Mr. Overstreet is a member of the third generation of his family in Indiana, being a grandson of Samuel Overstreet, a native of Virginia, who early settled in Kentucky. From Oldham county, Ky., he moved to Johnson county, Ind., in 1834, among the early pioneers of that section, where he settled down to farming. He died at the advanced age of eighty-two years. Samuel Overstreet was twice married, first to Elizabeth Hawkins, and second to Whitesides. He had a large family, all born to the first marriage, and we have record of the following: Rev. Robert M., a Presbyterian minister, is now living retired at. Emporia, Kans.; Richard T. was a banker at Franklin, Johnson Co., Ind.; James and William were merchants at Franklin; John was a farmer; Elizabeth became the wife of John Herriott, merchant, pork packer, farmer and land owner; Matilda married L. W. Fletcher, of Johnson county, later of Indianapolis, farmer, pork packer and banker; Gabriel M. was the father of Hon. Jesse Overstreet; and there. were several others, some of whom died in infancy. The Overstreet family is of English extraction.
Gabriel M. Overstreet was but fourteen years old when his father moved to Johnson Co., Ind., in 1834, and he grew to manhood on the pioneer farm. But he had other ambitions for himself, and in order to aid him in securing the education he desired his father advanced him a share of his estate, which he sold for $6oo—a large sum in those days. This sum, together with what he had saved from his earnings, enabled him to enter the State University of Indiana, at Bloomington, from which institution he graduated in 1844. He had decided to take up the legal profession, and accordingly began the study of law with Gilroy Hicks, of Franklin. He was admitted to the Bar in 1847, and one year later formed a partnership with A. B. Hunter which continued unbroken until the latter’s death in 1891, through the remarkable period of over forty-three years. Mr. Overstreet died at his home in Franklin Feb. 8, 1907, in his eighty-eighth year. For years he ranked as one of the foremost lawyers in Indiana, and through an active professional life held the respect and admiration of the legal fraternity throughout the State. Mr. Overstreet devoted himself principally to his private business affairs, but he served as a member of the State Senate from 1882 to 1886. He had positive convictions regarding the great questions of the day, however, and though over age when the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Union service, becoming a member of Company G, 132d Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in which he served as a private to the end of his term of three months. Returning to civil life, he engaged in the practice of his profession until 1902, when he retired.
On Nov. 20, 1849, Mr. Overstreet was married to Sarah Lucinda Morgan, native of Indiana, whose father, Lewis Morgan, was a pioneer Baptist preached of Indiana. Mr. Morgan was a native of Tennessee, and settled in Shelby county, Ind., in the early twenties. Later he moved to Illinois, where he lived for some years, but returning to Indiana he passed the remainder of his life here, becoming prominent in the work of his denomination in this section. He was one of the founders of the Baptist College at Franklin, Ind., and was its first financial agent. He died at the age of about eighty, after a long and useful life, leaving an excellent name to his numerous descendants. We have the following record of his numerous family: Madison Morgan was a farmer of Johnson county, Ind. Rev. Thomas J. Morgan, a prominent minister and educator, held numerous important positions and was for years a power in the Baptist denomination; he was professor of church history at the University, Morgan Park, Ill.; president of the Normal College at Potsdam, N. Y.; president of the Normal College of Rhode Island; commissioner of Indian affairs under President Harrison and for a number of years preceding his. death was secretary of the Baptist Home Missionary Society of the United States. At the outbreak of the Civil war he left college to enlist, and remained in the Union service throughout that struggle, which he entered as a private soldier, but was mustered out as a brigadier-general. William Morgan was a merchant in Indiana. Alexander Morgan was a merchant and farmer of Kansas, residing near Topeka. Elizabeth Morgan married Col. Samuel Lambertson, a merchant of Franklin, Ind. Iby Morgan became the wife of Phillips, a prominent educator, who at the time of his death was superintendent of public schools in Kansas City, Mo. Nancy married George Fain, a Californian. Hasseltine married Charles Burton, now deceased,. an attorney at Denver, Colo. Sarah Lucinda was the wife of Gabriel M. Overstreet. Mrs Overstreet was a granddaughter of Andrew Evans, who fought in the Revolutionary war, and was engaged in the famous battle of King’s Mountain. She was also a grandniece of Gen. Daniel Morgan, and great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Taylor, who came of the same family as President Zachary Taylor.
