Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mindret Wemple (1830-1900)

     Portrait from the Iowa Legislature Historical Database.
   A prominent 19th century resident of Iowa, the curiously named Mindret Wemple performed with valor on the Civil War battlefield and later became a highly sought after medical practitioner in both Illinois and Iowa. Towards the end of his life Wemple was honored by the citizens of his home county of Decatur by being elected to one term in the Iowa House of Representatives.
   A New Yorker by birth, Mindret Wemple was born in Monroe County on September 15, 1830, the son of Gerrett and Dorcus Irwin Wemple. His odd name is believed to be a corruption of the spelling of "Myndert Wemple" a Dutch-descended name held by a few New York citizens in the mid to late 18th century. Mr. Wemple received his schooling in his native county of Monroe and went on to study medicine at the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati and did post-graduate studies at the Jefferson College in Philadelphia.
   Mindret Wemple removed to Carroll County, Kentucky when he was still a young man, marrying here in 1853 to Ms. Lucy Butts (died 1867), who later gave birth to two sons, Frank Yates (born 1854)) and Elmer Hatch Wemple (born 1866). He also established a medical practice here for a short while, eventually relocating to Mt. Pulaski, Illinois in the late 1850s. After resettling in Illinois, Wemple set up his practice once again, and at the outset of the Civil War in 1861 was commissioned by then Illinois Governor Richard Yates as a Captain in Company H of the Fourth Illinois Calvary. He was present at the Battle of Shiloh and was later promoted to Major. The Garden Grove Express of February 15, 1900 also details Wemple's bravery on the battlefield, noting that he was "brevetted colonel for meritorious conduct."
  After being mustered out of service in November 1864 Wemple returned to farming and practicing medicine, and in 1867 suffered personal tragedy with the death of his wife Lucy. He remarried in November 1869 in Morrow County, Ohio to Ms. Amanda Nye, a member of the prominent Nye family in that state. One of Amanda's ancestors was none other than Arius Nye (1792-1865) a member of the Ohio senate profiled here back in June of last year. Mindret and Amanda later became the parents of two children, Edith Claire (born 1876) and Irma Nye (born 1887).
   Throughout the 1870s and 80s Wemple engaged in farming pursuits in addition to practicing medicine. He resided in Illinois during this time period and in 1893 removed to Iowa, settling in Garden Grove in the county of Decatur. Within a few years of his resettlement Wemple had established his name in the county and in the 1897 election year won a seat in the Iowa State House of Representatives. Taking his seat at the beginning of the new year, Wemple proved to be very busy during his one term in the legislature, serving on the house committees on Constitutional Amendments, Agriculture, Public Health, Horticulture, Pharmacy, Military, Mines and Mining, the Board of Public Charities, the Institute for the Feeble Minded, and the Soldiers and Orphan's Home.
  Mindret Wemple's term in the house concluded on January 7, 1900, and he died of an undisclosed illness a little less than a month later on February 6. His obituary in the Humeston New Era notes that he most likely "would have been reelected if his illness had not prevented it" but makes no mention of what malady he may have suffered from. Wemple was interred at the Garden Grove Cemetery in Decatur County and was survived by his wife Amanda, who died in Kissimmee, Florida in April 1935 at age 89. Strangely, she was not returned to Iowa for burial with her husband but was interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee. 

From the Garden Grove Express February 15, 1900.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cratus Cedra Magers (1903-1960)

From the 1959 edition of the Hinds College Eagle.

   Over the course of the past two years over three hundred interestingly named political figures have had their public career encapsulated with a write up here on the Strangest Names In American Political History. Many of the previously profiled folks have had lengthy, in-depth articles written on their lives, detailing their childhood, education, employment and whatever political office they may have held. While some of these folks fall into the above category, many others languish in obscurity, with only one or two snippets of information to work off of.
  The man shown above is a case in point. Cratus Cedra Magers was a member of the Mississippi State House of Representatives for two terms in the 1930s and while he was obviously a man of distinction in Mississippi (serving at various times as a state representative, college administrator, and educator), very little information has come to light on his life...an all to frequent theme with many of the political figures posted here. Despite being well known in their respective communities decades ago, a great many of these public figures are all but forgotten in this day in age, that is until someone rescues them from the depths of obscurity! And with that brief introduction, fifty plus years after his untimely death at age 56, Cratus Cedra Magers is honored today with a small biography here on the site.
   A lifelong resident of Mississippi, Cratus C. Magers was born on September 17, 1903 and attended schools native to the town of Baldwyn. He continued his education at the Mississippi Southern College, where he received his bachelors and masters degrees. Magers later married Ms. Earline Vandiver (1907-2000), with whom he would have two sons, William Perry (1938-2009) and T. Van. 
   For a good majority of his short life, Cratus Magers was heavily involved in the Mississippi educational system, serving as a school principal for the town of South Prentiss in 1927. He would go on to hold the position of school superintendent in a number of other Mississippi schools, including those in the towns of Oak Grove and Purvis in Lamar County as well as a school in the city of Morton. In addition to his service as a school superintendent, Magers was a two-term representative in the Mississippi State House of Representatives from Lamar County, serving from 1932-1936. He is recorded by a November 21, 1931 edition of the Hattiesburg American as a newly elected representative, and this same paper also notes that he was one of several representatives-elect to attend a dinner and social function at the Mississippi State Teachers College.
  Following his service in the legislature, Magers served as a Colonel on the staff of Mississippi Governor Fielding Lewis Wright and in 1956 became the Dean of Men at the Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi. He served in this capacity for four years and while he occupied this post, his wife Earline served as the Hinds College librarian, retiring in 1974. Sources of the time also note that Magers was a prominent member of the Morton Masonic Lodge and was a parishioner at the Baptist Church in Raymond.

