Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dagobert Zeiser (1841-1925)


   A figure of distinction in the city of Troy, New York, German immigrant Dagobert Zeiser immigrated to the Empire State in 1860 and after serving in the Civil War became one of Troy's most prominent businessmen and merchants. In addition to his successful career as a butcher and beef wholesaler, Zeiser was active in Socialist political circles, eventually becoming the candidate of that party for Mayor of Troy and later for the New York State Senate.
   Born in Wittenberg, Germany on December 13, 1841, Dagobert Zeiser was the son of John and Caroline Mueller Zeiser. John Zeiser is remarked by the Troy Daily Times as being a well-to-do grain dealer in Wittenberg, and both of Dagobert's parents are listed as being the product of "very prominent German families". Dagobert Zeiser resided in his native country until the age of 20, whereafter he immigrated to the United States, settling in the city of Troy around 1860. 
    A few months after his arrival, Zeiser found work as a farm hand and engaged in this line of work for about two years. In late 1862 he signed on for service in the Civil War,  joining up with Company H, 169th Regiment of the New York Volunteer Infantry. His 1925 Troy Daily Times obituary notes that he "saw much service" and later suffered a grievous gunshot wound to his jaw at the Battle of Petersburg. Zeiser eventually rebounded from his war wound and was later discharged due to being "physically disabled". After being discharged from service in 1865 Zeiser returned home to Troy, and on January 21st of that year married to Josephine C. Rhinehart, with whom he would have a total of 15 children! Among this impressive number of offspring were six sons, (Albert, John J., Joseph, Frederick, Rudolph and Leo) and five daughters (Josephine, Caroline, Mrs. William Grant Hague, Mrs. John Carr, and Mrs. Frederick Crowley). The three remaining Zeiser children's names are unknown at this time.
   Around the same time as his marriage, Zeiser embarked on a lifelong career as a butcher and meat producer, opening a shop in the Port Schuyler vicinity. He remained in this area until December 1882, when he ventured into wholesale beef production. In that year he and fellow butcher David Gaffey formed the company of Gaffey and Zeiser, "wholesale dealers in western dressed beef and pork." This company received a substantial write up in the 1886 history of The City of Troy and Its Vicinity and was remarked as becoming "strongly established in public favor, and acquired, by its perseverance and enterprise, the large business in the wide extended territory mentioned." Receieving their product from the Armour Company in Chicago, Gaffey and Zeiser would command a "great part of the territory of Northern New York, Vermont and Western Massachusetts, for the distribution of larges quantities of dressed beef."
  Throughout the succeeding years Zeiser built up a wide reputation as a consummate businessman, winning the "esteem and confidence of all brought into contact with him during the course of trade." While highly identified within the business community of Troy, Zeiser was also prominent in the activities of the Socialist Party, running on that ticket for Mayor of Troy on several occasions. His first attempt at the office came in 1894, when he ran for mayor on the Independent Democratic ticket. As one of eight candidates that year, Zeiser came out on the losing end, being defeated by incumbent Mayor Dennis J. Whelan. An article on that year's contest has been posted below.


From the September 1894 edition of the Syracuse Evening Herald.

Zeiser's 1919 Mayoral candidacy, featured in the Troy Daily Times.

   In addition to his 1894 candidacy, Zeiser ran on the Socialist ticket for mayor of Troy on a number of other occasions, including two contests in 1919 and 1921. In the former year the Troy Times noted that he garnered around 700 votes, with Zieser himself relating that he "did not spend a single penny in his campaign", and that his vote total was received through integrity and his strength of character.
  In November 1922 Zeiser was again a Socialist Party candidate, this time running for a seat in the New York State Senate. In that year's contest, Zeiser squared off against incumbent Republican Frederick Draper and his Democratic opponent John P. Ryan. One should note that Zeiser was over eighty years old when he began his senate campaign, and one can wonder if his age (and not his party affiliations) were a factor when it came time for people to cast their vote! On election day 1922 Zeiser again came up short in the vote count, polling only 1,131 votes to John P. Ryan's victorious tally of 26, 432. After losing this contest Zeiser made no more attempts at public office and continued to be a prominent business force in Troy. He was mentioned by the Troy Daily Times as having been engaged as a butcher and meat wholesaler for over forty-three years. 
  Dagobert Zeiser's last few months were marred by ill health, and he died at his home in Troy on April 8, 1925 at age 83. His wife Josephine had preceded him in death in 1912 and both were buried at the St. Agnes Cemetery in Troy. The portrait of him shown above was featured in his Troy Daily Times obituary, published on April 8, 1925.

