Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rotheus Edson Bartlett (1841-1924)

Portrait courtesy of

  The vast annals of the New Hampshire legislature yield another unusual name in Rotheus Edson Bartlett, a Sullivan County resident who served over twenty years as a Newport town selectman and was also elected to the state house of representatives for one term at the turn of the 20th century. The son of Parker and Eleanor Bartlett, Rotheus Edson Bartlett was born in New Boston, New Hampshire on May 10, 1841.
   A student at the New Boston and Francestown Academy, Bartlett signed on for service in the Civil War in August 1862, enlisting in Co. C, 11th New Hampshire Infantry. This regiment would see action at the battles of Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, the siege of Tennessee and the eventual capture of Petersburg, Virginia. Bartlett, however, would, "owing to exceptional reliability", be consigned to "headquarters work a good deal of the time". Bartlett was honorably discharged in June 1865 and two years later married to Emma J. Merrill (1840-1927), to who he was wed for nearly sixty years. The couple would have at least three children, including two daughters who died in infancy and a son, the Rev. Ernest Merrill Bartlett (1870-1905)
  Following their marriage, Bartlett and his family resided on a farm in North Newport, New Hampshire and in the early 1890s made his first move into local politics, winning election to the town board of selectmen. He would serve ten years here, and in 1902 was returned to the board, serving consecutive terms until 1908, and from 1914-1920 again was a selectman. Elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives as one of several Sullivan County legislators in 1898, Bartlett served in the 1899-1901 session and during his term sat on a special committee for "new apportionment for the assessment of public taxes."
  In addition to his service in local political office Bartlett was a trustee of the Sugar River Savings Bank and in 1898 became a deacon in the Newport Congregational Church. In the late 1900s, Bartlett would hold the posts of road agent and Newport town school board member, serving for an indeterminate length of time. Rotheus Bartlett died in Newport of heart failure on June 4, 1924, aged 83 and was survived by his wife Emma, who, following her death in 1927 was interred alongside her husband and son Ernest at the North Newport Cemetery

From the New Hampshire Argus and Spectator, June 13, 1924.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Derostus Pierce Emory (1833-1921), Dorastus Peck (1803-1868)

Portrait from the 1897 Souvenir of New Hampshire Legislators.

   The 1897-98 session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives was populated by several oddly named legislators, and following on the heels of yesterday's write-up on Desire Laneville another member of that particular session is profiled, Derostus Pierce Emory, a resident of Jaffrey who served two legislative terms spaced 20 years apart. A lifelong Granite State resident, Derostus Pierce Emory was born in Rindge, New Hampshire on March 27, 1833, one of several children born to Derostus Wood (1807-1893)  and Mary (Pierce) Emory (1805-1888). Inheriting his unusual first name from his father, Derostus Emery attended school in Rindge and married in November 1858 to Harriett Augusta Davis (1829-1899), to whom he was wed for four decades. The couple would have one son, George P. (1862-1950). 
   Following his marriage, Emory resided in Sharon, New Hampshire, where for three terms he served as a town selectman. In 1875 he was elected as Sharon's representative to the New Hampshire legislature, and during the 1876 session sat on the committee on the Agricultural College. One should note that Emory had some oddly named company during this session, his fellow representatives being Liba Conant Morrison (of Northfield) and Supply Wheeler Edwards (of Temple), both profiled on this site in year's past. 
   Sometime after his legislative service, Derostus Emory removed to Jaffrey, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, where he was engaged in the manufacture of boxes. In November 1896 he won a second term in the house of representatives, narrowly defeating Republican Will J. Mower by a vote of 166 to 161. The 1897-98 term saw Emory sit on the committee on Banks and at the conclusion of his term returned to Jaffrey, where he was affiliated with the Monadnock Savings Bank. A trustee of that bank beginning in the 1890s, Emory would later assume the presidency of that bank in 1906-11. In addition to that bank, Emory served as the director of the Monadnock National Bank beginning in 1891 and held its presidency from 1911 until a year prior to his death. 
   As a prominent man of means in Jaffrey, Emory donated $2,000 of his own money to establish what would become the "Emory fund", used to benefit the town. Following his death in 1921, Emory's son George would donate a further $3,000 dollars to continue the fund and in the centennial year of Dorastus Emory's birth construction was finished on a new fire station in Jaffrey that would be named in his honor in September 1932. Dorastus Pierce Emory died in Jaffrey on February 4, 1921, one month prior to his 88th birthday. Widowed in 1899, both Emory and his wife were interred at the Conant Cemetery in Jaffrey.

