From the Ohio State Manual.
I'm sure if you've read the full name of the gentleman profiled today, most of you are probably scratching your heads in wonder, probably saying something along the lines of "this guy is a General named George...what's so strange about that?" While the name George isn't strange in the slightest, the man in the suit and tie shown above has the unique distinction of having a military title as a given first name, and with that little factoid, I'll now explain how that came to be!
General George Oleander Pence was an Ohio State Representative during the early part of the 20th century, hailing from the county of Highland. His unusual first name is given mention in the 1912 Ohio State Manual and is explained thusly: "The prefix Hon. for Honorable and the name General would seem to indicate a misnomer, but in this case it is not so, as the subject is entitled to the prefix and although General is rather an unusual given name, it was provided for Mr. Pence by his parents." Why Pence's parents decided to bestow the name "General" upon their son has been lost to history, and seeing that Pence himself never served in the military, one can wonder if he was ever mistakenly identified as a high ranking military figure due to his interesting first name!
Pence's story begins in the town of Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio, where he was born on May 6, 1879. One of several children born to Wesley and Susannah Duckwell Pence, General G.O. Pence attended schools local to the Hillsboro area and married fellow Highland County native Edith Marie Fawley (1880-1960) in 1903. Two sons were eventually born to this couple, Gerald Leroy (1906-1996) and Wesley Ralph (1909-1998).
Like most of the politicians profiled here on the site, G.G.O. Pence is recorded as being a farmer for the majority of his life, and is listed in his Ohio legislative biography as "recognized as being in the front rank of scientific farmers in Ohio." In addition to being a farmer, Pence later was elected as a township trustee for Hillsboro, serving for an indeterminate length of time.
This portrait of G.G.O Pence appeared in a 1912 Ohio State Legislative manual.
General G.O. Pence won election to the Ohio State House of Representatives in November 1912 from Highland County. Taking office in January of the following year, Pence was named to seats on the legislative committees on Agriculture, Fish and Game, Public Schools, and Public Waterways. He was reelected to the legislature in 1914 and after serving four years in the House of Representatives was elected to the Ohio Senate in the election of 1916. His term in the senate extended from 1917 to 1921, and his terms of service here saw him chair the standing committee on Enrollment as well as holding a seat on the committees on County Affairs, Common Schools, Agriculture, Public Works, Roads and Highways, and Finance. The Ohio State Manual also denotes that Pence's "principal desire was to benefit the greatest number of people" while serving in the legislature.
Little could be found on Pence's life after leaving public office, although he maintained involvement in a number of local fraternal organizations in Hillsboro, including the Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen, the Sons of Veterans and Knights Templars. Pence died in Hillsboro on August 31, 1955 at age 76 and was survived by both of his sons and his wife Edith, who died in 1960. Both were later interred at the local Hillsboro Cemetery.
From the Hillsboro, Ohio News-Herald, October 22, 1914.
A few short months after the G.G.O Pence profile was put online, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a comment on his article, courtesy of Mr. Wesley Pence, who happens to be G.G.O's great grandson!!! Wesley related in his comments that General G.O. Pence was a descendant of a family based in the United States dating back to the late 17th century. Wesley went on to relate that G.G.O was viewed as a bit of a "dandy" by some in Highland County, dressing in fashionable suits, spats and also owned a diamond-studded cane! According to Pence family lore, G.G.O was also believed to have had a stake in "gambling operations throughout Ohio, along with other questionable enterprises of the day" and may have fraternized with some shadowy characters in Ohio's capital during his time in state government!
General G.O Pence's "double life" is certainly one of the more interesting tidbits I've been forwarded during the time I've profiling people here, and Pence's odd name was mentioned by Wesley as being "overblown and pretentious" with no other instances of the name "General" or "Oleander" occurring anywhere in the Pence family lineage. The spelling of Oleander (Pence's second middle name) is also spelled "Olander", and the former spelling is believed to be a corruption of the latter. It has also been related to me that G.G.O was characterized as being "very stern, particularly with children" and wasn't above using his diamond-studded cane as a persuasive tool to quiet down rambunctious youngsters!!
Through further correspondence, Wesley also related that Pence was most often referred to as "Senator" by his contemporaries, and one can certainly wonder if he was ever introduced as the "Honorable Senator General" when campaigning for office! G.G.O's son Wesley Ralph followed in his father's footsteps and began a career in public office, and while still in his early twenties was elected as prosecuting attorney for Hillsboro, Ohio.
I'd like to extend a hearty thank you to Wesley Pence for his kind comments, as well as his insight into the interesting life of his wonderfully named great-grandfather. While I've received many comments on articles over the past two years, I've always believed that ones from family members and descendants yield the most interesting pieces of information, and that is certainly the case here! Many thanks again for your help!
Portrait courtesy of ark-ives.com.
Another political figure that was bestowed General as a first name was General Washington Lookadoo, a member of both houses of the Arkansas legislature as well as a prosecuting attorney for the 8th judicial circuit. A lifelong Arkansan, Lookadoo was born on April 5, 1904, in Amity, Arkansas, the son of Joseph Kelly and Fannie (Emory) Lookadoo. A student at the Amity High School, Lookadoo would further his studies at the Henderson Brown College and the Arkansas Teacher's College during the 1920s. Deciding upon a career in law, he would attend the Arkansas Law School and following his graduation established his practice in Arkadelphia. General W. Lookadoo married in March 1928 in Smackover, Arkansas to Ora Mae Potts (1911-1990), to whom he was wed for over four decades. The couple would have at least one son, General Washington Lookadoo Jr. (1936-2007).
