NEWSLETTER OF THE NORTH
MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.
Vol. III, No. 1 (February 1986)
The Lawyer takes a Bride!
Thomas Marshall, a bachelor at age 41, had had a number of girl friends. In fact, he was engaged to marry Catherine Hooper, daughter of A.Y. Hooper, one of Columbia City’s first lawyers. Invitations were sent for what promised to be one of the town’s largest social events. Tragedy struck, however, when Catherine died suddenly on September 21, 1878, the day before the wedding.
There are two versions of the reason Marshall went to Angola and there met his future wife the summer of 1895. In Charles M. Thomas’s biography is the usual local version: He was appointed special judge to hear a case in the Steuben County Circuit Court. William E. Kimsey was the county clerk. His daughter, Lois Irene Kimsey, 23 and recent graduate of Tri-State College, was his deputy. Marshall’s legal business took him to the clerk’s office where he met Miss Kimsey.
A letter written to the Whitley County Historical Society, November 2, 1965, tells us that Marshall was chief counsel for the defendant in the Deeter murder case, venued from DeKalb County to Steuben County. The letter was written by Lois Parker Knorr, niece of Judge Stephen Arad Powers, elected judge of the Steuben Circuit Court and the presiding judge in this trial.
The letter reads: “the good judge took it upon himself to make everybody acquainted. In introducing Marshall to Miss Kimsey, the judge suggested she would make a good wife for a bachelor lawyer. From this simple suggestion there was a wedding, and a Steuben County girl went to Washington to carry on as Second Lady for eight years. Incidentally, Deeter got life imprisonment.”
Later in life Mrs. Marshall related that, when a mutual friend told her that he had a prospective husband for her, she replied, “Marshall is an old married man.” The friend insisted that Marshall was a bachelor, whereupon she said, “Bring him in.” The two saw much of each other in the weeks that followed. The wedding ceremony took place on October 2, 1895, in the bride’s home at Salem Center, Steuben County.
Marshall had bought the house at 108 West Jefferson Street, Columbia City, in 1877 and lived there with his parents until their death. He had the house remodeled in April 1898. Mrs. Marshall entered into the life of the community here she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church, teaching the primary Sunday School class while Tom taught the men’s Bible class.
Marshall was an alcoholic. His intemperateness affected his marital happiness. In 1898, with Lois’s encouragement, he took treatments, and thereafter no one ever saw him touch an intoxicating drink. Marshall served no liquor or wine when he was governor or vice president. A newspaper wrote in 1914 that at a reception Mrs. Marshall served “bowls and bowls of lemonade.”
The Marshalls were separated only two nights during their entire married life. Opponents in the 1908 campaign charged that Mrs. Marshall accompanied her husband for fear he would become intoxicated. This may have been a motive when they were first married, but then it became a sentimental tradition of their enduring affection for one another.
Tom was content with the good life according to the standards of Columbia City. Mrs. Marshall furnished the incentive for him to accept each nomination to high office.
In 1908 the Indiana Democratic Convention nominated Thomas Riley Marshall as their candidate for governor. When the Marshalls arrived home from the convention, they found that the neighbors had decorated the home with bunting in honor of the occasion. Afterwards it rained, and the colors ran onto the white paint. There were red, white, and blue stripes all over the house, and the pillars looked like barber poles. “There isn’t a family in Indiana that has a more patriotic house than ours,” said Mr. Marshall.
After a parade in Columbia City the night before the election, J.E. Mannix of Fort Wayne and a party of his friends visited the Marshall home. They had a Democratic mule with them, and Mrs. Marshall invited the party into the house, mule and all! To please his enthusiastic friends, Marshall mounted the long-eared beast of burden.
Following the election the Marshalls sold their Columbia City home and Indianapolis became their official address.
