Thursday, May 17, 2018

Beppo Rolff Johansen (1909-1946)

From the St. Petersburg Times, January 19, 1939.

  Oddly named Clearwater, Florida resident Beppo Rolff Johansen is another curiously named American diplomat I've discovered recently, and despite his length of years (he died aged 37 in 1946) was a prominent member of the foreign service, serving as U.S. Vice Consul in Yokohama, Japan, as well as in Harbin, Manchuria and Shanghai and Tientsin, China. The son of Valdemar Simon and Margrethe (Glent) Johansen, Beppo Rolff Johansen was born in Manhattan, New York on March 9, 1909. Born of Danish descent, Johansen was given the unusual name Beppo upon his birth and in the late 1920s began attending the University of Florida
   Following his graduation from that school Johansen decided upon a career in the diplomatic service, and in the mid-1930s enrolled at the Italian Diplomatic School in Florence, Italy. He passed the foreign service examination in the fall of 1934 and following the conclusion of his studies in Florence in late 1935 entered into his first diplomatic role, that of a language officer at the American Embassy in Tokyo
  By October 1937 Johansen had advanced to the post of Vice Consul and was stationed in Yokohama, Japan. His time in that post extended until February 1939, when, after a visit home to Clearwater, Florida, was appointed as Vice Consul in Harbin, Manchuria. While serving in Manchuria Johansen married to Lucy "Penny" Norton (1910-2005) in 1939, who had been born in Korea to American missionary parents. The couple would later have two children, Rolff and Karin. 
   Johansen's consulship at Harbin ended in early 1941 and in January of that year entered into the post of Third Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Peking, China. In December 1941 he saw the U.S. flag lowered at the embassy at the dawn of the war with Japan, and the Tampa  Times gives note as to his later being captured by the Japanese and held as prisoner for six months. Johansen was later freed, and after traveling to East Africa was returned stateside on the passenger ship Gripsholm in June 1942. 

Beppo Johansen returns to China, from the Foreign Service Journal, Jan. 1946.

  In September 1945 Johansen returned to diplomatic service when he and Richard Porter Butrick (1894-1997), along with other diplomatic personnel, traveled to China to begin reopening America's Asian consulates that had been freed from Japanese occupancy. With headquarters in Shanghai, the group set about reestablishing consulates in Tientsin, Hankow, Canton, Hong Kong and Tsingtao, and February 1946 Johansen saw the American flag hoisted once again over the American consulate in Peking (Peiping), China. 

From the Harrisburg Telegraph.

   In February 1946 Beppo Johansen entered into the post of Vice Consul in Tientsin, China. He continued in his duties as consul until his death in Tokyo on July 22, 1946, his cause of death being attributed to "thrombosis". Just 37 years old at the time of his passing, Johansen was memorialized by his friend and fellow diplomat Richard P. Butrick as having been "effective without being aggressive" and "unassuming without being scheming", and further related: 
"Always ready and willing to be of assistance, Beppo would frequently anticipate the wishes of the department and of his chief. Gifted with common sense far beyond the average and genuine modesty, he was respected and beloved alike by all his associates, of whatever grade. The ranks of the service may close up, but for another generation there will always be a gap where Beppo stood.
 Following his death, Johansen was interred at the U.S. Army Cemetery in Yokohama, Japan. He was survived by his wife Lucy, who, in the wake of her husband's death, entered into the diplomatic service herself, being employed as a receptionist in the office of the U.S. Political Advisor in Tokyo. She would also see service in Switzerland, Canada, and Italy, and was later a resident of both Maine and Belgium, dying in the latter country in July 2005, aged 95.


From the St. Petersburg Times, July 24, 1946.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Elawson Carry More (1837-1902)

Portrait from the St. Louis Republic, July 26, 1902.

