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och College, in Ohio, and went afterward to
Harvard, but left in his sophomore year,
owing to ill health. His home was in Indi-

1 Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 35.


ana from 1852 to 1864. He wrote his best
poems, indeed the greater part of his slender
product, at New Albany, and his residence
there, in immediate contact with the seat of
war, colored his distinctive work. He married,
in 1863, Elizabeth Conwell Smith, whom he
had met the preceding year at New Albany,
and whose literary gifts created a bond of
sympathy between them. They removed
shortly to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where
one of Willson's brothers was in school. He
purchased a house on the Mount Auburn
road, near Lowell's home, with an outlook
on the Charles River. James R. Gilmore
(Edmund Kirke) was his neighbor and saw
much of him at Cambridge. He wrote, in
1895, his recollections, testifying to Willson's
unusual qualities, and giving this description
of his personal appearance :

" Take him, all in all, he was the most lovable man I
ever knew ; and as a mere specimen of physical manhood
he was a joy to look at. A little above the medium height,
he was perfectly proportioned and of a sinewy, symmetrical
figure. His hair was raven black, wavy, and glossy as satin.
His skin was a light olive, slightly tinged with red, and his
features were regular, somewhat prominent, and exceed-


ingly flexible, showing an organization of a highly sensitive
character. But his eyes were what riveted the observer's
attention. Mr. Longfellow told me they were the finest
type of the Oriental, but I never saw eyes Eastern or
Western to compare with them in luminous power.
They were full, large, and dark, with overhanging lashes ;
but for the life of me I cannot tell their precise color. At
times they seemed a deep blue, at other times an intense
black, and then they were balls of fire, as he was stirred by
some strong emotion. They spoke the ready language of
a deep, strong, fiery, yet chastened, nature as it was moved
by love, joy, sorrow or indignation." 1

Piatt remarks upon his " Oriental look and
manner," and all who knew him were impressed
by his distinguished appearance and grave cour-
tesy. In 1858 New Albany became interested
in spiritualism. Willson fell under the spell and
began a study of the subject. Piatt says that
Willson " soon abandoned the professors, but
retained until his death a serious spiritual theory
or faith of his own. He believed and he was
absolutely honest and sincere, I am sure, in his
faith that the spirits of the dead could, and at
times do, have communication with the living."

Willson seems not to have had an active occu-
pation at any time. His father had been success-

1 Indianapolis News, March 2, 1895.


ful in business, and dying at New Albany in
1859, left a comfortable fortune to his children.
The poet lived by himself for a number of years,
at New Albany, in a small house where he sur-
rounded himself with books and led the life of
a student. Louisville is directly across the Ohio
from New Albany, and Willson was known to a
few of the literary people on the Kentucky side,
particularly to Prentice. The approach of the
Civil War aroused in him a deep interest in its
great issues, and he wrote editorials in support
of the Union cause for Prentice' Jotirnal. He
began in the first year of the war, and concluded
later, his poem " In State," which, in spite of its
occasional vagueness and its despairing view of
the political situation, is written in an effective
stanza and is splendidly imaginative. He gloom-
ily assumed that the nation was dead hence
his personification of it as a prone figure lying
" in state," and he brings the rulers of Europe
to look upon it,

" The winds have tied the drifted snow
Around the face and chin ; and lo,
The sceptred giants come and go

And shake their shadowy crowns and say : 'We
always feared it would be so ! ' "


There is hardly a stanza in the poem that does
not contain some striking image. It moves on
in the mournful cadence of a miserere :

" The Sisterhood that was so sweet,
The Starry System sphered complete,
Which the mazed Orient used to greet,

The Four and Thirty fallen Stars glimmer and
glitter at her feet."

