Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dorah Elijah Maples (1860-1944)

Portrait from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1934.

   One of a bevy of oddly named men elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in the course of its nearly 200-year history, Dorah Elijah Maples is also on a shortlist of odd name male political figures who were unfortunately saddled with a female first name. Briefly featured on this site's Facebook page in July of last year, Maples was a man of many hats, being a teacher, farmer, lumberman, coal dealer and a four-term state representative from  Christian County. Interestingly, Maple's terms were spaced twenty-five years apart!
  Born in Clever, Christian County, Missouri on December 14, 1860, Dorah Elijah Maples was the son of Noah and Sarah Anne (Greenaway) Maples. The son of a Civil War veteran, Maples visited his wounded father in a Cairo, Missouri hospital when just three years of age, and during that visit met President Abraham Lincoln, an encounter that Maples would remember for the remainder of his life. Maples later recounted the meeting in a 1935 interview with the Jefferson City Post Tribune, relating:
"I was only a small boy, can't remember many things that happened in those days, but I can vividly recall the time my mother took me to the Cairo hospital to see my father who was dangerously wounded, his army shot away. While we were standing at my father's side, a tall ungainly looking man, with stubby whiskers came walking down the rows of cots."'Mother', I said, 'that man's clothes don't fit him!'' "'Sh--', she said, trying to quiet me. 'That's the president of the United States.' "When he reached us, he put his hand on my head and said 'little boy, be good to your mother.'"
  Maples' early education began in the common schools and he would go on to attend the Drury College in Springfield. He married to Lucy Eva Craig (1869-1947) in December 1890 and the couple's fifty-three-year union produced four childrenSamuel Bernice (1892-1951), Horace Bertrand (1894-1980), Lura Nalan (1896-1980) and Gladys Jewel (1908-1982). 
  A farmer and teacher in Christian County, Maples entered the political life of that county in 1902 when he became the  Republican candidate for the state house of representatives from his district, and in November defeated Democratic nominee J.W. Henry by a vote of 1574 to 949. During the 1903-04 session, Maples sat on the committees on Roads and Highways and the State Library. He won a second term in 1904 and during this term "was an author of a measure relating to Civil War records."

Dorah E. Maples, from the 1905-06 Official Manual of Missouri.

   Maples' second term in the house concluded in 1907 and wasn't a candidate for renomination the previous fall. For the next two decades, he is remarked as having been a coal dealer and lumberman. In 1924-25 he was serving as a Republican committeeman for Christian County and in 1932 was elected to a third term in the legislature, defeating Democratic candidate H.E. McSpadden by a vote of 2, 708 to 2, 343. Returned to state government after an absence of twenty-five years, Maples took his seat at the start of the 1933-35 session and served on the committees on Education, Eleemosynary Institutions, Mines and Mining, Permanent Seat of Government, and the State Library.
  While period sources mentioning Maples remain difficult to come by, two newspaper write-ups from the mid-1930s reveal him as a legislator with both a backbone and strong sense of humor. In the January 31, 1935 edition of the Macon Chronicle-Herald, Maples is mentioned as having shouted at fellow representative J.A. Gray, admonishing him for remarking that he "wouldn't dare face the folks who elected me if I voted to increase the costs of government."

From the April 5, 1935 Macon Chronicle-Herald.

  "Dorrie" Maples would also reveal himself to have a warm sense of humor (see newspaper mention above), and in early 1935 entered into a legislative argument as to whether "3.2 beer was intoxicating or non-toxicating." As Maples later stated:
"If you don't get this settled soon, I'm agoin to find out for myself, I'll buy me a whole keg of the blamed stuff. And if-they throw me in jail for a drunk, I'll call on Bill Lafferty and John Taylor and some of the rest of you fellows to pay my fine."
  In November 1934 Maples won his fourth term in the house, once again besting Democratic nominee H.E. McSpadden. His final term saw him sit on the committees on the Criminal Costs, Education, Employees and the Clerical Force, and Purchasing Supplies. Maples left office in January 1937, at age 76, and retired to Clever, Missouri. He died on August 4, 1944, at age 83 and was survived by his wife of over fifty years, Lucy. Following her death in 1947, Lucy Craig Maples was interred alongside her husband at the Wise Cemetery in Clever.

Portrait from the 1935-36 Official Manual of Missouri.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Werter Renick Davis (1815-1893)

Portrait from the Baker Beacon, May 15, 1893.

