Political Notebook


Rest of the story: Duel never happened

In case you were wondering about the two 1861 legislators destined for a duel, it never happened.

During last week’s State of the State Address, Gov. Mitch Daniels referenced an 1861 letter written by a clerk named A.B. Carpenter. In the letter, Carpenter tells his parents about two legislators – Democrat Horace Heffren and Republican Gideon Moody – who headed off to Kentucky for a duel with bowie knives.

“Mr. Heffren, a Democrat, slandered and abused Mr. Moody, a Republican, in a speech and Moody challenged him. He accepted and chose bowie knives. They went to Kentucky last Friday night and have not been heard from since,” the letter said.

After the speech, a number of Hoosiers contacted the governor’s office wanting to know the outcome of the duel. Staffer Jake Oakman did a little research, and here is what he found.

The proposed duel was the result of a debate on the floor of the House regarding secession and states’ rights. Heffren made a “bitter attack on Governor Morton,” to which Moody replied in “scathing terms.” After some back and forth, Moody challenged Heffren to a duel in Covington, Ky., because dueling was illegal in Indiana.

The notice of the duel appeared in the Feb. 11, 1861, edition of the New York Times.

The police caught up with the two on the agreed-upon dueling ground, allegedly tipped off by the appointed witnesses to the clash. Both men were arrested because dueling also was illegal in Kentucky.

Moody, the challenger of the duel, was ordered to pay a $500 fine; Heffren was ordered to pay a fine of $250.

Both men later joined the Union Army. Moody raised the 9th Indiana Infantry, attained the rank of colonel and served until 1864. Heffren deserted after one year and became involved with Confederate sympathizers.

After the war, Moody was assigned by the War Department to Dakota Territory, where he served in the territorial government, helped write the South Dakota Constitution and eventually became one of the first two U.S. senators from South Dakota. He died in 1904 in Los Angeles at the age of 71.

Heffren eventually became involved with a group called The Sons of Liberty – a group of Confederate sympathizers in Kentucky who conspired to kidnap or kill the governor of Indiana, free Confederate prisoners of war and take Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri out of the Union.

The plan was discovered, and many members were arrested. Heffren testified against co-conspirators. He died in 1883 in Salem, Ind., at age 51.

And they’re off

The filing period for those running for House and Senate seats started last week, and a number of area residents have thrown their hats into the ring for the May primary.

Here are the candidates who have made their runs official:

•Rep. David Yarde, R-Garrett, has filed for the Republican Senate District 13 nomination. He will not seek re-election in the House.

•Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, filed to keep his Senate District 16 seat.

•Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, is seeking re-election in House District 18.

•Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, is running to retain her House District 22 seat.

•Two Republicans have filed in House District 52, which is an open seat. Allen County Councilman Paul Moss and DeKalb County businessman Ben Smaltz will vie for the GOP nomination.

•Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, filed to retain his House District 81 seat.

•Albion community leader Denise Lemmon and David Ober, chairman of the Noble County Young Republicans, are both seeking the Republican nomination for the newly drawn, open House District 82 seat.

•Keith Potter, Republican Aboite Township Board member, has filed to run in House District 83.

•Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, seeks to retain her House District 85 seat.

One district to watch is the newly drawn House District 50 seat, which has two incumbents – Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, and Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale.

Both men continue to say it’s their intention to run, but speculation continues to spread that one of the two will decide not to file at the last minute.

The deadline to file is Feb. 10.

Patriots coming

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David should expect some resistance during his visit to Columbia City this week.

The Whitley County Patriots plan to conduct a protest march surrounding the meeting where the justice will speak on Tuesday.

David Ditton from the patriots said the group was displeased with how David ruled in the Barnes v. State of Indiana case over whether homeowners have the right to resist unlawful police entry.

Ditton said he believes David may be considered for chief justice now that Chief Justice Randall Shepard is retiring.

“We believe this would further restrict the freedoms enjoyed by Indiana’s citizens,” he said.

The group plans to campaign against retaining David in this November’s election.

No one asked him

Not surprisingly, a few members of the City Council criticized Mayor Tom Henry’s administration about the new $950,000 elevator expense at Citizens Square.

Council President Tom Smith, R-1st, asked whether the city bought a money pit and Councilman John Shoaff, D-at large, questioned the role of the city’s Redevelopment Commission in such decisions.

The criticism was expected – the expense was just publicly announced – but its timing was somewhat odd in that it did not occur while Henry was at the table speaking to the new council. Henry gave a few remarks to the council Tuesday and even took questions, yet no one on the council raised the issue while he was in attendance.

Of course, such direct questioning might have gone against the council’s effort to keep meetings more cordial – and short.

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