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Naaman Fletcher

(1824-1864)

Of "Nancy," as the boys called the first Secretary and second President of the "Delta Association," less is known than of the other five Founders. It is of record, however, that the date of his birth was February 27,1824, and that the place was Zanesville, Ohio. His father died when Naaman was three years old and he was adopted by a distant relative at whose expense he was educated. It seems clear that he studied law and was admitted to the bar before enrolling at Jefferson College but, realizing the insufficiency of his basic education, he entered the sophomore class at Jefferson when 23 years of age, graduating with the class of '49. From all indications, Fletcher was a very colorful, red-blooded youth. While at Canonsburg he apparently led a full life socially. Aside from much mention of the "Delta Association," his fluent letters speak mostly of brown-eyed maids and occasionally of other diversions, such as fishing, hunting, ice-skating, hiking and an infrequent evening spent at the tavern "with the boys."

As the only one of "The Immortal Six" who did not graduate in '48, Fletcher headed the chapter in its second year and his leadership had real significance in the perpetuation of our order.

After graduation, Fletcher practiced law for about two years, supposedly at Piqua, Ohio, before becoming editor of The Massillon News, which paper he published in partnership with his former classmate and brother Phi Gamma Delta, James W. Logan (Jefferson 1849). At that period in his life, he married beautiful Elizabeth Crosby, the daughter of a prominent physician, and in 1853 moved with her to Wabash, Ind. There he bought first The Gazette and later The Intelligencer, uniting the two and then serving as editor and publisher of the combined newspapers, a rabid pro-Union organ.

While legend said Fletcher caught a cold returning from an anti-secession meeting at which he had been key speaker, and died of pneumonia, this is apparently not the case. Contemporary accounts indicate he was ill for over a month with typhoid fever before his death on December 20, 1864.

Naaman's Gravesite

Fletcher was editor of the Wabash Gazette and Intelligencer until stricken with typhoid fever in November, 1864. "He lay ill for thirty-two days. [Tomos Alpha erroneously reports the illness as of only three days' duration.] He died on Tuesday, December 20, and was buried the next day."

In 1992, the original stone was cleaned, re-engraved, and inset into a black stone surround by the Fraternity.

Directions

Wabash, Indiana is located northeast of Indianapolis and can be reached via U.S. Route 24. Follow Business 24 into Wabash where it becomes Stitt Street. Turn left onto Falls Avenue, which will take you to Falls Cemetery. Turn right into the main entrance (by custodian's building) and follow the driveway turning right at the first opportunity. As you go up the small rise, there is a large oak tree followed by a large spruce on the right side. Fletcher's unique tombstone is next and is easy to spot, right beside the road and framed in black stone, in Section OP, Lot 186, space 1.

 
Copy of a picture of Fletcher, 
as used in the Phi Gamma
Delta magazine in 1901.
Copy thought to have come
from his son C. C. Fletcher,
who retained the original. It
is not known if the original
still exists.
Fletcher's stone
as it appears today.
Prior to 1992
 
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