A death notice for Zeiser that appeared two days following his death.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Brick Stonewall Miller (1868-1957)


    Out of the many oddly named persons profiled here over the past two years, many are bound to elicit a laugh or two due to their sometimes outlandish names. Today's write-up centers on Georgia attorney, state representative and senator Brick Stonewall Miller, a name that is guaranteed to make you do a double-take! The reasons for his being endowed with the names "Brick Stonewall" have been lost to history, but this distinctive name certainly didn't keep him from pursuing a successful career in public life. 
  A lifelong resident of the Peach State, Brick Stonewall Miller was born in the town of Buena Vista on February 14, 1868, one of six children born to Evalbert Wiley and Sallie Jones Miller. At the time of his son's birth in 1868, Evalbert W. Miller was already an established figure in Georgia public life, having been the editor and owner of the Buena Vista Advertiser. He would go on to further distinction as a member of the state assembly from Marion County and later served as a judge. 
   Brick S. Miller attended schools local to his native town of Buena Vista and went on to enroll at the University of Georgia at Athens, graduating from that institution's law school in 1888. Soon after his graduation Miller began a year long travel around the United States, returning to Georgia in 1890. In that year he formed a law practice with his brother Thomas Talmadge Miller in the city of Columbus, and this firm was remarked by the Memoirs of Georgia, Volume II as doing "an extensive practice and its members are regularly retained attorneys of some of the most important corporations and wholesale houses in Columbus."
  In addition to his lucrative law practice in Columbus, Miller was also a successful cotton planter, and is noted by the 1904 work Georgia's Public Men as being the owner of a "2500 acre plantation near Columbus, Georgia, whereon he runs as many as thirty plows, making three hundred bales of cotton per year." Brick S. Miller married on November 6, 1896 to fellow Buena Vista native Mary Elizabeth Wooten (1875-1954) who gave birth to one son, William Wooten Miller, on June 5, 1903. William survived for only three days, and following his death the couple remained childless throughout the duration of their nearly sixty year marriage.
   Miller began involvement in Georgia political affairs in 1894, when he served as president of the Young Men's Democratic League of Muscogee County. Also in that year, Miller was named as a delegate to the Georgia Congressional Convention in the town of Warm Springs. In November 1899 he was elected to the Georgia State House of Representatives, and during his first term (1900-1902) served as the chairman of the house Pensions Committee and the House Re-Apportionment Committee. While quite busy as a first term legislator, Miller was named to a number of other house committees, including the General Judiciary, Appropriations, Ways and Means, and the committee on the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

From the Georgia Official and Statistical Register.

   Miller was reelected to the House in the election of 1901 and during his second term served alongside another oddly named Muscogee County legislator, Germanicus Young Tigner (profiled here in December 2011.)  From 1905-07 Miller served in the Georgia State Senate and was reelected to this office in 1913 for another two year term.
  Brick S. Miller's later years continued to be ones of marked success, albeit outside the political field. He served for twenty years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia (including a number of years as Board President) and would later be named to similar positions on the boards of the Old State Normal School and the Georgia Agricultural College. Miller was honored by the University of Georgia in 1917 by having Miller Hall named in his honor. Active in many fraternal organizations, Miller maintained memberships in the Georgia State Bar Association, the Improved Order of Red Men, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Freemasons.
   In November 1954 Miller's wife Mary died after fifty-nine years of marriage, and he followed her to the grave nearly three years later, dying at age 89 on July 17, 1957. Both were interred at the Buena Vista City Cemetery in the days following their death. The portrait of Brick S. Miller shown above was featured in the 1904 work Georgia's Public Men, 1902-04.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Urlin Eldreth Salmon (1870-1953), Urling Campbell Coe (1881-1956)

From the 1943-44 Official Manual of Missouri.

  We continue our stay in Missouri for today's profile of another oddly named resident of the Show-Me-State, Mr. Urlin Eldreth Salmon of Daviess County. Despite having an unusual name, Salmon carved a profitable career in the aforementioned county as a rancher and stock raiser, and was honored by his fellow citizens by being elected to four terms in the Missouri State House of Representatives.
   Urlin Eldreth Salmon was one of ten children born to Nelson (1843-1912) and Maria Ann Mackey Salmon (1842-1907), being born in the county of Harrison, Missouri on February 26, 1870. Urlin received his primary education in the local schools of Daviess County and married in October 1891 to Leota Hawk. Their union lasted fifty years and produced ten children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Alma Agnes (1892-1970), Emil Ezra (1893-1968), Celia May (1895-1952), Hobart McKinley (1896-1969), Herman Detmer (died age one in 1899), Eunice Vane (1900-1981), Carsley Abraham (1904-1979), Marie Vanata (1906-2007, died aged 100), Russell Nelson (1908-1966) and Ivil Urlin (1911-1988). Urlin and Leota also had an unnamed infant born to them in 1902 who died ten days after its birth.
   Salmon became a prosperous rancher, farmer and stock raiser in the town of Pattonsburg, and with this notoriety came calls to serve in public office. During the early 1900s Salmon held a number of local public offices in Daviess County, including stints as township committeeman and served as a member of the Daviess County School Board for twenty-seven years!
   In November 1928 Urlin Salmon was elected to his first term the Missouri State House of Representatives as a Republican, representing his home county of Daviess. He was reelected to the legislature in 1938, defeating Democratic opponent Loren Hamilton by a few hundred votes. An result from that election appeared in the Official Manual of the State of Missouri and is shown below.

Urlin Salmon during his first term in the legislature, from the 1929-30 Official Manual of Missouri.


