Need help editing articles? Start out with the new Introduction to Editing Articles Video.

David H. Maxwell

From Bloomingpedia

David H. Maxwell (September 17, 1786 - May 24, 1854), Monroe County physician and legislator, who has been called the Father of Indiana University, was born in Garrard County, Ky, September 17, 1786. At age 18 he went to school in Danville, Kentucky, and eventually received his M.D. On September 1, 1809, he married Mary Dunn, daughter of Samuel Dunn. They had at least three children: Martha, James, and Samuel.

In 1816 Indiana became a state, and Maxwell was delegate to the convention which framed the state constitution.

In 1818, Maxwell bought a lot in Bloomington, and moved there the following year. With no home built, he rented a log cabin from Aquilla Rogers, on the lot where the National Hotel was later. He was present at the founding of the First Presbyterian Church, and eventually built the first brick house in Bloomington on what is now College Avenue. It was known in later years as the Lucas House.

To further his influence in promoting the welfare of the Seminary and of education generally, several times he sought election to the state legislature, serving in the House during the sixth, eighth, and ninth sessions (1821, 1823, 1824) and in the Senate during the years 1826 to 1829.

Shortly after the organization of the institution as a University in 1838, with a board of twenty-two trustees, a vacancy occurred in the board, and David H. Maxwell was elected by the Board of Trustees on April 4, 1839 to fill this vacancy.

On February 15, 1841, the legislature provided for a nine-man board, supplanting the unwieldy twenty-two man board and David H. Maxwell was named a member of the smaller board. At the organization meeting, July 19, 1841, he was elected president, an office he continued to fill until his final retirement in 1852. He was also elected mayor of Bloomington in 1848.

He died in Bloomington on May 24, 1854, having served thirty years as a trustee of Indiana University and twenty-eight years as president of the board.