  Today marks a return to profiling an oddly named American diplomat, and Elawson Carry More (a former U.S. Consul General in Mexico City) fits the bill perfectly. An Arkansan by birth, More was widely traveled in his youth, studying abroad in France, Germany, and Spain. Remarked as a "fine classical scholar" with a "rare knowledge of general literature", More spoke multiple languages, practiced law, farmed in Missouri and in the late 1880s was appointed by President Cleveland to a consulship in Mexico. More had earlier served as a two time Democratic National Convention delegate and was a Democratic presidential elector in 1884.
  The son of Elijah and Sarah Caroline (Owens) More, Elawson Carry More was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 27, 1837. The origins behind More's unusual name remains unknown and his middle name is variously spelled as Carry, Carrie, and Carey (the first given being the most frequent in sources mentioning him.) His last name is also variously given as both More and Moore. His early schooling occurred in the United States and during his youth spent time in Europe, studying in Paris, Cadiz, Spain and in Hanover and Berlin, Germany. More's education in Europe saw him learn multiple languages, "speaking them as well as he did his own", and would later garner a reputation as a man of refined tastes, as well as "a devotee of the finer arts."
  Following his return stateside More attended Yale University and after graduating in the class of 1858 began the study of law at the Cumberland Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee. In April 1861 he graduated with his bachelor of laws degree and soon after joined the law firm of Lackland, Cline, and Jamison in St. Louis, Missouri. Elawson C. More married in Nashville, Tennessee in 1862 to Julia Nichol. The couple would have three children prior to divorce in 1869 and four years later More remarried to Elizabeth Hunton Taylor (1842-1918), who would survive him upon his death in 1902.
  More's time in St. Louis extended until 1865 when he removed to Helena, Montana Territory to continue his practice. After one year of residence in that territory More removed again, and for the next several months traveled throughout the American West, visiting California, Oregon and also ventured into Central America before finally settling in Columbia, Missouri in 1867. Elawson More practiced law in Columbia until the early 1870s, whereafter he gave up practice and began farming. He would subsequently purchase a farm near Columbia and following improvements began raising stock and  "also constructed a ten-acre lake on the farm and stocked it with fish."
   Elawson More first ventured into Missouri politics in 1876 when he served as part of the Missouri delegation to that year's Democratic National Convention in St. Louis that saw Samuel Tilden nominated for the Presidency. More would again serve as a delegate in 1892, seeing Grover Cleveland win the White House, and in 1884 was a Democratic presidential elector for Missouri, casting his ballot for Cleveland. More would also hold the post of president of the Missouri State Board of Agriculture in 1878.
  In early 1887 President Cleveland appointed More to the post of U.S. Consul General in Mexico City, succeeding James W. Porch, who had been removed. The Butler Weekly Times (by way of the Chicago News) lauded the appointment of More to the post, remarking:
"He is an exceedingly discreet, amiable, cultured and polished man, and his appointment to the Mexican consulship is a distinct gain to the state department service of our government."
From the Butler Weekly Times, February 23, 1887.

  More entered into his duties as consul in early 1887 and served until 1889, being succeeded by Richard Guenther, a native of Wisconsin. In 1897 More left Columbia and resumed the practice of law in St. Louis, forming a partnership with Wellington Adams that specialized in "patent, trademark, and copyright law." More's final years were marred by the effects of Bright's disease, and he later died at the home of his stepson in Peoria, Illinois on July 24, 1902, aged 65. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth and following an "unusually long" funeral procession, was interred at the Columbia Cemetery in Columbia, Boone County, Missouri.

More's name was misspelled as "Elanson" in the March 5 1887 edition of Frank Leslie's Weekly.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Walthall Robertson Joyner (1854-1925)

Walthall Joyner's name was misspelled in the Sept. 27, 1908 Omaha Daily Bee.

  On occasion, an oddly named mayor of a major American city manages to sneak past my purview, and that is the case with Walthall Robertson Joyner, who served a two-year term as mayor of Atlanta, Georgia in the early twentieth century. Despite his unusual name (and being mayor of Georgia's largest city), I had been unaware of Joyner's existence until a few nights ago when a chance look at a 1908 edition of the Omaha Daily Bee revealed a list of mayors who would be attending the convention of the League of American Municipalities. Our subject's name (misspelled in the above photo as "Jayne") was mentioned as the then current mayor of Atlanta, and after finding out that those initials stood for Walthall Robertson, I promptly began work on the article you are now reading!
  A lifelong Georgian, Walthall Robertson "Cap" Joyner was born in Cobb County on June 30, 1854, the son of Richard W. and Lucrecia Catherine Joyner. His early childhood was spent in that county and at age seven removed with his family to Atlanta. Joyner's education took place in the public schools of Atlanta and in 1868 left school to take work as a retail clerk with the W.F. Peck and Co., continuing there until 1876. In addition to this clerkship,  Joyner entered into a long career as a fireman at age sixteen, joining the Atlanta Volunteer Fire Department. 
   Joyner would quickly advance through the ranks of the department, becoming a foreman at age nineteen and in 1876 was elected as department chief. Just 22 years old at the time of his election, Joyner served as chief for two years and subsequently declined renomination to that post. He married in May 1878 to Clio Belle Setze (1858-1917), and later had four sons, Richard Wall (1880-1956), Walthall Robertson (1885-1958), Harry Stockdell (1887-1940) and Ralph (1890-1926).
  In 1883 Joyner saw the Atlanta fire department become a paid department and, despite protests, declined the position of chief. Two years later he was again offered the post and this time accepted, beginning a twenty-one-year tenure as chief. Joyner's reputation as a fireman continued to soar through the 1880s and 90s, and in 1887 was elected as president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The first Southern fire chief to be so honored, Joyner would be elected to that post twice more (in 1903 and 1904) and at the time was the only man ever to be selected as association president on three occasions.

From the Cotton States and International Exposition and South, Illustrated, 1896.

  Joyner's position as Atlanta fire chief stretched well into the early 20th century, and during that time several improvements were made to the department under his watch, including the following:
  • The first city chemical engine.
  • The city's first hose wagons and aerial ladder truck
  • The city's first water tower
  • Inaugurating the posts of an assistant fire chief, Chiefs Aide, and Fire Inspector
  • Brought the total number of men employed by the department to "10 companies and 139 men."

