William Alfred Millis,
The History of Hanover College
From 1827 to 1927

(Hanover, Indiana: Hanover College, 1927).

Hanover Historical Texts Project

Scanned and proofread by Sadiye Amcaoglu, Nida Khan,
Julie Merkel, Jonathan Perry, Faiza Shah, and Cory Sims in November 2000.

Chapter III
The Corporation

[Page 37] Hanover College owes its corporate existence to the action of the Salem and Madison Presbyteries of the Synod of Kentucky. The Presbyterian Churches of all the territory north of the Ohio River and west of the state of Ohio in 1825 belonged to the Salem Presbytery which was a part of the Kentucky Synod. In October, 1826, the presbytery was divided by a north and south line, the western half becoming the Wabash Presbytery and the eastern part Madison Presbytery. In 1825 Salem Presbytery adopted a resolution providing for the establishment of an academy within its bounds, selecting Hanover as the place for the proposed school and the "Manual Labor System" developed in the Fellenberg-Pestalozzi schools of Germany, and employed in the Oneida Institute of New York, as the plan of organization. In the erection of the new Wabash and Madison Presbyteries, since Hanover was within the jurisdiction of the latter, the promotion of the academy project became the special responsibility of the Madison Presbytery. At the fall meeting, of the latter in 1826 at what is now Jefferson Church, Dr. Crowe was by resolution asked to open a private school preparatory to subsequent action of the Presbytery. At the meeting of this body in what is now the Kingston Church in April, 1828, the following, resolution was adopted: "Resolved, that this Presbytery do now take under its [Page 38] patronage and superintendence the school that has been opened by Mr. Crowe at Hanover." Later in the session the "plan" of organization proposed by a committee for the purpose, was adopted. This plan contained the, following provisions:

"Article 1. The school shall be known by the name Hanover Academy.

Article 2. It shall be under the superintendence and patronage of Madison Presbytery.

Article 3. The ordained ministers belonging to the said Presbytery, together with four laymen, in full communion the Presbyterian Church, living in the vicinity of the Academy, and elected annually by said ministers, shall constitute a Board of Trustees, for its superintendence and government and seven of whom shall constitute a quorum to do business.

Article 4. The Board of Trustees in connection with the Teachers of the Academy shall have power to make By-laws for the regulation of the school.

Article 5. A committee of three shall be appointed by the Presbytery at each of its stated meetings, called a visiting committee, whose duty it shall be to visit the school, once at least during the progress of each session, to attend its examinations at the close, and to report to Presbytery.

Article 6. An agent shall be appointed annually to solicit donations to aid the fund, and it is distinctly understood that all funds thus procured are to be at the disposal of the Trustees."

At the meeting of the Madison Presbytery in October of the same year, Judge Sullivan of Madison and Williamson Dunn of Hanover, were constituted a committee to apply to the General Assembly of the state of Indiana for a charter for the government of Hanover Academy. This petition was granted by the Legis- [Page 39] lature and on February 26, 1829, the " Act to incorporate Hanover Academy" became effective as follows:

"Whereas, it has been represented to this General Assembly that a number of the citizens of Jefferson County, residing in the vicinity of Hanover, in said County, have, by the aid of private contributions, established an academy at Hanover, by means of which a liberal education may be secured by the youth of the vicinity; and whereas it is represented to this General Assembly, that an act to incorporate said Academy, would greatly promote the laudable object of the citizens aforesaid, Therefore:

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, that John Finley Crowe, James H. Johnston, Williamson Dunn, George Logan, John M. Dickey, Samuel G. Lowry, Samuel Smock, William Reed, Samuel Gregg, and Jeremiah Sullivan, be, and they are hereby constituted and appointed a body corporate and politic, to be known by the name of "The Trustees of Hanover Academy"; and by that name shall have perpetual succession, with permission to adopt a common seal; with the power to alter or change the same at will; and as a body corporate shall be authorized to carry the object and design of said institution into complete effect; to increase the number of trustees whenever it may be deemed necessary; to employ or appoint professors or tutors in said Academy and put the same under the direction of any body of learned men whom they may select; to establish a constitution, by-laws and regulations for the government and well being of said Academy, the Professors, and Tutors 7 and Students thereof, not incompatible with the constitution and laws of the United States, or of this state; and by the name ,and style of the Trustees of Hanover Academy, may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded; answer and be answered unto, in any court of Law and Equity.

