This lengthy profile will be the longest yet completed, usurping the "politicians named Liberty" article from a few weeks ago. All of the men in this particular posting are American politicians (obviously) but with one added twist--all were named in honor of the same man! That man is Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), an American Baptist missionary who became notable for his religious work in Burma. Judson translated the first American-to-Burmese bible and in the years following his death, numerous children were named in his honor, including the twelve political figures profiled below.
The first of these men is Adoniram Judson Holmes, one of two men named Adoniram who served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Holmes was an Ohioan by birth, being born in the town of Wooster on March 21, 1842. When he was 11 years old he and his family resettled in Palmyra, Wisconsin where he attended school. During the early 1860s, he began studying at Milton University but left after a few months to serve his country on the battlefield. Holmes would join Wisconsin's 24th Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862 and served with that unit until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865.
At the conclusion of his military service, Holmes returned to Milton College and completed his earlier studies. He later went on to study at the University of Michigan Law School, graduating from here in the late 1860s. In 1868 Holmes removed to Boone, Iowa and here opened a law practice with another young lawyer named L.W. Reynolds. This firm enjoyed success and is listed in the Annual Proceedings of the Iowa Bar as having been "one of the strong firms of Central Iowa".
Adoniram Holmes first entered Iowa political life in 1880 when he was elected as the Mayor of Boone, Iowa. In the following year, he won election to the Iowa State House of Representatives for the 1882-83 term, representing Boone County. Holmes later set his sights on a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa's 10th congressional district, and in November 1882 defeated Democrat John Cliggitt by a vote of 14, 250 to 6, 853. Holmes would subsequently be elected to two further terms in 1884 and 1886 and during his final term in the House (1887-89) held a seat on the Committee on Enrolled Bills and the Committee on Pacific Railroads.
Holmes was unsuccessful in his bid for a fourth term in Congress during the 1888 election, losing the nomination to Jonathan Prentiss Dolliver (1858-1910.) After leaving Congress, Holmes was appointed as Sargent-At-Arms of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1890 and served throughout the session of the 51st Congress. After leaving this post in 1892 he returned to his native city of Boone, where in 1896 he was named as County Attorney. He died aged 59 on January 21, 1902, and was buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Boone, Iowa. Holmes was memorialized by the Iowa General Assembly as "a brave soldier, a useful and public spirited citizen, a man of honor and a gentleman in every respect."
I also must venture a comment on the rare portrait of Adoniram Judson Holmes shown above. This picture was found in an 1888 edition of the Standard Stenographic Magazine, Volume 1, and is in all likelihood the only picture of him to be found online. I've been familiar with Holmes's name for over a decade and this happens to be the first picture I've seen of the man, which says a lot about the scarcity of pictures of this unusually named Congressman! Furthermore, the Congressional Bioguide website (one of the oldest and most useful sources on the history of the U.S. House and its members) lacks a portrait of him!
A U.S. Representative from Ohio, Adoniram Judson Warner also distinguished himself as a Colonel and Brigadier General during the Civil War. Warner was a New Yorker by birth, being born in the Erie County town of Wales on January 13, 1834. He and his family removed from New York in 1845 and resettled in Beloit, Wisconsin, where Warner attended school. Warner later returned to New York to attend the New York Central College in the town of McGrawville.
After graduating from the latter institution, Warner spent the next few years as a teacher. He served as Principal of the Lewiston Academy in Pennsylvania and of the Mercer Union School and was later named Superintendent of the Mifflin County Public Schools. Warner married in 1856 to Sarah Elizabeth Butts, a native of Wayne County, New York. The couple eventually had 10 children over 21 years time and are listed as follows: Elmer (died aged five in 1862), Julia Belle (born 1858), Carrie Ellis (born 1860), Annie Laurie (born 1864), Enid (born 1866), Flora Victoria (born 1868), Arthur Judson (born 1870), Horace Sidney (died aged nine in 1881), Laurence (listed as dying in infancy) and Frances Elizabeth (born 1878.) Warner put his teaching career on hold in July 1861 when he was commissioned as a captain in the Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves. Warner's military service lasted throughout the duration of the Civil War and he was wounded at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. He earned promotions as lieutenant colonel and colonel in 1862 and 1863 and in March 1865 was brevetted as Brigadier General.
