tom Marshall and his law partners, William McNagny and Philemon Clugston, used in their law office on the second floor above the old Flox Store, now the Estlick Girvin and Lefever Insurance Agency diagonally northwest across the street from the Whitley County Courthouse.

The comfy, old rocker has a vacant, deserted look, but it's easy to visualize jovial Tom Marshall sitting in it, encircled in a cloud of smoke from "a really good five-cent cigar" and humorously telling a tale to an attentive listener.

This rocker was one of the most interesting articles on display for many years in the relic room down the hall from the courtroom on the third floor of the Whitley County courthouse. It was in this courtroom that the three members of the noted law firm appeared in many court cases in years gone by.

Records reveal that Marshall was admitted to the Whitley County bar in 1875, when he was 21, and for the next 33 years grew in professional stature until 1908, when he was elected 17th governor of Indiana.


The story of the massive chair there that Marshall disliked and refused to use is worth repeating to an older generation who may have heard and forgotten this "Marshall Story" and to younger readers who likely are not familiar with Marshall anecdotes. There are many good stories concerning this witty, humorous Hoosier that should be kept alive by the retelling of them.

Back in March 1913, just after Marshall became vice president and, as such, the Senate's presiding officer, on the rostrum he found that the huge chair in which he was supposed to sit was ill-fitting and much too large for him. He was lean and wiry, small in stature and weighed only about 130 pounds. He had the sergeant-at-arms remove this chair and replace it with a smaller one more suitable for his figure.

Senator Augustus O. Bacon of Georgia was then the chairman of a committee that had charge of the furnishings in the senate chamber. He was a large, dignified man and, had he worn a toga, would have resembled an old Roman senator. The chair would have been ideal for a man of his size, disposition and inclinations. He was a firm stickler for senate traditions and established precedents, and he disliked changes.

Marshall had the exchange of chairs made without consulting Senator Bacon, who was greatly displeased and irritated when he discovered what he called "a dinky little thing" in place of the regular vice president's "throne".

Resenting having had his authority ignored, he went to Marshall and, with a flushed face evidencing his extreme displeasure, rebuked the vice president for ordering the exchange of chairs without his consent.

Marshall, puffing away as usual on a cigar, and with eye twinkling merrily sat contentedly in the "dinky chair" and smilingly answered the reprimand.

"Now see here, Bacon," he drawled in his inimitable homespun Hoosier manner, "the people of the United States elected me vice president without ever seeing me or that big chair. I expect in the next four years to have to sit here in the senate chamber, "the cave of the winds." and listen to many long- winded speeches which you and other senators will deliver. I'll tell you right now that I am not going to have any additional punishment inflicted upon me by having to sit hour after hour, day in and day out, week after week, month after month in that big chair that I had removed. It was uncomfortable, much too big for me, and had me perched up so high that my feet dangled in the air as my legs were too short to reach the floor. Dignity or no dignity, I won't sit in it. No, not if I shatter every tradition of the honorable senate!"

That ended the chair affair. Marshall spent not only four but eight years sitting in a chair of his own choosing from 1913 until his two terms ended in 1921.

A little more about Marshall's old hickory law office rocker. My understanding is that its preservation is due to Rob R. and Phil M. McNagy, both attorneys and sons of Marshall's law partner. For several years the chair was on display in the Fort Wayne-Allen County Museum but was brought back to Columbia City and placed, where it more properly belongs, in Whitley County's relic room and later Whitley County Museum at 109 West Jefferson Street.

The Marshall era is long over, but memories linger on of this noted couple which almost reached the White House when Woodrow Wilson was so critically stricken, partially paralyzed and near death back in 1919.

Thomas Marshall died in Washington, D. C., on June l, 1925. Mrs. Lois K. Marshall, his widow, lived to be 85, and died in Arizona on January 6, 1958. Each year there are fewer people around who knew them personally or even ever saw them.

North Manchester, Once Upon a Time
by Shirley Wilcox N. Manchester, IN

When I saw by the newspaper that Harry Wible was dead, it made me sad, though I hardly knew the man.

Perhaps because it signaled the end of an era; perhaps because in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else in an edge-of-consciousness way, Harry represented the final vestige of something we are never going to see again.

When Main Street was an assortment of honest, ugly storefronts that no one had yet tried to 'restore' into a harmonious whole, downtown was the place you went for shoes, a new suit, groceries, to find a dentist or doctor or banker, and to pay your electric bill. The ill-matched buildings may not have been aesthetically pleasing, but no one cared whether or not they were scenic as long as they were serviceable and sturdy - and sturdy they were.

