Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Estial Chapman Keister (1870-1955)

Estial C. Keister, from the 1930 Nebraska Blue Book.

  One term Nebraska state representative Estial Chapman Keister suffered the indignity of having his named incorrectly given as "Edward C. Keister" under his portrait in the 1930-31 Nebraska Blue Book. Despite this mistake, his brief biography in the latter portion of said book gives the correct spelling of his name, and these few brief lines remain one of the few sources of information on his life.
   Born and raised in Montgomery County, Virginia, Estial C. Keister's birth occurred in the town of Blacksburg on December 3 of either 1870 or 1871, being the son of John Henry and Nancy Heavner Keister. The first fifteen years of his life were spent in the state of his birth and in 1886 removed to Nebraska with his family. They settled in Richardson County, where Estial attended the "Stella High School, the Western Normal and the Lincoln normal college."
  On  December 5, 1894 Keister married in Auburn, Nebraska to Lola Verdie Gilliland (1871-1955). The couple were married for over sixty years and were the parents of three childrenRobert Overton (1900-1954), Joseph Chapman (1903-1983) and Don DeForest (1908-1986).
   The majority of Estial C. Keister's life was spent in the private sector, as he was a farmer in Auburn for nearly all of his life. He had earlier taught school for a few years and during the First World War was described as being "active in all loan drives." In addition to farming in Auburn Keister is listed as being a district secretary for the Nemaha County Drainage District #3 beginning in the late 1910s.
  Prior to his election to the legislature Keister's only foray into public office was his service on the local school board and the drainage board. Elected as one of Nemaha County's representatives to the Nebraska Bicameral Legislature in 1928, Keister served during the 1929-31 session and at the conclusion of his term returned to Auburn, where he resided until his death at age 83 on January 17, 1955. Lola Gilliland Keister survived her husband by only ten days, dying on January 27, 1955, also at age 83. Both were interred at the Bedford Cemetery in Howe, Nebraska. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tolliver Cleveland Callison Sr. (1884-1966)

North Carolina Attorney General Tolliver Cleveland Callison.

  The following write-up takes us to Edgefield County, South Carolina and one Tolliver Cleveland Callison, whose name I located several years ago via the Who Was Who In America Volume IV, 1961-1968. A practicing attorney for over five decades, Callison served a decade as city solicitor for South Carolina's 11th judicial circuit and in 1951 began a eight year stint as Attorney General of South Carolina. 
   The son of former state legislator Preston Brooks Callison and the former Mattie Ella White, Tolliver Cleveland Callison was born in Callison, Edgefield County, South Carolina on July 17, 1884. Bestowed the names "Tolliver Cleveland" upon his birth, Callison would refrain from using his first and middle names during his career in public service, opting instead to use the initials "T.C. Callison." A graduate of the University of South Carolina's Law School in the class of 1909, Callison joined the law firm of Thurmond and Timmerman in 1912, the senior partner of that firm being John William Thurmond (1862-1934), father of long-time U.S. Senator and South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond (1902-2003). 
   "T.C." Callison married on December 17, 1913 to Margaret Reel (1888-1960), with whom he would have five children: Ruby (1914-2013), Tolliver Jr. (1916-1994), Helen Rawl (1919-2006), Jack Reel (1920-2005) and Preston Harvey Callison (born 1923). Of these children Preston Harvey would follow his father into public life, serving two terms as Lexington County's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly from 1965-66 and 1969-70.
   From 1912-1920 Callison was affiliated with the Thurmond and Timmerman law firm and in 1921 entered into service as Solicitor for South Carolina's 11th judicial circuit. He would serve in this capacity for sixteen years, being defeated for reelection in 1937 by Jeff D. Smith. Three years following his defeat Callison was tapped to serve as assistant attorney general of South Carolina, holding that post under Attorney General John McDaniel.
   In 1951 John McDaniel retired after serving twenty-six years as Attorney General and shortly thereafter T.C. Callison was elected to succeed him. He would be reelected as attorney general in 1954 and left office in 1959. He held the chairmanship of the Southern Conference of Attorney Generals in 1954 and was also active in other aspects of South Carolina public life, being a former President of the Bank of Lexington, South Carolina (1948-1965) and past president of the South Carolina State Board of Public Welfare, serving in that capacity until his death.
  Widowed in 1960, Tolliver Cleveland Callison died on March 17, 1966 at age 81. He was survived by all of his children and was buried at the East View Cemetery in Edgefield, South Carolina, the same resting place as that of his wife.

