Old Houses in Knightstown, Indiana
Knightstown is home to some fine old houses many of which are well over 100 years old. This section is about some of those houses and the people who built them and those who dwelled within.
To go to the description and some history of a house click on the thumbnail photo.
25 S. Adams
38 S. Franklin
146 S. Franklin
105 W. Main
508 W. Main
517 W. Main
130 N. McCullum
316 N. Washington
16 W. Main
308 N. Washington
7014 W.County Line
5 West Pine
238 East Brown
126 W. Pine
39 West 3rd
106 N. Jefferson
235 East Jackson
203 North Adams
305 North Adams
15 West Pine
25 South Adams Street
This house was built in 1852 by Harvey Bell who also built “Bells Hall” in the business district.
25 South Adams in about 1885.
Mildred Leisure Irvin published an article about this house in the Banner in 1947 which follows:
One of the loveliest and most interesting houses in Knightstown stands at 25 South Adams Street. Long before anyone ever dreamed that the town would ever be more than a carriage stop, the bricks for the walls of this old home were burnt from native clay. Unlike the modern version of a brick house, its walls are three bricks thick, and the sills and studding show the marks of a broad axe.
When stage coaches still wallowed through the mud and shallow water at the foot of Adams street, this solid brick house had an unobstructed view of the river and valley beyond. It stood alone for a time before other houses began to rise on high ground near-by. These homes formed the first nucleus of permanent houses in the town. Of course, Fielding Goble built his brick house in 1837 but it stood more or less alone at the time. The coming of the group of houses in the southeast section pointed the way to a permanent town.
The Bell family, who lived in the house, came from Virginia. They brought lovely things with them from their former home and helped plant the seeds of beauty in the hearts of others. The fine mirrors and fine furniture were probably a source of wonder to many. In a day when stairways were mostly rude ladders, the inlaid railings and delicate parts were very impressive.
During the years that followed, many well known people were guests in the Bell home. When the Dillon Hotel burned, Harvey Bell hurried to the square and invited the young men who had been staying at the hotel to be his guests. The famous dwarf, Tom Thumb, was a guest at one time too and many officials, high and low. Mr. Bell loved people.
When Bell’s daughter, Emma married W.M. Edwards, the brick house at the corner of Adams and Main was built. It is now owned by Mrs. Louise Frances Leisure. This was the bridal house of the Edwards.
When Mrs. Edwards parents died, she and her family moved back to the old brick house that had always been home to her. There they lived out their lives. One of their sons occupied the house for several years that and then sold it to Brig. General Holland who was retired from active Army service.
Like the Edwards and Bell families, the Hollands have been connected with the history of Knightstown from an early date. Joshua Holland was postmaster from 1835 to 1837 and county collector after that. He was also partner of Robert Woods in a store in New Castle. John Edwin Holland another early member of the family was appointed to West Point in 1860. Like W.M. Edwards he heard the call of the Civil War and resigned from the Academy to enter service.
25 South Adams Today (without that wonderful porch).
Thus it was quite natural that Brig Gen and Mrs. Holland looked forward through the years to return “home”. It seem quite fitting that this return was to one of the oldest houses in the town. Here the years mingle quietly General Holland did not live to move into the new home, but Mrs. Holland did move in and has made herself part of the life of this community. And the old house under her loving hand has preserved the glow of beauty and friendliness it held in the days when Harvey Bell hurried out on a bad night to welcome strangers in for the night.
Here’s what Frank Edwards, who grew up in the house, wrote about it in the late 1960s”
I am reminded that my Grandfather Bell operated a tavern here for a time in the “stage-coach” days. When I was a boy, I could see the name (of the Tavern) dimly painted across the front of the house: “MANSION HOUSE”.
The story is, that The Dillon House on the Public Square burned, and 25 South Adams being a large house the transients came knocking at the door. The stage coach then stopped at the corner. I believe this was but temporary as the Shipman House, north side of Clay Street, was soon built and still serves the public as the Lindsay Manor Hotel.
38 South Franklin Street
The House at 38 S. Franklin in about 1954
The substantial brick house at 38 South Franklin was built in about 1870 by Milton Peden who was a very interesting fellow. Seems Peden struck it rich in the California gold rush of 1849 and then went on to be a Colonel in the Civil War, then a State Senator among other things. He certainly had a colorful history.
