Category Archives: Indiana History

18 Rare Photos Taken In Indiana During The Great Depression

18 Rare Photos Taken In Indiana During The Great Depression

The Hoosier state has definitely endured our fair share of rough times. One of the many rough times being the Great Depression which took place from 1929 to 1939. The Great Depression was the deepest and most devastating economic downturn in our history. Fortunately, the quality of life has improved in the state of Indiana since that time.

Have you ever wondered what life looked like in Indiana during the Great Depression? Here are some rare photos taken in Indiana during that time.

1. This housed a family of ten in Brown County in 1935.

1. This housed a family of ten in Brown County in 1935.

Click the link below to see the rest of this fascinating story:

http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/indiana/rare-photos-taken-in/

From Lewis and Clark to a cemetery in Indiana

Old Pioneer Cemetery in Waynetown is the final resting place of William Bratton, a member of the historic expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory in 1804-06.

 

William Bratton’s headstone - Old Pioneers Cemetery, Waynetown, Indiana

This bronze plaque and marker were later added to William Bratton’s headstone, explaining that he was a member of the historic Lewis & Clark expedition in 1804-06.(Photo: Kevin Cullen/For the Lafayette Journal & Courier)

WAYNETOWN — Old cemeteries are filled with surprises.

One stone in this particular resting place remembers a baby who died in 1830. Beneath another lies a Civil War sailor. Many cast shadows over the graves of pioneers who worked themselves to death turning forests into corn fields.

But the Old Pioneer Cemetery on U.S. 136, at the eastern edge of town, contains a much bigger surprise. Among its weathered stones is one that marks the grave of William Bratton.

Bratton, who lived from 1778 to 1841, settled near here in 1822. He was more than an early Montgomery County farmer, more than a justice of the peace, more — even — than a War of 1812 veteran.

He was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that crossed the territory of the then-new Louisiana Purchase in 1804-06. President Thomas Jefferson’s 40-person “Corps of Discovery” spent 28 months and logged 8,000 miles seeing things that no white man had seen before.

The journals speak of adventure, danger and new information about native peoples, animals, plants, waterways, weather, mineral deposits and land forms.

Most of the inscription on Bratton’s headstone has eroded, but the magical words, “With Lewis and Clark to the Rocky Mountains” are still legible.

“Bratton was an active member, and part of the permanent party — the 33 people bound to go clear to the (Pacific) coast. It was a select group; the others went only to North Dakota, then returned,” professor Gary E. Moulton, of the University of Nebraska, said in a 1996 interview.

“His name appears quite often in the journals, often as (a) hunter,” he said. Montana’s Bratton River was named after him.
INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Forgotten graves of notable Indianapolis people
Bratton was well-suited for the odyssey. Born in Virginia, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith and learned the gunsmith’s trade. Standing more than 6 feet tall, he was among nine young members from Kentucky whom Meriwether Lewis described as “good hunters, stout, healthy, unmarried men, accustomed to the woods, and capable of bearing bodily fatigue in a pretty considerable degree.”Moulton spent years editing the expedition journals, which total more than 1 million words. The result: a definitive, 12-volume opus.

Bratton joined the corps in 1803 at age 26 as an Army private. He mended kettles, guns and tools, made axes, and shot bighorn sheep, deer, elk and other game. On May 11, 1805, he arrived in camp, breathless, after being chased a half-mile by a wounded grizzly bear. Bratton had shot it through the lungs, but it took two head shots to kill it.

Crossing the Rockies, the starving explorers sometimes had to live on dog meat, horse flesh, a she-wolf and roots.

Bratton was one of five men sent to the Pacific shore to boil water for salt on Dec. 28, 1805. Salt was a precious meat preservative.

Cheering crowds greeted Bratton and his comrades on Sept. 23, 1806, in St. Louis. Most had presumed them dead. They hadn’t been heard from for 17 months. Incredibly, only one man had died — of a burst appendix.

For his service, Bratton received $178.33 and 320 acres in Missouri. He and his wife, Mary, had 10 children, and settled near Waynetown in 1822. According to one old family tale, his thrift was legendary. Once, some men ridiculed him for picking up scattered grains of corn at a corn husking.

“He replied that he had seen the time when he would have been thankful for a few grains of corn,” great-granddaughter Maud Bratton Chesterton wrote in a 1931 reminiscence.

He died Nov. 11, 1841, at age 63.