  In addition to his lengthy tenure as chief, Joyner also ventured into the world of baseball. Purchasing the Atlanta Baseball Club in 1905, Joyner's interest in "America's Pastime" extended back to 1889, when he served as president of the Atlanta Baseball Club of the Southern League. Following the collapse of that organization in the late 1890s, Joyner and businessman John Dickinson formed the Atlanta Baseball League, of which Joyner was elected president in 1898. Following the purchase of the Atlanta Baseball Club Joyner and Dickinson renamed the team the "Atlanta Fire Crackers", and saw their team win two pennants. Joyner would later serve as president of the South Atlantic League in 1910.

From the Fire Protection Service, Vol. 82.

  In August 1906 Joyner entered the political life of Atlanta when he was elected as Mayor of Atlanta, besting his opponent Thomas H. Goodwin by a "261 majority." Acknowledged as having had "no political backer" as well as being the "architect of his own fortune", Joyner's ascension to the mayor's office was lauded by the Fire and Water Engineering magazine, which remarked that:
"In him the city will not only have an able chief executive, but one whose reputation for honesty of purpose and fixed determination to see the affairs of the municipality fairly and honestly administered is preverbial. It is, therefore, safe to prophesy that, under his regime, Atlanta's progress and increase in prosperity will be very marked."
   Joyner's tenure as mayor extended from 1907-09 and during his service was a trustee for the League of American Municipalities. Following his term he sold his interest in the Atlanta Baseball Club and in 1909 was named as Georgia State Fire Marshal, becoming the inaugural h0lder of that post. Joyner served as Fire Marshal for thirteen years, and his time in office saw him contend with the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917. During his later years, Joyner resided in a room given to him at Engine Co. No. 8, sharing quarters with his son, who was also a fireman. Joyner retired from the marshal's office in 1922 and died at the Grady Hospital in Atlanta on January 5, 1925, at age 70. Widowed in 1917, both Joyner and his wife Clio were interred at the Marietta City Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Folsom LaMont Glass (1892-1969)

Senator F. LaMont Glass during his time in state government.

  A two-term member of the Alabama House of Representatives from Greenville, Folsom LaMont Glass etched his name into Alabama history in 1959 when he introduced legislation that would see the camellia flower be designated as the official state flower. A lifelong Alabaman, F. LaMont Glass (as most sources list him) was born in Greenville on December 22, 1892, one of eleven children born to Ross Callen and Rebecca (Tillery) Glass. 
  Glass would be a student in the public schools of Garland and Georgiana, Alabama and married in November 1917 to Lillie Belle Kerr (1895-1982). The couple's marriage extended over five decades and saw the births of two daughters, Elaine (1921-2002) and Floretta (1926-1984). Prior to his service in state government Glass had been employed as a telegraph operator for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and would go on to become a merchant in the Greenville area. 
  In November 1958 F. LaMont Glass won election to the Alabama House of Representatives, polling 2,195 votes on election day. During the 1959-63 house term, Glass sat on the committees on Local Government, Local Legislation #1, and Transportation, and in mid-1959 introduced a bill that would designate the camellia as Alabama's official state flower. Prior to Glass' initiative, the Alabama state flower had been the Goldenrod (a type of weed), and Glass' constituents in Butler County eventually convinced him to put forth the camellia (the namesake of Greenville's nick-name "The Camellia City") as a possible new state flower. In August of that year, Glass' measure passed the house and was signed into law. This term also saw Glass and fellow Butler County representative H.B. Taylor introduce a bill that would "revamp Alabama's state marriage law" in 1961, legislation that did away with a previous statute that noted that "couples were required to obtain a marriage license in the county where the woman lived, or in the county where the couple planned to wed." The effects of this legislation are still felt in modern-day Alabama, and as a piece of segregation-era legislation, the bill could be used to make issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples optional, rather than mandatory
   F. LaMont Glass would win a second term in the legislature in 1962 and during the 1963-67 session served on the committees on Agriculture, Local Legislation #1, Rules and State Administration. Two years after completing his term Glass died in Greenville on August 20, 1969, at age 77. He was survived by his wife and daughters, all of whom were interred at the Magnolia Cemetery in Greenville.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Elhanan Van Lew Peterson (1835-1914)

Portrait from the Kansas Legislative Directory of 1903.

