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Source: News-Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Section

Thomas Marshall Famous Native Son

Nearly all the nation remembers of Thomas Riley Marshall is his one half-jesting remark that "What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar." It was his wry way of telling Americans there's not much wrong with their country.

North Manchester is the well advertised birth place of Thomas R. Marshall who was born in a house located where Harvey's now stands on March 14, 1854.

The house in which he was born now stands on the corner of Ninth and Walnut Streets.

His father was Dr. Daniel M. Marshall who was well known and prosperous in the area. The family did not remain in North Manchester long after the birth of Thomas but moved to Pierceton and from there to other locations. [Ed. Note: The Daniel M. Marshall family moved in early 1856 to West Urbana IL; in 1859 to LaGrange, MO; and late 1860 returning to Pierceton, IN. The move by the Marshall family to Columbia City IN happened in the 1870s.]

Thomas R. Marshall graduated from Wabash College at Crawfordsville and practiced law for many years in Columbia City.

At college he proved himself better at words than numbers, and managed to get into a libel suit as a budding college journalist. Gen. Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, was the woman lecturer-plaintiff's lawyer. Young Marshall enlisted the help of Benjamin Harrison. The Republican lawyer and President-to-be won the case for his young client, and he took no fee.

Marshall was elected Democratic Governor of Indiana in 1908 after receiving the party nomination at a deadlocked state convention which chose him as a compromise candidate.

As Governor of Indiana his stance was to be a foe of capital punishment while believing that governors ought not be able to free criminals sentenced to life for heinous crimes.

In 1912 he was placed on the national ticket as a running mate for Woodrow Wilson and was twice elected as Vice-President. Marshall was chosen because he could deliver Indiana, normally a Republican state to the Democratic national ticket.

Despite the fact that he was a Democrat, and of a Democratic family, Marshall throughout his book of self-recollections evinces a generosity that transcends all political rivalry.

For many months during the serious illness of President Wilson he was very near being president of the United States. Many men of political influence urged him to assume the office because Wilson was not able to be active, but he always refused to do so.

After retirement from national politics he became a popular lecturer and moved to Indianapolis in 1922 where he joined the law firm of Walker and Hollett.

His last public address was delivered at Manchester College where he was commencement speaker in 1925. Ten days later he died in Washington on June 1 and funeral services were held in Indianapolis on June 24.

Marshall was always devoted to his home state, writing in his "Recollections" that "...the old state, as the days have come and gone, has struck a right good average. It has perhaps had no towering peaks, but it has surely furnished as many first-grade second-class men in every department of life as any state in the Union." He meant it as a compliment. He proclaimed proudly in his recollections that "to be a Hoosier was to live out his life still with all the zest and enjoyment of a boy."

Strangely enough the photographs of the former Vice-president reveal that he did retain a boyishness even of appearance until his last days. He was a slightly built man with a wide-mischievous mount (hidden in adulthood by a wispy mustache), blue eyes around which were tiny laugh lines that bespoke the happy spirit that dwelt within.

(The News-Journal, Dec 17, 1936)

Plans for organization of a Thomas Riley Marshall Birthday Club in North Manchester were made by a group of local democrats meeting in John Isenbarger's office Monday evening. The purpose of the organization would be the holding of an annual banquet commemorating the birthday of North Manchester's most famous son. J. Lee Emery of Whitley County, founder of a similar club in Columbia city, the first of its kind, told about the developments of the idea. At the Columbia City banquet last March 275 persons attended. Marshall had his law office in that city for many years and the old sign, Marshall & McNagny, still remains on the door. As North Manchester was Marshall's birthplace it was thought fitting that a Birthday Club should be organized here. John Isenbarger was chosen as the first president of the club, with Roland Schmedel as secretary-treasurer. The date of the first banquet was not set, but it will be on or near March 14, Marshall's birthday.

Source: NMHS Newsletter, November 2003

Big Demand for Local Postmarks

Fame comes sometimes in an unusual way, and sometimes it is slow in coming. Eighty years ago Friday morning saw the start for North Manchester's fame ---in one way. Thomas R. Marshall was born here on that morning --- March 15, 1854 [sic: March 14, 1854]. The house in which he was born stands on the corner of Walnut and Ninth streets, having been moved twice since he first saw it. On the day of his birth it was where the old Lawrence bank building now stands now marked by a bronze tablet. Then it was moved to the corner of Market and Third street, and was occupied for a time by John Shively, later to be moved when he erected what is now the Dr. G. L. Shoemaker house.

But that is not the story [we] set out to tell. Friday morning there came to the postoffice seven "catchets," each addressed to the postmaster, and each bearing 21 cents in postage, and each containing 35 stamped and addressed envelopes; all empty. The request was for Postmaster Olinger to cancel these stamps with the North Manchester date of March 15 [sic: March 14], and send them to the parties addressed. There were in all 245 of these envelopes. The bunch was sent to North Manchester by an agency in New York that makes a specialty of getting cancelled stamps and post marks for collectors.

The News-Journal March 19, 1934

Vol. III, No. 1 (February 1986)

The Lawyer takes a Bride!

Thomas Marshall, a bachelor at age 41, had had a number of girl friends. In fact, he was engaged to marry Catherine Hooper, daughter of A.Y. Hooper, one of Columbia City’s first lawyers. Invitations were sent for what promised to be one of the town’s largest social events. Tragedy struck, however, when Catherine died suddenly on September 21, 1878, the day before the wedding.

There are two versions of the reason Marshall went to Angola and there met his future wife the summer of 1895. In Charles M. Thomas’s biography is the usual local version: He was appointed special judge to hear a case in the Steuben County Circuit Court. William E. Kimsey was the county clerk. His daughter, Lois Irene Kimsey, 23 and recent graduate of Tri-State College, was his deputy. Marshall’s legal business took him to the clerk’s office where he met Miss Kimsey.

A letter written to the Whitley County Historical Society, November 2, 1965, tells us that Marshall was chief counsel for the defendant in the Deeter murder case, venued from DeKalb County to Steuben County. The letter was written by Lois Parker Knorr, niece of Judge Stephen Arad Powers, elected judge of the Steuben Circuit Court and the presiding judge in this trial.

