Eugene Wilder Chafin

Eugene Chafin was born on 1 November 1852 in East troy, Wisconsin.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin.  A lawyer, Chafin soon became involved in local politics, serving as a justice of the peace and on the school board.
     Chafin was attracted to the Prohibition Party and became one of our stalwarts:  He ran for Congress in 1882, for Attorney General of Wisconsin in 1886 and again in 1900, and for Governor in 1898. 
     Moving to Illinois, he ran again for Congress in 1902, for Attorney General in 1904, for President of The United States in 1908 and again in 1912; finally, in Arizona, in 1914, he ran for the U.S. Senate.
      Chafin won none of these races, but his enthusiasm for campaigning did much to publicize our Party.  In 1912, alone, he delivered 538 speeches.
      Eugene Chafin died on 30 November 1920, in Long Beach, California.

-- Gammon, 2007, pp. 72-74

“Eugene W. Chafin was born in East Troy, Wisconsin, November 1, 1852, being the 9th of the family of 13 children.Mr. Chafin’s father died October 14, 1865, which left the care of the farm largely in his hands.
     He attended the district and grade schools and was graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1875, with the degree of LLB, and the same day was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
     While practicing law at Waukesha he was elected justice of the peace and held the office three terms of two years each and was then elected police justice for two years.  He served two years as State President of the Epworth League of Wisconsin.
     No kind of temperance work has escaped him.  He was a delegate to the National Prohibition convention in 1884 and everyone since then and was Chairman of the Committee on Platform in 1900.  He was a member of the National Committee of the Prohibition Party for Wisconsin from 1888 to 1896 and is a member now from Arizona.
     The National Convention of the Prohibition Party met at Columbus, Ohio, July15, 1908.  On the 16th, when names were being presented for the presidential candidate, without the knowledge or consent of Mr. Chafin his old friend A.G. Wolfenbarger of Nebraska, in one of the most unique speeches ever made in a nominating convention, presented his name as ‘the choice of Nebraska.’  It took!  On the third ballot out of 1070 votes, Mr. Chafin received 636 and was declared the nominee of the Prohibition Party for President of the United States.  In 1912 Mr. Chafin was again nominated by acclamation for President, at the Atlantic City National Prohibition Convention.
       Mr. Chafin was among those who first conceived the Squadron campaign…..
       …. He was not in accord with National Prohibition by constitutional amendment.  He knew, however, from the beginning that such an amendment was to be advocated by the Squadron and agreed he would speak against it in the campaign.  He was not to speak for it.  He was simply to remain silent.  This restriction grew irksome to him and had much to do with his withdrawal.
     After his retirement [from the Squadron] there was perfect accord among the members of the Squadron and the campaign was waged with increased vigor and devotion.
     When asked to furnish a copy of the address used by him while he was with the Squadron he refused to furnish it, but offered to furnish one in which he vigorously attacks National Constitutional Prohibition.  That, the editors of this volume could not accept.  No such speech had been delivered under the auspices of the Squadron…..  The brief address used [herein] is made up of excerpts from newspaper reports of addresses actually delivered….”

— Speeches of the Flying Squadron