   Salmon's first two terms in the legislature saw him hold a seat on the committees on Agriculture, Food Control and Soil Conservation, Pensions, Roads and Highways, and Township Organization. During his second term in the house, Leota Hawk Salmon, Urlin's wife of fifty years, died at age 69. He was reelected to two further terms in the house in 1940 and 1942, in the latter year defeating another oddly named Daviess County resident, Urcil Wilford Smoot (1899-1957). 
   Urlin E. Salmon's fourth term in the legislature concluded in 1944 and he died nine years later in DeKalb County on January 17, 1953, shortly before his 83rd birthday. He was later interred alongside his wife in the Salmon Cemetery in Pattonsburg, which is also the resting place of many extended members of his family. Among those who survived him was his daughter Marie V. Salmon Thompson, who lived to become a centenarian, dying in South Dakota in July 2007, three months before her 101st birthday. The portrait of Salmon shown atop his article is his official legislative portrait, and was featured in both the 1938-1939 and 1940-1941 editions of the Official Manual of the State of Missouri.

From the Bend Bulletin,October 2, 1912.

   A well known physician and public figure in the city of Bend, Oregon, Dr. Urling Campbell Coe served as the second mayor of that city for two terms in the early part of the twentieth century. He was later a candidate for county judge and held a seat on the Oregon State Board of Medical Examiners.
  Coe was born in Carthage, Missouri on 1881, the son of Dr. George Delos and Laura Gailbreath Coe. He decided to follow in his father's footsteps and embarked upon a career in medicine as a young man, studying at the University of Missouri and later at the Eclectic College in Cincinnati, Ohio. Coe earned his medical degree from the latter institution and after completing his studies removed to Oregon. Coe eventually settled in the city of Bend in 1905, becoming the area's first physician. Through the succeeding years Coe earned a reputation as one of Bend's most highly revered figures, helping to educate the still young area on the basics of hygiene, aiding in the elimination of a typhoid outbreak in 1907 by closing pits of sewage located in town, and on more than one occasion rode many miles on horseback to respond to medical emergencies. He was also a leading figure in the establishment of Bend's first hospital in 1909.
   In addition to his skills as a physician, Coe is also notable for authoring the 1939 work "Frontier Doctor" a first hand account of the trials and tribulations faced by a pioneer physician during the early 20th century. This rights to this book were later purchased by Warner Brothers Studios, and plans were made for the book to be adapted into a motion picture staring Paul Muni (1895-1967), he of I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang fame. An article on the supposed film appeared in a March 5, 1940 edition of the Bend Bulletin and is shown below.


   While Dr. Coe had made his reputation through his medical career and kind acts of charity, he was also active in the public affairs of his adopted town of Bend, dabbling in real estate as well as banking. Coe was later elected as Mayor of Bend around 1910 and was reelected in December 1911 by a vote of 189 to 108. His second term lasted until February 1912, when he resigned.  After serving as mayor Coe became a candidate for Judge of Deschutes County in 1912 and four years later was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Oregon State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1918 he relocated to Portland and thereafter continued in the practice of medicine for many years. Coe died in 1956 at age 75. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Giboney Houck (1878-1960)


  A lifelong resident of Cape Girardeau County, Missouri (made famous by native son and radio commentator Rush Limbaugh), Giboney Houck was a highly regarded attorney and one term legislator who is also notable for being the first Spanish-American War veteran to be profiled here on the site.
  Born on January 15, 1878 in Cape Girardeau County, Giboney Houck was one of three children born to Louis Napoleon (1840-1925) and Mary Hunter Giboney (1848-1944). Louis Houck was a multifaceted man who made his name as a businessman, lawyer and journalist, and is referred to as the "Father of Southeast Missouri" due to his extensive involvement in laying hundreds of miles of railroad track through that region, thereby opening it up for industrialization. Louis Houck chose to bestow his wife Mary's maiden name upon his first born child, and the end result is one of the funniest named persons ever elected to the Missouri legislature!
  Giboney Houck received his schooling at the Cape Girardeau Normal School and later went on to enroll at St. Vincent's College in Cape Girardeau. Houck later joined the Missouri National Guard and after war was declared on Spain in April 1898, enlisted in the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry. Houck eventually deployed to Cuba for "occupation duty" and saw no part of any battles fought during the four month war. His regiment is recorded by the History of Southeast Missouri, Vol. I as remaining in Havana until May of 1899, whereafter it was "returned to Georgia and mustered out at Savannah." Houck is listed as being a First Lieutenant during his service and eventually rose to the position of Major. Many newspaper articles of the time denote him as "Major Giboney Houck", especially after he began his career as an attorney.
  After returning to civilian life Houck began attending the University of St. Louis Law School and graduated from this institution in 1901 with his law degree. Soon afterwards he returned to Cape Giradeau to open a law practice, and in the succeeding years built up a clientele that included numerous local businesses. Giboney also participated in his father's various business ventures and was responsible for executing his father's estate after Louis Houck's death in 1925.
  In 1918 Houck became a candidate for the Missouri State House of Representatives, and ran as a Democrat in a largely Republican district. A major part of his campaign platform (listed in an election notice in the November 1918 Cape Girardeau Weekly Tribune) was a drainage law then on the books that stated that the cost of bridges being erected in the Little River District of Cape Girardeau County would be fielded by the counties themselves, and not the Little River Drainage Corporation. Sources of the time estimated that this would cost Cape Girardeau (and other counties in the area) hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Houck's platform notes that if elected he would try and have the "law amended in the new legislature so as to take the cost of the building of the bridges across the Little River Diversion Channel from the people of Cape Girardeau County, thus saving the county from $300,000 to $500,000."

