Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lampson Parker Sherman (1821-1900)

From "Beginnings: Reminisces of Early Des Moines"

     A member of the prominent Sherman family of Ohio, Lampson Parker Sherman could count among his brothers John Sherman (a U.S. Senator from Ohio, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes and U.S. Secretary of State under President McKinley) and famed military leader William Tecumseh Sherman, commanding general of the U.S. Army from 1869-1883. While his two brothers found nationwide prominence in their respective fields, Lampson P. Sherman gained a measure of notoriety in his own right, being a newspaper publisher and a founding father of Des Moines, Iowa, helping to author that city's charter in 1851. Sherman would go on to serve as the third Mayor of Des Moines and lived long enough to see the burgeoning city become Iowa's most populous, as well as its capital.
  The seventh son in a family of eleven children, Lampson P. Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio on October 13, 1821, being born two years following William Tecumseh and two years before John. Their parents, Charles Robert and Mary Hoyt Sherman , had married in Connecticut and both were residents of Ohio by 1811. Lampson P, Sherman's early life in Ohio saw him begin a long-term connection with newspaper publishing, being on the staff of the Cincinnati Gazette, where he was employed as a foreman. He married in Ohio in 1845 to Mary A. Gitchell, who died shortly after their marriage on May 1, 1848. The couple is recorded as having one son, Charles Hammond Sherman  (1846-1916).
   In the year following his wife's death, Lampson Sherman left Ohio and removed to Iowa, settling in the then infant community of "Fort Des Moines". He returned to newspaper publishing shortly after his relocation, establishing the "Fort Des Moines Weekly Gazette", mentioned as being the first Whig news publication to be published in the area. Sherman served as both its editor and publisher, and this paper later underwent changes in ownership (as well as several name changes) and continued on for many years as "The Iowa State Register". In December 1851 Sherman remarried in Des Moines to Rebecca Lawson (1830-1905), later having eight children: Stephen L'Hommedieu (1852-54), Mary Elizabeth (died in infancy in 1855), James Edward (1856-1863), John (1858-1948), Elmer Ellsworth (1861-1863), Minnie Edith (1854-1952), William T. (died in infancy in 1867) and Lampson Parker Jr. (1868-1955).
  Beginning in the early 1850s Sherman began to branch out into other aspects of Des Moines public life, helping to draft the "Fort Des Moines" city charter in 1851, and three years later was elected as the Mayor of "Fort Des Moines". In the year following his mayoralty, he served as "Fort Des Moines" city recorder and later as city treasurer, being elected to the latter office in 1858. Sherman would also hold a seat on the Des Moines City Council after it dropped the "Fort" from its name, serving here from 1869-1870.

Lampson P. Sherman, from Andreas' Historical Atlas of Iowa, 1875.

   Active in banking and finance in addition to his political activities in the city, Lampson Sherman served as the secretary of the Equitable Life Insurance Company under his younger brother Hoyt beginning in 1867. Also in 1867 Sherman was appointed to the position of U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for Iowa's Fifth District, holding this post for twelve years. A past deputy district grand master of the International Order of Odd Fellows, Sherman also maintained a membership in the Iowa State Horticultural Society, and for a time served as the treasurer of the Board of the Iowa State Agricultural College from 1866-68.
   Lampson Parker Sherman died at age 79 on November 21, 1900, at his home in Des Moines. He had outlived his younger brother, Senator John Sherman, by exactly a month (the latter having died on October 22), and Lampson's cause of death is recorded in his Iowa State Bystander obituary as being the result of a "stroke of paralysis" he suffered a few days prior to his death. His wife Rebecca survived him by five years, and following her death in 1905 was interred alongside him in the Sherman family plot at Des Moines' Woodland Cemetery. History has also shown that Des Moines hasn't forgotten the past services of Lampson P. Sherman, as his home in Des Moines was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

From the Iowa State Bystander, November 22, 1900.

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