From the 1960 edition of the Hinds Junior College "Eagle".

Cratus C. Magers was still serving as Dean when he died on January 11, 1960, at the University Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. He was survived by his wife Earline, sons William and Van and eight of his siblings. Magers was later interred at the Baldwyn Masonic Cemetery in Baldwyn, Mississippi. Following her death in 2000 at age 92, Earline Vandiver Magers was interred at the same cemetery as her husband.

From the January 12, 1960 edition of the Hattiesburg American.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Decius Spear Wade (1835-1905), Decius Hunt Wilcox (1828-1919)

From the Magazine of Western History, Volume 14, published in 1891.

   Tucked away in a small corner of the Oakdale Cemetery in Jefferson, Ohio lay the remains of a towering figure in the history of Montana legal circles, Mr. Decius Spear Wade. As the longest-serving Chief Justice of the Montana Territorial Supreme Court, Wade has justly been referred to as the "father of Montana jurisprudence", not only due to his service on the court but as the man who headed the committee to codify Montana's laws over a period of three years from 1889-1892. How did this man who devoted a good majority of his public career to the development of the legal system in Montana come to rest in an out of the way cemetery in Ohio? Read on to find out more!
   Born into a family influential in Buckeye State politics, Decius Spear Wade's story begins on January 23, 1835, in Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Our subject was the second born son of Charles and Juliet Spear Wade and was the nephew of Benjamin Franklin Wade (1800-1878), U.S. Senator from Ohio (1851-1869) and President Pro Tempore of the Senate who was one of a number of Radical Republican senators who led the charge in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Decius Wade began his education in schools native to his home county of Ashtabula and was later enrolled at the Kingsville Academy, "one of the best educational institutions of Ashtabula County." The Magazine of Western History Volume 14 also notes that Wade began "teaching a district school at age sixteen" during the winter time. He began pursuing the study of law in the office of his famous uncle and after being admitted to the Ohio bar in 1857 began a law practice. Just three years later the twenty-five-year-old Wade was appointed as a probate judge for Ashtabula County, serving on the bench until 1867. 
   At the dawn of the Civil War Wade did his patriotic duty and signed on for service. He was eventually elected as a first lieutenant of his company and later participated in the defense of Cincinnati against Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith and his troops. Wade married in Ohio on June 3, 1863, to British native Bernice Galpin (1843-1912) with whom he had three children, Alice (died aged one month in 1864), Clare Lyon (1868-1966) and Charles (died aged three months in 1872). Clare Lyon Wade was the only one of the Wade children to live to adulthood and went on to graduate from the Wellesley College in 1890. She would later marry in 1904 to William Edward Safford (1859-1926), a noted botanist and ethnologist in the employ of the U.S. Government. Safford would go on to further distinction as the first Lieutenant Governor of Guam, serving in this position from 1899-1900.
   Following his marriage, Wade continued in his role as probate judge until 1868, when he was elected to the Ohio State Senate from Ashtabula County. Taking his seat the following year, he served in the Senate until 1871. While still a sitting senator, Wade was appointed by President Grant to succeed Henry L. Warren as the Chief Justice of the Montana Territorial Supreme Court. In Grant's choice of selecting fellow Ohioan Wade for the post, the Magazine of Western History Volume 14 acknowledged that "the appointment was recognized as one of the best that had been made anywhere in the West. The new official was not only trained in the law, but a man of the highest character, and a member of a family that had already furnished many sons who had been an honor to the state."
   Decius Wade's appointment as Chief Justice was confirmed by the Senate in March 1871 and his service as Montana's chief jurist lasted for a record four terms (sixteen years), the longest tenure for any Chief Justice in the history of the territory. During his tenure on the bench, Wade is remarked as authoring  a prolific number of court opinions, so many in fact that it was said that "his opinions fill more than one half of the first six volumes of Montana Supreme Court Reports." Wade also served as a trial judge during his Supreme Court service, and in this capacity sentenced twelve men to hang. As past executions were usually reserved for Friday (hence the term "Hangman's Day"), Wade decided to break with this rather macabre tradition and sentenced a condemned man to be executed on a Thursday. As Wade later related, "I could not see but the fellow enjoyed it just as well as though Friday had been the day appointed, and I thought that poor abused Friday looked a little brighter the next morning."  This interesting side note on Wade's judgeship later received mention in a Friday the 13th article in the Blacksburg, Virginia Free-Lance Star and is shown below.

The Free Lance Star, Friday, April 13, 1990.

   While Wade's reputation as one of the territory's foremost jurists earned him wide repute, he also found time to author a law-themed novel entitled Clare Lincoln in 1875. Set during the Civil War period, Clare Lincoln was completed by Wade during his "leisure hours while seeking rest from the arduous labors on the bench" and proved to be quite popular, receiving a substantial review in the November 16, 1876 edition of The Nation.
   Decius Wade's tenure as Chief Justice concluded in May 1887 and shortly thereafter he returned to his residence in Helena where he became a partner in a local law firm. He was called back to public service in 1889 when he was appointed by then Montana Governor Preston H. Leslie as the chairman of a commission to "codify the criminal and civil law and procedure and to, revise, compile and arrange the statute laws of Montana." Also tasked with this seemingly impossible job were former Montana territorial Governor Benjamin Platt Carpenter  (1837-1921) and prominent state attorney and judge Frederick W. Cole (1837-1895), who died shortly before the Montana legislature adopted the commission's report in July 1895. Wade had earlier spoken before the Helena Bar Association on the commission's work in 1894, and his speech before that body was later reworked into a pamphlet entitled  Necessity for Codification.