The letter reads: “the good judge took it upon himself to make everybody acquainted. In introducing Marshall to Miss Kimsey, the judge suggested she would make a good wife for a bachelor lawyer. From this simple suggestion there was a wedding, and a Steuben County girl went to Washington to carry on as Second Lady for eight years. Incidentally, Deeter got life imprisonment.”

Later in life Mrs. Marshall related that, when a mutual friend told her that he had a prospective husband for her, she replied, “Marshall is an old married man.” The friend insisted that Marshall was a bachelor, whereupon she said, “Bring him in.” The two saw much of each other in the weeks that followed. The wedding ceremony took place on October 2, 1895, in the bride’s home at Salem Center, Steuben County.

Marshall had bought the house at 108 West Jefferson Street, Columbia City, in 1877 and lived there with his parents until their death. He had the house remodeled in April 1898. Mrs. Marshall entered into the life of the community here she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church, teaching the primary Sunday School class while Tom taught the men’s Bible class.

Marshall was an alcoholic. His intemperateness affected his marital happiness. In 1898, with Lois’s encouragement, he took treatments, and thereafter no one ever saw him touch an intoxicating drink. Marshall served no liquor or wine when he was governor or vice president. A newspaper wrote in 1914 that at a reception Mrs. Marshall served “bowls and bowls of lemonade.”

The Marshalls were separated only two nights during their entire married life. Opponents in the 1908 campaign charged that Mrs. Marshall accompanied her husband for fear he would become intoxicated. This may have been a motive when they were first married, but then it became a sentimental tradition of their enduring affection for one another.

Tom was content with the good life according to the standards of Columbia City. Mrs. Marshall furnished the incentive for him to accept each nomination to high office.

In 1908 the Indiana Democratic Convention nominated Thomas Riley Marshall as their candidate for governor. When the Marshalls arrived home from the convention, they found that the neighbors had decorated the home with bunting in honor of the occasion. Afterwards it rained, and the colors ran onto the white paint. There were red, white, and blue stripes all over the house, and the pillars looked like barber poles. “There isn’t a family in Indiana that has a more patriotic house than ours,” said Mr. Marshall.

After a parade in Columbia City the night before the election, J.E. Mannix of Fort Wayne and a party of his friends visited the Marshall home. They had a Democratic mule with them, and Mrs. Marshall invited the party into the house, mule and all! To please his enthusiastic friends, Marshall mounted the long-eared beast of burden.

Following the election the Marshalls sold their Columbia City home and Indianapolis became their official address.

A reception and inaugural ball was given in the Marshalls’ honor on January 11, 1909, at the Propylaeum, a social and culture center for women at 1410 North Delaware, Indianapolis. “Prophylaeum” is interpreted as “the gateway to culture,” derived from the propylaeum or gateway to the Acro0polis in Athens. Fifteen hundred guests were invited but many uninvited also went.

The Indianapolis News described Mrs. Marshall’s gown as “a white satin directoire with gold net yoke and long sleeves. Scattered over the skirt were medallions of white satin cord, and this cord was used to form a scroll border around the hem of the skirt. The Watteau-like plait at the back fastened to the bodice by two gold and rhinestone buttons and depending from each of these was a chain of oblong links made of white satin cording, heavy white silk tassels finishing the ends.

Biography Thomas said that Marshall was ambitious for the presidency and “did all he could to advance his chances, taking a much more active part in (that) campaign…than he had taken four years earlier when his friends were grooming him for the governorship.”

When first asked if he would accept the nomination for vice president, he said he would not. He could earn a better living as a lawyer in Columbia City. Mrs. Marshall, however, wanted to go to Washington instead and swayed Marshall to accept the nomination if the convention chose him.

Marshall continued to pay all of his own campaign expenses. Mrs. Marshall accompanied her husband on every campaign trip in 1912, as she had done during the campaign for the governorship.

A split in the Republican Party between President Taft and former President T.R. Roosevelt made it possible for the first time in 16 years for a Democrat victory. Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, and Thomas R. Marshall, governor of Indiana, became president and vice president of the United States.

Mrs. Marshall’s 1913 inqugural gown was white satin, ornamented with Italian or raised quilted gold embroidery in fleur-de-lis and circle pattern on the skirt and repeated on the embroidery of the shoulder ruffle. The skirt, with a fish-tail train, was cut in points at the raised waistline and extended by bretellas or suspenders over the long sleeves. The yoke and high collar were of sheer fabric, possibly georgette.

She was a popular and active part of Washington social life. She helped to establish and run the “Diet Kitchen Welfare Center” for the betterment of babies. In this work she came in contact with a baby boy whose life was dependent upon good care. She became attached to him and persuaded her husband that they should take the child into their home. Mrs. Marshall secured a job for the boy’s mother at the hotel where they lived so that the mother could be close to her son. His name was Clarence Ignatius Morrison. “Iggie,” as Marshall nicknamed him, became the center of their lives but died at the age of three and a half before adoption was completed.

When Wilson became too ill to entertain the many dignitaries who came to the United States after World War I, the Marshalls were the official hosts. Among these visitors were the King and Queen of Belgium and the Prince of Wales. The president had a fund from the government to cover these expenses but none of this money was passed to the vice president. The silver framed pictures of the King and Queen autographed “Albert” and “Elizabeth” which were sent to the Marshalls as a “bread and butter” thank you are in the Whitley County museum.

In 1918 Whitley County had an auction to raise the quota for the Red Cross. Thousands of people were attracted to the auction by a “human fly” who scaled the outside wall of the court house. Letters were written to celebrities for articles to be auctioned. Mrs. Wilson contributed a handkerchief which sold six times for a total of $69; Mrs. Marshall sent a box containing knitting needles, a handkerchief and a picture of “the boy.” They brought a combined total of $140.

The Marshalls kept ties with Columbia City and spent a week at Christmas 1912 with the Walter F. McLallens. If any of you have trouble keeping your checkbook balanced you have something in common with Mrs. Marshall. A letter to McLallen at the First National Bank on December 3, 1912, reads, “Dear Walt, I send you Mrs. Marshall’s book. I wish you would straighten it up and return it to me. – As ever yours, Tom.”

When Marshall’s term as vice president ended in 1921, they returned to Indianapolis where Tom practiced law. He was also much in demand as a public speaker. His last visit to Columbia City was to deliver the commencement address to the Columbia City class of 1925. Less than two weeks later he addressed the graduating class of Manchester College. He died on June 1, 1925, in a Washington, D.C., hotel while reading the Bible which was opened to the fourth chapter of Mark.

