faithfulness and carefulness cannot be questioned. In admitting pa-
tients to the hospital he has exercised excellent judgment. It has
been the rule of his admini.stration that all be treated with kindness
HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND. Z'Zb
The postoffice used to make regular moves from place to place
with the advent of almost every uew postmaster, until the
erection of the present custom house gave it a permanent habitation.
This building was completed in 1879, under the supervision of
Mr. James H. McNeely, whom the government appointed superinten-
dent of construction. The building is located on Second street and
occupies the space between Sycamore and Vine streets. The govern-
ment appropriated $350,000 for the work. In the custom house are
located the postmaster, thesurveyorofcustoms,deputycollector of inter-
nal revenue, deputy clerk of the United States court. United States
inspectors of steamboats, deputy United States marshal, assistant
surgeon of .Marine hospital, and all other government officers in this
It is so patent a fact as to be axiomatic that railroads are civjlizers,
great disseminators of cosmopolitan traits and promoters of material
wealth. Progress is noted all along the lines of transportation,
and the centers of activity quiver with a new impetus injected into
them by steel rails. They, in a sense, build cities, improve farms,
enlarge plans, facilitate exchanges of products, deliver at our doors our
mail, whirl us from one end of the country to the other in an incredibly
short time when compared with the stage-coach method of conveyance
in olden times. They place the edible products of every land upon our
tables and adorn our homes with the best made furnishings that the
market affords. Indeed, they have revolutionized the whole system of
transportation, and inaugurated the era of " quick sales and small
profits." With their coming the ease of the " fine old English gentle-
men" fled, and nervous haste, tripping up its heels, came to occupy a
prominent place in the afJairs of men. Railroads have had much to do
with the culture, comfort and condition of man, and have no doubt
changed in a measure the character and tenor of his ambitions and the
promises he holds out to himself. The application of this general
truth to particulars is not hard to make. The railroad brought with
it a new order of things. The pursuits of men have multiplied, books
and papers are more numerous than was ever before known in the
world, comforts are secured with less money than ever before, and the
young man just starting in life has been trained to indulge himself in
226 HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND.
limitless ambitions and to multiply star-eyed promises in the firma-
ment of his early morning of life. The advantages of railroads to
Evansville and Vanderburgh county have been legion. Before the
advent of railroads the Ohio river was the great thoroughfare from
New Orleans through to Pittsburgh, and the river was almost con-
stantly marked by a line of low-hanging, smoke that had been coughed
from the tall smokestacks of the river packets. Indeed, the keels of
every sort of craft ve.\ed the surface of the Ohio — the beautiful.' But
with the comiug of railroads which traversed along its banks, so to speak,
cfossed it and penetrated into the very heart of the country, this great
artery of commerce had to surrender a great part — the greater part in
fact — of its carrying trade to its glittering railed rival.
The railroad, like a quick-moving, dapper little man, took the con-
veyance of farm and manufactured products away from it and delivered
them at their destination far in advance of the time in which the river
would have been able to do it. It was speed and the modern spirit of
rush that deprived the river of so much of its business. But still, the
Ohio is an indispensable means of transportaion for all the river towns
and for conveyance of the products of the broad, fertile farms in the
bottoms. Therefoi'e, the boat has not been hopelessly relegated to a
past era. The whole of the business was not absorbed by this new
common carrier — the railroad.
The old Wabash and Erie canal was opened for traffic in 1853, but
its life was of short duration, for it was entirely abandoned in 1864, its
business was killed by the swifter methods of the railroads. The first
railroad into Evansville was mapped out in 1849, and was called the
Evansville & Indianapolis railroad. The next year its construction
was begun, and later its name was changed to the Evansville & Craw-
fordsville railroad. It was completed to Terre Haute in 1854. It is
now known as the Evansville & Terre Haute railroad, and is a direct
route to Chicago. The fortunate position of Evansville on the Ohio
has made it a railroad center, and consequently a mart for a lai-ge por-
tion of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. It is a direct line from
Chicago through to the South and Southwest. It is a great supply
point in many lines af industry for the rapidly developing South. It
is the largest hard-wood lumber market in the world. These and
many other essential features have brought many lines of railroad to
The "Straight Line" railroad, as it is commonly called, was the
second line leading out of Evansville. It was designed to reach
Indianapolis. Right of way was granted at points as early as 1854. It
HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND. 227
met with difficulties in its constructiou. R. G. Hervey succeeded to
the interests originally held by Willard Carpenter, but still the road
was not completed, although its construction was well advanced. Mr.