A reception and inaugural ball was given in the Marshalls’ honor on January 11, 1909, at the Propylaeum, a social and culture center for women at 1410 North Delaware, Indianapolis. “Prophylaeum” is interpreted as “the gateway to culture,” derived from the propylaeum or gateway to the Acro0polis in Athens. Fifteen hundred guests were invited but many uninvited also went.
The Indianapolis News described Mrs. Marshall’s gown as “a white satin directoire with gold net yoke and long sleeves. Scattered over the skirt were medallions of white satin cord, and this cord was used to form a scroll border around the hem of the skirt. The Watteau-like plait at the back fastened to the bodice by two gold and rhinestone buttons and depending from each of these was a chain of oblong links made of white satin cording, heavy white silk tassels finishing the ends.
Biography Thomas said that Marshall was ambitious for the presidency and “did all he could to advance his chances, taking a much more active part in (that) campaign…than he had taken four years earlier when his friends were grooming him for the governorship.”
When first asked if he would accept the nomination for vice president, he said he would not. He could earn a better living as a lawyer in Columbia City. Mrs. Marshall, however, wanted to go to Washington instead and swayed Marshall to accept the nomination if the convention chose him.
Marshall continued to pay all of his own campaign expenses. Mrs. Marshall accompanied her husband on every campaign trip in 1912, as she had done during the campaign for the governorship.
A split in the Republican Party between President Taft and former President T.R. Roosevelt made it possible for the first time in 16 years for a Democrat victory. Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, and Thomas R. Marshall, governor of Indiana, became president and vice president of the United States.
Mrs. Marshall’s 1913 inqugural gown was white satin, ornamented with Italian or raised quilted gold embroidery in fleur-de-lis and circle pattern on the skirt and repeated on the embroidery of the shoulder ruffle. The skirt, with a fish-tail train, was cut in points at the raised waistline and extended by bretellas or suspenders over the long sleeves. The yoke and high collar were of sheer fabric, possibly georgette.
She was a popular and active part of Washington social life. She helped to establish and run the “Diet Kitchen Welfare Center” for the betterment of babies. In this work she came in contact with a baby boy whose life was dependent upon good care. She became attached to him and persuaded her husband that they should take the child into their home. Mrs. Marshall secured a job for the boy’s mother at the hotel where they lived so that the mother could be close to her son. His name was Clarence Ignatius Morrison. “Iggie,” as Marshall nicknamed him, became the center of their lives but died at the age of three and a half before adoption was completed.
When Wilson became too ill to entertain the many dignitaries who came to the United States after World War I, the Marshalls were the official hosts. Among these visitors were the King and Queen of Belgium and the Prince of Wales. The president had a fund from the government to cover these expenses but none of this money was passed to the vice president. The silver framed pictures of the King and Queen autographed “Albert” and “Elizabeth” which were sent to the Marshalls as a “bread and butter” thank you are in the Whitley County museum.
In 1918 Whitley County had an auction to raise the quota for the Red Cross. Thousands of people were attracted to the auction by a “human fly” who scaled the outside wall of the court house. Letters were written to celebrities for articles to be auctioned. Mrs. Wilson contributed a handkerchief which sold six times for a total of $69; Mrs. Marshall sent a box containing knitting needles, a handkerchief and a picture of “the boy.” They brought a combined total of $140.
The Marshalls kept ties with Columbia City and spent a week at Christmas 1912 with the Walter F. McLallens. If any of you have trouble keeping your checkbook balanced you have something in common with Mrs. Marshall. A letter to McLallen at the First National Bank on December 3, 1912, reads, “Dear Walt, I send you Mrs. Marshall’s book. I wish you would straighten it up and return it to me. – As ever yours, Tom.”
When Marshall’s term as vice president ended in 1921, they returned to Indianapolis where Tom practiced law. He was also much in demand as a public speaker. His last visit to Columbia City was to deliver the commencement address to the Columbia City class of 1925. Less than two weeks later he addressed the graduating class of Manchester College. He died on June 1, 1925, in a Washington, D.C., hotel while reading the Bible which was opened to the fourth chapter of Mark.
