It was an unusual even when a group of one hundred leading citizens of Indianapolis back in 1898 presented to William Fortune, then scarcely thirty-five years of age, a loving cup in recognition of his services in promoting the general welfare of the city. In that group were such men as former President Benjamin Harrison; James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier poet; and Harry S. New, Thomas Taggart and John W. Kern, themselves destined to be great political leaders and all of them to represent their state in the United State Senate.
It was thus that William Fortune was started upon a life-time of service for the public welfare. Almost thirty years later, in 1926, at a banquet in his honor, there was presented to him another appreciation, this time as "chairman of the Indianapolis Chapter, Red Cross, on completion of ten years of notable voluntary service in the cause of humanity in time of war and peace."
Now other years have passed and still this life of service for public good continues on its beneficent course. Few men have had such long and useful careers of public service.
The tribute at this Red Cross banquet ranged from President Coolidge down to prominent friends and co-workers of Mr. Fortune in Indianapolis and Indiana, and the emphasis was upon his constructive service to the cause of humanity everywhere. There has never been a time when he has been any less faithful in his efforts toward the general welfare of Indianapolis, but in the meantime his activites have constantly broadened so that they have comprehended a much wider field than his home city and even his home state.
The lastest instance of his public beneficence occurred in December, 1930, when he voluntarily contributed the full purchase price of thirty acres in Riverside Park of Indianapolis as the location of a new general hospital for World War veterans of the state to be erected by the U. S. Veterans Bureau.
This act was inspiringly described to the members of Congress by Representative Louis Ludlow in a speech on February 16, 1931, published in the Congressional Record.
"I arise in this brief interlude between serious debates," Mr. Ludlow said, "not to discuss this bill but to tell the House how one man found an opportunity in a big humanitarian way to do something worth while for the men who in their own turn of sacrifice had offered all they had that civilization might survive. More than a year ago the public-spirited officials and civic leaders of my home city, Indianapolis, promised the Veterans Bureau Board of Hospitalization that if the board would locate a World War veterans hospital in Indianapolis a suitable site would be furnished to the Government without a cent of cost. The board took them at their word. A wonderful site of thirty acre of park land in a setting of transcendent beauty was chosen. Then arose a dilemma. The city had no legal right to give away any part of the public domain but it did have a right to have park land appraised and sold at the appraised value. The Federal Government, on its part, could not erect a hospital except on land of which it owns the fee-simple title. The solution obviously was through appraisal and sale to third parties and a retransfer by those parties to the Government.
"So this beautiful and valuable site of thirty acres was appraised and a value was placed upon it, and while there was talk of soliciting contributions to buy it and much speculation was going on as to how the money would be raised, one of our citizens whose life has been a life of service and who has done many acts of benefit to the world in which he lives, modestly asked permission to buy the site and donate it to the Government. Through the generosity of this citizen - a generosity that reflects the size of his heart - the title to this tract has already passed to the Government and nowhere in America, or perhaps around the world, is there a hospital site better located or more admirably adapted to general hospitalization purposes.
"Mr. William Fortune, of Indianapolis, who made this munificent gift to the Nation, is a modest philanthropist whose unostentatious beneficences have endeared him to the citizens of our city and state. His activities are multilateral. He has been a leader in movements for the welfare of those who served in the military and naval forces of the United States. He was chosen chairman of the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross at its inception in July, 1916, and has been its chairman ever since. He goes about constantly trying to do good and his latest act donating the hospital site has made possible the construction of that splendid institution without delay.
"James E. Watson, the senior senator from our state, who has a rare gift of expression, made articulate the sentiments of our Indiana people when he wrote to Mr. Fortune:
'I want to congratulate you upon your most generous gift of the site for the new United States veterans hospital. This is but renewed evidence of the public spirit that has characterized your conduct for a long number of years.'
'I can not conceive of a finer life to live or of a more satisfactory way to make the journey than the one you have chosen and followed so religiously. You were richly endowed by nature for this work and you have added to those natural endowments an invaluable experience that has strengthened your fitness to carry on in this favored fashion.
'If we had more people willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the public and for the improvement of living conditions generally our country would be all the better off, our private lives all the more beautifully lived, and our public affairs more harmoniously and happily conducted. I count it a privilege to know you and to number you among my friends.'