Wible's being the sole (sorry!) shoe store, you went there in September for school shoes. Harry himself might wait on you, or one of his dependable clerks, and they made sure the shoe fit with reasonable toe space for room to grow: You could wear the same pair of shoes the entire school year and no nonsense about it. For new gym shoes or shoes to wear on Sunday, they brought out colors - white, black, brown - and style until you found a pair that suited you of a price that suited your mother, the latter taking precedence. And if the fit turned out not to be quite right, or the shoe revealed a flaw the first week or two, you returned it and Wible's made it right. That was the way things were then.

Next door at the Ritz and Marshall, you could see a movie for a quarter, and further on was Oppenheim's. Ike and Ben Oppenheim, though they seemed a million years old, were first to their store in the morning, last to leave at 5:30 in the afternoon. Ike, slender and coldly aristocratic-looking, was usually occupied in the upper office, but Ben, plump, with a shiny bald head and chewing a big cigar, was likely to pop up anywhere. He sold overalls in the back of the building, or waited on you in the lingerie department (embarrassing a poor girl to death; I much preferred Nettie Fern Comer). Neither Ike nor Ben ever seemed to take vacations. Perhaps they never needed them, for they lived and breathed business.

Across the street, Brady, once a clerk at Oppenheims, had his men's clothing store. Everyone in town knew and liked Brady. When buyers presented their new line of Hart, Schaffner and Marx's men's furnishings, Brady did not simply fill the racks of his store. He chose this suit with Ad Urschel in mind, and that one for Doc Hornaday, and then he proceeded to sell Ad and Doc (and others) exactly what he had in mind for them.

Oppenheims, Brady, Wible, and all the merchants up and down Main Street, banked at the Indiana Lawrence bank presided over by Ad Urschel. Ad's son and heir presumptive worked there too, but Mildred Heeter, canny and imperturbable, had more than a small share in the bank's prosperous standing. Had she been a man, Mildred surely would have been bank president when Ad stepped down, but in those days, women in small towns just did not head up banks (nor do they now). Mildred never got above vice-president - a high office in those days for a woman.

Around the corner, Ace Hardware was a different story. Ivan Little's attractive daughter worked by his side and inherited the business. Under Mary Louise's capable hand, with her dour cousin Higgins as handy man, the business prospered as much as - or perhaps even more - than in Ivan's day. Busy as she was, Mary Louise Little managed to exude good will, a gracious friend to all. To me, she was a romantic figure, for it was rumored that she carried a heart bruised by a faithless sweetheart. Who knows - she may have been relieved, but I never thought of that then!

Her rival in business also prospered, though Urschel's did not confine its trade to hardware, but sold congoleum, 'dry goods', a smattering of work clothing and practical dresses.

When you bought, the charge slip and your money went zinging to a dim back balcony where an office girl recorded the sale and sent your change back down the humming wires. Later, this charming system was discarded for more efficient cash registers placed at intervals on the long, scarred counters.

Thread was kept in wide, shallow drawers and fabric shelved in gaudy bolts behind the counter. Owner Lew Urschel wandered about, peering over his clerk's shoulder during a transaction. Like the employees at Oppenheim's and Wible's, Lew's help had been there forever.

It was common knowledge that certain of the Main Street merchants had a weekly poker session. Brady usually came out to the good. A certain store was supposed to have temporarily changed hands at one game, but if so, the surface on Main Street remained unruffled - business as usual.
On the corner of Walnut Street, Gresso's favorite inducement to grocery customers was bananas, six pounds for a quarter, the fruit to be cut from a five-foot cluster hung in one corner.

When two young, aggressive brothers moved in from their father's successful market in neighboring South Whitley, they expanded Gresso's grocery from basement to first floor, and later built a supermarket at the edge of town. Some predicted that Snyder's IGA would never make it way out there, that stodgy Kroger's still on Main Street, would swallow up all the trade. It was Kroger's however, that died, and Main Street as well.

A couple of smaller markets continued to offer personal service on Main Street - Lautzenhizer's, Faurote's. All of them bought milk, cream and butter from the local dairies. There were two - spotless and sweet- smelling: Manchester Creamery perched on the edge of the riverbank and perpetual insolvency, and Shively's. Bill Shively and his wife may have been sharper at trade, but were nowhere as universally known and liked as Roy Rice.

