Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lieutellus Cunningham (1877-1950), Loutellus Meigs Stout Jr. (1924-2012)

    A special "Leap Year" profile for today centers on Mr. Lieutellus Cunningham, a resident of Polk County, Missouri who was named as a delegate to the Missouri State Constitutional Convention of 1922-1923. In addition to this public service, Cunningham was also a prominent attorney in Polk County for a number of years. A fair amount of research was done to find pertinent facts on Cunningham's public stature, and one work, in particular, came to my rescue in this regard...the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1923-1924. This highly informative book provided the majority of the facts here and also furnished the portrait of Lieutellus that begins this article.
  Lieutellus Cunningham was born in Bolivar, Missouri on October 4, 1877, the son of James and Elizabeth Bickel Cunningham. Young Lieutellus attended the Ash Grove Academy and later graduated from the University of Missouri. He began the practice of law shortly after attaining his degree and in 1903 was elected as the prosecuting attorney of Polk County. Cunningham was subsequently reelected to this office in 1907 and 1908, and in the latter year married Ms. Maud Metier. Two sons were born to the couple, Lieutellus Jr (born 1909) and William James (born 1913). Lieutellus Cunningham Jr grew to be a highly regarded attorney in his own right, serving as the prosecuting attorney for Camden County before his untimely death at age 40 in 1949.
 In addition to his law practice, Lieutellus Sr. was quite active in civic affairs in his native county, serving as the chairman of the Polk County chapter of the American Red Cross. He was also a member of both the Missouri and American Bar Associations and in 1922 was elected as a delegate to the Missouri State Constitutional Convention being held that year. An electoral result from that contest is posted below.

  In the years following his convention service, Cunningham continued with his earlier law practice and in 1927 was named as the Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, serving under Stratton Shartel. Cunningham held this post until September 1930, when he resigned to accept a position as a legal adviser in conjunction with the building of the massive Bagnell Dam on the Osage River. Lieutellus Cunningham died at age 72 on July 22, 1950, and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Bolivar, Missouri. 

 From the West Virginia Blue Book, 1958.
   Prominent in West Virginia political affairs for many years, Loutellus Meigs "Lou" Stout was also blessed with a truly intriguing name! Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on January 28, 1924, Stout was the son of Loutellus Meigs Stout Sr. (1871-1953) and Anne Van Diver Stout (1888-1974). His early life was centered in the New Milton, Doddridge County area and he is remarked as being a sheep and cattle raiser both before and after his time in politics.
  Stout was elected in November 1956 to represent Doddridge County in the West Virginia House of Delegates and was reelected to a second term in 1958. Following his time in the legislature, he served as Chairman of the Republican Executive Committee of Doddridge County from 1961-1963 and during the 1970s served as Executive Secretary of the West Virginia Farm Bureau. Stout also held the presidency of the West Virginia Wool Marketing Association and was secretary of the Independent Oil and Gas Association for a time.
   Loutellus M. Stout continued to be an active public servant well into his eighth decade, serving in the clerk's office of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals until his retirement in 2007 at age 83. After many years of service to his state, Stout died at age 88 on May 20, 2012, in Charleston, and was survived by his wife and two children. He was later laid to rest at the Cunningham Memorial Park in St. Albans, West Virginia.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Atlantic Abraham Moore (1834-1916)

   Known by his contemporaries as "Lank" Moore, Atlantic Abraham Moore was indeed named after the second largest ocean in the world! While this fact alone is worth mentioning, his political career is also of some repute. During his 82 years of life, Moore was elected to a variety of public offices in both the Kansas and Arizona Territories.
   Atlantic "A.A." Moore was born on September 15, 1834 in Ohio. As a child he removed to Illinois with his family and as an adolescent lived in Wisconsin for a time. In 1858, Moore and his older brother found employment driving government ambulance wagons from Kansas City, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The task proved to be arduous, and after one trip out the Moore brothers returned to what is now Durham, Kansas and subsequently bought out a trading post. Within a few short years, the area in which they had settled became Marion County, Kansas, and Lank Moore was named as the county treasurer in 1865. That same year he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and was reelected to that office in 1867 and 1871.  With his name firmly established in Kansas politics, Lank Moore ran for a seat in the State Senate in 1868 and handily defeated his opponent.
   Moore eventually relocated to the Arizona Territory in 1876 and settled in the town of Prescott. Within a short time, he established a large ranch and engaged in the raising of cattle, while also taking an interest in Arizona's vast mining industry. Moore also began involving himself in Arizona politics, serving as a Prescott City councilman for a number of years. 
  In 1898, the citizens of Yavapai County elected Moore to the Arizona Territorial House of Representatives, where he served from 1899-1901. He was later reelected to the state house in 1911, shortly after Arizona gained statehood. During his legislative service, Moore was named to a number of committees, including the Committee on Public Lands, Public Health and Statistics, and Agriculture and Irrigation. He was described in an 1899 Arizona Legislative Manual (where the below picture was located) as one of the "quietest members of the legislature, yet one who has been found by his associates as fully capable in all members of parliamentary procedure."
   The year before his reelection to the legislature, Atlantic A. Moore was named as a delegate to the Arizona Constitutional Convention, again representing Yavapai County. He died at age 82 on December 22, 1916, at the home of his son in Glendale, Arizona. A newspaper of the time lists A.A. Moore's cause of death as appendicitis. He was interred at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Yavapai County and was survived by his second wife Nancy Waterman Moore, who died in 1926 at age 78.

