Frank L. Dodge

Frank L. Dodge The Detroit News of Sunday, October 7, 1928.

The following is the text of an article in The Detroit News of Sunday, October 7, 1928. Upon request, the Secretary can provide a copy of the article.

Frank L. Dodge


Frank L. Dodge of Lansing may well be called the dean of Michigan workers in this year's presidential campaign. He has been active in four campaigns when a Democrat was elected President, Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 92, and Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 16. And, although his years are now [75} he is as active in the present campaign to again elect a Democrat President as he was in the two Cleveland and two Wilson campaigns. His son, Wyllis O., is the present treasurer of the Democratic state committee.

Since 1879 Mr. Dodge has been practicing law at the Capitol [sic] City, and for many years one of the leaders of the Ingham County bar. In 1882, being then 23 years of age, he was, as a Democrat, elected Lansing's Representative in the Legislature. At the session of 83 he was the youngest member of the state's law making body. That year there were 62 Republican and 38 Democratic and Greenback members of the House. In 1884 he was one of 48 Democrats and Greenbackers elected to the House, the Republicans electing 52. During his first term there were four Justices of the Supreme Court and now there are eight; 30 Circuit Judges increased since to 62. Of the 34 Supreme and Circuit Court Justices and Judges during the legislative session of 83 but one is still living, and he is still on the bench, Judge Frank Emerick of the Alpena circuit. Mr. Dodge has many times been honored with public places in the Lansing city government, has been president of the Ingham County Bar Association and four times his party's nominee for Representative in Congress for the Sixth District.

Reminiscently Mr. Dodge relates that shortly after Grover Cleveland's first election as President, in 1884, he called on him at the executive office, Albany. Mr. Cleveland was still governor of New York and continued to the end of his term, January 1885, two months before he was inaugurated President. Daniel Lamont, Mr. Cleveland's secretary, introduced him as a Democratic member of the Michigan Legislature.

"Well, Mr. Dodge," said the President-elect, whimsically, "I had an impression that there were precious few Democrats in Michigan. I am glad to learn that this is not so, and that there are enough of them to elect some of their candidates."

Mr. Dodge reveals the true reason, which was somewhat unique, why President Cleveland during his second term positively refused a request by Don M. Dickinson, of Detroit, to appoint Martin V. Montgomery, of Lansing, to a vacancy on the Federal Circuit bench. Mr. Dickinson was the patronage distributor for Michigan and close in the confidence of the President. Mr. Montgomery and his brother, Richard A., were long prominent at the bar of Central Michigan and his qualifications for high place on the Federal bench were unquestioned. Too, he was a life-long Democrat. President Cleveland, during his first term, appointed him United State commissioner of patents, later elevated him to a place on the bench of the Supermen Court of the District of Columbia. Early in the Harrison Administration he resigned from the bench and returned to his practice at Lansing.

When Mr. Cleveland, 1883, succeeded Harrison a vacancy occurred in the Federal Circuit district of which Michigan is a part, and Mr. Montgomery applied for the position through Mr. Dickinson.

"Let me see, isn't he the Michigan man I appointed Commissioner of Patents and then put on the District bench?" asked the President. Mr. Dickinson admitted that he was. "Then," said Mr. Cleveland, "I will not appoint him. He waited until I went out of office before he resigned from the bench and this gave Harrison a chance to appoint a Republican in his place. The man, I am going to appoint to your Circuit judgeship will be a Democrat who will not quit to make a place for a Republican.