From "Montana, Its Story and Biography, Vol. I, published 1921.

   In 1895 Wade returned to his home county of Ashtabula, Ohio and retired to his family's ancestral home "Little Medford" in the town of Andover. During his twilight years, Wade is noted as being a "frequent contributor" to law magazines of the time and died on August 4, 1905, at age 70 at his home. He was memorialized in a resolution of the Montana Supreme Court, which notes that "we also cherish the memory of Chief Justice Wade for his manly personal character, his uniform courtesy to all with whom he sustained official relations, his dignity and bearing while on the bench, his kind and noble disposition  incapable of entertaining malice, and his attractive social qualities."
  Following his death, Decius Wade was interred at the Oakdale Cemetery in Jefferson, Ohio. His uncle Benjamin F. Wade is also interred here, as is Bernice Galpin Wade, who died in November 1912 at age 79. On July 17, 2013, I was able to visit and photograph Wade's gravesite at Oakdale, and some photos from the trip are posted below.

  Located behind a large grove of poppies is Decius Wade's headstone, indicating his birth in Andover, Ohio. Curiously, no mention is given as to his service in the Ohio Senate or his numerous contributions to the Montana legal system.

  Decius Wade's headstone is located on the right side of the family plot. Also interred here are his children Alice and Charles Wade, both of whom died in infancy. Their headstones are similar in shape and size to that of their father and mother. Clare Lyon Wade, Decius' second born child, died in Washington D.C. in 1966 at age 97. A burial location for her is unknown at this time.

  Buried a few feet in back of Decius Wade's family plot is the gravestone of his famous uncle, Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade. Imposing in its size, it is an impressive monument to a very prominent 19th century public official--a man who came within a hair's breadth of becoming the 18th President of the United States (had Andrew Johnson been convicted during his impeachment trial in 1868!) Also interred near both of these plots is the gravesite of Congressman Joshua Reed Giddings (1795-1864), who represented Ashtabula County in the U.S. House of Representatives for over two decades. A former law partner of Benjamin Wade, Giddings later served as U.S. Consul General to Canada, where he died in 1864. 

Decius Hunt Wilcox, courtesy of www.legis.state.pa.us

  Another "Decius" who was elected to public office was Decius Hunt Wilcox, a one-term member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly from Schuylkill County. Born in Harpersfield, New York in September 1828, Decius Wilcox was the son of Aaron and Electa (Barnum) Wilcox. He removed to Dauphin County, Pennsylvania at an early age and in 1841 settled with his family in Schuylkill County. A farmer for the majority of his life, Wilcox was also a teacher in the Donaldson and Tremont, Pennsylvania areas.
   In 1863 Wilcox relocated to Llewellyn, Pennsylvania, where he took over ownership of the American Hotel. He remained there until 1865 and afterward continued in hotel management at the United States Hotel in Tamaqua (residing here from 1865-67), at Uniontown (1867-69) and the American House at Mechanicsburg (from 1869-70.) He returned to Llewellyn sometime later and was still residing here when he was elected to the Pennsylvanian State House of Representatives in 1876. Serving in the session of 1877-78, Wilcox held seats on the committees on the Bureau of Statistics, Mines and Mining, Iron and Coal, and the Military. 
   Decius Wilcox retired from the hotel business in 1889 and continued to reside in Llewellyn, Pennsylvania until his death at age 90 on April 19, 1919. He was survived by his wife Angeline (1835-1931), who, following her death at age 96, was interred alongside him at the Llewellyn Cemetery

Friday, July 19, 2013

Turhand Grenville Hart (1842-1924), Turhand Kirtland (1755-1844)

From the Record of Proceedings of the Ohio State Board of Equalization, 1900.

   A distinguished attorney, two term legislator and member of the Ohio State Board of Equalization, Turhand Grenville Hart was a native son of Mentor, Ohio and may have received his unusual first name in honor of another highly regarded Buckeye State political figure, Judge Turhand Kirtland (1755-1844) of Poland, Ohio. Although little in the way of information could be found on Turhand G. Hart, an Ohio State Manual giving a brief overview of his public career was located that helped out significantly in terms of pertinent facts. On July 17, 2013 I was able to pay a visit to Hart's gravesite at the Mentor Municipal Cemetery and some photos from that excursion will provide a fitting conclusion to the following article.
   A lifelong resident of Lake County, Ohio, Turhand G. Hart was born there on April 9, 1842, the third of six children born to Stephen Horatio (1809-1885) and Lucretia Ring Hart (1817-1879). His education took place in schools local to the Lake County area and married on December 25, 1863 to Eliza C. Robinson (1837-1888) with whom he had four sons, Charles M. (1865-1954), Frederick, Richard, and Ralph. Hart decided upon a career in law when he was in his late twenties and began the study of his profession in 1870, being admitted to the Ohio State Bar two years later. The 1893 Biographical History of Northeastern, Ohio: Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake gives notice to Hart's law practice, stating that "He has had much to do with the settlement of estates, having been an administrator a number of times."
   In 1873 Hart was elected to his first public office, that of Treasurer for Lake County, Ohio. During the succeeding years, Hart would also be engaged in farming and served as a justice of the peace, notary public, Deputy Supervisor of Elections and Mentor Township Trustee in addition to practicing law. In 1888 Eliza Robinson Hart died after twenty-five years of marriage and in 1890 Turhand remarried to Sarah Simpson (1863-1949), a former resident of Erie County. 
   In the 1892 election year Hart won a seat in the Ohio State House of Representatives (representing Lake and Geauga County) and during the 1893-95 term served on the committees on Elections, Insurance, Public Printing. He was later elected to a second term in the legislature and served from 1895-1897. Three years after leaving the legislature Turhand Hart was elected to the Ohio State Board of Equalization and in December 1900 was "unanimously elected" as President Pro Tempore. In addition to this position, Hart chaired that board's committees on Rules and Claims. While his tenure on this board is of unknown length, Hart's service as a legislator and board member were acknowledged by a Record of Proceedings in the following quotation: "In all of these positions he has won the untinted and unfeigned regard of each of his associates."

