Presidential Ties, Mayors, and Patents. Oh My!

It’s a little soon for another reader response column, but I have some column business that needs attention.

Mainly, I want to apologize to Dan Haskett. He mailed an envelope to me back in December and it somehow got mislaid for a couple of months. I didn’t see his note until a few weeks ago.  Sorry about that, Dan.

He’s a stamp collector and he sent me an advertising cover he’d bought off eBay for 99 cents. He said he purchased it because he was intrigued by the “Meyers & Company, Noblesville, Ind.” return address on the envelope and by an odd drawing beneath the return address.

The drawing is an outline of a doughnut-shaped object with the words, “PATENT APPLIED FOR” on it. Next to the drawing is the question, “What is it?” The cover is postmarked from Noblesville with a date that looks like Jan. 21, 1892, but the last digit in the year is faint, so I could be off on that.

I’ve been trying to find information about “Meyers & Company” and have come up completely empty. My search for a patent application under the name, “Meyers,” in Noblesville between 1880 and 1905 was a bust as well.

I asked Nancy Massey if she could find any information about this and she had no more luck than I did.

If anyone has heard of Meyers & Company, please let me know.

After the column on Frances Neal Ellis ran, my Anonymous Friend asked if John Neal served as mayor of Noblesville twice.

The short answer is “yes,” but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Frances Neal Ellis’s grandfather, Judge John F. Neal, was mayor from 1889 to 1890. He finished the term of Edgar C. Wilson, who stepped down to tend to “business engagements.”

John R. Neal, of the Noblesville Daily Ledger Neals, served as Noblesville’s mayor from 1958 to 1959 and again in 1963. Oddly enough, both times he filled in for mayors who died in office.

After Herman Lawson died in office in 1958, Gordon Olvey was chosen by the city council to fill the vacancy. When Olvey died after serving only one month, Charles Meredith acted as mayor pro-tem for a few days, then John R. Neal was elected by the council to take over for the rest of the term.

In 1963, Dale Hanshew, the mayor elected after John R. Neal, also died in office and Neal was again chosen to complete the unexpired term.

(It sounds like something for Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, doesn’t it?)

When I wrote the column about Tim Kraft a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t say much about his early years in Noblesville.

That was partly because I wanted to focus on his time in the White House and partly because I knew he’d graduated from Kentucky Military Institute rather than Noblesville High School. I wasn’t sure how many years he’d attended school here. (I know nothing about military schools.)

I later learned from an unimpeachable source that his grade school and junior high years were spent in Noblesville and that he still keeps in touch with some of his old classmates from that time.

While we’re on the subject of politics, my cousin, the Dancing Librarian, pointed out that Tim Kraft isn’t the only Hamilton County native with presidential ties.

David Kendall, the older brother of one of her Sheridan classmates, has acted as a personal lawyer for Bill and Hillary Clinton for many years.

A Rhodes Scholar, Kendall received his law degree from Yale Law School, which is where he met the Clintons. In addition to representing them, he’s handled a wide variety of prominent cases and in the early 1970s he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

-Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at