J. D. Holmes and the
First A.A. Group in Indiana

Evansville, April 23, 1940

Based on a talk given by Glenn C. (South Bend) at the archives workshop held at the Courthouse Annex in Peru, Indiana on March 25, 2000, assembled from his notes and Frank N.’s transcription of the tape recordings which Frank made of the speakers.

James D. "J. D." Holmes, the founder of A.A. in Indiana, was born c. 1895, a native of Graves County, Kentucky. He eventually ended up working on a newspaper in Akron, Ohio. He got sober there in September 1936, where he was A.A. No. 10, a member of the original Akron group, which centered around Dr. Bob's house in Akron. After the newspaper J. D. worked for in Akron was sold, he moved to Evansville, Indiana, on May 30, 1938, and got a job selling advertising for a newspaper there. He started the first A.A. meeting in Indiana in Evansville on April 23, 1940. (This group, now called the Tri-State Group, still meets every Tuesday night to this day.) Around 1951, he returned to Akron, where he was a writer for the Akron Beacon-Journal. J. D. died at his home in Akron at the age of 66 on Saturday, May 27, 1961, with 24 years of sobriety, shortly after the twenty-first anniversary of the founding of A.A. in Indiana.

  This is a beautiful day, and I'm glad to be here with you people in Peru, and I've learned how to enjoy life today. This program has taught me how to do that, and I've learned a whole new way of life. And it's marked above all by just being really, really grateful a heck of a lot of the time. What I want to talk about is us -- and that's always fun, to talk about us.

The man who started A.A. in Indiana was a man named J. D. Holmes -- James D. Holmes -- but everybody called him "J. D." He was one of the original A.A. people right from the first beginning. According to the chronology in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers he got sober in Akron, Ohio in September 1936. If we count Bill W. and Dr. Bob as numbers one and two, J. D. was A.A. number ten. He and his wife Rhoda moved to Evansville, Indiana on May 30, 1938. Although she was not an alcoholic, the two of them held an A.A.-type meeting every Wednesday night using the Methodist devotional pamphlet that was used frequently by the early A.A. people, a little pamphlet called the Upper Room. The Upper Room had a bible verse for every day of the week, and a meditation for that day, and a prayer. In fact, it was the most commonly used meditational book in A.A. until the Twenty-Four Hours book was written.

J. D. was at first unable to get any other alcoholics in Evansville to join him until the Big Book was published in 1939. Dr. Bob sent him a copy of the Big Book the minute it came off the press, and with this new aid, he was able to reach out to a local surgeon, Dr. Joe Welborn, after Dr. Joe's drinking finally landed him in the county jail in April of 1940. Dr. Joe brought in other alcoholics who were patients of his, and the first regularly-meeting A.A. group in Indiana was established in J. D. and Rhoda's home at 420 S. Denby St. in Evansville, meeting every Tuesday night, beginning on April 23, 1940. The group has continued to meet on Tuesdays all the way down to the present, where one can find it listed on the Evansville meeting schedule today as the Tri-State Group.

Smitty's memories of J.D.

When Dr. Bob's son Smitty came to give a lead -- a marvelous Al-Anon lead -- at the 1999 Michiana A.A. Conference in South Bend, Indiana, I asked him about John D. Holmes. Smitty had to stop and think, and then suddenly he smiled and said, "Oh, you mean J. D. -- everybody called him J. D. That's amazing, meeting you here and you asking about J. D. I remember old J. D. He was tall and thin, as I remember. And balding. Wasn't he a traveling salesman?" That had been over sixty years ago, of course: Smitty had just graduated from high school and had started college, but at Akron University, so he was still living partly at home. In fact, it was Smitty who went with Bill W. to pick up J. D.'s wife Rhoda after she phoned and asked about the new A.A. method, so Smitty himself played a direct role in bringing J. D. into the program.

Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers

There's a lot of stuff about J. D. in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, the official A.A. history of those early Akron years when A.A. was first beginning.

J. D. had already heard about the new "cure" -- in those days when you went into an alcohol treatment program, they called it "going to take the cure" -- but J. D. had not been interested. In fact, his first reaction to Dr. Bob was very negative. It was not just that Dr. Bob had what J. D. scoffed at as some kind of '"screwball idea about the drink problem,"' it was Dr. Bob's Vermont accent and stiff New England manner. As J. D. put it many years later:
"He was a Vermonter and I was a Southerner, and to me, he had that professional northern type of attitude -- gruff and blunt. But later, after he told me his story, I knew it was just his manner of speaking.