Atlantic A. Moore as he appeared in an 1899 Arizona Legislative Manual.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Uranus Owen Brackett Wingate (1848-1911)

  This wonderfully named gentleman is Uranus Owen Brackett Wingate, an influential physician and resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I first discovered Wingate in the Who Was Who in America, 1897-1942 edition, which was located in my high school library. I've been wanting to profile Mr. Wingate for quite awhile on the blog here, and before getting too in depth on his life, I must clarify the fact that he is NOT a politician......and I'm certain this is bound to elicit some bewildered stares from some of you readers! 
   I can see it now...."if he's not a politician.....why on earth are you writing about him?" An excellent question to pose, but, while he isn't an elected public official, Wingate did hold the posts of Health Commissioner of Milwaukee and Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Health! Both of the latter positions are mentioned in Wisconsin government registers of the time, and, as he was the head of a state agency (the state board of health), it is that post that earns him a place here! 
   With that diatribe out of the way, I must mention that I've always been a bit hesitant when it comes to adding state officials that served in offices like "State Railroad Commissioner", "State Health Commissioner" or "Commissioner of Insurance". All of these positions sound non-political but are public offices within the perimeter of the state government, and the men and women who attained these offices were either appointed or elected to them. This places Wingate squarely in the category of "sort of political figure" if that makes sense!
    U.O.B. Wingate was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on September 4, 1848, the son of David and Lydia Thompson Wingate. Wingate looks to have been bestowed his unusual name in honor of Uranus Owen Brackett (1836-1899), a Berwick, Maine resident who served terms in the Maine House of Representatives, the State Senate and the Governor's Council. At age sixteen Wingate signed on for service during the Civil War, joining Sherman's Army, and later served as a member of a military railroad construction outfit until the close of the hostilities.
   After leaving the service, Wingate began pursuing medical studies at Harvard University and graduated from the Dartmouth Medical School in 1875 with a degree in medicine. He established a medical practice in the villages of Haverhill and Wellesley, Massachusetts soon after his graduation. Sources vary on the exact year that Wingate left Massachusetts, but it is known that he resettled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in either 1885 or 1886.
  Soon after his relocation, Wingate reestablished his medical practice and on July 11, 1889, he married Nellie West Schoonmaker.  In the year following his marriage, Wingate was appointed as Health Commissioner of the city of Milwaukee and served four years in that post. In 1893 he launched an investigation into the sanitary condition of the Milwaukee school system, and during the course of his analysis, found that six of these schools needed to be shut down due to their being in "unwholesome condition, owing to poor sewerage." An article mentioning his examination is posted below. In addition to his service as Health Commissioner, Wingate also served as the President of the Milwaukee County Medical Society and a visiting neurologist to both the Milwaukee County and St. Mary's hospitals.

                    This article appeared in the Feb. 1, 1893 edition of the Painesville, Ohio Telegraph.

  In the last year of his term as Health Commissioner, Dr. Wingate was appointed as the Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Health. He served ten years as the head of this board and during his tenure proved to be a man of remarkable foresight and readiness. A New York Times article from January 1898 notes that Wingate gave an extensive response to a questionnaire filed by the New York Board of Trade and Transportation in regards to a "uniform system of quarantine in the United States." In his response, Wingate advocated the establishment of a new governmental department whose sole responsibility was the supervision of the country's sanitary and health affairs. 
  After reading this article (which has been posted below) one should take note that Uranus Wingate actively encouraged the installation of a U.S. health department nearly sixty years before the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare under President Eisenhower in 1953. This department was later broken up into two separate cabinet entities in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter.

   Wingate resigned from the Wisconsin State Board of Health in 1904 and in the years following his service authored numerous articles that were published in medical journals of the day, mainly relating to hygiene, diseases of the nervous system, and neurology. It is noted in the 1906 work "History of New Hampshire Surgeons in the War of Rebellion" that soon after his resignation, he established a "private institution near Milwaukee for the treatment of mental diseases.
  Uranus O.B. Wingate died at age 62 on February 19, 1911, as the result of pneumonia. In the course of research on him, I've been quite surprised at the number of medical journals and local histories that mention his public service and medical career, especially considering the overall obscurity of the man. I also must mention the American Journal of Public Health, Volume II, where most of this information was located. This work gave quite an extensive chronology of Wingate's life and times, right up until his death in 1911. 

    This portrait of Dr. U.O.B. Wingate was discovered in the "Notable Men of Wisconsin" 1902 edition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eleazer Green Jr. (1846-1933)

