Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fredonia Ellsworth Holloway (1867-1920)


   For today's post we visit Evansville, Indiana and one of that city's more oddly named residents.....Fredonia Ellsworth Holloway! Mr. Holloway is truly obscure, so much so that a date of death or place of death originally couldn't be found for him. Since discovering his name a few months ago (courtesy of an Indiana Legislative roster from 1895), little else has been found in regards to his life, although I do get a chuckle out of the fact that his odd first name is also the name of a small town here in my home county of Chautauqua, New York! The rare portrait of him shown above was located in the 1899 History of the Republican Party of Indiana, which stands as one of two biographical resources on him that I've been able to locate.
  Born in Martin County, Indiana on March 23, 1867, Fredonia E. Holloway was the son of the Rev. James B. Holloway and Eleanor Jackman, who had immigrated to Indiana from Ohio some years previously. Research is also inconclusive as to why Holloway received the unusual first name "Fredonia",  as the Holloway family has no connection to the town of Fredonia, New York mentioned in the opening to this article. "Fred" Holloway, as some sources list him, attended school in Martin County and later enrolled at the Ft. Worth University in Indiana.
   Holloway eventually left school to pursue a career in law, studying in various law offices in 1884-1885. He returned to his studies soon a short while later, and later became engaged in newspaper work, serving as a reporter on the staff of the Ft. Worth Gazette. In 1888 Holloway journeyed to California where he began attending the University of California. He eventually encountered money troubles and was forced to leave his studies behind, and in 1891 relocated to Chicago where he engaged in real estate. That same year he married Ms. Adelaide Ruth Compton, and it is unknown at this time if any children were born to them.
   Fredonia Holloway relocated to Evansville, Indiana around the time of his marriage and here reestablished his interest in journalism, becoming involved with the Evansville Evening Standard and the Evansville Journal. Holloway also began taking an active interest in local politics, winning election as a Republican to the Indiana State House of Representatives in November 1894. 
  Officially taking his seat at the start of the 1895 term, Holloway represented Vanderburgh County during his service, which extended until 1897, and a roster from the session in which he served has been posted below. One should also note that Holloway was one of the youngest legislators in Indiana during the 1895-1897 session, being elected at the age of 27. He was remarked by the History of the Republican Party of Indiana as having an "ability in debate" and "his sound common sense and a few bursts of genuine eloquence on the floor of the house sufficed to attract him very general attention."


  After leaving the legislature, Holloway took part in a speaking tour of Indiana, stumping for numerous Republican candidates seeking office that year. He was a delegate to the Indiana Republican Convention of 1896-97 and was elected as President of the Indiana State League of Republican Clubs in February of 1898.
  Holloway's later life is also of note, as it is a complete about-face from his earlier political pursuits. It seems that around 1910 Holloway had a spiritual calling of some sort, leaving Indiana and relocating to Colorado with his wife. Shortly after their arrival he became ordained as a Congregational minister in the town of Pueblo, remaining here until 1912. He removed to Ohio that same year and in 1913 he became a minister in the towns of Plymouth and Newark. Holloway returned to Colorado in 1914 to accept a pastor-ship in Denver, remaining here until 1918, when he went overseas to England to serve as a chaplain in a Red Cross Hospital in London. 
  The Congregational Yearbook Volume 43 notes that Holloway returned stateside in 1919, accepting a pastorate at a mission in San Francisco. His stay in California was relatively short, as he succumbed to the effects of Bright's disease on August 15, 1920. Holloway was only 53 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife Adelaide, who's birth and death dates are unknown. A burial location for Fredonia E. Holloway is also unknown at this time, and it is presumed that he was buried somewhere in the San Francisco vacinity. 

Fredonia E. Holloway, from the 1895 Indiana Legislative composite portrait.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lilius Bratton Rainey (1876-1959)


