Posted by Jim Fitzgerald
William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 15, 1857.  He was a graduate of Yale and the Cincinnati Law School. His political career began when he was made Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Hamilton County in 1881.
The following year President Arthur made him Collector of Internal Revenue.  In 1887 at the age of 29, Governor Foraker appointed him to the superior court of Ohio, where he served two terms.  In 1890 President Harrison appointed him to the sixth circuit court.  In 1890, President McKinley made him Chairman of Philippine Commission and later Governor of the Philippines.
President Roosevelt appointed him Secretary of War and used him to get the Panama Canal Commission underway, and to straighten out some problems that had been started by the Cuban Gentry.
In 1908 he won the presidency of the United States over Williams Jennings Bryan.  He was defeated by Wilson in 1912 and returned to private practice.
He became a professor at Yale, was joint chairman of War Labor Board, Provisional Governor of Cuba, and the chairman of the American contingent planning the structure of the “Society of Nations” i.e. League of Nations, following the signing of the Armistice. 
July 1, 1921, President Hardin appointed him as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, where he served until his death, March 9, 1930.
Taft was perhaps more influential in national and world affairs than any other president before him, yet he is little remembered. 
To remedy that in a small way, perhaps a bronze plaque would be appropriate in the Hotel Marshall lobby, inscribed “William Howard Taft, President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, slept here April 12, 1920, as a guest of Rotarian and innkeeper John Kieffer”.
A footnote to the plaque might read:
“Ex-President Taft is Distinguished Guest of City This Morning”, because that was the front-page headline of the “Marshall Messenger” April 13, 1920 when he addressed the Rotary Club at the Hotel Marshall, as arranged by the Marshall Rotary Club president, Ike Hochwald.
Hochwald was a good friend of Taft and took some serious ribbing from Taft as to the assurances he had made the night before in Shreveport, that the “threatened thunderstorm” would only be a “spring shower that would settle the dust and leave the roads in beautiful condition”.  According to Taft, his party left Shreveport by automobile, but the rain was falling so hard they had to feel the road and eventually had to turn back and come over by train.
The reporter at that historic meeting summed it up this way “The visitor’s great personality and pleasing good humor won for him the marked admiration of all who came in contact with him during his visit here. His chuckling laugh is especially contagious.”
This incident is yet another great milestone in the history of the Rotary Club of Marshall, Texas, and one we will surely remember when we meet August 24, 2019, at the Marshall Convention and Visitors Center, where we will be “Celebrating a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall --- And Beyond”.
Come and join us.