Submitted by Gaylene Kerr Banister
Chapter XXI - Political History -- Annual Record
Before this year, each township took care of its own poor. A proposition to build a county poor house met with much opposition, but on being submitted to a vote of the people at the spring elections, was carried by a vote of 1,599 in favor to 1,515 against. At this election, Justices of the Peace were chosen by popular vote for the first time, their selection having been previously vested in the Governor.
The Anti-Masonic party had by this time given up the ghost, and the Whig party was organized upon its remains. The Whig candidates for Congress was William A. Irvine, of Warren County; the Democratic, Arnold Plumer, of Venango, the latter being elected. The following is the vote in the district:
At this election,
Directors of the Poor were chosen for the first time, each township having
before elected its own Overseers. The candidates on the Whig ticket were
Thomas R. Miller, Springfield; James Benson, Waterford Township; and
George W. Walker, Harbor Creek, all of whom were elected. The Democratic
candidates were William W. Warner, Fairview; Sherburn Smith, Erie; and
William Wyatt, Harbor Creek.
In the State -- Harrison, 144,021; Van Buren, 143,672. Harrison's majority, 349.
Harrison & Tyler were elected. The former served only one month, when he died in office, and was succeeded by John Tyler, who soon became unpopular with the party that elected him.
The Whigs and Democrats both held conventions in Erie this year, on the 10th of September. The assemblage was the largest ever known in the Northwest up to that time. -- [See Notable Events.]
The Whig candidate for Governor was John Banks, of Berks County; the Democrats again supported David R. Porter, of Huntingdon. The county gave Banks 2,956 votes, and Porter 1,855. In the State the vote was as follows:
David R. Porter, Democrat, 136,504; John Banks, Whig, 113,473. Majority for the Democrats, 23,031.
The Abolitionists held their first convention in Pennsylvania this year, and nominated Dr. Francis J. LeMoyne, of Washington County, for Governor, who received 736 votes in all of these, forty were cast in Erie County, as follows:
The Democrats made no nomination for the State Senate and supported John W. Farrelly, of Crawford, who ran as an independent Whig candidate. John Dick, of Crawford, was the regular Whig candidate. The vote of the district was as follows:
William Johns, Erie (Independent Whig), 989; Sylvester W. Randall
(Democrat), Erie, 1,358; Joseph Neely (Working Men's), Harbor Creek, 117;
David H. Chapman (Abolitionist), Fairview, 216; James M. Moorhead
(Abolitionist), Harbor Creek, 238; Prothonotary, James C. Marshall
(Democrat), Girard, 1,627; George Kellogg (Abolitionist), Erie, 179;
Register, William Gray (Abolitionist), Wayne, 134; Commissioner, Matthew
Greer (Democrat), North East, 781; William Himrod (Abolitionist), Erie,
166; Coroner, Alex Mehaffey (Abolitionist), Erie, 301; Auditor, William
Vincent (Abolitionist), Waterford, 162; Director of the Poor, John
Gingrich (Democrat), Mill Creek, 717.
The apportionment bill of 1842 made a Senatorial district of Erie County alone. Elijah Babbitt was the Whig candidate, and James C. Marshall the Democratic. The vote was for Babbitt 2,646, for Marshall, 1,554 -- Babbitt's majority, 1,092. Galen Forster, Abolition candidate, received 73 votes.
The following was the vote for other candidates:
Whig -- Assembly, James D. Dunlap, Erie, 2,536; David A. Gould, Springfield, 1,573; Sheriff, William E. McNair, Mill Creek, 2,465; Commissioner, Robert Gray, Union, 2,648; Treasurer, Gideon J. Ball, Erie, 2,595; Auditor, William M. Arbuckle, Erie, 2,574; Director of the Poor, James Anderson, Waterford Township, 2,544.
Democratic -- Assembly, Martin Strong, Greene, 1,657; George H. Cutler, Elk Creek, 1,639; Sheriff, James Lytle, Erie, 1,729; Commissioner, G. J. Stranahan, Concord, 1,504; Treasurer, Stephen C. Walker, Erie, 1,481; Auditor, Eli Webster, Greene, 1,561; Director of the Poor, Joseph E. Lee, North East, 1,512.
Abolition -- Assembly, William Gray, Wayne, 79; James M. Moorhead, Harbor Creek, 87; Sheriff, Alex McClellan, Mill Creek, 86; Commissioner, John B. Fluke, Erie, 73; Treasurer, Clinton George, Erie, 85; Auditor, Ambrose Shelly, Harbor Creek, 90; Director of the Poor, Samuel Brecht, Fairview, 96.
