Talk:Harry B. Hawes

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Needs Wikifying[edit]

User:Benjaminisrael (talk) added all the following content without wikifying (or sourcing). Most of the rest of the article is contained within it, it just needs to be worked on and added in where appropriate. I might work on it some, but any help would be appreciated. Thanks and happy editing! TysK 22:22, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Born in Covington, Kentucky, Hawes was the grandson of the pro-Confederacy governor of Kentucky, who fled from approaching Union troops hours after delivering his inaugural address. He moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1896, and began his career in law. He represented the Republic of Hawaii when it was annexed to the US. In 1896, Hawes was part of a group of young Democratic businessmen and lawyers who founded the Jefferson Club as a counterweight to the corrupt machine run by the blacksmith Edward Butler. Butler's machine, known as the combine, briefly operated a "boodle" system, openly posting in City Hall how much a businessman had to brib to get what kind of contract with the city. Among the Jefferson Club's other founders was another lawyer, Joseph Folk. Folk and Hawes, known as “Holy Joe” and “Handsome Harry,” would become among the most powerful politicians in Missouri, and later would be bitter enemies fighting each other for control of the police department.

Folk, a Tennessee native, was a corporate attorney who won a reputation for oratory when he stumped for William Jennings Bryan in 1896 at a time when St. Louis’ silk-stocking Democrats who supported the gold standard bolted from the party.
Hawes, a Kentucky native, was active in the Sons of the Confederacy. Hawes also stumped for Bryan. Both considered themselves reformers, but, as time went by, Hawes developed a reputation as a crafty politician while Folk developed a reputation as a fearless crusader against corruption and a stickler for enforcing every detail of the law.
Hawes succeeded Folk as head of the Jefferson Club in 1899. That year, Governor Lon Stephens, in an attempt to strengthen his influence among the anti-Butler forces, appointed Harry Hawes to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. Hawes then used his political influence to get the state legislature to transform the police department. Before the 1899 law passed, police officers were openly political employees appointed to four-year terms. The new law expanded the number of police officers, and forced all police officers to apply for their jobs and pass physical and mental tests before they could continue on the force. Although this meant that officially police officers were now civil service employees, the police board had the final say over who was hired. When the smoke cleared, every police officer in St. Louis was a Democrat. Hawes then ordered all police officers to join the Jefferson Club and assessed dues from all of them.

When some members of the Jefferson Club objected to the way Hawes had turned the club into a machine, he placated them by arranging for Folk to get the Democratic nomination for Circuit Attorney (the St. Louis equivalent of district attorney) in 1900. Folk won the election and proceded to prosecute corrupt politicians: first Republicans, then Butler and his allies among Democrats and later threatening Hawes's allies in the police department. When Folk, boosted by national publicity from journalists like Lincoln Steffens and William Allen White, announced his intention to run governor, Hawes left the police board to run against him. Folk won the governorship, while Hawes used his position in the Jefferson Club to continue to run the police department and collect dues from police officer. Because in Missouri, the Governor appoints four of the five members of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners (the fifth is the mayor), Folk was able to break the hold of the Jefferson Club over the police force. The reconstituted police board even hired Republicans to the force. But Hawes had the last laugh. Folk, although touted by Lincoln Steffens and others as presidential material, never won another political office, although he tried. Hawes, however, made a political comeback. Hawes entered the Missouri House of Representatives in 1916, but left to serve in World War I. In the election of 1920, Hawes was elected to the US House, where he served until resigning on October 15, 1926. The following month he was elected to the Senate. Because Senator Selden P. Spencer had died, Hawes took his senate seat three months early, December 6, 1926. He resigned on February 3, 1933, to focus on wildlife conservation and law.

Hawes died in Washington, DC.


Uploaded a large expansion of the article along with a second image of Hawes. I was able to confirm an source some, but not all, of the information BenjaminIsreal had posted above and included it accordingly. Sector001 (talk) 18:07, 14 April 2013 (UTC)