Thursday, September 21, 2017

Scovill Merrill Buckingham (1811-1889), Scovill McLean Buckingham (1876-1965)

Portrait from the Town and History of Waterbury, Connecticut, Vol II, 1896.

  This two part write-up takes us to Connecticut and an oddly named grandfather and grandson pair who both served terms in their state's legislature, whilst also attaining notoriety in a number of other non-political areas. The first of these men, Scovill Merrill Buckingham, was born in Watertown, Connecticut on August 10, 1811, being the son of John and Betsy (Scovill) Buckingham. Young Scovill was a student in schools local to Watertown and also studied under Deacon Simeon Hart.
   Early in his life Buckingham was prepared to enter the business world, joining the mercantile store of his uncles James Mitchell Lamson Scovill and William H. Scovill in 1827. Their firm, later to be titled the Scovill Manufacturing Co., would gain fame throughout the United States as a manufacturer of rolled brass, wire, lighting, buttons and silver plated copper sheets used in the production of daguerreotypes. After several years of work Buckingham advanced to superintendent of the firm's button manufacturing department, and in 1839 he and and fellow employee Abraham Ives were given an interest in the business. Buckingham and Ives' partnership led to the development of Scovill and Co., a separate business devoted solely to the manufacture of brass buttons.
   Scovill M. Buckingham married in May 1835 to Charlotte Ann Benedict (1810-1887). The couple's fifty two year union saw the birth of one son, John Aaron (1836-1899). Through the 1840s Buckingham's business profile continued to rise and by the time of his uncles' retirement and the formation of the Scovill Manufacturing Co. in 1850, the "responsibility of the business devolved largely on him." From 1850 until his death in 1889 Buckingham was a director of that company and served as its secretary from 1850-58 and treasurer from 1855-62. He held the presidency of the company from 1857-1861.
  In addition to his stewardship of the aforementioned company Buckingham was also heavily involved in several other business endeavors in Connecticut, including service as president of the Plymouth Granite Co. and president of the Waterbury National Bank. Buckingham also had large holdings in both the Naugatuck Railroad and the Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine Co., and "took pride in building houses", culminating in the building of the Buckingham block on Willow Street in Waterbury.
  Buckingham's lone involvement in political life came in 1843 when he was elected as one of New Haven County's representatives to the Connecticut General Assembly, and his one term in office saw him sit on the committee on claims. Active in the St. John's Episcopal Church of Waterbury, Buckingham succeeded his uncle as senior warden of that church and also donated funds for the construction of a new church building and to the building fund for Trinity College at Hartford. Sources also attest to his being an avid outdoorsman and being a crack shot with a hunting rifle.
  Scovill M. Buckingham lost his wife of fifty-two years in January 1887 and he himself died at his Waterbury home on April 27, 1889 at age 77. Both he and his wife were later interred at the Riverside Cemetery in that city.

A death notice for Buckingham from the Waterbury Evening Democrat, April 29, 1889.

Portrait from the Legislative and Souvenir History of Connecticut, 1903.

   Public service continued in the Buckingham family in Scovill McLean Buckingham, the grandson of the preceding gentleman. A Harvard educated lawyer, Buckingham served terms in the Connecticut house of representatives and senate, and in the late 1920s was appointed as state commissioner of agriculture.
  The son of John Aaron and Anne McLean Buckingham, Scovill McLean "Mac" Buckingham's birth occurred in Brooklyn, New York on October 3, 1876. He removed with his family to Watertown, Connecticut in 1892 and would attend the Taft School in that city. He continued his studies at both Yale and Harvard, graduating from the latter's law department in the class of 1902. In December of that year he was admitted to practice law in Litchfield County and in 1906 wed Margaret McConway (1883-1940), to whom he was married until her death. The couple would have have four children, Mary (1907-1967), Margaret McLean (1909-2007), Scovill McLean Jr. (1911-1994) and Josephine Alden (1919-1995).
   In the same year as his admittance to the bar Mac Buckingham began his political career, winning election to the Connecticut House of Representatives. Just 27 years old at the time of his election, Buckingham was one of the youngest members of the legislature during that session and served on the committee on Cities and Boroughs. Following this term he would occupy several political offices in Watertown (including first selectman and town clerk) and for a time served as Chief of the Watertown Fire Department.
   Active in agricultural circles in Litchfield County, Mac Buckingham would purchase Mount Fair Farm from Horace Taft (President William H. Taft's younger brother) in 1913. Under Buckingham's watchful eye the farm became widely known for its dairy and poultry production, and his work with agriculture continued well into his later years, as he held the presidency of both the Litchfield County Farm Bureau and the Connecticut Farm Bureau Federation. He would also hold a seat on the executive committee of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Buckingham (and fellow odd name representative Minotte E. Chatfield) in 1903.