    A distinguished figure in Kansas religious and educational matters during the mid 19th century, Werter Renick Davis was a transplant to Kansas from Ohio, having been a Methodist minister in the latter state for over two decades. The first president of Baker University (established in 1858), Davis organized the first faculty at that institution and would achieve further distinction as a representative in the first Kansas state legislature and as a chaplain and Lieutenant Colonel during the Civil War. 
   Born in Circleville, Ohio on April 1, 1815, Werter Renick Davis was the son of Henry and Avis Slocum Davis. In addition to Werter, the Davis family could also count Edwin Hamilton (1811-1888) and Joseph Slocum Davis (1812-1885) amongst its ranks. A law partner of future Congressman and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano, Joseph S. Davis served two terms as Probate Judge of Knox County, Ohio and was a former Mayor of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Edwin Hamilton, the eldest of the brothers, became a noted authority on prehistoric Indians and as an archaeologist accumulated the "largest collection of relics ever assembled in America."
   At the age of just fifteen, Werter Davis enrolled at the Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and at a young age converted to the Methodist church. Davis left Kenyon before graduating but would later earn a degree in medicine and dentistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Cincinnati. In 1835 Davis entered the ministry, joining the Ohio Conference, and in June of that year was licensed to preach in Hillsborough, Ohio. He would subsequently be ordained as a deacon in 1837 in Xenia, Ohio.
  For the next eighteen years, Davis' ministry would take him throughout Ohio, accepting pastorates in "Wilmington, Union, Eaton, Germantown, Zanesville, Putnam, Hebron" as well as Dayton, Lebanon, Hamilton, and Ripley, Virginia. Davis married in Putnam, Muskingum County, Ohio in May 1843 to Minerva Russell (1822-1897). The couple were wed for just over fifty years and would have several children, including Minerva (1846-1926), Werter Renick Jr., Allie (1853-1933), Katie, and Henry T. Period sources relate Davis' "oratorical gifts", as well as his being jailed while in Virginia due to "preaching antislavery sentiments." Davis' is further remarked in the Methodist Review as having been a sight to behold in the pulpit, noting:
"In those days the people called Baptists were inclined to be argumentative, and young Davis came to be in demand to debate the question of baptism. Among his bound pamphlets are some of these discussions, printed by the communties where the debates were held. Indeed, for many years he found delight in giving a word of exhortation and sound doctrine to his friends of the immersionist persuasion; and on such occasions they were treated to something besides water."
   In 1853 Davis was transferred to the Missouri Conference and would hold a pastorate at the Ebenezer Chapel in St. Louis. He remained here for only a year, and in 1854 accepted a  position at the McKendree College in Illinois, where he would teach natural science. He would serve as acting president in his last year at that school (1858), and late in that year left Illinois for Kansas, to accept the presidency of the newly organized Baker University in Baldwin City. "Empowered to organize his own faculty", Davis took stock of the Baker Campus and briefly returned to McKendree College to entice professors to come and join the newly established college. Following his return to Kansas in spring 1859, Davis set about organizing the curriculum and professors and would serve as college president from 1858-62. After leaving the presidency Davis remained connected to the college and by the time of his death in 1893 Baker University had grown to be "equipped with the necessary appliances for successful work, with substantial buildings, a faculty of twenty-one teachers, and an annual enrollment of over five hundred."
   Werter R. Davis' brief involvement in politics began when he was elected as a Republican to the First Kansas State legislature as a representative from Douglas County. Taking his seat in 1861, he chaired the house committee on education and during his term " his voice was heard in its halls for freedom and civic righteousness." Davis is also referenced as having served as Superintendent of Public Instruction for Douglas County during his term.
  During his college stewardship Davis still remained connected to the ministry, being named as a presiding elder of the Wyandot Conference for the Baldwin City district. He would put his church work on hold in 1862 to join in the ongoing war effort, becoming a chaplain for the Twelfth Kansas Infantry. Despite having no previous military experience, Davis' was remarked as having a soldier-like bearing, and following his appointment as chaplain was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel, to assist in organizing the 16th Reg., Kansas Volunteer Infantry. Davis was subsequently given command of that regiment and served with it until the close of the war. In the waning days of the Civil War Davis would serve as the commandant at Ft. Leavenworth for a brief period, and is remarked as having taken part in an "expedition against the Indians in the Black Hills."