[Page 40] Section 2. In case of death, removal, or other disqualification of any of the Trustees of said Academy, or of their successors, a majority of the remaining Trustees shall have power to fill such vacancy; and the person or persons so appointed, shall be vested with the same power and authority, as if especially named in this Act; and at any meeting of the Board of Trustees seven shall be a quorum to do business. The Trustees elected and appointed, according to this act, and their successors in office, shall have power in their corporate capacity to purchase or receive, by donation, bequest, or devise, any lands, tenements, hereditaments, moneys, rents, goods or chattels, which may be conveyed, devised or bequeathed to them for the use and benefit of said Academy, and shall be required faithfully to apply the same: provided, however, that the land held by said Corporation at any one time shall not exceed one hundred and sixty acres.

The Trustee first named in this Act, or in case of his absence, death, or refusal to serve, the next person named, shall give notice of the time and place of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees, and on a majority of them attending, they shall elect a President, Treasurer, and Clerk; the first two of whom shall be members of the Board; and they shall thereafter meet on their adjournments; or they may be convened by the President, or any two members of the Board. They shall have power to erect all necessary buildings for the use and accommodation of said Academy and to select a site for the same.

This act to be in force from and after its passage."

The essential provisions of the above charter have been perpetuated in the subsequent charters of the College. It is interesting to note that this charter was granted in response to a petition of the presbytery, and that it was drafted by the committee to express the will of that body. The gentlemen named in the act [Page 41] were members of the presbytery, and by the original "plan of organization" already trustees of the school. It was the judgment of these men that was expressed in the provisions that the Board of Trustees should be a close corporation, electing their own successors without the supervision of Presbytery or Synod, and having permission to increase their number when in their judgment this might seem desirable. Thus Hanover Academy is the creation of Madison Presbytery but incorporated free from ecclesiastical control; Presbyterian in fact, but legally independent. Subsequent charters have preserved the principle of this relationship.

October first, 1829, a committee of the Board of Trustees of the Academy was organized and directed to request the Synod of Indiana to "take the institution under its care." This request, however, seems to have reached the floor of the Synod through a committee of the Madison Presbytery. The result of these negotiations was embodied in the following resolutions of Synod adopted October 17, 1829:

"Resolved 1. That this Synod adopt said Academy as their Synodical School; provided that the Trustees of the same will permit the Synod to establish a Theological Department, and to appoint the Theological Professors.

Resolved 2. That the Synod will take measures to establish a permanent fund for the support of the Theological Professors; and if at any time the Synod shall determine to establish another school within their bounds, the funds collected within the religion which the new school is designed to benefit, shall be apportioned to said new school; and if any new Synod shall hereafter be formed within the present limits of the Synod of Indiana, (Note: It would doubtless have appeared to the Synod when they adopted this resolution, is almost incredible that in [Page 42] less than thirty years, seven Synods should be found within those limits,) the amount of funds collected within the bounds of said new Synod shall be returned as soon as said Synod shall establish a school of their own.

Resolved 3. That this Synod appoint a Board of Directors to superintend the Theological Department of Hanover Academy.

Resolved 4. That the Synod appoint at this time a Theological Professor.

Resolved 5. That the Synod appoint a committee to prepare a plan of union to be agreed upon by the Trustees of the Academy and the Synod of Indiana; and also a plan for the regulation of the Theological Department; and that said Committee report at the next meeting of the Synod."

On the ninth of November of the same year the Board of Trustees of the Academy -accepted the proposal of Synod in their resolution:

"Resolved unanimously that the privilege be and is hereby granted to the Synod of Indiana, to establish a Theological Department in Hanover Academy; and further, the Board do hereby bind themselves and their successors in office, to appoint as Theological Professors, whomsoever the Synod may elect; and to appropriate faithfully, according to the direction of their Synod, whatever moneys may, by the Synod be put into their hands."

