Stoughton Fletcher(s)

The articles in the two attachments below concern the death of Stoughton J. Fletcher. The first was published in the Indianapolis Star on December 26, 1909.
Fletcher reportedly died on Christmas Day 1909 just before noon in his country home near Gallatin, Tennessee. He had moved there four years earlier on the advice of his doctors who believed the climate in the area was more conducive to improving his health than what Indianapolis offered. Fletcher was born in Indianapolis and raised in what is described as the "old home"  at New Jersey and Ohio Streets. He lived in that house until moving to Gallatin. He was 58 years old when he passed.
The reason I feel Fletcher is a relevant subject for First Super Speedway is because his son, Stoughton A. Fletcher originally intended to invest in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its four founders but later demurred when the board of his family founded bank, Fletcher National Bank (FNB), felt the venture out of step with their conservative image. I have wanted to learn more about Fletcher since reading books that mentioned his early involvement with plans for creating the Speedway but frankly felt it was too tangential to the larger study of motorsports in the first decade of the 20th century to make it a top priority.
The elder Fletcher had resigned from active management of the bank not long after moving to focus on recovering his health. Son Stoughton A. Fletcher was installed as president of the bank. The younger Fletcher, who lived in a country home south of Indianapolis received a telegram on Christmas morning that his father was likely to pass. He and his wife immediately started for Gallatin by train but were alerted at a stop in Kentucky that his father had died.
William A. Hughes, a vice president at FNB, apparently became the point man for communicating the news about the senior Fletcher's death and associated arrangements. The plan called for transportation of the body to Indianapolis for the funeral and internment. In addition to Stoughton A., the elder Fletcher's survivors included three daughters: Mrs. Julia Fletcher Barnard of Pasadena, California; Mrs. Booth Tarkington and Miss Hilda Fletcher. If the name Booth Tarkington sounds familiar, congratulations. He was a leading author of the day, a Pulitzer Prize winner and still remembered as a favorite son of Indiana. Siblings Allen M. Fletcher of New York and a sister, Mrs. M.F. Ritzinger of Indianapolis also out-lived Stoughton J.
The article offers interesting background on the bank. It was founded by the elder Fletcher's father, S.A. Fletcher who arrived in Indianapolis in October 1831 with little more than an inexhaustible work ethic. He entered what is described as the mercantile business - effectively buying and selling stuff for a profit. By 1839 this had morphed into a private bank practice with partner Francis M. Churchman in a small room on Washington Street. Over time Fletcher expanded his interests and was noted as a founder of Indianapolis Gas, Light and Coke Company. He also invested heavily in real estate.
When S.A. Fletcher died on March 17, 1882, son Stoughton J. Fletcher rose to bank leadership. Together with his brother Allen M. Fletcher who purchased Churchman's interest in the business, they grew the bank. Eventually, Allen sold his share to brother Stoughton J. The bank continued as a private business until going public as Fletcher National Bank (FNB) in 1898. Interestingly, though, the stock ownership was confined to family members with the majority still held by Stoughton J.
The elder Fletcher started at his father's bank as a clerk at age 18 when he returned to the Hoosier capital after school in Waltham, Massachusetts. He was noted for his single-minded focus on his bank and resisted any temptation to pursue other business opportunities as his father had. Frank D. Stalnaker, president of the rival Capital National Bank, spoke of his deceased contemporary: "I had known Mr. Fletcher for a long time and regarded him one of the very good bankers here. I always noticed his good judgment of men. He was quick in his decisions and always seemed to decide rightly in making loans. Mr. Fletcher was an intuitive banker. I admired him for his frankness, which was almost abrupt. He understood his business thoroughly."
Other leaders in the local banking community eulogized the deceased Fletcher. These men included Medford B. Wilson, president of the Columbia National Bank; Hugh Dougherty, president of the Marion Trust Company; Henry Eitel, vice president of Indiana National Bank; Albert E. Metzger, president of the German American Trust Company and W.J. Richards, vice president of the Union National Bank.
A sidebar to the larger article provides insights to Stoughton J. Fletcher's life in his final years in Gallatin. It was there his personal interests in thoroughbred horses and their breeding came to the forefront. His property was called Laurel Farm (which still exists today) and not only included barns, stables, and other necessary structures but a track for racing. He particularly enjoyed "fancy" harness stock. Though Fletcher was almost reclusive he did invest in the local community and evidence provided included a grand hotel that had a reputation for providing employees with generous salaries.
Attachment FletcherNews122609 was published in the December 26 Indianapolis News and covers much of the same ground at the one analyzed above. The article makes the point that the deceased Fletcher was only 58 years old and had been in declining health for five years. It is unclear exactly what his illness was.
Also, note that the article shares that the address of the "old Fletcher homestead" where he was born was at the corner of Ohio and New Jersey streets. The report suggests his wealth easily exceeded $1,000,000, an extraordinary fortune in the day. His property included the homestead, the Gallatin estate, other Indianapolis real estate and stock in several corporations.
A private funeral was held at Stoughton A. Fletcher's home south of Indianapolis. Dr. Lewis Brown, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church presided. Pallbearers included John S. Tarkington (Pulitzer Prize-winning author Booth Tarkington's father), Charles Latham, William A. Hughes, Ralph K. Smith, G.H. Mueller, and Hugh Dougherty. He rests at the famous Crown Hill Cemetary
Again, I include these articles because they provide insights to Stoughton J. Fletcher's son, Stoughton A. Fletcher, the man I call the "fifth Beatle" to the four founders of the Brickyard.

Fletcher122609.pdf1.98 MB
FletcherNews122609.pdf1.7 MB