"He was great on slang. He used to call me 'Abercrombie.' Why, I don't know. He'd call up and say, 'Bring your frail over,' meaning my wife. He had a peculiar vocabulary, but a wonderful one. He was an educated man, but some of his slang you didn't hear the ordinary person use."
J. D.'s wife Rhoda was the heroine of this story on many occasions.
It was his wife who sought help for him, as was true in most cases then; the husband didn't either know or have anything to say about it. She called Dr. Bob's home. It was a Monday when he was playing bridge at the City Club, so Smitty and Bill Wilson, who was visiting, came over and picked her up, then took her to see Dr. Bob.

"It was the first time in her life that she had ever gone out with two strange men, not knowing where they were going," J. D. said. "But she was willing to do anything to help me with this drinking situation."

The next day, his wife gave him something to drink and got him to agree to see Dr. Bob on Wednesday. But he had to be completely sober by then.

"We went to see Doc at his office, and he told me of his drinking days," J. D. recalled. "Then we drove to his house on Ardmore, where I met Ernie, Joe D––– , Harold G––– , and Paul S––– . Then they rode me around town practically all day without any lunch, telling me about keeping dry. But no one would tell me how."
J. D. was one of the few early A.A. members who were not hospitalized first. They ran a large number of them through St. Thomas Hospital, where Sister Ignatia watched over them as they worked the alcohol out of their system. But in J.D.'s case, they decided he didn't need that kind of hospitalization, so they just invited him to attend the regular Wednesday evening meeting of the "alcoholic squad" (as it was later jokingly referred to) at the home of Oxford Groupers T. Henry and Clarace Williams.

"I met seven other men there who had a drinking problem," J. D. said, "together with Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson. They all told me their stories, and I decided there might be hope for me." They conducted it a little bit like they used to do when they gave you the third degree at a police station -- you know, the bright light shining in your eyes, everything except beating you with a rubber hose -- the old timers weren't kidding around when they did a twelfth step on you!
"I sat under a bridge lamp, with the rest of the crowd facing me. My wife told me I sat there with a silly grin on my face like Calvin Coolidge for the whole night. But I was embarrassed, you know, among strangers. After the meeting, Bill talked to me for about 30 minutes, and the other boys also came up and talked. Then we had coffee in the kitchen.

"The next day, I called some of the fellows, and that night, two of them called at my home. It seems as though we just lived together when I first came into the group -- me and Paul ___ and Harold G___ . We would go from house to house during the day and wind up one place every night -- Bob Smith's." (Note 1)
Now if you ever get to visit Dr. Bob's house, it isn't that big a house. It's just a normal kind of middle class house, and the kitchen isn't very big, and the little kitchen table is still there, and there's still a coffee pot sitting on it. And you got to remember, you know, J. D. was part of that group: every evening there would be a cluster of people sitting or standing there in the kitchen drinking coffee, and just talking about the program. That's the way the program works.

Twelfth Step Calls in Akron

The group quickly had J. D. going on twelfth-step calls with them, as they worked to bring other people in:
"We used to have almost a set story," J. D. recalled. "And we'd finagle around and wonder who was the best guy to talk to a new man. We wanted to hit him with the right guy at the right psychological time, and we had to tell him about the spiritual part of our program.

"Doc would hit first with the medical facts. He described the slip I had as a relapse, just the same as a diabetic going on a candy binge, for instance."
J.D. had had one slip, after about four months, but was able to stay sober from that point on.
"He also emphasized that it was a fatal illness and that the only way a man could recover from it -- or rather, not die from it -- was not to take a drink to start with. That was the basis of the whole thing. In turn, we were pounding it into each other. After this, we got to the spiritual part." (Note 2)
Dr. Bob's House

During this period, J. D. recalled, he saw Dr. Bob every day of the week, either at his office or in his home.
"I was over there four or five times a week in the daytime, and then I'd wind up there at night. I've gone to their home on a morning, opened it up, and gone in," J. D. said. "No one up. I'd just go ahead and start the pot of coffee going. Somebody would holler out, 'Who's down there?' -- thinking maybe it would be a drunk who had stayed overnight. Anne never knew who would be on her davenport when she got up in the morning."
Anne Smith, Dr. Bob's wife, was another one of the great heroines of the program. J. D. said,
"She was a sweet, motherly type of woman you couldn't help but love. She didn't care very much for style. If she wanted to go anywhere, she went whether she had a new dress or she didn't. She'd pick up a hat whether it was five years old or ten years old, put it on, and go. I've heard her say she only had one pair of stockings.

