Old Knightstown Houses – 3

16 West Main Street

16 West Main

16 West Main

The distinctive house at 16 West Main Street was built in the “Italian Villa” style and was constructed in 1883 by Elias Hinshaw. The main feature of the house is a four story central tower. The house has been listed in the “National Register of Historic Places” since 1984.

I found a biography of Mr. Hinshaw which was probably written about 1910 on a “Quaker Roots” web site and I’ll include it below:

The gentleman of whom the biographer now writes was for many years identified with the interests of Henry County and contributed in a large degree to its material progress and prosperity. One of the extensive landowners of the county, he was an important factor in its varied interests and thus advanced the general welfare. Few lives furnish so striking an example of the wise application of sound principles and safe conservatism as did his. His was an honorable life, consistent with itself and its possibilities in every particular. Elias Hinshaw, deceased, was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, on the 9th of November, 1830, and was the youngest in a family of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters born to Benjamin and Annis (Bowman) Hinshaw. Shortly after the birth of the subject his parents came to Indiana living for one year in Wayne County.
In 1832 they settled on a farm near Greensboro, Henry county, and made that their home until a short time before their deaths, when they moved to Greensboro, where their deaths occurred, when he was eighty-two years old and his wife seventy-six. They were both members of the orthodox Society of Friends at Greensboro. The names of their children were as follows: John, Anna, William, Jesse, Susan, Edmond, Franklin, Seth, Cyrus, Lindsay, Millie and Elias. Of this large family but two Sons and two daughters are now living. Seth resides at Greensboro, aged eighty-three years; Lindsay is a well-to-do farmer, living in Greensboro Township; Susy lives in Nebraska and Millie in Charlottesville. The entire family came to this county in poor financial circumstances, but all became wealthy.

Elias Hinshaw the immediate subject of this memoir remained on the home farm until he was eighteen years old. At that age he went to Knightstown and entered a shop owned by his brother Franklin to learn the blacksmithing trade. He worked at this trade until he was thirty-one years old, most of the time at Knightstown, and then started a shop of his own.

He later settled on a farm of two hundred and eighteen acres, three miles west of Knightstown, on the Greensboro pike. He had with the earnings from his shop work at first bought a tract of eighty-two acres and gradually added to it until he possessed four hundred acres, which he afterwards sold. He also owned another farm of seventy-two acres, which he sold. As a young man he had the knack of making money easily. He was industrious and skillful and exercised sound judgment in his business ventures, so that he made rapid and continual progress in his financial affairs constantly adding more land to his possessions he kept much high grade live stock and was generally accounted one of the leading farmers of his community. He was liberal hearted to a fault and sustained some losses by lending money and not exacting security. His home farm was originally entered by William Macy, who erected upon it a residence, but never lived there.
Elias Hinshaw
In 1883 Mr. Hinshaw built the house that now stands there, a large, roomy, well-built house. The death of Mr. Hinshaw occurred on the 11th of April, 1900. About nine years before that time he had received a stroke of paralysis but partially recovered his health, being able to walk about until about six years before his death, when he was stricken the second time, and after that was practically helpless and gradually failed. His mother and others of his family passed away as a result of the same disease his mother being apparently well and able to attend to her household duties until a few minutes before her death.

Politically Mr. Hinshaw had originally been a Whig, and afterward became a publican but was never a seeker after office. However, he was prevailed upon to serve his fellow citizens as a member of the town council and remained a member of that body for several years. He made a splendid record there for his sound judgment and energetic efforts in behalf of the interests of the community his advice being constantly sought on all questions affecting the public welfare.

Religiously he was a member of the Society of Friends, but upon his marriage outside of that society, the society withdrew from him. However, he was a friend of all churches and liberal in his donations to all benevolences. He simplified the settlement of his estate by leaving it all to his widow. When he was twenty-one years old Mr. Hinshaw was united in marriage with Miss Angeline Lewis, who died, however, with-in a year of their-marriage. Mr. Hinshaw was again married, this time, on the 3rd of July, 1856, to Miss Emma Hall, the daughter of Eskridge and Mary (Wilkinson) Hall

Mr. Hinshaw and his wife became the parents of seven children. Three died in infancy while Lola M. lived at home until her death at the age of twenty-two, and Willie died when in his ninth year. Those living are: Charles H. who has been honored with the office of mayor and town clerk, and is now living with his mother and managing the farm for her, and Earl, who is a printer employed in the Banner office.