A bio of Peden is found in Hazzard’s History of Henry County and I’ll include it here:
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF MILTON PEDEN. COLONEL, 147TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, INDIANA VOLUNTEERS, AND LEGISLATOR.
Colonel Milton Peden, of Knightstown, Indiana, is a native of Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he was born, March 20, 1823. In 1835 his parents, James and Margaret Peden. removed, with their entire family of eight children to New Paris, Preble County. Ohio, and in November of the following year moved to Madison County, Indiana, settling where the town of New Columbus was then situated, which is now known as Ovid post office. In the fall of 1842, Milton Peden came to Knightstown where he worked as a farm hand for two years, then took up the trade of cabinet making for one year, after which he worked as a millwright with Oliver H. Armstrong, until October, 1849. About this time the report of the discovery of gold in California and the alluring accounts of that new El Dorado, which were drawing so many of the young men of the East to the Pacific slopes, also attracted Mr. Peden. He joined in the exodus to the West, went to California where he worked at mining until 1851, when he returned to San Francisco and there took passage for home on the steamer Carolina, via the Isthmus of Panama. The vessel, however, was caught in a furious equinoctial gale on September igth and driven ashore on the coast of Central America. Leaving the wrecked vessel, Mr. Peden traveled through Nicaragua, to San Juan del Norte, where he took passage on a vessel bound for New York, from which port he finally reached Knightstown, December 24, 1851. A full account of Mr. Peden’s experiences in California, as well as on his journey to and from that country will be found elsewhere in this History in the chapter entitled, “Henry County Emigration to the Gold Fields of California.”
After his return to Knightstown, Mr. Peden engaged in the quiet pursuits of agriculture for several years. In 1854 he was elected to the Indiana Legislature and served one term, having as his colleague in that body, the late Luther C. Mellett, of Prairie Township. In 1860 he was elected Justice of the Peace and served as such until the beginning of the Civil War. During the interval between 1854 and 1860 he represented Henry County in the Legislature. In 1860. he, with many others from Knightstown and other places in the county, went to Pike’s Peak during the excitement caused by the reported discovery of gold in that region, and a detailed account of his experiences, during this trip, will be found in this History, in the chapter entitled, “Henry County Emigration to Pike’s Peak.”
These adventures of his youth had well fitted him for command of men and when the great conflict began in 1861, he responded to the demands of the country with alacrity. He resigned as Justice of the Peace and early in August, 1861, was active and energetic in recruiting and organizing Company K. 36th Indiana Infantry, and was mustered into the service of the United States, as First Lieutenant of that company. September 16, 1861. Captain Morrow P. Armstrong resigned the command of the company, April 24, 1862, and was re-commissioned as Chaplain of the regiment. Milton Peden was then promoted Captain and mustered as such, May 13, 1862. In 1863 he was appointed Brigade Provost Marshal on the staff of General William Grose, Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty First Army Corps. He participated in the important battles fought by the Army of the Cumberland from Shiloh, Tennessee, April 6-7. 1862. to the fall of Atlanta, Georgia, September 2, 1864. He was severely wounded in the right thigh at the battle of Stone’s River, Tennessee, December 31, 1862, and unfitted for duty for a period of four months. The history of the 36th Indiana Infantry is the military history of Captain Peden until his muster out, with the regiment. September 21, 1864.
Captain Peden returned from the war to meet with civic honors at the hands of his fellow citizens, being elected to the Indiana State Seriate from Henry County and serving in that body during the session of 1864-5. He was an active supporter of Governor Morton and the State administration in all their efforts for the suppression of the war and restoration of the power and authority of the General Government.
At the urgent solicitation of Governor Morton, Senator Peden resigned his seat in the’ State Senate and was appointed Colonel of the i47th Indiana Infantry, and was mustered into the service of the United States, March 15, 1865. He was ordered, with his command, to the Valley of Virginia, where he continued to serve until the close of the war, when he was mustered out. August 4, 1865. at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, his total military service covering a period of three years and six months.
The longed for peace had come and Colonel Peden returned to Knightstown where he engaged in the stove and tinware business until May, 1882. when he was appointed a special timber agent under the General Land Office of the Government and was assigned to duty in the pineries of Northern Minnesota to protect the Government’s interests therein. He continued to fill this position to the satisfaction of the Government until April, 1886, when he retired to private life.