"One thing I'm grateful for," J. D. said. "Dr. Bob and Anne had planned to go to Vermont two days before I came into the group. But Anne woke up in the middle of the night and said she felt they shouldn't go -- that they would be needed here." (Note 3)
This was Anne's sense of guidance: she didn't know why, but she felt they shouldn't go to Vermont, because they were going to be needed for something right there in Akron that was going to be important in God's plans. She had this feeling of special divine guidance leading her on numerous occasions. To give another example, once they were planning on having a picnic, and that very morning, just as they were getting ready to leave, Ann suddenly said, "No, we shouldn't go on that picnic today, we're going to be needed here." That turned out to be the day Arch T___ was sent down from Detroit to get sober there in Akron. Arch was the man who later went back home and started the Detroit A.A. group.

Sticking Together

The early A.A.'s in Akron continued to stick together. This was somewhere around early 1938 by now. J. D. told how
"Ernie's mother used to throw a party every two weeks during this period. She'd make the doughnuts, and though everybody was broke, we all brought something. It was nothing unusual to see 25 or 30 people over there drinking coffee and eating doughnuts.
If you've never had a homemade doughnut, you don't know what you're missing, that's good!
"I've been at those parties when there were calls from Cleveland from people who wanted to come down," he said. "Two men would hop in a car, go to Cleveland, and bring the man down to Akron." (Note 4)

"We had an intense loyalty to each other," said J. D. "We would meet each other on payday to make sure nothing happened. When I had a slip after four months, I felt as though I had let down the most wonderful fellows on earth." (Note 5)
The Oxford Group

Now the Oxford Group, as Margaret O. explained earlier in today's workshop, was very important in understanding early A.A., and yet we do need to remember that Frank Buchman, who led that movement, was a Protestant evangelist. The Group's basic message was directed towards finding Jesus Christ as our personal redeemer. It was more liberal and genteel and tolerant of intellectuals and well-read professional people than a lot of the more rip-roaring revivalist sects of that period, but it still moved very much to the themes of basic Protestant evangelical Bible Christianity. A.A. got some very valuable things from them, but there were also some ideas and practices which could be very destructive to a group of slowly recovering alcoholics. It was discovered that Alcoholics Anonymous meetings had to be run in a very different kind of way from the house parties of the Oxford Group.

For example, when the alcoholics in Akron were still meeting with the Oxford Group, J. D. said that there was one woman who "used to get on my nerves with her constant chatter. One day, I called her into T. Henry's study and said, 'I don't like you for some reason or other.'" (In the Oxford Group, you were supposed to "check" people like that, as they called it.)
"'You interrupt and talk too much. I'm getting a lot of resentment here, and I don't like it, and I'm afraid I'll get drunk over it.'

"She laughed and said something. Then we sat down and had a very pleasant visit. And I lost all resentment." (Note 6)
This technique may have worked with nonalcoholics -- to come up and "check" them and tell them "I'm getting a resentment towards you, and you're going to have to change what you're doing so I won't feel this resentment anymore" -- but with newcomers in A.A., we're going to have people slugging one another in the nose before it's all over. As A.A. continued to grow and learn, it became clear that I really cannot attack someone else because I have a resentment against that person, even if it's just a verbal attack. I have to see that the real problem is with me. It's my resentment, and I'm the person who has to change.

Preaching to newcomers that they had to accept Jesus as their personal savior, and that this was the way the program absolutely had to be worked, was also something that early A.A. eventually learned was not a good idea, and was not part of the essential twelve-step program. By the time the twelve steps were written, the early A.A. people realized that they needed to speak of God "as we understood Him" with the understanding that each A.A. member had to work out his or her own concept of a higher power. By the time the Big Book was published in 1939, the name of Jesus Christ was mentioned only once in the first 164 pages, on page eleven, where Bill W. said that, speaking honestly, when he first got sober, as far as he was concerned, Jesus was no more than a great moral teacher from a long dead era of history. And again, speaking honestly, as far as he could see, those who claimed to be Christians had never followed Jesus' real teaching very closely anyway.

