Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Zoath Freeman Yost (1863-1941), Zoeth Skinner Eldredge (1846-1918), Zoeth Snow Jr. (1825-1901)

                                                        Portrait from the St. Louis Republic, July 31, 1902

   The following write-up highlights the lives of three political figures with the unusual first name "Zoeth", the name of a minor biblical figure (Zoheth) who is mentioned in the Book of Chronicles. The first of these men is Zoath Freeman Yost,  a native of West Virginia who would go on to a distinguished career in law and politics in Illinois, being a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1902.
   One of eight children born to Fielding Hamilton and Malinda Ann Jones Yost, Zoath Freeman "Z.F." Yost's birth occurred in Fairview, Marion County, West Virginia on October 12, 1863. "Reared on a farm" in Fairview, Yost's education took place in that county and he would later be employed as a life insurance salesman/agent for the New York Life Insurance Company in the mid 1880s. Around this same time, he began the study of law at the West Virginia University, eventually graduating with his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1893. Earlier, in November 1890, Yost had married in Pontiac, Illinois to Ella Hartshorne and later had three children: Hellene (1892-1979), Catherine (1894-1970) and  J. Paul (born 1897).
    After receiving his law degree Z.F. Yost removed from West Virginia to Pontiac, Illinois, where he and his family would reside for the remainder of their lives. Shortly after his resettlement Yost entered into practice in May of 1894 and in the next year was elected as City Attorney of Pontiac, serving one term in office. In 1898 Yost received the Democratic nomination for Judge of Pontiac County, Illinois, running in an overwhelmingly Republican district. Yost was defeated for judge, but was not out of the political spotlight for long, for in July 1902 he was selected as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 17th District. In the November election, Yost lost out once again, being defeated by Republican John Allen Sterling by a vote of 18,331 to 14,040.

From the St. Louis Republic, July 31, 1902.

   Despite his loss, Zoath F. Yost and the Pontiac County Democrats remained undeterred, and in 1904 he was again the Democratic standard bearer. The November election proved to be a repeat of the 1902 contest, with John A. Sterling besting Yost once again, this time by a wider margin, 23, 414 votes to 12, 978.
  Following his 1904 defeat for Congress little could be found on Yost's remaining years. In 1919 he was an unsuccessful candidate for delegate to the Illinois Constitutional Convention that was to convene in 1920 and received 400 votes. He continued to practice law in Pontiac and died on July 25, 1941 at age 77. He was survived by his wife and three children and even now, seventy years after Zoath's death, he and his family are still remembered in Pontiac through the Catherine V. Yost Museum. Named in honor of Zoath's daughter Catherine, the museum is housed in a three-story home erected for Yost in 1898, and is open to the public.

From the San Francisco Call, October 20, 1912.

    A native of Buffalo, New York,  Zoeth Skinner Eldredge would later relocate to California where he would gain distinction as a banker, amateur historian, and author. In 1904 Eldredge received the appointment as Bank Commissioner of California, serving one year in office. Born in Buffalo on October 16, 1846, Zoeth Skinner Eldredge was the son of Zoeth and Elizabeth Curry Elredge. He attended the public schools of Buffalo and by the early 1870s had migrated to Nevada, marrying in Carson City in March 1876 to Rosa Ellis. The couple would later become the parents of two sons, John Rochester (born 1877) and Zoeth Stanley (born 1879).

   While residing in Nevada Eldredge began a lifelong connection with banking, serving as the Vice-President of the Virginia Savings Bank of Story County, Nevada from 1878-79. Around 1879 he removed to California, and soon after began a stint as cashier of the Pacific Bank of San Francisco, remaining in this post until 1883. Eldredge continued his rise through California's financial ranks in 1893, when he was appointed as national bank examiner of San Francisco (serving thirteen years) and in 1892 remarried to Frances Webster (1860-1917), having two further children, Alba Webster (born 1893) and Lois (died aged 7 months in 1900).
   In December 1904 California Bank commissioner William High resigned from office, and a short while later Governor George Cooper Pardee tapped Zoeth S. Eldredge to succeed him. 

From the Los Angeles Herald, December 13, 1904.

   Eldredge's appointment to the office was lauded in the December 13, 1904 San Francisco Call, which noted that he "was regarded as one of the most thorough and capable men in this branch of United States service." Eldredge served as commissioner from 1904-1905 and after leaving office held the Presidency of the National Bank of the Pacific from 1905-09 and also gained additional distinction as a historian and author on the history of the San Francisco area, authoring "The March of Portola and the Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco" in 1909. Eldredge followed this work with a further look at early San Francisco, publishing a two-volume history in 1912, entitled "The Beginnings of San Francisco: From the Expedition of Anza, 1774 to the City Charter of April 15, 1850". 
  Zoeth S. Eldredge died in San Francisco on July 8, 1918 at age 68 and had survived his second wife Frances by only a few months. Both were interred at the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California. There is some discrepancy on Eldredge's date of death, with many sources listing 1915 as the year of his demise. The correct date of death is 1918, with Eldredge's funeral record (link above) proving this.

From the 1872 Massachusetts General Court group portrait.

   A merchant and blacksmith based in Brewster, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, Zoeth Snow represented that town in the Massachusetts General Court for two terms in the early 1870s. Born on September 29, 1825, Snow was the son of Zoeth and Sarah Crosby Snow and would serve during the Civil War with Co. E., Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  He was married twice during his life and his second marriage to Rebecca Linnell (1839-1923) saw the births of five children: Irene Pierson (born 1863), Henry Everett (died in infancy in 1865), twins Freeman and Charles (died in infancy in 1866) and Warren Freeman (1869-1962). 
    Prior to serving in the legislature Snow served as a town selectman for Brewster and in November 1871 was elected as Brewster's representative to the Massachusetts General Court, and was reelected to a second term in November 1872. During the 1873 term, Snow sat on the house committee on Parishes and Religious Societies. Zoeth Snow died three days before his 76th birthday on September 26, 1901 and was buried at the Brewster Cemetery. In an interesting tidbit, Snow's lavish mansion in Brewster still stands today, and for over three decades was the home of a tennis club. For those so inclined, the house is available for purchase at the not altogether unreasonable asking price of $1, 972,000!!!

1 comment:

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