After leaving the military, Warner was admitted to the bar and relocated to Marietta, Ohio in 1866. During his early Ohio residency, he became involved in a variety of businesses, mainly relating to railroad construction and the production of oil. Also during this time, he began a lifelong interest, one that would later be a prominent theme during his years in Congress: the advocation of free silver. Over the succeeding years, Warner would author a number of pamphlets and books relating to the unlimited coinage of silver, including The Appreciation of Money (1887) and Facts About Silver (1891).
Warner was elected to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1879, representing Ohio. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1881 but was successful in regaining his seat in 1883. He served in Congress until 1887, and during his tenure was mentioned by the National Cyclopedia of American Biography as an "able and convincing speaker, his views being held in high esteem by the advocates of free silver everywhere, and his advice in the councils of his party is always sought and generally followed." He was not a candidate for reelection in 1888 and in the following year became the President of the American Bi-Metallic Union.
In his later years, Warner is recorded having been involved in street railway improvements and construction in both Washington, D.C., and Ohio. He died in Marietta, Ohio on August 12, 1910 and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Marietta.
The third Adoniram to be profiled today is Maine state representative and senator Adoniram Judson Billings. Billings, like the two men who have proceeded him in this article, was also a distinguished Civil War veteran. He served as a surgeon in the 19th Maine Volunteer militia and was involved in the practice of medicine in addition to his political activities. The portrait of Adoniram Billings shown at the top of his profile here was discovered in John Jay Smith's History of the Nineteenth Regiment of Maine Volunteer Infantry, 1862-1865, originally published in 1909. The majority of the information centering on Billings's military service was found in this work.
Billings was born in the town of Newport, Maine on December 3, 1826, and received his education in the schools of Waterville, Maine. He went on to study medicine at the Albany Medical College and graduated from here in 1854. Soon afterward he established a medical practice in the town of Freedom and resided in this town for the remainder of his life.
In 1862 Billings was elected to his first political office, representing Waldo County in the Maine State House of Representatives. Later that same year he was appointed as surgeon of the 19th Maine Volunteer militia, commanded by future Maine Governor Selden Connor (1839-1917). Billings served as a surgeon in this unit until January 1864, when he was discharged for disability. His skill as a surgeon was attested to by many of his fellow servicemen, and author John Jay Smith gives special mention to Billings in his earlier mentioned work. Smith makes note of a regiment reunion in 1874, when a Lieutenant Colonel Spaulding gave the following tribute to Surgeon Billings: "I believe the regiment was more indebted than can ever be known or told, to the skill of the Surgeon with the large and patriotic heart who was continually pained and lashed almost beyond endurance by the duties he was called on to perform, and to the emergencies of that early winters camp. Justice has never been accorded to Dr. Billings; it can never be."
After leaving the military Billings returned to his native town of Freedom and in 1866 was elected to the Maine State Senate from Waldo County. He was reelected to this office the following year and in 1868 won a second term in the Maine State House of Representatives. Billings public profile continued to rise throughout the succeeding years, and in 1873 was named by Maine Governor Sidney Perham as State Inspector of Prisons and Jails. Billings pulled double duty during this administration by also serving as the Surgeon General on Governor Perham's staff.
Late in his life, Adoniram J. Billings was accorded further political honors when he was elected to a third term in the state senate, serving from 1897-1898. He died at age 74 on February 6, 1900, in Freedom, Maine, and was buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery next to his second wife Ann E. Clement, who predeceased him in 1892.
The next Adoniram to be profiled is Adoniram Judson Patterson, a noted New Hampshire clergyman who served a term in his state's House of Representatives in the mid-1860s. Patterson was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania on April 3, 1827, the son of James and Nancy Holt Patterson. Adoniram received his education under the private tutoring of his father and later received private theological training under a number of Crawford County clergymen. He was ordained as a minister in Harbor Creek, Pennsylvania and held his first pastorate in the town of Girard in 1854. He retained this pastorate until 1855 when he relocated to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to accept the pastorate of that city's Universalist church.
His pastorate in Portsmouth lasted 11 years, and during his service here delivered sermons throughout New Hampshire as well as Maine. At the dawn of the Civil War Patterson tried resigning his pastorate in order to enter the army but this was refused by his parish! In spite of being unable to resign from the church, Patterson then used a clause of the 1863 Conscription Act to hire a substitute to serve in his place on the battlefield. While this may sound odd, other prominent men of the time opted to do the same, including future President Grover Cleveland!
