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John Kennedy Gowdy collection

 Collection — Folder: S0531
Identifier: S0531

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a carbon copy of a typewritten document excerpted, with some additions, from the Centennial History of Rush County, Indiana in 1921 regarding the life of John Kennedy Gowdy.


  • circa 1920s

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

John Kennedy Gowdy was born in Arlington, Rush County, Indiana on August 22, 1843 to Adam McConnell and Nancy (Oliver) Gowdy. In 1849, his family moved to Jasper County. He enlisted in Company L, 5th Indiana Volunteer Calvary at Lafayette, Indiana on July 17, 1862. His regiment pursed and captured John Morgan and with General Sherman until after the evacuation of Atlanta, Georgia. Gowdy mustered out at Pulaski, Tennessee October 5, 1865. He returned to Rush County, Indiana and farmed. On January 24, 1867, Gowdy married Eve Eliza Gordon in Rush County, with whom he had 2 children.

Gowdy was elected sheriff of Rush County in 1870 and 1872, the youngest sheriff in that county. He was later elected auditor of the county in 1882 and was re-elected in 1886. He served as chairman of the Rush County Republican Committee from 1879 to 1889. Gowdy was selected chairman of the Republican State Central Committee in 1890 and elected to that post in 1892, after it was reorganized and again in 1894 and 1896. He was appointed by President William McKinley in 1897 as consul-general to Paris, in which position he won many awards and honors. On July 3, 1900, he presented a statue of George Washington, a gift of the American people to the French government. Gowdy assisted in locating the body of John Paul Jones, which was returned to the United States. Gowdy resigned that position effective September 30, 1905 and returned to Rush County.

Gowdy was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, beginning in 1866. He died June 25, 1915 and was buried in the Arlington East Hill Cemetery in Arlington, Indiana.


Items within the colleciton.

"Gowdy, John Kennedy." In Centennial History of Rush County, Indiana. Indianapolis, IN: Historical Publishing Company, 1921. "John K. Gowdy." Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941. Acceassed January 14, 2015. "John Kennedy Gowdy." Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed January 14, 2015.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

SP072: John Kennedy Gowdy photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/01/14 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2015/01/14 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid revised 2021/10/13 by Brittany Kropf.
John Kennedy Gowdy collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.