Those Places Thursday: Indianapolis and Jefferson Springsteen’s Obituary

Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1914, just 5 years after the death of Jefferson Springsteen.
Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1914, just 5 years after the death of Jefferson Springsteen. When he arrived in 1835, Indianapolis was just a few houses. Public Domain, Wikimedia. (Click to enlarge.)

Indianapolis in 1835 was a small village with just a few houses on South Illinois Street when Jefferson Springsteen arrived. He was probably on his own after being with the circus, and still a young teen.

“Before he was 16 years of age he was a government mail carrier with a route extending from lndianapolis to Winchester through Strawtown. He made the journey of sixty-five miles on horseback and encountered numerous hardships of winter snows and spring freshets which furnished data for many stories which he loved to relate to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. At Strawtown, near Noblesville, he was compelled to pass through a settlement of lndians and he gained the friendship of many of the redskin tribe.

Many years after this settlement was broken up and the state was settled by white men, an old lndian, whose acquaintance he had gained at Strawtown, came to lndianapolis to visit him. The Indian was cordially received.”

See: 1836 A New Atlas Map Of Indiana with its Roads & Distances to see Jeff’s route as a mail carrier through rural Indiana. His route covered five counties. He would have ridden northeast from Indianapolis to Noblesville, then further north to Strawtown, and then east to Winchester. (Map cannot be posted due to copyright, but may be used for personal genealogical use. I was going to post a Google map, but one from the time period is so much better.)

Following is a transcription of the remaining obituary and additional newspaper notices:

… [The first two paragraphs were transcribed in yesterday’s article. “Wishful Wednesday: Jefferson Springsteen was “Lured by the Sawdust Ring…”; third and fourth paragraph quoted above. See actual image of obituary and funeral notes also at previous post.]

Had Rugged Constitution

This rugged life developed a body of steel and enabled him to keep his health until about one year ago. His death came from general debility and was without suffering.

He induced his father to come to lndianapolis. In 1837 [?], with his father, he went back to New Jersey to visit his grandfather. From there he went to Brooklyn, where he conducted a restaurant at the famous Fulton Market. He married Anne Connor at Brooklyn.

In 185? [poss. 1852] he started back to lndiana with his bride. Most of the trip was by water. They were shipwrecked on Lake Erie in a storm, but landed safely at Erie, Pa. They made their way to the less turbulent waters of the Ohio, on which stream they drifted down to Madison and hence to lndianapolis.

When the couple arrived they stopped at Little’s Tavern, a national road stage coach inn located at New Jersey and Washington streets.

Later his father bought a piece of ground on New Jersey street, between New York and Ohio streets. At this time he was ridiculed by the [citizens?], who predicted that the city would never grow that far from the center, which was then located on South street, around the old Madison Railroad Depot and on Illinois and West Washington streets.

Was Diversified Painter.

He was a painter by trade and painted everything from a landscape in oil to a house. Mrs. Beckwith still retains several of his paintings, which are said to reveal true artistic talent.

In 1854 he was appointed “captain of the peace” and served four terms as town marshal between 1855 and 1861. He was a prominent Democratic politician.

In 1856 he was elected when the Democrats carried the full ticket, with the exception of prosecuting attorney, which office Benjamin Harrison won.

1888- Home of Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana. He became President in 1888. Public domain, Wikimedia.
1888- Home of Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana. He became President in 1888. Public domain, Wikimedia.

He was too old to be a soldier, but contributed two sons to the Union army, John and A. F. Springsteen. The last named was a drummer boy and enlisted at 11 years of age. Mr. Springsteen followed his trade for a long time after the civil war, but retired many years ago.

He leaves a sister, Mrs. Eliza Hanna, Fortville, mother of Judge Charles Hanna; Three sons, A.F. Springsteen of the Pension Department, Washington, D.C. ; Charles of Champaign, Ill., and Robert E. of 41 0 North Meridian street; two daughters, Mrs. Joseph Beckwith and E. P. Beerbower, North Delaware street.

Eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren survive him.

Tomorrow: Part 3 with the remaining death and funeral notices of Jefferson Springsteen.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1)  1836 A New Atlas Map Of Indiana with its Roads & Distances:

2) Jefferson’s father was John Springsteen (1782-1867), but his grandfather is unknown to us.



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