2d session United States. 61st Congress.

Martin N. Johnson (late a senator from North Dakota) Memorial addresses (Volume 2) online

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61st Congress)
2d Session I


I Document

I No. 657

Martin N. Johnson

(Late a Senator from North Dakota)


Sixty-first Congress
Second Session

April 2, 1910

April 24, 1910

Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing


CCT 13 1910
19. ttf &



Proceedings in the Senate 5

Address of Mr. Purcell, of North Dakota 9

Address of Mr. Carter, of Montana 14

Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota 16

Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 21

Address of Mr. McCumber, of North Dakota 27

Proceedings in the House 34

Address of Mr. Hanna, of North Dakota 37

Address of Mr. Martin, of South Dakota 45

Address of Mr. Sulzer, of New York 48

Address of Mr. Ellis, of Oregon

Address of Mr. Calderhead, of Kansas 56

Address of Mr. Steenerson, of Minnesota 59

Address of Mr. Gronna, of North Dakota ''4


Death of Hon. Martin N. Johnson


Monday, December 6, igog.
The Chaplain, Rev. Ulysses G. B. Pierce, D. D., offered the
following prayer:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast given us grace
at this time with one accord to make our common supplication
unto Thee, we thank Thee for Thy providence which thus
brings together from the North and the South and from the
East and the West Thy servants to accomplish Thy purposes.

We remember with tender and reverent heart him whom
Thou hast called from our midst to Thy higher service, and
humbly yield ourselves to the mystery of Thy holy will, which
can do us no harm.

As thus we commit ourselves to the new task, we pray, our
Father, that we may evermore be guided bv Thy spirit, and
that we may be upheld by the right hand of Thy power, thai
Thy kingdom may come and that Thy holy will may be done
by us, now and forever more. Amen.

Mr. McCuMBER. Mr. President, it is my sorrowful duty to
announce to the Senate the death of Senator JOHNSON, of North


6 Proi i i dings in the Si note

Dakota, who died in the city of Fargo on the 21st day of Octo
ber of this year.

At scum- future date convenienl to the Senate I shall ask
thai an hour be set aside- that proper tribute may be paid to
his memory.

Mr. President, 1 ask thai the resolutions which I scud to tin
desk may be adopted.

The Vice-President. The Secretary will read the resolu-
tions submitted by the Senator from North Dakota

The resolutions (S. Res. 82) were read and unanimously
ed to, as follows:

, the Senate has heard with profound sorrow <>f the death
ol the I!"" Martin Nelson Johnson, late a Senator from the St; t< I
North Dakota

K, wived, That the Secretary communicate a copy of these resolutions
ti> the House of Representatives.

Mr. McCumber. Mr. President, as a further tribute of respect
to the memorj of Senator Johnson, I move that the Senate
do now adjourn.

The motion was unanimousl) agreed to; and (at 12 o'clock
and 12 minutes p. m 1 the Sena iurned until to-morrow,

Tuesday, December 7, 1909, al 12 o'clock meridian.

Tuesday, March 7, iqio.
Mr. Mc< 1 11 1 Mr. President at this time I wish to ask
unanimous consent that Saturday, the 2d day of April next,
immediatelj after the conclusion of the morning business, ma\
be set aside in cider that thi may pay just tribute to the

memory of Hon. Martin N. Johnson, late Senator from the
State of North Dakota.

The Vice-President. Is there objection to the request of
the Senator from North Dakota? The Chair hears none, and
that order is made.

Proceedings in the Senate 7

Saturday, April 2, iqio.
The Chaplain, Rev. Ulysses G. B. Pierce, D. D., offered the
following prayer:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast loved us with
an everlasting love and hast called us to this day of tender and
reverent memory; hear us, we pray Thee, as we lift to Thee our
prayer of grateful adoration.

We remember before Thee Thy servants who have labored by
our side, and who, having borne the burden and the heat of the
day, have now gone to their reward. We thank Thee, our
Father, for these, who were leaders of the people, bv their coun-
sels and by their wisdom meet to be rulers. Though their
bodies are buried in peace, yet shall not their names be for-
gotten. We rejoice that the memorial of virtue is immortal;
seeing that when it is present men take example of it, and when
it is gone they earnestly desire it. With their strength we are
strong, and their faithfulness makes us faithful. Unite us,
we pray Thee, with the faithful and true, there and here, and
join our hearts with theirs in one fellowship of the Spirit, one
beauty of holiness, and one repose on Thee. Amen.

