NMHS NEWSLETTER February 1989
DOUBLE ELECTION EXCITEMENT!
By Allan White
It is hard to imagine more local interest in an election than in the campaign of 1988 in which Dan Quayle from nearby Huntington County became Vice President of the United States. But there was a time when North Manchester voters were treated to a double feature. The year was 1912.
The Democrats swept the nation in the election victory of Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, and his running mate and our favorite son, Thomas Riley Marshall, then governor of Indiana. It also sent a North Manchester resident, John Isenbarger, to his first term in the Indiana General Assembly.
The landslide affected all of the offices in the Wabash County Courthouse, all men, all Democrats except one lone Republican, William D. Gochenour, surveyor, unopposed when William Ebbinghous withdrew shortly after his nomination.
Marshall and Wilson exchanged victory telegrams whose text was printed in the November 7, News-Journal: “I salute you, my chieftain,” Marshall writes briefly, “in all love and loyalty,” while Wilson thanks Marshall in his: “Warmest thanks for your generous telegram. Your part in the campaign was a force of great strength and stimulation. Now for a deep pleasure of close association in a great work of national service.”
Isenbarger’s first days in the General Assembly must have been exciting to Manchesterites: He was mentioned as a possible speaker of the house, “a merry race going on” the newspaper reported. He was competing against five others, two from Indianapolis and the others from Madison, Scottsburg, and New Albany.
Isenbarger, a farmer and real estate agent, was a Democrat leader in this county which the News-Journal claimed had never sent a Democrat to the legislature. Just years before he was the party’s nominee for State Treasurer “at a time when there was no chance to win.”
Within the month, however, Taggart factions had controlled the caucus and the other candidates withdrew “gracefully” in favor of Homer Cook of Indianapolis. Isenbarger, it was reported, was in line for some good committee assignments and chairmanships. (He later served as postmaster here.)
As the country prepared for the inauguration, Indiana was to be honored by the front rank in the parade for the Black Horse Troop of Culver Military Academy, among the “crack” divisions embracing famous cavalry organizations from many parts of the country.
The Culver horsemen had hoped to serve as the personal escort of Vice President Marshall. When Mark Thistlethwaite, Marshall’s secretary, took up the matter with Colonel Henry F. Allen, chief aide of General Leonard Wood, he learned that under all traditions “from time immemorial” it was impossible for the vice president to have a special escort, and Marshall was assigned to ride in a carriage with Senator Gallinger, president pro tem of the Senate.
Washington society was surprised to learn that the Marshalls decided not to buy a house but lease a four-room suite in Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. The vice president’s salary at that time was $12,000; wealthier predecessor vice presidents had been spending $25,000 to $40,000 a year “just in showing people what good fellows they could be.” The Marshalls clearly gave notice that they refused to do that and that they would not enter Washington society to any great extent!
Then there is this final footnote of the legend type that we like to chuckle over. It appeared in the November 7, 1912, News-Journal, a short one worth quoting as we read:
Albert Ebbinghous: an Election Prophet
“Albert Ebbinghous don’t claim to be much of a political manipulator, but he certainly has things to rights when it comes to reading signs. Monday when the wind was blowing from the south he declared that it could mean nothing but a democratic victory. The breeze coming from over the solid south he said was sure to become thoroughly imbued with democracy and would bring it north. And the results certainly indicate that it did.”
[Editor’s Note: Albert G. Ebbinghous(e) was Clerk-Treasurer of North Manchester from 1906-1909.]
President, Bob Nelson; Vice President, Max Kester; Secretary, Evelyn Niswander; Treasurer, Lola Sanger
AMBITIOUS AGENDA FACES SOCIETY
By Robert Nelson, President
The year 1989 promises to be a busy one for the North Manchester Historical Society. Developing circumstances within the community have opened new opportunities for the Society to assist in the preservation of the town’s heritage. Forces within the Society have been growing to move it into the search for a more meaningful and more clearly defined role. The convergence of these – new opportunities, and forces within the Society – has challenged the Society to project a more active program for 1989.
Efforts initiated more than a year ago to acquire a museum site in the Thomas R. Marshall school building are still in place and await a final response from the School Board at a time when their own plans are more complete. We have suggested to the School Board that we plan to design exhibits that can benefit the educational program of our local schools.
A proposal will soon be sent to Indianapolis to acquire the house in which Thomas R. Marshall was born, to restore it, and to convert it into a museum. Our initial inquiry won enthusiastic support from State officials. We are also attempting to collect Thomas R. Marshall artifacts and documents from both the State and national capitols. Many of us are concerned about the continuing deterioration of this historically valuable property.