  The politician featured today is two term Alabama Congressman Lilius Bratton Rainey, who for many years was one of a number of "faceless" U.S. Representatives featured in the SNIAPH book I've compiled. I first discovered this oddly named man in 2002, courtesy of the politicalgraveyard website (mentioned numerous times on the site here) and for over ten years he hadn't one picture available of himself anywhere online.....that is until yesterday afternoon! With the location of a rare 1930 issue of the Alabama Historical Quarterly. a picture of this obscure congressman has finally been located!
   Lilius B. Rainey's story begins with his birth in Dadeville, Alabama on July 21, 1876, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Walker Rainey. Lilius attended school in his native Tallapoosa County and later went on to study at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute for three years. Rainey graduated from the University of Alabama in 1902 with a bachelor of laws degree and soon afterwards began a law practice. In 1903 he was appointed as a Captain in the Alabama National Guard, and continued active involvement here until he resigned in 1907. In July 1911 Rainey married in Rome, Georgia to Julia La Coste Smith, with whom he had four children. 
   Rainey's career in public office began in the mid 1900s when he became the Secretary of the Etowah County Democratic Executive Committee. For six years (beginning in 1911) he served as circuit solicitor for Tallapoosa County and in September 1919 was elected to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. This special election was to fill the seat caused by the death on John Lawson Burnett, an eleven term Alabama congressman who had died in office in May 1919. Rainey was reelected to the house in his own right in 1921 and during his service held a seat on the Committees on Coinage, Weights and Measures, Mines and Mining, and Immigration and Naturalization.
   Lillius Rainey declined to be nominated for a third term in 1922 and after leaving congress returned to his earlier law practice in Gadsden, Alabama. He later became a trustee of the Alabama State Department of Archives and History, and was also active in a number of local fraternal organizations, including the Masons, Shriners, and the Knights of Pythias. He died in Gadsen on September 19, 1959 at age 83 and was laid to rest the Glenwood Cemetery in Fort Payne, Alabama.
  

           A second rare portrait of Lilius B. Rainey, probably taken during his first term in Congress.
  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jacobus Johannes Bennink Johnsonius (1859-1930)

Portrait from the Biennial Report of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 1911-12.

  This interestingly named man is one Jacobus Johannes Bennink-Johnsonius, a native of Holland who found his business and political fortunes in his adopted state of Tennessee. Little could be found online in regards to this oddly named man other than the following information, which came to light via the discovery of the 1923 work Tennessee, the Volunteer State, Volume 4.
   J.J.B. Johnsonius was born at the Hague, Holland on March 29, 1859 and immigrated to the United States in 1878. His early years in America were spent prospecting out west, and he eventually settled in the New Era, Michigan area. He married Ms. Cornelia Veltman (1864-1927) in July 1881, with whom he had seven children: Minnie (1882-1953),  Ralph Alexander (1884-1962), Fannie (1886-1953), Louisa Dora (1888-?),  Charles Stuart (1892-1955),  Alexander L. (1894-1959) and Hobson Merrimac Johnsonius (1898-1968).
  In 1885 J.J.B. Johnsonius migrated south, eventually settling in the town of Paris, Tennessee. Within a few years he had firmly established his name in his new home state, operating a general insurance business, with which he "won a notable measure of success in the insurance field and has long been numbered among the prosperous and influential citizens of Paris."
  Johnsonius first became active in politics in 1900, when he won election to the Tennessee State House of Representatives. Here he ably represented Henry County for two years and in 1910 won reelection to this body. In 1913 Johnsonius continued his political ascent when he was named to the position of Immigration Commissioner of Tennessee. His three year term in the office was marked by Tennessee, the Volunteer State as one of distinction, with Johnsonius helping to "bring in the first Belgian immigrants, numbering thirty-seven, from Ellis Island."
   At the outset of American involvement in WWI, Johnsonius became Henry County's Red Cross chairman, serving throughout the duration of the hostilities. In addition to his civic and political pursuits, Johnsonius was also a prominent member of many fraternal organizations in Tennessee, including serving as the Grand Commander of the Golden Cross from 1917-1920 and was also a Knight Templar Mason, serving as a Right Eminent Past Grand Commander in 1928.  J.J.B. Johnsonius died at age seventy on April 3, 1930 and was subsequently interred next to his wife at the Maplewood Cemetery in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. The rare portrait of him shown below was found on a Tennessee Legislative composite portrait published during his second term in the House of Representatives in 1911.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Milus Henry Gay (1842-1894)


   Hailing from Santa Clara County, California, Milus Henry Gay has the honor of being the first oddly named California politician profiled here since October of last year, when Caius T. Ryland (another strangely named California assemblyman) was profiled. Unlike Mr. Ryland, little information could be found on Milus Gay, but enough is available to give an adequate overview of his life and service in the California State Assembly.
  Originally born in Payson, Illinois on April 10, 1842, Milus H. Gay migrated to California with his family in the early 1850s, eventually settling in the county of Santa Clara. His education took place in the native schools of this county and he graduated from the University of the Pacific in the class of 1865.  He returned to this institution shortly after graduating to teach ancient languages and after a few years as chair of the language department, left to read law under the firm of Silent and Herrington.
  In 1872 Milus Gay married Indiana native Ella Sinex, with whom he had one son, Henry Milus (later a prominent California physician.) Gay later removed to the town of San Buenaventura in 1874, where he became involved in banking. He was a founder and later cashier/manager of the Bank of Ventura, serving in these offices for a number of years.