Despite not being able to fight, Patterson found another way to serve his country during the war effort. Beginning in 1864 he served as a chaplain at large, ministering to many soldiers on the battlefield and in hospitals in Virginia. Patterson is also mentioned in the 1896 work Men of Progress as helping to distribute "in the trenches more than thirty tons of sanitary stores." The portrait of Patterson below was found in the earlier mentioned book.
After returning to New Hampshire, Patterson stumped for President Lincoln (who was then running for reelection) and in 1866 was elected to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Portsmouth. During his legislative service, he still maintained an active ministry and "he did not fail to meet his congregation at any service of the church while the legislature was in session." The Men of Progress also gives note that Patterson was strongly urged to run for Congress during this time, but felt compelled to continue in his church work instead.
Adoniram Patterson eventually left Portsmouth and resettled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He arrived here in June 1866 and accepted a pastorate at that city's Universalist Church. In 1874 he was named as the President of the Massachusetts Convention of Universalists, serving in this post until 1879.
During his later years, Patterson authored two works centering on the histories of the Universalist Churches of Portsmouth and Roxbury and maintained his pastorate at the latter church until his retirement in 1888. During the 1890s and 1900s, Patterson continued his ministry in places throughout Massachusetts, Maine, and even Nebraska. He is also listed as being a major benefactor of Tufts College during this time, establishing new scholarships for students and even had an honorary degree conferred upon him for his work.
Adoniram Patterson died on November 3, 1909, at age 82 in Roxbury. He was survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane Lippitt Patterson, who died in 1919 at age 90.
Adoniram number five is Michigan native Adoniram Judson Gibbs, whose life is shrouded in obscurity. Very few details could be found on this man's public career and political exploits, and I'm quite surprised that I was actually able to locate a picture of him!
Gibbs was born in the town of Nelson, Ohio on January 18, 1840, and removed to Michigan with his father in 1854. He is listed by the Early History of Michigan as receiving an "academical education" and spent the majority of his younger years engaged in farming. He is also listed as being a justice of the peace in the town of Orange, Michigan and was later a school superintendent.
Gibbs was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in 188o from Ionia County and served in the session of 1881-1882. Nothing else could be found on this obscure man, including his date of death. If anyone out there has more information on this oddly named Michigan politician, please don't hesitate to contact me via the comment box below or the site's Facebook page!
Next up is Adoniram Judson Joslyn, an Illinois native who served as a State Constitutional Convention delegate in 1862. He was originally born in McHenry County, Illinois in 1818 and eventually resettled in the city of Elgin. A temperance advocate, opponent of slavery and an early figure in the Illinois Republican party, Joslyn served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Elgin for eleven years, 1844-1855.
During his short life of 49 years, Joslyn became a pioneering figure in Kane County, Illinois, being active in both church work and community affairs. In 1855 he and a number of other prominent Elgin citizens established the Elgin Academy and he served on the board of trustees of this institution from 1855 until his death in 1868. In the year before his death, Joslyn is also recorded as aiding in the construction of the Elgin Insane Asylum.
Attention must also be given to Joslyn's career as a publisher and newspaper editor. During the 1850s he established the Western Christian, the first newspaper to be published in Elgin and later founded the Weekly Gazette. Both of these newspapers were popular with Illinois abolitionists, and in 1862 Joslyn was named as a delegate to the Illinois State Constitutional Convention. This is is the only "political" office Joslyn held, hence his inclusion here.
Joslyn later served as pastor of the Union Park Church in Chicago, and he is mentioned in the History of Kane County, Illinois as being a prominent figure in the establishment of the Chicago University (later the University of Chicago.) Adoniram Joslyn died on October 9, 1868, in Elgin, Illinois, and his exact burial location is unknown at the time of this writing. The portrait of him shown above was found in A History of Elgin Academy of Northwestern University, published in 1906.
Sporting some impressive whiskers is California State Assemblyman Adoniram Judson Batchelder, listed by most sources by the name "A.J. Batchelder". Born in Massachusetts on December 11, 1824, Batchelder journeyed to California during the gold rush years, eventually settling in Yuba County in the 1850s. He would reside here for the rest of his life, and during his early years in the Golden State engaged in mining and merchandising. Batchelder's obituary (which will be posted later) also relates that he was a lifelong bachelor.
