Alfred Lee Manierre and Charles E. Manierre were two brothers cut from the same cloth. Both were lawyers, both were committed Prohibitionists, and both were Prohibition Party candidates for governor of New York.
Alfred and Charles were the sons of Benjamin F. Manierre. Benjamin Manierre was a New York City banker and politician. He has initially been a Democrat, before joining the Free-Soil Party in 1848, and Joining the newly formed Republican Party in 1855. He served in the state senate in 1860 and 1861. In 1866, he was appointed as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. He was an important figure in orchestrating Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address. And in 1876, he was state chairman for the state’s Liberal Republican convention.
Benjamin had embraced total abstinence and the temperance movement in his youth, had continued in his support of it throughout his life, and had helped instill these values in his children. Benjamin was married twice (with Caroline Manierre and then Mary Adelia Manierre), and had five children (Nellie Bowler Baumes, Benjamin F. Manierre II; Alfred Lee Manierre, Charles E. Manierre and Edith Manierre).
Alfred and Charles were the sons of Benjamin and his second wife Mary Adelia. Charles was born in 1860, and Alfred was born on May 4th 1861.
Alfred graduated from Columbia University, with a B.A. in 1883. He had pursued a career as a lawyer. He ran a law firm, Manierre and Manierre with his brother. He gained a reputation as a brilliant and skilled attorney in the New York City legal community.
In 1885, Alfred joined the Prohibition Party and started his long history of party activism. In 1894, he presided as Chairman of the New York County Prohibition Party convention. In 1895, he was one of the Prohibition Party’s candidates for justice on the State Supreme Court. In 1896, he was one of the electoral college candidates for the Prohibition Party’s presidential ticket in New York State.
In 1897, Alfred married Cornelia P. Lockwood. They would have three children: Ruth Lockwood Delafield, Benjamin Franklin Manierre II (no to be confused with his similarly named uncle), and Alfred Manierre II.
In 1901, Alfred ran as the Prohibition Party candidate for mayor of New York City. He received 1,264 (0.22%) of the vote and came in 5th place. In 1902, Alfred was the Prohibition Party candidate for governor of New York State. He received 20,490 (1.48%) of the vote and came in 4th place. In 1904, he tried to seek the party’s nomination for governor again. Though John McKee was also seeking the nomination. On June 14th, the Prohibition Party held its state convention in Oswego, and McKee won the nomination for governor.
Though Alfred didn’t get a second run for governor, his political prominence continued. He acted as a legislative activist, designing laws for stronger policies against alcohol and drugs, and encouraging the legislature to pass them. Alfred was secretary of the New York state general committee on safeguarding the sale of narcotics, which acted to ensure proper labeling of medications and reporting contents for alcohol and other addictive substances, and to ensure state level continuity with the federal Pure Food and Drug act of 1906. He was on the committee for planning 1908 World Temperance Centennial Congress in Saratoga Springs.
In 1908, Alfred sought the Prohibition Party nomination for president. In July, he entered into the party’s convention in Columbus with solid backing from the delegates from New York State. He received 159 votes on the first ballot of the convention, and came in 4th out of 10 contenders. He helped to support the campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, of Eugene Chaffin. Shortly before the election, he spoke at a rally held at Cooper Union in support of Eugene Chaffin, his running mate Aaron Watkins, and the party’s 1908 candidate for Governor, George Stockwell.
On September 2nd, he presided as chairman of the state party convention in Syracuse. At the convention, he was nominated for State Attorney General. He received 23, 194 (1.42%) of the vote and came in 5th place.
In 1909, Alfred ran for mayor of New York City again. He received 866 (0.15%) votes and came in 6th place. In 1910, he made his final run for public office, as a Prohibition Party candidate for justice on the state’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals. He received 23,721 (1.67%) votes.
Alfred was involved in various organizations and charitable efforts. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Delta Phi, the New York City Bar Association, and the Barnard Club. He was a manager at the national temperance society, a trustee and legal council for the Prohibition trust Fund Association, secretary of the New York Central Committee for Scientific Temperance Education in Public Schools, Treasurer of the New York Red Cross Hospital, a board member for the traveler’s Aid Society, a member of the executive committee of the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, a member of the Committee for Improving the Industrial Conditions of the Negro, and vice-president of the Allied Forces of Civic and Moral Betterment, and an elder of the largest Presbyterian Churches in New York City.
Alfred Manierre did on October 2nd, 1911. His funeral was attended by many of his friends and colleagues within the Prohibition Party. From obituaries written by his associates some descriptions are given of what he was like. He was described as a small man, who dressed clean and neatly, was precise in thought in speech, refined and cultured, broad minded, unselfish, who looked at things judicially and judged by merit, who was a good friend, who was honest and loyal, a hard worker, who devoted himself to the causes he believed in, and who was sincere, courageous, self-sacrificing, and resourceful.