Hervey entirely disposed of his interests to Mr. D. J. Maekey. After
many delays the road was at length completed on the bed of the old
canal in 1886.
The Peoria, Decatur & Evansville road was undertaken in 1880. It
runs through a fertile country, and is a valuable line to the city.
The Evansville, Cincinnati & Paducah railroad company was pro-
jected in 1870, and subsequently consolidated with the Evansville &
Southern Illinois and the St. Louis and Southwestern railroad com-
panies. These consolidated lines, in 1873, took the name of the St-
Louis & Southwestern railroad company. The Evansville, Henderson
& Nashville railroad company was also merged into this combination.
In 1872 the western and southern divisions of the line were consoli-
dated, and at last tell into the possession of the Louisville & Nashville
railroad icompany. In 1885 a great steel bridge was built across the
Ohio river at Henderson, Ky. The Lake Erie, Evansville & South-
western railroad finally became the property of the Louisville, Evans-
ville & St. Louis railroad company (" The Air Line.")
The Ohio Valley road is a line traversing a fine agricultural country.
The Evansville & Newburg" railroad is a sort of suburban line, but
a very busy one. It is commonly called the "Dummy line."
Many other railroad plans have been projected in the past and
The many public highways leading into the city are macadamized
and afford the farmers easy method of conveying their products to the
A branch line of the E. & T. H. extends from Fort Branch, passing
through Owensville, New Harmony and Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and
connecting with the western division of the L. & N. system.
TENNESSEE AND OHIO RIVER TRANSPORTATION COMPANY.
Evansville owes a great deal to her many river transportation com-
panies. There is no doubt that these companies have been great
factors in securing discriminating freight rates in favor of this city.
The nation has recognized the importance of sustaining her water-
ways by the expending of millions of dollars annually upon the im-
provement of the same. The reputation of the Tennessee and Ohio
228 HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND.
River Transportation company extends all over the south and its
influence in securing just and equital)le freight rates is felt by nearly
every town in that broad land. Evansville, occupying as she does
the position of gateway to this great southland, has by virtue of the
equitable business method of this company, been able to control the
rates charged on nearly all kinds of freight south of the Ohio river.
This company is the successor to the old Evansville, Paducah and
Cairo line, which operated boats on the Ohio river between this city
and Cairo. The old company was organized early in the sixties with
Capt. John Gilbert as president, and Capt. Joshua Throup as com-
mander of the "Mayduke " and Capt. M. DeSouchet as clerk ; all
of these gentlemen were stockholders. The boats operated were:
the "Mayduke," "Armada," and "Charmer." A few years after
organizing, a consolidation was made with the Dexter line, and the
steamers "Charlie Bowen," "Courier," and "Superior," were added to
the fleet. In 1870, the company divided up and the present company
built the "Idlewild," placing Capt. Gus. Fowler in command. The
success of this boat was phenomenal and had much to do with
building the business of the company up to its present gigantic propor-
tions. The boats have been operated at all times, according to regular
scheduled time tables, high water or low water, and they have therefore
built up an enviable reputation as carriers. The officers of the com-
pany are: Capt. John Gilbert, president; J. H. Fowler, superin-
tendent; R. K. Dunkerson, treasurer; Saunders Fowler, general
freight agent. They operate the "John S. Hopkins," 500 tons; "Joe
Fowler," 450 tons ; "Gus Fowler," 350 tons, and "Dick Fowler," 350
tons. The boats make daily trips between Evansville, Paducah and
Cairo. The "Dick Fowler," which was launched about four years ago,
makes two trips daily from Paducah to Cairo, traveling a distance of
about 200 miles a day. She is considered one of tlic fastest boats on
the Ohio river.
