Hancock county has been described as "within the genius belt of Indiana." It has also been said that here, "oratory flourishes, and poetry is indigenous to the soil." However these things may be, to mention the names, Lee O. Harris, James Whitcomb Riley, the Vawters, Leroy Scott and the Rev. Charles L. O'Donnell, is sufficient to indicate that the county has received recognition in the fields of literature and art. Not all of our writers and artists have spent their lives in the county. Yet they have enjoyed the comforts of home life in our midst, and have memories of friends and experiences that have made life sweeter and better. They have sung their songs, too, and have told their stories and painted their pictures, and we have listened and enjoyed with a sense of pride, because they have been of our number.
Captain Harris was born, January 30, 1839, in the state of Pennsylvania. At the age of thirteen he came to Indiana, and a few years later located in Hancock county. An event of his youthful days was a trip with a party of United States engineers over the plains and mountains to Puget Sound. These men were surveying a route to the Pacific coast. To young Harris, then eighteen years of age, life on the great p plains, sleeping under the starry canopy of heaven, and traversing gorges and mountain heights, must have offered a great richness of experience. After his return from this trip, his entire life, with the exception of a very few years, was spent in Hancock county. One year, 1858, he taught in what is now Douglas county, Illinois. During the Civil War he spent several years at the front, and for five years, beginning with 1874, he was principal of the school at Lewisville, Indiana. On March 14, 1861, he was married to Miss America Foster, of Hancock county, daughter of John Foster, the first sheriff of the county.
Before he was fifteen years of age he began writing verses, some of which were published in the local papers. Later his poems appeared over the nom de plume of Larry O'Hannegan. His early poems, as well as his later ones, express a deep love and appreciation of nature. Though we commonly think of him as a lover of nature, his poem "Would Ye Server the Union?" written on the eve of the Civil War, sounds a patriotic appeal as clear and true in its tones as does his song of "The Bonnie Brown Quail":
"No, Heaven forbid! Let the patriots rise
And gird on the armor of war,
For the dark clouds of treason now darken the skies
And the tempest is muttering afar.
If the Union must rest on the sword of the brave
So be it! And God help the right;
We will rescue our shrine from oblivion's grave,
Or die in the front of the fight."
He was more than a song writer. When his soul was stirred, his emotions found expression in verse, but his intrepid will also expressed itself in action. It was because of this quality that he was found at the front with the three-months men of Lincoln's first call for volunteers, and that later he was found there with the veterans. Throughout his life these elements were combined in him, and we have on the one hand, his literature; on the other, a record of achievements.
Professionally, he was a teacher, and for almost forty years he taught the children and youth of the county. Child life was an open book to him. Of this truth many will bear witness, but nowhere is it better illustrated than in his relationship with his pupil, Riley. Nor can any one express it quite so well as Mr. Riley himself:
"Lee O. Harris came to understand me with a thorough sympathy, took compassion on my weaknesses and encouraged me to read the best literature. He understood that I couldn't get numbers into my head. You couldn't tamp them in. History, I also disliked as a dry thing without juice, and dates melted out of my memory as speedily as tinfoil on a red hot stove. But I always was ready to declaim and took natively to anything dramatic or theatrical. Captain Harris encouraged me in recitation and reading and had ever the sweet spirit of a companion rather than the manner of an instructor."
To Mr. Riley he was indeed more than just an instructor. After his school days were over the younger poet frequently came to his former teacher with his literary efforts, and together they discussed and criticised, and theorized concerning the bent, tendencies and subjects of the former pupil. The sympathetic and cordial relationship existing between the two men is beautifully expressed in Riley's tribute:
Schoolmaster and Songmaster! Memory
Enshrines thee with an equal love for thy
Duality of gifts-thy pure and high
Endowments- Learning rare, and Poesy
These were as mutual handmaids serving thee,
Throughout all seasons of the years gone by,
With all enduring joys twixt earth and sky-
In turn shared nobly with thy friends and me.
