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March in Indiana History

1 March –

1805 – Washington City. Illinois Territory split off from Indiana Territory, leaving Indiana with the borders of the present state.

1864 – Washington City. Brigadier General Abel Streight and his traveling companion, Captain Will Scearce of the 51st Indiana Regiment, are picked up by Commodore Parker of the Union Potomac Squadron and taken to the city. After breaking out of Libby Prison, traveling 11 days in hostile country, crossing streams choked with ice, they are ready to return to active duty in the Union army. (See 16 May 1863; 21 January 1864; 8 February 1864; 9 February 1864.) [Funk, p. 80-85]

2 March –

1827 – Washington City. Congress again approves a half-mile wide strip of land to build a canal through Indiana, and this time agrees to help fund the construction.

1922 – Elizabeth, IN. The Elizabeth Bank closes its doors in the wake of failure of Corydon National Bank. (See 20 February 1922.) [Griffin 2, p. 165]

Deaths –

1908 – South Bend, IN. James Oliver dies. He is buried in Riverview Cemetery. (See 28 August 1823; 3 April 1835; 30 June 1857.) [Funk, p. 134-5]

3 March –

1813 – Vincennes, IN. Thomas Posey appointed governor of Indiana Territory, replacing acting governor John Gibson. (See 1 May 1813; 6 December 1813; 25 May 1813; 6 January 1814.) [Griffin 2, p. 27]

1922 – Corydon, IN. The Corydon State Bank granted a charter by the State of Indiana. (See 20 February 1922.) [Griffin 2, p. 170]

1934 – Crown Point, IN. John Dillinger, brandishing what he later claims is a wooden gun, forces guards to release him from his cell in the “escape proof” jail. He steals Sheriff Lillian Holley’s new Ford car, and flees to Chicago. 

4 March –

1784 – VA. Virginia General Assembly cedes to the United States government its claim to the Northwest Territory. [KE, p. 103]

1826 – New Harmony, IN. Robert Owen agrees to take over governing of community, for one year.

1819 – Floyd County, IN. County commissioners select New Albany as county seat. [EL, p. 300-303]

Births –

1823 – Noblesville, IN. First child of William Conner and Elizabeth Chapman Conner born. William Conner already has six children with his Indian wife Mekinges. He has sent them west with the rest of the Indians forced out of Indiana. Elizabeth is a teenager whom Conner marries according to the law of the whites. [Funk, p.66-71]

5 March –

6 March –

1922 – Corydon, IN. The Corydon State Bank opens for business. (See 20 February 1922; 3 March 1922.) [Griffin 2, p. 170]

7 March –

1733 – Vincennes, IN. Francois Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes writes: The fort which I have built is about eighty miles in the Wabash country up the river… The place is very suitable in which to build a great settlement which I would have done if I had troops enough. [Funk, p. 142-3]

1803 – Dearborn County, IN, established. County seat is Lawrenceburg. Carved from Clark County, IN, and Hamilton County OH, it is named in honor of US Secretary of War Henry Dearborn. [… …/List_of_counties_in_In…]

1878 – Corydon, IN. During one of the town’s frighteningly frequent fires “the other morning,” a small fire in the cupola of the Courthouse, i.e.: the old capital building, was discovered and quickly doused. [Griffin 2, p. 33]

1878 – Corydon, IN. The Corydon Republican reports that the previous week found a “wooden man” whittled from a shingle, labeled Grand Jury, and suspended by its neck on the stairway leading up to the meeting room of the grand jury. Though this session, the grand jury had been doing some thorough investigation, some persons maintain that the “hanged man” is nothing but a thoughtless prank. [Griffin 2, p. 59]
8 March –

1779 – Vincennes, IN. Henry Hamilton and other captives are dispatched in an oar boat bound for the Falls of the Ohio, subsequently overland to Williamsburg, VA.