Colonel Peden is a member of Jerry B. Mason Post, No. 168, Grand Army of the Republic, Knightstown, and is also a member of the Indiana Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He is a member of Golden Rule Lodge, No. 16, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and of Knightstown Commandery, No. 9, Knights Templar. In religion. Colonel Peden is an adherent of the Presbyterian Church and a faithful follower of its tenets. Since his return from the Northwest, he has been for a number of years Justice of the Peace.
In July, 1866, Colonel Peden was married to Mrs. Mary A. Furgason. daughter of Sidney Muzzy and widow of Samuel W. Furgason. who died in February, 1864. Two daughters were born of her first marriage of whom Maud alone survives. She is the wife of Dr. Olin E. Holloway, a leading physician of Knightstown. Sidney Muzzy, father of Mrs. Peden, died in 1875.
From his adventurous youth to his present venerable age. Colonel Peden’s life has been crowded with incident. Conspicuous in the civil and political life of Henry County, he also bore an honorable part in a great war and was brought in contact with many eminent men. He knew, intimately, Oliver P. Morton. Richard W. Thompson, Albert G. Porter, Benjamin Harrison, Conrad Baker. Henry S. Lane, Solomon Meredith, Caleb P. Smith. Samuel W. Parker and many other of Indiana’s prominent and influential men.
In a summary of his career, however. Colonel Peden justly considers the most important events in his life to have been his support of Abraham Lincoln for President in 1860 and 1864 and his military services in the Civil War.
The Pedens lived at 38 S. Franklin until the early 1900s then sometime between 1900 and 1909 Samuel and Emma Pritchard and their Daughter Margaret moved into the house. Pritchard did something related to the local natural gas industry. I’m not sure what…
The Pritchards lived at 38 S. Franklin until 1925. I can’t find who lived in the house between 1925 and 1935.
In 1935 George and Harry Watts and their families took over the house. I think they were father and son. George founded and ran the Knightstown Telephone Company until his death in the late 30s then Harry took it over. It was an independent telephone company until about 1970.
Harry also owned the Alhambra Theater and had his irons in lots of other fires. He was a principle in one of the real estate additions to Knightstown and was in on the start of several commercial enterprises, including the concrete factory.
Harry lived at 38 S. Franklin until his death and then his widow continued to live there until the 1970s.
Here’s a blurb that Frank Edwards wrote about the property:
That stately old brick now occupied by Mrs. Harry Watts. Once upon a time, the whole square was enclosed by an ornamental iron fence, the beautiful yard to that property; and there grew in profusion shrubbery and flowers. Even today, I can see the “dear little old lady”, who lived there eighty years ago, gatherin’ flowers in the early morning while the dew was still on the grass, her skirts modestly lifted and white pantalets to cover her ankles.
146 South Franklin Street
The stately house at 146 S. Franklin that Francis Glass built.
The beautiful Federalist style house on the northwest corner of Franklin and Pine Streets was built by Francis Glass between 1852 and 1860. His occupation was listed as a carpenter/house builder/wagon maker. As I was looking for information about Mr. Glass on the internet I found some very interesting facts about his father, Francis Glass Sr. While the father was never in Knightstown, I think his life story interesting enough to be worthy of noting here.
Francis Glass Sr.
The following is taken from a biography of Glass Sr. I found on the internet:
Francis Glass Sr was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1790; died in Dayton, Ohio, in 1825. He was educated in Philadelphia, and spent the earlier part, of his life in that City and its vicinity, engaged in literary pursuits. In 1817 or 1818 he left Pennsylvania for the west, and settled in the Miami country of southern Ohio. By the early 1820s he was the head of a country school in Warren County. In a little log” school-house, furnished with desks and benches of rough plank over which the plane had never passed, this accomplished scholar was imparting the rudiments of an English education to a few children of the neighboring farmers, and giving a higher training to half a dozen youths who had joined his school for the benefit of his instruction in the Greek and Latin languages. In 1824 he announced his long-cherished plan of writing the life of Washington in Latin for the use of schools. There seemed little prospect, however, of his accomplishing it. In feeble health, in extreme poverty, and borne down by the daily drudgery of his school, he feared that he might die before he had begun the work. For his health he moved to Dayton, where, in the winter of 1824, he began his book and finished it in a year. He did not live, however, to learn that his work had been approved by some of the ripest scholars of the country. He died shortly afterward, intrusting his manuscript to a friend, Mr. Reynolds, by whom it was published in 1835.