Main Street had two dentists. Dr. Damron later turned from plotting dental charts to platting lots at Sunset Acres north of town. Easy-going Doc Hornaday always held bitewings in place. No one knew the dangers of X-ray, and eventually Doc forfeited his index finger.

Toward the end of Main Street's business section were the offices of Dr. Cook and Dr. Balsbaugh. As boys, they were supposed to have played together on the town's near-championship ball team - the one that almost made it to the state finals. General practitioners, their style is unheard of today. They would answer the phone at night, make housecalls if it seemed really necessary and they saw patients directly, not being shielded behind a platoon of office staff. Each managed with a single office girl often called 'nurse' but not necessarily one, in those pre-insurance paperwork times.

Their fees were in touch with those non-prosperous times, and though no doubt each had his share of unpaid accounts, neither seemed to find it appropriate to sue for collections.

Mike's gas station sat on another corner. A semi-circular glass front allowed Mike to see customers driving in from either direction, and there always seemed to be a few kids hanging around the pop cooler and candy supply. Mike was their special friend, and though his eyes had a twinkle and he knew as many jokes as anyone around kids knew better than to use bad language at Mike's.

Kids who were "in" - and who had a bit of money to spend -were across the street at Belsito's. Pete Belsito and his nephew, Louie Longo, dark and Italian, made the best sundaes in town. Every afternoon the polished wood booths overflowed and they were packed deep after ball games. Pete and Louie and Louie's wife Lex could whomp up a mean toastie cheese, but mostly they served lemon, lime and cherry cokes, black cows and sodas to the thumping rhythm of a jukebox turned up loud.

Louie knew every kid that crossed his threshold - and his brother, sister and probably cousins as well. After 40 years, sometimes he can be seen, standing between window displays of delectable homemade candies, watching passersby, most of whom he can still identify.

Each Saturday night at 6:00 p.m., Hall's drugstore rolled out a big popcorn machine, and people strolled along Main Street munching the 10 cent bags of popcorn.

Along the outside wall of Landis' corner, a clanging iron stairs led to upper rooms that sporadically - whenever town fathers were prodded into 'doing something for the kids' - held teen canteens. The effort was usually short- lived and unappreciated.

There was also Lavy's jewelry shop from which the best graduation gifts came. A big dime store. Weimer's locker plant.

All by himself, Paul Hathaway was the law. Marshall Hathaway could be seen patrolling Main Street's sidewalks most any hour, looking official enough that boys and girls walked straighter past him. I never saw him patrolling in a car.

Harry Wible must have been quite a young man when he joined this Main Street ring of entrepreneurs, and he was the last of them to go (except for Louie). Part of an era.

I miss them all.

The Mighty Teays  

by Ferne Baldwin

John Muir said in "Sierra Fragments" (1872) "Glaciers make the deepest mark of any eroding agent, and write their histories in inerasable lines." During the Pleistocene Epoch glacial ice moved into Indiana at least three times and perhaps many times. At the maximum, five-sixths of the state was glaciated. In these ancient times before the Ohio River or the Great Lakes came into being, the great Teays River system drained much of what is now the east- central United States. The Teays entered what is now Indiana in southern Adams County and flowed across northern Jay county into Blackford County and then through Grant and Wabash counties.

The origins of this sytem were in western North Carolina and it flowed northward across Virginia and West Virginia, turned westward to Scioto County, Ohio, then generally northward across Ohio. Some scholars argue that it continued to flow into what is now Lake Erie but the majority opinion is that it turned westward into Indiana, continued into Illinois, turning sharply southward in west Illinois to what was then the Gulf of Mexico near the southern tip of Illinois.

The river varied from one to two miles wide and up to 500 feet deep. What is called the "deep stage" was more than 300 feet below the upland in Wabash County. About two million years ago as the glaciers of the Pleistocene Ice Age came across Indiana they filled the Teays with the great load of accumulated sand, gravel and rocks pushed before them. Much of the character of the landscape of Northern Indiana today arises from this glacial activity.

About 13000 years ago the development of the Great Lakes was underway but it was not until about ll,000 years ago that these lakes had reached something near their current contours. Some other lakes developed in Ohio and Indiana if there was not easy exit for the meltwater as the glaciers melted. The largest of these, Lake Tight, named in honor of the work of W.G. Tight, is estimated to have covered an area of nearly 7,000 sq. miles in southern Ohio and part of West Virginia and Kentucky. From an examination of the sediments accumulated scientists have concluded that it existed for at least 6,500 years.

