John B. Stoll.

History of the Indiana democracy, 1816-1916 online

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intendent of schools, and extensive acquaintance have been
most valuable to him in building up a legal practice. In 1913
he was appointed county attorney of Jennings county, and was
reappointed in 1914 and 1915.

Mr. Clerkin comes from a family of old-time Democrats and takes an active interest in politics.
In October, 1903, he was united in marriage to Miss Grace Gant, and they now live in their home on
State street in North Vernon.


A well-known and loyal worker in the ranks of Wabash county Democracy is William Henry
Coble, a representative citizen, successful farmer and the incumbent of various positions of trust in
the public service.

Mr. Coble is a native of this county, born on the 5th day of April, 1869. He attended the com-
mon schools of his district, and from his youth engaged in farming. Descended from a long line of
Democratic ancestors, however, he has been true to the traditions of the family and has worked at
all times zealously for the furtherance of the cause in his community. For several years he served
as township and precinct committeeman, and in the year 1912 was elected to the position of sheriff
of the county. At the expiration of his term of two years he was again nominated for this position.

Mrs. Coble, to whom he was married September 22, 1892, was formerly Miss Emma R. Crumrine.


A roster of the loyal Democratic workers of New Albany would be incomplete were mention not
made of John A. Cody, one of the most zealous citizens of that place in his efforts in behalf of the

Mr. Cody is a native of the city of New Albany, born in that city on March 4, 1872. He at-
tended Holy Trinity parochial school in his youth and after his graduation became connected with
the office force of the Louisville, Henderson and St. Louis Railroad. At the present time he holds
the position of chief clerk in the auditor's office of that company.

Since attaining his majority Mr. Cody has worked unceasingly for the success of the Demo-
cratic pai'ty, was for eighteen years a member of the city committee, and for twelve years acted
as chairman of that organization. For ten years he served upon the county central executive com-
mittee, and in 1908 was elected president of the Floyd County Democratic Club. In all of these po-
sitions of responsibility his conscientious zeal anl capacity for organization have stood him in good
stead, and he has uniformly served with credit to himself and his constituents. In the year 1914
he was recommended by Congressman W. E. Cox for the position of postmaster of the city of New


On October 28, 1903, Mr. Cody was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Arnold and their home
in the years since has extended its hospitality to a host of friends.

Mr. Cody is an active member of the Knights of Columbus and a deputy in that order.

William L. Coffey was born in Nashville, Ind., September 17, 1866.
His father, Judge Richard L. Coffey, was born and reared in Monroe
county, this State; educated at Franklin College and Indiana University,
graduating from the law department of the latter Mai-ch 1, 1859. He
came to Brown county during the Civil war, soon won a commanding posi-
tion at the Nashville bar and continued to practice his profession until his
death, May 1, 1901. Julia M. Mason, his wife, was a native of Bedford,
Ind., and bore her husband five children, the subject of this review being
the eldest.

William L. Coffey's youth was spent in Nashville, where he enjoyed
the best educational advantages the town afforded. After completing the
public school course he wa.s assisted and tutored by his father in special
subjects. In 1882 he took up the study of medicine, to which he devoted
five years. Returning from college in 1888, he was elected county coroner,
serving two years. In 1893 he was induced to take charge of the Nashville
schools, and, finding enjoyment in the profession of teaching, abandoned the pursuit of medicine and
began preparation for his new work.

Mr. Coffey was at the head of the Nashville schools ten years. His success here won him high
honors, and in 1903 he was elected county superintendent.

In 1905 he made a campaign in every school district in the county, demanding that the people
give attention to the matter of providing high school training for their children. This effort bore
fruit. In 1906 a convention of teachers was called which decided to petition the trustee of Wash-
ington township asking for a joint high school at Nashville; and in the spring of 1907 a beautiful
building with full equipment for high school work adorned the town. This building stands as a monu-
ment to Mr. Coffey's fidelity to the educational interests of his county, and it is fitting that he bear
the title of "Father of Nashville High School."

In 1907 Mr. Coffey was unanimously re-elected county superintendent. It is said that he dismissed
more inefficient teachers and revoked more licenses than all his predecessors together. A state super-
intendent said, "No county in the State has shown such marked progress in its schools as has Brovwi
county under Mr. Coffey's supervision."

Declining to serve further as superintendent in 1911, after twenty-five years' connection with the
schools, he withdrew to devote his time to business enterprises with which he was connected. In 1908
he was chosen president of the Nashville State Bank, which position he held until 1911, when he as-
sumed the duties of cashier, which position he now holds. He has proven a capable, efficient banker,
thoroughly familiar with all details of the banking business.

Mr. Coffey has been a lifelong Democrat and always enthusiastic about his party's success. He is
president of the city school board, elder in the Presbyterian church, superintendent of the federated
Sunday-schools of Nashville, member of the Masons, K. of P. and Modern Woodmen of America.

On July 2, 1893, Mr. Coffey was married to Rosa B. Clark of Brown county, the union resulting in
the birth of five children, two girls and three boys — L. Marie, William Wendell, Alton Powell, Arthur
Livingston and Eugenia Marguerite.


Charles A. Cole, a leading attorney of Miami county, and the holder of various positions of
trust during the years since he attained his majority, is highly esteemed throughout the legal pro-
fession of the state as legislator and jurist.

He is a native of Indiana, born on the 21st day of March, 1855. He attended the district school
of Peru township, Miami county, and later graduated from the Peru High School with the class of
1872. Then followed a course of study at Indiana University. He studied law in the office of Lyman
Walker at Peru, Indiana, and in the year 1878 was admitted to the bar and entered the practice of

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his profession in Peru. In 1880 he was elected to the legislature of Indiana as representative from
Miami county. He also served as county attorney for four years, and was a member of the Peru
School Board from 1904 to 1907. In 1908 he became the senior member of the law firm of Cole and
Cole, the junior member being his son, Albert Harvey Cole. He is now judge of the Miami Circuit
Court, to which position he was elected in 1914.

Mrs. Cole, to whom he was married December 3, 1884, was formerly Miss Elizabeth Shirk.


An honored public official of Scott county for many years, Hugh Colvin is well known in this

He was born in this county on the 11th day of December, 1856, and attended the public schools of
Scott and Clark counties. On the 17th of September, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss
Annettia Hartman and their home was established in Scottsburg, where he became the proprietor
of a thriving blacksmith and implement business. In the year 1886 he was elected township trustee,
and in this position served until 1890, at which time he was elected to the position of county treasur-
er; and at the expiration of two years was re-elected to this position. Again, on the 1st day of Janu-
ary, 1913, he assumed the duties and responsibilities of this position, and in the campaign of 1914
was the candidate for re-election.

He has been an active party worker and has missed but two state conventions in the past twenty-
five years.


The ancestors of the Combs family were of Holland descent, and set-
tled in New Jersey prior to the Revolutionary war. One of the earliest
known, John Combs, served as a captain in the struggle for independence.
Joseph Combs is a native of Clinton county, Indiana, and was born on a
farm in Washington township, November 15, 1860. His father was Nathan
B. Combs, Sr., and was one of the pioneers in that county, locating there in
1856, when the country was one vast forest. He came from Butler county,
Ohio. The family has been Democratic from the time of the formation of
the party under Thomas Jeflferson.

Joseph grew up on the farm and became used to all of the hardships of
the early pioneer. About nine months of every year was spent in helping to
clear and improve the farm, and about three months in the district school,
where he obtained a common school education. He attended several terms
of the local county normal, and the state normal school at Terre Haute, and
prepared himself for teaching. He taught in the district schools for six
years, "and then began the study of law in the office of Judge J. C. Suit, in Fiankfort, and was admitted
to the bar in 1886. In 1890 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the 45th Judicial Circuit, and served
in that office for two years, making a very creditable record for efficiency and ability. Later he entered
the practice of law in the firm of Brumbaugh & Combs, which continued for eight years, and where
he was successful as a lawyer. From 1901 to 1908 he practiced law alone, and was city attorney for
Frankfort from 1906 to 1908.

