Lane - Henry Smith - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

Go to content

Lane - Henry Smith

Hon. Henry Smith Lane

Photo from: Crawfordsville District Public Library database of images - seems like I'd not be able to do what I do without this wonderful database -- ad is from 3 April 1834 Crawfordsville Record newspaper

Source: Indiana Historical Collection Lane Papers, includes boxes of genealogy on Lane, Elston and others. (HOPE this is the source - if not, didn't plagiarize on purpose

Not too often can be repeated the life history of one who lived so honorable and useful a life and who attained to such notable distinction as did the late Henry Smith Lane, lawyer, soldier, statesman and easily one of the most distinguished men that the great state of Indiana has ever produced. His character was one of signal exaltation and purity of purpose. Well disciplined in mind, maintaining a vantage point from which life presented itself in correct proportions, judicial in his attitude toward both men and measures, guided and guarded by the most inviolable principles of integrity and honor, simple and unostentatious in his self-respecting, tolerant individuality, such a man could not prove other than a force for good in whatever relation to life he may have been placed. His character was the positive expression of a strong nature and his strength was as the number of his days. In studying his career interpretation follows fact in a straight line of derivation and there is not need for indirection or puzzle. The record of his life finds a place in the generic history of this state and that of the nation, and in this compilation it is necessary only to note briefly the salient points of his life history. And it is useless to add that both the state and nation were dignified by his noble life and splendid achievements, and that he stood as an honored member of a striking group of noted men whose influence in the civic and economic life of the nation was of most beneficent order. He served as governor, United States senator and was accorded other evidences of popular confidence and regard; and he ever ordered his course according to the highest principles and ideals so that he was found true to himself and to all men in every relation of life. To attain prestige and success in the practice of a laborious and exacting profession is even too great a task for most men, but Mr. Lane not only accomplished this early in his career, but was conspicuously identified with many interests which were calculated to subserve the general prosperity of Indiana, proved a valuable factor in the legislative and political counsels of his state and nation, and was in that constant sympathy and touch with the work of Christianity that stands as an earnest of effective and zealous labor; and, while not without that honorable ambition which is so powerful and useful an incentive in public affairs, he ever regarded the pursuits of private life as being in themselves abundantly worthy of his best efforts. So in every respect he eminently merited the high esteem in which he was universally held.

Hon. Henry S. Lane was the scion of a sterling old Southern family, and was born in Montgomery County, Kentucky, February 24, 1811. Unlike many of the young men of the middle West during the early years of the nineteenth century, he enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education and when eighteen years old began the study of law, in which he made rapid progress. Soon after reaching his majority he was admitted to the bar, and in 1835 came to Indiana and settled at Crawfordsville. In this place he soon obtained a good legal practice, particularly in criminal cases. Manifesting an abiding interest in public affairs, he became very popular, and in 1837 was elected to the Indiana Legislature from his County, and his record there was in every way satisfactory to his pioneer constituents, his influence having much to do with the early development of the state. He was elected to Congress in 1840, and something of his popularity in his district may be gained when we learn that he defeated his competitor by fifteen hundred votes, a very large majority in that day when the state was sparsely settled. He made such a splendid record in this high office that he was re-elected the following election to Congress, defeating John Bryce by an immense majority. He was a great admirer of Henry Clay, and when he made the race for President in 1844, Mr. Lane stumped the state for him, and no one felt the defeat of the great Kentuckian more keenly that the subject. At the outbreak of the Mexican war Mr. Lane engaged very earnestly in raising troops; coming to Indianapolis, he attended a meeting and was one of the most active in the proceedings, his influence doing much to fill the ranks of Scott and Taylor, who led the hosts against the ancient walls of the Montezumas. He was placed on the committee of resolutions at the above mentioned meeting, and he drew up the resolutions in regard to the war. It is said that no man in the state was stronger in his support of this war than Henry S. Lane. He raised a company of volunteers in Montgomery County and was made captain of that company, going to Indianapolis, where the regiment was formed and was elected major there. While in the field he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel for meritorious conduct and served as such until the regiment disbanded, proving a most