Haverhill’s Pivotal Role in One Historic Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election

By Tim Coco
WHAV President & General Manager (volunteer)

Ran adDuring the Massachusetts gubernatorial election, voters heard classic arguments. The conservative was a former leader of business and banking interests, held a law and order background and argued for more personal responsibility. Liberals backed a perennial politician who sided with the unions, fought for investing in public works projects and thought needy children should receive free clothing for school.

Michael S. Dukakis vs. John W. Sears? William F. Weld vs. John R. Silber? No, these two candidates for governor were Frank Nathaniel Rand and James F. Carey, both from Haverhill and both running during the fall of 1911.

In a sense, both Carey and Rand were the extremists of their time. Carey, a former Haverhill city councilor and state representative, represented the Socialist Democratic Party. Rand, previous president of the Haverhill Board of Trade—today’s Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce—represented the anti-alcohol Prohibition Party. They were opposed by Democrat Eugene N. Foss, Republican Louis A. Frothingham and Socialist Laborite Dennis McGoff.

Frank Nathaniel Rand, Prohibition Party

Frank Nathaniel Rand (left) was born in the midst of the American Civil War in 1863. His parents Alvinza and Fidelia lived in Morrisville, Vermont. He was educated at the People’s Academy, Morrisville, Vt., and graduated from the State Normal School in Johnson in 1884.

Frank RandRand began teaching in Vermont, but came to Haverhill during his early twenties, He married the former Lettie M. Lepper two years later. He had an interest in government, and just nine years later he became Haverhill city marshall—the equivalent of today’s police chief. He shared the anti-alcohol philosophies of Mayor Samuel L. Jewett.

Jewett is interesting in his own right. The mayor was elected in 1894 on a coalition reform ticket including prohibitionists, populists, socialist laborites and progressives. The socialist labor party directed his campaign. Curiously, Carey’s Bay State Populists were part of the coalition, putting him and Rand on the same team—at least briefly.

Marshall Rand went on to become an insurance agent, banker, real estate developer and more in the local business community. He opened his business in 1896, which became the Frank N. Rand Insurance Agency at 90 Merrimack Street. He liked travelling in business circles and became president of the Haverhill Board of Trade in 1898. Rand joined the board of managers of Haverhill Savings Bank—today’s TD Bank, and became a director of Haverhill Cooperative Bank.

Despite his growing political and business interests, Rand took time out to serve as president of the YMCA, and held memberships in the Odd Fellows and Pentucket Club. Perhaps, foreshadowing his future political direction, he was also a member of the Independent Order of Good Templars, a temperance society for teetotalers.

His largest real estate development appears to be along the Merrimack River in the Bradley Brook neighborhood. His Grand View Park was underway in 1901—spanning the area from the Merrimack River, north to Lowell Avenue, and Forest Street east to Grand View Avenue. If you can’t quite place Grand View Avenue, you’re not alone. It really doesn’t exist anymore because of Interstate 495. The northern portion that remains is Canterbury Avenue. Rand even petitioned—apparently unsuccessfully—to reroute Bradley Brook’s path to the river.  Rand also owned land in Riverside and 15th avenue.

Despite his business interests, Rand became even more interested in politics—especially seeking to ban alcohol sales as a prohibitionist. In 1908, he was nominated as the Prohibition Party’s candidate for Massachusetts lieutenant governor. The Prohibition Party is the oldest third party in the US, putting up candidates since 1872. He lost to Republican Ebenezer Sumner Draper, but was not discouraged.

Rand officially became a candidate for Massachusetts governor in 1911. The American Advance newspaper described the party’s convention:

“Condemning Taft, Knox and Wilson for their sell-out to the Brewers, declaring for national prohibition, and naming a six-foot giant of brawn and brain to head a fighting ticket, the Massachusetts State Convention in Tremont Temple was unusual in every way…indignation was expressed in speeches over the fact that Secretary of Agriculture Wilson had consented to be the honorary chairman of the International Brewers’ Congress.”