The foregoing agreement was further amended and ratified by a contract entered into by the Synod and the Academy Oct. 24, 1830, as appears below:


[Page 43] The Trustees of Hanover Academy agree to give to the Synod of Indiana, the supervision of said Academy, agreeably to the provisions contained in the following articles:

Article 1. That the Theological Seminary about to be erected by the Synod of Indiana, shall be located at Hanover Academy, or in its immediate vicinity, in Jefferson County; and in such connection with the Academy as is implied in the following articles; the Seminary being considered the Theological Department of said Academy.

Article 2. The Trustees of the Academy engage that the Synod, and the Directors appointed by them, shall have the entire control of the Theological Department in said Academy, without let or hindrance from them, the Trustees or their successors; that is to say, the Synod shall appoint their Directors, choose their Professors, carry on their instructions, govern their pupils and manage their funds as to themselves appear best. And the Trustees engage to appoint as Theological Professors in said Academy, whomsoever the Synod may elect; and to dismiss any Theological Professor or Professors, when required so to do by the Synod, or Board of Directors, and to appoint any person Professor pro tempore whom the Directors shall recommend, and they further engage to carry into effect all rules and regulations adopted by the Synod or Board of Directors in relation to the Theological Department; and to account for all moneys or property put into their hands by the Synod; and appropriate and manage the same according to the order and direction of the Synod.

Article 3. The Synod shall annually appoint a committee whose duty it shall be to visit the Academy at least twice a year, and report to the Synod.

Article 4. The Synod may from time to time make such suggestions and recommendations to the Trustees as they may think proper, respecting its management.

[Page 44] Article 5. The Trustees shall annually report to the Synod the state and prospects of the Academy.

Article 6. Alterations may be made in these articles of compact, or additions made to them by the joint concurrence of the Synod and the Board.

Article 7. These articles of compact shall be binding as soon as they shall have been signed by the Moderator and Stated Clerk of the Synod, and by the President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Moderator, Synod of Indiana.
Stated Clerk.

President of the B. T. H. Academy.
Sec'y. of the B. T. H. Academy."

Much has been said in these modern times of "interlocking directorates." It is interesting to observe that they are not a recent discovery. One traces the gloved hand of John Finley Crowe through all of the committees, resolutions and contracts of Presbytery, Synod and Legislature. The ministers constituting Madison Presbytery, with a minority of laymen, by these ministers appointed, elected themselves the Trustees of Hanover Academy. Later they secured confirmation of this action in the charter granted by the Legislature, with the further grant of the power to reelect themselves or choose their successors in office. In the conference held between committees of the Synod and the Trustees of the Academy, John M. Dickey sat as a member of both committees. Dr. John Matthews, Professor of Theology in the Academy and a member of its Board of Trustees was also Moderator of the Synod. Dr. [Page 45] Dickey, who represented the Synod in formulating the above contract, signed it as President of the Board of Trustees. James H. Johnston signed the contract as Stated Clerk of Synod and again as Secretary of the Board. The same group of men were Trustees of the Academy, the ministerial party of Presbytery, and the majority party of Synod.

The Board of Trustees adopted at their meeting December 10, 1831, a memorial to the Legislature "praying for an enlargement of the privileges of their charter and the right to confer Literary Degrees" (Crowe). The controversy over this application which developed between Hanover and Indiana College, and the temporary defeat of the measure because the legislators were convinced that one college would be enough for the state of Indiana for all time, was referred to in the preceding chapter. The Board, nevertheless, proceeded with the reorganization of the institution as a college, chose a faculty and elected a president. The new legislature granted the amendment which their predecessors had refused, and Hanover took her place among the liberal arts colleges of America in the summer of 1833. This action of the Legislature is of record in the following form:

"An Act to amend the act, entitled "An Act to incorporate Hanover Academy."

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, that the name of the Institution created by the act to which this is an amendment, shall be changed to "Hanover College." And the same shall hereafter be known by the name and style of "Hanover College." And the Faculty of said College, consisting of the President and the Professors thereof shall have the power of granting and conferring, by and with the approbation of the Board of Trustees, such degrees in liberal arts and sciences as [Page 46] are usually granted and conferred in other colleges in the United States, to students in the college, or others, who by their proficiency in learning, or other meritorious distinction may be entitled to the same; and to grant unto graduates diplomas or certificates under their common seal and signed by the faculty to authenticate and perpetuate the memory of such graduations; provided, however, that no decrees shall be conferred, or diplomas granted, unless each student has acquired the same proficiency in the liberal arts and sciences as is customary in other colleges in the United States.

