VERNON HOME COMING 1911
August 26, 1911 - North Vernon Sun
This crowd picture was undated but it is from a similar time frame and I wanted to show what a large crowd in Vernon
would have looked like on the Court House lawn - the large building in the background is what is now the Jennings County Historical Society Museum.
VERNON'S HOME COMING LEFT PLEASANT MEMORIES
Hundreds of Former Citizens Returned "Home" To Meet Once More Their Childhood Friends
Vernon's home coming celebration was held last week beginning Thursday night and there was something doing
almost continuously until Sunday night. The first meeting to welcome the visitors was held Thursday night at the court house, W. J.
Mitchel president of the home coming organization delivered an address of welcome and George Batchelor of Indianapolis responded.
Mrs. Dr. Griffiths of Crawfordsville made an interesting talk and others gave reminiscences, so the evening
passed quickly away.
Friday afternoon another meeting was held at the court house and John Overmyer, F. E. Little and others made
talks. It may not be generally known but the first time Mr. Overyer ever came to Vernon was on a load of barley with his father from
Jackson county. They were taking the barley to Michael Gooding's brewery, the ruins of which still remain. Oscar ______ of Indianapolis
himself a contributor to newspapers and the suthor of several poems, read a poem dedicated to George Wallace Foster, which was written
by a lady in Wisconsin. After a beautiful solo by Miss Caroline Bantz the meeting came to a close.
Friday night a big audience was present to hear Albert Edward Wiggam deliver a lecture. He has been on the lyceum
platform for several years and Vernon can feel proud of him. He has six lectures in all that he delivers as occasion requires but on this
occasion he had none that fit exactly so he started to make a brief talk but he became so full of emothion that he was swaying the audience
before he was aware of it and held them spell bound for over an hour. Vernon can be prooud of this also. Other people pay to hear Wiggam
lecture and it is only in his home town he wouldn't lecture if he got pay for it.
The Saturday afternoon meeting was a very interesting one. Miss Gladys Eitel rendered a piano solo after which a
literary program poem which was greatly enjoyed and Bert New of Indianapolis made an interesting talk. A. M. Andrews of Connersville read
his poem, "The Muscatatuck Nigh Vernon," which was printed in this paper recently. John H. Cox, who served this county as treasurer years
ago, read a very instructive paper. He said that 50 years ago on the 23rd day of last April he had the pleasure of being in the court room
and hearing Henry Ward Beecher make a powerful plea for loyalty to the union. It was also the day that President Lincoln offered the command
of the union forces to General Robert E. Lee. He told of his enlistment in the army and of his coming to Vernon with his brother to join a
company under command of Captain Leonard Ennis. He graphically described the scenes in Vernon when Morgan's raiders approached the town and
of the means adopted by the town for defense. His paper closed the afternoon program.
Probably the largest crowd ever seen in the court house gathered Saturday night to hear Judge Willard New. He didn't
have a prepared speech and the audience didn't want it if he had. After a musical program furnished by Gladys Eitel, Ben Swarthout, Caroline
Bantz and Alice Thomas, preceeded by invocation by C. C. Jordan, Everett Wagner of Indianapolis gave some boyhood experiences and ended by
telling how he was hid under a cliff on the river bank to escape John Morgan's shell when it was thought Vernon would be bombarded.
Then came Judge New's time. He had never before faced that kind of an audience and the applause came from hundreds of
true friends. Both he and Mrs. New were given recognition when they entered the room but when he arose to speak the entire audience showed
its loyalty. He began by telling a witty story and kept it up during the entire evening. Perhaps but once did he become really serious and that
was when he paid tribute to such men as Col. Vawter, Robert Leavitt, Henry Wagner, Uriah Wagner and others who contributed the greatest part of
their lives for the good of Vernon. He said that after Robert Leavitt's spoke factory burned for the third or fourth time he still thought more
of the welfare of his employees than he did of himself. Mr. New said some fine things while dealing with Vernon's big, but the best advice was
this and it will do to frame "If you succeed you must be young, game, sober and honest." Probably the arrangement is not according to relative
importance but those are things that count."
The judge's good nature and boyhood experiences kept the audience in an uproar all the time. The first time he ever
played "hookey" was to see George Alley's new bus that had been put on the road between Vernon and North Vernon. He said when he heard of it he
decided that he must see and that it was great to think that Vernon was to have a real bus and great was his world when saw Alley come driving it
to Vernon with his foot on the brakes.
