Albert B. Fall
Overview
 
Albert Bacon Fall was a United States Senator from New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 and the Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

, infamous for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal
Teapot Dome scandal
The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States in 1922–23, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome and two other locations to private oil companies at low...

.
Fall was born in Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort is a city in Kentucky that serves as the state capital and the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population it is the 5th smallest state capital in the United States...

, in 1861 to William R. and Edmonia Taylor Fall. Fall attended schools as a child in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, but was primarily self-educated. At age eleven Fall was employed in a cotton factory. This early employment is most likely the cause of several respiratory health problems he suffered throughout his life.
Encyclopedia
Albert Bacon Fall was a United States Senator from New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 and the Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding
Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

, infamous for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal
Teapot Dome scandal
The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States in 1922–23, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome and two other locations to private oil companies at low...

.

Early life and family

Fall was born in Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort is a city in Kentucky that serves as the state capital and the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population it is the 5th smallest state capital in the United States...

, in 1861 to William R. and Edmonia Taylor Fall. Fall attended schools as a child in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, but was primarily self-educated. At age eleven Fall was employed in a cotton factory. This early employment is most likely the cause of several respiratory health problems he suffered throughout his life. Due to these illnesses, as a young man Fall headed west looking for better climate. He lived in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, but eventually settled in Las Cruces
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 97,618 in 2010 according to the 2010 Census, making it the second largest city in the state....

 in the New Mexico Territory
New Mexico Territory
thumb|right|240px|Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of...

 where he practiced law.

Between the years of 1879–1881, he was employed as an educator while he studied law. On May 7, 1883, Fall married Emma Garland Morgan in Clarksville, Texas
Clarksville, Texas
Clarksville is a city in Red River County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 3,883. It is the county seat of Red River County.-Geography:Clarksville is located at ....

. The couple had four children: a son, John (Jack) Morgan Fall; and three daughters: Alexina Chase, Caroline Everhart and Jouett Elliott. Both Jack and his sister Caroline died within a week of each other in 1918 from an influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 epidemic that was sweeping the nation. The family home was the Three Rivers Ranch in the Tularosa Basin
Tularosa Basin
The Tularosa Basin is a graben basin in the Basin and Range Province and within the Chihuahuan Desert, east of the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States.-Geography:...

 of New Mexico. The Falls also maintained a home in El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

.

Career

Fall was admitted to the bar
Admission to the bar in the United States
In the United States, admission to the bar is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission , which can lead to different admission...

 in 1891 and started practice immediately. He was appointed judge of the third judicial district in 1893. During the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

, Fall served as captain of an infantry company.

Albert Jennings Fountain murder case

On February 1, 1896, attorney Albert Jennings Fountain
Albert Jennings Fountain
Albert Jennings Fountain was a lawyer, Indian fighter, and Republican politician in Texas and New Mexico.-Biography:...

 and his eight-year-old son Henry disappeared near the White Sands on the way to their home in Mesilla, near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fall successfully defended the three men—Oliver Lee, Jim Gilliland and Billy McNew—charged with murder in the case.

Fall was known to have disliked Fountain, whose land holdings made him a powerful rival to land owners Fall and Oliver Lee. Fall's association with Oliver Lee had begun when Fall assisted Lee during a criminal case. In their employ were smalltime gunmen Billy McNew and Jim Gilliland. "In return for the legal services of Fall, Lee and his men terrorized men and voters on the lawyer’s behalf." By the late 1890s, Lee was rustling cattle from other cattlemen in the area, and then altering the brand
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s to resemble his own. When law enforcement officials closed in, Fall dealt with the legal issues.

Fountain, however, showed little fear of the Fall/Lee faction, and challenged them openly in the courts as well as in the political arena. Many factors indicated that Lee was involved in the disappearance and murder of Fountain, but investigators had to battle the local court system, Fall's legal talents and local law enforcement. The bodies of Fountain and his young son were never found, which hampered prosecution. Charges against McNew were dismissed, while Lee and Gilliland were acquitted.

In 1908 Fall successfully defended the accused killer of former Sheriff Pat Garrett
Pat Garrett
Patrick Floyd "Pat" Garrett was an American Old West lawman, bartender, and customs agent who was best known for killing Billy the Kid...

. Garrett, who had killed outlaw Billy the Kid
Billy the Kid
William H. Bonney William H. Bonney William H. Bonney (born William Henry McCarty, Jr. est. November 23, 1859 – c. July 14, 1881, better known as Billy the Kid but also known as Henry Antrim, was a 19th-century American gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War and became a frontier...

 in 1881, was the same lawman who pursued those suspected in the Albert Jennings Fountain killings.

Election to the Senate

As a member of the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, Fall was elected as one of the first U.S. Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 in the year 1912. It was widely known that he made a political alliance with Thomas B. Catron
Thomas B. Catron
Thomas Benton Catron was an American politician and lawyer who was influential in the establishment of the U.S. state of New Mexico. He later represented the state in the United States Senate.-Early life:...

