E. L. ABEL
LITTLE, BUT OH! MY
"PREMIERES FUNERAILIES" (the first funeral) is the inscription on a touching piece of triple
statuary in the north end of the Art Institute in Chicago. This same embodies Adam and Eve carrying in front of
them the nude form of their son, Abel, killed by his brother, Cain, ready to deposit it in an open tomb and it
commemorates the first murder.
Abel is represented in the Bible as an ideal son. Those who in the re-incarnation of the soul
may find some consolation in the presumption that Abel's ideal soul is now reincarnated in another Abel the
Honorable E. L., of Huron.
Here is a little fellow"little, but Oh! my," "abel" to hold his own with the best of
them, whether in business, in politics, in the literary world, in oratory or in debate. "Abel?" Yes; an "abel"
man (phonetic spelling brings out the sense.)
One of the first things a soldier must learn during actual warfare is not to flinch under
fire. The same thing holds true in political warfare. The fellow standing on the "stump" firing vocal musket
at his hearers, who can withstand a return fire without flinching, is the fellow who will win. Such a political
soldier is little E. L. Abel. For this reason he makes an ideal campaigner. He can go into the heart of the
enemy's country, open a political meeting as a Republican Evangel, parry off the fiery darts of putrid iniquity
hurled at him by his assailants, and come out of the melee undisturbed in body, mind or spirit.
Abel is a lawyer by training, but a banker by profession. His legal training serves as a great
help to him in business affairs,not in getting out of trouble, but in keeping out. In discussing this
matter in a letter to one of his friends (which mysteriously fell into our hands,) he said:
"I have found, however, that we cannot always follow our bent. If so, I would be at the bar
in place of behind a bank counter. When I should have started to practice law I simply could not get away from the necessity, and that immediate, of getting bread and butter to fill the mouths of a
wife and baby, and I had not the nerve to risk their welfare upon my ability, knowing that they would suffer
if I should fail to make good as a diciple of Blackstone in action."
Illinois gave birth to Mr. Abel at Springfield, thirteen days after Abe Lincoln's election to
the presidency in 1860. Having spent his boyhood during those strenuous days he became innoculated with a
spirit of loyalty and patriotism that has lasted him through life.
E. L. ABEL
His education was acquired in the city schools at Springfiled, in the University at Carbondale,
Illinois, and in the hard school of experience. Like many others he started out in life as a country school
teacher, and like thousands of others have done, he used the teaching profession merely as a stepping stone to
something better. During his odd moments he read law, and in 1884 he was admitted to the Illinois bar. The
next year he was elected city attorney.
ADOPTED BY SOUTH DAKOTA
Tired of "down east" methods and believing that the "golden west" held greater opportunities for
a young man, Mr. Abel "pulled stakes" in 1887 and struck west. He settled at Bridgewater, S. D., and engaged in
banking and in the practice of law. "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness
thrust upon them," said an old sage long ago. Abel belongs to the latter class. Peculiarly enough, he has
never been an office seeker, but since coming to this state, he has been almost constantly an office holder.
Offices of various kinds have been clinging to his political skirts like a bull-pup to a bone.
At Bridgewater they made him alderman, then mayor, and they kept him on the board of education
for twelve consecutive years. Governor Mellette appointed him trustee of the Sioux Falls penitentiary in 1888. In 1902 McCook county
sent him to the legislature as state senator, and in 1904 they returned him with an overwhelming majority. For
awhile he edited the Salem Pioneer Register. Then in 1905 he removed to Huron, and two years later he established
the City National Bank at that place and became its president. Last year he was elected president of the board
of trustees of Huron College.
While in the state senate, Abel was a power for good. He helped to shave our oil inspection
law which has since been copied by ten other states. He introduced and steered through the senate an anti-trust
law that was a model. Corporations rushed on their lobbyists and defeated it in the house.
MANY SIDED FELLOW
It will readily be seen that Abel is a many sided fellow, a symmetrical man, if you please.