He published, January I, 1863, as a carrier's
address in the Louisville Journal, " The Old
Sergeant/' which Piatt believed to have been
"the transcript of a real history, none of the
names in it being fictitious, and the story being
reported as exactly as possible from the lips of a
Federal assistant surgeon named Austin, with
whom Willson was acquainted at New Albany."
The poem appeared anonymously, and for some
reason, which was never explained, Willson
seemed reluctant at first to admit its authorship:
It attracted wide attention. Gilmore relates
that early in 1863, in the office of the Atlantic
Monthly, he met Dr. Holmes, who held in his
hand a copy of the Louisville Journal, containing
"The Old Sergeant" " Read that," said he,
" and tell me if it's not the finest thing since the


war began. Sit down and read it here ; you
might lose it if I let you take it away." The
ballad is found in " The Old Sergeant and Other
Poems " (1867). It is a vivid narrative of sus-
tained power and interest, deriving strength from
the earnestness of the recital and the simple
language, sometimes descending to army slang,
of the soldier. The poem is historically accurate
and is a fine celebration of the battle of Shiloh :

" There was where Lew Wallace showed them he was of
the canny kin,

There was where old Nelson thundered, and where Rous-
seau waded in ;

There McCook sent 'em to breakfast, and we all began to


There was where the grapeshot took me, just as we
began to win.

" Now, a shroud of snow and silence over everything was

spread ;
And but for this old blue mantle and the old hat on my

I should not have even doubted, to this moment, I was

For my footsteps were as silent as the snow upon the


There is a suggestion of Poe, whom Willson
greatly admired, in the repetition, with slight


variation, of the third line of the stanza; but
such points Willson always considered care-
fully. He was certainly not servilely imitative,
and he is an ungenerous critic who would
pick flaws in a poem that is so fine as a whole.
"The Old Sergeant" is entitled to a place with
the best poems of the war with Mrs. Howe's
" Battle Hymn," Brownell's stirring pieces, Will
H. Thompson's "High Tide at Gettysburg," and
Ticknor's "Little Giffen." These stand apart
from Lowell's " Commemoration Ode" and simi-
lar poems, which are civic rather than military.
In " The Rhyme of the Master's Mate," Willson
turned again to the heroic, and while the poem
is less artistic than " The Old Sergeant," it has
a swing and a stroke that fit his theme well.
His volume contains a number of mystical
pieces, colored by his belief in spiritualism,
and a few lyrics, as "The Estray" and
"Autumn Song," which have an elusive charm
and increase admiration for his talents. Will-
son was emphatically a masculine character.
In literature and in life he liked what he
called "muscle," and he certainly showed a
sinewy grasp in his best poems. It is related


that once during the war he organized, and
armed at his own expense, a home guard to
protect New Albany in a dangerous crisis, and
at other times he displayed great personal
courage. If it had not been for his ill health
he would undoubtedly have enlisted.

Willson was not immediately identified at
Cambridge as the author of "The Old Ser-
geant." As Dr. Holmes said after Willson's
death, " He came among us as softly and
silently as a bird drops into his nest," and it
was not like him to call attention to his own
performances. After the death of his wife
and infant child, October 13, 1864, Willson
was often at Gilmore's house, where he first
saw Emerson. Gilmore relates that he re-
turned home one day from Boston to find
Lowell lying at full length on a lounge in the
library, in animated conversation with Willson.
On this occasion an incident occurred illustra-
tive of Willson's gift of "second sight." Long-
fellow was mentioned in the conversation, and
Willson remarked that the poet would be there
shortly. No one had an intimation of the visit,
but Willson described the route that Longfel-


low was then following toward the house; and
when the poet presently arrived, he affirmed
the statement of his itinerary as Willson had
given it. Willson' s interest in life ended with
the death of his wife, whose few poems he pub-
lished privately. She is remembered at New
Albany as a girl of great beauty and refinement.
Willson left Cambridge in the fall of 1866
for New Albany. While there he suffered
hemorrhages of the lungs and was ill for a
month. He never regained his strength, and
his death occurred February 2, 1867, at Alfred,
New York. His convictions as to spiritualism
grew firmer after his wife's death, and toward
the last, so one of his brothers wrote, " his wife
and child seemed to be with him constantly,
and he talked to them in a low voice." He
was buried at Laurel, the home of Mrs. Will-
son's family, in the White Water Valley. His
wife and child lie in one grave beside him.
The quiet hilltop cemetery commands a view
of one of the loveliest landscapes in Indiana,
and it is fitly touched with something of the
peace, strength, and beauty that are associated
with Willson 's name.