1819 – Elizabeth, IN. Town incorporated. [Griffin 2, p. 33]

1922 – Corydon, IN. The Old Capital Bank & Trust Company opens. It will become Liberty Bank, and Chase Bank. It exists today. [Griffin 2, p. 163-4]

1923 – Corydon, IN. A newspaper carries an account of the many sinkholes in Harrison County. Part of the landscape throughout the county, the sinkholes could nonetheless surprise occasionally. Many years before this article, people remember the day the bottom fell out of Bowling Pond. Men working in a field heard a roar, similar to a storm moving in. When they looked up, however, they saw the water in Bowling Pond swirling in a gigantic maelstrom as it tumbled into an underground chasm. Children continued to dare swimming in Bowling Pond, but were likely to get a licking if their parents found out. [Griffin 2, p. 88]

9 March –

1809 – Corydon, IN. Hervy Heth and William Henry Harrison, in the Court of Common Pleas, in person agree to deed two lots in their town for “publick ground.” Each lot was over an acre of ground and the county was to receive a deed before June 1812. (See 28 July 1813.) [Griffin 2, p. 56]
10 March –

11 March –

1943 – Indianapolis, IN. Senate passes bill providing for perpetual care of the Old Goshen Church, Laconia, IN. It goes now for the governor’s signature. Completed in 1813, it is the oldest religious structure in Harrison County, and the oldest Baptist church in Indiana. [Griffin 2, p. 316]

1948 – Corydon, IN. The town board votes to put parking meters downtown. (See 30 April 1986.) [Griffin2, p. 24]

12 March –

13 March –

1865 – Henry Ware Lawton is brevetted to colonel in the United States Army. He is not yet 22 years old. (See 17 March 1843; 21 August 1861; 17 May 1862; 3 August 1864; 10 February 1865; 4 May 1867; 31 July 1867; 18 February 1889; 18 December 1899; 19 December 1899.) [Funk, p. 136-7]

Deaths –

1901 – Indianapolis, IN. Benjamin Harrison dies. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. (See 20 August 1833; 22 March 1865; 25 June 1888; 6 November 1888.) [Funk, p. 108]

14 March –

1865 – Jeffersonville, IN. Citizens National Bank established. [Kramer, p. 192]

1949 – Corydon, IN. William Dessie Messamore, 32, having confessed to robbing the bank at Kevil, KY, “breaks” from the Harrison County jail. He is free for 22 hours, being re-arrested in Brandenburg, KY. [Griffin 2; p. 104]

15 March –

1917 – Corydon, IN. The board of trustees have appointed Miss Georgia Wheat to be town clerk; now Riverdale, IN, near Muncie, has appointed Mrs. Maude Samuels, a young widow, town marshal. Women do not yet have the right to vote. [Griffin 2; p. 17]

1934 – Corydon, IN. Six Northern white tail deer are received by the State Conservation Department and are immediately sent by express to Corydon to be released in the Harrison County State Forest. They are the first of thirty deer to be liberated in Indiana, to repopulate southern Indiana. The grade school children are taken to the depot by their teachers to see the deer before the release, and two animals are taken to the high school where the students can see them. The farmers of the area have signed contracts with the Harrison County Conservation Club to protect the deer. Harming or killing one gets the perpetrator a hefty fine. [Griffin 2, p. 355]

16 March –

1933 – Corydon, IN. Report that more than 100 ministers and lay persons attended a recent meeting in the Harrison County courthouse, hoping to strategize the defeat of repealing Prohibition. [Griffin 2, p. 89]

1933 – Corydon, IN. The banks of the town and county will re-open in accordance with FDR’s plan to stabilize the economy. The federal reserve banks have already re-opened. [Griffin 2, p. 162]

17 March –

Births –

1832 – Lanesville, IN. Walter Q. Gresham born. He will become a leading Republican politician and will be US Secretary of State. [Funk, p. 148-150]

1843 – Manhattan, OH. Henry Ware Lawton born. Identifying himself with Fort Wayne, IN, he will become one of the greatest soldiers ever to serve in the United States Army. (See 21 August 1861; 17 May 1862; 3 August 1864; 10 February 1865; 13 March 1865; 4 May 1867; 31 July 1867; 18 February 1889; 18 December 1899; 19 December 1899.) [Funk, p. 136-7]

18 March –

1925 – Harrison County, IN. Part of a cycle of Midwestern storms, a tornado tears through, killing three people and causing more than $100,000 damages. [EL, p. 889] Douglas Barnes and Mary Frances Barnes wrote a memoir of Posey township, in which they name seven dead. [Griffin 2, p. 113]

19 March –

1818 – Shawneetown, IL.  Thomas Posey, last governor of the Indiana Territory, dies.

1943 – Laconia, IN. A tornado does much damage to school building, which was built in 1832 to replace the school building which had burned. Fortunately only two boys are injured, neither seriously. [Griffin 2, p. 57]

20 March –

1872 – Jeffersonville, IN. Ohio Falls Car & Locomotive Company plant, covering 19 acres, destroyed by fire.