Mrs. Marshall continued her legal residence in Indianapolis, and wintered in Phoenix, Arizona. Later Phoenix-Scottsdale became her permanent home (see the Newsletter, May 1984 and May 1985). She died at the age of 85 in January 1958 after suffering a stroke.
The bodies of Thomas Riley Marshall, Lois Kimsey Marshall, Dr. Daniel and Martha Patterson Marshall, and Clarence Ignatius Morrison Marshall now rest in a mausoleum in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis. The mausoleum was provided by the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite.
This article was prepared by Bernice Carver, Whitley County historian, and is used here with permission from the Bulletin of the Whitley County Historical Society. It appeared in the Bulletin in February 1985.
“I’m going to buy this
here farm of yours”
By Orpha Weimer
Some few years ago Don Garber, now at Timbercrest, related to me this little story about his grandfather Harter who owned a farm just west of North Manchester.
It was about 1850 and whether it was because the “old Bossies” were getting a little hard to milk or that 4:00 o’clock in the morning seemed to come awfully early, or maybe, Horace Greeley’s words, “go west, young man, go west,” was taking effect isn’t known, but action came. C.A. Crill, the hired man, stopped Mr. Harter one morning and stated, “I’m quitting.” Rather boastfully he went on, “I’m going out to California to dig myself some gold and when I come back here a millionaire I’m going to buy this here farm of yours.”
Mr. Harter laughed and bid him “Godspeed” saying, “You never can tell, but somebody has to stay and keep the work going.”
Yes, you’ve guessed it – C.A. Crill did come back and years later did buy the Harter place with, it is supposed, some California gold!
TOUR OF HISTORIC HOMES
April 20, 1986
Brown (901 North Wayne)
Carpenter (201 West Main)
Felgar (502 West Fifth)
Kaplan (104 West Second)
Koller (317 Cecil)
Lavka (101 East Ninth)
SO YOU’RE WONDER ING WHAT
IS ALL ABOUT?
Plans for celebrating North Manchester’s sesquicentennial are well underway. Most committee chairpersons have been chosen and are working diligently to make this a year to be enjoyed by all. A wide variety of activities will literally provide something for everyone.
The first of four festivals to be held during 1986 will begin on April 18 & 19 with a history play, immediately followed by a historic homes tour on April 20. The play, entitled “Memory Speaks”, is a humorous, informative look at how North Manchester came to be and the individuals who held a prominent part in the making of its history. Thomas Marshall and Josh Billings share a major portion of the play’s narration.
Casting is being completed as this article is being written with nearly all of the roles having been filled by the residents of North Manchester. Local talent, it is felt, will make the play even more meaningful to the generations of today.
Tickets will go on sale within the next couple of weeks. They may be purchased from any Historical Society member and at several additional locations, for $3.00 per seat in advance and $3.50 at the door. Cordier Auditorium will be the location for the play and video cassettes will be available. Watch for further details in the local newspapers. More details of the home tour will also be forthcoming.
The next festival is called Founders’ Days and will have a Victorian theme. The activities, to be held July 5 & 6 at Warvel Park, will feature a Victorian wedding, an old-fashioned country carnival, contests of all kinds, a classic auto display, buggy rides, fireworks, music and entertainment, Victorian crafts, carnival rides, childrens’ activities, and food concessions. The Sesquicentennial Committee is asking all displayers and workers at the festival to wear costumes typical of the era. Residents and merchants will likewise be urged to add to the spirit of the festival by donning their Victorian finery. A style show of some of the best costumes is anticipated.
To help make this festival and the one to come later in the year an even greater affair, and to give a lasting gift to the community in honor of the 150th birthday celebration, the Sesquicentennial Committee is already half way to their goal in raising funds to build a 24 ft. diameter, octagonal gazebo to be located at Warvel Park. It is believed that the gazebo will provide a setting for a variety of uses such as mini-plays, concerts, receptions, weddings, oratory, club meetings, and perhaps even graduation, to name just a few.
