Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Xenophon Overton Pindall (1873-1935), Xenophon Pierce Wilfley (1871-1931), Xenophon Wheeler (1835-1914), Xenophon Ryland (1844-1920)

From the 1909 Arkansas Office of the Secretary of State Report.

   An unusually named Arkansas political figure, Xenophon Overton "X.O. Pindall served terms in both houses of the Arkansas legislature and reached his highest degree of political notoriety in 1907 when he took office as Governor of Arkansas. A native son of Missouri, Xenophon Overton Pindall was born on August 21, 1873 in the town Middle Grove, the son of Lebbeus Aaron (1834-1915) and Elnorah Snell Pindall. An oddly named figure in his own right, Lebbeus A. Pindall also was politically involved, serving two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives from Desha CountyAs an adolescent Xenophon attended both the Missouri Military Academy and later the Central College of Missouri. In 1896 he earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas and soon after set up a law practice in his new home state.
  In December 1902 Xenophon married in Desha County, Arkansas to Mae Quilling, to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would remain childless In the same year as his marriage to Mae Quilling Pindall won election to the Arkansas State House of Representatives from Desha County, serving in this body until 1906. That same year he mounted a campaign for state Attorney General, but his candidacy proved to be unsuccessful. Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Pindall later became a candidate for the Arkansas State Senate at the end of 1906 and was elected, taking his seat in early 1907.
  In February 1907 incumbent Governor John Sebastian Little suffered a nervous breakdown one month after being inaugurated. The president of the senate, John Isaac Moore, became acting Arkansas governor. Moore's time in office concluded with the end of the legislative session that May, and at that time Xenophon Pindall was elected as President of the Senate, and by virtue of that office was Governor of the state.
  Although he was technically acting governor, Pindall managed to create a lasting piece of legislation during his time in office, that being the creation of the Ozark National Forest. He is also mentioned in the 1995 edition of the Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography as taking "special pride in the enactment of a pure food and drug law, the imposition of a franchise tax on foreign corporations, and the passage of a measure designed to prevent price discrimination".  
   Pindall's short tenure in office concluded in 1909 and he soon returned to his previous career as a prominent criminal attorney in Little Rock. The life of this oddly named Arkansas governor came to end in rather odd circumstances on January 2, 1935, when he fell from a railroad embankment while taking a walk near the Arkansas River. He subsequently struck his head on a pile of rocks during the course of the fall and then had the bad luck of landing in "a steam exhaust pool near a power plant." Certainly a case of a strange and sad demise! Pindall was 61 years of age at the time of his death and was interred at the Rose Lawn Memorial Park in Little Rock a few days following his death. His wife Mae survived him by nearly forty years, dying at age 94 in March 1972 in Little Rock.

                    This article on Pindall's death was featured in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 1935.

   A lawyer from Missouri, Xenophon Pierce Wilfley served as an interim U.S. Senator from that State in 1918. He was born in the town of Mexico, Missouri on March 18, 1871 and attended the Washington University Law School, where he earned his degree to practice law in 1899.
 After relocating to St. Louis, Wilfley became the Chairman of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners in 1917, serving one year in that post. The next year he was appointed to a vacancy in the Senate (which had been caused by the death of Missouri senator William Joel Stone.) Wilfley took office on April 30, 1918 and served until November 5 of that same year. During his brief senate tenure Wilfley chaired the Committee on Industrial Expositions and later ran a losing campaign to keep his senate seat.
  After leaving the U.S. Senate, Wilfley returned to his earlier law practice and eventually became President of the Missouri State Bar Association in 1925. He died on May 4, 1931 at age 59. In a little addendum to this article, Xenophon Wilfley's brother Lebbeus Redman Wilfley (1866-1926) will also be profiled here at some point. Lebbeus served as Attorney General of the Philippines (when it was under U.S. jurisdiction) as well as a judge.

                             Wilfley as he appeared in a 1918 edition of the Ogden Times newspaper.

  Another recent discovery (as of January 2012) is Xenophon Wheeler, a prominent Tennessee attorney. Wheeler was originally born in Ohio on February 19, 1835 and attended Yale University, where he earned his law degree in 1860.
   Wheeler served with distinction in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and was seriously wounded at the Battle of Winchester, Virginia in 1862. After a period of recuperation, Wheeler removed to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1865. Fourteen years later he was appointed as the United States District Attorney for Tennessee's Eastern District. Wheeler served in this position until 1883 and in the following years was named as the fourth president of the Tennessee State Bar Association (serving until 1885.)
   Xenophon Wheeler is also mentioned as having an important impact on the development of Chattanooga as a municipality. He was viewed as a prime mover behind the creation of the first library in the city and later served as its inaugural president. Towards the end of his life, Xenophon Wheeler was appointed as a trustee of the University of Tennessee. He died at age 78 on January 31, 1914.

   Next up is Missouri resident Xenophon Ryland, who served as a Democratic Presidential elector for that state in 1880. Little could be found on Mr. Ryland with the exception of the following. He was born in Lexington, Missouri on June 1, 1844, the son John and Elizabeth Buford Ryland. Xenophon attended college at the Old Masonic College in Lexington and later served with Union Army during the Civil War.
  A prominent Mason in Missouri, Ryland entered the order at an early age and became a Master of the Lafayette Lodge No. 32 in 1869 and 1870. He was accorded numerous honors by the Masonic fraternity during his life, including being named as a Most Excellent Grand High Priest in 1873 and later as a Grand High Priest of Missouri.
  Ryland's political claim to fame rests on his service as a Democratic Presidential elector in 1880. Two years later he was elected as Probate Judge and served on the bench throughout the remainder of the 1880s. Ryland died in Missouri at age 76 on October  26, 1920.

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