The Society will become increasingly involved with the Town Forum Initiative Committee. Our role will be to add historic dimension to the town’s program to define a sense of direction to Manchester’s planned program to move into the 21st century. This is an opportunity for us to share concerns about preserving our historic heritage, to assist as consultants in architectural restoration and in having areas and properties designated as historic sites.
Initial steps have been taken to upgrade the not-for-profit status of the Society. Our present listing with the office of the Indiana Secretary of State is as a non-profit corporation, making us tax exempt on all revenues received. We will soon be submitting an application with the national Internal Revenue Service that, if approved, would mean that those giving gifts or making bequests to the Historical Society could write these gifts and bequests off as non-taxable deductions.
Membership in the Society has declined in recent years. With a more active program we need support and active participation from a larger membership base. The Society Board of Directors is in the early stages of developing a program to determine why the decline and to actively recruit new members, hopefully including some younger recruits.
The Society has reached a stage in its history where it is advisable to take a new look at its program and of its perceived role. An ad-hoc committee was established by the president last year to more clearly define the role of the North Manchester Historical Society, to help it develop a clearer sense of purpose and of self identity. Significant progress has already been made in this project.This sounds like an ambitious program for our Society, but all of it is included within the area of responsibility accepted by the Society when it was organized in 1972. Since then the Society has achieved a long list of successes under the direction of dedicated and competent leaders and the support of many dedicated volunteers. We are now challenged to continue the climb up the ladder of success. With the support and dedicated help of each member we will successfully reach our goals and achieve an even higher level of success.
From The Journal, July 13, 1889
Liberty Mills – Marble playing has become the mania and it is amusing to see a giant playing with a five year old boy, and then be beaten.
From The Journal, 1890With every boy’s suit it sells the Star Clothing House gives away a brass drum that is the delight of every child in the country. Try them and see if it is not so.
ISAAC PLACE: HUNTER-PIONEER
Some Interesting Reminiscences from the Life and
Experience of Early Settler, Isaac Place.
Article Submitted by his Great Grandson, Wilbur Place.
Born in Darke County, Ohio, Isaac came to this county in October, 1835. He assisted Andrew Willis, who moved from that part of Ohio to Kosciusko County, in driving through his livestock. For some time he made his home with Willis who was an expert hunter and from whom he took his first lessons in hunting and trapping. The woods were full of deer, bear, wolves and wild game of all kinds, both for furs and meat, affording a paradise for a man of his retiring disposition and love to be alone and untrammeled by the usages of people, few as there were here at that time.
In 1837, perhaps it was, he took a contract to carry the United States mail between the home of Judge Polk, then a prominent citizen living in Miami County, to Fort Wayne. No man better fitted to ride over the lonesome unmarked trails leading to Fort Wayne could have been found.
In those days the government distributed regularly each year, annuities to the Indians in the country, besides paying each Indian of the Pottowatomie and Miami tribes, certain cash payments. Those tribes were strong in those days. The bad whiskey and vices introduced among them by civilization had not wrought the havoc in their number that a few years more served to bring about. Consequently, the trails made by them in going and returning to and from the “payment grounds” could be followed. In fact, they constituted the only highway to that city, then a village of 300 inhabitants.
Isaac’s income from his job was not one calculated to make him proud but he added to it. Rather, it enabled him to barter for and buy furs and peltry from the settlers and Indians along the way and sell his purchases to the fur traders at Fort Wayne. The quick sales kept up his capital. This lasted about two years, till the mail route was abandoned and Mr. Place thrown out of a job.
About that time he married and set up housekeeping on the land once owned by Amos B. Miller, one-half mile east of the German Baptist church west of town. During the summer months he took jobs of clearing land, making rails and such other work as came to his hand.
His love for hunting grew on him each year, and from the first frosts in the fall until late in the spring, Isaac mostly employed himself in hunting and trapping. One fall he caught four otters, and mink and muskrat by the dozens. At one time he joined a party of four to hunt in the Kankakee country. They returned with twenty-two wild deer, eleven of which had fallen at the crack of his unerring rifle.
Mr. Place cast his first presidential vote for William H. Harrison in the memorable campaign of 1840. The following day he went to the “Bear Swamp” and killed a fine, large black bear.
At one time he lived in the neighborhood of the Penrods in Pleasant Township. During that time a little boy, son of Joseph Penrod, while at play, wandered into the surrounding woods and could not find his way back. An alarm was given out and a search organized by the few neighbors. Night came on and the child had not been found. Mr. Place continued the search as best he could in the darkness that enshrouded all objects. Midnight and no child had been brought to the arms of the anxious mother. With our hero the hunt continued until nearly morning when his sharp ear caught the faint sobs of the crying and sleepy child.