From the May 19, 1909 edition of the Western Christian Advocate.

  Davis continued in the ministry after the Civil War and again served as president of Baker College from 1868-69 and briefly in 1870. He was a presiding elder in both the Leavenworth and Topeka districts and in 1880 removed to Salina, Kansas to accept a pastorate. In 1881 he was a delegate to the Ecumenical Methodist Conference held in London and three years later was named a delegate to the Centennial Conference of American Methodism in Baltimore. Davis would later return to a pastorate in Baldwin City, where he died on June 22, 1893 at age 78. Memorialized for his eloquence and as a man whose "saintliness shone like a star", Davis was survived by his wife Minerva, who, following her death in 1897, was interred alongside her husband at the Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City.

Portrait courtesy of

From the Barton County Democrat, June 29, 1893.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Evertson Crosby Kindleberger (1875-1950)

Portrait from "the University of Pennsylvania: Its History, influence, Equipment...", Vol. II, 1902.

   A leading name in the New York bar during the early 20th century, Evertson Crosby Kindleberger practiced law for nearly fifty years and during that time held a number of important offices in New York City, including assistant corporation counsel to two NYC Mayors and deputy assistant district attorney beginning in 1910. Kindleberger earns a slot here on the site due to his 1912 candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's  14th congressional district. 
  Born in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 1875, E. Crosby Kindleberger was the son of Dr. David (1834-1921) and Mattie Lindsay Poor Kindleberger (1847-1898). A distinguished figure in his own right, David Kindleberger was a physician and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. In the late 1870s, he served as Fleet Surgeon for the Asiatic Station and also gained prominence in California as a painter of landscapes, even having his work exhibited publically.
   E. Crosby Kindleberger's early education took place at the Columbian College Preparatory School in Washington and in 1891 enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. He would graduate in 1894 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and following his graduation continued law studies at that institution. He earned his law degree in 1897 and after further study in the offices of Davies, Stone and Auerbach was admitted to the New York bar in 1898.
   Following his resettlement in New York City, Kindleberger became active in Republican circles, "being engaged in the campaign service for McKinley in 1900." He would subsequently take to the stump at various times over the next decade, making a number of addresses for Republican candidates in the "25th assembly district." Kindleberger married in Philadelphia in June 1906 to Elisabeth Randall McIlvaine (1879-1959). The couple's fifty-three-year marriage would see the births of five children, Katherine Wirt (1905-1957), Mattie Lindsay (1908-1996), Charles Poor (1910-2003), Elizabeth Randall (1911-2003) and Mary Bolling (1914-1994). 
  In 1902 Kindleberger received the appointment as assistant corporation counsel for New York City, serving under Mayor Seth Low. He remained in that post until 1906, whereafter he was named as Deputy Assistant District Attorney for New York County, an office he'd be reappointed to in 1910. Kindleberger's tenure in that post saw him  
"Have charge of many cases in the higher courts, especially those against commercial swindlers. While in the District Attorney's office he conducted in the evening a free legal bureau for the benefit of the people of the east side.
 A member of the law firm of Kindleberger and Robinson, Kindleberger refrained from pursuing elective office until 1912, when he was sought out by Republicans to take on Democratic congressman William Sulzer (1863-1941), then running for re-election to a tenth term. Running as candidates in the newly drawn up 14th congressional district, Sulzer would eventually leave the contest due to receiving the nomination for Governor, whereafter Kindleberger's opponent became Jefferson M. Levy, who had been elected to Congress for a second term in 1911. Kindleberger's past experience as corporation counsel and deputy district attorney was touted through several campaign notices published in the New York Tribune, which noted that:
"He is an advocate of a strong navy, a properly framed protective tariff, and other positive views on public questions, which he will elaborate from the stump."

From the New York Tribune, September 16, 1912.

   As one of seven candidates vying for a congressional seat that year, Kindleberger not only had to contend with Levy's candidacy but also nominees from the Progressive, Socialist, Independence League and Prohibition party, amongst others. When the votes were tallied on November 5, 1912, it was Jefferson Levy who emerged victorious, garnering 8,950 votes. Kindleberger placed third (with 3,468 votes), with Progressive candidate Abraham Goodman running second with over 4,000 votes.
   While his congressional run ended in defeat, E. Crosby Kindleberger returned to government service in 1914 when he was again named as assistant corporation counsel, this time serving under Mayor John Purroy Mitchel (1879-1918). His second time in that office extended until 1918, whereafter he continued in the practice of law, being a member of the firms Townsend, Kindleberger and Townsend, and Kindleberger and Campbell. A founding member of the University of Pennsylvania Club and a longstanding member of the New York City Bar Association, Kindleberger retired from his law practice in 1942 and died at his home in Flushing, Queens on July 6, 1950, at age 74. He was survived by his wife and five children and was later cremated.

