The Archives of Phi Gamma Delta

Archives Home Founders Traditions Today in History Historic Sites Leaders Exhibits/References Blog Contact

______________________________________________________________________

 

Published in The Phi Gamma Dleta
Volume 61, Number 6, April 1939, pp. 571-578

For more information, reference Men of Tau by the author of this article.

Tau Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

Seventy-five Years of Uninterrupted History are Rounded Out by Chapter at Hanover College

By Arthur D. Cutler (Hanover 1894)

Back to History Articles page 

The history of Tau Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at Hanover College is replete with interest to all members of the fraternity. The continued d unbroken life of the chapter since its organization in 1864 - 75 years ago - is an excellent demonstration of wise plans and methods. The standards of true Deltaism have been in evidence in good measure from year to year.

Care in preservation of records, pleasure in possession of a complete file of THE PHI GAMMA DELTA from the very beginning in 1879 and pride in a chapter-house of excellent design, ample capacity and central location are some of the facts apparent to those with a knowledge of Tau's history.

Tau Chapter has always stood for high scholarship and boasts the names of many on her roll who have won fame. No less is her boast of brothers prominent in professional, commercial, industrial and business life. The record of the past is saturated with the basic and rugged virtues of the formative days, compelling our admiration and commendation, and furnishing a powerful incentive for those of today, to whom the torch has been handed by brothers enshrined in our hearts and memories.

On January 25, 1864, a petition was sent to the Grand Chapter for a charter of Phi Gamma Delta at Hanover College. The petition was granted January 28, 1864. The Grand Chapter issued the charter to Tau Chapter under date of January 29, 1864. This was done at Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

LAMBDA MAN IS LEGATE

Enoch G. Cox (DePauw 1864), the duly-appointed Legate, and three other brothers from Lambda Chapter, Lafayette Joseph, 1865; Walter Armstrong, 1864, and George Griffin, 1864, initiated four students of Hanover College on February 5, 1864, thus establishing the chapter.

Samuel Brown of Shelbyville, Ky.; John D. Harrington of Shelbyville, Ky.; William A. Patton, a native of Spruce Hill, Pa., and Robert S. Dean, a native of Woodville, Miss., were the initiates. They were all members of the class of 1864. William W. Brown, 1864, of Shelbyville, Ky., a cousin of Samuel Brown, was one of the five charter members, but, at the time of the installation, he was absent on account of sickness. He died of smallpox just about a month later - March 7, 1864.

The four members of Lambda Chapter came to Hanover, presumably "on a pleasure trip to Cincinnati," but really to establish Tau Chapter. The activities connected with the organization and establishment of the chapter were held in the nearby town of Madison. It is pretty well authenticated that the charter was delivered to the charter members in what is now Room 37 of the present Madison Hotel, which was then operated under the same name. This room is in the northeast corner of the second floor, overlooking both Mulberry and Second Streets. Editor: the Madison Hotel was razed in 1949.

The Hanover of that day was small in number of houses and the meeting place for the chapter was in a brother's room.

CHARTER IS PRESERVED

The membership stayed small in numbers. Death early invaded the ranks and claimed William W. Brown. The minutes record resolutions of regard. The charter was paid for by the chapter in April, 1865. This old document is still in a fine state of preservation. It is kept in the vaults of the Madison Safe Deposit and Trust Company, Madison, Ind. A copy of the charter, suitably framed, hangs on the wall of the den of the chapter-house.

John H. Holliday, 1864, was made a frater on May 13, 1864, and was graduated in June of that year.

To obtain greater seclusion for meetings a committee of two was appointed "to search for some cave, some hollow in the ground, where our meetings can be held." This plan did not prove satisfactory and the boys met in the room", of their boarding places. The name "Delta Wigwam" was used to locate the meeting place. Two brothers were sent to a "Delta convention" in June, 1866. [The 1866 convention was held in mid-August at Meadville, Pennsylvania,  Seven names appear on the roll at that time, and John M. Coulter was initiated on September 22, 1866.