gallant and able officer, winning the praise of his superiors and the admiration of his troops. After the expiration of his enlistment he came to Madison, Indiana, where, by his fiery eloquence and attack on certain members of the Whig party, he caused the war spirit to prevail and a company was formed from Madison and went to the front as part of the Fifth Indiana Regiment under Col. James H. Lane. In 1849 Mr. Lane again made the race for Congress, but was defeated by Hon. James E. McDonald. He was a Whig until the Republican party was organized. He was very active in this party and remained with the same until he became identified with the Republican party at its formation in the fifties. In this he soon became so popular that he was chosen president of the Republican national convention in 1856 at Philadelphia, filling this position with becoming dignity, and he was a most potent factor in the new party. In 1859 Col. Lane and Col. William M. McCarty received votes of a majority of the member of the Indiana Legislature for United States senators. They went to Washington and contested the seats held by Senators Bright and Fitch, but the Senate voted against them. In 1860 the subject was nominated by the Republican state convention for governor and was duly elected, defeating Thomas A. Hendricks. While on his campaign he allowed himself enough time and went to Chicago to attend the convention at which Lincoln was nominated. Colonel Lane delivered his message to the Legislature on January 14, 1861, and just four days later resigned the governorship to become United States senator, to which high office he had been recently elected. He gave much promise to be a worthy and popular governor, but his was the shortest term (four days) as governor on record in Indiana. In Congress he was chairman of the committee on pensions and also was on the committee of military affairs. He zealously sustained the government in its titanic struggle for the Union, voting it all needful supplies and upholding its hands in every way he could. When the flag was fired upon at Fort Sumter he lost his compromising spirit and absolute and unconditional obedience to the law and was the only condition he would offer to the South. After the expiration of his congressional term Colonel Lane retired to his attractive home in Crawfordsville, and never again held public office except as Indian commissioner, which office was tendered him by General Grant. In this, as in all his former positions as a public servant, he discharged his every duty with fidelity and conscientiousness, reflecting much credit upon his ability and to the eminent satisfaction of all concerned. As an orator Colonel Lane had few peers in his day; he was earnest, logical, convincing and often truly eloquent. He was an extemporaneous speaker, and never cared whether his addresses were printed or not. He always interested and instructed his audiences at the same time and swayed them as one man. Religiously, he was a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a God-fearing man, honest and straightforward in all his relations with his fellow men, consequently he ever enjoyed their respect and confidence. He was for many years one of the most popular men of the state, and his death on June 11, 1881, was mourned throughout Indiana and the nation as well, for his public career had been most potent for the general good, his private life exemplary in every respect, and he was loved by all classes. His career is well worthy of emulation by all young men who stand hesitating as the parting of the ways.

On February 11, 1845, occurred the marriage of Col. Henry S. Lane with Joanne M. ELSTON, a lady of talent and culture, and long popular with a wide circle of friends. She is the daughter of Col. Isaac C. Elston, a prominent citizen of Crawfordsville, long since deceased. Mrs. Lane, now advanced in years, still lives at the old homestead in Crawfordsville, at which place she has spent the happiest days of her life. Regarding this historic home and its occupants, we quote the following article, even at the risk of some repetition in a minor way, which appeared in the nothwestern Christian Advocate, of Chicago, in its issue of March 20, 1912, carrying a half-tone engraving of the Lane homestead. The article was written by Rev. Fred Whitlo Hixson: "Wooded, embowered, and hospitable, Lane Place lies in quiet dignity in the very heart of the 'Athens of Indiana'; not with slight propriety since the people of this historic homestead have been held in veneration and love of the city throughout all the years of a quarter of a century. This is the home of the late United States Senator Henry S. Lane. For natural beauty and historical associations it shares with the homestead of the late Gen. Lew Wallace, author of 'Ben-Hur', the interest of all visitors to the city. "Upon the marriage of Henry S. Lane and Joanna M. Elston, in 1845 this place was laid out, this house of pure colonial type was built and under the direction of the young bride these ample grounds were planted with almost every variety of noble trees of the Indiana forest. But for the broad avenue, arched by sweeping maples, sycamores, and elms leading from the street up to the front piazza, which betrays the work of artist and home founder, one might easily think this one of the groves primeval. Upon privileged spring days, beneath its friendly wildness children gather armfuls of wild flowers and weave