John W. Langley

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For other people named John Langley, see John Langley (disambiguation).
John W. Langley
A man with thin, black hair wearing a black jacket and vest, patterned tie, and white shirt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1907 – January 11, 1926
Preceded by Francis A. Hopkins
Succeeded by Andrew Jackson Kirk
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
1886–1890
Personal details
Born (1868-01-14)January 14, 1868
Floyd County, Kentucky
Died January 17, 1932(1932-01-17) (aged 64)
Pikeville, Kentucky
Resting place Langley Cemetery, Floyd County, Kentucky
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine G. Langley
Children
  • Katherine Bentley, later Hinton (1907-1976)
  • John Wesley Langley, Jr. (1912-1979)
  • Susanna Langley (d. 1890)
Profession Lawyer

John Wesley Langley (January 14, 1868 – January 17, 1932) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky, husband of Katherine Gudger Langley.

Born in Floyd County, Kentucky, Langley attended the common schools and then taught school for three years. He attended the law department of the National, Georgetown, and Columbian (now George Washington) Universities in Washington, D.C., for an aggregate period of eight years.

He was Examiner in the Pension Office and a member of the Board of Pension Appeals, Law Clerk in the General Land Office, and from 1899 to 1907, he was Disbursing and Appointment Clerk of the Census Office. He served in the State House of Representatives from 1886 to 1890.[1]

Langley was elected in March 4, 1907, as a Republican to the Sixtieth and to the nine succeeding Congresses where he became known as "Pork Barrel John." He served as chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds (Sixty-sixth through Sixty-eighth Congresses).[2]

He resigned in January 11, 1926, after being convicted of illegally selling alcohol. Langley had deposited $115,000 in his bank account over a three-year period despite earning only $7,500 a year as a congressman. He had arranged for "medicinal" alcohol to be released to New York-based bootleggers during prohibition. He also tried to bribe a Prohibition officer.[3]

His wife Katherine, then ran for his seat and won in the next election, declaring that her husband had been the victim of a conspiracy and resolving to clear his name. She also won the next election. He was paroled from the Atlanta Penitentiary in 1929, and with Katherine's intervention, President Calvin Coolidge granted John Langley a parton on December 20, 1928. He sent out a Christmas message to his wife's constituents and a week later declared his intention to run for office (even though the President had stipulated his clemency was predicated on never running for office again).[4] He self-published a book They Tried to Crucify Me (1929) hoping to gain back his political clout.[5]

He resumed the practice of law in Pikeville, Kentucky, where he remained in good favor with his former constituents. Polly V. Hall, a Republican who was 98 years old in 1987 when she was interviewed, could remember his name (though not his wife's), and she stated emphatically that "... he was a good man ... never heard nothing bad said about him."[6]

John Langley died on January 17, 1932, from pneumonia.[4] He was interred in Floyd County, Kentucky.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Okrent, Daniel (2011). Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. NY: Scribner. p. 275. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Tabler, Dave (15 July 2013). "He wears the breeches but the lady has brains". Appalachian History Stories, quotes and anecdotes. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Women in Congress, 1917-2006" (PDF). Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.: Prepared Under the Direction of The Committee on House Administration of the U.S. House of Representatives (House document 108-223). 2006. p. 76. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Harrison, Lowell H.; Klotter, James C. (1997). A New History of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 355. 
  6. ^ "Interview with Polly V. Hall, July 29, 1987". Interview by Linda Wireman. 1987OH228 WS 083. "Remembering the Vote Oral History Project". Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "John Wesley Langley". Findagrave. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Francis A. Hopkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 10th congressional district

March 4, 1907 – January 11, 1926 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Andrew J. Kirk