Monday, January 30, 2012
Lansdale Ghiselin Sasscer (1893-1964)
This obscure politician is one Lansdale Ghiselin Sasscer of Prince George's County, Maryland, who served in both the Maryland State Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. He was born on September 30, 1893 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the son of Frederick Sasscer (1856-1929) and his wife Lucinda Ashton Claggett (1857-1921). and attended school in the town of Port Deposit.
After graduating high school, Sasscer continued his education at the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He graduated from here in 1914 and passed his bar exam the same year. With three years of opening a law practice, Sasscer signed on to serve his country overseas during World War I. He served as a first lieutenant in the 59th Artillery for over a year and returned stateside in 1919. In that same year he married Ms. Agnes Goffren (1891-1984), with whom he would have three children, Agnes Lansdale, Lucy Claggett and Lansdale Ghiselin Jr. (born 1926).
In 1922, Sasscer made the jump into state politics, winning election to the Maryland State Senate. He served here until 1938, and was the president of this body during the legislative sessions of 1935, 1936 and 1937. While still serving as a state senator, he was named as a delegate to both the 1924 and 1936 Republican National Conventions.
Fate intervened in Sasscer's political fortunes in December 1938 when seven term Maryland Congressman Stephen Warfield Gambrill died in office in Washington, D.C. A few weeks following Gambrill's death, a special election was held in early 1939 to fill the vacant seat and as you may have guessed, Lansdale G. Sasscer was elected to fill the vacancy!
This painting of Sasscer is in the possession of the Maryland State Archives.
Sasscer served nearly 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, with his final term concluding in January 1953. That same year he launched a candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by outgoing Senator Hubert Romulus O'Conor, but was unsuccessful in garnering any major support. After this defeat, Sasscer returned to Upper Marlboro, Maryland and reestablished his earlier law practice. It was here that he died on May 5, 1964 at age 70, and he was subsequently interred in the Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery in that town. Agnes Goffren Sasscer survived her husband by two decades, dying in 1984 at age 93 and was also interred at the Trinity Cemetery.
Lansdale G. Sasscer Jr.
Political tradition continued in the Sasscer family with Lansdale Ghiselin Sasscer Jr. (born 1926) who followed in his father's footsteps and served two terms in the Maryland legislature from Prince George's County. A veteran of World War II, Sasscer served in the Coast Guard and later attended law school. Elected to the House of Delegates in 1954 at age 28, Sasscer Jr. later ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the state senate in 1962.
Following his tenure in state government, Sasscer returned to the practice of law until his retirement. He was also engaged in banking interests, holding a seat on the board of directors for the Bank of Brandywine for a number of years.