III. Later Poets

Willson marked the beginning of better
things, and a livelier fancy and a keener criti-
cal spirit is henceforward observable in the
writings of a veteran like Parker, and in the
new company of writers that was forming. The
Civil War had profoundly moved the Central
States, and Indiana had perhaps felt it more than
her neighbors. Willson had lifted his voice for
the Union while the war cloud still lay upon the
land, and the Thompson brothers spoke for
the South from Indiana soil on the arrival of
the era of better feeling. Ben D. House, who
had served in the Federal armies, wrote with
truth and spirit. He ran away from his home
in Vermont when he was seventeen, and en-
tered the army from Massachusetts. He saw
hard service, and received wounds which were
a constant menace for the remainder of his life.
He was mustered out finally at Indianapolis,
and lived there almost continuously until his
death in 1887. His idiosyncrasies and affec-
tations were many, and included the wearing of
a great cloak, in which he sombrely wrapped


himself in cold weather. His poems were
printed privately by his friends in 1892. He
had fair luck with the sonnet, and wrote, on
the occasion of Grant's death, " Appomattox,"
which follows :

" To peace-white ashes sunk war's lurid flame ;
The drums had ceased to growl, and died away
The bark of guns, where fronting armies lay,

And for the day the dogs of war were tame,

And resting on the field of blood-fought fame,
For peace at last o'er horrid war held sway
On her won field, a score of years to-day,

Where to her champion forth a white flag came.

O nation's chief, thine eyes have seen again
A whiter flag come forth to summon thee

Than that pale scarf which gleamed above war's stain,

To parley o'er the end of its red reign
The truce of God that sets from battle free

Thy dauntless soul, and thy worn life from pain."

Lee O. Harris, a native of Pennsylvania
(1839), removed to the State in 1852, and was
an Indiana soldier in the Civil War. His verse,
as collected in "Interludes" (1893), shows little
of the military feeling, but is strongly domestic,
a forerunner of the work of Mr. Riley, whose
teacher Mr. Harris had been at Greenfield.

Dan L. Paine, an Indianapolis journalist


(1830-1895), possessed a sound taste, and his
occasional pieces were well executed. He
wrote an elegy on the death of his friend and
fellow-journalist, George C. Harding, which is
a meditation on the courage of such spirits :

" On Freedom's heights they stand as sentinels,

Brave tropic suns, delve in earth's deepest caves,
And climb the ladder of the parallels
To sleep in icy graves."

Such felicities were not uncommon with him.
He was the friend and helpful critic of all the
younger Indiana writers, and literary reputa-
tions have been created from slighter talents
than his. His poems were collected privately,
under the title "Club Moss" (1890).

So far nearly every name identified with the
literary impulse in Indiana has been met south
of a line drawn across the State at Crawford s-
ville ; but Evaleen Stein carried it farther north,
to Lafayette. Miss Stein's verse illustrates
happily the growing emancipation of the
younger generation of Western poets from
bare didacticism, and an escape from the
landscape of tradition. She finds her sub-
jects in nature, and draws pictures for the


pleasure of it, and not with the expectation
of tacking a moral to the frame. Earnestness
and conviction characterize her verses, and
there is often a kind of exultance in the note
when she sings of the rough hill pastures or the
marshes and bayous that invite her study. She
has something of Thoreau's genius for details,
and her volume "One Way to the Woods"
(1897) is an accurate calendar of the moods of
nature. Her work marks really a new genera-
tion, the change of fashion, and the passing of
the ante-bellum poets of the region. Twenty
years earlier no Ohio Valley poet would have
explored a bayou, or could have written of it
so musically as Miss Stein :

" Ah, surely none would ever guess
That through that tangled wilderness,

Through those far forest depths remote,
Lay any smallest path, much less

A way wherein to guide a boat ! "

A small volume of the poems of M. Gene-
vieve Todd (1863-1896), of the order of Sis-
ters of Providence, was published after her
death. They are wholly devotional, and are
marked by elevation of spirit wedded to cor-


rect taste. Sister Mary Genevieve was born
at Vevay, of Protestant parents, and died at
the convent of St. Mary's of the Woods near
Terre Haute. Albion Fellows Bacon, Mrs.
D. M. Jordan, Richard Lew Dawson, and Will-
iam R. Williams have also been creditable
contributors to the Hoosier anthology.

