Monday, July 9, 2012

Posey Green Lester (1850-1929), Posey Thornton Kime (1895-1958), Posie James Hundley (1888-1961)


    Today's profile is one of particular note, as it centers on Posey Green Lester, certainly one of the most obscure Congressmen on record. This funny named man represented Virginia's fifth district in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms, serving from 1889-1893, and the following passages on his life are notable as it marks the first time that a picture of Mr. Lester is available online, and quite a bit of searching had to be done to locate one! An explanation as to where this rare picture originated from will be provided at this article's end, and we'll begin with the birth of Mr. Lester, which occurred in the town of Floyd, Virginia on March 25, 1850.
   Lester was one of nine children (five sons and four daughters) born to William Terry and Mary Amanda Simmons Lester. He is listed as attending schools in his native Virginia, and in his youth is mentioned as being engaged as a vocal coach and literary teacher. He was called to religious work early in his life and joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1873 at age 23. It wasn't long before he began to preach in this church and in October 1876 was ordained as a minister. Lester's obituary gives note that he "traveled and preached in twenty-one of the states, and in Ontario, Canada, traveling as much of 13,000 miles in a single year", and in an earlier newspaper article on his life, it is mentioned that during his travels he made use of "nearly all manner of vehicle of conveyance from a dump cart to a steamboat to a railway car."
    Lester began branching out from his ministry into the realm of publishing in the early 1880s, becoming associate editor of Zion's Landmark, a religious periodical based out of Wilson, North Carolina. He became editor-in-chief of that newspaper in 1920 and continued in that post until his death.
   In 1888 Lester was nominated "without his solicitation, and in his absence" for the U.S. House of Representatives, and it is worthy to note that he had never held any interest in pursuing political office. Despite never having sought public office, Lester went on to defeat Republican nominee John D. Blackwell that November, 14, 417 votes to 13, 044, and took his seat at the start of the 1889-90 session. An article on Lester's election to Congress (published in the Pittsburgh Dispatch) relates that he was the only clergyman serving in the House and that he was also "the tallest man in the House, standing 6 feet 2 inches in his stockings, and weighs 205 pounds." This article goes on to state that Lester's "voice conquers space with terrific volume and force, while it really is very musical." 

An article on Lester's renomination, from the August 29, 1890 Richmond Times.

   Lester was reelected to the House in November 1890, defeating Republican candidate S.C. Adams by a substantial margin, 10, 569 votes to 1, 360. During his two terms in Congress Lester served on the Committees on Railroads and Canals, the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Justice, and the Committee on Alcohol and Liquor Traffic. He refused to be a candidate for a third term in 1892, preferring to return to his ministerial work in Virginia.
   After retiring from Congress, Lester served as the moderator and clerk of the New River Primitive Baptist Association and was later held the post of President of the People's Bank of Floyd County for over two decades. In June 1898 he married Emmette Harris, the daughter of one of his fellow church elders. The Lester's are recorded as having three children, Posey Green Jr. (1899-1981), Masten Harris (1900-1970) and Annie Mae (1903-1983). Posey and Emmette were married for three decades and continued in active church work until his death at age 78 on February 9, 1929 in Virginia. Emmette Lester survived her husband by several years, dying in 1937 at age 72, and both were buried in the Evergreen Burial Park in Roanoke, Virginia.
   The rare portraits of Mr. Lester shown above are worth mention, as it marks the first time that I've actually seen a portrait of him. The first portrait appeared in a December 1889 edition of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, and this newspaper also gives an excellent write up on Lester's political naivete, as well as his church work. For many years Lester remained one of the "faceless" politicians in the SNIAPH book, and it seemed as if I'd never locate a picture of him. The Library of Congress website Chronicling America (which is entirely devoted to archived newspapers from across the United States) came to my rescue in that regard, and I am extremely happy to have discovered it!

        This obituary for Posey G. Lester appeared in the Danville, Virginia Bee on February 12, 1929.

Posey T. Kime, from the Muncie Post Democrat, November 16, 1934.