Imagine, if you can, the joy and grateful feeling of those parents when Isaac appeared at the door with their lost child, sound asleep on his manly back. He was no coward. Any fear of danger from wild animals in the darkness never entered his mind. His only concern was to recover the little child from its perilous situation.
His patriotism and love of his country displayed, will cause his name to be respected and honored as long as loyalty and respect for the flag exists among this people. He was a member of the 130th regiment of Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Parrish commanding, and served until the close of the war. He came home broken in health but in the meantime game had become scarce and compelled him to make long journeys every fall, first to the Maumee slashes in Ohio, next to the pine woods of Michigan. His last trip was to the wilds of Wisconsin. He died in January, 1892, at his home in this city, a respected citizen.
Isaac Place was born in Delaware County, Ohio on March 11, 1819. He was married October 27, 1842 to Miriam Lindsey. To this union were born ten children; four of whom have passed into the spirit world. There remain living four daughters and two sons. The wife and mother died February 2, 1888. Father Place departed this life January 21, 1892, aged 72 years, 11 months and 10 days. His parents were members of the Friend’s Church and by birth-right he has considered himself identified with that church.
The funeral was preached by Rev. R.J. Parrett in the U.B. Church on last Saturday at 2 p.m. to a very large audience. The Grand Army of the Republic attended in a body, showing plainly their appreciation and love for their comrade, not only in life but in death as well.
He was a member of Company E, 130th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers. At the time of his enlistment he had reached the age that almost debarred him from entering the service, but being possessed of a strong constitution and a stronger love for the old flag and his country, he persisted in going and was accepted. He proved a good soldier, none having a better record.
He is also one among the first settlers and pioneers of Wabash County, coming here in the year 1836, when this country was indeed a wilderness and has had much to do in and about North Manchester, aiding in the progress it has made and in changing the wilderness to the beautiful garden it now is. He helped remove much of the heavy timber and cleared many acres of land when in the prime of life. Well may the community mourn the loss of a good and true man. The bereaved friends can be assured that they have the sympathy of the people of North Manchester and vicinity and the comrades of General John A. Logan Post, No. 199, G.A.R.
TRAIN DISASTER IN TOWN
A Freight Train Crashes Through the C.W. & M. Railroad Bridge at this Place. The Engine and Five Cars in the River, but No Loss of Life. The Wreck takes Fire and Burns all Out of Water including Two Large Tanks of Oil.
From The Journal, Thursday, July 19, 1888
As the north bound local freight on the C. W. & M. railway was crossing the bridge over the Eel River just below town last Saturday afternoon about 4 o’clock, the bridge suddenly gave away and fell into the river carrying the engine and a part of the train with it into the water below. The alarm soon spread and it was at first thought the passenger train due about that time of day had been wrecked. The passenger train had crossed the bridge about twenty minutes before the freight in safety.
A large crowd soon gathered on the banks of the river and viewed the most disastrous wreck that has ever occurred near the place. The entire span of the covered bridge, over 100 feet in length, with the engine and five cars, laid across the water, broken and splintered, presented a horrible appearance. The cars and engine which were nearly all submerged were covered by the timbers and roof of the bridge so that only the distorted and broken bridge could be seen with here and there a piece of the train sticking out. The bridge had evidently fallen very suddenly, the whole structure going at once. A man who saw the train enter the bridge says that he first noticed some timbers falling out of the middle of the bridge and then it all fell with a crash that was plainly heard in the southwest part of town.
In the wreck were the engine and five cars as follows: two large oil tanks filled with crude petroleum, one box car filled with lime, another box car with local freight and a flat car load with stone. The engine was laying on its side near the north edge of the river and must have been nearly through the bridge when it fell. The other cars were telescoped and jammed together in the water forming, with the broken bridge timbers, a connecting link between the banks of the river. The heat of the slacking lime in the car soon set the dry pine timbers on fire and the whole wreck out of water was soon one mass of flames which were communicated to the oil tanks which sent up volumes of black smoke. It did not take the wreck long to burn up.
Fortunately and miraculous as it may seem there was no loss of life although the engineer, Ben Radabaugh, fireman Garrison, and brakeman, Stone, were on the engine when it went down and were carried to the bottom of the river with all the timbers falling on top of them. When the place where the engine rested was seen, it seemed little short of wonderful how they escaped. All were more or less bruised but engineer Radabaugh was hurt the worst of all. The other two were able to get around without assistance while he at first appeared to be badly injured. They were covered with sand and mud from head to foot and were carried down to the bottom of the river.
The brakeman was the first to get out. He said that there was no chance of escape and it seemed but a second from the crash of timbers till they were in the water. He found himself in the bottom of the river with his feet fast in some of the timbers and had almost given himself up for lost when he became disentangled and arose to the surface. He had hardly gotten his head out of the water till he saw the fireman come up a few feet away and in a few moments they saw the body of the engineer down in the water, and by their united efforts succeeded in getting him out of the water completely exhaust and in a semi-conscious condition. By this time help had arrived and the engineer was taken to the home of Daniel Strauss nearby and a physician summoned.