In 2002 — thanks largely to the work of history buff and historical re-enactor Esther Duncan — a state marker was erected at the cemetery, telling Bratton’s story. The old tombstone was restored, and a plaque was added.

The goal was to “breathe new air into the life of William Bratton,” Duncan said. “It’s about time.”

This was re blogged from an article in the Indy Star newspaper and online at http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/11/27/lewis-clark-cemetery-indiana/76466240/

Happy Birthday James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley in 1913

James Whitcomb Riley in 1913

Today, October 7th, is, or would have been, the 166th birthday of the Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley.

James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the “Hoosier Poet” and “Children’s Poet” for his dialect works and his children’s poetry respectively. His poems tended to be humorous or sentimental, and of the approximately one thousand poems that Riley authored, the majority are in dialect. His famous works include “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Raggedy Man“.

Information from Wikipedia

Attica Covington Canal Skirmish

It was Abraham Lincoln who contended that nobody wins a war and if he had been speaking specifically about the Attica War of western Indiana, he couldn’t have hit the nail more squarely. The year was 1846, and the hottest bit of news in Indiana was the Wabash and Erie Canal which was slowly being pushed downstate toward Evansville. Irish laborers already had dug it tediously by hand all the way from Toledo, Ohio to Lafayette, which was considered the head of steamboat navigation on the Wabash. Now it was reaching toward Terre Haute and as far as Attica, the slender ditch was in full use. Below Attica, excavation had been completed to Covington, seat of Fountain County, but not a drop of water had been turned in to it. The canal was as dry as the parched fields through which it ran and Covingtonians grew justifiably vexed. Water was scarce that dry summer, but no one with an ounce of sense could argue that it was THAT scarce. AND WHILE Covington ranted and fumed, Attica enjoyed a bonanza. It as head of navigation on the canal and every boat that plied the waterway loaded and unloaded at Attica. her merchants, in their wildest canal dreams, hadn’t envisioned such prosperity. Deck hands, masters and passengers began or ended their voyages here and Attica determined to keep her hold on the canal business as long as possible. Finally patience ran out in Covington. The canal managers were requested to open the locks, but they were unable to. They explained, hesitantly, that Attica citizens were in full control and that they were determined that no water should reach Covington. Covington sent a delegation to reason with the Atticans. But there was no agreement. So the delegation returned, ready for battle. Early the following morning, about 50 of Covington’s finest started for Attica, 14 miles up the river. Some were afoot, others on horseback, some in wagons. Some were unarmed. Others carried clubs or similar simple weapons. All bore sharp tempers. But Attica had not been sleeping. Its closed its businesses, mobilized its people and sent a small army down the river road to meet the invaders. The Covingtonians quickly surrounded their foe, disarmed them and proceeded upriver to Attica, where they found most able-bodied citizens out to defend to the last drop their precious supply of canal water. The invaders battled briefly but effectively. E. M. McDonald, the Attica leader, fell before a blow and went spinning into the very canal water he battled to preserve. Demoralized, the defenders fell back and the fighting ended quickly. Covingtonians, flushed with victory, leaped happily for the canal lock controls and soon the water was rushing and gurgling through the lower section toward Covington. But, it was Attica that had the last laugh, although a bitter one. Water flowed freely, filling the lower section to normal depth. Covington gleefully envisioned itself head of navigation until the awful truth struck. To fill the lower section, it had drained the upper section and boats above Attica were left stranded in the sticky mud of the canal bottom. Covington had won the battle, but it had lost the war.

“Left High and Dry” by Fenton Stewart

http://indianagenweb.com/infountain/news/canal-skirmish-attica-covington.htm

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Another version of this story, as told by Bob Quirk, and published in the Journal Review.

Erie Canal reaches Fountain County in 1846

The Wabash and Erie Canal reached northern Fountain county during the drought year of 1846. This drought brought about an event which came to be known as the “Attica and Covington War”.

The drought had caused the water level to be low in the canal and water from the Wabash River was also low. When the water from the Wabash River was finally directed to the canal it was found there was barely enough of it to flood the canal to Attica and none for the Covington section of the canal.

The Daniel Webster, a beautiful line boat, arrived in Attica after much difficulty and could go no further. The publisher of the Attica Journal printed an exaggerated report of the boats’ arrival in Attica.

When the lock at Attica was opened and only the barest trickle of water came through, Covington suspected the worst. They thought Attica was closing off the flow of water to keep Covington from using the canal.