Indiana offers, on the whole, a fair field for
poets. The prevailing note of the landscape
is tranquillity. There is hardly a spot in the
State that touches the imagination with a
sense of power or grandeur, and yet there
are countless scenes of quiet beauty. The
Wabash gathers breadth and grace as it flows
southward. Long curves here and there give
to the eye the illusion of a chain of lakes, and
the river's valley is a rich garden. The Tip-
pecanoe is another beautiful river, famous
among fishermen, and there are a number
of charming lakes in the northern part of
the State. The Kankakee tnars.h was long
haunted by the migrant wild birds, and in
recent years a wild goose was found there
with the piece of an Eskimo arrow, made of
reindeer bone, through its breast. Poets and


novelists have found inspiration in the Kan-
kakee. Maurice Thompson and Evaleen Stein
have celebrated the region in song ; and there
is a tradition that the manuscript of " Ben
Hur" visited both the Kankakee and Lake
Maxinkuckee at certain crises in its prepara-
tion. The possibilities of mixed forests are
nowhere more happily illustrated than in
Indiana, whether in the earliest wistful days
of spring or in the full glory of autumn.
The beech and the elm, the maple, the
hickory and the walnut, and the humbler
sassafras and pawpaw are companions of a
royal order of forestry, from which the syca-
more the self -constituted guardian of rivers
and creeks is excluded by nature's decree
confirmed by man's preference. The variety
of cereals that may be grown saves the tilled
areas from monotony. There are no vast
plains of corn or wheat as in Kansas or the
Dakotas, but the corn ripens between wheat
stubble on one hand, and green pastures or
remnants of woodland on the other. The
transitional seasons bring more of delight to
the senses than the full measure of winter


and summer, and have for the observer con-
stant novelty and change. There are quali-
ties in the spring of the Ohio Valley
qualities of sweetness and wistfulness that
are peculiar to the region ; and when the
winds are all from the south, and the win-
ter wheat is brilliant in the fields; when the
sap sings beneath the rough bark of the old
forest trees, and the young orchards are a blur
of pink and white, spirits are abroad there
with messages for the sons of men.


Abbott, Lyman, 215.
Ade, George, 242.
"Artemus Ward," 159.

Bacon, Albion Fellows, 269.
Bagehot, Walter, 158, 178.
Banta, D. D., 75, 236.
Baptists, organized first church,


Beales, at New Harmony, 132.
Beecher, Henry Ward, 18, 83, 250.
Beecher, Mrs. H. W., 35, 56.
" Ben Hur," how written, 189, 193 ;

Ms. of, 270.
Benjamin, Park, 19.
Bennett, Emerson, 248.
Bernard, Duke of Saxe- Weimar,

113. "5-

Biddle, Horace P., 248, 251.
Blackford, Isaac, 22, 83.
Blake family, 18.
Blake, James, 83.
Bolton, Nathaniel, 253.
Bolton, Sarah T., 253.
Boone, Richard G., 234.
Booth, Newton, 16.
Brook Farm, Robert Owen visits,


Brookville, 12.

Brotherton, Alice Williams, 13.
Brown, Admiral George, 212.
Brown, Demarchus C., 242.
Brown, Paul, at New Harmony,
115, 119.

Bull, Ole, 19.
Bush, Rev. George, 66.
Butler College, 26, 82, 95, 228.
Butler, John M., 179.
Butler, John Maurice, 179.
Butler, Noble, 16, 251.
Butler, Noble C., 251.
Butler, Ovid, 82.

Cambridge, 13.

Campbell, Alexander, 123, 238.
Carleton, Emma, 243.
Carleton, Will, 172.
Carrington, H. B., 179.
Cartwright, Peter, 67.
Catherwood, Mary Hartwell, 215.
Centerville, 12.
Century Magazine ; 14.
Channing, W. E., 248.
Channing, W. H., 248.
Chase, W. M., 12.
Child, Lydia Maria, 227.
Chitwood, Mary L., 248, 252.
" Christian Endeavor," origin of

name, 144.

Civil Service Chronicle, 26.
Clark, George Rogers, 4, 5.
Clarke, James Freeman, 248.
Coburn, John, 83.
Coe family, 18.

Coggeshall, W T . T., 245, 250, 251.
Corydon, n, 94.

Costume at New Harmony, 113.
Cox, Millard, 222.




