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of the State. Special attention given to divorce
cases and all other cases in which innocent per-
sons are charged with crime."

George W. Cooper was elected to Congress in
1888 and served three terms. He introduced in
the House the bill which, when it became a law,
provided a tax on all greenbacks. While in Con-
gress Mr. Cooper brought about an investigation


of the pension department by which much good
was accomplished not alone for the department,
but for the nation as well. When the govern-
ment decided to establish free rural mail deliv-
ery Mr. Cooper succeeded in fretting Bartholomew
county chosen as one of three experimental sta-
tions in which to try out the new system. It was
while Mr. Cooper was a member of Congress that
he chanced to save a rustic of his county from
being illegally sent to a penitentiary. He was
at the depot awaiting a train for Washington
whep a constable from an out township arrived
with a prisoner. The congressman engaged the
constable in conversation and learned that the
prisoner had been convicted before a justice of
the peace of the theft of a hog and had been
sentenced to State prison. Mr. Cooper volun-
tarily took the case up for the prisoner and pre-
vented his commitment to the State prison.

Francis T. Hord was elected Attorney-General
of Indiana in 1882 and served two years. While
in office Attorney-General Hord won the case of
the State of Indiana vs. the Portsmouth Bank,
brought to recover Beaver Lake to the State, and
by this action the right of the State to the lake
beds of Indiana was settled for all time.

In 1894 W. C. Duncan was appointed to the
position of State Statistician of Indiana, a posi-
tion which he held for twenty years, and in 1914
Charles S. Talkington was appointed to the posi-
tion of Superintendent of the Indiana State penal
farm, which was established the previous year.

The first Democratic newspaper of consequence
published in Bartholomew county was founded in
1848 by .John R. Tinkle, who published it until
18.50, when he sold it to Aquilla Jones and W. F.
Pidgeon. In 18.52 W. C. Stateler became pro-
prietor of the paper and changed its name to the
Indiana Democrat. In 1861 the paper was
bought by Rev. William Howe, who sold it in
1888 to Judge Nathan T. Carr, who changed the
name to the Columbus Bulletin. In 1872 Carr sold
the paper to John D. Lyle, who changed the name
to the Bartholomew County Democrat. George E.
Finney was employed as editor and later obtained
an interest, when the name of the paper was
changed to the Columbus Democrat. In 1878 the
pape)- was bought by J. N. Jlarsh, who continued
its publication until 1880, when he sold it to J. A.
Arnold and under whose ownership publication
was suspended in 1885. In 1881 the Columbus
Herald, which is still in existence, and which is
now the only Democratic newspaper in Bartholo-
mew county, was founded by George E. Finney
and Charles H. Lacy. Within a year after the
paper was founded the publication of a daily edi-
tion, the Columbus Evening Herald, was begun.
In 1892 the paper was bought by A. J. Dipboye

and M. A. Locke, but a few years later Locke
bought Dipboye's interest and still retains the
sole ownership of the paper, together with three
other papers which he has bought and merged
with the Herald. These three papers were the
Times, started in the early 90's and owned by J.
N. Marsh; the Driftwood Democrat, started by
Dr. E. K. Hawley and Samuel Denison and later
as the Democrat, bought by Walter C. Galbraith;
the Star, started by E. H. Kinney and published
foi- a time as a Republican paper, but later
changed by him to a Democratic paper.

.•\mong the leading Democratic workers of the
couniy in the early days, men who ever stood by
their guns, men who helped to hold their party
to the fore and roll up majorities ranging from
800 to 1,000, but who have gone to their spiritual
reward, might be mentioned : Thomas Essex,
Minas Lowe, William R. Spurgeon, James W.
Wells, David Stobo, John Stobo, Thomas May,
Miles Thompson, Joseph Andrews, Jabel Smith,
John D. Lyle, Dr. J. W. Allen, Jesse Walker, Eli
Marqueth, Louis Donhost, Christopher Martin,
Adam Fishel, Solomon Lambert, Isaac Lucas,
Samuel Stuckey, Allen Hull, Webber Smith, Nel-
son Keyes, W. W. Mooney. Patrick Sweeney,
Frank Everroad, Frank Whittington, Peter
Holtz, Archie Thompson, Thomas Kennedy,
Archie McEwen and Peter Johnson.

James W. Wells, a former Auditor of the coun-
ty, but long since dead, and W. C. Smith were
longer in the court house in official positions than
any other Democrats in the county. Wells was
Auditor or Deputy Auditor of the county for
twenty-five years, and Smith, who is the present
County Assessor, took an old violin forty-five
.\ears ago and with it "fiddled" himself into the
court house as Sheriff^, whei-e he has since re-
mained almost continuously in one official posi-
tion or another.