It was highly commended by such competent judges as Professors Anthon. Maclean, and Alexander, and Presidents Wylie, Duer, and Fisk. It was used as a text-book for some time in the grammar-school of Columbia College, and might have won its way into general acceptation but for the fact that the stereotyped plates were destroyed in a fire, and the book was never reprinted. The fatality which pursued poor Glass through life seemed to follow him after death. “Washingtonii Vita” has now become a literary curiosity.
So the father of our K-town Francis Glass was a pioneer educator and a Latin Scholar of some renown. Here’s a link to the forward of Prof Glass’s book.
I think it’s fascinating that Edgar Allen Poe wrote a review of Prof Glass’s book. I had no idea that Poe was a Latin scholar. Here’s a link to Poe’s review.
OK, enough about Francis Glass the father..!! Let’s get back to our Knightstown Francis. He was born in March of 1822 so he was only three years old when his father died. I think his mother took the children back to Pennsylvania when Glass Sr. died. And……. you may wonder how I came to the conclusion that Prof Glass was the father of our Francis. Well,,,, the following is taken from “Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill” By Samuel Fitch Hotchkin and written in the 1800s.
“Francis Glass, residing at Knightstown, Henry county, Ind., is a son of Professor Francis Glass, formerly of Germantown, and teacher of astronomy and natural philosophy, who married Catharine, daughter of the aforesaid John Nicholas Unruh, who was a son of one of the original Unruh brothers.”
Anyway, in 1852 our Francis Glass, now 30 years old, came to Knightstown. With him came his 26 year old wife, Mary, and at least one child, Margaretta. Margaretta was born in Pennsylvania in 1848. Francis and Mary Glass would have seven children but only 4 survived to adulthood.
I have no idea what brought Mr. Glass to Knightstown. His occupation was always listed as a carpenter/wagon Maker. (A far cry from being an educator and Latin and Greek scholar like his father.) One thing is certain, Mr. Glass wasn’t poor. The house at 146 South Franklin is large and expensively built and must have cost a lot to erect.
There is a Francis H. Glass of Knightstown listed in Hazzard’s History of Henry County as serving as First Sargent of the 147th Indiana Infantry in the Civil War. I’m not sure if this is our Francis or, possibly, a son. (He would have been 40 at the time.)
He is listed in the 1899-1900 Henry County directory as being retired and living at Franklin and Pine. I think he died shortly after that. Only his widow, Mary, is listed in the 1909 Directory.
Here’s what Frank Edwards had to say about the house in his History of Knightstown:
On the corner one block south the solid old house built by Mr. Glass who came from, (sic;)England. I refuse to make a pun it is built of brick. No date, but it looks as if it might have been there when John Hancock signed his name. There the late Heber Herkless and his wife made their home for many years; and Mrs. Herkless still lives there.
Miss Ida Glass, Whose father built this old place, taught me in the fourth grade in school and told me that my writin’ looked as if an old hen had been scratching, but I loved her. Her sister, Margaret, taught my Sunday School Class, and had us boys in her home every Friday night for apples and home-made cookies while she read to us from “Boots and Saddles.” You may be sure we didn’t miss Sunday School, nor did we miss “Boots and Saddles” on Friday nights. I salute that old Glass house !
In 1892 Mary I. Glass, a daughter, married a John D. Maples or Maple. (I found it spelled both ways.) Maples was pretty old by then as he was born in 1848. He was listed as a retired farmer. The 1920 census yields the following information:
The Maple family owns the home shown at 146 S. Franklin. John D. Maple was born in Ind. about 1847. On June 8, 1892 in Henry Co. he married Mary I. Glass. Also living in the home is Mary’s sister, Maggie R. Glass, and her mother, Mary H. Glass. Maggie was born about 1849 and her mother was born 1827, both in Pennsylvania.
John D. Maple was listed in the phone books at 146 S. Franklin from 1910 until 1928. In 1929 Heber and Helen Herkless moved there and remained at that address at least into the 60s. I’m not sure when Herber died but Helen continued to live there until about 1975.
Helen was a piano teacher and I remember taking a couple of lessons from her until she concluded it was a complete waste of time and money. My sister, Amelia, took lessons from her for several years. I remember the inside of the house was furnished with antiques and beautiful.
In 1975 Forrest R. Camplin, an architect, bought the house and his daughter, Mrs Mary Maley, her husband Tim and their family live there today.
In the over 150 years since the beautiful house at 146 South Franklin Street was built it has been the home of only three families; the Glass/Maples, the Herkless, and the Camplin/Maley families…
105 West Main Street Street
The House at 105 West Main Street last fall.
