On Sunday, November 1, 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle made a campaign stop in Portsmouth as running mate to President George H.W. Bush the 41st President of the United States. He may have been considered a sort of favorite son from Portsmouth because his dad James had worked for the Portsmouth Times for an instance. Dan was not a Portsmouth native though, as he was born in Indianapolis on Feb. 4, 1947. His mother, Corinne Pulliam, was the daughter of newspaper owner Eugene C. Pulliam and Dan’s father was an ex-Marine named James Quayle. His dad James was born in Joliet, Illinois, the son of Robert H. and Marie Cline Quayle. He attended DePaul University, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. After graduating in 1943, James Quayle joined the United States Marine Corps and served in an air transport wing in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
After the war he went to work for his father-in-law as ad salesman. Shortly after Dan was born, Jim Quayle moved his wife and new son to Portsmouth. He went to work for the Portsmouth Daily Times – in 1947, as ad salesman. His stint in Portsmouth was short lived, but he attained the moxie for the newspaper business. Then in 1948 he moved to Huntington, Indiana – working for the Huntington Herald Press; then owned by his father-in-law Eugene Pulliam, as advertising manager. In 1955, Quayle moved his family to Arizona to manage public relations operations at the Arizona Republic and Gazette. In 1963 he again went back to Huntington, and became the Publisher and eventual owner of the Huntington Herald Express.
Moving forward to that November day in 1992 – Vice President Dan Quayle delivered fresh attacks on Bill Clinton’s character on Sunday, saying the American people want a president who ″is faithful to their family.″ After services in the Second Presbyterian church where he was baptized, Quayle switched into his attack mode at a boisterous rally in a local school gym. He made a nostalgic side trip to the two-bedroom, white clapboard house a few miles outside town where he lived as an infant while his father, James C. Quayle, sold ads for the Portsmouth Times. “This is just another example of my wealthy, silver spoon background that you people in the media have been reporting all these years,″ – Quayle retorted tongue-in-cheek after visiting with Clarence Felts, who has lived there since buying it from Quayle’s parents in 1948. ″Clarence said, ’Hey, say thanks to your old man for me. … He gave me his 4 percent G.I. loan, and I got the lot next door for a dollar,” Quayle told the rally. ″Now that’s the kind of deal that we’re going to give you on Election Day if you re-elect George Bush.″ (Cristopher Connell – Associated Press)
In 1991/92, the city of Portsmouth began honoring some of the accomplishments of its area natives by placing a star on the city’s Ohio River floodwall. It’s known as the Portsmouth Wall of Fame. Former Mayor Frank Gerlach was in office when the project began. Some of the honorees include former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Don Gullett, former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Al Oliver, cowboy movie legend Roy Rogers, and Vice President Dan Quayle.
As history will dictate – it can be said that in that time and place – Jim Quayle’s son in 1947 an infant; who inhabited that white clapboard house within the locale of Portsmouth. Also, that in 1992 he came back for politics and acknowledged that at one time in history that he once lived here. As we look back at the folks who came and went from Portsmouth, we can feel proud. He came back this time as Vice-President James Danforth “Dan” Quayle, 41st Vice President of the United States – the son of James Quayle the fellow who sold ads for the Portsmouth Daily Times.
Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: [email protected]