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HARLAN, James 1820 – 1899


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 10/11/2020 at 12:20:38

Source: Decorah Republican Oct. 12, 1899 P 3 C 6

James Harlan, the colleague of James W. Grimes as the first Republican U. S. Senators from this state, died at his home in Mount Pleasant on Thursday morning last, in his eightieth year. Although he had been ill for some time previous he had so far recovered that less than a week previous to his death he attended and presided at a session of Methodist lay Conference. The exertions of the occasion proved too severe, and a relapse occurred from which he could not rally.
The present generation has no familiar acquaintance with Senator Harlan, for, after his defeat in 1872 by Senator Allison, he passed not wholly into retirement but into somewhat of obscurity. But in his day he occupied a place in the hearts of Iowans second only to that hold by Samuel J. Kirkwood, our great war governor. The general facts in relation to his life are told in the following paragraphs, the only omission that we can recall is that he was in his earlier years a minister of the M. E. church, but in detached service because of his school work.
James Harlan was born In Clarke county, Ill., Aug 25th, 1820, but four years later his family removed to Indiana, where he received his education and resided until maturity.
He was graduated from the Asbury university, Greencastle, Ind., in 1845, was married the same year and came to Iowa, where he has resided over since.
In his early Iowa days Mr. Harlan farmed and taught school. In 1847 he was elected state superintendent of schools, serving one year. He then practiced law, after a season of study, until 1853, when he was elected president of the Iowa Wesleyan college, occupying this position two years.
In 1855 Mr. Harlan was elected United States senator and he was re-elected in 1864. He resigned in 1865 to become secretary of the Interior under Abraham Lincoln. The following year he was again elected to the senate, but in 1872 was defeated by William B. Allison, who has been re-elected ever since. In 1882 Mr. Harlan was appointed chief justice of the court of commissioners of Alabama claims, which position he held four years.
In 1893 he was called from retirement to act as temporary chairman of the republican state convention. As such officer he made a speech which had a tremendous influence in checking the threatened bolt of prohibitionists on account of the convention’s declaration for practical local option. He was a candidate for the republican nomination for governor in 1895, but his age was against him.

Transcriber’s Note: Find a Grave shows he is buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Mount Pleasant and that he died Oct. 5, 1899.


Henry Obituaries maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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