(Nov. 29, 1874-Feb. 25, 1962). Born in Tazewell County, Illinois, John L. Duvall entered Valparaiso University in 1886 and studied law. He later attended Chicago Law School, graduating in 1899. Admitted to the bar after moving to Arcadia, Indiana, he became a successful young attorney and served as the deputy Hamilton County prosecutor.

After moving to Indianapolis in 1902, Duvall practiced law for seven years. In 1909 he organized the city’s first suburban bank, the Haughville Bank, later called the Citizens State Bank. He went on to establish many other banks, most of which were later purchased by the American Fletcher National Bank and Trust Company. He also organized and operated Leslie Duvall, Inc., a real estate firm.

Duvall served as Marion County Treasurer in 1924-1925. The Ku Klux Klan, then at the height of its political power in Indiana, supported Duvall in his mayoral campaign. This support guaranteed his nomination in May 1925, and his election that November. He took office on January 4, 1926.

Accused of having traded jobs for votes during the election campaign, Duvall was convicted of violating the state Corrupt Practices Act on September 22, 1927. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $1,000 (nearly $15,000 in 2020). He, however, refused to quit the office of mayor. At the insistence of the City Council, Duvall finally resigned on October 27, 1927. After two weeks of political upheaval, L. Ert Slack was selected by the city council, on November 8, 1927, to fill out Duvall’s remaining term in office. Following his political career, Duvall maintained an office in downtown Indianapolis and pursued work in real estate and investments.

Revised February 2021

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