This large brick Queen Ann house at 105 West Main Street with a unique towered front porch was built in 1882 by Leonidas P. Newby. L.P., as he was known, was very much a “whoop-de-doo” type fellow. He was a Lawyer, Banker, Politician, and Developer and certainly one of Knightstown’s top movers and shakers. He was probably also a very nice guy.
A biography of Newby was included in “Hazzard’s History of Henry County” published in 1906. It’s interesting and I’m going to include part of it here:
Leonidas Perry Newby was born upon a farm near Lewisville, Indiana, on April 9, 1855. Mr. Newby’s mother was before her marriage Lavina Leonard, and both she and her husband were enthusiastic Methodists of the old-time, earnest and devoted kind, notwithstanding the fact that Jacob Newby’s ancestors had been primitive Quakers.
Although Mr. Newby’s father and mother were exemplary and industrious people, his father was never a robust man, and though he toiled often beyond his strength, both when farming or when working at his trade, he could accumulate but little, and found that it required all the strength he could muster to support his six children and keep the wolf from the door. Hence it was that Leonidas Perry, who was the youngest of the sons, was thrown upon his own resources early in life, a fact which largely accounts for his business success.
His first ambition seems to have been for knowledge—the attainment of a practical education—hence we find him as a small boy performing the duties of janitor for the Greensboro school to gain the means to supply himself with clothing and books and help the family along, while he was at the same time pursuing his studies in the school and keeping up with, and at times, leading his classes. During the summer months young Newby worked for the neighboring farmers and saved his earnings to aid him in his winter campaigns for knowledge. This course was persevered in until he arrived at the age of sixteen, when the family removed to Knightstown, Indiana, where he entered the high school. The Knightstown school was then under the very efficient superintendency of the late Professor Hewitt, with John I. Morrison as the leading member of the board of trustees, and was one of the foremost town schools in eastern Indiana.
Before he had reached the age of seventeen, Mr. Newby began to teach in the public schools of the neighborhood, thus gaining the means to enable him to pursue his studies in the high school, teaching and attending school alternately. While thus engaged he also began to read law, giving to it whatever time he could spare from his studies in the school or duties in the school room. He graduated from the Knightstown High School with honor in 1875, being its first graduate; but he continued certain lines of study with Professor Hewitt after his graduation and also continued his study of the law, and to keep up his expenses taught for three hours every day in the high school.
The time that was left to him for his legal studies was spent first in the law office of Butler and Swaim, of Knightstown, and later in the office of J. Lee Furgason, of the same place. He was admitted to the practise by the Henry Circuit Court in 1878 and in the same year formed a partnership with the late Walter B. Swaim and opened an office in Knightstown. This partnership with Swaim was terminated at the end of the first year, when Mr. Newby established an office of his own and has continued the practise single-handed ever since.
“The Bench and Bar of Indiana,” a valuable and entertaining volume of more than eight hundred pages devoted to the biographies of eminent Indiana lawyers, edited by Charles W. Taylor and published at Indianapolis in 1895, says of Leonidas P. Newby.
“In 1880 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the eighteenth judicial circuit, composed of the counties of Henry and Hancock. His office, however, did not begin until nearly two years had elapsed after his election; but within three months after that event the prosecuting attorney then in office resigned, and Governor Porter appointed Mr. Newby to the vacancy, thus enabling him to hold the office nearly four years. One of his first cases on opening an office was the famous Foxwell murder case at Rushville, Indiana, in which he appeared for the defendant. The ability shown by the young attorney in tnis case received much favorable comment and so placed him on his feet as to give him a good start. In 1886, he was the leading counsel in the celebrated Anderson murder case at Williamstown, Kentucky, and received the credit of making one of the most able speeches ever made at the bar, in closing the argument for the defense. In the prosecution of this cause appeared Hon. M. D. Gray, the county attonney and now the commonwealth attorney for the judicial district; Captain Dejarnette, then commonwealth attorney and now considered one of the most brilliant lawyers in Kentucky; Col. J. J. Landerman, a noted politician and lawyer of Warsaw, of that State, and Hon. W. P. Harden, of Lexington, then the attorney general of that State, and now (1895) a candidate for governor. With Mr. Newby was associated Hon. O. D. Mi-Manama, afterwards judge of the criminal court of Frankfort, Kentucky; Hon. L. C. Norman, of Frankfort, now Auditor of State; Capt. John Combs, of Williamstown, Kentucky, and Hon. W. W. Dickerson. since a member of Congress and now a candidate for re-election. In the preliminary trial Hon. W. P. C. Breckinridge appeared for the defendant, but was unable to appear at the trial. “Mr. Newby has been employed in trial cases in all the Middle States as well as in some of the Southern, Western’ and Eastern ones and has held the greatest part of the practise in the southern part of Henry and the northern part of Rush County.”