Mrs. Marshall continued her legal residence in Indianapolis, and wintered in Phoenix, Arizona. Later Phoenix-Scottsdale became her permanent home (see the Newsletter, May 1984 and May 1985). She died at the age of 85 in January 1958 after suffering a stroke.

The bodies of Thomas Riley Marshall, Lois Kimsey Marshall, Dr. Daniel and Martha Patterson Marshall, and Clarence Ignatius Morrison Marshall now rest in a mausoleum in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis. The mausoleum was provided by the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite.

This article was prepared by Bernice Carver, Whitley County historian, and was printed in the NMHS Newsletter with permission from the Bulletin of the Whitley County Historical Society. Carver's article originally appeared in the Bulletin in February 1985.

Source: NMHS NEWSLETTER February 1989

By Allan White

It is hard to imagine more local interest in an election than in the campaign of 1988 in which Dan Quayle from nearby Huntington County became Vice President of the United States. But there was a time when North Manchester voters were treated to a double feature. The year was 1912.

The Democrats swept the nation in the election victory of Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, and his running mate and our favorite son, Thomas Riley Marshall, then governor of Indiana. It also sent a North Manchester resident, John Isenbarger, to his first term in the Indiana General Assembly.

The landslide affected all of the offices in the Wabash County Courthouse, all men, all Democrats except one lone Republican, William D. Gochenour, surveyor, unopposed when William Ebbinghous withdrew shortly after his nomination.

Marshall and Wilson exchanged victory telegrams whose text was printed in the November 7, News-Journal: “I salute you, my chieftain,” Marshall writes briefly, “in all love and loyalty,” while Wilson thanks Marshall in his: “Warmest thanks for your generous telegram. Your part in the campaign was a force of great strength and stimulation. Now for a deep pleasure of close association in a great work of national service.”

Isenbarger’s first days in the General Assembly must have been exciting to Manchesterites: He was mentioned as a possible speaker of the house, “a merry race going on” the newspaper reported. He was competing against five others, two from Indianapolis and the others from Madison, Scottsburg, and New Albany.

Isenbarger, a farmer and real estate agent, was a Democrat leader in this county which the News-Journal claimed had never sent a Democrat to the legislature. Just years before he was the party’s nominee for State Treasurer “at a time when there was no chance to win.”

Within the month, however, Taggart factions had controlled the caucus and the other candidates withdrew “gracefully” in favor of Homer Cook of Indianapolis. Isenbarger, it was reported, was in line for some good committee assignments and chairmanships. (He later served as postmaster here.)

As the country prepared for the inauguration, Indiana was to be honored by the front rank in the parade for the Black Horse Troop of Culver Military Academy, among the “crack” divisions embracing famous cavalry organizations from many parts of the country.

The Culver horsemen had hoped to serve as the personal escort of Vice President Marshall. When Mark Thistlethwaite, Marshall’s secretary, took up the matter with Colonel Henry F. Allen, chief aide of General Leonard Wood, he learned that under all traditions “from time immemorial” it was impossible for the vice president to have a special escort, and Marshall was assigned to ride in a carriage with Senator Gallinger, president pro tem of the Senate.

Washington society was surprised to learn that the Marshalls decided not to buy a house but lease a four-room suite in Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. The vice president’s salary at that time was $12,000; wealthier predecessor vice presidents had been spending $25,000 to $40,000 a year “just in showing people what good fellows they could be.” The Marshalls clearly gave notice that they refused to do that and that they would not enter Washington society to any great extent!

Then there is this final footnote of the legend type that we like to chuckle over. It appeared in the November 7, 1912, News-Journal, a short one worth quoting as we read:

Albert Ebbinghous: an Election Prophet

“Albert Ebbinghous don’t claim to be much of a political manipulator, but he certainly has things to rights when it comes to reading signs. Monday when the wind was blowing from the south he declared that it could mean nothing but a democratic victory. The breeze coming from over the solid south he said was sure to become thoroughly imbued with democracy and would bring it north. And the results certainly indicate that it did.”

[Editor’s Note: Albert G. Ebbinghous(e) was Clerk-Treasurer of North Manchester from 1906-1909.]

of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

A Hoosier Lawyer Becomes Vice President
by Ferne Baldwin

[Photo: Wabash College students recently donated their labor to help ready the Thomas Marshall House for its upcoming move. See story below.]

Riley Marshall came to Randolph County, Indiana, in 1817 and soon moved to Grant County. Later he moved to Kansas. One of his nine children was Daniel M. Marshall who was educated to be a doctor. He married Martha Patterson and the couple moved to North Manchester in 1848 [Subsequent Research Note: They arrived in North Manchester after 1850 because the U.S. Federal Census for 1850 placed the household of Daniel Marshall and his wife in Attica, Indiana where Daniel was listed as physician.]  Dr. Marshall practiced medicine in their house located on the north side of Main Street. There Thomas Riley Marshall was born March 14, 1854. His only sister died in infancy and he grew up an only child.

Tom’s father made heavy use of the traveling library of that time and when his wife was threatened with tuberculosis when Tom was two years old, Dr. Marshall concluded that the best treatment was an open air life-style, raw eggs and milk. Greeks long before the Christian era had taken lung patients to the mountains to sleep outdoors and fed them a diet of goat’s milk, raw eggs and wine. So the family went to Illinois and for about two years lived practically in the open prairies around Urbana. They moved westward into Kansas, and back into Missouri. By this time the mother was in good health and the doctor followed his profession for a year and a half.

There was a great deal of political controversy at this time and Dr. Marshall challenged one of the political hot heads of the area. His uncle and cousins advised him to get out of town for his own safety. A few hours later they were on a boat going to Quincy, Illinois, and they soon returned to Indiana. Both Daniel Marshall and Riley Marshall were told by the Methodist preacher that their names would be taken from the church roll if they continued to vote Democratic. Riley announced he was willing to take his chance on Hell, but never on the Republican party. Daniel simply joined his wife’s church (Presbyterian).