Kindleberger's obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1950.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Staats Gouverneur Burnet (1827-1888)

Portrait courtesy of

  Today marks a return to Iowa and another one of that state's oddly named legislators, Staats Gouverneur Burnet of Benton County. Born into a prominent Cincinnati, Ohio family on January 27, 1827, Staats G. Burnet was one of several children born to Isaac Gouverneur (1784-1856) and Keturah "Kitty" Winne Gordon Burnet. A distinguished figure in his own right, Isaac G. Burnet was a former Mayor of Cincinnati (serving from 1819-1831) and could count among his brothers two other men of wide repute, Jacob Burnet (1770-1853), a former U.S. Senator from Ohio, state supreme court justice and the author of Ohio's first state constitution, and David Gouverneur Burnet (1786-1870), who served as President, Vice-President and Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas. Truly an impressive political family!
  Being born into a family with impressive ancestry, Staats G. Burnet attended the Woodward High School in Cincinnati and following his graduation in 1844 began pursuing a career in law. He married on January 15, 1852, to Isabelle Adelia Bromwell (1834-1920), a native of Virginia. The couple would later have nine children, Edith (born 1853), William Bromwell (1854-1909), Arthur (1856-1927), Julia (1858-1930), Harry (1861-1909), Sarah Belle (1863-1865), Paul (born 1866), Margaret (1868-1960) and David Staats (1875-1882). Of these children, William Bromwell Burnet would follow his ancestors into public service, being U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from 1886-89. 
   Following his admittance to the Ohio bar, Burnet practiced law in Cincinnati and in 1867 removed with his family to Benton County, Iowa. After establishing roots in Blairstown, Burnet farmed and became active in the Producer's Grange, No. 49, and would serve as its Master in 1871. The 1878 History of Benton County relates that prior to his election to the legislature Burnet held several local offices in Blairstown, and in 1873 received the nomination for Benton County's representative as a candidate of the Anti-Monopoly party. 
   Burnet won the election for the legislature in November 1873 and after taking his seat in January 1874 was named to the committees on Railroads, the State University, Suppression of Intemperance,  and Ways and Means. Burnet's term concluded in January 1876 and some years later removed back to Cincinnati, where he would reside with his son William. He would retire from the practice of law and died at his son's home on December 17, 1888, the cause of death being attributed to kidney trouble. Burnett was survived by his wife and children and was interred at Cincinnati's famed Spring Grove Cemetery. The fourth largest cemetery in the United States, Spring Grove is the resting place of many prominent Ohio political figures, including Salmon P. Chase, Alphonso Taft, Nicholas Longworth, George Hunt Pendleton, Henry Stanbery, John McLean, Stanley Mathews and Joseph Benson Foraker.

From the Indianapolis Journal, December 18, 1888.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sinnickson Chew (1830-1901)

Portrait from Prowell's  History of Camden County, New Jersey, 1886.