Portrait courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society (1865 Constitutional Convention album).

   A distinguished 19th-century figure in Ironton, Missouri, Dorastus Peck was a longtime physician who, following his removal to that city in the late 1850s, had fleeting involvement in politics, being a delegate to the 1865 Missouri State Constitutional Convention. The youngest of thirteen children born to Peleg and Betsy (Sweet) Peck, Dorastus Peck was born on August 23, 1803, in Otsego County, New York. 
  Deciding upon a career in medicine early in life, Peck began his studies in Herkimer County and in 1825 married to his first wife Rosilla (Park) Peck (1809-1846). This marriage would see the births of seven children, Freelove Eliza (born 1827), Lucy (born 1830), Carroll Romeyn (1831-1896), Eliva Geraldine (1834-1916), Caroline Lucinda (born 1837), Warren Elijah (1841-1868), and Franklin Thomas (1843-1916). Following Rosilla Peck's death in 1846 he remarried to  Ellen F. Cooper, with whom he had a further four children, (Charles, Leonard, Manly, and George) between 1850 and 1862.
  After being admitted to practice, Peck established himself in Licking County, Ohio, where he remained until 1841. This was followed by residence in Keosauqua, Iowa, where he practiced medicine until 1859 when he relocated in Ironton. He continued his practice in that city and in 1864 was elected as a delegate to the Missouri Constitutional Convention, which convened in St. Louis in January 1865. This convention's work would include abolishing slavery in the state by a 60 to 4 vote on January 11, and one month later officially adopted the 13th amendment. 
  Peck continued to reside in Ironton following his convention service, his last year being marred by a "disease of the lungs." He died aged 64 on June 18, 1868, in Ironton and was later buried at the Masonic Cemetery in that city.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Desire Laneville (1860-1935)

From the Souvenir of New Hampshire Legislators, 1897. 

   Certainly one of the few American political figures bestowed the first name "Desire", Desire Laneville wasn't a native of the United States; his birth instead occurring in Quebec, Canada. A three-term member of the New Hampshire  House of Representatives from Manchester, Laneville had previously served a term on the Manchester city council. Born in Arthabaska, Province of Quebec, Canada on August 10, 1860, Desire Laneville was the son of Paul and Adelaide (Bourbeau) Laneville
   Removing to Manchester, New Hampshire with his family at age 6, Laneville would attend "the parochial schools" of that city and during his youth was employed in both a bobbin shop and grocery store. He married in that city in April 1879 to Cordelia Lucier, with whom he had at least five children, including Albert, Alice, LeolaEvelyne, and Pauline. Laneville continued grocery store work at the Morency store in Manchester and left that employ in 1890 to take work at a paint shop, located in the same city. 
   Partnering with F.H. Lussier, Laneville would be affiliated with that business for nearly a year, and after selling off his interest returned to grocery store work, and after partnering with J.F. Lacourse for a two year period left to join the Daniels-Cornell Co., a Manchester-based wholesale grocery house and flour dealer. In addition to the above places of employment, Laneville was also a founding organizer and captain in the Manchester Garde Lafayette in 1887, a French-Canadian military Garde "considered to be the first organized infantry of the national guard in the state of New Hampshire."
  Desire Laneville made his first entrance into Manchester politics in 1888, when he was elected to that city's common council. He served here for one term and in 1892 was elected to his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, from Manchester's 4th ward. The 1893-94 session saw Laneville named to the committee on County Affairs and would win a second term in November 1896, subsequently serving on the committee on claims from 1897-98. In November 1900 he won his third and last house term and was again a member of the County Affairs committee during the 1901-02 session.     
   Despite living to age 75, Desire Laneville's life following his legislative service largely remains a mystery. He was later a resident of Goffstown in Hillsborough County and died in that city on February 15, 1935. A burial location for he and his wife Cordelia remains unknown at this time.