Since “The Bench and Bar” from which the foregoing is taken was published, Mr. Newby has succeeded the late Judge Joshua H. Mellett, of New Castle, as the Henry County attonney of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and in conjunction with John L. Rupe, of Richmond, has charge of its extensive and lucrative legal business in Eastern Indiana, which added to his already large practise makes his income from his profession one of the best of those enjoyed by Eastern Indiana lawyers.
The Masonic Advocate, in an article in its issue for May, 1901, speaking of Mr. Newby’s legal attainments and successes, said: “Brother Newby has single-handed built up a large and lucrative practise, not only in his home court, but throughout Eastern Indiana, where he stands as the peer of the ablest in his profession.” The same journal In addition to the foregoing says: “He has never aspired to the bench but is, however, a favorite when acting as special judge and has frequently been called to the neighboring counties of late years, to hold special terms of court and try causes on change of venue,, having sat as the trial judge in many important cases.”
Mr. Newby has been a Republican in politics all his life and is always active in the support of his party and its candidates. He has often been a member or the Republican County Committee and, during two or more presidential campaigns, a member of the executive committee chosen by the Republican State Committee to act in conjunction with its chairman in the immediate direction of the work of the campaign.
Mr. Newby was nominated and elected to succeed the late General William Grose in the State Senate in 1892 and re-elected in 1896. His activities and services in that body were such that he soon took rank among the able leaders of the Republican party in the Senate and was for six years the president pro tempore of the Senate. He was also chairman of the judiciary committee for six years. He has been twice a candidate for the nomination by his party for lieutenant governor, but owing to the conflicting interests of candidates for the other State offices he was defeated in convention both times by very narrow margins. He is a hustler, a good mixer and possessed of a rare geniality which with his recuperative powers of mind and spirit enable him to come out of such political contests without having suffered loss of temper and with no sore spots to nurse and no political graveyard to fill. Hence he is a hard man to keep down and, as he is yet young and in fine health and full of mental vigor, he is likely to be heard from in the future.
Mr. Newby has been thus far in life very successful in business, having accumulated a snug fortune. He is the owner of a fine home in Knightstown and quite a number of rental properties as well as some valuable business blocks. He has also some good farms in the neighborhood of his home town in which he takes much pride and greatly enjoys the time wh’ch he can give to their oversight. He owns stock in and is president of The Citizens’ State Bank of Knightstown and also of The Natural Gas Company, The Electric Light and other business organizations of the town. He is a stockholder, director and vice-president in and of The Columbia National Bank of Indianapolis; a stockholder in The American National Bank of the same city, and one of the largest stockholders in The Security Trust Company of Indianapolis and president of the New Castle Central Trust and Savings Company, and has many other important business interests in various parts of the State. He is also president of the board of trustees of the southern State prison or reformatory for young men and boys, which has rendered such signal service to the State in carrying out reforms in the prison management and making improvements to the buildings and grounds at a saving in money and to the betterment of the inmates as well as to the advantage of the people of the State.
Mr. Newby was united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Robert B. and Julia A. Breckinridge, of Knightstown, Indiana, September 20, 1877. Mrs. Newby’s family is a good one noted for the integrity and energy of its members, her father, the late Robert B. Breckinridge, having been for many years a prominent business man of Knightstown. She is a lady of many accomplishments and graces and skilled in the arts of home-making and in dispensing the genuine courtesies of social life. The married and home life of Mr. and Mrs. Newby have been very happy, surrounded by comforts and refinements, and cheered by a large circle of friends. They are the parents of two children, an accomplished daughter, Floss, and a son, Floyd, who is a member of his father’s profession.
