As I sat in front of my computer deciding on a direction for this blog, the buzz of the Iowa Caucus information on TV reminded me of a somewhat famous politician in my family, Clarence Sloan. Uncle Clarence was married to my Grandma’s older sister Annie and years before I knew him as a gentle soul who spoiled us rotten, Uncle Clarence was a politician! Evidently Uncle Clarence was a bit of a character and earned the nickname “Mountain Lion” for his rather outspoken ways.
In 1924 Uncle Clarence (Mountain Lion) first ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives and won! He was the voice for the mill people or working class of the region, although he was a farmer by trade, He stumped wherever he could find a crowd on the street, cafes and yes even cockfights. He promised voters that: “if I am elected, I am going down there (Columbia) and get mine and if there’s any left after I get mine, you all can have it.” Well if nothing else Mountain Lion was honest! How refreshing!
Later Mountain Lion also served in the State Senate from 1932-36 and that campaign included a fistfight with a fellow opponent. From the information I have found on his time in public service Mountain Lion was considered a colorful and dedicated elected official. Perhaps what was most striking about Mountain Lion were his strong beliefs and his willingness to voice them. Very much the epitome of a staunch Southern Baptist, Mountain Lion voted vociferously against legalizing liquor sales. He was also a bit puritanical as he was a very vocal opponent of public swimming pools. A quote from his platform in 1924 stated:
“I believe in outlawing liquor because it’s bad, and I believe in outlawing swimming pools because they’re bad. I am against them and will do all I can to put them out of business. How a man could let his wife go to one with a crowd in which there are other men and still live with her, is more than I can see.”
Mountain Lion may seem rough around the edges and a bit naïve, nonetheless as a public official he took the position very seriously. During his time in office he fought vigorously for local tax money to be spent within the county and opposed any additional regulation to be imposed on private citizens. For the mill workers, Mountain Lion supported legislation to require adequate ventilation, fire protection and regulated working hours in the textile mills. I think it is safe to say he took care of his constituents.
Colorful and boisterous, that was “Mountain Lion” Sloan in public office. To me, he was Uncle Clarence a gentleman farmer who was always happy to see me and my cousins come to visit! Uncle Clarence and Aunt Annie allowed us the run of the farm and offered us candy treats. The term Mountain Lion hardly seems to fit the kindly uncle I remember. However, I think his heart and principles were always in the right place!
Well, that’s all from Dark Corner today. Join us next time for a discussion about cold coffee drinks….yes even in the winter!