Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fessenden Leverett Ives (1868-1949)

From Taylor's Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, 1903-04.

   An obscure resident of the town of Goshen in Litchfield County, Connecticut, Fessenden Leverett Ives was a successful dairy farmer in the aforementioned town who also served terms in the Connecticut State House of Representatives, the first occurring in 1903. Born in Goshen on February 12, 1868, Fessenden E. Ives was one of four children born to Fessenden and Mary Cook Ives. A prominent figure in his own right, Fessenden Ives Sr. (1826-1910) served as a Connecticut state assemblyman in 1875 and was also a first selectman for Goshen for nearly a decade.
  Fessenden L. Ives began his schooling in Goshen and went on to study at the Goshen Academy. He married in his native town in April 1891 to Ellora Kimberly (1866-1944), with whom he would have three children: Fessenden Edward (1893-1903), Sylvia Esther (1899-1964) and Sherman Kimberly Ives (born 1902). Of these children, Sherman Ives is the most notable, as he became a distinguished member of the Connecticut State Grange (serving as its president for a time) and also represented Goshen in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1952-54.
  A farmer and dairyman for the majority of his life, Fessenden L. Ives is recorded by Taylor's Legislative History of Connecticut as operating "a fine farm, which has belonged to the family for nearly half a century." Ives is also noted as being a producer of "high-grade butter" which won him first prize at the Connecticut State Dairymen's Convention of 1896 and 1897.
   In November 1902 Ives was elected by the citizens of Goshen as their representative to the Connecticut General Assembly. Taking his seat in January 1903, Ives was named to the house committees on Expositions and served here for the remainder of his first term. Less than a month after taking his seat Ives suffered personal tragedy with the death of his eldest son Fessenden Edward, who was killed in a sledding accident on February 15, 1903. Described as a "bright child of unusual promise", Ives' son had just celebrated his 10th birthday a few days before his death, and a brief write-up on the accident appeared in the February 17th edition of the Lowell, Massachusetts Sun, shown below.

  Ives' term in the assembly concluded in 1905 and a decade later became a member of the Goshen town school committee. In November 1926 Ives was reelected to the state assembly, serving another two-year term. Little else could be found on the life of Fessenden L. Ives after 1928, excepting a Find-a-Grave page noting his headstone and death, which occurred in Goshen on his 81st birthday, February 12, 1949. He was interred along with his wife and son at the Goshen Center Cemetery in Litchfield County.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fortescue Constable Metcalfe (1877-1929)

From the 1904 New York State Red Book.

   Sporting a regal sounding name like "Fortescue Constable Metcalfe" may seem to indicate a member of British nobility, but this would prove to be an incorrect assumption. This intriguing name actually belonged to a Kings County, New York attorney and two-term member of the state assembly in the early 20th century, and during his time in state government, Mr. Metcalfe could certainly lay claim to being one of the oddest named men serving as a state legislator! Born in Brooklyn on September 8, 1877, Fortescue C. Metcalfe was one of four children born to Alfred Tristram (1852-1914) and Annie E. Metcalfe. Alfred T. Metcalfe is notable as having played major league baseball for the New York Mutuals during the mid 1870s, being a shortstop, third baseman and right fielder for the team from May-June 1875.
   Young Fortescue Metcalfe was afforded his education in the public schools of Brooklyn, attending both the Brooklyn Public School No. 16 and the Brooklyn Boys School. In the late 1890s, he was enrolled at the New York University, graduating from there in 1899 with a bachelor's degree in arts. Metcalfe later studied law at the NYU Law School, and after being admitted to practice in June 1901 established an office in Brooklyn.
  Shortly after beginning his practice Metcalfe became active in Democratic political circles in the borough of Brooklyn, and in 1902 became a candidate for the New York State Assembly from Brooklyn's 5th district. In November of that year, the 25-year-old Metcalfe won the election defeating Republican incumbent George Langhorst by a vote of 4, 617 to 4, 236. Taking his seat in January 1903, Metcalfe sat on the house committees on Codes and Claims during his first term and in February 1903 was even given a banquet in his honor, courtesy of the All Souls Universalist Church, of which he was a member. The Brooklyn Standard Union (which reported on the dinner) notes that the assembled party praised Metcalfe's character, "success in politics" and his longtime connection to the church, which extended back to childhood Sunday School classes. As All Souls church pastor L. Ward Brigham stated in the Union's write-up:
"A Church man is the best man to be a representative of the people. Mine is a personal word of introduction of one who grew among those present, known by all for his manliness. He is a strong man, a clear thinker. He is right principled and spirtually cultured. He is a success and All Souls is proud of Fortescue C. Metcalfe."
From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 28, 1903.

