Loucks, Henry L. (Henry Langford) 1846-1928

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Loucks, Henry L. (Henry Langford) 1846-1928

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Henry Langford Loucks was born at Hull, Ontario, Canada, May 24, 1846 to William J. and Anna (York) Loucks. He was educated in the Canadian common schools. He married Florence Isabel McCraney at Oakville, Ontario, Canada, May 22, 1878. They had seven children, four of whom grew to maturity: Perry, Anna, Elizabeth, and Daniel. Loucks came to the United States and conducted a mercantile business in Michigan and later in Missouri. In 1884, he settled on a government homestead in Deuel County, Dakota Territory, near Clear Lake (S.D.). His settlement came as the great boom was subsiding. He experienced almost at once the hardships which were common to the farmers of the region and he took up their cause by organizing a "farmer's club" which soon became the Territorial Alliance. In 1885, this group affiliated with the National Farmer's Alliance. Loucks became the leader and president of the Territorial Alliance and assisted in organizing a number of cooperative business ventures, including fire and hail insurance and merchandising. He also established the Dakota Ruralist as the exponent of his economic views and published it for nearly twenty years. / At first, he and his associates, who generally affiliated with the Republican Party, hoped to accomplish their objectives through the existing parties. But in 1890, at a joint convention of the Knights of Labor and the state Farmers' Alliance, of which he was then president, Loucks was named as candidate for governor. He was defeated, but succeeded in consolidating a large section of the farmers into a separate political party in 1891, at first known as the Independent, later identified with the Peoples of Populist Party. In 1892, he presided over the first Populist Party national convention. In the same year he was elected president of the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union. He fought for the adoption of the initiative and referendum in South Dakota in 1898 and its success was conceded to have resulted from his efforts. / Loucks published several works, the titles of which indicate the direction of this thought. Some of the titles include: The New Monetary System (1893); Government Ownership of Railroad and Telegraphs (1894); and the Great Conspiracy of the House of Morgan and How to Defeat It (1916). / While his home for many years was Watertown, South Dakota, his death occurred at Clear Lake, South Dakota, December 29, 1928.


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