Mr. Newby is a member of several benevolent orders and other social and business societies; but the one society of his choice, in which he has taken most interest and to which he has devoted most time and talent, is the time-tried order of Free and Accepted Masons. He was made a Master Mason in Golden Rule Lodge. Number 15, Knightstown, having been initiated April 12, 1882, passed May 17, and raised June 7, of the same year. The Masonic Advocate traces his advances in and services to Masonry as follows :
“He was made a Royal Arch Mason in Knightstown Chapter, Number 33, receiving the preceding degrees during the months of August, September and October, and the Royal Arch, November 6, 1882. He was High Priest during 1898. He received the degrees of Royal and Select Master in Cryptic Council, Number 29, Knightstown, November 12, 1883. He was created a Knight Templar in Knightstown Commandery, Number 9, January 30, 1883, and worked his way up to Eminent Commander, which position he held during the years 1889 and 1890.
“In the Grand Commandery he started as Grand Sword Bearer in 1895 and by regular advancement became R. E. Grand Commander of Indiana at the recent Annual Conclave, and enjoyed the honor of representing the Grand Commandery In the Grand Encampment of the United States at the tri-centennial conclave at Louisville, Kentucky, In August, 1901.
“He received the grades of the A. A. Scottish Rite, including the Thirty Second Degree, at the annual convocation in ‘The Valley of Indianapolis’ in March, 1892. and became a ‘Shriner’ in Murat Temple, March 25, 1892.
“As secretary of the triennial committee of The Grand Commandery, Sir Knight Newby has rendered excellent service in providing quarters for the grand and subordinate commanderies of Indiana at the triennial conclave at Denver, Boston, Pittsburg, Louisville and San Francisco, whereby Indiana has always made a favorable showing with other grand jurisdictions and at a reasonable expense. As a member of the board of trustees of his home lodge aid chapter at Knightstown, brother Newby took an active part in the erection of their fine Masonic Temple, which was destroyed by fire October 18, 1899, and also In the erection of the fine and massive new structure which now occupies-the place of the old one and is such an adornment to the beautiful little city of Knightstown. As a Mason avid as a citizen, in all the walks of life, he stands ready in a public-spirited way to do his full share in promoting the general good. Long may he live in his sphere of usefulness.”
Such is the estimate of Mr. Newby as a Mason and a man, made by one who stands high in the “ancient and honorable” order. In addition it may be stated that Mr. Newby is now and has been for the past seven years Inspector General of The Knights Templar of Indiana, and is a life member of the Committee of Jurisprudence of the Knights Templar of the United States.
Mr. and Mrs. Newby have both traveled extensively in their own country and are familiar with many parts of the United States, and Mr. Newby himself has visited Cuba and other islands of the West India group, also Mexico and Central America, and gained much valuable information, aid during the Summer of 1905 made a delightful trip to England and Continental Europe in company with Smiley N. Chambers, of Indianapolis, and others, from which he gleaned a great deal of pleasure and profit, and returned to again take up the responsibilities of life in the best county of the best State in the Union and in the town which to him is the best spot of the best county.
L.P. died October 25th, 1945 at the age of 90. His wife, Mary Elizabeth died in 1950 at age 92.
Here are some additional facts found in his Obit:
He was made commissioner to visit Europe to select the uses to which a $500,000 (that was big, big money in 1918) fund contributed by Knights Templar for European relief during WW I were to be put. On this trip he traveled with Franch and Belgian military escort and was at Metz when the armistice was signed on 11-11-1918.
He was awarded the Legion of Honor by France in 1926. (Probably the only Knightstown native ever to win that esteemed award.)
(So where are the L.P. Newby’s of today now that K-town really needs them..??, Ed.)
The old L.P. Newby House in about 1970.
Floyd Newby, L.P.’s son, built a house next door at 115 W. Main in about 1910. L.P. lived at 105 with his wife, Mary Elizabeth, then in 1925 Floyd and his wife also took up residence at 105 west Main. I guess they decided they didn’t need the two big houses for just the 4 of them. Both L.P. and Floyd are listed as living there until 1945. In 1948 Orville Wilson, the Undertaker, and his wife, Roxie, are living there. He had the funeral parlor on the other side of Main St. Orville died in 1950 but Roxie continued living there until 1969 when my sister, Amelia, and her husband Dewey Wyatt bought the house. There hadn’t been much maintenance done on the house for a long time so Sis and Dewey had mountains of work to do to bring it up to shape. They restored most of it to it’s former glory and it was once again a beautiful house.
The Wyatts sold it in 1977 and it changed hands twice again, to the Love family then the Sassos, before Mike and Karen Trent, the present owners, took possession and continue with the restoration and preservation process.