VOORHEES-Daniel Wolsey - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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VOORHEES-Daniel Wolsey

Daniel Wolsey VOORHESS, 1827-1897

Senate Years of Service: 1877-1897 Party: Democrat VOORHEES, Daniel Wolsey, (father of Charles Stewart Voorhees), a Representative and a Senator from Indiana; born in Liberty Township, Butler County, Ohio, September 26, 1827; moved with his parents to Indiana in early childhood; attended the common schools of Veedersburg, Ind.; graduated from Indiana Asbury (now De Pauw) University at Greencastle in 1849; studied law (In Crawfordsville, Indiana with Henry Smith Lane- Jeff Scism); was admitted to the bar in 1851 and commenced practice in Covington, Ind.; moved to Terre Haute and continued the practice of law; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1856 to the Thirty-fifth Congress; United States district attorney for Indiana 1858-1861; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1861-March 3, 1865); presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Thirty-ninth Congress and served from March 4, 1865, to February 23, 1866, when he was succeeded by Henry D. Washburn, who contested the election; elected to the Forty-first and Forty-second Congresses (March 4, 1869-March 3, 1873); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1872 to the Forty-third Congress; appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Oliver H.P.T. Morton; reelected in 1885 and again in 1891, and served from November 6, 1877, to March 3, 1897; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on the Library (Forty-sixth Congress), Committee on Finance (Fifty-third Congress); died in Washington, D.C., April 10, 1897; interment in Highland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Ind.

SOURCES: American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Jordan, Henry D. 'Daniel Wolsey Voorhees.ยด Mississippi Valley Historical Review 6 (March 1920): 532-55; Kenworthy, Leonard S. The Tall Sycamore of the Wabash, Daniel Voorhees. Boston: B. Humphries, 1936


Source: History of Fountain County, Indiana. Paducah, Ky: Taylor Publishing Company, 1983.

b. 9-26-1827 Butler Co OH - moved age 2 months to Ft. Co IN - grew up on father's farm in VanBuren Twp few miles NE of what is now Veedersburg. Grad from Asbury (DePauw) in 1849 and admitted to Bar in 1850. Practiced law in Covington and at one time was in same law firm with Edward A. Hannigan & Lew Wallace. 1856 candidate for Congress during campaign made the statement that if he was not elected, he would move out of the district. Debated slavery issues Defeated in the election about 230 votes by James Wilson and moved to Terre Haute where he lived until his death. 1858 - appointed US District Attorney for IN - achieved national recognition when, at the request of the governor of Indiana, he defended John E. Cook, follower of John Brown. While the defense was unsuccessful and his client was exec by the State of VA his speech brought him country-wide fame as an orator. 1860 - Congress - served in the Hosue of Rep during the Civil War. Consistely supported Pres Lincoln - requests for various measures to improve the fighting strength of the Union Army and supported Pres Johnson's efforts to reunite the nation after war. Accused of being a member of the knights of the Golden Circle, an organization sympathietic to the South and in 1866, at the insistence of Thad Stevens who led the impreachment fight aginst pres Andrew Johnson he was denied his seat in the House on an almost strict party line vote. V. opposed Oliver P. Morton for US Senate seat in 1868 but was unsuccessful. He was ret to Congress in 1868 where he served from March 4, 1869 until march 3, 1873. In 1876, he campaigned intensively for "Blue Jeans' Williams, Dem candidate for governor of In who defeated Ben Harrison and in 1877, apointed by Governor Williams to fill the unexpired Senate term of Oliver P. Morton. He was then reelected to the Senate for 3 full terms - served in Senate over 19 years 3 months which is longer than any other Senator has represented indiana in the senate. V. promponent of Middle West and advanced those measures which he believed would be helpful to his section of the country. He supported most of the Populist doctrines and fought increase of currency, both through the issuance of green backs & through the free coinage of silver. He is also given credit for the establishment of the Library of Congress. In 1896, the Repub carried the legislature and elected Albert J. Beverage as senator retiring Daniel W. Voorhees and he died on April 20, 1897 and is bur at Terre Haute, Ind. In 1880, he married Anna Hardest a d/o one of the founders of Asbury college whom he met while attending Asbury and they had 4 children. He was known as the "Tall Sycamore of the Wabash."