    A leading name in New Jersey newspaper publishing during the 19th century, Sinnickson Chew was for nearly forty years the owner and publisher of the West Jersey Press, a weekly newspaper circulating in the city of Camden. During a long life dedicated to  "forcible editorials and fair treatment of both friend and foe", Chew also found fleeting involvement in state political affairs, being elected as clerk of the New Jersey State Assembly in 1872. His two year tenure in that post was his lone instance of entering state political life but is enough to warrant his inclusion here.
   A lifelong New Jerseyean, Sinnickson Chew's birth occurred in Salem County on January 27, 1830, one of eight children born to Joseph Richards and Maria (Sinnickson) Chew. Receiving his unusual first name courtesy of his mother, Chew was a student in the "country schools" of Salem and at the age of just fifteen began learning the printing trade, joining the offices of the Woodbury Constitution in 1845. After becoming acquainted with the newspaper printer's daily activities, Chew became a "post boy" for the paper, riding a horse and cart to deliver newspapers to various locations throughout Camden and Gloucester County.
  Following several years of work on the staff of the Constitution Chew removed to Philadelphia, where in 1851 he was briefly employed in a type foundry. In that same year he returned to New Jersey, and after his return joined the staff of the National Standard in Salem County. Within a short period Chew and a partner, William Sharp, pooled resources and together purchased the National Standard, continuing in a partnership publication until 1862Sinnickson Chew married in May 1860 to Sarah A. Miller (1836-1918). The couple's forty year marriage would see the births of at least three children, including Lillie, William H. (1871-1962), and Edward. 
   In May 1862 Chew purchased the "entire interest" of the Camden based West Jersey Press, and for the next four decades was its editor and publisher. Chew's lengthy stewardship of that paper saw it become one of the leading Republican-leaning periodicals in the state, with Chew himself being remarked as
"A clear and lucid writer with a perfect command of the English language, which he always used with telling effect."
  Although the publisher of one of the leading Republican voices in Camden, Sinnickson Chew refrained from pursuing public office. This was the case until 1872 when he was elected by the state assembly to serve as it's clerk, a "responsible position" which saw him be acknowledged as "courteous and polite to all", regardless of political party. Chew's time as clerk of the New Jersey state assembly extended until 1874 when he was succeeded by Austin H. Patterson, a former speaker of the assembly.
   A longtime member of the Editorial Association of New Jersey, Chew continued to be affiliated with the West Jersey Press until his death and two years prior had given up "active management" of the paper, with control passing to his sons. Sinnickson Chew died at his home in Camden on June 26, 1901 at age 71. He was survived by his wife Sarah, who, following her death in 1918 was interred alongside her husband at the Evergreen Cemetery in Camden.

From the December 10, 1900 Philadelphia Inquirer.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Beider Wellington Wilde (1854-1936)

 Portrait from the Hazleton Plain Speaker, Feb. 24, 1936. 

   A distinguished merchant and Republican leader in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Beider Wellington Wilde was for over five decades a leading figure in the business and political life of Luzerne County. An active Republican for many years, Wilde sat on the Hazleton borough council, was a delegate to the 1882 Pennsylvania Republican Convention and from 1890-93 served as U.S. Postmaster of Hazleton. Wilde earns placement here on the site not only for his service as postmaster but also for his service as a delegate to the 1888 Republican National Convention and his being a Republican presidential elector in 1896.
  The story of this lifelong Pennsylvania native begins with his birth in New Castle township on December 22, 1854, being one of eight children born to Joseph and Elizabeth (Beck) Wilde. Wilde's early life saw him attend public school and during his youth worked both the family farm and in a local brickyard. At age fifteen he left the confines of home to seek a new life for himself in Hazleton, taking work as a machinist in the employ of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. For the better part of twenty years Wilde continued work as a machinist with that railroad, and by 1887 had not only been given "full charge of the works", but also made his first foray in local politics, being a member of the Hazleton borough council and a delegate to the 1882 Republican state nominating convention.
  Beider Wilde married in September 1882 to Isabel McDonald (1857-1946), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple's union would see the births of three children, Isabel Florence (1884-1966) John Walter (1886-1955) and Beider Wellington Jr. (1895-1965).
   In 1888 Beider W. Wilde served as part of the Pennsylvania delegation to that year's Republican National Convention, which saw Indiana's Benjamin Harrison garner the nomination for president. Following Harrison's victory in November 1888, he appointed Wilde as U.S. Postmaster of Hazleton, a post he would hold from April 1890 until his resignation three years later. During his tenure, Wilde was tasked by then Postmaster General John Wanamaker to visit all post offices located in Lower Luzerne County and report back on their condition and expedience.
   Following his resignation as postmaster in 1893 Wilde resided in Milnesville, Pennsylvania, being employed as a purchasing agent for the Augustus S. Van Wickle Coal Company, which controlled a number of collieries in the state. In 1896 Wilde returned to political service when he served as a Republican presidential elector for Pennsylvania, and at the assembling of the electoral college
"Was elected messenger to deliver the returns to the United States District Court."
  Two years after his service as a presidential elector Wilde added another feather to his business cap when he joined his brother Charles in the firm Wilde & Co., a manufacturer of knit products. By 1901 Wilde had removed back to Hazleton, and in that year became manager of the A. Pardee and Co. stores located in Hazleton, Coleraine, and Cranberry. He continued in that role until 1915 and afterward was connected with various real estate interests in the Hazleton area.
  A leading booster for the Hazleton Y.M.C.A, Wilde was a member of that organization of over fifty years and also maintained prominence in the local Presbyterian church, serving at various times as church treasurer and Sunday School superintendent. Remarked as having possessed an "encyclopedic knowledge of the political, mining, commercial, religious and genealogical history of the region", Wilde was a frequent contributor to articles relating to the history of Hazleton area, which later became a valuable addition to the Sugarloaf Historical Society.
  After many years of distinction in the Pennsylvania coal region, Beider Wellington Wilde died of a heart attack at his Hazleton home on February 23, 1936, at age 81. He was survived by his wife and children and was later interred at the Vine Street Cemetery in his native Hazleton.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Renwick Sloane McNiece (1886-1983)

