Hoosier History Highlights: Adams Signs Harrison Land Act

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May 8 – May 14

The Week in Indiana History


NW terr.1800     President John Adams signed the Harrison Land Act which allowed settlers to purchase property in the Northwest Territory on credit.  The new law, named for its author, William Henry Harrison, allowed buyers to purchase 320 acres for a 25% down payment. The remainder would be due in installments spread over four years.  The price was set at two dollars an acre.  As a result, many more people were able to purchase property and migrate into the territory.

cannon1846     President James Polk declared war on Mexico.  Three days later, the Secretary of War called on Indiana Governor James Whitcomb to supply three regiments of infantry or riflemen, a total of approximately 3,000 men.  The quota was met within three weeks.  Volunteers responded to recruiting meetings in cities all around the state.  Hoosier women also became heavily involved, making uniforms, banners and flags.  The soldiers were sent to Camp Clark near New Albany for training. Brigadier General Joseph Lane was placed in charge.

schoolhouse1869     At a special session called by Governor Conrad Baker, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that admitted African American children to public schools.  The legislation said, “In assessing taxes for school purposes, there shall be no omissions or distinctions made on account of race or color; but each and every person’s property, of every kind or description, shall be assessed the same as any other person’s property for the same purpose.”   The state left it up to each community to carry out the provisions of the new law.

PD1884     Paris C. Dunning died in Bloomington.  He had served as the ninth Governor of Indiana (1848-1849.)  He had also been an Indiana House member, Indiana Senator, Senate President Pro Tempore, and Lieutenant Governor.  He is the only person in state history to have served in all of these offices.  As governor, he led the Indiana General Assembly in passing a resolution sent to Congress which opposed the expansion of slavery across the United States.

Studebaker1911     The Studebaker Company introduced the latest model of their electric car.  “It gives time to think from streetcar crowds and street annoyances,” the ad said, “and goes anywhere, anytime, to the theater, about town, into the country.”  The company, based in South Bend, had become famous for its wagons and carriages.  Electric cars were produced from 1902 until 1912, when production turned to gasoline engines.  The electric model had four speeds and could go up to 18 mph.

Home

100 Years Ago

1922     The first Indianapolis Home Show was held in the Manufacturers Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  Officially called the “Home Complete Exposition,” the event invited visitors to see over 100 exhibits and to walk through a five-room bungalow which had been built inside the building.  One of the most popular demonstrations introduced automatic garage doors which went up and down at the push of a button. The show was sponsored by the Indianapolis Real Estate Board.  (See “Extra” in the right column)


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QQ

      From the list below, select the three largest Indiana counties (by population, according to the 2020 census.)

Porter, Marion, Lake, St. Joseph, Allen, Monroe

Answers Below


Hoosier Quote of the Week

quote

     “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me.”

– – –  Harland Sanders. (1890 – 1980)

     Harland Sanders, born in Henryville in Clark County, became the “Kentucky Colonel” who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.


Extra

     Visitors to the 1922 Home Show were welcomed by Indiana Governor Warren McCray, who described the event as “a fine tribute to the enterprise of Indianapolis businessmen and to the true home spirit of the citizenry.”  A touch of Hollywood was brought to the show by sisters Dorothy and Lillian Gish, stars of silent motion pictures. Electricity was the center of attention as many were introduced to the conveniences of vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwashers, ventilating fans, electric stoves, and the wonder of the age, the amazing radio. Furniture, lamps, and other household items were on display and for sale. Real estate dealers were selling lots located around the city. The five-room bungalow was to be given away to the visitor who submitted the best essay on the topic “Why I Should Own My Own Home in Indianapolis.”


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Answers:  Marion, Lake, Allen