At the Republican State Convention held at Des
Moines on the 26th of August, 1885, William Larrabee of Fayette
County was nominated for Governor, and J. A. T. Hull for
Lieutenant-Governor; J. M. Beck for Supreme Judge; and J. W. Akers
for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Democrats and Greenbackers supported a fusion
ticket consisting of the following candidates: Governor, Charles E.
Whiting of Monana County; Lieutenant-Governor, E. H. Gillette; Judge
of Supreme Court, C. F. Brennan; Superintendent of Public
Instruction, F. W. Moore.
The Prohibition ticket consisted of the following
candidates: Governor, J. Mickelwait; Lieutenant-Governor, W. M.
Steere; Supreme Judge, Jacob Rogers; Superintendent of Public
Instruction, W. M. Taft.
The result of the election was the choice of the
Republican candidates by an average plurality of about 7,000.
the General Assembly convened at Des Moines on the
11th of January, 1886. The House was organized by the election of
Albert Head, Speaker; Lieutenant-Governor Hull presided over the
Senate. The Governor-elect, William Larrabee, was inaugurated on
the 14th of January and delivered an address to the General
Among the most important acts of the Twenty-first
General Assembly were:
An act for the more effectual suppression of
the liquor traffic; an act for the appointment of mine inspectors
and defining their duties; an acto to provide for tribunals of
voluntary arbitration to adjust industrial disputes; an act reducing
the number of grand jurors to five or seven; and act providing for
the establishment and maintenance of a Soldiers' Home; an act
providing for the election of county attorneys; an act abolishing
Circuit Courts and providing additional district judges.
The Legislature appointed a committee to investigate
the charges made against J. L. Brown as Auditor. Upon the report of
that committee the House proceeded to frame thirty articles of
impeachment against him.
Articles one to six charged Brown with collecting
fees as Auditor and failing to render an account of such fees.
Articles seven to eleven charged Brown with official misconduct in
relation to the examination of the Bremer County and various other
banks. Articles twelve to fifteen charged him with drawing various
warrants for payment of clerks, for which no vouchers were taken.
Articles sixteen and seventeen charged Brown with resisting the
order of suspension and exercising the duties of the office after
suspension. Articles eighteen and twenty-two charged Brown with
official misconduct in relation to his deputy, Stewart. Article
nineteen charged that he refused to permit the Governor to enter the
Auditor's office and examine the records. Articles twenty-three to
twenty-seven charged Brown with exacting, from various banks,
illegal fees for examinations. Articles twenty-eight to thirty
charged him with exacting excessive fees for examination of various
insurance companies. After a lengthy trial by the Senate, the
Auditor was acquitted on all of the various charges made against
It required thirty-four votes to convict. On
articles one to six, inclusive, and eighteen every Senator voted not
guilty. On article twenty, but one Senator voted guilty. The
largest vote to convict was on articles sixteen and seventeen which
charged Brown with resisting the Governor's order of suspension, and
exercising the duties of Auditor after such order of suspension.
Twenty-nine Senators voted not guilty on every charge. Governor
Larrabee on the 23d of January, upon investigation, revoked the
order of suspension and reinstated Brown. When articles of
impeachment were filed against Brown he was suspended on the 13th of
April, 1886, and Charles Beardsley was appointed to serve during the
impeachment trial. Upon the acquittal of Brown he was, on the 14th
of July, reinstated. The Legislature subsequently refunded to him
the amount he had paid the attorneys who had conducted his defense.
At the Republican State Convention at Des Moines on
the 25th of August, 1886, the following candidates were nominated:
for Secretary of State, F. D. Jackson; Auditor, J. A. Lyons;
Treasurer, V. P. Twombly; Attorney-General, A. J. Baker; Clerk
Supreme Court, G. B. Pray; Reporter Supreme Court, E. C. Ebersole.
At the Democratic and Greenback State conventions
the following candidates were agreed upon and supported by both
parties: Secretary of State, Cato Sells; Auditor, Paul Guelich;
Treasurer, Daniel Campbell; Attorney-General, C. H. Mackay; Clerk
Supreme Court, William Theophilus; Supreme Court Reporter, E. P.
The Prohibition candidates were, for Secretary of
State, V. C. Farnam; Auditor, J. L. McReynolds; Treasurer, J.
Mickelwait; Attorney-General, Jacob Rogers; Clerk Supreme Court, E.