   Twenty-two years after serving his first term Buckingham won a second term in the state house, serving in the 1925-27 sessionFollowing his second term in the legislature Buckingham won election to the state senate in November 1926. Representing the 32nd senatorial district, he sat on the committees on agriculture and state parks and reservations. In 1928 Buckingham was selected as Connecticut State Commissioner of Agriculture, succeeding outgoing commissioner Leonard Holmes Healy
  Buckingham's time as commissioner extended until 1932, and three years later was returned to government service when was appointed by then Governor Wilbur Ross as State Milk Administrator, a post he would hold until 1937. Widowed in 1940, Buckingham resided in Watertown until his death at age 88 on May 15, 1965. Both he and his wife (as well as his son Scovill) were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Watertown. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Janus Sumner Sweet (1859-1939)

Portrait from Vermont, A Souvenir of its Government, 1902.

  The 1902-03 session of the Vermont legislature could count a number of oddly named men amongst its ranks, including state senators Orien Smith Annis, Quimby Silas Backus and representatives Justus Dartt, Cola Di Rienzi Meacham, Pearl Castle Abbey, Origen Allen Blanchard; the latter three having profiles here. Also serving in that session was Huntington resident Janus Sumner Sweet, who is in all likelihood the only political figure ever named after the Roman god we're all familiar with.
   A lifelong resident of Chittenden County, Janus Sumner Sweet was born in Huntington on June 23, 1859, being the son of Justin O. and Rebecca (Sprague) Sweet. Bestowed the wonderfully odd name Janus upon his birth, this name extends from the two faced Roman god Janus, known as the god of beginnings and ends, passages, transitions, time and duality. Despite numerous listings of this name (amongst Vermont vital records, legislative histories and Sweet's own death certificate), some sources incorrectly identify Sweet's first name as Jamus and James.
   Little information exists on Sweet's early life, excepting notice of his attending the common schools of Huntington. He married on August 30, 1884 to Calista A. Miller (1858-1907) and the couple's twenty-plus year union is believed to have been childless. Two years following the death of his wife Sweet remarried in September 1909 to Jennie Belle Palmer (1868-1937), whom he also survived.
  Sources relate that Janus Sweet worked as an appraiser and speculator prior to his legislative service and also served as a school director and selectman for the town of Huntington, holding the latter post from 1899-1901. Elected to the Vermont state house in 1901, Sweet served one term and sat on the committees on Federal Relations and Mileage and Debentures
  Following his term Sweet returned to Huntington and in 1921 is recorded as serving as a justice of the peace. His 80th birthday in June 1939 was celebrated with a card shower and he died just one moth later on July 24. Sweet was later interred alongside his wives at the Maplewood Cemetery in Huntington.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Peabody Webster Ladd (1805-1891)

Portrait from the History of Newbury, Vermont, 1902.