Mr. McCumbER. Mr. President, I offer the resolutions I send
to the desk and ask for their adoption.

The Vice-President. The resolutions will be read by the

The resolutions (S. Res. 206) were read as follows:

Resolved, That the Semite has heard with profound sorrow of the death
of the Hon. Martin N. Johnson, late a Senator from the State of North

A', wived, That as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased
Senator, the business of tin- Senate lie now suspended to enable his as-
sociates to pay proper tribute to his high character aiu\ distinguished
public services.

8 Proceedings in tht St naU

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a copy "f these resolutions
to the H i Representatives and transmit a copy there-, .f to the family
of tlit deceased Senator.

The Vice President. The question is cm agreeing to the

The resolutions wefe unanimously agreed to.

Address of Mr. Purcell, of North Dakota


Address of Mr. Purcell, of North Dakota

Mr. President: On March i last the Senate, by unanimous
consent, set apart to-day to pay its final tribute of respect to
one of its members, Hon. Martin Nelson Johnson, United
States Senator from North Dakota, who died October 21,
1909, at Fargo, N. Dak.

My appearance here as a Senator from North Dakota is
due primarily to the death of Senator Johnson, with whom
I had a personal acquaintance extending over a period of
more than twenty years.

Therefore, in accordance with a time-honored custom of
this body and at the request of the family, it becomes my
duty to speak briefly in commemoration of his life and

Martin Nelson Johnson was born March 3, 1850, in
Racine County, Wis., and during that same year his parents
moved to the State of Iowa. He was graduated from the
Iowa State University in 1873, and subsequently taught for
two vears in the California Military Academy, at Oakland, Cal.

He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1876,
having been elected a member of the Iowa legislature from
Winneshiek County during the previous year.

He was made presidential elector for the State of Iowa in
1876, and helped to elect President Hayes He was elected
a state senator in 1877, but in 1882 removed to the Territory
of Dakota, where he located in Nelson County and took up
a homestead under the land laws of the United States, adjoin-

io Memorial Addresses: Martin N. Johnson

ing what is now the town of Petersburg. He served inur
■ • trs as district attorney of Nelson County, Dak. T., from
and in June, [889, was elected a member of the consti
tutional convention of the State of North Dakota.

In this body he took a very prominent part in framing
the constitution of the new State. Ik- was chairman of the
committee on corporations other than municipal, which, next
to the judiciary committee, was the most important com
mittee of all. and he served on several other committees.

In 1SS0 he was defeated for United States Senator, but the
following year was elected a Member of tin- House of Repre-
sentatives, serving as a Member in the Fifty-second, Fifty-third,
Fifty-fourth, and Fifty-fifth Congresses, during the last two
of which he was a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

In [898 he voluntarily retired from the House of Repre-
sentatives to become a candidate for United States Senator, hut
igain defeated in the legislature. For the next eighl years
In took no part in politics, giving his time to farming and
the -rain trade and living on the homestead which he entered
in 1S82.

A primary-election law having been passed in North Dakota
in 1907, In again became a candidate for the United £
Senate. In the firsl of the two primar) elections luld thai \ear
he was one of two who received the largesl numbei of \"ics.
and at the second primary received the highest number, thereby
becoming the candidate of the Republican party for United
Senatoi On January jo. 1909, he was elected by the
itun of North Dakota for a term of six years, receiving
every Republican vote in both houses

itoi JOHNSON was married on Jime id. 1879, to Miss Stella
White, who survives him. Foui children were born to them

girls and oik bo\ all of whom ate now married, with the
exception of one daughter.

Address of Mr. Purcell, of North Dakota n

I became acquainted with the deceased on July 4, 1889, at
Bismarck, Dak. T., where the members elected to the consti-
tutional convention met to organize and frame a constitution
for the new State of North Dakota. In that convention I
served with Senator JOHNSON on the committee on corporations
other than municipal, and we became very well acquainted.
We often differed on political matters, but I can truthfully say
that during our long acquaintance we cherished for each other
the highest personal regard.

