Thursday, August 11, 2022

All Aboard the Hoover Special

In the presidential election on Nov. 6, 1928, because Kentucky's 11th Congressional District, which included Clinton and surrounding counties, had given Herbert Hoover the largest majority of any congressional district in the United States, it was decided a delegation should be assembled to attend his inauguration on March 4, 1929.

Sixty delegates, calling themselves the "On To Washington" party, boarded a train called 'The Hoover Special' on March 2, 1929, bound for the nations capital. Four of the delegates were from Clinton County: W.L. Booher, Dr. John A. Sloan, county attorney Granville Smith and Sheriff A. H. Boles, my great-grandfather. Also on the train were Dr. J.E. Bow, Fayette Simpson, Allan Huddleston and John Collins of Burkesville, Robert Lloyd, E.F. Cook, Josh Chumbley and Judge E. Edmonds of Jamestown, and J.J. Sandusky, Judge John M. Kennedy, Judge J.S. Sandusky, O.M. Travis, J.C. Davis and G.P. Tate of Wayne County.

This was the first presidential inauguration to be recorded by sound newsreels. The voice of Herbert Hoover delivering his inaugural address, along with a detailed description of the proceedings, was heard on the radio by fifty million listeners in the United States and millions of others around the globe. Also heard was a description of the four mile-long parade that took place during the inaugural ceremony. 20,000 people, including our delegates, participated in that.

Hoover served only one term as president. Newspaper columnist Russ Metz said the worst thing you could say about him was he always wore a business suit and necktie when he went fishing. He was always prepared to have his picture taken in case he caught a big one or prosperity suddenly came around the corner. Unfortunately for Herb, neither happened and all he got for his effort was "muddy suits and a big depression," said Metz.

One good thing did happen on the local front, which we can attribute to Herbert Hoover. A debate took place at the Clinton County Courthouse on Oct. 17, 1928 on behalf of the future president and his opponent, New York Governor Al Smith. According to Clinton County News, while Dr. John Sloan was speaking for Hoover and Elam Huddleston for Smith, local mail carrier, Bill Brown, and his girlfriend, Pauline Thrasher, perhaps inspired by those promises attributed to Hoover, snuck off from the debate, drove across the state line to Byrdstown, Tennessee and got married.

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