B. Howard; Supreme Court Reporter, J. W. Wolfe.
The Republican candidates were elected by a
plurality of nearly 15,000. The Republicans also elected eight
Representatives to Congress, while the opposition elected three.
The Republican State Convention of 1887 renominated
Governor Larrabee and Lieutenant-Governor Hull. Gifford S. Robinson
was nominated for Judge of Supreme Court and Henry Sabin for
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Democrats nominated T. J. Anderson for Governor;
J. M. Elder for Lieutenant-Governor; C. S. Fogg for Supreme Judge,
and H. W. Sawyer for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
the Labor organization placed the following
candidates in the field: Governor, M. J. Cain; Lieutenant-Governor,
J. R. Sovereign; Supreme Judge, M. J. Jones; Superintendent of
Public Instruction, S. L. Tipton.
The Prohibitionists placed in nomination V. G.
Farnam for Governor and W. C. Caldwell for Lieutenant-Governor.
The Republican candidates were elected by a
plurality of from 16,000 to 20,000.
On the night of August 3d, 1886, an atrocious murder
was perpetrated in Sioux City which aroused the indignation of the
public, no only in Iowa but throughout the country. Rev. George C.
Haddock, pastor of the First Methodist Church of Sioux City, had for
a long time been the most energetic and fearless prosecutor of
violators of the prohibition liquor law in that city, where the
saloon keepers were persistent and habitual defiers of law and
order. He had secured the conviction of a number of the persistent
lawbreakers and was untiring in his efforts to close th resort of
this character. He was warned by letters containing threats of
personal violence unless he desisted from trying to enforce the law
against the saloon business. But he was fearless and conscientious
in the crusade against the traffic, refusing to be intimidated. On
the evening of the assassination the Rev. Mr. Haddock with Rev. C.
C. Turner procured a livery team and drove to Greenville, returning
about 10 o'clock, when Mr. Haddock drove alone to the stable. As he
started towards his home he observed several men standing on the
sidewalk near a saloon. As he started to cross the street a shot
was fired from the group which pierced his neck killing him almost
instantly. The murder caused intense excitement and indignation and
the next evening a public meeting was held, crowding the
court-house. The respectable citizens expressed their abhorrence of
the cowardly crime and large rewards were offered, to which Governor
Larrabee added a reward in behalf of the State. Detectives were
employed and every effort possible was made to discover the assassin
and evidence to convict him. But the saloon element made common
cause in screening the murderer; and although arrests were made and
confessions and strong incriminating evidence secured, able lawyers
were employed by the saloons and no convictions were made.
The financial condition of the State at the close of
the fiscal year, as shown by the reports of the Auditor and
Treasurer, was as follows: Resources of the State for the biennial
period ending June 30th, 1887, from all sources:
|Balance from last
|Fees from State
|From Telegraph and Telephone Companies..............
|Transfers from Temporary School Fund....................
PAYMENTS AND CASH
|Auditor's warrants redeemed..............
|Interest on warrants...........................
|Cash in Treasury, June 30th, 1887.....
The total assessment for taxation is reported at $495,710,241.
The warrants outstanding July 1, 1887, amounted to $455,987.30.
Reports from the State institutions showed that there were in the
tow Insane Asylums 1,498 patients; in the two Penitentiaries six
hundred seventy-three inmates; there were but forty-two children in
the Orphans' Home and sixty persons in the Soldiers' Home. In the
Boys' Industrial School there were three hundred thirty and in the
Girls' Department there were one hundred twelve.
The reports of the public schools showed 12,444 school-houses and
14,829 schools in which are employed 24,675 teachers. The school
houses are valued at $11,360,472. The permanent school fund at that
time amounted to $4,187,839.94. The total disbursements for the
past year for school purposes were $6,323,172.42; the number of
children enrolled in the schools was 480,788 out of 638,156 of
Governor Larrabee appointed Delos Arnold to assist in making a
settlement with the Capitol Commissioners who had built the new
State House and after carefully examining th records of their work,
extending over the entire period, their accounts were approved. the
total amount of expenditures under their direction was
$2,871,682.05; it was estimated that it would require about $130,000
to complete the building and grade the grounds. The entire work was
carried on under the personal supervision of Robert S. Finkbine and
is an enduring monument to the fidelity and business ability of the
A contest had, for many years, been going on between the farmers
of the West and one Greene who had procured a patent on a method of
making wells by driving an iron tube into the earth. By virtue of
this patent he and his associates claimed the right to collect a
royalty of ten dollars from every person in the United States who
used a well made by driving a tube into the ground. this kind of
well had been in use in various parts of the country for a
generation. Encouraged by some of the early decisions of the
courts, in granting the board claims to the first patentees of
barbed wire, the Greene combination saw an immense fortune for them
if a similar decision could be obtained for the drive well patents.
