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Frank Hatton


Posted By: Conni (Volunteer) (email)
Date: 12/26/2014 at 08:30:07

HON. FRANK HATTON, ex-Postmaster General of the United States, formerly a prominent journalist of Iowa, and resident of Mt. Pleasant, now editor of the New York Press, was born in Cambridge, Ohio, April 28, 1846, and is the son of Richard and Sarah (Green) Hatton. His father was a journalist of the considerable prominence in Ohio, and it was in his office (the Cadiz Republican) that Frank, while a mere lad, got his first "take," learned the rudiments of the printer's trade, and laid the foundation of his subsequent brilliant career as editor and publisher. On the breaking out of the late war (1861), when but fifteen years of age, he ran away and enlisted as drummer boy in the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Captain Bostwick telegraphed Frank's father to know whether he should send him home, or swear him in. The reply, prompted by pure patriotism, was "Swear him in." It was done, and the boy soldier went to the front. He was promoted to a lieutenantcy [sic] before he was twenty, and served till the close of the war. He participated in many hard-fought campaigns, and made the historic march with Sherman to the sea. On his return from the war he went to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where, having found the Journal of that city for sale, he induced his father to sell out the Cadiz Republican and purchase it, which was done, and the family removed to Mt. Pleasant. Frank served as local editor of the Journal till his father's death, which occurred Nov. 5, 1869, when, in company with his brother-in-law, Rev. G. W. McAdam, he purchased the office. He was appointed Postmaster at Mt. Pleasant in February, 1873, and served till May, 1874. He continued his connection with the Journal till June 1, 1874, when he sold out to Mr. McAdam, and bought a half interest in the Burlington Hawkeye, of which he assumed editorial charge. A little later he purchased his partner's interest, and became sole proprietor and editor-in-chief.

Mr. Hatton's brilliant talents and political sagacity soon brought him into prominent notice throughout the State. He was chosen delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1876, at Cincinnati, where he worked zealously for the nomination of Hon. Roscoe Conkling for President. While he did not get his choice of candidates, he labored just as earnestly in support of the ticket in the ensuing campaign. Under his able management the Burlington Hawkeye became the leading Republican paper of the State. Mr. Hatton was appointed Postmaster at Burlington, Iowa, in 1878, and proved an efficient officer.

In 1880 he espoused the case of Gen. Grant for a third term as President. He was aggressive and stalwart in the extreme in his political views, and made the Hawkeye conspicuous throughout the country for its stirring and eloquent advocacy of the justice of giving the old warrior a third term. While not a delegate to the National Republican Convention of 1880 at Chicago, he was there, and a power behind the throne. The historic 306 were encouraged and abetted by him, in their persistent support of the General. Disappointed again in getting his choice, he as ably, if not as cheerfully, supported Garfield. The Burlington Hawkeye had rapidly grown in favor under his judicious management, and Mr. Hatton's influence in the political councils of the State and Nation was recognized and courted. His friends sought his appointment as First Assistant Postmaster General, under President Garfield, but the assassination of the President prevented the appointment being made at that time. He was appointed under President Arthur to that position Oct. 29, 1881, and entered upon the discharge of the duties of the office.

Mr. Hatton's superior executive ability, energy and integrity, soon won the admiration and confidence of the nation. He proved a most efficient officer, indefatigable in his efforts to improve and perfect the mail service, sagacious in his appointments and rulings, and uncompromising in his enforcement of discipline. It is largely due to his efforts that the fast mail system was adopted, that has so materially shortened the time of transportation of the principal mails of the country.

Mr. Hatton succeeded Mr. George C. Gorman as editor of The National Republican, of Washington, D. C., in December, 1882, and by his superior ability as a journalist made that paper of the most prominent political journals in the country. He had now won a national reputation, and was of sufficient importance to excite envy and malice in the minds of some who had not been so fortunate. Consequently he had his share of abuse and misrepresentation, but he kept the even tenor of his way all the same, and when a vacancy occurred in the Cabinet, by the promotion of Mr. Gresham to the Treasury portfolio, he was appointed by President Arthur to fill it, and on the 14th day of October, 1884, he was sworn in as Postmaster General of the United States, being the youngest man ever called to a Cabinet position in the history of the country. His administration of the office justified the expectations of his most sanguine friends, and won most flattering mention from the press of the country, and especially from his brother journalists of Iowa, who are proud of the distinction acquired by their talented representative.

In recognition of Mr. Hatton's popularity a large number of post-offices have been named after him throughout the country.

Mr. Hatton severed his connection with the Burlington Hawkeye, and also with The National Republican, and in 1886 he bought the Chicago Mail, which he conducted till September, 1887, when he sold out, and in October following purchased the New York Press, which he now edits.

Mr. Hatton was united in marriage at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Nov. 19, 1867, to Miss Lizzie Snyder, daughter of Henry M. and Susan A. Snyder. Mrs. Hatton was born at Mt. Pleasant. they have one child, a son, Richard, born at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Nov. 30, 1872.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 624-26.)


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