Gabriel M. Overstreet was a member of the Presbyterian Church and long served as elder. His wife was a Baptist prior to her marriage, after which she joined her husband’s church, and all their children have united with that denomination. Seven children were born to them, namely: (1) Irene is the wife of Daniel W. Herriott, of Washington, D. C., an expert in the Treasury department, where he has been employed for over thirty years. (2) Samuel L. was located at Guthrie, Okla., and at the time of his death was considered the best lawyer in that Territory. He married Miss Julia Kern, of Louisville, Ky., who is also deceased. They left no children. (3) Hubert L., at present engaged as assistant chief clerk in the House of Representatives at Washington, D. C., married Miss Hannah Stillenger, of Columbus, Ind. (4) Jesse is mentioned farther on. (5) Arthur, a manufacturer of Columbus, Ind., married Miss Hattie F. Crump, of that place. (6) Miss Nina M. lives at the family home in Franklin. (7) Carrie Hasseltine is the wife of A. N. Goff, a farmer of Franklin, Johnson Co., Indiana.
Jesse Overstreet was born Dec. 14, 1859, in Franklin, Johnson Co., Ind., and was reared there. He attended the public schools, the high school and Franklin College, graduating from the latter institution in 1882 with the degree of A. B.; and he later received the degree of A. M. from his alma mater. His classical course completed, he began reading law with his father, though for some time after leaving school he had very poor health, and was in danger of losing his eyesight. In 1886 he was admitted to the Bar, and subsequently became a member of the firm to which his father belonged, and which then became Overstreet, Hunter & Overstreet. After Mr. Hunter’s death father and son continued to practice together until 1896, in which year Mr. Jesse Overstreet, in order to give proper attention to his legislative duties, removed to Indianapolis. He was first elected to Congress in 1894, from the district including Johnson and seven other counties, and served until 1896. In that year he was re-elected, from the new district made up of Johnson and Marion counties, and accordingly moved to Indianapolis. Marion county was afterward made a district by itself, and Mr. Overstreet has since represented it. He has been active in legislation favored by his constituents from his very first term, when he called the attention of Congress to the injustice done the old soldiers in the method of paying them their pensions at the agencies, where they were frequently the prey of designing men and women who relieved and in many instances robbed them of their money. The law Mr. Overstreet succeeded in obtaining required all persons to be paid in checks, which they received at their homes, thus affording the recipients the protection of their families and friends. The system has greatly benefited the soldiers and has been warmly commended in many quarters. President Cleveland pronounced the bill as he signed it the best piece of work enacted by the LIVth Congress. After the national contest of 1896 over the gold or silver standard, a movement originated at Indianapolis of which Mr. H. H. Hanna, of that city, was the leading spirit, in behalf of the gold standard. It resulted in the appointment of a commission directed to prepare and urge upon Congress comprehensive financial legislation, and this body consisted of the following members: George F. Edmunds, of Vermont, chairman; George E. Leighton, of Missouri; T. G. Bush, Alabama; W. B. Dean, Minnesota; Charles S. Fairchild, New York; Stuyvesant Fish, New York; J. W. Fries, North Carolina; Lewis A. Garnett, California; J. Lawrence Laughlin, Illinois; C. Stuart Patterson, Pennsylvania; and Robert S. Taylor, Indiana. The comprehensive measure prepared by this commission was introduced into the LVth Congress by Hon. Jesse Overstreet, but although it was considered by a committee no action was taken upon it by that body. During the last session of the LVIth Congress, at a caucus of the Republican members of the House, a committee of eleven was appointed and directed to prepare and report to a caucus of the Republican members at its next session a bill relative to financial matters. This caucus committee consisted of Gen. J. B. Henderson, of Iowa; John Dalzell, Pennsylvania; Sereno Payne, New York; J. W. Babcock, Wisconsin; W. C. Lovering, Massachusetts; W. S. Kerr, Ohio; R. B. Hawley, Texas; Charles Curtis, Kansas; Page Morris, Minnesota; E.F. Loud, California; Jesse Overstreet. Indiana. The committee met at Atlantic City, N. J., whereupon it became known as "the Atlantic City Commission." It agreed upon and prepared a bill, and selected Mr. Overstreet to prepare a report upon the bill and present the report and bill to the Republican caucus at Washington. The report which he pre pared was approved by the committee without any changes, and was presented to the caucus and approved by it. This matter of presentation to the caucus was left entirely to Mr. Overstreet, no other member of the committee taking part. Some features of the bill not clearly understood met with opposition in the caucus, and this difficulty was not fully overcome until explained by Mr. Overstreet at the second session, at which the bill was approved in its entirety. Mr. Overstreet opened the debate, and had the management of the bill in the House, which it passed successfully. The Senate passed a substitute therefor, and when the confreres of both Houses to which the bill was then sent —this committee consisting of Senators Aldrich and Allison and Representatives Overstreet and Brosius— met they settled the differences between the two Houses, the bill was passed, and on March 14, 1900, received the signature of President McKinley. It is best known as the Gold Standard Act of 1900, and its effects have been far-reaching, having had great influence in establishing confidence in the United States and strengthening our credit abroad.
