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Luman Hamlin Weller (August 24, 1833 - March 2, 1914) was a United States Greenback Party member. In the 1880s, he served a single term in the United States House of Representatives as a representative of Iowa's 4th congressional district, then in rural northeastern Iowa. Once elected, he became nationally known as "Calamity" Weller,[1] and did not survive his next election.

Weller was born in Bridgewater, Connecticut. He attended the public school in New Britain, Connecticut and attended the Suffield Literary Institute, Connecticut. He worked as a farmer, justice of the peace, and a private practice lawyer.

In 1882, Weller upset sitting Republican congressman Thomas Updegraff in the race to represent Iowa's 4th congressional district in Congress. Weller's win was assisted by several unusual events. Redistricting in 1881 had required Updegraff to run in a district that included only four counties from his former district.[2] The democratic candidate had dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Weller.[3], Weller benefitted from a nationwide wave of anti-Republican sentiment that would cost the party control of the U.S. House and one-fifth of its seats in that chamber.[4] However, no other Greenback candidate won a seat in the Forty-eighth Congress,[5] so Weller vied for influence with the Democratic leadership by voting for their candidate for Speaker of the House.[6] He developed the uncomplementary nickname "Calamity" Weller,[7] which was reportedly based on his allusion to the Civil War as "the great calamity."[8] He sought re-election in 1884, but was defeated by Republican nominee William E. Fuller. In all, he served in Congress from March 4, 1883 to March 3, 1885.

After leaving Congress, he was the proprietor and editor of the Farmers’ Advocate, a weekly paper in Independence, Iowa.

Weller served as a delegate to the People’s Party national committee from 1890 to 1914, and served as president of the Chosen Farmers of America. He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa. He was also an unsuccessful candidate of the People’s Party for Governor of Iowa in 1901.

He died on March 2, 1914 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, near Nashua in Chickasaw County, Iowa.

References

  1. ^ "'Calamity' Weller's Obstinacy," New York Times, 1884-04-23 at p. 5.
  2. ^ "Iowa congressional district maps, 1847-2013," accesssed 2009-05-25.
  3. ^ "Local News," The Marble Rock Weekly, 1882-10-05 at p. 4.
  4. ^ "The Republican Wreck," New York Times, 1882-11-09 at p. 1.
  5. ^ "Local News," The Marble Rock Weekly, 1882-11-16 at p. 4.
  6. ^ Strawberry Point Press, 1883-12-13 at p. 1.
  7. ^ Cyrenus Cole, "A History of the People of Iowa," p. 431 (1921).
  8. ^ The Sumner Gazette, 1882-11-30 at p. 4.
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