Francis Marion Trissal.

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December 4,1922.





A Political History
From 1860 to 1890


Printed for the Author by


Printers and Publishers



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The Presidential Election of 1860 and Subsequent
Political Campaigns.

The War of the Rebellion of 1861 and Southern
Sympathizers in Indiana.

The Knights of the Golden Circle, Sons of Liberty,

Slavery, Emancipation, Enfranchisement, Restora-
tion, Reconciliation and Reconstruction.

Conflicts Between Presidents and Senators, and
Quarrels of Rival Politicians.

The Impeachment Proceedings Against President
Johnson, the Issues That Brought Them About,
and the Final Triumph of His Reconciliation

Periods of Financial and Industrial Depression.

The Inflation and Deflation of Currency and the
Resumption of Specie Payment of the Govern-
ment's Obligations.

The Credit Mobilier of America, and the Pacific

The Contested Presidential Election of 1876.

The Records of Governors, Senators, Members of
Congress, Judges and Other Officials.






-*- German, Scotch, and Irish ancestry, the son of
Joseph and Phoebe Trissal, was born near the
town of Johnsville, Montgomery County, Ohio,
September 30, 1847. His mother's maiden name
was McGriff, her mother's maiden name was

His father was a school teacher by profession,
who moved with his family from Ohio to Cass
County, Indiana, in 1850, and engaged in his pro-
fession as one of the "Hoosier School Masters" of
early days, and followed that occupation in the
Counties of Cass and Miami, until his death in
Miami County, in 1863.

The education that Francis M. obtained was ac-
quired in the public schools of Cass and Miami
Counties, and under the direction of his father
and his uncle John Trissal, who was also a teacher.
When not attending school he was employed at
farm labor until the summer of 1865, when he was
employed as Deputy Clerk in the Hamilton Cir-
cuit Court and continued in that service until
November, 1867, when he was appointed Deputy
Clerk of the Howard Circuit Court at Kokomo,


- Indiana, and served in that position for one year.
These employments brought him in association
with lawyers and judges and at the same time
educated him in forms and methods of legal pro-
cedure in the courts and influenced him to enter
the legal profession. In December, 1868, he
entered the law office of General David Moss at
Xoblesville, Indiana, with whom he was associated
for seven years, two years as a student, and five

V *S

years as a partner. In 1873 he was appointed by
Governor Thomas A. Hendricks to fill a vacancy
for one year in the office of Prosecuting Attorney.
In 1875 he moved to Indianapolis where he
practiced his profession for three years, then moved
to Tipton, where he practiced for a short time and
then took up his residence again at Noblesville,
where he continued in the law practice until 1888,
when he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he
practiced until 1891, when he became a resident of
Chicago and a member of the Chicago bar, and was
soon thereafter employed as the General Attorney
for Corporations and Clients having extensive in-
terests in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, among
these the Bedford Quarries Company, the Southern
Indiana Railway Compart} 7 , the Illinois Southern
and Southern Missouri Railway Companies, in
each of which he was also a director. It was under
his guidance and direction that the Southern In-
diana Railroad was extended and constructed
through the coal fields of Southwestern Indiana
and increased the coal operations in the counties of


Daviess, Greene, Clay, Sullivan, and Vigo. It
was also under his direction, in part, that the
Illinois Southern Railroad was extended over the
Ozark Mountains from St. Genevieve to Bismarck,

He was an active trial lawyer, and the Supreme
Court Reports in each of the States of Indiana,
Illinois, Missouri, and Minnesota contain reports
of decisions in cases in which he was counsel.

He was one of the founders and a trustee of the
Illinois College of Law, now the law department
of DePaul University, and received an honorary
degree from that institution. About the year 1898,
he became interested in projects for the improve-
ment of the Kankakee River in Indiana, and the
drainage of lands of its valleys, and acquired a
body of 440 acres that he drained and developed
from a dismal swamp to a high state of produc-
tiveness, where he put in much of his time in later
years in constructing buildings, planting orchards
and otherwise improving it for usefulness.

