In June of 1912 delegates to the Democratic national convention arrived in Baltimore to find an oppressive humidity and the best opportunity in sixteen long years to unseat the Republicans from the presidency. Two weeks before, the Republican convention in Chicago had come apart with the walk out of Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose faction. It essentially would have two candidates, Roosevelt and President Taft. Major hopefuls for the Democratic nomination, were Champ Clark of Missouri, Judson Harmon, Ohio, Oscar Underwood, Mississippi and Woodrow Wilson, New Jersey. There were also, in the event of a deadlock, and no way to be described as a dark horse, the three times party nominee, William Jennings Bryan. Seth Cane, a small town Oklahoma lawyer and son of the late wealthy and powerful Texas rancher, Warren Cane, arrived in Baltimore as a member of the Oklahoma delegation. He was tired and irritable being a few days late because of his wife having just left him with hints of making it permanent. He found himself immediately involved with Bryan's strategy to throw the gauntlet in the face of Tammany Boss, Charles Murphy and his plans to spike Bryan's guns.
The battle, for which Bryan told the press he was sending home for his fighting clothes to stop the "reactionary" Judge Alton B. Parker from being the temporary chairman and key note speaker, was the first shot that would escalate into fist fighting in the aisles, intemperate threats against Bryan's life, hints of a possible Bull Moose type of walk out and devastation in the view of all candidates of a deadlock allowing Bryan to again stampede the convention into his fourth nomination.
I was born in the river town of Alton Illinois in 1959 and spent most of my teens in north county St. Louis where my family moved when I was about 14. As I was growing up in the mid sixties there were sightings of UFO'S over the old power plant across the river from Alton. After I got older and got a job as a deckhand on the river, there were times while waiting lock delay by the power plant the crew would get bored enough to call the "aliens," on the ship's radio. We never got an answer. We didn't always have too much time for play due to the thousands of tons of the toxic or explosive payload we were sometimes pushing. SGS Control in Chicago trained me to inspect motor vessels and weigh barges when I was 18. I spent many days on the decks of barges up and down the heartland waterways weighing barges and inspecting damaged motor vessels. To amuse myself during the long drawn out barge loading and unloading process, I would imagine dramatic adventures on the river. It's easy to do when you spend most of your time sitting on a barge tied to the river bank. In the early nineties I attended Watterson college for 2 _ years for a double major Associate degree in Business Administration and Paralegal Studies, with follow up classes at Lewis and Clark college in Godfrey, Il. I have an older brother "Allen," who is a veteran river boat pilot. I have worked up and down the river from Chicago to St. Louis. In the final analysis I'm just a local yokel amateur that loves his home town. I have learned the first rule about writing, "write about what you know."