Turhand G. Hart is the third man in the middle row in this picture of the Ohio Bd. of Equalization.

  Following his service on the Board of Equalization Hart was appointed by Ohio Governor Andrew Harris to a vacancy on the Cleveland State Hospital Board of Trustees, holding this position from April 1908 to April 1913. After many decades of public service, Turhand G. Hart died in Mentor on May 9, 1924, one month after celebrating his 82nd birthday. He was later interred at the Municipal Cemetery in Mentor and was survived by his second wife Sarah, who died in 1949 at age 86. 
  The Turhand G. Hart family plot in Mentor was visited by me on July 17, 2013, and a number of pictures from the trip are shown below. 

  The Hart family plot consists of Turhand's son Charles, his first wife Eliza, Turhand himself, and his second wife Sarah, all neatly arranged in front of a large family headstone. Also interred at the Mentor Municipal Cemetery are the remains of James Rudolph Garfield (1865-1950), son of President James A. Garfield and later U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Theodore Roosevelt from 1907-1909.

   Justly referred to as an Ohio pioneer, Turhand Kirtland was a prominent figure in the early days of the Ohio territory, being a founding father of what is now Poland, Ohio. During a long life that extended nearly nine decades, Kirtland was involved in many different aspects of the development of the burgeoning counties of Trumbull and Mahoning. Kirtland was originally born in Wallingford, Connecticut on November 16, 1755, a son of Constant and Rachel Kirtland. Turhand was a Revolutionary War veteran, and is remarked by the National DAR Society Lineage Book, Vol. 32 as "having been engaged on the boats, transporting the retreating army at Long Island in 1776 where he contracted camp fever, and was honorably discharged." Following his stint in the Continental Army, Kirtland returned to Wallingford where he worked as a carriage manufacturer for a number of years.
   Kirtland married twice during his life, his first wife being Mary Beach, who died in 1792. He remarried in the year following her death to Polly Potter (1772-1850), who eventually gave birth to six children, who are listed as follows: Jared Potter (1793-1877), Henry Turhand (born 1795-1874), Mary Beech (1798-1825), Nancy (born 1801), Charles Dutton (died in infancy in 1814), Billious (1807-1891) and George (1809-1890). Of the Kirtland children Jared Potter Kirtland is the most notable, as he was for many years a distinguished physician judge and naturalist, and was honored by having a type of snake (the Kirtland's Water snake) named after him.
   Turhand Kirtland was connected for many years with the Connecticut Land Company, being employed as a general land agent whilst also being one of the company's stockholders. He first visited the Ohio territory in 1798 and with wealth accumulated from his carriage manufacturing business began to purchase numerous lots of land throughout the area known as the Western Reserve. Portions of this three million acres of land throughout Northeastern Ohio were surveyed and examined by Kirtland for the Connecticut Land Company, and around 1799 relocated from Connecticut to the Ohio territory, settling in an area then known as Burton. In 1800 then territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair (1737-181) appointed Kirtland as Judge for the newly established county of Trumbull. 
   After leaving Trumbull County in April 1803, the Kirtland family removed to Mahoning County, settling in the village of Poland. Kirtland had surveyed and mapped out the Poland vacinity some years previously, and in the same year as his resettlement was named as the first master of the Erie Lodge #47 of Masons, the first masonic lodge to be built in the Western Reserve. Kirtland continued to make a name for himself in the still young community of  Poland, becoming moderator of the first Episcopal church in Mahoning County and later aided in establishing the local Library Association and Poland Reading Room.
   In 1814 Turhand Kirtland was elected as a member of the Ohio State Senate, representing Trumbull County. He served here until 1815 and was later elected as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, serving on the bench for nearly a decade. Following his tenure as judge, Kirtland was a justice of peace in Poland for over twenty years and died on August 16, 1844, a few months before his 89th birthday. He was interred at the Poland Presbyterian Cemetery, also the resting place of Polly Kirtland and the couple's infant son Charles Dutton.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Strangest Names In American Political History Visits Ohio....