Mrs. Hinshaw still retains active control of the farm and is an intelligent and well-informed lady. She has a taste and aptitude for many kinds of work, but because of delicate health is compelled to confine her work to art and music. Religiously she is connected with the Presbyterian Church and lends her influence in every way possible to the advancement of all good works.

Despite his Quaker upbringing Elias did a small bit in the Civil War. Seems he was part of a group of able bodied men not yet serving that were quickly put into service especially to repel Morgan’s Raiders in Southern Indiana. He and his regiment (They were called the “Minute Man” Regiment) only served the one week in July of 1863 but history tells us they got the job done…..!!

Wilson Funeral Home

In the late 1920s and most of the 30s Orville Wilson had a Funeral Home at 16 W. Main.
Note the fancy wooden porch they had back then.

The Hinshaws lived there until sometime after the turn of the 20th century. The 1900 K-town directory lists: Hinshaw, Charles – Attorney; Hinshaw, Earl – Compositor; and Hinshaw, Elias – Retired. There is no mention of Emma the wife of Elias. This was just before Elias died.

I found a brochure written in the 1990s which gives a lot of good information about the subsiquent history of the house. I’ll include the highlights below:

Owners of the house:
1883 Built by Elias Hinshaw (blacksmith and farmer) who died in 1900
1903 Sold to Erie Morgan, Banker
1929 Sold to Orville Wilson and used as a funeral home
1938 House was traded to Minnie McGraw
1944 Sold to Blanche Stair and used as an antique shop
1971 Sold to Bill Kiger who divided the house into apartments
1976 Sold to Patricia Goodspeed who utilized the house as an Attorney’s Office
1992 Deeded to Robert Goodspeed who devoted 4 years in renovating the house
back to a “home” and removing apartments.
1996 Sold to Terry Long who is currently finishing what Robert Goodspeed

The Hinshaw house was placed on the National Register largely due to its unique architecture, the Italian Villa style and the fact that it is the only example with an Italianate Tower with French Mansard modification located on US 40 or the National Road from the Ohio state line to the Illinois state line in Indiana. It is the intention that the house is on the home tour on an “as is” basis for people to see what “all the activity has been” over the last several years. We invite you to come back in two years for the next home tour to see what progress we have made.

The previous owner, Robert Goodspeed, undertook the major effort in renovating the house including replacing electric, plumbing, plaster work, exterior brick repair, painting, replacement of wood cornices in addition to removing apartments installed during the 1970’s. Because of the lack of maintenance to the house over the years, the wall of the glassed in porch off of the library had to be removed and currently has been screened. The current plans are to make a brick extension to the flower box outside of the porch.

The tower roof was discovered to be leaking and it was decided to renovate the tower in the manner in which it was built originally which includes copper built-in gutters and slate roof with design. The second story roof is covered with Celadon Slate tiles due to the more expensive nature of a slate covered roof. It is anticipated that the two remaining roofs will be covered with standing seamed metal roofing material which was in keeping with the time frame of the house. No pictures have been located of the house during the turn of the century.
The porch was apparently added after 1914 and appears to be a typical 30’s style porch. Another plan for the house is to remove the porch and reconstruct it as in the style of the period in which it was built. Ghost marks of wood pillars can still be seen on the brick walls and a plat mop of 1914 demonstrates that it was a small porch.
As you enter the house, There is a hallway off of which are two parlors. The east parlor has bay windows, a pointed slate Eastlake gas fireplace in addition to an 8′ Eastlake mirror. Elias’ signature appears on a wall in this parlor. The west parlor has a green tile gas fireplace with marble top
which was apparently installed at some point in the 20’s or 30’s. The unusual aspect of this house is that there is no grand staircase – the stairs are enclosed to the upper portion of the house. The library contains an iron Eastlake gas fireplace which has since been bricked up and contains the gas flue for the boiler. The current dining room, it is believed, was the library. The kitchen leads to the utility area and full bath which was added to the house at a later date in addition to the rear room.
The upstairs houses a walk-in closet, full bath and 3 bedrooms in addition to what used to be the entrance to the tower. This small room was enclosed after the stairs deteriorated and were removed. Entry to the tower itself is via pull-down attic stairs. Not only was the tower a decorative item but it also serves as an “attic fan”. Because there is no air conditioning, during the hot summer months, a window is opened in the tower and it pulls the heat directly out of the house. The temperature upstairs is no more than two degrees difference than the downstairs.