Tom’s education began in Pierceton; later he went to Warsaw and in 1868-69 he attended Ft. Wayne High School. He passed the exams for entrance to Wabash College at age 15 and entered that school in 1869. It was a classical course with no electives. All students were required to attend worship on Sunday, as well as a lecture by the College President on Sunday afternoon. Total college enrollment was 85. Marshall became a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and began what was an important relationship during his entire life. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the highest possible grade in fourteen out of thirty-seven courses.

In his book, Recollections, Marshall tells of one event during his military training at Wabash College. “I remember we had two twelve-pounders, with their caissons and whatever else goes with them, but we had no mules to drag them around over the campus. Colonel Henry B. Carrinton devised a scheme, therefore, of a public drawing, whereby one man became an artillery man and another man became a mule. I was fortunate enough to draw a mule’s part. It was all well and good during
April and the early part of May, when physical exercise was desired, but when the hot weather came on it was too strenuous even for a patriotic and military soul, such as I was. And so, one day, we pranced off with the cannon, caissons and everything else, piled the whole mess on what is now the Big Four Railroad running through the corner of the Campus and mutinied.

“A train came in and was compelled to stop. The train crew and most of the passengers got off, and everything was said, from importunity to profanity, to induce us to remove the barrier, but we were adamant. Finally the crew and the passengers cleared the track and the train went on its way.

“The next morning we were drawn up before the faculty, and I was selected to make the defense. It was brief but to the point. It consisted of the statement that my father had sent me to Wabash College to take, if possible, the asinine traits out of my character, not to make me more mulish than I was by nature; that I did not think I would get much more in the additional two weeks; that a bit of sheepskin was not essential to my happiness; that, if desired, I would pack my truck and go home; and that I spoke for the rest of the boys.”

“This was a successful strike and we heard no more about it.”

At graduation two of his professors offered positions but he was already working toward a career in law. In the same year he joined the firm of Hooper and Olds in Columbia City. At the age of twenty-one he was appointed an attorney of the Whitley County Circuit Court and during his first year was involved in some forty cases in that court.

For a brief time he had his own private practice but he soon formed a partnership with William F. McNagny who had grown up on a Whitley County farm. They were an ideal pair and within a short time this firm was acting as a lawyer in nearly one half the cases before the circuit court.

Tom was a bachelor and made his home with his mother. She died when he was forty. The next summer he was acting as special judge in a case in the circuit court at Angola. A Miss Lois I. Kimsey was a deputy in the county clerk’s office and they were engaged before the case ended. Tom Marshall worshipped his wife and Mrs. Marshall’s life centered around her husband. They were separated only two nights during their whole married life.

By 1897 Tom Marshall was coming to court some days under the influence of alcohol. His problem began to cause difficulties in his marriage. Even his wife could not keep him sober. His wife and friends pleaded with him and in 1898 he took a course of treatments as a cure. No one ever saw him drink after that. When offered a drink he would simply say, “I do not drink,” and the Marshalls did not serve any liquor or wine when he was governor or vice-president.

Marshall was very active in the Presbyterian Church. He taught the men’s  Bible Class, customarily attended twice on Sunday. He was a noted speaker but his stories could be told anywhere. He often helped organize the annual county fair, served on the local school board, and was a member of the Masons. He became the Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Indiana, became Thirty-third Degree in 1898 and later represented the State of Indiana on the Supreme council. Altogether, he was a popular man in Columbia City.

Coming from a long line of active Democrats, he began political activity while still at Wabash College. He organized the Democratic Club at Wabash during the 1872 campaign and was proud to act as the escort for the candidate for governor. Local politics fascinated him. He became a member of the State Central Committee in 1896. It was his habit to attend the conventions.

He was on a vacation in Michigan when he was chosen as a candidate for governor in 1909. His campaign was well organized but Marshall himself did little. He borrowed money and paid all his expenses for the campaign. He won by 14,809 votes. The Marshalls rented a modest house. There was no official residence and Marshall opposed buying one. The inaugural ball cost $455 and was paid for by the Governor elect. They worked hard to stay within his eight thousand dollar salary. He was also careful of the state’s finances.

He was much more interested in the candidacy for president as his term as Governor came to an end. He made speeches in other states and made careful plans in case the Convention became deadlocked, that he might be available as an unaligned and viable candidate.

One percent of the total population of Columbia city went to the convention in Baltimore to support their favorite son. It was a long convention. It soon became clear that Woodrow Wilson would be the candidate for President. Wilson did not indicate any clear preference for Vice-President. Marshall received 389 votes on the first ballot. A unanimous vote was declared a little after 2 a.m. Marshall was at home, sound asleep. At first he refused the vice-presidency, arguing that the salary was too small. But Mrs. Marshall was eager to go to Washington and others helped to persuade him. He never regretted his decision and found that by adding some speaking fees they could live well and even save a little.

Again, Marshall paid all his campaign expenses. Mrs. Marshall went along on the three tours: one to Maine, another to the Mid West and one to the Far West. When the Marshalls arrived in Washington in February, they received more attention than most vice-presidents. Marshall had a special guard of honor at both inaugurations by the Black Horse Troop of cadets from Culver Military School. The Hoosier Lawyer from Columbia City was now the Vice-President of the United States. (to be continued)

Wabash College Students Revitalize
Thomas Marshall Birthplace
Adapted from a News-Journal article

The North Manchester Historical society received help from an unexpected source recently. Four students from Wabash College spent the day here scraping paint and preparing the Thomas Marshall birthplace on Ninth St. for its move next spring to Holderman Park.

Why would college students from southern Indiana make the trek here to help refurbish an old house?

It turns out that Thomas Marshall attended Wabash College and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity there in 1873. Fraternity members received a newspaper clipping about the North Manchester Historical Society’s effort to restore Marshall’s birthplace, and they felt it would be an appropriate fraternity project to lend a hand.

The four students worked here under the direction of Society member Max Kester, a retired carpenter. Society member Eldon Metzger lent a hand by cooking chili over an outdoor fire for the crew.

The move of the vice-president’s birthplace is scheduled for the spring. Before the move, the Society expects to restore the house to its original lines, by taking off the dormer and replacing the asphalt roof with a wood shingle roof. The porches will also come off.

The Society is looking at a major fund-raiser to help with the costs of restoring and moving the home. Once moved, it will be operated as a museum.