Portrait from the Salt Lake Times, May 24, 1916.

  The first odd named American diplomat profiled on the site in well over a year, Renwick Sloan McNiece lived nearly a century and prior to his diplomatic career was a teacher in Salt Lake City, as well as a veteran of World War I. Entering into the foreign service in 1920, McNiece would subsequently be appointed as U.S. Consul to several different countries over twenty years time, with his travels taking him to Malaysia, Barbados, Great Britain, Pakistan, Spain, Chile, Venezuela and Italy. 
   The son of the Rev. Robert and Sarah (Irwin) McNiece, Renwick Sloan McNiece was born in Salt Lake City on June 28, 1886. Young Renwick would attend private schools in the Salt Lake area and would go on to enroll at Princeton University, graduating in the class of 1907. Following graduation, he spent the next decade employed as a teacher in the Salt Lake City high school and in the summer of 1917 briefly worked as the manager for a copper company's office. At the dawn of American involvement in World War I McNiece began field artillery training at the Presidio camp in San Francisco in August 1917. In December of that year, he married to Ruth Anderson Storer (1886-1948), to whom he was wed until her death. The couple would remain childless.
   Following his graduation from the Presidio McNiece was dispatched overseas and in February of 1918 was on board the troopship S.S. Tuscania when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. 210 troops and crewmen would lose their lives in the sinking. McNiece (along with four other Salt Lake servicemen) were among the lucky survivors, and following his rescue at sea was transported to France, where he would serve in "the artillery and supply corps." 
   By the conclusion of his military service Renwick McNiece had attained the rank of captain and following his return stateside garnered a teaching fellowship at the University of California, where he taught from 1919-20. McNiece would eventually decide on a career in the foreign service, and after passing his examination was appointed as U.S. Consul (class seven) in Penang, Malaysia in June 1920. After two years of service in Malaysia McNiece advanced to U.S. Consul class six, and in August 1922 was dispatched to St. Michaels, Barbados. He would serve in that capacity from March 1923 to July 1924, and in September of that latter year again changed consulates, this time being stationed as U.S. Consul in Stoke-on-Trent, Great Britain.

From the Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1918.

    McNiece's time in the United Kingdom extended until 1929 when he was appointed as U.S. Consul in Karachi, (located in modern day Pakistan). His three-year consulate in Karachi concluded in 1932, whereafter he took charge of the U.S. Consulate in Vigo, Spain, a role he would fill until 1935. From 1935-40 McNiece continued in diplomatic service in Valparaiso, Chile, and after leaving the consulate there was named consul at Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1940. By 1944 he had again been transferred (this time to Horta, Azores Islands) and after a two-year consulate in that location began his final diplomatic post, that of Consul General in Palermo, Italy.
  In 1948 Renwick McNiece retired from diplomatic service and in that same year was beset by tragedy with the death of his wife Ruth in Zurich, Switzerland. McNiece would later retire to Los Angeles and two years following his wife's death remarried to Hazel Morse Hartley, who predeceased him in 1973.  In September 1975 the then 88-year-old retired diplomat wed for a third time, marrying Caroline Mathews Kelly (1906-1989). The couple continued to reside in Los Angeles until his death on February 3, 1983, at age 96. Following his death, Renwick McNiece was interred at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City, the same resting place as that of his wives Ruth and Hazel.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Stroder McNeal Long (1840-1898)

From the Historical and Biographical History of Douglas County, Illinois, 1900.

