I suggest that if you a member of that half of Americans who believe there is some validity in astrology, you contemplate the chart for December 30, 1867. It falls under the sign of Capricorn and the double influence of Saturn. Astrology predicts a person born on this date should be practical and realistic, with “entrepreneurial talents”. Our particular birthday boy, Henry Simpson Johnston, was a respected Biblical scholar, a “frail, bookish” lawyer who sought the numerological balance of the “5” in all things, believed he had lived three lives before he'd been born outside Evansville, Indiana, and adhered to esoteric Christian mysticism known as a Rosicrucian. He believed in astral-projection. He practiced hypnotism. He was active in the Klu Klux Klan, a Grand Mason, a founding father and the seventh Governor of Oklahoma, and the second Governor in seven years to be impeached.
“Capricorn: The stars say that you're an exciting and wonderful person, but you know they're lying”
Al Yankovic Poet and Social Commentator
Until 1907 it looked as if there would be two states between the Arkansas Plateau and the Great Plains along the 35th latitude: Sequoya in the east for the 60,00 “Native Americans”, and a separate state for the 1.5 million “European Americans”, mostly in the center and west. That year the Federal government forced a compromise, and on November 16, admitted the single whole as Oklahoma. That date made the oil rich Sooners, Scorpios: resolute, secretive, passionate, insensitive and stubborn to a fault. Which may explain why, in 1924 another ex-Hoosier became Oklahoma Governor. Jack Walton had the support of prohibitionist farmers, Masons, Catholics and progressives in central and western Oklahoma. But his active opposition to the Klu Klux Klan led to his impeachment after less than a year into his four year term.
“I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical.”
Arthur C. Clarke Scientist and Author
In November of 1926, Henry Johnston (above) won the Governorship with 56% of the votes. He was a “slim, long-nosed lawyer, with dark-rimmed spectacles”, a bookish moralist, given to long rambling speeches on Biblical proverbs and reincarnation. He was “intolerant of opponents, (and) seemed blind to weak friends” .Henry and his wife Ethel attended seances with his close friend, appeals court Judge James Armstrong, who Governor Johnston put on the public payroll in January of 1927 to provide the new Governor with astrological advice on all things political, such as the most prescient hour to sign bills into law. And then Henry hired Judge Armstrong's niece as Oklahoma's first gubernatorial confidential executive secretary.
John Kenneth Galbraith Economist
Her name was Mrs. Oliver O. “Mamie” Hammonds. The “small, attractive, dark-haired” and “formidable” Mamie had been a Democratic worker for years, and a successful oil well wildcat-er in her own right.. As the Governor's secretary, she took dictation, typed, screened the Governor's visitors and, to save money, astral-projected across the state's 68,595 square miles to do background checks on job applicants. She was also in the Klan's woman's auxiliary,. But it was not Mamie's affection for the supernatural which initially drove the legislature batty, but according to a reporter for the Daily Oklahoman, it was because “She controlled the door to the governor. Legislators, friends, and supporters...found themselves unable to see the governor unless she acquiesced.” This irritation simmered during the first legislative session, and then rose to a boil during the summer break because of the deep systemic corruption of Oklahoma's government.
“Millionaires don't have astrologers, billionaires do.”
J.P. Morgan. Banker, ego maniac
Under the state's compromise constitution, each of Oklahoma's 77 counties was ruled by an elected three member council, with absolute power, setting salaries and awarding contracts for construction and maintenance for all county property. The graft was so ingrained that a county commissioner who required only a 10% kickback on contracts was hailed as “a model public servant”. To protect this system, Oklahoma violated their own constitution by refusing to redraw Congressional districts for sixty years. Graft and lethargy was part of the reason the state Capitol building (above) in Oklahoma City, still lacked a dome a decade after all other construction was completed. It would not get one until 2002. Of course none of this prevented Oklahoma hypocrites from asserting their moral superiority over the rest of America.