  Hoping to retain his assembly seat in the 1903 election year, Metcalfe took on a novel approach to get out the word on his political platform of "Honesty In Public Service", even going as far as to print up and send out numerous folders through his district detailing his record during his first term in the assembly. These folders touted Metcalfe's message of "home rule in government", "exemption of mortgages from taxation", "exemption of deposits in savings banks from taxation" and "reform of criminal procedure to avoid delay of justice". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed a substantial write-up on his reelection strategy in October 1903, and when interviewed by the paper Metcalfe remarked:
"I do not believe in a campaign of false pretenses. Every voter in my district has a right to know for what I stand, and in order that he may know I have briefly set forth my platform. I don't ask any man to vote for me without his knowing just where I stand. The statements in my platform are perfectly clear and if any man votes for me he will do so with the full knowledge that I shall adhere to that platform." 
  In the November 1903 election Metcalfe once again faced George Langhorst and emerged victorious, besting his Republican opponent by a vote of 4,512 to 4,236. During the 1904 legislative term Metcalfe again served on the committees on Codes and Claims and in July of that year gained additional press in New York papers by attempting to save the life of a drowning man off the Narraganset Pier, Rhode Island. As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle related in its July 13th edition, Metcalfe had attended a church-related convention at the pier on July 11th and afterward decided to take a raft out on the water. While he and another man enjoyed the afternoon rafting, they noticed another swimmer throw up his hands and sink underwater. Seeing that the swimmer (identified as 24 year old Albert L. Olms) was not receiving any assistance, Metcalfe jumped into the water and attempted to bring Olms back to the raft. Despite a valiant attempt, Metcalfe was "so much fatigued himself" that he was forced to let Olms go. 

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 13th 1904.

  Despite this tragic turn of events, Metcalfe returned to his duties as an assemblyman and ran for a third term in November 1904. In that year's contest, he faced a young German immigrant named Otto Godfrey Foelker (1875-1943) who was a practicing attorney in Brooklyn. In the November election Foelker eked out a narrow win over Metcalfe, 4,878 to 4,787 and in January 1905 took his seat in the assembly.
  Although he lost by only 91 votes, Fortescue Metcalfe continued to be an active participant in political and civic affairs in Brooklyn, and after leaving the political field returned to practicing law, opening an office in Brooklyn with attorney John Z. Lott. In addition to this, Metcalfe married to Ms. Elsey May King on November 16, 1910, at the All Soul's Universalist Church in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s Metcalfe continued in the practice of law in Brooklyn and was also viewed as a prominent fixture in New York high society, holding memberships in a number of fraternal organizations, including the Hyatt Club of Free and Accepted Masons, The Universalists Club, the Knickerbocker Field Club and was a past president of the Men's Club of the All Souls Universalist Church in Flatbush.

From "Flatbush of Today", published in 1908.

   Aside from his involvement in political and civic doings in Brooklyn, Fortescue Metcalfe is recorded as having a "wide experience in amateur theatricals", performing as an actor in a number of local plays throughout his native borough. The Brooklyn Standard Union's November 27, 1921 edition gives a write-up of one of these plays, a comedy entitled "Nothing But the Truth" that was performed by members of the All Souls Universalist Church Sunday School, where Metcalfe served as Superintendent. Metcalfe himself is recorded as being the play's producer as well as performing as "Bishop Duran" in the production. Earlier in 1921 Metcalfe had helped to write and produce another play/music revue entitled "A Trip To Cuba", performed by the Knickerbocker Field Club on April 20th of that year. The play was "pronounced as the best ever given by the club" with "capacity attendance being assured" for the show's second performance.
   Metcalfe continued an active schedule until 1928, when (according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle) ill health "forced him to give up his practice". Shortly thereafter he removed to Upper Montclair, New Jersey and on August 22, 1929 died at the Homeopathic County Hospital in East Orange after undergoing an operation. He was a few days short of his 52nd birthday and following his death was interred at the Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn.

                                             Metcalfe's obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 23, 1929.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ortha Orrie Barr Sr. (1879-1958), Ortha Orrie Barr Jr. (1922-2003)

From the History of West Central Ohio, Volume III.

    This curiously named man is one Ortha Orrie Barr Sr., a two-term member of the Ohio State House of Representatives who was also an attorney and hotel operator in the city of Lima. The only son of Dr. Eugene Jacob and Sadie Michael Barr, Ortha Orrie Barr was born on February 24, 1879 in Clarke County, Ohio and at age six migrated to Allen County with his family. He is recorded as having attended schools local to that county and later studied at the "old Lima College". Barr went on to enroll at the University of Michigan Law School in his early twenties and graduated from this institution in the class of 1904.
  Following his return to Ohio Ortha Barr married in Lima on September 4, 1907 to Bertha Woerner (1881-1953) and later had four children, including: Catherina A. (died aged three), Robert Ortha (1910-1996), Margaret A. (1914-1999), Edna Barr Hunter (1915-2009) and Ortha Orrie Jr. (1922-2003). In the late 1900s, Barr took on a position as deputy sheriff of Allen County, serving under his father Eugene. In 1911 Ortha Barr became an assistant prosecuting attorney for Allen County and after four years in this capacity won election as Prosecuting Attorney, serving from 1915-1916. 
   During his service as prosecuting attorney Barr and his father began preparations to erect the fireproof Barr Hotel, and at the time of its opening in October 1916 stood seven stories and later gained notoriety as "the leading hotel" in Lima. Barr and his family continued to have an active role in operating the hotel for many decades afterward, even enlarging the original 88 room facility to 150 rooms. 

The Barr Hotel, from a postcard published in the 1920s.

