“Dr. Lemon Relates the Story of His Life”
Editor’s Note: The following is an obituary written by Dr. John
Herschell Lemon about a year ago, in which he gives an intimate
history of his life:
Herschell Lemon, physician and surgeon since 1867 in New
Albany, Ind., was born on a pioneer farm one mile west of
the early time village of Harrodsburg, Monroe County, Ind.
in 1844. He removed to Bloomington in 1857, entering the
University of Indiana at the age of 13, and stayed until the
senior year, except time out for service in the Civil War as
a private soldier in Company A, 54th Indiana, in 1862 and as
acting hospital steward, 82nd Regiment of Indiana, 1st
Brigade, 3rd Division, 14th A.C. from 1863-1864.
Dr. Lemon was much attached
to memories of his fine old home west of Harrodsburg. His
father, John Andrew Miller Lemon introduced many varieties
of apples and peaches to the new orchards of the new west.
He organized and for years helped maintain the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church at Harrodsburg.
Dr. Lemon wrote much. Among
his published pieces were “Twelve Years Old,” a mosaic of a
boy (sic)life on an Indiana farm; “A Democratic Dilemma,” a
satire on the Wilson administration; “Ghosts I Have Met,”
“Our National Cemeteries,” and many reminisces of
Bloomington college which appeared regularly in the
“Alumnus” for a time including, “The Light of the Burning
University, April 13, 1854,” “Indiana University During the
Civil War,” “Butternuts,” “Copperheads,” “When Bloomington
Stood Under Arms,” “The First Sigma Chi, 1859,” and “No
College Sports From the Beginning of Indiana University to
After the Civil War.”
“Service of Company A. 54th
Indiana in West Kentucky During the Summer of 1862” written
by Dr. Lemon is the only account of this service before
slavery was abolished in June 1862. A company of marauding
secessionists crossed the Ohio River at Newburgh above
Evansville and robbed a store of government drums, guns and
Gov. Oliver Morton ordered
the 54th Indiana to cross over and pursue and recover the
stolen arms. The narrative is historically interesting of a
time when Kentucky proposed to be neutral, or to fight
either or both sides, if the ‘sacred soil’ of the state was
Dr. Lemon said that his
company was for a short time provost guards over Henderson,
Ky., and one of his duties was to keep to pretend to keep
the negroes in subjection.
On such service Company A,
54th Indiana, from Bloomington, was much tolerated by the
nervous citizens of the ‘sacred soil.’ This very valuable
manuscript was stolen and portions of it have appeared by
other names. Dr. Lemon’s writings were graphic and truthful.
His family came from Kent
county England in 1608 with a company of eight having a
king’s charter to land in Accomac, Virginia. One of the
party married Judith Shakespeare, daughter of William
Dr. Lemon’s father was the
nephew of James Lemon chairman on organization of First
Constitutional Convention of Indiana in 1816. He is buried
at Bloomington. On his mother’s Cynthia Taylor Lemon side
Dr. Lemon was related to President Zachary Taylor. The
Taylors and Harrisons are for several generations buried in
the Taylor Cemetery at Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky.
Dr. Lemon was the longest in
practice of medicine of any doctor in the state. For the
past year, it was difficult for him to go out of the house.
Dr. Lemon formerly owned much
property in New Albany and California. He helped organize
the Southern Fruit Growers Association of California and
held membership in that organization until a few years ago.
About 1885, Dr. Lemon bought
of James Haines the site of the present St. Edward’s
Hospital, living in the property which was built by Charles
Shipman in 1854 for 10 years and then selling it to Father
Failer his long time neighbor and friend who requested the
deed be made to the Sisters of Saint Francis. Work was
immediately commenced, the house itself being left intact
and additions built to form the present Hospital.
In the early times of New
Albany a forest road went along Seventh street. At the
northwest corner of the hospital is a well. At the time of
the forest road it was a spring of fine water—when the road
was filled the spring was made a well of fine water. The
site of St. Edwards was low ground and was filled by Mr.
Shipman and he insisted on tamping and pounding the selected
res and white clay to insure a firm foundation.
Mr. Shipman built several
homes in New Albany and was noted for expert workmanship and
using the finest of materials. Shipman and Lent South had an
extensive iron foundry on the river front west of Lower
First. Steamboat and mill casing were made. They credited
sugar house operators about New Orleans.
At the rebellion against the
North the debtors ‘outlawed’ all claims of the hated North
or ‘Yanks’ so Lent South and Shipman became much reduced in
Dr. Lemon is a direct
descendent of Capt. John Innes Lemon killed at the Battle of
Brandywine in the Revolution.
Dr. Lemon was the last of a
family of four brothers and one sister. Judge Alexander
Downey Lemon of Phoenix, Ariz., Dr. William S. Lemon of
Lawrence, Kan; Alfred Homer Lemon of Little Rock, Ark., and
Fayette Lemon Hamilton of San Diego, Calif.
July 11, 1935.
The New Albany Tribune published it on the front page of the
Source: Gregg Seidl