Notable People


We like to think all of the people who are born or reside in Wayne County are exceptional, but a few have gone on to be recognized for extrodinary accomplishments in their field.

Here are a few examples of the outstanding citizens of Wayne County, Indiana.

Biographies of Prominent Local Residents - including, among others, Harriet Bard, Mattie Curl Dennis, Mary Taylor Reeves Foulke, Julia Meek Gaar, Mary E. Hill, Ella Bond Johnston, Esther A. Kellner, Virginia Claypool Meredith, Caroline Middleton Reeves, Julia E. Test, Dr. Mary F. Thomas, Esther Griffin White, William Dudley Foulke, Harry Frankel (Singin' Sam), David Hoover, Solomon Meredith, Robert Morrisson, James E. Reeves, Mark E. Reeves, Daniel G. Reid.

Famous Visitors Index - Many famous folks who were not from Wayne County, Indiana still visited here. You'll be amazed and spellbound reading through this list of who's who in American history!


Artists of Wayne County - view samples of their work and a short biography of these 14 nationally-recognized artists, including George Herbert Baker, Edgar Forkner, John Elwood Bundy, Edna Stubbs Cathell, Charles Conner, Maude Eggemeyer, William Eyden Sr., William Eyden Jr., Frank Girardin, Marcus Mote, William Alden Mote, Overbeck Sisters, John Seaford, and Gaar Williams.

Gaar Williams, famous Chicago Tribune cartoonist was born in Richmond, Indiana.


Connie White Jones - educator - began the "Core Knowledge" movement as principal at "Three Oaks Elementary" in Fort Myers, FL.  Ms. Jones grew up and attended school in Whitewater, IN.

Dr. D. Elton Trueblood,  famous religious leader and author of several books - made Richmond his home as he taught at Earlham College for many years.


Acting, Directing and "Personalities"

Polly Bergen, famous motion picture and TV actress lived in Richmond, Indiana [Wikipedia entry]

Buckskin Ben Stalker - head of a wild west show that once made it's home in Cambridge City, Indiana.

Norman Foster  - actor and director - director of Charlie Chan films and Disney's Davy Crockett and Zorro. Once married to Claudette Colbert. (1903 - 1976) [Wikipedia entry] [photos]

Harry Keenan (b. 1867 in Richmond - 1944) Actor, made 11 films from 1914 to 1916.

Joe Longstreth - musician/actor/literary agent/radio & tv host (b.? - d. 2003)

Kenneth MacDonald (1901 - 1972)  actor, often playing the role of the villain in early westerns.  He also appeared in Three Stooges films and as a Superior Court Judge in the popular Perry Mason series. (IMDB)

Sara Purcell (1948 - ), TV personality, host of Real People, was a former resident of Richmond. (IMDB)

Singin' Sam, the Barbasol Man, (Harry Frankel) (1888-1948) the highest paid radio performer in his time, was a Richmond native and retired to Richmond before his death at the age of 60 on June 12, 1948. [Learn more about Barbasol.] [MRL's Digital Collection]


Elizabeth Burchenal (1876-1959) is remembered as a founding leader in the 'International Folk Dance' movement.


Hoagy Carmichael recorded Star Dust in Richmond, Indiana. Others, who did their recording at the Gennett Recording Studio were Bing Crosby and Jelly Roll Morton.

Al Cobine - musician - big band leader and tenor sax soloist, played with his own band, Henry Mancini, Andy Williams & others.

George Duning (b. 1908 in Richmond - 2000) Nominated for Oscars for "Best Music, Scoring of of a Musical/Dramatic Picture" for...The Eddie Duchin Story (1956), Picnic (1955), From Here to Eternity (1953), No Sad Songs for Me (1950), Jolson Sings Again (1949).

Harold Jones - musician - one of the legends of the straight ahead style of big band drumming. He worked and toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, Sarah Vaughn, and Natalie Cole, among others. [Bio]

Jeff Hamilton - musician - versatile jazz drummer with many hit recordings. He has been on nearly 200 recordings with artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, and Mel Torme.