"I can not add anything to what Senator Watson has so well said, but the more I reflect on what Mr. Fortune has done in extending the blessings of the very best hospital treatment to sick and suffering soldiers the more I admire the nobility of the example he sets to other men of means whose hearts, I hope, will be similarly touched."
In a letter to Congressman Ludlow expressing appreciation for his tribute to Mr. Fortune, Judge John Barton Payne, national chairman of the American Red Cross, said: "I have been associated with Mr. Fortune since I came to the Red Cross, nearly ten years ago, and have constantly relied upon his advice and judgement with the greatest satisfaction. I have found him always constructive and helpful and it affords me the greatest pleasure to join with you in a tribute to him and his splendid generosity and patriotism."
In a brief sketch of the life of William Fortune is obvious that only the high lights of his work can be noted, and perhaps in such a way as to suggest how his activities and influences have fitted into movements involving many other public spirited men in creating new standards and new ideals for his city and state.
William Fortune is a native of Indiana, born at Boonville, Warrick County, May 27, 1863. His father, William Harrison Fortune, was born in Ohio, in 1836, and was a Union soldier in the First Indiana Cavalry. The mother of William Fortune was Mary Sinclair, daughter of Wayman and Elizabeth (Douglas) Sinclair, of Virginia and North Carolina, who purchased a large plantation in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, in 1813 and settled there a few years later. William Fortune has little formal schooling, but at the age of thirteen was given employment in the printing office of the Boonville Standard, and like many other men found a printing office a university of opportunities for intellectual growth and development. Before he was seventeen years of age he wrote a history of his native county, and he was handling much of the editorial work of the paper. When he was eighteen year old he accompanied Gen. James C. Vech in a tour of the Lincoln country of Southern Indiana, taking interviews from people who remembered the Lincoln family while they were living in Spencer County, and thus he helped to contribute to the great mass of "Lincolniana."
Mr. Fortune in January, 1882, began work on the Indianapolis Journal, then owned by John C. New and his son, Harry S. New, and two years later he succeeded Harry New as city editor, serving four years. During the Harrison presidential campaign of 1888 he acted as special representative of the New York Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Press, Pittsburgh Dispatch and Cleveland Leader. For a brief period he was editor and publisher of the Indianapolis Press. Soon afterward he was called to editorial work on the Indianapolis News, under John H. Holliday, the founder of that paper. This work brought him his first opportunity for influencing the advancement of his city. With the encouragement of Mr. Holliday he sought through a series of editorial articles in the News to overcome the ultra-conservatism that controlled the city. Under his initiative there was organized in February, 1890, the Indianapolis Commerical Club with whose activities a new era in the development of the city was started. The charter membership of twenty-seven increased to over a thousand within a month. Mr. fortune became the executive officer of the club, as secretary with Col. Eli Lilly as the first president. He served as secretary until 1895, as vice president until 1897, and thereafter for a term as president.
One of the first apparent needs of Indianapolis was the development of a modern system of streets. Only two blocks of the city at that time were paved. In this, as in many public improvement ideas, there was lock of understanding and this new Commercial Club felt one of its first duties was to awaken Indianapolis to the possibilities for itself through such improvements. It was not possible to take large numbers of citizens to other cities to see results for themselves, and so Mr. Fortune conceived the idea of having an exposition on street paving brought to the citizens of Indianapolis. Accordingly such an exposition, the first of its kind, was organized. It attracted wide attention, mayors and councils of many other cities coming to Indianapolis to learn of street paving methods through this exposition.
There was immediate recognition of the fact that the then confused and inefficient form of government of the City of Indianapolis needed radical changes, if the city was to embark upon a program of physical development. The Commercial Club under its leadership went about getting such a charter, and did get it, even against great opposition.
Another immediately apparent improvement needed for the city was elimination of railroad grade crossings. Main line railroads crossed the center of the city. The city administration proposed construction of a few viaducts. Realizing that the beginning of such a solution would commit the city to use this method thenceforward, Mr. Fortune, as secretary of the Commercial Club, made an extensive investigation and brought in a report, urging elevation of the tracks, instead of a system of viaducts for a city of level streets. As a dinner for consideration of the subject, this report was submitted, and it resulted forthwith in the creation of a Track Elevation Commission. Colonel Lilly, as president of the Commercial Club, was made its chairman and Mr. Fortune its secretary. Four years later, at Colonel Lilly's death, Mr. Fortune was made chairman, and continued at the head of the movement for sixteen years.