He was married on the seventh day of October,
1869, to Harriet D. Ross, the daughter of Joseph
W. Ross, a pioneer merchant of Noblesville, In-
diana. Her death occurred on June 15th, 1919,
as the golden anniversary approached. The occur-
rence of this sorrowful event caused him to take up
his residence on the farm that he had developed, in
the western part of Starke County, Indiana, near
what is known as the Ox Bow Bend in the Kan-
kakee River, where General Lew Wallace resorted


while producing his Fair God and Ben Hur. It
was at that place in the years of 1920 and 1921,
when not engaged in farm work, that he put his
powers of perseverance in contest with his hours of
loneliness and leisure in the work of producing the
manuscript for 'Public Men of Indiana," com-
pleting it in 1922 at the home of his son, Julius
Ross Trissal in Chicago, 6823 Anthony Avenue.
March, 1922.


HHHE term "Public Men of Indiana" is sus-
* ceptible of indefinite application and extension.
Any Indiana man who attained popular notoriety
in public affairs or in the service of his country dur-
ing the period covered by this work would come
under the title selected for it. It was not possible
that all such characters could be given mention,
consequently the author has selected for descrip-
tion and statement of what they did only those to
whom his personal observations and recollections
extended, and his recollections have been con-
firmed both as to the men and the events with
which they were identified by informaton from
most reliable sources.

In that selection he has chosen many quiet con-
tributors to the country's history, as well as those
who have been crowned with the halo they deserved
in other histories that have been published.

The period covered in this volume is from 1860
to 1890, during which its many exciting and im-
portant public events called forth as participants
in them the best minds and the best men of the
state and made their work and achievements to
form an essential part of the history of the United
States, as well as of their own state.


While maintaining its status as a member of
the Federal Union many of them were at the same
time prominent in their personal and official associa-
tion with those of other states in dealing with the
great crisis of a civil war, and its incidental sub-
jects of slavery, emancipation, enfranchisement,
reconciliation and reconstruction, that evolved
problems in the science of government more com-
plex than any that had arisen at any previous
period in the country's history.

To set forth the processes and acts that resulted
in the solution of these great problems necessitated
such a full statement of the events that evolved
them as to make the work a general historic con-
tribution that may be read with some interest by
others as well as by Indiana people.

The production differs from other so-called his-
tories that have been published in that it is not
merely a collection of biographies and personally
written eulogies, prepared to induce subscriptions
by the eulogized, but contains the author's own
narrations and estimates of the characters written
about and in the main records the acts only of
those who have passed from earth.


Public Men of Indiana


TV/TAXY of the men written about in the pages
L*-"- that follow had their birthplaces in log cabins
or in the more pretentious hewed log houses of early
davs. There was not then such caste in Hoosier so-


ciety as permitted the occupants of the latter to
hold themselves aloof from the former. They were
so dependent upon each other for acts of neighborly
friendship that reciprocity was a necessity. They
had then no fears of "entangling alliances" or con-
venient ways of communicating with their "foreign
relations," and had to be content with their isola-
tion from the world. The comforts of life were to
them a luxury.

These rustic homes surrounded by the trees of
the forest from which they were built, with their
clapboard roofs and clay or puncheon floors, were
the places where these sons of pioneers first felt the
breath of a mother's love and heard of the manly
darings of a father's bravery.

It was inside their walls where, from the illu-
minations afforded by the chimney corner lamps
and the flames from the burning hickory bark in


the old fireplaces, they read of the unseen world's
progress and civilization, and had their minds
trained to religious devotion and kindled with de-
sires to visualize what they read about.

It was from there that the fancies of youth began
their development into living realities that often
ended in disappointments.

It was from there they went to attend the dis-
trict schools of the winter taught in log school
houses that were furnished only with wooden
benches and a wide plank desk fastened to the
wall for writing exercises, and where they were
disciplined in mind and behavior by the sovereign
Hoosier schoolmaster, and told how necessary it
was for them to become availed of the education
he possessed and could impart to them, and were
impressed by his palming off to them as his own
w r ords those found in the preface to the old Kirk-
ham's Grammar, reading thus : "We are living in an
age of light and knowledge in which science and
arts are moving on with gigantic strides."