In 1855 Batchelder was elected to his first term in the California State Assembly as a member of the Know-Nothing Party. He represented Yuba County for the 1855-56 session and after returning home became involved in a grocery business, while also working as a Wells Fargo Postmaster, mining camp, and essay office agent.
Batchelder was returned to the state assembly in 1865 and 1868, and two years later was appointed as Deputy Census Marshal for California's Northern District. He continued in the grocery business after removing to the settlement of Marysville in the early 1870s, and also maintained a membership in the Yuba Society of Pioneers and the Yuba Lodge of Free and Excepted Masons. Adoniram J. Batchelder died aged 72 on August 7, 1897, at his home in Marysville, California. The cause of death was listed by his obituary as "a lingering illness, gangrene poisoning" and was buried in the Marysville Cemetery in Yuba. The obituary for him below appeared in the August 8, 1897 edition of the San Francisco Call.
Although little information could be found on him, Adoniram Judson Underwood has enough information available to write a small biography for him. No pictures of this oddly named politician are known to exist at this time, so if any reader out there knows where to locate one, please don't hesitate to contact me!
Adoniram J. Underwood was originally born on May 26, 1832, in Chautauqua, New York in the small village of Clymer. Underwood relocated to Ohio with his family in 1835 and as an adolescent learned the trade of printing on the staff of the Western Reserve Chronicle. Underwood married here in 1857 to Nancy Folsom and the couple eventually had five children. Underwood (like many of the other men featured in this article) served his country on the battlefield during the Civil War, being a member of the First Minnesota Volunteers and later as a sharpshooter.
After his military service, Underwood was elected to the Minnesota State House of Representatives, serving from 1871-1872 and is also listed a being the publisher of two newspapers. He died at age 53 on December 21, 1885, in the town of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Underwood was later honored in 1912 by having the town of Underwood, Minnesota named after him.
Equally as obscure as the man who preceded him here, Adoniram Judson Kneeland served a brief term in the New York State Assembly during the mid-1880s. This mysterious man was born in the town of Marcellus, New York on May 5, 1821, the son of Amasa and Charlotte Kneeland. Adoniram studied law in Albany, New York and earned his law degree in 1848. In 1883 he was elected to the New York State Assembly from Cortland County, officially taking his seat in 1885. Kneeland's tenure in the Assembly was brief, as he died later that year on August 15 in the town of Homer, New York and was (presumably) buried there.
Adoniram J. Stone was born in the town of Cornish, New Hampshire on October 13, 1845, the son of Erastus and Lucy Burr Stone. He received his schooling in New Hampshire and is recorded as having relocated to Vermont in the early 1860s. Shortly after his resettlement Stone signed on for military service in Montpelier, joining Co. H of the 6th Vermont Volunteers in August 1861. He is listed by the Gazetteer of Washington County, VT as being mustered into service in October of that year and served his term of enlistment, leaving Co. H in March 1862. Stone later re-enlisted in Co. H's 13th Vermont Volunteers and served another term of duty until being mustered out of service.
After returning home Adoniram Stone married in the village of Bethel on March 8, 1865, to Mary Elizabeth Hardy, with whom he would have three children: Arthur Wilbur (born 1866), Fred Adoniram (born 1875) and Lucy (born 1881). The Gazetteer notes that Adoniram was a farmer, notary public, lister and town auditor for Worcester and in 1882 won election as first selectman for that town. Sources of the time also recorded him as being a parishioner in the Unitarian church.
In 1883 Stone was named as second selectman for Bethel, and his prominence in that town eventually culminated in his being elected to the Vermont State House of Representatives in November 1887. His term of service lasted from 1888-1890 and after this date, Stone's life is a complete mystery. None of the sources highlighting the history of the Washington County or Worcester area give note as to what Stone was up to during the last decade of his life, so it is presumed that he continued to be engaged in farming. Two different genealogical websites relating to the history of the Stone-Hardy families note that he died sometime in 1899. A burial location for Stone is also unknown at this time. The rare portrait of Adoniram J. Stone appeared in the Pictorial History of the Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers, originally published in 1910.
From the February 14, 1910 edition of the Utah Deseret News.
In another new update (June 26, 2012) to an already lengthy article, yet another political figure with the name "Adoniram Judson" has been located....Mr. Adoniram Judson Mathis of Des Moines, Iowa! Despite attaining high office (he served as Mayor of Des Moines) little could be located on Mathis' life, with the exception of the following.
