Profiles of Hometown Characters:
Ernest G. Alden - (1869-1958) Raised in Terre Haute. In 1904, following the sudden death of Lyman Alden, Ernest Alden assumed his father's duties as supervisor of the Rose Orphans Home. He remained in that post for over 40 years. In 1910, the Rose Orphans Home was named by the Russell Sage Foundation as one of the nation's top 10 children's institutions. In 1929, another study concluded it was the nation's finest.
Episodes 27 through 32
Axtell - (1886-1906) Axworthy (1892-1917) Among the most famous trotters of their time. Axtell set the mile record for trotters at 2:12. This record was set at the Four Corner Track, the later site of Memorial Stadium. For many years, an oil portrait of Axtell hung in the lobby of the Terre Haute House. Axtell sired Axworthy, who subsequently sired 59 stallions - 26 of these would better 2:10 in the mile and two would surpass 2:05. Both Axtell and Axworthy were owned by William P. Ijams of Terre Haute.
Leo Baxter - (1893-1976) Leo Baxter's Orchestra was considered among Terre Haute's finest dance bands in the 1920s. The orchestra was the pit band at the Liberty Theater and also played at the Tokio Dance Hall and the Trianon. Leo Baxter later became the Program Director at WBOW Radio.
Edith Brown - (1874-1956) Edith Brown was born on a farm in Paris, Illinois. She came to Terre Haute in 1891 and within ten years had opened a "ladies boarding house" at 213 Mulberry Street. Edith BrownÍs most elegant house was opened in 1918 at 206 North Second Street. It was known simply as "Madame Brown's" Edith Brown's financial generosity was responsible for the construction of Terre Haute's first Boys Club.
Episodes 50 through 54
Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown - (1876-1948) As a young boy, Mordecai Brown lost his right forefinger and severely injured his right middle finger in a farming accident. Although he played semi-professional baseball by the time he was a teenager, he didnÕt pitch is first game until age 20. From 1903 to 1916, Mordecai Brown was one of major league baseballÕs finest pitchers. His career records include 239 wins, 55 shutouts, and two World Series titles. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1949.
Episodes 253 and 273
Will H. Bryant - (1879-1950) - A member of the Indiana State Normal School music faculty, Dr. Will Bryant organized the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra gave its premiere performance on December 4, 1926 at the Indiana Theater. Dr. Will Bryant would remain conductor of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra for almost 23 years, finally retiring in 1949.
Junius "Rainy" Bibbs - (1910-1980) Raised in Terre Haute. Junius Bibbs was one of Terre Haute's most talented athletes in the 1920s and 30s. His career began at Wiley High School where he lettered in track, football, and baseball. Unable to enroll in college after graduation, Junius Bibbs played baseball for the Indianapolis ABCs and the Detroit Stars of the Negro Baseball League. He also starred on the football team at Indiana State Teachers College, where he received a degree in 1937. That same year, he was selected to the Negro League All Star Team. He was a member of the great Kansas City Monarch baseball teams of the late 1930s and early 1940s. For many years, Junius Bibbs taught and coached in the Indianapolis Public School System.
Rosa Bonheur - (1822-1899) French artist known for her realistic paintings of animals. In 1863, her painting 'Horse Fair' was purchased by Cornelius Vanderbilt for $55,000. It now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rosa Bonheur was also known in her time as a non-traditionalist, often dressing in man's clothing. Her stained glass portrait is found in the rotunda of the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library.
Episodes 137 and 138
Ora D. Davis - (1870-1938) Ora D. Davis was mayor of Terre Haute in the summer of 1926. He served two terms in this office, having initially been elected on the Republican ticket in 1921. He was responsible for the construction of Memorial Stadium and Paul Dresser Memorial, among other civic projects.
Eugene V. Debs - (1855-1926) Born in Terre Haute. American labor leader. Eugene V. Debs worked initially to organize railroad workers with the American Railway Union and rose to national prominence during the Pullman Strikes of 1894. Debs subsequently ran for President in the elections of 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. This last campaign was conducted from Federal prison in Atlanta where he was incarcerated for making an anti-war speech in 1918. Returning to Terre Haute in 1921, Eugene V. Debs lived out his final years in his home at 451 North Eighth Street.
Episode 53 and 54
Theodore Dreiser - (1871-1945) Born in Terre Haute. Theodore Dreiser began his writing career as a newspaper reporter for the Chicago Daily Globe, the St. Louis Globe Democrat, and the St. Louis Republic. He wrote the novel 'Sister Carrie' in 1900. Subsequent novels such as 'The Financier' (1912), 'The Titan' (1914), and 'American Tragedy' (1925) helped establish Theodore Dreiser's reputation in the literary school of social realism. In his last years, Theodore Dreiser became more radicalized politically. Six months before his death, he announced his membership in the U.S. Communist Party.
Paul Dresser - (1857-1906) Born in Terre Haute. Older brother of Theodore Drieser. Composer of such American song standards as 'My Gal Sal' and "On the Banks Of The Wabash Far Away". The movie 'My Gal Sal', a fictionalized account of Dresser's life, was released in 1942 starring Victor Mature.