A T.C. Callison campaign notice from the Aiken Standard and Review.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Culbertson Jones Smith (1850-1930)

Portrait from "Ohio Legislative History, 1913-1917".

   Four term Ohio state representative Culbertson Jones Smith's career in public service began in the 1880s when he entered into the office of Prosecuting Attorney of Butler County. After serving a decade in that post he won election to the Ohio General Assembly, and in the twilight of his life served two terms as Mayor of his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio.
   A lifelong resident of Butler County, Culbertson Jones "Culla" Smith was born in Wayne township in that county on February 25, 1850, being the son of John Culbertson and Elizabeth Jones Smith. His education occurred in the county of his birth and after reaching age sixteen began teaching school, earning enough income to enroll at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1868.
  Graduating in the class of 1870, Smith turned his attention to law, and after a period of study under local judge Alexander F. Hume was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1876. Smith had married two years previously in June 1874 to Christianna Kindred (1852-1930), who had one son, George William Kindred (1869-1944) from a previous marriage. 
   From 1876 onward Smith would practice law in Hamilton and made his first run for elected office in 1882 when he was a candidate in that years primary for Prosecuting Attorney of Butler County. He was unsuccessful in his bid, and would suffer two further losses for that office, finally winning election to that office in 1887. He would serve a total of ten years as prosecuting attorney, and his time in that post received prominent mention in the 1905 Centennial History of Butler County, which noted that:
"Mr. Smith has brought to this office superior ability and honest, prompt, and efficient management of the affairs coming before him in his official capacity. His administration is referred to, both in public and private, as clean, able and honorable."
  Following his terms as county prosecutor Smith returned to private practice and in November 1910 was elected as Butler County's representative to the Ohio General Assembly. Serving during the 1911-13 session, Smith was a member of the house committees on the Girl's Industrial School, the Judiciary and Taxation and Revenues. He would win reelection to the assembly in 1912 (with no opposition) and in the 1913-15 term chaired the committee on the Library; also serving on the Banks and Banking, Benevolent and Penal Institutions, and the Judiciary.

                               Culbertson J. Smith, from the Manual of Legislative Practice, 1913-14.


   In November 1914 Smith won his third term in the assembly and two years later was awarded a fourth term by his fellow Butler County citizens. He would serve as a member of the committees on Agriculture, Appropriations and Finance, Privileges and Elections and held the chairmanship of the Military Affairs committee.
   Towards the conclusion of his fourth term in the legislature Smith was elected as the Mayor of Hamilton, Ohio in November 1917. His election to that office came about due to the "combined votes of the Democrats and Republicans of the city, thus defeating the candidate of the Socialist party which had been in control of the city."  Smith would be reelected as mayor of Hamilton in 1919, and at the conclusion of his term retired from political life to resume the practice of law, continuing active practice until a week before his death.
   Several days prior to his death Smith developed a scratch on his face and afterwards took ill, with an infection called erysipelas setting in. Further medical complications developed and on December 16, 1930 Smith died at age 80. His wife Christianna had preceded him in death several months prior and both were interred at the Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton.

                                                       Culbertson Smith during his last term in the legislature.

Smith's obituary from the December 17th 1930 edition of the Hamilton Daily Times.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Enloe Vassallo Vernor (1879-1944)

Judge Vernor, from "Oklahomans and Their State", published 1919.

