Hoosier history highlights: January 19 – January 25

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – The state of Indiana is rich in history.

Did you know the following things happened the week throughout the Hoosier state?

The Indiana Department of Administration compiled a list of notable events in this week’s Hoosier History Highlights.


 Indiana Quick Quiz  

1. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Indianapolis displays a sculpture which shows Dr. King reaching out to what other famous American?

2. Which Indiana county bears the name of the official state river?

3. Zerelda was an Indiana First Lady who was very active in the cause of Women’s suffrage. What was her last name?

*Answers Below

January 19 – January 25
The Week in Indiana History

1820 Indiana Governor Jonathan Jennings signed a bill that led to the founding of Indiana University. Baynard Rush Hall was hired as the first professor. Andrew Wylie was named as first president. This year, IU is celebrating its bicentennial with a series of events, including the dedication of the school’s newest supercomputer, Big Red 200.

1859 At a joint meeting of the Indiana General Assembly, Mary Thomas spoke in favor of a petition signed by more than a thousand men and women from Wayne County. She urged lawmakers “to grant to women the same rights in property as men, and also the right of suffrage.” Read more about Mary Thomas below in “Did You Know?”

1867 Indiana ratified the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provided citizenship to former slaves and granted all citizens equal protection under the law. State Legislator Stephen Neal of Boone County is thought to have helped write the original draft of the document. Pictured: The bust of Stephen Neal at the Indiana Statehouse, created by Indiana artist Clara Barth Leonard.

1924 James Louis “JJ” Johnson was born in Indianapolis. With a huge musical talent, he began a professional career while still attending Crispus Attucks High School He became a legendary trombonist who played with such stars as Count Basie, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was also a composer and arranger and a major influence in the development of jazz.

1937 Eleven days of rain caused heavy flooding in the Ohio River Valley. Over sixteen inches of rainfall had brought the Ohio River up to a crest of 54 feet. Nearly 90% of Jeffersonville was flooded and martial law was declared in Evansville.

1940 Otis Harlan died in Martinsville, having retired there after a long career as an actor. After years of success on the Broadway stage, he moved to Hollywood where he appeared in over 130 films. He played a variety of roles, including that of Captain Andy in “Show Boat” and Squire Hawkins in “The Hoosier Schoolmaster. His voice is immortalized in his portrayal of “Happy” in Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

 Hoosier quote of the week: 

“War makes strange giant creatures out of us little routine men who inhabit the earth.”
– Ernie Pyle

Did You Know?
By the time Mary Thomas presented the women’s rights petition to the Indiana Legislature, she had already graduated from medical college. After practicing in Fort Wayne for two years, she and her husband moved to Richmond, Indiana, where she lived the rest of her life. During the Civil War, she took supplies to Indiana soldiers and tended to those who were sick and injured. After the war, she continued her work for women’s suffrage and became president of the Indiana Woman Suffrage Association. She also served one year as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association.

*Answers: 1. Robert Kennedy 2. Wabash County 3. Wallace (She was the wife of the sixth Governor of Indiana, David Wallace)