An examination failed to disclose any broken bones or external injuries save a few cuts and bruises, but his body had been severely strained and he was very sore. He improved very rapidly and was able to be taken to his boarding house at Warsaw on Monday morning. He told a Journal reporter his experience which was about as follows, which shows him to be a man of great presence of mind under very trying circumstances:
It was dark in the bridge and there was no avenue of escape had the opportunity presented itself and when the crash came it seemed but an instant until he was in the water. He had no distinct recollection of how it happened but the first he remembered was finding himself being mashed into the mud on the bottom of the river by something heavy lying across his abdomen. He did not know what it was but he proceeded to dig the mud away from around his body with his hands and finally succeeded in getting loose from the weight. His body rose up a short distance and caught on some part of the engine. Then he gave himself up as lost and made up his mind to die then and there, but the escaping steam whirled his body around and loosened him and he went on up and was rescued by the fireman and brakeman. He thinks he must have been in the water nearly three minutes and when he came up his clothing was torn nearly off his body. The conductor and the other train men were on the rear of the train and escaped.
The bridge was a wooden truss of over 100 feet resting at each end on pilings. It was built about eight years ago and stood for several years as an open bridge. About two years ago it was sided and roofed and has, we are informed, been considered a safe bridge by the company, although there are reports to the contrary. The stress on the bridge was a severe one as the train had stopped at the water tank at the south end of the bridge and in starting up went very slow across the bridge. The engine, which was one of the new locomotives recently bought by the company, was the largest and heaviest on the line and followed by two large oil tanks containing thousands of gallons of oil and other heavily loaded cars going at a low rate of speed that it was the load that the bridge could not withstand while a lighter train might have passed in safety as did the passenger train which passed over a few minutes before. Some of the broken timbers were badly rotted and while the wreck was a very disastrous one and will cost the company several thousand dollars, it may be considered very fortunate when we contemplate the condition of the bridge and think that it might have been a heavily loaded passenger train instead of a freight.
The wrecking crew arrived early Sunday morning and began clearing the wreck away and prepared to put up a temporary bridge. The banks of the river were crowded all day long with people from town, the surrounding country and neighboring towns who came to see the wreck. Work has steadily gone on ever since and the greater part of the wreck has been rescued from the river. It will be an immense job however to get the engine out and it will be some time until trains can run over the bridge they are building. In the meantime arrangements have been made with the Wabash and C. & A. roads to run their trains around by way of Laketon Junction and traffic is going on with but little delay.
We have not heard what the loss is estimated at but everything considered it will amount to several thousand dollars and the company can congratulate itself that there was no loss of life. Considerable property burned up that might have been saved. When he first arrived on the ground, Chief of Fire Department Thomas offered the assistance of the department but was told by the conductor that they could do nothing. Afterward when the fire broke out, it spread so rapidly in the dry timbers that before the department got on the ground nearly everything out of the water save the heavier timbers was burned.
The two oil tanks have sunk to the bottom. The wreck will cost the road not less than $30,000. It will be nearly a week before they will have a bridge ready for travel. The road will probably inspect its bridges. The road will probably inspect its bridges more carefully in the future. Passengers on the evening trains on Saturday were transferred around the wreck. Martin, the photographer, was on hand and took several views of the wreck. One of the brakemen who was on top of the rear end of the train and saw the bridge go down, jumped off the car. A brother of the wounded engineer, also an engineer on the same road, arrived Saturday evening to take care of the wounded man. Dan Strauss hospitably threw his house open and refused to let the engineer be moved before Monday though he wanted to leave before. Superstitious people who believe there is bad luck in the number “13” will probably attribute the wreck to the fact that the engine was numbered “13.” The wreck has been visited by hundreds of persons and just after it happened the town was nearly depopulated as everybody rushed down to see it. This is the second wreck this spring for Radabaugh but not the second in his career as an engineer, which business he has followed for many years and worked on many roads. One of the large oil tanks burst in the fall and allowed the oil to run out over the water. When it caught fire and floated down stream in a blaze, the sight was very picturesque. Engineer Radabaugh is a married man and lives in Toledo. He refused to have word sent to his wife. He is a member of the K. of P. lodge and the members of that fraternity administered to his wants while here.
The wreck has been visited by hundreds of persons and just after it happened, Billy Haney tells us a fish story, the truth of which is vouched for by a number of friends. He says he caught a seven pound buffalo fish in the river near the dam one day last week with a hook and line. This is the first fish of that species we have ever heard of being taken from Eel River,