At the mausoleum of Liberty Emery Holden at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

  Yesterday was an extremely busy day, as I was able to visit and photograph a number of strangely named politicians buried in the Northeastern portion of Ohio, traveling to cemeteries in Conneaut, Ashtabula, Jefferson, Mentor and Cleveland. Amongst these cemeteries of varying size were buried many prominent political players who left their own individual mark on Buckeye State politics, and are listed as follows:

  • Sagito Jay Smith (1834-1902): A former Mayor of Conneaut (1875-1877, 1890-1894), and delegate to the 1892 Republican National Convention. Buried in the City Cemetery in Conneaut.
  • Orramel Hinckley Fitch (1803-1882): A former Mayor of Ashtabula (1837) and member of the Ohio State Senate from 1837-39. Buried Chestnut Street Cemetery in Ashtabula.
  • Decius Spear Wade (1835-1905): Member of the Ohio State Senate from 1869-71 and later Chief Justice of the Montana State Supreme Court from 1871-1887. Buried in the Oakdale Cemetery in Jefferson.
  • Turhand Grenville Hart (1842-1924): Member of the Ohio State House of Representatives from Lake County, 1893-1897, and member of the Ohio State Board of Equalization. Buried Mentor Municipal Cemetery in Mentor.
  • Lycurgus Luther Marshall (1888-1958): U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1939-1941. Buried Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
  • Rensselaer Russel Herrick (1826-1899): Mayor of Cleveland from 1879-1882. Buried Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
  • Quintus Flaminius Atkins (1782-1859): Judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (1849-1856) and Auditor of Cuyahoga County, 1819-1822.
  • Liberty Emery Holden (1833-1913): Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1888 and 1896. Buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland
  • Worthy Stevens Streator (1816-1902): Member of the Ohio State Senate from 1870-1872 and Republican Presidential Elector in 1876; namesake of Streator, Illinois. Buried Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.
  All of the above-mentioned persons will have articles posted online at some point in the future, with pictures from the varying cemeteries accompanying their articles. The trip was completed in fairly quick time and a big thank you goes to SNIAPH Facebook friend Ken Liedy for driving and assisting me in the search for all of these gravestones.....two sets of eyes are always better than one!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Arris Idyl Ferree (1890-1965)

From the 1943 edition of the North Carolina Manual.

    It's not often that the same legislative session in a particular state produces more than one or two oddly named political figures at a time. With that fact in mind, this author can state with the utmost certainty that the 1943-44 session of the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives takes the cake when it comes to oddly named public officials, as there were a grand total of nine men serving in that session with unusual names! Among these curiously named legislators were Fleetus Lee Gobble (1890-1961), Ippie Purvis Graham (1890-1962), Coble Funderburk (1905-2000), Erasmus Alston Daniel (1911-1948), Junius LeRoy Allen (1894-1970), Sumter Coe Brawley (1878-1961), Lorrimer Willard Midgett (1911-1980) and Gurley Stewart (1911-1996). Arris Idyl "A.I." Ferree (a two-term representative from Randolph County) is another amongst this motley crew of strange names and has the honor of receiving a write-up today here on the site.
   This prominent son of Asheboro, North Carolina was born in that city on October 9, 1890, the son of farmer and merchant Arris Mebane and Sarah Harrelson Ferree. Arris attended the Gold Hill School and Asheboro Academy and went on to study at the Guilford College from 1907 to 1908. He later enrolled at Wake Forest College and graduated in 1914 with a degree in law. In the following year, Ferree established a law practice over a jewelry business in Asheboro and at the dawn of American involvement in WWI signed on for service in the Army, becoming a First Lieutenant of Field Artillery.
   After returning stateside Ferree reentered the practice of law, moving his office in 1922 to an area called "Lawyer's Row" in Asheboro, where he operated until his decease in 1965. In 1925 he won election as a Republican to the North Carolina State House of Representatives, and after taking his seat proved to be busy as a first-term legislator, being named to the committees on Agriculture; Education; Election Laws; the Journal; Judiciary (No. 1); Penal Institutions; Privileges and Elections; Public Roads and Turnpikes; and Public Welfare.
    At the conclusion of his term in 1927, Ferree returned to practicing law in Asheboro and in the following year launched a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina's 7th district, running against three-term Democratic incumbent William Cicero Hammer (1865-1930). On election day 1928 the contest proved to be a close one, with Ferree losing to Hammer by a vote of 39, 106 to 41,124. Despite losing by a slim margin, the undeterred Ferree went on to mount another campaign for Congress eight years later, running against Harold Dunbar Cooley (1894-1970) of Nash County. On election day 1934 the electoral results were clearly in favor of Cooley, who bested Ferree by a vote of 56,703 to 17, 179. Cooley would go on to serve a total of thirty years in Congress (retiring in 1967) and chaired the House Committee on Agriculture for a record sixteen years. 
  This period of unsuccessful candidacies saw Ferree achieve some measure of consolation when he was named as part of the North Carolina delegation to the 1932 Republican National Convention in Chicago that renominated Herbert Hoover for the presidency. In February 1936 Arris Ferree married in Asheboro to Mabel Parrish (1905-1993), and the new couple is recorded as later honeymooning in Florida. A notice on their wedding is provided below, as it appeared in the February 13, 1936 edition of the Spartanburg Herald.

   Following his nuptials, Ferree continued to be politically active, both at the local and state levels. In 1940 he was an unsuccessful candidate for North Carolina Secretary of State, losing out to Democrat Thaddeus Eure in a lopsided contest, 601, 395 votes to 192, 938. In 1941 Ferree was elected to serve on the Asheboro Board of Commissioners and in the year following was elected to a second term in the North Carolina State House of Representatives. During the 1943-44 legislative session Ferree was named to the committee on Roads and in 1944 launched a run for the United States Senate, campaigning against former North Carolina Governor Clyde Roark Hoey (1877-1954). A notice on Ferree's Senate candidacy (shown below) appeared in the High Point Enterprise on November 2, 1944, and touted that Ferree "stands for world cooperation to preserve peace, also preparedness. His election would give North Carolina recognition nationally". Despite aspiring to such lofty office, Ferree was defeated by Hoey by a vote of 533, 813 to his own 226,037

From the Raeford, N.C. News-Journal, November 2, 1944.

