News and Tribune


June 25, 2013

NEW ALBANY BICENTENNIAL: Admiral George A. Bicknell


“They did things in the ‘Grand Manner’ and when we had the privilege of being entertained in their home, while we were greeted with a friendly warmth, it yet was a very dignified hour,” said Earl Gebhart Hedden in a speech to the local Toastmasters on local architecture. “The house was lit by ships’ lanterns and heated by ships’ stoves; the walls were adorned with hangings brought from Nippon, the Land of the Rising Sun; on mantelpiece and on teak wood tables we saw cloissonaisse and delicate ivory carvings wrought by Chinese hands skilled by centuries of teaching; richly embroidered silks; paisley shawls from India and wonderfully delicate laces from Egypt.”

On Jan. 27, 1925, Bicknell died of a heart attack at the age of 78. News articles reporting his death revealed more of his idiosyncrasies. Almost every morning he would journey to the financial district and withdraw crisp new one dollar bills from the bank, never handing out older, worn money. A wide umbrella normally accompanied him on these and other trips during rainy weather, and he became known for carrying the accessory overhead. 

In a small, private ceremony the admiral was buried in Fairview Cemetery. 

“That a full official military funeral would have taken place, but for the request of the widow who desired that the occasion be made as simple as the life the Admiral and Mrs. Bicknell had enjoyed during their residence at New Albany,” a January edition of the New Albany Weekly Ledger said. 


— Contributing writer Amanda Beam

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