garlands of ivy and myrtle. Its soft verdure of summer is tremulous with song and birds. "In 1846 Mr. Lane raised a company of volunteers and went to the Mexican war. The departure of the men was given a touch of sentiment by the presentation of a silk flag which was made by the ladies of the city. Upon Mr. Lane's return from the war he was met by his wife at New Orleans and came by steamboat up the Mississippi river. "Mr. Lane, as a Whig, was elected a member of Congress in 1840 and re-elected in 1842. Mr. Clay, his political idol, was then in the Senate. Mr. Lane was one of the leaders in the organization of the Republican party and was chairman of the first national convention of the party which was held in Philadelphia, June 17, 1856. In 1860 he was a candidate of the party for governor of Indiana and one of the delegates to the national convention in Chicago. This was a memorable convention that finally nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. It will be recalled that the convention was expected to nominate Mr. Seward. But secession was in the air and civil war seemed inevitable. In the North there was a lack of defined and determined policy, a through breaking up of the parties and a new political alignment. The Republicans knew they could not elect their candidate without the vote of Indiana and Pennsylvania, two uncertain states. It was felt that Mr. Seward's nomination would prevent success in these states and defeat the party in the national election. Mr. Lane, who was at this time the party's candidate for the governor of Indiana, went to Chicago determined to work for the nomination of Mr. Lincoln, believing him to be a bove checked/proofed remove the only man, although then comparatively unknown, who could carry the autumn election and the man best able to meet the impending crisis. At Chicago he urged Hon. Andrew G. Curtin, Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, to join forces with him in securing the nomination of Lincoln. Mr. Curtin, in spite of the fact that Hon. Simon Cameron of his own state was a candidate for the nomination, saw eye to eye with Mr. Lane in the matter. After a complimentary vote had been cast by Pennsylvania for Mr. Cameron on the first ballot, and knowing that he could not be nominated. Pennsylvania, under Curtin, united with Lane and Indiana in an effort that turned the tide toward Lincoln and secured the nomination upon the third ballot. So eminent an authority upon the political history of war times as Col. A. K. McClure ascribes to the powerful influences of Governor Lane and Governor Curtin the credit for Lincoln's triumph at Chicago. Of these two, Governor Lane was the first to advocate and urge openly the selection of Lincoln. "In the autumn election Mr. Lane was triumphantly elected governor of Indiana. Five days after his inauguration he was elected United States senator. He resigned as governor, went to Washington, and served with conspicuous ability through through six years of his term, declining re-election on account of ill health. Mr. Lane's great strength as a political leader lay in his high character, his moral courage, his accurate judgment, and his eloquence upon the platform. His speeches were wrought of compelling logic and dignified oratory. At the close of one of his great speeches in the Philadelphia national convention in 1856 there was wild excitement and a spontaneous rush of delegates about the speaker to offer congratulations. One voice shouted: 'Heavens! He's old Demosthenes. Have you got any more like him in Indiana?' "Upon his retirement from the Senate and the stirring war events at Washington he resumed his large law practice in Indiana. His home was for many years a political Mecca. Here came and went many of the nation's greatest men. In the practice of his profession he was associated often with Thomas A. Hendricks, afterwards governor and United States senator from Indiana; Schuyler Colfax, afterwards vice-president of the United States; Governor Joseph A. Wright, Judge Harlan, afterwards chief justice of the United States {sic}; Benjamin, afterwards President of the United States {sic}; Daniel W. Voorhees, the great criminal lawyer of Indiana, afterward United States senator, upon his graduation from old Asbury began his professional training in Mr. Lane's law office. "Mr. Lane was a devout Christian and a loyal Methodist. He was for years a trustee of Asbury (now DePauw) University. He and Col. Richard W. Thompson, secretary of the navy under Hays, were the first lay delegates of the northwest Indiana conference to the general conference in 1872. The great men of our church of an early day met hospitable and royal welcome at his home. Up these avenues of elms have come and gone the golden-mouthed Simpson, the saintly Janes, Wendell Phillips, Horace Greely, the gracious Bowman, Fowler the mighty, Joyce the tropical, and scores of others slightly less renowned. He died June, 1881, universally mourned by his church and state, a man rich in natural gifts, of varied and interesting public services, his character unassailed, his memory a proud heritage of our citizenship. "Mrs. Lane, at eighty-five years of age, with marvelous powers of body and mind, presides over Lane Place and brings down to this day the fine spirit and traditions of one of the noblest families of the West. Her mother, Mrs. Elston, was one of the five charter members of First Church, Crawfordsville. Her father was one of the