 A 1881 California Assembly Journal, with Milus H. Gay's name highlighted in yellow.

   In 1880 Milus Gay made the jump into politics, winning election to the California State Assembly from Santa Clara County. Taking office in January 1881, Gay was named to seats on the committees on Public Buildings and later, Road and Highways. His one term in the assembly concluded in 1883 and afterwards he returned to private life. He is recorded by his obituary (shown below) as also being an active Mason, as well as having a membership in the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights Templar.
  Shortly after leaving the legislature in January 1883, Milus Gay was appointed as the Superintendent of the Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose, serving in this position until his death at age 51 on March 18, 1894. Despite my best attempts, a burial location could not be found for Milus Gay, but seeing that he was the Superintendent of one of the largest cemeteries in the state of California, it can be reasonably assumed that he was interred at the Oak Hill Cemetery. 

  Milus H. Gay's obit as it appeared in the March 19, 1894 edition of the San Francisco Morning Call.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pringle Gibson (1833-1908)


  We continue our stay in Vermont for today's biography, and we travel from Addison County to Caledonia County to profile one of that areas funnier named residents.....Mr. Pringle Gibson! This man with the funny first name represented the town of Ryegate in Caledonia County in the Vermont State House of Representatives in the early 1880s and was regarded as one of Ryegate's foremost farmers and merchandisers. In a humorous aside note, Pringle Gibson is in no way related to the famed (as well as delicious) Pringles potato chip snack that we're all familiar with.
  Gibson was born in the town of Ryegate on January 5, 1833, the son of Scottish immigrant Alexander Gibson (1788-1869) and Caledonia native Jane Gardner (1791-1853). Pringle attended school in Caledonia County and married his first wife Frances Gray (1832-1889) on June 14, 1860 in Ryegate. They would go on to have two children, William A. (born 1861) and Isabel Jane (born 1867). Frances Gibson died in 1889 and three years later Pringle remarried to another Ryegate native, Emma Tucker.
  From the few sources that mention him, Pringle Gibson spent a good majority of his life engaged in farming in his native town, and was sold the family farm by his father. The Gazetteer  of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt., 1764-1887 notes that Gibson "farmed extensively, owning and managing one of the best farms in Ryegate" and that his parents resided with him until their deaths.
  Gibson sold this farm in 1884 and then removed with his wife and children to South Ryegate, where he opened a general store under the moniker P. Gibson and Son. This store was recorded by the earlier mentioned Gazetteer as "doing a flourishing business" until Pringle and his son left it in 1895. This store later continued on under new ownership until the building was consumed by fire in 1898.
  While farming and business obviously were a major part of Gibson's life, public office (both at the local and state level) eventually beckoned to him. In 1870 he was elected to his first term as Ryegate town selectman, and was returned to this office in 1871 and 1884. Gibson continued in local political office in 1876 and 1877 when he was named as Ryegate town Lister, and in 1882 was elected to the Vermont State House of Representatives from Caledonia County. During his one term in the legislature Gibson was named to the committee on Land Taxes and a brief notice on him (taken from an 1882 Vermont legislative roster) has been posted below.



  Pringle Gibson left the legislature in 1884 and from 1892-1894, 1897-1899 served as the moderator of the Ryegate Town meeting. He is mentioned as being a active parishioner at the United Presbyterian Church and later at the First Presbyterian Church at South Ryegate. He died at age 75 on February 11, 1908 and was interred at the Blue Mountain Cemetery in Ryegate Corner, Vermont.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gasca Rich (1811-1894)


   An oddly named (not to mention very obscure) Vermont State Representative, Gasca Rich's profile here on the site will follow yesterday's bio on Neander H. Rice as one of the shorter ones you'll read here. Despite being an elected state office holder from Addison County, little to nothing could be found on Mr. Rich's life and public career. The rare portrait of him shown above was located via the Find-A-Grave website, and I'm extremely grateful that there is at least one portrait of this funny named man floating around the internet!
   Gasca Rich was born in the town of Shoreham, Addison County Vermont on October 13, 1811, the last of seven children born to Charles and Molly Watts Rich.  It can safely be said that odd names ran in in the Rich family, as two of Gasca's brothers were named Quintus Cincinnatus (1804-1879) and Virtulon (1809-1892). The origins of Gasca Rich's first name are lost in history, but he may have been named in honor of Pedro de la Gasca (1485-1567) a prominent Spanish historical figure who served at various times as a bishop of Palencia, diplomat and an acting viceroy of Peru.
  Little could be found on Gasca Rich's childhood or education, so it is presumed that he attended school in the county of his birth. He married Ms. Laura Loraine Bascom (1811-1874) in September 1839 and they are recorded as having one son, Irving Bascom Rich (1845-1916). Laura Loraine Rich died of apoplexy in March 1874 (her obituary is shown below), and a few years after her death Gasca remarried to Delia Anne Kinsley (1824-1910).



