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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 24, 1908)
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VOLUME 8, lSTUMBER
-JOHN:;- WQMH &ERN v, .&
mi.. 11 1 .... ..... !. T.lm TCf.f1i 1Fnrt,
tho democratic nominco for vico president, Is
'tnlcon from tho Lincoln (Nob.) Evening News:
John Worth Korn, who is to bo William
Jonnings Bryan's running mato in the Nobras
kan's third contest for tho presidency, is a dem
ocrat of tho old typo that has dominated tho
party in tho IIooHior state sinco tho days of "Old
Hickory." Ills democracy is an inheritance that
camo through a Virginia ancestry, his forefath-'
ors having been friends and neighbors of Thomas
.Tofforson, tho founder of tho party. And in
Indiana, tho stato of his birth, ho was- schooled
in politics under such rockribbed democratio
warriors as William II. English, tho vico presi
dential candidate when Goneral Winfleld Scott
Hancock ran for president against Garfield in
1880, Thomas A. Hondrlcks who, in 1884,
sharod tho victory that came to his party with
tho first election of Grovor Cleveland, and Daniel
W. Voorhees, the "tall sycamore of the Wa
bash," as senator from Indiana.
With tho passing of theso men, a little more
than two decades ago, Mr. Kern rose to tho lead
ership of his party in the state. His powers
as a speaker, his knowledgo of public affairs,
and his fidelity to his party's interests, made
him tho most popular domocrat in tho state.
Ho has fought in every campaign since then, and
after each battle he lost oftener than ho won
lie emerged from tho fight with unruffled spirit
and, like Mr. Bryan, was ready to be "up and
at them again."
Tho Miami Indian reservation in the east
central part of Indiana was opened for settle
ment in 184G. By tho time, tho last of the In
dians had departed for new hunting grounds
farther west tho settlers began pouring in.
Among the firsts to come was Dr. Jacob W. Kern,
a native of Virginia, and his wife, wjho was
Nancy Liggett before sho married the doctor in
Warren county, Ohio. The Kerns were pioneers.
In a little while there was a clearing and a
garden patch surrounding the little log cabin
ln..H.oward, county about four, miles southwest
ol the sito of the, city of Kokomo.
v It was iii this cabin', and 'amid' 'these sur
roundings, that John Worth Kern was bot'n 'De
cember 20, 1849," and it was there the'now vice
presidential candidate spout the first sfive years
of his life. " ' '
Prospects, however, were not bright to the
pioneers of that wooded country. Many fam
ilies, among them the Kerns, packed up their
belongings and moved to Iowa, forming a set-
tlomenti Known as thosVHaoster tflow,!' in Warren
county, abqut fifteen miles frtfm Des Moines.
There Dr. Kern practiced medicine as a country
physician while .the son, growing up, worked
on tho Xarm most of the year and went to school
in tho winter.
After ten years of residence in Iowa Mrs.
Kern died. Dr. Korn took his little family in
the fall of 1864 back to the old home in How
ard county, Indiana. The boy had made remark
able progress in school in Iowa,, for the limited
opportunities afforded. His father sent him to
the Indiana Normal Institute, a private school,
in Kokomo, two winters. Then he was sent to
Ann Arbor, Mich. There he took three years
in the English and law departments of the uni
versity of Michigan. At the age of nineteen he
was graduated from the law department.
In tho summer of 1869, before he had
reached the age of twenty, John Worth Kern
hung out a shingle and began practicing law in
Kokomo. He was considered something of a
prodigy. The lawyers at first were inclined to
make sport of him. But they soon changed their
minds. In spite of his youth he showed marked
ability as a lawyer, and he soon became popular.
His entrance into politics, for which he had
a liking, came soon after. He was nominated
for the state legislature by the democrats. The
district was hopelessly republican and Mr. Kern
was defeated, though he had the satisfaction of
carrying the city of Kokomo and cutting the
republican majority in the district down to a
Mr. Kern's first public office was that of
city attorney of Kokomo, which he held by elec
tion of tho city council for six terms.
-In 1884 Mr. Kern took a hand in the poli
tics of .the state. His pa.ty nominated him for
reporter of the Indiana supreme court. It was
the year of the victory of Grover Cleveland dver
Jdmes G. Blaine. The democratic ticket in In
diana was swept into power. Mr. Kern served
fqur .yeajs is. reporter o J.he .supreme court..
.hid uin. yviia nuuo wim u. uiorougpness sucn as
has been characteristic tff'the inanin everything
he has undertaken. v
Mr. Kern in Indianapolis has been active,
in every political campaign. He was nominated
for stato senator in the Indianapolis district in
1892', without solicitation on his part and was
elected. He served four years. He also served
as city attorney of Indianapolis. His popularity
throughout the state made him the candidate
rw t 1 ,
for governor in1 1900 and' agam in
he was defeated at both elections.
When Charles Warren Fairbanks returned
to Indianapolis in 1904, after he had received
the nomination for the vice presidency in the
republican convention in Chicago, the people
of his home city turned dut to greet him. One
of the first men to grasp his hand was John W.
Kern. In politics Mr. Kern and MrvrFairbanks
had been leaders of rival' parties--political ene
mies they were and in every campaign It was
a fight to the "last ditch." But when Mr. Kern
stood before that crowd and spoke' a welcome
to Mr. Fairbanks it was the heart expression
of an old friend and neighbor.
