Sunday, October 19, 2014

DeLanson Alson Newton Chase (1875-1953)

From the 1919 Kansas Legislative composite.

  Oddly named Vermont native DeLanson Alson Newton Chase would go on to find success in both business and politics in Kansas during the early part of the 20th century. A member of both houses of the Kansas legislature, Chase achieved his highest degree of public prominence in January 1925 when he entered upon the office of Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, serving in this capacity for four years.
    A native of Jay, Vermont, DeLanson A. N. Chase was born in that Orleans County town on April 26, 1875, the son of Arthur and Melissa Burdick Chase.  Mentioned as being a descendant of Ohio Governor and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, Delanson and his family relocated from Vermont to Atlantic, Iowa when he was still a child. They would reside here for about nine years, later removing to the small town of Leoti in Wichita County, Kansas in 1887. Here DeLanson would attend the public school system until the age of fourteen, whereafter he was apprenticed to be a harness maker in Leoti. 
   Chase made his first venture into business life in 1891, when (upon receiving a loan of $400 from his father) he established a "flour and feed store" in Leoti. He continued to run this business for about a year, later selling it off and using that capital to put himself through college. Enrolling at the Central Business College at Leavenworth, Chase graduated from that school in the class of 1893 and in that same year married Harriett Annette Ayer, a high-school student in Leavenworth. Sources relate that Chase (aged 18) and Ayer (aged 16) married "one hour before her graduation from the Leavenworth High School" and that Ayer had the distinction of being the "first and only married woman ever graduated from that institution." The youthful couple would later become the parents of two children, Donna Augusta (born 1900) and DeWayne Alson Newton (1902-1985).
  The late 1890s saw Chase return to the flour and feed business for a time and later relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as a government tagger and livestock inspector. During this time he studied law at a night school in Omaha and in 1901 was admitted to the bar. He would practice law in Omaha for one year and in 1903 reestablished his business roots, organizing Chase & Co., a "wholesale manufacturing extract,  spice, tea and coffee house." Chase served as the president and general manager of this company until its sale in 1907, and in the following year took work with the National Spice Company as its "western representative."
   In 1909 DeLanson Chase returned to Kansas, settling in the city of Pleasanton in Linn County. He would soon become affiliated with several businesses concerns, including the Monument and Ice Company of Pleasanton and the Burke Printing Company in Fredonia. Chase himself would establish both the D.A.N. Chase Ford Motor Co. and the D.A.N. Chase Dry-Goods Company and also held the presidency of Pleasanton's First National Bank.

From the Kansas City Star, 1928.

    D.A.N. Chase first entered political life in Kansas in the mid-1900s when he began service as treasurer of Pleasanton, Kansas school district. In November 1916 he was elected as Linn County's representative to the Kansas General Assembly and held seats on the committees on State Affairs, Printing and Rules during the 1917-1919 legislative session. He would win re-election to the house in November 1918 and during the 1919-21 session served as Speaker pro tem of the house. 
   In November 1920 Chase won election to the Kansas State Senate and after two terms here received the nomination for Kansas Lieutenant Governor in 1924. In November of that year he and Republican gubernatorial candidate Benjamin S. Paulson were elected, officially taking office in January 1925. During his final year as Lieutenant Governor Chase launched his own campaign for the Kansas Governorship, and throughout 1928 stumped throughout the state. Recorded as visiting "nearly 500 Kansas towns" during the course of his campaign, Chase was one of three Republican gubernatorial candidates in that year's primary, the others being Clyde Martin Reed (1871-1949) and former House Speaker John Daniel Miller Hamilton (ca. 1892-1973). As the Alma Enterprise reported in its January 2, 1928 edition, both Chase and Reed's lengthy names left the newspaper editors scratching their heads, noting that:
"We can never get much excited about a candidate who requires three front handles to identify him. Perhaps they are not to blame because their parents so labeled them, but why didn't they drop one or two of those initials before they got into politics."

                                                                      From the Alma Enterprise, June 29, 1928.

   On the election day primary 1928 it was the short named candidate (Clyde M. Reed) who claimed victory as the Republican nominee for Governor. He would go on to win the governorship that November and after leaving that office was elected as U.S. Senator from Kansas in 1939, serving until his death a decade later. Despite losing the primary Chase would serve out the remainder of his term as Lieutenant Governor, which concluded in January 1929. 
  Little else is known of Chase's life after he left office. For many years prior had been a distinguished Mason in Linn County, being both a past grand master of the Pleasanton and member of the Fort Scott Consistory of Scottish Rite Masons. He remarried at some point prior to his death to a Ms. Emma Dutt, who survived him upon his death in Ottawa, Kansas on October 19, 1953. A burial location for both Chase and his wife is unknown at this time.
From the 1925 Kansas State Senate composite portrait.

From the Iola Register, October 20, 1953.

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