Four Governors

James Brown Ray ( in office 1825-1831)  

  Noah Noble (in office 1831-1837)

David Wallace (in office 1837-1840)  

 Abram Hammond (in office 1860-1861)


James Brown Ray




James Brown Ray was Governor of Indiana, February 12, 1825-December 7, 1831. He was born in Kentucky in 1794 and came to Brookville in 1818 after studying  law in Cincinnati. He was elected to the Indiana Legislature in 1821 and the State Senate in 1822. In January 1824, he was elected president pro tempore of the senate. He became governor when the elected governor resigned in 1825 upon being elected to the U.S. Senate; the lieutenant governor had resigned in 1824 to run for Congress. Subsequently, Governor Ray was reelected to two terms in his own right. Ray  was the last nonpartisan governor elected in Indiana. 


Governor Ray's home in Brookville on 10th Street is still standing. It has a large palladian window on the south side. This "fancy" window became a campaign issue when Governor Ray ran for reelection in 1825. During his administration, construction was begun on the Michigan Road and the Wabash and Erie Canal. He was considered a very theatrical figure and is remembered for his last minute pardon of Samuel Fields, a Revolutionary War veteran who was about to be hung for murder. Fields had been convicted and sentenced for  the murder of a deputy who had been sent to arrest him for a minor altercation. He died in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. 



 Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana, 1800-1978, Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.

 History of Franklin County, Indiana by August J. Reifel, 1915



David Wallace


Erected by:                    Franklin County Historical Society

Located:                         Near St. Michael’s Church, Brookville, Indiana

Text and History:         Governor of Indiana 1837-1840.  Lived on this site when son Lew Wallace, author, soldier, and stateman was born on April 10, 1827.


                                                David Wallace, born in Pennsylvania, moved with his family to

Ohio where he attended school. He later moved to Brookville, Indiana,

where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He attended the U.S.

Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1821 as a second

lieutenant. He served in the 7th Regiment, Indiana militia, with ranks of

lieutenant, captain, and colonel.


Wallace served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1828 to 1831, when he was elected lieutenant governor on the Whig ticket with Noah Noble. He was re-elected in 1834 and served until February 1837, when he became a candidate for governor. In that election he defeated John Dumont, also a Whig. Wallace's administration was plagued with economic disaster as a result of the collapse of the internal improvements program. He was elected to Congress in 1841 but was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1843. He was the Whig state chairman in 1846, a member of the constitutional convention in 1850, and was elected judge of the court of common pleas in 1856.


A dignified man with a judicious manner, he was also described as "a lover of books, and was one of the most delightful of readers." He is, however, most famous as the father of Lew Wallace.


Reference: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.



Noah Noble


Noah Noble was born in Virginia in 1794 and came to Brookville in 1811 when he was only seventeen years old.  He and his brother, James lived in a two story frame house which was located on the site now occupied by the St. Michael Catholic Church Rectory. 


Several members of the Noble family made important contributions to Brookville and Indiana history. Noah Noble, the subject of this sketch was a brother of James Noble, who became one of Indiana's first  United States Senators. Another brother, Lazarus Noble was  Receiver of Public Moneys for the United States Land Office which was in Brookville 1820-1825. Lazarus died in Metamora while moving the Land Office from Brookville to the new state capitol in 1825.  Lazarus was buried in the old town cemetery on Tenth Street.


Noah Noble's career of public service started when he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Seventh Regiment, Indiana Militia in 1817. That same year he became one of the first initiates of the newly organized Masonic lodge in Brookville. In 1820, he was elevated to the rank of colonel of the Seventh Regiment.


Noah Noble was elected sheriff of Franklin County in 1820, his first political office. In 1824, he was elected to the Indiana Legislature; in 1825, he was appointed Receiver of Public Moneys for the Indianapolis Land Office succeeding his brother, Lazarus.  Noah became a member of the Whig party and was elected governor in the election of 1831 and was re-elected in 1834. Noah succeeded James Brown Ray as Governor of Indiana. He was governor from December 7, 1831- December 6, 1837. Noble was the first Indiana governor elected on a party ticket. During his terms in office, the State Legislature passed the Mammouth Internal Improvements Bill.  The ill fated Whitewater Canal was one of the ventures which was authorized under this legislation. As a result of this and other ventures, the state went bankrupt. Noah Noble was blamed for getting the state into debt in this regard.


When James Noble died  in 1836, Noah hoped to succeed  him in the  United States Senate. He ran for that office in 1836 and again in 1838, but was unsuccessful in being elected.  From 1839-1841, he was a member of the State Board of Internal Improvements.  He died in 1844 at the age of fifty and  was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery at Indianapolis. He married Catherine Stull Van Swearingen in 1819 and she is buried beside him.


Governors Ray, Noble and David Wallace were known as the "Brookville Triumvirate," in that they all had lived in Brookville and served consecutive terms in the office of Governor of Indiana. It is interesting to note that Noble and former governor Ray were political enemies.




 Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana, 1800-1878 Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.

 Messages and Papers of Noah Noble, 1831-1837, Indiana Historical Collections, Volume XXXVIII, Indiana Historical Bureau, 1958.


Abram Hammond


Subject:                           Abram Hammond

Erected by:                     Franklin County Historical Society

Located:                         300 Block of Main Street, Brookville, Indiana  


Mar. 21 1814-Aug. 27, 1874 Governor of Indiana, 1860-1861. Lived on  this site as a boy in the "old Yellow Tavern" part of which was a blockhouse erected 1808


 Abram Hammond was born in Vermont and came to Brookville, Indiana, when he was six years old. After attending the common schools he studied law and practiced in Greenfield and Columbus. A restless man all his life, he moved to Cincinnati in 1847 and practiced there until 1849, and, again after a few years in Indiana, in 1852 Hammond set out for San Francisco and practiced law with a prominent firm for three years. He later moved back to Indianapolis where he served as judge of the court of common pleas for Marion County. Well known as a capable lawyer, in 1856 Hammond, a former Whig, was elected lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket with Ashbel Willard. 

When Willard died in office in October, 1860, Hammond served out the remaining three months of Willard's term as governor. Medium-sized and compactly built, Hammond had a poker face and a self-contained manner. Contemporary observers wondered how he managed to build a law practice, since he was "not content to sit in his office and wait for a client." Soon after his term was over Hammond was severely afflicted with rheumatism and asthma, and he died in Denver, Colorado, in 1874.  

Source: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.
more information on Indiana Governors can be found at Indiana Governors at the Indiana Historic Bureau website.



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