In the earlv history of the county the game of
politics was evidently played along pretty much
the same lines as at present, for in the early for-
ties a legislator from Bartholomew county who
was in the Legislature when the internal improve-
ment bill, which eventually cost the State four-
teen million dollars, is quoted as reporting to his
constituency that "There are so many of them
lobsters in the Legislature working for the in-
fernal improvement bill that there is no room
for the members."

Among the chairmen of the Democratic County
Central Committees of Bartholomew county who
have made good records for themselves and for
their party are: Irvin A. Cox, W. W. Adams,
Charles H. Wagner, James F. Cox, Z. H. Hau.ser,
David Emig, W. C. Duncan, Joseph Ghent and
David Stobo.


By Elmore Barce

BENTON COUNTY is one of the new coun-
ties of the State, the first court house at
Oxford being built about the year 1852. At
that time practically the only settlements in the
county were in the small groves in and about
Oxford and along Pine creek. The early settlers
had built cabins in these groves and cleared away
part of the wilderness and were tillers of the soil.

A great many of the first inhabitants were of
the old Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock and most-
ly of the Jacksonian type of Democracy. Prior
to the Civil War. the county being poor, the offices
were not lucrative and there were few applicants
for public position.

There is no record or tradition of any certain
leaders of the Democratic ranks in those days.
Among the first settlers were the McConnell's,
whose descendants are still residents of the coun-
ty, Ralph W. McCcnnell being the present post-
master at Oxford. The Wattles family were all
stanch Democrats, as was the family of Dr. Stem-
bel. Later came the Perigos, the Emersons, the
Menefees, the Griffins and the large Smith fam-
ily, who resided in the vicinity of Mud Pine.

At the breaking out of the Civil War many of
the so-called Douglas Democrats joined the Re-
publican ranks and for many years after that
struggle the Republican party was in the
ascendency, and has always had a majority rang-
ing from 350 to 500 votes.

"The first political speech in Benton county was
delivered during the William Henry Harrison
campaign of 1840 at the house of Hugh and Sam-
uel McConnell, '.n McConnell's Grove, five miles
southwest of Oxford. Here several of the settlers
had gathered at a wool picking and while the
women worked with the wool a Democratic orator
made a strong speech on the lee side of the barn.
The campaign of 1844 was a stirring one, but it
had little effect upon Benton county politics, as
the few voteis were mostly Democrats and no
demonstrations were necessary to hold them to
their party faith.

One of the interesting stories relating to the
early political history of the county is an account
of a joint debate in 1852 between Joseph A.
Wright, then Governor, and Nicholas McCarty,
Whig candidate for Governor, in which a joint
debate was held in true western style in what is
known as White Oak Grove, west of the town of
Oxford. The following interesting account of

that occurrence is thus related by an old settler
of that day:

"Ample provision was made for the convenience
of these dignit.-.ries. An old rattle-bang of a
wagon had been run in the shade of the bushes
to keep it from falling down. This was pulled
out to give a more conspicuous position, for both
spoke from this improvised rostrum, Wright
making the opening speech portraying the blessed
usufruct of the never-dying Democracy, while
McCarty spoke in defense of the Whig party. The
audience was small. There was not to exceed
sixty persons present, and those were mostly
Democrats. I remember distinctly the appear-
ance and manner of these distinguished gentle-
men. Mr. Wright was tall, bony, long-armed,
long-fingered, straight black hair, complexion
slightly swarthy and clerical attire; forceful in
speech and one calculated to tickle the pride of
the old moss-back. Mr. McCarthy was the re-
verse of Wright; he was pudgy, rotund, inclined
to corpulency and pot-gutted, his clothes fitting
tightly, wore a gray suit, slightly bald, face in-
dicating that he loved a good dinner, but his
speech — oh, my ! it was superlatively bad. His
defense of the Whig party, as I remember it, was
that it favored public improvements."

After the formation of the present townships
the following constituted the stronghold of Dem-
ocracy: York, Richmond, Parish Grove, with
Pine township always close and Hickory Grove
inclined to go into the Democratic camp. Center,
Grant and Union townships have always been
strongly Republican and Oak Grove township has
been inclined to follow the Republican lead.