   After 1944 A.I. Ferree refrained from further political campaigns but continued to be active in Asheboro civic affairs, serving as President of the local Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Randolph County's Red Cross Chapter, and is remarked by his obituary as being instrumental in establishing and editing the Randolph Tribune. His death at age 75 was caused by an apparent heart attack on June 19, 1965, while engaged in gardening at his home. Following a funeral service, he was interred at the Asheboro City Cemetery and was survived by his wife Mabel, who died in March 1993 at age 87. The following obituary for Arris Idyl Ferree appeared in the High Point Enterprise on June 19, 1965.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Theorus Rickenbaugh Stoner (1857-1942)

    A Pennsylvanian by birth, Theorus Rickenbaugh Stoner later migrated to South Dakota, where he gained distinction as a business leader and later served terms in both houses of the state legislature. Stoner was for many years a prominent Mason in South Dakota and was a past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of that state. While two pictures of him have been located (as have other pertinent pieces of information) his first name varies in spelling and is recorded as being spelled as "Therous T. Stoner" in a 1921 edition of the South Dakota Legislative Manual. While this is a spelling mistake, a Masonic Report proceeding from 1928 lists his full name as "Theorus Rickenbaugh Stoner".
  Born in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania on October 28, 1857, Stoner's schooling took place in Mifflintown schools and in 1888 removed from Pennsylvania to South Dakota, settling in the town of Lead in Lawrence County. Theorus also married at an unknown date to Ms. Sallie Marie Perkins (1875-1954) and had at least one daughter, Frances, in October 1903. He was for many years identified in the mercantile business in Lead and in 1914 was elected as a Republican to the South Dakota State House of Representatives, representing the counties of Butte and Lawrence. He served one term in the house (1915-1917) and was later elected to three terms in the state senate, serving from 1917-1923. 
   In addition to his service in the legislature, Stoner was prominent in South Dakota Masonic circles for many decades, being anointed as a High Priest in the Golden Belt Masonic chapter in Deadwood in 1903. He served as the Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge in Lead and in 1922 held the post of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Little is known about the remainder of Stoner's life, excepting that he died at age 84 on July 3, 1942 in Leeds, South Dakota. He was later interred at the West Lead Cemetery in his native city of Lead. The portrait of Stoner shown above was featured in the 1921 edition of the South Dakota Legislative Manual, Volume 17.

From the 1915-16 South Dakota State Legislative Manual.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bancroft Hussey Wallingford (1890-1975)

From the Lewiston Daily Sun, January 30, 1932.

   A two-term member of the Maine State House of Representatives, Bancroft Hussey Wallingford was for many years prominent in agricultural circles in his native county of Androscoggin. Born in Auburn, Maine on December 13, 1890, Bancroft H. Wallingford was the son of John and Emma (Crowell) Wallingford and married on September 27, 1922 in Auburn to Ms. Winifred Olfene (1892-1988), with whom he would have two children, Otto Henry (1923-2000) and Helen Louise Wallingford (born 1926). 
   From the few brief mentions of him online, Mr. Wallingford is remarked as being a successful farmer and is acknowledged by a 1932 edition of the Lewiston Daily Sun as having "set himself an orchard that is said will be one of the best in the state when it comes to fruitage." This orchard grew to be one of the largest in Maine and in addition to this Wallingford also owned a large farm in the town of Litchfield, "with 80 acres under the plow, 40 acres being grown to potatoes every year. This is the largest planting of potatoes in this or adjoining counties." The B.H. Wallingford orchards on Perkins Ridge in Auburn continued to produce a substantial amount of apples for many decades onward, and in 1948 was turned over to his son Otto, who continued to operate it until it was sold in 1968 to West Breeze Orchards, Inc.
   In addition to his being an orchardist and farmer, Wallingford found prominence in Auburn political affairs, being elected to the Maine State House of Representatives from the county of Androscoggin in 1930. He was reelected in 1932 and was profiled in the Lewiston Daily Sun during his reelection bid. This paper noted that "having had one term's experience he feels that he is in a better position than ever to help serve the people", and that during his first term held a seat on the house committee on agriculture.
  Following his service in state government, little else could be located on Wallingford's life. He continued to be involved in agriculture in his native town of Auburn and died there on February 23, 1975 at age 84. He was shortly thereafter interred at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. He was survived by both his children as well as his wife Winifred, who died at age 96 in April 1988. 

From the Feb. 27, 1975 edition of the Lewiston Daily Sun.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blackstone Drummond Ayres (1896-1984)