From the November 1, 1918 Cape Girardeau Weekly Tribune.

  On election day 1918, Giboney Houck emerged the victor, besting the Republican nominee George F. Siemers. The Missouri Herald later noted that Houck was "the only Democrat elected in that county to any important office in 20 years." After taking his seat in January 1919, Houck was named to the House committee on Swamp Lands, Drainage and Levees, the committee on Immigration, and the committee on Schools.
  While serving in the legislature, Houck found a kindred spirit in another oddly named representative, Dr. Asier Jacob Speer (1874-1948), elected from the neighboring county of Bollinger. Speer's constituency was faced with same problem as those in Cape Girardeau, and together the two representatives introduced a bill that would try and alleviate the concerns of both counties. The bill they introduced faced substantial opposition from the Little River Drainage District and its various supporters, and although Houck managed to guide the bill through the House successfully, the May 30, 1919 edition of the Southeast Missourian notes that the "owner of the St. Louis Times, a very rich man and also owner of 15,000 acres of land in the Little River Drainage District, persuaded the Republicans to stand by him and they did. Thus the bill failed." 
  Giboney Houck's short tenure in the house ended in 1921 when he wasn't a candidate for reelection. In 1922 he mounted a candidacy for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri, and a write-up on his run appeared in a 1922 edition of the Southeast Missourian and is posted below.


  Houck was unsuccessful in his candidacy and spent the remainder of his life involved in the affairs of his native county of Cape Girardeau, and is remarked by the Southeast Missouri State University as being the founder of a local telephone company as well as helping to establish the People's Theatre of Cape Girardeau. In 1958 Houck was named as Senior Counselor of the Missouri State Bar Association, noted by the Southeast Missourian as being "an honor reserved for members of long standing." He died two years later on September 16, 1960 at age 82 at a local hospital. Sources list him as being a lifelong bachelor and he was later interred in the Houck family plot at the Old Lorimer Cemetery in Cape Girardeau.
  The rare portrait of Giboney Houck shown above (and in all likelihood the only one to be found online) was located in the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1919-1920.

Houck's death notice from the 1960 Southeast Missourian.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Archley Richard Molesworth (1874-1944)


   A distinguished official in the political affairs of Frederick County, Maryland, Archley Richard Molesworth served as mayor of the city of Mount Airy, Maryland for over fourteen years. Despite his status as a man of prominence in Frederick County, little information could be found for him online, with the exception being his obituary published in the December 30, 1944 edition of the Frederick News Post.
  Born in the Woodville district of Frederick County on April 10, 1874, Archley Molesworth was one of two sons born to John Joseph (1847-1918) and Annie M. Molesworth (1851-1922). He is recorded as receiving his education at the Prospect Public School and was later enrolled at the Linganore Academy. Sources of the time denote that Molesworth's early life was centered around working on his father's farm in Woodville. In the early 1900s Archley married to Ardella Hood (1880-1953) and this union eventually produced six children: Helen L. (1907-1997), Olive (1911-1921), Katherine Molesworth Pickett (1913-2003), J. Raymond Molesworth (1918-1989) and Frances Molesworth Bartlett (birthdate unknown)
  Archley and his family later removed from Woodville to nearby Mt. Airy, Maryland, where he became cashier in the Mt. Airy Savings Bank. In 1914 Molesworth was elected as the Mayor of Mt. Airy, beginning the first of seven terms in this office. His lengthy service as mayor was highlighted in his Frederick Daily Post obituary as bringing a progressive element to Mt. Airy, stating that "the town progressed during his administration and the most notable improvement was the installation of the water system."


From the October 30, 1930 edition of the Frederick Daily Post.

 During his final term as mayor, Molesworth was named to the Board of Commissioners of Frederick County, and served a four year term that concluded in 1930. This same newspaper also notes that Molesworth lost his reelection bid for a seat on the board by "a margin of thirty votes"!
  Although defeated for reelection, Molesworth continued to serve the Frederick County Board of Commissioners in a slightly different capacity, chief clerk. Elected to this post in 1934, Molesworth served as clerk until 1938, when he retired to private life. His Frederick Daily Post obituary remarks that he was regarded as an "acknowledge authority on matters of the county" during his later years, and is mentioned as operating a printing press at his home as a "sideline hobby". This same newspaper notes that he maintained active involvement in a number of local fraternal organizations, including the Prosperity Lodge #58 of the International Order of Odd-Fellows and the Prudence Lodge #190 of Free and Accepted Masons. Moleswprth was also a longtime parishioner at the Prospect Church in Mt. Airy.
  Archley Molesworth is recorded as suffering from a heart ailment during his later years, and this condition eventually led to his death on December 29, 1944 at age 70. His wife Ardella survived him by several years, dying in 1953 at age 73. Both were interred at the Prospect Cemetery in Mt. Airy, Maryland.