founders of Asbury University. Appreciating the urgent necessity for such an institution, he was one of the liberal supporters of the enterprise. Mrs. Lane, as a child, was present at the laying of the corner stone of the first building and heard the oration delivered by Henry B. Bascom on that occasion probably the only person now living who was there present. She has continued a steadfast friend and generous benefactor of the institution all these years. In the recent campaign under President McConnell to add a half million dollars to the endowment, she was one of the first to encourage the effort with a large gift. She is active in every good work, goes out among people as much as the average person of sixty, is keenly interested in state and national politics, and is a constant attendant at the services of her church. She has taken intelligent interest always in public affairs; and having had a wide range of acquaintance with eminent men and women of the nation, her conversation and reminiscences are informing to a degree most rare. With all the fullness of her graces and womanly strength and charm, she is yet averse to the 'new woman'. She hold steadfastly to the belief that woman's highest glory is attained in the gentle art of home-making."

Henry Smith Lane (1811-1881) was born near Sharpsburg, Kentucky, and began practicing law in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, in 1832. The following year he married his cousin, Pamela Bledsoe Jameson and moved to Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana.
He began his legal career in Crawfordsville practicing in an office with Isaac Naylor.
In 1834 Lane was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives as a member of the Whig Party and was closely aligned with beliefs of Henry Clay. Three years later he was elected to Congress in a special election. In 1842 Pamela died and he lost his bid for reelection. Lane then returned to Crawfordsville where he met and later married Joanna Elston, the second daughter of prominent banker and businessman, Col. Isaac C. Elston (1798-1868). Another of Elston's daughters, Susan, married Lew Wallace.
When the Mexican War broke out, Lane organized a company of volunteers, which later became part of the 1st Indiana Regiment. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He returned to Crawfordsville after the war and joined his father-in-law in the banking business. Lane was also active in the formation of the Republican Party in Indiana, and he became chairman of the first national Republican convention, held in Philadelphia in 1856. In 1859, after the Republicans gained control of the state legislature, they declared the previous Senate election irregular and elected Lane and Monroe McCarty to replace the candidates already in Washington. The Democratic-controlled Congress refused to seat the Republican electives. Lane then agreed to run for governor with the understanding that should he win the office and the Congress reverse its rulings, he could resign as governor and serve in the Senate. Both events came to fruition, so Lane resigned after serving only two days as governor of Indiana and returned to Washington.
After serving one term in the Senate, Lane refused to run for reelection and returned to Crawfordsville in 1867. In June 1869 Lane was named to serve on the Commission of Indian Affairs by President Grant but resigned in July 1870. Two years later, he served on the Mississippi River Commission.
Wernle, Robert F. Henry Smith Lane, the Old War-Horse. Crawfordsville, IN: Montgomery Co. Historical Society, 1983. (Pamphlet Q Collection F526.L27 W47 1983)
Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1980-1984, vol. 2, p. 288. (JK5630.B56)
Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996. Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, Inc., c1997, p. 1363. (JK1010.A5 1997)
Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner's, c1964, vol. 5, pp. 574-575. (E176.D563)
Henry Smith Lane
LANE, Henry Smith, 1811-1881
Senate Years of Service: 1861-1867
Party: Republican
Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
LANE, Henry Smith, a Representative and a Senator from Indiana; born near Sharpsburg, Bath County, Ky., February 24, 1811; received a classical education from private tutors; studied law; admitted to the bar in Mount Sterling, Ky., in 1832 and commenced practice at Crawfordsville, Ind., in 1834; member, State senate 1837; member, State house of representatives 1838-1839; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Tilghman A. Howard; reelected to the Twenty-seventh Congress and served from August 3, 1840, to March 3, 1843; served in the Mexican War at the head of a company he had raised; rose to lieutenant colonel of the First Indiana Regiment; abandoned the profession of law and engaged in the banking business at Crawfordsville, Ind., in 1854; elected Governor of Indiana in 1860; was inaugurated January 14, 1861, and served just two days, when, by previous arrangement, he was elected to the Senate; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1861, to March 3, 1867; chairman, Committee on Engrossed Bills (Thirty-seventh through Thirty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Pensions (Thirty-ninth Congress); served as special Indian commissioner 1869-1871; commissioner for improvement of the Mississippi River in 1872; died in Crawfordsville, Ind., June 18, 1881; interment in Oak Hill Cemetery.