But in Akron in September 1936, the early A.A.'s were still closely attached to the Oxford Group, and they assumed that alcoholics had to be persuaded to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior before the program would work. So since J. D. had his problems with the spiritual part of the program, they preached Christ at him, even if they did it alcoholic-fashion by swearing at him while they were doing it. J. D. said that
"Ernie G. and Paul S. were at his house one day trying to explain it to him, when Ernie said, 'Why, Jesus Christ is sitting right on the arm of that chair by you. Damn it, He wants to help you if you just reach out your hand.'

"Well, I did chuckle for a few minutes," J. D. said. "Then I got to thinking about it -- 'Maybe the guy is right.' And I began to give this thing a great deal of spiritual thought after that. You know how crudely Ernie talked. But I would listen to him trying to explain it to me a lot quicker than I would a polished man like T. Henry. Isn't that peculiar?" (Note 7)
Moving to Indiana

Now, how did J. D. end up in Indiana? His wife Rhoda came from Evansville. The newspaper on which J. D. worked in Akron sold out in May of 1938. Now he'd lost his job, there was no more place of employment there for him. On Memorial Day, they decided to go spend the holiday with Rhoda's family in Evansville, intending to make just a brief visit. But while he was down there he ran into a job opening, so they decided they had to stay. It seemed almost like moving to the far side of the moon to the Akron A.A.'s, and they were afraid for his sobriety.
"I left an established group and had to start alone," he said. "The question was whether I could stay dry by myself. The thing to do was get a group started. I worked for about eight months before I even got a prospect.

"I went to four or five preachers, and they couldn't help. I even went to some bartenders. Finally, a minister told me about a chap he thought was an alcoholic. The fellow's wife dragged him over to my house by his ears. I was willing to consider him an alcoholic, but I found out later that he wasn't."
Remember, everybody who drinks too much isn't an alcoholic.
"I worked on other prospects. Then I heard of a doctor. About this time, the [Big Book] came out, and I took it to him to read. He smiled and was courteous. He read the book about halfway through. Then he told me he thought it was all very fine, but he wasn't having any trouble.

"Well, [in April*] 1940, I heard that the doctor was in jail and wanted to see me. I had gone there more than two years without being able to help somebody. But working at it helped me stay sober. Mother G––– wrote me regularly.

"The doctor was sitting there in jail as if he owned the joint. 'I think there may be something in what you said,' he told me. 'I want to know more.'

"A friend and I scraped up $75 to pay his expenses to Akron. Since he was a doctor, I wanted him to meet Dr. Bob. Well, he came back to Evansville, and he had a list of prospects a yard long that he already knew.

"We worked night and day there for about three months and got 12 or 14 people. And from that little group, it started. After two years, we had four groups." (Note 8)
*J. D. is actually reported as having said "on Thanksgiving Day, 1940" when he was being interviewed by the people who put together Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, but either he mispoke or the interviewer wrote it down wrong. There is a letter from Dr. Joe to the New York office, dated May 20, 1940, long before the Thanksgiving holiday, saying that they had been holding A.A. meetings in Evansville for a month now, and were getting twelve to fifteen people coming to that meeting every week. And Dr. Joe died of a heart attack on August 18, 1940 (see his obituary in the Evansville Press), so in fact he was already dead by the time Thanksgiving came around that year.

The Evansville Group

  We have one outsider's description of the early group in Evansville, Indiana.
Bob H. -- who eventually became general manager of the A.A. General Service Office in New York -- was in the Army and stationed near Evansville in 1942.
He found out from the New York office that Evansville had A.A. meetings, so he went to one, and found them different from the kinds of meetings he was used to.
"The meeting was in a school, and we had to squeeze into little chairs. I had fancied myself an agnostic not too long before this time, and I remember a guy saying, 'Brother J___ , would you care to give us a testimonial?' It kind of shook me up." (Note 9)
You could still see some of the Protestant evangelical flavor of the old Oxford Group as late as 1942 in the A.A. group in this southern Indiana city.

J. D. Holmes' Letter

J. D.'s words, as we have been quoting them so far, came from interviews which were included in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, published in 1980. But J. D. also wrote a letter describing his Indiana experiences, a letter written around 1953 or 1954, which he sent to Dean L. Barnett, the first person to try to write a history of Alcoholics Anonymous in Indiana. (Note 10)

Dean's brief history was given as a talk at Turkey Run State Park (halfway between Lafayette and Terre Haute) in late 1954 or early 1955, and a typed copy of the talk was prepared, containing the full text of J. D.'s letter.