About the middle of October last, in apparent good health, he
submitted to an operation on his nose for the purpose of remov-
ing a minor difficulty. Neither he nor any member of his
family knew that he was afflicted with any serious disease.
There was nothing in his appearance, bearing, or manner to
indicate that he was in other than the best of health. After
the operation that insidious malady, Blight's disease, showed
itself in an acute form, and further showed that it had for some
time been doing its deadly work. All that human power could
do to ward off the fatal end was done, but without avail, and
on October 21, 1909, about 7 o'clock in the evening, he passed
to his reward.

Martin N. Johnson was a descendant of Scandinavian
parentage, that race which to-day predominates in the States of
Minnesota and North Dakota, and which has settled in large
numbers in other Northwestern States. Sir, to that race,
together w r ith the sturdy German and the ever-plodding Bohe-
mian, is due much of the credit for the wonderful development
of the resources of the Northwestern States. These people,
together with energetic young Americans, were the pioneers
in this section, and by their labor, industry, and thrift have
converted a region, a large part of which was at one time styled
the Great American Desert, into one of tlu- garden spots of our

12 Memorial Addresses: MartinN. Johnson

In this development the deceased was always a prominent
factor. He possessed a passionate fondness for farm life, was
a practical agriculturist, and yet at the same time kept up the
practice of liis chosen profession. lie was a thorough student,
and his well-trained mind enabled him to grasp quickly and
clearly elucidate the underlying principles of any subject to
which he gave his attention. To his acquaintances he was uni-
formly affable and courteous. So tender of heart was he that
in injure i he feelings of anyone gave him the greatest pain.
He was so solicitous of the welfare of others that he often
deprived himself of necessarj conveniences.

As a public speaker In- was the possessor of a style of delivery
and expression which was both clear and convincing. His
judgment was sound, and lie was able to view a situation with a
breadth of vision that is given to but few.

lie loved his country with genuine patriotism, served it unsel-
fishly, was ever attentive to his duties, and no one was ever more
considerate of the wishes and well-being of his constituents.
He met every duty fearlesslj and ever followed where conscience
led. It was because of these noble traits that he was so implic-
itly trusted and so highly esteemed and honored by his constit-
uents, lb loved l he common people, and his outstretched hand
was extended to the laborer in overalls as graciouls) as it was to
the capitalist in broadcloth, lie was a constant and devoted
member of the Methodist Church, and was entirel) devoid of
hypocrisv and cant. He led an ideal Chirstiau life, rever-
< ncing always the things that are pure ami noble and good; ever
mplary in habits, conduct, and deportment. He has left to
the grief-stricken wife and bereaved children a heritage better
than wealth and to the world a splendid example of a life well
lived. He was a kind and loving husband and father, ever
mind ml of the happiness of his loving wife and children. Their
comforl was his lust and last thought.

Address of Mr. Purcell, of North Dakota 13

As I stood with many hundreds of others beside his open
grave in the little cemetery near the farm whereon he had
spent the last twenty-seven years of an eventful life and saw
the sorrowful faces and tear-bedimmed eyes of his many friends,
I thought, as many others have thought on similar occasions,
that "surely this man has not lived in vain." His life was
beautiful in its simplicity; his faith in the mercy of Almighty
God sublime.

14 Memorial Addresses: Martin X. Johnson

Address of Mr. Carter, of Montana

Mr. President: Hon Martin N. Johnson, late a Senatoi
from the State of North Dakota, told the story of his life in
simple and unaffected style in the Congressional Directory. He
was born in Wisconsin in 1850, graduated from the Iowa State
University in 1873, taught school for a time in California,
studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1876, served one
term in each branch of the Iowa legislature, was a presidential
rhetor in 1876, and from his settlement in North Dakota, in
[882, until the time of his death was engaged in farming opera-
tions. His services as a member of the constitutional conven-
tion of his adopted State and in the National House of Repre-
sentatives, and even his period of service in tin- Senate, were
events which merely kept him apart for a time from his chosen
occupation. He was a farmer of superior intelligence; and
while he was known to be a lawyer of ability and a skillful leg-
islator, he always regarded the farm as his home and farming
as his litVs work. Digressions into polities and the holding of
public office he did not permit to absorb nor to deflect his life.

