Friday, May 31, 2013

Summerfield Still Alexander (1887-1958), Summerfield J. Miller (1859-1931)


  A prominent public official in Kansas for over thirty years, Summerfield Still Alexander parlayed a successful career as a lawyer into a term as U.S. District Attorney for Kansas, and later launched a candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1942. 
  Born in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri on August 15, 1887, Summerfield S. Alexander was the son of Henry Clay and Mary Elizabeth Ammons Alexander. No information could be found in regard's to Alexander's childhood in Missouri or why he was endowed with the impressive first name "Summerfield". He removed from Missouri to Kansas during his adolescence and enrolled at the University of Kansas in the early 1900s. After graduating from that institution in 1907, Alexander began the practice of law in Kingman County, Kansas.
  In September 1910 Alexander married to Ms. Anna Belle Horner, and in that same year was elected as attorney for Kingman County, Kansas at the age of just 23. He served in this post from 1910-1912 and later went on to serve as city attorney for Kingman for nearly a decade. 
  While continuing as a practicing attorney, Alexander immersed himself in Democratic political circles in Kansas, serving as the chairman of the Democratic State Convention held in the city of Lawrence in 1932. That same year he actively campaigned for U.S. Senator George McGill's reelection bid, which proved successful. McGill himself proposed Alexander's name for the position of U.S. District Attorney for Kansas, and in 1935 Alexander was tapped to head that post. He served as District Attorney until his resignation in June 1942, and in that year began a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  Running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican state, Alexander was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in Congress, losing to incumbent Republican Clifford Ragsdale Hope by a vote of 27,381 to 54,677. Hope (1893-1970) had served fifteen years in Congress prior to defeating Alexander, and managed to keep his house seat for a further fifteen years, not being a candidate for renomination in 1956. Not one to a let a loss get the best of him, Alexander continued to be an active public servant during his later years, eventually serving as a member of the Kansas delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1952 in Chicago.
  Earlier in his life Summerfield S. Alexander had remarried to a certain Josephine G. (last name unknown at this time), and the date of their marriage is also unknown. On June 1, 1957 both Summerfield and Josephine were severely injured in a car-truck accident near Wichita, with Josephine expiring a few days following the crash. Also injured in this accident were Kansas District Judge Clark Adolphus Wallace (1889-1963) and his wife Anna, both of whom survived their injuries. Alexander was treated for his injuries and remained under hospital care for a number of months, eventually succumbing to his injuries on January 13, 1958 at a hospital in Wichita. He was 70 years old at the time of his death and was later interred at the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Kingman, Kansas. 
  The death notice below appeared in the Hutchinson, Kansas News on January 14, 1958, and lists a number of Alexander's surviving relatives, including a step-daughter. 

The Hutchinson News, January 14, 1958.


From the Clearfield Progress, July 12, 1917.

  Another "Summerfield" that made his name known in political circles is Summerfield J. Miller of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Little could be found online in regards to this oddly named man, but a small biography in a 1921 Smull's Legislative Handbook of Pennsylvania helped significantly in fielding information!
  Miller was born in Pike Township, Pennsylvania on August 26, 1859 and received his education at the Curwensville Normal School, graduating in the class of 1879. He later went on to attend the Williamsport Commercial College (graduating in 1881) before deciding upon a career in medicine. He studied at the University of New York's medical school, graduating from here in 1886. He returned to Pennsylvania and opened a practice in the town of Ansonville. He practiced in this town for nearly a decade, eventually removing to the town of Madera. Pennsylvania.
  Miller's years in Madera saw him become not only a prominent local physician, but a noted civic leader as well. In addition to his medical practice Miller served as a school director for the township of Bigler, president of the Madera Water Company, and was a past vice president and director of the Madera National Bank.
  Summerfield Miller was elected to his first term in the Pennsylvania Senate in 1914, representing the counties of Clearfield and Centre. He won reelection to the Senate in 1918 and during his second term served on the Health Insurance Commission that had been created by an act of the legislature in 1919. Miller's second term in the senate concluded in 1922 and he died nine years later on November 10, 1931 at age 72. He was survived by his wife Emma Klare Miller (died 1947) and five of his children.

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