A Hoosier Lawyer Serves His Country
Source: NMHS Newsletter Feb 1993

Thomas Marshall said about his going to Washington, "I went, as I think the average American goes, somewhat in awe. I was impressed with the feeling that the American people might have made a mistake in setting me down in the company of all the wise men of the land." His inaugural speech pointed out that he was entering four years of silence for his vice-presidential term. Even that admission did not prepare him for the discovery that his office was one room near the Senate chamber which he said did not differ "much from a monkey cage, except that the visitors do not offer me any peanuts." The vice-president's car was not immediately available so he rode the street car.

The Congress soon demanded his full attention. His reputation as a Governor had been a liberal one but he moved toward a conservative stance. He accepted the President's leadership and kept quiet when he disagreed. In some cases he did oppose certain legislation but if the party favored it Marshall made no further resistance. He declared that "no decent Democrat" could favor prohibition and he consistently resisted women's suffrage.

One speech which he made early in this term raised a real storm of comments. Simply, he said that "if the tendency of certain men to accumulate vast fortunes was not curbed, America might face socialism or paternalism." He was accused of inciting class hatreds or threatening property confiscation. Amid the furor there were several who called for the vice-president to return to his traditional position of silence. The Washington Star replied that "he is a ready and entertaining speaker, and owes his prominence in affairs to his success on the stump in Indiana. For years the simple announcement that Tom Marshall would speak collected great crowds "on the banks of the Wabash."

So the first year of his term he was surely not popular. Some considered him wild; others were very displeased with his humor. "Wit makes enemies. It stirs up the hornets." The first step toward changing his image was a deliberate move by an old friend from Columbia City who had become a well-known corporation lawyer in New York. He arranged a lunch which Marshall attended and invited a number of prominent New Yorkers. "Marshall provided such genial conversation, spiced with his usual stories, that men who had come to spend an hour, rushed away in the late afternoon just in time to close their offices." It was a beginning.

By March, 1917, the New York Times said in an editorial that Marshall spoke with a sense and sanity that was urgently needed. There was widespread approval of his conduct as presiding officer of the Senate. The New York Times said in an editorial when he left the vice-presidency in 1921, "He has been impartial, alert, urbane. His humor, his sound sense, his courtesy and his entire lack of self-importance have made both sides of the chamber treasure him. He has played perfectly the difficult and self-effacing part of the Vice President." There is strong evidence of his fairness; in fact, some believed he leaned over backwards to be fair to Republicans. Some of his closest personal friends were members of that party.

Marshall did not hesitate to shake the dignity of the Senate. Later, Senators would realize that his humor had eased tempers and led to progress. In a most unusual occurrence in July, 1913, the Vice-President took the chair with a baby in his arms. It was Thomas Marshall Sutherland, the son of Marshall's former pastor. The conflict over the Chair of the presiding officer brought mixed reactions. The Chair of the Committee on Rules came into the Senate chamber one afternoon soon after Marshall arrived and discovered that the "beautiful and gilded and dignified chair was gone from the desk of the vice-president." In its place was what the committee chair described as "a dinky little chair." He discovered that the exchange had been made on direct orders of the Vice-President.
Marshall's explanation was that he expected "in the next four years to have to sit in the Senate Chamber and listen to many long-winded speeches which you and other Senators will deliver, but I'll tell you right now, I am not going to have any additional punishment inflicted upon me by having to sit in an uncomfortable chair, too big for me and so high my legs will not reach the floor. Dignity or no dignity, I will not do it."

Marshall's humor enlivened many a dull moment in the Senate. Perhaps it is unfortunate that the statement most often remembered is one made during a long speech when the minds of many senators were relaxed. Marshall leaned over to speak to one of the secretaries of the Senate in a voice loud enough that others could hear. He probably said, "What this country needs is a really good five cent cigar." It is hard to say just why that witticism has been so popular.

War became an important issue during Marshall's term as Vice-President. In 1915 Marshall was described as "second only to William J. Bryan in his pacifist policy and he supported Wilson in his attempt to maintain neutrality. Even when the Lusitania was sunk, Marshall counseled against precipitate action. As time went on, he came to see the war as a national emergency and the U. S. as engaged in a struggle to make the world safe for democracy. Even so he later stated that he made the kind of speeches he was instructed to make by his commander-in-chief.

The year after the war several royal visitors came to the United States and, because of the illness of President Wilson, Marshall served as host in the place of the President. The additional expenditure caused a real strain on his $12,000 salary. No extra funds were supplied to care for the expense of entertainment.
Except for one summer they made their home in a hotel for the eight years they were in Washington. His auto was supplied by the government and kept in the Senate garage.

Mrs. Marshall helped sponsor the Diet Kitchen Welfare Center and there she came to know the chronically ill child of a maid and a church janitor. She persuaded her husband to allow her to bring the baby to their home. He wrote later that "I had said to her that she might keep him, provided he did not squall under my feet. He grew out of his crib; but he never walked with as sure a certainty on the streets of Washington, as he walked into my heart." They gave him every special care available but he died at the age of three, never having been adopted. The Marshalls went to Arizona, even though Congress was in session, "to get away from the toys."

Marshall was determined to live on his salary while he was in public office but because of the necessary expenses he felt he had to find an additional source of income. He later wrote, "I went on the Chautauqua lecture platform and received compensation for addresses while vice-president. I either had to do it, steal, or resign." He traveled and made many speeches for which he received no honorarium nor payment of expenses. Reporters liked him and he provided lots of copy. As the war developed there were crank letters and threats on his life. He threw them in the wastebasket but one bomb exploded near his desk in 1915.

He was physically small and thin, walked with a limp, weighed only about one hundred, twenty-five pounds. Many assumed his health was poor; actually he was quite vigorous. During the long months when President Wilson was incapacitated, Marshall had no more accurate information than did the general public. Many now think and others thought then that the functions of the Presidential Office should have moved to Marshall but the nation was lift in limbo without active executive leadership for weeks or months at a time.
Marshall was criticized by those who thought he should assume the position and end the government drift and he was suspected by Wilson's friends of planning to do just that. Marshall resisted and prevented the replacement of the President without Wilson's consent. Actually the rules for a change of leadership were not definite and the crisis might have been compounded by Marshall's action. There were proposals that President Wilson should resign and Wilson, himself, planned his resignation in 1916 and maybe, again in November, 1920.