This is it that thy clear song, ringing on,
Is endless inspiration, fresh and free
As the old Mays at verge of June sunshine;
And musical as then, at dewy dawn,
The robin hails us, and all twinklingly
Our one path wandered under wood and vine.
As a poet, his love and emotions were genuine and true. His vision was clear. Nature spoke to him and he understood her language. The joys, the sorrows, the affections of life- he experienced them, and their messages are written in his verses. In a volume of "Interludes," published in 1893, we have them under the following heads: "Songs of Nature," "Home and Affections," "Retrospective," "Sorrow and Bereavement," "Flight of Fancy," "Echoes of War Time," and "Miscellaneous." Who, in the county, has not felt the touching pathos of "The Rose Tree?" Who does not know that he has sung the song of the "Bonnie Brown Quail" without sounding a false note?
The literary efforts of Mr. Harris, however, were not confined to poetry alone. In January, 1861, he launched The Constitution and Union, a newspaper devoted to the cause of preserving the national Union. Its publication was suspended, however, after about two months. In January, 1880, with Aaron Pope, county superintendent of schools, he began the publication of The Home and School Visitor, and contributed to its columns until the time of his death. He also took editorial charge of The Greenfield Republican for several months in 1881. He is author of one prose volume, "The Man Who Tramps," published in 1878.
In connection with his school work, and also with his literary efforts, he was fond of recitals, theatricals and entertainments. As his good wife now looks back over their younger days, it seems to her that she was kept busy a goodly portion of the time preparing costumes and other paraphernalias. Our older people remember particularly, "The Child of Waterloo," which was one of the plays written by Mr. Harris himself, and which was presented at the old Masonic Hall. Mr. Riley was one of the actors in the play, and took the part that Captain Harris had designed specially for his personality.
Mr. Harris departed this life, December 23, 1909. He left to the county a legacy both as teacher and writer that will always be one of its priceless possessions. Nor have our people been unappreciative. Harris Hall, in the Carnegie library at Greenfield, has been named in his honor. On Saturday afternoon, January 30, 1915, the County Federation, embracing all the literary clubs of Hancock county, gave a memorial program in his honor at the Presbyterian church at Greenfield. The County Federation also presented to the Greenfield library a large portrait of Mr. Harris. All of these things, however, are but the outward manifestations of the affection and deference for him that dwells within the hearts of the people.
James Whitcomb Riley, the most illustrious of Indiana poets, was born at Greenfield on October 7, 1849. "His mother," as his biographer states, "was a woman of rare strength of character, combined with deep sympathy and a clear understanding." His father, Reuben A. Riley, was one of our prominent attorneys a half century ago. He also took an interest in public affairs and, during a long and useful life, wrote his name in large letters on the pages of the county's history.
In the village of Greenfield- for it was not incorporated as a town until 1850- Mr. Riley spent his boyhood days pretty much as the other boys spent theirs. At school he enjoyed reading and literature. He disliked history and found arithmetic an impossibility. His teacher, Lee O. Harris, directed him in his reading, for which the pupil has always been grateful.
At about sixteen years of age he quit school and undertook to follow pursuits more nearly in line with his own inclinations. He showed some skill with a brush, which his father directed along more practical lines probably than the son had intended. Before his experience ended he became quite proficient as a house, sign, and ornamental painter. At least one of his signs, painted for A. J. Banks, is still in existence at Greenfield. Another was long treasured by his friend, E. H. Faut, at New Palestine. For about a year he traveled with a medicine man. Riley's duties consisted in drawing illustrations on a black board, of the wholesome effects of the medicines, and to hold the crowds with his humorous sayings.
His musical propensities found expression on the banjo, guitar and violin. He probably never rendered the classics on these instruments, but his enjoyment of music with other proclivities that are so vividly reflected in his poetry, always produced merriment for those about him. Like many other boys or young men, he aspired to a place in the brass band, and was given the drum by the Adelphians. He is said to have been a skillful snare drummer, but that his personality counted for as much in the band as the drum.