Only the determine of a leader who would not be swerved from his course could have brought success to the movement. There were innumerable delays and interventions of every sort, the opposition making use of political situations, court actions, and every other method known to the era. It was not until shortly before the beginning of the World war that success of the effort was assured, and a program of downtown elevation, involving expenditure of ten million dollars, was brought under way. With success assured, there seemed no further necessity of active effort, but in 1918 a reactionary move again made itself apparent, and once again Mr. Fortune, then president of the reorganized Chamber of Commerce, was called into action. This time the intervention of the Federal Government was necessary to make certain of final success. Downtown elevation was completed in 1920, itself a monument to the tireless, determined leadership of this man.
The success of the paving exposition perhaps suggested the value of making Indianapolis a convention city. It was under Mr. Fortune's leadership that Indianapolis in 1893 entertained the reunion of the Grand Army of the Republic, the greatest and most successful encampment in the history of that organization, in the course of which more than three hundred thousand visitors were in the city. As executive director of the encampment Mr. Fortune perfected a new form of organization for more efficient and economical management, and the encampment in Indianapolis was conducted at an expense far below the amount of the fund provided. Consequently he was able to turn back a large part of the appropriations and contributions, retaining enough to establish a permanent organization for the bringing of conventions to Indianapolis. This was the first permanently organized activity for the bringing of conventions to any American city.
From his work in Indianapolis promoting street paving and track elevation it was only a natural development that Mr. Fortune should become a leader in the Indiana good roads movement. He was president of the first Indiana Good Roads Congress, held in 1894.
These were some of the public services emphasized by the hundred citizens who presented him with a loving cup in 1898, but then, as always, William Fortune's private business has been invested with a public interest. In connection with his advocacy of street paving he saw a field for a magazine devoted to municipal engineering problems, and in 1890 founded the Municipal Engineering Magazine, of which he was owner until 1912. For twelve years he was at the head of nine of the independent telephone companies in Indiana, including the New Long Distance Telephone Company and the Indianapolis Telephone Company, which were operated at rates for service, involving savings to the public estimated at more than twelve million dollars. It was under his direction that automatic service was inaugurated in Indianapolis in 1917. He was for several years president of the Inter-State Life Assurance Company, which afterwards was merged with Federal Life Insurance Company. In 1913 he became a large stockholder, director and chairman of the finance committee of Eli Lilly & Company, continuing until 1927. Since 1920 his time and efforts have been occupied almost wholly with tasks for public benefit.
The success of the Indianapolis Commercial club led to many similar organizations in other cities of Indiana, and Mr. Fortune subsequently brought many of them into a statewide organization known as the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, of which for several terms he was president. In this capacity he led a successful campaign for a new form of county and township government, and in the first year after the new form of government was in operation official reports showed tax savings of over three million dollars.
In the winter of 1894 Mr. Fortune was one of a committee, the other members of whom were H. H. Hanna and Colonel Lilly, which administered a plan of relief to the unemployed so effectively that it became internationally known as the "Indianapolis Plan of Relief for Unemployed." The plan involved fundamentally, furnishing work on useful public projects to unemployed needy men to enable them to earn the relief needed, and improvement in the machinery of relief to make sure that ll were adequately and fairly provided for. It aimed to save the unemployed from pauperizing influences. Nearly forty years later, in the winter of 1930-1931, the fundamental purpose of the plan was again put into use in Indianapolis and other cities in a program of "made work" by which needy unemployed persons again were given opportunity to earn their relief.
In 1911 Mr. Fortune represented his city and state in a tour of European cities to study municipal and commercial problems under the auspices of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, and was chosen as speaker for the delegation at dinners of luncheons in London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Prague and several other European cities.
When the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross was organized, in 1916, Mr. Fortune was made its chairman. He has served as its chairman continuously since its organization. In the early days of American participation in the World war the Indianapolis Chapter was called into action to mobilize the city for Red Cross war service. One of the first tasks was the raising of a large sum of money for the national Red Cross war service program. Indianapolis was assigned a quota not though possible of achievement, yet $200,000 of it was raised at a dinner preliminary to the soliciting campaign, and the full amount was oversubscribed by nearly $200,000, with $494,000 actually raised. The chapter in its second roll call enlisted over 100,000 members in Indianapolis. During the war Mr. Fortune was at the head of all organized war activities in Indianapolis except three.
