submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, January 20, 2008

The Venerable Judge Phillip Viele of Lee County, Chairman of the First Republican Convention.

A Nashville, Tenn., correspondent of the Hawkeye undertakes to correct a statement that has been going the rounds of the press that Gen. Fitz Henry Warren was the chairman of the first Republica state convention of Iowa. The correspondent wave.

The State Register has a list of the names of gentlemen who have filled the position of chairman of the Republican state committee, and adds: “Gen. Fitz Henry Warren, who was chairman of the first Republican committee in the state, was also chairman of the first Republican convention. Gen. Warren was not chairman of the first Republican convention. It was presided over by the venerable Phillip Viele of Fort Madison, who long since passed beyond the Psalmist’s allotted three score and ten, but in his honored retirement doubtless remembers the scenes and incidents connected with the sessions of that somewhat remarkable convention, covering as they did a good portion of two nights and one day. The delegates who had arrived at Iowa City on Thursday held an informal meeting that evening, Gen. Warren in the chair; but when the convention was organized on Friday morning, Judge Viele was made chairman, and Luke Palmer, Esq., of Burlington, one of the vice presidents.

It was nearly midnight (Friday), the nominations had been made and the platform adopted. Harry O’Connor made a rattling speech. He was followed by Jim Wilson (the latter was younger then than now, but just as stalwart), and when he had concluded the chairman arose, and, after congratulating the convention on what it had accomplished “declared the Republican party of Iowa duly inaugurated.” My recollection is that no chairman of the state committee was named.

The above is correct in every particular. Judge Viele called upon us last Saturday morning when we read the above article clipped from the Gate City to the venerable gentleman. He replied that it was entirely true, and reference to the subject seemed to revive the “old man eloquent” and he stood up in his silvered age with the fire undimmed in his flashing eyes and talked of the early struggles of the Republican party, and with the Gusto of a boy told of the scenes of the past. Judge Viele is standing on the outskirts of the borderland from which position he can look back with joy upon the past, and with great hope toward the future.

Back to Book One, INDEX

Back to the Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb, Index Page