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Old Soldiers Ignored, 1889 news article


Posted By: S. Ferrall (email)
Date: 12/7/2007 at 06:39:05

Old Soldiers Ignored.
Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 27 - A telegram from Strawberry Point, Clayton County, says:

"This community is in a state of considerable excitement over the matter of the Post Office appointment at this place. Peter Keith, the present Democratic incumbent, was an old soldier in the Sixth Iowa Cavalry. He served his time honorably, and is not in good financial circumstances.

"There were two candidates for the position, both old solders. Gilbert Cooley's petition was signed by at least three-fourths of the patrons of the office. He was Lieutenant in Company D, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, served three years, and was honorably discharged. He is now over fifty years of age, and does not draw a pension. He is not in good circumstances, and needs the office.

"Benjamin Gaylord's petition had about all the remainder of the patrons of the office. He was terribly wounded in battle, served as a soldier gallantly, and was discharged on account of wounds received. He gets a small pension, but is not in good circumstances.

"Cooley and Gaylord in their petitions did not ask for the removal of Keith until his term had expired, as he was also an old soldier, and they said that as no man was rejected from the army because he was a Democrat, they would not ask that he be discharged from the Post Office before the time for which he was appointed had passed.

"There is an old man nearly seventy years of age here named H.H. Scofield, who, prior to the present Post-master's appointment, had held the office for seventeen years. He had always taken a great interest in the Des Moines 'Weekly Register', soliciting subscriptions for it. The last 'Register' shows that he has sent in seven orders thus far this Fall, amounting to 132 subscriptions. Cooley and Gaylord and all their friends not only subscribed, but assisted Scofield in securing subscriptions because he was a decrepit old man.

"The people were astonished to find that Clarkson had appointed old man Scofield to the Post Office.

"Congressman Sweeny claims that he recommended the appointment of Cooley, but that Clarkson asked him to permit him to make the appointment at this place. Scofield was not in the army. He is a man of moderate circumstances, and is too feeble to attend to the duties of the office personally. The patrons of the office are very bitter in their denunciation of Clarkson's course, declaring that he ignored the old soldiers and the wishes of the patrons, and appointed Scofield simply because he had been working up a list of subscribers for Clarkson's paper. A protest was immediately telegraphed Postmaster General Wanamaker, and a remonstrance has been forwarded. The Clayton County veterans held a reunion, closing Friday, and passed resolutions denouncing Clarkson's action."

~New York Times, August 28, 1889


Clayton Documents maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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