   A farmer, banker and political figure from Douglas County, Illinois, Stroder McNeal Long represented that county for one term in the Illinois General Assembly, and in the year prior to his death was again the Republican candidate for the state assembly from Illinois' 40th district. A native of the Buckeye State, Stroder McNeal Long was born in Fayette County, Ohio on October 6, 1840, being the son of Andrew and Margaret (Mark) Long. The Long family relocated to Illinois in 1848 and, like many other young men of the time, Long would balance both farm and school work, working the family farm in the summer and attending school in the winter months. In 1860 he began an "academic course" in Paris, Illinois and in the following year enlisted for service in Co. E. of the 12th Illinois Infantry.
   Long's Civil War service proved to be brief, as he became severely ill and was honorably discharged after only three months service. Following his return home, he farmed and taught school until removing to Douglas County in 1867. He would purchase eighty acres of farmland near the town of Newman, and married on February 4, 1872 to Mary Elizabeth Pound (1846-1941), with whom he had five children: Mabel Maude (born 1873), Potter Palmer (1874-1934), Garnet Alice (born 1879), Cecile Roxina (born 1882) and Fay Ellen (born 1888).
   In addition to farming and stock raising in Douglas County, Stroder Long also entered into local politics in the late 1870s, serving on the county board of supervisors from 1878-1879.  In 1884 he won election as Douglas County's representative to the Illinois General Assembly, and his one term of service (1885-87) saw him sit on the committees on Canals and Rivers, Education, Farm Drainage, House Contingent Expenses and State/Municipal Indebtedness.
   A year after leaving the legislature Stroder Long added the title of bank president to his resume, assuming the presidency of the Newman Bank. He would hold that post until his death in 1898 and during this time also attained prominence with the Newman Building and Loan Association, serving as one of its directors. In 1897 Long was again nominated for the state assembly but lost out that election year, placing fourth in a field of five candidates. He died on August 20th of the following year at age 58 and was survived by his wife Mary. Mary Pound Long survived her husband by over forty years, and following her death at age 94 was interred alongside him at the Newman Cemetery in Douglas County.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cecilius Risley Higgins (1847-1904)

Portrait from " Ice and Refrigeration", Volume 27, August 1904.

  2018 is upon us and with the dawn of new year comes something new here on the site...the inclusion of U.S. Postmasters of major American cities! Over the past few years I've accumulated a number of intriguingly named men and women who were appointed as U.S. Postmaster of a major city in the United States and, as it is the new year, have decided that they should warrant inclusion here. The position of U.S. Postmaster is an old one, and from 1836 to 1971 cities with larger populations and bigger post offices had their postmaster appointed by the President. Cecilius Risley Higgins, a native Hoosier who found distinction in the public life of Allen County, Indiana, is the first of these oddly named postmasters to be profiled and was appointed as Postmaster of Ft. Wayne by then President Benjamin Harrison.
   Born on January 21, 1847, in the small village of Kalida in Putnam County, Ohio, Cecilius Risley "Ceil" Higgins removed to the neighboring town of Delphos whilst still a child, and his early education was obtained there. At the age of just thirteen Higgins entered the workforce, becoming a telegraph messenger boy under the employ of the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway. During this time Higgins began the study of telegraphy and would eventually advance to telegraph operator. After several years in that position, he accepted the position of ticket and freight agent with the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and in January 1868 removed to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
  Following his resettlement in the Hoosier State, Ceil Higgins was engaged as chief train dispatcher for the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway, a role he would fill for nine years. He married in May 1874 to West Virginia native Eleanor "Ella" Hale (1851-1936). The couple were wed until Cecilius' death in 1904 and would have three children, Cecilia (1875-1950), Gracie (1878-1880) Frederic (1880-1883) and Adah Louise (birth-date unknown).

From "Story of Our Post Office: The Greatest Department in All Its Phases", 1892.