It was in these Brush Seminaries that the young
aspirant for oratorical attainments and fame gave
his first demonstrations of talent in public speak-
ing by committing and repeating the lines of poeti-
cal works. Excessive schooling was not then a
prevailing condition nor were any educated beyond
their intellectual capacity.

These institutions of learning had no annexes
with laboratories where agricultural chemistry was
taught, but the old school readers suggested prac-
tical means of tilling the soil by the picture of a


man holding the handles of a plow and another
holding the lines to guide the horses in pulling it,
under which was printed the words:

"He who by the plow would thrive
Must himself either hold or drive."

The verities of this picture, that were fully
realized, caused a longing for more of the "light
and knowledge," to which their teacher had alluded,
on other subjects arts and sciences than agronomy,
and sent many into other lines of human endeavor
and in search of a higher social and scholastic life
that it was believed could only be obtained in cities
and other centers of population. These longings
for other scenes were not diminished or restrained
by the lines of the British poet, William Cowper,
that read: "God made the country, man made the
town." The profession of the law was more allur-
ing than the sciences that teach the ways of convert-
ing the works of nature to the wants of man. No
doubt some who entered it erroneously believed that
it afforded a better shelter for indolence, while
others saw the superior advantages it afforded in
the promotion of political ambitions, but did not
fully anticipate the period of starvation they must
endure while waiting for clients ; but they survived,
and fitted themselves for service to those who em-
ployed them and for public stations at the same

It was not alone the circuit riding lawyer of those
days who had the honors of public admiration and
individual respect, but the itinerant preacher came


2 June 22

in for his share, and was perhaps more reverently
regarded because of the sacredness of his work.

The lawyers acquired knowledge of the science
and purposes of government as well as the science
and philosophy of law.

They were not "case lawyers," but read and relied
on textbooks for education in elementary principles,
and upon their own powers of reasoning in apply-
ing them to facts.

On the shelves of their libraries were such in-
structive works as Blackstone and Kent's Com-
mentaries, Story on the Constitution, and Equity
Jurisprudence, Chitty on Contracts, and Green-
leaf on Evidence, and in fact textbooks that re-
vealed both the science and literature of the law
upon every subject of jurisprudence. These old
volumes have now almost entirely disappeared from
the libraries of most lawyers of the present day to
make room for cyclopaedias, citators and digests of
decisions and reports almost as numerous as the
volumes that the Roman Emperor Justinian re-
quired his skilled lawyers to condense into the
Pandects. The descendants of the men who en-
tered the profession did not all follow their fathers
in it, but many did, while others became renowned
as statesmen, soldiers, novelists, poets, and in other
ways as contributors to the welfare and literature
of their country, a fact showing that while genius
may descend as an inheritance, it is often diffluent
in its courses of lineage.

The foundations for the civilizing influences of
the Christian religion that has always characterized



the citizenship of the state were well laid by the
pioneer preachers, such as James Havens, known
as "Father Havens," and others of his class. He
was constantlv and conspicuously in his work from

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the year 1824, until the fourth day of November,
1864, when his death occurred at Rushville.

His son, George Havens, followed him in his
religious work as a member and minister of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. Father Havens
taught patriotism as well as piety. Two of his
sons, Henry Bascom and Benjamin F., were
soldiers of the Civil War, serving in the Union
Army, and Benjamin F. became prominent in
political life as mayor of the City of Terre Haute,
where he was elected as a democrat and was a
member of the Indiana Board of Centennial Com-
missioners at the World's Fair in Chicago.

Col. John W. T. McMullen was called from his
service in the Union Army to preach the funeral
sermon of Father Havens. McMullen was colonel
of the 57th Indiana Regiment, that he organized
and in which he served from the beginning until
the end of the war. The 57th was called the
"Preacher's Regiment," because of the great num-
ber of preachers who wished to serve under
McMullen as thev had with him in his ministrations


as a Methodist minister. He was long regarded as
one of the ablest ministers of the state.