For Governor, the Democrats nominated Francis R. Shunk, Allegheny County, the Whigs, Gen. Joseph Markle, Westmoreland; the Abolitionists, F. J. LeMoyne, Washington. Erie County gave Markle 3,501 votes, Shunk, 2,207, and LeMoyne, 69.
The vote of the State was as follows:
Shunk, 160,403; Markle, 156,120; LeMoyne, 2,675. Shunk's majority over Markle, 4,283.
The candidates for Canal Commissioner were Simon Guilford, Whig; Joshua Hartshorn, Democrat; William Larimer, Jr., Abolition. The vote was about the same as that for Governor.
Gen. Reed was re-nominated by the Whigs for Congress. James Thompson, Erie, was the Democratic, and John Mann, Potter, the Abolition candidate. The vote of the district was as follows:
Mr. Mann received but 90 votes in all, of which 45 were cast in Erie County. Hamlin Russell, Abolition, also received 14 votes in this county for the same office.
The county tickets, with the vote for each candidate, were as follows:
Whig -- Assembly, Mark Baldwin, North East, 3,442; James D. Dunlap, Erie, 3,445; Commissioner, Isaac Webster, Fairview, 3,343; Auditor, Thomas Pierce, LeBoeuf, 3,380; Director of Poor, David Kennedy, Erie, 3,332 -- all being elected.
Democratic -- Assembly, George H. Cutler, Girard, 2,147; David Allison, North East, 2,135; Commissioner, James Wilson, Greenfield, 2,210; Auditor, Michael Jackson, Conneaut, 2,148; Director of Poor, James M. Reed, Mill Creek, 2,156.
Abolition -- Assembly, David H. Chapman, Fairview; Aaron Kellogg, Erie; Commissioner, Nathaniel Wilson, Union; Auditor, Alexander McClellan, Mill Creek; Director of Poor, Silas Walker, Harbor Creek. This ticket received an average of about 70 votes.
A vote was taken to decide whether the main line of the State public works should be sold or not. The proposition received a majority of 447 in Erie County, but was defeated in the general vote of the State by a majority of 21,433.
The Whig party nominated Henry Clay, of Kentucky, for President, and Theodore Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, for Vice President. William A. Irvine was the electoral candidate for this district. The Democratic nominees were James K. Polk, of Tennessee, for President, and George M. Dallas, of Pennsylvania for Vice President. Christian Myers, of Clarion County, was the candidate for elector. The Abolitionists ran James G. Birney, of Michigan, for President, who received 74 votes in the county and 3,138 in the State. James M. Moorhead, of Harbor Creek, was the candidate for elector. The following was the Whig and Democratic vote in the county:
The vote of the State was as follows:
Clay, 161,863; Polk, 167,245. Polk's majority, 6,382.
Polk and Dallas were elected by a large majority of the electoral votes of the Union.
The Democratic candidate for Canal Commissioner was James Burns, Mifflin County; the Whig candidate was Samuel D. Karns, Dauphin, the Abolition, William Larimer, Allegheny. In Erie County, Burns received 1,103 votes, Karns 1,831, Larimer 82. In the State, Burns had 119,510, Karns 89,118 and Larimer 2,857. The Native American party placed a ticket in the field for the first time this year, and George Morton, their candidate, received 22,934 votes, most of them being cast in Philadelphia and the neighboring counties.
Elijah Babbitt, elected State Senator in 1843, resigned his seat at the close of his second session, and candidates were nominated to supply the vacancy. The Whigs supported James D. Dunlap, the Democrats Carson Graham, and the Abolitionists David H. Chapman. The vote was 1,794 for Dunlap, 1,192 for Graham, and 89 for Chapman.
The Democrats made no county nominations, and appear to have allowed the election of local officers to go by default. The following are the candidates voted for:
Whig -- Assembly, J. B. Johnson, Erie, 1,755; Lyman Robinson, Wattsburg, 1,785; Prothonotary, Wilson King, Erie, 1,888; Register, Thomas Moorhead, Jr., Erie, 1,810; Commissioner, William E. Marvin, Greenfield, 1,768; Auditor, three years, James H. Campbell, Edinboro, 1,699; Auditor, to supply vacancy, Simeon Hunt, Waterford, 1,694; Coroner, Thomas Dillon, Erie, 1,703; Director of Poor, Curtis Heidler, Fairview, 1,693.
