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Edmund Otis Hovey was a founder, second faculty member, trustee, fundraiser, recruiter and most faithful steward of the college for its first forty years. He and his bride, Mary Carter, came from old New England families and set out for the "far west" in October of 1831, sent by the American Home Missionary Society to establish churches in the Wabash Valley. Hovey quickly became involved with the Rev. James Thomson and other Presbyterian leaders who were interested in establishing a liberal arts college.
The Hoveys entertained and wrote about important early guests on campus, including Henry Ward Beecher, who was a Wabash trustee. They also housed students, nursed them when they were sick, kept up correspondence with enlistees during the Civil War, and generally held the College together during some very difficult financial and national troubles. Their son, Horace, found a rock which his father identified as a crinoid, and together they spread the word about Crawfordsville's rich crinoid beds, which are now privately owned and very valuable. Both father and son were active in caving and discovered new caves in Indiana and Kentucky. Horace went on to write definitive books on his finds and Edmund collected specimens for and established a sizable natural museum on campus. Daughter Mary Freeman had a college degree and ran a girl's school in Hovey Cottage for a number of years. Her students took botany classes with the Wabash students, and possibly "sat in" on other studies.
The college owns an extensive collection of Hovey correspondence that includes pen sketches by Edmund of the floor plan for their new home on the Wabash campus. The Cottage originally faced what is now Wabash Avenue, but was eventually moved to the historic corner of the College Mall.
Montgomery County Interim Report. Indianapolis, IN: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1986.
Larson, Jens Frederick, and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933.
Osborne, James I., and Theodore G. Gronert. Wabash College: The First Hundred Years, 1832-1932. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1932.