Cox, Sandford C., 36.
Craig, George, 134.
Cranch, C. P., 248.
Crawfordsville, 8, 177, 267.
Cutter, George W., 252.

Dale, David, 102.
D'Arusmont, Phiquepal, 105, 114.
Dawson, Richard Lew, 269.
Dennis, Charles, 28.
DePauw University, 68, 77.
Dillon, John B., 231, 249.
Dooley, A. H., 237.
Dransfields, at New Harmony,

Dufour, Mrs. A. L. Ruter, 248,

Dumont, Mrs. Julia L., 89-94,

247, 248.

Duncan, Robert, 181.
Dunn, Jacob P., 232.
Dyer, Rev. Sidney, 250.

Eads, James B., 12.

Earlham College, 77.

Eaton, Arthur Wentworth, 215.

Edson, Helen Rockwood, 241.

Egan, Maurice Francis, 215.

Eggleston, Edward, 8, 17, 51, 79,

89- 91, I33-I5S. 225.
Eggleston, George Gary, 134, 224.
Eggleston, Guilford, 138.
Eggleston, Joseph Gary, 134, 137,


Eggleston, Miles, 138, 236.
Ellsworth, Henry W., 251.
Emerson, R. W., 248, 263.
English, William H., 235.
Episcopalians, early difficulties

of, 65.
Everett, Edward, 19.

Fauntleroys, at New Harmony


Feiba Peveli, in, 112, 122.
Fellenberg, 102, 124.
Field, Eugene, 172.
Finley, John, 29, 34.
Fishback, W. P., 242.
Fiske, John, 8.
Fletcher, Calvin, 83.
Fletcher family, 18.
Fletcher, Julia C., 216.
Fletcher, Rev. J. C., 216.
Flower, Richard, 101.
Flowers in churches, 63.
Fort Wayne, 13.

Foulke, William Dudley, 26, 229.
Franklin College, 26, 77.
Fretageot, Achilles, 105.
Fretageot, Madame, 115, 132.
Fuller, Hector, 242.
Furman, Lucy S., 216.

Gallatin, Albert, 71.

Garland, Hamlin, 172.

Gillilan, S. W., 243.

Gilmore, James R. (" Edmund

Kirke "), 257, 260, 263.
Goode, Frances E., 155.
Goodwin, Rev. T. A., 35.
Gordon, Jonathan W., 251.

Hadley, John V., 53.
Halford, E. W., 237.
Hall, Bayard Rush, 73.
Hanover College, 77.
Harding, George C., 240, 267.
Harney, W. W., 250.
Harper, Ida Husted, 241.
Harris, Leo O., 157, 266.
Harrison, Benjamin, 4, 243.
Harrison, Christopher, 16.



Harrison, W. H., 4, 67, 71.
Havens, Rev. James, 67.
Hay, John, 16.
Hayes, Lewis D., 237.
Hayes, President, 190.
Henderson, Rev. C. R., 241.
Hendricks, William, 76.
Henodelphisterian Society, 75.
Higginson, T. W., 157.
Holland, J. G., 19.
Holliday family, 18.
Holliday, John H., 26, 237.
Holliday, Rev. F. C., 65.
Holman, Jesse L., 76.
Holmes, O. W., 260, 263.
" Hoosier Athens," 177.
Hoosier dialect, 45-62, 152, 163.
Hoosier Fiddle, 41.
Hoosier, origin of word, 29-36.
" Hoosier Schoolmaster," 145.
Hoosierdom, extent of, 151.
Hoshour, Samuel K., 96, 181.
House, Ben D., 265.
Hovey, Edmund O., 80.
Howard, Tilghman A., 35.
Howe, Daniel Wait, 234.
Howells, W. D., 246.
Howland, John D., 12.
Howland, Livingston, 12.
Howland, Louis, 26, 237.

Indiana : relation to national life,
3-5 ; slavery in, 5 ; foreign and
native element, n; political
preferences, 26; pioneers, 36,
39 ; religious influences, 65-69 ;
education in, 70; illiteracy in,
81, 87; early poets, 245; land-
scape of, 36, 219, 269.

Indiana University, 26, 73-76.

Indianapolis, 17-20.

Indianapolis Literary Club, 19.
Ingersoll, Robert G., 189.