  In keeping with a local theme, the following write-up centers on an oddly named local political figure named Eleazer Green Jr. Green served a two-year term as Mayor of Jamestown, New York and was later elected as the Chautauqua County District Attorney. He is little remembered today (even here in Chautauqua County) and one of the few proper biographies mentioning Green can be found in the second volume of John Philip Downs' "History of Chautauqua County, New York and its People." I just so happen to have this three-volume set (published in 1921) in my possession, and I was overjoyed to find previously unknown facts on ol' Eleazer that is practically impossible to locate online. Green is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery under a small headstone that gives no mention to his lengthy public service to Chautauqua County and Jamestown, and earlier today I managed to get a photo of it to post here. And now on to the article!!!! 
  Green was originally born in the village of Remsen, New York on March 16, 1846, the son of Eleazer and Sylvinia Kent Green. Eleazer Green Jr. relocated to Chautauqua County in 1868 and that same year graduated from the prestigious Albany Law School. After returning to Chautauqua, he found employment as a law office clerk and in 1870 he established his own law practice, continuing in this vocation for decades afterward. He married in 1873 to Ms. Mary E. Brown, who predeceased him in death on March 11, 1900. The couple also had three children, Edward (died 1961), Ella (died 1942) and Clara (died 1957).
  Green received his first taste at public office in 1875 when he was elected as clerk of the Village of Jamestown, serving one year in this post. The village of Jamestown was incorporated as a city in 1886 and eight years later Eleazer Green Jr was elected as the city's 2nd mayor. His two-year mayoral term ended in 1896 and that same year won election to the office of District Attorney for Chautauqua County. Downs' "History of Chautauqua County" gives mention that during his tenure as district attorney, Green "was a terror to the criminal class, allowing nothing to swerve him from the full performance of his duty" and also notes that in his eight years in office, Green prosecuted five murder cases, and secured a conviction for every one of them!
                      This portrait of Eleazer Green was featured in the 1895 New York Red Book.

   During his later years, Green served as a trustee of the James Prendergast Library Association and also took an active interest in the fish population of Chautauqua Lake. Using his own funds, Green developed a study on the muskellunge or "muskie", a large freshwater fish that makes its home in Chautauqua Lake. During the course of his research, Green learned of the spawning habits and other aspects of this fish, and through numerous experiments (both by himself and with others) proved that the muskie "could be hatched through artificial means". Green is also mentioned as a "farsighted investor" in the 1898 work "The Men of New York" and this book gives note of his purchase and development of swampland on the northern portion of Chautauqua Lake. This swampy area of our county was eventually turned into various lakefront properties and was called Greenhurst-on-Chautauqua (now referred to as Greenhurst) and received its name in honor of Eleazer!
  Green died at his Broadhead Avenue home in Jamestown on November 26, 1933. He was nearly 88 years old and was memorialized in his Jamestown Post Journal obituary as the "dean of the legal profession of Jamestown and Chautauqua County". According to the aforementioned obituary, his death was the result of a "sudden and entirely unexpected stroke." A copy of Green's death certificate (courtesy of the good people at the Lakeview Cemetery Association) is located below.

  To close this article, here is the picture of Eleazer Green's headstone that I took earlier today at Lakeview Cemetery. You'll notice that it gives no mention of his tenure as Jamestown's Mayor or as District Attorney, and is quite modest considering the public stature of the man buried beneath it!

                                         Eleazer Green, Mayor of Jamestown, NY, 1894-1896.

    This obituary of Eleazer Green Jr. appeared in the "The Grape Belt and Chautauqua Farmer" in 1933.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orator Henry LaCraft (1850-1940)

  This obscure South Dakota resident is one Orator Henry LaCraft, listed by most historical resources by the initials "O.H." During his long life, LaCraft was regarded as one of Clark County's most influential citizens and gained his notoriety through a variety of public endeavors, including town postmaster, rancher, farmer, teacher and state senator. Very few sources exist that mention Mr. LaCraft at great length, with the exception going to Doane Robinson's "History of South Dakota, Volume II" which was published in 1904. The majority of the facts on today's "honoree" were found in the aforementioned work, and within its pages are numerous biographies on other notable South Dakota residents who lived in the latter part of the 19th century.
  Orator LaCraft was originally born in Farmington, Wisconsin on August 13, 1850. His parents were natives of the Ashtabula, Ohio area and resettled in Wisconsin a few years before his birth. He attended schools local to the Washington County, Wisconsin area and after reaching adolescence moved to the town of Sheboygan. It was here that he began a decade-long career as a farmer, while also pursuing a teaching career during "the winter months." In April 1873 he married Charlotte Haviland, and the couple was married ten years before her death on July 17, 1883. They also had one son, Oscar Merton LaCraft, who died at age 20 in 1898.
  In 1883, LaCraft removed to South Dakota and eventually settled in Clark County. Within a few years of his relocation, he built up a prosperous general merchandise store, which he ran until 1891. Orator LaCraft remarried in 1885 to Ms. Clara Smith, and the couple had five children: Walter (born 1886), Delmar (died at age 3 in 1892), Osmer (born 1893), Lynn (born 1897) and Irma (born 1897). In addition to having a large family, he was also the owner and operator of a 320-acre ranch in Clark County for many years.
  Throughout the 1890s, LaCraft involved himself with public offices in his native county, beginning with his stint as assistant postmaster of Clark County in 1891. He later served as a member of the Clark School Board (including four years as its president) and also as a justice of the peace. LaCraft was also active in local fraternal organizations, including the Knights of Pythias, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
  In 1900, Orator H. LaCraft won election as a Republican to the South Dakota State Senate, representing his native county of Clark. He served in the Senate until 1904 and after leaving office, virtually nothing is known of his life.  LaCraft died at age 89 on July 25, 1940, and his wife Clara predeceased him by one year. The graves of the LaCraft family are located in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Clark County and the portrait of him shown above was discovered in the 1903 South Dakota Legislative Manual, which has proven to be another great repository for both names and pictures!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trevanion William Hugo (1848-1923), Trevanyon Levonia Matthews (1849-1944)