Elias Hinshaw House

Here’s a picture of 16 W. Main from the 50s
They had an Antique shop there back then.

Click here to return to the first “Old Houses” page.

308 North Washington Street

308 North Washington

The Greek Revival/Classic style Richard Schweitzer House

This house was always my ideal. When I was a little kid I would walk past the Schweitzer house every day on the way to school. Some days I would see Lee, the butler, outside doing chores and wave or stop to talk for a minute, he always had a kind word for everyone even us little kids. I always figured I would have made it in the world if I ever had a house like that and a butler. Well….. I never made it….!! Oh well, it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things.

The house was built in 1914 for Richard Schweitzer Sr. Schweitzer essentially bought the front yard of the Hills House at 316 N. Washington to build his house on. I have heard a tale that the reason the house sits so far back on the lot is that Mrs. Hill didn’t want her view spoiled and made that a condition of the sale. I don’t know if this is true.
Mr. Schweitzer was something of a nabob. He was a part-owner of a factory in Knightstown that was the main source of the fence that Sears-Roebuck sold in their catalogs. The American west was just getting fenced in those days and that was a lot of fence….
I found a bio of Schweitzer on the net and will include it here:

Richard Henry Schweitzer is secretary, treasurer and general manager of the Parish Alford Fence and Machine Company at Knightstown. About the first experience he had in the business world was as a minor employe with a wire fence factory. Working hard along one line, and with ability increasing in proportion to his experience, Mr. Schweitzer has been able to give Knightstown one of its most flourishing and important industries, the product of which is distributed all over the central states, thus serving to advertise Knightstown and its resources to the outside world.
Mr. Schweitzer was born at Crawfordsville, Indiana, October 25, 1877, son of Christian and Theresa (Hermann) Schweitzer. His grandfather, Frederick Schweitzer, came from Bavaria about seventy years ago, locating at Columbus, Ohio. He was a professional musician and reared his family and died in Columbus. Christian Schweitzer was reared in Columbus, and afterwards moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he died in 1916. His widow was born at Reading, Pennsylvania, and is still living in that state.
Richard Henry Schweitzer attended the public schools of Crawfordsville, was at high school until his senior year, and first went to work for the Indiana Wire Fence Company under 0. M. Gregg of Crawfordsville. For a short time he was shipping clerk, later general traffic manager, and subsequently was secretary of the Crawfordsville Wire Company for a year and a half. He next became associated with C. D. Voris of Crawfordsville in organizing the Crawfordsville Wire and Nail Company, and was its secretary and sales manager from 1901 to 1906.
Mr. Schweitzer then became associated with Sears, Roebuck & Company of Chicago in purchasing in 1906 the wire fence factory at Knightstown, and has since beew secretary, treasurer and general manager of the company. This plant at Knightstown, employing 100 hands and manufacturing several substantial grades of wire fencing, supplies a large part of the great volume of wire fencing sold and distributed by the Sears, Roebuck & Company organization.
Mr. Schweitzer is also a stockholder and director of the First National Bank and a director of the Citizens National Bank of Knightstown. He is also a stockholder in the Crawfordsville Wire and Nail Company, and has an interest in the One Piece Bi-Focal Lens Company at Indianapolis.
In 1899 he married Miss Effa Strauss, daughter of Charles and Sarah (Schooley) Strauss of Crawfordsville. They are the parents of two children: Elizabeth Katherine and Richard Karl, the latter born in 1902. In politics he is a republican. He is a past master of Golden Rule Lodge No. 16, Free and Accepted Masons, at Knightstown, is past commander of the Knights Templar Commandery No. 9, and is present senior grand warden of the Grand Lodge of Masons. He also belongs to Murat Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Indianapolis. He has been deeply interested in Masonry, and was a member of the building committee and secretary when the Indiana Masonic Home was built at Franklin, Indiana. He is now a member and secretary of the board of directors of that home.