With the aid of good lawyers such a decision was obtained and the
crusade against the users of drive wells was inaugurated. Many well
owners paid the demand rather than be forced into expensive
litigation. Others took counsel and formed associations similar to
the one which in Iowa was fighting the barbed wire battles. Then
began one of the most determined conflicts in the courts known in
the history of litigation in the State. An association of farmers
in Buchanan, Black Hawk, Butler and Fayette counties was organized
to carry on the litigation and meet the expenses. A similar one had
been organized in New Jersey which was making a vigorous fight. The
Iowa farmers employed Colonel Jed Lake, a talented lawyer and
vigorous fighter to defend them against the Greene combination. In
May, 1883, in a case tried in the United States District Court of
Iowa before Judges Shiras and Love, the Court held that the patent
of Greene was void on tow grounds. First, that Greene had slept
upon his rights in that he did not apply for a patent until the
device had for a long time been before the public. Second, that a
fatal defect in his patent was found in the fact that the reissue
embraced an important principle not found in the original
application for the patent and was consequently void. This was a
most sweeping decision and left the patent combination no ground to
stand upon. The well owners over the entire country at once refused
to pay claims and the Greene combination had but one hope of
continuing the extortions so long practiced by threats and
intimidation. The case was taken to the United States Supreme Court
in the hope that his decision would be reversed or that the farmers
would be unable to continue the expensive litigation. One hundred
and seventy-five suits had been brought against the farmers in the
four counties mentioned, in 1878, and one hundred and twenty of them
were defended by Lake and Harmon for the Association. The money was
raised and the cass were ably presented in the Supreme Court. In
1887 the final decision was rendered in which the decision of the
United States District Court was affirmed and the so-called patents
It was estimated that this decision saved to the farmers of Iowa,
who ere owners of drive wells, not less than $2,000,000; while the
heavy expense of carring on the litigation for nine years had been
borne by one hundred and twenty farmers of moderate means. too much
credit cannot be awarded the courageous and public spirited citizens
who fought this great battle against an extortion of such magnitude
in which the farmers of the entire country were deeply interested.
In Minnesota and Legislature made an appropriation of $7,500 to
enable the farmers of that State to resist the claim, but in Iowa
the entire expense fell upon a few private citizens.
The legal questions involved in the drive well suits were in many
respects similar to those raised in the barbed wire contests. The
final triumph of the people in both cases was far reaching, as an
adverse decision would have enabled the combinations to have
extorted for many years, an annual tax upon the farmers of the
entire country, that would have reached high up into the millions
and gone to enrich a few eastern capitalists.
The Twenty-second General Assembly convened at Des Moines on the
9th of January, 1888, Lieutenant-Governor Hull presiding over the
Senate. In the House W. H. Redman was elected Speaker. The
Governor and Lieutenant-Governor were inaugurated for a second term.