Covington Senator Hannegan, who happened to be home from Washington, offered his influence of his position and his ability to debate, if a local committee would accompany him to Attica and get them to open the flood gate. The visit was made but with no success and they returned to Covington.

By daylight the next morning Senator Hannegan and 300 townsmen and farmers armed with clubs stormed up the river to Attica.

The news of their approach was quickly spread and a well armed wagon load of men dispatched. However, the Attican’s arrived too late and in a matter of minutes they were surrounded, captured, disarmed and held prisoner.

The invaders forced their way through Attica and succeeded in opening the floodgates, letting the precious water into the lower section.

Reinforced by additional villagers and crews of the helpless boats, the Attican’s attempted to reclose the flood gates. However, it was too late and in a matter of minutes the thirty canal boats lay topsy turvey, mired in the mud, dumping their precious cargo overboard.

Thus the Covington-Attica canal war was over with victory going to neither town. The fourteen mile section had absorbed all of the ensuing water, not leaving enough to float a raft, much less a canal boat.

However, this was not the end of the canal. It wasn’t long until the drought ended and there was sufficient water and it was reopened.

http://www.journalreview.com/news/article_a31c3bda-1974-11e1-b039-001cc4c002e0.html

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There is a historic marker erected in 1997 by Indiana Historical Bureau and Historic Landmarks of Fountain County, Indiana, at the Ouabache Park, by the Wabash River, at Attica. Details can be found on the Historic Marker Data Base site http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=3284

This same marker is also found on Waymarking.com http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM62PE_Attica_Covington_Canal_Skirmish

Canal Skirmish Historical Marker

The full text of the marker reads:

“In fall 1846, residents of Covington and Attica skirmished at Lock 35 over lack of water to Covington. Heavy rains eventually resolved the problem. Competition among canal towns over water control was often intense. First boat reached Attica 1846 via Wabash and Erie Canal (connected Lake Erie with Ohio River in 1853).”

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Further Reading:-

For further details about the skirmish see this page http://indianagenweb.com/infountain/news/canal-skirmish-attica-covington.htm

Some of the history of Attica is detailed on the city’s website http://attica-in.gov/visiting-attica/history-of-attica/

The Attica page on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attica,_Indiana

Wabash and Erie Canal

Wabash and Erie Canal

Indiana was incorporated as a state in 1816, Fountain County, in 1825, and Attica was laid out and platted, also in 1825. The building of the Erie Canal in upstate New York proved so successful that the residents of Indiana saw the potential of such a canal here.

After much debate, on Feb. 23, 1832, formal ground breaking took place in Fort Wayne and in July 1832, actual construction took place and worked southwest; it reached Lafayette by 1842. The construction progressed slowly, reaching Covington in 1846 and by 1847, the canal reached Lodi in southern Fountain County. Now Fountain County was connected to Lake Erie by canal, and by 1847 traffic had begun to flow through the county via the canal. The canal had reached Terre Haute in 1849 and was completed to Evansville in 1853.

When completed the canal was 458 miles long and was the longest artificial waterway in this country and second only to the Grand Canal in China. The canal was 26 feet wide at the bottom and 40 feet at the top and contained 4 feet of water. The towpath on one side was 10 feet wide and 4 feet above water level. The locks were 60 feet long and 15 feet wide

At Fountain (Portland Arch) was the widest part of the canal between Terre Haute and Lafayette. It was the only place between the two towns that boats could pass. Warehouses were located at Mayville, Attica, Jamestown, Fountain, Covington, Sarah, Vicksburg and Silver Island. At these Fountain County locations merchandise was unloaded from the canal boats. For the next few years, these towns flourished from the traffic between Lake Erie and the Mouth of the Mississippi via the Ohio River.

The coming of the county’s first railroad, the Wabash and Western Railroad line, built through Attica, in 1858, heralded the end of the canal’s usefulness. By 1860, portions south of Terre Haute were closed and the process of decline continued northward. In the end, the canal was too expensive to maintain, and when less costly railroads were completed nearby, its use declined dramatically. Around 1875, the last canal boat passed through Covington, and In 1876, the entire canal in Indiana was sold at auction.

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An article by Bob Quirk, published in the Journal Review.

Erie Canal reaches Fountain County in 1846

The Wabash and Erie Canal reached northern Fountain county during the drought year of 1846. This drought brought about an event which came to be known as the “Attica and Covington War”.