As he reached manhood his father had a desire to see him take up his own profession, the law. The son did read law for a while and assures us that he made a good faith effort to learn to love Blackstone and the others. But it was impossible. There was something incompatible between legal propositions and the poetic rhythm with which his soul was vibrating. Before he reached manhood he began writing verses, some of which are preserved in the "biographical edition" of his complete works.
He next began editing a local newspaper at Greenfield, but in his own language, he "strangled the little thing into a change of ownership" in a few months. After contributing poems to the local papers for a time, some of his verses were accepted by the Indianapolis Mirror, the Danbury News, and Hearth and Home. The Danbury News (Conn.) was at that time one of the leading humorous papers in the country, and the acceptance of verses by this sheet must have been very encouraging to the young poet.
Shortly after this he took a position as reporter for the Anderson Democrat. He also contributed poems, and continued his efforts to merit the recognition of the leading journals and magazines of the country. In these efforts he met many discouragements. Sometimes editors advised him to try prose; then poetry. He felt that his lines merited greater recognition than they were receiving. In fact, he came to the conclusion that critics were influenced by the reputation of a writer- probably more than by the merit of his productions. To prove the latter, he concocted a plan with a friend, the editor of the Kokomo Dispatch, to publish a poem entitled "Leonaine" upon the representation that it was a newly discovered manuscript of Edgar Allen Poe. It was written in Poe's style and published in the Kokomo Dispatch on August 12, 1877. Mr. Riley tells the story of the hoax:
"I studied Poe's method. He seemed to have a theory, rather misty to be sure, about the use of m's and n's and mellifluous vowels and sonorous words. I remember that I was a long time in evolving the name of ‘Leonaine,' but at length the verses were finished and ready for trial.
"A friend, the editor of the Kokomo Dispatch, undertook the launching of the hoax in his paper; he did this with great editorial gusto, while, at the same time, I attacked the authenticity of the poem in the Democrat. That diverted all possible suspicion from me. The hoax succeeded far too well, for what had started as a boyish prank, became a literary discussion nation-wide, and the necessary expose had to be made. I was appalled by the result. The press assailed me furiously, and even my own paper dismissed me because I had given the ‘discovery' to a rival."
Not long after this episode, Mr. Riley was offered a place on the Indianapolis Journal by Judge E. B. Martindale. Then came the poems by "Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone," published in the Journal. Benjamin F. Johnson was supposed to be an old farmer of Boone county, but his identity was soon disclosed and Riley's star was in the ascendant. In 1883, the first edition of the "Old Swimmin' Hole and ‘Leven Other Poems" was published. From this time a new volume followed every year or two until 1913, when his complete works were published in A Biographical Edition of six volumes.
Though success and recognition came slowly, they were of the highest order when they did come. In 1902, Yale conferred upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. Wabash College at Crawfordsville conferred the same degree in 1903. In 1904, the University of Pennsylvania honored him with the degree of Doctor of Letters, and in 1907, Indiana University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. In addition to these honorary degrees, the Academy of Arts and Letters elected him a member, and in 1912 awarded him a gold medal for poetry. On October 7, 1911, Riley Day was observed the by schools of Indiana and New York City. But on September 8, 1915, came the greatest honor of all, when the governor of Indiana issued a proclamation designating and proclaiming October 7, 1915, the anniversary of the birth of Mr. Riley as Riley Day, and urged all the people of the state "to arrange in their respective communities, appropriate exercises in their schools and at other public meeting places; that they display the American flag at their homes and places of business on that day in honor of James Whitcomb Riley, Indiana's most beloved citizen."
