Thursday, January 06, 2011

Election Day, 1900 : The Vote in Detail

Source: The Elyria Republican, Elyria, Ohio, April 5, 1900, page 1

Thanks to, I've found out that my paternal great-granduncle, William Clifford LeMASTER, was elected as the Fourth Ward Councilman for the city of Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio in 1900.  Republicans only one two of the four wards in the city, and William received more votes than any other councilman.  He received 247 votes to his opponents 119 votes.

The article was fascinating, not so much for the family history, but for the grandstanding and spin that the editors put into their articles.  Granted, this was a Republican house organ, but the manner in which they complained about the democratic shenanigans was pretty funny.  Makes what goes on today seem tame.

The article is partially transcribed below:


Will Serve On Elyria's Board of Education.


School Bond Issue Approved By Large Ward Majorities - Democrats Make Slight Gains

Monday's election in Elyria, while not without its surprises, was generaly satisfactory to republicans under the existing conditions.

The advantage which the democrats gained in keeping the republican nominees off the ticket served to elect democratic councilmen in the second and third wards, democratic assessor in the second ward, and made the margins in other contests closer than is consistent with the customary republican majorities.

The conditions affecting the election were such as to make both sides active in getting out the voters, and a large vote was polled.


For the first time in the history of local politics the women exercised the franchise in the selection of members of the school board, and the two women candidates were triumphantly elected.  All day long they thronged the polling places, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather.  They came in pairs, or small groups, singly and with male escorts.  Their vote aggregated 334, being highest in the fourth ward, where 124 women voted.  Many republicans voted for the women's ticket.  It is alike flattering to the chivalry and sense of the voters that Miss Metcalf and Mrs. Young were elected.  In affairs which pertain to the welfare of the young, the counsel of women is never to be despised.


Many ballots were thrown out as being improperly marked.  In some wards tickets all written out and voted straight with an X under the eagle were accepted, and in others thrown out.  The intention of these will be probably made matters of contest before the proper authorities.

The partisan complexion of the council remains unchanged, two democratic members going out this spring.

The school bond issue carried by large majorities in each ward.  The vote on the issue of bonds was 934 for and 258 against.

Carlisle, which is in this school district, gave for the board of education, Chamberlain, one vote, Miss Metcalf, two votes, Dr. Sampsel and Thos. Seward two votes each.


The winning candidates with their respective majorities follow:

Water Works Trustee
P.H. Boynton, R.............................37
First Ward - R.B. Dersch, R.............93
Second Ward - Grant Grundy, D.....93
Third Ward - Martin Mueller.............61
Fourth Ward - W.C. LeMaster.......128

[end of transcription]


Nancy said...

Can you imagine how many newspaper articles recent previous generations never knew about because they would have had to search page by page of old newspapers?! And in a case like yours, if they didn't have a clue that he was in the election, they probably never would have looked. Great find!

I am surprised to learn that women voted in this election in 1900. My 7th grade Ohio history class either didn't teach this, I didn't learn it, or I didn't remember. Interesting.

Travis LeMaster said...

I'm glad that Ancestry has partnered with to bring these papers into my home. I've even contacted them, giving them suggestions of papers I'd like to see!

It was interesting to see the mention of women voting, and the Republicans courting the vote...