In his inaugural address Governor Larrabee made a powerful argument
for the control of railroad charges by the Legislature. he
presented a strong array of facts and figures to fortify his
position, showing the gross injustice of the pooling system
inaugurated by the railroads, by which territory and business is so
divided among the roads, that there is practically no competition as
to rates for transportation. The Governor preceded to say:
"Steel rails can now be purchased for one-third of the
price paid for iron rails fifteen years ago; and engines, cars and
coal have depreciated in cost nearly as much while local freight and
passenger rates have not been reduced in any perceptible
degree. The railroads of Iowa have received as donations from
various sources a value of over $50,000,000. The tracts of land
granted to them by the Nation, State, counties, municipalities and
private individuals which aggregate an amount equal to more than
one-eight of the total area of the entire State. The total amount
of money actually invested in Iowa railroads by stockholders and
bondholders probably does not exceed an average of $15,000 per mile
and $13,000,000 of net earnings which are annually distributed among
them would be a fair profit upon twice the amount which they have
actually invested . . . .Railroads have in the course of time
usurped powers dangerous to the public welfare and have practiced
extortions perhaps less cruel, but in the aggregate more gigantic
than those of the British landlord. It has been found necessary to
limit the power of public officers to levy taxes for the maintenance
of our schools and the support of the State, county and municipal
government, notwithstanding the fact that those taxes are used for
the benefit of the people. Yet a few railroad managers are free to
meet in Chicago and levy an extra tax of one, two or even five
million dollars upon the people of Iowa without giving them anything
in return. . . . It is impossible to compute or even approximate the
loss sustained by the people of Iowa in consequence of railroad
discriminations. . . . By granting special rates, rebates,
drawbacks and other favors here and there to men of influence in
their respective localities, they have secured the favor of many
who, after having divided with them their spoils are ready to defend
their wrongs and to advocate a policy of neutrality on part of the
State. By retaining the ablest attorneys, by influencing the press
and by flattering and favoring politicians they have for many years
managed to prevent an open outburst of popular indignation; and
their long continued success greatly added to their boldness to
unsurping unlawful powers and invading public rights. When it is
considered that the railroad companies doing business in Iowa, have
an annual cash income of over $100,000,000, their past influence can
readily be appreciated. It is not an extravagant statement that the
power exerted by them has in many instances proved greater than that
of the State to which they owe their corporate existence. . . .
Setting at naught the power of the State they nullify with impunity
the principles of equity which for centuries have been enunciated by
the courts. Such combinations as are maintained by them would, in
other branches of business, be considered conspiracies against the
public welfare and would subject their originators to indictment."
This inaugural address was the most courageous arraignment of the
railroad corporations and the most fearless exposition of the
extortions and wrongs inflicted by them upon the people of the
State, ever made by a public official in Iowa. Governor Larrabee
had long been a prominent member of the State Senate and was
thoroughly familiar with the great influence which the railroad
companies had been able to bring to bear upon legislation through an
ever present lobby sent to watch their interests at each session of
the General Assembly. The liberal distribution of free passes and
other special favors to members, had long prevented what they were
pleased to term "hostile legislation." This indictment of the
railroad officials and the unimpeachable recital of their extortions
by the new Chief Executive of the State fell like a bomb in the camp
of the railroad managers.
In the Governor's message sent to the General Assembly a few days
before, he made the following recommendations:
"First. I recommend the passage of a law destroying the
pass system root and branch.
"Second. I recommend that maximum passenger fares on
first class railroads be fixed at two cents a mile.
"Third. I recommend the passage of a law fixing
reasonable maximum rates of freight on the principal commodities
transported by rail; and also authorizing and requiring the Railroad
Commissioners to reduce said rates at any time when in their
judgment they are too high.
"Fourth. The salaries of the Commissioners should be paid
by the State and not by the railroad companies."
On the other issues before the people the Governor was equally
outspoken. He said:
"Much progress has been made in the enforcement of the
prohibitory law. . . . Many judges have given strong testimony in
its favor, showing that where it has ben well executed there has
been a marked reduction in criminal offences and also in court
expenses. . . .
"There has been a decided falling off in penitentiary
convicts and a very large number of jails have been empty, some of
them for the first time in years. While there is very little
difficulty in enforcing the law in rural districts and in a very
large majority of the counties, there are still a few portions of
the State, particularly in some of the larger cities, where the law
is not enforced. This does not include all such cities, however,
for Des Moines, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, three of the largest
cities of the State, the prohibitory law is now, and has been for
the past year well enforced.
"Our people are strong in their convictions that this law
should be enforced as well as others and it is the duty of the
Legislature to provide the means. The authority of the Legislature
in these matters is no longer a subject of dispute. The recent
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States settles that
question on grounds so broad and just as to make it impregnable and
final. . . . With this powerful support it only remains for the
friends of good government and law and order in Iowa to press
patiently, yet resolutely, forward with this great reform until the
saloon and all illegal manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors
are utterly destroyed. Such amendments should be made to the law as
are needed and are best calculated to make it thoroughly effective
in accomplishing its purpose."