Abolition -- Assembly, Samuel Kingsbury, North East, 191; Nathan Gould, Springfield, 190; Prothonotary, N. Wilson, Union, 160; Register, John B. Fluke, Erie, 163; Commissioner, William Robinson, North East, 154; Auditor, A. N. Wood, Venango, 156; David Nellis, Harbor Creek, 153; Coroner, Alex. McClellan, Mill Creek, 168; Director of Poor, Richard Barnett, Fairview, 169.
The Democratic candidate for Canal Commissioner was William B. Foster; the Whig, James M. Power; the Abolitionist, William Elder, and the Native American, George Morton. Owing to a prejudice against Mr. Foster's re-election, the State went heavily in favor of the Whig party. In Erie County, Power had 1,801 votes, Foster 895, and Elder, 74. The State gave Power 97,913, Foster 89,084, Morton 15,438, Elder 2,097.
James Thompson was re-nominated by the Democrats for Congress, and again elected. The Whig candidate was James Campbell, of Clarion, and the Abolition, John Mann, of Potter. The vote of the district was as follows:
The Democratic candidate for State Senate was Smith Jackson, Erie; the Whig, J. B. Johnson, Erie, and the Abolition, Nathan Gould, of Springfield. Johnson received 1,708 votes, Jackson 873, and Gould 86.
The county tickets and their votes were as follows. The Democrats made no nomination for Sheriff:
Whig -- Assembly, William Sanborn, Amity, 1,719; David A. Gould, Springfield, 1,668; Sheriff, Miles W. Caughey, Fairview, 1,723; Commissioner, William Campbell, Washington, 1,710; Treasurer, John S. Brown, Erie, 1,709; Auditor, James Chambers, Harbor Creek, 1,703; Director of Poor, William Bracken, Le Boeuf, 1,680.
Democratic -- Assembly, E. Duncombe, Amity, 876; Newton Lounsbury, North East, 857; Commissioner, James Wilson, Greenfield, 781; Treasurer, John S. Carter, Erie, 846; Auditor, Martin Strong, Jr., Waterford, 796; Director of Poor, Isaac R. Taylor, Washington, 806.
Abolitionist -- Assembly, William Gray, Wayne, 84; R. Barnett, Fairview, 84; Sheriff, Aaron Kellogg, North East, 182; Commissioner, Thomas McClellan, Mill Creek, 80; Treasurer, Alexander Mehaffey, Erie, 83; Auditor, Abner H. Gould, Springfield, 79; Director of Poor, Alvah Francis, Franklin, 85.
A vote was taken at the spring election whether or not licenses to sell liquor should be granted in the county. The vote was 2,416 in favor of license, and 2,183 against.
The Whigs nominated for Governor James Irvin, of Centre County; the Democrats supported Francis R. Shunk; the Abolitionists, F. J. LeMoyne; and the Native Americans, E. C. Reigart, Lancaster. Erie County gave Irvin 2,586 votes; Shunk, 1,728; LeMoyne, 130.
The vote of the State was as follows: Shunk, 146,084; Irvin, 129,148; Reigart, 11,247; LeMoyne, 1,861; Shunk's majority over Irvin, 18,936.
For Canal Commissioner, Joseph W. Patton, Cumberland, was the Whig candidate; Morris Longstreth, Montgomery, the Democratic; William B. Thomas, Philadelphia, the Abolition; and George Morton, Dauphin, the Native American, Longstreth being elected by about the same vote as Shunk.
The Pennsylvania soldiers in the Mexican war voted for State officers, and gave a large majority for the Democratic candidates.
The Democrats made no nominations for county officers, leaving the field clear for the Whigs and Abolitionists. The following were the candidates with the vote for each:
Whig -- Assembly, Gideon J. Ball, Erie, 2,545; William Sanborn, Amity, 2,478; Commissioner H. A. Hills, Conneaut, 2,359; Auditor, John Wood, LeBoeuf, 2,421; Director of Poor, David Sterrett, McKean, no opposition.
Abolition -- Assembly, Nathaniel Wilson, Union, 158; Orange Selkrigg, North East, 158; Commissioner B. Beebe, Wayne, 152; Auditor, E. N. Wood, Venango, 148.
