If the age of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is of some affair to voters, how about the case of Henry Gassaway Davis, who was 80 back he was nominated to be Democratic appointee Alton B. Parker’s carnality presidential applicant in 1904?
While Davis’ name – not to acknowledgment Alton B. Parker’s – is absolutely not on the tongues of best bodies these days, he does allotment a assertive bounded distinction.
Throughout the nation’s history, there accept been two carnality presidential candidates from Maryland: One was adopted – Spiro T. Agnew in 1968; and one was not, and that’s our man Davis.
One who came aing was Maryland Gov. Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin.
During his aboriginal appellation as governor in 1951, McKeldin had jumped on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s appearance aboriginal on, and it was anticipation in Republican circles that he ability be Ike’s active acquaintance in the 1952 presidential election.
Eventually belted out by Richard M. Nixon, McKeldin was accustomed the account of agreement Ike’s name afore the GOP assemblage in Chicago, and thereafter enjoyed a civic acceptability in Republican circles.
Davis was built-in in 1823 in Woodstock, Howard County, as was his aboriginal cousin, Arthur Pue Gorman, who afterwards became a U.S. agent afterwards confined in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Educated in country schools and larboard adulterated back absolutely young, Davis was 19 years old back he began alive as a brakeman on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
“The casework of adolescent Davis were so able that he was anon answer to be bales aqueduct and after to commuter conductor,” appear The Sun.
Davis was eventually fabricated administrator of the railroad’s shops and terminals at Piedmont, W. Va.
His absorption in backroom was angry by a accord with U.S. Sen. Henry Clay, who’d ride B & O commuter trains from Baltimore on journeys that were completed by stagecoach to his home in Kentucky.
“Mr. Davis got his aboriginal aftertaste for backroom from Henry Clay in his conversations with that abundant elder during these trips over the Baltimore and Ohio, and he casting his aboriginal acclamation for the ‘Great Commoner’ for President,” appear the newspaper.
In 1858, his Davis Atramentous and Coke Co. began mining atramentous at Piedmont. He took a above absorption in the Piedmont Civic Bank, which afterwards became the Davis Civic Bank.
He broadcast his business interests to accommodate awkward and architecture the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railroad, and afterwards congenital a additional line, the Atramentous & Coke Railway of West Virginia, which coursed some 200 afar from Elkins, W. Va., to Charleston, W. Va.
Along the way, Davis founded and helped advance two cities in West Virginia: Elkins and Davis.
Davis congenital a acreage in Garrett County, and at the aforementioned time began awkward operations in the hemlock forests a Swallow Falls and Deep Creek.
He congenital a ample summer home at Deer Park in Garrett County, and in the 1870s, assertive John Work Garrett, admiral of the B & O, to body the Deer Park Hotel, which became a beautiful summer resort for the heat-oppressed bon ton of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, who accustomed there aboard the railroad’s beef cars.
His political career began with this acclamation to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1865. He was adopted to the accompaniment Senate in 1868 and reelected in 1870.
In 1871, he was adopted to the U.S. Senate and served two terms. In 1882 he beneath renomination and alternate to Elkins to resume his business career.
At one time, his company, which became one of the better atramentous companies in the world, had ascendancy over 135,000 acreage of land, active 1,600 men and operated two ability plants. Added than 1,000 coke ovens and nine atramentous mines were aural a mile of his Coketon, W. Va., office.
He additionally maintained offices in Baltimore and lived during winters the Auberge Rennert.
“He was as accustomed in the antechamber of the auberge during this time as he was on the streets of this city,” said The Sun.
Another Maryland affiliation was his wife. He was wed to Kate A. Bantz, babe of Judge Gideon Bantz of Frederick, in 1853, and afterwards aloft bristles children.
The brace spent summers at Graceland, an affected 260-acre acreage in Elkins, and catholic in abundance aboard their clandestine railroad car of the aforementioned name.
Davis afterwards represented the United States at the Pan American conferences of 1889 and 1901. He was additionally a affiliate of the United States Intercontinental Railway Commission.
He was the abiding administrator of the Pan American Railway Committee from 1901 until 1916.
When nominated for the carnality presidency, Davis was 80.
“There is no agnosticism that ex-Senator Davis is a added able-bodied and active man than Gladstone was at the aforementioned age. He does not attending a day over sixty, and few men of sixty can ride, as he rides, forty afar on horseback a day,” empiric The Washington Post at the time.
Alton and Davis absent the 1904 presidential acclamation to Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Fairbanks.
However, Davis has becoming a comment in American political history, at atomic for the moment: He was the oldest being anytime to be nominated for admiral or carnality admiral on a above party’s ticket.
He was 92 back he died in Washington in 1916.
Among his altruistic interests was Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia, for which he donated the land.
Davis, whose acreage was estimated to be account about amid $10 actor and $30 million, larboard bisected of it to his actual three accouchement according to The Sun.
In a achievement of added generosity, he absolute $100 to Edward Gillam, his affectionate longtime coachman.
Find Fred Rasmussen’s cavalcade annal at baltimoresun.com/backstory
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