   The life of one term Kansas state senator Elhanan Van Lew Peterson is examined today, and, like Esom G. Farris (profiled a day or two ago), was a transplant to the Sunflower State from Indiana. Interestingly, Peterson and Farris served in the same legislative session (the 1903 term), albeit in different houses. A native of Seneca County, New York, Elhanan Van Lew Peterson was born in the town of Lodi, New York on June 1, 1835, the son of Amos and Penelope (Van Lew) Peterson. His early life saw him working the family farm and attending the district school in the area, and at age sixteen entered into a teaching career himself.
  After earning enough money, Peterson enrolled at an academy near Albany, New York in 1854 and from there began study at the Union College at Schenectady. He graduated in the class of 1858 and soon after returned to teaching, his work eventually taking him to a school near Port Worthington, Mississippi. This school, located near a large cotton plantation, brought Peterson into contact with the plantation owner (a Mr. Lashley), a slave owner and a cousin of Vice-President John C. Breckinridge. Peterson would even meet Breckinridge while visiting Baton Rouge, the two men having dinner with another relation of the aforementioned Mr. Lashley.
  Following his stay in Mississippi Peterson briefly taught at a boy's academy in Winchester, Tennessee before relocating to Alabama to accept a teaching position in the town of Athens. He remained here until the early 1860s, and shortly before the opening of the Civil War had relocated to Peru, Indiana, where in August 1861 he enlisted in Co. A., 39th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Peterson would attain the rank of first lieutenant in that company and in January 1862 married in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Caroline Gregory (1832-1924). The couple were wed for over fifty-two years and would have two children, Henry Gregory (1866-1885), who was killed in a hunting accident, and Penelope (born 1868).
  Following his marriage, Peterson returned to service and in late 1862 saw the 39th Indiana change into a cavalry regiment (the 8th Indiana Cavalry), and would serve as a captain in company M. Peterson's tour of duty saw him action at some of the war's most notable engagements, including the battles of Corinth, Shiloh, Pulaski, Green River, Perrysville, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and for a time was retained as judge advocate on the staff of Union Generals Joshua W. Sill and Richard W. Johnson.
   Honorably discharged in November 1864, Elhanan Peterson removed to Champaign, Illinois at the conclusion of his service and during his residency was a partner in the firm of Peterson and Lloyde, dealers in book, music, and paper stationery. In 1884 Peterson retired from that business and the company continued on under his partner D.H. Lloyde (albeit under a different name). By 1885 Peterson and his family had relocated to Norton County, Kansas, and after establishing himself in the town of Norton aided in the organization of the State Bank of Norton (later renamed to the First National Bank of Norton), of which he would serve as cashier. 
  In the succeeding years Peterson would serve as bank president and in 1886 was elected to his first political office, that of Norton's mayor. After retiring from banking pursuits in the early 1890s Peterson farmed, raised cattle and in November 1900 was elected to the Kansas State Senate from the 40th senatorial district. During the 1901-03 session, Petterson sat on the committees on Assessment and Taxation, Banks and Banking, and Congressional Apportionment, and in January 1902 addressed the Kansas State Board of Agriculture on the importance of alfalfa to the state, with the Topeka State Journal noting that:
"He said that in a few years that alfalfa would assume the greatest importance of any product in the state; that as a forage plant it had no equal; that the semiarid regions of the western part of the state are particularly adapted to it."
  In the latter portion of his term Peterson would introduce legislation that would provide assistant state officers and chief clerks with a pay increase to $1,800 and $1,500, respectively, and in March 1903 was named as U.S. Postmaster of Norton, Kansas, a post he continued to fill until February 1907. At some point following his leaving the postmaster's office Peterson and his wife removed to Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, and on December 19, 1914, Elhanan V. Peterson died in that city, aged 79. Peterson's remains were later returned to Kansas for burial in the Norton Cemetery under a modest white military headstone.

                          From Lockard's History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas, 1894.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Esom Gatliff Farris (1844-1920)

Portrait from the Kansas Legislative Directory of 1903.

   The vast annals of the Kansas state legislature yield another oddly named representative in Esom Gatliff Farris, a two-term legislator from Sumner County. A native of Barbersville, Kentucky, Farris was born there on January 14, 1844, being the son of Cornelius and Nancy (Witt) Farris. Esom's youth was spent on his family's farm and at the dawn of the Civil War sided with the Union, enlisting in Co. F. of the 32nd Kentucky Infantry.  Following his service, Farris removed to Indiana to reside with his brother James and soon decided to pursue a career in medicine.
   Farris would enroll at the Central Normal College at Danville, Illinois and furthered his studies at the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons in Indianapolis. In the early 1880s, Farris would graduate from the Rush Medical College and in 1885 married in Greencastle to Sadie Bondurant (1850-1895). The couple would remain childless. Shortly after their marriage Farris and his wife left Indiana for Sumner County, Kansas, and after settling in the town of Conway Springs Farris established his medical practice. 
  More than a decade after his removal to Kansas Farris entered the political life of the state when he won election as Sumner County's representative to the Kansas legislature in November 1902. Taking his seat at the start of the 1903-05 session Farris was named to the following committees: Hygiene and Public Health, Roads and Highways, and Legislative Apportionment. Shortly after his election, Dr. Farris was profiled in a brief write-up in the Topeka State Journal, under the heading "Good Roads His Hobby". Coming out as fully in favor of the passage of road improvement legislation, Farris remarked:
"I think a physician is pretty well qualified to judge of the roads question, an I am for some sort of legislation that will give us better roads. People who travel over the country roads in the daytime can drive around the bad places, but a doctor goes over them night and day, and he knows what a bad road is."
   As a backer for improved roadways, Farris further related that he'd been in favor of the creation of a Kansas state engineering post, and office that would, in Farris's words, "have general oversight of roadmaking". In addition to the betterment of Kansas roads, Farris also proposed the prohibition or regulation of importing hogs from other states, as well as a measure that would
"Compel people to bury or burn their dead animals. He thinks dead carcasses which are left unburied are a fruitful source for the spreading of diseases, and if buried, insists that it should not be near water courses."
Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