   A lifelong resident of Accomack, County Virginia, Blackstone Drummond Ayres was a distinguished practitioner of law in the aforementioned county, and later served a term in the Virginia State House of Delegates beginning in 1928. Ayres was born in Accomac on August 1, 1896, a son of John Hack and Mary Charlotte Derby Ayres. He received his education at the Virginia Military Institute and later enrolled at the University of Virginia.  A veteran of WWI, Ayres was a Lieutenant of Artillery in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in France with the "47th Army Artillery and the 79th Division". 
  After returning home from Europe, Ayres attended the University of Virginia Law School and graduated from here in 1922 with his law degree. Ayres married in September 1929 to Ms. Nelly Bird (1906-2006), with whom he would have three children, Blackstone Drummond III, Ann Byrd and John Hack Ayres (1930-1931), who died in infancy.
  B. Drummond Ayres is recorded in his 1984 Harrisonburg Daily News Record obituary as being a practicing lawyer in Virginia's Eastern Shore area for over 60 years and was one of a number of attorneys and businessmen who "arranged the $200 million financing for the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel". In addition to his law practice, Ayres was elected to the Virginia State House of Delegates in November 1927 from Accomack County and during the session of 1928-30 held seats on the committees on the Chesapeake and its Tributaries, General Laws, Militia and Police, and Public Property.
  Following the conclusion of his term, Ayres continued to practice law and later held the presidency of the Virginia State Bar Association from 1952-1953. He was also a member of the Order of the First Families of Virginia 1607-1620, as well as the Masons. He died of cancer at age 87 on January 8, 1984, at the Northampton-Accomack Memorial Hospital and was later interred at the Edgehill Cemetery in Accomac. Ayres was survived by two of his children and his wife Nelly, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February 2006. Nelly Bird Ayres died eleven days after her centennial birthday on March 6, 2006, and was also interred at the Edgehill Cemetery.

From the Harrisonburg Daily News Record, January 10, 1984.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Odolphus Ham Waddle (1851-1918)

From the Confederate Veteran, Volume XVIII, published in 1910.

   Born in Pulaski County, Kentucky on March 4, 1851, Odolphus Ham Waddle carved a successful career for himself as an attorney and civic leader, and in 1912 served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago. The son of William and Maria Ham Waddle, this oddly named Kentuckian received his schooling in his native county and went on to attend the Masonic College in Somerset, Kentucky.
  While still a young man Waddle decided upon a career in law, and in 1872 began the study of his profession under Judge Thomas Z. Morrow. Waddle was admitted to the bar the following year and later removed to Louisville to continue his study at that city's law school. After his graduation in 1874, he relocated back to Somerset and here established a law practice that would continue for the remainder of his life. In January 1875 Waddle married in Somerset to Mary Austin Hall, and this couple would later become the parents to nine children, who are listed as follows: Edwin Morrow (1876-1949), Robert Bruce, Katherine, Lucille, Grace, William, Andrew B., Benjamin L., and Stanley.
  Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, Odolphus Waddle built up a successful law practice in Somerset, and "rose high to the ranks of his profession", according to Connelly's History of Kentucky, Volume 5. This same work also notes that Waddle was a "participant in many political battles, though only once was he a candidate for important office, making a race on the democratic ticket for commonwealth attorney." For the majority of his public life Waddle was an avowed Democrat, but in 1896 changed his political stance and was afterward "affiliated as a Republican."
   In 1912 Waddle served as a member of the Kentucky delegation to the 1912 Republican National Convention in Chicago and is listed under the name "O.H. Waddle" in the Official Report of that convention. However, his service as a delegate is under scrutiny by me, as there happened to be another Odolphus Ham Waddle residing in Somerset, Kentucky at the time! This Odolphus (born in 1882 and died in 1962) was a lifelong Pulaski County resident and looks to be either a nephew or cousin of the man profiled here, and is buried in the same cemetery as our subject. Nicknamed "Dault", this second Odolphus would have been around 29 or 30 during the 1912 Republican Convention, perhaps a bit young to serve as a delegate. On the other side of the equation, Odolphus Ham Waddle (born in 1851) would have been around sixty at the time of the convention, and, seeing that he was a prominent lawyer and civic leader in Somerset for over thirty years, is the most likely candidate for the "O.H. Waddle" listed in the convention report below. If any possible descendants of either these men stumble across this posting here, I do hope you'll contact me with any information you might have on them.....you may be able to help clear up the confusion!!

   Despite having little information on his life, Odolphus Waddle is recorded as being a prominent figure in the local Masonic fraternity, as well as the Odd-Fellows lodge. The earlier mentioned History of Kentucky Vol. 5 notes that he died at a "hospital in Cincinnati" on December 29, 1918 at age 67. Waddle was later buried in the Somerset City Cemetery and is memorialized by a plaque in Somerset denoting that "his lasting monument is the graded schools of Somerset."

Monday, July 8, 2013

White Moss (1883-1970)

                      From the December 8, 1922 edition of the Barboursville Mountain Advocate.

   The name would be White Moss. This interestingly named Kentuckian was one of Bell County's most distinguished public figures during the early years of the 2oth century, being a successful coal dealer, mayor of Pinesville and four-term member of the state senate. In later life, he removed to Duval County, Florida, and was later a delegate and alternate delegate to four different RNC conventions over twenty years time.
  White Lane Moss was born in the town of Pineville, Kentucky on September 4, 1883, a son of Judge Marcellus Jordan Moss (1854-1928) and his wife Sarah E. Bingham (1857-1941). White Moss attended Valparaiso University in Indiana and married on June 8, 1905, to Danville, Kentucky native Lula P. Simpson, with whom he had two children, both of whom died in infancy. For the majority of his life, Moss was engaged in the wholesale coal business in his hometown of Pineville and was the vice president and general manager of the Continental Coal Corporation, Inc. Moss's company is recorded by a Kentucky Department of Mines and Mining Annual Report as "taking an unusual interest in the welfare work of its employes (sic), and by co-operation with the employes (sic) maintain graded schools, a model hospital, halls for amusement, brass bands and baseball teams." Moss was also involved with the Straight Creek Coal Mining Company, the Poplar Hignite Coal and Coke Company and the White Star Coal Company. Prior to 1918, Moss also served as President of the Kentucky Mining Institute, quite a feat for a man barely into his thirties!
   Moss first entered the political forum in 1913, when he was elected as the Mayor of Pineville and was returned to that office in 1917. Earlier, in 1916, he was named as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois that nominated Charles Evans Hughes for the Presidency. At the dawn of American involvement in WWI Moss signed on for service in the Army, his exact dates of service and area of deployment being unknown at this time.
   In March 1919 Moss announced his candidacy for the Kentucky State Senate, running on the Republican ticket. A few days after this announcement he was profiled in the April 4, 1919 edition of the Barbourville Mountain Advocate, and this paper noted that: 
"Mr. Moss has lots of energy and is always on the alert for better things for his town, county and state and is very much interested in the material progress of this section of the state. He has at all times advocated the principles of friendship and brotherly love between Middlesboro and Pineville and is vitally interested in the advancement of both cities, which he considers very essential to make Bell a progressive county." 
 White Moss proved popular with the electorate, being described as "young, thoroughly progressive, clean and too has the sufficiency of ambition to warrant aggressiveness in the capacity of a legislator", and with this popularity rode to victory in November of that year. During his Senate service, Moss served on the committees on Fish and Game, Judiciary, Mines and Mining, Public Ways and Internal Improvements and Common Carriers and Commerce, and lastly, Regulation of Intoxicating Liquors.

