Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eurotas Parmalee Hastings (1791-1866), Eurotis Samuel Neeley (1862-1922)


   A banker and businessman who served as Michigan's State Auditor General, the uniquely named Eurotas P. Hastings was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on July 20, 1791, one of ten children born to Seth (1745-1830) and Eunice Parmalee Hastings. Little is known of Eurotas's early life, with the exception of his moving to New York state in 1805. It was here that he decided upon a career as a banker, and eventually found employment as a teller in a Geneva, New York bank. 
   In 1819 Eurotas married his first wife Electa Owen, who died two years following their marriage. In 1826 he remarried to Philema Moore, a Michigan native. She too died within a few years of her marriage to Eurotas, and he remarried a year following Philema's death in 1835 to Ms. Theodosia Petit. Eurotas Hastings was the father of five children, who are listed as follows: Eurotas Francis (died aged two months in 1820), Henry Dwight (1827-1850), Charles (1829-1834), Eurotas Parmelee (1831-1832) and George Field (died aged one in 1834).
   Hastings removed to Michigan in 1825 and it is mentioned that during the 1830s he "occupied many important positions in Detroit" and was connected "to a syndicate of wealthy men in Detroit who selected and purchased numerous town sites in the State before the panic of 1837." Hastings was named as the President of the Bank of Michigan in May 1825 and remained in that post until 1839. In 1840 he was appointed by the Michigan State Legislature to the post of State Auditor, and would serve in that office until 1842. After leaving office Hastings was named as an assigner in bankruptcy, and over the following years he managed to settle over 660 cases of bankruptcy. Sources of the time also denote that Hastings as a very religious man, and he served as an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Detroit.
   Hastings died on June 1, 1866 at age 74 and was buried in Detroit. Interestingly, two references on his life mention that Hastings was the "subject of severe criticisms" and was "inclined to be over confiding in his disposition." Strangely, no sources mentioning Hastings elaborate on either of those odd statements.

Portrait from the Twentieth Century History of Hardin County, Ohio.

   Another public figure endowed with this unusual name (albeit with a different spelling) was Eurotis Samuel Neeley of Hardin County, Ohio. Earning a place here on the site due to his service as Probate Judge for Hardin County, Neeley was born in Knox County Ohio on January 7, 1862, being the son of  William and Rebecca Durbin Neeley. The Neeley family removed to Hardin County when Eurotis was but a few weeks old, and his early life saw him work both the family farm and attend district schools.
  Following the death of his mother while in his teens Neeley left Ohio for Indiana, where he cut timber and engaged in farm work as a means of income. After a few years of study Neeley decided upon a vocation in teaching, and during the early 1880s taught in various schools in Ohio. He would later study at the Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, graduating in the class of 1898. Neeley had married in June of 1891 to Byrd Turner, with whom he would have seven children: Lois (born 1894), Helen (born 1900), Samuel (born 1901), Eurotis Paul (1903-1957), James (born 1905), Richard (died in infancy in 1909) and John Howard (died in infancy)
  In addition to teaching Neeley would serve as principal of the "Central school at Kenton" and in 1902 was elected as Probate Judge for Hardin County by "a majority of ninety-eight votes." He would be reelected to a second term in 1904 and due to "popular approval" won a third term on the bench in 1906. 
    Eurotis Neeley retired as judge in February 1909 and for the remainder of his life worked on his farm and maintained memberships in several fraternal groups, including the Latham Lodge #154 of Free and Accepted Masons, the Knights Templars, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. Eurotis Neeley died at age 59 on March 22, 1922 and was later interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Ada, Ohio. Byrd Neeley survived her husband by sixteen years and following her death in 1938 was interred at the same cemetery as her husband.

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