   A leading figure in Oklahoma judicial circles in the early part of the 20th century, Enloe Vassallo Vernor parlayed a successful career as an attorney into a near three decade tenure on the bench, serving several years as Muskogee County judge and in 1922 entered into the office of District court judge for Oklahoma's third judicial district. An Illinoisan by birth, Enloe V. Vernor's birth occurred in the town of Elkhorn on November 24, 1879, being the eldest of three sons born to Richard Enloe and Mary Cully Vernor. His unusual first and middle names extend from "Enloe" being his father's middle name and "Vassallo" being a name given to him courtesy of his grandmother, in remembrance of an "Italian orphan girl she had reared and loved."
   Enloe Vernor's early education occurred in Nashville, Illinois, and would experience his first taste of public service in that city, serving as city clerk for a time. Vernor also dabbled in journalism during his time in Nashville, being the editor of a local newspaper, the Nashville Democrat
   A graduate of St. Louis' Washington University in the class of 1904, Vernor married in St. Louis in September 1905 to Margaret Woodside, with whom he would have two daughters, Frances Marian (birth-date unknown) and Margaret Claire (1911-2004). Shortly after his marriage Vernor relocated to Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. He would establish a law practice in Muskogee and continued in that profession until 1916, when he was elected as Muskogee County judge. Vernor's candidacy for that office received press in the Muskogee Daily Times, which exclaimed "A Full Grown Man For A Man's Job" in touting Vernor's experience as an attorney. As the Daily Times relates:
"We offer the Democratic voters a candidate for County judge who has been honest, honorable and upright in all his professional and business transactions; for twelve years he has been a capable lawyer; he is fitted temperamentally and with the best of qualifications for the office; one who has the highest reputation and standing in this community and in whom the people can safely trust in the duties of this important office."
                                      Judge Vernor, from the July 31,1916 edition of the Muskogee Daily Times.

    Vernor would serve six years as county judge, being returned to that office in the elections of 1918 and 1920. His tenure as county judge was highlighted in the 1922 history of "Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma", which notes that he had:
"A wider jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases than the judge of the city court. He has all the jurisdiction of a committing magistrate in felony cases, original jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases and jurisdiction in civil cases in which not more that $1,000 is involved."
  In 1922 Enloe Vernor was elected to  the State District court from Oklahoma's third judicial district of Muskogee, and two years later ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, garnering 4, 157 votes to his opponent's 8, 016. Vernor served on the district court until his retirement at age 63 in 1942. Vernor's retirement from public life lasted less than two years, as he died on March 25, 1944 in Muskogee. His mother, wife and two daughters survived him and he was interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery, also located in Muskogee.

Enloe Vernor, from the Sallisaw Democrat American, June 14, 1934.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vivus Wright Dorwin (1832-1904), Vivus Wood Smith (1804-1881)

Vivus W. Dorwin, from the History of Buffalo and Pepin Counties, Vol. 2, 1919.

     Four term Wisconsin state assemblyman Vivus Wright Dorwin was a transplant to Durand, Wisconsin from Jefferson County, New York, coincidentally enough the same county that Delatus Miles Aspinwall (profiled a few days ago) resided in before removing to "America's Dairyland". While both of these oddly named Wisconsin transplants made a name for themselves in their respective counties, Mr. Dorwin's has proven to be a bit more prominent than the man who preceded him here, as he erected the first grist mill in Durand and was a Civil War veteran, cheese factory operator and banker.
   Born in Champion, New York on January 15, 1832, Vivus W. Dorwin was one of three sons born to William and Elizabeth Wright Dorwin. He would attend schools local to Jefferson County area and prior to his removal to Pepin County, Wisconsin  had been a farmer in his native town. Dorwin married to Helen Marriett Van Hosen (died 1911) in March of 1854 and would have a total of ten children: William V. (?--?), Helen I. (?--?), Harriett M. (?--?), Marcellus (1862-1924), John (?--?), Lillian (?--?), Edward (?--?), Laura (?--?), Mary (died 1906) and Roscoe (died 1897). 
   Soon after their wedding Dorwin and his wife removed from Jefferson County to Wisconsin, first settling in Adams County. They resided here for a short time and around 1855 settled in Durand township in Pepin County. A short while after his arrival he undertook the first steps in erecting a grist-mill, purchasing mill machinery from Milwaukee and had it shipped via ox-cart to Pepin County. Completion of the mill occurred in mid 1857 and several years later Dorwin added a wool carding mill to the already existing grist-mill.
   In 1862 Dorwin began a year long stint in the Union Army, serving as a captain in Co. G of Wisconsin's 25th Volunteer Infantry. The regiment would be deployed to combat hostile Indians in frontier Minnesota, and would resign his commission in 1863 due to being afflicted with fever. Following his military service Dorwin returned to Pepin County and recommenced with  his business activities, purchasing a dairy farm in 1869 and three years later built a cheese factory near the previously mentioned mill(s). 
   Vivus W.Dorwin first entered into political life in Pepin County in the late 1860s when he began service as chairman of the board of Durand township, continuing in this role  for nearly two decades. In November 1876 he was elected to his first term in the Wisconsin General Assembly, defeating Republican nominee Harvey Brown, 985 votes to 744. In the 1877 session Dorwin held a seat on the house committee on Printing. In November 1877 he was reelected to the assembly, defeating Independent Republican candidate George W. Gilkey by a vote of 696 to 452.  
  Dorwin's service in the 1878 session saw him sit on the committee on Federal Relations, and in the 1884 election year was returned to the legislature for a third term, being named to the committees on the Militia and Public Improvements for the 1885 session. The year 1888 saw Dorwin win election to a fourth term in the assembly, defeating his Republican opponent P.J. Bryan by a vote of 759 to 611. In the session of 1889 Dorwin was a member of the committees on State Affairs and at the close of the term returned to Pepin County. 
   In March 1904 Vivus Dorwin and his wife celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and just a few months following that milestone Dorwin died at age 72 on September 27, 1904. His wife Helen would survive him by several years, dying in 1911. Both were interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Durand, Wisconsin. Public service would continue in the Dorwin family when Marcellus Dorwin (Vivus' son) was elected to represent Buffalo and Pepin County in the Wisconsin Assembly in 1924.

