Vanderburgh County, Indiana, in the Mexican War, pg 7

(continued from Vanderburgh County, Indiana, in the Mexican War, page 6)


such local pride, probably would not have furnished any name but for a suggestion to that effect from one of his Indiana senators. “Whom do you intend to recommend?” “Why,” said Owen, “I had not thought of offering a name. There are no applications to me from my district, but if you think it is due to it to offer a name I shall hand in that of Joe Lane.”

The senator approved of the choice, and it was accordingly suggested. The President, as usual, said he would give it his favorable consideration. A few days afterward Mr. Owen was transacting some private business at the White House. After it was finished, “By the by, Mr. Owen,” observed the President, “I shall have to appoint your friend Lane to the brigadier-generalship, and I hope you have well considered your recommendation, for the office is a responsible one.” “I know nothing,” replied Mr. Owen, “of Lane’s military talent, but there are about him those elements of character which in all times of difficulty cause everyone to rally instinctively around him as a leader. This has been the case in early days when lawless men infested the river border. Whether on shore or among boatmen on the river, Lane was the man relied on to keep such men in order, and he has always been found equal to every emergency. I would select him for this office before any other man I know if I had the appointment to make.”

Lane was appointed. The sequel is history and justifies the penetrative judgment of Mr. Owen. Lane has developed qualities which place him in the front rank of military service. When the news of the battle of Buena Vista reached Washington, Mr. Owen called on the President. “Well, sir,” exclaimed he, “what do you think of our Hoosier general?” “Ah,” said the President, with a quiet smile, “Mr. Owen, you are safe out of that scrape.”

General Lane was a pioneer in Indiana within whose borders he lived for more than thirty years. He came to us a poor and obscure youth, and arose to a high station among us. He was our own beloved Joe Lane.

In 1840 there came from Madison, Indiana, to Evansville, “Grandmother” Gavitt, then the widowed mother of two sons, William and John Smith Gavitt, and three daughters, Miriam, Alice and Hannah. She was a native of Virginia and by maiden name Alice Smith. Her husband, John Gavitt, had died in 1832 during a brief residence of the family at Louisville, Kentucky. She became generally known as “Grandmother” Gavitt through her bringing up of William and Joe, the orphaned sons of John Smith Gavitt. Mrs. Gavitt was a Christian woman and very much devoted to her family. She died in Evansville in 1867. Her son William was a dashing and fearless young man of 22 years when he enlisted in Captain Walker’s company. While in the service young Gavitt and a comrade were detailed to go out in search of two deserters, whom they found and arrested. Bringing in their prisoners they camped at night in the woods. Gavitt was sleeping while his comrade remained on guard over the deserters, but the comrade also fell asleep and the prisoners seeing their chance of escape attacked and killed the sleeping men. When John Smith Gavitt learned of his brother’s fate, he at once left home to avenge his brother’s murder. Two years later (continued next page)