Saturday, August 30, 2014

Megginson Hall (1842-1907)

Portrait from the Legislative Manual of the State of Indiana, 1903.

   The life and career of oddly named Indiana state representative Megginson Hall is highlighted today, and although a resident of the Hoosier State for nearly his entire life, he wasn't born a native of the United States. Born in Newbegin, London, England on December 12, 1842, Megginson Hall was a son of William G. and Elizabeth Brigham Hall. The Hall family left England in 1843 and after reaching the United States settled in Vigo County, Indiana. Here young Megginson would have an education "limited to the common school" and during the Civil War enlisted in Co. B. of the 54th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. His time in this regiment extended three months and would see action at the Battle at Red River in August 1862.
   Hall married on June 9, 1868 to Nancy Marie Huffman. The couple would later have one daughter, Myrtha, born in March 1869. A farmer by occupation, Megginson Hall would operate a "fine improved farm containing 112 acres" in Riley Township during the 1880s and would later reside in the nearby city of Terre Haute. He would serve as a member of the advisory board for Riley Township and was also a member if the Board of Directors of the Terre Haute Trust Company until his death in 1907.  
   In November 1902 the citizens of Vigo County elected Hall as one of their representatives to the Indiana General Assembly, winning the election with 7, 828 votes. Taking his seat at the start of 1903-05 term, Hall sat on the committees on Ways and Means, Education, Swamp Lands, Agriculture and the Soldier's Monument. Little else is known of Hall's life after he left the legislature. He died two years after the completion of his term on September 3, 1907 at age 64. His wife Nancy had predeceased him in October 1906 and both were interred at the Highland Lawn Cemetery in Terre Haute following their deaths.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shubael Wilmarth Brayton (1822-1898)

From the 1872 Massachusetts legislative composite portrait.

    Lifelong Massachusetts native Shubael Wilmarth Brayton was for many years one of Adams, Massachusetts noted business figures, being both a manufacturer and banker. His placement here on the site rests on his one term as a representative in the Massachusetts General Court in 1874, being elected from his hometown of Adams. Brayton was born in North Adams, Massachusetts in 1822, being the son of William E. and Lucinda Brayton. Little is known of his early life and education,  and in the early 1840s married Sarah Wells and had five children: Mary W. (born ca. 1844), Herbert Wells (born 1850), Isabel S. (born 1852), William E. (born 1862) and Harriett Sylvia (born 1864). Sarah Wells Brayton died in March 1877 and two years later Shubael would remarry to Rhode Island native Frances Lowden (1834-1907), who would survive him upon his death in 1898.
   In 1851 Brayton joined in a partnership with brothers Rodman and Henry Wells to form the Wells, Brayton and Co., a business devoted to the manufacture of "satinets and cashimeres". The Wells brothers would sell their portion of the business to Brayton and another partner, S. Johnson, in 1862. The business (now called S. W. Brayton and Co.) continued in manufacturing until 1868, when a fire gutted the inside of the building. Brayton would later have the building rebuilt and for a time had the factory stocked with shoe manufacturing equipment, whilst also purchasing his partner's interest. He continued to run the business (comprising a mill, store, "water-privilege" and "tenements") until he sold it in 1871 to the firm of Gallup and Houghton.
  Shuabel Brayton first became active in public service in North Adams in the mid 1850s, when he was named as a justice of the peace. In November 1873 he was elected as one of Berkshire County's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, and took his seat at the start of the 1874 term. His one term in the house saw him sit on the joint special committee on the Hoosac Tunnel Line of Railroads and left office at the start of the following years session. He was noted as a "stanch Republican from the foundation of that party" in his North Adams Transcript obituary, which further noted that:
"His likes and dislikes were strong and his estimates of men were not based on outward appearances or station in life. For upright character under the humblest exterior he had sincere regard, while no guise could shield fraud and hypocrisy from his most profound contempt. "
  Following his time in the legislature Brayton continued to be actively involved in business circles in North Adams, being a director of both the Berkshire Life Insurance Company aand the Berkshire Fire Insurance Company, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1885 he succeeded Sanford Blackinton as the president of the Adams National Bank, holding this post until his death thirteen years later.

From the North Adams Transcript, June 20, 1898.

    In the final year of his life Brayton was afflicted with paralysis, which  led to his being confined to his home in Adams in March of 1898. The disease eventually rendered him "helpless and unable to speak" and on June 19, 1898 he died at his home. He was survived by his second wife Frances and was buried at the Hillside Cemetery in North Adams.

From the North Adams Transcript, June 20, 1898.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Heusted Warner Reynolds Hoyt (1842-1894)

Portrait from the Evening Post Annual 1887.