"John was always that way," was the com
ment of a rampant democrat of the "Old Hick
ory1' type, who couldn't understand how any
democrat could say so many good things about
Mr. Kern may properly be called an idol of
his party in Indiana. In Indianapolis, however,
he is best loved as a citizen. Tn the twenty-four
years of his residence there he has' shown an
interest in the well being of the city and has
stood for a high standard of citizenship. He
has been a member of the Indianapolis Commer
cial club and has served as its president, a posi
tion without emoluments, but 'one of honor in
which he had opportunities to do work for his
community.' The Commercial club' is non-partisan
republicans. - "
Mrs. Kern is a leader1 in social circles and
is widely known in literary and culture club
work. Mr. and Mrs. Kern have three children
Miss Julia Kern, the eldest, is a leader in tho
younger set of Indianapolis society. The other
children are John W. Kern, Jr., nipe years old,
and-William H.. Kern, five years. old.,v ,r,
. John W, Kern is a supporter, of .the policies
which have been advocated "by William ' 3'.
Bryan." He' is- a speaker of more" than 'usual
attractiveness. . .t , ... y, u; -,'!,; 4u.
rhe Commoner will be sent
'" - '. v "i ,. f ii
from now until Election Day
for Twenty-five Cents.-.'-TZ,
MR. KERN WITH HIS HOME FOLKS
t Johti Yfc Korri, democratic nominee for vice
presiuenx, visueu mr. juryan at Fairview Mon
day, July 13, returning to his home at Indianap
olis, July 15. People at Indianapolis gave Mr.
Kern a monqter non-partisan reception. The
Associated Press tells the story in this way:
Indianapolis, Ind., July 15. Tho reception
.given John W. Kern, the newly selected demo
cratic candidate for vice president of the United
States, held in the court house yard at 8:30
o'clock was as hearty and spontaneous as tho cit
izens of Indianapolis, regardless of politics, could
make it. Fully 5,000 people gathered in Dela
ware street, and in tho court house yard gave Mr.
Kern a hearty welcome and cheered him enthu
siastically tonight. Tho newly made candidate
addressed the big crowd for about twenty min
utes after being presented by Charles W. Fair
banks, vice prosldent of the United States. Four
years ago Mr. Korn presented Mr. Fairbanks
to a big non-partisan gathering under similar
The crowd which received Mr. Kern was in
a cheering mood, it cheered Mrs. Kern and Wil
liam Kern and John W. Kern, Jr., when they
came on the stand. Republicans applauded as
loudly as tho democrats.
Mr. Kern arrived in the city - little after
C o'clock tonight and was escorted to his home
by a large procession. Two hours later he went
to the court house with Vice President Fair
banks. Tho crowd gathered early and while
waiting for the exorcises to begin the Indianapo
lis military band gave a concert of popular airs
wiien uio carriage in wmcii Mr. Kern and
was the signal for a tumult of applause and
when th'e two distinguished mdn alighted they
were greeted by round after round of cheers.
Mayor Bookwalter extended a greeting as Mr.
Fairbanks and Mr. Kern asce -Zed the platform.
Mr. Bookwalter with a few brief remarks
presented Vice President Fairbanks. "We have
met," thermayor said, "to do honor to a fellow
citizen who has brought honor to all of us."
Tribute by Fairbanks
Vice President Fairbanks spoke for about
ten minutes, paying a fine tribute to his frienl
and neighbor,. John W. Kern.
Mr! Fairbanks spoke as follows:
"Mayor Bookwalter and Fellow Citizens
The duty which you have assigned to me Is a
very unusual and a very agreeable one. 'The
occasion does not impose upon me the necessity
of indulging in any extender! ntt0i.f.nAA ;,
.an . .
"Mr. Kern, I shall always remjeniber with
sincere appreciation the generduspd- hearty
welcome extended, to me four years .ago. It is
particularly gratifying now to me at this as
semblage to perform a similar office, for you.
"The 'honor which the Denver1 convention
bestowed upon you seems of the, greatest which
can be conferred upon an American citizen by
his political associates. Honor came to you in
a manner to enhance ;it. It earned through the
unanimous judgment of a great convention.
"While we owe allegiance to two great po
litical parties our difference of opinion has never
disturbed our friendships nor marred our per
gonal relations, X admire you as a friend, nelgh
hor and fellow citizen and rejoice' with you in
the great distinction which your party has been
pieasea 10 confer upon you in nominating you
function ia to nroqlrio nnrt w . J w.oc w wura ujjuu you m nominating you
Wo have gathered here without regard to
party alignment to welcome and congratulate a
fellow citizen who has been greatly honored.
We appreciate fully the fact that an honor which
comes to one of our fellow citizens Is an honor
iwUrni ntIro ltizenship. it i8 a gratifying fact
and SJh?55iUP,cl,y haS growa In Population
SS1?8?11!1 and commercial strength, we
;': rrVrr ".U1. uE"ony spirit. We still
campaigns are usually waged with ardor upon
both side3, but -e never' fail to applaud our
neighbor though he 'differ with us, If he wins
distinguished honors. We never withhold from
hiip an expression of our neighborly. Apprecia
S!5 ?? te"rest ln Ga othor's welfare and I
yice President Fairbanks arrived tho band start- grow wo ZiiSOW ?. .ur city may
L"When Johnny Comes Marching Home,7 This, S'olw$&?ntlmi reJIC
. Your neighbors know that no .matter how
much men may disagree with your political views
they respect your ability as a lawyer, your emi
nence as an oratotf, your integrity as a raan, your
uprightness as a neighbor and ypUr admirable
life within the sabred circle of home.
"I can notw!sli you successMnyour cause.
I can, however, exnress tho nnrfnin nnvlntion
imJib8&W? .w,1lr AfiimAlft &te0lased
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