In the last few years, however, the Democrats
of Benton county have made a very creditable
showing. The old Republican regime had worn
threadbare and some of the generals in the Re-
publican party had been guilty of the practice of
nepotism to a considerable extent, and there was
even some talk of others being rather liberal with
the public funds. About this time George L.
Robey, a brother of Judge Robey of the Appel-
late Court, became editor of the Benton Review,
which has always been the leading Democratic
newspaper of Benton county. His forceful pre-
sentation of existing conditions satisfied the
voters that some change would have to be made
in political affairs. The voters placed Lemuel
Shipman, at present president of the First Na-
tional Rank at Fowler, in the Auditor's office,


which position he held for eisfht years. His ad-
ministration of that office was honest, impartial
and thoroughly efficient.

At the same time Ray Gillespie became Re-
corder of the county, Henry Norloh, Sheriff, and
Thomas F'tzgerald. Commissioner, and later
Frank Shackleton and Robert Hamilton succeeded
each other in the Sheriff's office.

Beine in the minority, the Democrats were care-
ful to select thoroughly competent men and their
administration of the affairs of the county was
such that the old-time Republican custom of vot-
ing a "straight ticket" became a thing of the

The first judicial officer that the Democrats
ever elected in Benton county was the Hon. James
T. Saunderson, who became Judge of the Twenty-
first Judicial Circuit of the State of Indiana, com-
prising the counties of Warren and Benton.
Judge Saunderson was a veteran of the Civil
War, having fought in the Union cavalry, and
was a man of the utmost integrity and his candi-
dacy was very popular with the voters. He held
the office of Judge of the Circuit Court for one
term of six years.

The latter-day chairmen of the Democratic
party in Benton county have adopted the plan of
appealing to the voters on the strength of the
ticket presented to the people. Aggressive tac-
tics and the old idea of a red-fire campaign have

been abandoned. Among others who have been
chairman of the county are George L. Robey,
Theodore Hoss, the present postmaster of Fow-
ler; Charles Lawson, a large farmer and stock
raiser near Chase; Mead S. Hayes, lawyer, now
practicing at Marion, Ind., and Elmore Barce, an
attorney at Fowler. The last chairman, Patrick
J. Kennedy, is a stock raiser and farmer near
Templeton, Ind.

The present Democratic postmasters in Benton
county are Ralph W. McConrell at Oxford, Theo-
dore Hoss at Fowler, Edward Mclntyre at Ambia.
Emmett Scanlon at Boswell, Thomas Grogan at
Freeland Park. Charles Leisure at Earl Park and-
J. W. Carroll at Otlerbein.

At the last general election the Democrats
again succeeded in filling the Auditor's and Sher-
iff's offices, Wan en Mankey being elected to suc-
ceed himself as Auditor and George Duffy, son
of Michael Duffy, a prominent Benton county
Democrat, being elected to the office of Sheriff.

The present Superintendent of Schools, M. F.
O'Rear, is also a Democrat.

In recent years the fact that Democracy has
been in the ascendency has had an inspiring effect
upon the rank and file of the party, and many
young men have taken hold of the helm. The con-
ventions and caucuses of the party have been at-
tended by increasing numbers of earnest party
workers, who feel at last that they are
into their own.


( 53.3 )


By M. C. Townsend

A LARGE majority of the pioneers of Black-
ford county were Democrats. In local
matters, however, political lines were not
always closely drawn and men were frequently
candidates for office without the formality of a
nomination by a convention. In fact, as a general
rule the Democrats, during the first fifteen or
twenty years of the county's existence, could have
two or three candidates for the same office and be
reasonably sure of the election of one of them.

John J. Cook, a Whig, was elected clerk of the
circuit court on his personal popularity, it is pre-
sumed, and in 1851 Joseph W. Holliday, who was
a Whig and a soldier of the Mexican war, was
elected to the Legislature. In 1852 Josiah Twi-
bell and George S. Howell, both Democrats, were
candidates for representative, and John C. Bald-
win, of Montpelier, ran as a Whig and came out
third in the race. Howell was elected by a very
small plurality. In 1854 Josiah Twibell and
James Rhine, both life-long Democrats up to that
time, were candidates for representative as Anti-
Nebraska, or Anti-Slavery Extension Democrats,
while Joseph P. VanCleve, an old-time Whig, ran
as an independent candidate, ignoring the issues
growing out of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Wil-
liam T. Shull was the regular Democratic candi-
date and was easily elected.

