City Bosses in the United States: A Study of Twenty Municipal Bosses

By Harold B. Zink | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
"DUKE" EDWIN H. VARE

The Vare brothers, otherwise known as the "Dukes of South Philadelphia," have been influential in Philadelphia Republican circles for many years. George became active away back in the early days of "King" James McManes and the gas ring. Edwin H. joined the ranks in the eighties and succeeded his brother in politics as the years passed by. William Scott Vare, the youngest of the triumvirate, carries on the family name today in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania and hoped to sit in the Senate of the United States. In as much as Edwin devoted himself more largely to local politics, brought the family political fortunes from a relatively humble position to a very high one, and occupied a very prominent place in Philadelphia politics of the last generation, he has been selected to represent the family.

A product of the old Southwark District, then on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Eddie was born July 19, 1862, in a frame shack. His parents, Augustus and Abigail Vare, came from several generations of American stock. Augustus, a seller of charcoal and breeder of hogs, although hard working, attained no great degree of prosperity and died prematurely. Abigail Vare, a "faithful soul, plain, transparent, deeply spiritual, and with a perfect passion for Christian service," reared her family of ten children with care and became the beloved of her sons.1 In addition to her three politically-minded sons Mrs. Vare had a son Henry, who died from a bite of a hog, a son John, who peddled coal oil, and one Thomas, mechanically inclined, who built wagons and spent some time inventing.2

____________________
1
Bishop Berry's characterization of Mrs. Vare. See Legislative Journal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1923 ( Harrisburg, 1923), I, 1325.
2
For additional information concerning Edwin Vare's parents and brothers and sisters, see ibid., 1323; The North American, October 17, 1922, p. 4; and the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 17, 1922, p. 5.

-218-

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