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William A. Calderhead
Image by jajacks62
Company H, 126th Ohio Infantry
Marshall County News, Friday, December 28, 1928, Pg. 1 & 2
WAS A GREAT MAN
LIFE OF HON. W. A. CALDER-
HEAD IS BROUGHT TO
Mrs. S. A. Forter Tells of Life of
Her Brother in Article
The death of Honorable W. A. Calderhead last week marked the loss of one of the greatest men that Marshall county has ever had. Many of his accomplishments as a statesmen and congressman are not generally known, except among the older residents of the state, and in justice to Mr. Calderhead, Mrs. Sam Forter of Marysville and sister of the great man, has written the following article for the News this week.
Mrs. Forter was intimately and closely associated with her brother, being in constant touch with him for 40 years. She has brought to light many things of interest concerning him.
Her article follows:
With the passing of Hon. W. A. Calderhead there faded from the canvas of western events the last of the many men of note in Kansas who had a personal part in the conflict of 1861 to 1865 when this nation decided whether this “government or any government so conceived could long endure.”
That school of patriotism which taught one country, one flag, and equal rights for all, which graduated such men as Grant, Hayes, Harrison, Garfield, and McKinley, who became our chief executives, and which gave Kansas tens of thousands of its graduates, who made it the great soldier state, in the heart of the nation.
These men held first grade certificates of patriotism signed with a pen dipped in the heart blood of Abraham Lincoln.
Calderhead had such a certificate and to him Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was almost Holy Writ.
He knew Lincoln personally. After being transferred from the war front was made an orderly in the war department and in line of duty had frequently to carry papers to the white house office, where Lincoln got to know him.
When Rebel General Early threatened Washington, and all department clerks able to bear arms were rushed to Fort Stevens, Calderhead stood within a few yards of Lincoln when he came out with his staff to make observations, and our own boys drove the President back from the firing line lest he with his massive frame and tall hat would surely get hit.
He was in Washington at the time the President was shot and well remembered the temper of the people after the assassination.
In such surroundings he acquired his unfaltering faith in our government and a desire to devote himself to doing all in his power to promote its stability and the welfare of its citizens.
In 1871, he took a homestead near Newton, Kans., taught school and studied law. He was the first superintendent of the Newton schools. His first wife, Edna’s mother, died there and hers was the second grave made in the cemetery. A pioneer woman of high talent and fine education.
In 1874 he moved to Atchinson, Kans., where he took up the practice of law, and in 1879 he came to Marysville and opened a law office.
He was a member of Lyon Post G. A. R. The certified copy of the charter of the post from the state prepared in long had by Mr. Calderhead and bearing his signature as notary public is in possession of the Department Adjutant J. W. Priddy in the Memorial building in Topeka.
For fifteen consecutive years he delivered the addresses on Decoration Day here in his home town, all teaming with patriotic devotion to the nation he risked his life to save. Very few men in Kansas were as much in demand for public addresses on any subject on short notice or “off hand” as he.
During the troublous political days of 1894 and 1896 when Coins Financial school became the guiding doctrine to thousands and W. J. Bryan was nominated on a platform of free and unlimited coinage of silver 16 to 1, and when every other member of either house of Congress half or wholeheartedly came out for this vagary frightened into silence by this slogan. Calderhead stood up for the gold standard unflinchingly. He was one of the strongest men on the Banking and Currency committee and his bell, to permit national banks in small towns on a capital of ,000, became a law.
For several terms he was at the head of the Invalid Pensions committee on which he worked indefatigably for the old soldiers and their widows and children and thousands obtained pensions by his efforts at a time when pensions were not popular o the other side of the House.
He was one of the strong men on the Ways and Means committee, the committee which framed the great Payne-Aldrich tariff law and prepared the laws which must provide revenue for the maintenance of the government. Here he stood for protection for American labor, agriculture and industries. These fundamental principles he taught and advocated for years. He was above all constantly for the gold standard of value and for a protective tariff. His firm adherence to these principles twicedefeated him at the polls and which no political party in the United States any longer opposes, both policies having proven themselves a necessity for our welfare.
Kansas has a very fine structure in Topeka, the Memorial building, of which John C. Nicholson of Newton for many years fiscal agent for Kansas in New York and Washington, D. C., and who is the real competent and reliable source of information on this and many other subjects has this to say in the Newton, Kansas, Republican, issue of December 21, 1928:
“Under act of congress approved May 9, 1908, the State Agricultural college received 7, 682 acres of land that was granted it under the act of July 2, 1862. Mr. Calderhead introduced the bill and to him and to his high standing in congress the credit is due. The claim had been repeatedly rejected and a bill therefor had been vetoed by President Cleveland.
“It was Mr. Calderhead who introduced in congress the measure under which the sumof 5, 064.43 was paid to the State of Kansas as reimbursement for interest and discount on monies borrowed by the State of Kansas to repel invasions and suppress Indian hostilities growing out of the War of the Rebellion and it was his high standing and influence and ability that mad its passage in the house possible. Mr. Calderhead was most helpful in securing previously the sum of , 466.02 for interest and discounts paid by the State of Kansas to suppress the War of the Rebellion. The state afterwards used this money to build Memorial Hall in Topeka.”