Molesworth's obituary as it appeared in the December 30, 1944 Frederick Daily Post.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hillorious Kester Bender (1850-1922)

                         From Volume XII of "The Pennsylvania German", originally published in 1912.

   If you've followed this site for any length of time, the above gentleman may look familiar to you. The intriguingly named Hillorious K. Bender of Northampton County, Pennsylvania was a one term state representative that was first profiled here back in July of 2011, and since that time he's remained one of the more elusive figures I've had to research! In the nearly two years since he was first featured here, Mr. Bender's article has received two updates, one centering on the discovery of the above portrait of him and the second mentioning his previously unknown date of death. Even after these small updates to his profile, Bender's article remained "bare-bones" as it were, with little new information coming to light on him!
   I'm proud to relate that the above statement has changed, thanks to Mr. Bender's great-grandson David Kester Bender, who kindly left a note on Hillorious's original article here on the site! After some e-mail correspondence, David supplied me with an extensive lineage on the history of his family, which included a detailed write-up on Hillorious and his seven children. In addition to the Bender genealogy, David also provided me with a few family photos that featured Hillorious, his wife Harriet, as well as their grandchildren. And with that introduction, I take pleasure in noting that this obscure Northampton County educator and legislator now has a "proper" biography here on the site, and this revamped profile on Mr. Bender wouldn't have come to fruition without David's kind help and interest in regards to the life of his interestingly named great-grandfather!
   A lifelong resident of the Keystone State, Hillorious Kester Bender was born on April 9, 1850 in Hamilton Township, Pennsylvania, one of nine children born to John Feyn and Sophia Kester Bender. A descendant of an established Pennsylvania German family, Bender received his unusual first and middle names in honor of one of his maternal uncles, Hillorious Kester (1828-1847), who died aged eighteen in 1847. Our subject (born three years after his uncle's passing) was bestowed this unusual name, which is a spelling variation on the name "Hilarius", a pope (and later Saint) who headed the Roman Catholic Church from 461-468.
   Hillorious K. Bender received his education in schools native to the Monroe County area and was later a student at the Stroudsburg Academy. Bender is also noted as having private schooling under the Rev. Kirby Davis in Stroudsburg as well as the Rev. D.E. Schoedler in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. After completing his primary education, Bender became a school teacher and served as such in various schools throughout his native Monroe County.
  On February 20, 1875 Hillorious Bender married Harriet Ann Flyte, a native of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. This union eventually produced seven children, who are listed as follows in the order of their birth: Cora Elizabeth (1876-1957), Stanley Waldo (born June 1878), Norman Oscar (1880-1964), Mabel Sophia (1881-1891), Lula Gertrude (1885-1968), Mary Ellen (1887-1973) and William Raymond (1891-1944). All of the Bender children lived to adulthood, with the exception of Mabel, who is recorded in the Bender family genealogy as dying of measles at age ten. 
  While Hillorious Bender found distinction as a educator and state legislator, the Bender family genealogy notes that his children gained notoriety in a number of different vocations. Cora, Stanley and Lula Gertrude Bender followed in their father's footsteps and became teachers, with all three being employed at various schools in throughout the Northampton County area. Norman Oscar became engaged as a printer as a young man and held positions on the staff of the Bangor Daily News and later the Monroe Democrat. Mary Ellen Bender also became a teacher, later removing to New Jersey and is responsible for preparing and writing the Bender family genealogy mentioned in this article. Hillorious' youngest child William Raymond served with distinction during the First World War, holding rank with the Chemical Warfare Service in the U.S. Army and after leaving the military studied and taught at the Lafayette College, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
  

Hillorious and Harriet Bender circa 1876 (courtesy of David K. Bender).

   In 1886 the Bender family removed to the village of East Bangor in Northampton County, where Hillorious had secured the post of Principal of schools. Bender served as principal for fifteen years, and in July 1899 began a six year tenure as Superintendent of Schools for the county of Northampton. Resources give note that Bender's teaching career lasted over thirty-three years, and after leaving the position of Superintendent, Bender began employment with two educational textbook publishing companies, the J.P. Lippincott Co.,  based in Philadelphia, and Ginn and Company, based in New York and Boston.
  While his career as an educator and school superintendent is one of note, Hillorious K. Bender also maintained active involvement in the political affairs of East Bangor, serving as Burgess of that town and later as president of the borough council. In November 1910 he won election to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Northampton County,   defeating his opponent Dalvin M. Leopold by a vote of  7,509 to 5, 972. A snippet featuring those election results appeared in the 1911 Smull's Legislative Handbook of Pennsylvania and is posted below.