Chaplain John H. Lozier, of the 37th Indiana
Regiment, was also a prominent and powerful
preacher before, during and after the Civil War,
as was Chaplain Ira J. Chase, of the Christian


Church, who afterwards became governor of the

It was through the influences and activities of
such men as "Father" Havens, W. W. Hibben,
Milton B. Hopkins and other pioneer preachers
that religious denominations established and main-
tained colleges, liberal in character, that were open
to all whether members of the sect that established
them or not, long before the state in its sovereign
capacity entered upon its policy of fostering edu-
cational institutions by general taxation and legis-
lative appropriations. Scores of eminent men and
women were numbered among the alumni of
Asbury, Wabash, Franklin, Earlham, Hanover,
Northwestern Christian, Notre Dame and others
of sectarian institutions, and went forth from their
halls to represent public trusts, both civil and po-
litical, as did many distinguished educators, orators
and Christian ministers long before that time.

The importance and influence of the State of
Indiana in political contests and national affairs
was recognized by the people of other states and
their representatives at all times following its
admission into the Union of States.

The influence of the speaker of the house of
national representatives over the course of legis-
lation is great, and the parties having a majority in
the house are careful to select one on whose sym-
pathy with their views and aims they can rely.

From 1845 to 1847, John W. Davis, a democrat,
was the speaker who had served as a member from
Sullivan County for many years before.


From 1863 to 1869, Schuyler Coif ax of South
Bend, who had served as a member for a num-
ber of terms previously, a republican, was the

Michael C. Kerr, a democrat, who served as a
representative of the New Albany district from
1864 until 1878 was speaker from 1875 until

For eighteen years the United States Senate was
presided over by distinguished citizens of Indiana,
who stood in line for succession to the presidency.
These were Vice Presidents Schuyler Coif ax,
Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks and
Thomas R. Marshall.

President Lincoln was the first to call a citizen
of Indiana to a cabinet position, by the appoint-
ment of Caleb B. Smith as Secretary of the In-
terior, who died while holding the office, to be
followed in the office by John P. Usher of Terre
Haute. He also appointed Hugh McCulloch of
Fort Wayne a member of his cabinet as Secretary
of the Treasury, who served also in the cabinet of
Andrew Johnson.

Gen. Walter Q. Gresham, who won distinction
as a Union general serving on General Grant's
staff, and was for many years a federal judge, was
a member of the cabinet of President Arthur, serv-
ing as Postmaster General and Secretary of the
Treasury, also a member of the last cabinet of
President Cleveland as Secretary of State.


James N. Tyner of Peru, Indiana, was for a
short term Postmaster General during President
Grant's second term.


Richard W. Thompson of T,erre Haute was
Secretary of the Navy in the cabinet of Rutherford
B. Hayes. William H. H. Miller of Indianapolis
was Attorney General during the administration of
President Benjamin Harrison.

The attitude of the State and its people in re-
spect to the Civil War, that began in 1861, was
watched with great concern by the people of other
States because of its position in bordering slave

It is an undeniable fact that it contained many
southern sympathizers, but they were far outnum-
bered by loyal Union citizens. In the Presidential
campaign of 1860 Jesse D. Bright of Southern
Indiana, then a United States Senator, was a sup-
porter of John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for
the presidency; they had been warm personal
friends and political associates while Breckinridge
had presided over the Senate. His colleague, Gra-
ham N. Fitch of Logansport, was also a supporter
of Breckinridge. Bright was accused and found
guilty of complicity with Breckinridge and other
secessionists in furnishing munitions of war to them
and was expelled from the Senate on the 6th day
of February, 1862, a year before his term would
have expired, while Fitch soon after his retirement
from the Senate in 1861 recruited and became
colonel of the 46th Indiana Regiment of Union
soldiers and rose to the rank of brigadier general.

