HAPPENING ON SUGAR CREEK
What had promised to be a pleasant boat trip afloat the usually placid
waters of Sugar Creek down to the Wabash River, and then to drift
south on that stream to the Journey's end at Terre Haute, terminated
In tragic disaster for two Boone County men. Ivory C. Tolle, Lebanon
funeral director and county coroner, and his bachelor friend, Fred
Graves, of Thorntown, prosecuting attorney, about noon on the Saturday
morning of May 1, 1909. near Darlington.
Although the morning was cold and dismal with occasional snow
flurries, Tolle and Graves launched their small craft near Thorntown
in the rain swollen stream with all going well until they reached
extremely fast water. Just above the Stockwell road bridge, east of
Darlington. In spite of all their efforts to avert the mishap,
the boat capsized, and both men were thrown into the water. Both
clung to the overturned boat for a time as It floated along, but
finally Craves let go In an effort to reach the shore. He went under a
short distance from the bank, his badly decomposed body to be
recovered some ten days later further downstream near the old Thurston
dam. Tolle hung on to the boat until It went over the dam; then his
grip loosened and be found himself struggling in the water. By some
miracle, be managed to lodge himself In a clump of willows, all the
while shouting for help. A young farmer, John W. Mullen, who was
ditching nearby, heard Tolle's cries, waded neck-deep Into the
swirling current, and managed to drag the now unconscious man to the
bank. With the help of a boy who had appeared on the scene, the
apparently drowned Tolle was carried to the nearby home of Wilson
Hunt, and a Darlington physician was summon ec. The doctor
worked for more than two hours before his patient began showing signs
of life and returning to consciousness.
Notified by telephone of her husband's misfortune, Mrs. Tolle.
accompanied by Dr. Hernia A. Beck, a Lebanon physician, was taken by
automobile driven by Elmer A. Brenton to Mr. Tolle's
bedside. The Tolle's two children, Larayne A., age nine,
and Mary, age eight, were left in the care of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel M.
Ralston, close friends of the TollesBy the following Tuesday. Mr.
Tolle was recovered to the extent that he and Mrs. Tolle were able to
leave Darlington to return to their Lebanon home, then in a large
two-story frame house located on the comer lot where the Montgomery
Ward sure now stands. It took Mr. Tolle months to get over the shock
of his harrowing ordeaL He spent most of the summer with a
cousin, Victor Foreman, on a farm near Zionsvllle, recuperating.
Mr. Mullen was widely praised for his heroism, and particularly, by
Lebanon's Boone Lodge #9, Free and Accepted Masons, of which lodge Mr.
Tolle was a Past Master. The grateful Tolle gave Mr.
Mullen a gold watch and a sizeable sum of money, with further
recognition of Mr. Mullen coming from other Masonic bodies. The
unfortunate episode and its aftermath created quite a stir throughout
Boone County as both men were widely known, professionally and
politically. In particular. Mr. Tolle was the Boone County coroner for
the year 1909 and 1910. and later was Center Township trustee for the
years 1913 and 1919. He was president of the Indiana
Funeral Directors' Association In 1913, having served the previous
three years as the Association's secretary. He was Boone
County's Chairman of Social Service for the American Red Cross during
World War I After retiring from the undertaking business in 1921. Mr.
Tolle became increasingly active In Masonic lodge affairs. His
entire Masonic history is an interesting one as given in a memorial
history issued by the Masonic Supreme Council shortly after his death.
Mr. Tolle was made a Master Mason In Brownsburg Lodge No. 241 In 1900,
and In June, 1905, he affiliated with Boone Lodge No. 9. In Lebanon,
serving as its Worshipful Master in 1908 -1909. and secretary from
1910 to 1921 He held honoiary membership in more than a score of
lodges throughout the State of Indiana.
He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Lebanon Chapter No. 39, In 1911.
serving as its secretary from 1912 to 1921. He became a Royal
and Select Master in Boone Council No. 45 In 1312. served as Its
Illustrious Master In 1914, and as recorder from 1912 to 1921.
He was created a Knight Templar In Lebanon Commandery No. 43 In 1911,
serving as Eminent Commander In 1919, and recorder from 1912 to 1921.
He received the various grades of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite
in the bodies of the Valley of Indianapolis In 1914, and March
20, 1927 at Boston, Mass., he was crowned a 33rd degree Honorary
Member of the Supreme Council. His outstanding record as a Mason
was In the position of Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Indiana
for almost 29 years, a position be was still holding at the time of
his death. Ivory C Tolle was bom December 4, 1878, at Brownsburg. He
married Martha Arbuckle In Brownsburg In 1898, and a few years later
came to Lebanon. He and Mrs. Tolle were active members of the First
Presbyterian Church of Lebanon where he served as president of
its Board of Trustees for many years, and as a Deacon.
Mr. Tolle died In his home on East South Street, in Lebanon, on
December 18. 1950, after a few weeks Illness. Mrs. Tolle passed
away on July 14, 1963. They are burled In Lebanon's Oak Hill Cemetery.
Transcribed from a Boone County Bicentennial Magazine dated 1976
and Contributed for Genealogy Trails by Barb Z.