Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

One Township's Yesterdays Chapter XLVII  


THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES came to Lake Maxinkuckee one summer day in 1905. On July 14th, the Culver Summer Naval School had the honor of a visit from Vice President CHARLES W. FAIRBANKS, who was received with considerable йclat and with the formalities befitting a guest of prominence.

During his stay at the lake, the Vice President was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. CHARLES E. COFFIN, of Indianapolis, at their summer cottage.

In the afternoon, according to a first-hand account of the visit, "Major L. R. GIGNILLIAT and (his brother) Lieutenant Commander THOMAS H. GIGNILLIAT (Commander of the Naval School) called at the COFFIN cottage in the Auto flag boat," the "Togo," with LESTER LA BOUNTY in charge as engineer. Mr. FAIRBANKS came aboard accompanied by his host, Mr. COFFIN, and after a spin around the lake at a clip of about sixteen miles an hour the launch was headed for the school pier.

Six cutters under the command of Lieutenant H. C. BAYS were drawn up in line across the bay, and on the approach of the distinguished visitor a salute was fired from the hotchkiss guns in the bows, the oars meanwhile being tossed in each cutter. The engine was stopped on the flag boat and the Vice President raised his hat in acknowledgment of the salute. The party then landed at the Academy pier, at the shore end of which was stationed the school band of thirty pieces, each member uniformed entirely in white. As Mr. FAIRBANKS stepped ashore the band sounded the General's march, and during his stay on the grounds, rendered a concert. From the pier the party passed through a double line of cadet sentries standing rigidly at salute, to the school library, then in the east end of the present Administration Building or East Barrack, where an informal reception followed. There were present Mrs. H. H. CULVER and the officers ladies of the post.

Mr. FAIRBANKs then visited the Riding Hall and the Gymnasium and went through a portion of the cadet quarters. He expressed surprise at the completeness and extensiveness of the plant and the equipment and the efficiency of the corps. After witnessing the evening parade and the lowering of the Colors, he returned to the COFFIN cottage in one of the naval cutters manned by a picked crew. As the Vice President stepped aboard, the crew tossed oars and arose from the thwarts, this latter act being additional to the usual salute and made only on occasions of the visit of persons of unusual distinction.

CHARLES W. FAIRBANKS held office from 1905 to 1909, during the administration of President THEODORE ROOSEVELT. The Vice President was a native of Ohio, but was an Indiana man by adoption and was a resident of Indiana when elected. He practiced law in Indianapolis.

The Honorable WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN visited Culver Military Academy, May 18, 1905. He got off the early morning train and arrived at the Academy before any of the officials were on duty. As soon as his presence was -made known, everything possible was done to make his visit pleasant. He delivered an address at Chapel in the morning. WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, JR., the son of the "Great Commoner," was en rolled for the season of '05 in the Culver Summer Naval School. He arrived early in June and made his home with Capt. GLASCOCK until the summer school opened. While in the naval school that summer, the boy celebrated his sixteenth birthday. Mrs. RALSTON gave a dinner at the Academy, June 25th, in honor of the occasion.

CHARLES HAYES, who at that time conducted a restaurant near the railroad station, recalls distinctly the democratic arrival of the illustrious Democrat. The train had come in and had gone on, leaving the great political figure alone on the station platform. He stood there, apparently unrecognized. There had been no one at the station to meet him. His arrival had been unexpected. HAYES remembers that impressive figure of the famous Nebraskan, the distinguished bearing, the big broad brimmed soft hat, from beneath which appeared the long curls of hair, so often portrayed in the cartoons of many years, and the face, with strong features and full of character, and the long coat and modest attire that so characterized the man who for so long a period was leader of his party.

In striking contrast to this visit was BRYAN's triumphant coming to these parts in the autumn of '04, when he was greeted by four thousand enthusiastic people at Plymouth one October day, and when he spoke to about three thousand at Rochester.

When the third session of the Culver Summer Naval School closed, August 24, 1904, Capt. RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON, U. S. N:, national hero, was present and gave an address. Captain HOBSON was still living at the age of sixty-three, June, 1934. He was the heroic American naval officer who, during the War with Spain, "bottled up" Cervera's fleet in Santiago Harbor, Cuba. Congress decided to make him Rear Admiral on retired pay for his heroism in the sinking of the Merrimac at the entrance to the bay.