As a good citizen, deeply impressed with the obligations of
citizenship, he attended public meetings, conventions, and gath-
erings of all sorts having to do with the betterment of the soda!
and political life of which he was a part. Like most of the
members of the sturdy race from which be sprung, our lamented
colleague was of .1 conservative disposition. He was little af-
fected by temporary excitement or the passions of the passing
houi : he directed the forces of his keen, calculating mind to the
studv of every question, so thai when he reached a conclusion
it was safe to assume that his position was based upon what he
deemed correct fundamental principles

Address of Mr. Carter, of Montana 15

The political career of our deceased colleague furnishes a
strong additional illustration of the unlimited possibilities open
to every worthy young man in this free country of ours. With-
out influential connections, Martin N. Johnson forged his way
from obscurity to prominence and from poverty to affluence
by employing only such means as are at the disposal of every
voung man possessed of good health, fair intelligence, and solid
integritv. The lesson will be of but little avail to those who
pretend to believe that there is a royal road to eminence. That
dream must always lead to an awakening in the midst of failure
and disappointment. Johnson was, to begin with, an honest,
square man; he was of the dependable sort. To use a phrase
coined by one of his neighbors, " He would stand out in a storm
without hitching." He was reliable because he was a man of
conviction, and not given to taking positions in a frivolous way,
but only as the result of sober thought.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee of the House
of Representatives he ranked high as a student of economic
questions and a fearless advocate of any cause he thought
proper to espouse. Some ten years later he appeared in the
Senate, and in this forum very soon became known as a staunch,
reliable, clear-headed man, possessed of deep and abiding con-
victions. In all relations he met life's duties and difficulties
fearlessly, and bequeathed to his family and his friends the
imperishable heritage of an untarnished name. The perpetuitv
of our institutions and the well-being of our great eountrv will
always be assured as long as avenues to the highest positions
in the councils of state are open to men of the sterling charac-
ter of him whose death we note in sorrow to-day.

16 Memorial Ac Martin X. Johnson

Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota

Mi President: Ii is not so much because 1 was an ;i«>-
ciate as a Senator in this body that 1 feel impelled ii> paj a
brief tribute to his memorj as because of the fact that in a
certain sense and to a large extent Senator Johnson and my-
self have been associated as pioneers in the work of building
up and developing the great Northwest. I recall the fact that
when I was a schoolboj years ago in Wisconsin what now
constitutes the great St a lis of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota,
and North Dakota was marked on the map as "the Great
American Desert." That country is no longei a desert; it has
been settled and is occupied by a class of energetic, industrious,
and progressive pioneers, who have carved and created in that
reat States of the Union. Senator Johnson was
born in Wisconsin in 1850. the same year I came to the State
from Illinois. Shortly after his birth he moved with his l'.mhh
i.. northeastern Iowa.

My first recollection of Senator Johnson was in the middle
fifties -1 think in [856 01 [857. His father was 1 Methodist
minister, and for one or two \ears two years, I think

ned as ;i minister in charge of a congregation in the little
village near where I lived. Senator JOHNSON was then a <> 01
7 year old boy, and 1 about seven years his senior. 1 saw him
several times with his parents at church, and recall him as a

ill, and sedate lad. who seemed even then to take a

serious view of life, lie Kit Wisconsin with his fathei in 1-
and went back to Iowa, then former home, and I did not meet
him again until I met him in North Dakota in the earl) eighties,
when he had become one of the pioneers of that Mate

Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota 17.