For a number of years Riley was also one of the most noted readers on the American platform. Even as a boy in school he was always "ready to declaim, and took natively to anything dramatic or theatrical." At Greenfield he was always in demand in local entertainments, and in the early seventies he frequently appeared in different parts of the county as a reader. Items may be found in the local papers of "last days" at school that were enlivened by his presence, and of his appearance at other entertainments. He read his own poems. His reputation grew, his sphere widened, and announcements were made of his appearance in the county seats and at other points of the state. In 1887 he made his first appearance before a New York audience, and then for a number of years read from the best platforms from Maine to California.
For almost forty years he has been living at Indianapolis. He always remembers his boyhood friends at Greenfield, however, and always is warmly received when he visits his native city. Greenfield has always been proud of him as her most illustrious son-probably more so than he himself for many years understood. The teachers and pupils of the Greenfield schools invited him to visit Greenfield on October 7, 1911, the anniversary of his birthday. Children and citizens were out en masse to greet him. The court yard and street north of the court house were crowded, and from every window and balcony along the street people witnessed the reception. A number of his former friends spoke words of appreciation to Mr. Riley, and to the vast throng that had gathered. Mr. Riley himself spoke a few words and later sent the following letter to the pupils at Greenfield:
Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 9, 1911
To the Pupils of the Greenfield Schools, Greenfield, Ind.
Dear Friends of Mr. Riley:
Being unable to write to you himself, my uncle has asked me to express his gratitude for the appreciative birthday greeting you sent to him on behalf of the teachers and pupils of the Greenfield schools. Your greeting were especially welcome, more dear than any of the many others, because they recall the happy days of his youth in Greenfield, many memories of the old home, and the loyalty of the people of Greenfield.
He asks me to return to his friends, one and all, his gratitude, appreciation and love.
Very truly yours,
The Riley home, on West Main Street, still stands and is a place of interest both to the citizens and to visitors of Greenfield.
Will H. Glascock was born in Hancock county, February 10, 1857. He began teaching in the fall of 1877, at Woodbine school house in Center township. His first college training was received at the Central Normal College at Danville, Indiana. On August 29, 1880, he was married to Miss Alice Creviston, of Greenfield, Indiana. In 1885, he was elected county superintendent of schools of Hancock county, and served four years. He then served two years as superintendent of the Greenfield city schools, when he was appointed deputy state superintendent of public instruction. After four years of service in the state superintendent's office, he was appointed superintendent of the Blind Institute at Indianapolis, 1895. In 1898, he resigned this position in order to do more university work, and during the next two years he attended Indiana and Chicago universities. In 1900 he was elected superintendent of the schools at Bloomington, Indiana.
In addition to these duties he devoted some time to literary work. Besides articles published in the educational journals of the state, he is the author of two books, "The Stories of Columbia," published in 1894, and "Young Folk's Indiana," published in 1898. These books were selected for the Young People's Reading Circle library. They may be found now in all the schools of the state that have kept up their Reading Circle libraries.
His untimely death occurred on December 26, 1901.
Rev. Charles L. O'Donnell was born on November 15, 1884, about two miles northwest of Greenfield, near what is yet commonly known as Slabtown. His father, Neil O'Donnell, was a farmer, and removed to Kokomo when the son was two years old. There young O'Donnell began his education. Later he entered the University of Notre Dame, from which he received his Bachelor's degree in 1906. From 1906 until 1910 he was a student in Holy Cross College, at Washington, D. C. In 1910 he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Catholic University of America, and on June 25, 1910, he was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Since 1910 he has held the position of Professor of English literature in the University of Notre Dame. He is the assistant editor of Ave Maria, and is the author of "A Study of the Prose Writings of Francis Thompson, with Special Reference to his Creative Criticism." In addition to his prose work he has contributed verses to some of the leading magazines.
He was invited by the commission of the Indiana Legislature to write an ode for Indiana Day at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. He responded to this invitation, and, as reported by the San Francisco Examiner, "he contributed no small part of the program for ‘Indiana Day' at the Exposition." This was Father O'Donnell's third appearance as a "poet of occasion." The first was when he read an ode at the Sacredotal Golden Jubilee of Archbishop Spalding, and the second, when he welcomed the sword of Gen. Thomas Francis Wright to the University of Notre Dame in the ode, "A Hosting of the Gael." It is expected that a volume of the writer's poems will soon be published.