Dean was a member of the Indiana State Committee, a group which acted as liaison and support for the Indiana A.A. Delegate (this group is now referred to as the Area 23 Committee). One copy of Dean's history (including J. D.'s letter) -- the copy used in preparing this talk -- ended up in the New York A.A. Archives. Dean sent another copy, in an envelope postmarked October 28, 1955, to Charles Weldon Martin, the first Chairman of the Indianapolis Intergroup. Charlie donated his copy to the Indianapolis Intergroup Office, where it has been a treasured part of their archives ever since.

  This is what J. D. wrote in his letter to Dean Barnett, describing his years in Indiana:
I am the eighth man in A.A. not counting the sponsors, Dr. Bob and Bill. I received my A.A. work in Akron. I joined A.A., then known as the Oxford Group, in October 1936.

My wife's folks live in Evansville and we arrived there on Decoration Day of 1938 and decided to stay. We both were troubled with the problem -- could I stay sober away from my friends at Akron? We knew someday we would have to decide that question so I thought the time was ripe for the decision.

We decided to stay and I immediately began calling ministers wanting to know if there was an Oxford Group in Evansville. None of the ministers I contacted had ever heard of the Oxford Group.

After obtaining an apartment I started out in search of an alcoholic but met with no success in so far as finding one that wanted to quit drinking. Every Wednesday night the wife and I held a meeting -- just the two of us -- using [the Methodist meditational booklet called the] Upper Room.

The wife, who is not an alky, stood solidly back of me and said someday if I kept on trying I would eventually find someone who really wanted to quit drinking.

Beginning in July 1938 I kept on trying and told my story to a Dr. Wiley, pastor of the Franklin Street Methodist church. In the spring of 1939 (I think it was April) Dr. Wiley told me of a man who was an alky. This man -- one Steve C[riber] -- accompanied (dragged is the word) by his wife called on us. At that time I was willing to accept anyone as an alky even though he might not have done more than step on a rotten apple.

Steve did not respond too well to the drinking problem but seemed to like my company and some of the things I would say. It became clear that he was not an alky but just liked to get drunk now and then. He would not help make a call or do any work. In fact he was not an alky.

However, Steve was useful to me in that he lived near by and when I felt the urge to drink I would call on him.

In October of 1939 I told my story to a Dr. D[eker] who told me of a very prominent surgeon in town who was definitely an alky. The big A.A. book was being published at that time and Dr. Bob S[mith] sent me one of the first copies off the press. I immediately read the book although I had personally heard all the stories except four.

After reading the book I called this famous surgeon, one Dr. Joe W[elborn]. When I entered his office I said: "I want just two minutes of your time" -- pulling out my watch -- "if after the two minutes are up, if you want to talk longer I shall be glad to do so. If not and you feel so inclined you may toss me out the office."

I talked fast telling as much of my story as I could in two minutes. When the time was up I stopped. He asked me to stay longer. I stayed 30 minutes and left the book.

Later he told me he read about half the book. I occasionally called on Dr. Joe. He was a charming individual but I was getting no place, or so I thought. In the Spring of 1940 (April or May, I believe) I received a call from a prominent businessman from the county jail saying Dr. Joe was there and wanted to see me.

I went to the jail and there sat Dr. Joe as if he owned the place. He had been in for several days. He had been reflecting on what I had said and what he had read in the A.A. book. Dr. Joe being a doctor, this businessman and I decided the thing to do was send him to Akron to meet Dr. Bob. The businessman borrowed $75 for the trip and Dr. Joe was on his way. He returned about ten days later and came to my house and said he had two or three patients who needed help and would I go. Would I go! Wild horses could not keep me away.
You see, the magic of this thing is, one of us by ourselves can do nothing. Once we got two alcoholics trying to stay sober together, we can do incredible things. And that was the turning point, to get two alcoholics working together. J. D.'s letter continues:
We soon had several persons interested and the first regular established A.A. meeting was held in our little four-room house at 420 S. Denby St., Evansville. Our growth was not rapid, but we soon had several that stopped drinking and made good A.A. members.

The meeting continued at our home until we could not accommodate more so we moved the meeting place to Dr. Joe's office. Dr. Joe died and the meeting place was moved to a small room near the Presbyterian Church on Walnut St. . . .

