The Last Resort is chapter 19 of Fine Line, the sequel to Woodcutter’s Revival. Both historical fiction books, written by Jerry Slauter are set the beginning of the final phase of the Industrial Revolution.
There were two world famous resorts in Indiana in 1900. One resort was at French Lick, owned by former United Sates Senator and Mayor of Indianapolis, Thomas Taggart. Mudlavia, the other resort, was in Williamsport and owned by Henry Kramer. Both resorts claimed to have therapeutic mineral water.
Thomas Taggart was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Contenders for the office of president of the United States went through French Lick. Frank Hanly was Indiana’s governor from 1905 to 1909. He was a staunch Republican. Governor Hanly closed the resort at French Lick in 1906 for gambling.
Was the action politically motivated, or was it simply a coincidence that Governor Hanly, political adversary of Thomas Taggart, and resident of the community with Indiana’s other resort, closed the French Lick resort?
Stewart and his new boss engage in a conversation about the incident. McCabe offers some background in the following excerpt:
“Hanly, as you know is from Williamsport. He was born in a log cabin, across the line in St. Joseph, Illinois. He came to Warren County and dug ditches on a farm in Jordan Township for two years while studying for a teaching certificate. Then at Williamsport he began teaching. While teaching, he became a lawyer. He beat local politician, George Cronk and served in the United States House of Representatives from eighteen ninety-five through eighteen ninety-seven. He became governor in nineteen and five.
Stewart said, “That’s amazing! Hanly’s a Republican. How did he move up so fast in politics? He came from such humble beginnings to the United States Congress and then to governor of the state. That seems like it would take some financial backing.”
As Stewart was sitting there thinking, his eyes opened in an expression of amazement. “The richest person in this area has a resort. Of course, this is a dry county and three is no gambling at Mudlavia.”
When Stewart looked in McCabe’s direction, he noticed a wry smile. McCabe said, “There is no known activity which could be considered illegal at Mudlavia.”
Stewart smiled and said, “I find it hard to believe that people don’t engage in a friendly game of chance for monetary gain, or certain entertainment might be provided for the visiting wealthy and well-known. I can’t imagine that almost any type of service might not be provided for a price.”
McCabe asked, “Have you seen the Wabash Watchman and Richard’s latest editorial?”
Stewart said, “No, I haven’t.”
McCabe said, “Take a look at it when you get a chance. I couldn’t tell you this before, but since you work here now, I’m not violating client confidentiality. Kramer came in one day and handed me a check for five hundred dollars. I asked what it was for. He answered, ‘I might need you to represent me if I ever get sued.’”
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About the Author:
Jerry is a retired school teacher who loves to spend time with his family, including children and grandchildren. He published Woodcutter’s Revival in 2012 and plans to release the sequel, Fine Line, in 2014. He likes to travel and speak about writing and the topics of his writing and research. He works in his wood, leather and metal shops at home. Writing aligns well with his passion of reading and research. Jerry is available to speak in schools and churches or conferences and seminars.
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