His story of going to college was very amusing. His clothes, boots and hat were made in Vernon and the morning he left for
Bloomington he was rigged out brand new. He got along alright until after he crossed the county line going north and then he imagined people
began looking at him.
When he got to school it didn't take long to find out that what he needed was some clothes somewhere near in style.
He was elected mayor of Vernon when 21 years of age and attached a great deal of importance to the position. He wanted
to pass over Pennsylvania road on the strength of it and wrote to the president of the company. He received a very prompt refusal and the boy
mayor became indignant and after long debate with himself too his spite out on the company by scraping the railroad tracks.
He told many other equally interesting stories and ended by paying a glowing tribute to the people for the kindness
After the night meeting the Vernon high school alumnni held a meeting and listened to stories by old members. A roll call
was also mad and it was a real enjoyment for those present to hear of the names of the graduates from the first class to the last. A letter from
Miss Josie Bundy of Alexander, North Carolina was read. Miss Mary Well of Indianapolis also gave a reading.
The citizens of the town and the visitors who had already arrived were astir bright and early Sunday morning to prepare for
the big crowd which was coming from Indianapolis. The Madison band had been engaged and came up on the morning train. The south bound trains were
late and this gave all former citizens an opportunity to attend Sunday school and not miss their friends and many availed themselves of the opportunity.
At the Presbyterian church many who met there fifty years ago assembled but they were so overcome with emotion that they could make no talks after
being invited to do so. The lights and shadows had played such parts and pews, the bell, the very atmosphere brought back memories so dear that those
who tried to speak found it impossible.
After the arrival of the trains which brought hundreds there was nothing but hand shaking and "glad to see you back" during
the remainder of the morning. At noon many spreads were made on the court house lawn and dinner served to the hungry.
After dinner there was no attempt to carry out the regular program but Walter J. Mitchell mounted on a chair in the court
yard called the people around him and read letters that had been sent by absent friends. A telegram from Lincoln Dixon was read and then letters
from the following: Gen. Wallace Foster, Indianapolis; Rev. J. W. Brougher, Los Angeles, Cal.; C. A. Branham, Denver; Col, W. T. Stott, Knightstown;
C. A. Cox, Los Angeles; T. A. Daily, Indianapolis; C. Rose, Crown Point; Amantha Vawter Vager, Lafayette, Ind.; and C. A. Batchelor, Seattle,Wash.
Applause followed the reading of the letters, especially that of General Foster.
The entire afternoon was given over to social intercourse and the Vernon people tried hard to make their guests feel at home.
Hveryone had a glad hand for the other and it was with held from none. The afternoon drew rapidly to a close and the time came for the last hand
shake. Then sorrow was felt. The home comers had changed to home goers and many a tear was wiped away as friends and relatives boarded the trains
for their homes. Some came with daubts but left with the firm conviction that although the town had changed; the people were just as
hospitable and just as lovable as when all were boys and girls roaming around over the streets of Vernon.
The home coming was a great success and much credit is due those who helped make it such. Vernon got a good needed advertising
it will rebound to its credit. The visitors were surprised and pleased at the consideration given them and they left with fond recollections of the
August days back in Old Vernon.
Things On The Side
John H. Cox, who left Jennings county in 1886 is now president of the National Bank at Sheridan, Ind. His wife is active in
literary circles in Sheridan and has written several poems.
"Jim" Love of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio remained as long as possible and he was finally ordered out of town according to Mrs.
Wilberfource Twaddell of Terre Haute who with her husband came and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Love has been with the Falls Clutch and Machinery
Co. for 40 years and Twaddell with the Vandalia road for 43 years.
North Vernon was represented all week by scores of people. It is a fact that as many people live in North Vernon who formerly
lived in Vernon as the town has population now.
Vernon has been without a newspaper for quite a while but there are still some pleasant memories that linger of the times
spent on "helping get out the paper on Thursday evenings." so Saturday night the old Journal "bunch" composed of Jessie Mxi, Nettie May, Goldie Spencer,
Mabel Johnson, Anna Spaulding, Ollie Hilton and Fred Lockwood were the guests of J. N. Culp at Lockwood's restaurant. Sandwiches, pickles, cream cake
and coffee were served while the editor heard of mean tricks played and acts committed that wouldn't be tolerated in any well regulated
office yet the paper flourished in spite of these things.
The following poem didicated to a former Vernon girl was written by O. W. Sears of Indianapolis and was to have been read at
one of the meetings. The young lady referred to was Marie (May) Vawter, second daughter of Williamson Vawter
She married and went to Australia and died there about twenty-five years ago.