From the April 4, 1919 edition of the Barboursville Mountain Advocate.

  Moss won re-election to the senate in 1922 and continued to serve in the senate until 1927, a total of four terms in all. In 1924 he was talked of as a potential candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky but preferred to remain in the senate, stating that "it would be a great honor for me to represent this district in the Halls of Congress but I am more interested in helping Kentucky get out of the mud, than in satisfying any personal ambition, which I may have, and  believe that I can be of more service, for the time being at least, by remaining in the state senate." An article on his refusing to run for Congress appeared in the Middlesboro Daily News in April 1924 under the title "White Moss Won't Run For Congress", which I'm sure gave the paper's subscribers a good laugh at the time! 

Would you vote for a man whose name sounds like a plant?

  At the conclusion of his final term in the senate in 1927, Moss relocated from Pinesville to Jacksonville, Florida, where he resided for the remainder of his life. Within a few years of his resettlement, he became the president of the Suwannee Life Insurance Company, holding this post until his retirement in 1964. Moss also remarried to Ms. Hazel Murray Mole, who preceded him in death. During his Florida residency, Moss served as a delegate to the 1944 and 1952 Republican National Conventions from Florida and was an alternate delegate to the conventions of 1960 and 1964. White Lane Moss died at St. Vincent's Hospital in Jacksonville on March 27, 1970, at age 86. A funeral service was held in Jacksonville and shortly thereafter he was returned to Kentucky for interment at the Pineville Cemetery, the same resting place as that of his parents.

From the Middlesboro Daily News, March 31, 1970.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sebeus Colver Maine (1812-1887)

   Bearing a remarkable resemblance to literary icon Charles Dickens, Massachusetts state senator, judge, and inventor Sebeus Colver Maine looks every bit the dapper 19th-century man-of-affairs. This interestingly named man carved quite a career for himself in a number of different vocations, but despite his impressive stature in Massachusetts public life, very little information could be found on him.
   Born in North Stonington, Massachusetts on June 22, 1812, Sebeus was one of thirteen children born to Jabish Breed Maine (1774-1856), a stone and plaster mason, and his wife, Freelove Edwards (1776-1856). No information could be located as to Maine's childhood or education, although it has been found that he taught school in Herkimer County, New York for a time and during the early 1840s operated the law office of Benton and Maine in the town of Little Falls. He married in Pittston, Maine on September 18, 1843 to Julia Octavia Stevens (1806-1881), a native of Kennebec County. The couple later became the parents of two children, Annie Evans (birth-date unknown) and William Stevens Bartlett (birth-date unknown) who later became a well-known painter of landscapes.
   Maine was admitted to the Suffolk, Massachusetts bar in February 1845 and spent the next decade in the practice of law. In 1854 he won election to the Massachusetts State Senate, representing the county of Suffolk. His name appeared in an 1855 Massachusetts State Register and is shown below. 
  In the year following his term in the senate he was named as a commissioner of Insolvency in Boston and in 1858 was appointed as Judge of the Boston Police Court, serving on the bench until 1866. During his tenure on the court, Maine had to contend with numerous instances of draft protests in Boston during the Civil War period, and is acknowledged by a 2012 Foxboro Reporter article as coming "down hard on those who protested the draft during a time of great peril for the nation." Maine's reputation for doling out harsh sentences to protesters garnered him a number of threats, and he eventually had to leave Boston for a short period out of concern for his safety!

   Following his tenure on the Boston police court, little else could be found on Maine's life. In addition to serving in the above capacities, Maine was also an inventor, being awarded patents for "inventions relating to disinfection, cooling, and ventilation" between 1866 and 1872. He also was awarded patents for a "cabinet-bedstead" and a fire extinguisher in June 1869. Maine's wife Julia died in 1881 at age 75 and he himself died on November 25, 1887, at the same age. The Genealogical Record of Nathaniel Babcock, Simeon Maine, Issac Miner, Ezekiel Main notes that Sebeus Maine was buried in Stonington, but fails to mention a name for the cemetery in which he was interred. Julia Octavia Maine was buried in Pittston, Randolph County, Maine following her death in 1881.

   From the Genealogical Record of Nathaniel Babcock, Simeon Maine, Issac Miner, Ezekiel Main, 1909.