From the 1897 Souvenir of New Hampshire Legislators.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jotham Dutton Otterson (1805-1880)

Portrait from the History of the City of Nashua, 1897.

  Long a leading figure in the business and political life of Nashua, New Hampshire, Jotham Dutton Otterson served that city as its mayor from 1869-71 and later served two terms in the state house of representatives from Hillsborough County. The son of James and Martha (Chase) Otterson, Jotham Dutton Otterson was born in Hooksett, New Hampshire on September 11, 1805. Descended from Irish immigrants, young Jotham attended school in Hooksett and later was a student at the Blanchard Academy in the neighboring town of Pembroke.
  Early in his life, Otterson began learning the trades of mechanic and iron molding, being employed in various machinist shops throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts. By 1833 he had settled in Nashua, and after taking work with the Nashua Manufacturing Company removed to Clinton, Massachusetts, where for several years he held the superintendency of the Lancaster Mills, a large factory complex devoted to the manufacture of cotton and woven gingham fabrics
   In 1850 Otterson removed back to Nashua and soon after purchased the Nashua Lock Company, makers of "Locks, Knobs, Escutcheons, Bell Pulls, Butt Hinges, etc." Along with two partners, L.W. Noyes and Robert Living, Otterson remained affiliated with the business until dissolving their partnership, whereafter he established J.D. Otterson & Co., a foundry that by the early 1870s "employed fifty hands and did a business amounting to $60,000." Otterson's eldest son James Parker Scribner Otterson was later admitted as a partner in the business, which continued operations until the elder Otterson's death in 1880. Period sources relate that Otterson was " one of the truly good and generous men of Nashua" as well as a:
"Conservative and practical businessman who paid good wages and took a deep interest in everything that had a tendency to dignify labor and promote the welfare of the laboring man."
  Jotham D. Otterson first married in 1830 to Sarah Emery Scribner (1811-1852), with whom he had eight children, James Parker Scribner (1831-1913), Mary (1833-1915), Lafayette Washington (died in infancy in 1837), Sarah Emery Dana (1838-1906) Nancy Emery (1841-1923), George Washington (1843-1919), Ann Maria (born 1847) and William Henry (died in infancy in 1851). Following Sarah Otterson' death in January 1852 he remarried that December to Athol, Massachusetts resident Lucia Fish (1814-1891), who survived him upon his death.

Portrait courtesy of Find a Grave.

   After years of distinction in New England business circles, Jotham D. Otterson entered the political life of Nashua in 1869, his name being put forward for mayor of that city at the March Republican city caucus. Following balloting, Otterson received 253 votes out of the 376 cast, duly earning the nomination and was subsequently profiled in the March 8, 1869 Nashua Daily Telegraph, which acknowledged him as a man who:
"Feels a deep interest in the welfare of Nashua, and is always ready to give his influence and aid to every enterprise calculated to advance his prosperity and growth. He richly deserves the honor that has been conferred upon him, and we cannot doubt that those who nominated him for the position of mayor wil see to it that he receives a triumphant election. He is just the man for the place at this time."
From the Nashua Daily Telegraph, March 8, 1869.