  Acknowledged as a "sound-money Republican" and a "friend of the widow and orphan", Esom Farris won a second term in the legislature in November 1904, a term that saw him named to the committees on Penal Institutions, Roads and Highways, and the State Historical Society. In 1909 Farris removed from Kansas to St. Cloud, Florida, where he continued to practice medicine and also served on a soldier's pensions board there. Farris died in St. Cloud on February 6, 1920, aged 75 and was later interred at the Mount Peace Cemetery in that city.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Vital Emanuel Bangs (1834-1913)

Vital Bangs (with fancy hat), from the History of Stanislaus County, 1913.

  Following on the heels of San Francisco mayoral candidate Brilsford P. Flint, another oddly named Californian gets accorded his due...Vital Emanuel Bangs of Stanislaus County. A two-term member of the state assembly from that county, Bangs also gained distinction in Modesto educational circles, being a vice-principal, county board of education member, and a contributor to educational journals of the time. Although a resident of California for a good majority of his life, his birth didn't occur in that state. Bangs was born in Victoria, Mexico on August 26, 1834, the son of printer and publisher Samuel (ca. 1798-1854) and Susan (Payne) Bangs, respective natives of Massachusetts and Virginia who had settled in Mexico prior to their son's birth. Given the unusual name "Vital" upon his birth, Bangs' middle name Emanuel is listed as being spelled with both one and two m's.
  Bangs' formative years were spent in Mexico and by age 14 was residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he attended school. He further studied at the Cedar Park Seminary and the Kalamazoo College before putting his schooling on hold, having caught the gold rush bug in the early 1850s. In 1853 he resettled in El Dorado, California and after a short spell at mining began teaching a Spanish night school in that county. By 1858 Bangs had returned to Kalamazoo and, after completing his studies, removed to Vernon County, Missouri. His time in this state saw him teach school for two years, whereafter he pulled up stakes once again and this time removed to Douglas County, Kansas.
  Vital E. Bangs married in Kansas in 1863 to Mary G. Moore (1845-1918), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple's near five decades of marriage saw the births of for children, Henry T. (birthdate unknown), Susan (1870-1934), Victoria Letitia (1878-1956) and Vital Everitt (1886-1890).In the year following his marriage Bangs and his wife made the move to California, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. He would subsequently begin a teaching career that would take him through Tulare, Placer and Sacremento County, and by 1873 had permanently settled in Modesto, Stanislaus County
  Within a short period of his arrival in Modesto Bangs had entered into the post of vice-principal of schools for the city, and for decades afterward loomed large in Stanislaus County education. Bangs would serve on the county board of education for twelve years, be the vice president of the Modesto Teacher's Institute in 1880, and in the last name year wrote an extensive history of the Stanislaus County public school system for inclusion in the 1881 History of Stanislaus County. Bangs would also be a contributor to the "California Teacher" and other educational periodicals well into the early 20th century.
   In addition to his long career in education, Bangs was also heavily involved in the Stanislaus County Grange, being a charter member and master (1877-1878) of that organization, as well as its first secretary, serving from 1873-1876. Bangs had further involvement in area agriculture with his service as assessor for the Modesto Irrigation District and also was named as the director for California's 28th agricultural district by Governor Henry H. Markham in the early 1890s. 
   Vital E. Bangs' first foray into California political life came with his election to the state assembly in 1887 as a representative from Modesto. Serving in the session of 1888-89, Bangs was named to the committees on County and Township Governments, Crimes and Penalties, Education, and Water Rights and Drainage. Bangs would win a second term in 1902, and was unopposed in that year's election, garnering 3,745 votes and "receiving the votes of both parties and polling the largest vote of any man in the assembly." Bang's second term commenced in January 1903 and during that session sat on the committees on Education, Immigration, Irrigation, and Public Health and Quarantine.
  Following his final term in the assembly, Vital Bangs continued residence in Modesto, residing on a nearly five hundred acre ranch near the city, where he grew alfalfa and raised dairy cattle. Bangs died in Modesto on November 15, 1913, at age 79 and was survived by his wife Mary. Both are buried at the Modesto Citizens Cemetery. 
  
Vital E. Bangs, from the 1903 California Blue Book.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brilsford Pease Flint (1842-1906)

Portrait from Fifty Years of Masonry in California, Vol. II, 1898.