As chairman of the committee on Post Offices and Post Roads of the House, to which place he was appointed by Speaker Cannon, Mr. Overstreet has proved himself capable and won a reputation for remarkable judgment concerning wise regulations in that department. This committee is unquestionably one of the most important in the House, and, summing up its duties from year to year, possibly the most important affecting as it does every citizen of the country. Mr. Overstreet entered upon his duties at its head much against his will, realizing the enormous reponsibility and vast amount of labor involved in the conscientious transaction of the business intrusted to it. The problems connected with the handling of second-class mail, railway mail pay, readjustment of pay of postal employes, reorganization of the postal service, codification of the postal laws, and the reduction of letter postage have received his especial consideration. In 1906 he served upon the commission authorized by Congress to investigate the subject of second-class mail matter; and in 1908 he was a member of the commission authorized by Congress to investigate the business methods of the Postoffice Department, and make a report concerning a re-organization of the postal service, and the codification of the postal laws. Mr. Over-street’s direct services to his home city are manifest in the beautiful postoffice of Indianapolis, and he deserves great credit for his work in that line, both for securing the appropriation and determining the classical character of the architecture, without in any way sacrificing the utility of the structure. To him also is due the credit for securing the location of the Benjamin Harrison army post near Indianapolis, which has over fifty buildings 2,500 acres of land; when the full garrison has been established it is estimated that the annual revenue to the city from the post and its men and officers will average $250,000. Mr. Overstreet has labored faithfully in the promotion of these and other large interests which he deems of most importance to the great body of the people he represents. In June, 1908, he was appointed by Speaker Cannon a member of the Monetary Commission authorized by Congress to investigate and report upon the subject of Banking and Currency.
Mr. Overstreet’s work in the Republican party organization is worthy of especial note. In 1892 he was a member of the State central committee. In 1895 he was made a member of the National Congressional committee, which deals with the election of members of Congress, and in 1896 he was made a member of the executive committee of the National Congressional committee. In 1898 he was made secretary of the committee, continuing as such until his voluntary retirement from that body. His labors in this association naturally brought him into close contact with the beading men of the nation, and for a period of ten years he was one of the three men who practically managed all the Congressional fights. Representative Babcock, of Wisconsin, who was chairman of the national committee throughout those years, said of Mr. Overstreet that he had the keenest perception and the most accurate judgment of a political situation of any man he ever knew. He refused twice to be chairman of the committee unless Mr. Overstreet remained to assist him. In 1900 both Mr. Overstreet and Mr. Babcock remained on the committee at the special request of Mr. McKinley, and in 1902 and 1904 at the special request of Mr. Roosevelt. In 1906 they both retired from the committee, Mr. Babcock’s health making it necessary for him to be released from its duties, and Mr. Overstreet withdrew because of the multitudinous affairs which demand his constant attention. They cooperated as few men find it possible to do, and were successful in every campaign they undertook to manage.
As an attorney Mr. Overstreet is able and scholarly, eloquent in speech, and noted for the integrity and fairness of his professional transactions. His home office is in the Traction and Terminal building, Indianapolis. The local opinion of himself and his work is well summed up in the words of the venerable Dr. William H. Wishard, who recently said: "I know Hon. Jesse Overstreet I have known three generations of Overstreets in Johnson county, Ind., and they were the cleanest men I have ever known. All were honorable men. In the early thirties Jesse Overstreet’s grandfather came from Virginia or Kentucky and settled in Johnson county, Ind., on Hurricane creek, north of Franklin. He was a farmer, and his reputation was No. 1. He had sons: William, a merchant, who died at Auburn, Kans.; John, who was a farmer; Gabriel (the father of our present Congressman), an attorney who was raised in Johnson county and practiced there all his life, and I have heard it repeated that if there was an honest attorney ever practiced at the Bar in Franklin, Johnson county, it was Gabriel Overstreet; and Richard, another brother, who was cashier in the Bank of Franklin many years and stood as a man of unimpeachable integrity. They were all men that stood in the community as first-class citizens and men of honor and integrity. Jesse is a worthy representative of his ancestors, a modest, unassuming man, but of great ability and integrity. He has been a faithful representative of his constituents, and of his country. He has an enviable record as a public man and a citizen.
