SPEECH
OF
HON. JOHN E. RANKIN
OF MISSISSIPPI
IN THE House OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, June 27, 1930

Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Speaker, it becomes my sad duty to announce to the House the death of the Hon. James Kimble Vardaman, formerly a Senator from the State of Mississippi, who passed away in Birmingham. Ala., on June the 25th.
   Senator Vardaman was born near Edna. Jackson County, Tex., on July 26, 1861. His parents were from Mississippi, to which State the family returned in 1868.
   Young Vardaman grew up in the shadows of the Civil War, his father having been a soldier in the Confederate Army. He was educated in the school of hard experience during the dark and trying times of reconstruction. He studied law at odd times and was early admitted to the bar, but later turned to journalism and for many years was one of the leading editors of the State.
   He served as a member of the legislature for several terms. In 1894 he was elected Speaker of the House, which position he filled with honor and distinction.
   When the Spanish-American War broke out he left a wife and four small children to respond to the call of his country. He was commissioned captain by President McKinley and was promoted to the rank of major before the war closed.
   In 1903 he was elected governor of his State, in which capacity he served for four years. His administration stands out conspicuously as one of the cleanest and most economical in all the history of Mississippi
   He was elected to the Senate in 1911 by a majority of more than 26,000 over two of the strongest men in the State. He entered the Senate in 1913 and served with distinction in that august body until March 4. 1919.
   He was one of the most picturesque figures this country has yet produced. and was undoubtedly the most popular individual who has lived in Mississippi within the last half a century.
   He was one of the most loyal friends I have ever known. As was once said of Robert E. Lee, "He was a friend without treachery and a public officer without vices." He spurned with contempt any overtures that were even tainted with the appearance of evil. His honesty was indeed above reproach. So much so that during the stormy years of his political career even his enemies vouched for his integrity.
   He was one of the most courageous men, both morally and physically, it has ever been my privilege to know.
   He loved the people of Mississippi and they loved him. He loved the traditions of his State and gloried in her great record and in the achievements of her distinguished men. He loved his country and fought for what he thought was the best interest of the American people and American institutions, regardless of the consequences.
   He was one of the most devoted patriots who ever stood beneath the folds of the American flag.
   I have seen him in the pride and strength of his manhood battling for what he thought was right, challenging the admiration of both friends and foes.
   I have seen him in the days of his adversity, when the clouds were low, the night was dark, when the storm was fierce and "the stars were dead," but I never saw him falter or refuse to walk the beaten path of duty as God gave him the wisdom to see it.

    "He was a man, take him for all in all,
     I shall not look upon his like again."

 

Original Document