Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trowbridge Clark Egleston (1857-1925), Trowbridge Hyer Ward (1851-1900)

Portrait courtesy of

    The state of Idaho takes center stage in the following write-up on Trowbridge Clark Egleston, a resident of both Ohio and New York who found his political and business fortunes in the American northwest. One of the first political figures from Idaho to receive a profile here on the site, Mr. Egleston served as Mayor of Caldwell, Idaho for one term beginning in the mid-1890s. 
   Born in Madison, Ohio on June 19, 1857 (or 1856, depending on the source) Trowbridge Clark Egleston was one of three children born to Russell Searle (1816-1912) and Elizabeth Trowbridge Egleston (1828-1916). A Presbyterian minister, Russell S. Egleston is recorded as having preached in both Ohio and Connecticut, and would later remove to Orleans County, New York with his family. Trowbridge attended both the Oberlin College and Cornell University, later being employed at hardware businesses in both Albion and Buffalo, New York. Egleston would leave this employ to take work as a traveling salesman for the Cambria Iron Co. of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, remaining with this company for four years. Egleston eventually left the Cambria Iron Co. and headed for Missouri, where he took similar work with the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis.
   Trowbridge Egleston married in 1878 to fellow Ohio native Sarah B. Mann (1855-1929) and later became the father to two daughters, Florence Egleston Sebree (1879-1940) and Ethel E. After several years devoted to salesmanship Egleston and his family relocated to Caldwell, Idaho, where in 1892 he purchased a mercantile store that had been established by Frank Coffin nearly a decade previously. As head of the firm (which would later be known as the T.C. Egleston and Co., Ltd.) Egleston was noted by the Illustrated History of the State of Idaho as being a "wholesale and retail dealer in hardware, stoves, tinware, groceries, provisions and farm machinery", and occupied a store that was "forty by one hundred and twenty-five feet in dimensions."
  With his name firmly established in the Caldwell business community, Egleston entered political life in 1894 when he became a Republican candidate for Mayor of Caldwell. He would win the election and served in that capacity for one term in 1895, being noted as "having taken a considerable interest always in public affairs and looking ever to the welfare of his city and country."
   In the years following his mayoralty Egleston continued to be active in Caldwell politics and business, and in 1903 was tapped by then Governor John Tracy Morrison to succeed Rees H. Davis as State Commissioner of Immigration, Labor and Statistics. During his term in office, Egleston compiled a state "irrigation census" for Idaho, noting in May 1904 that the "state has 2,422 miles of main irrigation canals" and that "the cost of construction of these canals was $5, 446,180."
    Following his leaving the office of immigration commissioner Egleston and his wife left Idaho and relocated to Colorado, being recorded as residents of Denver in the 1910 census. They would later move to Pasadena, California, where in 1924 Trowbridge is recorded as residing at 1484 East California Street. On August 10, 1925 Trowbridge Egleston died at age 68 and was interred at the Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion, New York, the burial location of both his parents. Egleston's wife Sarah and daughter Florence would also be buried here following their deaths in 1929 and 1940.

From the San Francisco Call, June 3, 1900.

   Another "Trowbridge" that made his name known in public life was Trowbridge Hyer Ward of California. A native of Wisconsin, Ward was born in that state on September 25, 1851, a son of John Sherrill and Anna Hyer Ward. A few years after his birth the Ward family relocated to California, where Trowbridge would study law under the tutelage of his father.
  In 1869 the 18 year old Ward achieved his first taste of political life, being appointed as an Assistant U.S. Assessor for the 4th District of California.  He would serve two years in that post, resigning in 1871 to take on the position of Assistant Register of the U.S. Land Office at Susanville, California. Ward would later learn the trade of surveying, later being appointed as a Deputy U.S. Surveyor in the late 1870s. In 1880 he was tasked with surveying for the Sierra Flume and Lumber Company, superintending construction work in the counties of Butte, Plumas and Lassen.
   Ward had married in March 1873 to Willietta Edwards (1854-1930), with whom he would have six children. The family would remove to Los Angeles County in 1884 and shortly thereafter Ward would be appointed as a deputy county treasurer and secretary of the Los Angeles County Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce. Ward would be elected as Los Angeles County Clerk in 1890 and served four years in that office. 
   In 1894 he became the Republican candidate for Clerk of the California State Supreme Court, and in the November election defeated Democratic candidate Peter McGlade by a vote of 120,007 to 89,542. Ward served as clerk until 1898 and afterward returned to surveying. A prominent Masonic leader in California, Ward had served as a Grand Master for the Knights Templar in 1897 and after his death at age 49 on June 2, 1900 was memorialized in a masonic ceremony in San Francisco. He was later cremated, his ashes being inured at the San Francisco Columbarium.

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