    This rather gloomy looking gentleman is Peabody Webster Ladd, a curiously named 19th century resident of Orange County, Vermont. During a long life that extended nearly nine decades Ladd's name grew to be a familiar one in the town of Newbury, where he was prominent in church and civic affairs. A former justice of the peace, Ladd warrants inclusion here on the site due to his brief tenure as Associate Judge of the Orange County Court in the mid 1860s.
   One of thirteen children born to Joseph and Sarah (Ring) Ladd, Peabody Webster Ladd was born in Haverhill, New Hampshire on August 15, 1805. His education occurred in schools local to Haverhill and in 1826 he left New Hampshire for Vermont. Settling in the town of Newbury, Ladd established himself as a blacksmith and later entered into both tinsmithing and hardware merchandising, following these occupations "till old age." 
   Peabody W. Ladd married in August 1827 to Elizabeth Lowell Johnson (1805-1880), a resident of Massachusetts and a cousin of famed poet James Russell Lowell. The couples fifty three year marriage saw the births of five children, John Johnson (1828-1889), Mary Elizabeth (1830-1894), Ezra (1832-1856), Hallam (1834-1842) and Harriett Luella (1842-1861). 
   Early in his Newbury residency Ladd proved himself to be a man of great heart, when he took as an apprentice young Alvi Tabor Twing (1812-1882). Ladd took a shine to Twing and after introducing him to the Episcopal church paid the young man's way through college. Twing later became a minister and later advanced to become Secretary of the Protestant Episcopal Committee for Domestic Missions.
   In the years following his settlement in Newbury the name of Peabody Ladd grew to be prominent, as he became a justice of the peace, a longtime church chorister and for fifteen years served as town Sunday School superintendent. In 1863 he was selected as a member of the Orange County Temperance Society's executive committee and from 1865-66 was Associate Judge of Orange County, serving alongside fellow judge James Hutchinson Jr.  
  Ladd continued to be an active citizen in Newbury well into his eighth decade, being acknowledged as a man 
"Of clear head and sound judgement, and held decided opinions upon all matters of town, state and national interest, as well as upon mechanical, economic, moral and scientific questions, which he never hesitated to express, without regard to whatever others might think or say."
  Widowed in 1880, Peabody Webster Ladd continued to reside in Newbury until his death at age 85 on June 30, 1891. A burial location for both Ladd and his wife remains unknown at the time of this writing.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gates Bezaleel Bullard (1829-1901)

Portrait courtesy of the Vermont Historical Society.

   Dartmouth graduate Gates Bezaleel Bullard is another oddly named Vermont Civil War veteran who went on to a career in public office, in his case being elected to both houses of the Vermont legislature. Following his legislative service Bullard would gain further distinction when he was named as state surgeon general, and later held the post of state commissioner for the insane for two years.
  Born in Plainfield, New Hampshire on February 1, 1829, Gates Bezaleel Bullard was the son of Jonathan and Rebecca Gates Bullard. His early education occurred in Plainfield and he would also be a student in several academies located in Vermont. Bullard decided upon a career in medicine and in 1851 began study in Newbury, Vermont. His education continued in Hanover, New Hampshire and the Woodstock Medical College, and in 1855 graduated with his degree from the medical department of Dartmouth College
   Gates B. Bullard operated his first medical practice in Canaan, Vermont, residing in that town for three years.  He later removed to East St. Johnsbury and in 1860 married to Lefie Permelia Wheeler (1839-1879), with whom he had four childrenCarlisle (1862-1864), Harry Gates (1866-1915), Rebecca (1869-1937) and Agnes Marion (1872-1958).
   At the dawn of the Civil War in 1861 Bullard was selected to be assistant surgeon for the 15th Reg., Vermont Volunteers, serving under the command of future Vermont Governor and U.S. Senator Redfield Proctor. Two years after taking the above position Bullard was promoted to surgeon of that unit, due to the resignation of Carleton Frost. 1863 proved to be an important year for Bullard, as he began a term in the Vermont House of Representatives, having been elected the previous November. During the 1863-65 session he sat on the committee on Roads and later returned to his medical practice in St. Johnsbury.
   Bullard continued his ascent in Vermont politics in 1866 when he won election to the state senate from Caledonia County. Bullard's one term in that body (1867-68) saw him sit on the committees on Education and Rules, and in the year following the conclusion of his term was named as Vermont state surgeon general. Holding that post from 1869-70, Bullard would advance to the post of state commissioner of the insane, serving in that capacity from 1871-72. Sources also note that for Bullard was a delegate to county and state Republican conventions on a number of occasions.
  In addition to politics Bullard also left a lasting mark in New England medical circles, being a member of the Vermont Medical Society, and held the presidency of both that group and the White Mountain Medical Society of New Hampshire. Widowed in 1879, Bullard himself died on September 4, 1901 at his home in St. Johnsbury, and was subsequently remembered as having been 
"Long ranked among the most influential in state affairs as well as the political life of his own town and county. For more than 20 years he was a leader in everything the pertained to the social and political life of St. Johnsbury."
  Shortly after his death Bullard was interred alongside his wife Lefie at the Grove Cemetery in St. Johnsbury, with their three children also being buried here through the succeeding years. 