This company has been of incalculable advantage to the people
along the Ohio between here and Cairo, who up to a few years ago
had no other means of reaching the market. During the low water they
have chartered light draught boats to make the runs, considering
neither trouble nor expense where the convenience of thier patrons was
in the scale. No man is better known or more generally respected in
Evansville than is Capt. John Gilbert, the president of the company.
He has been connected with the river interests f(ir nearly half a
centurv, and while he has largo mercantile and banking interests
HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND. 229
besides his river business, yet it is to the river that he gives most of
his time and energy, which is phenomenal in a man of his years.
For over forty years the people along the Ohio river have heard
the whistles of his boats and his honesty and absolute integrity has
endeared him to the thousands of people who have had business to
do with his line, and now when the shadows have begun to fall toward
the east John Gilbert can look back on a well spent life, studded with
the jewels of friendship that his long and honorable career has called
THE EVANSVILLE & TERRE HAUTE R R. SHOPS.
In 1854 these shops consisted of one frame building, used as a
blacksmith and general workshop, with John Kerlin in charge. A
year or so later two more frame buildings were put up. One of which
had four stalls for engines and a division at one end for tools and work-
men. The other was erected for car and coach work, with Mr. Jewett
in charge. The water supply for these buildings was furnished by a
pump and came from the Wabash and Erie canal on Fifth street.
These frame buildings continued in service until 1864, when fine new
brick buildings were erected adjacent to the old ones. They comprised
a machine shop 50x100 feet, car shop 50x100 feet, paint shop 30x150
feet, blacksmith shop 50x85 feet, a two-story office building and
store-room 30x120 feet, and a round-house with sixteen stalls, and a
turn-table. J. L. White was then master mechanic; A. Ancona, fore-
man ; Joseph Stiker, car foreman ; John Howden, blacksmith fore-
man ; Thomas Hopkins, boiler shop foreman.
The new buildings continued in use without additions until 1886,
when a frame extension of 50x120 feet was made to the car-shop. In
1893 a two-story addition to the machine-shop was built, size 40x60
feet. It was used for an electric plant and pattern-room.
The present officers in charge of the shops are : John Torrance,
superintendent of motive power and rolling stock ; W. J. McLeish,
general foreman ; W. D. Andrews, foreman car department ; George
Lindsay, foreman blacksmith shop ; B. F. Smith, foreman boiler shop;
D. S. Cook, foreman round-house.
230 HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND.
The man who has been longer connected with the machine shops of
the Evansvilie & Terre Haute railroad company than any other one
in his official capacity, is John Torrance, the present master mechanic.
He was born January 28, 1836, near Glasgow, Scotland, at the village
of the Monkland ironworks — which takes its name after the old castle
located there. His first work as an apprentice was in the large
machine-shops of that great ship-builder, Robert Napier, in Glasgow.
An apprentice in those days had to work — was indentured to work —
three years before he was entitled to a journeyman's wages. The road
before young Torrance to anything like promotion was a long one, for
his apprentice number was 133, that is to say, 132 young working lads
were before him in the line and list of preferment In 1857 with a
fleet of five steamships, to the Canadian government, he came to
America as second engineer in the government inspection ship named
Lady Head. He continued in this service two years, coming to the
United States in 1859. For a short time he was employed in the shops
of the New York Central railroad, Buffalo, New York. He came to
Evansvilie in 1860, and engaged in the shops of the E. & T. H. R. R.
The next year he went with Archie Thompson to Paducah, Ky., and
began work in the shops of tho Memphis & Ohio railroad, now a part
of the system of the Illinois Central. In the early spring of 1864,
Gen. Forest, a Confederate cavalry raider, stirred up Paducah by a sud-
den foray, and Mr. Torrance, disliking the unhappy warlike situation,
retui'ned at once to Evansvilie. He renewed his labors in the E. & T.
H. shops without delay, and has been there ever since — during the
entire span of a generation, thirty-three years. He worked first as
machinist, then as general foreman, and now is master mechanic, a
position he has occupied most efficiently for many years.
On the 15th of August, 1'885, the Henderson bridge was open for
trains to pass over the Ohio river, arnd about that time there was a
station located about one mile southwest from the corporate limits of
Evansvilie, which had been named " Howell " by President M. H.