   This bearded fellow is Mr. Trevanion William Hugo,  a two-term Mayor of Duluth, Minnesota who was also a prominent figure in American Masonry. I first discovered T.W. Hugo on a historical roster of past Duluth mayors and during the course of research on his life, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a number of articles and pictures of him existed in some form or another. I wish this could be the story behind some of the other profiles on the site here, and considering the overall obscurity of Mr. Hugo, the wealth of articles mentioning him are a lasting testament to his reputation and public stature.
  Hugo was originally born in Boddinoc, Cornwall, England on July 29, 1848, the son of Nicholas Trevanion Kemp Hugo (1823-1906) and his wife Mary Rendle Marks. While Trevanion was still quite young the Hugo family resettled in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he attended the common schools. After leaving school, Hugo worked as a machinist for a number of years and later served as a marine engineer aboard numerous steamships on the Great Lakes. In September 1872 he married in Kingston to Ms. Jean Lanigan (1851-1902), with whom he had two sons, Victor Rendle Marks (1873-1913) and Rene Trevanion (1881-1924).
  Hugo resettled in Duluth, Minnesota with his family in 1881 and during the mid-1880s was employed as the chief engineer of the Consolidated Elevator Company. Hugo also used his engineering expertise in connection with the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, where he was a consulting engineer. 
  Sources of the time stress Trevanion Hugo's activity with the Masonic Fraternity, both in Canada and Minnesota. During his life, he was accorded numerous honors from this organization, including a stint as Grand Chancellor of the Supreme Council Scottish Rite of Free Masonry and later as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Minnesota. He was also active in publishing Masonic literature and authored an index on the Morals and Dogma of Masonry
  In addition to his prolific Masonic activities, Trevanion Hugo was also a highly regarded public official in Duluth, serving as a member of the Duluth Public Library Board and later earned a term as the President of the Duluth School Board. While these activities garnered Hugo a high public profile, he didn't actively pursue political office until 1890, when he won a seat on the Duluth City Council. He later was named as the President of this Council and in 1900 was elected as the Mayor of Duluth, serving a term of four years. A newspaper photo mentioning Hugo's tenure as mayor (as well as his service as a Republican National Convention delegate) is posted below.

              This picture of  Hugo appeared in the March 17, 1904 edition of the Minneapolis Journal.

    After his mayoral term, Hugo helped compile and edit the first volume of the History of Duluth and St. Louis County, which was published in 1910. The portrait of Hugo at the beginning of this profile was discovered in the aforementioned book. He returned to the political stage in 1920 when he was named as the acting Mayor of Duluth, upon the resignation of Clarence R. Magney (1883-1962). Hugo served out the rest of Magney's unexpired term into early 1921 when a successor (Samuel Snively) was elected.
  Trevanion William Hugo died at age 75 on February 27, 1923, as a result of "a relapse from a slight attack of influenza". The Duluth News Tribune memorialized Hugo as a "cultured gentleman in the best American meaning of the word" and that "few men better deserved the title of useful citizen."

                     This portrait of Trevanion Hugo appeared in the 1902 edition of "Men of Minnesota".

  In an interesting update to this article..... on March 4, 2012, a previously unknown politician was discovered who also has the given name "Trevanion", albeit with a slight variation in spelling. Read on to find out more!

  This newly discovered gentleman is Trevanyon Levonia Matthews, a resident of Cass County, Illinois who served one term in his state's House of Representatives. Matthews (some sources spell his name with only one "t") later relocated to Nebraska, where he gained additional notoriety as a United States Marshal. Earlier today I discovered his name in the Biographies of the State Officers and the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, which was published in 1883. This book offers up the only available biography on Matthews and the majority of the information in this addition comes from that source.
  He was originally born in the town of Florence, Pennsylvania on March 1, 1849. Matthews migrated to Cass County, Illinois in the mid-1860s and eventually removed to the town of Virginia in 1876. It was here that he became apprenticed to a carriage manufacturing outfit and engaged in this vocation for several years. Also during this time he began learning the printing trade and in the late 1870s became the editor of the Virginia Gazette newspaper.
  During his career as a publisher and printer, Matthews became active in local political circles and eventually mounted an unsuccessful campaign for county circuit clerk. His political fortunes changed in 1882 when he was elected by the citizens of Cass County as a Republican to the Illinois State House of Representatives. During his two year term, Matthews held a seat on the House Committees of Revenue, Canal and River Development, and Fish and Game. A roster from the 1883 legislative session (in which Matthews served) is posted below.