   Active in Democratic party circles in Allen County, Barr was a member of the County Central Committee as well as being a member of the Allen County Bar Association. In November 1930 he was elected to represent Allen County in Ohio State House of Representatives. Taking his seat in January 1931 Barr served two terms in the legislature, the last of which concluded in 1935. Following his time in Ohio state government Barr continued his involvement in the family hotel and found further distinction in fraternal affairs in Lima, being a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a former grand master of the local Knights of Pythias chapter, and was an "esteemed lecturing knight" of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In 1943 Barr became the President of the Lima Sertoma Club, serving one year in this post.
   In September 1953 Barr experienced tragedy with the loss of his wife Bertha in a truck-car accident in Auglaize County, Ohio. He and his wife had been returning from Indiana with another couple after celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary in Connersville. After entering Ohio Barr's car collided with a tractor-trailer truck during a rain storm near the town of Wapakoneta. The September 12th edition of the Lima News reported on the accident, noting that "Mrs. Barr was hurled from the vehicle, then pinned beneath the wreckage." Bertha W. Barr succumbed to her injuries shortly after the initial crash, and Ortha Barr and Mrs. Harvey Crider (a passenger in the car) were later transported to a nearby hospital for their injuries. 
   Following the loss of his wife, Barr was noted by the Lima News as being in a "deep shock" and later made a recovery from his auto injuries. In 1956 he sold off his interest in the Barr Hotel to one C.O. Porter and sometime later relocated to Hollywood, California, where he died on December 5, 1958 in a rest home in that city. He was 79 years old at the time of his death and was later returned to Ohio for burial in the Gethsemani Cemetery in his native city of Lima.

 From the Lima News, December 6, 1958. 

    In addition to Ortha O. Barr's career in the public forum, his son Ortha Orrie Barr Jr. also had fleeting involvement in Buckeye State politics, launching a candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio in 1956. Hoping to represent the 4th congressional district of Ohio, O. Orrie Barr Jr. faced off against four term incumbent Republican William Moore McCullough (1901-1980) and in the November election Barr was defeated by a wide margin, 42, 416 to 93, 607. McCullough would later go on to serve seven more terms in Congress, retiring in 1973 after 26 years of service. In addition to his congressional candidacy, O. Orrie Barr Jr. was a WWII veteran and prisoner of war, and later followed in his father's footsteps, graduating from the University of Michigan in the early 1950s. He later became a attorney, and died on March 24, 2003, shortly after his 81st birthday. He was later interred at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Medinia County, Ohio.

Ortha Orrie Barr Jr. (1922-2003), from the 1951 Michiganensian Yearbook.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Loveridge Samuel Axtell (1832-1908)

From Field's History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Vol. II, 1907.

   Endowed with an interesting first name (and an even more impressive beard) Loveridge S. Axtell was a resident of distinction in his adopted home county of Pottawattamie, Iowa, being at various times a teacher, superintendent of schools and state representative. This oddly named man with the flowing facial hair was a Pennsylvanian by birth, being born in the small borough of Sheakleyville on November 23, 1832,  a son of Samuel and Mary Loveridge Axtell. Inheriting his odd first name courtesy of his mother, Axtell began his education in schools local to Mercer County, Pennsylvania and later attended the Allegheny University during the early 1850s, teaching school during the winter time. 
  After the completion of his education, Axtell became a locating agent for a colony of Pennsylvanians that had made preparations to relocate out west. The two hundred strong group made the trek to the Kansas Territory in 1854 and once settled Axtell established a homestead. In the following year he served as a judge for the first official election held in the territory, and during the election, proceedings had to contend with a mob of angry "Border Ruffians", natives of Missouri who had made their way into Kansas and attacked anyone associated with the Kansas "Free-State" movement. 
  During this time period (commonly known as "Bleeding Kansas") Axtell wisely decided to relocate to Missouri, and soon after his relocation began teaching school in what is now the Lee's Summit area. In September 1855 he married to Ms. Sarah Holloway, and later moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa where his first daughter, Flora, was born. Their marriage proved to be short-lived, as in April of 1856 Sarah Axtell died, and in the fall of that year, Flora Axtell also died. Following their deaths, Loveridge Axtell taught school in a log building Council Bluffs, with an "average daily attendance of eight five pupils, and a highest daily attendance of 105."  In 1862 Axtell remarried in Council Bluffs to Frances Sarah Wade, a native of England who had later migrated to Missouri and later, Iowa. The couple would later have eight children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Loveridge Hutton (born 1864), Charles Monroe (born 1866), Ida Permelia (1868-1971), Aggie Jane (1871-1913), Henry Wade (1874-1922), Frank (died in infancy in 1877), Walter Garfield (born 1879) and Spencer Burson (1882-1961). 
  Throughout the first half of the 1860s Axtell continued teaching in Council Bluffs, and in 1865 took on the position of superintendent of schools for Pottawattamie County. Around this same time period, he left teaching and began farming, eventually purchasing over 100 acres of land in Boomer Township where he erected a home for his family. He later bought up an additional 160 acres in Rockford Township and over the next few decades built up a substantial farming complex, with the Biographical History of Pottawattamie County noting that in addition to his large amount of acreage, Axtell also raised "a large stock of hogs, cattle and horses." This same work also details his success as a producer of apples, stating that "his orchard, commenced over twenty years ago, has by later additions grown to be over ten acres and has never failed for a single season, since large enough to bear, to yield a substantial supply of fruit."

The Loveridge S. Axtell homestead,  from the 1885 Pottawattamie County Atlas.

