Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mounce Gore Butler (1849-1917)

Mounce Gore "M.G." Butler, from the December 4, 1905 edition of the NY Tribune.

   One term U.S. Representative from Tennessee Mounce Gore Butler is without a doubt one of the most obscure congressmen on record, and, like Arphaxed Loomis and Calvary Morris before him, was one of a number "faceless" strange-named congressmen I've managed to happen across. While Loomis and Morris eventually had photos of themselves come to light, the absence of a picture of Mounce Butler was something I'd become accustomed to. Two or three times a year (over the past decade or so) I would begin a search of my usual newspaper archives and book haunts in the hope that a picture of him would come to light, but, inevitably, my search would always end in frustration.....I was certain that this congressman (whose first name sort of sounds like a candy-bar) would forever be with out a face to place with his unusual name!
  With that introduction out of the way, I'm extremely pleased to announce a picture of this obscure congressman has finally been located, via the December 4, 1905 edition of the New York Tribune!! Early yesterday I was doing research on another faceless strange name congressman, Mial Eben Lilly of Pennsylvania, when I stumbled across a page in said paper which featured over three dozen photographs of newly elected U.S. Representatives. Among these men was the aforementioned Mr. Lilly, and.....wait for it.....Mounce Gore Butler!! After more than a decade of searching I'm quite confident in stating that the above portrait is likely the first time a picture of Mr. Butler is available online!
  A lifelong resident of Gainesboro, Tennessee, Mounce Gore Butler was born in that town on May 11, 1849, one of four children born to Thomas Harvey and Mary Gore Butler. Butler's odd first name "Mounce" was shared by several of his relatives, and as a youth attended schools local to the place of his birth. He would go on to study at the Old Philomath Academy in Jackson County and later the Cumberland University, being admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1871. Butler married in the late 1870s to Nannie DeWitt (1850-1927) with whom he would have one son, Bailey Clifton Butler (1877-1970).
  Once admitted to practice Butler launched a law practice in Gainesboro, operating here for a number of years. In 1872 he was selected as a delegate to the Tennessee Democratic state convention, and would serve as a delegate to every democratic state convention until 1916. After two decades of practicing law in Gainesboro Butler was named as Attorney General for Tennessee's  Fifth Judicial circuit in 1894. He served in this post until 1902, and two years later received the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 4th district. Butler won the election that November, defeating Republican candidate W.B. Pickering by a vote of 13, 356 to 11, 596.
  Taking his seat at the start of the 1905-07 term, Butler was named to the house committees on Elections #2 and Reform in the Civil Service. He was an unsucessful candidate for renomination in 1906, the nomination instead going to one Cordell Hull (1871-1955) later to gain prominence as a twelve term representative, U.S. Senator from Tennessee, U.S. Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt from 1933-45 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945.
  Following his brief time in Congress Mounce G. Butler returned to Gainesboro, where he would practice law until his death on February 13, 1917 at age 67. Butler was survived by his wife and son, with Butler and his wife being interred at the Gainesboro Cemetery. Research has also shown that Butler is a distant relation to Vice-President and Tennessee resident Al Gore, and their genealogical connection can be viewed here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grailey Hewitt Berryhill (1896-1976)

Portrait from the Tennessee General Assembly composite photograph, 1967-68. 

    A three term member of the Tennessee General Assembly, Grailey Hewitt Berryhill was born on August 17, 1896 in McKenzie, Tennessee, being the son of Adam Douglas and Harriett Costen Berryhill. He would attend school in Carroll County and later embarked upon the study of medicine at several colleges, including Tulane University, Washington University and Vanderbilt University. A standout football player at the last named school, Berryhill earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt in the class of 1921 and had married in June 1920 to Ms. Thelma Harwood (1898-1967). The couple would later have two daughters, Alica Anne Berryhill Boswell (1925-2013) and Dorothy Grailyn (born 1922). 
  Following his graduation from Vanderbilt Berryhill began the practice of medicine in Madison County where he operated for many decades. In addition to his being a physician, Berryhill also held memberships in the American Medical Association and both the Tennessee and Madison County Medical Societies. Sources also note that Berryhill was an instrumental figure in the eventual establishment of the West Tennessee School for the Deaf, as he himself suffered from deafness

                   Berryhill's college portrait, from the 1921 Vanderbilt Medical School Class Composite.