Lookadoo began his political career in 1938 when he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives from Hot Spring County. Serving in the session of 1939-41, Lookadoo sought a seat in the state Senate during his last year in office and won that election, taking his seat in the Senate in 1941. He would be elected to three further terms in that body (1943, 1945 and 1947) and during the 1945-46 session was named to the committees on Books, the Budget, Efficiency, Judiciary "B", Mines and Mining, Oil and Gas, Public Buildings and the Capitol, Refunding, Rules, Temperance, and chaired the committee on Workman's Compensation.
Following his legislative service Lookadoo returned to practicing law and from 1951-54 held the post of prosecuting attorney for the 8th judicial circuit. In 1956 he held a municipal judgeship in Arkadelphia and was also active in several non-political areas in that city, being the first president of the Arkadelphia Lions Club, a Mason, and was a past director of the Elkhorn Bank and Trust Co. Lookadoo died on March 21, 1972 at age 67 and was later interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Arkadelphia.
From the July 1972 Arkansas Lawyer.
General Harrison Marcum, from the 1929 West Virginia Blue Book.
Hailing from the town of Crum in Wayne County, West Virginia, General Harrison Marcum is yet another state legislator who lucked into receiving this military title as a first name. A one-term member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Marcum was born in Crum on November 22, 1872, the son of Van Buren and Millie (Queen) Marcum. He was a student in the common schools of Wayne County and after completing his schooling is remarked as a "prosperous merchant at Crum". Marcum married at an unknown date to Verona Jeffrey (1878-1944) and the couple would have at least five children, Grady, Clyde L., Auxier (1904-1934), Myrtle and Pearl (1910-1949).
General H. Marcum had never held public office prior to his election to the house of delegates and would win a seat in that body in the election of 1928. He served on the committees on Medicine and Sanitation, Humane Institutions and Public Buildings, and State Boundaries during his term and died in office on September 16, 1930, at age 57. Several of Marcum's fellow delegates would attend his funeral and he was later buried at the Crum Cemetery.
Portrait courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, General Lee Aderhold was a retired railway conductor who served several terms in the Tennessee General Assembly from McMinn County. A native of Gwinnett County, Georgia, Aderhold was born on April 24, 1892, the son of John Thomas and Emma Savannah (Brownlee) Aderhold. Listed by many sources under the initials "G.L.", Aderhold married at an unknown date to Lillie Mae Ross (1894-1987), with whom he had several children, including Roy Frank (1910-1929), General Lee Jr. (born 1919), Robert Hugh (1922-1976), Max (1926-1972), William Joseph (1932-1971), Thomas Martin (1934-2018)
Little is known of Aderhold's life prior to his service in the legislature, excepting notice of his being a conductor for the Atlanta Division of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. A member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and the Order of Railroad Conductors, Aderhold won election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1948 and following service in the 1949-50 session was elected to a second term in 1954.
Aderhold's service in 1955-56 term saw him as a member of the Republican caucus and would subsequently be elected to seven more terms in the assembly, the last of which concluded in 1970. Aderhold died in Etowah, Tennessee on October 31, 1975. He was survived by his wife Lillie and both were later interred at the Green Hill Cemetery in Etowah.
Chapman's portrait from the 1909 Kansas legislative composite (author's collection).
A two-term member of the Kansas State Senate from Barton County, General Lorenzo Chapman is yet another political figure with this misnomer first name--He never served in the military! A prominent figure in the aforementioned county, Chapman lived to the age of just 42 and despite his length of years lived a full and eventful life. Interestingly, I located Chapman's portrait (shown above) on a 1909 Kansas legislative composite I purchased off of eBay a year or two ago and was pleasantly surprised to find not only his portrait but one of San Francisco (the Kansas representative, not the city!!)
A native of Carthage, Missouri, General Lorenzo Chapman was born in that city on April 10, 1868, being the son of Edward and Anna Elizabeth (Jones) Chapman. By 1875 the Chapman family had removed to Barton County, Kansas and General (or G.L., as most sources list him) would marry in this county on October 9, 1895 to Viola "Ola" Brinkman (1873-1961). The couple would have three children, Elizabeth (died in infancy in 1896), Lawrence Brinkman (born 1898) and Vera (born 1901).
Following Chapman's settlement in Great Bend, Kansas, he began a lengthy connection with the First National Bank of that city, and in 1891 was elected as it's cashier. His tenure in that post extended until 1894, and in the year following succeeded to the presidency, continuing in that role until his death sixteen years later. Chapman's stewardship of the First National received passing mention in the 1915 Biographical History of Barton County, which notes:
"The real history of the bank began with the election of G.L. Chapman as cashier in 1891 and he was from that date to the date of his death, the active manager and guiding genius of the bank, carrying it through the panic of 1893 and the years of depression that followed."
Portrait from the Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas, 1915.
General L. Chapman began his political career at the local level, being elected as treasurer for the Great Bend school board in 1891. He would also hold the chairmanship of the Barton County Republican Central Committee and in November 1904 was elected to his first term in the Kansas Senate from the 35th senatorial district. During the 1905-07 session, Chapman served on the committees on Banks and Banking, Public Buildings, Railroads, State Affairs, and Ways and Means, and in November 1908 won his second term in the Senate.
Chapman continued to hold his seat until several months before his death, when, as the result of a nervous breakdown, was "compelled to give up all business and was unable to attend the legislature." He was later taken to a Denver, Colorado sanitarium in an attempt to improve his health but shortly before his death was transferred to a hospital in Kansas City (see obituary below.) Chapman died in Kansas City on March 20, 1911, aged just 42, and was survived by his wife Ola. Following her death at age 88 in 1961, Ola Chapman was interred alongside her husband at the Great Bend Cemetery.
Chapman's obituary from the Topeka State Journal, March 20, 1911.
From the April 8, 1911 WaKeeney West Kansas World.