From the "History of Onondaga County, New York", 1878.

   Distinguished Syracuse, New York resident Vivus Wood Smith was a prominent figure in the early years of the Republican Party in New York state, and could count among his friends William H. Seward ( U.S. Senator, Governor and Secretary of State), Horace Greeley and political boss Thurlow Weed. A past county clerk for Onondaga County, Smith attained further distinction as a newspaper publisher and editor, and in 1860 was selected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention held in Baltimore.
  A native of Massachusetts, Vivus Smith was born Berkshire County in that state on January 27, 1804, a son of Silas (1779-1825) and Eunice Bagg Smith (1782-1856). His formative years were spent in Lanesborough (the town of his birth), farming and studying law there. He relocated to Onondaga County, New York in 1827 and soon after his arrival purchased the Onondaga Journal. He was affiliated with this paper until 1829, when he removed to Syracuse, and her would start up another paper, the Onondaga Standard.
  In 1837 Smith underwent a change in his political leanings, switching allegiance to the Whig party (having previously been a Democrat.) In the year following his switch Smith established the Whig-leaning Western State Journal, a paper that would later undergo a name change to the Syracuse Journal. In 1841 Smith left Syracuse for Ohio, and after resettling in Columbus recommenced with his publishing activities, founding another Whig-based paper called the Ohio State Journal.
  Smith's time in Ohio proved to be short lived, as he returned to Syracuse in the mid 1840s. In 1846 he was elected as Onondaga County clerk and after serving three years in that post entered upon duties as Superintendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs, being appointed to that post in 1855 by then Governor Myron Holley Clark. Smith served ten years as superintendent and in 1860 was part of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention in Baltimore, where Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency.
   In his later years Vivus Smith continued to be an active public official, serving for a time as a state canal appraiser.  He died on February 7, 1881 and was survived by his second wife Theodora Morey (whom he had married in 1839), as well as four children: Carroll Earl (1832-1904), Fillmore Morey (1843-1919), Seward Valentine (1846-1905) and Florence (1848-1922). Smith and his entire family are interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse.

                                                   From the DeRuyter New Era, February 7, 1881.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Delatus Miles Aspinwall (1810-1888)