“Horoscopes are nothing more than a mass cultural delusion that the sun's apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality.”
Dr. Sheldon Cooper Sitcom physicist
Above this swamp of graft the state created a five member commission to build highways. Both of the new commissioners Governor Johnston appointed were members of the KKK, and they hired further Klan members. That weakened Johnston's support from Catholics, making him vulnerable. He was not helped by his procrastinating. He almost seemed bent on self destruction, “by turns spectacular and pathetic.” But it was Johnston's insistence that concrete be used in highway construction - as opposed to asphalt, which Oklahoma was swimming in - Oklahoma oil hit its peak production level in 1927 (above), at 278 million barrels – that really set the boil to roiling.
"Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm."
Kurt Vonnegut Author
Sensing the Governor's weakness in the fall of 1927, the few Republicans in the legislature and rebellious Democrats signed a petition asking the Governor to call them into special session so they could impeach him. When he refused, they decided to meet anyway. Led by their leaders “The Four Horsemen”. legislators labeled Mamie Hammonds as the Shadow Governor, and the “She-svengali” of Oklahoma. She was put under oath and freely admitted her astral-travels, but denied she had done anything without Johnston's specific orders. Still, the legislature demanded Mrs. Hammond's resignation.
Paul Carvel Belgian Author
When questioned if he was willing to fire his executive secretary, Governor Johnston (above) typically responded with a parable. “If you came to me with a thousand sheep, and I had only one ewe lamb and you wanted me to destroy that, do you think I would be so base as to destroy it? I repeat, gentlemen, it would be yellow, it would be unjust to Mrs. Hammonds to sacrifice her and her character on false charges.” Henceforth the impeachment became known as the Ewe Lamb Rebellion. Then Governor Johnston decided to strike back. When the “Horsemen” legislators showed up on Monday morning, Christmas day of 1927, they found seventy National Guardsmen blocking the door to the capital building. So they took testimony in the nearby Lee-Huckins Hotel, until the state Supreme Court ruled the legislature could not call themselves into special session. Wrote the Oklahoman, “Unhorsed, unhonored, unpaid and hamstrung, the rebel leaders and insurrectionists returned to their home".
Pisces: Try to avoid any Virgos or Leos with the Ebola virus
Al Yankovic Poet and Social Commentator
But the battle was merely postponed, until early 1929, when the House of Representatives filed 11 charges against Governor Johnston. The only new issues concerned Dr. Oliver O. Hammonds, who had been appointed Governor Johnston's Secretary of Public Health. He was the “disarming and dimpled” Mamies' husband. Her brother Scott sold machinery to the state highway department. And Governor Johnston's closest political adviser, Judge Armstrong, was Mamies' uncle, who was also an attorney for an insurance company that bonded the state highway department. The thinking seemed to have been there must be fraud somewhere in all those relative connections. But nothing was ever produced.
“In many ways, astrology, numerology and palmistry...have attempted to make a practice out of something that is essentially imaginative.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer Author
After a two month trial the state Senate acquitted Governor Johnston of ten of the charges, agreeing with Oklahoma founding father, William “Alfalfa” Murry (above), that conversing with “nymphs, gnomes and newts", was not an impeachable offense. “You must remember”, he told the Senators, “the people have a right to elect a fool.” However, that March, even after Mrs. Hammonds resigned, the Senators convicted Governor Johnston of the eleventh charge; general incompetence.
Henry Johnston and Ethel packed their four adopted daughters into the family car, and drove the 40 miles north to his hometown of Perry. To his surprise he was met on the outskirts by hundreds of well wishers (above), who escorted the family to the county courthouse. There he gave one more speech. “I have lost the office of governor. I have retained my honor and integrity. I retire with a clear conscience. I retain the public confidence” And he did, as he was quickly elected to a four year term in the state Senate . Then he returned to Perry again, to practice law until his death, in January of 1970. Then we can only assume, he started it all over again.
Douglas Adams Author