The Democratic State candidates were for Governor, Morris Longstreth, Montgomery; for Canal Commissioner, Israel Painter, Westmoreland. The Whig candidates were William F. Johnson, Armstrong, for Governor, and Ner Middleswarth, Union, for Canal Commissioner. Gov. Shunk had died before the expiration of his term, and Mr. Johnson, who was Speaker of the Senate, became Governor. The gubernatorial vote was the closest that ever occurred in Pennsylvania, Johnson having succeeded by only 302 majority. Mr. Longstreth's defeat was occasioned by the fact of his having been Canal Commissioner, which enabled his political enemies to create a considerable degree of prejudice against him. The Democratic nominee for Canal Commissioner was elected by 2,958 majority. Erie County gave Johnson 3,500 votes, Longstreth, 2,087; Middleswarth, 3,305, and Painter, 2,096. The Abolitionists and Native Americans had no State ticket in the field.
The candidates for Congress were the same as in 1846, and James Thompson was again elected by 483 majority over Mr. Campbell.
The county tickets were as follows:
Whig -- Assembly, G. J. Ball, Erie, 3,169; Theodore Ryman, Girard, 3,165; Prothonotary, James Skinner, Erie, 3,162; Register, R. J. Sibley, Waterford, 3,077; Commissioner, George W. Brecht, Mill Creek, 3,067; Auditor, John Eagley, Springfield, 3,059; Treasurer, John Hughes, Erie, 3,101; Director of Poor, David Kennedy, Erie, 3,025; Coroner, Samuel L. Foster, Erie, 3,030.
Democratic -- Assembly, Smith Jackson, Erie, 1,623; John S. Barnes, Girard, 1,628; Commissioner, James Wilson, Greenfield, 1,631; Auditor, D. W. Howard, Amity, 1,585; Director of Poor, Henry Colt, Waterford, 1,555. There were no candidates for Prothonotary, Register, Treasurer or Coroner.
Abolition -- Assembly, William Beatty, Erie, 371; Job Stafford, McKean, 367; Prothonotary, Aaron Kellogg, North East, 1,303; Register, Ira Sherwin, Harbor Creek, 487; Commissioner, James M. Moorhead, Harbor Creek, 382; Auditor, B. Beebe, Concord, 325; Treasurer, Henry Cadwell, Erie, 377; Director of Poor, Eli Perkins, Wayne, 357; Coroner, John B. Fluke, Erie, 470.
The National tickets were as follows: Whig -- for President, Zachary Taylor, Louisiana; Vice President, Millard Fillmore, New York. Democratic -- for President, Lewis Cass, Michigan; for Vice President, William O. Butler, Kentucky. Free-Soil -- for President, Martin Van Buren, New York; for Vice President, Charles Francis Adams, Massachusetts. The Whig candidate for Elector in our district was Thomas H. Sill, Erie; the Democratic, Timothy Ives, Potter; the Free Soil, William F. Clark, Crawford. Below is the vote of the county:
The vote of the State was as follows: Taylor, 185,514; Cass 171,998; Van Buren, 11,263.
Taylor and Fillmore were elected. The former died after being in office about a year and a half, and Mr. Fillmore served out the balance of the term.
The Whig candidate for Canal Commissioner was Henry M. Fuller, of Luzerne; the Democratic, John A. Gamble, of Lycoming. The vote of the county was 2,503 for Fuller and 1,369 for Gamble. Mr. Gamble was elected, receiving 135,840 votes to 133,111 for Fuller. Kimber Cleaver, of Schuylkill, the Native American candidate, received 3,259 votes in the State, but none in Erie County.
The candidates for State Senate were John H. Walker, Whig, and Murray Whallon, Democrat. Mr. Walker was elected by a vote of 2,417; 1,399 for Whallon.
The county tickets were as follows:
Whig -- Assembly, James C. Reid, Erie, 2,487; Leffert Hart, Girard, 2,302; Sheriff, P. E. Burton, Erie, 2,474; Commissioner, Simeon Stewart, Concord, 2,467; Auditor, John L. Way, Greene, 2,474; Director of Poor, George Fritts, Waterford, 2,457.
Democratic -- Assembly, David Olin, Girard, 1,349; William Griffeth, North East, 1,350; Sheriff, E. W. Gerrish, Edinboro, 1,370; Commissioner, Truman Stewart, Concord, 1,355; Auditor, Henry Teller, Girard, 1,357; Director of Poor; Henry Gingrich, Mill Creek, 1,363.
Bibliography: Samuel P. Bates, History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Warner, Beers & Co.: Chicago, 1884), Part II, Chapter XXI, pp. 340-430.