American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Barringer, Graham. 'The Life and Letters of Henry S. Lane.ยด Ph.D. dissertation, University of Indiana, 1927; Sharp, Walter. "Henry S. Lane and the Formation of the Republican Party in Indiana.' Mississippi Valley Historical Review 7 (September 1920): 93-112.
Henry Smith Lane (1811-1881) -- also known as Henry S. Lane -- of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Ind. Brother of Higgins Lane; uncle of Edwin T. Lane. Born near Sharbsburg, Bath County, Ky., February 24, 1811. Republican. Member of Indiana state house of representatives, 1837-38; U.S. Representative from Indiana 7th District, 1840-43; candidate for Presidential Elector for Indiana, 1844; colonel in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War; Governor of Indiana, 1861; U.S. Senator from Indiana, 1861-67; delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1868. Methodist. Died in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Ind., June 18, 1881. Interment at Oak Hill Cemetery. See also: congressional biography.
Source: The Lane, H.S. mss., 1828-1909, consist of letters and papers of Henry Smith Lane, 1811-1881, governor of Indiana, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. sentator.

Career: born, February 24, 1811, in Kentucky; admitted to the bar at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, 1832; moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1834, and entered upon practice of law there; member, Indiana state legislature, 1837-1838; member of Congress, August 3, 1840 to March 3, 1843; rose to rank of lieutenant colonel of volunteers in Mexican War; elected to U.S. Senate by coalition of Republican and American parties, 1858, but not seated; elected governor of Indiana, 1860, but resigned in favor of Oliver Perry Morton, lieutenant governor, a few days after his inauguration, to become a U.S. senator, serving from March 4, 1861 to March 3, 1867; died June 18, 1881.
Biographical material on Lane may be found in J.A. Woodburn's "Henry Smith Lane," Indiana Magazine of History, XXVII: 279-287, December 1931; Graham Andrew Barringer's "The Life and Times of Henry S. Lane," (PhD dissertation, Department of History, Indiana University, 1927), pp. 5-20.
The Lane, H.S., mss. relate in the main to national and Indiana state politics and elections. Almost half of the collection falls within the years 1861-1867 when Lane was a member of the U.S. Senate. Included are letters from prominent political figures, letters from constituents in regard to issues before the Senate, letters from office- seekers, their relatives and friends requesting Lane's aid in obtaining civil and military appointments and letters and papers relating to the Civil War.
The collection also contains Lane's Mexican War Journal, July 11, 1846-June 5, 1847, which has been published in the Indiana Magazine of History, IV: 383-434, December 1957; letters and papers, 1846-1848, of his service in that war; copies of some of his speeches; invitations to speak at political meetings and other gatherings; family letters; and some 1860 letters relating to irrigation in Indiana.
Each manuscript is accompanied by a typescript. In addition the collection contains many typescripts of Lane letters and papers of which the originals are not in this library. Some originals are located in the Indiana Historical Society Library in Indianapolis.
