Going back 124 years ago in 1896, the U.S. Presidential election was held November 3rd just like this year’s election date. I have a newspaper dated October 3, 1896, “The Blackfoot News.” It was published by Percy Jones. It is interesting to read what Mr. Jones published 124 years ago during the presidential election of 1896.

Jones was very much in favor of William Jennings Bryan, one of the presidential candidates. He wrote about Bryan’s speeches and campaign talks. Mr. Jones also published Governor W.J. McConnell’s election proclamation which follows.

In addition, Jones published an address by C.A. Walsh, who was a member and the secretary of the Democratic National Committee. His address was given at Boise September 25, 1896, and was given to voters of the Democratic Party. He told of Senator Dubois leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Silver Republicans. Walsh’s address also follows.



It is ordained by law that a general election be held throughout the state on the 3rd day of November next, for the selection of state, district and precinct officers.

Now therefore I proclaim and direct a general election be held at the established voting places within this state on the 3rd of November, 1896 for the following officers:

Three Presidential Electors

One Representative to Congress

State Officers — Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, Sate Treasure and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mine Inspector, Justice of the Supreme Court.

Legislative Offices — the County of Bingham shall elect one Senator, two Representatives.

There shall be elected in each county of the State, a Sheriff, Treasurer, Probate Judge, Assessor, Coroner, Surveyor, three County Commissioner, each one of who shall be an elector of the district he represents and two Justices of the Peace and Constable in each precinct.

The proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State, providing for the separation of the offices of Probate Judge and County Superintendent of Public Instruction will be submitted to the elects; also the question as to whether Section Eighteen of Article Five of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be so amended as to extend to women the equal right of suffrage; also the question as to whether Section Eighteen of Article Five of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be so amended as to abolish the office of the District and create the office of County Attorney.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the great seal of the State. Done at the city of Boise, the capital of Idaho, this 18th day of September, A.D., 1896 and the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and twenty-first.

[Seal] W.J. Mconnell


Attest: I.W. Garrett, Sec. of State.

Secretary Walsh’s Address

Boise, Ida. Sept. 25, 1896.

“To the Democratic voters of Idaho:

The conspicuous service of Senator Dubois of your state to the cause of silver has made him one of the central figures in the great fight for bimetalism now being waged in the United States.

To the action of Silver Republicans in their ever persistent effort to force the free silver issue to the front in national affairs; to their bold, patriotic stand in St. Louis when the national Republican convention endorsed the single gold standard, is to be attributed largely the issue between the single and double standard now being waged throughout the country.

Senator Dubois was a recognized leader in all of these great movements. He severed his connection with his own party for patriotic reason and to advocate the cause which you have so deeply at heart. A combination of Democrats against him in his own state cannot be justified upon any ground. The return of Senator Teller and Senator Dubois to the Senate is essential in this fight for silver.

Any attempt on the part of the organized Democracy of this state to prevent his return would injure the success of Mr. Bryan in every state where there are Silver Republicans. It is not putting it too strongly to say that the national Democratic Committee believes there is no one thing which at the present time would aid the cause of Mr. Bryan more than a clear and distinct understanding throughout the county that the Democrats of Idaho intend to return Mr. Dubois to the senate.

Voicing the sentiment of the Democratic National Committee, they wish it distinctly understood that they repudiate the so-called agreement entered into by the Democrats and Populists in their recent state conventions (so far as the Democrats are concerns( in relation to the election of a United States senator in place of Senator Dubois.

And further, that the Democrats of Idaho are released by the national committee from the compliance with the term of said agreement. The national Democratic committee desires his return and desires a most generous recognition on the part of the local Democrats of the Silver Republicans of Idaho who are the associates of Senator Dubois.

C.A. Walsh

Member and Secretary, Democratic National Committee”

At the conclusion of an editorial Mr. Jones wrote about candidate Bryan, these were his last thoughts:

“When the curtain falls on the great political in November, it can be said of Mr. Bryan more than any other Presidential candidate that he made his own campaign. He will have earned the victory by brilliant work.”

The above-information was taken from Volume 10, Number 19, October 3, 1896, of “The Blackfoot News.”

Although Bryan ultimately lost his bid for president, in the election of 1896, Section Eighteen of Article Five of the Constitution of the State of Idaho was amended. It gave women the right to vote and created the offices of County Attorney and Probate Judge. In reference to the creation of those two offices, I include here the following list of elected prosecuting attorneys for Bingham County as well as probate judges starting after the 1896 election:

Offices of the Prosecuting Attorney and Probate Judge

Created by General Election Amendment of 1896.

Prosecuting Attorney

1896-199 – E.E. Chalmers; 1899-01- Nathan H. Clark; 1901-03 – James M. Stevens; 1903-05 – David Worth Clark; 1905-07 – Robert McCracken; 1907- 09 – William L. McConnell; 1909-11 – William L. McConnell; 1911-13 – James E. Good; 1913-15 – J.E.Good; 1915-17 – Ralph W. Adair; 1917-19 – Ralph W. Adair; 1919-21; Ralph W. Adair; 1921-23- Hamilton Wright; 1923-25 – Hamilton Wright; 1925-27- Hamilton Wright; 1927-29- Z. Reed Millar; 1929-31 – Z. Reed Millar; 1931-33 – Guy Stevens; 1933-35: G.G. Hansbrough; 1935-37- Earl W. Cory; 1937-39 – H. William Furchner; 1939-41 – H. William Furchner; 1941-43 – H. William Furchner.

Probate Judge

1885-87 – F. M. Shoemaker; 1887-89 – F.M. Shoemaker; 1889-91 – R.H. Hopkins; 1891-93 – Fred S. Stevens; 1893-95- Fred S. Stevens; 1895-97 – Fred S. Stevens; 1897-99 – Arthur G. Whittier; 1899-01- Chalres F. Molden; 1901-03- William A. Sample, 1903-05 – Carydon H. Bevans; 1905-07- Karl S. Fackrell; 1909-11 – Lorenzo R. Thomas; 1911-13 – J.H. Andersen; 1913-15 – J.H. Andersen; 1915-17 – E. A. Doud; 1917-1919 – J. E. Good.

I just wanted to share a bit of election history from 124 years ago in Bingham County. Many thanks to a young lady and one of my former Girl Scouts who gave me that 1896 paper.

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