Madison F. Larkin was a prominent Pennsylvania prohibitionist and a well-regarded citizen of Scranton. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on 15 October 1855, he attended public schools there. He later attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he was a classmate of President Taft. He was a cousin of President Wilson; he and his parents were personal friends with many leading political figures of the day.
He was offered the Prohibition nomination for President in 1912, but declined it. In 1910, Larkin ran for Governor of Pennsylvania, receiving 1.75% of the vote. In 1912, he ran for Congressional District 12 (a Democrat-majority district west of Philadelphia), where he received 4.32% of the vote, coming in third among five candidates. In 1914, he ran for the Senate, receiving 1.59%. Pennsylvania Prohibition candidates at this time did very poorly in the cities, but did well in rural areas where “dry” sentiments were stronger. In Venango County, a Prohibition stronghold north of Pittsburgh, Larkin won 14% of the vote for Governor. He won 17% of the vote for Senator in Legislative District 28 (Venango and some adjacent counties).
At the time of his death, Larkin was Treasurer of the Scranton Life Insurance Company.
Larkin began his career as a member of the private banking house of his father, Larkin, Wright & Company. At 20 years of age, however, his health failed, and he went to Texas, where he worked in the open on a cattle ranch. Later, he went to Arizona, where he worked for the Wells Fargo Company, later becoming their state agent. He then served as clerk to the Territorial Affairs Committee of the Arizona legislature.
In 1881, he went to New York, where he secured employment with the United States National Bank. Subsequently, he became interested in the lumber business, forming the East End Lumber Company of Cincinnati. Still later, he returned to banking and became associated with the Market Street National Bank there in Cincinnati. In 1897, he removed to Kansas City, where he became representative for the National Surety Company.
The last 34 years of his life were spent in Scranton, where he was an accountant at the International Correspondence Schools, then its Assistant Treasurer, and lastly its Treasurer. He was also Treasurer of the Scranton Life Insurance Company and of the Scranton Chamber of Commerce.
He married Harriet E. Harrington of Philadelphia in 1889; the couple adopted a son of Mrs. Larkin’s nephew as a baby and raised him as Curtis H. Larkin. Curtis Larkin became a well-known cornetist, although he worked for an electric utility and was not a professional musician.
The first Mrs. Larkin died in 1917, and Madison Larkin then married Elizabeth B. Childs of Brooklyn, New York. They had a son, Madison F. Larkin, jr.
Madison F. Larkin died on 26 March 1932, in Scranton.
— Tim San Soucie located articles in Dubin’s Congressional Elections, in the Bemedji Daily Pioneer, in the Wilkes-Barre Evening News, and in the Scranton Times which form the basis of this essay.