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William Hayden English: Scion of the Circle City

William Hayden English, father of William Eastin, and the English family itself, are all well-known names among Indianapolis society and culture. Born in 1822, William Hayden English resided in Indianapolis until his death in 1896.

Through the course of his life, William H. English became one of the wealthiest people in Indiana, and one of the most notable people of Indianapolis. He was the first manager of the magnificent English’s Opera House and Hotel on Indy‘s present-day Monument Circle, where English helped to make manifest the extraordinary Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. During his tenure in the Circle City, William Hayden English had a great impact on the development of the burgeoning state capital.
He was also a banker, a historian and lawyer, a clerk at the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1851 became a member, then House Speaker of that august political body. He later became an Indiana Democratic Congressman and made a bid, though unsuccessful, for the Vice-Presidency of the United States in 1880.

While serving at the House of Representatives, William English became centrally embroiled in the now-infamous pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution, which eventually contributed to the breakout of Civil War in America.

William Hayden English wrote several books and will be long remembered for his and his family’s positive effect on the development of Indianapolis. His body lies in state at the famous Crown Hill Cemetery, where a marker from the Sons of the American Revolution, of which he was a member, graces his grave in Central Indiana.


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