  Trevanyon L. Matthews resettled in Nebraska sometime in the 1890s and in 1899 was named as United States Marshal for Nebraska. Little references could be found on Matthew's tenure in this position, but it is known that he left this post in 1905. Nothing else is known of Matthews's life after this point, with the exception of his death, which occurred in Fremont, Nebraska on June 2, 1944. One can note that Matthews reached the great age of 95 and died over sixty years after serving in the Illinois Legislature! The portrait of him above was discovered in the 1904 work 1854-1904 Nebraskans, available on Google books.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goforth Judson Ditch (1856-1944)

  This obscure man is Goforth Judson Ditch, a resident of St. Genevieve, Missouri who served one term in his state's House of Representatives. The portrait of him above is very likely the only one available online, and sources mentioning his legislative service and life have proven to be rather difficult to locate. A notable exception is the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1921-1922, where the above picture was found. This state manual offers forth the only substantial biography on Mr. Ditch, and although it is rather short, it will certainly help in compiling a brief write-up on him.
   Goforth J. Ditch was born in Waterloo, Illinois on October 8, 1856, being the son of John David and Elizabeth Ditch. At some point during his youth, his family resettled in St. Genevieve, Missouri, where he attended public schools. Ditch married here in February 1881 to Julia Ann Hipes. Goforth and Julia were married for sixty-two years, until her death in March 1943. The couple also had several children, Walter, Luther, Katie, Vallac, Andrew, Laura and Elbert.
   The Official Manual of Missouri lists Ditch's occupation as that of a farmer and school teacher, and it is noted that he followed the latter vocation for over fifty years! Ditch was also a justice of the peace in St. Genevieve County and later served as a census enumerator in 1900 and 1910. In 1920 Ditch was elected to a seat in the Missouri State House of Representatives. An electoral result from that state election is shown below, as it appeared in the St. Genevieve Fair Play on October 30, 1920. Ditch took his seat at the start of the 1921-22 session, and during his service sat on the following house legislative committees: Enrolled Bills, Federal Regulations, and Public Health and Scientific Institutions.

   Ditch served in the legislature for one term, which concluded in 1923. It is presumed that he went back to his earlier teaching career, but this remains uncertain. In 1932 Ditch reentered politics by running for his old seat in the state legislature but came up short in the vote count that year, being defeated by Democratic incumbent Louis Durey, 2,875 votes to 1, 338. Goforth J. Ditch died in St. Genevieve in February 1944 at age 87, a little less than a year after the death of his wife.

You Can Help!
  I am currently searching for more information on Goforth J. Ditch and need your assistance! As there is next to nothing online about this wonderfully named man, maybe someone out there knows more than what is already stated in his article. If any reader/amateur historian wants an interesting project to fill their time with, see what info you can dig up on this oddly named Missouri representative!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

McKercher John Randall (1872-1918)

Portrait from the Iowa Red Book, 1917-18 edition.

   A one-term member of the Iowa House of Representatives, McKercher John"Mac" Randall was born on May 17, 1872, in Hartland, Iowa,  the son of John and Almeda Randall. The Randall family removed to Nebraska in the year following their son's birth and returned to Iowa in 1879. "Mac", as he was familiarly known, attended schools local to the Worth County area and went on to study at several colleges, including the Iowa State College in Ames, the Cornell University in Mt. Vernon and University at Iowa City. 
   Randall earned his law degree from the last named school in 1901 and opened a law practice in the town of Lisbon, practicing here for several years. He would also serve a term as Mayor of Lisbon beginning in 1905. He married Katharine Stahl (1870-1970) in February 1897 and this union produced two sons, John David and Milo, the latter dying nine years before his fatherMcKercher Randall's obituary in the Lisbon Herald gives note that he was engaged as a minister for the United Evangelical Church while residing in Lisbon, and that "he was strength in itself in this profession, being deep and ready in the pulpit and tactful and sympathetic in the pastorate."
   Mac Randall left Lisbon in 1908 and soon after resettled in Cedar Rapids. He established another law practice here and also became active in civic affairs in that city, serving as the president of the Cedar Rapids school board and later was the grand master of the grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows from 1914-1915. 

A Randal campaign notice from the May 25, 1916 Lisbon Herald.

    In early 1916 Randall announced his candidacy for the Iowa House of Representatives from Linn County and hit the stump, campaigning throughout the district he hoped to represent. His candidacy was profiled in the Mount Vernon Herald in May of that year, in which he was acknowledged as: 
"A firm believer in the doctrine of few laws and those laws sufficiently enforced without regard to friends or influence and believes that the legislature would do better service by perfecting present laws than by adopting a lot of new laws. Mr. Randall is a forceful and convincing speaker and if elected will efficiently represent this county in the State Legislature."
   Following his primary election win in June 1916 Mac Randall won a legislative seat that November, garnering 8,692 votes on election day. Taking his seat at the start of the 1917 session, Randall sat on the committees on Commerce and Trade, Judiciary, the State University, Public Utilities, Municipal Corporations, Labor and the Soldier's Home.
   With a bright future in state government before him, Randall's service in the state legislature was cut short by his death on May 9, 1918, shortly before his 46th birthday. His obituary lists the cause of his demise as an attack of apoplexy, and that he "passed away two hours later". His sudden passing was acknowledged in the following assessment given by his fellow legislators shortly after his death:
"As a member of the legislature he was always ready to listen, to investigate, to discuss, and to give and take when it was fair and right, but never willing to comprise with wrong. He was an untiring worker and a man of broad vision and generous sympathies, and he easily ranked as one of the ablest and most popular members of the House of Representatives."
   McKercher J.Randall was subsequently interred in the Lisbon Cemetery in Lisbon, Iowa. He was survived by his son John and wife Katharine, who died in 1970 at the age of 100.