21 March –

22 March –

1824 – Pendleton, IN. “The tragedy at the falls” – the unprovoked killing of nine Seneca Indians by five white men. Two men, three women and four children had been encamped for about a month, the men hunting, the women making maple sugar. They had a good supply of food put by, when the white men come to visit. Thomas Harper, Andrew Sawyer, James Hudson, John Bridge, and his son John Jr. ask the Indians for help in catching some horses which had strayed from Harper’s farm. The men, Logan and Mingo, agree to help. As soon as they are in the woods, Harper and Hudson shoot them from behind. The white men then return to the Indian camp, where Sawyer and Bridges murdered the women; Sawyer and Harper, the children. The murderers then plunder the camp before leaving the bodies to bloat. (See 23 March 1824; 12 January 1825; 3 June 1825.) [Funk, p. 37-9]

1865 – Atlanta, GA. Benjamin Harrison is promoted to Brigadier General. A disciplined and dedicated soldier, he acquits himself well during the War Between the States. (See 20 August 1833; 25 June 1888; 6 November 1888; 13 March 1901.) [Funk, p. 108]

23 March –

1824 – present site of Pendleton, IN. The nine bodies of the massacre victims are found. Also soon found are the killers, except their leader Thomas Harper, who has fled to Ohio. The other four are confined in a new log jail at the north end of Pendleton. White and Indian leaders fear that all-out war will erupt over this senseless atrocity. Colonel John Johnston and William Conner go to the chiefs of the Senecas, the Delawares, and the other tribes, assuring them that the white government will punish the murderers. The Indians agree to wait and see if justice will prevail, before launching vengeance of their own. (See 22 March 1824; 12 January 1825; 3 June 1825.) [Funk, p. 37-9]

1917 – Harrison County, IN. A “cyclone” touches down five miles west of Corydon; then continues on to New Albany. There is heavy loss of both life and property. [Griffin 2, p. 152]

24 March –

Deaths –

1865 – Andersonville Prison, GA. Pvt. G.W. Staley of the 72nd Indiana, becomes the last known Hoosier to die at the prison, just two weeks before it is closed. (See 15 February 1864; 20 February 1864; 7 June 1864; 19 July 1864; 22 July 1864; 10 November 1865.) [Funk, 90-97]

25 March –

1736 – [Fulton], Miss. Palm Sunday. Francois Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, along with some other captives who had attacked the Chickasaw Indians, now having been tortured, are burnt on pyres. [Funk, p. 142-4]

1925 – Harrison County, IN. A “cyclone” kills four people, destroys thousands of dollars of property, and seriously damages the poultry business of the county. [Griffin 2, p. 153]

26 March –

1980 – Corydon, IN. Berlin’s Department Store celebrates 50th anniversary. [Griffin 2, p. 290]

27 March –

28 March –

1790 – near Jeffersonville, IN. American Indians attack Cassania, a would-be settlement founded by Michael Lacassagne. He purchased the land from William Croghan, hoping that the town, an Anglicanized spelling of his own name, would eclipse Louisville as a portage point around the Falls of the Ohio. One man died before troops arrived from Fort Steuben, only three miles distant. Lacassange abandons the dream of a town and develops the property as a farm called Richmond, which he will retain until his death in 1797. [Kramer, p.34-5]

1833 – Indianapolis, IN. Joseph Ritter consecrated bishop. He will desegregate Indianapolis catholic schools. (See 20 July 1892; 30 May 1917; 10 December 1960; 10 June 1967.) EL, p. 763-4]

1859 – Buena Vista, IN. An uncredited, apparently newspaper, report: It was here that an aerolite [meteror] fell in 1859, creating much excitement. A glare of light was seen and loud bursting reports were heard about four o’clock on the afternoon of March twenty-eighth. These were followed by hissing sounds in the air for miles around and a rattling noise as the fragments fell in different places. Dr. E.S. Crosier, a well-known scientist, went immediately to the scene and secured pieces for examination. The aerolite was afterwards sent by him to the British Museum in London. [Griffin 2, p. 350]

29 March –
2009 - Montana. David Letterman and Regina Lasko marry.

30 March –

31 March –

1875 – Corydon, IN. Oswel Wright dies, about age 90. African American, Wright has served time in the Kentucky Penitentiary for aiding slaves to escape to Canada. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery. [Griffin 2, p. 130]


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