When, early in 1917, the old Commercial Club was reorganized as the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Fortune was by unanimous vote asked to served as its first president, which he consented to do on the condition that the Chamber would raise a fund of $50,000 devoted specifically to expanding the work of the organization. They actually raised nearly double this amount. Thus the Chamber of Commerce launched upon a broad program of activity for the advancement of the city, its foremost task at that time being the organization of Indianapolis industries for war service. Mr. Fortune was leader of public movements that during the war raised more than four million dollars for war relief and other public purposes, and is credited with leadership in raising more money by private contributions for public purposes than any other citizen in the history of Indiana.
There was growing evidence of the need of a new plan of action in the raising of war funds. Almost every week a new campaign for war funds was started. As president of the Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Red Cross, Mr. Fortune caused a study of similar situations in other cities to be made, and from this determined that Indianapolis needed to merge its money raising activities in an orderly way. He called a meeting of leading citizens, and there submitted his recommendations. At that meeting organization of the Indianapolis War Chest was voted and Mr. Fortune was drafted as its chairman, with broad powers to determine the methods under which it should operate and to select all members of the board of directors in addition to himself. Three weeks from that night an organization of 4,000 workers had been formed and had raised as the goal a fund of $3,000,000 for the support of local charities. The Indianapolis Community Fund three years later became the successor to the War Chest.
In 1923 the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce again called Mr. Fortune to a public task. Impressed with the necessity of attention to the cost of local government, it asked Mr. Fortune to lead a movement for reducing its cost. Under his direction the civic affairs department of the Chamber was reorganized for this purpose. In the succeeding eight years his committee has been instrumental in saving millions of dollars in taxes for the citizens of Indianapolis, and the work of the committee has been described in national publications, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States holding it up as a model for other Chambers and commercial organizations desiring local tax economies.
Mr. Fortune, in recogntion of his work with the Indianapolis Chamber, was made a member of the committee on state and local taxation of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, at a time when it was entering the movement to organize local chambers for taxation activities. He served as chairman of this committee for the year 1926, and has been a member of the committee continuously.
Through Mr. Fortune's initiative the law was enacted creating the Community Welfare Board as an executive department of Indianapolis, and Mr. Fortune has been chairman of the board since its organization in 1919.
After the close of the war many national Red Cross responsibilities were placed upon him. He was member of the committee of three which administered the fund of three million dollars for relief in the tri-state tornado disaster of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana in 1925.
In 1926 he was chairman of the National Convention of the Red Cross.
In 1927 he was the honorary national representative of the Red Cross at the American Legion convention in Paris, and in the same year was elected to life membership on the General Board of Incorporators of the American National Red Cross.
In appreciation of services rendered by him he as, in 1904, honored by edict of the Emperor of China with the decoration of the Order of the Double Dragon, with the rank of a mandarin, and emissaries were sent to him three times to try to induce him to come to China, with the offer on the third visit to provide for him a palace to be furnished in American fashion.
Mr. Fortune was elected sixteenth president of the American Peace Society, founded in 1828, oldest national organization in the peace movement, as the successor of Senator Theodore E. Burton, and served two years in that office, effecting a reorganization of the society for the purpose of making it the more effective voice of the business leaders of the country in the cause of peace. He has been honorary vice president and a member of the board of directors of the society since that time.
He is a life member of the American Historical Association and the Indiana Historical Society, and honorary life member of the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society and a member of the Mississippi Valley Historical Society. In 1926 the Indiana Society asked him to join the movement for a memorial to George Rogers Clark, and he became chairman of the movement and subsequently, after the creation of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Commission, he was a member of the commission and served as its president until June, 1928.
Mr. Fortune was a warm friend of James Whitcomb Riley, the friendship starting when oth were on the staff of the Indianapolis Journal. In 1906 they made a trip through Mexico together, and in the last year of the poet's life Mr. Fortune was chairman of the executive committee in charge of the national dinner given in tribute to Riley at Indianapolis. In 1920 Mr. Fortune purchased Riley's old home on Lockerbie Street, in Indianapolis, preserving it until it could be taken over for permanent maintenance by the James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Association.
Mr. Fortune is a member of the Metropolitan Club (Washington, D.C.), Century Club (president 1892), University, Indianapolis Athletic, Contemporary and Woodstock Clubs, the Indianapolis Art Association, and an honorary director of the Boys' Club.