"Mr. Ovenstreet is a man of the strictest integrity, looking after the financial and real estate interests of his father in the interest of the family. He has the characteristics of his father in his business transactions as a just and generous man."
During his extensive travels, covering both this country and Europe, Mr. Overstreet has gained by close observation much valuable information concerning governmental affairs. He has a host of friends and admirers in his home city, where his career is usually regarded as reflecting great credit upon those whose good judgment has kept him in office, as well as upon himself. In his Congressional work Mr. Ovenstreet does not rank as an orator, and rarely takes part in the debates except upon subjects with which he is directly associated. He excels particularly in committee work, and in what, after all, is the most important work of Congress, the preparation and construction of laws. The constructive statesman is equal in influence to the oratorical statesman. Mr. Overstreet is a master in detail work, and a good executive officer. He is patient, painstaking nd complete in his work, and clear and logical in debate. As a close student he makes preparation with great care, and, having a thorough understanding of his subject, he is usually able to argue a question with great force. He is sincere in all of his dealings and enjoys the confidence of all who know him. He bears an excellent reputation among public men and exerts considerable influence in Congress. His peculiar talents, and endurance in continued hard work, have been recognized, and brought demand in Congress for extra work. He has probably been appointed upon more different commissions and special committees charged with especially important work than any other member during his service in the House.
Mr. Overstreet has resided in Indianapolis since November, 1896, he and his wife living at their home, No. 2015 North Meridian street. He was married June 7, 1898, to a sister of his brother Arthur’s wife, Miss Katharyne Crump. Mrs. Overstreet is a daughter of Francis T. and Elvira (Kyle) Crump, of Columbus, Ind., where Mr. Crump is a prominent farmer and manufacturer and also the largest banker of the place. Mr. and Mrs. Overstreet are members of the Presbyterian Church, and fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and is a thirtysecond-degree Scottish Rite Mason.
CURTIS C. PADDOCK, a conductor on the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad, whose residence is at Broad Ripple, and who has an enviable record as a successful railroad man, was born at Prairieton, Ind., April 29, 1849, only child of Washington and Jane (Payne) Paddock, both of whom were natives of Indiana.
Elijah Paddock, the grandfather of Curtis C., was a native of Indiana, and in his active life was engaged in farming at Prairieton, Ind. His family consisted of six sons and one daughter, and when he died he was over seventy years of age. Ebenezer Payne, the maternal grandfather of Mr. Paddock, was a native of Indiana, and engaged in farming in Vigo county. In his family were four sons and one daughter. When he died at the age of sixty years, he left a good property, and was regarded as a man of much force of character and solid worth.
Washington Paddock was a pork packer in Terre Haute, Ind., for many years, and when he retired in 1876, he moved to Indianapolis where he died in 1882, at the age of fifty-six. His wife, who was born in 1819, died Dec. 21, 1900, being buried on her birthday. Both parents belonged to the Christian (Disciples) Church.
Curtis C. Paddnck was reared in Terre Haute from the time he was twelve years old, having spent the most of his life before that age in Ogle county, Ill. His education was completed in the city schools of Terre Haute, and in 1871 he secured a position as a brakeman on a passenger train of the Terre Haute & Indiana Railroad. For two and a half years he was baggageman, and since Sept. 29, 1874, has been passenger conductor. This is a story of long and faithful service, and reflects credit upon the man and the management who can continue so long in amicable relations.
Mr. Paddock was married Jan. 25 1876, to Miss Cora Sherburne, a daughter of Asa and Mary Sherburne. They had one child, Arthur Linn. He was employed at the Pan-American Exposition, in charge of a patent feed-box exhibit. Mrs. Cora Paddock, who was a devoted member of the Christian Church, and a woman of blameless life and character, died in 1882, at the early age of twenty-four years. Mr. Paddock contracted a second marriage, June 6, 1895, Miss Etta Scott, daughter of John and Margaret (Bainter) Scott, becoming his wife.
Mr. Paddock is a member of Greenville Lodge, No. 392, F. & A. M., and since 1876, has been a member of the Order of Railway Conductors. His home was in Indianapolis from 1871 to 1899, when he moved to his elegant home in Broad Ripple, though he still owns considerable property in Indianapolis. He has always been a stanch Republican.
