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The village smith of Landgrove, Vt. (pop. 64) is Samuel Robinson Ogden, 46, Swarthmore graduate, architect, World War I veteran, former legislator, author of a book on gardening (How to Grow Food for Your Family) and schoolteacher. He is also a colorful character and the insurgent candidate for the Republican nomination for his State's lone seat in the House.
For nine years Vermonters have worried along with white-topped, square-jawed Congressman Charles Plumley. Farmers disliked him because he lined up with the Midwestern farm bloc to keep up the price of grain, needed for Vermont dairy farms. Workers mumbled at his Red-baiting, labor-hating speeches. Still others decried his lack of taste: he once remarked it was good the Dionne quintuplets did not live in the U.S., for the AAA would rule that two should be plowed under. But hardly anyone ever challenged Charles Plumley at the polls; and Vermont always re-elected him.
Fortnight ago a small group of farmers, applegrowers, storekeepers and newspapermen met in Rutland to air their Plumley grievances. Result: Sam Ogden decided to run.
Rugged, sharp-nosed Sam Ogden gave up a profitable insurance business in Elizabeth, N.J. in 1929 to move to Landgrove. With his own vision and his own hands he helped build it into a summer resort, a winter mecca for skiers. He helped improve streets and schools; in the Legislature he worked for forest and wildlife conservation. And he learned how to talk to the Vermont people.
As rugged in speech as in action, he said of his candidacy: "In order that the forms of representative government be preserved, it is imperative that this election be contested. The record of the incumbent demands that the people have an opportunity to protest against it. I will make no specific promises to any who support me. I will assume, if elected, that I am to act in the best interests of my country and my State, and for no groups thereof."
This message he took this week around Vermont, speaking extempore to his fellow citizens like the old Colonials at town meetings.