In June, 1908, he was nominated on the Democratic ticket for judge of the Clinton Circuit Court,
after a hard contest with four members of the Clinton county bar. The county was then very close po-
litically, and after a spirited and exciting campaign he defeated Judge Claybaugh, the Republican can-
didate, for re-election, by a plurality of 100. From the first his record on the bench has been creditable
to himself and his party. He at once gave evidence of his desire to be fair and impartial to all, re-
gardless of whether they had been for or against him in the contest for election. He became a hard
worker and gave close attention to all of the business of the court, and long before his first term ex-
pired he had practically the unanimous support of his own party, and many warm friends in the Re-
publican party. He was re-nominated by acclamation by the Democrats in 1914, and re-elected by
over 900 plurality, the first judge to be re-elected in the district for forty years. He received the sup-
port of many Republicans, Progressives, and other parties, leading all the other candidates by many




Isaiah Conner, one of the most favorably known citizens of Fulton county, was born near
Marion, Ind., August 4, 1838, the son of Nelson and Sarah (Boots) Conner, the father being born
in South Carolina and the mother in Scotland. They had seven children who survived infancy, Isaiah
being the third. He was brought up mostly on a farm. His early education was obtained in the
Quaker school near Marion, a school supported by subscription funds, and unquestionably the best in
the county. After leaving here he took an academic course at Marion, following which he began
the study of law at Marion with the firm of Van Devanter & McDowell, and was there admitted to the
bar. He chose other pursuits, however, until 1867, at which time he took up the practice of law,
locating in 1869 in Rochester, where he soon had a large clientage and won a good reputation as a

In November, 1884, he was elected judge of the Forty-first Judicial Circuit, composing the coun-
ties of Fulton and Marshall. He held the office one term, six years, and upon retiring from the bench
in November, 1890, the bars of both counties adopted resolutions in which the high esteem in which
he was held was expressed, and on the same occasion he received from the Marshall county bar a
gold-headed cane and from the Fulton county bar a fine oflice desk and chair. Since retiring from the
office of judge he has continued in the active practice of law and became the head of the well-known
firm of Conner & Rowley, which for many years stood in the front of the law practice of northern

Mr. Conner has always, since he was old enough to take any part in politics, been a Democrat,
and is a great admirer of one of the greatest and most democratic presidents who ever filled that
office — Woodrow Wilson.

On January 26, 1862, Mr. Conner married Miss Talitha Line, who was the daughter of Jacob and
Nancy (Wallace) Line. She was born near Marion, October 15, 1841, and died at Rochester, July 18,
1895, having been an invalid for many years. No children were born of this marriage and therefore
the husband bears alone the sorrows of the greatest grief which can come upon anyone in this world.


The name of Conaway is familiar, not only to the adherents of Democracy in Dearborn county,
but to the community at large; for the family, consisting of the father and five sons, have for many
years been active in the councils and work of the party. One of the brothers, James Milo Cona-
way, a prominent business man, with whom this review has to deal, has given generously of his time
as well as his means to further the Democratic cause in his community. He was born on the 9th
day of February, 1882, in Ohio county, Indiana, and received his education in the public schools of
Ohio and Dearborn counties. In the year 1904 he cast his first vote for William J. Bryan and since
that time has served his party actively in each campaign, attending the various conventions held in
the county, district and state, and laboring diligently for the success of the cause.

In March, 1907, Mr. Conaway was united in marriage to Miss Lyda Phillips and they have gath-
ered about them a large circle of friends.

Mr. Conaway has taken a deep interest in the fraternal affairs of Aurora, and is now presi-
dent of the fraternal order of Eagles, and an active member of the Mutual Aid association.
Throughout his career, whether in his own affairs or in the affairs of the public, he has been ag-
gressive and progressive, keeping abreast of the times and evincing a deep interest in all movements
tendin,°: toward the betterment of the community.