   During a short life that extended just 51 years Heusted Warner Reynolds Hoyt rose to become a prominent figure in Connecticut law circles, having earlier been brevetted as a Colonel in the Connecticut National Guard. A multi-term member of both houses of the Connecticut legislature, Hoyt's political career reached its apex in 1887 when he was elected as Speaker of the Connecticut State House of Representatives.
   With the exception of a short residency in New York City, Heusted W.R. Hoyt was a lifelong resident of Connecticut, being born in the town of Ridgefield on November 1, 1842.  The son of Warner Hoyt (a Ridgefield minister) and Elizabeth Phillipina Reynolds, Hoyt lost his father when just three years of age and as a youngster removed with his mother to the home of her father, located in Greenwich. Described as a child of "alert mind", young Heusted would attend school at the Greenwich Academy and would later study at Columbia University in New York, being admitted at age seventeen. He would be afflicted with "a protracted illness" during his first term and because of this "could not continue"  with his studies. In 1863 Hoyt joined the Connecticut State Militia, being appointed as a Second Lieutenant in Co. F. of the 8th Regiment, Connecticut National Guard. He would eventually be promoted to Colonel in the Connecticut 4th Regiment, and served in this capacity until his resignation in March of 1877.
   Hoyt began the study of law in New York City in the early 1860s with Henry H. Owen, and was admitted to the New York State bar in 1865. Soon after receiving his degree Hoyt removed back to Greenwich to establish a law office, and through his practice served as "local counsel" for former U.S. Representative and Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (a part-time Greenwich resident), who had a $160,000 suit levied against him in 1871 by James H. Ingersoll in the "Connecticut Superior Court". Hoyt would marry around 1872 to a Ms. Anne E. Waite, with whom he would have three children, Elizabeth Warner, Turner Waite, and Annie. 
   Within a few years of his return to Connecticut Hoyt won election to the State Senate at age 26, being the youngest man to serve during that legislative session. His term extended from 1869-70 and he was returned to that body in the election of 1872, serving from 1873-74. During his first term he chaired both the committee on Enrolled Bills and the Military, and in the second was chair of the committee on Incorporations. Following these terms he returned to practicing law, subsequently being retained as counsel for the Greenwich Savings Bank (where he also served as a trustee) and was a director for the Byram Land Improvement Company.

                    Heusted W.R. Hoyt in 1869, from the "Other Days In Greenwich", published 1913.

   Hoyt reentered political life in November 1885 when he was elected to represent his hometown in the Connecticut House of Representatives. During the 1886-87 term he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was reelected to the house in November 1886 and at the start of the 1887 house term was selected as its Speaker, continuing in this post throughout the 1888 and 1889 house terms. Described by the Popular Biography of Connecticut as being a "staunch Republican", Hoyt was also noted as an "able debater" and "affable man" who:
"In every measure presented or discussed he manifested a lively interest, and, whether in the chair or on the floor, always commanded respect and wielded important influence in legislative affairs."
  In 1889 Heusted Hoyt was honored by his fellow Greenwich citizens by being elected as the first judge of the Borough of Greenwich, and sat on the bench until his death at age 51 on April 8, 1894. His funeral took place during a "blinding snowstorm" and was attended by many members of the Fairfield County bar. A week after his passing Hoyt was memorialized by the Fairfield County Bar in a resolution which noted:
"That in the death of Brother Hoyt this bar fully realizes the loss of one of its most respected and talented members, one whose kindly and genial qualities, loyal friendship, amiable, polished and courteous manners, heroic courage, unswerving integrity in the discharge of his professional duties, and superior intellectual attainments has long commanded the admiration of his fellows, and are worthy of admiration."
  A burial location for both Hoyt and his family is unknown at this time, and is presumed to be somewhere in the Greenwich vicinity, where he spent nearly all of his personal and professional life.
  

From "Other Days In Greenwich", 1913.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Esquare Bartlett Miller (1828-1896)

                                               From the Evening Post Annual, published 1895.