Mr. Fortune married, November 25, 1884, Miss Kay Knubbe, daughter of Frederick and Jerusha A. Knubbe, of Michigan City. She died September 28, 1898, leaving three children, Russell, Evelyn (Mrs. Frederic Clay Bartlett) and Madeline (Mrs. Bowman Elder).
It is not possible to quote from the numerous tributes of friends and associates to Mr. Fortune's manifold activities as a public benefactor, but to conclude this brief biography it seems appropriate to quote a few of the sentences spoken by the Indiana author, Mereditch Nicholson, at the time of the Red Cross dinner: "Those of you who know him as a good citizen, as a man who is unselfishly giving of his time, his energy and his brains to good causes, and has done it all his life, think of him as a public character, a valuable citizen. But for a minute I am going to talk of William Fortune in that day when I knew him first, away back yonder when he built his first home in Woodruff Place. It was my privilege to see the building of William Fortune's home, and what a sweet and beautiful spirit he brought to that labor! He had come up from the country and developed as a newspaper man; he worked hard and had ideas and was a valuable man to his newspaper and newspapers elsewhere that he served. And what a joy it was to know the beautiful wife, and the children that came to them in that home out there under the beeches, one of the sweetest homes it has ever been my privilege to know! And what a lovely spirit presided over that home - her unfailing sympathy, her cheer and understanding meant so much, not only to Mr. Fortune and the dear children, but to all who were privileged to know their home!"
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INDIANA ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OF AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT Vol. 5
By Charles Roll, A.M.
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931
CHARLES E. PAULEY, who died April 15, 1930, was one of Indiana's most successful business men in his chosen vocation, that of printer and publisher, having gained an eviable reputation and amassed a competence in the twenty-four years he had been located in Indianapolis. His word was accepted by his business associates in lieu of a contract and his force of character is indicated by what he accomplished. His plant was housed in the Printcraft Building, at 225 North New Jersey Street, which he built in 1922.
Mr. Pauley was born January 15, 1868, near Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana, the son of Joseph H. and Nancy (Morris) Pauley, the latter a native of Missouri. The mother died when Charles was but two years old. His education was obtained largely in the country school known as Lemon's Corner School, about seven miles northeast of Greenfield, Indiana. He was issued a teacher's license but decided to learn the printer's trade, which continued to hold an extreme fascination for him even long after he had attained financial affluence. As a journeyman printer he set type by hand on the Indianapolis Sentinel and in the United States Weather Bureau printing offices in Vicksburg and New Orleans.
It was during this time that the hand compositor or typesetter faced the certainty of being supplanted by the linotype machine, a mechanical device for the production of printing surfaces. Mr. Pauley, possessing a remarkable amount of mechanical and inventive genius, at once began studing the intricacies of this device, culminating his education with matriculation at the Mergenthaler School in Brooklyn, New York. He then moved his family to Logansport, Indiana, where he took charge of the linotype machines of the Logansport Journal.
In May, 1906, he returned to Indianapolis and purchased one linotype machine and started in business for himself in the Union Block. The growth of his business was remarkably progressive, as evidenced by the fact that for the next eleven years he added one linotype each year until the battery consisted of twelve machines. To these he added a general printing equipment. This growth naturally necessitated a number of changes to larger quarters, the first move being to 37 South Capitol Avenue, the second to 19 North Alabama Street, and then to the Elks Building at 112 East Maryland Street, which he purchased. His last move was to the Printcraft Building, a modern six story structure which he had erected as an ideally arranged building for printers, the C. E. Pauley Company occupying the entire first floor.
Mr. Pauley was married on July 27, 1888, to Gertrude Chamberlain at Greenfield, Indiana. She was the daughter of Mary M. and Samuel Chamberlain (the latter an attorney), both natives of Ohio. She died April 9, 1928.
The only surviving child is Hazel Gertrude, the wife of Edmund H. Koon. Mrs. Koon is president of C. E. Pauley & Company, Inc., which organization continues the business Mr. Pauley had established.
The other children, now deceased, were: Mary Ethel, who married Lee V. Merriman; Mabel Edna, who married Frank H. Meredith, and Margaret K. Pauley.
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INDIANA ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OF AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT Vol. 5
By Charles Roll, A.M.
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931