   A longtime attorney based in Evansville, Indiana, Posey Thornton Time would go on to a distinguished career as a jurist in the Hoosier State, serving several years on the Indiana State Appellate Court. Born on August 6, 1895 in Petersburg, Indiana, Posey T. Kime was the son of John and Effa Posey Kime. Bestowed his mother's surname "Posey" as his first name, Kime would be a student in the Petersburg public school system and was a veteran of the First World War, serving in France.
  Kime went on to attend Purdue University and in 1922 graduated with his law degree from the Indiana State University Law School at Bloomington. In his small biography in the 1922 Arbutus Yearbook, Kime is recorded as being a member of the yearbook staff and the track team. He also was President of the Senior Law Class and the Gamma Eta Gamma fraternity. Posey Kime married on June 21, 1920 to Marguerite Anne Bollenbacher (1893-1990), with whom he would have one daughter, Helen. After obtaining his law degree he established a law practice in Evansville, and for a number of years afterward was a member of the law firm of Kime and Meyer.
   In 1930 Kime made his first foray into Indiana political life, announcing his candidacy for the Indiana State Appellate Court's First Division. He would win election to that court that November and would serve on the bench until stepping down in October 1938. Kime's resignation from the court came about due to his accepting the appointment of chief attorney for the Federal Power Commission in Washington. Kime's tenure with that agency extended until 1941, when he became affiliated with the U.S. Justice Department's Anti-Trust division. His time in that department saw Kime "prosecute some of the top ant-trust cases" in the country, and in 1946 journeyed to Japan to aid American forces in drafting "a set of anti-trust and trade regulatory laws for the newly 'democratic country.'"
   An active Mason of many years standing, Kime achieved the 33rd degree in September 1952 and died in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 1958 at age 62. He was later interred at the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Petersburg, Indiana. He was survived by his daughter Helen and wife Marguerite, who died aged 97 in 1990.

Portrait from the Evansville Courier, January 3, 1952.\


From the August 8, 1923 edition of the Danville Bee.

   Another Virginian blessed with this rather "flowery" first name is Mr. Posie James Hundley of Pittsylvania County. A prominent attorney and one term member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Hundley was born in Sandy River, Virginia on September 28, 1888, a son of John Thomas (1852-1932) and Christian Ada Gravely Hundley (1860-1937). His education was gained at the Leaksville-Spray Institute and went on to study law at the Richmond College, graduating in 1912. Hundley would also attend the Washington and Lee University, graduating around 1913.
   Following his graduation from Washington and Lee, Hundley opened a law practice in the city of Danville in 1913 and two years later became a candidate for commonwealth attorney for Pittsylvania County. Hundley was unsuccessful in his attempt, losing to the Republican nominee Hughes Dillard. Following his loss, Hundley won a seat in the Virginia State House of Delegates from Danville, and served during the legislative session of 1918-1919. During his brief time in the legislature he held a seat on the committees on the Courts of Justice, Federal Relations and Resolutions, Officers and Offices at the Capitol and Public Property.
  After leaving the House of Delegates in 1919 Hundley became connected with the Cooperative Marketing Association, serving as its local counsel for a time. In 1923 he ran once again for commonwealth's attorney for Pittsylvania County and was successful, defeating opponent D.T. Williams with a lead of 732 votes. In December 1930 he married to Ms. Ruth Etta Cashion (1897-1978) and later had two sons, Posie James Jr. (born September 9, 1932) and John Thomas (born December 23, 1934).

From the Danville Bee, March 4, 1945.

   Posie Hundley served a total of eight years as commonwealth's attorney and in 1944 was a Rationing Board member. In the following year he reentered political life when he became a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. Running on a platform of "Experience, Character and Ability",  Hundley's candidacy was highlighted in the March 3, 1945 Danville Bee, which also notes that he spoke twice on radio station WRTM Danville in regards to his campaign.
   Hundley's March 1945 candidacy for the House of Delegates ended in a defeat at the polls. In addition to public service Posey Hundley maintained memberships in several Pittsylvania based fraternal organizations, including the Junior Order of American Mechanics, the Improved Order of Red Men and both the Masonic and Elks Lodges. He passed away in Danville on November 27, 1961 at age 74 and was survived by his sons and his wife Ruth, who died in 1978 aged 81. Both were interred at the Chatham Burial Park in Chatham, Virginia. Hundley's first name is also spelled as "Posey", but as his gravestone gives the spelling listed in the introduction to his article here, I've presumed that to be the correct one.

3 comments:

  1. POSIE JAMES HUNDLEY had 2 children..boys.. Posie James Hundley, Jr. born 9-9-1932, still alive...and John Thomas Hundley born 12-23-1934, still alive (per 1st grandchild!!)

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    1. Hello! Thank you very much for the Hundley updates! I had no idea that he had children still living and will be including you information in his article above!

      Andy

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  2. Thank you! This is very interesting, I NEVER knew my grandfather was the Commonwealth Attorney..UNTIL yesterday!! I was visiting with my father, Posie James Jr., and he had his dads obituary. The name "Posie" is allegedly a "family name"..yet, I've never made the connection, unless it was through the Gravely family. And my dad and uncle aren't having "good memory days." I didn't know grand dad well or for long, as he died when I was 6. Thanks again, Susan King Hundley (1st born grandchild ) p.s. will join your FB page :)

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