Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913
Politics - Vote for President
Vote for Governor - Secretary of State
POLITICS (page 113-120)
In considering the politics of the county we should take a look at the early political conditions in the state. The tradition that "Iowa was settled by emigrants from New England" is but partly true. The predominance of the southern element up to the middle fifties has been fairly well established, made up chiefly of sons of Virginia and their sons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. This accounts for the system of county government by commissioners, at first, instead of the New England town meeting plan; and it is responsible for the county judge plan prevailing from 1851 to 1860, which became intolerable for its autocratic power.
The influx of settlers from the south by way of the Ohio river and through Missouri came about chiefly through the fact that the Iowa region, from 1821 to 1834, while a part of the unorganized territory of the United States, was looked after by army offices and Indian agents who were largely of southern nativity and predilections.
Numerous instances bear out this theory. Col. Zachary Taylor, stationed at Fort Crawford, was a Virginia, and Lieut. Jefferson Davis, with him, a Kentuckian. Lieut. Albert M. Lea, Iowa explorer, was a North Carolinian; and one of his chief aids was Capt. Nathan Boone, youngest son of Daniel Boone. Gen. E. B. Gaines, another Virginian. Gen. Henry Atkinson, after whom was named Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek county, a North Carolinian. And Lieuts. Simon B. Buckner, Henry Heth, A. Buford, and Alex. W, Reynolds, stationed here at times, and Robert E. Lee in the southern part of the state, all became general officers in the Confederate army. Their reports attracted pioneers from their own states.
The mining regions at Galena and all southwestern Wisconsin were largely occupied by men from Kentucky and Tennessee, many of whom returned to their native states for the winters. Robert Lucas, first territorial Governor, was a native of Virginia, as was also Gen. Joseph M. Street, the Indian agent at Fort Crawford. In the first territorial legislature in 1838, there were twenty Southerners and five New Englanders, the remainder being from intermediate states. In the state legislature of 1854 were twenty-six southerners to thirteen New Englanders. In the constitutional conventions of 1844, '46, and even in '57 the delegates from south of Mason and Dixon's line considerably outnumbered those from New England. Rev. D. D. Lowrey, Allamakee's
first preacher, was a Kentuckian.
Of course not nearly all of the settlers from the south were committed to the southern institution; many doubtless had to escape from region of human bondage. In 1846 Iowa was admitted as the first free state west of the Mississippi. And in the early fifties the prairie schooner was getting in its work across the northern part of Illinois and Wisconsin, and the tide from New England flowed so abundantly that in 1860 occurred the change of county government from one man power to that of the township system, resulting in the county board of supervisors.
It seems, however, that the township system did not continue in general favor with the people of the state. Objections were made that the body was unwieldy and expensive and that the thinly populated townships, wielded an undue proportion of power in the board compared with their actual voting strength and in 1871, the system was so modified as to vest the powers of the former board in a body to be composed of three or five supervisors. From the time of this law going into effect, the affairs of this county have been under the control of a board of supervisors consisting of three members.
In 1854, James W. Grimes was elected Governor, indicating a revolution in the political control of the state and at the same time James Harlan was sent to the United States senate. From this time down to present day the line of republican governors is unbroken except by the election by small majorities of Gov. Horace Boies, in 1889 and 1891.
From the time of its organization Allamakee county has fluctuated in its political faith though for the first forty years it was generally counted in the democratic column, where it was found in over two-thirds of the elections for state official. But in presidential years, with a full vote and the greater principles at stake, it nearly always showed its allegiance to the republican party, the only exception being in 1864, McClellan campaign and the three Cleveland campaigns. The 1912 election was no exception to the rule, as less than one-half of the Roosevelt vote would have given the county to Raft instead of Wilson.
