Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lightning Strikes

Seeing Harry A. Sullivan designated as “Senator” in that June 11, 1922, Denver Post article I quoted yesterday may have turned out to be more than just the coincidence we had assumed it was. While I haven’t yet been able to find any indication that our Harry was indeed elected to any such office—whether state or federal—he apparently did seek election to a local office.

It was a routine entry in the April 24, 1921, edition of the Post that clued me in to his political aspirations. The article was headlined, “Number of Offices Without Candidates as Elections Loom.” Harry Sullivan would be just the kind of guy to step up and volunteer for the position. He was, however, not the only one to respond to that call to serve.
            With only two days left for the filing of petitions of nomination with the elections commission, a number of offices remain without candidates. Councilmanic district No. 5 has no candidate in the field.
            Harry Sullivan, overseas veteran, has filed for city auditor. W. H. H. Cranmer, bond broker and an ex-soldier, is also a candidate for city auditor. Others who have filed for the same office are Alvin H. Pickens, now a deputy under City Auditor Stackhouse, and Roy D. Paul….

And no, that entry was not a fluke. His name was repeated on a list in the Post the following Thursday, April 28:
The candidates whose names will appear on the ballot follow:
For auditor—Harry A. Sullivan, Alvin H. Pickens, George D. Begole, Roy D. Paul, W. H. H. Cranmer, Herbert Fairall….

That entry was on page fifteen. Lest any Denver voter might have missed the mention, another announcement was placed on that same day—by his “friends,” of course—on page four:
Harry A. Sullivan
Candidate for City Auditor
Election May 17, 1921
Headquarters, 224 Drexel Hotel
(This space donated by friends.)

Reaching back to his days of service during World War One, Harry found an advocate willing to speak on his behalf as the time until election day grew short. In a brief statement on May 15 headlined, “To the Voters of Denver,” his commanding officer, Rice W. Means, put in a good word for him in the Post.
            Harry A. Sullivan was an officer in the 157th Infantry during its entire war service. He proved himself to be a man of ability and integrity. He was a fine disciplinarian, and yet is the most popular service man in Colorado today. The men love him. He is an independent candidate for City Auditor. I appeal to every patriotic citizen in Denver, regardless of politics, to vote for this worthy young man. I was his commanding officer, therefore had the opportunity to learn of his character and ability. In my judgment he will make the best City Auditor of any of the six candidates for the office. On election day remember SULLIVAN FOR AUDITOR.

While I have no idea how the election went for Harry Sullivan, I don’t suppose, in a six-way run-off, that he fared too well. After all, there weren’t any mentions of Harry in the newspapers following the election. And as we’ve already seen, Harry found other ways to become involved in political action in the following years.

However, there was one interesting tidbit that I discovered, courtesy of the Denver Post, just two days after Rice Means’ recommendation was published. Granted, it contained an attention-grabbing headline: “Lightning Strikes Candidate’s Home as He Campaigns.” Tucked into the article—at least from our vantage point ninety three years later—was just the kind of confirmation I had been seeking: a connection between Harry Sullivan and our Kelly descendant, Julia Creahan Sullivan.
Lightning struck the home of Harry A. Sullivan, candidate for city auditor, at 1015 East Tenth avenue while Sullivan was campaigning on the downtown streets Monday. Mrs. J. C. Sullivan, mother of the candidate, and Mrs. J. R. Saunders, a friend of the family, who were in the house when it was struck, were uninjured. The lightning ran down an electric wire without doing damage.


  1. J. C. !!!! YAY (unless there's some unfortunate coincidence that the JC stands for John Calvin or Joseph Calhoun or Jeremiah Clyde)

  2. Looks like a smoking gun to me!!!!


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