(Jan. 18, 1795-Mar. 6, 1866). Born in Trenton, New Jersey, where he learned the cabinetmaking trade, Caleb Scudder settled with his family in Dayton, Ohio, in 1820 and moved to Indianapolis in 1821. He established a home and cabinet shop on West Washington Street that was the scene of a number of Indianapolis firsts: the first Sunday School was held there in April 1823, and the formal organization of First Presbyterian (July 1823) and Third Presbyterian (September 1851) churches took place there. He was the first captain of the first fire company, the Marion Fire, Hose, and Protective Company (1835). His other business interests included a cigar factory, a cotton mill, and a cotton oil business. Examples of his fine cabinetry still exist and are highly valuable.

In 1838, he was a councilman from the Fifth Ward (bounded by the White River to the west, Washington Street to the north, Delaware Street to the east, and Merrill Street to the south), and he served as a justice of the peace for many years. Upon the resignation of Mayor Horatio C. Newcomb in November 1851, the city council appointed Scudder to the post, and he won the election as mayor in 1853. His popularity, however, declined toward the end of his second term, and his defeat in 1854 was of landslide proportions.

Revised February 2021

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