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Judson Claudius Clements
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1891
Preceded by William Harrell Felton
Succeeded by Robert William Everett
4th Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission
In office
December 12, 1910 – January 9, 1912
Preceded by Martin Augustine Knapp
Succeeded by Charles Azro Prouty
Commissioner of the Interstate Commerce Commission
In office
March 17, 1892 – June 18, 1917
Preceded by Walter Lawrence Bragg
Succeeded by Robert Wickliffe Woolley
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Georgia Senate from the 44th District
In office
Personal details
Born (1846-02-12)February 12, 1846
Villanow, Georgia
Died June 18, 1917(1917-06-18) (aged 71)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Bettie Wardlaw
(m. 1874; her death 1875)

Lizzie Eleanor Dulaney
(m. 1886; his death 1917)
Parents Adam Clements
Mary Wilson Hill Parks
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Branch/service  Confederate States of America Army
Years of service 1864–1865
Rank Confederate States of America First Lieutenant.png First Lieutenant
Unit Flag of Georgia non official.svg First Regiment, Georgia State Troops, Stovall's Brigade
Battles/wars American Civil War

Judson Claudius Clements (February 12, 1846 – June 18, 1917) was a U.S. Representative from Georgia. For a quarter century a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Clements served one year as its chairman. Clements had served as a soldier in the Confederate States Army.

Early life

Judson Clements was the son of Dr. Adam Clements and Mary Wilson Hill Parks, who were both natives of Georgia. Born near Villanow, Georgia, Clements attended the local schools, concluding his childhood schooling when he left an academy near Villanow to join the Confederate States Army in January 1864, while still aged seventeen. His father, Adam C. Clements, had been a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1853 to 1854 and from 1861 to 1862, under the Confederacy. Judson Clements served in the Confederate Army during the remainder of the Civil War as a private and first lieutenant in the First Regiment, Georgia State Troops, Stovall's brigade. He was wounded at Atlanta, July 22, 1864. Clements married Bettie Wardlaw, but she died after only a year, and he remained a widower for many years.

Lawyer and political career

Clements studied law at Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, and graduated from that school in 1868. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and commenced practice in La Fayette, Georgia, remaining in practice there until 1887. Clements was elected as school commissioner of Walker County in 1871 and 1872. He served as member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1872 to 1876, then in the Georgia State Senate for the 44th Senatorial District from 1877 to 1880. While in the Georgia General Assembly, he helped write that state's railroad laws.

The representative from the Seventh District of Georgia, where Clements resided, was William Harrell Felton, an independent. Clements and his five brothers lived in six different counties of the Seventh District, and Felton found himself faced with local issues from six different counties. However, the campaign was non-confrontational and was described as one of the quietest ever known. Clements' surprising win over Felton by 800 votes was attributed to overconfidence by Felton, hard work by Clements, and the Republican vote voting solidly for Clements. Clements' brothers would keep his political "fences in good repair", assuring his renomination in subsequent years. Clements was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-seventh and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1891). While in Congress, he helped write the legislation which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission.

On December 2, 1886, Clements married Lizzie Eleanor Dulaney, daughter of a wealthy real estate owner in Louisville, Kentucky, in that city. In 1887, Clements moved from La Fayette to Rome, Georgia, where he served for a year as president of the Chattanooga, Rome, and Columbus Railroad. Clements was defeated for renomination in 1890 due to political manoeuvering in his district.

Clements welcomed reconciliation between North and South. At an 1889 reunion of veterans, Clements stated that Northern and Southern veterans had worked together to rebuild the South after the Civil War.

In 1891, President Benjamin Harrison appointed the former congressman as a special United States Attorney to negotiate the purchase of lands for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Clements had represented the Chickamauga area, and he had worked hard for the passage of the bill authorizing the park. In an April 1891 interview, Clements indicated that he had been able to secure 1,300-1,400 acres but progress had been slow due to absentee owners and the unwillingness of landowners to live under War Department rules in the incipient park. He stated that he expected most negotiations to be concluded by late 1891.

Interstate Commerce Commission

On March 6, 1892, Clements was appointed by President Harrison to the Interstate Commerce Commission, filling the unexpired term of Commissioner Walter L. Bragg of Alabama, who had died. After being confirmed by the Senate, Clements was sworn in on March 17, 1892. On December 12, 1910, with the resignation of longtime Commission chair Martin A. Knapp, he became acting chairman of the Committee, and in 1911 became chairman of the Commission for a one-year term. In addition to being appointed by President Harrison, he was reappointed by Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, and served as a commissioner until his death in Washington, D.C., June 18, 1917.

In 1916, Clements proposed that no worker be allowed to quit a railway company or urge others to do the same until the Commission had the opportunity to investigate the matter in a fair and equitable manner. Locomotive Engineers Journal decried the proposal, especially as no provision was made for preventing the railroads from discharging workers at will.

As a commissioner, he was considered to be a radical. Clements was among the commissioners who led the fight for the Commission to get real power over the railroads, a battle which nearly led to the Commission being legislated out of existence but which resulted in the passing of the Hepburn Act in 1906. Clements favored the physical valuation of railroads, which would aid in accessing taxation and allow the Commission to better evaluate rate increase requests. In 1911, after serving a month as acting chairman, he was elected chairman for a one-year term despite the reported opposition of President William Howard Taft, who wanted Republican Edgar Erastus Clark appointed chairman instead. However, at the time, the Commission invariably appointed its senior member as chairman, and Clements was elected. His predecessors had continued to serve as chair until they left the Commission; however, Clements chose to serve only the one-year term. He was interred in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. His twenty-five years on the Interstate Commerce Commission remained a record until surpassed by Balthasar H. Meyer, who served 28 years from 1911 to 1939.

It was said of Clements that no opinion written by him was overturned in substance by the Supreme Court of the United States. Railway Age Gazette, in urging his 1913 reappointment, noted that while Clements had been criticized, his integrity and capacity for the position were beyond question.

He died on June 18, 1918 in Washington, D.C..

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