Barry Manilow - entertainer - began his career playing piano at the Holiday Inn in Richmond, Indiana. (See pages 63, 66-67 in Barry Manilow's biography, Sweet Life: Adventures On The Way To Paradise, McGraw-Hill, ISBN:0070399042)

Richard "Rich" Wayne Mullins (1955 - 1997) - contemporary Christian songwriter and recording artist - 10 time Dove award nominee and winner of Artist of the Year at the 1998 Dove Awards. Cover story in the November 1997 issue of CCM magazine.  Rich remembered his Wayne County roots with such songs as "First Family" and Boy Like Me / Man Like You, in which he mentions Reid Memorial Hospital.
Read more about him in the book, Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven
by James Bryan Smith (Book & CD edition, September 2000, Broadman & Holman Publishers; ISBN: 0805421351)

Ned Rorem - born in Richmond in 1923, Time Magazine has called him "the world's best composer of art songs." (Wikipedia)

Ron Wickersham - is not a direct entertainer, but a maker of beautiful instruments for entertainers, as the builder of custom guitars for artists such as Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and custom basses used by the Who's John Entwistle, jazz virtuoso Stanley Clarke and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones on "Stairway to Heaven."


Johnny Ringo (1850 - 1882) - famous outlaw who became the chief antagonist of Wyatt Earp. Ringo was born in Greens Fork, Indiana (then known as Washington).

Inventors and Industialists

Micajah C. Henley (1856 - 1927) - started the first roller skate factory in Richmond in 1881 in a barn at the rear of his home, 201 North 14th Street. The business gradually expanded to a large brick building at North 16th Street and the railroad. The Henley Machine Works also manufactured bicycles, scooters, lawn furniture, iron working machinery, tools, boring, milling and screw driving machines.

E. Gurney Hill - a leader in hybridizing roses, winning international awards and medals. He was one of the founders and third president of the Society of American Florists, and he served as a president of the American Rose Society, the American Carnation Society, and the American Chysanthemum Society. The fountain at the Rose Garden in Glen Miller Park was dedicated in his honor.

C.Francis Jenkins (1867 - 1934) - First Motion Picture Projector and early television inventor - Richmond native. Invented on a bet that 5 gaited horses could have all four feet in the air at the same time The animated movie was shown in downtown Richmond in an upstairs apartment over a local jewelry store. June 6, 1894, in Richmond, was the first public showing of a motion picture. Jenkins was the founder and first president of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. C. Francis Jenkins - More, Who Invented Television?, Television History - The First 75 Years, Who's Who of Victorian Cinema, W3XK -- America's first television station, Wikipedia, Autobiography "The Boyhood of an Inventor", Ohio History Bio, PBS feature.

Daniel Reid - (1858-1925) a financier, industrialist and benefactor, sometimes known as the "Tin Plate King" because that's where he made his first fortune. His name lives on in such recognizable institutions as Reid Health and the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Tom Raper - business and community leader - founder of the world's largest RV dealership, Tom Raper, Inc., located in Richmond, Indiana. As a community benefactor, his name is on a building at the Wayne County Fairgrounds and also at IU East.

Ralph R. Teetor - Former president of Perfect Circle, inventor of the "Speed-O-Stat", now known as the cruise control, established the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award for S.A.E., - from Hagerstown, Indiana. Mr. Teetor is an inductee in the Automotive Hall of Fame. Read more about him in the book, One Man's Vision: The Life of Automotive Pioneer Ralph R. Teetor, by Marjorie Teetor Meyer.(ISBN:1-878208-66-7, hardback or ISBN: 1-878208-67-5, paperback).

