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Iowa History Daily: February 6 - John P. Dolliver

Iowa History Daily: On February 6, 1858, John P. Dolliver was born. A man who utilized legendary oratorical skills to wow audiences, Dolliver went from Fort Dodge attorney to member of both houses of the United States Congress and even garnered some interest as a candidate for Vice President on two separate occasions.

Born in an Old Virginia county which sided with the Union over the confederacy and found itself suddenly in West Virginia, Dolliver attended the university at Morgantown before passing the bar and heading west to set up a law practice in Webster County’s Fort Dodge. Even as a twenty six year old attorney Dolliver’s oratory gained the son of a Methodist preacher a reputation, most notably when he quipped: “Iowa will go Democratic when Hell goes Methodist.”

After initial election to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1888, Dolliver won his first of six elections to the United State House of Representatives in 1889. Tabbed as a potential running mate for William McKinley in the 1900 election, although Teddy Roosevelt eventually took the nomination. After the death of Iowa’s US Senator John H. Grear, Dolliver found himself appointed to the US Senate. He won reelection twice. 

Still serving in the Congress in 1910, Dolliver died of a heart attack and was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Fort Dodge. Dolliver finds remembrance in a small railroad town near the northern border with Minnesota founded in 1899, as well as in Dolliver Memorial State Park near Fort Dodge. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaHistoryDaily


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