   We continue our stay in Connecticut and travel from Waterbury (the home of Luzerne Ithiel Munson) to the city of Killingly, home to one Esquare Bartlett Miller, a peculiarly named member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives. A carpenter by trade, Miller also dabbled in construction and contracting, and was elected to two terms in his state's legislature, dying in office in March of 1896.
   Born in Killingly on August 15, 1828, Esquare Bartlett Miller was the son of Welcome and Elsie Bartlett Miller. The origins of his unusual first name "Esquare" are unknown, and as a youth he attended the "common schools of Killingly". He would engage in farming after leaving school and married in 1846 to Sarah Harriett Warren, with whom he would have a total of six children: Daniel W. (died in infancy), Chauncy, Esquare J., Henry J., Everett E. and Fred L. 
   Miller worked at farming with his father until his early twenties, when he made the acquaintance of William Burgess, who would employ him as a carpenter. For several years he was employed by both Burgess and others until "going into business for himself." In the early 1860s Miller became employed by the S. & H. Sayles  wool manufacturing company. His time here saw him become a master mechanic and superintendent of construction, and in 1866 removed to Dayville, Connecticut to take on a similar job under the employ of  Ezekiel Webster. Some time later Miller would become a Master Mechanic and Superintendent for the Mechanicsville Co., located in Mechanicsville, Connecticut.
   In 1868 Esquare B. Miller made his first foray into public life in Connecticut, being elected as a selectman for the city of Killingly. He would serve a total of twelve years on this board, and for several years was also clerk of the board. The Evening Post Annual of 1895 (where the above picture of Miller was featured) notes that he continued as a contractor during his time as selectman, and that:
"Many private houses in various sections of the town were erected by him, as well as many more pretentious buildings, among them being the church and schoolhouse, the mill, No. 3, (250 X 50 ft., 4 stories) and the Store Building, all at Williamsville."
  In addition to his business and and time as selectman, Esquare Miller also served as a justice of the peace and town constable, as well as being a distinguished mason, belonging to the Putnam Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons #15 in Danielsonville, Connecticut. In November 1894 Miller was elected to represent Killingly in the Connecticut General Assembly, winning the election with a "majority of 319." Miller would win a second term in November 1895 with 594 votes and died during this term on March 11, 1896 at age 67. He had been preceded in death by his wife Sarah in 1887 and both were interred at the Westfield Cemetery in Danielson, Connecticut.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Luzerne Ithiel Munson (1838-1895)

                                                   Portrait from the Evening Post Annual, published 1886. 

    The following write-up takes us to Connecticut to highlight the life of prominent state official Luzerne Ithiel Munson, who occupied the office of State Comptroller in the mid 1880s. Munson is not to be confused with Luzon Burritt Morris (Governor of Connecticut from 1892-1894), who was profiled here back in May 2012. These men died two months apart in 1895 and due to the similarity between their first names (and state of residency) even I sometimes get them confused! Like his political counterpart Mr. Morris, Luzerne I. Munson was a lifelong resident of the Nutmeg State, being born in Wallingford, Connecticut on March 1, 1838, the son of Titus (1799-1842) and Anna Harrison Munson.
    A student in the common schools of Wallingford, Luzerne Munson would go on to attend the Durham Academy for two years. He remained in Wallingford until 1854, removing to Waterbury, Connecticut that year and would find employment with the Apothecaries' Hall Company. He was affiliated with this business until 1861, whereafter he took work as a bookkeeper and clerk with the City Manufacturing Company of Waterbury. On October 26, 1861 Munson married to Mary Bronson Rice (1840-1910), with whom he would have two daughters, Mary Edna (1862-1931) and Susie Rice (died aged seven months in 1864).
   In the year following their marriage Munson and his wife relocated to Meriden, Connecticut, where he took on the position of Secretary and Treasurer of the Julius Pratt and Co., an ivory comb manufacturing business. He occupied these posts both before and after the company's consolidation, and in 1863 removed back to Waterbury to accept the office of Secretary and Treasurer at his old place of work, the Apothecaries' Hall Company. He would eventually become manager of the company in 1864, succeeding Dr. Henry Fish. Munson's time as company manager extended until his death three decades later, and in addition to his business dealings was also a founding member of the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Association, first joining it in 1876. He served as its president in 1881 and was for several years the chairman of the group's executive committee.
   Luzerne Munson first became active in Waterbury politics in the late 1870s, serving as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners. He would be elected as a city alderman sometime later and also served as a deputy collector of internal revenue and as chairman of the Waterbury Republican committee. In 1881 Munson launched an unsuccessful candidacy for Mayor of Waterbury, losing to Democratic nominee Greene Kendrick by only 90 votes. Munson would attempt another mayoral candidacy two years later and was dealt another loss, on this occasion being defeated by a 42 vote margin.
   In 1884 Luzerne Munson served as part of the Connecticut delegation to the Republican National Convention being held in Chicago. That November he reached his highest degree of political prominence when he was elected as State Comptroller of Connecticut, officially taking office in 1885. His term as comptroller concluded in 1887 and during the final years of his life maintained an active schedule in both religious and fraternal circles, He was a longstanding member of the Odd Fellows lodge and was honored by being named as the Grand Master of the Pequabock Lodge #48 of that organization. He and his wife were for nearly forty years parishioner's at the First Church of Waterbury, where Munson served as an usher and church committee member.
   After suffering a "comparatively short illness" Luzerne Ithiel Munson died at age 57 in Waterbury on October 28, 1895. He was survived by his wife Mary and daughter Mary Edna, all of whom were buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Waterbury following their deaths.


Portrait from the Illustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut, 1891.

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.