Writers of letters and papers represented in this collection include: John Quincy Adams, Edward Raymond Ames, Conrad Baker, John Beard, Daniel Roberts Bearss, William L. Brown, Martin Lex Bundy, Simon Cameron, Henry Beebee Carrington, Charles Case, Charles William Cathcart, George H. Chapman, Salmon Portland Chase, John Coburn, Schuyler Colfax, Jacob Dolson Cox, John R. Cravens, Will Cumback, Garrett Davis, John Steele Davis, John Defrees, John Brown Dillon, James P. Drake, Cyrus Livingston Dunham, George Hedford Dunn, William McKee Dunn, William K. Edwards, James Aslin Elston, Samuel T. Ensey, Charles Fishback, Graham Newell Fitch, Calvin Fletcher, Miles J. Fletcher, Henry Hanford Fowler, Michael Christian Garber, James Abram Garfield, Jonathan Wesley Gordon, Willis Arnold Gorman, Horace Greeley, Walter Quintin Gresham, Pleasant Adams Hackleman, Allen Hamilton, Edward Allen Hannegan, David Pierson Holloway, William Robeson Holloway, Alvin Peterson Hovey, George Washington Julian, Jacob Burnet Julian, David Kilgore, Higgins Lane, James Henry Lane, Abraham Lincoln, Nicholas McCarty, Hugh McCulloch, David McDonald, Edward Wilson McGaughey, John McLean, James Henderson McNeely, Daniel Mace, Samuel Franklin Maxwell, John Franklin Miller, Caleb Mills, Robert H. Milroy, William Mitchell, Mrs. Lucinda M. (Burbank) Morton, Oliver Perry Morton, Isaac Naylor, Thomas Henry Nelson, John George Nicolay, Hugh O'Neall, Godlove Stein Orth, Robert Dale Owen, Samuel Wilson Parker, John Pettit, John Pitcher, Benjamin Perley Poore, Albert Gallatin Porter, Daniel Darwin Pratt, George Denison Prentice, Whitelaw Reid, John Clark Ridpath, George Robertson, John S. Scobey, William Henry Seward, Matthew Simpson, Thomas C. Slaughter, Caleb Blood Smith, Oliver Hampton Smith, James W. Somers, John J. Speed, Edwin McMasters Stanton, George Washington Stipp, James F. Suit, Jeremiah Sullivan, Zachary Taylor, Richard Wigginton Thompson, James Noble Tyner, John Palmer Usher, John Vawter, Daniel Wolsey Voorhees, Archibald C. Voris, Lewis Wallace, Gideon Welles, Western literary society of Wabash College, Albert Smith White, Morton Smith Wilkinson, Jesse L. Williams, Samuel Campbell Wilson, James Wilson, John Wilson, and Joseph Albert Wright.
See also Herman J. Viola, "Zachary Taylor and the Indiana Volunteers," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 72: No. 3 (January 1969), pp. 335-346.
Collection size: 791 items
For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Manuscripts Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 -- Telephone: (812) 855-2452.
(The Political Graveyard)
Portrait & Biographical Record of Montgomery, Parke & Fountain Counties. IN.
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1893, p. 142.
Hon. Henry S. Lane. Among the names enlisted on the roll of fame in the
State of Indiana stands that of the subject of this sketch. In him was
recognized the accomplished lawyer, the patriot stateman, the genial
companion and the Christian gentleman. He has passed off the stage of life,
but the memory of this man's noble, kindly life remains as an example to the
future youth of the State and as a precious possession to those whose
existence was bound to his by ties of kindred.
The subject of this sketch was born in Montgomery County, Ky., February 11,
1811. The groundwork of his education was well laid, and at the early age of
eighteen years the natural bent of his mind so clearly pointed out the path
in which he could find success, that he at once took up the study of law,
which, after reaching the age of twenty-one years, he began to practice, and
then opened a long career of brilliancy that was only ended by the death of
this distinguished man. In 1835 he came to this State and settled among the
good people of Crawfordsville.
Our subject had not long to wait for laurels, as his winning oratory, full
of anecdotes and mirth, alternated with pathos, made his name early known as
an orator at the Bar, and a fine practice came to him without the usual
struggles of young and unknown talent. In 1837 he received the election to
the State Legislature as the candidate of the Whig party. In 1840 Mr. Lane
beat Edward A. Hannaghan, the Democratic candidate for Congress. These men
were much alike, both fluent and eloquent on the stump. The result of the
canvass was the election of Lane by a majority of fifteen hundred votes, and
the next year he defeated John Bryce by a big majority.