HOME AGAIN, OH VERNON!
Ther's a lure in thy hills and river loops
That grow as we grow gray;
Thy girls and boys in gathered groups
They're here yet-here to stay
And home we've come, oh Vernon, home
Hearts true to thee always:
How wide so e'er our feet may roam,
Our hearts thy call obey.
What odds through far antipodes
Hides one in its strange breast?
The winds her songs waft oversea.
Annnd make night here more blest,
So they beside whose graves we stand
Here where fond memories gleam,
Not they than they who clasp our hand
Are more a fading dream.
We can but feel them with us here,
From that great South sea isle.
From where old ocean's waves flash clear,
From where war raged the while
There is no death! 'tis but our eyes
Lack might to pierce the vail
That hides, brief time, the shining prize
That waits life's rounded tale
Ah, not yet know we all the law;
But one is who does know,
He in his law hath left no flaw;
It says to us grow! grow!
And out beyond mad faney's flight
We shall, we must believe,
Greet them we loved here, In God's light
Where some had cause to grieve.
O. W. Sears
A dance was given at Hengstler's opera house Friday night and thirty couples attended. Everyone present was
a resident or former resident of Vernon.
The Stott reunion was held this year in the court yard Sunday afternoon and 104 people sat down to a spread.
Mrs. Stott is 85 years of age and for many, many years was a tavern keeper in Vernon. She is in fairly good health.
Souvenirs of the home coming can be secured at the Sun office or they will be mailed to any address upon the
receipt of the price, 50 cents.
The athletic events were amusing to a good many but the water contest drew the largest crowd. It is a novel
thing to see two boys trying to drown out each other with a hose.
The managers of the home coming showed their good taste in keeping out the cheap junksters who are generally
found at such places. The visitors didn't want to see cheap shows. They wanted to talk old times and they found everybody else in
the same mood.
The register of the home coming shows 671 returning pilgrims. Clark Bolser of Kokomo was the first to register
and Mary E. Bribble of Addyston, Ohio was the last. The number indicated above however is not near all who came because many did not
This happened in the court room:
Judge New: "Mrs. New this is Jim Hartwell, one of the old land marks."
"Mrs. New, extending her hand.
"How do you do Mr. Hartwell."
Jim: "Jedge an' me use t have great times together. I knowed him since he's a little boy."
Mrs. John C. Wells and daughter, Miss Mary of Bloomington spent this week and part of last the guests of Mr. and
Mrs. Judge Rabb and Mrs. Perry Carney and family.
Miss Lucy Hinchman came Monday from Winefield, Kan., to spend a ten days visit with her grandmother, Mrs. Mollie
Wm. Johnson and Ralph Hill returned Wednesday to their work at Pittsburg, Pa.
Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Johnson and son, Roger, and Mrs. Perry Stewart and daughter Ruth returned to their homes in
Indianapolis, Sunday after a week's visit here.
Miss Lois Wagner of Franklin was the guest of friends here last week.
Bert Nauer and wife and Mrs. Eva Bohmer of Versailles, Wm. Smith and wife of Brazil, Mrs. Mary Reich and son Earl
and family of Indianapolis spent last week with Wm. Nauer and family.
John Morris, formerly cashier of the First National bank and at one time county recorder with his family came over
from Westport, Saturday and spent the day among friends.
Mrs. Sallie Nevel of Madison is the guest of E. J. Welker and family.
Grant Stott of St. Louis, Mo., and Mrs. Minnie VanTilburg of Elkhart Ind., attended the Stott reunion Sunday.
Among those from distant points who attended the home coming were: S. E. Hurst, Colorado Springs; Mrs. Fred Meire,
Tacoma, Wash; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Day of Etheltown, Kan.; Mrs. E. G. Bondurant, Marinette, Wis; James F. Love, Cuyahoga Falls, O.; Mrs.
Elizabeth Chandler, Chicago and Mr. and Mrs. Nick Eberts of Minnesota.
Albert Walt and wife spent Saturday and Sunday here.
David Johnson, wife and daughter, Mrs. Ada Abbett and children, of Seymour and Mr. and Mrs. John Rowan of Indianapolis
spent part of last with Garrett Branham and wife.
Mrs. Mary E. Gribble of Addyston, Ohio was the guest of her sister, Mrs. Chas Ziegler last week.
Richard Osborn, of Indianapolis and Orlando Wagner of Franklin came down Sunday to mingle among the old Vernonites.
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