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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Frank Hague returned to Jersey City to find himself cited for contempt of court. Before his trip to Boston he had arrested some colored men for alleged illegal registration. The prosecutor `suspected a scheme to intimidate colored Republican voters, and he promptly sent the papers to the grand jury and subpoenaed Hague as a witness. Instead of obeying the summons as a witness Hague went to Boston.... (New York Tribune, November 11, 1904.) He was brought before Judge John A. Blair, who found him guilty of contempt, fined him one hundred dollars, and discharged him from further service in the court as one of its officers. (Evening Journal, November 10, 1904, and New York Tribune, op. cit.) The court, according to the newspaper accounts, arraigned the officer somewhat severely.' "'The habit of neglecting the processes of this court," Judge Blair said, "has become too general.... It is my disposition to find this defendant guilty of contempt. He is an officer of this court and has had large experience. He knows its processes and should be an exemplar of its dignity...."' (Jersey Observer, November 10, 1904.)

The incident did him no political harm in the Horseshoe when later he revealed that it was Dugan's mother who had asked him to go to Boston to testify in her son's behalf. Two years later, indeed, he was the recognized Democratic leader of the Second Ward, and he could, therefore, go to the then boss of Jersey City, Robert Davis, and ask for his reward. The only job available at the time was that of sergeant-at-arms of the state House of Assembly, since the Democrats in 1906 had captured the Assembly and in a distribution of patronage the sergeant-at-arms was assigned to Hudson County. At a meeting of the Hudson assemblymen-elect at the rooms of the Robert Davis Association, December 26, he was designated. (Newark Evening News, December 27, 1906.) The appointment annoyed the editors of the Jersey Observer, who, under the heading `Red Dugan's Friend,' wrote:

Hague's friendship for Dugan cost him his position in the Hudson County courts, and since then he has been seeking another political job. This is the man that the Executive Committee of the Hudson County Democratic Committee has picked from some 40,000 voters to fill the post put at the County's disposal by the Assembly caucus. How pleased the law-making body ought to be to have so distinguished a man selected to keep them in order! (Jersey Observer, December 27, 1906.)


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