Oliver P. Morton, who had been elected as Lieu-
tenant Governor in 1860, was ex-officio governor
of the State at the time of Bright's expulsion, and


was then in his capacity as Governor making a
determined fight against the disloyal elements in
the State. He was not known to have ambitions
to become Senator at that time, but if he had such
aspirations he had to yield them at that particular
time because of overpowering necessities. He
could not turn over the office of Governor to some
one who would appoint him to fill out Bright's
unexpired term, because there was no one legally
eligible to fill the office of Lieutenant Governor in
case of a vacancy, and besides to do such a thing,
had it been possible, would look like desertion in
the face of the enemies he was fighting, conse-
quently he must either appoint a Senator to fill out
the term or leave the vacancv to continue. To fill


it by a member of his own party would be a danger-
ous political experiment for a man of Morton's
temperament. He was not given to the creation
or toleration of political rivals, and he appointed
former Governor Joseph A. Wright, a democrat,
to fill the position until the legislature of 1863 con-
vened, when David Turpie, a democrat, was elected
to serve for six weeks to fill out Bright's unexpired
term, and Thomas A. Hendricks was elected for
the full term. Their election caused the postpone-
ment of Morton's senatorial ambitions for another

four vears, when he could succeed Henrv S. Lane,

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which he did in 1868, and served with Hendricks,
on the opposite side of the chamber, during the
eventful period of reconstruction following the close
of the great war, and was re-elected in 1873.

Among the pioneer lawyers of Indiana who had


exceptional educational advantages was Judge
Stephen Major of Shelby ville, a native of Ireland,
graduate of Oxford University in England, one of
the early Circuit Judges whose circuit was com-
posed of the counties of Marion, Hamilton, Han-
cock, Shelby, Rush, and Decatur. He was the
preceptor of Thomas A. Hendricks and well re-
membered for his dignified mien, urbanity, and
great learning, and seemingly the suavity of
Hendricks was acquired by his observances of and
association with that courtly character.

He was the Father of Charles Major, the author
of "When Knighthood Was in Flower," "The
Bears of Blue River," and other excellent con-
tributions to literature. His first story, "When
Knighthood Was in Flower," brought him quick
fame and popularity, was dramatized, and was as
successful in a play as it was in a novel.

He, too, was a lawyer in active practice when he
produced it, and it has been truly said was greatly
aided in his writings by his wife, who possessed a
striking personality and pronounced literary tastes.
He had but little taste for public life or desires for
political honors, but was elected to the legislature
as a democrat and declined re-election.

Captain Reuben A. Riley, who got his military
title in the war for the Union, a member of the
Hancock County Bar, was the father of the great
Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, named in
honor of Governor James Whitcomb.

Captain Riley is remembered not alone because
of his prominence as a soldier and lawyer, but on


account of his observance of the styles of his day,
when lawyers appeared in courts clothed in "spike-
tailed" coats, and Captain Riley's usually had on
shining brass buttons.

That fashion and the head gear of plug hats, it
has been said, was created by Tom Walpole, a
pioneer lawyer of that county.

John S. Tarkington of the Indianapolis bar, still
living, was prominent as a commercial lawyer and
annually published a court calendar for the con-
venience of lawyers of the State, giving the dates
of the commencement and duration of the terms
of the various courts. He was the father of the
distinguished novelist, Booth Tarkington, who was
given the name Booth in honor of the name of his
mother and that of Honorable Newton Booth, her
brother, a United States Senator from California,
prominently mentioned for the republican nomina-
tion for President in 1876. Newton Booth was
born at Salem, Indiana.

Edwin Denby, recently chosen as Secretary of
the Navy in the cabinet of President Harding, is
the son of Colonel Charles Denby, a democrat, who
stood at the head of the bar in Southern Indiana,
some of whose history will appear in future pages
of this work. Edwin's mother was a daughter of
Senator Graham N. Fitch, who was an eminent
surgeon of Logansport, Indiana, when he became
United States Senator. James R. Slack entered
the service as colonel of the 47th Indiana Regiment.
The 46th Regiment, of which Fitch was colonel,
and the 47th were in the same brigade, and both

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Online LibraryFrancis Marion TrissalPublic men of Indiana; a political history → online text (page 1 of 14)