In 1856 partisan lines were closely drawn be-
tween the Democrats and Republicans. For repre-
sentative the Democrats nominated Andrew J.
Neff, and the Republicans nominated James Rhine.
Neff was elected by a good majority. Harrison
township went Republican by eighty majority,
while the other three townships were heavily
Democratic. The Republicans were not entirely
scooped, however, as their candidates, William
H. Campbell for treasurer and Isaac Goodwin for
sheriff, were both elected and were each re-elected
in 1858. Their personal popularity carried them

In 1865 there was an exciting contest for county
auditor. The Democratic candidate was Henry
D. Wirtz. He had been a resident of the county
but a short time; had been a lieutenant in the
rebel army and was captured and paroled, and not
wishing to return to the army he came to Hart-
ford City. The Republicans nominated Ezra M.
Stahl, who had just returned from an honorable
term of service as a soldier in the Eighty-fourth
Indiana regiment. Mr. Stahl received a slender

majority, but his election was contested and was
tried before the board of commissioners, and
then on appeal in the circuit court, and the office
was awarded to Mr. Stahl. Except in this case
the Democrats were uniformly successful in the
contest for county offices in 1860 to 1872. The lat-
ter year was an off-year for the Democrats. The
nomination of Greeley for President was very un-
satisfactory to large numbers of them, and they
manifested their disappointment by sulking in
their tents. Both parties placed county tickets
in nomination. In the spring an election had
been held on the question of aiding by taxation
a proposed railroad through the county east and
west. The proposal to tax had been carried in
Licking township by a small majority, but the
feeling against it in the county outside of Hart-
ford City was very bitter, and it crystallized in
an independent political movement and a county
convention was called and a ticket nominated. The
Republicans, knowing that they had no show of
success, withdrew their ticket and gave their sup-
port generally to the independent ticket, which
became knovirn as the Dolly Varden ticket, and
which was elected with the exception of the can-
didate for clerk.

In 1874 the Independent or Greenback party
was in the field with state, district and local tick-
ets. The Republicans supported the county ticket
of the new party and it was successful.

In 1876 the Republicans and Greenbackers
again fused, but only succeeded in electing the
treasurer. The Democrats now held the ascend-
ency for ten years. After 1878 the Republicans
made steady gains until, in 1886, they elected the
auditor, treasurer and one commissioner.

In 1894 the Republicans had the best of it,
electing the auditor, treasurer, sheriff, surveyor
and two commissioners. In 1896 they elected only
the clerk. In 1898 the Democrats again made a
clean sweep.

In the various political campaigns the people of
this county have been favored with visits from a
number of the ablest orators of the state and na-
tion. On the Democratic side there have been
Governors Wright, Hendricks and Gray and Sen-
ators Voorhees and Turpie, General Manson, W.
D. Bynum, Governor R. B. Hubbard, of Texas;
James R. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, and William J.
Bryan, in October, 1900.

We close this chapter with a list of Blackford
county officials.


19 16

The following have represented the county in
the senate branch of the State legislature: 1839-
41, John Foster; 1841-43, Michael Aker. of Ran-
dolph; 1843-46, I. P. Wood, Randolph; 1846-49,
Dixon Milligan, Jay; 1849-52, Jacob Brugh, Black-
ford; 1852-56, Isaac Vandevanter, Grant; 1856-64,
Walter March, Delaware; 1864-68, William A.
Bonham, Blackford; 1868-70, Robert Huey, Jay;
1870-74, Asbury Steele, Grant; 1874-78, Isaac Un-
derwood, Jay; 1878-82, Thomas S. Briscoe, Demo-
crat, Blackford; 1882-86, John M. Smith, Demo-
crat, Jay; 1886-90, Silas W. Hale. Democrat,
Adams; 1890-94, Henry B. Smith, Democrat,
Blackford; 1894-98, J. J. M. LaFollette, Republi-
can, Jay; 1898, George A. Osborne, Republican,
Grant; 1902, Burtney Schaefer, Democrat, Grant;
1910, B. B. Shiveley, Democrat, Grant; 1914, Elias
Rinear, Democrat, Wells.

The first man who represented Blackford county
in the lower house of representatives was Lewis
W. Purviance, Democrat. He was elected in 1839.
Blackford county has been represented in the low-
er house about three-fourths of the time by Dem-
ocrats. The following have represented Blackford
county: 1878, James T. Arnold, Blackford;
1880, Benjamin F. Cummins, Wells; 1882-84,
Henry B. Smith, Democrat, Blackford; 1886-90,
Elisha Pierce, Democrat, Blackford; 1890, John
Branstetter, Democrat, Jay; 1892, William H.
Harkins, Democrat, Jay; 1894-96, John P. Mc-
Geath, Democrat, Blackford; 1898, John A. Bon-
ham. Republican, Blackford; 1900, J. A. Bonham,
Repul)lican; 1902, Sidney Cantwell, Republican;
1904, Sidney Cantwell, Blackford, Republican, and
speaker session 1905, 1906; 1910 and 1912, Chas.
Carroll, Democrat, Blackford; 1914, John Strange,
Democrat, Grant; 1911, J. M. Bonham, Democrat.