Schweitzer House

308 N. Washington in the 40s

Dr. Steve Smith who is a grandson of Richard Schweitzer Sr. sent me the following information:

The house listed as 308 N Washington was owned by me from 1960 to 1071 and was occupied by my family which included Stephen D Smith M D, MaryLou S Smith, [ my wife since 1955 ] and my [our] 3 children Kimberly, Marce, and Elizabeth along with us for 5 years we took care of a man named Leander Donaldson

Since it was the primary home that our daughters had been raised in they still consider it their home. We added a lot of structures to the house: insulation, air conditioning , retaining wall for my wife’s rose garden, [she once had over 1000 roses in bloom at one time] pool room in the attic into another bedroom, ping pong room in basement and poker room in basement.
While living there I was appointed Professor at Cincinnati University and had a 5 year student in their Medical School training. He and his wife were living with us over the garage. This training program was written up in Ohio Indiana Medical journals as part of the future of medicine in rural America to encourage students to remain in the areas of under served Indiana and Ohio.

I don’t know who had the house after Dr. Smith and family moved out. I think a conservative political orginazation owned it for a while. I know it’s for sale right now. Maybe I should buy it and fulfill my childhood dream….not….

Click here to return to the first “Old Houses” page.

7014 W.County Line Road


Thornhill/The “Pest” House

This beautiful old 17 room house was built shortly after the Civil War in 1867. It is in the French Empire Revival style popular in the day. It’s had a “bad rap” as “The Pest House” for many years because it was used for a few months as an emergency hospital during the smallpox epidemic of 1902. It was built in 1868 by one of Knightstown’s leading citizens in the second half of the 19th century, Charles D. Morgan who was an Attorney and the 2nd President of the First National Bank. I found a biographical sketch of Mr. Morgan and I’ll copy it here as follows:


Charles Dayton Morgan was born at Richmond, Indiana, July 31, 1829. His father, Nathan Morgan, was a pioneer of Wayne County, Indiana, who removed from New Jersey to the neighborhood of Richmond soon after that town was laid out in 1806. He was a farmer and cabinet maker, having served an apprenticeship to that trade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He had also been a boatman on the Delaware River in his early manhood, and retained the memory of his old sailor days through life. Mr. Morgan remembers that when delirious during his last illness, which occurred when he was ninety years old, his father imagined himself to be a boatman again and gave the orders of command as he was wont to do so many years before. Nathan Morgan came to Indiana with his little family and such household goods as he possessed in a one-horse wagon, but he was industrious and frugal and soon accumulated a competency. He was twice married and was the father of a large family of children, who like himself were prosperous people and good citizens.
Charles D. Morgan’s mother was Nathan Morgan’s second wife. Her maiden name was Margaret Holloway. She was a sister of the late David P. Holloway, who was, for many years, editor of The Richmond Palladium, and was once a member of Congress from the old Fifth District of Indiana, and who was also commissioner of patents under President Abraham Lincoln”. She was a woman of great force of character and notable for her motherly tenderness and sympathy. Mr. Morgan’s great-grandmother on the maternal side was a daughter of Rowland Richards, who came over with William Penn, and seems to have had much to do with the early life of the Quaker colony in Pennsylvania.
In a sketch of Mr. Morgan’s life in a book entitled “Men of Progress of Indiana,” published by The Indianapolis Sentinel Company in 1899, it is said that “the ancestors of the family, on both the paternal and maternal sides, were Welsh, traced back for two hundred years.” Since that was written, however, the record has been followed much further back and it is believed that, on the mother’s side, there is an almost, if not wholly, unbroken line of descent extending back to Charlemagne. Mrs. Francis Swain, wife of President Joseph Swain of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, and former president of Indiana University, who is Mr. Morgan’s daughter, has recently made many researches in Wales, in England, and on the continent of Europe, on the descent and lineage of the family, and has visited many of the places occupied by her father’s ancestors, one of which is the famous old seat of the Townsends, from whom Mr. Morgan’s mother was descended, and one member of which family, John Townsend, made a notable journey across the American continent, from east to west, and by vessel to the Sandwich Islands, about 1838, following much the same route as that followed earlier in the century by Lewis and Clark. Returning to Philadelphia, Mr. Townsend published an account of his expedition in 1839, which very Interesting volume is among Mr. Morgan’s most highly prized books. Mr. Morgan’s interest in these matters of genealogy is only such as any right-minded American citizen should cherish for their historical value and because family relationships, lineage and antecedents are really very important matters, which in the hard struggles of the immediate past the American people have for the most part greatly neglected.
Of his father’s immediate family there were five sons and five daughters, of whom the one best known in this section of Indiana, next to the subject of this sketch, was the late Nathan Morgan, of Richmond, Indiana.