We have already detected him to be a teacher, lawyer, banker, politician, and statesman. But this is not all,
he is also an orator and a poet. Abel is one of the happiest combinations of literary ability and business
instinct that we have ever had in the state. He has delivered the greatest number of addresses on the greatest
variety of subjects of any man in South Dakota.
His addresses are all literary jewels, clad in garlands of rhetoric, studded with diamonds of
speech, and they sparkle and glitter with a polished diction that is soul-entrancing. We have before us at
this time such a large collection of them that we feel at a loss, and utterly incompetent, to select for publication
herein any one of them or any part of the same. Again it is scarcely necessary, for he has spoken during the
past twenty-three years in every town of any size in the state.
His style can readily be caught, however, from a couple paragraphs taken from his Memorial
address before the Elk's Lodge:
"The great mission of our order is to bring men nearer to each other and to develop more
completely the brotherhood of man. Fraternalizing human hearts is the greatest and most important duty each
of us is called upon to perform, for love weaves into life the woof and warp of happiness, without which the
heart is as barren as a dessert.
* * * * * *
"The perfume of the flowers we place upon a brothers' coffin cannot reach back and bring
solace to his troubled hours while yet he trod the troubled path of life, and the tears we shed upon his grave can never heal the wounds we made
in life upon his tortured heart.
"Let us place our flowers upon the graves of our departed brothers, and mingle with them our
sorrowing tears to give expression to our grief; but while life lasts let us not forget to give each other
every day the beautiful flowers of brotherly love and kindness, then when the cord of life is cut and some
brother falls into that sleep from which no awakening comes, we can stand beside the grave and place our
flowers upon the coffin which holds his lifeless form, with a serene feeling of satisfaction in the fact that
our floral offerings are but the emblem of those we gave while he was still our cherished companion in the
pilgrimage of life."
The heart and character and brotherly devotion of the man are amply set forth in the above
paragraphs. But we dare not close without giving to our readers one of his beautiful, patriotic, inspiring
poems. It should be reproduced by every newspaper in the state, and be published in our school readers.
KNOW YE THE LAND?
Know ye the land where the blue joint doth flourish,
And cattle on prairies grow heavy with fat;
Where the white-coated sheep in winter do nourish
The grasses which cover the earth like a mat;
Where the growing of wheat brings the gold from the east,
Where people ne'er hunger but are ever at feast;
Where the owner of sheep has a fortune in sight,
And hard times are past while the future is bright;
Where potatoes, rye, barley and long-headed oats
Make the farmer's life easy in the raising of shoats;
Where the cow's golden butter and the fruit of the hen
Are the products which bring such large fortunes to men;
Where the country is blessed with the richest of soil,
And bountiful harvests reward man for his toil;
Where bright gold and silver in profusion abound
And beautiful jasper for building is found;
Where churches in plenty raise toward heaven their spires
And schools in great numbers furnish learning's desires;
Where the song of the plow boy is heard early at morn
As he goes forth to till the broad acres of corn;
Where the maid's rosy cheeks are the youth's wild delight
While their beautiful eyes shine like stars of the night;
Where matrons meet age with faces so fair
That they seem ever youthful, though silvered their hair;
Where Hygeia's blessings are showered upon all
And summer keeps smiling until late in the fall;
Where winters are short and soon melt into spring;
Where the harvest is crowned by Mondamin, the king;
Where the flower of its youth to rescue suffering afar,
Promptly respond to the call of the nation to war?
Know ye the land? 'Tis the land which we love,
Which hath been bountifully blessed by the Father above;
'Tis our fair South Dakota which nature has blest,
Affording humanity a place of sweet rest;
And today she invites the proud sons of the East
To sit at her tables and partake of her feast.
(Later.Since the above was written, Mr. Abel has been nominated and elected
Lieutenant-Governor of South Dakota; and, at the time of going to press his political star is greatly in the