  Taking his seat in January 1911, Bender was named to the legislative committees on Education, Public Roads, Accounts, and Legislative Apportionment. His term in the Pennsylvania legislature concluded in 1913 and he was not a candidate for reelection.
  After leaving the legislature, Bender continued to work as an agent for Ginn and Co., while also teaching in the "Washington, Upper Mt. Bethel and Plainfield townships". Bender is also recorded as being a Freemason, and served as a past Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons Chapter #274. 

         From the Proceedings of the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, published in 1922.

   On March 13, 1918, Harriet Ann Flyte Bender, Hillorious' wife of forty-three years, died of an unknown illness. He later remarried to Ms. Ella Weston, a resident of Bangor, Pennsylvania, about whom little is known. Hillorious K. Bender survived his wife Harriet by four years, dying at age 72 on May 8, 1922 in East Bangor. His second wife Ella survived him by fourteen years, dying on May 27, 1936.
  Both Hillorious and Harriet Bender were interred at the East Bangor Cemetery, which is also the resting place of his daughter Mabel. 


                      Hillorious Bender and his grandchildren, Janet Lange Bender and John McRae  
                                                                                    (courtesy of David Bender).

  As stated in the introduction to Bender's profile here, it is very seldom that I'm afforded such access to the life, lineage and history of one of the people I'm going to write about. Because of the extensive correspondence with David about the life of his interestingly named great-grandfather, Hillorious Kester Bender now has the substantial write-up that I had initally envisioned doing for him back in July 2011. Again, many thanks to David Bender for permitting me to use the above mentioned photos, as well as educating me in the interesting lineage of his extended family!! 

    Hillorious Bender's pocket watch (also shown in the above portrait with his grandchildren).
             (photo courtesy of David Bender.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Oman Hoar Lawrence (1846-1893)



   We continue our stay in Massachusetts for today's profile on Worcester County banker and legislator Oman Hoar Lawrence. Sporting an interesting name (and even more impressive cheek whiskers), Lawrence was a man of means in Fitchburg during the late 19th century but sadly that prominence didn't carry over into many historical resources, as I could locate very few biographical works that mentioned him at any great length!
   Oman Hoar Lawrence was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts on April 3, 1846, one of eight children born to David Brainard (1800-1864) and Sarah Atwood Lawrence (1811-1895). Nothing has been found in regards to Lawrence's early years in Massachusetts or education, and as an adolescent removed from Massachusetts to Galva, Illinois, where he found employment as an assistant cashier at the bank of L.W. Beck in that town. Lawrence also served as a notary public in Galva during his residency here, and is listed as such in the below snippet from the 1871 edition of Rummel's Illinois Hand Book.


  Oman Lawrence married on August 10, 1870 to Schenectady, New York native Josephine Van Dyke (born 1846) and they later became the parents of one son, Herbert Oman Lawrence (born 1871). Oman later removed from Illinois back to Massachusetts, eventually settling in the city of Fitchburg in the early 1870s. Shortly after his resettlement, he and his younger brother Albert Brainard established a successful hardware business in that city. After leaving this business around 1875, Oman Lawrence was named as assistant cashier of the National Bank of Northborough, succeeding George Seaver, who had died some weeks previously. The 1921 work Northborough History notes that Lawrence moved on to the post of cashier in July 1875 and served in this position until resigning in April 1878.
   After leaving Northborough, Lawrence became involved with the Wachusett National Bank of Fitchburg, which had been incorporated in 1875. Lawrence became President of this back in mid 1878 and served in this post until his death. During his presidency Lawrence also held important positions in a number of other corporations, including being a director of the Wachusett Electric Light Company and the vice presidency of the Newburgh, New York based Consumer's Gas Company. Being a successful businessman and banker in Worcester County also enabled Lawrence to purchase the palatial homestead below, located on Summer Street in Fitchburg.

From "Fitchburg, Massachusetts Past and Present" published in 1887.


   While experiencing remarkable success in both business and banking, Oman Lawrence also found distinction in public office as well, being elected to a term in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in November 1882. Along with fellow Fitchburg native Harris C. Hartwell, Lawrence became one of two residents of that town elected to the legislature that year, and both took their seats in January 1883. During his brief term Lawrence was named to the Joint Standing Committee on Railroads, and a roster from the 1883 legislative session bearing his name is shown below.

From the 1883 Acts and Resolves of the Massachusetts General Court.