   Otterson would win the mayoralty in early March 1869, defeating Democratic nominee J.L. Pierce by a vote of 1,016 to 727. His first year as mayor saw Nashua be visited by President Ulysses Grant in August 1869, and Otterson himself had the honor of presenting the president to the Nashua citizenry at the Concord train depot. Otterson would be renominated for a second term as mayor in March 1870, his first term being noted as one of "marked fidelity and energy." Otterson would emerge triumphant at the polls on March 9th, polling 914 votes to his opponent's 848, and served until March 1871, the Republican nomination for mayor going to another curiously named man, Gilman Scripture (1813-1887), who in turn was defeated by Democrat Dana Sargent.
   Following his mayoralty Otterson experienced further political success when he was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Hillsborough County, and during the 1873-74 session sat on the house committee on the Judiciary and a special committee on the subject of Temperance. Otterson was returned to the house for a second term, and the 1875-76 session saw him continue service on the judiciary committee and also introduced a bill to "the Worcester and Nashua Railroad to purchase and hold bonds or stock of the Nashua and Rochester Railroad Company."
   Jotham Otterson continued prominence in Nashua after leaving the legislature, being a member of the city's International Order of Odd Fellows chapter, as well as a generous contributor to the Pearl Street Congregational Church, where he was a longstanding parishioner. He died in Nashua on June 2, 1880, aged 74 and was interred alongside his first wife Sarah at the Universalist Church Cemetery in that city.

From the Amherst, New Hampshire Farmer's Cabinet, June 8, 1880.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Hanover Osgood Wells (1828-1898), Hanover Dickey (1775-1843)

Portrait courtesy of "The Descendants of Samuel Osgood".  

   Following three profiles on oddly named political figures from Connecticut we journey to the Granite State's northern neighbor New Hampshire to highlight the life of Hanover Osgood Wells, an obscure resident of Epsom who served a term in his state's house of representatives. A son of Capt. Samuel and Eleanor (Dickey) Wells, Hanover Osgood Wells was born in Epsom on May 29, 1828. Little information is available regarding Wells' early life in Epsom or his education, and he married in that town in February 1856 to Mary Sarah Brown (1834-1897). The couple were wed for over four decades and had five children, Edward Eugene (1856-1926), Ida (1858-1909), Etta (1860-1910), Clarence Oscar (1862-1937) and Alice (1874-1903).
   As a farmer in Epsom, Hanover O. Wells was deeded his father-in-law's 114-acre farm in 1870, continuing to operate it until his death nearly three decades later. Following his death in 1898 ownership passed to his sons Edward and Clarence. 
   Active in the religious and political life of Epsom, Hanover O. Wells was a founding member of the First Christian Society of Epsom in 1861 and entered into local politics in 1867 when he was elected to the Epsom board of selectmen. He would serve back to back terms in 1868-1869 and again from 1872-73, and served another term in 1885. In 1886 he was elected as Epsom's representative to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and during the 1887-89 term was a member of the committee on ClaimsLittle else is known of Wells' life after his legislative service. Widowed in 1897, he died one year after his wife Mary on August 25, 1898, in Epsom. Both Wells and his wife were interred at the Rye Cemetery in that town

From the Epsom Town Register, 1909.

  In addition to Hanover Osgood Wells' political service to Epsom, attention must also be given to Hanover Dickey (1773-1845), his maternal grandfather. Even more obscure than his grandson, Dickey served Epsom as a member of the board of selectmen on multiple occasions and was also a two-term state representative. Born in 1773, Hanover Dickey was the son of David and Rachel (Hanover) Dickey. He married in 1799 to Lydia Osgood (1781-1866) and the couple's marriage saw the births of three children, Eleanor (mother of Hanover Osgood Wells), David (1806-1877) and Hanover (1807-1873).
  Hanover Dickey served as first selectman for Epsom from 1819-1825 and was a board of selectmen member in 1817 and 1826. He was elected to the state legislature for the first time in 1818 (serving from 1819-21) and was returned to that body on two further occasions in 1829 and 1842. Dickey died in Epsom on May 13, 1845, aged 72, and was buried at the McClary-Epsom Center Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mayo Smith Purple (1860-1942), Mayo Cabell Brown (1874-1936)

From the East Hampton News, February 12, 1937.

