Saturday, October 29, 2016

Politics, Elijah and Nathan Kendall style

I mentioned Elijah Kendall in passing the other day, noting in a post entitled "George Fancher & Miss Daisy Dukes" the 1888 uproar that resulted when the "aged" (he was 50 at the time) Civil War veteran (Kendall) was defeated in an election for justice of the peace by a young whippersnapper (Fancher).

What I didn't say was this --- that the people of Chariton realized the error of their ways next time around, re-elected Elijah and kept re-electing him JP until his hearing got so bad that he no longer could do the job.

He died in Chariton on May 5, 1900, aged 72, and was buried beside his wife, Lucinda (May 10, 1828-May 9, 1894), here in the northwest part of the Chariton Cemetery upon the instructions of their only surviving son, Nathan E. Kendall. That's Lucinda and Elijah at left.

Elijah and Lucinda, worthy Washington Township pioneers before moving to Chariton during 1883, have the distinction of being the parents of the only Iowa governor born in Lucas County, the aforementioned Nathan E. (Leo Hoegh was the only Iowa governor who was a resident of Lucas County when elected.) 

I'll probably have more to say about Elijah, Lucinda and their more famous son at other times, but  wanted to note the senior Kendalls' presence this morning, in part because of the following lines from his obituary, published in both The Chariton Herald and The Chariton Leader at the time of his 1900 passing:

"The deceased was a man of strong personal convictions, yet charitably tolerant of the opinions of others. He never professed any form of religion, but was quick to recognize the great good that religious organizations are accomplishing.

"In politics he was an intense Republican, but never dogmatic, often supporting men of opposite faith in local and municipal elections. He despised corruption in every form, and he would not support a candidate known to be unclean or unscrupulous, even if that candidate's name appeared on his party ticket. He always stood for the just and upright administration of public affairs."

We could all learn from Elijah's example during the current somewhat contentious campaign.

Nathan E. Kendall, also a Republican, went on to become one of Iowa's great progressive governors, serving two consecutive terms, from 1921 until 1925.

There may be a lesson in Nathan's passing, too --- on Nov. 4, 1936, at the age of 68. He died of a heart attack while listening to election results on the radio that morning at his home in Des Moines.

You might remember that while awaiting the outcome of the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

Sadly, from a Lucas County perspective, our neighbor to the east --- Monroe --- gets to claim most of reflected Nathan E. Kendall glory. After growing up in Washington Township here, he went to Albia during the 1880s to study law and was admitted to the bar there during May of 1889.

He remained an Albia resident while building his career as a lawyer and pursuing a career in politics --- serving in the Iowa House from 1899-1909; as U.S. representative from 1909-1913 when he was sideswiped by a heart attack; and then as governor from 1921-25.

After his death, his ashes were taken to Albia for burial on the lawn of Kendall Place, the big house just east of the square that had been given by Nathan and his first wife, Belle, to the Albia Woman's Club, now owned by the Monroe County Historical Society. You'll find him there, under a memorial bench in the front yard.

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