Adelia Pope Branham was born on October 13, 1861, and has lived all her life at Greenfield. She was educated in the local schools. As a young woman she began writing verses and prose articles that were accepted by the local papers. Later she had the satisfaction of seeing her work accepted by the magazines, including The Century.
Her first book of poems was published in 1899, entitled "Grandma Tales and Others." This book was illustrated by Will Vawter, a Greenfield artist. Many of her poems have been set to music by well-known composers, and have been published. Among the poems receiving very favorable notice are "Resurgo," "The Day We Threshed," and "Out in God's Fields."
Mrs. Branham did not devote any time to the short story until after the publication of her first volume of poems in 1899. Upon the request of publishers, she entered the field of short-story writers. At present, she is writing almost exclusively for the religious press; her stories in the way of religious fiction are used widely in Sunday schools and in Christian Endeavor societies, but she also holds her place among magazine writers. Short stories that have received special recognition are, "More Stately Mansions," "The House on the Sand," "The Other Prodigal," and "In the Far County."
She has published one prose volume entitled "April Showers."
Mrs. Estabrook is the daughter of Dr. Samuel M. Martin and Florence Howard Martin, of Greenfield. She was educated in the local schools and at Oxford Female College, Ohio. On June 30, 1897, she was married to William Chester Estabrook, of Indianapolis, but for the past ten years or more she has lived in the state of Colorado.
She first began writing at the suggestion of her father, for the Western Horseman. Later she wrote the "Rule of Three," a novel with its scenes laid in the mountains of Colorado. During the past several yeas she has been writing novelettes and short stories for magazines. Some of her stories have been accepted by the best magazines of the county, including Harper's and The Century. Her home at present is at Denver, Colorado.
Leroy Scott was born at Fairmount, Indiana, on May 11, 1875. His father was a Friends minister and moved to Philadelphia, in Hancock county, when Leroy was about ten years old. The son entered the public school at Philadelphia and graduated with the class from Sugar Creek township in 1888. His father then moved to Greenfield and he entered the high school, graduating in the class of 1892. His college training was received at Indiana University, where he took his degree in 1897.
Even as a boy in the public schools he was fond of story writing, and used to amuse and entertain his mates by passing around stories he had written on his slate or note book. This talent was cultivated throughout his university course, and on graduating in 1897, he at once took up newspaper work. After three years' experience as a reporter he was selected as assistant editor of the Woman's Home Companion. In 1902-3 he was the assistant headworker at the University Settlement, New York. Since 1904, he has devoted his entire time to writing. On June 27, 1904, he was married to Miriam Finn, A Russian Jewess, who is also a writer of note.
Leroy Scott is a Socialist, and his novels are written with the purpose of impressing upon the world the need of reform. He has spent some time in Russia, and many of his stories deal with Russian life. He is the author of "The Walking Delegate," 1905; "To Him That Hath," 1907; "The Shears of Destiny," 1910; "The Counsel for the Defense, " 1912. In addition to these books, he is the author of a number of serials and short stories that have been published in the very best magazines in America.
His present home is at Caritas Island, Stamford, Connecticut.
Richard Brown Black, son of Richard A. and Ione (Brown) Black, was born at Greenfield in 1888. He received his elementary education in the grades of the Greenfield schools. Two years were spent in the preparatory department at Butler, after which he went abroad.
He began his art study in Avignon, France, in 1903. After two years in this branch school of the National Beaux Arts, he spent a year in Spain and a year in Rome, Italy, studying in the local schools and doing outdoor sketching. Returning to France, he entered the Paris school of the Beaux Arts, where he was a pupil of Ferdinand Cormon until 1912. In 1907, he first exhibited in Paris Salon. Thereafter he was always represented either in the Exhibit of Les Artistes Francaise or Ces Beaux Arts.