Section 2. Those students in said College who are of sufficient bodily ability, shall during the time they continue as such be exercised and instructed in some species of mechanical or agricultural labor, in addition to the scientific and literary branches there taught. And the Trustees shall annually report to the Legislature the plan, progress and effects of such mechanical and agricultural exercise and instruction, upon health, studies and improvement of the students.

Section 3. The General Assembly of the State of Indiana, hereby reserves to itself the right and power of altering and amending this act of incorporation at any time after 1843, anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding."

Two provisions of the amendment deserve special comment, because of their exceptional character, and because both later became exceedingly embarrassing to the College. Section Two, so far as a diligent search reveals, is the first enactment requiring any college or school to make provision for vocational education. Section Three made it impossible for the College to secure relief for several years from the unexpected financial burdens which these trade schools imposed.

The College was governed by the Charter of 1833 [Page 47] until this was surrendered by the Board for "the Charter of Madison University when the effort was made to move the institution to the city of Madison in December, 1843. The charter of the Academy of 1829 was restored at the same time, and served as the instrument for the reestablishment and organization of the College in Hanover a few months later. The reorganized Board of Trustees promptly applied to the Legislature for a new college charter which was granted "without opposition or delay," says Dr. Crowe, who regards it as "superior in all respects" to the one surrendered. He further observes, "The new charter, freed from all the conditions and limitations under which the old one labored, made the college emphatically the college of the church, as it was to all practical interests and purposes placed under the control of the Synod of Indiana. " This new charter is here reprinted in full:

"AN ACT TO RECHARTER HANOVER COLLEGE. (Approved December 25, 1844.)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, that John Finley Crowe, Williamson Dunn, James M. Henderson, Daniel Lattimore, Tilly H. Brown, James A. McKee, Thomas W. Hynes, Robert Simenton, John Smock, James H. Graham, David Monfort, Jacob Haas, Thomas D. Young, John M. Young, George Logan and William Reed and their associates and their successors in office be, and they are hereby constituted a body corporate and politic in law by the name and style of "The Trustees of Hanover College" and by the said name and style shall have succession and exist forever. The whole' number of Trustees shall never be less than fifteen, nor more than thirty-two: Provided that if at any time, by death, removal, resignation or otherwise, the members of the said Board shall be reduced to a number less [Page 48] than fifteen, any number of said members, not less than nine, shall have the power at any legal meeting to fill so many of the vacancies so created, as that the whole number of members shall not be less than fifteen. The said Board of Trustees shall hold their first meeting on the eighth day of February, 1845, at one o'clock p.m. in the College Chapel at Hanover, and any seven, by this act constituted Trustees, being so met shall form a quorum for business at the said first meeting, and the Board thereafter shall meet annually, or oftener, at such times and places, as they shall by their own ordinances appoint. The said Board shall at their first meeting divide the members into four equal classes, as near as may be, the first class to go out of office on the day preceding the first annual commencement in the College, by this act provided to be established; the second class on the day preceding the second annual commencement; the third class on the day preceding the third annual commencement; and the fourth class on the day preceding the fourth annual commencement; and in the same manner forever after, so that one-fourth of the whole number, or as near thereto as may be, shall go out of office annually. Provided that the members of the said Board shall continue to hold their offices, until their successors shall be appointed and qualified.

Of the vacancies hereafter created in the Board, in whatever manner, one-half shall be filled by the Board, and the other half by the Synod of Indiana, in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, commonly known and distinguished as the Old School Presbyterian Church, provided that if the Synod shall at any time decline, or neglect to fill vacancies, which they are by this act authorized to fill, the Board shall have power to fill the same, until they shall be filled by the Synod aforesaid.