, the man who served alongside him, to ensure his own election. This controversy made Fall a target of the local Republican Party, as they believed Fall had not contributed to their efforts to secure New Mexico's statehood, and was not worthy of their nomination. Fall was also severely disliked by Democrats. This came to a head when, under Senate rules, Fall's term was over in March 1913, so his name was again up before the legislature for re-appointment. After various votes, the legislature sent Fall's name to the governor. Governor McDonald
William C. McDonald (governor)
William Calhoun McDonald was the first Governor of the State of New Mexico.McDonald moved to New Mexico Territory in 1880 and settled in Lincoln County, where he managed cattle ranches and became active in Democratic politics....

, on the advice of his Democratic legal advisor, Summers Burkhart
Summers Burkhart
Summers Burkhart was an American lawyer and the United States Attorney for New Mexico from 1913 to 1921.Burkhart was born in Martinsburg, Virginia to middle class parents, William Davidson Burkhart and Nannie Forest Burkhart.  He was sent away for advanced schooling to the College of St...

, said that the legislature's procedure had been illegal, and failed to sign the credentialing papers in an attempt to oust Fall by forcing a special session of the legislature and a new vote. It didn't work; Fall won the special legislative election. When re-election came up in 1918, Fall was ambivalent about running, but nonetheless accepted the Republican nomination. In the general election he overcame a bitter challenge from Democrat William B. Walton, even though Fall never made a campaign speech. Some commentators suggest that it was sympathy for Fall's tragic loss of his two children in the flu epidemic
Spanish flu
The 1918 flu pandemic was an influenza pandemic, and the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus . It was an unusually severe and deadly pandemic that spread across the world. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin...

 that won him the election.

In the Senate, Fall served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Commerce and Labor, was noted for his support of the suffrage movement and his extreme isolationist tendencies when the US entered World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. After Catron was beaten in a primary election of 1916, Fall lost his only local political ally. However, while in the Senate he had become close friends with the people who would later make up the infamous Ohio Gang
Ohio Gang
The Ohio Gang was a group of politicians and industry leaders who came to be associated with Warren G. Harding, the twenty-ninth President of the United States of America.-Background:...

, which secured him a cabinet position in March 1921. While local politicians may have opposed him, his popularity with the residents of New Mexico was reportedly very high.

Teapot Dome scandal

Fall was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Interior by President Warren G. Harding in March 1921. Soon after his appointment, Harding convinced Edwin Denby
Edwin C. Denby
Edwin Denby was an American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of the Navy in the administrations of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge from 1921 to 1924. He also played a notable role in the infamous Teapot Dome scandal which took place during the Harding presidency. He was the son...

, the Secretary of the Navy, that Fall's department should take over responsibility for the Naval Reserves at Elk Hills
Elk Hills Oil Field
The Elk Hills Oil Field is a large oil field in northwestern Kern County, in the Elk Hills of the San Joaquin Valley, California in the United States, about twenty miles west of Bakersfield...

, California, Buena Vista, California, and Teapot Dome, Wyoming. This last setting became the namesake of the scandal to erupt in April 1922 when the Wall Street Journal reported that Secretary Fall had decided that two of his friends, oilmen Harry F. Sinclair
Harry F. Sinclair
Harry Ford Sinclair was an American oil industrialist.-Early life:Harry Sinclair was born in Benwood, West Virginia, now a suburb of the city of Wheeling. Sinclair grew up in Independence, Kansas. The son of a pharmacist, after finishing high school, he entered the pharmacy department of the...

 (Mammoth Oil Corporation) and Edward L. Doheny
Edward L. Doheny
Edward Laurence Doheny was an American oil tycoon, who in 1892, along with business partner Charles A. Canfield, drilled the first successful oil well in the Los Angeles City Oil Field, setting off the petroleum boom in Southern California.At first he was an unsuccessful prospector in the state of...

 (Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company), should be given leases to drill in parts of these Naval Reserves without open bidding.

His acceptance of kickbacks for the leases resulted in the Teapot Dome scandal
Teapot Dome scandal
The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States in 1922–23, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome and two other locations to private oil companies at low...

. The investigation found Fall guilty of conspiracy and bribery, $385,000 having been paid to him by Edward L. Doheny. Fall was jailed for one year as a result—the first former cabinet officer sentenced to prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 as a result of misconduct in office.

Doheny was not only acquitted on the charge of bribing Fall, but Doheny's corporation foreclosed on Fall's home in Tularosa Basin
Tularosa Basin
The Tularosa Basin is a graben basin in the Basin and Range Province and within the Chihuahuan Desert, east of the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States.-Geography:...

, New Mexico, because of "unpaid loans" which turned out to be that same $100,000 bribe. Harry Sinclair was fined and served six months for contempt of court.

Fall died, November 30, 1944, after a long illness, in El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

.

Further reading on the Fountain murder case

  • Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain by Corey Recko, 2007, University of North Texas Press

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK