Luther Short image

A review of the life of the honored subject of this review must of necessity be brief and general in its character. To enter fully into the inter­esting details of the career of Luther Short, touching the struggles of his early manhood and the successes of his later years would far transcend the limits of this article. He has filled a large place in the ranks of the public-spirited citizens, successful lawyers and newspaper men of his day. and that he has done his part well cannot be gainsaid, for his record has been such as has gained for him the commendation and approval of his fellows. His career been a long, busy and useful one and he has contributed much to the material, civic and moral advancement of the community, while his admira­ble qualities of head and heart and the straightforward, upright course of his daily life has won for him the esteem and confidence of the circles in which he has moved.

Luther Short is descended from a long line of sterling ancestry in both paternal and maternal lines and he has added prestige to the name so honora­bly borne by his forebears. His paternal great-grandfather, John Short, was born in the Shenandoah valley, Virginia, in 1756, and in young manhood moved to Russell county, that state, where he lived until the fall of 1802, when he moved to the vicinity of Somerset, Pulaski county, Kentucky, and later came to Indiana, where his death occurred. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. His son, Wesley Short, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born on December 20, 1780, in Russell county, Virginia, where, in the spring of 1802, shortly before the removal of the family to Kentucky, he was married to Rebecca Owen. He was a man of high moral character and marked intellectuality and, as one of the pioneer ministers of the Disciple, or Christian church, he held a prominent place in that denomination at the time of his death. His son, and the subject’s father, Milton Short, first saw the light of day in Pulaski county, Kentucky, on May 18, 1807. He lived there until in March, 1818, when he moved to Indiana, in which state he remained about ten years, returning to his native state in the fall of 1828. He engaged in teaching school, and later became a farmer, which pursuit he followed until 1836, when he again moved to Indiana, locating at Springville, Lawrence county, where he bought a tract of land adjoining the town. Soon afterwards he entered college and prepared himself for the practice of medi­cine, to which he devoted himself until 1854, when he engaged in the mercan­tile business, which commanded his attention for a number of years. In 1868 he left Lawrence county, but, after making several moves, he returned to Fayetteville, where he lived until his death which occurred on April 27, 1887.

On January 8, 1829, Milton Short married Mary Tate, the daughter of Robert and Winnie (Atkinson) Tate and to them were born eight children, an equal number of boys and girls. The mother of these children died on December 13, 1864. She was descended from John Tate, a native of the state of Virginia, where he spent his entire life, and where his son, Robert, was born on July 3, 1768. The latter was married to Winnie Atkinson about 1807, and to them, on December 5, 1811, was born a daughter. Mary, who became the wife of Milton Short.

Luther Short lived in Lawrence county, Indiana, until sixteen years old, spending a portion of his time in work on his father’s farm and securing his education in the public schools of the neighborhood. In 1861, his patriotic spirit aroused by the sanguinary assaults on his country’s flag in the South­land, he enlisted in Company F, Forty-third Regiment Volunteer Infantry, with which command he served three years and two months, taking part in many of the most noted and hotly contested battles of that struggle. He proved a faithful soldier and during a part of the period he served as a non-commis­sioned officer. Upon receiving his honorable dis­charge, in October, 1864, he returned to his home and engaged in the mercantile business until the fall of 1866. In September of that year he began his education by one year’s attendance at the Northwestern Christian University, now Butler College, at Indianapolis. In the spring of 1868 he entered Asbury (now DePauw) University, at Greencastle, Indiana, and from there went to the State University, at Bloomington, where he was graduated in 1869, with a class of thirty-one. In the fall of the same year Mr. Short entered the law department of the University of Michigan, graduating there in 1871. During the summers of 1870 and 1871 he was employed as general manager of the agricultural implement house of J. Braden, at Indianapolis. Upon the completion of his studies, Mr. Short located at Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was actively engaged in the practice of law until April, 1874, when he returned to Indiana, locating at Franklin, Johnson county, which has since been his home. In January of the following year he was appointed deputy prosecuting attorney under Prosecutor W. S. Ray. In June, 1879, he formed a partnership with George Finney and on the 1st of July they purchased the Herald-Democrat, changing its name to the Democrat, which they ran until March 29, 1880, when Mr. Short purchased his partner’s interest, and thereafter for a number of years he successfully conducted the newspaper, which became one of the most popular and influential of local newspapers. On September 23, 1893, Mr. Short was appointed consul-general to Constantinople, where his services were of such character as to win for him the commendation of his government. Of recent years Mr. Short has not taken a very active part in public affairs, but is quietly enjoying the fruits of his former years of earnest endeavor.

On April 9, 1883, Mr. Short was married to Emma W. Heineken, a daughter of Samuel P. Heineken, and the same day they started on an extended trip through Europe, visiting Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Holland. In 1898 Mr. and Mrs. Short made a tour around the world, and their summers are usually spent among the lakes of the northern peninsular of Michigan.

Fraternally, Mr. Short has for many years been an active and appreciated member of the Masonic order, in which he has met with distinctive preferment having served as grand commander of the grand commandery of Knights Templar of Indiana, while in the Scottish Rite he has been honored with the thirty-third and last degree, one the most coveted honors in that time-honored order. Mr. Short rendered effective service in the Legislature in 1891, and has served as presidential elector for the fifth congressional district. In every walk of life Mr. Short has been recognized by all classes as a high-minded, talented, courteous gentleman of integrity and moral worth. He is at present a member and president of the board of trustees of the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home at Knightstown. He has acted well his part in life and, while primarily interested in his own affairs, he has not been unmindful of the interests of others, contributing to the extent of his ability to the advancement of the public good and the welfare of his fellow men. Personally, he is a man of pleasing address, sociably inclined, and he enjoys a wide acquaintance and a large circle of warm and loyal friends.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Indianapolis IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 564-567

Transcribed by Lois Johnson