Source: Bartlow, Bert S. Centennial History of Butler County, Ohio. Indianapolis?: B.F. Bowen, 1905 p 926

Daniel W. Voorhees was born in Liberty Township, not far from the old Spring meeting house, Sept 26, 1827 and was only two months old when his parents removed to Fountain County, Indiana where they later resided. His father, Stephen Voorhees was born in Mercer County, Kentucky 1798 and emigrated with his parents in 1804 to Butler County Ohio and in December 1827 moved to the farm in Fountain County Indiana where he died several years ago. His grandfather, Peter Voorhees was born in NJ and soon after the close of the Revolutionary War emigrated to Kentucky. Peter Voorhees' wife, whose maiden name was Van Arsdale, was born at Brant's Station then a fort. Her father, Luke VanArsdale, fought at the battle of Blue Licks, and distinguished himself there and elsewhere against the Indians under Daniel Boone. His great grandfather, Stephen Voorhees was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and fought at Princeton, Monmouth and other celebrated historic fields. His paternal ancestors came from Holland, the original name being VanVoorhees. Mr. Voorhees' mother, Rachel Elliott born in Maryland of Irish ancestry was married in 1821. Daniel W was the third child and was brought up on a farm about 10 miles from Covington Indiana remaining there until 1845. In 1845 he entered Asbury University whence he graduated in 1849. Soon after graduating he entered the law office of Lane & Wilson at Crawfordsville and the following spring settled to practice at Covington, the county seat of Fountain County. Here E.A. Hannegan, formerly US senator having heard him deliver a 4th of July oration made proposales for a law partnership taking effect April 1852. In June 1853, Mr. Voorhees was appointed by Governor Wright prosecuting attorney of the circuit court, in which position he soon established a fine reputation as a criminal lawyer and broke up a nest of desperadoes whose headquarters wer ein lafayette. In 1856 he was nominated by acclamation Democratic candidate for Congress but was defeated by 230 majority in a district previously Republican by 2600. In November 1857 he removed to Terre Haute, the county seat of Vigo County, and the ensuing April 1858, was appointed US District Attorney for the state of Indiana by President Buchanan in which position he increased his reputation as an orator and lawyer. He was elected to congress in 1860 and 1862 and in 1864 was again a successful candidate but in this last election his majority was contested by his opponent, Henr D. Washburne who obtained the seat. IN 1866 Mr. Voorhees refused the nomination but in 1868 was elected and again in 170. In 1872 he was defeated by Morton C. Hunter. As a precursor of the late war the insurrection at Harpers Fery, VA in which John Brown and others were convicted and hanged in 1859, will always stand prominent in the history of the country. At that time the gifted A.P. Willard was governor of Indiana and the chairman of the Indiana Democracy and it was with sorrow and dismay that his friends learned that Col. J.E. Cook, arrested with "Ossawatomie Brown," was a brother of Governor Willards' wife. Governor Willard was not the man to turn his back upon a brother or a friend. His first thought was of "Dan" Voorhees who was then at Vincennes arguing a case before Judge Michael F. Burke. Governor Willard sent a message to Vincennes and Judge Burke continued the case while Mr. Voorhess immediately started to consult Governor WIllard. Several gentlemen advised him not to undertake the defense, but he emphatically declared his resolution to defend his friends brother regardless of consequences. He went and took part in that celebrated trial. The result is known. John Brown was convicted of murder and treason, but Mr. Voorhees succeeded in having a Virginia jury convince Cook of murder only, thus brining him within the pardoning power of the governor. Governor Wise however refused to pardon and Cook was executed among the others. This was, however, the beginning of Mrs. Voorhee's national reputation. His speech was listened to byt he vast audience with rapt attention and met with unequaled approbation. He was the recipient of enthusiastic congratulations, and his speech was published all over the country and in Europe. From this time forward he occupied a conspicuous place in the eyes of the public. At the bar on the stump and in the halls of congress, he soon became a man of mark. Mr. Voorhee's political career and principles, his power as a parliamentary orator and statesman are now a portion of the history of the nation. From the sobriquet of the "tall Sycamore of the Wabash," so often and familiarly applied to Mr. Voorhees, it will be inferred that he was of tall stature. He stood 6' and 1" in height and weight over 200 pounds. In 1850 he married Miss Anna Hardesty of Greencastle Indiana and to them were born four children. Mr. Voorhees was appointed November 6 1877 to succeed Governor Morton in the US Senate. The issue in the eelection of 1878 in Indiana was wehterhe should be elected by the legislature to succeed his appointment. On this issue the legislature pledged to his support was elected by a majority of over 30,000 over all opposition. He was elected to succeed himself in 1885 and again in 1891 and served continuously until March 4, 1897, a period of almost 20 years in which he accomplished a notable work in diverting the county from the sectional issues growing out of the Civil War. As a politician Voorhees ranks with Lincoln himself. As senator he was assiduous in his attentions to thepublic needs. He was always present, and allowed no measure of his political opponents to pass wihtout the severest scrutiny. With him vigiliance was the price of liberty. He died soon after retiring from the senate on April 10, 1897.
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