Despite support of some conservative causes, the party advocated an equal place for women in government, believed diplomatic disputes should be settled by a “high court of nations,” a constitutional amendment supporting an income tax and government ownership of public utilities.

James F. Carey, Socialist Democratic Party

James F. CareyCarey (left) was born Aug. 19, 1867, son of James and Mary (Moriarty), recent emigrants from Ireland.

Carey went to work in Haverhill’s shoe factories, serving as a heel cutter, and gradually became an advocate for workers’ rights. In 1892, he became chairman of the Bay State Populists Party after merging with the Labor Party. A coalition of fringe parties, including the Populists and the Prohibitionists, was victorious over both Democrats and Republicans in the then-party driven Haverhill municipal election.

Late in 1894, Carey characteristically sided with striking shoe workers. He “discovered that he was a gifted orator who could stir his audiences,” said local historian Patricia Trainor O’Malley in a paper appearing in the 2005 edition of American National Biography. The Populist Party was disbanding and Carey, like most members, joined the Socialist Labor Party, founded by Daniel De Leon in 1890.

Seeing how successful he could be directing local politics, Carey ran for mayor himself in 1896, but was defeated. He staged a comeback the following year as a city council candidate representing Ward Five and garnered unusual support.

“On the whole, The Gazette is convinced the election of a man of James F. Carey’s strong individuality…would be a good thing,” wrote the Editor John B. Wright of the Republican-leaning Haverhill Gazette newspaper. He campaigned for municipal ownership of public utilities, gates at railroad crossings and free clothing for poor children. Not only was Carey elected, garnering more than 900 votes from his ward, but he was also voted city council president. His colleague, John C. Chase, became the first socialist mayor elected in America.

With his popularity soaring, Carey ran for one of Haverhill’s state representative seats in 1898. By this time, he had broken from Socialist Labor Party and joined the Socialist Democratic Party led by Eugene Debs. Both Chase and Carey disagreed with the strict ideology of the Socialist Labor Party, according to Henry F. Bedford, author of Socialism and the Workers in Massachusetts: 1886 – 1912.

“Under his influence, the Haverhill movement gave propaganda and speakers sent by the national office a reception that varied from chilly to frigid. Yet Eugene Debs drew a large, cheering crowd in spite of a heavy rain,” Bedford wrote.

Carey defeated three others and polled 60% of the district. He joined Louis Scates from another Haverhill district as the first socialists in the Massachusetts General Court. He went on to serve until 1903 when he was defeated for reelection.

Carey used the time off to marry Clara L. Stevens in 1903. Although he was raised Catholic, Carey was often at odds with the church on political issues. He and his wife decided to marry in the Unitarian Church.

Menace of Socialism

Menace of Socialism flyerHis battle with the Church became very public in 1911 when he responded to Boston College President Thomas I. Gasson’s talk, “Menace of Socialism” at Faneuil Hall, Boston. By this time, Carey was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of the United States and state Secretary. Responding to Gasson, Carey said:

“If anyone that attended Father Gasson’s meeting expected to hear an official pronunciamento that a person could not be a Catholic and a Socialist at the same time, they were doomed to disappointment. That there are divisions in society, and that the divisions are economic, can no longer be concealed. The Catholic manufacturer is no more considerate of the welfare of his workmen than the manufacturer of other religions, or of no religion, and the Catholic capitalist will combine with other capitalists to resist the demands of Catholic workmen combined with other workmen for shorter hours, better conditions, more wages, etc. Into this struggle the Socialist movement comes as the expression of working class interests, and it is inevitable that it will attract to its banner workingmen and working women of every race and creed, as well as other persons that realize the correctness of its position and the righteousness of its cause.”

Election Day

Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 11 p.m., Nov. 7, 1911. The statewide voter turnout was 13.07 percent.

Incumbent Governor Foss kept his seat, winning 48.84 percent of the vote, while Republican Frothingham took 47 percent.  Carey came in third with 3.04 percent of the vote, but still nearly 10,000 votes ahead of Rand who polled .79 percent. McGoff came in last with .34 percent.

Not before or since had Haverhill played such an important role in election of the governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.