  Long a leading Mason in San Francisco, California, Brilsford Pease Flint was a native Mainer who, following a few year's residence in Ohio, migrated to the Sunshine State in the late 1860s. Following his resettlement on the west coast, Flint became a successful sheep rancher and wool merchant, a vocation he continued to follow for a number of years. Flint earns a spot here on the site due to his 1879 Republican candidacy for Mayor of San Francisco. Born in North Anson, Maine on September 19, 1842, Brilsford Pease Flint was the son of two-term state senator William Reed (1796-1887) and Electa (Weston) Flint (1802-1885).
  Flint's early life in Maine saw him work the family farm, gain a "first-class common school education" and while in his late teens began teaching in a district school during the winter months. After attaining maturity Flint left Maine for Ohio, and following his settling in Chillicothe was retained as a clerk and deputy in the Ross County Treasurer's office from 1863-65. In 1866 Flint caught wind of the discovery of oil in West Virginia, and soon removed to that state to seek his fortune. This proved to be an unwise decision, and following his resettlement in that state saw:
"In common with others, his capital was swamped in the oleaginous vortex, and he was, financially, totally ruined."
 Left in a state of financial precariousness, Flint took stock of his losses and after finding employment secured enough money to return to Maine by late 1866. In February of the following year, he went to sea, booking passage on a steamer bound for California. Brilsford's two older brothers, Benjamin and Thomas, had both migrated to California some years previously, with Thomas later being elected to a term in the state senate from Monterey County.
  After reaching San Francisco, Brilsford Flint joined his brothers in the firm of Flint, Bixby & Co., where he would be employed as a foreman of a large sheep ranch. Flint's tenure as foreman extended three years, and, having seen a bright future for himself in the wool industry, branched out on his own in the early 1870s, establishing the B.P. Flint & Co., a purchasing and wool shipping enterprise. Following a brief return to Maine, Flint married in Chillicothe, Ohio in March 1871 to Gertrude Gilmore (1845-1910), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have four children, Electa (died in infancy in 1872), Anna, Agnes (died 1907) and Brilsford Pease Jr.
  Throughout the succeeding years, Flint saw his wool business continue to expand, with the Daily Alta California noting that the "commission business alone amounting to three or four million pounds annually, on account of Eastern manufacturers.  Flint would also branch out into San Francisco civic affairs, serving as city school director and a director of the city's Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children.


Brilsford Flint (with fancy Masonic hat), from the L.A. Herald, September 6, 1904.

  Brilsford Flint's status as a prominent Mason in California is an integral part of his life story. He first entered that order in April 1876 in the Occidental Lodge of Masons in San Francisco and by January of the following year had reached the degree of Master Mason of that lodge. From 1878-79 he was that lodge's Junior Warden and was made Worshipful Master in 1880. A following is a list of the Masonic titles Flint was awarded through the remainder of his life:

  • 1877: Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason in California Chapter No. 5, at San Francisco.
  • 1881: Awarded the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross in August of that year and in September was created a "Knight Templar and a Knight of Malta" in California Commandery No. 1 in San Francisco.
  • 1883: Appointed Standard Bearer.
  • 1885: Appointed Senior Warden.
  • 1886: Appointed Captain-General.
  • 1887-1888: Appointed Generalissimo in 1887 and in the year following named as Eminent Commander.
  • 1898: Appointed Grand Warder of the Grand Commandery. 
   A lifelong Republican, Flint refrained from pursuing political office but was an acknowledged voice in Republican circles in San Francisco, being a member of the Tax Payer's city convention of 1877 that nominated city councilman Monroe Ashbury (1815-1880) for mayor. In 1879 he was urged by Republican leaders in the city to accept their nomination for Mayor of San Francisco, and in August of that year received the nomination at the city Republican convention. Flint's opponent that year was Isaac Smith Kalloch (1832-1887), a Baptist Minister and candidate of the Workingman's Party


From the Daily Alta California, August 8, 1879.

   As a candidate on which "no spot or blemish of a public or private nature can be found", Flint hit the stump and in a lengthy write-up on his candidacy published in the August 19th Daily Alta California outlined his principles and political platform, including his stance on the then important topic of Chinese immigration in California. In this address Flint stated:
"At present, I can only say that I am in sympathy most thoroughly with the retrenchment and reform measures demanded by the people of this city. I am under obligations to no man, or set of men, for my nomination, and no pledges of any sort have been expected of me. I am, therefore, perfectly independent, in the broadest sense, and if elected, shall run the mayor's office solely in the interest of the public. As a businessman, I am opposed to exhorbitant gas contracts, and the binding of the city to them, and as Mayor I should observe the same rules as in my business. Of course I should not have been a resident of San Francisco nine years without seeing the evil that results from the residence here of Chinese, and am in favor of legal methods of removing that cause of social disorder, and of stopping the immigration. I have never employed a Chinaman in my business or encouraged them in any other way, nor do I intend to."
  The 1879 campaign for Mayor of San Francisco can certainly be considered one of the dirtiest elections on record and makes the 2016 Presidential race tame by comparison. While Flint (his negative opinion of Asian immigrants notwithstanding) remained above board during the campaign, the same cannot be said of the men centering in Isaac Kalloch's campaign. The fracas began when Kalloch (the Workingman's Party nominee) was defamed by Charles de Young, a founder and editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. de Young (who had backed another candidate, Denis Kearney), came out as firmly anti-Kalloch, with the Chronicle referring to him as a"tainted preacher" and brought up old allegations of adultery on Kalloch's part


Isaac Kalloch and Charles de Young.