   After leaving the legislature in 1884 Oman Lawrence returned to his earlier banking interests in Fitchburg, while also continuing in his position as vice president of the Consumer's Gas Company of Newburgh. Lawrence died at age 47 sometime in late 1893, with his exact date of death remaining unknown at this time. A mention of his demise appeared in a November 18, 1893 edition of the Boston Globe (pictured below) which noted that a "resolution of sorrow" was passed by the Wachusett National Bank on the occasion of his death. It should also be noted that Lawrence's first name of "Oman" also has a variation in spelling as "Omon" in a number of sources of the time. The rare portrait of him shown above appeared in the earlier mentioned Fitchburg, Massachusetts Past and Present, originally published in 1887.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Naaman Loud White (1813-1890)


    Sporting a rather interesting coiffure and sideburns, Naaman Loud White was a descendant of a family prominent in Massachusetts affairs dating back to the 17th century. A lifelong resident of the city of Braintree, Massachusetts (which received a brief mention in Cranmore N. Wallace's article back on January 21st), Naaman L. White was bestowed his unusual first name in honor of Naaman, a figure in the Hebrew bible who is remarked as suffering from leprosy, as well as being a commander of the army of the King of Aram (Syria). White's middle name Loud stems from it being his mother's maiden name.
   Born on June 24, 1813 in Braintree, Naaman Loud White was one of nine children born to Elihu (1753-1836) and Sarah Loud White (1771-1860). Naaman's father Elihu was a man of means in Braintree, being listed by the History of Norfolk, County, Massachusetts, Vol. I as a former captain in the Massachusetts state militia as well as a past "deputy fish commissioner of the state". 
   Being born into a family conspicuous in day-to-day life in Braintree, Naaman White had the benefit of an excellent education, attending both the Amherst and Phillips Academies in his native state. White enrolled at Harvard University in 1831 and during his four years at this school proved to be a student of achievement, being remarked by the History of Norfolk County as having a particular aptitude for the "ancient classics and in the modern languages and literature." While well-rounded academically, White also took part in a number of Harvard student organizations, including the Harvard Union, the Institute of '76 and was a member (as well as President) of the famed Hasty Pudding Club. 
   White graduated from Harvard in the class of 1835 and shortly thereafter became engaged as a principal at the Weld boarding school in the Boston suburb of Roxbury. After a year in this position, White left to pursue a law degree, studying under Judge Sherman Leland (a former Speaker of the Massachusetts Senate) and Rufus Choate (later a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts). After being admitted to practice in 1839, White returned to Braintree to open a law practice, which he managed with success for over three decades.
   The History of Norfolk County notes that as an attorney, White was of sterling character and sound judgement, later mentioning that "many a client gratefully remembers that he was rescued from the perilous edge of a suit, which might have proved vexatious and costly, and probably unsatisfactory and unprofitable as a result." This same work also relates that White wasn't opposed to holding public of office, but that he "held that the office should seek the man, not the man the office."



   Public office did indeed beckon to Naaman White, and in November 1844 was nominated by the citizens of Braintree to be their representative in the Massachusetts General Court. White won the election and took his seat in January 1845, and during his term sat on the house committee on Public Charitable Institutions. In November 1846 White was reelected to the Massachusetts State House for the 1847 legislative term and held a seat on the committee on Bills In the Third Reading. 
   In addition to his two terms in the legislature, White is also recorded as holding numerous local offices in Braintree, including those of town selectman, town assessor, overseer of the poor and supervisor of highways. White also took a great interest in educational matters in his native town, serving as a member of the school committee for fifteen years whilst also holding the office of President of the Braintree School Fund Corporation.
   Naaman White continued in the practice of law until putting aside his practice in the early 1870s, whereafter he "devoted himself principally to the care and arrangement of his own ample estate and of the estates in trust of his friends who availed themselves of his services." Because of his knowledge as an attorney and former legislator, White was also sought out to head various institutions in Norfolk County, including services as President of the Weymouth and Braintree Mutual Fire Insurance Company and director and vice president of the Weymouth Savings Bank.  

                                            From the 1879 Annual Report of Massachusetts.

   Naaman White remained active in public affairs in Norfolk County well into the 1880s, continuing as the vice president of the Weymouth Savings Bank until shortly before his death. He died in Braintree on January 14, 1890 at age 76 and is recorded as being a lifelong bachelor. A burial location for White is unknown at this time, although one has been found for his father Elihu at the Ashwood Cemetery in Weymouth Landing, Massachusetts.
  The portrait of Naaman Loud White that adorns the the top of his article here was featured in Duane Hamilton Hurd's History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Volume I, originally published in 1883.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Freeze Quick (1871-1946)