In this connection the following tables will be found of value for reference:
VOTE FOR PRESIDENT (page 114)
* Weaver (Greenback), 332
+Roosevelt (Progressive) 1, 273
VOTE FOR GOVERNOR (page 115)
|1850||J.L. Thompson (Whig)||27|||||Stephen Hempstead||30||...||3|
|1854||Jas. W. Grimes (Whig)||299|||||Curtis Bates||197||102||...|
|1857||Ralph P. Lowe||543|||||Ben M. Samuels||574||...||31|
|1859||S.J. Kirkwood||743|||||A.C. Dodge||1,025||...||282|
|1861||S.J. Kirkwood||955|||||Wm. H. Merritt||990||...||35|
|1863||Wm. M. Stone||997|||||J.M. Tuttle||1,343||...||346|
|1865||Wm. M. Stone||1,004|||||Thos. H. Benton||1,270||...||266|
|1867||Samuel Merrill||1,216|||||Chas Mason||1,307||...||91|
|1869||Samuel Merrill||1,485|||||Geo. Gillaspie||1,435||50||...|
|1871||C.C. Carpenter||1,257|||||Joseph C. Knapp||1,363||...||106|
|1873||C.C. Carpenter||1,049|||||J.G. Vale *||1,536||...||487|
|1875||S.J. Kirkwood||1,833|||||Shephard Leffler||2,157||...||324|
|1877||John H. Gear||1,547|||||John P. Irish **||1,540||7||...|
|1879||John H. Gear||1,795|||||H.H. Trimble ***||1,584||211||...|
|1881||Buren R. Sherman||1,355|||||L.G. Kinne +||1,258||97||...|
|1883||Buren R. Sherman||1,564|||||L.G. Kinne ++||1,786||...||222|
|1885||Wm. Larrabee||1,514|||||Chas. Whiting §||2,018||...||504|
|1887||Wm. Larrabee||1,627|||||T.J. Anderson||1,941||...||314|
|1889||Jos. Hutchinson||1,704|||||Horace Boies||1,987||...||283|
|1891||H.C. Wheeler||1,762|||||Horace Boies||2,185||...||423|
|1893||Frank D. Jackson||1,971|||||Horace Boies||1,900||71||...|
|1895||F.M. Drake||2,122|||||W.I. Babb||1,754||368||...|
|1897||Leslie M. Shaw||2,174|||||F.E. White||1,763||411||...|
|1899||Leslie M. Shaw||2,251|||||F.E. White||1,799||452||...|
|1901||A.B. Cummins||2,206|||||T.J. Phillips||1,549||657||...|
|1903||A.B. Cummins||2,338|||||J.B. Sullivan||1,682||656||...|
|1906||A.B. Cummins||2,215|||||Claude R. Porter||1,863||352||...|
|1908||B.F. Carroll||2,349|||||Fred E. White||1,654||695||...|
|1910||B.F. Carroll||2,176|||||Claude R. Porter||1,684||492||...|
|1912||Geo. W. Clarke||1,922|||||Edward G. Dunn||1,741||181||...|
**Greenback vote, 109
***Greenback vote, 206
|+Greenback vote, 254
++Greenback vote, 183
SECRETARY OF STATE (page 115)
|1856*||Elijah Sells||444|||||George Snyder||359||85||...|
|1858||Elijah Sells||660|||||Samuel Douglas||789||....||129|
|1860||Elijah Sells||1,153|||||J. M. Corse||1,137||16||...|
|1862||James Wright||792|||||R. H. Sylvester||1,047||...||255|
|1864||James Wright||1,147|||||J. H. Wallace||1,135||...||188|
|1866||Ed Wright||1,211|||||L.G. Van Anda||1,242||...||31|
|1868||Ed Wright||1,549|||||David Hammer||1,413||136||...|
|1870||Ed Wright||1,314|||||Chas. Doerr||1,256||58||...|
|1872||Josiah T. Young||1,455|||||E. A. Guilbert||1,430||25||...|
|1874||Josiah T. Young||1,229|||||David Morgan ±||1,400||...||171|
|1876||Josiah T. Young||1,953|||||J. H. Stubenrauch||1,932||21||...|
|1878||J. A. T. Hull||1,712|||||E.M. Farnsworth||1,805||...||93|
|1880+||J. A. T. Hull||1,839|||||A. B. Keith||1,522||317||...|
|1882 §||J .A. T. Hull||1,235|||||T. O. Walker||1,488||...||253|
|1884||Frank D. Jackson||1,731|||||Jas. Dooley||2,010||...||279|
|1886||Frank D. Jackson||1,783|||||Cato Sells||1,935||...||151|
|1888||Frank D. Jackson||1,903|||||W. McHenry||2,024||...||121|
|1890||W. M. McFarland||1,788|||||W. H. Chamberlain||2,067||...||279|
|1892||W. M. McFarland||1,817|||||J. H. McConiogue||1,966||...||149|
|1894||W. M. McFarland||2,136|||||Horation F. Dale||1,735||381||...|
|1896||Geo. L. Dobson||2,495|||||H. L. Carr||1,913||582||...|
|1898||Geo. L. Dobson||2,287|||||C. R. Porter||1,430||857||...|
|1900||Wm. B. Martin||2,645|||||S. B. Crane||1,847||798||...|
|1902||Wm. B. Martin||2,187|||||Richard Burke||1,596||591||...|
|1904||Wm. B. Martin||2,578|||||Chas. A. Dickson||1,592||986||...|
|1906||Wm. C. Hayward||2,305|||||J. S. McLuen||1,626||679||...|
|1908||Wm. C. Hayward||2,367|||||Julius Ruge||1,619||748||...|
|1910||Wm. C. Hayward||2,073|||||A. J. Anders||1,537||536||...|
|1912||Wm. S. Allen||1,910|||||Chas. B. Murtagh||1,702||208||...|
* First record found
§ Greenback vote, 334
± Greenback vote 303
The first record we find of a formal organization in this county of the followers of a designated political faith bears date, December 10, 1853, when the following notice was circulated:
|FELLOW CITIZENS: You are
herby notified that a meeting will be held at Waukon on
Saturday, Dec. 24, 1853, for the purpose of taking into
consideration the propriety of an immediate organization
of the democratic party in our county. Also for the
further purpose of appointing delegates to the state convention, etc.
|W. C. Thompson,
Jas. W Flint,
M. B. Lyons
At this meeting Edward Eells was chosen chairman
and C. L. White, secretary, and it was:
"Resolved, That the democrats of the county of Allamakee ought to and hereby do organize themselves into a regular political party, according to the time-honored usages of the same, both in the state and nation, and as an auxiliary thereto."
