The 8 Most Famous People Buried in Evansville
There are nine cemeteries located within Vanderburgh County where thousands of former residents have been laid to rest since Evansville officially became a city in March of 1812. Among those dearly departed lay a few notable individuals who made a name for themselves in the worlds of politics, business, and sports.
The website, Find A Grave.com, keeps records of where all former famous people are buried in every state, and around the world. According to the site, there are 788 "Somewhat Famous", or "Very Famous" people buried in the entire state of Indiana, 20 of which are right here in Evansville.
All 20 people listed for Evansville are categorized under the "Somewhat Famous" heading, so the names may not look familiar, but that doesn't mean what they accomplished in their life is any less impressive. Here's our picks for the eight most interesting.
George Washington Buckner
December 1st, 1855 - February 17th, 1943
Buckner was born a slave nearly 170 miles away in Greensburg, Kentucky before graduating from the former Indiana Eclectic Medical College in Indianapolis with a medical degree in 1890. He moved to Evansville shortly thereafter and opened his own medical practice. His most notable accomplishment came in 1913 when then-President Woodrow Wilson made him the first African-American diplomat to a foreign country when he appointed him the US Minister to the African nation of Liberia. Buckner returned to Evansville after his term as Minister was over where he continued to practice medicine until his death at the age of 87.
Marilyn H. Durham
September 8th, 1930 - March 19th, 2015
Durham was the author of three novels, the 1972 and 1973 Westerns, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing and Dutch Uncle, as well as Flambard's Confession, a piece of historical fiction based in medieval England. Cat Dancing was turned into movie by MGM in 1973 and starred Burt Reynolds as the leader of a band of outlaws who take in a woman on the run from her husband, played by the perpetually-tanned, George Hamilton. Several production companies looked at turning Dutch Uncle into a film as well over the years, however nothing ever came of it.
[Source: Western Boot Hill.com]
July 4th, 1912 - June 16th, 1993
McCutchan returned to his alma mater, the University of Evansville, in 1946 to coach the Purple Aces Men's Basketball team after serving in the Navy during World War II. During his 31 seasons, he coached the team to five NCAA Division II titles in 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965, and 1971. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981 where he shares space with some other notable basketball people you may have heard of such as Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and former University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach, Pat Summitt.
[Source: Find A Grave.com and Hoops Hall.com]
Edward Mead Johnson
April 23rd, 1852 - March 20th, 1934
Next time you put a Band-Aid over a wound, take Tylenol to relieve pain, or wash your oily skin with a Neutrogena product, know that one of the men behind those world-renown brands is buried right here in Evansville. Along with his brothers, James and Robert, he founded the Johnson & Johnson Company in New Jersey. They moved the factory to it's current location along the Evansville riverfront in 1915 in order to have better access to the materials they needed for their variety of health-related products.
[Source: Find A Grave.com and Wikipedia.org]
John Watson Foster
March 2nd, 1836 - November 15th, 1917
Foster was a officer for the Union Army during the Civil War before serving as the editor of Evansville newspaper, "The Daily Journal" from 1865 to 1869. He served as U.S. Minister to Mexico, Russia, and Spain from 1873 until 1885 before being appointed as President Benjamin Harrison's Secretary of State in 1892, a position he held for only one year. His grandson, John Foster Dulles later followed in his grandfather's footsteps as Secretary of State for President Dwight Eisenhower during the Cold War.
September 26th, 1890 - July 16th, 1959
Coleman, a Huntingburg native, is best known for his as a manager for various minor league baseball teams. His 35 year career was a record until a man named Stan Wasiak beat him by two years. Seventeen of those 35 years were spent in various runs with minor league teams in Evansville (1928-1931, 1938-1942, 1944-1945, 1946-1949, and 1951-1957), where he won seven pennants. Before spending most of his life in the minor leagues, he was a player in the majors, spending time as a catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cleveland Indians. In between minor league gigs, he spent time as a coach with the Boston Red Sox in 1926 and the Detroit Tigers in 1932.
James Bethel Gresham
August 23rd, 1893 - November 3rd, 1917
Gresham was a member of the U.S. Army's Company F of the 16th Infantry, one of the first groups of soldiers to enter France during World War I. Just before dawn on November 3rd, he and his fellow soldiers were ambushed by German soldiers. Wildly outnumbered, Gresham, along with three of his fellow soldiers, was killed during the fight. Originally buried on the battlefield where he died, he was reburied in the American Cemetery in Bathlemon, France before finally being brought back home in 1921 and permanently laid to rest at Locust Hill Cemetary on Kratzville Road on Evansville's north side.
August 15th, 1946 - October 17th, 2010
Born in New Jersey, Lis played eight seasons of Major League Baseball from 1970-1977 starting his career with the Philadelphia Phillies before stints with the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. He ended his pro career as a member of the Evansville Triplets in 1979, and never left the area, settling in Newburgh where he coached American Legion ball until 2002.
[Source: Find A Grave.com and Evansville Courier-Press]