Max Ehrmann - (1872-1945) Born in Terre Haute. Ehrmann was trained as a lawyer and served as Vigo County Deputy Prosecutor. His poem "Desiderata", written in 1927, is considered among the most popular American poems. For many years, Max Ehrmann had a close relationship with Bertha Pratt King, founder of the King Classical School. They married shortly before his death. A line from Ehrmann's poem 'Terre Haute' reads: "Here is the world in miniature."
Claude Hebert - (1880-1898) Born in Terre Haute. On Decemebr 19, 1898, Claude Hebert was employed as Santa Claus at the Havens and Geddes Store on the corner of Fifth and Wabash. A short circuit ignited a Christmas window display. During the fast spreading fire, Claude Hebert directed many children and adults to safety, losing his own life in the process. A memorial to Claude Hebert can be found between the Vigo County Courthouse and City Hall.
Adolph Herz - (1843-1917) Born in Germany. Adolf Herz opened his first shop In Terre Haute, Indiana in 1869. In 1907, he moved his business to a newly constructed building at 646 Wabash Avenue. 'A Herz' was known throughout the 1920s as Terre Haute's most elegant department store featuring five floors of merchandise, a tea room, and a pneumatic tube system for routing cash receipts. In 1946, A Herz became part of the Alden's retail chain.
Episodes 16 and 332
Evangeline Harris Merriweather - (1893-1950) Born in Terre Haute. The daughter of David and Ida Harris, Evangeline Harris graduated from Wiley High School in 1912. She later earned her teaching certification from the Indiana State Normal School and taught music at Terre Haute's two segregated elementary schools; Lincoln and Booker T. Washington. In her preparation for a master's Thesis, Evangeline Harris wrote 'Stories for Little Tots' in 1926. The book, which Helped school children identify African-American role models through brief biographical sketches, became hugely popular. A trained vocalist, Evangeline Harris Merriweather composed the official song for Alpha Kappa Alpha, a national sorority.
Ernestine Myers Morrisey - (1900-1991) Ernestine Myers Morrisey operated the Ernestine Myers Dancing School upstairs at 634 Wabash Avenue. In May of 1926, Ernestine Myers and her 150 students performed a dance review at the Indiana Theater. Ernestine Myers Morrisey operated a dance studio in Terre Haute until 1978. Her graduates have danced with premier ballet companies and on Broadway.
Art Nehf - (1892-1960) Born in Terre Haute. Art Nehf was an all around athlete At Wiley High School and a two sport star at Rose Polytechnic. Art Nehf's major league baseball career spanned 14 seasons. He pitched in 12 World Series games, still a National League record. Of his 184 victories, 182 were complete games and 30 were shutouts.
Malcolm Scott - (1900-1994) Born in Terre Haute. Malcolm Scott was pianist for Bud Cromwell's Orchestra. In 1921, he wrote 'I'm Gonna Float My Boat Right Back To Terre Haute', which was later designated the city's official song. Malcolm Scott became a music teacher at Gerstmeyer High School in 1929 and served in that capacity for 35 years.
Richard W. Thompson - (1809-1900) After serving a term in the U.S. Congress, Thompson relocated to Terre Haute and after a stint as City Attorney, returned to the House of Representatives in 1846. He later served as Secretary of the Navy under Rutherford Hayes. Among his books are 'Recollections of Sixteen Presidents' and 'Footprints Of The Jesuits'.
Claude Thornhill - (1909-1965) Born in Terre Haute. Educated at Garfield High School. Claude Thornhill was considered a musical prodigy. He played piano and xylophone for three prominent Terre Haute bands in the 1920s: Bud Cromwell, Jack O'Grady, and Leo Baxter. After his move to New York, Claude Thornhill Became known as a peerless jazz stylist. The Claude Thornhill Big Band was acknowledeged as one of the finest jazz orchestras ever. In 1957, Claude Thornhill became musical director for Tony Bennett.
James M. Vickroy - (1847-1913) In 1885, James Vickroy opened the Vickroy Art Shop at 911 Wabash Avenue. Although his shop sold art supplies and did picture framing, James Vickroy is perhaps best known for his publications and lithographs for fraternal organizations. Among his most popular items were "Vickroy's Combination Secretary Book" and various lodge and union certificates for which he had copyright. In the summer of 1926, James Vickroy's daughter Pearl was running the family business.
Charles Zimmerman - (1883-1938) Charles Zimmerman was hired as principal at Garfield High School in 1922. He remained in that capacity for the rest of his life: Charles Zimmerman was responsible for hiring many outstanding teachers at Garfield and vastly expanded the school curriculum. After his death, the school dedicated the new gym at Garfield in his honor.
Esther Newton Jenks - (1894-1942) In the summer of 1926, Esther Newton Jenks owned a dressmaking shop on the second floor of the Twelve Points Bank Building. Esther was initially a music teacher in the Terre Haute Public School system and upon her marriage to Robert Jenks began to apply her considerable talents as a seamstress toward a business. In addition to these pursuits, Esther Newton Jenks was an avid gardener, a visual artist, and mother of three children, including twin girls born in 1924.
©2001-04 Indiana University.