|Media Courthouse about 1905.|
REMINISCENCES OF DELAWARE COUNTY POLITICS
116 years ago
A short time ago I celebrated the fifty-first anniversary of my birth and my mind naturally drifted back to Delaware County, where I was born, and the political changes that have taken place in the county since I first entered politics. I was but 18 years of age when I caught the political fever, and I have not gotten entirely cured of it yet. For some years I was partially cured, but I got a second attack and I have about made up my mind that there is no physician in the land who can entirely cure me. My friend, the late John Russell Young, claimed that I had a nose for a political squib as a ferret has for a rat. I must confess that I am never happier than when I run up against some big or little politician that I can get a thought from to give to the public who read the world of politics.
My first tempter was worse that eve was to Adam, the tinted-haired sage of Media, Tom Cooper. Cooper’s strong point when he entered the political arena, was to capture the young men and he early caught me in his net. The old stock in Delaware County at that time who ran the political machinery for years, the Brooks’, Serrills, Broomalls, Y.S. Walter, the Rhoads of Newtown and others of their class, who have almost all gone to their last home where there are no politics discussed, had a dislike for Cooper and were determined that he should never come to the front, but Cooper had the aid of such men as the late Amos Gartside, Richard Young, Captain B.F. Miller, Joseph G. Cummings, Joseph A. Thompson, William Carson Sr., Morris P. Hannum, S.F. Pretty, William H. Martin, the late Congressman William Ward, John H. Kerlin, Benjamin W. Crother, Thomas Seth, Col. W. May, Harry Abbott, Robert Chadwick, Judge Johnson, Charles W. Mathues, Doctor A.W. Mathues, ex-Sheriff John D. Howard, former Sheriff William Mathues, who, in my estimation, is the boldest leader the county has ever produced. I consider him in county politics what the late Bob Mackey was in State politics. This push, with the aid of the young men of the county, knocked out the “old gang” in the first round, and Cooper and his following were monarch of all they surveyed for about 30 years; but eventually Cooper ran his course.
AN AMBITIOUS YOUNG MAN – There was an ambitious young man pitched his tent in Delaware County without much cash, for when I first got acquainted with him he was canvassing the county for Senator James G. Blaine’s book, going from place to place, from Haverford to Lower Chichester, with dust on his shoes endeavoring to make an honest dollar. This young blood was fighting Jack Robinson. I early took a fancy to him. I thought he was a pretty good sort of a fellow to tie to, as Coopertism was on the wane, and I will never forget when the deal was made to make him editor of the Delaware County Gazette for I was one of the parties instrumental in getting him there. Jack never had an organ of his own before to buck against the Delaware County American. He could write what he pleased and from this start, Jack gained entrance to the House at Harrisburg and from there to the Senate and while Senator went to the halls of the Congress for three terms. By and by Jack fell by the wayside, he was lost sight of but he again comes on his feet as United States Marshal, appointed by President McKinley, and Cooper re-enters politics and will go back to the House at Harrisburg where he first started in political life. He and Jack, who fought each other for years are now dwelling together in unity.
This reminds me of an incident that happened at the fiftieth wedding anniversary of John B. and Mrs. Rhodes in Aston Township a few months ago. Among the number present that night was Uncle George Drayton. Some 25 years ago, Uncle George, whenever he met me would say: “If you don’t break away from that man Tom Cooper politically, he will ruin you,” for at that time Uncle George hated the name of Cooper; but now, after being over 50 years of age, that night he declared openly and above board that he was for Cooper for the Legislature.
Truly politics make strange bed fellows. It is certainly pleasant for a former resident of the county to see peace reign supreme in the county where he was born and still has an interest in; to see all factions united again in one common cause to the Presidential year, when President McKinley is to be elected for a second term.
MAKING THEIR MARK – Delaware County boys are well represented in the Police Department in Philadelphia. Edward Mailin who was born and raised on a far at Glen Mills has been a Captain in the Police Department for years. Lieutenant John Latimore, who first saw the light of day at Glen Riddle has been promoted from Lieutenant to that of Acting Captain, and inside of 30 days he will be appointed permanent Captain. Edward Lyons, a Chester boy, who at one time kept the American House at Sixth and Market Streets, has been a Lieutenant of Police for about twenty years.
Delaware County boys were also quite prominent in the Republican Convention which nominated McKinley and Roosevelt. General Powell Clayton, a Bethel Township boy, was a delegate from Arkansas, while Heyburn, a son of a Birmingham Township former, who went to Idaho some twenty years ago, was chairman of the Idaho delegation. S Everett Sproul, whose father resides in your city, and a brother of Senator Sproul, was a delegate from Virginia, and last, but not least, Simeon Cotton, Jr., brother of James Cotton of your city, who was born in Aston Township was chairman of the Alabama delegation.