   Described as being an active Republican since the foundation of the party, Loveridge S. Axtell was elected by his fellow Pottawattamie citizens as a member of the Iowa State House of Representatives in November 1872. Taking his seat in January 1873, Axtell served one term in the legislature and during his tenure served on the Committee on County and Township Organization and also chaired the house committee on schools.
  After leaving the legislature in 1875 Axtell continued operating his farm and is later remarked as residing with his daughter Aggie Axtell Nusum. He died shortly before his 76th birthday on November 1, 1908 and was survived by his wife Fannie, who died in 1928 at age 87, both being interred at the Grange Cemetery in Honey Creek, Iowa. A number of Axtell's children also survived him, including his daughter Ida Permelia, who died in July 1971 at the grand age of 102!

Axtell's death notice from the Des Moines Capitol, November 12, 1908.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thorndyke Corning McKennee (1857-1924)

 From the History of the Rockaways, 1917.

    A lifelong resident of New York state, Thorndyke Corning McKennee rose to become a prominent fixture in civic and political affairs on Long Island, serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1920, an Assistant District Attorney of Queens County and Commissioner of Jurors for Queens County. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on May 4, 1857, Thorndyke C. McKennee was the son of U.S. Navy Captain Henry Guilford McKennee and his wife Caroline Mary Wilder. His education commenced at the Public School No. 58 in Manhattan and later went on to study at the College of the City of New York. In 1881 he earned his bachelor of laws degree from the Columbia University's Law School, and after graduating took on a position as a Court of Appeals reporter in the law office of Emerson W. Keyes.
   McKennee remained in the Keyes law office until joining up with Gen. Horatio Collins King, a distinguished lawyer, politician, and Medal of Honor winner during the Civil War. McKennee clerked in Brooklyn for King until establishing his own law practice, and around 1890  married in Brooklyn to Sarah Guilford Stone (1857-1893) with whom he had two children, Corning Guilford (1891-1967) and Sarah Stone (ca. 1893-1915). Sarah Guilford Stone McKennee died in November 1893 at age 34 and Thorndyke never remarried following her death. His obituary in the Rockaway Beach Wave notes that in regards to his children "he brought them up himself, almost from infancy", and in the mid-1890s began to dabble in real estate in Brooklyn, later specializing in "residential property".
   In 1900 McKennee and his children removed from Brooklyn to Rockaway Beach, Queens, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Located on the south shore of Long Island, Rockaway Beach during the early 20th century was a haven for Irish-American citizens and was given the moniker of "New York's Playground" due to its wealthy residents, amusement parks, and resort hotels. Within a few years of his arrival, McKennee had become one of Rockaway Beach's foremost leaders in civic affairs, serving as President the Rockaway Beach Board of Trade for a number of years. McKennee is also noted as having been a booster for improvements to Rockaway Beach infrastructure, actively pressing for the betterment of the Jamaica Bay Causeway, the Beach Channel Drive and the Rockaway Beach boardwalk.

   While attentive to the advancement of Rockaway Beach as a community, Thorndyke McKennee was active in Republican Party circles in the area, being named as the Assistant District Attorney for Queens County in 1907. A year following his appointment he advanced to the post of First Assistant Attorney, and in 1909 made an unsuccessful candidacy for Municipal Court Justice for Queens' 3rd district. Three years following his defeat for Municipal judge McKennee received the high profile appointment as Commissioner of Jurors for Queens County in October 1912, succeeding Commissioner George Creed who had died some weeks previously. McKennee was renamed as Commissioner in December 1914 for a term of five years. His tenure in this office is highlighted by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as having been one of marked success, with McKennee having "introduced the plan of examining jurors at night and established other practices to make jury duty less onerous for the average citizen." 
   In the 1920 election year, McKennee served as part of New York's delegation to the Republican National Convention in Chicago that nominated Warren Harding for the Presidency. Three years after his service as a delegate McKennee was the Republican candidate for judge of the newly established Rockaway Municipal Court, and in that year's election placed third in a field of three candidates. His obituary in the Rockaway Wave notes that following his defeat McKennee "maintained an outward appearance of cheerfulness, his intimate friends say that he brooded over the poor showing in the election, which, they say, had the effect of shortening his life." 
   As the year 1923 gave way to 1924, Thorndyke McKennee was still the incumbent in the office of Queens County Commissioner of Jurors. Although still attentive to political matters he was in a state of impaired health, and by April 1924 was suffering from appendicitis. A day before his death McKennee underwent an operation to eliminate the illness but died the following day, April 20, 1924 at the age of 66. Following his death, a lavish outpouring of tributes came from throughout Rockaway Beach, and a lengthy funeral procession carried him to his resting place at the famed Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

From the Rockaway Beach Wave, April 24, 1924.

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 24, 1924.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Roujet DeLisle Marshall (1846-1922)

From the Autobiography of Roujet D. Marshall, Volume 1.

   A distinguished figure in Wisconsin law circles for over forty years, Roujet DeLisle Marshall is in all probability is the oddest named individual to have served as a member of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court! A native of Nashua, New Hampshire, Roujet (or Rouget) D. Marshall was born in that city on December 27, 1846, the youngest of three sons born to Thomas and Emeline Marshall. He received his unusual first and middle names in honor of the distinguished Frenchman Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), an army officer who authored the French national anthem "Le Marseilles", and one can wonder if Marshall himself was ever asked the origins of his intriguing name!
  The Marshall family called Nashua home until 1854, when they removed to Wisconsin, settling in the town of Delton in Sauk County. Roujet worked the family farm during his youth whilst also attending the Delton Academy. He was later a student at the Baraboo Collegiate Institute in the city of Baraboo and continued his education at the Lawrence College. Marshall began studying law at age 17 and was admitted to the Wisconsin bar several years after commencing his studies. Marshall married in 1869 to British native Mary E. Jenkins (1848-1939), and the couple is believed to have been childless throughout the length of their fifty-plus years of marriage.