   While a good majority of Beryhill's life was centered in the private sector, he refrained from entering political life until he was nearly seventy years of age! Recorded as being a Democrat for the majority of his life, Berryhill switched political allegiance in the mid 1960s to the Republican party, and in 1966 was elected to represent the county of Madison in the Tennessee General Assembly. He would serve three terms here, being reelected in 1968 and 1970. His final term concluded in 1973 and he died three years later on January 10, 1976 at age 79. Berryhill had been preceded in death by his wife Thelma in 1967 and both were interred at the Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee.

                       Grailey H. Berryhill, from the 1969-70 Tennessee General Assembly composite.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wilbra Hamlin Swett (1860-1936)

Portrait from the "Manual of Legislative Procedure for the state of Montana", 1895.

   One of only five strange name political figures from Montana to receive a profile here on the site, Wilbra Hamlin Swett served two terms in the Montana Legislature in the mid 1890s, being elected as House Speaker during his second term. Wilbra H. Swett was born on October 17, 1860 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, being the son of Eli Chamberlain (1826-1901) and Sarah Hersey Swett (born 1832). The first two decades of his life were spent in the town of his birth. He would attend the public schools of Wolfeboro and was later a student at the Friend's School in Providence, Rhode Island. In the mid 1880s he traveled west, eventually settling in South Dakota, where he would reside for about five years. Swett married in Davison County, South Dakota on June 19, 1888 to Ella Priscilla Stearns (born 1861), a native of Cleveland, Ohio. The couple are recorded as being childless throughout the duration of their marriage. 
   A few years following his marriage Wilbra H. Swett removed to Butte, Montana, where he would find work as an engineer with the Butte and Boston Mining Company. Aside from his mining interests, Swett also found time to tread the political waters, and in 1892 was nominated by the Republicans of Silver Bow County for a seat in the Montana State House of Representatives. He won the election that November with 2,679 votes and took his seat at the beginning of the 1893 term. As a first term legislator with no previous experience in public life, Swett proved to be no slouch during the 1893-95 session, being noted by the Anaconda Standard newspaper as a "workingman who works." This same paper also relates that Swett:
"Proved an earnest and convincing debater, and speedily became one of the leaders of the house. In an atmosphere of corruption there was never a breath of suspicion of the integrity of Mr. Swett as a citizen or of his loyalty as a party man" 
   After a successful first term Swett was renominated in 1894 and won a second term that November, garnering 3,406 votes. At the beginning of the 1895-97 session Swett was selected by his fellow legislators as Speaker of the House,  serving in this capacity until the close of the session. 
   Despite his success in mining and politics in Montana, Wilbra Swett left the "Treasure State" in the late 1890s and returned to the place of his birth, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Here in 1904 he purchased a hardware business and later became one of the  organizers of the Wolfeboro National Bank, entering into the position of bank cashier in 1906. In 1911 Swett and his wife removed from Wolfeboro to California, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. Swett had a home in both Garden Grove and Long Beach, dying in the latter city on November 22, 1936 at age 76. A burial location for both Swett and his wife is unknown at this time.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dorilus Morrison (1814-1897)

Portrait from "Genealogy: Strobridge Morrison of Morison Strobridge, 1891."