There appears this record under date of May 15, 1867: "The brothers met at prayer meeting and retired to janitor Brown's fence. Blackwell went home at 9:30. Burt, Lord and Gilpin, perched on the top rail of the fence; transacted all necessary business. Hope, the spirit's charmer, sang songs of the days to come when Tau has a full membership."

CARRIES SEED TO YALE

Andrew Harvey Young, 1871, who was afterwards professor of natural sciences at Hanover College from 1879 until 1926; was initiated December 12, 1867, in the presence of eight brothers.

Brother Young was instrumental in the formation of Nu Deuteron Chapter at Yale University, where he took a scientific course and was one of the charter members of that chapter.

Some item of importance needed attention and the brothers held a called meeting on board the steamerMorning Star. A river excursion was one of the frolics of the spring time. The beginning of a collection of Delta songs, the agitation for a suitable meeting place, indulgence in "feeds" and "blowouts" and the custom of literary exercises in fraternity meetings added life to the chapter. One Monday in 1877, before breakfast, the chapter gathered to initiate a pledge. There was great glee in the Fiji camp at chapel time, since the newly-initiated brother had been rushed hard by another fraternity.

(Other early Greeks at Hanover: Beta Theta Pi, 1853; Phi Delta Theta, 1861; Sigma Chi, 1871.)

A chapter subscription for the fraternity magazine was made in 1879, the year of its founding, and often the minutes tell of the faithful reading of this publication. Contacts were not so easily made in those days and the printed page took the place of many personal associations. Grand Chapter dues of $82 were levied on the twelve members. Monthly dues were raised to 35 cents.

ENGAGES IN DEBATES

In 1880, the debts of the chapter were all paid in full. A hall was fixed up as a meeting place in 1882. Debates made up a part of the program for meetings and important questions were discussed in earnest manner. However, the interest was never so great but that the brothers would adjourn to devour a roast turkey, oysters or cake and candy.

The chapter was in a flourishing condition in those days. A fine group of men entered heartily into the beneficial activities of fraternity life. Men were sometimes initiated, but the pins were not given out, so that some other fraternity might be baited and lose a "spike."

ANDREW HARVEY YOUNG: 
A member of the class of 1871 at Hanover College, he later studied at Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University, where he was one of the charter members of Nu Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta in 1875. He was professor of natural sciences at Hanover from 1879 until his retirement in 1926. His grave in the village cemetery is a shrine for Tau men.

The 20th anniversary of the founding of the chapter was observed in January, 1884. The lady friends of the fraternity were presented with cut flower bouquets bearing cards of compliments tied with purple ribbons. The panhellenic banquet was an annual affair. Phi Gamma Delta and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority were good friends and pins were often floated to the Theta sisters. The initiation fee was a nominal sum, while monthly dues were 50 cents.



Samuel A Moffett, 1884, served as Section Chief for several years. Fourteen brothers were called upon to mourn the death of Walker S. Lord, 1866. Brother Lord had kept in touch with the chapter after leaving college, and often visited with Tau on her meeting night. A banquet which had been arranged after weeks of discussion gave way to the purchase of the walnut book case which is still in use in the chapter-house.

THE FAMOUS "GOAT" BOX

The box in which we keep our "goat" and other valuables was made in 1885. Herbert Hill, 1889, was a leading spirit and later gave some books of value for the use of the brothers.

In March, 1886, the fraternity leased and occupied new quarters in the hall over the old Rankin store for a five-year term. The money needed for furnishings was borrowed. Many will remember the piano which graced the hall and aided so much in the singing of fraternity songs. This piano was donated by Miss Katie Piatt, who afterwards became the wife of Charles M. Bottorff, both of whom graduated in the class of 1886. The generosity of Miss Piatt in this particular instance and her loyalty and assistance to the fraternity in many other ways throughout her life will never be forgotten.