The drought had caused the water level to be low in the canal and water from the Wabash River was also low. When the water from the Wabash River was finally directed to the canal it was found there was barely enough of it to flood the canal to Attica and none for the Covington section of the canal.

The Daniel Webster, a beautiful line boat, arrived in Attica after much difficulty and could go no further. The publisher of the Attica Journal printed an exaggerated report of the boats’ arrival in Attica.

When the lock at Attica was opened and only the barest trickle of water came through, Covington suspected the worst. They thought Attica was closing off the flow of water to keep Covington from using the canal.

Covington Senator Hannegan, who happened to be home from Washington, offered his influence of his position and his ability to debate, if a local committee would accompany him to Attica and get them to open the flood gate. The visit was made but with no success and they returned to Covington.

By daylight the next morning Senator Hannegan and 300 townsmen and farmers armed with clubs stormed up the river to Attica.

The news of their approach was quickly spread and a well armed wagon load of men dispatched. However, the Attican’s arrived too late and in a matter of minutes they were surrounded, captured, disarmed and held prisoner.

The invaders forced their way through Attica and succeeded in opening the floodgates, letting the precious water into the lower section.

Reinforced by additional villagers and crews of the helpless boats, the Attican’s attempted to reclose the flood gates. However, it was too late and in a matter of minutes the thirty canal boats lay topsy turvey, mired in the mud, dumping their precious cargo overboard.

Thus the Covington-Attica canal war was over with victory going to neither town. The fourteen mile section had absorbed all of the ensuing water, not leaving enough to float a raft, much less a canal boat.

However, this was not the end of the canal. It wasn’t long until the drought ended and there was sufficient water and it was reopened.

At first packet boats did not run on a schedule. They started their trips after a profitable number of passengers was assured to be on board. The distance a boat traveled from Toledo to Attica was 267 miles and it took about 2 and half days and cost $3.75. An advertisement in a Ft. Wayne newspaper read: fast sailing “Niagra has large stateroom with 3 meals a day.

As demand increased, boats were designed for freight and passenger separately. The passenger boats were even designed in two classes. One class was for passengers who wanted to arrive at their destination quickly and the other was designed more luxuriously and traveled 5 to 8 miles per hour. They charged one to two cents a mile or more for a ticket.

The internal arrangement had a small covered cabin for the crew. Next was a wash room and drawing room and then the women’s cabin. Next was a large room usually about 45 feet long which served many purposes.

During the day it was a place of general assembly and it was there that 3 meals a day were served. At night it was converted into a floating dormitory. There were about 42 bunks of small shelves of wood, about six feet long and one and half foot wide. The beds were covered with a thin clump of straw and a flat bag of blue canvas. A blanket and pillow completed the bedding supplies.

When it was time to retire a man would take off his hat, neck tie and collar, coat and vest and climb into bed. If he was unusually finicky, he would also take off his shoes and trousers before climbing into bed, but if he did those extras he was considered finicky.

In the morning before breakfast they lined up to wash in a tin basin filled with water from the canal. A comb and brush hung near the place where food was being prepared.

A show boat called, “The Dixie Boys Minstrel Show” operated along the canal. It had a seating capacity of 100.

P.T. Barnum’s Circus came to Attica in 1879. Tom Thumb, three elephants, a band of clowns gave a great show. The boats ran from March 1st until November 1st.

A tin horn announced the arrival and departure of the canal boat at each post.

The canal played an important part in the development of West Central Indiana, However, with the coming of the railroad, the canal era came to an end in the 1870’s.

http://www.journalreview.com/news/article_a31c3bda-1974-11e1-b039-001cc4c002e0.html

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This wedding was held on a canal boat on May 16, 1872, in Attica, Indiana, on the Erie Canal. http://www.in.gov/history/images/canalwedding.gif

Attica canal wedding

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Further Reading:-

A couple of interesting articles, originally published in the Journal Review newspaper, written by Bob Quick are:-
http://www.journalreview.com/news/article_265516fc-01c9-11e1-adad-001cc4c002e0.html
http://www.journalreview.com/news/article_a31c3bda-1974-11e1-b039-001cc4c002e0.html

Some of the history of Attica is detailed on the city’s website http://attica-in.gov/visiting-attica/history-of-attica/

The Attica page on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attica,_Indiana

The first Peony, to bloom, this year, in our garden May 18, 2015.  We live in Wingate, 20 miles from Attica.

The peony is the state flower, of Indiana.

The first Peony, in our garden 2015