During several vacations spent in northern Africa, Mr. Black felt greatly drawn by the color and life of the Arabs. More and more he came to identify himself with the painters grouping themselves as Orientalists. He exhibited with them in their Paris Salon. In 1914, the French government bought one of his paintings from the Orientalists exhibits, and other canvasses were sold to well-known French art buyers.
In honor of his 1914 success he was elected a life member of the Jury of the Orientalists, a remarkable recognition of work for one so young.
In 1913 the Paris Jury for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts selected and brought to this county a painting of Mr. Black's as representative of the group of American artists living abroad.
Mr. Black also exhibited etchings and paintings in Indianapolis at the Herron Art Institute. One of his paintings has been place in the public library at Greenfield. His death occurred in April, 1915.
John W. Vawter, or "Will Vawter," as he is familiarly known around Greenfield, was born in Boone county, Virginia, April 13, 1871. His parents moved to Greenfield while he was yet a child, and he was educated in the public schools of this city.
Mr. Vawter is an artist. His first work was done on the Indianapolis Sentinel in 1892. In 1897 he wrote a series of comic verses and illustrated them for the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette. Since that time he has made illustrations for the Indianapolis News, Success, and the Presbyterian.
In 1899 he collaborated with his sister, Clara Vawter, in producing a children's book, "Of Such is the Kingdom," now known as "The Rabbit's Ransom." He has also illustrated Riley's "Child Rhymes," Bob Burdett's "Smiles," E. O. Laughlin's "Johnnie," Nesbit's "Trail to Boyland," Riley's "A Defective Santa Claus," Riley's "Book of Joyous Children," and Bartlett's "Tales of Kankakee Land." One needs but to see any of these books to appreciated the fine art of Mr. Vawter. In fact, one must see them in order to appreciate it.
On November 9, 1902, Mr. Vawter was married to Mary Howey Murray, of Chicago, and for the past six or seven years has been living amid the hills and scenes of Brown county in this state.
Unfortunately, Miss Clara Vawter, the sister, was taken away before she had reached the age at which people can give their best to the world. Yet in this short life she wrote for the children of the land a most delightful story, "The Rabbitt's Ransom." It was selected by the state board as one of the Young People's Reading Circle books, and in all the schools of the state the children have been made glad by the story.
There are others who do not devote their time to literary work, yet whose occasional writings have attracted attention and have been accepted by high-grade periodicals and magazines:
Minnie Belle Mitchell, wife of John F. Mitchell, editor of the Hancock Democrat, has for years been identified with the literary activities of the county and state. In 1911, while serving as a director of the Indiana Federation of Literary Clubs, she introduced a resolution before the convention at Richmond, Indiana, that the public schools and literary clubs of the state annually observe the anniversary of our beloved Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley. The resolution was adopted and cheerfully acted upon, not only in Indiana, but in other states as well. So enthusiastically have the people responded that the movement has become national.
Mrs. Mitchell is a modest writer of children's stories and has contributed to a number of Eastern magazines.
John F. Mitchell, Jr., a graduate of Butler and Yale, has written several college plays that have been successfully presented. Among the most popular of them has been "The Gentleman from Indiana," a burlesque on Booth Tarkington's book with the same title. He also wrote a sketch of "Riley at Greenfield," which was accepted by the Ladies' Home Journal a few years ago. A volume entitled "The Rooster," a history of the Democratic emblem, was published in 1913. At present John is assistant editor of the Hancock Democrat, and the associated editor of the Journal of American History of New York.
Mrs. Mitchell and her son have also collaborated in their literary work. They have written several plays, among which is a morality play, "The Way There." It embodies a conception of the struggle between the forces of Good and Evil. Its structure is carefully wrought and suggests the hands of artists. The drama unfolds in a manner that is truly beautiful and impressive.