Adoniram J. Mathis was born on November 26, 1844, in Iowa, being the son of William and Elizabeth Duke Mathis, both former residents of Kentucky. The family resided on a farm during Adoniram's youth and later removed to another farm located in the county of Polk. A.J. Mathis is also recorded as marrying in Iowa to Ms. Amanda Carr (1841-1907). The couple is listed by a Rootsweb genealogical page as having two sons, Frank A. (1866-1938) and Whitney H. (1871-1921).
Before his tenure as Mayor A.J. Mathis served as a municipal judge in Des Moines, and in 1908 was elected Mayor of that city. Mathis' term in office is notable for the establishment of the "Des Moines Plan" mentioned by experts and political scientists of the time as "the ideal form of city government". Des Moines was the first city outside of the state of Texas to adopt this "city-commission" form of government, and Mayor Mathis himself is quoted in the April 23, 1910 edition of the St. Paul Appeal as stating:
"Of all the accomplishments coming as a direct result of the Des Moines Plan, the greatest is the constant public interest is in the work of the council. This is a tangible asset and the basis of all that has been done. This accomplishment should be attributed to the Des Moines Plan because it is essentially a system of government with the charm of novelty in its workings. There was previously no public interest save that inspired by property interests and politics. Next in importance is a changed press, which in an improved degree tells what is going on a city hall. The press and the public lean on each other, and the council is thus inspired. The Des Moines Plan is responsible."
Despite being a prominent figure in the establishment of this landmark form of municipal government Mathis served only one term as Mayor, leaving office in 1910. Little else is known of his life after this point, excepting notice of his death in 1927 at age 83. He was later interred at the Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines. There are also some spelling discrepancies regarding Mathis' first name, with more than one source spelling it as "Adaniram". This is presumed to be a spelling error.
Next up is the obscure Adoniram Judson Pinkham, recorded by most sources as "A.J. Pinkham." Mr. Pinkham's political-claim to fame rests on his service as Idaho Secretary of State from 1891-1893 as well as being a signer of the Idaho State Constitution.
From the minuscule amount of information that has been located on Pinkham, he looks to have been born in Illinois, his exact date of birth being around 1837 or thereabouts, as he is recorded as being 85 years of age at the time of his death. He later married a woman named Adah and served as a Sargeant in Co. A of the 13th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War, later being promoted to Captain. Sometime after the war, Pinkham relocated to Idaho territory and in 1890 was elected as that state's inaugural Secretary of State, holding office from 1891-1893. Little else is known of Pinkham's life, excepting a Washington state death record denoting that he died on April 8, 1922, in the city of Walla Walla. A burial location for him is also unknown at this time.
From the History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, 1896.
Hailing from New Hampshire, Adoniram Judson Sawyer gained distinction on the Civil War battlefield as well as through public service in the city of Exeter, where he served at various times as selectman, postmaster and state representative. Born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire on February 16, 1841, Sawyer enlisted in Co. H., 2nd Regiment of the New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in 1861 and in May 1862 was wounded at the Battle of Williamsburg. In 1864 he became a sergeant and was later mustered into a New Hampshire heavy artillery regiment.
Sawyer was mustered out of service in June 1865 and was later engaged as a boot and shoe retailer in Exeter, later dealing in insurance in the firm of Sawyer and Heath. He served Exeter as a town moderator and selectman, and in 1886 was elected to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives, serving in the legislative session of 1887-89. Sawyer would later serve two terms as postmaster for Exeter and maintained memberships in the local Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges. He died in Exeter on June 26, 1917, at age 76 and was later interred at the Highland Cemetery in Newton, New Hampshire.
You Can Help!
It's time once again for one of my famous "You Can Help" segments, and in the case of the following gentlemen, it is sorely needed! I am currently in the process of trying to find more information on the lives of Adoniram J. Underwood, Adoniram J. Kneeland and Adoniram J. Pinkham. If any readers, lurkers, amateur historians or possible descendants have any time on their hands and want an interesting project to fill your time with, see what you can find in terms of information on these oddly named men! I'd appreciate anything and everything you might be able to dig up. As there is next to nothing on the internet mentioning these three men, maybe someone knows more about them than what is already mentioned in the preceding article!