Then there was Charles Manierre. Charles graduated from Princeton University in 1881 (where he had organized and managed the university’s first La Crosse team), and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1883. He ran the law firm Manierre and Manierre with his brother.
In 1886, Charles had been president of the Young Mans Prohibition Club. His zeal attracted the attention of Prohibition Party leaders. As a Prohibition Party activist, he put much time and energy into the Prohibition Party’s candidates. In 1888, he was a delegate to the party’s national convention in Indianapolis. In 1890, he ran as the Prohibition Party candidate New York County District Attorney. He received 1,079 (0.50%) votes and came in 4th place.
In 1900, Charles married Elizabeth Hunt Welling.
In 1908, Charles was a presidential elector candidate for the Chaffin/Watkins ticket in New York. In 1912, he ran congress in New York’s 16th district. He received 39 (0.15%) votes and came in 5th place. In 1913, he was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for Chief Justice on the State Court of Appeals. He received 17,279 (1.17%) votes.
During World War I, Charles provided lessons in navigation to naval recruits and contributed articles and maps to the Naval Institute.
He was involved with various organizations and charitable efforts. He was a member of City club and the New York City Bar Association. He served on the board of the national temperance society, was president and secretary of the American Hospital of Cesarea, Turkey, was on the board of managers for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and spent 25 years as superintendent of the Bethany Mission School.
In July, 1926, over 60 delegates from across the state gathered at 150 Fifth Avenue in New York City, for the 1926 Prohibition Party state convention. The convention nominated Charles Manierre as its candidate for Governor.
The 1926 elections in New York were important for the Prohibition Party. In 1922, the Prohibition Party’s candidate for governor failed to get enough votes for the party to retain its statewide ballot access recognition. State Chairman John McKee saw the 1926 election as an opportunity for the party to regain state ballot access and to pave the way for getting the Prohibition Party’s 1928 presidential candidate on the ballot in New York. McKee and other party activists worked to collect 18,000 signatures to put Charles Manierre on the ballot. D. Leigh Colvin, a Prohibition Party politician in New York and the party’s 1920 vice-presiential candidate, had recently taken the position of National Chairman. Colvin saw the elections in New York state as an important part of his efforts to revitalize the Prohibition Party nationwide.
Another key race in the election was the race for Senate. Republican Senator James Wadsworth had attracted significant public opposition, due to his opposition to National Prohibition and him having voted against the passage of the 19th Amendment. In response, Franklin W. Christman (a banker, lawyer, former state senator from Herkimer County, and strong supporter of National Prohibition) launched his campaign for senator under his own Independent Republican ballot line. Christman brought together a coalition of various group who supported prohibition in support of his candidacy.
Charles Manierre and Franklin Christman‘s campaigns were generally aligned in support of each other. This was temporarily disrupted in September, when a segment of Christman’s coalition including the Anti-Saloon League announced that it intended to field its own Christman aligned candidate for governor, Dr. Frederick Seward, under the Constitutional Party label. The Prohibition Party complained against this effort to undercut Manierre. The main body of pro-Christman activists sided with the Prohibition Party and refused to circulate petition for Seward, and the Seward campaigner withdrew before the filling deadline on October 4th. With the dispute repaired, Christman went on to receive enough votes to ensure that Wadsworth lost reelection.
In the 1926 campaign, Charles Manierre and the Party focused on promoting the continuation of National Prohibition, strengthening prohibition enforcement in the state, and challenging corruption and two-party dominance in the state government. His campaign included the use of radio speeches to reach New Yorkers and encourage them to vote for him and other candidates in favor of prohibition.
In the election, Charles received 21,285 (0.73%) votes and came in 4th place. This was below he 25,000 votes needed to regain statewide ballot access, and the Prohibition Party as not able to get its presidential candidate, William Varney, on the ballot in NewYork. The Prohibition Party would later regain statewide ballot access when Robert P. Carroll received 190,666 (6.05%) votes in 1930.
Charles last campaign was in 1933, when he ran as a dry candidate for the convention to ratify the 21st Amendment.
Charles Manierre died on January 30th, 1940 at his home at 352 West End Avenue, New York City. He left behind his wife Elizabeth (who would live until 1968), and his nephews Alfred Manierre II and B. Franklin Manierre II.
Alfred and Charles Manierre both lived as committed Prohibitionists and helped contribute to the Prohibition Party and cause. And as far as can be seen they have the distinction of being the only pair of brothers to be Prohibition Party candidates for governor of New York.
-- Jonathan Makeley, writing in the New York Prohibitionist v.1, no. 8 (August, 2018)