The 1920 Democratic National Convention was in San Francisco. By that time Vice-President Marshall was enjoying quite wide public approval and was considered a likely candidate for the presidential nomination. The Indianapolis News described editorially plans for winning the nomination. He had strong support from the State party. But the party was mostly ready to drop the Wilson administration and Marshall's greatest vote was thirty-six on the second ballot.

So Thomas R. Marshall was retired on March 4, 1921, as one of the most popular vice-presidents Washington had seen. He moved his legal residence to Indianapolis in 1915 and now he proposed to spend the rest of his life there. He was appointed to the Lincoln Memorial Commission and in October, 1922, to the Federal Coal Commission. He asked for office space in the law office of Fred A. Sims who had been Secretary of State during Marshall's governorship. They also had built a cottage in Scottsdale, Arizona. Again Marshall taught a Bible class and Mrs. Marshall assisted in the primary department of their church.

Marshall was a baseball fan all of his life and had umpired in college. Now he attended games with friends. He had not gathered any financial reserves and he returned to lecturing and writing regularly syndicated articles in order to make it possible for them to live well. By 1925 he needed some extra money and decided to write his Recollections. He told a friend he wanted to get away from the coal burning in Indianapolis. The cough he had was more likely from his constant cigar. He worked about five months dictating the book. It went on sale immediately after his death and brought almost fifty thousand dollars into the estate.

Other activities included his duties as Trustee of Wabash College, a position he had held during his governorship and his vice-presidency. Wabash was the first college to grant Marshall an honorary degree and six other colleges had followed before 1918. The couple traveled to Europe in 1922 and made return visits to several who had made official visits to them in Washington. He was under the auspices of the Masonic Lodge as a delegate to the International Conference in Switzerland.

In his seventieth year his health failed. He had a heart attack in April, 1925, but recovered enough to make some graduation speeches in Indiana including at Manchester College. In May, the Marshalls went to Washington but he was soon confined to bed. He died suddenly on the morning of June 1 while reading the fourth chapter of Mark. The funeral was conducted by the Masons and he is buried in Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis. Wabash College received his library, a bronze bust and most of his other mementos. An oil painting of Marshall hangs in the dining room of his old fraternity, Phi Delta Gamma.

Widow of Thomas Marshall Dies

Mrs. Lois Marshall, widow of Thomas R. Marshall, died Monday at Phoenix, Arizona, where she had lived most of the time since the death of her husband in 1925. Thomas R. Marshall, born in North Manchester on what is now the site of the Marshall theatre, was governor of Indiana and vice-president of the United States when Woodrow Wilson was president. Mr. Marshall died shortly after he had given the commencement address at Manchester College. The Thomas Marshall school in North Manchester was named in his honor. The Marshall family had moved to Columbia City during the boyhood of Thomas. He became a practicing attorney at Columbia City and became acquainted with Lois Kinsey, who was working as deputy for her father, clerk of Steuben County at Angola. She was 23 and Mr. Marshall 41 when they were married.

After completing his two terms as vice-president, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall returned to Indianapolis where he continued the practice of law. The funeral service for Mrs. Marshall will be held at Phoenix Friday, and the body will be brought to Indianapolis for burial in the Marshall mausoleum in Crown Hill Cemetery. Mrs. Marshall was 85 years old.

Source: NMHS Newsletter May 1995

Tom Marshall's Last Speech

In the spring of 1925 the commencement speaker for Manchester was unable to come and a hasty search was made for a substitute. Thomas Marshall was available and arrangements were made.

Otho Winger wrote about the event: "Mr. Marshall came. He was a very sick man; we could see that. But he braced up for the occasion. Not many people will forget the opening remark of his address, when he said, 'I am out of politics now and can afford to tell the truth.' Tom was known for just such statements as that. Even though he was a politician, he gave an address filled with wise sayings and wise advice. It was a great event to have a native son of Manchester return for our commencement."

"This was the last address of this noted Hoosier. He went from here to his home in Indianapolis and then on to Washington, where he took sick. In ten days he passed away. The last speech of his career was given in the city of his birth."

Source: NMHS Newsletter, May 1985


Marshall Way in Scottsdale, Arizona, just west of Scottsdale Road, is a short, ordinary street, beginning at Indian School Road and running south six blocks, but it looms downtown commemorates one of the city’s most illustrious original winter residents, Thomas R. Marshall.

In the days of Vice President Marshall, the tranquil Marshall Way neighborhood bustled with traffic as visiting political leaders and important dispatches arrived from Washington.  Today Marshall Way is the location of a variety of businesses in new and old buildings, as well as impressive art galleries filled with a treasury of artistic creations.

A large number of old homes have been remodeled into restaurants and other enterprises.  A handful are still residences tucked beneath towering old trees.

The tiny agricultural community clustered around a main intersection at Scottsdale Road and Main Street.  Marshalls’ house faced a narrow, unpaved country lane that is now busy Indian School Road, approximately where the parking lot of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour is today.

Buy Lots in 1913

Marshall did not choose Scottsdale by chance.  His father-in-law, William E. Kimsey, a prosperous Indiana farmer, had been taking his family to that desert area since 1908 for Mrs. Kimsey’s health.  Other members of the Kimsey clan followed and later became permanent residents.  The Kimsey home was on the north side of present-day Indian School Road, just across from the Marshall place.

Thomas R. Marshall was a prominent lawyer who was elected governor of Indiana in 1908.  His father, a country doctor, had died of tuberculosis, and when the younger Marshall began experiencing respiratory illnesses during the harsh Midwestern winters, he and his wife, Lois went to Scottsdale for a few months of healing sunshine.  In 1913 they bought three lots across from her father’s place, and Kimsey built for them a neat, bungalow-style house.  Wide comfortable porches surrounded their home, constructed entirely of redwood sawed by hand with a miter box.

The  Marshalls enjoyed their Scottsdale winters to the fullest.  Lois visited back and forth with her mother while her husband played golf at Ingleside Inn, puttered at various chores, and held lively political discussions on his front porch.  Marshall, a Democrat, and his Republican father-in-law disagreed on many topics, but their arguments were always friendly; they liked and respected each other.  Marshall was a genial, down-to-earth man and skilled story teller who fit right in with the neighboring farmers and who took his turn spinning yarns about political life when the men gathered at the local general store.