North of the Wabash River many well known lakes were formed by gradual meltdown of ice blocks. Bass Lake is an example of what is called a pit lake. Others are called kettle lakes and include Lake Wawasee and Lake James. The former Beaver Lake (now completely dry) occupied 28,500 acres in 1834. Human activities reduced it to 10,000 acres by 1917. Other glacial lakes have disappeared due to agricultural activity and residential development.

The buried Teays Valley enters the southeastern corner of Wabash county and about 18 miles of its course lies within the county. The "deep stage' is narrow, gorge-like within the broad, old age valley. If the bedrock formations were exposed, the steep walls along the "deep stage" would provide explanations of the sudden drops in the bedrock surface reported by well drillers.

The buried Teays valley is not a buried flowing river or what we might call an underground river. The valleys of preglacial and interglacial sluiceways generally contain thick extensive beds of gravel and sand. These deposits which lie buried under younger drift are excellent ground water reservoirs. Those that are found at the base of the drift in the "deep stage" Teays valley and its tributaries are of crucial importance to Wabash County and northern Indiana. For North Manchester, the buried Eel Valley is the most important tributary. Gravel and sand are abundant throughout the Packerton moraine area, and few wells have to be dug to bedrock for water.

The first wells for the city of Wabash were several flowing wells south or Treaty Creek. More recent must be pumped. They tap an aquifer in coarse gravel within a comparatively small, southward trending tributary of the Teays. The city of Peru in Miami county obtains its water supply from wells completed in gravel in the "deep stage" of the Teays valley. There are no doubt many other cities depending on Teays valley deposits for a secure city water supply.
Present day surface evidence of the Teays system is limited. In southern Ohio, which was not covered by glaciers, there are great deposits of what is called Minford clay, that accumulated in lakes created when the Teays was dammed by an early glacier. This clay deposit varies from 80 - 260 feet thick in parts of Madison county. Mapping of the bedrock surface beneath the glacial drive is now being done. The maps depict the configuration of the bedrock surface as if all overlying unconsolidated sediment had been removed and will show the course of preglacial valleys.

Where the glacial sluiceway cross buried valleys, they widen abruptly. The most obvious example for us occurs at the "prairie" west of Wabash, where the Wabash Valley crosses the buried Teays Valley. Above the "prairie" the Wabash River flows in a rock-walled valley from half a mile to l mile in width. At the point where the present Wabash Valley crosses the buried Teays Valley, it abruptly becomes a broad open valley from two and a half to three miles wide. Bedrock is exposed along the north side of the valley.

Modern satellite images show the old Teays as light-colored, broad valleys in areas of Ohio that were never covered by glaciers. The limits of the Wisconsinan glacier in Indiana and Ohio are readily visible. Mapping the Teays in areas which experienced deep glacier deposits is more difficult but it will be completed and we will have a much better understanding of this great river system.

An Interview with Lawrence W. Shultz
By Richard Bittinger and Joanna Strode
June 2, 1975
continued from November, 1997, and February, 1998, issues

Bittinger: Do you still remember a lot of poetry that you learned?

Shultz: Some. I'm recommitting some now too. One that I didn't learn - I learned about it - is THE LAST LEAF. Do you know it?

"I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane."
And the last verse goes..
"And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring.
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling."

That's the old man. That's a good poem. I recite it every once in a while now because I'm in that stage.

Strode: Do you think that memorizing poetry helped your students to write?

Shultz: Sure. Why not? It's the best of literature. Nowadays they don't know how to write. Many college freshmen don't know how to sit down and write legible paragraphs. They don't even know how to write letters. It helps to polish their English. I had a letter this morning and I could tell by her writing and by her English that she had not had excellent courses in English. I got most of my books from subscribing to auctions in the East. You put in a bid ahead of time and then others bid there against your bid and if they don't come up to your bid, you'll get it. Some Saturday auctions too. And some I bought privately out of private libraries. I like to do that. Many people ask me for books. I expect two or three letters a month from people away from here who want me to get a book.

Bittinger: You've inspired a number of people to become librarians, haven't you?

Shultz: I was thinking about that the other day. Somewhere between twenty and thirty have gone on into library work. For instance, just this last week I understand that Orpha Book resigned, retired. She was one of them and Ruth Coblentz was one. Lois Lehman and my three daughters.

