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07/30/2021 12:33 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Horace Walker Schantz



Session Position District Party
1915-1916 16 Republican
1917-1918 16 Republican
1919-1920 16 Republican
1921-1922 16 Republican
1923-1924 16 Republican
1925-1926 16 Republican
1927-1928 President Pro Tempore 16 Republican
1929-1930 President Pro Tempore 16 Republican
 Counties   Lehigh


1875 - 1937

Born in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County on July 31, 1875, Horace was the son of Ambrose and Emma Backenstoe Schantz. A prominent family, Horace’s ancestors were regarded as one of Lehigh’s oldest, descending from 1761 German redemptioner Jacob Schantz, the builder of “Schantz Mill” in the Hosensack Valley. Horace initially followed his father’s footsteps as a farmer, later accepting a four-year term as a schoolteacher. From that point, Horace “rose by dint of an indomitable will, superb courage, and a tremendous energy that was typical of his massive frame.” Retiring as school master, Schantz read law under James S. Biery before graduating from Perkiomen Academy with a divinity degree. He continued legal studies at Princeton in 1902, returning home to join the Lehigh County bar. Horace’s career in government service began in local offices, serving as a county justice of the peace and deputy register of wills. He later received an appointment as solicitor of the Board of Prison Inspectors and County Auditors, becoming the GOP’s first Lehigh district attorney in 1904. A powerful voice in Republican politics, the senator chaired the 1912 Lehigh County Republican Committee, remaining the county’s party boss for two decades and serving as the first Republican member of the Pennsylvania Senate elected by Lehigh voters. Senator Schantz deliberated in the upper house from 1915 through 1930, securing the president’s pro tempore gavel in 1928. He chaired Library, 1915-1916; Agriculture, 1917-1918, 1927-1928; Railroads, 1919-1922; and Appropriations, 1923-1926. Schantz supported the 1915 Snyder Free Library Act, the Public Teachers and Employees Retirement Act, the 1919 Constitutional Commission and subsequent convention referendum, Buckman’s 1919 Banking Department amendment, and the 1927 firearm control proposal. He opposed the 18th and 19th Amendments (prohibition and women’s suffrage), but supported Sam Salus’s 1921 equal accommodations bill, co-sponsored the Full Crew Repealer Act with Senator Eyre, backed the Public Welfare Department bill, the 1921 Sproul Highway construction and maintenance referendum, the 1923 State Highway Act, and the Pinchot 1927 - $150 million road construction bond. Schantz advocated passage of uniform primary legislation, the $25 million Pinchot Forestry Bond, Clarence Buckman’s 1927 Motor License Fund Act, and Frank Baldwin’s 1929 Administrative Code. While he backed some of Pinchot’s progressive programs during the 1923 regular session, Senator Schantz joined a core of conservative Republicans in opposition to the governor’s increasing funding obligations (bonds). He opposed 27 of Gifford’s proposed election reform initiatives, nevertheless, wrote and passed his faction’s version of the election and registration code. The senator emphatically opposed Pinchot’s “Giant Power Companies Bill (state management of privately owned utilities),” the “Steele Bill (proposing state takeover of coal companies during strikes),” and poured salt in the “dry” governor’s legislative wounds by presenting a repealer, designed to kill the state’s previously enacted prohibition act. During World War I, Senator Schantz played an integral part in Lehigh County’s Liberty Loan drive, served as president of the Lehigh County Blind Association, and became a member of the Public Charities Association of Pennsylvania. Horace directed the Perkiomen School, held a similar supervisory position at the Macungie Bank, and chaired the Lehigh County Historical Society’s advisory board. He was a Mason, Elk, and a member of the Moose fraternal organizations. Horace and his wife, Mamie Hartman Schantz, resided in Macungie, where the senator passed away from influenza on January 28, 1937, at 61.