The central committee consisted of Archa Whaley, Reuben Sencebaugh, Wm. H. Morrison, Edward Eells and A. J Hersey.
The township committees were:
Union City - Geo. Spence, Wm. Dennison, G. W. Carver
Lansing - Richard Luckins, A. J. Tillotson, Jas. P. Hughes
Lafayette - W. C. Thompson, R. Ottman, O. S. Conkey
Makee - C. Paulk, T. Minard, Aug. Hersey
Union Prairie - J. E. S. Morgan, Loren Eells, George Merrill
Ludlow - E. Reed, Luther Howes, Henry Beaver
Jefferson - W. F. Ross, Henry Coffman, H. Burgess
Paint Creed - Andrew Mitchell, Thos. Anderson, Geo. Watkins
Taylor - David Harper, Michael Dignan, Otto Langfield
Linton - Allen Scott, L. W. Hays, Henry Johnson
Franklin - John Brisco, Austin Smith, Johns S. Clark
Post - James Arnold, Reuben Smith
Wm. H. Morrison, S. A. Tupper and J. W. Flint were appointed delegates to the state convention.
The convention thereupon "resolved" to authorize the central committee to fix the ratio of representation: "that we have undiminished confidence in the administration of the general government, and will continue to give our undivided support;" the state government "merits our approbation and continued confidence;" out senators, "for their uniform attachment to democratic principles, are entitled to the cordial support of every true democrat," and the "gratitude, influence and support of every true friend of western interest."
It is noticeable that in the foregoing list occur the names of certain New Englanders and others, who in later years became staunch supporters of the republican party, which was organized in Iowa at a convention held at Iowa City, February 23, 1856. At the presidential election of that year Allamakee county gave a majority of 130 for the new party.
The following notes on some of the county campaigns will be found of interest:
In 1868 the county went republican on the state ticket for the first time in eight years, and gained the offices of county recorder, clerk and sheriff. The first five amendments to the state constitution striking out the word "white" from certain sections carried by 35.
In 1869 occurred a tie vote for state representative, John Haney, Jr., and P. G. Wright each receiving 1,444. It was decided by lot, twenty slips of paper numbered from 1 to 20 were drawn alternatively, resulting for P. G. Wright, democrat, 108 to 102.
The feature of the 1870 campaign was the hotly contested struggle for republican candidate for congress in this Third district. J. W. Thomas of Lansing was endorsed by our county convention, but at the convention at Charles City in August. W. G. Donnan received the nomination on the 108th ballot, and was elected by 4,966 majority.
In 1871 the democrats made a clean sweep after a hot campaign. For sheriff, James Ruth received 1,302 and James Palmer 1,303, but there were found two surplus ballots in Lansing and one in Ludlow, and a new election was called for those townships, which made the final result 1,373 for Ruth and 1,378 for Palmer, democrat.
In 1874 the interest centered in the republican contest for congress, C. T. Granger receiving the nomination over D. N. Cooley at McGregor on the 76th ballot, but was defeated by L. L. Ainsworth, democrat, at the ensuing election.
The county seat contest in 1875 brought out the largest vote in the county up to that time, 4,000. The democrats secured all the county offices except sheriff, Geo. Hewitt, and supervisor, Robt. Crawford. J. T. Metcalf was the chairman of the republican county committee.
In 1877 the county went republican again, electing all offices except Auditor W. C. Thompson. For the first time in many years a republican, Benj. Ratcliffe, was sent to the legislature. Peter Karberg of Lansing was chairman of the republican committee.
In 1880 the jail tax proposition was lost, and the poorhouse tax carried. In 1881 the jail tax carried. W.C. Earle was elected to the legislature on the republican ticket, over Dick Haney of Lansing. In 1882 and 1883 the county was heavily democratic on state ticket, in the latter year by 222. Mrs. Martha T. Hemenway of Lansing, candidate for county superintendent on the republican ticket, lost to E. Eells by only 148.
From this time on the county remained solidly democratic until 1893 when the tide again turned and the republicans made a clean sweep, majorities ranging from 144 to 540 on county officers and 71 on the state ticket. A. M. May was chairman of the republican county committee, and Douglass Deremore of the democratic. Since that time the county has remained republican, and events so recent hardly require further comment here.
~transcribed by Lisa Henry (text) & Diana
Diedrich (voting tables)
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