  The name would be Mayo Purple. If that name conjured up images of a large jar of purple mayonnaise, you are not alone! Possessing a name that's guaranteed to give you a case of the giggles, Mayo Smith Purple served his first term in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1885 and is recorded as the youngest man to serve in that session of the legislature. Purple would be returned to government service nearly 50 years later for another stint in the legislature, this time serving four consecutive terms. The son of John Percival and Marian (Markham) Purple, Mayo Smith Purple was born on July 28, 1860, in Haddam Neck, Connecticut.
  Purple's early life saw him attain a limited education, attending the East Greenwich Academy in Rhode Island until age thirteen and later was briefly tutored at the Wesleyan Univerity in Middletown. He would leave his studies behind to work on his family's farm, "dropping corn and hoeing corn" and later took employment at the Tibbals Company general store in Cobalt, Connecticut. After attaining maturity Purple and a fellow worker, Harvey Brainerd, purchased the store and continued operations under the name Brainerd and PurpleAfter purchasing his partner's interest, Purple entered the lumber industry, selling lumber to brickyards in Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York. This business later foundered when an employee absconded with $6,000 worth of lumber, forcing Purple out of business.
   In the mid-1890s Purple joined the Bevin Brother's Manufacturing Co. of East Hampton, a bell foundry that still exists today. Purple's first years with the company saw him as a chore boy, tending a smelting furnace on company property. He would serve with that business for over three decades and following a stint as company secretary "assisted in the reorganization" of the Gong Bell Manufacturing Company, a bell and toy manufacturer also located in East Hampton. Purple would subsequently serve as that company's president for over two decades, and in addition to the above offices held the presidency of the Watrous Manufacturing Company, was the manager and treasurer of the East Hampton Bell Company, and in the mid-1920s served as the treasurer of the Bevins and Wilcox Line Company.
  Mayo S. Purple married in April 1883 to Gettine Louise Arnold (1861-1935), a resident of Haddam Neck. The couple's fifty-one-year marriage saw the births of four sons, Nelson Arnold (died in infancy), Norman William (1887-1946), Ansel Arnold (1892-1967) and Nathaniel Markham (1903-1987).

From the East Hampton News, October 2, 1942.

  One year after his marriage Mayo Purple made his first foray into Connecticut politics, winning election to the state house of representatives in November 1884. Taking his seat at the start of the 1885-86 session, Purple is acknowledged as the youngest man to serve in that session, being just 24 years old at the time of his election. This term saw him sit on the committee on Sale of Lands and was also acting postmaster of Cobalt, Connecticut during his term. One should also note that Purple had some oddly named company during this session, his fellow representatives being Eleazur Bingham Kingsbury, Peleg Sherman Barber and Victory Clark Beers (1832-1920), the last named being profiled on this site in July 2011.
  After leaving office in 1886 Purple returned to his earlier mentioned business dealings and through the succeeding years held several local political posts, serving as a registrar of voters for Chatham in 1899 and in 1919 served as East Haddam's commissioner for the superior court for Middlesex County. In November 1932 Purple won a second term in the Connecticut legislature, 48 years after his first. Garnering 684 votes on election day, Purple served on the committee on Manufactures during the 1933-35 session and was elected as a Democrat, having quit the Republican party after fifty years in July 1932. In a small write up on his change of political faith featured in the East Hampton News, Purple remarked that
"He had been dissatisfied with the actions and policies of the Republican Town committee for some time and that it was only a ''square deal'' for himself to quit the party."
From the East Hampton News, July 15, 1932.

  In November 1934 Purple won a third term in the state house and was elected to his fourth term in 1936. The 1937-38 term saw him as the dean of the house, being the oldest man serving in that session, and this session also saw him come out as one one of four Democrats opposed to President Franklin Roosevelt's court-packing plan. Purple won his fifth and last house term in 1938 and during the 1939-40 term sat on the committees on Humane Institutions and Public Health and Safety.
  After leaving office in 1940 Mayo Purple followed his favorite leisure activities (hunting and fishing) until health concerns forced him to become housebound. He celebrated his 81st birthday in July 1941 (being honored on the front page of the East Hampton News) and kept up to date with town affairs via newspapers, radio, and friends. Mayo Smith Purple died at his East Hampton home on September 29, 1942, aged 82. His wife Gettine had predeceased him in 1937 and he was later interred alongside her at the Lakeview Cemetery in East Hampton.  