Charles D. Morgan was educated in the public school of Richmond and graduated from the high school of that city. After completing his school life he entered the law office of William A. Bickle, of Richmond, as a student of the law and spent two years with Mr. Bickle, followed by one year’s study in the office of James Perry, one of the old time circuit judges, who was held in much esteem for his learning and impartiality.

Mr. Morgan was admitted to the practice of the law by the Wayne Circuit Court in 1850. He opened an office in Richmond, but two years later, in 1852, removed to Knightstown, Henry County, Indiana, and entered upon the practice of his profession at that place, which has been his home ever since. He found it advisable to piece out his income from the law by other labors, and accepted the place of operator for the company that owned the first telegraph line in Eastern Indiana, which line ran along the National Road. Mr. Morgan had to learn telegraphy from the start, but soon mastered it sufficiently to manage the office, which was located in the book store of a young friend of his, Tilghman Fish, and held the place for a year.

In the year 1852 the Henry County turnpike, the first gravel road in the county, was completed through the county on the line of the National Road, and the Indiana Central Railway, now the first division of The Pennsylvania System, west of Pittsburg, was in course of construction. The old flat-bar railroad from Knightstown to Shelbyville and on to Madison on the Ohio River, was still doing business, and Knightstown was the most important business point in the county.
The men then prominent in the affairs of the bustling town have nearly all passed away; but among them were such men as Joel B. Lowe, James Woods, Robert Woods, John Weaver, Harvey Bell, George. S. Lowery, Peter C. Welborn, Moses Heller, Lemuel Murray, Morris F. Edwards and others, who have departed, while a few, like Sol Hittle, John W. White and Tilghman Pish, remain. In the surrounding country were such well remembered people as Gordon Ballard, Edward Lewis, John H. Bales and many another honored pioneer.
Mr. Morgan was a young man of great intellectual as well as business activity, of correct morals, good habits and possessed of positive convictions on moral and political questions and business propositions. Especially was he an earnest champion of the temperance reform which in the early fifties swept over the country like a mighty tide. Being a captivating public speaker and possessed of a fine presence, he was called for, far and near, to address Washingtonian gatherings or to make speeches at celebrations of the Sons of Temperance. His Sundays were particularly devoted to that line of work for several years. It brought him little or no immediate pay, but it won for him many friends, whose faithful adherence through a long and active life has been of inestimable value to him, which he has endeavored to reciprocate. He also made literary and educational addresses and political speeches, as occasion offered, or his political convictions required.
In the law he was a safe counselor and a reliable adviser. He has always despised shystering and crooked practices and has maintained a sincere contempt for the arts and subterfuges to which dishonest attorneys sometimes resort.

When Mr. Morgan made a successful banker and financier of himself he evidently accomplished it at the expanse of the popular and able jurist which he would otherwise have been.
Charles Dayton Morgan was married November 13, 1856, to Alvira Holland Woods, daughter of Robert and Hannah Woods, of Knightstown, by the Reverend David Monfort. Mrs. Morgan was a refined and noble woman and the twain lived happily and prosperously together until April 17, 1889, when she died after an illness of many months’ duration and was laid to rest in beautiful Glencove Cemetery, Knightstown.

They were the parents of six children, three of whom died in infancy. The three who remain are Frances, wife of Joseph Swain, president of Swarthmore College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raymond C, a farmer and stockman at Knightstown, apd Erie C, assistant cashier of The First National Bank of Knightstown.
Among the diversions of his early career before locating in Knightstown Mr. Morgan recalls with pleasure a few days spent in carrying the chain for the engineers who were establishing the grade of the Indiana Central Railway.