It has always been a matter of deep regret to the many friends of Mr. Calderhead that no mention has ever been made either historically or in the placing of a tablet in the Memorial building of his work in securing the passage of these bills. Is it too late to render honor where honor is due?
Mr. Calderhead was the close personal friend of McKinley, Mark Hanna, Jos. G. Cannon a W. H. Taft. He has fine autographed photographes of these men in his home.
He indicated his wishes in regard to the disposal of his books and in due time this will be done. His city in which so many friends live will not be forgotten.
When the Payne-Aldrich tariff bill was being framed the Democratic members fought valiantly for free trade or tariff for revenue only, as advocated in their political platform There were strong men on that committee—Bourke Cochrane of New York, Champ Clark of Missouri, afterwards speaker of the House, and many others. The bill was reported to the house and would soon be ready for debate.
There were some members from the south serving from districts where there were large growers and importers of tobacco. These members desired a tariff on domestic tobacco so as to enable them to compete with imported tobacco from Summatra and Havanna.
Mr. Calderhead, who always had a strong sense of justice, met with and heard their request. He told them that as the bill had been reported to the house the only way to amend it was by unanimous consent agreement, and that if they would take care of the southern vote, he would offer the amendment if he could get the unanimous consent.
Much to the astonishment of the house, his motion carried and the amendment became part of the law. His high standing in the house secured the necessary votes from his own party and of the opposite party.
One day in June a boat load of sightseers were on the way to visit the tomb of Washington at Mt. Vernon. Among other passengers were Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Fitzpatrick of Portland, Indiana. Mr. Fitzpatrick was national committeeman from Indiana and had attended a committee meeting in Washington. Accompanied by their little daughter, Gladys, they had paid a visit to the white house to call on President McKinley. The President was much attracted by the sweet and pretty little girl and at parting he took from his vase of flowers a beautiful rose and presented it to Gladys “to remember him by.”
On the little river steamer Gladys flitted joyously among the passengers showing her rose and saying proudly, “President McKinley gave me this rose.” Suddenly a smart breeze came up and the rose was torn from the little girl’s hand and blown out into the waters of the Potomac.
Gladys, heartbroken at her loss sobbed bitterly. Mr. Calderhead took her in his arms and comforting her told her he would get her another rose from the President and send it to her.
In a short time he went to the white house and told the President of the lost rose. The President called an orderly and gave Mr. Calderhead a lovely box of flowers to send his little visitor. Soon the flowers were on the way to rejoice the heart of the child.
The picture of these two men, both of whom had faced death on fields of battle, impressed those present with the kindness and goodness of these two men, who forgetting cares of state, thought lovingly of a little child.
Jas. G. Strong, congressman from the Fifth district, made the following remarks regarding Honorable W. A. Calderhead in congress this week, according to an extract from the Congressional Record of December 19:
“Mr. Speaker, with sorrow I rise to announce the death of Hon. W. A. Calderhead, who passed from this life on yesterday, December 18, at Enid, Okla.
“For 14 years Mr. Calderhead represented in this body the district that I now have the honor to serve, and during all those years he rendered faithful and efficient service to the great benefit of my district the State of Kansas, and our common country. I think perhaps his greatest effort was in the defense and maintenance of the gold standard on which our monetary system is now based, and I know that the old Members of the House will learn of his passing with sorrow.
“Mr. Calderhead will be buried at his home in Marysville, in Marshall County, Kans., where I knew him since 1891. He was a clean, honorable, and able man, whom I was always glad to have for a friend.”
Marshall County News, Friday, December 28, 1928, Pg. 1
Volume 56, No. 51
FUNERAL WILL BE TODAY
LAST RITES FOR HON. W. A.
CALDERHEAD HERE THIS AFTERNOON
Passed Away in Enid, Okla., at 7:30
O’clock Tuesday Evening
Funeral services for the Honorable William Alexander Calderhead, foremost Kansas statesman and formerly congressman from the Fifth district, who passed away in a hospital in Enid, Okla., at 7:30 o’clock Tuesday evening, will be held this afternoon at the Presbyterian church.
The body arrived here yesterday morning, accompanied by his son, Garth, on the train from Manhattan, and was taken to the Rice undertaker parlors until the services. Burial will be made in the Marysville cemetery.
About a year ago, Mr. Calderhead underwent an operation, but because of his advanced age, he never fully recovered. A few days ago he went to a hospital where he planned to rest, but his heart action failed, and he passed away.
Was Prominent Statesman
Mr. Calderhead was one of the most prominent citizens Marysville has ever had.
As a power in the Republican politics of the state, he has had few equals, and as congressman of the Fifth district he was one of the most influential legislators which has been sent from the middle west. He stood for policies which he believed to be right, and held the admiration and goodwill of the citizens of his native section of the Republic.
Born in Ohio
He was not a Kansan by birth, being born in Perry county, Ohio, in 1848. He was the eldest son of Rev. E. B. Calderhead. His mother’s name was Martha Boyd Wallace. He spent his childhood at the home of his parents, and at the age of 16 attended Franklin county, New Athens, Ohio.