 A six-month-old Roujet Marshall and family, from Marshall's 1918 autobiography.

   Following the completion of his law studies Marshall and his wife settled in Chippewa Falls and within a short time had opened a law practice in this city. In addition to being a lawyer, Marshall wasted no time becoming politically involved in Chippewa Falls, serving as a justice of the peace as well as being a school board member. He was appointed as Chippewa County judge in 1876 and was later elected to a four-year term of his own. In the early 1880s he operated a law practice with attorney John Jenkins and in 1884 won a seat on the Wisconsin University Board of Regents, where he served for five years.
  While still serving on the Board of Regents Marshall was elected as a Circuit Court Judge of for Wisconsin's Eleventh District. His six-year tenure on this court is noted as one of constant work by the 2003 Portraits of Justice: The Wisconsin Supreme Court's First 150 Years, with further notice being given that "almost every day he opened court at 8 A.M. and closed around 11:30 P.M."  Marshall's service on the circuit court lasted until 1895 when then Wisconsin Governor William Upham appointed him to the State Supreme Court to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Chief Justice Harlow South Orton, who had died a few weeks previously. 

Marshall around the time of his appointment to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, circa 1896.

   In April 1896 Marshall won election to a term of his own on the court and during his 22-year tenure was regarded as one of the court's most prominent conservative voices. His long tenure coincided with changing times in America, and with the advent of progressive reforms throughout the United States in the 1910s, his judicial philosophy was viewed by some as outdated. In 1915 the court heard the Forestry Case, and rendered a decision that "struck down a group of Progressive laws that created a state forest reserve in the state's logged out north woods and allocated funds to purchase lands for the reserve." Judge Marshall, being the court's leading conservative voice, went as far as to try and persuade his fellow justices to declare this progressive legislation as unconstitutional, and even though the court struck down these laws, Marshall had inadvertently damaged his own public career by speaking out against these reforms.
  Running for reelection in November 1917, Roujet D. Marshall lost his seat on the court to the man who had argued the Forestry Case in front of the court, Wisconsin Attorney General Walter Cecil Owen (1868-1934). By the time of his leaving the Supreme Court in 1918 Marshall had authored 1,317 opinions, this according to the Marquette Law Review, and this same work notes that "his esteemed judicial service rendered on the Supreme Bench of this state, and his enviable record has built for him a vast and splendid monument on which the bench and bar may gaze with admiration forever."

Roujet Marshall late in his Supreme Court service.

   In the year of his defeat, Marshall had been elected as the President of the Wisconsin State Bar Association and served in this post until 1918. Marshall also took to writing a lengthy two-volume autobiography that was eventually published a few years after his death, which occurred in Madison, Wisconsin on May 22, 1922. His obituary in the Madison State Journal notes that Marshall had been confined to the Methodist Hospital in Madison due to an illness of "several months." He was later interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison and was survived by his wife Mary, who died in 1939 at age 90.

From the Madison State Record, May 23, 1922.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Selvoy Jarrett Boyer (1897-1985)

From the August 1959 edition of the Millennial Star, Volume 121.

   During a life that extended nearly nine decades, Selvoy Jarrett Boyer was a prominent fixture in political and religious affairs in Utah for nearly sixty years. A former Mayor of Springville, a multi-term state representative, member of the Utah state tax commission and agriculturalist, Boyer gained later prominence when he was appointed as the president of the first British Mormon temple in 1958...truly a man of many achievements!
  Selvoy J. Boyer was born in the town of Springville, Utah on February 6, 1897, one of several children born to John Slevoy (1867-1945) and Susannah Bailey Jarrett Boyer (1868-1943). Boyer was a student in the Springville school system and later graduated from Brigham Young University. He married in Manti, Utah to Mary Gladys Sessions on January 29, 1919 and later had the following children: Keith Selvoy (1919-2011), LaMar S. (1921-2002), Phyllis Rooney (birthdate unknown), John Carl (1926-2004) and Jerrol M. (1928-2007).
  Baptized into the Mormon church early in his life, Selvoy Boyer journeyed to Great Britain in 1923 at the behest of future Church President David Oman McKay to serve as a missionary for the Nottingham district for the LDS church. Boyer remained in England until 1925, whereafter he returned to the United States. Following his return to Utah Boyer became a Bishop for Springville's second ward and throughout the 1930s Boyer continued to serve both Springville and the LDS church in a number of different vocations, including being a member of the State Tax Study Committee as well as the state defense council. In addition to his numerous civic and church posts, Selvoy Boyer was a farmer and as such was highly concerned with matters relating to agriculture in Utah. He served as the President of the Utah Crop Improvement Association and was also a former vice-president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation.

From the Provo Evening Herald, August 25, 1938.