    After leaving the post of chief train dispatcher in 1877 "Ceil" Higgins spent two years as a "fuel and tie agent" before taking on the position of chief clerk for the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway. In the mid-1880s he entered the political life of Allen County when he received the Republican nomination for county auditor. Although defeated that November, Higgins ran "2,700 ahead of his ticket" and in 1888 served as treasurer of the Allen County Republican committee. With the Republicans claiming victory in the 1888 election year, President-elect Benjamin Harrison had a number of office seekers to appoint, and Cecilius Risley Higgins was one of the men chosen to serve as a postmaster. 
  Taking the reins as U.S. Postmaster at Ft. Wayne in 1889, Higgins served four years in that post and filled the office "with signal ability." In 1891 he was profiled (along with several other Hoosier postmasters) in the Indianapolis Journal, which lauded his efficiency, noting that he
"Has effected marked improvements in the carrier service, reducing the advertised letter list from an average of sixty-five a week to about eleven; and the general delivery window is kept open two hours later, which, with other improvements, places Fort Wayne on a metropolitan footing."
  Higgin's tenure as postmaster extended through the Harrison administration (1889-1893) and several years after leaving office found further prominence in the Ft. Wayne business community, becoming manager of the Ft. Wayne Artificial Ice Co. This business later underwent a name change to the Higgins Artificial Ice Company and Higgins himself would assume the titles of president and manager of the business. He would remain affiliated with that company until his death at age 57 on July 17, 1904, dying at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Ft. Wayne from the effects of Bright's disease and uremic poisoning. He was survived by his wife Ella, who, following her death in 1936, was interred alongside him at the Lindenwood Cemetery in Ft. Wayne.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary (1826-1886)

   It has become customary the past four years to set aside the year's final posting to an especially strange named figure, and this year's honoree is certainly worthy of the title of 'Strangest Name of the Year". Following in the stead of such odd name luminaries like Peru Italian Blackerby Ping and Uno Sylvanus Augustus Heggblom, Florida lawyer Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary lucked into receiving a real whopper of a name, and his inclusion here on the site rests on service as a Marion County delegate to the Florida Secession Convention of 1861.
  A native of South Carolina, Summerfield M.G. Gary was born Cokesbury, Greenwood County on October 10, 1826, being the son of Dr. Thomas Reeder and Mary (Porter) Gary. A distinguished figure in his own right, Thomas R. Gary (1802-1852) served several terms in the South Carolina legislature and for a time held the post of treasurer of the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. Recorded by most period sources under the initials S.M.G. Gary, Summerfield M.G. Gary's early education occurred in his hometown of Cokesbury, attending the Methodist Home Conference School. He would later enroll at the South Carolina at Columbia, and following his graduation in 1848 began the study of law under future U.S. Senator James Chesnut Jr. (1815-1885).
  Admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1851, Gary married a short while later to Frances "Fannie" Rosa Gary (ca. 1834-1914). The couple would have at least five children, Thomas R. (1853-1912), Maud Witherspoon (1859-1933), S.M.G. Jr. (1861-1873), Louella Victoria (1875-1954) and William Theodore (1876-1959). In 1855 Gary and his wife removed to Ocala, Florida, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. Here Gary established a law practice that would see him advance to the front rank of Ocala public life, and in the succeeding years was acknowledged as a man of noble character, and 
"like a towering cliff he caught the rays of the sun of progress before its beams could reach the horizon of common minds."
   In 1860 Gary was selected as one of Marion County's delegates to the Florida Secession Convention, and in January 1861 traveled to Tallahassee to begin service. During the convention proceedings he was named to the committees on Communications from South Carolina, the Judiciary, Militia and Internal Police, and Schools and Colleges. Following Florida's entrance into the Civil War Gary entered into the Confederate Army and for a year's duration was a captain in a local infantry unit. After being wounded Gary was transferred to a cavalry unit and served as an aide de camp to his younger brother, Brigadier General Martin Witherspoon Gary (1831-1881) until war's conclusion. 
  At the time of his discharge from service S.M.G. Gary had attained the rank of Colonel and following his return to Ocala returned to practicing law. Sources of the time denote Gary as "Intendent" of Ocala in 1867 and is referred to as the mayor of that city prior to its incorporation the following year. Gary's later years saw him become an early advocate for the planting of citrus trees for profit in Florida, and 
"Through his persistent agitation on the subject many citizens were led to engage in this business, which he lived to see the principle industry of his state."
  Two years prior to his death S.M.G. Gary began construction on the three-story Gary building in Ocala, a building that would later become home to both a hardware and five and dime store. This structure replaced an earlier wooden one that had been destroyed by fire and following Gary's death in 1886 passed into the hands of his son William and daughter Maud. After many years of prominence in Ocala, Summerfield Massilon Glenn Gary died in that city on December 20, 1886, at age 60.  Memorialized as "generous towards his friends,  forgiving to his enemies" and a "scholar, a lawyer, a citizen and a man", Gary was survived by his wife Fanny and four of his children and was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Ocala.