J. Edward Addicks

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J. Edward Addicks
John Edward Addicks.jpg
J. Edward Addicks, circa 1899.
Born (1841-11-21)November 21, 1841
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Residence "Miraflores", Myrtle Avenue, Claymont, Delaware[1]
Other names John Edward Charles O'Sullivan Addicks
Known for trying to buy a Senate seat in Delaware

John Edward Charles O'Sullivan Addicks (1841–1919) was an industrialist and capitalist who used his wealth from financing and building gas works to wage four unsuccessful campaigns for a United States Senate seat in Delaware. His struggle with Henry A. du Pont for control of the state government led to Delaware having both of its Senate seats vacant for a time and was one of the factors which led to election reform and the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913.

Early life and family[edit]

Addicks was born November 21, 1841 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to John E. C. O'Sullivan and Margretta McLeod (Turner) Addicks. He graduated from Philadelphia public schools at age 15 and entered business, first in wholesale dry goods, then in flour, and later in real estate. Addicks married Laura Butcher in 1864, with whom he had a daughter, Florence. After the death of his first wife, he married her sister Rosalie; they subsequently divorced. Addicks moved to Claymont, Delaware in 1877,[2] where he would eventually marry Ida Carr Wilson in 1898.[3]

Gas industry[edit]

Shortly after moving to Delaware, Addicks became involved with the natural gas business, then in its infancy. He built gas works in Jersey City, and in 1882 he was instrumental in organizing the Chicago Gas Trust. Addicks formed the Bay State Gas Company in Boston in 1884, and subsequently consolidated the Boston, Roxbury, and South Boston Gas companies into one trust in 1889.[4] Although he never officially relocated to Boston, in 1892 he was paid an annual salary of US$25,000 by the Boston Gas Syndicate.[5] In 1892, he purchased a controlling interest in the Brooklyn Gas Company, and was elected its president. Addicks' success at forming gas monopolies earned him the nicknames "Gas Addicks" and the "Napoleon of Gas".[6]

Political aspirations[edit]

He was a candidate in 1895 for the United States senatorship for Delaware, and, although he himself failed of election, was able to prevent that of his rival, Henry A. du Pont. The ex-speaker of the State House, having become governor through the death of Governor Marvil, was permitted to cast a ballot in the legislative convention, and opportunity was thus obtained for contesting the election of Du Pont, whom the Democrats and Populists refused to seat. In 1896 a quarrel arose in the Republican State Convention, assembled to elect delegates to the national convention of that year, and two sets of delegates, representing respectively the Du Pont and Addicks factions, were thereupon sent to St. Louis. The committee on credentials having decided in favor of the Du Pont delegates, the faction represented by these became known as the "regular" Republican party, while the Addicks faction assumed the name of Union Republican. When, in 1899, a new senator from Delaware was to be elected upon the expiration of the term of George Gray, Democrat, a deadlock ensued, and the senatorship remained vacant. Again, in 1900, two sets of delegates from Delaware were sent to the Republican National Convention, and on this occasion the committee on credentials ultimately decided in favor of the Addicks representatives. Despite the fact that he was thus placed in charge of the party organization in that State, Addicks was in 1901 once more defeated in the senatorial election. But at this time there were two senators to elect, so that the adjournment of the Legislature in March left Delaware totally unrepresented in the Senate of the United States[7]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schiek, Martha; Hester, Ray (2000). Claymont (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7385-0635-7. 
  2. ^ Toomey, Daniel P. (1892). Thomas Charles Quinn, ed. Massachusetts of To-day. Massachusetts Board of Managers, World's Fair, 1893. p. 244. 
  3. ^ "J. Edward Addicks Married.; Weds Mrs. Ida Carr Wilson at Claymont, Del." (PDF). The New York Times. 1898-12-15. 
  4. ^ Lawson, Thomas William (1906). Frenzied Finance. ISBN 1-152-25119-8. 
  5. ^ Parsons, Frank (1901). The City for the People. pp. 78–79. 
  6. ^ Morgan, Michael (2004). Pirates & Patriots, Tales of the Delaware Coast. Algora Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 0-87586-337-X. 
  7. ^ The new international encyclopaedia