The inconvenience caused by the want of banking facilities, for there was then no bank in the county, early called Mr. Morgan’s attention to the subject of banking, and as a result he was mainly instrumental in establishing and was the manager of the first bank started in Henry County. It was what is now known as a private bank and was opened in 1859 under the firm name of R. Woods and Company. This bank continued to do a good business and to be a great convenience to the business men of Knightstown and the surrounding parts of Henry, Hancock and Rush counties until the establishment by Mr. Morgan and others of The First National Bank of Knightstown in 1865, which is its lineal successor.

The first officers of the national bank were Robert Woods, president; Charles O. Morgan, cashier, and William P. Hill, assistant cashier, or teller. To anticipate a little here: The career of The First National Bank of Knightstown, which has from its start been practically under the management of Mr. Morgan, has been a most remarkable one in three respects; first, for its unprecedented record as a sound and stable institution; second, for its undoubted preparation and readiness, in the times of panic and financial craze through which it has passed, to have met every legal demand against it from cash in its own vaults; and, third, for the few changes that have occurred In its official household. The American Financier in its Bank Roll of Honor, made up from the verified statistical reports, for many years placed The First National Bank of Knightstown at the head of the Indiana banks. For the past two years, however, The First National Bank of Washington, Indiana, has surpassed it slightly in certain particulars, so that the Knightstown bank now stands second in the State in proportion to the amount of its surplus to its capital stock.
The first change in the bank’s household was made when Noah P. Wagoner was added to the force. Upon the death of Robert Woods, Mr. Morgan became president, Mr. Hill cashier and Mr. Wagoner teller. After the demise of William Penn Hill, Noah P. Wagoner became cashier and the three men, Charles D. Morgan, Noah P. Wagoner and Krie C. Morgan are now its working force. While so few changes have occurred in the official roll of the bank during its forty years of existence, all the original stockholders except two have passed away.
Charles D. Morgan was early in life a Whig of anti-slavery convictions. With the political revolution that swept over the Northern States after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill by Congress and the opening of Kansas and Nebraska to the incursions of slavery, he was one of that great host of young men, who in Indiana broke away from old party lines and in 1854 carried the State for a party of protest, known as the “”People’s Party,” which two years later formed the nucleus of the young Republican Party, into the support of which he threw the strength and force of his young manhood. From 1856 to 1896 Mr. Morgan was an active and earnest supporter of the Republican Party, but since the latter date he has acted independently, voting for the men and measures of his choice. .
It was as a champion of the Union cause during the Civil War that his most signal public service was rendered. Mr. Morgan had been elected in October, 1862, to represent Henry County in the lower house of the General Assembly—Joshua H. Mellett being the senator from the county at that time. When the session opened January 8, 1863, the old distinctions between Republican and Democrat seemed to be in abeyance and the lines of political conflict were drawn between supporters and opponents of the Civil War. The latter had elected so large a majority of the General Assembly as to permit the carrying of its measures over the vetoes of Governor Morton, but in the lower house the anti-war party lacked a few votes of a two-thirds majority and could not maintain a quorum in the absence of the supporters of the Governor. This crisis called for courage, wisdom and prompt action to meet the responsibilities of the hour, qualities granted in abundant measure to the supporters of the war and to none more than to the senator and representative from Henry County.
The majority, under the leadership of Bayless W. Hanna, on February 5, 1863, proposed an enactment depriving the Governor of the military authority vested in him by the State constitution and vesting it in a commission of State officers opposed to the Governor and the conduct of the war, to be known and designated as The Executive Council. Numerous other bills and resolutions were introduced by the majority, the adoption of which must have resulted in crippling the powers of the State and Federal administrations in their efforts to sustain the Union.