   In 1938 Boyer made the jump into state politics, announcing his candidacy for the Utah State House of Representatives. In September he won election as a Democratic representative from Utah County with 704 votes, taking his seat in January of the new year. During his terms in office Boyer made a name for himself as a sponsor of farm legislation and in January 1945 introduced an unusual bill that aimed to curb the production of miss-weighed bags of wheat and corn flour, cornmeal, and hominy grits. As the Salt Lake Herald noted in its January 16, 1945 edition, any violation in Boyer's bill would be considered a misdemeanor, and "upon conviction, the offender would be fined no less than $25 or more than $500 for each offense." 

   The years 1945-1946 saw Selvoy Boyer serving as mayor of Springville, Utah and in the early part of the latter year took on the important post of President of the LDS Mission in London. His service as President extended from 1946-1950 and during his stewardship also served as the editor of the churches' "Millennial Star" periodical. Boyer's time as head of the LDS church's British mission concluded at the end of 1949 and in the spring of 1950, he and his wife returned home to Utah. In September 1950 Boyer spoke of his time in Britain during a speech at the Wasatch Academy and his talk was later described by the Manti Messenger as being "frankly critical of the socialist economy of England as compared to the free-enterprise system of the United States" and "repeatedly warned of a trend of socialism in America."
  Within a short while of returning to Utah Boyer returned to political life, being appointed as a member of the Utah State Tax Commission. His time on the commission saw him serve as head of the property tax division and he continued to serve on this board until his appointment as the President of the LDS church's new Mormon Temple in London in July 1958. Erected at the cost of 1.5. million dollars, the temple was dedicated by LDS President David O. McKay, who had named Boyer as the temple's first president. Boyer resigned from the tax commission on August 15, 1958, and by September had arrived in England to assume his duties. 
Selvoy Boyer during his Presidency of the London Temple (from the Millenial Star, 1959).

   Boyer's time as Temple President concluded in July 1964 and at the end of that month, he and his wife returned to Utah. His time in London was remarked by the Millennial Star and one of prominent growth for the LDS Church, noting that the "man with the crooked finger who gives you the straight talk will be greatly missed in Great Britain. Wherever he went he was greeted with a love that had grown up through six hard years of hard work and sound common sense sermons."
  In December 1965 Boyer was beset by personal tragedy when his wife of over forty years died. Mary Gladys Sessions Boyer was 75 years old and was later interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville. Following his wife's passing Boyer remarried on November 22, 1967, to Agnes Reynolds McKay (1898-1988) and during the remainder of his life served the LDS church in a number of different capacities, including as a President and Elder. He died shortly after his 88th birthday on February 24, 1985, and was interred alongside his wife Mary at the Evergreen Cemetery.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Phesanton Southerland Sugg (1805-1855)

                                                                      Courtesy of the Find-a-Grave website.

   A distinguished physician in the Edgecombe County, North Carolina area during the first half of the 19th century, Dr. Phesanton Southerland Sugg's political notoriety rests on his brief service as a delegate to the North Carolina State Constitutional Convention held in Raleigh in 1835. With this fact in hand, I can honestly state that if it weren't for genealogical websites such as Rootsweb or, I would be at a total loss in regards to information on the life of Mr. Sugg. I should also note that many of these websites give alternate spellings of Sugg's first name, with "Pheasanton" and"Pheasington" being among them. However, a picture of his gravestone at the Greenwood Cemetery in Tarboro records the spelling as "Phesanton" and it is that spelling which looks to be the correct one. The rare portrait of him shown above was located via the Find-A-Grave website, and was posted there by the user "Farnitano". This marks the first time I've seen a picture of this obscure man and I'm quite glad that someone took the initiative to post a portrait and small biography for him on the aforementioned Find-A-Grave!
  The story of this oddly named North Carolinian begins in the county of Edgecombe, where he was born on December 13, 1805, one of a number of children (one listing gives the total as 14) born to Reading and Margaret Southerland Sugg. Phesanton decided upon a career in medicine early in his life and in 1826 graduated from the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, and had written his thesis on the "means of abstracting blood". Following his graduation, Sugg married to Lucinda Pender on January 9, 1827, and during the course of their 28-year marriage had at least 14 children born to them, some of whom died in infancy. 
  Although little is known of Sugg's life, it is known that he practiced medicine in Edgecombe County for the majority of his life, and was a large landowner in the area. In 1835 he received the honor of being named as one of two delegates from Edgecombe to attend the North Carolina State Constitutional Convention being held at Raleigh in June of that year. A roster from the convention bearing Sugg's name is shown below.

  Little is known of Phesanton Sugg's life after his service at the Constitutional Convention concluded, but he did continue in the practice of medicine in his home county of Edgecombe. The Rootsweb genealogical website gives note that Sugg died at age 49 on October 14, 1855, as the result of an "infected carbuncle" located on his neck. He was later buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Tarboro, North Carolina and was survived by his wife Lucinda, who died in 1876 at age 67.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Palmerston Cornick Campbell (1868-1931)

From the 1907 edition of the California Blue Book.

