Image courtesy of Library of Congress
A former journalist, Charles B. Landis of Indiana served five-terms in the House of Representatives before losing a re-election bid to the 61st Congress (1909–1911).
On this date, the second session of the 58th Congress
. The 386 Representatives and five non-voting Members toiled over an emergency rivers and harbor bill up to the final moments of the session. Relenting to the wishes of President Theodore Roosevelt, Congress adjourned early; the session only lasted 144 calendar days. The last order of business for the House was a resolution passed in honor of Speaker of the House Joseph G. Cannon
of Illinois. Introduced by John Sharp Williams
of Mississippi, the resolution thanked the Speaker
for his “fair and impartial and able manner in which he has presided" over the House. Speaker Cannon in turn thanked the Congress and with a swing of the gavel adjourned the session. Representatives celebrated the end of session with a traditional celebration of song in the House Chamber. Members sang: “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,’” “God Be With You 'Till We Meet Again,” and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The media gave critical reviews of the Members’ performances. A New York Times
reporter, wrote that Jacob Beidler
of Ohio had a decent voice, but that the pitch was so low that no one could sing with him. Charles Landis
of Indiana attempted to join in, but sang off key. The only tune the Members could harmonize was “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” The custom of celebrations at the end of a session died off during the later half of the twentieth century when partisanship and the Representatives’ hectic schedules eliminated much of the early camaraderie in Congress.