The hall over the Rankin store was used continuously by the chapter until the new home was built in 1910 and occupied in January, 1911. There are many pleasant recollections associated with the old hall. There the initiations were held; there the criticisms and corrections were heard; there the chapel
oratorical efforts were given; there the real expressions of fraternity were made.

Often, after the meetings, stag events were arranged. Delta mothers living in Hanover often sent in ice cream and cake, watermelons, fruits and other goodies. Strawberry time was awaited with keen anticipation, for every year Professor Young would send over to the hall a freezer full of homemade ice-cream and a supply of berries from his home patch sufficient to amply satisfy the healthy appetites of all Fijis lucky enough to be on hand for this annual event.

What affairs the boys did have in those olden, golden days, and what a fine spirit of brotherhood was thereby developed and increased!  A "feed" was' once given to the "lady friends" of Phi Gamma Delta.  It cost $9.05.

CHICKEN DINNER TRADITION

Chicken roasts in some of the ravines were frequent, even though sometimes the fowl was a borrowed one. On one occasion, after a rebuke for such conduct by one frater, a motion was carried to adjourn the meeting so that the bunch might sit around the stove and hear Huckleberry Finn read aloud. The spirit of play and general good time had much to do in binding the brothers close to one another.

College football appeared in the early 1880s. Tau always has had her full share of players.

William A. Patton, 1864, a charter member, visited the chapter in 1887 and delighted the boys with many reminiscences. Alumni visitation seemed to have been quite generally practiced and proved to be a good way to keep up interest in the fraternity. The Saturday night meetings were often shortened to
join in celebrations of athletic victories of the college team; often the brothers absent from the meetings could be found calling at the girls' dormitory.

Eavesdropping about the hall was a common occurrence and some strange pranks were played. A perplexing question arose about a pledged man and a meeting for the discussion of the case lasted until adjournment at 2:30 in the morning. The man under discussion was never initiated.

A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT

Tau had her delegate at the national convention which met in Indianapolis in October, 1890, and full report of this meeting was given to the chapter. When John M. Coulter, 1870, was elected president of Indiana University in 1891, Tau records show a letter of congratulation to her worthy member. State conventions were attended by one or more from the chapter, and several times some one from Tau was in a national convention. Money donations often came from certain brothers whose interest in the fraternity has never lagged. A fraternity tennis court was made and tennis honors have often been held by Fijis.

Chapter-house agitation sprang up again in 1892, but failed to get farther than discussion. It was a jolly bunch of Phi Gamma Delta men who gathered in Hanover for the state convention in May, 1892. A levy of $5 per member took care of all the expense involved. The banquet was held in the Madison Hotel and Old Dobbin was the automobile.

The chapter increased the initiation fee in 1892. Five times in the history of Tau a class of five men was initiated. Once Tau had five sets of brothers - Williams, Hamilton, Adams, Cutler and Burger - all members of the active chapter at one time.

The membership during the next five years remained small and varied from ten to twelve. It was about this time that the students averaged younger in number of years compared with those who had been coming. Financial struggles were considerably in evidence. Two things occurred which seemed to do
much to swing the tide to more favorable conditions - the pledge button in 1895 and the state convention in Hanover in 1896. The pledge button was just the right thing in a time of discouragement.

CHAPTER-HOUSE IS BUILT

The chapter-house idea again came up for action, and in 1897 a committee from the chapter studied the proposition from all the angles of financial ability and expediency. Plans were decided upon, location was secured, estimates for construction were given, alumni assistance was assured and organized and at last in 1911 the house became a reality. It seemed large enough for Tau's needs for many years to come. The location is a choice one on a lot with a frontage of 100 feet and extending back 180 feet. It practically adjoins the campus, just across the street from the new $250,000 Donner Hall, a women's dormitory, now being erected.