From the East Hampton News, July 25, 1941.

From the 1919 Virginia House of Delegates composite.

   Another "Mayo" that made his name known in politics is Mayo Cabell Brown, a two-term member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Lynchburg. Born on February 17, 1874, in Nelson County, Virginia, Mayo Cabell Brown was the son of Robert Lawrence and Margaret Balwin (Cabell) Brown. Brown's early education took place in Osage City, Kansas, a private school in Charles Town, Virginia and the Episcopal High School in Alexandria.
  After deciding upon a career in law, Brown studied at the University of Virginia, earning his law degree in the class of 1904. Soon afterward he opened a law practice and prior to his legislative service was chairman of the Lynchburg draft board during World War I. Brown entered the political life of his state in 1919 when he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates to fill a vacancy occasioned by the death of sitting representative Preston H. Bailey. Brown's first term in the legislature saw him named to the committees on Claims; Finance; Military and Police; and Special, Private and Local Legislation. He was returned to the state house for a second term, and from 1922-23 served on the committees on Militia and Police, and Moral and Social Welfare.
  Little is known of Brown's life following is legislative service, excepting that he remained a lifelong bachelor and by 1931 was serving a prison term for embezzlement! In this case, a Lynchburg attorney (Mayo C. Brown) was accused of the theft of $2,200 extending from his being an attorney for W.M. Strother, whom he was representing in a property suit. Other than the aforementioned particulars of the case noted via the above link, no further sources could be found on Brown's stint in jail, or his life afterward. He died sometime in 1936 and was later interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Leumas Hoyt Pease (1845-1919)

Portrait from the Hardware Dealer's Magazine, 1919.

  For many years a leading citizen in New Britain, Connecticut, Leumas Hoyt Pease was a one-term mayor of that city who devoted over five decades of his life to the Stanley Works, the famed tool manufacturer which later merged with the tool company Black and Decker. A former director, secretary, and treasurer of the Stanley Works, Pease also cultivated a reputation as a leading banker in Hartford County, serving as the vice president and director of three banks in that county. The firstborn son of Julius and Mary (Hotchkiss) Pease, Leumas Hoyt Pease was born on January 20, 1845, in Winsted, Connecticut.
  Removing to New Britain with his family at age two, L. Hoyt Pease (as most sources record him) attended school in that city and graduated from the local high school in 1862. In 1864 he took work at the Stanley Works in New Britain, with which he would be affiliated for the next five decades. Founded in 1843 as Stanley Bolt Manufacturing, the company manufactured door bolts, hinges and other pieces of hardware from wrought iron, and by 1853 had incorporated as the Stanley Works. The company later designed and built hand planes, saws, chisels, screwdrivers, and other tools, and by the early 20th century had become an industrial powerhouse in New England. In 2010 the Stanley Works merged with Black and Decker and continues operations today, with over 50,000 employees.
   L. Hoyt Pease's early tenure at the Stanley Works saw him as an office boy and after several years had advanced to paymaster. He was later placed "in charge of the sales department" for the areas of Boston and Philadelphia and in 1887 was elected as secretary and director of the company. After stepping down from that office, Pease served as company treasurer from 1905 until his death.
  Pease married in New Britain in 1880 to Julia Lillian Sawyer, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have three children, including Herbert Hoyt (1881-1967), Maurice Henry (1883-1983) and Dorothy Sawyer (1887-1980). Of these children, Maurice Pease would live to the age of 99, dying one month short of his 100th birthday in August 1983.

Portrait from the Iron Age, May 28, 1896.