  Following the write-up on Reaumur Coleman Stearns we journey from Virginia to Contra Costa County, California to highlight the life of a very obscure member of that state's assembly. You'd probably think that California, with its extensive history and large population, would've had a number of interestingly named people to serve in some governmental capacity, but you would, unfortunately, be wrong. In all the years I've been busy categorizing and researching some of these oddly named folks, only a handful of Californians have been honored with a profile here on the site (Pacificus OrdCaius Tacitus Ryland, and Oval Pirkey being the most notable.) With this fact in mind, I'm pleased to relate that another interestingly named California political figure has been discovered, via a 1907 California Blue Book---Palmerston Cornick Campbell!
    A one-term member of the State Assembly, Campbell was also a prominent physician and surgeon, being born in Suisun City, California on May 3, 1868, the son of Samuel Duncan (1823-1875) and Julia A. Turner Campbell (died 1893). It is unknown at this time why Samuel and Julia decided to bestow the unusual name "Palmerston" upon their son, but the name may have a connection to the former British Prime Minister, Henry John Temple, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston. Prime Minister Palmerston died in office in 1865 (three years before our subject was born) so it may not be unlikely that Campbell was named in honor of this prominent British political figure. 
   Palmerston C. Campbell began his schooling in his native Suisun City, later attending both the Napa College and the University of California. Campbell decided upon a career in medicine while still a young man and in the late 1880s enrolled at the Northwestern Medical College in Missouri. Following his graduation from this school in 1890 Campbell returned to California and married in June of that year to Mary Eliza Hatch (1868-1961) and later became the father of six children, who are listed as follows by order of birth: Helen (1891-1968), Duncan Hatch (1893-1952), Juliet (1896-1968), Palma Augusta (1906-1979) and John Lindsay ( 1908-1993).
   In 1901 Dr. Palmerston C. Campbell was centered at Richmond, California where he operated a medical practice. In 1905 he was named as a Lieutenant Colonel and Aide-de-Camp in the California National Guard, serving on the staff of Governor George Cooper Pardee. The 1917 History of Contra Costa County, California notes that while on the Governor's staff Campbell had "charge of the State medical aid during the fire and earthquake in San Francisco." In November 1906 Dr. Campbell was elected to the California State Assembly from Contra Costa County, defeating Democratic candidate William F. Belding by a vote of 2,443 to 1,798. Taking his seat in January of the new year, Dr. Campbell would serve as Chairman of the house committee on Public Health and Quarantine during his one term in the legislature, and was also named to the committees on Claims and  Swamp and Overflowed Lands and Drainage. 
   Research on Campbell's brief term in state government has revealed that even though he may have been a political novice, he was still a man of great personal integrity, as the following example will illustrate. During his first year in the assembly, Campbell introduced a bill "forbidding the importation, manufacture or sale of miss-branded drugs." With this bill Campbell insisted that "all medicine intended for internal or external use must bear a label telling of its contents", and this piece of legislation (which followed on the heels of the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906) shows that the freshman assemblyman had the best interests of his constituents (and Californians) at heart, even if it meant jeopardizing his own political career. As he himself stated in the January 16, 1907 edition of the San Francisco Call:
"If a mother is giving her child soothing syrup containing a large percentage of morphine, she ought to know it. Then there are the consumption and cough cures, all containing opium. These things should be properly labeled. Then if they want to take them it is their own business, but it is not fair to permit them to be deceived."
   Dr. Campbell's bill (mentioned as having "followed to the letter" the 1906 Food and Drug Act) received further press in the San Francisco Call of March 2, 1907, when a rather un-statesman like shouting match erupted between he and state senator Herbert Swift Greenwood McCartney of Los Angeles County, who had introduced an "amended" pure drug bill in the Senate, one which had drawn the ire of Campbell. As Campbell explained in the Call: 
"This bill has been amended just fifty-seven times, and each amendment was at the suggestion of a paid lobbyist of the patent medicine trust. Originally the bill was a copy of the national pure food law, but it isn't anything like it now. The lobbyist who has had the changes made wanted me to amend my bill as to give the druggists a secret trial, and I refused. Think of it! He wanted the bill fixed so that no one should know that misbranded or adulterated drugs has been found in a druggist's possession. My bill is a real copy of the national pure food and pure drug law. It passed this house, but is now being held up in the senate."
   After refusing to change his bill to include McCartney's measure for a secret trial amendment, a war of words erupted, with McCartney threatening to throw Campbell out of the assembly building. Campbell responded in kind, telling the senator "I dare you; if you think you can do it, start right in now." Campbell also had harsh words for the paid lobbyist who had sided with the patent medicine trust. The lobbyist (aptly named Cheatam) had threatened to ruin Campbell's political career, but the freshman assemblyman proved to be made of the sterner stuff, and when asked how he responded to the threat replied:
"I told him to go to h---. He can't bluff me."
From the San Francisco Call, March 2, 1907 (full article view-able at the link above.)

   In spite of the brouhaha surrounding the pure drug legislation, the remainder of Campbell's legislative term appears to be quieter than the first portion. In August of 1908, he wasn't renominated for another term in the assembly, with the Republican Party nominating Richmond, California city recorder Thomas Delbert Johnston instead. Johnston would go on to win the election that November and subsequently served two terms in the assembly.
  While his time in politics may have been brief, Palmerston Campbell returned to practicing medicine following his term and in 1916 was elected as president of the Contra Costa County Medical Society for one term. Campbell continued to be actively involved with the county medical society throughout the 1920s and died on October 16, 1931 at age 63 and was survived by his wife Mary, who died in 1961 at age 93. Both were interred at the Rockville Cemetery in Suisun City, California.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reaumur Coleman Stearnes (1866-1945)

From the Virginia Times Dispatch, April 17, 1907.