Fortified by the determined stand taken by Governor Larrabee in
his message and inaugural, for legislative control of railroads, the
General Assembly at once proceeded to grapple with the subject in a
most vigorous manner. A bill was carefully framed to meet the
abuses so long suffered by the public and to provide adequate
remedies. The Commissioners were given power to fix schedules of
charges for transportation and ample authority to enforce their
mandates. Under the this bill the Railroad Commissioners were
clothed with power to protect the people from all of the oppressions
of the corporations which had been for years the subject of
complaint and for which no remedy by law had been provided. The
bill met with the most determined opposition from the railroad
officials and all of the personal and political influence it was
possible for them to command, at every stage of its progress. But
for the first time since the famous Grange Legislation these
corporations found an organization equal to their own. It could not
be circumvented, intimidated nor beaten. It was active, aggressive,
intelligent and uncompromising. It was sustained by a large
majority of the people and in the end succeeded in placing on the
statute books a series of acts which provided ample remedies for
most of the wrongs perpetrated by the railroad managers and at the
same time deprived them of no rights of property.
The repeal of the Grange Legislation by the General Assembly of
1878, was followed so closely by a business revival due to other
causes, that the people of the State for a time lost sight of the
railroad question as a political issue. The problem of the control
of common carriers had not, however, ceased to claim the attention
of a large and influential element of the country's population east
as well as west; and the agitation for National control of some sort
continued without interruption until the year 1887, when an act to
regulate commerce between the States was given a place on the
statute books of the Federal Government.
A revolt of the Republicans in the Eighth Congressional District,
composed of the southwestern counties, resulted in the election of
Albert R. Anderson; and the election of General James B. Weaver in
the Sixth, or central District, and emphasized the desire of the
people of Iowa for affirmative legislation on the subject of
railroad control. The interstate commerce law prohibited
discriminations in freight charges between shippers and localities;
the pooling of railway earnings by competing carriers and the
charging of a higher rate for a shorter than for a longer haul, the
shipment being over the same line, in the same direction and under
substantially similar circumstances and conditions.
The railway managers unused to legal restraints during the
formative period of the railway system of the country, at first
resented even the moderate limitations imposed upon their freedom of
action by this conservative statute and manifested a disposition to
use the provisions of the measure oppressively and in such a way as
to discommode shippers, irritate the public and convince the country
that legislation in relation to transportation was not particable.
Throughout this period local freight rates were relatively higher
than charges on shipments from the great commercial centers. The
manufacturers and jobbers of the State were able to compete with
their rivals in the large cities only by means of the rebates paid
them by the railways. These rebates were now withdrawn and the Iowa
shipper informed that since the enactment of the interstate commerce
law, he must if he desired to continue in business, remove to those
large and important terminal points from which, alone, it was
possible to grant living rates. The business outlook in the cities
of the State was gloomy. Factories and wholesale houses were
closing their doors and removing to other States. Agriculture was
depressed by the prospect that its future markets would be in
distant cities, restricting its activity to the production of bulky
staples and cutting off those miscellaneous refined products so
profitably grown when populous cities are near.
Previous to this time there had been little cooperation between
the rural and urban population of the State in efforts to obtain
legislation controlling railroad charges. If there had been a
community of interests it had not been discovered on either side.
Of partism cooperation on moral and political issues there had been
many cases; but the capacity to work together for common purposes
connected with their industrial interests had not been developed.
It has awaited the opportunity now at hand. Leaders were not
wanting. A score or more of earnest and well informed men of
affairs, engaged in commercial, financial and agricultural pursuits,
several of them learned in the law, now came into prominence as
organizers of a movement for the solution of the difficult problem
of saving important industries of the State from destruction.
Each of the chief political parties of the State furnished
champions of the rights of the people of Iowa to a share in the
industrial life of the country. They worked together with a
patriotism rarely equalled and with results which may serve as an
inspiration to legislators in the future. In the Executive chair
Governor William Larabee, in the General Assembly James G. Berryhill,
on the Board of Railway Commissioners Frank T. Campbell and Spencer
Smith, were the prime movers in teh work which gave the State its
railroad legislation and the practical solution of problems of
administration there under. So important was the part taken by each
of these public officials that it way safely be said that if any one
of them had at any time flinched the formidable work might have met
Mr. Berryhill was the lawyer who made a careful examination of
the constitutional points involved in the proposed legislation.
