Friday, August 9, 2013

Barr Spangler (1822-1922)

From the Numismatist, Volume 35, 1922.

   A distinguished figure in the history of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Barr Spangler was noted as being the oldest active bank president in the United States at the time of his death at age 100 in 1922. The first oddly named centenarian political figure to warrant a profile here, Spangler was also a prominent figure in the Prohibition Party during the 1860s and 70s, being that party's candidate for Pennsylvania state auditor general on two occasions.
  Spangler was born in Marietta, Pennsylvania on January 13, 1822, a son of John and Anna Barr Spangler. He spent his entire life in Lancaster County and at age 14 began employment as a clerk in a dry goods store. He was given control of this business while still a young man and was later joined by his elder brother William, his son Charles, and a nephew, J. Barr Spangler. On February 2, 1847 Spangler married in Marietta to Mary Ann Sultzbach (1826-1921) and the couple later became the parents of five children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Cuvler (1848-1906), Anna Bell (1850-1938), David (born 1854), William (born 1856) and Charles Sumner (born 1857).
  While still the proprietor of the B. and C.S. Spangler firm, Barr Spangler became a director of the First National Bank of Marietta and continued in this role for fifty-nine years, terminated only by his death in 1922. He made his first attempt at elective office in 1869, when he ran on the Prohibition or 'Temperance" Party ticket for Pennsylvania State Auditor General. He polled only 3,186 votes, compared to Republican David Stanton, who won the election with 284,097 votes. 
  In 1872 Barr Spangler made another attempt for state auditor, running once again on the prohibition platform. When the votes were tallied on election day he polled only 1,260 votes, placing a distant third in a field of three candidates. Republican candidate Harrison Allen (1835-1904) emerged the victor with over 350,000 votes and went on to serve as state auditor from 1872-1875. In 1885 Spangler was the Prohibition candidate for State Treasurer of Pennsylvania but again came up short in the vote count, garnering only 627 votes to Matthew S. Quay's winning total of 5,338.
  Following his defeat, Spangler continued to be a prominent figure amongst the ranks of the Prohibition Party, even being selected as a delegate to the State Prohibition Convention in 1887. In addition to his numerous candidacies, Spangler served as the Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Temperance Union for a number of years.

   Barr Spangler celebrated his 100th birthday on January 13, 1922, and was honored at a dinner celebrating his life, according to volume 35 of the Numismatist. He received a congratulatory telegram from then President Warren Harding and Pennsylvania Governor William C. Sproul, and was noted to be excellent health at the time of his centennial and was remarked as being a "firm believer in fresh air and very little medicine." Spangler died on September 17, 1922, eight months after his 100th birthday. He willed $5000 to the Marietta First Methodist Episcopal Church and was interred at the Marietta Cemetery.

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