Wilbur Wright (1867 - 1912) - Co-Inventor of the Airplane with his brother, Orville - Wilbur attended school in Richmond, Indiana.  His family moved to Dayton, Ohio in June of 1884 just before he would have received his diploma from Richmond High School. The diploma was awarded to him posthumously on April 16, 1994. Visit Wilbur Wright's birthplace in nearby Henry County. (Other Wright sites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Medicine and Science

Dr. Mary Thomas - the the first woman admitted to the Indiana Medical College and the second woman admitted to the American Medical Association.

Politicians, Activists & Military

The Political Graveyard - Wayne County - Information on the political history, politicians, cemeteries and memorial sites in the county.

William Jennings Bryan recorded his "Cross of Gold" speech in Richmond, Indiana.

Levi Coffin - often referred to as the "President" of the Underground Railroad. He and his wife Catharine helped over 2,000 fugitives escape slavery.

Thomas Owens Edwards - (1810-1876) a Representative from Ohio; born in Williamsburg, Ind., March 29, 1810

Francis Augustus MacNutt - (1863-1927) a Papal Marquis, Knight of St. Gregory and Papal Chamberlain to Poes Leo XIII and Pius X.

Oliver P. Morton, ( 1823-1877) Civil War Governor, was born in Salisbury, near Centerville, Indiana. (Salisbury no longer exists.) Mr. Morton was also elected to the U.S. Senate in 1867.

Rev. John M. Whitehead - Chaplin of the 15th Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He was the first chaplin to receive the Medal of Honor.


Weeb Ewbank - famous NFL coach directed the Baltimore Colts to a NFL championship in 1959 and guided the upstart New York Jets and quarterback Joe Namath of the old AFL to the world title in 1969. They defeated his old team, the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III.  Mr. Ewbank and his wife, Lucy, were Richmond, Indiana natives.

Lamar Lundy (1935 - 2007) After being a MVP his senior year at Purdue on both the basketball and football teams, he became a member of the "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line for the Los Angeles Rams - with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier, and Deacon Jones.  (Wikipedia |Football Cards | IN Basketball Hall of Fame)

"Single G" Birthplace - Famous harness racehorse - who won 264 heat race victories in 436 starts. He was owned by William Barefoot of Cambridge, City, Indiana. For more information, read "Single G; the Horse That Time Forgot" by Marie Hill


Mary Lou Carney  (1949 - ) best-selling author and the former editor of Guideposts for Kids magazine published by Guidepostsis a Williamsburg High School graduate.

Marjorie Benton Cooke (1876-1920) Wrote four silent films from 1920 to 1926, three based on her novels, "The Incubus", "The Girl Who Lived in the Woods" and "Cinderella Jane". The films were re-titled, "Her Husband's Friend", "Little Fraid Lady" and "The Mad Marriage".

John Finley - Richmond, Indiana mayor from 1852 until his death in 1866, Mr. Finley wrote the poem "The Hoosier's Nest", which is sometimes cited as the first written reference to the word "Hoosier".

Margaret Landon, author - began writing the book, "Anna and the King of Siam ", on which the musical, "The King and I" is based,  in Richmond and read parts of it to the Richmond Scribblers club on several occasions. (Palladium-Item, November 14, 1946)

Mike Lopresti - reporter - sports columnist for the Gennett News Service, USA Today, began as a reporter for the Palladium-Item.  He continues to live in Richmond and is active in community affairs.

Charles Bruce Millholland, from Economy - wrote a play based on his experiences on the Twentieth Century Limited. He titled it, Napoleon of Broadway. Charles McArthur and Ben Hecht worked on it and retitled it, Twentieth Century. It was made into the 1934 film with Carole Lombard and John Barrymore, directed by Hoosier Howard Hawks. It also has been on Broadway at least three times.


Wayne County History Facts & Fun
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Did You Know?

Wayne County, Indiana is home to three universities. Indiana University East, Earlham College, and Ivy Tech Community College as well as two seminaries, Earlham School of Religion [Quaker] and Bethany Theological Seminary [Church of the Brethren].