Biography of Harry E. Hull
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Harry E. Hull, of Williamsburg, who was elected as representative from his district to the national congress in the fall of 1914 on the republican ticket, was born in Belvidere, New York, on the t2th of March, 1864, a son of Henry Davis Hull. His paternal grandfather lived in Rome, New York, and was president of the New York State Medical Society. He was a leading politician of his district and served for several terms as state senator. The family was established in this country in t63o and was prominent in the New England states in colonial days. The great grandfather of our subject, Dr. Titus Hull, served in the Revolutionary war and at one time was a minute man.

Harry E. Hull removed with his parents to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1873, and received a common school education there. At the age of sixteen he became a bread earner by working as a messenger boy for the Western Union Telegraph company at Cedar Rapids. He was next employed by T. Mower & Company, grain dealers, as a clerk and later went to work as bookkeeper for M. E. Miner, the owner of a grain elevator. In 1882 he formed a partnership with Mr. Miner, the firm name being M. E. Miner & Company, and they began buying grain at Palo, Iowa. In October, 1884, this firm purchased a grain business at Williamsburg and Mr. Hull took charge of it. Two years later he bought the interest of his partner and in time became the owner of a line of nine elevators from Conroy to Highland Center. In 1894 he gradually relinquished these elevators and engaged in other affairs.

Mr. Hull has for many years been prominent in the public life of his city and district and has always been a loyal worker in the republican party. In 1886 he was elected alderman of Williamsburg and two years later he was made mayor of the city, which office he filled with the exception of two years until 1901, when he was appointed postmaster and gave up the office of mayor in order to accept that appointment. During his incumbency of the mayoralty the city installed a waterworks system and a lighting plant and the general spirit was one of progress and improvement. Mr. Hull was postmaster from 1901 until he accepted the republican nomination for congress, when he was forced to resign the post mastership. During the time that he held that position the postoffice was moved to a new building and a modern set of fixtures was installed, while four rural carriers and a clerk were added to the force.

On the 29th of January, 1914, Mr. Hull accepted the republican nomination for congress to run against Henry Vollmer, democrat, and C. P. Hanley, progressive. At that time the situation was a desperate one for the republican party, which had no organization whatever in the second district. In the presidential election of 1912 Taft polled but eighty three hundred votes, Roosevelt thirteen thousand six hundred votes and Wilson nineteen thousand three hundred and eighty two votes and the party had no congressional candidate in the district. In January, 1914, it had been practically decided not to put up a candidate for congressman but Mr. Hull for three weeks had been urging the necessity of having a candidate and it was largely through his work that Will Hayes, city attorney of Clinton, was nominated on the 22d of January. The following day, however, Hayes withdrew but Mr. Hull continued to use all of his influence to secure a candidate for his party and by guaranteeing to furnish a candidate from Iowa county succeeded in having the convention recalled on the 26th of January. Although pressed to withdraw he refused to do so, simply saying that while he did not care to be defeated, which was a foregone conclusion, he would not allow the party to go to the polls without a candidate. He believed that if a candidate was nominated conditions were such that the republican party would become the second party in the district, which was essential to party success in the state and nation in the future. He was nominated and made a phenomenal run without any outside help and with only nine working days to campaign in. He succeeded in polling nearly eleven thousand votes to about four thousand for Hanley and it was the general opinion that had he had another week to work in he could have overcome the votes of the democratic candidate, Henry Vollmer. This election was at once seized upon by the republican national committee as an indication of what would happen in the fall. The result was published in practically every paper and magazine of any prominence in the country and had a great influence in spurring the republicans to activity. There were many who sought the nomination on the republican platform and there was a noticeable lack of aggressiveness in the work of the progressive party. The result in the general election justified the conclusions of the national committee, there being a big gain in the republican membership of congress. Mr. Hull, who had been renominated at the general primary without opposition, demonstrated his power of getting votes by defeating the democratic candidate, W. J. McDonald, of Iowa City, by a majority of thirty two hundred and five votes, while the progressive candidate, John Wallace Cooper, of Davenport, polled only ten hundred and two votes. Mr. Hull's candidacy was based almost wholly upon the tariff issue. The vote polled in the district in 1912, in the special election of 1914 and in the regular fall election of 1914 was as follows :

 

1912

 

 Special, 1914

 

 Regular, 1914

 

Republican

Taft

8,303

Hull

10,777

Hull

20,145

Democrat

Wilson

19,371

Vollmer

12,611

McDonald

16,940

Progressive

Roosevelt

13,602

Hanley

3,709

Cooper

1,002



As the republicans had no congressional candidate for 1912 the presidential vote is given for that year.

On the 3d of June, 1891, Mr. Hull married Miss Mary Louise Harris and they have a son, Harris Benjamin, who was born on the 23d of May, 1909. Mr. Hull is one of the foremost citizens of Williamsburg and the city takes just pride in his accomplishments and in the honor which has been conferred upon him in his election to the national legislative body. The practical knowledge of public affairs which he has gained through many years of active participation in politics, combined with his natural keenness of insight and sound judgment, fit him well for the responsible duties of his position and those who know him are certain that the district will be ably represented and that his support will be given to those measures best adapted to secure the public welfare. He is the recognized leader of the party in his district and has probably done more than any other man there to secure its reorganization and to bring about its success at the polls. His personality is such that he makes and retains friends easily, and loyalty and fidelity are among his outstanding characteristics.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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