  Active in other areas of New Britain business, L. Hoyt Pease was a founder of the Burritt Savings Bank in that city, which had been incorporated in 1889. Pease would serve as a director of that bank and upon the death of bank president Valentine Burt Chamberlain in 1893 succeeded to its presidency. He held that post until his death in 1919, and in addition to that post occupied the office of director of the Mechanic's National Bank and was vice president of the New Britain Trust Company.
  L. Hoyt Pease first entered the political life of New Britain in 1884, when he was elected to the city council. Following a two year term, he successfully ran for city alderman (serving from 1886-87) and was later chairman of the New Britain Republican Town Committee. In 1890 he announced his candidacy for mayor of New Britain and was later elected, serving until 1892. Pease's term was later favorably reviewed in his 1919 obituary, which remarked that he had:
"Clothed the office with an atmosphere of calm, dignity and judicial wisdom that elevated it above the plane of political position. He discharged the duties of the post graciously, always with the interests of New Britain in heart and mind, and his administration was regarded as a model stewardship, worthy to be patterned after by succeeding executives."
  One year after leaving office L. Hoyt Pease was elected to the New Britain school board, where he would serve for twenty-six years. During his lengthy tenure, he chaired that board's finance committee and died in office of heart failure on March 20, 1919, aged 74. He was survived by his wife and children and was later interred at the Fairview Cemetery in New Britain.

Pease's obituary from March 1919.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Fiske Holcomb Ventres (1906-1991)

From the Farmington Valley Herald, September 13, 1945.

   Two-term Connecticut state assemblyman Fiske Holcomb Ventres was for many years an insurance dealer in the city of Avon, and while there is a dearth of resources mentioning him, enough information has been found to compile a small biography for him. Born on June 30, 1906, in East Hartford, Connecticut, Fiske Holcomb Ventres was the son of Ernest and Essie (Holcomb) Ventres
   A student at the Holcomb School, Fiske Ventres graduated in 1920 and later took work as a traveling salesman with the Prentice Manufacturing Company of Berlin. Ventres would later decide upon a career in the insurance business, becoming a representative for the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co. This line of employ later saw him stationed in Chicago, and by the mid-1930s had returned to Connecticut to serve as Fidelity Mutual's supervisor of agents for Northern Connecticut.
  Remarked as an "ardent and enthusiastic Republican worker", Ventres served as a member of the Avon town Republican committee, was a Grand Juror for Avon and was a past president of the Avon Republican Club. In 1940 he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Connecticut State Assembly from Hartford County, and in November narrowly defeated Democratic nominee Phillip Hewes, 557 votes to 521. Taking his seat at the start of the 1941-43 session, Ventres would sit on the house committees on Aviation and Insurance.
   In November 1942 Fiske H. Ventres won a second term in the statehouse, defeating Democrat Otto Mathews by a vote of 583 to 259. During the 1943-45 session, he chaired the Insurance committee and in December 1943 was appointed as executive secretary to state insurance commissioner W. Ellery Allyn. The mid-1940s proved to be a busy time for Ventres, and in addition to the above posts was named as Hartford County chairman for the Life Underwriter's War Bond Committee, Division of Salary Savings in 1942.
   Ventres would further aid the war effort by chairing Avon's U.S.O. War Fund Campaign in 1942 and 1945 began a year-long stint in Europe as an "accredited correspondent" for the Hartford Courant, visiting American and British occupied zones in Germany, as well as Switzerland, France, Austria, Belgium, Poland, and Italy. Following his return in August 1946, Ventres undertook a lecture tour throughout Connecticut where he detailed his experiences, as well as giving "his opinion on the significance of current political activities overseas."
   Fiske H. Ventres' life following his political service remains largely unknown. He would marry late in life at age 57, taking Verna May Lloyd (1922-2009) as his bride in 1963. Through the 1960s he continued in the insurance business and also dabbled in real estate and land sales. In the early 1980s, he undertook the development of a large tract of land in the vicinity of Taine Mountain, an area that, following a court suit that saw Ventres emerge successful, developed into a "subdivision of five lots." Ventres died in New Britain, Connecticut on March 1, 1991, aged 84 and was survived by his wife Verna. A burial location for both remains unknown at this time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Anglo Saxon Pfrimmer (1898-1981)

From the Chariton Leader, October 26, 1954.