The house did much to enhance the fraternal, social and educational demands of the brothers. It was occupied January 30, 1911, and proved to be an event long dreamed of. Much credit for the construction of the house belongs to the Moffett family. Clinton Moffett, 1912, was chairman of the committee in charge of the work. The Hanover Phi Gamma Delta Association is a corporation under state laws.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the chapter was celebrated February 5, 1914, with an interesting program of addresses replete with facts of the past struggles and achievements and a hopefulness for the future. Many Tau men came back to enjoy the hospitality of the house and of the brothers there. The reading of the minutes of the chapter's first meeting, as they were prepared February 8, 1864, was a novel feature. Many letters were received from brothers of an earlier day sending their congratulations and felicitations. Around the fireplace many stories and reminiscences 'were given and the exercises closed with a song of Delta loyalty.

Tau Chapter, like all other organizations and institutions, felt the power of the World War hand. When our country called for our young men they went to the front. Those who were left kept the home fires burning and on the front of the house hung a service flag which carried 21 stars. This flag is now one of the keepsakes of the chapter. After returning from the service, some of these brothers failed to come back to college and Tau had her struggles for a few years. Today the memory of this is pleasant, for Tau did her part.

When the 100th anniversary of the founding of Hanover College was celebrated in June, 1927, more than 50 Fiji alumni were present to participate in the various events. At this time the brothers went in a body to the Hanover cemetery, overlooking the Ohio River, one mile from the town, to hold memorial services for three members of the chapter who are buried there: Thomas J. Giboney, 1885; Andrew Harvey Young, 1871, and Glenn Culbertson, 1888.

HOUSING EQUIPMENT ATTRACTIVE

In 1930, the chapter-house was remodeled and enlarged at a cost of about $9,000. The work was done during the summer and fall of that year under the efficient supervision of Clarence A. Dryden, 1904, of Hanover. Now 30 men can be made comfortable for the night in the spacious and airy bed room which includes the entire third floor. There are now nine study rooms on the second floor, besides a central hall and a large room combining shower baths, lavatory and toilet facilities. On the first floor is the commodious hall along the entire east side where the brothers hold their meetings each Monday night; The den, with its fireplace and easy chairs emphasizing comfort and sociability, and where cups and plaques and other trophies "are displayed in profusion; the kitchen, commissary department. and cook's quarters, and the spacious dining room along the entire west side, where visiting brethren receive cordial hospitality and where music and dancing and gayety hold sway whenever social functions are in progress. Underneath most of the building is a large basement in which is installed an efficient steam heating plant. The premises about the house are well kept, with many large native shade trees,' an attractive lawn and flowers in season.

The latest available list of members gives Tau a total membership of 406. The oldest living alumnus of Tau Chapter is Thomas R. Paxton, 1870, of Princeton, Indiana who was born September 5, 1847. He is hale and hearty at 91 years of age, and is expected to be present as an honored guest at the anniversary festivities on May 5-7.

TRADITIONS ARE PRESERVED

The ideals, aims and hopes of Phi Gamma Delta are well exemplified by the group now in the active chapter. There is the same desire to win honors, recognitions, scholastic and athletic victories as in the years gone by. The traditions and customs of auld lang syne are still treasured and will be faithfully handed on from year to year as Tau continues in her illustrious and successful career.

May the past tell its full story in the larger and better things of the future! May the splendor of Delta's star shine on, and the song of Delta's heart be heard as the chain grows longer and stronger! May our love for the old fraternity and for the brothers of Tau Chapter grow and ever have the fascination of genuine brotherhood!

Contemplating Tau's glorious record and the lives of those brothers gone before, all of us have a right to feel that we are part and parcel of an institution which should and will endure to benefit future generations as long as the beautiful Ohio rolls on to the sea, as long as these ancient hills, annually clothed in living green, emphasize the certainty of a resurrection and the immortality of the soul, and as long as the age-old principles of true fraternal feeling prevail and reign eternal in the hearts of men.

Back to History Articles page