From the St. Johnsbury Caledonian.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Paphro Ditus Pike (1835-1917)

Portrait from the "Successful Vermonters".

   September is upon us and following several write-ups on oddly named Oregonians we journey to Vermont to examine the life of Paphro Ditus Pike, a man whose first and middle names hearkens back to the name Epaphroditus (see the July 2012 article for comparison). Paphro D. Pike was a veteran of the Civil War and for a number of years following his service engaged in manufacturing in both Stowe, Vermont and Brooklyn, New York. Pike warrants inclusion here on the site due to his service in both houses of the Vermont legislature.
  The son of William and Nancy (Hitchcock) Pike, Paphro Ditus Pike was born in Morristown, Vermont on December 1, 1835. Pike's early schooling commenced in Morristown and he later attended the Johnstown Academy, whereafter he taught school for a short period. Pike later took employment in several local mill-works, and while still young man had become the proprietor of a saw mill. He married in 1860 to Abigail Towne (1841-1925), to whom he was wed for over five decades. The couples lengthy union would see the births of three sons, Arba Adolphus (1861-1951), Lewis A. and Fred Morrison. It should be noted that strange names and political service would continue in the Pike family with Arba Adolphus Pike, who, like his father, attained prominence in manufacturing and business in Lamoille County. Arba A. Pike would represent Stowe in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1896-98.
   In 1862 Pike put his business interests on hold to serve the Union war effort, enlisting in Co. D. of the 11th Reg., Vermont Infantry. Pike would later be deployed to defend Washington, D.C. with that regiment and continued to serve with it through the "last grand advance on Richmond", having attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant at the time of his discharge. Following his return to Vermont he resumed milling and carpentry and in 1871 began a new business endeavor, the manufacturing of butter tubs. Pike continued along this route for fourteen years, during which time he also held several political offices in Stowe, including stints as school director, town supervisor, town lister and justice of the peace.
   In 1879 Paphro Pike won election to the Vermont State House of Representatives and during the 1880-81 term sat on the committee on manufactures. In 1885 he left Vermont for a four year residency in Brooklyn, New York, where he was employed by the Hatter's Fur Cutting Company. In 1889 Pike returned to Stowe and after repurchasing the mill he had sold four years previously joined with his son Arba in the firm of Pike and Son, which manufactured butter tubs, round boxes and veneer packages. Pike's work in these trades saw him be awarded three patents related to manufacturing, including one for a 
"Machine for cutting veneer packages from steamed logs, at the same time imparting a finish to them."
Paphro Ditus Pike.

  Through the 1890s and into the early 20th century Pike's manufacturing concerns continued to expand, and in addition to employing between fifteen to twenty workers could boast of manufacturing over seventy thousand butter tubs and nearly a quarter of a million round butter packages
   In 1899 Paphro D. Pike was returned to public office, winning election to the Vermont Senate from Lamoille County. Serving in the session of 1900-01, Pike sat on the committees on temperance, military affairs and general and manufactures. During his term Pike also gifted four acres of land to the town of Stowe that would become known as Palisades Park. Following his senate term Pike continued with his business interests in Stowe and died at his home there of paralytic shock on August 22, 1917 at age 82. He was survived by his wife Abigail, who, following her death in 1925, was interred alongside her husband at the Riverbank Cemetery in Stowe. 

