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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Politically Livingston county was solidly democratic from its organization up to the year 1860, but personal popularity occasionally resulted in the success of some member of the whig party. From the year 1844 up to 1860 the following whigs were elected to office: Alexander Dockery, Nova Zembla Johnson, John Hudgins, James A. and William L. 'Black, Dawson Crews, J. W. Boyle, Anselm Rowley, J. H. B. Manning, Thomas Warren, William J. Wallace, E. B. Waples and W. E. Pearl.
A few of the more prominent democrats elected to office during the same period were W. Y. Slack, Wm. 0. Jennings, James Leeper, Sr., Nathan H. Spencer, Thomas R. Bryan, George Munro, John Wolfskill, Reuben Leaton, S. A. Alexander, James Leeper, Jr., Joseph Cox, John L. Leeper, Francis Preston, two or three of the Gregorys and half a dozen Martins.
Following the control of political affairs in the county by the democratic party, the know nothing organization in 1855-56 seriously handicapped them for a time. Only by the most thorough organization and discipline in the ranks did they prevent the leaders of the new organization from proselyting from their former stanch stronghold on political control of the county. For the purpose of more closely uniting the party and keeping them permanently in line, a great mass meeting was suggested by the more prominent leaders to meet in Chillicothe on the first Monday in February, 1856. Following is the call and the names of the signers thereto:
"With a view of a permanent organization of the democratic party for the political contest of 1856, the undersigned democrats of Livingston county would respectfully call a meeting of the democrats and all others favorable to the creed of principles, to assemble at the courthouse in Chillcothe, on the first Monday in February, 1856, to take such steps as may be deemed necessary: Larze Anderson, Alex. Austin, David C. Austin, Wm. C. Austin, A. N. Austin, S. H. Austin, James L. Austin, A. J. Austin, James Anderson, Jesse Aufield, Amos Bargdoll, Joel Bargdoll, E. Bell, Owen Brigman, Henry Frith, J. A. Farrell, Spence H. Gregory, Jr., J. H T. Green, Joshua Gibbons, John Garr, Richard Garr, John O. Gish, M. R. Gregory, Edward Gudgell, John T. Gudgell, Adam Gano, Jr., Thomas Gano, Nicholas Gano, J. L. Myers, Francis Martin, Richard Martin, John H. Minnick, George Munro, H. R. Manning, Jas. McAllister, Joseph Miller, Jesse Morris, B. F. Norman, W. C. Norman, Elias Norman, James Nave, Samuel Odell, Lewis Bargdoll, Solomon Bargdoll, N. G. Bliss, James Bean, Henry Black, Wm. Blackwell, John .Bryan, A. J. Bryan, Levan Brookshier, T. B. Brookshier, Leander Brookshier, Wm. H. Brookshier, John Boucher, J. N. Bell, Thomas R. Bryan, James Bradford, Wilson Barnett, Abel Cox, J. W. Collins, John Caldwell, Isam Cox, Andrew Craig, Jr., Brannock Curtis, D. P. Cochran, E. M. Claraday, David Cadle, Joseph Custer, Joshua Crumpecker,, Wm. Cloud, David W. Curtis, David Curtis, David Y. Dale, John England, Hardin D. Ewers, David Eads, Darius Evans, J. J. Eberly, John Fitzmorris, J. B. Freeman, James Francis, John Frazier, Wm. G. Firth, Howard Gano, Nathan Gano, Henry Gano, Joshua Gano, Spence H. Gregory, Sr., John Graves, Jordan Graves, Westley Girder, Greenbury Gibson, Reuben Hawkins, Asa H. Holcomb, E. Herriford, John Hutchinson, Wm. Hoge, James Hicks, Jr., James Hicks, Sr., Abijah Hicks, Joseph Haddock, Thomas Hutchinson, David Hawkins, Jere Hutchinson, Jesse Hoge, Pleasant Ingram, John Jacob, Wm. 0. Jennings, Wyatt Jennings, Thos. Jennings, Jr., James Jennings, Allison James, Joseph Jones, Wm. Keith, Wash Keister, Rice G. Keister, Christian Keller, Joseph B. Kirk, Uriah B. Kent, James B. Kerr, Wm. S. Knox, David Keller, Isam Lisle, Asa Lanter, Henry Manning, Evan Odell, Isaac Ourly, Jackson Perrin, Win. F. Peery, A. E. Poulet, J. Y. Porter, John Richards, James Rosson, Charles Rosson, Jas. M. Robertson, Judson Schofield, Robert M. Steen, Siford Saxon, Silas Smith, John Speck, L. D. Sivic, John Saunders, Wm. Silvey, Emasus Silvey, Temple Smith, Daniel G. Saunders, Alex. Saunders, Win. Y. Slack, Wm. Sirus, John Stewart, R. M. Stewart, Morris Shaw, Hiram Taylor, Samuel Thompson, Clinton Van Brimmer, Jas. M. Wood, John Wisecarver, John Winnegan, John Walker, John Wolfskill, A. F. Walden, T. W. Warder, Joseph Wolfskill, Noah Wilkinson, Maj. A. Wallace, James Wells."
Following the great mass meeting of the democrats the American or know nothing party held a meeting by order of the local council on the 22nd day of February for the express purpose of celebrating Washington's birthday. This meeting was largely attended by members of the several councils in the county, including Chillicothe, Utica and Springhill. Every member of these councils was bound by a solemn oath not to indite or reveal any of the inner workings of the organization and the members were recognized by grips, signs and passwords. Its ranks were filled with old whigs and an occasional democrat. The main principle of the party was to put none but Americans on guard, or, rather that none but native-born citizens of the United States should hold office. Catholics were excluded from their councils and contended that all foreigners must reside in the United States twenty years before obtaining citizenship. The Constitution was made a part of the constitutions of their councils while "Old Glory" held a prominent place in the lodge room. The party, however, was prominent only a short period, the strength and influence of the foreign and Catholic vote of the country, together with other influences, causing the membership to dwindle from time to time until in a few years it was known only in memory.