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Meeting Senator Harlan in Salem, Iowa


Posted By: Pat Ryan White (email)
Date: 2/2/2021 at 19:01:42


W. Scott Bicksler, son of John Bicksler of this place, and an eminently successful attorney in Denver, Colo., writes as follows to "The Iowa Alumnus", published at Iowa State University, Iowa City, October 15, 1906:

"In the last few days I received a Mount Pleasant paper quoting a portion of the remarks of Senator W.B. Seeley upon his bill for an appropriation of $5,000.00 for a bust of Senator Harlan to be placed in the capitol building at Washington. I was reminded of this proverbial 'barefooted boy' and my first sight of Senator Harlan. I was living at Salem in Henry county, Iowa, where I was born and lived until after I left the law department of the State University in Iowa City. Two gentlemen stopped at the well in front of my father's place of business at Salem and asked me to water their horses. I did so. It was a hot summer day, as hot summer days are known in Iowa, and I had on but little in the way of clothing, which of course for a boy of seven or eight years would be quite permissible. As they drove away, one of the gentlemen handed me twenty-five cents, then known, as I now recall, as a 'shinplaster.' It was the first time I had possessed any considerable means at one time. I ran to my father to show him my sudden wealth, and he inquired if I knew with whom I had been talking and informed me that it was Senator Harlan, formerly a member of the cabinet of President Lincoln. After my school days I located in Boone for six years, and on a visit home I had occasion to take dinner at the Harlan House in Mt. Pleasant, and by chance was seated by Senator Harlan. I told him of the incident as above related, saying that I thought it was the cheapest campaign money he had ever placed, as I had always been one of his great admirers. He evidently enjoyed hearing the incident, as well as I did in telling it to him. I had frequently heard him in his campaign speeches, as during his life he always came to Salem to make the last speech in each canvass in the state. His speeches impressed me then as being ponderous, and as I now view them, they were largely reminiscent of the formation of the Republican party in the troublesome times from 1861. The state of Iowa in honoring Senator Harlan as it has, will honor itself."

["Salem Weekly News" - undated news clipping, about October 1906]


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