Pike's name is misspelled in his August 1917 obituary from the Burlington Weekly Free Press.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

MacBeth Archibald Milne (1892-1978)

Portrait from the Oregon Democratic Voter's Pamphlet, May 1942.

  Oddly named Michigan native MacBeth Archibald Milne briefly entered the political forum in Oregon following his removal there in the early 1920s, being a Democratic aspirant for the U.S. Senate in the 1942 primary election. A World War I veteran, Milne is quite unique amongst the figures profiled here as he is only the second to have been a dentist by occupation (the first being Vermont legislator Rolla Miner Chase). Born on August 1, 1892 in Dundee, Michigan, MacBeth A. Milne was the son of the Rev. McBain and Louise (Atchison) Milne. It remains unknown as to why Milne was given the name of the famous Shakespeare play as a first name, and one's imagination can run wild thinking of what might have precipitated it! 
   Removing to Washington in 1909, Milne attended school in Ellensburg and following his graduation from that town's high school was employed in a number of different vocations, including stints working in a cannery, a furniture factory, a road paver and being a retail store clerk. Milne married at an unknown date to Elizabeth Shenkenberg, a resident of the town of Puyallup. The couple are recorded with Elizabeth's parents in the 1920 census and would have at least one daughter, Elizabeth Jane.
   A veteran of World War I, Milne served amongst the ranks of the 91st division, 361st Infantry. He attained the rank of Sargent and saw "active duty in all of its engagements." Upon his return home Milne worked in a shipyard before deciding upon a career in dentistry, enrolling at the North Pacific Dental College in 1921. Following his graduation four years later he established himself in Portland, where he would operate and reside for a number of years afterward. 
  Milne's residency in Portland saw him active in a number of fraternal groups, and in addition to serving as President of the Portland District Dental Society in 1933 was also a member of the American Legion, the Masons and the Friendship Eastern Star.
   In early 1942 MacBeth Milne made his lone foray into politics, announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from Oregon. Hoping to oust longtime Republican senator Charles Linza McNary, Milne's opponent in that year's democratic primary was Walter W. Whitbeck, a WWI veteran and insurance agent. Milne's candidacy was profiled in the Democratic voter's pamphlet for Multnomah County voters that year, and as a firm booster for the policies of the Roosevelt administration noted that he would:
"Ask that a strong aggressive war policy be developed and maintained, and that incompetence and inadequacy not be tolerated, regardless of where it may be found."
  On primary election day in May it was Walter Whitbeck who emerged victorious, besting Milne by a vote of 44, 089 to 25, 256. Whitbeck would go on to face Charles L. McNary that November and was trounced, receiving 63, 946 votes to McNary's 214, 755. Following his senate loss little information could be found on MacBeth A. Milne, excepting notice of his continuing his dentistry in Portland. He later died in San Diego, California on August 12, 1978, shortly after his 86th birthday. He was returned to Oregon for burial at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sturges Harlett Greene (1850-1943)

Portrait from the History of the Bench and Bar of Oregon, 1910.

