Government

Next

In compiling the histories of the Roseglen area for the Golden Jubilee book, published in 1967, the editors decided to include a section commemorating  those members of the Roseglen community who had served in country and state government, so I will include that here.

Beginning in 1910, John J. Hull, Sr. served for two years as Road Overseer for McLean County’s road district. From 1912 to 1920, his son, Chris Hill, was the County aAssessor. In 1920, Chris was elected County Auditor, serving for ten years. In 1935, John Hill was elected County Judge, a position he held until 1961.

Also in the early 1900s, Fred Carvell, of Emmet, was Register of Deeds. In 1935, A.J. Spurgeon, of Gate, became Clerk of Court, but serious illness forced him to leave the post at the end of his first term. Fred Propp, of Raub, succeeded him, serving until 1963. Ervin Hopkins had been County Assessor for seventeen years by 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published.

Men from western McLean County have served in the sheriff’s office most of the years from 1929 through 1967, since A.J. Loudenbeck, of Emmet, was elected Sheriff. He later served with distinction under Governor Bill Langer as Warden of the state penitentiary. Until 1957, sheriffs were limited to two two-year terms, so there was some alternating between sheriff and deputy. John Thode, of Emmet, followed Mr. Loudenbeck for two years, then John Huston, also of Emmet, became Sheriff, having served as a deputy under Thode, and Thode became a deputy to Huston, then Sheriff again from 1941 to 1945. Thode later worked for several years in the State Auditor’s office. In 1945, Charley Wheldon, of Roseglen, was elected Sheriff, serving for four years, was then out for four years, and reelected Sheriff in 1953, serving until 1961.

Men from the Roseglen area also served as Commissioners of the Second District of McLean County ever since Henry Martin, of Blackwater, was elected in 1919. In 1923, he was followed by John Snippen, who served until 1931. Louie Conklin, of Platt, was Commissioner from 1931 to 1939, and Oscar Ostvolden, of Gate, held the position from 1939 to 1947. Oscar was succeeded by a Douglas Township man, Joe Blonigen, who served until his death in 1957. Julius Mattson was appointed to fill the last two years of Blonigen’s third term, and Iver Vangsness served a term from 1959 to 1963. He was followed by Arnold Hill, who was in his second term in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published. Arnold was the third Hill brother to hold public office in the Roseglen community, and another brother, Bill, was County Commissioner in McHenry County for two terms.

In the state legislature, the Roseglen community has also been represented. Jerry O’Shea, of Blackwater, served as long ago as the 1911 session. Then, no one west of Garrison was elected to the legislature until 1925, when A.J. Loudenbeck served one term. He was followed by John Erickson, of Blackwater, in the 1927-1933, and 1935 sessions. In 1929, Lewis Lembcke, of Amundsville, was a member of the State House; the next session it was Tom Akan, of Gate. In 1940, Donnell Haugen was elected to the State House, serving four consecutive terms, through 1947. He was the NPL candidate for Insurance Commissioner in 1948, losing to Otto Krueger. Weldon Haugen took his brother’s place in the State House in 1949, while Donnell went to Washington, D.C. to work for Congressman Usher Burdick. Donnell came home after two years, and went back to his House seat in 1953. He was NPL floor leader in 1947 and 1953, and on the Legislative Research Committee in 1945 and 1947. In 1957, he was nominated by the NPL to run for Lieutenant Governor, losing to Ray Schnell. In 1965, the Democratic-NPL controlled the House for the first time, and Donnell served as its Chief Clerk. In the meantime, Weldon had been an unsuccessful candidate three times for State Auditor on the Democratic-NPL ticket. When Bill Guy was elected Governor in 1961, Weldon was appointed Motor Vehicle Registrar, and was on his second four-year term in that position in 1967. In 1955, Harold Ziegler was a member of the House and, in 1961, Donald Giffey became a member, and was still serving in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published. In 1965, Giffey was the Democratic-NPL majority floor leader and, in 1967, he was assistant minority leader. Don has served on the LRC and on the Capital Grounds Planning Commission. He was named to the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee in 1967.

The only man to serve in the State Senate from the Roseglen area was Walder Fiedler, of Blue Hill, who served in the 1955-1961 sessions. In 1967, Walter was Directory of the State Laboratories Department.

As of 1967, each of these legislators, with the exception of O’Shea, was elected either by the NPL or its successor, the Democratic-NPL.