From the Portrait and Biographical Album of the Officers and Members of the Nebraska Legislature.
A first name like "Dominicus" is bound to raise a few eyebrows due to its peculiarity, and in the case of state legislators Dominicus Strout Hasty and Dominicus Ricker, having Dominicus as a first name has warranted each of them a profile on the "Strangest Names in American Political History." The first of these men is Dominicus "Min" Hasty, a native of Maine who found distinction in public life in Nebraska, being elected to a term in the state senate during the early 1900s.
Born in Limerick, York County, Maine on December 13, 1846, Dominicus Strout Hasty was one of five children born to Oliver Staples and Mercy Strout Hasty. He attended schools in Maine and "notwithstanding his inclination to play pranks upon fellow pupils and worry his teachers", completed his education and took work as a lumberman and surveyor. Hasty continued in this line of work until he left York County in 1871, subsequently resettling in Furnas County, Nebraska. Establishing a farm in the then-burgeoning town of Arapahoe, Hasty recommenced with surveying and later took on additional work in "hydraulic engineering, bridge contracting, building of irrigation ditches, reservoirs, and mills."
Dominicus Hasty married in 1875 to Emma Atkinson, with whom he would have six children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Bertram Ernest (born 1876), Lizzie Jane (1878-1912), Jesse Walter (born 1880), Stella (died in infancy in 1882), Charles Albee (1883-1949) and Azella (born 1886). Emma Hasty died sometime in the late 19th century and a few years following her death Dominicus remarried to Sarah Sidonia Otter, a native of Dorset, England. This marriage resulted in two further children, Dorothy Otter (1898-1999, died aged 101) and Kathleen Jennie Hasty (1903-1989).
Throughout a good majority of his life, Dominicus Hasty devoted his efforts to operating his farm in Arapahoe and beginning in the late 1870s made his first move into Furnas County political affairs, being elected as county Surveyor around 1878. Aside from his service as county surveyor Hasty refrained from running for public office, but in 1902 received the nomination for a seat in the Nebraska State Senate. The McCook Tribune of August 28, 1908 gave a brief backstory on Hasty's nomination, noting that:
"Mr. Hasty's name was put in the field six years ago by the railroad machine and nominated and elected. We do not seriously blame him for that for the railroad machine had control then and that was the only way that a senator could be made at that time in this district."Taking his seat at the start of 1903-05 legislative term, Hasty was named to the senate committees on Counties and County Boundaries, Finance Ways and Means, Public Lands and Buildings, Public Printing, Immigration and Irrigation, and served as chairman of the Committee on Live Stock and Grazing. During the 1904 reelection year, Hasty wasn't renominated by his fellow Furnas County Republicans do to disagreements arising from Hasty speaking out on railroad taxation. The McCook Tribune records that the "machine did not venture to put up Mr. Hasty again and he was exchanged for another", and despite his not being renominated made a further attempt at the senate in the Republican primary of September 1908, but was unsuccessful.
In 1910 Dominicus Hasty reentered public life when he was appointed as postmaster of Furnas County, serving in this office for a term of indeterminate length. He died in Arapahoe on April 24, 1922 at age 75, a burial location for him being unknown at the time of this writing.
Sporting a pair of substantial sideburns, Dominicus Ricker was viewed as one of Parsonsfield, Maine's favorite sons, and during a long life of nine decades represented York County in the Maine Legislature on three occasions, while also earning local distinction as a school teacher, farmer, and alderman. Inheriting his odd first name courtesy of his father (a prominent deacon in the local church), Dominicus Ricker was born in Parsonsfield on May 14, 1823. He married in August 1848 to Caroline Thompson (1826-1898), and later became the father to two children, Frank Howard (born 1850) and Abbie C. (1856-1937).
A school teacher for many years in the Parsonsfield area, Ricker removed to Biddeford, Maine in 1864, residing here for a decade. During his residence here he was elected to the first of three terms in the Maine State House of Representatives in 1873 and resettled in Parsonsfield in the year following his election. He continued teaching and farming in Parsonsfield both before and after his resettlement and occupied a number of local public offices, being a member of the Parsonsfield Superintending School Committee from 1856-58, 1877-80 and again from 1885-87. He was a former town treasurer and selectman from 1860-1863 and in the 1884 election year was returned to the state legislature, serving in the sessions of 1885 and 1886.
Dominicus Ricker died in Parsonsfield on February 14, 1914 at age 90 and was interred at the Maplewood Cemetery in South Parsonsfield. His wife Caroline had predeceased him in 1898 and was also interred at the Maplewood Cemetery.
Portrait courtesy of Find-A-Grave.
Another Maine native blessed with this unusual name is Dominicus Carter, for over three decades a prominent Mormon in Provo, Utah. A First Councilor to Utah Stake President George Smith and a member of the Provo City Council, Carter earns a place here on the site due to his service as Probate Judge of Utah County, Utah in the late 1850s.
Born on June 21, 1806 in Scarborough, Maine, Dominicus Carter was the son of John and Hannah Knight Libby Carter. As a youth Dominicus worked the family farm and learned the trade of blacksmith, but had no formal education whatsoever. He married his first wife Lydia Smith in 1828 and by the mid-1830s both had joined the Mormon church. In 1834 the Carters were residing with other Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio and had direct contact with church founder Joseph Smith.
By 1838 anti-Mormon sentiment in Kirtland led over 900 Mormon families (including the Carters) to make a mass exodus to Missouri, and during the long trek Dominicus suffered the passing of a two-year-old daughter, Sarah. Within a few weeks of arriving in Missouri, he suffered another tragedy when his wife Hannah died, leaving Dominicus as the sole provider for four children. In 1839 he married his second wife Sylvia and five years later took as his wife Mary Durfee, proving that Carter had no qualms about polygamous marriage. In total Carter had had eight wives by the time of his death in 1884, and are listed as follows in order of marriage:
- Lydia Smith (1809-1838)
- Sylvia Ameret Meacham (married March 1839)
- Mary Durfee (married 1844)
- Sophronia Babcock (married 1846, died in childbirth in 1847)
- Polly Miner (1832-1896, married 1851)
- Elizabeth Brown (1833-1914, married 1852)
- Caroline Mariah Hubbard (1831-1907, married 1854 and divorced 1861)
- Frances Nash (1836-1908, married 1857)
By the early 1840s Carter and his family were residing in Nauvoo, Illinois, and during the middle part of that decade was called to missions in Vermont, Iowa and Tennessee. His residency in Nauvoo shows his interest in music, as he was a member of the Nauvoo Legion Band. In 1846 Carter and a number of other Mormon families began the long trek to Salt Lake City, Utah Prior to reaching his destination Carter resided in Council Bluffs, Iowa for a few years, and put his blacksmithing skills to use by fitting the wagon trains readying for departure to Salt Lake City.
Dominicus Carter and his family reached Salt Lake City in June 1851 and within a year of his arrival had removed to Provo. In August 1852 he was named as a councilor under Utah stake President George A. Smith and in that same year was elected as a selectman for Utah County, Utah. Around 1856 Carter was serving as Probate Judge of Utah County and served in that post until at least 1859, being succeeded by Silas Smith.
Carter continued to have an interest in music during his residency in Provo, being mentioned as having "led the singing in Provo" and for a time served as "chief of music for the district". He remained active in Provo civic life into his twilight years and after polygamy became anathema in the 1880s served time in the Utah state penitentiary for having multiple wives. Dominicus Carter died in Provo on February 2, 1884 at age 77 and was survived by four of his wives and a number of children. He was later interred at the Provo City Cemetery.