I came into the northern middle part of Minnesota in 1871,
when it was a sparsely settled and frontier country. Senator
Johnson came into North Dakota somewhere about 1S81 or
1882. North Dakota was then a virgin prairie, with but f ew
settlers. He was one of the leading pioneers of that State, one
of the men who helped to build it up and make it one of the
great Commonwealths in the Mississippi Valley. I met him
occasionally in those early years. As pioneers of adjoining
States, there was a bond of sympathy and fellow-feeling be-
tween us. In Iowa, before coming to North Dakota, Senator
Johnson had secured a collegiate education, been admitted
to the bar, been active in politics, and had served one or two
terms in the state senate and had held other positions of trust.
All this I knew of him, but it was as a pioneer of North Da-
kota I first got really acquainted with him and first really
learned to know him and became acquainted with his noble
character and true worth. As I came to know him more inti-
mately, I found how just, how conscientious, and how candid
he was on all occasions and under all circumstances, and these
traits did not at all times make him popular with a certain
class of politicians.

There was one trait in Senator Johnson's character that
endeared him to the people of North Dakota and the North-
west, and that was, Mr. President, that the people believed,
and justly so, thai he was honest, and always trustworthy and
reliable; and while some criticised him and said that he was
possessed of a little undue vanity and all that, yef everybody,
even his political enemies and those who were opposed to him,
always conceded that In- was n conscientious and honest man.
Mr. President, he was not only conscientious ami honest, but
lie was progressive and possessed of the true spirit of reform.
While not an extreme radical, he, nevertheless, belonged to

50560 — S. 1 >'" 657, " i - -' 2

Mt menial Martin N. Johnson

that nobli the world owes so much —

who believe that then much to cure, much to mend,

and much struct in the social fabric. When a wn

men always seek to find a remedy.
Whi •■ Johnson had the confidence and good will of

the masses of the | i State, he was not always in .

with the active and controlling politicians. By
he was regarded as rather untractable and as a little too inde-
pendent .

His political career in the State illu his. Twi

is finally elected Senator he came near I The

line, in a caucus ived a

total 'id. although his party had

a large maioritv in t! ture, yet he failed of election.

The next time a fair majority of the legislature
under tin > or implied promi .port him foi

he and his f H- and yet this time,

he failed of election. It was not till North Dakota had
adopted a primary law thai \' finally came to

his own. for then tin te rather than the

politicians liar portunity to express their opinion in his

behalf I the peculiar primary law prevailing in that

State he twice ran the gantlet of the primary and was indorsed
and finally elected, and came to this ; ;" its men

His career in ti. brief and limited, but in the

where he served for a numb
rominent place and served on the Com
s when the Dingley law v.

- can hope to make
in th( when tl high.

ker, and tudenl

of public affail ; i with the ebb and How of the

• much to court •

Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota 19

larity as to gauge the conscience of the public. He aimed to
faithfully represent rather than control the apirations and hopes
of the people, and he was thoroughly conversant with their
wants and needs.

I can not recall any public man in that State who was more
in touch with the rank and file of the people during his life-
time than was he. North Dakota has had a great many able
and progressive men, but he was in the front rank of those men.
In the course of the development and upbuilding of our newer
and younger States the flower of the youth of our older States
have borne an active and leading part. We of the Northwest
owe much to these men. In the State that I have the honor in
part to represent we have had much help from this class of
men. They were among our pioneers and state builders, great
nun who have built up our State and made it what it is to-dav.
The flower of the youth of New Kngland and of the Middle
States have come out to our great western country, and they
have not only aided us in the settlement and development of
our country but in Americanizing our large foreign-born popu-
lation and infusing into them American energy and enterprise
and the spirit of loyalty to the institutions of this country.
Thus in the great State of North Dakota, while their immigra-
tion has been extensive, especially from the countries of north-
ern Europe, they have also had among their immigrants the
flower of the people of the older States, who came there and
helped to make it the mighty Commonwealth which it is to-day.

I think it can be truly said of the people who have settled
there, whether they are native or foreign born, that they arc-
all infused with a spirit of devoted loyalty to and profound
faith in the institutions of this country.

Mr. President, Senator Johnson, if liis life had been spared.
would not have figured as a great orator in this body, but he
would haye proved himself a good debater and a mosl thorough,

20 Memorial Addn m< ?: Martin N, Johnson

faithful, and energetic worker in committees, in formulating
and preparing legislation. In short, he would have proved
himself one of those faithful nun who perform the drudgery

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Online Library2d session United States. 61st CongressMartin N. Johnson (late a senator from North Dakota) Memorial addresses (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 5)