Marshalls Try a Low-Profile

Small Scottsdale** found itself with a national celebrity in residence when Marshall became vice president in 1913 and promptly named a street for him.  Although members of the distinguished family tried to discourage invitations and made it clear that they were there for rest, the Phoenix socialites were not easily put off.  They had never before paid the slightest attention to rural Scottsdale, but a vice-president…that was a different thing altogether!

Although society did its best, the Marshalls made the “long” journey to Phoenix only on rare occasions.  The citizens of Phoenix did succeed in honoring them with an elaborate farewell banquet one year with 200 attending, and Marshall sometimes addressed the state legislature during his visits.

By all accounts, Marshall was a charming, witty man with blue-gray eyes and thick, iron-grey hair.  He was in great demand as a speaker and attended dinners in Phoenix given by the Maricopa County Democratic organization.  The state’s dignitaries attended these affairs, and the guests heard dozens of speeches, but it was Marshall who kept the audience “roaring with laughter”, according to the newspapers of that time.

His light-hearted attitude carried over into his official duties, although he approached them with a serious dedication.  He mastered the intricacies of presiding over the Senate and is described as doing so “with grace and tact.”  Marshall proved himself equal to taking over many governmental duties when President Wilson was too ill to carry out his responsibilities during his final years in office.  Those were trying times for both Wilson and the nation, and Marshall’s quiet, capable assumption of almost all of the president’s ceremonial functions made the difficult situation easier.

Marshall Day Rally of 1917

Our entry into World War I in 1917 increased Marshall’s responsibilities in Washington and made his rest periods in Arizona more important.  The vice president declined almost all social engagements, but Mrs. Marshall entertained Phoenix friends at luncheons at Ingleside Inn or invited them to her home for knitting parties.  Knitting for the soldiers was a preoccupation among the ladies during those years.  One winter Mrs. Marshall took 25 pounds of wool to Scottsdale and took it back to Washington knitted into warm socks and mufflers!

Patriotic rallies were popular in those war years, and the leaders of Phoenix organized a very special one for October 21, 1917.  Since Marshall was reluctant to go to Phoenix, they took the celebration to him!  Maricopa County declared that Sunday as Marshall Day and made plans for a rally in front of his house at 3:00 p.m.

The Phoenix Indian School Band made the long trip out to Scottsdale to play a formal concert of sacred and patriotic music.  Hundreds drove on the unpaved country roads that led to the Marshall home.  Tiny Scottsdale had never had so many visitors at one time.  The road in front of the Marshalls was clogged with traffic, and all the adjacent streets were lined with cars.  Rousing Sousa marches thundered over the desert, and Marshall addressed his audience from his front porch, urging them “to assist the government toward a successful promotion of the war.”

Marshall retired to Indiana in 1921 at the end of his second term and continued spending winters in Scottsdale until his death in 1925.  In tribute to their leading citizen and most jovial neighbor, all of the businesses in Scottsdale closed during the time of Marshall’s final rites in Indianapolis.  Lois Marshall’s father also died in 1925, and Lois returned to Scottsdale to live with her mother, now a permanent, year-round resident.  After the death of Mrs. Kimsey, she lived her remaining years in Phoenix.

Both the Kimsey and Marshall homes are gone now, torn down to make way for new buildings, and Scottsdale’s former distinguished winter resident is a mere notation in the history books.  In Scottsdale, however, he is remembered and honored by the street that bears his name…Marshall Way.

*Fran Carlson prepared this article for the Scottsdale Scene Magazine (October 1983).  The article was reprinted in the Bulletin of the Whitley County Historical Society and has been used here with Mrs. Carlson’s permission.

** William L. Kimsey, a nephew of Mrs. Marshall and resident of Scottsdale, in recommending the Carlson article to the Bulletin,  wrote that Scottsdale in the Marshall era had fewer that 500 people, now almost 100,000.

Source: NMHS Newsletter, May 1984

Memory of man hazy despite cigar
By John J. Shaughnessy, Indianapolis Star Staff Reporter

Columbia City, Ind. – When Lannie Maloney shows the cigar box to a visitor, he  does it with the care of someone sharing a delicate treasure.

This is not a typical cigar box, Maloney explains.  No, this is a cigar box with a history.

Imprinted with the name and image of Thomas R. Marshall, the cigar box seems the best way for Maloney to begin the story of Marshall, a once-famous Hoosier who nearly became president but who is remembered now, if at all, for a phrase he coined about cigars.

“What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar,” Marshall once said when he was vice president under Woodrow Wilson.  Although the phrase became etched in the American mind, Marshall didn’t.

Nearly everyone has heard the phrase, but they attribute it wrongly,” says the 33-year-old Maloney as he stands inside Marshall’s old home, which now serves as a museum for this northern Indiana community.  “People never seem to connect the phrase with Marshall.  They say, ‘Thomas who?’”

Maloney claims that was Marshall’s problem.  The former Indiana governor had a penchant for cracking jokes and one-liners that lasted far after his death in 1925.

Never one to take himself too seriously, Marshall summed up the influence of being vice president with the following story: “Once there were two brothers.  One ran away to sea; the other was elected vice president.  And nothing was ever heard of them again.”

Another example of his wit came in his farewell to the Senate, over which he had presided.  Removing a cigar from his mouth for just a moment, Marshall told the senators: I have been in the cave of winds.  I need a rest.

As the museum’s curator and tour guide, Maloney knows Marshall’s humor made him a popular vice president.  But if there’s a regret for Maloney, it’s that Marshall’s wit has overshadowed his accomplishments.

“People tend to forget the beneficial things Marshall accomplished during his life.  He had a definite impact as vice president and especially as governor.”

As governor from 1908 to 1912, the North Manchester native helped pass an employers’ liability law, a pure food law and a law on corrupt practices in elections.  Laws also were enacted requiring the medical inspection of schoolchildren, a minimum wage for teachers and taxation of corporations.

Partly because of that record, he was chosen as Wilson’s running mate and served as vice president from 1913 to 1921.  And when Wilson nearly died at the end of his second term, Marshall came close to being president.