Bittinger: Let's talk a bit about Otho Winger. What's your first memory of Otho?

Shultz: He took his AB and Masters both at Indiana University. He was a great student. He came here one morning for chapel and I'll never forget President Crouch introducing him. He came here for just that speech and then the next year he came back to teach. From 1908 to 1941 he was the main figure on the campus. I had courses under him in many fields. One time somebody asked him what chair he held. He said he didn't hold a chair, he had a whole settee. He taught many, many subjects. About the only thing he didn't teach was domestic science and some language - Greek maybe. He was a great teacher. His main course was philosophy. Under him I had Commercial Arithmetic, Greek History, Roman History, English Literature - Spencer, Milton and Wordsworth, Civil Government.. I can't remember all of them. He could just fill in most anywhere.

He lectured and then he'd ask questions and he demanded outlines and memory work. When I was in his English History course, I could name all the kings and queens from Egbert down to the present day, and give the dates. He didn't require a lot of paper work. We didn't do a lot of handing in term papers but we did have to answer a lot of test questions. He demanded that we know something about these great people on the pages of history. He underlined what he thought were the most important parts of a book. Schwalm said he was one of the greatest teachers ever. Let me read you a little of this paragraph from Schwalm's estimate of Otho Winger.

"Winger was a great unselfish soul. His countless deeds of service to unnumbered needy students, his frequent visits to the sick and unfortunate, his unselfish devotion to the College and the Church have become common knowledge to the Church of the Brethren and among the thousands of Manchester alumni. His firm conviction for the right, his uncompromising attitude towards sin and wrong are equally well known. He was a personality cast into the right mold. Great in personality, great of heart, boundless in energy and statesmanlike in mind, he gave all his power to the causes he served with an abandon that has rarely been equaled."

I lived beside him for 25 years and saw him write these Indian books. From about 1933 on for about eight years it was his weekend hobby to go out and get recreation by talking to people. The first three years he taught was in this Indian school and that's how he got interested in Indians. Then during the weekends when he was President, he'd go down to the area and visit with former students, with their children and some of their grandchildren to get stories for his books. That was his recreation.

A Winger Story: Getting Ready for College
by Otho Winger in Memories of Manchester p. 18

About the close of my country school I came to North Manchester to do some trading. I went to the Lawrence Clothing Store, where Rev. A.L. Wright was one of the clerks. I purchased a suit of clothes, and then Rev. Wright proposed that I should buy an overcoat, saying they were selling at that time for much less than they would be in the fall. So I purchased one. Then I went to the college and got very much interested in the college bookstore, where I purchased a number of books. I did not notice my money was getting low until I looked at my change and found I had fifty-six cents left. It would cost me forty cents to buy my ticket back to LaFontaine; and I owed twenty-five cents there at the livery barn where I had left the horse and buggy for the day. Though I was a stranger, I might have borrowed a quarter to save myself any difficulty; but I thought I could do it another way, so I packed the new clothing I had purchased and the books and started down the railroad track for Urbana. I walked that distance of six or seven miles, beat the passenger train to the station, purchased my ticket and saved ten cents by walking that distance. When I reached LaFontaine, I had money to pay for the keep of my horse that day and had one cent left. This I contributed to Sunday school the next morning. I mention this because my good friend, Billings, used to tell this story now and then in the News- Journal. This is the basis of the story which he printed.

College Club of Over 500 Boosters
From The Manchester News
A little paper for busy people March 29, 1930

The booster button sale for Manchester college which was carried on Friday and Saturday morning resulted in a little more than five hundred buttons being sold. The buyers of these buttons become permanent members of a booster organization for Manchester college and the button is the outward sign of an inward desire to do all possible to make the school the very best school possible. With this organization as a working body the matter of raising needed funds for the college will go forward. The committee representing this five hundred members will meet tonight and will outline plans to carry forward the real financial campaign, for though the proceeds from the sale of the buttons applies to the credit of North Manchester on the college, yet the real campaign will have to be for bigger subscriptions than dollars. Already a number of big subscriptions have been received and the committee at its meeting tonight will make plans for carrying forward the subscription.
It is universally agreed that the college is a valuable asset to the town, and that there is not one piece of property here that is not more valuable because of the college being here. So in reality making a donation to the Manchester college is not a gift - it is only paying for financial benefits already received.