Journal Diary Calvin Fletcher

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The historical document in question is a journal or diary entry authored by Indiana State Senator Calvin Fletcher in the winter of 1832 in Indianapolis. The document mainly pertains to his willingness to support a charter for a state bank and his opposition to a charter for “ten independent Banks”.

Calvin Fletcher was a valued member of society in Indianapolis from his arrival in 1821 until his death in 1866.  Among the many hats that Mr. Fletcher wore was that of state senator, successful lawyer, businessman, farmer and devoted father and husband.  He was also active in a number of organizations in the city.

Fletcher was born in Ludlow, Vermont, on 4 February 1798, to Jesse and Lucy Keyes Fletcher. He had 10 siblings to which he was very close.  He moved west and settled in Urbana, Ohio in 1815. He became a school teacher and took the law bar exam under the tutelage of James Cooley.  He married Sarah Hill while practicing law in Urbana. They moved their family to Indianapolis in 1821.

After a short time in Indianapolis, he was elected to the position of prosecuting attorney for the Marion County and took cases throughout the state.  He became an Indiana state senator in 1825 and stayed in office until he resigned in 1833 due to his opposition to the State bank bill.  Even though he never ran for office again, he continued to be active in political circles by drafting proposed free school legislation, participating in debates, and being in attendance at political conventions.  During this time, Fletcher was part of a successful law partnership and collection business with Ovid Butler and later Simon Yandes.  Fletcher left this business in 1845.

The document itself revealed that the author was a state senator at the same that Noah Noble was in the office of the governor. The document also revealed that John Ewing was also a fellow state senator with the author. A visit to the Indiana Historical Society website provided a list of Indiana State senators during the term of Governor Noble. The document also tells the reader that the author had been in the state senate for seven straight years at the time of the writing of the document. The document mentions the names of the author's children and by process of elimination and by reading the senator's biographies on the Historical Societies website I was able to identify the author of the document and gather background information about him. Fletcher was a member of the Indiana Historical Society, the Indianapolis Benevolent Society, the local temperance committee, and other groups.

Calvin Fletcher's journal entries began early in 1817, with spotty entries until 1835, when they become more regular, and ended in 1866 with his death.  Sarah Hill Fletcher began to write her diary in 1821 and continued to do so until 1838.  Mrs. Fletcher's diary helps to fill in the gaps in Mr. Fletcher's journal.  Together the Fletcher diaries construct a detailed view of life in Indianapolis in the 1800's.

Included in Fletcher's journals are his thoughts on current events of the time, his business activities, his political, social and family life, and his business travels.  He also wrote down his weather observations on a daily basis.  The journals also became a source of information concerning early Indiana government and the activities of the Indiana Senate while Fletcher was in office, media available to residents of the Midwest during this time period, the school system of Indianapolis, economic and banking institutions, farming conditions, and a variety of law cases.