Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Musker Louis Heavrin (1859-1944)

    A man of distinction in Ohio County, Kentucky, Musker Louis Heavrin is one of the most obscure public officials I've had a chance to write about in quite some time. This mysterious man has a few brief mentions on popular genealogical websites like Rootsweb or Ancestry.com, but other than these references not much else could be found on him......that was until I managed to locate a May 1899 edition of the Hartford, Kentucky Republican! This paper (found via the wonderful Chronicling America newspaper archive) breathed new life into Heavrin's story and yielded a substantial amount of facts on him, as well as the portrait of him above! During a long life of nearly eighty-five years, Heavrin rose to become a prominent attorney in Ohio County, a Republican candidate for Congress, and was a two-time delegate to the Republican National Convention, amongst other accomplishments.
   Born in Ohio County on June 12, 1859, Musker L. Heavrin was the son of Francis Marion and Atelia Felix Heavrin. Described as being "born and reared on the farm", Heavrin attended public schools local to his home county and later began a teaching career, in addition to attending the Hartford College. He began studying law at the University of Louisville's School of Law and is recorded by the Hartford Republican as "graduating with high honors" from that institution in the mid-1880s.
  After his graduation, Heavrin returned to Hartford and opened a law practice. Within a few years of embarking on his  profession Heavrin acquired a reputation as a lawyer of "sound judgment, tact and ability", and this sterling character assessment "soon placed him at the head of the bar in Western Kentucky." He married in September 1888 to Ms. Mary Mollie Cox (1868-1925). The couple was married for over thirty years until her passing in February 1925, and it is recorded that the couple remained childless.
   Heavrin began his pursuit of public office in 1897, running successfully for Ohio County Attorney. In 1899 he was mentioned as being a prospective Republican nominee for Attorney General of Kentucky, and this warranted a large write up on his life in the Hartford Republican. The Republican notes that Heavrin was a "lifelong Republican and a leading factor in the politics of this section. He has fought the battles for the success of the party on which depends the future of the country." It is uncertain whether or not Heavrin ever became the official Republican candidate, as newspapers mentioning him and his candidacy are sorely lacking! 

An article mentioning Heavrin's "possible" Attorney General nomination in 1899.

   While Heavrin's candidacy for Attorney General remains rather mysterious, he did venture into the field of politics once again in 1900, serving as one of Kentucky's delegates to the 1900 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. A small passage bearing Heavrin's name and home district of Hartford was featured in the Official Proceedings of the Convention and is shown below. Heavrin later became an RNC delegate for a second time, going to the 1916 Republican National Convention in Chicago that nominated Charles Evans Hughes for the Presidency.

   In 1906 Heavrin mounted a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, running as a Republican candidate against Democratic state senator Ben Johnson (1858-1950). When the results were tallied that November Heavrin came up short in the vote count, losing to Johnson by a vote of 15, 128 to 9, 819. Ben Johnson would go on to serve ten terms in Congress (1907-1927) representing Heavrin's home county of Ohio for twenty years. A result from that year's election appeared in the Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book for 1907 and is posted below.

  After his unsuccessful campaign for Congress, Heavrin was named as the Postmaster of Hartford, Kentucky in 1907. He served in this post until 1912 and afterward returned to his earlier career as an attorney. In 1918 Heavrin again threw his hat in the political ring, becoming a candidate for the Kentucky State Court of Appeals, and a large portrait mentioning his candidacy is shown below. Again, it is unknown whether or not Heavrin was successful in his campaign due to the lack of online information on him!!
   M.L. Heavrin's life after 1918 is almost totally unknown, although Kentucky newspaper notices on him give mention that he continued in the practice of law. He died of apoplexy in Owensboro, Kentucky on February 8, 1944, in his 85th year. Heavrin was later interred at the Rosehill Elmwood Cemetery in Owensboro alongside his wife Mary.

                                From the November 1, 1918 edition of the Hartford Republican.

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