Familiar with the decisions of the State and Federal Courts in
relation to fixing rates, he so framed the bill that unquestioned
principles of constitutional law were back of every part of the
statute. While some of the more radical reformers were impatiently
urging the fixing of inflexible rates, Mr. Berryhill firmly urges
that the State could not safely go beyond the point of establishing
a maximum rate which should only be prima facie evidence of a
reasonable rate. While this simply shifted the burden of proof in
the event of litigation from the shipper to the carrier and left the
former with nothing more substantial than a better standing in
court, the outcome proved that this was all that the shipper really
needed in the way of laws. The railroad companies were so
thoroughly convinced of the constitutionality of the legislation
that they never permitted the controversy to go to the Supreme Court
of the United States. They preferred to submit to what they
declared to be disastrous reductions of rates, rather than permit
the legal questions involved in railway control to go to the court
of last resort on grounds chosen for the test by the framers of this
The battle-ground of the movement was in the first instance in
the State Legislature, after years of agitation through the press
and the Granges. The preliminary skirmishing was in the
Twenty-first General Assembly, while the Twenty-second carried the
struggle to a conclusion. James G. Berryhill was the acknowledged
organizer and leader in the House of Representatives of the two
General Assemblies and the committees of that branch of the
Legislature were made up largely with reference to friendliness to
Governor Larrabee had long been a recognized leader in the State
Senate and was conservative as to railroad legislation. His first
term as chief Executive of the State was nearing its end before
events convinced him of the need of legislation which later he did
so much to promote. Most men become more conservative under
official responsibility; but Governor Larrabee had the genius of a
thorough business man and the conscience of a New Englander of
Puritan stock. When he became the Executive of the people of Iowa
in business affairs, it was inevitable that he should have a clear
insight into their rights and an invincible determination to secure
and safeguard their interests.
The test came in the Glenwood coal case. The railroads charged a
rate for transporting coal to a State institution which the Governor
believed to be excessive, unjust and discrimination. He determined
to resist the over-charge and appealed to the Board of Railway
Commissioners, the tribunal created by the Legislature of 1878,
which he had helped to enact as a substitute for direct legislative
control of railways. The Commissioners decided that they had no
power to remedy the abuse complained of, that their functions were
merely advisory. That decision convinced the Governor of the
inefficiency of the Railway Commission and the necessity of clothing
the tribunal with some real power to remedy wrongs. From this time
Governor Larrabee became the leader of the movement for legislative
control of railways, of which prior to that time he had apparently
been a disinterested observer.
In the appointment of Ex-Lieutenant Governor Frank T. Campbell a
member of the Board of Railway Commissioners, Governor Larrabee had
selected the able leader of railroad control who led the contest in
the enactment of the Grange legislation many years before. The
Governor now had become convinced of the necessity of direct
legislation for the regulation of business transactions between the
people and the powerful corporations which controlled the
transportation of the country. He gave the problem careful
investigation as chief Executive of the State and his influence was
a powerful factor in securing the needed legislation.
There had long been a general belief among the people that
"friendly legislation" for the railroads had been largely influenced
by the distributation of free passes to public officials, such as
member of the Legislature, judges of the courts, Railroad
Commissioners and assessors; and the prohibition of this practice
had been strongly demanded by the people since the first movements
for railroad control. yet the free passes were distributed so
judiciously and effectively by the various companies, to all
officials who had the power to curb the extortions of these powerful
corporations, that bills to prohibit this system of influencing
public officials were always defeated. All efforts made by the
reformers before the Twenty-first General Assembly to prohibit free
passes to public officials; to make the Railroad Commissioners
elective by the people, and to give the Board power to fix freight
and passenger rates, were defeated, notwithstanding the earnest
efforts of the antimonopoly members of the various political
parties. James G. Berryhill of Polk, George L. Finnof Taylor, Silas
Wilson of Cass, Thomas Teale of Decatur, J. G. Brown of Marshall,
and S. A. Converse of Howard were foremost among the advocates of
railroad control in the House of Representatives during this session
of 1886; the Senate giving little attention to the subject.
When the Twenty-second General Assembly convened in January,
1888, the advocates of railroad control realized the importance of
thorough and systematic organization of their forces and able and
aggressive leadership. In the Senate were George L. Finn, Lafayette
Young, J. H. Sweney, F. D. Bayless and other firm and aggressive
advocates of the reform. In the House were James G. Berryhill, L.