Present (1915) county officials are: Judge, W.
H. Eichhorn, Democrat; L. F. Sprague, Prosecu-
tor, Democrat; Geo. H. Newbauer, Treasurer,
Democrat; Samuel Farrell, clerk. Bull Moose;
John L. McGeath, auditor, Democrat; John Phile-
baum, recorder. Democrat; M. C. Townsend, coun-
ty superintendent of schools. Democrat; Frank P.
Wallace, surveyor, Democrat; Chas. F. Rutledge,
coroner. Democrat; John Gadbury, county road
superintendent. Democrat; John A. Nelson, com-
missioner, Democrat; Riley R. Gadbury, commis-
sioner. Democrat, and Frank JoJnes, commis-
sioner. Democrat; Mason Palmer, assessor, Dem-

1892 TO 1915.

1892 A. M. Waltz. All Democrats elected.

1894 Milton McGeath. All Republicans elected.

1896 A. M. Waltz. Elected all Democrats ex-
cept the clerk.

1898 D. C. Caldwell. Elected all Democrats.

1900 William Harley. Elected all Democrats.

1902 E. E. Cox. Elected mostly Democrats.

1904 John Burns. Elected mostly Democrats.

1906 D. C. Caldwell. Elected mostly Democrats.

1908 E. W. Secrest. Elected all Democrats.

1910 E. W. Secrest. Elected all Democrats.

1912 A. N. Pursley. Elected half of ticket, lost
clerk, sheriff and one commissioner to the Bull

1914 A. N. Pursley. Elected all Democrats ex-
cept sheriff, who lost to the Bull Moose.


The Evening News is the only Democratic news-
paper in Blackford county at this time and is
owned and edited by Mr. Edward E. Cox,
of Hartford City. Mr. Cox bought this
newspaper in 1891. It was then known
as the Telegram. The Telegram was a
weekly paper. It was an eight-column folio
with a patent outside, printed on a Washington
hand press. The other equipment of the paper
was correspondingly crude. It took an entire day
to get out a weekly issue, although the circula-
tion was very small. Mr. Cox was but twenty-two
years of age when he purchased this paper. His
home up to this time had been at Peru, Ind., where
he received his education in the public schools and
by actual work in the newspaper offices of that

In the course of one year after Mr. Cox took
charge of the Telegram he had changed the en-
tire equipment and had put in a cylinder press,
and in three years was printing the paper with a
steam engine and a power press. In 1893 the
Evening News, a daily paper, was established.
It has had such a prosperous growth that it now
goes into the majority of the homes of Hartford
City and Blackford county. So much did the
Evening Neivs encroach on the Telegram that the
latter was abandoned in 1914, the morning rural
edition of the Ncivs going in the homes of farmers
formerly taking the Telegram.

Both the Telegram and the News have always
been consistently Democratic, using their able in-
fluence for the promotion of the cause of the Dem-
ocratic party in county, state and national politics.

The News has grown far ahead of the commu-
nity in which it is printed.. It is issued from its
own building, erected especially for the newspa-
per business, and is filled with the latest equip-
ment, including perfecting presses, color presses,
linotype machines and other up-to-date machinery

( .535 )


1 6

to be found only in the larger cities. The print-
ing in its job department goes all over the United
States and even to Europe, label printing being
a specialty.

Mr. Cox, the founder of the News, has always
taken a great interest in the success of the Demo-
cratic party, both through the columns of his pa-
per and through his ability as an organizer. He

has served as county chairman of Blackford coun-
ty two years and as district chairman of the Elev-
enth congressional district six years. He takes
a great deal of interest in the progress of his
community, especially in promoting the cause of
education. He has served on the school board of
Hartford City for the past six years. He is at
present postmaster of Hartford City.

( 536)


BOONE COUNTY, as an organization, was
brought forth under the banner of De-
mocracy. She was named in honor of that
courageous Kentucky pioneer, Daniel Boone, and
peopled chiefly by miErration from Nicholas coun-
ty, that state. The instruments conveying to her
early settlers the lands within her boundaries
bear the name of Democracy's patron saint,
Andrew Jackson, and she was steadfast in the
support of the principles enunciated by Jefferson
and Jackson until the party went to pieces on the
issues brought forth in the campaigns immedi-
ately preceding the Civil war.

The solidarity of the Democratic party in

Online LibraryJohn B. StollHistory of the Indiana democracy, 1816-1916 → online text (page 75 of 168)