   The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota can lay claim to having one of the oddest named mayors on record, Mr. Dorilus Morrison, who was a transplant to that state from his birthplace of Maine. A wealthy lumber dealer as well as one of the primary organizers of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Morrison etched his name into the history books in 1867 when he was inaugurated as the first mayor of the incorporated city of Minneapolis, certainly a fitting honor for a man with such an unusual first name!
   The second child of six born to Samuel and Betsey Benjamin Morrison, Dorilus Morrison was born on December 27, 1814 in Livermore, Maine. Bestowed the name "Dorilus" upon his birth, this name is as mysterious as it is strange, with nothing being known of its origin. Morrison's education in Maine is described as "limited" and early in his life took to working as a clerk in a Livermore general store, furnishing local lumbermen with tools and supplies for their work. After accumulating substantial funds from his work Morrison removed to Bangor in 1842 to stake his claim in the area's lumber industry, becoming a merchant and timber dealer. He married in Maine in May 1840 to Harriett Whitmore, and the couple later became the parents to five children, two of whom died in infancy. They are listed as follows in order of birth: De Witt Clinton (born 1842), George Henry (born 1843), Harriet Adele (died in infancy in 1846), Grace Everett (born 1846) and May Evelyn (died in infancy in 1848).
  Morrison and his family resided in Bangor until 1853, when he sold off his business and removed to Hudson, Wisconsin. He resided there but a short time and then moved to the small community of St. Anthony's Falls, Minnesota in 1853, where he reentered the timber industry, being the founder of the lumber manufacturing firm of D. Morrison and Co. Within a short period of time Morrison had staked a claim as one of the largest lumber dealers in the state, owning "approximately 11,000 acres of Minnesota's valuable white pine". Active in other business concerns in addition to the manufacture of lumber, Morrison was one of the thirteen organizers of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and between 1870 and 1874 the construction firm (of which Morrison was a member) laid "240 miles of road from Duluth to Fargo". This consortium later took another contract which laid a further 200 miles of track from Fargo to Bismarck, North Dakota, concluding work in 1874.

                  A youthful Dorilus Morrison, from the Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. 9.

  Dorilus Morrison first entered the political field in Minnesota shortly  following his resettlement, serving as a member of the Minneapolis town council in 1858. In November 1863 he  elected to the state senate from the 5th district of Hennepin County. Serving in the session of 1864-66, Morrison was named to the committees on Elections, Military Affairs, Railroads and chaired the committee on Prisons. Shortly after the conclusion of his senate term Morrison was elected as the first mayor of  Minneapolis in February 1867, the city having been consolidated a short time before. He was returned to the mayor's office in 1869 and served until 1870. 
  Morrison continued involvement in Minneapolis affairs after leaving office, being elected to a two year term on the city board of education in 1871. In the following year he was unsuccessful in his bid for another term as Mayor of Minneapolis and in 1878 won another term on the board of education, serving for a time as board president. Morrison was beset by tragedy in 1881 with the death of his wife Harriett, who died while on vacation in Vienna, Austria. Following her death he remarried to Abby Clagstone, who survived him upon his death in 1897.
  In 1883 Dorilus Morrison was named to the Minneapolis board of park commissioners, and the St. Paul Globe notes that for nearly twenty years prior to his appointment Morrison had been a strident advocate for the creation a park system in the city, and in the 1860s had seen a bill struck down by the Minneapolis city council which would have accomplished just that. 

This portrait of Morrison appeared in the Minneapolis Herald on January 21, 1906.

  Throughout the latter portion of his life Morrison continued to have a hand in numerous business opportunities in Minneapolis. Beginning in 1876 he and his son Clinton assumed control of the Minneapolis Harvester works, and under their fifteen year stewardship the company employed hundreds of workers, which in turn helped bolster the growth of South Minneapolis. 
   In 1878 Dorilus Morrison entered into the flouring milling industry, establishing the Excelsior Mill in Minneapolis. The mill is recorded as having been ravaged by fire in 1881 and was later rebuilt by its owner, continuing operations until 1889, when management was transferred. During this time Morrison also held the ownership of the Standard Mill of Minneapolis, which he had founded with business associate E.V. White. 
   By the dawn of the 1890s Morrison had largely retired from public life, and a year prior to his passing had visited New York, where a physician informed him that "he could not be expected to live for more than a year." After returning to his home "Rose Villa" in Minneapolis Morrison continued to make periodic visits to his business office in the city until health concerns prompted his being confined to his home. Shortly before his passing Morrison experienced a bout of "stomach trouble" which was a contributing factor in his death, which occurred on June 26, 1897. The 82 year old ex-mayor was lauded as having led a "grand life" and following his death was interred under an impressive obelisk at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wooster Ferdinand Dodge (1841-1914)

                                                      Portrait from "The Leominster Book: Illustrated", 1901.