   Sturges Harlett Greene was a longtime native of Iowa who, following his service as Mayor of the city of Adel, removed to Oregon in the early 1880s. In the years after his resettlement Greene became a distinguished member of the Multnomah County bar, having a law office in Portland and serving as City Attorney for St. Johns. Born in Adel, Iowa on February 13, 1850, Sturges Harlett Greene was the son of Benjamin (a former Iowa state representative) and Parmelia (Sturges) Greene.
   Greene's early education took place in Adel and from 1868-68 was a student at the Normal School in Oswego, New York. Following his return to Iowa Greene began pursuing a degree in law, reading with former legislator and state attorney general Charles C. Nourse. In 1870 Greene enrolled in the law department of the University of Iowa and graduated in the class  of 1871. He was admitted to the Iowa bar that same year and soon commenced practice in Adel with his brother in law, George W. Clarke.
  On May 21, 1872 Sturges Greene married to Virginia Celeste Hickey (1852-1880). The couples short union would see the births of three children, Allen (1873-1952), Sarah B. and Virginia Mariam.
   In 1873 Greene was elected as mayor of Adel and continued in that office until 1879, with sources also noting that he was the leader of the local band during his residency there. Following his terms as mayor Greene left Iowa for Oregon in 1880 and for a short period resided in Deadwood. By 1882 he had established himself in Portland and from 1882-86 was a justice of the peace in that city
   In July 1887 Sturges Greene married to Lida Clare Wright (1867-1916). The couple were wed for nearly three decades and would have at least one daughter, Jennie Frances (1895-1928). Greene was returned to public office in 1905 when he began service as city attorney for St. Johns, Oregon, a post he would hold until 1907. Acknowledged as an expert "on the "fish and game of the northwest coast" in the latter period of his life, Greene died at age 93 in Castle Rock, Washington on March 20, 1943. He was later interred alongside his second wife Lida at the Whittle and Hubbard Cemetery in that city.
  One should also note that there are some discrepancies in regards to the spelling of Greene's first name, as it is given as both "Sturges" and "Sturgis". The spelling of Greene's middle name is also under scrutiny, as one genealogical webpage records it as Haslett.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Guian Leeper Walker (1841-1921)

Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

   For many years a prominent political office holder in Cedar County, Missouri, Guian Leeper Walker was a lifelong Missourian who, following service in the Confederate Army, entered politics, serving as Cedar County collector and county clerk. Late in his life he would be elected as County Judge for Cedar County, serving two years in office. The son of Benjamin Franklin and Nancy (Leeper) Walker, Guian Leeper Walker was born on October 22, 1841 near Dade County. A prominent figure in his own right, Benjamin F. Walker (1820-1906) represented Dade County in the Missouri legislature and during the Civil War attained the rank of Colonel in the Confederate Army. Following his service Walker removed to Arkansas where he served in the state house of representatives, the senate and was also a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1874.
  Young Guian resided on a farm during his youth and in 1862 enlisted amongst the ranks of the Confederacy, joining Company G. of the 18th Missouri Infantry. As an ordnance sergeant, Walker engaged in skirmishes at Newtonia and Humansville, Missouri, and in July 1863 was taken prisoner at the Battle of Helena in Arkansas. After spending a number of months in captivity in Illinois and Fort Delaware Walker returned to service and in 1863 was transferred to a sharpshooting regiment
  Upon his return to civilian life Walker married to Mary A. Roberts in Fannin County, Texas in September 1865. The couple were wed for over fifty-five years and their union saw the births of five children: Virgil (1866-1933), Cora Etha Isabelle (1868-1952), Susan (1870-1893), Mary Lulu (1872-1902) and John Franklin (1874-1912). Following his marriage Walker and his wife returned to Cedar County and for a brief period Walker worked at both farming and teaching school.
   In the late 1860s Walker abandoned teaching and settled into life as a farmer, "owning and maintaining a valuable farm near Stockton." Active in the Stockton community, Walker was a parishioner at the Methodist Episcopal Church and was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and secretary of his local masonic chapter
   Guian L. Walker was first called to political life in 1874, when he was elected as Cedar County collector. After a two year stint in that post he won election as Cedar County clerk, a post he held for two terms (1878-1886.) In 1912 he was returned to public office, winning election as Judge for Cedar County's Southern district. Walker's time on the bench extended from 1913-15 and he died on March 29, 1921 at his home in Stockton, Missouri, his cause of death being attributed to "heart trouble." His wife Mary survived him by nine years and following her death in 1930 was interred alongside him at the Stockton Cemetery.