H. L. Wilson, U. S. Minister to Chili, home on leave of absence, spent two weeks in late August and early September, 1904, at the Vajen cottage on Lake Maxinkuckee.

General FINLEY spoke at the Assembly Hall, Culver, Oct. 31, 1904.

Governor MOUNTMINE to the Academy in the late 'nineties.

Colonel WILLIAM F. CODY, "BUFFALO BILL," visited the Academy in the early 'teens of the new century. It was the year his grandson was in the Academy. Cody was the last of the six great scouts of America.

To the Academy also came MADAM SCHUMANN-HEINCK, more than once, and General HUGH SCOTT, General LEONARD WOOD, General JOHN J. PERSHING, and a host of military figures, from the States and from abroad. In 1924 came General JOSEF HALLER, Polish war hero, soon after Poland had regained her freedom. FREDERICK PALMER, ace journalist and war correspondent, visited the school in January, 1916. Came also WILL ROGERS, and the editors of all the big South American newspapers, and the Fidac on two visits, and the Indiana Literary Society.

An outstanding event in Academy history was the coming of Vice President THOMAS R. MARSHALL of the WOODROW WILSON administration, 1913-21.

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY, Hoosier poet, used to come to Lake Maxinkuckee and write of the beauties thereof. His nephew, EDMUND EILET, in the years at the beginning of the new century, would spend summer weekends at the lake, stopping at the Arlington.

The Governor of Indiana came to Culver in the Autumn of 1904. WINFIELD T. DURBIN, twenty-fourth Governor of the State, visited the Academy, October 20, 1904. He was met at the depot by Major L. R. GIGNILLIAT and Dr. E. E. PARKER, and taken by man-of-war cutter, manned by ten Naval School cadets, across the upper end of Lake Maxinkuckee to the Academy grounds.

An incident of that voyage is recalled. A heavy wind, almost a gale, was blowing at the time, but the cadets had not forgotten how to handle an oar since the Summer term, and the Governor complimented them on their rowing and seaman-like handling of the boat.

At the Academy, the party was received by the Superintendent, Colonel A. F. FLEET and his staff. A salute of seventeen guns was fired by a detachment of cadet artillery, and the usual formalities followed.

The Honorable A. L. BRICK, member of Congress from the Thirteenth District, arrived at Culver about twenty minutes later than the Governor and was taken to the Academy in a carriage, escorted by a detachment of cavalry commanded by Capt. H. J. NOBLE. The Congressman was accompanied by State Senator Parks and Mr. GROVES. The distinguished visitors inspected South Barrack, the new Gymnasium, and other parts of the plant, reviewed the battalion of cadets, dined with the Superintendent in the Mess Hall, and finally were escorted to the Assembly Grounds by the Black Horse Troop.

Governor Durbin was elected to office in 1900 and served the term, ending in 1904.

Congressman ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRICK, during the tenure of his office as representative of the people, served in a most able manner and established a record such as few others in a like trust have been capable of equaling.

One reads in an old newspaper how the Republicans of Marshall County are to hold a grand rally at Culver, October 20, 1904, at the Assembly tabernacle, and the meeting is to be addressed by the Hon. WINFIELD T. DURBIN and Hon. WILLIAM H. ENGLISH, and the Governor is to be escorted by the famous Black Horse Troop. And the school board is granting the children the privilege of seeing and hearing Governor Durbin. "Them were the days!" A prominent lake visitor and cottager was Colonel Josiah Farrar of Peru, whose cottage was at the south end of Lake Maxinkuckee. In late years, Rear Admiral WILLIAM A. MOFFET, chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, U.S.N., visited Culver several times and became fond of the lake and surroundings. He was especially interested in the Culver Summer Schools, with which also have been associated such prominent figures in American naval history as Admirals Ross and Rodman.

Notables have come and come and come. In August, 1934, the guns are again roaring at the Academy, a salute of nineteen of them in honor of Governor T. F. GREEN of Rhode Island. Time wears on. And still they come, all kinds of distinguished visitors, drawn by the lakes, the Academy, and by friends who are lovers of the region that we choose to call the land of Maxinkuckee.

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