In 1862, when he was only 18 years of age, he enlisted in Company H, 126th Ohio Infantry, and served until the close of the civil strife. He received his discharge from the army June 27, 1865.
Mr. Calderhead studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1875, and in 1879 came to Marysville, where he resided until he went to Enid, Okla. He served the citizens of Marshall county and the state of Kansas for a period extending over 20 years, and his deeds while in office have made him a name long to be remembered.
County Attorney in 1888
In 1868 he was elected county attorney of Marshall county, and served two years. He was also clerk of the board of education of the Marysville schools for several years.
He made his first appearance as a legislator in the Fifty-fourth congress in 1894, as a representative of the Fifth congressional district. Congressman Calderhead was firm in his beliefs, and as a result of his stand on the gold standard in 1896 he was defeated for election.
Reelected To Congress
Undaunted by his defeat he was again elected to the same office in 1898, and served in the Fifty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, Fifty-eighth, Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth and Sixty-first congresses, extending over a period of 12 years. He retired from his position in 1910.
He was for many years a member of the committee on invalid pensions, and was largely responsible for the making of the beneficial pension law, a benefit to veterans. He was closely associated with the Payne-Aldrich tariff bill, being a member of the ways and means committee at that particular legislation.
The Honorable Mr. Calderhead was always a sound-money, protective-tariff Republican, a man of earnest conviction, a brilliant lawyer, and gifted with great political sagacity. He served as a counsel for the leaders of his party for many years following his retirement as congressman, and he never lost interest in the affairs of government.
Member Local Post G. A. R.
Although Mr. Calderhead has been away from Marysville for several years, residing at the home of his son, Garth, he has never lost his personal relationship with his local city and community. He was one of the seven living members of Lyon Post No. 71, G. A. R. of this city.
He is survived by two sons, Garth W., of Enid, Okla; William, director in the Canal Zone of police forces; three daughters, Mrs. Iris Walker, Denver, Colo.; Miss Alice Calderhead, Marysville, and Mrs. Eunice Smith, Caldwell, Idaho; and two sisters, Mrs. S. A. Forter and Mrs. J. F. Hanna, both of Marysville.
Page 454, History of Marshall County, Kansas, Its People, Industries and Institutions. By Emma E. Forter, With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many Old Families. 1917, B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.
W. A. CALDERHEAD, OF MARYSVILLE.
William Alexander Calderhead was born in Perry county, Ohio, the eldest son of Rev. E. B. Calderhead and Martha Boyd Wallace. He attended Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio, at the age of sixteen and when eighteen years old, in 1862, he enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry. He was discharged on June 27, 1865.
Calderhead was admitted to the bar in 1875 and in 1879 came to Marysville, where he has since resided. He was elected county attorney in 1888, serving two years and was for several years clerk of the board of education. He was elected to the Fifty-fourth Congress by the electors of the fifth congressional district of Kansas in the year 1894. In 1896 he was defeated for election, because of his unwavering stand for the gold standard, being the only member of Congress from Kansas who held for sound money.
In 1898 he was again elected and continued to serve the district through the Fifty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth and Sixty-first Congresses. Mr. Calderhead was for many years a member of the committee on invalid pensions and assisted largely in the beneficient pension legislation which the veterans now enjoy. He was a member of the ways and means committee which gave the country the Payne-Aldrich Tariff bill. He has always been a sound-money, protective-tariff Republican. A man of earnest conviction, a brilliant lawyer, with great political sagacity. Mr. Calderhead has hosts of friends who enjoy his fine presence and great personal charm.
Marshall county is his home, and he loves the county and her people, who have so many times demonstrated their faith in him, and devotion to his interests.
Pages 268-269 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. … / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.
Calderhead, William A., lawyer and member of Congress, was born in Perry county, Ohio, Sept. 26, 1844, a son of Rev. E. B. Calderhead, a minister of the United Brethren church. He was educated in the common schools and by his father, and in the winter of 1861-62 he attended Franklin College at New Athens, Ohio. In Aug., 1862, he enlisted as a private in Company H, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Ohio infantry, but was afterward transferred to Company D, Ninth veteran reserves, on account of disability, and was finally discharged on June 27, 1865. He then attended school for one term and in the fall of 1868 came to Kansas, where he engaged in farming. In 1872 he settled on a homestead near Newton, and taught for one year in the Newton public schools. After studying law for some time under the preceptorship of John W. Ady, he was admitted to the bar in 1875. Mr. Calderhead then went to Atchison, where he spent the next four years in reading law and teaching in the country schools during he winter seasons. In the fall of 1879 he located at Marysville, Marshall county, and opened a law office. In 1888 he was elected county attorney and served for two years, and he was for several years clerk of the city board of education. In 1894 he was elected to Congress and served one term. Four years later he was again elected to Congress and was reëlected at each succeeding election until 1908. Upon retiring from Congress, Mr. Calderhead resumed the practice of law at Marysville.
Here is where his photograph is: www.flickr.com/photos/civilwar_veterans_tombstones/603981…