Portrait courtesy of www.ancestry.com

   A Vermonter by birth, Delatus Miles Aspinwall resided in several different states during a life that took him from humble beginnings in the Green Mountain state to the halls of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Following his one term in the assembly Aspinwall removed to Adair County, Iowa, dying there in 1888.
   Born in Vermont (some sources state either Pawlet or Bennington) on August 9, 1810, Delatus M. Aspinwall was the son of Salmon (1783-1856) and Mary Montague Aspinwall (1784-1850). Aspinwall and his family resided in Vermont until about 1817, whereafter they removed to Jefferson County, New York. Here Delatus would attend the "common schools" as well as engaging in farm work. He would later be employed as a mechanic and in January 1840 married to Ms. Lovina Araminda Bates (1810-1884), with whom he would have ten children: Emma Morrison (1840-1923), Mary (1842-1932), Joel Adonjiah (1845-1918), William H. (1845-1916), Ellen (1850-1926), Miles Delatus (1852-1872), David Montague (1855-1917), Ashley (1857-1908), Lovina A. 1859-1934) and Lillian M. (1861-1930).
   Six years following his marriage Aspinwall and his family left New York and established roots in the Jefferson County, Wisconsin town of Farmington. After purchasing "forty acres of government land", Aspinwall began to build his own farm in 1852, and over a decade later was the owner of 255 acres of farmland, devoted to the raising of both cattle and horses.
   Despite having held no previous elected office, Aspinwall won election to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1856. Representing Jefferson County's 1st district, Aspinwall's one term in the assembly commenced in January 1857 and during that session served on the house committees on Charitable and Religious Societies and Printing.  At the conclusion of his term Aspinwall returned to Farmington and for many years afterward was an active member of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society, serving as both its Vice-President and as a member of its executive committee. 
  Widowed in February 1884, Delatus Aspinwall removed from Wisconsin to Adair County, Iowa a short while after his wife's death. Settling in the town of Fontenelle, he resided here for the remainder of his life, dying on May 5, 1888. The Aspinwall Geneology of 1901 notes that Delatus had remarried at some point prior to his death but makes no mention of his second wife's name. His burial occurred at the Fontanelle Cemetery in Fontenelle, Iowa, and, in an unusual tidbit, the gravestone carver lists Aspinwall as having died on his 78th birthday (see link for photograph.) This looks to be an error on the part of the engraver, as all the sources I've found regarding Aspinwall give August 9th as his correct date of birth.

From the Jefferson County, NY Journal, June 12, 1888.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wittich Chiles DuBose (1881-1929)

Portrait courtesy of "Mineola and its Mayors", published 1976.

    Several years after the conclusion of mayor Garrone Stardi Northcutt's term, the city of Mineola, Texas elected another peculiarly named man as its mayor, one Wittich Chiles DuBose. The son of Methodist minister Charles Betts DuBose, Wittich Chiles "Witt" Dubose was born in Pensacola, Florida on August 20, 1881. Left fatherless at an early age due to his father's death in a yellow fever outbreak, Wittich DuBose spent a portion of his early life in Alabama, having been sent there by his father to lessen the chance of exposure to yellow fever. The young man would experience further tragedy with the death of his mother Eugenia and following her passing was sent to live with relatives in Mineola, Texas.
   DuBose would attend schools local to Mineola and later studied at Draughn's Business College, located in Dallas, Texas. He married in 1906 to Mamie Chappell and later had one son, Wittich "Witt" Chappell DuBose (1908-1993). After concluding his studies at the Draughn Business College DuBose became engaged in the used furniture business in Mineola, and would later partner with J.W. Cage. In addition to furniture sales DuBose and Page added funeral supplies to their business, and DuBose himself would attend the Dallas School of Embalming and Funeral Directing
   Wittich DuBose continued to operate his furniture and undertaking business in Mineola well into the 1920s and also served as the Vice-President of the Texas Organization of Funeral Directors. The 1976 history of "Mineola and its Mayors" also relates that prior to 1918 DuBose's company transitioned to a motorized hearse, having previously used a horse drawn coach for funerals.
  In addition to his business DuBose also gained prominence as Mineola's fire chief, serving in that position for several years. In August 1924 he took office as Mayor of Mineola and during his two terms in office a number of improvements were made to the cities' infrastructure, including the renovation of the local sewerage disposal plant in 1926. In the following year work began on a plan to supply Mineola with natural gas, and by late 1927 the city's homes had been supplied with gas lines, with service taking effect in November of that year.

Wittich C. DuBose during his time as mayor, from "Mineola and its Mayors".

   DuBose's second term concluded in 1928 and for the remainder of his life maintained activity in several fraternal organizations, including the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, and the Lions and Elks Clubs. In early November 1929 the former mayor was afflicted with appendicitis and was rushed to a Dallas sanitarium to undergo an operation. DuBose died shortly after the operation on November 9, 1929. Just forty-eight years of age at the time of his death, Dubose was returned to Mineola for burial at the Mineola City Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Mamie and son Witt, who died in 1973 and 1993 respectively.