The official records during his term as secretary of the state of Indiana, and dur-
ing all the time he served the people as a public official, are sufficient commenda-
tion for the good work of Homer L. Cook of Indianapolis. An investigation of the
records for the administration of Mr. Cook, and a comparison of these with the rec-
ords of others in the same place, makes the Cook service stand out conspicuously for
its excellence in line of efficiency and economy of management.

Homer L. Cook was born in Wabash, Indiana, in 1867, a member of a large
family. It was due to his individual effort, work and ambition that success came to
Jiim. When he moved with his parents to Indianapolis, the same industry, energy,
amoition and vision carried him forward. He became interested in school work and
was e'ected county superintendent of schools.


This work led into other fields. He was always an active worker for the Democratic party. He
was elected a member of the House of Representatives, 1911 and 1913, where he served as speakfi
during a session in which there was more constructive legislation placed upon the statutes of Indi-
ana than during any other term of any legislature ever assembled. It was all good Democratic leg-
islation, the result of the best thought and combined efforts of the Marshall and Ralston adminis-

Mr. Cook became the candidate of his party for secretary of state and was elected to the term
beginning in 1914. Following his retirement from this office he returned to the management of
Cook's Educational Agency in Indianapolis.


Since his great-grandfather journeyed from Guilford county, North Carolina, the family of Wal-
ter Douglas Cook has been numbered among the representative citizens of Wayne county.

Mr. Cook was born on a farm in this county on the 28th day of October, 1885. Here he attended
the schools of his district, graduating from the high school. Later he graduated from the Univer-
sity of Valparaiso with the degree of B. S., and continued his work with a three-year course at the
State Normal School of Terre Haute. Special work was also taken at Earlham College, and he en-
tered the educational field well equipped for the work. For twenty-eight years, in Indiana, Michigan
and Wisconsin, he taught in the public schools, but in 1911 became a traveling salesman.

In 1898 he was elected representative for Wayne county to the legislature, polling the largest
vote ever given this official in the county.

Mrs. Cook, to whom he was married October 28, 1885, was formerly Miss Cora Lycan; and as
the presiding genius of their home she has drawn about them a wide circle of friends.


Has served as county trea.surer of Hancock county, coming to the position well
equipped for the administration of its affairs, and conversant with municipal mat-
ters and their requirements.

Mr. Allen F. Cooper is a native of this state, born in Hancock county on the 10th
day of November, 1862. He attended the public schools of Greenfield, and has since
remained in the home of his childhood. In the year 1893 he was united in marriage to
Miss Anna Conn, and she has been his faithful helpmate through the years that have

In 1899 he was elected a member of the city council, serving in this capacity for
two years, assuming the duties of the position with the beginning of the following
year. In 1912 he was elected county treasurer, his term of office to extend for two years, begir
with 1918. He was re-elected in 1914, thus serving four years in this capacity.

During his long residence in Greenfield, he has won a large circle of friends, and his devoti
the duties entrusted to him is a matter of note in the community.


Walter G. Cory was born in Marion county, Indiana, July 23, 1874. He attended the public
schools and was employed as a messenger boy in Indianapolis. In this capacity he had the honer of
carrying to Hon. Benjamin Harrison the notice of his nomination to the presidency of the United
States in 1888. Later Mr. Cory found employment in a grocery, but at the age of twenty-four
years located upon a farm in Jefferson township, Boone county. Here he was married to Miss
Eva Hill, also a resident of Boone county, and here their permanent home was established. The
grandfather of Mr. Cory was the first judge in the old court house; his father was in the mail
service under President Cleveland; and he himself was a member of the county board of tax re-
view, appointed by Judge Parr. He is now a member of the orders of F. and A. M. an

Online LibraryJohn B. StollHistory of the Indiana democracy, 1816-1916 → online text (page 134 of 168)