“He’s often been criticized because he didn’t step in and assume the presidency when Wilson was
ill,” Maloney says.  “But it wasn’t that he was timid of ignoring his responsibilities.  It’s just that there was no political precedent for him to take the reigns.  And, besides, Wilson was very strong-headed about keeping power.”

So now, Maloney is not only in the position of defending Marshall, but also preserving his memory.  For someone who never has smoked a cigar, for someone who was born 25 years after Marshall died.  Maloney considers it a difficult, but welcomed task.

What attracts me to Marshall is that he was very concerned about the individual and equal opportunity.  Unity was very important to him.”

But for all of Marshall’s witty remarks and stories, there is one thoughtful incident that is rarely remembered.

It happened during World War I, when a Presbyterian chaplain in the Army feared he would be thrown out of his church for giving last rites to Catholic soldiers.  When the chaplain told Marshall about his concerns, the vice president replied, “We’ll go out of the church together, if it be necessary.”

“It would be nice if he was remembered for more than ‘a good five-cent cigar,’” Maloney says.

After that Maloney puts the cigar box back inside a wood cabinet, waiting for the next time someone will ask him to share the memory of a Hoosier many have forgotten.

Source: NMHS Newsletter, November 1990

Marshalls’ Sofa Finds Way Home After 65 Years

The 1895 sofa which was part of Thomas R. Marshall’s estate has been donated to the Whitley County Museum in Columbia City by George Francis Tapy in whose family the sofa has belonged since 1925.  A closeup detail of the sofa’s carving is seen in the photo on the right.

A North Manchester native, Marshall died on June 1, 1925.  From 1877 to 1908 he had occupied the house which is now a county museum.

Tapy’s father, a good friend of Marshall’s, served as a superintendent of schools both for South Whitley and later Whitley County.  Marshall was instrumental in securing for Tapy a post at Wabash College and on the Indiana State Board of Education.  In addition to the sofa, the Tapys bought at the estate sale the Marshalls’ dining room suite and a corner bookcase, still in the family.

of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

Story of Two Chairs

By the late Robert F. Lancaster
from files of Whitley County Historical Society and
reprinted with permission of the
POST & MAIL Columbia, City, Indiana

This is a story of two chairs.
One is a common, old-fashioned bent hickory rocker used for many years in Columbia City. The other was a massive and impressive looking, throne -like presiding officer's chair in Washington, D.C.  One was liked and used. The other was disliked and refused. Both concern Thomas Riley Marshall, born years ago on March 12, 1854 in North Manchester.

The old hickory rocker (pictured here) was the one that Tom Marshall and his law partners, William McNagny and Philemon Clugston, used in their law office on the second floor above the old Flox Store, now the Estlick Girvin and Lefever Insurance Agency diagonally northwest across the street from the Whitley County Courthouse.

The comfy, old rocker has a vacant, deserted look, but it's easy to visualize jovial Tom Marshall sitting in it, encircled in a cloud of smoke from "a really good five-cent cigar" and humorously telling a tale to an attentive listener.

This rocker was one of the most interesting articles on display for many years in the relic room down the hall from the courtroom on the third floor of the Whitley County courthouse. It was in this courtroom that the three members of the noted law firm appeared in many court cases in years gone by.

Records reveal that Marshall was admitted to the Whitley County bar in 1875, when he was 21, and for the next 33 years grew in professional stature until 1908, when he was elected 17th governor of Indiana.


The story of the massive chair there that Marshall disliked and refused to use is worth repeating to an older generation who may have heard and forgotten this "Marshall Story" and to younger readers who likely are not familiar with Marshall anecdotes. There are many good stories concerning this witty, humorous Hoosier that should be kept alive by the retelling of them.

Back in March 1913, just after Marshall became vice president and, as such, the Senate's presiding officer, on the rostrum he found that the huge chair in which he was supposed to sit was ill-fitting and much too large for him. He was lean and wiry, small in stature and weighed only about 130 pounds. He had the sergeant-at-arms remove this chair and replace it with a smaller one more suitable for his figure.

Senator Augustus O. Bacon of Georgia was then the chairman of a committee that had charge of the furnishings in the senate chamber. He was a large, dignified man and, had he worn a toga, would have resembled an old Roman senator. The chair would have been ideal for a man of his size, disposition and inclinations. He was a firm stickler for senate traditions and established precedents, and he disliked changes.

Marshall had the exchange of chairs made without consulting Senator Bacon, who was greatly displeased and irritated when he discovered what he called "a dinky little thing" in place of the regular vice president's "throne".

Resenting having had his authority ignored, he went to Marshall and, with a flushed face evidencing his extreme displeasure, rebuked the vice president for ordering the exchange of chairs without his consent.

Marshall, puffing away as usual on a cigar, and with eye twinkling merrily sat contentedly in the "dinky chair" and smilingly answered the reprimand.

"Now see here, Bacon," he drawled in his inimitable homespun Hoosier manner, "the people of the United States elected me vice president without ever seeing me or that big chair. I expect in the next four years to have to sit here in the senate chamber, "the cave of the winds." and listen to many long- winded speeches which you and other senators will deliver. I'll tell you right now that I am not going to have any additional punishment inflicted upon me by having to sit hour after hour, day in and day out, week after week, month after month in that big chair that I had removed. It was uncomfortable, much too big for me, and had me perched up so high that my feet dangled in the air as my legs were too short to reach the floor. Dignity or no dignity, I won't sit in it. No, not if I shatter every tradition of the honorable senate!"

That ended the chair affair. Marshall spent not only four but eight years sitting in a chair of his own choosing from 1913 until his two terms ended in 1921.

A little more about Marshall's old hickory law office rocker. My understanding is that its preservation is due to Rob R. and Phil M. McNagy, both attorneys and sons of Marshall's law partner. For several years the chair was on display in the Fort Wayne-Allen County Museum but was brought back to Columbia City and placed, where it more properly belongs, in Whitley County's relic room and later Whitley County Museum at 109 West Jefferson Street.

The Marshall era is long over, but memories linger on of this noted couple which almost reached the White House when Woodrow Wilson was so critically stricken, partially paralyzed and near death back in 1919.

Thomas Marshall died in Washington, D. C., on June l, 1925. Mrs. Lois K. Marshall, his widow, lived to be 85, and died in Arizona on January 6, 1958. Each year there are fewer people around who knew them personally or even ever saw them.