   In 1833 Gasca entered into a law partnership with his older brother Davis (1794-1879). This practice is listed as being active until 1851, and as far as local politics are concerned, Gasca Rich first served in public office during the early 1850s when he was elected as a justice of the peace for the town of Shoreham. In 1856 he was elected to the Vermont State House of Representatives and served in the legislative sessions of 1857 and 1858.
  In the years following his service in the legislature Gasca Rich was involved in Shoreham business and civic affairs, and in 1869 was named as one of the five directors of the Addison Railroad. An article on his appointment to this office appeared in the March 25, 1869 edition of the Vermont Daily Transcript and is shown below. 



  Other than the preceding information, little else could be found on the life of Gasca Rich. He is listed as being Postmaster of the town of Richville, Vermont from 1872 until his death, which occurred on December 14, 1894 in his native town of Shoreham. He was subsequently buried in the East Shoreham Cemetery and was survived by his second wife Delia, who died in 1910 at age 86.


You Can Help
   It's time for one of my famous "You Can Help" segments, and in the case of Gasca Rich, it is sorely needed!  This is a shout out to anyone who may have further information on Mr. Rich, so if any readers, 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 locate in terms of information on this oddly named man! I'd appreciate anything you might be able to dig up on this uniquely named Vermont resident. As there is next to nothing on the internet about this wonderfully named man, maybe someone knows more about him than what is already mentioned in his article here!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Neander Hickman Rice (1814-1886)


   Hailing from Lauderdale County, Alabama, Neander Hickman Rice is honored today on the site not only for his odd name, but for his service as Alabama Secretary of State in the early 1870s.  Very little information exists online in regards to the life of this strangely named Alabaman, and considering how obscure he is, I was flabbergasted to have located the above picture of him (courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History website!)
   Neander H. Rice was originally born in Kentucky on January 26, 1814, the son of Green Pryor and Jane Campbell Ewing Rice. Neander is recorded as marrying Ms. Penelope Sannoner sometime in the early 1840s and in 1846 they became the parents of a daughter, Senora. Penelope died that same year and in April 1848 Neander remarried to Lucy Elizabeth Lester, who eventually gave birth to five children, who are listed as follows: Leonora (born 1850), Elizabeth Jane (born 1852), Neander Jr. (born 1854), Green Pryor (born 1856) and William Henry (born 1859).
  Rice is listed as settling in Lauderdale County, Alabama around 1839 and later became the Mayor of Florence, Alabama, although no source mentions when or how long he served. In 1872 he was elected as Secretary of the State of Alabama, officially taking office in January of 1873. Rice left this post in 1874 and from what research has shown, spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity, dying at age 72 on February 8, 1886. He was buried in the Florence Cemetery "with full masonic honors" and was survived by his wife Lucy, who died in 1888.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Remember Lyman Hanks Lord (1864-1938)

This rare photo of Remember L.H. Lord is located on the Minnesota State Historical Society website.

