Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whitehead Kluttz (1881-1960), Whitehead Hicks (1728-1780)

From the Kansas Liberal Democrat, July 21, 1916.

   The name would be Whitehead Kluttz. What's that you say? That sounds like a made-up name? Not so!! While you probably wouldn't guess that a man with a name like "Whitehead Kluttz" would go on to a stellar career in public service, that is exactly what he did. While his funny name may give people a case of the giggles here in 2013, Mr. Kluttz was a prominent figure in Tar Heel State politics during the early 20th century, and by the time he turned 25 years old in 1907 had won a term in the North Carolina State Senate. Despite his gaining prominence in both politics and in other walks of life, Kluttz's name is all but forgotten today, and the following biography will try and shed light on the life of this obscure public official.
   Kluttz's story begins with his birth in Salisbury North Carolina on September 27, 1881, a son of Theodore Franklin Kluttz (1848-1918) and the former Sallie Caldwell. A three-term U.S. Representative from North Carolina from 1899-1905, Theodore Kluttz was also a distinguished civic leader and lawyer who practiced in Rowan County for over three decades. The fourth born son in a family of five children, Whitehead Kluttz attended the Presbyterian High School in Salisbury and graduated from the Church High School in 1898. He continued his schooling at the University of North Carolina, and during his four years at this school gained a reputation as one of its brightest pupils. 
   An exemplary debater and student, Kluttz is remarked by the Kansas Liberal Democrat newspaper as garnerinstatewide notoriety during his time at the University of North Carolina for "his remarkable talents as an orator, debater and journalist." This same paper further tells of Kluttz's "classic eulogy at the William McKinley Memorial Service, his successful debate against Vanderbilt University, his Washington's Birthday oration, and his leaders when editor in chief of the Tar Heel are all vital and stimulating memories in the minds of his classmates."

Portrait from the Delta of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Vol. 18, August 1900.

   Kluttz completed his schooling at UNC in 1902 and graduated with his bachelor of laws degree in that year. Following his graduation, Kluttz was employed as a U.S. Senate correspondent for a New York-based newspaper, The Americana, and in 1904 formed a law partnership with another lawyer, T.F. Hudson, in his native city of Salisbury. His law practice here extended until 1906, and in that year was nominated for a seat in the North Carolina Senate. He won the election in November of that year and took his seat in January 1907 at age 25, one of the youngest men ever to be elected to that body. He represented the 26th senate district of Rowan County and was reelected to the senate in 1908. During his second term Kluttz became senate president pro tem, and with this honor enjoyed "the enviable distinction of being the youngest man who ever filled this position in any state."
   Kluttz's two terms in the state senate saw him chair the committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, and he also held a seat on the committees on Congressional Apportionment, Education, Judiciary, Mines and Mining, and Trustees of the State University. The 1909 Pocket Manuel of North Carolina gives note that Whitehead Kluttz was "especially interested in legislation affecting good roads, guaranty of bank deposits, fire protection in public buildings, pensions for Confederate soldiers and public high schools.
   Whitehead Kluttz refused to be a candidate for another term in the senate in 1910 and in the final year of his term married on April 22, 1911 to Margaret A. Linn (1884-1914). Their marriage proved to be short-lived, as Margaret died of an undisclosed cause at age 29 on February 4, 1914. Both before and after his senate service Kluttz gained a reputation as an orator of national repute, and is remarked by the 1916 edition of the Lyceum Magazine as giving a "Fourth of July address to 10,000 people in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, when he was said to have received the greatest ovation ever tendered a Southern speaker in the North" , this occurring in 1912.
   Kluttz's impressive resume as a lawyer, state senator, and orator eventually caught the eye of President Woodrow Wilson, who appointed the then 32-year-old North Carolinian to the post of Secretary of the International Joint Boundary Commission between the United States and CanadaA prominent booster for Wilson's campaign for the presidency in 1913, Kluttz's position on the commission was as secretary to the commission which had "exclusive jurisdiction over all controversies between the United States and Canada along the great waterways which form much of the boundary." Following his service on this commission, Kluttz was appointed by Wilson as Assistant Commissioner and Secretary of the United States Board of Mediation and Conciliation in 1920.

From the Ocean Grove Times, July 9, 1910.

   After leaving the aforementioned board in the mid-1920s Kluttz took on a very different kind of work, becoming a national representative of the Playground and Recreation Association of America. In 1924 he made a speaking tour on behalf of that association, visiting Illinois, Iowa and Kentucky, "where he completed the work preliminary to the establishment of a year-round municipal playground and recreation system." At some point following his work with the aforementioned group, Kluttz relocated to Miami, Florida, where he was an attorney for an unspecified length of time.
   Kluttz's life after the 1930s has proven to be difficult to research, with little information being found on what he may have been up to during that time. At some point prior to his death he removed to Manhattan, New York and died there on May 11, 1960. He was 78 years old at the time of his death, and this same book gives note that he was interred somewhere in Washington, D.C. area, with an exact location being unknown at this time.

  Long before Whitehead Kluttz made his name in politics there was Whitehead Hicks, undoubtedly one of the oddest named men ever to serve as Mayor of New York City. Mr. Hicks served as Mayor from 1766-1776 and during this period had to contend with a great amount of anti-British sentiment that was prevalent throughout the colonies.
   Born on August 24, 1728 in Flushing, Long Island, Whitehead Hicks was the son of Judge Thomas and Margaret Hicks. As a young man he began studying law and was admitted to the bar around 1750. He went on to serve as clerk for Queen's County, New York from 1752-1757 and in 1766 was appointed as Mayor of New York City.
  Hicks' decade long tenure as Mayor saw a number of now notable New York institutions come to fruition, including the King's College (opened in 1767) and the New York Chamber of Commerce (established in 1768). Hicks' term in office also saw a great number of  protests from colonists against British officials, whom they ridiculed with "effigy processions" throughout the city. After leaving the mayor's office in 1776 Hicks became a Judge of the New York State Supreme Court, and served on the bench until his death on October 4, 1780 in Flushing.

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