James, G. P. R., 181.
Jennings, Governor, 22.
Jewett, Milo Parker, 80.
Johnson, Robert Underwood, 13.
Jordan, David S., 78.
Jordan, Mrs. D. M., 269.
Judah, Mary Jameson, 221.
Julian, George W., 226, 251.
Julian, Isaac H., 248, 251.

Ketcham, W. A., 44.
Keenan, Henry F., 215.
Krout, Caroline V., 212.
Krout, Mary H., 212.

Lafayette, 14, 267.
Lane, Henry S., 180.
Lee, John, 202.
Lehmanowski, Colonel, 32.
Lesueur, Charles A., 104, 106.
Lewis, Allen, 26.
Lewis, Charles S., 26.
Lincoln, Abraham, 38, 125, 152.
Lodge, Harriett Newell, 241.
Longfellow, H. W., 258, 263.
Lowell, J. R., 160, 172, 263.
Lynching, 43.

Maclure, William, 104, 105, 115,


McCulloch, Hugh, 14.
McCutcheon, John T., 242.
McDonald, Joseph E., 179.
McGinnis, Gen. George F., 184.
Macluria, in, 112, 122.
Macdonald, Donald, 105, 107.
Madison, n, 155.
Major, Charles, 223.



" Mark Twain," 164.
Martindale, E. B., 160.
Mason, A. L., 242.
Matthews, Claude, 21.
Matthews, G. C., 237.
Matthews, James Newton, 215.
Meredith, Solomon, 83.
Merrill family, 18.
Merrill, Miss Catharine, 94.
Merrill, Samuel, 94.
Militia, early, 39.
Miller, Joaquin, 215.
Millerites, 148.
Mills, Caleb, 79, 80, 85-88.
Moody, Martha Livingstone, 241.
Morris family, 18.
Morrison, John I., 16.
Morton, Oliver P., 22, 229.
Morton, Oliver T., 26, 229.
Mount, James A., 21.
Murphy, Dr. Edward, 130.

Nadal, E. S., 204, 216.

Nadal, Rev. Bernard H., 216.

Nashoba, 105.

Neef, Joseph, 105, 106.

Neef, Madame, 115.

Nelson, Thomas H., 15.

New Albany, 140, 143, 256, 257,

258, 259.

New Harmony, 21, 98-132.
New Harmony Disseminator, 128.
New Harmony Gazette, in, 118,


Nicholas, Anna, 220, 237.
Nichols, Rebecca S., 248, 250,


Noble, Harriet, 241.
North Carolina, influence of, in

dialect, 52.
Notre Dame University, 77, 215.

Oliphant, Laurence, 126.
Owen, David Dale, 126.
Owen, Richard, 127.
Owen, Robert, 99, 101, 103, 104,

no, 115, 121, 122, 123, 124, 131.
Owen, Robert Dale, 24, 76, 104,

in, 114, 124, 125.
Owen, William, 104, 128.

Paine, Dan L., 267.

Parker, Benj. S., 56, 249, 254, 265.

Parker, Theodore, 19.

Peabody, Rev. Ephraim, 248.

Pestalozzi, 102, 107.

Piatt, John James, 215, 246, 256,

258, 260.

Pioneers, books of, 38.
Poe, Edgar A., 261.
Poetry, characteristics of early

Western, 244.
" Poor Whites," 8, 44.
Posey, Thomas, 21.
Prentice, George D., 246, 247,


Protestantism, phases of, in
Indiana, 64.

Rabb, Kate Milner, 241.

Ralston, Alexander, 17.

Rapp, George, 98-101.

Rariden, James, 236.

Ray family, 18.

Reed, Peter Fishe, 249.

Reeves, Arthur M., 230.

Reid, Whitelaw, 185.

Richmond, 13.

Ridpath, John Clark, 233.

Riley, James Whitcomb, 27, 42,

49, 57, 133- 156-176, 217.
Riley, Reuben A., 157.
Ross, Morris, 273.



Salem, 16, 17.

Say, Thomas, 104, 106, 115, 128.
Scotch-Irish, 7, 51, 65.
Sharpe family, 18.
Smith, Elizabeth Conwell (Will-
son), 257.

Smith, O. H., 31, 83, 236.
Smith, Roswell, 14.

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