Fortunately the Federal army under General Rosecrans had won a signal victory at Stone’s River, December 31, 1862, and January 1-2, 1863, just before the meeting of the General Assembly, which elated the friends of the government and dampened the ardor of its opponents, who could not in the face of victory discountenance the soldiers and their achievements. To put the matter to the test, Mr. Morgan, of Henry, on the afternoon of the first day of the session, introduced a resolution “tendering the thanks of the House to Major General Rosecrans and the officers and privates under him for their heroic conduct at the late battle at Stone’s River and that we sincerely sympathize with the friends and relatives of the many patriots who there sacrificed their lives on behalf of their country, and that the clerk transmit a copy of this resolution to the commander of each regiment engaged in that battle.” The result was as Mr. Morgan anticipated; the anti-war party refused to vote in the negative and the resolution was adopted by an affirmative vote of ninety-two.
The ground was fought over day after day and the session became one of continued anxiety and dread to the friends of the government and supporters of the war. At length, on February 25, 1863, when the military bill of Mr. Hanna reached engrossment, and was to be put on final passage, in compliance with a predetermined program, a sufficient number of the minority to break the quorum walked out and, taking a train to Madison, on the Ohio River, remained there until the expiration of the session. The risk involved was great and the attitude of the minority required great moral courage, but the action taken by them blocked and eventually defeated a course most injurious to the best interests of the State and Nation.
The subsequent failure of appropriations and the enhanced difficulties of the administration resulting from this session of the General Assembly are matters pertaining more particularly to State and National history. How the counties and people of the State rallied to the aid of Governor Morton and how the great banking house of Winslow, Lanier and Company—former citizens of Madison, Indiana—evinced their faith In Hoosier honesty by large and unsecured loans which enabled the Governor and his patriotic advisers to continue their active and effective support of the National administration, are most interesting details of this stormy period in State history; but beyond all doubt the salvation of the State from graver internal troubles was due to the courageous action of the minority in breaking the power of the majority in the General Assembly of 1863, and for the part he bore in this memorable crisis Henry County loves Charles D. Morgan and honors him as a man of sterling ability and character and a good citizen. Mr. Morgan has always regarded David C. Brannum, of Jefferson County, as a most able and conscientious leader of the minority in that historic session. Others of the strong men of the minority were Thomas J. Carson, of Boone; David R. Van Buskirk, of Decatur, and John S. Tarkington, of Marion.
Charles D. Morgan is of Quaker origin and was reared in that faith and though he does not now claim membership in that society, its principles of peace, probity and good will more nearly accord with his own thought and life than do the more pretentious creeds. He is an Odd Fellow of probably fifty years standing and because that society’s teachings and ministrations are such as meet his approval he is and has ever been an active and earnest member of the Knightstown Lodge, to whom the performance of the duties it imposes is a pleasure. During the Civil War he gave freely and liberally to the Union cause through many channels. Through life he has been steadfast in his friendships, as a husband and parent, true and tender, and as a citizen, beyond reproach.
Mr. Morgan is a great reader and lover of books and his library attests his taste for the best literature as well as his devotion to history and the masterpieces of forensic effort, both ancient and modern. Nothing delights him more than a walk with a friend who has a regard for books and for nature. It is exceedingly pleasant to stroll with him on such occasions and listen to him as he unfolds the wonderful stores that are retained by his clear and appreciative memory.
He has never lacked the confidence and esteem of his neighbors and both have been worthily bestowed.
While he loves the entire State and country, Knightstown, where he has lived so long and well, is to him the one best spot of all the world. He has always been a lover of the soil and while his accumulations in other lines of property have been large, he has invested in a number of good farms in the vicinity of Knightstown. not only for his own profit and pleasure, but as the best investment for his heirs.
Charles D. Morgan was married a second time, his present wife being Rebecca F. daughter of the late William Brinkley and Margaret Ann (McCabe) Gray, of Knightstown, Indiana. Mrs. Morgan is a lady of sprightly intellect and kindly disposition, who has a wide circle of friends and seems well suited to be the partner of a thoughtful man of affairs like Mr. Morgan.

Mrs. Morgan ,Alvira, became chronically ill sometime in the late 1870s and in 1883 they moved back into Knightstown so she could be more easily cared for. They bought the house at 238 East Brown St. from their brother-in-law, Dr. Henry Crouse.; see: 238 East Brown. Alvira died in 1889 but Charles continued to live on Brown St. and abondoned the “Thornhill” house. I believe it remained vacant for many years.