    A distinguished figure in the annals of Virginia state government, Reaumur Coleman Stearnes was for many years at the forefront of educational matters in the "Old Dominion" State, holding a seat on the state Board of Education and later served a five-year term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. I first discovered this interestingly named man several years ago, courtesy of the Who Was Who In America 1943-1950 edition. Listed under his full name, Mr. Stearnes received a substantial write-up in Who Was Who, a lasting testament to his lengthy role in the Virginia educational system.
   Born in Dublin, Virginia on April 8, 1866, Reaumur C. Stearns was the son of Dr. John Lewis and Phoebe Ann McDermed Stearnes, both residents of Pulaski County. His unusual first name is noted as being pronounced "roamer", and the December 12, 1940 edition of the Hempstead, New York Sentinel notes that Stearnes received his odd name in honor of "the French scientist Reaumur, who produced the heat measuring scale bearing his name." 
  Stearnes attended schools in his native town of Dublin and later graduated from the Richmond College in 1887, the valedictorian of his class. He embarked upon a teaching career while still studying at college, and continued in this profession after graduating, teaching at the Allegheny Institute at Roanoke, Virginia for a time. Stearnes married on December 27, 1888 to Mary Elizabeth Arnold (1865-1960) and later had three children, Bessie (1890-1982), John Lewis (died in infancy in 1893) and Reaumur Jr. (born 1901).
   The early 1890s saw Stearnes continuing to teach as well as practicing law in Salem, Virginia. In 1892 he was elected as Superintendent of Roanoke County Schools. His fourteen-year tenure in this post was remarked by the January 1913 edition of the Journal of Education, New England and National  as "having made a national reputation, the first made by a county superintendent in West Virginia, if not the first in the South."  During his time as Roanoke superintendent Stearnes was also a leading light in the establishment of the Cooperative Educational Association of Virginia, and from 1901-1906 served as the President of the Virginia State Teacher's Association.
   Stearnes served as the head of the Roanoke school system until 1906, and in that year was appointed as secretary to the State Board of Education. His term lasted six years and in December of 1912 his public profile received a significant boost when he was "by unanimous vote" elected by the state board of Education as Virginia's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, succeeding outgoing superintendent Joseph Eggleston, who had resigned a few days previously. A write-up on Stearnes' succession to the office appeared in the Virginia Dispatch in December 1912 and is shown below.

From the Virginia Times Dispatch, December 24, 1912.

   Stearnes' ascension as Virginia's top-ranking educational figure was viewed in many sources of the time as an outstanding choice, certainly due to the fact that Stearnes' had been intricately involved in educational affairs of the state for over two decades. In 1914 he was elected to a term of his own as Superintendent and served until 1918 when he was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. Following his defeat, Stearnes joined in the ongoing war effort and took on a position as a community organizer for the War Camp Community Service in Atlanta and remained with this organization until 1922, when he became a student at Columbia University in New York, where he also lectured.
   In 1925 Stearnes relocated to Stony Brook University where he taught mathematics until 1929. He later took on a similar teaching position at both the New York and Hofstra Universities, remaining at the latter school until 1939. In addition to these posts, Stearnes was also a lecturer on "business administration and secretarial studies" at the Merchant and Banker's Business and Secretarial School, also located in New York. Stearnes resided in Hempstead, New York during his twilight years and died at his home there on May 27, 1945 at age 79. He was survived by his wife Mary Elizabeth and two children and was later returned to Dublin, Virginia for burial at the New Dublin Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

Reaumur C. Stearnes in his later years, from the Jan. 21, 1943 edition of the Hempstead Sentinel.

From the May 29, 1945 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pomp Fowler Brinkley (1869-1941)

From "Historic Smyrna: An Illustrated History" published in 2010.

  An oddly named Mayor of the city of Smyrna, Georgia, Pomp Fowler Brinkley is one of the most obscure figures I've stumbled across in quite some time, and when it came time to compile a small article on the life and accomplishments of this oddly named Georgian obscurity once again prevailed! Virtually nothing could be found on the life of Mr. Brinkley, excepting an all too short write-up in William P. Marchione's Brief History of Smyrna, Georgia, which was published earlier this year. 
  From the scant amount of information available detailing his life, Pomp F. Brinkley was a resident of the Peach State for a good majority of his life, being born on November 23, 1869. He married in Cobb County on December 20, 1894 to Ms. Georgia Rilla Stanley (1876-1972) to whom he was married for over forty years. The couple were also the parents of three children, Pauline (1898-1975), Jessie Lee (birthdate unknown) and Julius Eugene (1911-1955). 
  Although few sources mention him at any great length, it is known that Brinkley was employed as a railroad conductor for many years and in 1899 was elected as the vice-president of Georgia's Brotherhood of American Trainmen. Attentive to political affairs in Smyrna, Brinkley won election to the city council in 1926 and served here until 1930. In the following year, he took office as Mayor of Smyrna, holding this post for one term (1931-1933).
  Following his term as mayor, Brinkley is recorded as donating a portion of land to the city that was eventually named "Brinkley Park" in his honor. In addition to this, Brinkley had previously served as a past master of the Nelms Lodge No. 323 of Free and Accepted Masons in Smyrna. He died on March 3, 1941 at age 71 and was laid to rest at the Mountain View Park Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. Brinkley's wife Georgia survived him by over thirty years, dying in February 1972 at age 95, and was interred at the same cemetery as her husband.