Presidential Elections: 2012 and 1908

J. R. Bigham Has Taken Part in Fourteen Presidential Elections

1908 Republican candidates, William Taft and James ShermanA campaign poster for 1908 Republican candidates, William Taft and James Sherman1

Here in the United States, we have been gearing up for today’s Presidential election for what seems like forever. In my precinct in Washington state, we’re being forced to vote by mail, which afforded me ample time to study my voter’s pamphlet and do additional research online. I dropped my ballot in the box at the elections office over the weekend with a tremendous feeling of being part of something greater, and with pride for having done my civic duty in a responsible fashion.

Part of what defines us as individuals is our politics, those issues we believe in. Our ancestors and their family members were no different. They, too, participated in the process if their laws at the time permitted it. Or, perhaps they may have been among those who fought for women’s suffrage. They learned the issues, and probably debated them, just like we do today. When they voted, they were undoubtedly proud of having done so.

One person in our Bigham family was singled out in his local Seattle newspaper for having voted in fourteen (or fifteen) Presidential elections. His name was John Reed Bigham, the brother of my ancestor, William Ross Bigham. What follows is a portion of that article, which contained a photo of Bigham, along with a good deal of biographical information.

HIs First Vote Was Cast for Winfield Scott
“His First Vote Was Cast For Winfield Scott”. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, undated clipping [1908], p. 1.

When doing historic newspaper research, don’t just focus on obituaries. Articles like these really add to the understanding of our ancestors and their family members as people.

And, if you’re in the United States and haven’t yet voted, please do so! Perhaps you or I will become the subject of a news item such as this in the future.

1 (“”>, accessed 06 Nov 2012).