W. Lewis, N. B. Holbrook, John F. Dayton, John T. Hamilton, John W.
Luke, James A. Smith, John C. Hall and W. H. Redman who was chosen
The bills making the office of Railroad Commissioner elective by
the people, empowering the Board to make rates prohibiting
discriminations and placing the entire business of railway
management and operation under a system of legal control, were
easily carried through the General Assembly. public sentiment had
become irresistible and there was little opposition to the reform in
either branch of the General Assembly. The railways succeeded in
defeating the House bill establishing a schedule of maximum freight
rates only to see substantially the same rates adopted and put in
force by the elective Railroad Commissioners a few months later.
This schedule was based upon rates voluntarily adopted by the
railroad companies for shipments between Chicago and other Illinois
points. The diplomacy of Mr. Berryhill secured the adoption of a
most effective long and short haul clause in the general railway law
enacted at this time. There was a disagreement between the House
and Senate upon a number of material points in the bill under
consideration, which were referred to a conference committee
composed of Senators, J. H. Sweney, Ben McCoy, Lafayette Young, O.
W. Schmidt and James Dooley, and Representatives James G. Berryhill,
A. b. Cummins, Silas Wilson, John W. Luke and John T. Hamilton.
A section was reported by the conference committee which made any
low fixed rate by any carrier over any part of its line applicable
to its entire system. This provision was stronger than any
requirement incorporated int he original bill as it passed the
House. Its adoption was in effect the most advanced position taken
by the antimonopolists in regard to discriminations in rates. Its
far reaching importance was not discovered by the railway managers
until after the amended bill became a law. It is recognized as the
keystone of the arch of Iowa railway legislation.
The railway companies appealed to the Federal Courts to enjoin
the Commissioners from putting into effect the schedule of freight
rates adopted by the Board; but, as before indicated, the new laws
had ben so carefully prepared that the corporations had little
expectation of having them set aside. A few months later litigation
was suspended; the Commissioners' rates were accepted by the roads
and peaceful relations were finally established between the people
of Iowa and the railroads.
The ruin predicted in some quarters as certain to result from the
legislation of 1888, did not ensue. The loss of revenue to the
companies foretold by the opponents of moderate rates did not take
place. On the contrary the Iowa earnings of the railroad companies
doing business in the State were increased by several million
dollars per annum. This effect of establishing such local freight
rates as would permit the people of Iowa to interchange their
products among themselves had been predicted by the farmers of the
measures, and justified the prediction.
Futile efforts have been made by the railway companies to secure
a reversal of the popular verdict, and by the reformers to carry the
movement into National politics; but the public has failed to
respond to either of these appeals, and within a few years the
railroad question has substantially disappeared from the politics of
the State. The attempt to abolish free passes over railroads to
public officials was again defeated; but railroads were required to
fence their tracks and keep the fences in repair. The Twenty-second
General Assembly will be long remembered for the inestimable service
it rendered to the people, in the framing and enactment of laws
controlling railroads which have proved to be wise, just and
James F. Wilson was elected to the United States Senate for
another full term of six years. The Legislature revised and amended
the prohibitory liquor laws and made better provisions for their
At the Republican State Convention held at Des Moines on the 22d
of August, 1888, Frank D. Jackson was nominated for Secretary of
State; J. A. Lyon for Auditor; V. P. Twombly for Treasurer; C. T.
Granger for Supreme Judge; John Y. Stone for Attorney-General and
Spencer Smith, John Mahin and F. T. Campbell for Railroad
The Democratic State Convention nominated the following
candidates: Secretary of State, Walter McHenry; Auditor, D. T.
Ockerson; Treasurer, Amos Case; Supreme Judge, P. H.. Smith;
Attorney-General, J. C. Mitchell; Railroad Commissioners, Peter A.
Dey, C. L. Lund and H. E. Willis.
The labor Union Convention nominated J. B. Van Court for
Secretary of State; C. M. Farnsworth for Auditor; James Rice for
Treasurer; M. M. Jones for Supreme Judge, and D. H. Williams for
The Prohibitionists nominated J. Mickelwait for Secretary; Malcom
Smith for Auditor; E. O. Sharp for Treasurer.
This being the year for Presidential election the campaign was
conducted with considerable spirit on the part of the Republicans
and Democrats. Grover Cleveland was renominated for President by
the Democrats and Allan G. Thruman for Vice-President. The
Republican National Convention nominated Benjamin Harrison for
President and Levi P. Morton for Vice-President. The Labor Union
party nominated A. J. Streter for President and C. E. Cunningham for
Vice-President. The Prohibitionists nominated C. B. Fisk for
President and J. A. Brooks for Vice-President.