The house was purchased for a fraction of its worth by the town of Knightstown in 1902 and used as a Hospital during the Smallpox Epidemic of that year. It was given the nickname “Pest House” during the epidemic and the name and stigma stuck. Probably as a result, the house was boarded up and again stood empty for many, many years. When I was in high school it was a big deal for a bunch of kids to break into it on Halloween and then try to scare the girls who were along. However, not for one minute did any of us think the place really had any ghosts.

Banner Fire Article

I found this article in a K-town Banner of Oct, 1969 about a fire in the old house.
The text of the article follows:

Knightstown firemen responded to a call Tuesday when the house southeast of Knightstown, better known as the “Pest House” caught fire. The house has been sold to E. W. Hauser of Indianapolis and workmen are in the process of remodeling the old house. Workers reported they had built a fire in one of the fireplaces on the second floor where they were working. The ceiling beams in a third floor room caught fire and caused heavy smoke but firemen were able to extinguish the blaze and save the structure with only minor damage. Spiceland Fire Department aided the local firemen at the scene.
Charles Dayton Morgan, a prominent Knightstown lawyer and his wife, Alvira Woods Morgan built the 16 room house in 1867, Due to Alvira’s poor health, the family occupied the house for only 12 or 14 years, after which they returned to Knightstown to live in the brick house at the northwest corner of Adams and Brown Streets, where Charles spent the remainder of his life.
The 16-room, high ceiling house on the hill stood vacant for many years, and was purchased by the town around the turn of the century (1902) for use as an isolation hospital, or “Pest House”, during the smallpox epidemic of that time.
Several families occupied the house thereafter, but it was sold in the spring of 1969 to Jack Tweedy and Dick Leakey who planned to develop the surrounding acreage. They had considered the possibility of razing the old house but sold it to Mr. Hauser of Indianapolis who is restoring the home.


The “Pest” House all boarded up in the 50s before restoration.
You can imagine it really was a pretty creepy place on a dark October night….!!!

Click here to return to the first “Old Houses” page.

5 West Pine Street

Furgason House

The J. Lee Furgason House at 5 W. Pine Street

I don’t know exactly when this house was built but I’m pretty sure it was built by J. Lee Furgason a prominent Knightstown Attorney. It’s a good guess that he built it just after he returned from the Civil War. That’s when he got married to Miss Mary F. Welborn. I think I read that he was the Quartermaster for his Regiment but I can’t find the reference again. Anyway, I believe he lived here until his death in the early 1900s. The 1900 census contained the following information which I got from the Banner’s web site, thanks Stacy…!!!:

James L. Ferguson (or Furgason), a lawyer, Mr. Fergason was born in Ind. in Aug. 1839. On June 14, 1865 in Henry Co. he married Mary F. Welborn. She was born in Ind. about 1846. They are the parents of one child, Florence Leona who was born in June 1868. She is still living in the home of her parents along with her husband Lewis A. Bell. Mr. Bell, a hardware merchant, was born in Ind. in Dec. 1859.

The 1911 K-town phone book has a listing for Mrs. J. Lee Furgason at that address as well as a listing for L.A. Bell at the same place. L.A. Bell is listed as living there until 1926. His occupation was listed as “hardware merchant” so maybe he was related to Harvey Bell of 25 S. Adams and Bell’s Hall fame.

Furgason House

Here’s a view of the house (on left) when it had a wonderful front porch. Probably in the 1880s…

Leonard Land was listed as living at 5 West Pine in 1930 and was there until 1959 (according to the phone books). I don’t know who lived there after the Land’s.
My sister, Amelia, found the obit for Mr. Land in the Banner of August 4th, 1960. It gives the following info: Leonard Land age 78 died at his home 7-29-1960. He was President K-town Board of Trustees and served 10 years. Came from Madison IN and lived here 40 years. He retired in 1953 as merchandising mgr. Schuffamn’s Furniture Store, New Castle. Earlier he was traveling rep. for highly recognized home furnishing firms, 27 years. Methodist Church Board, K-town Chamber of Commerce, 50-year Mason + York Rite. He had one daughter, Sally Land Smith.

Click here to return to the first “Old Houses” page.

You must be logged in to post a comment.