   A two-term member of the Massachusetts General Court during the early 20th century, Wooster Ferdinand Dodge was a lifelong resident of Leominster, Massachusetts. A descendant of an old established Massachusetts family, Wooster F. Dodge was born on March 28, 1841, a son of Stephen (1808-1855) and Elvira Foster Dodge (1811-1900). A student in the common schools of Leominster, Dodge was an enlistee in the First Massachusetts Infantry Band in May 1861 and served until his discharge in August of 1862.  Dodge would later reenlist as a member of Co. H. of the 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery and served with this regiment until the close of the hostilities. He married first in 1867 to Emma Renew Brown (1847-1874), who died several years after their marriage. Two children would be born to their union, Flora Elvira (1868-1946) and Fred Lyman (1870-1872). A decade later Dodge would remarry to Sibelle Eunice Carter (1846-1931) who would survive her husband upon his death in 1914.
   Upon his return home to Leominster Wooster Dodge became employed by the Jewett Allen Piano Case Company. He would continue in this line of work in Andover, Massachusetts and would return to Leominster sometime later to go into business for himself, being the proprietor of a steam laundry in the early 1870s. Sometime later Dodge would sell this business and join as a partner in his family's paper box manufacturing business (the E.F. Dodge and Co.) in 1874. He is recorded as having "enlarged the capacity of the box factory and has succeeded admirably in business" and continued to be connected with the company through the remainder of his life.
  An active Mason in Leominster, Wooster Dodge was also affiliated with a number of other fraternal groups in the city, including the local chapter of the G.A.R., the Odd Fellows lodge, the Wachuset Tribe of Red Men and the Columbia Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Dodge entered city politics in the mid 189os when he was elected as a member of the Board of Selectman for Leominster, serving in that capacity from 1895-1900. He would serve the board as clerk for a period of three years and in his last year in office held the board chairmanship

                                             Portrait from the 1902 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

    In November 1901 the citizens of Leominster elected Wooster F. Dodge to be their representative in the Massachusetts General Court. A Republican, Dodge defeated Democratic nominee F. I. Pierson by a vote of 884 to 565 and took his seat at the beginning of the 1902 session. He would serve on the house committees on Railroads during this term and was reelected to the house the following year, holding a seat on the committees on Liquor Laws and Railroads
  Dodge's second term concluded in 1903 and he died in Leominster on December 23, 1914 at age 73. He was survived by both his daughter Flora and his second wife. Both Dodge and his family were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster.

From the 1903 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Calvary Morris (1798-1871)

Portrait from the "Athens Home Coming Reunion", published 1904.