In 1844 Mr. Lane stumped the State of Indiana and mourned over the defeat of
the great Kentuckian, Henry Clay. During the Mexican War, he assisted in
evoking the proper patriotic spirit through the State, and in May, 1846, he
was a member of a war meeting held in Indianapolis. One who was present has
put upon record the following comment upon our subject: "Henry S. Lane,
being called for by the meeting, addressed it in the peculiar strain of
inspiring eloquence for which he is so distinguished, and which is possessed
by few men of the country." Mr. Lane raised a company of volunteers, and
when the first regiment was organized he was chosen its Major and was
promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His regiment did duty in
guarding supply trains and protecting posts. The colors of the regiment were
presented by Mrs. Lane from the porch in front of the handsome residence in
Crawfordsville, when she was a beautiful bride of nineteen, only one year
married. Those same colors are among the treasures of Wabash College Museum.
On the night of the return of our subject from the army, he made a ringing
speech in Madison, and his fiery eloquence rekindled the war spirit, and
brought about the formation of a new company, which became a part of the
Fifth Indiana Regiment, under Col. James H. Lane. In 1849 our subject became
a candidate for Congress against Hon. Joseph E. McDonald, who was elected.
When the Republican party was formed Col. Lane was its natural head in
Indiana. His popularity was such that when the National Convention was held
in 1856 he was chosen its President, and when Fremont and Dayton were
nominated he took the stump for them through Indiana.
In 1856 Col. Lane and Col. McCarty received a majority of the votes cast by
the Legislature, and went to Washington to contest the seats held by
Senators Bright and Fitch, but the Senate decided against them. In 1860 Col.
Lane was nominated by the Republicans for Governor, with Oliver P. Morton
for Lieutenant-Governor. The Democratic competitor was Thomas A. Hendricks.
In his message to the Legislature Gov. Lane used very strong language
against the idea of the States seceding, congratulating the people of
Indiana upon its true position of adherence to the Union, and declared that
they would uphold at every hazard the glorious form of free Government in
which we live. After a few days he was unanimously elected to the United
States Senate, and at once resigned his gubernatorial chair, leaving Mr.
Morton as Governor. This was the shortest record of office in the State of
In the Senate Mr. Lane attained distinction, and he was recognized as one of
the able men of that body. A year before his term expired he wrote a letter
to his constituents declining to be considered as a candidate, on account of
poor health. His first marriage was with Miss Amelia Jameson, at his old
home in Kentucky, but she died about 1842. In Washington, February 11, 1845,
he was married to Miss Joanna Elston, who was very close to him in his
public and private life. For years he was a member of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and although he loved his own denomination he was in no
way narrow-minded. His pure affection and refined sympathy remained with him
until the last. Innocent and prattling childhood always claimed his
attention, and he once said, "I wish it to be remembered of me that I always
loved a little child."
For many years our subject had been a sufferer from heart disease, and for a
long time he had realized that the end must be near. He calmly and
peacefully passed away on Saturday, June 18, 1881, and was mourned
throughout the State of Indiana. Gov. Porter ordered the State offices to be
draped in mourning, and the State officials attended his funeral. Most
beautiful sentiments were uttered at that time by Ex-Gov. Hendricks, Senator
McDonald, Gen. Cobum, Judge Gresham and other distinguished men, and
numerous letters of condolence came to his bereaved wife. The distinguished
pall-bearers were Samuel Binford, Gov. Porter, James Heaton, R.B.F. Pierce,
Peter S. Kennedy, Senator Voorhees, Senator Harrison, B. T. Ristine, Prof.
Campbell and Gov. Hendricks.
The monument which marks the illustrious dead is an obelisk of Scotch
granite from the quarries of Aberdeen, and it rests upon a double base of
American granite, which is eight feet, two inches square. The shaft is
thirteen feet high, is surrounded by a finial, the terminal of which is a
polished ball, and the weight is forty-five tons. It is a piece of
magnificent workmanship and is worthy of the distinguished man whose
resting-place it marks.
Back to content