   The name would be Freeze Quick. Ponder that for a minute. Freeze Quick. While this intriguingly named Pennsylvanian may sound like he has a made up name, he was in fact a real person, being a prominent resident in his native Columbia County. I first discovered this obscure figure via the politicalgraveyard website many years ago and in all that time Mr. Quick remained one of the most mysterious people I've stumbled across, having no available birth or death dates, parent's names, education or burial location!
   With this distinct lack of information on him, I was beginning to think that Mr. Quick would forever remain that obscure Pennsylvania Democratic National Convention delegate with the seemingly made up name..... that was until I established some e-mail correspondence with the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society in early December of last year!  With these e-mail exchanges, Columbia County Historical Society director Bonnie Farver came to my rescue in regard to Mr. Quick, and through our correspondence a number of new details on Quick's life have come to light, including some background on his highly unusual name. Bonnie also sent the above picture of Mr. Quick as well as an obituary/internment record for him, which helped out significantly in terms of information!
  Freeze Quick's story begins with his birth in 1871 in Rupert, Pennsylvania, the son of William Quick (born 1841) and his wife Mary. Through Bonnie Farver's extensive research on our subject, an ancestry.com related article detailing the Quick family was found that relates that William was employed as a blacksmith, and that in the 1880 census the Quick household had one child, listed as "G.F. Quick". 
   With this information in hand, my suspicions were confirmed that Freeze did indeed have a first name other than the one listed here, and that the "G" for a first name possibly stood for either "Grier" (his grandfather William's middle name) or "Gosse" (his aunt's name was Mary Gosse Freeze). All other mentions of Mr. Quick that appeared in newspapers and other documents of the time list him under the name "Freeze Quick", as does his internment record at the Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg. One can surmise that Freeze dropped his first name at some point in his early life, as the 1900 census lists him under the misspelled name "Freize Quick", without the first initial "G." In any case, "Freeze" was what Quick chose to go by during his life and it was the name he was buried under......and it seems as far as history is concerned he'll forever remain "Freeze Quick"!
  Quick's 1946 obituary in the Morning Press newspaper notes that he "was born and raised in Rupert" and most likely attended the public schools of this town. Quick remained a lifelong bachelor and was recorded as making his home with a Ms. Maud Derr in Bloomsburg. Little else could be found in regards to Quick's early life or education, so we jump forward now to 1899, when Quick was elected as Secretary of the Bloomsburg Town Council. Quick was one of three candidates for the office and was noted by the Bloomsburg Columbian as being elected on the second ballot.

                                             From the April 17, 1902 Bloomsburg Columbian.

   In the year following his service as secretary, Quick became employed as an assistant to then Columbia County prothonotary and clerk of courts C.M. Terwilinger. Quick was elected to the office of Columbia County prothonotary in his own right in 1908 and reelected in 1911 for another term of three years. Quick also held the post of clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions and of the Orphan's Court during this time period and is listed as such in the article below.


  While Freeze Quick's service as Columbia County's prothonotary can be considered an elected public office, it is his service as a delegate to the 1912 and 1916 Democratic National Conventions that earns him a place here. The Democratic National Convention of 1912 was held in Baltimore that year and Quick traveled to Maryland to take part in the convention proceedings. The New York Herald notes that Quick stayed at the Belvidere Hotel in that city, and many of his fellow delegates and hotel guests were perplexed by his unique name, as evidenced by the article below!

From the June 1912 New York Herald.

   Quick's odd name and service as an alternate delegate to the 1916 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis. Missouri gained him plenty of attention in newspapers of the time. In one of those strange historical twists, there was another interestingly named delegate to this convention. His name? Icy W. Day of  Mississippi! This odd side story was picked up by the New York Sun, who published an editiorial that stated "if any newspaper reader, or newspaper owner, managing editor, telegraph editor, telegrapher, linotyper, proofreader, stereotyper or copyboy passes up these opening words lightly because of refusal to believe that there is a Mississippi delegate named Icy Day or a Pennsylvania alternate named Freeze Quick, he's making a consummate ass of himself, that's all."  After reading the below write up on the convention, one can almost imagine these two oddly named characters palling around the St. Louis Convention Hall together!

From the June 1916 edition of the New York Sun.

   In the years that followed his service as a DNC delegate, Quick continued to be a prominent figure in Bloomsburg, maintaining memberships in a number of local fraternal organizations. His obituary in the Morning Press notes that he was a past governor of the Bloomsburg  Lodge #623 of the Royal Order of Moose on several occasions and was the lodge's representative to Great Britain at an international conference. Quick was also a past librarian for the Columbia County Fair Association, a member of the Washington Lodge #265 of Free and Accepted Masons, and a parishioner at the St. Paul's Episcopal Church. In addition to his various civic activities, Quick is mentioned as being an experienced hunter and fisherman.
  Freeze Quick died at age 75 on July 31, 1946 at the Bloomsburg Hospital. His obituary notes that he had been in a period of declining health for two years, and during his hospital stay had his name featured in a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" newspaper cartoon. The Morning Press obituary below appeared on August 1, 1946 and was graciously sent to me by Bonnie Farver.


   A few days following his death, Freeze Quick was interred at the Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg. A number of Freeze's relatives and descendants are also buried in this cemetery, including his grandparents William Grier Quick (1815-1879) and Sarah MacBride Quick, who died in December 1887. In addition to the above obituary, Bonnie Farver was also kind enough to send me a print of Freeze Quick's internment record at Rosemont, a portion of which is shown below. This record also notes Quick's death was caused by "chronic myocarditis". 


  As stated in the lengthy introduction to Quick's profile here, this article would not have been possible without the generous help and research of Bonnie Farver and the Columbia County Historical Society. Because of their extensive input and fact finding, Freeze Quick now has a face to place with his amazing name, and with all of the information that I was graciously supplied with by the above mentioned folks, he now has at least one substantial biography online that details his life and exploits! A thousand thanks for all of your help!!
  The picture of Freeze Quick shown above was featured in a 1940 Bloomsburg newspaper print that was sent to me by Bonnie Farver. A full version of the above picture is shown below.

                                Freeze Quick is shown on the extreme right in the above portrait.