  Understandably indignant over assaults on his character, Kalloch hit back at de Young with some very un-ministerly remarks, slandering de Young's mother as the operator of a brothel and repeating an earlier statement calling de Young "the bastard progeny of a whore." This proved to be too much for de Young, and on August 23, 1879, he took a carriage to Kalloch's office at the Metropolitan Temple. Through false pretenses de Young managed to get Kalloch to come down to the street, and as Kalloch neared de Young's location de Young fired a pistol and hit Kalloch twice, severely wounding him. A crowd of angry people soon formed and after a few well-placed kicks from the townspeople, de Young was taken to jail.
   Despite his wounds, Kalloch was taken to his study and for the next several days was kept under guard by militiamen. As election day dawned, many San Franciscans went to the polls and made sympathetic votes for Kalloch, and on September 4, 1879, he was elected mayor, besting Brilsford P. Flint by a narrow margin, 20, 069 votes to 19, 550. Interestingly, following his victory, Kalloch made a "speedy recovery" from his wounds. The nastiness of the campaign didn't end with Kalloch's victory, however. Charles de Young, who had been released on bail following the shooting, laid low for a few months but was soon up to his old tricks and tasked some of the staff of the Chronicle to further slander Kalloch, the end result being a sixty-page pamphlet that excoriated the new mayor. Kalloch's son, Isaac Milton Kalloch (1852-1930), soon had vengeance on his mind, and on April 3, 1880, made his way inside the Chronicle building with a pistol, intent on killing de Young. After a brief chase between the two men through the first floor of the building, Kalloch fired several shots and hit de Young at least once, killing him. Kalloch would later be tried for the murder of de Young, but was ultimately found not guilty by a jury. Following the trial, Kalloch would turn to law studies and became an attorney in Oakland, where he died in 1930 at age 77.
   Having been on the sidelines during the Kalloch-de Young fracas, it is unknown as to what Brilsford Flint thought of this intriguing election. Following his mayoral loss, he continued to attain high rank in the Masonic fraternity and from 1889-90 held a seat on the San Francisco Board of Education. A former president of the Olympic Club in San Francisco and a past potentate of the Islam Temple in that city, Flint would serve as Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of California until his death, which occurred at his home on November 11, 1906. He was survived by his wife Gertrude, and following her death in 1910 was interred alongside her husband at the famed Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California. 

Flint's obituary from the San Francisco Call, November 12, 1906.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Consul Willshire Butterfield (1824-1899)

From "History of George Rogers Clark's Conquest of Illinois and the Wabash", 1904.

   A widely read American author and historian during the mid to late 19th century, Consul Willshire Butterfield authored over a dozen works on American history, extending from the Revolutionary period to histories of the states of Ohio, Wisconsin and the discovery of American northwest. A resident of New York, Ohio, California, Wisconsin, and Nebraska during his life, Butterfield's inclusion here on the site rests on his 1850 candidacy for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an election he narrowly lost. In preparation for this article, I also discovered that Butterfield had a small connection to my home county of Chautauqua, NY, a tidbit that this author had previously been unaware of!
   Born near Colosse, Oswego County, New York on July 28, 1824, Consul Willshire Butterfield was the son of Amroy (also spelled Amory) and Mary Lamb Butterfield. Being bestowed the unusual first name Consul upon his birth, this odd name (Consul nowadays referring to a type of diplomat) initially led me to believe that Butterfield had been in the foreign service at some point during his life, but this proved not to be the case! It is unknown as to why Butterfield received this name, but it could have a historical connection to the title of "Consul", used during the days of the Roman Empire
  Butterfield's early education was limited and is remarked as "having been pursued wholly without instruction." At age ten he removed with his family to Melmore in Seneca County, Ohio. Two years following his resettlement, young Consul was left fatherless when his father was killed by a falling piece of timber, whilst assisting in the construction of a church. At age eighteen Butterfield left Ohio for New York, and around 1842 entered into a teaching position in a district school in Omar, Chautauqua County, New York. Little is known of Butterfield's time in this county, but Omar (as it was known in Butterfield's time) later underwent a name change to Hamlet and still exists under this name today.
  In the early 1840s Butterfield began attending the Albany State Normal School, and after two terms of study left due to sickness. Following an extended trip through Europe, he returned to Seneca County, Ohio and soon after began work on his first major historical work, a history of Seneca County. Completed in 1848, the "History of Seneca County" gave detail accounts of that county from the early Indian settlements until the present time, and was later acknowledged as "really the first strictly county history ever issued in book form west of the Allegheny Mountains."
   In 1847 Butterfield gained his first taste of public office when he was elected as Superintendent of Schools for Seneca County. He remained in that post until 1849, when, like many other young men of the time, caught the gold rush bug and left for California. Within a short period of his arrival, Butterfield had taken up law studies in San Francisco and had become deeply interested in the educational system of the still young state. At the time of Butterfield's removal to California, the state had no State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and during the 1850 election year, a legislative measure was passed providing for the election of a state educational officer. Beginning in September 1850, both the Whig and Democratic parties offered forth candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and on September 30th Consul W. Butterfield officially threw his hat into the ring as an independent candidate for that office.

