The Sherman Family: Lampson Parker Sherman

Charles Robert Sherman and Mary Hoyt had eleven children before Charles’ early death at the age of 40 on June 24, 1829.  This created a situation where Mary was unable to care for all eleven children, who aged from 18 years to 3 months, and many went to live with prominent friends of Charles Sherman.  Charles, the eldest, went to Dayton, OH to stay with a cousin and lawyer, Mr. Stoddard.  Charles would eventually practice law in Mansfield.  William Tecumseh went to the family of the Hon. Thomas Ewing, a future Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of the Interior.  John would stay with his mother for two years before moving in with his father’s cousin, also named John Sherman, at Mt. Vernon, OH.  Lampson Parker, the fourth son, was adopted into the family of Charles Hammond, a lawyer and editor and chief proprietor of the Gazette, which was a leading newspaper in Cincinnati.


Lampson, or “Lamp” as he was called, and John were fond of playing practical jokes and often got into mischief together.  Once while Lampson was visiting from Cincinnati, John convinced Lamp to rob Mr. Howe’s orchard.  Lamp and other children had climbed a tree and began to shake down the apples.  However, unknown to them, John had arranged three boys from the academy to fire their muskets “loaded with powder and nothing else” at the tree.  The boys scattered, getting caught in vines and jumping over a high fence to escape.  In his autobiography, John Sherman remarked, “at seventy-two I know it was wrong.  At thirteen it was fun.”


Charles Hammond

Lampson would later begin an apprenticeship at the Cincinnati Gazette and, on April 10, 1845, married Mary A. Gitchell.  The couple had one child before Mary’s death on May 1, 1848, who was named Charles Hammond Sherman.  The following year, Lamp would make his way west and settle in what was then called Fort Des Moines.  Soon after his arrival, he started a Whig newspaper calling it the Gazette.  Lamp made his way to Cincinnati to buy presses, type, and other material he would need and shipped it by boat to St. Louis, which was then hauled to the fort.  He would set up shop across the street from his competitor, The Star, and publish his first paper on January 1, 1850.  The price was $2 per year in advance for the paper, but that $2 often never came.  Six months later, Lamp was having trouble paying the bills, and citizens agreed to assume one-half of the indebtedness, and the name of the paper was changed to the State Journal.  Lamp was later asked how he managed to get a paper out in those days without having the proper means and conveniences for the job.  He said summers went very well, but winters were difficult.  Snow would come in through the cracks in the logs making the paper damp, the ink would freeze and it took 40 days to get news from Washington.


Lampson P. Sherman house at 1052 26th St. Des Moines, Iowa

On December 31, 1851, Lamp was remarried to Susan Rebecca Lawson.  They would have 8 children.  That same year, Lamp helped draft the city charter for Fort Des Moines, was elected to the city council, and was Justice of the Peace.  In 1854 he was elected the third Mayor of Des Moines, in 1855 city recorder and in 1858 city treasurer.  Lampson would later begin working with his brother, Hoyt, who was also in Des Moines at Hoyt Sherman & Company Bank.  He was elected to many other public positions but seldom sought them out.  The people of Des Moines thought so much of him that they placed him in positions of importance.  Socially he was “reserved, genial, and popular” and active in getting the public school system started.  Lampson Parker Sherman died November 21, 1900, one month after his brother John.  On September 8, 1988, his home at 1052 26th St. was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


From the Iowa S0tate Bystander.  November 23, 1900, Page 3



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s