Monday, May 19, 2014

Medary Montez Hathaway (1862-1912)

 Portrait from the "Trade Unions of South Bend: Labor Directory", 1898.

   For many years a prominent figure in Pulaski County, Indiana Democratic circles,  Medary Montez Hathaway was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1898 and in 1900 was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Kansas City. Born on March 11, 1862 in Winamac, Indiana, Medary M. Hathaway was the son of Richard Weller (1814-1871) and Nancy Quigley Hathaway (1833-1906). Bestowed the unusual name "Medary Montez" upon his birth, "Mont" Hathaway experienced the loss of his father at an early age, and along with his three siblings worked a small dairy farm that had been established by his mother, carrying milk to customers "night and morning." Hathaway received a limited public school education in Winamac during the wintertime and during the summer months worked a variety of odd jobs, including that of a farm hand and railroad "section hand."
  Around 1878 Hathaway took on a position as a teacher in Winamac and continued along this route for several years. He later was engaged in the manufacture of cigars with the Dilts Bros. Company for a period of two years, and in 1881 became deputy auditor of Pulaski County under Robert Connor. His service in this office extended eight years, and during this time began reading law under local attorney John Nye. Hathaway was admitted to the Pulaski County bar in 1890 and shortly thereafter established a practice in Winamac. He would later operate a firm with another attorney, Henry Steis, and also took an interest in real estate, controlling "about one thousand acres of land" located throughout Pulaski County.
    Medary Montez Hathaway married on his 24th birthday, March 11, 1886, to Elsie Morrow (1867-1952), with whom he would have one son, Morrow Quigley Hathaway, born in 1890. Active in the Winamac masonic chapter, Medary Hathaway joined the Winamac Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in 1883 and would later head that lodge as its worshipful master in 1892. Hathaway was a member of both the Tippecanoe and Logansport masonic lodges and was also affiliated with the Knights Templar Lodge, the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and the Order of the Eastern Star. 
    Described by the "Biographical History of Tippecanoe, White, Jasper, Newton, Benton. Warren and Pulaski Counties" as an "enthusiastic Democrat", Hathaway chaired the Pulaski County Democratic Committee for two terms and was later honored by being named to the Indiana Democratic Executive Central Committee, serving in this capacity for eight years. In 1896 Hathaway was talked of as potential state senate candidate, but declined the nomination. Two years later his name was brought forward again for high office, this time as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's Thirteenth District. On this occasion Hathaway accepted the honor, and his candidacy received a substantial write-up in the September 23, 1898 edition of the Marshall County Independent, which lauded Hathaway as a "self-made" man, noting:
"Here, where Medary M. Hathaway was born thirty-six years ago and has lived all of his life, and is known to every man, woman and child, nothing can be said of him that is new--nothing need be said. Whatever and all he is or has, has come by his own exertion and his unswerving honor and honesty to man and party."
From the Marshall County Independent, November 4, 1898.

    In that year's election Hathaway faced Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln Brick (1860-1908), a former prosecuting attorney for both St. Joseph and LaPorte County, Indiana. On election day November 4, 1898 it was Brick who emerged victorious, besting Medary Hathaway by a narrow margin, 23, 368 votes to 20, 886. Following his defeat Hathaway was selected as one of Indiana delegates to the 1900 Democratic National Convention being held in Kansas City that would nominate William Jennings Bryan for the Presidency.
    Four years following his defeat for Congress Hathaway was again a candidate for public office, this time running as the Democratic candidate for Circuit Court Judge of Indiana's Forty-Forth district. On election day 1902 he was dealt another loss, being defeated by the man he had studied law under, Republican candidate John C. Nye. Despite a narrow loss margin of only 36 votes, Hathaway continued to be active in public life in Winamac County for the remainder of his life. He died one month after his 50th birthday on April 10, 1912 and was shortly thereafter interred at the Winamac Cemetery

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