From the Sacramento Transcript, Sept. 1850.

  Butterfield's jump into the race began with a lengthy address to the voters of California, published in the Sacramento Transcript on September 30. In this address, Butterfield took time to outline his ideas on how best to run the post he hoped to be elected to, stating:
"Judging from the past, we may look forward and anticipate for our rapidly growing state, vast improvements of every kind, and it is to be expected, its institutions will keep pace with its progress in other respects. Simultaneously with the establishment of schools, we may expect the springing into existence of journals devoted to Primary Instruction; establishing of Normal Schools for the education of teachers; Teacher's Institutes for social converse and interchanging of views amongst teachers; introduction to suitable text books to meet the wants of schools, and many of the modern improvements that characterize the system of Public Instruction at the present day. Careful and enlightened supervision, interest by the people at large, competent teachers, and salutary laws, are the corner stones of the great fabric of Public Instruction."
 As one of nine men vying to become the inaugural holder of the office, Butterfield faced an uphill battle. On election day he polled a respectable 3, 262 votes, placing second behind winning candidate John Gage Marvin's winning total of 3, 823. As California's first state superintendent of education, Marvin (1815-1857) served in that post until 1854 and later died in Hawaii in 1857.
   Consul W. Butterfield's stay in the Sunshine State proved to be short, and by 1851 had returned to Ohio. He began studying law in that state and in May 1854 married in Bucyrus to Almira "Mira" Scroggs (1829-1857), to whom he was wed until her death. He would remarry in the year following her death to Letta Merriman Reichenecker (1825-1900), with whom he had at least ten children, all but one (a daughter Allie) dying in infancy.
  Admitted to the Ohio bar in 1855, Butterfield established his practice in Bucyrus and for a time held the post of secretary for the Ohio and Indiana Railroad Co. While in this post Butterfield also found time to complete his second book, "A Comprehensive System of Grammatical and Rhetorical Punctuation", which later was to become "a very popular work and was introduced into many schools." In 1872 Butterfield retired from his law practice to better focus his energies on writing, and in 1873 published "An Historical Account of the Expedition Against Sandusky under Col. William Crawford, in 1782". This work gave a detailed account of Col. William Crawford (1722-1782) and his disastrous campaign against Indian tribes and their British allies along the Sandusky River, the end result being the capture of Crawford and a number of his men (the former being tortured and burned at the stake.)
  Butterfield's history of the Crawford expedition was met with "general interest and favor" and received glowing praise from the New York Observer, which noted:
"The terrible death of Col. Crawford by torture, is depicted with so much vividness and power that one, in reading it, almost feels that he is a personal witness of the terrible transaction."
 Two years following the publishing of the above work Butterfield and his wife left Ohio for Wisconsin. Settling in the city of Madison, he began work on a pioneer history of the area with Dr. Lyman Draper, a book that was never published. In 1877 two Butterfield works were published, the first being "The Washington-Crawford Letters", detailing the correspondence between General Washington and Col. William Crawford (along with his brother Valentine). This was followed by a history of Wisconsin that was published in conjunction with the 1877 Historical Atlas of Wisconsin.
  Further works flowed from Butterfield's pen at the close of the 1870s, including "The History of University of Wisconsin: From Its First Organization until 1879." Wisconsin history still proved to be the main theme in 1881 when Butterfield authored "Discovery of the Northwest in 1634 by John Nicolet", a detailed write-up on French trader and adventurer John Nicolet's exploration of Lake Michigan (being the first European to do so), as well as his travels through Wisconsin and other portions of the Northwest Territory.
  Throughout Butterfield's residency in Wisconsin, he continued to author a steady stream of county histories and for several years was connected with various historical periodicals, including stints with the Northwest Review, Descriptive America, and the Magazine of Western History. In 1888 he removed from Wisconsin to Omaha, Nebraska and in the early part of the next decade authored a "History of South Omaha", that would be published in installments in 1892 and 1893. Consul W. Butterfield died at his home in South Omaha on September 25, 1899, at age 75. As a distinguished American historian and author, Butterfield's death was acknowledged in newspapers in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota. His wife Letta would survive him by only a year and following her death in 1900 was interred alongside him at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Omaha. Butterfield was also survived by a younger sister, Emilie Jane (1833-1910), who would have a colorful life of her own. In 1872 she married in London to French theologian and former monk Charles Loyson, known by the name Pere Hyacinthe, a newsworthy wedding in Catholic circles of the time. 


From the Indianapolis Journal, September 26, 1899.