Samuel Dexter Hastings

The subject of this sketch was born in Leicester, Worcester county, Massachusetts, July 24, 1816.  His parents were of English and Scotch descent and his maternal grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  Mr. Hastings’ early life was spent in Boston.  When 14 years of age he went to Philadelphia and lived there for 10 years.  In 1846 he settled in Walworth county, Wisconsin, while what is now that State was still a Territory, and he has been identified as an active citizen with the history of that State ever since.  In 1847 he was elected justice of the peace, and the next year to the State legislature.  He was a member, in 1849, of the first regular winter session of the legislature after the State was admitted to the Union.  During that session he delivered a remarkable speech against slavery, especially against its extension into new States.  This speech was afterward widely circulated as one of the permanent documents of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1856 he was again elected to the legislature and the next year State treasurer, filling the latter office for four consecutive terms.  This was during their period, and Mr. Hastings has received great praise for the wisdom and sound sense he displayed in managing the finances of the State, while subject to the heavy drain incident to the war.  He has held and still holds many positions of trust from the people of Wisconsin.  He has been, in addition to what has been already enumerated, secretary of the State Board of Charities, treasurer of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, curator of the State Historical Society, president of the State Sunday-school convention, Grand Worthy Patriarch of the (Wisconsin) Grand Division Sons of Temperance, Grand Chief Templar of the Grand Lodge (Wisconsin) I.O.G.T., Right Worthy Grand Templar of the I.O.G.T., trustee of Beloit College, and has held other positions of importance and honor.
     When quite young he began to contribute to the reform press of the county.  He wrote for The Pennsylvania Freeman, an anti-slavery paper, published under the editorship of John G. Whittier, was associate editor of The National Prohibitionist, and was, and is now, contributor to many of the Good Templar and Prohibition papers in this country, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
     Mr. Hastings; was always in sympathy with the Prohibition movement.  He gave in his adherence to the party in 1881 and has since been one of its national leaders.  He has been treasurer of the Prohibition National Committee, and also of the State committee, continuously since 1882.  He was the party’s candidate for congress (Wisconsin) in 1882 and for governor in 1884.  He lives at Madison, Wisconsin.  He has three children, two daughters and a son, the latter, Samuel D. Hastings, Jr., a circuit judge in Wisconsin.

— Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)

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