                                                                     From the Lisbon Herald, May 16, 1918.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cola De Rienzi Meacham (1838-1907), Cola Byron Streetman (1907-1991)

   The second Vermonter to be profiled here in as many days, Cola De Rienzi Meacham served in his state's House of Representatives from 1902-1904, representing the  county of Caledonia. Interestingly, Meacham served in the same legislative session as yesterday's site honoree, Pearl Castle Abbey. In an even more intriguing coincidence, both of these politicians were Baptist clergymen! 
  Looking more like a mad scientist than a pastor/public official, Cola De Rienzi Meacham was born to Vermont parents in Shefford, Province of Quebec, Canada on October 10, 1838Meacham's parents eventually resettled in Newport, Vermont in 1844, six years after their son's birth. Meacham received his unusual name in honor of the famed Roman politician and tribune Cola Di Rienzo (also spelled as Rienzi) who was assassinated in the year 1354. 
  As a youth, Meacham studied at the Derby Academy and (in another similarity to Pearl C. Abbey) later attended the New Hampton Institute in Fairfax, Vermont. Meacham graduated in 1870 from the Newton Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister that same year in Barre, Massachusetts. He married on June 14, 1870 to Ms. Electa Dustin Grow (1834-1902). The couple later became the parents of three sons, Willis Grow (died aged one in 1872), Cola Winn (born 1872) and Alfred Bertrand (born 1874).
  Throughout the latter part of the 19th century, Meacham served as pastor in many churches, mainly in the New England area. In 1886 he accepted the pastorate of the Baptist church in Ashland, Massachusetts, where the portrait below was taken. You'll notice the impressive facial hair that Meacham had during his younger years, and is a far cry from what he looked like during his tenure in the Vermont legislature.

                     This portrait of Cola DeR. Meacham appeared in the book "Ashland", authored by 
                            Edward A. McGuire and R. Marc Kantrowicz in 2001.

  Meacham left Ashland in 1889 and accepted a pastorate in Long Pine, Nebraska, and preached here until 1891. He returned to Vermont that same year, settling in the village of Townshend. Meacham became pastor here in 1892 and was later appointed as the Townshend Superintendent of Schools in 1897. 
  Several years after settling in Townshend, Meacham removed again, this time resettling in the town of Barnet. It was here that he was elected to his first political office, a seat in the Vermont State House of Representatives. He served in the legislature from 1902 to 1904, and during his term of service held a seat on the house Committee on Temperance. After his legislative service, Meacham returned to his earlier duties as a pastor and continued in this position until his death on June 3, 1907 at age 68. The portrait of Meacham shown at the top of this article was found in Vermont, A Souvenir of its Government, 1902-03, the same book in which the portrait of Pearl Castle Abbey was discovered. The below obituary for Meacham appeared in the June 7, 1907 edition of the Brattleboro, Vermont Phoenix.

   Mr. Cola Byron Streetman served a brief term as Mayor of the city Vero Beach and was for many years a potent force in the citrus industry in the Sunshine state. The son of George Sinclair (1872-1960) and Savannah Kilpatrick Streetman (1876-1943), Cola B. Streetman was born in Alabama in September 1907 and later married to Ms. Myrtle Hogan (1911-2000), with whom he would have two sons.
 Streetman removed to Vero Beach, Florida in 1929. Once settled, he joined his father in law in the local citrus industry and during the 1930s was successfully engaged in this business throughout the counties of Indian River and St. Lucie, serving as the general manager of the Hogan and Sons Citrus Co. As a founder of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Streetman was at the forefront of the Florida citrus industry becoming known worldwide, and his involvement with this organization wasn't limited to being a founder. He served on the FFVA Board of Directors for thirty-five years and was named as director emeritus two years before his death.
  In addition to his active involvement with the FFVA, Streetman also was a leading light in Vero Beach civic affairs, being elected as the Mayor of Vero Beach in December 1952. He served one term in this office, with his tenure concluding in December 1953. In his later years, Streetman continued to be an active force in the FFVA, serving as its President in 1969 and 1970. He died in January 1991 at age 83 and was interred at the Crestview Cemetery in Vero Beach. Streetman was survived by his wife Myrtle, who died nine years after her husband in February 2000 at age 89.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pearl Castle Abbey (1842-1918), Pearl Tenney Haskell (1868-1919)

   This Vermont resident with the feminine-sounding name is Mr. Pearl Castle Abbey, a clergyman and farmer who served one term in his states House of Representatives in the early 20th century. Information on Abbey's life is sorely lacking, but enough resources have been located to aid me in writing a small biography for him.
  Abbey was born in the town of Essex, Chittenden County, Vermont on February 6, 1842, the son of Ira and Emily Cilley Abbey. As a youth, Pearl Abbey attended the Essex Classical Institute and later graduated from the Hampton Institute in Fairfax, Vermont. In March 1863 Abbey married in Jericho, Vermont to Ms. Martha E. Weed (1842-1916), and they were married for fifty-four years, her death occurring in 1916. Two children were born to the couple, Bert Wood Abbey (1869-1962) and daughter Pearl May Abbey (born 1871.)
  The majority of the available sources on Abbey's life mention him as a clergyman, with one explicitly stating his position as Deacon of the Baptist Church at Essex. Religion continued to play an important role throughout Abbey's public life, and in 1892 he was appointed as chaplain of the Vermont State House of Representatives. Research also indicates that Abbey was regarded as a fairly prominent figure in Essex, and besides his service to the church, he was also entrusted to hold a variety of other posts, including town selectman, justice of the peace and Essex County Superintendent of Schools. Later in his life, Abbey was named as a member of the board of trustees of the Essex Classical Institute, serving in this post for fifteen years.
  In November 1901, Pearl C. Abbey won election to the Vermont State House of Representatives, representing Chittenden County for the 1902-04 legislative session. His term in the legislature concluded in 1904 and he died in Essex on February 7, 1918, one day after his 76th birthday. He was subsequently buried alongside his wife Mary in the Mountain View Cemetery in Essex Center, Vermont. Abbey's son Bert is also interred in the family plot.
  The portrait of Pearl Castle Abbey shown above (very likely the only picture of him available online) was discovered in the book Vermont, A Souvenir of its Government, 1902-03, which was published during his tenure in the legislature.

