D. D. Calkins, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of D. D. Calkins


D. D. Calkins, of Tacoma, is well known as a mining operator of the northwest, and his business interests in the development of the rich mineral resources of this portion of the continent and his labors in reclaiming arid land through irrigation have proved of the greatest value to this section of the country, as well as a source of profit to himself. He is a representative of that class of men whose labors have led to the wonderful development of the Sound country, men with ability to see in unsettled and apparently waste places of the world the opportunity for improvement, and who utilize this opportunity in a way that advances civilization as well as individual profit.

Mr. Calkins is a native of Valparaiso, Indiana, born in 1869, a son of the Hon. William H. and Hattie (Holton) Calkins. The father was born February 18, 1842, in Pike county, Ohio, and in 1853 accompanied his father's family to Indiana, where through the succeeding three years he worked upon his father's farm. In 1856, when his father was elected county auditor, he became his deputy, acting in that capacity for two years, and in the spring of 1861 he was the city editor and bookkeeper of the Indiana Daily Courier, published at Lafayette. His leisure hours during this period were devoted to the study of law. At the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted as a private in the company commanded by Captain J. W. Templeton, of Benton county, Indiana. This company was intended for the three months' service, but the quota being filled it was transferred to the state service for one year and temporarily attached to the Fifteenth Indiana Regiment, and the following August it was disbanded. Mr. Calkins then went to Iowa and assisted in raising a company in Jones county, that state, so that in 1861 he entered the three years' service as a first lieutenant of Company H, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry. He fought at Forts Henry and Donelson and at the battle of Shiloh, and at the close of the first day's engagement at Shiloh the remnant of his regiment surrendered, and he, with other officers, was taken a prisoner. He was confined at Macon and Madison, Georgia, and in Libby prison, and in October, 1862, was paroled. After his release he joined his regiment and was ordered to Springfield, Missouri, to repel the invasion of the Confederate General Marmaduke. He was then sent to Cairo, Illinois, and later to Paducah, Kentucky, where in 1863 he left his regiment with his health seriously impaired because of imprisonment and exposure. He re-entered the army in October, 1863, and was temporarily assigned to the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Indiana Infantry, then being recruited. In February, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of major of the Twelfth Indiana Cavalry, with which he remained until mustered out of service, in December, 1865, commanding it more than half the time during active service. At the close of the war he was brevetted lieutenant colonel for meritorious service.

On the 20th of June, 1864, Colonel Calkins was married to Miss Hattie S. Holton, a native of Rush county, Indiana, and in December, 1865, he returned to Valparaiso, Indiana, to which place his father had in the meantime removed, and there he immediately entered upon the practice of law, wherein he was destined to rise to prominence. In October, 1866, he was elected prosecuting attorney of the district composed of nine of the northwestern counties of the state, and served to the entire satisfaction of his constituents, as was evinced by the fact that he was re-elected in 1868. In 1870 he was a member of the Forty-seventh general assembly from Porter county, and in May, 1871, he removed to Laporte, Indiana, where he entered upon the practice of his profession with Judge Osborn. In 1874 he was nominated for Congress by the Republicans, but was defeated by Dr. Hammond, of Monticello. In 1876 he was again nominated and was elected by eleven hundred votes over his old competitor, and was re-elected in 1878. In 1880 he was re-elected from the thirteenth congressional district, and was re-elected from the same district in 1882. At the Republican state convention in June, 1884, the year of Elaine's defeat, he was nominated for governor of Indiana, but was defeated by Isaac P. Gray at the ensuing election, the total vote being five hundred and fifty thousand. He continued in the practice of law in Indianapolis until February, 1889, when he removed to Tacoma, and here his superior legal attainments won him distinguished judicial honors. In April, 1889, he was appointed by President Harrison one of the four supreme judges of the territory of Washington, which position he filled until the admission of Washington into the Union. He then resumed the practice of law in Tacoma, and in 1891 was a candidate for United States senator, but was defeated by Walter C. Squire, of Seattle. His attention was then devoted to an important law practice in Tacoma until his death, which occurred in 1894. His widow is still living in Tacoma.

During most of Colonel Calkins' congressional career the family resided in Washington, and for one year of that time D. D. Calkins was a student in the Chester Military Academy, at Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1884, when fifteen years of age, he went to North Dakota and lived on a ranch for fifteen months and then, returning to Indianapolis, where his father was engaged in the practice of Iaw, he attended the high school there until 1888, when he received from the government an appointment to the position of assistant topographer in the geographical survey, which work took him to Montana, where he remained for several months. Again locating in Indianapolis, he there remained until the fall of 1889, when he came to Tacoma, and since that time he has been engaged largely in mining and irrigation enterprises in the northwestern coast country, in which two branches of development he has had probably as much experience and is as well informed as any man in this section of the country. His operations in these directions have been conducted in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, during which time he has made his headquarters in Tacoma. For two and a half years he had charge of the big irrigation plant and development work at Prosser, Washington, and at the present time his largest interests are in gold, silver and copper mining properties on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where he has valuable possessions. His office, however, is at No. 508 National Bank of Commerce building in Tacoma.

In June, 1897, in Salem, Oregon, Mr. Calkins was united in marriage to Miss Adelaide Rogers, a native of Indiana, and in the social circles of this city they hold an enviable position, the hospitality of Tacoma's best homes being extended to them. Their own pleasant residence is at 1110 North Ninth street. The name of Mr. Calkins has become well known in the northwest as that of a promoter, whose labors have been effective and beneficial in the development of the great material resources of this, portion of the country, and with firm faith in the future of this section he is demonstrating its possibilities and giving proof of its splendid business opportunities.

Source: Prosser, William Farrand. 1903. A History of the Puget Sound Country: Its Resources, Its Commerce and Its People. Volume II. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 581 p.
Page(s) in Source: 195-197

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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