Rev. Thomas Goodwin, a member of the first graduating class and
first out-of-town student, recalled 50 years later his arrival in
Greencastle from Brookville, Ind, in 1837:
At last November came. The fall term was to open on the first
Monday. There was but one way to get to Greencastle, and that was
by stage to Putnamville, and from that place to Greencastle as best
It was nearly night when we reached Putnamville, about twenty hours
from Indianapolis. My first inquiry of Mr. Townsend, the tavern
keeper, was for a conveyance to Greencastle. He informed me that
there was none, but if I would wait till Sunday morning he would
take me in his two-horse wood wagon for two dollars. I could have
walked, and would, but I was no elephant,-I could not carry my trunk.
From supper to bedtime I was entertained by Mr. Townsend with dolorous
lamentations because the proposed university had been located at
Greencastle instead of Putnamville. Greencastle was an out-of-the-way
town anyhow, away off the National road; no stage ran through it
or to it; how could it ever amount to anything, not being on the
National road? Here, he said, we have a stage each way every day,
and he continued in this strain, with short intervals for sleeping,
until about ten o'clock Sunday, when he landed me at Lynch's tavern,
on the east side of the square, and I was at Greencastle, lacking
about two hours of four days from Brookville, one hundred and ten
dismissing Mr. Townsend, with his two dollars, I turned for comfort
to Mr. Lynch, my new landlord.... In answer to my question where
the University was, he said, "I don't know for certain. It
was last summer, at the deestrict school house, but I have hearn
that they have moved it to the county siminary. Be you come to go
to it? You will not find it much of a university, I reckon"...
But I went to my room and dressed for church. My prudent mother
had told me not to travel in my best, but to save them for Sunday.
It was now Sunday and I donned my new suit of blue mixed jeans,
as handsome a piece of homemade as ever came from a weaver's loom;
doubly precious to me because my mother had spun the yarn from choice
fleeces from our own sheep. The coat was of the box pattern with
a long tail, coming to below the knees, with immense outside pockets,
and made roomy, for the boy would grow much before that Sunday suit
would be worn out; and the pants were even more roomy, for the days
of tights had not yet cursed society. The new pastor, Rev. James
L. Thompson, preached his first sermon that morning in the little
hipped-roofed church about thirty-five by forty-five feet in size.
After sermon ...I went to the preacher and introduced myself. I
told him who I was, where I came from, and what I had come for.
"Hold, stop, brothers! Here, Brother Dangerfield, Brother Thornburg,
Brother Cooper, Brother Hardesty, Brother Nutt, here is Brother
Tommy Goodwin; he has come all the way from Brookville to attend
the institution," said the ardent preacher at the top of his
voice, and then followed handshakings such as I never had been the
victim of before, and no student has ever had since. It was the
first realization of their hopes. They had never seen a sure enough
student before, except their own children and neighbors....
After finding his way to his first class on Monday morning, Goodwin
returned to his room in the tavern on the square somewhat homesick
and desperately hoping for a letter from home. The next evening
his "case" came before the official meeting:
The preacher had undertaken to find a boarding house for me, and
he inquired of the brethern. No one had thought of keeping boarders.
There had been no demand, hence there was no supply. ...`Here, brethern,
what about boarding this student? Something must be done. Here they
come flocking in and no place to board; we are expected to look
after this: At last William K. Cooper said that if the young man
would sleep with Professor Nutt he would take him until a better
place could be found. Some one suggested that the professor might
have something to say about sleeping with the young man. The result
of the negotiations was that the young man and professor slept together
for several months, and several families began to adjust their domestic
affairs so as to board students, but less than a dozen "flocked"