   The state of Ohio has lucked into the good fortune of being represented in Congress by a great many oddly named figures, including such men as Eleutheros Cooke, Philadelph Van TrumpAdoniram Judson Warner and Lycurgus Luther Marshall. Calvary Morris, a long time resident of Athens County, represented Ohio's sixth district in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms, having earlier been a member of both houses of the Ohio legislature. With a name that's truly one-of-a kind, Mr. Morris was for over fourteen years one of a great many "faceless" politicians that I've found, and despite many attempts at trying to locate a portrait of him, Morris continually stymied me out of a picture. As luck would have it however, late yesterday a portrait of Mr. Morris was located (quite accidentally in fact) via Absolom Mattox's "Athens Home Coming Reunion", a 1904 work centering on the history of Morris' adopted home city of Athens, Ohio. The rare picture of Calvary Morris above marks the first time that I've seen a portrait of him, having first located his name via the "Political Graveyard" website way back in 2001. Truly amazing!!
   While he may have been a resident of the Buckeye State for a good majority of his life, Calvary Morris was not born in Ohio, his birth instead occurring in Charleston, West Virginia in January 15, 1798, being one of nine children born to John (1751-1818) and Margaret Droddy Morris (1758-1818). The meaning behind Morris' unusual first name is unknown at this time, but its origin may lie in an area called  "Calvary" (a Latinized name for the bibical land called Golgotha) which is noted as being a site outside the city walls of Jerusalem where Christ's crucifixion occurred.....Whatever the origins behind his name, it was certainly a peculiar name to give a child! 
   Morris' early life was spent in the state of his birth, where he is recorded as "laboring on a farm" as well as having limited educational advantages. He married in March 1818 to Athens, Ohio native Mary Polly Jewett (1797-1871) and fathered four children, Charles (1823-1919), Martha (born 1833), Jewett H. (born 1833), Emarine (1821-1827). A year following his marriage he relocated from Virginia to his wife's home county of Athens, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Shortly after his arrival Morris established a homestead, as well as purchasing five acres of land on which to grow crops.  In mid 1819 he was offered a teaching opportunity in town, and despite his lack of formal education, took the post after being allotted three weeks time to study up on the subjects he was required to teach.
    After four years of teaching Morris won election as Athens County sheriff in 1823 and was returned to that office two years later by a near "unanimous vote." In 1827 he was elected as one of Athens County's representatives in the Ohio General Assembly and was reelected the following year. The year 1829 saw Calvary Morris be elected to the Ohio State Senate, serving here until 1835. In his final year in the senate Morris won a third term in the house of representatives, and during this term became a leading voice in the assembly for the construction of the Hocking Valley Canal. His backing of a bill for the canal's construction was passed in February 1836 and in that same year was rewarded for his work by receiving the Whig nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives. In November of that year Morris defeated his Democratic opponent Nahum Ward by a narrow vote of 3, 780 to 3, 703.
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1837 Congressional session, Morris would be reelected as a representative in 1838 and 1840, in the latter year besting Democrat nominee George House by a vote of 8,724 to 6, 882. During the 1841-42 term Morris served on the committee on Invalid Pensions, and was not a candidate for renomination in November, being succeeded in office by Henry St. John (1783-1869)

   After leaving Congress Calvary Morris settled into private life in Athens, where he would engage in wool-growing, and was noted by the 1869 History of Athens County as having introduced "fine-wooled sheep into the county." He would remove from Athens in 1847 and resettle in Cincinnati, where he resided for several years. Morris moved back to Athens in 1854 and was soon after elected as county probate judge, holding that office until shortly before his death, which occurred in Athens on October 13, 1871. He had been predeceased by his wife Molly in July of 1871 and both were interred at the West Union Street Cemetery in Athens.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alcinous Thomas Bratton (1852-1936), Alcinus Young Eaton (1842-1898)

Portrait from the 1920 Nebraska Blue Book.