                      Abbey's name as it appeared on a 1902 roster of Vermont state representatives.     

  Another state legislator with this odd feminine name is Mr. Pearl Tenney Haskell of Sanbornville, New Hampshire. Born on March 10, 1868, in Deering, Maine, Haskell was one of six children born to the Rev. William Haskell and his wife Ellen Cary. He was bestowed his unusual name in honor of a family friend, a Captain John Pearl Tenney. The Haskell family relocated from Deering to the city of Falmouth when Pearl was an infant and he is recorded as attending the Newtonville, Massachusetts Grammar School as a youth. He later went on to study at the Phillips Andover Academy as well as the Sheffield Scientific School. 
  Once in his early twenties, Haskell decided to embark upon a career in medicine, enrolling at Bowdoin College and graduated from this institution in the class of 1893. His years at the college also saw him excel at sports in addition to his medical studies, and he is listed as being "devoted to football and other sports" by the Journal of the Maine Medical Association. Haskell married on October 28, 1896 to Ms. Marietta Blake (born 1875) a native of Wakefield, New Hampshire. The couple is recorded as being childless throughout the duration of their marriage. 
  Haskell and his wife removed to Union, New Hampshire during the mid-1890s and shortly after his arrival opened a medical practice. His stay in Union lasted from 1894-96, whereafter he relocated his practice to Sanbornville, New Hampshire, operating here from 1898 to 1905. Haskell relocated once again in 1905 to Concord, where he became a visiting physician at the Margaret Pillsbury General Hospital from 1908-1911.
  While residing in Concord Pearl T. Haskell was elected as a Republican to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives. He served one term in this body from 1911-1913 as a Republican, and he is remarked by the Journal of the Maine Medical Association as "suggesting useful medical improvements" during his service. Haskell also chaired the House Committee on Public Health during this legislative term. 

                 Haskell as he looked during his New Hampshire legislative service, circa 1911.

  In 1914 Pearl Haskell relocated to Bangor, Maine to accept the position of assistant physician at the Eastern Maine State Hospital, and after three years service was promoted to Superintendent of that hospital. The Journal of the Maine Medical Association notes that Haskell utilized new techniques in medicine during his time at this hospital, and is recorded as organizing a "minstrel entertainment and a band" to amuse the patients, and also "for concert purposes as well as for noting the effect of music on the insane."
  Haskell suffered from health problems during his later years, being mentioned as "disease of the sacro-iliac joint" as well as typhoid. He continued to practice medicine until his death at age 50 on April 13, 1919, when he was found dead near his car, due to a probable case of myocarditis. He was survived by his wife Marietta, and a burial location for both Haskell and his wife is unknown at this time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Matere Eakins Beman (1859-1929)

Portrait from Ohio Legislative History 1909-1912, Vol. I

   The political figure profiled today is Matere Eakins Beman, a little-known native of Gallia County, Ohio who served one term in Ohio state senate from 1913-1919. A small biography of Mr. Beman is located in the Ohio Legislative History Manual of 1913, where the majority of this article's information was culled from.
   Matere Eakins Beman was born on June 27, 1859 in Thurman, Ohio. He attended schools local to the Gallia County, Ohio area and married in 1894 to Maggie Thurman. Most of the available sources on Beman mention him as a farmer and stock raiser, with emphasis on his raising of "pure bred cattle". He was also involved in banking in his native county for a number of years preceding his legislative service, serving as the president of the First National Bank of Thurman. The Ohio Legislative Manual also gives a note on Beman's public stature in his native town, citing his service as mayor, town councilman and later as a member of the school board.
   In 1912 Beman was nominated by the citizens of Gallia County for a seat in the Ohio State Senate. He ran as a Republican and was elected to the legislature "by a majority of 1600". After taking his seat in 1913, Beman is noted as giving "most of his attention to bills affecting the farming interests" of his district and state. He served on a number of committees during his Senate service, including the committee on Banks and Savings Societies, Fees and Salaries, and Prisons and Prison Reform.
  Beman's Senate tenure last but one term, and after leaving the legislature returned to his earlier banking and farming interests. He died in Thurman on November 1, 1929, at age 70 and was buried in the Gallia County Cemetery. A small obituary on Beman memorializes him as a "one of the county's wealthiest citizens, and was said to be the largest individual taxpayers in the county." 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Didymus Thomas (1812-1887)

