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Icon or sketchHE senior senator from Nebraska, William Vincent Allen, sprang from revolutionary stock of English blood. His early ancestors located in New England long prior to, the revolution. His mother, Phoebe Pugh,


was of Welsh descent, a woman of remarkable strength of character, and to her encouragement and advice her son ascribes his success in life. In 1857 young Allen settled in Iowa with his parents, where the boy worked on a farm as a common laborer, his early experience




with the world being a constant struggle. He attended the common schools, and entered the upper Iowa University at Fayette, but adverse fortune prevented his graduation. He enlisted as a private in Company G, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a few months of his service being on the staff of General James I. Gilbert. Returning from the war he read law at West Union, Iowa, was admitted to the bar, and began the successful practice of his profession. Mr. Allen came to Nebraska in 1884, and in 1891 was elected judge of the ninth judicial district by the populists. He soon gained a state reputation by his masterful, expeditious, and impartial administration of justice. February 7, 1893, the legislature of Nebraska elected him United States senator for the term beginning March 4, 1893, and ending March 3, 1899. In the senate he immediately took high rank. The great silver debate exploited his research and learning in a notable fifteen hours speech that was remarkable for its sustained continuity of argument, purity of diction, excellence of logic, clearness of statement, unexampled physical endurance, and smooth, forcible delivery. It attracted the attention of the intelligent world, and was the marvel of senate oratory of the period. He spoke continuously from 5 P. M. to 8 A. M. the next day, consuming the entire night. He became at once the acknowledged populist leader in congress. He is chairman of the committee on forest reservations and the protection of game, and a member of the committees on claims, Indian affairs, public lands, and the special committee on the transportation and sale of meat products. Senator Allen is a splendid specimen of physical manhood, and a typical leader in the



intellectual, moral, and political reforms of the day. He was married in 1870 to Blanche Mott, at Fayette, Iowa. Four children have been born to them, three daughters and one son. In 1896 the senator was honored as the permanent chairman of the national populist convention, and conducted a dignified, able, and effective canvass in Nebraska and throughout the Union.


Icon or sketchCLOSE study of the life history of Hon. John M. Thurston, United States senator from Nebraska, will afford a superb illustration of the gratifying fact that energy, brains, and tenacity of high purpose pos-




sessed by a young man about to enter the great conflict of life, is the safest and most valuable capital. At the early age of forty-five he had attained to the position of general solicitor of the greatest railway system of the continent, achieved a national fame as an orator of the first rank, and established an influence and power among the leaders in public affairs such as to mark him as a man of unquestioned distinction. He was born in Vermont in 1847, of revolutionary ancestry, and inherited the patriotic impulses of his forefathers. His father died in volunteer service as a private in the First Wisconsin Cavalry in 1863, leaving the son to work his own way through college and to carve out, unaided, his place in the world of reputation. He was educated at Wayland University, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was admitted to the bar and located in Omaha in 1869. Here by his energy and ability be has risen to the enviable plane of a lawyer of national reputation. During his early life in Omaha Mr. Thurston served as alderman, and subsequently for some years as city attorney. In 1875 he was a member of the Nebraska legislature, holding the position of chairman of the judiciary committee and acting speaker. In 1884 he headed the Nebraska delegation to the republican national convention and made the leading seconding speech on the nomination of General Logan for vice president. He was chosen temporary chairman of the republican national convention of 1888, and on this occasion delivered an address which electrified the country.
   In 1887 be was a strong candidate for the United States senatorship from Nebraska, and in 1893 received the republican caucus nomination for that office, and



during the exciting contest before the legislature received his entire party vote, lacking but five of an election. He was finally defeated by a coalition of the democrats and populists. He was urged by almost the entire west for a cabinet position in 1889, and was prominently mentioned as a suitable vice presidential nominee on a ticket with Blaine in 1892. In 1894 Mr. Thurston made a brilliant canvass for the United States senate, and January 15, 1895, was elected to that office. Immediately on his entrance into congress he was accorded the recognition usually extended only to the elders of the senate, being made chairman of the judiciary committee, one of the most important positions in that distinguished body. Mr. Thurston has a wife and three children, and his home is a model of domestic comfort and felicity.


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