   Certainly one of the most oddly named members of the Minnesota State legislature, Remember L. H. Lord is also one of the most obscure, hence why his profile here will be on the short side! Lord served two terms in the state house of Representatives from 1925-1929 and other than his service in state government, little else could be found on him!
   Remember Lyman Hanks Lord was born in Minnesota on April 7, 1864, the third born child in a family of six born to Cornelius Rollins and Malissa Hanks Lord. It is unknown why exactly Lord was endowed the first and middle names "Remember Lyman Hanks", but it could be in honor of his maternal grandfather, Lyman Hanks (1806-1847), who died in Almond, Allegheny County, New York at the young age of 41.  It seems that when Cornelius and Malissa married they chose to bestow the names "Remember Lyman Hanks" upon their first born son (out of their six children), obviously in remembrance of Malissa Hanks Lord's father!
  As far as Lord's early life and education goes, reference is given to him attending the Wells Rural School and he eventually graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota in the class of 1890. He later went on to study at the University of Minnesota's Law School.
   In 1895 R.L.H. Lord married Blanche Kemmerer (born 1877) with whom he had two children, Dorothy Pauline (1898-1990) and Gordon Rollins (1902-1968). Lord and his wife are recorded as divorcing by a genealogical website mentioning his lineage, but no exact date is given as to when they separated.
  The few sources that mention Lord list him as being heavily involved in educational matters in Faribault County, Minnesota. He was a teacher in the Wells, Minnesota school system and was also a member of its Board of Education for several years. Lord was later appointed as Superintendent of High Schools for the LeRoy, Aitkin, Chatfield and Fairmont, Minnesota areas. 
  In addition to his many years of being an educator and superintendent, RLH Lord is also listed by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library's website as being a fruit-grower and nurseryman. He held a membership in the Faribault County Horticultural Society and later went on to serve as the Vice President of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society for a short time.
   In 1924 RLH Lord was elected to the Minnesota State House of Representatives, where he ably represented Faribault County for two terms. During his service he held a seat on the committees on Crime Prevention, Elections, Labor, Appropriations, Corporations, Horticultural and Agriculture, and served as chairman of the committee on Education.
   Nothing could be found on Remember L.H. Lord's life after he left the legislature in 1929. He died at the Ancker Hospital in Saint Paul on March 31, 1938, a few days before his 74th birthday. The cause of his death is recorded as being "bilateral pulmonary infarction" he was subsequently interred at the Rosehill Cemetery in Wells, Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Retire Whittemore Frees (1785-1860)


   This oddly named character is Retire Whittemore Frees, an outstandingly named member of the Maine state legislature from Penobscot County. Very little information exists online in regards to this oddly named man, and the spelling of his last name is also under scrutiny, being variously given as "Frees", "Freese" or "Freeze". I first stumbled across the name of this funny named man courtesy of the Maine Legislative Database (which lists him under the name Retire W. Freeze). The brief mention of him there denotes that he was elected as a member of the Maine State House of Representatives in 1839 from Penobscot County and that he served one term.
  Since locating his name all those months ago I'd forgotten all about Mr. Frees until locating a genealogical history of the Freese/Frees family entitled Freese Families, published in the early 1900s by a descendant of Retire's named John Wesley Freese. This work is one of the few sources I've found that mentions Retire W. Frees at any great length and it also supplied the very rare portrait of him shown above!
  Retire Whittemore Frees was born in Bangor, Maine on January 19, 1785, the fourth child of seven born to Abraham (1749-1800) and Hannah Whittemore Frees (1759-1793). Research has shown that Retire most likely inherited his odd first and middle names from his mother's brother, a Capt. Retire Whittemore (1757-1848), who lived to the great age of 91.
  Little could be found in regards to Frees's early life or education, and he is recorded as moving with his family to the town of Orono, Maine in 1790 at age five. He married in Orono in December 1810 to Ms. Fanny White, and twelve children were born to the couple, with all being described in the Freese Families as having "a natural gift for music as ducks have for swimming." They are listed as follows: Samuel (1811-1861), Jonathan (born 1812, died in an accident in California), Fanny (1814-1876), Benjamin (1816-1846), Hannah (1818-1865), Abigail (1823-1897), Daniel (1824-1825), Daniel II (1826-1904), Betsey (1828-1867), Retire W. (born 1830), John (1833-1892) and Rebecca (1837-1902).  
   In the year following his marriage, Retire Frees was elected to his first political office, that of selectman for the town of Orono and he is also mentioned as purchasing the family homestead from his father's relatives around this time. Frees and his family would reside in this home until his death fifty years later.

                   Retire W. Frees's name as it appeared in a Maine Legislative manual in 1839.

    In November 1838 Retire Frees was elected by the citizens of the town of Orono to the Maine State House of Representatives, defeating his opponent, Col. Ebenezer Webster. Taking office in January 1839, Frees served alongside fellow Penobscot native (and future U.S. Vice President) Hannibal Hamlin, who at that time was serving as House Speaker. 
  Frees served one term in the legislature and died at age 75 on October 22, 1860 at his home in Orono. He was subsequently memorialized in the 1874 work the Centennial Celebration, and Dedication of Town Hall, Orono, Maine as a very distinguished character in this town, stating that "his erect and noble form as he moved upon your streets will not easily be forgotten by those of you who were accustomed to see him in his frequent visits to the village." 
  Frees's wife Fanny survived her husband by nine years, dying in July 1870 at age 77. He was also outlived by several of his children, and was presumably buried somewhere in the Orono vacinity, although his exact burial location is unknown at this time.