   The annals of the New York State Assembly have proven to be one of the better resources out there when it comes to finding oddly named politicians. Since this project came into being, over 100 politicians have been discovered that have walked the hallowed halls of the New York State legislature. Unfortunately, many of these men and women have minute amounts of information on their lives available online, but every now and then one of them really surprises you.......
   Today's article is a perfect example of what copious amounts of research can do. The man shown above is Didymus Thomas, a little-known resident of Oneida County who served one term in the New York State Assembly. Thomas was discovered on the Political Graveyard in 2010, and other than that site's mention of his assembly service, little else could be found on him. A random Google search also yielded minimal results information wise, and I had given up hope on finding out more about his life. Thomas remained an otherwise elusive figure until late last year when I happened to be searching through archived county history books on (mentioned along with the Political Graveyard in this blog's introduction.) The former site has numerous instances of archived literature detailing the histories of almost every county in New York state, including one particular one centering on the history of Oneida County.
   The book in question was published in 1878 under the title The History of Oneida County, New York and Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. As I perused the biographies page I stumbled across the name of Didymus Thomas and was pleasantly surprised to find out that a substantial biography of him (along with the portrait shown above) was featured prominently in said book. The majority of the following information was found in the aforementioned work.
   Didymus Thomas was born in Steuben, New York on May 24, 1812, to Thomas Thomas (not a typo!) and his wife Mary Hughes Thomas, who were both natives of Wales. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1800 and eventually settled in the village of Steuben in 1804. Didymus (whose name means "twin" in Greek) attended schools local to the Steuben area and also worked at farming. As a young man he worked as a schoolteacher, and later settled into a career as a general merchandiser and store owner. He married in 1835 to Ms. Lydia Pierce, with whom he had one daughter, Lydia Marion (1835-1905). The Thomas's marriage was was short-lived, as Lydia Pierce Thomas died at age 25 in August 1840. Didymus remarried sometime in the 1840s to Ms. Eliza Griffin, who died in 1882.
   The History of Oneida County also makes note of Thomas's later career as a cheese manufacturer. In his later years, Thomas built a large structure on his property (shown below) devoted to the manufacture of the dairy product, and it's mentioned that it was "one of the best patronized factories in the vicinity."

       This sketch of Didymus Thomas's home appeared in the 1878 book "History of Oneida County".

   Thomas's cheese factory closed within a few short years of opening, due to the "onerous duties imposed", as well as the "unreasonable exaction of patrons". After this endeavor, he engaged in real estate transactions for a number of years, in addition to his earlier mercantile pursuits.
   Didymus Thomas was also politically active in his native county, serving at various times as magistrate, postmaster, justice of the peace and township supervisor for the village of Remsen. Sources of the time mention him as a "Free Soil Democrat, but never failing by his vote or influence, to promote the cause of temperance." In 1859, the citizens of Oneida County elected Thomas to the New York State Assembly, where he served a one year term. His term in the legislature may have been short, but the History of Oneida County gives note that he represented his district "in a manner highly creditable to himself and most satisfactory to his constituents". Thomas's sterling character and integrity are also attested to in the "History of Oneida County", which notes that he was "an exceptionally rigid temperance advocate, having never made use during his life of alcoholic stimulants or tobacco in any form."
   Thomas died in Steuben on March 7, 1887, at age 74. One source lists his cause of death as a "shock of paralysis" which he sustained on the day preceding his death. Both Didymus and his wife Lydia were interred in the Capel Ucha Cemetery in the town of Steuben. In an aside note, the town of Remsen, NY named a library in honor of Didymus Thomas some years after his death, proving that he isn't a totally forgotten historical figure!

An article on Thomas' Assembly nomination, published in the Rome, NY Citizen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meneely Hitchcock Hanks (1842-1882)

Portrait courtesy of Find-a-Grave.

   When it comes to compiling profiles for some of these obscure politicians, some are easier to research than others. On more than one occasion I've been surprised by the amount of information that comes to light when "digging up the dirt" on some of these long-dead individuals! On the flip side of that coin, however, a great many of these elected officials have just one or two snippets to work off of, and worse yet, some have only one source mentioning their name and whatever office they may have held.
   Our subject today falls into the latter category. Mr. Meneely Hitchcock Hanks was a 19th century resident of Tolland County, Connecticut, and his political service was that of a representative in the Connecticut State Legislature for one term in 1869. I discovered Hank's name in an 1881 work entitled the Roll of State Officers and Members of the General Assembly, 1776-1881. This particular work has proven to be quite the blessing when it comes to new names to post here, of which Meneely H. Hanks is the most recent addition.
  Other than the mention of his service in his state's legislature, little else can be found on Hank's life. The Find A Grave website (where the above picture of Hanks was found) indicates that he was born on May 12, 1842, in the town of Mansfield, Connecticut, the son of Edmund and Achsah Loomis Turner Hanks. Meneely Hanks later married Martha Royce on May 2, 1865, and they later had one son, Edward M. Hanks, who died at age 24 in 1896.
   Meneely H. Hanks was elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives in 1869, where he served but one term. Research indicates that he was the owner of a gristmill at some point during the 1870s and he sold this property to "a man from Ellington" in April 1881. Meneely H. Hanks died shortly before his 40th birthday on April 8, 1882, in his native town of Mansfield. It is known that he was survived by both his wife and mother, who died in 1909 and 1887, respectively.

You Can Help!
  I am currently searching for more information on the life of Meneely Hitchcock Hanks and need your assistance! As there is next to nothing available online information wise on this interestingly named man, maybe someone out there knows more than what is already stated in this article! If any reader/lurker/amateur historian wants an interesting project to fill their time with, see what you can dig up on this obscure Connecticut resident!