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The third professor appointed to Indiana Asbury University was William C. Larrabee, who took over the chair in mathematics in 1841 and also became responsible for teaching the natural sciences. Born in Maine in 1802, he was nine years older than President Simpson and had attended Bowdoin College with Franklin Pierce, who later became president of the United States. His professional experience included teaching posts at Connecticut Wesleyan University and Oneida College Seminary in the state of New York, as well as taking part in the first geological survey of Maine. Historian George Manhart called Larrabee the "most versatile man ever associated with Asbury or DePauw" With his wife, who founded the Greencastle Female Collegiate Seminary, he built a Gothic Revival home near the present site of Bishop Roberts Hall. They named it Rosabower after their beloved daughter Rosa, who died young and was buried in the Dells. In a collection of essays entitled Rosabower published in 1852, Larrabee described the scene in mid-19th century romantic prose:

There are voices here, gentle reader: the voices of Nature in her gladness and love. Lots of merry crickets are chirping in the tall grass. The incessant hum of the bee is heard in the air and on the trees overhead. On a little bush by my side sits the sparrow singing to its mate on her nest in the neighboring thicket. From the fence corner comes the plaintive monotone of the robin. From the crevice in the old stump flits the wren twittering emulous. On the topmost branch of the maple sits the mocking-bird, most tuneful of nature's warblers, leaving, in her ecstacies of melody, nothing unimitated. From the adjacent grove comes the cooing of the turtle-dove, mournful and sad. Even the pines, in their waving tassels, furnish a harp for the winds, giving out music soft, soothing, and inimitable....


One evening, in the merry month of May, she was rambling with me about this shady glen, and about the garden walks of home, till the fading twilight sent us to repose. To the night succeeded a morning of intense anxiety. There was hurrying to and fro about the house, and flitting forms of physicians and friends passed and repassed by me, as I was watching intent over my sick and dying child. Another night-a night of bitter agony, a night of intense anguish, a night of dying hope, a night of despair-passed slow and sad away. Another morning came-the morning of the holy Sabbath came bright and beautiful; but I can only remember the voice of wailing and of woe in my once happy home, the melancholy tones of the bell of death pealing on the air, the long funeral procession, the open grave, and by the side of it a coffin with its lid upraised, and in that coffin my own little Emma Rosabelle, with the sunlight of heaven beaming bright on her cold, pale, yet beautiful face. We buried her-buried her here in this rural spot. `When I am dead' said she, a few days before she fell sick, `they will not bury me in the cold graveyard, but they will bury me in the bower among the flowers, and my father and my mother will come and sit by me.' So we buried her here, in this lovely bower, and for her sake we call it Rosabower.

After 10 years on the faculty Larrabee left Asbury to become Indiana's first superintendent of public instruction. The university eventually purchased Rosabower, which survived until the 1930s, serving variously as a dormitory, an infirmary, and for other uses.

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People, Events & Traditions

Cyrus Nutt

The Edifice

Tommy Goodwin

Matthew Simpson

John W. Ray

William C. Larrabee

Rebellion of 1856- 57

Literary Societies

Thomas Bowman

The Civil War

Joseph Tingley

Alexander Martin

The Edifice Fire

Bettie Locke (Hamilton)

East College

Japanese Students