Clarence A. Hough, son of William R. Hough, has lived in Chicago since about 1890. His time has practically all been given to newspaper and literary work. For a number of years he was connected with the Chicago dailies, and in 1905, when he gave up newspaper work, he was the financial editor of the Chicago Post. In 1897, while traveling through France and Italy, his letters, giving impressions of these countries, were purchased by a syndicate and published in ten of the leading newspapers of the United States, including the Boston Transcript, Pittsburgh Dispatch, Indianapolis News and Omaha Bee. He is also the author of a volume entitled "Money," in which the money system of the United States and the principles of banking are explained. Before going to Chicago, Mr. Hough spent two or three years on the stage as a reader. Many of his selections were his own. Practically all of his literary work during the past ten yeast has been give to writing plays.
William A. Hough, who recited Riley's poems so admirably, is himself not a stranger to the poetic muse. He has written a number of poems that have been set to music by Barclay Walker, of Indianapolis. Although he has not devoted any time to song writing for a number of years, people will remember "Katie O'Brien," "Didst Thou But Know," and "I Know a Little Maiden." Mr. Hough was a member of the Western Writers' Association from 1886 to 1890. He is familiar with Indiana literature and has lectured on that subject before the teachers' institutes of several counties in the state.
Benjamin F. Phemister is the author of a number of poems, some of which have attracted a great deal of attention. About twenty-eight years ago he wrote a little poem entitled, "What Mother Thinks." It was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer without giving the name of the author. Since that time it has been published as an anonymous poem in practically every newspaper in America. It has been called for in the Indaianpolis News eight or ten times since then and has been published as often, "author unknown." On December 5, 1914, the Indianapolis News published another of Mr. Phemister's poems entitled, "Around the Flaming Fireside of the Old Homestead." Afterward the Atlanta Constitution asked permission of the author to publish the poem. Another poem written during the revival at Greenfield in 1914, entitled "The Evangelist," possessed such merit that it was at first credited to Mr. Riley. "When We Shock the Wheat by Moonlight in Grandpa's Harvest Field," with a few other poems was submitted to Henry Augustine Beers, professor of English literature of Yale University. Professor Beers pronounced it "one of the most beautiful folk lore poems in the language."
Mr. Phemister taught school for a number of years and at present lives at Greenfield.
Allen S. Bottsford is a poet and illustrator who spent his boyhood days in the county. His poem "The Lost Lane" is included in the volume, "Poets and Poetry of Indiana." As an illustrator he has been engaged for a number of years on the dailies of Indianapolis, San Francisco and other cities. His sister, Clara Louise Bottsford, also wrote verses that were published in local and state papers. Some of them also found their way into Eastern magazines.
Mrs. Martha J. Stubbs, of Brown township, has written stories and historical sketches that have been accepted by the Indianapolis Sunday Star. Articles and letters relating to the care and training of children and the elevation of the family have also appeared in Eastern magazines.
Charles A. Robinson, prominent in the Improved Order of Red Men, is the author of a volume or two of Indian legends. He has also written a number of poems that have been published. His line, "When the Trees Dress in Scarlet and Gold," set to music by George Suess, also of Greenfield, are probably best known. Mr. Robinson is a lecturer and has traveled far and near as a speaker, especially for the Improved Order of Red Men.
John H. Binford in 1882 wrote a "History of Hancock County." Mr. Binford was forceful and vigorous as a writer, and his work has stood for more than thirty years as the only history of the county.
The Home and School Visitor was first published in 1881 by Aaron Pope and Lee O. Harris. D. H. Goble soon bought the interest of Mr. Pope, and for a time it was published by Goble & Harris. For many years now, its ownership and management have been with the Gobles.
The Home and School Visitor is a children's magazine. It has always contained stories and poems for children of all grades, and for many years it has maintained a department of current events. It is used in practically all the schools of the state of Indiana, and, in fact, in a number of the states of the Union, for supplementary reading.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 424-437.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI February 15, 2002.
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