Smith of the L. & N. R R. Co., as a compliment to our worthy
fellow citizen Capt Lee Howell, general freight agent of the Evans-
vilie & St. Louis, and Evansvilie, Henderson & Nashville divisions of
the L. & N. R. R. Co.
HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND. 231
February 13, 1889, the town of Howell was laid out by Capt. Lee
Howell, Maj. J. B. Cox, Judge Wm. J. Wood, Jacob Eichel,and Mr.
J. G. Metcalfe, composing the Howell Land Co. Its streets running
north and south are named % Barker avenue, Daisy avenue, Lilley
avenue and Stinson street. Those running east and west are Engine,
Electi'ic, Signal and Vulcan streets. On the 9th day of February,
1891, Rose's addition to Howell was laid out by Conrad Rose, the
Howell Land Co. and Maj. J. B. Cox. On the 22d day of December,
1894, Cox's first addition to Howell was laid out by Maj. J. B. Cox.
On the 11th day of May, 1895, Thompson's addition to Howell was
laid out by James Thompson and Conrad Rose. On July 2, 1896,
Cox's second addition was laid out by Maj. J. B. Cox. On September
5, 1896, Niebuler's addition was laid out by Henry Mebuler. On
November 14, 1896, Strieble's addition was laid out. At the time
Howell was laid out in 1885, there were but two houses inside the
limits. The population now is about 1,300. The public buildings
are two school houses, the General Baptist church, which was organ-
ized by Rev. Benoni Stinson and George Parker on the 5th day of
October, 1823, and the Methodist Episcopal church. Among the
better class of residences are those owned and occupied by Thomas
"Walsh, master mechanic of the L. & N. R. R. shops, J. A. Messmer,
Maj. J. B. Cox, Pat McCue, Mr. Murphy, E. J. Young, Pat J.
Monighan, John Burns, Mrs. Rupert, and others The town of
Howell has grown very rapidly and bids fair to become a city in the
In March, 1889, the Louisville & Nashville railroad company took
charge of the Evansville & St. Louis and the Evansville & Nashville
divisions, and at once secured a forty-five acre plat near what is now
called Howell, and commenced to erect a round-house containing ten
stalls and a large wrought iron turn-table of 100 tons capacity. Then
the work of building shops was commenced. They erected a machine
shop 125 feet wide and 133 feet long, and an engine and boiler house
72 feet long by 35 feet wide. The boiler shop and blacksmith shop,
which is right opposite the machine shop, is 208 feet long by 92 feet
wide. Between the two shops is a large transfer running 240 feet
long and 60 feet wide for transferring engines, cars and coaches. The
next building in line was the planing mill, which is 75 feet wide by
125 feet long, and two stories high, fully equipped with the latest im-
Z6Z HISTORY OF VAXDERBUEGH COUNTY, IND.
proved machinery. Adjacent to this building is an engine and boiler-
room 82 feet long by 35 feet wide, supplied with a 125 horse-power
Corliss engine. The next building is a car-shop 125 feet wide by 150
feet long This contains six tracks running from one end to the other
for repairing and rebuilding cars.
The next building is the store-room and office, a building three
stories high. The lower story is fire-proof for heavy storage. The
second story contains three offices and a store-room. The upper story
contains offices, drawing-room and store department This building
is equipped with two large tire-proof vaults The grounds are all
fenced in, graded up, well drained, and a great part of the yard is
cultivated, having lawns and flower gardens, being supplied with a
hothouse 75 feet long and 20 feet wide.
The water supply consists of a large well 75 feet deep and 40 feet
in diameter supplied from the river. The water from this well is
raised by a large duplex pump into a large tank 40 feet above the
ground, and above this is a second tank sixty feet from the ground.