The result of the election in Iowa was the success of all of the
Republican candidates, except John Mahin for Railroad Commissioner,
who was defeated by the railroad influence being used against him
and for Peter A. Dey one of the Democratic candidates. The
Republicans elected ten of the eleven Representatives in Congress.
In the Second District the Democratic candidate, Walter I. Hayes,
was chosen over P. W. McManus, Republican.
The total receipts of the State Treasurer for the biennial period
ending June 30th, 1889, were $3,292,665.19. The total equalized
assessment of the property of the State for the year 1889 was
$522,567,000. The total amount paid out for school purposes that
year was $6,848,128. There were 8,298 miles of railroad in the
State, the assessed value of which was $43,271,008 and the net
earnings amounted to $9,515,957.71. The farm products for the past
year were estimated to be worth $365,179,917.
The Republican State Convention met in Des Moines on the 14th of
August, 1889, and nominated J. C. Hutchison for Governor, A. N.
Poyneer for Lieutenant-Governor, Josiah Given for Judge of Supreme
Court, Henry Sabin for Superintendent of Public Instruction and
Spencer Smith for Railroad Commissioner. The platform affirmed the
principles and policy of State railway regulation and declared in
favor of absolute prevention, by Congress, of rebates and
discriminations. The fifth resolution declared:
"That we reaffirm the past utterances of the Republican
party of Iowa upon prohibition which had become the settled policy
of the State and upon which there should be no backward step."
The eighth resolution declared in favor of courts of arbitration
for the settlement of labor difficulties.
The Democratic State Convention met at Sioux City on the 18th of
September and nominated Horace Boies for Governor, S. L. Bestow for
Lieutenant-Governor, W. F. Brannan for Judge of Supreme Court, T. M.
Irish for Superintendent of Public Instruction and David Morgan for
Railway Commissioner. The resolutions declared in favor of the
Australian ballot, the regulation of railroads and other
corporations against unjust discriminations and oppressive charges,
in favor of a license law where desired by a majority of the voters.
The State Convention of the Union Labor party, held at Des
Moines, nominated the following ticket: S. B. Downing for Governor,
E. Brownell for Lieutenant-Governor, M. H. Jones for Supreme Judge,
Harriet J. Belange for Superintendent of Public Instruction and L.
H. Griffith for Railway Commissioner. The convention endorsed in
platform of the National Labor Union platform of the past year.
The Greenback party put the following ticket in the field: for
Governor, Elias Doty; Lieutenant-Governor, J. M. McDonald; Supreme
Judge, E. M. Farnsworth; Superintendent of Public Instruction, T. F.
Tobin; Railway Commissioner, R. Garrett. On the issue involved in
the State campaign the party declared for local option in the liquor
traffic, for the single land tax and government ownership of
The Prohibitionists nominated the following candidates: for
Governor, Malcom Smith; Lieutenant-Governor, J. W. Murphy; Supreme
Judge, J. W. Rogers; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mrs. M.
H. Dunham; Railway Commissioner, J. W. Noble. The resolutions
favored rigid prohibition, women suffrage, arbitration of labor
disputes, Australian ballot, opposition to all trusts and
The campaign was confined largely to the liquor controversy, the
old conflict between license and prohibition and for the first time
in the history of the State a majority of the voters cast their
ballots for the leading candidate who boldly advocated alcohol
option license law.
The principal contest was between the candidates for Governor,
nominated by the Republicans and Democrats, who ably advocated the
respective positions taken by the two parties on the absorbing issue
of license against prohibition. The result was that a great number
of Republicans in the river counties, where the sentiment was
strongly for license of the liquor traffic, voted for Mr. Boies, the
Democratic candidate, electing him by a plurality of 6,573.
The Republican candidates for Supreme Judge, Lieutenant-Governor,
Superintendent of Public Instruction and Railway Commissioner were
elected by pluralities ranging from 1,781 to 8,480. Counting the
entire vote cast for the candidates of the two parties, which in
their platforms declared for license, it amounted to 185,690 for
Boies and Downing; while the combined vote given for Hutchison and
Smith, who stood on prohibition platforms was 174,891, which
appeared to indicate a change in sentiment on this issue among the
electors of the State since the prohibitory amendment had been
adopted, of more than 20,000 votes from prohibition to license.