The Park Department has agreed to accept responsibility for its upkeep and will be overseeing he reservations for events to be held there. The gazebo will have night-time lighting and is properly insured to help in deterring vandalism.
Still nearly $6,000 from their goal, the Committee welcomes donations. A permanent plaque to be placed on or near the gazebo will designate those who made the facility possible or who supported the sesquicentennial in any way with their financial contribution. Contributions will be gratefully received if mailed to the following address:
The Sesquicentennial Committee
c/o Dan Naragon, Treasurer
222 East Main Street
North Manchester, Indiana 46962
The third festival to be held will be the customary Fun Fest, this year celebrating its 16th year. Scheduled for August 15-24, the activities will continue as in previous years all over town, however, much more emphasis is being placed on the entering of floats for the Fun Fest parade. The sesquicentennial will be the theme. Clubs and organizations, business, industry, and church groups are being asked to enter floats showing a scene, person, past-time, or activity from North Manchester’s past or from the group’s past.
In addition, as currently planned, a five year project jointly shared by the Park & Recreation Department, the Town Board, and the Historical Society will be completed in time for dedication sometime during Fun Fest. Holderman Park (cemetery) has stood for nearly twenty years stripped of its tombstones because of the deteriorating and dangerous condition of many of them. Proper records of burials never having been kept, the Historical Society undertook a two year project to research the over 300 names of those buried in our pioneer cemetery. That work having been completed in 1983, funds have been raised to finish the project and erect a 20 x 30 ft. walled area. Many of the tombstones that are still in good condition will actually be imbedded right into the brick wall. Watch for more details and a complete burial list in the next issue of the Newsletter.
The fourth and final festival organized by the Committee will be called the Pioneer Festival and will be October 4 & 5, also at Warvel Park. This event will feature a pioneer village, a muzzle lodge and Indian encampment, pioneer foods and crafts, an outdoor worship service conducted by a circuit rider, a pioneer wedding, square dancing, children’s activities, steam engine display, stage entertainment, music, and a Civil War re-enactment. This time pioneer costumes are being requested and like the previous festivals, there will be lots to see and do.
A costume committee has completed the first phase of its work, having already made information and patterns available for anyone to be able to join in the costuming of the various events. Simple-to-make, inexpensive costumes were the goals of this committee. They also provide individuals to assist you with specialty costumes and accessories. Watch for an exciting announcement soon on hats for everyone of all ages.
The North Manchester Historical Society has gone to great lengths and expense to provide souvenirs of the sesquicentennial year. Look for the Americana Shoppe at each of the three festivals beginning in July. Be sure you stop by to purchase some of the lovely Fenton art glass or some of the many other souvenirs which are sure to become collector’s items. Most of the Fenton glass will be limited additions and several items are numbered.
Below is a list of sesquicentennial committee chairpersons, although well over a hundred individuals are already hard at work to make 1986 the best birthday celebration this old town ever saw!
Sesquicentennial Co-chairpersons: Nancy Reed & Mrs. George
History Play Committee: Mrs. Robin (Francine) Gratz
Historic Home Tour Committee: Mrs. Parks (Paula) Adams
Founders’ Days Committee: Billie Baker & Mrs. Todd (Linda) Richards
Gazebo Committee: Howard Fuller
Fun Fest Committee: Mr. & Mrs. George (Judy) Scheerer & Mrs. Tom (Gracie) Pinson
Pioneer Festival Committee: Mrs. Robert (Diana) Bowers & Mr. & Mrs. Eugene (Beth) Rhoades
Costume Committee: Mrs. Harold (Elizabeth) Marks
Publicity Committee: Mrs. Andrew (Jan) Day and Worth Weller
Fundraising Committee: Nancy Reed, Mrs. George (Judy) Scheerer, Mrs. John (Fran) Warner, Elden Stoops, Mr. & Mrs. Dan (Willoughby) Naragon
HAPPY 150TH BIRTHDAY, NORTH MANCHESTER!
