The Rangle wrangle: A Missouri reflection

New York Congressman Charles Rangle has been censured by the House. He was hoping for only a reprimand but he got a stiffer penalty. It could have been worse. Instead of being only the 22nd member of the House to be censured, he could have been expelled.

Only five members of the U. S. House have been expelled. The first two were Missourians. They were kicked out in 1861 for disloyalty to the Union.

John Bullock Clark, Sr. was a Kentucky-born Fayette lawyer, a colonel in the Missouri Mounted Volunteers during he Black Hawk War and was moved up to Major General in 1848.

He served a term in the Missouri House and when Congressman James S. Green resigned, Clark was appointed to take his place. He was re-elected twice.

When the House met in December, 1859 — five days after the hanging of abolitionist John Brown — Clark introduced a resolution saying no man was fit to serve in that office who agreed with a recent book, THE IMPENDING CRISIS OF THE SOUTH by Hinton Helper. Helper had written that the South would remain economically backward as long as it continued to support slavery. Clark called those ideas “insurrectionary and hostile to the domestic peace and tranquility.” The controversy kept the House tied up in knots for weeks.

With Lincoln’s election and the first secessions, Clark pledged his support to the south. On July 13, 1861 he was expelled for having taken up arms against the United States. He became a Missouri Senator in the first Confederate Congress and was a Representative in the second Confederate Congress. He was a brigadier general in the Missouri State Militia, the state’s Confederate military force.

Clark returned to Fayette after the war and practiced law until his death in 1885.

The other expelled Missouri Congressman was John William Reid, a Virginia native who became a school teacher and lawyer when he moved to Missouri in 1840. He practiced law in Jefferson City and served as a captain in the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers under Alexander Doniphan in the Mexican War. He negotiated a treaty with the Navajo Indians in 1846 although the young warriors ignored it. In 1847 after Apaches had raided the settlement of Parras and killed several villagers, kidnapped 19 children, had taken 300 mules, 200 horses, and other goods, Reid and his unit tracked the Apaches several miles and made four frontal attacks on them before the Apaches fled into the mountains. Reid’s unit rescued 13 of the captives and recovered most of the other stolen goods. He suffered arrow wounds to the shoulder and the face. He was later cited for gallantry at the Battle of Sacramento Pass, when Doniphan’s Missourians whipped the Mexican forces and captured Chihuahua.

Reid was an active participant in the border war with Kansas and led a group of 400 men who attacked and burned John Brown’s headquarters town of Osawatomie, Kansas, killing one of Brown’s sons in the process.

He lived in Kansas City then, helped form the Chamber of Commerce. He was elected to the United States House in 1860 and served a few months before he withdrew in August. That December he was expelled for taking up arms against the Union. He served with General Sterling Price’s Confederate troops in Missouri and Arkansas as a volunteer commissary officer.
Reid returned to Kansas City after the war and was in banking and real estate until hls death in 1881.

Missouri also has had two U. S. Senators kicked out of office. Trusten Polk and Waldo Porter Johnson also were expelled for disloyalty in 1961.

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