Enjoying political work, from the nature of it

ImageIt’s hard for me to imagine that some people actually enjoy politics.  Nevertheless, many of my ancestors have served in political capacities, from school boards to city councils to even state legislatures.  Many of them remained in politics for years, effectively leading their communities and making important changes in laws and public works.  My great-great grand uncle William T. Cammack was one of these.  His story is told in the Biographical Memoirs of Grant County, Indiana (1901):


The present efficient and popular Clerk of the Courts of Grant county is one of the most prominent of the younger generation of the citizens of the county.  He is truly a representative of the best interests of its citizens, being himself native to the soil, as he was born in Liberty township on the 17th of November, 1868.  Further and distinct mention is made of his parents, Willis and Sarah (Jay) Cammack, in another part of this volume.

The boyhood of William was passed on the Liberty township farm, receiving such education as the home schools afforded.  When he had attained the age of twenty he became associated with his brother, Bayard T., in the conduct of a general grocery store in South Marion, and so continued until the connection was broken by the death of his brother in August, 1892, after about four years of successful business.  Disposing of the business, he became a traveling salesman for the firm of Smith & Weaver, and later for Houck & Shields, and covered the territory in which they operated in Indiana.

In the fall of 1894 he was given a position as deputy by Wilson Addington, the then incumbent of the office of Clerk of Courts, remaining withe him during the remainder of his term of office.  Evan H. Ferree, successor of Mr. Addington, retained him in the same capacity, and by the expiration of the service of Mr. Ferree he had become so familiar with all the office details and had so impressed his party with his efficiency and obligin nature that he was made the nominee of the party for the position, his election following with a majority that spoke the popular sentiment.  The convention in which he was nominated was the largest ever held in the county, numbering 776 delegates and indicating the popular will with as close accuracy as might be possible in a representative body.

From boyhood Mr. Cammack has taken keen interest in the workings of party politics, early identifying himself with the Republican organization, and soon being called upon to represent the party in its various conventions and as a member of administrative committees.  While never an aspirant for forensic honors, the work done by him as a political counselor has been fully as efficient and beneficial to party success as of those whose efforts have brought them more prominently before the public as orators or writers.  Of rather a retiring nature, it has never been his inclination to make much noise; but, enjoying, like Senator Platt, the political work from the nature of it, he has taken a quiet course, his most effective efforts being in the retreat of his own office, by the fireside or at the club.  Possessing to a degree those excellent traits of character and good fellowship that draw men to him, and with a freedom of ostentation or offensive egotism that so often distinguishes the man given honors by his fellows, Mr. Cammack has the happy faculty of making friends even among the opposition, it being no strentch of the imagination to say that no more popular man, among Democrats, lives within the confines of Grant county.  His conduct of the duties of the office has tended to cement the wide circle of friends he already enjoyed.  His choice of assistants has been an equally fortunate one, John D. Ferree, John Duffey and Miss Eva Neal being among the most popular and obliging of the many deputies in the service of the county.

Being one of the popular drug firm of Evans & Cammack, he is identified with the business interests of Marion, and is found true to her interests, whatever the occasion or however the levy upon his own purse or time.  The late and successful carnival and street fair held under the auspices and patronage of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks found in Mr. Cammack one of its most enthusiastic supporters, the benefits derived to the city being incalculable.

In all of these organizations of which he is a member, such as the Elks, Knights of Pythias, Junior Order of American Mechanics, etc., he is found at the front in the advancement of the society, being often a leader in all those efforts tending to the greater extension and popularizing of the society.

It is said that all enthusiastic members of the Elks are “sports,” and the truth of the assertion is not diminished by the fact of Mr. Cammack’s relation thereto; his proclivities in that line are mainly confined to the game of base-ball, of which he is a devoted lover, or to the driving of a choice specimen of horse-flesh, finding no greater pleasure than when, by the side of his wife, he pulls the lines over a handsome beast, though it can not be claimed for him that he is a “crank” as a turfman.

Mr. Cammack was united in matrimony on his twenty-first birthday to Emeline M. Cox, daughter of William and Elizabeth Cox, of Liberty township; and from this union two children have issued: J. Ward, aged nine and Hazel C.

After a most pleasant companionship of a little more than ten years, the touch of an invisible and ruling hand was laid upon his associate, the response to which carried her beyond the spheres of earth, passing with a resignation and Christian fortitude to “the land beyond the waveless sea,” on the 24th of June, 1900.  She possessed a lovely character, the impress of which was stamped with an almost unconscious effort upon those with whom she had been in contact.  Devoted to her family and her church, she cared little for the praise of general society, rather being found in doing something for the alleviation of humanity or the advancement of the cause of the Master.

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2 Responses to Enjoying political work, from the nature of it

  1. bronxboy55 says:

    Politicians at the highest levels get the attention, but I think those working in closest contact with their constituents get the most done and enjoy the greatest satisfaction. I bet William Cammack was a good person, and cared about people. The fact that he loved base-ball was a clue.

  2. daisy says:

    It is so fascinating to see the ways in which peoples’ lives developed not too long ago. The focus seems to be on advancing and moving forward — but to the modern day reader, there always seems to be some sort of delay. Some days that weren’t mentioned. Because of course things took longer to accomplish without the advent of e-mail or the abundance of automobiles. I think it was in these times which appear to the modern reader almost as waiting periods, that the real growth and change occurred. Have you noticed that? That the speed at which decisions were made and acted upon seems so different than it is today?

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