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In 1848 President Simpson resigned to become editor of the Western Christian Advocate in Cincinnati. His nine years of service, much of it spent away from campus speaking to church and other groups and making friends for the university like most modern college presidents, were of crucial importance in getting Indiana Asbury established. He was popular with the students and townspeople, perhaps more so than any of his immediate successors. But his star was rising, and he eventually went on to the Methodist espiscopacy and a major role in American Protestantism. Preaching Lincoln's funeral elegy, Simpson later had another Methodist college named after him, but he apparently never lost his interest in Old Asbury.

A year passed in locating a new president. A prominent
Methodist minister and later bishop as well as rival of Simpson, E.R. Ames, turned down the proffered appointment; so Professor Larrabee, who surprisingly was not offered the job, was made acting president for the academic year 1848-49. Finally, in July 1849 Lucien Berry was elected second president of the university. A native of Vermont who had grown up in Ohio and attended Miami University, Berry had held influential pastorates in Knightstown and Indianapolis, where his congregations contained members of the political and economic elite of the state. Berry was a Whig at a time when most Indiana Methodists, including Simpson and Ames, were Democrats. He had been on the Asbury board of trustees since 1842 and was a close friend of Simpson. Seemingly a good choice for the position, Berry was to encounter town-gown conflicts and probably both political and religious rivalry which shortened his presidency. Though Berry's presidency began well, in a few years problems arose which contributed to his early resignation. Two incidents in 1853 stand out. After a riotous episode in which a black resident was driven from town, Berry expelled a student who admitted his involvement in the affair. In response some Greencastle citizens, including local Democrat leaders, referred to the president and his faculty as a "little coterie of tyrants."

At about the same time a local grocer was suspected of selling liquor to students. Berry tried to retaliate by refusing permission to students to live in the same rooming houses with the grocer's clerks, who supposedly sold the contraband products. The landladies rebelled, supported by most of the town. Both the students and the trustees gave Berry a vote of confidence. But the president, feeling unnecessarily harassed, resigned in July 1854. After a year in a New Albany pastorate, Berry became president of Iowa Wesleyan College but died prematurely in that office in 1858 at the age of 43.




Other changes were affecting the control of Indiana Asbury University at this time as well. In 1844 the Indiana Methodist Conference, which was responsible for naming persons to the board of trustees and visitors, was split in two, creating the new North Indiana Conference; in 1852 and 1853 two more were formed, the Southeast and Northwest Conferences. One result was the weakening of representation on the board from Greencastle and Putnam County. As late as 1847, 15 out of the 25 trustees were residents of Putnam County; by the '50s the county's representation had dropped to three or four. No longer dominated by a group of Greencastle professional men exercising close personal supervision over the university's business, the board was made up of men from all over the state who came together once a year to review and give support to the president's program. In 1854 during the Berry crisis, it was headed for the first time by a non-Greencastle man, Congressman Samuel W. Parker of Connorsville. He was a Whig, originally from New York and president of the Whitewater Canal Company. Town-gown unrest might also be accredited to this loss of Greencastle influence.

In August 1854, the board chose Davis W. Clark, editor of the Ladies Repository in Cincinnati, for the presidency, but he refused the position. The board then elected Daniel Curry in a "stormy session" by 11 votes to two for ex-president Berry. A New Yorker and graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Curry was pastor of a large Methodist church in New York City with academic and pastoral experience in both New York and Georgia. With his experience and maturity-he was 45 years old-he seemed to possess just the right qualifications for the job of putting things back together at Indiana Asbury after the Berry incidents. But Curry came to the university as an outsider with no ties to the community, the state, or Indiana Methodism, and with some reluctance. He lasted just three years.

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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