    The following dual profile highlights the lives of two politically inclined men named "Alcinous". Alcinous, (for those of you who didn't pay attention in history class), was the name of two ancient Greek figures, the first of which was a "middle Platonist" philosopher. The second (and more well recorded) Alcinous was King of the Phaiacians, and was featured in both Homer's Odyssey as well as the myth of Jason and Argonauts. First to be profiled today is one Alcinous Thomas Bratton, an Ohio native who would find prominence as a publisher and politician in Nebraska, serving as a delegate to that state's Constitutional Convention in 1920.
   Born in the village of Eden, Ohio on December 24, 1852, Alcinous T. Bratton was one of eight children born to Ira and Deborah Thomas Bratton. He is recorded by the 1920 Nebraska Blue Book as having received his early schooling in a "log schoolhouse". He attended the Angola Academy at Steuben County, New York and later taught school during the winter months in 1870-71. He would later serve as a principal of the academy at Alvarado, Indiana from 1872-73 and later left this employ to study at the Hillsdale College, located in Michigan. In 1874 he left Hillsdale to serve as the principal of the Fremont, Indiana Academy, remaining in this post until mid 1875. Bratton later entered upon study at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating in the class of 1877. In that same year he married to Hattie S. Stevens and the couple later became the parents to two sons, Lillo (born 1881) and Leslie (born ca. 1886).
   Bratton practiced law in Angola, Indiana in the late 1870s and in March of 1879 he and his wife removed from Ohio to Beaver City (located in Furnas County, Nebraska) where they would purchase a home. He developed an interest in publishing in his new home county and in September of 1879 took over the editorship of the Beaver City Times. In 1881 Bratton was elected as Judge of Furnas County and served until being elected as County Attorney in 1882.
    The Bratton family removed to the city of Hastings in Adams County, Nebraska around 1885 and in that year took on the ownership of the Hastings Nebraskan. He continued to be affiliated with this paper for several years afterward and in 1901 became the city clerk of Hastings, serving in this capacity for over three decadesIn 1920 he was elected as a delegate to the Nebraska Constitutional Convention, and following his service returned to his duties as Hastings city clerk. Bratton's final years were marred by ill health resulting from an attack of influenza in 1932, and he resigned from the clerks office in 1933. He died three years later at the home of his son Lillo on November 13, 1936, shortly before his 84th birthday. A burial location for Alcinous Bratton and his family is unknown at this time.

Portrait courtesy of the Minnesota State Historical Society website.

    Alcinus Young Eaton, like Alcinous T. Bratton, was a native of the Buckeye State for a good majority of his life. He would relocate to Minnesota in the late 1870s where he would practice law, later being elected as Warren County attorney. In addition to that office, Eaton won two terms in the Minnesota State Senate from the counties of Sherburne and Wright. The son of Isaac and Mary Lamberson Eaton, Alcinus Young Eaton was born in Middleton, Columbiana County, Ohio on July 3, 1842 and appears to have been bestowed his unusual first and middle names in honor of the Rev. Alcinus Young (died 1876), a minister and Presiding Elder in the Methodist Church, preaching in both Ohio and Cedar County, Iowa.
   The first half of Alcinus Y. Eaton's life was spent in the state of his birth. He attended both the Beaver Academy and the Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio (graduating from the latter in the class of 1867) and following his graduation accepted a position as a professor of Greek and Latin at the Wyoming College in Delaware. He would return to Ohio around 1869 and continued his studies at the Ohio State Law College, being a graduate of the class of 1870. After receiving his degree Eaton developed a case of wanderlust and spent the next few years traveling, keeping a diary of his travels, which included stints as a gold prospector and newspaper editor in Silver City, New Mexico. Eaton eventually settled in San Saba, Texas, where would establish a law practice. He engaged in practice in that town for about two years, later leaving Texas to again take up traveling, this time "through the South and parts of South America."
  After completing his travels Alcinus Eaton migrated to Minnesota in 1879, first settling in St. Paul. He remained here a short time and in 1880 removed to Delano, where he built up another law practice. Eaton left Delano some time later and resettled in the neighboring village of Buffalo, where he would become a prominent public figure, serving as Buffalo village president (nine terms in all) and would later be elected as Wright County Attorney. Eaton also dabbled in publishing during his residency here, serving as the editor of the Buffalo Journal
  In 1886 Eaton's public profile received a significant boost when he was nominated for the Minnesota State Senate. He would win election to that body in November as a Republican, and after taking his seat at the start of the 1887 term was named to the senate committees on Booms, Logs and Lumber, Claims, Grain and Warehouses, Judiciary, the State Reform School, and chaired the committee on the Geological and Natural History Survey. Eaton would be returned to the senate by the citizens of Sherburne and Wright counties in the election of 1890, and during this term sat on several different committees, including: Elections, Towns and Counties, and served as chairman of both the committees on Printing and Reapportionment.
  Alcinus Y. Eaton retired from the senate at the conclusion of his second term in 1894. He died four years later on October 8, 1898 at age 56 and was survived by his wife Narcissa Walker Eaton, whom he had married in 1885. A burial location for both Eaton and his wife is unknown at this time.