In looking over some of the minutes of the meetings I find that at our regular Tuesday night meeting, January 7, 1941, we had a total attendance of thirteen men and eight women. I find that at our meeting December 30, 1941, we had an attendance of twenty-seven men and seventeen women. This shows we were growing.
Notice how explosively it grew once you had two people who were committed to the program: over twenty people after half a year, and over forty after the group had been in operation another year.

Indianapolis:  October 28, 1940

  J. D.'s letter also tells us how A.A. got started in Indianapolis. The first group in that city seems to have been started five or six months after the Evansville group, on October 28, 1940. There was a good Irish Catholic businessman named Doherty Sheerin there in Indianapolis, who had managed to stop drinking on his own, without A.A., but was only staying sober by the skin of his teeth. After over two years of this white-knuckled torture, he found out about the new Alcoholics Anonymous movement and, beginning in the spring of 1940, started trying to get an A.A. group going in Indianapolis. He was having no success at all.

Then a man named Irvin Meyerson, from the A.A. group in Cleveland, decided to visit Indiana and see if he could help, and the first thing he decided to do was to get Doherty in touch with J. D. That was the crucial contact, because J. D. showed Doherty how to set up an A.A. group so it would work and grow. J. D. talked about all this in his letter to Dean Barnhardt:
One day I received a telegram from one Irvin M[yerson] asking if we had an A.A. group at Evansville and when did we meet. I replied and received another telegram saying he was bringing two prospects.

The two prospects were Doherty S[heerin] and a chap by name of B[arr]. You better check with Doherty as to the date.

Doherty had been sober for more than two years [and he] came at a time when I needed someone who realized the need of A.A. and who was willing to work -- someone with executive ability. S[heerin] and I corresponded weekly, phoned each other and was of mutual aid to each other.

The growth of A.A. in Indiana is due almost entirely to S[heerin]. While a few groups sprang up in the tri-state area from [the] Evansville group, S[heerin] is really the boy that put A.A. on the Indiana map . . . .

Of course there are hundreds of men and women in Indiana who have contributed much to A.A. However, when S[heerin] and I started there was no literature. All we had was a hope and prayer and shoes that had been half-soled many times. Had it not been for my wife Rhoda I might have given up the effort. Maybe I might have given up had not Sheerin appeared on the scene.

I know what a tough job it was in Akron to get A.A. started. I was here 18 months in the formative stage of A.A.

But regardless of the small effort I put into A.A. and the dead cats that was hurled my way I have gotten much more out of it than I ever can hope to put into it. I deserve no credit for the part I played -- remember I was keeping sober all the time and was happy. I'm still keeping sober and very happy.
J. D., a man of great humility, tried to downplay his own efforts in all of this. But in fact he turned his job as a travelling salesman working out of Evansville into a tool for working far and wide, spreading A.A. and helping keep newly founded A.A. groups going. He drove miles out of his way in his car when he was out selling, and spent whole weekends going on ten and twelve-hour train trips to various places, continuously coordinating his efforts with Doherty's to help struggling alcoholics meet one another and get the program.

J. D. described that part of his work when he was interviewed by the people who put together Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers:
"I used to carry three or four Big Books in my car. If they didn't have any books at a particular group, I'd give them one and some pamphlets -- or I'd know who the secretary of a neighboring group was, and arrange for them to get in touch with each other. Sometimes, you'd have a lone wolf. You'd drive 30 or 40 miles out of your way to hit a town of 400 to see a guy whose name you got from the office.

"[Doherty S. would] get a lone wolf from one town together with another one for Sunday breakfast. I had to go up there Saturday nights and spend half the night getting there. It was a lousy trip, changing trains and all. Then I'd get out of there about noon to get home. It took about ten or 12 hours to get 160 miles. But it was a very interesting experience." (Note 11)
This was hard work. We need to remember that Indiana had very little in the way of a road system in those days. There was nothing but narrow dirt roads in many places, or you would have to take little local trains pulled by smoke-belching steam locomotives that stopped at every tiny town. And in the more isolated places, you might have to climb on board a horse-drawn wagon for the last hour or so of your journey. J. D. and Doherty, between them, were probably reponsible for the creation of more groups in Indiana than just about anybody else.


CLICK HERE  To continue the story of early Evansville A.A.

CLICK HERE  To return to the central Indiana History page

CLICK HERE  To return to the Hindsfoot Foundation home page