March 18, 2018

Election Gambling

   Gambling on election results used to be legal in the state of Missouri and in the early 20th century elections were made even more interesting by the amounts of money being wagered in pool rooms, taverns, and anywhere a bookmaker could be found that would give odds on the candidates. Hotel clerks handled thousands of dollars bet by wealthy residents and travelers, especially during national elections, but municipal races never failed to bring out local gamblers with a "lot of heart."

   Even the candidates got in on the action with a peculiar tradition that played out over and over again each election cycle back in the day, as this 1908 article from the Kansas City Journal shows about the race for Independence City Marshal:

April 12, 1908 
Independence Marshal Given Wheelbarrow Ride
by Defeated Candidate.

     J. J. Hammontree, a defeated candidate for city marshal of Independence, wheeled Robert Combs, the successful candidate, around the square yesterday morning. The new marshal had on his new uniform and a very large star of authority. After the trip around the square, which was enjoyed by a large crowd, the wheelbarrow was placed on auction and purchased by Colonel Moses Hanton for $4.50.

From Vintage Kansas

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