This upper tank furnishes a good pressure for fire purposes, and
is connected with all the hydrants throughout the yard. The
large duplex pump is so arranged that it can be directly connected
with the mains, giving on a few minutes notiee 130 pounds pressure
per square inch
All the buildings have stone foundations, and are of smooth pressed
brick, with stone coping, and slate roofs. The very best workmanship
and material were employed in their construction. These shops were
completed and started up on the 24th day of December, 1889, with a
working force of 240 men. Since then the force has been steadily
increasing until at the present time there is a working force of over
600 men in the shops. The city adjoining the shops was laid out in
1885, and in 1889 when the shops fii-st started, there were not over
half a dozen houses in it. At present there are about 275 houses and
fully 75 per cent, of this property is owned by the employes of the
shops. The shops have never been closed down since they started and
have always worked a force of from 500 to 700 men. The average
pay-roll for the shops is $20,000 to $2(5,000 per month.
The following are the officers in charge of the shops : Thomas
Walsh, master mechanic; E. J. Young, foreman of machine shop; A.
W. Patton, foreman of car department ; Moses Bagley, assistant fore-
man car department ; F. M. Van Winkle, foreman of planing mill ;
A. E.Brown, foreman of boiler shop; Patrick McCue, foremau of
blacksmith shop; (ins Carpenter, foreman of tin and coppersmith
HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND. 233
shop; Charles Robinson, foreman coach-work; A. J. Bruning, fore-
man of jJaint department, and J. B. Huff, foreman of engines and
HISTORY OF THE B. M. A.
The Business Men's Association of Evansville effected its perma-
nent organization April 15, 1887. Its object was to promote the
welfare and advancement of the city, to collect and diffuse informa-
tion as to its commercial and industrial advantages, developed and un-
developed ; to invite and secure local and foreign capital and labor,
and make known the opportunities for investment and employment.
The jJublic spirited men of Evansville discovered the necessity for a
commercial, or busness men's organization. All important cities have
their organizations through which the business voice is expressed and
understood in its own community, as well as in others with which it
is thus brought in correspondence. This element is enabled to speak,
deliberate, plan and carry out ideas for the promotion of the general
The existence of such an organization as the B. M. A. serves as a
nucleus around which the community can rally during times of public
apprehension or danger. It is an efiective promoter of grand
achievements for the upbuilding of the city and a potent factor in the
development of its resources. It has a deterring influence on unfaith-
ful officials, being to them a standing menace, while it is a tower of
strength to faithful ones.
The B. M. A. is the only public body that has ever taken it upon
itself to look after the welfare of the community, and assume im-
portant undertakings for the business interests of the city. It has
been instrumental in bringing numerous plants to Evansville and has
rendered valuable aid in securing the Marine hospital and the hospital
for the insane. It made a heroic fight for the improvement of
the streets and alleys that the city might have clean substantial
thoroughfares. After a prolonged struggle continued from the one
session of the legislature to another, it succeeded in obtaining the
machinery by which muncipal reform is possible. The new charter
of Evansville which was thus secured is modeled after that of Brook-
lyn. The efforts of the B. M. A. have frequently been resisted by
those who misunderstood the motives of the association, and it has
been assailed when doing work which was purely reformative of public
abuses. It was never so severely criticised as it was during the fight
234 HISTORY OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY, IND.
it made to obtain the new city charter, which has really been the
crowning work of its existence and greatly for the public good. Time
has always vindicated the wisdom of its accomplishments, which con-
firms a truth found in history that the greatest minds, like tallest
mountains, receive approaching light, absorb its beneficence, and
reflect its splendor long before the valley awakens from nocturnal
During the first few years, while the organization was a novelty, it
had great numerical strength. It took an active part in all public mat-
ters but in every achievement which it gained through aggressiveness it
lost in the support of members who were disturbed by such successes.
Its great battle was one fought to prevent the city council from
granting a street railway franchise that was regarded by the masses of
the citizens as a one-sided contract, one in which the citizens were not
receiving just compensation. In this fight the association lost a large
number of its members. The B. M. A. organized the building asso-
ciation that erected the grand structure on the corner of Second and
Sycamore streets. In the upper .story of this building a commodious
hall and office rooms were secured for the association and its secretary,
without rent, as long as it shall continue its organization. It also
created the " Tri-state fair association " and infused into it the spirit
which secured the fair grounds with its numerous buildings and fine
Evausville has advanced and assumed metropolitan proportions and
ajjpearances since the business men united and resolved to take some,
direct action in public affairs. The value of such an organization can-