Sunday, November 30, 2008

James H. Hart, author of "In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg"

Before reading on, you will want to refer back to and read my November 16, 2008 post, In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg, if you have not previously done so.

The poem in the above post and dedicated to Governor Steunenberg was written by a James H. Hart and I was trying to find more information about this gentleman. Not surprisingly, my fellow blogger and history and political junkie, Tara Rowe, located and sent me the article below. I also later found the complete book available online in case you have other Southern Idaho "Progressive Men" to look up.

Progressive Men of Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Fremont and Oneida Counties, Idaho. Chicago. A.W. Bowen & Co., 1904. You can view the complete book and the article being cited here by clicking on James H. Hart.

Knowing a bit more about James Hart helps in my understanding of his glowing praise and eulogy of the martyred governor. We discover that Hart was a Democrat (where did all those Steunenberg Idaho Democrats and Populists go?) and was a Mormon. Frank Steunenberg was of course a Democrat and at a time when the Mormons were experiencing a great deal of discrimination and downright hatred, he was a supporter and ally. The governor did not subscribe to Mormon beliefs but he did believe they were "good citizens" and opposed the persecution that was prevalent during that time as Mormon influence spread from Utah to throughout Idaho and the West. Although I have not found any specific reference, Hart and the Governor undoubtedly came in direct contact from time to time. Hart was very active politically, had been a Democratic member of the lower house in the Idaho legislature in the the late 1800's and was elected Judge of Probate in 1900. Hart probably wrote the poem, In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg, shorty after the Haywood trial had ended.

The following provided courtesy of Tara Rowe.

Progressive Men of Southern Idaho (Illustrated). Chicago: A.W. Bowen & Co., 1904.

Entry for Hon. James H. Hart, pages 205-207:

History does not always make just and adequate return to the souls which have helped to create it. It is often arbitrary, whimsical and partial, celebrating as heroes mere opportunists and letting the pioneers, the real crusaders, go by unclaimed, unhonored. It is the province of this compilation to leave the speculations of historical disquisitions and to preserve the biographical features of the life careers of those who have, by their able endeavors and progressive connection with the development of any line, civil, professional or industrial, of the advancement of the community of their residence, rendered themselves prominent, active or beneficial. Most intimately connected with the history of Bear Lake County, Idaho, has been the gentleman whom we now have under consideration. Hon. James H. Hart, of Bloomington, who has most capable held the highly important office of probate judge of Bear Lake county, in which he rendered most satisfactory service by his erudition, dignity, courtesy and marked spirit of equity.

Judge James H. Hart was born in Abingford, Huntingtonshire, England, on June 19, 1825, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Marriott) Hart, descending from ancestors whose lineage runs back unbroken through many generations of active usefulness in his native land, his paternal grandfather, John Hart, being a native of the same county with himself and where his father was also born. Thomas Hart was the third in a family of eight children and engaged in the vocation of a builder for his life work, and, after performing most creditable labors in his chosen profession, and after attending with faithfulness to his duties as parish clerk and sexton for over half a century, his remains now repose in the old-time cemetery in Abingford, side by side with the mother of Judge Hart, who long ago passed to the Great Beyond.

In this religious atmosphere Judge Hart attained maturity, acquiring the elements of a solid literacy education in the parish schools and supplementing this instruction in the full course of stenography, following this as a profession for some time. A man beyond the ordinary in reasoning powers and mental endowment, James Hart was early convinced of the truthfulness of the religious doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and became a member of that body when he was twenty-two years old, later being called by the church to fill important missions in London, Birmingham, the Island of Jersey, Germany and in several departments of the church established in France, notable about them being St. Malo, Paris, and Havre, his efforts receiving attention and securing large additions to the members of the faithful. From France he was transferred to St. Louis, Mo., in 1857, in which city he was prominent in church activities and most capably performed the onerous duties of managing editor of the newspaper publication entitled St. Louis Luminary, in addition to these duties diligently working at carpentry. From St. Louis in 1857 he was placed in change of an ox train of Mormon emigrants en route for Salt Lake City, and brought them safely through to their destination, arriving there on October 9th of the same year.

Remaining in Salt Lake City and vicinity, engaged in various occupations until 1864, Judge Hart then made his home in the new town of Bloomington, Idaho, where he became a worker in wood, being a carpenter and also making all the doors and tables of the place. He was also commissioned as the first postmaster of Bloomington, holding the position for seven years, was chosen and served as a popular justice of the peace, and in 1870 he was nominated and elected judge of probate of the county, discharging the important functions of the office with great acceptability for the term of four years and thereafter representing the people of his district in the lower house of the state Legislature for six consecutive years, and later, in 1900 being nominated again, as the candidate of the Democratic party, for his former judicial office, judge of probate, and receiving a flattering endorsement and election at the polls. This term of office expired on January 10, 1903. For the past twenty years Judge Hart has practiced the legal profession at Paris, and occupies a leading and prominent position among the members of the bench and bar, having many friends and being noted for his constancy to his clients, his comprehensive grasp and presentation of the merits of his cases before the courts, and the affable courtesy of his manner.

Always deeply devoted to the interests of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Judge Hart has from the first held position therein, rendering also distinguished serve for a long term of years as one of the stake presidency, being in this connection the superintendent and manager of the Fielding Academy in Paris.

Miss Emily Ellingham, a native of Hertfordshire, England, and Jude Hart were united in matrimony in the city of London in 1852. She was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Ellingham, and of this union is there is but one surviving child, James Ellingham Hart, now serving in his second term of four years as auditor and recorder of Bear Lake county. By his second wife, Sabina Schieb, to whom he was united in 1862, he had nine children, of whom seven are now living. The oldest, Charles H., is serving his second term as judge of the First judicial district of Utah. The others are Alice C., who married Anson Osmond, has seven children and lives in Bloomington; Eugene S., a popular teacher in Fremont County; Arthur W., an attorney at Preston, Idaho. Both of the last named have preformed missionary service, the first in Missouri, the latter in Germany. Alfred A., of Bloomington, a graduate of the Agricultural College of Utah, has recently performed a mission of two years in Wisconsin; Hemoine, a graduate of the Agricultural College of Utah, is a teacher at St. Charles; Rosina, now Mrs. Ivan Woodward of Franklin, Idaho; the family includes also one adopted son, Henry J. Hart, a carpenter of Montpelier, Idaho.

To sum up, there is no one individual throughout the who extent of southern Idaho who has more completely lived up to the high standing of his ideals than has Judge Hart, and it stands in evidence, without an attempt at contradiction, that no man has filled important functions with greater fidelity, or ever discharged his duties as a citizen or church member with a clearer perception of their requirements or with a nobler result.

Other things to be thankful for:

My L.A. Lakers are 13-1.

I received my book and CD of Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails.

I still have a couple more days off.

I just found some new kinfolk with historical family information & items of interest.

**Sorry if Blogger spacing and formatting doesn't seem to be cooperating this morning.

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