The 27th Indiana had the tallest soldiers of the Civil War. David of Company F was 6-feet, 11-inches tall and was the tallest soldier on either side at a time when most men were from 5-3 -- 5-6 tall. The average height of men today is about 5-10 so to stand out today as he did then, David would have to be 7-4.
He was called the "Biggest Yankee in the World" by the Southern press. Captured at Winchester, Va., on May 25, 1862, he was sent to the infamous Libby Prison in Richmond where the towering Pres. Jefferson Davis (5-6) came to the prison to see this giant. He asked about his home and family.
"Back home at Gosport, Indiana," David said, "I have six sisters. When they told me good-bye, in Bloomington, they all leaned down and kissed me on top of the head."
Davis chuckled. Paroled in September 862 he commanded Company F at Antietam. Company F had 35 men over six feet tall. Quite unusual. Incredibly, as large a target as David presented, he was never wounded and served until April 1864.
Indiana University was in existence at that time. I wonder why he wasn't recruited along with Company F to play basketball for the Cream and Crimson. Wait a moment. Now that I think about it, basketball was not invented until 1891 over in Massachusetts. David was David C. Van Buskirk.
Presidential candidates did not always campaign for the office. It seems incredible for Americans today, who must endure interminable election campaigns, that early in the history of this nation, presidential candidates could not, would not, did not actively campaign. In 1842, Martin was traveling about the country trying to solidify his position for the election in 1844. He was not formally campaigning. Martin served as vice president with Andrew Jackson and then was the eighth president from 1836-40.
It is gone now but a huge elm tree once stood proudly along the National Road in Plainfield near the junction of highway 267. As Martin passed through Plainfield some irate citizens planned a special reception for him. They were unhappy with his performance and they planned some chicanery to indicate their displeasure. Secretly they arranged for his carriage to encounter the roots of the elm causing it to bounce and tip over unceremoniously plopping Martin face first into a huge mud hole in the road. His arms sank up to the elbows and his knees and feet disappeared into the slimy ooze known as the National Road. People stood watching and slapping their thighs in raucous laughter. They were delighted to see the high and mighty brought low. The year before Martin had vetoed a bill to improve the road and as a result he had a large cleaning bill that day.
It was from Martin that we have the term OK or Okay. He was born and lived in Kinderhook, New York, a Dutch community. He was known as Old Kinderhook and he would sign memos and notes with an OK meaning Old Kinderhook. His name was Martin Van Buren.
How about the third Van you asked. That would be me. "Of some note" is the question. Compared to the other two my note would be V-flat.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University -- four times. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656.