JOHN HOOK’S 1ST ENTRY INTO NORTH MANCHESTER
John A. Hook had a dream of opening his own drug store. That he did in 1900 and the rest is history. We know that the one store is now a chain of nearly 300 in the Midwest.
During the first five years of business he wooed the energetic and talented Florence Weiss. That was a success story, too, and from it there is a little anecdote that touches North Manchester long before the drug store opened on Market Street.
Besides managing her household efficiently Florence had many hobbies. She was an artist, photographer, milliner, bowler, seamstress, horticulturist, upholsterer, and pianist. (She claimed also that she loved “to scrub, wax, and polish.”)
When the Hooks were first married in 1905, they had only a couple of chairs in the living room and a grand piano, a wedding gift from Florence’s mother. A few years later Florence was “surprised” one Christmas morning to discover that her husband had spirited away that old piano and had replaced it with a shiny new one.
“I was sick about it,” she told the Indianapolis Star in 1962. “Poor Mr. Hook hunted for my piano for eight years and finally located it in terrible condition in a school in North Manchester. He had it rebuilt and refinished and gave it to me as another Christmas present. All of us just stood and looked at it and cried.”
Quoted with permission from Indianapolis Monthly magazine where it appeared in June 1983 in Tom Mayhill’s column, “That Reminds Me.”
OUR 1985 LEADERS
President – Keith Ross
Vice President – Mrs. Paul (Ramona) Miller
Secretary – Robert Nelson
Treasurer – Arthur Gilbert
Newsletter – Nancy Reed & Allan White
OUR COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS
Covered Bridge – Glen Beery
Education – Eleanor Malott
Historian – Helen Ross
Membership – Evelyn Neher
Memorial – Barnetta Carey
Museum – Dean Smith & Emerson Niswander
Oral Histories – Sally Allen
Program – Ramona Miller
Publicity – Davonne Rogers
Restoration – Steve Batzka
Sesquicentennial – Nancy Reed
Ways & Means – Jean Grubb
A FRIENDLY HAND
By Mrs. Harry R. Weimer
Human interest tales? Every family has them, but mostly they go untold and are rarely recorded. When I first became a member of the Weimer family everyone was busy and life was lived pell-mell, especially in the summer months when the cannery was open.
Mrs. Mary Hevel, a widow lady from out Servia way, had been cook and housekeeper for many years and was generally regarded as part of the family. But Mrs. Hevel was aging and her daughter was putting pressure on her to take life easier. Consequently, when she did finally resign, I fell heir to her job as cook during the summers.
There were several key workers at the cannery who always ate their noontime meal with the family and several young nephews who came to visit and work. I never knew if I might have ten or thirty at the table. No chair was ever allowed to cool off, someone was always waiting, ready to eat and then hurry back to work. My only requirement as a cook was plenty of food and fast service.
We began early, 7:00 o’clock at the factory, but there was a lot to be done beforehand. Two mornings a week I baked, mostly pies and cookies, and the other four days I shopped. I could buy pretty much whatever I wanted and wherever I wished except for the meat. Always the meat had to come from the Lautzenheiser Meat Market on the south side of Main Street. I wasn’t told about this until after I had offended once and even then I did not know why. In fact it was several summers later before Dad Weimer told me his story.
When the Weimer family first came to North Manchester just at the close of World War I, they bought several acres of land at the west end of Main Street, built a new home, and he had accepted a new job. Their third little daughter died. Times were hard for the grief-stricken family. Mr. Lautzenheiser, a very new acquaintance, in his own kindly manner, called on Mr. Weimer and extending his hand in sympathy, also extended credit at his store if it was needed; saying he believed in a helping hand and that God’s mercy would shelter them both.
As long as he lived, Dad Weimer declared a friendship like that should not and could not be broken by any of his family. Three generations have now kept this friendship alive.