Section 2. The said Trustees, by this act incorporated, shall have power at any legal meeting to elect a [Page 49] President of their body, a secretary, treasurer and such officers as they shall think proper, whose term of office and duties shall be such as the Board may appoint, and to establish such ordinances and by-laws, not contrary to the Constitution and laws of this State, or of the United States, as they shall think fit for their own government, and the same to alter or repeal, to found in or near the village of Hanover, in the county of Jefferson, an institution for the education of the sons of the citizens of this state and other states, of every class and denomination who may resort to it, which institution shall be known by the name of Hanover College, to establish in the said College professorships for the instruction of the students thereof, in the several branches of liberal learning, to determine the courses of study, to appoint a President, Professors, and other instructors as they shall deem proper, and to remove the same at any regular meeting of the Board, by a vote of a majority of the whole number of members of the Board, after due notice shall have been given to each member of the object of the meeting.

The President and Professors shall be known by the name of the "Faculty of Hanover College" and shall have power to conduct the instruction and government of the students of said College, subject to such ordinances as the Trustees may establish, and by and with the consent of the Trustees, to grant all such degrees in the liberal arts and sciences as are customary in other colleges in the United States, and to give diplomas or certificates of the same, subscribed by the President and Professors and authenticated by the common seal of the College, provided that no such degree shall be granted to any person who shall not have made such attainments as are usually required as a qualification for the degree in other colleges.

The said Trustees and their successors shall moreover have the power to make and to use a common seal and the same to renew or alter at pleasure. They [Page 50] shall be, and are hereby made capable in law by the name and style of Trustees of Hanover College, to purchase, receive by donation, possess, sell, lease or otherwise manage or dispose of any lands, tenements or other hereditaments not exceeding at any one time in value one hundred thousand dollars; moneys, notes, bonds, bills, goods, chattels, devices or any other property of whatever kind, as they shall think proper for the use of said college, to contract or be contracted with, to sue and to be sued, plead and be impleaded, in any court or courts, before any Judge, Judges, or Justices, within this state or elsewhere, in all manner of suits, complaints, pleas, causes, demands or matters of whatever kind, nature or form, in as full and efficient a manner as any other body corporate or politic of like nature within the state may be.

Section 3. This act is hereby declared to be a public act, and shall be construed liberally for every beneficial purpose hereby intended and no omission to use any of the privileges hereby granted shall cause a forfeiture of the same, nor shall any gift, grant, conveyance or device to or for the use of said College be defeated or prejudiced on account of any misnomer or formality whatever, Provided the intention of the parties be shown beyond a reasonable doubt.

Section 4. The State reserves the right to alter and amend this act at any time by a vote of two-thirds of each branch of the General Assembly, Provided no alteration shall be made which shall change or affect the fundamental principles on which the objects for which the institution hereby provided to be established, is established.

Section 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage."

Obviously the provisions of the charter of l844 authorizing the Synod of Indiana to elect one-half of the trustees of the College involved a radical departure from the policy inaugurated by the Madison [Page 51] Presbytery in the original charter of the Academy. In practical operation this provision together with the participation of the representatives of the Synod on the Board in filling, other memberships, made it possible for Synod to exert complete control. As a matter of fact Synod soon lost interest in the matter, and President Fisher reports "that the Synod, in my day and before, occupied its right only to the extent of electing one-fourth." A minor amendment, extending the right of electing members of the Board to "other synods in connection with the General Assembly which may contribute to the endowment of the College," was made by the Legislature January 15, 1850. In 1909 the Board of Trustees and the Synod of Indiana joined in securing a second amendment to the charter of 1844 by which the provision for synodical participation in the election of trustees was annulled. The charter thus amended, and with another amendment increasing the amount of property which the Board may hold, is the charter today. By mutual agreement the Board elects annually a member nominated by the Alumni Association, and two members from four nominated by the Synod of Indiana. The charter, however makes no provision for either class of representation.

During the ninety-five years of the corporate existence of the institution three hundred and twenty-three persons have served on the Board of Trustees. All trustees except three of the present membership, have been men. Fifty-eight were alumni. Of the total number ninety-three have served ten years or more; thirty-nine, a period of twenty years or more; sixteen, thirty years or more; and five for forty years or more. The average term of service has been 8.65 years. Without exception trustees of long-term have been men of unusual ability and of great devotion to the College. To their wise and patient administration [Page 52] through good times and bad the College is deeply indebted. They have given freely of time and energy, and many of them of their means, without remuneration and for the most part without receiving their traveling expenses. The following table shows the names, location, occupation, and period of service of all those whose membership covered twenty or more years. Those whose names are checked with the (*) were Hanover men.