   One of the few men in recorded history to receive their name in honor of a period in world history,  Anglo Saxon Pfrimmer was a lifelong resident of Lucas County, Iowa, where he was a farmer and prominent citizen. Undoubtedly one of the more intriguing names to be featured here in recent months, Pfrimmer earns a spot here on the site due to his being a two-time candidate for the Iowa State House of Representatives in the early 1950s, running as a Democrat. One of twelve children born to Albert Clay (1860-1923) and Martha Ellen (Lipe) Pfrimmer (1866-1941), Anglo Saxon Pfrimmer was born in Lucas County on March 20, 1898.
  Bestowed the names Anglo Saxon upon his birth, the reasons as to why he received this name remain unknown. Anglo Saxons (a historic term) describes the group of Germanic people that resided in what is now Great Britain beginning in the 5th century and is also used as the name of a historical period in that area dating from Roman Occupation to the Norman Conquest during the 11th century.
   Referred to by most sources as Saxon Pfrimmer, little is known of his early life or education, excepting notice of his being a student at the Wren Hill school. In 1917 Pfrimmer left his native county for a brief residence in Minnesota, where he was employed on a farm. He married in Chariton, Iowa on January 31, 1921, to Edna Roe (1903-1995), to whom he was wed for sixty years. This lengthy union saw the births of five children, Sherman (1922-1998), Robert (1924-1991), Francis Marion (1926-2011), Macel Marie (1932-2010) and a daughter who died in infancy in 1925. Following their marriage, Pfrimmer and wife resided on his farm near Ottercreek Township, and he would follow farming for the remainder of his life. In 1941 he purchased a "farm of 80 acres from his mother's estate" and took up residence there, and would later purchase an additional forty acres of farmland.
  In addition to operating these farms, Saxon Pfrimmer gained distinction in Lucas County agricultural groups, being head of the Ottercreek 4-H Club, a director of the Lucas County Purebred Swine Breeders Association, and a member of the Lucas County Sheep Improvement Association. In 1952 Pfrimmer made his first run for political office, announcing his candidacy for the Iowa House of Representatives from Lucas County. Following his win in the June 2nd Democratic primary (where he polled 279 votes) Pfrimmer faced off against Republican nominee Raymond T. Pim, and throughout the latter part of 1952 election advertisements for Pfrimmer appeared in various Lucas County newspapers.

From the Chariton Leader, October 21, 1952.

From the Chariton Leader, June 15, 1954.

  When Lucas County voters went to the polls on November 4, 1952 it was Republican Raymond Pim who emerged triumphant, polling 3, 744 votes to Saxon Pfrimmer's 2,154. Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Pfrimmer announced in early 1954 that he'd be seeking the Democratic nomination for state representative for the second time, and his candidacy was profiled in a small write up in the January 26th Chariton Leader (shown below). Along with his background as a farmer and his previous candidacy, Pfrimmer would state that:
"I don't belive the people of Iowa approve of the actions of the last legislature. Certainly we can't continue to live on the state surplus as we are now--it's dangerously low. If elected I pledge my best efforts to represent all the people of Lucas County."

From the Chariton Leader, January 26, 1954.

   In a repeat of the 1952 contest, Pfrimmer's Republican opponent was again Raymond Pim, running for reelection. Unfortunately for Pfrimmer, the vote count on November 2nd again brought defeat, with Pim garnering 2, 427 to his own total of 1, 908. Following his loss Pfrimmer returned to farming and in January 1957 was injured in a car accident in Lucas County that necessitated brief hospitalization for "head lacerations and shock." He continued to farm and reside in Lucas County until his death at a Des Moines hospital on April 1, 1981, at age 83. He was survived by his four children and wife Edna, who, following her death aged 92 in 1995, was interred alongside her husband at the Norwood Cemetery in Norwood, Iowa.

From the Chariton Herald-Patriot, April 9, 1981.