Wandering Willie

DESCRIPTION: "Oh have you seen our wandr'ing Willie In his journey through your state?" He travels with "a wadding gait," and his luggage is filled with "solid cash." He "pulled the party though." Now they have "passed him from the door."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1895 (Marshall County Sentinal, according to Cohen)
KEYWORDS: money political humorous
1891-1895 - William W. Taylor, President of the First National Bank of Redfield, South Dakota, serves as State Treasurer
Jan 10, 1895 - Taylor's bank fails; he flees the state
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Cohen-AFS2, p. 484, "Wandering Willie" (1 text)
cf. "Kingdom Coming (The Year of Jubilo)" (tune)
NOTES [270 words]: Robert F. Karolevitz, Challenge, the South Dakota Story, Brevet Press, 1974 (I use the eighth printing from 2004), p. 215, has this to say about the Taylor affair:
"After he had been re-elected to a second term, [Governor Charles H.] Sheldon publicly praised retiring State Treasurer William Walter Taylor for protecting the public funds throughout the unstable fiscal conditions created by the national depression. Then, on January 8, 1895, it was revealed that the former Redfield banker had fled to South America and that the treasury was short $367,000. The monstrous scandal was almost the last straw for a state already reeling under other adversities.... After several months Taylor returned to South Dakota, was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to 20 years in prison, the term being reduced later to two years which the ex-treasurer served. His personal assets, the state funds he foolishly had placed in the hands of his Chicago attorneys (who had apparently advised him to leave the country) and the forfeiture of his bond restored a major portion of the missing sum, but when it was all over, the people of South Dakota sill lost almost $100,000...."
A minor side effect was that an ex-governor, Arthur C. Mellette, had stood as one of Taylor's bondsmen and lost his own money. It contributed to his early death in 1896 at the age of 52.
The affair also badly damaged the state Republican party; the Democrats swept into power in the election of 1896 -- and there was so much concern about the handling of money that the new governor, Andrew E. Lee, ordered a physical count of the state's cash. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: CAFS2484

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