John Scott and wife, Mrs. Paddock’s parents, were natives of Ohio. To them was born the following family: Oscar F.; George A.; Belle, widow of Frank Ulm; Etta, Mrs. Paddock; and Lillian, wife of Lewis E. Budenz, of Denver, Colo. Mr. and Mrs. Scott had their home in Ohio almost continuously until 1899 when they moved to Broad Ripple, Ind., where they now live. In 1854 they lived a year in this State. In the War of the Rebellion Mr. Scott was standard bearer in the 60th O. V. I. His grandfather, John Scott, was a soldier in the War of the Revolution. William Scott, father of John, was a tanner, and he settled in Indiana, where he lived to be over sixty years old. His remains were interred near Marion. His ancestry was French.
John Bainter, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Paddock, was a native of Ohio, where he died at the age of seventy-eight. He came of Pennsylvania German stock, and was a farmer all his life.
THOMAS J. PAGE, a respected citizen of Muncie, Ind., who served with honor in the war of the Rebellion, was born Jan. 1, 1833, in Butler county, Ohio, son of Robert and Martha (Riley) Page, the former of whom, also born in Ohio, lived to be an aged man.
Thomas J. Page was reared by his uncle, John Riley, and he secured his education in the pioneer school houses of his day, which had slab benches and puncheon floors. He worked on the farm during the summers and attended school about two months of each winter, until he was fourteen years old, when he started out for himself, going to Kansas and securing farm work near Fort Scott. After about three years he made his way to St. Louis, Mo., where he remained for one year, following teaming, subsequently returning to farming in the neighborhood of Springfield, Mo. His next employment was in a sawmill at Coldwater, Mich., and from there he went to Terre Haute, Ind., where he operated a sawmill on the Eel river until he went to Ohio and soon after, enlisted for service in the Civil war just opening.
In April, 1861, Mr. Page enlisted for three years or during the war, as a private in Company H, 12th 0. V. I., and was honorably discharged at Columbus, 0., in 1864. Re-enlisting at once he again served out his time and was honorably discharged at Macon, Ga., Feb. 20, 1865. Mr. Page saw service in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, and he participated in the battles of Stone River, Lookout Mountain, Macon and Dalton, during which time he received no serious injuries. His greatest escape was when a minie ball grazed his scalp and knocked him senseless, inflicting a scalp wound which bled profusely and which left a mark vet plainly visible. This confined him to the field hospital for two weeks, after which he rejoined his regiment. He can recall his whole term of army service with pride, never having escaped a soldier’s duties or evaded its necessary dangers.
After his discharge from the army, Mr. Page returned to Butler county, Ohio, where he remained until 1867, when he went to Olney, Ill., returning to Ohio after working for two years on farms. Later he came to Indiana, and was married in Henry county in 1879, after which he moved to Randolph county where he engaged in farming and operating a sawmill for many years. Later he moved to Muncie and engaged in a teaming business, subsequently establishing his permanent home here, buying a lot and erecting the comfortable house in which he lives.
Mr. Page was married Jan. 26, 1879, near New Castle, Ind., to Elizabeth Felton, born July 21, 1848, at New Castle, daughter of Adam and Barbara (Cross) Felton. The Feltons are old pioneers of Indiana, the grandfather of Mrs. Page, William Felton, having settled near Hagerstown, when the Indians still roamed over that region. He married Sarah Stonebreker, of another old family. Adam Felton, father of Mrs. Page, cleared up a small farm of thirty acres and built a log house. He married Barbara Cross, born in Virginia, daughter of Joseph Cross, also a pioneer. Adam Felton lived to be fifty-eight years old, dying on his farm in 1853. His widow survived until Feb. 14, 1896, at that time being aged sixty-six years, eight months and eleven days. The children of Adam Felton and wife were: Elizabeth, Mrs. Page; Sarah, who married Levi Chafin, a soldier in the Civil war; Martha, who married Samuel Dragoo, a soldier in the Civil war; William, who married Elizabeth Kiger; Nancy, who married Arthur Van Meter; Ellen, who married William Kilmer; Amanda, who married John Stanley; Jacob, who married Mary Lacy; and Belle, who married Joseph Lacy. Mr. and Mrs. Felton were members of the U. B. Church, and were people who enjoyed the respect of all who knew them.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Page were as follows: Ollie, born Sept. 19, 18—, married Eli Houser, a farmer of Henry county, Ind., and they have children, Zola, Hazel, and Von J.; Raleigh, born May 30, 1881, married Emma Hershey, and is in business at Muncie; and William lives at home.
Mr. Page has always been identified with the Republican panty, but has never had any ambition for official position of any kind. He cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln and, for every subsequent Republican candidate for the Presidency. He is a valued member of Williams Post, G. A. R., at Muncie. He is considered one of Muncie’s good, straight-forward, honorale citizens.