*Edward P. Whallon, D.D.,LL.D./Cincinnati/Minister/1879-.../48 yrs.
*John H. Holliday, LL. D./Indianapolis/Editor and Banker/1876-1921/46
*David W. Moffat, D. D., LL. D./Fort Wayne/Minister/1866-1870;1882-1920/46
James M. Ray/Indianapolis/Business/1834-44;1850-80/40
*Michael C. Garber/Madison/Editor/1882-1922/40
Charles E. Walker/Madison/Lawyer/1857-1895/38
Joseph G. Monfort, D. D., LL. D./Cincinnati/Minister/1847-1884/37
Joseph H. Barnard, D. D./Madison/Minister/1885-1920/35
John H. VanNuys, D. D./Goshen/Minister/1860-1894/34
*Oscar H. Montgomery/Seymour/Lawyer/1893-..../34
Charles Ailing/Madison/Business/1878-1911/33
*Amos W. Butler, LL. D./Indianapolis/Secretary Charities/1894-.../33
David D. McKee/Fairfield/Minister/1849-1857;1860-84/32
*Jasper W. LaGrange/Hanover/Business/1895-..../32
Elias R. Monfort, LL. D./Cincinnati/Business/1880-1910/30
Ambrose Y. Moore, D. D./Hanover/Minister/1866-72;1881-1904/29
John Finley Crowe, D. D./Hanover/College Professor/1832-1860/28
David W. Fisher, D. D./Hanover College President/1879-1907/28
*William 0. Ford/Madison/Lawyer/1895-1923/28
James Y. Allison/Madison/Business/1865-1893/28
*James E. Taggart/Jeffersonville/Lawyer/1899-..../28
James Blake/Indianapolis/Lawyer/1838-44;1849-70/27
James H. McCampbell/Madison/Business/1861-1888/27
Silas C. Day/New Albany/Business/1861-1886/25
*Manly D. Wilson/Madison/Lawyer/1899-1924/25
*John E. Hays/Louisville/Physician/1896-1921/25
Andrew Spear/Hanover/Physician/1832-44;1858-70/21
Wm. McKee Dunn/Washington,D.C./Lawyer/1845-1869/24
Charles N. Todd/Indianapolis/Business/1864 -1888/24
Williamson Dunn/Hanover/Business/1832-1855/23
Joseph M. Hutchinson, D. D./Jeffersonville/Minister/1874 -1896/22
*Archibald C. Voris/Bedford/Banker/1887-1909/22
*Thomas Searle Crowe/Jeffersonville/Minister/1847-60;1863-71/21
Howard S. Moffett/Madison/Business/1906-..../21
Daniel Lattimore/Vernon/Minister/1836-1856/20
David M. Stewart/Rushville/Minister/1845-56;1877-86/20
Robert Dean/Hanover/Business/1859-1879/20
Elias R. Forsythe/Greensburg/Business/1878-1898/20
*Henry Webb Johnson, D. D./South Bend/Minister/1892-1912/20

[Page 53] The comparison of the relative number of ministerial and lay members of the Board of Trustees for the first and last half of the century is interesting:

Total Number Trustees / Number Ministers / Number Laymen / % Ministers/ % Laymen
First Half Century ... 163 / 102 / 61 / 62.5 / 37.5
Second Half Century .160 / 63 / 97 / 39.5 / 60.5
Present Board....... 32 / 9 / 23 / 28.1 / 71.9

The number of Trustees elected and completing their term of service during the first half of the ninety-five years of the corporate history of the College is 182. The number elected and serving during the last half of the period is 116. Twenty-five were elected during the first half of the period and continued their membership into the second half. It appears that during the years of large synodical representation the personnel of the Board changed more rapidly. But it also appears throughout the history of the College that the Board had within its membership at all periods a large stabilizing body of men who brought to its deliberations the wisdom of long years of experience. At all times the Trustees were college educated, and able by experience to bring into discussions the viewpoints and practices of a number of other institutions.

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Hanover Historical Texts Project