Roscoe Conkling NPR's Melissa Block has a remembrance of Roscoe Conkling, a political powerhouse of the late 19th century, who has faded into obscurity. He died 113 years ago today. Conkling was a New York Republican who skipped college but went to law school. He was a staunch abolitionist, and a reputed womanizer. His statue in New York City is being restored.